April ’17 Wrap Up

Hello everyone!

Compared to March, April has been pretty laid back. I had to study a lot of math because of an assessment test that I had to do but since I didn’t have much to do out of the house so I had a lot of time to read. Not only that, but I got to go to the library a few times throughout the month. Let me know if you guys would like to see what I haul from the library in my wrap ups because I’d be willing to do so. Besides that, I read quite a few books this month though there weren’t as many stand outs as I would’ve liked.

SO let’s get started!

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Monthly Obsessions #14

Hello everyone!

I’m here today to talk about my monthly obsessions. This month has been full of ups and downs. I’m honestly struggling a lot right now. I’ve had to start my life over for the third time in my 22 years and I’m really freaking tired of it haha. It’s hard and I’m sad and I’m stressed. So I read a lot this month and I watched a lot of different shows to kind of distract myself and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.

SO let’s get started!

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Book Review – Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication: July 1st, 2014

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Hardcover, 357 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: April 2017

Maggie StiefvaterGoodreads

 

 

Synopsis
found.
Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get Isabel Culpeper back. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn’t just want her. He needs her.
lost.
Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It’s not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes…but what’s the point? What is there to win?
sinner.
Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to save each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book is really slow and it’s really dramatic. It got really boring sometimes and the story felt like it stretched out too long. I liked the setting since it was a change of pace from the rest of the series but the narrative was full of angst and I’m not a big fan of that. Also, I feel like for how big the problem felt to the characters, the resolution went by too quickly.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
I’m feeling kind of meh towards the writing in this entire series. It’s descriptive and detailed which is good but it’s really slow paced. This book is told in dual point of view but both of the voices sound really similar to each other, something that’s not easy to see in the original trilogy. In general, the writing is poetic but super dramatic as well.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I haven’t had the best connection with the characters in this series and now that half the original cast is gone and there’s new characters in this book that we don’t really have a lot of space to get to know, I’m even more like meh towards this cast of characters.
Cole is really intense and kind of depressed. His narration was really emotional. He’s confused about a lot of things but also determined to create the life he wants for himself. However, he’s still a bit lost and not sure how to deal with everything that’s going on around him.
Isabel is the other point of view in this book but honestly, her narrative wasn’t that much different than Cole’s. She’s very angry inside but also working hard to ignore the affects the world has on her. She’s kind of cold and stoic though all of that is just hiding her vulnerability and her emotional side. I don’t think their relationship is the most healthy honestly.
I feel like there were too many new side characters and none of them had enough page time to really get to know sufficiently. It just made the story like depth and realness.

Emotionally

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Book Traveling Thursdays Apr. 27th – Because In Spring Time…

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 Because in Spring time we tend to read more contemporary… Choose your favorite contemporary read. I don’t tend to pick my reading genres depending on the season but I have to say that I’ve been reading lots of contemporary recently. The book I chose is one that I read last year and that I really, really loved and I kind of want to re-read soon.

SO let’s get started!

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Series Review – The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver, Linger and Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1, #2 and #3)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication: August 1st 2009, July 13th 2010 and July 12th 2011

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Kindle Edition 402 pages, Kindle Edition 369 pages and Kindle Edition 405 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: December 2016, January 2017 and April 2017

Maggie StiefvaterGoodreads

Shiver

Synopsis
From a dazzlingly talented young writer, a haunting and original supernatural romance in the vein of TWILIGHT.

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This is a re-read for me so I wasn’t expecting to be surprised by anything and I was right. The plot was kind of slow, sometimes confusing and sometimes boring. It’s a good pace and easy to get through, but it had insta love. However, I really liked the kind of werewolf lore the author decided to go with, I think it’s a really interesting concept that I can’t wait to see explored more.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
In general, the writing is really descriptive and detailed. However, it’s really slow paced so I felt like it dragged as I was reading and made it hard to keep my interest. It’s lyrical and poetic and there’s also in my opinion some great dialogue.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I don’t really know how I feel about these characters. They’re all kind of strange in their own peculiar ways and the story helps by creating a very peculiar atmosphere.
Grace is the protagonist in this book and she’s kind of stoic. She’s really independent and has had to basically raise herself since her parents tend to leave her alone a lot. She’s a little bit obsessed with the wolves outside her backyard which starts this entire adventure and she’s determined to understand everything that’s going on. I found her to be kind but also she’s kind of a stickler for stuff haha.
There’s various other side characters involved in the story, including the male love interest and while I generally enjoyed them, I feel like all the characters to have a bit more complexity. They all seem a little bit cardboard, as in that they have a singular personality and this is the kind of person that they are within the story and there’s not much room to grow beyond that.

Linger

Synopsis
The astonishing #1 New York Times bestseller. In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Again this book is really slow. The romance is the main focus in the entire series but in the first two books specially which can be annoying for some people. There’s a lot more information of the werewolves which I really appreciate and I think it was really well thought out. This one was full of angst and it kind of got on my nerves.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Again, descriptive and detailed. Super slow paced though it’s very poetic and lyrical and easy to read. This one in particular had several points of views which was okay, but they never really felt distinct between one another. The narrative dragged a bit while reading but it was really emotional so I liked that.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I enjoyed the characters much more in this one. Part of the reason is because it’s a second book so we get more page time with them but also because there are more points of views so I can see into the minds of those characters that I was more detached from.
Grace is still pretty stoic, I’ve accepted that it’s just her personality. She’s much more emotional in this one though. She’s defiant of her parents and the way they treat her and independent and itching to spread her wings and do something for herself. She’s a little bit reckless, a lot scared but just as kind as she was in the first book. She’s kind of winning me over.
Sam is pretty much exactly the same way I thought he was in the first book, maybe a little more sad in this one. He’s lost, vulnerable and scared with everything that’s going on in his life. He’s still very earnest and I can’t even explain what I mean by that but that’s the kind of vibe he gives.
There’s more side characters in this one as well but they’re definitely getting more development than they did in the first book. They’re a little bit too crazy and too dramatic for my taste but I understand what they’re doing within the story.

Forever

Synopsis
The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater
In Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Honestly, I was hoping the plot of this book would improve over the previous two but it was very similar. There was a much bigger conflict which was interesting but then another angsty romance was added to the lineup. It got boring sometimes again and I felt like the ending was interesting but kind of sad all the same.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
There’s nothing much that’s different from this book to the previous one. The writing style is descriptive and detailed though slow paced. The narrative dragged a bit and kind of made it hard for me to keep engaged. However, it was still poetic and lyrical in delivery.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I kind of wish I could say that I ended up falling in love with these characters by the end, but that’s just not true. I like them all well enough but the whole story as well as their personalities were just too dramatic for me.
Grace changed in this book. From the end of the second book to this one, she’s quieter, much more vulnerable. She kept her defiant spirit as well as her independence. But she’s tired and that really came through.
The rest of the side characters are also much more stressed out, specially since the plot of this book is pretty intense for them. They’re all dealing with a lot of different things and it affects each of them in different ways.

Emotionally

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Freadom Speaks About the Lack of Female Friendships in YA

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to my discussion feature, Freadom Speaks!

This post was supposed to be up two days ago since Fridays are when I usually share discussions but when I scheduled my Sara 101 post during the weekend, I chose the wrong date and that one ended up posting instead. By the time I realized it, I’d already gotten a few comments and likes so I decided to leave it up and share this today but I wanted to explain that since that post references this post in the first paragraph haha.

I say this a lot but I really struggle with discussions. I have a hard time finding topics to talk about and a hard time expressing myself throughout the post. However, I don’t want to give up on myself so I decided to talk about the lack of female friendships in this book since it’s something that I’m really passionate about. It makes me really angry that there are so many toxic and unhealthy portrayals of female friendships in Ya and I want to explore how I feel about it a bit more, the kinds of red flags that classify negative female relationships and the kinds of friendships that I’d like to see.

SO let’s get started!

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Sara 101: Favorite Female Characters

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 was thinking about what to share in this feature this month, I started thinking about female characters (mostly because of the discussion post from yesterday) and how I say that a lot of female characters are part of my favorites list but I haven’t actually made a list. So I decided what better way to help myself and to share something with you all, than to make a list of my favorite female characters and turn it into a post!

I usually try to rank these kinds of lists as best I can because I like to keep it that way for myself but this one is just too hard. The top 3 are absolutely my absolute favorites but the rest of this list is just from last read to most recent read.

SO let’s get started!

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T5W Apr. 19th – Favorite LGBTQ+ Books

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 LGBTQ+ Books. I haven’t read as many books in this genre I guess as I want to. There are still a lot of amazing recommendations that I’ve gotten from people that I need to get to that I’m sure would’ve made this list if I’d already gotten through reading them. However, the following is a list of books from this genre that I really enjoyed.

SO let’s get started!

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ARC Review – The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

The Whole Thing Together

Author: Ann Brashares

Publication: April 25th, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Format: e-ARC, 304 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Read: April 2017

Ann BrasharesGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Random House Children’s and Delacorte Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.
Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.
The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.

Critically

Plot – 1.5 out of 5 stars
So much disappointment guys. This book doesn’t really have a linear plot, it’s all about the drama of the family that we’re reading about, that’s it. It was slow, boring and didn’t feel like a YA book at all since two thirds of the main characters were adults. There’s girl hate, an unnecessary and kind of gross romance as well as racism and sexism. Just a mess.

Writing Style – 2 out of 5 stars
The narrative style of this book was really jarring and confusing. It’s third person omniscient with multiple point of views but no real distinction between any of the voices. It was unnecessarily flowery and it dragged. It was hard to keep every character straight and the narrative was almost impersonal, I couldn’t connect to any of the protagonists.

Characters – 2 out of 5 stars
This is the first time that I’ve ever been in a complete blank in this section when writing down my thoughts after reading. There’s no life to any of these characters and no characteristics that stands them out in my mind as complex and multidimensional individuals.
The synopsis mentions two protagonists, Ray and Sasha, but there are actually three more protagonists, their siblings: Emma, Quinn and Matty. All of them are just bland characters. They are almost cardboard cutouts and stereotypical personalities. None of them feel like real people. In fact, I can’t really say anything beyond this about them. I sat for half an hour trying to come up with specific things about their personalities that set them apart from each other but there was nothing there. It didn’t help make the book any more entertaining specially since characters are a huge part of what makes books for me.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Publication: March 7th, 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Format: e-ARC, 464 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age, LGBTQ+

Read: April 2017

Benjamin Alire SaenzGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group and Clarion Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
From the multi-award-winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe comes a gorgeous new story about love, identity, and families lost and found.
Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Like other books from this author, there’s no linear plot, these books are generally focused on the characters and their growth throughout. This book deals with love, death, family, friendship, grief and anger. It deals with how all these things affect your relationships with people and how they affect you as a person. Unfortunately there’s a scene that mishandles a sexual assault and that’s not something I can take lightly.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
I’m a really big fan of this author’s writing style but in this particular book, there were some misses. The writing style is lyrical and poetic. It reads really quickly and it’s engaging. It’s very emotional and very powerful. However, there were instances with unfortunate phrasing in terms of gender norms and “standards” for representing your ethnicity. There was constant use of a derogatory term as well as ableist language and none of that was necessary for the story.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
Again, another area that unfortunately didn’t sell itself completely. I liked a lot of the characters and their relationships were very real and powerful. But there were some things that really got on my nerves.
Salvador is a good main character. His point of view was really intense and emotional. He’s quiet and sweet but almost in a practiced way which I totally related to. He was almost afraid of his anger and where it came from and I have definitely been through that. He’s really lost and confused and I wanted to wrap him in my arms a lot of the time.
However, I had some issues with the side characters. Sam, who is Sal’s best friend, was my biggest issue by far. Her personality just really rubbed me the wrong way. She’s very pushy and argumentative. I really don’t like the kind of people that try to dictate the way that you should act or feel and she was like that not only with Sal but with everyone around her and that was so annoying. She has a kind heart which I appreciated and I liked that she was really in tune with her emotions but those moments when that other side came out would ruin her for me. I really loved how the entire cast was predominantly Mexican and how that culture was integrated so deeply into the story. It was just so nice to read about Latinx family and culture so genuinely expressed.

Emotionally

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