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Beautiful YA Book Covers that Grace My Shelves

You know the old adage–don’t judge a book by its cover. However, I would be lying (and I’m sure many people are in the same boat as me) if I said that I have never based my reading choices off of a cover. A cover can produce an immediate negative or positive judgement–it goes both way. There have been times where I won’t even look into a book because its cover is just horrendous. I have probably missed some great stories because of this, but it is really hard to control.

A cover is the first thing you see that is associated with the story in most cases. Just like there have been times I have not bought a book because of the cover, there have also been times where the cover absolutely drew me in. When a cover catches my eye, I will read the description, and if the book sounds good I will buy it. So of course, the cover does play a big part in getting a reader to read a particular book! Here are some of my all-time favorite YA book covers–some of them are just beautiful covers in a series and others attracted me to read the book in the first place!

Continue reading “Beautiful YA Book Covers that Grace My Shelves”

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Far from the Tree“A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment. Being the middle child has its ups and downs. But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family,including—Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs. And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fear are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.”    — Summary from Goodreads

5

Far From the Tree is a book that I put on my Christmas wishlist on a whim.  After glancing over the summary and seeing the ratings and beautiful cover, I decided to add it to my TBR. When I picked it up, I wasn’t expecting to stay up all night until I finished it. I wasn’t expecting to become so attached to the characters as the story went on. Most of all, I wasn’t expecting to read such a beautifully written, tear-jerking YA novel based on family.

I’ve said it once before, and I’ll say it again: there are few young adult books that realistically represent and ultimately focus on family. It seems like in most contemporary novels, the family is the side plot or ignored altogether. Not in Far From the Tree.  Robin Benway constructs a beautiful scenario to showcase three–albeit different–realistic families. She was able to incorporate several real-life occurrences–teen pregnancy, alcoholism, divorce, adoption–and fold them into a story where they didn’t feel cliche but genuine.

The three main characters–Grace, Maya, and Joaquin–all have hardships they have had to deal with in their life. When Grace puts her own baby up for adoption, she learns that she has two biological siblings, so she begins to reach out to them. The reader gets to see the relationship between these siblings grow from the awkward initial conversations to the vulnerable and open cry-sessions. Watching these bonds form is my favorite aspect of the book; at one point Joaquin stands up for his Grace, and it is one of the sweetest scenes I have ever read.

The topic of adoption is also handled very well by Benway in Far From the Tree. We get to see Grace’s perspective after giving up Peach as well as her determination to find her birth mother. On the other side, we see Maya and Joaquin’s frustration and anger toward their biological mother for giving them up in the first place. Adoption has had a different impact on all three of the kids. Maya feels like she doesn’t belong in her own family while Joaquin is having trouble accepting that a family can love him after he spent his life in foster care.

Overall, this was an absolutely fantastic read. I finished it at the end of 2017, and it easily became of my favorites of the year if not one of my new favorite contemporaries ever. I adore the focus on the family. While each character has their own side story that may include romance, the relationships that are focused on are the ones within families. Far From the Tree will make you laugh and cry (and then cry some more). Even after some thought, I don’t think there is any flaw in this book or anything that I would want to change. It is perfect the way it is.

 

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My Fascination with Fiction (Books,TV Shows, Movies, etc.)

EDIT: This post (along with a few others) were supposed to be published throughout last week because I pre-wrote  and scheduled them, but silly me didn’t hit the save/confirm button when setting the date. So sorry for the unintentional absence.

Since I can remember, I have always been entranced with stories whether they were books or movies or even TV shows. I love all of these mediums because they each offer something different.  Continue reading “My Fascination with Fiction (Books,TV Shows, Movies, etc.)”

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New Year, New TBR: Cleaning My Goodreads Account (VERY OVERDUE!)

New Years is famous for inspiring people with a fresh start. You know the saying–“new year, new me.” People invest in gym memberships, pledge to eat better, decide they will clean the house each day. This time of year is full of wrapping up “mistakes” and giving yourself a fresh, new start. For me, it’s my goodreads

I’ll admit it–I’m terrible at using Goodreads. I love the concept, don’t get me wrong. I have spent many hours on the website, clicking book after book trying to find something to read. Over time, though, my TBR shelf got a little out of control. I was getting too click-happy when it came to that “want-to-read” button. I stopped using the feature because my shelf was full of books I had no interest in reading anymore. In honor of the new year, I performed the daunting task and deleted many books.

My taste in YA books have gradually changed and my tbr shelf no longer reflected that. It was interesting to see what old me wanted to read. Some of the books I deleted I had completely lost interest in. Others I think I would somewhat enjoy now, but I rather prioritize things I know I have a chance of loving. I even got a chance to go through and “order” them based off priority. Here are the top five books on my TBR:

So here’s my new years resolution–I want to start using goodreads properly! I want to get in the habit of logging my books when I read them so at the end of the year I am not stuck counting on my fingers. I want my TBR shelf to be an accurate representation of what I want to read.

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What I Want to Read in 2018

As I said in my 2018 Blogging and Reading Goals post, I’m not setting an official number of books I want to read. My theme for the year is read more of what makes me happy. That being said, if I don’t read these things in 2018, I will be VERY disappointed with myself. This list includes books/themes/authors that I have been wanting to read FOREVER.

Books & Series

  1. Magnus Chase and the Apollo series by Rick Riordan: I love me some mythology books, and I desperately need to catch up on these series!
  2. The Raven Boys: I am ashamed to say I have never read Maggie Stiefvater. I hear people gush about these books and I am pretty sure I will love them as well. I even have the 1st book sitting on my shelf!
  3. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley: Again, another book I have on my shelf. I have actually started this book, but put it down due to new releases. I love the premise of this book and just want to finish it.

 

Authors

  1. Kasie West: I can’t help it–I’m a hopeless romantic. I always enjoy a fun contemporary romance, but somehow I have yet to venture in Kasie West. This must change in 2018!
  2. V.E. Schwab: I have heard raving reviews about all of her books, but have yet to read any of them! I have This Savage Song and would love to get caught up on the series this coming year!

 

Themes/Topics

  1. More Mental Health Books: This is becoming one of my favorite topics to read about in YA. I read Turtles All the Way Down this year and loved that it gave some light to a very serious issue. I have read some other mental health books in the past, but I would love to read more on anxiety/depression as well as some more underrepresented disorders.
  2. Single Characters!!: Aforementioned, I love myself a good romance. However, I would also love a book where that’s not even in the picture. I just want me some good friendship bonds, ESPECIALLY some between guys and girls (because you can be a friend with someone of the opposite gender and NOT love each other).
  3. Books w/book-loving characters: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell will forever be one of the bookish loves of my life. I want some more awkward characters and I want some more characters that love to fangirl about books!
  4. College Adventures: Something I don’t see much in YA is college age students. I think it would still be of interest to older teens, and I think a college campus could turn into a great setting for an exciting story.

 

Well those are some of the things I want to read this year! As for the topics/themes, I am still looking for books to match the requirements, so if you have any suggestions let me know down below!

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My Blogging and Reading Resolutions for the New Year

Its that time of year of again! As 2017 comes to a close, I am reflecting on my blogging and reading from the past year and setting goals for the new year. 2017 was not a great blogging year for me. I took a break from this blog for a year or so but decided to pick it back up in October after I was dying to share my thoughts about Turtles All the Way Down. 2017 was a pretty “meh” year for reading as well. I’m not completely sure how many books I read, but I think it was in the 16-17 range. There were some pretty large books however (looking at you Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows).

For 2018, I don’t want to set huge and unrealistic goals. Looking ahead, I know I will be very busy and don’t want this blog or reading to become another task I feel I need to check off my list. So here are my vague goals and rules I am setting for 2018 to ensure that I remain happy.

    1. Don’t put pressure on blogging: Over Christmas break, I have a ton of time to come up with posts and may post once a day or every other day. This just cannot happen in everyday life. I want to keep up with this blog, but I will only do it if it is fun and not another chore. If this means I only post once a week or even every two weeks, that’s fine by me. Some weeks I may post 3 times. I’m sure consistency isn’t the best for views, but I blog so I can have fun in a wonderful community

    2. Speaking of views, I don’t want to obsess over my stats. While I do believe its good to check to see if people like the content, I am not going to worry about them. Of course, I do want more people so I can branch out more in this blogging community, but I don’t want views to be the deciding factor of if my post was “successful” or “good.”

    3. Finally, I would like to work on my graphics more. I have been making new images on canva, and I like them, but I would still like to improve.

 

My overarching reading goal is simple: read more.

I have so many great books that I want to experience, but they are just collecting dust on my shelf. I don’t read as much because I don’t feel like I have time, but I need to make time. A big reading habit of mine is finishing a book very quickly (within a day or two). That’s impossible to do when you you have other responsibilities. I want to get in the habit of reading, even if its just 20 minutes at a time. I would like to start reading more before I go to bed because its a great way to wind down. Reading is such a peaceful escape for me that brings me joy, and I need to prioritize it in my life.

That being said, I don’t want to overwhelm myself. As for reading goals, I am not going to set big numbers. I am going to start out small–say 10 (because I know I should reach that)–and then work my way up. Plus, I want to get in the habit of actually logging my books onto goodreads because I have no clue what I read this year🤣.

So that’s it for my reading and blogging goals. What are your goals for 2018? Let me know in the comment section!

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2018 YA Book Releases I Can’t Wait to Read!

It’s really crazy to believe that 2017 is coming to a close! However, a new year means new book releases, and 2018 just so happens to have some wonderful new releases! Many of these books are part of favorite book series or are by favorite authors. This list doesn’t include all of the debut books I am interested in…mostly because I haven’t had a chance to do that much research on them yet!

Series/Fav. Author Novels

Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices, #3)                   A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.5)

Queen of Air and Darkness–Dec. 4: This book is hands down my most anticipated of 2018. This past summer I absolutely devoured Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows. This series may be my favorite of Cassie’s or is at least very close to Infernal Devices. Plus that ending of Lord of Shadows!!! I need answers…too bad I have to wait until next December for them (better than the initial 2019 release date though)!

A Court of Frost and Starlight–May. 1: I’m very excited to see how this bridge between the original series and the spinoff stories works out. It is a shorter book (247 pages) but is narrated by both Feyre and Rhysand. ACOTAR is another one of my favorite series and I am glad that I will be seeing more of some of my favorite characters again!

Save the Date                        The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo, #3)

Save the Date—June 5: Morgan Matson is hands down my favorite contemporary author. It’s gotten to the point where I will literally buy anything she puts out, no questions asked. This book sounds very summer-y and there’s a WEDDING. I’m glad it’s coming out early June…it’ll be a great way to kick off Summer!

The Burning Maze—May 1: Now I know Rick Riordan isn’t exactly considered YA but I know so many people that read it anyway. I actually haven’t read the 2nd book in this series yet, but I did that so I wouldn’t have to wait so long for this book! No matter how old I get, I will always love coming back to this Greek Mythology world (especially when I get to revisit old characters like Percy and Annabeth).

Debut Novels

You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone               Where I Live           The Calculus of Change

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone–Jan. 2: One of my goals for 2018 is to read some books with more diverse representation, and this novel showcases a Jewish family. It deals with Huntington’s disease and family/sister relationships and just sounds like it will be a great read.

Where I Live–Feb. 27: This book explores teen poverty and homelessness and main character Linden Rose lives at her high school. This book makes me nervous because I feel like it can be a major hit or a big flop, depending on how they deal with the magnitude of the heavy themes. I’m very excited to see how this one plays out!

The Calculus of Change–Feb. 27: Although it has ~math~ on the cover, I’m willing to look past it (lol). This one deals with a lot of teen issues and seems like it will feature an adorable romance, which I completely here for.

Well here’s my list so far! I haven’t looked too much into debut novels (especially fantasy ones) but these are the 3 catching my attention so far. What are your most anticipated books of 2018?

 

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What’s On My Christmas List…Book Edition!!

AHHHH, I can’t believe Christmas is in 5 days! I got the idea for this post from yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday. While my favorite part of the holidays is being with my family and just embracing the holiday spirit (AKA Christmas music all day long), I can’t lie. Opening up a present and seeing a book I want to read is definitely a great feeling. Here are my top reading-related gifts that I am hoping to find under the tree this year!

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter  One of Us Is Lying  Far from the Tree  The Hate U Give

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I’ve seen these books everywhere recently and want to see what the hype is all about! Oddly enough, they are all contemporary I believe–normally I have some fantasy thrown in there too!

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And finally…a hands free book holder! I’m not sure if it will work well, but if it does I can read books hands free! Maybe this would let me sneak in some reading while I am eating less-snacky foods. We shall see!

So what’s on your Christmas list this year? Any recommendations I should add to mine? Let me know!

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Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Published On: October 10. 2017

Genre: Contemporary

5         Turtles All the Way Down

I have never experienced the feeling of reading a new John Green book. I read all of his other books years after they were published. After his success with TFIOS, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever experience the feeling of a new John Green book. But here we are. All these years of waiting–worth it.

This book exceeded all of my expectations. I thought TATWD would mimic his other novels–boy/girl meets another girl/boy, tragic life situations, young love, etc. And while there were some similarities, the overall tone of the book different from his others– rightly so due to the nature of the book.  For someone who wrote about teen cancer and death, I didn’t think I could read another book of his that was sadder and darker but TATWD is just that. It may not be the heartbreaking romance novels, but it pulls on your heartstrings in a way other books can’t.

Aza Holmes, a 16 year old from Indianapolis, suffers from crippling anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. She fears the microbes living in her body and has the constant need to change the bandaid on her finger. Aza finds herself in what she calls “thought spirals” where the intrusive thoughts about microbes, C. diff, and her overall existence took over her mind. Daisy, her spunky friend, doesn’t quite understand Aza’s fears but supports and love her nonetheless. And then there’s Davis, the boy across the river who happens to be the son of the missing fugitive billionaire.

After reading the premise, I thought that the search for Davis’ father would be the main plot. However, much to my liking, Turtles All the Way Down did not turn into a classic Nancy Drew story and instead focused almost solely on Aza inner turmoil. This book’s focus on mental health was refreshing. It didn’t offer a superficial ending where she was “healed” because it doesn’t work that way in the real world. There are good days and bad days, and even after years of counselling you can still have those bad days. It showcased Aza’s inner monologue as her logic fought with the intrusive thoughts her anxiety threw at her. Without spoiling, there is an instance where we read this inner battle for 2-3 pages until she finally succumbs to the thoughts. The amount of emotion and effect Green was able to pack into those pages was raw and beautiful.

Instead, TATWD focused on Aza and her relationships, which to me was the most heartwarming part of the story. Her friendship with Daisy was so realistic. They loved and cared for each other fiercely but they had conflicts. Daisy would get frustrated with Aza’s anxiety but at the end of the day was always there for her. And then there is her relationship with Davis which is unlike any other romantic pairing I have read in YA fiction. They understand each other on deep level and have very enlightening conversations but (spoiler) it doesn’t work out. Neither can give with the other needs at that moment. It’s a story of first love that is different from any other. I highlighted this quote because it really captures the essence of their relationship:

‘You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person, and why.” 

That is just one of many beautifully written lines you will find in Turtles All the Way Down. Sure, it may not have an epic romance per say or an exciting mystery. However, this book packs a powerful punch with its realism. Ava’s struggles are present in many people in the world today. Struggling or not, I believe everyone can find a piece of this book to relate to or find comfort in. It’s just that good.

 

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Spring Books: Pastel Edition

I don’t know about you guys, but I am really glad that Spring is finally here! This is one of my favorite seasons because everything comes back to life- the trees are blooming, the birds are chirping, and my flowers are starting to pop up! Another I love about spring is the pastel colors that come with it. Seriously I could get lost in the Easter decoration aisle forever, because all of the colors are beautiful!

In honor of springtime and Easter tomorrow, I decided I would compile a list of books based on the pastel them. Most of these are contemporary, since you don’t see too many hard fantasy books with pastel yellow and purple on them. Maybe one of this will spark your interest, and your next book will match the season!

(Summaries and Descriptions are from either author’s website or goodreads)

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Lock and KeyWhat happens when your past is not just past, but wiped clean entirely? How do you figure out where you’re going when you can’t even claim where you’ve been? These were the questions that inspired Lock and Key. It’s the story of a girl named Ruby who is abandoned by her mother and determined to make it on her own, even—and especially—when she is sent to live with her long-lost sister in a whole new world of privilege, family, and relationships. As Ruby learns, there’s a big difference between being given help and being able to accept it. And sometimes, it takes reaching out to someone else to save yourself.


 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkEleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor. Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.


 

Meant to Be by Laura Morrill

Meant to Be

This spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window)  when she’s partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts  . . .  from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.


 

Rebel belle Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1)

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.


All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.


 

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Mosquitoland After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.


 

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You

A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world. Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.


 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlBASICALLY THE BEST BOOK EVER AND I HAVE GONE ON AND ON ABOUT IT SEVERAL TIMES, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT GO TO A BOOKSTORE RIGHT NOW AND GET IT. SERIOUSLY.  IT’S MY FAV.

It’s about a girl named Cath who is obessed with the best-selling Simon Snow series. She’s a hardcore fan, and has a fanfiction that thousands of people read. Cath is like many of us, socially awkward book nerds, so follow her on her journey through her first year of college, twin troubles, and the boy in her room named Levi.


 

There is a handful of these that I haven’t read myself, so I may be picking up one of these pastel beauties in the future!