Posts By: Rachel Geiger

2017 Love-a-Thon: Sweethearts Candy Messages

February 18, 2017 Features 0

Hey guys! I’m excited to be participating in the Love-a-Thon for the second year in the row. This is a prompt that I’ve never done before, so I’m happy to try it out.

● LOVE WINS: A couple you didn’t think would get together, but against all odds, they did

Olly and Maddy from Everything, Everything.

● I DO: A character you’d marry

Four from Divergent and Jonah from Jellicoe Road.

● DREAM BIG: A character whose dreams you want to come true

Starr from The Hate U Give.

● CRAZY 4 U: A character you’re crazy about

Joe from The Sky is Everywhere.

● TRUE LOVE: Your ultimate OTP

Dexter and Remy from This Lullaby.

● TE AMO: A language you’d want to be wooed in

Spanish or French.

● BFF: A character you want to be your best friend

Willowdean from Dumplin.

● WINK WINK: A character you’d want to wink at you

Daemon from the Lux series.

● SWEET TALK: A character who knows how to sweet talk/flirt

Razor from Walk the Edge.

● BEST DAY: A moment from a book you wish happened to you or your IRL best day

In Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda when they go to the supermarket together.

● OOH LA LA: A character you want to slow dance with

Tucker from The Goal.

● LOVE YOU: The character that gets your undying love

Taylor from Jellicoe Road.

So my list was fun to make! I thought this was a creative prompt. I look forward to seeing what other people were able to come up with.

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2017 Love-a-Thon: Book Spine Poetry

February 18, 2017 Features 2

Hey guys! As you guys know, the Love-a-Thon is happening right now. Up next is one of my favorite challenges, book spine poetry. This was so much to do last year and I’m happy to do it again.

The Museum of Heartbreak /

Every Exquisite Thing /

You Know Me Well

When We Collided /

The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You /

P.S. I Like You

Whisper to Me /

Just Listen /

Shuffle Repeat

So here are my answers for the love spine poetry challenge! It was fun to do as usual. I hope that you guys had a good time doing it as well. I look forward to seeing what you came up with.

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2017 Love-a-Thon: Mad Libs

February 18, 2017 Features 2

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Hey guys! I’m excited to be participating in my second Love-a-Thon. The first mini-challenge that we have is to make mad libs but it’s fairy tale edition. I felt like this was a lot of fun to do. I’ve decided to include the code here just so you have the same key that was used right in front of you in case you forget.

1.    LOCATION
2.    CHARACTER (example: assassin)
3.    TYPE OF STORE
4.    BODY PART (plural)
5.    ITEM
6.    ROYALTY (any title you can think of)
7.    REPEAT ITEM FROM #5.
8.    ACTIVE VERB (example: running)
9.    ANOTHER LOCATION
10.    AN EMOTION
11.    MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
12.    PIECE OF FOOD
13.    NUMBER
14.    TYPE OF HOUSE
15.    VOICE ADJECTIVE
16.    DESCRIBE A SOUND (ending with –ing)
17.    ROOM IN A HOUSE
18.    OBJECTS
19.    DESCRIBE AN OUTFIT
20.     INFINITIVE VERB, activity
21.    REPEAT MUSICAL INSTRUMENT from #11
22.    A JOB

Once upon a time, in a far away (1) forest, there lived a smart (2) dragon. She lived alone in a (3) tree stump, where she had grown up with the deceased owner. She had beautiful (4) arms, and she was known for her shiny red (5) earrings, the only thing she had left of its parents.

Alas, the (6) Duchess of the country became jealous and wanted to own these (7) earrings. So, she became a wanted person and had to flee into an unknown forest to find a place to hide. After (8) hopping around for hours, hungry and tired, it stumbled upon a (9) pond. An old lady appeared, offering it shelter from the bitter cold.  She looked at it with (10) pity and said: “I will protect you, but I need your help first. Years ago I lost something precious and I want it back. You need to climb into the sky and get my (11) tuba back. Here is magical (12) bread, throw it into the earth, sprinkle with water and it will sprout a beanstalk. You have (13) three days to return before the stalk withers.”

She followed the instructions given to her, and lo and behold, a beanstalk grew and grew and grew all the way up to the clouds. After an exhausting climb, she saw a huge (14) cabin. She walked to the door and knocked. A (15) obnoxious voice said: ‘Fee-fi-fo-fum, who dares to come and enter my house?” She was not afraid and said: “My name is Jamie and I’ve come to collect an item.”

The door made a (15) squeaking sound when it opened and revealed a large (17) bathroom filled with golden (18) eggs.  She stepped inside and walked towards the spiraling staircase, where a figure moved, cloaked in darkness.

“Who are you? Step in to the light, so I can see your face.”
The beast growled angry. “Why did you come here? I just want to be left alone.” Still, the dragon moved and stood in front of it. There were three horns on his head, and hair all over his face and his mouth was filled with large teeth. He wore (19) a sweater.

“What happened to you?” She reached out to touch one of the horns, but the beast flinched. “Many years ago I was cursed by a witch. I have one year left (20) to love so I can break the spell, but I’m not brave enough.”

“If you give me the (21) tuba, I will help you.”

In keeping its promise, the beast and the dragon worked for a few hours and that afternoon, the beast transformed into an ordinary older guy. “I can’t wait to return to my job as (22) a lawyer in the normal world. Can I come with you?” Together they climbed down the beanstalk, carrying the instrument for the old lady. The moment she saw the guy and her beloved instrument, she started to weep.

“My husband, you have returned!” They hugged and looked at it.

“We have to tell you something,” the old lady said. “You are our child. We were separated after the curse, but now we are reunited!” From that day, the three of them lived together in the forest, happily ever after.

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2017 Love-a-Thon Questionnaire

February 18, 2017 Features 0

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An Introduction to You and Your Blog

1.    What’s your name? Where in the world are you blogging from?

Hey, I’m Rachel. I’m from Huntington, West Virginia.

2.    Tell us your history with reading. Were you always a reader? Were you a reluctant reader? Was there a book that convinced you to become a reader?

I’ve loved reading since I was a little kid. I can’t even remember a time I wasn’t obsessed with books. I was even that weird kid that actually liked taking the AR tests that you had to take each time you read a book in elementary school.

3.    How did you get involved in the online book community?

Well, I really liked blogging and writing in general. Then one day I realized that I wanted to read more books and write about what I was reading. So after reading some other book blogs out there, I realized that this is what I wanted to do.

4.    How did you choose your primary platform (blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc)? How did you come up with your blog name?

I chose blogging out of just wanting a space where I could talk about books. Like I said, I had a major love of writing from the start and writing about books in particular seemed to make sense because I loved them so much. I made this my Twitter name in like eighth grade because I thought I was so cool and clever. It became my blog name because I honestly couldn’t think of anything else.

5.    What’s your favorite thing about the online book community?

I love finding people who love the same books that you do and getting to just fangirl over these books as much as possible is an awesome feeling.

6.    What sort of posts can readers expect from you?

Mostly just reviews and lists. I’m pretty boring for the most part, but I’m hoping to expand that to other more creative posts in the near future.

7.    What book genres do you talk about most?

Young Adult and Romance, both mostly Contemporary.

Favorites

1.    Favorite food? Beverage?

Reese cups and Dr. Pepper.

2.    Favorite color?

Pink.

3.    Favorite things to do apart from reading?

Writing, watching football, baseball, and basketball, and listening to music.

4.    Favorite tv shows?

I watch WAY too much TV. It’s a problem. I love Shameless, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Grey’s Anatomy, This is Us, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and the list goes on and on really!

5.    Favorite movies?

The Princess Bride, Pitch Perfect, Almost Famous, Silver Linings Playbook, and Moonlight. There’s so many more but I can’t think of any at the moment.

6.    Favorite musical artists?

Taylor Swift, One Direction, Twenty One Pilots, Ed Sheeran, Arctic Monkeys, Chance the Rapper, Avett Brothers, The Decemberists, and Bob Dylan.

Book Talk

1.    Favorite childhood books?

I loved Junie B. Jones, Magic Tree House books, Charlotte’s Web, and The Babysitter’s Club.

2.    Favorite books read in the last five years?

Fangirl, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Jellicoe Road, Anna and the French Kiss, Eleanor and Park, and so many more!

3.    Favorite genres?

Contemporary and romance YA and also adult romance.

4.    Underrated book, series or author you love?

I feel like a lot of people know who she is, but I absolutely adore Dahlia Adler.

5.    A book you want to see made into a film or tv show?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell would be awesome. So would Every Day by David Levithan.

6.    Book boyfriend/girlfriend? Book BFF? Book family?

Olly from Everything, Everything. Taylor from Jellicoe Road. Simon’s family from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

7.    Books you want to read in 2017?

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum, The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord, Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy, and Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios.

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Difficult Women Review

February 15, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Difficult Women ReviewDifficult Women by Roxane Gay
on January 3rd 2017
Pages: 260
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Bad Feminist
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State—which earned rave reviews and was selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, NPR, the Boston Globe, and Kirkus—and her New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.
The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the marriage of one of them. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.

So this was a rating that I really struggled with. I feel like Roxane Gay is a wonderful writer who can do absolutely no wrong. Anytime I read something by her, I automatically want to read more and more from her. Seriously though, I google her to see what blog posts she’s written that I haven’t read yet. In other words, I will read her grocery list and be totally satisfied with it. On the other hand, this was a bit of a it’s me, not you situation. A lot of the times I picked it up, I wasn’t really in the mood to read these stories. A lot of Gay’s fiction stories are pretty dark and can be hard to get through. I think that you have to be the kind of person who doesn’t mind reading difficult subject matter. The writing is absolutely beautiful, but some of the content was hard for me to personally push through.

I’m so conflicted with this rating because I think it’s good to be made uncomfortable from stories. I don’t think that all stories should be these happy tales filled with perfect people. Roxane Gay is so fascinating because she takes broken people and displays it in such a real and heartbreaking way. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything, she gives us the raw truth. I applaud her for doing this in such an unfiltered fashion. She’s a remarkable writer, that’s something that no one can deny.

Some of the stories completely punched me in the gut. Some of them sucked me in and made me want far more pages than what we had. Some of the other stories seemed to drag on a bit and I wasn’t sure where the story was going. A couple of the stories had such horrific events going on one after the other that I was just ready for something good to happen to the characters. But like I mentioned earlier, not all things are happy, and a lot of terrible things do happen so I’m glad that Gay isn’t afraid to include these things. I also feel like sometimes there’s a limit of how much darkness you want to read. That being said, I think you need to be well prepared for a dark book and I really wasn’t at that time so it was hard to push through. Some of my personal favorite stories were I Will Follow You, The Mark of Cain, Break All The Way Down, Best Features, The Sacrifice of Darkness, and Strange Gods.

In the end, I decided to give Difficult Women four stars. I enjoyed more stories than I disliked. There was only about three stories that I didn’t really relate to or understand. Though this is a heavy book filled with some dark subject matter like sexual violence, kidnapping, miscarriages, death, and gang rape, it’s also a beautifully written book. It took me awhile to read it, but I’m still glad that I stuck it out until the very end. Gay isn’t capable of writing a bad book and this was no exception. I can’t wait for Hunger to come out later this year.

four-stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Slow-Burn TV Romances

February 14, 2017 Features 12

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This is a place where you can share all of your lists with other list lovers out there. There’s a new theme every week to center your list around. This week, the theme is all about romance types/tropes in TV, books, or movies. I chose to talk about my favorite slow-burn romances from TV. I thought this was an awesome topic, and I’m excited to show off some of my favorite TV couples that I don’t get to talk about nearly enough. I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for this topic.

1. Luke and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls

Image result for luke and lorelai

Look, Luke and Lorelai are one of my all time favorite TV couples. They are second only behind Coach Taylor and Tami from Friday Night Lights. They are pretty much the sole reason why I wanted to talk about this trope. From the very first episode, it’s obvious that these two have some serious chemistry. They continue to fight it and remain just friends for four whole seasons before they finally have their first kiss. Even after that, they have a ton of obstacles that get in the way of things. Aside from all that, we can’t deny that they are meant to be and I love them so much.

2. Tara and Christian from Dance Academy

Image result for tara and christian dance academy

I’m a huge fan of Dance Academy and this couple is a major reason why. They also fit under the category of hate to love and then friends to lovers in a way. In the beginning, I had no clue that they were going to end up together. Although it took them awhile to get there, they eventually found their way and it was magical. I can’t wait to see how things end up for them in the movie that’s coming out here pretty soon!

3. Jim and Pam from The Office

Image result for jim and pam the office

There’s no way that I can talk about TV couples and not include these two. They fit into a ton of tropes over the years, specifically friends to lovers as well. It’s pretty obvious that they are going to end up together, but it gets delayed for such a long time due to the fact that she’s engaged in the beginning and everything. The chemistry is so electric, and it was such a relief when they finally got married.

4. Chandler and Monica from Friends

Image result for chandler and monica

I absolutely love Rachel and Ross together too so I wasn’t sure who I should include. I went with Monica and Chandler because even though the slow-burn and will they or won’t they thing doesn’t last as long, it’s still definitely up in the air in the earlier seasons. I just thought they were a stronger couple as a whole. I just love them both so much.

5. Peyton and Lucas from One Tree Hill

Image result for one tree hill peyton and lucas

Though they get together pretty early on, they have TOO many obstacles that get in the way. The whole love triangle between them and Brooke was a dark time for me. We always knew that these two were meant to be together, so all the other relationships that happened felt so pointless.

6. Ben and Leslie from Parks and Recreation

Image result for parks and recreation ben and leslie

The chemistry between them is so real from basically the moment that Ben shows up. However, there’s a lot of complications since he happens to be her boss and everything. They are still yet another cute couple that I adore. I have to admit that Andy and April are my favorite couple on the show, but these two were pretty great as well.

7. Rory and Jess from Gilmore Girls

Image result for rory and jess gilmore girl

So I cheated and had to add two from Gilmore Girls. This wasn’t totally a slow-burn since the feelings were clear from the start, but they took a ridiculously long time to get Dean out of the picture. I’m honestly still pissed about how things didn’t go down between them in the revival, but I’m still holding out hope because I really believe that they make the perfect couple. Jess has really matured since his early days of being a bad boy, and Rory is honestly not all that mature so I think he would help her out. Wow, it’s weird how reversed the roles are right now.

8. Seth and Summer from The OC

Image result for seth and summer

How can you not adore these two? Ryan and Marissa were clearly hot messes, but these two always had it together for the most part. They were rather dysfunctional at times, but they still balanced each other out. Seth is seriously the most adorable fictional character in the whole world and I’m still not over the fact that he isn’t real. I love Seth and Summer and always will.

9. Wade and Zoe from Hart of Dixie

Image result for hart of dixie wade and zoe

It’s pretty obvious that I just really like Rachel Bilson. She was awesome in Hart of Dixie. I was a huge fan of her and Wade together from basically episode one. They were a major slow-burn due to the fact that Zoe had feelings for other people and whatever. I also thought the whole storyline where she was like engaged to someone else was ridiculous. But of course, Zoe and Wade found their way back to each other and it was beautiful.

10. Lydia and Stiles from Teen Wolf

Image result for teen wolf stiles and lydia

So I’m not even sure if this should be on here. I stopped watching Teen Wolf awhile ago, and last time I checked, Stiles and Lydia haven’t even kissed. They’ve both been with other people for most of the series, but I’m really hoping that they end up together. I find it so adorable how Stiles has had this crush on her for such a long time. I’m going to be depressed as hell if this doesn’t happen.

There’s my list of some of my favorite TV slow-burn romances. I could honestly keep on going because this was such a fun list to make, but I’ll spare you guys. I hope that everyone has an awesome Valentine’s Day! Make sure to share your list with me. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week!

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ARC Review: #famous

February 13, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★

ARC Review: #famous#famous by Jilly Gagnon
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 14th 2017
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?
Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.

So I was really excited to read this book. The plot is that this girl takes a picture of this cute guy from her school while he’s at work and posts it, then it becomes extremely popular. I’m sure you guys have heard of Alex from Target, and it’s a very similar concept to that one, though it obviously adds much more plot and drama to it. I enjoyed how this book took on the topic of social media and how it can easily impact someone so quickly. The interesting thing about it is what it means to become an overnight sensation, which is more and more common in our society of YouTube and other social media platforms. Though I liked the plot itself, I wasn’t a fan of all the typical high school cliches that went down. It didn’t feel all that unique in a lot of ways, which was disappointing. It was a good book, just not my favorite as a whole. It was mostly rather forgettable.

Rachel is a “nobody” who just happens to take a picture of her crush Kyle and is obviously shocked when it becomes insanely popular within hours. I thought that she was a solid character for the most part. I didn’t find her all that memorable though. I will admit that I sympathized with the fact that she was immediately cyberbullied for posting the picture. It’s definitely unfair how her appearance is automatically scrutinized though that had nothing to do with the picture itself. I do believe that’s realistic because the internet can obviously be really cruel for no reason.

Kyle is honestly kind of a douchebag. He’s working at a place in the mall when Rachel takes his picture and it goes viral online right away. He’s pretty popular in school and has a hot on and off girlfriend. He received his douchebag status for how he judged Rachel for literally no reason. I didn’t understand why he felt like she was weird. We had no evidence that she did anything weird besides the fact that her hair was curly. It just seemed like a super cliche and annoying thing to happen. He was just your typical high school cliche dude with not really anything special about him, in my opinion. There was nothing swoony or particularly memorable about his character. I will admit that I did find it interesting how fame affected him personally. I think the author did a nice job with this side of the storyline in particular.

As a couple, I honestly didn’t care all that much about Rachel and Kyle. I don’t know what it was exactly, I just wasn’t a fan. I think most of it was due to all the cliches that happened to them as a couple. There was the good old ex-girlfriend tries to break them up and several other tropes. I thought the whole fame thing did add an interesting dynamic here, but it wasn’t as developed as I was hoping it would be. I just wasn’t emotionally invested in them which made me sad.

Like I said, this wasn’t exactly a bad book but it wasn’t my favorite either. The writing and the plot itself was actually pretty good, it was the character, romance, and general cliches that made it not as enjoyable to me. It was still a pretty addicting read. I couldn’t stop reading it once I picked it up. Part of the reason why it wasn’t my favorite might be because I’m too old to really enjoy high school stories. So if you’re okay with a great deal of drama, you’ll probably like this.

three-stars

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Beard Science Review

February 10, 2017 Reviews 1 ★★★★

Beard Science ReviewBeard Science (Winston Brothers, #3) by Penny Reid
Published by Cipher-Naught on October 11th 2016
Pages: 384
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4; Winston Brothers, #0.5)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
2016 Goodreads Choice Awards FinalistUSA TODAY BESTSELLER
Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?
Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.
And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.
Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So... what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?
Likely, the last thing you expect.
'Beard Science' is the third book in the Winston Brothers series, is a full-length romantic comedy novel, and can be read as a standalone.

I read Penny Reid’s Beauty and the Mustache and thought it was incredibly clever. I was extremely excited to read the Winston Brothers spin-off series because the brothers seemed so hilarious and memorable. I couldn’t wait to see all of these unique boys receive happy endings just like their sister did. This is technically the third book in the spin-off series, but I haven’t gotten around to reading either Jethro or Duane’s stories yet. Cletus is such an intriguing character and it was so awesome to finally get inside of his head. I’m happy that I read this book and I definitely plan on reading the other stories as well at some point. I recommend it if you’re a fan of light and hilarious romantic comedies. Penny Reid doesn’t let you down, she’s pretty great!

Jennifer was a smart and beautiful protagonist. Not to mention the fact that she was totally sassy and fierce when she wanted to be. She’s really the only girl out there that is on the same level of clever (and borderline devious) as good old Cletus. She’s very aware of what exactly is going on and is just ridiculously observant in general. I sympathized with her a lot as she struggled with her parents being so hard and judgmental of everything that she does. I understand the fact that she didn’t want to disappoint her parents by standing up to them for using her for her baking and not properly paying her, but that didn’t mean I didn’t cheer when she finally took a stand. She was a strong and fabulous protagonist. I really enjoyed her perspective just as much as I enjoyed Cletus’s voice.

Like I said, I was intrigued by Cletus whenever I was introduced to him in Beauty and the Mustache. He was definitely on the unique side of things, but I was truly curious about who exactly he was and what he was all about. He’s not your average hero or love interest, he brings something entirely new to the table here. He’s smart, perspective, and everything that he does, he does with a well thought out plan supporting whatever it might be. He’s always one step ahead of everyone else, and he’s ridiculously clever. It did surprise me how swoony he was when it came to Jennifer. So he might not be your average guy, but he brings the swoon nonetheless and I absolutely adore him.

Jennifer and Cletus make one fierce couple when it all comes down to it. Neither of them are all that great at forming relationships. Jennifer has never even kissed a guy due to how strict her parents have always been. Cletus has never been in love, though he does enjoy women in general. Once it all comes down to it though, the two of them simply make sense as a couple. They bring out the best in one another, which is something that I always love to see. The romance between them was sweet and also very hot at times. In Beauty and the Mustache, there really weren’t that many sexy scenes, so this one surprised me with a bit more heat, though not a ton.

Beard Science was a lovely book and a great introduction to this spin-off series for me. I know now that I have to check out the two previous standalone novels in this series just so I can get even more Cletus and the other boys. This is such a funny, swoony, and charming book. I will admit that I did feel like something was missing from it, which did prevent me from loving it as much as everyone else seemed to. I still thought it was pretty great, just some of it wasn’t totally memorable for me personally. I did enjoy both of the main characters and felt like their love story was well done. You should read this book if you’re a fan of the author and/or romantic comedies.

four-stars

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Flying Lessons and Other Stories Review

February 9, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Flying Lessons and Other Stories ReviewFlying Lessons & Other Stories by Ellen Oh, Kwame Alexander, Kelly J. Baptist, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Pena, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, Jacqueline Woodson
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on January 3rd 2017
Pages: 225
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, The Great American Whatever
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.
In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers.
From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories.

I haven’t read Middle Grade in a LONG time. I honestly missed reading it. When I read that We Need Diverse Books was going to be creating a MG anthology, I knew that I had to read it. I actually ended up reading it the day of the inauguration instead of watching that, I felt like picking up this diverse book was a great response to that. Anyway, I thought that this was a wonderful collection. I’ve only read one (maybe two) of these authors previously, but I definitely plan on reading more of them in the future after this awesome introduction. The way this review is going to work is that I’m going to briefly touch on and rate all ten of the stories the best that I can.

How to Transform an Everyday, Ordinary Hoop Court into a Place of Higher Learning and You at the Podium by Matt de la Peña – 4 Stars

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this author, so I was excited to finally read something by him for myself. I felt like the use of the pronoun “you” throughout the story was a little weird and difficult to follow at times. However, the story itself was still really interesting and enjoyable. I thought that it was so cool how motivated the main character was to play basketball. He dedicated his entire early morning summers to improving his basketball skills. I found his character to be inspirational in general.

The Difficult Path by Grace Lin – 3 Stars

If I’m being honest, this was probably one of my least favorite stories in the collection. It’s really not anything personal, it’s just rare for me to love a fantasy/historical fiction story in an anthology. It’s typically the contemporary stories that stand out more to me, and it was no exception in this case. I thought that the writing itself was pretty good, I just didn’t feel extremely invested in this particular main character like I was hoping that I would be. I’m sure that some people will absolutely love this one because it involves pirates and some history mixed in there for good measure. The message is a solid one, but it just didn’t totally click for me.

Sol Painting Inc. by Meg Medina – 4 Stars

This was a wonderful and heartbreaking story that touches on a young girl who’s father works for a painting business, which she and her brother help out with in the summer, and she gets a big surprise when they get a job at her new school. This story is so important because it touches on the subject of racism in a heartbreaking and honest take on it. Though it touches on a heavy subject, it also had some lovely humor sprinkled in there. It was well written, and I’m going to be reading more from this author in the future.

Secret Samantha by Tim Federele – 3.5 Stars

I’ve actually read a YA short story by Tim in Summer Days and Summer Nights. It was one of my favorites in that collection so I was looking forward to reading this one as well. It was obviously a bit different just based on the genres alone, but it was still pretty good anyway. I personally preferred the YA story because I feel like it was longer and had more character development, but this was still cute and fun in it’s own way.

The Beans and Rice Chronicles of Isaiah Dunn by Kelly J. Baptist – 4.5 Stars

This was easily one of my favorites in the collections! I looked this author up and it seems like this is the first thing she’s ever written. I find that completely astonishing. This author writes like an old pro writer, and I love it. I can’t wait to read more from them in the future! I think this is such a good book because it’s emotional and touching. I’m always a sucker for a wonderful and heartbreaking story. It focuses on poverty, death, and grief, which are always relevant subjects that never get old.

Choctaw Bigfoot, Midnight in the Mountains by Tim Tingle – 2 Stars

I hate to say it, but this story just didn’t work for me. I can’t exactly pinpoint what it was, it just didn’t click for whatever reason. In my opinion, it was the weakest story in the collection. This is about an uncle telling a legend that’s been within the family for a long time now, and he’s telling the story to his young nieces and nephews. Maybe this particular story was just meant for younger readers and that’s why I wasn’t totally a fan of it.

Main Street by Jacqueline Woodson – 3.5 Stars

To be honest with you guys, this wasn’t all that memorable to me. I know that Woodson is a treasured author, and I am a fan of her writing and plan to read more from her. But the story itself didn’t completely make an impression on me. It wasn’t bad or anything, it just wasn’t one of the standouts from the collection for me. I do understand why other people have loved it though. I guess it just wasn’t my thing.

Flying Lessons by Soman Chainani – 5 Stars

If I had to pick only one, I’d have to say that this was likely my favorite story in the collection. It was filled with such memorable and lively characters, even besides the main character. This is a difficult thing to do in a short story, but somehow the author did it with ease. Nani is one of the funniest supporting characters that I’ve ever read. It’s about a grandma who decides that her grandson needs to have more adventure in his life the way that she does, so she takes him on an exciting trip. I think it’s also important and intriguing because it touches on the issue of sexuality and I believe that’s important to note even in MG books. I know that Tim Federele also does this wonderfully in the genre, but I think there can never be enough voices that are writing these stories. I will say that I was super confused by the ending, but I didn’t let that change my rating since the rest of it was so strong.

Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents by Kwame Alexander – 3 Stars

This was another story that wasn’t a standout to me. It started out pretty strong, and I love how unique the writing style itself is. It’s not written in traditional verse, which is obviously a very different choice to make. However, it got pretty weird around the middle part of it. I wasn’t sure what direction the story was taking at all. In the end, it turned out to be rather entertaining and funny. But it was A LOT longer than basically all of the other stories. I feel like this didn’t need the extra pages the way that some of the other stories really needed them.

Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push by Walter Dean Myers – 5 Stars

He’s the only author on here who I’ve read a complete work from. I read Monster and thought that it was just so powerful and striking. This short story followed the similar theme of heartbreaking and touching, like a lot of the stories in this collection have done. It’s such a sad story, but it’s also filled with hope. It was a story that I desperately needed to read right then. I’m not going to talk much more about it because I feel like I could ramble for days about its greatness. I’ll just say that if you choose to read one short story from this collection, it should be this one, if you’re in the mood for something sad but also filled with hope.

All in all, Flying Lessons and Other Stories was such a well written anthology. I’m so glad that it was put together! I think that Ellen Oh has formed such a diverse and lovely group of authors here who contributed such powerful and beautifully written stories. I truly believe that younger readers need diverse stories like these, and I’m so glad that this anthology is out there in the world. I can’t wait to read more middle grade this year, especially from this fabulous group of authors.

four-stars

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