SPRING SHELFIE: Spring 2020 YA Anticipated Releases

I can’t believe it’s already time to talk about the books I’m looking forward to this spring! Many readers look to fall for their absolute most anticipated books of the year, but this spring might just be my most anticipated season! I didn’t realize how many books I can’t wait to have my hands on until I was putting this list together. I originally was going to combine my most YA releases with my anticipated adult releases… until I realized I had a 20+ book list. That being said, while today I’ll be focusing on YA releases, I’ll be sharing my anticipated adult fiction spring releases next week.

I’m especially excited for Spring 2020 because there are SO, SO many amazing contemporary books coming out from some of my all-time favorite authors and debut voices!

March

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The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu 

Although contemporary seems to be the name of my reading game this spring, I am of course looking forward to Marie Lu’s upcoming musically-inspired historical fantasy.

Release Date: March 3

 

 

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Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee

While I haven’t read Anna Karenina, Anna K has been described as a dark and diverse take with major Gossip Girl vibes, following Anna K.’s life as a Korean-American teen in Manhattan society.

Release Date: March 3

 

 

harley-in-the-sky-9781534437128_hrHarley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Having been fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of Harley in the Sky, I can 110% confirm that this YA contemporary release is a must read book of the year! Following Harley’s life growing up in circus life and dream of being a trapeze artist, Akemi Dawn Bowman completely nailed the setting while exploring family, friendship, and mental health.

Release Date: March 10

 

46404346Girls with Razor Hearts (Girls with Sharp Sticks #2) by Suzanne Young

If you haven’t jumped on the Girls with Sharp Sticks train yet, you have a month to catch up before the sequel comes out! I absolutely cannot put these books down, following an all-female private school where the girls are taught be perfect women, until Mena and her classmates start questioning the school’s strange occurrences.

Release Date: March 25

 

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We Are the Wildcats by Siobhan Vivian

I feel like I’ve been talking about my anticipation for Siobhan Vivian’s next YA contemporary, We Are the Wildcats, since I finished Stay Sweet two years ago. I’m really looking forward to this one because it features members of a high school field hockey team – as a former high school field hockey player myself, I’m excited to see how much it delves into the sport because it’s not really a sports book- and focuses on female friendship and empowerment. Siobhan Vivian slayed these two themes in Stay Sweet. 

Release Date: March 31

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Review: The Liars of Mariposa Island by Jennifer Mathieu

Summary (from the publisher): Every year, summer begins when the Callahans 71JmVuf4VgLarrive on Mariposa Island. That’s when Elena Finney gets to escape her unstable, controlling mother by babysitting for their two children. And the summer of 1986 promises to be extra special when she meets J.C., the new boy in town, whose kisses make Elena feel like she’s been transported to a new world.

Joaquin Finney can’t imagine why anyone would want to come to Mariposa Island. He just graduated from high school and dreams about going to California to find his father and escape his mother’s manipulation.

The Liars of Mariposa Island follows siblings Elena and Joaquin, with flashbacks to their mother’s experience as a teenage refugee fleeing the Cuban revolution.

 

 My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

 My Thoughts:

The Liars of Mariposa Island is the type of book that I wouldn’t have expected from Jennifer Mathieu, and I really enjoyed it! I’ve only read Jennifer Mathieu’s Moxie, a YA book following a girl’s determination to lead a feminist revolution in her Texas high school and is currently being adapted into a Netflix film directed by the Amy Poehler. Leslie Knope and I are both SO here for this! That being said, I would not have expected Jennifer Matheiu’s next book to be a semi-historical story following two siblings’ lives living on Mariposa Island with their very controlling mother, who escaped the Cuban revolution as a teenager. 

 The Liars of Mariposa Island takes on a different setting and cultural influence than what I’ve read in YA, but I absolutely loved it. I’ve read a number of Cuban and Carribbean-inspired books in my college English classes, and I have really enjoyed the majority of them that I’ve read. If you’re also interested in Cuban literature that explores the relationship between Cuban and American culture, I highly recommend checking out Rachel Kushner’s Telex from Cuba and Cristina García’s Dreaming in Cuban (two of the books I’ve read in college). Anyway, I once again enjoyed exploring this relationship in The Liars of Mariposa Island.

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 While mostly told from siblings Elena and Joaquin’s perspectives in 1980s Mariposa Island, Texas, the book does flashback to their mother’s experience living in  Cuba and transitioning to life in the United States. I wish we had more chapters from Caridad’s perspective. They provided a lot of insight into 1950s Cuba and of course explained much of Caridad’s change in character, going from a young girl in love with her family and country into a depressed woman who takes her secrets and loss out on her children. I really enjoyed the romantic Cuba and although Caridad’s transition to American life wasn’t as quite picturesque, I really liked learning about her experience and how it shaped the present with Elena and Joaquin.Read More »

P.S. I LOVE IT: P.S. I Still Love You Movie Review

If there was one thing this bookish fangirl absolutely had to do on February 12,  it was watch the sequel adaptation of her favorite YA contemporary series: P.S. I Still Love You! Just like the first film, P.S. I Still Love You was such a cozy and comforting movie that I know I’ll be returning to again and again!

9781534469266_p0_v3_s550x406P.S. I Still Love You is really Lara Jean and Peter’s story (and also a little bit of John Ambrose’s). The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before plot did revolve around the couple, but there were a lot of moments about the Song-Covey sisters, so it was a bit of a transition going into this installment. Either way, I loved settling into Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship. I seriously need to learn how to make Valentine’s Day cards like Lara Jean’s! I was so happy that she makes cherry tarts for him just like in the book. While I have much, MUCH love for John Ambrose, it still made me sad when Lara Jean and Peter K. go through some challenges. I do think Peter could have been a lot more honest about things involving Gen, but I think Lara Jean also could have been a tad more open about things with John Ambrose.

Outside of Peter K. and Lara Jean, there was of course so much that I loved about this movie.  Kitty’s moments were still spot on, although I wish we did get some more Margot outside of the one FaceTime phone call. However, Lara Jean’s true mentor in this installment is none other than Stormy! There were definitely some changes to the Belleview storyline, the retirement community Lara Jean volunteers in, but I’m so, so glad Stormy was still part of it- although I’m still a little sad that we didn’t get to see Lara Jean in her victory rolls and John Ambrose in uniform. Back to the Song-Covey family, I’m also really happy they kept the Mr.Covey and Ms.Rothchild storyline (and that’s where I didn’t mind not having Margot’s mixed feelings about the situation, whoops). I actually think my favorite character in P.S. I Still Love You was Chris! Her personality and spunk was just so well done (along with her amazing eye shadow)  and I liked her own romance storyline.Read More »

VALENTINE’S DAY ROMANCE READ: The Risk Review

Summary for The Risk (Briar U #2)

rhweiskEveryone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.

And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.

I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.

For every fake date…he wants a real one.

Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.

That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

Since one of my reading goals for 2020 is to read more romance, I kicked off my 2020 reading with a sports romance! Elle Kennedy is one of my favorite new adult and sports romance authors, having loved the Off-Campus series last year. I read the first book in the Briar U series, The Chase, in October and now have of course finished the second book in the series, The Risk. The Risk is hands-down my favorite Briar U book!

The Risk follows Brenna Jensen, daughter of Briar University’s hockey coach, and Jake Connelly, the Harvard hockey team star player and Briar U’s biggest rival. Brenna and Jake have a somewhat hate-to-love romance that is more on the side of forbidden romance. Coming from two sides of a huge college hockey rival, Brenna and Jake can’t reveal their attraction for one another to basically anyone, let alone their fake relationship. Brenna is up for an internship at a male-dominated sports company and the only way that she can capture her potential boss’ attention is by telling him that Jake, an upcoming NHL rookie, is her boyfriend. As Brenna and Jake spend more time together ‘fake’ dating, the lines between fake and real begin to blur.

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Galentine’s Day Book Recommendations

One of the many, many amazing things that came out of my all-time favorite TV show, Parks and Recreation, is Galentine’s Day. Galentine’s Day is all about celebrating the amazing female friendships and relationships in your life. My best friends and I plan on having a Parks & Rec rewatch marathon tomorrow featuring all of the Galentine’s Day involved episodes!

If you’re looking for a bookish way to celebrate the holiday, look no further than the following books that celebrate sisterhood, female friendship, and feminism.

The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey – From starring a very bookish protagonist to its focus on family, there are SO many great things about The Library of Lost Things, but I especially loved the friendship between best friends Darcy and Marisol.

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Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart – Grace and Fury is one of my favorite YA dystopian series. The first book had me intrigued for its sisterhood premise, as sisters Nomi and Serina are separated for the first time in their lives, with Nomi unexpectedly becoming one of the King’s darling Graces and Serina sent to an island filled with female exiled prisoners.

The Last Summer of the Garret Girls by Jessica Spotswood – Books about sisters are among my favorite sub-genres in YA contemporaries, with Jessica Spotwood’s The Last Summer of the Garret Girls as no exception. This book following four sisters’ summer in their small town, which so happens to include their family-run bookstore, had such fantastic Gilmore Girls vibes.

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P.S. I Still Love You Viewing Party Tips

9781534469266_p0_v3_s550x406One of the most, if not the most, anticipated book-to-film adaptions of 2020 will be gracing our Netflix screens on February 12th: P.S. I Still Love You! Based on the second book in Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, P.S. I Still Love You picks up where we left off with Lara Jean and Peter K. at the end of the first film and introduces a much beloved boy in Lara Jean’s life: John Ambrose McClaren! 

Everyone knows that I have a lot of love for the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before books and films. This series is just so cozy and there’s so much in them (desserts included) that can help make for the best viewing experience. Whether you’ll be having a solo viewing (which I’ll definitely be doing at some point so that this book nerd can do her usual book to film comparison), gathering your best girl friends for a Galentine’s Day celebration, or ringing in Valentine’s Day with your valentine, the following tips will make for the best P.S. I Still Love You watching experience. 

Viewing Party Prep 

Choose a Theme: Galentine’s, Valentine’s, and Party in the USA 

My favorite holiday inspired by Parks and Recreation, P.S. I Still Love You comes out the day before Galentine’s Day. Whether you’re watching with your best gal pals on the 12th, 13th, or later on, embrace your inner Lara Jean and Chris. 

Because of the release date’s proximity to Galentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day, decor and food options can be really simple this time of year. However, I think the most unique way and most true to the book way to go with a USA themed party inspired by Lara Jean’s USO party at Belleview. 

Bake your heart out 

One of my favorite elements of the TATBILB world is Lara Jean’s love for baking. Baking and desserts are a huge part of the books, and I was so happy to see Lara Jean’s cupcake and cooking baking skills brought to the TATBILB film. I have recipes on the blog inspired by both To All the Boy I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Snickerdoodles are the go-to treat in P.S. I Still Love You, but Lara Jean’s cake making skills are definitely put the test as well. I really want to try to make her Reese’s Pieces cake for the peanut butter lovers in my life one day. If you’re watching with friends and family, have everyone bring desserts and even make a competition out of it! For the true TATBILB and baking fans in your life, step it up a notch by only allowing desserts that are also featured in the books. 

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Pre-Viewing & Viewing Activities 

Rewatch TATBILB before jumping into P.S. I Still Love You 

I’ve definitely rewatched TATBILB on more on than one occasion, but I think it would be really fun to binge both films back to back.

Wear your best Lara Jean inspired outfit 

It’s no secret that Lara Jean is one of the best dressed fictional characters ever. Peter Pan collar shirts, scrunchies and Margot’s favorite Fair Isle sweater all make for great options. This is also another competition idea for group viewings. 

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P.S. I Still Love You Inspired Recipes

P.S., I still love Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series very much.

After falling head-over-heels in love with Netflix’s adaptation of the first book in my all-time favorite contemporary series, I really cannot wait for Susan Johnson and co.’s take on the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You.

Since I reread P.S. I Still Love You last summer- I’m finally planning on rereading Always and Forever, Lara Jena this year- I decided to just skim through P.S. I Still Love You. While doing my reread skim, I once again fell in love with so many of the desserts Lara Jean bakes! The following three recipes are based on desserts Lara Jean makes in P.S. I Still Love You and will make for the perfect treats while watching the new movie.

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Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies

These peanut butter crinkle cookies are inspired by the Reese’s Pieces cake John Ambrose McClaren would love for Lara Jean to bake. I’d definitetly love to make this cake for all the peanut butter lovers in my life- I am unfortunately not a peanut butter fan in the slightest bit- but I admit that I tend to leans towards cookies over cake. These peanut butter crinkle cookies are a hit in my family. Whenever my sister finds herself in a baking mood, these are her go-to treat for friends and family.

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Snickerdoodles

If you remember my To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before inspired recipes, you’ll know that I am once again bringing this recipe to the blog. Snickerdoodles have an even bigger presence in P.S. I Still Love You. They’re still Lara Jean’s go-to forgiveness cookie for Kitty, she makes a batch for Peter K., and she pops them in the oven when Ms.Rothchild comes over for dinner. I considered sharing my truly made from scratch recipes, but honestly nothing tops the cake mix version in my opinion.

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