Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Year of Cats

Exactly a year ago, we added two kittens to our household. If you haven't heard the story yet, allow me to introduce you to Anna and Elsa (yes, from Frozen! credit for that goes to my older brother, if you can believe it). About a year before they showed up, their mom had left a previous batch of two kittens with us. She's a wild cat, and she hates people, but apparently she trusts us enough to take care of her babies. My mom and I had a feeling she was pregnant when she showed up last March, but then she left, and we thought that was that. But then, on May 31st, I looked out our front door window and saw her and two little gray kittens near the porch. 

LOOK AT ZE BABIES

I guess I remember dates pretty well, but I also have Twitter to thank, because of course the first thing I did was take that picture above and be like LOOK! TWITTER! WE'VE GOT MORE CATS! At this point, we had three outdoor cats and one inside, and we quite literally did not want anymore. We were all set to let these ones go too, after we tamed them. But we grew too attached, and it is impossible to put into words what they've added to our household since we got them.

They both have such strong, distinct personalities. But honestly I could not tell you which one was which in that photo above. They still look a lot alike, but they have unique features. Elsa's rounder, especially in her face, and a bit lighter in color. Anna has a very narrow face and she's on the slimmer side after her bout with sickness back in March and April. Elsa also has a bushy tail. But they still look SO MUCH alike, it's ridiculous. Their tiger stripes are nearly identical.

Anna is mine, no matter what my older brother says. ;) She's smart and so curious, talkative (she'll whine to be pet or for food), loves being held and snuggled. She makes these little grunting noises whenever she jumps down from places or gets up after sleeping. Elsa is SOMETHING. Haha. She's energetic, likes bugs, is constantly putting her nose in where it doesn't belong, loves having her belly rubbed, hates strangers. She'll get into these moods where she won't leave you alone and she'll just purr. She's got a motor on her! She also likes to be held up to places (like a door or wall) so she can touch them. They're not *quite* as playful as they used to be, but sometimes you'll still find them fighting with paper bags and boxes or pushing bottle caps around on the floor. They're both always trying to get into my room, if the door is open. It's one of the only rooms they haven't been allowed in, so naturally they want to be inside even more. LOL. Since I've got it cleaned now and my closet door can be shut, I won't keep closing them out anymore (I just wanted to prevent them from getting into stuff). We'll see how it goes!

They can be utter brats, if they want to be. But oh, we love them, and they really have brought so much joy into our lives. It's been a challenge too, but it's been fun. And I hope someday our dog will love them as much as they love her! :D

Since I have *so many* pics on my phone, I thought I'd share some! 
young and wild and free



older and wiser but still crazy


Do you guys have pets? If so, tell me about them! If not, just admire all the cuteness :p

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

(76) Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2017.

*****

1. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
I've been so excited about this one for a long time! I love that it's like a road trip, except in 18th century Europe. Plus it has a gay relationship front and center, and like I don't find that very often in historical settings? IT'S GREAT.

2. The Language of Thorns
MORE GRISHAVERSE GOODNESS, YAAASSS. I love that they're spins on fairytales, yet part of this same awesome world. I can't wait to devour these stories.

3. Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Diana + Leigh Bardugo? Hell to the yes. I've been aching for this book for so long. NOT TOO MUCH LONGER NOW.

4. 27 Hours
I've been hearing about this book for what seems like forever, and ugh I thought it was coming out this summer, BUT IT'S NOT. *sobs* And I love that it is so queer-centric! One of the biggest reasons I want to read it.

5. The Fallen Kingdom

I might cry after I finish this series (okay might is an understatement, I will DEFINITELY cry), because I just love it and the characters so much and I'm going to be sad when it's over. SOMEONE HOLD ME.

6. Little and Lion

I still haven't read Pointe because I'm terrible, but I've heard SUCH good things about it, and I'm really looking forward to this one. I love books that have a strong focus on mental health and sibling relationships, so it sounds right up my alley.

7. All the Crooked Saints

NEW MAGGIE STIEFVATERRRR. AHHHH.  

8. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
I still reaaaaally don't like this cover (I wanted lanterns ala Rapunzel, damn it!), but man, I want to read this story so badly! It sounds AMAZING.

9. Damaged Like Us
MORE ADDICTED WORLD BOOKS, OMG. These are the kids of the Addicted series people, and I cannot freaking WAIT. 

10. Whichwood
A companion to Furthermore, which was a book I loved a lot. It was so whimsical and I love Tahereh's style, and I'm SO excited about this one. Ever since she mentioned writing a Persian fantasy about a girl who washes dead bodies for a living, I've wanted it. Also, guys. This cover. IT'S FUCKING GORGEOUS.

I also can't wait for series enders Our Dark Duet and The Savage Dawn. There would be even more of them, but I've been lucky enough to have read and gotten copies of some of my highly anticipated. But I decided to go for the books I don't have and SADLY HAVE TO WAIT FOR. *is spoiled and is not patient*


Which books are YOU the most excited to read? Did any of these make your list? Let's talk! :)

Monday, May 29, 2017

April Mini Reviews

Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Beck Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: April 11th, 2017!
*I picked up a physical ARC at ALA midwinter.

From Goodreads...
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?



My Review!
I don’t know if I’m going to be able to put into words how much a character like Molly means to me, and to Teen Me if she’d been able to read this story back in middle, high school. But I know I can’t, because it was such a personal book for me. I was sort of expecting that, but not at the level it was. So many moments, I thought: this is me. Molly was so relatable to me. It’s so, so nice to have a fat character like Molly, one who is imperfect and insecure but who still knows she has worth, even if people don’t see it. She doesn’t lose weight to find love. Her self-worth doesn’t come from what guys think of her. At times, she does think about their opinions and she thinks about kissing and sex and dating a lot (what teen didn’t at that age?!?!), but she’s still Molly. Lovable, loud, nerdy, and vivacious Molly Peskin-Suso. Like I’m not even going to touch the negative reviews, but I will say that personally I thought the fat rep was positive and good. I’m so excited for the teens who need this book and who will have it, who need a reminder that their size doesn’t determine who they are. This book isn’t for those who consider it wish fulfillment and think Molly’s story doesn’t matter because she feels confident when she finds a guy who think she’s the sun. It’s for them

RATING:

*****

Title: Missing
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 18th, 2017!
*eARC kindly provided by Random House Children's via NetGalley*

From Goodreads...
The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.

The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?



My Review!
TW: animal abuse/death

Honestly, thrillers aren’t REALLY my thing. I used to be into them, at least in adult fiction, not so much YA. But I wanted to give this one a chance, because it sounded good and I’d heard great things about her previous thriller, The Masked Truth. And I’m glad I did because I was SO into this. It was fast-paced and intriguing, and I had to find out all the answers. I really liked the main character, Winter. She was strong-willed and curious, a fighter. A little reckless at times, but she was not afraid to face down danger to find out what happened to her best friend. And she had the help of Jude, Lennon’s brother, and someone who is more connected to all of this than either of them know. I so shipped the two of them together, honestly. Jude is intense, and quiet, and full of pain from his past. He could be rude and a little cold, but he was 100% with her, and the two of them found comfort and companionship that they’d been sorely missing in their lives. I also appreciated that through him the author tackled some damaging attitudes about gender. I was very invested in their relationship, and it was a big reason why I loved this book. But the mystery was also compelling, and I ended up finishing this faster than I thought I would. Just. Missing was SUPER good, guys!

RATING:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

NA Books On My Immediate TBR

For some reason, I'd fallen a bit out of love with NA in the past year or so. I've barely read any, and that makes me sad, because while it has its issues, I still love it. These characters are my age, and they are going through stuff that is much more relatable to me than in YA novels. But for some reason, I just kind of stopped reading it. Like it was at least half of my read count in my earlier blogging years. And last year I read maybe the Addicted series and that was it except for a few more?? It's SAD.

I know this genre needs to step it up big time. I want to see more diversity, SO MUCH MORE. It's very needed here. I also want to see toxic as fuck tropes gone (especially the bad boy who gets away with everything bc of his ~tragic past~, ugh), and more healthy, less problematic relationships. But I've definitely found some amazing gems over the years. Yet there are still so many New Adult stories I haven't yet, ones that people have shouted about and ones that I've had on my TBR/kindle foreeever. 

***of books I own***


I have SO MANY MORE on my kindle, it's a problem honestly. But these are the ones I want to read the most. I want to get back into NA this year. I took, not really a break from it, but I guess I gravitated toward YA more in the last like two years. But I miss devouring new adult stories. I at least want to read most of these this year, especially a few that I REALLY can't believe I haven't read yet. Also was just having a discussion with friends about NA vs. adult, so some of these might not be clear-cut. OOPS. 

Sadly this list is lacking in diversity, so if you've got recs, I'd SO appreciate them!! But I did find some lists on Goodreads for diverse NA and wanted to share them with y'all. Some of these books are definitely on my TBR.


So which of these should I read ASAP? What are some of your favorite NA books? Let's talk! :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Beautiful Story About Faith and Friendship

Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Release Date: May 16th, 2017!
*I picked up a physical ARC at ALA midwinter.

From Goodreads...
When it all falls apart, who can you believe in?

Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.

Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counselor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.

It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp—more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.



My Review!
You know those books that touch your heart? The ones with tiny details that add up to a story that you cannot help but feel with your very soul? That was The Names They Gave Us. It was utterly, truly a wonderful book that reminds you to breathe and tells you that it’s okay not to be okay and makes you remember to keep close all the little moments of joy and happiness in your life. The people who bring you laughter and peace and who make you feel complete, who paint your life in all kinds of colors. Those you touch and those who touch you. The everyday memories that make up a lifetime of of who you are as a person.

While a very emotional book, it is filled with humor and light and life. The thing about having a loved one who is sick or losing a loved one, is that it makes you very aware of how precious life is. But with grief, you can’t even always see that, or care about it. Lucy was all prepped for a summer of helping her parents run their church camp, and spending all her days with her mom, who is going through chemo. But her mom pushes her to Daybreak instead, because she wanted Lucy to not let this define her summer or her life. She wanted Lucy to keep laughing and living even when it seemed impossible to do it.

Honestly, this is my favorite Emery Lord book yet. And a huge reason for that is because of Lucy Hansson. Generous and kind, but so angry and bitter. She was hurt that her mom pushed her away, but Lucy ultimately saw why she did it and was happy about it. Because she had the best summer ever: teaching and counseling young girls, bonding with a group of people who pull her into the fold as if she’d been there all along, crushing on a fellow counselor who is so supportive and gives her a shoulder to cry on. And through it all, she questioned God and her place, but she would not let it steal her time.

I tend to stay away from religious stories nowadays, which is almost comically ironic given that I grew up in the church. But. I have a very, very complicated relationship with religion, some of the things I was taught and raised to be, and the people who hide behind their beliefs and spew hate in the name of Christianity. So, I tend to also stay away from talking about religion, and most here wouldn’t even know I was a Christian. That I am, but with my own beliefs. I don’t go to church anymore because it doesn’t suit me, but I really loved how like nostalgic this book made me. And how mirrored my teen years were to Lucy’s in a few ways. It made her story SO relatable to me.

I know people might be worried that it is preachy, but it wasn’t, I promise. Religion is only one part of the book. The Names They Gave Us simply showed the ups and downs of life. It was a story about a girl whose faith faltered, who hung a star on a tree and asked for her mom to be able to grow old, but who learned what it means to keep going even when you don’t know if you have the strength. She was reminded that you should always treasure the small moments, the ones that shape your life and those around you. And she had people in her corner to help steady a foundation that was shaken but still standing. Fabulous parents, close friends, and a boy who makes her feel alive.

RATING: