Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Book Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Cover Courtesy of Goodreads

Book Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson


Goodreads Synopsis: It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back? Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough. Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a stranger? Um... 

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (
totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?

My Review: Yes, I finally got to read a contemporary by Morgan Matson and see what the hype was about! And I think the book is a solid contemporary read, and pretty much lived up to my expectations.
All the characters were really great people. They were written realistically, and were supportive, loyal, and friendly. Emily was very relatable and down-to-earth. Frank was also a really fun and kind character. Character development was also not lacking; in fact, I think every main character had their own arc. Emily's family is also pretty wacky (in a good way!), and it was nice to see a strong family dynamic, as this is pretty uncommon in YA.
I liked the mystery of the book, plot-wise, and how all of the items on the list were pretty important for Emily's personal growth. It was fun to see how Emily completed all the tasks, but I will say that she got through a lot of the tougher tasks pretty quickly. 
The setting was also really fun because I kept getting summer vibes; this is probably the first book I'd recommend if you want to feel summery.
My only complaints would be that Emily probably didn't even need to complete the list to find Sloane, and that the ending was a bit too perfect (although I really wanted a nice ending, so I guess I shouldn't complain!). The story also seemed to lack a greater significance, which sometimes winds up happening in contemporary novels, but maybe this time it was because of the perfect ending? 
Overall, Since You've Been Gone was a great light, summery contemporary read. I rate it 4 stars, and am excited to read more of Matson's work!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Book Review: We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

Book Review: We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen
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Cover Courtesy of Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant but socially clueless. Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed “It” girl in her class, but her grades stink. Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. Stewart is trying to be 89.9 percent happy about it, but Ashley is 110 percent horrified. She already has to hide the real reason her dad moved out; “Spewart” could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder.They are complete opposites. And yet, they have one thing in common: they—like everyone else—are made of molecules.

My Review: I enjoyed this novel, but this is going to be one of those reviews where I complain a lot about the book, because there were a lot of problems with it.

  1. Stewart and Ashley have the exact same voice; they could literally be the same person. Also, they sounded as if they were 10-year-olds. Which brings me to problem 2.
  2. Strange characters. Stewart sounded like a 9-year-old, and Ashely was pretty much a stereotypical drama queen. I mean, there is no way a 13-year-old would act/talk/think like Stewart does.
  3. The plot. It's pretty stereotypical: nerd meets popular girl, popular girl changes for the better. However, the way this was written in was pretty fun, so I'm willing to let this go.
  4. I couldn't tell if this book was middle grade or YA? The MCs definitely do not talk like high schoolers, but this book dealt with issues like attempted rape, underage drinking, swearing, etc. which I usually don't encounter in MG.
    1. *SPOILER* Someone tries to rape someone else and doesn't get punished for it?! Their actions definitely should have been dealt with better. *END SPOILER*
But, there were also a lot of positives to this story.
  1. It was cute. Yeah, the plot was stereotypical, but the characters were so lovable that it was okay.
  2. Stewart was a really good kid. And I'm actually glad he was proud of who he was, wasn't awkward about being himself, and had no regrets! He also always reached out to help others, while making them feel extremely awkward 😂 (you'll see what I mean if you read it)!
  3. I feel like in a lot of books, people don't take action until it's too late, but Stewart stood up for his beliefs pretty early on!
  4. It's LGBTQ+!
So basically Stewart, and the characters, rocked! I still give it 4 stars because it was fun to read; I just complained a lot in this review because I just wanted to address some issues.

Does We Are All Made of Molecules sound appealing? What's on your TBR? Tell me below!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Let's Talk About... Stalking Jack the Ripper!




Credit: Pixabay
Do you want to participate in this week's Let's Talk About... topic? Basically, I'll post questions about a book/series and my answers to them (so readers get a hint of what to expect when reading), then I'll invite you to answer them in the comments below or leave a link below to your own blog. Just please link back to this post when you do, and feel free to change up the questions :)

I thought it'd be fitting to feature Capturing the Devil and the rest of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series because the release date for CTD is tomorrow (9/10!). So here's the synopsis for book 1:

40727470. sy475 Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life. Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world. The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget. 

(Wow I never even realized this was a debut! Hands down the best murder mystery I've ever read!)

If you've already read book 1, here's the synopsis for book 4:

37539001  In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer---or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy. Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World's Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders. Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they've heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him---and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device---is another. Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end---together and in love---or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?

And now for the questions...

1. Favorite character?
Audrey Rose for sure, but Thomas is a close second. I feel like Audrey Rose seems a bit more flawed, and is therefore a bit easier to relate to. She's also a super awesome forensic scientist and defies the expectations society sets, so she's impossible not to like.

2. Do you own any fan-related memorabilia?
Not currently, but I preordered (a signed copy of!) CTD and that comes with an alternate dust jacket and fan art (more details here). You will all be hearing about this the moment everything arrives in the mail :). I've also made some fan art myself, namely a polymer clay Audrey Rose, which is posted on my bookstagram.

Break! Oh yes I got a bookstagram! Now you can get aesthetic pictures of books + blog posts + once someone comes up with virtual food you can have that too. 

3. Which book in the series is your favorite?
I think Hunting Prince Dracula. There's a lot more ups and downs between Audrey and Thomas but they patch it all up which is nice. Plus Dracula has always been really fascinating, and I got to brush up on my (aka start learning about) Romanian history. 

4. Favorite Cover?
Look all of them are gorgeous and it's cruel to make me choose. So here's the rest of the covers:

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5. Have you ever met the author?
Kind of, yes! I attended her talkshoplive Q&A, so I saw her live and it was amazing! My first author event :). Fingers crossed that I'll be able to meet her in person, too!

6. Favorite quotes?
I actually did a whole post about this here.

7. What do you like best about the series?
It's just done super well. There's so much history embedded in these stories, and Audrey Rose is the perfect heroine: inquisitive, elegant, yet flawed as well. She makes mistakes, but isn't embarrassed about them. Plus Thomas Cresswell is the best so.

Okay so what do you think? Have you read this series before? Planning to read Capturing the Devil? The preorder campaign is still up until 9/9 (tonight!) :). Tell me what you think of the series below!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Normally Wouldn't Have Read

Hosted By That Artsy Reader Girl
Plot twist: I'm adjusting the prompt to books I normally wouldn't have picked up and may/may not have enjoyed. 

I feel like sometimes I stick to a couple of YA genres too much, but I definitely try to branch out and read books with different themes. Today I'll be sharing my experiences through some books I normally wouldn't have read and my feelings about them.

1. Pretty much every dystopia I ever read.

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I picked these up because of the hype. The Divergent series lived up, but the Matched series dragged on, and honestly should have ended after the first book.

2. The Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series

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 I avoided these series because of the hype. (I'm actually a really conflicting person, if you couldn't guess by now). But my friends pushed me really hard to read these (which I am so thankful for!) Fun fact: I also avoided the Geronimo Stilton series for the same reason.

3. The Clique series 
(I included some of the fun titles below in addition to the first book.)

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It's pitched as Mean Girls meets middle school...definitely something I wouldn't have tried out. But it was honestly pretty fun to read!
4. The Lunar Chronicles
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I tried to read this one, but I just couldn't get into the series. This was a few years ago, though, so I might try it out again.

5. Sci-Fi
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I love concepts behind sci-fi, but I think I'm not really built for action movies or books. These were great reads, though, and I was pleasantly surprised!

5. A Thousand Splendid Suns
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I'm so glad we read this at school; it was amazing!
What are some books you read outside your comfort zone? Tell me below!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Books that Remind Me of the Friends Cast

Friends is my favorite TV show at the moment (10/10 would recommend!). What's best is the relationship between the cast, and how they're all loyal friends to each other. Each member has their own quirks, so today, I'm going over book characters that remind me of Friends characters. All covers are courtesy of, and link to, Goodreads!

1. Rachel Green
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So her cooking skills aren't great, but her fashion sense is usually on point!
Because she was spoiled and extremely focused on shopping...
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2. Monica Geller
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For her and Mei's germophobia...
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3. Phoebe Buffay and Ross Geller
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Ross thinks unagi means "awareness", but it's really just a type of eel.

For her belief in things people normally wouldn't believe in and for his interest in paleontology/digging up stuff, Phoebe and Ross remind me of...
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Toby and Lemonade have plenty of investigations throughout the summer and are avid Bigfoot believers.

5. Chandler Bing
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His character arc reminds of the one faced by Collins.
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6. Joey Tribbiani
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For his constant mentions of food...
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Fizzy and Joey actually have a lot in common. Both sometimes feel like leftovers (especially in Season 10), but have fierce friends and family to remind them that that isn't true. Also, they're both obsessed with food (one with cooking it, one with eating it!).


And that's a wrap!
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Do you watch Friends? Do any books remind you of the characters? Want me to do a similar post for another TV show? Tell me below!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Check-in On My Birds' Summer Accomplishments

I know summer isn't over yet (but let's face it, it almost is :'( ), but my birds have been up to mischief, so I decided to do a midway check-in on what my birds have been up to this summer.

Because I know some of you haven't met my birds yet, I wanted to take a photo of them together. Obviously, Pringle is used to the camera (the star she is), but Lola seems to be a bit confused.

Lola: I'm so tired.

Lola: Hey, look at this weird stain I found!

Lola @ Pringle: What are you looking at? Why are you so still?

Lola: Oh, I see it now!
Pringle: seriously?

And there we go! That's the photo I was looking for!
This summer, my birds have been very productive. For example, Pringle has chewed up nearly the entire front bar of the swing I gifted them. She even chews when Lola is swinging on the other side, which is a bit problematic.


Lola: Get me out of here!

I also purchased them a toy with some beads, two balls made of ratan, and a bell. But I really had no hope for the chewable ratan balls anyways.

What's missing?
Aside from her hard work, Pringle has been taking time to rest.
No disturbances, please!
And Lola has been busy singing! Every morning, I play a little music for these guys. So far, they seem to enjoy "Don't Call Me Up" by Mabel.

I think they're having a great summer! What have your pets been up to? Tell me below!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Wish Were Real So We Could Be Friends

Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl





There are a lot of books I wish I didn't end because I love the characters so much. In fact, there should really be a place to meet them - sort of like a Disneyland, but with book characters (and butterbeer, because I didn't get to drink that in Universal Studios, and no I'm not mad about that at all)! While that idea's probably not coming true any time soon, I'd at least like to share 9 book characters I'd befriend. All covers are courtesy of Goodreads.

1-3. Gigi, Bea, and Neerja from Smart Girls Get What They Want 
My study sessions would be 10x more interesting with these girls! Plus, I reread this on Sunday and I'm missing them already!
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4. Samantha Lee from Under A Painted Sky
Her connections to Chinese astrology and culture are really interesting, and she's such a sweet person overall.
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5. Mei from American Panda
I think she'd be a really good listener, and the best study partner.

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6. Cammie Morgan from I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You
Best travel buddy ever, if I could convince her to lend me a private jet...

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7. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series.
Another study buddy! (Why is everyone I pick a nerd :') ). But Hermione is awesome in countless other ways, and I bet we'd have so much fun. There are plenty to prank with magic around here...
The Harry Potter Gang! Lighting is so poor, lol, but in my defense I took this years ago.
8-9. Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell from Stalking Jack the Ripper
I can't just pick Audrey, because Thomas would throw a fit. And besides, these two make a dynamic duo, and I'm not breaking that up!
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Which fictional characters would you want to be friends with? Tell me below!
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