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ARC Review: Queer, There, and Everywhere

May 22, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: Queer, There, and EverywhereQueer there and Everywhere: 22 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager
Published by HarperCollins on May 23rd 2017
Pages: 272
Source: Edelweiss
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four-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.

This first-ever LGBTQ history book for young adults will appeal to fans of fun, empowering pop-culture books like Rad American Women A-Z and Notorious RBG.
World history has been made by countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of them. Queer author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 22 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encompasses every culture, in every era.
By turns hilarious and inspiring, the beautifully illustrated Queer, There, and Everywhere is for anyone who wants the real story of the queer rights movement.

Queer, There, and Everywhere is a wonderfully fascinating look at the history of queer people all over the world. I thought that it was extremely well researched and well written. It was never dull or boring, it held your attention the whole time. There are 23 queer people who receive pretty short biographies on their lives and what all they contributed to the community as a whole. There are familiar names like Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frida Kahlo, and Harvey Milk. And also not so familiar names like Kristina Vasa, Albert Cashier, Ma Rainey, and many others. I found that I ultimately enjoyed reading all of these stories. I think this is such an important book to read regardless of your sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or race, all of us could benefit from reading this comprehensive and beautiful book. I really hope that the author will write another one featuring other queer figures in the future!

So you might be able to tell by looking at some of my past reviews, but I don’t read a whole lot of non fiction, especially not Young Adult. However, I knew that I should read this one. I wanted to learn even more about queer history and this looked like such an intriguing work. Though it’s not something I’d normally read, I’m still glad that I did. I also learned so much from it. About a day after I finished it, I told my dad (who is a historian) about Abraham Lincoln and his buddy Joshua. I don’t think my dad still believes that they were actually a thing, he hit me with the fact that it was a common thing for guys to sleep in the same bed back then. But it did feel good to hit him with some interesting information that I read in the book. Anyway, this book was filled with people that you might be familiar with to an extent, but it’s still neat to learn more about their personal lives. Did you guys know that Greta Garbo had a female lover? I didn’t. She’s not featured, but her lover Mercedes De Acosta was.

So basically, I would read one of these biographies and automatically go off to Google to learn more about them. I really wanted to know about Ma Rainey, since she sounded like such an eccentric and amazing human being. I also had to know more about Harvey Milk, Frida Kahlo, Josef Kohout, and Glenn Burke. There were some truly touching stories as well. Specifically the story of Albert Cashier, a transgender soldier who fought in the Civil War. Although you hear stories about women who dressed as men in order to fight for their country, this isn’t one of those stories. Albert truly identified as a man, and was miraculously able to keep the fact that he was assigned female at birth a secret. I thought it was beautiful how the people who did find out ultimately kept it a secret, and accepted that he was a man. The story about his funeral will make you sob. Though so many other stories touched me as well, I’d have to say that this was probably my favorite.

There’s so many good things to say about this book. One of the few complaints that I have about it is that it was rather short. I would have loved to have some of these biographies be a little longer. But I understand that some who were less famous might not have as much information about them out there like others did. So this was my first non fiction YA book, and it definitely won’t be my last if there are other books released in the future that are similar to it! I highly recommend that you pick this up for both yourself and a teenager that you know. I’m honestly upset that we don’t learn more about these figures and what they’ve contributed to the queer community in history class.

four-stars

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ARC Review: Forever and Always, Lara Jean

May 8, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

ARC Review: Forever and Always, Lara JeanAlways and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3) by Jenny Han
on May 2nd 2017
Source: Publisher
Also by this author: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2)
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four-stars

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

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.
Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.
When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

So this review is really difficult to write. This series is very popular and I know that a lot of people who love it haven’t gotten the opportunity to read it yet. I’ve had the book for almost two months now, but put off reading it because I just really didn’t want the series to be over. Anyway, I’m struggling with how to write this review and how much I should reveal about the plot itself and my feelings on it. I know people aren’t as worried about spoilers for this one like they are with Sarah J. Maas’s series, but I still want to be careful and understanding for the fans out there. I’m not going to reveal any major plot points, still read with caution I suppose. I really liked this one! It was probably one of my favorites of the series, though the second book was amazing as well. I’m not sure how necessary it was to have a third book, though it was awesome as always to get the chance to be reunited with Lara Jean’s family for at least a little while. I have a feeling you guys will be very pleased with how Jenny Han closes out her beloved series.

Whether you love or hate her, Lara Jean is Lara Jean. She’s a teenage girl who is far from perfect, and that’s what makes her so easy to relate to. Her awkward moments are sincerely cringe-worthy, but we’ve all been there in some ways. In this book specifically, you can tell that she’s grown and changed a lot as a person. At times though, she does seem really young to me. Just some of the things she says doesn’t always seem fitting for an 18 year old, in my opinion. I do love how passionate she is about baking. This girl bakes A LOT in this book. I don’t remember her doing it as much in the other books, but she does it as a stress reliever specifically in this book.

Peter is probably one of my favorite book boyfriends. I love how he’s a jock, but he’s not your stereotypical jock. He’s a pretty complex guy, and he’s developed into such a different person throughout the series. It’s probably no surprise to you if you read P.S. I Still Like You that she chooses to be with Peter. I was honestly shocked that there are some fans out there who didn’t like her with Peter and wanted her with John Ambrose (or whatever his name is) instead. I’m one of those people who feels like Peter is the only guy out there for Lara Jean at this point in her life, and that’s all I have to say about that.

Family is a pretty big theme in this book. I absolutely adore Lara Jean’s little sister Kitty. She’s always been the total comic relief in the series, and that definitely doesn’t change in this one. She’s still as endearing and as hilarious as ever. I also thought her bond with Peter and her dad’s girlfriend was so sweet. I’ve seen some people say this already, but Lara Jean’s older sister Margot just gets on my nerves. I didn’t have a major problem in the other books, but she was just so ridiculously selfish here. There was also one specific scene where she was just being downright disrespectful to her dad and I didn’t appreciate that at all. I get that there was a lot of changes that happened while she was away in another country, but that’s still no excuse to behave the way she did in that situation. That being said, I really do enjoy the bond that Lara Jean’s father shares with all three of his daughters. He’s such a remarkable father, and I just love his character in general.

Wow, I did a much better job than I thought I would about not giving too much away. This book is pretty much one big love letter to all of the fans of this series. Jenny Han does a good job at allowing us to say goodbye to this wonderful character one last time. That reminds me, there’s also a ton of Hamilton references in this, so you’ll appreciate the story even more if you’re a big fan of that musical. This ultimately fell a bit short of the 5 star mark for me. However, it was still a light and fun read. I can’t wait to see what everyone else thinks about Forever and Always, Lara Jean!

four-stars

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ARC Review: Girl Out of Water

May 4, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: Girl Out of WaterGirl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
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three-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.

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves

I was expecting just a little bit more from this book. It was a solid debut, but my ridiculously high standards going into this might have been unfair. I’ve heard nothing but absolutely rave reviews about it so that’s what I was anticipating. It’s a good book, but not a great one. In my opinion, it felt as if it were missing something. I loved Lincoln, and there’s no way I can ever deny that. I just wasn’t a fan of the romantic choices made outside of Lincoln. Anyway, it was a nice light summer read that was mostly enjoyable. I just wasn’t completely captivated by it for whatever reason. It was just a mostly forgettable read that didn’t make that big of an impact on me personally. I hope I have better luck with this author’s next book!

Anise was a character that I found it difficult to identify with. She was pretty selfish in the beginning, and I didn’t agree with some of her choices. At the same time though, she’s just a teenager who’s trying to figure out who she is. I feel like she did have some character growth throughout, but not really that much. However, it seriously bothered me that she just stopped talking to her friends when she went to Nebraska. There was no good reason for it and it pissed me off honestly. I thought it was awesome that she was a surfer, though we obviously don’t get many scenes of this since she leaves California at the beginning of the novel for the summer. I just thought it was cool that she did it at all. For me, she was just an average character that didn’t have that many unique things about her that stood out to me.

You guys, Lincoln is a super cool guy. I don’t know if he’s one of my favorite book boyfriends of all time, but he’s definitely one of the better ones of the year. I wanted to know even more about his adoption and his history. I felt like in their interactions, Anise was always talking about her life much more than Lincoln was talking about his. He’s a good guy all around that I desperately wanted to see even more. Part of me wishes that this was told in dual points of view so we could get his side of it as well. He’s a sweet and swoony character.

The romance between Lincoln and Anise was pretty good. I feel like it did progress rather quickly. But I really liked seeing all of the adventures that they went on together. I also thought it was awesome how they initially bonded over Lincoln teaching her how to skateboard. I didn’t identify with how competitive Anise was about learning this so quickly, but I did like how patient and fun Lincoln was about it. All in all, the relationship that they had was a cute little summer romance that I really enjoyed.

Girl Out of Water is a decent book all around. It’s not really my favorite, but it was still a light and remotely fluffy book that I needed. It’s a good summer book that I do recommend. It wasn’t totally my kind of book due to my lack of being able to connect with the main character. I did really enjoy the supporting characters. Her three cousins were seriously adorable and I loved them. I also loved Anise’s relationship with her dad. I thought that was well written. I recommend this if you’re just looking for a fun read to kick off your summer. For me, it just felt like something was missing.

three-stars

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ARC Review: Noteworthy

May 3, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: NoteworthyNoteworthy by Riley Redgate
Published by Amulet Books on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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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.

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.
Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped ... revered ... all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Noteworthy was a pleasant surprise for me. I meant to read this author’s debut, but just never really got around to doing it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one so far, and since it’s also about a cappella groups, I thought it’d be my cup of tea. Turns out, this was exactly the book that I was looking for. I’ve had some bad luck with YA contemporary books here recently, but this one ended up breaking that streak thankfully! It was a wonderfully delight and lighthearted read that I was able to devour in just one sitting. I’m glad that I gave this one a chance and I’m hoping you’ll do the same.

So the plot for this book is basically She’s The Man meets Pitch Perfect. Jordan goes to a super rad arts school, but is sick of never being cast in any of the school productions. Once she sees that a spot is available for a male a cappella group, she immediately jumps at the opportunity. Much to her surprise, she gets the spot, which leads her to have to continually pretend to be a boy. I really liked how Redgate made a clear and sensitive distinction that Jordan is not transgender and she doesn’t mean to offend transgender people by crossdressing. I thought the exploration of her sexuality was really well written. Over the course of the novel, Jordan gradually comes to the realization that she’s bisexual. This is not touched on a whole lot, but I think that it’s done in a realistic way. Jordan is just a teenager who is trying to discover who she is, so obviously she doesn’t have her sexuality completely figured out yet. I thought that Jordan was an absolutely badass person. I totally connected with her and I love her a lot.

I’m not going to touch on the love interest too much here because I’d rather talk about the group as a whole. I will say that the love interest is in the a cappella group, and you’ll probably guess who it is from the first time that you’re introduced to him. Romance does play a pretty big part in the book, but I think the boys themselves are all rather important. I loved them all but especially Nihal. He’s the one who Jordan connects with the most (besides the love interest) and you can’t help but love him from the first page. He has such a big heart, and he’s such a diverse and beautiful character as a whole. While she wasn’t as close to them as Nihal, you can’t help but love Mama and Jon Cox, who were ridiculously hilarious and lovable. Trav, Isaac, Erik, and Marcus were all such unique and lovely developed characters. I could go on and on about the greatness of these guys, but I just want you guys to figure it out for yourselves!

I sound like a broken record at this point, but you guys need this book in your life. I’m a big a cappella person in general, so this book was a dream come true for me. I’d say that it’s probably one of my favorite books of the year so far. I hesitated giving it five stars because it isn’t super realistic if you really think about it hard enough, but that doesn’t take away from how enjoyable and entertaining it was. I was fully invested in the characters and their relationships. I seriously want a spin-off dedicated to my amazing boy Nihal. He deserves a happy ending, that’s for sure. Noteworthy was a fun read that I wasn’t expecting. I’m glad that I gave it a chance, and I now know that I need to get around to reading Redgate’s debut. All I have left to say is read this!

four-stars

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Seven Days of You Review

April 24, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

Seven Days of You ReviewSeven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
on March 7th 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Library
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two-stars
Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.
Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

What is up with me not liking any of these contemporary books here lately? I’m not really sure what my deal is. But I had issues with Seven Days of You. It makes me so sad because I desperately wanted to like this one. I’ve ultimately realized that I’m never fully going to get behind romances that happen in a short amount of time. With this book, they HAD met before, but I still didn’t totally believe in the couple or either of the characters. It had a lot of potential because there aren’t enough books that are set in Tokyo, but it still fell short for me in the end. It was highly predictable, and not enough was done with the setting to truly make it unique. This is yet another recent release that simply wasn’t for me for a number of reasons.

I had a hard time relating to Sophia as a whole. Maybe I’m getting too old for this. But honestly, I’ve only been out of high school for three years now. Sophia didn’t sound like ANY high schooler that I’ve ever encountered. Yes, I did appreciate some of her pop culture references to My So Called Life and other shows that I loved, but that’s pretty much it for being able to understand this character. She was incredibly whiny and selfish throughout the book. And for the life of me, I couldn’t understand her crush on David. In my opinion, it would have worked out a lot better for the book if he was her platonic male friend. Instead he was this complete asshole with literally zero redeeming qualities. On the plus side, his girlfriend was a sweetheart, though I thought it was horrible how Sophia treated her. Putting it simply, she wasn’t a good person. I try to watch myself on judging characters based on likability, but on this case it was extremely difficult not to.

So the love interest here is a guy named Jamie. Jamie was an alright love interest as a whole. I thought that he was a decent enough guy. However, he was seriously way too decent to have to put up with the way Sophia treated him. I don’t blame him for getting mad/jealous of her crush on David back when they were still friends. He’s a nice guy, but that’s truthfully all that I remember about him. So what I’m basically saying is that he’s a combination of your typical YA love interest and nothing about him truly stands out. I know that might sound harsh, but I can be picky about my book boyfriends and Jamie just wasn’t a memorable one for me.

I’m not even going to waste more time talking about the romance when it should already be rather clear that I had issues with it. Instead, I want to talk about her friend Mika. As mentioned, David was a jerk and her best friend Mika wasn’t much better. She was also extremely selfish and I felt like her storyline was entirely predictable. She reminded me exactly of Rayanne Graff from My So Called Life. I felt like her storyline could have fleshed out a little better because it didn’t feel completely developed to me. I was excited that it was set in Tokyo but I felt like the setting and the culture could have been a much bigger storyline than it was. I get that a teenager probably isn’t going to care that much about her surroundings, but it still would have been nice to get more details about it anyway. It also bothered me that she had no Japanese friends and hardly interacted with anyone from Japan at all.

Seven Days of You ultimately didn’t work for me at all. I hate that these recent contemporaries haven’t been working for me lately, but I just guess that’s how it turns out sometimes. On the positive side, it was a very quick read for me. I managed to read it in just a few hours. I was also pretty hooked into it once I started reading, which definitely says something. It wasn’t an awful book, but it didn’t stay with me either. It’s a forgettable book for the most part. I’ve seen comparisons to Anna and the French Kiss, but this book doesn’t even come close to that one in my opinion. Who knows, maybe this one is just the book you’re looking for!

two-stars

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ARC Review: The Hot Shot

April 19, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: The Hot ShotThe Hot Shot (Game On, #4) by Kristen Callihan
on April 18th 2017
Pages: 223
Source: InkSlinger PR
Also by this author: The Hook Up (Game On, #1), The Friend Zone (Game On, #2), The Game Plan (Game On, #3), Idol (VIP, #1), Managed (VIP, #2)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

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

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.
I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.
Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.
Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

Wow, this was really awesome! Then again, I’ve come to expect nothing less than absolutely amazing from Kristen Callihan. She’s just one of those authors for me that never fails to write beautiful romances that sweep me off my feet. She also writes some of the most memorable characters that I’ve ever came across. Finn and Chess were both such lovable characters, and I loved the relationship that they slowly but surely built as the book progressed. I highly recommend this one if you’re looking for a sports romance or just a fast paced romance in general. If you’ve never read anything from this author before, what are you waiting for? I promise that you’ll probably adore her works if you’re a fan of fun and realistic romances that have some steam thrown in there for good measure. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Chess was a wonderful heroine. She has such a strong personality that you can’t help but adore. She’s a unique woman who isn’t afraid to be herself. Honestly, I can’t think of all that much about her that I didn’t absolutely love. She’s just a naturally likable person from the very first page. I loved how she wasn’t afraid to say what she thought, and she didn’t let anyone walk all over her. Chess shared some similarities with some of Callihan’s past heroines, but at the same time she was so different from them in all the right ways. She’s her own person, and she’ll stick with you long after you finish reading this.

Finn was such a sweetheart. I wasn’t sure if I’d like him at first, but there was any need for me to doubt. I quickly fell in love with Finn. He wasn’t a douchebag by any means, instead he was an extremely loving and caring guy all around. I’m always going to have a thing for football players, so the QB of an NFL football team definitely didn’t disappoint. He was a true leader, who was also an amazing teammate and I loved seeing some of the same guys that we saw from the last couple of books. I don’t know if I liked him more than Drew, Grey, or Dex, but he was still an excellent guy who I loved getting to know more.

The romance between Finn and Chess is easily my favorite part of the book. I love that they have this instant banter from the first time that they meet, though they didn’t seem to like each other much at the time. Anyway, they slowly become close friends which obviously develops into more. This is certainly a book that has a slow burn to it, and I thought that was a fitting choice from Callihan. Once they finally had sex, it was totally electric. They most certainly have some serious chemistry, that’s for sure.

This fourth book in the Game On series is just as lovely as I was hoping it would be. While I’d still say that the last one is probably my favorite, this one is still just as amazing and memorable as I hoped it would be. Callihan is an author who never ever disappoints. I’m so happy that she introduced us to Finn and Chess, they were both such unique characters. This was a fast paced read that I managed to finish in just a few sittings. I’m happy that I read this one and I hope that you give it a shot as well!

four-stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

April 18, 2017 Features 10

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 certain things that make you instantly want to read a book. Like you see in a review or a book synopsis that this book is about a certain thing or set at a certain place, and you pick up the book right away based on that alone. This was an interesting topic with a lot of possibilities to talk about. I hope you guys enjoy my list and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

1. No love triangle

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether or not it has one based on the synopsis alone, but typically other reviews help me discover if it has one or not. A lack of a love triangle is definitely an automatic plus for me right off the bat.

2. Female friendship

I love all types of friendship, but I’m instantly drawn towards books that have positive female friendships. There’s a lot of books out there that have girls fighting or hating other girls, so it’s always so nice to see ones that have wonderful relationships that aren’t like that.

3. Summer/beach

I always think a book is great if it takes place on a beach during the summer. To me, it just screams that it’s probably going to be a light and cute book. Sometimes the books turn out to be a lot deeper, but I still enjoy the majority of them. I’m mostly thinking of Sarah Dessen books with this one, but I like others as well!

4. Brother’s best friend

I’ve found that this trope pretty much always work for me. I’ve found it more in NA or adult romances, but there are a few decent YA books that touch on it as well, I just can’t think of any at the moment. This just always works out extremely well for me.

5. Coming of age/contemporary

This is very very broad and not all of these books typically work for me, but I’m more likely to read a book if it’s about growing up or just contemporary in general. I think these books are much easier to relate to on a personal level. Some of my all time favorite books fit in this category. I feel like I’m always going to be reading these types of books.

6. Friends to lovers

I’m a fan of platonic friendships for sure, but I’m also a major sucker for friends to lovers. I think there’s something special about a couple having a history together before they ultimately get together. It seems as if all the decent relationships out there are initially built on friendship, which is probably why I love these books so much. The books aren’t always perfect and there are a few that I haven’t been able to finish, but they are still mostly fun and interesting.

7. Sports

I love sports, specifically baseball, basketball, and football, but I love reading about any of them. I think it’s always great when the heroine does some sport, but I’m also a sucker for a love interest who plays a sport as well. As long as it includes somebody doing a sport, I’ll probably pick it up. Miranda Kenneally books are the first ones that come to mind with this one.

8. Music

Though I recently read a book about a band that didn’t work for me, a lot of these do. I’ll always enjoy books that have teens in a band or all over the world touring or something along those lines. I feel like the ones that I’ve enjoy recently have been more NA or Adult though, like Idol and Managed by Kristen Callihan.

9. Hate to love

I thought that The Hating Game was absolutely awesome. Another one that I really enjoyed was Act Like It by Lucy Parker. Sometimes these don’t always work, but when it’s done right, I find that I truly enjoy it. It does seem like it works better for me with NA and Adult romance instead of YA for whatever reason.

10. College

I can be picky with these at times, but there are a lot of these that I like since this is where I am in life right now. Of course I love YA, but books that take place at colleges are fitting to me right now. Though some of them rightfully get criticized for awful behavior like slut shaming or general douchebag behavior from the love interests, there’s also plenty of decent stories out there.

So there’s my list. I hope you enjoyed discovering what some of my favorite things are when I’m deciding what books to read next. This was a fun list to make and I enjoyed doing it. I can’t wait to see what everyone else came up with since it’s a pretty broad category. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week.

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Save the Date Review

April 6, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★½

Save the Date ReviewSave the Date by Annabeth Albert, Wendy Qualls
on March 28th 2017
Pages: 153
Source: Purchased
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three-half-stars
Randall Young has one duty as his sister’s “man of honor”: to ensure she has the best wedding ever. That includes an epic bachelorette pub crawl, leading him to Portland’s most popular gay bar… and into Hunter Mitchell’s well-muscled arms. A one-night stand with a sexy soldier is the perfect way to ditch that pesky V-card and get himself in the mood for a weekend of flowers, cake, and nuptials.
Hunter wants to blow off some steam before he stands up as his best friend’s best man. He's already married to his military career, not looking to settle down. He certainly doesn’t intend for the one guy he met (and, okay, got off with) in Oregon to be his counterpart in the wedding party. Or a virgin. Definitely wasn’t intending that. Luckily, they have the rest of the weekend for Hunter to show Randall what he's been missing.
The more they’re thrown together by the wedding, the more Randall and Hunter grow together outside the bedroom… which is dangerous because there’s a lot more than 2500 miles standing between them and a happily-ever-after. If they want a future beyond their wedding weekend hookup, both must find the courage to take a chance on love.
Length: approx. 38,000 words

Save the Date was a short and sweet M/M romance novella. I quickly purchased it once I realized that it was free. I’ve never read either one of these authors before, but I’ll certainly be checking out more from them in the future. It was a pretty light read, and just what I needed right now in between all of my heavy reads here lately. I’m happy that I was able to get lost in the plot and characters for at least a little while. Randall and Hunter were both charming and funny characters, and I thought they were incredible as a couple. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for something steamy that you can read in just a couple of hours.

Randall was the guy who was nerdy and an introvert. He’s also a virgin, and wanted to lose it while at a gay bar for his sister’s bachelorette party. I thought that he such a sweet and adorable guy. He’s obviously extremely smart as well. I thought that he was a fun character. I’m always a sucker for a well written nerd and that’s definitely what Randall is. Sometimes I didn’t always agree with his choices, like when he got into an argument with Hunter towards the end of the story. However, he was still a decent character at the end of it all. Novellas are always tricky since you don’t have enough space for a lot of character development, and I think Randall could have really used some of it.

Hunter is a military man who is the best man at his best friend’s wedding. I thought his character was also charming, but in a different way. He couldn’t be more different from Randall. He’s a smooth talker, and not at all awkward in the way that Randall is. I liked how secure in his own skin that he was. He’s a good character as well and I really enjoyed reading about him. I also thought it was nice how great of a friend he was towards his best friend, who is marrying Randall’s sister. Like Randall, I feel like Hunter could have used some more character development than what he had. Unfortunately, I understand that there simply wasn’t enough room for all of that but I think it would have made me connect with the characters a little bit better than what I did.

As mentioned, Randall and Hunter made a strong couple. Yes, it started on a complete physical attraction. They both met in the bar strictly looking for a one night stand. I’m not always a fan of those kinds of romance since there isn’t a ton of emotion involved until much later in the story. Fortunately, it didn’t bother me all that much here. I think the connection between them felt genuine from the start. I liked seeing them (especially Hunter) struggle with the fact that it all felt like much more than just a one time hookup right from the start. So they definitely take quite awhile to actually become a couple. I wasn’t a huge fan of the fight that went down. I felt like Randall was too harsh towards Hunter about his past. The relationship was VERY steamy, which was pretty great. You have to prepare yourself for all the serious steam that goes down here.

This was a steamy and fascinating novella. It wasn’t my favorite, but I still enjoyed reading it. I think that it would have worked well as a full length novel and it would have also allowed readers to connect even more with the characters. Randall and Hunter were lovely characters that shared such a beautiful romance, and I wanted to read even more and more of them. It felt like it was missing something, but I’m not totally sure what exactly it was. I’m still glad that I was able to read this one. Besides some of the drama towards the end, this was a lighthearted and fun novella.

three-half-stars

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We Are Okay Review

April 5, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

We Are Okay ReviewWe Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on February 14th 2017
Pages: 234
Source: Library
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, You Know Me Well
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two-stars
You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…
Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

Not going to lie to you guys, I desperately wanted to like We Are Okay. I liked Nina’s book Everything Leads to You. Though I wasn’t a fan of her recent book You Know Me Well with David Levithan, I thought I’d try this one anyway. Sadly, this didn’t work for me to say the least. I don’t know, I was just ridiculously bored. It was a short book, and I felt like nothing really happened. There was barely any character development, which made me sad. Nina LaCour is a great author, and her sentences are extremely pretty. I just wasn’t able to connect with this story on any level. I’m sure there are plenty of readers who will like it, I’m not one of them.

Marin is an okay character. I totally feel for her as she struggles with grief over the loss of her grandpa. Her mom died when she was little and her dad was never in the picture, so her grandpa was her family. So yeah, I sympathized with her. Look, this might sound insensitive, but I didn’t really understand why she felt so betrayed by her grandpa. It felt like she was being a little selfish about what her grandpa went through. Like Cait said, maybe I just missed something, but it seemed like a weird thing to be so upset about. I also didn’t get why it was so hard to be in the town again. Like what did EVERYONE in the town do to you? Maybe it was the memories that she associated it with, but I still didn’t fully understand that. I was confused by the whole thing.

Another disappointment was the romance. I guess you could say the love interest was her best friend Mabel, but not really since nothing happens between them in the present. It all happened back before Marin’s grandpa died and she shut Mabel out completely. So she comes to Marin’s dorm over Christmas break because she hasn’t talked to her since she left and doesn’t know the full story. I guess she’s a good friend to Marin for the most part but I just didn’t care enough about it. I was really bothered by the fact that they’d been together in the past, but it was barely mentioned at all by the girls in the present. It would be okay if it was just a one time thing, but they seemed to really love each other, or at least Marin loved her. I’m fine with Mabel being bisexual and having a boyfriend now. I wasn’t alright with how she actually said that she wouldn’t have been with her boyfriend in Marin would have just texted her back. Realistically, it seems like it would have been difficult for them to be in a long distance relationship, she might have fallen for him even if they were still together. It just bugged me that she claimed to understand why Marin shut her out, but still basically blamed her for leading her to Jacob. I wasn’t a fan of how Mabel was pushing her at the end of the book to find a girlfriend. It felt like she was only doing that to ease her own guilt since she knows that Marin still has strong feelings for her. Mabel had very little character development as well.

I’ve seen pretty much all positive reviews about this book. For whatever reason, it didn’t click for me. I didn’t have a strong emotional connection to the characters or the plot at all. I think it could have been a bit longer and faster paced. I found myself very bored and just ready for it to end, which is never a good sign for me. Maybe I’ll eventually end up giving this author another chance, but this didn’t end up leaving a good impression on me personally. I see where people are coming from with all the nice things being said, but I simply don’t feel the same. If you like emotional contemporary reads, maybe this will be your cup of tea. I usually like emotional books, but I wasn’t able to connect with the characters or the romance.

two-stars

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ARC Review: Geekerella

April 4, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: GeekerellaGeekerella: A Fangirl Fairy Tale by Ashley Poston
Published by Quirk Books on April 4th 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: We Own the Night
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.

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad's old costume), Elle's determined to win unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons before he was famous. Now they re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he's ever wanted, but the Starfieldfandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom."

Wow, this was a great book! I didn’t really like this author’s book We Own the Night, but decided to give this a shot because of the summary. I’m also a sucker for sweet contemporary reads and anything about geek culture. This wasn’t my absolute favorite, but it was still a book that I really enjoyed. It was also extremely fast paced. I was able to read it in just a few sittings. I look forward to reading whatever Ashley Poston decides to write next. I’m glad that I was given the opportunity to pick this one up. You should read it if you’re a fan of fairytale retellings, geeky things, and just cute and light contemporary stories.

Elle was a strong character all in all. She was sassy and I just adored so much about her personality. I definitely related to her geeky side. I also understand her taking refuge in the internet instead of in the outside world. She was just an entirely relatable character. However, I desperately wanted her to stand up for herself. I get that the author was staying close to the original Cinderella story in this respect, but it was still frustrating, especially towards the end. I didn’t understand why she continually allowed her stepmother to treat her like trash when she had basically no reason to live with her. Maybe I’m making too much out of this, but it bothered me quite a bit.

Darian was a decent character. He might have been a big star who just landed a huge role, but he certainly didn’t always act like it. Though he comes off as a jerk to Elle, we learn that there’s a lot more to him. He actually turns out to be a complicated character. Becoming famous has caused him to lose all of his friends and he doesn’t know who to trust. His dad is also his manager, and isn’t much of a dad to him since he’s too concerned with his career. His problems might not be as rough as Elle’s, but he’s still got them for sure. Anyway, I thought he was sweet and swoony. He was a total geek fanboy before he became famous. He’s just as obsessed with Starfield as Elle is, and it was his dream role to play Carmindor. I thought that he was a great book boyfriend. He wasn’t perfect, but I still liked him a lot!

Darian and Elle made a sweet couple. Some people might be bothered that the majority of their interactions take place through text messages. They don’t meet each at the convention until the end of the book. When they do meet, they don’t know they’ve been talking and they don’t get along right away. That being said, I still found the relationship that they built over text to be adorable. It felt very real and sweet, there’s really no better words to describe it. We don’t get a lot of kissing scenes obviously, but I still thought the relationship was well written for the most part. It might not work for some people, but I thought it was great!

Geekerella was a refreshing and unique modern take on the classic tale. I thought that the fangirl angle was so relevant. Elle was a fabulous main character. The supporting characters were memorable as well, specifically her fairy godmother Sage. She was so hilarious and charming all around. Do you guys think I’ve used the word sweet enough in my review? That’s truly the best word I can think of to describe this book. It’s not perfect, but it’s still really great. I think readers are going to find it to be a compelling and charming read! I hope that you guys give it a chance.

four-stars

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