Nov 24, 2017

Review | Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Title: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: June 28, 2011 by Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As de facto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: A love this devastating has no happy ending. 

Thoughts: I'd been looking forward to reading this for years, but I was a little weary about it because it has such a controversial topic, and I wasn't sure what to expect from it. I had heard good things, from the most part, about it but still wasn't sure.

This story follows two siblings who have cared and raised their three younger siblings after their alcoholic mother fails to do so. Because of the friendship they've formed as a team to give their siblings what they need, they have grown to fall in love with each other. As a reader, I was able to understand how this happened. But as a person who has a sibling, I felt this was really unnatural. Obviously, their circumstances are something I have never experienced, but I did feel a little weird about the whole thing as I was reading it.

I can't say that I didn't enjoy it, because I did. I felt a little uncomfortable with the thought of Lochan and Maya being in love and also being siblings, but other than that, the story was developed well and the struggle they go through is really felt. All in all though, I felt that I expected a little more from the conclusion, and even though I was a tiny bit surprised, I felt like it was predictable nonetheless.

Nov 23, 2017

Review | Dead Little Mean Girl by Eva Darrows

Title: Dead Little Mean Girl by Eva Darrows
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: March 28, 2017 by Harlequin Teen
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis:  A proud geek girl, Emma loves her quiet life on the outskirts, playing video games and staying off the radar. When her nightmare of a new stepsister moves into the bedroom next door, her world is turned upside down. Quinn is a queen bee with a nasty streak who destroys anyone who gets in her way. Teachers, football players, her fellow cheerleaders—no one is safe.

Emma wants nothing more than to get this girl out of her life, but when Quinn dies suddenly, Emma realizes there was more to her stepsister than anyone ever realized.

Thoughts: This was a book I enjoyed mostly all the way through and then felt a little meh at the end. From the title and the synopsis, it's easy to guess how its going to end. I just felt like the conclusion was weak and that sort of changed how I felt about the book towards the end.

Emma and Quinn get off on the wrong foot and their rocky relationship disrupts their family life. Emma is willing to get along with Quinn, but she's a real mean girl if I ever saw one. I was intrigued with their family dynamic, the easy pacing of the story, and thought Emma was a likable character (and Quinn a very easy to hate character).

We never really understand why Quinn is so mean, other than she's spoiled and not used to having her life being disrupted the way it was when her parents separated and moved on with their partners. It's easy to hate her, but that's about it, and the story lacked a little from that. I thorughly enjoyed the first half book of the book, as we learn about the characters and see their story form, but again the conclusion felt weaker than the rest.

I originally gave this book a four out of five stars, but at this point in time I think I have to drop the rating down to three stars. I can't deny that I enjoyed it and wanted to keep reading it, but I loved it less than I originally expected and felt unsatisfied with the ending.

Nov 22, 2017

Review | The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Title: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: November 1, 2016 by Delacorte Press
Format: ARC
Source: Books for Trade
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? 

Thoughts: I still haven't gotten around to reading Yoon's first book, but decided to pick up The Sun is Also a Star because I got an ARC copy for trade, it fit under a readathon I was participating in (I think) and it was getting a lot of praise. The Sun is Also A Star was such a lovely book, about falling in love in one day (yes, I know it's unrealistic) where the guy is the hopeless romantic and the girl isn't exactly keen on falling in love.

Natasha and Daniel accidentally meet in a music store, and after a bit of hesitation (on Natasha's side) spend the day together. The first problem isn't that Natasha doesn't believe in love, it's that she's going to be deported that day and is trying to find a way not to be. Daniel becomes to determined to help her, and also, to make her fall in love with him.

There's not much I can say about this one, other than what a sweet story it is, with fun adventures, a mostly unlikely plot, but with characters that you can't help but adore. It was exactly what I was looking for in a summer contemporary and probably why I loved it so much.

Nov 21, 2017

Review | Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, #1
Genre: YA - Dystopia
Publication:  June 7, 2016 by Washington Square Press
Format: Paperback
Source: Traveling Book
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. 

Thoughts: I'd been looking forward to starting this series for years, not only because of all the hype but because they're retellings of some of my favorite fairy tales (the Disney versions of course.) When I picked up Cinder, I expected to fly through it. As a matter of fact, I owned a copy but also signed up for a traveling book, and got to write down notes and stuff inside. Unfortunately, once the initial excitement wore off that I was finally reading this series, I found it difficult to pick it up and read it quickly.

Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella, but with many changes. For one thing, the story is set in China, the prince is obviously Chinese, and not only that but Cinder is a cyborg. Not only are her evil stepmother and sister still evil, she also has to deal with being a type of slave to society itself, not only to her family. She works as a mechanic, has a sidekick borg named Eko and one day, meets the prince who happens to fall in love with her at some point.

The similarities between this story and Disney's Cinderella are few and maybe that's what sort of threw me off. There's also a plague killing off people every day and Cinder has to figure out a way to save the day. The story is fun, action-packed, and very original. But it lacked for me. I felt that maybe if it hadn't been sold as a retelling, I would've enjoyed it a lot more. Instead I was expecting the similarities between the fairy tale and this book, and when they were few and far in between, I felt a little disappointed.

I can't deny that this was a great start to a imaginative series, and it leaves readers expecting more, but as for me, I don't see myself continuing it. I did like it, but I didn't love it. There was one character I really liked (the sidekick) but other than that, I didn't really care for anyone else. I liked how unique the story was, but wasn't able to really get into the story as a whole and it took me several weeks to get through this. All in all, I see how this is so hyped up, but it's just not for me.

Nov 18, 2017

Short Story Saturday | Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

This feature was created by Lauren from 365 Days of Reading

Title: Gwendy's Button Box by Richard Chizmar and Stephen King
Anthology: N/A - Novella
Rating: ★★★

One Line Summary: Gwendy meets a strange man in a black hat who knows too much about her life and gives her a small, but powerful button box.

Thoughts: A little under 200 pages, I was able to finish this in one sitting. Gwendy's Button Box is a collaboration between Stephen King and Richard Chizmar, and it follows our protagonist Gwendy after she meets the man in a black hat, who gives her a button box. The short novella spans over a few years, and we get to see how the box affects Gwendy's life.

I can't deny that the story was entertaining, if not mysterious and a little creepy, too. But when it was over, I felt like I didn't get it. Like I missed the underlying message that was supposed to come across and I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Its possible that I felt the conclusion lacked a bit, but I think I only think I feel that way because I've recently read that Chizmar finished off the story, not King.

Honestly, I don't know what to think of it. It made me feel something, and I was able to start and finish it in a short time so I was intrigued. I didn't think it was the best story out there, but still something about it has kept it in my mind since I finished it.

Nov 17, 2017

Review | The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe

Title: The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
Series: N/A
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication: June 7, 2016 by Washington Square Press
Format: Paperback
Source: Once Upon A Book Club
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Since childhood, Anita Hemmings has longed to attend the country’s most exclusive school for women, Vassar College. Now, a bright, beautiful senior in the class of 1897, she is hiding a secret that would have banned her from admission: Anita is the only African-American student ever to attend Vassar. With her olive complexion and dark hair, this daughter of a janitor and descendant of slaves has successfully passed as white, but now finds herself rooming with Louise “Lottie” Taylor, the scion of one of New York’s most prominent families.

Though Anita has kept herself at a distance from her classmates, Lottie’s sphere of influence is inescapable, her energy irresistible, and the two become fast friends. Pulled into her elite world, Anita learns what it’s like to be treated as a wealthy, educated white woman—the person everyone believes her to be—and even finds herself in a heady romance with a moneyed Harvard student. It’s only when Lottie becomes infatuated with Anita’s brother, Frederick, whose skin is almost as light as his sister’s, that the situation becomes particularly perilous. And as Anita’s college graduation looms, those closest to her will be the ones to dangerously threaten her secret.

Set against the vibrant backdrop of the Gilded Age, an era when old money traditions collided with modern ideas, Tanabe has written an unputdownable and emotionally compelling story of hope, sacrifice, and betrayal—and a gripping account of how one woman dared to risk everything for the chance at a better life.

Thoughts: I had no idea what this book was about when I signed up for the monthly subscription box of Once Upon a Book Club but I was so excited about the idea. Once Upon a Book Club sends out one book with a few items wrapped up. While reading the book, the reader opens the gifts to the designated page number and has a more interactive reading experience. Even when I decided to finally read this, I didn't read up on the synopsis until later, but was pleasantly surprised with what the book was about.

This book follows Anita Hemmings, a black woman who has passed as white to attend Vassar College. While she deals with a lot of inner conflict about what she's doing and what this means to her family and race, she also has to deal with the fear of being discovered. Instead of being as careful as she should be though, Anita engages in a romantic relationship with young man, and befriends Lottie, an extremely popular and energetic girl who falls for Anita's brother.

Anita is a simple, smart, and likable character and I understood why she did things a certain why. She had to deal with emotional turmoil of her decision, but regardless of how things turned out for her, I don't think she regretted her decisions to pass as a white woman when she felt there was no other option. The story is quite simple and quiet, or so it felt. Not much really happens, but I felt worry the whole time, that Anita's secret would be discovered, so that kept me intrigued with the story.

The ending was predictable, and it is also based off true historical events, so it can easily be looked up. I knew it would turn out that way, but also hoped it didn't. I didn't know of Anita Hemmings before I read this, but I am glad this was the selection for the month and that I finally got myself to read it. It was an informative and interesting read and I recommend it to others who enjoy similar books.

Unboxing Vlog:

Nov 16, 2017

Series Review | The 100 #1, #2, #3 by Kass Morgan

Title: The 100 by Kass Morgan
Series: The 100, #1
Genre: YA - Science Fiction/Dystopia
Publication: September 3, 2013 by Little, Brown and Company
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents -- considered expendable by society -- are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission.

CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves -- but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.

Thoughts: This was a fast-paced wild ride of a book and I really liked it. I listened to this audiobook for no particular reason, but found myself completely immersed in all the characters and their stories. The book is told from several points of view (four I think?) and each one was fascinating and unique and captivating.

From the synopsis we know that 100 delinquents are sent on a ship back to Earth in order to recolonize the planet. The story explodes from the beginning with action and we are thrown into a whirlwind of events that the characters must survive through. Not only that, but we are also told past events in order to understand their pasts a little better, and find out how their lives interweave.

There was no particular character that I liked best, although some of the actions of a few were sometimes frustrating (*cough* Glass *cough*) but it's expected and I guess makes sense because of their situation.

I was really pulled into the story and was fascinated by all that was happening. Of course, there's a bit of a dramatic ending which made me want to read the next book immediately.

Possible Spoilers Ahead

Nov 15, 2017

Review | History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Title: History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: January 17, 2017 by Soho Teen
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: When Griffin's first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he's been imagining for himself has gone far off course. 

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin's downward spiral continues. He's losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he's been keeping are tearing him apart. 

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Thoughts: History is All You Left Me was one of those books I'd been looking forward to because I was expecting it to make me feel. I expected to really feel something for this one but was a little disappointed in the lack of connection I felt with the main character, Griffin, despite the pain he was going through from losing his best friend/ex-boyfriend in a drowning accident. Because I have experienced something similar, I really expected to cry my eyes out but didn't. I found myself detached with the story as a whole, and was really reading it because I was buddy reading it, but also because all the hype surrounding it kept assuring me I would love it.

The friendships in the book were the redeeming quality, and because the story was told in both past and present view points, I looked forward to seeing the friendship between Theo and Griffin formed, as well as their third best friend, Wade. We don't see as much of Wade until the end, and I was really able to appreciate his character because of everything he went through as well. I wish his importance would've been brought to light from the beginning, but instead was saved to cause a dramatic/revealing secret at the end, and I suppose that was fine.

I can't say I was completely disappointed in this one, but I was expecting a little more. It can be a quick read, that most people have enjoyed. I had the pleasure of meeting the author, and hearing him talk about the book and writing process, so that was enjoyable in itself. I wish this would've been more for me, but I think I will give Silvera another shot in the future, and see how I feel about his writing at a later date.

Nov 14, 2017

Quick Reviews #10 | The Virgin Suicides by Jefferey Euginedes // Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

The Virgin Suicides by Jefferey Euginedes

Synopsis: The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters' breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear.

Quick Thoughts: I'd been meaning to read this for years because since I'd watched the movie, I had felt a little unsatisfied with the story. But, the book is pretty much the same thing. There are a few changes here and there, the girls become a little more wild and die differently, but overall it felt like a very elusive story. Maybe because it's told from an outsiders perspective. I don't really know how I felt about this, but I suppose I enjoyed it.

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Synopsis: Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college--and everyone's admiration in her hometown. But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family. As a graduation present, Chelsea's dad springs for a three-week summer "boot camp" program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she's immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who's haunted by his own traumatic past. As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home. Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain--or finally heal their heartbreak?

Quick Thoughts: This one sat on my shelf for years and I figured it would be a quick, fluffy contemporary. In fact, it's about a girl and guy who have left sports behind due to some form of injury and start a friendship which turns into a romantic relationship, but the girl has a boyfriend back home so I was left feeling ugh about the whole thing.

Nov 13, 2017

Review | The You I've Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

Title: The You I've Never Known by Ellen Hopkins
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary/Poetry
Publication:   January 24, 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

Thoughts: I've been an Ellen Hopkins fan for years and I was really excited to receive an early copy of her newest book The You I've Never Known which I didn't even know was releasing. While this, like most of her books, deals with tougher topics, it was not my favorite.

I didn't know what to expect from this, and really had no idea what it was about because I did not read the synopsis, so I found it to start off a little slow and not really go anywhere for a long while. I kept putting it down, and even though her books are so easy to read because they were written in prose, it took me a lot longer than expected to really want to know more about the story.

We are introduced to Ariel who lives as a nomad pretty much with her dad, was abandoned by her mom as a baby, and is struggling to figure out her sexuality all while trying to keep her father at bay about her romantic relationships. We also get a second story of another teen named Maya who finds herself pregnant and leaving her extremely religious mother to live with her boyfriend. While the stories aren't connected at all, you can sort of see where its going early on.

So while there is a twist, it is quite predictable. I found Ariel to be a relatable character but I didn't really like her. Maybe because she was so confused and fooling around with two people, but I really was whatever about her. I felt sympathy for Maya, who was struggling in the situation she was in, but ultimately found this book to be pretty meh. I gave it three start because it was still an interesting plot while somewhat predictable. It takes too long for the story to get going, but once it does, it was fascinating to see what the characters were going through. I recommend this one to EH fans, but don't think this is her best work if you've never read her before.

Nov 11, 2017

Short Story Saturday | Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

This feature was created by Lauren from 365 Days of Reading

Title: Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
Anthology: Different Seasons
Rating:  ★★★★★

One Line Summary:  A man convicted of murder lives in a prison brutally ruled by a sadistic warden and secretly run by a con who knows all the ropes and pulls all the strings.

Thoughts: I picked this up after my boyfriend read it, and loved it. If you've seen the movie starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, this short story is almost word-for-word of that movie.

Stephen King creates these realistic characters in such a short time, that you learn to love and care for in just a few pages. I felt like I knew Red and Andy Dufresne and I really wanted their friendship to continue on for many years after the story was overall. Definitely a worthwhile read and can't recommend it enough (and the movie too!)

Nov 10, 2017

Quick Reviews #9 | My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga // Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

NOTE → This is a quick set of reviews on books I read some time ago, in attempts to catch up on reviews. I do not have a star rating for these reviews, but I do try to express how I felt about the book. This is a feature I am bringing back and will be regularly used to share my thoughts on books.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner. 

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

Quick Thoughts: This was supposed to be a powerful read, but it felt very predictable with flat characters. I got why Aysel and Roman wanted to commit suicide but felt no real connection to them. The conclusion should have felt more suspenseful and possibly dramatic, but I felt was wrapped up too easily and I was disappointed in how much feeling this book lacked.

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

Synopsis: When Apple's mother returns after eleven years away, Apple feels whole again. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother's homecoming is bittersweet. It's only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is that she begins to see things as they really are.

A story about sad endings.
A story about happy beginnings.
A story to make you realise who is special.

Quick Thoughts: This was such a sweet story about family, and growing up. Its filed under YA but I felt that it could work as middle grade, as well. I didn't expect to find myself connecting with Apple as much as I did, but she was such a relatable and realistic character who only wanted to be with her mother and didn't really understand her grandmother until later. Rain was also a sweet little character that I felt so bad for. Overall, I really loved this story and the message it brings to readers.

Nov 9, 2017

Unfinished Reads #6

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

I really wanted to enjoy this one because it was about 9/11 but I had difficulties really connecting with one of the characters because of the prose in the book. Gave this one a good try before ultimately DNF'ing it.

Rating: DNF

French Milk by Lucy Knisley

I read most of this, but found it redundant and a bit boring so I skimmed the last third or so of the book. Really disappointed in how uninteresting this was.


Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

This had the potential to being an interesting story, and the characters were almost interesting until they met and there was the insta-love. It was such an awkward book, and even though it was so short, I couldn't get myself to read the whole thing.


Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

I definitely would've been more intrigued if it was an actual novel instead of a graphic novel. Instead I felt like way too much information was being crammed into tiny squares + drawings, so I got really overwhelmed with it and decided to skip it at this time.

Rating: DNF 

Nov 8, 2017

#Borrowathon TBR

I meant to post this earlier, when the readathon actually started but I forgot all about scheduling it! Anyways, here goes: It's another readathon attempt for me! This time around, I will be participating in the Borrowathon TBR which was created by Riley at rmfickfack. There is a YouTube announcement video explaining all the details, but the readathon will be from November 5-12 and I am really excited to participate.

I am choosing books that were already on my November TBR so hopefully this will push me to finish them faster (although I usually fail with readathons.) There is a few challenges but I will be disregarding these for the most part, because I already have my books and I don't think they will fall under most of the challenges.

I will most likely be vlogging the readathon because I have realized that those are some of my favorite videos to make, so once I have a wrap up I will share that video with you guys too. On to my TBR! Here is my video sharing what I'll hopefully be reading for the Borrowathon.

The Green Mile by Stephen King (borrowed from boyfriend)
Saving June by Hannah Harrington (library)
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (library)
Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King & Richard T. Chizmar

I don't think this is a very long list of books, especially because one of these books is a novella and one is a John Green book (which I am assuming I will get through really fast) so I am hoping to make good progress. Are any of you participating in the readathon? If you are, how many books are you hoping to read?

Nov 3, 2017

Series Review | After the End #1, #2 by Amy Plum

Title: After the End by Amy Plum
Series: After the End, #1
Genre: YA - Science Fiction
Publication:  May 6, 2014 by HarperCollins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

Thoughts: I didn't have high expectations for this one, but all I knew was dystopian so I figured I would give it a shot. I'm not even sure if I had read the synopsis, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was a very fun, and unique story that I really enjoyed.

The story begins just like the synopsis explains, with Juneau and her clan getting kidnapped and finding out that the world is in fact, intact. Of course she feels betrayed, but also wants to find her family. Luckily, she comes across our friend Miles who is just a regular guy with no special skills at survival, which would come especially useful since they are stuck trying to survive life in the wilderness. Juneau and Miles are quite a pair, and their banter, weariness of each other, and eventual friendship really kept me captivated to the story.

There are some fantasy elements entwined in this story, which I felt weren't exactly necessary but definitely didn't take away from the story. I really don't know what else to say, other than this book surprised me with how different and enjoyable it was. While it wasn't dystopian, or science fiction, it does have a bit of each, as well as bits of other genres.

We are left with a cliff hanger of an ending, too, so I suggest having the second book handy because you'll need to know what happens next if you're invested in these characters and this story.

Possible Spoilers Ahead

Nov 2, 2017

This or That | Bookish Edition

I've been seeing this floating around a few blogs and I wanted to participate too! I haven't done a random kind of post in forever, so I figured it would be fun. This was created/started by Wendy over at Falconer's Library.

Buy new or buy used?
Both, depends on my budget. If I am able to buy it new, then I do, but if I am trying not to spend much I will only buy used books

Eat while you read or read while you eat?
Read while I eat, definitely. I don't tend to eat when I read as much.

Re-read old favorites or pre-order upcoming possibilities?
I don't usually pre-order books but if it is something I have been anticipating for a while, I'll buy it around the release date. And I also re-read old favorites from time to time. So, both again.

Read every single word or skim at times?
Read every single word unless I've decided to possibly DNF the book and want to know where it goes without actually reading it in its entirety.

Happy endings or tragic?
I want to say tragic because they make me feel more, but I am all for happy endings too.

Audiobooks or ebooks?
Audiobooks! They're my second favorite format. I really can't read many books in eBook format.

Multiple books at once, or one at a time?
Multiple books although right now I am in the middle of too many and I think I need to cut back on the too many books at once, so I am going to try and go back to one at a time.

Mostly one genre, or a little bit of everything?
Definitely a little bit of everything, although I do stick with fiction.

Lifelong obsession or later (re)discovery?
Ever since I learned to read, I have loved it.

Classics--yea or nay?
Yea but not too often.

Read aloud to others or be read to?
I like to read aloud to the children I work with, but normally don't otherwise.

Absolute silence or background noise/music?
Either, I can read with both although I usually turn on some background music when its late and I'm alone.

Cover on or naked?
Naked because I don't like messing up the dustjackets of my hardcover books!

Dog-ear or bookmark?
Bookmarks! I used to dog-ear but now I just can't.

Movie covers or originals?
I hate movie covers!

Nov 1, 2017

Monthly Rewind | October 2017

I haven't posted a monthly rewind in so long! I don't even know what to share in these posts anymore. October was a great month, and even though I didn't get as much reading done as I would like, it was because it was such an eventful month.

5 things that happened in October

1. I went on vacation to Mexico with my mom: We've decided that we want to take a trip once every year if possible, and this year we went to Mexico. Last year we visited my family in Guatemala and we are already planning our trip for next year (we're thinking an Alaskan cruise!)
2. I met Colleen Hoover! I was really excited about this event, and even though it didn't turn out exactly the way I was hoping, it was still a good experience!
3. Had two couple costumes: I usually start planning costumes early in the year and I always have a hard time coming up with something my boyfriend is willing to participate with. When he first suggested a couples costume three years ago, I was over the moon. Now I have us dress up each year and this year, we had two separate plans so we did Wendy Peffercorn and Squints from the movie The Sandlot, and Spinelli and TJ from Disney's Recess 
4. Went to my first Oktoberfest: I don't know why I hadn't gotten around to go to one of these especially since I love beer, but a few girlfriends and I set up a night to go out and decided on a local fest and it was so much fun! Not sure if the event itself was worth it but it was still awesome to go out with the girls.
5. The Dodgers made it to the World Series: Okay, I know this isn't about me but my family have been Dodgers fans all my life, and they always bring up that I was a month old the last time the Dodgers won a World Series so I have literally been waiting for this moment all my life. They play Game 7 tonight, and win or lose #IbleedDodgerblue

What I Read in October 

Around the Blog
- Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway! | Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
- Author Event | Colleen Hoover - Without Merit Tour!
- Quick Reviews #9 | Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters // Bang by Barry Lyga
- Unfinished Reads #5
- Review | Fateful by Claudia Gray

Not too eventful around here this month, but I am excited to say that I am almost caught up in all my reviews and hopefully will be able to start brand new and fresh in the new year. Writing quick reviews and setting up series reviews has helped me out with that, and I've enjoyed the small changes I've made around here.

Next Month:

I plan on finishing all the books on my Currently Reading shelf on Goodreads, which has had several of the same books the last few months and it's really frustrating me now. So if that means finally DNF'ing some of those books, that's just how it's going to have to be.
November TBR
Gerald's Game by Stephen King (currently reading)
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (currently reading)
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (currently reading)
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (currently reading)
Different Seasons by Stephen King (currently reading)
The Green Mile by Stephen King
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

There's no denying my TBR is a little ambitious, especially because I do have some plans for the month that keep me from reading, but I can try my best and be happy with that :) 

Anticipated Releases
The Unremembered Girl by Eliza Maxwell | November 1st, 2017 
Almost Midnight: Two Festive Stories by Rainbow Rowell November 2nd, 2017 
The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin | November 7th 2017

I am not one to anticipate too many books when they're released because I know it will take me forever to read them, but I am hoping that with making these posts I will be able to add a few books each month that I am very likely to pick up in the near future. These three sound really good, and I am especially excited for the continuation of the Mara Dyer stories with Noah Shaw's side. Definitely need to finish that trilogy first though. 

That's it for my October wrap up thing. I really enjoyed writing up some of this stuff and I think I will be back to posting these regularly each month. I hope. I am really trying to keep my blog updated with reviews and stuff, but a personal touch is always nice too and I definitely want to mix up my blog a bit so it won't be the same old stuff. Hope everyone has a great November and I will talk to you guys soon. Happy reading :)