Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Books I Read in March

quick statistics πŸ“ˆ
one anthology, two contemporaries, one faith-based non-fiction, and one fantasy
one 2 stars, one 3.5 stars, two 4 stars, and one 5 stars
three YA, one middle grade, and one adult
four physical copies and one ebook
four women* and one male
one 2018 release
five books read
1255 pages

Meet Cute: Some people are destined to meet // 3.5 stars
One of the best anthologies I've read thus far! But I'm definitely a little biased because contemporary is my favorite genre, haha ... and the only other anthologies I've read are the ones Stephanie Perkins edited πŸ™ˆ Either way, there's your disclaimer and my recommendation to pick this one up if it interests you! My top three favorite stories were The Way We Love Here by Dhonielle Clayton, Oomph by Emery Lord, and The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Davies. I shared my thoughts for all fourteen stories in a separate review here, if you want to read more!

Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson // 4 stars
This is the companion novel to The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You, which you *must* read — one of my all-time favorites! Not Now, Not Ever follows a new character, Elliot, but many (if not all?) of the characters from Lily's debut novel make an appearance. And they aren't introduced right away (Elliot meets them over the course of the story) so it was fun to guess who was who, by how she described them! The love interest is quirky and quiet-cute, which I loved ☺️ What this book includes: nerdy banter + so many laugh-out-loud moments. Although I was, initially, a little disappointed at the ending, I chatted with Lily Anderson last month and thought her explanation was perfect: some things are open-ended because life is still happening, and there's not always a happy ending right away.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green // 4 stars
I haven't enjoyed the majority of John Green's books — The Fault in Our Stars was the only one I loved — but this one surprised me! (The only reason why I didn't give it a full five stars was because I couldn't decide if I liked this book or not until the last fifty or so pages.) Turtles All the Way Down was less about plot and more about character, which I normally don't prefer *but* this was done well. I don't have OCD and anxiety in the exact same way Aza does, so reading her thoughts helped me understand what she was feeling. And I think this is why #OwnVoices books are so important — it's not trying to get as close to the feeling as possible, it IS the feeling. It's allowing us to step into another's shoes, someone who is putting their own experience into words.

"I would've told her that Davis and I never talked much, or even looked at each other, but it didn't matter,
because we were looking at the same sky together, which is maybe more intimate than eye contact anyway.
Anybody can look at you. It's quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see." (p.9)

"I have the soul of a private jet owner, and the life of a public transportation rider." (p.43)

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin // 5 stars
Since some of the eighth grade girls at church and I have been meeting to study the Bible, I wanted to re-read this to refresh my memory. If you are a believer and aren't quite sure where or how to start examining Scripture, I highly recommend picking this one up. Jen Wilkin breaks down sound study into five P's: study with purpose, perspective, patience, process, and prayer. She's quick to the point and honest in sharing her past and present experiences. It may be short, but there is so much wisdom packed in. This is one I'll definitely be re-reading over and over again in my lifetime!

"The heart cannot love what the mind does not know." (p. 31)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle // 2 stars
What a strange book! By no means was this a difficult book to read, but UNDERSTANDING it is a whole 'nother story. The pacing was slow, which made it so tough to follow. I felt like this whole thing could've been condensed into fifty pages. It pulls verses from the Bible but I honestly had no idea what it was alluding to. There are, however, some good things — like CALVIN! I was drawn to him from the moment he shares a little about his relationship with his mom and family: "But I love her. That's the funny part of it. I love them all, and they don't give a hoot about me. Maybe that's why I call when I'm not going to be home. Because I care." (p.37) I do admit I'm a little curious to find out what happens ... but not enough to continue reading the entire series, since there are so many other ones I want to start and/or finish. I can see why people enjoy it though — I think it's just too abstract for me.

* All of the stories in Meet Cute: Some people are destined to meet were written by women.


What did you read in March, and which book was your favorite?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April Goals + TBR

this month's goals (mostly wedding related) πŸ’ͺ

  • Create and complete our wedding website + double-check registries // This includes uploading all of our guests' information, writing "how we met" and "the proposal" stories, asking our bridesmaids and groomsmen to send us a short bio of themselves + our friendships ... we need to have this up and ready before we send out our invitations, since guests will need to visit the website to RSVP.
  • Finalize wedding invitations + get them printed and mailed out // I'm definitely late on this because my hope was to have them printed by the end of March. But I've finished designing them, so I'm just waiting a couple of days before I look at it again and make sure it's perfect. If you are or know a designer, you know what I'm thinking ... gotta look at it with a fresh mind on a separate day.
  • Decide on all floral items + centerpieces // It's tough to make a decision because there are so. many. choices. but I just have to pick and move on. I met with my florist in January and am still "thinking" about it ... *headdesk*
  • Compile and print out all the photos for Joe's wedding gift! // No specifics in case he takes a peep at my blog, haha.
  • Update my "books read in 2018" Twitter thread // If there is one blog-related thing I want to maintain this year, please let it be this! To be added: Not Now, Not Ever; Turtles All the Way Down; Women of the Word; and A Wrinkle in Time.

april tbr πŸ“š

I committed the crime of watching Ready Player One before finishing the book by Ernest Cline πŸ™ˆI normally don't do this at all (I still haven't seen The Book Thief, Big Little Lies, or The Handmaid's Tale!!!) + I've literally been plugging my ears whenever the trailer comes up but I caved because my fiancΓ© was curious and we just got MoviePasses. I don't mind too much though, because I'll be able to spot all the differences since the movie is fresh in my mind. Crossing my fingers that I won't be disappointed!

I interviewed Lily Anderson earlier in March and she so kindly gifted me an ARC of her upcoming book, Undead Girl Gang! It's about this girl who, using witchcraft, brings her friend back from the dead to find out who murdered her and some other girls. Lily's editor and/or agent approached her with the idea of a witch book (so cool!) and if you didn't know: I absolutely loved her previous books, The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You and Not Now, Not Ever.

Maurene Goo and Mary E. Pearson are making a stop in my city during the Fierce Reads tour in May, so I want to read I Believe in a Thing Called Love and The Kiss of Deception before they visit. I'm 70 pages into I Believe in a Thing Called Love and it's hilarious and so easy to read. (So much secondhand embarrassment from Desi, the main character!) Also, I know I'm in the middle of what-feels-like ten million fantasy series, but what's one more ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi — another fantasy series I want to start but will probably end up finishing in 2050 if I live that long. This one is the first in Rick Riordan's imprint under Disney! I recently realized I am incredibly drawn to FIRSTS. I like to start things. This one fits the bill in so many ways — first book in a new series, first time reading a book by Roshani Chokshi, first book in a new imprint ... let's do this!

I added The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn to this list just because I wanted to read more psychological thrillers. But if I don't get to it, IT'S ALL GOOD! As long as I get to the other ones πŸ˜‚


Okay friends, tell me what you're reading this month! Will we be reading any of the same books?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Book Review // Meet Cute: Some people are destined to meet by Jennifer L. Armentrout et. al.

meet cute: some people are destined to meet
by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Dhonielle Clayton, Katie Cotugno, Jocelyn Davies, Huntley Fitzpatrick,
Nina LaCour, Emery Lord, Katharine McGee, Kass Morgan, Julie Murphy, Meredith Russo,
Sara Shepard, Nicola Yoon, and Ibi Zoboi

Release Date: January 2, 2018
Format: Hardcover // 314 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Links: Purchase from AmazonAdd to Goodreads
Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of "how they first met" from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour's beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard's glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon's imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno's story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick's charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There's futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.
MEET CUTE (according to Urban Dictionary) = described as a "scenario in which two individuals are brought together in some unlikely, zany, destined-to-fall-in-love-and-be-together-forever sort of way (the more unusual, the better)."

Siege Etiquette by Katie Cotugno (★★★)
There's nothing surprising to me about Cotugno's messy and complicated short story — that's the way she writes and you either love it or hate it. (Luckily, I love it! But kind of in a twisted way ...) Although the main character is unlikeable, it felt like an honest depiction of how some teens feel and think. The stars are not always going to be perfectly aligned, and sometimes people do messed up things. Was this a meet cute? No, not at all 😒

Print Shop by Nina Lacour (★★★)
It was a little slow in the beginning, and I felt like we didn't learn much about the love interest! I was more interested in the secondary characters' lives, haha ... I just wanted more interaction. Was this a meet cute? Kind of!

Hourglass by Ibi Zoboi (★★★)
I like that this one was more than just a meet cute. We got to learn about the main character's background and friendships, which sort of led into everything else. But it was hard to rate because the love interest isn't around for the majority of the story! So we don't see what happens with the two of them, just how their paths cross. Was this a meet cute? Kind of?

Click by Katharine McGee (★★★★)
This one reminded me of a Black Mirror episode, but a light-hearted version. It was cute and cheesy, which is the kind of meet cute I enjoy! Was this a meet cute? Yes!

The Intern by Sara Shepard (★★★)
I felt like this one was too quick to be a meet cute? It reminded me a lot of Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally. So not quite unique but sweet and meaningful. Was this a meet cute? Not really ...

Somewhere That's Green by Meredith Russo (★)
I really didn't like this one because there wasn't enough internal dialogue from the main character, especially since she went through the most development. I felt like she was thinking one way in the beginning of the story, and then we don't know anything about what she's feeling in the end. I'm not saying that people aren't allowed to change (because yes, we are!) but I couldn't see how or why she wanted to? I hope that makes sense. Was it a meet cute? Not to me ... it seemed like the main character was bullying the love interest the entire time.

The Way We Love Here by Dhonielle Clayton (★★★★★)
I rarely enjoy fabulism (a form of magic realism in which fantastical elements are placed into an everyday setting) but I really loved this one. We need a full-length novel!!! Was this a meet cute? Yes ... ish.

Oomph by Emery Lord (★★★★★)
Emery Lord never fails me. Her stories are so easy to read (in the best way possible) because her writing is addicting. I don't know how else to say it! Was this a meet cute? Yes!

The Dictionary of You and Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout (★★★★)
Another cute and cheesy story, which I am 100% here for. The love interest was a little strange, but that didn't bother me at all. Was this a meet cute? YES!

The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Davies (★★★★★)
I LOVED THIS ONE SO MUCH. THIS IS WHAT A MEET CUTE IS. Can someone turn The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love into a movie, please?! The main character decides to do her statistics project on the likelihood of seeing one guy on the train again. This short story was even formatted to look like a report, with the five sections being introduction, hypothesis, research, analysis, and conclusion. My nerdy heart is so happy. Was this a meet cute? YES!!!

259 Million Miles by Kass Morgan (★★★)
I like that we aren't told immediately what's going on, but we find out piece by piece. This is the kind of thing that's hit or miss with me — it worked in this case! Knowing more about the main character and his past gave this story more meaning, but I felt like he didn't have enough time to process everything and make the decision he did in the end. And what happened with the love interest was awful πŸ˜­ Was this a meet cute? Yes.

Something Real by Julie Murphy (★★★★)
Like Print Shop, I wish we got to learn more about the love interest. To be honest, I thought she was lying about her life. Oops. But overall, I enjoyed it because I'm a sucker for game shows and competitions. Was this a meet cute? Yes.

Say Everything by Huntley Fitzpatrick (★★★)
Definitely thought of A Cinderella Story immediately. It would have been a really sweet full-length novel but since it's a short story, it felt rushed and things happened WAY TOO SOON. I need that back story! It was introduced very weakly (and that makes sense because you want the readers to know what's going on, but you also only have so much you can say in a short amount of time.) The flow of the story was also kind of hard to get into. Was this a meet cute? It was more creepy than cute, to be honest. If it was stretched out over a long period of time, then yes?

The Department of Dead Love by Nicola Yoon (★★★★)
This story takes place in the future, a touch dystopian without being too science-like. There wasn't much development between the main character and the love interest ... I could imply that something would happen between the two of them, but I didn't really want to root for it? I like the concept of the story more than the meet cute itself. Was this a meet cute? Kind of?


What are your favorite "meet cute" stories?
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