Thursday, October 27, 2016

Books I Can't BELIEVE I Still Haven't Read Yet

Sometimes, I really can't believe I haven't read certain books. The ones that seem to be EVERYWHERE and that seem to have been read by everyone and their mother before me. The ones that people yell at me to read when I mention having not done so yet. Ever since blogging, I've been paying the most attention to new releases and ARCs that I sometimes forget there's a whole world of backlist out there. And even when I WANT to read them, I have trouble finding the time to do so because of said ARCs and new releases. I've been doing better at adding backlist to my TBR and actually reading them, but I still need more balance. And these are books I will DEFINITELY make time for next year! Because honestly, why the fuck haven't I read them yet??? omg.

Older Ones 
I especially want to make Vicious, Gracling, Tiger Lily, and The Lies of Locke Lamora. And of course PJ, but I want to binge-read that series instead! I also super want to read If I Stay soon so I can *finally* watch the movie. Same with The Duff. You know what the worst part is? I totally own all of them, too. SO I HAVE NO EXCUSES. I hope to read *most* of them by the end of 2017, though! :D

Newish Ones
I *think* all of these are post-2014, but oh well if they aren't! And some of them aren't hugely popular, like The Royal We and Made You Up, but they have been in the YA/blogging community. So I still NEED to read them all! But these ones aren't a big priority to me since they're a bit newer. However, I plan to read them someday!


If you've read them; which of these books should I *definitely* make a priority to get to in 2017? Are there any hyped up, ridiculously popular books YOU still haven't read yet? Let's talk! :D 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Ton of October Mini Reviews

There were SO MANY October book releases, and I read a ton of them early. So now I want to share them with YOU. And I'm so glad to say that aside from one of them, I was pleased with how much I enjoyed/loved the rest! :D

*eARC kindly provided by Macmillan via NetGalley*

I’m a sucker for books about friendships, especially if they contain the all-consuming, unshakable ones like that of The Raven Cycle and the TV show, Friends. And while this certainly had a great friendship, it wasn’t *quite* what I’d hoped for. It wasn’t as… developed as it could have been? At least, when it came to the group as a whole. The book had a stronger focus on Sloane’s relationships with the twins, Vera and Gabe, and not the others (Frank, Bree, Aubrey, and Remy). Through her bond with them, Sloane comes to understand just what friendship means and how much she needs it in her life. And how she would do just about anything for them, like track down a painting their mother had done and that shouldn’t have been sold. For some reason, the first time I read the synopsis, I thought this was like a big mystery-type of thing? LOL no. But it is a huge part of the book, because the main character knows what it means to her new friends, and she wants to get it back for them. I really liked Sloane. She’s very funny and honest, but she’s also got a lot to learn about others. Through Vera and Gabe, she becomes a part of something very special, and I loved the scenes with the two of them, and the other characters. I think my favorite part of this book, though, was her relationship with her dad. He is hilarious, and fun, and I loved their very open communication and seeing how they worked through their issues. Basically, this contemporary was very much about friendships and family and the beauty of them. And it made me melt. 
Rating: 4 Paw Prints! 
Wow, this was REALLY good! And this is coming from someone who doesn't often find hits in the YA thriller genre. But yeah, I loved this, and the characters, Flynn and Kaz especially. CUTIES WHO HAD EACH OTHER'S BACKS. Their relationship was so lovely to watch unfold. Flynn was so scared to come out, but the people who love him handled it (mostly) well. I was so angry at his best friend, but they made up, and I had ALL THE FEELS. And his parents were the absolute best and present and gave Flynn a safe space to be himself without fear of judgment or shame. As for the storyline, the mystery of January's disappearance, I predicted some things, and others, I did not. It was intriguing, watching Flynn unravel January's life, because it wasn't what he thought it had been. I REALLY liked how Caleb tackled rape culture a bit here, and I did feel like I got to know January through everyone else, even the liar in her. While it wasn't a shiver-inducing type of thriller, the element of suspense was there. And I was super happy with the ending. I swear my eyes were a little watery after finishing this. Last Seen Leaving had my attention from the opening line all the way to the last sentence, and I will definitely be reading future Caleb Roehrig books.
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!

*eARC kindly provided by Sky Pony Press via Edelweiss*

I’m not even sure I liked this book. It was certainly interesting, and the atmosphere of the book felt spot-on. But it was just okay, and that generally garners a 2 star rating from me. It was a highly predictable story, and there didn’t seem to be a plot to it really. Other than one question the MC had: what is in the water??? While everyone else on her tiny island believed the drowning and disappearances were the work of someone on land, Bridey, with her fear of oceans, was the only one who looked at the water. And in that water, she found a boy whom she fell in love with. (It’s just too bad I couldn’t get on board because their romance wasn’t developed, and also there was another boy in the picture as well, and that was pretty annoying). ANYWAY. Like I said, it was predictable, and not hard to figure out what was happening. However, that ending surprised me, and I’m glad for it. I think that was the part I liked most about the book! Fear the Drowning Deep was, at least, a quick read! I just think it was one that I could have skipped out on and felt fine with that decision.
Rating: 2.5 Paw Prints! 

Well. When I started this, I wasn't expecting to finish it like 4 hours later. But it was SUCH a quick read for me, and one that was as pleasing as it was sad. Henry's voice was hilarious; the banter is this book was SO GOOD. I especially loved Henry's friendships with Murray and Lola, and his relationship with his parents and his sister, Sadie. They were all such colorful characters, and ones that really made this book shine. Where it went sad was Grace Town. A girl so lost and so full of grief that she didn't really know how to live anymore. I've been there, I've known that type of grief, so I could relate well to her. This sad character who felt more like a ghost than a real person, but who slowly but surely lit up throughout the book. Who tried so hard to find her way back but who didn't always know how or want to. She, and Henry's fascination with her, did seem a little MPDG. BUT that didn't stick. This book was about heartbreak as much as it was about love, about how love can be a disaster as much as it can be a savior. I appreciated the way it went, because it showed first love in all the good and bad, an honest and messy love that doesn't always seem to work. So, with all that said, I liked Our Chemical Hearts. But it didn't make me emotional, not really. And it's not a book I see myself thinking about days later.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

This was a really cute story! I loved the strong familial and friendship aspect of it, especially. I loved that Sierra had such warm, present, and protective parents, and I loved that they TALKED through things together. I don’t often find that in YA, sadly, so it was great to see. As well as Sierra having such lovely friendships with Heather, and her friends back home. They also talked through their issues together, and even when mad, were still there to squeal and flail over Sierra finding a boy she falls in love with. As much as I loved their banter and such, the book was super short and left me not totally believing in the I love yous. Because I rolled my eyes a bit when Sierra would be like, “I know him so well” and I’m like BUT YOU ACTUALLY DON’T. Haha. However, I enjoyed it! And I loved the message of forgiveness and compassion in it. I also liked that Sierra, once finding out Caleb’s past, took some time to think about it and didn’t rush into anything. And oh my gosh, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, so that part of What Light was just WONDERFUL. I especially loved that Sierra and her family had a tree farm and came to California every year during the holiday to sell them. It got me into the spirit months early. ;)
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

WELL. This was certainly interesting, but it wasn't really my cup of tea. And I get why there were two POVs, but I did not care for Gemma's character all that much, and I preferred being in Lyra's chapters. I alternated every other chapter, which was good, because the timeline worked better than if I'd read one story first, and then the second. I also didn't spoil myself that way. ;) The romances developed WAY too quickly for me to even believe them, and the characters themselves didn't have as much growth because of the short time span in which this took place. Also wah I went into this thinking it was a standalone, and SURPRISE SERIES. I'm not even sure I'm curious enough about the sequel to read it. BUT I liked this one. It was definitely a page-turner.

Rating: 3 Paw Prints! 

Aw, I super enjoyed this one! I'd heard people compare it to the Fast & Furious franchise, and it fits so well. So many F&F vibes here, which I LOVED. I was also just so into this story, a story about healing and trying to do the right thing and second chances. And I was into the ship, though I wish it'd been just a *bit* more developed. The I love yous came up too fast. But I adored Marco and Frankie, and Cruz and Sofia and Lex. So many wonderful, colorful characters! GAH, IT WAS JUST A LOVELY AND FUN STORY. I will definitely be reading more Kami Garcia books, since this is the first I've read of hers and wanted more of it.

Rating: 4 Paw Prints! 


Have you guys read any of these October releases yet? If so, what did you think about them?! :D 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Woes of Being on This Platform

I fucking hate Blogger. I have never had more problems with this platform than in the past year. And lately, all it makes me want to do is throw my laptop at the wall. Which I kinda want to do anyway since I HATE this new one that I have. It makes the problems I have with Blogger 1,000% worse. And in case you haven't noticed, I've had many formatting problems especially. My posts have been wonky, and I can't even color in my links. I mean, I could with this code a friend sent me, but honestly I'm lazy and don't have time anymore to put more effort into fixing the formatting issues than in writing and scheduling the posts. But that isn't even the worst problem that Blogger has given me lately.

(Seriously do not @ me about Wordpress. I've heard it all. I've looked into it. I don't want to put in the $$ nor really have it for self-hosting. I know I complain about this platform a lot, but I'm still fine right where I am and I don't want to move. And I don't want free Wordpress because I've heard it's even worse than Blogger. So, don't @ me, PLEASE).

In September, a draft of mine just disappeared one day. I don't know how. All I can think of is that one of Blogger's recent glitches ended up making me delete it on accident. You see, when I publish or save a post as a draft, it doubles it now. When I get back on my dashboard, I have a new draft; sometimes with the same title as the one I was just working on, or it's just an untitled draft. So I'm constantly having to delete them, and sometimes Blogger will update at the same time I delete, causing me to mess up. But I still feel like I would have realized it, so I'm almost 100% sure Blogger just did an asshole thing and lost my post. And I searched through my web history 3x and could not find it or get it back again. So it is lost for good.

And the worst part? I had about 7 or 8 reviews written in it. A few of them were luckily already on Goodreads, since sometimes I write a mini review after reading a book. But most of them were not. In fact, 5 of them were not saved anywhere else. FIVE FUCKING REVIEWS. Granted, they were minis, but that's still a fucking lot of reviews to replace. So you know what? I'm not going to replace them. I have neither the time nor the energy to do it. Instead I'm just going to talk about the books in this post, so I can at least get them up on the blog in SOME way. And perhaps I will finally take my own advice and stop writing drafts on here without saving them elsewhere. Normally I ALWAYS do that for reviews, but these were minis, so I didn't bother. #filledwithregretIam

Here are the books I read before the worst blogging platform in the history of the universe* ruined me being able to share them in the usual way!

*obviously subjective, but I think most would agree tbh

The Good
The Female of the Species
Guyssss, this book was AMAZING. Important, raw, and super intense. It was about rape culture and what it's like being a girl in this world, and it was about how people aren't just good OR bad. That they're complicated, and it's not always so clear-cut. And the friendship between Peekay and Alex was my faaave. (I really didn't need Jack's POV honestly, but I digress). Tough read, but worth it!
Rating: 4.5 Paw Prints!
 JUST AS BRILLIANT AS ILLUMINAE. I didn't love it or the main characters *quite* as much as the first book and Ezra/Kady (I missed them so, so much), but still. It was SO good and just as mind-blowing and the way that it's formatted and written makes this series so unique and such a cool reading experience. MORE, PLEASE.
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!

The Bad
Stealing Snow
This book was a disaster. I didn't like the main character. I didn't like the love interests and the love square going on. I did NOT at all appreciate how mental illness was used here. And it was incredibly predictable up until like the last 50 pages, when the author starts throwing twist after twist. But sorry, that doesn't make up for a terrible storyline. *shrugs*
Rating: 2 Paw Prints!
Of Fire and Stars
Every time I have to put this book under this category, I want to cry. I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU. WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU. It was probably the biggest 2016 disappointment for me yet this year. I'm so sad. I mean, f/f fantasy? How could that have ever possibly gone wrong? The writing was very meh; the characters were likable but not much more than that? The romance could've used more development for me. And dear god, this book was predictable. #soboring
Rating: 2.5 Paw Prints! 

The In-Between
Kingdom of Ash and Briars
I liked this one but I didn't love it! It was pretty unique and highly enjoyable but there was just something... missing. Like I don't have really have anything negative to say, but I also don't have much positive to say either. I can hardly even remember this one. What even happened in it? I REALLY DON'T KNOW.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints! 


Also guys, seriously save your work! It doesn't matter what platform you're on, you should *always* do it. Have back ups. Because it fucking SUCKS to have to rewrite things you've worked so hard on. And I'm for sure taking my own advice. I'll be writing in Google docs and Word forever now.

I feel like I am forgetting a review too, but I've no idea which one it could be. OH WELL.

So have you read any of these books yet? If so, what did you think of them?! 

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Hit and a Miss from Penguin

Today I'm sharing two reviews of books I read over the last couple of weeks. And I'm putting them in the same post because the wonderful Penguin sent me them! I was so surprised and happy, and I'm glad that one of them was a MAJOR hit for me! But we'll talk about the one that didn't go over so well for me first. ;)


Title: Transcendent
Author: Katelyn Detweiler
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 4th, 2016!
*Finished copy kindly provided by Penguin Random House.

From Goodreads...
A beautiful work of magical realism, a story about a girl in the real world who is called upon to be a hero.
When terrorists bomb Disney World, seventeen-year-old Iris Spero is as horrified as anyone else. Then a stranger shows up on her stoop in Brooklyn, revealing a secret about the mysterious circumstances surrounding Iris’s birth, and throwing her entire identity into question. Everything she thought she knew about her parents, and about herself, is a lie.

Suddenly, the press is confronting Iris with the wild notion that she might be “special.” More than just special: she could be the miracle the world now so desperately needs. Families all across the grieving nation are pinning their hopes on Iris like she is some kind of saint or savior. She’s no longer sure whom she can trust—except for Zane, a homeless boy who long ago abandoned any kind of hope. She knows she can’t possibly be the glorified person everyone wants her to be… but she also can’t go back to being safe and anonymous. When nobody knows her but they all want a piece of her, who is Iris Spero now? And how can she—one teenage girl—possibly heal a broken world?

My Review!
So, the writing was easy to fall into, but the problem is that I just found this story ridiculous. I just don’t believe that main character is this fucking special. I could not understand what was so brilliant about her character that separated her from everyone in the world, that stuck her on a pedestal and made everything about the bombing at Disney World better for some of those affected by it. Also, she spent the first 250 pages HIDING from life because she needed time to accept this. Like I get why; obviously everything about how she was born is enough to make any person run away for a bit. But the book was more about Iris and her new “responsibility” and her figuring out who she is than it’s about the people who were destroyed by the bombing. Like I was kind of expecting more from this in that regard because Kirkus said something about the “the chilling plausibility of the actions and reactions of an America dealing with the murders of thousands of children,” but I didn’t see that? There was hardly any focus on anything other than Iris' past and secret. I did love the messages of forgiveness and hope, of overcoming grief and pain. And I do believe that some people have this innate charisma and compassion that can turn others’ days around. But like I said, I didn’t believe that Iris was special enough to cause all of this happiness. The book also didn’t pack a super emotional punch for me, but that’s probably because I didn’t feel much for Iris, even though she wasn’t a terrible character. Transcendent definitely had some good points to it, but the overall storyline just did not work for me. I couldn't really suspend my disbelief to appreciate it.



Title: Ripple
Author: Heather Smith Meloche
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 20th, 2016!
*Physical ARC kindly provided by Penguin Random House.

From Goodreads....
When their too-adult lives lead them down self-destructive paths, these broken teens find a way to heal in this YA novel perfect for fans of Ellen Hopkins

With her impossible-to-please grandmother on her back about college and her disapproving step-dad watching her every move, Tessa would do anything to escape the pressure-cooker she calls home. So she finds a shot of much-needed power and confidence by hooking up with boys, even though it means cheating on her boyfriend. But when she's finally caught red-handed, she’ll do anything she can to cover up what she's done.

Jack is a prankster who bucks the system every chance he gets—each transgression getting riskier and riskier. He loves the thrill, and each adventure allows a little release because his smug smile and suave demeanor in the face of authority doesn’t make life at home with his mom any less tough. He tries to take care of her, but the truth is he's powerless in the face of her fragile mental health. So he copes in his own way, by defacing public property and pulling elaborate pranks, though he knows in the end this’ll only screw up his life even more.

As they both try not to let their self-destructive patterns get the best of them, Tessa and Jack gravitate toward one another, discovering the best parts of themselves in the process. An honest portrayal of the urges that drive us and finding the strength to overcome them, Ripple is a stunning debut from a powerful new voice.

My Review!
Oh wow, what a gem of a story that I might not have gotten to for a long time. But once I started reading it, I could. not. stop. I LOVED IT. I loved the two main characters; two broken, scarred kids just trying to grasp some kind of power while their lives spiral out of control. But this never became a story about two teens saving each other, never became a love cures all type of deal. Tessa and Jack helped each other, challenged each other, and fell hard. But only THEY could turn their lives around and make them better. But they had each other through the bad parts, and the ugly ones. Neither of them is perfect. They both could be judgmental, and so, so self-destructive. There were some comments from Jack that pissed me off. They weren't easily likable. But they were easily rootable (my computer is telling me this isn't a word, but I'm keeping it, whatever). Under pressure, stressed to the max, and filled with a need to not confide in or ask for help from others, the two of them nearly destroy their futures before realizing like, hey, they can do better. They can be better. I loved that, and I loved watching the two of them get to that beautiful and heartwarming ending. An ending that made me tear up so much, omg. Ripple completely surprised me. I wasn't expecting to love it so much. But I did. It was an addicting and raw read about two teens who needed to figure out that only they can determine who they are. And that it's okay to lean on others every once in awhile, that it's okay to not be strong all the time, and that they deserved better, from themselves and from the people in their lives. Wonderful!