Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Book Review: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

Hello, book dragons! How are you all doing? Today’s review is of The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone. I received this galley copy

Loose Ends List Cruise.jpeg
At the beach reading 🙂

through my job at my local bookstore. I had seen this before on Goodreads and here and there on Instagram, and it definitely piqued my interest. Coincidentally, I brought this on my cruise with me and read it 🙂 Okay, it wasn’t much of a coincidence, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity! I’m so excited for this release next week!

 

Here’s what it’s about:

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Goodreads | Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Maddie O’Neill Levine lives a charmed life, and is primed to spend the perfect pre-college summer with her best friends and young-at-heart socialite grandmother (also Maddie’s closest confidante), tying up high school loose ends. Maddie’s plans change the instant Gram announces that she is terminally ill and has booked the family on a secret “death with dignity” cruise ship so that she can leave the world in her own unconventional way – and give the O’Neill clan an unforgettable summer of dreams-come-true in the process.

Soon, Maddie is on the trip of a lifetime with her over-the-top family. As they travel the globe, Maddie bonds with other passengers and falls for Enzo, who is processing his own grief. But despite the laughter, headiness of first love, and excitement of glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram. She struggles to find the strength to say good-bye in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, loss, and the power of forgiveness.


Release date:
June 7,2016

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Page #: 352

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This book broke my heart a little bit. I couldn’t help falling in love with all the characters – especially Gram! With such a dismal yet controversial subject I was curious to see what direction Firestone would take this in.

Okay, I’m going to be real – things could have gotten very political quickly with the death with dignity theme, but it was done so well that I didn’t feel like it was being preachy in any way. The story is about so much more than Gram’s choice in dying – it’s about living and doing it well.

Maddie was a character I had a hard time warming up to though as the book carried on I began to appreciate her situation. I personally haven’t had that kind of relationship with any of my grandparents (most of them had passed on by the time I was with my family), so it was nice to see someone have that kind of relationship. (Shoutout to my adopted Grandma Jill 😉 ) Janie is another complex and interesting character. I like how she is portrayed as someone who is more than the label of slut. Her love for Gram extends over anything that has been said about her previously and I wish I had gotten to know her more.

The exotic locations the O’Neills visit sound divine! Each segment of their adventure draws them closer to Gram’s death and it’s fun to see how each character handles each location. I think it’s an awesome idea to knock things off your bucket list this way. I also love the term “loose ends list” instead because it is applicable without being morbid. I’m going to need to construct myself a loose ends list myself my senior year!

I wish I had gotten to know a little more about the characters after the cruise was over! It leaves ends loose!!! I do appreciate how the story was developed and structured.

Definitely keep an eye out for this read! It’s a great beach read.

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Hey, guys! Can you believe it’s already almost June?! I feel like this year has flown by, and I’m ready for the summer season. In my beach town, we’re prepping for all of the tourists, especially since Memorial Day is here. (Happy Memorial Day, by the way!)

Here’s a rundown of last week:

  • The cover for A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab was revealed!
Goodreads | Amazon

I have not gotten into this series like everyone else, but I find myself drawn to the covers. I want to read the, they sound really good, but I’m drowning in books as it is! Here is the link to the reveal from Entertainment Weekly.

  • The Mind of a Book Dragon was selected for two more book tours

Xpresso Book Tours selected our blog twice more for book tours! They will be taking place mid-July and both of our stops are reviews. The books we’ll be helping promote are How to Keep Rolling After a Fall by Karole Cozzo and Invisible I Am by Gregg Davis by Harriet Showman. You can find the schedule for the first here and the second here. If you click both titles you can add them to your Goodreads.

This week

Tomorrow’s releases include…

That’s all for today folks! Have a wonderful week!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Bookish News: Week of May 30, 2016

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Bookish Box Review: Uppercase Box April

Hi, there! Hope you’re all having a lovely day! There are so many good bookish boxes out there nowadays, and I’m subscribed to Uppercase Box. This is a YA book box that is curated by the owner Lisa who handpicks the newest YA read for you each month. Every book is signed or comes with a book plate in addition to two to three other bookish items. I have been a subscriber since November of last year, and I look forward to it every month! (To find reviews of previous boxes check the reviews page under the letter U.)

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For the month of April, Lisa selected yet another wonderful collection of things. This included:

  • Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw (signed)
  • Scarlett Epstein stickers
  • Magic Notebook from Literary Emporium
  • Hagrid and Buckbeak bookmarks from BeedooTO
  • Harry Potter quote poster from Risa Rodil
  • Pin for This is Teen’s #IReadYA week

Each book comes with a bookmark with codes to access exclusive reading content. I love using it each month and seeing what extras went into the book.

I was so excited to get this book!! I had ordered it from my local indie, but thankfully I hadn’t purchased it yet when I got this in the mail. Scarlett intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to read it! As of now, I have finished it – and I can’t stop quoting it! Here is my full review of the book.

I love Risa Rodil’s art. It’s gorgeous and bubbly. In the January Box we received a calendar full of her designs and I cut out the month when I get done with it. I can’t help but love them all! I will definitely have to purchase some of her designs off of DFTBA.

I must admit this here and now – I am not a Potterhead. I read only the first three books and never continued. Please no hate! I do, however, really love the journal and bookmarks that came with this box! These are my first magnetic bookmarks and I adore them – I need to check out some more!

After going to BookCon I have gotten more into pins. I have started to put them all on my tote bag that I got from my sister for Christmas that says “I like big books and I cannot lie.” The I Read YA book found its way on there much sooner than the others that I have acquired since BookCon, and I like it  a lot.

Another wonderful bookish month as delivered by Lisa over at Uppercase. I commend you for picking a wonderful book that is under hyped enough that I haven’t bought it yet. I have escaped yet again from the double purchase!

If you’re looking to get yourself a subscription to this wonderfulness click the link above and it will take you directly to the website, or you can access it here again.

Happy reading!

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, General Updates, Sophie

General Update: My Bookish Life pt. 13 (I think I´m counting right)

Hello, happy Saturday! Can you feel the summer vibes creeping up on you? I surely can – the weather is especially giving me the itch to be outside. Reading outside is one of the best things to do. Ever.

So for those of you new to the blog, every Saturday I talk about myself and what I have been up to lately. This is the only day that I do so, and if you’re wondering if there is any other method to my madness you can view my posting schedule here.

This week…

This are continuing to mellow down in my AP classes. We don’t do much anymore other than sit around. I do things for my two other classes that aren’t AP or I read, which is great. I work a lot on the blog during this time, too.

I auditioned for drum major of my band, but sadly did not make it. Congratulations to my lovely co-founder Maiya for snagging one of the positions though! Our show this year is Phantom of the Opera and it’s bound to be a great show.

Graduation was Thursday. It was super hot, but it got better once the sun went down. I’m glad we’re all done with the ceremony and stuff. I’m glad it’s me next year – Pomp and Circumstance is not the most fun tune to play.

I finished two more books! I read The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian who I had the pleasure of interviewing the previous week (you can read it here), and I also got to The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker. Both were excellent reads, so expect reviews to come soon! I’m currently reading The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan, which is a nice change from the heavy subject in Parker’s book.

Today…

I might audition for a local orchestra, but I haven’t been very organized about it. I feel kind of discombobulated about it. And underprepared.

Later on I have to stop in at work to see if they need help around there.

Next week…

Will be pretty quiet. I don’t think there’s much going on except for preparation for finals. I’m glad this year is wrapping up soon. I’m ready to be done.

How was your week? 

Happy reading!

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Q & A, Sophie

Q & A Friday: Bookish Would You Rather

Hello, guys! I was derping on the interwebs and I saw a lot on bookish would you rather, so I decided this would be a wonderful thing to do for this Friday! If this is already a tag I have no idea about it… I took the questions from a conglomeration of places, including EpicReads and Book Riot. Anywho, off we go!

Would you rather…

  • Read only trilogies or stand alones?
    • stand alones, trilogies aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be
  • Read only male or female authors?
    • Female, not that there aren’t some good male authors! Some of my favorite authors are male
  • Shop at Barnes & Noble or Amazon?
    • Amazon… but I enjoy going into the physical store as much as getting the book sometimes
  • All books become movies or t.v. shows?
    • T. V. shows
  • Drop your book in the toilet or watch it fall into a wood chipper?
    • Toilet for sure, it can be dried off!
  • Read only 1 book a year and remember everything or read 100 books a year and remember nothing?
    • 1 book a year, I like reminiscing about my books
  • Read only the 1st page of a book or only the last page of a book?
    • The first, I like having the possibility in front of me.
  • Get locked in a library or locked in a bookstore?
    • Bookstore with good cushy furniture or even a cat.
  • Drop your book in a lake or accidentally set it on fire?
    • Lake! As previously stated, you can dry it off!
  • Have the end of a book spoiled or never know what happens?
    • Never know – I. DON’T. LIKE. SPOILERS.
  • Read a book that is missing the middle chapter or read a book that is missing the first and last chapters?
    • Middle chapter, sometimes they don’t make a difference
  • Have to start every conversation of your life with a quote from a book OR not be able to remember any quotes from any books but be able to speak normally?
    • Use a book quote! I love, love book quotes!
  • Never be allowed to read the last chapter of a book but be able to read as many books as you want OR only be allowed to read one book a year, but be allowed to finish it?
    • One book a year, again. I would need to know what happens.

Some of those were tough questions! I don’t mind water, but one of my fears is dropping my book in the middle of a lake (good thing I live next to one l0l). I had so much fun doing this. My sisters and I used to play on long car trips sometimes, in addition to MadLibs of course.

So now I pose the question to you, what would you rather?!

Happy reading!

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Book Chat, Sophie

Yay or Nay Wednesdays: Hardcover vs. Softcover

Hello, happy Wednesday/hump day! I was writing up my Yay or Nay post last week and realized that I have not debated this one yet! While I have talked about eReader vs. physical copy, I have been remiss in one of the most debated topics! Without further ado, here we go!

The Case: So many books you want to read come out in hardcover first! They are shiny and pretty and new, but they are the bane of your wallet’s existence. Do you wait for it to come out in paper or splurge anyway?

The Persecution

  • Did I mention how much they cost? (Especially adult books, they’ll rob you blind!)
  • They are kind of cumbersome, have you tried packing one for a trip?
  • THEY’RE SO HEAVY! Pick up more than three and you could be lifting
  • The dust jacket may get torn, damaged, or worse – lost
    • what do you do with it while you read anyhow? Take it off? Leave it on?

The Defense

  • Have you seen under a dust jacket? It’s gorgeous and hides little gems (check The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness if you’d like to make sure I’m right)
  • The dust jacket is an accessory in-and-of itself, it’s so pretty
  • You’re a big kid, you can afford this *dumps change out of piggy bank*
  • YOU CANNOT WAIT FOR THE PAPERBACK RELEASE. NEED. IT. NOW.
  • If you shop used, you can get awesome deals, who doesn’t love $5 for a $20 book?

The Verdict

I used to wait, but now I work in a bookstore… I see way to many pretty hardcovers to wait, so I don’t anymore. I say this is a case to case basis. Sometimes you get lucky and have it in paper immediately. Most of the foreign editions come out in paper first, which I don’t understand, so you could order online at The Book Depository. (I love this website, it’s glorious and cheaper too, with free shipping might I add.) In the end, my message is you do what works for you. If you have the patience to wait, then wait and get it in paper. If you can’t, then don’t!

Thanks for reading today! What would you do? Do you like to buy paperbacks?

Happy reading!

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Book Review: Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw

Hello guys! How are you all? I hope you’re all well. Today’s review is of Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw. I received this in the April Uppercase Box, and really enjoyed it.

Here’s some things you might want to know about the book:

25982869Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. And if they ever find out what Scarlett truly thinks about them, she’ll be thrust into a situation far more dramatic than anything she’s ever seen on TV…

Publisher: Razorbill

Publish date: April 19, 2016

Page #: 288

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This book had me laughing out loud in class to the point where I didn’t care anymore. Never mind trying to hide my pleasure because who cares?! It started off a bit slow, but I got really into it as I kept reading.

The use of so many modern colloquialisms and references made me happy. This is a book that is truly aimed at a modern nerd. I like how Scarlett isn’t a stereotypical smart girl nerd. She doesn’t do well in school and is a bit jaded. Just because she’s into writing fanfic and wears odd glasses doesn’t automatically make her smart. I like her all the better for this trait of hers.

Gideon bothered me a bit. His character was just so…teenage boy. It’s not a bad thing because that’s exactly what he’s supposed to be, so Breslaw nailed it there. I guess I’m over the immature teen boy right now. I need a nice young man, is that too much to ask for?! Scarlett has backbone, and I’m glad she does. Her strength and firm beliefs made me love her more than I did before.

One of my favorite quotes from this book is, “I mean, McYolo, you know?” because it’s perfect. I had to tab that entire passage and made my friends read it. They just laughed and like when I quote it to them. At least like it when I quote it to them.

This would be a great beach read! CAUTION – YOU MAY BE LAUGHING OUT LOUD so if you don’t want people to stare I advise against reading it in public. If you don’t care then do it you little rebel you.

Happy reading!

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Bookish News, Sophie

Bookish News:Week of May 23, 2016

Hello, it’s Monday again! One of the last ones for me, at least, but for those of you still going, I’m sending you good vibes. Stay strong my friends!

So what’s new this week? Let’s take a look at happened last week too…

Last week

  • (One of) My favorite author, Cori McCarthy, announced her new book deal!!!!!!

Her fourth book is titled Now a Major Motion Picture and is about a girl traveling to Ireland with her guitar to the movie set of her grandmother’s book’s movie. You can keep an eye on this page to see the latest about her new book. Cori herself will be keeping me informed on everything about this book, so I will also be keeping you posted.

  • RivetedLit (the new YA site for SimonTeen) revealed a ton of covers for 2017

The latest is At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson. You can view days one, two, three, and four by clicking on them. Some come with an exclusive first look at the first chapter, and all have access to the Goodreads page so you can add it to your TBR!

  • YA Twitter got into The Great Beet Deabate

I was actually online when this was going down, and it was both confusing and hilarious to watch at the same time. Everyone wanted to put their opinions in, and some of the authors had very strong opinions. To read more about it click the link here to the Epic Reads article.

This week

Here are some anticipated releases this week!

To kick off the last book in The 5th Wave trilogy, Rick Yancey will be going on tour. Click here to see dates and locations of his trip.
That’s all I’ve got for today folks! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Hello, there! I hope you’re doing well today! I recently finished reading The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, and I’m so glad I already bought the sequel! (To be honest, my parents helped me pick my next read and they agreed on this one.) I’m glad I finally read it because the talk surrounding books always gets me. I don’t have a favorite reviewer, but I do trust Beth and Emma.

Here’s the description of the book:

One Life to One Dawn.

The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath & the Dawn, #1)
Goodreads | Amazon

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Publish date: May 12, 2015

Page #: 395

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I really am dying to write up a review of this before all of my mind is consumed by The Rose and the Dagger because THE WRITING DEFINITELY KEPT MY INTEREST!

Okay, so after hearing so much about this book I’m glad I actually picked it up! This something that if I didn’t have the sequel on hand like I did I might have sunken into a deep and wallowing hangover. (I’m currently reading The Rose and the Dagger and all I have are good things to say about this one too! Review to come soon 🙂 )

At first, I wasn’t sure how it would go. Books with so many accolades is one that makes me a bit hesitant because what if it doesn’t live up to my expectations of it, you know? I’m extremely glad this one did.

As I have previously noted, I am a major sucker for re-tellings. It’s fun to reimagine a world that has already been well established and is well known. While I haven’t read the original A Thousand and One Nights I imagine it’s excellent from the many books I see drawn from its setting. The world of Shahrzad and Rey is something that has both real-world elements as well as fictional ones. Something about the magic and the sand draws me in for an intoxicating world of wonder.

Shahrzad is freaking AMAZING! Props to Ahdieh for writing such a strong female character. Some authors try and do achieve very good characters, but one thing that nags at me it their reliance on the guy or the expectation to end up with a guy, but Shazi is one I know who would beat up the guy (quite thoroughly I might add) after he tried to put her in a place she didn’t want to be in. I like especially how she fights being objectified. Many times, not just in novels, people want to be each others’ and she fights to be on equal footing with Khalid and her own person as well.

I found Khalid to have a bit of a stereotypical background story, but I like him all the same. He’s a bit like a fungus, you aren’t sure about it at first, but he grows on you in the end. His fierce and undying loyalty is a characteristic I admire as well as his brutal honesty.

The narration (3rd person omniscient) allows for the reader to see the many perspectives and pieces come together within the novel. I wasn’t sure I liked it when it drew away from Shazi and her life in the palace, but I found it necessary to the book as a whole. I do however like her perspective best.

Shazi’s father is one I grew weary of. He just didn’t seem up to any good after he is first introduced, and now that I’m into the sequel it makes sense why his character is set up this way.

The emerging love triangle is well done. I do not like them if it isn’t necessary or poorly written. Tariq, Shazi, and Khalid are a bit reminiscent of  Katniss, Peeta, and Gale, but similarity ends where Shazi is much more assured of herself in her choices. Theirs is a triangle I wish to see played out even more (which it is in the second book).

I gave the book a 5/5 star rating on Goodreads overall. The writing and character development is what made me love it. Shazi is officially my new #womancrushwednesday 😉

Happy reading!

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, General Updates, Sophie

General Update: My Bookish Life pt. 12 (I think…)

Hi, guys! Happy Saturday! It’s gorgeous here in Michigan right now and the weather is supposed to be warm all weekend! I hope to get some reading done outside, especially since I don’t have too much to do otherwise (I think…).

This week I…

Got my first A on a Calculus test all semester! It was the last test, but it was a nice note to end on. For those of you who have been following my updates regularly, you know I have been struggling with Calculus all year and this was a proud moment for me. I worked really hard and this one just clicked for me. I will be glad when I’m done with this class’s final though! (If I do well enough I’ll bump my overall grade up to an A-, which has eluded me pretty much all year.)

I said goodbye to all my senior friends. It was their last week of school, and I am quite jealous. I know it’s not a permanent goodbye, but the hallways always seem so empty after they leave. On the upside, I get to park in senior parking. I’m sad all my friends are gone, since I don’t have a ton of friends in my class, I’m going to have to make the best of it next year.

BookCon was amazing! I met so many wonderful authors and bloggers. They came from

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Me and David Arnold, one of my favorite authors

everywhere, flying in from Florida, driving in from an hour away, or flying in internationally. It was so cool to see how many book lovers there really are in the world and it gives me hope that people will always keep reading. I got to participate in the Penguin Teen Trivia Challenge, and although my team didn’t win it was fun chatting with the authors that helped our

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Penguin Teen authors

team (Ransom Riggs and John Corey Whaley). Other authors present were David Arnold, Ruta Sepetys, Sabaa Tahir, Tahereh Mafi, and Richelle Mead. If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I met Siobhan Vivian as well. It was nice chatting with her – she’s very approachable so don’t be afraid to say hi! I met author Monica Hesse who wrote Girl in the Blue Coat.  One of the highlights of my day was meeting Jennifer Niven, not only once, but twice (thank you, Dad!!!)! She is as lovely and friendly as she is on social media! Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman were there signing copies of Gemina which I was really excited to get because Illuminae is a masterpiece. The last author I met was Nicola Yoon who was signing copies of The Sun is Also a Star. I can’t wait to dive into all of my beautiful ARCs and finished copies!

I finally finished two books! I had been stuck on both for about a week which was excruciatingly slow for myself. Usually I can get two done and start a third in roughly 5 days. I read When We Collided by Emery Lord and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. That was my last Austen novel I believe and now I have read all of her pieces. While it was a good book, it wasn’t her best. I can see why it’s not as popular as Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility. I wrote my AP Lit final exam on it, and that was tough because there weren’t any open-ended prompts that really fit it so I had to work with what I had. When We Collided is the May pick of The Book Junkies. It is beautiful and I can’t wait to discuss it at the end of the month!

I am also nearly caught up with all of my reviews. I will be posting them on Sundays and occasionally on Tuesdays, so keep an eye out for those!

Today I’m…

Volunteering at my local middle school to do hair and makeup for little girls for a princess party. I only need a half hour to complete my needed NHS hours so I decided this was the best option I had.

Other than that, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing. I need to check in with my mom to see if she needs anything.

Next week looks…

Not busy until Thursday. Graduation is Thursday night and it will take forever. I have to go for my sister, but also I’m required to play in the band for the ceremony. We have to sit outside, and it gets really cold when the sun goes down. There’s going to be a bonfire afterward, so I’m excited to go.

Okay, I’m gonna head out now. I think this post is quite long especially with my BookCon rant. Maybe I’ll write up a full post with all of my photos.

How was your week? What were you up to?

Happy reading!

Sophie 🙂