August Wrap-Up

monthly wrap up.png

Last month, I had a great reading month and read eighteen books. Usually in August, I start to slow down with my reading, but this year was an exception. During August, I read over fifteen books. A lot of the books I read this month were also four and five star reads for me, so I really enjoyed most of the books I read! Here are the book that I read in August (any books with reviews will be linked to the book’s title):

  • The Crown by Kiera Cass (★ ★)

The Crown (The Selection, #5)

  • Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Windfall

  • March (Book One) by John Lewis (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

March: Book One (March, #1)

It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2)

We'll Always Have Summer (Summer, #3)

  • Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins (★ ★)

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories

  • Play On by Michelle Smith (★ ★ ★)

Play On (Lewis Creek, #1)

  • Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally (★ ★ ★)

Defending Taylor

  • Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (★ ★ ★ ★)

Catching Jordan

  • Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally (★ ★ ★ ★)

Jesse's Girl (Hundred Oaks)

  • Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (★ ★ ★ ★)

Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1)

  • Lucky in Love by Kasie West (★ ★ ★)

Lucky in Love

  • Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl (★ ★ ★)

Royce Rolls

  • The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match by Elizabeth Eulberg (★ ★ ★ ★)

The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match (The Great Shelby Holmes, #2)

Re-reads:

  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Saint Anything

  • The Boyfriend League by Rachel Hawthorne (★ ★ ★ ★)

The Boyfriend League

The Unexpected Everything

  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Since You've Been Gone

What was the best book that you read in August?

Summer Days and Summer Nights Book Review

summer days and summer nights.PNG

Summer days driftin’ away as I struggled through this book.

Summer Days and Summer Nights is the second short story collection edited by Stephanie Perkins. Similar to My True Love Gave to Me, Summer Days and Summer Nights promised twelve cute short stories by well-loved young adult authors, this time focusing on summer vacation. This collection features a variety of short stories in terms of genre as well as a diverse cast of character, the same as my True Love Gave to Me.

After reading My True Love Gave to Me, I went into Summer Days and Summer Nights with high expectations despite reading mixed reviews. Even though there were a few stories I disliked in My True Love Gave to Me, I overall enjoyed this collection for sticking true to its theme and delivering adorable holiday stories. Unfortunately for me, I found myself disliking more stories than enjoying them in this collection. Additionally, I found many of this story loosely connected to summer, if at all, which didn’t live up to my expectations considering the bright and cheerful cover of this book.

Let’s start with what I did like about this book. Like with My True Love Gave to Me, I really enjoyed the first story in this collection and it made me want to read more of the author’s work. I think Leigh Bardugo’s Heads, Scales, and Tongue story managed to capture summer, but also providing a fun twist more true to the author’s writing. I also enjoyed the final two stories in this collection, written by Jennifer E. Smith and Lev Grossman. I liked how Jennifer E. Smith’s story was a cute romance that featured a character with autism and I enjoyed the Groundhog’s Day aspect to Lev Grossman’s stories. There were other stories in this collection that I enjoyed aspects of, but these were the three stories that really stuck out to me.

Now, here are some problems I found with this collection. Looking at the author’s on the front cover, you can see there aren’t many contemporary authors listed, which you expect for a summer romance collection. While I liked how many different genres were included in this collection, the execution was poor. I think many of the authors tried hard not to write the typical summer story that they strayed too far from the collection’s original purpose. Some of the stories, like Veronica Roth’s Intertia, seemed completely out of place. Other stories, like Libba Bray’s Last Stand at the Cinegore and Cassandra Clare’s Brand New Attraction, seemed more appropriate for a Halloween-themed short story collections. My biggest annoyance is that most of these stories could have easily be made more summery by adjusting a few details. For example, Libba Bray’s story could have taken place at a drive-in that features a scary movie instead of a strictly horror-themed movie theater.

Overall, I struggled through most of the short stories in this collection. While a lot of readers enjoyed the continuation of Stephanie Perkins short story from the original novel, I barely found myself invested in that one. Needless to say, I was greatly disappointed by this short story collection. I rate Summer Days and Summer Nights as two out of five stars.

Books I Packed for Vacation

blog-feature

Last week, I traveled with my family to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. Since I would be spending a few days in the sun, I had to throw some books in my beach bag! There’s a few summer books that I wanted to read before the summer ends and before they were due at the library, so I decided to take a few of those on my trip. Here are the books that I took on vacation:

  • Summer Days and Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins

I thought this short story collection would be perfect for the beach because it’s so summery! Since it contains short stories, the stories could be read whenever I was laying out in the sun.  With shorter stories, I could have the perfect mix of reading time and beach time!

  • It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Like with Summer Days and Summer Nights, this story is very summery and even takes place on a beach! The first book in this trilogy was a quick, easy, and lighthearted read. This was the perfect book to take on vacation because it would be a fun and quick to read at the beach or before going to bed.

  • Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Even though this book isn’t particularly summery like the books above, it is another book that I have checked out at the library. I’m also excited to read this and Kasie West’s new book, Lucky in Love, because they have similar plots and I want to see how they compare.

What books did you take on vacation this summer?

August TBR

blog-feature

Looking back on my July TBR, I’m not surprised that I only read one of the books that I initially planned. After my library brought in a slew of new releases, I found myself checking out six books at time. Even though I did have a great reading month (see my July Wrap-Up here), I didn’t end up tackling my TBR pile. Last month I planned to read the following books:

  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • Burn by Burn by Jenny Han and Siobahn Vivian
  • Surviving High School by Lele Pons and Melissa De La Cruz
  • Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale
  • L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad

Looking back at my choices, I can see why I didn’t pick up most of these books. Most of the books on my July TBR were school-centered and in the midst of summer, I leaned more towards beachy reads. I’ll probably save a lot of books on this list for September and October! The only book that I read on this list was L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad, which I rated three stars.

Looking towards August, I’m going to try to fit in as many summer books as I can before back to school rolls around. Here are my picks for the last month of summer:

  • Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories

I’m trying to branch out and read different types of books, so this short story collection will be the perfect way to venture out of my comfort zone! I read the winter short story collection but Stephanie Perkins and loved reading it around Christmas time. Hopefully, I love reading this one during the summer!

  • It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2)

I read the first book in this series in July, so I definitely want to finish this series before the summer ends! Even though the first book in this series wasn’t my favorite summer read, I feel like I will never finish this series if I wait an entire year to pick up the next book.

  • We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

We'll Always Have Summer (Summer, #3)

Similar to the second book in the series above, I want to finish this series before I forget the details. This series is perfect to read during summer, so hopefully I can finish it before the end of August.

  • Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Second Chance Summer

I planned on reading this book last summer, but never got around to it. Hopefully, I can get to it before this summer comes to a close! Morgan Matson is one of my favorite contemporary authors, so I know that I won’t be disappointed by this one.

  • Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Windfall

This isn’t necessarily a summer read, but it is a book that I recently checked out of the library. I want to finish this book before the due date!

 

What books do you plan to read in August?

My True Love Gave to Me Review

my-true-love-gave-to-me

My True Love Gave to Me gave me twelve holiday stories, but I am only giving it a few stars.

My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of 12 winter romance stories edited by Stephanie Perkins. Overall, I feel like most of the stories were average, but cute holiday stories that are perfect to read by the fireplace.

Out of the collection, I had a few favorites. I thought Midnight by Rainbow Rowell was the perfect opening. I thought the story was cute, well-written, and the perfect length. I also really enjoyed It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins because the characters jumped off the page. By the end of the story, I loved the characters so much, I wish I had a whole novel to read about them! Some of my other favorites were Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White and Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter. In both stories, I loved how the families played a large role.

There were a few stories that weren’t my favorites. At first, I thought The Lady and the Fox by Holly Black was interesting. However, it fell flat at the end for me when it seemed to many ideas were thrown in at the last minute. I also didn’t care for Krampuslauf by Holly Black because I thought there was so much focus on setting up for the party than the actual party itself. The Girl who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor felt like an odd addition to me, especially at the end of the book. Since it barely related to the holidays, I felt like it should be placed earlier within the book.

Even though there were several stories that I really enjoyed, it seemed like the stories I thought we okay or didn’t really like were actually some of the longer stories. This something made reading the book slightly drag. However, I still think this a great book to read around the holidays and I would definitely read my favorites around Christmas again. I give My True Love Gave to Me three stars.

What was your favorite story in My True Love Gave to Me?

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with School Settings

top ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is top ten books with X setting. With summer coming to a close and school right around the corner, I thought I’d make my list about books that predominantly take place in a school setting. Any books that I have reviewed will be linked on the book’s title. Here’s my list:

1.) Jessica Darling’s It List by Megan McCafferty

Jessica Darling's It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection

In Jessica Darling’s It List, Jessica receives a list instructing her how to become popular from her older sister, however nothing goes exactly as planned. Jessica Darling’s It List is a great middle grade book that had me laughing out loud! I also think this book has a great message for middle schoolers.

2.) Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus (Junie B. Jones, #1)

In this Junie B. Jones book, Junie B. starts kindergarten and is forced to ride a bus to school. Since it’s Junie B., she tries to find crazy ways to get out of riding the bus. This Junie B. Jones book is a classic! I remember loving this book as a child and I also definitely think that this is one of the better books in this series.

3.) The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson

The Best School Year Ever (The Herdmans #2)

In The Best School Year Ever,  the students are given an assignment–think of compliments for a fellow classmate, even the Herdmans, who are practically the town’s outlaws. This series is definitely one of my favorites. Even though reading about the Herdmans’ situation makes me feel sad as an adult, I loved reading about the outrageous antics they did whenever I was younger.

4.) Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder

In Wonder, Auggie has a facial deformity that prevented him from attending school. This year, he attends school for the first time and will touch everyone that he meets. Wonder is such a heartfelt book with a great message! I think it would be a great book for any young student to read before heading off to school.

5.) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

In Fangirl, Cath is a shy, fanfiction writing college student who has a hard time adjusting to her new college life. Her sister transforms into a party girl, her father becomes increasingly depressed, and she struggles to impress her writing teacher and boys. Very few books I read feature college characters, so I loved reading about someone my own age!

6.) Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Prom and Prejudice

In Prom and Prejudice, scholarship student Lizzie Bennet has no interest in prom, but she will do anything to help her best friend secure Charles Bingley as a prom date even if it means hanging around Will Darcy. Prom and Prejudice is a very faithful adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, so definitely check it out if your a fan of Jane Austen’s novel.

7.) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

In Anna and the French Kiss, Anna’s father forces her to attend a school in Paris. There she meets Etienne St. Clair, a gorgeous boy… who also has a girlfriend. I loved reading the description of Paris in this book–it made me want to study abroad! Even though this book gets a little too dramatic, it is so fun that I couldn’t put it down.

8.) The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

In The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, Frankie undergoes an ugly duckling transformation that catches the eyes of the popular crowd. However, Frankie is far more interested in infiltrating a secret male society at her school. This book portrays how men and women are treated differently in the same situation very well. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a girl-powered, feminist read.

9.) To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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

In To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lara Jean’s fake love letters are accidentally mailed. In a turn of events, Lara Jean finds herself pretending to be the girlfriend of one of the boys. This book didn’t go in the direction that I hoped it would, but it was still a fun and light read. One of the best aspects of this book is that Lara Jean acts realistically for her age.

10.) Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

Teen Idol

In Teen Idol, famous movie star Luke Striker goes undercover at a midwestern high school to study for his new role. Advice columnist for the school newspaper and “good girl” Jenny Greenley is recruited to keep his identity under wraps. This book is a quick and easy read filled with Meg Cabot’s fun humor. This book is just like your favorite teen movie!

 

What are some of your favorite school featured in books?

MAC Lipstick Book Tag

mac lips

One day when I was doing my makeup, I was inspired by my MAC Lipstick to create a book tag!

The Rules:

  • Choose a book that matches the prompt.
  • A full list of the prompts is included at the bottom of this post.
  • Link back to the creator, Beauty and the Bean Boots, in your post. 
  • Tag as many people as you wish!

Here are some of MAC’s most popular lipsticks and books that work perfectly with them:

Myth: Your favorite retelling

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

This isn’t exactly a retelling, but it uses many elements of The Little Mermaid. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a beautifully written book with an equally beautiful cover.

Creme Cup: A book with a sweet romance

Since You've Been Gone

Both Emily and Frank are slightly awkward, which makes for a cute and realistic romance!

Angel: A goody two shoes character

The Truth About Forever

Macy is the epitome of a good girl: she practices for the SATs (over the summer!), has a nerdy boyfriend, and covers his job at the library while he’s away at Brain Camp. Also, Wes makes angels, which makes this book perfect representation of this lipstick!

Snob: A book that you initially didn’t want to read, but ended up loving 

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Even though I heard a lot of positive things about this series, it didn’t seem like my type of book and when a friend told me that they didn’t really care for the first book, I never got around to reading this series. Recently, I decided to read something out of my comfort zone and I’m glad I did! I just finished the third book in the series and can’t seem to put this series down.

Velvet Teddy: A book that makes you feel warm and fuzzy

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)

Lola and the Boy Next Door always makes me smile when I read it! I’ve read it countless times and seem to love it even more each time I read it again.

Lady Danger: A book that features a female villain

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Queen Levana is one of the worst villains that I’ve read about in a YA series. She will literally do anything to remain Queen.

Girl About Town: Your favorite place to read (besides your house)

fourth of july

I don’t read much outside of my house, but this summer I’ve read a lot in parks before parades or fireworks!

Ruby Woo: Your favorite classic

Frankenstein

I read Frankenstein in high school and college and loved it both times! I loved seeing how my perspective changed when I compare my high school paper to my college paper.

Rebel: Your favorite character from a dystopian book

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

Katniss Everdeen is definitely a favorite of mine because The Hunger Games was one of the first YA dystopians that I read.

Cyber: A book that a blog, Booktube, etc. made you buy

The Unexpected Everything

I planned on eventually reading this book, but seeing so many reviews on it made me run out to the store to purchase it!

List of prompts:

Myth: Your favorite retelling

Creme Cup: A book with sweet romance

Angel: A goody two shoes character

Snob: A book that you initially didn’t want to read, but ended up loving

Velvet Teddy: A book that makes you feel warm and fuzzy

Lady Danger: A book that features a female villain

Girl About Town: Your favorite place to read (besides your house)

Ruby Woo: Your favorite classic

Rebel: Your favorite character from a dystopian book

Cyber: A book that a blog, Booktube, etc. made you buy


I tag…

Reg @ She Latitude

Klinta @ Book Owly

Nagina @ Oh Bookish

Hilary @ Songs Wrote My Story

Clemi @ Clemi’s Bookish World

Danielle @ Bookish in Texas

Beth @ Hello Beautiful 

Carianne @ Carianne’s Cuppa and Critiques

Jacquie and Gina @ Rattle The Stars

Jam @ Heartscent Reads

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books set outside of the US

top ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is books set outside of the US. Here are some of my favorite books set outside of the United States:

1.) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

I love the Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins! They are fun contemporaries and two out of the three books take place in France. Stephanie Perkins does an incredible job of incorporating the French atmosphere into the books, even though her experience in France was through research and Google Maps.

2.) Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Saving Francesca

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta is also a fun read, but also contains a lot of depth. Plus, it is set in Australia!

3.) Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a futuristic retelling of the classic Cinderella. This isn’t my typical genre, but I still loved this book. The setting, New Beijing, is also different from many other YA books.

4.) Nicola and the Viscount/Victoria and the Rogue by Meg Cabot

Nicola and the Viscount

Nicola and the Viscount and Victoria and the Rogue by Meg Cabot are historical romances set in London, England. The story lines in each book are very enjoyable, but I thought they were the perfect beach reads when I went on vacation last summer!

5.) Cecile: Gates of Gold by Mary Casanova

Cecile: Gates of Gold (Girls of Many Lands, France)

Cecile: Gates of Gold by Mary Casanova follows a young girl serving in King Louis XIV’s court. I remember loving this cover when I was younger and feeling so much older and sophisticated when I read it.

6.) Emma by Jane Austen

Emma

Emma is my favorite Jane Austen book (I’m also a big fan of Clueless). Like Jane Austen’s other books, Emma takes place in England.

7.) The Odyssey by Homer

The Odyssey

I read The Odyssey in one of my college classes and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The Odyssey takes place in Greece.

8.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein

I read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley in high school and college and it is one of my favorite classics. Frankenstein takes place in Switzerland and Germany in Europe, but also the North Pole!

9.) Stolen: A Letter to my Captor by Lucy Christopher

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor

Stolen by Lucy Christopher follows a teenage girl is kidnapped at a Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian outback.

10.) Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is one of my favorite books. It takes place during World War II and follows a teenage Lithuanian girl forced into various Russian hard labor camps, including one in Siberia.

Valentine’s Day Book Tag

candy hearts

Day 14 of Blogentine’s Day. Happy Valentine’s Day!

What better to do on Valentine’s Day than the Valentine’s Day book tag? Here are my answers to the Valentine’s Day book tag:

  • Favorite couple ever–you want to have their relationship

 

 

 

I always mention my favorite couples from YA, so I’m going to mention another one of my favorites. I love Remy and Dexter’s relationship and how it challenges Remy’s idea of love and breaks all of the rules she created. I think how Remy and Dexter meet is so cute and would be even cuter in real life!

  • Relationship that never happened–you wanted them to get together but they never did

This might contain some spoilers, so if you haven’t read this book then you might want to skip this question. I was definitely rooting for Jennifer and Cameron to get together, but I understand why the book ended the way it did.

  • Your “bookish” crush

This was tough to decide between Owen Armstrong from Just Listen and Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door, but Cricket won! I love how Cricket accepts Lola for the way she is, I love how we wears the perfect pants, and I love his nerdiness. Cricket had a slight edge over Owen because sometimes Owen is a little too pretentious about music (even though I love how he lets Annabel point it out). 

  • Favorite feel-good romance

I feel like I always mention Lola and the Boy Next Door, so here’s another feel-good romance that I enjoy. To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han is such a cute plot and the relationship always makes me smile.

  • What is your favorite genre to add romance to

I love when romance is added to survival books to see how the author prioritizes the two in the characters.

Thank you for spending Blogentine’s Day with me!

Marry, Kiss, Cliff (YA Edition)

lipstick stain

Day 8 of Blogentine’s Day.

Today for Blogentine’s Day, I will round up some of my favorite love interests from YA books. I selected nine characters and used a randomizer to sort them into three separate rounds. For each round, I will choose a character to marry, kiss, or push off a cliff (and survive). After three rounds, the winners from each round will compete in one final round. Here are the results:

ROUND ONE: Finnick Odair (Catching Fire/Mockingjay), Cricket Bell (Lola and the Boy Next Door), and Tobias Eaton (Divergent series)

Ugh, this is so hard! I love all three of these characters so much.

Marry: Finnick Odair is absolute perfection. I didn’t care about any other character after he was introduced in Catching Fire. #teamfinnick

Kiss: I love Cricket and it was definitely hard choosing between him and Finnick. I’ll put Cricket at number two because he is more cute/adorable compared to Finnick.

Cliff: I’m going to have to choose Tobias! I love Four, but just not as much as Finnick or Cricket!

ROUND TWO:  Michael Moscovitz (Princess Diaries series), Andrius Arvydas (Between Shades of Gray), and Owen Armstrong (Just Listen)

Okay, this one is a little easier.

Marry: Owen Armstrong, for sure. I love the other two, but some reason, Owen is one of my favorite YA love interests. He’s nowhere near perfect, and usually someone who is slightly pretentious about music would annoy me, but I love Owen more every time I reread Just Listen.

Kiss: Sorry, Michael, but I have to choose Andrius! He showed his kindness throughout the novel and even in such a terrible situation, he made Lina feel safe.

Cliff:  I love the Princess Diaries, but out of these three, Michael isn’t my favorite. I liked Michael in the beginning of the series, but didn’t really feel a strong connection to him by the end.

ROUND THREE: Dexter (This Lullaby), Ryan Bauer (The Lonely Hearts Club), Etienne (Anna and the French Kiss)

Marry: Dexter, for sure! Dexter is so dorky, but has a heart of gold. He’s definitely husband material.

Kiss: I would have to kiss Etienne! Even though I think being in a relationship with him would be a little too dramatic for me, the accent is a definite plus!

Cliff:  I’m going to have to choose Ryan. I really like him, but I feel like he doesn’t have as much depth as the other two characters.

FINAL ROUND: THE WINNERS FROM ROUNDS 1-3

Finnick Odair (Catching Fire/Mockingjay), Owen Armstrong (Just Listen), and Dexter (This Lullaby) 

This. Is. So. Hard.

Marry: Finnick Odair forever ❤  Obviously, I love all three of these guys, but Finnick will always hold a special place in my heart.

Kiss: If I have to choose… Owen Armstrong. Just Listen was the first Sarah Dessen book that I read, so I’ve had a connection with him longer.

Cliff: My heart is breaking. I will put Dexter here, but it is very, very painful.

What would you choose in each round?