Mini Reviews

Where have I been?? It’s been 2 months since my last post, and I’ve missed blogging! But I have good reasons for taking a hiatus. April was an emotionally exhausting month that I still haven’t completely recovered from, and I’ve spent most of May reading, which really makes up for my reading drought in March and April. I feel like I can breathe again now that I keep flying through book after book.

So here are some mini reviews for the Young Adult books I’ve read over the past few months:

PS I Like YouP.S. I Like You by Kasie West – A modern Young Adult adaptation of You’ve Got Mail. This book really surprised me, mainly because Kasie West is a hit or miss author for me. I’ve previously read The Distance Between Us (did not finish) and The Fill-In Boyfriend (which I enjoyed and previously blogged about). P.S. I Like You was exactly what I needed to read this month. April was brutal and YA contemporary romances have been comforting to me. P.S. I Like You was adorably cute with themes of friendship, misunderstandings, and second chances.
My Rating: ♥♥♥

Everything EverythingEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I had been wanting to read this before the movie comes out later this year, and the premise was very promising: a girl who can’t go outside because she may die falls in love with the boy next door. I’ve always been a sucker for tragic romances, so it was easy for me to get into this book. The writing is sentimental and gripping. It also includes email exchanges between the two main characters, and I love when books incorporate modern communication technologies. Everything, Everything has a twist at the end that I did not see coming, and honestly I’m still trying to come to terms with it weeks later.
I think the film will be true to the book, and I’m happy with the actors they’ve chosen. Also, the soundtrack will probably be phenomenal, based on the trailers I’ve seen.
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥ (3.5 if I’m being honest)

The Start of Me and YouThe Start of Me and You by Emery Lord – This book should really have its own post, because Emery Lord is a genius who can make you laugh and cry every other chapter. I fell in love with Open Road Summer and I still listen to the playlist I made while reading it. The Start of Me and You was different but still emotionally gripping. I love how Emery Lord incorporates mental health and healing into her books. The main character in The Start of Me and You is struggling with grief, fear, and moving on, and her journey inspired me a lot since I’ve been dealing with those same things recently. Also, there’s an adorably dorky romance in this story, and it’ll make your heart smile.
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline – My husband and I flew through Armada a few months ago, and we were so excited when our Ready Player One hold became available at the library. Ready Player One is fully laden with video game and nerd references. 95% of the video game references and allusions went straight over my head, but I still enjoyed the story. It’s hard not to compare this novel with Armada, and I’d have to say that I preferred Zack’s character over Wade’s.
One thing about Ready Player One that did fascinate me, though, is the idea of internet anonymity. As it is in real life, the characters were able to be whomever they wanted to be, while hiding, enhancing, or even creating certain traits and behaviors. It’s interesting how the internet allows users to be confident and honest about who they are and yet most people hide behind a mask (or in Ready Player One’s case, an OASIS avatar) while communicating with people they will probably never meet in real life.
My one problem with Ready Player One is how critical Ernest Cline is of religion (and I say Ernest Cline because, even though it’s Wade narrating, it is painfully obvious how much Cline hates religion). As a reader and a Christian, I felt disrespected, as if the author was jumping through the pages to yell at me).
Steven Spielberg is working on the film adaptation coming out next year, and I am anxiously awaiting to see how that turns out! The story’s villain is played by Ben Mendelsohn, who played Orson Krennic in Rogue One (I’m sure he’s a great guy in real life, but he plays villains so well that I hate the character of Sorrento even more knowing that Mendelsohn is playing him).
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

This week I also finished Every Last Word, a YA novel by Tamara Ireland Stone that features a main character with OCD. It was really resonant, and I’m looking forward to getting a review up soon! I have lots of thoughts to muddle through.

In the mean time, what are some 2017 releases that should be on my To Be Read list?

 

End of the Year Bookish Survey

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Number Of Books You Read: 48
Number of Re-Reads: 6
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult (26)best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2015? Not including rereads (which rules out Harry Potter and Persuasion), I’d have to say The Martian.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Legend by Marie Lu. I really didn’t connect with this book at all.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2015? I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith since her books tend to be hits or misses for me.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2015? Either The Martian or The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.

5. Best series you started in 2015? I finally started The Lunar Chronicles (still waiting to read Winter)!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015? Emery Lord!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I don’t typically read those types of supernatural novels, so I was surprised at how quickly I got into this one.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? It’s not action-packed, but the book I had the hardest time putting down was Me Before You.

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? Persuasion or Open Road Summer.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015? I really love this new edition of Anne of Avonlea.

11. Most memorable character of 2015? Mark Watney from The Martian.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015? Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015? Again, Me Before You.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? Cinder by Marissa Meyer or The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015? “You’re stronger than you believe. Don’t let your fear own you. Own yourself.” – The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I read this book early in the year and this quote stuck with me for a few months. I would recite it to myself whenever I was going through a scary or challenging situation.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015? Shortest: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde; Longest: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most: Me Before You.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR: Aidan and Clare from Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between ALTHOUGH Matt and Reagan from Open Road Summer are also up there!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year: John Worthing and Algernon Montcrieff’s brotherly jests and rivalry in The Importance of Being Earnest was really fun to read.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (previously read North and South).

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: The Martian! I read so many good reviews last year and in 2014 that this quickly became a Must-Read for me.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015? Probably Thorne from Cress. He’s like a cross between Flynn Rider and Han Solo <3

23. Best 2015 debut you read? I didn’t read any 2015 debuts (I don’t usually read debuts until at least a year later, like Open Road Summer for example).

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? Probably the futuristic sci-fi world in The Lunar Chronicles.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? Open Road Summer by Emery Lord.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014? I cried about three times during the last few chapters of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014? The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman was pretty unique.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I didn’t like this book, even though I know it’s a classic sci-fi novel that a lot of readers enjoy. I enjoyed the world building and some of the more action-packed chapters, but I felt like this book would never end and maybe it was the narrator (I listened to the audiobook version), but by the end I was so annoyed and ready to be done with Ender’s Game.

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? I made a new online friend this year whom I was actually able to meet a few months ago! I really enjoy reading Alise’s reviews on Read.Write.Repeat and I’m so happy to be friends with another NC blogger :)

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? Probably my review for Wives and Daughters because it includes a clip of the ending to the miniseries :)

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? Where I’ve Been, where I discussed depression and pregnancy. It was a post that took me months to contemplate and write, but it meant so much to receive support and encouragement from my friends and readers.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? The Broke and the Bookish’s Annual Secret Santa event is one of my favorite bookish events!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014? Getting over my months-long reading slump. I went THREE MONTHS without reading a book or writing a review. It was one of the most depressing times of my life, and it’s mostly attributed to early pregnancy hormones.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters I’d Want With Me On a Desert Island

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? This post about Classic Alice, a literary-inspired web series.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? Fandom bookmarks and jewelry! This year I’m also contemplating signing up for an OwlCrate or Fandom of the Month Club subscription.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? I didn’t set any reading challenges for 2015, but I was able to read almost 50 books, which is impressive considering I went through a 3-month reading drought.

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016? I just started reading Winter by Marissa Meyer so I can finally finish The Lunar Chronicles series.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)? The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson.

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? I think Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira. It’s been on my To-Read list for a couple of months now.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016? Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016? Read and review all the ARCs that have been piling up on my Kindle. It’s a weight on my shoulders and I feel like I can’t enjoy books that I’ve purchased until I review the ones I needed to last year.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone: I haven’t read any 2016 releases yet! Any recommendations for me?

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Reads of 2015

toptentuesday

2015 is almost over and that means it’s time for me to reflect on all the wonderful books I’ve read this year! I’ll probably have another post up in a couple of weeks highlighting all my bookish thoughts from the year, but for now let me leave you with the best books I read over the past 12 months! These are all 5-star reads for me :)

Top Ten Reads of 2015

earnest

“A trivial comedy for serious people.” The Importance of Being Earnest is an absolute joy to watch/listen to/read (it’s a play though, so the best way to experience it is out loud). The characters are charming, witty, and hilarious. I chuckled and smiled to myself so many times while listening to a performance of this Oscar Wilde play.

mara dyer

This is one of those novels that kept me up at night because I HAD to know what happened next. Parts of Mara Dyer’s story are creepy, other parts are really suspenseful, and the characters are funny and interesting and blushingly romantic (Hello, Noah!). I loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer so much I bought a copy for myself right after returning the library version I had checked out.

Jurassic Park

Do-do-do-do-dooo. I’m a 90s kid so of course I love Jurassic Park (the film). I wanted to be Alan Grant when I grew up. I finally read the book this past summer and wow! Despite the heavy scientific and theoretical language, I flew through it. The story was altered a bit for the screen, but the underlying themes remain and the characters are relatively the same (except for John Hammond, who is not a lovable grandfather figure in the book).

Wives and Daughters

The only disappointing thing about Wives and Daughters is that Elizabeth Gaskell passed away before she could finish writing it! There were probably only a few chapters missing, so most of the story is there and it’s very enjoyable. We just have to imagine for ourself how the happy ending would have played out.

Cress

I finally read The Lunar Chronicles series this year (except for the final book, Winter, because I’m still on the hold list at the library) and Cress, although not my favorite character, is my favorite of the series so far. I loved following all of the characters, especially Thorne because he’s like Han Solo meets Flynn Rider so of course I loved him. There was also a lot of action and things happening in the novel that made it really fun for me to read right after having my son.

Me Before You

So many tears! But also, lots of smiles and happy feelings. Me Before You kind of wrecked me. It deals with sensitive subject matter that I won’t talk about here because of spoilers, but I wouldn’t recommend it to all readers. I decided to read it after finding out a movie is being made with Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke. Now I don’t know if I want to even see the movie because I’m not sure if I can handle all those heart wrenching feelings again.

Persuasion

This is the only reread on this list. I also reread Sense and Sensibility and the first three Harry Potter novels (all of which are 5-star reads for me), but Persuasion is rather dear to my heart. It’s not my favorite Austen novel (Pride and Prejudice is hard to beat, although Persuasion comes very close), but Anne Elliot is my favorite Austen heroine and who doesn’t love Captain Wentworth?

The Martian

I can’t rave enough about The Martian. The movie was great and the actors were all perfectly casted, but it’s still not as phenomenal as the book. Andy Weir’s writing style just blew me away. Anyone who can write 3/4 of a book in journal format and still make it a laugh-out-loud page turner definitely deserves all the praise. This novel is Macgyver meets Castaway on Mars and it’s hilarious.

openroadsummer

Swooooon. This is without doubt the most romantic book I read this year, but it will also make you want to hug your BFF and forgive the last person you had a fight with. I loved how real all the characters seemed; they all had issues, especially Reagan, and it was easy to find something to relate to. I only wish I had read Open Road Summer sooner!

Hello Goodbye

just finished Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between a couple of days ago and I am still dying to write a review. I was incredibly surprised by how much I loved this book. It started out cute but the premise of Aidan and Clare thinking about breaking up just because they were going to different colleges didn’t quite make sense to me until the end, and by that point I had already cried a few times (and anytime a book makes me feel something that much, I always give it 5-stars!).

What were your favorite reads from this year?

November Highlights!

I cannot believe it’s already December. Back when I was pregnant I felt like the year was dragging on but now I’m feeling like I just wrote my post about October and now the year is a few short weeks from being over. Thinking back to where I was a year ago, I can’t believe so much has happened in just twelve months!

November was my first full month as a new mom. It’s been hard. Babies are a lot of work, in case no one has ever told you. Even if you have been told before, you won’t believe it until you actually have your own infant attached to you for what feels like every hour of the day. But that’s ok, babies still bring you so much joy even while they’re sucking out all your energy (the sleep deprivation has made me a  little sarcastic lately…).

Anyway: highlights!

I read 5 books (and DNF 1)

Trouble With Destiny openroadsummer Me Before You The Truth About Forever LifeIntended

Most Popular Post:

October Highlights
Ever After’s Château de Hautefort (I can’t wait to go back one day!)

What I Watched:

BrooklynNineNine

Yeah, we binged watch this whole show between the last week of October and the end of November. After all the stress from having a baby and Thanksgiving and family visiting, this was the perfect way to relax and have a few (actually, a lot of) laughs.

Favorite character? Probably Terry, although Boyle is hilarious and I really love Jake, too.

What I Listened To:

James Morrison.jpg

I started listening to a James Morrison station on iTunes Radio last month and it’s pretty much all I listen to nowadays. Probably because his songs are relaxing and they actually went really well with the books I was reading last month.

Highlights:

  • Killian’s 1 Monthiversary! – I can’t believe my little sweet cheeks is already a month old (technically he’s 6 weeks now).
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  • Thanksgiving – We had an interesting Thanksgiving week. Killian was sick and we ended up having to postpone our actual Thanksgiving meal until Saturday. But my parents and both of my siblings were here with us so it was fun having family time :)
  • Reading some quality books – I read some books that made me cry from laughing and others that made me cry so hard it was more like sobbing (I’m looking at you, Me Before You). But I only read one book that I didn’t like, and I didn’t finish it because I just don’t have time for books I’m not into!
  • Decorating for Christmas! – We have to take down our tree before we go to France for 2 weeks (fire hazard), so we were anxious to get it up as soon as we could after Thanksgiving. We finally got to break out the Christmas ornaments we used for our wedding decorations 4 years ago, but most of our ornaments ended up being Hallmark ones that my mom and sister gift us in bulk every year. We love them :)
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Looking Forward in December:

  • The Broke and Bookish’s Annual Secret Santa Event!! – I’ve purchased just about everything for my Secret Santa, I just need to run to Target and buy some chocolately goodies. I’m really excited to find out who my own Secret Santa is!
  • GOING TO FRANCE FOR CHRISTMAS! – It’s been about 16 months since we left France, and 3 years since we’ve had Christmas in France! Yeah, it’ll be hard flying with a newborn, but the fondue and raclette and family time will be totally worth it. Plus, my sister-in-law just had a baby this week so I have a new niece to meet!
  • Seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 3 years ago we find out that the newest Star Wars movie is being released on our 4th wedding anniversary, so Matt decided a long time ago what we would be doing to celebrate. I’m nervous about having someone watch Killian for those few hours, though. It’s too soon to leave him!

Who else is excited about Star Wars?? I’ve already decided I like Kylo Ren, even though he’s on the Dark Side and we don’t know anything about him. The mystery makes him cooler :)

Soundtrack Saturday: Open Road Summer

openroadsummer

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.

Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

Last week I finally got around to reading this debut novel by Emery Lord and I honestly don’t know what took me so long because it was fantastic! I loved how perfectly imperfect the characters were, each one coming from some broken background or situation. Reagan was so easy to relate to, and even during the few scenes where she did something stupid or petty, I couldn’t get mad at her because I realized I’ve behaved similarly before.

The friendship in Open Road Summer is so heartwarming! Lilah and Reagan’s relationship reminded me so much of my high school BFF (side note: it also calls to mind Emily and Sloane’s friendship in Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone, another fantastic read).

And the romance is truly swoon-worthy <3

Since Open Road Summer revolves heavily around music and songwriting, it was very easy to make up a soundtrack in my head while reading this book. Erin over at The Hardcover Lover hosts the Soundtrack Saturday meme and since I loved this book so much, I wanted to share my Open Road Summer soundtrack with you all.

Some songs are dedicated to BFFs Reagan and Lilah while others perfectly go along with some of the dialogue and quarrels between Reagan and Matt. (The last song is my fav!)

Just press play and enjoy!

Open Road Summer Soundtrack

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Quotes From the Past Year

toptentuesdayI haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday post in forever! But this week’s topic really caught my fancy since over the past year I’ve read some pretty good books and I’ve highlighted a lot of funny, memorable, truth-filled, and heart breaking quotes.

These aren’t my absolute favorite quotes from these books, but I picked ones that stood out to me for one reason or another. For some of these books it was hard to pick just one quote to share!

Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So

Persuasion“Now they were as strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement.”

 

 

theevolutionofmaradyer“You’re stronger than you believe. Don’t let your fear own you. Own yourself.”

 

Jurassic Park“All major changes are like death. You can’t see to the other side until you are there.”

 

 

earnest“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.”

 

It was hard to pick just one from this book!:

The Martian“It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl.”

 

 

Wives and Daughters“I won’t say she was silly, but I think one of us was silly, and it wasn’t me!”

 

 

openroadsummer“If you have a best friend you can laugh with and a few good songs, you’re more than halfway there.”

 

 

MTLGTM“Would you rather be great at something you like, or just okay at something you love?”

 

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban“Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people’s business.
Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git.
Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor.
Mr. Wormtail bids Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball.”

robinhood“You who so plod amid serious things that you feel it shame to give yourself up even for a few short moments to mirth and joyousness in the land of Fancy; you who think that life hath not to do with innocent laughter that can harm no one; these pages are not for you.”

What are some of your favorite book quotes? I’d love to hear them!

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Releases I Wanted To Read But Didn’t

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish, is all about 2014 releases that I didn’t get a chance to read! Most of these are on my priority list of books to read this year, and some of them I have already started!

Top Ten 2014 Releases I Plan On Reading In 2015

IMG_0061 IMG_0063 IMG_0062 brokenhearts athousandpiecesofyou

The Mara Dyer series – I didn’t even learn about this series until the final volume, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, came out just before YALL Fest. But I got to meet author Michelle Hodkin and I’m so happy I did because I just finished reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I am obsessed! Favorite book of the year so far (I know it’s early but I don’t care). Can’t wait to finish this series, but I already know I’m going to have a major book hangover.

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Meeting Michelle Hodkin at YALL Fest in November :)

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet – I checked this book out from the library WEEKS ago, but I still haven’t gotten past the first couple of chapters (not because I don’t want to read it!). I know that Ashley Clements, the actress who plays Lizzie in the YouTube series, has narrated the audio book and I’m so tempted to just listen to that during my commute.

Open Road Summer – My friend Regina lent me her copy of Emery Lord’s celebrated debut novel, but I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet!

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend – I got this for Christmas so I will be reading it soon!!

A Thousand Pieces of You – I can’t wait to get my hands on this gorgeous novel. I hear it’s a series, too?

Elevated One Safe and Sound Here and Now MTLGTM

Elevated – I think the only reason I didn’t buy this book the moment I heard about it is because it’s written in verse and I have to be in the mood for those types of books. BUT, I still want to read it :)

The Selection series – Now that I finally own The Selection (thanks to my TBTB Secret Santa), I can work on reading this series!

Safe and Sound – Ever since connecting with T.S. Krupa on Twitter I’ve been wanting to read her book. Plus this book takes place in North Carolina and I love that state.

The Here and Now – I love science fiction/fantasy and I love Ann Brashares. I got her to personalize this book for me while I was at YALL Fest so I’m even more excited about actually reading it :)

My True Love Gave To Me – I know, Christmas is over, but we’re reading this book in my Book Club this month and I’m excited! I was also thrilled when my mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas! I’ve been wanting it for so long.

Are any of these books on your To Be Read List as well? What are some books that were released within the past couple of years that you’re still wanting to read?