Wednesday, May 27, 2015

waiting on wednesday: ink and bone

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted over at Breaking the Spine, where we highlight an anticipated release each week.

This Week's Pick: Ink and Bone – Rachel Caine
Release Date: July 7
find it on goodreads

synopsis: In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…

I love history, especially ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. The fact that the Great Library of Alexandria is lost to us is one of the biggest tragedies of my life. So! I'm excited for this book, which seems to take two of my favorite things to learn about and puts them together in an awesome-sounding book! I can't wait. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

top ten tuesday: beachy reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, where each week we highlight a different category relating to our favorite books. This week's category is "May 26: Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer or Ten Books I Think Make Great Beach Reads." Now, this is one of my favorite categories of books, as in the summer I always feel particularly happy, which makes me want to read light and fluffy books. I have an entire post exclusively dedicated to my favorite summer-themed books, Here, but I will talk about some of my favorite beach reads today. 

1. Anything by Morgan Matson. I'm counting all three of her novels as the top spot in this list, because they are all summer-y and swoony, combining the tough topics in life with amazing romance and classic summer activities. These are some of my all time favorite summer books. 
2. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that this is one of my all time favorite books, one that I always recommend when people want to know what to read. It is one of those stories that you get completely engrossed in, and hours will pass without you realizing. I think that is perfect for a beach read, because it is something that you will get really into without having the commitment of starting a whole series. 

3. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. All of Sarah Dessen's books would make great beach reads, actually, but this one is my favorite. It is kind of like Morgan Matson in that Sarah Dessen combines tough subjects with the thrill of first love, but I tend to think of these as books for younger teen girls. They deal with the tough subjects but in a manageable way, which I think is perfect for a summer read. 

4. Paper Towns by John Green. This book is on the shorter side, but there is a lot packed into the few pages that make up the novel. This is one that can be read in a day or two, but it will stay with you for weeks and months after you finish it. 

5. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Though this book is a bit of a different genre than the others on this list, I still think it would make a great summer read. I know a lot of people like to read James Patterson-esque, fast paced thrillers in the summer months, and I think The Naturals is a good YA choice in this same vein. It was described to me as a teenage Criminal Minds, and I completely agree with that statement. A group of child prodigies, coming together to profile and arrest criminals for the FBI? Sounds great to me. 

6. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Though this takes place in a work environment, and that is the last thing that people want to think about while on vacation, I think it is a perfect beach read. Short, sweet, and hilarious, it is told through emails as well as prose, and the pages absolutely seem to fly by. 

7. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. This isn't your typical summer contemporary. Though parts of it seem idyllic and carefree, there is a sinister undertone throughout the story. There is a huge mystery running through the plot, and the plot twist at the end will knock your socks off. 
8.  The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith. This is a cutesy contemporary story, and some of it does take place in the summer. This is a sort of mindless read, nothing to think too hard about, but it will leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside when you finish it. 

9. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I read this one last summer, and finished it in one long day, which may be the only reason I associate this with a summer read. I do think that it is something thrilling and different, a new genre to try while you've got the time to try it. 

10. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. I associate this book with both spring and summer, because of how light and sweet it is. It is one of the cutest books I've ever read, from the story to the characters, language and cover design. It's a perfect pick-me-up. 

what are some of your ideal summer reads? 


Monday, May 25, 2015

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': The Selection Series

The Selection, The Elite, The One
Kiera Cass
find it on goodreads

this is a bit different from my normal reviews, because I've combined the entire Selection Trilogy, which I've just finished, into one review. The books aren't that long and the plot doesn't have any time gaps from one book to another, so I really felt this was the best way to review this particular series! The synopsis for book one will be posted here, but under the cut there will be major spoilers for books 2 and 3, so proceed with caution!

synopsis for The Selection: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

full, spoilery series review under the cut! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

waiting on wednesday: the summer of chasing mermaids

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted over at Breaking the Spine, where each week we highlight an anticipated release.

This week's pick: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Release Date: June 2
find it on goodreads

synopsis: The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.
Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.
Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.
When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

from what I can tell, this is a contemporary Little Mermaid retelling that takes place in a small town and has music and "bad boys" (who are never really bad). Which, coincidentally, sounds like a recipe for success in my book. I am really excited to get my hands on this one, as it seems like the perfect summer read. 

what are your picks for this week?


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

spotlight on: A Court Of Thorns and Roses


The spotlight is a monthly series here on Stardust Words, where each month I feature a different theme. You can find the rest of the spotlight series posts here! This month, instead of doing a category, I thought I would post about a new release that I really enjoyed in the month of May. (which is basically just like me reviewing it but more fun!!)


top ten tuesday: romances

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, where each week we highlight a different category of the bookish lifestyle. This week is a free week, and we can pick anything that we want to post about. I personally have been in a particularly swoony mood all week, so I chose to talk about my top ten favorite book romances. (keep in mind though that these are not necessarily my favorite book couples, I just enjoy their stories the most.) These are examples of events that made my put down the book and squeal from the adorableness, cry happy tears, or be sad because these are things that do not happen to normal people. Let's all appreciate the love here people.

1.Will and Tessa from The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare. Clockwork Princess especially is just a riot of swoon-worthy moments, but really all three books are just golden for these two. To see Will grow from a distant and snarky boy to someone deeply in love is one of the most powerful changes in any book that I've read.  I'm also just partial to the fact that, no matter what, Will and Tessa need each other and, even when all seems hopeless, they can't help but have hope for each other. The epilogue of Clockwork Princess completely ruined me, it was so beautiful and indicative of the depth of love between the two.

2. Anna and Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. One of my favorite tropes in books is a friendship that grows into something more, and the way that Anna and Etienne do this is magical. They are two people who just seem to get one another, from the very beginning, and even though they're both unavailable for romance at the beginning, their relationship deepens to something more meaningful than either of them realize. Another favorite trope of mine is the idea of home being a person, and for Anna and Etienne, this is adorably wrought.

3. Macallan and Levi from Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg. This is the classic When Harry Met Sally syndrome of two friends who can't quite get the timing right to grow into something more. This book stretches through years, and the constant thing throughout those years is Macallan and Levi's unbreakable friendship. Though they both date other people in the story, it is clear to the reader that the only way they will ever work is if they're together. The rest of the time you're just waiting for they themselves to figure that out.

4. Lara Jean and Peter from To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. Lara Jean starts off the book by hiring Peter to be her fake boyfriend to prove that she is over someone in her past. However, as most fake-boyfriend situations do, Lara Jean and Peter grow from business partners to something more, something that is scary for the both of them to admit, even to themselves. They're a bit awkward, and that makes their story that much more adorable.

5. Tamlin and Feyre from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. This is a recent release, which means that this story has to be REALLY good to make it into this top ten. However, I have always loved the story of beauty and the beast, of looking past stereotypes and first impressions to the person that lies underneath them, and Maas does this in an incredibly fresh, engaging and sexy way. Tamlin is a perfect match for Feyre (though we all love to hate Rhys) and though it takes them awhile to get there, their romance is sweeping and grand.

6. Emma and Mr. Knightley from Emma by Jane Austen. I have always loved Emma's romance, almost more than other Austen heroines'. The idea that Emma didn't have to marry, that she never planned to need anyone other than herself, but somehow found herself drawn to her older brother figure with a passion that surprises even her? Beautiful, in my opinion. Emma may be silly and a little bit vain, but Mr. Knightley knows this and everything else about her, and loves her anyway. There is a level of transparency between these two that only comes from years of friendship, and it is beautiful.

7. Paul and Marguerite from A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. Two people jumping through the multiverse makes for a complicated love story, especially when one of them is suspected of murdering the other's father, but that is what makes Paul and Marguerite so different and also amazing. Even though this story takes place in four different parallel universes, somehow Paul and Marguerite end up near each other in every single one. Their closeness is not only on a physical level, but also seemingly soul-deep. I love the idea that, even in different worlds, if two people are meant to be together, they will be.

8. Amy and Roger from Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Amy and Roger have the slow burn type of romance that takes a while to get off the ground, but that makes the moment that it does so much better. They both have walls and secrets and things that they'd rather hide, but something about being in the car, driving cross-country alone tends to bring out the secrets in these two, and it is wonderful to watch them begin to trust and care for each other as the state lines pass under their wheels.

9. Isadora and Ry from The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White. Isadora and Orion (or Ry) are the definition of star-crossed lovers. Mixed up in ancient mythology, epic poetry and culture, these two start off as uneasy friends. It is clear from the beginning that Ry has feelings for Isadora, but for her it takes longer to let him in, past her hard exterior that is a product of her unusual childhood. The twist at the ending for these two is something that I want to read again and again.

10. Harper and David from Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins. The idea of two people, sworn enemies, snarking and sassing each other until somehow, their feelings of hatred grow into something else is something that I will never tire of. For Harper, David is the last person that she would ever want to fall for, but when it actually starts happening (while in the background she fights a supernatural force, of course), it isn't so terrible? I adore this pair.

what are some of your favorite romances?


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

waiting on wednesday: illusionarium

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted over at Breaking the Spine where we highlight an anticipated new release.

This week's pick: Illusionarium by Heather Dixon
find it on goodreads 
Release date: May 19

synopsis: What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.
Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.

I absolutely love Heather Dixon's Entwined, and I cannot wait to see what else Dixon has to offer. This sounds like an amazing fantasy/adventure story, something a little different and like a lot of fun. I will definitely be picking this up when it comes out next week! 

what are your picks for this week?


Sunday, May 10, 2015

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': an ember in the ashes

Name: An Ember In The Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
find it on goodreads
barnes & noble

synopsis: AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching and pulse-pounding read. Set in a rich, high-fantasy world with echoes of ancient Rome, it tells the story of a slave fighting for her family and a young soldier fighting for his freedom.
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

full, non-spoilery review under the cut!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

waiting on wednesday: P.S. I Still Love You

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted over at Breaking the Spine, where we highlight an anticipated release each week.

This week's pick: P.S. I Still Love You
find it on goodreads
Release date: May 26
Spoilers for To All The Boys I've Loved Before in description! 

synopsis: 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.

I absolutely adored last year's To All The Boys I've Loved Before. In fact, it was one of my favorite books of the year, as well as one of the best contemporaries I've read in a long time. I cannot wait to continue with Lara Jean and Peter's story! 

What are your picks for this week? 


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

top ten tuesday: nevers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at the Broke and the Bookish, where each week we highlight a different category of novels, authors, etc. This week's theme is "May 5: Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read," which is hard for me, because I like to think that I will try anything once. However, there are a few books that I just don't think I will *ever* get around to, either by choice or just because I am disinterested. So without further ado, here they are. 

1. Reached by Ally Condie – I read the first two books in this series, Matched and Crossed, and while I loved the first book, Crossed underwhelmed me to a point where I just got angry at the series. I have absolutely no interest at all in finishing out this trilogy. 
2. Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James – Soooo not my cup of tea. I have friends who read all three and loved them, and other people who I know who absolutely hated them, but I stick pretty much with "I will never ever ever lay my hands on those books." 
3. Anything else by William Faulkner EVER – I read As I Lay Dying and thought it was actually the worst book I'd ever read, so when we were going to read The Sound and the Fury in my senior Lit class, I had hopes that me and As I lay.... had just had a bad relationship. Nope. Couldn't decide which one, of the two, I hated worse. Then, just to torture myself, I read The Bear, thinking that maybe a short story would be tolerable to me.... wrong again. I just can't get myself to be even cordial with Faulkner. 
4. Untold by Sara Rees Brennan – I loved the first book in this series, Unspoken, up until the very very end. Which completely destroyed me. I was so traumatized by the end of the novel, as well as the (imho) terrible cover change, that I can't see myself ever picking up the rest of this trilogy. 
5. Across the Universe by Beth Revis – Nothing against the book or the author, it's just something that has been on my radar and in my TBR pile for literal YEARS and I have just never gotten around to it. I have to be in a very specific mood to read sci/fi, and this is one that has just never called to me. 

I could really only think of these five examples because, like I said I will try anything once! What are some of your picks?


april wrap up

I love doing these posts at the end of each month, because it allows me to relive the great stories that I have experienced in the last thirty days. April was a super super busy month for me– I was driving back and forth from university to home, studying for exams, taking the exams and finally moving out of my dorm and back home– so I didn't get as much reading done as I wanted to, but I still managed to get seven books read, which isn't too shabby, considering. I also posted 3 reviews here and a couple on goodreads. All in all, a pretty good month!

1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab ☆☆☆☆☆
A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world. 
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.'

I absolutely adored this book. It was everything that I hoped it would be and more, complete with morally ambiguous anti-heroes, superpowers, and the question of what is the different between right and wrong. It is a gritty story, one that is bound to suck readers in and not let them go until the end of the twisted action. I really hope that Ms. Schwab decides to write something else in this world, because it was different and thrilling, and I would love to read something else from it. Full review is up here, and this was probably my favorite of the month.

2. Steering the Stars by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope ☆☆☆☆
Be careful what you wish for…
Aspiring writer Hannah Vaughn worries that she is doomed to live out the rest of her existence in a sleepy Oklahoma town. For as long as she can remember, she’s dreamed of something more – adventure, excitement, intrigue. When her sister invites her to London and she’s accepted to a prestigious writing program at The Warriner School, she jumps at the chance. But will it be epic or an epic fail?
You’ll never know if you don’t try…
Nothing ever happens to straight-A student Caroline McKain and that’s exactly the way she likes it. With her best friend in London and junior year looming on the horizon, all she wants is to remain invisible. So when she is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, she must ask herself: Can an invisible girl really take center stage?
Follow Hannah and Caroline as they navigate the complexities of first love, family and growing up. As their bond is tested, the girls will learn that being apart can ultimately bring you together. Steering the Stars is a fresh, heartfelt young adult story about fate, discovery, and the magic of friendship.

I'll let my goodreads review speak to how much I liked this one: "ok ok so here we go. I did not expect to love this book as much as I did! I picked it up looking for something cutesy that I could just fly through and not really have to think about, but it ended up being so so much more than that. 
above all, before I talk about the romances (which were A++, great job autumn and erica), I want to emphasize that the main theme in this book is the importance of communication, especially as it pertains to friendship. As someone who has, in the past year, left her home and is living apart from her family and best friend, just like Hannah, I can tell you that it really isn't easy. The way that Hannah and Caroline realized that distance means your relationship can change was very real. I loved that, while their friendship was so important to these two, this book did not flinch away from the truth that it is hard to realize that someone who you consider yourself closest to is living a whole life that you know nothing about. It didn't ruin their friendship, obviously, but that is something that lots of people have to deal with, and I appreciated the honesty in these author's portrayal. 
That being said, I loved the characters. All of them. I think Caroline and Henry's story played more on my heartstrings, but that's just because I'm a sucker for "hey we grew up together I think of you as a sister WHOOPS now I'm in love with you" stories. I also loved Joel and I found some of myself in both Hannah and Caroline, which made me attached to both stories. The two romances in this novel were very different, but they were both adorable, and both guys are positively swoon-worthy. The kinds of guys who are just good to the end. I did like how the romances couldn't work out until Hannah and Caroline worked out their own problems, a boy couldn't just come in and solve everything, they had to go through their hardships alone, and come out better for them. 
All in all, this was sweet and absolutely adorable, but it also, instead of feeling silly like some books in this genre can, felt real, and I could lose myself in the story" 
3. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks ☆☆☆☆
Ira Levinson is in trouble. At ninety-one years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.
A few miles away, at a local rodeo, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward -- even life and death – loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans -- a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.
Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.

Here's the thing: I basically can't stand Nicholas Sparks books. I think they're cheesy and overwrought and unnecessary, and I usually tend to stay as far away from them as I can. However! I was dragged into this movie in the beginning of last month and I found myself actually really enjoying it, so I had to come home and immediately begin to read the book. I found it more than tolerable, it was actually pretty good, loathe as I am to admit it. I found the entwined stories enchanting, and I grew attached to the characters as the story went on. Definitely the best Sparks novel that I have read to date. 

4. Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark ☆☆☆
Abram and Juliette know each other. They’ve lived down the street from each other their whole lives. But they don’t really know each other—at least, not until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad have a torrid affair that culminates in a deadly car crash. Sharing the same subdivision is uncomfortable, to say the least. They don’t speak.

Fast-forward to the neighborhood pharmacy, a few months later. Abram decides to say hello. Then he decides to invite her to Taco Bell. To her surprise as well as his, she agrees. And the real love story begins.
This was an odd story. I really couldn't tell if I liked it at all, even when I finished it. Some parts of it made me laugh and I actually really enjoyed a good bit of it, but the rest was just weird and I felt very conflicted over it. The relationship seems to spring out of nowhere, the things that happen to Abram and Juliette just feel odd where, in other books, they might be cute. Honestly, I gave it three stars because three is in the middle and I honestly had no idea how to rate this one.

5. Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli ☆☆☆☆☆
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
I have a full review here where I talk about how much I adored this novel, so I'll spare you the gushing and just tell you this: this was something fresh, funny and engaging; and I loved every single word of it. From the tangibility of the characters and their reactions to different situations to the reality of how Albertalli dealt with coming out in high school, it was all mad mad genius. 

6. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven ☆☆☆☆
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

I loved the gritty way this book dealt with mental illness and first love, as things that are wild and unpredictable and incurably so. It was brooding and sad and poignant, and I felt all these things painfully as I read the story. I have a full review up here, and you can see all of my reactions to the various amazing things about this novel there. 

7. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno ☆☆☆
Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.
Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”
Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

If the main character in this novel hadn't bothered me so much, this could've been a four or five star book, and that is saying something, because I normally do not like books that involve two brothers as 2/3rds of a love triangle. I hated how wishy washy the narrator was, and how she couldn't grow a spine and decide what she wanted from the get-go. It made me nervous and angry, and I just couldn't get past it. That being said, I did like how 99 Days valued female friendship and the way it showed that slut shaming and blaming girls for things that take a boy and a girl is real and that is is unfair, so those were some redeeming parts for me. 

How was your April, book wise? 

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