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Monday, 6 April 2015

Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Count:  320 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: April 7th 2015
Find it on Goodreads: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Source: Borrowed an ARC from Raeleen (thank you!!)

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

It's been difficult for me to sum up my feelings for this book in words... but basically this GIF of a smiling Jeremy Renner probably gives you a good idea of my face after finishing it: 

I. loved. this. book. Here's why:

  • It kept me guessing about who Blue was. The entire time I was reading, my mind kept making scenarios up about the different possibilities of Blue's identity and how Simon would react. 
  • Simon wasn't a clich├ęd LGBTQ character that I've seen ten million times before! He was so much more than just the 'gay best friend' or the 'closeted tough-guy jock.' He had a legitimate personality that revolved around things OTHER than his sexuality.
  • The friendships were awesome and complex and relatable! This friend group had problems, but they talked them out instead of getting all dramatic about them! Platonic friendship representation is so great in YA and I wish there was more of it!
  • The book brought up really important societal issues about sexuality, gender, and race, like this quote (taken from goodreads) : 

"Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn't be this big awkward thing whether you're straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I'm just saying.” 

  • SIMON. Probably one of my all time favourite YA characters, he was cynical, funny, a lover of Oreos and Harry Potter, and just all around incredible. I felt like I knew him, like we were friends, which is one of my favourite feelings when I'm reading a book.
  • It made me happy! While this book does bring up some super important ideas, it is also just plain sweet!

I have so much more to say about this book, but I might have to add onto this review later, because for now I'm tired and need to post this asap! Please, please pick this book up if you get the chance. It's cute, it's funny, and it's important. 

Happy reading!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Page Count:  348 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: February 10th 2015
Find it on Goodreads: The Ruby Circle
Source: Purchased

The epic conclusion to Richelle Mead's New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here...

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

As sad as I was about finishing this series, I must say that this was a wonderfully satisfying finale! Over the three years of having this blog, I have professed my undying love for Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy/Bloodlines world too many times to count. These series are so addictive and incredibly readable and this finale was no different. Mead tied up a lot of loose ends and left little hints so as to not be boring all throughout the book about where the characters were going to end up after the book ended and I was so enthralled the entire time I was reading it. I loved the conflicts Sydney and Adrian had to go through, both physical and mental, and the resolution in the end was incredibly satisfying. It honestly felt like Mead was writing for us, the fans, and did our wishes justice while still keeping it realistic to the plot and characters. I am so sad that this was my last time reading one of Sydney's and Adrian's stories for the first time, as they are one of my favourite couples to read about. Sydney is by far one of the most important characters that I've read in a long time for me personally, because she was so different from Rose, not as physically strong or tough as her, but instead using her mind for whatever came at her. I have said it before and I will say it again: these are not just Vampire books. They are books filled with interesting stories, complicated characters, and exciting plots. I am so devastated that this series has come to a close, but it was a good run and I can't wait to see what Mead comes up with next.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Taylor Swift Book Tag

Hey guys! I saw this lovely little tag the other day on Gone With the Words and I loved it so much! If you didn't know, I'm a huge Taylor Swift fan, so this tag looked super fun!

 “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Pick a book (or book series) that you were pretty sure you were in love with, but then wanted to break up with:

I ended up being so sad that I couldn't get through the last book... I might try again, but for now.. *sigh*

Pick a book with a RED cover


 “The Best Day
Pick a book that makes you feel nostalgic

you know what I'm saying.

Love Story
Pick a book with forbidden love

Sydney and Adrian, fighting off Alchemists and Moroi in order to

 “I Knew You Were Trouble
Pick a book with a bad character you couldn't help but love

Kai... need I say more?

Pick a book that someone ruined the ending for

Through a passing comment on goodreads, someone mentioned how this ended and at first I didn't even believe it, but then I heard it again, then I read it... yeah.

Everything Has Changed
Pick a character from a book who goes through extensive character development

The way Ana goes from thinking she's unworthy of life in the first book to realizing her potential in the finale gave me chills.

You Belong With Me
Pick your most anticipated book release

Forever and Always
Pick your favourite book couple

Literally not even a question, Romione is the ultimate OTP.

Come Back, Be Here
Pick the book you would least like to lend out, for fear of missing it too much
Changing this for my current situation to the book series that I lent out a YEAR ago and still haven't gotten back (I'm looking at you, Paula...)


Teardrops on My Guitar
Pick a book that made you cry a lot

 basically I looked like this in the back seat of my grandparent's car while reading this: 

Shake It Off” 
Pick a book that you love so much, you just shake off the haters

I feel like this series is super well loved by so many people, but also kind of looked down upon because of a. vampires and b. the movie marketing (that kind of failed). but honestly, this series is way way better than any other vampire books I've ever read. Ever. 

 “Blank Space
Favourite autographed book

(I don't have a picture at the moment of my copy, but I'll post it asap!)

Welcome to New York
Favourite setting

Paris, England, and Amsterdam... travel books are kind of cheating when it comes to favourite locations, but I'm not even sorry. This book made me re-fall in love over and over and over again with travelling, even though I've never really fallen out of love with it.

Today Was A Fairytale
Favourite retelling

I absolutely adore the myth of Hades and Persephone, so this series was great, or at least the first book! It fell flat for me with the third book, but The Goddess Test was awesome!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Problems I Have

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Bookish Problems I Have. 

1. I get distracted easily, which makes getting into a book that might be a bit more challenging SO hard, as I end up getting distracted by shiny objects (literally and figuratively)

2. I work at a bookstore, which is awesome, but that also means I get a discount, which means I have a hard time restraining myself from spending my paycheck on ALL the books.

3. Speaking of buying too many books, have I mentioned how many books I have sitting on my shelf that I haven't read yet? It's humiliating. 

4. I'm super tired lately 'cause school is busy, so it's hard for me to stay awake sometimes if I'm reading before bed. I have to fight to keep my eyes open and need to seriously evaluate the question of "sleep or read?"

5. I want to read EVERYTHING, but I feel like with this blog, I have to keep up with my YA and more modern fiction, because that's what I'm reviewing. But I also want to read the classics, and I just don't know if anyone would be interested in reading reviews on timeless books, or whether or not I could get over the intimidation that comes with reviewing them.

6. My back is beginning to hurt more and more from all of the books -school related and not- that I have in my backpack. Ow.

7. I forget about ebooks! I have egalleys on my phone and computer, but if I don't read them right away, eventually I'll forget about them and then they'll expire!

8. Speaking of forgetting, when I read the first book in a series and it takes a year or longer for the next one to be released, it's really easy for me to lose track of what happened.

9. I'd love to reread more books, but then that stresses me out a bit because I also want to read NEW books and I just can't make a decision. 

10. Reading is the ultimate form of procrastination for me, as I can justify it to myself by saying that even though I'm not doing my homework, I'm still being productive and feeding my mind, even when I'm supposed to be writing an essay.

So those are some bookish problems that I have and am trying to work on! Let me know if we have any in common or if you have any you'd like to share!

Happy reading!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count:  449Hardcover
Date Published: October 24th 2014
Find it on Goodreads: Talon
Source: Purchased

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

Kind of disappointing honestly... I liked it enough, but it was definitely not what I was hoping. But I also don't really know what I was hoping it would be. All I knew was that it was about dragons and I. love. dragons. But this book ended up being more a contemporary summer read with little bits of dragon/action scenes in between. The result? 

I just found it kind of predictable and it was another case of me not really caring about what was happening or what the characters were doing. I really didn't like Ember's voice;  I found it whiny and annoying and juvenile, which made me so sad because she had so much potential. I didn't mind Garret's, but Riley's I couldn't have cared less about. There wasn't much that happened that made me really really excited about this book until the last few chapters, as the battle scene was pretty cool and well written. But then the book ended and even with the cliff-hanger, I just didn't have too much desire to find out what happened next. 

Overall, it wasn't terrible, but I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped and I was pretty disappointed in it all. This was a story that had so much potential but it kind of felt short in my mind. I liked it enough, but it took me a while to keep going and actually finish. 

Happy reading!

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