Monday, April 29, 2019

Music Monday: Ava by Famy

Music Mondays from Always Me is for sharing whatever music you have been enjoying lately! Whether it is a new favorite or an old favorite!

It's been a while since I have done this (It's been more than 3 years), but I have decided to join in again. This past week my most listened to song has been Ava by Famy. I've heard the song before as Spotify recommended it to me a while ago, but I added it to a playlist to listen to later and then I forgot about it. I recently week back through that playlist and found a couple of songs I enjoyed, Ava was certainly my favorite of the bunch. This is the only song I've heard from Famy since it's the only song by them on Spotify, but I guarantee that I will be doing some sleuthing later. 

What have you been listening to lately?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

New Releases in YA! (April 28th-30th)

Every week I list all (or almost all) of the YA books (and the occasional MG) that are coming out within that week!
Here's what you get to look forward to this week:
P.S. Click on the book's cover for the Goodreads page!

Did I miss any books?
What books, if any, do you plan to read?

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Short and Simple Reviews: The Second Summer of the Sisterhood & Girls in Pants

This is a place for books that I didn't fully review.
Maybe I listed my likes and dislikes, had a little short paragraph, or a few sentences to convey my feelings on the book, but whatever the "review" is, all of them are short and simple. (hence the clever name)

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #2)

With a bit of last summer's sand in the pockets, the Traveling Pants and the Sisterhood that wears them embark on their 16th summer.

Bridget: Impulsively sets off for Alabama, wanting to both confront her demons about her family and avoid them all at once.

Lena: Spends a blissful week with Kostos, making the unexplainable silence that follows his visit even more painful.

Carmen: Is concerned that her mother is making a fool of herself over a man. When she discovers that her mother borrowed the Pants to wear on a date, she's certain of it.

Tibby: Not about to spend another summer working at Wallman's, she takes a film course only to find it's what happens off-camera that teaches her the most.

  Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

I liked this one okay enough. I couldn't remember the first book so I had to keep looking up details online so I wouldn't get the girls mixed up. The story switches between the four girls, sometimes within very short periods (a page of one girl, a page of the next, etc.). Sometimes it was annoying because the girl we were focusing on never did anything or I was more interested in what another girl was doing, but doing so did also sometimes showed how close the girls were (and how some summers, nothing interesting actually happens). I had to keep reminding myself that the girls were teenagers and were bound to make stupid decisions. Of the girls, I was incredibly frustrated with Carmen and Tibby. Carmen acted really bratty because her mom was dating someone and Tibby was making friends with the wrong people. I had to remember that they were bound to make stupid decisions and they did eventually realize that. I was more interested in what Bridget was doing because she was staying with her Grandma that she hadn't seen since she was really young, but was pretending that she was someone just looking for a summer job. Her story was one of the more heartfelt ones in the bunch. 

Overall, I was annoyed at points, confused at points, but I also wanted to see how these girls were doing. I admittedly am jealous that these girls are such close friends because I never had friends like that. While I am not wowed by this series, I will likely keep going because I own the rest of the books and I am curious to see where these girls will be when they are older.
I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it

Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #3)

The Pants first came to us at the perfect moment. That is, when we were splitting up for the first time. It was two summers ago when they first worked their magic, and last summer when they shook up our lives once again. You see, we don't wear the Pants year-round. We let them rest so they are extra powerful when summer comes. (There was the time this spring when Carmen wore them to her mom's wedding, but that was a special case.) Now we're facing our last summer together. In September we go to college. And it's not like one of those TV shows where all of us magically turn up at the same college. We're going to four different colleges in four different cities (but all within four hours of one another? That was our one rule). We're headed off to start our real lives. Tomorrow night at Gilda's we'll launch the Pants on their third summer voyage. Tomorrow begins the time of our lives. It's when we'll need our Pants the most.  

  Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

My feelings toward this book are similar to the last book: It is an okay read. I liked parts of the individual stories, I like how the book ends in a motivation/inspirational note, and I love the message of friendship in these books, but I must admit that not a whole lot actually happens in these books. That's not surprising considering that these books detail the summer of teenage girls and sometimes summers can be pretty uneventful. While there are major moments for these girls in each of their summers, if each girl only had their own book, it would be pretty short. I did like this book a little better than the last book because the girls are a little more mature. Carmen was my least favorite last time because she was a bit of a brat. She was still a brat at the beginning of this book, but her story turned out to be one of my favorites because she really seems to be growing as a person. Lena's story was another one I liked. Even though not a whole lot happened in her story, I liked seeing herself see others through her art. Bridget's story was my favorite in the last one but in this book, she was one of my least favorites. She has matured, but her story turned into a romance and I preferred them as friends. As far as Tibby, not much happened in her story. Most of the eventful things in her story happened at the very end where she crosses into another girl's story and she is still making decisions that I don't really agree with.

Overall, I liked this book and there are moments when I feel emotions and I do like the fact that they are growing a little, but this is one of those books where if you stand back a little bit, you realize that it was pretty uneventful. I will be continuing this series. I own the next book and I look forward to seeing these girls the summer after their first semester of college.

I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it

Friday, April 26, 2019

Cover Lust: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Cover Lust is something that I do every other week where I feature a book cover that I absolutely love!

Song for a Whale
Twelve-year-old Iris has never let her deafness slow her down. A whiz at fixing electronics, she's always felt at home in the world of wires and vacuum tubes. 
School, on the other hand, isn't quite as simple. Between her frustrating teacher Ms. Conn and her overly helpful classmate Nina, Iris can't seem to catch a break. 
But during science class, Iris learns about Blue 55—the loneliest whale in the world. Saddened by the animal's inability to speak to other whales, Iris uses her tech skills to come up with a plan communicate with Blue 55. 

One small problem: the whale is swimming off the coast of Alaska, nearly 3,000 miles from her Texas home. But, nothing stops Iris, and with her Deaf grandmother by her side, she sets out on a road trip to meet the whale and make sure he's finally heard. 


Why did I pick this cover? 
I haven't read this book yet, so I don't know how well the cover fits the book, but this is such a beautiful cover. I love all of the colors and how they are blending together and how the ocean and sky seem to merge together as well. I love how the cover draws your eye to the whale, which looks fantastic by the way. All in all, great cover. 
What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

REVIEW: Going Rogue by Robin Benway

Going Rogue (Also Known As, #2)
Being permanently based in a local New York City high school as an undercover operative has its moments, good and bad, for 16-year-old safecracker Maggie Silver.

Pros: More quality time with her former mark-turned-boyfriend Jesse Oliver and insanely cool best friend, Roux.
Getting to spend quality time with her semi-retired and international spy honorary uncle, Angelo.

Cons: High school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

But when Maggie's parents are falsely accused of stealing priceless gold coins, Maggie uses her safecracking skills to try and clear their names.

Too bad it only serves to put her and everyone she loves in danger. Maggie and her "new team" flee to Paris where they must come up with a plan to defeat their former allies.

It has been a while since I read Also Known As and I remember enjoying that book. While I liked this book, I did not enjoy this one as much as the previous book and I'm not sure if it's just not as great as the first book or if my taste for books has changed since I read the first book.

Maggie is now staying in New York City, hopefully for good. She's a safecracker and undercover operative for the Collective, with her parents, and since the events of the last book, her best friend, Roux, and boyfriend, Jesse, also know about her spy status. Things seem to be normal, at least for a spy, but when Maggie's parents are accused of stealing coins from the Collective, Maggie aims to prove their innocence. But can she keep secrets from her friends and family to keep them safe? Or is everyone in danger? What if the Collective isn't safe anymore?

One of the reasons why I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought is that, looking back, I realized that not much happened, especially for a book with spies in it. There is definitely some action in the book, but it's closer to the end and happens very quickly. I'm not really sure what was happening throughout the rest of the book, because until that scene, the book is mostly character interactions and one stakeout. One of the strange things about this book is it is a thriller/contemporary romance hybrid. For most of the book, it is closer to contemporary than thriller, which isn't a bad thing because this brings up the humor in the book, but sometimes it feels odd with the intensity in other parts of the book.

The characters in this book are fantastic. I love Maggie and Roux's relationship and I love Roux as a character, even though I don't know what she went through in the previous book. There is also Angelo and the folks Maggie meets in Paris. Benway really does a great job creating relationships and dialogue between the characters. Maggie's parents are a lot more involved than other YA parents which is fantastic. One of the main struggles in this book was there was a lot of arguing about secrets. Maggie did not want to tell her parents things to keep them safe, but when her parents did the same, she got upset. There was also conflict with her friends because Maggie also did not want to tell them anything. I could understand why Maggie wanted to keep things secret, but it also frustrated me because her friends and family were already involved and were willing to help. All of this secret-keeping took up a bigger chunk of the book than the actual conflict with the stolen coins, which was disappointing.

As for romance, there was some because Maggie does have a boyfriend, who she met in the last book. I don't have any strong feelings, positive or negative about the romance in this book. It did not distract from the plot and it felt more like an average teenage relationship which is more than I can say for some books

Overall, I did like this book, mainly because of the characters. The plot didn't do as much as I hoped it would, but it was a quick read and it has some fun moments. This is the last book in this series. I will be reading more from Benway in the future, but her other books are a little different from this one.

I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: The Arrival of Someday by Jen Malone

Waiting on Wednesday (or Can't Wait Wednesday) is a weekly meme, hosted by Wishful Endings, where you talk about whatever book you are IMPATIENTLY WAITING for!

This week I am waiting for...

The Arrival of SomedayIn this heartfelt and emotionally candid contemporary YA, author Jen Malone delves into the life of a teen whose world is brought to an abrupt halt when she learns she’s in dire need of an organ transplant.

Hard-charging and irrepressible eighteen-year-old Amelia Linehan could see a roller derby opponent a mile away—and that’s while crouched down, bent over skates, and zooming around a track at the speed of light. They don’t call her Rolldemort for nothing! What she couldn’t see coming, however, was the unexpected flare-up of a rare liver disorder she was born with. But now it’s the only thing she—and everyone around her—can think about.

With no guarantee of a viable organ transplant, everything Amelia’s been sure of—like her college plans, the mural she’d been commissioned to paint, or the possibility of one day falling in love—has become a huge question mark, threatening to drag her down into a sea of what-ifs she’s desperate to avoid.

Then a friend from the past shows up. With Will, it’s easy to forget about what’s lurking underneath the lightness of their time together. It’s easy to feel alive when all signs point elsewhere. On the other hand, with the odds decidedly not in her favor, Amelia knows this feeling couldn’t last forever. But what can?
Release Date: July 23rd, 2019

Why am I waiting?
To be honest, what really made me want to read this book was the cover. As someone who collects striped knee-high socks, I was really interested in learning more about this book from the cover. I have also read Wanderlost by Jen Malone and absolutely loved it. This book sounds like it will break my heart though.
 What book are you waiting for this week?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: First Ten Books I Reviewed

Hosted each week by That Artsy Reader Girl, it's a meme for listing the top ten for everything bookish.

Oh boy. This week's topic is the First Ten Books Reviewed. I joined the online book community in March 2012 at the age of fifteen. I'm sure that there are plenty of people who, at the age of fifteen, wrote coherent reviews. I was not one of them. In fact, I still can't write coherent reviews. 

When I first joined Goodreads, I also mainly joined to keep track of new releases. This meant that most of my early "reviews" were mostly GIFs and complaining about how this book wasn't out yet! Thankfully most of these "reviews" are gone because the books have since come out and when you have a review that is only a crying GIF people think that something terrible must have happened in the book.

I was really particularly proud of this review for some reason, so I actually saved it as a word document.

Dear Earth, 
Please do not blow up into a million pieces or abandon the people who have been with you for many generations on December 21st 2012 or any time after. For there are amazing books coming out after that December and if the humans die we will not be able to read those lovely books!!!! 
A concerned citizen 

Remember when we thought the world was going to end? I suspect this "review" was originally for Siege and Storm and I am counting it as review #1 for this list.

Okay, now for some other "reviews". I'm not really sure whether these are the first ten reviewed because Goodreads tracks the date I add/read a book, not the date I edited a review. I originally planned on just posting the reviews on this post to show you just how terrible they were, but I'll just give you the highlights! (If you want to see just how horrible they were, click the link. All quotes are word-for-word, typos included)

Endure (Need, #4)
Some highlights: I gave this book 4 Stars. I start with "OH MY DONUTS!" I compare a group of stereotypical guys from YA books at the time. I was really annoyed with Nick as I gave that special emphasis. I apparently posted a Yahoo Answers question that was in the book onto Yahoo Answers. Finally, "I know that i'm doing a terrible job at this "review" but I am on a time limit and have been writing most of this with one hand (due to ice cream)."

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Some highlights: I gave this book 5 Stars. In the review, I mention that Tris and Tobias/Four fighting "both irked me and didn't irk me". My favorite part in this review is my comment on cliffhangers.  It was a tiny cliffhanger, "It wasn't like the main character got shot". Oh, young Jessica, you just didn't know what was coming, did you? Of course, I also complain about the fact that the next book wasn't going to come out until after the world ended and end the review with "I apologize for my very weird review but my excuse is... i'm very weird myself. Have a good day."

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
Some highlights: I gave this book 2 Stars. I identify "YA Book Syndrome" and this book followed the "After a tragedy (could be a family death,close encounter to death, or even a divorce) a girl moves to a new town (and usually ends up at a boarding school). While she's at school she meets the school's hottest guy, who is absolutely perfect in every way. But the guy has a secret :O he's actually a *insert supernal creature here* " plotline. I found this book to be very cliche (and I would likely hate it even more now) and ended my review with "Have a great day! P.S. I feel entirely sorry for the poor souls who read this". 

Existence by Abbi Glines

Some highlights: I gave this book 1 Star. Apparently, when I first started the review I both liked and hated the book. I used to word irked again in reference to the "relationship" in this book, I complained about how fast scenes went, and, again, I cheered about the fact that there was no love triangle. I ended the review with "I apologize for wasting your time with this review" and an edit: "I take that back. I DID NOT like this book".

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Some highlights: I gave this book 4 stars. I used the word "frexing" (which was fairly common after reading Across the Universe). I found the book "blah" compared to the Darkest Powers series. "I didn't like the references to drugs and making out and such". I also cried because I wanted the Darkest Powers characters to make an appearance.

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Some highlights: I gave this book 4 Stars. This was the first book I won on Goodreads and the first ARC copy I ever received, so I think I tried a little harder to describe the events of the book. According to my review, I was surprised by how much I liked the book, but I was upset by some cliches. Yet, again, I was happy there were no love triangles. "I literally jumped with joy throughout the book because I didn't find any love triangles!" yet I felt "that there will be a dreaded love triangle in the next book. :( ". I ended the review with "Have a great tomorrow".

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
Some highlights: I gave this book 4.5 Stars. I ramble a lot in this review. Some favorite rambles: "I thought the whole Synesthesia was cool. I thought it was cool that she saw colors, shapes, smelled smells and such for certain things. Being how I am an art person obsessed with rainbows (yes, another unhealthy obsession) I thought it would be cool to have this. And I have read A Mango-Shaped Space which also had Synesthesia and thought it was cool when I read that. It was a good book by the way. It had no aliens, but it was a really good book" and "I could not put this book down (Much to the dismay of my teachers which I don't understand because they're the ones trying to get people to read but you have to do it on your own stinkin time!)". Again, I was very happy that there was no love triangle and it ended with a positive note and an apology.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Some highlights: I gave this book 2 Stars. I know this is an incredibly popular and loved series, but I did not like this book very much when I read it. In my review, I talk about how the book did a terrible job at explaining things and I was very upset by the romance. "The popular boy at school who screws with all the girls falls for the new girl at school who may be insane and they are going to live together forever and ever!" I facepalmed twice within the course of the review.

Angel Fire by L.A. Weatherly
Some highlights: I gave this book 3 Stars. Oh boy, there are some typos in this one. To name a few: "Book this one just irked me", "because of the whole angel the whole angel thing", and "here comes Seb strolling in ans we have a love triangle". Speaking of love triangles, I was not a fan of that. 

Small Observations About My Older Reviews:
I wrote all (or almost all) of my older reviews
like this.
I really liked
to hit the enter bar
every so often
because I guess I was a poet?
I also liked to use bold for emphasis
or better
Sometimes I would convey emotions XD
*or actions*
I was really happy when there was
Because nothing irked me more than love triangles, cliches, and cliffhangers!
And I nevr seemed to spellcheck befor posting.
i especially forgot to capitalize the i's
because I typed up my reviews whilst eating ice cream with one hand.
I apologized for my horrendous reviews,
for making people read them,
and reminded them to
Have a great day!

P.S. I am sorry that you had to read this long and rambly post.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

REVIEW: Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt


Can a road trip repair a romance gone wrong? Find out in this standalone companion to Lauren Barnholdt’s Two-way Street.

Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.

Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead… 

This book is a companion to Two-Way Street . It can stand-alone, but the characters from Two-Way Street make an appearance. Now, I was glad it wasn't a continuation because I did not remember much about Two-Way Street and I liked seeing new characters.

Peyton is in Florida for a family wedding and does not have a way back to Connecticut. Her friend was originally going to fly over and they were going to drive through North Carolina looking at colleges. Then comes Jace, the guy she thought she had something with the last time she was in Florida until he stopped responding to her messages and then there's the night before where he broke her heart again. Jace says that he'll drive her to Connecticut, nevermind the fact that he has graduation the next day and is supposed to give a speech. Nevermind the fact that Peyton doesn't want to go back home and wants to run away to North Carolina, away from her parents. Then there's the fact that they both still can't stand each other, or admit that they like one another.

This was told in dual POV in a non-linear format. It really moved the story along and kept my interest. The timeline is kind of divided by The Trip and the Before (leading up to the day of the wedding when Peyton and Jace see each other again). It is clear from the get-go that something had happened the night before to make Peyton upset, so I was very curious what happened to these two to cause them to be at odds.

For a large part of the book, I was entertained. I love road trip books and I loved the non-linear format, but then once I got to the point where I figured out what the miscommunication between Peyton and Jace was, I was let down. Basically, Jace stopped talking to Peyton the last time together [highlight to view spoiler]because he found out that her parents were getting divorced and she did not tell him [end of spoiler]. That's not really a reason to stop talking to someone, because people don't have to tell you everything and maybe there is a good reason! Also, it made me really dislike Jace as a character because earlier in the book he claims that Peyton "broke his heart", so I was wondering if there was a miscommunication where both sides thought the other broke up with them, but no, Jace was heartbroken because Peyton did not tell him something that she herself was in denial about. It was all so stupid. He also was leading another girl on for the most part of the book, which did not make me like him any better.

I liked Peyton better. She was a much more dynamic character. From the start, we kind of see her as a rich girl with no skills, at least from Jace's POV, but there is so much more to her. She has things in her family life that she is dealing with and in denial about and she is really struggling to stand-up for herself. Seeing what Peyton was going through, it made it so much more clear why she was acting a certain way in the book. She was really trying to do what she thought she should do and she thought that running away from her home for a while would help her.

Now, I will also say that I really hated what her mom did and one of the disappointments I had with this book was that Peyton never confronts her mom. In fact, there is absolutely no resolution for Peyton in regards to what her mom did and her family life. By the end of the book the focus in on the romance. I knew there was going to be romance in this book, I expected it, but I prefer books with romance to not have it overpower the other details in this book and this one did. A romance is not going to fix everything else that is going on.

Overall, I started off liking this book and the way it told Peyton and Jace's story. I also really liked Hector, the dog who joined them on the road trip. As I got further in the story, my opinion quickly changed from being immersed in the story, to being a bit annoyed. I did not like Jace's reasoning or the lack of resolution with Peyton's family. I own other books by this author so I will be reading more from her in the future.

I hereby give this book
2.5 Stars
Meaning: I almost liked it, but not quite

New Releases in YA! (April 21st-27th)

Every week I list all (or almost all) of the YA books (and the occasional MG) that are coming out within that week!
Here's what you get to look forward to this week:
P.S. Click on the book's cover for the Goodreads page!

Did I miss any books?
What books, if any, do you plan to read?

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Short and Simple Printz Reviews: The Poet X, Long Way Down, and Charles & Emma

This is a place for books that I didn't fully review.
Maybe I listed my likes and dislikes, had a little short paragraph, or a few sentences to convey my feelings on the book, but whatever the "review" is, all of them are short and simple. (hence the clever name)

Today I have some short reviews for Printz award winners (including honor books)! I have made it a goal of mine to read every Printz award winner. The main reason why I decided to do this is because the Printz award is for literary excellence in YA literature, which I am familiar with, but it also pushes me a little bit out of my comfort zone to books I would not normally pick up. 

So far I have read 41/94 books. These three books are some of the ones I've read so far this year.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.
Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.
But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.
So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.
Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

When I first saw this book, it did not pique my interest. I'm not sure why, I think I was wary about reading a book in verse talking about poetry. I don't normally read poetry or books in verse. Then I started seeing raving reviews and it got multiple awards, including the Printz award (which I am currently making my way through). So, I decided to pick this book up and I am glad I did. 

This was such a beautiful book. Even in verse, I could clearly hear this story and even more so feel what Xiomara was thinking and feeling. It made me really understand what she as going through and the questions she was asking. Even more so it made me understand how suffocated she felt in her own home. This was such a powerful book and I found that I couldn't put it down. I will definitely read more from Elizabeth Acevedo in the future. I already have With the Fire on High on my to-read list. 

I hereby give this book
5 Stars
Meaning: A new favorite

Long Way Down
An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.
A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE
Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.
And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.
Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.   

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

So far this year I've rated two new-to-me books 5 stars and both have been in verse, which is surprising because I don't usually read books in verse, but this was such a fantastic book. I listened to it on audio as well which only made it feel so much more impactful. It is so easy to gloss over words when you're reading them at a fast speed, but having the story read to you the way the author intended it to be read (because the audio is narrated by the author himself) was especially impactful.

The book is about a young man, Will, whose brother has been shot. Will intends to take his brother's gun and shoot the person he believes killed his brother. The entirety of this book takes place within sixty seconds as Will rides an elevator down to the lobby of his building. The entire premise is a unique way to discuss such a hard topic and show the reader how much a person can go through in such a short length of time. 

This is a fairly quick read. The audiobook was only about an hour and a half and it included a short discussion with the author which also said a lot about why he wrote this book. I strongly recommend this book. This is a book that deserves the awards it has been given and it is certainly one that will stay in my memory for a while. This is the first book I have read by Jason Reynolds, but I will definitely pick up more books written by him in the future. 

I hereby give this book
5 Stars
Meaning: A new favorite

Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, his revolutionary tract on evolution and the fundamental ideas involved, in 1859. Nearly 150 years later, the theory of evolution continues to create tension between the scientific and religious communities. Challenges about teaching the theory of evolution in schools occur annually all over the country. This same debate raged within Darwin himself, and played an important part in his marriage: his wife, Emma, was quite religious, and her faith gave Charles a lot to think about as he worked on a theory that continues to spark intense debates.

Deborah Heiligman's new biography of Charles Darwin is a thought-provoking account of the man behind evolutionary theory: how his personal life affected his work and vice versa. The end result is an engaging exploration of history, science, and religion for young readers.
  Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

This book was really out of my comfort zone. I don't really read biographies, but I challenged myself to read all of the Printz award winners and this book came recommended by my YA lit teacher a while back. I had to change the way I typically read books because I found when reading this book that I need to take more breaks than when reading fiction. Even though I kind of slugged my way through this book, I ended up finding it interesting. The book focuses a lot more on the Darwins themselves rather than focusing on just Charles Darwin and his research. It was a more personal side to his story and it included the rest of his family in the story. While the book did discuss what he did in terms of science and research, it mainly discussed the normality to what he was doing and showed the reader how his research fit into his family life, rather than the other way around. Overall, it was an interesting read, although I can't say whether I enjoyed it.

I hereby give this book
Meaning: I'm not sure how to rate this one

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Cover vs Cover: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

This week's pick is...

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1) VS.    VS.White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)
Take One                        Take Two                        Take Three
I actually already did a cover vs cover post for this book, but a new cover came out recently, so I'm doing it again! Last time I talked about how Jennifer L. Armentrout just couldn't please the covers gods. I love this book, but I absolutely hate covers 1 & 2. The only reason why I picked up the book was because I trusted Armentrout and I heard positive things about the book. Take One looks like an NA romance, which I like to avoid. I don't like kissing on covers at all. Take Two looks like an indie book in which they had no budget for a good cover. Take One won last time only because it had color. Now, I'm really glad that there's a new cover. It still isn't the best, it's kind of a generic paranormal/fantasy cover, but at least it tells the reader that this is a paranormal book and is more aesthetically pleasing!
 Final Verdict: Take Three
Do you agree? Give me your thoughts on which cover is the best!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

Waiting on Wednesday (or Can't Wait Wednesday) is a weekly meme, hosted by Wishful Endings, where you talk about whatever book you are IMPATIENTLY WAITING for!

This week I am waiting for...
I Wanna Be Where You Are
"In a world where it's easy to lose faith in love, I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE is a brilliant burst of light. A dazzling debut." ― Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out

When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast―two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.

Filled with roadside hijinks, heart-stirring romance, and a few broken rules, I Wanna Be Where You Are is a YA debut perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon. 
Release Date: June 4th, 2019

Why am I waiting?
I know some other folks are tired of road trip books but I love them! I especially love it when there's a dog along for the ride! This sounds like it will be a fun book and a great debut.
What book are you waiting for this week?