Author Archives: Kanriah

About Kanriah

Awkward. Curious. Hopeful.

Rules for 50/50 Chances – Kate McGovern

Rules for 50/50 Chances
By: Kate McGovern
Available November 2015

Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she’s going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test that will tell her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother. With a fifty-fifty shot at inheriting her family’s genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she’ll live to be a healthy adult—including going to ballet school and the possibility of falling in love. But when she meets a boy from a similarly flawed genetic pool, and gets an audition for a dance scholarship in California, Rose begins to question her carefully-laid rules.

This Blonde’s Review:
Rose’s mother has Huntington’s disease. She watches her mother’s disease slowly take away the woman she used to be. Rose knows that since her mother has the disease she has a 50/50 chance of having it as well. Because of this Rose lives her life afraid of what it could mean for her. Why should she plan for a future in dance if she may get the shakes so bad she can barely take care of herself?

When she meets Caleb she finally meets someone who understands what it means to come from a genetically flawed family. The biggest difference is how they live their lives, though she believes that he is able to live life without all of the rules since he knows he won’t get the same disease his mother and sisters have. Caleb cares about Rose and wants to have her in his life, he wants to love her and make plans with her. Rose’s rules keep her from being able to let go enough to let herself love him.

When Rose finds out she can take the test to see if she will get Huntington’s and starts to struggle with her life choices more than before. She doesn’t want to allow herself to dream of going to school for dance without the test. Rose finds herself pushing people away and has to make some life decisions. If she knows she’ll get the disease she’ll never get the time back, she’ll always live as though she already has it. She may choose not to let herself love or dream. She has to decide if she’d rather know or rather give herself a chance to live in the moment and dream.

When life turns into a roller coaster it can feel natural to hold on tight to the things you can control. To let fear lead the way is a common reaction. I can certainly understand and relate to it. I love that Caleb was the opposite and challenged Rose to live without letting the fear take over. He had his own struggles but was willing to love Rose if she’d let him.

This was a great book. I can’t imagine living with that kind of uncertainty over my head and don’t know how I’d deal with it. I do know that I enjoy stories with characters who have to figure out what is right for them. There is no wrong answer when it comes to deciding if you would like to know if you could get sick someday or not. It is a personal decision. Seeing Rose attempt to navigate that path without alienating the people around her was a good story and can certainly make you think.

If you enjoy books where the characters have to determine what the best path for them would be, and then watch them try to pick up the pieces of things that got broken on their way to that answer, then you’ll want to read this one.


Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Book Review


The Anatomical Shape of a Heart – Jenn Bennett

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart
By: Jenn Bennett
Available November 2014

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?

This Blonde’s Review:
Beatrix wants access to cadavers to practice drawing real body parts. She believes seeing the real parts and organs will give her a better understanding of how they look over looking at pictures and drawings by others. When the person she needs to talk to about the program stands her up and she misses the last train she has to take a midnight us. That’s where she meets the mysterious Jack.

Jack has secrets, she doesn’t know much about him but she finds him intriguing. As she gets to know him she can’t help but fall for him too. As they learn more about each other they realize that there is baggage on both sides that can make a relationship difficult.

I loved getting to know Beatrix and Jack. They’re great characters that have to figure out how to deal with the issues in their families and juggle getting to know each other. I thought it was great that things weren’t quite what they seem for either of their families. They had plenty to learn about each other and themselves.

I have to say that I loved the description of the art she used for her scholarship submission. It sounded interesting and like something I would have liked to see. I loved the way her art was able to open things up for people around her.

If you enjoy a book about characters struggling to find themselves and deal with family issues while getting to know themselves you’ll enjoy this one.

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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Book Review


Those Girls – Lauren Saft

Those Girls
By: Lauren Saft
Available Now

Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can’t help but stab you in it.

Junior year, the suburbs of Philadelphia. Alex, Mollie and Veronica are those girls: they’re the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them–and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band–without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend, as well as a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved–literally, figuratively, physically….she’s not particular. Will this be the year that bonds them forever….or tears them apart for good? 

This Blonde’s Review:
Some books you keep reading hoping it’ll redeem itself. I hoped these ridiculous, unkind, and shallow girls would have a reckoning thar would bring it all around and I could find something to like. Sadly that was not the case and I found myself disappointed.

We aren’t supposed to love the things these girls represent. They’re supposed to be shallow, make bad choices, & not understand what true friendship is. It’s right there in the first line of the description. We can expect that. This was the kind of book where I loved some of the male secondary characters that we didn’t see enough of much more than I cared for any of our main characters. The girls had issues but anytime they got close to redeeming themselves they stepped back. And the big moment learning moment was diluted and turned into yet another bad choice.

In all honesty I’m rather upset with the way this one turned out. The things they did barely got a slap on the wrist, even from the one who was wronged. And the only one who sees how wrong it is and recognizes the need to take some time is one of the few characters I liked and didn’t need to learn that lesson.

If you want to read this book please know that these are flawed characters, but that these aren’t characters who feel the full brunt of their mistakes. It’s like watching a train wreck and knowing the ones who cause it don’t learn much from their mistakes. Most find that too frustrating to endure, but others like to see what happens anyway. I try hard to find positives but unfortunately my positives were the boys who were essentially collateral damage.

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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Book Review


The Heartbreakers – Ali Novak

The Heartbreakers
By: Ali Novak
The Heartbreakers Chronicles – Book 1
Available August 2015

“When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. Unbeknownst to him, I was the only girl in the world who hated his music.”

Since Cara’s health has been deteriorating, all Stella Walter can think about is trying to cheer her sister up. Her life revolves around Cara to the point where Stella drops out of one of the country’s top photography programs so she can spend what little time she has left with her sick sister. 

With Cara’s birthday around the corner, Stella wants to get her the perfect gift. An autographed poster of her sister’s favorite boy band should do the trick. Sounds simple enough, right? But life isn’t always so easy. 

Not only does Stella hate The Heartbreakers because of their terrible music, but when she realizes that the cute boy she met at Starbucks is really Oliver Perry, the lead singer of the band, her life seems to spin out of control… 

Will Stella be able to swallow her pride and get the autograph that she so desperately needs to make Cara happy? And will Oliver be able to show Stella how to live her own life again? 

Meet… The Heartbreakers.

This Blonde’s Review:
Stella is the kind of character I couldn’t help but love. She meets a boy in a Starbucks and doesn’t know who he is. When she finds out he’s one of the members of her sister’s favorite band, a band that she stood in line for hours to see without getting an autograph. When they see each other again she doesn’t treat them like famous people, she treats them like the rude boys she thinks they are. From there surprising friendships form that lead to a photography job for Stella that also gives her the opportunity to spend more time with the guys. I couldn’t help but love her passion for photography and dedication to her family.

I also loved the boys in the band. Each of the guys had something to recommend them. From the fun pranks of some to the quiet support of others, they were all great characters that I lived getting to see. I hope to see these boys again and get to know them better. In this book we get to see Oliver, and we get to see how great he is for Stella.

Stella and Oliver each had things in their lives that seemed insurmountable. The thing they had to learn is something we can all relate to, when we discover our fear is what really holds us back. The things others demand of us & the obligations we commit to in others’ names are second to our own fears of loss of the things we hold as important. Encouraging each other past their fears was exactly what I like to see.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved Stella, her family, Oliver, and the rest of the Heartbreakers. The way every one of them built each other up was so great.

If you enjoy books about girls who fall for boys despite their fame not because of it you’ll enjoy this. If you enjoy boys who overcome their baggage thanks to a girl opening their eyes to all they’re missing, you’ll enjoy this.

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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in Around The World Tours, Book Review


The One Thing – Marci Lyn Curtis

The One Thing
By: Marci Lyn Curtis
Available Sept 2015


Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met.Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future…before she loses everything she has grown to love.

This Blonde’s Review:
I should start off by saying I really enjoyed this book, staying up way later than I should have to finish it. Maggie had her life changed forever when she lost her sight. She can no longer do the things that were most important to her so isn’t interested in trying to do any more than she has to. When she finds someone she can see the only thing that matters is trying to extend the sight past this one person.

I can sympathize with Maggie’s struggles and her unwillingness to let anyone else in. She shut her friends out and wasn’t looking for others. Ben didn’t just give her a limited range of sight, he also opened her eyes to other things.

Ben is amazing. He may only be 10, and Maggie may have started hanging out with him for the sake of her limited sight, but he’s the best character in the book. I loved him and admittedly wanted to cry a little over certain parts of the book. His brother Mason is the puzzle to figure out, the kind of guy you might not think was worth it except for how great he is to Ben. Of course he also happens to be the lead singer for Maggie’s favorite band. She has enough pride not to ask him to share anything about their shows, considering the way he acts with her.

We don’t come away from this book with all the answers. We don’t know why things happened the way they did, but I enjoyed the story enough that I don’t need all the answers. We rarely get them all in life, so why not leave a few unanswered. What I loved were the lessons Maggie learned and the ways her life grew when she gave herself the chance to see that there was life beyond sight.

If you enjoy books with characters who are learning how to live their life after something out of their control changes everything then you should give this one a chance.

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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Around The World Tours, Book Review


A Wicked Thing – Rhiannon Thomas

A Wicked Thing
By: Rhiannon Thomas
Available February 2015

Rhiannon Thomas’s dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.

This Blonde’s Review:
This story is another retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but this one is different than another that I’ve read before. In this one Sleeping Beauty has been asleep and kept as a political piece. Princes have been going to kiss her each year in all of the years she’s been asleep. Everyone she has ever known is dead and when she wakes they expect her to play the mild little princess.

Aurora is more than the sleeping beauty that stories have been told about. She has a fire inside of her, strength, intelligence, and independence. She sees the way the kingdom is being run and she doesn’t agree. She’s not sure how to stand up to it, but she knows that the other options she’s seen aren’t good either. So she waits and doesn’t do anything. She’s pressured by a boy in the resistance, by the queen, by a visiting prince, even by the witch that cursed her.

Seeing Aurora turn from the weak girl who silently followed directions into the girl who discovered and accepted the magic inside of her was great. I’m not sure how I feel about the decision she made, but when people want to use you sometimes the best thing you can do is stop letting them. I really liked her prince as well, even if he was too young to be able to fully stand and be the good man that you can tell. It was a good thing to see even if he wasn’t able to stand up yet because it gives you hope for the future since he was the one truly good thing.

If you like reading retellings of fairy tales that have a different sort of ending then you’ll enjoy this one. This isn’t about a girl waking up and falling in love with a stranger who kissed her awake. This is a book about a girl waking up and trying to decide the best way to take care of her kingdom.

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Posted by on December 14, 2014 in Around The World Tours, Book Review


The Vault of Dreamers – Caragh M O’Brien

The Vault of Dreamers
By: Caragh M O’Brien
Available Sept 2014

From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.
The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success:  every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

This Blonde’s Review:
We meet Rosie when she is already at the Forge School and already breaking the rules. We learn about her slowly, but mostly we learn about the way that she doesn’t feel comfortable there while at the same time doesn’t want to leave. So we get to meet her as we see her trying to decide how to deal with the idea of leaving. She’s giving up and doesn’t see a possible way to stay when she meets a guy who gives her tips on how to stay. And when she stops trying and starts to just enjoy herself and get to know people then she works her way up to meet the cut. After that is when things really start to happen.

Rosie goes from being an unknown to still being the girl in last place. Of the 50 students left she is number 50. But somehow she made some friends out of the deal and she got a boyfriend. Somehow her life is going well, or so it seems. But something doesn’t seem right at the Forge School. While Rosie is awake at night she notices things happening that aren’t talked about. There are girls given IVs, being taken from their room for hours at a time, and even though it’s grounds for expulsion someone knows Rosie has been out of her bed and hasn’t said a word. She is determined to find out why.

The whole thing was interesting. Who could she trust and how much of what she thought was happening was real. Was she imagining things, and did she people she have her trust and suspicions of the right people. The thing that really amazed me was how it all ended. I was so sure of what was happening, but then the author threw in ways for me to doubt everything. Once you doubt what you know and believe you also doubt the people you know and believe in, which creates a spiral. Soon Rosie has to decide if she can trust anyone at all or if she’ll isolate herself.

The end of this one surprised me in multiple ways. At first I thought that meant there would be a followup, but then something that happened at the very last made me think that there wasn’t. And it made me want the book to continue even more. I like when books end in unexpected ways, so I liked that it didn’t wrap up in the kind of bow that I was anticipating, but I really wanted to know more about several different aspects. So Many Questions! I didn’t see mention of this being part of a series when I looked at it on Goodreads, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

If you like books about schools with conspiracies and the students who want to find the answers then you’ll want to read about whether Rosie is able to show the world the truth about this the Forge School.

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Posted by on June 22, 2014 in Around The World Tours, Book Review