The Me in Book Characters Tag

Does anyone remember when #DescribeYourselfin3FictionalCharacters was floating around Twitter? I soon became reminiscent of the hastag when I was tagged by Rebecca of mylifeofasportsfangirl to do The Me in Book Characters Tag. The Me in Book Characters Tag was created by Ash & Lo at Windowsill Books and the purpose of the tag is to list 5 book characters who you are most like and explain why.

I’ve had a lot of fun writing this tag, but I admit that I had a bit of trouble coming up with characters from books! If I could include characters from TV, I’d hands-down include Leslie Knope and DJ Tanner. Anyways, some of the characters below may be a bit more mainstream but hey, some of the best books include the most relatable charcters for me.

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Lara Jean from the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy by Jenny Han– Throughout the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, I felt that I was really similar to Lara Jean—our love for baking, having two sisters and the responsibility that comes along with being part of a family, our sense of fashion, HAMILTON, etc— but I felt like I could relate to Lara Jean the most in Always and Forever, Lara Jean. This book focuses a lot on Lara Jean getting into college and her hesitance toward the change that is yet to come, and I had a lot of the same anxieties as her during the summer before my freshman year of college and even during my first semester.

Hermione Granger from Harry PotterI see a lot of myself in Hermione purely because we are overachievers, and we both have a passion for education and reading (I wish I could also say that I see a lot of myself in her because of our magic skills). I believe that Hermione will always be such a positive, female role model for girls who partake in any part of the Harry Potter world.

Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell– Obvious choice, as Cath is quite an easy character for us fangirls and bookworms to relate to as readers and writers, but that’s why Fangirl is a much-loved novel in the book community. I see so much of myself in Cath between having only a few, but close-knit relationships, not completely loving and taking a while to adapt to the whole college experience, and her love for fandom, reading, and writing.

Josie from Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan– I’m in much need of a reread of Love and Other Foreign Words, but I remember loving this in 2015 for how much I could relate to Josie’s sarcasm, wit, and intelligence (which at times got her in a bit of trouble for her quick remarks).

Elle from Geekerella by Ashley Poston– I think I could see a lot of myself in Elle in her passion for the Starfield fandom and how her and her dad bonded over the series. This reminded me of sharing my love for some of my favorite fandoms with my parents. I saw all of The Hunger Games films in theatres with my dad (proud to say that although he’s not a reader, he read the all 3 books) and I read Harry Potter because of how much my mom loved the series.

Top Five Wednesday: Forgettable Books

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The book blogging community, myself included, often shouts from the rooftops talks about our most unforgettable reads, but Today’s Top Five Wednesday prompts us to do the opposite. Whether I loved them or hated them, today I’ll be discussing five books that I really just don’t remember.. maybe reading a lot does come with one consequence???

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (Read in 2015)The 5th Wave trilogy is just one of those series that I’ll never understand the hype over, especially when it came to The Infinite Sea. Frankly, there was nothing left to remember, let alone forget, as this book just jumped form POV to POV and gave no real resolution or answers to The 5th Wave.

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick (Read in 2015)– I was very disappointed reading What I Thought Was True because I absolutely adored Huntley Fitzpatrick’s, My Life Next Door. As expected from today’s prompt, I forget almost everything about this one, other than that the main character worked for a catering company???

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (Read in 2016)– It took me about halfway through to get really into this fantasy read because I struggled with a bunch of new terms being thrown at me during the very beginning of the book. When it comes to fantasy reads, I expect a lot of world-building in the beginning, whereas in Truthwitch, our main protagonists jump right into their story/conflict. I think I might’ve picked up Windwitch if I remembered more of the plot details from Truthwitch—if you love intricate/heavily fantasy books, this could be an unforgettable one for you!

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (Read in 2016)Nimona being an forgettable read for me really disappoints me because Noelle Stevenson is a well-respected graphic novelist in the book community. I do really enjoy her artwork and artistic talent, but I really don’t remember the novel’s plot having a lot of substance, or at least something for me to remember!

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder (Read in 2017)The Museum of Intangible Things is a book that I unfortunately wish I didn’t pick up and really don’t remember other than having really weird vibes and not the greatest depiction of mental illness. Plus aliens.

Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found here on Goodreads.

 

Review: London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton

Summary: Right after graduating college, Alex Sinclair trades sunny Florida for life in London, the home of Alex’s favorite plays, TV shows, and fangirl heroes. Staying with her best friend Harry, Alex is set to work on her dream of writing for the theatre. But when a rival threatens her chances of becoming a playwright and a newfound romance, Alex is left to question if London is where she truly belongs.

 My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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 My Thoughts:

 London Belongs to Me came to my attention last year on Booktube, and the book sounded right up my alley. A fangirl moving to London? Sign me up (except for living in the Harry Potter sized bedroom/closet in my friend’s apartment)! London Belongs to Me is light and heart-warming new-adult read, following Alex’s adjustment to living in London, from dealing with her best friend’s stuck-up girlfriend, Olivia, to attending comic conventions with her friends, Lucy and Freddie. I really enjoyed the books for its London setting—Primark, H & M, and Topshop??? — and fandom aspects. Alex is a major Doctor Who and Sherlock fan, so I highly recommend the book to those who share a love for the same fandoms.

Alex can relate to a lot of readers with her love for fandom and writing, and she could also relate to people in the sense that she has panic or anxiety attacks in overwhelming situations. It was really sweet to see Lucy, Freddie, and Mark help her overcome her anxiety. I loved that Alex was also out of college, and it was really cool to see her in this transition stage from being a college student/ young adult to adulting. I also enjoyed seeing Alex’s family, with Joan being mine and Freddie’s favorite.

My only problem with London Belongs to Me was that it was often predictable when it came to the Olivia vs. Alex plot line. Obviously, Alex wasn’t going to have the easiest time adjusting to London life, but Olivia quickly became her only roadblock, trying to ruin Alex’s chances of making a life for herself in the theatre world.

Overall, London Belongs to Me is the perfect read for those wanting a book with a new-adult aged protagonist, fandom aspects, or of course, London as the main setting. I look forward to reading its sequel, London, Can You Wait?, very soon!

Have you read London Belongs to Me? Share in the comments!

Review: The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

Summary: After a horrific accident while working as a supervisor in a chocolate factory, Annie is left feeling confused about her next step. But when she’s offered an opportunity to live in Paris and work in an elite chocolate shop, she leaves her small English town, fearful that she won’t fit in Paris either. Plus the fact that the factory-made chocolate she’s always worked around is nothing like the gourmet treats her boss creates. Anna soon finds herself growing to love Paris, chocolate, and life more than she could have ever expected.

 My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

My British contemporary kick continues with The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, and I seem to also be starting a trend with books about Paris—my previous read, Last Christmas in Paris, also had an emphasis on the city. Maybe this Paris kick is hinting at what my 2018 travel plans could have in store! And after reading The Loveliest Chocolate Shop, my wanderlust for France has grown even more.

I really enjoyed The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris for a multitude of reasons—Paris, Annie’s relationship with Claire, our cast of characters, and of course, the chocolate. I found it so interesting to learn about chocolate-making, and I loved flipping through Jenny Colgan’s chocolate recipes in the back of the book. I’ve luckily had plenty of chocolate in my house for the Christmas season that all of my chocolate cravings caused by this book were quite satisfied. I really love books about baking and food, so it was fun to see Annie not only embrace life in Paris, but also life working in the chocolate shop.

The beginning of the novel flips between Annie and Claire’s perspective, with Claire’s POV flashing back to her own time in Paris with Thierry. I don’t want to spoil anyone too much, but it was really cool to see how Claire, Annie’s schoolteacher and newly found friend, and Thierry, Annie’s boss at the shop, interact and how their story interwove with Annie’s life. I really enjoyed reading about Thierry and Claire’s romance, and I of course found myself rooting for Annie’s own romantic endeavors along with Sami. Referencing back to our cast of characters, I loved our main characters and side characters. Benoit, Alice, and Frederic provided the perfect cast in the shop, Sami is the best possible roommate to have in Paris, and I especially loved Claire’s relationship with Madame LeGuarde.

As much as I loved The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, there are few reasons why I didn’t gave the book a full 5 stars. I sometimes couldn’t tell what the characters were talking about, especially in the scenes where Claire and Thierry reveal their past to Annie and Laurent. I don’t know if Jenny Colgan did this on purpose to have readers glue pieces of the puzzle on their own. However, I found myself having to reread and backtrack through conversations. AND THE ENDING!! I SUPPOSE IT WAS MEANT TO BEAUTIFUL, BUT TO ME IT WAS JUST SAD AND HEART-BREAKING. Yes, Jenny Colgan made up for it a bit with the epilogue, but unfortunately I am the type of reader who does not want to use her imagination, JUST GIVE ME THE ANSWERS NOW JENNY!

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is my second Jenny Colgan book and I feel that now I can officially say that I love her books—frankly, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café was enough for me to say so!

Do you like books that feature food? Have you read The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris? Share in the comments!

The Greatest Spreadsheet You’ll Ever Meet: 2018 Reading with All About Books

A new year means a new year of reading. I love being organized when it comes to the books that I’ve read and for someone whose least favorite subject is math, I love finding out statistical data on my yearly reads.

Most readers tend to use the Goodreads Reading Challenge to track their 2018 reads, but I’ve seen a few people step away from the challenge this year because they do not want to challenge themselves to read a certain amount of books. I myself have taken the Goodreads Reading Challenge less seriously in 2017 and 2018. I really only set the challenge so I can visually see what books I read throughout the year. I also keep track of what I’ve read in my blogging notebook and in an Excel spreadsheet, but for 2018, I wanted something that would do more than track the amount of books I’ve read. How many pages did I read? What genres did I reach most for? Did I read more backlist books or new releases? I could obviously look up this data myself, but I didn’t know how to easily do so.

Enter the 2018 Books Spreadsheet created by All About Books. I discovered this spreadsheet from Kristin of Super Space Chick and Cassie of Bibliomantics’ Spines With Wines End of the Year Liveshow. The 2018 Books Spreadsheet is available for anyone to use—all you have to do is copy the file and All About Books lists all of the instructions you need for downloading and using the spreadsheet.

So why is this the greatest book-tracking spreadsheet ever??

  1. It’s super organized and easy to use! When you enter the spreadsheet, you’ll see the overview page for your reading/stats, and there are tabs at the bottom where you can fill in the books/authors/anything else about your reading that your heart desires.Screen Shot 2018-01-06 at 7.04.21 PM.png
  2. You can basically track any sort of statistics/data about your reading. Want to know how female and male authors you read? How about how many books you borrowed vs. how many books you purchased? Want to track your average rating in a certain genre? You can do it all and more! The instructions on All About Books’ post tells you how to create your own categories using tabs outside of the categories that they have already created.

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As you can probably tell, I’ll be using the 2018 Books spreadsheet to track my reading this year and highly recommend you do as well. I have it tagged elsewhere in the post but here is where you can find the spreadsheet:

http://itsallaboutbooks.de/2017/12/spreadsheet-books-2018/

How do you track your year in reading? Share in the comments!

Top Five Wednesday: Books I Didn’t Get to In 2017 

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Today’s Top Five Wednesday focuses on books that I didn’t pick up in 2017, but I’ll be prioritizing in my 2018 TBR.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas- I mentioned in my last T5W that I still had not read Tower of Dawn mainly because I really need to reread the previous Throne of Glass novels before jumping into the latest installment. AND UPDATE: GUESS WHO FINALLY STARTED HER REREAD OF THRONE OF GLASS??? THIS GIRL! I plan on picking up ToD right after my reread of Empire of Storms because I am in NEED of Chaol Westfall.

The Upside Down of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli- I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda last summer and it completely met the hype, and I AM BEYOND EXCITED FOR ITS FILM ADAPTATION, LOVE, SIMON, THIS YEAR. I saved The Upside Down of Unrequited for 2018 so I could have more Becky Albertalli goodness,even though we’ll have Leah on the Offbeat and What If It’s Us with Adam Silvera!!!

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard) by Rick Riordan- I normally don’t reach for middle grade, but I’ve seen nothing but love for Magnus Chase on Booktube. I read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series in 2015 (I wish I had picked them up when I was younger), and a very generous friend of mine gave me a signed copy of The Sword of Summer for Christmas one year.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe- Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I love books that take place during the Wold War II and Holocaust period. The Librarian of Auschwitz is based on the real-life experience of a young Auschwitzprisoner who is placed in charge of eight precious volumes in the camp.

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith- I met Jennifer E. Smith at a signing in September and I had the sweetest conversation with her about being an English major and working in the publishing industry. I’m really excited to pick up more of her books (I’ve only read Windfall and her story in Summer Days and Summer Nights so far), and a lot of people start her books with This is What Happy Looks Like.

Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found hereon Goodreads.

ARC Review: A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen

Summary: From the moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, he knows there’s something special about her. The two quickly become friends, sharing a love for climbing trees, planning adventures, and geeking out over science. Always being teased for his Tourette’s syndrome, Spencer starts to feel that he finally belongs somewhere. Over the years, through new relationships, family tragedy, and growing up, Spencer and Hope’s friendship is put to the test, as their relationship heads toward something more.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

I received an ARC of A Taxonomy of Love at Book Con 2017 from Amulet Books, and I am so lucky to have this one before its release date (January 9th 2018) because I think A Taxonomy of Love is a standout for 2018 releases. A Taxonomy of Love reminded me of Jared Reck’s A Short History of the Girl Next Door and Julie Israel’s Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index, but the book is quite unique for having a protagonist with Tourette’s syndrome.

A Taxonomy of Love is primarily told through Spencer, which I found really refreshing for me because not only do I more so rarely read books told from a male POV, but also because we get to learn what it’s like for Spencer to have Tourette’s syndrome. Before reading A Taxonomy of Love, I didn’t know too much aboutTourette’s syndrome and  I learned a lot more about the condition from the novel. A Taxonomy of Love isn’t just told from Spencer’s POV, as we get to experience Hope’s POV through instant messaging and letters to her sister, Janie, who’s traveling abroad. And as suggested through the title, there are plenty of taxonomies created by Spencer. They don’t necessarily depict his interests in science or bugs, but rather they display relationships, high school, and types of people in general. The book is spilt into 6 sections, which each section representing one year of Spencer’s life. I really enjoyed this because I felt that we got to see the characters change and grow up.

One of my favorite aspects of A Taxonomy of Love is our cast of characters. We obviously have Spencer and Hope, whose friendship takes some twists and turns throughout the years. There’s a ton of family in this book, between Spencer’s family—Dean, his dad, his stepmother, Pam, and his grandma, Mimi—and Hope’s family, with a lot of emphasis on her relationship with Janie. More of Spencer and Hoper’s friends came in and out of the novel as well, and I think this bigger cast really works, as we see all the people who played a role in the duo’s lives throughout the years.

There were so many fun quotes in A Taxonomy of Love that I had to break out my page tabs! I really enjoyed this gem from Spencer:

“Hope hates playing Magic. I had to trade her watching High School Musical and High School Musical 2 to get her to play last time. I can only handle so much Zac Efron.”

While the book has plenty of light moments, there are a lot of heavy and more serious topics addressed in the book. There’s a really great scene towards the end of the novel where Spencer’s family talks about racism, which was quite interesting considering that the story takes place in Georgia—it did a great job of de-stereotyping southern beliefs. Through Spencer’s POV, we obviously experience what it’s like for him to have Tourette’s, but we also see how he reacts to being teased for his condition. Additionally, one of the main themes in the novel is death, as one of the character’s in the novel experiences a death in their family. I admit that I didn’t read the blurb too much before reading A Taxonomy of Love, so some of its darker moments took me back a bit, but I felt that these themes made the story feel more realistic.

Overall, I really enjoyed A Taxonomy of Love for a taxonomy of reasons: its focus on family and friendship, its portrayal of growing up, and for featuring a main character with Tourette’s syndrome, which I haven’t seen before in the YA world. My only “complaint” about the book is that there were so many opportunities for our main characters to get together sooner (I complain about this in almost every book I read about “star-crossed” lovers so I was not surprised by my feeling).

Is A Taxonomy of Love on your TBR? Share in the comments!