damsel distressed kelsey macke

Damsel Distressed
by Kelsey Macke

Published October 14th 2014 by Spencer Hill Contemporary
Kindle copy bought from Amazon

Have you ever had a book speak to you even before you actually read it? Because I can confidently say that Damsel Distressed spoke to me. It wasn’t even a case of ‘judge a book by its cover’ because I knew about this book before it had its gorgeous cover. I’d simply read the summary and some more bits that Kelsey shared about the book and I knew I needed to read Damsel Distressed. I was so excited about this one that I even preordered it on my kindle app (just so I could read ASAP) despite already ordering a physical copy, which is a first for me.

When are we gonna get a fat princess? How about a princess with bad acne and crappy posture and the mouth of a sailor? Probably never. Every. Single. One. Is the same. Totally hot. Totally predictable. Snow White has the attention of seven little men, not because she’s the only one who can reach the top of the bookshelf, but because she’s a porcelain-skinned, ruby-lipped knockout. The Little Mermaid got a prince because she shut her trap for five whole seconds and looks fierce in a bikini. And Cinderella? She’s a girl who clearly demonstrates to the prince that she’s got lots of experience on her knees and doesn’t mind getting dirty.

Anyway, after finally getting to read Damsel Distressed, I had a newfound love for the book and it knows no bounds. Damsel Distressed was all I ever expected to be and much much more. There was snark and banter and swoons and tears, but most of all, there was heart. In fact there was so much of it that my own heart was filled to the brim. A reversed fairytale retelling of Cinderella, Damsel Distressed explored the story of the ‘ugly step sister’ who in this case was our female lead, Imogen Keegan.

I am whole. I am more than just the pieces that I see. I am stronger than I seem.

Imogen thinks that a happily ever after for a broken, overweight girl like her is impossible. She’s meant to be behind the sound booth not center stage of a theatre performance. Her prince charming best friend, Grant, won’t ever fall for her the way she has with him. She’ll never live up to her princess step sister, Ella Cinder, who is perfect and gorgeous (not to mention evil). Life is a constant struggle for her as she deals with these harsh realities, as well as the death of her mother and the absence of her father. I felt for Imogen so much. The thoughts and feelings her character conveyed stunned me and moved me- they were so honest and heartbreaking.

People should treat each other with kindness, but I’m not talking about them. You can’t fix them. I’m talking about you. You deserve better treatment from yourself.

Imogen’s insecurities about being heavy-set which were something I especially shared with her. At almost 160 lbs, some people might say I’m only slightly overweight compared to Imogen’s 200 lbs, but when you’re the oddball among your petite friends and when your own family likes to remind you about how your voracious appetite and addiction to sweets is getting you bigger, confidence doesn’t come easy. You start to wonder if being chubby is the reason why you’re so unpopular or why you’ve never had a boyfriend. Like Imogen, I rarely had the luxury of feeling pretty. When you see yourself in a character like that, and you root for her to realize that she’s beautiful inside and out and she finally does, there’s a feeling in your chest that’s warm and radiant. So thank you, Kelsey Macke, for writing Imogen the way she was. 

“What if I broke us?” In less than a breath, a smile—his real smile—breaks across his face, and his eyes stare straight into mine as he shakes his head, laughing. “Oh, would you stop being dramatic? Nothing’s broken. A little bruised, maybe, but not broken. Never broken. Not us.”

Now, let me talk about Grant, Imogen’s bestfriend. OH THIS BOY. I love him to death.  I love him because he wears cute geeky shirts and because he always makes Imogen happy. I love him because he is loyal, caring, sweet, wonderful, hilarious, charming and REAL. I love him because he accepts Imogen wholly and believes in her. I love him because he gets her and because he know’s what’s best for her. I love him because he is the anchor that keeps Imogen grounded. There are a million reasons to love Grant but I love him most because while Imogen may feel alone in battling the darkness that attempts to consume her, he always has her back. No matter what and no matter how bad things got, as he promised her once upon a time.

Someday you’ll have to let some of that pain go to make room in your heart for something even bigger.

Aside from Imogen and Grant, the rest of the Damsel Distressed cast left such significant marks as well. I loved watching Imogen develop such strong friendships with Brice, Jonathan and Antonique. Imogen’s relationship with her family, her stepmother Evelyn, her dad (and even how she deals with her horrid stepsister) was moving. Honestly, I ugly cried a whole lot especially during the last few chapters. And really, the best books are the ones that go so deep and awaken so many many emotions inside of you.

I feel like a door has been unlocked by a key that was in my pocket the whole time. I’ve been broken, but I’m not broken. That pain won’t disappear anytime soon, maybe not ever, but it’s not all I have.

Damsel Distressed is a beautiful emotional journey. Mixed with amazing music and artworks, Kelsey Macke has created a phenomenal debut novel, one I’m sure will leave a huge impact on its readers as it did for me. Despite grappling with tough issues of grief, self-harm and depression, this book is a shining ray of light- one that promises hope and happy beginnings. This is a story that deserves to be read and I highly recommend it.

To share the wonderful reading experience that Damsel Distressed was, I’m giving away a copy of the book to one lucky winner. Open internationally. Join by entering the rafflecopter widget below:

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how was your week

The week has been kinda hell-ish so I’m so glad it’s over!

I had my exams so there was lots of procrastinating err… rather- late-night stuDYING. Mostly for my two toughest subjects- Microbiology and Statistics. I don’t know how I did but I’ll be forgetting all about it until grades are out hoping for the best. Anyway, I’m finally done with this school year’s first semester which means IT’S FINALLY SEMESTRAL BREAK FOR ME! WOOHOO!

After I finished my last exam last Friday, I catched up on sleep, TV and books! I was able to read Blood of Olympus and Greek Gods (my first two books of the month) over the weekend, as you probably saw from my updates on Twitter/Instagram (or not). I’m still reeling from the awesomeness! Braving the crazy (and super sudden that I seriously thought the Gods were thwarting my going to the bookstore) thunderstorm last Tuesday was worth it for being able to grab a copy of BoO on release day even though I didn’t get to read it right there and then. It kinda motivated me to get through the week.

Anyway, I have so much more catching up to do especially with blogging and design duties. I’ve neglected them for awhile since school was keeping me too busy but I’m totally back in the game now! I’m so looking forward to doing lots of productive things during my break. :)

How about you guys? How was your week?

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whatever life throws at you julie cross

Whatever Life Throws at You
by Julie Cross

Published October 7th 2014 by Entangled: Teen
Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review
From InkSlingerPR, for blog tour

Synopsis: 

Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas is too young to remember her dad’s glory days as a pitcher for the Yankees. So when her father is offered a coaching position with the Kansas City Royals, Annie is intrigued to see the baseball side of her dad. Of course, knowing he’ll be a mentor to hot young rookie pitcher, Jason Brody, certainly makes it more enticing.

After an awkward first meeting with “Brody” involving very little clothing and a much-too-personal locker room interview, Annie’s convinced she knows Brody’s type: arrogant, self-involved, bossy. As her dad grows closer to the pitching phenom, the friction between Brody and Annie increases. But when opening day arrives and it looks like both her dad and Brody may lose their dream jobs, Annie steps up and offers support. She and Brody call a truce that grows into friendship—and beyond. Falling for a rising star who’s quickly reaching a level that involves rabid female fans is not what Annie would call smart, except suddenly she’s getting hints that maybe this crush isn’t one-sided after all. Could someone like Brody actually fall for a girl like her?

Review:

Julie Cross, let me love youuuuu! No seriously, Julie writes awesome books and she charmed my pants off with her Mature YA Contemporary book, Letters To Nowhere, before and she’s done it yet again with her newest one, Whatever Life Throws At You.

“Life is funny sometimes… the worst possible things can get you to the best possible places.”

This author gets teenagers. She knows how they act, how they are, how they feel and she definitely knows how to write them. Reading Annie Lucas went smoothly and felt natural because she was realistic and believable that I could easily put myself in her shoes. In the story, she’s just moved to Missouri and is trying to accept the changes (not to mention responsibilities) that come with being the daughter of the newly-assigned pitching coach of the Kansas City Royals. That meant a new school, and new people to try and get along with- like the Royals’ sexy hottttt new rookie, Jason Brody. No one ever mentioned anything about falling in love. But like baseball, sometimes life throws you scary exciting circumstances when you least expect them.

“I want this… you and me… together.”

Annie was a great character, easy to like and root for. First and foremost, I just adored her relationship with her dad. It’s the best kind- supportive and loving. Aside from admiring her for being a wonderful, caring daughter (at least to her dad- god knows she dislikes her negligent mother and rightfully so), I enjoyed reading her stance on being a competitive runner. (Funny thing, I know another fictional Annie who’s also a runner, from Miranda Kenneally’s Breathe, Annie, Breathe.) I love how Julie incorporates sports in her books- she’s so fantastic at it. Baseball, of course, plays a major role here and while Annie sure doesn’t play the sport, we see how being a part of the magic (somehow) turns her world upside down. It was awesome getting an insider look on the life of people involved in the Major Leagues!

“I’m always thinking about you. No matter what.”

Speaking of- Jason Brody may be new to the Major Leagues himself, but the boy sure knows how throw a fastball. (And ravishing sweet words that will make any girl melt!!!!!!) Determined to keep his position in the Royals team, he works hard and does as he is told, like take hot models out to dates for publicity purposes. But in reality, the boy is simply trying his best to be a good person and to be free of his bad boy past. And that’s just one of things that makes him so swoony. No seriously, I can’t even begin to describe how perfect this fictional boy is. He’s so honest, respectful and did I say perfect yet? Also, expert kisser. There’s so many outstanding qualities to him and you’ll have to read Whatever Life Throws at You to find out. But for future reference, he’s my book boyfriend. Back off. (Kidding, we can share.)

“Just because I like you doesn’t mean you have to be with me. I’m still here in whatever form you want me.”

Anyway, the romance between Brody and Annie was just lovely and adorable to the nth level. I fell in love so many times I’m running out of fingers and toes to count. I loved how their relationship helped each of them to grow. Annie sometimes gets a little immature and bratty (a fact acknowledged in the book) so seeing her become more mature was nice. Back to the her relationship with Brody, I just loved how it flourished. There was friendship and trust between them and there was also that undeniable chemistry that just made things even more marvelously swoony.

“Anoche soñe contigo y esta mañana no me quiero despertar… me haces feliz… Me gustaria poder decirte lo que siento… Quiero decirte todos mis secretos…”

There’s so much more to say about how wonderful this book was and I might not have been able to do justice but know that I loved it, especially the way it portrayed family, love and life. Seriously, Whatever Life Throws At You was an amazing read- one I wish I could devour over and over and over. NOW GO READ IT.

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Giveaway:

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