Author Archives: Emily Bedwell

About Emily Bedwell

dreamer. writer. believer. hoper. prayer. wife. daughter. sister. friend.

Review: Sleep No More

Sleep No MoreTitle: Sleep No More

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Contemporary

Source: ARC

Reviewer:Emily Bedwell

Summary (From Goodreads): Oracles see the future but are never supposed to interfere. Charlotte learned that the hard way. If she hadn’t tried to change one of her childhood visions, her father would still be alive. Since the accident, Charlotte has suppressed her visions to avoid making the same mistake. But when she receives a premonition of a classmate’s murder, she can no longer ignore her powerful gift.

Then Charlotte meets someone who not only knows her secret but who also has a way for her to stop the killer. He offers to teach her how to manipulate her visions to change the future. But doing so will put Charlotte in the path of the murderer...

My Thoughts:

I love Aprilynne Pike. Seriously. And, I’m not going to lie; this book kind of scared the snot out of me. “Sleep No More” is unlike anything I’ve read from Pike before, and it was brilliant. Charlotte is an Oracle; someone who gets images of the future and has learned to stop them. She changed the future once and it changed everything. She won’t make that mistake ever again. Until she can’t stop the visions and she sees the murder of a classmate, then another. Now, Charlotte has a choice; she can see the visions and try and change the future or she can do nothing, be nothing and sit by knowing that her friends continue to die.

“Sleep No More” is dark, twisting and scary all at the same time. Pike creates complicated characters that are three dimensional and seem like they could be people you interact with every day. This fast-paced page turner kept me on the edge of my seat as Charlotte learned more about her family, her powerful gift, and the consequences and responsibilities of knowing what the future holds.

Final Thoughts:

Five out of five bookmarks. I loved this book.  A little bit Stephen King, a little bit Doctor Who, a little bit dark comedy and romance.

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Review: Hyperbole and a Half

Hyperbole and a HalfTitle: Hyperbole and a Half

Author: Allie Brosh

Genre: Non-Fiction, Autbiography

Source: Amazon

Reviewer:Emily Bedwell

Summary (From Goodreads): This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative–like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it–but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Pictures
Words
Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

My Thoughts:

I loved Allie’s blog and I wanted, so wanted, to love this book. I wanted it to be as funny and smart as the blog, but I just had a hard time getting into it. There were some great moments, mostly stories I had seen on the blog. It is less biography and more just a collection of stories from her blog. It’s fine, and an easy read. It’s hard to review this book because there just isn’t a lot to say. It’s funny and sometimes smart. It’s a look into Allie Brosh’s depression and battle with finding herself again.

Final Thoughts:

Three out of Five bookmarks. It was fine, but not life-changing.

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Review: The Museum of Intangible Things

Intangible ThingsTitle: The Museum of Intangible Things

Author: Wendy Wunder

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Source: ARC

Reviewer:Emily Bedwell

Summary from Goodreads: Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them.

As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacity, insouciance, karma, and even happiness.

My Thoughts:

I was not expecting this book. From the back of the cover, it looked like it was going to be a fun, last chance to relax before two girls go to college. And, in some ways, it is. It is also a heart-breaking, tragic story of mental illness, friendship and what it means to love and help the people in your life. “The Museum of Intangible Things” is about Hannah, an average New Jersey girl who wants more from life, and Zoe, who is beautiful, smart and battling some inner mental demons. Something inside Zoe snaps, and she and Hannah run out on their boring lives and chase something bigger.

It’s hard to talk about this book without giving away some things that I think are important to discover as you go through Zoe and Hannah’s story. Emotionally, I went from laughing to crying and back again depending on the chapter and the page. Zoe has to come face-to-face with the darkness inside her while Hannah tries to help her friend and find herself.

Author Wendy Wunder creates a powerful story of what friendship means, how it can define you no matter the age, and what it looks like to be willing to give everything for the friends you love.

My Rating

Four out of Five bookmarks. Beautiful, tragic and expertly written!

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The Scar Boys

Scar BoysTitle: The Scar Boys

Author: Len Vlahos

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Source: ARC

Reviewer: Emily Bedwell

Summary from Goodreads: A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock ‘n’ roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world…even if you carry scars inside and out.

In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay–help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores–Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life.

My Thoughts:

This is not my typical book. I received the ARC from a friend and thought I’d give it a chance. There were several things I loved about it: the narrator is a flawed, angry, frustrated teen who has had a rough life. He’s been bullied and burned and has very few friends. Through a series of events, he finds a good friend and a love for music.

A band, The Scar Boys, is founded and actually finds some success. Their road to a summer tour felt forced and a little made up, but I was able to give this first time author the benefit of the doubt. Overall, the book was entertaining and a strong debut. Harry Jones is a sweet kid who has been given a hard life. He lived in relative anonymity for years, trying to avoid the bullies and stay out of eyesight of anyone and everyone. Suddenly, he is in a band, and, eventually, leading the band.

“The Scar Boys” is a fun, fast read. I read it in a morning while waiting to visit the doctor! I would recommend it to people who loved books like “Wonder” or movies like “Powder.” If you’re a lover of underdogs and good music, this is the book for you!

My Rating:

Three out of Five bookmarks. A solid, easy read. It probably won’t change your life, but it’s still an entertaining story!

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Review: Just One Year

just one year cover

Title: Just One Year

Author: Gayle Forman

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Source: Library

Reviewer: Emily Bedwell

Summary via Goodreads:

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . .

My Review:

Author Gayle Forman has created powerful characters and stories with If I Stay, Where She Went and Just One Day. Because I enjoyed all those books, I really wanted to love Just One Year. In fact, I was so excited when this book came out that I looked everywhere for it on vacation, to no avail. That said, I’m not disappointed that I didn’t find it. I liked this book fine, but didn’t find Willem’s story nearly as exciting as Allyson/Lulu’s story last year. After 24 hours in Paris with the girl of his dreams, Willem goes to get breakfast, gets attacked and never makes it back to her. He spends the next year wandering the world, never quite finding his place and hoping to figure out who she was and where she is now. Along the way, he finds himself in a Bollywood movie, being distracted by a few other girls, understudying for a real Shakespeare company, playing a lead role, and, eventually discovering a little more about who he is and his place in the world in the process.

Just One Year has the same strong characters and writing as Forman’s other books, but somehow just lacked the pizazz of Forman’s other works. Maybe it was because we didn’t really get a chance to know Willem in Just One Day, but I found it harder to keep interested in this story.

My Rating:

3/5 Bookmarks. Still a good book, but not my favorite.

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Review: The Girl You Left Behind

the girl you left behind coer

Title: The Girl You Left Behind

Author: JoJo Moyes

Genre: Adult Fiction/Historical Fiction

Source: Library

Reviewer: Emily Bedwell

Summary via Goodreads:

In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened…

My Review:

I first read JoJo Moyes over the summer when someone at the library introduced me to her via Me Before You. I loved that book and had high expectations for The Girl You Left Behind. The two books, in reality, couldn’t be more different, but they are both beautiful in their own ways.

The Girl You Left Behind takes place in two different timelines; the early 1900s and the early 2000s. The girl in question is both a real person Sophie LeFevre, and a painting made of her that endures past the first war, second war and into the 21st century. Their stories are woven together as both Sophie and her painting continue to impact the world.

Masterfully told, The Girl You Left Behind is part historical fiction and part adult contemporary. The historical part of the book is wrought with the pain and sorrow and struggle of a woman trying to survive to see her husband again through a dark war. Sophie is weak and strong at the same time and willing to do whatever it takes to keep her family alive. The dark moments of the German occupation are written to evoke the fear of the time period.

When the book transitions to the contemporary world, it feels a little like the rug has been pulled out from under you. While it is also well written, it didn’t keep my attention quite as much. While I enjoyed learning what happened to the painting, and, in turn, Sophie, I would have enjoyed the story just as much without the modern elements.

My Rating:

3.5/5 bookmarks. Well written and executed, but I didn’t need the parallel stories to feel like it was completed.

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Review: House of Ivy and Sorrow

house of ivy and sorrow cover

Title: House of Ivy & Sorrow

Author: Natalie Whipple

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Source: ARC

Reviewer: Emily Bedwell

Summary via Goodreads:

Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.

Review:

Yes, this is only the second book Natalie Whipple has published, but man, I love her as an author. Her characters are beautiful, believable and just plain fun to read. In interviews, Whipple has said that this story is special to her for many reasons, most notably the strong family bonds of her main characters. Josephine Hemlock is one of my absolute favorite characters. She’s spunky, smart and decidedly not perfect.

One of my favorite parts of this book is how Jo just knows who she is – a witch from a family of witches. There is none of the angst and drama of trying to figure out who she is; instead the drama from this story comes from Jo trying to reconcile her life, keep her friends safe, and enjoy the attention and affection of the cutest boy in school.

House of Ivy and Sorrow is a fast-paced, energetic read. Each plot twist is carefully constructed and thought out. Jo finds herself facing the darkest moments of her life as a sinister force tries to not only destroy her family, but also to destroy everyone she holds dear. If her friends find out what she really is, will they stand by her or go running? The fundamental theme behind the magic of this book is that magic requires sacrifice; the bigger the need, the bigger the sacrifice. In scene after beautiful scene, Whipple creates Jo to be a force of good in the world, but always someone who knows that what she can do comes at a price – to her and to those she loves.

Final Thoughts:

House of Ivy and Sorrow is not just fun to read; it takes place in a fantastic world that stays with you long after you turn the final page.

My Rating:

5/5 Bookmarks!

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