You Too? by Janet Gurtler Blog Tour + Giveaway

Happy Sunday Everyone! Instead of my usual post, this is my stop during the blog tour for You Too? by Janet Gurtler. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 6 till 24 January. See the tour schedule here:

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 320
Publication: January 7th, 2020
Source: E-ARC
Genre: YA Non-Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Indigo 

A timely and heartfelt collection of essays inspired by the #MeToo movement, edited by acclaimed young adult and middle-grade author Janet Gurtler. Featuring Beth Revis, Mackenzi Lee, Ellen Hopkins, Saundra Mitchell, Jennifer Brown, Cheryl Rainfield and many more. When #MeToo went viral, Janet Gurtler was among the millions of people who began to reflect on her past experiences. Things she had reluctantly accepted—male classmates groping her at recess, harassment at work—came back to her in startling clarity. She needed teens to know what she had not: that no young person should be subject to sexual assault, or made to feel unsafe, less than or degraded. You Too? was born out of that need. By turns thoughtful and explosive, these personal stories encompass a wide range of experiences and will resonate with every reader who has wondered, “Why is this happening to me?” or secretly felt that their own mistreatment or abuse is somehow their fault—it’s not. Candid and empowering, You Too? is written for teens, but also an essential resource for the adults in their lives—an urgent, compassionate call to listen and create change.

I wish I had the words to describe where I should begin with the review of this book. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find them. This book was powerful, awe-inspiring and difficult to read. Most of us, if not all, have heard of the #metoo movement whether we have declared ourselves a part of it or whether we've just kept up with the stories that have been shared by brave and powerful individuals. In all honesty I had a very hard time reading this book. It took me ages to get through the stories since I received the e-ARC last year. It's not because it's poorly written, but how do you enjoy stories that are revolved around the trauma inflicted on so many women and men? It was heart-breaking and triggering for me as I too have been raped and sexually assaulted. It's not something that I share often because a few times that I have shared my story people have looked at me in disbelief. It's made me shut down and refrain from using my voice. I commended each and every man and woman that took part in sharing their story in this book regardless of their circumstance or how difficult it was to share their story. I think that one of the things that stood out the most to me in reading this book was the familiarity of the names of the individuals that shared their stories. Popular authors, authors that I have enjoyed described in detail how their autonomy of their bodies was stripped from them. It made me realize how many women and men have gone through the same trauma that I have. It didn't make me feel better about my circumstances, but it made me realize that this is too prevalent. So prevalent that it makes me wonder about the experiences my own daughter will have and that as her mother I will do anything and I mean anything to protect her.

There isn't anything to discuss in terms of plot because this is a non-fiction book. I instantly knew that I was going to rate the book five stars because you can't really put a "price" on the value of the bravery of these women and men. However, I will give a few trigger warnings for this book. It does include descriptions of sexual assault, rape, incest, and domestic violence. What this book does well is reinforce the principle that sexual assault looks different in every experience, but neither is more or less traumatic than the other. There are stories in which these writers were assaulted by teachers, friends, family, and strangers, but no matter who was behind the assault they all had to deal with some form of trauma. I don't think this is a book that I will ever read again and it isn't a book that I would define as "good." However, I do believe that this book is important and it is necessary that as many people pick it up as possible.

Janet Gurtler is a Rita finalist whose young adult books have been chosen for the JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION and as BEST BOOKS FOR TEENS from the Canadian Children’s Book Center. Janet lives in Calgary Alberta, Canada with her husband, son, a chubby black Chihuahua named Bruce and a Golden Retriever named Betty White.

You can find and contact Janet Gurtler here:

Giveaway Details: Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a finished copy of the book! 

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Waiting on Wednesday, #64 The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Series: Deathless, #1
Publication: May 26th, 2020Genre: Fantasy 
Goodreads | Amazon 

The start of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice. Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity--and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki--near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be--not even Deka herself.

First of all let's just talk about how beautiful this cover is! It's what originally made me want to read the book, but then I saw that it was for fans of COBAB and Black Panther and that made me even more excited. Read the description and I promise you'll want to read it as well! What are you looking forward to this Wednesday?


A is for Audra: Broadway's Leading Ladies from A to Z by John Allman & First Snow by Bomi Park

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 48
Publication: November 12th, 2019
Source: Library
Genre: Non-Fiction Picture Book
Goodreads | Amazon 

From Audra McDonald to Liza with a "Z," this is a rythmic alphabet book featuring your favorite leading ladies of the Broadway stage! Start with "A" for six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, then sing and dance your way through the alphabet with entertainers like Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, Lea Salonga, and Liza Minnelli!

A is for Audra is an amazing picture book that I found via my library's website. Every couple of weeks or so, I go searching for picture books that are considered new releases. While looking on the website I found this title and was instantly intrigued by the title. While I do not consider myself a huge fan of Broadway (I've seen a few off Broadway performances), I thought that I had some working knowledge of ladies that have graced the stage. I couldn't have been more wrong. I learned so much from reading this book and have been so grateful that I even took the time to request it and read it. The format of the book is based on a poem that they author has written in which he highlights a specific lady of Broadway based on the letter of the alphabet. He gives information about their performance, role, and year that they stared in that performance. I was even surprised to learn so much about individuals I was already familiar with including big names like Julie Andrews. I had no idea that she played the original Eliza Doolittle. I often associated the role with Audrey Hepburn. While the poem itself was a little clunky at times, I did love that the author made it a point to include a wide range of individuals from different time periods and individuals from different races/backgrounds. The artwork was phenomenal as well. I have found in my experience of reading picture books that some people are opposed to the digitally rendered images, but I really enjoy them and it assisted the artist in making the representations of the women look like their real-life counterparts. If you've never read this book or if you're looking for a great non-fiction book to give to children I would definitely recommend checking this one out. It was amazing. 

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 40
Publication: September 6th, 2016 
Source: Library 
Genre: Picture Book 

Look out. Now look up. From the sky one flake falls, then another. And just like that—it's snowing. In this beautiful book from debut creator Bomi Park, a young girl wakes up to the year's first snowy day. From her initial glimpse out the window to her poignant adventures—rolling a snowman, making snow angels—the girl's quiet quests are ones all young readers will recognize. Simple, muted text and exquisite, evocative art conjure the excitement of a day spent exploring the wonder of snow—and the magic that, sometimes literally, such a day brings. As subtly joyful as a snow day itself, this book will find its home in the hearts of young adventurers everywhere.

First Snow was another picture book that I found via my library. I was checking in picture books from a patron and I thought that it looked interesting. First Snow captures the experience of child and the first snow of winter. I had to read the story twice before I truly grasped the purpose because it is almost a wordless picture book. I loved that the artwork which was mainly done in black, white, and red emphasized the coldness and stillness of winter, but I didn't really connect with the story. There are people who love it and praise the magical feelings they get from reading this book; however, I didn't feel the same connection. I believe that a lot of that stems from the fact that I don't have vivid memories of "first snow" or snow in general. I have spent most of my life growing up in the South and we're lucky if it snows every 5-10 years. Because I didn't feel the nostalgia that a lot of readers have experienced I think that I missed the special feelings of the book. While I think that this is an interesting book, I don't necessarily believe that it evokes the same experience for every reader. 


Something is Killing the Children, Issue #1 by James Tynion IV & B.B. Free, Issue #1 by Gabby Rivera

Series: Something is Killing the Children, #1
# of Pages: 31
Publication: September 4th, 2019
Source: Library, Hoopla
Genre: Horror
Goodreads | Amazon 

GLAAD Award-winning writer James Tynion IV (Memetic, Batman: Detective Comics) teams with artist Werther Dell’Edera (Briggs Land) for an all-new limited series about staring into the abyss to find your worst fears staring back. When the children of Archer's Peak begin to go missing, everything seems hopeless. Most children never return, but the ones that do have terrible stories—impossible stories of terrifying creatures that live in the shadows. Their only hope of finding and eliminating the threat is the arrival of a mysterious stranger, one who believes the children and claims to see what they can see. Her name is Erica Slaughter. She kills monsters. That is all she does, and she bears the cost because it MUST be done.

Something is Killing the Children was a random pick for me. I've read a few other works by James Tynion IV including the Backstagers and the Woods. I definitely enjoyed both so when I saw that he was the mind behind this comic I definitely thought that I needed to check it out. First issues in comics tend to lay the groundwork for the rest of the series and this first issue proved to be no different. Something is Killing the Children focuses on a town that is dealing with the loss of several different children who end up horribly mutilated by an unknown creature/animal. Fortunately, a young woman who is known for slaying creatures comes to assist in getting rid of the monster terrorizing this town. I loved that she proves to be a strong female protagonist and it was also interesting that the actual form of the creature wasn't revealed until she came to town and helped one of the survivors cope with what he saw. This definitely had a Stranger Things vibe which made it even more creepy and enticing. The artwork was also phenomenal. While bright and inviting in some areas, it definitely became dark and gritty in the areas that were focused on the more horrific aspects of the story. I can't wait to dive into this the next few issues of this comic.

Series: b.b. free, #1
# of Pages: 26
Publication: November 6th, 2019
Source: Library, Hoopla
Genre: Futuristic, Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon 

b.b. free broadcasts her underground radio show from her remote swamp community, and she has no idea she's actually the chosen one. It’s been over a hundred years since the Plague That Ate Greed wiped out half the population, and it’s the only world that b.b. has ever known. But when b.b. rebels against her overbearing father, she realizes that everything she believes in could be a lie. On the run from her own family, b.b. will learn the truth about the world she lives in, and about the power she never knew she had. Writer Gabby Rivera and debuting artist Royal Dunlap present an adventure for fans of Blackbird and “mysterious destiny” heroic fiction like Naomi about finding your family when the whole world is against you.

B.B. Free was a cover read for me. I saw it as a digital comic through my library's Hoopla app. It looked intriguing enough so I thought I would give it a try. I LOVED it. B.B. Free  takes place in a futuristic version of the United States after a plague takes out a huge portion of the population. B.B runs a radio talk show with her friend while attempting to convince her father that she can and should be more than just a "good girl." I loved that this first issue seems to somewhat possibly address gender roles and gender identity. There isn't necessarily much that is explained in terms of the plot in this first issue, but the reader can tell that there is definitely going to be some conflict between B.B. and her father. Towards the end of the issue, the reader discovers that B.B. may have some special abilities and this clearly is a problem in their current society. I loved, loved, loved the artwork. It was so bright and full of life and added the overall amazing nature of the comic. Like Something is Killing the Children, this is another comic that I'm looking forward to reading throughout the year.


Sunday Post, #36 A Lot of Picture Books This Week

Happy Sunday everyone! I'm feeling good this week.This week has definitely been about me reconnecting with my spiritual side and reworking my relationship with God and it's been so fulfilling. I have a LONG way to go, but I'm so excited about the journey. I read a lot of picture books this past week. A lot of that comes from reading to baby girl and also reading that's work related. I'm hoping to really dig into my physical TBR this week, but I'm also working on finding a balance between work, my own pleasure reading, and raising my daughter. It's hard, but I'm really feeling like I'm about to find my rhythm. I've been doing well with posting this week as well! Keep reading to see what I read this week!

  • Sunday Post, #35 
  • Training My Heart to Love You (Review)
  • Diana, Princess of the Amazons (Review) 
  • The Unhoneymooners (Review) 
  • Friday #56, #65
I read a total of 714 pages this week. It's a higher amount of books, but a lower page count than last week because I read a lot of picture books. I was all over the place with genres as you can see below.

A is for Audra (4 Stars), First Snow (3 Stars), Shaking Things Up (5 Stars)

Diana, Princess of the Amazons (4 Stars), Hattie & Hudson (3 Stars), Jack and the Beanstalk and the French Fries (3 Stars)

Crazy Love (5 Stars), Hood Luvin From A White Boy 2 (2 Stars), Thirsty Thirsty Elephants (4 Stars)

No books were hauled this week. 

So last week I said that this week wasn't going to be busy and I was super wrong haha! I think that this week is definitely going to be busy and I have a lot that I want to read, but I'm not sure when I'm going to get to all of it so this list is super tentative. I am surprised that I've been reading so much non-fiction. 

  • B.B. Free & Something is Killing the Children (Mini-Review)
  • A is for Audra & First Snow (Review) 
  • Waiting for Wednesday 
  • You Too? (Review) 
  • Friday, #56 
  • Crazy Love (Review) 


Friday #56, #65 Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:
  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 290
Publication: October 29th, 2019
Genre: Realistic Fiction 
Source: Library Copy
In a community that isn't always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love--and lust--for the first time. Powerful and uplifting, Full Disclosure will speak to fans of Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon. Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She's making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she's HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly. Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real--shy kisses escalating into much more--she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she's positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she's terrified of how he'll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too. Simone's first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on...

I can't remember where I heard about this book, but the premise sounded amazing and it is definitely one of kind. I've started reading it and so far I'm really enjoying it.

"I lean back in my chair, arms folded. This is probably the best group meeting I've been to, and it's because Julie hasn't dominated the conversation. I'm glad she tries, but she just doesn't know what it's like. The other kids do." 

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 400
Source: Library Audiobook
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Goodreads | Amazon 

From the international bestselling author of DATING YOU, HATING YOU comes a new, unmissable standalone novel. 'A smart, sexy romance for readers who thrive on girl power' Kirkus Reviews on DATING YOU, HATING YOU For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime -in this witty and swoonworthy romance from the New York Times bestselling duo behind JOSH AND HAZEL'S GUIDE TO NOT DATING. Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in . . . well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiance is something out of a romantic comedy (ugh) and she's managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of online contests (double ugh). Worst of all, she's forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man. Olive just has to get through twenty-four hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party - except for Olive and Ethan - gets food poisoning, there's an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs. Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him becomes a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds. But the weird thing is that she doesn't mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of . . . lucky. THE UNHONEYMOONERS is a heartwarming and hilarious romance perfect for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love. Author BiographyChristina Lauren is the combined pen name of longtime writing partners/besties/soulmates and brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York Times, USA TODAY, and #1 international bestselling authors of the Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, Sublime, The House, and Autoboyography.

The Unhoneymooners is the second book that I listened to by Christina Lauren. Unlike the first novel I read (Roomies) which focused on a fake dating for citizenship, this book focused on a couple that had to fake a relationship due to a random illness that occurred during a wedding. In lieu of her sister attending her prize winning honeymoon, Olive opts to attend with her new brother-in-law who apparently can't stand her. What ensues is a series of laughable mishaps and adventures that quickly turns into a sort of enemies to lovers romance.

"Rumor has it your dad brought her flowers and she pulled off every petal and used them to spell PUTA in the snow."

The character development of The Unhoneymooners didn't strike me as memorable. While I was fully immersed in Olive's sense of humor, Ethan came off as rather bland. I wasn't intrigued by his character so I didn't really find the appeal in Olive's attraction. She seemed vivacious and full of life while he seemed too mellow to really illicit any type of chemistry between the two of them. In listening to the book I always felt like it was Olive's character that really carried the book. In addition to the blandness of Ethan's character, I found it hard to believe that he couldn't see the issues that Olive pointed out in relation to his brother. To the reader it was clear as day that his brother was involved in some suspicious activities, but Ethan kept making excuses. While I understand not wanting to the see the bad in someone (I'm the queen of this), it seemed like Christian Lauren pushed the issue too much for Ethan not to notice. At one point it became unbelievable that he wouldn't second guess his brothers actions. This could have been resolved if readers were granted a full perspective from Ethan; however, since it was told mainly from Olive's point of view it remained a point of issue for me.

"When I signed up for this honeymoon, I had no idea it would involve so much nudity..."

While I found the character development to be lacking, I did enjoy the plot. It was HILARIOUS. Some of the situations that Olive and Ethan were involved in were completely wild and funny. The scene at the wedding where everyone was getting sick is akin to the scene in the movie Bridesmaids when they all get sick after eating at the Brazilian restaurant. While I felt for Amy considering her wedding day was ruined, I could not stop laughing. It was also fun to watch Olive attempt to maintain the lie that she was married to Ethan. She was a nervous wreck and it made their interactions with other characters more hilarious. In all honesty, I think that Christina Lauren still would have had a great plot even if they didn't include the narrative of Ethan's ex. I understand how she was a catalyst to some parts of the plot, but in some cases I don't feel like she was needed as a character.

"“Rumor has it your dad brought her flowers and she pulled off every petal and used them to spell PUTA in the snow."

The writing was easy to follow and fun. I think that I definitely enjoyed this book more because I listened to it on audio and the narrative made it fun. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I had to read it as a physical book. Overall, I thought this book was a decent romance read. It wasn't the best romance that I've read, but I'll definitely keep checking out more Christina Lauren books.