Best Books I’ve Read in 2017 (So Far)


Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where book bloggers from all over the world make a list of 10 things that fit that week’s topic. This week’s topic is “Best Books I’ve Read in 2017 So Far”. Since I’ve only read fifteen books so far, I’m not 
going for ten books. Instead, I’ll give you my Top Five.

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History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera: anyone who’s been following me for a while knows that this is one of my all-time favourite contemporary YA novels. I’m in love with Silvera’s writing style. He manages to pack so many emotions in very few words, but it never feels like he’s manipulating the reader. Every emotion feels genuine. I also think his characters are well-developed and realistic. They feel like real people, which makes his stories even more heartbreaking.

  • simonSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky AlbertalliI’d heard a lot of positive things about Simon vs., but I never expected to like it this much. Simon is a breath of fresh air to me. He’s dealing with some issues (such as being blackmailed and coming out as gay to his family and friends) but he’s never angsty. He’s actually a really cool, down-to-earth person who I’d love as a best friend. Oh, and Blue is absolutely precious. And don’t forget about Abby! Man, I wish I could be friends with all of them. I can’t wait for the movie!

We Are the Ants coverWe Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson: it’s contemporary, but “sluggers” and (alien) abductions play a big part in the story so it was different from anything I’d read before. But the best part of this book is main character Henry, who’s smart, funny and nihilistic. He’s a teenage boy trying to make sense of the world while dealing with very complicated (and also abusive) relationships. He’s the kind of character you want to give a hug and tell him it’s all going to be okay. Added bonus: family plays a big role in We Are the Ants, which is nice to see in a YA novel.

  • 30197201A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard: this is one of those cute romances that make you smile like an idiot the whole time. Seriously. I got a lot of weird looks from the people on my train, but I didn’t care. Rhys and Steffi are just too cute. But there’s more to the story than just romance. Rhys is deaf and Steffi is a selective mute who also deals with anxiety and panic attacks and it was nice to see that represented in a YA book. It taught me a lot about how non-inclusive we are and the mistakes we make when it comes to people who are deaf for example.

32075671The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasI suspect this book to be on many people’s lists. The Hate U Give is THE YA novel of 2017 (so far) and rightly so. It’s inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement and it’s one of the (if not THE) most important YA novels I’ve ever read. I highly recommend everyone to read it if they haven’t already.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And what are some of the best books you’ve read so far?

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10 Problems All Bookworms Will Understand ft. all the GIFs

Hello and happy Monday!

There are so many “problems” us bookworms face on a daily basis, I thought I’d share a few of my own. And to make it a bit more fun, I’ve added plenty of GIFs for your enjoyment.

  1. When an adaptation gets everything wrong

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    Don’t you just hate it when that happens? You’ve been looking forward to seeing your favourite book turned into a TV show/ movie only to find out they completely messed it up.

  2. The endless TBR

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    Look at all these books I want to need to read! Seriously. It starts out fine with just a couple of books, but before you know it, that pile keeps growing and growing until you’re buried underneath. Okay, you probably don’t have your entire TBR in physical form (mine is just a list) but you get my point.

  3. Finishing a book and not wanting to go back to the real world

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    Admit it. We all wish we could stay at Hogwarts or live in Narnia until the end of days. The real world just kind of sucks in comparison, doesn’t it?

  4. Fighting the need to buy all the books

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    Happens every time we walk into a book store. Collector’s items and special editions are the worst. I really really want to buy the Harry Potter anniversary ones (the ones that feature the individual house crest on the jacket and have line illustrations exclusive to your house!!) but I really really shouldn’t.

  5. When you have to stop reading because…life

    giphy-downsized (2)At some point you have to stop reading to eat, sleep, go to work … and it’s the absolute worst. Who else wishes they could stop time so they could keep reading?

  6. Other people: “Reading is so boring / stupid / for nerds / etc.”

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    Don’t. Just don’t.

  7. When your ARC request is denied

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    I know we’re all very lucky to be able to get ARC’s in the first place, but we can’t help but feel disappointed when a particular ARC we really really wanted is denied.

  8. When your favourite character dies and you read on, but it’s just not the same

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    I always need a moment to grieve my baby before I can even think of moving on.

  9. When the sequel is still months away and you’re trying to be patient

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    I imagine this is what George R.R. Martin’s fans feel like at this point.

  10. When your favourite author releases a new book

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    This is me when I found out John Green’s new book is going to be released on October, 10. Of 2017! Even though I knew he was writing again for a while now, it completely took me by surprise. It’s the best kind of surprise though. I’m so excited to read new material from him after 5 years.

Can you relate to my struggles? What other things do you struggle with as a book lover? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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Details & Summary

Title: I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin Random House)
Release Date: September 16th 2014
Pages: 384

At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor.
The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.”

My thoughts…

I had a hard time getting into this book. I started, then stopped. Started it again, then stopped again. Basically, I only came back to it because I had no other books to read. When I reflect on why I had so much trouble getting into this book, I can think of nothing else but the writing style. I’ll Give You the Sun is an extremely poetic / lyrical book about art and family and relationships, and it’s filled with metaphors. So so many metaphors and “purple prose”. Dare I say it came across as a tad pretentious and unrealistic. After all, how many fourteen and sixteen year olds think and speak like Noah and Jude?

Jude barfs bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table, but I’m the only one who notices.

We’re sprinting at the speed of light when the ground gives way and we rise into the air as if racing up stairs.

All the hornet’s buzzed out of her. And there’s no spider to her at all

The writing style is what kept me from bonding with the characters. I kept being pulled out of the story because I was paying too much attention to the descriptions, the metaphors, and the way Nelson used language in general to create her story. But I didn’t give up on it because I’d heard so many good things about it and I’m too stubborn to DNF. So I told myself to stop overthinking it and just go with it.

I’m so happy I did or I would’ve never discovered the brilliant parts of this book. For one, I came to adore Noah. He’s a talented artist who falls in love with his neighbour Brian, with whom he can truly be himself–passionate, dorky, and maybe even a bit of a freak. Brian is in love with him too, but it wouldn’t be a YA novel if a series of unfortunate circumstances forces didn’t force them apart. I hate how their break-up could’ve been avoided if they’d just talked to each other and set things straight, but alas. Having said that, I adore them together.

I love you,” I say to him, only it comes out, “Hey.”

“So damn much,” he says back, only it comes out, “Dude.”

And even as I’m kissing him and kissing him and kissing him, I wish I were kissing him, wanting more, more, more, more, like I can’t get enough, never will be able to get enough.

And then there’s Jude. I didn’t like her much at first, but that’s mostly because I first read about her from Noah’s POV and they were growing apart by then. Jude was also in the process of becoming a young woman, which came with more than a few struggles. But through her own POV, I came to like Jude too. She’s more of a risk-taker than Noah is, less afraid of being herself and standing up for what she believes in. She also falls in love but with an older boy named Oscar. I have to say I’m not a huge fan of their relationship. Aside from the fact that Oscar is a stereotypical dream boy (older, British, tattoos, motorcycle, troubled past, dates many women but capable of changing for “true love”, etc.), I didn’t like the you’re-my-soulmate-and-one-true-love factor. It’s just not realistic to me.

“Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you’ve been in before – you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers: You could find your way around in the dark if you had to”

I’m happy to say that the parents in this YA novel are present and that they’re a part of their children’s lives. A huge part in fact, which is rare these days. It was nice to see how Mum and Dad had a separate relationship with each of their kids and how these relationships changed and developed over time.
Noah’s relationship with his Mum is different from Jude’s, but it also changes from the beginning to the end. The same thing goes for Noah and his Dad and for Jude and each of the parents. All the relationships have their own, separate arc which are all sufficiently developed throughout the book. This makes the relationships more real and realistic because we all know the bond between a parent and a teen can change dramatically between the ages of 13 to 16.

While Nelson’s writing style is too lyrical for my taste, I fell in love with Noah and Jude all the same. I related with them and felt for them while they dealt with strong emotions such as first love and grief, which ultimately lead me to appreciate and enjoy the story and the messages hidden within.

Rating

I’d probably give this a 3,5 / 5 though.

Waiting On Wednesday #3 – A YA Novel for All Booklovers!

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re all excited about! This week I’m waiting for…..

Details & Summary

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Title: Words in Deep Blue
Author: Cath Crowley
Release Date: June 6th, 2017 (it’s not available in my country yet)
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 269

Love lives between the lines.
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.
Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.
Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.
As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Why am I waiting?

First off, this book has one of the most appealing summaries I’ve read in a while. It’s perfect for bookworms like you and me. I just love the idea of reading about two characters who love words and books and literature as much as I do. It makes them instantly relatable. And to make it even better, there’s a (cute?) love story, and it also deals with serious topics such as grief. What more could you want?

Second, I loved Graffiti Moon, written by the same author. I admire Cath Crowley for taking the most ‘simple’ ideas and really turning them into unforgettable stories. It takes real talent to do that.

What book are you waiting for? I’m always looking for recommendations, so feel free to let me know in the comments and / or post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday.

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The Blogger Stats Book Tag

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re all having a good day and a great start of the week. To be honest, mine hasn’t started that well. We’ve had tropical-like weather for a while now, which makes it hard to sleep. On average, I’ve been running on 5-6 hours of sleep for the last couple of weeks, which hasn’t been great for my mood or productivity, but there’s nothing much I can do about it except keep going 🙂

As you can tell from the title, I’m going to do another tag today because I don’t have too much energy to write an original post and, let’s be honest, they’re fun to do. The Blogger Stats Book Tag was created by AlwaysTrustinBooks and I was nominated by Norin @Diary of a Bookfiend. If you have some time, please go visit her blog and show her some love.

Alright, now let’s get started!

The last three books you read?

 

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I really enjoyed the first two, but I have mixed feelings about Thirteen Reasons Why.

Spoilers or spoiler free?
This is a tough one. I hate it when other people drop spoilers, but sometimes I go looking for spoilers myself. For example, if I’m really invested in a book and I think a character might not make it to the end, I flip through the pages to see if they’re still around at the end. Same thing for couples I’m hardcore shipping. I can’t help myself, I just need to know.

How long have you been book blogging?
I believe I started on January 9th, so about 6 months now. I’m definitely still a newbie who has a lot of things to learn.

A book you read in one sitting?
I’m a fast reader, but it’s rare for me to finish a book in one sitting. Either the book has too many pages (I definitely can’t read a 400+ page book in one go because I work during the week and weekends are pretty busy too) or because I’m not compelled to. Having said that, I finished Eleanor & Park in one sitting. It’s a short book and I was really invested in it, so it was easy to read in one go.

Your favorite genre?
Contemporary YA all the way.

Preferred book size? (novella, tome…etc.)
I prefer novels over novella’s, but e.g. the page count doesn’t matter to me. I don’t mind reading a 400+ book (as long as it’s a good book of course!)

Amount of books on your TBR?
I have absolutely no idea. I don’t update my Goodreads account that much so there’s no way for me to tell. A lot though. Probably around 100.

A book you have DNF’d?
None that I can remember. I’m very stubborn 😀

Recent awards or milestones?
I’ve recently hit 1,000 post likes, which I’m really happy about. It shows that you’re loving what I’m posting which is nice and helps me stay motivated. So thank you to everyone for their support!

Best interaction with an author you enjoy?
Living in a small, non-English country, I haven’t been able to meet any authors yet.

Average number of books you read per month?
Four, I think.

Top three publishers?
I don’t pay too much attention to which books belong to which publishers. As long as it sounds interesting, I’ll try any book, no matter who published it.

Social media sites your blog uses?
Twitter and Instagram, but I’m bad at both.

Average amount of time you spend networking?
I try to blog hop and interact with other bloggers at least 30 minutes to an hour every day.

Most comfortable blogging position?
At my desk.

Music or quiet when writing reviews?
It depends on my mood and the book I’m reviewing. If I know exactly what I’m going to say, I’ll put some music on and just write it out. If I’m not really sure or if I’m having mixed feelings about the book, I need the peace and quiet to think.

Can you sum up your blogging style in 5 words?
I really can’t come up with anything.
What do you guys think??

A blog you looked up to starting out?
I have so many! Here are three of my favourites:

Marie @DrizzleandHurricaneBooks
Sarah @WrittenWordWorlds
Lauren @WonderlessReviews

The best book you have reviewed so far?

The people who’ve been following for a while probably know which book I’m going to say because I rave about it all the time.

It’s History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera ❤

Best piece of blogging advice?
Stay consistent. At the beginning, it feels like no one is reading your posts and your blog is never going to go anywhere, but it will. I promise. Just keep posting and please don’t be shy. Comment on other bloggers’ posts and interact with them. They’re all very welcoming and very lovely people in general so there’s no reason to be afraid!

I’m not tagging anyone this time. If you’re interested, go ahead and do it, but make sure to leave me a comment with the link so I can read your answers!

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Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Details & Summary:

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin Random House)
Release Date: October 18th 2007
Pages: 288

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

My thoughts…

Everyone has heard about Thirteen Reasons Why by now, the popular but highly controversial Netflix series brought to life by teen idol Selena Gomez. What many (non-bookworms) might not know is that Thirteen Reasons Why was already very popular in the bookworld when it was released…ten years ago, in 2007. It was a huge success and became a bestseller in no time, but I think it’s fair to say Jay Asher’s story didn’t reach the general public until the show was released by Netflix on 31st March 2017.

I’m telling you this because that’s exactly how it happened for me. I’d heard of Thirteen Reasons Why plenty of times and I’d seen it around the book community, but I didn’t plan on reading it any time soon. Watching Thirteen Reasons Why changed those plans. You can read my review for Thirteen Reasons Why (the Netflix series) on the blog.

I wanted to review this book as-is and not compare it with the Netflix series, but I found that to be impossible so I apologize for those of you who haven’t seen it.

The first thing that stood out to me was how different book-Hannah and show-Hannah are. I liked show-Hannah: I thought she was a smart, witty, sympathetic, and relatable teenage girl who unfortunately had to deal with a lot of bad stuff in her high school life. Book-Hannah? Not so much.

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I found it harder to sympathise with book-Hannah. Something about her “voice” didn’t feel right. In the book, she’s more–vindictive, I guess. I think this is very interesting considering the backlash the Netflix series has received for essentially promoting a “revenge story” connected to a girl’s suicide. Now, if you’ve read my review for the show, you know I don’t agree. I don’t think show-Hannah meant to hurt and ruin the lives of the people on the tapes. I think she wanted everyone to know just how much little, seemingly insignificant things and behaviours can lead to so much more.

You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything

But, book-Hannah? I’m not sure. Even though she said she forgave almost all of them for what they did, at times I thought she got too much “fun” (this is too harsh of a word, but I don’t know else how to explain it) out of creating these tapes. While I understand why she might feel that way (honestly, who doesn’t hate the people on those tapes?), I’m not happy about the message it sends out. I’m okay with show-Hannah warning people to think before they act because you never know what someone else is going through, but I’m not okay with book-Hannah.

Let’s move on to Clay. Book-Clay didn’t believe he deserved to be on those tapes. Not for a second. He also didn’t fully blame himself for Hannah’s death or for not being able to “save” her. Yes, he felt guilty for not trying harder, but that’s a normal reaction after losing someone you care about. You’re always going to wonder what you could’ve done in order to help them. The big difference is that show-Clay is too hard on himself and he idolizes Hannah a lot more than book-Clay does.

That’s why you did it. You wanted your world to collapse around you. You wanted everything to get as dark as possible

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Lastly, I want to briefly talk about the other characters. Aside from a couple of name changes and a character that doesn’t exist in the book (I’m so happy they created Jeff for the show!), they’re all very similar. Having said that, I don’t think I would’ve been able to connect or get a good feel of the side characters if I hadn’t seen the show. In the book, Clay listens to the tapes in one night and he barely interacts with anyone (aside from Tony, his mom, and Marcus). That makes it really hard to understand any of them as real people because you’re not given the interactions you need to judge their character. You’re essentially stuck with what Hannah tells you they’re like instead of finding out yourself, which I found ironic considering Hannah hated how everyone thought they knew her because of the rumours they’d heard.

I wanted people to trust me, despite anything they’d heard. And more than that, I wanted them to know me. Not the stuff they thought they knew about me. No, the real me. I wanted them to get past the rumors. To see beyond the relationships I once had, or maybe still had but that they didn’t agree with

I’m really glad the show dragged out the timeline so they could develop the side characters. I think it’s absolutely key to see how these characters act and interact with others (not just Hannah) before you judge them. Most of them were still pretty awful, yes, but they felt less “villain-y” and more like real, three-dimensional people in the show than they did in the book.

It’s hard to say what this review would’ve looked like if I hadn’t seen the show or if I’d read the book before the show. Honestly, I think I wouldn’t have liked it as much. Maybe not even at all. Without the images and voices of all the characters from the show in my head, I think I would’ve had a hard time connecting to the characters and the story. Above all, I think I wouldn’t have sympathised with Hannah as much as I did in the show and her message would’ve been lost on me.

Rating

Top Five Wednesday: My Favourite Side Ships

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge for book bloggers, hosted by Lainey and Samantha. The goal is for bloggers to choose their top 5 picks for the week’s given challenge. You can find more information about this meme over on Goodreads!

This week’s topic is “Side Ships”, i.e. favourite relationships that don’t involve the protagonist.

To be honest, I struggled to pick five. I ship (too) many couples, but the protagonist is always involved so they were no good for this week’s topic. After consulting my Goodreads account and going through every book I’ve ever read in my mind, I’ve managed to pick my top five.

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Ron & Hermione – Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling: I completely fell in love with this ship when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out, and I’m not sure I even noticed them in the books before I saw that movie. Obviously, the books were ahead of the movies, but I can’t remembering actually shipping Ron and Hermione before the Goblet of Fire movie. In any case, I’m a big fan of this ship. I don’t even understand people who ship Harry and Hermione? Like, c’mon, they were best friends. Nothing more! (Don’t fight me on this)

  • Ben & Lacey – Paper Towns by John Green: this is a classic case of “opposites attract”. Ben is one of Q’s (the MC) best friends. He’s kind of a dork who’s got no game whatsoever (he refers to girls as “honeybees” which I can’t even get offended by because you just know he doesn’t mean anything bad by it). His number one goal in life is to go to prom with Lacey, one of the most popular and beautiful girls in school. At first, you think there’s no way in hell that these two are going to end up together, but throughout the book, they grow closer and they’re actually kind of sweet together.

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Abby & Nick – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: this is an interesting one because their relationship doesn’t really develop on the page. We “see” how Abby and Nick are growing closer, but we don’t actually get to experience how / why they fall for each other. Still, I think they’re cute together. Mostly because Abby is my favourite character in the book (she’s right up there with Simon) and I want her to be happy ❤

  • Finnick & Annie – The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: for the most part, Annie is a mystery character because we don’t know that much about her. We only know she became mentally unstable after winning the games, that Finnick is the only one who can calm her down and that he’s completely devoted to her. Which is why this is one of my favourite ships. Finnick comes across as a strong, handsome “player” but he’s only got eyes for one girl, which is sweet and makes me even more sad he didn’t get his happy ending.

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Jane & Mr. Bingley – Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen: I love these two together because they’re just two positive, sweet, kind, and slightly naïve characters who follow their heart.

 

 

 

 

Do you ship any of these couples? What are your favourite side ships? Let me know in the comments!

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