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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Reading Goals for 2016

Long time no talk! I am sorry for my long absence, but as many of you know I am a university student, and I also worked part-time in a retail store - it was a lot to balance. I didn’t have any extra time, and when I did I was too tired to read! 

All excuses aside, I do plan on picking up the slack in the next year, starting with my reading and blog! I have missed this communication with you, and sharing my life as well. I figured the best way for me to keep on track and motivated, would be to give myself a list of goals relating to my blogs (this one specifically). I will be doing a similar goals/resolution post on my lifestyle blog, so keep an eye out for that!

Goal #1: Read 75 books
This is the same Goodreads challenge that I had set for myself this year, and unfortunately did not achieve. I was only a few books shy of completing it, and hope I can do it next year. 

Goal #2: Read longer books
I am a wimp when it comes to books over 400 pages, as I find them very intimidating. I have still not read Game of Thrones for this reason, but it is something I am hoping to change in 2016. 

Goal #3: Bring “Owned TBR” down to 100 or less books
I currently own around 400 books, 250+ of which are unread. If you are my friend on Goodreads, you will see I have a shelf dedicated to these books in which to track my progress, and it is my goal to see this number be less than 100. Whether it is through reading them or donating them, I want to have a much shorter TBR pile by the end of next year. 

Goal #4: Complete the Popsugar 2016 Reading Challenge
I will be doing a separate video talking about these challenges!

And finally, 

Goal #5: Reread 5 books
I have quite a few books that I want to reread this year, and want to make sure I get to at least five of them. The five that I have chosen are; The DUFF, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Flowers in the Attic, Twilight, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. 

Make sure you let me know what your goals for 2016 are, and look out for more posts coming your way! One of my main resolutions is to post weekly, and I hope not to let you all down (again)!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pathetic September Wrap Up

Hello all! So it is that time of the month where everyone talks about what they've read, and unfortunately I had a terrible reading month. I moved back into University at the beginning of September and was doing welcome week ("frosh week") with my dorm so I was crazy busy. Later in the month I finished a book and have since started another, so this will be more of a review if anything. 

Asylum by Madeline Roux - 4/5 stars

One of my friends in university recommended this one to me and I am glad I finally picked it up. It was a very creepy story with fitting pictures throughout, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I read it quicker. It took me over a week to read this, but if I'd had the time to get engrossed and read it in a couple of days, I think I would have given it a higher rating. 




What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

I picked this one up this afternoon and I am very excited about it. If you watch my videos I am sure you are tired of me talking about it, but it is a realistic fiction novel about a teenager who is accusing men of sexually assaulting her at a party. 

I'm hoping to finish this before I go home for thanksgiving weekend, but I will be having a crazy week with homework so we'll see what happens. 



Hopefully you guys had a better month than I did! Good luck with life in October and I'll talk to you all again soon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Top 5 Books I Want to Read This Fall

Today is officially the first day of fall! It is still fairly humid where I am, but I am very excited for fall colours, cozy sweaters, and reading under a comfy blanket. Fall also brings midterms and holidays, so my reading schedule will be all over the place - but there are 5(ish) books that I want to make sure I read this season!


1. Twisted Perfection and Simple Perfection by Abbi Glines

This is where I cheat on the "top 5" part because these two I count together. I have been loving the Rosemary Beach series lately, and know that these will be quick reads. I am looking forward to reading these two on one of my days off! 








2. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

This is a book that I mentioned in my last video, and am very excited about. I am waiting for my copy of this book to arrive in the mail, because I will be picking it up immediately. This plot caught my attention because victim blaming and slut shaming are huge issues right now - so I can't wait to see what this author does with the subject. 







3. Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender

The cover though. This seems like it is going to be a very creepy story, and seems like the perfect October read! I cannot wait to start reading this one.








4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Now that I am back in university, I feel this is the perfect time for me to read this book. I didn't bring it to school with me, but I plan on picking it up while home for thanksgiving in a couple of weeks!








5. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

I love Mindy and cannot wait to read her newest book. The Mindy Project got me through exams last semester, because she is just so funny. I know that this is going to be a fun and easy read, so I will be reading this during my mid-term exams!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Messenger of Fear Book Review

In anticipation of The Tattooed Heart being released this month, I thought I would finally post my review for the first novel in this series!


The Messenger of Fear

Written By: Michael Grant
# of pages:

My Rating: 5/5

Published: September 2014
Read in August 2014

Summary according to Goodreads


I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear. 

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out.

My Thoughts

I received an ARC copy of this novel at BEA in New York last year, and that does not have any influence on my opinion on my thoughts.

"If you are wicked the Messenger will find you." That was the tag line written on the cover of the book, and that was what had grabbed my attention and made me want to pick it up.

This book is told in first-person, and centers around Mara who was a very interesting character. She wakes up in a field with no memory of where she is, and even other things about her life before. This made it a lot more interesting to read because as I was reading I would share some of the same thoughts and feelings as she did, and the reader also learns about this world just as Mara does.

Right from the beginning this story sucked me in and I was captivated by both the plot and the writing style. Michael Grant has such a powerful writing voice, and can bring strong personalities to anything. There was a part in the beginning describing a wind going through the area, and the voice he was able to bring to it could make you shiver - you felt as though you were there and it was real.

I was very hesitant going into this novel because I was not the biggest fan of Gone, but after reading this I am willing to give that series another chance. I will likely pick this novel up for a reread before continuing on because I enjoyed it so much that I just want to dive back in.

I would recommend this to any reader looking for something different, a little creepy, and something that will make you think. I was so empathetic towards Mara, and different situations in this novel really make the reader think about what they would do and how they would feel. Overall, I can only say; wow. This was such a different kind of book, and something I was not expecting, but I am so glad that I picked it up. Can't wait for the sequel! 



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rosemary Beach Series Review (#1-4)

Rosemary Beach Series

Written by Abbi Glines

Fallen Too Far
Average Rating: 4.25/5     My Rating: 5/5
Published: December 14th 2012

Never Too Far
Average Rating: 4.23/5     My Rating: 4.5/5
Published: February 25th 2013

Forever Too Far
Average Rating: 4.26/5     My Rating: 4/5
Published: June 9th 2013

Rush Too Far
Average Rating: 4.29/5     My Rating: 4/5
Published: May 6th 2014

Summary of Fallen Too Far according to Goodreads

She is only nineteen. She is his new stepfather's daughter. She is still naive and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother. 

But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father's guilt money, his mother's desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no.

Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn't prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she'll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting uder her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he'll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that...

Blaire just may have fallen too far. 

My Thoughts

I flew through these books, which is exactly what I needed - each one took me about a day to read. These are such easy reads and although they are filled with hormones, I still find them enjoyable. There are some sexual scenes in these novels, so if that is not your type of read then I recommend her Vincent Boys duology. 

I picked this book up solely looking for something smutty and easy to read. I have been having a stressful few weeks due to finishing work for the summer, and getting ready to move back to school across the country. At the time I started reading this series, I only owned the first one - but I had to run to Chapters after finishing each to buy the next one. 

A moment of honesty - I read Twisted Perfection last September and HATED it. I think I gave it two stars and got rid of it. However, I hadn't realized that these two novels where related until Woods was introduced in Fallen Too Far. I really liked his character here, and think I will have to give Twisted Perfection another try. I have a strong feeling I am going to enjoy it more this time. 

Fallen Too Far
     This was my favourite of the four novels without a doubt. I connected to Blaire right away and loved her personality. This was a girl that had no expectations, and took what life handed her. Rush I fell in love with almost immediately. I'm not sure if it's because I read too much or because I'm a psychology major, but I knew right away that there was a secret hidden in him. Nobody is that much of an asshole.
     I loved watching their relationship grow, but I also really enjoyed watching Blaire grow a little bit in her personality. By the end of the novel and going into the second one, she was a much stronger character. 

Never Too Far
     I am not going to spoil anything for this novel or continuing plot, but if you have read it then you probably understand how I am feeling. WHAT?! The twist in this story was honestly not one that I was expecting. 
     What I can say about this book and the next one, is that Blaire and Rush need to learn to stop running at the slightest thing! Both characters seemed a little bit immature considering their age, but emotions were running high. 

Forever Too Far
     This book had me in tears most of the time, I'm not going to lie. I was snapchatting my friends with tears running down my face. It is fair to say that they didn't understand me that day, but this book was so filled with emotion! Both good and bad, there were so many emotions to be felt while reading the final part of their story. 
     Rush did get on my nerves a few times, and without spoiling I'll just say there is a part where he was desperately needed by Blaire, and chose to ignore her for his sister Nan. Looking back I can see where he would have been sucked into the moment and didn't think about what he was doing - but he should have known that if Blaire needed him it was important. 
     The reason that I couldn't give this book five stars, was because I felt like around the middle of the story she (Abbi Glines) was trying to do too many things. Considering the 200 page span, she incorporated so many extra things that I am not sure if they were necessary to the overall story and development of the characters. I would have been happy with an extra 50 pages about Rush. 

Rush Too Far
     THE PROLOGUE! The prologue of this story is set after the end of Forever Too Far, and melted my heart in all kids of ways. I loved the idea of reading this book because I was so curious as to what Rush was thinking during the first book. I was not disappointed!
     A line from this book, something that Rush was thinking as he watched Blaire for the first time; "She could be a master manipulator. Using her beauty to get what she wanted and not caring whom she hurt along the way." This he is thinking about a girl who doesn't wear makeup. Whose heart is used solely to take care of other people. Who is too busy worrying about others to think about beauty. For me this line just shows how much Rush has grown as a character - to feel love and not automatically assume the worst in someone. He is always being manipulated and used because of who he is, and therefore has some serious trust issues. It is something that he works on throughout the novels, but not yet perfected and overcome. 

I enjoyed most of the secondary characters (Grant, Bethy, Woods) - except Nan. I could not stand Nannette. She was the most obnoxious and self-centered character I have read in a while. It annoyed me how easily Rush dropped everything for her, but at the same time I could understand why he did it. 

Overall I really enjoyed this series (group of four in the bigger series) and plan to continue along the like of Rosemary Beach novels while at university. I hope my enjoyment keeps up as the stories progress. 


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Favourite New Adult/ Adult Romance Novels

Hello again! So last week on my YouTube channel I posted my Favourite YA Contemporary Novels, so I thought I would share my favourite new adult and adult romance books!

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines

This was actually my most recent read, and one that has made it onto my favourites list for the year. Abbi Glines never fails to disappoint me. Granted these books aren't much more than drama, hormones, and sex - I find them to be quick, easy to read, and enjoyable.

This book had quite a bit going on for both characters, but I never felt like the story was rushed. As for the twist at the end, I had a few ideas but I wasn't even close. 

I plan on going out to Chapters tonight to buy the sequel because I just can't wait. 


Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

This was my first experience with Colleen Hoover and I was blown away. My expectations were very high but she did such a good job of blending a strong plot with interesting characters. I laughed, I cried, and I gushed. 

I actually read this book with my mom (which might sound weird considering the genre but we're close) and found we had different interpretations of the relationship. I thought Miles was hurt and messed up from something out of his past, but my mom thought he was just a jerk. So it was fun to compare notes in that aspect. 

This novel was what sucked me into Colleen's books and I now think I own most of them (another of which will be on this list).

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

I have read quite a few books by Nicholas Sparks and this is one of my favourites. I know that the Notebook is very popular, but I honestly prefer this one. It was centred around adult characters that are reunited after an event, and the relationship that sparks. 

I enjoyed reading these two characters and reading about how their current lives entwined, as well as a glance into their past. 






Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Oh Travis Maddox, how I loved you. This was the first new adult novel that I read, and it came highly recommended to me from a few close friends. I was not disappointed (clearly)! I loved how quick of a read this was and how engrossed I got into the story. 

I did try to read the sequel/spin-off/companion told in Travis' perspective, but I could not get into it. I did not like the way he was written and his attitude, so I am choosing not to continue. I am going to read the spin-off series about Travis' brothers eventually.




Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting

Oh man I LOVED this book so much. I was almost late for work because I could not put it down - and then I brought it with me to read on my break.

A sexy tattoo artist with an array of piercings and a rough personality to match? Sold. I went into Chapters looking for something smutty because that's what I was in the mood for, and this cover drew me in immediately. I had never heard of this but am so glad I picked it up.

Throughout this novel we learn so much more about Hayden and Tenley's lives, and how much deeper their personalities go. I cannot wait to pick up the sequel and see what ensues!

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick




I am not sure how many times I can talk about this book. It is amazing, I love it. Go read it, and then watch the movie. 








And finally Never, Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fischer


I loved this book so much, I stayed up all night to read it. It was so romantic and mysterious that words can't describe how I feel about it. I have also read part two, and am eagerly awaiting part three! 

As far as I know there are only three parts that are all about 100 pages, but I recommend you checking them out!






I hope you enjoyed my recommendations, and let me know if you have any of your own! 

Have a great week, 
Kristina. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!

I have been super crazy busy with work and didn't want to neglect you guys, so I thought it would be nice and different for my post to be a tag going around booktube! We are just a little over halfway through the year and I have read about 55 books, so here is the Mid-Year Book Freak Out TAG! I wasn't tagged by anyone, but I tag you if you are interested!

CREATORS:
ReadLikeWildFire (click for her video) and Ely Jayne (click for her blog post)

QUESTIONS:

1. Best book you've read so far in 2015

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, without a doubt. This book had me fully engrossed and I could not put it down - I missed classes to stay in bed and finish it. I laughed, I cried, the characters were so real, and the plot was very well done.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2015


I'm not sure if this counts as a sequel, but I am going to pick Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. This book was so adorable and was such a good ending to this companion-trilogy. 

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to

Survive the Night by Danielle Vega. I highly enjoyed The Merciless when I read it last year, and preordered this book as soon as it was available. Sadly I haven't picked it up yet, but I'm hoping to soon!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes without a doubt. I cannot wait for this novel to come out in November, as it is the third book in the Naturals series - not sure if there is going to be another book.

5. Biggest disappointment

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix was one that I was dying to read and had such high expectations for - but fell flat. I mentioned it in my wrap-up but the main character in this made the stupidest decisions, and it pained me to finish.

6. Biggest surprise

Again, Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma has made it onto this list! When I first heard the synopsis I was not interested as it is not my kind of story. Clearly I was wrong about my original judgment, as it is now my favourite!

7. Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

For this I am torn between Helena Hunting and Cathy Glass. Both wrote amazing novels that hooked me to their writing styles, but I've only read one story from each (so far!)

8. Newest fictional crush

My newest fictional crush would be Hayden from Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting. He is a hot tattoo artist with a slight attitude - what's not to love?

9. Newest favourite character

For this one I have to pick Mother Goose from The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer. She was hilarious and a terrible influence to Connor and Alex - but it was amazing. 

10. Book that made you cry

Damaged by Cathy Glass. I cry just thinking about this book and the terrible things this child has been through - but it was an amazing book.

11. Book that made you happy

A Work in Progress by Connor Franta. This book made me happy because you get a deeper look into Connor's life and you can see how much progress he has made in his life. He has been through so much and come out stronger - very inspirational! 

12. Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year

I can't think of any adaptations I have seen this year. However, I am excited for The Scorch Trials movie to come out in September!

13. Favourite review you've written this year

Instead of a favourite review I've written, I'm going to choose my post recommending books about mental illness as my favourite blog post so far this year. I have finally been getting back into my blog and youtube channel, and am becoming quite happy with my content!

14. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)

I'm torn between Beyond the Kingdoms by Chris Colfer, and The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - both have beautifully amazing covers. 

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I have made a video of the five books I need to read before the end of this year, and those include the following; Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, A Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin, and I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.


Thank you guys so much for your continued support, and I cannot wait to see what the next half of the year brings!

~ Kristina

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Recommendations: Books About Mental Illness

As you guys are probably aware, I am quite the advocate for mental illness as I have had some struggles myself. Unfortunately there is still quite a stigma attached to these conditions, so I'm here today to provide some books recommendations that will hopefully expand your knowledge! 


The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. 

So this isn't a novel that is based solely on mental illness, but instead takes the approach of how we all struggle with the concept of time. The reason I suggest this novel is because one of the characters is a teenage girl who can't seem to get through her life fast enough - and that leads her to take some drastic measures. 







Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This was one of the first books I read and reviewed on goodreads, and remains one of my favourite books of all time. This is a novel about depression and a young woman's suicide, and the tapes she leaves behind explaining why - consider it a thirteen part suicide note directed at specific people. I felt like this was such a strong and realistic plot, because when I was deep in my depression I was so angry I wanted to blame everyone. Instead of dealing with my issues I was engrossed in them and wanted people to admit what they did wrong. But that doesn't happen and that's why I feel this is such a good read if you can emphasize with the main character. 




Boy21 by Matthew Quick

I'm throwing this one into the list because the main character Russ experiences a trauma, and it has a powerful effect on his mental state. So this novel deals with different things psychologically, but I still believe it is a good read. 









Hate List by Jennifer Brown

The protagonist in this novel is a victim. A victim of a school shooting that was caused by her depressed boyfriend and the "hate list" they had created between them. Do I need to say any more? This novel switches between past and present so the reader is able to see the development that caused Nick (the boyfriend and shooter) to feel like he had no other options. 





Stolen by Lucy Christopher

I did not enjoy this story at all, but I do understand why the author went the direction she did. This is a novel about a girl who gets kidnapped, and eventually falls for her captor. I understand that Stockholm syndrome is a serious thing, HOWEVER this author did not do a good representation of the development. As a writer I would have put more effort into the captor, wanting the reader to fall in love with him so that they would emphasize with the protagonist. This is on the list though because I believe not enough people understand that when in a situation such as this, it is very possible for a victim to have positive feelings such as empathy and sympathy toward their captor. 


Serial Killers and Mass Murders by Nigel Cawthorne

I know what you're thinking; Kristina, why would I want to read about serial killers? Because lovely viewer, most serial killers suffer from a mental illness, and that is usually what leads them to commit said crimes. Think back on some school shootings you might have heard about and their gunman: Columbine killers? Both bullied profusely. Virginia Tech? Bullied. Most of the time abused at home and bullied at school, these are people that are depressed and have reached the end of the line. They give up and decide to get revenge and go out with a bang (no pun intended). 


And an honourable mention:


The Program duology by Susan Young

This is a duology that deal with depression but it is a dystopian world. In this series when a teenager is diagnosed or assumed to be depressed/suicidal, the government decides they need to be admitted and have their memory wiped. Obviously life doesn't work like that but there were other aspects of this story that I really liked. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ruthless Review (DNF'd)

Hello all and happy Wednesday! Today I thought I would do a kind of review for a book I was sent for review. I say "kind of" review because I didn't finish reading it, I only got 85 pages into it.

Ruthless 

Written by: Carolyn Lee Adams
# of pages: 256

Published: July 14, 2015

Summary according to goodreads

Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It's no wonder people call her Ruthless.

When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup truck, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can't afford to lose.

At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth's blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.

My Thoughts

I did recieve an advanced copy of this novel for review, but that does not affect my opinion towards it. 

I have only recently started giving up on books, but I did not want to do that for a review copy. I really tried to give this novel a chance as I was very excited for it, but it did not live up to the expectations I had. The first chapter or so was well done, but that's where it stopped. The writing was mediocre and I did not find myself in the story she was trying to tell.

I did not like the main character Ruth at all. She was strong emotionally considering this trauma, but I just did not like her personality. The way she treated people and viewed herself as better than everyone was very shallow. She is only 17 years old so I was bothered by her attitude that she knew/could do anything. The way she was written suggests an older character, but once she opens her mouth you hear a child. I hate to say this but all I could associate her with was only-child syndrome. 

There was hardly any dialogue which is something I want to see in a kidnapping story. What are his motives, what is his personality like, etc. He was described as the typical kidnapper you would see in an episode of Criminal Minds, and his nickname "Wolfman" didn't add anything. From a writers standpoint I can see why Carolyn kept us inside of Ruth's head, but as a reader it was very frustrating since she was an awful character (in my opinion, of course). 

Another aspect I did not like: the flashbacks between every chapter. They would switch between her past and the kidnappers past a number of years apart. For the kidnappers flashbacks you were able to see clips of how he grew up and the psychological effect it had on him, but for Ruth they just made her look like a snotty little girl and her horse shows. I didn't feel like there was enough consistency to these flashbacks, and although I understand why she used them, they were not done well enough to work. Maybe if I had stuck through this novel I would see how the flashbacks fit into the end goal of the story, but I did not have the patience. 

This was the authors debut novel so hopefully if she continues writing she will fine-tune her strengths. It is not easy to start as an author and considering she is a comedian, this was probably not the genre for her to begin with.

Overall, I was disappointed with this novel. I was expecting for it to be a kidnapping story, but it ended up being more about surviving in the woods. I am not saying that people would not enjoy this novel, it just wasn't the story I was in the mood for I suppose. If you decide to give this book a chance I would love to hear your opinions!

Obviously I won't be giving this novel a rating since I only read 85 pages.

~ Kristina


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Favourite Summer Reads!

It has been so humid in Ontario recently, so I thought today would be the perfect day to share my favourite summer/beach reads with you!

I personally love reading light contemporary or even new adult novels when I am on summer vacation. After a stressful semester at school I just find it nice and easy while my brain recovers!

The Vincent Boys duology by Abbi Glines

Summary:

Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it's his cousin Beau who catches Ashton's eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she' ever seen, and even though he's dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

I know it sounds cheesy and typical, but i loved it. I read it in a couple of hours because it was so light and I couldn't put it down.





The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Summary:

Seventeen year-old Ronnie's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms - first love, and the love between parents and children.

I read this book almost three years ago and it has still stuck with me. If you are looking for something romantic with family elements and something darker lying underneath, I would recommend this one!


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
(or anything by Stephanie Perkins)

Summary:

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less then thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend. 

THIS BOOK. One of my all time favourite books that makes me want to get on the next plane out of Toronto to Paris. Unfortunately the closest I'll is Paris, Ontario so I'll just live my wanderlust through Anna and St.Clair. 




To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones

Summary:

Fifteen-year-old Colette is addicted to lying. Her shrink says this is because she's got a very bad case of daughter-of-a-famous-movie-star Disorder - so she lies to escape out from under her mother's massive shadow. But Colette doesn't see it that way. She says she lies because it's the most fun she can have with her clothes on. Not that she's had that much fun with her clothiers off. At least not yet anyway...

A verse-writing style with the love interest being an older guy that rides a motorcycle? Yes please. One of my favourites as well and even though it is about 400 pages in length, it flows so well!




Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood

Summary:

In a snug New England fishing village, Charlie St. Cloud tends the lawns and monuments of an ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. After surviving the car accident that claimed his brother's life, Charlie is graced with an extraordinary gift: He can see, talk to, and even play catch with Sam's spirit. Into this magical world comes Tess Carroll, a captivating woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that propels her into Charlie's life. Their beautiful and uncommon connection leads to a race against time and a choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go.

Like The Last Song, this is a romance-y novel with heavier topics. 



Grace's Guide by Grace Helbig

Summary:

Face it - being a young adult in the digital era is one of the hardest things to be. Well, maybe there are harder things in life...but being an adult is difficult! So Grace Helbig has written a guide that's perfect for anyone who is faced with the daunting task of becoming an adult. Amusing and unexpectedly educational, this refreshing and colourful guide proves that becoming an adult doesn't necessarily mean you have to grow up.

I LOVE Grace and her youtube videos, so I knew I would really enjoy this book. It is divided into categories and topics so you can pick it up and put it down whenever! 


What do you enjoy reading most in the summer? A specific author or genre? Let me know! 

~ Kristina

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Books I DNF'd This Month (June)

Hey guys, so I thought I had had a pretty good reading month in June, but looking back I gave up on reading three books. THREE! And they were ones I had been really looking forward to, so I thought I would discuss that today.

First off I just wanted to tell everyone reading this that it is okay to not finish a book! My TBR is over 300, and if I wasted my time finishing books that I couldn't get into, I would never read everything I want to. After starting university and working, the time that I had to sit down and read for pleasure was precious, and I didn't want to waste that! My general rule of thumb is to give a book at least 50 pages before DNF'ing it, and if I see potential I'll push that to 75 or 100 to see if it catches my interest. 

So now let's talk about the books I couldn't read this month...

We Were Liars by E. Lochart

[Click for Goodreads page]

I went into this book with expectations through the roof. I thought I was going to be sucked in and then blown away with this big twist at the end. I was not. I read about 70 pages of this book, and those alone were a struggle. This book is only slightly above 200 pages, and I couldn't push through. I didn't feel anything towards any of the characters, and I honestly couldn't remember the ties to most of them (i.e who was a cousin, who was an aunt, etc.) Everyone keeps telling me that it is worth it once you get to the end, but I found out what the twist is and I'm not sure I could judge it worth finishing for that. However maybe the execution of it was fantastic and I'm missing out - that would be my loss. 


They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire

[Click for Goodreads page]

First of all - cover love and appreciation please. That is the main thing that attracted me to this book, and then I read this line of the synopsis; "This is the power of the list. If you're on it, you're life changes. If you're on it this year? You're life ends." I KNOW. Sounds amazing right? The 50 pages I read did not lead anything to this. It was filled with teen angst and hot guys, a mysterious boy and a best friend who wants to soak up the attention she isn't getting. Maybe I'm getting too old for this kind of story (20 in September!), but I was very disappointed. I'd had this on hold from the library and started reading it the second it was available, but couldn't push through the juvenile issues unfortunately. 


To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

[Click for Goodreads page]

Please don't kill me/unfollow my blog for this one but I had to! Lara Jean was such an annoying character for me, that no matter how much I wanted to love it, I couldn't. I think I got about 80 pages into this one before I had to stop for (mostly) the same reasons as They All Fall Down. Why would you want to be with your sister's ex-boyfriend that you've known for years? A lot of things she said/did/acted bothered me and although I've heard amazing things, I have to disagree!


Maybe one day I'll try some of these novels again since I have heard such good things, but as of right now my TBR is too long! Other priorities are taking over but we'll see what the future holds! 

What are some books you have DNF'd or what are your thoughts on the ones I gave up on this past month? Have a good one! ~ Kristina

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Isla and the Happily... Book Review

Isla and the Happily Ever After

Written by: Stephanie Perkins
# of pages: 340

Average Rating: 4.16/5
My Rating: 5/5

Published in August 2014
Read in June 2015

Summary according to Goodreads

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 

My Thoughts

All of the stars. This was probably the best book that I read this year. Stephanie Perkins is phenomenal and knows how to write the best characters. I loved how awkward Isla and Josh were, it made them so relatable. Having a crush on someone you don't think you have a chance with sucks, but was depicted very well in this novel. It is obvious that she can write characters very well, and I even found myself relating to Isla's best friend in moments throughout the story - she made me want to care about everyone. 

I never knew what to expect with this plot, which made it very hard to put down. There was a lot of travelling in this novel, making me want to pack a bag and get on the next plane out of Toronto. Between New York and Paris, Stephanie created an atmosphere that felt real. She would describe scenes beautifully, and was easy to put myself in the story as if I was there with the characters.

My only issue with this novel was the pacing. The timeline is roughly a year, but at time I felt like weeks would pass without a good transition. Events jumped around making it feel a little bit rushed...if that makes sense. It wasn't a big enough problem for me to take away a star, and instead I was thrown back into the drama of Isla and Josh. 

Bringing previous characters back into the story was amazing and helped provide some closure from their stories. I think Anna and the French Kiss will always be my favourite, but Isla is a close second. Throughout this novel I laughed and cried, and it broke my heart but then put it back together. It was truly a rollercoaster reading this story, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Overall I loved this novel and companion trilogy. I can't wait for Stephanie to write more books, but until them I recommend everyone pick up these books!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Speak Book Review *Spoilers*

Speak

Written by: Laurie Halse Anderson
# of pages: 198

Average Rating:
My Rating: 4/5


Published: April 1, 2001
Read in August 2014

Summary according to goodreads


Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. 

My Thoughts


This was the first book I've read by this author, and although I have owned it for about a year, I never felt motivated to pick it up. I had no idea what it was about, but recently a friend of mine talked about it and I was intrigued. Everything about this novel is relatable - Melinda as a character dealing with a trauma, and the situation as a whole. Unfortunately, rape is very common in our society and does not always get reported.

For some, this might be a hard topic to read about, but I found reading this to feel like I was reading a memoir of sorts because it was just that real. The story focuses more on the after-effects of what happened at the party, but there is a flashback to the incident. If you are wary of picking up the book because you don't want to read about a young woman getting raped, there is not much detail surrounding that - more of the emotional effect it took on her.

I have not dealt with a trauma such as the one Melinda did, but coming from different mental issues I can see that the author was very accurate in how she described what Melinda suffered. She had not told anybody what had happened that night, and became very closed off from people, didn't want to go to school, and other detrimental things. I can also only imagine how this new attitude would lead to people distancing themselves from her, leading her to feel even more isolated. Everything about this book came back full circle, and one thing led clearly into another.

The only issue that I had with this book was I felt at the end there was not a lot of closure. The reader never knows if Melinda gets the psychological help she clearly needs, or if justice is served to the young man who abuses her. Other than that I thought it was a very powerful story that could prove valuable to people to read. I feel that growing up I was sheltered from the harsh realities of the real world, and only recently have become aware of the dangers constantly surrounding us. This novel proved that it does not matter how old you are, what you look like, etc, you need to be aware of keeping yourself in safe situations.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and am glad I finally got around to picking it up. I would recommend this to any reader looking for something quick, that also contains a heavier plot (emotionally).