Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Weekend Before Finals Week

Hey guys! So this weekend is the weekend before finals for me. For this post, I thought I'd suggest five books (one for each day of the school week) that are great reads to help you destress. Yes, you probably can't read all of these in the week, but you could probably get through one or two. They're just fun books for when you need a study break and to get away from the work for a little while!

ONCE UPON A MARIGOLD by Jean Farris. Yes, this is a juvenile fiction book. But what better way to get your mind off your schoolwork than a fun little story about true love that has princesses and trolls and castles and all that good stuff? I read this book when I was fairly young, and, since then, I've reread it as a teenager and an adult, and it just doesn't get old or lose its charm.

THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer E. Smith. This book just makes me smile. I read it last summer, and I absolutely fell in love with it. The characters are ok individually, but they are amazing together! Plus, it takes place in London. What better way to escape your schoolwork for a little while than traveling to London?!

I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter. Ok, so this one isn't as lighthearted as the others, but I've read this book at least three times. It's such a fun book about a school for girl spies. There's action and romance and awesome characters. Oh, and it totally makes you want to finish the series (which I highly recommend).

CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare. Yep, no better way to get far away from your schoolwork than taking a stroll into Shadowhunter territory. This is one of my favorite worlds, and I definitely have used it to get away from the real world for a while. I've reread this book a few times, and it never gets old. And the rest of the series gets better and better!

THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS by Ann Brashares. What better way to prepare for summer break than following four "sisters" on their summer break adventures? This is another book I've read more than once, and it's just a good story about friendship. It has romance and great characters and feel-good vibes. There is some heartbreak in there too, so watch out! But, overall, you get that happy summery feeling that's just what you need during finals!

Ok, so there you have it! Five of my suggestions to help you destress during finals week! Good luck to all of you taking finals this week! Summer is just around the corner!

Have you read any of these? What are some of your suggestions for books to help you destress during finals week? What book(s) do you read to escape for a while?

XOXO,

Janine :)


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Recommendations 1

Hi guys! Today, I am going to be giving you 5 book recommendations! These are books that I have read either recently or that have been on my mind to reread lately. I tried to provide a variety of genres, so I hope you enjoy!

HORNS by Joe Hill.

Joe Hill is seriously one of my favorite authors. He is a master storyteller, with the ability to weave intricate stories together flawlessly. This was the first book I read by him, and it seriously made me fall in love with his writing. It follows the story of Ig, who's girlfriend recently died, after he wakes up one morning with horns. These horns give him the power to make people feel compelled to talk to him. With this, he sets out to find out the truth about his girlfriend's death. I can't get over how good this book was. The characters were so well-developed. The plot was interesting, and I was on the edge of my seat through the whole book. I just wanted to keep reading and find out the truth. And the ending was just weird enough to work perfectly. Rating: 5/5

THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyer.

I know I've suggested this series before, but, to me, it is seriously that good. I loved how each story played into the last one and grew into this amazing series! In my opinion, each book got better than the previous. In case you don't know, this is a sci-fi fairytale retelling series. Cinder is Cinderella, but she's a cyborg. Scarlet is Little Red Riding Hood, but she's French and oh so sassy. Cress is Rapunzel, a hacker who is trapped in a satellite orbiting Earth. And Winter is Snow White, a Lunar who is losing her mind. All of the characters are so great, and their hunky love interests are super swoon-worthy! Rating: 4.5/5 (including Fairest and Stars Above)

A SEPARATE PEACE by John Knowles.

This was a required reading for me in high school, and it is literally my favorite required read of all time! It is set at a boys' boarding school in the Northeast during World War II, and it follows the story of Gene and his friend Phineas who are total opposites. One night, something happens to Phineas that will forever change all of the boys involved, especially Gene. It follows this night and the consequences it leads to. It's such a harrowing story that will not leave you. I find myself thinking about this book a lot, and I really need to give it a reread. Rating: 5/5

FAR FAR AWAY by Tom McNeal.

Honestly, I picked this book up just because it was in the bargain bins and it kind of sounded interesting. I really didn't have any expectations. I had never heard of it before, and...yeah. I didn't know what to think. But I was in for a treat! This book follows the story of Jeremy, who has a friend that's a ghost. And not just any ghost. He's Jacob Grimm, one of the Grimm brothers. This is like a modern-day fairytale. It's really fun and scary (but not too scary), and the characters are great. I really loved the plot and the ending. Everything about this book was really awesome! I can't believe it doesn't get more attention. Like I said, I'd never heard of it before, but I definitely think it's a great read, and I highly recommend it! Rating: 4.5/5

CIRQUE DU FREAK SERIES by Darren Shan.

Ok, I read this series quite a long time ago, but it still holds such a special place in my heart (which is maybe kind of weird considering this is a sort of creepy series). I read it while I was in the period of really getting back to reading, and it is still one of my favorite series of all time! It follows the story of Darren as he becomes a vampire to save his best friend's life. He has to go through so many trials, and it leads up to the prophecy...Uhhh! It's so hard to summarize this series because I feel like I'd give too much away. NO SPOILERS!!! Ok, so anyway, if you like vampires and freak shows and creepy things, this series is definitely for you! And, if you've seen the movie, don't let that change your mind. The movie was terrible, but the books are fantastic! They're really short and you won't want to put them down. Rating: 5/5

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan Part 5

Tonight is the last night of these individual reviews. :( I know. But I have read three other books since finishing the Percy Jackson series, so I will be working on those reviews and hopefully have them up soon. Sorry I did not post yesterday, as I said I would. I had a presentation today at a symposium to present my research, so I had to spend yesterday practicing. It was a good experience, but I'm glad it's over.

Ok, so without further ado, my review of the last installment of the Percy Jackson series...

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The Last Olympian: 5/5

Summary: Half-bloods have been preparing all year for this final battle against the Titans. Kronos's army is strong, and he has not only monsters on his side but other demigods as well. Kronos starts his march on New York City as the gods fight Typhon. In order to save Olympus, Percy Jackson and company must fight him. The prophecy finally unfolds, and Percy begins to wonder if he's fighting against his own fate.

As I've mentioned before, this is tied with "The Titan's Curse" as my favorite. To start, this book had so much action and was so fast-paced. I flew through it and found it so hard to put down. I kept saying, "Just one more chapter" for like every chapter. It got a little ridiculous. But it was seriously that good.

There was so much going on but not in a confusing way. The story building is absolutely fantastic. There are some side stories going on, such as Nico and Percy's plan that they don't tell anyone and, less detailed, the gods fighting Typhon.

And it brings back all the characters you've grown to know and love. Thalia, Rachel Elizabeth Dare, Tyson, Grover. They're all here and fighting for Western civilization. And, of course, Percy and Annabeth (Percabeth...uhhhhh <3). This book seriously gave me all the feels. I can't get over how wonderful it truly is.

All the buildup to this story was not wasted. I feel like sometimes a series has all this buildup to the last book, and when the conflict finally resolves it seems like kind of a letdown. But this series did not disappoint. There was buildup and it worked out perfectly.

I found myself smiling at the end. I was just so happy with how everything played out. Outstanding ending to an outstanding series. Percy Jackson forever!!!

Ok, so that wraps up my review of Percy Jackson. If I did not reiterate enough, I have so much love for this series. The characters are so lovable and fun, the plot lines are fast-paced and action-filled, the stories are interesting, and the books are so hard to put down. They're quick reads that are just so much fun!

Have you read The Last Olympian? What did you think? What was your favorite part? Did you like how the series wrapped up? How do you feel about Percabeth? Do you wish it would've ended differently?

XOXO,

Janine :)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan Part 4

Hello, everyone! Happy Thursday! Yesterday I gave my thoughts on "The Titan's Curse," which I mentioned was tied for my favorite. Today I will give my review for "The Battle of the Labyrinth," which is tied with "The Lightning Thief" as my second favorite. So, here were go!

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The Battle of the Labyrinth: 5/5

Summary: Percy Jackson doesn't think his freshman year is going to go all that well. After all, he's gotten kicked out of every school he's attended so far. To make matters worse, demon cheerleaders show up and attack the school during orientation. That leads Percy back to Camp Half-Blood, where he and his friends must defeat the Labyrinth to save the camp from being invaded by Kronos and his army.

I want to start off by saying I love the concept of this book. The labyrinth is so complex, and the building of it is just fantastic! I love that it basically is underground and takes up the space of the entire continental United States. I just love the intricacy of this novel. And Riordan weaves it perfectly throughout. Plus, sometimes authors tend to make it too complicated, where it can be hard to follow at times. I wasn't confused at any point. And it made me want to be walking around in the maze with Percy and company. (well, kind of...like, as long as Rachel Elizabeth Dare is there to lead so we don't get lost of course!)

Ok, so that brings us to the characters. Let me start off with a new character: Rachel Elizabeth Dare. Yes, you need to say her whole name! It's just necessary. She is so cool! She's a mortal who can see through the Mist. She is just kick butt, and I absolutely loved getting to know her character. She was brought in briefly in "The Titan's Curse," where she saved Percy's life. You could tell she was going to be important later, and she definitely was! Yeah, I love her! Of course, the rest of the awesome crew is back. I could go on and on about Percy and Annabeth, but I'll refrain, since I've said already how much I absolutely adore them both as individuals and as a couple...Yeah. They're amazing!

Like all of the books in this series, the book was well-paced. Actually, this one was more fast-paced than the first two. It was more like the third one in the series. I couldn't put it down. I was so intrigued with the labyrinth and the plot. I found myself in class just wanting to pick it up because I had to know what was going to happen next.

All in all, I loved this book! It was so fun and exciting. I love the characters and the world and the labyrinth and all its complexities. This penultimate installment made me hungry to delve into the last book, which is tied with "The Titan's Curse" as my favorite in the series. Can't wait to tell y'all about "The Last Olympian" tomorrow.

Have you read "The Battle of the Labyrinth?" What are your thoughts? What was/were your favorite part(s)? What part(s) of the maze was/were your favorite(s)?

XOXO,

Janine :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan Part 3

Yesterday, I gave my thoughts on "The Sea of Monsters," which leads to today's post on "The Titan's Curse!" I'm just going to say this right now! This one is tied as my favorite of the series with "The Last Olympian." (I really liked how this series ended).

So, without further ado...

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The Titan's Curse: 5/5

Summary: Percy, Annabeth, and Thalia receive a call from Grover to help him get two new demigods to Camp Half-Blood. They are attacked. Artemis and her Hunters show up, but Annabeth is captured. Afterwards, Percy Jackson and four other heroes must team up to defeat the rising Titans. This leads them across the country to California, where they find out Annabeth has been tricked into freeing Atlas and is now holding the weight of the world on her shoulders. Oh, and the Oracle has proclaimed that not all of the heroes will survive the quest.

All right, so first off I'm going to talk about the characters. A couple of new characters were introduced, whom I really liked. I really enjoyed the di Angelo siblings. I thought they were intriguing characters, and their story was really interesting. I liked getting to know Thalia better. She is such a strong but sometimes reckless character. But she has a lot of heart, and she's a really good hero. I also enjoyed that Artemis and her Hunters were brought in. That added an interesting side story that I found very intriguing. (I wanted to know more...I kind of wish there was a side mini-series where we learned more about their tales). Oh, and Zoe...Yeah, I really liked her character, and her story is amazing!

The book was fast-paced. I didn't want to put it down. I stayed up later than I intended a couple of nights (and really felt it the next morning) to finish a chapter...and then another two or three. Honestly, if you don't have much else to do, you could probably finish this book in a day. I just had schoolwork also, so it took me a little longer.

But, yeah, I can't get over how much I loved this book. And Percabeth makes its first real appearance, though it's pretty subtle. I just love them so much, and they're just adorable. I ship them like FedEx...first class priority shipping!

Ok, so that's about it. I don't want to say too much and ruin it. There's more I could say, but I think you should read it for yourself. Yeah, I'm just going to reiterate that this book is one of the best in the series by far! There's so much action, it's fast-paced, the characters are awesome, and Percabeth! Need I say more?

Tomorrow I will post my thoughts on "The Battle of the Labyrinth," which is tied for second favorite with "The Lightning Thief." I can't decide which I like better.

Have you read "The Titan's Curse?" What did you think? Who was/were your favorite new character(s)? Do you ship Percabeth? 

XOXO,

Janine :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan Part 2

Ok, so yesterday, I gave my thoughts on "The Lightning Thief." I adored it, and it made me want to continue reading this wonderful series. That brings us to...


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The Sea of Monsters: 4.5/5

Summary: Percy Jackson and his friends must set out to find the Golden Fleece after Camp Half-Blood's magical border starts to fail. This leads them to the Sea of Monsters - which is the known as the Bermuda Triangle in the mortal world - where they have to battle well-known monsters. This story is a modern-day retelling of "The Odyssey," with some twists.

Ok, so I'm going to start off by saying that the half star off on my rating had nothing to do with the characters, the plot, or the pacing. In fact, it technically had nothing to do with the writing style. It was actually a technical problem I had with the book. Hear me out. I found numerous grammatical errors and typos in the copy I read. Don't get me wrong. Usually, I don't take away stars for this. I know a lot of books probably have errors and typos (some I may not even catch), but this seemed excessive to me. Maybe in newer editions this has been corrected, but I couldn't overlook it in my copy. So, really that's not a knock against Rick Riordan. It's a knock against the editor. Sorry.

Now, for the really good parts of the book. I LOVED the characters! Yes, many of the characters are the same, but there was the introduction of Tyson, and I absolutely adore his character. I'm not going to spoil anything, but I am going to say he's the most lovable cyclops ever, and I wish I could meet him and give him a hug. Percy, Annabeth, and Grover are as awesome as ever! I really want to just go to Camp Half-Blood and hang out with them, sipping ambrosia and climbing the lava rock wall during the day and singing campfire songs at night. That would be the life.

The pacing was good. Since I'd read "The Odyssey," I pretty much already knew about the monsters they faced, but I liked the retelling of it. I especially liked Circe's Island! I wasn't bored at any point during this book, and it was a really quick read.

The plot was good (how could it not be, as a retelling of "The Odyssey?"). Yes, because it's a retelling, it's not overly new, but it was still enjoyable. That brings me to the part about the writing and Percy's voice. I LOVE Percy's voice. He is funny and I love his thoughts. Again, the writing is easy to understand and very enjoyable.

Ok, that about wraps it up for Part 2. Tomorrow I will discuss my thoughts on "The Titan's Curse," which is tied for my favorite!

Have you read "The Sea of Monsters?" What were your thoughts? Who was your favorite monster they fought? Who is/are your favorite character(s)?

XOXO,

Janine :)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan Part 1

This will be a review of the entire "Percy Jackson & the Olympians" series by Rick Riordan. However, I feel like it's going to be really long, so I'm going to publish one review per day. Let me start by saying I absolutely adored this series. And, yes, for some it may seem like a children's book. But, coming from a 20+ year old, I would disagree. Yes, the writing is a little below my standard level, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable. To me, it was so much more than just another kid's book. It was full of lovable characters, a great storyline, a tiny bit of romance (Percabeth forever!), and subtle lessons about bravery, friendship, and believing in yourself. Oh, and it revolves around Greek mythology and demigods, set in the modern day world, so that's pretty awesome by itself.

Overall, I gave this series 4.9/5 stars (I know...weird number, but for averaging purposes, that's how it turned out). The only reason it's not a full 5/5 was that I found a lot of typos in my copy of "The Sea of Monsters." The other books may have had some minor typos, but this one stood out as the worst. I loved the story (which I'll get to), but there were just too many typos. I understand a couple here and there, but this seemed a bit excessive to me. I didn't notice it as badly in the other books, so I went ahead and gave them 5/5, but only 4.5/5 to "The Sea of Monsters."

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)
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The Lightning Thief: 5/5

Summary: Percy Jackson is a kid that has focusing issues and keeps getting kicked out of all of his schools. When he gets attacked by monsters, his mom sends him to Camp Half-Blood, where he discovers he is a demigod. He learns that his father is Poseidon. After receiving a prophecy from the oracle, he, Annabeth, and his protector Grover (a satyr) set out to reach the Underworld and prevent a war between the gods.

Ok, first off, Percy Jackson is definitely one of my favorite protagonists of all time. He's up there with Harry Potter for sure. He is just a really great guy that I felt like I would love hanging out at Camp Half-Blood with and fighting monsters next to (because I'm a demigod too, of course!) Anyway, I loved his voice in this book (as well as the entire series). He's funny and honest, and he's just a great hero! Also, he's the son of Poseidon, so that gets him bonus points.

I was also impressed with a couple of the other characters. Grover was adorable and so likable. And, then there's Annabeth. I absolutely love her! Yes, she can be demanding and pushy, but she's a good person who wants the best for everyone. She smart and sassy, and I just loved her so much. Oh, and daughter of Athena, so super cool!

The story was well-paced, and I never found myself bored. I loved the different places their quest took them, including St. Louis, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and New York City. Camp Half-Blood also seems like such an awesome place to be. Like, I want to pack my bags and call it home. (Can I, please?)

Like I mentioned before, the writing was perhaps below my level, but I didn't find it really took away from the story. It was actually a breath of fresh air, in a way, because it was a fast, simple, and fun read. I've had a lot of schoolwork, and it was nice to sit down and enjoy a fun book that was easy to understand. Don't get me wrong, I like books that are challenging. But, with school and all, it was nice to have something easy to read that made me smile.

Oh, and let's talk about that ending! Yes! I won't spoil anything for those who haven't read it yet. But...oh. my. gods! Yeah.

Ok, that's the end of this review Part 1. I will be back tomorrow with my review for "The Sea of Monsters."

Have you read "The Lightning Thief?" What did you think? Who is/are your favorite character(s)? Who is/are your favorite god(s) and/or goddess(es)? 

XOXO,

Janine :) 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Cup of Tea 1

Ok, so once again, I have been MIA. I'm not very good at keeping up with this. If I didn't have so much schoolwork, I think I'd do a lot better. Thankfully, the school year is coming close to the end, so I'm hoping during summer I'll have more time to devote to this blog and really get into the habit of updating it regularly. I know I promised every Saturday, but that just doesn't seem like it's working. So, I'm going to just promise one post a week for a while. Sorry!

Ok, so I'm going to start a new segment called "Sunday Cup of Tea." In this segment, I'm going to put out my thoughts and suggestions from the week. It will probably be pretty random, but we'll see how it goes.

Ok, so first, some thoughts from this week:

  1. I won my first ever Instagram giveaway this week, which I am so so so excited about! I honestly couldn't believe it. I never win anything like that. I'm not really a lucky person, but I won and I couldn't be happier. I won a signed copy of "Everything, Everything" by Nicola Yoon, and I'm going to start it after I finish "The Heroes of Olympus" series by Rick Riordan, which I'm currently reading and completely loving. 
  2. It's been a really rough two weeks. You know those weeks where nothing seems to go right? Well, I've been in that slump for a couple of weeks. But the past couple of days have been sunny and beautiful, and my outlook is starting to get better. And I've learned a lot about myself. I know that I can get through whatever life throws at me. I can be stronger than what I'm going through.
  3. As I said, I've learned a lot about myself over these past two weeks. It's funny how going through rough times can make you realize how strong you really are. Well, I realized that I've been doing things (school-wise) that don't make me happy. I got into a field that I just don't love. I kept trying to convince myself otherwise, but the truth is, the thought of doing this for the rest of my life horrifies me. I know in my heart that books and reading are my life. I love sharing my passion with others, and that's what I want to do for the rest of my life. My parents always told me to do what makes me happy, and I know that lies with books. So, after I graduate from college, I know I'll be going down a completely different path, but I think that's ok. I think that's good. My advice: Don't be scared to choose your own path. If the people you surround with truly love you, they will support you no matter what.
Ok, now for some book suggestions:
  1. "Percy Jackson & the Olympians" by Rick Riordan. I finished this series a little while back, and it was so good. I know it's juvenile fiction, but it's truly so much more than that. Honestly, anyone of any age can read and enjoy Percy Jackson. I'm in my 20's and it was still so much fun. And there's more substance to it than you'd think. Plus, it's centered around Greek mythology and demigods and monsters, and it's just really great. I did read it a while back, and I know I haven't done a full review...I will get around to it...eventually!
  2. "I Was Here" by Gayle Forman. So I read this in between finishing Percy Jackson and starting "The Heroes of Olympus," and it was beautifully tragic. Basically, the main character's, Cody's, best friend committed suicide, and it follows Cody as she tries to deal with her friend's death and keep moving on. It delves into the world of those struggling with depression and how even those closest to us may not really know everything we feel and are going through. Oh, and I learned something new from this book. There are actually suicide support groups online, but not support as in trying to prevent someone from committing suicide. No, they are the opposite. Instead, they support the person to commit suicide. It's sad and beautiful.
Ok, well that's all I have for this post. Hope you enjoyed. I promise to post more often, especially as the school year winds down. Have a beautiful Sunday!

XOXO,

Janine :)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Some Kind of Epiphany

So I've come to the realization that I am not blogging often enough. I have a lot more to say. Yes, I am a busy college student, but I love blogging and sharing my thoughts about books and bookish related thing. 

SO...


I've decided that instead of just updating this every Saturday, I will update my posts daily. 
I am going to take an hour out of every single day and just update my blog.  
I may not publish every day, but I think that by writing a little bit every day, I will be able to have more quality posts. I may also try to do updates about the book I am reading. Instead of doing just a final review, I will try to update a blog post as I read the book (no spoilers...PROMISE!) 

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Also, I'm going to try to make my reviews in bullet point format from now on. I think they'll be easier to read. I will be making a template up soon that I will follow when reviewing books. I might put it up so you guys can tell me what you think! I'll ask for your input regarding what I might want to add into the reviews.

I'm trying to think of other bookish things to do on this blog. I want to start doing challenges, monthly TBRs and wrap-ups, and book hauls. Is there anything you guys would like me to add? I'm open to suggestions, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

XOXO,

Janine :)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Post from the Library

HEY GUYS!!!

Who entered the Rafflecopter giveaway?! I hope many of you did. It's such an awesome opportunity. Ally Condie is such a talented writer, and I have a good feeling her new book is going to be fantastic!

Anyway, this is just kind of an update/random post. I'm currently reading "The Last Olympian" by Rick Riordan, which is the final installment in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. I will put up a series review when I finish, which should be tonight or tomorrow! I will definitely have a review up by Saturday!!! I will then be starting The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan, which is a companion series to Percy Jackson & the Olympians. I am absolutely adoring Percy Jackson. I can't wait to tell y'all my thoughts.

Have you read Percy Jackson & the Olympians? What did you think? Who was/were your favorite character(s)? Which book was your favorite? Have you read The Heroes of Olympus? What did you think?

Have a lovely evening, everyone!

XOXO,

Janine :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Summerlost Book Birthday + Giveaway

Note: This is a promotional post hosted by Word Spelunking and Penguin Kids.





Title: Summerlost
Author: Ally Condie 
Release Date: March 29, 2015

Summary:

It's the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar's father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar. 

Infused with emotion and rich with understanding, Summerlost is the touching middle grade debut from Ally Condie, the international bestselling author of the Matched series, that highlights the strength of family and personal resilience in the face of tragedy.


Praise for Summerlost

A Spring 2016 Kids' Indie Next List Top 10 Pick!

Named one of Publishers Weekly’s Most Anticipated Children’s and YA Books of Spring 2016

« “Condie (Matched) strikes a deep emotional chord with this coming-of-age story.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

« “Multiple, seemingly random details, including a family of turkey vultures that now roost outside Cedar’s window, an absurd soap opera narrative of a woman buried alive, and Leo’s quest for a trip with his father, coalesce into metaphors that help Cedar make sense of her grief and the life she now has to look forward to. Thoughtful, poetic chapter endings guide readers new to psychological depth toward meaningful connections between plot events and thematic reflections.” – BCCB

“A moving tale of friendship and loss. I loved these characters—I wish we could have been friends when I was a kid.” –Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Five Kingdoms series

“Ally Condie’s first middle grade book might also be my favorite out of ALL her books to date. Summerlost is a story packed with nostalgia, heart, and gorgeous prose.” – The Novel Novice

“A nuanced portrait of grief deeply grounded in the middle-school mind-set.” – Booklist

“Honest, lovely, and sad.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A sweet, heartfelt story.” – School Library Journal

“Achingly good.” – Summer Laurie, Books Inc.


A Letter from Ally!

Dear Readers,

I think most of us have had our hearts broken. Sometimes we can see it coming, and sometimes it comes down with the unexpected force of a sudden gale of wind or a rising of waters that we thought were still and safe. Loss is universal to human experience, but the way we each feel and recover is one of the most personal things we do.

In Summerlost, Cedar is dealing with the loss of her father and younger brother. And my intent was to show how hard their deaths are for her. But this is also a book about the healing power of friendship. Most of us have been broken-hearted; I hope that most of us have also discovered the miracle of friendships that were just what we needed. Cedar and Leo’s friendship is based on someone I met when I was twelve. Like Leo, my friend was fun and liked to enlist me in crazy adventures (although we never gave a secret guided tour of our town the way they do in Summerlost). And, like Leo, he thought I was wonderful and of worth at a time when I needed it most.

SUMMERLOST is my attempt to pay tribute both to the pain we feel and the friendships that save us. Thank you so much for supporting this book, and for your willingness to give Cedar’s story a try. I hope it makes you think of a wonderful friend of your own, whether that is someone you met in the pages of a favorite book or outside, in the world where it is often hard and beautiful to live.

Best wishes and happy reading always,
Ally Condie


Use the link above to enter and win the Ally Condie Prize Pack, which includes: 5 finished copies of Summerlost, a paperback copy of Atlantia, and a copy of book one of the Matched trilogy!!!



Helpful Links
To find out more: Excerpt, Goodreads 
To buy your copy: Penguin Random House, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound

Ok, guys, so there you have it! The amazing Summerlost is on sale now. I have a good feeling it's going to be an awesome book!

XOXO,

Janine :)

Monday, March 28, 2016

I'm Now on Bloglovin'

Hi guys! Below is the link to my Bloglovin' account. If you want to stay updated with when I post new blogs, please subscribe. Also, I just started an actual website, so I will have that information up shortly.

There's going to be a surprise post tomorrow!!! Can't wait!

XOXO,

Janine :)

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14807491/?claim=nd2zwn2ddh9">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday's 7 Selections (1)

Ok, so for weeks when I don't have a review, I'm going to do a new segment called "Saturday's 7 Selections." In this segment, I will list 7 books I've read fairly recently that I absolutely loved and would highly recommend. I'm going to try to make varied genres, so there's a little something for everyone, but I do tend to read young adult and contemporary, so we'll see. I am going to try though!

So without further ado...


  1. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. This was the last series I read, and it is now one of my favorite series of all time! It's a fairytale retelling series that includes Cinder (Cinderella), Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White). And it's sci-fi too. (Cinder is a cyborg!) There's hot love interests and an evil queen, and it's just...AMAZING! It's a pretty hyped series, and I thought it really did live up to its hype. Overall series rating: 4.5/5
  2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I actually just read this book this past summer. I know it's usually a required reading for high school, but it wasn't for me. So, I decided to pick it up, and I'm so glad that I did. It was absolutely FANTASTIC! I can't even describe it. You seriously just need to read it if you haven't. If you have, you should read it again. Rating: 5/5
  3. Panic by Lauren Oliver. I'm a HUGE Lauren Oliver fan, and this book was no disappointment. There's a ton of action, and the characters are so awesome. I absolutely loved the main character, Heather, and I loved the concept of the book. The kids have to literally face their fears. It was very original. Oh, and Bishop??? YES!!! Rating: 4/5
  4. Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan. Yes, this is a juvenile fiction series...and it's AWESOME! I am actually currently reading it right now. (I'm on The Battle of the Labyrinth) I had read the first book twice before, but I just never finished reading them. So I decided to read them now, and I'm so glad I did. Yes, you can tell it's a juvenile fiction, but the story and characters are so good you don't really notice. And it's about demigods! How cool is that? Rating (so far): 4.5/5
  5. The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. I finished this series over the summer, and oh. My. Gosh. It was absolutely amazing! The worldbuilding was awesome, and the characters were so lovable. And Lady Midnight just came out, and the end of The Mortal Instruments laid the foundation for that trilogy...I just can't even. Just amazing! Rating: 4.5/5
  6. The Testing Trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau. I read this trilogy over Christmas break, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I just knew it was a dystopian (my fave!), and it had kind of a Hunger Games vibe. Little did I know, it was so much more! The characters were fantastic! You're taken on a journey, and it just never slows down. There's twists and turns and some "Oh my gosh, that just happened!" moments. It was absolutely fantastic! I can't believe there's not more hype about this trilogy! Rating: 4.5/5
  7. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. I read this book in the winter, and it was absolutely beautiful. It's a collection of short stories and essays from Yale graduate Marina Keegan, who tragically died in a car accident a couple of days after she graduated from Yale. Tragedy aside, Keegan's writing was amazing! Her attention to detail is mesmerizing. I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book, but, in my opinion, I thought it was great. It showed so much passion for words and writing, and there was just so much raw emotion in all of her works. Rating: 5/5

Have you read any of these books? If so, which are your favorites? If not, are any on your TBR? Which ones?

XOXO,

Janine :)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

So this review is on the ENTIRE Lunar Chronicles! That's really exciting. However, due to me reviewing a total of 6 books (4 books in the series, a prequel novel, and a collection of short stories), this post may be quite long. I am still deciding if I will be doing series reviews as one big review (like this one) or individually as I finish each book in the series...What do you guys think? Let me know!

Ok, so on to the humongous review!

I am going to start with a review of the series as a whole, and then go into detail about each book individually.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

I know many people gave this series a 5/5 stars, and I can see why. There were only little things that kept me from doing so myself. Of course, no book or series is perfect. But, if I am going to give a book or series 5/5, it has to be as perfect (to me) as possible. This series was almost there. Like I said, it was just minor things. But a 4.5/5 is still excellent! I would still recommend this series to anyone, especially people who love sci-fi, adventure, and/or fairy tales. Each of the stories was unique, and they each built upon the last one, which I really liked. I loved each of the characters. They were well-developed and interesting. Each had their own talents they brought to the story, which made them special and memorable. I loved the villain: Queen Levana. She is now one of my favorite villains. There was so much more to her than just her tyranny, and I really liked learning more about her back story. Don't get me wrong, I didn't like her as a person. She was just a great villain. Oh, and of course, I loved the romances. The couples in these books are just so darn cute. Cinder and Kai, Scarlet and Wolf, Cress and Thorne, and Winter and Jacin. I literally found myself smiling and laughing out loud at these characters and their romances. They were just so cute. Uhhhh....#relationshipgoals!

Now for the individual ratings:

Cinder: 4.5/5

Cinder is the story of a teenage cyborg named Cinder. She is a mechanic living in New Beijing. When Prince Kai visits her shop to have her repair his tutor android, her life goes from fairly ordinary (or as ordinary as it can be when you're a cyborg) to extraordinary. I won't tell too much, but I will say that there's a plague, a cute prince, adventure, and a huge sci-fi fairytale adventure.

There was really only one "problem" I had with this book. And that was that I had already figured out the entire book in the first 100 pages. And it's not really a problem because it is a fairytale retelling. I just wish I wouldn't have figured it out that quickly. But it was still a lot of fun to read.

There were so many things I loved about this book. I loved how Cinder and one of her stepsisters, Peony, were actually friends! I loved that twist on the story. I really fell in love with the characters. Cinder, Prince Kai, Iko (Cinder's android friend), and Peony were so lovable, and I couldn't get enough of them. I thought the story was well-paced. I didn't find myself wishing it would just get on with it already.

Scarlet: 5/5

I thought in terms of predictability, this one was less predictable. Scarlet tells the story of Scarlet as Little Red Riding Hood. After her grandma goes missing, Scarlet works with a mysterious street-fighter nicknamed Wolf. This leads them into a world of Lunar soldiers that have been genetically altered. It also continues Cinder's story after she escapes from jail, with the help of the ever-charming Captain Carswell Thorne.

Again, I loved the characters. Scarlet was such a fiery lady with so much personality. Wolf and his devotion to protect Scarlet was so touching. Meeting Thorne was honestly a real treat. He is freaking hilarious. I love his character so much. Then when they all meet and join forces...YES, just yes! The story was fast-paced, and I found it so hard to put this book down. I gobbled this book down in a little over two days, which is fantastic considering I am also in school. It left me wanting the next one in the series so much, and I'm so glad I had it ready to go!

Cress: 5/5

Cress tells the tale of Cress, who is the equivalent of Rapunzel. When Cinder, Scarlet, Thorne, and Wolf come to rescue Cress from her satellite prison, things go awry. They get separated. Thorne and Cress end up stranded in the desert. Scarlet gets captured and taken to Luna. Thorne, Wolf, and Cinder end up in Africa. It follows all of their stories, simultaneously weaving the storylines, and I thought Marissa Meyer did a fantastic job of this. I was never confused, and I was never bored. And Captain Thorne and Cress were just too adorable! I couldn't get enough of them. I found myself smiling and literally laughing out loud.


Fairest: 4/5

This tells the backstory of Queen Levana and how she came to rule Luna. It's really interesting, and I loved learning more about this villain. She has become one of the all-time favorite villains. Her need to rule and be loved turned her into a monster, and it's really sad in a way. It's a quick read, and it's well-paced. I liked the introduction of some of the other characters, including Princess Selene, Princess Winter, Solstice Hayle, and Evret Hayle. I also liked seeing more firsthand her manipulation. It's known throughout the other books that she does it, but it's not shown as vividly as in this book. I thought it added to her image as a great villain.

I didn't really have any problems with this book. I just don't like Queen Levana as a person. I took a star away just because it's her and because I can. She's just a despicable person.


Winter: 5/5

If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would! (Well, I guess I could, but that'd be cheating). This is a monster of a book (over 800 pages), but every page is beautiful. This book is just so epic. It introduces Winter (Snow White), while still following Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. Cinder is leading a revolution, Scarlet becomes Winter's "pet,"  Cress is separated from the others and has to still use her hacking skills to help with Cinder's revolution, and Winter is helping in any way she can while fighting her Lunar sickness. There's so much going on, but it's easy to follow and never dull. You continue following the story of the leading men as well as they fight alongside their leading ladies. I don't want to say too much, but this book is just so fantastic. A million stars...I can't get enough.


Stars Above: 4.5/5

This is a book of short stories that tells stories of the characters and even includes a sort-of epilogue. It was nice to read about the characters one last time and see that they're living their happily ever afters. It wasn't a necessary read, but it was still fun.




Ok, so that about wraps up my review. In conclusion, I LOVE the Lunar Chronicles, and I would highly recommend it to anyone! It's just a fun and thrilling story, full of interesting and memorable characters and so much action. It's just a thrilling ride, and a great retelling of our favorite fairytales!

Have you read the Lunar Chroniccles? What did you think? Who were your favorite characters? Which couple was your favorite? 

XOXO,

Janine :)


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

YET ANOTHER UPDATE!

Hi everyone! Ok, so once again, I am not very good at this whole keeping up with this blog. So I have decided that from now on, I will post EVERY Saturday. That will be my blog day. There may not be a review every week, but I will come up with something to post every Saturday. That's not to say that I won't ever post any other day, but Saturday is a guarantee! I'm actually really excited about this. I've decided to do blog day on Saturdays and Booktube day on Sundays.

Yes, about my Booktube. I am working on filming my first video. I'm on Spring Break, so I've had a little extra time. So I'm going to try to have my first video up this Sunday. Hopefully. Again, I'm not making any promises.

So, I just finished the ENTIRE Lunar Chronicles (including "Fairest" and "Stars Above") today. I am going to do a full review next. I am going to try to have that up tonight or tomorrow. All I'm going to say right now is that I couldn't be anymore in love with this series. It was fantastic, and I literally found myself smiling and laughing out loud at parts.

Ok, so that's it for now. Oh, and from now on, I'm going to add questions at the end of all my posts. Please feel free to comment!

What book/series made you literally smile or laugh out loud? Have you read The Lunar Chronicles? What did you think? Who was your favorite character(s)?

XOXO,

Janine :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Another Update!

Hey guys!

What a CRAZY week! I have had so much schoolwork and so little time for anything else. However, I have managed to get through 500 pages of "Winter!" And...It is AMAZING! Oh. My. Gosh. I cannot wait to start the review for the entire series. I have SO MUCH to say! I know everyone says their favorite book was "Cress," and while I really enjoyed "Cress," "Winter" is just so epic. Everything is coming together, and it is just...uhhh so good. I just bought "Stars Above" this past weekend, and I will be reading it after finishing "Winter." Hopefully, it won't take me as long to finish. It's a collection of short stories, and is way shorter than 800+ pages, so fingers crossed. And, after I finish that, I will start the review of the ENTIRE SERIES! YAY!

Unfortunately, after I finish "The Lunar Chronicles" I'm not sure what to read next. I put "Black Ice" by Becca Fitzpatrick on my March TBR. However, I'm not sure if I want to read that now or not. "The Luxe" series by Anna Godbersen just arrived in the mail, so I'm thinking about starting that. However, I also really want to read "I'll Give You the Sun" by Jandy Nelson, "Hotel Ruby" by Suzanne Young, "The Museum of Intangible Things" by Wendy Wu, and "The Summer I Turned Pretty" trilogy by Jenny Han. Have you guys read any of these? If so, what did you think? Also, which do you think I should read next?

Don't forget to follow me:
Instagram: TheBabblingBookie17
Twitter: bookbabbler17
Goodreads: thebabblingbookie

Also! Spring Break is NEXT WEEK! :) So excited! So I will be filming my first video(s) on my new Booktube channel. So be on the lookout for that.

Monday, February 29, 2016

UPDATE!!!

Hey guys!

So I know I have been kind of MIA for a while, and I want to apologize for that. However, I HAVE been reading...a lot! The reasons I haven't posted anymore reviews as of late is 1) SCHOOL IS KILLER! and 2) I've been reading The Lunar Chronicles and decided to do a huge book review of the series as a whole! I'm not sure if I'm always going to do that (probably not), but for this series I decided to give it a try. If I don't like it, I don't have to do it again. Also, you guys should let me know what you think. Should I do a review as I finish each book, or just one huge book review over an entire series? LET ME KNOW!!!

So, I'm currently reading "Fairest," which is book 3.5 in the series. I read "Cinder," "Scarlet," AND "Cress" all in the month of February, so I thought that was pretty good. I don't usually get this much reading done, so I'm pretty proud. Also, I know I won't be able to read that much probably for the rest of the semester because my school workload is getting intense. Plus, I have a job and my research to do. So...Sadly, my excessive book reading will have to take a backseat.

Ok, so that's my update. I will hopefully update this when I get finished with "Fairest." I'll try to let you guys know when I start "Winter," which I am SUPER excited about!!!

Also, just so you know, below are all the links to my social media sites and other contact information:

  • Instagram: TheBabblingBookie17
  • Twitter: BookBabbler17
  • Goodreads: thebabblingbookie
  • Email: thebookbabbler2017@gmail.com
I will also be starting a Booktube channel soon, so be on the lookout! I'll post an update when that's all set up!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Landline by Rainbow Rowell AND The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban

So I'm going to do this post a little differently. I finished "Landline" by Rainbow Rowell and immediately started "The Tragedy Paper" by Elizabeth Laban. I finished "The Tragedy Paper" in less than two days, so I didn't have time to finish this review for "Landline." So, I'm just going to combine them in this post.

Ok, so first off: "Landline" by bestselling author Rainbow Rowell. This story follows Georgie McCool (that is seriously her real name, which is awesome in itself!) She is a TV script writer. She decides to work through the Christmas holidays, skipping the trip to Omaha she was planning with her husband, Neal, and two daughters. Neal and the girls go on to Omaha without her, and she is left behind to contemplate her decisions. During this time, she spends the majority of the story at her mom's house, where she uses the landline phone to try to get into contact with Neal. However, instead of talking to her Neal that she's currently married to, she ends up talking to Neal from 1998, before they were married. It's sort of like time travel, but not really. It's talking to the past. The story goes through their conversations and what ultimately leads up to whether they will end up married or not.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved how Rowell took a common idea - time travel - and twisted it. Georgie was only able to work through she and Neal's problems through the telephone. It was brilliant. I also loved the characters, especially Georgie and Neal. Rowell is really good at making the characters easy to relate to and feel for. I just wanted to hug Georgie and tell her everything was going to be okay. I also wanted to tell Neal to forgive her. It seriously did give me all the feels.

I wasn't quite as fond of this book as "Eleanor & Park." I'm not really sure why. The characters were good, the story was great, and the idea was amazing. For me, there was just something not quite there. Maybe it was the relationship between Georgie and Neal and how they really loved each other but were always questioning if it was enough. It seemed so sad to me, and I know that was the point, but still. However, I liked how the ending showed hope and promise, and still held onto the question: Is it enough?

Rating: 4/5 for a very different take on fixing things through "time travel." I loved Georgie McCool and Neal as characters, and I loved the very unique plot. However, I felt there was just a little something missing that I'm still trying to put my finger on to pinpoint exactly.

Ok, so I also read "The Tragedy Paper" by Elizabeth Laban. This was her debut novel, and I really have mixed feelings about it. I want to start by saying I really WANTED to love this book. The plot was interesting and the idea was really great, but there was really something missing that was essential to me loving this book. Honestly, I can't quite place what it was, but there was something that wasn't there that prevented me from really falling in love with this book.

A quick summary: The story is told from two POVs: one is Tim, an albino who starts school at the Irving School his last semester of his senior year. The other is Duncan, a student currently at the Irving School for his senior year. Duncan lives in Tim's old room, and Tim had left him CDs to listen to about a tragedy that had happened the previous year (when Tim was a senior and Duncan was a junior). Hanging over Duncan's head is his Tragedy Paper, Irving's equivalent of a senior thesis where the students have to literally define a tragedy. Tim leaves behind his story and gives Duncan the perfect tragedy paper. I won't go into too much detail because it would ruin the story, but that's basically it.

So, the first thing I have to say is I LOVED the idea of this book. Laban made a modern-day tragedy while also incorporating famous tragedies. (Shakespeare is mentioned a lot.) I liked how it was told from two very different perspectives and the buildup to the final tragedy.

I have mixed feelings about the characters. I really liked Duncan and Tim and their voices. However, I felt like their romantic interests - Daisy and Vanessa, respectively - could have been written in better. Daisy was an underdeveloped character, and Vanessa, though more developed, came off as harsh and cold in a way that I don't think Laban meant to portray. Mr. Simon, the senior English teacher, was probably just about my favorite character. Although he's not in the majority of the major plot, he is just a great character. He cares but he's tough. He reminded me of one of my own favorite English teachers.

I wasn't overly fond of the writing. I felt like Laban included too much detail in Tim's part. And I only say that because the writing was supposed to be a written record of what he had recorded on the CDs, and I don't think any high school student would talk like what was written. It just made that a little too unrealistic for me. I enjoyed the writing for Duncan's parts better. Also, the tragedy portion was harped on a bit too much for my liking.

Rating: 2.5/5 for a very unique idea that didn't quite blossom as much as I had hoped for. A couple of the characters were really good, the idea was awesome, and the story was interesting, but it just didn't come together for me. The writing was not amazing, but it wasn't bad.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

UPDATE!!!

YAY!!! Update! So, I've been reading "Landline" by Rainbow Rowell. I LOVED "Eleanor & Park," so much so that I HAD to read another Rainbow Rowell book. So far, it's pretty good. I'm not too far into it. I have a TON of schoolwork, and it's killing my reading time. BUT...I'm hoping to have it finished by next week. So look out for my full review here.

ALSO!!! Please follow my Goodreads and Bookstagram accounts. I put small reviews of the books I've read on my Goodreads. You can search me as "thebabblingbookie." I update my Bookstagram account almost daily. My username is: thebabblingbookie17. So, please go follow those accounts!

Ok, there's my update. I'm also considering a BookTube account, so if that would be interesting to any of you, let me know. I might just do that!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

ELEANOR & PARK is a young adult romance by bestselling author Rainbow Rowell. This story follows Eleanor and Park, two high school misfits who find friendship and love in each other. Eleanor is an overweight red-head, who wears men's clothes. Park is an Asian boy who loves comic books and music. Although Eleanor and Park have a rocky start, the reader watches as Eleanor and Park find comfort and belonging in each other. Furthermore, the reader is able to watch this beautiful relationship blossom.

This novel is just absolutely adorable. There really isn't a better word to describe it. From now on, when I think of "Eleanor & Park," the first words that come into my mind are: cute, adorable, sweet. And it's true. The story is so compelling due to its cuteness. It brings about a sort of nostalgia for the reader's own first true love.

The characters are wonderful. They're so well-developed, and with every turn of the page, the reader learns a little bit more about each of them. Eleanor is a troubled girl, and she has a tendency to be melancholy and snippy. But she has a good heart, and Park is able to see the best in her. And, as the story heats up, we learn more and more about why Eleanor is the way she is. She's never felt real love in her life, and she has trouble responding to Park's unconditional love for her. Furthermore, she has trouble reciprocating this love. Park, on the other hand, has always known love. He grew up in a loving household, with parents who never had a problem showing their love for him and each other. At times, he had a hard time understanding why Eleanor was so withdrawn, but as the story goes on, he understands. Furthermore, I loved how I saw each character grow as the story developed. They each became better people because of the other, as is seen in any good relationship.

I have to say, I LOVED the ending. I know there were a lot of mixed feelings about it, but I thought it was brilliant. I have mixed feelings about open-ended endings, but this one was perfect! It left it up to the reader to decide what the meaning was. I'm not going to talk about it too much, but I thought it was great!

Rating: 5/5 for a cute first love young adult novel. There's so much hope and love and cuteness in this book. Rowell is able to perfectly capture the essence of first love and what it's like to be young and in love.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS is a collection of award winning writer Marina Keegan's short stories and essays. Although it is difficult to discuss the book as a whole, I can honestly say I loved all the stories. I read many negative reviews about this book before I read it. They mostly were concerned with the fact that she sounded so much like a young writer and they weren't understanding what all the hype was about. However, in my opinion, I understand what all the hype was about. Yes, you could tell it was written by a 20-something-year-old, but that was the point. She was a young writer who wanted to sound like a young writer. She wanted to have her own voice. Furthermore, there was so much promise to her writing. She was talented as was, but that would have only continued to grow. Reading this book was kind of a sad experience, in all honesty. There was so much unintentional foreshadowing. But...It's still a good read.

I loved how I was able to relate to almost all of her stories. I was able to relate to her characters, and the plot lines, for the most part, were interesting. Maybe it was easier for me to relate to her stories due to the fact that I am a college student myself, but I would still recommend it to people older than me.

I also really enjoyed that many of her essays were full of optimism and positive messages. They're really inspiring, for people of all ages. Her messages of hope and love were written seamlessly into her writings. In fact, when I get down about school and what I'm doing (or not doing) with my life, I will probably pull out this book for inspiration, motivation, and putting my mind at ease.

Now, for the most difficult part. Was I able to separate the fact that she tragically died at such a young age from her writing and judge this book objectively? I think I was. I mean, she was a very talented writer. I have to admit that sometimes some of the writing was especially difficult to read because of the fact that she died so young. For example, one of her short stories, "Cold Pastoral" deals with how young college students deal with the loss of a classmate's death. It is a haunting story to begin with, but when you add in Keegan's own death, it becomes even more so. But, it doesn't take the fact that she died so young to see that Keegan had so much talent and was probably going to be a famous writer.

Rating: 5/5 for a very well put-together collection of short stories and essays by Marina Keegan. I felt emotional attachment to characters, loved the story lines, and enjoyed Keegan's young writing style. Furthermore, I loved the positive messages included in all the writings. It is such a tragedy that we will not be able to read more from this promising, young writer. However, since she left such a beautiful collection behind, I recommend everyone take a little time and read her inspiring stories.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Update!

So, I know I haven't posted any book reviews lately. I have been keeping up with my "A Book A Day Keeps the Doldrums At Bay" page, which you should definitely check out. But I decided to just give an update. I'm currently reading "The Opposite of Loneliness" by Marina Keegan. If you don't know her story, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale University in 2012. She died right after her graduation in a car accident, when her boyfriend fell asleep at the wheel. This book is a collection of her writing. She was set to start her postgraduate career at The New Yorker.

There was a lot of hype surrounding this book, but I heard several bad reviews, so I'm going to read it and decide for myself. Have any of you read it? If so, what did you think?


Friday, January 8, 2016

FOLLOW ME!

So, I just recently got an Instagram account. Follow me at: thebabblingbookie17. I'm updating pictures of what I'm reading and going to read, along with just pictures of books, quotes, and anything else that seems fitting!

Friday, January 1, 2016

GOODREADS 2016 READING CHALLENGE

DON'T FORGET!!! You can sign up to participate in Goodreads' annual reading challenge. You just set a goal for how many books you want to read this year and log them into Goodreads as you finish them. So proud to say that I set my goal for 2015 and completed it! Good luck :)