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As you might have noticed, I’m a bit behind on reviews. Again. And trust me, I don’t feel good about it.

But this isn’t a review, or a commentary on books. It’s not an apology for being behind, either.

OneRepublic is a Colorado band. I’ve loved them for this reason for years. So when they released their most recent video, I cried. Because they feature a boy from Colorado who has cystic fibrosis.

I have cystic fibrosis and have been fighting against it for 24 years. I was diagnosed 10 weeks after I was born. I wasn’t gaining weight and my pediatrician referred my parents to the Colorado cystic fibrosis children’s clinic. That’s when they found out that despite the newborn screening test saying I did not have CF, I did have the disease.

Starting from that moment, my life has been a series of treatments, medications, and hospital stays. I was relatively healthy for 14 years. I played sports, did my treatments, and took the best care of myself that I could.

I was visiting family in Cincinnati when I was 13, almost 14. I was having an amazing time. I woke up at 2am one morning with a cough. Nothing new. But when the cough didn’t go away, and I continued to cough something up, I went to the bathroom to spit. And when I did, all I could see was the bright red blood staring back at me.

I spent a week in the hospital. I left the day before my 14th birthday. But my problems had only started because my sophomore year of high school I contracted pneumonia. It damaged my lungs enough that every three months, I would start coughing up a lot of blood. I can’t taste blood without having a panic attack now.

I had a portion of my lung removed when I was 18. I spent 28 days in the hospital and had to drop out of my first semester of college. My problems went away for a while and I started to get back to living as normal a life as I could.

Last year, I contracted Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA. I have spent the last 14 months fighting one of the worst infections I’ve ever had. I finally gave in and got a medical port. I’ve spent nearly as many days on IV antibiotics as off them.

Cystic Fibrosis is a horrible disease. It’s given me more problems than I can count. I search for a silver lining in every moment, though. I’ve gotten good at finding the good through the bad. That’s why OneRepublic’s video means so much to me.

Many people don’t know much about this disease. It doesn’t get the recognition as other illnesses. OneRepublic is shining a light into a dark place with this video.

Please take a few moments and watch this video. It would mean so much to me to get the word about.

I Lived – OneRepublic

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Review: Arcana by Jessica Leake

Title: Arcana
Author: Jessica Leake
Rating: ★★★★

ArcanaArcana started off a little shaky for me. It wasn’t that it was bad, but it didn’t hook me right away. I continued reading, though, mostly because I’m a history nut and this book has some history in it. After the rocky start, things really started to pick up, and I found myself unable to put the book down until I had finished.

Katherine Sinclair is different from most people in more than a few ways. As a girl, she’s completely uninterested in going to London for her debut. She doesn’t really think she needs a husband, and she finds the social rules smothering. She also has the power of the sun inside her. She can call upon this power for magic, and even though she keeps it hidden most of the time, sometimes she can’t help but let her magic flow. On top of this, she is forced to London where the handsome Earl of Thornewood is her companion. She must figure out who is part of the Order whose only goal is to harness the power of Arcana through destructive means, while trying to maneuver London society.

Katherine didn’t connect with me right away. Her character felt a little out of reach. Once she made it to London, where she struggles with keeping her true character hidden behind the picture society paints, I started to like her more. She has a quick wit, and sometimes her mouth runs without thinking. She thinks of her family first, and cares deeply for anyone who she considers close to her. She also knows that she can’t depend on anyone else for her safety. She may not always be ready to fight, but she’ll try to find a way to keep herself from harm.

The two male characters in this novel were interesting. I would have liked maybe a little more mystery about who was good and who was bad, but I’ll take what I can get. It was pretty clear from the moment both characters were introduced how they would be divided. While there’s really nothing wrong with this, sometimes I like to guess.

The plot itself was interesting. I would have liked a little more weaving of the arcana into the story. I think the novel could have easily read as a good book without the magical element. I wanted the magic there, though. Near the end, it became more of the storyline, but I would have liked more throughout the entire novel.

Arcana started off slow, but soon I was completely drawn into the world Leake created. She has a beautiful writing style and she really made me interested in the characters’ lives. It’s a good book, although you’ll have to like historical fiction and debutante politics.

If you’d like to read Arcana, you can purchase it here:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher, Talos, for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Wild by Alex Mallory

Title: Wild
Author: Alex Mallory
Rating: ★★★★★

Wild

I wasn’t sure I would enjoy reading Wild. It is an interesting idea for a novel, but I felt like there were a lot of places things could go wrong. I didn’t want to be reading and enjoying the book, and then be taken completely out of the novel. I gave the book a change, though, and I’m incredibly happy I did.

All Cade has known is life in the wilderness. He lived with his mother and father and was always told viruses had destroyed the world. People were wiped out and anyone left was dangerous. He learned how to take care of himself and live off the land. His parents died, and he had been on his own for three years, when Dara and her boyfriend come to his area to camp. Dara is only the second female he’s ever seen, and is so different from his mother that he wants to meet her. When Cade finally comes out from hiding, it opens doors no one knew existed. Cade is thrown into city life and quickly becomes overwhelmed. Dara is one of the few people he trusts and who believes him. All Cade wants is to get back to the home he knows, but nearly everyone is trying to keep him from going back.

I felt so much for Cade. He has known only one life, but he’s suddenly thrown into a new world, one he thought was gone, and he’s faced with people who don’t believe him and don’t trust him. He risked everything he found comfort in to say hello to Dara because she looked like no one he had ever seen before. Cade is fascinated by the world, but he just wants to get back to the world he knows.

Dara knows that she and her boyfriend are heading in different directions, but she can’t seem to bring herself to put a final end on things. Seeing Cade only makes her more sure that her relationship has reached an end. It’s clear that there’s an attraction with Cade, but both of them don’t acknowledge that, instead focusing on getting to know and understand each other. She’s extremely caring and I enjoyed her character. Her growth from beginning to end was perfect.

I’ll admit I wasn’t sure about a Tarzan retelling. My favorite part of the Disney story was the gorillas, not the actual story. But Wild is so much better. The characters made me care about the story. I wanted everyone to be happy, but knew that’d be nearly impossible for that to happen. But the ending was the most perfect one I could imagine. It’s open, but I still got the feeling that everything ended how it was supposed to. I can easily picture the future for these characters in a way that makes me happy.

Wild was the book I hoped it would be. Everything was handled the way it needed to be, and nothing felt wrong. Cade was the perfect mix of wild and civilized. Dara was the best person to find him. I loved everything about this story.

If you’d like to read Wild, you can purchase it here:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title: The Vanishing Season
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Rating: ★★

The Vanishing Season

I’m just not sure about this book. I wanted to like it, to feel worried about the fate of these girls, to wonder about the characters and what was happening. I just never felt it. The writing was beautiful, but the characters and plot just weren’t there for me. It was supposed to be a story about friendship, with some mystery thrown in, but I never felt that.

Maggie moves to a rundown house on a lake in the north. She’s not thrilled about having to leave her life and friends behind her, but because her parents are struggling for money, she accepts it. She makes it work. Pauline and Liam are her neighbors. Pauline’s mother tries to put on appearances, but ever since her husband and Pauline’s father died, she hasn’t been able to feel happy. Liam’s father is the outcast of the town, and his actions make the town think Liam and his father are crazy. Maggie befriends them both, and eventually has feelings for Liam. In the midst of the move, girls begin to disappear and reappear killed. Panic ensues and Maggie and her friends must try to figure out their new friendship while wondering who will be killed next.

Maggie was a fine character, but I think she needed a little bit more of a backbone. I can see a lot of myself in her. I’d sacrifice almost anything for my family. I’m not very confrontational. I tend to think things through and then overthink them. But I can stand up for myself when I need to. And that’s what I wanted Maggie to do. It’s one thing to allow your friends to push you. But when you let them walk all over you, it’s not healthy. I wanted Maggie to stick up for herself.

Pauline was tough to handle. I really have a problem with the acceptance of her character traits. She was pushy and tended to not think of how her actions would affect others. As a foil, Pauline is excellent. Her character makes Maggie’s qualities stand out even more. But as a person, I don’t think I’d be able to have her as a friend. It was difficult to read. Liam wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t great either. I could tell from the beginning how he would play a part, but that didn’t mean I was okay reading it. I understand why things happened the way they did, but I still didn’t enjoy reading it.

I was ready to have a mystery to solve; one that maybe gave me the chills. Instead, the mystery was the background and I never really felt like it was resolved well. I don’t always need a perfect little bow on each open thread of a story, but some sort of resolution is nice. For how much the story would emphasis the mystery at times, much of the story just felt flat. There’d be mystery for a few pages, and then absolutely nothing.

The Vanishing Season is not the book I thought it would be. It has beautiful writing, but that’s about where the great qualities end. It just wasn’t the book I wanted to read, and the characters didn’t make me want to read. I’m sure there are people who will love this book, but I am not one of them.

If you’d like to read The Vanishing Season, you can purchase it here:
Amazon
Audible
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno

Title: The Half Life of Molly Pierce
Author: Katrina Leno
Rating: ★★

The Half Life of Molly Pierce

I expected a little more from this book. I’m not entirely sure why, but I did. It’s not that this is a bad book. It’s not. It just wasn’t what I had expected it to be. I figured out the “twist” before I even started to read. Even with that, I wished it had just a little bit more.

Molly has been having blackout periods. She remembers everything up until the blackout starts and once she comes out of it, but absolutely nothing in between. She hides these episodes from her family, not wanting them to worry about her, or think she’s crazy. All she wants is for these episodes to go away and to be able to remember what she’s doing. So when someone from those black periods lands in her life, she begins to piece together what she has been doing and who she really is.

I felt for Molly, I really did. She’s struggling in life, and these blank episodes of time aren’t making anything easier. She wants to fit in and be as normal as she can. She just never felt like a developed, explored character. I never really felt I started to know her. I can understand that some of this was due to Molly not really understanding herself, but I do think there could have been a little more development. She has many sides to her, and I felt like only the surface was touched on. Maybe that’s all there was room for in the book, but I still wanted more.

There’s an attempted romance, I think, but it didn’t really feel like it fit. To me, it felt like it was there to be there. I think the book could have stood on its own, as an in-depth examination of the mind without having a relationship to examine as well. It just didn’t feel necessary, other than to introduce a few things and get the plot rolling. Beyond that, I don’t really think it was important to have and keep talking about.

Like I said before, I had the book figured out before I started reading. That didn’t bother me, though, because I had hoped the topic would be handled in an interesting way, one that was suspenseful and would have me on the edge of my seat. In the end, it just wasn’t the book I had hoped for.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce has an interesting premise, but it wasn’t explored as well as it could have been. It didn’t go deep enough into the characters or the story for me. It didn’t stick with me like I wanted it to. It’s not a bad book, but it could have been so much better.

If you’d like to read The Half Life of Molly Pierce, you can purchase it here:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.