Blog Tour: A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run?

So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person—The Taker—that haunts her.

Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that.

Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her—the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.

 

Praise for A HEART IN A BODY IN THE WORLD

“Masterful… This is one for the ages.” ―Gayle Forman, New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay

“Caletti’s novel dazzlingly maps the mind-blowing ferocity and endurance of an athlete who uses her physical body to stake claim to the respect of the nation.” ―E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author of Genuine Fraud and We Were Liars 

“More than bittersweet… It will nestle inside your brain as well as your heart.” ―Jodi Lynn Anderson, award-winning author of Midnight at the Electric

“Remarkable.” ―Booklist, starred review

“A timely novel.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Powerful.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A moving novel centered on timely issues.” ―School Library Journal 

MY REVIEW

I received a copy from the publisher via Jean Book Nerd Tours for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation given for this review.

Oh . . . My . . . God.

There are books that get you and then there are books that rip you apart, mold you and shape you, and push you back together again. This book is the latter.

I want to first start by commenting on the narrative device. It is in third person limited where you do hear Annabelle’s thoughts as she runs from Seattle to Washington D.C. However, it is written in an almost observer kind of way. The reader is watching the story unfold, taking bits and pieces of why she is running as she is trying to heal mentally and emotionally. In the process of that, the beginning is almost as if we aren’t privy to much. We are just watching a scene unfold. It isn’t until just after the halfway point that the narration begins to immerse the heart and the reader into that emotional space.

And I cried.

This doesn’t happen to me. When it does, it means something. I cried and had felt the tears coming on more than one occasion. After reading the book, I sighed in an almost calming relief and hugged it.

I don’t do that.

This book though hits you where you need to be hit. It pushes buttons, it flips switches, and it gives you the advice you need for whatever trauma you have gone through with your life. I found myself thinking back to my own personal trauma and recognizing the very emotions Annabelle was fighting with.

This is a book worth praising and sharing.

Final Rating: 5/5

PHOTO CREDIT:  © SUSAN DOUPE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Deb Caletti
 is an award-winning author and National Book Award finalist. Her many books for young adults include The Nature of Jade, Stay, The Last Forever, Essential Maps for the Lost, and Honey, Baby Sweetheart, winner of the Washington State Book award, the PNBA Best Book Award, and a finalist for the California Young Reader Medal and the PEN USA Award. Her books for adults include He’s Gone, The Secrets She Keeps, and her most recent release, What’s Become of Her.

Deb grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, and now lives with her family in Seattle.

Rafflecopter Link (Needs to be added on your post)
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
–   5 Winners will receive a Copy of A HEART IN A BODY IN THE WORLD by Deb Caletti. 
-Giveaway ends October 8, 2018
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Book #70: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who – it finds there…

This is the author’s preferred text, never before published in the UK, and is about 12,000 words longer than the previous UK edition.

I have owned my copy of American Gods for a while now and had always meant to read it. When the show was announced, it made me want to read it more. That said, it wasn’t until my friend Mack said we should do a buddy read for it that I actually read it.

My experience with American Gods was more audio than the paperback that I own. I drive a lot for work so sometimes I end up listening to the audiobook version of owned texts. This was one of those times.

What I love about the audio was the full cast. I could see each character differently because they all had a different narrator. For a fiction that is hinged on the characters more than the world, having a full cast is the way to go. I was pulled into a world of betrayal, faith, and the questions that are brought up because of these characters.

This was a book that led to some discussion between me and Crys (she had read it sometime ago and I mentioned I was reading it at that time). We wondered if Gaiman was saying that America is unable to have faith or if this was just an illustration of the difference between religion and faith. I am leaning toward the latter on that.

Honestly, I’m not sure if Gaiman intended those theories to pop up as he wrote American Gods, but they did and it made the experience of the book that much more.

I would definitely recommend this book for a mythology buff, a folklore buff, or even a regular person ready to see another side of America.

Final Rating: 5/5

Book #69: Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux’s teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

This is a book that I decided to audio versus reading the physical copy. The reason for this is . . . well, I don’t care for the picture in text gimmick. I didn’t care for Miss Peregrine’s with that and Asylum has a similar deal (though not to the same extent). Don’t get me wrong, the pictures were creepy. I just don’t think the pictures are needed if the story itself is good.

And the story was decent. It had a beginning, middle, and end. It wasn’t an oh my god horrifying kind of horror, but it also wasn’t bad. It did make the gears turn and the shivers to go up the spine. The concept was good. Sure, I could handle more and wanted more in the horror factor, but for what it was, I liked it.

The ending did feel a bit off. It felt a bit like a Deus Ex Machina in style and a bit left field, but it wasn’t horrible. I did like the final conflict and was wanting more of it, though the book ended in a sort of cliffhanger.

I did recommend this to my sister and I would say to the person who likes Miss Peregrine’s because of the photographs, read this book. For the person who likes a little bit of creep to their reading time, read this book. It felt like a slightly older Goosebumps.

Final Rating: 3/5

Book #68: The Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that’s been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon’s eye: the key to true darkness and the villains’ only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it…who will it be?

Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.

Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent’s daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon’s eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.

Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen’s daughter, Evie, doesn’t know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she’s a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal’s little tricks.

Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he’s not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon’s eye.

Carlos: Cruella de Vil’s son may not be bravest, but he’s certainly clever. Carlos’s inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon’s eye and ending the banishment for good.

Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon’s eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the dragon’s eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

I actually really like The Descendants movies. They are especially a favorite of Bug’s. Because of that, in a decision to try and get him reading more, I bought the book.
So, he isn’t actually old enough for the book, but that gave me time to read it myself before seeing if it was good enough for him. Newsflash, it is good for kids (though I bet no one is surprised by that).

The story itself was adorable. It gave some background as to how the kids ended up becoming friends and how Prince Ben decided to allow villain kids out of the island.

That said, if you watch the second movie before this book, you could make the argument that their friendship beginning doesn’t necessarily make sense. At least not unless the book is set a few years before the first movie. Which it could possibly be.
I did like the book and won’t have any trouble reading it to Bug. All in all, the story itself was cute.

Final Rating: 3/5

Book #67: The Psychokinetic by Grace M. DeLeesie

Edinburgh, Scotland: On a rainy night in 1479, twelve expectant mothers gave their lives so their unborn daughters could live. Falsely accused of murder, the twelve coven-sisters cast a spell to send their girls to a time when they would not be prosecuted for their blood heritage as Earth Witches. Unknown to the mothers, an ancient evil followed the daughters to rid them of their powers and take them for his own. 

O’Neill, Nebraska: In present day 2015, not all weather changes can be predicted. Erika has fought every day for the control she has over her psychokinetic powers. While she cannot deny the pleasure she takes in creating rainstorms or cloud formations, she is very much aware of how dangerous her powers can be if her emotions are left unchecked. So Erika watches her every move…until one day when Fate had another plan for her.

I received a copy of this book and the sequel from the author for an honest review. That said, I actually purchased the audio for convenience of the time. This review is still completely honest and in my opinion. There was no compensation in this.

The Psychokinetic is a quick young adult romance with a supernatural subplot. It starts with a group of teen girls, each with their own special ability. The main character in this book is Erika, a Psychokinetic. Whenever she is stressed, the weather goes haywire. After a certain event in school, her abilities go crazier than ever.

It turns out that in order to gain control, she has to find her other half.

The romance to this book felt pretty instalove for me. Though it was described in a way that it could work for the fictional world. Honestly, what bothered me more was the lack of connection to the blurb.

The blurb insinuated that we would learn something about the witches. Maybe not early on, but something. That said, there was no hint and I was hoping for it. It made the story more romance and it was . . . Well, not a favorite.

That said, I do have book 2 and it is about one of the two girls I found interesting. So, I still plan on continuing it.

Final Rating: 2/5

Book #66: From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

I read this book for a club read a previous month (I know, I’m slacking in my reviews). It was a big deal in the club. Most of them were excited about the contemporary book. Add that the MC is of Indian descent and it is an instant hit with the club I’m in.

I have to say that this book was okay. I’ve been reading more and more contemporary lately and yet I can’t say that the genre itself is a favorite. There are hits, misses, and “eh, it was okay.”

For me, Twinkle was an “eh, it was okay.” I honestly didn’t care for the MC as a person, though I could definitely relate to her. It was one of those cases of hating something you are. Needless to say, I could see my own negative traits in her and it bothered me.
For that, I do think the book was interesting. It made me do some introspective thought. But, for a story as a whole? Eh, it was okay.

I did, however, like the love interest. He was adorable, down to Earth, and the kind of guy I would have probably dated after getting to know him. I loved the references to old school horror films and the concept of teens making a movie was good. Though I wish there was more of the filming process than what was given.

All in all, for the contemporary reader, it is decent fluff. For me, it was okay.
Final Rating: 3/5

Book #65: Undead Ultra (A Zombie Novel) by Camille Picott

Undead: a reanimated corpse with a craving for human flesh.

Ultramarathon: any footrace longer than a traditional marathon (26.2 miles).

For ultrarunners Kate and Frederico, a typical Saturday morning is spent pounding out a twenty- to thirty-mile “fun run.” It’s during one of their runs that an insidious illness descends upon northern California, turning humans into flesh-shredding zombies.

When Kate receives a desperate call from her son, Carter, she and Frederico flee their hometown and set out to help him. The only problem? Carter attends college over two hundred miles away and the freeways—clogged with car wrecks, zombies, and government blockades—are impassable. Running back roads and railroad tracks becomes their only means of travel, but neither of them has ever run so far before.

As pain, injuries, hunger, and fatigue plague them, getting to Carter and staying alive seem impossible. It’s either outrun the undead or become one of them, and for Kate, death is not an option.

So, this was supposed to be one of those awesome free copies without compensation for an honest review, but I accidentally deleted and emptied my trashcan before I could get the code and use it in Audible. That said, I was planning on buying it even if I didn’t get the code. So, I bought the book. And OMG.

I LOVE this book.

The narrator is well chosen. Her voice used for the MC’s son may be a bit nasally and sound like a kid despite him being past adolescence in some parts, but it wasn’t a big deal. Just something to note.

The first thing you think about when a zombie outbreak happens is by no means run. Yes, run away from the creatures, but you wouldn’t think to run over 200 miles to family. You’d choose a car. But Picott really sets into motion something I didn’t think about and yes, a car is probably a bad idea.

I am a horror buff. I love my classic horrors and new. I love the idea of twisting and changing the norms of horror and this book did that. I actually have the Zombies, Run app and I love it for the running and storyline. I got both in Undead Ultra.

I was disturbed, gasping, and there were some tears welling up in certain places. I never even knew there were running stores or ultraraces. Truly, I thought the serious long distance runner was more like a Hollywood gimmick to illustrate the character’s physical exertion in a life transition. But no, ultraracing is real. These people are badass. Even without the zombies!

I was not only in the story, but I was on the trail with Kate and Frederico. I was feeling the sweat. I was hearing the moans. And I loved every second of it.

So much so that I have found my hobby. I have always loved the treadmill, but I never really told myself it was cool to be a runner. I gotta tell ya, it’s fucking cool. I am a person who likes to have a direction. And I have decided to start running. Just three days a week.

I wouldn’t necessarily say this book is the sole reason for it, I’ve wanted to run and I did like it, but I didn’t have a goal with that running and this book presented me a goal. No, I don’t plan on running 200+ miles during a zombie apocalypse, but I have decided that I want to participate and not DNF in an ultrarace. It’s not going to happen over night. Hell, I can barely run all the way through a 5k. I need practice. But, I have a goal. And I’m excited for it.

So, Picott, you have made a beginning runner in me and I loved this book. Just one big question though . . . I know this can stay a standalone, but OMG I loved it so much that I would scarf down a sequel in a heartbeat, any chance you can make this fangirl’s dream come true? Just saying.

Final Rating: 5/5

Book #64: In The Veil of Chaos by Nadia Blake and Logan Keys

Even the King of Hell needs love. 

A retelling of the tale of Hades and Persephone in a world thrown into chaos.

The loss of Persephone’s father brings her two choices, wed the man who murdered her family, or die. But Hades has another plan, one that will bring a sweeter pain than death. To bring this plan to fruition, the two must face their tragic differences again… in Marriage.

The Hades and Persephone myth is probably one of my favorites in Greek mythology. There are some retellings of this myth, but I always get excited when I find a new one.

In The Veil of Chaos is a retelling only in that the main leads aren’t the actual Hades and Persephone, they are godlike beings, are named after them, and even do the same jobs as their mythological counterparts. It is a short romance about the relationship of the two leads and a growing larger evil presence. Though you don’t meet the presence itself, you do meet one of his agents.

As a story, it is not a bad one. It is easy to see where it’s going but it’s the character dynamic that matters more. Hades is a strong male lead, but doesn’t have the full alpha stereotype. He is soothing and comforting. I liked that. I feel, given his position, he would have come across worse if he had that stereotype going for him. The romance is sweet and you can tell that the two had a history and feel just as heartbroken as they do about their circumstances.

All in all, it was a decent quick read and I may continue with the world just to see what the big baddie is all about and who the next coupling would be.

Final Rating: 3/5

Book #63: Catching Stars by Cayla Keenan

Witch. Betrayal. Hunted.

Jayin Ijaad is in hiding. A witch with powerful abilities, she carves out a life for herself in the slums of Pavaal, a city rotting from the inside out. When an old acquaintance tracks her down, Jayin is dragged back into a world she tried to escape — and is determined to escape again. 

Maddix Kell is on the run. After two years in prison for crimes he did not commit, Maddix escapes and seeks out a legendary order of witchhunters who are his only chance to find justice. 

But all is not as it seems and Maddix soon finds himself on the run from the people he sought as allies. When their paths collide, Jayin and Maddix must put aside their prejudices and forge an uneasy alliance that could crumble at any moment. But if they want to survive in Aestos — a brutal kingdom where magic and corruption lie hand in hand and enemies lurk around every corner — they must first survive each other.

This book was one of those “great blurbs not so great execution” books. The blurb is a good blurb. It grabs you and has enough that inspires you to read it. However, the bulk of the story was . . . repetitive.

Catching Stars starts strong. It pulls you in right off the bat with a flashback and scene on how Maddix gets to prison. But, I feel that’s pretty much where the book ends in awesome.

The one thing I noticed about this book is that whenever there was a big event, one of the main characters ended up with being knocked out. It was like . . . run, run, big fight, bad guy, more fight, run, pass out. This happens roughly four times in this book. The first time was great. It pulled at my heartstrings and made me turn the page. The second time was so/so. The third . . . I was just getting annoyed.

The climax was decent. However, I didn’t quite understand the dialogue between the female lead and what I suppose is the main baddie (who we only learn is the main baddie in that moment).

Overall, I feel that this book could have been better executed. The story itself, the bare bones of it, is interesting. I was pulled in and I did like the character dynamics. But, what made it a larger piece of work felt either lacking or slightly lazy in the storytelling.

I’m sure other readers would see this book as good. For me, I wasn’t impressed.

Final Rating: 2/5

Book #62: The Heir by Kiera Cass

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she’d put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess’s life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can’t escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn’t expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn’s heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she’s always thought.

Okay, so, I read this book BEFORE finishing up the other three. Why? Well, I don’t care if I’m spoiled too much, for one. For two, this book is set about 20 years after the events of Book 3, The One. So, really, I am just in a new storyline with the major characters of the other books as minor characters in this one.

And so here I am . . . dare I say it, I wish Cass had written The Selection like this. The Heir is thought out better in the world and the characters are stronger. Instead of the stereotypes we see in the first book, we are given people with more personality. Even the main character seems more than what she appears.

It almost makes me feel like Cass wrote The Selection as background info for this book. It truly feels that way.

I actually like all of the characters and wanted to know what was going to happen next. I had my favorites among the selections and wasn’t sure what would happen at the end of the book. Naturally, it doesn’t end with this book, but it didn’t feel like a struggle to put in a new book.

All in all, I was impressed by the writing style and world building compared to the very first book. Does it push me away from reading books 2 and 3? Not really. Sort of? I don’t know. I probably will finish that set (I only have book 3 left as I’m typing this). But yeah, it wasn’t bad all things considered.

Final Rating: 3/5