The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen

After gaining a major success as a creator of the award-winning podcast, The Bright Sessions, Lauren Shippen is ready to bring you back the thrilling story and twisted universe featuring your favorite Atypicals through her debut novel, The Infinite Noise.
Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.”

 

Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy—he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand.

Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist—who seems to know a lot more than she lets on—and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.

 
Thank you Tor Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Infinite Noise will be published on September 24, 2019 and will be available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.

the blurb

The Infinite Noise follows the story of Caleb Michaels, who had a pretty normal life as a high school footballer, until one day he discovered himself as an empath, an Atypical who could sense people’s feelings, and suddenly, life was not so normal anymore. Enter Adam Hayes, the bright yet quiet classmate of Caleb, who’s feeling was too big and deep, making Caleb overwhelmed as he found himself helplessly drowning in it. This is a story of self-discovery, a coming-of-age love journey, and maybe, one or two sessions of superhero-only therapy.

the review

I discovered the glorious universe of The Bright Sessions last month, right after reading the synopsis of Shippen’s debut. Looking at all of the exciting commentaries about this upcoming release which coming from fans of the original podcats, of course, I started listening to the first episode right that second. I’m glad to tell you that surprisingly, although it was my very first storytelling podcast, I truly had a great time. My initial intention was to listen to the whole podcast before I jump into this book, but unfortunately, I couldn’t do it in time. So, I ended up in the middle of season three when I started reading this book and here how it goes…
 
Obviously, after listening to the podcast and memorize the voice of the characters by heart now, reading them on paper was so much easier and exciting. The book was following the exact plotline of the podcast, but don’t let this intimidate you, because you totally don’t have to listen to the podcast to enjoy this story! However, I’d say listening to the podcast will help you to dissolve quicker in these characters’ inner monologues and struggles.
 
Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed the podcast, I couldn’t get the same feeling from this book. Don’t get me wrong. Caleb and Adam were my favorite characters in the podcast and it was exciting to be able to read more of their thoughts in this story, something that does not exist in the podcast.
 
During the first encounters of both of their point-of-view, it was thrilling. For Caleb, I enjoyed how he grows into his superpower. His narrative was fun to read, especially the way he used visualization to make more sense of how his power works. Meanwhile, for Adam, I’m grateful to see more of his personality through the reflection of his struggles and thoughts. But after the endless back and forth POV’s changes between these two, they started to sound almost similar and even the pace started to feel dragging, especially from the middle towards the end. It was understandable that since both of them are still teenagers and they were having difficulties to communicate with each other, they will need some time to figure things out. Yet, I personally found that it took too long for them to resolve their issues and the sole reason for their conflict was because Caleb keeps shutting his mouth in the middle of a sentence to keep his secret and Adam keep asking stubborn oblivious series of questions that stressing out Caleb.
 
And remember when I said that the pace started to feel dragging? It was especially because from the beginning until around 80% of the story, it only focused on three main characters (aside from family members and other classmates), and suddenly, it delivers other ‘important’ characters out of nowhere, that also brings other crucial plots along with their appearance. Which of course, will not be a big problem if you’re listening to the podcast already, but even as the podcast listener, I found this addition as too rushed and sudden. It was as if Shippen didn’t consider that there are readers who’re not aware of the podcast and just delivered chunk on important information without a proper warm-up.
 
Although it was an enjoyable ride, The Infinite Noise was a high-anticipated debut that doesn’t really meet its expectations. Aside from its extraordinary superhero concept and detailed worldbuilding, the character development and their genuine relationship captivated me to keep reading this story until the very last page.

the verdict

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Do you listen to The Bright Sessions? Are you thinking about adding The Infinite Noise to your next reading list?

Blog Tour: Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Granger

That’s the thing about absence—it sinks into your skin, clinging to the bone until it’s so much a part of you, you can no longer tell where it ends and you begin.

Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go

Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.

Candace Ganger’s Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye.

 
Thank you Wednesday Books (Sarah!) for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review and joining this tour. Six Goodbyes We Never Said will be published on September 24, 2019 and will be available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.

the blurb

Six Goodbyes We Never Said follows the story of Naima and Dew, two teens who were grieving and healing after a tragedy that caused them to lose their loved ones. Although their first encounter was not all sunshine and butterfly, it soon evolves into something deeper, and maybe, just exactly what both of them needed to heal each other, and also themselves.

the review

I was really intrigued when I first got the offer to read the early copy of this book. Reading its synopsis, I knew this story is going to be challenging and hard-hitting. Six Goodbyes We Never Said started with a genuine note from the author herself, Candace, explaining why she wrote this story in the first place. Candace also used this note to include a list of potential trigger warnings. I really appreciated this gesture of her and hence, from its very first page, Six Goodbyes We Never Said feels incredibly raw and sincere.
 
There were so many important issues that highlighted throughout this story. The representation of multiple mental illnesses, bi-racial characters, body positivity, feminism, and the truth of adopting and getting adopted (which is something that I rarely read, but perhaps it’s just my lack of reading). A lot of these issues are already heavy on their own, and I must applaud Candace to combine them all into a single story.

You can never know someone’s pain or happiness until you’ve stepped inside their shoes

As much as I’m aware how important this book is, not just for the readers but also for the author herself, it seems like I couldn’t manage to fully devour into this universe of Naima and Dew due to its formatting and writing style. It started confusing, especially during the first 10% of the book. I had no idea who’s POV that I was reading since there was no title with POV’s name like how a dual POV story usually was written. Instead, there were one of the POV’s names used as a chapter title and mid-way through the chapter, there will be a voicemail transcript, email drafts, and a recorder transcript from other character and that’s how I’d know that the POV is changing. Although I wouldn’t complaint so much since Candace was amazing at making differences between these two characters and how contrast they sounded.
 
And lastly, something that bothers me ‘til the end of the story is Naima’s attitude. After reading so many thoughts of her and her perspective in life, I was hoping that at the end, I’ll be able to relate to her emotions or grasp her reasons in making certain decisions. But sadly, it didn’t happen even until I finished this book. I have so many unanswered questions about her. I completely understand that she was suffering from anxiety, OCD, and PTSD but I still don’t understand her aggressive behaviors towards others, even to those who don’t mean harm to her. I’m also still questioning about the history of six tappings, six flickings, six balloons, and basically six everything that Naima used to calm herself as I believe there was no explanation on how it originally started in the first place.

the verdict

Six Goodbyes We Never Said was a complex story coming from a talented #OwnVoice author. It explores many important topics which need to be discussed more in today’s literature and highlights the truth behind each one gracefully.

the author

 
 
Candace Ganger is the author of Six Goodbyes We Never Said and The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash as well as a contributing writer for HelloGiggles and obsessive marathoner. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. She lives in Ohio with her family.
 
 

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What’s the latest hard-hitting book that you read? Are you thinking about adding Six Goodbyes We Never Said to your next reading list?

A Different Time by Michael K. Hill

Today is the last day of the #UltimateBlogTour for A Different Time by Michael K. Hill and I’m excited to bring you my review of this book! Also, thank you Dave @ TheWriteReads for hosting this exciting tour and give me the opportunity to join the fun! 
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Keith Nolan falls in love with a remarkable young woman from the past, talking to him on a home video she recorded in 1989. To keep their conversation going, he must find more of her tapes—while forces work against them both, and time is running out.
Thank you Michael and Dave for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. A Different Time published on July 2, 2019 and  available on AmazonBook Depository, and other book retailers.

the blurb

A Different Time follows the story of 22 years old Keith Nolan, a comic enthusiast who’d rather spend his weekend digging through the flea markets to complete the comic collection that he inherited from his father. It was supposed to be just another normal weekend, until he accidentally found a home videotape, where he can communicate through the screen with a young woman who recorded it thirty years ago, Lindsey. Thrilled with his discovery and a company that he longed for, Keith must find the rest of the tapes to keep their conversation going.

the review

Concept-wise, I applaud Michael for his unique and original idea. Never in a million years, I’d imagine where someone could communicate through a used videotape, not to mention that they were thirty years apart. Although the alternate timelines concept kind of reminds me of Kimi No Nawa (Your Name), but Michael successfully delivered his own twist in this book. I’m also squealing with all of the comic references in this book and how it was explained as a timeless art piece, whether you lived in 1989 or 2019.
 
Although I’m loving the characters in this story, Keith and Lindsey, unfortunately, I couldn’t engage with their chemistry and romance. It was cute, but it was too instalove-y for my liking and the number of obstacles that Keith would conquer in order to meet the love of his life, was unbelievable to me. Yes, having a crush during your first encounter with someone is totally common, but being ready to give up your everything to fight for them? Seem a bit like a stretch to me.
 
In conclusion, I’m loving the pitch of this book but I can totally see its huge potential if the pages were longer and the characters were dug deeper. 

the verdict

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Are you thinking about adding A Different Time to your next reading list?

Loss Adjustment by Linda Collins

I have had nothing bad happen to me except my own doing. I have let this cowardice envelop me, and I can’t shake it off. I will commit the worst thing you can ever do to someone who loves you: killing yourself. The scary thing is, I’m okay with that.

Loss Adjustment by Linda Collins

“I have had nothing bad happen to me except my own doing. I have let this cowardice envelop me, and I can’t shake it off. I will commit the worst thing you can ever do to someone who loves you: killing yourself. The scary thing is, I’m okay with that.” —Victoria McLeod, Laptop journal, March 30, 2014.

Loss Adjustment is a mother’s recount of her 17-year-old daughter’s suicide.

In the wake of Victoria McLeod’s passing, she left behind a remarkable journal in her laptop of the final four months of her life. Linda Collins, her mother, has woven these into her memoir, which is at once cohesive, yet fragmented, reflecting a survivor’s state of mind after devastating loss.

Loss Adjustment involves the endless whys, the journey of Linda Collins and her husband in honouring Victoria, and the impossible question of what drove their daughter to this irretrievable act. A stunningly intimate portrait of loss and grief, Loss Adjustment is a breaking of silence—a book whose face society cannot turn away from.

Title: Loss Adjustment | Series: N/A | Author: Linda Collins | Genre: BiographyNon-Fiction | Publication Date: September 28, 2019 | Links: Ethos Books

Trigger warnings: Bullying, depression, loss of loved one, self harm, suicide.

After I finished reading Loss Adjustment, it feels closer as a deep and genuine love letter from Linda to her daughter, Victoria, who died in suicide just at the age of 17. Reading about the incident and exploring Linda’s rawest emotions and deepest thoughts, I feel as if  I’m peeking through an intimate mother-daughter scene that I wasn’t supposed to see. It’s just too sacred to be shared with anyone but both of them. 

Reading this heartfelt memoir was surely a challenge. Many times, I needed to take a break from reading it because it felt overwhelming and I simply couldn’t keep pushing myself to watch such tragedy. Witnessing how Linda woke up that morning when Victoria died and received the news that changed her life forever. Witnessing how someone like Victoria which described by Linda as someone so cheerful and sweet, but secretly kept all of her darkest feelings and thoughts to herself. Witnessing how heartbroken Linda feels, watching her daughter’s life unfolded layer by layer. Layers that she never knew existed. Witnessing how Linda not simply adjust to her loss, because then it means erasing the fact that Vic existed in this world. Everything was too painful to watch, yet necessary to be shared. 

One thing that I’d love to highlight is that ever since it’s earliest pages, this sincere memoir were not forgetful about the beauty of  cultural diversity in Singapore. Each ethnics and religions are obviously has their own way in facing dead and grieve and Linda narrated these differences gracefully. 

All those claims of building better humans, of being the best you can be, of following your passion, of learning to be inclusive and that everyone has something to offer, are all lies.

Lastly, the most important cause of this incident, the ugly truth of school’s obsession for their students’ good grades, and how these bold expectations often affected students’ mental health and nudged them into a bad direction. I think it’s necessary to call out these institutions, especially their horrid way in handling such matters. I thank Linda for sharing this truth with me and with all of her readers, for it must be torturous for her to recalled all of these painful memories.

Thank you to Ethos Books for sending me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

This post is supposed to be up yesterday in honor of Victoria and the World Suicide Prevention Day. If you’re thinking about sharing awareness on this matter and picking up this book before September 27, please consider to pre-order through links below to donate $1 to Samaritans of Singapore, in support of mental health advocacy and suicide prevention in Singapore.

Official’s Website | Books Actually | Booktique | City Book Room | Littered with Books | Times | Wardah Books

Treat people with kindness.

Blog Tour: She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller

I wanted her to stay because I needed her, and I wanted that to matter. I wanted to be reason enough.

She’s the Worst

Sisters April and Jenn haven’t been close in years. Jenn’s too busy with school, the family antique shop, and her boyfriend, and April would rather play soccer and hang out with the boy next door.

But when April notices her older sister is sad about staying home for college, she decides to do something about it. The girls set off to revive a pact they made as kids: spend an epic day exploring the greatest hits of their childhood and all that Los Angeles has to offer.

Then April learns that Jenn has been keeping a secret that could rip their family—and their feuding parents—apart. With only one day to set things right, the sisters must decide if their relationship is worth saving, or if the truth will tear them apart for good.

Title: She’s the Worst | Series: N/A | Author: Lauren Spieller | Genre: ContemporaryYoung Adult | Publication Date: September 3, 2019 | Links: AmazonBook Depository

It is the last day of She’s the Worst Blog Tour hosted by The FFBC and I couldn’t be more excited for my blog stop today! I’m always up for a good contemporary, and Spieller’s newest book seems especially interesting for me because of its focus on family and sibling relationships. 

the setting

Spieller’s love and passion for LA was obvious in this book. As someone’s who never went to the city before, I really had a good time reading Jenn and April one day adventure as they’re trying to rekindle their sibling’s connection. Each place that both sisters visited was very well-written and the scene was vivid! So, I applauded Spieller and her writing for that.

the plot

The plot was simple enough and exactly how it was presented on the blurb. What I found to be the most surprising was, as a character-oriented reader, I found the plot to be very much entertaining. I was digging each destination and enjoyed the memories’ revealation between the dual perspective of both sisters. It surely feels overwhelming at times, because I couldn’t imagine how someone could go through so many places and activities just in one day, while also making life-changing decisions and dealing with so much dramas. 

the characters

Oh my God, how do I start with all these characters?! Most of them had such a bold and strong personality. Now let’s combine that with years of family drama, ineffective communication, and self-oriented issue. Boom. A complete roller coaster ride from the beginning until the very last page. 

As much as I enjoyed how Spieller wrote these characters and their multidimensionality, it was surely exhausting and overwhelming to witnessed them interacting with each other. I have no idea who to root for, as none of them was describe as that flawless protagonist. For someone so smart and perfectionist about almost every aspect of her life, Jenn was obviously not as perfect as she think herself to be. I couldn’t explain too much without spoiling the story, but I found it to be unbelievable that Jenn was capable of keeping such thing for so long. And I found April to be a bit more okay, since she’s a teenager yet she’s dealing with how her own family can’t trust and support her enough to pursue her ultimate dream. And please don’t get me started on both parents, because they were plain horrible. I didn’t find any good aspect from them and they were nothing but continuous loud action packs 24/7.

Thankfully, I found a bit of time to relax and lay back when it comes to Nate. The guy was super sweet and deserves all the good things in the world! I wish he got more screen time in the story because his perspective as someone who grew up with Jenn and April will be super interesting! As for other side characters, they were okay but definitely not stand out. 

the verdict

She’s the Worst was a fun family-oriented story. The dynamic characters combined with the adventurous one-day plot could be a huge potential if the writer didn’t use ineffective communication and manipulation as the ultimate source of the problems. There were many aspect that Spieller could use to spark more drama within this story without making everyone always screams at everyone.

Thank you to the author and The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

dream cast

about the author

Lauren Spieller is an author and literary agent who lives in New York with her husband. When she isn’t writing, she can be found drinking lattes, pining for every dog she sees, or visiting her native California. She is the author of Your Destination is on the Left and She’s the Worst. Follow her on Twitter @laurenspieller and Instagram @laurenspieller. You can also visit her website at www.laurenspieller.com

Photo Cred: Dave Cross Photography

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Are you into family drama trope? Do you think about adding She’s the Worst into your next reading list?