Books on my College Bookshelf

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Even though I probably don’t have much time for reading this semester, I wanted to bring a few books back to college! Here are the book currently on my college bookshelf:

The Statistical Probably of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

I’ve wanted to read a book by Jennifer E. Smith for awhile now, so I was so excited to find this book at a local thrift store. This book seems cute and fun, so it is high on my TBR list.

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

Tarnish

This cover looked so pretty that it made me want to read it! It will be interesting to go into this book since I really don’t know anything about it. According to Goodreads, Tarnish is about Anne Boleyn when she arrives in King Henry VIII’s court.

Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Gilt

Gilt is another book in the Royal Circle series and another case where I haven’t heard much about it. Like with Tarnish, the cover pulled me in. According to Goodreads, Gilt focuses on Kitty, a friend of Catherine Howard, caught in a love triangle.

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns

I’ve read The Fault in Our Stars and a short story by John Green in Let it Snow. I just thought they were okay. For some reason, I’ve really been wanting to read this book. Hopefully I like this book better than the other works I’ve read by him!

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy 

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel

My sister picked up this book last summer at our library’s book sale. I started thinking about this book a lot recently, so I thought I would bring it back to college for my TBR shelf. In this book, two Jewish children and taken in by a German woman during the last months of Nazi occupation.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)

This book has been on my TBR for a really long time. Now that I have my own copy of this book, hopefully I will finally read it!

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian 

Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn, #1)

Even though this book was published awhile ago, I’ve really been wanting to read it recently. Luckily, I found a copy at a local thrift store! I’ve never read anything by Siobahn Vivian, but I’ve really enjoyed everything I read by Jenny Han, so I’m excited to read this one.

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)

My sister read this book and didn’t like it, so I never picked it up. However, I heard someone on Youtube talking about how much they loved this series recently. I can’t wait to read this book to see what side I fall on!

 

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

Kill the Boy Band Review

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The offensive humor and poor satire in Goldy Moldavsky’s Kill the Boy Band killed this book’s rating.

Kill the Boy Band follows four fan girls of the British boy band, The Ruperts, as they try to score tickets to the band’s Thanksgiving concert. In the process, they “accidentally” kidnap one of the band’s members. Soon, the girls realized the people they bonded with online are not the same people standing in front of them. One girls harbors a deep secret that threatens to kill their friendship… and the boy band.

After researching more about this book, I discovered that the author actually wrote this book after watching a documentary about boy bands where girls cried, screamed, and fainted over their favorite celebrities. I think this negatively impacted the book which acts like these are the only fans who existed. Although the book uses dark humor and satire to deliver its message, therefore may use stereotypes to prove a point, the book fell flat in both areas.

For me, most of the “humor” crossed the line to plain offensive, especially in the first half of the book. The main character repeatedly refers to Rupert P., the boy band member they captured, as “the ugly one” and “the jerk” of the group. It was almost used to justify the harassment and torture that followed. During Rupert P.’s kidnapping, the girls threaten to use his sexuality against him. Though the author describes how this is wrong in a paragraph on the next page, it is continually used against Rupert P. afterward. In addition, one girl sexually harasses Rupert P. by sitting on his lap without her shirt and takes sexually suggestive selfies despite Rupert’s voiced discomfort.

The characters also constantly put down one of the other girls, Apple, for her weight. Every time Apple’s character appeared, they put down her weight. It was even stated that boy bands always include an “ugly” member like Rupert P. so “unattractive” girls like Apple felt like they stood a chance. The book further perpetuated a poor self-image when it mentioned Apple went on a diet so she could be pretty enough for one of the boy band’s members. Even with dark humor, I think there are lines that should not be crossed and this book crossed too many lines for me.

I think the prevailing message of the book was also lost. The author tried to show that boy bands caused talented girls to waste their potential following boys who never cared about them. However, this message was delivered by Erin, the most unreliable character in the book who wanted to (metaphorically) kill the boy band. Her reasons (which I’ll cover later) make sense based on her feelings and experiences, but I think it causes the meaning to be lost. As a result, I think this book encourages extreme fan girls and isolates fan girls who know the difference between loving something and idolizing it. I would have been more on board with that story if the author adopted that stance rather than completely condemning fan girls who are the people most likely to purchase this book.

Since the overarching message within this book is blurred, I think it will encourage an unhealthy aspects present in fandoms among young readers of this book who cannot differentiate between healthy and unhealthy ways to express their love for their favorite book, movie, band, or internet celebrity. Although intended as satire, this book suggests that “true fans” send death threats, act possessively, and shames any girl who stands next to their favorite celebrity. Spoiler: In the end, the characters face no consequences for their actions. The validates all of the actions throughout the novel, especially for the fans the author described.

The only aspect I really liked within this book was Erin’s “secret.” Another spoiler: During a prior concert, Erin went backstage to sleep with a member of the band. She expected him to fall in love with her, but he just used her. I think many fan girls share Erin’s expectations and there are definitely celebrities who take advantage of that. I am glad the author raised this issue within the book.

Overall, Kill the Boy Band greatly disappointed on many levels. Maybe huge fans of dark humor and satire will enjoy this book more than me. I found this book so problematic that I couldn’t enjoy it. I rate Kill the Boy Band with one of five stars.

Books on my DNF List

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Even though I try to finish every book that I start, there’s some books that I picked up once… and never again. However, I hope that I can try to read some of the book on this list again this year! Here are some books on my DNF list:

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)

I tried reading this book over the summer and I think I made it around 1/3 of the way through before I put it down. The plot moved incredibly slow to me and I still had a lot left to read. Maybe I’ll try this book again in the future (I found the first three books of this series for extremely cheap at a library book sale), but not during the summer when I usually read more light and fun reads.

#scandal by Sarah Ockler

#scandal

I usually love Sarah Ockler’s books, but I didn’t even get through the first half of this book. Right away, the first character was extremely unlikable. Also, the writing style and plot seemed so different from her other books. Since I really like this author, I will probably try and read it again at some point.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

I think I made it 50-60% through this book before putting it down. I didn’t feel invested invested in the story or characters. I heard the second book is better than the first, so maybe I’ll try reading this book again another time.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)

I actually really enjoyed reading this book. However, I got this book out of the library and returned it before finishing it. I do want to read this book again, but classics always get lost in my TBR pile.

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson 

Image result for the star of kazan

I couldn’t find the right cover, but in elementary school this book caught my eye immediately for having a shiny gold cover. I checked it out at least five times, but never finished it. Looking at the summary now, it doesn’t seem like a book I would pick up.

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Image result for sloppy firsts

I read Jessica Darling’s It List last summer and LOVED it and before I even heard about that series, I always wanted to read Sloppy Firsts. When I found Sloppy Firsts at a thrift store, I was so excited! Whenever I read, it usually doesn’t bother me to see swearing throughout a book. However, this book used so much language that it made me uncomfortable. I might try reading this book again now that I know what to expect, but it’s not high on my TBR right now.

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made me Famous by Kathryn Williams 

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous

I bought this book at Dollar Tree a few years ago. The plot sounded interesting: a teenage girls earns a spot on a reality cooking show. However, the characters fell flat for me and I never finished the book. This book still sounds interesting to me, so hopefully I can give it another shot this year!

 

What books are on your DNF list?

Winter Review

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Mirror, mirror on the wall, is Winter the fairest Lunar Chronicles book of them all?

Winter, the fourth and final book in The Lunar Chronicles series, follows the Rampion crew as they take their final stand against Queen Levana. As the wedding draws near, Cinder and her friends must convince the Lunar people to join their cause. With the help of Winter, the queen’s delusional stepdaughter, the crew may be able to end Queen Levana’s reign once and for all.

The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite young adult series and this book was an action-packed end to the series. When I read Cinder, I was bored throughout the first half of the book, but by the end I was completely hooked. While I had minor problems with Winter, overall, I really enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles and I will really miss reading about the cast of characters within this series.

One of Winter’s strengths is the action and cliff-hangers packed into every chapter. One of my main problems with Cinder was the beginning was extremely slow and the action didn’t pick up until the end of the book. Winter reminded me more of Scarlet where the stakes remained high throughout the whole novel.

That being said, I don’t think every part of the story was necessary. I swear almost every character is captured by Queen Levana, their significant other despairs, and then there is a heartfelt reunion with longing stares. If injured, Lunar medicine conveniently saves them. While I loved reading so much about characters I really enjoy, this book could be cut in half and be just as effective. Sometimes, it felt like some potentially powerful moments were skipped in the book to appease the audience.

Another aspect I enjoyed was seeing the characters and their relationships grow. I think out of all the characters, Cress is my favorite, and I love how she grew more confident and brave in her actions throughout Winter. The Rampion Crew is a great group of friends and I loved seeing them depend and trust each other so much.

I have a few minor complaints about some characters. Even though the book is titled Winter and she plays some role in the rebellion, I expected her to play a much larger role. Since the book focuses on so many characters, Winter and Jacin’s relationship really isn’t focused on. While I appreciated to several aspects of Snow White’s story, I never felt as invested in their relationships as others. Furthermore, compared to the other male love interests, Jacin never showed as much depth.

Despite a few issues with Winter, I really loved the final book in The Lunar Chronicles. After finishing it, I have a hard time choosing the next book to read! I give Winter four out of five stars.

February Wrap-Up and March TBR

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Here’s a list of the books that I read in February:

  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater (★ ★ ★)

Mr. Popper's Penguins

  • Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Judy Moody Declares Independence (Judy Moody #6)

  • Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately

Here’s what I plan to read in March:

  • The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

The Fill-In Boyfriend

  • Icing on the Lake by Catherine Clark

Icing on the Lake

  • Snowed In by Rachel Hawthorne

Snowed In

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.