Monday, July 10, 2017

June Reads // Fluff & Fun

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

4 Stars - I recommend if you like YA, and light hearted, cute-as-can-be romance. 

Madeline is 18 years old and she has never left her house, she's got SCID, so anything could kill her at any time. Most days she is fine living her life indoors. She loves her mom, her nurse Carla, and her books. When Olly moves in next door, everything changes. For the first time, she wants more.

I expected to like this book. But I could not even handle it. It was so cute!! It was really short, I loved that some of the sections were notes, or charts, or drawings, etc. I though Maddy and Olly's relationship was really well defined via texts, conversations, and all of their little notes and doodles. I love that this book is inspiring to live your life to the fullest. I didn't see the ending coming, but I thought it worked well. It was fun to read YA about 18 year olds rather than 15 year olds, I think it's more rare? It just made their relationship feel more realistic, and less insta-love-like... hard to explain, but I loved it.

We also saw the movie. Parts of it were great, parts were kinda "meh". They changed some things that were pretty arbitrary, but that I missed in the movie. Like the "if found return to Madeline," things in her books. Etc. I loved the casting and the depiction of certain things in the movie (like the bundt cake, etc.). The astronaut part was cute, but them talking through their text conversations was super strange... especially the one where they are in space... LOL. It also felt more "insta love" like... but it is hard to avoid that in such a short time. Overall it still left me feeling excited and inspired. KC is a saint for seeing any kind of movie with me. *swoon*

Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy short stories and YA. This collection was very diverse, so you're bound to enjoy some and not others, but I appreciated how many stories included POC and LGBTQ characters and relationships.

This book is a collection of diverse YA short stories based around the themes of summer and love.

1) The first story "Head, Tails, Tongue, Scales" by Leigh Bardugo was interesting, I almost got into it, but it was pretty out there. I wasn't expecting something quite so strange for the very first story. It was just OK for me.
2) Nina La Cour's story "The End of Love" is LGBTQ and I thought it was really nice. La Cour really captures what it's like to be a teen struggling with tough issues. I thought the story was equal parts cute and serious. A good mix!
3) Libba Bray's story "Last Stand at the Cinegore" about a vintage horror movie theatre closing was really fun. First off, I love having a teenage male protagonist. It's just so much fun to read for me. Secondly, the characters were quirky and that was amazing. The twist was bonkers. I dunno how I feel about the twist... but overall I still really enjoyed this one.
4) "Sick Pleasure" by Francesca Lia Block was really depressing for me. It went where I did not think it would. I didn't feel hopeful after reading it, and it wasn't much in the way of a cute summer-y love-y type story. There were also an awful lot of characters, and naming them all after their initial (A, M, I, S. Etc.) didn't help matters.
5) "In Ninety Minutes Turn North" by Stephanie Perkins was adorable as expected. I was delighted to immediately notice that she used Marigold and North (the characters from her story in "My True Love Gave to Me") again in this one!
6) "Souvenirs" by Tim Federle was pretty cute, I didn't think I was going to like it, but did quite a bit. It's about Kieth and Matty, who meet working the summer at an amusement park, the start dating knowing that Kieth is going away to another state for school in the fall. The start dating and create a "break up day". This story takes place on breakup day. Despite that, myself liking a happy ending... I enjoyed this one. It was very sweet. Another LGBTQ story.
7) Inertia by Veronica Roth is one that looked like it was going to be set in the present in our world... but really it ended up being more futuristic. Claire is woken and taken to the hospital to go to a "Last Visitation" for her best friend Matt. "Last Visitations" occur when a patient is not expected to live through a procedure. She goes and is able to share memories and "talk" to him during the procedure. This one made me cry, but I liked that it was quite different from the others, and not all together depressing despite the premise.
8) "Love is the Last Resort" by Jon Skovron was kind of fun in that it was about multiple couples, kind of love actually style... but more intentionally knit from the beginning. I found it to be an interesting setting, with quirky characters. I imagined them all to be painted by Janet Hill. :) Overall it was a little bit predictable, but really pretty fun.
9) "Good Luck and Farewell" by Brandy Colbert was about Rashida, a girl who was bought up by her older cousin, and how she copes when her cousin announces that she is moving across the country. During that time Rashida struggles with anger towards her cousin's girlfriend. She finds out that she's not alone in her grief, because Pierre's sister is leaving too. I loved that this one touched on some tough and diverse subjects like race, violence, and life apart from absent parents. I appreciated the diverse voices and the candid characters.
10) "Brand New Attraction" by Cassandra Clare was pretty whimsical and fantasy based as expected. It is about a girl who's father runs a dark carnival. When he runs away for money reasons, she must keep the carnival afloat. Her uncle comes to help and brings his step-son. The two bond, and quickly learn that there is something very very shady happening at the dark carnival. Overall I liked this one, but it was a tiny bit much for me at times. I shipped the main characters pretty hard.
11) "A Thousand Ways this Could All Go Wrong" by Jennifer E. Smith was about a girl who finally gets her crush to notice her, and go on a date with her. It was probably my favorite, because I loved the characters so much. It was just too sweet. I can't tell you why though, because it might ruin it for you if you read it someday. Think Big Bang Theory or The Rosie Project. I appreciated that this one was diverse in a different way that the other.
12) "The Map of Tiny Perfect Things" by Lev Grossman had a really cool premise, that the same day repeats over and over, and he's the only one who knows... until he meets a girl who also knows. I wanted to love this one, parts of it were great, but it definitely left me wanting more. It was also pretty bittersweet.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne DuMaurier

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy mysteries or thrillers. This one is also a classic so it is a little more subtle. I found this quick to read, unlike Rebecca, and I also just generally liked this one quite a lot more than Rebecca.

Philip Ashley has been raised by his cousin Ambrose. He wants to be everything Ambrose is, the man of the estate, a hard worker, interesting, and a bachelor. When Ambrose is taken ill, the doctors suggest that he spend the damp English winters in warmer sunnier Italy. There Ambrose meets Rachel and subsequently marries her. Before Ambrose makes it home to England, he starts writing letters to Philip saying that he is very sick, and suggesting that Rachel is his "torment". Philip races to Italy but it is too late. He's convinced that Rachel is a monstress and killed Ambrose. When Rachel later arrives in England, he invites her to stay with him, with the intention of calling her out... but she's not what he expected.

I would like to start by saying that while I wanted to love Rebecca, I didn't. It drove me bonkers that the main character didn't even have a name (to start). I was worried I wouldn't like this one... but I loved it. For one it is much more romantic, but it also read more quickly. I found the psychological bit to be very subtle, I definitely saw it as one thing happening and not another... but I enjoyed it quite a lot. I did not see the ending coming (aside from the fact that I may have read something spoilery with 10 pages to go.) *whistles innocently* I'm really excited to see the film adaptation!! *update* The film adaptation was really well done! It definitely was more psychologically confusing. It sort of leaned the other way from how I felt about the book in terms of what actually "happened".

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

3.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoyed the other To All They Boys I've Loved Before books, and if you like contemporary YA.

This book follows Lara Jean and her family as they navigate her senior year of high school. I don't want to give spoilers. :)

Overall I liked this book, I loved having more to read. I feel like Lara Jean is my book character soul mate. She scrapbooks, bakes, crafts, loves costumes... even likes a lot of the same movies. So it's fun to read about her. heheh I didn't like this book quite as much as the others, the pre-college stress was pretty forefront in the book, and I felt like it changed the dynamics a bit. I guess it was meant to, but it was kind of odd. I liked how most things ended, but it's weird to have it feel so open ended at the end of the book. Overall I definitely recommend the series. I read this in just 1 day. :P

Currently Reading:

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Fork in the Road edited by James Oseland
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Be Your Own Fairytale: Working with Storytelling for Positive Life Chaneg by Alison Davies*

Books on Deck:

Everything for Erin's Challenge!!

Shotgun Love Songs by Nikolas Butler
Between Sky and Sea by Jaclyn Dolamore
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Tides by Betsy Cornwell
Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant
East by Edith Pattou
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Looking for Alaska by John Green
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Either Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie OR Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books tomorrow. :) 

What have you been reading? What do you hope to read this month?! 

Let's be friends on Goodreads!



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