Sunshine is Forever novel

Sunshine is Forever is a Great Depiction of Depression

Sunshine is Forever by Kyle T Cowan

Published by Inkshares; scheduled for August, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Pages: 270 (ebook)

So! I have a lot of feelings about this book. There’s a lot to love here and some things I definitely didn’t dig. So let’s get into it!

Sunshine is Forever novel

All the Wrong Chords Book

After a life-changing decision, Hunter decides that he can’t go on…

…which lands him in Camp Sunshine, a rehab center for depressed teens. Hunter is determined to keep everyone there out of his head, especially his therapist. But when he meets Corin, a beautiful, mysterious, and confident fellow camper, all Hunter wants to do is open up to her, despite the fact that he’s been warned Corin is bad news.

When Corin devises a plan for them to break out of the camp, Hunter is faced with the ultimate choice — will he run from the traumatic incident he’s tried so hard to escape, or will he learn that his mistakes have landed him right where he’s meant to be?

The Characters

I really liked the secondary characters! Quint, a boy at Camp Sunshine is completely amazing. The other kids at CS are really unique and easy to keep straight, and I really enjoyed them.

Hunter, our narrator, is so easy to empathize with. Especially if you’ve ever been depressed. His character isn’t always likable, but he’s very real and completely easy to connect to.

Corin, though, Hunter’s love interest, I had some real problems with. And we’re going to get to that.

The Writing

Makes this such an easy read. It’s so humorous, so sharp, filled just enough with sarcasm and sadness and I love it. The pacing is spot on, carrying you through really quickly.

It’s also one of the most accurate depictions of this level of depression that I’ve seen. It’s first person narrative, so we get to experience with Hunter how he feels. He doesn’t want to get better, he assumes his life will end in suicide, and it’s not pretty, but it’s real.

There are a fair amount of triggers here, so be aware of that. Self-harm, talk of former sexual abuse, suicide attempts. That’s kind of just the nature of the beast here.

Problematic attitudes about sex

So, I’d like to make clear that I have never been a sixteen year old boy, so I can’t say how realistic this is, but Hunter is pretty sure that sex will cure his depression. His “love” for Corin is really just lust, and their relationship is really bothersome for me.

I can’t stand when two people have almost no interaction, but decide they’re in love. I get that they’re teenagers, I get that people can be intoxicating and you can meet someone who feels like your everything very quickly. But I didn’t feel an “aww!” about Corin and Hunter, I felt “What? Why? How?” And because of this, I could never root for them.

I also just genuinely didn’t like Corin. She felt very trope-y to me. She’s the crazy girl that’s so exciting and mysterious and seductive! But also mean and hateful and kind of awful? I couldn’t stand it. In nearly every interaction, she’d call Hunter a girl, tell him to man up, tell him to grow a pair, the list could go on forever. All my least favorite phrases came out of her mouth. Hunter even said he hated the name calling, she made him feel like less of a man, and her controlling nature bothered him. So their “love” for me was mostly upsetting.

My final thought

Sunshine is Forever is good for what it is. I think it’s a great conversation around depression and all forms of mental illness, I think there is some great stuff about taking accountability for yourself and your actions. But I also think the relationship between Corin and Hunter being labelled as love is extremely problematic, and only made more so by its being a book for teens.

Thanks to NetGalley for advanced access to this book in exchange for an honest review!



 

13 celebrity memoirs

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading

Celebrity memoirs are iffy.

I’m always a little hesitant to pick up a memoir anyway, because something about it seems oddly arrogant? “I’m super important. People need to know about me.” Are you? I’m not sure.

But I do read quite a few. I love travel memoirs, I’m really drawn to reading about others coping with mental illness, addiction, etc.

And I think there is a lot to be said for certain celebrity memoirs. So I’ve gathered some of my favorites, of varying topics.

In no particular order:

Tina Fey – Bossy Pants

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“Some people say, ‘Never let them see you cry.’ I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.” 

I absolutely adore Tina Fey. I vote to remove all forms of government world-wide and name Tina Fey and J.K. Rowling co-captains of the universe. This book is absolutely hilarious, in the most honest way. She’s unfiltered about her experience as a woman in her industry, which I think is so welcome and necessary. She speaks honestly and openly about being a mother. The whole thing is beautiful.

Amy Poehler – Yes Please

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying “please” doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission.” 

Yaaaasss Amy! Amy Poehler is effing hilarious. I’ve loved her since Baby Mama, and I was ecstatic to get my hands on her book. Her voice and her spirit comes right through when you read it. It’s amazing because the goal isn’t humor. She’s so open and honest about her life, her ex-husband, it’s just beautiful.

Lauren Graham – Talking As Fast As I Can

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I guess what I’m saying is, let’s keep lifting each other up. It’s not lost on me that two of the biggest opportunities I’ve had to break into the next level were given to me by successful women in positions of power.”

I don’t see how anyone could not like Lauren Graham. I love Gilmore Girls, have watched it through too many times to count, and I think you can see how Lorelai wouldn’t have been what she is without Lauren. I was so excited for this book! She talks about college, auditioning, and her time on Gilmore Girls and Parenthood (among many other things). So worth the read!

Stephen Fry -Moab Is My Washpot

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I used many times to touch my own chest and feel, under its asthmatic quiver, the engine of the heart and lungs and blood and feel amazed at what I sensed was the enormity of the power I possessed. Not magical power, but real power. The power simply to go on, the power to endure, that is power enough, but I felt I had also the power to create, to add, to delight, to amaze and to transform.” 

Ugh. Stephen Fry is just… he’s just amazing. I like some celebrities, but I feel a genuine adoration for this man I don’t know. The book has very dark moments, but is filled with such honestly and lightheartedness. He talks about his life as a young gay man. He talks about time spent in prison. I have had zero of the experiences he has, and I felt connected to every word, like I lived it myself. I can’t say enough about this.

Chelsea Handler – Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“My tendency to make up stories and lie compulsively for the sake of my own amusement takes up a good portion of my day and provides me with a peace of mind not easily attainable in this economic climate.”
I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed aloud so many times during a nonfiction. Most of this doesn’t actually come from Chelsea, though she has written several awesome books. This one is a collection of stories from her friends about the ways in which Chelsea has lied to them. There is one about a dog and her ex-boyfriend that I have probably read thirty times, and laughed endlessly each time.

Russel Brand – My Booky Wook

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I regret that I didn’t realize that actually they’ve got no power over you at school — it’s all just a trick to indoctrinate you into being a conditioned, tame, placid citizen. Rebel, children, I urge you, fight the turgid slick of conformity with which they seek to smother your glory.” 

I think there is something to be said for Russell’s particular way of writing. His sentences are gorgeous and it obviously takes brilliance to write them. It is so fun to read beautiful, well put-together sentences about things like sex addiction and heroin use. That juxtaposition kills me. This book is just funny. I enjoyed the hell out of reading it.

Lena Dunham – Not That Kind Of Girl

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I can never be who I was. I can simply watch her with sympathy, understanding, and some measure of awe. There she goes, backpack on, headed for the subway or the airport. She did her best with her eyeliner. She learned a new word she wants to try out on you. She is ambling along. She is looking for it.” 

This whole book is just so, unbelievably her. If you’re not a fan, you probably won’t like it. But I love her humor, her brutal honesty. If you like Lena, you’ll like this.

Nikki Sixx – The Heroin Diaries

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“There is something about spending Christmas alone, naked, sitting by the Christmas tree gripping a shotgun, that lets you know your life is spinning dangerously outta control.” 

Nikki Sixx (known best as co-founder of Motley Crue) talks about a year in his life, when his drug addiction was at its peak. I think it’s horribly depressing while being a very adequate portrayal of addiction (though of course, how a rock star does addiction). Lyrics, pictures, artwork, fun extras also inside!

Amy Sedaris – Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“Sometimes losing a pet is more painful than losing a human because in the case of the pet, you were not pretending to love it.”

This one’s not a memoir, but Amy Sedaris is hilarious.  They’re not real crafts, which isn’t surprising if you’re familiar with Sedaris. They’re crafts no sane person would ever want to do. But it’s so, horribly entertaining.

Neil Patrick Harris – Choose Your Own Autobiography

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“If you had known people would be calling you by your character name for the next twenty years, you might have asked for a different one. Thunderbolt Howser, say, or Dr. Feelgood, or Baron von Sexy Ass.”

This one is a little different, and it’s NPH so are we really surprised? It’s written in the form of a choose your own adventure novel, while still going through his life. Doogie Howser, sexuality struggles. It’s fun and wonderful, just like the man.

Rob Lowe – Stories I Only Tell My Friends

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I’m thinking of how unexpected and yet oddly preordained life can be. Events are upon you in an instant, unforseen and without warning, and often times marked with disappointment and tragedy, but equally often leading to a better understanding of the bittersweet truth of life.” 

So I haven’t been on the Rob Lowe train for that long, considering his insane career. But I have loved him since Parks and Rec, and this book made me love him even more. He is such a genuine, beautiful, unjaded human.

Mindy Kaling -Why Not Me?

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.”

I am obsessed with Mindy Kaling, not gonna lie. She is absolutely hilarious. I love to listen to her stances on feminism, race, body issues, anything. I just adore her. So both of her books have been amazingly wonderful for me. I think she is amazing, and should be required reading for women everywhere.

Anna Kendrick – Scrappy Little Nobody

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I think I need to become perfect all at once, so I keep getting overwhelmed and putting it off. I can’t remember the last time that I didn’t have something hanging over my head. There are usually about thirty to eighty things. Is that normal? Don’t tell me. If it’s not, I’m a jerk. If it is, that’s super-depressing, and I know I’ll just use ‘this is normal’ as an excuse to procrastinate even more.” 

Anna Kendrick is just such a phenomenally funny human. Is it even possible to dislike her? So witty, so brilliant, so honest, just fun. Read it!

What about you?

Do you have a favorite celebrity memoir? A favorite non-celebrity memoir?

Nyxia novel

Nyxia: I’m Conflicted

Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen

Published by Crown Books; scheduled for September 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi

Pages: 384

I was super intrigued by the premise of Nyxia, and after a reading/blogging slump after a bad mental health week, I was so excited to jump into it! It met my expectations in some areas, missed in others, so here’s a pro/con list review for you! A little different from my usual format.

Nyxia by Scott Reingten

All the Wrong Chords Book

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.

Forever.

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. 

Pro:

I thought this was a really cool concept, and I was intrigued right away. I love the space travel, the competition between kids who thought they were shoo-ins. The people who have recruited you maybe not being who they seem. I love it. And there is a lot to love about the way it was handled.

Con:

Now I want to start by saying I am in no way trying to insult anyone, at all, whatsoever. This isn’t even a con. It’s a con-ish. I immediately saw the bible references in the description, Eden, Babel, etc. I am not a religious person, and I’m not currently, particularly interested in reading biblical allegory. I asked on Goodreads, before reading, whether the story was religious, and the author answered me (which is so polite, so wonderful) and gave me a really awesome, full description saying that the story wasn’t necessarily an allegory.

There are some pretty heavy undertones, though. The story of Babel being turned upside down with the kids all coming together to speak the same language, as opposed to the opposite. Rest days being called the Sabbath. Some bible quotes. What threw me off is that this was never really explained? They’re a company called Babel, on a ship called Genesis, going to a planet called Eden, populated with people they’ve called the Adamites. That’s pretty explicit, right? But there’s no talk of why they’ve named anything the way they have. Is the Babel corporation trying to be/reach God? Idk. I’m only putting this out here in so much detail so you can see why it kind of threw me off, even though there’s nothing wrong with it.

All the Wrong Chords Book

Pro:

I love an ensemble cast, as I’ve spoken about before. I did enjoy the group, watching the dynamic between them twist and change throughout. I especially love that the kids are poor, or as one character describes them all, broken. They come from messed up situations, which is how Babel has convinced them to go on the mission in the first place.

 Con:

I don’t know if this is just the nature of the beast, because it’s first person from only Emmett, so we can only see through his eyes. But I didn’t get a great feel for the whole cast. It’s a decent amount of characters, but even halfway through I’d sometimes have to remind myself who one of them even was. I just didn’t care about a lot of them. With how closely Emmett interacted with them, I’d liked to have had a better feel for all of them. Especially since some of them will be returning in later books, and I know I won’t remember the characters when that time comes.

There is one point, huge spoiler so I won’t say too much, but there is a death on the ship. I should care, but I don’t. I don’t know how else to explain that. I really care about Emmett, and I care about his reactions to things, but I don’t care about the ensemble enough to care about such a huge moment, and that’s not the best.

 

All the Wrong Chords Book

Pro:

The writing is beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. It’s first-person, present-tense, so you really get into Emmett’s head through the whole competition. His emotions come through, loud and clear. His issues with poverty are beautiful and realistic. His constant fight to grow and change while not turning into something ugly is gorgeous to watch.

Con:

I did have some issues with the pacing. I found myself occasionally getting bored, because I like my sci-fi (at least of this nature, with spaceships and crazy new substances and other planets) to be really sci-fi, and a lot of this was character driven. Which is great in its own right, and I definitely feel connected to Emmett, so there’s that. I just found the story to move too slowly in many areas.

 

Pro:

There are actually a few, but one big one right at the end had me yelling, which you know I love. I give props to any story that can make me make noise, and this definitely did.

 

Pro:

Is wonderful. The whole point is pulling kids from all different backgrounds together and forcing them to speak the same language and interact regardless of culture differences. We look at poverty/brokenness from all over the world, rather than just what that looks like in America.

 

Overall, I think there are tons of people that would/will really enjoy this book! For me, it had its hits and misses.


13 Books With Crazy Awesome Plot Twists

Every book addict loves a good plot twist.

My favorites are the ones that make me yell aloud. I’m big on shout-reading (I also squeal-read when people kiss).

I’ve rounded up thirteen books with my favorite twists, turns, and crazy awesome secrets. Some have been made into movies, so hopefully you’ve been able to avoid spoilers! Some new, some old, all amazing.

In no particular order:

Young Adult

One Of Us Is Lying is a YA mystery about five kids who enter detention, but only four come out after one has been murdered.

It’s a quick, easy read and it’s already on the NY Times bestseller list! This is so trippy! I thought about a million possibilities, but never that one.

The Maze Runner is a YA Dystopian about kids who wake up in a glade, and the only way out is through a huge maze that no one has come out of alive.

I enjoyed it SO thoroughly. Hopefully you haven’t seen the movie without reading the book, because it’s definitely worth the read! The ending alone is just amazing.

Looking For Alaska is a YA Contemporary about a kid who goes to boarding school and meets the girl of his dreams.

It’s told in two sections: before and after. I did not expect The Incident AT ALL. So crazy, so devastating.

The Lost Causes is a YA mystery/thriller about an ensemble of kids who are “gifted” with superpowers.

There’s one big twist and a lot of little ones, and one hell of a cliffhanger! I can’t wait for the next book!

The Fault in Our Stars is a YA Contemporary about two teenagers, one with terminal cancer, and another in remission.

Here’s another one that hopefully hasn’t been ruined for you by the movie. It’s hard to imagine that this could have a twist, since it’s about… you know… cancer, you just kind of assume you know what’s going to happen. I was SURE I had it all figured out, and I was ever so wrong. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking read!

Consider novel by Kristy Acevedo

Consider is a YA Sci-fi, wherein holograms and portals show up all over the world, telling people that Earth will soon be destroyed, and that people can take the portals to a new planet.

I DEFINITELY shouted out loud with this one. SO good, SO unexpected. I love this book, and the sequel.

Adult

The Girl on the Train is a mystery/thriller about a girl who takes the same train ride every day, and one day witnesses a crime.

This one’s a little rough, the main character is really unlikeable so if that’s not your thing, keep it in mind. But the twist! Oh man! There’s a reason this book is so popular, y’all.

Haunted is a weird one, guys. I mean, it’s Chuck P, so of course it’s weird. But even for him. It’s about a group of writers who think they’re going on some kind of writer’s retreat, but the reality is much worse.

It alternates between the main story line about the people, and each of their individual short stories. All kinds of craziness takes place!

Fight Club is about two men who have never been in a fight starting a fight club.

Here’s another one you’ve probably had ruined for you by the movie, but if you’ve managed to miss it, definitely read this book! Such phenomenal writing, such bizarre amazingness, and the ending is crazy as hell.

I know, yet another Palahniuk. Diary is about a woman whose husband is in a coma, and she writes a diary to him while he’s out.

That probably sounds nice, but it’s terrible. Look how worn my copy is! I have read the hell out of this book. Definitely give it a read!

Gone Girl is a mystery/thriller about a man whose wife has gone missing, and the police are trying to figure out what has happened to her and whether he’s responsible.

Yet another movie! And a damn good movie, at that. If you’ve missed it, absolutely check out Gone Girl! I shouted many a times at this book.

Archetype is a sci-fi about a woman who wakes up in the hospital and can’t remember her life.

I’m a sucker for amnesia! And the twist in this one, holy shit. It’s such good stuff. I stayed up all night reading this one!

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas is a paranormal thriller about a guy named Odd who sees/helps dead people.

Now, there’s a movie about this one too, but in my opinion it does the book ZERO justice. Please read the book. The big event the whole book leads up to is a surprise, and there are two or three other little moments that make you yell.

 

What about you?

What’s your favorite plot twist in a novel?

The Sunday Post | Weekly Wrap-Up #6

I’m linking up with The Sunday Post hosted by Kimberly @Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

This week was better! I’m starting to feel better.

Inge at The Belgian Reviewer had me on her blog for a BFF post, so check it out!

Comic-Con was a blast! Thanks for everyone who wished me well. I got my Wednesday Addams on, and got to see Nathan Fillion, Catherine Tate, and James Marsters, so it was pretty great.

This will never happen again, so I took a screenshot!

I managed three reviews again this week! (click on the picture to see the review):

These Things I’ve Done, a heartbreaking YA contemporary which I adored.

The Lost Causes, a YA mystery/thriller about kids with super-powers, which I also really enjoyed.

And All the Wrong Chords, which I was unfortunately pretty meh about.

These Things I've Done by Rebecca Phillips All the Wrong Chords book

I have all the ARCs. I am really excited about Mask of Shadows, a fantasy with a gender fluid MC. And I think, unfortunately, I’m going to DNF The Beautiful Ones. I just cannnnooottt get into it.

I hope everyone is having an incredible week, and I can’t wait to read your posts!