The Books My Brain Needed

book recommendations and books to read

 

I’ve mentioned that during my first trimester and a little after that I was having a hard time reading anything. But when I WAS up to reading all I was craving was some light, wonderful fluff. I am a fan of ~fluff~ books and I hate when people act as if they aren’t as good as Other Books. GOOD FLUFFY READING IS IMPORTANT OKAY??

Anyways, my brain was just really craving fun and light books — no matter the genre — but definitely was wanting light and fluffy contemporary romances.  So I figured why don’t I round up some of those books that got me through that misery where I wasn’t quite my self when it came to reading.

They were all so delightful and I’d recommend any of these:

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Book Talk: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren GibaldiThe Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
Published by HarperTeen on June 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
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”

 

A1

Ella and Matt, the new bass player in her friend’s band, meet the summer before her senior year after she’s just been dumped by her boyfriend months before. The night they meet deviates from what it ought have been and turns into a fun and crazy night of “saying yes” with Matt and her best friends. Six months later Matt leaves town and none of them hear from him….until he’s back and standing in front of Ella wanting to explain why he disappeared and wanting to recreate the night they met to show her he’s worth a second chance — something Ella isn’t sure can happen after he broke her heart and just left them all.

a2SUPER CUTE! Also, it would be really fun to have a night of saying yes like they do in the book but I’d be careful who I choose to partake in that hahah

a4This book was so cute & such an enjoyable summer read! I absolutely devoured it!

Here’s what worked for me:

1. The fact that it’s set in that summer after graduation and before freshman year of college: I remember that summer being such a BIG summer for me. It held all these infinite possibilities and your head got carried away with dreaming and planning and imagining. But it also produced so much nostalgia within — even though you hadn’t left already things were starting to look and feel different to you. Everything felt SO significant — this is the last time we would all be here together and doing this before everything changed. There was also fear and anxiety of the unknown. All of this that I can remember so clearly these 11ish years later? This is what Lauren Gibaldi wrote SO well in The Night We Said Yes. I could feel all that pulsing through these characters.

[Keep Reading]

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
Published by Feiwel & Friends on April 7, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
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”

 

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: 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
Published by Balzer & Bray on April 7, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Done Dirt Cheap, The Upside of Unrequited
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
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”

 

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

Book Talk: Isla & The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (NO SPOILERS OBVS)

Book Talk: Isla & The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (NO SPOILERS OBVS)Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Juvenile on August 14, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Lola and the Boy Next Door, My True Love Gave To Me
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
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”

 

A1
“From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new
”  <— Yep, I’m not giving much more plot wise than the summary this time because we’ve ALL been waiting so long.

a2*melts* ALSO, WHY IS IT OVER? WHY!

a4It’s been a month since I read Isla and the Happily Ever After and I’ve been existing as a happy, melted puddle on the floor so I was unable to talk to you about this book. I DIED. You know I loved Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door something fierce and I’ve been waiting for YEARS for the final companion novel to arrive in my hands. And it did. And it was SO DAMN GOOD with a side of warm and fuzzies. Stephanie, yet again, delivers that kind of romance that makes your heart melt and leaves you feeling a bit lighter and on cloud nine upon finishing — just pure bliss. They give you hope for your OWN happily ever after story no matter where you are at. As a married lady, it makes me remember falling in love and the accompanying feelings but also makes me realize that I’m living my own happily ever after even if it looks different than my favorite fictional stories…and I have so many more exciting pages to be written.

1. Josh & Isla’s love story made my heart do backflips and feel all ooey-gooey: So, I totally didn’t realize who they were from Anna (shh it was a long time ago that I did a full read) and when I realized who they were I was like OH MY GOD YESSSS! The way their story unfolded was so darn cute to watch and I could definitely FEEL the sparks. And HEY this book was SEXY too. I knew Stephanie Perkins could write the most mesmerizing, adorable romances that can make me swoon (which this totally did) but she also was able to write something with a bit of sexy in it — enough to make me blush a wee bit. I don’t want to tell you anything about their romance because I want you to be as swept off your feet as I was! I also really loved the memories that we get about things that happened in Anna’s book. I barely noticed Isla in that book but I remembered those scenes so well when I was reading them. It was nice to see these nods to that story as we are seeing Isla in a whole new way in her book!

2. As a fan, this book was everything I could want out of a conclusion to a beloved companion series: There was weeping and squealing and I melted into a gigantic puddle of feelings. It was the kind of closure I hoped for from this book but didn’t forgo a solid Isla and Josh story just to give us some great cameos. As a fan, I feel sad that this particular series is over but my heart was soaring. One part made me squeal and I don’t think Will’s hearing will ever recover from that. BUT OH MY HEART. It was like watching a beloved tv series finale and I just wept and felt nostalgic and happy but bittersweetly so because NO…CAN WE JUST FOLLOW THEIR LIVES FOR FOREVER?

3. As a reader, I DID have one SMALL issue (I KNOW I’M SORRY) but it was still perfect as a WHOLE: I feel like I need to be honest that as PERFECT as this book was I didn’t love how the CONFLICT in the relationship was developed. I found myself UNDERSTANDING it but not really feeling like there was any build-up for me to believe it with my whole heart. I HATE having to put a teeny tiny damper on this “OMG I LOVED ISLA” party I’m having here but I just have to be honest. It took me out of their story a little bit and I needed to note that. But you can bet your bottom dollar I was rooting for them and cheering for them to figure it out!

 RATING-beyondloved

a6

factors+ romance & swoons, loved Isla and Josh, an amazing conclusion with cameos by our beloved characters
the basis for which the conflict happened with the romance (not enough buildup for me) but it didn’t really affect my overall rating at all tbh.

Re-readability: YES!!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Already pre-ordered it!!

a5fans of Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door, people who love adorable and heart-melty type romances (BUT GO READ ANNA AND LOLA FIRST), people who are looking for a happily evers that are super satisfying

a8Stephanie Perkins is the queen of happily ever afters and she delivered in this final books in her beloved companion series. I LOVED Isla and Josh and their story and I was over the moon to see what happened to the beloved characters of the previous two books. It was a smile-inducing read that was worth the very long wait and my my heart soar! It was everything I have come to love about Stephanie Perkins books and I’m excited to see what she does next — BUT PLEASE STILL GIVE US YOUR DELECTABLE ROMANCES BECAUSE THERE IS STILL ROOM IN MY HEART FOR MORE!

 

review-on-post-itIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

 

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 this series feel like something you’d be into?
* DID YOU MELT INTO AN OOEY-GOOEY PUDDLE LIKE I DID AT A CERTAIN PART NEAR THE END?? (seriously, when I realized they would be together all in one room I DIED and then the thing after the pizza place…DEAD DEAD DEAD OMG)
* I’m curious, which was your favorite book? Favorite romance? Girl you related to the most?
* Is there anyone who rivals Stephanie Perkins in the swoon department?? Can you recommend something?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

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