Freebie Friday: You Decide

Hello Readers!

I started a reading journal this year. As much as I love Goodreads, I stink at keeping it up to date. So I thought I’d go back to old fashioned pen and paper to keep track of what I’m reading.

And surprisingly, I’ve been keeping up with it. In it I keep track of the books I’m reading, I jot down thoughts about each book, make note of my favorite quotes, and also keep a log of the self-imposed reading challenges.

But this post is NOT about my reading journal. Instead it’s about one of those reading challenges.

At the beginning of the year I created my own book bingo card in the hopes that it would challenge me to read outside of my comfort zone.  This bingo card is filled with option like:

  • Read a book with a blue cover
  • Finish a series
  • Read a book a friend picks for you to read

When I created this bingo card I was very aware of the options and the limitations I was giving myself. But it’s a challenge right!?

Today, I’m writing this post seeking some help from you dear readers. I would like to complete another book bingo challenge. The challenge I’d like to complete is: let a friend pick a book for me to read.

With that being said, I do have some guidelines. Like I said the purpose of this challenge is to step out of my reading comfort zone, but I don’t necessarily want to be pushed off the edge.

I would love for anyone and everyone to suggest a book for me to read. The only guidelines that I ask you to follow are these: it’s a YA book, it isn’t a high fantasy, and that it isn’t an obscure book (I want to be able to get my hands on it after all).

You may be asking, how are you going to decide what book to actually read? Well, I’m leaving this post here, and hoping people will continue to comment throughout the week. Next Thursday night I will go through the comments, and depending on how many book suggestions I get will pick a few. Next Friday I will have a poll posted, and will ask you all to vote on which book you’d like me to read.

So, dear readers, PLEASE comment with all of your book suggestions. I am open and willing to read any book that is suggested.  I’m already looking forward to my next read!

I See London, I See France

I See London, I See France by Sarah Mylnowski

Best friends Sydney and Leela have talked about backpacking around Europe together since they were little girls. They’ve dreamed of eating stinky cheese and macaroons in Paris, having tea in London, and seeing the famous statue of David in Italy.

And finally Sydney and Leela are making their dreams a reality. They are actually boarding a plane and escaping Maryland, a needy family, and a cheating ex-boyfriend. Everything is going to be perfect.

That is until Sydney spots Leela’s cheating ex boyfriend just a few rows from them … in the same plane…heading towards London.

From that moment on both girls expectations of this trip plummet. Now Leela is expecting her ex Matt to realize the error of his ways, and to drop her and Sydney’s plans so that they can travel with Matt.

While this isn’t part of the plan, and while she doesn’t necessarily mind traveling with Matt and his super hot friend Jackson, but she does mind the feeling that this isn’t going to be the trip of her dreams.

Will Sydney have the time of her life? Or will it be a trip she rather forget?

I See London, I See France, written by author Sarah Mylnowski, is a contemporary romp through Europe.

Mylnowski’s writing is solid and engaging. What it excels at is the fact her writing is full of vivid descriptions. As I read I easily was lost in thought, filling feeling as if I was experience the sights and sounds that Sydney and Leela experiences in each new country. When they visited London I was instantly transported to my favorite city. When they were in Amsterdam, I became excited for my own upcoming adventure. Besides the vivid descriptions, I truly appreciated Mlynoski’s knack for writing authentic dialog.

Going into I See London, I See France I was excited. This book, I knew, was going to be my perfect book. And it would have been perfect but I found that one key aspect fell short for me: the characters.

Sydney and Leela, at least for me, were not likable in the least. I found Sydney to be weak when she had the potential to be strong. And Leela …. I could go on and on listing the reasons why I didn’t like her as a character. In short I found her to be, not only selfish, but incessantly whiney.

I wanted to love both of these character. I wanted them to be the kind of characters that I could see myself within, and cheer on. Instead I often found myself shaking my head with annoyance and wanting to shake some sense into them.

A lot of their flaws I could have ignored, but what I couldn’t ignore was the fact that I felt that I didn’t see any growth. Both Sydney and Leela had opportunities to grow and develop into complex characters. I feel those opportunities went overlooked.

When I started I See London, I See France I thought this was going to be a story about friendship. But as pages turned into chapters I couldn’t help but feel that this was more a story about a friendship on the verge of dissolving. Honestly, that saddened me.

I See London, I See France was not my cup of tea. However, I’m glad I read it. I’m glad I had the chance to experience this book even if it did fall short for me.

Even though this book wasn’t my cup of tea, I urge you to read it and experience it yourself. I’d love for you to share your thoughts.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Auto Buy Authors

(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The above picture was taken and altered by me.)

Hello Readers!

We all have those authors that we buy their books no matter what. Those authors whose books we will automatically buy no matter if we feel we need the book in our lives or not. And I am no different.

Today, I’m sharing my top ten auto buy authors.

  • Holly Black
  • Nic Stone
  • Julie Murphy
  • Tara Altebrando
  • Nina Lacour
  • Maggie Stiefvater
  • Ransom Riggs
  • E. Lockhart
  • Stephanie Perkins
  • Libba Bray

I am sure that there are a bunch more, but these ten here are my go to auto buy authors. And like me, I’m sure you, dear readers, have some auto buy authors. I’d love to hear all about them! Please share in the comments!

#MiddleGradeMonday : The Fresh New Face of Griselda

The Fresh New Face of Griselda by Jennifer Torres

Griselda “Geez” Zaragoza’s life has been turned upside down.

A few months ago, if asked, Geez would have said that her life was perfect. She lived in a comfortable house, had a room of her own, and would spend her weekends alongside her dad tending to the rose’s in their garden.

But that was then.  And things are different now. Very different.

Now she lives with her grandma where old toilet bowls have been turned into makeshift planters. Her dad is looking for work hundreds of miles away. Her mom has started working. And older sister Maribel has become a consultant for Alma Cosmetics, a life choice which their mother openly dislikes.

Geez wants to help, but doesn’t know how. Until she suddenly happens upon one of Maribel’s Alma Cosmetics brochures stating that the company is looking for someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen to become the Fresh New Face of Alma Cosmetics. While Geez isn’t necessarily interested in that, she is interested in the five thousand dollar prize.

Geez knows that that prize money could really come in handy. It won’t fix everything, but maybe it could help give a fresh start to both her and her family.

The question is, does Geez have what it takes to, not only meet the contest goals, but to actually win?

The Fresh New Face of Griselda, written by author Jennifer Torres, is a realistic middle grade book that has a lot of heart, great characters, and a story that will resonate with all readers.

Torres writing is strong, and more than that it’s filled with honest emotions. So much so that readers will feel as if they know Griselda on a personal level, and that they are experiencing her trials and triumphs alongside her. Even though this book is well written, and even though it deals with some tough subject matter – family struggles, financial struggles, societal pressure and embarrassment just to name a few – it’s extremely easy to read.

Author Torres does not gloss over all those hard hitting subject, instead she explores them with honesty and a gentle hand. She truly has a way of making readers understand these issues and feel sympathetic to them as well.

What I appreciated most about this book were it’s characters. They were all so unique, yet easily relatable. Griselda is a likable character, one that young readers will easily identify with. But not only will they identify with her, but they will also see their own emotions and feelings reflected in her as well. As a reader, an older one, I truly appreciated the apparent growth seen from the beginning to the end.

The Fresh New Face of Griselda has a lot of heart. And I think that that’s what makes this book such a great book for readers of all ages. Beyond that, it feels as if there’s a little something for each and every one of us.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Least Favorite Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The above image was taken and altered by me for the purpose of this post.

Hello Readers!

As readers we all have those characters that we identify with, those characters that we side with and cheer on, those characters that we consider our favorites. I am no different dear readers! Of course I have characters that I consider to be my favorite. But I also have characters that I don’t like. And today, this post is dedicated to them!

My top ten least favorite characters are:

Margo Covey from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – I just found her to be too overbearing and controlling.

Callie Reyes from Puddin’ by Julie Murphy – She was an abrupt character. And very guarded. I feel like I didn’t have to get to know this character to know that I didn’t like her.

Ophelia Castellan from A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchinson – It wasn’t that I didn’t like Ophelia, I didn’t like most of the choices she made.

Percy Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – I stand by my feelings on this one. While I love the Weasley’s as a whole, I absolutely detest Percy. I felt like he betrayed his family, and you just don’t do that, no matter what.

Tris Prior from the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth – At first I liked her, but as I read, I found that she grated on my nerves.

Kate from The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry – I couldn’t help but shake my head at her. There were things that this character did that I just didn’t like that it made me not like the character.

Deanna Lambert from Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr – I don’t remember the exact reason as to why I didn’t like her, (it’s been a while since I’ve read this book) but I remember not liking her. It brought the overall book down.

Miss Peregrine from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – When I first read this book, I loved Miss Peregrine. But when I re-read this book, even though I still loved the book as a whole I didn’t love Miss Peregrine. I found that she always seemed to have her best interest at heart as opposed to the peculiar children’s interests.

Again, I’ve come up two short! But I guess I like more characters than I dislike. Which is a good thing, right?! Do you have any characters that you don’t necessarily like or love? If so, please share in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Childhood Favorites

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The above image was taken and altered by me for the purpose of this post.

Would you believe me if I told you I wasn’t as big of a reader as a child as I am now? Well, it’s true. In fact, at one point in my young life I dared to say that I wasn’t a reader. Looking back I realized that I just hadn’t found my book.

With that being said, my top ten list today is going to be a bit scattered. Even though I didn’t read as much, I did read. But I read books that weren’t specifically targeted to me. I didn’t read above my age or reading level, I simply read whatever books were available to me – which either came from my older cousin or the school library I visited once a week with my classmates.

Of the books I did read, these are the top ten I’d say were my childhood favorites:

  • The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
  • Socks by Beverly Cleary
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
  • One Evil Summer by R.L. Stine

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • The Grass Rope by William Mayne (honestly, this was a book I picked and read from my school’s library. I remember reading it, however I remember not one bit of this book. But I must have loved it because it’s stuck with me all these years.)

Because I wasn’t as much a reader as I am now, it was honestly quite difficult for me to actually drum up ten titles! But I came close at eight titles. So, dear readers, what were some of your favorite books you read as a child? Please share in the comments.

(Cover images from GoodReads)

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The above image was taken and altered by me for the purpose of this post.

Hello Readers!

Another TBR list! I always say to myself that I’m going to throw caution to the wind and just not have a TBR list. But who am I kidding? Even if I don’t stick to it, which I barely stick to, it’s nice to have.

With that said, knowing that I probably won’t stick to it, these are the top ten books I hope to get to this summer:

  • Small Town Sinners by Melissa C. Walker
  • Slay by Brittney Murphy

  • Unhinged by A.G. Howard
  • Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
  • Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

  • Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

  • Light it Up by Kekla Magoon
  • Guts by Raina Telgemeier

What books do you, dear readers, hope to read during the hazy crazy days of summer?

(All cover images from GoodReads)