Blogmas Day #23: Five Gifts for Five YA Characters

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Recently, I talked about different gifts that you could give to a book lover in your life. Today, I will discuss gifts that I would give to characters in books that I love. Here are my choices:

  • I would give baby clothes to Sophie’s niece in 10 Blind Dates!

10 Blind Dates

I love buying gifts for babies, so I would love to pick out gifts for Sophie’s niece in 10 Blind Dates. She actually goes shopping for the baby in this book, so it would have been fun to pick out cute little outfits with her!

  • I would give stationary to… Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before!

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

Now that Lara Jean is off to college, she may need some stationary to write to all her loved ones back home. Her letters turned out okay the first time, so I’m sure she wouldn’t mind more paper for writing!

  • I would give art supplies to Abby from Love, Life, and the List!

Love, Life, and the List

Abby is going to be a famous artist one day, so she needs all the brushes, canvases, and paint that she can het her hands on.

  • I would gives shoes to… Sweetie from There’s Something About Sweetie!

There's Something About Sweetie (Dimple and Rishi, #2)

Sweetie loves to run, so she probably would love a new pair of running shoes!

  • I would give Beats to… Bri from On the Come Up!

On the Come Up

Bri loves music, so it would be cool to give her a pair of headphones to listen to music. Since she’s a rapper, it would be even cooler for her to listen to her own music!

 

What gifts would you give characters from your favorite books?

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Blogmas Day #22: Most Disappointing Books of 2019

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While we only want to read books that we love, unfortunately there are some books that we read that disappoint us. I love to celebrate my favorite books every year, which is why I hold my annual Brittany Awards to discuss my most loved books across several categories. See the latest post here. On the other hand, I think it is also important to discuss books that weren’t my favorite and why, so people who may dislike similar aspects of books can know before they read. While I wouldn’t consider these books terrible and believe there is someone out there who loves them (they got published after all!), they just weren’t for me. Here are my choices:

Shuffle, Repeat

I picked up Shuffle, Repeat as a Kindle Deal because some of the elements described in the plot reminded me of other YA books that I enjoyed. Unfortunately for me, the main character rubbed me the wrong way which interfered with how much I enjoyed this book. In Shuffle, Repeat, the main character dislikes high school because she perceives her popular classmates as judgmental and unintelligent, which she mentions many times throughout the novel. You can probably see where I’m going: the main character was the most judgmental character in the novel and often made rude and unfounded comments to other characters throughout the book. Additionally, I found this book forgettable amongst a sea of YA books that I have read and enjoyed.

  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, #1)

This is my only book on my list that I have not finished yet, but still plan to read. I’m a huge fan of Letters to the Lost and More Than We Can Tell, which are both contemporaries by Brigid Kemmerer. I was excited to pick up the book since it was fantasy and a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. While I appreciated that the author included a main character with a disability, the story overall moved extremely slow to me and didn’t stand out against other Beauty and the Beast retellings. That being said, I only finished 50% of the book before I decided to put it aside and read it another time. Hopefully in 2020, I can pick this book up again and see if my opinion changes.

Internet Famous

Internet Famous was my lowest ranked book of the year at one star. For me, the main character held me back mostly from enjoying this book, although there were several other elements that I also did not like. In this book, the main character is extremely self-centered and incredibly rude to her family and other people in the novel and expected special treatment when she didn’t follow the rules. Usually, I don’t mind an unlikeable character. However, the main character in this book never saw the errors in her ways because she got everything she wanted. If you enjoy books that involve social media, you may like this book, but if unlikeable main characters aren’t your cup of tea, then I would stay clear of this one.

  • Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss

Kasie West is one of my favorite contemporary authors. I was excited for this book because it followed a minor character from one of my favorite Kasie West books, Love, Life, and the List. However, this book dragged a bit for me. While it usually takes me a few hours to finish a Kasie West book, this took me two weeks. I’m not a huge fan of books that involve famous people or acting, but if you are, then you would probably enjoy this book.

Call It What You Want

I received an e-ARC of Brigid Kemmerer’s latest contemporary earlier this year and I was extremely excited. I enjoyed both Letters to the Lost and More Than We Can Tell for their interesting characters and engaging plot lines. However, Call It What You Want fell flat for me. Unlike her other contemporaries, I never connected with the characters and I can’t remember much of the plot. This isn’t the worst contemporary that I’ve ever read by any means, however, it was one of my least memorable books this year.

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Blogmas Day #21: The Brittany Awards Part Three (Young Adult)

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For the past two Saturdays, I have held my annual Brittany Awards where I name the top books that I have read this year in several categories. Today, I will list my top young adult books of the year. This is my most read category of the year, and as a result, the most competitive. Here are my top four favorite young adult books:

  • Maybe This Time by Kasie West

Maybe This Time

I read three new-to-me Kasie West books in 2019 and Maybe This Time was definitely my favorite. I loved the holiday aspects of the novel and enjoyed the characters. I can see myself rereading this many times in the future, like many other Kasie West books that I enjoyed.

  • The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

I read the second and third book in the Folk of the Air series and the second ranks as my favorite. There were so many twists and turns in The Wicked King and I finally found myself enjoying the characters in this series. Second books in series usually suffer a slump, but this book is an exception.

  • Serious Moonlight by Jean Bennett

Serious Moonlight

I read Alex, Approximately when it first debuted and I was disappointed. I didn’t expect to pick up another Jenn Bennett book, but this one sounded cute and I’m all for trying to read another book by an author that didn’t work for me the first time if the plot sounds interesting. I’m glad that I did because I really enjoyed Serious Moonlight and it makes me want to pick up more books by Jenn Bennett in 2020.

  • There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

There's Something About Sweetie (Dimple and Rishi, #2)

Sandhya Menon’s books have been hit-or-miss for me. There’s Something About Sweetie has definitely been my favorite book by this author! I thought this was a cute contemporary book, which is right up my alley.

 

What have been your favorite contemporary books in 2019?

 

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Blogmas Day #20: The Christmas Joy Book Tag

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On the twentieth day of Christmas, a book reviewer gave to me… the Christmas Joy Book Tag!

  • Anticipation: The Christmas excitement is real, what book release(s) are you most anticipating?

Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta's Academy, #1)

I really enjoyed There’s Something About Sweetie in 2019, so I’m excited for Sandhya Menon’s next book to be released in March 2020, Of Curses and Kisses. This book is the first in a fairytale retelling series and takes places at an international boarding school. In Of Curses and Kisses, the story retells Beauty and the Beast.

  • Christmas Songs & Carols: What book or author can you not help but want to sing about?

Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy Jones and the Six was one of the most unique books that I read this year due to its interesting format, which is a series of interviews of band members. I rated this book as five stars and recommended it to several friends.

  • Gingerbread Houses: What book or series has wonderful world building?

10 Blind Dates

While this book takes place in the real world, it does a nice job describing each date as well as describing Christmas in the south. As someone who lives in the cold North, it was interesting to read about different traditions and experiences that take place in a different part of the country.

  • A Christmas Carol: Favorite classic or one that you want to read

Peter Pan

One of the units that I teach in school is in Peter Pan. It is always a fun unit because students are excited that they get to read their first “big book” in school.

 

  • Christmas Sweets: What book would you love to receive for Christmas

This year, I have no books on my wish list! I do not have any physical space for books, so I would rather receive an Amazon gift card in order to purchase books on my Kindle.

 

  • Candles in the Window: What book gives you that warm fuzzy feeling

Maybe This Time

Kasie West’s books always make me feel warm and fuzzy and one of her latest books did not disappoint this year! Maybe This Time is one of my new Kasie West’s favorites. With an emphasis on holidays throughout the year, it is the perfect book to pick up right before Christmas!

 

  • Christmas Trees & Decorations: What are some of your favorite book covers?

Snow in Love (Point Paperbacks)

I always love covers with Kasie West’s name tied on them. I love the pajamas in front of a fireplace. It is so warm and cozy for Christmas!

  • Christmas Joy: What are some of your favorite things about Christmas and/or some of your favorite Christmas memories?

Person Baking Cookies on Tray

One of my favorite traditions is baking cookies with my sister and grandma on Christmas Eve!

 

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Blogmas Day #19: New to Me Authors in 2019

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Every year, I like to branch out and read new authors to find new favorites. This year was no exception. Here are five authors that were new-to-me this year, the books that I read by them, and if I plan to pick up more books by this author in the future:

  • Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Daisy Jones & The Six

Taylor Jenkins Reid has always been on my TBR, but I finally picked up one of her books after seeing rave reviews for Daisy Jones and the Six. It took me a little bit to get into my first book by this author, but I ended up really enjoying this story and rated it five stars. I will definitely pick up more books by this author in the future!

  • Rachel Hollis

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

Non-fiction isn’t my preferred genre, however, I picked up this book after seeing it everywhere. This book was okay, and I started the second book by this author, but I didn’t finish it time before I needed to return it to the library. The second book by this author isn’t necessarily high on my TBR, but I may pick it up to read by the pool next summer.

  • Helen Hoang

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)

I read The Kiss Quotient after hearing rave reviews online, but I didn’t love it as much as everyone else. When The Bride Test came up, it sounded more interesting to me than the first book, so I gave it a shot. I ended up loving The Bride Test much more than The Kiss Quotient and I look forward to reading the next book by this author in 2020.

  • Courtney Summers

Sadie

I read Sadie after seeing rave reviews online. Sadie was an average read for me, although I thought the premise was interesting. I may be interested in reading another book by this author if it sounded interesting, but I’m not a huge mystery/thriller reader, so it probably wouldn’t be at the top of my TBR.

  • Jen Klein

Shuffle, Repeat

I read Shuffle, Repeat because I found it as a Kindle Daily Deal and the premise sounded cute because it reminded me of P.S. I Like you by Kasie West and aspects of Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. However, this book fell extremely flat for me because the main character criticized other people for being judgmental while simultaneously being the most judgmental character in the novel. I may pick up another book by this author in the future, but only if I find the premise interesting and see positive reviews beforehand.

 

What authors were new to you this year?

 

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Blogmas Day #18: Unpopular Opinions Bok Tag 2019

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One of my favorite book tags is the unpopular opinions book tag. Every year, I complete this book tag during Blogmas to share some of my new unpopular book opinions on books that I read over the course of the past year. This tag was originally created by The Book Archer on Youtube (see the original video here). I know that not everyone shares some of my unpopular opinions, so if you feel different, that’s okay! Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and here is a list of my new unpopular opinions:

  • A popular book or series that you didn’t like

Louisiana's Way Home

I have tried to read several of Kate DiCamillo’s books, but I just can’t get into her writing style. I finished Louisiana’s Way Home, but I was annoyed by some overly quirky characters and some loose ends that I felt were never wrapped up well enough for my liking.

  • A popular book or series everyone hates, but you love

The Fill-In Boyfriend

A lot of people don’t like The Fill-In Boyfriend and consider it one of their least favorite Kasie West books. A common gripe lies in the main character, who many readers cite as shallow and snobby. However, I find that I really like books about shallow and snobby main characters because often times they grow less self-centered as the books goes on, however, I can see how that may be off-putting to other readers.

  • A love triangle where the main character ended up with the person you DID NOT want them to end up with or an OTP that you don’t like

Shuffle, Repeat

I think it’s pretty clear who the characters are meant to end up with in this book, I just really struggled with liking the female main character in this book. She criticized everyone in high school for being extremely judgmental, but she was actually the most judgmental in the book, especially toward the male main character where she frequently questioned his intelligence and made some offensive remarks, in my opinion.

  • A popular book genre that you don’t reach for

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

I never read non-fiction, but picked this book up in 2019 because you couldn’t go into a store or on Instagram without seeing this book. This book was an easy read, but I don’t think it really inspired me like this type of book should.

  • A popular or beloved character that you do not like

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson's Journal

I really dislike Greg as a character in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, especially in this spin-off of Rowley’s diary which released this year. Greg completely took over Rowley’s story and treats him like absolute dirt which is a relationship that should not be something presented for the target audience to laugh at.

  • A  popular author that you can’t seem to get into

Famous in a Small Town

While I ended up enjoying Famous in a Small Town, I gave it four stars, it took me FOREVER to get into reading. The only reason I gave it four stars because I thought the end wrapped up in an amazing way. For me, this book was a lot of reading for a small reward. I have other books by this author, but I keep putting them aside because I’m afraid of a different experience where I may read and read, but not get the reward as I did in this book.

  • A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing

Internet Famous

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t mind a shallow or snobby character. However, what I do mind, is when a shallow and snobby character never grows and continues to get whatever I want. The main character in Internet Famous was one of the rudest and most self-centered characters that I’ve ever read in YA and is the main reason, among several others, that this was my only one star books of the year. From bad-mouthing teachers trying to maintain security of a school building to demanding to receive credit for a project that followed 0 of the guidelines and putting down her mother for her work opportunity, this character was insufferable. Even worse, she never changed and ended up getting everything she wanted. I think this book sent a terrible message to readers in the target audience.

  • A popular series that you have no interest in reading

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #1)

Shadow and Bone had a resurgence in the YA community since the Netflix series was announced. I’ve borrowed this book from my library a couple times, but never ended up reading it. This plot of this series doesn’t sound as interesting to me as Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo’s other series set in the same world. Additionally, I’ve heard mixed reviews about this series and indications that it contains a lot of my least favorite tropes that were very present in YA literature around the time it was published.

  • The saying goes “The book is always better than the movie,” but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?

Let it Snow

Let It Snow was okay for me and so was the movie, however I ended up enjoying the John Green story in this book much more in the movie than the book itself. I’m not a huge John Green fan, but I thought his section of the movie was wonderfully casted and I always wanted the movie to cut back to his story line.

What are some of your recent unpopular opinions?

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Blogmas Day #17: Top Ten Tuesday // Winter TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is books on my Winter TBR. I haven’t been reading a large amount of books recently and I don’t expect to see a huge spike during the winter season because of other business in my life. As a result, I only have four books that I really want to finish this winter. Here are my choices:

  • 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

10 Blind Dates

I started 10 Blind Dates and hope to finish it before the end of the month, since the book takes place during Christmas and New Year’s. So far, I have really enjoyed it and can see it becoming one of my favorite contemporary books of the year.

  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (Origami Yoda #1)

I have already started this book, however, I’m not finished with it yet. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time, so I’m determined to knock it out while I’m home for winter break. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda tells the story of an Origami Yoda that lives on a middle school boy’s hand and gives advice to other students which turns out to always be spot-on.

  • American Panda by Gloria Chao

American Panda

I started American Panda months ago… and never finished. Hopefully over winter break, I can wrap up some books that I started awhile ago. American Panda follows a girl named Mei who goes off to college, but wants to deviate from her Taiwanese parents’ plans.

  • Moment of Truth by Kasie West

Moment of Truth

Kasie West’s new book comes out at the beginning of March, so of course I will be reading that the moment it is released. Kasie West is one of my favorite YA authors, so I’m excited to read her next book, which followers a swimmer determined to uncover the identity of a masked boy crashes her swim meet.

 

What books are on your Winter TBR?

 

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Blogmas Day #16: Most Read Authors of 2019

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Last year, I reflected on the end of the year by seeing which authors I read the most in a year. Typically, If I read more than one book by the same author in one year, I really like their work. Other times, I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book I read, but still wanted to check out more from the author. For each author, I will discuss what books I read. Here are some of my most read authors this year:

  • Kasie West (6 books)

Maybe This Time

For Kasie West, most of the books on my list we’re re-reads. I ran into a big of a reading slump this year. Kasie West’s book are always easy and fun to read, so I thought they would be the perfect books to get my reading on track. Three of West’s books that were new-to-me this year were Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss, Let it Snow (short story anthology), and Maybe This Time. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss, I did enjoy the other two works. Maybe This Time is actually one of my favorite Kasie West books now. My re-reads were The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, and Love, Life, and the List, all of which are three of my favorites by West.

  • Holly Black (2 books)

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3)

This year, I finished the Folk of the Air series by starting the year with The Wicked King and January and finishing the series with The Queen of Nothing in December. This is an overall satisfying series with The Wicked King ranked as my favorite book. This is a great series to pick up if you’re a fan of books with faeries.

  • Sally Thorne (2 books)

99 Percent Mine

I really enjoyed Sally Thorne’s first book The Hating Game, which is why I re-read it this year when I found myself in a reading slump. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy her second book 99 Percent Mine nearly as much as her first and consider it one of my most disappointing reads of the year. I could not connect to the story or characters in 99 Percent Mine compared to The Hating Game.

  • Helen Hoang (2 books)

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)

I first read The Kiss Quotient in January after hearing rave reviews online. Unfortunately, The Kiss Quotient was only an average read for me. Despite only an okay experience with my first Helen Hoang book, I chose to pick up her second book because the plot sounded more interesting to me. I’m glad that I did because I enjoyed The Bride Test significantly more than The Kiss Quotient and I am excited to pick up her next book which follows another character from these novels in the new year.

  • Sandhya Menon (2 books)

There's Something About Sweetie (Dimple and Rishi, #2)

I have had a hit-or-miss experience with Sandhya Menon’s books. I liked When Dimple Met Rishi, but did not like From Twinkle, With Love. There’s Something About Sweetie actually sounded the most interesting to me out of all of her books, so I was excited when I was approved on NetGalley for an ARC. There’s Something About Sweetie is definitely my favorite book by Sandhya Menon to date. I also enjoyed As Kismet Would Have It, a short story following Dimple and Rishi, that Menon released.

 

What are your most read authors this year?

 

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Blogmas Day #15: Booktube Made Me Read it! (Part Three)

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One of my favorite way to get book recommendations is watching people on Booktube or reading people’s thoughts on blog or on Goodreads. Recently, I picked up three books because of social media. Here’s how they turned out for me:

  • Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy Jones and the Six was EVERYWHERE this year. I couldn’t go on social media without watching a review, seeing the quotes, or hearing people gush about it in monthly wrap-ups. While this wasn’t my typical read (adult historical fiction) with a unique format, I decided to see if it matched the hype. It took me awhile to get into this book, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. It is probably the book that I have recommended to the most people this year.

  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

This book was all over my Instagram. It appeared on my feed almost daily. Paired with seeing countless displays in stores with this book, I decided to check it out. For me, this book was an average read. I appreciate that social media forced me to read outside my comfort zone–I rarely read nonfiction–but overall, I didn’t take away much from this book, which I feel like was the point of the book.

  • Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie

I heard Sadie frequently mentioned on Booktube for its compelling story and unique format. While I liked the concept of Sadie, it was only an okay read for me. I actually think this would make a better short series or movie adapted by Netflix.

 

What books has social media convinced you to read?

 

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Blogmas Day #14: The Brittany Awards Part 2 (Middle Grade)

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Welcome to The Brittany Awards!

The Brittany Awards are my annual end-of-the-year lists to celebrate my favorite books of this year. Today, I will discuss my favorite middle grade books of the year. For each category, I select between 3 and 5 favorites, possibly with some honorable mentions. Here are my choices:

  • Holes by Louis Sachar

Holes (Holes, #1)

I read Holes over the summer. I’ve always enjoyed the movie, but I can’t remember reading the book, even though it seems to be a staple in elementary school classrooms. I enjoyed the movie and was happy to see how well it was adapted from the book after reading it this summer.

  • Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

Real Friends (Real Friends, #1)

Real Friends is a great graphic novel. It can easily be relatable for the book’s target audience, but take older readers back to that time in their lives where friendships were constantly changing.

  • Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7s

It took me awhile to get into this book, but once I did, I was completely invested in the characters and rooting for them until the very end. Counting by 7s brings so many different people together and they make kind of their own family, which was lovely to see.

What were the best middle grade books that you read this year?

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