Blog Tour & Giveaway Review: Gravity-Shayne McClendon

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4/5 Stars

Gravity-Shayne McClendon

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+I received Gravity for an honest review on the Mackable Book Babes Blog Tour. 

“No, I’m not under any illusions. To me, life is like gravity. You have to let it keep you grounded, but you can never let it keep you down.”

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“I want to give you lots and lots of windows-so you can see all the beauty you’ve been denied, JoEllen.”

I rarely cry during books. In fact, I can count on one hand how many times it’s happened ever and remember acutely which books and which moments did me in. On my Goodreads status updates I had a cry count for this book, seriously, 3 1/2 times. You may be asking yourself, how is 3 1/2 cries possible, well lovelies, that is when you’re so cried out you start to cry again and run out of tears. This book wrecked me in a beautifully tragic and moving way. You’ll laugh, you’ll certainly cry, you’ll feel anger, pity, and so many, many feels it’s pretty overwhelming. If you’re looking for a book that will wake your dormant emotions up, get your tissues ready, this is it.

+++To my blog followers, this is NA it does contain graphic sexual scenarios and does involve abuse. Some images may be too strong for some.

Plot: All JoEllen wants is to escape the life she was given. Her mother was 15 when she had her and hasn’t grown up since, she never really knew how to take care of a child. JoEllen struggled to make ends meet, working jobs, going to school, skipping grades, graduating early and getting certified in carpentry. JoEllen never wants to be in a position to end up like her mother. Living in the poorest trailer park in Oklahoma, JoEllen has watched over mother as if she were the child, as she fell into a pattern of destruction and depression. JoEllen’s mother is a working girl, bringing her johns back to the trailer and leaving JoEllen to wait outside until they’re finished. Despite everything, JoEllen loves her mother and is doing everything in her power to build a stable foundation for her before she goes off to start her own life. Going through everyday life as a robot, JoEllen has plans and she’s going to see them through, she doesn’t have time for distractions and is caught totally off guard when an attractive, older man shows interest. Holden Mayes knows she too young for him but something about her is compelling, magnetic, he can’t help but be drawn to this beautiful, fierce woman. Holden is persistent, for months on end he has pestered JoEllen for  a date, so much so that he has become a close friend, a solid part of her everyday life. When tragedy strikes and JoEllen falls apart, Holden is there to pick up the pieces, to protect her, and most of all, love her even if she doesn’t ask for it, he can’t help himself. So begins JoEllen’s story, one that will test her strength, her will power, and her heart.

Additionally, here is the Goodreads synopsis: 

JoEllen Astor grew up poor in one of the worst trailer parks in Oklahoma. A childhood spent taking care of her mother and working hard has made her world-weary already.

One night, she meets Holden Mayes, a man who thinks she’s far too young for a man like him but can’t help but want her. He makes a mistake that almost derails their relationship before it ever starts and is determined to make it right…no matter how long it takes.

Their accidental friendship is the only thing that keeps her together when tragedy strikes that shakes the very foundation of Jo’s world.

When a man is slow, steady, and determined in his pursuit…how long can you fight your feelings for him?

PROS:

  • JoEllen is the strongest female protagonist I’ve ever read. She’s determined, driven, and filled with such powerful hope that it’s inspiring. Her story is heartbreaking, raw, and fueled by poignantly painful moments that will break your heart into little pieces only to be glued back together again by JoEllen’s light. Although she’s been jaded and wounded in the past, she’s never been broken, JoEllen always fights for her future and her mother’s without judgement. Once of the most striking aspects of JoEllen’s character is her ability to be a cynic, to feel so much anger over her situation and yet, she’ll fight tooth and nail for her mother’s honor, she’s not afraid to throw a few punches or cause drama, she will always speak her mind and in unafraid of the consequences. JoEllen is incredibly brave but afraid to open her heart. The struggle within to combat Holden’s advances is infuriating at times but understandable.
  • The feels guys. I’m telling you, this story is more than an emotional roller coaster, it’s an explosion of events that will claw at your heart and leave you feeling open and breathless, not to mention the tears.
  • Holden is an amazing man. He has such a perfect, warm and compassionate heart. His love for JoEllen is so pure and his focus on caring for her will melt even the frostiest of hearts. Plus, this man knows how to talk dirty and be insanely romantic in the same instant.
  • Passionate, steady, and really hot, the chemistry between JoEllen and Holden is unconventional. It’s not a force of nature or an exaggerated pull but a real, honest build up between a man and a woman whose friendship evolves into something so much more.

CONS:

  • There was the occasional typo or tense issue.
  • Most of the secondary characters were left undiscovered, they’re underdeveloped and not really present in the plot. There are small snippets but not enough to fully grasp their personalities.

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Happy reading,

-BB

Review: The Mockingbirds-Daisy Whitney

3/5 Stars

The Mockingbirds (The Mockingbirds, #1)-Daisy Whitney

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Plot: Alex attends the prestigious Themis Academy, a boarding school where the administration is largely passive and finds a system built on the honor code to be the most effective. A notorious group known as The Mockingbirds, a secret society of teens, runs the school on a combination of vigilante justice and sleuthing. Alex never knew that The Mockingbirds existed until she unfortunately became desperately in need of their unique brand of crime solving. Alex is a pretty quiet girl, her focus is on mastering her violin and getting accepted at her dream school-Julliard. One night, while seeing on of her favorite bands with a few friends at a club, things get out of hand, Alex gets wasted and she wakes up the next day in Carter’s bed with no idea how she got there. Alex is mortified and sickened that she lost her virginity, something she cherished and wanted to be special, to a night of drunken stupidity. However, as flashbacks of that night come back to her, Alex is not so sure that it was consensual. Alex is pretty sure she has been date-raped. So begins Alex’s quest to figure out what truly happened that night, how to deal with it, and her partnership with The Mockingbirds to sniff out clues, and bring justice to Themis Academy.

PROS:

  • I wanted to love The Mockingbirds because the story deals with serious issues that are not only relevant to teens but people of every age and not talked about enough. Date-rape is a terrible, traumatic thing that is all too often brushed over or not talked about because it causes people to feel uncomfortable or people are scared (the reasons are endless and all important), it’s a hard subject and props to Daisy Whitney for tackling it. One of the best elements of this story is how realistic and true to emotions Alex is. Daisy really captured the horrible sense of guilt, the idea that the victim thinks they’re at fault, that they could have done something more to protect themselves. Alex’s reactions were heartbreaking, emotionally poignant, and so easy to identify with. Everyone has felt that gnawing feeling of uncertainty when something bad happens that tosses them into a whirlwind of doubt, the quintessential if only I had…maybe I should have…thoughts.
  • Alex. Although she’s a little naïve, she’s willing to fight for justice, to believe in herself, and to push through her own insecurities over what happened to her to truly grow as a person.
  • The Mockingbirds as a group of teens willing to solve crimes, dig through dirt, weigh stories, and deal out their own form of justice is really a great idea, especially if, like in the book, the administration would only cause a bigger mess or simply not care at all. The concept of taking away what matters most to the loser of the case is a harsh but much better alternative to the slap on the wrist or suspension that most bullies would have gotten.

CONS:

  • The plot is a little slow and really drags in some parts as Alex spirals into depression but livens up as the Mockingbirds clues become more pronounced. If you’re looking for a book that is thrilling, fast-paced, and has lots of plot twists, this is NOT for you.
  • The characters are fuzzy, like shadows, they feel incomplete. It’s hard to become invested in the characters when there are so many, a bunch of substories, and really not much development or focus on their character journey-except for Alex.
  • One of my issues with the Mockingbirds is that they’re really vigilantes, they take advantage of the system and don’t only take away the accused’s (if found guilty) most loved hobby but they start with taking away their privileges before they even know they committed the crime for sure and then say, oh, if they’re innocent we’ll pay them back later. The problem with this is that most of the time, later is at the end of the school year when paying people back really doesn’t make up for a semester or so of hell.

If you liked any of the following, you’d probably enjoy this:*

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***I’m really not sure what to recommend for this one so take these titles with a little leeway.

Pleasant reading and have a wonderful weekend,

-BB