Review: Chasing Charlie by Linda McLaughlan

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Book Blurb: When unlucky-in-love Sam bumps into her first boyfriend, the charming but roguish Charlie, she falls head first for him all over again. He may have broken her heart years ago, but she’s determined to win him back – even if she has to chase him all over London…

Sam’s friends have their doubts about whether cheating Charlie is really the man for her, but they have their own problems to deal with. Uptight Mara is struggling to trust anyone after a bad break-up; sexy corporate go-getter Claudia has her self-confidence rocked after a health scare; and sensitive, intelligent Ed, has been secretly, hopelessly in love with Sam for years…

As Sam chases her lost love like a women possessed, getting into ever more outlandish situations and making a fool of herself in the process, she finds herself wondering how far she’ll go to win Charlie back. Or will she finally see what’s right under her nose?

Hello everyone! Long time no see! Life has been getting a bit crazy for me recently with deadlines fast approaching, getting volunteer shifts at a local bookshop, applying for a job, and being obsessed with reading. Like seriously guys, there is still one week left this month and I have already read five books! Five! That is literally the most I have read in one single month in a really long time. So with that being said, I am finally publishing a review for a book this month. Hooray!

Today I will be reviewing for you Chasing Charlie by Linda McLaughlan. I was kindly sent this book by request from Black and White Publishing. With this being my second book to review for a publisher, I was so thankful to have loved it as much as I did. My second to last review, Genuine Fraudsadly didn’t get the same love and that was from a best-selling author… meanwhile Linda McLaughlan is a debut novelist. Which honestly guys, the book doesn’t really show that. It is so good!

So seeing as how much I enjoyed splitting up my points for review from love and dislikes, I thought that it would be a positive thing for me to set that up as my system for these reviews. I will do like, love, and dislike – though some books will only use two. Now let’s get into this!

{LIKE}

  1. Careers. Within this group of friends, you have one who works in the film industry, a photographer, a female business woman, and a librarian. What a mix! I absolutely loved the combination of these as they are such rare jobs to be included in fiction (well I guess not necessarily the business woman and librarian, but oh well).
  2. Realistic relationships. Drama, cute dates, passion, and cheating. All things that happen in real relationships and many experience. I have read novels that include these before but they are always so blown out of portion and just down-right annoying. However! This one used them so realistically and the characters really did grow with the experiences and made the story even better.

{LOVE}

  1. Character Development. This book starts off with a simple introduction while still getting right into the action so that you aren’t bored nor confused. Your love for the characters grow as they grow, as they experience MANY up’s and down’s together and individually. Each character is just so strong as an individual that I can honestly say they would work in a movie exactly as they have been written –  no changes. Did I love some characters from the very beginning? Yes. Did I grow to love some? Yes. Did I hate some but was later given a reason to pity them? Yes. Good job McLaughlan! A “full circle” plot.
  2. A “full circle” plot. I knew what I wanted and expected to happen the whole time and the ending did not leave you pissed off – What a thing to find for once! Books with endings that leave you satisfied but still surprised are so rare nowadays so I applaud McLaughlan for achieving it. The plot really is complete and strong – so many things happen but you are always given a reason as to why. It really is a fantastic easy, guilty-pleasure read.
  3. All friendships and families are connected. Friends are friends with siblings. Friends are friends with families. Families are friends with families. Each character connects at some point and it is all just so cute and perfectly tied together.
  4. Individual lives still tie together. In this book, you see both the friends lives together and individually. They all have their struggles but at the end of the day, they still turn to each other for love and support. As dramatic as things get some time, you are always shown how strong of a friendship there is as no matter what, they get through everything together. It makes you love the characters even more which is a beautiful thing to achieve.
  5. The ending!!! It was so good! Exactly what I wanted while still being full of surprises. I haven’t felt that satisfied after finishing a book for quite a while so it was refreshing and gives me hope for McLaughlan’s future as a novelist.

{DISLIKE}  

  1. Stereotypical. Some of the characteristics and events were a bit too stereotypical for me. The business woman is sleeping with her boss – heard of that one before. The sister is wicked and selfish – shocker. The ex-boyfriend is a player – gee I didn’t see that one coming. Like yes, I understand why each of these characters were the way that they were and it does make the story what it is but it was still a bit unoriginal in that sense.
  2. Random topics. One of the friend’s brother’s emails a work friend throughout the book sending pictures of his sister. 1. That is weird and made me uncomfortable the whole time. 2. Did the ending connect the two together? Yes. 3. Do I still find it weird and have a lot of questions? Yes. Another friend got chlamydia. Like yes this added massive drama to her portion of the story but it was still weird to read about and seemed a bit unnecessary. Good on McLaughlan for the originality though, I guess.
  3. Poor language and grammar. I must admit that I giggled repetitively when I read the first page of this book. It was just so poorly written and seemed like a bad young adult novel. It got better further into the book but at the end of the day, the main character’s language still seemed way too immature and messy. I understand that being immature was a part of her character but it still got annoying and I found myself enjoying the other characters more which is a shame.

Overall, I am very thankful that Black & White Publishing sent me this book for review and I applaud Linda McLaughlan as a debut novelist. I do think that there is room to grow as a writer for her but who doesn’t have that?

Would I suggest this book to a friend?: Yes but only if they enjoy this type of book.

Was it perfect as a guilty read?: Heck yes!

Would I pick up another book by Linda McLaughlan?: Yes and I really hope that she does come out with another one!

4StarsRating

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Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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Book Blurb: 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 women 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?

Hello everyone! It has taken me much longer to get this review up than I had hoped but that’s what happens when you get super ill and read like crazy before going back to the craziness of university (which I had to miss for two weeks)… lovely, huh? Today I have for you a review for, hands down, one of my absolute favourite books that I have read this year so far. That lovely book is The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli! Aka one of the best YA author’s, in my opinion, so if you haven’t read her yet YOU NEED TO!

This book was the first one that I have read since The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky in which I automatically connected with the characters and found the main one super relatable. If you were one of those girls in high school who always got talked to by boys just so that they could then talk to your friend, this is the book for you and no there is no shame for being that girl! I definitely was and boy did this book bring me back to those unpleasant years – but in an enjoyable and funny way.

Seeing as how much I loved this book, I decided to discuss my favourite parts and my (only) dislike for this review. So let’s get into it!

{Love}

  1. Individuality. Right from the very first page, you get introduced to four of the main characters. It is written in such a way that although you don’t get a “proper introduction” for each character, it starts right away with an eventful night that shows how each character differs from each other while also completing each other.  You see the sister connection, the best friend connections, and the love interest connection. For each conflict that arises, you get to see how each character is effected either by text or dialogue. It is so rare to find a YA book lately that comes off this strong right from the first page/chapter so I fell for it right away.
  2. Flow. There was never a moment for me where I was confused about what was happening nor who was talking nor why something was happening. Everything in this book just fits perfectly like a puzzle and it really shows how talented Albertalli is as a writer.
  3. Suspense. Butterflies, tears, anger, and happiness. Those are all of the feelings that I experienced while reading this book and I loved it. Personally, at times it felt as if I was reading a John Green book because seeing as I got connected so easily to every character, their emotions effected my emotions. It was beautiful.
  4. Relatable + Memorable. A teenage girl with not a great self-esteem, friends (and a  sister) who easily get into relationships or get crushed on, struggles talking to boys, and deals with the overall awkwardness of growing up. Sound relatable? Good, because it is. I saw so much of myself in the main character, Molly, that it was surreal. Yes I never experienced everything that she did nor had the same family/friends situation that she had but as far as her mental state and personality go, we could be best friends. Before receiving this book for my birthday, I had watched a lot of reviews for it from my favourite booktubers and they all said the same thing. It’s relatable and you can’t help but love it. IT IS JUST SUCH A GOOD BOOK!

{Dislike}

  1. Length. Literally guys, that’s it. THE BOOK WAS TOO SHORT. I say that only because I loved it so much – the characters are amazing, the ending was perfect, and I want more. Please write a second one Albertalli! Now I have to admit when you look at the actual plot, it started and ended at the perfect time. But as a greedy reader who is going on a massive YA kick right now, I wanted more and I am still not over this book. And yes it has been over a week but I am not ashamed.

Would I suggest this book to a friend?: YES! A hundred times yes!

If you haven’t read a Becky Albertalli book before, which one would I suggest that you start with?: Honestly, it is up to you. You can either choose one with a gay teen who comes out to his friends and deals with an online (basically) relationship (Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda) or a girl in high school who has never been kissed and wants her first boyfriend (The Upside of Unrequited).

Fun Fact: A movie for Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is coming out next year so I highly recommend that you read the book first if you are interested in seeing the movie!

5StarsRating

Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud Review

Book Blurb: Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat. Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. A bad romance, or maybe three. Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her. A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

Genuine Fraud is a masterful suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart, author of the New York Times bestseller We Were Liars.

Hello everyone! Today I have for you my review for Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. This book was the first one that I have ever been sent for review (shout-out to Delacorte Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House for sending it to me upon request)! So obviously this was a really big deal for me as it shows that this blog and my bookstagram are actually taking me somewhere in this industry. Not to mention the fact that I read E. Lockhart’s bestseller We Were Liars earlier this year and I loved it (to the point of me making my boyfriend read it too). So yes I went into this new release with high hopes…

My first point to make is that this book took me much longer to finish than it should have (one month and four days to be exact). I can blame this on me returning to uni and having other priorities but really it was due to the fact that I struggled to get into it. I was intrigued by the concept when I first read about it and having finished it now, I still love it but my biggest issue was the quality.

  1. The book is written backwards – meaning the beginning chapter is the second to last chapter (#18), each chapter goes back in time over a one year period (#17-#1), until you reach the final chapter in which it is the one after the first (#19). Sounds cool, right? It was, well would have been, if the time periods all made sense. The dates were in order but the events that were occurring didn’t seem to be as one chapter you would have just met a character but the next you already know them – even though you just went back in time. You can tell that Lockhart really tried to fully develop the characters and explain all of the confusing parts (eventually) by showing the past over time but even now I am still quite confused by like 60% of the book.
  2. Key moments/characters are introduced but not in full depth. There are the few key characters (ie. Imogen, Jule, and their love interests) but as far as the ones who turn out to be involved in twisting points of the story, they are just given a brief history and a reason to be where they are at the time. I just feel like if you are going to murder a character (or two…) then you should at least give a clear reasoning why. Well, besides the fact that the main character/murderer is clearly messed up.
  3. You don’t find out the main reason for the motive of the main character until one of the last chapters. I would be okay with this if it didn’t make everything even more confusing and just leave you hanging but sadly it did. It was definitely one of those moments for me where I said “Oh, wow. I really didn’t expect that.” but then followed that by saying “Wait what? That’s it?” I obviously won’t spoil the ending for you but if you do read this book, just be prepared to end it feeling lost.  

My second, and last, point to make has to deal with the style and editorial side of this book. Yes I am a publishing student so this is necessary, sorry. There were so many things wrong with this book! One of my biggest pet peeves is to constantly have to fix grammar mistakes while reading a book. I really didn’t expect this as We Were Liars left me with such a high level of respect for Lockhart as a writer and Delacorte Press as a publisher but something definitely seemed to have gone wrong with this book. I don’t know if the copy editing side of this release was rushed but it read like an advanced copy even though it was then released to the public less than a week after I received it.  No this did not really effect the story itself (I did enjoy it even though my first point seems to question that) but it was just a bit triggering for someone who is taught how to look for these type of mistakes in books. Maybe I overlooked them when I first read We Were Liars but it still wasn’t pleasant for Genuine Fraud to have such obvious ones.

Wow, this review turned into more of a rant than I expected. Sorry guys! I really did enjoy the book and I am grateful that I was sent it for review but I would definitely say that if you are interested in reading an E. Lockhart book read We Were Liars, if even first or only.

Thank you guys for reading this review! I would love to hear your thoughts on this book if you have read it yet or any other E. Lockhart book so let me know down in the comments below!

Would I suggest this book to a friend?: Yes but only if they like young adult mysteries and have already read We Were Liars.

Did I enjoy reviewing my first ever book sent from a publisher?: Yes! This was such a big deal to me and I really did enjoy it. My next book for review will be Chasing Charlie by Linda McLaughlan so be on the lookout for that!

3StarsRating

2017 Summer Reading Wrap-Up

Hello everyone! Long time no see, huh? Life has gotten a bit crazy since my last post with moving back to uni and getting used to my new apartment. I tell myself to catch up on this blog every time I find some free time but then get distracted so sorry guys! But I am officially back and with far more posts planned for the next few months. Yay for being productive!

Today I thought that it would be fun to share with you guys a quick review of my summer reading wrap-up. I definitely didn’t read as much as I thought I would but making the most of my time with family and a break from school was priority. I actually didn’t realise until I started writing this blog that all of the books I read were either amazing (five stars) or average (three stars) which really isn’t bad for reading a total of six books but hopefully my year ends with high ratings.

During this past year, I have discovered that I tend to be a seasonal reader. Meaning happy YA’s in the summer, classics and serious novels in the fall/winter time, and a mix of classics and happy fiction in the spring. However, my 2017 summer seemed to be a mix. From nonfiction to historical fiction to contemporary and fantasy YA – I was definitely a bit of a mess but am proud of myself for the wide selection.

For this review I have put each book in the order that I read them, how long it took me to get through them (and why), a brief review, and my ratings. I hope that you enjoy and I would love to hear about what books you read this summer down below in the comments!

#1 Unfiltered: No Shames, No Regrets, Just Me by Lily Collins

(Read from 11 May 2017 to 29 May 2017)

This book was definitely, by far, one of my favourites from this summer. I highly recommend it and keep feeling the urge to re-read it so guess who will probably be bringing it to uni after her next break. I had been waiting for the right time to read this ever since I bought it (so for like one month) and boy did it not let me down! I now have a great level of respect for Lily Collins as both an actress, writer, and person. It was an impactful read and full of things that most girls in high school and college should read about. Definitely check it out if you are a fan of her’s!

Click here for the review!

5StarsRating

#2 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

(Read from 25 April 2017 to 12 June 2017)

As you can probably tell from how long it took me to read this book, this was my biggest disappointment of the summer. I finally gave in to reading it after being curious (pun intended) about it for the last few years so my boyfriend, who really enjoyed it, let me borrow his sister’s copy. Maybe I went into it with too high of expectations but I really didn’t enjoy it until I passed 50% of it and read multiple books during it. I can understand why it is a popular book with the topic being quite unique but sadly it just wasn’t a book for me.

Click here for the review!

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#3 Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 

(Read from 16 June 2017 to 22 June 2017)

I have to admit that I didn’t actually read this book but instead listened to the audiobook (which I highly recommend!). This was my first time reading a Becky Albertalli book after hearing about the massive hype of her on booktube and her recent release “The Upside of Unrequited” so I was really excited to start this one. I didn’t know what to expect when going into this book but I absolutely loved it! It was like reading “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky but the main character was gay instead of the best friend. I never got bored while listening to it, I didn’t solve the love mystery so I enjoyed the surprise, and I fell in love with each of the characters. I can’t wait to read Albertalli’s latest book and see if it lives up to the hype too. Definitely check it out and give it a try!

5StarsRating

#4 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

(Read from 13 June 2017 to 06 July 2017)

THIS BOOK. WOW! Hands down, one of the best books that I have ever read. I had planned on writing a review for this one so that I could rant about my love for it to you guys but sadly that never happened so just believe me when I say that it is amazing and the type of book that you will never forget nor get over (emotions wise). This book was one of those rare one’s that I have come across where even though it is quite big, you never get bored and your love grows for the characters every page that you read. I have always been interested in the history of the Nazi period so to read a fictional book that has the perfect amount of historical facts was incredible. Definitely check it out if you haven’t! I wish that schools made it a required read.

5StarsRating

#5 We Are Okay by Nina LaCour 

(Read from 19 July 2017 to 08 August 2017)

If you already my review for this book, you would know that I definitely didn’t love it but was happy to finally read a YA novel. This book had so much hype for months after its release but then died down once people actually read it, which is quite sad. It was definitely a unique read for me and one that I found quite inspiring as a writer but it did have it’s flaws and wasn’t the best YA book that I have ever read. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone so definitely check out my review for it if you are curious.

Click here for the review!

3StarsRating

#6 City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare

(Read from 07 August 2017 to 29 August 2017)

Guess who FINALLY started The Mortal Instruments series after owning the first book for two years! I really have no excuse for why it took me this long to finally read this book but I have to admit that I do regret waiting so long because I loved it! I am eager to buy the box set now and finally complete it (before reading the extra series, of course). I have to admit that I watched the movie before buying the book – yes, gasp, I loved the movie and I know that people who read the book first didn’t. I really don’t understand why though. I didn’t find many differences but I would love to watch the movie now that I have read it to see if I’m right.  If you love fictional (or specifically YA) books that mix fantasy with the real world, I would definitely recommend checking out this series because it was one of the best first books that I have read and I really can’t wait to read the rest.

5StarsRating

 

Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

We Are Okay Review

WeAreOkay1Book Blurb: “Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.”

Hello everyone! Today I have for you the We Are Okay by Nina LaCour review – also known as the book that every YA reader went crazy buying this year because it has such a beautiful cover. I came close to buying this book during my Shakespeare and Company Haul but I am very thankful that I waited until my Barnes and Noble trip because boy was there a price difference! Not to mention the fact that it was a perfect summer read.

To just start this off with a summary of my feelings about it, I both disliked and loved this book. It was a really unique contemporary read and from a writers aspect, I highly recommend it. With that being said though, it definitely didn’t meet my expectations. Prior to reading it this summer, I didn’t hear much about it besides the fact that people were currently reading it or felt that it was “just okay” (pun not intended). Which now that I have read it, I agree with them.

“I close my eyes, and I breathe her in, and I think about this home that belongs to neither of us, and I listen to the fire crackling, and I feel the warmth of the room and of her body, and we are okay. We are okay.”

The whole concept of it is raw and beautiful but until the end not much happens besides feelings and the past being discussed. So in terms of it being an eventful book that held my attention the whole time, it just didn’t do that for me. Instead it was very slow-paced and caused me to have a lot of sympathy for the characters while at the same time thinking philosophically about my own life. However, I did really appreciate LaCour’s choice of tying in the past with the present. It made the story both contemporary and a mystery which is currently a rare thing to find in new young adult books. Her character’s were fully developed, the conflict was strong and emotional, and the overall impact definitely pulls your heart-strings. Not to mention the fact that Marin and Mable had a romantic past *SPOILER* which is always nice to read in new books that are keeping up-to-date with controversial topics that should just be accepted.

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As a Creative Writing student, I took a lot from this book in terms of writing style and plot, seeing as the whole book takes place in a little over a weeks time in relatively the same location. I haven’t read many (if any) books like this before so it was a neat experience. This allowed LaCour to go far more in-depth with little habits of each character, create beautiful imagery when describing the main character’s memories and end the book with tears in your eyes.

Overall, this was one of my favorite summer reads this year. Yes it had a few flaws but having not read many YA novels during these last few months, this was the perfect book to read between an intense historical fiction (The Book Thief) and a young adult fantasy (City of Bones). I am very glad that I read it and can finally join the book community’s support of it but I definitely won’t be re-reading it any time soon.

Would I suggest this book to a friend?: Yes but only if they enjoy YA contemporaries. 

Would I read another book by Nina LaCour because I loved her writing style so much?: Yes 

WeAreOkayRating

 

Summer 2017 Book Haul

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Summer Splurges 2017: Three greats weeks in Florida + Three visits to Barnes and Noble + One visit to Sam’s Club = Too much money spent on books and Funko Pops.

Do I regret any of it? Of course not.

Now for the break down of these shopping trips:

Barnes and Noble Trip #1 consisted of my first two impulse buys which were The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. These are both two books that I have been dying to read due to the unignorable hype all over the book-loving social media community. Rainbow Rowell is a highly respected author when it comes to the YA genre and Fangirl is basically the book that she is known for. As for The Hate U Give, it is the most influential and controversial YA book of the year so far (but will probably end up being overall). To just quickly summarize what it is about: The Black Lives Matter Movement. I have heard amazing things about it and can’t wait to get into it this fall.

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Sam’s Club Trip was the one in which I did not expect to find two good books that I have been wanting to read with 15% discounts. These two golden finds were The Little French Bistro by Nina George and Once And For All by Sarah Dessen. Both are from authors that I have not read much from but I have heard great things about both books. Last year I bought Nina George’s first big book, The Little Paris Bookshop, and have to admit that I have yet to read it. I tried to start it while in Florida but I just couldn’t seem to get into it especially seeing as I had a whole pile of new books right next to me. However, I do love the ideas behind both of her books though so hopefully this latest one will be a success too. When I was in my early teens, I did go through a phase of loving Sarah Dessen but have only read one of her books and just wanted to buy the rest. With that being said, I have heard a lot of positive things about Once And For All this summer, especially from readers who haven’t had much experience with Dessen so I thought “Why not? Just buy the book.” Typical Athena.

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Once and For All

Barnes and Noble Trip #2 consisted of three books  with a set budget of $50. The books that I purchased were We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. These are all three books that I have been wanting to read for a long time (basically ever since I heard about them on booktube) and I am very excited to be starting two new series. I won’t say much about We Are Okay right now as I will be putting up a review in the next week or so but overall, it was an enjoyable contemporary YA read for the summer. Now for THE book trilogy that everyone in the YA book community debates, A Court of Thorns and Roses, is a book that I am very proud to finally own and be able to start this year. Sarah J. Maas is a highly respected author with multiple fantasy series so I would recommend checking her  out. A Darker Shade of Magic is another first book of a popular trilogy that I am very excited to start. My mom is currently reading it thanks to me sharing all of the hype that I have heard about it on booktube but I am really excited to start it once she finishes it. I have heard that it is obviously not a book for everyone but those who enjoy it, love it.

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Barnes and Noble Trip #3 was on my last day of shopping which meant one last book purchase because I cannot control myself. Now I have to admit that I originally did not plan on buying this book during this haul but I have been wanting to read it for a while and thought “why not?” So that book is Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The blurb fully explains it but just to summarize, it is the first book in a science fiction series in which the story is mixed in with files, emails and interviews. I am really excited to start it as it sounds like an awesome mix between a crime show and a science fiction book.

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Overall, this summer was a great one and this was an amazing haul to share with you guys. I am so happy to finally have these books on my shelf that I have been dying to read and I can’t wait to get started on them after I finish my current read. Thank you for all of the support and I hope that you guys enjoy my new designs for this blog and posts.

Keep an eye out for my We Are Okay review!

#TheReadingQuest

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Read at Midnight has created an amazing online readathon challenge this year. #TheReadingQuest combines reading with a game. You choose a character, books that fit their reading challenge path and keep track of your points. You earn 10 points each time you finish a book, 5 points for graphic novels and 50 points for finishing your chosen quest before the time ends. You can also do side challenges if you want a break from your chosen path or if you want bonus points. Click here for more information. 

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I have chosen to do the Mage quest because it fits my reading preferences and I was able to easily find a book for each challenge.

Challenge #1: The First Book of a Series

I chose City of Bones by Cassandra Clare because I am currently reading it (oops if that is cheating) and to be quite honest, I am struggling to finish it so I am hoping that this challenge will push me through it.

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Challenge #2: A Book Set in a Different World

I chose A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas because:

  1. I have been dying to read it.
  2. I bought it last month.
  3. I once borrowed it from my local library and read one chapter – I loved it and was so intrigued by it!

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Challenge #3: A Book Based on Mythology

I chose Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riordan because I haven’t read it before but loved the movie and my brother got the series two years ago. Yay for having free access to a whole series!

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Challenge #4: A Book That Contains Magic

I chose Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by THE J.K. Rowling. Shocker! I have been wanting to continue this amazing series for months and I think that I am going to finally make the time for it. So excited! #GryffindorPride

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Challenge #5: A Book With a One Word Title

I chose Illuminae from The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I have been really intrigued by this trilogy for a couple of years now so I finally gave in and bought the first book this summer. I am super excited for it as I love the thought of a story being mixed with documents.

Illuminae

I highly recommend signing up for this challenge as it sounds like a lot of fun and a great readathon. However, sign up does end today so join while you can!

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Credit to Read at Midnight for #TheReadingQuest and CW of Read, Think, Ponder for the character art. 

 

Review: Unfiltered by Lily Collins

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Title: Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me

Author: Lily Collins

Genre: Nonfiction

Edition: Hardback

Goodreads Blurb: “In this groundbreaking debut essay collection, featuring never-before-seen photos, actress Lily Collins—star of Mortal Instruments and the upcoming Rules Don’t Apply—is opening a poignant, honest conversation about the things young women struggle with: body image, self-confidence, relationships, family, dating, and so much more.

For the first time ever, Lily shares her life and her own deepest secrets, underlining that every single one of us experiences pain and heartbreak. We all understand what it’s like to live in the light and in the dark. For Lily, it’s about making it through to the other side, where you love what you see in the mirror and where you embrace yourself just as you are. She’s learned that all it takes is one person standing up and saying something for everyone else to realize they’re not alone.

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Lily’s honest voice will inspire you to be who you are and say what you feel. It’s time to claim your voice! It’s time to live your life unfiltered.”


Unfiltered was the book that finally got me out of my summer reading slump. Having just finished my first year of uni, one in which I was constantly reading (both for leisure and academics), I allowed myself to take a much-needed break. This book had the refreshing touch to bring me back into wanting to make the time to read and not wanting to stop. Lily Collins wrote this book in the form of small essays – I rarely enjoy books written like this as they typically lack a good flow but she was able to achieve one that was highly enjoyable to read.

Collins proved herself to be capable of speaking of her truthful past, accepting how vulnerable she would feel while writing and knowing that it would reach out to people who needed to hear her words. To know that they are not alone. Overall, I found the book to be raw, emotional and beautiful. All of which I haven’t found in a nonfiction/memoir type book in a very long time, if possibly ever. I found myself staying up past 3 am, reading for hours straight, because I knew that each topic would lead into another and I didn’t want to stop.

The best part of this book was that it was a complex and complete experience. Collins was able to write it so that you not only get to understand her as an individual and her experiences, but also yours. The inspirational quotes and open opinions throughout all of it provides something to always think about and apply to all of her stories. Although I have not experienced everything that she has, nor to the degree that she has, it was still comforting to read someone who is so honest and relatable. There was no shame – only the truth.

“Healing is an ongoing process, and I will be working through my disorders for the rest of my life. But I know now that there is a greater happiness to be attained in this world: the happiness of enjoying myself to the fullest during the one life I have and accepting myself for who I am while I’m living it.”

I must admit that a lot of the topics are controversial ones – things that people are touchy about discussing, hearing and reading. But I personally felt that it was all handled well. I didn’t feel uncomfortable nor sick to my stomach. Rather it was just Collins being raw and honest, sharing her experiences and not in an asking-for-pitty type of way. If you are a fan of her’s and or have dealt with problems such as eating disorders, family members who are alcoholics or abusive relationships, I highly recommend reading this book. It was such a quick and enjoyable read for me – definitely worth the money.

Would I suggest this book to a friend?: Yes.

Do I love Lily Collins even more now?: Yes.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

 

June Wrap-Up

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This was definitely my best reading month yet for the summer. I read three books, listened to one audiobook and have started a new series. Thanks to traveling to pack out of my dorm and finding really good books, I didn’t have trouble with choosing reading time over sleep nor TV. It’s about time I got back into my reading habits.

Finished: 

Unfiltered (Lily Collins)

This was hands down the best memoir I have ever read. It was raw and complex, causing me to have an even greater respect for Collins as both a woman and a writer. To feel confident with publishing such honest pieces discussing touchy subjects is amazing and I highly recommend reading this if you are a fan of her’s. I am still working on the review for it and will hopefully post it in about a week’s time.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon)

I recently posted a review for this one so I won’t say much besides the fact that I struggled reading it but am glad that I finished it. It definitely wasn’t as good as I hoped for it to be but I finished it and that is what counts, right?

The Book Thief (Mark Zusak)

This was hand’s down the best book that I have read so far this year and in a very long time. It was amazing and I highly recommend it! I am hoping to work on the review soon too but what I can say now is that I think that everyone needs to read this book at least once in their lifetime. It gives you another perspective and touching side for Nazi Germany and those who were stuck living under the evil.

Listened To: 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)

This was the first audio book that I have completed and I absolutely loved it. I am hoping to buy an actual copy of it soon so that I can re-read it (yes it really is that good) but I loved the voice of the reader and it added to the experience so I highly recommend it as both editions.

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Currently Reading: 

City of Bones (Cassandra Clare)

I am only one hundred pages into this one so I can’t say too much about it yet but I am so excited to be starting a series for the first time in a while and I am really intrigued by it all.

Fingers crossed that July is another good reading month!

 

 

 

Review: The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time by Mark Haddon

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Title: The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time

Author: Mark Haddon

Genre: Mystery

Edition: Paperback

Award: Whitbread Book of the Year (2003)

Goodreads Blurb: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.”


Oh this book – so many mixed feelings! It took me twenty-one days to finish… after attempting to read it for about two months and that doesn’t include the break that I had to take by reading another book in order to get through this one. To be quite honest, I am not exactly sure why I struggled so much but at the same time, I definitely do not understand the hype of it.

“I like it when it rains hard. It sounds like white noise everywhere, which is like silence but not empty.”

Positives: 

1. Mental aspects were handled well. I found the introduction to Christopher explaining what it is like having asperger’s syndrome to be intriguing and written well. It gave you insight in a way that gave you knowledge and understanding, rather than lightly touching on the subject and asking for sympathy.

2. The main character, Christopher Boone. Vulnerable and bold. He shares everything, while still constantly surprising you. Although I felt like some examples of his characteristics were too long, it added to the intensity of his mind and made you feel protective of him when conflicts in the story came up.

Negatives: 

1. So many unnecessary parts. I personally felt as though at least 30% of this book could have been removed in order to make it a more enjoyable read. Too many parts were repetitive – like I get it, this is how Christopher’s mind works but I already know that it works in these ways (as explained in the first few chapters), so please just continue with the actual plot (mystery) and drama.

2. I feel wrong for disliking all of the main characters 90% of the time. Although I don’t think that the point of this book was to ask for sympathy but rather make you more aware, I still felt like I didn’t acknowledge the reasoning behind the reactions of the characters who dealt with the main conflicts. I spent more time being annoyed than connecting with them which is a key part to reading – let’s be honest.

3. The second half is MUCH better. I struggled through the first half, constantly taking breaks for multiple days in a row, but once I hit the halfway mark I couldn’t stop. The intensity and constant conflict finally hit and it kept my interest. If you do decide to read this book and struggle like I did, definitely push through until the end so that you will read the best parts (advice given by my boyfriend who let me borrow this book). Even if there aren’t a lot of them…

4. “Um… okay” type of ending. I wouldn’t say that I was disappointed by the ending but I definitely didn’t love it. It was a conclusion, a simple one, but not an exciting one. It didn’t feel like the book was worthwhile but the drama before it did, thankfully.

“Science and literature give me answers. And they ask me questions I will never be able to answer.”

Overall, I’m glad that I read this book because of the hype that it has but I definitely don’t understand the reasoning behind it – and probably never will.

Would I suggest this book to a friend?: Only if they are interested in the topic.

Would I buy tickets to see the play?: No

Goodreads Rating: 3/5