Mid Year Book Freakout Tag

I know, I know… It’s August. I should have done this tag in June. But honestly y’all, when have I ever been committed to doing anything in a timely manner. The answer is never. Like I try, I really try, but it usually doesn’t happen. I mean have I told you yet that my best friend and I do this thing where we never give each other birthday/Christmas presents on time? I think the record is six months after the fact?

ANYWAYS………..

Without further ado, here is me, doing my first tag:

At the time of writing this post, I’ve read a total of 30 books. I’d really like to double that number (at least) by the end of the year. Though I am starting school at the end of this month so I guess we’ll see how well that actually goes.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019.

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Lilac Girls by Mary Hall Kelly

This is a book that is going to have me thinking about it for years to come. I know that a lot of people have very mixed opinions about this book but I for one absolutely loved it. It just showed me yet more perspectives of the devastation and horrors of World War II and I can’t wait to pick up Mary Hall Kelly’s second novel.

I picked this book up on a whim when it was one of those “Buy 3 get 1 free” books at Barnes and Noble and it had been sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year. Books like this always take me forever to read and yet I love them so I’m really glad I picked it up!

I reviewed it here.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019.

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So the only sequel that I’ve actually read so far this year was A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I will also probably be reading this a second time this year if I ever get around to finishing my reread/annotation of the Throne of Glass series because I plan on doing the same to the ACOTAR series.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

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The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

I’ve read most of Sarah Dessen’s books and I bought this newest one not long after it came out but it’s still sitting unread on my bookshelf. I’m planning on reading all of her books soon but not sure how long it will take me to read. I was thinking of reading them in publication order but I haven’t quite decided yet! Something about Dessen’s books just feel like home to me. They’re so familiar and soothing to me in a way that I can’t really explain and because of that I really want to read this because I know that it will let me forget about all of my own problems for a while.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

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Since everyone is cancelling her, I would just like to say PLEASE GIVE ME AN ARC. The more that people try to complain about this book the more I want to read it. Honestly I am in a huge mood for dark and twisted stories and I can’t wait to get my hands on this. I haven’t read one of Leigh’s books since the first book in the Grisha trilogy but I did love that at the time so I’m looking forward to this one.

5. Biggest disappointment.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

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ugh. That’s all I want to say about this book anymore. If you want to read my full thoughts, you can look at my review here.

6. Biggest surprise.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

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I think I need to go into all books knowing absolutely nothing about them from here on out. Full review linked here!

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Casey McQuiston

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I love the way she writes characters! Red, White, and Royal Blue is a new favorite and I’m so looking forward to her new stuff. Also she’s a hoot to follow on Twitter!

8. Newest fictional crush.

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Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones! I read this back in January and I don’t actually have many fictional crushes. I don’t really have crushes in general anymore but I do remember enjoying Howl. I really need to reread this already. And I need to watch the movie!

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Clark from The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson could also be an answer but he’s not technically a new crush because I didn’t actually read that book for the first time this year.

9. Newest favourite character.

The entire cast of Red, White, and Royal Blue. Honestly none of the other characters in the other books I’ve read this year have truly stood out to me. But the personalities behind each and every character in RWRB were so genuinely unique and special and I loved that.

10. Book that made you cry.

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

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Radio Silence by Alice Oseman was a close second but TOoL made me actually bawl while I was at work and I had to try and clean myself up and pull it together every time a customer came in.

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Radio Silence though was such a cathartic read, I related to the characters on such a deep level that it really got to me. If I had read this book in high school I’m sure it would have meant even more to me. My review can be read here.

11. Book that made you happy.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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This book had me literally squealing from happiness on multiple occasions. And the more Casey talks about her new book I cannot WAIT for that to get closer to release. In depth review at this link.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta

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Absolutely love the cover of this book! Still need to read it though.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

All of the ARCs that I have received through NetGalley so far… I’m a really bad person and fell behind because of mental health being a nightmare. But other than that, here are the books that I need to read:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

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Daisy Jones and the Six

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After I Do

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I just need to read those last three books by Taylor Jenkins Reid in order to do the blog post I was planning on for those. I keep going to pick them up and then not actually going through with opening them up to read them. Moments like this when I wish I could listen to audiobooks.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

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I am such a fake Maureen Johnson fan… Guys I still haven’t read Truly Devious and I am distraught. Though it might be in my best interest to wait until the last book comes out and then I can binge read them. WE SHALL SEE. And granted it came out when I was not reading or following anything book related but still!!

A single Jane Austen book

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Because I started that reading Jane Austen blog series waaaaay back when and still have yet to read a single page of one of her books!

Harry Potter 3-7

I think I talked in my Mid-Year Blog Goals post that I wanted to finally finish my Harry Potter quote series before the end of the year. So that means that I have to read 3-7 by December and compile all the quotes for those posts.

This list could be like about 100 books long but I think I’ll leave it at that. There are a lot of other books that I really hope to get to this year but I’ll have to see how well I can figure out balance once classes start. Fingers crossed I get through any of my anticipated books 🙂

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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.

Illustrated Faith: Genesis 1:14-19

Hi y’all and welcome back to my blog! Today’s post is my second installment of my Illustrated Faith series.

This set of verses is from Genesis 1, verses 14-19.

They read:

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights – the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night – and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

I really liked how this page turned out, I was especially happy with my lettering because I’m usually awful at cursive.

The creation story is one of my favorites in the Bible because of how simple it is and yet how amazing it is that God created everything. I think this story really helps me to sit back and remember to appreciate every little thing that God has created here on earth.

Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Toxic Relationships in YA

This topic goes deeper than the idea that a guy can fix all of a girl’s problems (although this is a topic that I could chat about on a different day). It is about the fact that there are multiple books out there that now illustrate controlling, toxic relationships as healthy and good.

When I was younger, I would idolize these types of relationships. I thought they were what everyone should want. But then I grew up and I learned about abuse and feminism and how what I idolized was destroying people on a daily basis.

Here’s a really poignant video from Whitney (aka whittynovels) about the topic. I highly recommend that you watch it before continuing on reading my post.

I’m not going to go in depth with what I think about the examples that she discussed because I really hope that you all watched the video because I feel like she did a really good job at expressing this topic.
I know someone who was in a severely toxic relationship and they didn’t even know that they were in a relationship that was abusive because it reflected so many other relationships they had seen and read about. It is not okay or romantic to be abused. Angst is not romance. Threats of nonconsensual behavior is not okay. The creepy sleep watching scene from Twilight? You guessed it: NOT OKAY.
The media normalizes what we see. It desensitizes us from violence and misbehavior because of how much we see certain things. We are sold problematic media until we think that this is normal.
Instead, we need to normalize healthy relationships and independence. We need to protect young men and women and illustrate behavior that is not controlling, not abusive. We need to discuss problems in these “romantic” books and support authors that write stories that are healthy. We need to stand up for feminist works and highlight healthy behaviors or highlight negative behaviors in a negative way. We need to stop highlighting negative behaviors as positive.
I am done idealizing relationships that are unhealthy. I want to idealize equality in relationships and I hope that y’all are with me. Have a great weekend everyone.

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!

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.