It’s hard to believe that its already August. I feel like it was just a month ago that the air was freezing cold and nobody wanted to go outside because it was April and still felt like January. But we’ve made it, and that means that not only the summer, but the year, is already half over!! This year was wild, since it was the first where I was in college for the entire thing, and made my blogging life way different than it used to be. That being said, I still had a fun year, and I’m here to tell you guys all about it.
By Karen M McManus
Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Goodreads Rating: 4.07
Genre: YA Mystery
Publication Date: May 30th 2017
Format Read: Audiobook
Goodreads Summary: Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
By Jeannette Walls
Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Goodreads Rating: 4.24
Publication Date: January 17th 2006
Format Read: Paperback
Goodreads Summary: The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.
The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
The Glass Castle is truly astonishing–a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.
THIS CAME OUT AS A MOVIE LAST WEEK!!! IT’S OFFICIALLY IN THEATERS!!! TALK ABOUT GOOD TIMING, JOCE!!! (please excuse me as I give myself a pat on the back for being amazing)
In all seriousness, I planned reading this book so that I’d be able to watch the movie when it came out, and I could not be more happy that I did. It’s been on my mom’s display shelf for years, and I was a little reluctant because it felt like it could be super boring (I mean, it’s NONFICTION). But there was nothing not to like about this book. It was SUPER GOOD, SUPER INTERESTING. Jeannette’s story is so inspirational and beautiful, and the way it was written kept my interest the entire time. Even if you’re not normally into nonfiction, I would recommend this one.
I know there’s really no such thing as “characters” in this book, because they are all real people, but I’m going to do this section anyways. You felt for every single person in this book, especially Jeannette, and I think they were fantastically well developed so that you could see each side of them– the one she saw as a little kid, and how that perspective developed as she got older. I felt like not only did I know the characters, I WAS Jeannette the entire time I read it, and I understood exactly WHY she felt the way she did towards her father and mother. It was powerfully done and I think made the story.
This was non-fiction!?!?!?!
I keep asking myself this question over and over again because it seems too painful to be true, and yet the details are too precise and heart wrenching for it to be anything but.
The Glass Castle takes you through Jeannette’s entire life up to this point, starting from her first memory. Her life is absolutely insane, because her parents were essentially impoverished nomads who were poor simply because they chose not to do anything about it. This led to a very unique perspective on life for all of the Walls children, and that comes through in her writing.
I’m really reluctant to say anything more because I’m afraid of spoiling the “shock factor” which made this book so powerful to me. But it’s incredible. Genuinely emotionally shockingly beautifully powerful. Read it and you’ll understand.
I mean, this is really sort of hard. It’s sort of told in terms of short stories, because obviously the author is writing over a really long period of time, and so she has to skip the “less important” parts in order to fit it all into the fairly skinny little book. Her writing style was detailed and yet informative, and extremely emotion-evoking. Like it left me sobbing multiple times.
I LOVED THE CASTING FOR THIS MOVIE!!! I mean, Brie and Woody were both PERFECT in their roles, and the other girls that played Jeannette were equally as incredible, I couldn’t believe that they were CHILDREN because they were so impressive.
Although the movie didn’t follow the true events exactly, or show all of the parts of the book, it did a really good job and I thought it captured the true essence of the story. I would 10/10 recommend.
This book was SO SO SO GOOD PLEASE READ IT. I am so overwhelmed by this entire story, the beautifulness of it, and the way it was written. I think it deserves to be read just because it makes you appreciate your own life so much more, and gives you such a great appreciation for what other people go through. Plus, honestly it’s a true pleasure read, you can really enjoy it and feel like it’s a novel. So what are you waiting for! Buy it already!
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Have you read Glass Castle? Watched it? Are you looking forward to it? What did you think!!?!?!
This month was not nearly as productive as I was hoping, in any sense of the word, but nonetheless I did decent, and have some exciting accomplishments to share with you all. I think what I’m most proud of is that I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL and so that’s like 12 years of my life* that have finally come to a close. Also, it’s the first summer in my memory where I literally have no summer homework to do, which is awesome, and as you read this I am on my first of 2 major vacations that I’m super excited about. So this month is good, I just haven’t read quite enough yet.
*I’m counting Kindergarten-High School… it did not, in fact, take me 12 years to get through high school
If you don’t remember, I put 7 books on my TBR for this month, which is more than I have ever ever read in one month before. I’m proud to say that I’ve finished 4/7 books on this list, as well as 5 total books. Once again I’ve had trouble sticking to the TBR because BOOKS are all so good and I’m an easily distracted individual.
The Darkest Lies (3/5)– I’ve written a review of this one, although it won’t be published for a couple of months, and yet I still don’t have all of my thoughts in order. First off, the beginning was terrible, but the end was good. Second, I hated the MC but liked some of the others?? I don’t know how to explain it, the whole thing was just confusing.
The Handmaid’s Tale (5/5)– DAMNNNNN this book was so good. It was one of the first dystopian books ever, and the scary part is that everything it talks about feels so so so real like it could happen next week which is a horrible thing but reality could still go this way. It’s super women-oppressive but the MC is super smart, and I love the way everything plays out. You would never know that this was written in the 80’s, and I HIGHLY recommend to everyone.
The Glass Castle (5/5)– This was a memoir so I was super nervous about it going in, but honestly it was so so so amazing, read like fiction, and was thoroughly enjoyable. I have such a hard time believing any of this is real just because of how extraordinarily difficult the author’s life was. She is remarkable and I have so much respect for her, her story, and her writing.
The Cursed Child (??)– I’VE FINALLY READ IT!!! It was super good, and I really enjoyed it, but I’m not sure how to rate it because I have the HP thing that makes me want to give everything remotely related 5 quick stars, but on the other hand the story wasn’t that good. And plus it’s super hard to judge a play when all you’ve seen is the script.
Orange is the New Black (5/5)– This is another absolutely incredible book. I started watching the TV show and fell in love, and so I had to read the book, because although I heard they were so completely different, I liked the general concept, and the fact that OITNB book is a true story drew me in. It did not let down. Piper told the story in a way that drew me in and made it felt like fiction while giving true details and enlightening me as to how the prison system works.
Goodreads Challenge (22/30)– I’m going to have to update my reading challenge again because I’ve gotten through SO MANY BOOKS. This is making my entire year, I haven’t felt this good about how much I’ve read for so long.
What’s In a Name (2/5)
Read Harder Challenge (11/24)
- June Book Releases— I wrote about all of the most exciting-sounding books that came out this month! There’s so many good ones especially in the thriller genre, so if you like that you should check it out!
- I’ll Give you the Sun Review— For the first time in practically ever, I had a review get a ton of views!! IGYTS was sooooooooooo good and I recommend it to literally everyone, and so if you haven’t read the review or the book you should get on that.
- Midyear Update— Since this is the halfway month of the year, I wrote a post on all of the books I’ve read, and all of my best posts for the entire year! It was really cool to reflect on everything that I’ve read and how awesome this year has been so far.
- Using the Word “Said”— I wrote a discussion post on whether or not you should use the word “said” while you write, and I loved all of the feedback and comments that people gave to add to my own thoughts.
- Interview with Nia— Nia is an AHMAZING blogger and I got to interview her which was super awesome because she’s really funny and great and you should read this interview (can you tell I’m EXTREMELY overtired as I write this post? It’s all rambling and messy and gross so I’m sorry)
- Blogging and Reading Confessions by Lauren— I just followed Lauren recently, and I loved reading about her true reading and blogging style!! I related to so many of the reading confessions and although the blogging ones didn’t really apply much to ME, I still enjoyed reading them.
- Mid Year Book Tag by Nia— I really enjoyed hearing about all of Nia’s favorite books, and I had a lot added to my TBR!!!! If you’re looking for recs or just to catch up on Nia, this is a great post to read.
- Elm took Blogging to the Real World— Taking your blog from purely internet to “real” life is a huge step and one that every blogger dreams of, and I’m super proud of Elm (but not really surprised) about the fact that she was able to make a difference in people’s lives and take her wonderful perspective out into the non-internet world.
- Developing Characters by May— May wrote a super fun, relatable af post about how to develop characters for your novel, and I found myself nodding along for literally the entire thing.
I had wanted to get really ahead on blogging for the next month, but instead I was a serious slacker who did absolutely nothing to do with blogging besides write this single post and one review. Which is certainly not going to get me through the rest of the summer.
As far as followers go, I had wanted to get to 400 this month. It was a really close call, but I managed to do it with WP and email combined, although not with just WP (as I originally wanted to).
I decided that I was going to get a book at every vacation I went on this year, and so far I’ve been to Block Island, where I bought 2 books from the library sale rack. And it only cost $1!!! Bargain shopping!!!
In Pennsylvania I didn’t get a book because all I could find was Amish romance (oops) and I wasn’t really feeling it.
Right now I’m in Colorado, and although I haven’t bought a book yet, I’m planning on it. I’m praying that I can find a cheap little second hand store around Denver to buy one.
I’ve written about 15 pages thus far in the book I’m working on, and started working on my outline much further. I need to outline the entire thing before I start writing, and I know that, but sometimes outlining gets boring so I just start writing anyways.
Overall, it’s been a decent month, but nothing to brag about. I mean, reading half my TBR is decent, but my blogging has been weak and in general I don’t really like the fact that I haven’t been moving very quickly through what I need to get done.
Maybe if I watched less TV I would be blogging more often. I mean, right now I’m writing this post and watching OITNB (SEASON 3!!!!) at the same time so excuse any stupid errors or repetitiveness… But like it’s okay because the show is amazing and I’ll eventually figure out how to do both because blogging is beautiful.
How did your June go? Do you have any plans for this summer? What are your favorite books that you’ve read?
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~ Now Venture out and Change the World ~
By Jandy Nelson
Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Goodreads Rating: 4.14
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: September 16th 2014
Format Read: Kindle
Goodreads Summary: A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
This book was AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL and I cannot promote it enough. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to, because it’s one of my favorite YA books of all times, not even exaggerating. The main concept was that Noah and Jude, twins, had to go through and live their life and deal with all of their problems of growing up. I think Nelson did this really well, because you were super in touch with each of their emotions and you knew what they were thinking and you felt for them while you were reading their chapters. It was beautiful.
The book was told from 2 time frames and 2 different perspectives, which made the book totally different than it could have been otherwise. Noah’s perspective was told when he was 13-14 years old, and Jude’s perspective was told when she was 16. A lot of shit went down in the in between years, and so it’s sort of a starting point and ending point for all of the drama of their teenage years, but yet the perspectives alternated so you never got the full story all at once. I adored it.
Noah is a gay, super artistic kid whose only dream in life is getting into CSA, the super prestigious art school near his house. I think Noah was the character you felt more sorry for throughout the novel, because he was a genuinely really really really nice kid, and most of the stuff that happened to him wasn’t really his fault. He had a lot of trouble in school, and was RELATABLE AF for me at least because he just wanted to fit in and not be bullied and yet he couldn’t because he felt different and although our reasons are very different I just felt for him.
Jude is a totally different animal. In Noah’s perspectives, she’s this super popular flirtatious girly girl who fights with her mom and brother. In her perspective, she has become a reclusive, hidden potato of a child on a BOYcott (she’s not dating or flirting with boys). So obviously something big happened to her, and that makes you want to know more and figure her out. But tbh she wasn’t the nicest person in the world, although I still loved her.
Oscar and Brian. The love interests. Oscar was Jude’s redeeming feature, because you SHIP THEM SO HARD. They are perfect and I adore it. Brian and Noah I ship too obviously and I think the whole thing is adorable aaagghghhh cannot compute. The romance level of this book was so on point because there was no insta-love and yet there was no fighting, bad boy cliche act either. It was just real.
The plot of this story was mainly driven by relationships (mostly family) especially NoahandJude vs. Noah and Jude and the way which those dynamics played in. This really worked for me because I’m very character based, so if you like contemporary I think this would work out really well for you. I can’t think of much else to say.
Guillermo (I forgot to mention him in characters) is the most mysteriously incredible mentor ever.
ART!! I want to art so badly after reading this book
Unique perspective. Jude and Noah have such different voices that Nelson captured perfectly.
The whole book
the whole book (did I say that already?)
Jude, maybe? Their mom, maybe? Life and what it does to them, maybe? but not the book, at all.
Noah is gay! and he’s not gay like trying to find his identity, and the whole book is not just about his gayness, which makes it more honest and real and awesome.
cheating, attempted suicide, depression
READ THIS BOOK PLEASE OH PLEASE GODS. I loved it so much and will forever recommend it to everyone until the day that I die.
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Have you read this book? Have you read anything else by this author? What did you think? Which characters did you love and which did you hate? Do you have any other book recs that you think I would love just as much as this one?
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~ Now Venture out and Change the World ~
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of editing Katerina Baker’s romance novel, The Corner Office. The book was SO GOOD and I couldn’t wait for it to come out for real.
Now, that day has FINALLY COME!! The Corner Office is being released on June 23rd, just a single month away and Katerina is looking for reviewers.
If you are a fan of romance, office relationships, love triangles, or love hate relationships THEN YOU WILL ADORE IT and should sign up on Netgalley to get a review copy. Or check it out on Goodreads.
Tara Johnson’s sacrifices are about to pay off: a senior executive at thirty-five at a Fortune 500 company, she’s one of the two finalists in line for a Managing Director position. Unfortunately, her rival of fifteen years, the charming, infuriating Richard Boyd, is just as qualified, and unlike her, he’s willing to cross pretty much every line to get what he wants.
Of all the things Tara stored in the attic to make it to the top, it’s her personal life she misses the most. That is, until she starts a steamy affair with sex god Aidan, her direct report. Interoffice relationships with a subordinate can mean the end of a career, and when Richard finds out, it’s the perfect opportunity to take his high-heeled nemesis out, especially since he’s still nursing a grudge against Tara for rejecting him years ago.
But Tara’s increasingly domineering lover has his own dark secrets, endangering more than just her career. As her liaison spirals out of control, salvation will come from the man she always thought she hated, and perhaps the only one to truly understand.
I plan on posting my review on my blog closer to when the book comes out, but you can see a shorter version of my eventual review on Goodreads. I would warn that there are triggers, which I talk about in my review, so I would recommend reading it if you have any triggers.
Get book on Netgalley: https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book/114678
See Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35157268-the-corner-office
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~ Now Venture out and Change the World ~
By Riley Sager
My Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Goodreads Rating: 4.23
Genre: Psycho Thriller/Mystery/Slasher
Publication Date: July 11th 2017
Format Read: Phone Ebook
Goodreads Summary: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet. Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! It was one of the most incredible psycho thrillers that I’ve ever read, kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and had a very, very good ending that helped pull the entire piece together. I first came across this book when Stephen King (yes, THE Stephen King) recommended it via Twitter, and I cannot explain how excited I was to receive an e-ARC and have the opportunity to read it. The best possible compliment I can give the book is that it reminded me somewhat of a Gillian Flynn novel, and was definitely up to her standards, although of course it was uniquely Riley Sager. But, if you enjoyed the likes of Sharp Objects and Gone Girl, I can promise you that you will adore this can’t-put-down read.
Wow. Just wow. That’s really all I have to say for this section. Sager did such a good job of creating a plot which moved quickly enough to be an edge of your seat read, but not so quickly that you felt as though it was rushed. Although there were elements of “action” throughout, there were also plenty of scenes which took their time to unfold, and the fast paced scenes were all the better for it.
Although there were plot twists, very good ones, it always seemed realistic, and in fact probable, after the fact. That’s something that I love about this book. It never felt like they were stretching to create a plot and thereby doing something which didn’t fit with the natural character flow. Twists were VERY, VERY surprising, but in hindsight you could see how/why.
What I think made this book special was that throughout the book, Quincy can’t remember what happened to her at Pine Cottage, the place where all of her friends were killed by a psycho named Joe and she was brutally injured. Because of the way it unfolds, you know that there is something more to the story but you don’t know what. To pull you in, Sager occasionally utilizes flashbacks to Pine Cottage so that you see what is happening slowly, as present day occurs. I think this offered a good change of pace and kept you hooked the entire time.
The main character, Quincy, has a lot of issues that she attempts to cover up throughout the novel. She seems afraid of facing her real self in a way that makes her at once vulnerable and strong. Even though she is a Final Girl– supposedly the toughest and the strongest– she has a plethora of weaknesses, and everything seems real.
Sam, the other mainest character, is a deeper, more mysterious personality, and that helps add a lot to the book. Whereas Quincy’s emotions are all laid out there for the readers to see, Sam is a mystery who you struggle to uncover, and yet she somehow seems so developed the entire time.
Reasons I Loved It…
It was overall an amazing read. Thrillers are always exciting, and I loved this one because the whole premise was likely to happen. 3 mass murders, 3 female survivors, all lauded by the media…. It’s just so cool and such a 21st century thing. After the general concept, Sager did a great job at actually DOING something with her plot and bringing it to life. It would have been easy to make a flat story line, but Sager did the opposite.
Umm this is a 5 star review so I don’t really think there are any? Like I honestly can’t think of any flaws whatsoever and that’s worrying me slightly? I’ll edit this if I think of anything.
Diversity and Triggers…
I can’t really think of any diverse characters in this novel whatsoever, so you aren’t going to get any of that.
As far as triggers, there are TONS of mentions of mental illness. Quincy has anxiety and just a generally messed up brain and has to take Xanax for it. Her mental disorder causes her to steal things and drink too much wine, but IMO this is a normal reaction for someone who saw all of their friends murdered in college?? It never stereotyped or grouped all illnesses together, so it wasn’t making a comment on mental illness in general.
There was also a boy named Joe who was locked up in the mental institution, escaped, and murdered all of Quincy’s friends at Pine Cottage. That being said, once more it is not stereotyped and there is other development with this character.
Obviously, the book contains violence, including many deaths, stabbing, and strangulation which, although to me that sounds exciting, may be worrisome to others. Also there are drug and alcohol references.
IF YOU READ ONE THRILLER THIS YEAR IT HAS TO BE THIS ONE. I know it’s early to say this, but I think it might be one of my favorite reads of 2017, and it most likely would have been in the top 5 of 2016 as well. I will be on the lookout for more of Riley Sager’s books in the future, because it was that good.
Oh Also Look at the Other Cover…
I used the cover up top of the one I actually read, but there is another (prettier) one that I couldn’t resist sharing.
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Disclaimer: Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! Also, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you are interested in purchasing this book (which you totally should be) use my link and I will receive a small comission 🙂
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~ Now Venture out and Change the World ~