Freebie Friday: New Jersey A Themed Booklist

Freebie Fridays

Hello Readers!

Today I’m paying homage to my home state … New Jersey. While a lot may consider this state to be the armpit of the United States (I seriously heard someone refer to the Garden state as such), it is home to me. It will always be home.

And what better way to celebrate it than to create a themed booklist!

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson

Whisper to Me by Nick Lake

The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scalsa

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer

Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

The Shore by Todd Strasser

Rosie & Skate by Beth Ann Bauman

So Punk Rock (And Other Ways To Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow

 

 

 

Around the Web (#4)

Around the Web

Are you raising a little feminist? Or think you’ll be raising one, one day in the future? If so, check out this article about the perfect book of feminist bedtime stories.

Ken (as in Barbie and Ken) has a man bun.

I recently heard of Julie Bauxbaum’s upcoming title, What to Say Next. While I haven’t read anything else by her, I’ve heard great things about her, her writing/books, and this upcoming title. If you’re a fan of hers and her books, check out this interview with her.

Have you read Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake? Are you interested in a Three Dark Crowns themed playlist? Well, Epic Reads has you covered!

I know I’ve missed Maureen Johnson, how about you? Well, you’ll have to wait a little while longer for her next book, Truly Devious, but you can read a sneak peak!

The Hate U Give is one of the best books I’ve read in a really long time.  Check out this article that features great writing tips from author Angie Thomas.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read So Far in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Hello Readers!

Every year I set a reading goal for myself. And every year I always feel like I set a ridiculously high goal. This year 115 books is my goal. And today, I’m going to share with you the top ten books I’ve read so far.

In no particular order …

 

The  Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Nest by Kenneth Open

The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

 

 

 

 

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

I Am Princess X by Cherie Preist

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Blooming At the Texas Sunrise Hotel by Kimberly Willis Holt

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

So, what are the best books you’ve read so far in 2017!? I’d love to know, please share!

Middle Grade Monday: Middle Grade Summer Reading List

Middle Grade Mondays

Hello Readers!

One of my goals this year, as you may or may not already know, is to read more middle grade books. I realized recently that a) I don’t read nearly enough and b) because of that I feel that I may not be able to perform my job — it’s hard to recommend a book to a middle grade reader when you haven’t read any of them!

So I decided that I’m going to put together a little summer reading list for myself. While that list isn’t crazy long (it’s a total of four books), it’s a list filled with books I’ve wanted to read for a while.

My Middle Grade Summer Reading List Is…

The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli

I’ve read many of Spinelli’s books, and I have loved each and every one of them. When I saw this book come into my library, I read a few pages over a lunch break, and was instantly hooked. I couldn’t start reading it at the moment because I was smack in the middle of another, but I promised myself I would read it this year.

The Warden’s Daughter is about a young girl named Cammie who lives at a prison with her warden father and the search for a new wife/mother.

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue

When this book first came out, I heard a lot about it. Enough to make me curious enough to read the dust jacket. Enough to make me realize that I wanted to read this book.

The Lotterys Plus One is about a young girl named Sumac Lottery and her very large family.  Things may be crazy, but they are good. Until Sumac finds out that her cranky and ailing grandfather has to come live with them.

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

A few years ago, thanks for a very good friend of mine, I became obsessed with Caribbean folklore. Specifically the jumbies.  So when I first hear of this book, I knew it was a book that I had to read. And besides that, I recently picked up the second book at this years Book Expo so I really want to read this one.

The Jumbies is about Corinne. Corrine is fearless, and doesn’t necessarily believe in the folktales that she’s grown up listening to. That is until one night, after being led into the woods, when she sees one of those folktales – a jumbie – in the flesh.

The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner

The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner is a recent addition to my “to read” list. I heard about this one just before this years Book Expo and after reading a synopsis decided that this was totally a “Nicole” book.

The Exact Location of Home is about Zig, and his belief that his mother is hiding a secret from him. After his dad cancels a visit, Zig sets out to find the real reason why he never showed up.

So there you have it! Those are the four (middle grade) books that I hope to read this summer. Are you hoping to read any middle grade books this summer? If so, please share!

How to Make A Wish

Reviews

How to Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Seventeen-year-old Grace only has one wish: to get accepted into the prestigious music program at a top New York school. Getting accepted means that Grace will have the chance to get out. Not only get out of her small town, but she’ll also get the change to leave behind the life she’s living.

While Grace loves her mother, she doesn’t necessarily like everything about her. She doesn’t like how she moves them from one home to the next without regard for how Grace will feel. But when Grace finds out that she’s moved them in with her latest boyfriend, the father of Grace’s ex-boyfriend, she’s truly fed up.

Grace doesn’t know how to make things better, not for herself or for her mom. She she waits, and she wishes. Until the day that Eva, a perfect stranger shows up and turns Grace’s world upside down.

Eva has her own issues. And while she could use a bit of saving herself, she isn’t here to save Grace. But together they just might be the wish they were both making.

How to Make A Wish, written by author Ashley Herring Blake, is a issue heavy contemporary young adult that will leave reader’s feeling well … weighed down.

While I felt that author Blake’s writing was strong, How to Make A Wish was an “issues” book. But I’ll get to that in a moment. Back to the writing. Blake’s writing is strong and inviting. What she does impressively well is that her way with words makes reader’s care – about the characters, about the issues and their resolutions, and the overall plot line.

Okay, back to the issues. There were a lot. And as a reader I often felt that these issues bogged down a potentially great book.  There was the issue of Grace’s mother, Maggie. Maggie was simply terrible. As a mother she was irresponsible, selfish, and above all else, unfit. Reader’s will easily understand why Grace is so desperate to escape her life. And they won’t blame her when she finally does. To say the least, she is completely and utterly unlikable.  From the moment I met Maggie I didn’t like her, and felt that ultimately Grace was better off without her.

Then there was the issue of Grace’s best friend, Luca, who I felt stifled her at times. On paper they appeared to be tried and true best friends, but as the plot developed I felt that he wasn’t as great a friend as Grace thought. Grace is broken, and I often felt that he was only her friend so he can swoop in and save her. He never realized that Grace was smart, strong, and capable of saving herself.

I’ll save this up front (in case you couldn’t already guess): I didn’t How to Make a Wish. And there were several moments where I was going to make it as a DNF. But there were two reasons why I kept reading: main character Grace and her love interest Eva.

Grace is a truly genuine and strong character. She is the kind of character that, as a reader, I couldn’t help but want to see good things happen to and for.  And then there was Eva, who was Grace’s equal in every sense of the word.  She’s smart, strong,  and together these two characters seem to bring out the best in each other.

Besides Grace and Eva, another aspect that I appreciated was the romance. It wasn’t overly done. And it wasn’t insta-love. Instead it was slow and sweet.  It was raw and honest, and above all else it was realistic.

I wanted more from Blake’s How to Make a Wish. My expectations were high, but sadly they weren’t met. There were too many issues and too few solid resolutions for me to overlook.

Around the Web (#3)

Around the Web

Hello Readers!

We all know Sarah Dessen is like the queen of YA, right?  Well, this article talks about how the queen of YA’s books have aged with her. I personally really liked this article, not just because I think Sarah Dessen is awesome (and super sweet), but because it shows that YA books aren’t just for teens!

I don’t know why I browse Buzzfeed so often, I just do. And while aimlessly browsing I came across this article that may be of interest for any Cassie Clare fans.

Last week my coworker (excitedly) told me all about this. While I didn’t have a chance to look it up there and then, I went home and promptly Googled about the NYC Subway Library.

I love to travel. That’s no secret. But I realized that even though I love to, I realized that I do not read any travel blogs. And that made me sad. So I took to Twitter, and Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner hooked me up with an AWESOME post she wrote about exactly that … Travel blogs! Thanks Jamie!!

Speaking of traveling, I’ve always wanted to visit Japan. While I have no plans to travel there (anytime soon) I found this article featuring some pictures that I really liked and thought would be fun to share.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start

Uncategorized

Hello Readers!

It’s no use keeping this a secret … I’m the worst at both starting and finishing book series. And today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is all about series. So, not only am I going to tell you about some of the series I’m excited to start, but I’m also going to share with you some of the series I’m excited to (finally) finish.

Excited to Read:

The Star Touched Queen Series by Roshani Chokshi

Excited to Finish:

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Revenants by Amy Plum

Pip Bartlett by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce

Modern Fairie Tales by Holly Black

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (I’ve only read the first one … don’t judge me!)

 

 

Stacking The Shelves

Stacking The Shelves

(The above image was created by me via Canva for the purpose of this post. Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews)

Hello Readers!

As a book lover, I obviously love to buy books. Strolling through a bookstore, scanning the shelves, and picking up a new to me book (or a book I’ve been dying to read) is quite possibly one of my most favorite past times.

As of recently I’ve been trying to clear shelves and trying even harder to not acquire any more books than what is necessary. I’ve (somewhat) successfully cleared my shelves, finding new homes for old, beloved favorites. But I haven’t been so great at not acquiring any more books.

But then there was that pesky Amazon gift card that was just burning a hole in my pocket.  I couldn’t help but buy a book … or four. And then there are the books I’ve requested, and the books that simply showed up in my mailbox (THANKS Scholastic!).

  • Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (bought)
  • No Good Deed by Goldy Moldavsky (received ARC from Scholastic)
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (bought)
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (requested ARC)
  • I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo (bought – Miss Print said I’d love this book. That was enough to make me buy it. And if you’re wondering why she loved it so much, you should check out her review. Check it out here)
  • The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken (requested ARC)
  • Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (bought- I’ve heard a lot about this book. But it wasn’t until I read Nicole’s (from Nicole’s Novel Reads) review. You can check it out here)
  • Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson (recieved ARC)
  • All About Mia by Lisa Williamson (receieved ARC)

 

Freebie Friday: Stars Hollow Monthly Review

Freebie Fridays

(Pictures take by me, collage created via PicMonkey)

Hello Readers!

And happy Friday! Today, I’m going to be reviewing a Stars Hollow Monthly box.

Received: April 2017

Items Received:

  • In Omnia Paratus T-shirt
  • In Omnia Paratus Passport Holder
  • In Omnia Paratus (image from the Netflix reboot) Magnet
  • You Jump, I Jump, Jack Umbrella

Truth be told: You Jump, I Jump, Jack (season five, episode seven) is my absolute fave episode of the Gilmore Girls. So obvs, I LOVED April’s Stars Hollow Monthly box. But before I jump into my review, let me give you the scoop on Stars Hollow Monthly subscription box.

Hosted by Lit ube, the Stars Hollow Monthly is a Gilmore Girls themed subscription box. For just about $30.00 a month, subscribers received a box full of Gilmore Girls themed goodies. In the past there’s been everything from coffee to coffee flavored candy.

I’ve been a subscriber to Lit Cube’s Stars Hollow Monthly for over six months now, and while I find it a bit pricey I really do love this box.

April 2017’s box has been quite possibly my all time favorite box. Why? Because it was filled with all In Omnia Paratus things. The first item I noticed was a blue colored t-shirt that had an image of an umbrella with the words “In Omnia Paratus, Ready for Anything written just below it. It’s a unisex Gilden t-shirt, and it’s super soft.  I love t-shirts, especially ones with fun sayings/pictures, so this will get a lot of use.

Digging deeper into the box, I discovered an item that isn’t only fun, but an item I’ve been wanting for a while now … a passport holder.  Honestly, I’m not sure if its real leather or not, but that doesn’t really matter to me. It’s a deep plum color with In Omnia Paratus written in the bottom right hand side in silver. Since I love to travel, and have an upcoming trip later this year, I’ll definitely be putting this to good use.

Within this box was also an In Omnia Paratus magnet. The image on it is not from the original series, but instead the Netflix reboot. While I loved to Life and Death Brigade reunion that took place in the reboot, I didn’t necessarily get the music/dance montage. But still, I think the magnet is fun, and I really love the colors.

And finally, the last item that was in April’s Stars Hollow Monthly box was another useful item … an item that I tend to somehow lose all of the time.  An umbrella that readers “You Jump, I Jump, Jack” and below that “Honorary member of the Life & Death Brigade” . It’s an all black umbrella with white writing. I haven’t used this umbrella yet, as I’m too afraid that I’ll lose or leave it somewhere.

All of the items in the April 2017 Stars Hollow Monthly box I found to be of good quality, and all useful. And like I said, it’s by far my fave box I have received.

If you are interested in signing up for this subscription box, check out LitCube’s website for all the information!

Famous Last Words

Reviews

Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

When sixteen year old Samantha “Sam” D’Angelo lands a paid summer internship at her hometown newspaper, she fully expects to be writing front page stories. But Sam’s expectations are far from her reality.

Reality is: Sam is an obituary writer.

While it isn’t the most glamorous position, it sure beats party hopping with best friend Shelby. And Sam hopes that if she proves herself she’ll be bumped up to staff writer.

And she thinks that she’ll get that chance to prove herself when she stumbles upon a front page story just waiting to be written. But will her budding office crush Tony, steal her thunder?

Famous Last Words, written by author Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, is a contemporary read about firsts: first job, first office crush, first front page story!

Doktorski’s writing is simply strong. There’s an ease to her words, one that allows the readers to completely be absorbed into her book from the start. 

Main character Samantha is a solid character, and even though she’s often wise beyond her years, she’s a typical teenager who flounders in awkward situations, who does silly things to get the guys attention, and who makes mistakes. All of these characteristics do not make her a bad character, they make her a realistic one. That’s why she’s so easy to relate to, so easy to sympathize for, and so easy to cheer on! As an adult reader, I personally saw a lot of sixteen year old Nicole within Samantha, and I think any reader of any age who picks this book up will see themselves within this strong female lead!

But Samantha isn’t the only stand out character. I found all of Doktorski’s characters to be, not only charming and relatable, but fleshed out and honest. I especially loved AJ. He brought heart and humor not only to Sam’s dull summer as an intern but to the book in general.

I enjoyed Famous Last Words for a number of reasons. But two aspects that captured my attention (and heart) immediately was that this book featured two of my favorite things: journalism (I was a journalism major in college) and New Jersey (my home state). Because of these two things I would have loved this book no matter what. 

Another aspect of the book that I personally enjoyed was the fact that I felt as if I was there, in the midst of the hustling newsroom alongside Sam. This fact helped me, not only connect with the overall story, but made me remember why I love writing and journalism so much. 

Doktorski’s Famous Last Words was a book I expected to like, but I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. It’s smart, funny, and has the subtlest hints of a budding romance. There’s a little something for almost everyone. If you have the chance to read it, I suggest you do!