Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Upside of Unrequited (book review)

Released: April 11th, 2017
Pages: 338

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly's totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie's new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she'll get her first kiss and she'll get her twin back.

There's only one problem: Molly's coworker, Reid. He's a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there's absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.


Ahhhhhhhhh, I'm so excited I got to read this book right away! Spoiler alert: I loved it. I got to read another 2017 book for my goal of the year to read more new releases, and seriously, 2017 hasn't disappointed me yet. And my parents got me the beautiful hardcover for me because it was published on my birthday! Happy birthday to me indeed.

Let's talk about the book.

My heart. You guys. This was so darn cute. I just want to curl up between the pages of the book and take a nap in the sun. It's the perfect summer beach read. Throughout the day, I'd find myself thinking about the book and how I couldn't wait to get back to it because every time I picked it up, I immediately relaxed and lost myself in the story again.

Molly's voice was so addictive and conversational. It was nothing fancy, but it was honest and funny and relatable. I felt like I was settled directly inside her brain with her every thought. She was part of the reason why the book was so compelling. Plus, she's obsessed with Pinterest and has a massive crush on Lin-Manuel Miranda, so what's not to love about her?

And the food. It's a good thing I read this right around Easter time, because I was craving Cadbury mini eggs pretty much the entire time. (Thanks to my little brother for letting me steal a handful of his.) I also want cookie dough in a mason jar, but that craving hasn't been remedied. Yet.

Guess what this book also had that YA readers everywhere have been begging for since forever? Family dynamics! Siblings! PARENTS WHO ARE ALIVE AND HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR CHILDREN. Molly and her twin sister Cassie interacted like realistic siblings. They protective of each other, they bicker, they love each other, they drive each other crazy, etc. And I LOVED seeing a healthy, non-sexualized, loving, committed, normal relationship between two women (who were awesome moms, no less!). So refreshing. Nadine and Patty made me giggle more than once. They're super cool and are friends with their kids, but they also don't pull any punches when Cassie and Molly misbehave.

OH. OH. AND. Guess what Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda fans?! Simon makes a cameo! And Abby, who is Molly's cousin! It was so fun to see them again and hear about Simon's absolute love for Harry Potter, even if it was only for a second.

Okay, but there was one little itty bitty thing I had a teeny tiny problem with.

But it wasn't a huge deal! When I heard that there was a love triangle in Upside, I have to admit, I was suspicious. And with good reason, because, as it's to be expected when it comes to 99% of all love triangles, it fell flat. I liked the nerd, Reid, go figure, because he's into the Ren Faire and Lord of the Rings and sends weird texts to his best friends and helLO THAT'S ME. The other guy, "hipster Will," didn't work for me, but I won't tell you what happens! Just go read it already!

I'm pretty sure you can guess what I rated this book.

Shocking, right?
Have you read The Upside of Unrequited? What did you think? What are your favorite books with lovable families? Leave a comment!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hello, Sun! (The "Spring Has Sprung" Book Tag)

Engie tagged me for the "Spring Has Sprung" book tag, and now that the weather actually feels like spring and the sun is coming out more*, I thought I'd finally take a shot at it!

*Of course, as soon as I was able to finish and post this, it got cold, rainy, and windy again . . .

Look on your shelves. What is the most beautiful book both inside and out?

The cover of I'll Give You the Sun is simplistic, but it totally screams spring/summer, especially once you take the title into consideration, too. And the writing is so GORGEOUS AND ARTSY. I wanted to devour the book and also take my dear sweet time so I could savor each sentence.

What is a book that you find others like way more than you do?

I wanted to like it, you guys, I really did. Every single person in the blogosphere seems to be head over heels with this book, but I couldn't get into it. After 50 pages, I marked it DNF and returned it to the library. It felt too juvenile to be a YA book and there was no plot compelling enough for me to be invested in. Sometimes even if I'm hating a book, I'm curious about how something will turn out and push through and end up liking it. I didn't even have that to hold onto with this. It wasn't horrible, just boring and not my cup of tea.

What’s a great book that lifts your spirits when you’re down?

I was flipping through Cress the other day for this exact reason! I have distinct memories associated with this book because it was one I read as my family was moving into a new house. The house was wide open and empty but full of sunlight because it was close to summer, all of my things were in boxes (including any books that weren't from the library), and the only thing I had to occupy myself with were my library books. This one in particular. I lost track of time when I dove back into the world of Cress and Thorne and the rest of the Lunar Chronicles gang. They were great characters to keep me company.

What book made you feel alive?

That's a pretty vague question, so I'm interpreting it as something that was so exciting it left you breathless. The entire Darkness Rising series did that. I haven't read it in ages, but when I look back at the books, I remember being utterly addicted and blazing through them in less than a week. It was pure action and fun, sort of in the way "Teen Wolf" is.

What book did you find unpredictable?

I never knew what exactly was going on or in what direction the plot was headed. AND THAT ENDING. (For the people who read it, you know what part I'm talking about. Owowow.)

What was a book that you struggled with only to be happy that you read it in the end?

For what ended up being such a nail-biter, Misery had a slow, slooowww start. It paid off, particularly in those last 100-150 pages, but I almost put it down at first.

Chilly Weather
What’s a book that you couldn’t finish or didn’t enjoy?

The title is apt. I hated it. I gave it thirty pages before barely restraining myself from throwing it across the room. I'm not a prude by any means, but the amount of sex jokes crammed into the book was just tasteless. Who were those characters? Why were they complete idiot pigs? How was any of that supposed to be funny???

Warm Weather
What book did you love and want more of?

I could have listened to Lin-Manuel Miranda narrate this masterpiece forever. It took me a day to finish the audiobook and afterwards I spent a while just staring out the window and letting the story sink in. It was a fuzzy blanket and a cup of tea in book form.

What book have you not read yet but really want to?

It only took one book to make me a big fan of Jennifer Niven. After All the Bright Places, I couldn't wait to read anything else she published. Somehow I still haven't gotten around to grabbing a copy of Holding Up the Universe, but that day will come.

(Side note: while googling Jennifer Niven to get a picture of the book cover, I fell down a rabbit hole on her website and discovered she's a huge fan of "Supernatural." I love her that much more now.)

What book made you feel a strong connection to the characters?

Did I absolutely love these killers and criminals? Yes. Should you be concerned by how much I loved them? Probably. But the Six of Crows gang stole my heart before I even realized it was gone (a little thief humor for ya). I was sad to leave their world, but they feel very much alive and real even after the series ends.

What book makes you feel safe when you read it?

This weird little graphic novel series was my obsession for the longest time, so much so that my parents tracked down every out-of-print copy so I could reread them over and over again (thanks, Mom and Dad). It's a strong childhood memory for me, so it makes me happy every time I see the books on my shelf.

What book do you feel is intelligently written?

Considering the majority of the book consists of lyrics from "Hamilton," I'd say it's pretty dang genius. The essays are great, too. I loved learning about the behind-the-scenes of the musical and how it all came together. It's a must read for "Hamilton" fans.

What book puts a smile on your face?

Fun, fluff, laugh-out-loud moments, unforgettable characters, great illustrations. Why aren't you running to the library to grab a copy already?

Tag, you're it! Take these prompts for your own blog or answer some questions in the comments.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

5 of My Heroes

The word "hero" is pretty broad and hard to define. I'm still not totally sure what makes someone heroic, especially on a large scale, but I can say with certainty that these five people (okay I cheated a little and grouped some together, but coming from me, what did you expect?) have influence my writing and my life in some way or another.

1. J.K. Rowling

I've always loved to write, but J.K. Rowling was the first author whose books I read and made me realized, "Oh my gosh, I could be just like her." Meaning, I could write stories and publish them for people to read. She made me fall in love with fantasy and understand how characters weren't just names on a page but living and breathing beings with complicated backstories and personalities. Everything I write is influenced by her.

2. Lin-Manuel Miranda

LINNNN. He's a genius, a musical theater nerd, and a total dork that got me into Broadway hardcore. While I might not be cut out for writing lyrics necessarily, the way he uses sound and rhyme in his music has helped me when it comes to poetry. Some of my best poems were written with "Hamilton" playing in the background of my brain. Plus, the guy does not stop writing. He sure makes me feel lazy in comparison, which is good because it gives me a boost to try and be as productive as possible.

3. Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, and Felicia Day


I grouped these together because they're all part of the SPN family and influence me in similar ways. Felicia Day is my geeky soul sister. We're both introverted and are unapologetic about the things we love. We even both play the violin! She's hysterical and reminds me to stay true to my passions, even if other people may not get them. And the three dorks above her picture are freaking awesome. Not only are they serious about their craft, but they make so many of their fans feel comfortable in their own skin. The fame and celebrity hasn't gone to their head. When they interact with people like my friends and me at conventions, it's like they're talking to people they've personally known for years. I admire all of the charity work and mental health awareness they do and feel proud to be part of such a cool fandom when I hear stories about fellow fangirls having their lives changed for the better because they started watching a weird niche show on the CW.

4. Emma Watson

Emma Watson embodies Hermione through and through. I've grown up watching her grow up in the "Harry Potter" movies and continue to be impressed with everything she does now. I love that she's a bookworm and a feminist and wants to make change wherever she can. Seeing my favorite book character come to life on the screen was so cool and only made me love Hermione more. She's a fantastic role model.

5. My family

My parents, little brother, and dog keep me happy, supported, and sane. We all goof around and tease each other one minute but can talk politics and social issues the next. We like to share interesting articles with each other and discuss books. Watching TV at night before bed is a ritual and one of my favorite times of the day. We listen to music while cooking dinner and play an endless amount of games. It's the little things that make us all excited and I love every second of it.

Who are you heroes? Leave a comment!