Being Bloggish & School Blues:September Wrap Up

Oh September, you’ve brought a lot of lovely things, but also a lot of stress to this fangirl. September was a great month for me as a blogger—I finally starting sharing reviews of SO many of the amazing books coming out this fall (sorry not sorry for the review overload) and I participated in a campaign for two of my all-time favorite books, Vicious and Vengeful. Regarding my personal life, September was busy and quite stressful. I began the fall semester of my junior year of college- is it me, or is junior year of anything (I’m looking at you high school) insanely stressful?- and I had someone very close to me have some health struggles. Thankfully, they’re doing much better now. I always appreciate this space and you, but I especially loved blogging this month as a way for me to de-stress and remind me of love for blogging and reading!

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Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Laflèche (ARC)| 3/5 Stars

Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (ARC)| 5/5

Rule by Ellen Goodlett (ARC)| 4/5

Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Reread) | 5/5

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab | 5/5

Odd One Out by Nic Stone (ARC )| 4/5

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden | 5/5 

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I definitely watch more TV during the school year and I definitely craved light-hearted and sweet TV shows this month.

Sugar Rush- I went on bit of a Cake Wars binge before I left home for the semester, so Netflix’s Sugar Rush seemed like the next best thing. AND IT WAS. Sugar Rush is a three-round challenge baking show. I enjoyed how it was a little different than most challenge shows, and it gave me plenty of bakers to follow on Instagram.

Zumbo’s Just Desserts- Since I couldn’t get enough Zumbo on Sugar Rush, his own challenge show on Netflix came at the perfect time. This Australian baking show has the perfect combination of American baking shows and The Great British Baking Show. A little bit of flash and drama with really sweet people and really sweet desserts.

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Reviews

BEST FALL THRILLER: Sadie Review

REAL WORLD YA: People Kill People Review

HELLO AGAIN HIDEO: Wildcard Review

TWO OF MY FAVORITE THINGS: Check, Please!: #Hockey Review

CUTEST YA COVER: Unclaimed Baggage Review

Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Laflèche

BACK TO SCHOOL REVIEW: The List by Siobhan Vivian

Meeting Modern Darcy: Pride Review

FAVORITE HISTORICAL FICTION: The War Outside Review

Bookish Things 

Top Five Wednesday:  2018 Contemporary Covers

WHY YOU NEED TO READ VICIOUS

Monthly Recommendations: Binge-Worthy Series

Summer Reading Wrap-Up & Favorites

READING & REWATCHES: August Wrap Up

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Finished my first full month of school- I’m sure many of my fellow college bloggers can understand, but it feels SO GOOD to say that I survived the first full month of being back to school. While it’s been really awesome to be back with my friends and I’ve been actually enjoying my classes, my workload this year is much more intense compared to my first two years.

Reorganizing my bookshelves- I decided to reorganize my bookshelves on a somewhat whim this past Friday afternoon. My shelves definitely needed some love and I’m so happy with the results. Below is what my floor looked like when I laid out everything from my shelves.

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Going to the MET- I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time ever on a school field trip. While I admit that I am not the biggest art person, I’m so happy I was able to visit the MET with the Heavenly Bodies exhibit was still on display. I loved seeing both the old and new couture fashions. Also, isn’t the outfit below SO Lila Bard (Shades of Magic)??

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What did you read & watch in September? Share in the comments!

FAVORITE HISTORICAL FICTION: The War Outside Review

Summary: It’s 1944, and World War II used to feel so far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado. Until they were forced to go to Texas because of where their parents came from: Germany and Japan. Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a “family internment camp” for those accused of working with the enemy. The polar opposites form a secret friendship, where they can share most of their worries with each other. Haruko fears for her soldier brother’s life and just ca’nt figure out the secret her father is harboring from her. Margot is doing everything to keep her family together, as her mother’s health declines and her father’s distrust for America increases. As everything around them falls apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, how much can they really trust each other?

 My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Monica Hesse’s The War Outside was one of most anticipated releases of 2018, especially after loving Girl in the Blue Coat . I absolutely love historical fiction set during the World War II era and The War Outside is no exception. This beautifully-written book is easily one of my favorite 2018 reads and has solidified Monica Hesse as one of my favorite authors.

The War Outside is the only book I’ve read about one of the US interment camps. While I learned about them in school, especially when it came to the interment of Japanese citizens, I never knew that German citizens were also imprisoned. I appreciated both Haruko and Margot’s perspectives for their stories and cultural backgrounds. Like many, it made me sad to think that these girls were American citizens but were imprisoned just because of their ethnicity and their parents’ actions.

As I’m sure you can assume by now, I absolutely flew through this book because I needed to know more about Haruko and Margot. I don’t think I preferred one perspective over another because they were so different, yet they obviously have the connection of  living in Crystal City. Haruko’s story often left me heartbroken, over her fear for her brother and the uncertainty surrounding her father’s actions. Margot is quite unsure of herself, something that I feel like I haven’t seen in YA in a while. I really liked learning about her family, even when in their darker moments.

Without too many spoilers, the only aspect of the story that I wasn’t a major fan of was the potential romance. I don’t even know if this was really a romance, considering the emphasis on friendship and family, but I don’t think it was necessary for this story. AND THAT ENDING! I’m definitely going to have to go back and read the girl’s in-the-future excerpts to get a better sense of their ending.

Overall, Monica Hesse’s The War Outside is an emotion-filled, important read that will leave you wanting more of her stories, as well as Haruko and Margot’s.

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

Is The War Outside on your TBR? What are some of your favorite historical fiction novels? Share in the comments!

Top Five Wednesday:  2018 Contemporary Covers

Today’s Top Five Wednesday is all about our favorite covers, but I decided to (pumpkin) spice it up a bit by talking about my favorite covers for 2018 contemporary releases.

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Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky- While Mammoth has not come out yet, my bookshelf is already screaming for a finished copy because of it’s GORGEOUS COVER and GORGEOUS STORY. I really love how the blue and pink work together.

Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll- EXCUSE ME BUT IS THERE A THRIFT STORE LIKE UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE WHERE I CAN FIND THIS SQUIRREL? Unclaimed Baggage is a great example where the cover game compleltely influenced me to pick up the book. Plus how could you not love a book about three teens working in an unclaimed baggage store?

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon- While When Dimple Met Rishi and From Twinkle, With Love follow different characters, I love how their covers correspond with one another. Like Mammoth, From Twinkle, With Love has such a beautiful color scheme, along with its blue and yellow Owlcrate edition. I’ve definitely grown to love models/actual people on covers (I think I like this more in contemporary than fantasy).

Save the Date by Morgan Matson- I definitely have a thing for authors’ books having the same aesthetic style because I love ALL of Morgan Matson’s covers. Even though I’d love to see Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer have a refresh to meet her other three books’ style more. While The Unexpected Everything is my favorite, I love Save the Date for how much it matches its plot. Plus how could you not love a cover with a dog and cake??

Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian- Like Save the Date, Stay Sweet’s cover wraps around the front and back of the jacket. I’ve noticed this style  with many of Simon & Shuster’s contemporary books-Lara Jean’s bedroom on the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before covers, anyone? While it’s always fun getting to picture characters in your head or even find their celebrity matches, I love how Stay Sweet gives us an impression of best friend, ice cream-scooping duo, Amelia and Cate.

Bonus Cover Round

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett – Jenn Bennett’s covers are a little similar to Sandhya Menon’s, in the sense that her latest two books, Alex, Approximately and Starry Eyes, and her 2019 release, Serious Moonlight have a similar aesthetic. Starry Eyes’ cover particularly suits the book itself really well, giving me camping and summer romance vibes all around.

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood- The Last Summer of the Garret Girls’ cover truly captures each of the four Garrett girls.

Love à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm- Again, covers that have anything to do with cake are right up my alley. AND PARIS.

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West- This cover makes me wish for summer days by the pool instead of drowning in coursework in my college library. Where can I find those heart-shaped floats??

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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.

What are some of your favorite 2018 covers? Share in the comments!

TWO OF MY FAVORITE THINGS: Check, Please!: #Hockey Review

Summary: (From the publisher): Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It is nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking (anything that hinders the player with posession of the puck, ranging from a stick check all the way to a physical sweep). And then, there is Jack—his very attractive but moody captain.

 My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

As many of you know, I often fangirl about books, film, and my favorite fandoms here at Fangirl Fury. One of my favorite things that I rarely fangirl about here?Hockey! I love watching hockey, and I’m a huge New York Rangers fan. So when I heard that Fierce Reads had ARCs of Ngozi Ukazu’s much-loved webcomic, Check, Please!, at Book Expo/Book Con, I knew that I needed the perfect graphic novel for me.

Check, Please: #Hockey met my expectations and more. I only read some of the first few updates online before jumping into the book. I love Ngozi Ukazu’s art style throughout, and I like how she changed it when exploring characters’ pasts. My favorite example is Chapter 6: The Hockey Prince, where we get some of Jack’s back story. Obviously, Bitty is the heart (and king baker) of Check, Please, but I think my favorite character was Jack! I totally fell the dreamy star hockey player trope (PSA FOR THIS TO BE MORE OF A TROPE IN YA), and I loved seeing his relationship expand with Bitty.

What gives Check, Please even more heart is its side characters, aka the members of the Samwell Hockey Team. Ransom and Holster added the perfect comic relief, and like Jack, Shitty (well maybe not his name) was a bit of a dreamboat. I also loved Lardo for her female perspective.I may or may not be shipping Shitty and Lardo even harder than a certain couple..

And while I can read an entire graphic novel about Bitty’s baking, Check, Please completely delivers on the hockey. From strategy meetings to games, what connects all of our characters is their love for the sport and the ice.

I admit that I was disappointed that the book ends with year 2/the end of Bitty’s sophomore year. Which means that I am more than ready for the next book, Check, Please!: Sticks and Stones. However, I like how the end of the book includes some extra comics, including a hockey terminology session with Ransom and Holster, and Bitty’s tweets. 

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

Do you read the Check, Please! online? What are some of your graphic novel recommendations? Share in the comments!

CUTEST YA COVER: Unclaimed Baggage Review

Summary: Doris, a liberal teen in a conservative town, hasn’t made too many friends since the waterslide incident. Nell hasn’t been so successful in the friend department either, since she’s just moved to small town Alabama from the Chicago surburbs. But what do the two have in common with each other, let alone fallen-from-grace star quarterback Grant? All three have summer jobs at Unclaimed Baggage, a store where lost luggage goes to find a home. Working together for the summer, Grant, Doris, and Nell learn that while everyone has some extra baggage weighing them down, true friendship and love will help you find your home.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Cover Lust: Unclaimed Baggage is one of the cutest YA contemporary covers! Can I find that squirrel in Unclaimed Baggage?

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My Thoughts:

Jen Doll’s YA debut novel Unclaimed Baggage sounded perfect for my contemporary-loving heart. Thankfully, this summer contemporary about three teens who work in a lost luggage story was right up my alley!

I think what really makes Unclaimed Baggage such an enjoyable and unique read was its setting of the same namesake, Unclaimed Baggage. I think it’s safe to say that most readers have never read a book with the main setting as a lost luggage store, let alone where three teens work for the summer. It was so fun to see Doris, Nell and Grant bond over their job and the bits of personality they each brought to the table. Doris is an organizational and finder of lost things extraordinaire- does she want to help me with my overflowing bookshelves?

I’ve been getting better about enjoying books with multiple first person perspectives, with many thanks going to Unclaimed Baggage. Jen Doll gives each character their own voice, so it’s not easy to lose track of who’s narrating what and when. Doris was my favorite perspective for her storyline and familiarity with small-town Alabama and the store. Throughout all three perspectives, the book tackles some heavy subjects including discrimination, religion, sexuality, alcoholism, and death. I think Jen Doll covered a wide array of subjects well while balancing more heart-lighted matter, like first loves, Krispy Kreme, and hot air balloon festivals.

Unclaimed Baggage is also filled with plenty of hysterical moments between Doris, Nell, and Grant, and the not-so tech savvy adults in their lives. I loved how Unclaimed Baggage’s owner referred to Twitter as Tweetster, and while I’m thankful that Nell didn’t end up getting a job at Waffle House, I loved this gem from her mom:

“ ‘You don’t have to work at a Waffle House, honey,’ she says calmly. ‘Though I think they’re pretty hip nowadays! I hear they have a hilarious Twitter account’ ” (28).

Overall, I really enjoyed Unclaimed Baggage for its unique, funny, and heartwarming story. Any book that leaves me wanting more has a special place on my read pile!

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

Is Unclaimed Baggage on your TBR? What are your favorite books with unique settings? Share in the comments!

Review: Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Laflèche

Summary: Clementine Liu is ready to take on New York City and most importantly, the Parsons School of Design. Everything seems to fall into place: meeting her fashionista soulmate and fellow student, Jake, and dreamy fashion photographer, Jonathan. Between schoolwork and exploring the city, Clementine launches her blog, Bonjour Girl, and her originality and flair quickly gives her a big following. With her success, however, comes online abuse and bullying and a classmate who is not what she seems to be. Clementine has to find a way to save her and her friends’ reputations before they go out of style.

 My Rating: 3/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Isabelle Laflèche’s Bonjour Girl immediately caught my attention for its fashion-focused story, as our main protagonist, Clementine, takes on the Parsons School of Design in New York City. I think fashion-forward protagonists and stories are slowly making a comeback in YA, like Jill Baguchinsky’s Mammoth (which I loved) and Kelly deVos’ Fat Girl on a Plane. Bit of a throwback, but one of my first YA series was Melody Carlson’s On the Runway series, so I was really excited to read a book taking place at one of the world’s top fashion and design schools. NOT TO MENTION THAT CLEMENTINE IS A BLOGGER!

Having New York City and Parsons as our main setting was really fun. I enjoyed seeing Clementine taking on the city and school. Clementine definitely lives a privileged life, coming from Paris and moving to the city with her fashion superstar of a cousin, and it was fun delving into the extravagance that is her life. Before going into more details, I will say that Bonjour Girl does dive into diversity. Clementine is half-Chinese, her best friend is gay (more on Jake’s character, however, later), and Clementine and Jake tackle social injustice in the fashion world. For example, Clementine’s blog focuses on untold and diverse individuals in the industry, and Jake designs clothing for people with disabilities.

As a reader who is a blogger, it’s always fun reading about characters who run blogs.  Clementine’s blog was really unique and it was cool seeing her planning stages, like hiring a graphic designer and talking with interviewees. But aside from one detailed instance, we never see Clementine, you know, BLOG. While her blog deserves all the views and comments, thanks to its diversity, it felt so unrealistic that her blog got thousands of views after her first post went live.

But Clementine’s life is definitely far from perfect. Bonjour Girl features intense cyber bullying from one of her competitive classmates, and like most people, Clementine has a hard time dealing with the bullying. However, I do think Clementine could have taken other steps to lessen the problem, and there were times were the plot became too unrealistically dramatic. 

The book is told from Clementine’s first person POV, which often includes her internal reflections, from blog planning and her crush on the attractive and up-and-coming fashion photographer Jonathan. These reflections often referred to pop culture, and while I appreciate the incorporation of real-life TV shows and literature, Clementine often pulled us out the plot when she referenced these subjects. Like when she thinks about her OVERUSED IN SO MANY BOOKS favorite Emily Dickinson poem. Regarding the characters, I’ve seen some negative reviews about Jake being a stereotypical gay guy in the fashion world, but I frankly just didn’t like Jake. Yes, he was nice comic relief and support for Clementine at times, but he was just SO LOUD and really didn’t read social situations. I also thought Clementine pointing out his eating habits in relation to his weight felt weird.

Overall, I enjoyed Bonjour Girl for its fashion-focused story and extravagance, but I do not think its plot and characterization were well executed. Bonjour Girl is the first in a trilogy, and I’ll likely pick up the second book to see how the story continues when Clementine takes on another county known for being a major part of the fashion industry…

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

Is Bonjour Girl on your TBR? What are some of your favorite YA fashion-inspired reads? Share in the comments!

WHY YOU NEED TO READ VICIOUS & GIVEAWAY

If there are two things that I love in this fangirl world, it’s giveaways and V.E. Schwab’s Vicious. Vicious is one of the very first books that I screamed about across the Internet, so I’m excited that Tor Books is partnering with me for a particularly villainous giveaway!

We all know that V.E. Schwab is the QUEEN of fantasy. Vicious of course is no exception. One of my all-time favorite books, this adult fantasy follows college roommates Victor and Eli- two brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who have a research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events. As expected, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of a prison and is determined to track down his old friend (now foe), with a young girl who has her own supernatural abilities by his side. In anticipation of the upcoming sequel, Vengeful, today I’m going to be sharing why you NEED to be reading Vicious right now.

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Villians, villains, everywhere- Not only is V.E. Schwab the QUEEN of fantasy, but she’s also the QUEEN of villainous POVs. Between Eli and Victor, Sydney and Serena, Vicious is filled with morally unjust characters that makes the story even more exciting and unpredictable.

The most glorious bookstagram coversVicious has recently received a gorgeous new cover design that would even make Eli Cardale envious of your bookshelf and bookstagram game. While the original cover has a special place in my heart- I love how it depicts one of the scenes from the book itself- I love how the new cover matches Vengeful and V.E. Schwab’s other adult books so well.

 

There’s a dog named Dol- We all know by now how much I love books that have dogs. Vicious earns 10+ more skulls for the cutie that is Dol, Sydney’s sidekick.

All the story themes in one fast-paced read- Romance, rivalry, college, science, sisterhood, death and more all take the stage in this absolutely addicting read.

You’ll have a good reason for your chocolate milk cravings- One of our main characters, Mitch, has a love for chocolate milk that even Victor Vale can’t explain.

There’s a sequel that you need to add to your TBR ASAP– When I read Vicious for the first time back in February 2017, I had no idea that there’d be a sequel. You better believe when I heard about Vengeful, I broke out ALL the chocolate milk. Vengeful is easily my most anticipated book of 2018, and I cannot wait to share my thoughts with you guys. Vengeful comes out on September 25, 2018.

Finally, there’s a chance you can win some especially villainous merch, including Vicious and Vengeful, courtesy of Tor Books.

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ARE YOU VICIOUS OR ARE YOU VENGEFUL?

One (1) winner receives a Limited-Edition VICIOUS Prize Pack including:

  • Copies of Vicious and Vengeful

  • “Hell, we could be heroes” hoodie

  • Vicious pencil set

  • Vicious tote bag

Enter Giveaway Here

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Tor Books.

Follow #VillainsSeries to also enter giveaways for the Limited-Edition VENGEFUL prize pack.

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About Vicious

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

About Vengeful

Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.

But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other once more.

With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity–and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.

About the Author

Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including the acclaimed Shades of Magic series, This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet and Vicious. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post and more, translated into more than a dozen languages, and has been optioned for television and film. When she’s not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, she splits her time between Nashville, TN and Edinburgh, Scotland and is usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters.

Purchase Vicious & Vengeful with the following sites:

Amazon: Vicious | Vengeful

Barnes & Noble: Vicious | Vengeful

Books-A-Million: Vicious | Vengeful

Indie Bound: Vicious | Vengeful

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Have you read Vicious? Are you excited for Vengeful? Share in the comments!