Fantasy is actually not the only genre I love?? // Why I love contemporary + Books you have to read because I said so

Obnoxiously loud statement of the day: I reeeeeeeally want it to be the weekend.

Seriously, why is it only Wednesday???

Also, this post was supposed to go up on Monday and I’m behind on two posts that were supposed to go up this week?? #whylife #ugh *cries*

But talking to you guys always makes my day better, and so now I say HI! I hope you’re having a lovely day. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, ignore my momentary grumpiness and screeches of first world problems haha.

To the task at hand! All of you know (even if you didn’t before, it’s in the title so UM.) how much I love fantasy! I’ve always loved it (HP and PJO, anyone?) and got even more into it after joining the blogosphere. BUT. I am a polygamous lover (for books, not irl, just in case you got confused lollll) and so fantasy is actually not the only genre I love! *cue gasp* Contemporary, is a genre I only really got into once I started blogging, and I do love reading it! My fantasies are always going to be dear to my heart, but contemporaries can be so much fun and also very very important. This month, I’ve noticed my reading material has mostly been contemporaries, and this month also had a large number of contemporaries being released, so I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about why I love contemporary books so much and also grace you with my wonderful book recommendations!  That all of you will absolutely agree with and add to your TBR immediately. Of course. 😉

1. There are so many different stories to be told.

Not that this doesn’t apply to other genres (don’t get me wrong, it TOTALLY DOES #fantasy anyone?), because this aspect is kind of universal to reading in general and is not in any way exclusive to one genre, BUT. It’s the aspect of reading that makes contemporary special to read for me. Of course, there are books that follow a similar structure and storyline, (sooooooo many tropes everywhere) and seem like they’re copies of another book, but at the same time I know I can pick up a contemporary book most of the time and be brought into a story unlike others I’ve read, if that makes sense. (Also because nowadays I’m a bit more selective and try to picks books that I’ve either been recommended or think I’ll like haha.) At the end of the day, there are just so many different types of stories to be told and I can appreciate that, no matter what genre I read.

2. I can relate to the characters (more?)

Again, this can and does definitely apply to other genres! (Let’s play a game: see how many times that phrase is repeated throughout this post!) And there are of course exceptions where the character could be an oddball alien who doesn’t like reading and I will not relate at all. (#truth lol)

BUT it is kind of comforting to read about characters who deal with more mundane and normal struggles? As much as I’d like to relate from experience, I actually can’t understand what it feels like to face off against Voldemort (or even just go to a magic school, honestly–because who wants to battle old Voldy anyway?) or go on epic heists with a whole squad of fabulous people (I wishhhhhhh #sixofcrowsquad). The magical thing about reading those books is feeling like we’re a part of that and being taken to this whole new world (AND I LOVE THAT SO MUCH), but sometimes it’s a great feeling to read about the experiences of people who are not as other-worldly. Let’s forget about the fact that I hardly experienced half of the things that happened to contemporary novel characters either. And also the fact where the majority of them seem to despise having friends and I can’t relate because friends are lifeeeee .

3. Diversity! (YES PLEASE)

Again, this totally can (and should??!) be found in other genres! But in contemporary is where I have noticed it to be most evident and I hesitate to use this word, but common??? Although most, if not every genre, is making the effort to include diversity (or at least they should be!), the books I find that have, I don’t know, LGBT exploration, mental illness/disabilities, or POC characters seem to be found generally in contemporary. Again, diveristy is NOT exclusive to this genre! That is not what I’m saying at all, but in contemporary it seems to be more often that I see diversity explored–but maybe I’m just reading the right books or the wrong books in other genres. 😉 Either way, the amount of diversity rep that I’ve found in some books is AMAZING and one of the reasons I love this genre so much.

4. Cute and fluffy is so much fun! All the smiles!

I love blood and all the battling as much as the next person (who is actually probably creeped out?? And have you realized how inaccurate this statement can be?? The ‘next person’ can have all sorts of feelings and you don’t know how much they like something what am I doing with my life I don’t even know anymore) But sometimes it can be kind of therapeutic to sit down and read something that maybe doesn’t take as much focus, or commitment (because fantasy is almost never just one book) and just something that’s light and FUN. Because life is stressful and winding down with a cute and fluffy book that you know will have a happily ever after can be SO SATISFYING. Maybe that’s just the romantic in me speaking, I don’t know, I kind of love cute contemporary romances from time to time ahah. Also the best of the best can make me SMILE or laugh and bring out all the happy emotions that remind me there is a life outside death haha. (But also this applies to any genre; if a fantasy novel can make me laugh or smile in between all the heartbreak, INSTANT LOVE. cough Shades of Magic series cough)

5. But there are also books that BREAK YOUR HEART and that is fabulous.

If you thought contemporary is all about the light and fluffy (now I’m thinking of baking cupcakes???? Oops. But I do want cupcakes right now???), well you’re not wrong! There is like, an abundance of light and fluffy books that all seem to follow the same recipe (ha) and one of the reasons I feel like people don’t take contemporary seriously? BUT a mistaken perception is that’s all it is, because it is SO NOT. There is actually a relatively large amount of books that have either a) broken my hearts so much I CAN’T EVEN. OR b) shined a light on topics that are not talked about often and hence are SO SO PRECIOUS??! And those books are forever imprinted in my heart and just as beloved as the fantasies that claim my heart. (!!!)

I would totally list more reasons but doing these ones took a lot more time than I expected (dangit my habit of writing extremely unnecessary long things) and I am very short on time right now, but I wanted to write this psot because it’s been SO LONG since my last one, but I also want to give you guys a good list of books to read so I’ll be cutting my original plan to 5 reasons instead! I think I got the main ones though?? I hope??


Books you need in your life

For the relatable characters and cuteness

Tell Me Three Things is SUCH a fun and sweet novel! It seems like it has a love-shape of some sorts, but it actually doesn’t really and was overall super cute and I highly recommend if you’re looking for a fun novel! I can’t wait to see what book this author writes next.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is also a favourite of mine!! It’s actually not a stand alone though, so bewareee. So far the first two are released and the third one is going to be released in a few days on the second? I liked the first better than the second I think but I am still super excited.

Literally any of Sarah Dessen’s contemporary will probably be amazing. I haven’t read all of her books, but the ones I’ve read are so good and The Truth About Forever is one I will always recommend! Other good ones are Just Listen, as well as Saint Anything that I also loved. ❤

If there’s a book that is beloved by nearly all that’s read it, it’s FANGIRL! Such a favourite everywhere, and for good reason too! Fangirl speaks to everyone and anyone who is/was ever an introvert and gives us a super adorable romance while we’re at it. Agh. So much love!

Awwwwwwwww is all I say to this haha (and also there are so many books with this kind of title??? Be more creative plz my brain gets confused). Kasie West is another one of those authors who literally writes the cutest books ever?? I chose this one because it’s the most recent one I read (like, sometime last year) but I also adored The Distance Between Us, The Fill-In Boyfriend (super annoying main character though), and a bunch more. For a cute contemporary, this is where you go!

Morgan Matson seems to be one of the most popular authors when it comes to contemporary as well? She’s written multiple books that so many people love, but I’ve only read one of hers haha. Definitely hope to change that because I’ve heard Second Chance Summer is another one of her good ones and The Unexpected Everything was so cute.

Last but not least, Anna and the French Kiss aka one of the most cringe-worthy titles ever but such an adorable story? (I also really really really really want to go to Paris!!) I haven’t picked up the following companion novels Lola or Isla, but I’ve heard so many good things (about Isla especially) that I can’t wait!

For the diversity, cuteness and also relatable characters (#win)

Am I putting both of her books here? Why, yes I am because both are literally SO GOOD. I’m going to have to say Simon vs is my favourite (I LOVE IT SO MUCH) but I recently read The Upside of Unrequited and now I am in love with it tooooooooo. SO MUCH LOVEEEEE. Also side note Becky Albertalli liked and replied to my tweet on Twitter???!!! *cue freaking out*

Everything, Everything is not without flaws, but props for diversity (POC main character, #ownvoices) and it is super adorable with very cute little artsy images that I loved!! Holding Up the Universe was also super adorable and diverse (YAY). I’m getting lazier and lazier but The Summer of Chasing Mermaids has a POC main character, is very loosely based off The Little Mermaid (very very loosely) and also has a super cute romance!

Also:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas that has all of the above and also deals with very very important topics and is kind of the best ever???? READ IT. (I just found out she’s writing a second book and BE STILL MY HEART.)

For the above + broken heart

Because authors seem to stick to a certain type of book and in this case Adam Silvera decides on destroying our heart but also shower it with feels and love and cuteness?? BUT SO MUCH HURT. And pain. *cries* The Problem with Forever also does this and it was so adorable in some parts but my hearttttttttt omg. </3

Eleanor & Park BROKE MY HEART so much, guys. *cries* And I’ll Give You the Sun has the bonus of being one of the most beautifully written contemporary book ever IT WAS SO GOOD. My heart was destroyed, the characters felt so reallllll and just all around amazing. Same goes for The Sky is Everywhere *cries* (although the main character makes the worst decisions). Jandy Nelson is basically a fabulous author? (Literally every author on this list ever.)

Broken hearts galore

Goes unsaid for all those who have read All the Bright Places but it is UTTERLY HEARTBREAKING BUT ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. So beautifully written, and my heart still hurts thinking about the story and its characters!

A List of Cages did have some happier/lighter moments (ADAM <3) but it is completely heartbreaking and also such an important read, diverse and also it has the best brotherly-type relationship EVERRRR (including Kell and Rhy ofc). ❤ If you can stand heavier and tear-worthy topics, read this one because it is just such an amazing book.

I’m still reading Whisper to Me, and I’m not even halfway yet but my heart is already in the process of being destroyed??? AGH. I totally did not expect it either is the thing, it seemed like a super cute book (just look at that cover??) and I forget blurbs very very easily. I’m kind of scared to finish it because I know the feels and all the heartbreak is going to increase SO MUCH. But I love it??


Raise your hand if you think my posts are too long!

Me: *raises hand* *laughs guiltily* 

I hope you still enjoyed this post ahah, I feel like it’s a post long overdue, but now here it is! Do you like reading contemporary? What books were your favourites? Which of my recs do you plan on reading (if you haven’t already)? (All of them is the right answer, fyi. :P) I hope you guys are all doing well, happy Thursday! ❤

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Reasons why The Hate You Give deserves zero hate and all the love (!!!)

Just a preface: I cannot express enough HOW AMAZING this book is. 

Hello everyone and I hope you guys are enjoying your weekend!! (I AM SO GRATEFUL YOU HAVE NO IDEA.)  I’m trying to be a bit more consistent with my schedule, going for around 2-3 posts for week, so here I am with a little* review (I’ve been reading so little books lately that I’m actually not behind for my reviews this month??) on the book I just finished last night, The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas!

I have, like, a ton of pressure right now because this book has been SO HYPED for so long in the book community, and it deserves that hype so much I am really worried I won’t be able to do it justice haha. But I’ll try????

*HAHAHA understatement in case you didn’t notice… (Oops?)


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre(s): Contemporary (Young-Adult)
Series Status: NA – Stand Alone
Page Count: 464
Source & Format: Owned, hardcover, ebook

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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A story that is heartbreaking, hopeful and utterly REAL.

Most of you probably already know this, but THUG is inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which is SO IMPORTANT and I loved how Angie Thomas nailed this. It was never once preachy, but very firm in its message and altogether so perfectly pieced together you can’t help but feel the profound impact of what is not only happening in this book, but what is very much the reality for a lot of people. This book deals with SO MANY heavy (but so so crucial) topics like racism, white privilege and corrupt justice systems that allow police officers to get away with shooting an innocent man just because the officer is white and the victim is black. (UGHHHHHHH. *cries*)

A book like this, isn’t meant to be comforting, cute and happy. It’s meant to be real, and maybe that means you may be uncomfortable, but mostly you will be 100% overwhelmed with heartbreak and emotions. Yet, it is not meant to be a sob story. Not fully, anyway. Most of all, you find hope. Grief, anger and all those emotions are there too, but HOPE. One of the biggest things I felt after all of it, and it was just SO PRECIOUS.

DIVERSITY & FAMILY: YESSSSS!!

If you’re looking for a diverse read (obviously you are because diversity is the best thing ever and we need more of it always), THIS BOOK IS IT. It’s #ownvoices (*squeal*) and although I’m not black, I know many people who’ve praised and adored the rep in this book because of how spot-on it was. Seeing others being able to relate to Starr, in different areas, just goes on to show how important this book is, and it’s most definitely not exclusive to black people. It makes me so happy to see this promotion of diversity and marginalized voices because ahhhhhhhh it’s just so important and this book is definitely one of the best out there.

We’re moving into characters territory soon: THE FAMILY HERE IS SO AMAZING I CAN’T. I really really really want to see more of positive family relationships in books and this one was so, so, so perfect. I’m getting repetitive, I know. But seriously:

  • Starr and her mother’s relationship was SO GREAT, despite misunderstandings they both know they love eachother and her mother would do anything for her and just I’m falling in love with this book all over again
  • Starr’s dad was the most flawed dad I’ve seen in a long time and yet (or because of it) he was one of the best fathers I’ve seen, despite his flaws. He cares so much about Starr, but is so insecure at the same time because he missed a lot of her childhood when he was in jail. But he’d do just about anything to keep his family safe… AGH the feels. ❤
  • Starr’s older brother Seven was such a sweetheart and so brotherly !! I actually loved him so much, his love for his younger siblings (Starr’s half siblings) was so touching and heartbreaking.
  • Younger sibling Sekani was a little devious munchkin who never failed to make me smile ?! I’ve had to deal with my own likes of him in the form of my younger sister and it just was so great to read.

Other notes:

  • Starr has one of the bestest relationships ever with her parents and basically considers them her OTP and it is the most adorable thing ever because her parents are just that awesome
  • Despite everything that goes on, there is still fabulous banter and humour that has me smiling despite the tougher topics it deals with. That night in the living room debating over who’s going to win for basketball games which involve Starr’s mom teasingly depriving Starr of ice cream (I KNOW. So savage.) give me lifeee!
  • Uncle Carlos is absolutely amazing and no one can ever say otherwise haha. His love for Starr and her family is unreal and just so beautiful. (!!!)

Where all the characters shine on their own

This review is getting SO LONG, I’m sorry!! Almost done, I promise. But this review would be horribly incomplete if I did not mention how spectacular the characters are. Starr felt so real to me, her hopes, her grief, her struggles (facing against silence, injustice, and even just fitting in her two worlds), and never once did I stop rooting for her. What she’s been through was so heartbreaking to read, and I could feel each and everyone one of her emotions–side praise for awesome writing that makes you feel alllll the things. ❤

But even apart from Starr, although this is definitely first and foremost her story, never once did I feel the secondary characters weren’t just as important. Khalil, for one thing, was made so real in my head despite only showing up for a little bit of pages at the start before his untimely death. His memory lived on, and through that I got to know his character more and more and my heart just BREAKS. And Starr also happens to have female friends???! GASP. It’s something that should me so common I don’t blink yet it’s not? She has an Asian friend, Jess who is the absolute best. ❤ DeVante is a precious little child, as is CHRIS. I feel like he wasn’t developed as much, yet at the same time he totally was?? I loved the exploration of a healthy interracial relationship (Chris is white.) He was so supportive of Starr (when he rapped the theme song of Fresh Prince for Starr my heart melted) and although he was a tad naive in certain aspects of Starr’s life, she corrected him and he did his best. Can someone get me a Chris?


Okay, so…

basically if this book is not already on your immediate TBR, I don’t know what else to tell you.

This book has: amazing familial relationships (!!!!!) and friendships, [proper] diversity rep from an #ownvoices author, characters that feel so real that you’re basically BFFs, HOPE despite the darkness and heartbreak, and spreading awareness about the injustice of our society. Not your sweet, cute contemporaries, but one that is infinitely worth reading no matter what your preference is in books! Such an important read that will stay with me forever, a must-read for everyone. ❤

I hope you guys all enjoyed that review, I really am sorry for the length haha I just wanted to share every thought I had! Have you read this book? Do you plan to? (The only answer is yes at this point honestly. :P) Let me know in the comments!

Calling all contemporary cravers: You most definitely should read these books..! | Top Ten Tuesday #31

Can you believe it’s been over a month since I last participated in this meme? :O I honestly had not expected that would happen. TTT is such a fun meme, and I’m sorry to have missed out on so many of them. But let us not dwell in the past! I’m here now, today, to participate in this week’s theme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish: “Ten Books Every X Should Read (up to you! Examples: every history nerd, memoir lover, ballet lover, feminist, college student, etc etc.)” As you can tell from the title, I’m going to be listing ten books that all contemporary cravers should eat! Along with fantasy (<3), the contemporary genre has been the one I’ve been reading most often in the past year or so, and I love it so much! I figured I might as well choose it for this week’s theme. 😉 Alright, be prepared for lots of squealing because these books are all SO AMAZING. Oh, and just saying: this is not in any order--because NOPE that’s way too hard. Like choosing between my (nonexistant) babies, so.

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna & the French Kiss

Okay, so I haven’t read the rest of the following books (Lola, Isla, you know.) but this book was just so cute! It felt so fluffy and although it’s not perfect, I’d bet the majority of contemporary lovers are a fan of this book (or the following ones), so if you haven’t hopped on this train yet–you should! 😛 I also have a review on it, if you want to check it out. (You should. Ahem. #selfpromotion XD)

2. Fangirl, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Yes, I’m kind of cheating. But hey, what’s a good TTT post without it? 😛 I doubt I’ve gotten through any TTT posts without adding something or another but whatever. #rebel Anyway. Fangirl and Eleanor & Park are both amazing novels by Rainbow Rowell, who I absolutely love as an author! Her books are just so good. They offer such a sweet romance yet also include so many other important messages–which I love.

3. The Sky is EverywhereI’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

AHHHH Jandy Nelson has officially reached being one of my favourite contemporary authors! And I know that it mind seem crazy, deeming her a favourite when I only read two of her books, but seriously, guys. I finally know what everyone’s been talking about. Her debut novel (which I finished last night) was so amazingly amazing–it blew so many of my expectations away! And I absolutely devoured I’ll Give You the Sun when I read it a couple months back. Her books always have such an emotional theme to them while being so sweet at the same time! I need more Jandy Nelson books!!

4. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Ah, Simon. This book, was, of course, amazing. Everyone has been squealing about this book for so long, and I totally get it now! Also, can I just say that SIMON IS AWESOME. Omg. I just wish he’d, like, come to life so we could be best friends? Cause that’s exactly what we’d be. XD So many things in this book blew me away, and I loved it so much. So if you haven’t read it, GO. NOWWWW. Ahem.

5. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not

So, this is another one of my 2016 reads, and oh. my. god. This book literally broke my heart into two pieces, then went right ahead and stomped on it. Aghhhh the emotional trauma here is real! This LGBT novel has been the talk of the book community back when it was first released, and I hadn’t read enough reviews to know what it was exactly like. Oh, boy. It tore my heart into pieces, but naturally, that’s exactly why you MUST read this! #bookwormlogic

6. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls

I’m not exactly sure if this falls into the category of contemporary? I mean… having a tree become a vicious story-telling monster-thing doesn’t exactly happen in real life, so… But to me, it still felt like a contemporary, so whether it is or isn’t.. that’s too bad! This book.. left me speechless. Honestly. Prior to reading this, of course I already knew what an amazing author Patrick Ness is, however this book is definitely one of his best. It was so heartbreaking yet so real and just so heartbreaking. AGH. I love it.

7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being A Wallflower

Ahh what an amazing book. I will never stop praising it! So artfully written, with such realistic characters and great themes. What’s there not to like? I loved so much the themes of friendship, and coping with life, and being a wallflower, and just… everything. ❤ Read it!!

8. On the FenceThe Distance Between UsThe Fill In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Kasie West has officially became one of my favorite authors–especially when it comes to contemporary. Her novels are always just so cute and so much fun to read, that it always lifts my mood. Sometimes, after getting our hearts stomped on by various novels, what we need the most is just to let it heal by reading a contemporary that makes us smile, am I right?! ‘Course I am. And that’s exactly what these books do!

9. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven 

All the Bright Places

So many controversies about this book! Some hate it, some love it, some don’t care. I, for one, loved this book!! It was as good as devouring chocolate, except with more emotional pain and heartbreaking. A book dealing with mental illness, and themes like suicide, this book tore my heart to pieces. The characters felt so real, the writing was fantabulous… omg. I am craving for Jennifer Niven’s next novel!

10. Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen Books

I’m not even going to bother putting the name of only one or two of her books, because, honestly, you should read them all. Or at least, most. Some. She is one of the QUEENS of contemporary, in my opinion, so if you haven’t read any of her books yet, GO NOW. Run. Before I come and chase you wielding chocolate stakes. Yes, that is possible. I think. Be scared! (I recommend you try out: The Truth About Forever, Just Listen or This Lullaby!)

Honourable mentions–also known as me trying to squish in a bunch of more AMAZING contemporaries (that deserve to be on the list too but isn’t because rules make life cruel):

  • The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (Such beautiful writing and so diverse!)
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (Although it’s not perfect, I appreciate the message it was trying to promote.)
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (This was so enjoyable! I especially liked the art and graphics included.)
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Ahh, so cute! Jenny Han’s books are adorable. :D)
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (The opposite of the above, really! This book totally broke my heart, but I love it.)
  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (This book has some flaws, but it didn’t make it any less enjoyable!)
  • You Were Here by Cori McCarthy (I was actually very pleasantly surprised by this one! It was great.)
  • What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi (This book put such a great twist on two popular tropes! YES.)

So. Which of these books have you read?! Which haven’t you read? Are you a contemporary craver? (My new favourite term, I think, other than chocolate–which, let’s be real, is always a favorite term) Do you prefer heart-stomping and emotional contemporaries, or cute and fluffy ones? Do you have any recommendations for THIS contemporary craver (me, btw)? TELL ME for I’d love to know. OH, and feel free to leave the link to your own TTT below! I’d love to come and stop by. ❤

Alright, so that’s it, I guess! As always, leave any of your thoughts below, I’m always up for a chat! Enjoy your Tuesday!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Books You’ll Want to Cozy Up With This Valentine’s Day! (Or any time you crave a romance, really.)

Another Valentine’s Day-themed post?? You’re asking. Why yes, I’m glad you’re so observant. (Hehe.) I apologize if you’re getting overwhelmed by the ooey-gooey and cheesy romance-related posts going on this week, I promise I won’t go too overboard with this one. With Valentine’s Day just a matter of days away, I’ve decided to give you all a list of books you’ll want to read for this Valentine’s Day! Or basically any time you crave an entertaining romance. *I am also linking this up with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a Valentine’s Day themed freebie… and it’s obvious what I chose. ;)* Let’s do this!

Books to Read this Valentine's Day


Sarah Dessen

Omgomgomg Sarah Dessen is so amazing. I’m not even exaggerating here! (Okay, maybe I am a little, but you get my point, right??) She has written so many wonderful contemporary books I can’t help but be in love. Here are some you should definitely try out:

  • The Truth About Forever: Omg I love this book so much.. I can’t even. This was definitely more on the sappier side, but it was so adorable and so full of things I loved. I know, could I be any more vague? (Probably.) Sorry, looks like you’ll just have to go read it, hehe.
  • Just Listen: I know I’m not alone when I say I love this book! (At least, I hope not.) Some people didn’t like this book, but I definitely still recommend you give this a try if you’re up for a contemporary. Most likely it’ll be worth it!
  • This Lullaby: Ahhhh such a lovely story! I loved this book and just… agh. I’m running out of words but seriously. This book was so much fun to read! I loved it. (Duh)

It was so hard to choose just 3! I mean, I could’ve chosen more, but then it would be even more difficult.. if that makes any sense. Bottom line is, just go read these pronto if you’re looking for sweet romances!

Kasie West

  • The Fill-In Boyfriend: SO ADORABLE omg. I know not everyone loved this book, but seriously, this book is so cute. I can’t really offer more other than aiolksfdhadfgnkldnfglaeg, but if you’re interested you can check out my review on it! Just go read this book. Now. Ahem.
  • The Distance Between Us: Ahah so much fun to read! ALSO MORE ADORABLENESS. The cover just screams it! Also it’s quite entertaining and soooo sweet. This is definitely a book I wouldn’t mind re-reading! Unfortunately I don’t have a review on it, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
  • On the Fence: You guys are probably getting tired of my vague, and common comments for these, but… THIS IS SO CUTE. Can you see how much I kind of love Kasie West?? They may not be for everybody, and they may not be the best works out there, but they’re entertaining, I’ll give you that much. Or maybe that’s just me?

Hehheh now that I look at this it’s clear that I basically have the same comment for each one, whoops probably should’ve left it with just one general comment…

Emery Lord

The Start of Me and You

The Start of Me and You: This is Emery Lord’s… sophmore novel? I think? I haven’t read her debut yet, but I definitely plan to seeing how this one was so adorable! Definitely also looking forward to her other upcoming novel, When We Collided.

Jenny Han

  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before duology: This duology is so adorable! I remember loving it when I first read it. Even if it’s not absolutely perfect, it’s still a super entertaining read!
  • Summer trilogy: This one, I’ll admit, I enjoyed a bit less than the above duology, but I find that it was still tolerable. And who knows, for some this may become a new contemporary favourite!

Rainbow Rowell

  • Fangirl: Omg if you haven’t read this book I highly suggest you go pick it up right away! It’s such an amazing book.
  • Eleanor & Park: Same goes for this one! However, I don’t recommend you read either this or the above if you’re not a fan of slower plots. But if you think you can endure it, definitely try it out!
  • Attachments: It’s a really sweet novel if any of you are interested! It’s not YA though, I believe it’s Adult??
  • Carry On: SIMON AND BAZ..! Of course there are other good parts to this but the romance in this is amazing! If you have time and commitment to spare, this is definitely a good choice.

Some other books you might want to check out…

All very wonderful books, I assure you!

Books on my TBR that are said to be perfect romance material

Anna, Lola, Isla

Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins

I’ve been hearing so many praises of this series! Apparently it’s an amazing contemporary series… I promise I’ll read it one day!

Books by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, Since You’ve Been Gone and Second Chance Summer have all been so hyped up! I can’t wait to read them (though I’m kind of scared, hehe). I do hope they don’t disappoint!

Books by Cammie McGovern

Say What You Will and A Step Toward Falling seem like such cute reads! I definitely hope to read them both sometime.

Books by Jessi Kirby

Golden and Things We Know by Heart are both I have on my TBR, for they seem like they could be really interesting! I’ve seen both positive and negative reviews for each—I’m hoping once I read the books myself, it will be towards the positive for me!

Books by Huntley Fitzpatrick

On Goodreads: My Life Next Door, What I Thought Was True, and The Boy Most Likely To

Huntley Fitzpatrick’s books seem so adorable! The perfect romance read, I think. Definitely want to read them one day!


And that’s all for this post! I hope you all enjoyed my Top Ten Tuesday-inspired post about books to read this Valentine’s Day. ;D (Of course you guys did, right?) Now it’s your turn; what books on here have you not read? Which did you like? What books on my TBR should I read first? What other romance books do you think is perfect for Valentine’s Day? (I like and want recommendations. Please and thank you.) Tell me whatever thoughts you may have down below! And feel free to let me know what topic you chose for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

7 Romance Tropes You Know You Secretly (Or Not-So-Secretly) Love and Hate

Tropes are everywhere these days! Even though not everyone loves them, some are just really fun to read. And so, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to make a post listing 7 romance tropes you either love or hate! I thought it would be a fun post to do, so… Let’s do this!

7 Romance Tropes You Know You Love or Hate

1. Love Triangle 

Now, this one is definitely one of the reasons I felt compelled to add ‘hate’ to the title here. I know a lot of people hate this one—though to be honest (for some this may not be anything new) love triangles don’t bother me as much as some other people. ‘Cause well-written love triangles are actually really good! *cough* The Infernal Devices *cough*  They can bring out so many emotions, and also contribute to character development so.. #I’mhappy But I’ll be the first to admit that love triangles that are poorly written are definitely not something to like! But when they are…

2. Forbidden Love

Now, I’m not sure where exactly this falls into; it has both its lovers and haters, as most everything in this world! I find this often in fantasy, paranormal or dystopian/sci-fi novels, but it has a presence in contemporary novels too. I don’t mind this trope that much, although it definitely depends on the actual execution and the story. You know the type; even if the two characters are in love with eachother, there’s something that’s preventing them from actually being together. Often times I see this alongside a love triangle; one of the love interests are ‘forbidden’ if you know what I mean.

3. Insta-Love

Sound familiar? You bet it does. The trope of insta-love is well known.. although not that well-received by readers. And I can totally understand that! Insta-love is just so hard to relate to sometimes, and us readers being the cynical and sour lemon (not that there’s anything wrong with that) it’s not that believable either. Often times this is a trope that cause people to disregard romance in a book, which is unfortunate, but it does have its fans—after all, if it didn’t, why would authors continue to use it so much?

4. Best Friend Romance

I think this is definitely one of the most-loved tropes..? Maybe? It could be just me, but this trope is really popular—and I totally see why! It’s one of my favourite tropes too, no matter how many times I read it. Reading a story where a pair of close friends fall in love is just so sweet and heart-warming! It’s kind of hard to resist that charm. Not that most people want to, right?

Basically me when I read a fluffy best-friend romance… IT’S JUST SO CUTE.

5. The Player/Bad boy

The player/bad boy trope is one I’ve seen often (or so it seems), whether it be a romance novel, a fantasy novel, or a paranormal. The main male character is labelled as a ‘player’, and has a reputation for playing the field, seeking relationships usually without much emotional attachment other than lust, until he meets his one true love. You can’t deny hearing this one before, it’s must’ve been in at least ONE of the books you’ve read!

6. The fake boyfriend

I actually haven’t seen much of these, but it’s a trope that I admittedly love, or at least usually enjoy. The idea of it is just so much fun (though in essence maybe it’s not the best written trope) and I found myself enjoying the previous books I’ve read with this trope quite a bit (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, All I’ve Never Wanted). Basically one of the characters (usually the female character) take another character to pose as their boyfriend, for some given reason. It sounds kind of ridiculous? But I assure you, it’s fun to read, and totally swoony! (Even though swoony is not a word, shhhhh. It is now.)

7. Best friend’s brother/sister

Generally this goes for older siblings? The protagonist has a crush on his/her friend’s older brother/sister, usually some family/friend thing that prevents them from getting together, etc etc. You know how it goes. I’ve seen this pretty often, I have to say, and most times I believe I enjoy it! Sometimes though it comes off as extra cliché and becomes annoying to read about, but there are definitely times where it’s very well done (and not, you know, creepy or weird or something).


Aaaaaaaaand that’s a wrap! 7 romance tropes that you either love or hate, in honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day! Be sure to let me know down below: which one is YOUR favourite trope? Which ones do you hate? What other tropes do you love? Let me know in the comments!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid | Book Review

Never Always SometimesNever Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

2.5 Stars

Publication Date: August 4th 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 320
Source & Format: Bought, Hardcover

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Never date your best friend.

Always be original.

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never dye your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they’ve actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

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Hello bookworms, and happy Thanksgiving for all of you Canadians out there! ❤ I hope you all enjoyed your day. 🙂 On this fine Monday, I have for you a review on the book Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid! Now, I’m kind of sorry to be posting this right now, because, as you can probably infer from my rating, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book, and really, it kind of goes against the whole warm, happy feeling of this day…I really wanted to love this book, and I really thought I would, but overall it was not the best of reading experiences.

Plot

“No point in living a life less ordinary if you don’t know what the other side looks like.”

I wish so much that I could’ve enjoyed the plot more. It has so much potential to become a story I’d love! It’s the fact that it could’ve been so much better is what gets on my nerves. The idea of the Nevers list sounded fun and creative, and the whole implied best friend romance thing is one of the things that drew me to the book in the first place. But somewhere in the execution of the plot, everything just went all wrong for me. It was quite hard to even get through the first part of the story, and as the story went on, I just wasn’t okay with the direction it was taking. I suppose this is more of a personal situation; of course this may not apply to all readers. To be honest, what really frustrated me in the end was how misleading the synopsis was—and how much the characters ruined the plot for me. A few of them simply lacked some much-needed consistency and they made the story feel all over the place. I know that doesn’t explain that much, so let’s continue on to the…

Characters

As you probably have guessed by now, I wasn’t a big fan of the characters. Although I liked the banter between Julia and Dave, the two main characters, after a while it wore off when the characters got on my nerves.

I’d say Dave was one of my biggest problems with the book. Remember when I mentioned above that I had a hard time getting through the first part of this book? Yeah, well it was written in Dave’s perspective—and I didn’t particularly enjoy it.

“If the lights ever went out in her presence, Dave was pretty sure the brightness of her eyes would be more useful than a flashlight.”

Umm, yeah, no thanks. These things tend to fly over my head sometimes, but this is a tad too cheesy, and under the many circumstances throughout the book, I’m not falling for it.

Of course, I didn’t immediately dislike him or anything. He seemed pretty nice, but that didn’t last for long. Dave was just too much of an inconsistent character, and was a pretty spineless character.

(—POSSIBLE SPOILER AHEADNot exactly sure if it’s a spoiler since it’s not in the synopsis, but it’s a pretty big part of the plot that you discover soon enough) I also wasn’t a big fan of the love triangle. It came out of nowhere, and although I commend the author for writing a less traditional love triangle, I simply didn’t care about Dave or it (the love triangle). I know I’m starting to kind of repeat things here, but really, that’s the main point—I just didn’t care about or like Dave. Harsh, but it’s true.

Moving on to Julia, the other main character whose perspective we also get. In a nutshell, she’s eccentric, wild and utterly ridiculous. I was a cross in between indifferent to her and annoyed with her for the first part of the book, though I guess after we get into her POV, I started to warm up to her more. I was enjoying her character quite a bit, but then there were several things that got me miffed about her. Very cryptic, I know, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. 😉 Bottom line is, my feelings varied several times throughout the book; lots of negatives, I have to say, but overall she was an okay character.

Writing Style

I wasn’t completely sold on the writing style, at first. Just putting that out there. Not saying it was bad or that I didn’t like it, just that it felt really pretentious (kind of going with the plot and characters, I suppose) and I was unsure about it. However, there’s no denying that it was great writing! There were definitely some beautiful passages in there, and it was quite easy to fly through. There was a really nice simplicity to the writing that ended up really working for the story.

“We like to think that we’re formulas that even out exactly, that we are perfect matches with each other. But we’re not. We match up with lost of people, more or less.”

Overall…

I didn’t enjoy this book. I wasn’t a big fan of the characters, since they basically ruined the plot for me with their personalities and the choices they made. That being said, I definitely think if they were improved, and I cared about them more, I would’ve loved this book. This book had a very John Green feel to it, and although I wouldn’t exactly recommend it in a blink of an eye, I know other readers may enjoy it more than I did. There was definitely a slight unique touch to this book, but there were also plenty of cliches—so it’s your call! Just remember that this is not your average best friend romance… don’t go into it expecting an amazing cute romance! If that’s the case, I recommend heading for Rainbow Rowell instead.

I’ve seen other mixed opinions on this book, some positive, and some negative, and I just wanted to say, if you’ve read this book and loved it, great! This book seemed like it was pretty hyped for a while—I hope no one rages on me for not liking it, haha. 😀 So, my opinion on this book is; if you think it’s for you, go for it! The last thing I want it someone missing a potential favourite because of my review. And as I said, a lot of people loved this book, maybe I was too harsh?

Either way, let me know your thoughts on this book below, whether you’ve read it or not. I’d love to hear from you! 

Analee 4

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider | Book Review

Extraordinary Means_bookcoverExtraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

4 stars =Really Good

Publication Date: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 336
Source & Format: Owned, Hardcover & ebook

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down.

Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

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Hello! Today I have a review on Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider. This is one of the books that caught my eye after I’ve seen it floating around in the blogosphere (that even has a tag made from it as well) and so I have been quite interested in reading it for quite some time. I definitely see what the hype is all about; I enjoyed reading this book so much!

I’ve read several reviews in which this book is compared to both TFIOS (for the sickness aspect) and Looking For Alaska (for the boarding school aspect), and in some ways it’s true, but in the end, Extraordinary Means was its own story which was full of bright characters and a compelling writing style. Not to mention its idea is so unique to me; I’ve hardly ever read a book following characters with tuberculosis, and I sure loved learning about this fresh concept!

Quick Summary 

Meet Lane, the definition of a workaholic. As a result of his overachieving habits, he’s not really living his life, until he ends up in Latham House, a boarding school and sanitarium for students with tuberculosis. There he meets the wild and enticing Sadie, and her friends, who are the resident trouble-makers and most care-free of the Latham students. As Lane starts to become a part of their wild adventures, he’s introduced to a whole new world—but faces so many consequences at the same time.

Plot 

Okay, I won’t lie, I did find the book to be kind of predictable at times, but, it was still pretty extraordinary. (See what I did there? :P) Why? Because I loved reading the story. Tuberculosis is something I’ve hardly ever read about, and I love how it was approached in this novel. Most of the time we see cancer books and the like, so this was different than cancer books in the sense that, of course, it’s not talking about cancer. The author, being a bioethicist, really knew what she was talking about before writing this, and that was much appreciated.

But the thing I loved most was the fact that this wasn’t simply a story telling readers what it’s like to be sick with tuberculosis. The plot had so much more meaning to it, of second chances, and the hope that someday you’ll be able to figure out how you belong. The journey I took from the start of this book to the finish really got those points across, and gave me a heartwarming and memorable reading experience in the process. There was lots of humor, a satisfying story-line, and definitely a romance to keep your heart in the game.

Before I move on to the characters, one thing I feel is worth mentioning is the romance. While it is definitely sweet and heart-warming, I have to say the impending gloom and doom thing and the expectation that one of them will die kind of prevented me from fully being involved with the romance as I might’ve been in another situation. That being said, I really loved seeing the romance unfold nonetheless!

Characters

“One thing I’ve realized about new places is that they’re like jeans. Sure, they might fit, but they’re not comfortable. They need time to be broken in.”

Such a true quote, from the one and only Lane Rosen. I loved Lane’s character a lot, not only because he was totally adorable (although that admittedly plays a factor in this) but also because I found him to be realistic and relatable. He’s always been an overachiever, and that feeling? That feeling of having to work and be the best (for school, mostly)? I definitely understand that. Arriving at Latham House, he realizes how he wasn’t truly living, and as he spends more time with Sadie and her friends, he finally sees how he can start to do so. His development was great to read.

I also really liked Sadie‘s character, if only because she was spunky and full of life, you know? Not that she was a whole bundle of sunshine or something, just that she had a very wild kind of quality to her. But there was more to her than what she seemed. I mean, I have to admit, I wasn’t completely sold on her character at first; she was a stubborn person determined to hold a grudge about something that happened years ago, and I just couldn’t sympathize. But as I got to know her, I discovered it was one of her flaws—a flaw I came to accept. She’s very insecure and often makes the mistake of not talking things out with others, which can cause problems. I understood her though, and really started to root for her. She wasn’t by any means perfect, but that’s exactly why she was perfect.

The secondary characters were also great Except for a select few, almost all of the other characters felt memorable, especially Sadie’s friends, since they are the people who are with Sadie and Lane the most. So, for one we have Nick, the goofy friend of Sadie’s who also happens to be in love with Sadie. (The feelings aren’t mutual.) I wasn’t his biggest fan, but he was alright and I was okay with his presence for the most part. Marina, Sadie’s girl friend, didn’t have that much of an impact on me or the story, to be honest, but again, she was okay. Charlie, the last of their group, and the sickest, was more of a mysterious character, and I didn’t expect to enjoy his character, but I did. He seemed really interesting, and I wouldn’t have minded knowing more about him.

Writing Style

I fell in love with the writing in this book! The novel was written in dual-perspective from both Lane and Sadie, which made for some awesome insight into their characters. They both have such different ways of thinking and approaching things, it was interesting to see into the thoughts of both characters.

“There’s difference between being dead and dying. We’re all dying. Some of us die for ninety years, and some of us die for nineteen. But each morning everyone on this planet wakes up one day closer to their death. Everyone. So living and dying are actually different words for the same thing, if you think about it.”

Another thing is that although this story may have had an overall John Green feel to it, I felt the writing style for this novel was much more authentic than, say, The Fault in Our Stars. I have nothing against John Green; he’s a great author, but I felt this book captured the voice of intelligent teenagers more smoothly and realistically, to be honest. Maybe it’s just the mood I was in while reading or something, but JG’s TFIOS writing style and dialogue and such felt pretentious and it kind of felt a bit out of place at times. For this novel, I felt differently, because the dialogue and writing felt much more natural and I was able to relate to it in a way I found I just couldn’t with TFIOS (before you bring out the knives and forks; I enjoyed TFIOS!! I just still had some issues with it).

Extraordinary Means also had wonderful thought-provoking quotes which were great, and really reflected the characters, with a bonus of the characters not sounding overly beyond their years. I simply flew through everything, like second skin, really, while relishing the great passages of humor and quotes that I found on the way.

“Being temporary doesn’t make something matter any less, because the point isn’t for how long, the point is that it happened.”

Overall…

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider is a book that you should definitely not miss if you’re either: a) a John Green fan, b) looking for a contemporary read addressing something unique, c) prone to liking bitter-sweet romances, or d) searching for an emotional read. While there are indeed similarities between this book and John Green’s TFIOS and LFA, I definitely still recommend giving this book a try, if only to see for yourself whether this book is good or not. After all, it’s all a matter of personal preference! I myself really enjoyed the storyline, along with the great characters. Sadie and Lane were such opposites, yet they went together so well and I really rooted for both of them. I loved how natural the writing and dialogue was in this book, not to mention the way I flew through this book because of it! All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it for those of you who enjoy contemporary novels!

Definitely try to gobble this up! It’s quite tasty.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Are you planning on reading it? Whatever your thoughts may be, let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you. ❤ 

Analee 4

Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier | ARC Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Expected Publication: September 1st 2015

Synopsis:

Everything about Jonah is unexpected. On the first day of school, he sits next to April, when he could have chosen to sit with the popular girl. He turns down an invitation to join the school team and declares he’d rather paint. He encourages April to develop her musical talent and shrugs off the bullies that torment them.

April isn’t surprised to find herself falling for Jonah. The unexpected part is when he falls for her too.

But the giddy happiness of their first romance begins to fade when Jonah’s unpredictability begins to take a darker turn. April understands that her boyfriend is haunted by a painful memory, but his sudden mood swings worry her. She can’t explain his growing fear of cellphones, electric keyboards, and of sounds that no one else can hear. Still, no matter what happens, April is sure that she’ll always stand by him.

Until Jonah finally breaks and is committed to a psychiatric ward.

Until schizophrenia changes everything.

Though everyone urges her to let him go, April stays true to Jonah. But as the boy she adores begins to disappear in front of her, she has to face her worst fear: that her love may not be enough to save him.


Your Voice is All I Hear
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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Genre(s): Contemporary (Mental Illness), Young-Adult

ARC Page Count: 336

Format: e-book


Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for sending me an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley! This did not affect my review in any way. Any of the quotes used are from an uncorrected proof and may be changed in the final copy.

Hello, today I have for you an ARC review on Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier! This book is a contemporary novel that covers mental illness (schizophrenia). I honestly haven’t read many books of this topic, one of the reasons why this book caught my eye, especially after reading (and enjoying) Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, the one book of schizophrenia I’ve read recently. This book turned out to be way different than what I expected—way different than Made You Up (in case some of you were wondering), generally in a good way. If you’re into mental illness in YA (and by mental illness, I mean, a true, realistic portrayal of it), I urge you to pick up this book.  The schizophrenia was shown for what it really was, not sugarcoated, and it was clear the author did her research, which is fantastic. My main problem with this book, however, was the fact that I wasn’t a big fan of the main character. Actually, I wasn’t a fan of almost all of the characters in here. The secondary characters came off as stereotypical and the main character herself was a bit too bland and needy for my taste. But by the end of the novel, I was able to look past all that to say that I still enjoyed this book.

Plot

My feelings on the plot varied throughout the story. At the start the plot generally annoyed me, mainly because the characters all got on my nerves and I couldn’t get into the story. I didn’t like April much (she was extremely judgmental, and quite naive, which just didn’t work out with me), and it definitely didn’t help when she went ahead and instantly fell in love with the new guy in her class. I’m not completely against insta-love, I know it can definitely work for the better at times, but this book was definitely not one of those times. I just wasn’t feeling it.

Luckily, as I continued through the story, the plot got better, in that we started to get introduced to the symptoms of schizophrenia. I started to look past the characters into seeing more of the schizophrenia’s effects, and it was truly heart-wrenching seeing the denial the characters went through, seeing the tougher, grittier side of schizophrenia, which, trust me, isn’t pretty.

Near the end of the novel (maybe after 60 or 70% read) I really started to get emotionally attached to everything. The feels! There starts to have so much going on, and my emotions just kind of all explode all over the place. I absolutely loved that! I would even go as far as to say that this almost got me to shed a tear, which doesn’t often happen. Although the plot isn’t the best right from the get-go, it’s definitely drama and emotion-packed!

Characters

“I was the one he trusted. I was the one he loved, the only one who believed him, even when his own mother had locked him away and thrown away the key.”

I wasn’t a big fan of April, I’ll admit that. For a good part of the book I found her to be bland, selfish, naive and even a bit needy as well. It just wasn’t my favorite combo, but I will admit that in some ways you can consider her to be a realistic portrayal of how a lot of people would act in her shoes. And perhaps for some of you April will be a great protagonist, but for me, she just wasn’t the best. However, that being said, once I got near the middle-ish and the end, I started to really care for her. What she went through, must’ve been torturous, and my heart honestly hurt for her by the end. So, I guess these two opposing sentiments kind of just cancel eachother out, and to put it simply; she was an okay protagonist. Her character is pretty easy to sympathize with, even if she wasn’t the most likable person at the start. I ended up genuinely rooting for her, which is great.

Jonah, April’s love interest, is the one suffering from schizophrenia. He is definitely my favorite character in the book, it didn’t take me long ’till I fell under his spell and was rooting for him completely. We don’t see right away the effects of the schizophrenia; we get the time to get to know him, see what he’s like. Which, ultimately, meant that my heart broke even harder when we start seeing the symptoms, because I had already grown attached to him. It was so heartbreaking to see how damaging the effects of schizophrenia can be, although I praise Leah Scheier for doing such a wonderful job on it. There was no sugar-coating, and although seeing it through April’s eyes didn’t allow for us to see what Jonah himself was thinking, it was clear how much he was struggling. Honestly, I’m rendered speechless just thinking about it all, because my words cannot do justice to express how heart-wrenching it was, reading what Jonah went through.

Writing Style

The writing is very pleasant, it had a conversational style to it, with a more serious mood underlying it. The pacing was relatively fast (to reflect the nature of schizophrenia, I suppose, what with its unpredictability, etc.) It really suited the story and was intriguing to read. The story is written from the first-person perspective of April, which, I suppose is fitting and also did its part to have me sympathize with her character.

Overall…

I really enjoyed this novel, despite not being a fan of April for a good chunk of the first half of the novel. April, really is what prevented me from rating this book higher, but overall I consider this to be a heart-wrenching novel that you should definitely not miss if you’re looking for a well-written portrayal of schizophrenia. The plot had me absolutely all over the place in the end; my emotions ranged from despairing to desperate and so much more. I loved Jonah so much, and I praise Leah Scheier for being able to bring out such strong responses from me (and other readers, I’m sure). The ending was lovely, in a kind of heartbreaking and bittersweet way. I’m not usually a big fan of open endings (as there is in this book) and wasn’t a big fan of this one at first, but overall, I found it to be quite fitting for the story. All in all, Your Voice is All I Hear is an emotional read that is not afraid to show the true effects of schizophrenia—and how it can change the lives of so many in the matter of seconds. A wonderful story!

What you do think of this book? Have you read it? Let me know in the comments below!


Hungry? Well don’t worry, you’ll get your chance to gobble this up when it releases tomorrow! 😉

Analee 10

Joyride by Anna Banks | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: June 2nd 2015

Synopsis:

A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.

It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber’s mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.


Joyride_bookcover
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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count: 288

Format: Hardcover


Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a review, unfortunately, but I am now here with a review on Joyride by Anna Banks. I rate this book 4 stars, although a more accurate rating might be 3 or 3.5 stars. But that’s besides the point. The main reason I liked this book was because it was kind of an unexpected experience for me. Although I read the blurb and reviews beforehand on this book, when I read it, it felt like I was delving into the unknown. I had no idea what to expect, and really didn’t have that many expectation, which in the end played in my favor since I ended up really enjoying the book as a result. Does that make sense? I feel like I’m rambling right now, so let me just cut to the chase: this book was an entertaining story with themes of racism, family, and poverty, alongside a slow-burn romance that I really enjoyed.

Quick Summary

Carly Vega has been constantly working to earn money (at a night-shift at a convenience store), get good grades and stay out of trouble alongside her older brother Julio, ever since her parents had been deported. Both their lives have been centered around trying to earn enough money to smuggle them back (along with two younger siblings). One day, when a guy named Arden (the popular guy at school) meets Carly, he becomes interested in acquiring her as his partner in crime. But Carly is focused on staying under the radar so she could help her parents, while Arden’s goal is to make sure he doesn’t do what his family wants. How can they mix?

Plot

At a first glance at the cover, the storyline seems to be something with road trips and a cute romance, right? Well, that’s not the whole story. Yes, there is a cute romance, but the plot addresses issues like racism, poverty and immigration problems, something that we don’t see enough in books. I, for one, have hardly ever read contemporary novels in which there are immigration issues incorporated. Although I cannot vouch for whether the kind portrayed in the book is correct, I found it to be realistic enough to be believable, and it was interesting to read a book with this kind of theme.

The storyline itself was entertaining, it being generally a cute romance with tension building up more in the middle and especially in the end. It is leaning toward more of an insta-love story, however you can’t exactly tell right away, which is the reason why I liked the first half of the story quite a bit. The plot really had my attention, and even though most of it didn’t exactly blow me away, I had fun reading it. I also really liked how the plot was executed, in that the more tension-filled moments didn’t clash with the overall mood of the story, instead it kind of fit right in, which made for a relatively smooth reading experience.

Characters

I’m having a hard time writing out my thoughts on the characters, but I would say generally, I liked them. I especially liked Carly at the beginning of the book because I loved her attitude. For a good part of the first half of the story, I was rooting for her because she really had a good sense of her morals and stood up for herself against Arden.

“As if from a distance, I watch my hands as they tuck themselves under his tray and flip it over onto his lap. The unidentifiable contents splatter everywhere. A bit of it even makes its way into his left nostril. He stares up at me, still holding his spoon midair. His jaw is in danger of falling off.”

(Now, this may seem a bit extreme, but in the context of the story, it was completely understandable and I totally approved. XD)

It was just so much fun seeing how she treated Arden as he pursued her. And I have to mention that she didn’t really come off as a shy girl as mentioned in the blurb. But that was kind of good thing because it wasn’t as cliché, shy girl meets outgoing boy, instant sparks, etc etc.

Throughout the story we see a bit more of Carly’s development as she warms up to Arden and becomes friends, and then later on falls for him (no spoilers there, it’s kind of given). I won’t lie, it was kind of insta-love but it was still okay. What I also found interesting was seeing her internal struggle throughout the story, between doing what she wanted to do and what she was required to do in order to help her family. I really sympathized with her because she had so much pressure on her and did everything asked of her yet never truly got the freedom she deserved.

Arden, I will admit, I had mixed feelings toward, at first. At first are the key words here, you see? The fact that after simply one night he’s all interested in Carly (to be his partner in crime, not his girlfriend, but still) bugged me for a while, and I kind of just didn’t want him to win over Carly so easily. It wasn’t exactly so much so the insta-love than Arden, because for some inexplicable reason, I seemed to have something against Arden and just didn’t want it to happen. Of course, I warmed up to him afterwards. He went through so much it’s hard not to feel bad for him. His and Carly’s relationship ended up being really cute and I loved how he supported her so much.

“You’ve filled a hole I didn’t know I had in me, Carly. What is there to regret?”

As for the other characters, I was mostly okay with them except for Arden’s dad, who I absolutely hated. Julio, Carly’s brother isn’t exactly my favorite person, but I still liked him. Carly’s family, although not present for basically the whole story, plays a big role in the novel, and I liked them. The pressure they put on their children to raise money to smuggle them back to the States may bother some readers, but I found it kind of realistic and interesting to read about. This book was very family-positive (in the case of Carly, not Arden) in a more different way than most books.

Writing Style

The writing style is pretty different than most books, but I can’t exactly say it’s great. It’s told from the perspective of 1st person in Carly’s POV and 3rd person in Arden’s POV. I have read books like this before (most notably The Lying Game series by Sara Shepard) but for this book the style seemed kind of awkward and didn’t exactly work out. I don’t know, it kind of threw me off several times in the story and prevented me from fully being immersed in the story. Mostly because whenever the POVs switched, I would have to adjust to the change, and it would disturb the flow of the writing. But I did manage to get through the book without too many difficulties, and I ended up still enjoying the story.

Overall…

An entertaining summer read that I recommend if you’re looking for a light story with some important themes mixed in. This book is also more diverse than a lot of books out there these days (namely because of the issues addressed in the novel as well as the fact the main character is hispanic) and although the writing style wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, it’s pretty subjective to reader’s taste and it may be someone else’s preference. The main characters, although perhaps not the best for some, were quite likeable and definitely have a lot of chemistry together. I really liked Carly’s personality, and even though I wasn’t Arden’s biggest fan at first, he really did grow on me and I really liked him. As for the other characters, I definitely didn’t like Arden’s father, which I’m guessing is the point, and although I had some issues with Carly’s brother Julio, he ended up being a decent guy. All in all, I really liked reading this book, and I recommend it if any of the above interests you!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you want to read this book? Let me know, in the comments below! 

Also…Let’s go for a joyride! This meal is quite tasty, perfect for a little trip!

Analee 10

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi | ARC Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: August 4th 2015

Synopsis:

It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?


What You Left Behind_bookcover
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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult

Page Count [hardcover]: 320

Format: ebook


Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for sending me an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

Hello! Today I have a review on What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi, a stunningly touching and unique YA contemporary novel. If I had to sum up this word using two words, I’d use ‘unique‘ and ‘addictive‘ because that’s exactly what it is. It’s so rare to me, in YA contemporaries, that we have the perspective of a male in a teenage pregnancy situation. Time and time again I come across books with a teenage mother, but hardly ever have I encountered a book from the viewpoint of a teenage father. And it is so often we see books about cancer making the rounds, hardly ever do we see books with a fresh take on it. But this book, provided me with exactly that. What You Left Behind was an honest, hooking and unique story from the perspective of a teenage widowed father, and put a different twist on a cancer story that I really enjoyed.

Quick Summary

Everything fell apart when Meg died from cancer and left behind a baby girl. Hope. And Meg’s death seemed to be all Ryden’s fault. After all, he got her pregnant, which caused her to stop her chemo treatment, her one chance to overcome her cancer and survive. Meg’s parents seem to agree, and offers no help in providing support for Hope. Now Ryden has financial issues as he tries to deal with taking care of Hope and getting to soccer practice as he’s aiming to earn an athletic scholarship. The only bright spot in everything is Joni. But with Ryden being unable to let go of Meg, how will he ever be able to move on?

Plot

The plot is honest, un-sugarcoated and emotional. It’s a touching story and I really loved it! What I loved most about it was the unique perspective. Kudos to Jessica Verdi for tackling a different side of a common book trope in an interesting and engaging way! I really enjoyed reading from the point of view of a male teenager who has to take care of a baby; that is quite rare I find, and Jessica Verdi pulled it off! I was completely immersed in the plot, and I never wanted to stop reading. It was a cute romance while still being an emotional story portraying the struggles in life, both happy and sad, which was great to read.

Characters

I really loved Ryden as a narrator. He wasn’t perfect, and often there were times where I wanted to slap him across the face so that he would wake up and make things right. One of the times being how he completely neglects his daughter, I really wished he treated her better and that there were more love between the two. That did bug me, but really, in the end I simply couldn’t dislike him. I understood his struggles. I felt bad for him. I mean, what 17 year-old teenage boy wants to be stuck taking care of a baby almost single-handedly when he could be playing soccer for a scholarship?
Ryden’s definitely not going to be coming first in any selflessness contests anytime soon; his tendency of putting what he wanted above the needs of others was frustrating, but by the end he goes through a lot of development and became a better person. Also, there was the fact that his pain over losing Meg was simply so strong, so real, I couldn’t just not sympathize with him. Jessica Verdi did a great job at creating a character that is a realistic portrayal of a teenage father, a character who, while made a lot of mistakes, and was sometimes annoying, still was able to earn my compassion, understanding and sympathy.

Joni, the main female character in the novel, was great too. She was feisty and a strong, independant woman who was perfect for Ryden. I liked the relationship between her and Ryden, they had great chemistry, but more than that, her personality was simply a lot of fun. I really liked how Joni was portrayed; not a stereotypical girl you encounter in contemporaries, but a lively and real person who is unafraid in standing up for herself.

The other characters were very well-done. I especially loved Ryden’s mother and her role in the story. Even though she didn’t have a particularly large role, her constant support of Ryden and his baby Hope was simply so heart-warming and had a pretty big impact in Ryden’s character development. I loved how she wasn’t MIA in the story; she was present and really did the best she could to help out and show her son that he could still be a great father despite lacking a maternal presence by his side.

Writing Style

“Finding someone you can really connect with is like winning the lottery—It happens basically never, but if it does, you really shouldn’t blow it.”

The writing style was great; it was light but thoughtful, fun and well-suited for the story. The writing really reflected Ryden’s thoughts effectively, his emotions were strong and clear, and I really enjoyed reading it.

“I still don’t quite get how each one of those stars is actually a sun, burning up its own part of the universe. It seems incomprehensible that something that big, that complex, that infinite, is out there, while we’re here on this stupid planet, watching reality shows and waiting in line for the new iPhone and buying all the chia seeds in the Whole Foods because some article told us it was trendy, thinking we’re tough shit, like any of it means anything.”

There was also an undertone of dry humour throughout the book that I really enjoyed reading. That’s to be expected, as the story is told from the perspective of a 17 year-old teenager, and I’m glad it didn’t disappoint! The writing was really fun to read.

Overall…

I recommend this book to readers of contemporary and romance, and for readers who are looking for a fresh page in YA contemporary. This book provides you with a twist on two popular and overused storylines; teenage pregnancy and cancer. While you have to face a main character who sometimes makes extremely selfish and bad decisions, in the end it’s worth it. The main character, Ryden, does make bad decisions, but you can’t help but feel sorry for him, and understand his situation. Not only that, there is a great mother-son relationship in the book, and a great female main character as well. The writing is a lot of fun to read, and has an interesting and humorous tone to the it. All in all, this book was great and I’d definitely recommend it!


Oh, look what you left behind! Your tasty meal awaits, come and pick it up!

Analee 10

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: June 2nd 2015

Synopsis:

Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.

After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.

Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.

Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.

Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.


Proof of Forever_bookcover
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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Harper Teen

Genre(s): Young-adult fiction, contemporary

Page Count: 352

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 0062330373


Hi! Today I have a book review on Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer for you! I know this book has been on the TBR of many people (including mine) and although the decision to purchase and read this was quite sudden and spontaneous, I’m glad I did, because this was a super fun read!

Quick Summary

Proof of Forever follows four girls: Joy, Tali, Luce and Zoe, as they are taken to the past to relive their summer from two years back at camp. In the present, they are seventeen, and they have become estranged from eachother. They barely talk, contrary to their close friendship at fifteen, and now, after being transported to the past, the girls have to recreate their summer in order to get back to the present. Along the way, the girls find new love, and make great memories, but most of all, learn to be the friends they once were.Read More »

Top 10 Tuesday #7 (May 26): Top Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer

Top 1o Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is top ten books that I plan to have in my beach bag this summer/great beach reads. I’ll be going with the former option, as I have way more beachy reads that I plan to read this summer than I have already read. 😀 (All book titles link to Goodreads)

P.S I Still Love You_bookcover1. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

No-brainer! After the heart-wrenching cliffhanger in the previous book To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I’m dying to read this, and it just got released today. Probably going to get it on my upcoming book haul. 🙂

2. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan MatsonSince You've Been Gone_bookcover

I’ve been hearing a lot about this book, and it just screams ‘summer’ to me. How can I not bring this along in my beach bag?

Ugly Love_bookcover3.  Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Or any book by Colleen Hoover, really. I haven’t read any books by Colleen Hoover yet, so it doesn’t necesarily matter to me which book of hers will be packed!

4. On the Fence by Kasie WestOn the Fence

I already read this, but I really want to read this again. It was just such a sweet book, I can’t resist!

P.S I Love You_bookcover5. P.S I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

I loved Cecelia Ahern’s Love, Rosie, and as I currently have P.S I Love You waiting on my shelf, I’m looking forward to reading it!

6. Saint Anything by Sarah DessenSaint Anything_bookcover

I’ve been dying to read this, I have no idea why I haven’t already.

The Truth About Forever_bookcover7. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

I already read this, but I’d love to re-read this! It’s simply an amazing book!

8. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah OcklerThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids_bookcover

Seems like such a fun book! ❤

 

Untitled-49. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Another fun, light read I will definitely pack in my beach bag.

10. Wait For You by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout)Wait For You_bookcover

Jennifer Armentrout (writing as J. Lynn) is one of my favorite authors, and I can’t wait to read this New-Adult Contemporary Romance novel of hers, the first in the Wait For You series.

Honourable mentions: Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel, Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius

Of course, there are other books (like ACOTAR by Sarah J. Maas) that I’m going to be reading this summer, but these are the books I’ll be reading beach-wise, the fun, light, contemporary books.


So that’s it for this week’s Top 10 Tuesday! What are you planning on bringing along for the beach? Or what are you planning on reading this summer? Let me know in the comments below!

-A

Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin | Book Review

(Rules of Summer #1)

Published:  June 4th 2013

Synopsis:

There are two sides to every summer.

When seventeen-year-old Rory McShane steps off the bus in East Hampton, it’s as if she’s entered another universe, one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing pressed khakis and driving expensive cars. She’s signed on to be a summer errand girl for the Rules — a wealthy family with an enormous beachfront mansion. Upon arrival, she’s warned by other staff members to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done.

Stifled by her friends and her family’s country club scene, seventeen-year-old Isabel Rule, the youngest of the family, embarks on a breathless romance with a guy whom her parents would never approve of. It’s the summer for taking chances, and Isabel is bringing Rory along for the ride. But will Rory’s own summer romance jeopardize her friendship with Isabel? And, after long-hidden family secrets surface, will the Rules’ picture-perfect world ever be the same?


My Rating: 3 stars 3/5 (Decent)

Book Information

Publisher: Poppy

Genre(s): Young-adult Romance, Contemporary

Page Count: 352

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 0316212059


 

Hey book lovers! I will be soon coming with a review on Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (book 2 in the Hush Hush Saga), but for now I’m here with Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin, a light, fun, summer-y read that got me nostalgic for summer (sadly we’re still in the season of rainy springtime). 🙂

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