SUMMER READING & NETFLIX BINGEING: May 2019 Wrap Up

The unofficial start of summer has treated me so well! Fangirl-wise, I read 16 books and binge-watched Netflix shows and movies. IRL-wise, with school over for the year, I’ve had more time to relax, catch up with friends, exercise, GO TO THE BEACH, and start my summer job. At the time of this post’s publication, I am currently attending the most exciting event of May, Book Expo! I’m really excited for my June content overall, but especially because I’ll be doing wrap-ups for each day of the convention.

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Tell Me No Lies by Adele Griffin | 4/5 Stars

This was my first book by Adele Griffin. I really enjoyed her writing style and this book’s atmospheric setting.

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston |5/5 Stars

Like everyone and their mother, I freaking loved RW&RB. It’s definitely my all-time favorite new adult book and a 2019 favorite read.

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Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid | 4/5 Stars

Although I still enjoyed this book, unlike everyone and their mother, I didn’t necessarily love Daisy Jones and the Six.

The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston| 4.25/5 Stars

It was so much fun jumping back into the Once Upon a Con series and I’m really looking forward to the third installment that will be based on Beauty and the Beast.

The Off-Campus Series (The Deal, The Mistake, The Score & The Goal) by Elle Kennedy | 4.5/5 Stars

I have a full series review coming for these books, but for right now, I’ll share that my favorite was The Goal (another 2019 favorite read)

Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith | 4/5 Stars

This book is tempting me to book a cross-country train trip.

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker | 4.5/5

I loved jumping into the new adult genre this month, including The Simple Wild. Also catch me planning a trip to the Alaskan wilderness.

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Top Five Wednesday: Bookish Things I’ve Changed My Mind About

Although this isn’t today’s Top Five Wednesday topic, I really loved this month’s first topic, bookish things us readers have changed our minds about in our reading lives. Since I really loved this topic (let’s not talk about it, but blame it on finals for not allowing me to do it then and there), today I’ll be discussing some bookish things I never thought I would see differently.

Borrowing ebooks from the library

Let’s be clear: I am still not the world’s biggest fan of ebooks and I will always turn to physical copies whenever possible. As much as I would love to have my hands on some ARCs, I would much rather wait to read a finished copy than using NetGalley or Edelweiss. I think some of this may have to do with that fact that the only tablet I have access to is an iPad. Maybe if I had a tablet that was primarily meant for reading, like a Nook or Amazon Fire, I would be more open to ebooks. Nevertheless, I am a firm believer that nothing is better for me than being able to physically flip pages.

However, for certain titles, I do make exceptions and read ebooks. For example, I recently was on a blog tour for a book that was only available via ecopy and I was too interested in the book to pass up the opportunity to be on such a fun blog tour. While reading on my iPad wasn’t perfect- I had to read it in iBooks and the zoom wouldn’t stay the same as I flipped pages- I enjoyed the reading experience much more than I thought. There’s a few books available via my local library only as electronic copies that I plan on reading on my iPad. Instead of buying physical copies like usual when my library doesn’t have them, I am going to try and read borrowed ebooks when possible. The only thing I think I may not like about doing this is that I don’t want to bring my iPad when I read in the pool or on the beach.

Some books I’ve recently read as ebooks:

Posting my monthly TBRS

Until last summer, I never posted my monthly TBRs on the blog mostly because I was (and still am) very much a mood reader. I also felt that publishing my TBRs placed more pressure on me to actually read said books that month. I’ve been creating monthly TBRs both offline and online lately for a few reasons. One, I’ve had more time to read lately with summer time. Two, I need to figure out what books I can get from my local library and what ones I need to place on hold through the county system. Three, if I have books that I’ve been sent for review, they need to often get prioritized in my reading plans. I’ve combatted my moody reader self by planning out books that suit my reading mood. For example, I’ve been in the mood for a lot of contemporary lately, thus my May TBR was filled with contemporary books. I also realize that I don’t need to read every single book on my TBR—I often end up slightly adjusting my plans or reading even more books (which I include in my intro in almost every TBR post).

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LOVE ON A TRAIN: Field Notes on Love Review

Summary (from the publisher):
It’s the perfect idea for a romantic week together: traveling across America by train.But then Hugo’s girlfriend dumps him. Her parting gift: the tickets for their long-planned last-hurrah-before-uni trip. Only, it’s been booked under her name. Nontransferable, no exceptions.81RitjfpepL

Mae is still reeling from being rejected from USC’s film school. When she stumbles across Hugo’s ad for a replacement Margaret Campbell (her full name!), she’s certain it’s exactly the adventure she needs to shake off her disappointment and jump-start her next film.

A cross-country train trip with a complete stranger might not seem like the best idea. But to Mae and Hugo, both eager to escape their regular lives, it makes perfect sense. What starts as a convenient arrangement soon turns into something more. But when life outside the train catches up to them, can they find a way to keep their feelings for each other from getting derailed?

 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Jennifer E. Smith is one of my go-to contemporary authors. While I’ve only fallen head-over-heels in love with one of her books, The Geography of You and Me, her other books provide such-feel good vibes and really deliver on their premises. This of course includes her latest release, Field Notes on Love. Hugo and his girlfriend have planned a train trip across the United States, but when she breaks up with him, Hugo has to find someone of the same name to take the non-transferrable train ticket. Enter Mae Campbell, an aspiring filmmaker who is looking for some sort of adventure before starting her freshmen year of college.

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Field Notes on Love is for sure a book that you can read over the course of one day. I didn’t do this myself over the course of the two busy days (including some Netflix watching), but I sort’ve wish I had saved this one for binge-reading on a beach or pool day this summer. At its 271 pages, readers can easily join in on Hugo and Mae’s weeklong journey in one day. The premise of the book completely delivered, as the majority of the book takes place on the train. The train  was such an atmospheric setting, making me want to take a cross-country train trip myself! While much of the book focuses on Hugo and Mae, I liked Mae’s interviews with the other passengers and getting a glimpse at their own lives. Although I wish we spent more time in the cities and places the duo visit, what makes this book work so well as a shorter book is that there is really no fluff.

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CALLING ALL CONVENTION LOVERS: The Princess and the Fangirl Review

 

Summary (from the publisher):
Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, 42974554Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.
When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

My Rating: 4.25/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I’ve been devouring books over a day or so this month, including Ashley Poston’s The Princess and the Fangirl. I have a sweet tooth for fandom-focused stories, much like the first book in the Once Upon a Con series, Geekerella. Although I haven’t read too many, Geekerella is my favorite Cinderella retelling. Like the other books in the series, Ashley Poston puts a fandom spin on fairytales, with the fandom in focus being the fictional sci-fi TV and film series, Starfield. The latest book in the series, The Princess and the Fangirl, is a Princess and The Pauper retelling. Starfield movie star Jess and fangirl Imogen switch places during Excelsicon, the Stafield convention.

The main plot of the book revolves around Jess, who has been criticized for her performance and lack of passion in playing the Starfield female lead, figuring out who is leaking her stolen script of the film’s sequel. While Jess debates if she even wants to be part of the sequel, Imogen is determined to save Jess’ character, Princess Amara, from being just another female character who there to evolve the male protagonist’s journey. I admit that I didn’t care so much for this particular aspect of the plot, aka finding the person behind the leaked script. I was more interested in Jess and Imogen’s character development and relationships.

Jess definitely experiences the most character development throughout the book, as she deals with the pressure of playing Princess Amara and figuring out the future of her acting career. Readers may have an easier experience relating to Imogen’s POV because of her passion for all-things fandom. It was interesting to see Jess and Imogen uncover things, both good and bad, about the Starfield fandom from their reversed roles. While Imogen gets to embrace her love for Starfield, I also liked seeing Jess try to figure out her own relationship with the fandom.

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The First Books I Reviewed

I absolutely love reading old blog posts. Going through posts that I wrote back in 2017, my first year of blogging, just shows how much I’ve grown as a reader and writer since then. I reviewed the following books from  March through May 2017, the first three months of Fangirl Fury. Many of these reviews were written when I didn’t have a blogging routine or post schedule. I remember after waking up a few mornings freshman year writing a post then posting it right then and there. I completely admit that going some of these early reviews has been a heart-warmingly cringe-worthy experience. Where are the photos? Why did I love that shade of pink so much? newfireborder

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (reviewed March 2017) – I’ve grown to share my thoughts and reviews on books that I didn’t love or like so much, but I am glad that my first book review was a book I truly loved. I’m still trying to figure out where the photo in this review went – I may have stripped my heart string lights from my dorm room wall and set them up a picnic table outside for a very first bookstagram.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab (reviewed March 2017) – I feel very validated in knowing that Vicious is one of the first books that I screamed about across the Internet because this book deserves all the screams and feels. Is anyone surprised that I proclaimed my love for Mitch and his chocolate milk drinking habits? Not only was Vicious one of my first book reviews, but it was my first V.E. Schwab book.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (reviewed reread April 2017) – I reread A Court of Thorns and Roses then in anticipation for A Court of Wings and Ruin’s release. Upon this reread, I noticed more of The Beauty and the Beast elements and more importantly, that Tamlin really wasn’t a nice guy (before first reading ACOMAF, guess who originally wasn’t a Rhysand fan, ha ha ha…..)

Heartless by Marissa Meyer (reviewed April 2017)- Okay, I love how I took of a photo of this book in its naked glory. But why on a bench in front of my college library?? I don’t even want to think about how I must have positioned myself to take this photo??

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ANOTHER SJM FAVE: Catwoman: Soulstealer Review

Summary (from the publisher):
When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .cs
Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking.
Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing’s undoing.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I don’t want to use the expression that I am trash for Sarah J. Maas’s books because I genuinely love her writing and stories. But frankly, I would read her grocery list! Still have to love The Fault in Our Stars for giving us readers that line. Anyway, while I am not the biggest DC extraordinaire- does absolutely loving Wonder Woman count?- I knew I needed to read one of my favorite author’s take on Catwoman and Gotham City. I also enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer and found myself heavily addicted to Marie Lu’s Batman: Nightwalker.

Catwoman: Soulstealer reminded me why I love Sarah J. Maas’s writing so much. From the novel’s start, I found myself invested in Selina’s story, living in the slums of Gotham City and trying to support her younger sister who has cystic fibrosis. I liked how the book takes the first two chapters to set this scene, before jumping into Selina’s transformation into socialite Holly Vanderhees and yes, Catwoman. The book quickly transfers from Selina with a East End gang, the Leopards, to her returning to Gotham as Holly. I thought I would want a few chapters dedicated to her training with the League of Assassins, but I loved Selina’s return to Gotham too much. SJM also did a nice job of flashing back to Selina’s training and true to her writing style, alludes to the real reason(s) for Selina’s return. And no worries, much like Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses, she saves a few bombshells for the end.

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BOOKS FOR THE BEACH & BACKYARD: Summer 2019 Anticipated Releases

In a few recent blog posts, I’ve fangirled over the fact that I am thankful to have more reading more time with the school year over. My summer TBR will surely include the listed below summer 2019 releases, aka books being released between June and August that I cannot wait to get my hands on! Catch me with these while lounging on the beach and by the pool this season.

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (June 4)- I always hope that at least one of my favorite and go-to YA contemporary authors come out with a new book during the summer. I couldn’t be more than excited that this year it’s Sarah Dessen with The Rest of the Story. It’s crazy, but of course so lovely, that I’ve been reading her books since middle school and I still get to dive into new books from her! I’m also especially interested in this book because its Sarah Dessen’s first book with Balzer + Bray.

This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura (June 4)- You may make this assumption about me based on this and another book on this list, but I find something so interesting about characters who work in flower shops! Outside from its setting, I’m super intrigued by This Time Will Be Different, as CJ’s family might be selling their store to the family who swindled her grandparents when they were sent to a Japanese-American interment camp during World War II.

Screen Queens by Lori Goldstein (June 11)- You had me with The Bold Type in its premise. I love how YA books have been increasingly featuring girls in STEM, as our three female main protagonists compete to win a dream tech internship.

Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love edited by Elsie Chapman (June 18)- It’s been a while since I read a YA anthology, but I am HERE for a book centered around good. Out of the books’ many authors, I’ve only read work by Sandhya Menon, so I’m looking forward to discovering some new-to-me voices.

Queen of Ruin (Grace and Fury #2) by Tracy Banghart- Grace and Fury unexpectedly stole my heart in 2018 and I am more than ready for the sequel to this female-driven, dystopian, fantasy world.

Maybe This Time by Kasie West (July 9)- I decided to dive into Kasie West’s books in 2019 mainly because of my interest in her upcoming release, Maybe This Time. What is there not to love about a girl working for a florist? And yes, I am a massive fan of books with protagonists who have some of my summer dream jobs.

Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud (July 30)- Books about royals are on so many readers’ brains this year, including mine! How do I sign up for a summer program where I can meet a prince who wants to wisk me off as his guest at his brother’s wedding? Truly Madly Royally promises The Princess Diaries vibes—how could I not read a book that includes one of my all time favorite movies?

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker (August 6)- I still have to read K.A. Tucker’s This Simple Wild (which I have a feeling I am going to completely adore), but her upcoming release Say You Still Love Me has me similarly invested. I am all for a book about a young businesswoman who runs into her first love again.

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (August 13)- I don’t think I’ve ever read historical fiction books taking place during The Gilded Age. The premise of The Downstairs Girl has me hooked. By day, Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid, but by night, she’s a newspaper advice columnist for southern women.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks (August 27)- I feel like I have been fangirling over Pumpkinheads forever now. And no worries, I won’t stop even after this graphic novel by one of my favorite author comes out. What could I not love about a graphic novel following two friends’ last season working at a pumpkin patch??

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What books are you looking forward to this summer? Share in the comments!