Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

Happy new book Tuesday everyone! I have to say that behind Friday, Tuesdays are my favorite days of the week. There is always something new to be had on this day! I absolutely love finding new reads on these days. Today I get to bring to you the amazing new book co-written by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. They are so amazing, and this book is DELIGHTFUL. Thank you so much to the publicist for sending me a copy for review! This in no way affected the way I read and reviewed this book.

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What If It's Us
Goodreads | Amazon

Title: What If It’s Us

 

Authors: Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: October 9, 2018

My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?


THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE I GOT TO READ IT AHEAD OF TIME I COULD HAVE DIED!!!! I really need everyone else to read this so we can scream together.

I love the beginning of the book. It starts off with Arthur enjoying New York and being the biggest nerd ever about it. I love how unabashedly he has no chill. It reminded me of myself a bit. (I’m quite horrible at having chill at most things, and it was refreshing to read about someone who is just like that.) I feel like Arthur wouldn’t know what chill is if it hit him in the face. BUT THAT IS OKAY.

Ben was a really good character too. He struggles a lot with feeling accepted in different communities, and I could relate to him a lot on that. He’s a great balance to Arthur’s character. He’s got a lot of surface level chill, but underneath he has about as much as Arthur. I love how complex he is, and it shows through the little gestures and thoughts.

All of the side characters were also awesome. I loved Dylan and Ben’s relationship. It reminded me of my best friend. They’re a great duo. Even their parents were fun. I loved them all. I loved this whole book with my whole heart.

The dates were definitely something that would have happened to me, but the meet cute was something that would never. IT WAS SO CUTE. You could tell how much they liked each other by how many times they kept forgiving and trying to work on it. Usually people give up after two dates if they go sour. They’re so hopeful, and that made me rooting for them the whole time.

This was truly excellent. I had a lot of fun reading about everyone in this book. I wish I got more in the end, but I don’t anticipate a sequel with the ending they have. (Not a sad ending!) You need to go read this right now!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

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Review: Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

Happy new book Tuesday! I’m wanted to wish everyone letting a book into the world a happy book birthday!!giphy

I’m sorry, I had to put this in there. (It is, after all, the day I’m going to see BTS IN CONCERT!!)

ANYWAY! I’m here today to talk about Damsel by Elana K. Arnold, which is a really important book to talk about now more than ever. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy! This did not in any way impact the way I read and reviewed this book.

Title: Damsel

Damsel
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Elana K. Arnold

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release date: October 2, 2018

My rating: 4/5 Goodreads stars

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.


I was really excited to read this book when I got it in the mail. I had just seen it coming across my recommended lists in Amazon.

The first part of the book was pretty eerie. It chronicles how Emory saves Ama and defeats the dragon. I thought it was strange how everything was characterized, and I knew immediately I wouldn’t really like Emory.

The further the book carried on the more I got anxious for Ama. (I just want to say I had a feeling, referring to the end.) I was enraged for Ama the more Emory got controlling (not that he wasn’t at the very beginning). The more Ama dug into her surroundings in Harding, the more the mystery grew and the more self-aware she became. I loved how much she grew throughout the year. It was amazing to see her empower herself.

I didn’t know how to feel about Emory’s mother. There’s a lot she had to contribute to Ama finding herself, but she also didn’t really encourage Ama to leave the toxic environment.

The ending, finding out what the third weapon was, and seeing what ultimately happened was pretty epic. I was satisfied that we got to see Ama become herself. I knew that it would be a happy ending for Ama.

This highlights the important topic of how we build these kinds of happy narratives about the knight in shining armor. Emory genuinely doesn’t do anything wrong in the book, but he does! He does really terrible things, and they find it excusable.

I sincerely hope you read this book, because it’s so empowering.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Sneak Peek Sunday: The Perfect Candidate by Peter Stone

Hello there and happy Sunday!! I’m happy to be here again with another book that will come to you this Tuesday. Thank you to the publicist for sending me an early review copy! This in no way affected how I read and reviewed this text.

The Perfect Candidate
Goodreads | Amazon

Title: The Perfect Candidate

Author: Peter Stone

Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR

Expected release: October 2, 2018

My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars

From debut author Peter Stone comes a heart-stopping, pulse-pounding political thriller that’s perfect for fans of Ally Carter and House of Cards.

When recent high school graduate Cameron Carter lands an internship with Congressman Billy Beck in Washington, DC, he thinks it is his ticket out of small town captivity. When he lacks connections and Beltway polish he makes up in smarts, and he soon finds a friend and mentor in fellow staffer Ariel Lancaster.

That is, until she winds up dead.

As rumors and accusations about her death fly around Capitol Hill, Cameron’s low profile makes him the perfect candidate for an FBI investigation that he wants no part of. Before he knows it—and with his family’s future at stake—he discovers DC’s darkest secrets as he races to expose a deadly conspiracy.

If it doesn’t get him killed first.


This book was pretty good overall, but slow paced in the beginning. It was really hard to get into at first, so I think that’s why I rated it lower than a four. I had a hard time getting used to Cameron’s voice, and I didn’t quite mesh with it.

This story starts right away with Cameron taking a taxi into Washington D. C. I really liked that Stone included a character from Cameron’s past so it threw a potential ally to him. Right away you could tell that Cameron was an outsider to this world. Something that confused me was why he arrived later than his housemates. Right away I liked his housemate Zeph. I could tell he would be a fun character throughout the novel.

The mystery portion of the book doesn’t start until a few chapters in, and I was curious to see how things would go down. I was sad to see Ariel go because she was a cool character, but I knew going into it to not get too attached to her.

I feel like the investigation portion of the book could have been more compelling. I wasn’t as invested as I felt that I should be. I think part of it could have been that I didn’t really connect with Cameron’s voice.

Something really surprising was the ending. I think this leaves the opportunity for a sequel in the least, if I got the final reveal correctly.

Overall, this book wasn’t too much for me, but I really think this could be a good book for someone else. I recommend you give it a try!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Sneak Peek Sunday: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Hi!! I know I haven’t been very active, but I’m breaking my silence to talk about this truly incredible book I read. Minutes ago I finished reading A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh. This is the author’s contemporary being released this October. Let’s jump right into it!

Title: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: HarperTeen

Expected Release: October 16, 2018

My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.


Wow, I don’t even know how to begin to articulate how much I love this book. It is one of my tops reads this year for sure. It is incredible and raw and nothing I’ve read before in my life.

Shirin is a character I fell in love with right away. Sure, she could have handled her relationship with Ocean much better, but to be frank, I’m not sure I would have done much different in her position. It’s very hard to get out of your own head a lot and to have to do it while facing so much prejudice is harder. I know that Shirin acts immature, but isn’t that the point of the story? Isn’t she supposed to grow from the events in the story? She’s also only 16. She’s had to deal with a lot in those years, and it’s not getting any easier throwing in the hardships of being a teenager in general. She’s someone you can relate to even if you don’t directly identify with her background and heritage.

Ocean was a lovely character contrast for Shirin. He was constantly breaking down her barriers which forced her to rethink the way she viewed the world. It was great seeing how their interactions pushed both characters to face things they were afraid to. For Shirin, it was her anger at the world. With Ocean, he had to see the uglier side of the world that he hadn’t been privy to from his place of privilege.

The breakdancing aspect of the book gave space for Shirin to be herself and let go of things. I know it’s something the author loves deeply and it is conveyed well through Shirin.

This story was very personal, and you can tell by the rawness of the emotion and how real they felt. That’s not to say that every story isn’t personal to the author, but this one especially shines through as one.

I can’t wait for you all to read it this October! Make sure to go pre-order yourself a copy and give them both a lot of love!!!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hi guys, and happy new book Tuesday! Today I’m bringing you a newly released book — Meet the Sky by McCall Hoyle. This book was sent to me for review, however this has no bearing on how I read or reviewed the book. Thank you BlinkYA books for sending a copy!

Title: Meet the Sky

Meet the Sky
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: McCall Hoyle

Publisher: Blink

Release date: September 4, 2018

Source: Hardcover, US

My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars

It all started with the accident. The one that caused Sophie’s dad to walk out of her life. The one that left Sophie’s older sister, Meredith, barely able to walk at all.

With nothing but pain in her past, all Sophie wants is to plan for the future—keep the family business running, get accepted to veterinary school, and protect her mom and sister from another disaster. But when a hurricane forms off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and heads right toward their island, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control.

After she gets separated from her family during the evacuation, Sophie finds herself trapped on the island with the last person she’d have chosen—the reckless and wild Finn Sanders, who broke her heart freshman year. As they struggle to find safety, Sophie learns that Finn has suffered his own heartbreak; but instead of playing it safe, Finn’s become the kind of guy who goes surfing in the eye of the hurricane. He may be the perfect person to remind Sophie how to embrace life again, but only if their newfound friendship can survive the storm.


I feel very neutral about this book. It was good in some parts and okay in a lot of it. I think the reason I couldn’t really invest in the book was because the voice of the main character, Sophie, didn’t speak to me. I couldn’t sympathize with her very well, and I couldn’t invest in her as a character.

The plot of the story was well done. I liked learning more about a hurricane and how Sophie deals with it. I grew up and live in the Midwest, so I’ve never experienced a hurricane besides the storms that blow in north which is nothing compared to the real thing. I was wondering how the author would work out getting Sophie on the island without her mom and sister, and the way it happened seemed very natural.

Something I liked about the book was that Sophie grew. There were a lot of points in the book where she changed and became someone different. Despite this I still couldn’t feel a personal connection with her. I think the non-risktaker-turned-free-spirit trope isn’t really working in this book very well. I do appreciate character growth and change though.

Overall, I rated this book a 3 because there was still a lot of good story to it. It just didn’t work for me, which doesn’t mean it won’t work for you! I really encourage you to try this out and develop your own opinion on this. It might be your new favorite book. I know there are a lot of people out there who really love this book, and you might be one.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: Meet the Sky by McCall Hoyle

Hey there! I’m here again with a review of a book I read earlier this summer, but didn’t quite vibe with. Thank you to the publisher for sending a copy my way. This has no influence on the way I review and read the book.

Title: Final Draft

Final Draft
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Riley Redgate

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Release date: June 12, 2018

Source: Hardcover, US

My rating: 2/5 Goodreads stars

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.


This book didn’t work out for me the way I hoped it would. I have heard many great things about Redgate’s books in the past, so I was curious to read this one.

I think what I struggled with in this book was the tone and style of the writing. I didn’t feel like Laila would speak and act like this. I’m not much older than 18, and I feel like it wasn’t quite a representation of life as a high school senior in general. Reading it, I felt like she should have been a younger character than she was (maybe earlier in high school).

There are many beautiful lines within the book. I feel that there were a lot of great moments and scenes, but they didn’t connect well. It was almost there, but not quite.

All of this being said, I don’t think my opinion is the end all be all. It’s exactly that — an opinion. I think you should still give a book a try if you think you’ll like it. This may just be the book you fall in love with!

Happy reading,

Sophie :)9

Book review: Final Draft by Riley Redgate

Book Chat: Thoughts on Asian Representation & Why it Matters

Hi, guys! I hope you all have been having a lovely summer so far. As it winds to a close with the fall equinox rapidly approaching, August has brought to us a wealth of Asian stories. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han are two very different, very unique stories starring narratives of Asian main characters and both have been released as movies in the same weekend. There have been a series of Tweets recently about why Asian stories don’t matter, and that is plain hurtful. I can’t even begin to explain what I’m feeling because everything is so tightly wound together. So here’s my piece on WHY THEY DO MATTER. BECAUSE ALL REPRESENTATION MATTERS.

With the heady rush to see and support both of these masterful creations, it’s important to stop and think about why these movies (and books) mean so much to the Asian-American community.

While Crazy Rich Asians certainly isn’t exclusively a story about only Asian-Americans (the only Asian-Am character is Rachel Chu), it still stands as a great feat because it stars an all Asian-American cast, the first in 25 years. Why did it take so long for America to produce a movie like this again? The fight for representation reaches to all people of color, and that includes Asian people and culture. This should be done in a respectful manner, not done by white people who think they have an idea of what Asian people would like. And that is something that has happened for far too long. This story follows Asian families and tells an Asian story. It centers around the vast diversity within the Asian community and includes many nuances that are hard to grasp if you’re not born and raised in it.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was originally only a YA contemporary novel written by Jenny Han. It was the first time I clearly remember seeing an Asian girl on a book cover. It was published in 2015. At that point I was already 16 years old. For me to have lived as long as I did without seeing someone who looked like me on something as simple as a book cover is mind blowing. What about all of the people who lived longer without this kind of simple representation? Think of all of the covers with white people on it. There are gobs of them. I want to emphasize that this isn’t terrible, but it’s something to consider when our nation quite frankly is not all white. It has never been solely white people.

TATBILB is not a story about a girl and her Asian-ness. And not every story featuring a person of color has to be that kind of teaching moment. It shouldn’t have to be. People of color shouldn’t have to explain themselves and who they are to be accepted as people. We want to see people who look like us doing things that we do. We go to school, go to work, fall in love, fall out of love, get angry, get into arguments, make amends. We live as normally as anyone else. When this kind of story is missing, it is saying that they are less important than others. It takes away the unique struggles that we face as people of color because of our skin. Not every person of color faces the same challenges either. What matters is that these problems we face get acknowledged. We have been silenced and told our stories don’t matter for so long. We can no longer stand for this. People of color need to raise each other up. Everyone wants a piece of the equality pie, and fighting each other is counterproductive and hypocritical.


That’s all I’ve got for now, folks. Thanks for reading this piece!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Hi guys! As school draws near, I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing on here regularly. I had blogging regularly as one of my resolutions for the year, and it’s not too late to do it right?

ANYWAY! I’m here today with a review of A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan. Thank you to the publicist for getting in touch with me for a review of this book! I was provided a copy, but that does not influence the way I read and will review the book.

Title: A Touch of Gold

A Touch of Gold
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Annie Sullivan

Publisher: Blink

Release date: August 14, 2018

Source: Hardcover, US

My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars

King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?

**********************

This book was a fun retelling. I was looking forward to it when I saw it pop up on my Instagram feed and I was immediately intrigued. Retelling? Check! A story we don’t hear often? Check! Great characters? Check!

Overall there were a lot of great things about this book. I loved the seafaring and courage of Kora. She was a great main character, and while it took me some time for the story to get going, I did enjoy hearing things from her perspective. That being said, I do wish she had had a stronger voice. I felt that it was a bit rough in the beginning, but toward the end she came out clearer. I’m not sure if it was done purposefully or not, but I couldn’t quite vibe with Kora for a good portion of the book.

The characters drive the plot of the story well. When we first meet the Duke, though, I wasn’t too sure of him. Kora trusted him too quickly in my opinion. He was the first man to show her true kindness outside of her family, and while his backstory provided a solid reason why, I couldn’t put my guard down. Kora’s cousin is so much fun. She was by far one of my favorite characters in the story.

The weaving of the story started out a bit strained, but in the end things came together. I think it’s hard especially for debut novels to really nail this on the head the first time. It was still done with considerably good writing! I enjoyed getting to know the setting, and I wish I had a map to see all of the places Kora went!

All in all, this was a good book. I’m curious to see what comes of the sequel! The ending left a lot to be wanted.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

 

 

Posted in Bloggers, Bookish News, Sophie

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington

Hi guys! Yesterday the cover was revealed for When Summer Ends by the lovely Jessica Pennington. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet, buckle up and scroll down to see this gorgeous book! I had the chance to be part of Jessica’s street team for Love Songs & Other Lies and I had a blast. Be sure to check out that post (and book!) here.

WHEN SUMMER ENDS

Summary: Aiden Emerson is an all-star pitcher and the all-around golden boy of Riverton. Or at least he was, before he quit the team the last day of junior year without any explanation. How could he tell people he’s losing his vision at seventeen?

Straight-laced Olivia thought she had life all figured out. But when her dream internship falls apart, her estranged mother comes back into her life, and her long-time boyfriend dumps her right before summer break, she starts to think fate has a weird sense of humor.

Each struggling to find a new direction, Aiden and Olivia decide to live summer by chance. Every fleeting adventure and stolen kiss is as fragile as a coin flip in this heartfelt journey to love and self-discovery from the author of Love Songs & Other Lies.

Publisher: TorTeen

Release date: April 9, 2019

Genre: YA contemporary/romance

Pre-Order When Summer Ends: Amazon | Books-A-Million

Giveaway

Jessica is also giving away an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of When Summer Ends. Click this link to the Rafflecopter to enter!

 

Thank you to Jessica for asking us to help with her big reveal! I’m so excited for this book, guys! I loved Love Songs and this one sounds like another perfect beach read for next summer!