WEST COAST WANDERLUST: Alex, Approximately Review

Summary: Bailey “Mink” Rydell has yet to meet someone who loves classic movies as much as she does IRL. At least she has her fellow witty film geek and online friend Alex, who she may or may not have a crush on. The two live on opposite sides of the county anyway, until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as Alex. Faced with fear that her online relationship is too good to be true face-to-face, Bailey decides not to tell Alex that she’s moved to his hometown. Besides, she’s too busy working at the local tourist-trap museum, where she’s tormented daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter. Porter is supposed to be Bailey’s archenemy, her villain – until Bailey begins to feel something for him that’s not exactly hate. 

My Rating: 4.25/5 Stars

 IMG_6195

My Thoughts:

A congratulations or two OR TWENTY is in order for so many of my blogger friends and fellow bloggers for convincing me to finally pick up Jenn Bennett’s Alex, Approximately. After being a bit obsessed with Starry Eyes earlier this summer, I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed Alex Approximately– yay to being able to add another fun summer contemporary to my read pile!

In my opinion, Alex Approximately was a unique YA read for a few reasons:

  • Bailey, Grace and Porter’s workplace. The Cave isn’t the most normal of museums, but Bailey and Grace had so much fun working in the Hot Box together (for the most part)
  • There’s a ton of old school movie love between Bailey, Alex, and Porter
  • -Bailey and Porter both have traumatic experiences before the start of the novel. I’m not sure how I exactly feel about Bailey’s situation yet (I know that fiction gets to be fiction, but it felt a little bit left field still), but I understand its purpose for the connection between her and Porter.
  • Alex Approximately has one of the best YA contemporary covers ever. Reminder to pick up a movie screen and cute string lights for my backyard ASAP.
  • There’s intimate romance done right! AKA no cringe-moments! I loveeeeeeeee YA contemporary with all of my heart, but often romance scenes can be a bit cringe. However, I think Jenn Bennett wrote the intimate/sexual scenes so well (I also noticed this in Starry Eyes). Bailey and Porter also both come off as really mature characters.

Speaking of characters, I loved so many of the side characters in Alex, Approximately, including Bailey’s dad, Mrs. Roth, Grace and Pangborn. I think we’ve gotten to a point in YA where parents and family members are present and ARE AWESOME. Bailey’s dad and Porter’s parents are no exception.

If there’s one thing that was frustrating me as a reader of books’ covers, IT’S THAT ALEX, APPROXIMATELY’S REAL BLURB SORT’VE SPOILS THE BOOK! Warning: if you want to go into Alex, Approximately with zilch idea of who Alex could be, DO NOT READ THE BLURB ON THE PHYSICAL COPY. Even though halfway through the book it’s not hard to figure out Alex’s real identity, next time please save my non-spoiler wishing self.

Overall, Alex, Approximately is perfect for any movie-loving, especially You’ve Got Mail, YA readers. I’m highly anticipating Jenn Bennett’s 2019 release, Serious Moonlight, and I just added The Anatomical Shape of a Heart to my TBR.

 Have you read Alex, Approximately? What’s your favorite Jenn Bennett book? Share in the comments!

20 Books for My 20th

Sorry not sorry the perhaps misleading title, but today’s post is not about finding twenty books for $20 (you might be able to do this at a library sale though). Instead, today just happens to be my 20th birthday! It feels exciting but definitely weird to not be considered a teen anymore- even though I still feel 17 years old at heart and it’s not just because of all the YA I read!

I’ll be celebrating here on the blog by talking about 20 books that have influenced my life over the past years. While I am forever thankful to the books I grew up reading and how they shaped me to be a person passionate about literature, I’ll be talking about books that I’ve read in the past four years and the reasons why they’ve stayed with me. During this time, I feel that I really entered the YA and adult fiction worlds, read new genres, and started Fangirl Fury. So let’s not think about all the money I’ve given Barnes and Noble over the past twenty years and let’s talk about why these are twenty of my most memorable reads.

IMG_6217.jpg

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Reason: Fangirl re-sparked my love for YA, and yes, Cath truly is one of the most relatable YA characters.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Reason: I could go on and on about this series, but baking, sisterhood, romance, and another of the most relatable YA characters. Lara Jean is honestly the most relatable character for me.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Reason: This is easily the most emotional Morgan Matson book, and I love it so much for its summer setting, family focus, and making me reach for the Kleenex so much.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Reason: I stand by the epicness that are Sarah J. Maas’s books, and Tower of Dawn is no exception. Long live Chaol, Nesryn, and Yrene.

Legend by Marie Lu

Reason: Dystopian is alive and well. Legend encouraged me to pick up more dystopian and sci-fi/fantasy fiction, and made Marie Ly one of my favorite authors.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Reason: The Handmaid’s Tale is the best book that I’ve ever read in school and has a bad-ass TV adaptation.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Reason: Give me more books about villains AKA Vengeful.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Reason: I read this book on a day I was home sick from school, and I honestly learned more than I would’ve in school that day. Between Shades of Gray sparked my love for Ruta Sepetys.

Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Reason: Ice cream and feminism are a great duo.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Reason: I love contemporaries with a focus on family, and Molly is another super relatable YA character for me.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Reason: Taught me to not judge books by their cover and that cover changes are not totally evil.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Reason: I love family dramas and character-heavy books and basically everything in Little Fires Everywhere.

IMG_6218.jpg

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Reason: Eliza and Her Monsters gave me ALL the Fangirl feels, but in its own right.

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

Reason: Another book that made me reach for the Kleenex, another book that made me want to go to summer camp and fall in love.

I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott

Reason: If I can only have two Eliza solos in Hamilton, then give me more Eliza-inspired beauties, like I, Eliza Hamilton.

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Reason: Can we please have more YA fantasy meets The Handmaid’s Tale stories? Or can I please just have book two?

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Reason: I stand by the epicness of sequels, and Crooked Kingdom was the perfect(ly heartbreaking) sequel to Six of Crows.

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Reason: Bookstores are magical, especially Australian ones, and summer is amazing. Words in Deep Blue was also an amazing beach read for me.

What books are most important to you? Any of the above? Share in the comments! 

Monthly Recommendations Investigation: Underrated Books

August’s Monthly Recommendations theme is a hot topic for us booknerds: underrated books. We all have our favorites that just didn’t get the hype we think they deserved.

However, instead of discussing books that I think don’t get enough hype, I’m going to be talking about truly underrated books in my book- in other words, Goodreads. I have a few favorite books that don’t have the highest of star ratings on Goodreads. And I am here to admit that about 80% of the time, if I see that a book is well-read and has less than a 3.5 star rating on Goodreads, I likely won’t pick it up. Today I’ll be talking about books that have less than a 4 star rating on Goodreads, but I gave a 4-5 Stars.

Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade

Goodreads: 3.5 Star

My Rating: 4 Stars

College YA is one of my favorite sub-genres, and I really liked Finding Felciity’s story and main MC. I loved the incorporation of the real-life TV show, Felicity. I think readers would have maybe rated the book more if it incorporated a slightly more popular TV show. I’ve only seen one episode of Felicity myself, which was right after finishing Finding Felicity.

Read More »

HAPEE BELATED BIRTHDAE: Harry Potter Tag

Who says that you can’t celebrate Harry Potter’s birthdy a week later? The lovely Emily of A Literary Life nominated me to do the Harry Potter Tag, and it took a flick of my wand to write this tag immediately. And that’s a lot coming from this terrible book tag do-er (many apologies to Rebecca of Bookishly Rebecca for nominating me for all the tags and awards, but I have a surprise for her at the end of this post). Without further ado, let’s get back to Hogwarts.

IMG_6120

Which House are you in?

I’m a Hufflepuff! I am here to admit that it took everything in me (and 3 Pottermore retakes) a few years ago to accept that this book nerd is not a Ravenclaw.

What is your Patronus?

I still need that mug that says “My Patronus is Lesli Knope” in my life, but by Pottermore standards, it’s a Falcon.

What is your wand?

Cedar wood with a dragon heartstring core, 10 ¼ in and unbending flexibility

What would your Boggart be?

Bugs. Lots of bugs.

IMG_6037

What position would you play in Quidditch?

Chaser, since it’s the most similar to a forward position in field hockey.

Would you be Pure Blood, Half Blood or Muggle Born?

Maybe Half Blood because there’s got to be some other reason why my mom is so good at everything!

What job would you like to have after graduating from Hogwarts?

I think I would love to own a sweet shop, like Honeydukes. No worries, there wouldn’t be any Fred and George Weasley-concocted treats.

Which of the Deathly Hollows would you choose?

Invisibility Cloak. Hiding out in a bookstore after closing sounds pretty easy with this one.

Favorite Book?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This definitely isn’t the happiest of the books, but I love so much about this book (expect maybe what happens in Dumbledore’s tower).

Least Favorite Book?

Harry Potter and the Chamber Secrets. I’ve actually grown to love this one more with my rereads and movie marathons, but I think I thought of this more as a “filler” book when I read it the first two times.

Favorite Film?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I love seeing the Triwizard Tourtament come to life, and this movie is sentimental for me because it’s the only one I saw in the theater.

Least favorite film?

Harry Potter annnndddddd I really don’t know?? Maybe Deathly Hollows: Part 1 because we had to go in knowing this really wasn’t the end?

IMG_6071.jpg

Favorite Character?

Neville! And of course this doesn’t have anything to do with Matthew Lewis playing him on-screen… I also love Luna! I am a hardcore Neville and Luna shipper.

Least favorite character?

Lucius Malfoy

Favorite Hogwarts Professor?

McGonagall

Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

I don’t think I have any too pressing of unpopular opinions, but I do think Hermione and Ron were meant to be together. I think Harry and Hermione would’ve been too much of an expected set up. Additionally, as much fun as it is for J.K. Rowling to keep us in the Wizarding World on Twitter, I sort’ve dislike how she keeps bringing up ways she would’ve changed the series, like not having Ron and Hermione be end game, and even sharing that Ron should’ve died.

I tag:

What’s your favorite and least favorite HP book? Share in the comments!

STARS HOLLOW MEETS 4 SISTERS: The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls Review

Summary: One summer can everything the four Garrett sisters thought they knew about each other- and themselves. Des finds herself taking a lot of responsibility for her family and their independent bookstore, but why being the oldest have to make her the most responsible? When does she get to have time for her art and friends? As part of their shared plan, Bea and her boyfriend are headed for Georgetown together in the fall. But what if eighteen-year old Bea doesn’t want what thirteen-year old Bea wanted anymore? Kat lands the lead in the community theater’s summer play, but the drama continues offstage when her ex and his new girlfriend are also cast. Can revenge play a part in their version of Little Women? Vi has a crush on the latest Nina LaCour novel and the girl next door. But Cece has a boyfriend, so that means she could never like Vi, right?

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

IMG_E6052.jpg

Read More »

How to Read in the Pool

In many of my blog posts this summer, I’ve mentioned how I’ve been doing a lot of reading by the pool. Don’t worry, this beach girl has been to the shore plenty of times this season. But between my internship and work schedules, family, some really fun events, and LIFE, I’ve found wanted to relax at home near the books and pool a bit more.

And when often when I say reading by the pool, I really mean reading in the pool. I consider myself to be many things: reader, fangirl, sister, Pawnee goddess, and QUEEN OF POOL READING. One of my best bookish friends IRL thinks I’m crazy for getting my books near the water, but I do some of my best reading while floating around. I think it’s mostly comes from the fact that I’m multi-tasking (girl has to get her summer tan somehow!) and don’t have my phone or laptop within reach. Sorry, but how to blog in the pool won’t be coming from me anytime soon.

Today I’m going to be teaching you how to read in the pool without getting your book wet. Okay, maybe how to avoid minimal damage because there are plenty of moments where I have to duck under water in fear of being stung by a bee.

What You Need:

  • A Pool. I feel like reading could also work in a hot tub without all the bubbles or a river/lake? Where it won’t work: the ocean or any setting that involves waves or splashing and not being able to maintain balance
  • Swimming attire. I’ve found most of my bathing suits at Old Navy and Kohls, and a ton of my friends recommend Target
  • A raft or tube/floatie. I personally like reading on a raft so I can easily tan on my back or stomach. If it’s a strong sun day, I like to sit in a floating chair that keeps you half in the water and cool.
  • 1-2 beach towels
  • Sunglasses (optional)
  • Hat (optional)

IMG_6155.JPG

Reading tan lines are a thing, trust me.

Directions

Step 1. Have your raft near the entry point of your pool. For me, this is by the ladder.

Step 2. Place your book and towel(s) in a place where you can easily reach them from in the pool and on the raft. I usually keep my book wrapped in one of the towels on top of the ladder or on the ledge.

IMG_6154

Step 3. Get on the raft. Try not to get too much water on it, especially if you plan on reading on your stomach (further instructions for backside reading ahead). Make sure the raft stays near to where your books and towels are.

Step 4. Odds are you and the raft did get wet while getting aboard. Take one of the towels and dry off your hands. If you plan on reading on your stomach, try and wipe as much water off at the head of the raft. I recommend bringing two towels for this process because the towel is most likely going to get soaked (especially if you drop it right in the water like I often do…).

Step 5. Book time! Grab your book and get reading! If you are reading on your stomach, I recommend taking one of your towels, laying it across the head of your raft, and laying your book on the towel. The corner of the towel will likely get wet, depending on the size of your draft, but the book should stay safe! I recommend also wearing a hat and/or sunglasses. Sunlight + paper= brightness.

For flipping while reading

So your back is starting to feel a bit red? If only they made sunscreen that lasts long enough for marathon reading! Whether you’re flipping from your stomach to back or vice-versa, these steps should hopefully make for keeping your book safe as possible. Unless you have zero balance like yours truly.

Step 1. Get your book to a safe and dry place, preferably where you first had it at your entry point. If you were reading on your stomach, move your towel also.

Step 2. FLIP WITHOUT FLOPPING INTO THE WATER LIKE YOURS TRULY. If you anticipate falling into the water, make sure your book is a splash-free zone

Step 3. Repeat steps 4 & 5 from above.

Fangirl Fury is not responsible for any damage to your while reading in the water. Enter with your fictional BFFs at your own risk.

Do you read in the pool? Any tips? Share in the comments!

SO WE’RE DOING THIS: August (ARC) TBR

It’s official: slowly, but surely I am becoming a summer TBR person! After creating a July TBR and sticking with it for the most part, I decided to create an August TBR. This is a disclaimer mostly to myself that I may read all, more, or less of the books listed below. I am going on vacation for a few days this month and I’ll be heading back to school in a few weeks *le sigh that I probably won’t be reading 10+ books a month between 3 jobs, 5 classes, and all the fun college things for the rest of the year* (but I am excited for me and my roommate’s plan to catch up on Game of Thrones and The Handmaid’s Tale).

In other fun TBR news, 2018 will be my first year participating in Read.Sleep.Repeat’s ARC August Reading Challenge.  The goal of the challenge is to read as many of your advance reading copies as you can. There’s also a readathon, bookish bingo, and plenty of fun giveaways in store for participants too!I gratefully have a few fall and winter ARCs on my TBR, and I plan on at least reading 7 ARCs this month along with some backlist titles.

Read More »