ARCs · Reviews

ARC Review: The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

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In the first book of the Shaw Confessions, the companion series to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer novels, old skeletons are laid bare and new promises prove deadly. This is what happens after happily ever after.

Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.
They’re wrong. Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future. He shouldn’t. And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right.


I’ve been hearing a lot about the Becoming of Noah Shaw – mostly from my sister – and thanks to the publisher who granted me an e-ARC on Edelweiss, I was able to finally read it myself.

The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin is the first book in a new spin off series in the Mara Dyer universe. I read the books years ago but only remembered bits and pieces. So, if you’re thinking about reading this book, I recommend reading the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer first since it will be referenced a few times and a lot of things will make way more sense afterwards.

Now on to my actual feelings which can be described as this emoji “🤷“ It was an okay book, a fast read and it might get interesting in the sequels, but all in all I just felt nothing after having finished it.

The book is written in Noah’s POV. Instead of the sarcastic, witty voice we were used to  in the Mara Dyer books, he sounded rather dull in this one. There were a few things mentioned by Noah, as well as other characters, that felt out of place and/or quite unnecessary.

My main issue with the plot is that nothing actually happened?! There was a constant limbo of nothingness. The pacing just felt forced, something that looked like a plot started towards the end of the book, and by that point I had so many questions that of course none of them were answered in the few remaining pages. This kind of exposition might work if we have the whole series to look at, but since we are only at book one, it kind of irked me a lot.

Noah was also the only character who seemed to have some sort of a growth during the story, even if I don’t agree with some of his reasonings, especially his decisions towards the end. It might be due to Noah’s limited POV, but even the other characters didn’t seem to develop in any direction. They just existed for plot reasons and could have probably been interchangeable.  There aren’t many new characters introduced to the reader, although they also follow that principle and stay flat instead of being well rounded and their own distinct person.

You might have heard that other bloggers have described The Becoming of Noah Shaw as fanfiction-like. I can only agree with that statement. Instead of talking, Noah and Mara had sex and it seemed to work as a coping mechanism for them. Most of the time I thought it was rather unnecessary. Why can’t kids these days just talk about their problems and fears and worries, especially when you’re clearly in an unhealthy relationship?

Anyways, even if I talked about many points I didn’t like, I still didn’t hate it. I can’t really think of anything at the moment that I liked. There were some funny nerd references though, and in the end, this book was okay. I’m probably going to check out the sequels, just so I get to know how it all wraps up in the end.

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Blog Tour

Dear Rachel Maddow Cover Reveal, Excerpt & Giveaway

Today, I have quite some things prepared for you guys. Dear Rachel Maddow is a book that I’ve been looking forward to and now I can share the official cover reveal, an exclusive excerpt, and even a giveaway with you! Scroll down to check it all out.

Title: DEAR RACHEL MADDOW
Author: Adrienne Kisner
Pub. Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 400
Find it: AmazonB&NTBDGoodreads

Sixteen-year-old Brynn Harper’s life has one steadying force—Rachel Maddow. She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project—and actually getting a response—Brynn starts drafting emails to Rachel but never sending them. It’s an outlet; Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with Sarah, her first serious girlfriend, about her beloved brother Nick’s death, her passive mother and even worse stepfather, about how she’s stuck in remedial courses at school and is considering dropping out.

But then Brynn is confronted with a moral dilemma. She learns that one student representative will be allowed to have a voice among teachers and administrators in the selection of a new school superintendent. Sarah, along with Brynn’s arch-nemesis John, believe only honors students worthy of the selection committee seat. Brynn knows they are more interested in power and perks. Brynn feels all students deserve a voice. When she runs for the position the knives are out and her brother’s memory and her new crush Michaela are shamed. Brynn asks herself: What would Rachel Maddow do?


Exclusive Excerpt

Folder:  Sent
To: egrimm@westing.pa.edu
From:  Brynnieh0401@gmail.com
Date:  September 10
Subject:  School Assignment

Dear Rachel Maddow,

I am writing to you because of a school assignment.  It’s a totally lame reason to be writing, but I don’t think you’ll actually read it anyway.  This kind of thing is so sixth grade.  I am a junior in high school and I’ve been forced to write to a “celebrity hero” by the Applied Language Arts teacher.  (Hey Mr. Grimm!  How’s it hanging, buddy?)  I wasn’t going to do it, because my ex-girlfriend worships you and, hello, school assignment.  But I turned on your show and Mom totally freaked out to see me watching you.  Apparently your liberal and leftist views don’t sit well with her.  Mom spat out the words like she was talking about my dad, so I knew she meant it.  That made you my celebrity hero.
You were talking about some guys running for congress.  But then you said one of them was “freaking amazing.”  I don’t think news people are supposed to say things like that.  And isn’t that biased?  News people aren’t supposed to be biased.  I know this because Mr. Grimm made us watch this video about newswriting.  Though no one else knows this about me, Rachel Maddow, I have a near photographic memory for stuff people say.  Their words just stick in my brain.  So I remember what a reporter is supposed to do.

Anyway, thanks for pissing off my Mom.

Sincerely,
Brynn Harper

Folder:  Sent
To: Brynnieh0401@gmail.comFrom: Egrimm@westing.pa.edu
Date:  September 11
Subject:  RE: School Assignment

Dear Rachel Maddow,

I am writing to you because of a school assignment.  It’s a totally lame reason to be writing, but I don’t think you actually read them anyway.  This kind of thing is so sixth grade.  [Brynn, this is good, honest writing.  Can you try to put a positive spin on it?]  I am a junior in high school and I’ve been forced [asked] to write to a “celebrity hero” by the Applied Language Arts teacher.  (Hey Mr. Grimm!  How’s it hanging, buddy?) [I’m doing well, thanks.  But you can take this out.] I wasn’t going to do it, because my ex-girlfriend worships you and, hello, school assignment. And Mom totally freaked out to see me watching you.  Apparently your liberal and leftist views still don’t sit well with her.  Mom spat out the words like she was talking about my Dad, so I knew she meant it.  So that made you my celebrity hero.  [Again, great personal touch.  But maybe too intimate for this correspondence?]

You were talking about the people running for congress.  But then you said one of them was “freaking amazing.”  And I don’t think news people are supposed to say things like that.  And isn’t that biased?  News people aren’t supposed to be biased.  I know this because Mr. Grimm, my English teacher, made us watch this video about newswriting.  Though no one else knows this about me, Rachel Maddow, I have a photographic memory for stuff people say.  Their words just stick in my brain.  So I remember what a reporter is supposed to be. [You are right, Brynn!  I didn’t know that about you.  Shouldn’t you remember your assignments, then?]

Anyway, thanks for pissing off my Mom. [There is a list of questions I asked you to include.  Maybe you could end with that instead.]

Sincerely,
Brynn Harper

Folder:  Sent
To: Egrimm@westing.pa.edu
Cc:  Rachel@msnbc.com
From: Brynnieh0401@gmail.com
Date:  September 12
Subject:  School Assignment Again

Dear Rachel Maddow,

I learned an important lesson about rough drafts.  If you really want to send someone a letter, you should just send it.  Do not turn it in to your English teacher first.  But Mr. Grimm (said English teacher) is the only person I know who doesn’t think I’m hopeless, so I am trying this again for his sake.  Though I’m sending it to you too, to avoid further editing.  

My name is Brynn Harper and I am sixteen years old.  I live with my mother and stepfather in Westing, Pennsylvania.  I have a brother, too.  Or, I had one, anyway.

I first watched your show a couple of times in high school because my best friend (well, okay, my girlfriend) loved you, so she kind of dragged me along with her.  She’s not my girlfriend anymore.  And she said she didn’t have time to watch television anymore either, even for you.  So she dumped us both.  That gives us something in common.

I had a list of questions that I was supposed to ask you, but I got most of the answers online already.  Mr. Grimm suggested I think of new ones.  So here you go:

1. When you look at the papers on your desk and circle something, are you really reading from them?  Don’t you read from a teleprompter?  When you go to commercial, you shuffle those papers, too.  Seriously, is there anything even written on them?

2. How much does a person have to know to be considered a “wonk?”

3. At least one person laughs in the background while you are talking.  Is this on purpose?  Who is that?

4. Why don’t you run for political office?

5. Is there ever a staff meeting when you think to yourself, “Huh, there really isn’t a lot going on in the news today.”

6. How many pairs of shoes do you actually own?


About the author

I have lived my entire “adult” life in a college dormitory working in both Residence Life and college chaplaincy.  I like the term “dormitory” better than “residence hall.”  I went to school for a long time so that now I get to swoop around in a fancy robe and silly hat (like at Hogwarts).  I have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts (a place like Hogwarts).  I play both the viola and tennis with more heart than skill.  I love my current home in Boston but will always be a Pennsylvanian at heart.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


And on to the giveaway! Unfortunately, it’s only open for the US, but of you’re living in the States, you should definitely try your luck on one of two arcs of Dear Rachel Maddow.

Rafflecopter Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2658/?

tagged

The Sunshine Blogger Award

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Jordan from The Heart of a Book Blogger nominated me for the The Sunshine Blogger Award! Thank you so much for that 🙂

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Jordan’s Questions:

  1. Do you read multiple books at once?
    I sometimes start multiple books at once when I can’t decide which one to read first. After a while I keep to finishing one at a time though.
  2. What “required reading” book did you enjoy reading the most in school?
    The question should have been which book I hated most, because I would have instantly known the answer to that (Kafka’s Process – if anyone’s wondering). I liked reading Shakespeare and Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories a lot!
  3. Do you like romance in books?
    Yup, it just depends if it actually fits the story. I’m no fan of forced romances where the main character just unnecessarily has to get a love interest.
  4. What’s your Hogwarts house?
    I’m a proud Slytherin!
  5. Do you like reading outside?
    If it’s warm and comfortable, then I’m all in.
  6. Do you have any pets?
    Two very pretty, mostly well behaving cats named Zuko and Leo.
  7. What was/is your favorite subject in school?
    I always liked English and History in school. In uni I liked most of my media science courses.
  8. Do you like to write?
    I do. I haven’t written anything real in years but I want to start again.
  9. How long have you been blogging?
    About a year? That’s at least how old this blog is.
  10. Are you a fast reader?
    Yeah, from time to time I read books in one go.
  11. What was the first book that you fell in love with?
    I always loved reading so it’s hard to say. It was probably something from Astrid Lindgren (The Six Bullerby Children anyone?) or the Harry Potter series.

I hope none of you have been tagged yet. As usual, you don’t have to do the tag if you don’t want to 🙂

My Questions:

1. You favorite friendship from a book?
2. What is the longest book you’ve read this year so far?
3. Which trope do you dislike the most?
4. List your top three favorite movies
5. Paperback, hardcover or ebook?
6. If you could visit one book setting which setting would it be?
7. Who is your favorite author?
8. If you were given a $50 gift card to your local bookstore, what books would you buy?
9. What’s your favorite thing to do apart from reading and blogging?
10. What made you decide to start blogging?
11. How do you feel about books being adapted to series/movies?

Wrap-Up

September Wrap Up

Oh boy, I remember how I thought about squeezing in another blog post before the end of September after posting my last review, and then it hit me. It’s the end of the month so of course I need to post my wrap up. September was over so fast that it didn’t even feel real. I’m now also wrapping up my current job since I’m starting my masters degree in October. Yup, it’s been kinda (read:hella) stressful for me and it’s probably going to take a while until I’m used to Uni again as well. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to it and I can’t wait to work on a new blogging schedule, so I can post more frequently and regularly. I did manage to read some very nice books and to post some reviews, so reading wise this month was a big plus 🙂

secret#1 It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura
★★★★★

I need more diverse LGBT books in my life and I’m so glad I found this one.  It’s Not Like It’s a Secret reminded me of Dodie’s new album “You”, so if I had to decide on a playlist for this book, it would certainly be this one. I do however think that certain drama towards the end felt more forced and unnecessary. Apart from that I enjoyed it a lot and reading it made me really happy.

 

 

35407312#2 Secrets For The Mad: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons by Dodie Clark
★★★★★, full review to come

I knew I had to get an arc for this book as soon as I found out that Dodie is publishing a book. I got approved on Netgalley and the reading experience has been amazing. I’ve been a fan of her videos and music for quite some time and reading her book just felt like a conversation with her. Pro Tipp: listen to her songs while reading it, it makes it even more special! (aka how many times can I recommend Dodie’s songs in one post).

 

36103768#3 A Messy Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan
★★★★ read my review here

Another ARC I actually managed to finish in time. A Messy Beautiful Life was a (messy) beautiful read. Sara Jade Alan has created an amazing work with great characters that were fully and well fledged. This is also an own voices book in more than point. If you need another reason to buy this book, just look at the cover. It’s so pretty that you can’t just not have it on your shelf.