Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Hello lovely people! John Green’s long awaited return to the book world is finally here, and I’m here with my 2 cents to throw in, especially since I will be interviewing this AWESOME man very soon for Justine Magazine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES, YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY, IN A FEW DAYS I WILL BE INTERVIEWING JOHN GREEN!

Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Turtles All the Way Down

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Release date: October 10, 2017

Edition: Hardcover, US, Signed

My rating: 5/5 stars

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

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

I wrote this in a bit of a craze after finishing the book:

My feelings hurt and I’m not okay but also I’m okay because I LOVE this book so much. I feel so much right now and it’s a lot to unpack that I simply don’t have time for right now. So many things to feel, and it’s only Tuesday.

Say what you will about JG, but 5 years does a lot for a writer and this book is proof. Give Aza a chance. Give him a chance.

Even a day after reading this book, I cannot fully create coherent sentences around this, however I will do my best to try.

Aza is a deep, well developed character. She breaks the third wall and speaks to the reader, however it seems that while she may be addressing the reader she may just be addressing her self. It may seem a bit confusing from my previous statement, but I promise once you read it you’ll understand what I’m saying.

This story isn’t about Aza championing her mental health issues. It’s about how she struggles to live with it and still have a successful life and healthy relationships with other people. While there are few people that she feels that she can trust about these, Daisy is her best, and most loyal friend. It captures how Aza’s spirals affect the way she relates to people around her, and the difficulties that arise because she can become so trapped inside her mind. While I cannot speak to the truth of this experience, I know that due to the personal nature of the book to John Green, it is.

It’s full of existential crises, and I like that aspect. I feel as though JG and Aza took a peek into my brain to extract some thoughts, and that made it all the more personal. Despite my age, I have had several instances where I wonder who is truly in control, and debate free will vs. destiny. I follow some of Aza’s thought spirals, and seeing that I’m not alone in it gives me a sort of comfort.

Going into my first reading of this book I didn’t even know much of a description. It wasn’t until I got into the first three chapters that it was about a mystery. I liked that element. In an interview with Time, I read that it was important to JG that he show that not all obsessive compulsions result in someone who can intensely focus their energies to detective work. I thought it fascinating that he chose to tell this story in that way, and I think it does nothing but enhance the quality of it.

The literary and pop culture references throughout the book are phenomenal and well placed. They bring in clarity to characters like Davis and Aza that would not have been there otherwise. They speak a lot on the way that the two of them think — the similarities and differences. One of the ways that Davis and Aza relate to each other is through their existential and random but deep discussions on life. It reminded me of some of the friendships in my life where we sit and contemplate things in silence sometimes, and often share our thoughts with each other.

I cannot stress the importance of reading this book and books like it. I recommend it to everyone who loves to get their nose stuck between the pages (or want to get back into reading!).

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Advertisements

Hello there! Happy Sunday 🙂 This is coming to you a little later because I had my first regatta today! It was rainy and cold, but we did well for the circumstances. Today I’m here to talk about The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis. This book has been released in Australia, the author’s country, but is set to release in America this coming Tuesday.

Title: The Sidekicks

The Sidekicks
Goodreads

Author: Will Kostakis

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Expected Release: October 17, 2017

Source: ARC*

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Ryan, Harley and Miles are very different people–the swimmer, the rebel and the nerd. All they’ve ever had in common is Isaac, their shared best friend.

When Isaac dies unexpectedly, the three boys must come to terms with their grief and the impact Isaac had on each of their lives. In his absence, Ryan, Harley and Miles discover things about one another they never saw before, and realize there may be more tying them together than just Isaac.

An intricately woven story told in three parts, award-winning Australian author Will Kostakis makes his American debut with this heartwarming, masterfully written novel about grief, self-discovery and the connections that tie us all together.

*This ARC was sent to me for an honest review by the publisher. Huge thanks to Harlequin Teen!

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

I loved the voice in this book so much. Miles was probably my favorite narrative of the three. His voice was the strongest, and his grief — all of their grief — was so genuine.
I felt the most connection with Miles, though.

The three points of view were a little choppy. I wish the set up of the book alternated POVs every three chapters so we kept moving forward in the story than going back with each change. It would have been cool to see them cope and come together in real time too.

I loved the dynamic between the three of these guys. They were genuine and found a way to be there for each other when it mattered the most. However, it was hard to truly connect with any of them and get a real feel for their friendship due to the structure of the book. I truly wish it had been reorganized. I also didn’t quite like how there weren’t any chapters in the three sections.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Harley’s POV was my least favorite due to its choppiness, but the first and last parts were best.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Sneak Peek Sunday: The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

Book Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo

Hi! If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend you do 🙂 This book is something that I look to as an excellent example of great representation done well.

Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Author: Maureen Goo

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux Inc

Release date: May 30, 2017

My rating: 5/5 stars

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

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

I absolutely loved this book. Desi was so relatable, and she reminded me of myself. This is a cute, quick read that is perfect to pull you up for a pick-me-up.

One of the best parts of this book was Desi’s resilience. She is persistent, and that is something I find admirable. While she is very much a planner (and doesn’t like surprises), she is quick to adjust her plans and reconfigure the way she approaches problems.

The way Korean culture is intertwined in this book was phenomenal. I really liked that it was part of the book, but it wasn’t the whole point of the book. It gives the book diversity that is genuine, and definitely inspired me to make my own ramen at home! After reading this I really wanted to start watching K-dramas, so if you’ve watched any before comment your suggestions!

Desi’s friends are equally as great. They are very supportive of Desi, and defend her till the end. They understand her need to have steps to follow, and I appreciate their friendship the whole way through.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable read. It was fun and light, and I recommend it to anyone looking for something that is a quirky, cute contemporary.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Sneak Peek Sunday: The Gatekeepers by Jen Lancaster

Hello and happy Sunday! This has been quite the week full of surprises, tragedy, and coming together to take a stand. With that being said, I think the best way we can always participate is through educating ourselves in various ways — books being one of them!

****This book was sent to me for an honest review from the publisher!

Title: The Gatekeepers

32059275

Author: Jen Lancaster

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Expected Release: October 10, 2017

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Anyone passing through North Shore, IL, would think this was the most picture-perfect place ever, with all the lakefront mansions and manicured hedges and iron gates. No one talks about the fact that the brilliant, talented kids in this town have a terrible history of throwing themselves in front of commuter trains, and that there’s rampant opioid abuse that often leads to heroin usage.

Meet Simone, the bohemian transfer student from London, who is thrust into the strange new reality of the American high school; Mallory, the hyper-competitive queen bee; and Stephen, the first generation genius who struggles with crippling self-doubt. Each one is shocked when lovable football player Braden takes his own life and the tragedy becomes a suicide cluster. With so many students facing their own demons, can they find a way to save each other—as well as themselves?

Inspired by the true events that happened in the author’s home town.

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

The best part of this book was getting to know the different characters and their different voices. However, I felt that the author tried a little too hard with trying to get the right slang for a teen’s voice and some of it felt cinematic in that it was a bit forced and not genuine.

I liked the plot as a whole in general. The kids come together and form a strong bond through shared experiences, and Simone is a grounding voice that ties them all together. The seriousness of the subject is one that is hard to tackle, and I felt that it more or less conveyed the message that Lancaster. My major hang up on this book as a whole, however, was the different characters and how they just didn’t really represent a teenager (i.e. their slang).

Important things were highlighted throughout the book. I liked how Lancaster didn’t just focus on the pressure cooker kind of environment of the students’ lives, but also their own mental health. She showed that while environment can play a big role in one’s mental health, there are other things that factor into it. With that said, I can’t speak personally about mental health and how well this boat represents it.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Blog Tours, Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Blog Tour: All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry Review & Giveaway

Hey guys! I’m here one the second to last day of this awesome tour to help bring you ALL THE WIND IN THE WORLD by Samantha Mabry.

All the Wind in the World

Mabry_AlltheWind_jkt_HC_PRINT_REVISED_HR_rgb.jpgby Samantha Mabry
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: October 10th 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary
Synopsis:
Sarah Jacqueline Crow and James Holt work in the vast maguey fields that span the bone-dry Southwest, a thirsty, infinite land that is both seductive and fearsome. In this rough, transient landscape, Sarah Jac and James have fallen in love. They’re tough and brave, and they have big dreams. Soon they will save up enough money to go east. But until then, they keep their heads down, their muscles tensed, and above all, their love secret.
When a horrible accident forces Sarah Jac and James to start over on a new, possibly cursed ranch called the Real Marvelous, the delicate balance they’ve found begins to give way. And James and Sarah Jac will have to pay a frighteningly high price for their love.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xbd13g

Book Depository: http://bit.ly/2hI0ZYm

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-the-wind-in-the-world-samantha-mabry/1125469914#/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/all-the-wind-in-the-world/id1203999560?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/all-the-wind-in-the-world

About the Author

Samantha was born four days before the death of john lennon. she grew up in dallas, playing bass guitar along to vinyl records in her bedroom after school, writing fan letters to rock stars, doodling song lyrics into notebooks, and reading big, big books.

she spends as much time as possible in the west texas desert.

A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON (Algonquin Young Readers, spring 2016) is her first novel.

Review

This book will hook you from the first page. It’s full of beautiful characters and a gorgeous setting. I think what I loved most about it was the unreliable narrator. This is harder to accomplish because it involves a lot of carefully planted and thoroughly orchestrated planning on the author’s part. The narrator must establish a certain amount of ethos with the reader so when it slowly begins to show cracks you are unsure of your own judgement as a reader. So exciting!

The setting of the book is mostly on the ranch The Real Marvelous. This ranch is mysterious and thought to be of as cursed. The longer Sarah and James stay on the ranch the longer you delve into its secrets. I love the air of mystery and arid feeling you get throughout the entire book. It lends itself to the plot really well.

My favorite character was definitely Sarah. I am becoming more of an advocate for unlikeable female characters. Women are looked at so differently in literature, and I think it’s time to change that. Sarah makes bad decisions. She makes good ones. The consequences of her actions are severe, and she still is able to deal with them (somehow). I admire her strength and unapologetic nature.

I wanted to punch James about half way through the book. You will understand me once you read the book, but since I am a spoil-free reviewer, I must say nothing more on the subject. However, his character as a whole was interesting to see develop. He was portrayed a lot as a goody goody, but his flaws shone in the end.

Overall, this was a book rich in detail, character development, and setting. I was engrossed in it all weekend when I read it, and I can’t wait for you guys to get your hands on a copy!

Tour Schedule

October 2nd

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club & Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome Post

October 3rd

YA and Wine– Review & Favorite Quotes

October 4th

October 5th

Maddie TV– Review & Playlist

October 6th

Amanda Gernentz Hanson– Review & Favorite Quotes

October 7th

October 8th

October 9th

Giveaway

Win 1 of 2 copies of ALL THE WIND IN THE WORLD by Samantha Mabry

-US ONLY

Here’s the link!

 

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Sneak Peek Sunday: Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush

Hello there! I’m back with another ARC review of a book I couldn’t put down!

Devils & Thieves (Devils & Thieves, #1)

Title: Devils & Thieves 

Author: Jennifer Rush

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Expected Release: October 3, 2017

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Eighteen-year-old Jemmie Carmichael has grown up surrounded by magic in the quiet town of Hawthorne, New York. In her world, magic users are called “kindled,” and Jemmie would count herself among them if only she could cast a simple spell without completely falling apart. It doesn’t help that she was also recently snubbed by Crowe, the dangerous and enigmatic leader of the Black Devils kindled motorcycle gang and the unofficial head of their turf.

When the entire kindled community rolls into Hawthorne for an annual festival, a rumour begins spreading that someone is practising forbidden magic. Then people start to go missing. With threats closing in from every side, no one can be trusted. Jemmie and Crowe will have to put aside their tumultuous history to find their loved ones, and the only thing that might save them is the very flaw that keeps Jemmie from fully harnessing her magic. For all her years of feeling useless, Jemmie may just be the most powerful kindled of all.

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

I think my favorite part of this book was Jemmie. She is a strong young woman, and it’s becoming increasingly important for me (and a lot of others) that we see this kind of representation in books. She is a dimensional character, and I enjoyed seeing her come to grips about her own powers.

One thing I found confusing were all of the different magics. I couldn’t keep them straight, and it was hard to remember which name belonged with which. Some families have certain powers that reign throughout their bloodlines, and some powers come that aren’t within the family. There are under ten different magic powers in the book, but it’s still hard to keep track of all of them.

The romance part of the book was so angsty and a little trite, but it didn’t stop me from cheering when they got together finally. It was an obvious line of who was supposed to love whom, and half of the fun is seeing them struggle to admit their feelings to each other. I like that this isn’t central to the plot though. It is more of a side part and Jemmie remains the key player in the midst of everything.

Okay, but the ending? *mind blown* I need that second book now. I NEED ANSWERS TO MY QUESTIONS THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Be sure to keep an eye out for this one this coming Tuesday!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hello and happy Thursday! It’s Friday eve, and I’m so excited to get through my one class tomorrow and to crew practice. I have been enjoying college so far, but I’ll address that later on with a catch up post. Today I’ll be talking about We Were Liars by E. Lockhart which was published a few years back. I finally got around to reading it, but it was the special deluxe edition — which is super pretty and aesthetic.

Title: We Were Liars

We Were Liars
Goodreads

 

Author: E. Lockhart

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release date: May 13, 2013

My rating: 4/5 stars

The New York Times bestseller We Were Liars is now available as a not-to-be-missed hardcover deluxe edition! Whether you know how it ends (shh . . . don t tell!) or have let too many seasons go by without discovering the truth about the Liars for yourself, you will want to get your hands on the exclusive new content in this deluxe edition.

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends the Liars whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

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

This book was… I don’t even know how to feel about this book even though I finished it a month or two ago. It was quite the mind trip, and I don’t know how to feel about the *twist* of the ending.

I know it’s divisive, one of my best friends loves it and the other hates it. One of the things I felt the whole time was how murky and unreliable the narrator is. Cadence is swimming in the unclear memories she has and her friends are there to help her uncover them. At the very beginning I didn’t trust Cadence, and other than the unnerving sense that things were very wrong, I was in limbo for the entire book.

The character development was well done. As a reader you truly get to know Cadence and what is going on inside her head. You get to process her trauma alongside her the whole time, and it’s something that makes her relatable as a character. Once things come to a head and she figures out what truly happened on the island, you feel as betrayed as Cadence does. I couldn’t stop the I trusted you, and you betrayed me thoughts from flooding my head.

The Liars and the rest of the Sinclair family are interesting. I wasn’t as invested in their stories other than how they kept things from Cadence. At the end everything makes more sense (obviously), and I can’t imagine what they went through. I like how Lockhart hints at their own personal grief and loss as a family, and how it effects their interactions with each other.

This twisty tale is haunting and melodic in the way it’s written. I recommend it to people who are up for a bit of a psychological mystery or someone in the mood for an unreliable narrator.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

#throwbackthursday: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

#throwbackthursday: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

I loved this book so much. It was one that I bought years ago when I got my job as a bookseller to celebrate it. I finally read it at the urging of my best friend, and I can’t believe I waited so long to read it.

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release date: February 21, 2012

Source: Paperback, US

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

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

Let’s take a minute to savor this book. And a moment of silence for the chance I had to read it for the first time ever.

Okay, now let’s talk about how amazing this book is.

First, the characters. I loveeeeeeeeeeeeee Dante and Ari. They are dynamic and deep and so beautiful. Ari is the narrator of the story and his thoughts and voice are strong and lyrical. I think the best part of his voice is how genuine it is. Sometimes it takes a while for authors to really get to a character on this level, but right from the start you can hear it and feel it in Ari. Dante is someone who brings light and perspective into Ari’s life, and that’s what makes this book so beautiful. Their dynamic is something I could read about for a long time. They are gentle and headstrong and they work together so well.

The setting of the book works well with the rest of the novel. It’s set in Texas during the 80s. I love how this influences the kind of life the boys live, and how their love develops around it.

Saenz’s writing in general is lush and gorgeous. It’s full of beautiful quotes that I need to have framed right now. I even Tweeted one. Ugh. So full of such amazing language that I can’t wait to read The Inexplicable Logic of My Life.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂