Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Genre(s)Young AdultContemporaryRomance
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (Macmillan)
Format: eARC // 384 pages

Other books by Lord: Open Road Summer

Filed under: friendships, loss
It's been a year since it happened — when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school ... and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her — the perfect way to convince everyone she's back to normal. Next: Join a club — simple, it's high school after all. But when Ryan's sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?
Everyone who has read The Start of Me and You will tell you that Emery can craft an amazing group of friends. This story is mainly about Paige and how she comes to terms with losing her boyfriend, but we also get to see how important friendship is. I feel like this isn't highlighted much in YA (characters seem to deal with a lot of things by themselves) so THANK YOU TO EMERY for emphasizing it. Paige and her best friends (Tessa, Morgan, and Kayleigh) are loving and supportive, even in times of disagreement. It's a rare thing, to have a group of gals you can honestly trust and share the ugly bits of your life with.

"Together, we made four walls, holding each other up
even as the world around us shifted."

Every single character Paige interacts with is important in this story. Her parents, her sister, even her grandma. I have a big soft spot for old people, so the "Paige visits her grandma" parts were so precious to me. And guys, MAX WATSON. Nerdy Max Watson. I don't think anyone understands how much I enjoy a good nerdy guy. He's quirky, sweet, A GENTLEMAN — something that Paige takes a while to notice. But I love that it's not entirely about the romance. Along with friendship, it's about family and dealing with pain.

Is it predictable? Yes, but here's the thing, taken straight from page 124: "In books, sometimes the foreshadowing is so obvious that you know what’s going to happen. But knowing what happens isn’t the same as knowing how it happens. Getting there is the best part."

I've read a ton of YA contemporary romance but this is one of my favorites. Please buy yourself a copy (or borrow it from the library!) because YOU NEED THIS. If you are looking for a contemporary with a cute romance, something fun but also meaningful and realistic, or a good representation of friends who stick together through tough times, this book is for you :)

Monday, August 31, 2015

July + August 2015 Recap

Besom font by Krisjanis Mezulis

Hello again, my bookish friends! Yes, I am still here and alive. I will save the "sorry for not blogging" speech and just jump right into talking about the many things that happened in July and August. I am officially back from my big adventure in New York, so I thought I'd share a little update :)

Find more photos on my Instagram, @amarisinwonderland!

1. Finding Neverland
A trip to New York is not a trip without watching a musical! As a big fan of fairytales, I knew the one I had to watch was Finding Neverland. It is "the story of how Peter became Pan," and it was magical. The story started a bit slow (mostly to introduce important characters) but it really was a lovely production. The themes from Peter Pan (the book by J.M. Barrie) were woven into the musical so well and I would highly recommend watching it if you get the chance to.

2. 1989 + Piece by Piece
I don't go to concerts regularly, so I was really lucky to be able to attend two (Taylor Swift's and Kelly Clarkson's) in August. Taylor's was, of course, INCREDIBLE. My two girlfriends and I were pretty far away from the stage so it wasn't exactly a party in our area, but I loved it all the same. It was my second time seeing Taylor in concert (my first one was back in 2011!) and while she has always been a great entertainer, it blows my mind to see how far she's come. Kelly Clarkson was also amazing — that woman can SANG. Her acoustic version of Piece by Piece was beautiful (it tells such a strong story) and when she threw it back to Breakaway/Behind These Hazel Eyes/Since You've Been Gone, everyone went nuts. But the cherry on top? Hearing Pentatonix. The first show my boyfriend and I watched together was The Sing-Off, and we both rooted for them to win so they have a very special place in my heart. They are UNBELIEVABLE singers/vocal artists!

3. Making pizza!
My boyfriend and I don't get a lot of opportunities to see each other (we don't live in the same city anymore) but he came over last week and we made pizzas for my family! It took us a lot longer than expected (two hours for three pizzas) but it was fun and really easy.


Favorites: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Books and pages read in July + August: 7 (and one novella!) // 2,082 pages
Books and pages read in 2015: 31 // 9,219 pages

I've removed the graphic novels and comic books from the stats above so I can compare the count with written novels/novellas. It makes me feel a bit worse because now I can clearly see I've only read 31 books this year (really???) ... but maybe it'll also motivate me to read more!


Favorite: Gotham Academy, Vol. 1 by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl

Trades/graphic novels and pages read in July + August: 8 // 1,430 pages
Trades/graphic novels and pages read in 2015: 13 // 2,401 pages


Being surrounded by people who love to talk about books as much as I do has inspired me to start making videos again! I also think it's a good opportunity for me to work on expressing my thoughts — I'm crap at describing how I feel so this forces me to review the way I speak (as well as remove overused phrases like "um" and "and so" ...)

As you can probably tell from the video, I became obsessed with comics over the summer. One of my goals is to finish the Marvel NOW! series by the end of 2016. Quite the challenge, but I thought it'd be something fun to work toward :)


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (S1/S2)
Obsessed would probably be an understatement if I used it to describe my feelings for this show. Although the plot seemed to be all over the place sometimes, I WAS NOT ABLE TO STOP WATCHING. It jumpstarted my love for all things Marvel (prepare to see me talk about Marvel everywhere), which lead the way to comics. Lots of it. AoS has quickly become one of my favorite television shows — if you haven't started it yet, please do so now!


Three favorites:
  • Tori Kelly has always been a favorite of mine so seeing her releasing an album is already pretty cool. But then she goes and collaborates with ED SHEERAN. Yep. I Was Made for Loving You is a beautiful song.
  • Neverland is a song from Finding Neverland (the musical I talked about earlier) and the way Zendaya sings it is perfect perfect perfect. I found a video of Jennifer Hudson singing it and while she has an AMAZING voice, Zendaya just has that wipsy sound that is perfect in conveying the tone of the musical.
  • And of course I had to add Can't Sleep Love, which will be on Pentatonix's new album! Not sure when it's coming out ... but "#soon" as they say :p


Books I'm looking forward to this month:
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling — SUPER excited for this one! I love Mindy Kaling so so much.
  • Dumplin' by Julie Murphy — I read this back in June and loved it. I can't wait until more people start talking about it.
  • The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman — Just LOOK at that cover! Spoiler alert: IT'S SEE THROUGH. Like tracing paper material! The pages are beeeautiful.
  • Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson — I'm currently reading it and am stuck on p. 150 because not much has happened yet. I AM STILL HOPING IT WILL BE GOOD because I have been eagerly anticipating its release.

What are you looking forward to reading in September?
Do you watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and if no, then why not?!)
If you like comics, please tell me your favorites! I'm always looking for new ones!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Forget Me Not // 3 - Caged in Winter, Wait for You, Losing It (The Week I Decided to Read a Lot of NA)


In an effort to share my thoughts on all the books I read, I started Forget Me Not in February 2015. I don't always have a lot to say about certain books, so I thought I'd gather three mini reviews and stick them together :)

Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh

Genre(s): New Adult, Romance
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Berkley (Penguin Books USA)
Aspiring chef Cade Maxwell is immediately, viscerally attracted to Winter Jacobson. But it's not her mouthwatering curves he’s drawn to — it's the strange emptiness in her eyes. When Cade saves her from a drunken customer with grabby hands, he’s shocked at her response ...

Winter doesn’t need Cade's help. After a lifetime of getting by on her own, she's happy to rely on herself. She's exactly seventy-six days away from graduating college, and if she can hold it together that long, she'll finally be able to rise above the crappy hand she was dealt.

But now, every time she turns around, Cade is there, ready to push her, smile at her, distract her from her plans. Winter knows she can't afford to open up — especially to a man she's terrified to actually want ...
After Danielle from Love at First Page mentioned Brighton Walsh as one of her favorite romance authors, I decided to give Caged in Winter a try. It is essentially about a girl named Winter who lives on her own and is ready to leave her job the second she graduates. While working as a waitress in a bar, a drunken customer inappropriately touches her and Cade (a guy who just so happens to be watching) doesn't let it slide. Winter doesn't react the way Cade thinks she will and now he's determined to get to know her. But because of her past, she has a tough time letting people in.

As you can probably tell, the story is mainly about Winter and Cade. Will she end up letting him in, or will she ignore him forever? There isn't a lot happening throughout the book, but we are able to see Winter grow and change via the people she surrounds herself with. The dual point of view worked well for me — I like being able to see different sides of a situation and how it all works out, for better or for worse. I didn't really care for Cade until I saw how much he cared for Tessa, his sister, and Haley, Tessa’s daughter. (And BOY, was Haley precious! My heart melted when she asked Cade if he wanted her to color him a princess picture.) There were a handful of cringe-worthy moments, but not too bad overall.


Wait for You by J. Lynn
Genre(s): New Adult, Romance
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at that fateful Halloween party five years ago — an event that forever changed her life. What she never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she's building for herself.

Cameron Hamilton is six feet, three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make Avery want things she believed had been irrevocably stolen from her. Getting involved with him is dangerous. Yet ignoring the simmering tension that sparks between them - and brings out a side of her she never knew existed - is impossible.

But when Avery starts receiving threatening e-mails and phone calls, she's forced to face a past she wants to keep buried and acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. If the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface with one less scar? And will Cam be there to help her?
There is something so irritating about a good-looking boy who is also arrogant, but Cam's gentlemanly ways compensated that. I love that he took care of Avery on numerous occasions and, while together, made sure he wasn't stepping out of bounds. The mention of how he "used to be a player" was totally unnecessary and did not contribute to the story in any way, aside from showing us he *really* knows the female body. Jacob and Brit, two of Avery’s friends, seemed tossed in the story purely for comedic purposes but I was thoroughly entertained so all is well in that area. I wish Avery's secret was better developed — it got me curious in the beginning but seemed to be a bit choppy and misleading, with the mean phone calls and all. By no means was the writing in this book phenomenal, but it held my interest.


Losing It by Cora Carmack

Genre(s): New Adult, Romance
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, Bliss Edwards decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible — a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half a brain would ever believe.

And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theater professor.

She'd left him naked in her bed about eight hours earlier ...
I found a lot of similarities between Losing It and Wait for You, but I enjoyed Losing It a pinch more. To be honest, it's probably because the guy is British AND a young professor. Where can I sign up to be next? If this dude wasn't described as good-looking and worthy of swoon, most of his interactions with Bliss would be downright creepy. But I've come to expect that this is common in NA so I'm not bothered by it. I picked it to read for entertainment, not to make a critical analysis. (Does anyone really read NA like they read a piece of literary fiction, like To Kill a Mockingbird? If you do, what do you read for enjoyment?) Bliss has a TON of awkward and embarrassing moments, but if that doesn't sound like real life ... who are you? And can you teach me to be less awkward and embarrassing?

My only problem was the lack of conflict — things are set up to go down in flames but everything gets resolved nicely. I would have loved to see some real problems between Garrett and Bliss. Aside from that, Losing It seems like the perfect book to read if you're in a funk. If you're into this kind of stuff, I mean.


Do you like NA — and if so, do you normally rate it based on enjoyment alone?
What is your go-to genre for getting out of a reading funk?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

June 2015 Recap


Besom font by Krisjanis Mezulis

Gosh, where do I even begin with June? If you've been reading my blog for the past month, you may remember that I moved to New York for the summer to intern at HarperCollins. It has been a dream come true (seriously) and not a single day has been dreadful. I am INCREDIBLY thankful for this amazing opportunity, and I can't wait to share what I've been doing — hopefully in the near future :)

HIGHLIGHTS


Find more photos of New York on my Instagram, @amarisinwonderland!

1. New York (basically the entire month of June was a highlight)
My parents had plans to visit my grandma in New York, so it was perfect timing for me to fly east with them. (I sound like a bird HAHA.) Being able to explore bits of the unfamiliar city with them made the transition a pinch easier, and they got to hear all about my first day in person. After they left, I had no problem finding things to do by myself — I am naturally okay with that, but I do wish I could walk around and discover new things with friends back home sometimes.

2. Meeting Mary E. Pearson, Marie Rutkoski, and Emery Lord at Books of Wonder
There are so many more YA bookish events on this side of the country! I was lucky enough to attend two during the first week of June — one to celebrate the paperback release for The Kiss of Deception, and the other as part of the Boldly Bookish Tour! I didn’t get to stay long for either because my parents were still in town, but I loved being able to see and hear all of the authors talking about their books.

WHAT I READ


Loved: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Liked: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
Was okay with: Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh
Found strange: Love is Red by Sophie Jaff

Number of books and pages read in June: 4 // 1336 pages
Number of books and pages read in 2015: 28 // 8108 pages

WHAT I WATCHED


Inside Out
To be completely honest, I didn't love Inside Out. (Please don’t whip out your notepad and start a list of reasons you hate me.) I am *HUGE* fan of Disney (movies, music, you name it - I love it) so I did have expectations going in — and they're usually exceeded, but with this one ... I just couldn't get into it. I found myself constantly waiting for something exciting to happen, and then it was all over. I was also very annoyed by Riley, the young girl who houses the emotions. It was a good movie, don't get me wrong, but not one I'd choose to re-watch.

Gilmore Girls (S3 + S4)
When I first started watching this show late last year, I was obsessed. And then I stopped when Jess left because, well ... Jess left. LOL. BUT I AM BACK ON THE GILMORE GIRLS TRAIN, Y'ALL, AND I'M LOVING IT. No episode escapes me without laughter, ESPECIALLY when it involves Kirk. I highly recommend this show to everyone!

POSTS I PARTICULARLY LOVED WRITING

  • 16 Titles To Add to Your Summer Reading List - Although I was planning for the look to be a little different, I was so happy that all these wonderful ladies agreed to contribute. It was fun to read everyone's responses and put it all together!

SONGS ON REPEAT



I didn't listen to much in June, not even the radio, but I heard this one on the airplane and loved it.

What were some of your favorite reads in June? Do you watch Gilmore Girls (and more importantly, how much do you love it?) What are some songs you've been listening to on repeat?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...