ARC Review: The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

the-bone-sparrowGoodreads/B&N/Amazon

synSubhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, Subhi has only ever known life behind the fences. But his world is far bigger than that—every night, the magical Night Sea from his mother’s stories brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. And as he grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of his containment.

The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie—a scruffy, impatient girl who appears on the other side of the wire fence and brings with her a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, she relies on Subhi to unravel her family’s love songs and tragedies.

Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort—and maybe even freedom—as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before.

review4/5 Stars 

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Disney-Hyperion

Sometimes a great book is balm for the soul, and other times, a book wakes you up. Sometimes the darkness in this world is too much that it’s easy to look away and selectively forget the atrocities that happen every single day to people who seek nothing but peace and a place to call home. The Bone Sparrow reads like a folktale. With a blend of lyrical storytelling, startling bursts of horrific reality, and two children from different worlds even though they live footsteps apart, The Bone Sparrow brings those who don’t have a voice and are cast aside like a dirty little secret to vibrant life. 

Subhi is dreamer. Caught up in his world of stories and a father he’s never met, his hope is a burst of light and longing that fights hard against the injustice that surrounds him. Cushioned by his child-like wonder at the simple magic of dreams, words, and legends, Subhi is a captivating character. His words are innocent and full of loyalty. He holds those he loves so high as protectors and the good. What others see as negative, he sees as okay because he’s never known any different being born in the refugee camp. Kids find truths and say them with such simplicity that it’s both profound and enlightening. So many times, I had to pause and reread. What initially seems light and offhand is actually jarring in its insight. After witnesses something truly despicable and triggering, Subhi’s world is no longer Night Seas and whales who sing to the moon, it’s starvation, pain, and abuse. It’s a letdown he never expected. This awakening is heartbreaking and crushing. This perfect little spirit who lived the world on a cloud and reveled in simple happiness broken and downtrodden. Seriously, it sucks the life right out of you. So powerful and emotional.

Friendship is everything in this story. It’s a hero, it’s a savior, it’s hope and longing and love. This unlikely pairing between a motherless girl with just as much yearning as Subhi, clinging to a past that she refuses to let go, is so special. 

Some parts of this story are graphic and dark. This book is categorized as MG on some sites and I’d really consider it before sharing with young kids. Though the protagonists are 10, the subject matter is more mature. The violence might be a bit much, especially one scene in particular. 

The pacing was so-so. The build up far less and later than I would have hoped for to create the right amount of tension and anxiety. 

Jimme is an outside oblivious to what is really going on behind the fence or to how detention centers work. She’s heard rumors of how lucky the refugees are, how much food they get, and her curiosity makes her fearless. Jimmie doesn’t have a care in the world besides her desperation to preserve the last vestiges of her mother through her mother’s journal. Like Subhi, she doesn’t understand what she’s looking at and no one takes the time to explain. Those who are part of the situation and don’t explain the gravity are just as culpable as those who ignore. Jimmie’s ignorance is hurtful, but full of heart. She adores Subhi and their friendship is cute and full of instance love. Through stories, they grow to trust and rely on each other. 

The story of Burma, the conditions in refugee camps, detainment centers, how those seeking asylum are treated are all brushed under the rug unless it is brought to international headlines and even then it disappears after a while. What happens to these people? How are they living? Who is helping them? Are they getting help at all or are they worse off? These questions and many more are addressed and examined in this book. They shouldn’t be forgotten and unfortunately, it takes perseverance and willingness to care, and compassion to make change. 

Insightful reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal: Dashing Through the Snow by M. Leighton

Amazon/Goodreads

Release Date: November 20, 2016

synDilyn Hart hates Christmas, so when her boss (and ex-boyfriend) hands her an assignment to interview champion snowboarder and gorgeous playboy extraordinaire, Dash Grainger, on Christmas Eve, she takes it. There are several things she doesn’t plan for—a surly driver, a chalet in the middle of nowhere, a freak snowstorm—but the biggest surprise of all is Dash himself.

Dash Grainger lives for the high, and so far in his twenty-six years, he’s never met anyone or anything he loves more. Nothing has ever thrilled him as much as slick snow, cold air, and breakneck speed.

Until he meets Dilyn.

But one perfect night doesn’t mean clear, blue skies the next day. There are some storms that can’t be weathered.

Christmas Day might just be one of them.

authorm.leightonFacebook/Reader Group/Instagram

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, M. Leighton, is a rarely ever comfortable speaking about herself in the third person, but here goes. Michelle is a former nurse who has always harbored a passion for the written word, a weakness for alpha males, and a profound love of all things romantic. Never in her wildest dreams did this Yankee-turned-Southerner imagine her life as it is today. She has the best job in the world, a husband who treats her like a princess, and a dog that’s so smart she may one day write a novel, too. You can often find Michelle hidden away in her cave, crafting a new story, or out in the sunshine enjoying some quiet time with her man. Movies, wine, and good food are frequently thrown into the mix, and exercise on days that start with Q. She loves laughter, chocolate, the color red, and you can find out more about her at http://www.mleightonbooks.com.

Sign up for her newsletter here: http://smarturl.it/MLeightonNews

She promises not to spam your inbox:)

Romantic reading, 

Jordan

 

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Trying Sophie by Rebecca Norinne

trying-sophie-reveal-bannertrying-sophie-coverGoodreads

Publication Date: December 6, 2016

synShe doesn’t date players…
 
Sophie loves her life: she’s travelled the world and lived by her own rules. But when she finds out about her grandfather’s heart attack, she drops everything and boards a plane to Ireland. Two weeks, that’s the plan. Until one look at her childhood nemesis has her rethinking everything. She’s sworn off athletes, but she might just give him a try…
 
He’s the biggest player of all.
 
Sex and rugby. Those were the only two things Declan cared about, right up until his first love waltzed back into his life. Even as he slept his way through Dublin, he never stopped thinking about her. Never stopped wondering if she thought about him, too. So even though he’s never gone after a woman the way he chases down opponents on the field, this time, he won’t let her get away.
 
On the field, he’s invincible, but she just might break him.
Excerpt

With my arm wrapped around her shoulder and her head resting against my chest, Sophie had fallen silent. Listening to her deep and steady breathing, I realized she was asleep.

I used the quiet moment to assess my earlier reaction and examine my feelings. Even though I’d pursued her with a single-minded focus, I hadn’t meant for any of this to happen. At first I’d told myself we’d have a good time, enjoy each other’s bodies, but it wouldn’t go any further. But I knew I’d been fooling myself from the get-go. I’d fallen hard … and fast. So incredibly fast. The joke was on me though because for once I was the one looking for commitment from someone who couldn’t return the sentiment.

The way my chest hurt every time I thought about her leaving let me know I wasn’t going to handle it very well when the day came. I’d already watched her leave Ballycurra once with a lump in my throat. I didn’t need a repeat performance. What I needed was to put pull back now, put some distance between us while I still could.

I nudged her shoulder. “Sophie, wake up. We’re home.”

Sitting up, she rubbed her eyes. “Home?”

“My house,” I clarified.

“Oh, right.”

Paying the driver, we exited his car and stood side by side on the wet pavement outside my house.

“It rained,” she observed groggily, wrapping her arm through mine. Looking up at me with a shy smile, she added, “Thanks for today, by the way.”

“You’re welcome.”

“I had a good time,” she continued, her eyes searching my face.

“I’m glad,” I answered, refusing to meet her stare. “Be careful, the tiles can be slippery, especially in those shoes.”

Clinging tighter, she whispered, “You won’t let me fall.”

“Nope, you’re safe.”

“I am, aren’t I?” she asked as I fitted my key in the lock. “Safe?”

I dragged my eyes to hers. I couldn’t be sure, but suddenly it felt like we weren’t talking about slippery walkways anymore, that there was hidden meaning in her words … and mine.

“Always,” I intoned, pulling her through the door and into me. With her palms resting flat against my chest, I was sure she could feel my heart hammering against my sternum.

Despite the pep talk I’d just given myself, I couldn’t deny how I felt about this woman. She was in my veins. I knew she didn’t trust me not to break her heart, not yet, but I was just as vulnerable. And even though I was probably setting myself up for further rejection, I needed her to know she had a home here. That there was a place for her in my life if she’d only let herself take it.

“You’re safe with me Sophie,” I repeated, my lips dropping to hers. “All you have to do is let me in. I’m yours for the taking.” I kissed her again. “Please, take me.”

authorrebecca-norinne

Rebecca read her first book when she was four years old and has been hooked on the written word ever since. While working in technology PR in Silicon Valley, she began writing her debut novel and eventually published it six years later. At the end of 2014, she left behind her career in corporate communications to become a full time author. When she’s not writing, you can find Rebecca exploring her new city of Dublin, Ireland, watching Leinster Rugby matches, or traveling the globe searching for inspiration for her next book.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Newsletter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Profile

trying-sophie-reveal-giveaway-graphic

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Adventurous reading, 

Jordan