Book Review: Ever, Jessa Russo

Ever RussoGoodreads Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious.

Of course, it doesn’t help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.

Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.

Some girls lose their hearts to love.

Some girls lose their minds.

Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul

Review: I thought Ever was a very interesting book. The premise, of living with and being in love with a ghost, while still being young and wanting to have a life the way it’s meant to be, was an interesting one, and I love that Ever takes the paranormal thing and does something different than vampires and werewolves. That is quite welcome.

Ever, I’ll admit, is not my favorite MC. For a seventeen-year-old, she lacks many street smarts and seems determined to place herself into a narrow box and define herself in very specific parameters, and yet be swept away by the opinions of those around her. Whoever she is with at any given time dominates how she acts and what she wants out of life. However, I think some of her confusion and tendency to waffle on everything is a fair depiction of the discomfort in one’s own skin that can arise in the teenage years.

In terms of the writing, there were a couple of things I didn’t love, namely a massive amount of ellipses and italics. This is completely personal preference, but my brain is hyperaware of those things and insists on slowing down to respect the pause implies by ellipses and also insists on stressing anything in italics, which interrupted my ability to lose myself in the story. I also felt in some ways that the scenes were strung together to eventually reach a point, but that some of the events were just happening, one after another, without continuity. The first two thirds also felt a little bit slow for me, just in terms of my personal preference when it comes to pacing.

However, the final third is when things pick up steam and I started to get into the story. I loved some of the twists and turns the plot took at that point, I really enjoyed the very saucy Ariadne and her conniving, and I liked that the love triangle, which was well-balanced to begin with but delightfully strange because of Frankie’s being a ghost, becomes even more powerful. It will be interesting to see where the second book takes this plot line, especially given the cliffhanger ending.

Also, is that cover not glorious?!!

You can find Jessa on her website here or follow her on Twitter here.

*I received a free e-book of Ever from the author in exchange for this review*

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Top Ten Tuesday: Things I am Thankful For

You know, at first I thought about not doing a thankful list, because I thought that everyone does those and it might not be interesting. But why is that a bad thing? We should all be doing lists of things we’re thankful for, because we need more thankful in our lives. So here’s my list of things to be thankful for – hopefully they spark some for you.

1) Hope. Hope is the most powerful driving force in the human experience. Hope leads us to dare, hope leads us to love and believe we might be loved back, and hope sustains us.

2) Family. Mine is particularly close, as compared to some, and I am aware of this overwhelming blessing all the time. I never could have gotten to where I am without their support, in a variety of ways, and it is a joy to have people to share life with.

3) Friends. Both real life friendships I’ve had since childhood and all the wonderful people I’ve met on the Internet. You fill up my life with laughter and writerly commiserations, and my days would be dull without you.

4) My movement disorder. I’m not trying to be, I am. As much as it hurts, as often as it embarrasses me in public and interferes with my schedule of doing things, it has allowed me the opportunity of knowing who is in my life to stay and of connecting with people I might not otherwise know. And let me tell you, anytime I start getting a big head, I just wait until the next shake-rattle-roll episode and it brings me right back to where I should be again!

5) Sugar. Because for real, I have never come across a sweet thing I didn’t like. You should all keep that in mind, my friendship is easily bought with an array of delicious things.

6) Books and literacy. You can read this sentence here, and in that you have an advantage over massive portions of the world’s population, and for that you must realize how blessed you are. Books allow us to explore the human experience and to live a thousand lives we would otherwise not have access to. Literacy empowers us through knowledge and gives us the ability to share who we are and what we have seen.

7) Caffeine. I simply could not do everything I do now without a little extra energy boost each morning. If you follow me on Twitter, you know this is truer than true.

8) Warm fuzzies. Both the feelings – I love getting all squishy inside, like when I watch Pride and Prejudice and Darcy meets Elizabeth in the sunrise, or when I cuddle a baby close – and the items. Warm, soft blankets, comfy slippers, cozy gloves, fluffy pillows…ALL THE THINGS.

9) Seasons. As much as I hate being cold, I love the cycle of the seasons passing and the different emotions, flavors, and celebrations of each one.

10) Love. The unconditional kind, the kind that moves mountains and shakes the earth, the kind that takes your breath away. The love that sacrifices, the love that denies itself, the love that says, “No matter how far, no matter how hard, no matter how long. Always.”

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish. Hop over to their site to see more Top Ten Tuesday posts.

77,000 Words in 22 Days – A Retrospective

Assuming that you are all still here, and will forgive me for having dropped off the face of the earth, here’s why: I wrote a book this month.

As you know, I did NaNoWriMo, but what I didn’t mention before was that this month was an extra kick for me: I wanted to write not just 50k but enough to finish the book, and I wanted to have it done before I leave for my parents house on the 26th.

My friends, it has been done.

Despite working, despite three papers being due for grad school, despite registering for classes, going to my internship, finishing necessary readings, sitting in class all day on Saturdays, movement disorder flareups, and a weekend caregiving for my grandma after her surgery, it. is. done. And you know what else, on top of that? Of course it needs editing and tweaking, and some things added in that fell by the wayside from beginning to end, but it doesn’t suck. It really doesn’t.

Hopefully I don’t sound too braggy, because I don’t mean to be (read: if you want to be impressed I certainly won’t talk you out of it, but that’s not the purpose of telling you this).

The reason I’m telling you is because I don’t want you to sell yourself short. I want you to think of the greatest dream, the deepest wish, that you have inside of you, and then I want you to chase after it. Because what this month has taught me, more than anything else, is that things are possible.

Will you have reasons you can’t achieve? Yep. Will many of them be very legitimate things? Definitely. But can any of them hold you back if you muster up your drive, your ambition, your stubborn refusal to be held back, and all the force of your gifts and passions? No.

I won’t say if you dream it you can do it, because I know that’s not true. I can dream all I want to about becoming a sparkly flying unicorn and it just is not going to happen. But if you can dream it, you can work towards it. And if you don’t reach that ultimate goal, another one will come along in it’s place, and you will do more than you ever thought possible.

Believe, friends. You can do great things.