Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Interview with the one and only... CG DREWS!

Guess what I have for today's post! You guessed it (or I can't shut up because I'm TOO EXCITED) an interview with the one and only CAIT. You may recognize her as having written the book that personally stole my heart and mental faculties for three days (A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES) or the wonderful wonderful blogger on Paper Fury! (Which you should all totally check out, by the way.) Without further ado.... here is our interview!



These books have absolutely the prettiest covers which is only 1/27th of the reason YOU NEED THEM IN YOUR LIFE


Minna: What are three things about a book that make you immediately want to read it?
Cait: There actually, oh wow, so many things that will have me instantly picking up a book, no further questions asked. But my top three have to be: (1) anything with an emphasis on family, also found-family-friend-squads! (2) BAKERIES. Set a book in a bakery and my heart just sped up a little. (3) If it's by Maggie Stiefvater. Shh, this totally counts as an answer, since if you say, "Well Maggie Stiefvater wrote it..." I need no more information. Just the book.

M: What do you think is important advice for aspiring authors?
C: My favourite one to say is: KEEP WRITING. It's so crucial to finish what you start and write in copious quantities. Even if you look back at your work and weep a bit in despair, don't worry. Keep writing. Your abilities will catch up with your vision if you keep going! My first published novel was actually the 16th I ever wrote!


M: How often do you DNF books?
C: Actually never! I hate unfinished things and I end up overthinking them ugh. But I do confess if I really haven't clicked with a book, I'll skim to the end just to see how it turns out. 


M: Do you like or dislike historical fiction?
C: I like it a lot! I actually grew up with a reading menu of about 80% historical fiction, so even though I rarely reach for it now (maybe I was oversaturated when I was twelve!?), I definitely have fond feelings for it.



M: Which fictional food do you absolutely need to have?
C: I would definitely give a lot to try all the delicious food from Weep in Strange the Dreamer. My mouth watered in that book. (M: oH MY GOD SAME)

M: Which book in The Raven Cycle is your favourite? (This is a BIT mean)
C: IT IS A LOT MEAN AHHHHH. Ok, crisis aside and knowing that I truly love all four equally...I am particularly attached to Blue Lily Lily Blue! Ronan and Adam's character development is amazing there and we also meet Gwenllian who is absolutely mad and I love her.

M:  If you weren't an author, what job do you think you would have?
M: I honestly don't have an answer for this! I've been obsessed with being an author for 10 years so it's all I've ever worked toward. Possibly I would get a tricorn hat and a pet kraken and become a pirate???

M: What are some of your opinions on the Series of Unfortunate Events adaption? (I'm oBSESSED)
C: It is glorious. That is my absolute full opinion. I love how faithful it was to the books, as well as adding in more jokes and the best costumes and sets ever. Also can we agree Sunny was the highlight of the entire show?! SHE IS ADORABLE.

M: Roughly how many dragons do you have?
C: At least more than three.

M: What aspect of The Boy Who Steals Houses are you most excited for readers to enjoy? Will it break us all like A Thousand Perfect Notes did? (I'm already clearing my schedule)
C: I'm very keen to see if readers will find it more or less sad than ATPN...! Which is terrible of me haha. But I'm also super excited for everyone to meet the De Lainey's! They're a big, messy family of 7 kids and cake crumbs and arguments and intense loving hugs. When Sam starts sneaking into houses, it's the De Lainey house he gets caught in. He slowly falls in love with their family (particularly the bitterly beautiful Moxie) and I hope my readers will too! They were so much fun to write.


Thank you so so much for coming to visit my blog Cait!!! It was absolutely splendid to have you!


so.... tell me... are you ridiculously excited for The Boy Who Steals Houses? (my job description, omg) do you love the ASOUE show? are you following Cait everywhere because you really need to? do you have a dragon army?

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Poppy War - A Review

MORE PICTURES ARE COMING SOON I SWEAR


Do you ever read a book and then proceed to immediately scream and freak out over it, lose all thoughts of sense and cohesion, and rush to Goodreads to convince the website to develop a 6/5 star rating because the book is just that good?

That's me with The Poppy War, people. Holy. I am DEAD on so many levels.

REASONS YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW IMMEDIATELY
RIN. A YA badass heroine with dimension to her personality and also no romance??? Sign me tf up. (I was so so worried it was going to make her and Altan a thing, but they didn't, and thank god.) Rin is so motivated and ambitious and wholeheartedly amazing. She studies like hell for a test to avoid marrying an old man and gets into a school where she's still belittled but keeps fighting and honestly she's so damn inspiring. I love her. She works hard and consistently and is all in all amazing. I relate wholly to her need for validation (because me) and also destroying her entire damn womb because the cramps will interfere with her education. *quiet clapping*

Legitimately the best developed fantasy I've read yet. iT'S LITERALLY BETTER DONE THAN HARRY POTTER. OKAY. IT IS. This world is so insanely well done and the information about it is conveyed to the audience in the best way. It's not all infodumps, it's strategically placed information that makes consistent sense and is easy to uncover. This does not read like a debut. This reads like one of the (if not THE) best young adult fantasy available right now. Wordlbuilding is A++++.

P-L-O-T. That spells "avocado," because my ability to spell was lost after becoming so endlessly infatuated with the plot of this book that I forgot how to spell and also read. I'm not sure what the correct words to describe this plot are, because it has three parts (well divided, I might add) that are relatively coursed through in terms of action. Like, it's never gonna feel really slow or like there's no detail, but it's also not like R.F. Kuang documents every single day over the years this story takes place. It's a very interesting way of writing, one that doesn't leave too much room for drag or for me shutting up about it. I think the lack of drag is because every part the author chooses to write is something they want to, and it's great. 100%. I wish I could communicate effectively in English but no that's competence and I'm allergic.

The Other Characters. Obviously there are characters other than the amazing Rin, and they are very very good. Kitay, for one? First, incredibly written. Secondly, has off-screen character development that makes sense and doesn't come off as forced. Thirdly, I read that last sentence and decided I had to add R.F. Kuang to my list of favourite authors because I've never read that in a book before. Damn. We love talent. Anyway, another really awesome thing about this book is that it has a ton of side characters and I managed to not get confused between them because they all actually had personalities. Wow! I know! Shocking! It can be done! I just want to applaud the sheer writing skill involved in this book, everyone. And I will, with...

THE WRITING. Literally one of the first things that really struck me about this book was how good at writing R.F. Kuang is. This book is a) quotable, b) consistently well written from start to finish (and it's 500+ pages, folks!), and c) has excellent characterization. Just!!!! The sheer writing talent present in the pages (but not in this review) is awe-worthy, people. We as a society were not prepared for this level of artistry. Bow chicka WOW WOW.

I feel like this is super long and super rambly, but I love this book way too much to bother shortening it in the slightest, so you're welcome. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go 'borrow' some money to purchase 9000000 copies of this book and ship them globally.


Have you read The Poppy War? Did you like it? Are there any books that made you want to force Goodreads to have a 6/5 rating? What are they? Do you like pineapple?

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Shadowhunter Tag





Welcome to me posting for the second day in a row with NEW (!) graphics, even though I said I'd only post once a week. You're welcome, avocados. So, what are we going to be doing today, you ask?

TODAY I AM DOING THE SHADOWHUNTER TAG. I am a rabid Shadowhunter fan - I cannot get enough of the world and I am absolutely dying to get Chain of Gold, mostly because I fell in love with all the characters in the TFtSA short story. Damn.

I also couldn't find the creator of this tag, which is a shame because I wanted to link them. If you know, please comment!

Let's get this tag going.


1. Who is your favorite character?

 EMMA CARSTAIRS. Love of my life, badass Shadowhunter fighting queen, as sarcastic as she is pretty. I adore Emma. She's wonderful and brave and I just love her so much. This isn't even a Shadowhunter question, okay. It's like "who is your favourite fictional character" and I'm like "EMMA CARSTAIRS."

 Isabelle Lightwood. All that aside, my favourite character in The Mortal Instruments (not counting Emma's appearance in CoHF) has got to be Isabelle. She's a heartbreaker, a femme fatale, and you know what I stan. We stan.

  Tessa Gray. How can I not love the book-obsessed wise warlock? How? How?

2. Who is your OTP?
SIZZY FOR LIFE. I CARE ABOUT LITERALLY NO OTHER SHIP. They're adorable. I slogged through all of the Shadowhunter Academy tales for promises of Sizzy. They're the best.

3. What is your favorite quote from any of the books?
“Everyone is afraid of something. We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don't wish you didn't fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn't feel anything.” - Julian in Lord of Shadows.

4. Who is the sexiest Shadowhunter in the series?
NO OPINION. WHY WOULD YOU ASK ME THIS.

5. If you had any Shadowhunter last name, what would it be?
Fairchild is the prettiest to my ear, but based on families I'd probably pick Lightwood and then like, marry James Herondale. Or Jem Carstairs.

6. Who is your favorite actor in the TV-show?
Alberto Rosende! I don't even know why, okay. He's funny. Give me a break.

7. Who is your favorite actress in the TV-show?
Emeraude Toubia! She's gorgeous! And she's so good and she also plays Izzy so basically there was no competition for this question.

8. Would you rather listen to Jace playing the piano, Jem playing the violin or play video-games with Simon?
Video games with Simon. I love video games even though I'm terrible at them. Also, I adore Simon because Simon is great,

9. If you could have one rune tattooed on your body, which one would it be?
Parabatai to twin with a friend! Takers?

10.  What Downworlder would you most likely be?
I'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT I'D MAKE AN EXCELLENT FAERIE. I follow instructions very literally and I also make promises very very carefully. I'd be the best faerie.

11.  TMI or TID?
The Infernal Devices! My favourite trilogy! (My favourite trilogy would've been TDA, but QoAaD just spoiled it for me. So TID with the masterful conclusion of Clockwork Princess remains supreme.)


12.  Who is your most hated character from the books?
Jace. (dodges swords, pitchforks, knives, and the occasional kumquat) SORRY. He's just arrogant, and rude, and I don't understand how anyone likes him? Clary's way too good for him, to be quite honest.

13.  If you could spend a day with any character who would it be?
Emma Carstairs, love of my life. SHE COULD TEACH ME TO SWORD FIGHT. I LIKE THIS IDEA.

14.  What is your favorite book out of all the Shadowhunter-books?
Lady Midnight and Clockwork Princess. Which is technically cheating, but I am a ruthless avocado here. Lady Midnight has an excellent plot and wonderful characters, but Clockwork Princess has all that plus Wessa, so it needs to be here too. Lady Midnight gets in because of Emma Carstairs. DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE BETWEEN MY CHILDREN.

15.  Which book had the worst cliffhanger?
LORD OF SHADOWS. How dare it break my heart and then send me to wait two years for the next one. Curse you.

16.  What is your favorite scene from any of the books?
Either the one in Clockwork Angel where Will and Tessa are talking about books or the one in Clockwork Princess where he rescues her.

17.  James or William?
James. I love Jem Carstairs more than Will Herondale loves Jem Carstairs and that's saying something.

18.  If you could meet Cassie and say one thing to her what would it be?
Can we all agree the ending of Queen of Air and Darkness never happened and could you rewrite it maybe.

19.  If you could play one character in the TV-show, who would it be?
Simon, because he's the closest to my actual personality and I'm too shy to play anyone else. Also, Clary, because I like Clary. Wait. No.


I WOULD SO CLEARLY BE MAGNUS BANE. GLITTERY HIGH WARLOCK OF BROOKLYN. I'M DOWN AS HELL.


talk to me! which shadowhunter book is your favourite? do you love emma carstairs? 
do you think jace is overrated? have you ever eaten a kumquat?
















Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019: Bookish Goals and Happiness

 As the kids say these days, the prodigal daughter has returned. 

Or do the kids no longer say that. I don't know, but I am happy to be back! Very happy! Returned-from-the-dead happy. Not a zombie though. I don't know where you get these ideas from.
Now, as it is the beginning of 2019, I thought I would make a list of various bookish and writerly goals I hope to accomplish this year. Some of these may be very simplistic, because I am a useless kumquat who needs to achieve something to be happy, you know?

In other news, you can now add me on Goodreads! Please do. I'm very lonely and I have 1 friend and the dead turnip living in my backyard. Fun times. This is actually the first year I've done a Reading Challenge (properly, where I actually logged books) and I am super excited about it. I'm already 4 books ahead of schedule. Go me.

Onto the goals!* 
*Seriously Minna. The goals are the whole point of this post. God, where art thou priorities.





  
My apologies for the weird formatting, cooperation is not, in fact, blogspot's middle name


Read 150 books (and properly log them all on Goodreads)
In terms of reading books, I'm great. 
In terms of properly recording them..... haha not so great.
Which is mostly why I don't only want to read 150 books this year (146, now that I think about it, because I already read four) but I also want to log them on Goodreads. So Goodreads can validate me and y'all know I thrive on validation. ANYWAY. Most of this is like I need to be more organized, which I knew anyway.

Write at least 50 reviews for books
"So Minna," says a friend, knowing I read a lot and have no social life. "How many reviews have you written on Goodreads."
"Haha," I say, knocking a skeleton and a laptop behind me. "Exactly.... 16."
I MEAN THEY ARE LONG REVIEWS FOR THE MOST PART. I JUST HAVE THE ATTENTION SPAN OF A GNAT.
I need to write more. MORE. MOREEEE.
Oh look a bunny! How did that get here?

Out of the 150 books I read, at least 20 must not be Young Adult Fiction
I have been told (read: threatened) that I read too much YA and I need to "develop my brain" (read: read dull science texts) because I'm doing the reader's equivalent of gorging myself on fast food.
If the people had their way, 75 of the 150 would be not YA. But, because I am very stubborn and disagreeable, it's going to be twenty, mark my words.
I am interested in the politics books, though. It's all part of my plans to rule the world.

I don't have writerly pictures, so you may instead enjoy this old photo I nEARLY DIED TAKING



⇒ Finish the first draft of my first official book
YAY I'm so excited about this! We are roughly 37k in so far, and I actually think I can do this. The party I'm going to throw after I complete it will be so wicked. And then I will finally be able to edit something of substance. Go me.
The book is called Catastrophe, and it's about murder and traumatized people and gang wars and breakfast donuts. You know, the usual.
Personally, I have always wanted to eat a donut for breakfast.


And because you're all being so nice by actually reading this, here's a snippet!


⇒ Write an outline & substantially start the first draft of my second book
I am also very excited about this. It will be my first hyper-detailed outline, which is exciting because Catastrophe does not have an outline and half the plot is just me screaming and making random things up as I went along. SO fun.
However, my second book is going to work much better with an outline, I hope, because it has a more complicated plot. It's about tiny child murderers and boys who play viola and also dark monsters and evil running rampant in the streets of a fantasy planet I made up and now have to figure out the rules for.
Such fun. The working title is Alice the Third, but that is subject to much change. Also, because you're still being nice, I'll give you a tiny snippet of the outline, which is tiny anyway at this point.

So professional.

Actually edit something for a change.
Wow. Self burn right there. But one of my MAIN author problems is I never edit anything, because I never finish anything. Very competent. But I am hoping to finish something(s) this year, so I will jump headfirst into the fiery lava pit of reading your own work.
What could go wrong there. Solid plan. 







BLOG at least once a week!
This will multiply by two during summer and decrease by eight during June, I can feel it already. But I started this blog for a reason, and that is because I love books and writing and talking about those things extensively! And not just because I want an excuse to use King Julien and Taylor Swift gifs and claim it's important! (.... you got me. That's why.) So THIS YEAR I want to blog at least once a week. I semi-believe in my ability to do this. Not really though.

Take photos for the blog on my own.
All the book photos in this post are mine, but I am technically cheating because they are all old and practice. NO MORE. I will take new, good photos for the blog on a decent camera. I am speaking this into existence, kids. It will happen.

Set this blog up so it can be navigated. (AKA tell a friend what I want to happen and then bribe them with candy to do it.)
I have an about page.... but I don't know how to make it so you guys can click it and read it. Oops. I'm not great at coding, so I guess it's up to me to blackmail a friend into doing it. I'm gonna be posting book stuff, writing stuff, poetry (if I can), and other things... it's going to get crowded and we need navigation. This is our year, kids. We can do this.

Look at her GO. YAS queen.






talk to me children. what are your bookish goals for this year? what is a good day to blog? do you also blackmail - wait I mean bribe - no ASK your friends to do random things for you?








Friday, June 15, 2018

Pre Birthday Book Haul: Game Show Edition

Hello everyone. As you may know, because I am very lame, I prematurely celebrated my birthday and got a lot of Indigo gift cards. As a result, I bought thirteen books from Chapters. Just pretend that makes sense. Buuuut, because my ten line book reviews are not only supremely uninteresting but also incredibly boring, I'm going to run this a little more like a game show. Each book will be rated by me and commented on by three of my personality traits. They are Nerdy Minna, Hopeless Romantic Minna, and Supervillain Minna. I, as "Real Minna," shall be interjecting at times to provide a temper to my personality traits. Let's say hello to our hosts!

Nerdy Minna: Hi everyone! I am the nerdy side of Minna's personality. I am also the one that lashes out at strangers about bad grammar and at friends about contractions. If it were up to me, Minna would spend all her time reading and studying. But no, she just had to go and get hooked on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Anyway, I love books that have a compelling plot line, good characters, and fantastic world building! Some of my favourite stories are The Illuminae Files and the Harry Potter series.

Hopeless Romantic Minna: Honestly, Minna should spend less time reading and more time being social. She's never going to find true love if she lives with her head in a book! I love romantic books, but the only way I will be caught in public actually reading a book is if it has a beautiful cover. I mean, the only point of reading is for the bookstagram, and Minna can't even maintain a theme because she's that basic. Some of my favourite books are The Sun Is Also A Star and Children of Blood And Bone.

Real Minna: Who let Regina George on the game show? Also, you didn't read any of those books. You just sulked in a corner over my Lorde T-shirt and comfortable pants.

Hopeless Romantic Minna: Those pants make you look like you are in the eighties, and you know it. Your fashion sense is abysmal. Maybe that is why you are not cool?

Real Minna: Maybe the real reason I'm not cool is that even the hopeless romantic flirty side of my brain still talks like she is in a Jane Austen movie? Supervillain Minna, enter stage left.

Supervillain Minna: I am supervillain Minna. I am the reason why the teachers want to call the FBI on Minna, but I just call that population control. I have a thick Serbian accent even though I don't really speak Serbian, and Dolores Umbridge and the Joker are my idols. I like all black even though I live inside the brain of someone who regularly wears her sister's pink sweater. My favourite books - and the best books - are Batman: Nightwalker and Maximum Ride Forever. Yeah. I thought it was a great end to the series. 

Real Minna: You know we hate Maximum Ride Forever, you just like it because everyone dies!

Supervillain Minna: So?

Real Minna: Let's just get on to the game show. All ratings are out of ten, because we live solely to confuse you.


Book #1: Star Wars Jedi Academy #4: A New Class (GIFTED)
Cover: 3
Plot: 2
Characters: 4
World Building: 5
Writing: 2 (Was there really any?)
Ending: 6 (It was over!)
Total: 3.5/10

Comments:
Supervillain Minna: There was no villain in this book. Also, the guy who dressed only in black was a stereotypical character and turned out to be good all along. Which was sad. But the incorrect grammar used in the story is definitely my villain origin story.
Nerdy Minna: I thought your villain origin story was not being able to find strawberry green Nestea in Canada?
Supervillain Minna: Curse your photographic memory. 
Nerdy Minna: Anyway, I thought this book was really juvenile and relied way too much on cliches for younger audiences. It failed to capture my interest and I updated Instagram twice while reading it. Twice! That's three times too many.
Real Minna: How-
Nerdy Minna: We should delete Instagram. Also, I agree with Supervillain Minna - the grammar in this book made me want to set it on fire.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: You guys are super boring! Who cares about grammar! The cover was ugly and the pictures inside were ugly, and thus we are moving on.
Nerdy Minna: I can't believe we share the same headspace.
Real Minna: We're not gonna focus on that. All the judges hated it, and we give it the average grade of half of Minna's class - 35%.


Book #2: Kiss Kill Vanish (GIFTED)
Cover: 7
Plot: 6.5
Characters: 5.5
World Building: 4
Writing: 7
Ending: 7
Total: 6/10

Comments:
Hopeless Romantic Minna: None of the romances delivered! And there was an absolutely disgusting road trip, which I cannot believe. This book road tripped me, and it wasn't in the fun Paper Towns way! It was just boring and weird. Also, Valentina is a spoiled rich girl who doesn't appreciate anything. Also also, the description of chocolate was fantastic. I love chocolate.
Nerdy Minna: Wow, you really paid attention to this book!
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Well, it did have kiss in the title. *mumbles* The cover was kind of lame.
Nerdy Minna: There she is.
Supervillain Minna: Yeah, Valentina was a super lame protagonist. She pretended to be all badass and stuff. I mean, she kissed and vanished, but where was the killing? I was promised killing!
Nerdy Minna: And Valentina is such an idiot! She leaves with no money, no nothing, and picks the most obvious alias in the world! Doesn't even bother to change her appearance! Whines about how she's so hungry and leaves the sushi restaurant without leftovers! She needs to get her act together.
Real Minna: All you guys are doing is complaining, remind me why you gave this book a solid 60%?
Nerdy Minna: Firstly, 60% is a terrible grade. Secondly, the food descriptions were great and it's set in Canada. Thirdly, it is written in a very captivating way.
Supervillain Minna: It's like a drug.
Real Minna: Goddamnit, don't get us arrested again!


Book #3: Leah On The Offbeat
Cover: 9 (Only because I can't get the freaking sticker off, otherwise it would be a ten.)
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
World Building: 10
Writing: 10
Ending: 10
Total: 10/10

Comments:
Supervillain Minna: Do not get me wrong, but I really liked this book. It was cutesy and made me feel nice inside, and I was super rooting for the main characters to get together. I saw the chemistry in the first book of this duology (companion books?) and I got it right! I think all of us related way too hard to Leah, but she was such an amazing and relatable character.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Awww, you're finally learning! You even lost your super fake Serbian accent to gush about the book!
Supervillain Minna (in over-the-top accent): Vat? I say no cute thing! Now, if you vill excoose me, I moost goo eat some souls to make up for dis.
Nerdy Minna: Sure. Okay. Usually, contemporary isn't my thing, but this book might be one of my favourite contemporaries ever! It was nice, and cute, and fluffy, and I just really enjoyed reading this absolute masterpiece.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: I love every character and I'm so happy they ended up happy! Awww yes! I related so hard to Leah oh my gosh.
Real Minna: #RepresentationMatters. Also, this is a hella cute book. I love it. I'm losing my street cred. Oh no,


Book #4: Children of Blood And Bone
Cover: 10
Plot: 8
Characters: 7
World Building: 10
Writing: 5
Ending: 8
Total: 8/10

Comments:
Nerdy Minna: I know that this is a powerful book with a great story and a good plot. I loved the development of the characters and the magical world. But something just didn't click with me? I wasn't invested, and I didn't care that much about the characters until the end.
Real Minna: We're all being nice by making it a four star read, it was probably closer to a three.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Yeah, and all the romance was super cheaply done. It felt like a way to just pair everyone off.
Supervillain Minna: There was adequate violence. Not enough fighting. I have had to read so many romances. When you say you have a fantasy with violence, I expect more violence.
Nerdy Minna: Several people died.
Supervillain Minna: For shock value.
Nerdy Minna: But the worldbuilding was pretty good! And the allegory the book has about racism is really important.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: I liked the characters?
Real Minna: You can stop lying to yourself now. 

Book #5: Obsidio
Cover: 10
Plot: 7
Characters: 9
World Building: 10
Writing: 8
Ending: 10
Total: 9/10

Comments:
Nerdy Minna: It was an astonishingly powerful finale to a fantastic series! But-
Hopeless Romantic Minna: They didn't touch on Hanna and Nik's romance enough, there was no creepy new threat, and too much of the book is written from the camera guy POV.
Nerdy Minna: How-
Hopeless Romantic Minna: I heard you practicing.
Nerdy Minna: Obsidio was an amazing story... it just wasn't on par with Illuminae and Gemina. Part of this could be I didn't really care about the characters, or the main romance.
Supervillain Minna: Speak for yourself. I shed a tear when Aidan died. Both times. Or all three times. How many times did he die again?
Nerdy Minna: The plot was great though. I wish we'd gotten more of the older characters, but that's just me.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: "That's just me" title of your sexy ape.

Book #6: Turtles All The Way Down
Cover: 8
Plot: 7
Characters: 10
World Building: 8
Writing: 9
Ending: 9
Total: 8.5/10

Comments:
Supervillain Minna: The plot of this book is rather weak. The true villain is coupon books. It is my favourite John Green book. I killed a puppy. Also, there are some nice quotes - damnit!
Nerdy Minna: What have we said about murder?
Supervillain Minna: (hopefully) That it's a good idea and I should keep doing it?
Nerdy Minna: No! The exact opposite of that! Moving on from our upcoming lawsuits, Turtles All The Way Down was a great story that I felt captured anxiety so, so well. It was really a stellar piece of art.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Not enough romance.
Supervillain Minna: Weak plot!
Real Minna: There was one quote that stuck with me, and it was near the end of the book. Love is both how we become a person, and why. It was decidedly powerful and incredibly insightful, if for nothing more than its truth.
Nerdy Minna: Wonderful sentiment, but aren't you just Philosopher Minna with a mask?
Philosopher Minna, pulling off mask: You guys never invite me to anything! It's not my fault I constantly think about what happens after death and before birth.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Just leave.


Book #7: From Twinkle, With Love
Cover: 10
Plot: 9
Characters: 10
World Building: 7
Writing: 9
Ending: 10
Total: 9/10

Comments:
Hopeless Romantic Minna: I really really enjoyed this book! I loved the romance, and I was invested in the characters from beginning to end. I loved the style this book was written in and was fascinated by Twinkle's interest in film. A great story.
Supervillain Minna: I actually liked this too. (stares at feet) Who have I become.
Nerdy Minna: A definite step up from Menon's first book! I would give it 5 stars because it feels like a cupcake - a warm delicious thing to devour every single damn day.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: You have a problem.
Nerdy Minna: I know.
Supervillain Minna: Going off your point from earlier, the only thing that carries on from When Dimple Met Rishi is the outlandish name of the main female character.
Nerdy Minna: And yet I like the name Twinkle. Stars in the sky, she wants to be a director, a star. Stars twinkle. Dimple's name has no correlation.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: So you would rather her name be HTML?
Nerdy Minna: Yes.


Book #8: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Cover: 4
Plot: 8
Characters: 8
World Building: 8
Writing: 7
Ending: 8
Total: 7.8/10 (not including cover rating)

Comments:
Nerdy Minna: When I first saw the title, I thought it was a metaphor. After reading the book, I realized just how on the nose it actually is.
Supervillain Minna: The evil stepmother is named after us, which is a win. I appreciated the evilness and moral grey areas in this book.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Yes, the stepmother Mina is a great character. However, I was not in love with the name "Lynet." It sounds like a My Little Pony character.
Nerdy Minna: And were you not obsessed with that?
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Yes.
Nerdy Minna: Anyway, let's do a quick review of the book. Plot was a bit slow, I didn't feel a lot of connection to the characters, and the writing was emotionless but detached enough for a fairytale retelling. I wish there had been more romance though.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Yes, it seems odd that the main romance in a book marketed as LGBT+ is heterosexual.
Nerdy Minna: I do appreciate the feminism in no kisses without consent! Yay to that!


Book #9: Eliza And Her Monsters
Cover: 10
Plot: 9
Characters: 9
World Building: 10
Writing: 10
Ending: 10
Total: 10/10 (the power of rounding)

Comments:
Nerdy Minna: Just... ALL THE YES to this utterly fantastic novel! I fell in love with the plot and the characters and Eliza and the hilarity of some of the text conversations... STELLAR. 5/5 WOULD MARRY.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Here, I fell for the characters. I screeched in outrage when Eliza's sketchbook was taken away and almost cried when her identity was revealed and squealed when romance was going down.
Supervillain Minna: I appreciated how this was a darker book (yes) and very much related to Eliza's feelings of anxiety. Her emotions felt very real, like she could step out of the book and sit next to you.
Supervillain Minna: That is less creepy then it sounds.
Nerdy Minna: And the egg love? I love eating eggs, and book characters so rarely go into this much detail about love of eggs. Hardboiled eggs are kind of eh unless done right, but I'll take what I can get here.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: #EggLoversUnite2k18.


Book #10: The Hate U Give
Cover: 10
Plot: 10
Characters: 8
World Building: N/A
Writing: 9
Ending: 10
Total: 9/10

Comments:
Nerdy Minna: This is a great social justice book. I think that own voices books are important, and I think that stories about important issues are important, but I don't think you should support something just because it's about something important. If a book is poorly written or expresses hate towards another minority, it should not be supported. The Hate U Give is an example of a book that is about important things, is own voices, and is an excellent book.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Damn, I really thought you were leading up to a scathing critique there!
Nerdy Minna: Nope.
Supervillain Minna: I hate institution villains because they're more terrifying than just one person. You can take down one person, but you can't take down a whole system. I think that that fear is very well portrayed in this novel.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: On a much lighter note, this book was pretty funny and had excellent familial relationships, something you rarely see in YA. Only lost a point for the eh romance that seemed to be just thrown in there.
Nerdy Minna: Despite the romance, it definitely deserves the hype.


Book #11: The Cruel Prince
Cover: 10
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
World Building: 10
Writing: 10
Ending: 10
Total: 10/10

Comments:
Nerdy Minna: I just might be absolutely obsessed with this book. Faeries, fantastic worldbuilding, wonderful writing, badass characters, a call out to The Darkest Part Of The Forest, and it's going to be a trilogy? Hear me when I say I need to read all of Holly Black's books now.
Supervillain Minna: I refuse to put us all through The Magisterium series again.
Nerdy Minna: Not that! I was talking like The Coldest Girl In Coldtown and Tithe.
Supervillain Minna: Oh okay.
Nerdy Minna: But The Cruel Prince is phenomenal! It's murderous, it's dark, it's such a good portrayal of faeries. Holly Black is queen. I love the different characters and the fantastic story and the myths and legit everything. I also like how we aren't slowly introduced to the fey from the eyes of a human wandering in, but through the eyes of a mortal who has grown up with them and has seen what they can do. The packaging for the hardcover is magnificent, with the thorns and the gold stump embossed-
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Someone please sedate her.
Nerdy Minna: My only hope for Holly Black (not an issue with this book) is that she writes a story from the POV of a faerie, because I think that could be really cool.

That is all the books we have to show you today! Happy reading, and I hope none of you get kidnapped by faeries. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go read The Truth About Forever and stick my weird mind companions back where they belong. Bye for now!

Minna Potter
Her Crooked Shelf






















Friday, June 8, 2018

The Library Is A Godsend and I Read A Lot

Mini Reviews: The Library Is A Literal Godsend and I’m Still Cool (Lies)

None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio: ★★★★☆
I can’t help but feel I literally flew through this book. I sat at my desk and I read it in less than three hours and I barely paused. This book is about a teenage girl who finds out she is intersex, and her story is ultimately heartbreaking and hopeful. Also, it serves as a good teaching device. I learned a lot about intersex people that I don’t think I would have known otherwise. I also felt like the characters were very well developed and I got to know a lot of different people, which was fantastic. However, the hatred from Krissy’s classmates and friends was absolutely devastating to read and I absolutely hate that there are people who can be so blind? Ugh. Moving on. I really appreciated the supportive staff, and I loved that Krissy was encouraged to see a therapist and reach out to others for help. One thing that I did not particularly like was the ending. It felt very forced and played a lot off of weak shock value. Overall, the book is very, very good.

The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins: ★★★★☆
This was a wonderfully well written story with an amazing plot and all these twists I never saw coming. The writing style was wonderfully original and unlike anything I have read before. Although it has a contraction with have in the title, I found this book to be a marvelously moving and wonderful read. My only issue? The whole idea that you can “flip someone straight.” I mean. It’s one line of dialogue, but it annoyed me to no end. Just.. no… not good… not okay… I’m okay with the semi-cheating thing (neither person said they and Ariel were exclusive) but the biphobia? No thanks. No thanks. But! I do appreciate that the main character is bisexual and that it ends with two very healthy f/f romances. If it hadn’t been for that one line of dialogue, this book would be a five star read. I also thought that the way Ellen Hopkins discussed abuse was very saddening but also realistic. The storyline was phenomenal, and now I need to take Maya McCabe away from Hopkins so she can learn to treat my favourite characters nicely damnit.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman: ☆☆☆☆☆
This book! My last post is a hatred review of this disaster, so I won’t go into too much detail here. It was an absolute waste of hours and disappointing, especially when compared to Forman’s more powerful novels such as If I Stay. Please… never again… the mediocrity…. I will include a link to my ranting review here, so that you can fully ‘enjoy’ my anger. I have recently checked out one of Forman’s newer releases, I Was Here. I am hoping it’s good so I can actually enjoy an author who added a cello in her books. A professional cellist! (Book in question is If I Stay, you should read it if you have not.)

Night Of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor: ★★★☆☆
How to sum up this little book in one sentence? Cute but bland novella where I do not really care about the romance. I’m here for Zuzanna, damnit, can she have the personality I loved in Daughter of Smoke and Bone? The book in general feels like a huge departure from Taylor’s usual style of writing. It is written in first person and I! Just! Do! Not! Care! About! The! Romance! However, huge props for including a violin and a theatre. Now, if the whole book could be about the violin (not the violinist, the actual violin) it would be perfect. I did enjoy the creepy puppet bit and the reinforcement of Karou’s bond with Zuzanna. Also, the preview of the DOSAB comic book looks very, very cool. Although this is irrelevant and I should be focusing on the cake. There is cake appreciation and it is perfect. The scenery of Prague (I’m visiting Prague!) is absolutely beautiful and I loved the whole treasure hunt idea. The book was also filled with art which is absolutely perfect because the illustrations are gorgeous. I do wish Zuzanna and Mik had spoken earlier. Maybe I’m a clam. It’s okay.

The Darkest Part Of The Forest by Holly Black: ★★★★★
And here lies the part of the review where stuff starts getting real good. TDPOTF (I refuse to type that title again) is a splendid book of creepy and faeries (!) and magnificence and holy heck I loved it so much. I now need to read all the Holly Black because she’s an amazing writer. The description is so beautiful and the development of characters is absolutely iconic. I felt as though I’d stumbled into a tiny fairy town and I never wanted to leave. The story is absolutely enrapturing. It takes you in and it never lets you go until you’re gasping for breath and your heart is broken and now you’re crying in the dentist’s office and now you need a new dentist. I’m not speaking from personal experience haha what are you saying I’m sure this happens to everyone. Also the development of the fey world was unlike anything I have ever read and I thought that it was done so amazingly. The fairy prince stuff is all so well done and I just… Holly Black is gonna take over the world and I will be perfectly fine with that.

All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater: ★★★★★
This was an absolutely wonderful read chock full of magical realism plot and it was everything I expected from the Raven Cycle and didn’t get. (Don’t shoot I still love the series! It just wasn’t what I was expecting! Nothing to see here!) I adored how each character was introduced by things they want and were scared of. The whole story just had so many wonderful characters with unique motivations and dreams and hopes. I felt like I was viewing everything through the blurry eye of a shutter lens - and it was great. The plot moved quickly and every setting was beautifully described and with a perfectly unique viewpoint. I just really liked this book. It was good. Oh my god. I have lost all ability to use words in an interesting way. This book decided to come, rip my heart out of my chest, trample it to the ground, murder me, and then it decides to take my ability to talk? I’m filing a lawsuit. This is is illegal. 911 Maggie Stiefvater hath killed me.

Once And For All by Sarah Dessen: ★★★★★
I actually have a fun story to tell about this book! I was on the bus one morning and I was reading this book, and then I kept looking up to try and make sure that I didn’t miss my stop. And then what do I do? I stop checking. I missed my stop, the one after it, and the one after that one. I ended up at the subway station, where I found a friend (thank God) who convinced me to go on a bus where I had to walk forever to school instead of taking the goshdarn 95. I mean. No. But I did it. I even read on the weird bus. The power of Sarah Dessen, folks. I fell in love with the wedding settings and the cuteness and literally everything about the book. It might actually be my favourite Sarah Dessen book. I love her bunches. Also my heart got ripped to pieces like 47 times (cough Ethan cough) and then died sadly. I die a lot. How am I typing this blog post? HONEY I ROSE UP FROM THE DEAD I DO IT ALL THE TIME. Yep. I’ll see myself out. Bye.



Short For Chameleon by Vicki Grant: ★★★☆☆
I read this book because it was the last book that I didn’t read during Red Maple because no one in my school knows how to return books. Also I felt pretty bad during the Red Maple ceremony when the kid talking about this book sounded like a dead robot and it was very sad for us all. Unfortunately, this book is merely mediocre. I think the issue with this story is that it tries to tell too many stories. There is the story of Raylene, there is the story with Albertina, there is the story of Rent a Family. It’s just too many plotlines condensed into too little space to do proper justice to any of them. The story was also too plot driven to actually focus on any of the characters? Beyond physical descriptions, I don’t feel like I really got to know anyone and it was very sad. Maybe this story as it is could have worked if it was longer? Or if they had focused on just one point? Vicki Grant is very sweet and I like the concept, but I just don’t think the execution was particularly good. At all.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: ★★★☆☆
The title is a mouthful. Let’s just get that out of the way to start. Secondly, I watched the movie before the book and I feel like the movie was better. First and only time I will ever say that. The first half of the book was so slow and dry and I distinctly remember shouting at it to just pick up already. The second half of the book felt like it just revolved around ‘how can I use cheap gimmicks to pretend I’m a horror novel?’ (Real look into the author’s thought process, I’m telling you.) Also, the knowledge of the fact that all the horror gimmicks are super cheap and lame does not prevent one from being scared. I still have not read like ten pages in the book for fear of the creepy photos. COULD YOU NOT PUT THEM ALL IN THE BACK WITH A WARNING. I’M JUST SAYING. 3AM MINNA READING THIS BOOK WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE THAT. Quick point: I said “I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but I don’t like it.” several times while reading this book. It was as sad as it sounds.

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline: ★★★★☆
This book was nominated for a White Pine award, which is how I heard about it. (Quick point about White Pine: the host was telling these high school kids that they’re old enough to enjoy reading about sex and violence and I was mightily disturbed.) Another thing about this book is that it has so many awards on the cover it’s actually intimidating. But the story deserves the awards. It was powerful and eloquent and so, so important. Maybe the bone marrow/dreaming correlation is unlikely, but the world going to hell environmentally and people in power turning against marginalized groups? That sounds very realistic. The characters were very well developed, even if I didn’t understand the romance. (Unnecessary love is unnecessary. Also, I hate spelling necessary.) The plot was captivating…. No. It was not. Until the last 50 pages, there seemed to be no real immediate conflict present day. However, I did enjoy reading about the backstories about the different characters. Wab (I’m pretty sure that was her name) was my favourite character, and she didn’t deserve to go through what she did. No one does.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen: ★★★★☆
So after the emotional trauma that was The Marrow Thieves, I read a nice sweet Sarah Dessen book to balance it out. Honestly? This story is one of those nice, feel good contemporaries with a nice romance and good side characters who have distinguishing quirks that make me like them. I wolfed this book down like the romance it is. Every Dessen book has a season, and this is undeniably summer. You want to sit on a lounge chair, put your feet up, and read a good but not too serious YA novel? This Lullaby is that book. There were also strong female friendships between different girls and it was great. There were little things that made them stand out from each other; like Lisa’s sweet tooth or just Remy’s memories with them. Also, the protagonist’s mother is so so fantastically written and is such a well developed character I cry. All the amazing female characters. Oh and there were men. They were good too. The romance was very, very adorable and I loved it. The plot got a lil slow in the middle, but otherwise this book would have gotten a full five stars.

What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen: ★★★☆☆
It is breaking my poor old heart not to love a Sarah Dessen book okay? I have said her name too many times in this post. She’s not a person anymore. Onto other things. I loved the premise of this book. I loved everything restaurant wise and Opal. I did not love the last bits of the romance. Dave became weird and creepy and I didn’t like that. I loved the family relationships. I did not love the whole reinventing oneself storyline where different personas you go by are different people now. No. You’re one person, dammit. This is also an issue I had with Just One Day, so at least I’m consistent. Some of the prose was really great and I could get behind it. The monologue about 2am friends was remarkably adorable. Opal was the best. All bow down to the queen. However, Mclean felt like a cardboard cutout with personality issues. I did not like how she had to pretty much take care of her dad when he’s the parent. No. No. Never. I really wanted to love this book, but I just didn't. I tried to add that shrugging emoticon, but I could figure out what to do.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson: ★★★★☆
This was a fantastic book for the first seventeen chapters. I share the opinions of many others when I say that final twist was just there for shock value and didn’t make sense. Also, the return of the Basic Boy was unlikeable and sad. Now that I have gotten my two major qualms out of the way, I loved this book. I loved the different characters and the heartbreaking reality. The plot was superb and the way everything just generally went down made me so shocked that it was a debut. How? It was gripping, and important, and fantastic, and I just…. I need to read Monday’s Not Coming stat. Everything Mary has to go through is just…. Inhumane? Terrible? And it makes it worse when you realize that stuff like this does happen. It’s not getting swallowed by a dragon, it’s actual abuse in a system that exists and oppresses people to this day. I can’t. My heart hurts so much after reading this book, but I would still recommend it to anyone with a strong stomach. It’s an important story to read.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman: ★★★☆☆
This was Forman’s last chance with me after the travesty that was Just One Day, and she did not disappoint. The main plotline about a character who comes to terms with her friend’s suicide (not a spoiler, on the back cover) was devastating and well written. Harry Kang was a gift. The invading of the forum and the meeting up and wow what a book. The characters were all super well written and I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel. I especially loved the development of Tricia, specifically her relationship with Cody. I thought that was very well done and it added a lot to the novel. The only turn off was the romance. Just… why. Why. There was no need. Why does every YA novel have to have romance? 90% of the time, the story would be better without it. Call me a heartless Vulcan. It’s true. If y’all are gonna try to write romances, please write good romances that are relevant to the plot. Thanks.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (reread): ★★★★★
I keep checking this out of the library to read it again and at this point I should probably just buy the damn book. It’s so so cute! The plot is adorable and perfect, and the baking is so nice and original, and it’s honestly one of my favourite contemporaries of all time. The sister relationships are so nice and cute and I don’t usually read stories with positive sibling representations, so that was a plus. Actually, all the familial relationships in this book are so well done I can’t I love it. Also, Lara Jean Song Covey (is it Song first or Covey first?) is just the cutest and best character ever and I need the whole trilogy so I can keep it in my room and love it for the rest of time because I just love it so much. This mini review is gonna be short because I will inevitably check this book out from the library and read it again. READ THE LARA JEAN BOOKS WHILE I PLEAD FOR MORE.

In conclusion, I have no social life, just books. Have you read any of these books? Do you hate Just One Day as much as I and other normal people do? What’s your favourite genre? Do you place holds at the library or just take your chances? Alright. That’s all for today! See you later! Happy reading!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Just One Day: A Review

An Extremely Angry Review of Just One Day by Gayle Forman

RATING: ☆☆☆☆☆
SUMMARY: When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines. (courtesy of goodreads)


One of these days, I’m going to invent a time travel machine so I can go back and stop myself from ever picking this book off the library shelf. I am in a very small minority here, but let me just say: I. Hated. This. Book. So. Much. The best part of reading this was the Taylor Swift I listened to during it, and it was a struggle to read all 369 pages of absolute nonsense. In good conscience, I cannot even give this book one star due to the blatant slut shaming/girl hate, instalove, horrible writing, and a very homophobic bit. Yeah, so this book sucked. Why did I finish it? I couldn’t review it fairly if I didn’t finish the whole book. However, I would not recommend the book under any circumstances, and everything after this point is going to be a pretty angry and spiteful deconstruction of everything I hated about this book. There shall be spoilers.

In order to get a good grasp on my hatred for this book and my inability to find even one good thing about it, let’s read the notes I took while reading! This is the first time I have taken notes about a book, and it was because I would rather write them than focus on the disaster of a story.

  • Protagonist COMPLAINS about seeing fabulous European cities. (Also, there is no freaking McDonalds near the Spanish Steps and the ruins don’t smell like cat pee.)
  • All. The. Girl. Hate. Even towards a girl she knew for five minutes! The most positive thing said about a woman in the first 100 pages was the waitress brought us our food.
  • Idiotic stain/love metaphor.
  • Dual personality Allyson/Lulu? I wanted to smack the character - YOU’RE THE SAME DAMN PERSON MASQUERADING UNDER A DIFFERENT NAME.
  • Horrible writing. Ex. His smile unfurled like a sail. I could not figure out whether this meant his smile faded away or appeared. Turned out to be the latter. Go figure.
  • So much instalove.
  • Protagonist complains about vacation so much I may strangle her.
  • She is literally flattered by being called an accident! In what world?
  • Allyson is so freaking snobby. 
  • She complains about the Louvre now? COME ON.
  • I can’t convince my friends to give me $2 I sure as hell couldn’t convince a stranger to take me to Paris. I mean, I know it’s fiction, but… what?
  • Allyson is not Willem’s girlfriend, what he does with other girls is none of her business and somehow she makes it her business. 
  • Even the names are pretentious! Allyson and Willem instead of Allison/Alison and William. I mean… I can sort of understand Willem (it’s Dutch, Willem’s ethnicity in the book) but Allyson?
  • The accident motif isn’t working. (And, dear 150-pages-in-Minna, it will never work. Right after Willem leaves, when the motif would start working, it is never brought up again.)
  • She complains about her goddamn golden watch. What. The. Hell.
  • Italicizing a word in every sentence this character (Kali) says doesn’t give her a unique voice. It makes her painful to read. Also, it’s obvious she’s not well developed.
  • Allyson freaks out when her friend says she’s going out with girls. She basically says she should have realized because of her friend’s “hairy armpits, nose ring, and new haircut.” That is so incredibly stereotypical and wrong I’m done. Homophobia.
  • Allyson also describes the way a friend talks as “sassy gay sidekick!” Stereotypical and rude. This is at the top of page 208, the moment I realized I wanted to rip every page in this book into 40000 pieces. 
  • No one becomes that decent at French in two months. We never see Allyson practice or anything, and it’s very unrealistic. Yes! It’s fiction! But it’s set in the real world.
  • She expects a city barely mentioned in her guidebook to be tiny (which I understand,) ugly (which I don’t), or industrial (which I still don’t understand.)
  • Allyson Healey spends one whole year of her life looking for a guy she spent one day with. She spends so much money and so much time… for what? The only reasonable explanation is that she wants her watch back, but that doesn’t end up mattering. I cannot believe the level of idiocy here. YOU CANNOT FALL IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE AFTER ONE DAMN DAY. LOVE TAKES TIME. 


Therein ends my angry rambling notes taken during Just One Day! God, this was so annoying. I need to figure out where I’m going with this review. Just writing it is making me angry. I don’t think I have ever hated a book like this. Wouldn’t recommend, don’t subject yourself to this ever. Anyway, I’m gonna go eat some cake and wonder what happened to Gayle Forman after she wrote Where She Went.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Top Contemporary Picks

Top Contemporary Picks

Recently, I did a post detailing my favourite science fiction books. Also very recently, a friend finished the Lara Jean trilogy and asked for new contemporary recommendations. (Okay, maybe I offered. Okay, maybe I specifically brought it up so I could make this post. Shush.) So, being the overstressed turnip I am, I decided to combine these two things into one glorious post! Note: It’s slightly different than my other top picks post because us root vegetables must be open to change. Go with the flow.

Queens Of Geek by Jen Wilde
Oooooooh my god this is the cutest thing of ever! Well now I sound like a five year old but it’s okay because I would do anything for the adorableness that is Queens of Geek. I was so sad when I read the last page because I just wanted to stay in the world forever. Great and positive representation, by the way. Bisexual girls, social anxiety, POC, and another person who convinced me that not everyone called Taylor is evil. (The first person was Taylor Swift.) And all the cute and well written romance and friendship! There aren’t enough YA books with healthy and good friendships, but this one hits it right on the head. The friendships are splendid and aren’t sacrificed for the freaking romance thank the Lorde. I might have actually cried at how much I saw myself in Taylor and how amazing the bisexual rep was. Just leave me in my sad miserable / dying of the cute corner with my emotions thanks I’ll need 87 years to recover. Or maybe 86. Or maybe Jen Wilde could write a sequel. 

Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This! This! This! Give me some time to recover from how adorable this book is. It’s set in Paris, which is amazing because I love France. (Except the slavery and imprisonment… Let’s just say the art and architecture is great there.) The romance in the story is so cute and so much fun to read about. I love Anna, she’s so lovely and a great main character. The film critic industry is one I haven’t read about before, and it was cool to get to read about that from her eyes as a person who wanted to join it. It’s always fantastic to find that the main character in a story is actually your favourite. Reader goals I promise. This story is the first one in a trilogy, but you can just read Anna And The French Kiss. Or you can stop at the sequel, Lola And The Boy Next Door. The third book makes me irrationally angry, we don’t talk about it here. The only reason I read it is to find out what happened to Anna and √Čtienne, my children. Yes they’re older than me, and dating. They’re still my children. It’s all very normal.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Actually the second book on this list that deals with social anxiety, which is wonderful. It also normalizes and doesn’t glorify therapy. Double win! However, I thought it had a sliiiiiiiight “girl meets boy and mental illness is cured” sort of thing. But my feelings as to that are very slight, because Linus is only to catalyst to a journey Audrey undertakes herself. I found this book to be hilariously funny. I read it in the middle of the night and had to bite the pillow to keep from laughing because that was how goddamn funny I thought this book was. Do I have a terrible sense of humor? Yes. Does that make this book any less funny? Probably, but for the sake of my emotions, let’s pretend no. I sincerely recommend reading this (it’s quite short) but also remember! If someone who has social anxiety is explaining to you why they don’t like this book, please don’t shut them down. Always be respectful, especially when people have important things to say.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner 
This is the only book on this list that is outright sad, and it’s also the only one that doesn’t mainly feature romance. The Serpent King deals with sadness and grief, but it can also be very funny at times. All the characters have unique voices, and they feel fleshed out with their hopes, dreams, and desires. My favourite was Lydia, but I’m probably most like Travis. The funny scenes were balanced out super well with the sad scenes that broke my heart and also my toe because I dropped the book on it. I also think the undertones of religion were really well handled? I’m Christian (which is the main religion in this book) and I think it was treated quite well considering everything. Also, there’s a very funny joke about the Bible that I just find so damn funny and no one can figure out why. This book is the perfect read for when you want something contemporary but sadder, and also when you want to curse people who write such marvelous debuts that you can never get over them.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Let’s start out with a shoutout for big families that don’t feel like the Weasleys! Can I get a hell yeah? Anyway, this is a very cute very summery read. I can’t even read it in winter, it’s that much of a summer read. All the characters are so very aptly named and there is a fantabulous (Google says it’s a word) romance playing out through the whole story and I am absolutely in love with that. There’s also an actual serious plot, about money and guilt and a whOLE LOT OF OTHER THINGS I CAN’T SPOIL, SUSAN. The point here is that it’s an endlessly cute book with actual conflict and believable characters and fighting and it makes you sad on one page and squeal on the next. Very fluffy, and highly recommended for those who have just read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or Lord of Shadows for the first time. Yes, my heart hurts too. But My Life Next Door is a wonderful balm for all that trauma and I really appreciate it! Shout out to writers who don’t want to murder me.

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
I love this book! Can I ever remember the title without scouring the interwebs with vague plot descriptions? No. It was so so so so cute! I died 47 times of the cute. Also, the whole friends to lovers is my favourite trope because you already care about that person and the author doesn’t have to show how the characters get to know each other. It’s just there and the foundation is there which is great. All the family stuff too and how it affects their lives, which is gloriously realistic for a change. *coughs* 90% of YA romance *coughs* I read this such a long time ago and now I’m recommending it and I want to freaking reread it but no. Tests. Assignments. I’m sad now. Forth! There are new settings (either Ireland or Scotland I can’t remember for the life of me) and sweet romance that has such a new spin and it’s amazing! It’s definitely a feel-good book, and it’s just the kind of adorable you can slip into any place, any time. 

Amy And Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Talk about original. The first book I have ever read that details a road trip and makes it interesting! (Sorry, John Green.) The author’s voice and the plot and the characters and I’m in love. One issue I have with a lot of romances is that the characters ditch all their friends to hang out with the other person. I understand why it happens (the author’s goal is to develop the romance) but that’s not healthy. How is that problem solved here? They’re on a road trip! They hang out with each other all day, every day. Flawless solution. The different locations and adventures in this story were so beautifully described that I really felt like I was travelling through the US with Amy and Roger. (I just misspelled Amy’s name as May. Who have I become.) The music stuff was so cool and like nothing I have seen in a book before. I definitely have to listen to some of those playlists eventually. No… I don’t want the book to be over it’s too cute I need more oh no I’m addicted.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Full disclosure: I didn’t realize Morgan Matson wrote Since You’ve Been Gone AND Amy And Roger’s Epic Detour until I checked on goodreads while writing this post. They’re so different that I couldn’t really associate them with each other, although I’m sure I knew they were by the same author at some point. Haha. Once you get over the contraction with “have” in the title (I’m so picky about this) it’s a sweet summer romance with lush and vivid imagery. (I still have not figured out whether the Kelly Clarkson reference is intentional.) The friendship is awesome, and I know a Sloane! Which is irrelevant but that is the name of one of the characters, and I get so excited when a character has the same name as a person I know. So lovely, so unique, and now I associate fifteen different things with this book that I never expected to. In an universe superior to our own, every person who liked contemporary would read this so I had someone to scream about it with.

All The Sarah Dessen
Personally, I have read Saint Anything, Just Listen, Keeping The Moon, Dreamland, Lock and Key, and by the time this post is published (I have 40 pages left) Once And For All. Sarah Dessen writes romances, but her love stories are always fraught with conflict and heartbreak but she just writes them so well that you don’t even care. None of her books are particularly cutesy, but I think that’s just fine. All of her books…. Yes this may be the rom-com loving Peraltiago shipping useless person in me, but Sarah Dessen is just so damn good. I recommend going into her books knowing next to nothing about them, it makes for a much more enjoyable experience. However, she does write about very serious topics, and you should check for trigger warnings. In conclusion, I love Sarah Dessen a lot, maybe more than cake, and I definitely recommend her books. (For reference, my favourite is Once And For All unless everything burns and crashes in the next forty pages.)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The fact that this wasn’t the first book on the list is honestly offensive. Who writes this stuff? Oh wait it’s me. Nevermind. Anyway, Fangirl is an amazing book about fangirl stuff! It’s definitely my favourite by Rainbow Rowell, and it’s a wonderfully relatable story. I mean, eating protein bars in your room for a week to avoid social contact? Me as heck. Humans are scary. *wards off with goblin powers*The Simon Snow stuff as an allusion to Harry Potter? Brilliant! (Although the reference to HP at the end confused me….) I think that the romance played out really nicely, and all the characters were very well developed, and I died ten times because of how much I was Cait. Am Cait. Is that her name. OH MY GOD IT’S CATH I’M GETTING HER CONFUSED WITH PAPERFURY. You should read this book! I really liked it! I can’t remember the main character’s name but I liked it! (Why am I allowed to human I ask you. It’s getting sad for all of us.)

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I will never ever ever stop screaming about how wonderful this book is and how amazing it is someone arrest me. Honestly! It’s got everything you could want from a contemporary. Cute moments, funny moments, Harry Potter references, food, well developed characters, a wonderful romance…. IT’S PERFECT. It does get kind of sad at times, but Becky Albertalli is a master at balancing out happy and sad, making for one hell of a novel. I grinned till my face fell off one page and wanted to smack half the characters the next. The story’s so good and it’s got amazing representation for YA - so y’all should definitely check it out. Run to your library, your bookstore, my shelf and read Simon (the only thing bad about it is the super long title) ASAP so you can come here and we can scream together about it. I read a lot of books, and this one might actually take the cake as being my favourite contemporary. Wait… I’ll have to get back to you on that. This is my midlife crisis ok. 

Good golly, I gave you a lot of recommendations, didn’t I? That’s me, overcompensating for everything. Anyway, if you’re bored during the summer, you know what to read. Are there any books I missed? Are there any books on this list you positively hate? Please let me know! I wish you good reading and all the other good blessings normal people wish on others.

Interview with the one and only... CG DREWS!

Guess what I have for today's post! You guessed it (or I can't shut up because I'm TOO EXCITED) an interview with the one an...