May 2019 Wrap Up

I didn’t read that many books this month, though I wanted to get this wrap up on time, unlike the last couple months. 3 books. That is how many books I got through this month. One that I finished that I had started in April, but finished in May.

The one book I started in April, but finished in May was The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith. I only had maybe a hundred pages left in the book, and it didn’t take me that long to finish it. It was a really hard book to read at times, which is why it took me so long to get through. It’s about a girl’s struggle with having been sexually assaulted by her brother’s friend. It’s raw. It’s heartbreaking. It was something that will probably stay with me for a long time.

And because of how dark that book was, I needed something a little more lighthearted. Which is why I picked up Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett. This is similar to the books by Morgan Matson and Becky Albertalli. I won’t go too much into the synopsis of this book, since I did a whole review on it. Just know that I really enjoyed it and it was a lot more lighthearted than The Way I Used to Be.

I also read the fourth installment of the Sailor Moon manga series. It was a fast-paced book that I was able to fly through in only a couple of days. I think this is the one that has really cemented me into the series. A lot more is going on and there are so much more at stake. Luckily I have the next one to read in June.

The last book that I read in May was Be the Girl by K.A. Tucker. Again, I did a book review on this book, but just know that it hit me hard. I wasn’t expecting it to be so impactful. Essentially it’s about a girl named Aria, who moves to a new town in order to start over, to escape from a past that she wants to leave behind her. Only, that’s not exactly what happens. While it was the realistic contemporary book that I was looking for, there was so much more than just a light and fluffy read. It dealt with such heavy topics, like bullying, and I wasn’t expecting that when I initially picked it up.

So those are the books that I was able to read this month. I’m hoping to get through more in June. I already have plans on listening to many audiobooks, in hopes of getting through more than just 3 books.

What did you guys read this month? Did you read any of these that I did? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: Be the Girl by K.A. Tucker

Be the Girl follows a girl named Aria who is starting over in a new town with a new last name. She has the intention of leaving her past behind her, and becoming someone else, someone better. She thinks everything is going good, with the Hartford family next door. She makes friends with Cassie Hartford, who is socially awkward because of her autism. Aria crushes hard on Cassie’s brother, Emmett, a popular hockey player at her school. But of course nothing goes according to plan. Things happen where Aria makes a risky move that earns her an enemy who is determined to bring to light Aria’s past and destroy her almost too perfect new world. 

This was the first K.A. Tucker book that I read and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this book. I was surprised at the impact that this book held. I went into it thinking that it was going to be a light, fluffy read.

Boy was I wrong.

This book has a lot of deeper aspects that I wasn’t expecting at all. It deals with bullying and autism. While I don’t personally have autism, it seemed like a pretty accurate representation of what it would be like for someone with it. And it isn’t the main character who deals with it, but her neighbor. They become friends, and it is such a wonderful friendship that feels so genuine.

Speaking of Aria’s neighbor, Cassie Hartford is a great character. I love how straightforward she is, even if it isn’t on purpose. She speaks her mind, even though she doesn’t always understand the social norms that the other students go through in high school.

Aria herself was also a really great character. She wasn’t one dimensional. She had her fair share of issues that she had to deal with; the fact that she had to move in order to start over. Without saying too much, let’s just say the ending was nothing that I was expecting. She has a personal growth and a deep secret that I wasn’t expecting to see at the end, but that just made the character seem that more realistic.

My face at the end of this book

I would definitely consider pick up other books by K.A. Tucker in the future. This was the perfect mix of light and fluffy as well as deep and impactful. And even though there was a lot of this book that I was surprised by, it was exactly what I was looking for. This was exactly the type of book that I enjoy.

If you enjoy YA contemporary, realistic fiction, then this book is definitely one that you would enjoy. If you enjoyed books by Francesca Zappia, Morgan Matson and Becky Albertalli, then you should pick this one up.

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

This is the another contemporary romance novel by Jenn Bennett. You might have read her other novels, Alex, Approximately, Starry Eyes, and The Anatomical Shape of a Heart. After an awkward first encounter, this book follows the main characters, Birdie and Daniel, who are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel

I had read Jenn Bennett’s previous books, and absolutely loved them. When I found out that she was coming out with this one, I automatically had to read it. I didn’t even have to read the synopsis to know that I would probably really enjoy the book. And enjoy it I did! More so probably.

The main thing I enjoyed about this book was the unique characters and also the fact that the author incorporates a chronic disorder, such as narcolepsy. However, there are trigger warnings for the death of a parent, health problems (narcolepsy & episodes related to prior), suicide attempts, depression, abandonment by a parent, loss of pregnancy, and grieving.

The characters were so quirky, and I loved that about them. Nothing about them felt like stock characters; each one had their own personality and unique mannerism about them. I loved how different Birdie is – just her name alone is different. But she loves detective novels. She loves mysteries in general, and also solving them, which is what takes place during a majority of this book. Her and Daniel are trying to solve the mystery of the famous author who kept checking into the hotel Daniel and Birdie works at.

The main mystery that the two characters were trying to solve was part of the reason I was on the edge of my seat while I was reading. It didn’t quite feel like a contemporary novel, at least not in totality. It also felt like a mystery novel inside a contemporary, which is an aspect of this book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

My favorite aspect, however, had to be the romance between Birdie and Daniel. It’s one that isn’t always shown in YA novels. In most YA novels, there isn’t much mention of sex, but Bennett handled that topic really well and realistically in this book. It’s something that would happen in real life, and it’s something that should be discussed in these books, since it’s something that is coming up during the teenage years, especially the mention of safe sex. The first encounter between the main characters is them meeting in the Moonlight diner, where one thing led to another, and they wound up in the back seat of Daniel’s car. Birdie didn’t think she would see him again, but when she found out she’d be working with him at the hotel, she kind of freaked out. She didn’t think that she’d wind up actually falling for him at the end.

Overall, this is a great book for anyone who loved Jenn Bennett’s previous books, or YA contemporary books in general. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who also enjoyed Morgan Matson, Becky Albertalli, and Sandhya Menon. It’s definitely worth the read.

March & April 2019 Wrap Up

I realized halfway through April that I didn’t post a March wrap up, so I decided to combine them into one post and talk about the books I read in both March and April, since there weren’t that many. I think in total, there were maybe six in March and four in April, though some were left over from the previous month.

I finished a couple of books in March that I had started in February, which were Battle Angel Alita and Radio Silence. I had watched the movie, Alita Battle Angel, in February that was adapted from the manga series, and that was what sparked my interest in the series. So I decided to pick up the first volume, and absolutely loved it. It wasn’t exactly the same as the movie, but then again, I wouldn’t have expected it to be.

I listened to Radio Silence on audiobook, and I really enjoyed it. Especially the audiobook, since the book follows two characters who make a podcast together. But the story itself is one that hits close to home because of what it is about, and that is mental illness and struggling to live up to expectations while also finding your own path in life.

I also read The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell. I kind of picked this one up on a whim, mainly because I was in the mood for a fantasy book at the time, especially after listening to Radio Silence. I actually did a review on this book, so I won’t go too much into what I thought about it, other than the fact that I bought the second book in the series. I think all you really need to know is that it’s about a girl that can go back and forth in time. There is magic and mischief and gangs. It’s definitely worth the read.

After finishing that book, which took me a bit longer than I was expecting since it’s so long, I decided to pick up Angie Thomas’ recent release, On The Come Up, which I not only listened to on audiobook, but also read along in the physical book. This is another book I did a review on. And I absolutely recommend reading this one. It hit me in all the feels. I loved it so much. I would definitely recommend listening to it on audio; for some reason listening to it made the story all the more impactful. If you liked Thomas’ debut, you will no doubt like this one. Two words: female rapper. Fantastic.

I read the next couple volumes of One Piece, which I’m not going to go too much into, other than the fact that they continue Luffy’s adventures in finding One Piece. He gets into all kinds of shenanigans as always.

I listened to a lot of audiobooks in April, now that I’m looking back on it. I listened to Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch and The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis, both of which I didn’t finish in March. I also listened to Vicious by V.E. Schwab, which was a reread for me. I really need to get to the sequel to it, Vengeful. I was on a V.E. Schwab kick for some reason, and also listened tp The Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, which was the last book in the Shades of Magic series.

I technically didn’t finish The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith in April, but I was pretty close to finishing it. It was the first book I finished in May. And man, did it hit me in the feels. It was definitely an impactful story that unfortunately is one that isn’t necessarily that uncommon. It deals with rape, so there is definitely a trigger warning for that, as well as substance abuse.

Those were the books that I read in both March and April. I know it’s late, but I just wanted to get this posted so I could feel at least a bit more up-to-date. And while we’re already almost halfway through May (which is crazy to think about), I should be posting my May TBR soon.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them!

Book Discussion: Library or nah?

I have been going to my local library for as long as I can remember. I’ve always had a library card, and I’m constantly checking out books from the library. But I know that there are people who would rather own the books that they read, collect them and display them in their home on a personal bookshelf.

So which is better? Free books or owning your own personal library?

Personally, it’s a toss up for me. There are aspects of the library that I love and there are aspects of buying books that I love.

First of all, free books. Who could go wrong with being able to check out a wide variety of books for free? You basically get to take home as many books you want…for free. And the only catch really is that you return them within the specified time. I have taken out books throughout the years that I’m so glad I didn’t decide to buy. I’d get maybe fifty pages into a book and realize that I couldn’t get into the story or that I didn’t like the characters or writing style.

Me when I go to the bookstore

At the same time, I find that if I really love a book, I would want to buy it for my collection. That way, I could read it again whenever I want or just flip back to certain scenes that I particularly loved. I wouldn’t have to worry about going through the hassle of checking the book out again, and have to risk being on the waiting list. I can just go to my shelf and pick it up.

I buy my fair share of books, and I have more bookshelves in my bedroom than I probably need. I love collecting books and seeing them on my bookshelf brings me so much joy. Honestly, I’d buy all the books that I want to read if I had the money for them.

I’m still on the fence about which I like better. Both have their perks. I honestly switch back and forth between buying books and checking them out from the library. If I know the library has the book I want to read, I’d check it out first to save money. If I love it that much, I’ll buy my own copy.

Which do you like more? Going to the library or buying your own books? Are there any other advantages or disadvantages of using the library vs buying books that you know of? Let me know!

Books To Read in April

I know, we’re already halfway into the month and I haven’t posted the books that I want to read in April. I really don’t have that many that I really want to get to this month, so I’m going to make this list brief.

The first couple are ones that I was in the middle of reading in March, but hadn’t finished by the time the month was over. And as soon as April started, I pretty much finished them. So I could have counted them in March if March had a couple more days in the month. And as I write this post I realized that I haven’t done my March Wrap-Up, so I’ll probably include the books that I read in March with the books that I read in April.

The first book that I finished in April was Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch. I actually listened to this on audiobook, and overall really enjoyed it. It follows a girl named Addie who goes to Ireland for her aunt’s wedding. And so much chaos occurs. I went into more detail in my review. But overall, I really enjoyed the story, and it made me want to travel more.

The other book that I finished in April but started in March was The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis. This book follows a boy named Evan who had recently come out to his family as being gay, but being strictly religious, his mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. It’s a heartbreaking story that has a strong trigger warning for domestic abuse.

Those were the two books that I started in March, but finished in April. I probably could have finished them if I had more time, but with school and work, I’ve been pressed for time. But I do have more books that I want to get to this month. Even though I’m probably setting myself up for failure. But I’ve already started and finished a book this month. It was a graphic novel, yes, but it counts as a book read.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about what this volume is about since it’s the 7th volume in the series, but what I will say is that it’s a story about a boy name Luffy who wants to be the greatest pirate in the world. It follows his adventures in trying to do that and the people he meets along the way. He gets into a lot of shenanigans and causes a lot of trouble. It’s a very action-packed series, and I fly through every volume I pick up.

I recently picked up Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman from the library. I’m only a few stories in, but it basically follows the Norse gods and the trouble that they get into, especially Loki. The main reason I decided to read this is because my boyfriend and I have been binging the Marvel movies since I had never seen them. After watching Thor, I had an interest in learning about Norse mythology.  

I’m also about one hundred pages into A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. This is the final book in the Shades of Magic trilogy, and the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, follows a man named Kell who is one of the last Antari, or magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons: Red, Grey, White and once, Black.

Other than the ones that I’ve finished already or have started, there aren’t that many more books that I plan to get to this month. Especially because I have a feeling that A Conjuring of Light is going to take me a long time since it’s over 600 pages long. And with school and work, I’m not sure how much time I’m going to have to actually read other than on the weekends. Plus I just recently bought a new Pokemon game, and that’s been taking up a lot of my time too.

What books do you plan on reading this month? Or have already read since we’re already halfway through the month? I’d love to know!

Night and Day Book Tag

I found this tag on Kristina’s blog, and after reading the questions and her answers, I had to do the tag too, even though I wasn’t tagged to do it. The questions seemed fun, and I haven’t done many tags on my blog. So I decided to give it a try. 

Do you read more in the morning or at night?

It depends on when I get the time. Honestly, I try to squeeze reading in whenever I get the chance. But if I have work all day, then I mostly will read at night before bed. But on the weekends, I tend to try to read during the day.

Are there any books that changed the way you thought about things?

Yes, there are so many. Not only in the way they made me think about myself, but others. A few that changed the way I thought about myself, specially about my anxiety, are The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall, and Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. Those few books made me realize that there were others who also struggled with mental illnesses, and that I don’t have it quite as hard as others might.

The books that changed the way I thought about others in general are by the same author. Angie Thomas wrote The Hate U GIve and On the Come Up, and after reading those books, I feel like they have changed me personally. While I have never been one to judge others and where they come from, these two books showed me how others lived and what was at stake for them. The characters in these two books had to deal with things that I would never have to deal with in my lifetime, and I commend Angie Thomas for writing such raw and heartbreaking books.

YA or not?

That’s all I really read. I don’t think I will ever not read YA, even when they stop being relevant to me.

Are there characters that you honestly believe are real?

I agree with Kristina’s answer. I honestly feel like all characters feel real to me as I’m reading.

Nobody touches my books or I don’t mind loaning my books out?

I don’t loan my books out that much, mainly because I don’t have many people I know who read the same types of books as me.

Do you ever smell your books?

Not too much, actually.

Not everyone loves books…is this a positive or negative?

I try to encourage reading whenever I can, especially those close to me, like my friends or family. I get really excited whenever someone I know shows any inkling of interest in books and reading. Though if people don’t like reading, I don’t really judge them. It’s a matter of preference. We can’t all like the same things.

Have you ever spilled or stained books before with something, if so how?

Sadly, yes this has happened, but it wasn’t done purposely. I had one of those Glad plugins on my bookshelf, and it was tipped on its side. It spilled on one of my books, specifically Fang from the Maximum Ride series. To this day, I can’t stand the smell of lavender because when I read Fang, that’s all I could smell.

Toned or untoned? In other words, do you read and workout at the same time?

When I workout (which isn’t as often as I would like) is listening to an audiobook while I go for a walk. Other than that, I don’t think I’d be able to read a physical book when I do any kind of workout. I would keep getting distracted, and probably motion sickness.

Feel free to do this tag if you like. And if you do this tag, tag me so I could see your answers.

Book Review: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up is about a sixteen-year-old named Bri who wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least to make it out of her neighborhood one day. She has to live up to her dad’s name, the name of an underground rap legend who died before he had the chance to make it big. She has some big shoes to fill. But her mom lost her job, they’re struggling to keep food on the table and the lights on in the house. Bri feels like she doesn’t just want to make it, she has to. To keep her family above water.

This is Angie Thomas’ second novel, following her debut that was released in 2017, The Hate U Give, which quickly became a NY Times Bestseller. It received the National Book Awards in 2017 for Young People’s Literature. And for good reason; that book was absolutely heartbreaking considering it was about the main character witnessing a police shooting her best friend.

On the Come Up is just as heartbreaking. And it was a book that I was looking forward to reading since it came out this year. And I’m so glad that I did. I didn’t know much about what it was about until I started reading it; I didn’t need to know much since it was by Angie Thomas and I loved her debut novel. They aren’t in a series, so you wouldn’t have to read them in order, but I would definitely recommend reading both of them. They’re both powerful and hard-hitting. On the Come Up was such a fantastic read. Like I honestly have no words for how great this book is.

I listened to it on audiobook, and I definitely would recommend it. Something about listening to it made the reading experience so much more impactful. It almost felt like I was watching a movie as I listened. I liked the way that the narrator, Bahni Turpin, told the story because she was able to give the story and the characters more life. I was able to hear the dialect of the characters, and it just felt more engaging that way.

I only read this book in three days, which says something about the book itself. That, and the fact that I listened to it on audiobook. I haven’t read a book that fast in a while, and I know a book is good when I can’t stop reading it. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I would strongly suggest you pick it up. It deserves all the hype that surrounds it.

Book Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

This takes place in modern-day New York, where magic is all but extinct. Those who do have an affinity for magic (Mageus), live in the shadows and have to hide who they really are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan gets trapped by a dark energy barrier called the Brink. If anyone crosses it, they lose their power, and in most cases, their lives.

Esta is a thief, a very talented one. She was raised to steal magical artifacts from the Order that created the Brink. She’s able to manipulate time, and in doing so, Esta can pilfer from the past in order to collect these artifacts before the Order realizes she’s there. In all of her training, Esta has been preparing for one job: traveling to 1902 to steal an ancient book that contains the secrets of the Order – and the Brink – before the Magician can destroy it.

But of course nothing goes according to plan. Old New York is ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, where magic isn’t at all extinct. Nothing is as it seems, even the Magician himself. But if Esta is to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past. But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

This book was a lot of fun, and nothing that I expected it to be. I went into it not knowing what I was getting myself into, and came out of it loving the ride I was taken on. I really enjoyed Esta’s affinity to manipulate time, and it was so cool reading about it every time she did it and how much she put at risk when she did jump through time. Just one misstep would change the future as she knew it.

I didn’t know who to trust, and that alone kept me on the edge of my seat while I was reading it. Especially towards the end. The stakes were getting really high and intense that I couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t see any of what happened coming.

I definitely have to get the sequel as soon as possible to see what happens next because it definitely was set up for a sequel. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy, especially the kind of fantasy that includes magic and gangs and secret societies.

Audiobooks to Read in 2019

Or in this case, books I want to listen to.

Something that I’ve really gotten into last year was audiobooks. In the middle of 2018, I decided to give Audible a try. I had already began listening to audiobooks through my local library, but there wasn’t a large selection of books that I was really interested in. So I figured Audible would allow me to have a larger selection. And let me tell you, I was hooked.

I was getting through so many more books because of audiobooks. I was listening to them while I showered, while I put my laundry away, while I drove to work, while I painted my nails, while I colored. I fell in love with them because of the ability to multitask. I wasn’t stuck reading a book on my bed and not doing anything else. It opened up the opportunity to do so much more while I was reading that it didn’t even feel like I was reading.

Okay, so this isn’t a paid promotion for Audible, though I do recommend checking it out if you’re interested in listening to audiobooks. It’s just one of the apps I’ve used to listen to audiobooks. I also use my local library, especially when I don’t feel like spending money on a book and they have it in their catalog.

This is just a short list of the audiobooks that I want to get to this year; they’re a few that I have on my wishlist or ones that are my top audiobooks I want to get to at some point this year. This isn’t a complete list; I’m sure there are so many others that I want to get to.

And I know it’s already March, and I’ve already gotten some of these read, but I wanted to create a list to look back on so I can hold myself accountable.

The Wicked King by Holly Black is the second book after The Cruel Prince. I listened to that book last year, and really enjoyed it. It followed a girl, Jude, and her two sisters who was stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. She wants to belong at the court, even though she is human. As she becomes more involved in the palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. It was a fast-paced, action-packed first book to the series, and I have been waiting to dive into the sequel since it came out in January 2019.

Winter by Marissa Meyer is the fourth book in the Lunar Chronicles. I have slowly been making my way through this series, and I’m really looking forward to getting to this installment. The first book, Cinder, is a retelling of Cinderella, where Cinder is a cyborg. Each book in the series follows her in her escape from danger; each book is a retelling of a fairy tale. Scarlet is the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and Cress is the retelling of Rapunzel. This one is a retelling of Snow White. Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas is Angie Thomas’ second book released. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give was released in 2017, and quickly became a NY Times Bestseller. It also got the National Book Awards in 2017 for Young People’s Literature. And for good reason; that book was heartbreaking, and an absolutely necessary book to read. And if possible, listened to on audiobook because it was an amazing reading experience.

On the Come Upis one that I have been looking forward to reading since it came out in February of this year. These two books aren’t connected in any way, so you wouldn’t have to read one in order to read the other, but I definitely recommend reading Thomas’ debut novel. From what I can tell, On the Come Up is about a girl who wants to become the greatest rapper of all time, and has some pretty big shoes to fill since her dad was an underground rap legend.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas is one that I should have gotten to a long time ago. It’s the 6th and final book in the Throne of Glass series, which is essentially about a female assassin. It came out in September of 2018, and I have had it on my TBR shelf since then. Not only do I have the audiobook, but I also have the physical book. The thing that is keeping me from picking this book up is the size of it. It’s nearly 1,000 pages, which translates to over 30 hours for the audiobook. So I know if I start it, I have to invest a lot of time in it. It’s also the finale, so I’ve kind of been putting it off because I don’t want the series to end.

Like I said, this isn’t the complete list of audiobooks I want to get to this year, but a few of the main ones. I’m sure there are more that I’ll probably listen to even though they’re not listed here.

What are some books that you want to get to this year? Do you listen to audiobooks? Which ones are your favorites? I’d love to know in the comments below.