Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu


An unlikely teenager starts a feminist revolution at a small-town Texan high school in the new novel from Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About Alice.

MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!

Vivan Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv's mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the '90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother's past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She's just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot!

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Erica☆☆☆☆☆
5 Empowered Stars.

Moxie is for every female who has ever heard 'get back in the kitchen' '...is good for a girl' 'smile!' In the year 2017, society shouldn't feel it's acceptable to respond to emotion with 'triggered!' All girls are conditioned to worry about their appearance, placing their worth on whether or not they are pleasing to someone's eye. How many times have you heard, 'treat her as you would your own daughter/sister/mother?' when speaking to a male who doesn't get the concept of respect, as if our worth as women is tied solely to another human being, as if we're 'owned.' How about 'treat her as a human being?'

Moxie is for the girls who are too scared to have a voice, as they witness those who speak up be called derogatory names. 'TRIGGERED!' Moxie is for the girls whose voice was silenced by shaming, bullying attacks. Moxie is for the girls who are so indoctrinated, they find validation by a boy 'choosing' them over another. Moxie is for the girls who refuse to acknowledge sexism exists, saying we're overreacting and to just let it go.

Moxie is for the boys who know better but still go along with the status quo, for those who speak up, and for those who find misogyny as a badge of honor, receiving all the benefits it offers.

I'm a 39-year-old feminist, raised in a rural town, with only 42 students in my high school graduating class. Moxie hit so close to home in so many ways, I was an emotional wreck while reading it. Sometimes the injustice felt is suffocating... and we always hear 'calm down.'

I applaud Jennifer Mathieu for writing a novel, with an unsure girl as the narrator, about a subject that is always in the news, yet simultaneously always swept under the carpet. Moxie is written with humor, yet it slowly devolves deeper into sexism, which evolves the reader in the passenger seat while girls experience injustice at the hands of their peers and those who should protect them.

I won't lie, I broke down bawling, almost a PTSD moment when the bra-snapping and groping occurred on the pages. When I was thirteen, my girlfriends tore my dress off my body in the middle of a packed cafeteria, taking me beneath the table as I tried to put myself to rights. Being in a school with seventh graders to seniors, where grown men groped me and I was a defenseless child (my 13-year-old boyfriend had to get his senior cousin to protect me, both humiliating to me and emasculating to him), where I had to speak to male teachers and nothing was ever resolved. Those events stick with a person for life, so why put our daughters and sisters through it now? The fact that this still happens 20+ years later, how we've yet to evolve, makes me sick.

We need to have a voice, not be divided and culled from the herd as we're pitted against one another to see who wins the prize. Women raise sons, teaching them how to treat other women, both by example and by how we allow other men to treat us. It starts with us, and we need to come together and uplift one another, not tear each other down, leaving us in a weakened state that is easy to be preyed upon.

Yes, this is a review of a novel. Yes, everything above is my social commentary. Yes, everything I just stated shows the evolution within the novel... without a single spoiler.

I highly recommend Moxie to anyone between the ages of tween and 'cruising the funeral home,' but especially for those who are on the fence, arguing that feminism isn't needed because it's 2017 and we're all equal.



Jennifer Mathieu is the author of Devoted, Afterward, and The Truth About Alice, the winner of the Children's Choice Book Awards' Teen Choice Debut Author Award. She teaches high school English in Texas, where she lives in the Houston area with her husband and son.

Connect with Jennifer

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https://us.macmillan.com


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu to read and review.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Fallen Heir by Erin Watt


These Royals will ruin you.

Easton Royal has it all: looks, money, intelligence. His goal in life is to have as much fun as possible. He never thinks about the consequences because he doesn’t have to.

Until Hartley Wright appears, shaking up his easy life. She’s the one girl who’s said no, despite being attracted to him. Easton can’t figure her out and that makes her all the more irresistible.

Hartley doesn’t want him. She says he needs to grow up.

She might be right.

Rivals. Rules. Regrets. For the first time in Easton’s life, wearing a Royal crown isn’t enough. He’s about to learn that the higher you start, the harder you fall.

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Book 4
Buy Links

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B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo





Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Jordan☆☆☆
Fallen Heir picks up with Ella and Easton finishing their senior year at Astor Park Prep, but entirely in Easton's point of view. I think this story flows best if you've read The Royals books #1-3, but it's not necessary if you want to skip straight to Fallen Heir. I was so excited to finally read Easton's story, but I'm left feeling slightly disappointed. Book #4 seemed to move so slowly and didn't quite live up to my high hopes for it. The story just kind of seemed to drag on and then abruptly end. Also, I wish it would've been in more than just Easton's point of view because I felt like it started to get a bit repetitive. Erin Watt's Fallen Heir just didn't draw me in and keep me interested the same way the previous books in The Royals series did.

Easton Royal has never worried about the consequences of his decisions until he meets Hartley Wright. She's the only girl to ever turn him down even though he knows she's attracted to him. However, Easton's determined to win her over.

This is the first time I haven't been completely wowed by Erin Watt and I for sure thought that I would adore reading Easton's story, but it just didn't do it for me. Nevertheless, I am excited to read what happens next for the Royal family!

3.5 stars for Fallen Heir by Erin Watt.


Erica☆☆☆
3.5 Cliffhanger Stars

In the past 24-hours, I've binge-read all four of The Royals titles. No doubt, I can attest to the continuity of how well the authors transitioned from Ella and Reed's narration to Easton's. I wanted to be inside the boy's head, and I'm not sure I got what I bargained for, to be quite honest.

No matter who is the narrator, Fallen Heir has the same frustratingly infectious quality that has the reader white-knuckling their Kindles, while furiously tapping the pages to see what happens next. This frustration always has my heart racing as I read, and I love a book that can do that to me.

Fallen Heir was a roller coaster of emotional extortion, running the gamut from heartbreak, to frustration and anger, to surprised laughter at Easton's banter and charm.

So why am I not 5-starring the book like I did Paper Princess?

Easton is all over the place, which I understand due to his ADHD, upbringing, and his tragic past. Easton is hurting, having lost his mother to suicide, feeling he is partially to blame, being the middle child who feels adrift from the rest of the family, and finding out his hero is actually a villain. Easton was difficult to read on many levels. I do applaud the authors on the authenticity of how Easton's mind functioned in chaos.

What I struggled with is the wash-repeat feel of the storyline... What was new and original in Paper Princess, and its two sequels, seems worn and tired in this new story arc.

*Rich, misunderstood bad boy as our hero.
*Poor, abandoned, intelligent, hard-working heroine.
*Love-Hate vibe (which I loved, but it felt forced in Fallen Heir vs fluid and natural in Paper Princess)
*Heroine's father is the adult villain of the story.
*The doe-eyed, doormat, spineless, begging ex who’s refusing to let go, thinking the guy is theirs even if they aren't together anymore (for longer than a year even, in both cases) and blames the guy because they broke up. Yet never seem to be bothered as their friends go after the guy. Honey, he doesn't want you – get over it. You cannot dictate whether or not someone likes you, and it's not a mark against your self-esteem if they don't. They're not a possession you can control – if they allow that, what's to like or want if they're that blank and weak?
*Gaggle of mean girls, one in which blackmails/extorts/annoys/bullies/overpowers everyone – adults and students alike, and everyone looks on and their only reactions are to wring their hands and blink.
*A brother/father/friend's girlfriend is actually 'evil' and using this loved one, but no one steps in and stops it. Just lets it unfold and exacerbate... "Not my business"... but it's gonna be.
*Our hero, allowing said mean girl to run herd on him for all of the story, making him look weak as he self-blames instead of just nipping it in the bud as it happens.
*Only the 'poor' girls are good, and the rich girls all want more money and status. All the men are pushovers who just let it happen, then fret as their world burns at their feet
*The real 'doer' never takes responsibility in the aftermath, while the hero ends up self-blaming as everyone else blames him too. (Everyone, even Ella, angry at Easton for shouting how the relationship was fake – it was. Easton was being honest for once, after he said NO multiple times. I don't believe in cause and effect. She does what she does, and only she does it. It's not Easton's fault if she doesn't like the humiliation of everyone finding out she was a liar – her premeditated actions in the aftermath are her fault, not Easton's. Just saying. I can't stand that mindset, and Ella bashing Easton over it, it made it feel as if Ella had a character trait lobotomy now that she's no longer narrating the story. "But did you apologize?" Excuse me, that girl is trying to mess with you and everyone you care about, Ella – have you lost your ever-loving mind, girlfriend? Where did logical, problem-fixer Ella go? She turned judgmental, instead of actually helping with the problem, and wrung her hands as their world burned at their feet.)
*Illogical actions/reactions.
*The mother of all cliffhangers times 2.

While I did enjoy the story, tried to empathize and sympathize with Easton as he torched his own life, the wash-repeat of similar storylines dropped the entertainment value for me. While the subtle nuances were different, the plot points were essentially the same.

The book was hyper-focused on Easton, with only cameos here and there, missing that 'gang' feel of family like the previous books, where they tackled the issues together and had each other's backs. After all Easton had done for Reed and Ella, Ella wasn't empathetic, nor helpful, but judgmental and completely not like Ella at all. Gee, how about a rehab, because we all know telling an addict no or guilt-tripping him isn't going to 'fix' the issue.

Fallen Heir just didn't work for me. Separately, I 'got' Easton, and I felt for Hartley, but together they didn't fit. It felt forced. There is zero romance or relationship building. When they do come together, it felt out of nowhere and out of context of the situations they were in and their surroundings.

Honestly, I think the book suffered due to the fact that it was a singular point of view from Easton's narration. The reader needed to 'hear' Hartley to connect with her, because she was so cold, reserved, closed-mouthed, refusing to give the simplest of answers or open up to Easton, we readers didn't get to 'know' Hartley at all. No connection. I'm not knocking her character traits (I'm a similar type of person) being so reserved, without her point-of-view, the reader had nothing to go on with Hartley – she was a stranger to us, less developed of all the characters, because at least they spoke freely to Easton so we (the reader) could get to know them too. Hartley was an enigma to readers, so why are we rooting for an Easton and Hartley pairing when we have nothing invested by Easton's bizarre obsession? The only time the reader connected with Hartley was through hearsay and eavesdropping on Easton's part.

After stating all that above, I do need to say I'd kill for the next in The Royals series. I wish I had it right now, because it ended in the mother of all cliffhangers (times 2), as the authors yet again emotionally extort the reader. I'm good with that – I thrive on the adrenaline rush as my heart races for what was revealed/happened in the ending. I just hope the storyline deviates from this point forward.

Young Adult age-range: 14+ due to mature content, bullying, alcohol abuse, violence, and adult language.





Erin Watt is the brainchild of two bestselling authors linked together through their love of great books and an addiction to writing. They share one creative imagination. Their greatest love (after their families and pets, of course)? Coming up with fun–and sometimes crazy–ideas. Their greatest fear? Breaking up.

Connect with Erin

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Fallen Heir (The Royals #4) by Erin Watt to read and review.