Book Review #79: “Rainbow Boys”

Rainbow Boys

Image Credit: Amazon

I remember devouring Alex Sanchez’s books from Russell Memorial Library toward the end of high school, beginning of college. I was able to pick up the whole trilogy, plus some other books by him, at 2nd and Charles back in August.

It took me a while to read it, but I’m glad I took my time. This is a good one, for many people to read. Through the fictional world set in New York, Sanchez creates three unique characters – Jason, Kyle, and Nelson. They all have something in common – Coming of age, and trying to figure out their own ways with being gay.

I think my favorite character was Kyle. I kept thinking he would be a friend of mine in high school, and college. Jason and Nelson are good in their own way, and I appreciated how Sanchez makes them different. I liked how he broke up the chapters by character.

I had to remind myself multiple times that this book was published in 2003. I marveled at how far our country, and the world, has come with acceptance and strides with the LGBTQ+ community. It’s been 16 years since this book was published. While the community is still fighting for certain rights, it’s a very different world between 2003 and 2019.

I appreciated Sanchez making this book as “real” as possible. It has its flaws – It feels over-dramatic in several places. But, then again, it’s a high school setting. High school always has drama!

I give him props for introducing other serious situations into the book other than the characters finding their true identities. A lot of the feelings I felt when I first read this resurfaced – Happiness, sadness, and anger.

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy! Look for those reviews soon.

4 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #77: “Mosquitoland”

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I’m going to go out on a limb here, and declare that Mosquitoland is my favorite book of 2019.

I had a feeling this book was special when I found it at Barnes & Noble last year, while I was looking for books to purchase with the gift card I received for my birthday.

I fell in love with Mim, the main character, right at the start. I loved how Arnold addressed mental illness, psychiatric care, and dysfunctional families. I was rooting for Mim the entire time on her journey, which became quite a map of routes, detours, and exits.

I admire Arnold and his creation of his characters. I love how he used music throughout the story. The resounding theme of being on a journey stuck with me the whole time. It was quite a ride.

Arnold is so good with his words and storytelling, that I felt like this story was a mix tape of coming of age, mystery, suspense, a bit of horror, and all of it was delicious. I could hardly tear my eyes away from the book. I wanted to know what happened next.

I found myself a bit surprised with the end of the book. No spoilers — But it was an interesting turn, something I hadn’t considered. It made me like Arnold even more as an author.

I look forward to reading more from Arnold – He has three more books I’m eager to devour.

5 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #19: Lois Duncan

Lois Duncan

Image Credit: AZ Quotes

I hadn’t thought about Lois Duncan in years!


Born in April 1934, she was the oldest child of professional magazine photographers. Raised in Pennsylvania at first, her family relocated to Florida, where her parents became circus photographers. She played in the woods and read. Duncan started writing and submitting manuscripts to magazines at age 10. She sold her first story at age 13. After graduating from high school in 1952, she enrolled in Duke University. However, she dropped out the following year to start a family with the man who became her first husband, Joseph Cardozo.

Her writing career continued throughout the 1950s, publishing over 300 articles for various magazines. Her first novel, Love Song for Joyce, was published in 1958. In the early 1970s, she was hired to teach journalism at the University of New Mexico, after living in Albuquerque for nearly 10 years. While teaching, she enrolled in classes at the university. She earned her B.A. in English in 1977.

Married twice, Duncan had five children. Her youngest daughter, Kaitlyn, was murdered in 1989. After her daughter’s death, Duncan’s writing shifted to lighter fare, particularly children’s picture books.

Her 1966 novel, Ransom, received an Edgar Allen Poe Award. She was the recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1992. In 2014, she was awarded the Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Duncan died on June 15, 2016. She was 82. Although the cause of death was not disclosed, her second husband, Donald Arquette, noted his wife had suffered several strokes in prior years.


Killing Mr. Griffin (1978)

Book cover with a black-and-white marble pattern, showing the title of the novel centered in red, and blue skull and bones at the bottom right

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’m pretty sure this is first book of Duncan’s I read. Every book written by her, I borrowed from Russell Memorial Library in Chesapeake.

Summer of Fear (1976)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I don’t remember reading this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did.

The Third Eye (1984)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

This one absolutely freaked me out. I don’t think I picked up another book by Duncan for at least six months after this.

Don’t Look Behind You (1990)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I don’t remember reading this one, but I want to. It’s set in Virginia!

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I didn’t make the connection between the book and the film adaptation (1997) until years later.

Chapters: My Growth as a Writer (1992)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’ve always been interested and intrigued by authors and their memoirs or autobiographies.

Who Killed My Daughter? (1992)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

Being such a fan of true crime, this book is already climbing toward the top of my next TBR list.


What about you? Have you read any of Lois Duncan’s works?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #18: Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen Quote

Image Credit: Quotefancy

I’m long overdue for an Awesome Authors post.

I inhaled Sarah Dessen’s books when I was in high school and college.


Dessen was born in June 1970 in Evanston, Illinois. Her parents, Alan and Cynthia, taught classicism and Shakespearean literature at the University of North Carolina.

When she was 15, Dessen became involved with a 21-year-old man. She realized it was a bad idea, and cut ties shortly thereafter. In an interview, she said she took the blame for the situation and relationship for years afterward. When she herself turned 21, she made a point to look at teens and ask herself whether or not she wanted to hang out with them, or even date one. The answer, she said, “was always a flat, immediate no. They were kids. I was an adult. End of story.”

She first attended Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina. She dropped out quickly to enroll in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She graduated with the highest honors in Creative Writing.

While launching her writing career, Dessen worked as a waitress at a restaurant called Flying Burrito. Her first book, That Summer, was published in 1996.

The 2003 movie How to Deal, starring Mandy Moore and Allison Janney, was based on Dessen’s books That Summer and Someone Like You.

Several of her novels have been named the American Library Association’s (ALA) “Best Fiction for Young Adults” selection. Along for the Ride (2010) made the New York Times Best Sellers List.

In 2017, Dessen received the Margaret A. Edwards Award as a result of seven of her novels, published between 2000 and 2011. Her newest book is Once and for All (2017).


Just Listen (2006)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’m pretty sure this is the first book of Dessen’s I remember reading, although I’m not 100 percent sure.

Lock and Key (2008)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

As someone who has struggled all her life to ask for help, this one cut deep.

That Summer (1996)

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Image Credit: Goodreads

I think I’ve read this? I’m not sure. This is Dessen’s first novel.

Dreamland (2000)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I passed by this book so many times at the library, and then once I finished either Just Listen or Lock and Key, I knew I needed to read it.

This Lullaby (2002)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I remember this one, since having faith and learning to leap is something I’ve worked on for years. The cover also caught my eye at the library.

Along for the Ride (2009)

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Image Credit: Goodreads

I don’t remember reading this one, but I know I want to.

Keeping The Moon (1999)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

If I have read this, it was early on. I distinctly remember the cover, and I know I saw it on the library shelves. Regardless, I do want to pick it up and re-read it.

Saint Anything (2015)

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Image Credit: Goodreads

This is one I definitely haven’t read. I’m pretty sure the last new release I read was Lock and Key.


What about you? Have you read any of Sarah Dessen’s works? Have you seen How to Deal?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth  🙂

Tag #71: A to Z Book Tag!

a to z book tag

Image Credit: Howling Libraries

I saw this tag on Destiny’s blog, Howling Libraries!

The tag was was originally created by The Perpetual Page Turner.

Here’s the link to Destiny’s post:


a | author you’ve read the most books from:

  • Ann M. Martin. More than 150 books between The Baby-Sitters Club series, Baby-Sitters Little Sister series, Mysteries, Super Mysteries, and a few others! I also had the Baby-Sitters Club Friendship Kit computer software in the mid-1990s.

b | best sequel ever:

catching_fire

c | currently reading:

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d | drink of choice while reading:

  • Nothing. I don’t want to spill anything on my books.

e | e-reader or physical book:

  • My heart lies with physical books! However, I’m not against e-books.

f | fictional character you would’ve dated in high school:

  • Either Ron or Neville from Harry Potter.

g | glad you gave this book a chance:

  • WHO KNEW? … Reflections on Vietnam, J. Holley Watts. A powerful book / memoir of a woman’s service in Vietnam with the Supplemental Recreation Activities Organization (SRAO) program of the American Red Cross.

h | hidden gem book:

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  • Story of a Girl, Sara Zarr. I was assigned to read this in my Young Adult Literature class in the spring of 2011, and I fell in love with it. If I don’t have that copy at this point, I need to buy another one. I want to re-read it and review it here.

i | important moment in your reading life:

Image result for harry potter and the deathly hallows book

  • Finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows during the summer of 2008. I wasn’t interested in the series originally, even though a lot of my friends and classmates devoured them the minute the new book came out. However, I caught on quickly, and enjoyed all seven books. Finishing Deathly Hallows was really hard, and I clearly remember not picking up a new book for nearly two weeks that summer. I needed to heal first.

j | just finished:

evicted

k | kind of books you won’t read:

  • Anything that is truly horror, or glorifies abuse (Fifty Shades of Grey, for example).

l | longest book you’ve read:

  • The Bible.

m | major book hangover because of:

  • I don’t think this has happened to me in years. See the letter I for more context.

n | number of bookcases you own:

  • In my house, just one! It’s six-feet-tall, and I love it.

o | one book you’ve read multiple times:

The Great Gatsby - Complex

p | preferred place to read:

  • In bed before going to sleep, or a comfortable couch/chair if I’m reading during the day.

q | quote that inspires you/gave you all the feels from a book:

  • “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” ~ Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

r | reading regret:

  • I can’t think of one.

s | series you’ve started and need to finish (all books are out):

t | three of your all time favorite books:

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  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
  2. Looking for Alaska, John Green
  3. A Walk to Remember, Nicholas Sparks

u | unapologetic fangirl for:

Pleasant Company Catalogue Holiday 1991

The Smugglers Treasure Cover

  • All of the American Girl books. I started reading them as soon as I could, and I learned a lot about history through these characters. I’ve re-built my childhood collection (Samantha, Felicity, and Kirsten), and added plenty more. I’m also on a quest to own all 22 History Mysteries. Also, I highly recommend The Care and Keeping of You series for girls. There’s a book for boys, too!

v | very excited for this release:

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w | worst bookish habits:

  • I buy more books before reading my current stack. I can’t let a good book pass by me.

x | x marks the spot! start at the top left of your bookshelf and pick the 27th book:

The Lady's Slipper

y | your latest book purchase:

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Image result for mosquitoland book

Image result for the hate u give book

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  • Last week, I bought four books from Barnes & Noble with a generous gift card from my mom for my birthday last year:
  1. Janesville: An American Story, Amy Goldstein
  2. Mosquitoland, David Arnold
  3. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  4. A Sky for Us Alone, Kristin Russell

z | zzz-snatcher book—last book that kept you up way too late:

  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Matthew Desmond.

Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂