Sunshine Blogger Award

What a pleasant surprise!! Emer nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award which absolutely made my whole week (still makes me smile even though her post was a while ago… I have just been very behind on any and all posts). She is an absolute gem and if you aren’t following her already you should definitely check out her blog! Thank you, Emer, for the nomination 🙂

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Do you own more than one copy of any book? If yes then what book/s?

I have two copies of most of the books in the Harry Potter series. My paperback ones are incredibly beat up seeing as I’ve read them many, many times since I was 6 so I’ve been trying to get secondhand hardback copies to have ones I can read without fearing they’ll fall apart.

I also have a number of books in both physical format and in ebooks (A few Sarah J. Maas books that I bought to read when I traveled abroad, and also Fangirl).

And, uh, I also have 4(?) copies of Pride and Prejudice even though I still haven’t read it…….

Describe your perfect day.

April 25th

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But really, it would have to be a gloomy fall day. Where the morning starts off foggy and the sun never really comes out of the clouds. You can almost see your breath so all the cozy clothes and accessories are warranted. The ground is covered in soggy leaves and it just rains on and off. I get to aimlessly wander a bookstore and a museum with a nice drink (probably an iced coffee or some chai) and then go home to just sit in bed and read/stream a movie or show that I love.

What attracts you to a book? The cover? Blurb? Recommendation from others?

Cover and title, even though the title really means absolutely nothing to me in the end. I’ve started to just ignore blurbs altogether because I like being surprised by what I’m reading. I’ll read the blurb once to decide if I’m really interested in it or not but then that’s it. I am a sucker for a good cover!!

You are having a dinner party and can invite three famous people (either living or dead) to the party. Who do you invite?

David Tenant, Josh Gates, and Taylor Swift. The closest I have ever gotten to any of them is that my roommate from my London study abroad trip and I stood outside the stage door for a play David Tenant was in and we SAW HIM. IN THE FLESH. He was RIGHT THERE. RIGHT THERE PEOPLE.

Who is your favourite superhero?

Spiderman, probably. Honestly, I say this because I don’t follow the superhero stuff at all. I have seen very few superhero movies (like less than 10 and uh, one of them is Iron Man 3 but I have not seen the other Iron Man movies)… But I have seen almost all of the Spiderman movies and I love Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland.

Which would you prefer to win: an Oscar or a Grammy?

An Oscar. When I was a kid I actually really wanted to be an actress. I was the lead in two or three plays back in elementary school and I feel like if I hadn’t developed such crippling anxiety that I would have continued to pursue theatre. If I could become an actress, even now, I’d take the opportunity right away. Plus I don’t even think if I was a good singer that I would feel comfortable enough to sing in front of people.

What is the first book that you ever wrote a review for?

On this blog, it was Wild by Nature which I actually won in a Goodreads giveaway forever ago!! On Goodreads, though, I guess it was for this book called Girl in the Arena and all I said was “I can’t even put into words how disappointing this was” so I guess it was really bad lol.

Coca Cola or Pepsi?

Pepsi. Unless I’m getting takeout from McDonald’s because then Coca Cola all the way.

And funny story about Pepsi, when I was living with one of my former roommates we basically lived off of Pepsi products (it was a low point for both of us, caffeine and sugar fueled all our antics). So one day we went to the grocery store and they had a crazy sale on six-packs of the pop but they had limits for how many each person could get (I’m sure you can see where this is going). So we each bought the limit and then went out and ran the rest of our errands and then went back to the grocery store hours later and bought the limit again. I want to say it was like 6 packs per person? So we had like 24 6-packs of Pepsi and Mountain Dew…. This is a lil embarrassing now typing this out lol.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Night owl! Funnily enough I literally just wrote a post about this! I could probably become almost nocturnal if my work schedule let me.

What is your all time favourite quote from a book you loved?

“Stand at the top of a cliff and jump off and build your wings on the way down.”

From Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This is the only classic that I read in high school that has absolutely stuck with me over the years. There were so many lines in this book that just made me think but I love this quote because it just fits with my horribly chaotic life. Still working on those wings.

What’s the last book you bought (eBook, audiobook or physical book)?

Uhhhh… So I bought 4 books while shopping with my sister the other day. Guts by Raina Telgemeier, The Alice Network by , Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, and this book about the witches in the Harry Potter series for my sister as an incredibly late birthday/general Halloween present (because I am a GREAT sister).

So with that I am tagging:

Kathryn (K-Specks)

Dana

Nicole

Amanda

Lauren

My questions for y’all if you want to participate are:

  1. What was the book that made you fall in love with reading?
  2. If you had to choose a non-natural color for your hair, what would it be?
  3. What is your favorite holiday?
  4. Do you have any special books in your collection (ex: signed books, special editions, etc)?
  5. If you could get away with one crime, what would it be?
  6. What is a scent that always brings back a good memory?
  7. What is your favorite format to read books in (e-book, audio, hardcover, paperback)?
  8. What makes you laugh until you cry?
  9. If you were a cartoon character, what would your signature outfit be?
  10. Who is a person you admire and why?
  11. What’s the weirdest fun fact that you know?

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Extraordinary Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Truth be told, I really don’t care about most titles for books? I mean I’m far more invested in the cover and the blurb… But if I had to choose some books that I felt like did have great titles, these would be those:

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry  by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

I love this one because it just hurts to read it. Like it evokes so much emotion and it’s literally just the title.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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It’s just clever because, ya know, more than one true love…

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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A book about burning books with the title that happens to be the temperature at which paper catches fire????? Extraordinary I tell you!

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee BenderThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

I haven’t read this book in years now but I remember the first time it ever caught my eye in the library. It was one of the first times I ever wandered into the adult section and this title just kind of ate away at me until I finally checked it out. According to my Goodreads I rated it 4 stars but I also read it in 2012 so I feel like this one warrants a reread sometime soon. Still love the title though.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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I will also give a runner up vote to Save the Date solely because the acronym for it is StD lol.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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Don’t even have commentary on this other than I love the title.

Pies and Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick

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I absolutely love this series! It’s called The Mother-Daughter Book Club series and I am dying to reread it because I found out there’s an additional book that I never knew about! These characters are absolutely so near and dear to my heart and the fact that all of the titles are puns for classic novels makes them even better (I might be lying to you when I say this, they might now all be like this). Pies and Prejudice is my personal favorite 🙂

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

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This title always makes me think when I read it. Also wondering how many times I can end up mentioning this book this year… So far it’s a lot.

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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I just like the juxtaposition of America and England with the RWB but it’s royal blue.

I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

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This might be the only book that I have ever bought off of title alone. Also another series that I desperately need to reread. Honestly, this whole series has pretty good titles.

So basically this post just shows that I really like really long and clever titles. Pretty much sums it up.

 

 

Middle Grade Monday: Ghosts & Hauntings & Spooks Oh My

Welcome to another Middle Grade Monday! I spent the weekend reading some spooky middle grade books and I’m going to discuss three of them today.

Growing up, I was a big fan of spooky books and unlike the person I have become now, literally any spooky book scared the pants off me as a kid. I’m still scarred over a Goosebumps book that I vaguely remember in which a kitchen sponge came to life.

One of my favorite spooky middle grade writers has been Mary Downing Hahn. I’ve read a number of her books and the two that I read over the weekend were an older one, Deep and Dark and Dangerous, which was published in 2007; and The Girl in the Locked Room, which was published in 2018. (I stole… borrowed… the latter book from my youngest brother and the former was one that I had in my collection from childhood).

I think that overall Hahn is a master at crafting spooky books for young readers. My sister and I devoured so many of her books. Old Willis Place, The Doll in the Garden, and Wait Till Helen Comes were among our favorites. I’d really like to get my hands on those sometime soon to reread!

Of the two books that I read this weekend, I would recommend The Girl in the Locked Room for younger readers. It’s the story of a ghost who has been trapped in a room for over a hundred years and finally meets a girl who may be able to help her. This story was really well done, had me hooked from the beginning and was interesting enough to keep me on the edge of my seat through the end. It was low on the spooky side of things, more mysterious than outright scary which I think will be appreciated by those who don’t like to get jumpy. The ending was fascinating, though I personally would have wanted it to end slightly differently than what was written.

After rereading Deep and Dark and Dangerous, I found myself disliking the story a lot. The story follows a girl named Ali who has been brought on by her aunt to baby sit her younger cousin at the lake cottage that their family used to visit when her aunt and mother were children. There, Ali and her cousin meet a mysterious girl named Sissy and the painful story of the past begins to reveal itself. It’s definitely spooky but the characters are unlikable, absolutely horrid in cases and it just felt jaded. It actually had a lot of the aspects of the first book that I read this weekend which was Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh which I would like to recommend instead.

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Both of these stories had violent ghosts, unbelieving parents, and older kids trying to save younger ones. Spirit Hunters follows a girl who has moved with her parents and siblings to a new house. From the moment they arrive, something feels wrong and the rumor is that the house is indeed haunted.

While I didn’t personally love Spirit Hunters, I 100% understand why so many people do! I think it would definitely have scared the pants off me as a kid and if I wasn’t such a picky adult it probably would’ve spooked me a bit now too. This book has a diverse cast of characters and is #ownvoices for the Korean American rep. I don’t want to say that this felt like an adult trying to write a middle grade book for the first time, but that’s exactly what it felt like. At times it felt like it was trying way too hard to be a middle grade book and I think that’s what kept me from enjoying it as much as I could have. But if you’ve got a kid who wants to get that real haunted house story, definitely have them give this book a try! It had all those scary vibes and was a tense ride as things played out.

I’m interested to see where the Spirit Hunters series goes and will be checking out the second book whenever that is published to see if it happens to grow on me.

I think that young readers would be fans of any of the books of mentioned in this post but I highly recommend The Girl in the Locked Room for mysterious ghost story vibes and Spirit Hunters for that classic haunted house story.

Next week I’ll be discussing a new release so be sure to check back again next Monday!

Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

As is the case with so many of the books that I review, I got this at my library! I was super pumped that they had it and even more pumped that it had no wait time. 36478784._SY475_

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary takes quite the unique twist on the “there’s only one bed” romance trope.  Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

This book has been a bit hyped up and I was hesitant to start reading it as I haven’t had the best rapport with hyped up books this year. By the end of it though I was pleasantly surprised with how much I had enjoyed it! I actually rated it 5 stars!

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Tiffy and Leon were such distinctively different characters and one of my favorite things about the book was how vastly different the writing styles were between their chapters. It gave them both a unique voice and it seriously made the book for me. When there are more than one narrator in a book I will sometimes get mixed up with who is speaking and this kept them so separate that I never got them mixed up.

I think that all the branched off plot lines in this actually held weight within the story which is not often the case in romance novels. Though I would have loved to see more with Leon’s patients, Holly and Mr. Prior, just because I adored them. Each portion of the felt tied up by the end and I was left feeling satisfied overall.

The characters were unique but not overly done which I really appreciated. I feel like it’s far too easy for side characters in romance books to fall into stereotypical roles. From the beginning I was a bit worried with the introduction of Kay but she ended up being so minor that I kind of just brushed my thoughts of her to the side (I could say a lot about her but I think I’ll refrain from doing so).

One of my personal favorite parts of this book was Tiffy’s job! She works as an editor for craft books and one of her clients crochets and knits and it honestly brought me so much joy to read all those parts. DIY should be included in more books.

I also really enjoyed the romance in this. Seeing the relationship between Tiffy and Leon unfold between notes left around the flat was perfect. I’m a big fan of unconventional relationships like this! Leon has a good chance of being my new favorite love interest. He was so gentle, sweet, and caring and I quite enjoyed reading his chapters (this is definitely not always the case when it comes to dual perspectives with males and females). He was so respectful and just genuine, loved him.

Minor spoilers ahead in terms of trigger warnings and discussing those plots points:

As a warning there is a stalking abusive ex in this book and if you are at all triggered by stuff like that I would probably pass on this book. I felt that the author handled this quite well and this is coming from someone who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship similar to the one Tiffy had been in. By putting her in therapy I felt that was one good step forward but I also felt like this didn’t completely lean in to the whole “love can fix everything”. Tiffy was still uncomfortable with falling into a new relationship but still felt more secure with her new relationship. I don’t know, it just felt good to me.

This was such an unexpected joy to read. It had me feeling all warm and fuzzy by the end and I really want to get my own copy so that I can read it whenever I want to. If you’re looking for a sweet slow-burn with a very happy ending, I would definitely recommend this to you!

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Traits I Love

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

The topic for today is character traits that I love… This kind of stumped me for a while because there are plenty of traits that I like but if they’re executed poorly, then I hate them instead.

I love witty and sassy characters. Oh and characters with a dry sense of humor are always pretty great too.

Gentleness in male characters makes me swoon. Most recently I fell in love with Leon from The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary ❤

And also it might be negative but I, on occasion, like arrogant characters that get beaten down to the correct level. And by on occasion I mean I am trash for any arrogant character being put in their place. AKA Draco Malfoy in almost any Dramione fanfiction that I’ve read and loved…….

If they are logical and rational (especially characters in horror/thrillers) then I love them. I have genuinely gotten into fights with people before about how illogical people are in horror movies… One of my exes actually told me that no one could ever write a horror movie or book in which the characters acted completely logically. I have yet to take him up on that challenge but someday I will.

Creative characters with a side of quirky aren’t that bad either. But if they get to the “I’m not like other girls/guys” level then I’m just annoyed.

Characters that are intuitive and introspective are the best. Like if someone can admit that they’re wrong or need to learn something in order to better themselves I stan.

I’m a fan of adventurous and daring characters because they are so the opposite of me. Headstrong female characters are who I look up to, most of the time anyways. I love reading characters that are what I want to be. But on the opposite side of that, I also really like reading anxious characters because they help me see more of myself. Characters who healthily overcome small bits of their anxiety are lovely. I really enjoyed Amy’s character arc in Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, that’s one of my favorite books of all time.

Overall, if your character is dynamic and unique there’s a good chance I’ll enjoy them. Just don’t overdo it or I’ll probably get annoyed.

 

 

Middle Grade Monday: The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills

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I have a Middle Grade Monday post ready for next week about a few books with spooky storylines and ghosts but I felt that there was no way that I could group this book into that post so it’s getting one of it’s own. Today I’ll be discussing and reviewing The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills.

After losing her mother unexpectedly, Shelly begins to hoard ghosts. A gift that has been passed down through generations of women in her family, Shelly has the ability to see ghosts, catch them, and help them move on. When she realizes that her mother has not come back as a ghost, she can’t let the other ghosts go.

Rooted in a Cree worldview, Shelly and her grandmother use their long hair to catch ghosts and then help to guide them onward to whatever comes after death. I thought that The Ghost Collector was a really deep story of a young, grieving girl who has to learn how to let go. It was so interesting to see how different ghosts could be, anywhere from the old, the young, animals, happy, sad, angry… The list goes on.

It was heartbreaking to see what Shelley was going through, just wanting to see her mom one more time. I think this was a unique and beautiful story about death, grief, and learning to let go. It is so important to share stories like this with young readers, to give them a more broad perspective of the topic of death, dying, and more. I really enjoyed reading a “ghost story” that wasn’t scary. I feel like what is often the case is that ghosts are made out to be malevolent and while those stories are definitely fun, it’s good to see stories where ghosts are just existing too.

In terms of reviewing this book, I gave it three stars. I would highly recommend it to anyone but I personally felt that parts of the story were underdeveloped. The origins of a few characters felt unexplained as did the backstory as to why Shelley and her grandmother were able to see ghosts and catch them in their hair. I would have loved more explanation and a bit of world building in that regard… I did try to do some internet research on the topic of ghosts and Cree beliefs but came up with nothing! Regardless of these qualms that I had, I thought this book was spectacular and have definitely thought about this story a lot since originally reading it.

If you are interested in a book that handles grief well and provides a new view on ghosts and death, this might be the book you’re looking for! Definitely worth checking out.

**I received an ARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

 

 

September 2019 Reading Wrap-Up

As much as I’m super excited that it’s October now, I’m also really sad that it’s already October. This past month was really stressful and yet incredibly successful in terms of reading. I’m hoping I can keep this momentum going in October as well because the reading has been helping me a lot with my stress. I managed to read 20 books this month so bear with me as this post is going to be quite long! I’ll try to keep my reviews short and sweet!

Books marked with ** were ARCs that I received through NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.

All Amazon links are affiliate links unless otherwise stated 🙂

Filter This by Sophie White**

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3/5 stars.

You can read my review here.

Amazon // Book Depository

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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5/5 stars

My favorite middle grade book! I made a post about it here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

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5/5 stars

My new favorite book of all time. You can read my overly emotional review here. I read this twice already and am probably going to reread it because I need a pick me up after the week I had last week.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Though I didn’t read them in this exact order (there were books in between) I’ll group them together for the sake of this post. I read Jenn Bennett’s books:

Alex Approximately, Starry Eyes, and Serious Moonlight

 

 

I rated them 4/5, 2/5, and 3/5 stars respectively. You can read my review post about them here.

AA: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Starry Eyes: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Serious Moonlight: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn**

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I rated this 4/5 stars. You can read my review here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Next I read two graphic novels:
Sheets by Brenna Thummler and Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

 

 

I rated them both 5/5 stars and you can read my reviews of them in this post.

Sheets: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Ghosts: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

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1/5 stars

I genuinely didn’t have the energy to write a full review of this after reading. It was boring, nonsensical, and incredibly insensitive. I would highly recommend reading some of the reviews on Goodreads from people who actually have schizophrenia or actually just most of the 1 or 2 star reviews are really thorough in all things wrong about this book. Ugh just writing this makes me frustrated all over again. I am genuinely glad I read Eliza and Her Monsters before I read this or I never would have picked it up. This book was atrocious.

Meet Cute by A Variety of Authors because it’s a short story anthology.

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3/5 stars

Oomph by Emery Lord was my favorite story of all of them and honestly, the rest were pretty forgettable. None of them fit that meet cute vibe to me. Except for Oomph that is. If you want my full list of individual ratings, you can see them on my Goodreads review, linked here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt**

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4/5 stars

My post where I talk more in depth about this book can be found here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean**

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3/5 stars

My review can be found here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff**

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2/5 stars

This book was quite a disappointment in the end. As are my thoughts with Made You Up, I just really wish authors would stop using mental illness in their books without properly knowing how to write it and handle it. This book had the potential to be really good but it ended up being not great. You can read my review here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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3/5 stars

I swear, everyone and their mother loves this book so I genuinely thought that I was going to love it too. So imagine my surprise when I’m reading and it just stays at the same level of interesting the whole time. Don’t get me wrong, I was very far from hating this book but it also didn’t wow me like it seems to wow so many other people. It was good, which is why I rated it 3 stars, but I won’t be shouting my love for this book from the rooftops anytime soon.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills**

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3/5 stars

This was a really beautiful story about grief and ghosts and I am looking forward to going more into my thoughts on this book in a post later on this month. If you’d like to read more of my thoughts now, you can check out my review on Goodreads.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Grave Digger by Rebecca Bischoff**

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1/5 stars

Oh boy… This was really not good? Like the convoluted plot and overuse of 1800’s “slang” could have been easily overlooked had this book been not downright racist. It’s one thing to use the term colored (which the author explains her choice for doing so in an author’s note, which I respect seeing as this is a middle grade book and it’s important to talk about stuff like that) and make off-hand comments about how one of the characters couldn’t get into medical school because “you-know” (also due in part to her being a woman, so I’ll let it slide) but literally all of the victims of the grave robbing were black? And the housekeeper was straight up out there racist and the author thought that was okay to include in a middle grade book? I get that this book takes place in the 1800’s but I felt like it was really insensitively written. Like incredibly insensitively written.

SPOILER: Literally at one point the black woman who is pregnant throughout the story delivers too early and they steal the body of the stillborn baby… THIS IS A MIDDLE GRADE BOOK WTF.

Okay… I’ll get off my soapbox now.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

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5/5 stars

WTF THIS WAS SO GOOD. I am so pumped to read the next book, I already bought it and am going to pick it up this week. Robots and “what does it really mean to be human” and so much sarcasm and corporations and holy shit YES YES YES. This is probably going to be one of my favorite series of all time. Also this is super short so if you’re at all interested I 100% recommend picking it up because you can read it so quick!

Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

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4/5 stars

I loved this book and emotionally, I would have rated it 5/5 stars but the more that I thought about it, there were definitely aspects of it that I wasn’t a huge fan of (mainly Astrid’s and Dee’s relationship) so that’s why I decided to go with 4 stars instead. Also I went to my library over the weekend and picked up three more A.S. King books and I’m really looking forward to reading them!

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Missing Season by Gillian French

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2/5 stars

I will not lie to you when I say that this was really well written, because it was genuinely really well written. I was just not a huge fan of it overall and I got really bored. The action and solution literally took up less than 20 pages and by that point I had skimmed most of the book.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

I know I mentioned my Goodreads throughout this post a few times, so if you’re interested in adding me as a friend on there, or following my reviews, you can find me at this link.

What did you read in September? Any fun reading plans of October? I might be trying my hand at the Spookathon (and I might try vlogging it too) but I have no idea yet, I’m not that great with readathons!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn

Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn is all about grief and healing. Telling the story of a girl named Olivia, three years after the death of her younger brother. A new girl named Kara Hallas moves in across the street with her grandma and mother and Olivia is immediately drawn to them.

While hanging out with Kara, Olivia begins to pull herself out of the hole that her brother’s death left her in. The two of them form an unlikely bond while writing letters to death row inmates and Olivia tries to learn who exactly the Hallas family is.

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I received an ARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was beautifully written and utterly heartbreaking. It’s all about grief and healing and it felt so personal to look into the lives of the people within this book. At times I felt like it was too much, like I was reading about the lives of real people and I felt almost bad reading it. Although it was really hard to read I ended up reading it all in one sitting while I was doing some work at the library a few weeks ago.

The prose within this was beautiful and I think that Morgyn did a fantastic job writing her first novel. I thought that the different portrayals of grief added a lot of depth and I appreciated that Olivia and her parents all dealt with the loss of her brother in vastly different ways.

The actual Resurrection Girls subplot in which Olivia and Kara wrote letters to death row inmates was very minor, at least in my opinion. I thought it was interesting but it didn’t lend itself to the plot as much as the descriptions of this book make it out to be. I think in general this book is more about healing and relationships than anything else. There is a bit of a romance subplot as well and I thought it was okay. I loved the overall arc of the book and while I wasn’t so invested in the subplots I did enjoy them for the most part.

In terms of characters, Olivia is the only one that felt fully fleshed out. Every once in a while we got into the depths of the other characters but throughout the whole story Olivia is the sole focus. I appreciated the depth we got from her parents towards the end, it felt right, but I would have loved to know more about Kara and Prescott. Prescott had so much potential to be a really great character and in the end, he lacked depth. I talk more about what I wanted from Kara in my spoilery section later in the post.

Due to the dark nature of this book I’m including content warnings here, and then the next section contains spoilers so if you want to skip them, scroll down to the next picture.

 

 

Content warnings for: death of a child, suicide, overdose, addiction, serial killers, death

This next section contains spoilers:

So this book, I assume, is considered magical realism but I honestly think that the whole subplot of the Hallas family having some sort of “curse” could have been done away with… Or this book could’ve been 50-100 pages longer in order to fully develop what was going on with them. I felt that the ending was extremely rushed and it didn’t really add anything to the story. Kara and her family could have just as easily been a normal family with how little I learned about who they really were. It was easy to imply some of the gaps in the story but I wanted more from that storyline. That was really my main issue with the book.

I am also a tad uncomfortable with the part of this book in which Olivia overdosed. Not saying that this was bad, but I will say it felt unrealistic. Like from what I remember they didn’t even place a psychiatric hold on her? They just let her go home with her mom… The same mom that she got these pills she overdosed on from? I’m probably just being nitpicky here but this is an area where I have a ton of personal knowledge and it felt really brushed over and reduced to something really simple. Definitely not saying it was bad, just that this also could have been expanded on and written differently.

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Resurrection Girls was incredibly dark, hypnotic, moving, and deep. It was fantastic and I highly recommend it. I ended up giving it a rating of 4/5 stars and am looking forward to whatever Ava Morgyn comes up with next.

If you’re interested in picking up your own copy you can find links to the book here:

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles With Numbers in Them

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Book titles with numbers in them??? I could do this post so many different ways!!! In the end though I decided to just go with counting from 1 to 10. Another idea that I had was titles with “one” or “twelve” in them because those were a really common theme in my books surprisingly!

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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So far, this is one of my favorite TJR books, I have two more to read before I can finally do a big post about all of her books… I’ve been working on this since June!

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

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This is the one book by Morgan Matson that I don’t reread on a regular basis. I just remember the first time I ever read it, just how much it hurt, and I’m genuinely nervous to read it again? Even though my reading tastes have changed so much and I’ve read much more painful books than this one in recent years.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my TBR now. The premise sounds really interesting and I’m starting to get back into a mood to read fantasy so I might pick this one up soonish.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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Technically 400… But I’m counting it. This is my favorite classic!

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

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I have almost no memory of this book anymore but at some point in time I did in fact read it.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Yes… I did put three Taylor Jenkins Reid books on this list… Sue me.

Top 8 by Katie Finn

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Ha! I have two Morgan Matson books on here too. However, the Top 8 series is written under the pen name Katie Finn! It genuinely took me years to realize this! Top 8 was genuinely one of my favorite series for years, it’s written with texts and status updates along with the regular narrative which I loved. Books with odd formatting almost always interest me. They’re so much fun to read.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

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This is one of the unmentioned books on my Fall TBR, I’ve heard so many people rave about it so I bought it the day it came out and I’m excited to pick it up.

The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

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Also for a fun add-on…

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Middle Grade Monday: Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt

So in today’s Middle Grade Monday post, I’m going to be talking about a book that’s release tomorrow called Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt. I received an ARC of this from Netgalley in order to review.

This book is about Tam and Kate, two girls who have found their stereotyped places to fit in within their middle school but develop an unlikely friendship… And maybe a little more.

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Redwood and Ponytail is all about two girls who are growing up and learning more about who they are every day. It’s a book about identity and acceptance and I loved it.

I grew up reading books in verse, I devoured every one that I could get my hands on, but every single one was far outside of the range of what I should have been reading at that age. Like I was in seventh grade reading Ellen Hopkins (I was definitely a mature reader but those were some heavy, heavy books). If I could go back in time with this book, I would have loved to hand younger me this to read.

There really needs to be more books out there like this. Even with the world becoming more and more accepting, sometimes it’s still so incredibly hard to accept that you might be different. I mean, I’m 23 and I’m still trying to figure out who I am. Books like these are ones that make it easier to be a young girl and say “hey, maybe I like girls too” or a boy who likes boys or anybody who just doesn’t really like anybody like that.

In terms of books written in verse, I found this to be pretty good. There were some parts that really flowed and other parts that really didn’t. But if you were using this to introduce a younger reader to a book in verse I think this could be a good choice.

One of the things that made me love this book so much was that the author got those first crush feelings so spot on. It was so relatable and I think that anyone could appreciate that. The aspects of this that fell flat for me were the other characters, I think that this story focused so much on Tam and Kate that the development of the other characters was completely neglected. I would have loved to hear more backstory about literally any of the other characters, it was a long book so something could’ve been squeezed in. However, I would definitely pass this on to middle schoolers, it’s a good viewpoint to read from, a nice introduction to books in verse, and in the end I rated it 4/5 stars.

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Before I end this post, I will say that people added the trigger warning of homophobia to their reviews and while I could understand where they’re coming from I think it’s important to add that it is very light (if that’s even a thing). The parts that I’m assuming they’re referring to are definitely hard to read in seeing a mom not really know how to react to what her daughter is telling her, but I don’t want to say that it’s the most painful thing to read. In the end everything turns to a “I just want you to be happy with yourself” type of situation. So yes, very minor homophobia but don’t let that deter you from giving this to kids to read or even reading it yourself!

If you’re interested in getting your own copy you can grab one tomorrow from these links:

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository