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Because You Love to Hate Me Review

Because You Love to Hate Me, edited by Ameriie

51hnhs2bg8hl-_sx327_bo1204203200_Summary

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon,Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon
BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).

Summary from Goodreads

My Thoughts

Because You Love to Hate Me was one of my most anticipated books to read in the year of 2017, and I really enjoyed it. I’m not the type of person to rate each individual story in an anthology separately, but I will list some of my favorites: The Sea Witch, by Marissa Meyer; Shirley and Jim, by Susan Dennard; Sera, by Nicola Yoon; Death Knell, by Victoria Schwab; The Blood of Imuriv, by Renee Ahdieh. There were some stories that disappointed me, but overall I really enjoyed this anthology. I also appreciated the variety of perspectives and genres! We has stories told from third person, second, and first! It was so much fun to discover new authors that I may have never heard of or read, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading. In fact, I read this book in only two sittings over the course of two days–that’s saying something! Overall, I give BYLTHM 4/5 stars!

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The Office Book Tag

The Office Book Tag

91tmr1v-qrl-_ri_Hi everyone! I’m here to do my first tag on the blog! I just finished The Office, and I’m a literal ball of emotions. In honor of my adoration of the show, I’m doing the book tag. I’ve only ever seen this done on the Bookable’s YouTube Channel.

 

 

TAG QUESTIONS:
1. Michael Scott – Book that tried WAY too hard: That Summer, by Sarah Dessen. The book tried too hard to be meaningful and powerful, but didn’t really have that element.
2. Dwight Schrute – Book that ended up being a lot more complex than you thought it would be: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre was a seemingly simple, fun contemporary. After finishing it, I was so in awe of the message! Totally recommend.
3. Jim Halpert – YOU in a book. Book/character that you related to a ton: Putting aside the obvious Hermione Granger, I’m going with Ava from I Hate Everyone But You, by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin! The anxiety rep was so well-done, and I just related to this character so much!
4. Pam Beesly – Seriously underrated but amazing book you wish everyone would read: I have to pick Roseblood, by A.G. Howard! It’s so beautifully written and has the best characters and an intricate plot!
5. Ryan Howard – THE INTERN. Debut novel that impressed you: There are so many! I suppose I will choose The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renee Ahdieh. I’m pretty sure it was her first book, and it was so magical and beautifully written.
6. Andy Bernard – ANNOYING book/character that you can’t help but love (or not): An annoying character that I loved was probably Celeste from The Selection series by Kiera Cass!
7. Robert California – Book/character/plot that went over your head or was really confusing: I honestly hated Robert (oops). I really loved The Last of August by Brittney Cavallaro, but the last scene in the book went over my head and was confusing!

8. Angela Martin – Book with a plot that didn’t appeal to you at first but you ended up loving: I love Angela, and I think I have to go with Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo) or City of Bones (Cassandra Clare)! I DNF’d both the first time around, and upon picking them up again I fell in love.

9. Kelly Kapoor – Favorite sassy character: Will Herondale, from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. I love him more than anything.
10. Kevin Malone – Book that features music: The first that came to mind was This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab! Music plays an important part in the duology–go read it!
11. Phyllis Lapin – Book that made you feel warm and fuzzy: The entire To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han. Such a great trilogy.
12. Oscar Martinez – Book that has an awesome LGBT character that defies stereotypes: Renegades, by Marissa Meyer. Superheroes. All I’m saying.
13. Stanley Hudson – Character/book that DGAF: Hm…Can I say Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer? He does, but he doesn’t. I love Thorne, and he has to be mentioned.
14. Meredith Palmer – Book you couldn’t stomach (too graphic/violent/romantic/vulgar – or whatever your reason!): The Spectacular Now, by Tim Tharp. I honestly hated this book, the main character, everything. It was too much. Just too much.
15. Creed Bratton – Book/series that only ever made you ask more questions: I feel as if every Cassandra Clare book/series leaves me wanting more from the Shadowhunter world, so I’m going to go with TID, TDA, and TMI, because they all apply.

So that’s my The Office tag! I’d love to know who you guys would choose for Creed Bratton–he’s one of my favorites. If you love The Office, or just want to do this tag, then go for it! I’d love to check out your version, so be sure to let me know.

The Astonishing Color of After Review

The Astonishing Color of After, by Emily X. R. Pan

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Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

Summary from Goodreads.

My Thoughts

Thank you to TheNovl for sending me a copy for review.

The Astonishing Color of After was one of the most thought-provoking, powerful novels I’ve read in a very long time. Our main character, Leigh, really captures what it’s like to be a teenager in the 21st century, battling family time, friendships, art, and school in addition to life in general. In the beginning of the story, we find out that while her mother was dying, she was kissing her best friend, Axel. Because of her newfound desire to learn more about her grandparents, she and her father visit them in Taiwan. There, Leigh discovers a lot about her family’s past.

The family dynamics really took the front seat in this novel, and that was possibly my favorite element. We don’t often see what it’s like to be a normal family that argues, forgives, and loves. The author really took an average family and showed it to the readers! Leigh struggles with her relationships in terms of her parents, and that’s shown really well. Even the friendships we see are accurate: Axel and Leigh’s relationship is so well done, and reflects what I see and do in terms of my own life. I’ve gushed about the characters so much, because they seem like such real people. The dialogue, the way they think and behave–it’s all so familiar.

The story is not quite magical-realism, but it does have a hint of something fantastical, and I really enjoyed this aspect of the story. It was an unexpected, but still enjoyed, addition. The setting itself is so vivid. In the majority of the novel, we are set in Taiwan. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story focused here before, and it was so interesting to see portayed! Even regular things, like apartment buildings and food, were described so well.

Finally, I must compliment the writing style. The story was told so beautifully–in vivid colors and beautiful music. Throughout the novel, we go back and forth between past memories and present day. Usually, transitions in situations like these confuse me, but the flips back and forth were done well, and fit well in terms of what was going on.

Emily tells a beautiful story that must be heard by all, because it fits so well into today’s society and today’s real people. 4.5/5 stars.

I Hate Everyone But You Review

I Hate Every51hmrkrr2b4l-_sx330_bo1204203200_one But You, by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

Summary

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely,
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two best friends will document every moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

Summary courtesy of Goodreads.

 

Thoughts

I Hate Everyone But You is a very relatable novel. Our two characters, Ava and Gen, are best friends, but attend colleges on opposite coasts in the US–Ava stays in California, and Gen heads out east to Boston. The story is told in text messages and emails between the two. One thing I worried about when reading was that I wouldn’t know the characters very well, but that was an unfounded fear. I felt that we really got to know the characters, despite not having the typical novel layout. I must say that I really found myself relating to Ava the most. She struggles with anxiety, in addition to OCD and just overall fitting in at her new school, as far as making friends goes. Gen is less relatable to me, because she’s very outgoing and boisterous. We’re practically opposites.

The friendship in this story was so. Well. Done. I do believe the authors are “besties” in real life (they have a YouTube channel, but I’ve not watched it), so they obviously knew what they were writing about. Throughout the story, we see the characters get in disagreements and arguments, but they always come through for each other. This made the story feel real! Our characters were flawed, but that’s true for absolutely everybody! There was also an abundance of representation! We had a bisexual character, and, as I mentioned, lots of mental health representation. So diverse!

Overall, this was a really enjoyable novel, and I had a lot of time reading it. If you’re just in the mood for a pick-me-up, quick read, look no farther than this book! 4/5 stars!

The Cruel Prince Review

The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black

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Summary

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Summary from Goodreads

 

My Thoughts

The Cruel Prince is possibly the most whimsical novel I’ve read this year. There are many praises I could sing of this book, but the first must be of the writing style. In the beginning, the writing stumbled a bit. One moment, it would be dreamy and whimsy, but there were also small passages where everything went more modern, in terms of slang and references. However, after the first hundred pages, the writing became steady and stayed constantly brilliant. All the lands of Faerie, in addition to our characters, were described so wonderfully! The world and characters were so vivid and bright, and I really embraced the story because of this.
Our protagonist, Jude, was a very interesting character. Because of her horrific past, most of her decisions are influenced. She constantly wonders if she is too brutal, or too cruel, and I felt that this response was a realistic one for the story. Each of her choices had lots of thought, and I enjoyed seeing her process events in Faerie as time went on. She wasn’t always the most likable character, and she was most certainly flawed, but I felt that this added to her personality, and helped us get to know her.
In addition to Jude, we also saw some strong side characters. Jude and her twin, Taryn, and older sister, Vivi, had a real relationship that I felt really pushed the story. Jude struggled with fitting in, but she has the support of her sisters, even though they argue. Jude’s father and mother figures were also extremely interesting. We don’t get much background on who they are, but I do hope that we learn more about their past. They, too, are flawed but intriguing characters that have important roles in the story. Lastly, we have Cardan and his group of faeries. They taunt Jude, and are quite cruel to her at school. I felt that this aspect of the story was necessary, though heartbreaking, because it can be applied to the world we live in now. Cardan himself is a detailed character who, like so many others, I long to learn more about! We only catch a glimpse of him in the story, and I hope that we get more in the following book.
Lastly, I must compliment the political intrigue. A large portion of the novel is focused around who will become the king after the current one steps down. Jude checks her alliances, despite the fact that her questioning could be endangering her father’s reputation. Trust is a dangerous thing to play with in this world, and the weight of it isn’t light. There is so much depth to the politics in The Cruel Prince that, to me, it felt like a real place. This part of the story really solidified my love for the world and the characters, and I cannot wait for the next book!
The Cruel Prince earned itself 4.5/5 stars!

Renegades Review!

Renegades, by Marissa Meyer

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Summary

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

 

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Summary from Goodreads

 

My Thoughts

Renegades is the first book in a duology, and I have to say I cannot wait for the next installment! The first thing I have to compliment has to be the characters. Nova and Adrian are our two main characters, and we see from their perspectives in the story. Both characters are fleshed out so well that I felt like they were real people. Nova comes from a troubled past, and we constantly see her reasoning for the things she does. Because of this, we really get to know her and why she makes the choices and decisions she makes. The chemistry between these two characters is very complicated, but the confusion and mixed emotions really add to the story! In addition to main characters, I think Marissa Meyer does a great job writing side characters. They’re always hilarious and have such a great personality that I enjoy reading about them just as much! In the story, we get the background of our characters’ superpowers, and how they came to be. This also really added to the characters and made them really 3-dimensional.

Another aspect of the story I really enjoyed was the setting. Gatlon City is where the characters live, and I really enjoyed the depth and history of the world. We are constantly reminded of the timeline of past events, which is very good for someone like me, who often forgets important details (oops…). Gatlon City is basically divided into two sections: the city that has been rebuilt, and the “outskirts” that were demolished in the Age of Anarchy and have yet to be restored. Being able to go back and forth between these two areas within the same city also gave a great glimpse into the past destruction the city went through.

Lastly, I have to compliment Marissa’s ability to write superpowers! Each of the powers was extremely unique and creative! As I mentioned earlier, we get the background of how our main characters and their friends got their powers. When we “heard” these stories, it made the abilities seem so real, and I’m grateful that we got such a descriptive explanation rather than just knowing what the powers were.

There was only one problem I had with the story, and that was the pacing. From the beginning, there were many interesting scenes (and the beginning itself was highly intriguing), but there were also times where I wished the story would speed up because it didn’t occupy my full attention.

Overall, Renegades was an amazing story and I am highly anticipating the next book! I gave Renegades 4.5/5 stars…and I would probably consider it a favorite of this year! I’d definitely recommend this novel to absolutely anyone–even if you’re not a fan of dystopian or magical realism.

Love & Gelato Review

Love & Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch

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Summary

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

 

My Thoughts

Love & Gelato was a very fun, fast read. First off, I absolutely loved the setting! Discovering a taste of Italy through the novel really added to the culture and structure, and I’m so glad that it took place there! I also liked how the author primarily focused on the good in Lina’s life, but there was also the dark undertone that set the mood and pace of the story. In addition, I thought that the journal entries from Lina’s mother’s diary was a very nice touch. We follow Lina’s mother adventure in Italy, in addition to the one our main character is having present-day. However, I did have two problems with the story, the first being the fact that our characters weren’t as fleshed out as I would have liked. I really enjoy having a character who seems real, and with this story I didn’t have that feeling with either our main character or love interest. The other setback from five stars was the fact that sometimes the writing seemed a little average, but then other occasions it was very meaningful! I absolutely loved the passages that had this depth to them.

 

Overall, Love & Gelato was a very enjoyable read, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a fun contemporary with ad bit of a darker mood. I gave it 3/5 stars.