Twice in a Blue Moon [REVIEW]

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment WeeklyMy Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it…

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Griffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.”

Edition: Paperback

Release Date: October 22nd, 2019

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Gallery Books

My Rating:  stars 3.5 ★★★out of ★★★★★ stars (4/5)

I was kindly sent an e-arc of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. 

I’ve been on a Christina Lauren binge lately. I may or may not have checked out nearly every Christina Lauren book at this point and I don’t regret it. I decided that despite the release date being far away, I’d give this book a go because, you know, it’s Christina Lauren. It’s a second chances trope between a Hollywood actor and a guy she’d met on a trip when she was eighteen. It skips forward to when she’s thirty half way through the book and this is obviously where we see the second chances.

I’m going to be completely honest with you — this book just wasn’t my favorite Christina Lauren book. It didn’t really feel like a Christina Lauren book to me either. The beginning of this book obviously takes place when the main character, Tate, is eighteen and on a vacation with her grandmother. They end up meeting an older guy and his niece who’s conveniently also Tate’s age. It feels SO much like a YA novel (something I’m not in the mood to read lately) because of their age and the INSTA-LOVE. They literally know each other for less than a few weeks and spend every waking minute together in London. I feel like if anything, she should’ve spent more time with her grandma on this trip. I just felt such a disconnection at this point. I didn’t care for their love story because they felt way too old to be acting the way they did. Maybe it’s because Tate is naive due to her situation but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

The climax of this book is interesting, at least. While on the trip, news breaks out about who Tate really is and she has to be flown home. She ends up getting, a PR assistant or something? who plays a fun character. It’s very obvious who ended up telling her story and she feels horrible about it because she wasn’t even supposed to tell people in the first place. I was sort of peeved that this happened but it makes for a more interesting second half of the book so I’m not going to complain about it like it’s a big deal.

The second half of the book, however, was much better than the first half. Tate is now thirty and an actor. She’s still very much talked about in the news day to day and has the same assistant. She ends up doing this movie deal with her dad who’s not very present in her life due to his break up with her mom and him being  a jerk to the media. I hated that he became a present character because he’s never likable and it’s hard to believe that the author wants you to like this guy when he’s never been in her life anyway.

In fact, I think the ending of this book was so, so predictable when in comes to her relationship with her dad and the re-entrance of Sam. I liked Sam in the second half of the book and I think it’s fantastic we learned why he did what he did. He seems no different from the beginning of the novel so of course, he’s a SWEETIE. Christina Lauren can’t write a bad romance because I loved their relationship in the second half of the book.

I think I just have negative feelings towards this book because I feel like it was supposed to have depth but it didn’t. I thought it was supposed to be much more focused on life lessons than it really was. It was just another really good 300 page contemporary novel I can give a solid four stars to and call it a day. Basically, what I’m saying is that I had higher expectations for this novel and they just weren’t meant. It’s not a bad book, truly. I’ve read a bunch of their other books by now and don’t think this one is the worst but it’s certainly not the best.

I think if you enjoy the rest of Christina Lauren’s books, especially Autoboyography, you might enjoy this one!

 

Find Twice in a Blue Moon at your local bookstore!

 

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

Imaginary Friend [REVIEW]

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 “A young boy is haunted by a voice in his head in this “haunting and thrilling” epic of literary horror from the #1 NYT bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower (John Green).

Christopher is seven years old.
Christopher is the new kid in town.
Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower made readers everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Read it with the lights on.”

On Sale Date: October 1, 2019
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
ISBNS: 9781538731338, 1538731339
Edition: Hardcover (I read an ARC e-copy)
Page Count: 720
Genre: Fiction / Horror 
TRIGGER WARNINGS: sexual assault, child abuse/abuse in general, alcohol abuse, violence against women

My Rating:  stars ★★★★ out of ★★★★★ stars (4/5)

 

I was kindly sent a physical copy of this book by Grand Central Publishing in exchange for a review. Thank you, Grand Central Pub! Any opinion stated is my own.

 

This review is SPOILER FREE!

I’m just going to start this review off saying that I’m not your usual horror/thriller reader. In fact, I’ve only recently started reading more thrillers. I’ve never really read horror before. These books just scare me so I would stray away from them. I’ve been picking up more and more Gillian Flynn and loving them so I decided that maybe I should give more horrors and thrillers a chance. So, what perfect timing! It’s the spooky season and Stephen Chbosky is releasing his second novel, Imaginary Friend.

I’m not going to lie, this book is a bit daunting. It’s a horror novel (something I don’t read often like I said) and it’s around 700 pages. Any 700 page novel is daunting to me but a horror novel?! I could never. But, HERE I AM. And I loved every bit of it. The main reason I decided to request this arc is because I am a huge fan of Perks of Being a Wallflower. I know, this book doesn’t seem anything like that but hear me out. I’m also quite the reader so I’m not afraid of reading things that make me uncomfortable and I’m also aware that an author’s writings aren’t going to be the same. I knew this whenever I requested Imaginary Friend that this isn’t my type of book but I trust this author so I’m going to read it anyway.

If you’re worried about this book due to the genre, the fact he only has one other novel that’s entirely different, or the size — That’s okay! Don’t give up on this book, though. I’m about to write an entire review about why I think it’s worth it and why I, someone who doesn’t even read horror novels, loved it.

If you don’t know what this book is about, the description probably won’t help you either. I think it’s best you go into this novel basically knowing nothing. It’s way more exciting that way. I realized after I had finish it that even though I did read the description, I still wasn’t expecting what I got. This isn’t a bad thing, though. I loved not knowing what was going to happen next. It’s 100% a page turner. The chapters are incredibly short and usually end with that sentence that leaves you shocked and wanting more. You’ll end up flipping through the entire book not even knowing how close you are to the end.

It’s a haunting story of Good vs. Evil, a story full of biblical references, and a story that really makes you THINK. There was a point in this novel that I got out a pen and paper to jot down notes and letters that ended up making a key sentence to the story. Once you read it, this will make sense. I also noticed while reading how EVERYTHING in this novel is important, even the time stamps because they relate to the story. I haven’t had this much fun reading a book in so long. I’m usually the type to figure out what’s going to happen next but once I finished this book, I couldn’t believe the amount of things I missed. I understand why it took so long for this book to eventually be finished. It’s genius. Stephen Chbosky’s writing style works seamlessly with a horror/thriller. The amount of foreshadowing and connections I didn’t realize at first blows my mind. It’s definitely a book I’ll pick up to re-read once it’s actually published.

There’s so many different characters within this novel but their storylines all intertwine and connect throughout the book and it was so satisfying to watch that happen. The cast of characters in this book kind of remind me of those in Stranger Things. I think this is the only reason this book reminds me of Stranger Things is because of the young cast of characters, the sheriff who plays a major role, and the mother being a main character as well. I also think this book reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s storytelling but Stephen King’s writing style. I can’t really explain why but isn’t that enough to make you want to pick it up?

I also want to quickly talk about why I think this book is still fitting to those who want to explore more of Stephen Chbosky’s writing after loving Perks of Being a Wallflower. While this is a horror novel, I would definitely call it a psychological thriller as well. This book portrays raw human emotion and sometimes, that can be scary. The amount of intellectual depth in this novel astonishes me. It’s a horror novel that feels so real because the role emotion plays and how it talks so openly about both love and fear. I think that’s why most Perks fans would love this. Also, it’s just a great story so technically, if you like good books, you’ll like this one.

I really can’t say much without spoiling this novel and trust me, I want to ramble on about this book with someone who’s read it. Jenna at @JennaClarek was actually reading it at the same time and it was SO fun to send each other reactions. We also had so many different realizations after this novel which is why it would make a great re-read. I can’t wait to get my hands on the physical copy so I can annotate the heck out of it.

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky is an absolute page-turner, a complex and captivating novel at it’s best. If you’re looking for a spooky book to read this season, I HIGHLY recommend this one!

 

Find Imaginary Friend at your local bookstore!

 

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

We Are Lost and Found [REVIEW]

43298077A poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting, story in the tradition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower about three friends coming-of-age in the early 1980s as they struggle to forge their own paths in the face of fear of the unknown.

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate.

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.”

Edition: Hardcover

Release Date: September 3rd, 2019

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Source Books Fire

My Rating:  stars 5 ★★★★★ out of ★★★★★ stars (5/5)

 

I was kindly sent a physical copy of this book by Source Books Fire  in exchange for a review. Thank you, Source Books! Any opinion is my own.

 

This review is SPOILER FREE!

TW: homophobia (unaccepting parents)

We Are Lost and Found is one of the rare books that I found the day it was posted to Edelweiss and emailed the publisher immediately. It had everything that I love in the description — it was compared to Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, it’s a coming-of-age story, it’s set in the 80s and it follows LGBT+ teens during the AIDs epidemic. Not to mention, the cover is stunning.

Coming-of-age is one of my favorite genres for so many different reasons but I love how real the stories feel even if it’s fiction. There’s so much character development and personality throughout these types of stories. We Are Lost and Found was no different. As the reader, you follow Michael and his two best friends as they grow up in the middle of New York during the 1980s. Michael goes to this club often that’s called the Echo, where he finds himself always dancing and forgetting. He’s always hanging out with either Jamie — the performer and artist or he’s with Becky, an strong female character who’s going through a lot at home.

Helene Dunbar was able to write such an interesting and fully developed cast of characters in about 300 pages. I loved all of them — Michael, Jamie and Becky. They each had their own backstories and were nowhere near being flat side characters. They also felt incredibly realistic. I find that sometimes,  in YA specifically, friend groups just seem so unrealistic and have me thinking “these people would NEVER be friends in real life” but this set of characters makes perfect sense. Jamie and Becky are never toxic and are so supportive. They’re the most unproblematic side characters ever and I ADORE them.

Not only are the friendships in this book fantastic, but family is such a huge theme in this book. Michael’s relationship with his parents and his brother plays a big part in this book. His brother is such a great character and I feel as if I relate to both of them. A lot of the times in YA books, families are often nowhere to be seen or also just incredibly unrealistic. It was a joy to see his family play a part in this book, even if it wasn’t exactly for the best reason. I really enjoyed seeing Michael’s relationship with his brother. Seeing them grow and have a healthier relationship near the end of this book is so rewarding and refreshing. On the other hand, Michael has a tough relationship with his parents and he never knows where he stands with them after knowing what they did to his brother. He feels trapped and it’s so hard to read but it’s so well done. I think a lot of readers, especially LGBT+ and closeted readers, will appreciate this.

Since this was the first ever book I’ve read by Helene Dunbar, I had no idea what to expect in terms of her writing style. I opened this book and quickly realized, “There’s no quotations marks.” I had been buddy reading this with Amber and I texted her about it immediately because to be completely honest, I think this might be one of the first non-classic books I’ve read with no quotation marks. I love dialogue and I’m not going to lie, I find myself skimming pages and just reading dialogue. Since this had no quotation marks, I obviously couldn’t do that. This story is written in beautiful vignettes and yes, there’s no quotation marks but DAMN, is it wonderful. I quickly fell in love her way of writing. I ended up marking up my review copy with pencil everywhere. I underlined anything I found funny or lyrical. I have so many quotes that I adored from this book and can’t wait to like them all on Goodreads. Let me share some little quotes I underlined:

(please note that this is from an unfinished copy and that some of these quotes may be taken out, edited, or completely changed)

  • “Happy. And that’s the odd thing. Not being happy, but realizing it. Because how often, when you’re happy, do you have the chance to step back and notice?”
  • “Becky says to stay away. That sometimes wanting is better than having — Whatever that means”
  • In this scene, he’s talking about playing guitar. “Somehow, everything I play sounds like the same thing: longing.”
  • “It’s like I left some important part of myself at Pride, and I don’t know how to get it back.”

Also, if you’re wondering why she wrote her book this way, this is a great interview!

Now to talk about a significant part of this book, We Are Lost and Found is set during the 80s and the AIDs epidemic. I’m usually hesitant when it comes to books set during real life events that are as heavy and difficult to talk about like the AIDs epidemic. Let me just say this: This is such a well researched YA novel set during this time. Since I got to read this book so early, I’ve been able to talk to Helene Dunbar herself and she’s truly so passionate about this subject and the book itself. I strongly suggest you read both the Afterword and Acknowledgements when finishing this book. Also, read the interview I linked above. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know much about the AIDs epidemic besides the fact that it certainly did happen. This book exposes the most difficult and uneasy events that took place during the epidemic. There’s a few scenes in this book that I marked because they were truly excellent and captured the experience of a young, LGBT+ boy in the 80s. One of the scenes is near the beginning of the book when Michael is reading the newspaper and reading the statistics and result of AIDs. Throughout the entire book, Michael is so utterly scared of AIDs — whether it be him somehow obtaining it or his friends and brother. Another heartbreaking scene that captures the pure fear of the AIDs epidemic is when another side character ends up getting AIDs and his family doesn’t even visit him even though he’s dying because they’re scared they’ll get sick. These are such poignant scenes but they truly set the reader up for an eye opening read.

I’m planning to read more books about the AIDs epidemic since this one. I loved it even more than I thought I would. The writing was absolutely beautiful. Helene Dunbar wrote a book on such a complex topic and did it while being both poetic and light hearted at the same time. Don’t get me wrong — this book is a heavy read but it’s well worth it. There’s so much depth within this book that I didn’t quite expect but I really enjoyed it.

On a more random note, I think this would make the perfect book club book. I really love reading this along with Amber. It gives you so much to talk about and makes for incredibly interesting conversations! As a reader, you also learn so much about the AIDs epidemic from the point of view of an LGBT+ teen. Truly remarkable!

I can’t wait for this book to be released (I pre-ordered it right when I finished) so all of you can read it and hopefully love it as much as me! The description of this book seems quite accurate. I think this book has all of the things Perks of Being a Wallflower has so if you are a fan of that book, don’t hesitate to pick this one up! You might love it as much as I did.

Find We Are Lost & Found at your local bookstore! It comes out September 3rd, 2019.

 

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

Upcoming Reviews | 7/26/19

Hello everyone! These are all the ARCs I have to read into 2020. I will be posting a review for all of them and I hope to meet each of the deadlines I gave myself. I obviously might not post on each of these days but I plan to. As you might’ve noticed, most of these days I plan to post are a week BEFORE the release date. I’ve always done reviews like this because it gives me more time to read the books and it allows me to promote my review whenever the book is published. I’m also probably going to be reviewing more books but might not have the ARCs yet or it’ll be a review of some random book I just read. If you have any questions, just let me know!

  • We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

Release Date: September 3rd, 2019

Review Date: Most likely August 26th, 2019

  • Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Release Date: October 1st, 2019

Review Date: Most likely August 24th (I’m hoping for this but it’s also a VERY long book so who knows)

  • Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Release Date: October 22nd, 2019

Review Date: Most likely October 15th, 2019

  • Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

Release Date: January 14th, 2020

Review Date: Most likely January 7th, 2020

  • Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Release Date: January 21st, 2020

Review Date: January 16th, 2020

 

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman [REVIEW]

This is an archived review. Click here to see the original post.

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“A powerful display of empathy and friendship from the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of If I Stay. Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from home to find the boy that he loves, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City after a family tragedy leaves him isolated on the outskirts of Washington state. After the three of them collide in Central Park, they slowly reveal the parts of their past that they haven’t been able to confront, and together, they find their way back to who they’re supposed to be. Told over the course of a single day from three different perspectives, Gayle Forman’s newest novel about the power of friendship and being true to who you are is filled with the elegant prose that her fans have come to know and love.”

Edition: Hardcover

Page Count: 304 pages

Publication: March 27th, 2018

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

My Rating: ★★★½/★★★★★ (3.5 stars)

I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

p.s. there’s a lot of great representation in here!
– lgbt+ muslim pov
– mixed pov mc
– sc pov with depression?

*TW FOR MENTIONED SUICIDE*

“They may be complete strangers, with different lives and different problems, but there in that examination room, they are measuring sadness the same way. They are measuring it with loss.”

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman follows three POVs: Freya, Harun, and Nathaniel. Freya is our main character who’s lost her voice while recording her debut album in order to build from her internet fame. Nathaniel is struggling personally and has just arrived in New York City with only a backpack and a map. Harun, a New Yorker, struggling with his identity and coming out to his family. Whenever one of them ends up literally falling on the other and one of them is a bystander, they become close in a span of a day and help each other understand the loss they’re all facing and how to cope with it.

Gayle Forman is well-known, rightfully so, for If I Stay and it’s sequel. I was first introduced to her writing whenever I read If I Stay and nothing about it was memorable to me. I felt different about her writing while reading this book. It was incredibly detailed but the writing was beautiful. When writing about such heavy topics like she covers in this book, it’s perfect that she was able to side it with such a smooth and elegant writing style.

I definitely have to say this book is perfect for binge reading. If you have a night where you can just get cozy in bed and read a book, you should pick this one. It’s short and it takes place across one single day but it’s never boring. Each character is so interesting and uniquely different that there wasn’t really a POV that I preferred. Somehow, the reader gets an in-depth background into each character so you actually end up knowing them by the middle of the book which is astounding for it’s pace. I actually did read this all in one sitting and I ended up staying up until like 2am in order to finish it. I’ve read a few books that take place throughout a day but this one was fantastically done.

There was a lot going on within this book but it wasn’t too much. There was Freya’s POV and her music career, her relationship with her sister and her father. There was Harun’s POV with dealing with his sexuality, his boyfriend, and his family. Then there was Nathaniel’s point of view dealing with his concussion, his relationship with his father and his future. Alongside all of that, we get their relationship and their stories together. It felt like the perfect drama but it was also so thought-provoking and heartwarming. The ending was so beautifully done and this honestly feels like some of Gayle Forman’s best work.

What I Didn’t Like: I had one problem that I noticed very early on within this book that didn’t really affect my reading experience but I did realize it early on and was kind of worried. It’s definitely something someone else might bring to attention due to how important #ownvoices is now in the Young Adult genre. I believe it’s okay to write a character different from you as long as you’re not writing their struggles. For example, a straight man can’t write a book about a lesbian struggling to come out. In I Have Lost My Way, Feyre comes from a partially Ethiopian family and it’s very prevalent in the book due to her dad’s position. But, personally, I feel like her character and family dynamic seemed very well researched, appropriate, and respected. As for Harun, I feel like Gayle Forman walked the line. While it’s very clear she did research and is knowledgeable about Islam (from my understanding), I was uncomfortable reading her write about his struggles being a gay Muslim in a very religious family because it isn’t truly authentic. Here’s a few of the lines that I consider “walking the line” when it comes to writing the struggles of a POC character.

“His older brother Saif started middle school on the day 9/11 happened, and after that he began calling himself Steve and refusing to attend mosque.”

But she doesn’t expand on this or use it as a plot point which is why I don’t think this book is bad. Continuing on, while talking about himself, Harun says:

“And anyway, it’s not like any American carrier would be eager to hire a pilot named Harun Siddiqui.”

which makes me refer back to why I believe a POC should write about their struggles before anyone else should. It just seems wrong and unnecessary???

Like I mentioned before, I feel like Gayle Forman did this in the best way that she possibly could. Harun’s character was actually the most fleshed out within the book and every scene with his family was great. This is just a personal preference of mine. Other than that, this is by far my favorite book by her.

Again, but Better [SPOILER FREE REVIEW]

81kW7J18kvL“Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal — but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change — there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic – the possibilities are endless.”

Edition: Hardcover

Release Date: May 7th, 2019

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Wednesday Books

My Rating:  stars ★★★★ out of ★★★★★ stars (4/5)

 

I was kindly sent an e-arc of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. The opinion is my own.

THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE!

I have been following Christine on social media for so long so I’ve obviously been following her writing series since the beginning. If you’re not familiar, Christine has made writing videos from the moment she started her book and they’re still ongoing. It’s been such an interesting journey to watch Christine struggle with drafts and rewrites to finally getting to sign her first ARC at Yallfest. Once we were finally given the description of her book, I pre-ordered it immediately.

I loved the idea of uncertain 20 year old who decides she’s going to study abroad in hopes to meet new people, make new friends, and learn about something she’s truly passionate about. Also, maybe find an incredibly cute boy on the way. As a clueless almost 20 year old, I needed to finally read something like this.

I’m going to quickly get out some of my more negative thoughts and disclaimers first before anyone thinks my rating doesn’t match up. I gave this only 4.0 stars because I had some minor issues with the book that I would if this was any author. I’m not being extra nice because I follow Christine and love her. I truly did love this book but we’ll get into that in a second.

  • First, this didn’t ever seem like a YA novel. I think this would be better off marketed as a New Adult novel instead. The main character is 20 years old and in college, studying abroad where drinking is legal. There’s nothing in this book that makes it unreadable to Young Adults but it just makes more sense? It gave me the feeling of a New Adult novel too but the category of New Adult is just now beginning so who knows.
  • Second, I felt a shift between the first and second half of the book. The writing seemed to drag a bit in the beginning and I could obviously tell this is someone who doesn’t have experience writing novels. The writing at the beginning is quite lack luster but it’s not terrible. It just could’ve been better and I’m sure as Christine starts writing more, it will. This could have something to do with that not much happens in the first half of the book. It’s a lot of introducing of new people and experiences. The second half of the book was so, so entertaining and brilliant. The writing gets better almost instantaneously for some reason that I couldn’t tell you. I ended up finishing this book in one night because I was so excited to keep reading after I finished part one. I just think the writing is amateur and awkward. She uses phrases like “what the fudge” and the word “Epic!” a lot and I wasn’t a fan. It doesn’t make sense for the character to use the phrase “what the fudge” while other characters did curse. Maybe it’s just a quirk — but it was excessive and annoying.
  • and a quick Disclaimer, this book is VERY Christine. But, I feel like nobody would notice this if her life wasn’t online. This is her first book and she’s worked so hard on it. It feels like this book is reminiscent of her own experiences and memories she may have. Her main character, Shane, is quite similar to her but I wouldn’t say exactly. I obviously do not know Christine besides her Youtube channel but Shane and Christine definitely have the same quirks (loving Lost, the username and love of writing, etc.) I don’t think this is at all wrong but just a personal preference. Some people might find it a bit lazy, but I think it makes the reading experience even more fun.

Now, onto the things I loved!

Christine did a WONDERFUL job with character development and growth. Christine was able to portray Shane’s inner thoughts constantly but not in a way it was overwhelming. Shane is a very anxious and thoughtful person. She’s in her head a lot and she comes off as almost naive or innocent? She’s extremely passionate about writing and knows the direction she wants to go in, but is held back by her family. I feel like Christine’s style of writing went perfectly with the personality of her main character. She’s funny but also incredibly nervous that makes the situation awkward but not too awkward. Since her character is funny, this book made me laugh out loud a few times. I even laughed reading the acknowledgements.

As for Pilot (the love interest), his character fell flat for me. He wasn’t that interesting or anything. He was an average character who played character. I found their banter really cute and they have some adorable interactions but overall, he’s just okay. It’s hard to talk about their relationship without spoiling anything but I feel like people blame Shane too much for his actions. It’s common people always blame the woman but I hope future readers understand her situation more than the reviews I’ve seen recently. Oh, they also totally remind me of Ross & Rachel from the TV show Friends. I’ll go more into this in my spoiler review. I also can’t forget her roommates! I liked the Disney roommate but I found it hard to like them in the second half of the book. Nothing against the book personally but some of their actions just royally upset me. You’ll understand immediately whenever you read the book.

On a personal level, this book is incredibly relatable. There isn’t enough college related books so being able to read a college student with pretty obvious anxiety was nice. It also makes me long for studying abroad even more. It brought me into a world I wish I lived in for awhile but took a spin near the end. There is a plot twist that most probably won’t see coming but I did. It seemed pretty obvious to me from the moment a certain character was introduced but I think this ending makes the book so much better. I think it helped the story a ton and was definitely the best part. If this book didn’t take that turn, this would’ve been a three star book for me. But, I ended up finishing this book all in one sitting once I reached part two. I loved it. It becomes so much more emotional and raw than the beginning and it had the type of ending I loved. It’s those endings you never see coming or the ones you don’t exactly wish for. Christine did an excellent job of ending this story and wrapping things up. This book portrayed a lost college student in the most satisfying way. From dealing with her family, her major, her friends and her love life, it was all so lovely. I definitely can’t wait for others to read this to hear their thoughts!

 

Find Again, But Better at your local bookstore!

 

 

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What If It’s Us [REVIEW]

This is an archived review. For the original post, here’s a link to Goodreads post.

36260157Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?”

Edition: ARC e-book
Page Count: 488 pages
Publish Date: October 9th, 2018
Publisher: Harper Teen
ISBN13: 9780062795243

Rating: ★★★★/★★★★★ (4.5/5 stars)

 

I was so kindly sent an early copy of this book by Harper Teen in exchange for a review.

“I don’t know if we’re a love story or a story about love.”

I am so excited for this book to be shared with the rest of the world! I got the honour to read and review this book early and as always, these authors didn’t disappoint me. While I don’t read many contemporary books anymore, I always end up reading both Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera’s books. They both write quite differently as Adam Silvera writes incredibly deep and emotional books and Becky’s books can get emotional but are usually pretty lighthearted. This book is a perfect combination of what real love feels like when it hurts and when it’s the only thing you can think about.

It all begins with two teenagers named Arthur and Ben meet in a New York post office on accident. It’s definitely a bitter sweet meet-cute considering they flirt but don’t exchange any contact information, not even a name, so all they do is think about each other afterwards. They search craigslist, have a friend internet stalk one another, etc. and soon enough, they’re together again on their first date. As the expectations are high, things start to disappoint when their multiple dates don’t end up as planned. But, they keep trying anyway to make their story as picture perfect as possible. Unfortunately, love isn’t always that simple. Was the universe helping them or not?

I have to admit: Arthur and Ben’s messy love story was hard to read at times but it’s definitely worth it. It shows that not all relationships are perfect and there’s definitely struggles whenever it comes to love but it’s the ride that counts. They did over their first date in attempt to have the perfect one but it never seemed to work out. Arthur was jealous and insecure at times and Ben didn’t quite understand. They were troubled and made many mistakes but that’s the reality of it all. It wasn’t insta-love or perfect like they wished but it was real. That’s what makes this story so genuine and heartfelt.

The characters alone didn’t need each other to be interesting because of how descriptive and intriguing their personalities were. Becky Albertalli wrote Arthur, a broad-way obsessed teen who’s living in New York over the summer. The mentions of Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen were an excellent plus. Adam Silvera wrote Ben, a New Yorker who just got out of a relationship and is struggling with summer school. Not only are these characters both gay but Arthur is a Jewish boy with ADHD and Ben is Puerto Rican. As readers, we explore Ben’s struggle with his racial identity because he doesn’t exactly look Puerto Rican. Not only that, but we get insight on Arthur’s personal struggle living with ADHD. As we get introduced to both Ben and Arthur, we meet several side characters who play important roles in their lives and are diverse. We meet their closest friends, their significant others and their families but it’s still crucial to the plot. We experience their families meeting at Arthur’s home and their world’s colliding. It was so wholesome seeing their parents talk about each other as a couple.

The only problem I found while reading was that Arthur and Ben felt a lot older than they were (I believe they’re like 15-16?). They felt much older, like college students but it might’ve been the fact they’re living in NYC and they were quite independent. Also, some of the conversations were just weird (those roommates?? lol).

It was so refreshing to read a LGBT+ love story that was genuine and normalized. It was a bitter sweet romance during the Summer in New York. I could see the ending clearly but I didn’t want to believe it. What’s better than a realistic romance in New York with two incredibly diverse characters with outstanding personalities? Not to mention, I fell in love at all of the broadway references and how they mentioned real bookstores like Books of Wonder. It was like the icing on top of the cake (cliche, I know) but I loved everything about this book.

I sincerely cannot wait for it to be released so everyone else can understand how lovely it is as well. I think we all need a good LGBT+ love story by the king and queen of YA contemporary.

Have you read this book? Are you planning to? Let me know!

If you would like, here’s a little button to add it to Goodreads:Related image

 

Buy this book at your local bookstore

Upcoming Reviews 04.15.19

Good afternoon! I decided that today would be the best time to share with you all the reviews I should have coming up in the next few months. This list is obviously going to change as I receive and request new books to review. Most of the books that I review are kindly sent to me. Any books that I read for fun and review anyway will usually be a mini review.

I also want to clarify these reviews SHOULD go up a week before the release date but I can’t promise anything. The dates might change but the review should be up around the times that I say. So, with that being said, let’s list off the reviews!

 

  • Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid [MINI REVIEW]

I’ve been meaning to write this mini review for so long now and I’m going to write it right after this post (hopefully) so there’s no set date for this but it is coming, I promise!

  • Again, But Better by Christine Riccio [SPOILER FREE REVIEW]

Post date: April 30th, 2019. This review is already scheduled to go up the week before the release date. I was kindly sent an e-arc of this book through NetGalley!

  • Where I End & You Begin by Preston North [REVIEW]

Post date: May 28th, 2019. I was sent an e-arc of this book through NetGalley! I already have a rating of it on my Goodreads because I’ve already finished and enjoyed this book.

  • We Are Lost & Found by Helene Dunbar [REVIEW]

Post date: The date isn’t exactly set since I haven’t read this book yet but I usually post the week before so technically, this should be going up on August 27th, 2019. Wow, I’m ahead of myself!

 

 

Are you excited about these upcoming releases? Have you read the ones already out? I’d love to know!

 

Pre-order any of these books at your local bookstore! Pre-orders help books out IMMENSELY.

 

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 Wanna help these books out even more? Add them over on Goodreads!

March 2019 Wrap Up

Ah, I’m finally reading again! I actually read enough to make a wrap up for this month. I don’t know about you but March felt like forever. It must’ve been because I read six books this month! I know it may not seem like a lot to some, but I’ve been going through a serious slump so this is enough for me. Luckily, I enjoyed them! Let’s talk about each one individually, shall we?

So, the first book I read this month was:

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama

I listened to this on audiobook and loved it. The audiobook is quite long but it was worth it. I’d listen to it while cleaning, driving to work, going to bed, etc. I eventually switched from audiobook to the physical copy near the end because it was so enticing and interesting that I just had to read it faster. I truly loved learning about her life and I wrote a mini-review about it. I’ll link it here!

Edition I read: both Audiobook and Physical copy

Date Started and Finished: March 2nd to March 5th

Rating: 5/5 stars ★★★★★ (How can I give the best first lady less than 5 stars?)

My Review | Goodreads Progress

2. Saga vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

I finally got around to reading the latest edition of Saga and honestly, I’m shocked. I can’t believe there’s a year long hiatus until the next one. They really ended it like that, eh? I have a review for this as well! Don’t worry, there’s no spoilers 🙂

Edition I read: Physical Copy

Date Started and Finished: March 9th

Rating: 5/5 stars ★★★★★

My Review | Goodreads Progress

3. Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

I was lucky enough to request this arc on Netgalley and receive it the next day. I read most of this book in one sitting because it was so fun to read. I have a review going up a week before the release date so stay tuned for that! Unfortunately, I won’t share too much of my thoughts until then. But, for now, here’s my rating!

Edition I read: ARC e-copy that was kindly sent to me by the publisher through Netgalley 🙂

Date Started and Finished: March 4th to March 9th

Rating: 4/5 stars ★★★★

My review will be up on April 30th!| Goodreads Progress

4. What Makes Girls Sick and Tired by Lucile de Pesloüan

I received an e-arc of this from the publisher through NetGalley! I enjoyed this read but it was underwhelming. I think a lot more could’ve been added to it. To know the rest of my thoughts, I have a review here.

Edition I read: ARC e-copy that was kindly sent to me by the publisher through Netgalley 🙂

Date Started and Finished: March 13th

Rating: 3/5 stars ★★★

Review | Goodreads Progress

5. City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

I was feeling in the mood for a middle grade novel and decided to finally pick up Victoria’s middle grade book. I ended up reading it all in one night and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s also really cute for a ghost story lol. I don’t review middle grade because I’m an adult and I don’t read this critically. But, here’s my rating!

Edition I read: Library E-Book

Date Started and Finished: March 16th

Rating: 4/5 stars ★★★★

Goodreads Progress

6. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

AH, I loved this book. I haven’t written a mini review for it yet but I’m going to. I enjoyed this book so much and I wasn’t expecting to. I don’t know why exactly but it was everything I love to read about. It’s set in the 70s, follows a rock band with two strong female band members and it’s told in a unique interview format. It’s a brilliant book. I’m so mad at myself for not picking up this ARC copy at work.

Edition I read: Hardcover

Date Started and Finished: March 18th to March 25th

Rating: 4.5/5 stars ★★★★★

Goodreads Progress

 

Have you read any of these books? If you have, let me know how you felt about them! I’d love to chat about these books. I’m so happy with my reading this month! It’s so much more than usual. Hopefully, April’s reading will be just as success. If only I can find a book as wonderful as Daisy Jones!

 

 

 

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What Makes Girls Sick and Tired [MINI REVIEW]

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a feminist manifesto that denounces the discrimination against and unfairness felt by women from childhood to adulthood. The graphic novel, illustrated in a strikingly minimalist style with images of girls with varied body types and personalities, invites teenagers to question the sexism that surrounds us, in ways that are obvious and hidden, simple and complex.

The book’s beginnings as a fanzine shine through in its honesty and directness, confronting the inequalities faced by young women, everyday. And it ends with a line of hope, that with solidarity, girls will hurt less, as they hold each other up with support and encouragement.”

Edition: Paperback / ARC

Release Date: March 18th, 2019

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Second Story Press

My Rating: 4/5 stars ★★★★

I was sent an e-book by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I immediately requested this book on NetGalley after reading the description and seeing that it’s a shorter book. I mean, who doesn’t like short books about feminism?

It did not take me long to finish this book because I was reading an e-copy of this book and of course, it’s only 48 pages long. This book is literally the title — it’s what makes girls sick and tired. It’s an ongoing list of the things we deal with for just being women. All women face some kind of sexism daily and it’s not any easier for women of color, women in the LGBT+ community, disabled women, etc. This book covers that it’s not only white women who deal with this, but all women and it’s important to recognize that.

I can’t say much for the art because I, unfortunately, was reading this on an older kindle that only displays in black and white. I’m sure the art is amazing based on the illustrations I saw and the cover. The entire time I was reading this book, I could only imagine how nice the reading experience probably is with a physical copy. I can’t say it’s great to read all the bad things women, including myself, have gone through but it is empowering to say, this is what makes us sick and tired. Here’s an entire list of the things people do to us and we’re TIRED.

I ended up giving this book four out of five stars. It was an enjoyable, quick read and I would recommend to someone who likes reading empowering feminist books. This definitely was added to my feminism list on Goodreads!

This book is currently out today so buy this book for yourself at your local bookstore or at Barnes & Noble!

Find my Instagram post about it: @uponthepages

 

 

 

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