Bonus Content, Book Tags

The Birthday Book Tag!

birthday#cake#birthdaycake#happy#happybirthday#candels#c#light ...

Hello, bookish friends! I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my 21st birthday than with you all, talking about books, so I did some digging and found the Birthday Book Tag — YAYY! The creator of this tag is Antonia over at Always Books. Big shout out to her and her awesome creativity! Y’all ready to talk all things books and birthdays? Me too, so let’s get to it!

My Life Next Door

Girl and boy live next door to each other, are basically complete opposites, and fall in love in the summertime? Yeah, the overall concept of this book is totally cliche, but I can’t help but love it anyway! The characters are oh so lovable, the writing is absolutely beautiful, and this book perfectly describes the ups, downs, and awkwardness of first love. Every time I pick it up (even if I just pick it up to clean off my bookshelf), I can’t help but smile because My Life Next Door is just that sweet!

Amazon.com: The Nobleman's Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks ...

If you’ve been hanging around my blog for awhile, you already know that my love for the Montague Siblings series by Mackenzi Lee knows no bounds, so when I saw that there was ANOTHER book, I could hardly contain my excitement! I’ve been longing for Lee’s hilariously relatable characters and quirky writing style since I finished the last book in the series. Not to wish my life away or anything, but can it be December already so I can go buy The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks, please?

The Rest of the Story

When I picked up this book, I was a little bit unsure as to how I would feel about it, as usually Sarah Dessen books are either a hit or a miss for me. The fact that this book will go down in history as one of my favorite contemporaries I’ve read in my life shocks me to say, but it’s true, folks! I loved that even though there were some very light romantic undertones, the main focus remained on Saylor getting to know her mother’s side of the family and filling in the blanks surrounding her mother’s past, which ended up helping Saylor find a new part of herself she didn’t realize was there before. The Rest of the Story was funny, heartwarming, emotional, and just so much fun to read from beginning to end.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, #1)

I’m totally not going to lie to you guys: Whenever I hear a whole lot about an upcoming release months before it actually hits shelves, I do sort of avoid said very hyped book for at least a few months to see what readers really think about it. With A Curse So Dark and Lonely, I waited a few months per my usual system, but when I finally finished reading it, I wanted to kick myself for waiting so long! I absolutely loved the characters, the world-building, and all the fairytale tie-ins. Don’t let the hype scare you like it did me — this book is totally deserving of all the attention it got!

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)

You guys already know that I love this book for so many reasons: it’s action-packed, the characters are total smart alecks but have so many layers, and the world-building is seriously incredible. Something you all may not know is that there were numerous points in this book that I literally got teary-eyed at because the writing was just that beautiful. There were quotes from character that made me laugh so dang hard that I cried as well, so this book definitely has a good balance of emotional and humorous elements. I don’t think I will be forgetting this read for a long time. If you haven’t read House of Earth and Blood yet, just do it! You won’t be disappointed!

The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never, #1)

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVED this book when I read it the first (and second) time! However, I think I was just enjoying the story and beautiful writing and not actually taking in the true meaning the author was trying to convey through the main characters. If I were to pick this up and read it now that I have some true life experience under my belt, I think I would be able to relate more to Camryn and her journey. Guess that means it’s time for a re-read to see if my theory holds true, huh?

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

This is kind of a crazy choice because this fantasy is about as dark as it can get, but hear me out! I read this duology a couple of months before I started my first year of college. As someone who wasn’t a huge fan of change at the time, I found the transition to this new phase of life a little overwhelming (I’m sure some of you can relate to this!). I loved this series because I was so invested in these characters and the super dope plot that it gave my brain something to do other than stress about what was coming next for me. And dang did it keep me on my toes because THOSE PLOT TWISTS, MAN!

What a perfect way to round out my birthday week — right here with you guys talking about some great reads! I encourage all of you to do this tag when it gets close to your birthdays, and if you’ve already done it, drop links below so I can check out your answers!

Have a great weekend, bookish friends. Until next week! ๐Ÿ™‚

All the Recs, Bonus Content

If You Liked That, Try This: Fantasy Edition!

Hello, bookish friends! Welcome to another installment of “If you liked that, try this!” This segment’s topic is all about fantasy novels. Be warned: There are some blasts from the past on this list (partly because I am a little behind on my newly-released fantasy novel reading. This summer, I’ve been on a crazy contemporary kick!). Without further ado, let’s get on with this thing, shall we?

If you liked Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, try Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings!

I know what you’re all thinking: How are these two books even remotely similar? Well, let me tell ya, folks: They are more alike than you could ever imagine! One of the shared elements I loved about both of these books were the “crews” the characters were a part of and the adventures they went on together. While I’m a sucker for some good romance, I appreciated that this component took a backseat in both of these books, keeping the focus on the characters’ individual journeys. If you enjoyed all of these elements while reading Six of Crows, as well as its completely unexpected plot twists at every turn, Zenith may just be the perfect read for you!

If you liked The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, give A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer a try!

When I was trying to come up with these book pairings, I honestly could not think of a better match than these two in terms of overall concept/structure. Both The Cruel Prince and A Curse So Dark and Lonely have protagonists who are thrown into completely different worlds and fight back against those who try to force them to adapt to their new surroundings. These books also have the “tortured male lead” and “normal girl falls for the royal” tropes going on. If you enjoyed the political intrigue, strong female protagonist, and supernatural elements of The Cruel Prince, check out A Curse So Dark and Lonely!

If you liked House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, give From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout a try!

I couldn’t help but include both of these adult fantasies on this recommendation list because they are two of my favorite reads of 2020 thus far! It also just so happens that many of the elements I enjoyed about House of Earth and Blood are also at the forefront of From Blood and Ash. Both books have super awesome, kick butt female protagonists who are taking control of their lives after coming to terms with some seriously traumatic events. As you can probably guess already since we are talking about Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer L. Armentrout, after all, you will probably want to hate but will end up loving the male leads (ughh. It happens to me every time!). If you fell in love with the witty characters, sizzling romance, and stunning world-building of House of Earth and Blood, From Blood and Ash is the perfect book for you to check out next!

If you liked Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, give Invictus by Ryan Graudin a try!

Calling all time travel fans — this recommendation is totally for you! Both Passenger and Invictus take the reader on a journey through time as their protagonists race against the clock to discover long lost truths about members of their families. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even be faced with the ultimate choice to make: Is rewriting history worth the cost? In addition to this critical similarity, Bracken and Graudin both have very distinct writing styles, making their storytelling incredibly compelling. If you’re on the hunt for a book to help fill the hole that Passenger left behind when you finished it, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Invictus!

If you liked Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout, give Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick a try!

In addition to both of these books having supernatural creatures in them (aliens and fallen angels) and the fact that they have similar “struggle between two factions to save humanity” concepts, the main similarity I couldn’t help but point out is the fact that the male leads in both books are kind of… broody, especially when the female protagonists first meet them. I would also argue that the way the romances in these books start out are very similar to one another, in that there is sort of this “instant attraction” element that while I’d love to hate it, I can’t help but love. If you enjoyed the broody, mysterious dude that is Daemon Black, the can’t-help-but-ship romance, and the battle between good and evil in Obsidian, I highly suggest giving Hush, Hush a read!

If you liked Divergent by Veronica Roth, give Matched by Ally Condie a try!

There’s been a lot of talk about both of these books, and it appears that one similarity between Divergent and Matched is the fact that readers either love or hate them. While neither of these books were necessarily make my list of favorite reads of all time, I did find myself enjoying a lot of things about them. I found the overall concepts of these dystopian novels to be really interesting, and the worlds these writers created were so neat to learn about. I found myself relating to the main characters on more than one occasion, and even though I didn’t always agree with the choices they made, I still enjoyed watching their journeys play out. If you enjoyed the plot twists, dash of romance, and watching the protagonist attempt to destroy the corrupt government systems in their world play out in Divergent, definitely give Matched a shot!

There you have it, folks — another recommendation list, as if our TBRs aren’t long enough as it is! Did a book you love that’s similar to those above not make the list? Drop your recommendations in the comments below!

Until next week, bookish peeps! ๐Ÿ™‚

Bonus Content, More Bookish Fun!

Bookish Pet Peeves: Appearance Edition

Happy Friday, bookish friends! For this week’s bonus content post, I decided to introduce a new series entitled, “Bookish Pet Peeves,” and have opted to start by sharing things that drive me a little nuts about the physical appearance of books. Before we jump into this thing, here’s a little disclaimer: In no way does the appearance of a book dictate the quality of the words inside nor would I not read a book because I don’t like the way it looks. Now that all that business is taken care of, let’s get into it!

1) The Cover Being Just a Zoomed-In Face

As always, there are exceptions to every rule (aka The Shatter Me series covers which are so beautiful!), but for the most part, there’s just something about these kinds of covers that irk me to no end. When I see them, I just think, “okay, cool, a face. But what exactly does ONE ZOOMED-IN FACE tell me about this book???” More times than not, it has absolutely nothing to do with the words inside, so why would that cover have even been an option on the table when they were making printing decisions? This is the question that will forever haunt my dreams.

2) Price Tags/Sale Stickers

Imagine: You’re in a bookstore, browsing around for a new read. You pick up a good lookin’ book, flip it over to read the synopsis, and BOOM — there’s a sticker RIGHT IN THE DAGGUM MIDDLE of it. Or maybe you’re a bookstagrammer and you loved a book you recently read. Naturally, you want to talk about it on your page, but when you go to take a picture of the it, there’s a sticker on the front. If you’re like me, you try to rip it off, but it doesn’t come off in one piece, and now it looks worse than it did before. Ughh… tragic! While I love a good deal, it will be a good day when the sticker method of labeling sale prices on books ceases to exist!

3) Mid-Series Cover Changes

An excellent marketing ploy publishing houses use against all the readers who can’t stand to have mismatched books in the same series? Absolutely, because they know fools like me are going to put all the books in the series with the new covers in my little Amazon cart, even if I already own the books in their original covers! Is this approach annoying as HECK to the consumer? 100 PERCENT, and basically forces me to spend money that I totally don’t have (#brokecollegestudentlife) because I can’t stand mismatched covers. You’re killin’ me here, publishers!

4) Different Book Heights… In the Same Series

*Insert “change my mind” meme here* because there is literally NO REASON this needs to be a thing! Every time I look at my bookshelves, I always notice the height difference in books that are in the same series, and it drives me slightly bonkers, especially when it’s the second book in a trilogy — my OCD just can’t handle it!

5) Film-Adapted Book Covers

I know many of you feel as strongly as I do about this one. It’s not that I don’t enjoy book-to-movie adaptations (sometimes…). It’s just that some things are better left untouched, and, like other booklovers, I think that literature should be remembered for being awesome FIRST, not after a great movie adaptation of it comes out. This being said, there is a small part of me that loves these covers because they encourage non-readers to pick some really great books up, so there is a tiny plus to this pet peeve!

6) Uneven Page Edges

I’ll be the first to admit that often times, books with this feature are STUNNING! But as I’m flipping through reading, these kinds of pages end up sticking together, and occasionally I’ve been spoiled (BOO) because I skipped a page without realizing it until too late. I also don’t really like that this feature makes the books look unfinished and rather distressed. When I pay full price for a physical copy of a book, I want it to look new rather than like my cat got a hold of it (sorry, not sorry not the analogy, friends).

This is probably terrible to say, but I found writing this post super therapeutic. Did any of your bookish pet peeves make this list? Leave any additions you can think of in the comments below so we can all rant together!

Until next week, bookish buddies! May your weekend be filled with fun reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Bonus Content, More Bookish Fun!

Bookish Workout Tips!

Hello, bookish people! Some of you may have come to check this post out just because it literally sounds so bizarre, in which case, welcome and thanks for allowing your curiosity to bring you to this wonderful (yet kind of nutty) post! Given the current pandemic, I know a lot of folks are still skeptical about hitting up their go-to gyms to get their blood pumping. As an alternative to this, I thought I would share some bookish workout tips that not only allow you to keep up a solid fitness regime, but also may let you sneak in a little extra reading while doing it. Let’s jump right into this thing, shall we?

1) No weights? Just use some big ol’ books!

I like big books and I cannot lie! Okay, totally cheesy and unoriginal, but one of the many reasons I love big books is because they have multiple uses besides just being fun to read. If you’re stuck at home and looking for a little extra weight to use during your workout, try using a few of your largest and/or most heavy books on your shelf! While this tip doesn’t necessarily let you get some extra reading in, it does still let you spend some quality time with your literary BFFs.

2) Earn your reading time!

Looking to sneak in a little extra reading during your day, but don’t want to give up your daily workout to do it? This tip is for you! However, there is a small catch: you can only read the number of pages that you can do of a particular exercise. For example, if you can do 10 push-ups in a row, then you can only read 10 pages. This may even be fun to do in a circuit — do some kind of exercise, read the number of pages you earned, do another exercise, then read those pages, and so on. Then your page count keeps growing, and those calories keep burning!

3) Listen to an audiobook while doing your cardio workout

I’ll be the first to say that cardio-related physical activities are NOT my gig (especially running, yuck). But trading in your normal music playlist for an audiobook might just be the trick to redirect your attention from the fact that your legs feel like they’re burning off and the sweat dripping off your face. I’d recommend you pick a book that’s action-packed so that it holds your attention for the entirety of your workout — a good, fast-paced fantasy is my go-to!

4) Bookish yoga!

I’ll admit that reading while doing yoga is kind of cheating because you’re supposed to be clearing your mind of everything except for the task at hand (aka holding various yoga positions and concentrating on not face planting). Nevertheless, if this is the only time you have to read in the day, it won’t kill you to sometimes cheat a little and shift a tad bit of your focus to a good book. On the bright side, if you pick a relaxing, calming book to read, you will be just about as rejuvenated after your bookish yoga workout as you would your normal practice!

5) Read during stationary exercises

There nothing stopping you from reading a page or two while doing wall sits or holding a plank! If you really want to push yourself, I’d recommend that you trying holding whatever position you’re in for the amount of time it takes you to read a whole page, read another whole page while you take a break, then repeat.

6) Don’t forget: Reading is a workout for your brain!

While reading doesn’t necessarily help you burn off last night’s pizza and ice cream feast, it does wonders for your brain! Studies show that taking the time to read on a regular basis increases your vocabulary, reduces stress, improves memory, and helps fight off depression and other mental health conditions. All this being said, don’t forget to take care of both your body and your brain — both are equally important contributors to you living a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life!

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope you find these unique workout tips helpful as we all try to navigate these challenging times. Do you have your own bookish workout routines? Tell me all about them below!

Until next week, bookish friends! I hope you all get to kick back and relax with a good book (or five!) this weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

Bonus Content, Book Tags

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag: 2020 Edition

Welcome back to the blog, bookish friends! I’m about a month late to the game on this tag, but since I’m slowly but surely working my way towards making my reading goal for this year, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate all that I’ve read so far and share some books I’m excited to get to by year’s end. I’m not exactly sure who created the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag, but I saw it over on KimberlyFaye Reads’ blog, so be sure to check her version out when you’re done over here!

1) Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

Not only is this my favorite book of the year so far, it may go down in history as one of my favorite reads ever! House of Earth and Blood had everything I look for in a high fantasy: a fast-paced plot, characters that you feel completely invested in and root for from beginning to end, ALL the romance, and stunning world-building. It was seriously just SO GOOD, y’all! Don’t just take my word for it — give it a read for yourselves and then we can all anxiously await Book #2 together!

2) Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

Amazon.com: A Heart So Fierce and Broken (The Cursebreaker Series ...

After reading A Curse So Dark and Lonely at the beginning of this year and loving every moment of it, I booked it (pun intended!) to Barnes and Noble to grab this beauty! While it took me a little while to get used to the different perspectives in it, I found myself enjoying the change of pace. There was a good mix of fast-paced action, some great characters that I couldn’t help but love even when I was mad at them, and a little dash of romance thrown in for good measure. I’m really looking forward to reading the final book in this trilogy when it releases at the beginning of 2021!

3) New release you haven’t read yet but want to

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

I’ve heard so many great things about Girl, Serpent, Thorn that I can’t help but want to read it myself! The overall concept kind of reminds me a little bit of the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, which I read years ago and still love to pieces, so I’m looking forward to picking this book up in the near future and seeing if it lives up to all the hype!

4) Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

The Nobleman's Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks (Montague Siblings, #3)

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you already know that the Montague Siblings series by Mackenzi Lee holds a special place in my heart. It’s quirky, adventurous, and completely unique from anything I’ve ever read before. When I found out there would be one final book in this series AND that it was all about the long-lost brother of Felicity and Monty, I was absolutely FLOORED. While there are so many great books releasing in the second half of this year, The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks takes the cake for me!

5) Biggest disappointment

The Queen (A Wicked Trilogy #3.7)

I know what you’re all thinking: The biggest JLA fan on earth is saying that one of her favorite author’s books is the biggest disappointment of the year so far? Alas, it’s true, and it pains me to even have admit that this is the case. I’ll keep it short and to the point so this can remain as painless as possible for all of us: I expected action, drama, romance, and witty banter between some of my favorite characters from the Wicked trilogy, and I got almost NONE of that from The Queen. The plot felt like it didn’t even move, and the characters remained stagnant and/or annoyed me with their back-and-forth indecisiveness that led to unnecessary conflict. Overall, a HUGE disappointment, as sad as it makes me to say.

6) Biggest surprise

The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses, #1)

As weird as it sounds, I was actually surprised that I liked this book as much as I did. For the majority of my life thus far, I have been obsessed with the Shadowhunters series, but given that this book takes place before a lot of the stuff in the Mortal Instruments does (I know I’m being super vague but I don’t want to hit you guys with spoilers), I went into it thinking that I’d be kind of bored since I knew what was going to come next, at times. However, I had actually forgotten some of the smaller details that happened to be at the forefront of Red Scrolls of Magic, which was a pleasant surprise! It also goes without saying that it was so good to see Alec and Magnus again (MALEC, THE ULTIMATE SHIP!!!).

7) Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Foolish Hearts

In my review, I absolutely raved about Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. In addition to the overall concept and characters being so much fun to read about, Mills’ writing style was really appealing and beautiful to read. Going forward, I am definitely going to be checking out more of her books and encourage all of you to do the same if you’re unfamiliar with her writing!

8) Newest fictional crush

Making a Play (The Field Party, #5)

It’s cheesy, cliche, and totally obvious, but my newest fictional crush goes to Ryker Lee, the bad boy footballer from Lawton High. While he has quite the reputation in his little ol’ town, I fell in love with the hidden, more vulnerable side to his character that would come out when he would spend time with Aurora, the new girl at school who also happens to be deaf. I’m not going to spoil anything, but he really is an awesome dude. You’ll just have to read it to learn more about why I think so!

9) Newest favorite character

Hands down this award goes to Cayman from Storm and Fury! While this character was originally introduced to us in the Dark Elements series (the original that Storm and Fury is a spin-off of), I didn’t feel as connected to him until this book, and now he goes down in history as one of my favorite supporting characters of all time! He’s a hilariously loyal demon that’s impossible to forget (I think my retinas are scorched from some of his outfits… yes, they were that flamboyant).

10) A book that made you cry

I’m don’t typically cry when I read, but this one had me UGLY CRYING more than once. I can’t really go into the deets as to why because spoilers, but Rage and Ruin was FAB, so if you haven’t started the Harbinger series yet, definitely give it a read and we can all cry together! And, if you have read it, I’m sorry if this pick made brought all those emotional times for you — I know writing this did for me!

11) A book that made you happy

The Rest of the Story

As you could probably tell from my review, I absolutely loved every second of reading The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen. I couldn’t help but smile as Saylor found out more about her mother with the help of her cousins and friends that grew up on North Lake, and my smile grew even bigger every time Roo would enter the picture. Even though this book also has some underlying themes that aren’t all that happy, the majority of the book was like a bright ray of sunshine!

12) The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year

I’m cheating a little bit on this one (sorry, friends!). I actually received this particular edition of The Beholder in the May 2019 Fairyloot box, but since I didn’t read it until this year, I decided it should count, anyway. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy reading the book itself, but this exclusive model is a beautiful addition to my bookshelf. It’s metallic font on the cover and pink-sprayed edges draw my eye every time!

13) A book/books you need to read by the end of the year

While this list could go on forever (just like my TBR… ughh.), these four books are just a snippet of the books I hope to have read by the end of this year. They all also just so happen to be books by some of my favorite authors!

Even though I haven’t met my 35-book reading goal for the year just yet, doing this tag and reflecting on what I have gotten to read so far made me feel pretty proud, given all the other obligations that come along with adulting that make it hard to squeeze in time for fun reading! Have you read some good books this year so far? Let’s talk about them. And, if you’ve done the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag (this year or in previous years) drop your links below! I’d love to see some your version of this tag.

Until next week! May your weekend be filled with all the books ๐Ÿ™‚

All the Recs, Bonus Content

If You Liked That, Try This: Contemporary Romance Edition

Hello, fellow booklovers! For today’s post, I’ve decided to suggest books similar to those you’ve already read and loved. Since we’re in the throes of summer, I decided to start this bonus content series off with a list of YA contemporary romances — my go-to genre for summer reading! Let’s jump right into this thing, y’all!

If you liked To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, try Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

While this may seem like an out-there pick, I promise there’s a method to my madness! Eleanor & Park combines the elements of quirky and flawed characters we can’t help but love while also tackling the complicated topic of a person’s first time falling in love. Not only that, but both To All the Boys and Eleanor & Park do so in a realistic way as opposed to idealizing life and love like a lot of other YA contemporaries tend to do, making them that much more relatable to their audience.

If you liked Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, try Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welsh.

One of the parts of Anna and the French Kiss readers can’t help but love is the protagonist traveling abroad and finding themselves in a country that’s completely new to them. If you were one of these readers, Love & Gelato is going to be right up your alley. Both of these reads also have some pretty sweet romances, and while they weren’t all that realistic at times, I couldn’t help but ship these cute couples. If you’re looking for books that take you on international summer adventures right from the comfort of your own home, definitely check these two beauties out!

If you liked Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, try Just Listen by Sarah Dessen.

If you were a big fan of the playlists Matson included in Since You’ve Been Gone, you are sure to love the musical tie-ins in Just Listen. In addition to this obvious connection, both books highlight two teens who are trying to figure out who they are without the support of their best friends (who have basically become their sisters) behind them. If you’re looking for a similar read to Since You’ve Been Gone that gives you all the feels and has you rooting for the protagonist as they struggle to figure out who they are and become who they want to be, Just Listen might just be the perfect pick-me-up for you!

If you liked Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry, try The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia.

Nowhere But Here is one of those books that has it all: a unique concept, multi-dimensional characters that constantly surprise you, and a whole truckload of romance. If you’re looking for a book with similar features, The Lovely Reckless would be the perfect choice! Similar to Emily and Oz in Nowhere But Here, Frankie and Marco both have tough exteriors as a result of their negative past life experiences, but as they get to know one another, they manage to let their guards down just enough to begin healing. Oh, and did I mention that there’s street racing in The Lovely Reckless? Not exactly the same as the motorcycle club situation in Nowhere But Here, but if you’re an adrenaline junkie (or, like me, live vicariously through fictional characters as they do risky things you’ve never have the guts to do in real life) and are looking for a fix, The Lovely Reckless may do the trick!

If you liked Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines, try The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Until Friday Night and The Problem with Forever both have an element to them that’s rare in YA: the main character refuses to speak after experiencing a traumatic event. While the protagonists in these books come from different backgrounds, their journeys are similar in that they’re both trying to overcome the pasts that have held them back and move forward. While there are romantic interests in both books, the romances are placed on the back burner, which I appreciated because I found the characters’ individual journeys much more compelling than the relationships. If you’re looking for another book that places most of the focus on character development but still have romantic undertones, The Problem with Forever is a good option for you!

If you liked Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi, try Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett.

Awkward first encounters and undeniable connections the protagonists try to pretend don’t exist, but to no avail? Yeah, I’m a big fan, too! While Emergency Contact focuses mostly on communication via text between Penny and Sam and Serious Moonlight on in-person interactions, many of the things we all love about Emergency Contact also ring true in Serious Moonlight: witty characters that are fully aware of their quirks doing their best to adjust to their new-found independence, the characters’ willingness to dream big and go after what they want in life regardless of the struggles it takes to get there, and stunning writing that keeps you hooked from beginning to end.

If you liked My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, try No Place Like Here by Christina June.

As you’ve seen from some of my other posts, My Life Next Door is one of my favorite contemporaries of all time. However, a good many of the elements I fell in love with can also be found in Christina June’s No Place Like Here. If you enjoyed the complex family dynamic in My Life Next Door as well as the sweet romance that blossoms from a strong friendship and mad respect for the other person, No Place Like Here is your cup of tea! I don’t have all that much to share about these because I want you to get to experience the awesomeness that are these two books for yourselves. Trust me when I say you won’t be disappointed with No Place Like Here, especially if you are a My Life Next Door mega-fan like I am!

If you liked The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren, try Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally.

Oddly enough, I was totally shocked that I enjoyed both The Last Thing You Said and Breathe, Annie, Breathe as much as I did, and for similar reasons. Both of these books tackle the tough topic of the protagonist losing someone they were close to unexpectedly, and the guilt they feel about being alive while their loved one is not. In both instances, the person lost was very young at their time of passing, making it that much more difficult for those living to overcome their grief and continue living like the person they lost would have wanted them to. If you liked the fact that the healing of the characters took precedent over the romance that bloomed in The Last Thing You Said, you should definitely give Breathe, Annie, Breathe a shot!

Well, there you have it, folks! I’ve always loved reading these types of posts and seeing what books other readers suggest. Do you have a favorite contemporary that didn’t make the list, or maybe you have an alternative rec for a book I’ve listed above? Let me know below! Until next week, lovelies! ๐Ÿ™‚

Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

Blast From the Past: My Favorite Childhood Reads

While I didn’t really start reading for fun until I was in the 8th grade, there are still so many books I remember reading with my family or at school that I look back on fondly. With so many kiddos (and adults!) being stuck at home this summer in need of entertainment, I couldn’t think of a better time to share some of my favorite childhood reads that have stuck with me through the years that you may want to introduce to the littles in your life!

Hearts will ache over 'Flowers for Algernon' story | Arts And ...

I’ll be the first to admit that this may be an odd choice for this list, as it does have some more mature elements to it that most young readers won’t completely understand. However, I couldn’t leave it off because this was a book that I remember reading with my grandmother in elementary school. I always say that reading with others is a great way to bond, and this definitely rings true when it came to my reading Flowers for Algernon. If you know a reader who enjoys books that are emotionally charged and gripping until the end, I highly suggest giving this book a try!

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters.: Steptoe, John.: Amazon.com: Books

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is a story I read in school, and I still remember every detail of it to this day. I appreciate the fact that it gives the reader insight into a culture they may not be as familiar with and provides a universal message that transcends both time and geographical region: kindness reaps reward.

The Trumpet of the Swan: White, E. B, Marcellino, Fred ...

The Trumpet of the Swan was another book I had the opportunity to enjoy with my family. The cast of chitchatting animals (an E. B. White specialty) was such a cute touch, and I loved that this book carried the overarching theme of working with what you are given, but not letting obstacles get in the way of what you’re striving for. I think this is a lesson we could all learn from, as it’s easy to get discouraged and want to give up when you continue to hit road blocks!

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Big Book: Numeroff, Laura Joffe, Bond ...

I know what you’re thinking: EVERYONE loved this book as a kid, and you’re probably right! I remember it being read to me at school on numerous occasions, and I just thought it was such a cute one that it had to make this list. The other books in the series (If You Give a Pig a Party and If You Give a Moose a Muffin are two that come to mind, but there could be more now) are also sure to bring a smile to your face!

Amazon.com: Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-28 (8580001055886 ...

Whenever my class would take a trip to the school library, I would head straight to the Magic Tree House section. Every one of these books takes the reader on a brand new adventure, and I remember being so excited to see what setting Jack and Annie were going to be whisked away to next as the series went on. If you know of a young reader who loves books full of adventure, I’d highly recommend you read these to them. They are sure to be a hit!

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Hardcover | Barnes & Nobleยฎ

I’m sure this is not the first time you’ve seen this book come up on a list like this, as it is just that good! Giving and giving selflessly to others is something people of all ages struggle to do, and I think The Giving Tree does an excellent job of explaining this lesson to its readers. The fact that this message could be so well explained in so few words makes this book that much more special and powerful. I recommend this book to literally everyone because the moral that’s at the forefront of The Giving Tree is timeless!

Rainbow Fish Big Book: Pfister, Marcus, James, J Alison ...

While the moral of selflessly sharing with others was a nice backdrop to this book, what I remember the most about The Rainbow Fish are the illustrations. The vibrant colors and the way the sparkly scales added texture to each page made this book extra eye-catching. I think it’s the perfect book to gift your little ones who are just starting to read on their own. It also makes for a great bedtime story for you to read to them!

Amazon.fr - Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery, L. M. - Livres

In addition to just enjoying Anne’s shenanigans she manages to get herself into, I loved how this book highlights the importance of family, friendship, and working hard to achieve your aspirations. I also appreciated the fact that Anne, like a lot of people, hasn’t had a cookie cutter life — an element of her characterization that many readers will find relatable in one way or another, even if they haven’t experienced exactly what she has.

Amazon.com: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom eBook: Martin Jr, Bill, John ...

The sing-song voice of this book is what really stood out to me as a child. The overall concept of using a coconut tree to help little ones learn their letters is so genius and by keeping the concept so simple, I think children are better able to understand the educational component of the book because it’s at the forefront of the story rather than being overshadowed by other plot elements. The vibrant colors of the illustrations were also a big hit for me (still a huge fan of all the neons, y’all!).

Charlotte's Web (Trophy Newbery) - Kindle edition by White, E. B. ...

I know I already have a book written by E. B. White on this list, but Charlotte’s Web is one of those books I remember so vividly from my childhood that it would just be so wrong not to include it here! White is well known for tacking tough topics in ways children can understand, and in Charlotte’s Web, he tackled the complex themes of friendship, sacrifice, and coping with death. While I wish I could say that I totally understood this message when I first read it, that would be a total lie. Ultimately, I was drawn in by the adorable talking animals, but I guess that would be a good (and super intentional) distraction to any young reader!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., Eric ...

I’m so happy to see that this book is still popular today, as it has a lot of things going for it, particularly for very young audiences. I had this book read to me before I could read on my own, and it was not only fun to listen to, but it also provides little ones with a some schooling along the way. If you’re looking for a book that focuses on helping littles connect objects with their meanings and learn their colors, this book would be a perfect choice!

Holes - Kindle edition by Sachar, Louis, Vladimir Radunsky, Bagram ...

I’ll be honest with you all: I had to read this book in 6th grade, and at the time, I just felt like I couldn’t connect with it at all at my age. However, after reading it a couple years later, I began to understand why it’s so well-loved. I also have to admit that I fell in love with the film long before the book (sorry, not sorry) but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that there were so many great things to appreciate about the book alone: well-constructed characters, a unique plotline, and the fact that the writing is beautiful and flowy, but still relatively easy for young readers to understand.

This list could literally go on for days, but I want to hear from you! What books do you remember loving from your childhood?

Bonus Content, Book Tags

The Hamilton Book Tag!

One of the things on my bucket list is to see Hamilton live in New York City, but come this very evening, I’ll get to do the next best thing: watch a recording of the real deal on Disney+ while overindulging in all the snacks and singing along (I’m tone-deaf and don’t even care because HAMILTON) to all my favorite songs. And yes, before you ask, I’m getting Disney+ for the sole purpose of watching this musical (judge me if you want, but I am HYPE!). While there’s nothing like seeing a play in a real theater, let’s celebrate this awesome soon-to-be alternative with a fun book tag!

*Maureen Keavy created this tag, so be sure to head over to her YouTube channel to check her version out!*

I think it would be so much fun to spend some time with Andi and her crew from Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings’ Androma Saga, traveling through the Mirabel galaxy. I already felt like I was on a whirlwind of an adventure while reading it, so actually being there experiencing what the characters were would be pretty cool (err, well, the parts where they were not in harm’s way, that it!).

I could pick so many for this one, but Brienna from Rebecca Ross’s The Queen’s Rising has got to take the cake! She’s so driven and works incredibly hard to achieve what she wants, which for the majority of the book is to study a Passion and learn it well enough to be chosen by a Patron to work alongside. I just find her so likable and relatable, and her tenacity served her well when things didn’t go as planned. I’m hoping more people will be able to see how awesome she is in Book #2, The Queen’s Resistance.

I read the Legend series by Marie Lu years ago (it was one of the first series that got me into reading, actually!), and to this day I don’t think I’ve ever seen another character who is as dedicated to their cause as June was when it came to finding her brother’s killer. At only 15 years old when this series kicks off, June has gone through some pretty tough times, and I can honestly say that she rivals, and, in a lot of ways, surpasses so many of the older protagonists in other books in terms of tenacity and motivation to achieve her goals. Pretty incredible at such a young age, if you ask me!

I guess this depends on your definition on “villain,” but Warner from the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi takes the cake on this one! He’s so snarky, witty, and charming… ughh. Even when you’re hating on him for being a complete JERK, you still can’t help put feel a twinge of love mixed in there as well! He also has some of the most legendary comebacks of all time, and while I shouldn’t have laughed when he was roasting everyone, I just couldn’t help myself!

This one was a hard one for me because I’ve marathoned a lot of great series, but I think the one that’s the most impressive is the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Somehow I managed to read all six books in under a week. To this day, I have no idea how I managed to do it, but I guess that goes to show you how great of a series it is!

I really enjoyed Rhen and Harper’s alternating perspectives in Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely. It was cool to see what was going on in both of their heads considering the circumstance they met under were less than ideal, and I thought it was really fun seeing what Rhen and Harper thought of each other and how those feelings shifted from each of their perspectives (no spoilers, friends! You’ll have to read it for yourselves!).

I know there are lots of Potterheads out there that probably want to punch me for not choosing Harry Potter for this one, but I wanted to be more original than that (and, well, ya see, I haven’t read Harry Potter….), so I’m going to go with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan! One of the things that I think makes this series stand out is that even though it’s technically classified as middle grade, readers across the age spectrum continue to have so much fun giving Percy Jackson a read. Plus, Greek mythology will never go out of style, right?

***ATTENTION! SPOILERS FOR QUEEN OF SHADOWS (THRONE OF GLASS #4 BY SARAH J. MAAS) ARE LAYING BEYOND THIS WARNING! MOVE TO NEXT SECTION OR YOU WILL BE SPOILED!***

———————————————————————————————————————————-

*I MEAN IT! PLEASE PROCEED TO NEXT SECTION TO AVOID SPOILERS! FINAL WARNING, MY FRIENDS!*

———————————————————————————————————————————-

While slightly unconventional, I have to go with Lysandra killing Arobynn Hamel in Sarah J. Maas’ Queen of Shadows. I mean sure, she killed him while he was sleeping, but that man NEEDED TO GO, and it was certainly one of the most satisfying moments of the entire Throne of Glass series for me. It was also one of the first times we really see Lysandra start to fight back against those who made her past pretty miserable, so while it may not have been a true, all-out fight on a battlefield, I think the internal wishy-washi-ness faced by the characters involved in plotting and executing Arobynn’s death still satisfies the “fight scene” aspect of this category!

Whenever I need a little pick-me-up, I always reach for any of the books in Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series. They’re just so sweet, fluffy, and entertaining, and I don’t have to think really hard about the plot– I can just kick back and enjoy the story!

I don’t usually wish that there were more books in a series, but I do find myself wishing that some standalones had sequels (weird, right?). However, there is one series that I’d really like to see more of, and that is the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. I still remember reading this WAY BACK in 2014, and I loved every moment of it. I would pay big money to get another book in this series because I’d really like to know what kinds of trouble Cassia, Xander, and Ky are getting up to years after their original stories came to a close!

Most BROTPs consist of just two people, but I can’t resist assigning Rhysand, Cassian, and Azriel from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas to this one. Not only do they make a dynamite team, but they’ve also been through so many dark times together, which have only managed to bring them closer together. Unlike the very serious interactions they have with almost everyone else, these guys are always goofing off and making fun of one another when they’re together (err, when they aren’t busy saving Valaris, that is!).

My answer for this one totally has to be the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. For some reason, I decided to read four or five of her other works before I finally decided to pick this series up, and boy was I kicking myself for waiting so long when I finished it YEARS after it came out because it was SO GOOD!

***SPOILERS FROM KINGDOM OF ASH BY SARAH J. MAAS FOLLOW THIS VERY VERY YELL-Y WARNING!***

———————————————————————————————————————————-

*LEAVE NOW. I MEAN IT.*

———————————————————————————————————————————-

No death hit me harder than that of The Thirteen from the Throne of Glass series. Since (I hope) you’ve read it if you’re reading this, I’m not going to elaborate on what went down and relive this terribly heartbreaking moment for myself or you all, but I really hope I’m not the only one who cried all the ugly tears when reading their death scene!

***SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE ENTIRETY OF THE DARK ELEMENTS SERIES BY JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!***

———————————————————————————————————————————-

*LEAVE NOW, PLEASE! THIS SERIES IS SO GOOD. YOU DON’T WANNA GET SPOILED. TRUST ME!*

———————————————————————————————————————————-

Without a doubt when Roth gets sent back into Hell. I mean, yeah, he comes back and he and Layla get their happily ever after, but my heart FREAKING BROKE in the interim because I was convinced he was gone for good!

One plot twist? How about like a million all thrown in at one time (not to mention all the itty bitty ones scattered throughout the book) that managed to give me miniature heart attacks? Yeah, you guessed it– I’m talking about Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, the second book in the Six of Crows duology! I swear Kaz has to be some evil mastermind with all the tricks he has up his sleeve, but I couldn’t help but love every plot twist that was thrown my way over the course of this book!

QOTD: Are you going to be watching Hamilton in the very near future, too, or maybe you’ve already had the chance to go see it live? What did you think? Did it live up to the hype?

I’m encourage anyone who wants to do this tag to go for it! Or, if you’ve already done it, drop your links below so I can check out your answers!

A Few Updates, Bonus Content

Why I Started Blogging

Literally my favorite shirt ever! Purchased the JLA Lux/Origin box and this shirt was included.

I know you guys have been used to recommendations and/or tips going up each week as bonus content, but I wanted to try something different this go round. For this week’s post, I’ve decided to go for a more discussion-like vibe where I tell you all a little bit more about me, beginning with why I decided to start my own book blog in the first place.

There are honestly tons of reasons why I made the decision to start this blog, but the main reason is that I wanted to create a space where readers could feel at home and have a convenient, welcoming place to go when looking for recommendations, reviews, and other bookish content. I have my bookstagram and Goodreads accounts that I love dearly, but having this blog as my own platform has allowed me to not only continue sharing my love of reading, but has also given me the chance to put out additional content for fellow readers they may find helpful outside my normal review and photo scope.

When all of my schooling is complete, I would love to either become a literary agent or work in a managing editorial capacity at a book publishing house. What this has to do with blogging, you ask? Well, for one, it keeps me writing. While I don’t necessarily want to write a novel myself, I think it’s important to keep honing crafts you may need down the line, and this blog has given me the opportunity to write about one of my biggest passions: literature! Having my own platform also gives me some professional credibility. Regardless of how many people read my blog posts each week, employers and other book publishing industry professionals can tell how much I love books and reading by just glancing at my posts, as well as get a sense of who I am through my writing style and the kinds of content I put out into the world.

Trust me when I say that I have had my fair share of days where I’ve had no idea what exactly to write about and post for the week. But what I’ve learned from this experience thus far it it’s okay not to always know exactly what you’re going to post. All that matters is that I put together quality content that I know will be of assistance to someone out there, and knowing that this platform has the power to do that has made the experience that much more rewarding!

QOTD: Have you started your own blog, or maybe you follow some pretty rad ones? Leave me links below! I’d love to check out what others are writing about. ๐Ÿ™‚

Bonus Content, Bookish Tips

How to Find More Time to Read

Between work, school, and all the other responsibilities that come along with adulthood, I can attest to the fact that it can be really hard to find time in each day to curl up with a good book. But, by the same token, nobody wants to feel like they have to force themselves to read a book they’re supposed to be reading for fun. In this post, I’m going to share some of my favorite tips on how to keep yourself reading, but in a way that makes it not feel like work!

Read a Little at a Time

This is one of my favorite tricks in the book (no pun intended) because even if you can only get through a chapter or so at a time, you’re still taking the time to read something! They do say slow and steady wins the race, and a little at a time is better than nothing at all. And, this effort racks up. Think of it this way: if you read two chapters a day for a week, you’ll have made it through a good chunk of your current read, and a month into this process, you may have finished two or three whole books!

Audiobooks!

I know there have been whole debates on whether or not listening to audiobooks constitutes true “reading,” but I am Team Audiobook all the way and totally think they count! The best part? You can literally listen to them almost anywhere! All you have to do is download your favorite audiobook app, pop in your earbuds, and press play, and you’re reading, just through the ears rather than through the eyes! This is the perfect option to keep folks with long commutes to work or school reading when physical books aren’t an option, and a great use of the time you would normally spend (if you’re like me) pondering world affairs or twiddling your thumbs!

Always Carry a Book

I know so many of you all are probably thinking, “What? Why would you ever leave the house without a book?” More often that I’d like to admit, I leave my current read at home because I think I won’t have time during the day to read any of it. But, sometimes the best laid plans don’t work out and you’re thrown a curveball, leaving you with a broken down car on the side of the interstate on your commute home (yes, this happened to me) and this new-found time is perfect for a little light reading to keep you company. Learn from my experience and just keep a book handy when you go out. That way, you have an activity to fall back on when you hit an unexpected snag.

Join a Book Club

This method reminds me a lot of working out — you’ll find more time in the day to sweat it out (or, in this case, read it out) when you interact with other people who are doing the same thing! While I’m not a part of any formal book clubs, so many of my book-loving friends have told me that reading and talking books with others motivates them to find the time to read themselves. Plus, a book club also puts you on a relatively structured schedule, as you’ll be reading to a certain chapter before your meetings, and you’ll definitely want to keep up with the group so you aren’t spoiled by your fellow book clubbers!

Make a Reading Goal

As someone who is SUPER achievement-oriented and hates ending a day without feeling some sense of accomplishment, setting a reading goal for myself is an absolute must! With my varying schedule, I stick with making a yearly goal where I challenge myself to read a certain number of books by the end of the year, but you can totally customize this tip to your own needs. Maybe making weekly or monthly goals is more your style, or basing your reading goal success on a certain number of pages read better suits your lifestyle. Regardless of what your goal ends up being, just having one to actively strive towards will likely be just the incentive you need to keep you reading on a more routine basis.

Reallocate Your Free Time

We’re all guilty of sitting in front of the TV or scrolling through our news feeds for what feels like five minutes, but when we finally look up at the clock, a huge chunk of time has passed us by! If you’re looking for more time in the day to read, consider being more aware of how much time you spend each day on these mindless activities, and reallocating some of that time to reading. While I certainly don’t suggest eliminating these hobbies completely (I’m totally a Food Network and HGTV addict, myself), I think you’ll be shocked to see how many pages you can get through if you dedicate just a small portion of this time to your current read.

Rise and Shine with a Little B&B

Why not swap out your morning news watching with a little book reading while you eat breakfast in the morning? Even if you aren’t a morning person, reading a little bit of a book you’ve been enjoying first thing is sure to help you start your day off on the right foot! And, if you’re really digging this tip, consider setting your alarm for 30 minutes of so earlier than normal. That way if the chapter you end on is a total cliffhanger, you can use this extra time to find out what happens next instead of worrying/obsessing about it all day like I would be!

It’s Okay to Take Breaks

It’s totally possible to have too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to reading! Forcing yourself to read when you really just aren’t in the mood will not only make the experience less enjoyable, but you could end up setting a book aside unfinished that ordinarily, you would have loved. If you’re anything like me, then it’s unlikely you’d ever pick that book again and could be missing out on how good it really is. This being said, make sure you aren’t pushing yourself too hard! Sometimes our schedules are freer than others, so take advantage of the free time when you have it, but don’t panic when you don’t.

QOTD: When do you do most of your reading? I think most of mine happens in the evenings and on weekends, but I wish I had more time in the day to devote to a good book!