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:

-MAGICAL
-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")
-SISTER GOALS
-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

HOW IT ENDS
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.


~SPOILER ALERT: AVOID THIS PARAGRAPH~

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.
~SPOILER OVER~

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 names.com," 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
-PRIORITIZE
-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!



**NOTE: PLEASE READ THROUGH THIS ENTIRE POST FOR GIVEAWAY RULES BEFORE IMMEDIATELY ENTERING!**


PRIZE #1 

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


PRIZE #2

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




RULES:
-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

ENTER HERE! 

<a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b855f7a01/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="b855f7a01" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_ii4aghh2">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></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!)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

review: i'll give you the sun, by jandy nelson

I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN
AUTHOR: Jandy Nelson
GENRE: YA Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
PUB DATE: September 16, 2014
PUBLISHER: Dial Books
PAGES: 371
SOURCE: Purchased

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.


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so i picked up this book not really knowing what to expect. i'd heard INCREDIBLE things about it, everyone was saying that it was one of the best books they'd ever read. finally, i pick it up, and W O W. the best way i can describe i'll give you the sun is this: jandy nelson took a million buckets of different colored paint, splashed it on one giant blank canvas, and the results were BEAUTIFUL. i'll give you the sun is one of the few diverse books i've read, (i'm working on reading more at the moment!) and needless to say, i LOVED it. this book is full of love, art, romance, heartbreak, friendship, creativity, and everything i could have ever wanted.

when i read the synopsis, i was intrigued by three things: 
1) noah and jude are twins
don't ask why, but i've always had this weird fascination with twins. i've always thought it would be so cool to have a twin, but i'm not really sure why! and the special relationship they have is sibling goals. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.
2) they used to be really close, but they've recently drifted apart
WHAT? WHY? WHEN? HOW? I MUST KNOW. curiosity got the best of me at this point.
3) they each tell a different half of their story
okay, dual POV is cool, but each twin telling half? each telling the story from different ages? GIVE ME THIS BOOK!

i'm sorry for flailing around about this book. i can't help it, IT IS AMAZING. i'm having trouble reviewing this because i can't form sentences. I'M STILL IN SHOCK FROM THE ENDING, OKAY? (although i was extremely satisfied with the ending, so THANK YOU JANDY!) 

"'Maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people. Maybe we're accumulating these new selves all the time.' Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things."

i'll give you the sun is the only book i've read that has a very artsy concept. noah is a drawer/painter, and jude does the occasional sculpture. there is lots of artistic symbolism, and i'm happy to say that this is probably one of the main reasons i loved this book so much. art has always had a special place in my heart because being an artist was a dream of mine when i was younger. jandy weaved many creative artistic concepts throughout the story and it really got me thinking about life and how to make the most of it.

i'll give you the sun was not only incredible and life-changing but also had lots of very interesting concepts. jude and noah, at a young age, decided to divvy up the world between themselves: someone gets the stars, someone gets the sun, someone gets the trees, the ocean, etc. if there is something one of the twins wants, they may have to be willing to give up a section of the world they have. this is only one of the many unique parts about this book and its characters. they have a very intriguing way of thinking, and this book definitely changed my way of thinking and how i view the world today. 


jandy brought to life some of the most well developed, unique, and beautiful characters i have ever read about. jude, the daredevil teen. noah, the shy artist. mom, the girl with all the secrets. dad, who always seems to have a favorite child. oscar, the recovering addict and bad boy who everybody loves. guillermo, the heartbroken sculptor. you eventually begin to fall in love with them and their story and how their paths all intertwine in the end. every single piece of the puzzle comes together to make one big beautiful picture and it is GLORIOUS.

needless to say, i'll give you the sun was perfect and is a 5/5 star read for me!

i could honestly talk about this book and how amazing it is forever, but i don't want to spoil anything for any of you with my flailing. GO READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW AND LOVE IT AS MUCH AS I DO. thanks for reading this review! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

how to get out of a reading slump!

okay. first off, i need to mention that i have been in a HUGE reading slump for two months. TWO MONTHS! and it is killing me not being able to get through more than three books a month. i am waaayy behind on my goodreads challenge because of this. therefore, i have tried a few things to help me get out of my slump and they worked, so now i am going to share them with you!



reread an old favorite
when i was struggling through the mortal instruments series, i picked up the clockwork angel and reread it (for the third time) and since i had read it twice before, it did not take me near as long to read it as it usually would have. this really helped me get through more books and get a bit caught up on my reading challenge! also, rereading a favorite is very beneficial because you already know you're going to like what you read. i think that reading books you're not interested in and DNFing a lot of books definitely slows your reading process and sticks you in a slump.



you don't have to finish the book

i struggle with this one a lot. i tend to feel like i need to finish the book only because i want to know what happens at the end. i've only ever DNFed two books in my life, and i'm pretty sure i was 12 or 13 when it happened. i DNFed allegiant and an abundance of katherines. i couldn't seem to get into the book, so i just stopped. (fun fact: the bookmark i had in allegiant is still there because i never finished it. i put the bookmark there in 2012. oops.) if you don't like a book, don't continue reading it! why waste your time on a bad book when there are hundreds more you could be reading and LOVING? i understand that reviewers usually have to read most of the arcs they receive, but honestly, if it is painful to keep reading, just stop. it is okay to have to write a bad review every once in awhile! 



read a book recommended by a friend
at the very beginning of 2015, when i became an avid reader, i got all of my book recs from the same friend. she recommended me at least half the books i read in 2015, if not more, and i loved every. single. one. (incase you're curious, the books were legend, shadow and bone, the winner's curse, the infernal devices, red queen, an ember in the ashes, cinder, and throne of glass. aka pretty much all of my favorite books.) reading a book a friend loved could mean a new favorite for you! next time you hangout with a friend, ask them about their favorite book and give it a shot!


finish up a good series 
i know some of us like to read the entire series once all the books are out, and some of us painfully wait a year between books to read them. if you read, lets say, the first book and loved it, but never got around to the second or third, try picking that one up! put yourself back into the story you loved a year (or more) ago! i read the winner's curse in march of 2015 and still haven't picked up the second or third book... i really need to get to that. i loved TWC and will hopefully be diving back into that series in may! i love continuing series when i've been away from them for quite some time. i know i'm going to end up loving the book and getting back into the world of it is one of the best feelings!


take a break, you may be burned out!
i definitely think that this is the number one reason i can't seem to finish any books. in 2015, reading was my life. i averaged 75 pages read per day the entire year. once 2016 rolled around and school got a bit more difficult, reading became less and less of a priority. this also affects how much i blog, because i feel like i need to write more reviews. the less books i read, the less reviews i write. if this is happening to you, try writing up a fun blog post! maybe a top ten tuesday, waiting on wednesday, or simply just tips or favorite books! if you've been reading non stop for a long time, give yourself a break! you deserve one! 

i hope these tips help you get out of your slump! they've surely helped me! :D

Thursday, April 14, 2016

discussion: black hair, blue eyes, and sarcasm

i don't know if its just me, but every once in awhile, i'll read about a male character who is instantly my favorite from beginning to end. then, i realized they all have three things in common: dark hair, (most of the time) pretty eyes, and either a sarcastic-like temper or a sweetheart-like temper. i didn't realize the trend until i'd seen it in multiple books i was reading. so, here are the two things up for discussion:
1) other than hair, eyes, and temper, what else do they have in common?
2) what makes us love them so much?

if you have never read a book that has this type of character, all i gotta say is:



first, lets start off by listing some characters with these traits:

-will herondale / infernal devices 
-maven / red queen 
-baz / carry on 
-the darkling / the grisha trilogy 

the immediate thing i notice about these characters are that they all have a mysterious/dark aura to them. they're more the bad-boy type, and usually are troublemakers. honestly, in real life, this is sooo not my type. but for some reason, these characters are instant favorites in books. why is that? i really don't know.

besides (usually) being the mischievous ones, each one of them cares about those who surround them. though they may not show it, deep down, they all have a spot in their hearts for their special someone. whether it be family, friends, anyone

while there are those with the sarcastic temper, there are also those who are total sweethearts, like little puppy dogs. lets list a few:

-alec lightwood / mortal instruments
-dorian havilliard / throne of glass 
-oliver / off the page


what is the first thing that comes to mind reading these names? definitely not mischievous. more like kind, loyal, caring, lovable. they never seem suspicious, hide their feelings, anything like the ones discussed earlier.


now for the real question: WHY do we love them so much?



the sassy ones: these guys ALWAYS add humor to the book, which i absolutely love! there has been multiple times where i will literally laugh out loud while reading because of something they said.

the sweethearts: every book needs a lovable character. they're the ones you can always depend on, the ones who are always loyal. what would a book be without its lovable characters? i wouldn't want to read a book without one. imagine reading a book and hating every character. *cringes*

anyways, you've heard enough from me. lets hear what some others have to say! i asked the people of twitter and instagram their thoughts, and these were the responses:





so that wraps up this discussion! who is your favorite character with these traits, and why? let me know in the comments! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

review: the girl from everywhere, by heidi heilig

THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE
Author: Heidi Heilig
Genre: fantasy, historical fiction, time travel
Pub Date: February 16 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 464
Source: ARC (won from a twitter giveaway)

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix. But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.
For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.
She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love. Or she could disappear.
 


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this year, there seems to be a new trend of time travel novels: passenger, blackhearts, the girl from everywhere, and probably more to come. so far, the girl from everywhere is definitely my favorite.

to start off, i'd like to say that heidi did a fantastic job describing the details and different features of hawaii. there is so much more there than i could've thought (aka much more than just a little tropical island. my knowledge of hawaii is small.) i have never been, but after reading this book i'm certainly going to plan a trip soon. 

one of the many things i loved about this book was the characters. i know, i'm a real sucker for good characters and they can really make or break a book for me. the girl from everywhere had a diverse cast of characters, and this is one thing i love to see in books. (#weneedmorediversebooksinya! ;) )
i especially loved our main character, nix, and her best friend, kashmir. i appreciated the friendship they had built over the years of sailing and traveling together! kashmir was a sweet but super flirty guy, but trust me when i say he and nix are the definition of friendship goals. seriously. they depend on each other to survive, kashmir being the thief who gets the crew what they need, and nix being the one to locate whatever it is they're looking for. speaking of the crew, lets talk about slate, rotgut, and bee. each person seemed to have their own purpose to serve on the ship, which i loved! it's always awkward when there's an extra person added to the cast that doesn't really have a reason for being there. the crew works together so well on each and every mission and i couldn't imagine anyone better fit for the tasks at hand. 

time travel seems like a very difficult topic to write about, but so far every author i've read from has done a wonderful job explaining it and twisting it into a unique story (shoutout to heidi and alex!) and due to this i have found myself beginning to love books with time travel. each author has their own way of tweaking it to make it their own and to fit into their books perfectly. time travel can also be a topic that is hard to understand. however, the girl from everywhere is easy to understand. i found myself actually knowing what was going on 100% of the time (which is usually unlikely for me). i liked the fact that the whole story took place in hawaii, just in different time periods. this was probably a huge reason the girl from everywhere was easy to understand.

i honestly don't have many negative things to say about this book. i loved it! one teensy tiny thing was that this book was a tad bit slow at the beginning. there wasn't too much going on, and as the reader we didn't know much about the characters and the plot yet. a few chapters in, it starts to pick up the pace. 

there are a lot of interesting points in the book where i found myself intrigued in what was going on (not gonna name specifics because spoilers). its hard to explain action scenes like these without giving much away, but to (try) to sum it up, it is almost like finding a piece of a puzzle and going "oh! that makes sense now!" you know? like when everything starts to come together and make sense? or maybe its like when you need to come up with a plan and the plan is insane but super cool at the same time? anyway, you get the idea.

overall, i really enjoyed the girl from everywhere. it has surely made the list of my favorite 2016 debuts! i give it 5/5 stars! (i know, i've given a lot of books 5/5 stars this year but thats because they're so dang good! its been a good reading year so far!)

have you read the girl from everywhere? if so, what did you think of it? what did you rate it? let me know!