18599901Title: Tease
Author: Amanda Maciel
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 2014
Pages: 328
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Synopsis: Sara has been criminally charged with bullying and harassment following the death of Emma Putnam. Everyone believes she’s guilty, but can she and her friends really be blamed for Emma’s suicide ? Sure they were mean to her…but wasn’t everyone ? As Sara and her friends go to trial we find out the truth about what really happened to Emma Putnam and what they had to do with it.

This was a powerful story about bullying and its consequences; one I feel in love with from the first page. It raises questions about what actions and punishments are justified in bullying situations. A lot of people have said they didn’t like the book because it was told from the perspective of “the bully” but I actually felt the opposite.

There was no better way to really dive into the reality of bullying than to tell it from the bully’s perspective. Everyone can rally around a story of a victim, but it takes a special kind of book, and author, to make a reader love a story told by the bully. Amanda Maciel made the right call when she chose to write this book from Sara’s perspective and she did an amazing job. This book wouldn’t have had half the impact if it been told from Emma’s perspective. By the end of the book, I came to love Sara’s character. She may have been viewed as a bully and played a hand in Emma’s death, but underneath it all she was just a high school girl with wants, need, fears/insecurities, and a best friend who lead her down the wrong path. She made bad decisions, but does that make her a horrible person? For me, that was the most profound message of the book; not all bullies are evil. They are simply people who don’t know how to cope and need help just as much as their victims.

I thought that Sara’s denial of responsibility throughout the book perfected the story. I understand that Sara’s attitude may be off-putting to some readers, but it was realistic and accurately portrayed a bullying situation. Sara thought that she hadn’t done anything wrong because Emma “had it coming”; in her mind Emma only got what she deserved for “stealing her boyfriend”. She also used the defense that everyone else was mean to Emma as well and that Emma should have toughened up. While we all recognize that these are not valid excuses for her behavior, it accurately portrays the way many bullies think and act. It’s not usually about terrorizing random people, but about winning a fight or settling a score. It provides a deeper understanding on the bully’s psyche, which is why this book for me is groundbreaking. I feel that more people  need to read Tease to understand a different side of bullying. It’s not always about clothes or looks or social status, the problem goes much deeper and we need to approach it with the proper depth it deserves.

I also liked that this book mimicked a real life situation when it raised the question ” how much responsibility do they have in Emma’s death? “. It also questions where freedom of speech stops and harassment begins and what you can legally do about bullying. While what they did was wrong, could they really be held responsible for Emma’s death in terms of murder? My opinion is no, they cannot. Involuntary man slaughter might have been compatible with what they did, but I don’t think it is right for them to be looked at as the people who killed Emma. Yes, they bullied her and that played a big part in her decision to commit suicide, but they didn’t intend to or conspire to kill her. In their minds, they were only “putting her in her place”. Not to mention that they were not the only people to bully or harass Emma on a regular basis. It seems unjust to pick and choose who should be punished.

The charges brought against them were completely valid, but I didn’t agree with the way they were handled. It bothered me that they were only charged after Emma had committed suicide, yet no one tried to hold them accountable for their actions when she was alive. Her death, thanks to the media and the public, turned it into a witch hunt. No longer was it about facts, but about making them pay in the name of justice. The focus moved from holding the teens responsible for their actions to demonizing them and proving how evil they were. The message got completely lost in the firestorm, which is something that happens in reality as well.  Tease serves as a great example of how to and how not to handle bullying. It shows that we shouldn’t be charging people after someone’s dead, we should be stopping bullying in its tracks and calling it like it is. If an adult were to constantly verbally abuse another adult that would be harassment, why should it be different between two teenagers? The “they’re just kid ” excuses need to stop. It’s a great fictional example of an all too real problem and demonstrates why it’s important to push for anti bullying laws.

All in all this was an amazing, profound and powerful book that shows the truth about bullying. It is one of my new favorite books and a must read for everyone.

The Fiery Heart

Title: The Fiery Heart
Series: Bloodlines#4
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: November 2013
Pages: 420 (hardcover)
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Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe. Goodreads.com

My Review:

I really enjoy the Bloodlines series just as much as Vampire Academy. Richelle Mead knows just how to take characters from Vampire Academy and adapt them in Bloodlines to show growth. Mead never fails to keep you engaged throughout the entire story. I was never bored, just waiting for a new twist or turn. I can’t say it wasn’t somewhat predictable but nothing happens in the exact way you expect it to.

One of my favorite things about both Vampire Academy and Bloodlines are the characters. Sydney is different from Rose but I love both of them for different ways, just like our leading man in Bloodlines, Adrian Ivashkov. The gang; Sydney, Eddie, Adrian, Angelique, Neil, Jill etc are quite different but complement each other perfectly. Of course, their is a bit of drama but it doesn’t take away from the main plot of the book.

The book totally leaves you wanting the next immediately!!!! But who doesn’t love a good cliffhanger? The Fiery Heart provided suspense and build up and just about blew up in the end. Richelle Mead is sure not to disappoint in the next addition to the series.

cheaper_by_the_dozen_xlgCheaper by the Dozen
Release Date: December 2003
Run time: 94 minutes

This movie was great. I enjoyed how funny it was. It made me have like a good belly-laugh. The funniest part was when the mom thought she could leave the dad in charge for two weeks. I also found the pranks the kids pulled on Nora’s boyfriend, Hank, very hilarious to watch. Good for all ages and a fun movie to watch.

15726915Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s books
Release Date: February 2014
Pages: 336
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Synopsis:  Alexi Littrell is a very nice girl, but has a secret she has never told anyone. Alexi has never told anyone because she knows it will change things. It is hard for Alexi to live with this secret, so hard that she takes it out on herself by aggressively scratching the back of her neck. She thinks no one notices the pain she puts herself through, but one person does. “The Kool-Aid Kid,” also know as Bodee Lennox, who also has secrets. When Alexi and Bodee become friends they help each other get through their tough times. In the end, Alexi has the courage to tell her family the secret she has been keeping thanks to her unlikely friend, Bodee.

Recommend: I would recommend this book to anyone who likes romance and realistic fiction.

My Opinion: I really liked this book. I thought it did a great job showing what a secret like this can do to you and what it can take to overcome it. I also think it does a good job showing the fears you can have from a secret like this. For example, the fear of what your family will think and other people. I also really liked the romance in the book. It wasn’t too much nor too little romance. Do not skip to the end to find out what her secret is! It will ruin the book! Trust me, you will probably guess or have an idea to what her secret is. Well anyway, I really liked reading this book and I hope you like it as much as I did.

15769788Rebel by Amy Tintera
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: May 2014
Pages: 352
Place on Hold 

Note this review contains spoilers for Reboot and Rebel

In Rebel by Amy Tintera, 178 the highest number to have ever rebooted, the strongest, fastest at everything; her name is Wren. 22 Callum is basically human. After they successfully escape from HARC and Wren gets the antidote to cure Callum they free the reboots locked up. As a group they move to their next destination, the rebels camp. At first glance its amazing everyone is quickly thrown into battle and the numbers and skill is outstanding. Yet, as time goes on the glossy finish and exterior of the rebels leader Micah tarnishes, leaving his true motive behind. Wren, Callum and the reboots try to unite with the humans and free the facility of reboots so there will no longer be war and separation between the two races. This book I recommend to anybody who has read the first book, Reboot. And to abybody who would be interested in reading that book.

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