Theme Reviews: Even If the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia & The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Even if the Sky Falls and The Sky is Everywhere are both wonderfully whimsical contemporaries that deal with loss in entirely different ways. Both feature an off-beaten cast of characters and love that feels like magic. 

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All she needs is one night to be anyone she wants.

Julie is desperate for a change. So she heads to New Orleans with her youth group to rebuild houses and pretend her life isn’t a total mess. But between her super-clingy team leader and her way-too-chipper companions, Julie feels more trapped than ever.

In a moment of daring, she ditches her work clothes for DIY fairy wings and heads straight into the heart of Mid-Summer Mardi Gras, where she locks eyes with Miles, an utterly irresistible guy with a complicated story of his own. And for once, Julie isn’t looking back. She jumps at the chance to see the real New Orleans, and in one surreal night, they dance under the stars, share their most shameful secrets, and fall in love.

But their adventure takes an unexpected turn when an oncoming hurricane changes course. As the storm gains power and Julie is pulled back into chaos she finds pretending everything is fine is no longer an option.

review

3/5 Stars 

Even if the Sky Falls is an atmospheric dream. The hazy, magical euphoria that cloaks New Orleans is captured in all of its glory. From the wild randomness and go wherever the wind takes you attitudes, the story bursts with life and inspires the reader to give in to spontaneity. It’s worth the risk.

Even if the Sky Falls is unexpected and dreamy. The Mid-Summer Mardi Gras is a more laid back version of the insanity that is normal Mardi Gras, this feels like a light drizzle of crazy. The characters are charming and unique, they leap from the page and invite the reader to engage. The story is both an adventure and drama. The characters are complex and developed. They each have their own drama, heartaches, and pasts that define and dare them to make life worth living every moment of every day. 

Julie is a vixen and the best part is, she has no clue. Though parts of her back story were less fleshed out than I would have liked, particularly the situation with her best friends, Julie in the now is fiery, adventurous, and takes chances that she never would have before. She’s an inspiration to the quiet, introspective girls to let loose every once in a while, you never know what might happen. 

Miles is sexy. An enigma. A perfect fairy tale of a character dressed as a super hot version of Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He’s got troubles and baggage and pain, but he’s playful and made of daring. He’s definitely the type of guy who sucks you in and tempts you to live on the wild side. Smooth, talented, and sensual.

The chemistry is hard to describe. On one hand, you can feel them falling to something-not love exactly, not lust-but it feels natural, inevitable. The heat is intense when it comes. They resist, they tease, they give in and it’s epic.

The pacing was lazy and sometimes too slow for my taste. 

Julie’s brother’s situation cut her deeply, and while it did have a strong presence, I feel like a deeper look into her past, what brought her to New Orleans, her relationship with the church, and what PTSD does to a family would have helped flesh out her motivations and added another layer to her character. 

When the “twist” happened near the end, OMG my heart. I screamed at the book. Shocked and anxious and terrified for their fate doesn’t even begin to describe the feels. 

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Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life – and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

review

3.5/5 Stars 

The Sky is Everywhere is an epic eulogy. It’s a story of loss and learning to live after a part of yourself is gone. 

Jandy Nelson is a beautifully lyrical and honest writer. She doesn’t shy away from feelings and actions that might make the reader dislike the protagonist. Everything is achingly real. The words float off the page, part poetry, part longing. The poems Lennie leaves wherever she goes for her sister are featured throughout like random inserts that provide insight into Lennie’s mental state. Memories, conversations, fights, they’re all there in vivid color. It’s powerful and heartbreaking. Everything Lennie does is in an effort to remember-an ode to her sister, her best friend, her other half. 

Lennie’s best friend Sarah is a whirlwind. As are all of the secondary characters really. Everyone has a potent and active presence. I wish there was more of Sarah. A chic and confident feminist who is obsessed with philosophy and falling in love with the right guy. Sarah is a force that you want to get wrapped up in. She’s unafraid to tell it like it is, she calls Lennie out on her b.s. and fights for her best friend, even when she unintentionally pushes her away. Big is a lovable giant of a character. He’s weird, so insanely bizarre, but full of warmth and joy-love is his oxygen and his curse. He’s truly unforgettable. Lennie’s grandma, oh my gosh this lady. She’s like a mythical creature. At some points, she’s a lovable grandmother type and others she’s the lady who only paints in shades of green, whose flowers are strong enough to bewitch and ensnare. 

Lennie is a complex character. Half the time she’s a mess who has no clue what she’s doing. She’s hormonal, awkward, and throws herself into situations without thinking and boy is it comical. But you never doubt her love and devotion to her sister’s memory. Lennie has never been in love. She’s never really had a big crush and her emotions are chaotic. She doesn’t know how to process the loss and becomes reckless, confused, and mildly idiotic. Sometimes I literally had to turn away from the book I was so embarrassed for her, other times I wanted to shake her and ask her what she was thinking with some of the stuff she does. She’s absolutely relatable. 

The romance…here’s the thing, I wasn’t completely invested in that aspect of the story. Yes, Joe is a heart throb. He’s sweet, he’s perfect for Lennie, they get each other on a deep, emotional level. They speak too each other through music, how romantic is that? Despite how natural it feels, the love came fast and hit soft. You can’t help but believe they belong together but it was so soon. There wasn’t enough of them together, by themselves, confessing their thoughts, etc. Sure, you can feel the chemistry, Joe’s wonder and complete adoration for Lennie, but the magic fell short for me. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Pleasant reading, 

Jordan

Review: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

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Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

review

2.5/5 Stars 

+++Parts of this story are MATURE

The Devil You Know was not at all what I expected it to be. You know those horror films that start out with a bunch of kids partying and end up with someone winding up dead? This is exactly like that, I can easily see it as a film. The familiar tropes were there: restless heroine looking to escape, love triangle with two hot out of towners, a series of semi-sinister but not entirely scary incidents. It all feels so familiar and more than a little predictable. 

The premise didn’t sit right with me. I don’t care how tired of her situation the main character is (it’s stressed repeatedly), she’s responsible, smart, and known for making rational choices, so when she makes the decision to ride off into the sunset…or in this case a canoe, with complete strangers it made zero sense. Everything felt super fast in terms of development-so much so that it was jarring. The insta-attraction was fierce, the meet and run away happened within hours. What kind of crazy person hops in a car with two random guys she met the night before? It wasn’t exactly believable for modern times…maybe if it was set in the 70s or even the 80s. 

The story was enjoyable though. It felt like a romance with just the right amount of angst and drama. The chemistry was hot. The boys were both contenders and had a lot going for them. A clean-cut, pretty boy, his rough cousin, tatted and with a record. There’s something for the good girl with a reckless streak in all of us. 

Scenery was spot on and engaging. The trip to Casadaga was especially interesting because I’ve been there and it’s a creepy, yet fascinating place that anyone should check out given the opportunity.

Secondary characters were memorable, if a little cliché. The ex boyfriend’s brother was much-needed comic relief and pretty gross, but in a lovable, perverse way. 

The twist had so many tells and clues that it came as no surprise to me, however this did not detract from the suspense-filled, adrenaline rush of a finale. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Exciting reading, 

Jordan

Release Day Blitz: Lucky Kisses by Addison Moore

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From the NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author, Addison Moore—
Cosmopolitan Magazine calls Addison’s books, “…easy, frothy fun!”

She’s mouthy and bossy as hell. He’s a hot player who’s not having any of it. He’s determined to teach her a lesson. She’s determined to take him down a notch.

Lawson Kent is a jackass of the highest order. Sure he’s got the face of a god and the body of a prisoner dedicated to pumping iron, but every time he’s in my way my blood boils.
His obnoxious mug seems impossible to escape. So when we’re paired together to work on the community interaction project, we call a truce. In fact, the more I hang out with Lawson, the more it seems he really gets me. Not too many people do.

Lucky Madden is a mouthy piece of work. Yes, she’s gorgeous to a fault and that’s precisely why her overprotective, tatted up brother, Jet, pays me the big bucks to make sure none of the idiots at Whitney Briggs University land her horizontal. Only, too bad for me, Lucky Madden is the last person I want to hover over every free chance I get.

Then one night, she cuts the mouthy routine and does something far more productive with those lips, she kisses me. Now I can’t get Lucky Madden out of my mind. I’m addicted in every single way, and soon enough, the only person her brother will want to rip to pieces is me.author79e42-author2bpicAddison Moore is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who writes contemporary and paranormal romance. Her work has been featured in Cosmopolitan magazine. Previously she worked as a therapist on a locked psychiatric unit for nearly a decade. She resides on the West Coast with her husband, four wonderful children and two dogs where she eats too much chocolate and stays up way too late. When she’s not writing, she’s reading.

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Romantic reading, 
Jordan