Tag: bookish

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

35604686Summary

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.

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.

Eliza and Her Monsters Review

Eliza and Her Monsters, by  Francesca Zappia 

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Summary: 

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

 

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoy

 

ing the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

My Thoughts:

Eliza and Her Monsters was a powerful novel, in my opinion. I’d like to first talk about the pacing. In the beginning of the story, this novel just seemed like another contemporary. After getting around 150 pages in, more happened. We started seeing our characters deal with stress and admitting their weaknesses and their struggles, and that’s when the novel kicked off for me. That’s when I couldn’t stop reading. I read this book in two sittings, which hasn’t happened for me in a long time, and I’m so greatful for that. Secondly, I’d like to talk about our characters. Eliza was a great protagonist. She was introverted, more comfortable online rather than off. Her relationship with her siblings and parents wasn’t strong, and she didn’t have friends in school. Seeing her develop throughout the story by making friends and being more interactive with her family was such a nice touch. In lots of contemporaries, our main character is either close to their family throughout, or is distant throughout. With Eliza, she developed, which was so wonderful to read about, and it really made me think about my own relationship with friends and family. Next, I’m talking about  Monstrous Sea, our narrator’s webcomic. Throughout the novel, we get little screenshots and pieces of the web forum and of the story Eliza has created, much like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, and I really liked this touch. The plot of MS was a little confusing for me, but I did enjoy seeing the snippets of it, as well as the illustrations. And, finally, I’m talking mental health. The idea of mental health in novels is still new to me. I don’t read many mental health novels, but when I do I enjoy them! So when Eliza struggled with anxiety, I felt like the book took on a new meaning for me. I can’t say how accurate the portrayal of anxiety is because I don’t suffer from it, but I did find that this added to the novel, and really made the story for me.

 

 

 

Overall, I loved Eliza and Her Monsters. I related to Eliza because she is a fangirl, she does have problems, she does write and sometimes she loses inspiration for her art. All of these aspects made her relatable and enjoyable to read about. I blew through Eliza, reading it in a day or so (385 pages), and I would say pick it up ASAP! 4.5/5 stars!

Melody’s Key Review

30807954Melody’s Key, by Dallas Coryell

*I was sent an e-book copy of this book by the author for free in return for an honest review*

Brief Summary

Tegan lives with her family, spending her days helping out with her family’s struggling business, making music, and reading letters of past lovers. Her life has fallen into the same routine, until a popular American musician shows up and turns her life around.

My Thoughts

This book took me forever to read, simply because it was a little slow at the beginning. This offset the book for me for a while, but then I picked it up about a week before finishing it and just powered through and LOVED IT!!

First thing I’d like to mention is the author’s writing, which I think is beautiful. All actions were described so beautifully and I just thought it added so much to the story. I also loved both our male and female main characters! I really got a good “look” at them; I felt their hobbies were outlined well, and I knew what the characters’ physical traits were, which I appreciate.
Finally, I want to mention the story line in general. I hardly read any purely romance novels, but I enjoyed this one. I loved the element of family that our main character had! She was so close with her sister and her parents were supportive of all of their children. I also loved the setting! I don’t read many books set in Europe, but this one was and I liked seeing that!

I’m not a huge romance reader, but I will say that this was a nice “introduction” to romance for readers like me, and I would definitely recommend it!

Literally, by Lucy Keating

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Brief Summary

Annabelle’s life seems pretty perfect: She’s an extremely organized teenager, with a loving family, a beautiful home, and great friends. But one day, she finds out that she is a main character in famous author Lucy Keating’s new book. A new boy, Will, is introduced and seems to be made exclusively for her, but she’s also got something going with her brother’s best friend, Elliot, who she never thought of as anything more than a nuisance. Lucy has a plan for Annabelle, but what happens if she doesn’t want to be just another character?

My Thoughts

While Literally was fun and enjoyable, it wasn’t the perfect book for me. I think that the idea of bringing book characters to life or having them find out that they are book characters seems wonderful, but it’s quite a challenging process. Both books that I have read that follow these ideas–Between the Lines and Literally–just didn’t do it for me. There are so many plot holes! How did the characters find out they were characters? How do they interact with the author? How do they “come out” of the story? Like I said, I love the idea, but I just think that there are just too many problems by the end. I did think that the characters were interesting, but they could have been developed a little more; their hobbies and styles were clear, but I didn’t really know what our main character looked like, or even what the supporting characters looked like, which I was interested in. Overall, this book was a cute contemporary, but it didn’t really please me as much as I would have liked. 3/5 stars.