Wednesday, February 14, 2018

On Romance + A Few Recommendations

Hello Book Lovers!
Happy Valentine's Day! 💙 I love Valentine's Day and all the romantic feelings it has to offer. I love cuddling up to my partner and reading a romance because, of course I'm going to be reading. Whether it's young adult or new adult I want to read all the romances! 


However, as much as I love romance I hate that sometimes as a genre is gets a bad rep. People will dismiss romance because it's full of tropes. While I do love hard hitting contemporaries about serious topics I, also, equally love steamy romances. In my day to day life I feel like I can't talk about romances without other people judging me. I still do talk about them, but I can feel other peoples judgement filled eyes on me. I shouldn't be made to feel ashamed because I enjoy romance. As if by reading romance I'm less of a reader because I'm not reading 'serious content'. We all enjoy reading different things and I don't judge people for reading books I don't personally enjoy. So shouldn't I and everyone else be given the same courtesy for loving romance. 

I've even seen some people go as far as to say that people who read romances aren't and can't be dominate females or feminist. I'm not a weaker female because I enjoy the story lines with a damsel in distress who is rescued by a handsome buff man. I'm not ashamed to admit I enjoy male dominance in fiction. However, in my real life I'm equally as dominate in my relationship as my boyfriend. It's not fair that some people can't separate what I enjoy in fiction verses how I actually act and think in real life.

Another thing I've noticed is how unfairly people rate romances. On Goodreads, even though a person has said in their review that they really loved a book the highest rating they'll give it is three stars simply because it was a romance. If you loved a book enough to leave a review saying you loved it, give it more than three stars! It's as if there is some unspoken rule that a romance can't be given higher than a three star rating. When they definitely can be and deserve to be four or five star reads.

I know not everyone passes judgement onto those of us who read romance. There are tons more tolerant people in the world than there are judgmental assholes. I just wanted to voice some thoughts I've been having on romance and how it's viewed. I hope I made some kind of sense.



RECOMMENDATIONS
Speaking of romance, here are some of my favorite romantic reads.

Lick - Kylie Scott
Evelyn wakes up hung over in Vegas next to a handsome tattooed man with a massive diamond ring on her finger. Problem is she can't remember how she got there. This story is steamy and sweet. Full of consent and communication! I don't know about you, but I've always had dreams of meeting my favorite rock star, falling in love, and getting married. It's going to happen! I loved this story and can't wait to continue on reading the companion books.






All Lined Up - Cora Carmack
College Freshman Dallas Cole wants to stay as far away from football as possible, which is harder than it sounds since her dad is the universities head coach. It's even harder when she meets Carson, who she doesn't know is the team's second string quarterback. I'm a sucker for football romances. This story has just the right amount of tension, temptation, and build up. It's a slow burn, but definitely worth the wait.







Losing It - Cora Carmack
Bliss Edwards doesn't want to be a virgin anymore and decides her best option is a one-night stand. That is until her one-night stand turns out to be her new theatre professor. If you love forbidden romances with high stakes this is the book for you. It was the first new adult romance I've ever read so it holds a special place as my first. (How fitting for this story!) I can't wait to pick up more of Cora Carmack's books. 






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

If new adult isn't your cup of tea, the To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy is my favorite YA romance. Lara Jean wrote love letters to all the boys she's loved before and one day those secret letters get sent out. This story is full of drama, love triangles, and bad teenage decisions. I loved the characters and the family dynamic in these stories. It can be over dramatic at times, but high school is dramatic, so it makes sense in this story. If you're one of the few people who haven't read this trilogy I highly recommend it. There is even a movie adaptation coming out this year!


Let's Chat!
Have you ever experienced any intolerance when it comes to reading romance? No worries, I won't judge you even if you think romance is silly. I think we could all be more kind to one another when it comes to what we enjoy reading. Also, if you have any romance recommendations I'd love to know. I can never get enough romance!

-Cassie

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Contemporary-a-thon TBR

Hello Book Lovers!
This month I'm participating in the second round of the Contemporary-A-Thon. It's running from the 12th to the 18th and the goal is to read as many contemporaries as you can in a week. I'm planning to read a book for each of the 7 challenges because apparently I like to torture myself. Last round, I managed to read 5 books in a week. I don't know if I'll be able to read 7 but here to hoping! Maybe with the addition of a graphic novel to my TBR I can manage at least 6. Here are links to the three host channels if you want more information about this round: Chelsea(chelseadollingsreads), Julie(pagesandpens), Natasha(myreadingisoddd). Now onto my TBR!!


1. Read a recent purchase
Everybody See's the Ants by A.S. King is about a boy named Lucky Linderman trying to survive in an abusive family. I already know this is going to be one of those books that sticks with me long after I've read it. It will be hard to read but I think it is an important book to read. 









2. Read a book with pink on the cover
Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid is about a woman's grief after the sudden death of her new husband. I love books that deal with grief so I'm really excited to pick this up. Hopefully I enjoy it so I can continue on and read more of Taylor Jenkins Reid's published work. I've heard a lot of great things about her books.








3. Read a hyped book
There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins has been described as a teenage murder mystery romance. Everyone was talking about this book when it first came out and I haven't had a chance to read it. I got an eBook from my library so now is the perfect time. Stephanie Perkins is known for her fluffy contemporaries so I'm excited to see how this goes.







4. Read a diverse book
The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse is technically historical fiction but it's set in the real world so I'm counting it. During World War II, a young dutch girl helps a woman search for a missing Jewish teen who's disappeared from there hiding place. I know this book is going to break my heart but I love reading about World War II so I'm excited to finally read this. 








5. Read a dark or taboo book
Loving Mr. Daniels by Brittainy C. Cherry is about a student and a teacher falling in love. This is obviously a taboo subject and something I would never want to happen in real life but I love a good forbidden romance story.










6. Read a contemporary graphic novel
Mis(h)adra by Iasmin Omat Ata is a graphic novel about a college students struggle to live with epilepsy. I've never read about epilepsy, and I've never read about an Arab American main character. I think this will be the perfect first since it is an own voices book. It has fantastic reviews so I'm super excited to read this. 








7. Read a recommendation
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K Johnston is a rape survivor's story. I'm interested to see how a YA approaches the topic of rape and rape culture. It was recommend by the BookTuber Mel Moriarty, who speaks very highly of it. It's been on my TBR for a while so hopefully I can finally get to it this read-a-thon.








Those are all the books I hope to read for this round of the Contemporary-A-Thon. I didn't purposefully pick books that deal with heavy topics. Read-a-thons just always help push me to read books I've had on my TBR for a while and these just happen to be some of those books.

Do you plan to participate in the Contemporary-A-Thon or any other read-a-thons this month? I'd love to know, read-a-thons are my favorite and I'm always looking for more to participate in.

-Cassie

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Wrap-Up

Hello Book Lovers!
I survived the first month of 2018! I managed to push through a reading slump and end the month really strong. I read 10 books, participated in 1 read-a-thon, and completed my monthly motif reading challenge. Even though it started slow, I'm super happy with how this month went, so before I ramble to long here are all the books I read in January.

1. The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This was my only 5 star read this month. It completed my monthly motif challenge to diversify my reading. It's about four teens growing up in Alaska that have a lot more in common then they think. It's short, beautifully written, and I obviously loved it. If you haven't read this yet, pick it up.
Full Review







2. Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines
⭐⭐⭐
This is a sports romance set in high school about a football player and a mute girl. It was cute, fluffy, and dramatic. A quick and easy read. Everything I needed to help me through my slump. 










3. Violent Ends edited by Shaun David Hutchinson
⭐⭐⭐
This book is written and told in 17 different perspectives all about a school shooter named Kirby Matheson. I can respect this project and what the 17 authors accomplished but I don't feel like we got any answers about why. We get told a lot of things about Kirby but we never actually get to know who Kirby is. With topics like depression, suicidal thoughts, and abuse there needs to be information about how to recognize and help someone and we don't get that from this story. Which left me feeling hopeless for all the characters. I enjoyed some stories and disliked others but overall it didn't work for me. 

4. The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is another sports romance centered around football. If you haven't already guessed sports romances are my favorite. It wasn't the typical pushy aggressive male character we see a lot in romance. I do wish we got to see more football throughout the story but I still really enjoyed this.
(I can't with these romance covers...)








5. Leftovers by Laura Weiss
⭐⭐
The more I think about this story the  more I dislike it. We follow two teenage girls who have committed some horrible act. Even with everything our two main characters go through they choose to purposely put someone else through what they've had to go through. They don't learn or grow from there experiences, they become the people they hated. I know I'm being very vague but I don't want to spoil anything. I enjoyed some points brought up in the book about rape culture but that's about all I enjoyed in this book. Definitely would not recommend.

6. Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
We follow a father and his two young sons who are grieving after there wife/mother has died. It was an interesting story and there were parts that almost brought me to tears but there were also parts that made no sense to me. At times, I felt like I wasn't smart enough to understand the complexity of the story or what the author was trying to get across. I don't know how I feel about this, so I didn't give it a rating.






7. Ten by Gretchen McNeil 
⭐⭐⭐
This book reads like a teenage slasher movie. Ten people go to a secluded island for a party and one by one they begin being murdered. It was an addictive, intense, and suspenseful story. I enjoyed it for what it was, but it wasn't anything spectacular. If you like quick gripping thrillers this might be for you. Be warned that the characters make some questionable decisions and our main character acts like a teenage detective. 






8. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
⭐⭐⭐⭐
This book is about two teenagers who make a suicide pack. I loved that this book helped me better understand depression and suicidal thoughts. My one big problem with this book is that our main character flip flopped between  wanting to get better for herself and wanting to get better because of a boy. If she was only doing it for herself it could have been a five star read but it kept going back to the boy. Romance isn't a cure all. I still really enjoyed reading this but the ending fell short for me. 



9. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
⭐⭐
This book started off strong but halfway through I almost DNFed. The middle of the book dragged on and I only continued because I wanted to know how it ended. It was an interesting perspective told from heaven but the narrator sounded nothing like a teenage girl. Some books have unsatisfying ending that work and makes sense. This books resolution was so unsatisfying in a way that didn't work and just left me frustrated. It had potential but failed in my opinion.




10. The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace
⭐⭐⭐
I think I've finally learned that I'm not a poetry person. I enjoy reading this collection but it didn't leave a lasting impression on me. 












Those are the 10 books I read in January. Five of which I read for the Winter Biannual Bibliothon. I love participating in read-a-thons and I can't want to participate in the Contemporary-a-thon this February. I hope you had a great reading month. I'd love to know what your favorite book you read this month was?



-Cassie 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Smell of Other People's Houses Spoiler Free Review



Title: The Smell of Other People's Houses
Author: Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Amazon | GoodReads


My SPOILER FREE thoughts:

The Smell of Other People's Houses is about 4 different teens growing up in 1970's Alaska, who have much more in common then they think. I love the imagery of Alaska through out the book. It was so interesting to learn how different life is growing up there. It was a beautiful backdrop on a beautiful story that had me in tears at the end. It is definitely one of my new all time favorites. 


This book wasn't afraid to bring up big topics like racism, classism, and abuse. It showed that everyone struggles no matter there circumstance. Every character, even minor ones, had a struggle and a story. In only 223 pages, I managed to fall in love with the characters we follow. Ruth, Dora, Hank, and Alyce become such strong individuals through there struggles. No matter what is thrown there way they push through and continue forward. 

My only complaint is that I wanted more! These are such complex characters and I wanted to learn more about them. I wanted to get to immerse myself even further in each characters story. I wouldn't have minded if this was another 100 pages long. 

Overall, I loved this story. It was short and sweet and packed a punch. If you haven't picked this book up yet, DO IT!

-Cassie

Friday, January 19, 2018

Winter Biannual Bibliothon TBR

Hello Book Lovers!
The first read-a-thon I'm participating in this year is about to begin! The Winter Biannual Bibliothon will be running from January 20th to the 26th. There are a ton of host and challenges so here's the link to the Bibliothon channel where you can find all the information to participate. There are 7 reading challenges but I'm only hoping to complete 6 of them. Now onto my TBR!









1. Read the Group Book
The group book that was chosen is OtherWorld by Jason Segel and Kristen Miller. I don't own this book and I can't get it in time from the library so I'm going to have to miss out on this challenge.

2. Read a Sequal
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater is the third book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy. I don't want to spoil anything but it involves werewolves and a romance. I'm not sure if it's considered a sequal but I'm going to count it anyway.










3. Read a Book You've Never Heard of Before
Leftovers by Laura Weiss is a book I'd never heard of it until I saw it on Book Outlet. We follow two teenage girls journeys that have led them to commit some horrible act. It's a cute mini paperback which makes me every more excited to read this.









4. Read a Book About Mental Illness
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga is about two teenagers who make a suicide pact. I've heard good and bad things about this book but I still want to read it to form my own opinion.










5. Read a Book That was Mentioned in Another Book/Movie/Show etc.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is mentioned in Gilmore Girls, as are a ton of other books. It's about a families grief and search for answers after there daughter is murdered, all told from the murdered daughters perspective. If you're having trouble finding anything for this challenge there are tons of list made of all the books mentioned on Gilmore Girls.








6. Read a Book Under 200 pages
Grief Is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter is 114 pages long. It's about a father and two sons grieving after their wife/mother has died. I've been saving this book for a read-a-thon since it is super short and I can't wait to read it.










7. Read a Backlist Title
Ten by Gretchen Mcneil was first published in 2012 so it's perfect for this challenge. It takes place on a remote island where a group of teenagers are having a party. A storm starts, cutting them off from the outside world, then suddenly people begin being murdered. It sounds like some of my favorite early 2000 slasher films so I'm super excited  to find out what happens.







Those are all the books I hope to read during the week. It's a total of 1,682 pages. Three are physical books and three are ebooks borrowed from the library. I'm pretty confident I can do it, but even if I don't I'll still be glad I participated. What books do you plan to read this week? I'd love to know. 

-Cassie

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Feeling Down in the Slumps..

Hello Book Lovers.

The start of 2018 hasn't been what I expected. I've picked up and put down 10 books in the past 3 weeks and I haven't been able to focus or find motivation. Normally, I can pick up a good romance and avoid a reading slump, but even that hasn't worked. Making me feel even more slumpy. It's a vicious cycle of wanting to read, not feeling motivated to, and then feeling sad because all I want to do is read.

It has been a very frustrating 3 weeks.

On a positive note, I have completed 3 books, which is pretty impressive considering how I've been feeling. All I can do is read when I feel a little motivation and be okay with putting a book down if I'm not in the mood to read it. I never want to force myself to read. Reading is a hobby, something I love spending my time doing. Reading slumps are frustrating but it's okay to be in a reading slump. I'm still reading even if I don't finish a book and that is what's important to me. 

I had a different post planned for today but I just wanted to share my thoughts. How do you get through a reading slump? I could really use some advice. 

-Cassie

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Favorite Series of All time

Hello Book Lovers! 
My favorite series of all time are always changing. The more books I read the more difficult it is to decide which series are my favorite. Currently, these are my top 5 favorite series of all time.


5. Twilight 
I know what you're thinking, how can something as shitty as Twilight be on this list? Here's how, I love Twilight. I have no shame in saying that I do. The writing isn't the best, it's extremely cheesy, full of tropes, and super ridiculous but I still love it. I read Twilight when I was in high school and everyone I knew was reading this series. I will never forget that reading experience. This series might always be number 5 on my list for pure sentimental value.
  

4. To All the Boys I've Love Before
This series is about a dramatic high school romance and I love drama, just not in my real life.  Lara Jean, our main protagonist, is quirky and naive but so lovable. The family dynamic in this series is so real and relatable. The romance is super adorable! I fell in love with these characters and really cared about what happened to them. If you love romance and drama pick up this series.

3. The Heroes of Olympus
If I could be friends with any group of fictional characters I would choose to be friends with the seven and company from this series. These books made me laugh, cry, scream, and jump out of my seat. You can't help but fall in love with these characters. You feel their pain and revel in their triumph. If you enjoy Greek mythology and bonds of friendship this is the series for you. I can't say how fantastic it is. 

2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Bet you saw this coming next. I couldn't talk about the Heroes of Olympus series without talking about Percy Jackson. This was the first series of Rick Riordan's that I've ever read and I will definitely be rereading them over and over. Percy Jackson is one of my all time favorite characters. He's hilarious without meaning to be, and fiercely loyal. This series is action packed and full of laugh out loud humor. It may be middle grade but I loved reading this series even at 23. 

1. Harry Potter
Yes, I am another reader who loves Harry Potter. I love this story and I love these characters. It's a world I will always go back to and never be bored reading. It means a lot to me sentimentally and it will always be my favorite. 


What are some of your favorite series? I'd love to know and get to find my next favorite.

-Cassie