Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

“To really be a nerd…you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”


Cather and her twin sister, Wren, are off to college and being separated for the first time. Wren has decided to request a roommate who is not her sister and becomes paired with Courtney. Cather is reluctantly paired with Reagan. Both girls have different college experiences and grow over their first year of college. And each sister’s roommate helps to shape their college experiences in different ways.

Fangirl primarily follows Cather in her quest to become a writer. Cather is the creator of a well-known Simon Snow fan-fiction. Her fans are all over the world and hang on her every word. But Cather is locked in a race to finish the fan-fic before the final book of the Simon Snow series is released. Cather struggles between what it means to be her own fiction writer and wanting to focus on her fan-fic writing.

Cather retreats into her fan-fiction and often loses herself in the characters. But, when Cather loses touch with her sister and her own life she struggles to return to the characters she knows and loves. Even more difficult, she struggles to write her own stories as she does not understand that the fan-fiction she is writing does not contain her own characters.

Cather comes face to face with problems she never thought she would experience and old troubles that are still haunting her. She struggles to finish her first year of college in the wake of the aftermath of her sisters problems and her father’s issues. She is also introduced to Levi and doesn’t know how to separate fictional feelings from real ones at time. So she introduces Levi to the fictional world she has fallen in love with.

In a story of first love, new friendships, and family drama, Rainbow Rowell creates characters that the reader grows to love and connect with. Anyone who has ever gotten lost in a fictional world or story will understand Cather’s love of Simon Snow and the magical world he comes from. Most of us have had out own “fangirl” moments, so Cather’s obsession with Simon is not something so far removed. I adored this story and Rowell’s writing. This is a beautifully written story that any fan of young adult fiction would love.

Rating: 4/5

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Fates

Fates by Lanie Bross

“Only love is eternal, remember that.”

Fates is a story about young Corinthe who was sent to Earth as a punishment. She must collect the souls of the departed and return them to the sea so that they can make their way across the galaxy and fulfill their destiny. Corinthe’s final mission is to kill Lucas Kaller to fuilfill her own destiny so that she can return home to Pyralis Terra.

There is some romance, turmoil, and action but nothing that is too exciting. Everything in this book seems to fall short. From the short-lived romance, to the flat characters, and hastily described new worlds. You will likely walk away from this book feeling unimpressed because this is not a memorable story.

The first half of the book is tolerable. There is world building, character building, we want Corinthe to succeed and return home but then the “twist” in this book is a total turn off. Not only can you see it coming long before it’s revealed, but the villain isn’t even a complex one. This book had the making of becoming something beautiful. I was hopeful even. But the “one must live so the other must die” narrative is overdone and this is not a new story.

I did not like this book. The promise of traveling through different worlds was what hooked me initially, but I could not get into this book. This book is a giant cliché. It is the epitome of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, and then boy and girl have a quarrel and must work together to save the world.

The characters are un-relatable and there seem to be too many competing storylines fighting for attention. You have Corinthe vs. Lukas, Corinthe’s keeper and her ultimate goals, Lukas’s sister fighting for her life, and then Corinthe and Lukas vs. the universe. I felt myself rolling my eyes for the entire second half of this book. I cannot recommend this book and do not care enough about the characters or the storyline to continue this series.

Rating 2/5

My Life Next Door

**Spoiler Free Review**

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I am torn about this book. The first half has the making of a wonderful teenage love story. While the latter half does not seem to fit with the rest of the story. Because of this, I had a hard time enjoying the book.

Samantha and Jace are from the same neighborhood but seem to come from different worlds. Samantha’s life is organized and her house is pristine. Samantha’s mother prides herself on being well kept at all times. Jace’s family is loud, big, and close-knit. The children’s toys are spilling out onto the front lawn. Samantha’s mother forbid her form having anything to do with the family next door because those are the “kind of people” who run down property values and give a neighborhood a bad reputation. While Jace’s family prides themselves on being a good family who is willing to go to any lengths to protect the ones they love.

This is your classic forbidden love young adult romance story for the first half of the book. Jace and Samantha slowly start to fall in love when Samantha is asked to babysit one of the children from next door. Samantha has always admired the family next door from afar but is quickly thrown into their crazy world. Over time, Samantha starts to question why her mother forbids her from seeing the neighbors. But she hides her secret from her family. As their young love blossoms, Samantha starts to see her world differently. From her best friend’s unethical practices to her mother’s tactics in doing whatever it takes to win a political campaign. Samantha learns that her old life wasn’t perfect but her time with Jace seems to be.

The story slowly builds until a paramount event that throws both Samantha’s and Jace’s worlds into a tailspin. Samantha is torn between her love for Jace and his family and protecting her own family from a big secret. And the more that secret weighs on Samantha’s conscious, the more she seems to unravel. Samantha slowly starts to realign herself and comes to terms with what matters the most, even if it hurts someone she loves.

My Life Next Doorhas some cliché moments of young love, but it is a cute story. The “big moment” or turning point in the story, reads a little bit too much like a soap opera for my tastes, though. I also don’t feel like it fits well with the first half. Everything feels happy-go-lucky until it’s not. And when one aspect of the story starts to get real, everything does. It feels like everything begins to fall apart at the same time. And the characters you thought you knew begin to surprise you.

This is a good read to get you in the mood for summer and great to binge if you feed off of young love, but I would not categorize it as a “must read.” This is a good book to pick up if you have nothing else around or want to fly through a quick story.

 

Rating: 3/5

Leah on the Offbeat

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

*Minor Spoilers*

In the anticipated spin-off to Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli delivers a funny, heart-warming, and romantic story. Leah Burke is the spunky, stubborn, and sarcastic best friend we all need in our lives. But as the group of friends we grew to love grows closer to graduating high school, the teenagers learn what means the most to them. Some relationships won’t last and others begin to bloom unexpectedly.

If you were wondering, Simon and Bram’s relationship is still going strong and the sweet moments between the two of them will make your heart melt. BUT they are not the focus of this story because Leah Burke has a lot to share with the world.

Leah is still a little displeased with Nick and Abby’s relationship. Not because she’s jealous, but because they’retoo cute and it’s annoying. Abby also starts this thing that seems like she’s flirting with Leah. But that can’t be because she’s happily in a relationship with a boy.

In a twist of events, Leah and Abby take a road trip together to visit UGA. Both girls are certain that YGA is the college they want to attend in the fall, and it makes sense to visit together with both girls having busy family members. And Abby has a connection with a friend whose apartment they can borrow for the weekend.

As Leah’s story unravels, she questions whether or not she can admit her bisexuality to her friends. She’s certain they’ll accept her, especially after Simon coming out the previous year. But it doesn’t seem like the right time for her. Her mother knows and accepts her, and she has nothing to fear. But she just can’t go through with it.

Leah on the Offbeatis an upbeat story with moments of comic tragedy. So don’t expect the same waterworks that Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda gave you. Instead, this story is emotionally devastating in a new way. Your heart may break and be re-healed, but Leah’s victorious moments will make you silently cheer her on.

Becky Albertalli remains true to her characters and delivers a phenomenal story. I am thrilled to see Leah tell her tale and I loved watching Leah, Simon, Abby, and the rest of the gang grow and come together during their final months of high school. I highly recommend this book!

Rating: 4.5/5

June TBR

This month, I am going a little ambitious again and hope to finish four books. When gathering books this month, I realized that they are all space operas. It was entirely accidental, but I am just going to roll with it. I LOVE space operas, they are probably one of my favorite things to read. Here are the four books I hope to finish this month.


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Synopsis: “This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.”–Goodreads

I have had this book in my possession for quite some time. I picked it up because I thought it looked interesting, but I put it on my shelf and forgot about it. With the recent hype surrounding the release of the third book in the series, I decided that I need to read this book. Especially is the series is as wonderful and addictive as everyone claims it to be.

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Synopsis: “Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family. Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.”–Barnes & Noble

I have no idea where I got this book from to why I picked it up. Odds are, I found it at my favorite used book store. But, I have been wanting to find a space themed book that I love because everything I have picked up lately has left me more than disappointed.

Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Synopsis: “This thrilling Young Adult novel gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe, from the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire. Readers will experience these major moments through the eyes of two childhood friends–Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell–who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these two star-crossed lovers reunite, or will duty tear them–and the galaxy–apart?”–Amazon

I found this book at Target and bought it on a whim earlier this year. I have read the first few chapters and then this book was left in my car. So far, I like what I have read and I am excited to continue this book.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Synopsis: “Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.”–MarissaMeyer.com

Despite this book being out for a while, I picked up this book to get it signed by Marissa Meyer in November. To this day, Renegades is the only book of her that I have finished and I was left disappointed. I have read maybe a third of Cinder and put it down because I was bored with it. I have heard great things about this series, so I hope it picks up and that I have the motivation to continue with the series.

What are you reading this month?

Fashion Victim Review (Spoiler Free)

Fashion Victim by Amina Akhtar

*Spoiler Free Review*

 Fashion Victim is a fast-paced campy thriller about one woman’s experience in the fashion world and just how cut throat the industry can truly be.

Anya St. Clair is a fashion editor who is obsessed with her co-worker, Sarah Elizabeth Taft. Anya has looked up to Sarah ever since she was young. Following Sarah in magazines and news articles, Anya has wanted to be like Sarah for as long as she can remember. Now that they are both working at La Vietogether, she wants to be Sarah’s BFF, dress like Sarah, and have Sarah’s approval on every aspect of her life. Anya goes to any lengths necessary to stay in Sarah’s good graces, and does not hesitate to take out her competition along the way.

Anya and Sarah are pitted against each other for a promotion. Sarah already embodies what it means to be a “La Vie Woman”—tall, blonde, thin, and well liked. Anya has to work to lose weight under the supervision of her boss, dealing with daily weigh-ins and constant jabs at her appearance. There are also others in the office who do their best to ensure that the truth about Anya gets out. Anya will not stop at anything short of achieving her goals of becoming the perfect La Vie Woman.

Rating: 3.5/5

Fashion Victim will be published on September 11, 2018

*I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Fashion Victim is Amina Akhtar’s first novel. If you would like more information about the book or author, you can start here.

A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

**Spoiler Free Review**

ACOFAS was a cute novella. I loved seeing the characters again and how they are coping with loss and their new roles in this new world post the events from ACOWAR. I truly missed the characters after finishing the last book and I was delighted to see the gang back together again.

But, you have to approach this book with a few things in mind.

Let’s start by getting a couple key points out of the way:

  • This is a novella, this is supposed to be short
  • This novella is a “gap filler.” This means that there is not a storyline because this book is not a standalone; it serves as a “check up” on the characters after the events of ACOWAR but before the spin off series.

There was a lot of hype surrounding this book and a lot of people came away from ACOFAS disappointed. I’m not sure what they were expecting this book to be, but I think some of them were expecting something more. This novella is short, but most novellas are. There is no fluid storyline. This concerned a lot of people, but not me. Because the novella is only 229 pages, there was not room to tell a new story. All of the books I’ve read by Sarah J Maas don’t even get to the “good parts” in the first 300 pages; usually she’s still building the story.

ACOFAS checks in on the characters we love from the series. All of the main characters are back together and preparing for Winter Solstice. Each character weighs what they lost with piecing together their future. A happy occasion and time to celebrate is plagued by memories of the past as each person has their own ghosts that haunt them.

While reading this book, I could see threads that Sarah J Maas might pick up in the spinoff series and I would love to see more of the Night Court gang outside of Rhys and Feyre. There is a sneak peak of the spinoff series at the end of this novella, and that was my favorite part in this small book. I’m excited to read the spinoff when I was initially worried that it would be overkill. But, it seems that different characters with their own stories to tell will be the prominent players in the spinoff series.

People have been giving this novella a lot of flak and while I can understand their gripe, I don’t think it is necessarily called for. ACOFAS has been pushed hard, but as a short novella not a long and drawn out new story. We were never promised a new plot development, just a Winter Solstice celebration. And I think Maas delivered on that promise.

If you miss some of your favorite characters from the ACOTAR series, I do believe that this is worth the read. But if you don’t care what they’re up to when they aren’t preparing for the worst, then you can skip this one. Overall, I would still recommend it. It won’t take longer than a couple of hours to get through and it will leave you feeling uplifted.

Rating: 4/5

May TBR

This month, I am setting our to read new books I hope to become some of my favorites, a book that seems like everyone’s favorite, and a classic I cannot believe I have not picked up yet. This May, I hope to finish Leah on the OffbeatA Court of Frost & StarlightSix of Crows, and Stardust.

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli 

Synopsis: “When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.”–Amazon

I want to start out by saying that I LOVED Simon vs. the Homo-Sapien Agenda. I laughed, cried, had my heart crushed, and felt for each of the characters in that book. Alberalli’s writing style blew me away and I have been excited for this sequel ever since. I preordered this book a a while ago and I cannot wait to devour this. I have been a little upset that I haven’t found the time to sit down and read this book, so I am proclaiming this the first book that I must read this month.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

Synopsis: “Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series. Feyre, Rhys and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated – scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their court.”–SarahJMaas.com

Sarah J Maas is a quintessential young adult author While her other series, Throne of Glass is my favorite of the two, I am still excited to read this book. But I am also hesitant. I usually hate spinoff books, but I miss the characters from the ACOTAR series so much that my curiosity outweighs my hesitations right now. And I’m sure that once I dive into another SJM book that I will lose track of time and my heart.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis: “Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone… A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.”–LeighBardugo.com

I have heard nothing but positive things about this book. I can’t tell you why I never decided to pick up this book until now, but I am glad to finally have it in my possession. I’m a little iffy about Bardugo’s writing style, but I won’t be quick to judge because I’ve only read one book by her and my expectations were so high that disappointment was inevitable. Hopefully, this one lives up to the hype.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Synopsis: “In the sleepy English countryside at the dawn of the Victorian Era, life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall — a secluded hamlet so named for an imposing stone barrier that surrounds a fertile grassland. Armed sentries guard the sole gap in the bulwark to keep the inquisitive from wandering through, relaxing their vigil only once every nine years, when a market fair unlike any other in the world of men comes to the meadow. Here in Wall, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to beautiful Victoria Forester. But Victoria is cold and distant — as distant, in fact, as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky on a crisp October evening. For the coveted prize of Victoria’s hand, Tristran vows to retrieve the fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the ancient wall, and propels him into a world that is strange beyond imagining. But Tristran is not the only one seeking the heavenly jewel. There are those for whom it promises youth and beauty, the key to a kingdom, and the rejuvenation of dark, dormant magics. And a lad compelled by love will have to keep his wits about him to succeed and survive in this secret place where fallen stars come in many guises — and where quests have a way of branching off in unexpected directions, even turning back upon themselves in space and in time.”–Barnes & Noble

I want to start of by saying that Stardust is one of my all-time favorite feel good movies. It is visually stunning and the story warms my heart. I knew it was based off of a novel, but I did not know that Neil Gaiman wrote the book. After reading American Gods and Norse Mythology, I can confidently say that I enjoy Gaiman’s books and I am excited to read this one. I have heard conflicting reviews and comparisons between the book and the movie. So I decided to approach this book as its own entity, and entirely different from the movie.

What are you reading this month?

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean is a young teenager who has kept track of every boy she has ever been in love with. She writes these boys letters, addresses them, seals them, and then puts them in her special hatbox. These letters profess her love to each boy, it the letters mean more to that to Lara Jean. The letters symbolize the end of the love affair. Each letter is Lara Jean’s final stamp to move on.

When these secret letters get out, Lara has to do some major damage control. She never thought anyone would read them, especially the boys she fell in love with. In an adorable tale of love and loss, Lara Jean grows before the reader’s eyes. She learns to cope with becoming the oldest sister still living at home and still navigating her way through high school. Lara Jean is both a lovable and relatable character that will have you devouring this book in no time.

This is the first book I have read by Jenny Han and I have no idea why it took me so long to read this book, but once I picked it up I could not put it down! Han’s writing style is simple but it fills your imagination. Han’s characters feel real—we could be Lara Jean as we feel her embarrassment. Or we have a little sister like Kitty, or we know the kind of boys Lara Jean has fallen in love with. The story is told primarily from present day and what Lara Jean is currently experiencing. But some of Lara Jean’s love stories are from the past, so Han fills in the gaps through memories.

I highly recommend this book if you have yet to pick it up. I cannot wait to read the next two books in this series and see where Lara Jean’s journey goes! This was such a cute and quick read without being a cliche romance.

Rating: 4/5

 

 

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