Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (#72) - Books On My End of the Year TBR


Happy Tuesday!
This week I am sharing with you ten books I want to have read by the end of 2016. 
Let me know in the comments what you have on your Fall/end of 2016 TBR!


I have loved every contemporary novel I've read by Kasie West so I have no doubt I will like this too. In P.S. I Like You Lily falls for her anonymous pen pal and attempts to find who she is connecting with while juggling school, friends, and her crazy family. 


Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown tells the story of out and proud Joanna who moves from Atlanta to Georgia. Her new hometown is very conservative and when her father asks her to lie low for her senior year, Jo tries to pass as a straight girl. 


Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry focuses on key evidence that according to Rabia Chaudry dismantles the State's case against Adnan Syed. The book also shares Adnan's life in prison and presents never-before-seen letters by Syed. 


The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon tells the story of Natasha and Daniel, a girl whose family is hours away from being deported to Jamaica and a boy who has put his dreams on hold to be the kind of son his parents expect him to be. 


Kids of Appetite by David Arnold is a story about first love and devastating loss. It includes, among other things, one dormant submarine, a coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey and a story collector. 


In Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between Lauren Graham recounts her experiences on Gilmore Girls and shares stories about love, life, and working in Hollywood. 


Teach Me to Forget by Erica M. Chapman is the story of suicidal girl Ellery and a boy called Colter who is determined to change her mind. 


When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore weaves together multicultural elements and magical realism into a story about a transgender boy and the best friend he's falling in love with. 


This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills tells the story of Sloane who falls in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida. Expect friendships, romance, and sharp, witty dialogue.


In What Light by Jay Asher Sierra has two lives - her life in Oregon at her family's Christmas tree farm and her life in California during the Christmas season at her family's Christmas tree lot. Usually being one place means missing the other...until Sierra meets Caleb.

So what's on your fall/end of 2016 TBR? Let me know in the comments!


Monday, September 26, 2016

Middle-Grade Review: Frazzled - Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat

Release date: September 27th, 2016
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 240
Purchase links: Amazon - Amazon UK - Amazon CA - Book Depository - B&N - IndieBound - iTunes - Google Books - Adlibris

Description (from Goodreads):

Meet Abbie Wu! She’s about to start middle school and she’s totally in crisis.

Abbie Wu is in crisis—and not just because she’s stuck in a family that doesn’t quite get her or because the lunch ladies at school are totally corrupt or because everyone seems to have a “Thing” except her. Abbie Wu is in crisis always.

Heavily illustrated and embarrassingly honest, Frazzled dives right into the mind of this hilariously neurotic middle school girl as she tries to figure out who she is, where she belongs, and how to survive the everyday disasters of growing up. With Abbie’s flair for the dramatic and natural tendency to freak out, middle school has never seemed so nerve-racking!

Packed with hilarious black-and-white illustrations and doodles throughout, Frazzled takes readers through Abbie Wu’s hysterical middle school adventures.
 



I don't read middle-grade novels very often, but after reading Booki Vivat's Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom, I definitely became more interested in the prospect of delving into MG literature more often. Frazzled is extremely funny, relatable and filled with funny and poignant illustrations.

Frazzled is the story of Abbie Wu who is about to start middle school and she is far from excited. As a middle child, she is used to being in the middle and that has never really worked out for her too well. She feels like an alien in her family, surrounded by a big brother who is loved and admired by everyone and a little sister whose cuteness is always acknowledged by everyone. Middle school - the middle point between elementary school and high school - thus seems alien to her as well. 

At the beginning of the new school year, Abbie is faced with the decision to pick her electives. Unlike her friends, Abbie has no idea what her THING is and the way people are talking about the selection of the electives makes it seem to Abbie like one wrong decision could destroy her life in the long run. Despite the fact that the students are still so young they are already made to think about their futures and how their electives of choice will help them reach a certain goal in the future. I think Frazzled excels in portraying the anxiety Abbie goes through, and despite the fact that I have already found my "thing", I was able to relate with Abbie and the struggle she goes through, because I was that girl looking for my thing not so long ago (I think I found "my thing" only in high school). 

The illustrations in Frazzled are brilliant and I definitely want to pick up the finished copy because I don't think the advance copy did justice to them. There is a very humoristic feel to this novel that kind of reminded me of The Princess Diaries, aka one of my favorite series ever. There are no royals here, but the observations Abbie makes and her sense of humor were somewhat reminiscent of Mia's diaries. 

I am not sure whether Frazzled is a standalone middle-grade novel or a start for a series, but in both cases, I found it to be very entertaining and funny. I would have loved to have this book in my life when I was younger and I hope young readers find it and embrace it. 


Rating:



"I worry more than anyone I know and maybe more than anyone in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD."

"I always thought the Universe was supposed to send me some kind of sign. Like, all of a sudden, I would discover that I was a genius at something and that would be my sign from the Universe and THAT would be my Thing. "

"Was I changing? Was this even me? I wasn't sure if I was becoming someone new of if I was just now figuring out that this had always been me."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Book Review: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #2) by Jenny Han

Release date: May 26, 2015
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 352

Description (from Goodreads):

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.
 



P.S. I Still Love You continues from where To All The Boys I've Left Before ends. Lara Jean's fake relationship with Peter is over and while she tried her best not to actually fall for him, she failed, because Peter is all she can think about. When it seems like Peter has a hard time forgetting Lara Jean too, they get together and for a while, everything seems perfect. But then someone from Lara Jean's past, someone she never really had closure with, returns and suddenly Lara Jean finds herself confused and not quite sure about the decision she has made.

As I mentioned in my review for To All The Boys I've Loved Before, I think this necessarily wouldn't have had to be a series. By ending the story where the first book ends or by adding a few more chapters, Jenny Han could have finished the story in a satisfying manner. While I am not one for series, mostly because I suck keeping up with them, I think P.S. I Still Love you a satisfying continuation to the story. Do we really need a book three? Not sure. But I will definitely look forward to seeing what readers think about the upcoming third book.

The element that really made me fall in love with the first book and with this one as well are the characters, especially Lara Jean and her sisters. Lara Jean is such a likable, relatable character to spend time with -- she is confused as hell most of the time, but who wasn't as a teenager? She questions her thoughts, actions, and decisions all the time and while she might try to deny it at times, what other people think of her is extremely important to her. I think through the element of bullying this book introduces Jenny Han taps quite well into what it is like to be a girl in high school and how differently boys and girls are treated when it comes to things like sexuality and relationships. 

I know Peter is a fan favorite, but I honestly feel nothing towards him. If I would have been looking for a purely romantic YA contemporary, I probably wouldn't have liked this series at all, because I think Peter is kind of the worst most of the time. He is less absent than present, spends more time with his ex (yes, he is comforting her as a friend, but still) and at least occasionally treats Lara Jean as someone who is obviously going to wait for him to do his thing because "girls like her" don't usually date guys like him. Yes, there might be some chemistry between the two when they actually spend time together, but I just constantly kept thinking that Lara Jean could do better.

The guy from her past is kind of the opposite of Peter in many ways -- he is willing to give all of his attention to Lara Jean and clearly has no other girls in his mind. But in some way, he is this dream-like figure, almost too perfect. Lara Jean has fun with him, but none of it really feels real, if you know what I mean. 

One of the absolute treasures of his book is Stormy, a woman who lives in the nursing home Lara Jean volunteers at. She represents a whole different generation, but as Lara Jean spends time with her, one quickly notices that things are not that different after all. Sure, we have social media and all that now, but the essentials seem same. 

Lara Jean's family dynamics remain as the most interesting element of her story, and I love seeing how she grows as a sort of maternal figure to Kitty. I think this book also brings new maternal figures to her life in the form of Stormy and their neighbor. And while Margot is not physically present for the majority of the book, she still has a huge part in the story.

I didn't enjoy P.S. I Still Love You quite as much as I enjoyed To All The Boys I've Loved Before, but nevertheless found myself entertained and touched by this continuation to Lara Jean's story. As I said, I am curious to see how the third book turns out. At least the cover for it is absolutely beautiful.


Rating:


Friday, September 23, 2016

Reread Review: To All The Boys I've Loved Before (To All The Boys I've Loved Before #1) by Jenny Han

Release date: April 15, 2014
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 369

Description (from Goodreads):

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.


I quite rarely reread books, but because I was dying to read P.S. I Still Love You and didn't really remember the details of To All the Boys I've Loved Before, I thought it would be good to give it a reread before I moved to the second book in the trilogy. 

I read To All the Boys I've Loved Before right around the time it was released in 2014 and couldn't put it down. I gave it glowing five stars and a rave review. When I picked it up for reread almost two and a half years later, I was slightly scared of my possible reaction. Would I love it as much? 

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I can tell you that it was just as awesome as I remember it being, and I think I might have liked it, even more, this time around. 

I love the idea of writing letters to get over something. For Lara Jean the letters represent getting over a guy, but I think you could as easily write letters like that about something else. It is extremely interesting to see how Lara has grown from those letters she has written and how she has changed as a person. 

While I love the romantic aspects of the book, my favorite thing about this book is the representation of Lara Jean's family relationships. She has two sisters, Kitty and Margot, and while she loves them equally, her relationships with them are quite different. Kitty is the younger sister that has pretty much been raised by Lara Jean and Margot while Margot is the wise older sister who takes a leap and leaves her family behind to attend college in Scotland. Margot's departure, while not unexpected, changes the family dynamics and Lara Jean has to adapt into the role of not only a sister, but also someone Kitty can look up to. While their father is around, there are some things girls just find easier to talk about with their sisters. 

The book presents two possible love interests for Lara Jean -- Peter and Josh. Peter is the popular guy. Josh is Margot's ex-boyfriend. While Lara Jean finds herself thinking about these both guys, I wouldn't say this book really has a love triangle, because like I said, at the end of the day this book is more about the family dynamics and Lara Jean's growth as a person when she finds herself from a new situation. So if you are someone who does not like love triangles I think you can still give this one a go.

After rereading To All The Boys I've Loved Before I cannot wait to see how Lara Jean's story continues. Like I said in my original review, I think this book could have been standalone with a slightly ambiguous ending, but I won't complain about the chance to get to know more about these wonderful characters. 

!!LOOK AT HOW GORGEOUS THE COVER OF THE THIRD BOOK IN THE SERIES IS!!


Rating:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cover Reveal - ALL LACED UP by Erin Fletcher

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Let us know what you think of the cover for All Laced Up (Breakaway #1) by Erin Fletcher, which releases October 10, 2016!


This cover reveal is brought to you by Entangled TEEN!

                                                             alu_1600

About All Laced Up:

Everyone loves hockey superstar Pierce Miller. Everyone except Lia Bailey. When the two are forced to teach a skating class to save the rink, Lia’s not sure she’ll survive the pressure of Nationals and Pierce’s ego. Not only can’t he remember her name, he signed her bottle of water like she was one of his groupies. Ugh. But if there’s one thing Lia knows better than figure skating, it’s hockey. Hoping to take his ego down a notch—or seven—she logs into his team website under an anonymous name to give him pointers on his less-than-stellar playing. Turns out, Pierce isn’t arrogant at all. And they have a lot in common. Too bad he’s falling for the anonymous girl online. No matter how much fun they’re starting to have in real life, she’s afraid he’s going to choose fake-Lia over the real one… Disclaimer: This book contains a swoony hockey player (and his equally swoony friends!), one-too-many social media accounts, kisses that’ll melt ice, and a secret identity that might not be so secret after all…

Want to read more? Pre-order your copy of All Laced Up today!

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Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

erin-fletcher

About Erin Fletcher:

Erin is a young adult author from North Carolina. She is a morning person who does most of her writing before sunrise, while drinking excessive quantities of coffee. She believes flip-flops qualify as year-round footwear, and would spend every day at the beach if she could. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics, which is almost never useful when writing books.
Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Entangled Publishing

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (#71) - My Fall Playlist


I'm not really one to make new playlists for every single season (except maybe Christmas), but I thought for this week's free audio related post I would share with you ten songs that I have been listening to a lot this fall. Some of these went through intense play already during the summer while some are new additions for the fall. 

I have been listening to a lot of these while working on my thesis and I'm always on the look out for new artists to listen to. So if you like especially country music and have an artist in mind you think I should listen to, please let me know in the comments! 















What have you been blasting from your speakers/headphones recently?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Review: The Mistake (Off-Campus #2) by Elle Kennedy

Release date: May 6, 2015
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Pages: 296

Description (from Goodreads:)

He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have towork for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild.



It's probably no news for those who have read my blog/social media feeds before that I LOVE HOCKEY. In addition to my dog, my family & friends and books/movies/TV, hockey can be counted as one of the greatest loves of my life. Some of my best memories are related to hockey - attending games, meeting players, spending time with my friends. Pretty much, HOCKEY IS MY EVERYTHING. Because of my love for hockey, I set huge expectations for The Deal, which managed to deliver what I was looking for. Now, The Mistake has done the same! With a wonderful set of characters and a romance to die for, The Mistake is just the kind of hockey romance I wanted to read.

Logan is a major player. Ever since he started college, he has been sleeping around a lot and hasn't really even been thinking about a relationship as a viable option for him. But watching his best friend Garrett with his girlfriend Hannah is making Logan question his decisions. Believing he is in love with Hannah, Logan is looking for ways to stop himself from feeling anything. Then he meets Grace, and quickly innocent hook-ups become much more serious either of them was prepared for. 

Grace's freshman year hasn't really been what she expected. When John Logan, one of the biggest hockey stars of the school suddenly seems interested in her, she does not quite know how to act. Once she spends more time with Logan she realizes that there could actually be something in there. But is she ready for a relationship? And is relationship something Logan is really looking for? 

I loved the dynamic between Logan and Grace. At first, Logan seems like a cocky player, which he kind of is, but as the story develops, Elle Kennedy shows another side to him that absolutely made me fall in love with me. And while Logan might be cocky and a bit of a player, he is not really a "bad boy" and throughout the novel acts like a gentleman, which is something I really appreciate. I loved seeing how Grace's confidence grows as her relationship with Logan deepens, and seeing her take control of her own sexuality and desires felt really empowering and kickass. 

While this book is mostly good fun and consist a lot of hilarious exchanges, there's also a more serious side to it. Logan's family relationships are more than ideal, and there were scenes here that absolutely broke my heart. I think Elle Kennedy has found the perfect kind of balance for this stories with the more serious stuff, the hilarious banter, and the sexytimes. The supporting characters are all extremely interesting and I cannot wait to continue with the series to see who's story will be covered next. 

(I totally want a book about Pace and Evelyn, the airhead hosts of the campus radio show!)


My review of The Deal was made better with gifs of Sidney Crosby, because he's the hockey babe I was thinking about while reading The Deal. I think in this review I will go with Pekka Rinne, my first hockey love and my sweet Finnish prince (he is seriously THE NICEST HUMAN BEING I'VE EVER MET!)


I THINK YOU ARE PERFECTION (*intense fangirling since 2005*
btw, YOU'RE WELCOME


Rating: