Thursday, April 28, 2016

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

AUTHOR: Jandy Nelson
GENRE: YA Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
PUB DATE: September 16, 2014
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.


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

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.


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!