Sneak Peek Sunday: Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro & Emily Henry

Hi, folks! I’m here to talk about one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry are two of my go-to, auto-buy authors, and I could not have been more stoked to see that they were writing together! I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC, and I brought it with me on my short trip to London last weekend!

Title: Hello Girls

Authors: Brittany Cavallaro & Emily Henry

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Expected release: August 6, 2019

My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars

Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in.

Winona has been starving for life in the seemingly perfect home that she shares with her seemingly perfect father, celebrity weatherman Stormy Olsen. No one knows that he locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them.

Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by.

One harrowing night, Winona and Lucille realize they can’t wait until graduation to start their new lives. They need out. Now. All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.

This book was such a riot! I loved it so much. Henry and Cavallaro are such a fantastic duo. I want more from them already, and this one isn’t even published yet!

I ate this book right up!!! I loved every page, and couldn’t wait to see what would happen. Emily Henry and Brittany Cavallaro are superb storytellers, and their writing together can’t go wrong. I can’t wait to writ up a full review for you!

Goodreads initial thoughts

And here that full review is! I’m really going strong on that review game (for now, ha!). But seriously, folks, let’s get down to the nitty and the gritty — Hello Girls.

This one was such a page turner. Every time I thought I knew what would happen, something wilder and more outrageous would happen, and I about pooped myself seven different times. Cavallaro and Henry know how to keep you on your toes!

Winona was such a fun character. She leapt off the page and straight into my brain. She was dynamic, and her scars made her stronger. It was so fascinating getting to know her and watching her grow and change throughout the book. Her initial innocence is tested and we see her become a woman who doesn’t flinch in the face of a huge roadblock.

Lucille was so relatable for me. Some of the parts where she talked about her relationship with Winona reminded me a lot of me and my best friend. It’s like she reached into my brain and my heart and pulled out the deepest things I feel and fear sometimes. Her fierce loyalty kept me coming back for more.

Lucille and Winona had a friendship that reminded me of my own best friends. They’re people I would steal a car and drive across the country with and not bat an eye. Their loyalty to themselves and to each other is admirable, and it’s something I saw reflected in myself.

The plot itself was a little fantastical, but that was probably one of the most fun parts of it. You could tell that Henry and Cavallaro were having fun with the characters and the setting. I’m not familiar with Thelma and Louise, but this is exactly what I imagine could happen with the two of them.

All in all, I really hope you go pick up a copy or pre-order it for yourself! This book is perfect for you if you love roadtrips, best friends, and gritty women.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Sneak Peek Sunday: Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith

Hi! SURPRISE! IT’S MEEEE! Back with another review of a fantastic novel. I read Amber Smith’s debut novel The Way I Used to Be, and that one was amazing. Today I want to talk about Smith’s third book, Something Like Gravity, which comes out this coming Tuesday! It’s such a wonderful book, I hope you take the time to read it†

Title: Something Like Gravity

Author: Amber Smith

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Expected Release: 18 June 19

My rating: 4/5 Goodreads stars

For fans of Love, Simon and Eleanor and Park, a romantic and sweet novel about a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time—and how first love changes us all—from New York Times bestselling author Amber Smith.

Chris and Maia aren’t off to a great start.

A near-fatal car accident first brings them together, and their next encounters don’t fare much better. Chris’s good intentions backfire. Maia’s temper gets the best of her.

But they’re neighbors, at least for the summer, and despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to stay away from each other.

The path forward isn’t easy. Chris has come out as transgender, but he’s still processing a frightening assault he survived the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister and trying to find her place in the world without her. Falling in love was the last thing on either of their minds.

But would it be so bad if it happened anyway?

Here were my first thoughts after finishing the book:

Absolutely loved this one!!! Once I started, I couldn’t put this down. I’m so in love with Amber Smith’s writing. I can’t wait to share this book with everyone!!

My Goodreads Review

I need to reiterate what I said above, because this book was amazing. It was so great to read such a deeply touching novel, and it was so well told. Chris and Maia are two characters I won’t forget about in a while.

The plot of the novel was well paced. It was intriguing right from the start, and I was intrigued to find out what would happen in the future. I knew that Maia’s secret would be a catalyst, but I didn’t see it playing out the way it did. I was pleasantly surprised, and I think it lends more of a realistic feel to the novel overall.

Chris and Maia are complex characters, and I enjoy how well they were developed. Their relationship to each other didn’t feel forced, but real and something that I was cheering for. Through their other relationships, we get a better picture of the people they are, the people they used to be, and the people they could be. I loved how we could see so much about them in these pages.

Is it superficial to talk about the cover? Maybe, but you don’t have to pretend you don’t judge books by their covers in front of me. I won’t tell 😉 I love this cover design. It fits well with the book, and I love the space feel.

I definitely recommend this to people who are looking for a LGBTQIA+ read (specifically trans), books about dealing with loss and grief, and ultimately coming of age. Chris and Maia’s stories are the one for you!!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Blog Tours, Bloggers, Q & A, Sophie

Blog Tour: When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington

Hi guys! I’m so excited to be here to help promote When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington. I had the chance to be part of the street team for this book, and it was so much fun!

Title: When Summer Ends

Author: Jessica Pennington

Release Date: April 9, 2019
Published by:
Tor Teen/Macmillan

Two teenagers discover how an unexpected turn of fate can bring new love to heal old wounds in Jessica Pennington’s stunning, romantic YA novel When Summer Ends.

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 ghosts her right before summer break, she’s starting 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.

Buy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Jessica Pennington is no stranger to the combination of love and drama. She’s a wedding planner, after all. A writer since the age of ten—when she sought publication for her poem about a tree—Jessica likes the challenge of finding the humor in a sad situation or highlighting the awkwardness in a romantic one. A serial entrepreneur with a B.A. in public relations, Jessica has a passion for grassroots marketing. She lives in a Michigan beach town, where she owns more YA novels than many teens and spends most of her time on a laptop, rather than on a beach.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Spotify

Hi, Jessica! Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions and for being here today. I can’t wait to discuss your next book as I loved the first one so much!

How about starting off by describing your book in emojis?

😘💕💘🚣‍♀️⛱⛱

We get to see a more in-depth appearance of Riverton this time! I love how you based it off your own West Michigan town. What was your favorite part about fleshing out this world? Did you include anything from your own town in Riverton?

Yes, I was so excited to explore Riverton further, after it made its appearance in Love Songs & Other Lies. Riverton is a mash-up of three Michigan beach towns—the one I grew up in, the own I currently live in (very close by) and one further North, where I vacationed for a week every summer with my family. All three towns are somewhat similar, but I mixed and matched pieces of them to create my ultimate Michigan beach town. Almost every location in When Summer Ends—from the beach scenes and River Depot, where they work, to the dunes they climb—is inspired by a real-life place.  

This book is an ode to summer jobs and ruined plans. How did your own experiences influence your writing of Olivia and Aiden?

The real-life place that inspired River Depot, where Aiden and Olivia work, is one of my favorite places, and I always thought it would have been a really cool summer job. Much cooler than the one I had.

Did you have a summer job? If so, what did you like about it?

Not much? Okay, a little! I worked at a garden center during the summer, and mostly I was covered in dirt, and out in the hot sun (it had that in common with River Depot) and it was pretty miserable. But like Olivia, I lived in a small town and my options were limited. I would have given anything to have somewhere great like River Depot to work! But we did sell bulk candy in the gift shop, and I got to work with some of my best friends, so that was by far the best part!

When Summer Ends also includes disability rep. Why was it important for you to include this? How were you able to accurately capture this experience?

The visual impairment rep in When Summer Ends is 100% based on my own experiences in high school being diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease. This isn’t a book ABOUT visual impairment, but it was important to me to write a character that shared that experience with me, because it had a huge impact on my high school experience, and into adulthood. As far as his vision goes, everything that happens to Aiden was pulled from my own experience. Minus being a star pitcher. I was a very mediocre pitcher LOL.

April 1st

The Heart of a Book Blogger — Interview

Mel and Her Books — Review

April 2nd

The Candid Cover — Review

Mahkjchi’s Not So Secret Books — Aesthetic

April 3rd

Book Crushin’ — Creative Post

Buried in a Bookshelf — Video Interview

April 4th

Laura’s Bookish Corner — Dream Cast

Blunt Book Blog — Review

April 5th

Confessions of a YA Reader — Interview

Lala’s Book Reviews — Excerpt

April 6th

Ashleigh’s Bookshelf — Review

April 7th

The YA Book Traveler — Aesthetic

April 8th

The Clever Reader — Favorite Quotes

TBR and Beyond — Interview

April 9th

Smada’s Book Smack — Playlist

Belle’s Archive — Review

April 10th

Andi’s ABCs — Guest Post

Travel, Books, and More…Oh My! — Dream Cast

April 11th

Book Loaner — Review

April 12th

The Mind of a Book Dragon — Interview

Bookishly Slytherclaw — Review

Prize: Win one (1) of two finished copies of When Summer Ends plus swag!

Ends: April 18, 2019

Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a04d353115/

________________________________

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hi guys! I hope you’re doing well this fine Sunday afternoon. I’m back again with a review of this fantastic book — Internment by Samira Ahmed. This is Samira’s second book, and it’s absolutely riveting. I couldn’t put it down! I want to do a special thanks to The Novl for sending me a copy for review!

Title: Internment

Author: Samira Ahmed

Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR

Expected release: March 19, 2019

My rating: 5/5 Goodreads Stars

Rebellions are built on hope.

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.

I was riveted from page one in this book! It was absolutely fantastic. I feel that I don’t even have enough words for this book. Yes, there were some parts where I felt some of the dialogue was kinda cheesy, but genuinely, it didn’t matter.

This world created was scary familiar. I like how real Ahmed made this world. It operates in the same world as today, and the parallels are very realistic. The way things unravel and how people are interned in the book are extremely realistic, and I believe Ahmed did some research into this. I really appreciate how she reminded people that America has done this before with Japanese Americans and Japanese people. This part of American history isn’t talked about enough, and we need to remember that there is precedence for what is happening now in this nation.

I love all of the characters in the book. They made the book something incredible. As much as I hated the director, he was very compelling. I feel like he was the vitriol of hate in one person.

Layla was awesome as a character. There were a few times that I felt that she had some corny lines, but they didn’t take away from the book as a whole. Her flaws made her real, and that was what I loved the most about her.

I highly recommend this book! It puts a lot of things into context and makes you reflect a lot on yourself.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Sneak Peek Sunday: Internment by Samira Ahmed

Q & A Friday: Morgan Matson on Change, Weddings, and the Grant Family

Hi, there! Welcome to my last post in this series. If you wanted to read the previous posts I had in this series, you can read them here and here.

Today I’m going to talk about the swoon-worthy novel Save the Date by Morgan Matson. This was the second Matson book I read, and it was such a sweet read. I found the characters so relatable, and I loved the Grant family so much! If you wanted to know more of my thoughts on this book, be sure to check out my review. I can’t wait for you to read this interview I did with Morgan!

A little about Morgan:

morgan dog.jpg

Morgan Matson was born in New York City and grew up there and in Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended Occidental College as a theater major, but halfway through, switched her focus to writing and never looked back. She received an MFA in Writing for Children from the New School, and then a second MFA in Screenwriting from USC.

She is the New York Times bestselling author of five books, all published by Simon & Schuster. 

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her rescue terrier, Murphy, in a house with blue floors that’s overflowing with books.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Want to know more about Save the Date? Here’ the synopsis!

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractedly cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Interview

Hi, Morgan!! Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me about Save the Date. I can’t wait for everyone else to read it. It was such a fun read!

To start things off, why don’t you start by describing your book in 10 words or less.

Okay, I’ll give it a shot! I don’t write short books, so brevity is always a challenge for me. But how about this:

Wedding disaster, little sister, cute boys, unexpected dog, happy ending?

Perfect!! Weddings are so much fun. What made you want to write about one?

Aren’t they? I feel like there’s so much inherent drama in a wedding! All the family members coming together, and people from two different families joining up.  I’ve never been to a wedding where there wasn’t at least one last minute crisis, and so I thought it would be a great setting for a novel. And I also thought it would be fun to write about a wedding not from the POV of the bride or of a planner, but the younger sister, who’s both a part of the wedding and seeing it from the outside. It let me have my (wedding) cake and eat it too!

Charlie’s sister’s wedding goes through quite a few classic wedding disasters. What was the most fun one to write about?

I think the most fun one to write about was the decorations mishap. I thought to myself, what would be the worst event to have your wedding decorations mixed up with? And a nine-year-old’s Australia-themed birthday party seemed to be just the perfect amount of terrible. Nobody wants a wedding with koala decorations!

Yes! That scene was hilarious!! Who doesn’t love koalas anyway 🙂 Do you have a favorite part of a wedding (both fictional and in real life)?

I have two favorite parts of any wedding. The first is the moment when the officiant asks if anyone knows a reason why the couple should not be married, to speak now.  The part of me that loves drama is always holding my breath at that moment, even though I’ve never been to a wedding where anyone has ever said anything.  But we’ve all seen so many movies and TV shows that we’re primed for high drama at that moment!

And my other favorite is the couples’ first dance. It always makes me well up! I love that moment when these two people, who’ve been through this whole ceremony together, are now able to exhale and dance together as a married couple for the first time ever.  In every wedding, you can kind of see the couple look at each other like, “We did it! We’re married!” It’s just my favorite moment.

The dance is so touching! I love it too. I loved the Grant family! They reminded me of mine. Do you have a lot of siblings too? Does the Grant family remind you of your family?

Oh, I’m so glad you liked them! They were such a blast to write. I do not  have a lot of siblings – I have just one older brother, so we were a smaller family. But maybe because of that, I always wanted a ton of siblings and a big family.  I was even jealous of my friends who had three siblings in their families – it just seemed like there was always more going on!

So the Grant family was more of what I’d imagine a big family to be – lots of coming and going and drama and fights and laughter.  I wrote the big family that I always wanted to have! But of course, bits of my family made it in there too – the little sayings and rituals that are totally normal to your family that nobody else understands.  My mom, like Mr. Grant, is a really accomplished gardener, so that’s where that came from.  And parts of the Grant house, especially the front hall and the kitchen, were based on my family’s home in Connecticut.

I also noticed a lot of Easter eggs hiding within your book. How many did you include? What was your favorite part of writing them in?

Good eye! I love including little Easter eggs in my book – it’s one of my favorite parts of writing a new book, getting to check in with characters from other books.  My favorite part was probably getting a bunch of characters from Unexpected Everything in there, especially because in the past, many of my Easter eggs have just been passing references or little hints.  When I saw a way to actually have these characters engage with the Grants, in a way that didn’t feel forced, I got really excited.  I felt like I actually got to reconnect with the characters from Unexpected Everything, and catch everyone up on what they’d been up to.

There’s also a pretty quick reference to Amy from Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, and most of my books now have had a long-running reference to something first set up in Second Chance Summer, and it pops up again here too.

Charlie struggles a lot with change throughout the book, whether it be moving houses or choosing which school to go to in the fall. Is this something you struggle with yourself? How did your own experience help you shape Charlie’s?

This trait, of struggling with change, is absolutely something that Charlie and I both share.  I hate change, and have ever since I was little.  And Charlie’s feeling regarding going to college in the fall – her ambivalence about it – was my exact same feeling.  All my friends were so excited to be going to college and I just didn’t feel that way. It was like I could sense that what we’d had during our high school years was going to be very different very soon and I just wanted to hold onto it a little longer rather than rushing onto the next chapter.  But like Charlie, I soon realized that life moves only forward and if you can (it’s hard to do) it’s better to think of change like an exciting adventure rather than something to be dreaded.

But since I had this feeling that I hadn’t seen expressed much in books or movies, I wanted to give this to Charlie – and maybe someone else who feels this same way will see their feelings reflected!

I love this! Thank you so much for your time!

Big shout out to Morgan for being amazing! Her interview was awesome, and I had so much fun coming up with questions. Be sure to check out Save the Date if you haven’t already.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Q & A Friday: Brendan Kiely on Tradition

Hi guys! In the spirit of continuing my mini-series on some fabulous 2018 reads, I have an interview with the great Brendan Kiely, the acclaimed co-author of All American Boys. In 2018, Kiely published his latest novel, Tradition. This book tackles tough topics in an accurate yet sensitive manner. I devoured this book once I started it! I hope you love it as much as I did, and be sure to keep an eye out for a review of it on the blog soon.

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

Brendan Kiely

Brendan Kiely received an MFA in creative writing from The City College of New York. His writing has appeared in Fiction, Guernica, The AWP Writer’s Chronicle, and other publications. Originally from the Boston area, he now teaches at an independent high school and lives with his wife in Greenwich Village.

Find Brendan here: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Want to know more about Tradition? Here’s the synopsis below!

Prestigious. Powerful. Privileged. This is Fullbrook Academy, an elite prep

school where history looms in the leafy branches over its brick walkways. But some traditions upheld in its hallowed halls are profoundly dangerous.

Jules Devereux just wants to keep her head down, avoid distractions, and get into the right college, so she can leave Fullbrook and its old-boy social codes behind. She wants freedom, but ex-boyfriends and ex-best friends are determined to keep her in place.

Jamie Baxter feels like an imposter at Fullbrook, but the hockey scholarship that got him in has given him a chance to escape his past and fulfill the dreams of his parents and coaches, whose mantra rings in his ears: Don’t disappoint us.

When Jamie and Jules meet, they recognize in each other a similar instinct for survival, but at a school where girls in the student handbook are rated by their looks, athletes stack hockey pucks in dorm room windows like notches on a bedpost, and school-sponsored dances push first year girls out into the night with senior boys, the stakes for safe sex, real love, and true friendship couldn’t be higher.

As Jules and Jamie’s lives intertwine, and the pressures to play by the rules and remain silent about the school’s secrets intensify, they see Fullbrook for what it really is. That tradition, a word Fullbrook hides behind, can be ugly, even violent. Ultimately, Jules and Jamie are faced with the difficult question: can they stand together against classmates—and an institution—who believe they can do no wrong?

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Interview

Hi, Brendan!! Thank you for taking time to sit down to answer some of my questions. I loved Tradition, and I can’t wait to discuss it!

Thank you so much for reading it, and caring, and thank you for this interview!

To start things off, why don’t you give a brief overview of your book.

            Tradition is about two outsiders, Jules Devereux, a whip-smart, confident, rabble rouser, and James Baxter, a tough, and sensitive kid on a hockey scholarship, who become friends as they learn just how dangerous the school’s old-boy, misogynistic traditions can be. When Jules is assaulted by an ex-boyfriend, she and Bax risk everything they’ve spent their entire high school careers working for to break the school’s culture of silence and complicity.

This is a very heavy, but important topic that you cover, and you write it in such a lovely way. What was it like trying to tackle it?

            Thanks for this question. It means a lot to me. I write contemporary realistic fiction, and though this is a novel, and Jules and James are characters, not people, I try to be as careful as I can because their stories are so viscerally similar to real people’s stories, and so, when I write, I try to listen to the characters with as much care and consideration as if they were real people sitting in front of me, telling me their stories.

I think writing, like living, is all about practicing empathy.

Did you write this book with a certain intention or message?

            All my books begin with a question that is deeply affecting me. In this case it was this: How can our community better listen to and support women, especially those who have been speaking out about misogyny, harassment, and assault for so long, and in particular, how can men become better feminists? I tried to address that question by writing Tradition.

Jules is so awesome. Can you talk a little about where the characters came from? Do you start with characters or a place?

            Thank you! I think Jules is awesome too, because she reminds me of some of those awesome students I had the honor to teach, advise, and watch soar out into the world. I worked in a high school for ten years, and the students who peered around the school’s walls and stared out into the wider world, are the students who inspired Jules. And Bax too. So many young men (myself included) grow up with so much pressure to try to be tough athletes, and when those some of those boys get together, in order to prove to each other how tough they are, how much of a “man” they are, they say terrible things about women, or worse, sometimes act in disrespectful or even harmful ways towards women. But then there are the guys who witness all this and think to themselves, “this isn’t right.” I remember those students too—the guys who did want to listen, the guys who turned around to the other guys and said, enough is enough. Bax and his big, soft heart reminds me of those guys who are out there too.  

I always start with characters. I write scene after scene after scene getting to know them, and though most of those scenes get thrown out, I do it because it takes time getting to know someone—just like in real life!

How did writing these characters and this story contrast from your other works?

I love this question, because I think Jules in particular is so different and unique. As a man writing a book in which half of it is from a woman’s perspective, it was essential for me to get feedback from women along the way. In order to try to be as accountable as possible, I asked nine women to read over my shoulder as I wrote Tradition—while I’ve always asked for feedback from readers while working on a project, I’ve never had so much feedback at once, and I’m forever grateful for the time, attention, and care!

There’s a distinction between a harmful tradition and a fun, silly one. Is there a fun one that you enjoy?

            Yes! Absolutely. Tradition itself isn’t a bad thing, it’s only when the tradition is used an excuse to protect some people while others are being harmed that it’s a problem. Every year in Barcelona, on April 23, couples exchange books and roses with each other, the tradition is called the festival of St. Jordi. It’s been going on forever, and no one really knows how it started, but it’s awesome and still continues today—it’s like a super bookish Valentine’s Day! And closer to home, right where I grew up, it was a tradition for many years that many of the neighborhood families would gather at my friend Adam’s house for Christmas Eve, and his father would make the same calzone every year, and we’d all sit around the piano and sing while another friend’s father played the songs. But what makes these traditions fun is that they are inclusive—everyone feels a part of it. The traditions that bother me are those designer to make some people feel excluded, or insignificant, or disrespected in some way. Those are the kinds of traditions Jules and Bax want to tear down and expose for their ugliness.

Is there anything you’re currently working on that you can share a little about?

            Ahhhh!!! This is always the hardest question because when I’m in the middle of something I never know what it really is until I get to the end of the first draft. I will say this though, I love telling stories that are full of heart and emotion and people learning how to better listen to each other, and my next project follows in the same… well… tradition. Ha! Thanks so much for asking!

Thank you so much to Brendan for taking the time to speak with me on the blog! I encourage you all to go out and get yourselves a copy of this excellent novel.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

I know, I know. There are just about a bajillion lists like this out there already, but not one from me. I’m going to make more categorical lists in the future, but for now I’m going to stick to a big list overall.

2019 is going to be such a huge year for YA! There are more and more books with #OwnVoices rep coming out every year, and I’m so excited for the ones we have in store, especially the Asian-American ones! I’m going to write one specific list on that bad boy, but for now here are 4 of my highest anticipated ones.

1.Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy — March 5

Gender bent King Arthur? Nonbinary rep? A badass cast of characters? If that’s what you’re looking for check out this lovely novel! I love Cori and Amy Rose, they are my favorite writing duo, and my favorite duo in general. Keep an eye out for this gem come March!

Add it on: Goodreads Pre-order from: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

2. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia — February 26

Set in a gorgeous world where people are discriminated against by their proximity to the unlivable conditions near the sea, this book brings political intrigue and mystery to your front door. This book has excellent rep and multiple badass women. Prepare to scream at that cliffhanger! Read my review of it here.

Add it on: Goodreads Pre-order from: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

3. Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Soloman — January 15

Best friends Peter and Sophie are inseparable, so much so that Sophie gives a kidney to Peter. No, really. Peter has been on the kidney donor list for years, and when Sophie turns out to be a match, she becomes his donor without hesitation. As they navigate their worlds post-surgery, they find that their relationship may not be what the other hopes and thinks. This book is an unrequited love gone bad, and I absolutely love that.

Add it on: Goodreads Pre-order from: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository Pre-order incentive: Rachel’s Website

4. The Wicked King by Holly Black — January 8

I read The Cruel Prince over break, and I was SCREAMING! I think that everyone and their mother has been ready for this book, and I can’t wait for my copy to come in!

Add it on: Goodreads Buy from: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

What are you hoping to get your grabby hands on as soon as it comes out?!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Chat: 4 Anticipated Reads of 2019

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

#tbt: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

It’s that day of the week again! I can’t believe this week has flown by so fast. It seems like it was just Monday. I’m not complaining though! Here we are today with a review of The Female of the Species. This was my first introduction to Mindy Mcginnis’ work, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Title: The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Source: Hardcover, US/Audiobook

My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars

A contemporary YA novel that examines rape culture through alternating perspectives.

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.

As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

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I want to preface this review saying that it’s going to talk a little bit about rape and rape culture. If this content is something you’re uncomfortable with please be prepared or don’t read this review. Take care of yourself first and foremost ❤

This was a really really quick read for me. Once I started it I couldn’t stop. It was riveting to listen to, and I love the voices of all the characters. For some reason I had thought it would only be told from Alex’s perspective before jumping in, but I’m glad we got to hear the voices of the two other characters.

Here are a few things I said right after finishing:

Extremely well written and something I don’t know if I would have ever gotten around to reading if I hadn’t gotten the audiobook from my library. It was really good and something I couldn’t stop listening to. 

I had thought it was going to be a little more fantastical than it was, but it was raw and real and full of so much emotion. I like it more than I was expecting, and every time that happens for me, it’s a thrill. I love when books surprise me like this.

This book deals with deeply flawed characters. They have a lot of different reactions to the rape culture that is fostered in their sheltered community. It affects the three main characters in very different ways, and each time they must face repercussions in the novel I’m interested to see how it will grow them.

Alex’s character was the most interesting to follow for me. I liked seeing her come to her own person and embrace what she was inside, all the ugly edges and soft curves that she tried to bury. She brought life into the two other main characters in this book. Jack and Peekay are floating without having any strong convictions. Then Alex comes into their lives and they will never look at the world the same way again.

There are a lot of stand out moments in this book to me, and the ending left me shocked. It was one of the things where I thought the author was playing a huge joke on me and was going to pull through for the expected ending. However, I can’t say that I would prefer that ending to the one we got. I feel it’s similar to A Thousand Splendid Suns where it could have only ended this way.

The writing was beautiful and elegant. It was simple, but very powerful. I loved every second of it. I highly recommend this book to people looking for something to stir some thoughts up in their brains.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂