Monday, July 25, 2016

P.S. I Like You (Early ARC Review)

Monday, July 25, 2016 12:44 AM with 1 comment
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P.S. I Like You

Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Point
Release date: July 26, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.
 

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MY THOUGHTS:

Like a lot of bloggers, I've been a fan of Kasie West since her marvelous debut, Pivot Point, which is an awesome paranormal story. Since her debut (and its sequel), West seems to be focusing on contemporary romance, which I'm a huge fan of. If you pay attention to my reading habits at all, you've probably noticed that I lean pretty hard towards contemporary. That said, I have to admit that I haven't loved any of her contemporary novels nearly as much as I loved Pivot Point...until P.S. I Like You. While PP is still my favorite of hers, PS is easily my favorite of her romances.

P.S. I Like You stars a girl named Lily who is a pretty average teenager. She has a long, loving family, a great best friend, and a long-standing crush on a boy she has never talked to. She also has an antagonist relationship with Lily's ex-boyfriend, Cade.

All Lily wants is to become a song writer--and a little bit of peace and quiet in her crazy house to have the time to write. She carries around a notebook full of song lyrics, ideas, and drawings, which gets banned from her chemistry class when her teacher notices that she isn't paying attention. This leads to her writing on the desk a song lyric from her favorite band...a lyric that gets a response from somebody else in another chemistry class. This interaction leads to more and more personal notes exchanged between Lily and the mystery person until she starts to believe that she may be falling for the writer who seems to get her perfectly.

If you've ever read a book or watched a movie, you're going to figure out who this mystery writer is immediately. This book isn't setting the world aflame with its originality by any stretch of the imagination. Lily is "quirky" with her mismatched, second-hand clothes. She might have misjudged how she feels about people in the story. Yada, yada, yada. It was 100% predictable, but I didn't care at all while I was reading it. I loved Lily. I loved the romance. I swooned at the end. I read this in a day.

Sometimes we pick up certain books or watch certain movies BECAUSE we know what we are going to get. I loved this book, and if you like fluffy, adorable, swoon-y stories, then I'm willing to bet that you will, too.

Definitely recommend.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Weekly Rewind 7.23.16

Friday, July 22, 2016 10:54 PM with 6 comments
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Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves and my week in a nutshell.

Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves.

My Life and Blog

Life: I feel like every time I blink it is Friday again. Summer is absolutely flying by. Period. 

Blog and reading:WoW this week. I finished P.S. I Like You this week--so cute and quick, I loved it--and Rites of Passage which was okay. I'm currently reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda while debating what arc I'm going to read next (I finished West's book late last night). 

New Books: I have a handful of pretties to share with you this week. So without further ado, I hope you are all having fabulous weekends!

 For Review

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The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay
This cover is very reminiscent of the movie The Strangers. I'm sure of two things: 1. That was intentional, 2. There is no way this will be even as close to as scary. Private schools and secret societies are my weakness, though. 
The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy
I have no idea what this is about, but that cover is pretty.
The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn
I'm not sure about this one. I haven't read anything by this author, but it is my understanding that her writing is very strange. This is about a cult, I think. Anybody read this one yet? Worth it?
The Regulars by Georgia Clark
Three 20-somethings find an elixir that make them beautiful. I'm definitely curious about this one. 

What I snagged from the library

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Book:
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Another reimagining of Sherlock Holmes. This time at a prep school with Holme's great-great granddaughter. (There might be another great or two in there.) I've had this a couple of times and just cannot seem to get to it. 
Audio:
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
I read the arc of this really early...and then didn't write a review and want to revisit it without reading it again. Thanks, audiobooks.
Movie:
Batman vs. Superman
I'm going to go into this with an open-mind because I do often like movies that others did not...but my expectations are also reasonably low. That may sound contradictory, but it makes sense to me.
Well that's it for me this week. Feel free to leave a link to whatever weekend post you do (Stacking the Shelves, In My Mailbox, etc). I love to see what books people have recently snagged and especially enjoy hearing about my fellow bloggers' weeks. I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (158) Fireworks

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 12:07 AM with 3 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.


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Fireworks

Author: Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 18, 2017

Goodreads:

From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

Why I'm Excited:
I really enjoyed 99 Days (it is being released in PB on Tuesday!), so of course I'm excited for this one. I love that it is about the 90's boy/girl band craze. I love the 90s. I did a post about how much I love the 90s which you can find here (If you do decide to read this post, please disregard all the missing graphics. I just went to find the link and cannot believe how many of the pictures/gifs are now missing--and I'm way too lazy to recreate this post from over two years ago). I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. 

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up!

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Weekly Rewind 7.16.16

Friday, July 15, 2016 10:41 PM with 8 comments
Image result for natflixandbooks
Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves and my week in a nutshell.

Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves.


Life and Blog

Life: I seriously cannot believe how quickly this summer is flying by. I'm already halfway through my break! Not a whole lot to report this week, so I'll keep my ramblings pretty short. One thing I'm looking forward to this weekend is that a group of us is doing one of those escape rooms tomorrow. I haven't gotten out of the house much this summer, so I'm definitely looking forward to some fun with my friends. I tend to be a bit of a homebody if left to my own devices. 

Blog and reading: WoW this week. I'm currently listening to Rites of Passage, a book I'd heard great things about. I had to drive down to VA and back yesterday for a dentist's appointment, so after that nine hour round trip, I almost finished it in one day. I'm on the second to last cd now which will probably take at least a week to finish. Lol. I think I might have the arc somewhere, so I'll have to see if I can find it so I can finish it quicker. I'm enjoying it, but not as much as I thought I would after hearing such positive things. I think the story would have been just as effective if it was shorter, but I do like the main character and hope the main antagonist gets his comeuppance. I'm currently reading Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda and P.S. I Like You. 

New Books: I have a handful of pretties to share with you today. So without further ado, I hope you are all having fabulous weekends!

For Review

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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
I just started this last night and only read the first couple of chapters, so I don't have a lot to say about it yet. I love this cutesy cover and it's Kasie West, so. 
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
The only experience I have with this author is The Fever, which I found intriguing at first but that was ultimately a major letdown. I did like the style, though, and think this book about a teen gymnastics prodigy and violent murder mystery sounds interesting. 
The Darkest Hour by Caroline Tung Richmond
A girl joins a Covert Ops with the mission to take down Hitler. I'm always interested in WWII stories.
Gemini by Sonya Mukherjec
This dual POV is about conjoined twins who want different things from life. Sounds interesting. 

What I snagged from the library

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Books:
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
This Hogarth Shakespeare series is pretty awesome. This is a retelling of Taming of the Shrew. What I cannot wait for is Gillian Flynn's take on Hamlet...which comes out in, like, four years. 
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
I have an e-arc of this but didn't get to it before it released, so I decided to snag a finished copy. I'm a bit hesitant to start series lately...like I haven't been reading series at all...but it's Schwab and at least this is just a duology.
Audio:
Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley
This is about a girl who is getting absolutely terrorized for being one of the first girls at a military academy. I'm liking the story ok, but it is a bit too long imo. 
Movie
Hail Caesar
The hubs and I watched this a couple of nights ago. I liked it (he didn't), but it wasn't the best movie ever. It's not even the best Cohen Brother's movie. I did like the throwback style, the cast, and the quick storyline. 

Well that's it for me this week. Feel free to leave a link to whatever weekend post you do (Stacking the Shelves, In My Mailbox, etc). I love to see what books people have recently snagged and especially enjoy hearing about my fellow bloggers' weeks. I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (157) Literally

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 12:40 AM with 5 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.


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Literally

Author: Lucy Keating
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 11, 2017

Goodreads:

A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word?

The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”


Why I'm Excited:
Ok, so that really does literally (ahem) sound like Stranger Than Fiction (which is an awesome movie if you've not seen it), but it sounds really fun regardless. I love that the author in the book is the author of the book. I'll definitely be keeping my eyes out for this one.

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up!

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Weekly Rewind 7.9.16

Saturday, July 9, 2016 12:05 AM with 10 comments
Image result for natflixandbooks
Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves and my week in a nutshell.

Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves.



My Life and Blog

Life: Last weekend ended up being a lot of fun. Sunday was my 11th wedding anniversary. We went to a nice dinner on Saturday, and then went to a good friend's party on Sunday. I made a very yummy rose lemonade (rose wine, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup), and drank my fair share of it. It ended up being a gorgeous day in the mid-70s, which was such a nice break from the 90 degree weather we've been having. One of my closest friends moved to Arizona a couple of months ago, and I seriously cannot even imagine dealing with, like, 115 degree weather. I'm from the Mountain West, so I know that there is definitely a difference between dry and humid heat...but it doesn't matter if it is a dry heat once you get over 100 degrees. 

For those who showed concern the last time I talked about it, my fat kitty is still alive and doing alright. He has definitely lost some weight, but he is still very interested in food and wants to be petted and loved, so I don't think we need to worry about putting him out of his misery yet. I've loved spending time with him and my other lovely kitty this summer. 

Blog and reading:WoW this week and a review for The Female of the Species (which is pretty early, but I couldn't wait to share my thoughts on this important book). I'm having a hard time getting into anything after reading The Female of the Species, but I plan on reading Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda next, which I purchased yesterday. I also started Smash & Grab last night, but only got through the first chapter before falling asleep.

New Books: I have a nice handful of pretties to share with you today. So without further ado, I hope you are all having fabulous weekends!

For Review 

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The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
This book is dark and violent and important. The link to my review is above if you're interested. 
Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker
I love this cover and was hoping for a Heist Society-type story when I snagged this. I've only read the first chapter and a half or so, but I'm not loving it so far. My biggest complaint is that male POV (in what I'm assuming is just a dual POV story) is apparently Hispanic because he keeps dropping Spanish words...but really awkwardly. I'm going to give it another 10% or so.
A teen girl gets a dream job as a dating blogger/intern for a NY magazine, but she lied about her dating experience to get it. Sounds cute. 
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
I think this book about a woman on a cruise who swears she saw the woman next door go into the water has a good chance of being the "big thriller" of the summer. Anyone read this one yet?

What I Bought



Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I've heard nothing but good things about this one. I read the first few chapters months ago, but had to take it back to the library before I could finish it. I'm looking forward to finishing this one. 
Over the course of a night, a couple decides if they are going to try for a long-distance relationship or split up before they leave for separate colleges. 

What I snagged from the library

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Books: 
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
I was so excited to read this last fall...and then just kind of forgot about it. I'm trying to read a mix of books I couldn't get to over the school year and ARCs this summer. 
Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano
I have to admit that I was way more excited to read this book before I realized that it was by an author whose debut I kind of hated last year. I'm going to give it a shot, though, so we'll see. 
Movies:
10 Cloverfield Lane
We watched this last night. It is pretty good. John Goodman is so very, very creepy, and I love Mary Elizabeth Winstead (who I always think of as Ramona Flowers). 
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
My love of Tina Fey knows no bounds. I'm so excited for this one. 

Well that's it for me this week. Feel free to leave a link to whatever weekend post you do (Stacking the Shelves, In My Mailbox, etc). I love to see what books people have recently snagged and especially enjoy hearing about my fellow bloggers' weeks. I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!



Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Female of the Species (Early ARC Review)

Thursday, July 7, 2016 12:02 AM with 5 comments
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The Female of the Species

Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Teagan Books
Release date: September 20, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.


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MY THOUGHTS:

This is a story about darkness and violence. It is a story about rape and the boys and men who just take what they want. It is a story about how violence against women has become so insidious in our culture that it is the norm. In a world of #gamergate where women get death and rape threats simply for being a part of the gaming world. In a world where a convicted felon gets mere months in jail after raping an unconscious woman because the judge was more worried about his future than hers. That is the world this story takes place in, and it is a story I will think about for a long, long time. I finished it at 2 in the morning after starting at about midnight the night before, and I just laid in my bed reeling from the ending while my husband slept peacefully beside me. I wanted to shake him awake and talk about this book, but I knew he wouldn't appreciate that, so instead I find myself writing literally my first full review in months because I needed to let you know about this amazing, dark story.

Sometimes when Harper does its magical dump on Edelweiss I cannot help but just snag, snag, snag. I've been trying to be more careful with my selections and only download the books that I sincerely want to read (and I've honestly gotten SO much better over the past year or so), but I will still sometimes just snag books based on cover and author without reading the synopsis...which is what I did with The Female of the Species. I also started this the other night without reading the synopsis. Based on the cover, I was expected a feel-good feminist book with a kick-ass heroine and probably a love story. Kick-ass heroine? Check. Love story? Check. Feel-good? OMG, not at fucking all. From the very first page this story was dark and violent and very mature for YA. It opens with said kick-ass heroine murdering the man who raped and killed her sister, but who got away with it because of lack of evidence. This was a buckle-in-your-in-for-a-bumpy-ride type of story and I couldn't put it down.

The story follows three perspectives: Alex (who is definitely the main character), the girl with the dead sister, drunk mother, and absentee father; Peekay--a nickname meaning PK, or preacher's kid--who volunteers with Alex and an animal shelter and becomes her friend; and Jack, the golden boy who is vying for valedictorian against Alex and who becomes smitten by her. There is a fourth prominent character, Branley, who isn't one of our perspectives, but who is very much a part of the story. She is the beautiful girl who "stole" Peekay's boyfriend and the girl who continues to try to sleep with Jack despite his burgeoning relationship with Alex. One of my small complaints would be that I wish she would have had a POV as well since she does play a roll in the storyline.

Alex has always been different. Throughout her life she has heard the phrase: "What is wrong with you?" Her older sister used to protect her and the world from her, so when she dies, Alex is left with the task of trying to reign herself in. She isn't a psychopath--she does what she does because she feels too much empathy, not because she doesn't feel any. Over the course of her senior year she finds herself in the new position of not only having her first friend (Peekay), but her first boyfriend (Jack). I really liked Alex. I loved how she thought so carefully about her words before she spoke. I loved how fiercely loyal she was of her new best friend. I loved that she refused to slut-shame the girl who continued to try to sleep with her boyfriend (Branley), like when another girl says, "I cannot believe what she is wearing!" (or something along those lines), and Alex responds with a simple, "She looks nice."

While I could have personally identified with Peekay more, being a preacher's kid myself, I never really did. I liked her and her friendship with Alex, but I never felt as invested in her story as Alex's...although really, again, the whole book really is Alex's story despite having the different POVs. Peekay is getting over a recent break-up with the boy she has been with forever who is now going out with Branley.

Like Peekay, Jack also fell a bit flat for me compared to Alex. He is a typical teenage boy who thinks about sex and drugs and getting out of his small town so he doesn't end up like his parents. What I loved about him was how much he respected his parents, despite not wanting to end up like them. He takes a job at a slaughterhouse with his father because he respects him and knows that the job is not beneath him. He takes it so he can work with his father for one hour everyday when their shifts overlap. He is doing what he can to break away from Branley and the easy sex she offers so that he can have something real with Alex.

It is books like this that make me sometimes wish I taught high school instead of middle school. I love my school and students, but this book is definitely too old for my MS shelves (although I would definitely have it there if I taught, say, 11th or 12th grade). It is one of those books that makes you really look at our world and what we really do think of as normal. Gorgeously written and fast-paced. If this book isn't already on your radar, you need to change that immediately.

While I read and ARC, so quotes are subject to change, there were a couple of passages that truly resonated with me. Here is one:

Because there are others like him still. Tonight they used words they know, words that don't bother people anymore. They said bitch. They told another girl they would put their dicks in her mouth. No one protested because this is our language now. 

Read this. Definitely recommend.