T5W May 17th – Summer Reads

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 Top 5 Favorite Summer Reads. I tend to read a lot of contemporary in the summer for some reason, sometimes even some urban fantasy. This year right now I’m reading a lot of New Adult and I’m kind of addicted since I had my NA themed month. They’re super easy to read and fly through so I’m going to share a mix of entertaining YA and NA that I really enjoyed.

SO let’s get started!

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ARC Review – How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

How to Make a Wish

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

Read: May 2017

Ashley Herring BlakeGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This is a really great coming of age story about grief and family. A few of the themes involved were friendship, sexuality, love, acceptance and letting go. I probably would’ve read it in one sitting if I’d had a physical copy of this book because while it’s super emotional and powerful, it’s so easy to get lost in.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style of this book is definitely one of its selling points. It’s powerful and emotional and intense. It’s poetic and raw. There’s a few instances of explicit content but it was so tastefully done that it flowed easily through the story. The narrative was just so honest and real, it was so great to read.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
The characters of this book are just so amazing. There’s nothing I love more than a character driven story and this is exactly what the kind of book that does it extremely well. All the characters are complex and complicated, they’re all dealing with so many different things and I loved seeing their individual growth.
Grace is such a strong character. She’s had to deal with so many things because of her mom that most people don’t have to that it’s made her kind of closed off. She’s tired of having to pick up the pieces after her Mom. She feels very self-conscious and vulnerable. I connected a lot with her and the responsibilities she felt she had toward her Mom.
The side characters in this series are stellar. They each have their own role within the story, but they don’t feel like they’re there just for that. Each one is complex and real. They’re relationships with each other felt so honest. I can’t stop saying the word real because I just felt like I had the privilege to sneak a peek into the lives of such amazing individuals and there’s nothing better than to find a book that gives you that.

Emotionally

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Book Traveling Thursdays May 11th – Loved Book from Unloved Genre

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 Choose a book from a genre that you don’t read that often but loved anyway. This topic is a bit harder for me because there isn’t a genre that I could really call unloved. There are some that I’m not as big of a fan of like Horror or Science Fiction but I still read books from those genres. So I picked Paranormal as my unloved genre since over time, as I’ve grown older, isn’t as engaging to me now.

SO let’s get started!

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ARC Review – Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Noteworthy

Author: Riley Redgate

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+

Read: April 2017

Riley RedgateGoodreads

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
It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.
Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book was really fun and cute though it also dealt with the heavier themes of like like gender identity, friendship, family and sexuality. It’s a coming of age story with secrets and some violence. However, I wish the ending matched the beginning, meaning I wish the themes involved would’ve come full circle in a different way and that the ending didn’t feel like such a cop out I guess.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
The writing style is pretty easy to read, however, there were really long chapters which made it feel like it was dragging by. It’s detailed and descriptive and quite funny and entertaining as well. I really loved the music side of the story, even though it wasn’t really a big focal point like I expected. I was a bit disappointed with the way some of the themes were explored and was hoping they would have more page time.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I’m a little sad to say that I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I was hoping to. There wasn’t anything that I particularly disliked about any of them, I have started to think that maybe this author’s writing style isn’t for me. There’s just something about it that doesn’t really allow me to get lost into the story completely like I like to.
Jordan is kind of a frustrating character but it makes sense. She’s confused and a little lost. She wants to feel like she belongs in this fancy performing arts school she’s a part of but she isn’t really finding her place within it. She’s kind of quiet and feels discouraged with her dreams. She struggles with the decision she makes and feels very guilty. She’s torn and angry. She doubts herself a lot and feels a lot of pressure. She’s dealing with all these different things going on in her life but I wish that all this coming of age and self-discovery would’ve included more honesty and  personal responsibility.
There’s a lot of side characters and they’re all such complex individuals with different stories and lives and their relationships are all so complicated and intricate. There’s a lot of diversity in this book which was so amazing to read because that’s one of the biggest positives of this story, how real they feel as a group, as people that reside in this school. I wish there would’ve been more page time for developing friendships, you see glimpses here and there but a lot of the book was just Jordan’s thoughts and feelings. I would’ve liked to have seen more page time of the friendships that developed since the story started and the ones that were already established before.

Emotionally

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Most Anticipated Spring Releases

Hello everyone!

I am back today to talk about my most anticipated releases of the spring season, from March, April and May of 2017. So I totally forgot that this is something that I do at the beginning of each season and obviously spring is halfway through or almost over by the time I’m sharing and most of the books have already been released. In my defense, the month I would’ve been sharing this if I’d remember was the weekend I moved and I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it anyway so there. I have a total of 24books to talk about so make sure to click on the cover if you would like to see their Goodreads page. Let’s look at some books anyway, shall we?

SO let’s get started!

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May ’17 TBR – Mental Health Theme

Hello everyone!

I’m kind of nervous about this month. When I made this theme last year, I didn’t really think that’d I’d be struggling with my own mental health during this month. However, I’ve been wanting to read some of the books on this list for a really long time so I’m gonna give them a chance. I’ll also be able to get some library books if need be and I can always read some of the New Adult books that I didn’t get to last month to relax a bit.

SO let’s get started!

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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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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 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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April ‘ 17 TBR – New Adult Theme

Hello everyone!

I’m really looking forward to this month! I’m a big fan of New Adult though I haven’t read it in a really long time. Considering how little I’ve been reading lately, I hope this month will help push me to read a bit more. These books are usually easy to read for me and I fly by them really fast, the last time I had a NA month I read 18 books so it looks like it might be a good month. I also hope to not be so busy, cross your fingers for me!

SO let’s get started!

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