What I’ve Been Reading Lately

I have a feeling this summer is going to be a lot of me doing shorter book talks especially since, as I talked about here, I’m going to maybe post a little less during the summer.

 

Outrun the Moon stacey lee

Outrun The Moon by Stacey Lee

I received this for review consideration but this in no way affected my opinions.

 

About In A Sentence or Two: Mercy, a young determined young Chinese girl, refuses to let the fact that she’s Chinese and a girl get in the way of her dreams. She cunningly bribes her way into an exclusive all-girls school and endures the push back from those who don’t want her there and keeping her story under wraps….until it all changes in an instant when a historic earthquake hits the city.

Thoughts: I loooove historical fiction and, while I loved Under a Painted Sky, this one blew me out of the water and stirred me up emotionally — and by that I mean there were lots of tissues next to me upon finishing. I loved the setting of San Fransisco at the turn of the century during this historic earthquake. I LOVED Mercy and how determined, strong and resilient she was and loved watching her go after what she wants — regardless of the roadblocks set up because she’s Chinese AND a woman. Her resilience in the face of tragedy was inspiring. I thought Stacey Lee tackled racism/prejudice in such a nuanced way in this book and I loved seeing it contrasted in the before and in the after — especially to see these glimmer of hopes that barriers could come down when everyone is mourning this tragedy together as a city. I thought the way she wove it through the novel was so perfect. The secondary characters were incredible, truly. If you like historical fiction, this is a must read for 2016.

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

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Book Talk: Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes

Book Talk: Girl Against The Universe by Paula StokesGirl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes
Published by HarperTeen on May 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Liars, Inc.
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Maguire considers herself unlucky and a danger to be around after she survives, without a scratch, a fatal car accident that kills her brother and father and then a few more incidents happen in the following years that has her coming to this conclusion. To keep others safe, she stays at home a lot and tries to be around the least amount of people — all the while constantly checking for things that could be a potential hazard. When she meets Jordy at her therapist’s office he’s determined to help her see that she’s not actually unlucky and helps her to complete the tasks her therapist has helped her come up with but everything within Maguire tells her to not let Jordy get to close and risk something bad happening to him.

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

I had a bunch of books I read I read before vacation and then after and I’m just behind so here’s some mini book talks to let you know what I thought about some of my recent reads.

 

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The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

I received this for review consideration but this in no way affected my opinions.

 

About In A Sentence (ish): The Way I Used To Be chronicles the high school years of a girl named Eden who was raped by her brother’s best friend and how that night, and the pain of how deep she buries it within her, changed her whole world.

Thoughts: Oof this one hurt my heart. It was so hard to watch how the rape and keeping the secret of it slowly changes her so that she’s so far from the person she was. I enjoyed that it didn’t just show the immediate effect and aftermath but how it changed her over time in those 4 years and the lasting effects on her life. As I’m writing this I’ve following and sick to death over the whole Stanford rape case and even more furious that this guy will get six months when this girl will live with this for a lifetime. This book really showed a powerful glimpse into what rape survivors may go through though obviously everyone’s experience and reaction is different. Eden’s secret pain and the way she tries to cope with what happened to her will break your heart but her strength will leave a lasting mark on readers. Read this if you enjoyed Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn.

 

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

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Book Talk & GIVEAWAY: You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour

Book Talk & GIVEAWAY: You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCourYou Know Me Well by David Levithan, Nina LaCour
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 7, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: The Lover's Dictionary, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Every Day, Two Boys Kissing, Boy Meets Boy, Everything Leads To You
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

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Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed. That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way. When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other— and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.


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I am a big fan of David Levithan’s work and super enjoyed Nina LaCour’s Everything Leads To You so I was very excited to read a book co-written by the two because I know I love both of their writing and they both have this knack for these poignant stories that make me think a lot. And they certainly delivered!!

3 reasons I really enjoyed it:

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I Read A Classic For The First Time In What Feels Like Forever

Back in the day, prior to starting this book blog in 2010, I used to read and genuinely enjoy more classics. Once I began blogging, I started discovering new interests, mainly YA, and so my tastes were all over the place and I was too busy discovering new stuff instead of the classics on my shelves. Suddenly my TBR was out of control and I was reading from all sorts of genres and discovering new stuff I never knew I liked. Plus enter review books pretty early on. And, if we are being honest, forgoing chunky books or more difficult reads in favor of things I could read more quickly because I “needed” to get blog posts up. I knew I was doing it and that was okay with me. I was prioritizing where my reading tastes where in that moment.

But recently I’ve been wanting to get back into the classics that I still haven’t read. So I decided to pick up a Jane Austen book I haven’t read — Sense & Sensibility.

sense and sensibility

 

I think a statement Will made sums up part of the experience pretty well.

“You are still reading that? I feel like you’ve been reading that for forever.”

Me too, bro, me too. It wasn’t that I was disliking it or that it was a painful read. It was just way slooooowwwer than what I’ve been used to reading over the years. I can fly through a fast paced YA read or a fluffy romance in no time. Sure, I still read books that are a bit slower to digest like a ~literary fiction~ book or a dense fantasy book but this just felt abnormally slow to me.

It took more time. It took more concentration. It took more effort. As a friend put it, “it takes a different reading muscle.” A DIFFERENT READING MUSCLE. Yes. That was exactly it.

After finishing, I came to the conclusion that I think I needed to work out some different reading muscles — for myself, not saying EVERYONE needs to work reading muscles they don’t want to. I needed to slow down my reading a bit. Needed to allow my brain to read something that I couldn’t process as fast as what I mostly read. It allowed for a different reading experience for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was engaged but it was in a different way not being able to fly through the pages as quickly. There were times I had that same “OMG MUST FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED” but I couldn’t speed read like I’m in the habit of doing with books with more modern and straightforward language for me.

It reminded me of why I like reading and interacting with a variety of things and also why I don’t want to shy away from things that may be more challenging in different ways. Even if sometimes I don’t feel like I’m not quite smart enough to glean all the things I’m supposed to.

 

So what did I think of Sense & Sensibility?

I really enjoyed it! I always enjoy Jane Austen’s commentary on social issues, gender and class and Sense & Sensibility was no exception.

Considering one of my most complicated and best relationships in my life has always been my sister, who is a couple years younger than me, I really appreciated these sisters. I definitely related to Elinor in trying to keep all the shit together knowing that my sister was always the one who took things harder and I felt I needed to take care of her. Watching Elinor push back her own feelings and hurt reminded me so much of the role I took when my mom was sick and then after she passed. I always tried to be strong for my sister and rarely showed my emotions around her, which totally led to misunderstandings and such like in these sisters’ case, but inside was turmoil city. I loved how, like my sister and I, when some of these inner feelings were shared with each other there was an even greater bond. I often wonder had I been more open with her about that I was doing badly too if things would have been easier for me — but alas, I chose to try and ~be strong~ hoping that if she didn’t see me panic that she wouldn’t. It’s no surprise how much I related to Elinor and how much I saw my sister in Marianne.

After reading a lot of classics I’m always thankful for, even while acknowledging how imperfect our society is, that I didn’t live back then. The way marriages were like this business transactions and so may more factors that weren’t LOVE factored into them. How you could lose your family if you wanted to marry down. How you could love someone but a better match could be made based on money. How you could lose your home when your husband dies because inheritance that benefited men more. OOF.

I also really enjoyed that exploration of what goes into happiness in life. Do you marry someone you don’t love because you think money will make you happy? Do you marry for love but risk being miserable and poor? I think my whole life I’ve always thought about this in terms of your career. Do I do what might make me happy but struggle because I won’t have money to do things I want to? Or do I take the job that makes the money but makes me miserable and end up working long hours and having so much money but no time to do what I want? I had this vivid example of this dilemma in my parents — my dad and stepmom who lived more simple lives without a lot of money and my mom and stepdad who made a ton more money but watching my mom seem so stressed out and bring her work home with her but we could do vacations and fun stuff. I always found my dad to be more happy despite money struggles though I can’t say that I think my mom was always UNHAPPY. Tradeoffs to your choices I suppose.

Anyways, to make a long story short. I enjoyed yet another Austen immensely and I’m glad I chose to pick it up despite it taking me so long to read. I loved the way I connected to the book in ways I didn’t expect and, like always, I loved the romance plots, the melodrama and that Jane Austen wit. But mostly I loved this story of sisters trying to find love and happiness even if their path to finding it isn’t the same.

Book Talk: Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Talk: Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins ReidMaybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Washington Square Press on July 2015
Genres: Adult Contemporary
Also by this author: After I Do
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
Amazon
Goodreads

 

 Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought!

 

 

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In alternating chapters we see two different versions of twenty nine year old Hannah’s life play out — all hinged on what she does next when she encounters an old flame upon moving back to her home of LA after moving from city to city and feeling lost about her life path.

a2*is awake in the middle of the night upon finishing (much like after reading her book After I Do) because this book was every existential crisis I’ve ever had pretty much rolled into one book haha* (I mean that in a good way…super thought provoking)

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Series Send Off: The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

Check out past Series Send Off posts in which I finish the last book in a series & chat about it plus introduce new readers to the series with my general & non-spoilery thoughts about the series as a whole!

Winner's trilogy marie rutkoski

 

 Goodreads // Amazon

 

Upon finishing the series I say to all of you who haven’t started the series:

 

Get on it like yesterday. This series is so solid from start to finish though I can’t promise you will walk away with all your feels in tact. With dizzying political drama and an even more dizzying slow-burn romance, I definitely count The Winner’s Trilogy, and its memorable characters, among my favorites. Not to mention how AMAZING Marie’s prose is. Seriously the way she can cut you down to your knees with one line or build an incredible scene before you.

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Book Talk: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Book Talk: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer DonnellyThese Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by Delacorte Books For Young Readers on October 2015
Genres: YA Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Jo is part of NYC’s high society in the 1890’s and knows she’ll soon be done with finishing school and married off — even though she aspires to follow in the footsteps of a trailblazing female reporter hero of hers. And then her dad dies — it’s ruled an accident while cleaning a gun but Jo knows her dad would never have had an accident like that. When she hears something that confirms her hunch, she sets off with the help of a reporter named Eddie to find out the truth of her father’s death and sets off on a twisty path that will forever change her world.

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Book Talk: This is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang

Book Talk: This is Where The World Ends by Amy ZhangThis Is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang
Published by Greenwillow Books on March 22, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Also by this author: Falling Into Place
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Janie and Micah have been friends since they were young — but mostly in secret and especially at their high school where they act like they don’t even know each other. They are mostly opposites in every way but their secret always just seemed to work and was always an adventure. But then something happens one night and Micah can’t remember anything surrounding the night of a party and Janie won’t answer his texts or calls as he struggles to remember and put the pieces together while the cops keep asking him questions.

a2NEED TIME TO PROCESS…..

a4Have you ever finished a book and legitimately not know whether you liked it or not?? That’s how I feel with this one. Amy Zhang’s debut, Falling Into Place, was a book I raaaaaved and raved about the year it was published and I was so excited to see what Amy Zhang would do next.

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately

 

Happy Monday, friends! Let’s talk about a few things I’ve read recently! I have to say….these 3 books couldn’t be any more different which pretty much sums up my reading life — very eclectic.

 

The Deal Elle Kennedy

The Deal by Elle Kennedy

About In A Sentence (ish): Hannah, a girl with a crush on a popular football player at her college, makes a deal with Garrett, a hockey player with a reputation, in which he’ll help her get Justin’s attention and she’ll help him pass his Ethics exam so he’ll be able to stay on the team.

Thoughts: I’m super picky about the New Adult romance books I read so I always go into them pretty nervous. This one was soooo addictive and I really enjoyed it! Totally hooked! I love the hate to love trope. It’s one of my faves of all time. Plus the fact it started with the kind of “deal” that it did? I LOVE THAT KIND OF STUFF. When people who don’t mean to fall for each other do…SWOON. I didn’t always love Garrett but his character grew on me and, while he’s not my type, I found their relationship to be something I was so invested in — especially how they grew into a friendship during their study sessions and then into something more. Some of those parts were my FAVE. I loved their banter and their chemistry! I cannot wait to read the rest of the series because I’m so curious about the other guys they feature. Overall, I can’t really explain why I enjoyed this one so much — it was super fun and sexy. It wasn’t anything new or original in terms of tropes or storylines and it was pretty predictable….but none of that mattered because something about the characters and their stories hooked me. So happy to be able to have another New Adult romance I will happily recommend because I only have a few in my arsenal that I truly loved.

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

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