Top Ten Tuesday : Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week, the theme is anticipated reads for the rest of 2017. Pretty excited about this one. Because I’ve been out of the reading/blogging loop for so long, I haven’t heard ANY buzz about really any books. Which means I get to look at upcoming releases with brand new, unbiased eyes. These are in no particular order. So here we go!

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Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo. I MEAN COME ON. A Wonder Woman novel!? By Leigh Bardugo!? This should be on every single person’s list.

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Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas. Okay, so to be totally honest, I haven’t even finished Heir of Fire in this series yet. BUT my goal is to binge read the rest of this series until I’m all caught up. I’m reading Heir of Fire now, so hopefully that will happen soon!

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Lucky in Love by Kasie West. I love Kasie West’s contemporary novels. They’re all so cute and such quick reads.

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You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner. This book just looks really, really cool. I’m all about some graffiti art.

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One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. Okay, so this one is kind of cheating because it comes out today. But as of the day I’m writing this post, it’s not out yet, so I’m including it. YA mystery? Yes, please, sign me up!

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The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano. I really liked her Wither series. And I loved how she talked about her struggles with OCD and mental health while writing, which can be found here.

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Monster by Michael Grant. I AM SO EXCITED. SO FREAKING EXCITED. This has been one of my favorite horror YA series for YEARS. Last I heard, it had ended with the “final” book, Light. But then I found this and I CANNOT wait.

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The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis. Porn addiction in YA is something I have never, ever read before. I’m excited to see how this one turns out.

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Dear Martin by Nic Stone. I feel like this one is going to be paired with The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (who blurbed this book) a lot. I absolutely loved The Hate U Give, and it’s been solidified as one of my favorite books of all time. You can read my review here.

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Brave New Girl by Rachel Vincent. Clones! Yes! I am all about it!

That’s it for me this week. Putting this list together was a lot of fun, but MAN, did I add a lot of books to my TBR! What books are you looking forward to for the rest of 2017?

REVIEW : The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

uinkTitle : The You I’ve Never Known
Author : Ellen Hopkins
Published : January 24th, 2017
Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre : Contemporary YA
Series : N/A
Goodreads
Amazon

How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.

 

I have officially read every single Ellen Hopkins book she has released so far. While The You I’ve Never Known wasn’t my absolute favorite, I did really enjoy it.

The book is written from two viewpoints. Ariel’s parts are written in the verse style Ellen Hopkins is known for. Ariel is a teenage girl who is raised by her Dad. They have lived a pretty irregular lifestyle – constantly moving from one place to another, from town to town, school to school, house to house. This has made it very hard for Ariel to put down roots or make friends. But to her, it’s normal, and just another part of life. Finally though, Ariel and her father have lived long enough in one house that she finally has friends, is starting a relationship, is on the basketball team, and is feeling grounded.

Maya’s chapters, on the other hand, are written as journal entries. She writes about her abusive, Scientologist mother, her pregnancy, her marriage, and the eventual kidnapping of her baby by her abusive husband. She continues writing to her daughter, every year on her birthday, and hopes that one day they will be reunited.

One of the things I liked about this book is the same thing I like in all of Hopkins’ books – the verse writing. This style of writing can be either really good, or really bad. Fortunately, I’ve never had a Hopkins book where it wasn’t done really well. She does a fantastic job of making sure it blends together, and doesn’t feel disjointed, or like you have to pause every few words.

Another thing that really stood out to me with this book was Ariel’s exploration of her sexuality. I thought it was really important that it showed Ariel’s confusion about how she was feeling. First she was processing her emotions about possibly being lesbian, and working through all that entailed. Then she met Gabe, and she realized that she liked men too. It was good to read about a teen figuring out her sexuality where it wasn’t a nice, neat little package. It isn’t always black and white. That was probably my favorite part of the plot.

There were a couple things I didn’t like though, as there is with almost every book I read. Mainly, I was really angered by how Ariel handled what happened with Garrett. I just felt like it was excused away, and the focus was more on Gabe and how he reacted, instead of making sure Garrett was punished.

Another thing I didn’t like, or should I say another person I didn’t like, was Maya. LORD did I not like Maya. I had SO many feelings about her getting pregnant just so she could get away from her mother. Like. SO MANY FEELINGS. I understand, and agree, that her mother was an awful person. But, MAN. Then when she came back, she kind of just bombarded Ariel. That’s a HARD thing to process. Give the girl some space!

Speaking of Maya’s mother, one thing I really, really wish was fleshed out more was the Scientology angle. It was mentioned sporadically, but I wish Hopkins had gone into more detail about the different places she was going that she wanted Maya to go with her. I know that wasn’t the main focus, but I think it would have been a really interesting thing to include.

Overall, the positives in The You I’ve Never Known outweighed the negatives. I will continue to be a fan of Ellen Hopkins’ work, and continue to read more as she releases it.

4/5 stars.

 

The Sunday Post [2]

sundaypost

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

LIFE : Lots going on this week! Work was pretty hectic, Noah was pretty hectic, school was pretty hectic. We had our spring work conference last Friday. I teach preschool, so our conferences are not what you think a normal work conference is. We don’t sit in a board room and watch a slideshow. This conference was all about the power of play. So, we got to play ALL DAY LONG. It was SO much fun! They set up a gigantic preschool classroom, and we got to move around all the centers and play in each one. My favorite was the block center. They had replaced all the blocks with cardboard boxes. I built a robot that was taller than I was. It was a really great day, and I got lots of good ideas to bring back to try in my classroom.

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THEN. THEN THEN THEN. I left the conference, and went and picked up Noah from his babysitter. She opened the door and he was standing in the living room and then he WALKED to me. HE WALKED. He has been really, really behind on his walking because he’s had constant issues with his inner ear tubes. He didn’t pull himself to stand until 11-12 months. And he had no interest in walking until yesterday, at 19 months. But he’s been walking everywhere since then! Finally!! I almost cried. He’s not the only kid in his class not walking anymore!

BLOG : I had a really great first week back in the blog world!

This week, I have more reviews coming!

  • I read The You I’ve Never Known, by Ellen Hopkins, so I’ll be reviewing that
  • Top Ten Tuesday : “Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017”
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday
  • Review of Once Upon a Dream, by Liz Braswell

That’s all I have planned for right now, but I’m thinking about possibly adding a giveaway in there. I have some books that have got to go to clear new space on my shelves!

 

BOOKS I GOT BUT PROBABLY SHOULDN’T HAVE : 

I did good this week and only bought one book!

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

But then I decided to check out Edelweiss for the first time in forever, and…well…

This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

Monster by Michael Grant

The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace

The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina McBride

Now is Everything by Amy Giles

That’s it for me this week! What news is happening in your life? Let me know in the comments below!

REVIEW : The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

thehateugiveTitle : The Hate U Give

Author : Angie Thomas

Published : February 28th, 2017

Publisher : Balzar & Bray

Genre : Contemporary YA

Series : N/A

Goodreads

Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

 

Y’ALL. It’s very rare that I say every single person needs to read a book. But seriously, every single person needs to read The Hate U Give. Put down the book you are reading, no matter how good it is, and pick up a copy. I texted my brother, who doesn’t read YA, a screenshot of the book on Goodreads and told him he needed to go buy himself one. It’s that good.

Starr is a 16 year old girl who lives in two worlds – the first, the poor neighborhood she grew up in. The second is the rich private school she attends, where she feels she needs to be a different person to fit in with all her friends, who are mainly white.

One night, she’s at a party in her neighborhood and there are gunshots. She and her friend from childhood, Kalil, run to Kalil’s car and head home. While driving, they get pulled over because Kalil’s tail light is broken. Through a series of events, the police officer ends up shooting and killing Kalil. Kalil is unarmed, and black. The rest of The Hate U Give is the story of how Starr, and her neighborhood, handle the death of Kalil and the investigation that follows.

I have SO many feelings about this book! First off, I finished it in less than a day.  A DAY. Have I mentioned I have an 18 month old? A very active 18 month old? Who needs constant attention and supervision because if there is something he isn’t supposed to touch, he’ll be ALL UP IN IT? That right there should tell you how amazing this book is. I couldn’t put it down. I read two paragraphs, played with my kid, read two more paragraphs, played with my kid…and so on.

Angie Thomas did such a great job with sucking you into the story, with making you feel what Starr felt. I was ANGRY when the outcome of the investigation was revealed. I was scared when Starr was being threatened. I was DEVASTATED when Kalil was shot, and felt like I had been punched in the chest. It has been a very long time since I’ve read a book that made me feel this strongly. And it was a topic I have never, and will never, experience.

Most importantly, and more than anything else, The Hate U Give was a book about race. In a time where people of color are STILL marginalized, made to feel less than, scared of police, angry at white people….The Hate U Give was a book that everyone, especially white people, need to read and reflect on. In the book community, we have been shouting for diverse books for AGES. Well, Angie Thomas delivered. She also solidified herself on my “Must Read Anything This Author Writes Including Grocery Lists” page in my reading journal.

If you only read one book in 2017, make it The Hate U Give. Seriously. Five SOLID stars.

 

Have you read The Hate U Give? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Can’t Wait Wednesday [1]

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can’t Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. It’s a weekly meme to spotlight new releases.

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In the stunning follow-up to the globally bestselling Gone series, Michael Grant continues the story of the teens who morph into superheroes—and supermonsters—when they ingest an alien virus.

Four years after the events of the FAYZ, new meteorites are hitting Earth, and the whole world is exposed to a strange alien virus that gives humans unique superpowers.

As some teens become heroes and others become dangerously out of control with their new powers, the world will become more terrifying than the FAYZ—and only a monstrous battle between good and evil can save them.

 

Monster by Michael Grant

Publish date : October 17, 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

 

Y’ALL. YOU GUYS. EVERYONE. Y’AAAAAAAALL. I canNOT wait for this book to come out. I totally didn’t even know there was going to be another in this series! If you haven’t read the Gone series by Michael Grant, you need to. It’s kind of a YA version of Under the Dome by Stephen King, and it is one of my favorite series OF. ALL. TIME. *insert Kanye shrug here.* It’s so rare to get a good horror YA book, let alone a series.

 

Have you read the Gone series? What are some of your favorite horror YA novels? And what book can you not wait for? Leave me links in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday : Favorite Summer Reads

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week, the theme is “Summer Reads”. I’m going to be honest here. Up until recently, I wasn’t much for the light and fluffy beach-read-type of books. I read mainly fantasy, dystopian, horror. These are still my go-to, but I’m finding that sometimes, I need a break, something to read quickly that will make me smile. So some of these will be ones I have read, some will be ones that I want to read.

Top Five Summer Reads I’ve Already Read

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

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

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Top Five Summer Reads I Want to Read

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer

Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

Literally by Lucy Keating

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

And that’s it for me! Man, this was hard! Leave me your links in the comments, so I can stop by and check out some of your summer reads, and maybe add them to my TBR.

REVIEW : A Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink

26074209Title : A Walk in the Sun

Author : Michelle Zink

Published : May 3rd 2016

Publisher : HarperTeen

Genre : Contemporary YA

Series : N/A

Goodreads

Amazon

“Rose Darrow never wanted to spend her life working on her family’s farm. But when her family is rocked by an unexpected tragedy she has no choice but to put her plans for the future—and dreams of escaping her small town—on hold.
Bodhi Lowell left home as a kid and hasn’t looked back. Years of working farm jobs has given him the one thing he wants most: freedom to travel without answering to anyone. He’s already looking past his job at Darrow Farm and plans on leaving in September—until he meets Rose.
Neither Rose nor Bodhi can deny the sparks flying between them, but with the end of summer looming, they must decide if it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all….”

I have been on a contemporary YA, sappy love story kick lately. I’m not sure what is up. I used to read mainly fantasy, dystopian, horror….anything but romance. Recently though, that’s all I want to read. Weird how times change, huh?

Anyway…I had this book on my Kindle for…I don’t know how long. I needed a book that was light and happy, and while I got that with A Walk in the Sun, I also got a story that had a plot based on grief, on hurt, and on loss. All together, it mixed into a sweet story about two people who met on a farm and fell in love.

Rose is a senior in high school. Her mom passed away a few months before the story starts. Her father is suffering from depression in dealing with the loss and spends most of his time in bed. Because of this, their family’s cattle farm has fallen on Rose’s shoulders. Her aunt, Marty, hires Bodhi Lowell to as a farmhand to help Rose with the cows over the summer.

Bodhi is a traveler, and has spent the past five years working on farms across the country after leaving his home and abusive father at fourteen. He plans on going to New York, and then leaving the United States and heading to Europe. Then he meets Rose, and those plans change.

A Walk in the Sun was not totally what I was expecting, but it was definitely the light read that I needed. Even the parts that mentioned Rose’s grief were not too overwhelming. Ultimately, this story was a love story. And the love was sweet, and hopeful, and new.

While it had it’s positives, one thing I wasn’t crazy about was the insta-love. I understand summer flings, and falling in love quickly, and being young. But it just felt like they were “in love” way too soon. And then Rose left her father, her aunt, her hometown, her farm for Bodhi. After only knowing him for three months. For someone who had been pretty settled and grounded, that didn’t seem very realistic. I also wanted more out of Bodhi’s backstory. When his father came to visit, I was hoping that there would be more to it, but even that was over in what felt like 10 pages.

One thing I did like, was the depth of knowledge Michelle Zink had on farm life. I liked reading about the horses, the cattle feeding. The plot with Buttercup was really interesting for me, and I found myself rooting for the little calf.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad novel. I will probably read more of Michelle Zink’s work.

 

Rating : 3/5 stars