Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky AlbertalliSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Published by Harper Collins on April 7th 2015
Source: Own
four-stars
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

This book was a tad hard for me to get into, but once everything started to click, I could hardly put it down! This is honestly the first book I’ve read that had a LGBTQ character as the lead. It was definitely a different perspective for me, but I don’t think that made it difficult or anything. If anything, I probably liked it more because it was so different than anything I’ve ever read!

I really liked Simon. He seemed to be a good friend, a good son, a good guy in general. I loved being in his head and seeing him come to grips with who he is and what he wants. Once everything came out, it was nice seeing his thought process coming to grips with everything.

I loved his interactions with Blue. They were so cute! I remember my first big crush and it definitely brought me back to those warm fuzzies and fluttery butterflies. I kept trying to guess who Blue was also and was pleasantly surprised once that was revealed! I definitely ship it. I do have to say though that once their identities were revealed to each other, things moved pretty quick. I guess with their emails they did know each other really well at that point, but it still felt rushed.

Simon’s friends were interesting. It was kind of hard keeping track of who was who at first and I still confused a few people by the end. I wish that part was a bit easier. I really want to spend more time in this high school though! I think she’s going to write another book in this world and I can’t wait!

Overall, I really liked this book. It was so cute and fluffy and real and important. I would recommend it to so many people! Definitely worth all the hype!

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Maybe Someday by Colleen HooverMaybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
Published by Simon and Schuster on March 18th 2014
Source: Own
four-stars
Sydney is living in an idyllic bubble—she's a dedicated student with a steady job on the side. She lives with her best friend, has a great boyfriend, and the music coming from the balcony opposite hers is fast becoming the soundtrack to her life. But when Sydney finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, the bubble bursts. The mysterious and attractive man behind the music, Ridge, gives Sydney hope that she can move on and they begin to write songs together. But moving on is harder than she expects, Sydney can only hope….

Maybe someday…

This is not my first Colleen Hoover book, but it definitely read different from any others that I have read. I really liked this one! Even with a couple of issues, it was a really easy, quick reading book that I wish there was a sequel!

Okay. So my first issue was how much Sydney cried. By the end it was pretty annoying. I understand being emotional (trust me, I do), but there were times when I didn’t really understand why she was crying. She just would start crying! Other than that, I really liked her! She tried to work hard for herself and not rely on a lot of people. She also tried to have good morals and not do things she would regret or that would hurt others (for the most part lol).

The one thing she did/participated in that could have ruined the book for me was the almost cheating thing that happened. I am not a fan of books that involve cheating. I’m happy they were able to stop things before it got to that point, but I really don’t like that it was used as a plot device.

I pretty much adored Ridge. I loved that he was deaf and I loved that he still had music and I loved how he didn’t let it stop him or really slow him down. I also loved that Sydney accepted it without question. I also really liked Maggie and Warren. Warren was pretty awesome and I’m definitely looking forward to reading his novella. I feel like what happened with Maggie was an easy way to get her out of the picture as well.

Overall, I wish there was a bit less drama. Also-I find it random when Hunter made another appearance, but Tori was not really mentioned again. This is still a very swoon-worthy book and one I would recommend.

The Body in the Woods by April Henry

The Body in the Woods by April HenryThe Body in the Woods by April Henry
Published by Macmillan on June 17th 2014
Source: Own
three-stars
Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.

This is not my first book by April Henry and it certainly won’t be the last. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was still enjoyable and I will definitely seek out the sequel to this series.

So first off, I love mysteries and crime and trying to solve them. I love the intrigue and I love when books keep me guessing (but not unnecessarily so). That said, I was able to guess who it was pretty early on. I would try to think it was other people as the characters in the book did, but they all felt wrong. When it was finally confirmed, I was a bit let down.

As far as the crime and investigation itself, it felt very realistic. The way the police were not asking them for help or anything and kept berating the kids to back off, I could certainly see that happening in real life. I was a bit fuzzy about the search and rescue group itself though. I’ve never heard of a group where teenagers can join and then miss school when they get called out. I think it would be a really cool program though!

On to the characters. I don’t think I was that big of a fan of Nick. I think part of that is because we saw so little of him. I know the sequel focuses on him based on the synopsis so I’m hoping we learn more about him and I’m able to find a better connection. I really liked Ruby. She was so quirky and out there, but so smart and on it and I just loved it.

I also liked Alexis. I just though so much of her story line wasn’t entirely necessary or really resolved. I’m not sure why there was so much of a focus on her mom and then by the end there’s nothing about her. Everything else got wrapped up all pretty. Also, that was such a random thing with Bran. That was wrapped up all pretty but not a whole lot leading into it. It was just odd for me.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to the sequel. It was definitely an easy read, which is always appreciated, so definitely one you can probably squeeze in when you’re looking for something easy and quick!

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi MeadowsMy Lady Jane by Cynthia HandBrodi AshtonJodi Meadows
Published by HarperCollins on June 7th 2016
Source: Edelweiss
three-stars
Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This was definitely a unique book with a unique concept and I really liked it! I love history and historical fiction. I also enjoy some fantasy so to see all of those elements combined, it was pretty exciting! However, while I enjoyed it, I didn’t quite love it. I would still recommend this book though!

First off, as much as I enjoy history, I am rather fuzzy on the details involving Lady Jane Grey so I went into this book pretty blind. I l think that helped me accept the alternate version of events presented in this particular story. I liked that they included the rough outline of what had happened in real life as a guide for their version of events.

I liked Jane and I liked how much of a reader she was. I was pretty annoyed by Gifford, not going to lie. He was not my favorite and not very swoony or exciting. He was more annoying than anything. I liked Edward and Bess. Mary was pretty much what I could imagine. Overall, I enjoyed the characters, just some more than others.

I really liked the fantasy aspect as well. I don’t want to delve into it too much, but it was really cool! I don’t want to explain too much because of possible spoilers, but it was definitely a highlight of the book for me.

One thing that did bug me was all the references to other comedic works. While I appreciate all of them, I felt myself overthinking different parts because I was trying to figure out what the reference was (if it even was one).

All together, I recommend this book! I know they are doing some other books in a similar style and I’m excited to give those a try as well! Definitely a fun, unique concept that is worth a read.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Penguin on September 1st 2015
Source: NetGalley
five-stars
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I recently re-read this book and I’m still in so much love. Here’s a little bit of a throwback with my review of Everything, Everything! I am also pleased to add, that it WILL be made into a movie and filming has already started! Yay!

 

Oh this book! It was one of the cutest books I’ve read in awhile! It was just adorable! The main characters were so cute with each other, they weren’t shallow, they were actually smart, they weren’t too angsty or melodramatic, they were just heart-wrenchingly REAL.

This is one of the few books where as soon as I finished it, I wanted to re-read it and then watch it as a movie. Can it please be made into a movie? It’s so rare that I feel that way but the material is such perfection and I can see it translating to screen so well that it just has to happen-right? lol

Madeline is sick and can never go outside. Inside her crazy sealed house, she tries to be as normal of a teenager as possible. She still does school-online, she watches movies and shops and is a major reader. I love when characters are readers-it’s like an instant connection for me. Throughout this, we see her realize what a toll her sickness has taken on her, and how she is trying to cope with it.

Olly is her new neighbor and is dealing with some issues in his own personal life. I loved Olly. He was so unique and mellow and hyper and funny and just a bundle of cuteness. I can definitely say I shipped them together. He was fairly level headed for a guy as well. He wasn’t all pushy or mean or rude or anything towards Madeline. Things weren’t perfect of course, but he was still a pretty stand up kind of guy. He really cared for his family and Madeline.

I loved that it wasn’t just prose. There were pictures and cartoons and extra little things that really added to the experience of reading this. It was very easy to fall into their lives and go along with them as everything unfolded. I can’t really go into more details as I don’t really want to spoil anything! It was just an amazing read and I can’t wait to read more by this author.

The Harry Potter Book Tag

In honor of the read-a-long I am leading on Goodreads for Harry Potter (join here), I decided to participate in my first ever book tag!

harry potter

 

My favorite book is definitely Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I love how it introduces us to this world and characters.

youre a wizard

My favorite movie is probably Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I love the new Dumbledore and darker style of filming. Also, this moment:

hermione punching

You go girl!

My least favorite book would be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. He’s just so… whiny and selfish and you definitely start seeing a darker side to Harry.

moody harry

My least favorite movie would be Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This one was missing so many moments from the book that I wish were included. They changed part of how things happened also that kind of drove me crazy.

no offence

The parts of the movies and books that made me cry are pretty self-explanatory…. Dumbledore, Hedwig, Fred, Tonks, Remus… need I go on?

wand salute

If I could hook up with any character it would be Oliver Wood. I swear he was my first book/movie boyfriend and I absolutely adored him.

oliver wood

My favorite character is Hagrid. He is just simply the best! He stands by Harry’s side throughout everything. He truly cares for him and it’s just so pure and adorable and I can’t help but squee! Also, he totally loves animals.

happy hagrid

My least favorite character is probably Snape. He was just so horrible to Harry that his touching part/event/thing at the end didn’t really redeem him in my eyes.  I wouldn’t say that I hate him or anything, but of the main characters, he’s very low on my list for favorites.

snape riddikulus

(but I do LOVE Alan Rickman)

My least favorite line does not exist. I can’t think of any I don’t like! I only really recall those that I enjoyed!

“He’ll be famous– a legend– I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future– there will be books written about Harry– every child in our world will know his name!”

My Patronus would probably be… a dog. I think. I’m actually not 100% on this! According to a quiz via BuzzFeed it’d be an Otter, but not really my jam!

dog patronus

Of the three Hallows, I would choose the invisibility cloak. As an introvert, I would love to just sit back and watch things happen. There are also some things that would be kind of entertaining with it as well. lol

invisibility cloak

I would be sorted into Ravenclaw because I love facts and reading and learning. I think I would fit right into that group of people. Plus, I would totally be Luna’s friend!

luna pudding

I would love to meet Emma Watson because I feel like I could learn a lot from her. She has seen things and experienced things I never could imagine. Plus she seems very down to earth and a welcoming person.

hermione leviosa

I am not a sports person (at all), but if I were to play Quidditch, I’d be a Beater. I can’t really throw or catch a ball, but I think I could swing a bat at a larger ball!

quidditch

I have very mixed thoughts about the ending. I really enjoyed it, but at the same time I didn’t want it to end! The epilogue was not my favorite, but I let that slide. lol

harry-potter-baby-pic

Harry Potter means the world to me. I grew up reading it. I remember waiting for each book fair for my dad to buy me the most recent book. When I was old enough, I remember going to some of the midnight releases. This series will always stay with me. I try to read it at least every couple years and I watch the movies almost every year (at least once). I can’t wait to read this with my future kids and introduce them to this magical wizarding world.

harry-potter-friends

The White Rose by Amy Ewing

The White Rose by Amy EwingThe White Rose by Amy Ewing
Published by HarperCollins on October 6th 2015
Source: Edelweiss
four-stars
Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I really enjoyed book number one, The Jewel, but put off reading the sequel for ages. I was worried that it would suffer from the dread sophomore slump that has affected so many other favorite series of mine. Luckily, that wasn’t the case! I think I liked this installment better than the first!

This book picks up pretty much where the last one leaves on. We follow them along as they try to escape the Jewel and get to their safe house in the Farm. By the time they arrive at the safe house, they start to realize that they could have a pretty big impact on things and really help the people.

My favorite parts were at the safe house. This is where we really start to get answers about everything. We learn more about their history and about the Auguries and the surrogates and just everything in general. I loved the back story. It definitely made it more interesting and was different enough to stand out for me.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending. It seemed too easy to make that the twist and the surprise. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the next installment in regards to the plan they have. I’m also a bit confused about their plan in general. I don’t know if they explained it or if I just didn’t pay enough attention.

I’m pretty excited to get to the sequel that comes out way sooner than I thought-in October!

Listful: September TBR

I finished every book on my August TBR! I think that was pretty successful! I’m still trying to focus on male authors, but certain books for certain challenges were best filled by female authors so oh well!

september tbr

1. The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanan
I picked this book up as soon as I saw that a character has CP. I actually suffer from a mild case and am always truly interested to see how others deal with it who (more than likely) suffer from a more serious case. I just haven’t read it yet, but that’s going to change this month!

2. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This book basically blew up on my social media sites. I am not a fan of the hype monster so I have been putting off reading it or even buying it. It went a pretty cheap deal for an ebook and it fit a prompt for a challenge I’m participating in, so I figure why not read it now?! I think it’s been enough time since it was released that I can read it without the hype monster getting to me.

3. The Martian by Andy Weir
I purchased this book when it was first released that there was going to be a movie made. I just never read it. My hubby made me watch the other day and I definitely need to get to reading it sooner rather than later now!

4. Watchmen by Alan Moore
I originally borrowed this book from my sister, but never read it. I had to give it back when she moved, but still really wanted to read it. Luckily, a friend of mine let me borrow their copy so I can finally read it!

5. The Body in the Woods by April Henry
I’ve enjoyed everything else by April Henry and am excited to try this new series! (new to me at least)

The Fall by James Preller

The Fall by James PrellerThe Fall by James Preller
Published by Macmillan on September 22nd 2015
Source: NetGalley
three-stars
The summer before school starts, Sam's friend and classmate Morgan Mallen kills herself. Morgan had been bullied. Maybe she kissed the wrong boy. Or said the wrong thing. What about that selfie that made the rounds? Morgan was this, and Morgan was that. But who really knows what happened?

As Sam explores the events leading up to the tragedy, he must face a difficult and life-changing question: Why did he keep his friendship with Morgan a secret? And could he have done something—anything—to prevent her final actions?

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Going into this book, I expected more focus on what led up to Sam’s friend, Morgan, committing suicide. I expected more focus on the bullying and the mental health aspect. I don’t really think that’s what I got. For a book about suicide, it was surprisingly light.

I think part of why it wasn’t quite what I expected is because Sam in more of a bystander to everything that went down. He wasn’t super good friends with her, nor was he really involved in the bullying. This book mostly focuses with him trying to come to terms to his involvement and growing as person.

He sort of tried to be one of the bad kids, but wasn’t really able to dedicate himself to it. Once he started to know Morgan, it was harder for him to just stand by. Despite this, it was still too much for Morgan and she ended her life. As we follow Sam try to deal with this, we learn more about what she endured and Sam learns more about himself and what he wants out of life.

Overall, this was a unique book that was enjoyable. It was from different perspective than I would have expected for a book of this topic, but I liked it. I will probably give more by this author a try!

 

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth OppelThis Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
Published by Simon and Schuster on April 23rd 2011
Source: Own
four-stars
In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, Frankenstein, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and best friend Henry on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.

Victor knows he must not fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science, and love—and how much he is willing to sacrifice.

I have owned this book and its sequel for probably over a year and I never picked it up. One of my favorite classics is Frankenstein so I’m not sure why I waited so long. I really liked this take on a prequel for it! It definitely added a unique perspective to the story and I’m really excited to read the sequel and re-read the original. I want to see just how much actually ties in!

Our lead, Victor Frankenstein, is seriously cocky! He is so sure of himself and his relationship with those around him, that it ends up kicking his butt in the end. He definitely is a victim (?) of hubris. I’m not sure if I’m using that term in the correct way, but I’m pretty sure you know what I mean!

Anyways…. back to Victor. He has a twin, Konrad, who is 2 minutes older than him and seems to be at least a few years more mature. When Konrad falls ill, Victor does pretty much anything he can to get him healthy. I liked how this story stayed pretty true to the time frame (in regards to medicine and such).

I really liked Elizabeth. She was feisty and not afraid to stick up for herself. She’s smart and cunning and really able to hold her own. I was pretty indifferent about Henry. He was really only there when it was convenient and I never really clicked with him. They do make an interesting group of kids and I definitely appreciate how loyal they are to each other.

This is also one of the few times where I can say that I did not mind the love triangle. It was definitely a different take on that cliche, and I do like how it was handled.

As far as the plot goes, I could see the betrayal a mile away. It really didn’t surprise me. I did keep hoping I would be wrong, but alas, I wasn’t. I’m curious to know how this will play into the sequel (or if it does at all). This is a series I definitely recommend and I can’t wait to read the sequel!

baker. avid reader. list maker. obsessive compulsive. wishful thinker.