Top Five Wednesday: Favorite Bromances

Everyone needs a good ol’ bromance in their life. For this Top Five Wednesday, I’l be discussing my top five bromances!

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Kai and Torin from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer– Kai is one of my favorite characters and my top fictional boyfriend from The Lunar Chronicles. One of my favorite things about Kai is his relationship with Torin, Kai’s advisor. Torin cared so much for Kai not only as a royal, but also like a son.

Rhysand, Cassian and Azriel from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas – Rhy, Cassian, and Azriel make up one of the most kickbutt bromances that have ever existed. From training in the same war camps to making up half of the Night Court, they have an understanding for each other that few bromances can rival.

Ben Wyatt and Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation– It’s been a while since I mentioned Parks and Rec in a T5W, but how could I not acknowledge the bromance that is Chris Traeger and Ben Wyatt?? I love Chris and Ben’s friendship, and one of my few “disappointments” of season 7 was that we don’t get to see Chris and Ann until the very end. However, I loved season 7 so much, so I could never really be that disappointed other than the fact that it was the last season of my all-time favorite TV show.

Chaol and Dorian from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas– Another SJM bromance, but I must say that I do love Chaol and Dorain’s relationship a bit more than the ACOTAR bromance. Chaol and Dorian are awesome characters themselves, but what makes them even better individuals is seeing the care that they have for one another. I think it will be interesting to see how much Dorian comes into play or into Chaol’s mind in Tower of Dawn.

Kell and Rhy from the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab– Kell and Rhy compose my favorite relationship in the Shades of Magic series. I’m so happy that we get more from Rhy’s perspective in A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light. We get to see more of the protectiveness and love he has for Kell (not to mention the fact that Alucard comes into play *swooon* ).

Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found here on Goodreads.

 

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Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Summary: Years ago, Rachel had a crush on her best friend, Henry. Years ago, she left Henry a love letter in his favorite book in his family’s bookshop before she moved away. Years ago, she waited, but Henry never came. Years later, Rachel has returned to the city and to the bookshop with a heavy heart. She can’t feel anymore, not even that old spark for Henry, since her brother died in a drowning accident months ago. To top it all off, she’s failed Year 12 and just can’t see her future.

Henry can’t seem to see his future either. His on-and-off again girlfriend has officially called it quits. The bookshop isn’t doing well and neither is his family life. As Henry and Rachel work together in the bookshop, they try to find the hope and answers they’ve both been looking for.

My Rating: 4.75/ 5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Words in Deep Blue had been on my radar for a while, especially since I knew it mainly took place in a bookstore! Howling Books, Henry’s family bookshop, was one of the best settings ever! I adored how it created a community of people, like Frederick, who found comfort in the store, especially in the Letter Library. Other than that and the fact that so many of bloggers have been loving Cath Crowley’s latest contemporary read, I didn’t know much going in. Once I started reading, I couldn’t get enough. I ate up the first hundred pages while lying on the beach, and I couldn’t wait to get home to keep going! I was obsessed with how this book takes place in Australia! I haven’t read too many books (if any, at all) that take place in Australia, so it really cool to see how the setting played in the novel. As I read more books that take place in Australia and the UK, I have a better understanding of the school system. It was also different for me, as someone who’s lived in the US for her life, to see Rachel and Henry’s summer play out in January and February.

I’m often nervous about books that have a dual point-of-view, but Henry and Rachel worked out so well together. We see Henry, the hopeless romantic for Amy (even it was a bit annoying at times), the brother and son who wants to see Howling books thrive, the guy who just wants to find out why Rachel is finally back after all that time apart. We see Rachel, grieving over the loss of her brother, trying to move alongside life, avoiding the feelings for Henry that she once held. Each chapter alternates from their perspective, occasionally being separated with letters from the Letter Library. While Cath Crowley may go back in time in each perspective, she does so in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you’re experiencing the same scene two times. Additionally, having both Rachel and Henry’s POVs helped me get a better sense of how they were feeling about one another. I loved seeing them start to grow closer again after Rachel tells Henry about Cal, and you get to see some of their humorous banter right after:

“ “It really starts raining. “I forget. Do you stand under a pole in a lightning storm? Henry asks, moving faster up High Street.

“Sure, and it helps if you can find a puddle too,” I tell him.

“We don’t stand under a pole,” he says.

“We don’t stand under a pole,” I confirm.”(133)

Besides Henry and Rachel, I loved our cast of characters in Words in Deep Blue (except Amy and Gregg, of course). I loved Michael, who just wants Howling Books to live on, no matter what way, and while I was a bit mad at Sophia, she cares a lot about the shop as well. Lola was a great friend for both Rachel and Henry to have, and I feel like her own relationship problems translated well along Henry and Rachel’s. George was a character of her own, and I loved Martin for doing anything he could to get to George to at least see him as a friend.

One of my favorite aspects of Words in Deep Blue was how real it felt. We see Henry and his family talk about classic authors, such as Jane Austen and Jorge Borges, but Patrick Ness and John Green. Their family discussions of what they’ve been reading will make any book lover’s heart feel warm. Additionally, Words in Deep Blue felt real for its depiction of Rachel’s depression surrounding Cal’s death. You ache for her, as she tries to get life together and as she tries to tell people about her brother. Despite the heartache, you’re happy that she has someone like Henry, who shows her that he’ll always be there for her.

“Sometimes science isn’t enough. Sometimes you need the poets” (191).

Have you read Words in Deep Blue? Share in the comments!

My Most Anticipated Fall 2017 Releases

Ah, fall. Hot chocolate, leaves, cardigans, pumpkins, and AN AMAZING LINE OF FALL BOOK RELEASES. There are so many great books coming out this fall (I have a list of 19 written down and I’m probably missing a few ), and my library card and Barnes and Noble account cannot wait. Listed below are – don’t worry it’s not all 19- of my most anticipated fall 2017 releases!

They Both Die at the End by Adam SilveraSeptember 5th– Major kudos to Adam Silvera for coming out with a second book this year! After loving More Happy than Not and History is All You Left Me, I’m very interested to read this book about two boys that find out that they’re going to die on that very same day. Side note:As I’m uploading the cover of They Both Die at the End, I’ve just noticed that you can make out a skull in the skyline and that the Reaper makes out Rufus and Matteo’s shadows!!

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. MassSeptember 5th

While some Throne of Glass fans aren’t that excited for this book’s release (I agree that I would have loved to see a cover featuring Chaol on the front), I am beyond excited for the book centered on Chaol’s journey to the Southern Continent. However, I won’t be reading ToD as soon as it comes out because I plan on doing a reread of the series later this year and in early 2018, leading up to the final ToG book in September. Sarah had to push back the release due to family circumstances, but we’ll be getting an ACOTAR novella in May!

Moxie by Jennifer MathieuSeptember 19th– I was notonly drawn for Moxie for its feminist revolution aspect, but for the fact that Amy Poehler blurbed it on the front cover!! Moxie follows high school junior Viv’s frustration with her sexist school administration and the actions that follow after handing out a feminist zine to her classmates.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret RogersonSeptember 26thAn Enchantment of Ravens is a fantasy book centered around fairies, as our main protagonist, Isobel, is placed on trial for her painting of Rook, the autumn prince. I haven’t read books about faeries outside of Sarah J. Mass’s books, so I’m interested to see Margaret Rogerson’s take. The cover of An Enchantment of Ravens was also designed by one of my favorite artists, Charlie Bowater.

Turtles All the Way Down by John GreenOctober 10th– I am so excited for Turtles All the Way Down mainly for the fact that John Green is coming out with a new book. I was one of the many people that thought he was done writing books for good! I am a teeny bit disappointed that there are no turtles on the cover, but I can’t wait to read this book focused on mental illness.

I’ve been super fortunate this year to receive ARCS of some of my most anticipated books of the YEAR, including many awesome releases coming this season. Here’s just a peek of some of the reviews I’ll have around release date for each book:

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart  (September 5th)

The Thing With Feathers by McCall Hoyle (September 5th)

Warcross by Marie Lu  (September 12th)

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng  (September 12th)

I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott (September 26th)

Bonfire by Kristin Ritter (November 7th)

What book are you most anticipating this season? Share in the comments!

Review: The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Summary: The Smell of Other People’s Houses takes place in 1970s Alaska and is told from the perspectives of four teens whose lives are more connected than they ever could imagine. Ruth just wants to be remembered, but not for the secret her and her gran are trying to hide from their village. Dora wants to escape her abusive past and hopes that she’ll finally have good fortune, even if its comes from the Ice Classic. Alyce struggles to balance her life dancing with her life working on her family’s fishing boat. Hank thinks he’s leading his brothers to safety, until the unthinkable happens.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Let me start by saying that I devoured The Smell of Other People’s Houses in less than a day between the beach and the pool. Maybe it seems odd that I was reading a book set in cold, snowy Alaska on an eight-five degree summer day, but I was hooked by the start. I’ve never read a book that takes place in Alaska before, so it was really cool to learn more about life there, especially since Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock is from the village in the novel. The Smell of Other People’s Houses takes place soon after Alaska receives statehood, so it was interesting to see how most Alaskans were upset by becoming a state (it affected a lot of their hunting regulations) and how the continued to refer to the rest of the United States and Canada as the outside.

The Smell of Other People’s Houses features a big cast of characters, especially since our story is told from four different perspectives. While the four POVs are connected, as three of them live and grew up together in the same village, it did become a bit confusing at times to remember how people were related to each other. However, I was super excited to have a book where I enjoyed all of the POVs, even though Ruth and Alyce were my favorites. It was interesting to see how Ruth handled being pregnant, let alone how it affected her relationship with her gran, and I enjoyed how she got to find out more about her family history. I really enjoyed Alyce’s POV for her time spent on her dad’s fishing boat. I enjoyed reading from Dora’s perspective as well, especially because of her relationship with Dumpling and Dumpling’s family, but even when she “explains” why, I never really understood her animosity towards Ruth. My favorite part of Hank’s POV was seeing how his journey connected back to the people in Fairbanks (Phil was my favorite in his POV).

After finishing The Smell of Other People’s Houses, the only question that remained in my mind was why I hadn’t heard of this book earlier! However, I am glad that I read it when I did! It was not only the perfect weekend read for its length (223 pages may seem short, but it handled this story perfectly), but it was also an emotion-filled story focused on family, carrying the message that people “don’t have to be blood to be family”.

Thanks to Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s beautiful writing and novel, I’m feeling a bit of wanderlust: Alaska, here I come! Have you read The Smell of Other People’s Houses? Share in the comments!

Disney Princess Sidekicks Book Tag

I was tagged by Danielle from Life of a Literary, whose book blogging game is always on point, to do the Disney Princess Sidekicks Book Tag. The title may be a mouthful, but it’s an exciting one from this Disney fan. Throughout this summer, I’ve been channeling my inner Moana (my dog is my Pua) at the beach and by the pool, singing “How Far I’ll Go” for all my neighbors to hear, even if my siblings go under water out of embarrassment! This tag was created by Mandy from Book Princess Reviews.

MUSHU FROM MULAN/OLAF + SVEN FROM FROZEN

THE COMIC RELIEF – NAME YOUR FAVORITE HILARIOUS CHARACTER OR YOUR FAVORITE COMEDY/FUNNY BOOK – Appa from Maurene Goo’s I Believe in a Thing Called Love. I’m a sucker for dad humor, and Appa’s cuteness more than helps matters.thingcalledl

THE SEVEN DWARFS FROM SNOW WHITE

FAVORITE GROUP/ENSEMBLE- I’ve read many books with fantastic group ensembles, but one that comes to mind (AND ONE THAT I HAVEN’T MENTIONED IN A WHILE SO IT’S OVERDUE) is the cast of V.E. Schwab’s Vicious. I’ll take Eli and Victor and Sydney and Dol and Mitch ANYDAY. *not so patiently awaits Book 2*.

IMG_4158PASCAL FROM TANGLED

THE LOYAL CHEERLEADER CHAMELEON (NOT A FROG, FLYNN RIDER) – NAME A BOOK THAT STARTED OUT ONE WAY BUT CHANGED FOR YOU-  The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder. Unfortunately, this book went from exciting to weirdom and a bit boredom for me. This book follows two best friends’ quite spontaneous getaway across the US, and as someone who joins in on any love for Morgan Matson’s Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour , I get very excited about books about road trips. However, the plot got very bizarre once Hannah and Zoe leaving their hometown, including Zoe’s fascination with aliens.

MEEKO FROM POCAHONTAS

POCAHONTAS’S SLY AND SNEAKY RACCOON FRIEND – NAME A PLOT TWIST THAT YOU DID NOT SEE COMING- I try to avoid finding out that a book has a plot twist as much as I can, so for this one, I’m going with a book that is well-known for its plot twist (not to mention one that even I DID NOT see coming– the more you read, the more you pick up on these things), We Were Liars by E.Lockhart.

RAJAH FROM ALADDIN / FLOUNDER FROM THE LITTLE MERMAID

GENTLE WITH THEIR PRINCESS BUT PROTECTIVE WITH EVERYONE ELSE – NAME YOUR FAVORITE BEST FRIEND IN A NOVEL- Jilly from Sarah Dessen’s Once and For All. I hope that Sarah writes a book all about Louna’s best friend’s food truck and babysitting shenanigans.

LOUIS FROM THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG / SEBASTIAN FROM THE LITTLE MERMAID / COGSWORTH, LUMIERE, MRS. POTTS, & CHIP FROM BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

THE MUSICAL BUNCH – NAME A NOVEL WHERE MUSIC PLAYED A BIG PART OR MADE YOU WANT TO SING ITS PRAISES- This Savage Song by Victoria SchwabThis Savage Song is both a book where music plays a big role, as August finds power and comfort in his violin, and where I have continue to sing its praises.

MAXIMUS FROM TANGLEDIMG_4459

THE OBSTACLE IN FLYNN RIDER’S WAY – NAME A CHARACTER THAT FACES A LOT OF OBSTACLES- Elle from Geekerella by Ashley Poston.  As Elle fights against her stepmother and step sisters, she finds that having a dog and a friend with a food truck is more than helpful.

HAMISH, HUBERT, & HARRIS FROM BRAVE

FAVORITE FAMILY DYNAMICS IN A NOVEL- The Blair family from Taylor Jenkins Reid’s One True Loves. They own a bookstore for crying out loud!!! I don’t just love the Blairs for their bookstore, rather I love their support for one other and their goal of keeping their family together as much as they can (you better believe that the books help!).

RAY FROM THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG / 3 FAIRIES FROM SLEEPING BEAUTY

THE ADVICE GIVERS – BOOK THAT MOST IMPACTED YOUR LIFE- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It wasn’t so much the story that impacted my life (even though today’s world seems more and more headed into a dystopian tale), but rather it was my experience with it. I read THG the same year as its film release, and I doubted that I would even like it (even 13-year old Fangirl was afraid of the hype). As you may or may not have guessed, I fell in love with The Hunger Games and ate up the trilogy, and I consider it one of my very first fandoms . After seeing the first film adaptation with me, my dad even read them!! It was very bittersweet for the films to come to an end during my senior year of high school.

HEI HEI FROM MOANA

NAME A CHARACTER THAT STEALS THE SHOW- They can be just a tad (INSANELY) creepy, but AIDAN from Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

GUS & JAQ FROM CINDERELLA

OPPOSITES ATTRACT – NAME YOUR FAVORITE OR WORST OPPOSITE ATTRACTS PAIRING- One of my favorite opposite attracts paring is Cath and Jest from Marissa Meyer’s Heartless

Tag, you’re it! If you have a love not only for Disney Princess sidekicks and books, but this book tag, you’ve been tagged!

Whose your favorite Disney princess sidekick? Share in the comments!

Top Five Wednesday: Books Before I Started Watching Booktube

This week’s Top Five Wednesday theme focuses on books that you’ve picked up before joining any online book community. While I’ve been getting a lot of recommendations from my fellow book bloggers, A TON of the books that I’ve picked up since 2015 have been a result of watching BookTube videos. BookTube really inspired to amp my reading game and helped bring on a whole new level of fangirling for me: give me Youtube videos about books any day! That being said, today I’ll be talking about books that I read and loved (still love) before watching BookTube.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green– I think it was (and still is) impossible to walk into a Barnes and Noble without seeing The Fault in Our Stars. I didn’t need BookTube to tell me how much I would love TFIOS, not to mention how many times I’ve reread it. I still sob every reread! I actually read all of John Green’s books before watching Booktube and I’m most definitely anticipating Turtles All the Way Down.

The Cupcake Queen by Heather Helper I remember picking up The Cupcake Queen at a Scholastic Book Fair in middle school. I think The Cupcake Queen will always be one of my all-time favorite books because it’s one of the most memorable books I read growing up, plus it has cupcakes in the title—how could I not love it?

The Heiresses by Sara Shepard– I don’t remember when I read Sara Shepard’s The Heiresses, but I do feel disappointed that this series didn’t continue after the first book.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman– I remember eating up If I Stay up while sitting outside on a really nice spring day. My neighbors were most likely looking into my backyard, wondering why I was sitting on my deck sobbing my eyes out. If I Stay is one of the saddest books that I’ve ever read and one of the few books and book-to-movie adaptations that have made me hysterically cry.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell– I read E&P during my sophomore year of high school and I remember wanting more of Rainbow Rowell’s writing (I’m still trying to figure out why I didn’t pick up Fangirl until a year later). I have the B&N exclusive edition of E&P with its gorgeous fan art and I had Rainbow Rowell sign it at Book Con in June (mini PSA that Rainbow Rowell is the nicest person you could ever meet).

Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found here on Goodreads.

 

Review: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Summary: College sweethearts, Lauren and Ryan’s marriage comes to the breaking point, as they realize they no longer love each other. Divorce? An open marriage? In hope that they’ll reconnect and fall in love again, Lauren and Ryan decide to taAfter-I-Do-335x520.jpgke a year off. One year apart, no contact, and anything goes. As Lauren spends more time with her family and friends, she comes to realize that everyone has their own ideas of marriage, including herself. Can she continue a life with Ryan with or without lust and love, or have a life where Ryan isn’t even in the picture?

My Rating: 3.75/ 5 Stars

My Thoughts:

After I Do is the second Taylor Jenkins Reid novel that I’ve read. Like One True Loves, it took me less than two days to finish After I Do. One True Loves and After I Do are similar is that they deal with broken marriages. In One True Loves, the main protagonist must decide if she is going to continue her marriage with her husband, Jesse, who she thought was dead after being lost at sea for three years, or marry the man who she met will trying to move on with her life after Jesse. In After I Do, we follow Lauren and Ryan’s year apart, as Lauren tries to figure out how to fix her marriage. Similar to that of One True Loves, we flash back to the beginning of Lauren and Ryan’s relationship right and how they came to their breaking point. I appreciated how we knew the base of their relationship from the start, instead of it being scattered throughout the story.

After I Do is separated into four parts, and in my opinion, the title of the parts had no sense of togetherness. We from “Where does the good go?” to “November Rain” to “Most of the Time” and lastly, “Nothing Compares 2 U”. The first and last title suit what happens in their respective part, but the second and third parts don’t really describe how Lauren is feeling. Yes, Lauren is depressed (as expected), but there is more to her life: she’s helping her sister open a bakery, she’s working with Mila, she goes running with Thumper, she spends time with David, etc. As much as Lauren spends time with her friends and family and has new experiences, examples including preparing to be an aunt and welcoming in another family member as well as taking up hiking, I didn’t really get a sense of the “self-discovery” that the book’s summary promotes. The only discovering (in this case, snooping) she really does is finding the drafts in Ryan’s email account. Additionally, I hated the repetition of Lauren saying that she was fine. Obviously, she wasn’t- her marriage is on the brink, what would you expect in a book focused on fixing a broken marriage?- and I didn’t think telling herself she was fine really helped anything. Mila, Rachel, and Charlie could almost always tell that she wasn’t that fine.

My favorite characters in the novel weren’t Ryan or Lauren; rather it was Lauren’s family. Her grandmother was hilarious, I loved her Mom’s enthusiasm over doing whatever she can to make her children happy, Rachel was a great role model for Lauren (showing that you didn’t need a partner or marriage to be happy in life), and Charlie was pretty funny himself. I loved seeing Lauren spending time with Rachel, especially when it came to her baking. From the moment we see Rachel in her kitchen, I figured that having a bakery would be incorporated somewhere in the novel. I thought that Lauren and Rachel would open it together, helping Lauren create a somewhat “new life” for herself. And how could I forget Thumper?? He was another favorite; I would stayed married for that dog!

Overall, while I enjoyed After I Do’s unique storyline and its loving cast of characters with their own story arcs (I think I enjoyed Rachel and Charlie’s more than Lauren’s, oops), it wasn’t my favorite. I thought we would see Lauren really embrace a life without Ryan, similar to that of One True Loves. In my opinion, it sort’ve made sense that her and Ryan weren’t getting along too well: they were the only people they’ve dated since they were nineteen years old! Yes, there are plenty of high school and college sweethearts that spend their lives together, but I think Lauren and Ryan had some different ideas about living life. I also hated that it took them a year of separation to realize that they didn’t have to every little thing together. You don’t like baseball? Then you don’t have to come to a Dodgers game with me. Don’t like Ethiopian food? Tell me and we don’t have to it together!

I find that Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books are perfectly light beach reads! I’m not sure when I will, but I think my next TJR book will be Forever, Interrupted. Have you read any Taylor Jenkins Reid books or After I Do? Share in the comments!