Tagged – The Book Blogger’s Test

The awesome Cayce from Fighting Dreamer tagged me in this test! I really like reading posts like this with fun answers but I’m pretty terrible at thinking up answers, though later I will think of several fitting ones!

What are your top three book pet hates?

1. Text/chat speak in texts. This might have been fitting at the beginning of texting when texts could only be so long and you were charged per text, but now I can write a novel through text and I don’t text with anyone who says “what time will u be here?” or “what r u doing?” unless they’re being ironic. I know some people probably do text this way, and I know people tweet and type that way on facebook, but it still bugs me.

2. Guys that are overly OVERLY affectionate. Sometimes when guys are super gushy in books, it just makes me roll my eyes. I think it has a lot to do with the writing, and makes the emotion feel less than genuine to me, which makes it all fall flat. I know guys can be affectionate, but I don’t always believe the writing.

3.Language that doesn’t fit the character. When a character is narrating but the author uses words they wouldn’t know/shows information they wouldn’t have. Sometimes it’s easy to tell that what’s going on doesn’t fit the character’s way of telling the story, so I’ll wish the author had written it a different way, or figured something else out. ALSO when some characters use super correct grammar and you can tell they wouldn’t normally. A lot of people don’t give a flip about who/whom in everyday conversation, so why would a random teenager just use whom?

Describe your perfect reading spot.

My bed, haha. I read the most in bed. I like reading at night before I sleep!

Tell us three book confessions.

I have no idea! I am bad at confessions, so these will be lame.

1. I am really weird about spoilers for books I am excited about  but don’t really care about random books. But sometimes reading spoilers for books I don’t care about will make me more interested in them.

2.  I always feel really negative and picky about books because I dislike a lot of popular ones.  I like to pick apart movies, even ones I really love. But I’m not as negative as I seem!

3. I used to drop books in the bathtub. I don’t really use the tub anymore/have a nice one but I still have the curled remains of one of the victims. I also dropped a portable cd player in the bath one time. Luckily it wasn’t dangerous.

When was the last time you cried during a book?

I think it was in The Passage. I was surprisingly leaky in that book! I didn’t expect to grow so fond of the story/characters and care so much about everything.
How many books are on your bedside table?

4! I just cleaned it off! My current read: Horde by Ann Aguirre, When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle, The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding, and the second Dark Tower book, which I am definitely starting after those!

table books

 

What is your favorite snack to eat while you’re reading?

Lately I haven’t been snacking at all while reading, but probably chips, plain potato chips and dip, or Hershey’s kisses.

 

Name three books you would recommend to everyone.

1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

2. Harry Potter! I was a hold out for a long time (I read them in 2012) and they’re so much fun, so people not wanting to be a part of it or just putting it off should just jump in!

3. Um. Lord of the Rings? I have no idea.
Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase.

Right now I’m living with my amazing sister and her amazing family and haven’t unpacked my books (though I’ve been here long enough that I probably should have) so this is my shelf right now:

messy bookshelf

It’s a mess! The top one is weirdly shorter so the second on usually holds my favorites and right now it has games and my awesome lampshade. The top shelf has the Dark Tower series. Both Raven Cycle books are there because my sister recently read and returned them. My Geography book that needs to be sold is on the top, and my Teen Wolf s1 and s2 dvds are also there. So, it’s not a look at my favorites but it’s a look at something! And the picture is bad because it was my phone and the lighting was weird!
Write how much books mean to you in just three words.

lovely company always  >> ??
What is your biggest reading secret?

Um, I don’t think I really have one? Maybe the amount of smut/romance I read but I don’t think it’s a “secret” I just don’t review it because I am worse at talking about it? Maybe I should try sometime, though.

 

I hate tagging people because I never feel like anyone will be like “Yay! She tagged me!” So I’m just going to tag Danielle from The Book Barn (whenever she has time) because I think she might actually like to do this and I would enjoy reading her answers. And if you’re interested in filling it out, you can be tagged from me and share your post with me so I can read it because I really enjoy reading them!

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski [thoughts]

The Winner's CurseThe Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
GoodreadsTwitter | Website
Release Date:March 4th 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #1

Goodreads description: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart

I didn’t really know what The Winner’s Curse was about, but it got a lot of buzz and I was interested.

The Winner’s Curse is about war! Kestrel (oh that name. It had a point but still.) is from a country/society that invaded another country and took it over. They live in their houses and use the people as slaves. Kestrel is a general’s daughter in a highly militaristic society. Arin, a slave she acquires, is…well, a slave. He doesn’t like the people that conquered his land, because really, who would? But they are interested in each other, of course.

Overall, I really liked this book. It was engaging and I was entertained. Kestrel isn’t amazingly skilled at every aspect of life, she’s actually bad at fighting and her father wants her to join the military. She’s good at strategy but she doesn’t want to join up and fight. She also doesn’t want to get married, but those are her only choices. She’s defiant, but she’s vulnerable too.

Arin is a slave and he’s understandably angry. His way of life has changed and now he’s a slave, along with his people. Every day he sees the remnants of his society under the power of violent conquerors. When he’s sold to Kestrel, he’s resistant, but his interest in her grows. I was kind of pleasantly surprised by Arin’s story, I loved that there was stuff going on I didn’t see coming, and it felt realistic.

Their romance was kind of weird for me. I couldn’t always understand why they were drawn together. I wasn’t completely against it, and I could like it at certain points, but I wasn’t completely sold.

I liked seeing the story from both sets of eyes. I liked the world and there were several things going on I didn’t expect. My major issue with it is something I could rant about but don’t want to spoil for anyone, and it might not be as huge for everyone else: towards the end a turn in the book kind of made everything fall apart for me. It kind of tore at some of the ideas the book had built up earlier. I couldn’t take the twist seriously and it bummed me out on the book,. and it’s something the next book will build on, so I’m not very sure about that. But I’m still interested in the world and characters and I want to see what else can happen.

rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Despite my big issue with part of the ending, I liked this book and this world! I want to read it again at some point and I will keep reading the series. It’s not a case of love but it is a lot of like and appreciation! I’ve actually read The Shadow Society by Rutkoski and I think I gave it 3 stars (before blogging), so I think she’s talented and I’m interested in her work. If you like war, especially if you’re interested in ancient Rome/Greece and strategy and difficult romances, I think you’d enjoy this one!

 

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart [thoughts]

We Were Liars cover We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Goodreads | Website | Twitter
Release Date: May 13th 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series: none

 

 

Goodreads description: A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE

I love E. Lockhart’s writing, and I of course saw a LOT of good reviews for We Were Liars before it came out, so it was an obvious go for me!

We Were Liars is about: A rich family that owns an island by Martha’s Vineyard and does rich family things. They are “perfect” and their life is a mess. Main character Cady is trying to piece together memories of an accident a few years ago and learns stuff she had forgotten about the family.

I have so many mixed feelings about this book. I saw a lot of hype and OMG!! about this book and the ENDING, but the twist was REALLY obvious to me. From the beginning, I had a good idea what was going on. I was actually hoping I was wrong so I could be all “OMG!!” too:

But it was what I thought it was. And that didn’t make the book bad or unenjoyable, but it did change the experience for me. Since I knew what was going on, I looked at events differently. I think some emotional attachment might have been lost, and I think if you’ve read it you might be able to see why. HOWEVER: I still really liked this book. It wasn’t what I expected and I wasn’t blown away, but I liked Cady and her journey a lot.

Cady went through a rough time, had to recover, and had to learn about herself and her family again. The view into a messed up family that pretends to be perfect but is really filled with bickering and pettiness was really insightful, because although not all families are horrible to each other, there are usually horrible moments in everyone’s life when you’re just like “WHY can’t everyone just be nice to each other?” And I think that’s a huge part of this book, looking at the why and trying to change things for the better, even if you go about it in a way that might add problems to your life.

The writing is amazing and there were a lot of quotes that were full of feeling and resonated. I didn’t save any particular ones (I tend to think I will go back and look through the book later but put it off and move on to the next book) but the writing is so lovely. And the island setting will make you wish you could fly somewhere nice and chill out on a private island. With books, of course!

rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I do think I would read We Were Liars again, I think it would benefit from a second read. I am pretty sure it’s going on my “buy list” even though I’m not dying for my own copy this second. I really like E. Lockhart’s writing and I definitely want to read anything she writes. I think this could be a good match for anyone who likes gritty stories, but if you’re good at figuring stories out, don’t hinge too much on the mystery/twist everyone raves about.

 

This is a really difficult book to talk about because of the setup and ending, so my review probably isn’t the best, sorry.

Have you read it? Were you shocked? Do you plan to read it?

 

 

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando [thoughts]

roomies coverRoomies by Sara Zarr @|www and Tara Altebrando @|www
Goodreads
Release Date: December 24th 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: none

Goodreads description: It’s time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl’s summer — and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they’ve never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

I decided to read Roomies because I saw some tweets about it, I mainly remember Estelle tweeting about it, and I saw it one day at the library and it called to me (as books do).

Roomies is about college roommates EB/Elizabeth and Lauren who are paired together potluck and get in contact with each other. They email and get to know one another, while not always understanding each other. They deal with big things going on in their lives. They learn things.

I really liked this book! I want to buy it and have it available to read again. It’s been a little while since I’ve read it but it deserves a post, so this review will probably be slightly vague. EB and Lauren are very different and coming from different places and situations. While EB is excited about her room assignment, Lauren wanted a single. She’s the oldest of several kids living in a cramped apartment and she wanted some space of her own. EB wants a friend, she’s moving across the country and won’t know anyone. They start emailing each other and it’s a rough, awkward start. But then they start to share pieces of their lives and little details, then bigger details and some pretty intense and huge details and things get sort of messy.

EB and Lauren were both really likable for me. At first I liked EB a lot more because Lauren seemed pretty snotty, but she grew on me! You get a good look at the family and background of both girls: EB lives alone with her serial-dater mom and feels alone, Lauren is close to her family, sometimes too close. Both girls deal with friendships and boy issues: I was a big fan of all the flirty buildup involved with both girls. I liked both boys a lot. Both girls have serious problems to deal with. Some of the details might seem unrealistic on the overview, but the book felt real and the characters felt real. I think both girls learned a lot about friendship and themselves. I wanted to hug them and help them, and I was slightly frustrated by how short it was and the ending because I wanted to see so much more of their friendship!

4 star rating

Roomies is on my “to buy” list! I wanted more of the story and characters, I was sad to see the end. I think it was fun and worth a read! I haven’t read anything else by either author but I’ve been wanting to read The Lucy Variations for a while and now I’m more interested in reading more from both authors!

FAREWELL MAY [recap]

I know we all always say we can’t believe it’s almost *month* and time is flying by, but this year has been really insane for me so in some ways it seems to be at warp speed and in others it’s crawling by. At the beginning of this year, I could not fathom making it more than a day at a time but now I’ve made it to all the way to the end of MAY? *Cue Britney’s “Stronger”*

Reading has definitely played a huge part in getting me through this rough patch, like it has all the other rough patches I’ve gone through. Characters in ridiculously opposite situations can have incredibly similar emotional battles that can make you do some much needed, if uncomfortable, examining and it can DO THINGS. I really love books, you all.

Anyway.

I didn’t do the greatest job of keeping up with what I read in May and I’m not sure why that happened. I blame Overdrive for some of it, because I pick random romance reads and get partway through and then I’m like “ha, nope” then I forget which ones I actually read and which ones I didn’t. Smooth. A list, probably missing some books and definitely missing DNF’s:

 

I only posted 5 times in May, oops:

Some bookish plans:

  • I’ve got Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood, the second book in The Cahill Witch Chronicles checked out from the library. I didn’t LOVE the first one but I’m interested enough to want to know what happens to the sisters.
  • I’ve got all 3 books of the Razorland by Ann Aguirre series checked out, too! I read the first one after it came out, but haven’t read the other two and I’m excited about them!
  • Nantucket Red by Leila Howland is ready for me at the library but I’m going to wait until Monday to grab it, I’m really excited about this one. I really enjoyed Nantucket Blue!
  • I went ahead and downloaded The Twelve by Justin Cronin on Overdrive, I’m not sure how long it will take me to get through!
  • I’m also determined to read more of The Dark Tower series! SOON. I need to stop getting library books and make myself read them!

How was your May? What was your favorite book read in May? Did you have any awesome posts I missed and should check out? (I am working on commenting and earlier I brilliantly marked MY WHOLE BLOGLOVIN FEED as read instead of the group I was on. I am positive it’s BL’s fault and not mine but I’m sad because now I can’t sort as easily!) Tell me what’s up with you!

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva [thoughts]

one man guy coverOne Man Guy by Michael Barakiva  www
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: May 27th 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Series: none

 

Goodreads description: Funny and heartfelt, One Man Guy serves up the raucous family humor and gentle romance of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as told with David Sedaris–style wit

Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again

I chose to read this book because it sounded cute. That’s all the reason I need!

Alek is Armenian and his family is very serious about culture and background. They’re also pretty strict and make him go to summer school to stay in honors. He has a crush on the Ethan, a bad boy type. Romance and family issues ensue.

One Man Guy was pretty cute. I loved that Alek was Armenian, it was really interesting to read about Armenian culture and Alek’s exasperation with certain things his parents thought were serious. He got annoyed with how intense they were about social things that just seemed ridiculous to him. It was fun to watch him grasp and learn, and I really enjoyed the development between Alek and his brother Nik.

The romance between Ethan and Alek was mostly cute, but for some reason Ethan rubbed me slightly the wrong way. I should have written this review right after I read it, but it’s been a while so I don’t have examples. It could have been a personal thing, it wasn’t huge or I’d be able to remember it better. I also wasn’t a huge fan of Becky. She just annoyed me, but a lot. I’m sure the friend situation represented here might be common, but it didn’t sit well with me.

3 star rating

I enjoyed One Many Guy, but I don’t think it’s a book I’d want to pick up again. I re-skimmed some of it for this review (because I read it so long ago) and I didn’t feel super connected with it. But it is cute and it has depth and diversity, and it’s definitely worth a read, and I feel like my annoyances might be personal things that other people might not feel the same way about. I plan on reading more of Michael Barikiva’s work!

Have you read this one/Do you plan to?

 

life and books [an update]

I keep meaning to write reviews, because I have been reading, but I’ve been kind of “meh” lately about actually functioning productively. I rambled a bit about how busy things were for me in April in my rereading post, and school is over and I have a temporary job and I’m still looking for a place to live. My job is late hours, I am writing this at 5am because I got home at 4:30 and I’m going to work tonight at 7:30 and I think I’m supposed to get off at 5:15am but we’re hoping we’ll get done and out early! So, that’s why my blog has been so silent lately! BUT hopefully I can get back on track this week!

Bookish updates:

  • I read We Were Liars and I had a lot of mixed feelings about it. I have a review drafted that doesn’t do a great job explaining all of them but it tries!
  • I liked The Winner’s Curse but kinda got stuck on the ending area. Review to come on that one, I think.
  • The Geography of You and Me was good and warm.
  • I’m at 36% of The Passage and it is taking me f o r e v e r to read, probably partly because of the other books I’m reading, but it is also really long and sometimes it feels like I’m not making any headway in it! I actually had to renew it on Overdrive AND THAT REALLY BUGS ME. I just like finishing books!
  • I think I am enjoying Where’d You Go, Bernadette? and I think I’ll enjoy it more when I get to sit and read more of it at once, hopefully soon, because I’m really interested to see what happens!
  • My plan is to try to get through as much of The Dark Tower series this summer as possible. I’m going to start book 2: The Drawing of the Three, as soon as I finish The Passage, I think.

 

ETC bookish updates:

  • My oldest niecelet has read all 3 Ivy+Bean books and one Clementine book, and she is borrowing my Ella Enchanted book. My sister got them discounted and refurbed kindles for reading and educational apps and she’s been consuming Junie B Jones books, and it’s fun to see her get excited about books!
  • My sister-in-law and I texted a lot about books the other day, and it was a lot of fun. She likes to read cookbooks because she likes cooking a lot. She’s also a fan of Molly Wizenberg and recently liked Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, so I might look into those sometime! She plans on reading The Fault in Our Stars, which I liked overall even though I have issues with it an JG (I think I gave it 3 stars) and I’m excited to see her thoughts on that!
  • Old news that I’ve been meaning to share and keep forgetting: My sister read and loved The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves! She had my TRB book for a while, and then she devoured it in one day and TDT not too long after. She still needs to read Anna and the French Kiss! I think she is going to try to read a lot this summer before she starts nursing school in the fall! I’ve talked about my bookish family and how my sister is one of my biggest reading influences before, and she will always be one of my favorite people to book talk with!

Um I think that’s all I’ve got for now. What little battery my brain had left is flashing it’s warning message right now. I’m going to try to work on reviews and COMMENTING–I AM SO BEHIND ON COMMENTING. Sorry, friends! Anyway, if you’ve got any interesting updates to share or anything reminded you of something to say, lemme know!

Also: what is the best book you’ve read lately? If we’re not following each other, we should be! I’m @ablightedone and on instagram I’m five62. I’m working on posting more on both, so maybe more interaction will encourage me? 

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel [thoughts]

Second Star coverSecond Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel @| .com
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: May 13th 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Series: none

 

 

Goodreads description: A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete’s nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she’s falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up–and the troubled beauty trapped between them

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

slight spoilers.

I love Peter Pan, so I was interested by Second Star‘s premise of a modern day retelling. I got a chance to read it now on Netgalley and I was really excited.

Wendy Darling’s brothers have been missing for months, and most people believe their dead. But Wendy can’t and won’t stop hoping that they’re still out there. She searches for them and meets some interesting people.

I am mainly just really confused by this book. Honestly, I think it would be better for the book to not be seen as a retelling at all. It doesn’t feel like a retelling and doesn’t seem to have much in common with what most people are probably familiar with. Maybe as a separate entity, it could just be a story about a girl who misses her brothers and gets involved with stupid and dangerous people.

That is basically what happens. She goes looking and meets Peter, a homeless surfer guy. He’s squatting at an abandoned house on a cliff. He used to be in foster care and ran away from that life. Now all he does is surf and helps kids. They scavenge to live, from the houses of the wealthy. It is kind of ridiculous. Wendy even goes with them and finds this activity glamorous. Peter hates his old friend Jas because he turned to drug dealing. When Wendy finds out Jas might have more information about her brothers, she gets involved with him, and some drugs. It is beyond ridiculous.

Wendy’s hope is easy to care about and in that respect, she’s easy to sympathize with. It’s easy to let sadness sway you and get mixed up in awful situations. But I just couldn’t understand her actions. She’s reckless and after a certain point, I couldn’t pull for her anymore. Freeing yourself from responsibility by surfing might be fun. Stealing because nobody that lives in the house wants to do anything but surf isn’t. Making sacrifices to find your brothers might be strong, but not waiting a damn night and taking drugs to get into the house isn’t. It’s stupid. Not that characters that make mistakes or do drugs can’t be enjoyable, but besides her hope, nothing about Wendy was enjoyable for me. Nothing about the story was enjoyable or meaningful to me, I didn’t feel like she learned  anything or grew at all, which made the story seem sort of pointless to me.

I couldn’t get into any sort of romance, it was all creepy to me. Peter and Jas are both creepy in different ways, but Jas is especially disgusting and I just didn’t understand why Wendy wanted anything to do with him. I was also really confused by the ending but at that point I didn’t even care anymore, I just wanted to be done with it. This didn’t feel like a retelling to me. While books about similar situations might be interesting, I just kept questioning everything that happened and wondering why any of it was happening.

This was not a book for me. But if you really like surfing, recklessness, and some darkness and drug-related stuff, you might enjoy it and should give it a shot!

 Have you read this one? Are you interested in it? Do you love Peter Pan? Let me know!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han [thoughts]

To All the Boys coverTo All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Goodreads | Twitter | Website
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1

Goodreads description: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before sounded cute and fun and love letters! I wanted to read it when I saw it on WoW posts and then I saw some early reviews and my interest grew! I have read Burn for Burn which is co-written by Han, but I still need to read Fire with Fire. I have been slightly interested in the Summer series but I’m not completely sure I want to jump in.

Laura Jean writes love letters to boys when she is over them and puts them away in a box. Somehow(!) the letters get sent and past crushes find out why she stopped liking them and/or things she likes about them. Including one to her next-door neighbor, friend, and sister’s ex, Josh. This causes some awkwardness.

I really, really liked this book. While I was reading it, I kind of kept having moments where I was like “Am I liking this?” and I couldn’t really say “omg yes” but I couldn’t put it down. I was reading it while rereading another book and I snuck it in before my Two Boys Kissing read for LGBT April and finished most of it in one day and hurried to finish the next day. It was kind of different than I expected, but it just left me wanting more.

One huge thing about the letters I don’t understand: why would she address them?? Who puts addresses on letters they don’t intend to send? Just write their name on the envelope. Just write their initial. There’s still a chance they might get passed on to the person but goodness, she made it so easy! To me, it was beyond  obvious what happened to the letters and I felt like she was willfully blind to what happened. But that can happen, I suppose.

That aside, I really liked Laura Jean. I could relate to her in a lot of ways and in some ways not at all. She hates driving, isn’t overly involved. She’s the middle sister. She wants to be helpful and step up while her older sister is gone. She has epic crushes but doesn’t actually date much. Her mom died when she was young, but Laura Jean thinks about her a lot. Their dad is busy but it’s obvious he cares about them and they all care about him and try to make things easier for him. Laura Jean became one of those characters that are really special to me, even though I didn’t always love everything she did (which would be boring anyway, obviously). She learns a lot about herself and growing up, and expectations and pressures in general. I liked reading about the sisters, and I really enjoyed their dad. I also enjoyed how the writing made the family seem realistic. Plus, the sisters are half Korean, and that was really interesting to read about.

And the letters and romance! Well, I wasn’t sure which way the book was trying to lead me with this aspect. I also don’t want to ruin anything for anyone else, in case you’re the type of person (like me) who wants it all to be new-ish. But I was surprised by how it worked out and I liked not exactly knowing what was going on, and I liked where it went. BUT I will say the ending was frustrating because I just NEEDED more. I still need more. I am pining.

4 star rating

I definitely plan on buying and reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before again! I am so glad I read this one. I was originally slightly miffed at the ending, but I think I have enough distance to be more forgiving about it now. BUT I will most likely need to pre-order or at least put the second book, P.S. I Still Love You on reserve at the library (depending on if I wait to buy the paperback version of #1). Laura Jean is such a great character, and I’m also really interested to see what happens with everyone else in the story. Jenny Han is definitely highlighted on my radar list now!  I think if you like contemps, sisters, and interesting romances then you might like this one, too! Added bonus: Laura Jean’s killer wardrobe.

 

DNF: Twisted by Holly Hook and The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Twisted coverTwisted by Holly Hook | Goodreads | Amazon

I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I sort of just saw Tornadoes and being from Oklahoma, I was kind of interested. I should have read more carefully (I’m bad about blurbs, guys) because I did not realize that it was about WEREtornadoes. I do not mind were-things. Teen Wolf is one of my favorite shows. However, in my mind, to make sense, things need to be living for this concept to work? And a tornado is just air. This was really confusing to me. But the main character is a girl who is really into science and there are some creepy like hill country wind cult folks that are kind of interesting. This book wasn’t for me, but if it is something that sounds interesting to you, I think you should check it out!

The Here and Now coverThe Here and Now by Ann Brashares | Goodreads | Amazon

I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I might have mentioned before that I really love time travel stories. Time Travel is really important to me and it probably has a LOT to do with the Back to the Future movies, which I will always love. So this story about people from the future evacuating to a safer time seemed like something I would love! The people from the future aren’t supposed to get close to anyone in the past or stand out in anyway. Main character Prenna has problems with this and gets in trouble for it a lot. THEN this guy knows something and tells her she must stop something important that has a huge effect their future. It sounds so interesting. But…it isn’t that interesting? It’s slow and the way Prenna and even the way Ethan (a boy from the present that she is friends/more with) doesn’t talk normally. I couldn’t handle it. Some things were also really obvious and others were kind of weird time travel stuff that bugged me. I might skim the end to see what happens with the big event, I only got about half through this one. However, it might be right up your alley. I’d recommend also or rather watching Continuum and reading All Our Yesterdays (my review) because they are excellent.

 

Have you read either of these? Did you like/dislike them? Have anything similar to rec? Let me know!