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July 31, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Cum Laude by Cecily Von Ziegesar

ziegesar, cecily von - cum laude( thumbs_side ) I expected more from the author of the Gossip Girl series, but I mainly gravitated towards this book because it is based on a college campus. It’s so hard to find books based around people in my age range.

All the main characters are freshman, except for one 15-year-old and one guy who dropped out. Most of the characters meet on the day of orientation. Between 5 individuals, love connections spark. But soon other difficulties of dealing with school and family stress come into play.

There’s drug use, crime, and sex. But it’s mildly entertaining at best.

July 28, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Starbird Murphy and The World Outside by Karen Finneyfrock

finneyfrock, karen - starbird murphy and the world outside( thumbs_up ) It’s always interesting hearing about the different ways different cultures and people with different belief systems live. It’s even more interesting when that different lifestyle is a cult.

Starbird was born into a free love, nature-loving, farm-dwelling group who follows their leader, EARTH. EARTH receives messages from the Cosmos that he translates to members of the Family. Everyone is devoted to him. But Starbird has a “calling” to join the outside world with a few other members and waitress at the Family’s organic cafe. She enrolls in school and is exposed to different ways of thinking. Soon, she learns what “brainwashing” is. She reevaluates her whole life – everything she’s ever known.

I got sucked into this novel, and started and finished it all within a day. It’s a tad predictable, but pretty good despite this.

July 27, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Rage: A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters

peters, julie anne - rage a love story ( thumbs_side ) I’m sure you’ve heard of or witnessed abusive relationships, but have you ever been in one? Would you know what the feelings are like – the addiction of passionate pain and pleasure?

This book takes you there, through a lesbian relationship you see what can allow someone to put up with physical and emotional abuse, repeatedly. The main character’s schoolwork, job, finances, and other relationships all suffer due to one girl. And the worst part is, is that this girl isn’t all to blame. The circumstances she grew up in is much of what made her what she is.

The bad thing about this book is you’ll feel like the main character is stupid and want to slap her upside the head. But you don’t know what it’s like until you’ve been in her shoes. But the worst part about this book is that it ends so happily, where everyone resolves their issues and moves on past the pain. That’s not real life. I prefer my books to have a bit more grit to them.

July 25, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

giles, gail - girls like us( thumbs_up ) I was a little wary of delving into this book, as I knew it was going to be told in the perspective of two mentally challenged girls. I have no problem with that in of itself, I just don’t like struggling to understand sentences like you sometimes do in books such as these. However, this was no problem for me at all. And the story line will keep you riveted.

Two special-ed girls graduate from high school and are fixed to move into together and are given jobs. Their personalities and strengths balance each other out. They take care of an older woman that lives next to them, and together they become like a family.

However, a horrible turn of events happens, and they have to struggle to get through it. But it brings them closer. The final take-back point of the story, for me, is that no matter how different you are, you still matter as much as everyone else does.

July 24, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

kuehn, stephanie - complicitthumbs_up  ) This is an awesome novel if you like psychological thrillers. The ending caught me by complete surprise.

A brother and sister are adopted by a rich family after their mother was “murdered” in front of them. The main character is the brother, Jamie. He has supposed anxiety: panic attacks, loss of hand motor control, and a problem with pulling out his eyebrows. But he grows up a straight A student while his sister is known around town as disturbingly loud and crazy.

It is not a surprise to the town when a fire is set (that severely injures a girl) and Cate, the sister, fesses up to it. Only now, when Cate is out of juvenile detention and comes to see Jamie, secrets from the past emerge and the truth isn’t what everyone thought.

It’s an awesome work of fiction. It had me craving to get back to it. I plan to read more by this author.

July 23, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

perrotta, tom - the leftovers( thumbs_up ) This book isn’t an A, but it’s not a C either. I’d say it’s more like a B+.

Imagine one-third of the population disappearing without any explanation. And no, it’s not the rapture because the departed weren’t all believers or known to be especially good people. No one can explain why, but are only left with the aftermath of the missing.

Cults form with criminal underpinnings. Families break apart. But there is some hope and humanity left among those still on earth. This book follows the stories of multiple people, all intertwined by each other in some way. It’s not bad, so it’s no wonder it ended up having a television show made based off of it.

July 15, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Not a Genuine Black Man by Brian Copeland

copeland, brian - not a genuine black man ( thumbs_up ) Being white and female, I cannot even begin to imagine the kind of obstacles a black male would have to endure in a racist society, especially one as segregated as San Leandro, CA was in the 70’s/80’s.

This book delves into this. And, although I’ll never be able to walk in Mr. Copeland’s shoes, I have now got a much clearer picture of what life was and is like for him.

Copeland delves into stories from both his childhood and adult years, as well as pulls from black history. He is not shy in chronicling his depression, or his abusive childhood. Copeland tells it straight, all the while building up an answer to the question of “What constitutes a ‘genuine’ black man.”

It’s a great read if you’re into social justice and enjoy memoir-like stories.

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