Wait, is this another review?! *gasps* | Book Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer​

Wait, is this another review?! *gasps* | Book Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer​
Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Publication date: June 27th, 2019 
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Pages: 374
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

TW: discussions of suicide, discussions of abortion, teen pregnancy, parental abuse

– My Thoughts –

After reading A Curse so Dark and Lonely, I was eager to read more of Brigid Kemmerer’s books and many blogger friends recommended Call It What You Want. I was supposed to pick up this book in 2019 but I kept putting it off; however, this wholesome YA contemporary was exactly what I needed after reading a horror story.

“I’m not lost. I want to do the right thing.”

“Most of us do,” she says ruefully. “The problem is that it doesn’t always look the same for all of us”

Rob Lachlan was once THE popular guy in school but now, he’s a nobody. His father stole half the towns investment money and people think that Rob was in on it too. If that’s not enough, his father committed suicide and Rob saw it all.

Maegan was a good girl but she cheated on the SATs and nothing been the same since. Her classmates blame her for getting caught and forcing everyone to rewrite the tests all over again. Maegan’s dad is also a cop and definitely won’t like it when his daughter is friendly with the son of a criminal.

Maegan and Rob are paired up as partners by a teacher, one of my favourite YA trope! At first, none of them wants​ to each other’s partners but later, they realise that their project meet-ups provided a welcome escape from their complicated families. This unlikely relationship between them was so beautiful to read; both insecure and presume the wrong things about each other at first. There were so many other lovable characters in the book: Owen, Owen’s mom, Sam, Mr. London.

The main theme here is how anyone can be misjudged and that we truly don’t know what is going on in their lives. Either we ignore them or treat them like garbage. Also a slight paragraph about racism was included through a character called Drew, when he says that at least people aren’t Rob like a criminal. Even though Drew’s delivery came off rude he was right, Rob got off easy because of the colour of his skin. If a black kid like Drew’s dad would have committed such a crime, the punishment would be far worse. Another representation comes from Owen who’s gay and it was so amazing to see his mother asking him to keep his door open when Rob was alone with him; a contrast to Mr London’s parents who wanted to get “rid of the gay” in him.

“Other people don’t have the challenges that we have, Owen. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own.”

Overall, I would highly recommend this. If you loved A Curse so Dark and Lonely and want to read more of the author’s books, then you won’t regret picking this contemporary up. I loved the Robin Hood easter egg in the story and way male friendships were portrayed. I was a bit miffed about the lack of female friendship in this book and I would love it if Brigid wrote a more present female friendship in her next book.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review!


– About the Author –

Brigid Kemmerer is the New York Times bestselling author of dark and alluring Young Adult novels like A Curse So Dark and Lonely, More Than We Can Tell, and Letters to the Lost (Bloomsbury), as well as paranormal YA stories like The Elemental Series and Thicker Than Water (Kensington). A full-time writer, Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her husband, her boys, her dog, and her cat. When she’s not writing or being a mommy, you can usually find her with her hands wrapped around a barbell. 

Thank you for reading! Have you read Call It What You Want or any of the author’s other books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Are you willing to loan your womb for a few months? | Review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Blog Tour | Shadow & Flame(Rime Chronicles #2) by Mindee Arnett

Blog Tour | Shadow & Flame(Rime Chronicles #2) by Mindee Arnett

About the Book: Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing   Publication Date: 7th May, 2019   Paperback: 326 Pages    Genre: Science fiction, Dystopia 
Goodreads   Buy:Book Depository | Wordery 

SYNOPSIS

Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages–and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money–more than you’ve ever dreamed of–to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your überwealthy clients.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery–or worse.

Should You read The Farm by Joanne Ramos?

“You should not raise them to be too tender, like little lambs. Small lambs, soft lambs—they make the best meat; they are always devoured.”

In Joanne Ramos’ The Farm, we see women give up everything in their lives including their children, a relationship or a relative, to become surrogates for wealthy clients. They spend nine months in a gorgeous locale, The Farm, cared and pampered throughout their stay. They are paid monthly and receive a hefty bonus after successful delivery. Sounds like a place where dreams come true, for evryone? Well, you’re wrong. 

The story begins with Jane who’s looking for her cousin Ate in a hospital. Ate is a nurse- a baby nurse- to be specific and her age prevents her from earning a living as a baby nurse. Ate suggests Jane replace her because she needs the money as she’s a single mother who’s struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, she’s forced to leave because of an unfortunate incident at her job as a baby nurse. Soon, Jane finds hope in the promise of The Farm and leaves her baby in the care of her cousin, Ate. Again, what could go wrong? As it’ll turn out, a lot.

Next, we are introduced to Mae and then Reagan. Mae is the woman who designed the surrogacy program. Through Mae’s introduction, we get to know a bit about how the idea for the Farm came about and Mae’s latest client acquisition, a Chinese millionaire called Madame Deng, whose investment will bring millions to The Farm. Then, we meet Reagan, another potential host who unlike most other hosts is rich with an ivy league college degree.

Reagan laughs, surprising herself. It isn’t funny, but it is. It’s all completely ridiculous: three pregnant women carrying other people’s babies talking about second-trimester sex pangs and trying to guess which one of them harbours a billionaire’s fetus.

Let’s come back to Jane again. As Jane is selected as a host in the Farm, Jane becomes pregnant through artificial insemination. Jane follows the rules but soon trouble ensues when she is befriended by another host Lisa. After yet another unfortunate incident, Lisa is spared because of her clients but Jane is punished as Mae informs her that her daughter’s upcoming visit will be canceled. As Jane meets more Filipina hosts, she encounters someone who knows her cousin Ate and that shouldn’t have been a big deal ..but Jane discovers other things that lead to other troubles at The Farm. Now, why is Jane such a big deal in The Farm? What’s going on with Ate? Why has she and Reagan been allowed to meet their “real” clients yet?

Because in America you only have to know how to make money. Money buys everything else.” 

As you can probably guess from my explanation, Jane maybe presents the most throughout the entire story but there are multiple POVs. We hear from Ate, Mae, and Reagan. It’s not at all confusing but manages to give us a clear picture of The Farm, its purpose, and its implications. It did remind me a bit of The Handmaid’s Tale but it was unique on its own. Surrogacy isn’t new but in this story, it is like a currency..the hosts’ bodies(the surrogates) are commodities and they’re in a place where their every move is watched. There are lots of places where you’ll say “What the F*ck” without any hesitation. For example, Mae states that some clients look specifically for black or Asian hosts(even better if they’ve high IQ or are highly educated) while others will look for white and of course, an ivy league educated as if their wombs will magically transfer those qualities to the clients’ baby. There are also ethical issues at play here; for example, when a clients baby is genetically tested and found to have Trisomy-21(the gene for Down’s Syndrome), Mae and the head doctor discusses abortion and ways to protect the company…when the company’s policy to use their best efforts to ensure the wellbeing of the unborn child.

I read the second half of the book in one sitting and I was hooked into the plot which was getting terrifying with every chapter but the ending was a bit unexpected. I hoped to be shocked, gasp in horror..but no, I didn’t.

Overall, I highly recommend The Farm because it tackles important themes like racial inequality, immigration, motherhood, and freedom among other things. It is sharp, witty(at times) and controversial; all of which made this a wonderful debut and I can’t wait to read more of Joanne Ramos’ works.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

VERDICT: 

About the Author: You can find Joanne Ramos here
A journey into the wonderful yet terrifying world of the unknown | ARC Review: Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

What do you think? Will you ever be able to do what Jane, Reagan and other hosts did? Would you like to work in someplace similar to The Farm? If you plan to read The Farm by Joanne Ramos, then let me know in the comments below! As usual, if you have read it already, then let me know your thoughts below. 

The Priory is an epic fantasy with a remarkable storyline, l​egendar​​​​y characters a​n​d magical trees

The Priory of The Orange Tree ,Samantha Shannon review
Cover (Bloomsbury Publishing)

The Priory of the Orange Tree Goodreads cover
Cover ( Goodreads)
Buy it on Wordery | Book Depository||Add it on Goodreads

The Priory of The Orange Tree summary
Background image : Bloomsbury Publishing; Synopsis: Goodreads

WHY SHOULD YOU ABSOLUTELY (without any question) PICK UP “THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE” NOW?

First impressions: “OMG, this is almost 900 pages. How am I going to read it and then write a coherent review of it? ” *Also wonders* “This’ll make a really good weight, my arms need a workout.” “This’ll make a good weapon too”

The Priory of The Orange Tree has been on mine and many other book lovers’ list of anticipated releases of 2019. I went in with zero expectations as I do when books are overhyped but I was so wrong… This BOOK IS BLOODY BRILLIANT !

THE PRIORY is about a divided world, a Queendom without an heir and an ancient enemy whose awakening may just bring about the destruction of the world. The story begins like the calm before a storm, a man walking out of the water. Nobody will realize-not even the woman who rescues the man- that the storm has almost arrived.

“The stranger came out of the sea like a water ghost, barefoot and wearing the scars of his journey.

The Priory of the Orange Tree, Samantha Shannon

Okay, I use the word ” storm” hypothetically . Just to be clear .

The story follows four narrators – Ead, Tané, Loth, and Niclays – each of whom has different beliefs defined by where they live. The EAST and the WEST are divided over their religious opinions. While the EAST reveres dragons as Gods, the WEST abhors and fears dragons due to their past history involving mayhem caused by The Nameless One, an evil dragon.

A wyrm. A monstrous, four-legged wyrm, close to two hundred feet long from its snout to the tip of its tail.

This evil dragon -the VOLDEMORT- of this world a.k.a. The Nameless One has been locked away in the Abyss for thousand years now and it is said that as long as the Berethnet matriarchy lives on, the dragon will not rise.

What is below must be balanced by what is above, and in this is the precision of the universe.

Fire ascends from the earth, light descends from the sky. Two much of one doth inflame the other, and in this is the extinction of the universe.

I know what you’re thinking now. Of course, “that thing” will happen and that disastrous but momentous event is the trigger that will send our characters on missions that require them to deal with pirates, mythical beasts, magical trees, deadly assassins. This book has everything from lots of action, beautiful and malicious dragons, female/female romance and friendships to court politics. This fantasy celebrates women; you’ll see instances of where powerful women are wronged, erased off of history but they take back their power again. The Priory is brimming with excellent dialogue, spectacular worldbuilding, and a plot that will keep you guessing till the end.

I didn’t want to leave the world of Priory even though it kept me up all night. Some stories never leave your thoughts and The Priory of the Orange Tree is just one of those few for me.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Verdict: 5 out of 5 glowing stars.

Author: Connect with Author Samantha Shannon here .

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Publication Date: 26 Jan 2019
  • Paperback: 896 Pages

Have you read The Priory of the Orange Tree yet ? If you haven’t, do you think you’ll buy it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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