Review Bingo

Last night I finished a fantastic book. I was so excited because it was done and I loved it but then it hit me, I had to do something I am very out of practice doing, I need to review it. Not because I am required to but because I actually really loved it and I want everyone to know how much. But the panic set in because I am very very behind on all things reviewing. I feel like I lost my way in finding my words about books good, bad and amazing. Somewhere along the way this year that review spark died and I need to find it.

I needed something to get me going. Something that would help me along in writing those reviews (which I admit I will need to reread some of the books) and I realized I have been seeing a lot of different types of bookish Bingo out there. I have seen TBR Bingo and ARC Bingo and Genre Bingo. Bingo seems to be a big trend these days so I looked to see if there was a Review Bingo. I couldn’t find one (if there is one let me know so I can give them credit for the idea) so I just decided to make my own and go with it.

So I give you my own personal Review Bingo:

I am woefully behind on my reviews as you can see, 24 (well 27 if you count the series as separate books) books behind. I need to get better. I will get better and I will use the above Bingo to do it. It is going to be a challenge but I want to make it a coverall by the end of the year while keeping up to date with the books I will be reading.

I saw this tweet the other day and I am refusing to let it be my reality anymore.

 

The lies stop now…I hope. Wish me luck!

Which book do you want me to review first? What would you like to hear my thoughts on? Tell me below in the comments or on Twitter!

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Review: All Things New – Lauren Miller {giveaway}

Review: All Things New – Lauren Miller {giveaway}All Things New by Lauren Miller
Published by Three Saints Press
on August 1st 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, Author
Amazon, Goodreads

Jessa has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn't help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and visible scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels.

Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, where she meets Marshall, a boy whose kindness and generous heart slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

ALL THINGS NEW is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world, perfect for fans of ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.

I received this book for free from Publisher, Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I have been waiting 3 years for this book. I mean not this book in particularly, but just another book by Lauren Miller. I’m a Lauren Miller fangirl. I know it, she knows it, people that follow my reading know it. Ever since I read Parallel for the first time 4 years ago I have been a champion of all books Lauren Miller. I will tell anyone and everyone to read her books. With that in mind imagine how happy I was when I learned about All Things New. I was warned that it was very different from Miller’s other two books and I may not love it as much. Well guess what? That warning was wrong. All Things New was AMAZING! It was a book I needed without knowing I needed it.

All Things New is about Jessa, a quiet 17 year-old that has been plagued by anxiety for many years. She has done everything in her power to hide the panic attacks and fears she has and she does so successfully everything changes. Jessa gets in a terrible accident and all of a sudden she sees scars and wounds on people. The thing about these scars and wounds? They don’t exist. They are projections in Jessa mind. When Jessa moves in with her dad and starts a new life, meeting adorable Marshall in the process, she must find answers to why she is seeing things and figure out how to heal herself in the process.

This book! I seriously loved this book. What I loved most about All Things New, Marshall aside (we will get to him and Jessa later), is the message I found in it through Jessa and the scars she was seeing. The thing is, we all hide scars. We all have things that hurt us or weigh on us that people just don’t know about in everyday life. Jessa was rare and she was able to see those struggles through the manifestation she developed. She may have been seeing wounds on the outside, but really she was seeing what was happening on the inside, the hurt people were feeling in everyday life. That right there is what made All Things New so amazing and important. Jessa was hurt and angry buy what happened and how her life was and this “power” showed her she was not alone.

But she really wasn’t alone. There was Marshall. Oh adorable, lovable, genuine Marshall. He is probably one of the best characters I have read in a long time. He was insanely perfect in his flawed way and he was exactly what Jessa needed. He brought a humor out that was timed perfectly and he was just a great guy. He didn’t make Jessa feel anything she wasn’t ready to feel. He was just there for her. He listened to her and they formed a bond. It was all 100% swoon-worthy.

All I can tell you about All Things New, well that I didn’t say above, is you need to read it. There is something magical about Miller’s storytelling and Jessa’s story. It isn’t your typical mental health story, but it’s important all the same. It’s about healing and how we make ourselves heal and that is something everyone should know is possible. Well done Lauren, well done. Now write me another book. 😉

One eBook version (Kindle or NOOK only) of All Things New by Lauren Miller. US ONLY. Ends 8/3/17 at 11:59PM EST.

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New to You (1): Kelsey Reviews Parallel by Lauren Miller {+ a giveaway}

As you may have heard (or read) I love a good reread. I read some of my favorite books pretty often. But what I don’t do it write a new review for them. I review them after I read it for the first time and then that is it for my review. Sometimes I think I want to write a new one, but there is nothing more powerful then the words you use after your first time finishing a book.

I was thinking about this when I finished my 3rd read of Lauren Miller’s Parallel. I wanted a new review but I didn’t want to write a new one since I loved my old one. Then it hit me, have a friend that hasn’t read it read and review it. Brilliant!

Welcome to New to You.

New to You is a new feature where I will have people, that are interested, read my favorite books they haven’t yet read. So you haven’t read Anna and the French Kiss or Twenty Boy Summer or What Happens Next? Well now is your chance to do so and review it on my blog. If you are interested in taking part of this feature feel free to contact me on Twitter, email, Instagram DM, Facebook…you get the gist. If you know how to find me, find me. And if you don’t I may just come after you and ask if you would be interested. 🙂

First up on New to You we have Kelsey. She’ll be reviewing Parallel by Lauren Miller and I’m really excited for you guys to see what she thought. (Scroll to the end for a giveaway).

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New to You (1): Kelsey Reviews Parallel by Lauren Miller {+ a giveaway}Parallel by Lauren Miller
Published by HarperTeen
on April 8th 2014
Amazon, Goodreads

Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.

Andi has always been one of my friends I turn to when I need a good book recommendation. I don’t think I’ve come across one that she told me to read that I didn’t love. It has got to the point where I made an entire Goodreads shelf dedicated to books Andi wants (i.e. needs/forces/yells) at me to read. One of these chosen books was Parallel by Lauren Miller. Now, I don’t usually read these kinds of time travel, multi-universe type books, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. But alas, I read this beauty in one day and, as always, Andi didn’t disappoint.

The book starts with the main character Abby filming a movie in LA and celebrating her 18th birthday, but you can tell she feels out of place, and that this life isn’t the dream that she had for herself. She wanted to go to Northwestern to be a journalist. That was it. She was set on it. Journalist or bust. But on her first day of senior year she had to make a last minute change to her schedule (that she spent forever getting just right so she would have THE PERFECT schedule and GPA to get into Northwestern – being a perfectionist myself I understand that frustration). She was to choose between an Astronomy Class and a Drama Class and went with the latter option. Flash forward and that decision has plunked her right in LA filming a movie.

The morning after her 18th birthday Abby wakes up and she doesn’t know where she is. Now, if that we’re me I would probably pass out after having a panic attack, but she figures out that she is at Yale, in her dorm room, that she shares with her college roommate. Wait, what? This is where I had to try to keep everything straight between Abby’s parallel worlds. She has to figure out what memories and choices led her here, at Yale – not LA, not Northwestern.

Luckily for Abby, her best friend, Caitlin, is also going to school at Yale. She explains what she thinks is happening between parallel worlds (let me tell you what thought would never cross my mind). The one thing I found a little crazy, was how calm, rational and completely understanding Caitlin was of this theory. I would probably want to have my friends head examined, but that’s just me. However, Caitlin becomes her lifeline in helping Abby piece together her past, her choices, and navigate through what is happening in this current life.

And the boys – Josh & Michael. Oh the boys.  There was definitely one I was rooting for throughout, but I enjoyed how they both played into her parallel worlds and how connected they really were. I usually always prefer books that have a romantic story line involved. While there was this love triangle of sorts, the relationships didn’t get super involved, and with all the thought I had to put into this book to keep it straight, I was more than okay with that. Just the right amount of romance.

This book was one I really couldn’t set down, because I just wanted to know how it all played out in the end. I definitely had to pay attention or else I would confuse myself, but I think that’s what made it so fun. It also really makes you think about the choices you make and how everything can be affected by them. (It also sent me into an internet black hole on parallel universe theories).

Thank you, Andi, as always for a great book rec!

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Thanks Kelsey for having Parallel be New to You!

US ONLY. Ends 7/23/17 12:00am.

 

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Backlog Review: Ignite Me – Tahereh Mafi

When I was looking at some reviews I wrote a while ago and never posted I realized I never posted my review of Ignite Me. I think I forgot about it because at the time I felt like I had a very unpopular opinion on the series ender. Since then I feel like more people felt this way than I originally thought. However since I had it done I might as well post it. So here you go, my review of Ignite Me which I wrote years ago!

Backlog Review: Ignite Me – Tahereh MafiIgnite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #3
Published by HarperCollins
on February 4th 2014
Amazon, Goodreads

The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

Welcome to the newest edition of unpopular opinion time. Because I seem to have a mostly unpopular opinion for Ignite Me. After reading it for three days and feeling anger, annoyance and frustration, I finally finished and now I’m just sad and disappointed. I will freely admit that I am team Adam. I never hid my lack of love for Warner in this series. But my lack of like for this series ender has nothing to do with what went on with Warner in this book. It has to do with my feelings of other things that happened that I just couldn’t get past.

Ignite Me is the final book in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series, a series about Juliette, a girl that can kill someone with just her touch. When we first met Juliette in Shatter Me she was an emotional mess. But as Juliette started to learn more and more about her powers and made friends and got herself involved in a love triangle with Adam and Warner, Juliette started to become a threat that needed to be stopped. With Warner’s father Anderson after her and wanting her dead Juliette finally decides it is time to take on The Reestablishment. But she going to need help and finds it in a place she ever expected, from a person she thought she knew but apparently didn’t. She needs Warner. And is he ever full of surprises.

And I guess to be honest that was my first problem with this book. STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY SPOILERS!!!

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When the book started off I was immediately bombarded with all these ‘truths’ about Warner. But honestly I didn’t feel like they were truths. I felt like I was duped. Like I was reading a new book completely separate from what I had read in the series. The ‘changes’ in Warner didn’t seem natural. They just didn’t flow right and seemed to be made out of convince rather than story progression. They didn’t leave me loving Warner any more than I did. Actually I lost respect for him because now he was a phony rather than a villain. And it didn’t stop with Warner for me. Everyone seemed to have a personality transplant. Adam, Kenji, Warner…it all seemed so forced.

What I did appreciate was the character of Juliette. From start to finish in the series she was the main focus and her growth was the highlight and the reason I didn’t rate this lower. For me she was the one character that stayed true to herself. The changes in her were the kind of changes I like to see in a character. She grew up a lot from book to book and was no longer afraid of who she was. At times she got on my nerves because she was strong yet couldn’t say what she was feeling, but who isn’t like that in the real world. By far she was the bright spot for me. Was it farfetched that she could stage a revolution? Definitely. But it’s the kind of farfetched I liked. It was her reactions to Adam that I hated and her reactions to Warner that bugged me.

I know with me being a self-proclaimed Warner hater and Adam lover that it seems like I’m whining based off what goes down in Ignite Me. But truthfully that isn’t what this is about. That part of the story was minor for me. It was the changes that happened that I felt took away from the other books, of the characters and their character. I understand what Mafi was trying to do, but it just didn’t work for me personally. I still love the first two books, but sadly Ignite Me just wasn’t the book for me.

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Blog Tour: Review – What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Blog Tour: Review – What to Say Next by Julie BuxbaumWhat to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
Published by Delacorte Press
on July 11th 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Admittedly it took me a long time to read What to Say Next, a book that is under 300 pages. I started it at the wrong time (right before a book I was dying for was released) and after I put it down and got sucked into other books it sat waiting. Because of this when I picked it up I struggled to get into the book. I was really sad about this because I had heard such great things. But the more I read the more I just fell in love with Julie Buxbaum’s story of Kit and David. And by the time I was done I was so sad there were no more words for me to read. To keep it simple…the book was fantastic.

What to Say Next is told from the perspectives of both David and Kit in alternating chapters. What I love about this format is that you get to see what is inside each of their heads. Sometimes this can take away from a book, but in this case I think it actually added to it. Knowing what Kit was thinking and feeling was really important. She is popular and has friends but after the feather of her father things changed and now she wants quiet and understanding. David, who is on the spectrum, is a loner. He sits alone and uses a notebook to help him determine who is well meaning and who to stay away from.  When Kit sits down with David though everything changes for both of them and soon feelings have forming and friendships are made and everything is changing.

It is hard to say at what point this story turned around for me.  According to my Goodreads updates it was around page 80. But honestly I think it was before that. There was something so endearing and magical about Kit and David’s friendship forming and blossoming. On paper Kit and David couldn’t have been more different, but from the start of the book something about their differences really just clicked. You could almost feel how they made each other whole and I loved that. I loved that this seemingly random twist of fate, the death of Kit’s dad, lead them to find their person. And I 100% believe they are each other’s person. The honesty they show one another is like nothing I have seen in a book. And to see their trust and relationship grow I was done for. Also David is 100% crush worthy.

What to Say Next is a great follow up to Buxbaum’s YA debut, Tell Me Three Things. It has heart and amazing story telling and characters you will love from the depths of your soul. I was honestly blown away by how much I ended up loving Kit and David’s story and I think you will too. I highly recommend this one for your TBR.

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About Julie Buxbaum

The author of the New York Times bestseller Tell Me Three Things, her debut young adult novel, as well as the critically acclaimed The Opposite of Love and After You. Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two young children.

 

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