The Year That Has Passed and The Year That Has Yet To Come: 2019 Edition

So 2019 is officially over and we are now entering 2020. 2019 was a really weird but also really good and I’m still not completely sure how to feel about it. There were some seriously shitty moments, but also some really great moments. I feel like 2019 was the year where I discovered a lot about myself and my comfort zone and I really saw my growth throughout these past twelve months. I did things that I never thought I would do and even though not everything turned out the way I wanted it to, I don’t regret a single decision I made this year. I have no idea what 2020 will hold, but I’m ready to put on a brave face and conquer whatever the world throws at me.

So let’s take a look at what happened in 2019 and what I hope for in 2020!

2019

  • CEGEP: In May I graduated from the two year program that is required in Quebec before you can go to University. CEGEP was really really hard for me, but despite all my struggles, I grew tremendously throughout these past two years; both as a student and as a person. Even though I was glad to leave, I can’t help but look back at my time with fondness.
  • Public Speaking: This was my last semester TAing for a public speaking class( which was hands down the highlight of my college career) and I’m so grateful for the confidence that this experienced allowed me to have. I came out of CEGEP with a much stronger voice and I am forever grateful that public speaking allowed me to build the skills I always felt I was lacking in.
  • Paris: As a graduation present to myself I went to Paris at the end of May which was a little terrifying at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was super fun. I’m so thankful that I have the resources to do something like that and I will treasure those ten days forever. Seeing the paintings that I’ve studied in person was mind-blowing and it was honestly just so cool.
  • Camp: In the months of June, July and August I worked at a summer camp for underprivileged youth. I was a camp counselor in 2018 as well, but that was one of the worst experiences of my life. Against my better judgment, I decided to try a different camp and I’m honestly so glad that I did. Working at a sleepaway camp is literally the most insane job ever and the amount of times I broke down was astronomical. I had some incredibly difficult children and I woke up pretty much every day wanting to quit, because the pay was dismal and the days were long and exhausting. Despite all that, it was one of the best experiences of my entire life. The people I met were extraordinary. The campers that didn’t bite me and spit in my face were absolute angels. And the natural beauty was to die for. I challenged myself daily in ways I never could have imagined. For the first time in my life, I didn’t overthink: I just acted. This led to some questionable life decisions, but I wouldn’t change anything that happened this summer. In the months that have followed, I exited the camp haze and reality hit which means that anxiety finally kicked in. So for the past four month I have been overanalyzing literally everything. But despite all that, I don’t regret anything and despite all the things that made the experience almost hell-like, I literally cannot stop thinking about going back. This was hands down the best part of 2019.
  • Shawn Mendes: In August, me and my sister saw Shawn Mendes live. After Taylor Swift, he is my favorite artist so this concert was something that we were looking forward to for months. We were content with shitty nose-bleed tickets but the most wildest thing happened. We were sitting in our seats when this guy approached us, saying that he worked for Shawn Mendes and that he was giving us floor tickets. My sister was skeptical but I thought “what the heck” and HE LED US TO FRONT ROW TICKETS. WE WERE AGAINST THE GATE. SHAWN MENDES WAS TEN FEET AWAY FROM ME AND HE LOOKED AT ME. It was the most insane experience of my entire life and I still can’t believe that it actually happened.
  • University: In September I started university at McGill. I’m majoring in Secondary English Education. University isn’t quite what I expected and the further I go along my educational journey, the more I’m convinced that higher-education is merely an elitist and classist concept that is lorded over those who can’t afford the privilege. Despite that, this semester was pretty decent. I started writing for one of the school’s newspapers which was really fun and the first time that I’ve really written non-fiction outside of school so that was really interesting.
  • NanoWriMo: This November I did Nano for the first time since 2015. I did at a time when all my assignments were due, I was on a three week internship and I was actually kind of of being social for once, so it wasn’t the best time to commit to writing a novel. I didn’t end up writing 50k, but I made a lot of progress with my story and I’ve been working on it ever since. I’m really proud of what I’ve written so far and it’s honestly one of the most cohesive and narratively coherent drafts I’ve ever written which is really exciting.
  • Mental Health: As has been the case for the past two and half years, my mental health has been…. bad to say the least. It seems that no matter what I do my anxiety will always control my life and depression will come and go as it pleases. However this year I finally did the smart thing and started seeing a therapist regularly. I’m still struggling a lot, but it’s nice to have a place where I can just unload it all. Also this year, I made a revelatory discovery about myself. One of the friends I made at camp is on the autism spectrum and during camp he had asked if I was also on the spectrum because I was having meltdowns left and right. I told it him it was just social anxiety but him asking triggered a curiosity in me, something that I had never looked into before. And for the past four months or so, I’ve been researching the topic and though I can’t be 100% certain, I think I’m on the spectrum. It makes a lot of things much more clearer and illuminates why I experience the world in the way I do. I don’t think I’m going to seek out an official diagnosis, but having this bit of information in the back of my head really helps to put things into perspective which I’m really grateful for.
  • 2020

  • Writing: I want to finish writing the book I started out for Nano. I then want to rewrite the majority of my other novel: Dried Roses. Having a writing project that isn’t what I’ve been working for the past five years really puts thing into perspective and allowed me to gain the much needed distance required to make major editorial decisions. I really want 2020 to be the year where I make Dried Roses into the book of my dreams so that hopefully 2021 might be the year where I finally find the courage to start to query.
  • Blogging: 2019 was not a year for blogging. I wrote two blog posts in the second half of 2019. I could say that it was because of a lack of time, but that’s total bogus. I love blogging, but I just always struggle to find the motivation to do so. But even though I say this literally every single year, I really want 2020 to be the year where I put a conscious effort into this blog and the book community
  • Book Con: So I’m still not completely sure but I’ve been seriously considering going to Book Con this year. I’ve heard some mixed things about it, but I’ve always wanted to go to a book convention and I also really want to go somewhere once I finish the winter semester, so it’d be a great way to kill two birds with one stone. We shall see though.
  • Personal Life: I really don’t know what this year will hold for me, but I just hope that I’ll be able to survive to the best of my capabilities. I’ve learnt to not get my hopes up, but I just want to try to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. Here’s to 2020 being the year that I am finally capable of being comfortable with who I am.

    How Was Your 2019? What Are Your Goals for 2020? Let Me Know in The Comments Down Below!

    Favorite Books of 2019

    So 2019 has been a really weird year reading wise. I read a lot of books, and enjoyed most of them, but the way I feel about reading has really changed drastically in these past six months or so. I just don’t feel the same inclination to read that I used to and I struggle a lot to connect with what I’m reading. I’m not sure if that is a product of the books I’m reading or if has something to do with me, but it’s something that I’m trying to figure out. With that being said, I read some really phenomenal books this year and I just wanted to talk a little bit about them.

    1. The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord

    This was such a strong contemporary. It had one of my favorite tropes where “the love interest was right under the mc’s nose this whole time” The chemistry was amazing. The friend group was wonderful. And there was some really beautiful hard hitting moments. It was the perfect mix of serious and fluffy, and I loved every second of it. The novel ended in a very satisfying manner, but I also read the sequel this year and while The Start of You and Me stands on its own, think that the Map From Here to There really elevated the overall narrative. Highly recommend both of them.

    2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

    You know sometimes I think that I’ve read every possible iteration of a WW2 novel that’s possible and that nothing can shock me, and then books like The Nightingale go prove me horribly wrong. This was such a fascinating novel and I loved every second of it. It was beautiful and tragic and everything I could hope for in a historical fiction book. The characters were so incredibly complex and flawed and I loved seeing their development throughout the book. The ending broke me and had in tears which is really all you could ever ask for in a book.

    3. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills.

    Review

    I read Foolish Hearts two year ago and fell head over heels with Mills’ characters, romance, and writing. I finally got around to reading her other books and I am in completely in love. She is a master at writing contemporaries. The way she balances the family, friend, and relationship dynamics is exquisite and I love how multi-faceted all of her books are. Out of the three I read this year, This Adventure Ends was definitely my favorite (though Small Town Hearts and First & Then are equally amazing). It had serious The Perks of Being a Wallflower vibes which made the love the book all the more. Sloane was such a relatable character and I just loved her so much. Emma Mills is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and I can’t wait to read her new book next year.

    4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

    I’m always scared to read books that are hyped in the way that The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Everyone on Twitter is obsessed with this book and I was really worried that I wasn’t going to feel the same way. Thankfully, this book not only met my expectations, but also exceeded them. This was such a beautiful historical fiction novel and Evelyn Hugo was such a believable character. She felt like so real. This book had me in tears multiple times and I just loved every single second of it.

    5. The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos

    Review

    Lately I’ve been having more and more trouble reading anything that has fantastical elements, but this book blew me away. It was such a beautiful and lyrical book that had me enthralled from start to finish. It was thematically interesting, the characters were really well developed and the love interest was incredibly swoon-worthy. All in all an amazing magical realism book.

    6. The Mighty Heart of Sunny Ste James by Ashley Herring Blake

    I’m really not a big fan of middle grade novels simply because I find it difficult to look past the juvenile writing and appreciate all the other elements. But this book broke me. It was so bittersweet and wonderful, and I would’ve loved to read a book like this when I was younger. The romance was so cute and adorable and there needs to be more middle grade books that feature LGBTQ characters. My favorite part was definitely the complex relationship she had with her mom and seeing it play out throughout the novel was absolutely heartbreaking. It was such a lovely book and I would recommend it to people of all ages.

    7. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

    Another twitter favorite that I was worried that I wasn’t going to like. But damn was this good. I don’t typically read New Adult books but I’m really glad that I made the exception for this one. The humour and banter of this book was impeccable and I’m so excited to see what Casey McQuiston writes next. The dynamic between Henry and Alex was on point and their chemistry was to die for. It was just such a fun read and one of those books that was a blast to read from start to finish.

    8. Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale

    Review

    If I had to pick a favourite it’d probably be Small Town Hearts. It’s such a beautifully atmospheric summer read that had me yearning. The main character, Babe, was iconic. The love interest was swoon-worthy. The setting was perfect and had me wishing it was a real town. It was everything that I could possibly ask for in a contemporary novel and more. I honestly haven’t heard many people talk about this one, which makes me sad because it’s such a great book. It deserves more hype and is the perfect read to make you forget the cold weather outside.

    9. With The Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

    I finally got around to reading both books by Elizabeth Acevedo and damn is she amazing. Her prose are lyrical and exquisite and had me hanging on to her every word. She captures the raw emotions and feelings of her characters so well. She’s phenomenal. I loved Poet X a lot as well, but this one had stellar food descriptions so I favour this one just a little more. She deserves all the accolades she has received and more. I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve next.

    10. Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

    This is the sapphic enemies to lovers book of my dreams. It had everything I could possibly hope for in a book like this and I loved every single second of it. I absolutely adored seeing the two MCs go from hating each other to falling in love with each other. Enemies to lovers is always a guaranteed win for me and then add in a romance between two girls and you’ve just found my next favourite book. I also just want to revel in the glory that is the cover. I really hope 2020 is the year where we see more covers like these; the only thing better than a f/f book is a f/f book with an explicitly sapphic cover.

    How was your 2019? What were your favorite books? Did you read any of the ones I mentioned? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!

    End of Year Book Survey 2019

    Another year, another look at all the wonderful(and not so wonderful books that I’ve read)

    1. Best Book You Read In 2019?

    Oof that’s always the hardest question. But probably Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale. Such an underrated, atmospheric gem.

    2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

    The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich. I was really excited to see how he was going to subvert the classic love triangle trope, but it just fell really flat and was not good at all.

     3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

    If We Were Villains by M.L Rio. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the dark academia trope until I read this book, and I’m honestly still shook. It was such a great read!

     4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

    I don’t really recommend books to people I know IRL because I know they won’t read it so let’s pass this one.

     5. Best series you started in 2019?Best Sequel of 2019? Best Series Ender of 2019?

    Best Series: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. This was such a fun book, and I can’t wait the third one next year!

    Best Sequel of 2019: There’s Something about Sweetie by Sandhya Menon This is technically a companion novel to When Dimple Met Rishi but I’m going to say it counts. This book was so adorable. Menon is a genius when it comes to cute, fluffy contemporary novels.

    The Best Series Ender: The Map From Here To There by Emery Lord. I would’ve been content with just having one book, but this sequel really added to what The Start of You and Me had laid out so beautifully.

     6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

    Elizabeth Avecedo. Poet X and With The Fire on High are such beautiful and lyrical books and I can’t wait to see what else she writes.

    7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
    I don’t typically read New Adult books, but with all the hype surrounding Red, White and Royal Blue, I just had to make an exception. And boy am I glad that I did. That book was absolutely iconic. Casey McQuiston is such a legend.

     

     8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

    Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McCanus. I was at the edge of my seat the entire time. And that ending!!!!!! Oof, so good.

     9. Book You Read In 2019 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

    Probably The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkin Reid. I need to revel in the beauty that was that book again.

    10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019?

    A beautiful sapphic cover for a beautiful sapphic novel.

    11. Most memorable character of 2019?

    Evelyn Hugo. An actual icon!!!

     12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019?

    The Wise and The Wicked by Rebecca Podos. This book was absolutely beautiful and the world building was gorgeous. Such an enrapturing work of magical realism.

    13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2019?

    I recently reread The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and damn did that book evoke some deep emotions within me. It’s such a simple book, but it’s so powerful. Truly a modern classic.

     14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read? 

    The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. The online hype for this book is incredible, so I was kind of scared that it wouldn’t meet my expectations but it did way more than that.

     15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2019?

    From the Wise and the Wicked: Maybe there weren’t any villains or heroes in the world. Maybe there were just people.

     

     

    16. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

    Henry and Alex from Red White and Royal Blue.

    17. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

    The wonderful friendships in This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills.

    18. Favorite Book You Read in 2019 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

    This Adventure End by Emma Mills. She’s such a great author

    19. Best Book You Read In 2019 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

    Red, White and Royal Blue. So glad I succumbed to peer pressure.

    20. Best 2019 debut you read?

    I Wish You All The Best by Mason Denver. Sooo good!!!

    21. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

    Small Town Hearts had such an atmospheric setting. I still daydream about living in that glorious small town.

    22. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

    Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins. I loved the sapphic romance and all in all it was just a super fun book.

    23. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2019?

    The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Oof.

    24. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

    Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale. I really wish this book got more love because it’s so great.

     

    25. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

    The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. Gotta love WW2 fiction that crushes your entire being.

    26. Most Unique Book You Read In 2019?

    Pantomime by Laura Lam. How can you go wrong with a circus book?

    27. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

    The Grace Year by Kim Leggett. It was such a great concept and I would’ve loved it if it weren’t the stupid and unnecessary romance subplot.

    1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2019 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2020

    I desperately need to read The Toll by Neal Shusterman. I need to know how that glorious series ends.

    2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2020 (non-debut)?

    Lucky Caller by Emma Mills. At this point I will read anything and everything that Emma Mills publishes and this looks so cute.

    3. 2020 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

    Tbh I don’t have any debuts on my radar, but I’m excited to see what 2020 brings us.

     4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2020?

    Even though I’m super wary, I’m honestly really excited to pick up that Hunger Games prequel. That series was my shit when I was like 12, and it’ll honestly be really nice to relive that part of my life.

    5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2020.

    I just really want to post more content. I really slacked this year, mostly because I wasn’t reading as much as I normally do and I just wasn’t feeling very motivated but I really want to post at least every two weeks.

    How Was Your Reading Year? Read Anything Good? What Do You Plan On Reading in The Upcoming Year?

    Life Update

    So I haven’t written a blog post since June, which is quite awhile to go without blogging; at least for me. Part of the reason is due to a lack of motivation, but another reason is that I’ve been quite busy these past few months which is honestly kind of a rarity in my very mundane life. So I thought that today I’d write a post, chronicling what I’ve been up to and what are my plans for the near future. I’m still struggling to find the motivation to blog, so I thought that writing this might help me get back in the swing of things.

    1. I Went to Paris!

    So as a little graduation present to myself, I decided to go to Paris a city that I’ve always wanted to go to, and I thought that I may as well go now while I have the time and the means to do so. I went all by myself which was honestly kind of terrifying at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was super fun! Paris is such a beautiful city filled with amazing culture and beautiful sites. It was so cool to see in person all the incredible artworks that I had studied in college. All in all, it was a great first travel experience and I can’t wait to see where I go next. Also the story behind the photo is that my dad thought that it would be a great idea to get a big cutout of his head so I could bring it Paris and take pictures with it in front of famous monuments. The amount of looks I got from onlookers was hilarious.

    2. I Worked at a Summer Camp!

    So for two months, I worked as a camp counselor at a camp for underprivileged children. Working here was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it was also the most rewarding experience of my life. The amount of mental breakdowns I had were astronomical and some of the kids I had were absolute nightmares, but it was somehow all worth it in the end. As the weeks went along, the campers and staff began to feel like family. Sure they got on my nerves occasionally, but the good overshadowed all of that. It’s been a month since I finished, and I can’t help but miss the late-night card games, dining hall meals and all the people that made the experience so special. I pushed myself in ways I never could have imagined and came out of the experience a better person. I really hope that I get to back next year because it’s an experience that I’ll never forget.

    3. I Went to a Shawn Mendes Concert!

    So I’m kind of a die hard Shawn Mendes fan, so when I saw that he was coming to Montreal I knew I had to go. My sister and I bought tickets back in October and had been eagerly anticipating the concert ever since. The day of the concert comes around, and we get there a little early to avoid the crowds. We had really shitty seats and were like in the second to last row. So me and my sister are just sitting there when this guy comes up to us and asks us if we want better seats. He then proceeds to explain to us how he works for Shawn Mendes and that his job is to find fans in the top seats and bring them down to the floor. He then brings me and my sister to the floor where he gives us… front seat tickets. Shawn Mendes was like 15 feet away from me and we exchanged eye contact: it was insane. It was definitely the craziest day of my life and I had such a blast.

    4. I Started University.

    I started my first year at university, studying education. It’s been kind of a weird transition and it’s definitely odd to only have like one class a day, but I’m starting to get into the swing of it! I joined one of the school newspapers which I’m really excited about!! I really can’t wait to see what the next four years hold for me.

    So that’s it! A little life update. I know these events don’t seem like much, but typically the highlight of my month is eating ice-cream so this was a pretty eventful summer. I really want to get back in the swing of blogging and hope to crank out some reviews and discussion posts in the next little while

    How Was Your Summer? Anything Exciting Happening in your Life? Read Any Good Books? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!

    It’s a Whole Spiel Edited by Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman Anthology Review

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    Goodreads Review:

    Get ready to fall in love, experience heartbreak, and discover the true meaning of identity in this poignant collection of short stories about Jewish teens, including entries by David Levithan, Nova Ren Suma, and more!

    A Jewish boy falls in love with a fellow counselor at summer camp. A group of Jewish friends take the trip of a lifetime. A girl meets her new boyfriend’s family over Shabbat dinner. Two best friends put their friendship to the test over the course of a Friday night. A Jewish girl feels pressure to date the only Jewish boy in her grade. Hilarious pranks and disaster ensue at a crush’s Hanukkah party.

    From stories of confronting their relationships with Judaism to rom-coms with a side of bagels and lox, It’s a Whole Spiel features one story after another that says yes, we are Jewish, but we are also queer, and disabled, and creative, and political, and adventurous, and anything we want to be. You will fall in love with this insightful, funny, and romantic Jewish anthology from a collection of diverse Jewish authors.

    My Rating: 4/5 Stars

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    My Thoughts:

    I have a love-hate relationship with short-stories anthologies. On one hand it’s a great way to find new authors, get  more content from some of your favorite authors and read stories that all have a common theme. On the other hand, I’m not the biggest fan of short stories as there’s so little time for characters that are fleshed out and I so often finish the stories wishing there was more. That said when I read the PW announcement for this anthology nearly two years ago, I was ecstatic. Jewish rep that isn’t featured in a Holocaust book is so rare so to find out that an entire book with contemporaries stories that had Jewish characters was being published had me over the moon. While there were some stories that didn’t wow me as much as others, this anthology is so so important and I can’t wait for this to get into the hands of young Jewish teens. These stories feature all types of Jewish teens, demonstrating that there isn’t one single way to be Jewish. Below I have written mini reviews of each story along with my rating to give you a sense of what type of stories are featured in this glorious anthology.

    Indoor Kids by Alex London

    My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

    I’ve been meaning to read Alex London’s books for the longest of times, and this short story made me wanted to read his longer works even more. It was an adorable story about a Jewish boy who’s working at a summer camp, and falls for a fellow Jewish boy camp counselor. Both of the characters were such nerds and I could have easily read an entire book about them.

    Two Truths and an Oy by Delilah Adler

    My Rating: 4/5 Stars

    This one was about a Orthodox Jewish girl who goes to an orientation weekend and has trouble fitting in. I really enjoyed this as it had a really nice writing style and I thought it was really interesting to see the MC struggle between staying true to herself and fitting in. I would’ve liked just a little more as the ending felt a little abrupt to me.

    The Hold by David Levithan

    My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

    This was a pretty solid story about this boy’s first love. David Levithan has always been an author that I enjoy, so this was a pretty good read. The one thing that really hindered my enjoyment of the story was that it kind of read like non-fiction. There was just something about it that didn’t feel like a short story( which might be the case) and that missing element made me not enjoy the story as much as I would have liked to.

    Aftershocks by Rachel Lynn Solomon

    My Rating: 5/5 stars

    Honestly at this point, Rachel Lynn Solomon could publish her grocery list and I’d read it. She’s such a talented writer who is able to craft characters like no other. This story was about a girl who’s going to her boyfriend’s house for Shabbat. I loved seeing her insecurities over being “not jewish enough” being expressed and loved seeing her work these insecurities with her boyfriend. Also the chemistry between the two of them was so great and I’m just really sad that this was only a short story.

    Good Shabbos by Goldy Moldavsky

    My Rating: 2/5 Stars

    This one just wasn’t for me.  The writing was weird and the plot was lacklustre. I had no idea what was going on for most of the story, and I just had a lot of trouble getting into it.

    Jewbacca by Lance Rubin

    My Rating: 4/5 Stars

    This was a really fun one! It was about a boy who’s technically Jewish  but doesn’t really know much about his faith, but lies to his new girlfriend about just how Jewish he is There was this part where he goes over to his girlfriend’s family’s house and has to explain the story of Hannukah and he just starts making up some bullshit story

    EI Ai 328 by Dana Schwartz

    My Rating: 1.5 /5 Stars

    I could not for the life of me tell you what the point/message behind this story was. I feel like the character was at the exact same as she was when the story started and it just felt  very pointless. The writing style was fine and the character wasn’t horrible, but there was just no development in the story and it ended super abruptly

    Some Days You’re the Sidekick; Some Days You’re the Superhero by Katherine Locke.

    My Rating: 4/5 Stars

    This was a really nice read! It was written in the style of a fanfiction post which was pretty cool as the story was about fandoms. The MC’s sibling uses they/them pronouns which was really nice. Overall, it was a very fun read.  The one thing that made me enjoy not as much was the big reveal of why the MC and his old friend weren’t talking. It didn’t seem as much of a big deal as he made it out to be, and what he did didn’t really seem worthy of them not talking for a year.

    He Who Revives the Dead by Elie Lichtschein

    My Rating: 4/5 Stars

    This was a nice read about a girl overcoming her fear of water during a Birthright trip. It wasn’t anything special or memorable, but it was still very enjoyable. I really liked the group dynamic and the writing was concise. There was just missing a little spark for me to truly fall in love with it.

    Be Brave and All by Laura Silverman

    My Rating: 4.5/ 5 Stars

    I love Laura Silverman’s books and this story just further proved to me how good of an author she is. It was such a great read and was basically about this girl who sneaks out with this guy to go to a gun reform protest. I could have honestly read an entire book about them, and I left the story wishing there was more.

    Neilah by Hannah Moskowitz

    My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

    This was is  beautiful and lyrical and hit me right in the gut. This was about an anorexic girl who attends a Yom Kippur service with her girlfriend. The writing was so incredibly beautiful and though it was quite short, I really felt a connection to the main character. The writing style had a very minimalist feel to it, but was done in such a a masterful way that you were really able to feel the pain as though it was your own.

    Find the River by Matthue Roth

    My Rating: 2/5/5 Stars

    This was another one that didn’t seem have to much point to it. There wasn’t anything special about the characters and the plot was pretty boring. Just overall very lacklustre and not that great.

    Ajshara by Adi Alsaid

    My Rating: 4/5 Stars

    This one had a little magical realism in it which was really fun. This story follows a Mexican teen who is able to see ghosts and he’s on his gap year and it’s just about all the fun he gets to have. There was a little too much telling for my taste but other than it was a good read and it was a nice break from the pure contemporary stories.

    Twelve Frames by Nova Ren Suma

    My Rating: 4/5 Stars

    This one had a really cool vibe to it. There was also a little magical realism as well, but it was a lot more subtle than the other ones. I don’t have much to say about this one because nothing really stuck out, but it was a still pretty decent read.

     

    Have You Read Any Books Featuring Jewish Protagonists? Do You Want To Read It’s A Whole Spiel? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag- 2019 Edition

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    img_4188-4   1.Best Book You’ve Read So Far This Year?

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    It’s really hard to come up with a favorite book so far as a lot of the books I’ve read are equal in my mind. This one however, is a little above the rest. It’s so bittersweet and has the absolute best atmosphere ever. I still think about those mouthwatering food descriptions.

    2.Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far This Year?

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    This technically isn’t a sequel but a companion novel to When Dimple Met Rishi. I haven’t read any actual series this year so this will have to do. Sandhya Menon’s books are all so fluffy and adorable and just a burst of sunshine. There’s Something about Sweetie was so no exception and I fell head over heels with this utterly gorgeous book.

    3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet but Want To?

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    I’ve wanted to read this book ever since Mason started talking about it under the hashtag EnbyLovestory. I can’t believe it’s finally published! It looks like a great book and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    4. Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half of The Year?

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    I fell in love with Scythe and Thunderhead last year, so I can’t wait to get my hands on The Toll. While I’m sad that this is the last book in the series, I’m really excited to see how it ends.

    5. Biggest Disappointment?

     

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    I was so excited for this book that was supposed to flip the love triangle trope on its ehad, but it was soo bad. There was too many plot holes, the world building was weak and the characters were undeveloped. Huge disappointment.

    6.Biggest Surprise?

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    I haven’t heard much about this book and I just picked it up on a whim, but it was such a great contemporary. It was the perfect mix of cute and serious, and had a great balance of a swoon-worthy love interest, great friendships and interesting family dynamics. I can’t wait to read Emery Lord’s other books.

     

    7.Favorite New Author( Debut or New To You)?

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    I recently read both Set The Fire on High and The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo and really enjoyed both of them.  Her writing is so lyrical and beautiful and her characters are really interesting. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

    8. Newest Fictionl Crush?

    I don’t really get crushes on fictional characters. Pass!

    9.Newest Favorite Character?

    Alex Claremont-Diaz from Red, White and Royal Blue. He was such an amazing character and I loved reading about his shenaningans with Prince Henry

    10.Book That Made You Cry?

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    Oof this book hit me right in the feels. I love emotional Historical fiction and this book definitely delivered. The ending killed me. Definitely recommend this book if you’re into books about World War 2

     

    11. Book That Made You Happy?

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    Emma Mills’ contemporaries are honestly the best thing ever and they always put a smile on my face. This one was no exception and made me giddy with happiness. She’s such an underrated author and I wish more people would read her books!

     

    12. Prettiest Book You’ve Bought or Received This Year.

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    I bought this gorgeous book at Shakespeare and Company while I was in Paris and I can’t wait to read it. Oscar Wilde is such an icon.

     

     

    13. What Books Do you Need To Read By The End of The Year.

    There’s not any specific books that I can think of off the top of my head. We’ll see where my tastes take me for the rest of the year.

    Did You Do This Tag? How’s Your Reading Year Going So Far? Have You Read Any Of The Books I Mentioned? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!

    Screen Queen by Lori Goldstein Blog Tour (Review)

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    June 18th

    June 19th

    Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
    The Reading Corner for All – Review + Favourite Quotes
    Young Adult Media Consumer – Review + Favourite Quotes
    Devouring Books – Review
    Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post

    June 20th

    Snark and Squee – Review
    Wall-to-wall books – Review

    June 21st

    The Hermit Librarian – Interview
    Book-Keeping – Review + Favourite Quotes
    A Few Chapters ’til Love – Review + Dream Cast
    Hauntedbybooks – Review + Favourite Quotes

    June 22nd

    L.M. Durand – Review + Favourite Quotes
    Magical Reads – Review + Playlist
    Kait Plus Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
    Musings of a (Book) Girl – Review + Favourite Quotes
    Pooled Ink – Promotional Post

    June 23rd

    The YA Obsessed – Review
    Belle’s Archive – Review
    Frayed Books – Review
    Firstbooklove – Review
    Dazzled by Books – Review + Favourite Quotes

    June 24th

    Morgan Vega – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes
    The Clever Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes
    Bookish In Bed – Review
    Mind of Luxe – Review
    Kourtni Reads – Review + Favourite Quotes

    Goodreads Summary:

    Three thousand applicants. An acceptance rate of two percent. A dream internship for the winning team. ValleyStart is the most prestigious high school tech incubator competition in the country. Lucy Katz, Maddie Li, and Delia Meyer have secured their spots. And they’ve come to win.

    Meet the Screen Queens.

    Lucy Katz was born and raised in Palo Alto, so tech, well, it runs in her blood. A social butterfly and CEO in-the-making, Lucy is ready to win and party.

    East Coast designer, Maddie Li left her home and small business behind for a summer at ValleyStart. Maddie thinks she’s only there to bolster her graphic design portfolio, not to make friends.

    Delia Meyer taught herself how to code on a hand-me-down computer in her tiny Midwestern town. Now, it’s time for the big leagues–ValleyStart–but super shy Delia isn’t sure if she can hack it (pun intended).

    When the competition kicks off, Lucy, Maddie, and Delia realize just how challenging the next five weeks will be. As if there wasn’t enough pressure already, the girls learn that they would be the only all-female team to win ever. Add in one first love, a two-faced mentor, and an ex-boyfriend turned nemesis and things get…complicated.

    Filled with humor, heart, and a whole lot of girl power, Screen Queens is perfect for fans of Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, and The Bold Type.

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    My rating: 4/5 stars

    My Thoughts:

    The minute I read that this book was perfect for fans of “perfect for fans of Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, and The Bold Type.” I knew I had to pick this beauty up. Paired with the fact it was about women navigating the male dominating tech world, I could already sense that this was going to be an epic read. Screen Queens certainly didn’t disappoint and delivered on the fronts that drew me in initially.

    While I struggled to get into the book at first, once I got a feel for the writing style ad the different POVS, I was hooked. This story has the classic formula of a group of people who are forced to worked together and despise each other, but as the stakes become higher, they start o bond and realize that working together isn’t as bad as they had thought.  It’s a trope that I really love, and it was done quite well in this book. I really liked seeing their dynamic evolve throughout the book, and see them go from enemies to friends. Individually, they were all really strong and complex characters and together they truly thrived. One thing that I would have liked to see just a little more was them just hanging out because while we did get to see them work together as a team we didn’t get to see them just hang out, quite as much. I think one or two more scenes that reinforced their friendship would’ve been nice.

    The topic discussed in this book is one that is so important and I really enjoyed seeing it being discussed throughout the novel. There’s a huge disparity in the number of men in the tech field vs the number of women in the tech field and Screen Queens did an excellent job in exploring the difficulties that these women face. It was so frustrating to see how the women in this book were treated and its just so disheartening to think that such discrimination still occurs ion the work force . I also really appreciated the fact that they pointed out how it’s even more difficult when you’re a WOC. In so many books like these, we a see a lot of white feminism and very little intersectional feminism, so this small ad and the fact that there was some PoC protagonist made me appreciate the book even more.

    Have You Read Screen Queens? Do You Want To? Let Me Know in the Comments Down Below.

     

     

    The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven Blog Tour ( Review+Blog Tour)

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    Goodreads Summary:

    Eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill knows exactly who she is—a loyal friend, an aspiring comedian, and a person who believes that milk shakes and Reese’s peanut butter cups are major food groups. But after she’s caught in a compromising position with the son of a politician, it seems like everyone around her is eager to give her a new label: slut.
    Izzy is certain that the whole thing will blow over and she can get back to worrying about how she doesn’t reciprocate her best friend Danny’s feelings for her and wondering how she is ever going to find a way out of their small town. Only it doesn’t.
    And while she’s used to laughing her way out of any situation, as she finds herself first the center of high school gossip and then in the middle of a national scandal, it’s hard even for her to find humor in the situation.
    Izzy may be determined not to let anyone else define who she is, but that proves easier said than done when it seems like everyone has something to say about her.
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    June 5th

    June 6th

    The Night Faerie – Review + Favourite Quotes
    Book-Keeping – Review
    A Dream Within A Dream – Promotional Post
    Pages and Pugs – Promotional Post

    June 7th

    TBR and Beyond – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes
    Staircase Wit – Review + Favourite Quotes
    Luchia Houghton Blog – Promotional Post

    June 8th

    Kait Plus Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
    Maddie.TV – Review
    Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post
    My Bookish Escapades – Promotional Post

    June 9th

    Bookish_Kali – Review + Favourite Quotes
    Little voids – Review
    Literary Meanderings – Promotional Post

    June 10th

    Jill’s Book Blog – Review
    Twilight Reader – Review
    The Reading Life – Promotional Post

    June 11th

    Belle’s Archive – Review
    The YA Obsessed – Review
    BookCrushin – Promotional Post
    My Rating: 4/ 5 stars
    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    My Thoughts
    This is such an important book. I’ve read many feminist books and while some of them have been really great, there always seems to be a struggle to balance tackling these complicated issues while also maintaining a coherent and solid plot. The Exact Opposite of Okay discusses so many pertinent issues while still having a well crafted plot and strong characters. The discussion of these feminist issues felt very natural which is really important when reading a book like this. This book had so many amazing points and it was done in such an eloquent manner. It’s an incredibly timely book that can be used as a starting point for discussion on multiple relevant issues.
    One of the things that made this book so unique was the main character, Izzy.  Her humor and view of the world made everything that she went through all the more interesting. She was strong, stuck to her beliefs and didn’t let anyone define who she was. She was such an amazingly strong character and incredibly confident in who she was as a person. These personality traits made the moments where she was very vulnerable and close to breaking down all the more powerful.
    As I previously stated, so many important topics were discussed in this book. These subjects include slutshaming, consent, “nice” guys” and revenge porn. I absolutely loved reading about Izzy’s view on all these topics and felt that the way they were approached was very tactful and it was seamlessly woven into the plot. It was also really interesting because not only did she have to deal with shit from strangers but also from people who she genuinely cared about.  I really liked how she grappled with these betrayals.
    In addition to an amazing main character, there was some really great side characters. I loved Izzy’s grandmother. She was so funny and it was so sweet how supportive she was of Izzy. I also really appreciated the fact that they were struggling as poverty rep in YA is still very limited. I also really loved Ajita’s character arc. I really hope we get to see more of her in the sequel. One thing that kind of rubbed me in the wrong way was that Izzy accidentally outs Ajita which didn’t really seem essential to the plot. I personally could have done without the forced outing. Nonetheless, I think it did show how flawed Izzy was which I think is pretty important. I just wish that there was a less harmful way to demonstrate that.
    Giveaway (US ONLY)
    Starts: 5th June 2019
    Ends: 19th June 2019

    The Wise and The Wicked Rebecca Podos Blog Tour (Review+ INTL Giveaway)

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    Goodreads Summary:

    Ruby Chernyavsky has been told the stories since she was a child: The women in her family, once possessed of great magical abilities to remake lives and stave off death itself, were forced to flee their Russian home for America in order to escape the fearful men who sought to destroy them. Such has it always been, Ruby’s been told, for powerful women. Today, these stories seem no more real to Ruby than folktales, except for the smallest bit of power left in their blood: when each of them comes of age, she will have a vision of who she will be when she dies—a destiny as inescapable as it is inevitable. Ruby is no exception, and neither is her mother, although she ran from her fate years ago, abandoning Ruby and her sisters. It’s a fool’s errand, because they all know the truth: there is no escaping one’s Time.
    Until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away, and, for the first time, a Chernyavsky’s death does not match her vision. Suddenly, things Ruby never thought she’d be allowed to hope for—life, love, time—seem possible. But as she and her cousin Cece begin to dig into the family’s history to find out whether they, too, can change their fates, they learn that nothing comes without a cost. Especially not hope.
    About The Author:
    Rebecca Podos’ debut novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a B&N Best YA Book of 2016. Her second book, LIKE WATER, won the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Children’s and Young Adult. THE WISE AND THE WICKED, her third novel, is forthcoming in May 2019.
    A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing Program at Emerson College and the Creative Writing Program at College of Santa Fe, Rebecca’s fiction has been published in journals like Glimmer Train, Paper Darts, and Smokelong Quarterly. By day, she works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston.
    Find Rebecca Online
    Buy The Wise and The Wicked
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    May 22nd

    May 23rd

    Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Playlist
    The Book Return – Review
    The Reading Corner for All – Review + Dream Cast

    May 24th

    BookCrushin – Guest Post
    Utopia State of Mind – Review + Favourite Quotes
    Writing with Wolves – Promotional Post

    May 25th

    Chrikaru Reads – Review
    Here’s to Happy Endings – Review + Favourite Quotes
    The Layaway Dragon – Review + Favourite Quotes
    A Conjuring of Lit – Promotional Post

    May 26th

    The Clever Reader – Interview
    Betwixt the Pages – Review
    The Caffeinated Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes

    May 27th

    Kait Plus Books – Guest Post
    Novel Ink – Review
    A Dream Within A Dream – Promotional Post

    May 28th

    @wewhotellstories – Review + Playlist
    My Rating: 5/5 Stars
    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    My Thoughts:
    The Wise and The Wicked is the magical realism book of my dreams. From page one, I was drawn in by the magical  world of the Chernyavskies, and by the time I finished, I was devastated that it was over.
    I’m not the hugest fan of fantastical elements in books and I tend to steer away from fantasy, which is why I’m always wary of magical realism. I like this genre because it’s a nice middle ground between contemporary and fantasy, but sometimes the fantasy elements are too much and and I struggle to read it. Thankfully, the  fantastical elements in The Wise and The Wicked didn’t bog the story down but made it all the more enthralling. Poddos crafted such an intricate world that combined Russian culture and magic in such an interesting way. The concept was one that felt familiar, but was done in a completely new and unique way.
    All of the characters in this book were absolutely fantastic. I love the way in which the  grey areas between being good and bad was explored. There was a quote towards the end which I thought summed up the book really well: “Maybe there weren’t any villains or heroes in the world. Maybe there were just people.” I love books that explore the complexity  of human nature and I thought that this was a novel that tackled the subject quite well.  The main character, Ruby, was absolutely fantastic. She was deeply flawed and made many serious mistakes, but she acknowledged these mistakes and grew stronger because of them. I love the different relationships she had, especially the ones with her parents. I thought the friendship she had with her cousin Cece was absolutely amazing, and their bond was really well developed. I also love the complex relationship she had with her mother, and thought that the way it unfolded it. Finally, I really enjoyed the messy relationship she had with her sisters. They were all so extremely different, which made the dynamic really interesting. Though they fought a lot, it was clear that they cared a lot for one another.
    This book would have been fantastic without a love interest, but there a romance and it made the book all the more amazing. I absolutely loved Dov and the chemistry between Dov and Ruby was absolutely on point. I can’t speak for the trans rep, but I personally found it to be very well done and made the book all the more beautiful.
    One thing that detracted from my enjoyment was how quick the ending was. I felt like the buildup was quite slow, and then everything happened all at once and it was a little difficult to process all of it. Also, I’m not sure how I feel about the ambiguous ending. I know that there’s currently no plan for a sequel and I think this is a book that can stand on its own, but a sequel would definitely be interesting.
    Giveaway
    Prize: Win a copy of THE WISE AND THE WICKED by Rebecca Podos (INT)
    Start Date: 22nd May 2019
    End Date: 5th June 2019

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