Fictional Fathers

These literary dads are the BEST! | Happy Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day today! And in honor of that, I decided to take a moment to appreciate all the fictional fathers that we all secretly wish were alive–because no matter how much we love our own fathers, these fathers are pretty great!

Fictional Fathers

Atticus Finch — To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Atticus

Anyone who’s read the books know how much of a great father he is! Kind, honorable and a great role model for his kids. He’s just such a model father!

Arthur Weasley — Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter series

Ahhhh Arthur Weasley is just such a great father. I’m going to repeat that for pretty much all of these fathers, pretty much, but still. Raising 7 kids, supporting them and doing his best to keep the family going, despite the poor circumstances, Arthur Weasley is great! (And when you compare him to some of the other fathers in the series..)

Mr. Covey — To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Father to three daughters, with no mother to help, Mr. Covey totally nailed fatherhood in all sense of the word! He was so (wait for it…) yep, great. I’m totally ruining the word with my over-use of it, but shhh. It’s true! He single-handed raised three girls–that’s no easy feat!

Adam and Seth — My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi

My Life After Now

The main character, Lucy, actually has two dads, which I found to be so great (how many times have YOU seen that?)–even more so because they were 100% fabulous and supportive (particularly to Lucy’s situation). They were such great parents, raising and helping out Lucy and just all-around awesome.

Luke Garroway — Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Mortal Instruments series

Although he has no children of his own, he was a father figure to Clary, so that counts right? With Valentine being.. Valentine, Luke was so great to Clary, caring for her like she was his own.❤ He wants to protect her, but at the same time he does what he knows is right. Go Luke!

Arthur Avery — Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

Another single father, he had the task of raising two twins, and it was so nice seeing that connection between him and his daughters (particularly Cath). You could see he really cared about the both of them, and it was great to see that.❤

Andie’s dad — The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

The Unexpected Everything

Andie and her dad didn’t have the greatest of relationships at first, but as the story progressed they slowly rebuilt their broken relationship, and that was SO AWESOME. Andie’s dad was so great! He really took the time to know Andie afterwards and they had so many great moments. LOVE!

Hazel’s dad — The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars

I don’t remember much of this story apart from the very big details, but I do remember that Hazel’s dad was definitely not a bad example! He wasn’t a huge part of the story, but I do believe he loved Hazel and supported her. Both Hazel’s parents were really great characters, tbh.

Arisotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle & Dante

I haven’t actually read this book yet *hides* BUT I do plan on reading it asap! I really want to read it for sure, especially after hearing all the amazing things about it. And apparently it has a great father in it too. So yay!


Wow, that was actually quite difficult, because there are so few I came up with… when it really should be difficult ’cause there are many to choose from! FATHERS SHOULD BE NORMAL, guys. At least for some books. Not just a handful! *sigh*

But either way, what do you think? Are there any fathers I missed? (Probably.) Which of these have you read? Who do you think takes the cake for best fictional father? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Top 10 Tuesday 3

Anticipated Fantasy Books For The Second Half of The Year–Why is time so slow? | Top Ten Tuesday #34

How is it Tuesday again already? I swear, time passes by SO FAST nowadays. (Except when it comes to books, apparently, since it’s taking FOREVER for my anticipated books to be released. *SIGH*)

Anyway, it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is:

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year (since we did a topic about the releases we were excited about for the first half of 2016 back in the beginning of the year) Feel free to tweak it how you want to — like most anticipated fantasy for the second half of 2016 or debut authors. Whatever you want!

There are literally so many books being released in the next months that I am dying to read, so I decided to narrow it down to the top ten fantasy books I’m looking forward to–and there are STILL SO MANY I am dying. But whatever. I would die to have these books. Except not because I’d probably miss chocolate and just general good things in life too much for that. But you know what I mean.

Everyone knows lists are fabulous, so I won’t deprive you of them any longer! Let’s do this.

Top 10 Tuesday 3

1. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (July 5th 2016)

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I absolutely ADORE Victoria Schwab’s books. And I’ve heard so many amazing things about This Savage Song and I’m seriously dying to read it. GIMME. I have nothing else to say.

This Savage Song

2.  Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (August 9th 2016)

I haven’t read much (read: any) books by Jay Kristoff but SO MANY people adore his writing, especially with the release of Illuminae. Not to mention Nevernight seems so cool! Assassins, intrigue, and sounds of murder. What could be better? (I’m completely sane, I promise.)

Nevernight

3. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (August 30th 2016)

Sooo like most people I thought An Ember in the Ashes was a standalone? But nope! Can’t say I’m disappointed though. Can’t wait to see what this book’s like!❤

A Torch Against the Night

4. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (September 26th 2016)

AHHHH if you haven’t checked out this book yet you DEFINITELY should because it sounds amazing! Just read the synopsis. *nods* I must have this. I MUST.

Three Dark Crowns

5. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (September 27th 2016)

Oh, did I ever happen to mention that I LOVED Six of Crows and Leigh Bardugo’s books? No? Well, I do. Six of Crows is absolutely LIFE for me (along with all my other favourite books of course) and I NEED CROOKED KINGDOM. NEED IT. Now. I-would-trade-chocolate-for-it need. (Big deal, you guys.)

Crooked Kingdom

6. Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge (September 27th 2016)

I don’t think I’ve actually expressed how much I enjoyed Rosamund Hodge’s books! Well, technically I’ve only read Cruel Beauty from her, but I do plan on reading Crimson Bound soon enough. I hope. Either way her newest book seems so good. I will definitely be picking it up! (Just look at that cover, people. How can you resist?)

Bright Smoke Cold Fire

7. The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan (October 4th 2016)

Ah, Rick Riordan. Always popping up with new books. I definitely don’t mind though! I read and really enjoyed The Sword of Summer last year, and I am totally looking forward to continuing with the journey.

The Hammer of THor

8. A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray (November 1st 2016)

THIS COVER GIVES ME LIFE. Omg it’s so beautiful and I want this book so so much. That is all. (GO READ THIS series if you haven’t already though!! If only because the cover is literally BEGGING to be picked up. But also because the story is great!)

A Million Worlds With You

9. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (November 8th 2016)

If you didn’t know already, I really love the Lunar Chronicles! (It’s seriously the best.) Marissa Meyer is such a gifted writer. So a book describing the Queen of Hearts pre-Wonderland? YES PLEASE.

Heartless

10. Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes (December 13th 2016)

And last but not least, Crystal Storm which is releasing in December! (*sob* Why December??!) The fourth book in the series, Frozen Tides left me totally hanging and begging for more and I’m honestly dying for this book. I suppose I’m lucky there will be so many other good books to keep me occupied before it’s released??😄 The series started off as meh, but really got better. Woo!

Crystal Storm

OH, and I just HAVE to add this one.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (July 31st 2016)

Do I even have to explain anything for this one?! Didn’t think so. Good. Because I have no words other than alagla;hndgrgnalsajflkdjf complete gibberish. Ahem. So excited!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

 

Honorable mentions (Pretty much most of the other books I’m looking forward to that I wasn’t able add to the top ten): Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (September 6th 2016), Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (September 27th 2016), Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch (September 20th 2016), The Midnight Star by Marie Lu (October 11th 2016), Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst (November 22nd 2016), A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess (September 20th 2016)


SO MANY BOOKS. So many books are being released in the second half of 2016 (a lot in September, I’ve noticed!) and I’m so giddy for them all to be released! Apart from these fantasy books, there are so many other books being released as well–don’t me started on all the contemporary books I also want to read! That’s a list for a different day. (I have too many books on my TBR SOMEONE STOP ME.)

So now tell me! Which of these books are you looking forward to the most? What other books are you looking forward to that aren’t on this list? Feel free to leave your TTT link below as well, I’d love to stop by (and add more books to my never-ending TBR pile)!

Happy Tuesday!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

 

Fictional settings I wish were real

Fictional Settings I Wish Were Real | Seriously, I REALLY wish these were real.

Hello. It’s me.

(Sorry, I feel like this post warranted that. It’s been so long, and it’s so old, I know! But I had to. SHHH you know you do it too.)

I’m back today with another post, you guys! Be proud of me. I’m not exactly sure what inspired this topic, but I was making a few header graphics for some of my other planned posts and then suddenly I saw a picture that just made this idea pop into my head. Be prepared for a severe case of wanderlust guys, for these fictional places! I mean, come on, who DOESN’T want to go to these places?

Let’s do this! I apologize in advance if this post causes your wanderlust to go overboard and like me, you end up sobbing because these places don’t exist.

Fictional settings I wish were real

1. Hogwarts (Harry Potter)

YOU ALL SAW THIS COMING. I mean, come on! Even people who haven’t read Harry Potter (ps you must definitely go fix that mistake asap please and thank you) wouldn’t mind going to the utter fabulousness that is Hogwarts. And other magical places. (Diagon Alley, anyone? I WANT TO GET MY WAND and magic thanks.)

Hogwarts 2

LOOK AT IT!!❤❤

2. Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia)

Hasn’t anyone else dreamed of visiting Narnia once upon a time?! I mean, come on. IT’S NARNIA peoples.❤

narnia-map

3. Camp Half Blood/Jupiter (Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus)

Rick Riordan’s books have always had a place in my heart, and it’s definitely a certain that Camp Half Blood found a place there too! IT’S JUST THE BEST. Someone take me there, please? *heart eyes*

Camp Half Blood

4. Luna, New Beijing (The Lunar Chronicles)

The settings in the Lunar Chronicles sound so cool! And I SO wouldn’t mind visiting Luna or New Beijing. Seriously, why can’t these places be real?!

Luna

5. Panem (The Hunger Games)

I think it makes sense to wish this was real, right? I mean, war’s over and everything and Panem just sounds SO COOL. And really pretty? Are there any tours available, ’cause sign me up please. (Yes, I realize Panem is FICTIONAL *sadly* but maybe the places where the movie took place? ‘Cause those were super great. Ahem.)

Panem

6. Ravka (Grishaverse)

Ahh, Leigh Bardugo and her Grishaverse. Can never get tired of it, really. Especially now that we have the amazing Six of Crows and the books in that series! Ravka’s world just seems so cool. And I know it’s based off Russia too (which is already on my to-visit-someday list because RUSSIA.)

Ravka

7. Trollus (Stolen Songbird)

I haven’t squealed about this book and the series enough, tbh. There is SO MUCH going on for this book and oh my gosh, the world building is most definitely one of the best parts!! Trollus just seems SO AMAZING (I’m saying that for literally every place on this list, but SHH. They’re all so amazing.) and I really want to go visit! It sounds really dark and cold and everything but beautiful with lights and hidden treasures.❤

Trollus

I found this on Pinterest and it LOOKS SO PRETTY

8. The Fae Courts (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

If there was one thing Sarah J. Maas didn’t blotch in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, it’s the world and descriptions! I absolutely adore the idea of the Courts (Spring Court, Summer Court,etc.–SO BEAUTIFUL) and it would be SO COOL if they were real (apart from the part where there’s a whole war going on… details, details.)

acotar-map1

9. Khorasan (The Wrath and the Dawn)

Set in the middle-east, The Wrath and the Dawn duology is probably one of my favourite books, for like EVER. Seriously, I love this book series SO MUCH. (So basically, if you haven’t read this yet, LEAVE. AND DO SO IMMEDIATELY. Ahem.) And the setting was so cool!! I would definitely not mind visiting someday… (except I can’t *sob*)

TWATD Map

10. Primoria (Snow Like Ashes)

Primoria

Can I just squeal about how much I adore the world in Snow Like Ashes? It’s based on the seasons, and there are 4 kingdoms (each based on a season) and it’s just asjksfhkdhgolehtogrehgaernglekg. Seriously. I have no words. The descriptions and everything was all SO PRETTY AND MAGICAL. I just really want to go. Pretty please? PLEASEEE.

Bonus: Multi-Londons (Shades of Magic)

london-map

I suppose you can count this technically as a real setting, because, hello? LONDON? But this world as a whole is (to my dismay) fiction so. SOB. Who doesn’t want to visit multiple Londons? Red London, Grey London, White London. They’re all SO COOL and I severely want to visit!!!


So.

*offers you tissue box*
Anyone else facing the struggles of being (too) attached to fiction? I am seriously SO SAD that these places don’t exist for us bookworms to visit… (With the exception of Hogwarts, kind of, since we can visit at Universal Studios? BUT IT’S NOT THE SAME *sobs harder* [I’m totally okay, guys. Totally sane. I’m usually not this emotional, sorry.😛 But can you blame me?]
ANYWAY. Join me in my sobbing wanderlusting! (That sounds kind of weird..) Which of these places do YOU wish were real the most? (Obviously ALL of them, but if you had to pick. (a horror, I know! I apologize in advance.) Which of these books have you read? TALK TO ME, please. (I’m very desperate and it clearly shows.) Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend!❤
Until the Next Meal, Analee
Top 10 Tuesday 3

Reasons why fantasy is one of the best genres ever | Top Ten Tuesday #33

Hola mi amigos! Don’t ask what that was, I have no idea. (My long-ago Dora days are kicking in.) Anyway, it’s been a LONG TIME since I’ve participated in a Top Ten Tuesday, and it’s about time, don’t you think? Making lists is one of my favourite things to do, so I’ve been quite sad that I have been depriving myself and the world of said lists. Ahem. ANYWAY. Rambling a bit there.

This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is “Ten Reasons I Love Xcould be a certain book, character, author, your indie bookstore, a fandom, a tv show, reading, a hobby, a genre. Honestly anything you want to gush about.” As you know, I went with reasons why I love the fantasy genre! Let’s do this.

Top 10 Tuesday 3

1. It lets us escape into a different world.

Some people can argue that this applies to other genres as well (pretty much anything that’s fiction when you think about it) but I feel like it applies most strongly to fantasy? It generally tends to actually create a whole new world which is what makes it so magical and intriguing to read about. Sometimes reality just doesn’t cut it, you know? Whenever an escape from reality is required, fantasy is always such a good choice. What better way to escape than into a world completely different from yours?

Hogwarts

I can’t be the only one who loves Harry Potter because of the world, right?

2. It takes us on an adventure.

It’s not even necessarily a physical adventure, though that’s what it is most of the time. It might be an emotional adventure too, where the events lead to an emotional roller coaster (that happened so many times… my feels were overwhelmed). We love to read books because of all the feelings we go through and going on an adventure alongside the characters definitely brings out all sorts of emotions, am I right? *cough* Percy Jackson *cough* Harry Potter *pretty much all my favourite fantasy books*

3. We get to use our imaginations.

One of the best parts of the fantasy genre is the amount of freedom authors have to spin their story. No boundaries of real life, nothing but their own creativity and it’s SO GREAT to read. There’s just such a thrill in being carried into a story of someone else’s imagination, in a completely new (and fictitious) world. So many new ideas, and tons of creativity. How can you not fall in love with all that?

dragon-fantasy-4

DRAGONS. (Unfortunately they don’t exist in real life, soooo.)

4. Childhood memories

This seems like an odd reason with no correlation whatsoever, but remember those times back when you were a child, and you believed in everything, from fairytales to unicorns to dragons to fairies? Now, grown up we no longer believe in such things, but fantasy is now allowing us to go back to those times when we thought they existed, and read about them. Maybe this isn’t such a huge reason but for me at least, whenever *I* hear of a book about fairies, I can’t help but remember those days…😉 There’s just something that feels so… I don’t know. Child-like, when it comes to fantasy despite it being the opposite of such. (Please tell me I’m not alone here?? I feel crazy right now. o.O)

5. There is a strong emotional message/theme.

You know how people enjoy contemporary a lot of the time because they’re able to relate and sympathize to the characters and their situation? How there’s a strong emotional theme (to the good books, at least)? Well, that’s not only for the contemporary folks. In books of the fantasy genre, there are tons that despite their out-of-worldness and fantastical elements, actually have an emotional theme that we’re able to relate to. That attachment, paired alongside the intriguing idea of a different world, is what makes fantasy such a gem for me. It’s like such a great mix between relatable and unrelatable? If that makes sense.

6. It puts things into perspective.

I mean, I suppose a lot of books across a variety of genres does so (considering how the characters’ lives always seem to be so much more worse and dramatic than ours in real life..) but especially in the fantasy genre. I mean, no matter how bad your life might be, when you compare to the lives of all the suffering characters in books, I’m sure it won’t seem as bad. Am I right? Like, you try comparing your life with Celaena Sardothien in the first book… um yeah. I doubt your life’s that bad. Just saying.😛 (You should be glad, tbh.)

7. Options are endless.

The fact is, there are an infinite amount of ideas in fantasy. The options are actually endless. As such, it actually kind of makes me disappointed when I see that some fantasy novels are so similar because there are SO MANY things that fantasy can touch on. As long as you have imagination, fantasy can never die out of lack of ideas. And there’s just something so wonderful about that.❤ There’s just something so comforting knowing that no matter what, fantasy is there and ready for us to delve into. Does that sound crazy? Probably but humour me.

8. Gives us something to root for.

When it seems like there’s nothing left in real life that seems worth rooting for and you’re just dead and lost all motivation for anything, pick up a fantasy novel! More often than not you’ll find something you root for, whether it’s the characters, their cause, a romance, and who knows what else. Sometimes it’s just that hope and rooting for something (even if it’s fictional) that helps us feel good.

9. (Usually) crushes our emotions and kills us.

Only partially joking about the ‘kills us’ part. Usually I find that fantasy always has me so drained after reading because me emotions always go through such a roller-coaster. And is it just me, or does it seem like fantasy is the genre where cliffhangers are used most often?? And let me tell you, those are absolute deathhhh. Agh. And then I typically fall into this state of shock and hangover where I cannot do anything but just sit in awe of the book. So. I still love these books even though they turn me into such a mess? #logic

pyEOCvV

Me, pretty much? <.<

10. It’s fun!

So I may or may not be just out of steam for now and grasping at straws for the last one, but I do feel like this counts. Fantasy is fun. It’s enjoyable. One of the main reasons we read at all is for fun, and fantasy provides exactly that. Fun! And who doesn’t like that? It’s entertainment, guys. No matter what emotional havoc it caused and all the turmoil and tension we go through while reading it, it all shows just how easy it is to get hooked into a fantasy novel (well, any genre of novel really, but for the sake of this post I’m making it more specific). I’d be lying if I said that I don’t pick up fantasy novels for entertainment.😉


Alright, so I think that’s it! I think I covered most of the important reasons why I love fantasy, for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! I have been considering making a similar list like this for contemporary, feel free to let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in. What are your thoughts on this? Are you a fan of fantasy? Did I miss any other reasons? Or is fantasy not your thing? I’d love to know your thoughts! Feel free to leave a link to your own Top Ten Tuesday as well if you want. I’d love to stop by!

Enjoy your Tuesday, guys! Sending you lots of cake and chocolate. You’re welcome. ✌️ I know I need it! (Who doesn’t is the question.)

Analee 5

2016 June Book Releases

Okay, I’m back–FINALLY! | 2016 June Book Releases

Let me start this off by saying; I will not blame you if you decide to smother me with a pillow and chase after me with a stake! I’ve been gone, without a single explanation or notice for SO LONG it’s literally been a month (and more?) since my last post. Seriously. My last post was last month’s upcoming book releases, and now it’s June. Talk about absences. And awkwardness. Ahem. SOOO my point is I am immensely sorry! I offer chocolate and cake as apology. (That’s a big deal, just saying. No one touches my chocolate.) The past month has been crazy with exams and everything, and things are still a bit crazy but I’ve resolved to not let my blog die with me as I struggle through the final days of school. Yes. #determined

But that’s all besides the point. Right? Right. Let’s just all sit and share candy? And book recommendations? Or, even better, the upcoming releases of this month! It’s so much simpler to keep track of all the amazing-looking releases when they’re all in one place, am I right? You’re welcome, bookish fiends. (Pff, this is totally not to get me back in your good graces, what?)

2016 June Book Releases

June 7

June 14

June 15

June 21

June 28

June 29


I know there are tons more releases I must’ve missed, but I believe this is already around 50-ish books? Sooo yeah, I think that’s more than adequate (I’m drowning, pretty much), and plus, among these are the ones I’m most excited for. A nice mix of contemporary as well as sci-fi/fantasy novels this month, so it’s sure to keep any bookworm happy, am I right? (Not our wallets though…) Some of the ones I’m excited for include All the Feels, The Loose Ends List, One Paris Summer, Ivory and Bone, Never Ever, And I Darken, as well as Winning. So many amazing books and covers here!! *drools*

Alright, so I think that’s all for today, folks! Unfortunately I will continue to be a bit tied up with studies and everything for the next bit and I *might* take another unnamed hiatus (fingers crossed I won’t though) BUT I will most definitely be seeing you guys soon in another post!❤ Hope you guys are all enjoying your weekend–let me know how you’ve been! I’ve missed you.😀

Until the Next Meal, Analee

2016 May Book Releases

I’m totally not a week late on this…! | 2016 May Book Releases

Hey everyone, and Happy Mother’s Day!! It’s been a while since I posted anything on the blog, but I’m here to rectify that with this post! And shhhhh, what are you talking about, this post is definitely not late or anything.🙂 After all, there’s never a wrong time to share new upcoming book releases! Unless you share them when they’re no longer upcoming. Or if you’re being chased by hordes of rabid monkeys. Though maybe even then it would be okay. You never know.

Alright, let’s just get into the stunning covers! I mean, good books.

2016 May Book Releases

May 3rd 2016

May 10th 2016

May 16th 2016

May 17th 2016

May 19th 2016

May 24th 2016

May 31st 2016


*temporarily stops drooling over new releases and pretty covers* Sooo, that’s it, I think, for a lot of the YA book releases for May! Thank god May 3rd already came and passed, ’cause there are SO MANY books released that day that I can’t wait to get my hands. But there are still so many other amazing releases spread out throughout the month! *grabby hands*

So tell me: which books are YOU excited for? (Is anyone else squealing about A Court of Mist and Fury, The Hidden Oracle, Queen of Hearts, The Unexpected Everything, Summer Days and Summer Nights, The Crown, Ruined and The Crown’s Game?? and all of the other books with pretty covers?) Oh, and can someone say, contemporaries alert! There are so many of them being released, though there are plenty of other genres this month added in as well. Either way it ends up with tons of books and pretty covers, and a broke bookworm. Oh wait. Most of us already start off as broke, right. (Most of us meaning me, of course.)

It’s been, once again, a while since I talked to you guys all (EXAMS ARE THE WORST I tell you) and I missed you! I hope this post puts me back in your good graces, guys.😀 Here, I’ll even add in some chocolate to sweeten it up. Now you can’t refuse. I hope you guys are all enjoying the weekend–I know I am!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

#Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews Galore: YA Contemporary Edition!

Oh my gosh I MISSED YOU GUYS!! It’s been so long since I’ve posted.😦 But I’m back for now, this time with something new on the blog, yay! So. You all know by now how terrible I am with keeping up with my reviews. Like, it’s not even possible to deny it at this point though I did try!  As an effort to share my thoughts on the books I’ve been reading lately, however, I’ve decided to march into unfamiliar territory (for me, at least) and, instead of writing individual, lengthy reviews of my recent reads, I shall write up several mini-reviews, all in one post! Yes, I know I’m a genius. And yes, I do realize this isn’t my idea and I am one in thousands of people who have done this but shhhhh let me have my moment. Anyway, I thought this would be a much better and faster way to get down my thoughts on my most recent reads while they’re still relatively clear in my mind instead of adding them to the rest of my never-ending review pile.😉 Coincidentally, these books all have something in common; they’re all contemporary.. so that plays out nicely.

#Mini Reviews

Alright, let’s start with the first novel!


It's a Wonderful DeathIt’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J Schmitt

Publication Date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre(s): Fantasy, Contemporary-ish, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 320
Source & Format: Borrowed, Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?

But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.

RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who’s cuter than you’d expect; Hawaiian shirt–wearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction.

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You know those times where you just stumble upon a random book, attracted by the cover and/or synopsis, and then you’re just…totally blown away by how much you enjoy the book afterwards? Yeah, well, that’s the situation with It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt. Prior to reading it, really, the only thing I knew about this book is that I vaguely recall seeing it before, and that it was published in 2015. Now, after reading it, I’m almost speechless as to how to accurately describe this book. Note I say ‘almost’. (Erm, as a general rule of thumb and fact about me: I tend to have too much to say for that to ever happen…Just sayin.)

It's a wonderful death book review

“My life may have been short in time, but it was long in moments that mattered and in love. In the end, isn’t that what life is all about?”

Pros

  • Omg, RJ…❤. Really, that’s all I can say. Jk, I have so much to say–Let’s just put it this way: She’s not a good, innocent and nice character. She’s snarky, and flawed–oh, SO FLAWED, and also, very selfish and did I mention not nice? Oh, but she’s witty and I loved her so much. RJ was so evidently flawed, so perfectly imperfect, that I couldn’t help but root for her.
  • Oh, and talk about good character development! RJ learned and developed so much throughout the novel, and I loved that–though at the same time I found it kind of hard to believe she could change that quickly. But oh well. It all turned out good in the end. She was such a great protagonist!
  • RJ’s not the only character who shines: the secondary characters, though perhaps not as fleshed out as RJ, still added SO MUCH to the story and made it so entertaining. I loved so many of the characters, even the antagonist (though I simultaneously hated the antagonist as well).
  • Truthfully, this book makes me wish for its world to exist in real life. It was just such a fun concept! The whole Grim Reaper thing, Death Himself, Saint Peter.. they all mostly had distinct personalities and were so interesting. The afterlife concept was so refreshing and so much fun. Needless to say, I loved the world!
  • THE ENDING TO THIS THOUGH. Gawsh. I literally died. Well, not literally, but still. I think at one point this book had me emotional enough to be near the state of shedding a tear..? Although maybe that was because of the fact that I couldn’t find my stash of chocolate and was immensely grieving.
  • But I digress. The ending to this, though emotionally frustrating, was oddly and ragingly perfect! It stayed so true to the book’s theme and morals-and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
  • Would you believe me if I said that this book has NO ROMANCE? (The correct answer is yes, btw. I AM ALL-KNOWING. Also I read the book. So.) Being one of the people who has come across little to no books without romance in them, this was quite the discovery for me. I was actually always kind of expecting there to be one, as I read the book? But there wasn’t, and let me tell you, it didn’t affect the book. If there was a romance, actually I think it would’ve detracted from the story, to be honest!
  • I kind of adore this cover? It just looks so aesthetically pleasing. YES THIS IS A VALID REASON shh.

Cons

  • Despite the fact that I really loved the characters in this book, I can’t help but feel some were too cardboard cutout. Apart from RJ and maybe a few other characters, not many of the secondary characters got as much development, which was kind of disappointing.
  • As much as I loved RJ, I felt at times her too, was a bit cardboard. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because there are so many characters that are similar to her? I don’t know. But I guess I’m just saying she wasn’t exactly an original character? (But I still liked her, so I’m kind of conflicted. But whatever.)
  • The story overall isn’t that fast paced and at times it seemed kind of predictable? This didn’t directly affect my entertainment because I was really into the story, but it’s something I noticed.

Overall…

It’s a Wonderful Death turned out to be a wonderful surprise! The humor and wit in this novel and the overall messages and theme stuck with me long after the pages stopped flipping, and I simply enjoyed reading it so much. A story of doing the right thing, second chances, and the meaning of a worthwhile life, I definitely recommend this book for those looking for a fresh world and a snarky protagonist. This book merged elements of contemporary and fantasy so well, and was filled with so much heart–you should definitely pick it up! I know I’m glad that I did.


A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovernA Step Toward Falling

Publication Date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 368
Source & Format: Borrowed, Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cammie McGovern follows up her breakout young adult debut,Say What You Will, with this powerful and unforgettable novel about learning from your mistakes, and learning to forgive. Told in alternating points of view, A Step Toward Falling is a poignant, hopeful, and altogether stunning work that will appeal to fans of Jennifer Nevin, Robyn Schneider, and Jandy Nelson.

Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing—until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all.

Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a center for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?

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I’ve never read anything by Cammie McGovern, though I’ve heard tons of great things about this and her other novel, Say What You Will. So when I saw this at the library the other day, I thought, why not? And although it was 100% flawless (not many books are, tbh, but the good ones are close :P) this book was still a good read–though I do wish it was more memorable!

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“Expectations are sad and complicated things.”

Ah, so true. Sadly I think I had a bit too high expectations for this one?

Pros

  • This story definitely had a good theme going on for it, and I loved the messages it gave! I also appreciated the little nod of diversity, as it included several characters with autism–we actually also get the perspective from one of them (Belinda). Although I wasn’t the biggest of Belinda for most of the story, admittedly, I did sympathize with her and liked her a lot more by the end.
  • Like I mentioned, we have several autistic characters, and characters with disabilities including Belinda, but I also liked the support in this book for the LGBT community. Speaking of which, I also really liked Emily’s friend, Richard! He was openly (or not openly, I’m not exactly sure tbh) gay and his friendship with Emily was nice to read.
  • Despite the number of pages in this book (360-ish), this book was a very quick read! I’m not exactly sure what to credit that to, but I guess it was a mix of the characters and the writing? Both made the novel very easy and interesting to read!
  • Like I briefly mentioned (or I might’ve not, I dunno), Cammie McGovern’s writing was really easy to get into! Even without the headings at the start of the chapter stating who the narrator was (either Emily or Belinda), it transitioned very smoothly and I was able to distinguish between the two. That’s not always easy to accomplish with dual narrators!

Cons

  • The main character, Emily was kind of bland and is easy to forget? Although I didn’t have any specific problem with her (in fact, as I mentioned, I did appreciate how some aspects of her character was kind of realisitic and well-written), it was the fact that she didn’t really make me compelled to follow her story.. she was just, okay.
  • Although the story overall was sweet and had its heart in the right place, I must admit I feel like it could’ve been better executed? Perhaps in a more memorable and powerful manner. I don’t know. I can’t seem to come up with many things that I remember strongly about this book despite having read it not-too long ago? I mean, my memory can be really bad, but it’s not that bad, you know? I just can’t come up with much. That’s probably not a good thing…
  • It’s so hard to review this, actually, because despite enjoying it when I read the book, I feel like there’s not much to say about it afterwards? Now, I feel more indifferent, I think, than I was before…? So I guess that counts as a negative thing. Honestly, I have no idea. Don’t listen to me I make no sense, ever.

Overall…

Enjoyable, but not mind-blowing. I think perhaps my expectations may have been set a bit too high? Possibly? Although I did enjoy reading the book and it hardly took much time to get through, the unfortunate fact that it isn’t as memorable afterwards definitely makes my rating go lower in terms of the critical aspect of things. This book did have some good diversity as well as shared a great theme about how important it is to speak up and help others, so I definitely won’t be putting this off as a valueless read. I definitely think, though, that this might stick out more to other readers? Maybe it was just me who felt like my while-reading and after-reading feelings changed drastically. Final verdict: recommend to readers who enjoy contemporary!


What We Left BehindWhat We Left Behind by Robin Talley

Publication Date: October 27th 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 416
Source & Format: Borrowed, Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselvescomes an emotional, empowering story of what happens when love may not be enough to conquer all.

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they’re sure they’ll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, theirs is bound to stay rock-solid.

The reality of being apart, though, is very different than they expected. Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, meets a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, but Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen won’t understand Toni’s new world, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni’s life. As distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

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#DiverseBook, right here! Gosh, this book. Drove me crazy part of the time, but I ended up liking it. What We Left Behind is an LGBTQ+ novel, and guys, that part was great! There were many positive things to this book, however I have to say the characterization and the diversity represented has got to be my favorite part of the novel. But there is much more to be said, so… let’s get onto the full list!

What We Left Behind book review

Pros

  • So much sexual and racial diversity! We have Gretchen, decidedly into girls, and Toni, who at the start of the novel identifies as genderqueer and is into girls as well (though she spends most of the novel switching and trying to figure out her true sexual orientation). Oh, not to mention the secondary characters! What I loved about them was that they were all so realistic. When Toni and Gretchen make new friends at their respective universities, we have (if I’m not mistaken), an African-American, a Korean, and different ethnicities as well as sexualities all represented–without making it a big deal. Phew. Okay. That was a lot of rambling. Case in point: Robin Talley mastered the diversity in this novel! Moving on.
  • I loved Gretchen! I liked Toni by the end, and I did sympathize with her quite a bit, but I found Gretchen to be easier to root for as well as more likeable. I spent half the time so frustrated at Toni, which made it kind of hard to go through her POV–but I didn’t have much trouble with Gretchen. I felt so bad for her, and also admired her for being such a positive person overall.
  • Yay for friendship! Both Toni and Gretchen make several friends, and I loved seeing these relationships. Seeing such amazing friendships was just so positive and made the characters stronger and the overall story stronger too. It was also great to see how realistically the friendships were portrayed as well–they had fights and it wasn’t always easy, but at the end of the day, they all had eachother’s backs and I just felt like that was such a great message to send.
  • Another amazing thing was the many messages and positive themes touched on during the novel. Through the characters’ journeys, we see the different perspectives on how being trans/genderqueer/any-other-sexual-orientation can affect your life and the lives of the people around you. How important it is to figure out who you are without hurting others. Through Toni and Gretchen, we see how difficult it is for some people to truly figure out who they are, and the pressure and difficulties that distance can cause for a relationship. All this and more was explored and I loved What You Left Behind for that so much!

Cons

  • Like I mentioned, I liked Toni, but I wasn’t always her biggest fan. It was actually kind of hard to get through her POV at times because I was just so frustrated with her? I can’t exactly say whether it’s a “me, not you” issue or the other way around–I mean, I sympathized with her, but at the same time I didn’t? So that was difficult. But I did appreciate her character and sympathized with her struggles. I know it must not have been easy, but I just felt she could’ve gone at everything a bit differently?
  • The plot… well, I found it difficult to exactly pinpoint the storyline most of the time. I mean, it’s not that it was boring–the characters keep it interesting–but the plot wasn’t very directed towards anything. It felt kind of freelance, kind of like the story was finding its direction as it went along. Nothing wrong with that, except it was kind of hard to get into it at times and be swept into the story. At times.
  • I feel like I’m missing something.. but I can’t figure out what it is? Oh well.

Overall…

What We Left Behind is a thought-provoking and wonderfully sexually diverse novel that will make readers reflect on what is truly is like to discover who we are and coping with the many difficulties that comes with both long-distance relationships as well as being who you are. Through the many characters and Toni and Gretchen, we see all this and more, making What You Left Behind a perfect read for those looking for a slower-paced, character-driven contemporary about sexuality and discovering who you are. A good read, for sure! Definitely recommend for people who are into contemporary.❤


Tell Me Three ThingsTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 336
Source & Format: Borrowed, Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

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This book has LITERALLY been getting SO MUCH pre-release buzz. No joke. At first I thought it was only me who kept seeing this book at every turn on the blogosphere, but nope, this book actually has been getting a lot of hype. So naturally, I was curious! And I decided to pick it up. Aaaaaannndd… I adored it. Probably wasn’t a surprise to anyone? But seriously, this book is actually REALLY good. And of course I shall tell you why!

Tell Me Three Things book review

“You know what I heart? Nutella. And pajama pants. And an awesomesauce book. Not necessarily in that order, but together.”

(ERM YESSS! One of the many reasons I adored Jessie…not even sorry. She is fabulous.)

Pros

Okay, well I guess it would only make sense to start off with three things! Har har I’m so funny. Not.

1) I freaking love this book. But I think I already told you that. So I shall tell you why–IT WAS FABULOUS. In basically every way. The characters, the plot, the writing. I fell in love with it all!

  • For one, Jessie was SO AMAZING. Honestly. I loved her as a protagonist so much! It was so easy to relate to her personality, she had a great sense of humour and she came off as so real, to me. She wasn’t a cardboard cutout, wasn’t one-dimensional. She had flaws, she occasionally made some huge mistakes, and she wasn’t perfect. Which is why, naturally, she was perfect!
  • Although this book placed a lot of effort in building characters and relationships and everything, the plot was quite hooking, despite being perhaps completely ordinary at first glance. I really loved the whole concept of internet friendship, and all the things that went down, Jessie and her stepbrother bonding (and clashing), the stepmother, Jessie and her father, everything.
  • Eeeee, the writing!! Nothing that unusual, written in a conversational tone that was both witty and simple at the same time. I especially loved how the writing reflected Jessie’s character–just like it should be. Not to mention I gobbled up the bits and pieces of Jessie and SN’s email/IM conversations. I lived for those, honestly.

2) I could not, for the sake of anything, put down this book. Thank god it was a Friday night when I started this book, because otherwise I would’ve been screwed the next day!😄 But seriously. This book was so addicting. I can’t even exactly explain why? It just was.

3) This ain’t no fluffy contemporary. Trust me, I love those, but this was so unique, so real and deep and insightful. And to find a book like this one, with so many other amazing things, was just…❤

Cons

  • Okay, so this isn’t directly a negative thing, just maybe something to keep in mind.. The storyline is kind of predictable? I was able to guess the ending waaaaayyyy before it happened, however it was still entertaining to see it all play out! What was frustrating is that it took SUCH a long time for Jessie to figure it out… sigh. What to do though, I still love her!
  • Erm. Nothing else tbh.
  • OH! Wait, there’s one thing; despite the fact that all the characters in this are extremely well-developed, I wasn’t the biggest fan of how.. (I forget her name…) was so.. one-dimensional. She was just the mean girl. Period. And that’s fine, but… still. Deja vu, from, like, literally every book and movie in existence. So.

Overall…

Tell Me Three Things is an absolute must-read for any contemporary reader, and even for readers who don’t dabble often in contemporary! It’s just such a cute and sweet story while still being meaningful and a really heart-felt story. Jessie’s character will no doubt make you smile, despite the frustration you may also feel at her occasional naievty. She is definitely one of my favourite protagonists from contemporary novels, I think. I also really loved the whole concept of this book! It’s a super quick read and I definitely recommend. GO READ IT, Y’ALL.


OneOne by Sarah Crossan

Publication Date: September 15th 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 400
Source & Format: Borrowed, Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Grace and Tippi. Tippi and Grace. Two sisters. Two hearts. Two dreams. Two lives. But one body.

Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins, joined at the waist, defying the odds of survival for sixteen years. They share everything, and they are everything to each other. They would never imagine being apart. For them, that would be the real tragedy.

But something is happening to them. Something they hoped would never happen. And Grace doesn’t want to admit it. Not even to Tippi.

How long can they hide from the truth—how long before they must face the most impossible choice of their lives?

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When I first heard of this book, back in 2015, I immediately put it to my TBR once I heard of what it’s about–conjoined twins. Not only had I never read a book dealing with this topic, it seemed so intriguing and so emotional. And it was. So emotional and so incredible. Not only was the topic dealt with finesse (the author did her research and I am so so happy for that), this book resonated with me SO MUCH and the writing was absolutely beautiful. It was written in verses, some kind of poetic thing? I know nothing about poetry (NOTHING, I tell you) but this was so amazing. But anyway, I’m rambling. Here is a list of all my thoughts, pretty much.

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Here
We Are.

And we are living.

Isn’t that amazing?

How we manage
to be
at all.

(Literally how the book starts off, and how it’s basically formatted for the whole book. Surprised? Well, let me tell you: it works!)

Pros

  • The WRITING, omg. Let’s just get this cleared up: I am the absolute worst, or one of the worst, when it comes to writing or deciphering poetry. I mean, I dabbled in some, for school and stuff, but that’s it. So when I was flipping through the book and saw the formatting of the words, and only verses, I was a bit wary as to whether I’d like it. And gosh. I need not have worried! IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL and it worked. So much. It was perfect, actually. I flew through it!
  • Tippi and Graceeeeee!! I sympathized so much. It was so difficult for them? Having to deal on a daily basis the fact that they were different from everyone else, and the problems them being conjoined twins caused, etc etc. I loved both their characters quite a bit, and really enjoyed reading from Grace’s POV (though I wouldn’t have minded Tippi’s). They were both so different yet worked so well together and aghhhh the sibling love.❤
  • I loved reading about Grace and Tippi’s family as well– they all went through so much, and despite the times where I might’ve not liked a certain character (the dad, if you were curious), it all made so much sense in the end and I loved seeing the family dynamics, no matter how imperfect they were. (Both parents got laid off work, I believe, the dad was an alcoholic, Tippi and Grace’s younger sister Dragon had to work extra for cash and was anorexic, etc etc.)
  • THE ENDING. Agh. My hearttttttt. It made me so sad yet at the same time I just felt like it captured perfectly how precious life can be, and how it can be so unfair and so cruel yet.. the opposite of that too. Omg. I’m still not over the ending…despite how perfect it may have been for the story!

Cons

  • The plot may have been mildly predictable?? Like, I wasn’t able to predict things exactly, but I had the general idea of how the story would go before it happened (and I was right). So. This wasn’t necessarily a REALLY bad thing, but… (*that awkward moment where you don’t want to admit that a book you really loved had a flaw*)
  • Despite the fact that the romance was oh-so-fabulous and all the more adorable, I.. dunno, just wasn’t as into it as I’d thought? I mean, while reading it was fine, but now, reflecting back on it, it was more… meh. *shrugs* But whatever. It wasn’t the whole point of the story?

Overall…

You really really really really really really should read this book, if only to talk to me later about what you think of it!! Because that is important–I loved this book, and I would love even more to see what others think of it. ‘Cause seriously, this book has so much going for it, and overall felt very unique in terms of concept and writing. I also don’t doubt that this will put a lot of readers in quite the emotional state by the end! Ahhh my heart is still attempting to heal. Just kidding but not really. So basically: you must read this! 


*breathes* Glad that’s over! Jk, I had lots of fun rambling my thoughts on these books. But wow, that’s a lot of words! So much I bet you guys didn’t read half of them, hmm? Don’t worry, I don’t blame you. I spewed nonsense 95% of the time in this post. Except for the 5% where I actually give you info on what these books are actually like–which is basically, amazing! Seriously, I know I probably rendered the whole use of 4 stars and 4.5 stars meaningless by how much I used them today, but hey. What can I say? I really loved these books. (Read: which means you must read them too so we can flail over how amazing they are. Ahem.) But now, let me know your thoughts! Which of these books have you read? Which piques your interests the most? TELL ME so I can squeal at you all some more about how much you HAVE to read these books. Let us discuss!

Until the Next Meal, Analee