Sunshine Blogger Award

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Yay my first ever award! Thanks to the lovely Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews for nominating me. Please go check out her blog, she combines my two loves (books and Disney) so it’s pretty amazing. Also check her post here.

The rules awards blog

  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write then 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

mandy's questions sunshine award

1. If you had to sort your own personal library, how would you do it- color, author, another way?

Nice question! Owning a personal library is a dream of mine haha. I think I’d organize it by genre, and then within the genre alphabetically. I’d also probably separate hardcover and paperback so it looks more uniform on the shelf. And then I’d have a favorites shelf, so I can always find it easily.

2. How important is a cover of a book for you?

This is something my family always teases me about, but the cover of a book is very important to me. I’m naturally drawn to the beautiful, bright covers. It usually portrays the theme and tone of the book. I also have a thing about the fonts and what the fonts mean. Certain fonts to me are related to different genres.

3. What made you choose blogging- not Youtube or etc. but blogging?

To be honest, I never even thought about Youtube or another type of medium. I read The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts, and the main character was a romance book blogger, and I thought, “Hmm, that sounds so fun. Why don’t I try!” And that’s why I chose blogging!

4. What princess (or Disney character) can you relate the most with?

I love this question! It’s actually one I think often about, believe it or not. I think I relate to Rapunzel the most because I’m a little naive like her, but stronger than other people think, and I have a thirst for adventure and love of life like her. I also relate to Hercules (especially in Go the Distance) and Belle because like Hercules, I just want to belong, and like Belle I love books.

5. If you could only have one song as mood music to reading, what would you choose?

Hmm. I don’t usually like to listen to music while reading, but when I do I like to listen to “City of Stars” from La La Land. It’s a really calming song, and gets me in the mood to start reading.

6. If you had to have your favorite meal- sans arugula of course- what would it be?

It would have to be mac and cheese from California Pizza Kitchen. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid, so it’s the ultimate comfort food for me. Plus, it’s still just so delicious!

7. Do you have a favorite time of year? If so, when is it and why?

My favorite time of year is Autumn, for many reasons. I’ve always loved the first day of school, and that falls in Autumn. Also, I love the colors of the leaves on the trees and the weather. And my birthday is in September ;P.

8. What was your last binge watch/read?

I always binge read, so I’ll go with my last binge watch. It was One Tree Hill, and sadly almost a year ago! I’ve kinda fallen out of love with TV shows since reading more, and haven’t found any shows yet that excite me again.

9. What was your favorite story (folktale or fairytale maybe?) as a kid?

That’s a hard one. I’d have to go with One Grain of Rice. I remember I’d always check it out at my school library. It was about a famine in a village when the leader locks up all the rice, and a clever village girl tricks him by asking if one grain of rice can be doubled each day. After 30 days, it turns into millions of grains of rice! Something about this book really interested me and I kept going back and reading it.

10. Do you discuss books with anyone in real life?

Yes! I am lucky enough that my best friends are also avid readers, so I discuss the books I read with them often. It’s another great way for us to connect.

11. If you could meet your favorite author, who would it be and what one question would you ask them?

This is a super hard one for me. I don’t know if I can pick just one favorite author! One author I would love to meet and have a conversation with is J.K. Rowling. I don’t even know if I’d be able to ask any questions, or if I’d just stare at her starstruck as she speaks. Anything she says about Harry Potter would be interesting enough for me!

my questions book awards

  1. Where’s your favorite place to read?
  2. What book do you wish you were a part of and why?
  3. Which fictional character do you want to marry?
  4. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  5. What’s your favorite movie and why?
  6. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
  7. What is the best gift you’ve ever been given?
  8. What would you do if you won the lottery?
  9. Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s at the top of it?
  10. What song would you say best sums you up?
  11. What’s your favorite type of weather? Why?

Nominations

Beth @ Reading Every Night|Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books|Liv @ Curly Hair Bibliophile|Geybie’s Book Blog|Megan @ Book Slayer Reads|Happily Ever After|Payton’s Book Thoughts|Jess @ Beaucoup Books|Bionic Book Worm|Melissa @ Book Nerd Momo|Inside My Library Mind

And that’s it for my first award! Yay!

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Book Review: Legend

legendRating: Fire starstarstarstar

Legend is the first book in the Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu. I read this series a couple years ago, and all I remember was that I hated the ending of the third book. Hated it. So that scared me off from rereading the trilogy, but after reading so much about it on the blogosphere, I decided it was time to read it again, even if the ending wrecks me. 

 

“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.”

June is a prodigious military student of the Republic. Day is a notorious criminal. When Day kills June’s brother, Metias, their worlds are bound to intersect. June is now on a mission to hunt Day down and turn him in. Day, on the other hand, is trying to save his family from the mysterious plague that has been sweeping his sector. Meeting on the streets, but unsure of each other’s identity, the two grow closer. But when Day is turned in to the Republic, June starts to unravel the truth of her nation and has to make a choice. Will she turn her back on everything she grew up believing and save Day, or will she stay loyal to the Republic and execute her brother’s murderer?

“The boy who walks in the light. The girl who shatters the shining glass.”

One thing I love about dystopian novels is how badass the female characters are. Whenever I read about two badass characters, I always find myself wanting to become super cool and fierce. Like I want to make observations and read body language and fight and go undercover too! Legend is no exception. June is agile, fast, observant, strong, intelligent, and fierce. She doesn’t need anyone’s help, and can handle herself on the street. She is also the only person to ever score a perfect score on the Republic’s Trial. But unlike all the other soldiers, June has a heart, nurtured by her older brother Metias. She tries not to judge the poor, doesn’t want to kill civilians, and has an strong moral compass. Even when she was the “enemy”, she was doing good and trying to save as many innocent people as possible. (*Sidenote* everyone in the military was so mean omg like why was June the only decent human being in there? It made me sad to see how the military and the police treated people.)

“Dust everywhere… and out of that emerged this beautiful boy with the bluest eyes I’d ever seen, holding his hand out to help me to my feet.”

Day may seem like a ruthless criminal, but underneath he’s a huge softie doing everything for his family and those he loves. He matches June perfectly in intellect and agility, so the two of them make an unbeatable team. I loved how much Day cares for his family and those he comes to call his family. He would risk his life for them without hesitation and puts them before himself. Of course Day and June ended up falling for each other, and while it was a bit of instalove, it definitely wasn’t the main focus of the novel and I know their relationship will be developed further in the next books. 

I always prepare for deaths in dystopian novels, but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of deaths in the first book, because usually they come in the later books as war breaks out. By the end of the book, June and Day suffer so much heartbreak, and are left alone without anyone in their corner. They are both so strong though, to keep moving after losing everyone they know and love. The family relationships in this story are so strong that they basically drive the plot forward, which I love. In particular, the sibling relationships were really well developed, sweet, and broke my heart each time I read it. I hated the deaths in this book already (some seemed so pointless!!) so I’m scared for what’s to come in the later books.

“If you want to rebel, rebel from inside the system.That’s much more powerful than rebelling outside the system.”

The plot in Legend was super fast paced, but in a good way. There was never a dull moment or a scene wasted. After reading many character driven books, it was nice to break things up with a plot driven book. I also liked how Marie Lu built an intricate world, but much of the information was revealed to us throughout the story, instead of info dumping in the beginning. And the reader was intentionally kept in the dark like the characters were, so we only figured things out when the characters did. There were definitely some plot twists in there that I wasn’t expecting. And I also appreciated the ending! Many times, I feel like the first book of a trilogy ALWAYS ends in a cliffhanger to create anticipation for the next book, but Legend left off at a nice point, where the climax just ended. While it is obvious more is going to happen and anticipation is built that way, it was a natural break, and there weren’t many unanswered questions about the action that occurred. 

My one (small) complaint was with the physical book itself. When I first read this book, I read it on Kindle, so I didn’t know that Marie Lu uses different fonts and colors to differentiate June and Day’s POVs. Day’s font and color bugged me so much. It was like computer military typed font in a greenish gold color, and it kept distracting me. But it’s really a minor minor complaint, just something I kept noticing. 

All in all, the first book of the Legend series is as good as I remembered. I read in it about two days, so it’s also highly addicting. It has intricate world building, captivating and fierce characters, an action filled plot, and of course, rebellion against a corrupted (yet seemingly utopian) government. I also feel like it has some sort of message about the United States of America  (The Republic, the Colonies, and the Patriots), but I haven’t quite figured out what the message is yet. I’m already preparing the next book in the trilogy, that’s how caught up in the storyline I am. 

Have you read Legend? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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Check out my Rating Descriptions!

 

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Standalone Sunday || Infinity + One

Hey everyone! Another week, another Standalone Sunday! Standalone Sunday is a weekly feature created by Megan @ Book Slayer Reads. The purpose is to highlight a standalone (not part of a series) book that we’ve either read and would recommend or want to read. This week I’ve chosen

Infinity + One by Amy Harmon

infinity plus oneWhen two unlikely allies become two unwitting outlaws, will two unforgettable lovers defy unbeatable odds?

Bonnie Rae Shelby is a superstar. She’s rich. She’s beautiful. She’s impossibly famous. And Bonnie Rae Shelby wants to die.

Finn Clyde is a nobody. He’s broken. He’s brilliant. He’s impossibly cynical. And all he wants is a chance at life.

One girl. One boy. An act of compassion. A bizarre set of circumstances. And a choice – turn your head and walk away, or reach out your hand and risk it all?

With that choice, the clock starts ticking on a man with a past and a girl who can’t face the future, counting down the seconds in an adventure riddled with heartbreak and humor, misunderstanding and revelation. With the world against them, two very different people take a journey that will not only change their lives, but may cost them their lives as well.

Infinity + One is a tale of shooting stars and fame and fortune, of gilded cages and iron bars, of finding a friend behind a stranger’s face, and discovering love in the oddest of places.

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I discovered Amy Harmon about two years ago, and she’s been a favorite author of mine ever since. Her books always are a little heavy, but hopeful, and unique. She always adds a special element to her books, something a little out there, that I personally loveInfinity + One is no different. It’s a story about two seemingly opposite people, who discover they have a lot more in common than they thought, and two broken people falling in love. Harmon’s writing style is beautiful, and out of all her books, this one is my favorite, because the characters are so different, the story is amazing, and it makes me the most emotional.

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Weekly Big Three || Week Four

Weekly Big Three

Hi guys! How has your week been? It’s almost my spring break, and I cannot be more excited! I definitely need a break from school. 

Weekly Big Three is a weekly feature created by me to feature your top three in a category. It is usually posted on Saturday. If you want to do it on your own blog, feel free to use the image I created or make your own! Just link my blog to your post so I can link your WBT to the bottom of this blog post. This week’s category is…

Top Three Children’s Books/Series

This can be anything from your favorite children’s book or series when you were a child, or your favorite now, or the most classic. Whatever you want! I’m going to focus on which were my favorite when I was a child. 

Anne of Green Gables

img_0270This series was given to me by my mom, and I loved it. I wanted to be Anne when I was a little girl. I loved her fire and kindness. I also loved Anne and Gilbert’s relationship (I was a romantic even when I was eight) and watching Anne grow up and have kids. My favorite in the series is still the first one though 🙂

 

 

The Beacon Street Girls

I was the only one of my friends who read thisbeacon street girls series, but it was my favorite. It follows five best friends in Boston on their daily activities and lives. I really became connected with these characters and felt like I was part of their friend group too. I also tried to imitate their actions because I admired them so much, haha. There were so many books in the series, and then spinoffs about one character, and I had them all.

Little House Series

little houseAnd then we come to this classic. My mom also gave me this series (they were her favorite as a girl) and I fell in love. I became so obsessed I read Laura’s entire story, and then read all the way up to her great grandmother in the spinoffs and down to her daughter. Basically, I knew her entire family history. My favorite book will always be the classic Little House in the Big Woods, but I love them all. 

 

 

A couple honorable mentions: Any book by Madeline L’Engle (both Meg and Vicky’s books) and Little Women.

And that’s my WBT this week! 

Weekly Big Threes Across the Blogosphere

The Scottish Librarian


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Book Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between

hello, goodbye, and everything in betweenRating: Firestarstarstarstar

Okay, first off, this book was so sweet. Even though it only took place during one night, the night was filled so well with different emotions, moods, and tones, so it really did feel like a complete story. Also, the whole time I was reading this book, I was thinking about the song The Night Before (Life Goes On) by Carrie Underwood. The resemblance between the two story lines is uncanny!

It’s the last night before Clare and Aidan leave for college, so it’s the night to decide: do they stay together or break up? Clare leads them on an elaborate scavenger hunt of their memories, trying to look in their past to decide their future. It’s a night of goodbyes, to friends, families, and places, but also a night of hellos, to new beginnings, and fresh starts. As they get closer and closer to morning, Clare and Aidan must choose if it’s going to be goodbye for now or goodbye forever. 

You know how you’re reading a book, and the main character kinda jumps out at you from nowhere and you’re like: that’s me. This main character is me. This is my book soulmate. Clare is my book soulmate. Everything, from her insecurities, to her thoughts, to her actions, was easily something I would’ve felt, thought, or done if I was in her story.

“Because that’s how she felt when she was with him- like she’d been a rock her whole life, ordinary and dull, and it wasn’t until she met him that something cracked open inside her, and just like that, she began to shine.”

She’s very nostalgic. She literally plans a walk down memory lane for her and her boyfriend on their last night together. Like that is just so me! And she likes to have a plan, a plan for everything. Even though logically I understand that spontaneity is necessary sometimes, and it’s good to dive into the unknown, I get her. She’s scared of the unknown, because she likes the known, and she’s comfortable in the known. So she plans, so everything is known to her. I connected instantly to her, because I related to her so much, which really elevated my review of the book. It felt like this story could easily be my story, in an alternate universe. 

Something so amazing about the way Jennifer E. Smith writes is that even though we only knew Aidan and Clare for one night, one night in their entire story together, I felt like I knew their whole relationship. I think it’s because the whole premise of the story is set against the backdrop of remembering their past together, so it was a clever way to introduce their relationship to us while moving the story forward. And their relationship is so natural. I guess when you’ve been dating someone for two years, that’s what happens, but they seemed to reach that level of intimacy of an old married couple but still preserve the excitement and butterflies of a first love. The two of them just couldn’t get enough of each other, and not even in a PDA way. They wanted to know about each other’s days, thoughts, brains, feelings, just really know the person inside and out. 

“She shakes her head. ‘I can’t think of a single good reason to break up with you right now.’
‘That’s because you’re not thinking big enough,’ he says. ‘It’s gotta be something huge, something grand.’
‘Like world peace?’
‘If world peace were a possible side effect of you breaking up with me, then yes, sure, that would definitely count as a noble reason.’
‘Maybe,” she says after a moment, “it’s just that we love each other too much.'”

Another thing I loved about this story was the friendships. Aidan and Scotty, Clare and Stella, it seemed like an unlikely combination, but they meshed. But again, this is the last night before they go to college, so there is some tension,  as they have to figure out how to say goodbye to each other. One of Smith’s skills, like I mentioned above, was turning this one night into an entire story, and the friendship dynamics is a huge part of that. She reveals a whole breath of emotion in each of their dynamics, as formally easy going friendships turned strained as each doesn’t want to say goodbye, and then how they mend as they realize there’s only one more night together. They all fight (s0me physically), but at the end they realize that they’re taking out their pent up anxiety on each other. They are mad at each other, but it’s like that anger you hold towards a passed away loved one: it’s kind of irrational, but valid. And there isn’t anything you can do but forgive yourself for it. And just like how we got to know Aidan and Clare’s full story in one night, we learn the ins and outs of each of their friendships. 

“Right now, together with her best and oldest friends in the deepest part of a late-summer night, she can think of only one thing harder [than another ending]: a new beginning.”

I think the main reason I connected to this story so much is because it’s all very close to me. I’m a junior in high school, so my time to go to college and leave my friends and what I’ve known my entire life behind is coming. And that scares me. I don’t want to leave my friends and make new ones, and grow apart. But I know it’s something you have to do in your lifetime, so I’m sure my last night will be a lot like this one. A walk down memory lane, spending time with those I love, getting a little angry at each other, but loving each other the whole time. Watching these characters grapple with the same fears and panics that I am already starting to feel really affected me because I know that will be me soon. 

“For a long time, it had felt like something way out on the horizon, this moment, something she had to squint to make out, so far away it didn’t seem quite real. Until now, when it’s suddenly hurtling toward them at an impossible pace, so swiftly that it doesn’t matter whether or not Clare is ready for it. There’s no preparing at this point. There’s only steeling yourself. There’s only hoping for the best.”

I really loved this book because in a way, it told a simple story that we all experience: how to say goodbye to those we love. It’s a quick read about letting go and saying goodbye, and how just because a relationship ends doesn’t mean you don’t love each other. And so often, romance books are about the beginning: the why, the how, the start of everything. But this told the end, so we could see how they’ve grown, how it was true, and how to continue after. 

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Which do you think is harder: saying goodbye for the last time or saying hello for the first time?

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Check out my Rating Descriptions!

Book Review: Dreamland

Rating: Rain starstar

dreamland.jpgAnother Sarah Dessen book. When I talk about my love/hate relationship with her, I’m talking about this book. Dreamland. This book should come with a warning, just fyi. There’s physical and emotional abuse in it, something I was not expecting when I picked up the book. While Dessen usually balances dark themes with some more optimistic tones, this was not one of those cases.

Caitlin has always lived in the shadow of her older sister, Cass. But when Cass runs away, Caitlin is left struggling to discover who she is. She slowly spirals downward, until she meets Rogerson, a guy who puts her at ease, is mysterious and different, and someone Cass never would’ve gone for. But again, her relationship with Rogerson turns to trouble, Caitlin becomes lost. 

One of the most important parts of a book to me is connecting to the characters. And I couldn’t connect with Caitlin. Her emotions seemed to be very one note: she was hopeless, sad, trapped, lost, etc. I couldn’t understand her thinking, and I became very frustrated with her. I felt bad for her, sure, but you don’t really want to feel bad for a protagonist. You want to feel bad with the character. Caitlin was weak, and I don’t have patience for that. Also, I was disappointed with her character growth. She grew slightly stronger, yes, but the majority of the book was her growing weaker and weaker. And when she finally turned things around, it was very minimal change. Just overall, I didn’t feel like Caitlin really grew from her experiences. All these things happened to her, but she was the same as she was in the beginning. 

“She was just a shell of her former self, functioning and talking but hardly alive.”

My first impression of Rogerson was creepy, and that impression didn’t change as I continued reading. I mean, he met Caitlin outside a party that he wasn’t invited to, and literally two minutes later she’s leaving with him? I think he was meant to be bad boy charming, but he was really just creepy. Also, all the good bad boys are really just misunderstood people with home life problems but a heart of gold. Rogerson was only a bad boy: he smoked, dealt drugs, and of course, hit his girlfriends. Also, he made a brief cameo in Lock and Key as Marshall’s friend. That alone is a strike against him. 

I like how Dessen explored abusive relationships. It was something I haven’t been exposed to, so while surprising, it was important. I understand that the victim becomes very attached to the abuser. But at a certain point, I wanted to yell at Caitlin. She was aware of what was happening, yet still made excuses for Rogerson. I know it’s hard for people to leave their abuser, but it wasn’t because she was scared. She just kept thinking that it wasn’t the real Rogerson, although after the first hit, that was all he was showing her. The only reason the relationship ended is because Rogerson hit her in front of her family and they sent her to get help. It wasn’t even her decision in the end. 

“I was worn out, broken: He had taken almost everything. But he’d been all I’d had, all this time. And when the police led him away, I pulled out of the hands of all these loved ones, sobbing, screaming, everything hurting, to try and make him stay.”

On the topic of family and friends, I have to say I was very disappointed in these relationships. Her family is there, and present, and supposedly cares about Caitlin, yet nobody noticed all her warning signs? She started smoking and doing drugs, but her family couldn’t smell it or recognize it? She started to wear long sleeves in the summer, and it didn’t strike her family as unusual. And Caitlin started to become more withdrawn and isolated, and her best friend Rina didn’t notice or care. I find it hard to believe that everyone in her life could be so oblivious to the fact that Caitlin was struggling, but they were, and that made me mad. Family relationships are so important, and they were lacking in this book. 

One good note about this book is that I always love Sarah Dessen’s writing style. Even when the plot and characters are lacking, you still can’t put the book down. She uses beautiful imagery in her book and metaphors. But again, similar to Caitlin’s emotions, the whole book was also one note. It was depressing and hopeless, and the ending, which I think was supposed to inspire some hope, fell flat on that note. It’s good to explore dark topics, because these topics happen in real life, but it’s best to balance out the dark tones with some lighter tones, like family, friendship, humor, and Dessen didn’t do that this time. 

I think this book, while it had promise to be something very eye opening, fell flat of its potential. 

Have you read this book? What do you think? How does it compare to other Sarah Dessen books?

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Check out my Rating Descriptions here!

Aside

Standalone Sunday || The Book of Broken Hearts

Standalone Sunday (1)

Standalone Sunday is a weekly meme created by Megan at Bookslayer Reads which aims to showcase standalone books (books not a part of a series) which you loved or would recommend. I highly encourage you to take part in this meme, it’s super fun!

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and the book of broken heartsromantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

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This book is so cute and enjoyable!! But it also has some serious themes discussed in there. One of the things I LOVED was the Latina influences in the story. Both Jude and Emilio had huge, crazy, loud,  and loving families. I also loved Jude as the main character. The perspective of a (very) young sister in the shadow of all her older sisters’ drama was so interesting, and I love how she forges her own path and creates her own life. Her relationship with her father was so heartwarming, it was probably one of my favorite father daughter relationships. Ahh, and Emilio is my love. I could rave about this book all day, it’s so gooey and delicious. Hopefully one day soon I can do a full review of the book so I can really rave for paragraphs about this book. 

Have you read this book, or other books by Sarah Ockler? What’s your favorite standalone? 

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