Thrift Store Book Haul #8

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Recently, I went to a local thrift store and Goodwill. I found some great books at low prices! Here’s what I found:

  • Clifford the Firehouse Dog by Norman Bridwell
  • Miss Nelson has a Field Day by James Marshall
  • If You Give a Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff (paperback and hardcover)

I am almost 100% sure I already own this book, however I found this book in great condition in both paperback and hardcover. It never hurts to have multiple copies of a book for a classroom library, and since they were so cheap, it was worth the cost!

  • Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewedney

I think the Llama Llama books are SO CUTE, but I didn’t have any before finding this one at the thrift store! This will be a great addition to my collection.

  • The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
  • The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

I have the first two books in this series, so I’m glad I could find the fifth book!

  • Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star by Rachel Renee Russell

The cover of this book is so shiny! I already have quite a few books in this series, so it is always nice to find another.

  • Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures: The US Capital Commotion by Jeff Brown
  • Flat Stanley: Stanley and the Magic Lamp by Jeff Brown

I never realized how many Flat Stanley existed! These are great chapter books for my future classroom.

  • Ten by Lauren Myracle
  • Eleven by Lauren Myracle

I have Twelve and Thirteen, so I was happy to find the first two books in this series so I can start reading from the beginning.

  • My America: My Borther’s Keeper by Mary Pope Osbourne
  • Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

I’ve been wanting to read a book by Jennifer E. Smith, so this was a great find!

  • Stolen by Lucy Christopher

I read Stolen and high school and loved it, so it’s nice to have a copy of my own!

 

What are some of your best recent deals on books?

 

Love and Gelato Review

love-and-gelato

Even though I sadly have no gelato, I have much love for Jenna Evans Welch’s Love and Gelato.

In Love and Gelato, Lina’s mother dies from cancer and as her dying wish, her mother wants Lina to live in Italy with her father that she’s never met. In Italy, Lina receives a journal from her mother’s college days. In the journal, Lina discovers a secret that will change her life forever.

Ever since I read The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper in middle school, I love reading books that take place in Italy. When Love and Gelato was released last summer, I couldn’t wait to read it. After reading this book, I wanted to book the next flight to Italy! I especially loved how artwork and architecture was incorporated into this book. After taking a humanities class about art last semester, I loved recognizing some of the works I studied within this book.

The plot of this book reminds me of some of my favorite summer movies. Even though the idea has been recycled several times, Welch’s book still stood out to me. Her writing style was easy to read and really captured Italy’s beauty. I loved how the journal helped solve Lina’s questions about her father, but also allowed her mother to give her life advice even after she passed. Lina’s story often mirrored her mother’s, so between finding the right guy or “the dress,” the journal affected all aspects of the story.

My only slight complaint would be that the romance is cute, but nothing special in YA fiction. Ren isn’t the hottest guy, but he’s cute, charming, and willing to do whatever for Lina. However, I really enjoyed reading about how the relationship developed between Lina’s mother and Howard. I actually wanted to read more about their relationship than Lina and Ren’s relationship.

Love and Gelato is not the most ground-shaking book that I’ve ever read, but it’s a cute and fun read. I give Love and Gelato four out of five stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved More than I Thought I Would

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is books you enjoyed more or less than you thought you would. I decided to stick with books that I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Here are my choices (any reviews will be linked to the book’s title):

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

I didn’t hear great things about Cinder from one of my close friends and the plot didn’t seem like what I usually read, so I decided to not read it. After hearing so many wonderful things about the series through blogging, I decided to pick it up. I’m so glad that I did because The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite series ever!

The Winner’s Curse series by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)

The Winner’s Curse never really jumped out at me because it didn’t seem like a book that I usually read. Like with The Lunar Chronicles, I read great reviews about this series online. I’m glad I decided to read this series because it is definitely one of my favorites!

Avalon High by Meg Cabot

Avalon High

My sister recommended this book to me. I was hesitant to read it because it didn’t seem like something I would like. However, this ended up being one of my favorite books in high school. I can’t remember how many times I checked it out of the library!

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Just Listen

My sister recommended Sarah Dessen’s books to me, but I never expected to love them as much as I do now. My sister suggested that I read The Truth About Forever first, but I decided to read Just Listen first. Now, it’s one of my favorite YA books.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath & the Dawn, #1)

This is another book that I probably wouldn’t have picked up without blogging! I was blown away by the author’s style. Even though I only rated this book as three stars, I’m still excited to read the sequel!

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray

When my sister suggested that I read this book in high school, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do now. In high school, I primarily read contemporary books, so I normally wouldn’t have read a historical fiction book otherwise. I absolutely loved this book and will buy anything that Ruta Sepetys writes!

Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls by Meg Cabot

Moving Day (Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls, #1)

When I picked this book up, I expected a typical Meg Cabot book. I ended up LOVING this book. I laughed out loud through the entire book and want to read more Allie Finkle books!

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream

With this book, I expected a cute chapter book for younger readers. This book was much deeper than I expected and I loved it! I also loved how the book explored another culture.

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Rules

This book was on the reading list for one of my college courses, so I wasn’t expecting too love it as much as I did. This book really inspired me and made me confident in my decision to major in special and elementary education.

Sincerely by Courtney Shienmel

 Sincerely, Sophie; Sincerely, Katie

When I picked this book up, I expected a cute pen pal story. Like with Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream, this book was a lot deeper than I expected. I loved the author’s writing style and how she accurately depicted family dynamics.

 

What books did you love more than you expected?

The Emoji Book Tag

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In the Emoji Book Tag, you choose five emojis and pick one book that represents each emoji. I decided to choose the emojis that I use most frequently. Thanks to Nadwa at Painfully Fictional for nominating me! Here are my answers:

Image result for crying emoji Loudly Crying 

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)

I didn’t cry while reading Winter, but I was very sad after it ended. The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite YA series, so I missed reading about all of my favorite characters. After finishing Winter, I found it hard to pick up another book to read.

Image result for laughing emoji Laughing

Moving Day (Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls, #1)

I thought I would enjoy the Allie Finkle series, but didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. I was laughing at loud through all of the crazy situations within the book. I also thought Allie’s observations about other people were hilarious.

Image result for heart eyes emoji Heart Eyes

The Unexpected Everything

The Unexpected Everything was one of my favorite books of 2016. I read both The Unexpected Everything and Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson last summer and she became one of my favorite contemporary authors. Ironically, one of Andie’s friends in The Unexpected Everything on texts in emojis.

Image result for teeth chatter emoji Teeth Chatter or Grimace 

The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)

This is what my face looked like while reading this entire book. The Winner’s trilogy is one of my favorite YA trilogies and I was afraid for how they story was going to end. During one chapter at the end of the book, I actually had to put the book down and pace around my house.

Image result for rolling eyes emoji Rolling Eyes Emoji

The Row

I found myself rolling my eyes a lot while reading The Row by J.R. Johansson. This book reminded me of a bad Lifetime movie. The romance was weak, there was no action until the last twenty pages, and the plot twist was expected.

I nominate…

Meg @ My Tables of Content

Harlee @ Harlee Reads

Hilary @ Songs Wrote My Story

Lindsey @ Paradis Books

Syc @ The Lit Mermaid

 

Things I Can’t Forget Review

things-i-cant-forget

It will be hard to forget my favorite Miranda Kenneally book so far!

In Things I Can’t Forget, good girl Kate Kelly takes a job at a Christian summer camp without her best friend Emily. After a major fallout with Emily that shook Kate’s beliefs, she hopes to finally move past her sins. At camp, Kate reunites with Matt, her first kiss from camp years ago. Soon, Kate finds herself in another position that compromises her beliefs.

Last year, I read Stealing Parker and was slightly disappointed. I wasn’t a fan of the relationships within the book and I felt some of the characters were stereotypical. Even though I found some of these problems within Things I Can’t Forget, I liked this book more than Stealing Parker and it actually helped me love Stealing Parker more. However, some Kenneally fans may disappointed that this book does not really integrate sports like her other books.

I have mixed feelings towards the main character Kate. I really liked how Miranda Kenneally explored a teenager’s Christian faith because it is rarely explored within mainstream YA fiction. That being said, I think Kenneally also made Kate a little too cartoonish and unrelatable. Kate always came across as too naive or judgmental, which may discourage some readers from finishing the book. While I appreciate that Kate always stood up for values even though they vastly differed from her peers, I wish Kenneally portrayed Kate in a less stereotypical manner and a more positive light.

One aspect of Things I Can’t Forget was seeing more of Parker and Will. In Stealing Parker, I felt like I didn’t really get to see much of their relationship. I also liked seeing Parker grow as a character and how she helped Kate grow as a character as well. They both quickly passed certain judgments on each other, but I liked how they recognized that even though they had different outlooks on life, they could still be friends. Even though I haven’t read Catching Jordan, I also appreciated the scene with Jordan. She seemed like a really cool character and it makes me want to read her story.

As for the relationship between Kate and Matt, I also have mixed feelings. I liked how Matt was used to help Kate grow as a character, especially concerning her faith. However, sometimes Matt seemed a little too perfect. Besides being a dork when he was younger, he really didn’t have any flaws. Also, (SPOILER) Matt tells Kate at the end that she was his sign. At ten years old, he wanted to commit suicide because of what happened in his life. Meeting her, however, stopped him from going through with it. I think this was unnecessary to the plot and may give some YA readers an unhealthy view of relationships.

Overall, Things I Can’t Forget is a cute and quick YA read that would be perfect for the summertime. Things I Can’t Forget explores tough topics for YA fiction, but handles them well. I give Things I Can’t Forget four out of five stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Least Favorite Romances

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is top ten favorite romance tropes/types. Instead, I’ve decided to list some of my least favorite romances from books and explain why.

1.) The Row by J.R. Johansson

The Row

I actually mentioned this book on a recent Top Ten Tuesday because I wish this book had less romance. The romanced in this book was extremely clichéd and underdeveloped. Furthermore, it took too much time away from the real action of the book.

2.) How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington

How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You (Aurora Skye #1)

This book featured a hate-to-love romance. The main character, Aurora, was extremely annoying and shallow. Her love interest fell into many typical YA romance tropes and always came across as too perfect. The most annoying part of this relationship was the “hate” aspect. Instead of tension, readers are given toddler temper tantrums from the main character.

3.) Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow, #1)

There were three love interests in this book and I didn’t like any of them. One was extremely underdeveloped and was only briefly featured in the beginning of the book to appear randomly at the end. Another, while more developed, fell into the tropes of a typical love interest. The main love interest, Bale, was the worst of the three. I swear his name was mentioned at least five times on every page, but none of the times he was mentioned made me root for him.

4.) Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

Girl Online (Girl Online, #1)

While this book consisted mainly of cute moments between the main character and her love interest, I never really bought the romance. A lot of the moments in this book have been done before, and in combination with cardboard cut-out main characters, the romance fell completely flat.

5.) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Once again, I felt like this book tried too hard on the romance. A lot of the larger plot was sacrificed for lackluster “cute” moments between members of yet another love triangle.

6.) Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott

Stealing Heaven

I read this book at the beach one summer and was underwhelmed by the romance. I think the love interest or the romance as a whole ever captured my attention.

7.) 13 Blue Little Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes (Little Blue Envelope, #1)

I read this book awhile, so I can’t remember exactly why I disliked the love interest in this book. I’m glad I read the other book in this series, however, because I liked the love interest in that back WAY more.

8.) Little Miss Red by Robin Palmer

Little Miss Red

There are many books by Robin Palmer where I find myself disliking the love interests. I really did not like the romance in this book at all. The love interest possessed zero redeeming qualities and lacked any chemistry with the main character.

9.) Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Queen of Babble (Queen of Babble, #1)

I think this book focused too much on the main character’s first love interest than the love interest who should have been the main focus of the story. The first love interest possesses zero redeeming qualities, but you are forced to read about him for at least half of the book even though it mentions their breakup on the back cover. As a result, the main romance suffers. In addition, the true romance in the story is very stereotypical and too rushed.

10.) Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)

It’s not like I hated the romance in this book, but I didn’t like it as much as the first two books in the series. I was so excited for this book’s release and when I actually read it, I remember being disappointed that I didn’t like this couple as much as the first two.

 

What are your least favorite romance?

Conversation Hearts Book Tag

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In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought I would complete the Conversation book tag created by That Bookie on Youtube. In the video, she pulls out conversation hearts and chooses a book that relates. Since I don’t have any conversation hearts nearby, I decided to look up some phrases and create some of my own! Here are my answers:

 

2

This phrases reminded me of book covers! Since I started blogging, I usually don’t pick up books based on this cover. Instead, I rely on reading reviews. However, one book that I wanted recently based on the cover would be Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch! It looked like the perfect summer read. The story was cute and fun, so I wasn’t disappointed!

3

This is a phrase that I made up, but it definitely should be a conversation heart for books. A book that I read recently which features insta-love would have to be Heartless by Marissa Meyer. I’m not usually a fan of insta-love, but it didn’t bother me as much in this story.

4

Hug Me reminded me about all the relationships in books that aren’t romantic. My favorite group of friends would have to be the Rampion crew from The Lunar Chronicles! I loved every character and was so sad after I finished Winter. Out of the crew, my favorite characters would have to be Cress, Thorne, and Iko. My favorite friendship is between Cinder and Iko!

tweet-me

This phrase made me laugh out loud! It also made me think of all the authors that I would love to meet! I would love to have a conversation with Sarah Dessen or Meg Cabot! Throughout high school, I loved reading their books and frequently checked them out of the library. After following them on social media, they also seem like really good and interesting people.

6

You Rock reminded of all the music that I’ve read about in books. If I was serenaded on Valentine’s Day, I hope it would be Dexter from This Lullaby. The lyrics might be little odd (like the Potato Opus) or from a car lot, but Dexter would make it perfect! I definitely wouldn’t choose Spinnerbait.

sweethearts-book-tag-1

Soul mate reminded me of all my favorite OTPs. I definitely have a long list of favorite couples from books. Here are a few of my favorites: Kestrel and Arin (The Winner’s Curse series), Cress and Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles), Lola and Cricket (Lola and the Boy Next Door), Annabel and Owen (Just Listen) and Remy and Dexter (This Lullaby).

Have a great Valentine’s Day! 

The Distance Between Us Review

the-distance-between-us

The distance between my rating for this book and five stars is very small.

The Distance Between Us focuses on Caymen Meyers, a sarcastic teenager who frequently works at her mother’s doll shop. One day, the rich Xander Spence waltzes into the store. Despite her mother’s warnings, Caymen befriends Xander and finds herself falling for him.

The Distance Between Us is the first book that I read by Kasie West and I was not disappointed! This book was a cute, fluffy, quick read that I couldn’t put down. Although many of the characters seemed standard YA, Kasie West pulled me in with her easy and fun writing style.

While I’m usually not a fan of love triangles, I think Caymen’s two love interests in the book really supported the book’s theme. Caymen found herself caught between a rocker that her mom quickly approved of for his alternative style and Xander who represented all of her mother’s warnings. While Caymen clearly preferred Xander, I liked seeing how her relationships with her family and friends impacted her decisions.

My one complaint would be the end of the story. While Caymen struggled through her problems during the beginning of the story, all of her problems were solved too easily at the end with a quick plot twist tossed in at the end. Caymen easily accepted huge changes to her life so the book could end on an upbeat and positive note.

Overall, The Distance Between Us is a cute and quick YA read. While the story is similar to other YA books, I enjoyed this book more. I give The Distance Between Us four out of five stars.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that I Wish had Less Romance

top ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is books that you wish had more/less X in them. Even though Valentine’s Day is a week away, I decided to choose tens book that I wish had less romance in them. Romance is often a great aspect of a book. It’s always fun to find new characters to ship. Sometimes, however, romance consumes too much of a book. Sometimes, too much romance detracts from the characters or other major aspects of the story for me. Here are my choices (any reviews will be linked to the book’s title):

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

Girl Online (Girl Online, #1)

There were so many directions that Girl Online could have followed. The main character suffered from anxiety. She was bullied at school. She ran a successful blog. However, the book focused more on generic, “cute” moments between the main character and a stereotypical YA love interest. I wish this book contained less romance and focused more on the main character’s growth.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

I was actually okay with most of the romance in this book. However, I didn’t like how the many character fell in love with the love interest so quickly. She was so set on revenge, but it fizzled out quickly after meeting the love interest even though their interactions were very brief. Throughout the book, I wished to see more of some of the magic and rebellion subplots.

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow, #1)

There are several reasons why I wished Stealing Snow has less romance. I swear Snow mentioned Bale’s name at least five times per page. Instead of focusing on her character growth, the plot focused on her relationships to every male she encountered. There’s a love square in this book, which devotes a lot of the book to romance. However, with so many love interests, none of the relationships have much depth.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

One of my largest problems with this book was the romance aspect because it comprised a lot of the plot, but never wowed me. The love triangle seemed lackluster. Mare and Cal’s relationship had a lot of insta-love, so his willingness to give up everything for Mare never felt believable. Kilorn fit the boy back home trope perfectly and his gestures towards Mare have been done countless times in other novels.

The Row by J.R. Johansson

The Row

The Row didn’t necessarily have a ton of romance, but I didn’t think it was necessary to the plot. In my review, I mention how this book reminds me of many Lifetime movies. The romance in the book was very stereotypical. I wished the book focused more on the main character’s pursuit of the truth instead of cute moments between the protagonist and her love interest.

How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington

How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You (Aurora Skye #1)

Obviously from this book’s title, the main plot revolves around romance. However, I didn’t like how the romance aspect was handled in this book and think it went a little too over the top. Aurora, the main character, looks down on guys she deems inferior and frequently throws temper tantrums when she interacted with her love interest. A lot of the cartoons were too cartoonish or stereotypical which caused all of the relationships within the book to fall flat for me. If this book focused on other issues presented, like Aurora’s relationship with her family, I think I would understand her actions better.

Which books do you think focus too much on romance?

 

Heartless Review

heartless

With a Jabberwock, crazy hats, and the makings of a notorious villain, Heartless by Marissa Meyer “heads” in the right direction.

Heartless focuses on Cath, the daughter of a Marquis who catches the attention of the King of Hearts. Cath, however, does not want to marry the King. Instead, she hopes to open the best bakery in all of Hearts with her best friend and servant, Mary Ann. Cath is forced to attend all of the King’s events to ensure a marriage proposal, but there she meets the King’s court jester who sweeps her off her feet.

Overall, I really liked the characters in Heartless, even though some of the side characters were very stereotypical. Cath is a relatable main character who struggles to stay true to herself, but also not disappoint her parents and friends. Her character really develops throughout the novel in order to become a heartless villain. I really enjoyed watching her relationships with the Cheshire Cat, Mary Ann, and the other side characters within the novel.

As for the her love interest, Jest, I think there was much to be desired. Although Jest was a nice character, I never saw any depth in the relationship between him and Catherine. They fall in love at first sight and most of their relationship only consists of many longing glances and a few cute moments. Cath’s young age explains why she would drop anything to run away with Jest, but their relationship doesn’t really stand out among other YA couples.

For the pacing of the novel, the first three-fourths of the book moves slowly, but I still enjoyed it. Meyer does a great job including the best parts of Wonderland, but also giving her own spin on it, similar to the fairy tales in the Lunar Chronicles. I especially loved how she spun the “painting the roses red” aspect of Alice in Wonderland. My only complaint would be the end of the novel where it sometimes verged on too cartoonish. I could picture the sisters with the masks and the moment where whole “heartless” title comes together as a scene from a movie with bad CGI.

Even though I had some problems with Heartless, I really enjoyed Cath’s story and Meyer’s portrayal of Wonderland. I absolutely loved the last page and reread it several times before putting the book down! I give Heartless four out of five stars.