Friday, May 29, 2020

"Coral" by Sara Ella

About this book:

  “There is more than one way to drown.
  Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans—emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?
  Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at Fathoms—a new group therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?
  Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?
  When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin?
  Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved—yet tragic—fairy tale, Coral explores mental health from multiple perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.”

Series: No, a stand-alone.

Spiritual Content- Going to a memorial service at a church and a few mentions of the church, pastor, & prayers;
             *Note: Coral has always been told that mermaid do not have souls and turn to foam of the sea when they die; Mentions of fate, destinies, & the universe; A couple mentions of “thanking the stars” and “thank the universe” for something.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘BS’, a ‘crud’, a ‘gah’, a ‘give a rip’, an ‘idiot’, an ‘oh my word’, a ‘shut up’, a ‘sucker’, two ‘shoot’s, two ‘witch’s, and nine ‘stupid’s; Mentions of curses (said, not written, from Merrick); A possible curse is cut off (“what a load of—“); A mermaid curse (“urchins” used in place of an exclamation); Sarcasm & Eye rolling; There is a trigger warning at the beginning of the book about suicide, self-harm, emotional abuse, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and unwanted advances; This book discusses and has all of these elements in the story very often and our characters (and others) struggle with these thoughts (including minors); An almost suicide attempt (drowning, up to semi-detailed); Two deaths, injuries, & blood/bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Coming across someone after a suicide attempt & blood (up to semi-detailed); A mother leaves her family (up to semi-detailed); Merrick takes part in underage drinking (he says there is no such thing when you have his name); All about many mentions of suicide attempts, those that died by suicide, how, their thoughts, & scars/cuts (including minors and coming across them after the attempt, up to semi-detailed); Many, many mentions of blood/bleeding, injuries, pain, bleeding out, & lifeless bodies (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of Coral and her sisters drowning sailors; Mentions of jail & kidnapping; Mentions of Merrick believing his father emotionally abusing his mother and her sobs; Mentions of bullies; Mentions of nightmares; Mentions of drinking, underage drinking, & alcohol; Mentions of lies, lying, & liars; Mentions of tattoos; A few mentions of partying; A few mentions of jealousy; A few mentions of gossip; A mention of a death in a car accident; A mention of a car accident & drunk driver; A mention of throwing up; A mention of profanity;
             *Note: Mentions of celebrities & stores; A few mentions of car brands; Mentions of the Harry Potter series, books, & authors; Mentions of a TV show & characters; A few mentions of brand names; A mention of Girl Scouts.

Sexual Content- a jaw kiss, two cheek kisses, an almost kiss, two semi-detailed kisses, two boarder-line semi-detailed // detailed kisses, and a make-out/touching session (heavy and possibly more than just kisses, up to semi-detailed); Touches, Embraces, Hand holding, Noticing, & Nearness (up to semi-detailed); Blushes; Merrick looks over a girl (and thinks that she shows “enough skin to make his pulse pound but hid the rest, leaving him to wonder…” He does have the decency to fuss at himself for such thoughts, but does find himself looking at her legs and short skirt a few more times; They later make-out and touch each other even though Merrick says his heart wasn’t in it); A merman tries to grab Coral & looks her up and down (she feels uncomfortable and tries to stay away from him); Brooke recalls when a man cornered and touched her; A few comments between Merrick and a friend about a girl’s legs and kissing abilities; A ‘hot’; Mentions of kissing & kisses; Mentions of seeing a couple cuddling and kissing; Mentions of relationships, liking someone, & dates; A few mentions of Merrick making a move on girls; A couple mentions of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy; A couple mentions of a creeper & someone who says he is not a creeper; A mention of a player having experience with pregnant girls showing up on his door step; A mention of a fling; A mention of someone not knowing their biological father; A mention of physical attraction; Some love, falling in love, & the emotions;
             *Note: Mentions of (hints about) an eating disorder; A few mentions of a mother dying in childbirth (Coral is reminded that she mother died because of her and feels guilt); A few mentions of miscarriages; A couple mentions of bikinis & whistling; A mention of pregnancy hormones; A mention of PMS & tampons; A mention of girls wearing revealing clothes; A mention of behind kissing.

-Coral Atlantica, age 15-16
-Brooke, age 17
-Merrick, age 18
                                P.O.V. switches between them (in 1st & 3rd person)
                                                        370 pages

Pre Teens-

New Teens-

Early High School Teens-

Older High School Teens-

My personal Rating-

{{ Major trigger warnings to those sensitive to suicide, self-harm, emotional abuse, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and unwanted advances. }}
{{ Ratings are for content, please decide for yourself on what content/topics you are okay with. }}
I knew this book was a Little Mermaid retelling (though, perhaps, reimagined would be best like the author said) and dealt with mental health. I can not put into words how thrilled I am that the author and publisher included a trigger warning at the beginning of the book. That is what I want to see in every book published.
This isn’t an easy read. So much is discussed and happens in this book that hurts my heart in so many ways. The thoughts and actions of these characters are all too real and familiar to so many people.
I could comment on aspects I didn’t like (Merrick and Nikki’s heavy make-out scene and his comments), how some characters changed in a blink of an eye, or that I’m still confused by the timeline of this story. I am glad everything got revealed around the time it did. If it had been closer to the end of the story, I think I would have ended the book very puzzled about who was who, but thanks to the continuation, I was able to (somewhat) get it all straight.
My major disappointment, though, comes from the lack faith and Christian content. I was expecting witnessing, prayers, and talking to God about your emotions, but there wasn’t anything of the sort. This may have been a misunderstanding on my part—since it was published by a Christian publisher—but I’ll assume that it was this way in hopes to get a larger audience to try out this book.   
For a clean fiction book discussing and having mental health as it’s main topic, it did a good job. It’s so very important to know that everyone is going through something that you may not see. Kindness goes a long way.

If you would like to talk to someone, please don’t hesitate to seek help and reach out. Click here for a list of international hotlines that you can call, and if you can’t find your country listed, please call your local emergency number.

See y’all on Friday with a new review!

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.

Monday, May 25, 2020

"Meg Follows a Dream" by Norma Jean Lutz

About this book:

  “Why doesn’t anyone understand Med Buehler?
Twelve-year-old Meg Buehler loves to draw—and she’s very good at it. But her family just can’t understand why she pours herself into her art.
Meg’s ten-year-old brother, Fred, thinks her drawings are silly. He’s much more concerned with politics—especially the growing national issue of slavery. Now that’s something Mag can’t understand. Will her family ever realize that Meg’s pursuing a dream of her heart? Will she be able to stand up for herself and use the gifts God gave her?”

Series: Book #11 in the “Sisters in Time” series. Click on the numbers to be taken to that review:
#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, & #10.

Spiritual Content- A few Scriptures are mentioned; Talks about God, Jesus, & being who God made you to be; ‘H’s are capitalized when referring to God; Mentions of God, Jesus, & forgiveness; Mentions of prayers & praying; Mentions of churches, church going, sermons, & preachers; A couple mentions of reading Scriptures.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘blasted’; Meg is attacked by a hen & is bleeding (barely-above-not-detailed); Meg’s brother is teases her meanly (and often), comments that he won’t listen to her, & also says he won’t do “woman’s work”; Meg’s siblings lock her outside in the cold & she gets injured (barely-above-not-detailed); Many mentions of being teased & bullies; Mentions of slavery & slaves; Mentions of blood/bleeding; Mentions of fighting, punching those teasing others, & injuries; A few mentions of deaths from cholera & yellow fever; A few mentions of violence; A few mentions of hatred; A few mentions of lies & lying; A few mentions of slaughterhouses & meatpacking plants; A couple mentions of boiler explosions; A couple mentions of beer & drinking; A mention of animal manure; A mention of cigar smoke.

Sexual Content- Mentions of a beautiful/handsome young man (from Meg’s eyes); A couple mentions of blushes.

-Margaret “Meg” Buehler, age 12
                                P.O.V. of Meg
                                            Set in 1844
                                                    142 pages

Pre Teens-
New Teens-
Early High School Teens-
Older High School Teens-
My personal Rating-
This one was…different. Sure, there’s the character teasing our main girl, but no one has been as mean as her younger brother, Fred, was in this one compared to past books in the series. I have to comment on that fact that Fred made me so mad! He was such a little brat! I wished that all would have worked out better, but because of the rushed ending, it seemed skimmed over for a plot point that was throughout the rest of the book.

See y’all on Friday with a new review!

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.