Monday, September 25, 2017

ARC Review: Things I'm Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni

Title: Things I'm Seeing Without You
Author: Peter Bognanni
Publisher: Dial Books 
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Format: Paperback ARC 

Page Count: 311


Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails.

Jonah, the first boy she'd told she loved and the first boy to say it back.

Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming.

Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse?

As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down. (taken from

I'm scared that I don't matter, even a little bit, and that no one matters and nothing matters. I'm scared that it all matters and I'm f***ing it up. I'm scared of living my short short life wrong in every possible way."

After seeing others compare this book to All the Bright Places, I had pretty high expectations. Suicide, especially teen suicide, is always a tricky topic to handle. Many authors completely mess it up, and occasionally, a rare few hit it right on the nail. I'd say that Peter Bognanni's Things I'm Seeing Without You falls somewhere in between those extremes. I really connected with some aspects of this novel, but others fell pretty flat for me.

Things started out really well. I immediately took note of Bognanni's ways with words, and I really thought a strong novel would follow. Tess is a relatable teenager, and even her depression and cynicism rang with authenticity. I wanted to learn more about her relationship with Jonah, and Bognanni did an excellent job of setting up the setting and storyline.

A huge topic Bognanni tackles is death itself and how we cope with it as a society. His characters bring up very interesting points about how we grieve, including how we plan funerals and memorialize those we love. I've never read a book about a funeral planner, and I was definitely interested in the ideas Tess and her father present to mourners.

Where I Started Running into Problems:

First of all, since when do seventeen-year-old high school dropouts just run around organizing stripper funerals and flying off to strange countries? Here's the answer: they don't. Tess started out as such a realistic character, but about halfway through the novel, I started shaking my head. Throw in Jonah's strange (and quite creepy roommate) and some pretty forced sexual attraction and I was definitely disappointed.

Also, I really struggled to feel  Tess' pain and love for Jonah. The two only met once, and most of their relationship was based solely on deep text messages and inside jokes shared online. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate their relationship or anything, but I just didn't find it completely convincing.

So, overall, I liked parts of Things I'm Seeing Without You. It's entertaining and original, but it also drags at points and fails to really hit its mark. If you're looking for some YA books that tackle death and suicide, I'd definitely recommend All the Bright Places, Looking for Alaska, or If I Stay before I'd hand you this novel. Still, if you think this one sounds like it's up your alley, it might be worth a shot. Maybe you'll enjoy it more than I did.

Didn't hate it, didn't love it.
Unlike many other readers, I certainly didn't cry. It was a pretty meh ride for me.

*I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: This Darkness Mine

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for! Here's mine for the week.

Title: This Darkness Mine

AuthorMindy McGinnis
Release Date: October 10, 2017

Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and gripping psychological thriller about a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad.   (taken from

Why I Need It: 

This sounds incredibly creepy, as well as original. I'm always up for a good YA psychological thriller, especially since I don't read that many!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

Title: The Glass Spare

AuthorLauren DeStefano
Release Date: October 24, 2017

A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?
(taken from

Why I Need It: 

First of all, I love the cover. Secondly, I love Lauren DeStefano. A book about kingdoms and political turmoil in a fantastical world BY Lauren DeStefano? Sign me up immediately.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Chat With Scott Reintgen, Author of Upcoming Release NYXIA

Scott Reintgen grew up in North Carolina, and took full advantage of the fact that he lived on the same street as fourteen of his cousins. It could be a little crowded, but he threw a few elbows and carved out a space for himself as the family storyteller.

He enjoyed the role so much that he decided to spend most of college and graduate school investing in the world of literature. This led to a career teaching English and Creative Writing in the great state of North Carolina, where he currently lives with his wife and family. To his great delight, the demand for stories and storytellers is alive and well.

As such, he can often be found at local coffee shops laboring over stories that he hopes his family, and fans, will love.
(taken from Reintgen's
Goodreads profile)

Have you always wanted to write a young adult novel?

Not always. Teaching changed that. Most of my early writing focused on writing adult fantasy and science fiction, but every new semester brought me into the lives of amazing students with some really great stories to tell. One great way to fight against bad literacy rates or students who aren't all that interested in more archaic literature? Find brilliant, high-interest books that they can fall in love with. So most of what I write is for my students.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?  

Absolutely. I need the noise. Most of the time I listen to Indie compilations that are on YouTube, all put together by someone named Alex Rainbird. Those stations have a lot of music I like, but by artists I really don't know. So it's good noise but I don't get distracted by familiar words. Occasionally, I'll turn to Hozier or Imagine Dragons or the Alabama Shakes for specific scene work. Totally depends on the day.

Are you more of a coffee or a tea person when writing?

Coffee. I'm a walking cliche. I sit down in coffee shops all over the Raleigh area to do my writing. I'm sitting in one right now. I always think of the clip from Family Guy where an author sits down in a coffee shop and talks REALLY loud about the fact that he's writing a novel and wants every one to know what he's doing.

What authors do you think have influenced you the most as a writer?

I'd say the three biggest have been J.K. Rowling (taught me to love reading), George R.R. Martin (made me want to be a writer), and Pierce Brown (a huge stylistic influence). But the list could go on endlessly. Other authors I love: N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, Pat Rothfuss, Marie Lu, Joe Abercrombie, Leigh Bardugo, Samuel R. Delaney, V.E. Schwab, Robin Hobb *TAKES DEEP BREATH* Ok. I'll stop there, but I could go on for a long, long time.

Did you have a writing schedule while you worked on Nyxia? What did your average day of writing look like?  

I was still working at the time as a teacher, so I wrote every single day from 3-5pm.

What is one underrated book you would like to recommend to everyone?

I'm not sure if this is underrated, but I know a lot of people who haven't read or heard about The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race. The book was edited by Jesmyn Ward and includes pieces from a wide variety of modern, black writers. I've gone back and read it three times now. I feel like I learn something new each time, so I'd highly recommend it.

About Reintgen's new release, which hits shelves this Tuesday:

Emmett Atwater isn't just leaving Detroit; he's leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.


Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden--a planet that Babel has kept hidden--where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel's ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won't forever compromise what it means to be human. (taken from