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I guess I could have called it a June Wrap-Up that also includes a couple of books from the end of May, BUT Here we are. Let’s move forward.

I read a LOT of books in the past month. Thirteen books. I’ve narrowed it down to nine books. Why these nine? I don’t really know. Looking at the list, there’s quite the variety. Science Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, Thriller, and Non-Fiction with even more variety in between! The lists below each title are things that really stuck out to me about each book.

FTC Disclaimer: Titles with astricks are from publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Virals by Kathy Reichs | Full Review | Amazon | Book Depository

  • Hard Sci Fi (based in real world science)
  • Great friend group
  • Secret science stuff!
  • Saving the animals and solving a decades-old crime

*Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen | Goodreads Review | Amazon | Book Depository

  • Family
  • A sibling in prison
  • New friends
  • Bubblegum versus Rootbeer lollipops
  • Pizza
  • Creepy dude
  • Perfect dude

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews | Goodreads Review | Amazon | Book Depository

  • Super awkward and quirky narrator
  • Vibrant characters
  • Crazy-cool teacher
  • Classic films (and some that are a little off-center)

*Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone | Goodreads Review | Amazon | Book Depository

  • Main character has Purely-Obsessional OCD
  • Secret poetry society that meets in a secret room in the school
  • THAT TWIST
  • The importance of seeking help when you have mental illness

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh | Full Review | Amazon | Book Depository

  • Felt historical and fantasy with a twist of revenge
  • A little bit of magic
  • A couple of steamy romance scenes
  • Some good heart-to-hearts with an “evil” dictator
  • A good friend

Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard | Goodreads Review | Amazon | Book Depository

  • A twin taking the place of her dead twin
  • Trying to solve the murder
  • The MC almost dying a couple of times
  • Cute boy
  • A dance

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir | Goodreads Review | Amazon | Book Depository

  • Weapons with blades!
  • Desert
  • Two MCs that just want a freaking break from their circumstances
  • (Not necessarily a selling point but I need to say it): Trigger warning – Rape is mentioned a lot. Not in graphic detail, but the way that it’s said by some characters, I could see it being triggering for some readers.

*Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout | Full Review | Amazon | Book Depository

  • Traveling to a foreign country
  • The best tour guides ever (Or, well, Sophie)
  • A cute boy
  • Dealing with what she ran away from
  • Family

*The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs | Goodreads Review | Amazon | Book Depository

  • It’s super geeky and feminist
  • Interviews from lady geeks who make cool stuff
  • Info on how to get involved in fandoms, conventions, etc.

Some updates:
I’m at 32 out of 50 books for my reading goal this year, which means I’m 8 books ahead of schedule.
I think the thing keeping me out of slumps as of late have been the variety of books that I’ve picked up as well as putting down books that aren’t striking my fancy after 30-50 pages. I mean, I did struggle a bit with An Ember in the Ashes in that I’m not used to reading Fantasy of that sort, but it was worth pushing through. I’m sure I’ve said this way too many times: I don’t read Fantasy very often. It’s not really my jam.

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Hello, I love You by Katie M. Stout Book Review

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

Hello, I love You by Katie M. Stout Book ReviewHello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
AmazonBook DepositoryPublished by Macmillan on June 9, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can't stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can't deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she'll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

Hello, I love you. Won’t you tell me your name?

You know that nervous feeling you get when you read a book by one of your friends? Like, “What if I hate it and she never talks to me again?!” Okay, I didn’t hate this book, but it did take some pushing through to get to a point in which the main character, Grace, stopped pointing so often out how American she is and how much she doesn’t understand Korean culture. Girl, we get it. You did zero research on Korean culture before hopping on a plane and going to a boarding school there. At least you have your phrase book. I did connect with Grace on a couple of instances AND was definitely rooting for her when she didn’t just let Jason slide with how he was treating her in Seoul and other places. So, she does have her finer points.

Sophie is definitely the unsung hero of this book. Girl needs to be crowned queen of everything. She’s stylish, she’s the planner of social events, she cares about her family. I think she’s the one I really connected with throughout the story. Okay, maybe I’ll never date a KPOP star, buuuuut you get what I mean. Also, Jane (Grace’s sister) was also A+++ when it comes to the come-to-Jesus talks.

Did anyone else feel super uncomfortable when Grace pointed out how someone spoke English? Example: when she meets Sophie and Jason’s mom and thinks to herself that she speaks perfect English? I get that Grace wants to feel comfortable in South Korea, BUT could you check your privilege just a little bit? I just wish she was a little more excited about learning about the culture she’s in, especially since she’s considering moving there long-term. I mean, I don’t expect her to be willing to eat everything (pig’s feet), but it just seemed like she should have thought for a minute longer about where she wanted to go if she wasn’t so open to “eating rice every day.”

My favorite part of the book would have to be when Grace and Jason make their deal to help one other. No, not when she promises to help him write songs if he tutors her in Korean. When she helps him through his rough spot (I don’t know what else to call it) and it’s basically them saying if he sings on tv and sings what he wants, she has to consider becoming a music producer.

Also, I felt Parenthood-level feels (and got a little misty-eyed) when she is actually confronted as to why she left Tennessee and what she is emotionally and physically running from.

Overall, definitely a solid 3.5 star book. It has the feels you’re looking for in a Contemporary YA novel. It has some KPOP recommendations. It has a bit of drama, but also a good bit of happiness and fun. It’s really sweet and has its adorable moments (hand holding). The romance is so sneaky and good!

three-half-stars

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Happy Birthday, Percy Jackson!

PJ-activityposter-FINAL-v01

It’s the 10th anniversary of the publishing of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, so why not celebrate?! I love this series so much, and was completely hooked in the first book. The writing is so good and funny that I had to read it as slowly as I possibly could just to take it all in. So, what’s The Lightning Thief about?!

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse–Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends–one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena–Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

Percy Jackson and his fellow demigods are some of my favorite fictional characters EVER, so I thought I’d tell y’all my Top 10 Reasons It Would Be Awesome to Be Friends with Percy Jackson:

Reason 1: Adventures all the time forever!
Just when you think it’s going to be the biggest, baddest quest– there’s another bigger and badder quest to happen. I mean, I’d rather not find myself in a labyrinth, BUT if I have to, it would be with Percy and his friends.

Reason 2: Stress-free cruises, am I right?!
Being the child of a sea god, he has control over the water and he’s good friends with the creatures in it. We’d be safe from all the scary stuff!

Reason 3: He is the kind of guy to stand up for you.
In a world without Greek gods, this kid would have some challenges with his dyslexia, but I think he would be a great advocate for kids who feel like they don’t belong– whether that’s in a group of people or in the world as a whole.

Reason 4: He might be stubborn, but he’ll admit he’s wrong.
I mean, it’ll take a minute, but he does a good bit of self-reflection and figuring out when someone else has a better plan.

Reason 5: Birthday presents are super easy.
I mean, other than pool floaties as a gag gift, he would probably be grateful of some new clothes after putting them through some tough stuff on his epic quests.

SeriesCovers

Reason 6: Being friends with Percy means also being friends with Annabeth.
Behind every great demigod is another great demigod. Annabeth is super smart and tough and also has your back.

Reason 7: Blue food galore!
Blue cake, blue popsicles (since it’s summer), blueberries, blue slushies, and the list goes on and on and on. The world is a fun place when your mouth is blue.

Reason 8: You’d always have a ride.
Dude speaks to equine and sea creatures?! You’d never be stranded or without transportation. Especially on your epic quests.

Reason 9: PARTY PONIES!!!
One of my favorite things is when the Party Ponies show up, especially under times of craziness in this series. Why not have them show up for a battle? And you’d always have a group of ponies to party with.

Reason 10: A hero with a sense of humor.
I’m sure all of the previous points can be combined to suggest that Percy is not only a great hero and a great friend, but if you haven’t read this series, you don’t know how freaking hilarious this kid is.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE…

Want to have your own Percy Party?! Check out the 10th Anniversary Activity Kit here.

The perfect moment to get your friends hooked on the series you love! On June 15th, The Lightning Thief will be discounted to $.99 across all eBook accounts for one full week (6/15-6/22). It also includes a sneak peek chapter excerpt from Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book One: The Sword of Summer.

MAGNUS CHASE SNEAK PEEK ON RICKRIORDAN.COM
Catch a sneak peek of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book One: The Sword of Summer available online at ReadRiordan.com!

BARNES & NOBLE COLLECTOR’S EDITION
The perfect gift for new and faithful Percy fans: Barnes & Noble offers customers an exclusive Collector’s Edition of The Lightning Thief to celebrate the 10th anniversary. This version includes extra content from both author and illustrator as well as a specially designed jacket and endpapers. Purchase here.

And now time for a GIVEAWAY!
One (1) winner receives the complete Percy Jackson and the Olympians box set! This box set has the new covers pictured above, which are super epic and awesome.
Open to US addresses only. Prizing provided by Disney-Hyperion.

PercyBoxSet

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

RICK RIORDAN ONLINE
Visit the Official Website
Follow Rick Riordan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
#ReadRiordan

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

The League of Regrettable Superheroes by Jon Morris ReviewThe League of Regrettable Superheroes by Jon Morris
AmazonBook DepositoryPublished by Quirk Books on June 2, 2015
Genres: Nonfiction
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
five-stars
For every superhero hitting the big time with a blockbuster movie, there are countless failures, also-rans, and D-listers. The League of Regrettable Superheroes affectionately presents one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print—from Atoman to Zippo—complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary. Drawing on the entire history of the medium, the book celebrates characters that haven’t seen the light of day in decades, like Natureboy, Dr. Hormone, Thunder Bunny, and more. It’s a must-read for comics fans of all ages!

Confession that may have you running and screaming from this blog post: I don’t read a lot of comic books.

Are the new readers gone yet? Kidding, kidding… Please stay! I may not read a lot of comics, but I definitely have a respect for the craft of both story telling and the art. I recently watched a couple of documentaries on how Marvel Comics came to be. I also grew up watching Batman: The Animated series as well as a bunch of other animated adaptations of comic book heroes.

This book is subtitled “Half-baked heroes from comic book history!” which is so on the nose for the heroes in these pages. There are some absolutely hilarious ones, and there are some that I can see why they flopped. A good bit of them seemed to have been in an issue of one comic book, never to be seen or heard from again! Names like Kangaroo Man, Spider Queen (no relation to Spider-Man), Pow-Girl (who was married to the Web but he never knew her identity?!?!), and more.

Some are by some big names like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Stan Lee.

There are a few characters that would be fun to see in a movie together about some superheroes that get neglected, but there are plenty that I’m glad they only appear a few times, if that, in comics.

Overall, it’s an entertaining read and it’s cool to see that not every superhero turns into the leading man in a blockbuster film.

five-stars

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The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh Review

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

The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh ReviewThe Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
AmazonBook DepositoryPublished by Penguin, Putnam Juvenile on May 12, 2015
Genres: Adaptation
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
five-stars
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Rarely do I sit down to a book and finish it in a day, but HONEY, I’M ON A ROLL. Also, this book was gloriously good.

I feel like I need to mention that this book is based off of A Thousand and One Nights AND it tells the story within the story. HELLA META! I just always think it’s fun when the original text is talked about in an adaptation. Well, it worked particularly in this one because the main character uses it to convince the king to let her live until she’s finished her very verbose stories. Genius!

So, she wants to live to avenge her BFF, who was killed after being the King’s wife for a day/night. She ends up falling in love with him and they have a very interesting relationship. She keeps him in check, which is very interesting because as the reader, I just felt like she was an inch away from getting the silk cord. AKA Dead. There are some big game changers for the king, which effects why Shazi stays alive for so long. Well, long compared to getting killed the morning after being wed.

Because the story is in third person, we get to see not only Shazi’s perspective, but also the King, Shazi’s father, and Shazi’s former love interest. It adds more layers of secrecy and anticipation for what’s to come in this series. YES, series. Oh man, I couldn’t deal if this was just one book.

It’s hard to label this book as just one thing because there are elements of magic, but it’s mentioned very sparsely. Even though it’s not in modern times, I wouldn’t call it purely Historical Fiction. It’s definitely an adaptation of another story. It’s definitely something different and something I very much enjoyed.

five-stars

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