Waiting On Wednesday (December 30)

wow

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

This week, I’m waiting on This Is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang, which has an expected publication date of March 22, 2016.

The heart-wrenching new novel about best friends on a collision course with the real world, from the author of Falling into Place.

Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivian moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It’s the perfect friendship, as long as no one finds out about it.

But when Janie is date-raped by the most popular guy in school—a guy she’s had a crush on for years—she finds herself ostracized by all the people she thought were her friends. Now only Micah seems to believe she’s telling the truth. But when even Micah expresses doubt about whether or not she was “asking for it,” it leads to disastrous consequences, and Janie Vivian goes missing.

Using a nonlinear writing style and dual narrators, Amy Zhang’s astonishing second novel masterfully reveals the circumstances surrounding Janie’s disappearance.

I absolutely loved Falling into Place. It was beautifully written, thought-provoking, and poignant – all of which are important, given the sensitive subject that This Is Where the World Ends deals with.

Which books are you waiting on? Leave me a link or a list to your Waiting on Wednesday post below.

3

Top Ten Most Anticipated New Releases for the First Half of 2016

ttt

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “top ten most anticipated new releases for the first half of 2016.” There are so many excellent-sounding titles that are soon-to-be-released, but here are (some of) the ones that I’m most excited for.

Honourable mentions:
A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
Save Me Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Sky
Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr

Which 2016 releases are you most excited about? Leave me a list or a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post in the comments below.

3

 

2016 Bookish Resolutions

Reading Resolutions

  1. I will purchase books from bookstores instead of online. There are so many cute independently owned bookstores out there that I’d love to support!
  2. I will read the books that I own before purchasing new ones. There are so many books lying around my room that I bought and never read, since I got distracted by other new releases.
  3. I will continue to support my local library. Libraries are one of the best resources for both readers and bloggers, so I want to prioritize borrowing books over purchasing them for myself.
  4. I will read more backlist titles. I’ve been focusing a lot on the new, shiny titles, but older books need some love too!
  5. If I’m not enjoying a book, I will put it down for a bit or DNF it. My to-read list is ridiculously long, so there’s no point in forcing myself to finish a book that just isn’t working for me.
  6. I will not be ashamed of my reading choices (whether it’s a classic, a new release, a middle grade novel, etc.) and will read what I want when I want.

Blogging Resolutions

  1. I will try to be a more consistent blogger, both in terms of posting and replying to comments in a timely fashion. School is ridiculously busy, so I’ll hopefully take advantage of WordPress’ ability to schedule posts and/or use study breaks for commenting.
  2. However, I will not feel guilty about taking breaks from blogging. (Or, at least, I’ll try not to feel too bad about it). Blogging is a hobby that I love, but it’s very hard to find time for it during the semester and I do need to prioritize my grades.
  3. I will not compare myself to other bloggers, whether that’s in terms of ARCs, stats, or number of followers. I’m so thankful for all of my readers, and I’ll do my best to consistently show that. As long as I’m having fun and sharing my love for reading with others, I consider that to be a “success.”
  4. After I finish reading a book, I will start drafting its review. Even if it’s just making a small pros/cons list, this will definitely make the process easier – especially since I have some books in my to review pile that I read weeks ago!
  5. That being said, I will never allow blogging to become a chore. I started this blog as a fun way to interact with other people who love books as much as I do, and I don’t want it to turn into a burden or something that I dread doing.
  6. I will not participate in or perpetuate any drama or negativity, which I’ve thankfully stayed clear of thus far.
  7. I will visit more blogs and leave more thoughtful comments on others’ posts. There are a lot of blogs that I genuinely adore, and I need to do a better job of showing my appreciation for them.
  8. I will try to generate more discussion posts and personal posts – I want to get to know you guys better and let more of my personality shine through!
  9. I will be more available, whether it’s on this blog, Twitter, Goodreads, or via email, since I want to be able to interact with you guys more frequently.

Here’s hoping that I can stick with these!

Do you have any blogging or bookish resolutions for this year?

3

Review | Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

24338298Never 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.

2 cupcakes

I had heard enough positive things about Let’s Get Lost that I just had to request this one – after all, the premise sounded quite cute and fluffy. Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t for me.

Julia and Dave, our main characters, seemed like something out of a John Green novel – they were quirky and overly intelligent, and Julia seemed like a manic pixie dream girl. That’s not to say that they weren’t realistic, though – when I was in high school, there were many individuals that tried very hard to avoid being a high school cliche. I didn’t particularly like either Julia or Dave – the former was manipulative and a pretty awful friend, and the latter spent way too much time lamenting over the fact that he was in love with his best friend – but their banter was rather entertaining.

I was expecting a friends-to-lovers relationship, which I suppose is what I got – the way that it came about, though, did not sit well with me. That being said, although it was an ending that I didn’t particularly enjoy, it was one that I didn’t expect…

Overall, Never Always Sometimes had all the makings of an “Erin story,” but unfortunately did not live up to my expectations.

I received a copy of this book from Harlequin Teen and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review | Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

15839984Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

3 cupcakes

Cruel Beauty had been on my radar for a while, as I can never say no to retellings, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairy tales (in part because I wanted a library like the one in the Disney version). Unfortunately, I’m still on the fence about this one – I think I liked it, but I’m also still kind of confused about what happened?

Things I liked:
Gorgeous and lyrical writing. I loved Hodge’s word choices – whether used in vivid descriptions or as the names of characters.
Flawed, wicked characters. Nyx, in particular, is angry, contemptuous, and not particularly likeable, but her actions definitely reflected her situation. And the Gentle Lord has a penchant for deceiving those who make bargains with him, making for some interesting curses.
The mythology. The addition of Hermetic magic and Demon Princes was intriguing, and put an interesting spin on the Beauty and the Beast tale.

Things that didn’t work for me:
The mythology. It was interesting and ambitious, but it felt like Hodge was trying to do way too much at once, and it ultimately left me confused.
The world-building left a lot to be desired. The magic system, in particular, was not very well-developed, and I can’t help but feel that it could have been stronger if a new religious system was put into place instead of relying on the Greek Gods.
The romance. There was so much and the story was quickly bogged down by a love triangle that I was not invested in.
The ending. Nyx had a lot of revelations, but unfortunately, I didn’t; I honestly don’t know what happened or why, and I can’t really be bothered to re-read it to find out.

Overall, Cruel Beauty was beautifully written and ambitious, but the confusing nature of the story and the overwhelming romance made it difficult to enjoy at times.

Waiting on Wednesday (December 23)

wow

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

This week, I’m waiting on The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, which has an expected publication date of May 3, 2016.

Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.

THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian mythology.

This sounds so good – it was pitched as a Hades and Persephone-style romance in the context of Indian mythology, which sounds really intriguing! Plus the cover is gorgeous.

Which books are you waiting on? Leave me a link or a list to your Waiting on Wednesday post below.

3

Top Ten Books I’d Love Santa To Bring This Year

ttt

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “top ten books you wouldn’t mind Santa leaving under your tree this year.” I think I’ve been a pretty good girl this year, so hopefully Santa can work some Christmas magic and put at least one of these books under my tree!

Already Released:

Rainy Day (Re)Reads:

2016 Releases:

Which books are on your Christmas wish list? Leave me a list or a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post in the comments below.

3

Review | The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

23310763Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?

3 cupcakes

After seeing that adorable cover, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart quickly found its way onto my wish list. I went in expecting a cute story and lots of banter, and while that’s exactly what I got, I was strangely disappointed.

Since I love lists, here are some things I liked:
– Bex and Jack have open and honest conversations about sex. I loved how the discussion centred around making it comfortable and enjoyable for both parties, and emphasized that you’re not defined by the number of people that you’ve slept with.
Diversity. This book touched on a wide range of topics – from sexuality to mental illness – and the characters located within its pages were just as diverse.
Parents are present. They’re not conveniently absent; they pay attention to Bex and Jack’s comings and goings, and deal out appropriate punishments for breaking ground rules.
The romance is cute. There’s banter and fluff and snark and lots of really sweet scenes.

… & here are some things that didn’t work for me:
– Jack came across as a manic pixie dream boy, both in his descriptions (gorgeous, hipster, rebel with a cause) and the role that he plays in Bex’s life.
The characters aren’t particularly memorable. Sure, their interactions were cute, but a few days later, I find that nothing really stood out to me.
Everything was far too smooth. The main “conflicts” of the story were easily resolved, and centred around secondary characters who weren’t developed enough to make it compelling. To add to this, the “mystery” surrounding Jack was far too easy to solve, and didn’t cause the tension that I had anticipated.

Overall, I really wanted to love this, but unfortunately the manic pixie dream boy-esque love interest & unmemorable characters outweighed the positive aspects.

Review | More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto — miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut novel offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

5 cupcakes

More Happy Than Not was one of my most anticipated debuts of the year, so when my hold finally came in, I immediately dropped everything to start giving it a read. If it weren’t for the fact that I needed to go to work, I would have devoured this in one sitting… but, as it stands, More Happy Than Not was beautiful and heart-wrenching, and I can’t wait to read it again.

Having recently re-watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between it and More Happy Than Not – especially since the relationships and characters took centre stage, not the idea of memory erasure. That being said, I was still completely surprised by all of the twists and turns that the story took, so any expectations that the movie gave me did not dampen my reading experience.

The structure of More Happy Than Not and Aaron’s narration were what really made this story for me. Although it’s told in a linear fashion, each chapter can be viewed as a memory. Aaron’s voice captured my interest immediately; it’s raw and honest, confused and realistic. We get to watch him fall in love, make mistakes, and desperately try to find happiness – even if that happiness means giving up a part of himself.

Aaron’s relationships with Genevieve and Thomas add much-needed lightness to the story, from Trade Dates and rooftop movies to comic books and banter. They truly cared about Aaron, and were an excellent support system.

And can I just say how much I loved the diversity? More Happy Than Not contains characters of different sexual orientations and socioeconomic backgrounds, and the protagonist and other major characters were PoC.

Overall, More Happy Than Not is one of those books that will stick with me for a long time. It’s poignant, heartbreaking, and (surprisingly) hopeful, and I highly recommend giving it a read.