March ’17 Wrap Up

Hello everyone!

March has been a pretty crazy month. I moved on the third and didn’t stop traveling until the eighth. I’ve been trying to get myself together since then and it hasn’t been going that well. I had so much to do the first week I was there that it was really overwhelming and therefore, I started getting behind in my blogging schedule. I didn’t post as much as usual also because of that but I really hope that April will be much better as I think things will slow down. Anyway, thanks for sticking around while I’m getting myself together and now I’ll show you what I managed to accomplish this month.

SO let’s get started!

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Book Traveling Thursdays Mar. 30th – It’s Take a Walk in the Park Day

Hello everyone!

It’s BTT time! This is a weekly meme created by Danielle at Danielle’s Book Blog and Catia at TheGirlWhoReadTooMuch. You can find all of the information you’ll need to participate on the Goodreads page.

This week’s topic is It’s Take a Walk in the Park Day… choose a book that always relaxes you. Some of these topics are getting harder and harder because they’re just too simple. There’s a lot of different ways to interpret a book that relaxes you so I picked a book that helps me lower my stress levels because it’s really funny and makes me happy.

SO let’s get started!

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Book Review – Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Seven Ways We Lie

Author: Riley Redgate

Publication: March 8th, 2016

Publisher: Amulet Books

Format: Kindle Edition, 352 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, LGBTQ+

Read: February 2017

Riley RedgateGoodreads

 

Synopsis
In Seven Ways We Lie, a chance encounter tangles the lives of seven high school students, each resisting the allure of one of the seven deadly sins, and each telling their story from their seven distinct points of view.
The juniors at Paloma High School all have their secrets, whether it’s the thespian who hides her trust issues onstage, the closeted pansexual who only cares about his drug-dealing profits, or the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal. But it’s Juniper Kipling who has the furthest to fall. No one would argue that Juniper—obedient daughter, salutatorian, natural beauty, and loyal friend—is anything but perfect. Everyone knows she’s a saint, not a sinner; but when love is involved, who is Juniper to resist temptation? When she begins to crave more and more of the one person she can’t have, her charmed life starts to unravel.
Then rumors of a student–teacher affair hit the fan. After Juniper accidentally exposes her secret at a party, her fate falls into the hands of the other six sinners, bringing them into one another’s orbits. All seven are guilty of something. Together, they could save one another from their temptations—or be ruined by them.
Riley Redgate’s twisty YA debut effortlessly weaves humor, heartbreak, and redemption into a drama that fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins will adore.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
The first half of this book was painfully slow, it took me so long to get interested in it. I didn’t really want to pick it up but as I continued, the second half improved and was much more entertaining. Some things were kind of boring and it wasn’t as engaging as I was hoping it would be. It’s a coming of age story with important themes throughout but it just didn’t capture my attention.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
It was really confusing and complicated, it was really hard for me to understand what was happening. I understand what the author was trying to do but there were way too many POVs. However, they were each distinct to each character which was good, I just couldn’t keep up with them, even though the writing style was very simple and easy to read.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Usually this is the section where I talk about the main characters and a little bit in general about side characters, but this book in particular has seven main characters so I’m just gonna share my thoughts in general. First off, seven is way too many main characters for me. I thought the concept was a really interesting one, each character is meant to represent a deadly sin (you can hypothesize who is who which was great discussion in my book club). However, because there were so many, I didn’t connect with the majority of them. I enjoyed some of their points of views, I hate others, but in general, I just had a meh feeling towards them, specially added with the fact that the first part of the book was slow. Olivia is spunky, Matt is kind and quiet, Valentine is pretty peculiar, Juniper was okay, I hated Claire with a passion and I felt like Kat wasn’t really needed. I just realized that I didn’t mention Julian in my notes at all. I liked him but that just further proves that I was overwhelmed with the amount of characters.

Emotionally

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Monthly Obsessions #13

Hello everyone!

I’m here today to talk about my monthly obsessions. This month has been pretty crazy to me. It’s been stressful and nerve wracking and I’ve been trying to get myself back on my regular schedule again. Thanks for staying around guys, I really appreciate keeping your support while I’ve been a bit MIA. Anyway, I can’t wait to show you all what I’ve been loving recently!

SO let’s get started!

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Series Review – Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson

Book Review - Fire and Thorns Trilogy

The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns #1, #2 and #3)

Author: Rae Carson

Publication: September 20th 2011, September 18th 2012 and August 27th 2013

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Format: Kindle Edition 448 pages, Kindle Edition 416 pages and Kindle Edition 449 pages

Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: October 2016 and February 2017

Rae CarsonGoodreads

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Synopsis
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king–a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior, and he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
The plot is medium paced but it doesn’t really seem like it. There’s a lot of adventure and travel. This book sets up the world which is Catholic/Hispanic and Latinx inspired which is amazing and it also sets up the conflict for the future books. It’s all about magic, religion and so much mystery. I loved getting swept up in this story since it hadn’t happened in a long time. There’s also very little romance which was refreshing for the first book in a YA fantasy series.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This author’s writing style is really simple, but also descriptive and detailed. However, it’s also really intense and powerful. It’s emotionally heavy but the narrator has kind of a dry narrative. In this book, she’s very unsure about everything that’s happening with her but it’s still entertaining and engaging to read.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I feel like this group of characters is going to take over my heart very quickly. There’s so much for me to connect to, not only with the main characters but with the culture and the world in this book. I’m slowly drowning in the depths of these dynamics.
Elisa is a very shy and quiet main character. Usually, main characters in fantasy are tough and ready to take on the world and it was a nice change of pace to see someone much more unsure and lost. She’s been kept in the dark about things pertaining to her and she spends a lot of time trying to get on the same playing field as everyone else which was a very interesting point of view to see. But we learn that she’s really smart and a great strategist. I love how she becomes more confident, honest and strong throughout the book.
There are quite a big number of side characters in this series which tends to happen in high fantasy. Each one is complex and interesting on their own and kept me guessing and wondering how they were going to shift the plot. I’m a shipper so I like to mention the romance but it’s very unclear in this first book. I know there is one because of what I’ve heard people talk about from this series but there’s practically nothing in this book.

The Crown of Embers

Synopsis
She does not know what awaits her at the enemy’s gate.
Elisa is a hero.
She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t.
Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.
To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with.
If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

Critically

Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I am falling in love with this series, really and truly. This book is full of adventure and travel (again). There’s much more information on the world and the background of it, like how it was created and what led to the setting we see here. It deals with magic, religion, action, drama, politics, war and death. And just to sweeten things up a bit, we have a bit more romance in this one haha.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is descriptive and detailed. It’s simple but at the same time, really powerful and intense. There’s a lot of emotion that pours out of the page through the writing style. It’s medium paced but intricate and entertaining, I could’ve read this book in one sitting honestly. There’s some drama in here but it’s such an enjoyable read.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
I’m so obsessed guys! I am officially in love with every single character in this series. They all have a place in my heart, they are my babies and I will protect them with my life!
Elisa astounds me. I loved her character development in the first book, but I’m also super glad that it wasn’t that she had an “easy fix” to the personality she had. She was still unsure and worried about the things happening around her but she’s determined to be the best Queen she can possibly be to this kingdom she now has control of. She’s defiant and selfless. She’s a really strong, smart and honest leader and I think she’s a total badass to be quite honest.
The side characters also continue to grow and astound me. They’re each complex and intricate individuals and the relationships they create between them are just as real and powerful. They feel like real people while reading. The romance also makes a more obvious appearance and I loved it! I’m a huge shipper and this romance gave me the most wondrous feels!

The Bitter Kingdom

Synopsis
The epic conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.
Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion – a champion to those who have hated her most.

Critically

Plot – 5 out of 5 stars
IT’S SO GOOD, GUYS! This was the epic finale to end all the finales for me. It was action packed, full of even more adventure and more travel. We see even more of the world and it continues to astound me how big this creation is. There’s politics, magic, religion and so much more romance that just made me ecstatic! There’s a war going on but it’s almost Cold, it deals with stealth and strategies first which was super interesting.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is powerful and intense, it packs an emotional punch and took me through the wrenches haha. It’s detailed, descriptive yet simple. There’s drama, there’s entertainment and everything is intricately woven together. Though it has a medium pace, the writing flies by and the book can be easily finished in one sitting.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! These characters give me life and happiness more than the majority of the characters that I’ve encountered lately. They are all so amazing and beautiful and just so awesome!
Elisa is my Queen! I absolutely adore her. She’s confident and determined. She’s facing upheaval and mutiny within her advisors and she’s going into extreme enemy territory as well. She’s smart and strong and has such a resilient spirit. I liked being able to see much more of her compassionate side in this book. I consider her such a badass that even though that has a “tough only” connotation, it just reminds me of how complex she is as a character. She’s a defiant individual but also in tune with her emotions and her faith. She’s grown so much throughout the series that it’s kind of mind blowing. It makes me so proud of her which sounds kind of weird but that’s the kind of feeling she brings up in me.
Just like the side characters who are complex and intricate individuals. One of my favorite things about this series is the slow build of relationships. From friendships to romances to alliances, every thing is done with care and each one grows exponentially as the stories continue.

 Emotionally

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T5W Mar. 22nd – Favorite Angsty Romances

Hello everyone!

Time for another Top 5 Wednesday. Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and if you would like to join, here is the link for the Goodreads group with all the information.

This week’s topic is Favorite Angsty Romances. I am a huge shipper, I love to read books with romances that I can cheer on or agonize over. But most of the time, I love romances that start out slowly and that develop organically with not a lot of fuss and fighting. However, there’s also some amazing angst filled romances that I have loved and this list is going to feature them!

SO let’s get started!

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Sara 101: Reunited and It Feels So Good! (Book Haul and Unhaul)

Hello everyone!

I am back today with my personal feature, Sara 101, where I talk about me and myself and I and anything and everything that I could want to share about my personal life.

When I first started this blog, I mentioned a lot that when I moved to Venezuela, I left four boxes of books behind. Now that I’ve made another move, all the way back to where I was, I got reunited with my books! It was one of the first things I did as soon as I got settled, pop open those boxes and see what I actually have. Today this post is going to be about the books that I have and the ones I decided to keep and the ones I’m donating!

SO let’s get started!

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ARC Review – The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

book-review-the-pants-project

the-pants-project-cover

The Pants Project

Author: Cat Clarke

Publication: March 7th, 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Format: e-ARC, 272 pages

Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Coming of Age, LGBTQ+

Read: March 2017

Cat ClarkeGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
My name is Liv (Not Olivia)… I’m not technically a girl.
I’m Transgender. Which is a bit like being a transformer. Only not quite as cool as cool because I probably won’t get to save the world one day.
A Transformer is a robot in disguise. Liv is a boy in disguise. It’s that simple. Liv knows he was always meant to be a boy, but with his new school’s terrible dress code, he can’t even wear pants. Only skirts.
Operation: Pants Project begins! The only way for Live to get what he wants is to go after it himself. But to Liv, this isn’t just a mission to change the policy- it’s a mission to change his life. And that’s a pretty big deal.

I am a cisgender, straight woman and I know very little about transgender issues. If I say anything in this review that can be seen as offensive to the transgender community, please let me know!

Also here’s a review by a multigender writer which I found on this list of reviews of trans/non-binary literature by trans/non-binary reviewers. If you know of any #ownvoices reviews of this book, let me know so I can share them here!

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This book was really entertaining and cute. There’s a lot of passion and several themes that I enjoyed reading about and that I think are important within a middle grade specially. This book talks about acceptance, honestly, family, friendship and sticking up for yourself. Overall, it was a really nice read, super fast and just generally feel good even with the integration of serious topics.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
The writing style was really fast paced and easy to read. I could’ve finished the book in one sitting if I had had the time to do so. The main character has a very distinct voice and personality which I liked but it also felt very disjointed and there were some weird metaphors. Some things were not explained in the best way in my opinion and kind of made me raise my eyebrows a bit.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I liked the characters in this book, most of all the relationships between them and how they grew and developed as the book went on. Liv was pretty great. He was very determined and had a lot of tenacity which I appreciated. He was very adamant about what he wanted to accomplish with The Pants Project and what it meant to him and I love his purpose. However, he also had a temper that had gotten him in trouble a few times and it was interesting to see that kind of growth, learning how to feel his anger without physically lashing out. He was really vulnerable and secretive for various reasons but he was really kind as well. Like I said above, I really liked the relationships that were explored in the story. The family dynamic is really great and Liv has a sibling with whom he gets along well, as well as you can with a younger sibling and I loved their relationship! There are quite a few side characters and the ones that had most page time I felt were well developed and interesting to read about. I want to mention that there is one character who does say transphobic and homophobic things. They are clearly condemned in the text and the author makes a point to call them out for being bad things to say and to believe but I want to make sure people know before reading in case it’s triggering.

Emotionally

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Book Traveling Thursdays Mar. 16th – It’s Freedom of Information Day!

Hello everyone!

It’s BTT time! This is a weekly meme created by Danielle at Danielle’s Book Blog and Catia at TheGirlWhoReadTooMuch. You can find all of the information you’ll need to participate on the Goodreads page.

This week’s topic is It’s Freedom of Information Day! Because freedom matters choose a controversial book. I don’t particularly like the term “controversial book.” It just makes it seem like opposing opinions are automatically combative against each other and I’m not really there for that. So, I decided to pick a book that I didn’t enjoy as much as other people because I wasn’t prepared for the experience of reading it.

SO let’s get started!

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ARC Review – Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

book-review-done-dirt-cheap

done-dirt-cheap-cover

Done Dirt Cheap

Author: Sarah Nicole Lemon

Publication: March 7th, 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Romance

Read: February 2017

Sarah Nicole LemonGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Abrams Kids and Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens. Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of Hazard, a powerful attorney: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book doesn’t have a linear plot in my opinion, it’s much more character oriented. But there’s a lot of amazing themes expressed and developed in this story. It’s a coming of age and it talks about hope, ambition, trust, friendship, honesty, bravery and just general girl badassery. It took me awhile to get into it but it caught my attention after the first quarter.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This author’s writing is one of my favorite things about this book. Contemporaries tend to have very simple and easy to read writing, and while this has that, it’s also really poetic and lyrical. There are some really beautiful lines in this book that paint a detailed picture with descriptions that are intense. This book has dual POVs since the two main characters narrate the story but the distinction is very subtle and I wish it could’ve been more obvious to have an easier time transitioning between narrators.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
This is the selling point of this book. Not only are there two amazing female protagonists but they build such an incredible friendship that is pretty much the most important part of the story. I am kind of obsessed with these girls and their bond to be honest. Tourmaline is kind of the more naive of the two. She’s been sheltered her entire life and has a certain perception of the world because of who her father is and what he does. She feels really guilty for what she did when she was younger. However, she’s learning a lot about what is really happening around her and she’s defiant and determined. I loved seeing her become more confident as the story progressed. Then we have Virginia (it got a bit confusing sometimes since the setting is also Virginia) and she’s kind of like rough and tough. She’s definitely been through hardship and her life isn’t really what she envisions for herself. She makes the most of what she has but slowly things start to unravel and she wants to look to escape. She’s very vulnerable and scared, she’s dealing with a lot of anxiety but she’s also learning to open up and depend on others. Again, the friendship between these two characters is absolutely incredible and the best part of this book. But there are also a lot of complex and interesting relationships and romances that I feel were very well developed but didn’t take away from the friendship being the focal point of the story.

Emotionally

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