Thursday, June 16, 2016

five unique books that you NEED to read!

hiiii! i've been in a blogging slump lately, so i figured it was time to brainstorm a few blog post ideas. somehow, this one came to mind, so here i am, typing this up at 10:34 PM. i'm going to tell you all about some amazing, unique five-star reads that you just gotta read! here, in no particular order, are the five books i chose!

1) the love that split the world, by emily henry

if you'd like to read my review for this book, click here. it explains why i loved it so much! :)

2) between the lines, by jodi picoult and samantha van leer

i read both of these books in a 3 day time span (it is a duology, off the page being the second book) and they're such cute, easy reads! these books are about a girl named delilah and a boy named oliver. oliver lives in the pages of a storybook, but when delilah falls for him and realizes that they can speak to each other, they must find a way to get into the same world to finally meet face to face.

3) illuminae, by amie kaufman and jay kristoff

i think what really got me is the fact that 1) the format of it is AMAZING and like nothing i've ever seen, and 2) this is the book that got me into sci-fi (which is HUGE, because i used to hate it)

4) a little something different, by sandy hall

just read this. (from goodreads)

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship. 

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....

if that doesn't make you wanna read it, i don't know what will.

5) the statistical probability of love at first sight, by jennifer e. smith

this is one of those stories that literally is love at first sight. hence the title. this book takes place in a one (or two?) day period. when hadley misses her flight, she runs into oliver. the two spend the plane ride getting to know each other, but what will happen when they must go their separate ways? i guess you'll have to read it to find out.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

caraval: why you need to read it & what to expect

despite the warnings, i DID get swept too far away in caraval (in a good way, of course).

first, i'd like to thank stephanie for writing this beautiful book that got me out of my three month reading slump. second, i'd like to say that you all had better be adding this to your TBR right now. third, this is my new favorite book cover. i mean, look at it!

caraval immerses you into a magical world full of games, mystery, betrayal, and friendship that will 
leave you guessing after every page. i couldn't help but try to predict what was gonna happen next, and let me tell you, nothing is as it seems. (meaning, all my predictions were wrong. i'm a terrible guesser.)

i'm not going to write a long review about this book until closer to release date, but to explain how incredible this book really is, take a look at the notes i made while reading:

-colorful detail
-mysterious but intriguing
-feels as if you're in a dream-like state while reading
-has the magic of fairytales but is uniquely woven into a circus-y atmosphere
-never uses specific color (ex. "the color of forgotten memories) and uses lots of interesting similes (ex. "wrapped in colors like a birthday present")
-lies. tests. betrayal.

if that doesn't make you more excited to read caraval, i don't know what will. i highly encourage everyone to pick this up when it releases, 1/10/17! i give this book ALL the stars. it exceeds the 5/5 star rating!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

review: how it ends, by catherine lo

Author: Catherine Lo 
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pub Date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books
Pages: 304 (hardcover version)
Source: ARC (won from a giveaway)
goodreads / amazon / book depository

There are two sides to every story.
It’s friends-at-first-sight for Jessie and Annie, proving the old adage that opposites attract. Shy, anxious Jessie would give anything to have Annie’s beauty and confidence. And Annie thinks Jessie has the perfect life, with her close-knit family and killer grades. They're BFFs…until suddenly they're not. 


when i first received this book, i hadn't heard much about it. the only thing i had read about it was the mini description on the back (which is different than the one above), but it was enough to intrigue me. i picked up this book not knowing what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised.

when we meet jessie, it is clear that she isn't one of those "popular" girls. she's the shy one who sits with the video-game-lovers, that is bullied by popular girls, but is also very smart and gets good grades. i appreciated the fact that this character seems realistic. jessie, in a way, reminds me of myself. i'm shy, don't have a HUGE amount of friends, but still care about my schoolwork. i haven't read a lot of books where the main character wasn't the star of the school, so it was nice to be reading from a different point of view. 

annie, on the other hand, is the opposite. she's fun, outgoing, and has (or, had, at her old school) a lot of friends. my first thought was "oh no, she'll be joining the popular squad" but i was wrong. right away, she decides she wants to be friends with jessie. this was another major thing i loved about how it ends. it shows that anyone can be friends with anyone, and that labels aren't everything. like they say, opposites attract. the fact that annie chose jessie over the popular group made me tear up. these kind of things don't happen often (at least, at my school they don't) but i sure as heck love to see it happen.

how it ends takes place in high school, so i found myself relating to and knowing about lots of the events that took place, such as parties, drinking (ew) and relationships. (not that i am ever a part of these events, NO WAY. but i've heard stories from others) it reveals the harsh realities of high school, and what it is like to be in both jessie's and annie's shoes.* 

*is this correct grammar? i can't remember...

they say even the best of friends have their fights, right? no friendship is perfect, including jessie's and annie's.* through the ups and downs, they learn the truths about one another and unravel the secrets that until now, had remained untold. could one little secret tear apart their friendship? i guess you'll have to read to figure this out ;) wow. that sounded like i was either reading off of the synopsis (which i'm not, i swear!) or trying to sell the book (heck yeah i am cause you all gotta read this).

*sorry if this grammar is still incorrect

ooh! ooh! another thing i'd like to say i loved about this book: PARENTS WERE PRESENT!rarely see this in YA anymore, but i'm not quite sure why. jessie's parents are super supportive, and willing to help her in any situation. annie, on the other hand, hated her step-mother and step-sister (her real mom died, dad remarried) so it was interesting to see their family lives play out as well as their school lives.


the only thing i didn't necessarily like about the book was the pregnancy. if the character were, say, age 20, i'd be okay with it, but FIFTEEN?! that just isn't realistic nor is it likely. so, um, yeah. that is all i have to say about that.

how it ends is a book primarily based on friendship, which is one of my favorite things to read about. even though their friendship isn't perfect, this book was a beautiful read. i already wish there was a sequel, because i need more of jessie and annie!

***quick note: i tried to make this review non-spoilery, so i didn't include too much detail! that being said, sorry this review was short. 

to sum up this review, how it ends is an outgoing, heartbreaking, meaningful story of friendship that will leave you wanting more of jessie and annie's story. i give it a 4/5 stars! you won't want to miss this one, so pick it up when it hits shelves june 7th!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

discussion: how does your age affect your reading experience?

trick question. it doesn't.

this is a topic that i've been seeing lots of discussions over. i originally got the idea for this post when i read jamie @ perpetualpageturner's post on reading harry potter for the first time at 30. it made me realize one thing: it doesn't matter how old you are when you read a book for the first time, as long as your reading experience was phenomenal.

as for me, i got into harry potter a lot later than my friends. i always remember how people used to talk about it all the time in elementary school, and i didn't know a thing about it. i got a lot of "YOU'VE NEVER SEEN OR READ HARRY POTTER???" during those years. so, i finally picked up the books and watched the movies shortly after i turned fifteen. and that was the moment i knew my life and reading experience had changed. SEE WHAT HAS BECOME OF ME?!

personally i think that harry potter is a magical, beautiful read for any age. every reader can easily be swept up into the wizarding world and experience harry's journeys with him. buying a wand and school supplies from diagon alley, going to hogwarts, massive feasts, magical classes, hogsmeade trips, butterbeer, quidditch matches, spending time with family and friends, and fighting off lord voldemort (okay, maybe not that last part).

in many of the books out today, especially in fantasy, there are lots of in-depth concepts that can often be hard to comprehend. magic, kingdoms, mythical creatures, ancient lands, battles, armies, and much more are incorporated into fantasy books. guess what? there is such thing as middle grade fantasy for younger readers. but here is my question: even if they're at a difficult reading level, why does that determine the age group of people who can read the book? 

oh, another quick point to bring up: i've never read percy jackson. i know lots of people who read this at a young age, as they did harry potter. and what, might you ask, did i read at age 11/12? the hunger games, divergent, and the fault in our stars (and any john green book tbh). but guess what? i understood them perfectly fine, just as well as any teen or adult could have. so why do parents tell their children, "you're not old enough to read that" when they really want to? why take that away from them?

it is understandable that some parents don't want their children reading "mature content" or "gory action scenes." i know my parents were hesitant to let me watch the hunger games movies, and it took a lot of begging to persuade them. in the end, the hunger games books were what sparked my love for dystopian. they probably even sparked my love for reading itself. 

all in all, i guess i wrote this post because i don't like when people say "isn't that a middle grade? why are you reading that? you're a teenager." i got this a lot while reading harry potter. my friends couldn't believe i became obsessed, because sophia you're sixteen! so what? LET ME LOVE MY HARRY POTTER.

i hope this post made sense. sorry it was so short and ramble-y, i just felt like i needed to get that out. thanks for reading! what is a book you absolutely love that is probably considered "middle grade" and when did you read it? for me: harry potter, age 15 :)

Monday, May 16, 2016

bookcon recap + tips for your first trip!

bookcon 2016 is one of the BEST days i've ever had in my life. 
i got to meet so many incredible people and authors and grab some amazing books! i woke up at 4:00 AM, and right when i got there, (5:45 AM) there were about 200 people already in line. at 8:00, they opened the chutes to get wristbands and i thought i was a part of the next hunger games. IT WAS CHAOS. there were about 8 authors per chute, but you were only allowed to get one author per chute. this is how they were grouped this year and what time they signed:
(PS- i just realized i only got a pic of half the chutes, but here they are anyway)

so my friend and i, since there were only two of us, chose to get wristbands for sarah j maas and leigh bardugo (it was super hard to choose for chute 5 though!) and the wristbands guaranteed that we would get to meet the author and get our books signed. it also gave you the location and time of the signing. 

once we got the wristbands, we hurried to get in line to get on the show floor, which opened at 10:00. if you had a VIP pass, you got it at 9:45. we were in line for one and a half hours, then it was a madhouse when they let everyone in. my friend and i hurried to get in line for the first in line event, which is an event where they allow the first 300 in to meet certain authors and get arcs + other books signed. it went on from 10:30-11:00, and we got there around 10:05. we got in around 10:30 isn (what time you got in depended on how far back you were in line). i got gemina (signed), the sun is also a star (signed), and i darken, and girl in pieces arcs and got to meet amie, jay, and nicola. they were all super nice and i was so excited to meet them and grab their upcoming books! 

after this event was over, we got in line for sarah j maas' signing (11:00-12:00) and a woman was coming around giving us post-its with our names on them so that when the author signed the book, it would be faster. we also figured out that we could only get one book signed due to time. i was upset about this since i had brought two to get signed, but ended up getting queen of shadows signed. i asked sarah how she came up with her character names, and she said "if i hear it, i'll write it down, and sometimes i use baby," which i found interesting and funny at the same time. 

after sarah's signing, we had a bit of free time, because our next signing was at 3:15 for leigh bardugo. we walked around to different publishing booths, and when we got to penguin teen's booth, we saw a sign for their upcoming signings and giveaways. my friend, while reading the sign, goes, "omg. THEY'RE DOING A GIVEAWAY FOR A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING AT 1:00!" so we asked the staff how many they were giving away, and they said 200. WHAT?! so we were guaranteed to get one. we stood in line and managed to be within the first 15 to get one, and we were super excited because we hadn't expected to get ASBAB at bookcon! we also got some cool posters and swag, which is pictured below!

we ate lunch around 2:00, and we saw laini taylor there! sadly, my friend and i were too shy to go say hi to her and didn't want to interrupt her lunch. but it was SO COOL! her pink hair and gold leggings were awesome! oh, and here is a funny but tragic story about something that happened before lunch: i saw amie and jay TWO FREAKING FEET AWAY FROM ME talking to someone. jay was holding a box, and my first thought was NEVERNIGHT. i didn't say anything (again, too shy) and then later i saw someone post a picture with nevernight and I AM STILL KICKING MYSELF FOR NOT SAYING ANYTHING! i knew i had to say "never forget" but i didn't wanna go up to them and be like NEVER FORGET NEVER FORGET NEVER FORGET and then jay would say umm i don't have any because then i really would've looked like an idiot.

soon after, we walked around some more to pub booths and managed to snag an arc of the reader by traci chee! i hadn't read much about this one but had heard great things so i was pretty stoked to have gotten it!

at 3:00, we lined up for leigh bardugo. this signing required the purchase of one of her books, so i bought a paperback of ruin and rising to complete my paperback collection. leigh didn't have a limit to how many books we could get signed, so i got my siege and storm signed and six of crows signed. meeting leigh was the highlight of my day! she was super nice and really cool, and i loved her silver hair! we got a picture with her and she gave us some crooked kingdom tattoos! i really hope i get the chance to meet her again in the future!

after leigh's signing, we didn't have anything else planned so we walked around some more. i grabbed a copy of holding up the universe at the penguin booth, since they had a bunch out on a table and it looked pretty interesting! oh wait i have another story and this one is even more tragic! so penguin was tweeting all day so i had my notifications on, and i saw a tweet saying they were giving away an arc of a torch against the night, so i speed walked/ran there and i was about 5 seconds too late. I WITNESSED THEM GIVE IT TO THE WINNER. so i hovered around penguins booth awhile longer just incase, but eventually went back to the main area. then, 30 minutes later, they tweeted out "i swear we weren't hiding this from you, but we have one last arc of torch!" i was 10 feet away but didn't check my phone in time. so, i had an opportunity for torch TWICE and missed both. gah.

overall, i had the best day ever at bookcon. i thought the event was very well organized and could not have asked for a better experience! every single person in the book community is extremely nice and i'm so thankful to be a part of the community! i talked to lots of booklovers and authors and it was fabulous! now, keep scrolling to see some tips/question answers i have for you if you're planning on attending your very first bookcon in 2017! 

what's the difference between BEA and bookcon?
BEA is Book Expo America, a three-day weekday event where booksellers, publishers, librarians, bloggers, and other professional book people go and receive lots of ARCs to read and review, and sometimes meet some amazing authors! this event is not open to just anyone, only the pros. however, bookcon is a two-day weekend event (for some reason this year it was only one day though) where any type of booklover can go and meet a couple of their favorite authors and get books signed! this is the one i went to, and i had an amazing time. i got to meet sarah j maas, leigh bardugo, amie kaufman, jay kristoff, and nicola yoon!

how did you plan your day?
i started planning about two weeks prior to bookcon. i checked their site millions of times to figure out which authors i wanted to see the most. the biggest piece of advice i have is to PRIORITIZE. you won't get to do/see everything you want, so you have to decide what you want to do the most. for me, i chose sjmaas and leigh because i have read and loved their books, and they just seemed like such amazing people and authors! (which they were!) i was sad i had to miss out on marissa meyer, though. once you figure out which authors you want to meet/what panels you want to go to, you want to use the app to figure out where the signings will be taking place and at what time. use the map to figure out location, and get in line for autographing 10-15 minutes early!

what time should i arrive at bookcon?
i got there around 5:45 AM, but the chutes didn't open until 8 AM. when i got there, there were already about 200 people there. if you had arrived any time after 6:15-6:30, the line was already out the door and starting to go around the building. GET THERE AS EARLY AS YOU CAN.

should i bring books to get signed? 
YES. but do not overpack! i brought lots of books because i thought i was going to get to meet lots of authors but only ended up meeting 4. take books from an author you know you'll definitely get to meet! also, the bookcon app is very helpful when it comes time for the event. it will tell you if you can bring books from home or if a purchase is required for the signing! (ex. sarah allowed you to bring your own books but would only sign 1, leigh required a purchase but would sign 3-4)

are the blogger breakfasts worth the money? 
i didn't go to a blogger breakfast so i can't really answer this, but they definitely sound like a lot of fun!

what do i do once i'm there?
wait in line and meet some new people! i talked to a couple people and we discussed what books we were getting signed and what authors we wanted to meet, and it was really cool! also, make sure you eat breakfast or take food with you so that you don't starve in line! 

how do i know which authors will be in which chute?
they will have a whiteboard that looks like the one pictured below that tells you the chutes, authors that will be in the chutes, and what time they are signing.

how many authors can i get wristbands for?
try to only get the ones you REALLY want to see, otherwise you won't have time to do much else. prioritize! choose your top 2-4 authors and try to get wristbands for them. BUT, you can only get one wristband per chute, so choose your authors wisely! and make sure they're not signing at the same time!

if you get a wristband for one person in a chute can you only go to that person? can you go to all of the authors in that chute or do you have to choose? for example if two of your favorite authors are signing at the same time?
for us, they only allowed you to get one wristband per chute, which called for some tough decisions. leigh bardugo, marissa meyer, and victoria aveyard were all in the same chute and signing at the same time. my friend and i chose leigh bardugo because she was the one we wanted to meet most. we got wristbands for her, which guaranteed that we would get to go to her signing. no wristband, no signing. like i said earlier, you have to prioritize. decide which author you want to meet more. i know, its really hard, but i guess you gotta do what you gotta do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

should i bring friends or family?
YES! they can get each get a couple wristbands and get your books signed for you while you're off meeting other authors. i saw a family of 4 get 2 wristbands each, and they all got a couple books signed for their two daughters. i thought this was a smart plan, because my friend and i got 2 wristbands each and they were for the same authors.

what do i do after i get my wristbands?
stand in line to get onto the show floor (where the publishing booths, autographing lines, and panels will be) so that you can get to where you need to be! the show floor opens about 2 hours after the wristband lines open. WARNING: once the show floor opens, be ready to participate in the hunger games. it it CHAOS at first but eventually dies down. 

once the show floor opens, where do i go? 
if you have a signing right away, head there! if not, walk around and check the place out. my friend and i hurried to the first in line event, where we met amie, jay, and nicola and snagged ARCs of their new books being released this fall! they only let in the first 300 people, so either buy a VIP pass (which lets you in 15 minutes earlier than anyone else) or speed walk to the booth like i did!

what is the first in line event?
pretty much summed it up in the last answer, but it is an event for the first 300 people in line where you can meet the authors of three amazing books (which are usually arcs) and get them signed! they also had three other arcs laying out, but the authors were not there at the time. here's what they had:
authors: amie & jay, nicola yoon, jennifer niven
books: gemina, the sun is also a star, holding up the universe, and i darken, girl in pieces, beware the girl

how many books can i take from the booths/tables?
try not to take very many, only grab the ones you really want. they had us take 2 from the authors' piles and 2 from the other piles (i chose gemina and tsiaas from the author pile, and aid and gip from the other piles) you must remember that there are other people waiting to get their hands on those books as well, so don't take lots of ARCs! *side note: and ESPECIALLY do NOT grab extras to sell! there are people who couldn't get this book because you took and extra and illegally SOLD IT.*

how do i know when they do giveaways or random arc drops?
usually the publishing booth will have a sign that tells you the time and what book is being given away. this is how i managed to get a shadow bright and burning!

what do i do if i've gone to all the signings and still have time to kill?
walk around and see what all bookcon has to offer! grab some bookish swag from pub booths, (such as totes, posters, buttons, samplers) and definitely stay tuned for giveaways! also, stay updated with publisher's twitter accounts! they'll often tweet "come to our booth and say ____ and you could win this book!"

those are some simple Q&As for your first time at bookcon! and last but not least, a couple tips:
-get there early
-take lots of photos!
-bring money for food, drinks, and books
-only grab books you really want
-get lots of bookish swag from pub booths
-make new friends!

i hope this helps! are you planning on attending bookcon next year? who are some authors you'd like to meet? what books are you looking forward to?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

bookish adventures: bookcon + giveaway

hey everyone! so i decided to create a new series of blog posts called "bookish adventures," where i'll blog about book conventions, bookstore hauls, and signing events! 

this bookish adventure is going to be about my upcoming trip to bookcon! however, i also have another surprise: a giveaway! keep reading to find out more! 

so a week from today, i will be at bookcon in chicago and i am PUMPED because this will be my first time going to a book convention & meeting tons of awesome authors! the event will last anywhere from 6-7 hours, and i'm hoping to meet at least half of these amazing authors!

-marissa meyer; author of the lunar chronicles & heartless
-sarah j maas; author of throne of glass & a court of thorns and roses
-leigh bardugo; author of the grisha trilogy & six of crows
-victoria aveyard; author of red queen
-amie kaufman + jay kristoff; authors of illuminae
-cassandra clare; author of infernal devices, mortal instruments & lady midnight
-sabaa tahir; author of an ember in the ashes
-alex bracken; author of the darkest minds & passenger
-maggie stiefvater; author of the raven cycle
-morgan matson; author of since you've been gone & unexpected everything
-laini taylor; author of daughter of smoke and bone & strange the dreamer

and hopefully i'll run into a few awesome youtubers!
-christine @ polandbananasBOOKS
-kat @ katytastic
-jesse @ jessethereader

i know this isn't a ton of information, but i'll be posting my haul + recap once i'm home! i CANNOT wait to go! now, for the giveaway!



a signed + personalized copy of 
a court of mist and fury by sarah j 


a signed + personalized copy of six of crows by leigh bardugo!

-U.S. only, unless you have a friend or relative in the U.S. that i can mail it to
-must be willing to give me your address so i can ship it to you
-you may enter both giveaways 
-ways to get entries are through my blog, instagram, and twitter (you'll see once you enter)
-cheaters & liars will be disqualified
-giveaway will end thursday, may 12th
-if the winners do not respond within 24 hours, i will choose a new winner


<a class="rcptr" href="" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="b855f7a01" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_ii4aghh2">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src=""></script>

that wraps up this post! i'm super excited to be hosting this giveaway! 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

sweet sixteen / april book haul!

as you may or may not know, a few days ago i turned sixteen! (april 28) to kick off this haul, i'd like to discuss something: every bookworm asks for books for their birthday, right? i mean, there are so many amazing books in the world and you just want to read EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. well, i sorta tried to prevent this from happening but... well, you'll see.

let's get started!
here are the four (physical) books i received for my birthday!

- the wrath and the dawn / renee ahdieh
- the rose and the dagger / renee ahdieh
- dream thieves / maggie stiefvater
- blue lily, lily blue / maggie stiefvater

remember how i said those were the physical copies? ready to hear the preorders / ones that are arriving late? :')

- the star touched queen / roshani chokski
- wink poppy midnight / april genevieve tucholke
- the serpent king / jeff zentner
- blackhearts / nicole castroman
- the unexpected everything / morgan matron
- the crowns game / evelyn skye
- when we collided / emery lord

oh, and i traded a few on #booksfortrade on twitter, and i'm going to count those! here are the ones i traded for:

- passenger arc / alex bracken
- queen of hearts arc / colleen oakes (has not yet arrived)
- wink poppy midnight arc / april genevieve tucholke

can't forget the books won from giveaways!

- how it ends arc / catherine lo
- the midnight society arc / rhonda sermon (has not yet arrived)
- burning glass / kathryn purdie
- glass sword / victoria aveyard

i love myself, so i bought myself a couple books as well ;) and an owl crate!

the raven boys / maggie stiefvater
- entwined / heather dixon
- flawed / cecelia ahern (owlcrate)

there you have it! my complete birthday book haul! when is your birthday? do i have any birthday twins out there! (i actually found a few on twitter recently! nori, stephanie, harry shum jr, and more!)