Monday, August 3, 2015

july wrap up

Goodbye, July! I feel like I say this in every single wrap up post I ever do, but I honestly cannot believe it is over. Now August is here, I'm going back to Uni in two weeks, and it is as hot as ever here in the southeast. Like 90% humidity, 100 degree days. (which I HATE) But you don't want me to get off on a rant about how much I hate hot weather, so I'll just stick to the books. For the past two weeks, you may have noticed that this blog went a little dark. That is because I have been living at the beach, the little bit of vacation time in my summer. Its amazingly beautiful and relaxing there, but the problem is that there is no wifi. No wifi = no ability to post. So I apologize for that, but I am back now! July was an awesome reading month for me, on account of the vacation time. I read fifteen books but only got around to posting four reviews. I would've posted more, because I did read some truly amazing books this month, but the no wifi thing really cramped my style. But despite it all, here is my July wrap up!

1. The Potion Diaries (US title: Madly) – Amy Alward ☆☆☆ 

When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.
Enter Samantha Kemi - an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam's family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they've fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime? And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news. No big deal, then.

~~~
(I'll let my goodreads review speak for this one) you can find that HERE

2. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell – Chris Colfer (reread) ☆☆☆☆

Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.
"The Land of Stories" tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
 
~~~
I first read this book a couple of years ago at the suggestion of some very smart girls that I babysit for, and I ended up falling completely in love with the series. Every year when a new book comes out, I can't resist rereading all of them. I think they're funny and clever without being too juvenile, and I love it when all of my favorite fairy tales are tied together in one world.

3. The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns – Chris Colfer (reread) ☆☆☆☆☆

spoilers! After decades of hiding, the evil Enchantress who cursed Sleeping Beauty is back with a vengeance.

Alex and Conner Bailey have not been back to the magical Land of Stories since their adventures in The Wishing Spell ended. But one night, they learn the famed Enchantress has kidnapped their mother! Against the will of their grandmother, the twins must find their own way into the Land of Stories to rescue their mother and save the fairy tale world from the greatest threat it's ever faced.

~~~
Again, I've read this before, but I think this one is tied with the last addition to the series as my favorite one. Also, this cover is for sure my favorite, it's so gorgeous!! 
 
4. The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning – Chris Colfer (reread) ☆☆☆☆

spoilers! The Brothers Grimm have a warning for the Land of Stories.
Connor Bailey thinks his fairy-tale adventures are behind him - until he discovers a mysterious clue left by the famous Brothers Grimm. With help from his classmate Bree and the outlandish Mother Goose, Conner sets off on a mission across Europe to crack a two-hundred-year-old code.
Meanwhile, Alex Bailey is training to become the next Fairy Godmother... but her attempts at granting wishes never go as planned. Will she ever be truly ready to lead the Fairy Council?
When all signs point to disaster for the Land of Stories, Connor and Alex must join forces with their friends and enemies to save the day. But nothing can prepare them for the coming battle... or for the secret that will change the twins' lives forever.
The third book in the bestselling Land of Stories series puts the twins to the test as they bring two worlds together!

~~~
This is is the book in the series that has the most twists and turns, and though it isn't my favorite, I appreciate that fact. It also sets up the next novel nicely with the mystery of the masked man and the fate of the twins' grandmother. 
 
5. The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms – Chris Colfer ☆☆☆☆☆

spoilers! Fairy tales are just the beginning. The Masked Man is on the loose in the Land of Stories, and it's up to Alex and Conner Bailey to stop him...except Alex has been thrown off the Fairy Council, and no one will believe they're in danger.
With only the help of the ragtag group of Goldilocks, Jack, Red Riding Hood, and Mother Goose and her gander, Lester, the Bailey twins discover the Masked Man's secret scheme: He possesses a powerful magic potion that turns every book it touches into a portal, and he is recruiting an army of literature's greatest villains!
So begins a race through the magical Land of Oz, the fantastical world of Neverland, the madness of Wonderland, and beyond. Can Alex and Conner catch up to the Masked Man, or will they be one step behind until it's too late?
Fairy tales and classic stories collide in the fourth adventure in the bestselling Land of Stories series as the twins travel beyond the kingdoms!
~~~
This is the newest addition to this series, and the only one I hadn't read before, and I have to say, I was not disappointed. I loved the addition of classic stories to the fairytale characters we've already gotten to know in the previous three books, and the twinge of romance and sacrifice reminds us that the twins aren't 11 anymore... they really are growing up throughout the stories. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves retellings! I have a full review of this up HERE!

6. I'll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson (reread) ☆☆☆☆☆

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

~~~
If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you probably know that this book is absolutely in my top five most favorite books ever. In fact, it might be number one. I read it in November 2014, and I just felt it calling to me in the past couple months, begging for me to reread it. I have to say, I loved it just as much the second time, as I went through and really marked all of my favorite passages. It's lyrical, bittersweet, beautiful, and tugs at something inside me. The love I have for this book is a little bit unexplainable, you just have to trust me when I say that this is a MUST READ.

7. Nimona – Noelle Stevenson ☆☆☆☆

The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it "a deadpan epic."
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.
 
~~~
I am not a graphic novel aficionado. I do not know anything worthwhile about them, and I rarely venture into reading them, mostly because I'm intimidated and have no idea where to start. However, I have seen Noelle Stevenson's work around tumblr and the like, so when I saw this in my local bookstore, I felt like I should at least give it a try. I ended up finishing it in one sitting, laughing the entire way. I absolutely loved it, and it made me want to try more graphic novels for sure. (if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!)

8. Tiny Pretty Things – Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton ☆☆☆☆

Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.
Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette's desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

~~~
What a roller coaster ride this one was!!! I have a pretty extensive review where I talk about this book, up HERE, but really what you need to know is: shit gets REAL.

9. Lois Land: Fallout – Gwenda Bond ☆☆☆☆

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.
 ~~~
(from my goodreads review) 4.5 stars!!! I enjoyed this a lot more than I was even expecting to, and that's saying a lot. I love the idea of giving Lois Lane her own voice, and then letting her say really important things with it. she's snarky and fearless and utterly independent with a permanent record to match. I couldn't help but love her, flaws and all, because underneath her bravado and brass, Lois is a lonely girl who is dedicated to telling the truth, even when it isn't easy. I appreciated her character so much, and with this portrayal it's easy to see how Lois Lane, ordinary girl, stands up proudly next to Clark Kent.
aside from the brilliance of Lois' character, the plot of this book was fast paced, with heist and high jinks abounding. it was a ton of fun to read, and based on what I saw in this novel, I think this could be an awesome new series. I was swept up in the fun of it all, I almost didn't even notice how scary the adversaries were. Lois and her band of friends handled danger with bravery and ingenuity, and backing down is never in the cards.
if you like superheroes and kickass women, strange supernatural happenings and lots of sass, I'd say this is the book for you.

  
10. I Am Princess X – Cherie Priest ☆☆☆☆

Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen; illustrated throughout with comics.
Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.
Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.
Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window. Princess X? When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There's an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby's story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon---her best friend, Libby, who lives.

~~~
I loved the format of this book – comics mixed with prose, and I unexpectedly really really enjoyed the story. It was fast paced and twisty, throwing me into plot twist after plot twist as I tried, with May, to get to the bottom of the mystery that is Princess X. I think the less you know about the story, the better. It is pretty short and very readable, so I think anyone could get into this one.

11.  Emmy & Oliver – Robin Benway ☆☆☆☆☆

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?
Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life. She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.
Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart. He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?
Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

~~~
FAVORITE NEW READ!!!! I fell head over heels in love with this story, its characters, and the relationships between the two. I have a full review HERE, just know this one of the best contemporaries that I've read. (ever)

12. Every Last Word – Tamara Ireland Stone ☆☆☆☆☆

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

~~~
This was such an interesting novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't get a chance to write a full review for it, but I do have a lot of thoughts about it, so it might find its way into a spotlight post or something. It is new and different to me to read from the perspective of a person with OCD, especially the type that Sam suffers from. I appreciate the fact that Tamara Ireland Stone was dedicated to a true, raw portrayal of this condition, and I felt like I was educated through this fictional story. I felt for Sam, because of everything she has to go through, but I was also so proud of her when she progressed throughout the novel. If you're looking for something different and engaging, this is it.

13. Love Fortunes and Other Disasters – Kimberly Karalius ☆☆☆

In the tradition of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, one girl chooses to change her fortune and her fate by falling in love.
Love is real in the town of Grimbaud, and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita’s famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It’s a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love.
Fortunately, Fallon isn’t the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate—even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian.
Will Fallon and Sebastian be able to overthrow Zita’s tyranny and fall in love?
 
~~~
Let's be real: the reason I bought this was because of the cover. And what a gorgeous one it is, too. I must report that the story inside reflects the cuteness of the cover, and so even though it wasn't my favorite story of the month, I did enjoy reading it. I think Swoon reads does a fabulous job, so I will read pretty much anything they publish, and this one follows the tradition of adorableness.

14. Looking For Alaska – John Green (reread) ☆☆☆☆☆

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.

~~~
This was actually the first John Green book that I read, back in maybe 2010, and it remains my favorite one, to this day. I hadn't read it in a couple of years, so I decided to pick it back up in honor of paper towns and all the amazing things that John Green is doing. It was different than I remembered it being, but I love that you can read the same book at different times in your life and see different things, read it in a different way.  I love this story just as much as I did the first time I read it. 

15. Paper Towns – John Green (reread) ☆☆☆☆

Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...


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I had to reread this one in honor of the movie coming out!! Honestly, I hate Margo. I hate her so much. But! I actually liked the movie portrayal of her better than the book, just because they made her less abhorrent. haha I do really enjoy Paper Towns as a whole, though. 

what did you guys love in July?

xx
Sunny 

1 comment:

  1. I really want to check out Chris Colfer's series! It sounds amazing and I loved him in Glee. I'll have to check it out sometime soon. I'll Give You the Sun is definitely a great read! I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it. I really liked I Am Princess X and Every Last Word too! :)
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

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