Books, Film, and Hopefully More Books: April Wrap Up

April shall be known as the month where I wanted to read all the books, but my last month of the semester and final papers sort’ve prevented that– I still managed to read 6 books! I’m beyond excited for my summer reading plans, and within those 6 books, I also managed to conquer two Sarah J. Maas books!?! Since I spend a lot of time reading, writing, and with words in general for school, I relaxed a lot by watching TV and movies. And writing blog posts, of course.

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The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides | 4/5 Stars

I’ve been loving bookish Instagram templates lately, and I found The Virgin Suicides through a classics challenge template. This intriguing, but shocking read has definitely become one of my favored classics.

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena | 4.5/5 Stars

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan | 4/5 Stars

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (Reread) | 5/5 Stars

Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade | 4/5 Stars

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas | 5/5 Stars

 

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So imagine my happiness when my family decided to get HBO on Amazon Prime during the busiest time of the school year. There’s so much I want to watch on HBO (my friend keeps pressuring me to start Game of Thrones), and I did find the time to watch a few movies, including The House, La La Land, and Collateral Beauty. Zoella’s New York City vlogs influenced my watching of Collateral Beauty, which was my favorite movie of the month (even if it caused me to ugly cry).

I also watched Speech & Debate on Netflix. I was really excited to watch this one because of Darren Criss and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s cameos, and I really enjoyed its cast and humor.

My finals work had me craving some light-hearted TV, which led me to catching on the CW. I’m now up-to-date on Riverdale, and I’ve been loving Life Sentence with Lucy Hale.

Streaming-wise, I watched the first season of Divorce on HBO/Amazon Prime. I’m a huge Sarah Jessica Parker fan and it was fun to see her once again in New York City. And in more light-hearted TV news, I watched the first season of Nailed It on Netflix. I love baking shows, and this one is such much fun, showcasing amateur bakers who try to replicate Pinterest and Instagram-worthy cakes and treats.

 

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Reviews

SCHOOL BOOKS THAT I ACTUALLY ENJOYED: March Mini Reviews

The Little French Bistro by Nina George

My New Favorite Graphic Novel: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

College YA Meets Music: We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen (featuring Music Habits Tag)

ARC Review: All of This Is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

Queen of My Heart: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Diverse Reviews: A Girl Like That & The Astonishing Color of After

Top Five Wednesday

Favorite Jokesters

Auto-Buy Sci-fi & Fantasy Authors

Ideal Mash-Ups & Anticipated Mash-Ups

Fandom Items

 

April Snow Showers??: TBB Asks Spring Edition

Monthly Recommendations: Mental Health Rep

Traveling with Fictional Characters and My Favorite Things: The Liebster Award

My Experience Seeing Carousel

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CarouselDuring the first week in April, one of my best friends and I went to see Carousel on Broadway. I have a post about my experience seeing the show, and I can now say that I’ve been to a Broadway preview.

Publishing over 200 Posts- Wrap ups truly are full circle. I probably should’ve mentioned this last month, but Give Me More Spring Breaks: March Wrap Up was my 200th blog post. I’ve actually been doing some spring cleaning on the blog and deleting some old posts, but I’m still over the 200 mark!

Finishing my second year of college- At the time I’m publishing this wrap-up, I only have two days of my sophomore year left! I’ve enjoyed sophomore year much more than my first year, and not just for the fact that I had no written final exams this semester. I did really well in the classroom, had my first internship, made some great friendships, and of course read a lot of books.

 

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What did you read and watch in April? Did you go to any bookish events? Share in the comments!

Diverse Reviews: A Girl Like That & The Astonishing Color of After

A Book Like That: A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena 

Summary: Zarian Wadia is known for many things in her Saudi Arabian community. She’s the daughter of a criminal, an orphan, a brilliant English student. She’s the girl that parents warn their children to stay away from. After all, when your romances are the subject of endless gossip in school, it’s got to be true. Right? So why is it that Porus Dumasia only has eyes for Zarian? And how do Zarian and Porus end up dead together in a car accident on a Jeddah highway? As Zarian’s story is pieced together from multiple perspectives, it’s clear that Zarian wasn’t exactly a girl like that.

 My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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 My Thoughts:

A Girl Like That  was one of my anticipated releases of 2018. I saw a ton of positive hype for the book before its release in February 2018. Since the majority of YA contemporary books I read take place in the US, I was excited to read a book with a different setting, Saudi Arabia. Definitely a bit more light-hearted aspect of this heavy book, but I loovveeeee A Girl Like That’s cover (give me all the pink covers, please).

 A Girl Like That is told in multiple perspectives. While over half of the book is told from Zarian’s point of view, we also get POVs from Porus, a guy from Zarian’s childhood who has recently moved to Saudi Arabia, Mishal, one of Zarian’s classmate who antagonizes her, and Farhan, the school heartthrob. Not only did these other POVs provide insight on Zarian, but they also represented different upbringings in the Middle East. It’s no spoiler that Zarian and Porus die in a car accident because it’s the very first thing we learn in the beginning of the book. By no means did this eliminate any suspense for me.

A Girl Like That is tremendously eye-opening, as we see what it’s like not only to live in Saudi Arabia, but being a woman there. Many of Zarian and Mishal’s interactions with men were very disturbing and the book overall spreads light on systematic oppression against women. For example, Zarian and Mishal’s guardians debate between having the girls marry right after they graduate high school, with some suitors being almost double their age. Both girls, like many, have no say in this matter. While Zarian is probably a bit more outspoken out of the two, I loved how Mishal fights for her dream of being a psychologist against her father and brother’s wishes. I also appreciated all of the discussion about how girls’ appearance or actions are not to blame for getting guy’s attention and attraction. You aren’t “asking for it”.

Some other disturbing, but eye-opening aspects of A Girl Like That include abuse and rape. Zarian does not have the best relationship with her aunt and uncle, and it was heart-breaking to see witness her and her aunt’s interactions. In addition, some of the plot in A Girl Like That revolves around rape and date-rape. Tanza Bhathena shows that violence against women can happen anywhere.

Overall, I really enjoyed A Girl Like That for shedding light on culture and life in the Middle East in the YA world. The book is definitely heavy, but I flew through it. I loved Tanaz Bhathena’s writing and I found myself not wanting to put this book down because I needed to know more about Zarian. She definitely is not a girl like that.

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Give Me More Tissues & Magical Realism: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

 Summary: If there’s one thing that Leigh is sure about, it’s that when her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Soon after her mother’s death, Leigh travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time, and she’s determined to find her mother, the bird. While searching for her mother, Leigh finds herself wrapped in family secrets, meeting ghosts, and haunted by the fact that on the day her mother took her life, she kissed her best friend Axel for the first time.

 My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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 My Thoughts:

Magical realism is one of my least-read genres, but The Astonishing Color of After caught my interest for its focus on family the hype. After reading, I would now pick up more magical realism if they were all like Emily X.R. Pan’s storytelling because the magic was phenomenal.

Other than Leigh seeing her mom as a bird, magic really comes into play when Leigh travels between the past and present. Her use of incense and family heirlooms was such a creative way to learn more about Leigh and family’s background. I didn’t suspect at all that perhaps some people couldn’t see what Leigh saw at all. It definitely made for some whaatttttt (the best) reactions from me towards the end.

The Astonishing Color of After is such a diverse read for a few reasons:

  • Leigh is half white and half Taiwanese. I enjoyed how we get to explore Leigh’s Taiwanese culture and heritage alongside her. Leigh’s best friend, Axel, is half Filipino and half Puerto Rican.
  • LGBTQ rep
  • Mental health representation. Leigh’s mother struggles with depression, and as highlighted in Emily X.R. Pan’s author’s note, there was no single reason for her mental health problems.

As you may assume from the book’s title, Emily X.R. Pan’s writing was enriched with color. It set the perfect mood, and I loved how Leigh and Axel often described how they were feeling by what color they felt. The only “reference” I didn’t appreciate as some readers might was the incorporation of Emily Dickinson’s poetry (you didn’t hear it from me, but while I appreciate her work, I’m not the biggest Dickinson fan..). And this totally isn’t necessary and probably impossible, but I would have loved to see some of Axel and Leigh’s artwork because it sounded so cool!?!? Can someone make some fanart versions asap please??

Overall, I enjoyed The Astonishing Color of After for its focus on family, relationships, and unique take on magical realism. I’m looking forward to seeing what Emily X. R. Pan comes out with next!
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Have you read A Girl Like That or The Astonishing Color of After? Share in the comments!

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QUEEN OF MY HEART: Queen of Shadows Reread Discussion

I’ve come to the conclusion that this whole rereading books thing is pretty amazing because I’ve absolutely fallen in love again with Sarah J. Maas’s Queen of Shadows. I am almost complete with my #1 reading goal of 2018, aka finally rereading the massive beasts that compose the Throne of Glass series. If fitness is among your 2018 goals, lifting Heir of Fire and Empire of Storms together makes for the perfect arm workout.

Queen of Shadows is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, and it’s actually the first ToG book I read at the time of publication in September 2015 (I read the previous books that June). QoS also holds a special place in my heart because I attended one of SJM’s signing events for its launch and it was my first time meeting her.

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Because QoS is well into the ToG realm, from this point on, there will be spoilers for Queen of Shadows and Throne of Glass overall below. For my non-spoiler people, enjoy the following farewell from Leslie:

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I loved rereading QoS because there are so many great small details throughout the story. My favorite part of the rescue mission for Aedion was seeing Aelin disguise herself as a ballerina and getting a glimpse at her relationship with Florine. I also loved seeing Aelin and Lysandra’s relationship blossom in this installment. I still get a bit teary-eyed over their friendship, especially after Aelin informs Lysandra that she’s paid off her debts to Clarise. AND HOW DID I FORGET THE SCENE WHERE LYSANDRA VOMITS VALG BITS ON TO LORCAN??

Speaking of Aelin, QoS basically acts as Aelin’s transformation from Celaena Sardothien to Aelin Galathynius. I liked how we get to say goodbye to the sassy, kickbutt Celaena, but we also get introduced to the strong, still sassy leader that is Aelin. I just love her banter with Rowan, and she also shares plenty of lighthearted moments with Aedion (even if it’s not in the best of situations, like during dinner with Arobynn):

“ “No matter what you see or hear, just keep your fat mouths shut. No psychotic territorial bullshit.”

Aedion chuckled. “Remind me to tell you tomorrow how charming you are.” “

QoS also made me fall in love with Rowan and Aelin as a couple, and you better believe that I am rooting for Lysandra and Aedion even more. I know some fans still are rooting for Aelin and Dorian, but I think a certain witch may be in Dorian’s future.. But I am all for Dorian and Aelin taking on the continent together, especially after this quote:

“They joined hands.

So the world ended.

And the next on began.”

I’ll take that on an embroidered pillow, please.

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Regarding friendships, I think my favorite relationship moment in the entire book is Chaol and Dorian’s reunion at the end. CHAOL’S CRYING AND DORIAN IS CRYING AND WAIT HOW DID WATER END UP IN MY BOOK? DID MY EYES DO THAT?? I wish we got to see them spend a bit more time together, but now I’m even more excited to see Chaol and Nesryn’s adventure to the Southern Continent in Tower of Dawn. Honestly, all of the friendships in QoS could make me a bit teary-eyed between Chaol and Dorian, Aelin and Lysandra, Asterin and Manon (Asterin’s backstory is also not for those opposed to Kleenex), and Elide and Manon. But please, give me more of Abraxos’s love for Elide and even scenes with just Abarxos rolling around in wild flowers. And someone who I consider one of Celaena’s friends from the first two books, how did I not remember that Phillipa survives in QoS? I’d love to see her in Terrasen if we get somewhat of a happily ever after in the final book.

Until rereading QoS, I considered Crown of Midnight to be my favorite in the series, because you know, CHAOL. But try not to tell CoM that QoS is my new favorite because of ALL of the characters (Chaol, included of course). I just loved how we get almost everyone’s POVs– yes, it can be challenging keeping track of all SJM’s characters, but yes, it is so worth it. I was cheering when we get Manon’s first chapter, and it was fun to see the growing dynamic between Aelin, Rowan, and Aedion.

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Obviously, I love all of the Throne of Glass books-there’s got to be something special about a series if I take the time to reread- but QoS will be holding the #1 spot for now. I am highly anticipating and emotionally preparing myself for Kingdom of Ash. My roommate and I already have plans to cry read it together.

Have you read Queen of Shadows? What’s your favorite ToG book? Share in the comments!

Top Five Wednesday: Favorite Fandom Items

Today’s Top Five Wednesday covers some of my favorite things, fandom items! I love collecting merch—I still trying to figure out how I’ve yet to buy a bookish candle, and I definitely see a book sleeve in my future. I’m going to be focusing on items from a mix of mediums.

Art Work- I definitely don’t have as much artwork as some of my fellow book bloggers do (maybe a potential trip to NYC Comic Con will change this in 2018??), but I appreciate bookish and fandom artwork. Two of my favorite artists are Simini Blocker, who’s featured in the special editions of Fangirl and did an amazing collab with Uppercase for one of their planners, and Charlie Bowater, who’s done a ton of artwork for Sarah J. Maas’s books. She’s helped design the covers for A Court of Wings and Ruin and A Court of Frost and Starlight, as well as creating the map of the Southern Continent in Tower of Dawn. My own favorites include a poster of Kevin Wanda’s Carry On cover design, the fan art in the Target edition of Tower of Dawn, and a gorgeous To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets Sixteen Candles card I received from Jenny Han at Book Con.

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Mugs- I’ve been trying to limit my fandom mug collection for the sake of bookshelf space (I don’t drink out of them) and watching my spending—I’m still trying to figure out how I avoided buying mugs at Dear Evan Hansen and Carousel. And I know one of these days when I walk past the Hamilton store in NYC, I’ll be buying the Aaron Burr-inspired mug. Anyways, my mug collection includes Hamilton, Waitress, Book Con, and Ron Swanson. I always have Ron’s turned out on my shelf so you can see his face!

Funkos- I started collecting Funkos a few years ago when I received Katniss and Ron Weasley as Christmas gifts. I currently have 15 Funko Pops along with a Funko keychain and pen (check out my full collection here), and while people have definitely surpassed my collection, I want to just collect figures that are very near and dear to my fangirl heart. I’d love to add the rare/highly-priced Friends ones to my collection (I think they’re long overdue for an update or second series), and I’m not-so patiently waiting for the second wave of Parks & Rec. I’ve been pretty good about not buying any Funkos since Christmas, even though I was VERY tempted to buy the Hot Topic exclusive of Tom and Jean Ralphio from Parks and Rec. However, this somewhat buying ban will surely end when I see a Luna Lovegood with her Gryffindor Hat in a store or magicially pop into my Amazon shopping cart.

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Bookish Pins- My bookish pin collection really comes from all of the bookish events I’ve attended. While most of them have come from Book Con, I’ve picked a few at Barnes & Noble Teen Book Fest and Jennifer E. Smith’s signing. One of the reasons I preordered A Court of Frost and Starlight is because of the awesome Night Court enamel included in Bloomsbury’s preorder campaign.

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Preorder goodies- Speaking of preorder campaigns, I feel like publishers have really stepped up their game when it comes to their amazing preorder campaigns. I’ve preordered Sarah J. Maas’s ACOMAF, ACOWAR, and Empire of Storms—my favorite preorder goodie is the ACOTAR tote bag from ACOMAF– and Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer. My copy was signed and I received a poster of the book’s cast. Sandhya Menon is currently running an awesome preorder campaign for From Twinkle, With Love, and my most recent preorders  include Siobhan Vivian’s Stay Sweet, Morgan Matson’s Save the Date, and A Court of Frost and Starlight.

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I love how today’s T5W focuses on bookish things instead of books themselves because I really enjoy talking about more-so fandom content. What are some of your favorite fandom items? Share in the comments!

ARC Review: All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor

Summary: Mimi, Soleil, and Penny love Undertow more than the words and metaphors in the book itself can describe. When the girls and the new boy at school, Jonah, get the opportunity to meet the author, Fatima, they concoct a plan to get close to her. As they grow closer to Fatima, secrets that can never be forgotten are exposed—and not just in their friend group, but in Fatima’s latest book. Told over interviews, journal entries, and book excerpts, All of This Is True will leave you questioning what really is true.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

I was ortunate to have had the opportunity to read an Advanced Reader’s Edition of All of This Is True back in March, as part of a blog tour hosted by Courtney of Buried in a Bookshelf. If you’re looking for a book to get you out of a reading slump or need a book for a readathon, I cannot recommend All of This Is True enough. The book was my first read of spring break and I ate it up in less than a day! I was just as obsessed with All of This Is True as much as our characters are obsessed with Fatimo Ro and Undertow. Do not be intimidated at all by the book’s size at all (my edition was 400+ pages) because I promise you that you won’t even realize you’ve blown through a hundred pages at a time until you hit the end.

I think my inability to put this book down was largely because of the book’s unique formatting. All of This Is True takes us from the present, when it’s revealed that Fatima wrote her second book based on the friend group, to the start of it all, when Mimi and her friends first become obsessed with Undertow, Fatima’s first book. The story is told through interviews with Mimi, Penny, and other minor characters, Soleil’s journal entries, and excerpts from Fatima’s second book. I especially loved the interviews with Mimi and Penny because they revealed so much about what happened and gave us two really different perspectives, as Mimi defends Fatima the most out of all the characters. The fact that most of the chapters were on the shorter side and weren’t straight-up narratives had me blowing through the pages, and I loved how many shocks Lygia Day Peñaflor delivered in that space. I was also impressed by the attention ro detail in each format – the page and book/chapter markers at the bottom of each page matched the form of the chapter.

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The format constantly reminded me of the TV adaptation of Big Little Lies, and I could SO see an All of This Is True TV or movie adaptation set in the same style, alternating between interviews and what really went down. My only “complaint” about the format is that sometimes the plot was reiterated too much—for example, Miri or Penny would describe how someone ate an apple and then in the next chapter, someone in Fatima’s book would be eating an apple- however, I understand this was done to get the different viewpoints of our characters.

All of This Is True is also a very unique read for the fact that it’s a YA book about a YA book. Mimi, Soleil, Penny, and Jonah almost live some readers’ dreams—becoming best friends with their favorite author. I loved seeing them interact with Fatima and her work, especially when it came to who really felt betrayed by Fatima’s work. I don’t want to go into too many spoilers in this review, but I will say that I did not expect this book to go to such a dark and thrilling place. However, one of my guesses about a certain character’s storyline was indeed correct, but by no means did it affect my reading experience.

One thing to remember about our characters is that they’re privileged, hosting the hottest parties on the Long Island Sound and perfecting their private school uniforms with Chanel brooches. Mimi is definitely supposed to be our perfectionist, Jonah as the quiet boy with a mysterious past, and Soleil is our artsy and creative type, looking to Fatima for advice (more like psychological analyses) and inspiration. My favorite character in the book was Penny. She’s set up to be the least suspecting character, but her role in how things go down with Fatima was larger than I could have imagined. It made me sad how much she wanted to be noticed by Fatima and her friends, but I think she was the most genuine out of the group. And before things really get crazy, she has some really funny one-liners:

“I’m really into design, you know. I watch Mad Men”

“Isn’t it crazy? I mean, I never thought that Fatima Ro would eat at an Olive Garden”

Overall, I highly recommend All of This Is True for its metafictional and psychologically-thrilling story— it’s too crazy to pass up, people! Add it to your readathon/summer/ you must read this book TBR immediately!

All of This Is True comes out on May 15, 2018.

Want more reviews? Check out some of my fellow blog tour members’ posts?

Buried in a Bookshelf 

Utopia State of Mind

 

Traveling with Fictional Characters and My Favorite Things: The Liebster Award

I was nominated for The Liebster Award by the lovely Ally of allywritesthings. I love doing Q&A-type posts (maybe one day I’ll do one with questions directly from you guys!), so thanks for nominating me, Ally!

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How do you choose when to buy a paperback vs. a hardcover?

My choice comes down to a few factors for me, but I will say that I probably go for the paperback before hardcover, since paperbacks are typically less expensive than hardcovers. My paperback vs. hardcover factors include:

  1. If it’s a series, can I buy all books in the same format right now?
  2. Cover lust?? A lot of paperback books tend to take on a new cover design. There’s been some that I loved, like the paperback versions of the Grisha Verse trilogy, and some that I haven’t, like the paperback version of Warcross (where’s my Emika Chen-inspired rainbow??). But also, I need that Life After Legend story.

Weirdest book you’ve ever read?

The Girls by Emma Cline and I was not into it.

If you could travel anywhere with any character, where would you go and with who?

Reid from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. He’s one of my latest fictional boyfriends, and I think it would be fun to visit fandom-like places with him, like King’s Cross and the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London.

Name the one book on your shelf that you’d most like to get signed by the author and why.

I’ve been fortunate to have quite a few of the books on my shelves signed, but I would love to have my copy of Attachments signed by Rainbow Rowell, because I’d be one book closer to have all of my Rainbow Rowell books signed (currently have 5 signed by her).

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Do you like musicals and if so, what’s your favorite?

I really enjoy musicals! My favorite is of course, Hamilton. I appreciate Hamilton in so many different ways. It was of the things that got me through the second half of senior year of high school- I couldn’t wait to listen to the album on the bus everyday, and one of my classmates and I really connected because of our love for the show. Hamilton also really got me into Broadway, and I’ve seen 5 shows, including Hamilton, since I first listened in 2016. If it weren’t for Hamilton, I’d say my favorite Broadway show is Waitress, which I’ve been listening to almost everyday since seeing the show in November.

Sorry for the rambliness, but I’m getting really into this question (don’t even get me started on The Greatest Showman). I sense a favorite musicals or musical-inspired posts coming soon!

How many books is too many books for a series?

I feel like this is subjective to every series, but maybe 10+??? I’m thinking back to Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars (yes, I’ve read every PLL book and yes, I loved them and yes, they are better than the TV show) and I couldn’t even tell you what happens in each of the sixteen of them.

Favorite flower (in the spirit of spring?)

Roses maybe? I love those boxed ones that always pop up on my Instagram feed. Apparently they last for a really long time??

If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what color would it be?

I love bright colors, but if I had to wear one color for the rest of my life, I’d go with blue. It’s perfect for any season, and hypothetically, wouldn’t I be able to have a variety of blues for clothes??

If you could have any pet from a book, what pet would it be?

Give me any dog, but I do have a special place in my heart for Dol from V.E. Schwab’s Vicious. Does Sydney also come with him??

Best book of 2018 so far?

I’ve read A LOT of books so far this year and A LOT of them have been so good, but I only have a few favorites. My favorite so far has been Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman, but my mind also keeps returning to The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang and The Upside of Unrequited. And my Throne of Glass rereads keep popping up in my dreams lately (Chaol is always welcome). So maybe I have read a lot of favorites so far..

 

Current favorite song?

“Wild Heart” by Bleachers. Many thanks goes to Love, Simon for introducing me to Bleachers. I’ve been listening to their songs and the Love, Simon soundtrack everyday lately.

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What are some of your favorite things lately—songs, musicals, books? Any from the above? Share in the comments!

College YA Meets Music: We Are Still Tornadoes Review & Music Habits Tag

Summary: It’s 1982, and for Cath & Scott, everything is about to change. Growing up across the street from each other, the pair have been best friends for most of their lives. After graduating from high school, Cath heads off to Wake Forest University, while Scott stays home to work in his dad’s shop and tries to get his band off the ground. Even though the duo definitely expected some changes, neither of them thought life after high school would be this hard. Told in a series of letters, through heartbreak, family drama, and life really, Cath and Scott realize that their friendship means more to them than they could have ever imagined.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Michael Kun and Susan Mullen’s We Are Still Tornadoes popped up on my TBR radar thanks to an awesome post about college-set YA novels from BNTEENBlog. As some of you know, I’ll always love YA, but I’ve been craving college YA a lot more lately–growing pains in your reading life are real.

I loved We Are Still Tornadoes as a college YA for providing two different examples of post-high school life. Cath goes on what I guess is the more “traditional” route, heading off to college the fall after high school graduation. Meanwhile, Scott stays at home and works in his family’s clothing store and starts a band. I think Scott’s life classifies the book as a college-aged YA. It was fun reading about Cath’s adventures and misadventures at college alongside Scott’s on-goings at home. I really liked both protagonists, but I must admit that I liked Scott a tad more because of his humor! There were so many times that his jokes and teasing made me laugh out loud. For the sake of spoilers, I will just say that I did not expect that significant change in Scott’s life to occur (my hand went over my heart when I read that line).

The book acts a flashback to the 80s, taking place from September 1982 to September 1983—I liked how we got to experience a full year with our characters. If you look for books featuring music like how I’m always searching for college YA, We Are Still Tornadoes is the perfect combination of the two! Scott often sends lyrics to his band’s songs to Cath (I admit it was hard to imagine the lyrics as songs, but they can really read like poetry), and the two share a love for music. It was fun being able to recognize some of the songs they talked about, even though I admit I only recognized the bigger artists of the time, like The Beatles and Michael Jackson.

We Are Still Tornadoes is similar to the format of I Hate Everyone But You, as We Are Still Tornadoes is told through letters between Scott and Cath and I Hate Everyone But You is told through text messages and emails between its protagonists. However, in my opinion, We Are Still Tornadoes is the better version of the latter.. While I Hate Everyone But You gets points for its focus on female friendship and diverse character,s and by no means am I bashing it because I had a fun time reading it over spring break. I feel that the character development and story was stronger in We Are Still Tornadoes.

I’m giving We Are Still Tornadoes a 5 out of 5 stars not because it’s the most amazing book that I’ve ever read, but because I had such a great experience reading it. I feel like I keep mentioning in my reviews how great such-and-such book is perfect for a readathon (I guess I do read faster than I think I do!), but I wish I had had the time to read We Are Still Tornadoes in one sitting or over the course of one day. Only 2 weeks left of the semester before I can do this!

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Music Habits Tag

A few weeks ago, I was tagged by the lovely Rebecca of bookishlyrebecca to do the Music Habits Tag. Since music plays such a large role in Cath and Scott’s friendship, I thought it’d be include the tag alongisde my review. The Music Habits Tag was created by Sumedha of The Wordy Habitat.

Do you download songs or stream on apps?

Both! I use Spotify to listen to music on my laptop, and I purchase and download songs using iTunes. I know I could easily download Spotify on my phone, but I usually listen to music on my phone while running and I don’t want to use too much data.

What’s your current favorite song?

Blame Love, Simon, but “Rollercoaster” by Bleachers.

Last song you listened to?

“Helpless” from Hamilton 

Who are your all-time favorite artists?

Paramore, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, The Beatles… does Glee count??

Have you been to any concerts?

I’ve been to quite a few. My first was Avril Lavigne when I was five years with my best friend (who’s still my best friend today!). I went through my Disney stage (Hannah Montana and Cheetah Girls included) and saw the Jonas Brothers twice. I’ve seen Paramore once, Fall Out Boy twice, Luke Bryan three times, and Train with Gavin DeGraw and The Script.

Do you play your songs on shuffle or choose a playlist?

Playlist, then shuffle.

Where do you usually find new music?

Movie soundtracks (honestly, I think I got hooked on to Ed Sheeran because of “All of the Stars” from TFIOS), and keeping up with my favorite artists on social media.

Name one song that you think everyone should listen to:

“Found Tonight” by Ben Platt and Lin-Manuel Miranda

For the sake of your finger cramps, I did cut out some of the questions from the tag, so make sure to check out Sumedha or Rebecca’s posts for all the questions!

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Have you read We Are Still Tornadoes? What’s your current favorite song? Share in the comments!