Books I Refuse to Lend

Many readers love sharing their love of books. But many readers don’t love sharing their physical books, including me!

When I was younger, I made a form for my sisters to fill out before they borrowed a book from my shelves. I’m pretty sure it was harder to borrow a book from me than our local library.In the days before book sleeves, I’m pretty sure my dad wrapped up my paperback editions of The Hunger Games trilogy in a few grocery bags before putting them in his messenger bag. Even when my mom and sisters borrow books from me now, I make sure I take the dust jacket off hardcovers beforehand and for some books, make them promise not to take the book out of the house.

As someone who takes care of her books, I do admit that I rarely lend books over the of fear them getting damaged or lost. While I’ve landed out paperbacks before and they came to me more worn out, I haven’t had a particularly bad experience lending out a book- aka the cover is ripped, pages are missing, or worse, I never get it back. I’m definitely open to lending them out to my family and one of my close reader friends, but there are certain books that will never leave my hands (or my heart!).

Signed Books

I think many fellow readers would agree that lending out signed books are an absolutely no-no. As someone who has received more and more signed editions, as a result of book conventions and ordering special editions, I’m actually less hesitant to lend out signed books, specifically if the book doesn’t have any special meaning to me or if I didn’t absolutely love it. However, the following books are the signed editions that I refuse to lend.

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Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (& basically my other signed SJM books)- I got Queen of Shadows signed by Sarah J. Maas on her QoS book tour in 2015. This was back in the day when her events weren’t as limited and tickets weren’t as difficult to come by. This particular signing was a bit strange and took place at a Costco on a bad weather day. I think I got there 20 minutes beforehand and was one of the first people in line. Anyway, QoS is my favorite Throne of Glass book, hence why I won’t let that edition out of my sight. I also refuse to lend my other signed SJM books (Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, ACOTAR, and Catwoman:Soulstealer) and my ToG collector’s edition.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- Fangirl is one, if not my all-time fave, of my all-time favorite books, so I’m so happy I have two signed editions of two different special editions. I’ve met Rainbow Rowell twice and she signed each copy for me. I hold the indie edition especially close to my heart because its my favorite color (the light pink) out of the 3 special editions and Rainbow Rowell signed it for me the first time I met her.

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BEST MUSIC BOOK: Night Music Review

Summary: Ruby isn’t known as just Ruby. She’s known as Ruby Chertok: daughter of a renown composer, a touring pianist, sister to three incredible musically gifted siblings, and future pianist. But after a terrible audition for her father’s musical school, Ruby needs a break from music. But that also means figuring out who she is without music. 
Enter Oscar Bell, seventeen year old musical genius with 1.8 million YouTube views of his latest performance. When Oscar comes to live with the Chertoks for the summer and study in NYC, sparks fly between Ruby and Oscar. But can two people trying to figure out themselves figure out how to be together?

 

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Jenn Marie Thorne’s The Wrong Side of Right stole my heart in March. That being said, I couldn’t wait to dive into her latest release, Night Music. I devoured this book up over two incredibly beautiful days outside (with plenty of sunburn as a result). How could I not love a summer contemporary set in NYC with such gorgeous writing?

Night Music follows Ruby’s summer in New York City as she tries to figure out a life without music, which is pretty hard when her parents and siblings are all famous classical musicians. Music becomes an even bigger reminder in Ruby’s life when Ruby’s dad takes seventeen-year old music genius Oscar under his wing for the summer.

9780735228771Night Music blew me away for its amazing writing style. Jenn Marie Thorne’s writing style in the book reminded me of Morgan Matson, but with its own uniqueness. I’ve read books with protagonists who are musicians or have a deep appreciation for music, but this book especially features music, specifically classical music. The only other book I can think of is with a strong classical music presence is  Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. Night Music is only told from Ruby’s point of view, which I appreciated because the book’s premise made it sound like it was told from both Ruby and Oscar. In addition, I also didn’t really get the official premise’s rom-com vibes. If I had to summarize Night Music, I would refer to it as a romantic family drama or just a romantic contemporary! Through Jenn Marie Thorne’s writing, readers are able to experience all the layers of Ruby’s life: her relationship with music, her family dynamics, her growing feelings for Oscar, her confusion about what she wants to do with her life, and yes, her feelings towards delicious-sounding French pastries.

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BEING IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK: If I’m Being Honest Review

Summary (from the publisher): High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good.40087230._UY400_SS400_

In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…

But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.

 

 My Rating: 5/5 Stars

 My Thoughts: 

It’s official: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka write my kind of Shakespeare.

Okay let’s go back a little. This writing duo’s first book, Always Never Yours, stole my heart back in October when Megan finds herself cast as Juliet in her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet.  In If I’m Being Honest’s case, our main character, Cameron, finds herself relating a bit to closely to one of the main character in her latest reading, for English class Katherine from The Taming of the Shrew.

An element that I love about If I’m Being Honest and Always Never Yours is that the main protagonists have very strong personalities and at times, are just plain unlikeable. These qualities just make the characters feel all the more real and complex. Cameron definitely wins the unlikeable award, known as her LA high school’s queen bitch. Throughout the book, Cameron says exactly what is on her mind, nice or not. Although there were many uncalled moments that were a bit frustrating (especially towards the end), Cameron owned her personality while experiencing a significant amount of character growth.

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I also enjoyed exploring why Cameron is the way she is. Her mean girl attitude was not accompanied by the typical rich girl stereotype, as her and her mom are not as wealthy as her elite LA classmates. I feel like YA parents have come a long way in some more recent YA releases, but Cameron’s parents were honestly horrible. There are some redeeming qualities for Cameron’s mom along the way, but I felt for her in the family department. Seeing Cameron talk about her family life with her newfound friends was a really nice way to see her change.While Cameron definitely made some changes in her attitude, I did enjoy how she didn’t completely change and made some realizations about why she even wanted to change herself in the first place.

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There’s Something About Sandhya Menon’s Books: There’s Something About Sweetie & As Kismet Would Have It Review

Summary (from the publisher): 

51PEpjfmsLL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Between her past three books, Sandhya Menon is becoming one of my go-to YA contemporary authors. For some reason, I’ve picked up her latest release every year in June, so this year I saved There’s Something About Sweetie for that month. In short, There’s Something About Sweetie is my new favorite Sandhya Menon novel! I just fell head over heels in love with Ashish and Sweetie as a couple and as individual characters.

“But with Sweetie time passed in gentle waves. A conversation with her was like a warm hug and a cup of hot coca on a cold day – comforting, familiar, a place you never wanted to leave” (175).

There’s Something About Sweetie is such a sweet  YA rom-com. If Ashish’s father said ‘hanky-panky’ one more time, even I would have expected Sweetie to lose it! The book takes a comedic sort of turns in one of the main protagonist’s lives, as the charming Ashish’s heartbreak over his breakup with his girlfriend Celia drives him to allow his mother and father to choose a girl for him. It seemed to work with Dimple and Rishi, right? When Ashish’s parents try to set him up with Sweetie, Sweetie’s mother declines the relationship because of her daughter’s weight.

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Top Five Wednesday: Waiting for Books from Favorite Authors

As part of Top Five Wednesday’s summer hiatus, I’ve been revisiting old T5W topics. Today’s post is inspired by the August 2016 topic, “Authors You Are Waiting on Another Book From.” I did a similar T5w post last year (Authors I Need More From): funnily enough, all of the authors in that post have books coming out in 2019 and 2020! Today’s topic more so focuses on authors who either haven’t announced a new book or have given very minimal information regarding their next release. As much as I am excited by this topic, I admit that it was a little difficult for me to write, considering that many of my favorite authors have projects in the works or have new books coming out over the next two years.

Morgan Matson – For the past few years, there have been two years between Morgan Matson’s books. Since Save the Date came out in 2018, she is expected to have her sixth book come out in 2020. To put it simply, Morgan Matson is one of my go-to and absolute favorite YA contemporary authors because of her incredible writing and unique stories. Her synopses always leave me hook, so I’m excited to see what her next book will have in store.

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Jenny Han – Jenny Han is very much involved in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Netflix adaptations and has been doing so much press for her very much beloved series. I would really love another book with a somewhat Lara Jean-centric character, aka a book with all the baking and cute boys.

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The Funniest Search Terms on My Blog

The best blog posts can come in the most unexpected ways. One night, I was going through my stats page on WordPress and found myself going through my blog’s search terms, or what people type in my blog’s search box. Some of the following search terms are just too golden to keep to myself any longer. The following search terms are definitely the ones I’ve found to be the most interesting or funny. I took screenshots of the search terms, but since they can be hard to read, I also included them in bold below.

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“ending to thats not what happened”

“juniper lemon’s happiness index spoliers”

“does kelton and alyssa kiss in the book dry”

“emika chen and hideo tanaka ending wild cards”

“what happens to cardan and jude in wicked king”

“the names they gave us book spoilers” 

I find it somewhat ironic that people seem to be coming for the spoilers, since I do my best to keep non-spoiler thoughts and major plot points out of my reviews.

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“book after acofas”

If you know me as the Sarah J. Maas fan that I am, then you know I have this same question AND also when it’s getting published.

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“do i have to read tower of dawn”

“throne of glass do i need to read tower of dawn”

“do you have to read tower of dawn before kingdom of ash”

“when do i read the book of nesryn and chaol”

YES, you have to read Tower of Dawn because it follows the love of my life Chaol Westfall (and it’s a really great installment and yes, you need it for Kingdom of Ash). To answer that final search, read it after Empire of Storms and before Kingdom of Ash.

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 “”the names they gave us” chapter notes”

“sparknotes the librarian of Auschwitz” 

“a short history of the girl next door character analysis”

I didn’t realize how many people come to my blog for help with their book reports.

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“what gelato flavor in love and gelato book”

In all seriousness, THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT CONCERN AND I WILL TRY TO FIND THE ANSWER ASAP.

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“how are the snickerdoodles in to all the boys i’ve loved before significant”

They’re the way to get Kitty on your good side.

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Do you read your blog’s search terms? Share in the comments!

A 2019 FAVORITE & MORE: June Contemporary Mini Reviews

Everyone knows that I love saving contemporaries for the summertime. There’s just something about being transported to a (often summery) realistic place while reading in the pool or on the beach!

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

x510 (1) Rating: 5/5 Stars

Like many, Sarah Dessen has always been an integral part of my YA reading life. When I started reading YA in middle school, her books were among the first I dived into. I admit that some of her books, especially the earlier releases, have blurred together for me—I think that calls for a reread spree! However, one thing that is perfectly crystal clear (much like the lake) is that The Rest of the Story is one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books and one of my best 2019 reads. I quickly fell into this book and really couldn’t part from it for long!

 Sarah Dessen’s books always have some sort of family element, but family is at the heart of The Rest of the Story. When her summer plans unexpectedly change, Emma Saylor finds herself staying at her grandmother’s house with her cousins at North Lake (sidenote: while Emma goes by both names, I’m just going to call her Emma for the sake of this review). I just couldn’t get enough of Emma’s family! I think they each had their own charm, while all helping run their grandmother’s lakeside motel. While Emma learns a lot about her mother’s side of the family, she gets to understand more about her mother’s past through their stories and memories. It was a very smart choice for Sarah Dessen to continue the story on beyond Emma’s three weeks for her family, making the story not so predictable and more expansive. There is a touch of romance, but it definitely wasn’t the focus. I’d argue that Emma spends either equal or less time with her romance interest compared to her family. I think Trinity and Gordon, her cousins, were my two favorite secondary characters.

Overall, there was something just so cozy and atmospheric about The Rest of the Story. I think this book is perfect for readers who like books exploring family dynamics and how learning about one’s pasts can help them understand their present- and themselves. Like all of Sarah’s books, The Rest of the Story had the perfect amount of summer contemporary charm. There’s its lakeside setting, romance, family, self-discovery, and much more. Sarah Dessen nicely balanced all these elements to give me one of my favorite summer contemporaries. I really hope she  keeps coming out with more, and her books are definitely worth the wait.

Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Emma Mills’ Famous in a Small Town was a must-read on my summer TBR. As true 35526663Fangirl Fury fashion, I put off reading this January 2019 release until the summer because your girl must have summer contemporaries to read during the season. I was nervous going into Famous in a Small Town because a few readers that I follow said that this was their least favorite Emma Mills’ book. As someone who has read two of Emma Mills’ books (This Adventure Ends and First & Then) and has yet to read Foolish Hearts , Famous in a Small Town is currently my second favorite book of hers.

An important element I’ve come to realize when reading Emma Mills’ books is that her stories are much more character-driven than what the synopsis may suggest about the plot. For example, Small Town Hearts’ synopsis revolves around Sophie’s determination to get her high school’s marching band to the upcoming Rose Parade with a little help from her town’s country music star, Megan Pleasant. While Sophie is determined to get Megan to help them, this book is much more about her friend group’s summer before their senior year and all the dynamics and feelings between them. Although the official synopsis does allude to a romance interest for Sophie, this book focused more on that relationship than I would have predicted.

I enjoyed Famous in a Small Town so much because of Sophie, her friends and their realness. While I did want more from the small town star element, I didn’t mind reading about Sophie’s everyday happenings, from her friends’ summer jobs to their billboard-inspired group chats. This is something that I’ve noticed about all the Emma Mills’ books I’ve read, but her characters and their conversations just feel so real. They’re not afraid to make jokes or comments to one another and there is always just such an easiness among them. I do admit though that one of the reasons I did not give this book a full five stars is that Sophie’s best friend, Brit, annoyed me to no end. I think best friends can get away with saying some rather honest things to one another, but some of her comments and actions were just uncalled for (especially considering the reveal about Sophie that I was not expecting until right before it was revealed).

I also wish that this book had a tiny bit less focus on the romance, and I felt that the plot/what the synopsis largely discusses didn’t really come together until the very end. The reveal related to this plot was definitely unexpected for me (which I loved!) and I would have loved some more time to explore that. While I do appreciate Emma Mills’ quiet YA-ness (what I use to describe books that aren’t so much about the plot, but character and relationship development), I admit that I did pick up this book because of its suggested plot. I know it may sound that this book may not sound like a 4.5 star read for me, but I did enjoy it a lot. The book for sure would have been a 5 star read if it had more emphasis on the plot and some changed character direction.

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

A few people that I follow in the book community didn’t love Somewhere Only We Know36992163._UY986_SS986_ as much as they had hoped, which made me super nervous going into it. I had been not-so patiently waiting for this one to come in from my local library, since I love The Way You Make Me Feel so much. Thankfully, I really enjoyed Somewhere Only We Know. I love the title and hope Maurene Goo’s books keep getting named after song titles. Its Roman Holiday premise completely sold me, and I loved the K-pop star twist and Hong Kong setting. The book follows K-pop star Lucky’s 24 hour Hong Kong adventure and escape from her stressful life in the spotlight with Jack, who works as an undercover tabloid photographer. Obviously this thought does not affect my rating of the book, but I wish it had a better cover! I feel so much could have been done with the Hong Kong setting and Lucky and Jack could have been set up in a less awkward position.

Somewhere Only We Know is overall such fun and atmospheric read that will give you ALL the food cravings. Maurene Goo transports readers to Hong Kong, making me realize that I seriously need some egg waffles and sticky buns in my foodie life. This book is one of the few instances where I was okay with the insta-love because I really enjoyed Lucky and Jack’s chemistry. I think Jack is sort’ve set up to be a not-so nice guy in the very beginning, since he decides to hang out with Lucky just to get photos for the tabloid. Instead, I never thought as Jack as a bad guy because Maurene Goo gives a lot of dimension to his character. Somewhere Only We Know currently falls as my second favorite Maurene Goo book, with The Way You Make Me Feel as first but ahead of I Believe in Thing Called Love.

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Have you read The Rest of the Story, Somewhere Only We Know or Famous in a Small Town? What summer contemporaries have you read this summer? Share in the comments!