How to Be a Movie Star by T.J. Klune ☆

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5starsplus

“I— I wish I could see things like you do.”
“But then you wouldn’t see things like you do,” Josy said. “And then there would be two of me and none of you, and that wouldn’t be so good.”
“It wouldn’t?”
“Nope. Because I like you just the way you are.”

Title: How to Be a Movie Star
Author: T.J. Klune
Series: How to Be #2
Number of pages: 350 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Perfection, nothing to add
Bad things about this book: I said PERFECTION.
Do I recommend it? Of course, I love Klune’s books.
Rate: 5/5+++

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

“Sometimes you need to hide away from the rest of the world. And it’s okay to do that, just as long as you don’t forget the world is waiting for you when you’re done.”

All the stars, all of them!

ALL HAIL TJ KLUNE!!

I laughed so much, cried, smiled like crazy! This book was everything I expected and more, so much more!!! I’ll have to listen to the audiobook just like I did with How To Be A Normal Person. I need more of all these characters, I already miss them. The four text messages at the end?? How perfect were they???? My heart is exploding with joy!

There isn’t much to say about this book. It’s about a bearded demisexual stoner hipster who wants to be a movie star, and while he is working on his dream he falls in friendship with a monster porn author that’s more anxiety than man. I read one chapter and I already loved EVERYTHING about this book.

If everyone just talked about what they were feeling instead of hiding it, things would be so much easier. Miscommunication is such a waste of time.

It was so honest, so true. Josy is the sweetest characters I’ve seen in books in a very long time, if not ever. He may not be “normal” in the weird way people qualifies who is normal and who isn’t, but there isn’t anything wrong with him. He is sincere, he says what he thinks when he thinks it, he tries his best and doesn’t give up. He made a family for himself when the one he was born into decided he was too much to handle.

All the characters were essential to this story, to make it as relatable as it was, as hilarious, important and amazing! Quincy and his mental health, Gustavo and his adventures with the internet (OMG the phone call to the customer service was gold!), Casey and his unconditional love, even Casanova Xander. All of these characters, all of them, gave me so much joy. I was smiling so much. I laughed so much that my mom kept saying “wow, it’s really funny that book I see”. Yes, mother, it is.

“We should go to the church treasure hunt,” Josy blurted. “It’s nondenominational. Yay Jesus!” Quincy stared at him. Casey turned slowly to look at Gustavo, eyes narrowing. Gustavo nodded sagely. “Sounds about right.”

I recommend it to the masses! Pick this book!! Pick all of TJ Klune’s books. This is coming from someone who still needs to read the Green Creek series. But I will, SOON!! Read it!!

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Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne

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4stars

“Looking after yourself is the greatest act of kindness you can give the world. Loving yourself first is the best way to spread love.”

Title: Vigilance
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Number of pages: 208 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Raw and violent and so very likely to happen.
Bad things about this book: I would’ve loved another short chapter to explain a bit the ending, because it left me like whaaat.
Do I recommend it? I do!
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

“Sometimes you need to put you first and get fit and strong so you can go out and save the world when you’re in the best shape to.”

Another win for Holly Bourne. I kept nodding, she kept raising relatable issues, and I understood. I almost never put my oxygen mask first, then help others. I usually jump into helping others even if it drowns me, even if it brakes me, because I need the people I love happy, and if I can give them my happiness or give them something that’ll make them happy, then I’ll do it, no matter what.

I was afraid there was going to be some forced romance that we didn’t need. The story that needed to be told was not about a girl finding love in the weirdest of places, but about a girl getting the help she needed to get better, to live the life she deserves. And we got that. I felt all the feelings Olive was feeling. I felt the rush when she was hyperactive, I felt the darkness when all seemed lost.

I was angry at her for not wanting to get treated, for thinking she knew best, that she could “cure” herself her own way. If it was that easy, we would all be the happiest all the time. So many factors come to play that can determine wether we develop mental illness, but sometimes it’s just how we are born. There is no logic, no reason behind it, we just are wired differently. Some can cope, some need help. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

The brain is a powerful thing. We need to keep it in shape. For us. If our brain is in shape, we can shape our lives better and we can share our happiness with the people around us, the people that we love.

I always recommend Holly Bourne’s books, and this is no exception. Read it.

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The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

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5stars

“But your best is not good enough sometimes.”
“Sometimes… you have to stop trying and just let someone else try their best. In order to survive.”

Title: The Wicker King
Author: K. Ancrum
Number of pages: 305 (hardcover edition) + 40 pages (novella in ebook)
Good things about this book: Heart-wrecking, emotional, complex, raw.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, I had also a novella and the ending was perfect.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Yesterday after lunch I wrote a couple of reviews and then went to bed with the intention of reading a few chapters of The Wicker King. I couldn’t put it down: didn’t eat, didn’t go to the bathroom, didn’t blink. Long story short: the book was over before dinner time.

It wrecked me, this descent into madness of these two boys: one seeing the other losing grip of reality, and being overwhelmed by the weight of it all, the other seeing a different world he needs to defend and can’t do it alone. Jack living in both the real world and the fantasy world was portrayed in a way that kept me glued to the pages. I needed to know more, I needed to know he was going to be okay That they were going to be okay in the end. It was a freaking rollercoaster. I exhaled a long sigh of relief after I finished it.

August’s heart seized.
He didn’t … know he could have this.

I knew it was a queer book from all the Instagram posts, but it wasn’t immediately obvious, and I found myself both curious as to how they were going to face their not so subtle feelings, and bothered by the miscommunication that brought our August to not know he could wish for more, risk asking for more, so he fooled around a lot. It broke my heart, because the feelings were there, as twisted and complex, but they were there!

“If you drop the weight you are carrying, it is okay. You can build yourself back up out of the pieces.”

It wasn’t the easiest of books to read, their friendship was unhealthy, super codependent and the negligence of the adults was absurd and irritating, but it was surely a book that I’ll keep with me forever.

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The novella that was a sort of companion of the book, gave us Jack’s pov and a sneak peek into the fantasy world his mind was creating; I loved the way both the book and the novella ended. I’m so happy now. Five glorious stars for Jack and August, The Wicker King and his Champion.

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The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson

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4stars

If and when our world ends, it won’t be from a meteor or a viral outbreak or some other cosmic event; it will be us. We will be our own undoing.

Title: The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Good things about this book: It’s the right amount of weird.
Bad things about this book: The last page leaves you wanting more.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I was so into the story that I didn’t even realize the book was over when I reached that last part. Why did it end that way?? I want more and more and more!!

It was different, and it made you think. I was so happy about the cameos of Hutchinson’s other books’ characters. I almost cried when Henry appeared! I miss Henry every time I find myself thinking about We Are the Ants; it’s one of my favorite books.

This book can be officially declared peculiar. Elena was born from parthenogenesis; that can be explained scientifically, but her let’s say weird situation doesn’t stop to a virgin birth, because Elena hear voices from the siren of Starbucks to a My Little Pony, telling her she has the power to heal people, and she should do it, or else the world is going to end. That’s a little too much responsibility for a young girl struggling with a massive crush and trying to avoid bullies.

The first person Elena healed, that one first miracle that put in motion the apocalypse, was a girl named Freddie and Elena has a huge crush on her. Freddie is certainly not the person Elena thought she was and getting to know her is going to put her patience to test. It put MY patient to test, but then I got to know her and the reasons behind her hard façade and I ended up liking her.

With the end of world, people disappearing all over the world, her love life being a total mess, and the voices being very insisting, Elena doesn’t really know what to do. She is set on finding out why Freddie was shot like that would make her understand why the world is ending. Why does finding the reason is that important? Elena is trying to avoid the real problem!! Elena is like a lot of us.

We make choices. We make bad choices. But we still deserve the right to choose.

I really liked this book. Like all of this author’s books, there are serious issues being portrayed and analyzed. I found that this had the right amount of serious and peculiar, just the amount that I usually love. Elena is a nice main character, she isn’t without flaw, often irritating, but you just cheer for her to be able to save the world, get the girl, be happy with her bff and family. Easy, right?

Not the lightest of reads, but neither one of the hardest. I enjoyed it and I recommend it. This author needs to have more love from readers all around the world.

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A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra

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5stars

“You are a normal person. We all are. We all have brains that work differently, that’s all. You guys have been handed challenges. But you are worthy of happiness and health and help.”

Title: A Tiny Piece of Something Greater
Author: Jude Sierra
Number of pages: 258 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It’s a very sweet book with a good portrayal of mental illness.
Bad things about this book: It’s hard to read. Read the trigger warnings first.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course. It’s a story to be read by everyone.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Pretty intense. Read with an aching but hopeful heart. I cared for these characters and, even if I won’t know what choices they decide to make, I will know in my heart that they’ll be okay and living day after day. Together.

Books about mental illnesses are always very hard for me to read. Books like this are somewhat triggering but I can’t help but read them; I feel the need to know other point of views, to learn more, to be able to help myself and others with new information. It won’t ever be easy for me reading about someone struggling to keep themselves afloat. It won’t ever be easy for me reading about someone using unhealthy behavior.

He tries to give his body over to the sounds of a great big earth around him, understanding that he is very small, a tiny piece of something greater, a small glimmer of either light or darkness, depending on his choices and will.

Reid suffers from an illness called cyclothymia that I have never heard of before. It was hard to read how he struggled in the past, is struggling with recovery in the present, and will struggle with it for the rest of his life. Reid is a magnificent boy who has a brain that works in a very peculiar way and it makes his life very difficult. He really tries his best. Reid touched my heart with his personality and the way he wants to be seen by the world, and by the amazing and handsome boy he starts crushing on, Joaquim.

Joaquim finds himself in it too deep and too soon with Reid. Reid is not an easy person to be with, but it won’t be a mental illness the cause for him to walk away from someone he can see himself building something concrete with. Why would he run away when things get difficult? He asks a lot of questions and is destined to make mistakes, but he is a very patient boy and his feelings are deep and real. He can’t run from them.

Reid doesn’t pray, but sometimes he likes to think that the energy he and the others put out into the world might make a small difference.

The portrayal of mental illness is done in detail, wonderfully, and painfully. Nothing graphic, nothing just to give us some drama. Things aren’t okay, and they’re explained in a way that you understand both how Reid is feeling and how Joaquim is elaborating the info he’s getting. It’s a painful process, but it’s liberating. Joaquim is seeing Reid for who he is; he is not his mental illness, he is a boy fighting to get better, who wants an adventurous life and to love and be loved. Reid and Joaquim were sweet and cheesy and adorable. All the kisses, the hugs, the little touches, they were all elements that made their love story, one to desire. I will never be loved like that and it makes me sad.

When I finished the book last night, I closed it and realized I wasn’t in the mood for anything else; I was left empty yet full, no space for anything more. I went to bed and waited to fall asleep recalling one of my many happy made-up scenarios, because I knew that if I started thinking about the book, I’ll stayed awake analyzing every single aspect of my life. I hope I’m not the only one that uses made-up fantasies to fall asleep in order to avoid falling into the endless stream of anxious thoughts about life.

I keep sighing thinking about Reid and Joaquim. Those boys stole my heart. I’m so glad I somehow found this little book and impulsively bought it. I knew my impulsiveness had more pros than cons!

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Anatomy of a Murderer by Tim Floreen

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4stars

“We humans like to think of ourselves as more rational than we are. We imagine we navigate through life using pure logic, but far more than we realize, we do things for illogical reasons and then bend our perception of reality to make our actions seem logical, at least to ourselves. It’s a trick of the brain, something we all do.”

Title: Anatomy of a Murderer
Author: Tim Floreen
Number of pages: 370 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It has pretty dark themes but I liked how they were portrayed.
Bad things about this book: Read the trigger warnings before starting it.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Oh, how I wish I could just spoil the entire book and write every little thing that’s in my mind right now. I have a lot of thoughts, really a lot! When I picked it up, intrigued by the darkness it promised, I truly didn’t expect to read what I read. I found myself following Rem’s mind, influenced by his feelings and thoughts. Our brain is really powerful; it tricked me into believing things that should have been obvious from the start. Maybe I didn’t want to believe, maybe I just wanted to imagine how the story would turn out if things went my way.

This is not an easy book; it has many triggering moments and it surely isn’t for everyone. I got palpitations during a few scenes, nothing that made me close the book but, in those moments, I imagined how these scenes would look like to someone who has experienced school shootings and bullying. I can’t begin to imagine how traumatic it could be and how frightening it is to live in a country where everyone can brandish a gun and kill whoever they want.

In the past, I have always thought of American high schools as some sort of great experience I wish I could have done: proms, sports, science labs, the canteen, the friendships. I don’t remember at what point my eyes opened to the awful reality that that high school dream hides. The bullying, the way if you do sports you are deemed a king and you can do what you want with no consequences, the shootings, the suicides, the popular kids feeling like royalty. I started to fear it, to start seeing high school in the US as a place you went but you never knew if you’d come out unscathed or alive.

This book made me think of myself back when the idea I had of high school broke into a million pieces. I felt for Franklin, being an odd kid, targeted by bullies for how he looked, what he liked, and how he was in general. I tried to understand Rem and the way he thought he was protecting himself by not being the nice guy everyone thought he was. I really tried to see the reason Rem’s mother had for starting her brain experimentations in Franklin in the first place. I tried to give everything logic, my logic, and failed.

Everything that happened couldn’t have been avoided by Franklin not being a sociopath, by Rem being always nice, by Tor and Pete not being bullies, by Callie making less jokes, by Lydia stopping herself from saying a bad thing. If it wasn’t Franklin shooting Pete, that day a year in the past from when this book takes place, it could have been another kid, another day, with a gun they could have gotten easily. And that’s the problem. Not only we should try to treat people they way they deserve, the way we want to be treated, we should also understand that without the means to violence, with guns purchased online with few to zero background checks, maybe things wouldn’t go as awry as the do today. Violence wouldn’t end but maybe it would be easier to control, and people with ill intent would be easier to stop if instead of a gun or a rifle, they were armed with a knife.

I’m rambling because I’m scared. This isn’t fiction, this isn’t fantasy, this is real. These things happen all the time. They are happening so often that, even though I’m all the way here in Italy, I’m scared every morning when kids the other side of the ocean go to school, hoping they all make their way back home safe and sound.

This book was hard to read but I’m glad I did. I think it will make a very nice tv show or movie. It has all the elements needed to be great. I started reading this book expecting something entirely different from what I got, and, as rarely as it happens to me, I liked how things ended here more than how I wanted them to end in my head.

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Inside Darkness by Hudson Lin

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4stars

Title: Inside Darkness
Author: Hudson Lin
Number of pages: 269 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: A lot of emotions in just a few pages. Intense.
Bad things about this book: Too many emotions to handle, at least for me.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Arc from NetGalley

I know I’m late! I’ve had this arc for quite some time but I read the summary very fast and only after been approved I realized it was about mental health. I wasn’t in the mood because my mental health is conditioned by what I watch/read so I wanted only bubbly, fluffy, easy books about good feelings, sunshine and rainbows. So days went by and I didn’t start it.

The day it was published I ordered me to read it, and I did, and I liked it. It was hard and it triggered me a little, but all in all it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I actually enjoyed it, even if I read it as fast as I could just to get it over with.

I struggled a lot because the feelings in it were so strong, so deep, and they were like a giant boulder crushing my chest. It was a wild ride, very important and insightful. I learned things I don’t think I’ve ever questioned about. The world is a harsh place and, as much as we like to face it head up, it comes and leaves scars so deep it’s hard to cope.

I’m a bit shaken because this is not entirely a happy story, but it has happy moments and so much hope. When the world seems to be dragging you into the deepest abyss, there can be a ray of sunshine that’ll help us keep the darkness at bay. Whatever it may be, there’s hope about finding it and that’s worth being in this world a little longer. Just to see the light at the end of the darkest of tunnels.

The characters were well written and relatable, old enough to have day by day issues similar to mine. Once in a while it’s refreshing reading about adults not having a precise clue about what to do with their lives and being as human and fragile as I feel most of the time.

Long story short, this book was hopeful and core-shaking, it gave me anxiety, palpitations and a mild panic attack. But in the end, the little smile on my face was reward enough to deem this book worth the time it took me to read it.

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