Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#27) - Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall (October 20, 2015 by Swoon Reads)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
For more information, click here

The author of A Little Something Different brings you the most adorkable romance ever.

Jane, a superstitious fangirl, takes an anonymous babysitting job to avoid an unpaid internship with her college-obsessed mom. The only problem? She’s babysitting the siblings of her childhood friend and new crush, Teo. 

Teo doesn’t dislike Jane, but his best friend Ravi hates her, and is determined to keep them apart. So Teo’s pretty sure his plans for a peaceful summer are shot. His only hope is that his intermittent search for his birth father will finally pan out and he’ll find a new, less awkward home. Meanwhile, at Jane’s house, her sister Margo wants to come out as bisexual, but she’s terrified of how her parents will react.

In a summer filled with secrets and questions, even Jane’s Magic 8 ball can’t give them clear answers, but Signs Point to Yes.






What are you waiting for this week?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#30) - Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer

For more information click here

Saying that I'll have these books in my beach bag is kind of false since I go to the beach like once a summer. Even though the ocean is like a mile away from my house, I rarely go there because I don't like swimming and I get burned in the sun way too easily.

So yeah, these are not beach reads exactly, but more just a collection of books that I plan to read this summer.


Already published titles/titles to be purchased during the summer

Cooling down time 

What are you planning to read this summer?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Review: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Release date: March 3, 2015
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Viking Children's
Age group: YA
Pages: 352
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange." 
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland. 
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane. 
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

After a start that made me skeptical and a main character that I was not quite sure I could like, I fell deeply in love with David Arnold's debut Mosquitoland with its beautiful language and a set of characters that are so different from each other and yet so meant to be together.

Mosquitoland follows Mim Malone on her journey from Mississippi to Cleveland. After hearing about her mother's mysterious "illness" completely by accident, Mim steals her stepmother's stash of savings and boards a Greyhound bus to Cleveland. Soon enough, she notices that things are not going quite as she planned. She meets eccentric characters like Arlene, a quirky old lady with a mysterious wooden box, a creep in a poncho and Carl, the bus driver. When a freak accident takes place, Mim's plans change - she meets Walt, a boy who reminds her of a friend from her childhood, and a mysterious, handsome fellow Beck. Her traveling partners change and she adds more stops to her itinerary, but her aim remains the same - to get to Cleveland and to reunite with her mother.

Mim is such an interesting character, but rather than falling in love with her instantly, it took me a while to warm up to her. When we are first introduced to her and her personality, I was afraid that Arnold's characterization of Mim would fall short and that she would end up being one-dimensional, just one more character to add to the pool of "manic-pixie-hipster-girls". But as I kept reading, I started to notice the uniqueness of Mim and though I never quite identified with her, I wanted to know more about her, and most importantly, I started to root and care for her.

The novel starts by declaring that Mim is "not okay". And yeah, she's not. She has had a difficult childhood - she has watched her parents go through divorce while struggling with her own mental health. Arnold brilliantly lets the reader in to the mind of this occasionally tough, occasionally extremely sensitive girl that is just trying to figure herself out while fighting with the demons of her past and her present.

Mim can be pretentious and bit of a snob, but due to the honesty and freshness of her voice, these character traits do not come out as fake. I am glad to say that Arnold did not fall into the pit that is the creation of a character that due to her/his pretentiousness comes cliche. Mim might say that music should be listened only on vinyl - due to her voice and the way her personality is introduced to the reader, I actually believed that Mim thinks so rather than just saying it to seem "cool", "different", "alternative" or "hipster."

From the cast of characters that inhabit the pages of Mosquitoland, in addition to Mim the most interesting ones for me were definitely Walt and Beck. Walt has a Down Syndrome, which makes his a character quite different from the others in the book. The way Arnold writes about Walt made my heart burst - his characterization of this curious, happy, gentle boy brings so much into the novel and the role he has in opening up the other characters, mainly Mim and Beck, is incredible. I loved witnessing the way Walt is able to break Mim's often hard exterior - I feel like through Walt, we see the real Mim.

"I read once that the Greek language has four words for the word love, depending on the context. But as I step out of the PT Cruiser and tumble into Walt's perfectly huggable arms, I think the Greeks got it wrong. Because my love for Walt is something new, unnamed, something crazy-wild, youthful, and enthusiastic. And while I don't know what this new love has to offer, I do know what it demands: grateful tears. "
The novel is narrated via letters that Mim writes to her notebook to someone named Isabel and through narration that describes Mim's trip from Mississippi to Cleveland. The trip narrative works as a trigger and inspiration for the letters, through which the reader is introduced to Mim's personal and family history.

There definitely are some weird things going on in this book and at points Mim's trustworthiness as a narrator can be questioned. Due to her history with mental illness and the decisions she makes regarding to her medication, the reader might question whether some of the events Mim describes actually happen or whether they are just a product of her imagination. I would not go as far as to say that Mosquitoland is magical realism, but there definitely were parts in there which brought magical realism to my mind.

Since I don't want to give away too much and/or ruin this unique reading experience for you, I recommend that you pick it up yourself and see what all the well-deserved hype is about. Arnold is a very talented writer and I am beyond excited to see what he comes up with next. Mosquitoland is more indie than for example John Green novels and way less pretentious - if someone compares this to Green, in my opinion, that someone is wrong. Mim is a character I will cherish for the rest of my life - though she is not always the most likable person, she is honest and feels so incredibly real. Can you really ask for more?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Post (#23)

For more information on Sunday Post click here

Books Read This Week:

What I published on ReadReadRead this week:

Next Week on ReadReadRead:

Book Review: Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Top Ten Tuesday
Waiting on Wednesday
Book Review: Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Stacking the Shelves

What I Have Been Watching This Week:

Grey's Anatomy  - I have been rewatching this beauty for like the 5th time! Still loving it!

Rectify - What an amazing and intriguing show! I'll write more about it as I proceed.

From my Instagram:

I'm pretty sure Veera loved Mosquitoland almost as much as she loves her toy....

The book I am CURRENTLY reading! I must admit that 15% in, I am not yet feeling it.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#28)

"Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!"

For more information, click here


Dream Things True by Marie Marquart (September 1, 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin) (TO BE REVIEWED AT WINTERHAVEN BOOKS)

A modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which a wealthy Southern boy falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl and together they face perils in their hostile Georgia town.

Evan, a soccer star and the nephew of a conservative Southern Senator, has never wanted for much -- except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two-years-old, excels in school, and has a large, warm Mexican family. Never mind their differences, the two fall in love, and they fall hard. But when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raids on their town, Alma knows that she needs to tell Evan her secret. There's too much at stake. But how to tell her country-club boyfriend that she’s an undocumented immigrant? That her whole family and most of her friends live in the country without permission. What follows is a beautiful, nuanced, well-paced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one’s family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives.


The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

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.

Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman

He says: You're an awful person.
He says: What makes you think I would ever ask you out?
He says: The world would be a better place without you in it.

Lara just got told off on Facebook.

She thought that Christian liked her, that he was finally going to ask her to his school's homecoming dance. They've been talking online for weeks, so what's with the sudden change? And where does he get off saying horrible things on her wall? Even worse - are they true?

It's been a long time since Lara's felt this bad, this depressed, this ugly. She's worked really hard to become pretty and happy - and make new friends after what happened in middle school.

Bree used to be best friends with overweight, depressed Lara, but constantly listening to Lara's issues got to be too much. Secretly, Bree's glad Christian called Lara out. Lara's not nearly as amazing as people think. But no one realized just how far Christian's harsh comments would push Lara. Not even Bree.

As online life collides with real life, things spiral out of control, and not just for Lara. Because when the truth starts to come together, the backlash is even more devastating than anyone could have ever imagined.

What did you add to your shelves this week?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Review: The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

Release date: March 17, 2015
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Dial
Age group: YA
Pages: 400
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick will enjoy this smart debut young adult novel, equal parts My Life Next Door and The Princess Diaries—plus a dash of Aaron Sorkin.

Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?

Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be.

After being slightly disappointed with quite a few titles I listed on my most anticipated 2015 debuts lists (in case you are interested, you can find it from here), I am happy to say that The Wrong Side of Right delivered exactly what I expected it to deliver. Though it did not blow my mind or change my life, I found it to be an enjoyable, well-written YA debut with an interesting setting.

The Wrong Side of Right follows Kate who's living with her uncle and aunt after losing her mother in a tragic accident a year earlier. The events of the novel start to unroll when Kate learns that her father, the man she never known, is Senator Cooper, the Republican nominee for US presidency. Very quickly, Kate's ordinary high school worries switch into worries about her place within her new family. Can she represent the values her father is campaiging with? And what happens when she starts to fall for the son of someone she certainly should not be associated with.

If you have come across my random television posts, or if you follow me on tumblr (right here) you might be aware of the fact that I absolutely love The West Wing! When I read from somewhere that this has been compared to a The West Wing for young readers, I was instantly interested! And yes, it definitely does have some West Wing type of elements - the political team filled with very distinctive personalities, inner workings of the campaign, drama, etc. But rather than focusing of the campaign staff and those closest to the Senator professionally, The Wrong Side of Right is a novel that follows the campaign and its effects on family life through the eyes of a young woman new to the political scene.

Right away from the start, I liked Kate. Though she's still going through the death of her mother, she is strong and independent and seems to know her mind. When she finds out that she is the illegimate child of a man she has only read about for a government class, her whole world turns around. How could her mother be with a married man? Was she a product of love or mere passion? What happens next? 

In my opinion, one of the most important characters in Jenn Marie Thorne's debut is Meg, the wife of the senator. It would have been so easy for the author to make her the "evil" stepmother, the woman jealous of the attention Kate gets. I was glad to notice that rather than taking the easy road, Jenn Marie Thorne has created a character that is conflicted, yet warm, a character that very quickly becomes Kate's go-to person in comparison to the distant father. Meg is an incredibly strong character who makes this book stronger than it would be with a more generic, stereotypical step mother narrative. 

The relationship between Kate and her father is an interesting one. For 17 years, they have known nothing about each other, and once they connect, things are not as easy as you would expect. For Kate, the Senator is a man who's distant and principled - a good listener and politician, but not necessarily a good father. For the Senator, Kate's a young woman that reminds him of his past and the mistakes he has made in regards to his marriage with Meg. But in addition to that, she also represents a new chance for him, an opportunity to change his values and ideas. Throughout the novel, they both open their eyes for new ideas and revelations, and though the relationship might not be overly idyllic, it at least is very real.

I was surprised to notice how little romance actually made appearances in this novel. Yes, there's a guy here, but throughout the novel, he is in a minor role in comparison to Kate and those closest to her. Though I am a huge fan of cute YA contemporaries, I was content about the fact that rather than taking the romance road, Jenn Marie Thorne has focused on the development of her main character once she enters a world completely foreign to her. 

In its heart, The Wrong Side of Right is a character study about a very real, honest young woman who, once faced with a life changing situation, has to figure out her whole childhood again. Can she still idolize her mother? Will she ever feel like a part of the Senator's family? Jenn Marie Thorne excels in characterization and inserting little bits of humor into the narrative. The Wrong Side of Right is a strong debut with an interesting setting that promises good things for the future of this debut author. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#26) - Violent Ends edited by Shaun Hutchinson (September 1, 2015 by Simon Pulse)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
For more information, click here

It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others. 

But this isn't a story about the shooting itself. This isn't about recounting that one unforgettable day.

This is about Kirby and how one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, played saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing on his classmates.

Each chapter is told from a different victim's viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he'd become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties. 

This is a book of perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—from the minds of some of YA's most recognizable names.

Full list of contributors:

Kendare Blake - Steve Brezenoff - Delilah S. Dawson - 

Trish Doller - Margie Gelbwasser - E.M. Kokie

Cynthia Leitich Smith - Tom Leveen - Hannah Moscowitz

Elisa Nader - Beth Revis - Mindi Scott - Brandon Shusterman

Courtney Summers - Blythe Woolston - Christine Johnson

"School fire"

"how one boy...became a monster"

"each chapter is told from a different victim's viewpoint"

"book of character and one event drawing them all together"

What are you waiting for this week?