You Know Me Well | Review

I’m super pumped that I’ve been really on top of my reading game ….well not only reading more but POSTING more! It’s a miracle of miracles! I’m trying to become better and it’s a tough habit to keep up with if you just go in and out of a routine. Let’s briefly discuss my latest read!

You Know Me Well | Available for Purchase: Amazon.com « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Nina LaCour & David Levithan
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Pages: 248 pages, hardcover
Received Copy: Paperback advanced reading copy, also signed by author

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

Once again I have this habit where I don’t read the back cover and don’t know what said book is about but if it’s a favorite author of mine or I hear good buzz about the novel is enough to get me interested in reading. That being said–I knew this was a contemporary book and David’s writing is some of my favorite so I was ready to read.

You Know Me Well takes two individuals who are classmates that don’t interact with each other but one night during San Fran’s Pride Week have Mark and Kate meeting only to run away from their problems. Kate is head over heels in love with a girl she’s never met but knows they would have a relationship we grow up dreaming of. Mark is pining over his best friend who’s not officially out of the closet gay yet and while they spend time fooling around and exploring, their friendship is only so much for Mark and he wants it all.

Through a series of events, Kate and Mark develop an overnight friendship, quite literally, and it’s interesting how things play out. Kate and her best friend, Lehna, are pretty inseparable but when Violet–Lehna’s cousin who’s finally moving back to the States, Kate can’t handle the pressure of mixing expectations with reality, not just for Violet’s sake but her own. Kate is an artist who is doubting her life choices in attending college and as her senior year is ending the pressure is mounting. Mark on the other hand is a junior who still has time but the fact that his best friend, Ryan, seems to finally be paying attention to another guy making Mark take the plunge in expressing his feelings truthfully.

There’s a section of the book that includes really awesome slam poetry some characters listen to and you can’t help but read it and feel gutted. Straight or not, one can’t imagine having to hide their true self or fight for it like it was something that was so against the norm. I loved that these pieces were written in because not everyone has an easy time figuring out who they are and what sexuality they relate to.

Mark and Kate find a way to balance each other and find a way to grow a friendship out of what they’re missing with their best friends. Tensions are high between both sets of friends and Mark and Kate develop shoulders to lean on and confidence boosts throughout the story.

It’s a cute and quick read that didn’t have much drama. A dash of comedy, journeys in finding themselves, the trials and tribulations of growing into the next step of life, and figuring out sometimes you need to let go is all a part of You Know Me Well‘s storyline.

ARC August – update week 4

So in the midst of the worst week ever, I was actually able to finish a book! Woohoo! It’s pretty crazy because I’ve basically spent all summer not reading much so it’s nice to know this is starting to pay off–signing up for the reading challenge and whatnot👍

I liked this one, You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan–two gay high school classmates find themselves at a gay bar for Pride Week in San Francisco and develop a friendship overnight. I could’ve used more closure for Mark’s storyline rather than just “hey I’ll figure things out” but I enjoyed Kate and Mark’s guide to self-discovery in becoming who they’re meant to be and shedding what they wish could be. Sometimes friendships just click and I liked what these two characters established within the short time the audience gets to spend with them.

I’ve already started on my next read, And I Darken by Kiersten White…it’s my book club pick for August and I’m seriously cutting it close. I’m also trying to decide what to read for September since I’ve had a decent month reading for August! I’m not sure if the challenge somehow helped or not, but I’ll be writing down some titles that I’ve been looking forward to reading as well as finishing a few I’ve started ☺️ [yes Mindy and Game of Thrones, I’m looking at you both–we should so be done by now haha!]

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Review

The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath & the Dawn #1) | Available for Purchase: Amazon.com « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Pages: 395 hardcover
Received Copy: Paperback, ARC

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

really liked this novel! Renee Ahdieh brought readers a fresh and diverse universe and a kickass female main character named Shahrzad in a novel inspired by A Thousand and One Nights. Shahrzad decides that in the wake of the death of best friend, Shiva, she would put herself in position to end the horror in her land where the King–Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, is to find a girl, marry her, and then hangs her the following morning. As disturbing and tragic as that notion is, Shazi has made up her mind that she will stay alive for as long as she can and plots to kill the king for his inhumane manner in murdering his new bride. She must fight for her fellow females, her best friend’s honor, and her people.

I really loved how strong Shahrzad was portrayed and how smart she was as well. While her beauty was alluring, Shazi made sure she could play that to her best ability and capture Khalid’s attention and stay alive for as long as possible. Within this storyline, Khalid and Shahrzad start to lose their facades and start to form a relationship that takes them both by surprise and one that they fight so hard to ignore.

The world that Renee Ahdieh has created was very fun as the setting was old world Persia, probably not long after Aladdin’s tale (which is mentioned briefly in the book) and what a gorgeous scene that is set. A bit of magic, gorgeous colors to describe what materials the women dressed in and how the men were just as decorated in their royal garb. All of the food Shahrzad at as a newly appointed queen was deliciously detailed and had me drooling on those pages! Between Shazi and Khalid’s storylines we get word on what Shahrzad’s father is doing–trying to save her from this crazy mess she got herself into as Calipha of Khorasan, Tariq (Shahrzad’s boyfriend and brother of slain BFF Shiva) is also on a rescue mission for her and intends on causing a lot of trouble for Khalid. I can’t wait to see what happens in book two because the series ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so excited to see where things go!

  • I would say the two things that I wasn’t wild about in the novel were that I had hoped for more of a backstory between Shahrzad and best friend Shiva, there seemed to be only snippets of their time as friends along with more setting up Tariq’s friendship and love for Shazi as they grew up together. Definitely could’ve explored it more so I’d have been more invested in Shahrzad’s plan to kill Khalid.
  • I also found Despinia, Shazi’s handmaiden as queen, brash behavior and dialogue between Shazi and her off-putting. Despinia kept calling Shahrzad a brat every other conversation and sometimes they’d be on the same page and not irritating each other and the rest of the time Despinia just felt like an odd character. I wasn’t in love with her scenes because they didn’t complement each other.

These were the only points I wished were written a little differently but overall a really fun read and I can’t wait for book two!!

Also in adding The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) to my Amazon cart, I hadn’t realized that there’s novellas to go along with the duology:

Happy reading!!!

These Shallow Graves – Review

These Shallow Graves | Available for Purchase: Amazon.com « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Random House Delacorte
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Pages: 488, hardcover
Received Copy: Paperback, ARC

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

 

Definitely enjoyed this much more than I had expected. I’ve been in a serious reading slump so it was so refreshing to read a book that was a bit fast paced–it included action, intrigue, drama, mystery–so a bit of everything that kept my attention. I think I enjoyed the book more knowing the time period; I’m obsessed with Hamilton the musical which takes place in a growing Manhattan and social class and women’s status which are similar issues as to what takes place in These Shallow Graves so it was a nice parallel to read. The chemistry was fairly good too, especially when locked in some broom closets, between main character Jo and reporter Eddie. I loved how headstrong Jo’s character was–as a female who thinks that women should amount to so much more besides caregiver and procreator, I liked that because I could fully relate to it.

Some parts were a bit predictable, I had a notion of wondering which page I’d flip to that would finally give up the big reveal but overall thoroughly liked this novel a lot. My favorite aspect was the supporting cast of characters within Eddie’s wrong-side-of-town culture. When Jo lives her life as she’s grown up things can just be dreadfully boring–everyone cares about how much is in your bank account and who you’ll be matched up with. Jo was in danger several times, made friends with those who looked out for her rather than not shun her because of a reputation. Fay and Oscar were my favorite side characters (besides Eddie) because they added a really colorful aspect to the story.

Definitely recommend this novel–I only have an ARC copy but I’ve seen the final copy and it’s got an old map of Manhattan which can be helpful as to where Jo travels throughout the book. A map is always a nice touch to add for readers👍

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Sorry it’s been forever since I’ve posted, I’ve been either lacking in my reading and/or posting and coming up with new ideas for my other blog on bionicfangirl.wordpress.com so I’m new at dividing time between the two. Never fear, I always come back 🙂

 

Hey 2016, why so serious?

Oh hi, do you remember me? I’m alive and well (well, mostly well) and it’s been a crazy January so far!

First, happy 2016! I really have been meaning to do several posts but I kept on failing, silly me😁 And now that we’re nearing the end of the first month of the new year (already, I know–insane!) I figured I’d recap the month. I promise I’m going to try harder for February about being up to date with more posts, Top Ten Tuesdays, Waiting on Wednesdays, Mini Reviews, etc.

As for a wrap-up of my end of year and all the reading I tried to get in before the new year, let’s take a walk down memory lane!

Yeah, so comic central over here on The Kid’s Goodreads 😕 I met my challenge which is all that counts–2016 is ready for me to read 60 books, an in-between for 2014 & 2015 which I think will be a decent, happy medium. I’m off to an okay start…not too far behind but still maintaining a good pace.

I also started the month off with Book Rock Betty who is now the newly formed Brave New Betty to watch the sun rise at Valley Forge to mark the freshness of the new year! While the sun rising was pretty non-existent [see pics] we grabbed coffees, did some soul-searching, had a feast at the diner (where we had minor drama with a snippy waitress), we made some goals and decided to look forward to great changes for the New Year.

January also marked my third year attending ALA Mid-Winter!! Visiting the snow-less Boston (last year let’s remember how they were under like 72″ of snow in like five mins) and I had such an awesome time!

The book haul I got was fantastic (thank you, THANK YOU publishers!!!) and I got to check out some fascinating US history in the process! I’m a history nerd so walking the Freedom Trail and climbing the Bunker Hill monument was memorable and felt really good as an American🇺🇸

Lunch at Blunch and guest starring as a Star Wars jedi

Freedom Trail where we stop along for sweet treats👅at Sweet Cupcakes bakery

And of COURSE!!! While I look hideous in these pics, I had fun seeing some of my favorites!! (Along with meeting a bunch of new bloggers/readers too!) Alyssa, Elizabeth, and Brittany💋👯☺️ #bloggersunite

January also took away one of the greats…actor and literary friend playing Professor Severus Snape

Lastly, I’m still majorly on the hunt for a full-time job. I have babysitting that helps but unemployment is like basically done, and I just want to find something where I’m not so bored and wasting brain cells. This October I turn the big 3-0 and I’d like REALLY REALLY want to start acting like an adult.

….aside from book goals (going to try and do a recap of 2015 book accomplishments), I want to try and keep up the motivation, I’m continuing therapy, and most importantly I’m trying to focus on good friendships.

For 2016 I want to start shedding some of the dead weight that I know I have in this personal department. Lost relationships, failed friendships, also letting go of other people’s BS because I’m ….for the *most part* a good person and an even better friend. With some people I know, they tend to take it for granted and I don’t want to be the person who gets walked on all over. Some people only want to keep me at a certain distance and I just have to accept that. My brain can be a haunted place where I create more craziness than probably what’s going on, but I’m on the hunt for people I want to be around that accept me for who I am and not someone you once in a while make time for. I do have a few friendships that work like that but is somehow an agreed upon friendship.

Sorry for the heavy but Happy 2016, besides every other celebrity dying, can we just like have this year be semi-positive?

 

ALSO!!! One last thing!! I STARTED ANOTHER BLOG!! I’m going to try and do another post on that, but if you’d like to check it out I created The Bionic Fangirl, @bionicfangirl, where I’m keeping you up to date with pop culture fun times! I’m hoping to get it going, still a little tricky juggling both😊
bionic

Last Minute Reads -Mini Review Roundup

We’re nearing the end of 2015, getting ready for a new year meaning things are coming to a close, and I’m desperately trying to tie all my reading- figuratively- loose ends. 

For 2015 I decided since I read beyond my last two challenges I figured I’ll be on track to deliver the same results so I should give myself a bigger goal. That was an adorable thought but I find myself, in this last month of the year, seriously scrambling to read a lot in a short amount of time. 😉 It’s just a small challenge, and no one but myself will care if I can or cannot surpass it. The fact is it really has been bothering me, haha, so I’m trying to do all of the reading! Big books, small books, comics and graphic novels of all kinds will help me just reach that 75 Reading Challenge goal.

Yes, if you look at the last handful of books I’ve read, they’re mainly comics and they’re like the shortest ever 😉 but this year I’ve been in a huge slump so at least I’m still reading which is important. I’ll be doing a yearly recap towards the end of the month which I’ll address that diving into comics was on my list of things to read for 2015, so all the more reason why I have more listed within my challenge. With that, I give you my mini review update:

Mini Review #1:
The Hogwarts Library (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, The Tales of Beedle the Bard)
J.K. Rowling – Newt Scamander, Kennilworthy Whisp


J.K. Rowling, again, delivers such a treat for Harry Potter fans to read. She continues to deliver creative realms throughout her magical world that make you feel like you’re reading real history. Quidditch Through the Ages is so fun and is a sports history guide that you’d find for American baseball or English football which is fascinating. The revolution of the sport, the description of teams and regions where reigning champions are from will bring back Goblet of Fire memories. Tales of Beedle the Bard was really enjoyable to read as a magical Hans Christian Andersen’s lore of sorts. Obviously channeling Deathly Hallows, hearing Hermione’s voice as she narrated the Three Brothers tale which was a real treat to finally see on paper. What’s interesting is that Fantastic Beasts is the latest Harry Potter book to film and it was my least favorite. There wasn’t anything fun about some of the terrifying creatures I know from real life, reimagined worse than my actual, literal nightmares. I’ll still see the film, duh, and Newt’s journey will be exciting I just have to make sure I close my eyes if he finds every single creature. Although let’s be clear–I’m here for the Phoenixes, Hippogriffs, and Dragons. Yes please.

Mini Review #2:
Saga #31
Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist)


As a new fan of this series AND as a reader who started with volumes–that they flew through reading– the individual issues are a bittersweet torture I’m bestowing upon my soul. I liked this issue, I saw on Goodreads it had some mixed reviews like “that’s it?!” but issues are small, there’s a certain amount of progression, so to me it’s understandable if nothing was extremely groundbreaking in the return of this story. Maybe in previous issues more went on but I still loved reading about Hazel and her journey and I’m back to panicking again about where the characters are in the series. Cannot wait for more!
PSA: IF YOU HAVEN’T READ SAGA WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???!!

Mini Review #3:
Truly, Madly, Famously (Famous in Love #2)
Rebecca Serle

We’re back in the Locked universe where the first film in the franchise seems to be a success but MC Paige is channeling her character’s August storyline in having feelings for both of her co-stars, Rainer and Jordan. It was a decent follow-up, quick read and the movie magic, or rather celebrity drama is always interesting to read. Behind-the-scenes continues and Paige is struggling to keep up with her work life, home life, and personal life while not to create unflattering headline news. I continue to be Team Jordan and got a few treats within the pages of Serle’s book two of the series. Can’t wait for the next!

Mini Review #4:
The Boy Most Likely To
Huntley Fitzpatrick

A companion of sorts to My Life Next Door, we’re back with the Garrett’s but this time we’re on a journey with Tim who was a fun, hot mess side character and friend of Sam from the original story. We’re seeing post-accident where Tim Mason is at, now that he’s trying to stay sober and out of the political realm. Alice Garrett, the eldest of the female Garrett siblings, is dealing with a lot of stress the family is now going through. The attraction at first seemed to come out of nowhere and developed into something deeper but Tim gets an unexpected surprise on his doorstep one day which in the long run helps him become the man he should have if he didn’t get mixed up in a crazy social life and an uncomfortable home life. I loved going back into this storyline though! The characters are all so fun to read, especially the Garrett kids, and in a way My Life Next Door carries on which is delightful to read!

Mini Review #5:
Paper Girls #3
Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (Illustrator), Matt Wilson (Illustrator)

The twists and turns in this new series from Vaughan and Chiang are really good–of course you’re always left at such a cliffhanger! The art continues to be awesome, you get some childhood throwbacks, and you have tons of drama! The group of girls continue to be badass and band together when most needed. Very interested to see where the story goes next.

 

If you want to catch up on more of what I’m reading, I’m on Goodreads! Feel free to add 😀

Mini Review Roundup Time – November Reads

This year I’m just in an overall struggle to keep focused and read. I have ample time but something’s just not there, but I’m trying I promise. Recently I checked how behind I was on my Goodreads challenge annnnnnnd, well it’s kinda bad considering it’s like a little over a month until Christmas…which is basically the end of the year which means I need to read 15 books in the meantime. HA! No big for someone who hasn’t been frustrated finding novels to keep my interest.

In the meantime, I posted an Instagram photo where I focused on three reads I wanted to push through so I could add them to my challenge total and I did it! WOOHOO! Let’s forget one was a comic volume, two comics, but one WAS a novel! And I started another novel, but I just can’t read fast enough. Anyway, here’s my progress and some mini reviews:

  • Earlier in the month I finished the YA horror anthology, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, which you can read my review and breakdown of the stories in the link: here.

Mini Review #1:
Paper Girls #2
Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (Illustrator), Matt Wilson (Illustrator)


The comic series is so new that there’s not much to tell but it’s definitely interesting and I’m absolutely in love with the artwork. I’m familiar and love Matt Wilson’s work on my fav The Wicked + The Divine so it’s a no-brainer that I still am drawn to it (no pun intended). This issue ends on a cliffhanger but I expect good things from it. Lots of mystery surrounding who these alien creatures are and where people in their town have disappeared to. Looking forward to seeing who else is still around and what the newspaper gals will do next.


Mini Review #2:
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3: Crushed (Ms. Marvel (Marvel NOW!) #3)
G. Willow Wilson


Once again I love the direction this storyline is going. Kamala’s religion and growing up are on the forefront as opposed to just straight up superhero and superpowers that are typically shown in comics. Kamala has a boy in her life, one that seems too good to be true…enough she might want to spill the beans for. Her BFF, Bruno, continues to pine for Kamala and it’s so cute…friendzones suck, dude. And another appearance by a Marvel favorite, this time it’s Loki! Wish he had showed up to my high school when I was fighting crime back in the day 😉 The end of this volume had an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. issue and I was a bit confused because I hadn’t remembered in the previous volume if they had included something like this. Threw me for a loop but overall loving the storyline and where things are going.

Mini Review #3:
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)
Sabaa Tahir


Like I’ve stated earlier, I’m in such a slump when it comes to reading these days but somehow after I picked this one up I was sucked right in. The novel is a dual-POV with alternating chapters, between main characters Laia and Elias. Laia is a Scholar that is fighting to save her brother–the last bit of family she has from the Empire which has terrorized their land, by going undercover as a slave for the Resistance. Elias is the bastard son of the Commandant who raises the soldiers to help run and dominate the Empire. He is ready to desert but legends become real and Elias is faced to compete with friends and enemies to become the new Emperor and defeat one another in a series of trials as Aspirants. There’s some hardcore themes in this book for a YA level such as slave abuse, talk of raping, etc. which can set up a gruesome fantasy storyline like Game of Thrones-esque. Good backstory for each Elias and Laia, Elias already had a good set of morals on his shoulders so I didn’t feel there was a lot of development there but Laia really came through right up until the very last page.

Definitely worth checking out–so happy to learn there will be a book 2! I also wanted to leave my favorite quote from the novel that really hit home for what’s going on with me and my life:


Mini Review #4:
The Wicked + The Divine #16 (The Wicked + The Divine)
Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrator), Matthew Wilson


Once more the WicDiv team brings it, getting some backstory on the Morrigan, and looking at what Baal decides to do. The Morrigan has such different sides of her that come out, such as split personality, which are beautifully drawn. Every issue I gobble up and can’t wait for the next. I think soon I’m going to re-read them all so I can go back and relive and refresh everyone.

*

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As someone who’s looking for a confidence boost not only as a female but also as a working professional, I’m 20% in to this book and really enjoying it. I understood some of these ideas and practices before because I’m very in-tune with reading headline stories about how as women, we think we’ve gotten so far, but it’s still just not enough. It’s definitely interesting and gives good insight to Sheryl’s life and struggles within the corporate world, getting herself to be successful not only with going up against females but the males who dominate it all.