December 31, 2015

Looking Forward and Looking Back 2015

Well, 2015 did not exactly go as planned.

My Goodreads goal was left out of reach. I took a couple unexplained of blogging breaks. There were weeks without comments, tweets, or any other sign that I was actually alive. Twitter intimidated me. Comments went unanswered. Some posts were written just for the sake of having a post. I did not have all of the time that I wanted. 

But Crazy for YA is still here, and that is more than I could ever ask for. 

There are good and bad aspects of every year. All in all, 2015 was a pretty good reading year. If you look at my favorite books of 2015, you will see quite a few amazing ones there. Mathematically, I posted at least once a week (or some equivalent of that). I made a dozen great blogging friends. We hosted our first readathon and successfully completed our first yearly blogging challenge. 

Let's discuss how the year went.

December 30, 2015

Crazy for YA Awards | Our Favorite Books of 2015

Nothing is scarier than a new year. 365 more days (or in this case 366 days) to fill. New resolutions, new people, and new things to stress about. 

But, today we are focusing on the happy and the exciting, a flashback on our favorite books of 2015. (And yes, you heard correctly, I said our. Max has so kindly agreed to join in this celebration!)

So, welcome to the first ever Crazy for YA Awards!

December 27, 2015

Classic Conversations | The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter Discussion

Disclaimer- These are just my thoughts on a classic novel. They are not intended as a study guide for an English test that you forgot to study for. My opinions may vary from other people's, even yours. Please respect my opinions as I will respect yours. 

Also, this is a discussion of the entire novel, which includes the ending. Basically, there will be spoilers about everything. Read at your own risk.

The Scarlet Letter is one of the classic classics. Almost every high school (or even college) student has (or should have) read it at some point in their English career. It is a story that teachers frequently use as examples and is the topic of a plethora of essays.

It is idolized in the literary world due to its blatant symbolism, dominant themes of religion and hypocrisy, and its revelations about human nature. 

Students know it better as the book that is way to obsessed with a stupid red letter. 

But, that is the magic of this book. The scarlet letter is so much more than a piece of fabric. In order to fully understand and appreciate the novel, you have to look past the superficial appearance of the novel and dive a little bit deeper, which I know is daunting. But with a little bit of guidance, this book could become one of your favorites.

December 16, 2015

Review | The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History
By Donna Tartt
Published in September, 1992
The Secret History559 Pages
Adult, Thriller, Fiction

Five college students commit murder. They mercilessly kill one of their supposedly best friends. Someone that they used to trust, laugh with, share secrets with, and treat as their own family. But all of that changed over the semester. 
These seemingly ordinary students privately study the Classics with their eccentric teacher. They talk about the philosophies and ideals of Greek and Roman culture, and constantly regret that they cannot live there. Richard, a dream-struck boy from California, falls into their group without the knowledge of the true intentions behind their studies. He must navigate through the new world of college temptations, Greek translations, secrets hidden from him, and the puzzle of who he can trust. But as they learn more about classic culture, they go to extreme measures to replicate the customs of the time. And people get hurt. Murdered actually. 

December 12, 2015

Blogger Positivity Campaign | Wrap Up

This is a wonderful campaign created and run by the amazing Jillian at Jillian's Books. The goal of this campaign is to spread the positivity in our community since we have all seemed to be in a collective slump. Feel free to join in however you can to spread the love in the book blogging community!

I absolutely adored this campaign and I truly believed that it accomplished its goal. I will continue to feel the warm fuzzy feeling in my heart from all of the love this campaign has brought to my blog for a long time.

I hope that you can say the same thing too, and if not, I hope this recap can change your mind!

December 4, 2015

Blogger Positivity Campaign | Bloggers that I Would Like to Thank

This is a wonderful campaign created and run by the amazing Jillian at Jillian's Books. The goal of this campaign is to spread the positivity in our community since we have all seemed to be in a collective slump. Feel free to join in however you can to spread the love in the book blogging community!

Today I get to talk about some of the bloggers who have inspired me, welcomed me to the community, and who I am very proud to call my friends. 

November 30, 2015

Review | Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)The Illuminae Files #1
Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Published on October 20, 2015
559 Pages

Kady's universe is a lot different from ours. Actually, it is pretty much the same but they know a lot more about it due to the advancements in wormhole jumping, battle spaceships, and artificial intelligence. 

But Kady does not really care about that right now. All she cares about are the space ships dropping bombs on her planet and the fact that she has to plan an escape with the boy that broke her heart that morning.

As it turns out, just escaping is not enough.  

Kady also has to survive biological attacks in the form of mutating viruses, psychotic artificial intelligence, and a lethal spaceship bent on revenge that is quickly catching up to them.
 When the livelihood of the entire fleet is endangered, questions of morality, practicality, and probability complicate the already chaotic attempt to retreat.

They have the whole universe to run in, but nowhere to run to.

November 27, 2015

Blogger Positivity Campaign | A letter to Maggie Stiefvater (and other equally amazing authors too)

Today's challenge to bring some blogging positivity is a simple thank-you note. I may have broken the rules a little bit (I hope you can forgive me) and added in a little bit extra to my letter. 

I am writing to one of my favorite authors, Maggie Stiefvater. 

November 23, 2015

Review | The Truth of Never by O. E. Boroni

The Truth of Never
By O. E. Boroni
Never Trilogy #3
Adult, Romance
Released on October 20, 2015
360 pages

This book was provided to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.
Can love really conquer all?
Thirteen years ago, Lenora Baker and Nathan Roque ran into each other in their boarding school courtyard. Despite the bitter losses and experiences that they were both nursing in their hearts, they somehow managed to find in each other a passion that healed as powerfully as it burned. But demons aren’t chased away that easily. 
Now, thirteen years later, everything is rekindled with a ferocity that neither of them can ignore. They’ve found their way back to each other but in this conclusion to the trilogy, their hope for the love-filled future that neither of them ever believed that they could have is on the line. 
Life happens; disaster rocks the already shaky ground that they’re standing on, and dreams begin to seem like nightmares.
Will they find the answers to the questions that have plagued them for so long, or will they once again succumb to their fears?

November 18, 2015

Blogger Positivity Campaign | Introduction

We all have trouble being positive sometimes. Even us, the mighty book bloggers, are not immune to bad days.

The wonderful and thoughtful Jillian over at Jillian's Books has notices (along with many other people in our community, whether you want to admit to it or not) has noticed a lack of positivity in our community. Many amazing bloggers have gone on break or just stopped blogging entirely. The people that are left are losing steam, either due to lack of motivation, ideas, or just time. The drama has been plaguing us non-stop.

The goal of this campaign is to bring the confidence, happiness, and motivation back into our community. This is the shot of espresso that our community needs until it can learn to stay up on its own.

So, I am going to try to lift your spirits and remind all of you that blogging is worth the struggle, the long hours, the creativity, and the effort. But first, it might have you to know a little bit more about me.

November 12, 2015

Why I Didn't Love The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling
The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)
By Robert Galbraith (also known as J.K. Rowling)
Cormoran Strike #1
455 pages
Published on April 30, 2013
Review by Tessa

Cormoran Strike. Former soldier. Son of a rockstar. Amputee. Private Detective. Ex-fiance. Homeless man. 
It is safe to say that Strike's past is as complicated as the case that has just been handed to him. 

Supermodel Lula Landry jumped out of her apartment balcony months ago. The press went nuts in the aftermath. Why would such a beautiful, successful, and young girl suddenly decide to call it quits? The police did not know that, but they thought that they enough evidence to call her death a suicide and close the case. 

When Landry's brother seeks Strike out to prove that his sister was pushed out of her balcony, the opportunity seems too good to be true. Strike's office is on the edge of bankruptcy and his personal life is in ruins. Proving the murder of Landry could be the big break that he has been looking for to turn everything around. But it might also be impossible. The closed case was tossed aside by the police, the media, and ultimately, the public. Everyone has ruled her death as a suicide. But Strike is willing to prove them wrong. 

His investigation brings him into the darkness of the famous and wealthy. He observes the lives of supermodels, fashion designers, and rock singers. Underneath the facade of money and fame, Strike finds something even more terrifying and dangerous.

November 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday | Book Adaptations that I Want to Watch

This is a weekly list meme hosted by the wonderful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. 

Today's topic is a little bit touchy to us, the enthusiastic obsessive book fans. It can be the best thing in the world to see your favorite book on the big screen. There is almost nothing better than watching your beloved characters and their wonderful, awe-inspiring story laid out on a mega-screen. But, book to movie adaptations are a double-edged sword. While there are ones that are true to the novel and just like you imagined them, there are other ones that seem to get everything wrong. *cough* Percy Jackson *cough*

But, we are going to be optimistic today and talk about the book to movie adaptations that we are excited to see. 

November 4, 2015

The Woes and Rewards of Being a Slow Reader

Recently, the wonderful Cait @ Paper Fury talks about the woes of being a fast reader in her post on the dire agonies of being a fast reader. I want to even the playing field and show that the slow readers are in the same boat of sorrow (and maybe give a few perks about reading slowly too).

October 30, 2015

Top Ten Creepy Books for Halloween

Max here! Right in time for Halloween, here are a couple of books to make your Halloween a little bit more fun (and by fun I mean scary). I'm not a big fan of horror books, so these books are more suspenseful or a little bit creepy than full on scary, but I still think they're capable of giving you the goosebumps.

October 28, 2015

Review | Accidental Butterfly by Marisa Cleveland

Accidental Butterfly

By Marisa Cleveland
Published July 5, 2015
180 Pages
Young Adult, Romance
Review by Tessa

Add Ready Player One to Goodreads

This book was provided to me from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book. 
Alive, Kate Dunlap breezed through high school with meaningless friendships and relative ease. But after an accidental overdose ends Kate’s human existence, she’s granted the opportunity of a lifetime.
Return to Earth. Save Jake Barton. Prove her worth.

Success guarantees Kate an all access backstage pass to heaven. But as she falls in love for the first time, the reformed superficial social butterfly must risk her chance at redemption to guarantee Jake’s life on Earth.

October 19, 2015

Launch Celebration | The Truth of Never by O.E. Boroni

I am very excited to celebrate the launch of the third, and final, book in the Never Trilogy by O. E. Boroni!

I have been a champion for this series since the beginning of time (or The Beginning of Never, ha ha). I have reviewed the first two books in the series, and you should definitely check those out before proceeding. 

Click the images to see my reviews. 

(Spoiler Alert: They were both amazing!)

The Way To Never (The Never Trilogy #2)
The Beginning of Never

Since Boroni has a habit of leaving her readers dangling off of the most dangerous and enticing cliffhangers, I am excited that the final book can finally be in my greedy little hands!

The Truth of Never
The Never Trilogy #3
By O. E. Boroni
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Pages: 360

Add Ready Player One to Goodreads

Can love really conquer all?

Thirteen years ago, Lenora Baker and Nathan Roque ran into each other in their boarding school courtyard. Despite the bitter losses and experiences that they were both nursing in their hearts, they somehow managed to find in each other a passion that healed as powerfully as it burned. But demons aren’t chased away that easily. 

Now, thirteen years later, everything is rekindled with a ferocity that neither of them can ignore. They’ve found their way back to each other but in this conclusion to the trilogy, their hope for the love-filled future that neither of them ever believed that they could have is on the line. 

Life happens; disaster rocks the already shaky ground that they’re standing on, and dreams begin to seem like nightmares. Will they find the answers to the questions that have plagued them for so long, or will they once again succumb to their fears?

October 12, 2015

Classic Conversations | Tips for Reading Classics

Thank you everyone for the great response to the first installment of my latest feature, Classic Conversations. I loved talking about what exactly makes a book a classic with all of you and I really hope we can continue all of these amazing conversations (hence the title) throughout the series. 

Since a lot of people (including me) are intimidated, and perhaps even a little bit scared, of reading classics. And there are a ton of good reasons for this put-off, like not being able to understand the time period, writing, or what the heck is even going on in the plot. I totally understand where you are coming from. I have definitely sat in literature classes where I was completely lost on what we were talking about and just prayed that the test would be multiple choice so that I would have some chance of passing. It was a terrible experience and not one that I would be willing to repeat outside of school. 

Fortunately for you I have some tips on how to understand, and hopefully learn to enjoy, classics. 

October 5, 2015

Bookish Serendipity Co. Launch

Displaying BookishSerendipityCoLaunchBanner.png

I am extremely happy about today's blog post. I have the honor of telling you about an amazing blogger and her journey of spreading her love of books to everyone she meets. 

That wonderful blogger is Jessica from Bookish Serendipity

Jessica was one of my first true blogging friends. I met her online even before she was Jessica (way back when she was still under the pseudonym, Samantha). This was back when she was still a small blogger, and I am glad to say that she has exceeded that title and has moved into a league of her own!

Since Jessica's love for books just simply cannot be contained in a blog, she also has Twitter, Pinterest, and now, AN ETSY SHOP, to properly share her passion.

October 4, 2015

Sunday Street Team | This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup

Welcome to my second Sunday Street Team post! I loved participating in last month's tour for Never, Never by Brianna Shrum. I could not have asked for a better experience for my first time on the team!

This is a monthly blog tour organized by the super fantastic Nori from ReadWriteLove28. She picks an author that deserves a little more attention and we work to get that author the recognition that they deserve.

I am super excited to introduce another fabulous book to you guys this month...This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup.

This Ordinary LifeThis Ordinary Life
By Jennifer Walkup
Published October 1, 2015
240 Pages
Luminous Books, Inc

Add Omega by Lizzy Ford to Goodreads

High-school radio host Jasmine Torres's life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.
That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.
Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.
Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health--not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

October 1, 2015

Blog Tour + Review | Omega by Lizzy Ford

(Omega #1)
By Lizzy Ford
Publication Date: October 25, 2015
Dystopian, Young Adult, Mythology

Add Omega by Lizzy Ford to Goodreads

I received a free copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my opinion of the book in any way.


In a modern world ruled by territorial Greek gods, the human race has been oppressed, exploited and now, nearly destroyed by the constant infighting of gods.However, a human girl with the power of a goddess is coming of age. Alessandra is the Oracle of Delphi – the last prophesized – and bears the mark of the double omega. Soon after she turns eighteen, Alessandra is told her destiny: to step between the warring gods and the human race and save her world from certain ruin.For the gods, her appearance marks the beginning of the end – their end. They and the Triumvirate – leaders of the human elite – who serve them will stop at nothing to preserve their power. Alessandra emerges from the forest where she spent her life hidden from gods and men and immediately plummets into a race against time, gods, and herself to discover who and what she is in a world where everyone she meets has a hidden agenda, and those pulling the strings remain in the shadows. Before she can determine exactly what kind of savior her world needs, she must first master her power by completing three trials devised by the Triumvirate to enslave her.One lone girl stands between warring gods and the people she’s destined to protect, but it’s the battle to understand who she is that she must win first.

September 28, 2015

September 2015 Wrap-Up

My Life

During the past couple of weeks, I have not really had a life to talk about. I have just been submerged with work, work, and more work. Even my weekends, which I promised myself would be dedicated to blogging, are filling up with leftover work that I was too tired (lazy) to do during the week. It is safe to say that my time management skills have not gotten any better, but I have gotten pretty good at staying up way past my bedtime to finish everything. 

In the rare times when I do not have work, I have been trying to work equally on blog commenting/reading, post writing, and updating social media. I think that I have been doing a pretty decent job (at least in comparison to this time of last year). I promise that I am working my best to still be present in the blogging community despite my massive workload.

September 20, 2015

Review | Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player OneReady Player One

Author: Ernest Cline
Release Date: August 16, 2011
Pages: 374
Review by: Tessa

Add Ready Player One to Goodreads

The world is a mess. Between global warming, economic devastation, world-wide poverty, energy famine, literal famine, pollution, and all of the world's other problems, no one wants to live in the real world anymore. Luckily, they do not have to.
Thanks to the genius, James Halliday, everyone has access to a free, virtual world. OASIS, like its name suggests, is mankind's refuge from itself. The intricately designed world is the most elaborate videogame ever created. People are fully emerged in whatever world they choose, everything from the classics like Pacman and Dungeons and Dragons to futuristic simulations. All you have to do is plug yourself in. 
Needless to say, Halliday made a fortune by creating his own world. And now that fortune is up for grabs since the old genius has experienced his final game-over. 
Staying true to his unorthodox roots, Halliday does not have a normal will. His multi-billion fortune, ownership of his company, and the rights to all of OASIS are not given to one person. Instead, the entire world has the chance to fight for it. Halliday has hidden clues in his vast virtual universe guarded by countless obscure 80's pop culture references and puzzles that would fool Einstein himself, and the first person to follow the trail and find the treasure gets to keep it. And one geeky, impoverished kid named Wade is willing to do anything to get it. 

September 15, 2015

Classic Conversations | What exactly is a classic?

After a lot of thought and mental arguments with myself, I have decided to start yet another new feature on Crazy for YA (hopefully I will actually be able to keep up with this one). 

I am proud to introduce... Classic Conversations. (Yes, the alliteration was necessary.)

For the past couple of years, my blog has focused on young adult books, like the title suggests. But, I would like to branch out a little and explore some of the other amazingness that the literary world has to offer. And, of course, my first segment of this adventure is a little foray into the world of classics.

*Cue the collective groans*

I understand that many people do not have the best experiences with classics. There are truly some terrifying stories about English teachers and their various torture methods, most of which include these victimized books.

I am not an English teacher and my intent is far from boring you to death. I want to try to show you that classics are actually worth reading. I want to ignite some awesome conversations about books and life. And most of all, I want to show you that these seemingly dull novels are really teeming with life if you take the time to appreciate them.

I know that those are some pretty high ambitions. Some might even call it impossible. But I am willing to give it a shot and I hope you are too.

So, to start this first of hopefully many conversations about the classics, I want to delve into some background knowledge about classics. Specifically, what even is a classic? Is it a dusty old tome that some dead person wrote a billion years ago? Or can it be something more modern?

September 11, 2015

Giveaway | Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

I do not announce book deals very often, but today I have a couple of announcement for you, my wonderful readers. 1. Midnight Thief, Livia Blackburne's haunting debut novel, is on sale for 99 cents  as an ebook. 2. Daughter of Dusk, the second installment of the series, has recently been released. 3. I have a giveaway for you to win some of these amazing goodies.

Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.
But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.
Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.
When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.
In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner—and danger is a way of life.

Until September 13th, The Midnight Thief ebook is only 99 cents!

September 10, 2015

Review | All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All The Bright Places

Author: Jennifer Niven
Release Date: January 6th, 2015
All the Bright PlacesPages: 388
Review By: Max


After her sister died in a tragic accident, Violet Markey attempts to return to her normal life. She soon realizes nothing can ever be the same, so Violet spends her time counting down the days until she can leave her small Indiana town and the haunting grief.

Theodore Finch (or Theodore Freak, as his classmates are known to call him) tries on different versions of himself in order to forget about the bullies and his troubled home life, but it's becoming harder and harder to stay awake.

One fateful school day, the two find themselves on the top of a bell tower, contemplating jumping. Even though the two have never spoken before, they manage to talk each other out of any sort of reckless decision, and despite their popularity differences, Violet and Finch slowly become friends. The friendship quickly becomes something more, and Violet and Finch discover who they are and what life can be when you're not focused on death. As they become more focused on life, however, Finch starts to lose the strength he needs to stay awake.

September 8, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday | Finished Series I Haven't Finished Yet

This is a weekly list meme hosted by the wonderful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. 

Both Max and I are well versed in today's topic. I actually have a whole post dedicated to my series procrastination tendencies. This is the easiest TTT we have done for a while. 

So, here is a list of finished series (series that have all of the books published already) that we have not read yet.

September 6, 2015

Sunday Street Team | Never, Never by Brianna Shrum

Welcome to the Sunday Street Team! This is my first post as a part of this amazing group and I am excited to say that it is not going to be my last!

Today, I am hosting a guest post from the wonderful Brianna Shrum. Her debut novel, Never, Never, will be released on September 22. H
er book caught my eye because it is a retelling of Peter Pan (which I have never read before) from the perspective of Captain Hook! As we all know, everyone has a story, even the villains. 

Never NeverNever, Never
By Brianna R. Shrum
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Pages: 368

James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.
When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.
But grow up he does.
And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.
This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

September 4, 2015

Blog Tour + Review | The Way to Never by O. E. Boroni

Today, I am happy to announce my stop on The Way to Never blog tour. A couple of months ago, I also participated in The Beginning of Never blog tour. If you want to see my review of the first installment of this series, then click here.

The Way to Never
By O. E. Boroni
Published July 25, 2015

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review, but this ndoes not affect my opinion of the book in ANY way.*

When falling out of love, refuses to become an option… 

Nathan Roque first met Lenora Baker, a beautiful, exasperating, and bitter girl when she was just fifteen years old. He fell so deeply in love with her that he suspected that in his lifetime, nothing else could ever mirror the kind of commitment that she drew out of him. But she is left heartbroken when an unfortunate incident drives them apart. 

Thirteen years later, he sets out to reach out to her when he can no longer resist the consuming thoughts of her that have haunted him for so long. However, the same demons that caused him to let go of her in the first place are still holding him back. But when he is thrust into a situation where he has no choice but to become professionally involved with her, a Pandora’s Box of angst, resentment, and passion is unleashed. 

Now they are forced to make the decision on how to proceed. But will it justify the one that they made in the past, or will it mock it? 

September 1, 2015

August 2015 Wrapup

My Life

I am starting to feel as if I am writing the same thing every month. I guess my life is just not my interesting. But, I am going to try to spice it up this month.

Have you ever had one of those days where it seems like life has a personal vendetta against you and your free time? Well, I had one of those months. Whenever I finished working on one thing, something else popped up in its place. So, instead of enjoying what I had left of summer, I ended up working through the last rays of freedom.

With the end of summer, my life has just gotten back into the swing of real life. Schoolwork, homework, extra activities, headaches, procrastination, and somewhere between that all, reading. The stress has been piling on and I have not been able to find time for the one thing that always calms me down, which we all know is reading. 

If you have not read it already, I wrote an announcement about an update of my priorities. It basically says that I have decided to organize my time a little bit more, so that means less time for blogging and perusing social media and more time for work. Not fun, but necessary.

August 24, 2015

Organizing my Priorities (But Not Quitting)

There comes a time in your life where you realize that you just simply cannot do everything. Most of the time, this realization comes with a fair amount of anger, regret, more anger, sobbing, and chocolate to compensate for the bitterness in life. 

I have had this moment several times now, and I have still refused to succumb to those ugly emotions (but I have caved in to the chocolate). Most recently, in the face of the returning back to my studies and sports (yes, I am somewhat athletic, surprise!), and my copious amounts of miscellaneous activities, I have decided to fight the seemingly inevitable breakdown. I am going to organize my priorities, starting with my blog and online presence.

August 22, 2015

My Life as an Optimistic Reader

The glass is always half-full, right? That is the classic answer to the age old question if a half a glass of water is half full or half empty. It labels you as a optimist, which is not a bad thing.

I think that the glass is entirely full. If you really think about it, the glass is half-full of water AND half-full of air. Hence, the whole glass is full with something. It is definitely not the standard answer, but it is the one that I relate the most too.

Along with this cliche, I am also a fan of every cloud as a silver lining, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade, and things will always get better. I try to live my life by these cliches that have been said so many things that some people believe that they are starting to lose their meaning. For me, these words have been a lifeline, something to constantly remind myself that living a happy life is possible. So, I try to incorporate optimism into every aspect of my life. I have also found a lot of optimism creeping into my reading life. 

August 20, 2015

Mini-Reviews | Summer disappointment, my first DNF review, and Dessen nostalgia

It's Not Summer Without You
It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2)
Author: Jenny Han
Series: Summer #2
Release Date: January 1, 2010
Pages: 288

One of the main reasons that I loved The Summer I Turned Pretty was the nostalgia and feelings it ignited. Those emotions were still present in this part of the series, but I really had a harder time connecting with Belly and her experiences. I can only take so much summer drama and boy troubles before I feel like bashing my head in a wall. It's Not Summer Without You walked that line very closely. 

A lot of the same issues from the first book, like the wishy-washy love triangle, continued into this book. The continuation is not the problem, the execution was. The same points were reiterated repeatedly and the same angst was apparent on every page.

I still adored the flashbacks. This time, they were more recent and built up the plot and tension beautifully. I love books that can keep me in suspense and wondering all throughout the book, and It's Not Summer Without You succeeded in that factor. 

I did enjoy the dual perspectives. We actually got two sides of the story this time. This double insight, along with the detailed flashbacks, helped me truly understand, relate to, and ultimately love the characters in this book.

I really wished for more from this second book, but I ended up with more angst and drama than sweet summertime feelings and nostalgia.

The Witch Hunter (The Witch Hunter, #1)The Witch Hunter

Author: Virginia Boecker
Series: The Witch Hunter #1
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Pages: 368

I love the cover, the synopsis, and the thought of a struggle between witches and witch hunters, but I only got through 40 pages before I decided to DNF this book.
It is a sad and rare day when I completely give up on a book, especially so early in the game.

I was enjoying the story for the first 15 pages. The world-building looked promising, the characters were alright but needed some work, and the foundations of the plot were being laid. I would have been happy to continue that story.

Then, the main character got insanely wasted. At the age of like 16. In the first 20 pages of a book. That rubbed me the wrong way and gave a terrible shadow to the main character. 

But, then I encountered a characterization technique that I am not a fan of--using extreme, and most likely unnecessary, emotional and physical trauma to as characterization. 

I am not going to consider this a spoiler, because it happened in the first 40 pages of the book, but it is quickly revealed that the main character has been forced to spend nights with the king. Then, she was accused of being a witch as a way to avoid delving further into that unsavory topic. It was just cast away like it did not matter. If you are going to use a technique like that, own up to it and directly address the awfulness. Not avoiding it with random plot twists.

I did not get past page 50 of this book. The issues in the book were brought up too abruptly and then dismissed too nonchalantly for me to continue the story. 

Saint AnythingSaint Anything

Author: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Pages: 417

I have had my ups and downs with Sarah Dessen. I loved all of her early books, like The Truth about Forever and Along for the Ride. But recently, I have not been in love with her books. I disliked The Moon and More, so I was hesitant to read Saint Anything. I am glad to report that this one is reminiscent of her earlier work and I really enjoyed it. 

The characters were complex and completely bared to the reader. In contemporaries, I believe that the characters drive the book. Without good characters, no one will care about the plot. Fortunately, Dessen nailed her characters with this one.

One twist with this book was that the romance was not really the main act of this book. The relationships and their ensuing issues did not really come into play into the second half of the book. The true focuses of this book was family, friends, and forgiveness. All of Dessen's books have these elements, but none as strong as Saint Anything. 

The family issues were also intense with this plot. I love how Dessen shed light onto the problems without casting them off or exaggerating. I felt every one of the blows that this family suffered, almost as if they were my own.

Nevertheless, the romance was still spot-on, like with all of Dessen's novels. It was slow-burning, born out of friendship, and deeply rooted in trust, loyalty, and understanding. I love deep relationships like this, especially because they are so hard to build up in the span of a mere 400 pages.

Saint Anything is by far the darkest, most complex, and most character-centered books that I have read by Sarah Dessen. It reminded me of her earlier works, which also happen to be my favorites of her work. Now I have another favorite to add to that list.