Saturday, March 5, 2016

February Wrap Up


So it appears that me and set TBRs just don't get along. From the three books (THREE! I COULDN'T EVEN MANAGE THAT!) I only finished one...well to be fair I just didn't enjoy one of them but more on that later.
Now on to the books I did read this month. I read a total of seven books this month, which for me is pretty impressive. 

 1. Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

My rating: 3.5/5 stars
I have a review for this up on this blog already so if you wanna know my thoughts on it you can just go ahead and read that. 
But I'll just say, this book needs to become a cute, coming of age, high school movie that will be passed on for generations of weird teenagers....

2. The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell

 My rating: 4/5 stars
This book was unlike anything I'd read before and I think there needs to be more books of it's kind to be honest. The story follows a Japanese teenager who was diagnosed with ALS (if you haven't heard of ALS then I'm assuming you'll immediately know what I mean if I say "Ice Bucket Challenge". THAT CHALLENGE WAS TO CREATE AWARENESS FOR ALS DAMMIT WHY DOES NOT ONE REMEMBER?! Anyway...).  So yes, it is quite a sad read when you just see him gradually get worse and there are really dark elements to the story too because, well it's about a teenager faced with death. 
But you do get to see him make some AMAZING friends. Honestly, I adored Sora's friends, they were so incredibly sweet. And just yeah, this book definitely deserves a read by everyone. 

3. Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

My rating: 3/5 stars
I remember, I adored this book as a kid and I'd always had wonderful memories from reading it so I actually wish I hadn't re-read it because reading books like this when you're changes how you initially felt about it and then all your fun memories of the book as a kid are all sort of weird to think about cause you didn't enjoy it as much as you used to. Ugh. 
But don't get me wrong, it's still a great children's book. I re-read this one for Rainbow-a-thon as I didn't have another orange book with me...heh. 

3. Me and Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

My rating: STILL 5/5 STARS 
This was obviously another re-read. It hasn't even been a year since I first read this book but it still made me laugh and just...this book just means a lot to me. 

4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4/5 stars
Yes, everyone. After what feels like forever, I finally read Fangirl. And I loved every minute of it. It was just so unbelievably cute (apparently as are almost all of Rainbow Rowell's books but still it is worth pointing out that this was no exception) and I feel like I could definitely relate to how attached Cath is to Simon Snow.
I ABSOLUTELY ADORED LEVI. Oh my goodness, that boy did things to my heart....
So if you're looking for a cute sort of contemporary about first loves, and college, and fandoms then you should definitely read this ASAP. 

5. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Again, just like The Last Leaves Falling, I think there should be more books like this one. The story follows August Pullman, who is a ten year old boy and he was born with a facial deformity. 
So basically, he does not look like a regular kid and the story follows him, starting middle school after being home schooled for all of his life. And as you may have figured out, middle school kids can be mean. Very mean. 
I adored this book, it was so heartwarming and it made me smile, and laugh, and cry and just UGH MY FEELS CANNOT BE TAMED. 
I also loved Auggie. He was honestly such a likeable kid. He's super smart and obsessed with Star Wars and he loves science. And I also loved his family.
If you're kind of hesitant to read this because it's technically a "middle grade" novel, please don't let that keep you from reading it. This is one of those books that I feel like everyone should read no matter what age you are. 

6. Keeping The Moon by Sarah Dessen 

My rating: 3/5 stars
Now, I'm aware that Sarah Dessen writes a lot of young adult contemporaries, and they're very well known. But before I read this book I had only ever read Just Listen. Which by the way, is one of my favorite contemporary books. I absolutely loved the story and the characters and the family aspect. But more and that book another time. 
Going in to Keeping The Moon, I was aware that it would be about friendship and all that sort of coming of age things. So while I thought it would be a fun story, I didn't exactly know how I was going to enjoy it. 
But you know, this book surprised me. With her Mom being so well known, and the fact that she didn't immediately become friends with Isabel and getting to see them grow closer as the book progresses, and Norman and his paintings; this book was actually pretty sweet. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid - BOOK REVIEW

Never Always Sometimes

Author: Adi Alsaid
Pages: 308 pages
Goodreads rating: 3.39 avg. rating

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

There was a lot of buzz around this book's release over on booktube and that's how I found out about it. It's about two best friends, Julia and Dave, who at the beginning of high school make a list of Nevers; high school cliches they would never do. Except as senior year rolls around and they have the idea to do every one of the Nevers before they graduate. 
It's your typical high school contemporary, I guess. Cute, fluffy, with just the right amount of self discovery. I liked it, this book was like a cute 80s John Hughes movie in book form. 
There were some parts that felt a little draggy and slow, which led me to not give it as high a rating as I would have liked. And I didn't get to really connect too well with the characters as much as I would've liked to. 
It's just a pretty darn cute book, I will give it that! I mean just look at that cover, you know it's going to be cute. If you're in a book hangover (as I was after reading The Book Thief *sigh*) this is a pretty good book to help you through it.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Wrap Up and February TBR


So this January was actually a pretty good reading month for me. I read a total of 5 books so I'm quite proud of myself about this.

1. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

My rating: 3 stars
Upon reading this book I realized...THIS BOOK ISN'T ABOUT VAMPIRES. Who knew?! Okay, I'm pretty sure a lot of you know but all the Twilight comparisons led me to believe so.
But surprisingly enough I enjoyed this book. I mean it wasn't the best book ever or anything but I think it deserves a little more love. 
For anyone who doesn't know what this book is about. It's about witches...or sorts. And there's the whole forbidden love thing coming in to play too. However there is NO LOVE TRIANGLE. 
Am I going to pick up the next book in the series? Maybe one day but right now, it doesn't seem like as big a priority.

2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

My rating: 4 stars
I read this book for class and I'm going to be honest and say that I probably wouldn't have picked up this book if I didn't have to. So yay for school, I guess.
This book is so devastatingly sad, and of course I know a lot more about it now than I probably would've if I'd just read it. Since I'm "studying" it, I know all the metaphors and the foreshadowing and all those writing techniques that the writer put in to the story.
It's all very impressive. I'm serious. 
And like I said in my last post, I don't really read all that many books about war, and I guess that's changing now but reading about the was just eye opening, because I knew hardly anything at all about what was going on in Afghanistan all those years. 
This is just one of those books that you should at least give it a try. At some point in your life. Definitely worth the read. 

3. Everyday by David Levithan

 My rating: 4.5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. It was so different from anything I've ever read before and the writing was gorgeous!
Basically, this book is about a guy who wakes up every morning as a different person. Regardless of gender or sexuality. And this has been going on since he was born so he's never got the chance to witness life as a regular person, he doesn't have any real family or friends. 
And then one day, he falls in love. 
That's all I'm going to tell you, I highly recommend you go and pick up the book right now, because it is honestly amazing. 
Every chapter is him as a different person and I really liked that. It was almost as if they were all individual stories just all told from his POV. 

4. Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

My rating: 2.5 stars
The only reason I picked up this book was because I was in the library, in the non fiction section, and I figured I'd sit and read for a while. This happened to be the shortest book there. 
This book just sort of let me down, because the initial premise sounded really interesting. It's about a girl who spends her teenage years in a mental institute. It was a true story. 
But unfortunately it just didn't end up being a book I enjoyed. 

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak


This book. Holy flaming potatoes, this book. I am still recovering from this book and I don't think I'll stop thinking about it ever. 
It's just such a powerful story and when I finished it, I think I just sobbed for an hour straight. 
The book is narrated by Death and that made it a very original and interesting POV. 
It's not uncommon for me to get attached to fictional characters but the ones in this book were just so real and you can't help but love them. 
I honestly have no words about this other than PLEASE PLEASE READ IT. 

And that's it for my January wrap-up. I haven't read more than 2 books in the past few months so 2016 is off to a pretty good start, reading wise. Did I just jinx it...?


 So the only set books I have for my TBR this month are:
  1. Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
  2. The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
  3. The Martian by Andy Weir
  4. How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran

 I've already started Never Always Sometimes, and I'm about fifty pages in. It's just one of those quick, light contemporary reads, which is exactly what I needed after The Book Thief. I need time to recover from so much emotion overload.

And the reason I said these are the only books on my TBR that are "set" is because there are a bunch of readathons happening this month and I'm not sure exactly which books I'm reading for those.

For any of you guys who are interested, the readathons I'm going to be participating in this month are

1. Rainbowthon 2.0

The Rainbowthon is taking place from the 7th to the 14th of this month.
This just sounds like it's going to be a fun readathon. It's going to give me and excuse to read a lot in one week, and it'll give a really pretty wrap-up shot for instagram. (psst. By the way you can follow my bookstagram @nushoesocks)
If you haven't heard of this readathon, the point is that you try to make a rainbow from the spines of the books you read for this readathon. 
I think there is a hashtag for this readathon over on twitter if you guys want to check it out!

2. AYearAThon - February

The February part of AYearAThon is taking place from the 8th to the 14th and the theme for this month is romance. 
I still have no idea what I'm going to read for this one but if you guys have any recommendations let me know!
And if you want to learn more about THIS readathon, there is a Goodreads group you can join.  

 If any of you guys are participating please let me know.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Top 15 books of 2015

TOP 15 BOOKS OF 2015 

 I'm aware we're almost a month in to 2016, but it's never too late for this post.
So 2015 was not the best reading year for me, I read a total of 43 books, which I guess with school and moving going on is understandable but I'm hoping to read way more this year.
Also quick note that my top 15 of last year were not books that came out last year, just ones that I read.

15. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

My rating: 3 stars
I read this book at the start of last year, when I just wanted to read something all fluffy and cute and contemporary. And while this book was all of these things, it was a lot more too. 
I still remember the characters and tiny little details from the story. 

14. The Beasts of Clawstone Castle by Eva Ibbotson 

My rating: 3.5 stars
Now, yes I am aware this is a children's book, and I'm meant to talk about Young Adult books BUT I picked this book up as a way to move my reading challenge along. 
As a kid I adored Eva Ibbotson's writing, mostly her books: Journey To The River Sea and The Star Of Kazan (highly recommend those books by the way) but this was one of the books she had written for an even younger audience, and I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did.
It's just such a fun read! It's about two siblings who are sent off to live with their uncle for the summer, in this huge castle which is  sort of a museum as well, and there are secrets and ghosts and it's just a very enjoyable read. 

13. Holes by Louis Sachar 

My rating: 4 stars 
Funnily enough, I had not heard of this book at all when I borrowed it from the library. I know it's won a lot of awards and it's very popular with a movie and everything. But I know all this NOW. After I had finished the book. 
I read this during the April Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, and I flew right through it. Not just because of the readathon, it  was honestly a surprising read.
I hardly had any real expectations for the book, if any, but it was honestly such a heartwarming read. I found it very interesting, both the setting and the character were very different from those I had read about before. And seeing the friendship develop between Stanley and Zero, just made me so happy.

12. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

My rating: 4 stars 
I almost forgot I first read this book last year but it was actually the first book I read in 2015, and I read this book TWICE last year. 
I knew this was going to be a sad read when I first picked it up, but I didn't know the extent of emotions this book would make me go through. To say it made me cry is an understatement. 
I cried happy tears, at parts I would be reading and I'd feel a tear roll down my cheek, and at one point I had to put the book down and actually sob (if you've read this book already then you know what I'm talking about), and other than crying there were plenty of parts where I just genuinely smiled while reading it.
It was absolutely beautiful, and the relationships between the characters was brilliant. I read the sequel, Where She Went soon after I read this but it wasn't as good, in my opinion, but enjoyable all the same. 

11. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

 My rating: 4 stars  
I don't really read books about war so this was not really like anything I'd read before, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I mean, it's a highly acclaimed novel, that won the Printz award too so I should've known it was gonna be good.
If you don't know what this is about, it's about world war III but it is a young adult contemporary novel, and that's all I'm going to tell you because I think it's better if you go in to this book not knowing anything. 

 10. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 4.5 stars
I'd been meaning to start this series for years and I finally picked up the first book last year and I loved every minute of it. I finished this book in a day. That rarely happens for me and I was just so fascinated by the world. 
I'm usually very interested in dystopian novels just because there are so many possibilities and the world of uglies and pretties was definitely one of my favorites. 

9. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare 

My rating: 4.5 stars
This is going to be quite a controversial statement but... .I did not enjoy The Mortal Instruments. Now a lot of people have told me that it gets better as the series progresses but I'd forced my way through City of Bones and City of Ashes and I just couldn't really connect with the characters. But that's for another post...
What I'm saying is that I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book AT ALL. I picked it up on a whim. And I was blown away. I adored the characters and the world (which is weird because the world of the shadowhunters is the same as The Mortal Instruments, I know, I know). I think the reason I enjoyed this so much is the fact that it takes place in the Victorian era and I thought that was really entertaining. Of course, Will Herondale plays a part in my interest...eheh heh. 

8. The Battle Of The Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

My rating: 4.5 stars
Well actually, this entire series is incredible and I read the whole series last year. I'm just listing The Battle Of The Labyrinth here because that was my favorite from all five books (it was an extremely difficult choice to pick just one though).
Now there was obviously a bit of skepticism because it's a middle grade book and he's twelve and "Will I be able to relate to this book because I'm more used to young adult?" and all that stuff. 
But this is just as well loved a series to some people as Harry Potter is to me and I understand why. It's hilarious and the adventures are so much fun. And I just love Percy, I think he's one of the wittiest characters I have ever read about. I highly recommend this series! (Also the movies though.....huge let down honestly) 

7. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 4.6 stars
And yet another series that I probably should have picked up years ago but didn't for stupid reasons. *sigh* 
And as always the book has made me regret not picking it up sooner. I don't know how exactly to describe this book but it's about assassins. And it has a badass female protagonist. And I don't mean Katniss Everdeen-badass (nothing against Katniss of course, she's amazing) but honestly Celaena Sardothien is SUCH A STRONG CHARACTER. 
And Sarah J. Maas' writing is beautiful and I love the fact that she intertwined faes and a very high fantasy element in to this book too. Honestly I need to get started on the rest of this series asap!
(Also I know Chaol is like, a fan favorite but I honestly really liked Dorian)

6. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

 My rating: 4.8 stars
MY FIRST EVER RAINBOW ROWELL BOOK! Yes, it finally happened. Last year, I picked up my first ever Rainbow Rowell book and it broke my heart. But in a good way, of course. 
This. Book. Was. So. Cute. 
It was funny, and sweet, and heartwarming and heart breaking all at the same time. I feel like Rainbow Rowell portrayed a very realistic take on high school romances, which you don't normally see in young adult literature. The only reason this book didn't get a 5 star rating from me is because it felt a little insta-lovey at parts, but maybe that's just me. 
But disregard that, because I loved both Park and Eleanor so much, I didn't want the book to end just because I got so attached to the characters. And of course, this book made me cry, as expected. 

5. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

My rating: 4.9 stars (so close, so very close)
Ah yes, Seraphina, the very last book I read last year, and it made it in to the top 5. 
This was the very first dragon book I read and the reason I think I enjoyed it well was because, we all associate dragons with high fantasy but this book was more political, actually.
It shows the dragons as foreigners of sorts and the humans learning to get over past beliefs and get through life among dragons. 
Seraphina, our protagonist, is a musician. And I loved the aspect of music being brought in to this. 
Also Lucian Kiggs is just perfect. Just thought I'd put that point out there. 

4. Me and Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

My rating: 5 stars
I'd heard so many people talk about how brilliant and funny this book is, but the reason I finally decided it was something I HAD to read was because there was a movie coming out starring Thomas Mann (I absolutely adore Thomas Mann by the way, I think he's given really likable characters to play most of the time) and the trailer made me laugh a lot.
There's a blurb on the back of my copy that says "This is the funniest book you will ever read about death" and that's just what it is. I hardly ever actually laugh out loud while reading and this book made me. Multiple times. 

Okay now we're heading in to the top three and I would honestly give all three of these next books first place but that's not how this works so after hours of careful contemplation, I've finally arranged all three of them in order.

3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 5 stars
Do NOT let the fact that this book is third in my list, fool you in to thinking it isn't worth reading. I cannot stress enough on how mind blowingly awesome this book is. 
I don't even play video games. I know literally nothing about them and yet, this book remains one of my favorite books OF ALL TIME. I love the characters, Parzival and Art3mis and Aech (especially Aech) are just so much fun. And the world building and the thought that the author clearly put in to every tiny detail of the Oasis is incredible. 
I don't care what your preferred genre is, this book definitely deserves at least a try. It does not disappoint.

2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

My rating: 5 stars (obviously)
If you haven't read this book yet I don't want to give away anything about it because I think it's best if you go in to it completely clueless. All I will say is, it's about angels and demons. But NOT in a Mortal Instruments kind of way!!
Laini Taylor's writing is breathtaking. Literally breathtaking. Her descriptions of the setting and the characters just entranced me. I have never read a book quite like this one. 
And just..what more is there to say? Just, please give this series a try I highly recommend it to anyone who is even remotely interested in fantasy.

 Aaaaaaand finally, my number one favorite book of 2015 is.....*drumroll*

1. I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

My rating: 6 stars (is this rating even possible? I don't know but this book definitely doesn't deserve an average rating) 
There is an ever growing list of reasons why this book is AMAZING. 
For one, Jandy Nelson's writing is marvelous and breathtaking and (enter all other amazing words here) but you get the idea. 
The characters, oh my goodness, the characters. Noah was and still remains one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. He was just so real and the way his mind works and every experience he went through was so entertaining. And not just Noah, all the characters were just very real, and that's something I always enjoyed. 
The book itself is gorgeous. I mean it's a beautiful book. If you have seen a physical copy of it you will understand. And other than the physical appearance, the dual POV was really interesting too. And just *sigh* so so good. I loved every minute of it. It made me cry and laugh and just left me with this really weird nostalgic feeling. 

So there we have it, my top 15 books of 2015. If you have read any of these books, please do tell me what you thought of them!