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!

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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

Are Cliches Really Such a Bad Thing?: Discussion Post

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So for my screenwriting class this semester, we have to write a 15-20 page screenplay for our final project.  My screenplay is going to be about a couple, Catherine and Elizabeth, who wake up on the day of their four-year anniversary, both separately making the decision that this is the day that they’re going to propose to one another. The script follows the two women as they go about their normal day, thinking about their relationship to date. As the progresses, they begin to worry that they might be making the wrong decision. Despite their worries, the  story ends happily, and they propose to one another and they both say yes!!! We had to write a scene-by-scene outline for the script and one of the criticisms that my teacher gave me was that my ending was too cliché and I should consider changing it. I love this teacher and I typically respect his opinions, but boy did this piss me off. In another class, one of the characters in my story explains that one of the reasons he lost his faith was because of the way his family treated him after he came out. When one of the girls in my class read it, she said “that whole storyline was a little cliché” which really infuriated me. So based off of these two experiences, I was inspired to write a little list about why clichés aren’t the worst thing  that’s happened to literature.

1. The Reason That Certain Storylines are Cliche is Because a Lot of People Have Gone Through These Experiences.

In my four semesters at college, literally every creative writing teacher I’ve had has talked about clichés. And like I get it. Some things are overdone, and using those said things can be a sign of weak writing. However, I see the criticism of clichés as being relevant to individual sentences. For example, saying a character is the sun would be considered overdone, because others have said it before.  Writing is all about finding new ways to express something that’s been said again and again, which is where cliché sentences come into play. But what pisses me off, is when people call experiences that characters go through “cliche. The reason that these experiences are seen over and over again, is because a lot of people have gone through these aforementioned experiences and find that expressing themselves through writing is the best way to understand what they’re going through. And the more that people write about it, the more others see these experiences being depicted and want to write about it as well. There’s no harm in having plot points or background information that has been done before. It’s the way that’s the story is written that makes it unique and meaningful. I don’t find cliches to be a sign of weak writing. It merely means that you’re able to acknowledge who’s come before you and make it your own.

2. Angst Meaningful.

A lot of people seem to think that for something to be meaningful, it needs to be angsty and I’ve never understood that. If anything those type of storylines have always been the weakest in my eyes. Killing off the main character or making them suffer with no resolution isn’t deeper than letting them be happy in the end. Everyone’s so obsessed with these dark plots and they’re held to this high regard, but why? If anything it’s these surprise twists that have become the new cliché and happily ever afters are a rare and treasured item. What makes despair and anguish more valuable than love and happiness? I love fiction because it tells us that there’s hope but these stories that defy clichés are just telling that life sucks and you gotta deal with it, and I honestly hate that.

3. Let Marginalized People Have Their clichés.

Clichés stem from white, heterosexual, cis, able-bodied storylines. People of Colour don’t get happy endings.  LGBTQ people don’t get happy endings. Disabled people don’t get happy endings. But people are so over  clichés, that they don’t understand that marginalized people haven’t had the chance to experience those cliches in fiction.  The gay characters in all of my stories suffer, because I like to make my characters suffer.  They suffer a lot and I basically put them through living hell, but I always give them a happy ending. Because gay people have been reduced to a tragedy for way too long and I’m not going to contribute to that. Cliches don’t harm anybody, because they’re so often rooted in pure emotions of love and happiness and if you’re threatened by that you should probably reevaluate your life.

What Do You Think about Clichés? Do You Agree with Me or a Firm Hater of Cliches? Let Me Know in The Comments Down Below!

Tin Heart by Shivaun Plozza Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:

When Marlowe gets a heart transplant and a second chance at life, all she wants to do is to thank her donor’s family. Maybe then she can move on. Maybe then she’ll discover who she is if she’s no longer The Dying Girl.

But with a little brother who dresses like every day is Halloween, a vegan warrior for a mother, and an all-out war with the hot butcher’s apprentice next door, Marlowe’s life is already pretty complicated. And her second chance is about to take an unexpected turn.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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

My Thoughts:

Going into Tin Heart, I definitely didn’t think that this book would affect me as much as it did. The subject of heart transplant is one that I’ve seen a lot in fiction, but this book was really able to get to the core of this topic and hit its readers eight in the feels. The raw emotion felt by Marlowe was written so well. I felt her pain as though it was my own, and I loved seeing her emotions evolve throughout the book. Her feelings were very complex and they felt very real and it was really interesting to see how these feelings affected the way she held herself and the way she made her decisions.

Another thing that I really liked was how flawed Marlowe was. She made some really stupid mistakes, and didn’t always think of the consequences of her actions, but she learned  from these faux-pas. I really appreciated how not everyone forgave her instantly, once she realized her mistakes.  A lot of the time in books, everyone just instantly accepts the character’s apology which just isn’t how life works. I thought that this realistic approach really added another layer to this story, while offering the hope that an apology could be possible in the future.

The different relationships that Marlowe had throughout the book were phenomenal. I especially loved the relationship she had with her brother.  He was such a precious character and I really liked seeing how Marlowe’s relationship with him shifted throughout the book. THere was this scene towards the end of the book that had me dying of laughter and it just did a great job of showing how much Marlowe loves her brother. I also thought that the relationship she had with her mother was really great. I feel like the vegan thing was just a little over the top but it also provided some of the funniest moments. I would’ve liked just a little more insight into Marlowe’s mom  but I really liked what we got.

The love interest provided just another reason to like an already amazing book. He definitely wasn’t the best thing about the book, but I really liked the chemistry between him and Marlowe. I love books that involve the enemies to lovers trope, so it was really fun to see how their relationship evolved. Their banter was hilarious and I just think that overall, the romance was really well done and developed.

One thing thast kind of bothered me was how easily Marlowe was able to find  her donor’s family. It just a little bit unrealistic and too easy for me. it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book, but it was just one of those times where I had trouble suspending my disbelief.

Have You Read Tin Heart? Do You Want To? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below?

 

 

Mini Reviews of Books I’ve Really Enjoyed Lately (You Asked For Perfect, Darius The Great Is Not Okay and Maybe In Another Life)

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Today I’m bringing you three mini-reviews of three books that I recently really enjoyed. I have so many ARCs that I need to review and I don’t have that much to say about these books, so I’d thought I’d just clump these books into one glorious posts. I’m just going to do bullet points because who doesn’t love a fun point form review?(also I’m at the point in the semester where full fledged sentences seem pretty much impossible)

1. You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman

Goodreads

Rating:4.5/5 Stars

  • The perfect mix of serious and fluff.
  • The Jewish rep was really great and it was really cool how Ariel sought comfort in his faith. Also now I need to find if there’s a decent vegetarian recipe for Matzo Ball Soup because I feel as a Jew it’s my responsibility to eat all the good jewish food
  • I loved the relationship between Amir and Ariel. It was so incredibly adorable.
  • The part towards the end where Ariel says “they asked for perfect and I’m not” killed me and had me in tears. This book seriously wrecked me in many ways.
  • I would’ve liked more about Ariel’s friends and family. I really liked what we saw but just a little more would’ve been great.
  • This is more of a personal thing but the Harry Potter references really grated at my nerves and felt forced. I’m usually a huge fan of pop culture references but I found that it was a little unnatural

2. Darius The Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Goodreads

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

  • There was such a subtle beauty in this book.
  • Darius was so soft and I just really love this tea-loving nerd.
  • The different family dynamics were done so well!!! I especially loved the relationship Darius had with his father, it was so nuanced.
  • Also his friendship with Sohrab was so great. I loved how open they were about their feelings which is really rare to see in male friendships. Give me more male friendships that don’t reek of toxic masculinity
  • The food descriptions were sublime oh my god!!! I know need to try absolutely everything that was mentioned, because everything just sounded so delectable.
  • While I liked his friendship with Sohrab, I feel like it lacked a little development. They went from being strangers to best friends, a little too quickly in my opinion.
  • A lot of people have shelved this as lgbtq rep on goodreads and I’ve seen a few reviews that have labeled Darius as queer. I totally see that and there were definitely moments that can support him being read in that way. I just want to note that in case you’re looking for explicit queer rep, this book doesn’t offer that.

3. Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Goodreads

My Rating: 4/5

  • This is my first book by Reid and I wanted to start with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but this was the only one that my library had so this is the one I decided to read.
  • I loved seeing the two situations play out. I thought it was really interesting to see what was different in the two different outcomes and what stayed the same.
  • I loved the friendship Hannah had with her best friend, Gabby. It was so beautiful and I loved how they supported each no matter. I honestly could’ve done without the romance ( though it was pretty cute) and just have an entire book dedicated to Hannah’s and Gabby’s friendship
  • I’m kind of convinced that this book is about me. I mean my name is also Hannah, I also view cinnamon rolls as the ultimate food and if I had a dog I would totally name him Charlemagne. In conclusion: I related to Hannah a lot and not just because we have a lot of things in common. She was such an amazing character.
  • I feel like the chemistry in both of the romantic situations was a little lacklustre at times. I liked the love interests but there was just a little bit of a spark missing

  • Have You Read You Asked For Perfect, Darius the Great is Not Okay or Maybe in Another Life? Do you Want To? What Have You Been Reading Lately?
  • In The Neighbourhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton Blog Tour ( Review+ Giveaway—US Only)

    Book Summary:

    After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.
    Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.
    About The Author:
    Susan Kaplan Carlton, a longtime magazine writer, currently teaches writing at Boston University. She lived for a time with her family in Atlanta, where her daughters learned the fine points of etiquette from a little pink book and learned the power of social justice from their synagogue. Carlton’s writing has appeared in Self, Elle, Mademoiselle, Seventeen, Parents, and elsewhere. She is the author of the young adult novels Love & Haight, which was named a Best Book for Young Adults by YALSA and a Best Book by the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street Books, and Lobsterland.
    Find Susan Online:
    Buy The Neighborhood of True Online:
    My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    My Thoughts:
    Finally a Jewish historical fiction book that isn’t set during WW2!!!! My little jewish heart is so happy. I’m seriously loving how many different perspectives on Judaism we’ve been getting and I can’t wait to see more.
    I absolutely loved how Carlton depicted the character of Ruth, as she struggled between keeping true to her faith and hiding her faith in order to be popular. I thought it was an interesting premise and I really enjoyed seeing how everything played out. I thought that the way that Ruth’s conflicting emotions were portrayed was done extremely well. She had so many interesting thoughts and revelations that are especially relevant in today’s political climate.
    The subject of this book is one that is really important. I feel like a lot of people see anti-semitism as this very distant issue that ceased to be a problem once the war ended, and fail to understand just how pervasive the bigotry was and continues to be. By showing this untold part of Jewish history, I think it will really help in spreading awareness onto a subject that many people don’t see as an issue. Just because Jews aren’t in concentration camps, doesn’t mean discrimination no longer occurs. I actually learned a lot from this book and I had no idea about the bombings of synagogues during this time period.It’s made me want to look more closely at my people’s history to better understand how we’re at where we are now.
    While I really enjoyed the premise of the book and the character development of Ruth, at times that the execution wasn’t as strong as it could be. All the elements were there , there was just a little something missing. One of my main problems was with the voice and dialogue. First thing was that the dialogue was really stiff at times and it just felt really unnatural to me as I was reading. The other thing was that the voice of Ruth sounded quite immature to me at times. She’s supposed to be a junior in high school, but she really doesn’t sound like one at all. Honestly I feel like this book could’ve been possibly been a middle grade novel. There’s a few parts that wouldn’t really work as a middle grade, but the overall tone seemed very juvenile to me. This may be because of the time period though, but even when taking that into consideration, it seemed a little off.
    The last thing is that I wish there was more!! It just felt way too short for me. I feel like the really intriguing stuff was rushed and wrapped up too hastily, when those plot elements could have easily been the crux of the novel. I was really getting into the end, and it was just done and I was really disappointed.

    Favorite Quote:

    I bought of all those nights, at the club and not at the club, and how I’d still somehow never seen a constellation. And I thought, constellations weren’t the point. Constellations were just a bunch of separate stars. They didn’t become constellations until you connected them, one to another. Like families, like sisters, like friendship, like prayers.

    And anyway, it turned out Nattie was memorizing all eighty-eight constellations. I didn’t need David in order to fall in love with the night sky.”

    What About You? Do you want In The Neighbourhood of True? Let Me Know in The Comments Down Below

    APRIL 3RD

    APRIL 4TH

    Novel Ink – Review
    Bookish_Kali – Review
    The Book Return – Review + Favorite Quotes

    APRIL 5TH

    Wishful Endings – Guest Post
    The Book Thief Without Words – Review + Favourite Quotes

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    APRIL 7TH

    The Book Return – Review + Favourite Quotes

    APRIL 8TH

    APRIL 9TH

    Kait Plus Books – Guest Post
    Cheyenne Reads – Review
    Journal of the Lost One – Review + Dream Cast + Favourite Quotes
    A Dream Within A Dream – Promotional Post

    Giveaway

    Win 1 of 2 copies of In The Neighbourhood of True. ( US Only)

    Start Date: April 3rd 2019

    End: April 16th 2019

    Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86354/