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Books

Review: Again, But Better

Today I’m going to be reviewing Again, But Better by Christine Riccio.

Here’s the synopsis:

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

Prethoughts to reading this:

I am SO excited. I feel like I’m going to end up inserting myself into this book and loving it a bit too much, I did the same thing with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I studied abroad in London and I miss it so much and I already feel like I relate to Shane and her college “inexperience”.

I just read Christine’s note at the beginning and my heart swelled. If this story is what she says it is it’s going to be so great. Reading about someone who hasn’t “done it all” by 20 is going to be revolutionary for EVERYONE who has ever felt less than for not doing what it seems like everyone else is doing.

I got an autographed copy and I honestly still feel so hesitant about annotating books that are hardcovers or that are signed. It gives me so much anxiety even though it’s my own book that I spent my money on and I don’t loan books to people anymore so honestly, why should I care?

I’m also really nervous because I can’t help but wonder if this is going to be a really bad youtuber book but maybe this will change my mind from those thoughts. It’s just really frustrating to see things get so hyped up and then getting disappointed…

Okay… Today is March 8, 2019 and I am beginning Again, But Better… Let’s do this!

Immediate thoughts after finishing this the same day I began reading it:

I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. I want to both love it and hate it at the same time. The story was just what I needed to read right now but at the same time there were so many things that made me either uncomfortable or just feel not happy with the general story.

Non-spoiler review:

After some long thoughts about this I’m rating the book 3/5 stars. Leaning somewhat towards a 3.5/5 stars but I’m rounding down because I just don’t know how I feel. There were some parts of this book that bothered me but I’ll touch on those in the spoilery section.

I loved how this read like a movie, it felt so real to me, I can definitely see Christine’s film background in this. Another thing I really liked was the banter between characters. I found myself chuckling quite a bit at the things they said to each other.

Now, would I have bought this book and read it had I not been following Christine? Yes, 100%. The book itself had a plot that interested me greatly. It was a story that sounded like I could relate to it and in the end it was. It showed a lot about learning about yourself and learning how to be your own person. It showed hard lessons to learn and how important second chances can be. Would I recommend this book? Yes. I think if you’re looking for a quick contemporary read then definitely check this out. This wasn’t the story of my dreams but even going into it with very low expectations that I would like it I was pleasantly surprise.

And lastly, I got one of the first copies that was printed so the end of her note says 2018 instead of Christine and I will be giggling about that for years to come.

If you’re interested in picking up your own copy, you can find the book at this links!

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Next I’ll be moving into a more in depth review with spoilers included…

SPOILERS AHEAD: STOP READING NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK AND DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED

Categories
Books

Review: Whisper to Me

Whisper to Me by Nick Lake is about a girl who hears a voice and the 500 page apology email that she sends to this boy explaining why she is the way she is.

I was not a fan of this book at all. It’s over 500 pages long and I skimmed over half of it.

I give it 1/5 stars and do not recommend it to anyone.

I think the formatting of the book was really jumpy, I know it was supposed to mimic an email but to read it in book form was really confusing. I think it could have been improved if it were an actual back and forth email between Cassie and this boy instead of just one long email from Cassie trying to explain herself to this boy.

I didn’t get the whole gist of the relationship between Cassie and this boy but I was really not a fan of how it was written. I was really disappointed in the fact that the author portrayed Cassie as being “cured” when the boy was around. This is one of those YA tropes that I can’t stand! Guys are not the answer to mental health help.

Now if I was this boy, I would not be excited to read 500 pages of this story. There was a lot of this story that could have been cut out. A lot of details and side stories that I felt were unnecessary. The first 200 pages or so were decently written and I was interested in the story, but then it started to drag on and on and I got tired of reading the same things over and over again.

Overall, I think this book was poorly written and a poor representation of recovery from a mental illness. Lake doesn’t even properly label it a mental illness and Cassie takes her recovery into her own hands instead of consulting professionals. She hides what is going on with her and lies to multiple people about what she’s doing with her treatment.

Again, I don’t recommend this book at all.

Hope you all have a great Tuesday.

Categories
Books

Review: Once and For All

Oh how excited I was to read this newest book by Sarah Dessen! Ever since she announced that a new book was on the way I have been waiting to get my hands on it! I was pumped to see it in my library the day it came out, usually books like this would have me on the waiting list until August! So as soon as I checked it out I was reading it and basically didn’t put it down until I was done! Sarah’s books are some of my favorite guilty pleasure reads and I enjoyed every minute of this one.

Once and For All is about Louna, the daughter of a wedding planner, who is very cynical about the idea of love.

Here’s my review:

4/5 stars

So overall I really enjoyed the book. It was a pretty typical read by Sarah Dessen and I have continually enjoyed all of her recent releases. I’m not as big of a fan as her older books.

Now I love my cheesy contemporary books so I could rave about this book all day. It was cute with an interesting story about Louna’s lost love. I think that it was highly predictable in the standard contemporary young adult novel way so if you’re not into that then I would pass on the book. I do feel like the characters in this novel fell a bit flat for me and I really wish I would’ve seen them more developed. William was a joy to have in the story and I loved that she had the LGBT+ representation. It also had me overjoyed that William was not so stereotypically gay as some authors make men in contemporary novels.

SPOILERS AHEAD:


I applaud Sarah for speaking about gun violence in this book. When I found out that Louna’s first boyfriend died in a school shooting I was shocked and my heart just dropped. It was not what I was expecting at all. Sarah is very open about her opinions about gun violence on her social media and she is a huge advocate to minimize violence so I was very happy that she brought some of this into her book. I wish that Louna would have been more of an advocate against violence or would’ve spoken more about this but I can understand from her story and personality that she was still grieving throughout the book.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants something fun and lovely to read for the summer. It was bright and healing and a perfect thirteenth novel for Sarah Dessen.

Happy Monday everyone, have a wonderful week!

Categories
Books In Medias Res

Review: Gemina

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Just finished reading this gorgeous book the other day. It’s the sequel to the book Illuminae by the same authors. It follows Hanna and Nik, two new characters, as they try to protect their home. Here’s a link to the Goodreads page for a better description.

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Now I really enjoyed this book. It was super fast paced and addictive and I liked it a lot better than the first book. However, I did have some issues with it. Overall I would give it a 4/5 and I recommend this trilogy to anyone who enjoys scifi and survival stories.

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Side note: This book, like Illuminae, has super cool formatting with IM conversations and whatnot but the best part of this book? IT HAS JOURNAL ILLUSTRATIONS. Like give me journal entries and I will be so happy, give me illustrated journal entries and I will be the happiest girl on the face of the earth. And these illustrations are gorgeous too! My favorite parts of the book.

Anyways…

On to the spoilers!!! (And complaints)

This book was literally the same formatting as the first book. Girl doesn’t like boy, boy flirts, girl starts to fall for boy, boy and girl must save everyone and themselves, boy “dies”, they fall in love, THE END. I couldn’t get over the fact that it was the same story line. It was so physically painful!

Also every character was a stereotype…

Russian mob crime family

Overprotective single father

Spoiled rich girl

New boy that everyone loves who turns out to be someone else

There was no substance to the characters, it’s all stuff I’ve seen before and I honestly was really disappointed in the whole super stereotypical thug Russian family. Then there was the whole out of the blue “oh yeah, there’s actually a parallel universe” thing was just weird. Intriguing but so, so weird. I’m really hoping for more of an explanation in the third book to all the science stuff because if not I will be highly disappointed. So much is being left unexplained and just absurd. There are so many holes that need to be filled and so much science behind things that needs to be explained in order for me to better understand stuff. Like I understand that it’s fiction but come on! Make things sound plausible and not crazy.

This book was a highly emotional read and I really loved it, but I hope to see some improvement in book three.

So with that wonderful end to my review, I hope you all have a wonderful afternoon.

Categories
Books

The Distance From Me To You

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I purchased The Distance From Me To You by Marina Gessner a few weeks ago and read it in less than 24 hours.

It’s about a girl named McKenna who is planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail with her best friend before they go off to college. Unfortunately for McKenna, her best friend backs out on her last minute. Instead of canceling the trip, McKenna decides to hike the trail by herself. She heads out on her own and along the way meets Sam. Sam is a guy who has dropped out of school and run away from an abusive home life. They fall in love and lot’s of trials and tribulations happen (standard contemporary book stuff, you know?). The book is full of lots of obstacles and hiking and I really enjoyed it.

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This book was a really easy read. The story went by really quickly and the ending really made me want a sequel, I would love to read more about McKenna and Sam.

Lately I’ve been really into these “adventure” stories. It’s been so dreary and cold here that to read these types of books makes me a little less sad that it’s still winter and a little more excited about being able to go hiking this spring and summer.

Two criticisms that I had about the story are the sections regarding hiking, and the insta-love component. I would have appreciated more detail regarding the actual hike, more about the trail and the towns and what really goes into hiking the Appalachian Trail. I liked that the author included a lot at the beginning about all of the training that McKenna did but once she got on the trail it really seemed like she just hiked. There wasn’t a ton of detail regarding what she did when she wasn’t hiking or what the towns she stopped off in were like. The other aspect that I didn’t like, the insta-love, I really should have seen coming. The love was mentioned in the summary on the cover flap so I saw it coming and since it is a contemporary novel I figured it was going to be pretty insta-lovey, but it still bugs me whenever it happens.

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I rated this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads and recommend it to anyone who enjoys adventure stories. Or contemporary books. It was an easy read and had a great balance of light-hearted and serious tones and story lines. It wasn’t the perfect story by any means, but I still loved it.

Have any of you guys read this book? If so, what did you think about it?

Hope you all have a great day.

Categories
Books

Wild by Nature

Have you guys ever heard of the website Goodreads?

If not, it’s this really awesome website where you can keep track of books you’ve read, books you want to read, quotes from books you like, all those kinds of things.

They also have this great section where you can sign up to win free books! I’ve entered probably 3o giveaways and won exactly two. It’s still fun though and totally worth it if you can actually get a book you’ve been eyeing for a while for free.

The first book that I won off of Goodreads is called Wild by Nature and it’s written by a woman named Sarah Marquis.

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The book chronicles her journey as she walks from Siberia to Australia by herself. Sarah is an explorer from Switzerland and she is so cool!!! (Seriously, check out her Instagram, @explorer_sarahmarquis) According to her website she was elected Adventurer of 2013 in Europe and was the National Geographic Adventurer Nominee of 2014.

I got her book in the mail a few weeks ago and ended up reading it pretty quickly. I had read an article about her right after she finished her last expedition in Australia so I was really interested in picking up this book and learning more about Sarah and her adventures.

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The day I finished her book I was home alone at my dad’s house on my first day of Thanksgiving break so I figured, why not have a book/breakfast photoshoot on the back porch?

Anyways, overall I was really entertained while reading this book and I thought it was really interesting. However, there were parts when I definitely feel like we needed backstory as to why things were happening the way they were or something would be said and I wouldn’t understand what had happened until 10 pages later when the background information was introduced. I feel like a lot of my “discomfort” while reading would probably be explained by the fact that Sarah is not a native English speaker.
I really would have liked more information into the background of what it takes to make a trip like this, I would’ve loved a chapter that was based completely around the logistics, all the gear, the plans, the timeframes, stuff like that.
I also feel like the maps at the beginning of each chapters, while helping to see the route she took, were kind of spoilers, they included information about what happened while she was walking when that information might not be shared for whole chapters. I felt like Sarah really talked about her journey really honestly and I appreciated it a lot, I just wish I could’ve known more about her experiences, I would’ve loved more detail.

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book (I gave it 4/5 stars), and while there were definitely parts of it that I would want to change to let me enjoy it even more, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever dreamed of going on crazy hiking adventures.

“Let your soul touch the earth… go walking”