#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.

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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 🙂

Hi there! I hope you’re doing well! I’m aiming to get a good amount of reviews done before the year is up, but it doesn’t help how fast I’m getting through books at the same time. I’m not reviewing all of the books I’ve read this year, but I’m doing a fair amount, so hopefully this will be all caught up!

Title: The Secret of a Heart Note

The Secret of a Heart Note
Goodreads

Author: Stacy Lee

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Source: Hardcover, US

Love chose me, and I tried, but I couldn’t stop the arrow in its flight.

As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, fifteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of using her extraordinary sense of smell to mix base notes, top notes, and heart notes into elixirs that help others fall in love.

All while remaining incurably alone.

For Mim, the rules are clear—falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school existence—taking up a sport and limping away flush from victory, joining the debate club and saying things like “That’s a logical fallacy!” Having a boyfriend.

When she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the school soccer star to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that when it comes to falling in love, the choice isn’t always hers to make.

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I remember I bought this one mainly on impulse and the fact that it was super cheap on Amazon. And I’m so glad I did!

Review: The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacy Lee

Sneak Peek Sunday: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Hi guys!! I’m back with a new book being released this month. Here I am today with Invictus by Ryan Graudin, and I cannot wait for all of you to read it too!

Title: Invictus

Author: Ryan Graudin

Invictus

Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Reads

Expected Release: September 26, 2017

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.

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I don’t know about you, but Ryan Graudin is one of my all-time favorite authors. She was first introduced to me through Uppercase when I received her book Wolf by Wolf in the November 2016 box. It was phenomenal. I’m a history geek and I couldn’t get over how beautiful the reimagined history was.

This book is another wild ride through history — and I fell in love. The characters, the settings, the writing, the everything — I couldn’t get enough of it. I had to spit my feelings into an initial review on Goodreads:

I may have stayed up pretty late to finish this book but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT. I absolutely love Graudin’s writing. I was first introduced to it through Wolf By Wolf, and since then she has been an auto-buy author for me. I had the amazing opportunity to read an advance copy, which I have two of and *may* do a giveaway of. (However that may be a while as I have no extraneous money laying around at the moment…)

There was a part of the novel where it took a sudden turn, and there was a big reveal that I wasn’t sure to think about. It was like peeling back a third layer to find something completely new, and in the end I really loved the depth it added to the book as a whole.

Quite an amusing trip through history that I recommend for anyone. It includes a little bit of everything that you will love! Be sure to check this title out on

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

How much do you love a good contemporary novel? I know I do, especially when I’m feeling down! I do sometimes feel like the characters have a tendency to become trite if not written well, but I assure you this one is pretty awesome. I even got to read this before I met her last May for an article with Justine. You can read that here.

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Publisher: Poppy/Little, Brown

Release Date: January 2, 2012

Source: Hardcover, US

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

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My best friends can attest to the fact that I’m a romantic. I love love, but so far it’s been a rough go for me. That is why I have my contemporaries to keep me company! It’s so great to have a good, heartfelt book once in a while, and this is one of them.

I’m going to back track a little here. I remember when this book came out. I remember going to my local Barnes and Noble with my dad, finding this book, and wanting to read it. However I was persuaded to buy something else and it’s taken me this long to return to the lovely writing of Jennifer E. Smith. I don’t know about you, but I remember the early stages of Young Adult literature. I remember it getting big, and I have been there with it every step of the way. Mostly because I grew up with it.

Anyway, enough of the reminiscing! This book starts right off with Hadley boarding the plane to London, and most of it takes place on the plane itself. I have to say that it was well-written with such little things to do with a setting. I love how the story comes together on this little plane and sets you up for the rest of the novel.

The characters are enjoyable. Oliver reminded me a bit of Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss), and I don’t know about you, but St. Clair is by far one of the swooniest characters to every come across the YA page. (Cricket Ball is still my fave of the Perkins’ boys.) Hadley was a great woman too. I love her vitality and strength throughout the book. Though her stubbornness got in the way at times, she was someone I could root for till the very end.

If you’re looking for a good pick-me-up, or something that will just make you warm and fuzzy, definitely get yourself a copy!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

#throwbackthursday: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Review: Wildman by J. C. Geiger

Hello! It’s September, can you believe it? I am blown away by how fast this year has gone. This time last year I was starting my final year of high school (and a bunch of college applications), but now I’m starting my first year of college. Funny how things work like that. I even wrote about for Justine Magazine. You can read the full article here. Here today I’m throwing it back to high school with a great story about a guy about to graduate.

Title: WildmanWildman

Author: J. C. Geiger

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Source: ARC

“How can a total stranger understand you better than the people you’ve known your entire life?”

When Lance’s ’93 Buick breaks down in the middle of nowhere, he tells himself Don’t panic. After all, he’s valedictorian of his class. First-chair trumpet player. Scholarship winner. Nothing can stop Lance Hendricks.

But the locals don’t know that. They don’t even know his name. Stuck in a small town, Lance could be anyone: a delinquent, a traveler, a maniac. One of the townies calls him Wildman, and a new world opens up.

He’s ordering drinks at a roadhouse. Jumping a train. Talking to an intriguing older girl who is asking about his future. And what he really wants. As one day blurs into the next, Lance finds himself drifting farther from home and closer to a girl who makes him feel a way he’s never felt before—like himself.

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Here’s what I first thought after reading it:

This was a super fun read! I couldn’t put it down. I kept thinking about how the main character reminded me of my friend and as Lance’s character developed I really liked how he diverged from his original self. I was curious to see how things would play out, especially with his mom. (My mom would have driven herself that night to pick me up so there would be no story there!) The ending surprised me! I wasn’t sure exactly where it was heading and I’m pleased with it 🙂

I liked a lot of this book and could relate to a lot of the feelings that Lance was having about college and graduation. I would recommend it to anyone who is experiencing this or is about to, because a lot of the anxieties are true and reflect the feelings I had at least.

My one qualm about the book was its believability. I can’t say that I relate to the entire situation. Knowing my own parents, they would have driven to come get me right away if my car had broken down. I would not be able to stay away for so long without much contact to either of them in a random town, especially since I am young and a female.

Other than that little piece, I enjoyed reading this! It was a great feel good novel, and I loved the small little twists it had in it.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Sneak Peek Sunday: Warcross by Marie Lu

Let’s talk about how awesome Marie Lu is. She is the author of The Young Elites and Legend series, and now Warcross. This is classic Lu, and one that won’t disappoint. I even had the privilege of interviewing this lovely lady, and you can find it in the August/September issue of Justine Magazine as well as online here.

Title: Warcross

Warcross (Warcross, #1)

Author: Marie Lu

Publisher: Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Expected release: September 12, 2017

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

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I CANNOT stress how much I’m excited for everyone to read this book!! I was lucky enough to score a signed ARC at BookCon, and I finally got around to reading it this past August.

The first chapter was a bit of a slow start, but right after that it picks up. Emika is such a fun character, and I love how Lu writes her as a whole. She is one of my favorites written thus far of 2017. It was a blast getting to know her with each page turned.

Lu’s entire cast of characters is pleasing to read about. They are rich in diversity including people of color, abled and disabled, etc. as some of the players central to the plot. I LOVED seeing Emika, but also keep an eye out for one of Daniel’s relatives! The representation isn’t something that is forced into your face, but subtle and well done to normalize seeing these people in books. Lu isn’t seeking to prance her progressive characters into the center stage, but to weave them into the fabric of storytelling so they have their rightful places in literature.

The setting of the book is also wonderful. I love how she took the modern world and gave it the tech upgrades that fit seamlessly. It is rich in detail with memorable icons that we know today while providing new take on them to make them more Warcross-like. This is the world that we could become if we follow the technological track that we’re on, but only one of many possibilities. There is a depth to this world, an underbelly that we are exposed to, and they co-exist in ways you wouldn’t suspect.

The game of Warcross itself was a little confusing at first. Once I got a handle on what the point of the game was and how to play, I loved delving into each world that Tenaka and his team created. They were worlds from a video game you wish existed. I can only describe it as something like Smash Bros but with so many different elements of every video game that can be combined to create a game that is both thrilling and exciting at the same time.

I can’t wait for everyone to read this one! Put it on your tbr and make sure it comes right to your door on release day!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hello! I hope this review finds you well. I’m here continuing my journey through all of the books I’ve read that I’m finally reviewing (no surprise, it’s a lot of books). Today’s review will be of Kasie West’s By Your Side. A signed copy was included in the February Uppercase Box — a YA subscription box that I love, but can no longer continue to order. I highly recommend them — every month I would look forward to getting their mail! You can always check them out at uppercasebox.com for more details.

By Your Side

Title: By Your Side

Author: Kasie West

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release date: January 31, 2017

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

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I remember when I was reading this it was a bit of a struggle to get through. I had been excited to read this one (who doesn’t want to get trapped in a library tbh), but I didn’t quite like it the way I liked the others.

I read this so my friend could read it vicariously through it (especially since we’re both big contemporary junkies). Unfortunately I didn’t click with this book as much as her other ones. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy reading it because I did, but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. It’s a cute contemporary about a girl getting stuck in the library for a weekend with someone (a guy) and what happens after they get out. There were a few plot things that didn’t quite add up for me and they kind of bothered me for a lot of the book. However, I liked the way things wrapped up in the end.

 

One thing that irked me was how believable that she would get stuck in the library with someone else. It doesn’t seem like she would be able to be in there for such an extended period of time without raising some sort of alarm. I know when I have to close the businesses that I’m working at that I have to be thorough about checking to make sure no one else is in the building after closing up shop and leaving.\

One of the other things that I didn’t feel was a connection with the characters. I didn’t relate to any of them. Not based on their own situations, but I think with their personalities.

I wish I had more good things to say about this book, but I just didn’t mesh with it. I really hope you give it a try and judge for yourself! It may be the book for you 🙂

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

Posted in Bloggers, General Updates, Sophie

Monthly Update: An August to Remember (haha sure)

Hello there! I’m here to just talk a little about myself and give everyone a bit of an update as to new changes in the blog and what I’m hoping to do these coming months. And to talk a little bit about my summer and all of that good stuff.

As you have noticed my posting frequency declined a lot for a while there. I had tried several times to come back, but unfortunately it was just too much to blog and work and get school work done. However, now that it’s summer, I’ve had a little bit more time to sit and review all of the books I’ve read (err, 61 in the year thus far as of the writing of this post), but I’m still plodding forward to catch up to what I’m currently reading. I’ve found that I’m a lot faster when I listen to audiobooks as well as read physical copies.

As of today, I begin classes at Michigan State, which I’m extremely excited about! I am coming in as a second semester freshman due to the amount of credits I am awarded through Advance Placement tests. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and I can’t believe I’m here!

This past summer was a whirlwind. At the very beginning of June I was in New York for BookCon. (It’s like ComicCon for books, pretty much a book lover’s dream.) While there I had the amazing opportunity to interview several fabulous authors including Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, Erin Chack, Melissa de la Cruz, and Renee Ahdieh. My interview with Marie Lu was even featured in Justine Magazine‘s August/September issue! You can find all of my writing (excluding the interviews with Marie Lu and Caden from @athousandbookstoread) here on Justine‘s website. However, most of my summer was eaten up by working two jobs and adding a third one in there with Justine. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep and I worked every single day of the summer minus my mini vacation to New York. (News flash — college is hella expensive!! 😛 )

This past month I’ve read (and re-read) several books. Some notable ones that you’re going to want to watch out for are Invictus by Ryan Graudin, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, and Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush. Invictus is due to be out on September 26, and the last two are due out in October (10th and 3rd respectively) All of these were fabulous, and I couldn’t put them down. A few books that I recently re-read were Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. Fangirl was an obvious go to for me this time of the year especially with the parallels in our situations! I don’t think there are enough books about being a college freshman, but I hope there are more coming!

Since I’m starting to get into college life, I can’t promise that I will post regularly. It’s a lot to balance, and I want to make new friends and get into college life! That being said, I will do my best to keep you in the loop with all the kinds of changes headed your way. I will probably take a break around the first part of December due to finals, but that feels like years away from today. Thank you all for your loyalty to the blog, or your new-found following! I’m so glad you’re all here with me on this journey!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hello! I’m starting a new kind of review post for my ARC reviews, and voila — Sneak Peek Sunday. I won’t be giving any sneak peeks, but I will be reviewing any ARCs that I have read. (Note: ARC = Advance Reader’s Copy) To kick things off, I’m here with Gabby Dunn and Allison Raskin’s anticipated book I Hate Everyone But You. 

Title: I Hate Everyone But You 

Authors: Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

I Hate Everyone But You

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Expected Release: September 5, 2017

Source: ARC

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely,
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two best friends will document every moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

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Speaking as a rising college freshman, I think this encapsulates my feelings and anticipation of this coming year with my best friend the most. I think if we took screenshots of my conversations with her and compared them to these they would be pretty darn close.

Gen and Ava are two best friends that I would love to meet irl, and I can’t wait for everyone else to meet them on the page. Their voices and different personalities compliment each other well. I found myself laughing along with them, and their adventures apart showed what it’s like to grow with the same person.

I know I can’t exactly speak from a lot of personal experience, but it’s something that I will be able to relate to it even more. This is a quick, fun read that will get you back in the mood for the social scene of school days.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Sneak Peek Sunday: I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin