Feminist Friday | Aphrodite Made Me Do It [MINI REVIEW]

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“Bestselling and award-winning author Trista Mateer takes an imaginative approach to self-care in this new poetry and prose collection, Aphrodite Made Me Do It. In this empowering retelling, she uses the mythology of the goddess to weave a common thread through the past and present. By the end of this book, Aphrodite will make you believe in the possibility of your own healing.”

 

 

  • Edition: Trade paperback
  • Release Date: October 1st, 2019
  • Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
  • Page Count: 224
  • Genre: Poetry
  • ISBN: 9781771681742

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

I was kindly sent an e-arc of this book by the publisher through Edelweiss. Thank you, Central Avenue Publishing!

 

I’ve never been a huge fan of modern poetry. I’ve read Rupi Kaur’s book and I’ve loved Amanda Lovelace’s books. I received Honeybee by Trista Mateer as a gift and have yet to read it but that might change. I had already heard such good things about Aphrodite Made Me Do It so I decided to snag it for review and WOW, that was a great read.

I read poetry quickly so I sat outside in the nice weather (it finally hit the low 60s!) and devoured this book. I love how this book connects the story of Aphrodite but also intertwines personal writing in there as well. If anything, this poetry book is a perfect feminist read. It immediately reminded me a bit of Sylvia Plath’s writing (not her poetry) and that’s a compliment. This book manages to show so much growth while still remaining consistent with it’s theme and creating a beautiful story with poetry.

I highlighted several different poems, but here are some of my highlighted quotes/poems:

  • “They called me a hundred different names, an epithet for everything. Couldn’t even bother trying to comprehend it all together– that I could be bloody and beautiful, that I  could be divine and approachable.”
  • “Aphrodite tells me that love is like wine. If your cup is already full and you try to add more, it will just spill onto the carpet. Some people try and try and just stain everything. Their fingers are purple with want.”
  • “To love something deeply is only to know that you will go to great lengths to protect it.”
  • “She says, if you were only meant to be beautiful, we wouldn’t have put you down here in the dirt.”

and so many more. The writing is so lyrical and gorgeous that it’s easy to love. Anyone who loves a good feminist poet or is interested in mythology will love this! I’ll be looking forward to this author’s next releases!

*please note I read an unfinished copy so these quotes might have been changing within the original copy*

 

 

 

 

Find Aphrodite Made Me Do It at your local bookstore!

 

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

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

Pumpkinheads [MINI REVIEW]

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“Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?”

On Sale Date: August 27th, 2019
Publisher: First Second (MacMillan)
ISBNS: 9781626721623, 1626721629
Edition: Paperback & Hardcover
Page Count: 224
Genre: Graphic Novel / Young Adult Contemporary

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

 

This review is SPOILER FREE!

I’ve been waiting for this book since I came across a blank page, no cover listing on Goodreads titled “Pumpkinheads” by Rainbow Rowell. It was unclear what it was (obviously) and I didn’t find out until MUCH later that it was a graphic novel. To be honest with you, I love all of Rainbow Rowell’s books. She’s never failed me as a reader so I’m not hesitant to pick up a graphic novel written by her. Also, if you’ve ever read any of her books, you’d know her undying love for the Fall season. All of her books tend to take place in the Fall/Winter so it was no surprise she wrote an entire story based on a pumpkin patch.

As someone who also loves Fall more than anything, this graphic novel was a match made in heaven. I’m no stranger to a pumpkin patch and who knew I needed a romance set in one this bad? Rainbow Rowell was able to build the perfect seasonal friendship between Deja and Josiah. Not to mention, Faith Erin Hicks did a wonderful job illustrating them. I was rooting for them from the very beginning. This entire graphic novel is about Deja trying to be Josiah’s wingman because it’s their last shift at the pumpkin patch before college and he really wants to talk to this girl. Deja is the sweetest, most supportive friend in the WORLD so she spends her last day convincing him to talk to her and eventually, they look for her together.

If there’s any word for this graphic novel, it’s wholesome. The entire thing was enjoyable from start the finish. The illustrations make it 10x more captivating as they’re so beautifully done. I already want to re-read this graphic novel because it’s so adorable, witty, and again, wholesome. I also wanted to quickly add that even though this is a cute, light contemporary read, it’s also has so much intellectual depth. There’s a few pages in here where Deja and Josiah are talking about fate and how they both feel entirely different about the subject. Josiah thinks things happen for a reason and it’s just fates fault but Deja thinks otherwise. She talks about how these things happen because you make them happen and I just LOVED that entire conversation. They’re truly perfect for each other.

If you’re in the mood for a quick adorable and seasonal read, definitely pick up Pumpkinheads. I can’t imagine anyone hating this novel!

 

As I’m posting this, Rainbow is still doing personalized copies from Bookworm Omaha! You can check them out here.

Find Pumpkinheads 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

 

Where I End & You Begin [MINI REVIEW]

41736961“Ezra Slevin is an anxious, neurotic insomniac who spends his nights questioning his place in the universe and his days obsessing over Imogen, a nerdy girl with gigantic eyebrows and a heart of gold.

For weeks, Ezra has been working up the courage to invite Imogen to prom. The only problem is Imogen’s protective best friend, Wynonna Jones. Wynonna has blue hair, jams to ’80s rock, and has made a career out of tormenting Ezra for as long as he can remember.

Then, on the night of a total solar eclipse, something strange happens to Ezra and Wynonna–and they wake up in each other’s bodies. Not only that, they begin randomly swapping back and forth every day! Ezra soon discovers Wynonna’s huge crush on his best friend, Holden, a five-foot-nothing girl magnet with anger management problems. With no end to their curse in sight, Ezra makes Wynonna a proposition: while swapping bodies, he will help her win Holden’s heart…but only if she helps him woo Imogen.

Forming an uneasy alliance, Ezra and Wynonna embark on a collision course of mistaken identity, hurt feelings, embarassing bodily functions, and a positively byzantine production of Twelfth Night. Ezra wishes he could be more like Wynonna’s badass version of Ezra–but he also realizes he feels more like himself while being Wynonna than he has in a long time…

Wildly entertaining and deeply heartfelt, Where I End and You Begin is a brilliant, unapologetic exploration of what it means to be your best self.”

Edition: Hardcover

Release Date: June 4th, 2019

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

My Rating:  stars 4 ★★★★ 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 requested Where I End and You Begin by Preston North solely because the description got me immediately. Except, I don’t really know what I was expecting. I just know it wasn’t this. This book was so interesting, quirky and hilarious while also tackling things like depression and finding yourself when you have no idea who you are.

While mimicking Twelfth Night and Freaky Friday at the same time, it deals with the main character, Ezra, being completely confused about his identity. Not only is Ezra lost, but he also is dealing with his mental health and his situation in which he never sleeps. I think this book could’ve felt much heavier than it was but since it was still able to be humorous, it became a much lighter read.

I loved the author’s writing style because he gave his characters SO much personality. It was so fun reading Ezra’s constant thoughts even if they weren’t the happiest sometimes. I especially found it unique whenever the book finally hits the play. I think this type of writing is almost lyrical in sense that it’s so quotable. I highlighted so many lines on my kindle and it sucks I can’t share them all!

The only problem I had with this book was the mention of Johnny Depp’s abuse case. As of now, Johnny Depp has laid out endless evidence about how he was abused by his ex wife. I understand that while the author was writing this, he might’ve felt the need to mention that since Ezra was a huge Johnny Depp fan. I just don’t think it fit well within fiction. It disconnected me a bit but I still enjoyed the book nonetheless.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a hilarious yet meaningful read like Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. Their writing is reminiscent of each other! Also, if anyone’s looking for a book about identity exploration, this book covered is so well.

 

Find Where I End and You Begin at your local bookstore!

 

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

 

 

 

** I wanna note I wrote this LONG after reading it so it’s probably messy. I just needed to get a review back to NetGalley. I meant to write it after I read it but life got too crazy.**

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.

I’ll Be There For You: The One About Friends [MINI REVIEW]

39703569“This definitive retrospective of Friends incorporates interviews, history and behind-the-scenes anecdotes to offer a critical analysis of how a sitcom about six twentysomethings changed television forever

When Friends debuted in 1994, no one expected it to become a mainstay of NBC’s Must See TV lineup, let alone a global phenomenon. In the years since, Friends has gone through many phases of cultural relevancy, from prime-time hit to 90s novelty item to certified classic. Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe have entered the pantheon of great television characters, and millions of people around the globe continue to tune in or stream their stories every day.

I’ll Be There for You is the definitive retrospective of Friends, exploring all aspects of the show from its unlikely origins to the elusive reasons why we still watch it. Journalist and pop culture expert Kelsey Miller relives the show’s most iconic moments, analyzes the ways in which Friends is occasionally problematic and examines the many trends it inspired, from the rise of coffee-shop culture to Friendsgivings to the ultimate 90s haircut, the Rachel.

Weaving incisive commentary, revelatory interviews and behind-the-scenes anecdotes involving high-profile guest stars, I’ll Be There for You is the most comprehensive take on Friends, and the ultimate book for fans everywhere.”

 

Edition: Hardcover, Ebook, Audiobook
Page Count: 304 pages
Publication: October 23rd, 2018
Publisher: Hanover Square Press

My Rating: 4.5 ★★★★/5 stars★★★★

I picked this up from my online library in an audiobook format because I had seen it on Goodreads and immediately added it to my TBR. Friends is something I’ve loved all throughout my teenage years and I still watch re-runs to this day. Whenever I can’t sleep, Friends is on. Whenever I don’t feel well mentally or physically, Friends is on. It’s definitely my comfort show. I recently bought this book and sent it to my friend after finishing it because she’s the one who showed me Friends and I can guarantee she’d love this book.

This book was incredibly fun to listen to on audiobook because of my love for Friends. I’m always into the behind the scenes type stuff so this was an easy read for me. I loved learning about the production of the show and what went into the writing. It’s interesting because Friends is really such a huge show and even 20 years later, it remains one of the most re-watched shows on air. In fact, I’m pretty sure this book mentions that the viewer count is only growing for Friends re-runs. In the height of Friends fandom, Netflix recently paid $100 million dollars to keep Friends on their streaming service because people re-watch it THAT much. It’s crazy, really. But again, I’m one of those re-watchers. No shame here.

This book also goes into details about Friends and how they approached the LGBT+ community at the time. It’s something I definitely noticed but it was oddly progressive for it’s time. I’d go more into this but I think the book explains it well enough. I also listened to this one on audiobook so hearing the author speak about it all really made it more entertaining for me. I love it when authors read their own audiobooks. You can totally hear the passion of the subject from the author and it makes an even better reading experience!

I gave this book 4.5 stars overall because it’s not something I’d re-read, but I definitely loved every minute of it. It made for a great audiobook and I’m glad I’ve added to all the useless Friends knowledge I have in the back of my head. Brb while I go watch “The One with the Embryos” again.

Find this book at your local bookstore!

 

 

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

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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