BOOKS & TV IN THE POOL: July Wrap Up

Another month full of books, TV, and pool time, another summer month in the books *le sigh*. In July, I read 15 books, took ALL the bookstagram photos-TWO OF
WHICH WERE REPOSTED ON VICTORIA SCHWAB AND TRACY BANGHART’S INSTAGRAM- and caught up on some much-need reality TV and movies (including many Princess Diaries, Gilmore Girls, and Outdaughtered rewatches).

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A Very Large Expanse of Sea  by Tahereh Mafi (ARC) | 4/5 Stars

Burn for Burn Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian | 5/5 Stars

Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian | 5/5 Stars

Check, Please: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu (ARC) | 4.5/5 Stars

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (ARC)| 4.5 /5 Stars

Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian | 4/5 Stars

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart (ARC) | 5/5 Stars

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood | 4/5 Stars

Dear Martin by Nic Stone | 4/5 Stars

The List by Siobhan Vivian | 4/5 Stars

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Reread) | 5/5 Stars

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (ARC) 4.5/5 Stars

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (ARC)| 4/5 Stars

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (Reread) | 5/5 Stars

That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger (ARC) | 4/5 Stars

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The only book I didn’t read on my July TBR was Katherine Arden’s The Girl in the Tower, partially because I read other books on my TBR, partially because the third book got moved to 2019 instead of August 2018.

I also completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 70 books this month! I’m now challenging myself to get to 100 books by the end of the year.

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Incredibles II & Bao- The six year old me was more than excited to finally see Incredibles II this month. I admit that I was a bit nervous going in, but Incredibles II was just so good and funny. Jack-Jack and Edna completely stole the show for me and my sisters. And as expected, I LOVED BAO! The dumpling was just so cute, I loved its meaning, and I really didn’t think it was as weird as people on Twitter made it out to be.

Dynasty– Confession time: I will still watch Victorious on Teen Nick. That being said, I was super intrigued by the CW’s reboot of Dynasty starring Liz Gillies, which has become my latest CW obsession. Yes, it’s overdramatic, yes it’s so good, and yes I like it even better than Riverdale (I admit the second season of Riverdale was pretty lackluster for me). I flew through the first season of Dynasty on Netflix and I am more than ready for season two this fall.

Set It Up– THE ROM COM IS BACK PEOPLE! Netflix’s Set It Up was such an enjoyable movie, and I hope that they continue to make rom-coms. I haven’t watched The Kissing Booth yet (I keep hearing mixed things), but HELLO TO ALL THE BOYS I”VE LOVED BEFORE!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel –If you’re looking for a comedy this summer with a female protagonist, look no further than The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s definitely different than Gilmore Girls, but any Stars Hollow resident can see creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s influence. Another show where I am more than ready for the second season!

Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta and basically all the TLC wedding shows- Rainy summer days call for staying inside with all the books and TLC wedding shows. I’ve been really enjoying the latest season of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta and please tell me we’re getting more new episodes of Four Weddings.

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Reviews

New Fictional BF & A Dream Library: Strange the Dreamer Review

Movies I’ve Watched Recently: Inspired by From Twinkle, With Love

Review: The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse

Love & My Language Skills: Love & Gelato Review

Summer Contemporary Visits Ireland : Love & Luck Review

ELIZAAAAA: Love & War Review

Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

A New Favorite Fantasy: Grace and Fury Review

Monthly Mix

Black Cat Blue Sea Award

It’s A Fangirl Life: June Wrap Up

Start of Something New: July TBR

Top Five Wednesday: Future Classics

Monthly Recomendations: Books Worth a Reread

Favorites Rewind: 2018 Best Books 

SO I HAVEN’T READ ALL THE BOOKS: January-June 2018 Releases

25 Bookish Facts About Me Part 2

IT WAS EPIC: My Experience at Epic Reads Day

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Epic Reads Day- I was fortunate enough toexperience HarperCollins’ first Epic Reads Day. It was beyond amazing to get to visit their offices and hear from all-star authors and staff. I hope Epic Reads continues to host this event, and I have an experience post all about the day linked above.

Funko Pop Shopping- I added two more Funko Pops to my collection for the first time in 2018. I finally treated myself and bought Luna Lovegood with her Gryffindor hat. Barnes & Noble restocked her online, and a coupon and gift card were just calling my name. I also bought one of the San Diego Comic Con exclusives, Nearly Headless Nick. It’s so cool how he glows in the dark!

What did you read or watch in July? Share in the comments!

A New Favorite Fantasy: Grace and Fury Review

Summary: In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two extremely different circumstances: one in a palace, one in a prision.

Throughout her entire life, Serina has been groomed to be a Grace- the perfect, exemplary woman to stand by the heir to the throne. But when her rebellious and headstrong sister, Nomi, captures the Heir’s eye instead, it’s Serina who takes the fall for her sister’s secret and ends up in prison. Nomi finds herself in a position she never wanted, but only has once choice: stay entrapped as a Grace until she can save her sister. This is easier said then done when you’re living in a palace full of secrets and deception. But time is running out for Serina, imprisoned on a volcanic island where she must fight to death to survive.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Tracy Banghart’s Grace and Fury is The Handmaid’s Tale meets YA fantasy I didn’t know I needed. I was first interested in Grace and Fury for its sisterhood premise, but I never would have guessed how much I would love this book.

Grace and Fury takes place in a world where women are extremely oppressed. Women are not allowed to read, and the Graces, what Serina is trained to be, are expected to give birth to the Heir’s next-in-line. Hence being reminded of The Handmaid’s Tale. The book is spilt between two perspectives, Nomi and Serina. I honestly can’t say that I preferred one perspective over the other because I loved them both! Nomi was such a strong, stubborn character and it was interesting to take on the role as Grace. I was also slightly reminded me of The Handmaid’s Tale due to the creepiness of some people in the palace. And for those who are wondering, there are plenty of dance lessons, political intrigue, and gorgeous dresses in store. On the other hand Serina’s life on the island was quite Hunger Games-esque. While Nomi does form a friendship or two in the palace, the island is the home of sisterhood, as the women must band together and unfortunately fight one another to survive. Anyone who is looking for an action-packed story with plenty of political intrigue and feminist ideals, this one is you, regardless if you’re reading a Nomi or Serina chapter.

While I love a heavy world-building, high fantasy, I often get caught up or confused when it comes to any new terminology or fantasy-like jargon. That wasn’t the case when it came to Grace and Fury. It was extremely easy to pick up on the world-building and details, and I absolutely flew through it without feeling like I was rushing through the story. But obviously I needed to get to the end to know what was going to happen! I admit that I initially went into Grace and Fury thinking it was a standalone (newsflash to self: it’s not), but I’m excited to have a sequel and see the expansion of this world and its characters. And figure out who we can really trust.

Overall, I loved Grace and Fury and it’s easily one of my favorite books of 2018. I am more than ready for Book 2!

Grace and Fury comes out on Tuesday, July 31st, 2018.  

This review is based on an advance reading copy. By no means did this affect my thoughts and opinions.

Is Grace and Fury on your TBR? What are some of your favorite books about sisterhood? Share in the comments!

 

SO I HAVEN’T READ ALL THE BOOKS: January-June 2018 Releases

Lately, I feel like I have been conquering the 2018 release game. Which to some extent, I think I have! This year, I have read 23 new releases and 8 ARCs. I also just hit my Goodreads Reading Challenge by reading 70 books- my ultimate goal and real challenge now is to read 100 by the end of the year.

I’ve been loving everyone’s first half of 2018 recap posts, and while reading them, I realized that there are still quite a few January-June 2018 releases I have not read.

Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi- After seeing a ton of hype for it during YALLWEST, Not the Girls You’re Looking For was one of my most anticipated summer releases. I received a copy through a books-for-trade, and I think I’m going to pick it up this fall when I’m back at school.

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman- Alice Oseman’s Radio Silence was one of my favorite books of 2017. I’m not-so patiently waiting for her latest release to publish in the US. If all else fails, Book Depository here I come!

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen- I love historical fiction books set during World War II, so this debut will definitely stay on my TBR. My local library has a copy that is begging to be checked out by yours truly.

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie- You know that I am trash for any Eliza Hamilton and Hamilton-esque book. While one of my best bookish friends said that Hamilton is bit of a jerk in this one, I always need a good Eliza Hamilton fix.

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma- I’ve heard so many good things about this book, and it seems a lot like Sandhya Menon’s books!

Royals by Rachel Hawkins- Another book that I excitedly received in a trade, another fun contemporary book I plan on using to distract me from schoolwork this fall!

Tell Me No Lies by Adele Griffin – I haven’t read an Adele Griffin book just yet, but this cover game is doing an amazing job of drawing me in. She’s also frequently mentioned alongside my favorite authors, like Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian, Jennifer E. Smith and Morgan Matson.

What 2018 releases are still on your TBR? Share in the comments!

Summer Contemporary Visits Ireland : Love & Luck Review

Summary: Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding and hoping that she can leave the heartbreak she left behind in Seattle for good. But her brother, Ian, won’t let her forget about it, and a fight between the once-inseparable siblings becomes the highlight of their aunt’s wedding. Addie can’t wait even more to escape to Italy to see her best friend, Lina, even if it means that she won’t be able to follow an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken. Instead of getting to escape her brother’s criticism and taste gelato, however, travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself trekking the Emerald Isle with Ian and his admittedly cute Irish friend, Rowan, Ireland for the Heartbroken in tow.

 loveand luckMy Rating: 4/5 Stars

 My Thoughts:

 After finishing and really enjoying Jenna Evans Welch’s Love & Gelato, I immediately picked up its sequel/companion, Love & Luck. I’ve been getting back into the binge-reading/almost binge-reading spirit this summer, so it was fun to read Love & Gelato and Love & Luck close together (they were only two books apart for me!).

Love & Luck follows Lina’s best friend, Addie, and her mini vacation to Ireland for her aunt’s wedding. Addie plans to fly to Italy with her brother right after the wedding to see Lina, but as one may expect in a fun, travel-inspired contemporary, things don’t go exactly to plan.

Like Love & Gelato, romance is not the main point in Love & Luck. Love & Luck even has less romance to the former book, but I again really appreciated the focus on family. Addie is practically best friends (not excluding Lina, of course) with her older brother, Ian, but Addie’s relationship with a guy on Ian’s football team has put a strain of their relationship. I often find that in many YA contemporaries that the first three or fours chapters are all about meeting the main characters and setting the scene, but Jenna Evans Welch jumps straight to action from the beginning of the book. I liked this for being different, however, it was too abrupt for the start. Could we get some wedding prep or some building animosity before heading right to the mud?

Addie was a really strong main character, and the book is really about her rebuilding her confidence and her relationship with her brother. And what better place to do it than Ireland?? I haven’t read too many books with Ireland as the setting, and it was fun getting to learn about the Emerald Isle alongside Addie, Ian and Rowan. Again like Love & Luck, Jenna’s research into the history and touristy & non-spority destinations is evident. We also get a bit more history from the excerpts from the fictional Ireland for the Heartbroken, which guides some of Addie’s healing. The guidebook sort’ve acts in the same way as the journal in Love & Gelato.

Like I said above, a blossoming romance is not the main focus. I liked having Rowan not only for his support of Ian and Addie, but also in the sense that just because he was a cute (the glasses!!), single did not mean him and Addie had to have sparks fly. In regards to Addie’s past romance, I wish we knew what had exactly happened sooner. I liked Addie’s pre-Ireland flashbacks for focusing on her relationship with Ian, but I wish she put out what had happened with Cubby earlier. 

I’m really interested to see what Jenna Evans Welch has in store. I could potentially see a sequel to Love & Gelato or another book featuring both Lina and Addie’s perspectives. Jenna has hinted on Goodreads that there is indeed a third book in the works!

Have you read Love & Gelato or Love & Luck? Share in the comments!

ELIZAAAAA: Love & War Review

Summary: As the Revolutionary rages on, newlyweds Alexander and Eliza Hamilton are determined to truly start their life together. But when Alex is pulled to the battlefield by his own wish and Eliza is needed at her family’s estate, the two are  forced to fight for a better future- for their country and their marriage. As the war comes to a close, Alex and Eliza’s marriage is again threatened. Eliza struggles to build a home for herself and the couple in New York City, while Alex is swamped in his law practice, especially when a trial bring his against his greatest rival, Aaron Burr.

 My Rating: 3/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

I’m completely overdue for some Hamilton fangirling. Am I only the person who hears Lin/Alexander’s “ELiZaaAAAAAA” from “It’s Quiet Uptown” when they think of her? I think after I finish writing this review, I’ll be exploring Red Bubble for some Eliza stickers like it.

After loving Melissa de la Cruz’s Alex & Eliza last summer, I was really looking forward to picking up the sequel, Love & War. While I enjoyed Love & War for certain reasons, this one unfortunately didn’t live up to Alex & Eliza for me.

Once again, I lovedddd Eliza. My favorite part about reading this now-series is getting to learn more about Eliza, who we relatively spend little time with in Hamilton: An American Musical. Yes, even I admit that there is some moping from her about her marriage with Alex and how little time the newly married couple gets to spend with one another, but I honestly enjoyed Eliza’s “slower” chapters. It was fun seeing her with her family at the Pastures and getting to start a new life in New York City. Outside of being a bit frustrated with her husband, I think Eliza truly is an intelligent and strong protagonist. And don’t be fooled by Peggy and Angelica, this girl has plenty of sass.

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And now on what or who most disappointed me about Love & War: Alex.

I didn’t mind reading both Alex and Eliza’s perspectives in Alex & Eliza, but almost from the get-go, I was not here for Alex’s POV. I skim read at least two of his chapters and those chapters were probably two most important chapters in his storyline. And I never skim read unless I’m reading for school. I really wasn’t interested in the battles and while I didn’t mind learning about Alex’s law practice, I was often left bored during the court trial. From loyalists to important government folk, I also lost track of all the people Alex refers to.

While I love Eliza’s speech and sass at the very end of the book, the ending just felt so flat to me. In my opinion, it’s true purpose was to provide for a easy sequel to the third book. I’ve seen a few other bloggers say this about Love & War and even reading the book’s blurb, the book is sort’ve anticlimactic. As a contemporary reads girl, I can deal with anticlimactic; give me all the fluff. I enjoyed seeing the more mundane and yes, romantic, things, like Alex and Eliza sneaking off to a corner during a party or buying furniture together for their new home. But when it comes to historical fiction and Love & War, so many of the “big” moments the book’s blurb promises just fell flat.

Overall, I enjoyed Love & War for Eliza’s perspective, but I was not into Alex’s POV and storyline in this one. Given’s Melissa de la Cruz’s past work, I’m not really surprised Alex & Eliza is turning into a full-fledged series. Being the Hamilton trash that I am, I will most likely be reading the next book, and I wouldn’t mind just getting Eliza’s POV in that installment.

Have you read Love & War? Are you a Hamilton fan? Share in the comments!

IT WAS EPIC: My Experience at Epic Reads Day

On Friday, I attended a pretty epic (the epic jokes will should stop eventually) book event, the first ever Epic Reads Day. Epic Reads, HarperCollin’s YA community, opened up their offices for us readers for a day filled with panels, authors, and books. As I’m sure you’ll discover as I continue, I’m so thankful I got to attend this event, especially since it sold out not even a day after I bought my ticket.

Rimg_6091.jpgegistration started at 10 AM, where you were welcomed with your very own *book shimmy* t-shirt and you could sign up to participate in one of Epic Read’s video. After, you were directed into their conference room, where most of the day’s events would take place, with a bag filled with books and bookish goodies at your seat. The books inside the bag (or at least mine) were: Seawitch by Sarah Henning (a finished copy which didn’t even come out yet), American Street and Pride (ARC) by Ibi Zoboi Three Dark Crowns and Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, and AN ARC OF BECKY AND ADAM’S WHAT IF IT’S US! I didn’t manage to get What If It’s Us at Book Expo and Book Con, so I thanked all the book shimmy gods once I saw it in my bag. The bag also included an Epic Reads pop socket, book nerd question cards, and pins for Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and On the Come Up.

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The day kicked off with a welcome session from Team Epic Reads. They talked about some of their most anticipated releases, including one of my own, When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen. The Luxe and the Bright Young Things series were some of my first YA books and I loved them so much, so you better believe I am more than ready for When We Caught Fire. After some bookish questions from the audience (I said that Second Chance Summer was an ugly-cry worthy read) , the first author discussion began between Ibi Zoboi and her editor, Alessandra Balzer. While I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice, I am so excited to jump into Pride, and it was fun hearing Ibi talk about her writing process and the book itself. We then moved on to lunch, but before I ate, I participated in an Epic Reads video. I chose to do a book talk, where I was asked to talk about my favorite book and why I love reading YA. While waiting to film, Jane, the Team Epic Reads member who talked about When We Caught Fire, showed me a copy of The Luxe with its new cover design. I’ll give you some insider info and say that I talked about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in my video. Did anyone really expect anything else?

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After lunch, two members of Team Epic Reads who work in the design department walked us through their cover-making process. We got a behind-the-scenes look of the covers of Pride and Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’. It was cool to see how much 3D-design work went into Pride and how MANY (amazing) cover designs there were for Dumplin’. We then moved on to our next author discussion with Kendare Blake and BookTuber Emma Giordano. All three authors discussions were filled with laughter, but Kendare Blake is easily one of the most funny, sassy authors I’ve ever met. She often referred to her morbid sense of things, but it was so funny to hear the stories behind her research and honestly daily happenings! One of my best bookish friends IRL has begged me to read Three Dark Crowns and after hearing Kendare speak, I need to immediately! During the Q&A, I asked her about her favorite YA fantasies, which included The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke and Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer. Emma and Kendare then moved on to a game of Rip It or Ship It.

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Rip It or Ship it was followed by a quick break featuring Dō cookie dough and a panel from Team Epic Reads about their experiences in publishing. It was really awesome to hear how they each got their start, and they gave out great advice about how to get into the publishing industry. Their panel then led to the last author discussion of the day featuring Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. Like Kendare Blake, Becky and Adam’s discussion was filled with humor and it was really fun to hear about their process of writing a book together. Everyone was cracking up throughout, from Becky talking about stepping on Nick Robinson’s toe when she first met him to Adam saying that Becky has written 3.5 books during their BFF Challenge.

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The day ended with a signing from all four authors, and after the signing, it was time to book shimmy home. Overall, Epic Reads Day was such a great day and it was one of the smoothest book events I’ve ever attended. I hope Epic Reads continues to hold this event.

Did you attend Epic Reads Day? What are some of your favorite Epic Reads books? Share in the comments!

25 Bookish Facts About Me Part 2

When you’ve been obsessed with books since you were five years old, you tend to own a lot of books and a LOT of bookish facts about yourself.

Since I absolutely loved sharing 25 Bookish Facts About Me back in June 2017, I figured it was time to do this post again! The 25 Bookish Facts About Me tag is easily one of my favorite Booktube videos to watch and blog posts to read.

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  1. I mentioned this in a comment once, but I’m terrified, while a bit excited, about the in-the-works Throne of Glass TV series on Hulu.
  2. I do prefer that all of my books in series match in format, but I really don’t mind if it’s a mix of a hardcovers and paperbacks.
  3. I absolutely love Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, but I still haven’t read the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I plan on changing this before King of Scars!
  4. I own the San Diego Comic Con 2017 Exclusive Funko Pop of Harry Potter on a Broom *breathes after rattling off that*. When the Barnes and Noble website kept crashing the morning that the exclusives were released, I went to my local Barnes and Noble to get him. I’ve nicknamed him He Who Shall Remain in the Box, out of fear of him falling off my bookshelf.
  5.  As much as I love having books in my hand right after their release date, I don’t like rushing into right away (for the most part). I like keeping books on my TBR that I’m super excited to pick up one day.
  6. Some of my all-time favorite Booktube videos include Christine of polandbananasbooks’s Literal Book Titles series.
  7. I spilt water on my school library copy of Brave New World and found that putting it in the freezer helped dry it up. No one ever suspected anything, not including my dad who questioned why my book was sitting next to a box of waffles when he opened the freezer.
  8. I’m not too excited about the new Harry Potter companion books that have and continue to be coming out.
  9. I wish that I had a Half-Price Books store in my area.
  10. Luckily for me, I’m only ten minutes away from a Barnes and Noble whether I’m home or at school
  11. I have a Camp Half-Blood sticker (Percy Jackson) on my laptop cover.IMG_0403.jpg
  12. I have 4 bookish/fandom mugs: the Book Con 2017 mug, a Hamilton mug, a Waitress mug, and a Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation) mug that says, “Stillness: Don’t waste energy”
  13. There are so many San Diego Comic Con 2018 Funkos coming out, and Moaning Myrtle is a must for me.
  14. If I could cosplay right now, I’d be Cath from Fangirl based on the clothes I already have in my closet.
  15. My biggest bookish fear is dropping a book in water, but that doesn’t stop me from reading in the pool.
  16. I prefer writing book reviews over book tags.
  17. I love my local library system, but I wish they had more less popular YA books in their system.
  18. I love listening to Booktube videos while I do other things—writing, baking, cleaning, etc.
  19. .The cover change I’m most disappointed about is Beth’s Revis’s Across the Universe trilogy with ONE BOOK LEFT.
  20. I never keep the dust jacket on when I’m reading a hardcover.
  21. I would love to attend a midnight release party for Kingdom of Ash.
  22. I’m not too big of a fan of novellas. I really only read them if they’re essential to a series.IMG_0452
  23. I’d love there to be more books with characters in college, similar to how a lot of YA contemporaries involve characters who are in high school.
  24. I definitely enjoyed my high school required reading more than my college required reading so far.
  25. I do some of my best reading floating around the pool. I may write a blog post about how to read in the pool, so let me know if you’re interested!

What are some bookish facts about you? Share in the comments!