Monday, June 27, 2016

I'm Taking a Quick Haitus

Since I don't have much planned at the moment, it seems like a good time to take a blogging break! I've never taken an official one (the type where I announce it and stop posting for more than a week) and I thought I should give it a go sometime to see how it affects my blogging mood. Hopefully it'll be refreshing! *crosses fingers* I'm only intending to be on a break for two or three weeks, but really, it depends on my mood. This could last much shorter than I expect.

In the meantime, I'm going to do a lot of reading! I may also work on the blog behind the scenes and schedule future posts and reviews. I'll be posting on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads as I always do.

That's it for this post! This was a pretty quick announcement since there wasn't much to explain.

Happy reading! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The One That Made Me Giggle | All the Feels by Danika Stone (Sunday Street Team + Giveaway)

Sunday Street Team is organized by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28. SST is a cross between a blog tour and street team for a couple different titles each month. As the title suggests, the posts go up on Sundays!

Go here to learn more about SST.

Danika Stone is one of this month's featured authors! I signed up to review her book because it sounded relateable and fun, which it turned out to be. :)

*I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life… So, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a campaign to ignite the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her mother’s disapproval, and her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to figure out what she really wants.

*Released June 7th 2016 from Swoon Reads*

My Thoughts
I started this book side-eyeing the dialogue and finding everything flat and ended it squealing over how great the book was. Yes. Squealing. I'm quite surprised--and happy!--that my reactions turned a 180 by the end. I really enjoyed reading this!

One of my favorite parts was finding a new pair of characters to ship. There wasn't that much romance, but there was a certain connection between Xander and Liv that made me immediately start hoping something would happen with them way later in the book. I say later on because Xander did have a girlfriend. The possibility of a romance felt slim because the characters were just best friends. Though Liv was obviously jealous, there wasn't much acknowledgement that anything would ever happen between the two. Plus, this book took place over several months and there were possibilities for another love interest. 

Liv and Xander were so natural with each other. They had this EASE between them that I always adore seeing between close friends. There was joking, pretend flirting, real flirting, real talk. They completely accepted and supported each other. Both pushed one another to step out of their comfort zones, too. Xander did the most encouraging, but Live managed to do the same to him a few times.

XANDER. This guy. I don't call many characters "book boyfriends," but this is the kind of character that makes me forget about that. I personally loved that he called Live "dearie." He was also so. Good. At. Flirting. I loved that he dressed in steampunk garb all the time (I love steampunk clothing, though I never dress in it). He was also bisexual, which I want to point out because I don't see enough bi characters in YA. He always had Liv's back, even though he wasn't a fan of her favorite show. He was there for her saddest fangirl moments and her happiest. He helped her push herself. I really loved his character! I do wish he was a bit more developed, though. I wanted to learn more about him.

Liv was great as well! She felt a lot of anxiety through many of the events and she is as reluctant to try a few things (like ask a guy out on a date), but she pushed through that and started going out of her comfort zone. She seemed to open up more as time went on. Her confidence grew as well.

Dragon Con was amazing. It made me really, really want to meet the up with online friends at an event (preferably bookish since that's where I would connect to people the most). My closest experience has been leadership conferences and this book made me miss the energy that comes from being in a large group of peoe attending an event. (That's how I feel anyway, even if I do get nervous and quitet. Also, I felt that energy among people I didn't even connect to well. I can't even imagine how awesome it would be in a group of fellow READERS. But anyway. I digress.)

I mentioned that the beginning was rough, right? Oh man, I almost forgot. My earliest impressions weren't pretty. I thought I would end up DNFing! The tone irked me and the dialogue felt flat. Liv didn't seem like a character I would connect with well. As I kept reading, though, those misgivings...faded away? I couldn't stop reading! Liv and Xander's interactions pulled me in and had me hooked. I guess I got swept away in all the feels (haha, I'm not sorry)!

All the Feels was a quick read that may put a huge smile on your face. Hilarious, sweet, and oh so wonderfully nerdy, this is the perfect book to read when you want something happy.
About Danika Stone
Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both adults (The Intaglio Series and Ctrl Z) and teens (All the Feels). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friendship Takes the Spotlight | Run by Kody Keplinger (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

I'm excited to share my stop of the Run tour with you! Kody Keplinger is one of my favorite authors, so I couldn't resist signing up for this tour and helping to spread the word about her new book! Thank you to Hannah for hosting and to Scholastic for sending me the book. :)

About Run

*I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a mama who's not exactly sober most of the time. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn't care what anyone thinks.

Agnes Atwood has never gone on a date, never even stayed out past ten, and never broken any of her parents' overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter -- protect her from what, Agnes isn't quite sure.

Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it's the sort of friendship that runs truer and deeper than anything else.

So when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, with police sirens wailing in the distance, desperate to get out of town, Agnes doesn't hesitate to take off with her. But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo's dad, staying ahead of the authorities, and -- worst of all -- confronting some ugly secrets.

*Releasing January 28th 2016 from Scholastic*

My Thoughts
Run tells the story of the love and acceptance that makes up strong friendships! While I didn't LOVE this book like Kody Keplinger's other YA releases, I really liked its themes and focuses as well as the character development of both heroines. I haven't read a lot of books that focus so much on friendship without romance being a spotlight (there was some romance in this book, but it was on the sideline).

There wasn't much to the story in terms of plot. It alternated between Bo's POV as the heroines were running away and Agnes' POV as the two girls became close friends. How they become friends and the hurdles they overcome pretty much IS the plot. I really liked how the story was set up. The chapters were pretty short, which made the pace feel quicker.

The characters are the star of this book. Bo was a bisexual girl with a bad reputation simply because of her family name. She seemed to have a hard time getting close to others. Agnes was a legally blind girl who was sheltered by her family and was thought to be sweet by most people. There's a small focus on religion and church for her. She was also much, MUCH more willing to get close to friends than Bo was. I didn't connect very well to either of the characters, but I really liked the character growth they went through. Early on in the book, I thought of Agnes as meek, but I quickly changed my mind about that as she started standing up for herself more and going after what she wanted. Bo's growth was a bit less apparent to me, but I feel that getting close to Agnes was a way of growing for her. I really liked the acceptance between the two. They had honest, open conversations about that as well! Those conversations were key in making their bond feel strong.

The themes were pretty good. Running away was obviously a big one. Not only did the character run away, but most of the running was more of the emotional kind. Distancing yourself from people in order to guard yourself is a type of running that I saw. Earlier on in the story, I saw themes of related to stereotyping and assumptions. The Dickinsons had a bad reputation, so people made a LOT of assumptions about Bo and her sex life. And then friendship and the lengths people go to in the name of it was another one. Agnes especially did so much in order to keep her friendship with Bo alive!

There's really not much more I have to say about this book. It may have been because I wasn't in a great reading mood when I read it, but I didn't feel immersed in the story. I didn't get sucked in and I didn't form a strong connection to the characters (despite finding them well written).

Overall, Run is a decent contemporary about two girls and the way they made each other better through their strong friendship. If you're looking for a quick read with a much larger focus on friendship than romance, you may want to look into reading this!

Rating: 3 stars

About Kody Keplinger
Kody Keplinger was born and raised in small town western Kentucky, where she began her writing career after penning the New York Times and USA Today bestseller, The DUFF, at age seventeen.The DUFF, now a major motion picture, was chosen as an YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers and a Romantic Times Top Pick. Kody has since written other books for both young adult and middle grade readers. When she isn't writing, Kody is posting about fashion and body positivity on her Instagram, chatting about her favorite TV shows on Twitter, or making videos for her YouTube account. Kody is also the co-founder of Disability in KidLit and a teacher at the Gotham Writers Workshops in NYC.
Kody is active on social media, so feel free to reach out to her on TwitterFacebookInstagram or YouTube.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mingling With Books (Test Run #2)

As I stated in the first test run, I'm trying out a new feature! When I was thinking of a way to approach this sort of post (the kind that showcases a mix of upcoming/new releases and older ones I've discovered or am excited for), I wondered if I should take the silly route or the regular one. I took the silly route the first time and talked about the books like I had met them at a party. 

This time, I'm just grouping books I've been thinking about lately (but haven't read yet) under different categories and simply saying why I'm interested.

June Releases I'm Excited For
The King Slayer and The Long Game are two of my most anticipated sequels of the year! I haven't heard much about the former yet, but I've some really, really exciting things about the latter. I've seen people go into all caps freak out mode on Twitter after reading The Long Game, so obviously I need to figure out what the heck goes on in that book!

The Way to Game the Walk of Shame is also one of the June releases I'm really excited about. I have a thing for books with fake romance in it and this just looks like something that will suck me in quickly.

I'm On Hold...
I have six ebooks on hold through my library on Overdrive, but there are three that I'm kinda sorta close to getting. I keep checking my hold position. :D There are three people in front of me for Bully, which comes highly recommended from Holly @ The Fox's Hideaway. It's one of the many, many books she's recommended to me. I read Corrupt because of her and ended up loving it, so I may like another Penelope Douglas book!

Then there are two people ahead of me for Losing It and First Touch. I absolutely LOVE Cora Carmack's Rusk University, but have been oddly reluctant to read her Losing It books...I read the Amazon sneak peek for the first, though. I think I'll like the rest. I know very, very little about First Touch. I'm not even sure why I decided to put it on hold...hmm. 

Because of BookTube
One of my favorite booktubers is Michelle from MichEllisLife! I love watching her videos and interacting with her and getting to know her. (If you watch booktube, I highly suggest checking out her channel!!) Books are climbing up my TBR pretty quickly because of her. More Happy Than Not is now one of my next reads. I've been meaning to read it for awhile, but her review was the push to get it to the top of my TBR. I've been thinking of If I Was Your Girl a lot lately. It's been on my radar for awhile, but seeing it in some of Michelle's most recent videos (including her review) has made me even more interested in getting it soon. And then there's Orhan Pamuk's A Strangeness in My Mind, which is very different from what I'm usually drawn to. I've been thinking of it ever since hearing her talk about it! (I have access to it, too. I just need space in my reading plans...) I just feel like experiencing the book.

Discoveries + Books I Need in My Life
I DO have Forgive Me If I've Never Told You This Before. There was a 25% price drop in the ebook (to $3.99) on Amazon and I took that as the opportunity to get it. This is an LGBT book set in 1989 Oregon, which is when the state was trying to pass antigay legislation. It's loosely based on the author's own experiences growing up. I don't know how to explain why I'm so interested in this one, but I'm super excited to have it now!

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel has also been on my radar, mainly because I discovered that my library has it. (It doesn't get a lot of newer YA, so I was surprised.) I'm realizing that I don't know anything about this besides the fact that it's has an f/f romance... I believe I've been told it's good, though I'm not 100 percent sure. The title and cover are making me want to read it!

One of the most memorable discoveries I've made recently is In Present Tense. First of all, THAT COVER. It's so colorful and lovely! Also, the premise sounds amazing. This guy goes to sleep dreaming about a future with his boyfriend, then wakes up in the future to find out that he has a wife (who he knew in high school). Then he tries to find a cure to this condition that allows him to time travel. It sounds like an awesome book!

And lastly, I discovered a fall release (for the US): My Sister Rosa. The first sentence of the description says, "What if the most terrifying person you'd ever met was your ten-year old sister?" That's all I needed to know to want to read this! I absolutely LOVE a good psychological thriller because they're exciting, thought-provoking, and memorable, and My Sister Rosa looks like a great one.

Have you read any of these books? What books have been on your mind lately?

Also, if you've seen both versions of Mingling With Books, which one did you like better? I'm not sure which style to continue with. 

Thank you for checking out the post! Happy reading. :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Thank You

I know I don't do this enough, but I need to say it: thank you.

It's been a tough year of blogging for me. My mood and all the time I spend worrying about things have played a huge role and a lot of changes have been made in order to keep blogging comfortable for me. Post types that I did more last year (like author features and book hauls) have either disappeared or slowed. Many of the posts have had a more reflective element than usual. I failed with responding to comments in a timely for the most part and haven't been super active in the community. I've taken a LOT of Twitter breaks. Post frequency has decreased by quite a bit and there are weeks when I simply don't post at all. Formatting and post titles have had their fair share of changes.

The place this blog was at this time last year and this year feels pretty different to me. I don't know how noticeable it has been to anyone who's been following since then, but from my perspective, there's been a lot of alterations and associated changing pains to go along with it. And there will be even bigger changes in this next year! (Hint: I'm not sure when it'll be implemented, but I have a new blog name set in stone! I'll keep it a secret, but...*whispers* the initials are AMR. But didn't hear that from me.)

Ultimately, the changes have felt really good for me and this blog, even if I've struggled a lot with adjusting to them. I was never completely alone during those struggles, though, which brings me to the entire point of this post:

Thank you to anyone who has paid attention to this blog. Thank you to older followers who have stuck around after changes have been made and to newer readers for giving this blog a shot. Thank you for all the comments, conversations, and support.

Thank you for being here!!

It's been a rocky year for this blog, but I still say it's a good one because of you guys. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

It's Time For a Poll | Make Me Read It Readathon

This is a super fun readathon hosted by Val @ The Innocent Smiley and Ely @ Tea and Titles! It was one of my favorites from last year and I'm really happy that these ladies are bringing it back for another year. (Thank you for hosting!!)

This readathon will take place from July 9th to July 16th. The idea is to read what others vote for you to read! Here's some info about it:
Look at the books you own, either physical, e-book or ones you've borrowed from the library and pick out a few you really want to read, or feel like you should read. It’s up to you how many you pick, personally I'd pick a few more than you expect to be able to read in a week. Example: if you think you’ll only read two, pick out five books or if you think you can read seven, pick out ten.

Make a list of these books on your blog, or make a video, or a Goodreads shelf or post a picture on Instagram—whatever is easiest for you. Then get friends, other bloggers/booktubers etc. to vote on which books you HAVE to read.

When the readathon comes along, you read the books in the order of most votes. For example, if one book gets 10 votes—you read that first, then the one that got 7 and so on. If there's a tie, then it's your preference. The goal is to read as many as possible.
Check out one of the official announcement posts to sign up!

Now, for my options! I was able to read four books during last year's readathon, which seems like a good amount to aim for this year. I'm including a lot of options because...well, I couldn't resist. I have a lot I want to read. :D
You can vote for 1-4 books! I have my poll set to close by July 6th. Thank you in advance for voting! If you're participating, feel free to share a link to your own options! Voting on others' polls is one of my favorite parts of this readathon. :)

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Messy Situation | Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn (Blog Tour)

Hello and welcome to my stop on the Unbreak My Heart blog tour! Thank you to the Corvisiero Literary Agency for organizing it and allowing me to participate! I have a review to share for my stop. :)

*I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
If you're Kate Evans, you keep your friend Rachel, bond with her kids, and bury your feelings for her husband. The fact that Shane's in the military and away for long periods helps-but when tragedy strikes, everything changes.

After Rachel, pregnant with her fourth child, dies in a car accident and the baby miraculously survives, Kate upends her entire life to share parenting duties. Then on the first anniversary of Rachel's death, Kate and Shane take comfort in each other in a night that they both soon regret.

Shane's been angry for a year, and now he feels guilty too - for sleeping with his wife's best friend and liking it . . . liking her. Kate's ability to read him like a book may have once sent Shane running, but their lives are forever entwined and they are growing closer.

Now with Shane deployed for seven months, Kate is on her own and struggling with being a single parent. Shane is loving and supportive from thousands of miles away, but his homecoming brings a betrayal Kate never saw coming. So Kate's only choice is to fight for the future she deserves - with or without Shane...

*Released June 6th 2016 from Forever*
My Thoughts
Unbreak My Heart was an interesting book to experience! I ended up really disliking one of the main characters, but that didn't make me dislike the book itself. I actually had a really good time reading it and thinking about what worked and what didn't for me. 

It was so hard to put up with Shane. He was an asshat. (He's the first character I've ever described with that word, so...) He was inconsiderate and rude and so. Darn. Selfish. He does become a better person by the end of the book, but I never warmed up to him quite enough to say that I liked him. I did respect his character growth, though. There were some eye-opening breakthroughs in there. Shane was meant to undergo changes in his attitude and that author seemed to accomplish that. The differences I noticed in his POV and in the way other characters viewed him towards the end made that character growth stand out to me.

Kate, on the other hand, was wonderful! She had to go through SO MUCH and I always felt defensive of her in the moments when Shane didn't seem to *get it*. His life wasn't the only one that had changed. I liked seeing Kate becoming less and less willing to bend for other people. She still gave second (or third) chances, but she made Shane work for it. She called him out on his actions often, which made me sooo happy to see. A big part of her story was showing that she wasn't a doormat. She had a big heart and was willing to work things through in a messy situation. That didn't mean she wouldn't confront people.

There was a huge focus on family. Foster care, large families, and non traditional households all had an emphasis. Kate and Shane's families showed up quite often, mainly to help them out with the kids. There was a lot of names to keep track of! The kids were obviously a major part of the book. Most of the scenes probably featured at least one in some way, even if it was just when Shane or Kate were talking or thinking about them. I absolutely ADORED those kids. The large spotlight on family and parenting was probably my favorite part. It made up for where the romance lacked. The parenting focus was also refreshing because I rarely read books with parents as main characters. I found the struggles and joys these characters went through as parents to be really interesting.

The romance lacked for me mainly because I didn't like Shane. How much can you really like a romance if you don't like half of the couple? Not much! I doubted their relationship. There were moments when it felt like they couldn't possibly work things out and officially be together. There were some nice and surprising scenes that made me see them as a better couple, though. The more intimate scenes (not necessarily the steamy ones, but the occasional private moments between Shane and Kate) were oddly refreshing. Something about them rung...honest? I'm not sure why! I liked seeing their relationship change and see those nice moments happen more often. So, while I didn't love the romance, I found it to be very interesting.

Unbreak My Heart was a pretty good read! The romance may work really well for some readers and not work at all for others. It depends on how you react to the characters. If you're looking for a book with a huge focus on family and parenting and follows characters in a very messy situation, I recommend that you give this one a go. It's an interesting ride to go on!
About Nicole Jacquelyn

Nicole Jacquelyn is the mom of two little girls and a full time college student. She hasn’t watched television in well over a year, she still does things that drive her mother crazy, and she loves to read. At eight years old, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she told people she wanted to be a mom. 

When she was twelve her answer changed- to author. By the time she was eighteen, when people asked her what she wanted to do with her life, she told them she really wanted to be a writer- but the odds of that happening were so slim that she’d get her business degree “just to be safe”. Her dreams stayed constant. First she became a mom, then she went to college, and during her senior year- with one daughter in first grade and the other in preschool, she sat down and wrote a story.

Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter

Sunday, June 5, 2016

How My Week Went ~ Make That Two Weeks

I didn't end up posting a weekly recap last Sunday, so this one includes two weeks work of reading and updates! I'm also including a little bit on my May recap and June goals.
Reading Update
I'm including the non-illustrated novels and a short story collection I finished! 

All the Feels by Danika Stone (4 stars) - I ADORED this! I felt giddy after reading it. It started out roughly, but I was completely into it in the second half.

Shade Me by Jennifer Brown (4 stars) - This was an exciting read! I was in a big mystery mood because of Criminal Minds and this book satisfied that. 

The Razia Short Story Collection by S. Usher Evans (4 stars) - This is the perfect addition to the Razia series experience! I especially loved the two epilogue stories that took place after the series. I was so happy to get to see how the characters were doing!

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare (4-4.5 stars) - I had so. Much. Fun. With this book. I loved the humor, romance, characters, themes, and story. I found it easy to adore.

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes (4-4.5 stars) - This was my third Paula Stokes book and it feels like her strongest one yet! I was touched by this one. I read it on a day that started out badly and it felt like exactly what I needed to end that day with.
Music + TV
I've been slightly obsessed with a few songs: "I'm in Love With a Monster" by Fifth Harmony and "Got To Get You Into My Life" by The Beatles. The latter is from the credits of Minions, which I finally watched! I wasn't as familiar with it as much as the other Beatles songs I've heard, so obviously I had to put it on repeat to make up for lonst time. :D There was a night when I listened to a bunch of Alicia Keys songs over and over. I love a lot of her lyrics!

I watched a ton of Criminal Minds then took a break to start Bagel Motel. It's really interesting! It's a prequel of sorts to Psycho, and if you've seen the movie or read the book, you know that the tv show is creepy. I love the acting. Freddy Highmore has done well in the role of a young Norman Bates. It's kinda scary.
General Life and Blogging Stuff
These past two weeks haven't been great, to say the least. A lot of worries, especially social related ones, slammed into me and rmthings got a bit overwhelming. This weekend is going better, though, so I think my next recap will be a more positive one. *crosses fingers*

Needless to say, my blogger fire that I mentioned two weeks ago faded pretty quickly and I didn't get nearly as much blogging done as I wanted. I also slacked off on responding to comments and I'm sorry for that. I'm working on catching up this weekend.

I did do some pretty serious TBR planning this week! I'm still determined to get near the bottom of my review pile by the fall. I have a title, a bunch of number goals, and some incentives written on a sheet of paper and it feels really motivating. :D  Plus, I'm doing this with Crystal @ Bookiemoji! I already feel like having another person working on similar goals is keeping me focused.

May Recap and June Goals
May was a huge reading month and I'm not even going to try to figure out a number. I read manga, graphic novels, Tor short stories, short story collections, novels, and even a nonfiction book. I read YA, NA, and adult. My ratings included a lot of 3 or 4 stars, with a 2 star and a couple 5 stars mixed in. There were some DNFs too! I really like how many different different experiences I had with books last month. :)

My May theme was Sort Things Out and...I don't know if I did that or not! I'm not going to pick one for June. My June goals are to stick to my ARC reading plans,do well with blogging, and keep up with booktube and blogs!

That's it for this update!

How was the last couple months of May for you?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Prepare For a Brutal Read | The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

This is one of those books that I took one glance at and knew it was something I would probably like reading. I knew the subject matter and genre, but didn't pay much attention to the synopsis. Alexia @ Pretty Deadly Reviews LOVED this one, and I always take that as a great sign when I'm looking into a hard-hitting contemporary! I'm happy to say this book is one of the best I've read this year. :)

*I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.

*Released March 22nd 2016 from Margaret K. McElderry Books*
My Thoughts
The Way I Used to Be is brutal from page one. It starts right at the moment she is raped, so brace yourself for a gut-wrenching opening. The rest of the book is chaotic as Eden tries to cope and distance herself from who she used to be. It starts in her freshman year and you get to see how she changes throughout most of high school. Emptiness, love, sex, friendship, alcohol, family issues, emotions, lies: there's a lot in her story.

This is a very loud book with very few calm and happy moments. And I'm not counting those moments where Eden is calm due to feeling empty inside because those didn't make me feel at ease. I hated it when she felt empty! It made me sad.

All of Eden's relationships are strained. Everyone in her life is affected by her coping mechanisms, especially since they don't have any idea as to why she acts the way she does. Her relationship with her brother was the most interesting for me because it was such a big part of her life and I kept hoping for them to get along. Their fights are the biggest and most emotionally charged out of all the ones that occur in the book. 

Eden gets on everyone's nerves, which is a big reason for her strained relationships. She is a bitch to everyone. (And she knows it, so there's no use being polite about it.) Through fighting with her family to saying mean things about people to using guys for sex to pushing people away, she is by no means an easy character to...get. But that's her story. She has an incredibly difficult time coping and it hurt soooo much to read about her. Her emotions and her outbursts and her thought processes scraped away at me and left my emotions painfully raw. This book destroyed me. It's heartbreaking.

Oh, you should know that there are some hopeful and happy moments. Eden also shows her nicer side--more like her old self--sometimes. I know I'm emphasizing her pain and the chaos of her emotions (and MINE in reaction), but I wanted to mention the happy parts. They don't happen a lot, but again, it's not a happy story.

Overall, The Way I Used to Be is a bold, loud novel about a young girl who tries to cope with her rape without telling anyone what happened to her. She is filled with hate and sadness yet has an emptiness to her throughout most of her story. This book also covers changes in friendships, lies in romantic relationships, sex as a coping mechanism, and crumbling family ties. I absolutely loved this one!