What I’ve Been Audiobooking Lately

I used to do audiobooks all the time (exhibit A) but then I stopped. Mostly it was due to the fact that I changed workouts and couldn’t listen to audiobooks anymore while doing it and also just having this feeling like I’d rather listen to music all the time. But I have found my way back to audiobooks when I feel like it in the second half of April and May I finished 3 audiobooks.

Also, side note THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your amazing recommendations in the comments of this post. I’m STILL going through them all and adding to my list! THANK YOU THANK YOU!

 

First up I did a reread of one of my favorite books:

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I had been wanting to reread If I Stay for a while (it’s been YEARS since the first time I read it) so audio was the perfect way to get to it. It was a really solid audio performance. Really solid narrator. I will say I’m glad that I READ the book first as a physical book because I think I was way more connected to that. But as a REREAD…the audio was great. It was nice to revisit a story I know so well as a favorite but also experience all these details you’ve forgotten. It made me love this book one hundred times more. I really appreciated the details. Also, I realize how many details I “remembered” were actually things from the movie which I saw more recently than I read If I Stay obviously. Even knowing everything that happened this was just as emotional for me as it was the first time. I’ve talked before about why I’m afraid to reread books sometimes and I’m happy that this one held up for me…because it’s a major fear of mine.

 

Then I went on a little Dessen binge which I so enjoyed. As a general statement I find that her books make nice audiobooks (at least for me).

 

First up was Someone Like You:

Someone Like You by Sarah DessenSomeone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Rating

RATING-reallyliked

I really loved this one. Some of my friends say they didn’t like some of her early books but man did I love this one. I hadn’t read a ton of Dessen prior to this — a few books here and there — but this one was a little bit more serious or darker (I don’t even know if those are even the right words) than I remember the ones I had read a long time ago. I loved the friendship of Hayley and Scarlett in this one and how they were there for each other through some hard times — loss, day to day struggles, pregnancy, boy drama, etc.. The relationship between Hayley and her mom was an interesting one — I related with having a mom kind of similar to her — very overbearing and strict. I was actually REALLY surprised about the romance (he’s a bad boy type) and how it developed/where it went and even more shocked about how it all ended. I was REALLY happy with the ending — very refreshing and not something I see a whole lot. Regarding the audio, I had no qualms with the narration. Easy to follow.

And then I followed it with:

Lock & keyLock & Key by Sarah Dessen

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

Oh man did I love Lock & Key!! My heart was just so full and happy listening to this one. Teared up quite a bit. Dessen is just so damn talented in having complex and great relationships — romantic, family, friendships. Ruby’s home life is so sad to me and I was really excited to see her reunited with her sister Cora and how this sister relationship was explored — all the hurt of these years apart, the mistrust, the shared history as kids. It was so touching. And OH MY GOD I LOVED JAMIE. Jamie is Cora’s husband and he just made my heart so happy with his enthusiasm for holidays and family and his earnest welcoming of Ruby into their family. I just LOVED how much about family this book was. Like I’m tearing up thinking about it now — the family we have and the family we make out of friends and romances. And Nate. Oh man, Nate. Loved that dude. Such a great relationship between he and Ruby. I just really didn’t want the audio to end at all. I want more of all these characters. Again, I enjoyed the audio and found it engaging and easy to follow.

Have you read either of these Dessen books? I’m also curious if anyone has reread If I Stay &  if so how it held up for YOU.

Book Talk: Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

Book Talk: Things We Know By Heart by Jessi KirbyThings We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen- April 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Golden, Moonglass, In Honor
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

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

 

A1

Quinn’s boyfriend passed away tragically. Over the past year she’s kind of stopped LIVING life as Trent’s life ended. Trent was an organ donor and one of the things she HAS been doing is making contact with all the people who received his organs. She’s heard from all except the person who got his heart. She does her own research to find who it is and she finds out it is a boy around her age. She decides she just needs to go see him and get some closure. She’s read his story from his sister’s blog and knows a lot about him. She doesn’t plan to talk to him, just see him from afar, but a run-in they have results in them spending time together and Quinn keeps the secret of who she really is despite how close they are growing closer and Colton gives Quinn this vigor for life again as she sees how he approaches life.

a2*gets copying quotes down into quote notebook* GOD HER BOOKS MAKE ME THINK/ARE ALWAYS SO QUOTEABLE.

a4It’s always a little nerve-wracking as much as it is exciting when one of your favorite authors has a new book out. WILL I LOVE IT? WILL I NOT? And Jessi Kirby is one of my favorite authors (you should really check out her books Golden, Moonglass and In Honor). I’m happy to report that we’ve got another book for me to love in Things We Know By Heart.

Let’s talk about some things I really enjoyed about this one.

1. The setting: OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. Jessi Kirby always knows how to write a good setting. All of her books have this atmospheric quality. I mean she really has you hearing the waves and feeling the sand between your toes or taking in the starry sky. This had a beach setting again, like Moonglass, and OH it made me want to pack my stuff and head to the West Coast. Everywhere they went and everything they did…I could just picture it so well. Jessi is one of the best when it comes to creating the setting and it really adds to my reading experience. She transports you in a way that most can’t and did that ESPECIALLY well here in Things We Know By Heart.

2. The hurdles in the romance: I mean, if you’ve read the summary, you know that the dude was the recipient of a heart transplant — her boyfriend’s heart. He LITERALLY has the heart of her boyfriend who passed away  and she falls for him. She knows exactly who he is because she needed to see the recipient of her boyfriend’s heart. She knows she’s crossing the lines when she hangs out with him and then when feelings start to blossom. SHE KNOWS. She feels how weird this is. AND HE DOESN’T KNOW WHO SHE IS AND THE CONNECTION THEY SHARE. I understood her resistance but also how she couldn’t deny a real connection. It’s such a cute romance that is driven by a lot of things but it’s so hard because you KNOW at some point THE REVEAL has to happen in some way. I kept waiting for that moment. It was

3. The exploration of grief: Quinn has really let herself be so consumed with her grief when we meet her. She’s so shut inside of herself and has basically stopped really living and moving forward. When she meets Colton he’s had the exact opposite reaction to that day. He’s finally able to think of a future and he’s really LIVING because he’s been so sick for so long. I loved the contrast of the two who were both impacted by Trent’s death and how Colton’s excitement for life starts to remind Quinn what it’s like to be ALIVE and that she still gets to live. Quinn was hard to connect with for me at first but I really loved watching her want to live life again.

4. HER WORDS: Jessi Kirby writes beautifully and just there are these sentences that are just WOAH. And she makes you think! Beautiful prose in this one as I’ve come to expect! SO QUOTEABLE.

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ writing, plot, feels, romance
–  wish I connected a little more with Quinn (and also seen more of her and Trent so I could really feel/understand why her grief was the way it was)

Re-readability: Possibly yes because the writing was so good and the romance was so cute.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes because I want to own all Jessi’s books

a5contemporary YA fans, fans of Jessi’s other books, readers who love Sarah Dessen and want to branch out (my cousin who just rereads SD books over and over listened to my Jessi Kirby rec and loves her books now),

a8Things We Know By Heart was so, so good. It was equal parts sweet and sad and wholly a book that reminds you that, while every day could be your last because life is so fragile, every day is also a chance to live fully in that day and recognize what a gift it truly is. Very life-affirming stuff! Now I need y’all to go buy all of Jessi’s books because they are all worth it!

review-on-post-itThings We KNow By heart by jessi kirby

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Book Talk: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Publisher/Year: Balzer & Bray- April 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: How To Love
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

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

 

 

 

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

 

A1

Molly has just returned from boarding school after she just up and left after her bad decision to cheat on her boyfriend — with his brother — is exposed. She plans on spending the summer holed up in her house biding her time until she leaves for college but when she runs into Gabe, the brother she cheated with, she finds herself spending some time with him and eventually runs into Patrick, the brother she cheated on. Having the two boys and all the unresolved feelings in her radius all summer makes for an interesting summer.

a2Well that was quite the messy ride!

a4

Oh this is going to be a book that divides people and I cannot wait to discuss it with you all. I’m just putting this out here — if love triangles or cheating are absolute deal-breakers for you in a book…you might have trouble with this one. Do I particularly enjoy those things (in fiction or real life)? No. But, when well done, they work for me in fiction. And I’ll tell you this…Katie Cotugno is the QUEEN of writing really messy and complicated things well. (You should also check out her book How to Love which I adored). I could NOT put this one down because I just HAD to know what was going to happen.

It’s a premise that, from the beginning, let’s you know there is going to be a bit of drama — a girl cheats on her boyfriend with his brother. YIKES RIGHT? She comes home for the summer, after up and leaving for boarding school after everything happens, and is biding her time quietly with her Netflix and Red Vines before college starts — until she is reunited with Gabe (the brother she cheated with). It’s very very sticky already and let me just tell you IT GETS STICKIER. As she hangs out with Gabe, she sees Patrick a lot. The two boys being in her radius all summer brings up a LOT of feelings. All those angry feelings. All the guilt and regret. All the confusing romancey feelings. It all spills over.

I am not a person who would cheat or would condone cheating. EVEN IN A BOOK. But the way Katie writes the story I found myself torn on Molly’s behalf. There’s the old boyfriend who was sweet and she loved but they weren’t without their problems. They have a long history and were everything to each other. She feels so guilty that she made a mistake with the brother  but she doubts he would ever take her back and she isn’t altogether sure if that’s what she wants completely. And then there is the brother she cheated with, Gabe. She’s attracted to him and he takes her mind off a lot of the hate she gets. She grows to really have feelings for him. She knows it feels weird to be shoving it in Patrick’s face for them to have a relationship but she can’t deny her feelings. I could FEEL the tension — history vs. something new, the person you betrayed vs. the person you betrayed him with. It’s not a position I would want to be in ever but I understood the confusing feelings that even logic or your conscience can’t keep at bay.

I didn’t agree with Molly for MOST of this book. If you are a person who needs to agree with a character’s actions to make or break you liking a book, you will struggle. I constantly was like, even though I understood her messy dilemma, NO STOP NO. BAD DECISION. BAD DECISION. But, I don’t know, in my life especially as a teenager I know that sometimes you WILL make bad decisions — logic and reason and your values mixed with feelings/confusion/uncertainty/feeling in the moment/hormones make for some stupid decisions sometimes. Molly was definitely following her heart/hormones and, even though she knew how wrong she was, she still did it anyways. It’s frustrating as a reader but it didn’t make me NOT like the book and I really enjoyed getting to know Molly in this tumultuous time of her life. She’s flawed and it takes her a long time to learn from her mistakes and I liked that. It felt real. She doesn’t back down and owns up to her crap eventually. I think some interactions with other females in this book, Tess and Imogen, are definitely things that make her grow. She does some shitty things but I found myself rooting for her to sort out all her business and accept her consequences. It reminded me that you can come back from things, albeit they won’t be all sunshine and roses, even from some crappy mistakes/actions.

One thing I love that this book explored was the double standards involved when a girl and a guy cheat. Molly is called a slut and gets bullied and her house egged. The dudes get none of that crap. It took two people to make that happen and I’m glad it was explored in this book! Molly gets all the crap yet there are way more than one person in the wrong in this book!!

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ addictive, character with such a raw and emotional arc, writing
–  maybe the ending? I’m still sorting how I felt about it.

Re-readability: Maybe!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I have one and it’s beautiful!

a5readers of contemporary YA, readers who like messy and complicated subjects, readers who aren’t completely dissuaded by love triangles/cheating/characters who aren’t easy to like

a8While on the surface this book might just seem like a romance with a love triangle between two brothers but it is SO much more than that. It’s about making mistakes (repeatedly) and growing from it the hard way — realizing you CAN come back from it and take control over your life again. It’s messy and complicated but felt so true to life. I could NOT put this down and was frantically racing through the pages because it had my nerves all a mess. I’ll repeat it again — Katie Cotugno is the queen of writing messy/complicated/flawed REALLY REALLY well.

review-on-post-it99 Days Katie Cotugno

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
Did you like Molly or did her actions make it hard for you to?
How did you feel about the ending? (mark spoilers please!)

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

Book Talk: None of the Above by I.W. GregorioNone of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Publisher/Year: Balzer & Bray- April 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None -- debut novel!
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

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

 

 

 

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

 

A1

Kristin is pretty much your normal high school girl — well-liked and popular (even got crowned homecoming queen), has lots of friends, has a scholarship to college all lined up and has a boyfriend she’s pretty serious with. She decides to have sex with her boyfriend but it doesn’t go as planned so she makes an appointment with the lady doctor just to make sure everything is okay. She finds out that she’s intersex, a revelation that she can’t even begin to grasp, and before she has time to really come to terms with it herself, the news gets out and everyone at school knows.

a2*contemplates tweeting the author to ask what happens for the rest of Kristin’s life because I’m WAY TOO INVESTED*

a4

I love reading for a bajillion and one reasons but two of those reasons are to feel things and also to learn something and/or challenge my thinking. None of the Above ticked both of those boxes.

1. I was glad to learn about what being intersex means and was appreciative for a diverse read that featured it: Truthfully, I had no idea what intersex was before I started this book. Once I learned, from the book, what intersex was I realized I knew what it meant but I had known it by another name, a derogatory one. I was grateful already to be clear on what intersex is and what it isn’t. I.W Gregorio did a great job explaining it as we watch Kristin herself learn exactly what it means and what it means for her life.

2. I loved the exploration of identity in it: I appreciated so much this story of self-identity and how movingly written it was. Kristin had a sense of self identity before she’s told she’s intersex and afterwards she really struggles to know who she is. Is she a girl like she feels she is? Is she a boy because she does have male parts? She lives 17 years of her life and in one instant she feels like she no longer knows herself as a very basic, to most, component of her identity is no longer what she thought. I mean, you could FEEL the kind of confusion and upheaval this created for her  — even when people tried to explain to her she’s still the same person. And it went beyond just the identity of male/female — she can no longer, at her core, be the same person she was but it was moving how she discovered and rediscovered herself in many ways with an admirable strength and the support of people in her life.

3. THIS BOOK MADE ME FEEL THINGS SO HARD: Okay, so I physically could feel the shock and the confusion and the anguish through the initial doctor’s appointment where she found out and then after when she was trying to process it. I mean, I felt it in my heart and I just wanted to hug her. And that would be hard enough to process? BUT OH WAIT. PEOPLE FIND OUT AND THEN ACT REALLY SHITTY AND BULLY HER. I was seeing RED, guys. I mean, I was gripping this book so hard because of how MAD I was that I’m surprised it didn’t crumble in my hands. Everyone is SO awful to her. SO AWFUL. I wanted to cry so many times. They were cruel and the thing that killed me is I know how realistic it would be. I could the fear and the ignorance bring people to say all sorts of things like tell her she’s a dude and says she’s gay and just really have no FREAKING clue what they are talking about. None of the Above definitely showed how people are so hateful towards things they don’t understand. Thankfully there were some really great characters to make up for the ones who I wanted to punch in the face.

There was so much to appreciate about this novel but I will say that I wasn’t a fan of the romance, while cute, because it just detracted to me. I mean, thankfully it wasn’t an overshadowing plot point and it was great for Kristin to see that there ARE people out there that won’t be like her ex-boyfriend about it but I was more enjoying her personal journey with learning she was intersex and would have personally preferred no romance.

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ story, the main character Kristin, the feels, important topic
–  didn’t love the romance addition

Re-readability: I don’t know that I would. Picky with my rereads!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Not for my own personal collection (you know I only keep faves or books I would reread) but I am ABSOLUTELY checking to make sure my local library’s YA section has it and if they won’t order it I would totally buy it to donate because it’s IMPORTANT.

a5people looking for diverse voices, contemporary YA readers who like issue books that don’t feel heavy-handed, readers looking for a story about identity and self-discovery. I would also recommend to teachers and youth librarians because it’s excellent but also you need to make sure it’s in your collection!

a8I.W. Gregorio’s None of the Above is a powerful story that I wish all teens would read so that they’d learn to be more empathetic and less judgmental towards what they don’t understand/they see as different..and obviously to learn what intersex is. None of the Above brings a diverse and important voice to the YA scene through Kristin and her story — a story that will have you feeling an array of emotions and reflecting on self-identity.

review-on-post-it

None of the Above by IW Gregorio

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
Have you read any other books with an intersex character?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Book Talk: All The Bright Places by Jennifer NivenAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Publisher/Year: Knopf- January 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Other Books From Author: None -- debut novel!
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

 

 

 

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

 

A1

Finch and Violet meet on the ledge at school — both wondering what it would be like to jump. One becomes a hero and saves the other — but only the two of them know the truth of what happened up there. When they are paired together on a school project that leads them traipsing all over and exploring natural wonders in their state, the two feel alive together and like themselves. But can that feeling last? Is it enough for the boy who always thinks about death and is called a freak? Is it enough for the girl who lost her sister and has let fear get in the way of living?

a2

anna paquin ugly crying

a4

Oh MAN you guys. OH MAN. This was our book club pick for April and I have so many thoughts and feelings about this one. This one had to simmer a bit in my head because I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the whole of it. It was a very feels-y book and I spent a long time SOBBING by the end. Like, had to put the book down and listen to Will say, “Why do you read books like that if they make you do this?” BECAUSE I AM LIKE TO INFLICT PAIN ON MYSELF, K?

I have to say that I had a rough start with this one. I was getting a little frustrated in the beginning because I’m like OKAY BOOK. We are meant to be. If we were on a dating website together we would have totally been matched together with like 100% compatibility. WHY ARE THERE NOT FIREWORKS AND SPARKS? I mean, this book screamed Jamie (promises of major heart-wrenching things, kind of dark subject matter, quirky characters, romance, etc). And the writing was really good! SO WHAT WAS THE ISSUE?

Despite that, I was smitten with Theo’s voice IMMEDIATELY — he made me laugh and he was just this bright spirited person that felt like they were living life in full color at some times. But at the same time he made my heart quake with sadness and that deeply rooted brokenness so much so that it was a little unnerving. He seemed quirky and alive but as you keep reading you realize that, yes it is part him, but also some of those eccentricities are part of his mental illness…the things others in his life didn’t recognize. His voice just took over for me and at times seemed to make Violet fade into the background a little for me. Her voice just wasn’t as strong for me and I was sad about that because I felt like I should have been able to connect with her.

But then it DID happen for me halfway through the book. Suddenly I was emotionally connecting with this book (and both characters) in a real way. I felt like I was soaring but I also had that anxiety just growing in my chest as the book progressed. I was really loving the relationship between Theo and Violet, coming from two different social stratospheres,  and how he was showing her how to live again yet there was that deepest darkest black hole of sadness within him. It made for some confusing and intense emotions. I loved their adventures and their wandering. There was just a certain electricity when they interacted — that pinch that reminds you that you are still alive. I was nervous this was going to be simplified to an “oh a romance saves all” sort of story but I was really pleased, FOR THE MOST PART, to see how mental illness was explored in this one.

By the end I was gutted. I mean, I don’t think a book so far this year has truly emptied every tear from my body like this one did. I felt everything. Like I lived it right with them. I felt hopeful but I also felt like I just wanted to collapse because my muscles and my heart and everything within me had been overworked while experiencing this one. But I also felt conflicted which I’ll try to explain before.

 SPOILERS

And now I need to talk spoilers sooo if you have NOT read this and do not want to be spoiled…don’t click this and just move to my rating and other non-spoilery things below!!

View Spoiler »

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ writing, emotions, characters, plot
–  lack of connection until about half way through

Re-readability: I don’t know if I could handle a reread.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I did buy it because I heard good things & it was for book club. Because I won’t reread it nor is it an all time favorite, I will be donating it to my library.

a5fans of contemporary YA, readers looking for books exploring mental illness, readers who like books that will wreck their hearts, fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell (though I really do think you can like this even if you don’t like either of those but fans looking for comparable titles I think this is a good one)

a8It took a while for me to really fall in love for this one, despite how drawn I was to Finch’s voice, but once I did connect it just took off for me. This was an emotional story that made me sob uncontrollably and made me thankful for the bright places I am in now compared to the dark places I once have been. However, I’m still here trying to decide how I feel about some things at the end. I’m really conflicted about those things. So while I was emotionally moved by the story I had a lot of things to think about at the end. I am always thankful for a book that can make me think about it deeper.

review-on-post-itAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
How did you feel about the portrayal of mental illness/suicide in this one?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

Book Talk: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann AguirreThe Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
Publisher/Year: Feiwel & Friends- April 7, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Razorland series, Sirantha Jax series, I Want It That Way, Mortal Danger, Dred Chronicles
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

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

 

 

 

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

 

A1

“Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted. Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.”

a2That was cute?

a4

Man, I am WAY in the minority on this one. I thought it was cute but I really didn’t feel that much for it beyond some swoons and enjoying the quirkiness of our MC. It was cute! I feel like that’s all I have to say about it. It didn’t really stand out for me but it was by no means BAD. I certainly blew threw it!! And there were parts that I really DID like (new friendships, Sage and her aunt and the cuteness of the relationship) but I finished it feeling rather lukewarm.

The romance was pretty fast to develop. I’m not opposed to insta-attraction or infatuation because UM I FELL IN LOVE WITH LIKE A MILLION BOYS IN HIGH SCHOOL. I felt that high of falling for someone with Sage and Shane and I could honestly feel my heart pitter-pattering through a lot of their interactions. I was swooning. I’ll admit it. They were really cute! LIKE REALLY CUTE. Not earth-shattering or anything but just kind of want I want to read on a nice summer day on the beach (where I was NOT). It definitely got pretty serious fast and I’m not the BIGGEST fan of that but it didn’t really bother me TOO MUCH. But if you are insta-love adverse, I would just say it definitely toes that line.

I LIKED Sage — she was a breath of fresh air. I loved her post-it note thing and how she stuck to her principles even when they seemed crazy to others. She had dimension to her and I liked that she kept surprising me. It’s just that sad thing where I never really felt that much for her beyond that. I WANTED TO. I DID. Her post-it note kindness was inspiring though! KIND WORDS REALLY ARE IMPORTANT.

I think also some of my disconnect was due to the fact that I thought it was going to be a little bit of a darker read? Sure, there were some things in both of their pasts that were serious and hard but I never felt like really connected to their back stories. We were told Sage was the bright and bubbly person she was because of her past but I never FELT those cracks in her armor like I thought I should. I never really FELT the pain of her past. Even when it was revealed. Like it was awful but I was just kind of like, “OKAY that was bad/must have been hard” but I wasn’t really feeling the emotions. So many other people told me they cried or their heart hurt while reading it and I, the queen of feels, didn’t have that same experience. I felt for her and Shane’s stories but the emotional aspect never hit me.

One of the issues I did have was the pacing felt wonky to me. In some places I was just CRAVING to read it so much. It kept me engaged and wanting to turn the pages and then other times it just stalled. And then the ending I found myself skimming a lot.

a6RATING-OKAY

factorsTruthfully it’s really between mixed feelings and it was okay! I had a couple little issues but the real reason for my rating is just a lack of emotion or any real impression. It was super cute and I can’t deny how I flipped through the pages/got caught up in the swoons but not a standout.


Re-readability: Not for me!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No

a5contemporary YA readers, readers who don’t *hate* insta-love (not a problem for me but I could see others having issues), people looking for a cute romance

a8I flew through this one and totally got swept up in their romance but really felt lukewarm about it overall. It wasn’t bad…I just didn’t feel that much for it or connect in the way I wanted to. It just didn’t leave an impression but I know I am SOOO in the minority. Just a quick glance of some friends on Goodreads and I see so much love for it from people whose opinions I value so check out these opinions: here, here and here.

review-on-post-itThe Queen of Bright and Shiny Things

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: All The Rage by Courtney Summers (Plus A Giveaway!)

Book Talk: All The Rage by Courtney Summers  (Plus A Giveaway!)All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Publisher/Year: St. Martin's Griffin- April 14, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Some Girls Are, This Is Not A Test, Cracked Up To Be, Fall For Anything
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

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

 

 

 

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

 

A1

When Romy is raped by the sheriff’s son and school’s golden boy nobody believes her. She loses all her friends and is a target for bullying and the community further brands her as trouble — as if she didn’t already have a hard time being the daughter of a notorious drunk. But then Penny, her old best friend and friend of the boy who raped her, goes missing the same night something happens to Romy that makes her unable to remember any of it. Romy is faced with speaking up about the things she knows that could help find Penny or keep silent because nobody will believe her anyways.

a2LADIES. I love you all. It’s not easy being female. Can we all have a big group hug out of mutual respect? So much more strength in empowering one another than tearing each other down (something the world already does).

a4This is my second Courtney Summers novel (the first one was Some Girls Are which is AMAZING) and I’m just going to need to read ALL of her books. I’m in awe of her ability to explore the female experience with such intricacy and depth. Her books are thought-provoking, smart and are pretty much books I want to hand to every teenager ever.

All the Rage was a fury of raw emotions and touched on a lot of important issues — victim-shaming, slut-shaming, rape and rape culture, etc. — without feeling like “HAI I AM HERE TO TALK ABOUT ISSUES.” It’s bold and unapologetic. And important. SO IMPORTANT. I felt similar to how I felt when I read about Speak — like I just wanted this novel discussed by everyone everywhere. Like, let’s talk about this and how real it is and how we can change it and look at our own lives and the things we perpetuate.

3 things made this book really work for me:

1. THE EMOTIONS: You ever read a book and just feel like you have FIRE just running through your veins and you are about two seconds away from accidentally lighting the book in your hands on fire and everything around it? THIS WAS ME. How Romy was treated??? I WANT TO SCREAM JUST THINKING ABOUT IT. I felt so much anger and sadness at the same time which made me a hurricane of feels. Nobody believes that Romy was raped. Not even her best friend. The adults around her (minus her awesome mom and the mom’s boyfriend) are extremely shitty about it, too. The victim-blaming and shaming that goes on is hard to endure. They think she’s just the Girl Who Cried Rape and they won’t ever let her live that down. EVER. Especially because the precious popular boy gets sent away. So not only is she getting bullied but she has to live with the truth and the trauma of being raped. Everybody fails Romy in this situation and it is HEART-BREAKING. I just wanted to reach out and be like, “I believe you.” I felt how hopeless she feels. The gut-wrenching sorrow in her heart. The unbridled anger towards these people. I felt it all.

2. The mystery: In the present part of the storyline (it jumps around a little), something happens to Romy in which she ends up on the side of the road and has no idea how she got there or what happened leading up to that. She’s found but learns that Penny, her former best friend, is also missing. The two mysteries — where Penny could be and what happened to Romy that same night — and the question of their connectedness made this quite the page-turner.

3. All the important conversations this book can bring about: Sometimes I forget, because the book world especially that on Twitter, is ALWAYS having these conversations — about slut-shaming, victim-shaming, rape culture, feminism, etc — that it’s not the same for other circles I run in (and my Facebook minus the book people). Largely these issues are ignored. Because people don’t want to talk about them. People don’t know what to say. It makes me SICK to my stomach that what Romy goes through is a reality. Girls are raped. People don’t believe them. People tell them it was their fault because they were dressed a certain way or because they are “that kind of girl.”  Girls question whether they were raped because of the way society spins it — “but you liked him” “but you had sex with him before” “but you didn’t SAY no” “you were drunk” etc etc. We, as humans, need to have a discussion about rape and rape culture. It makes me want to protect my nieces (similar to how Romy wishes for a baby in the story to not be born a girl) from how harsh life can be for us ladies. All the Rage also made me so so shameful for my own past in high school and college with slut-shaming and judging and making other assumptions about other girls. We need to stick together. We don’t have to like or understand each other but we have to look out for each other. I could go on and on in more depth about the things this book tackles in a real and honest way.

If I’m honest I had two minor issues with All the Rage, but the importance of the story and what it made me feel, trumped those but they are worth noting. I don’t know WHY but I was having some troubles with the timeline (I don’t normally have issues with different timelines). I mean, I figured it out but it confused me some. The second thing was, that while I rooted for and loved Romy, I did have a hard time feeling like I KNEW her. We don’t see a whole lot of Romy before everything happens so I can’t get a sense for who she is. It makes sense in the context of the story because Romy kind of doesn’t know who she is anymore and WANTS that old girl back — but it *did* make it hard for me to feel like I knew who she was.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, plot, importance of content & the voice it gave, emotional connection
–  timeline issues, little bit of distance from who Romy was

Re-readability: It was a HARD read that took a lot out of me so it’s hard to tell right now.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I want to buy it for every person on this planet to read.

a5fans of contemporary YA, readers who don’t mind something a little grittier and “darker”, readers who want a great issues book without being an “issues book” (never felt for a moment like that), fans of Courtney Summer’s other books (same signature ability to write amazing females & explore the complexities), readers looking for a book like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

a8What an important book! It’s the kind of book that riles you up because its in-your-face truth and makes you want to change the world. It’s a tough read, no doubt, but I couldn’t put it down for the mystery and to know what would happen to Romy. Loved the sweet romance but was glad it didn’t overtake the story! Wish I could have a novella to see how things turned out for them!

review-on-post-itreview blog All the Rage by Courtney Summers

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

GIVEAWAY

 Thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin I have a copy of All the Rage to give to one of you! You must have a US/Canada mailing address to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Book Talk: Written in the Stars by Aisha SaeedWritten in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
Publisher/Year: Nancy Paulsen Books- March 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None as of right now, debut novel.
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

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

 

 

 

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

 

A1

Naila’s parents are immigrants from Pakistan and Naila has grown up always knowing that arranged marriage is part of her future. They’ll let her choose other paths her life might take but it’s their belief that she should trust her parents to select a suitable match for her to marry. Her parents have been very strict with her (no school dances or going to parties) and do not allow her to even have friendships with boys. She falls in love with Saif anyways (who was once a family friend) and has been seeing him behind their backs — something they only have to endure for a little bit longer when, unbeknownst to her parents, they will be going to the same college and can be together more often. Before that can happen, Naila’s parents find out about her and Saif and beyond mad, they whisk her off to Pakistan under the assumption that it is a vacation to visit family but really they want to find her a husband immediately.

a2WOW. *wipes sweat from brow*

a4

One of the many reasons I love reading is that sometimes I get to experience things that are nothing like my life and I get to learn more about the very big world I live in. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed was definitely one of those reads for me. Very eye-opening!

Here’s the 3 things that made this an excellent read for me:

1. I loved learning about Naila’s culture & also the difference between arranged vs. forced marriages through different examples in the story: Naila is Pakistani and lives in the United States. It is a part of her culture to place her trust in her parents to pick out her husband — an arranged marriage. I don’t really understand the appeal of arranged marriage because it’s definitely not something I grew up with but I respect it as a cultural practice and it was interesting to learn about it. I think Aisha (who herself had an arranged marriage and is so happily married) did a good job of showing the side of arrangement that is contrasted with the more forced/coerced marriage that Naila ended up in. I think it definitely helped my understanding of the practice of arranged marriage and allowed me to see that there is more to it than the notions I had in my head before. I think in my head I had an idea that all arranged marriages were kind of forced (not to the extent that Naila’s was) and that the parties involved had no say in it. That is in fact NOT what arranged marriage is all about. Grateful to learn the truth and not have these misconceptions about it in my head. KNOWLEDGE, Y’ALL. I love reading author notes in books and I think the one Aisha wrote was SUPER helpful too to understand things.

2. I liked that I rooted for the romance but more so I rooted for her right to choose who she married: We don’t get to see much of the actual romance. It’s already established and the glimpses and the memories we do get are super cute and I love the relationship she and Saif have despite the fact they’ve had to hide it and don’t get to spend that much time together. Because so much of the story takes place away from Saif because she’s in Pakistan I can’t say it was a super shippy romance but I so much felt that desire and longing and fear that she may never see the one she loves and may never see what could have been with him. Whether or not she was Saif, this whole book I just so rooted for her to be able to stand up for her rights to not be just forced into something. You felt the tug between wanting to respect her parents and her culture but you also felt the heart matters she had going on. I also liked that it was briefly explored if Naila could consider loving the man she was forced to marry. If she could see beyond it. Accept it. I loved all that was explored in relation to romance and love and marriage.

3.  I was constantly on edge the whole time I was reading and did NOT expect that: I don’t know if I just wasn’t super aware of what was going to happen but OH MY GOSH. I could not put this down — what an absorbing and evocative story. From the time her parents find out she has been seeing Saif behind their back until the very last chapter I was a bundle of nerves and anger and helplessness. I was SOOOOO mad at her family. How her parents could just kiiiind of kidnap her and trick her and force her to marry someone. And the THINGS that happened (I don’t want to less the shock of them) just WOW. I had to remember not to tense up and to stop holding my breath as I was reading because I would inhale sharply out of horror a lot. My heart was breaking for Naila as she was forced (and I mean physically) to go through with this marriage and being ripped away from her old life.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ plot, writing, characters, what I got out of it
–  There really wasn’t anything I disliked. Just stingy about handing out “beyond loved” rating as you know.

Re-readability: Probably not but only because I only re-read favorites exclusively.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I want to make sure my library has a copy!

a5readers of contemporary YA, readers who want a setting in the Middle East, readers who like a riveting plot AND great characterization of the main character, people wanting a diverse read

a8Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed was truly a novel I couldn’t put down. Between the riveting plot and the chance to experience and learn about a culture/culture practice that is not like my own, I was trying to sneak moments with this book any chance I could get because I HAD to know what was going to happen to Naila and was scared for her/raging on her behalf. I appreciate how Aisha showed all sides of arranged marriage and not just the awful forced ones that many are subjected to.

review-on-post-itWritten in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

Have you read any other books dealing with arranged marriage?
Do you have any recs for other books set in the Middle East? Especially YA.

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Book Talk: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky AlbertalliSimon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Publisher/Year: Balzer & Bray- April 7, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None, her debut novel!
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

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

 

 

 

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

 

A1

Sixteen year old Simon is gay and hasn’t yet come out — until a classmate finds an email of his to Blue, a boy he likes and has been writing back and forth to anonymously from his school who might just like him too, and threatens to out him unless he helps him get a girl that Simon is friends with. Not wanting to screw up things with Blue or let someone else tell everyone that he’s gay, he goes along with it all while trying to navigate this growing relationship with Blue and shifting dynamics amongst his closest group of friends.

a2tumblr_lmefok86q81qbasi8

a4It’s no secret I gave a little preview telling you all that Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was one of my favorite books I read last year. I’m so excited to tell you WHY I loved it so much!

1. It made me so INDESCRIBABLY HAPPY. If you know me you know that more often than not I don’t read SUPER happy books. I always seem to be drawn to the books that break me, destroy my life, elicit intense feelings or that tackle tough topics. But Simon made me realize how wonderful it IS to read a book that makes you feel giddy and slaps a goofy grin on your face. How FEELSY it can be. How warm and fuzzy feelings can be just as intense and legit as stab-your-heart-fifty-times type books can be.  Reading Simon was like hot cocoa w/ fluffy marshmallows and warm cookies on a cold day. It just completely warmed my heart from the inside out. AND I REALLY LIKED THAT FEEL. What a high pure happiness can be!

2. I loved the romance: Simon and Blue have been talking anonymously through emails — all they know is that the other person goes to their school and they both are gay but not out yet. I love how they get to know each other through the emails and talk about anything and everything and they leave out all the main details that would give them away (friends, classes, extra-curriculars etc). The suspense for WHO Blue is was definitely there and I became on high alert with every interaction. ARE YOU BLUE? ARE YOU? I loved how they wrestled with how they would go about finally meeting because it would change things and because neither of them were out yet. There was a certain comfort to their relationship as it was but they were definitely falling for each other in a deeper way. Their exchanges made me have a goofy grin on my face. What a sweet, sweet romance! AND HOW THEY FINALLY MEET/THE BIG REVEAL? The most swoony thing ever and I reread it like 5 times.

3. The blackmail storyline was really interesting: Simon isn’t ready to come out quite yet but he also doesn’t look at it as such a big deal. BUT when he gets blackmailed by a opportunistic classmate who threatens to expose it that definitely concerns him because he knows what he and Blue has is fragile and it could mess that up. I liked watching him wrestle with it all — not wanting to give in because it’s HIS thing to tell, not wanting to betray a friend who this classmate wants to get closer to and wanting to preserve what he and Blue have. I think the particular classmate who does the blackmailing is interesting himself — you just want to punch him for being a shithead but also you see him as a PERSON.

 4. THE FRIENDSHIPS: This book had such a great example of a realistic friendship group with all the ebbs and flows they tend to endure — probably one of the best I’ve ever read. I loved the dynamic of the group and seeing how it has been shifting and changing as newcomers were introduced (and how threatening that can be), how crushes within a group impact it, how to handle all the growing and changing even among the “core” members of the friend group who have known each other for years and years. All the nuances of friend groups and long-time friendships vs. new ones were just perfectly done.  I loved Simon’s friend group and it made me miss having a GROUP like I did all throughout high school and college. I just really appreciated how strong the friendships were but they were also susceptible to being caught in the wave of change and not knowing how to adjust.

5. Simon: Simon is just an unforgettable character and I really felt like I KNOW him… and it’s one of those cases where I’m sad he exists only in the pages and in my heart. You’ll know what I mean when you meet him. He’s smart, funny and thoughtful but humanly flawed. So humanly flawed. He makes me smile and I think everyone would be better off having met him.

6. These quotes: I loved the writing in this book in general but I loved these were some of my favorite quotes (just to note, they ARE taken from the ARC so subject to change):

     ” But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”

     “As a side note, don’t you think everyone should have to come out? Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it should be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”

     “People really are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”

a6RATING-beyondloved

factors+ plot, writing, characters, romance, humor, relationships explored, how it made me think, THE FEELS
–  NOTHING.

Re-readability: YES!!!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? YES!!

a5EVERYONE. Yep.

a8I think a good indication of how much I loved this book was that, in writing this review, I went to find one quote from it and got absorbed reading almost the whole book again (I read it in December for the first time and I’m not much of a re-reader though I like it in theory). It’s one of my favorite romances I’ve read in a while that in addition also perfectly explores the always evolving nature of friendships (and people), the idea of ‘coming out’ and how people, even the ones we’ve known for forever, will always keep surprising us with the new dimensions and the numerous “vast room and tiny windows” as Simon puts it. This book made me indescribably happy and I’m not going to shut up about it.

review-on-post-itsimonvsthehomosapiensagenda

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

A January & February Release I Enjoyed!

I’ve got two mini reviews for you today! Just trying to get caught up — that ever so elusive achievement for me!

 

Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

 

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Amazon // Goodreads
Published: January 2015
Received a copy for review from the publisher. This is no way influenced the opinions shared.

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: One day Avery think she is a semi-normal teenager and the next she’s being whisked away to Paris and told she has a secret, powerful family who has had a hand in a lot of the world’s history. And then she finds out that she might just be part of the key to decoding an ancient prophecy that has alluded people which makes her a pawn for the people who want to use her to figure out this mystery and also those who want her dead because of the power she could hold.

This one was fun and had me racing through the pages as the stakes kept getting higher and the conspiracies kept getting more layered. I’d heard it described as a YA DaVinci Code (also reminded me of National Treasure) and I can see that totally! You’ve got to suspend some disbelief obviously and forgive Avery for things, as a reader, you see pretty clearly (I totally guessed some things or called bad decisions) but it didn’t detract from my experience. I loved getting to know this dangerous and powerful family that Avery discovers that she has and seeing how lavish their lifestyle is and the secret hand they have in a lot of the world’s history (so much historical goodness). It was exciting and truly mysterious as danger seemed to lurk at every corner and plots to use Avery were a plenty. The only things I didn’t love: the romance (I don’t really feel it in any REAL way) and also I just struggled with the characterization not being as strong as I typically like. I will be continuing on with this series because I love a good, fast paced conspiracy thriller and I’m so interested in decoding this mystery right along with them (hopefully with even more whisking away to foreign countries)! Super entertaining!

RATING

RATING-LIKED

 

 

My Heart & Other Black Holes

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Amazon// Goodreads
Published: February 10, 2015
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way influenced the opinions shared.

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: The main character has spent much of her life plotting her suicide because she doesn’t want to end up like her father — a man who committed a violent crime that has made her a pariah amongst her peers. She realizes that she won’t carry it out on her own so she finds a website that helps you find a suicide partner which leads her to Roman — a boy so haunted by a tragedy in his family.

I named this as one of my favorite 2015 books I read in 2014 so you may have already seen how much I loved this one! This one was heavy and super emotional but also so full of life and hope despite the sadness crying out from the pages. Reading it made me feel the weight of all the books I own (a lot) on my chest. The two main characters both have some awful things that have happened to them and they feel the burden is just too much and that transferred on to me as a reader.  It’s so hard to read as they plot their mutual suicide and, as the countdown until the day it is supposed to happen, you just so desperately want them to find that one shred of hope to turn back from the plan especially as they start to truly form a bond. Warga deftly explores depression and suicide in a way that just haunts you. I really loved Aysel’s voice — it was just so REAL and honest and her personality was just so vibrant even amongst all the darkness she felt. *kind of spoilery* I was nervous when this book started going into romance territory because I was like “NO. THIS IS SO GOOD PLEASE DON’T SCREW THIS UP” but I thought Warga handled it pretty delicately and realistically and rather than handing us this “LOVE CURES ALL” story I think it was more that Roman became this mirror to which Aysel suddenly could see herself more clearly. Would I honestly have preferred it just to be a friendship? Yep. As a personal thing I think it could have shown it just as clearly how important their connection was in how it sparked some more life-affirming thoughts within them. *end spoiler* Hauntingly beautiful this one was and I dog-earred so many pages because, man, Jasmine Warga can write!

RATING

RATING-loved-it

 

 

 

Have you read either of these? I’d love to know what YOU thought!! If you haven’t read them, do you think they are something you are interested in?

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