5 Contemporaries That Deserve ALL Of The Love | Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

So, we all know of some big names in the contemporary sphere and year after year there's tons of buzz surrounding certain books. Which is well and everything, but now I want to talk about those books that don't get as much buzz and are universally less loved. I THINK ALL BOOKS DESERVE LOVE* AND TODAY WE'RE GIVING THESE BOOKS SOME LOVE.

*except maybe bad ones, and even then that might be someone's favorite book so...


1. North of Beautiful


If I don't scream at someone about the beauty of this book at least once a month I feel like I haven't done my job as its #1 fan right. This book came out a while ago* but it's such a good one. It's heartfelt and has original characters and great dialogue and features a Chinese American boy that's adopted and can't speak Chinese but whose very white Mom can and don't even get me started on Terra Cooper and Mrs. Cooper and how brave and beautiful they are. BECAUSE I LITERALLY WON'T SHUT UP!



*I'm not going to say how long ago because a lady has the right to her privacy

2. We All Looked Up 


Listen up, this book has one of the most original premises ever. An asteroid clashing into earth and a bunch of high schoolers are the main characters and I love them all very dearly. Their struggles and their experience while coming to terms WITH THE END OF THE FREAKING WORLD! This book is super honest and raw, but it's not cutesy. So, if you prefer your contemporary cutesy, this is not the book for you. Or it might be, who knows?

3. You Bring the Distant Near


I just wrote a review on this book in which I rave and rave and call it beautiful and complex and such an honest take on the immigrant experience and it is all that. Which is to say, this book is very good. Yet, I don't think this book has gotten the love it deserves* and it deserves ALL the love, for the reasons mentioned above. I could really go on and tell you all the reasons why it's so great, but why don't you go and find out for yourself?



*it has gotten it from me, but some people out there still have to love and appreciate it and I've barely seen any hype surrounding it

4. Wanderlost


This book is cutesy. It also features tons of traveling across Europe and cute phone conversations, all of which are, in my book, great things for a contemporary to have. If I were to compare the feel of this book to a movie I would compare it to Letters to Juliet. If that isn't enough to sell you, there's an adorable group of elderly citizens rooting for our main couple and there's tons of finding self and going out of your comfort zone shenanigans going on. 

5. Song of Summer

This is the only book I've read* that features a deaf main character. I KNOW! Not only that but it's also a cute read and it talks a bit about deaf culture and music. Not only that, but my linguist heart leaped for joy when the author made it a point to note that ASL is a diverse language and that it does change from place to place within the United States. THANK YOU FOR CORRECT LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION. But like I said, it's very cute and it's told in dual perspective, which means you get to see the world through Carter's eyes and that was very interesting. The cuteness also abounds.



*I'm not saying there isn't more out there, but I don't know of them


What are some books you think deserve all the love? Also, do you like your contemporaries cute or more end of the world as we know it like?

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins | ARC Review

Friday, August 25, 2017
Title: You Bring the Distant Near
Author: Mitali Perkins
Publisher: BYR
Publication Date: September 12th, 2017
Source: Netgalley
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
This elegant novel captures the immigrant experience for one Indian-American family with humor and heart. Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture--for better or worse. From a grandmother worried that her children are losing their Indian identity to a daughter wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair to a granddaughter social-activist fighting to preserve Bengali tigers, Perkins weaves together the threads of a family growing into an American identity. Here is a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

What I thought

I loved this book. I just wanted you guys to know that because it's probably going to be an epic gush session of just how darn beautiful this book is. As stated in the description for the book we follow three generations of Indian-American women in this novel and their journey is beautiful and real and very raw.

I want to start off talking about the characters. We have Ranee, matriarch of the family and a very conservative Indian. She was born in Bangladesh and throughout the book she holds on to her beliefs and yet manages to change. She is made of steel, yet allowed to grieve and make mistakes and it's a beautiful representation of what women are: imperfect, strong and complex. Then we have Sonia and Starry, who are her teenage daughters. They too brim with life and the desire to find themselves in the world and in the complicated realities of their new home. Throughout the book you fall in love with them and their dreams, their struggles. Last, we have Anna and Chantal (or Shinti as mostly everyone calls her), the daughters of both Starry and Sonia and man, do they struggle with their identity. For one, Shinti is mixed and finds that she isn't enough for both sides, while Anna is American in name but her heart is Bengali. The characters were all so beautifully complex and speak to different kinds of the immigrant experience so beautifully.



Next, I want to write about the writing because SWEET LORD WAS IT GORGEOUS. At times it felt like I was reading poetry or a song, but it was still very firmly prose. It was just so beautiful and deep and very distinct between characters, and yet overflowing with style. Not to mention it just sucked me in right off the bat. I started reading this book at around 10 and didn't go to sleep until I finished it at around 2:30 am. It was just that good.

So, really if you want to read a beautiful book about three different generations of women and their struggles and their experience you should definitely pick up this book. YOU KNOW WHAT? You should pick up this book anyway. Not only because YAY DIVERSITY and #ownvoices books but because it's just so darn beautiful.

Dusty Smelling Books You Will Love If You Love Libraries | Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Libraries are one of my favorite things in this world. I live for libraries. I breathe for libraries. Nothing like opening that door and inhaling all that dust. Just, delicious and aesthetic af. So, here's ten books you are guaranteed to love if you love libraries. And really why wouldn't you love libraries? Libraries are one of the things humans have done right and we should all appreciate them more.


1.  Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Book One in The Great Library* is fantastic. Not only because it tells us the alternate history of what could have happened if the GREATEST AND MOST MAGNIFICENT LIBRARY HADN'T BURNED DOWN** and it does it so beautifully. Also, it's full of intrigue and magic-y stuff and it has great characters and plot and worldbuilding and all the description about knowledge is just #magnificent.

*it has the word library right there!
**I have a lot of feels about The Great Library of Alexandria



2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor




This book features a library and it's gorgeous. ALL THOSE BOOKS AND SCHOLARLY PURSUITS AND LAZLO STRANGE COLLECTING KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE UNSEEN CITY! Just marvelous all around. However, once we're out of the library it still feels very library-ish just because once a librarian always a librarian and librarian brains are beautiful and magical and very whimsical. At least I imagine them to be so.


3. The Archived by Victoria Schwab




This book is literally about a library of dead people, which is,  swear it, way less creepy than it sounds. It still is kind of creepy, but not super creepy. Not man that follows you home creepy, but rather dead people telling their life stories creepy. Which is among the best kinds of creepy. However, it's also super atmospheric and ~library~ so be prepared to be wooed and lost in stories




4. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Safon


This book features a magic library of forgotten books and the book our young protagonist takes from the Graveyard of Forgotten books is central to the story, but much like Strange the Dreamer the book has a distinct library-like atmosphere and just features amazing prose all around. Great book. I don't know how good the translation is, but I've heard some good things. So, if you don't speak Spanish either go learn and then read or pick up the translation. Whichever suits your sensibilities.

5. Lirael by Garth Nix



I had to go look if this book did in fact feature a library and lo and behold, it does! So, rejoice, my dust smelling fiends. Lirael works at a library and I remember it being a safe place and second home to her, and if that doesn't describe my feelings towards libraries down to a T I don't know what will. I would really live at the school's library if it wasn't a) filled with sleep deprived and kind of loud students and b) closed at 1am. So, back to this book A+ library and dusty smells and all that.



What are some books you love that feature libraries and dusty smelling books? Do you prefer your books to smell dusty or new? 


I Did It For the Free Shipping! | Book Haul (#5)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What's the surest way to get a bookworm to buy books? Put the words sale, books and free shipping in a sentence and you've got yourself the perfect bookworm trap. It was that way, my friends, that I ended up buying some books even after I had already made a trip to the library and checked some out. I LIKE TO FEEL LIKE MY TBR IS DROWNING ME OKAY? So, you are here for the goodies. I can't blame you, they're very good looking goodies. Onwards!



1. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary. E Pearson

if you remember correctly I have yet to finish this series and many others but shh.

2. Walk on Earth a Stanger by Rae Carson

another series I'm starting because clearly I need more of those. Also gold and California. That's all I've got.

3. The Golem and the Jinni

I have nothing. Reagan of peruseproject hauled it once and Victoria Schwab did too and that's all I needed. Also I like the word Jinni


4. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aparix* Sweeny

complete and total cover buy

*ooh fancy

5. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I told myself I would start reading more classics. Here's my attempt.

6. Abhorsen by Garth Nix

yet another installment of a series I have to finish. So, it's a win-win all around



What are some book offers that have lured you in recently? If you've read any of these which one should I get to first after I finish reading all of my library books? 


Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally | Book Review

Friday, August 4, 2017
Title: Coming Up for Air
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 4th, 2017
Source: Netgalley
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat. All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?

What I thought

  This book is supremely adorable. I mean it, it's very sweet and it features a best friends turned lovers (which I always show up for, as you all probably already know) and tons of swimming talk that I understood little of, but was a nice element to the story.

Maggie and Levi have a beautiful friendship and I loved that aspect of the story. They were friends first and foremost. The secondary characters also had a very nice relationship with the leads, although I wished these relationships could be explored a little more. All in all, a romance book that was big on the main relationship and didn't pay as much attention to the side relationships. I feel like I've abused the word relationship too much and it shall not be mentioned from this point onwards.

The writing was simple, but cute. Also, there were tons of references to YA books, which I loved. Levi is certifiably boyfriend material just because of what he likes to read. I legit want to ask him what he though of The Raven Boys. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't the stuff of beautiful elegant grandoise prose. It was cute and to the point.

I would recommend this book if you're looking for alight contemporary about two people falling in love, and just that.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | Book Review

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 28th, 2017
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever. What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real? Welcome to Weep.

What I thought

  Gather around, young ones, and let me tell you all about how much I loved this marvelous and imaginative story, though I'm not sure words will suffice. Why? You ask, well because this book was so insanely beautiful I've just been experiencing the worst book hangover to ever ail a bookworm. It was that good and beautiful and just a masterpiece.

Now, Laura, it couldn't possibly have been that good? THIS BOOK IS LIFE, YOUNG ONES. It will get you in its trap with its beautiful prose and its quirky main character and it will hold you enraptured as the secrets and story start to unravel and it will make you wish you could even gaze upon Weep. It will make you want for things you didn't even know you wanted AND IT WILL MAKE YOU CRY.* Then it will make you proceed to write in your journal with just A VOMIT OF FEELS BECAUSE DAMN IT.

*at least it made me cry and since I have as a rule as little feelings as possible this really was something


Why all the drama? Because I love this story and these characters more than words can possibly explain. Why? Well, because of how complex and beautiful it all was and they all were. Also, because this book could so be used as a metaphor for the real world and damn, Lazlo's dream was a beautiful thing and I'm so emotional about it all. I WAS JUST A WRECK AND YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK, PRONTO!

Have you read Strange the Dreamer? If so, did you love it as much as I do or more? Come cry with me about it.


Ten Series I Haven't Finished Because I'm an Expert Procrastinator

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
I love to procrastinate. I sometimes even procrastinate on my procrastination. So, it should really come as no surprise that I have a bunch of unfinished series just lying around unread, just because. This doesn't speak well of my character, at all, but hey, no one is perfect*. As such, I should really just get on with it and finish what I started**. So, in the spirit of accountability and whatnot here are 10 of the series I haven't finished because, well... I have no good reason tbh.

*Although I come pretty damn close
**It should be noted that this has never been my strong suit

1. Penryn and the End of Days by Susan Ee


This series is about angels and the end of the world and I remember it being deliciously dark with touches of humor. It even had a sexy angel guy named Raffe, which was incentive to read it but not enough. The real reason I loved this series is Penryn Young, badass and just over all good character. So, why haven't I finished it?* Aside from the fact that I am an expert procrastinator, I am also kind of reluctant to part with the world. That and I remember next to nothing of what happens in the second book and I would have to go reread it and that, my friends, is more work than I care to take on right now.

*excuse me, but did you read the title?


2. Monsters of Verity by V.E. Schawb 

In my defense the sequel and conclusion to this duology came out a little while ago and I haven't gotten around to buying it. So, really it's more an issue of me being broke and prioritizing other books because like I said I even procrastinate on my procrastination. So, there. I WILL GET TO IT, OKAY? I know it's probably so good I'm missing out and you're all having a jolly good time knowing what happens. In a similar vein, and though it won't be mentioned as a series I haven't finished yet* I still have to finish the Shades of Magic series.



*the shame of including more than 10 series would not have let me live with myself

3. Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch


I have no good excuse to this other than I don't own the third book and that somehow everytime I buy books I forget to get it. That and the fact that I refuse to read a world in which Theron is anything but the great guy I know him to be. And honestly if Meira and that whatever his name is guy just end up saving the day and making Theron into a villian-esque figure I will just have wasted my time. So, I choose to live in a world where there is still hope.

4. The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

I... seriosuly as this post goes along I have less and less to say in my defense. LIFE IS BUSY AND NEW AND SHINY BOOKS ARE ALWAYS DISTRACTING ME! This is yet another case in which I don't own the third book (or the second one but I've read that one) and I have forgotten much of what happened in previous installments. Which wouldn't happen if I actually finished what I started, I know.

5. Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Please excuse the hideousness of my edition. It's dreadful, I know. Which is, in part, why I haven't finished this series. Bottom line being: I want the UK editions and have been too busy with things to buy them. That and the fact that fantasy series are perfect procrastination material. No one even guilt trips you because of it. You get understanding. So, yeah... I'll get to it, eventually.

6. The Lotus War by Jay Kristoff

I love this series for all its Japanese steampunk glory. I do. Buruu is the light of my life and Yukiko is my baby girl, who I will protect at all costs if she needs me to. BUT, and it's a big but, I was waiting for Endsinger to become available in paperback through BookOutlet (I have no idea if it has) and in this process I have just been putting off actually buying and reading the book. Maybe I should change the title of this list to: Ten Series I Haven't Finished Because I Haven't Bought The Last Book In The Series*.

*too long? I agree.

7. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin


LOVE THIS BOOK. PRAISE THIS BOOK. FINISH THIS SERIES. I'm still working on that last one. It's just that the first one was so good, what if the second one isn't? Ah, but what if it's better? BUT WHAT IF IT'S NOT. So, I shall continue to procrastinate out of anxiety of a good thing going sour. That's just the way I roll.

8. Abhorsen by Garth Nix


I don't even know how many books there are in this series, I just know I haven't read them all and that the first one is as old as I am. AWESOME, RIGHT? Well, in the spirit of full disclosure I think this series is awesome and I just haven't picked up the rest because I'm lazy and get distracted by new and shiny books very easily. OH, LOOK A NEW AND SHINY BOOK! Um... where was I? Ah, yes, this series is definitely top priority in my must-finish-soon list.

9.  The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Um... so I want all the books in paperback and the third one isn't out yet in that format and tbh the second one was kind of boring and that has just made all urgency to finish this series to flee my body. So, I'm still going to get to this because I am kind of invested in the fate of the Tearling*, but I can survive without knowing yet.

*holler if you got that reference

10. Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan


I don't even have anything to say, just that I will get to this soon. Not only because I really want to know what the hell happened to Leo Valdez for him to disappear like that or how Nico and Will got together, but also because well... I love Rick's books.

What are some of the books you have been procrastinating on?

The Art of Pantsing | Writing Shenanigans

Friday, July 7, 2017

If you clicked on this because you thought I was going to teach you how to make pants, feel free to close the tab because I don't know the first thing about making pants. I do know a thing or two about the art of pantsing*, which is to just wing your way through a novel. Yeah, it sounds insane, doesn't it? "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?" Screeches every single planner out there in the writing world. The answer, my friends: because I can. Also because I'm a very pants-y person in real life.

*again nothing to do with making pants. WHY ARE YOU HERE FOR A GUIDE ON HOW TO MAKE PANTS ANYWAY?

The approach

I like to think of pantsing not so much as no plan at all, but rather as a very loose plan in which you kind of know the destination, but you're also kind of leaving room for adventure and some mayhem.


It's you taking your characters and the vague idea of where you want them to go and just going. No detail planning, no stressing. Just giving them and yourself the chance to explore and roam and maybe fall down a very unexpected plot line that you'll either end up loving or hating and throwing into the trash. BUT YOU WENT ON THE ADVENTURE! I like to think of pantsing as a huge giant unplanned adventure. So, when you think of it like that, it doesn't seem so crazy, right?*

*Please tune out the sounds of distress of every single person who loves to plan reading this post and pronouncing me absolutely insane. They'll be fine. I hope.

Listening to your gut (and your characters)

I find that in the art of pantsing listening to your gut (and your characters) is of crucial importance. The only thing that takes more importance is having sufficient snacks for when nothing goes right and you want to burn everything.  If we are to think of pantsing as an unplanned adventure there's going to be moments in which nothing will seem to go the way we want it to* and inevitably that can mean that something just isn't working.


So, it's time to stop and smell the flowers or just run from that dangerous looking stranger in the woods and take a different road altogether. Either way, the best bet you have is to listen to either your gut or your characters and go where the story wants to go. It's important to recall that you're not the master of this situation and that the story will go where the story wants to go and if you try to force it YOU WILL STRESS EAT AND CRY AS WELL AS SCREAM AT YOUR SCREEN IN FRUSTRATION AND THEN JUST PROCEED TO FLIP YOUR DESK!**



*is this a flaw of not having a plan? Maybe. I like to think of it as the risks of exploring an uncharted territory
**not that I would know. Naturally pantsing comes very natural to me, so I'm just assuming this is true. I'VE GOT THIS OKAY

Be true to your story

You embarked on this magnificent adventure for a reason. With the pantsing it's kind of easy to take side roads that aren't really true to your story and explore them for no other reason that you can. So remember, when the lure of that city of gold or extraordinarily good cake appears, that it wasn't part of what you wanted and that even though you might really, really want to go down that avenue you can't. Going on an adventure doesn't mean following every single thing you want to do. So, stay true to your story, to your adventure and go forward to that kind of elusive destination you set out for in the beginning.


Are you more of a pantser or a plotter? Or are you a healthy mix of both?

Monthly Recap: I'm Writing Again (!!!!), I Read Some Good Books and I Posted Semi-Regularly (WINNING TBH)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Hello, hello. Dearest readers, June is done. I know, I know, life is going by so fast. It was a pretty awesome month, I kid you not. For one, it's the month in which my amazingness was bestowed upon the world for the first time. That alone is cause to love June. As such, let me gush about my month because it was great.

Books read

So, for the first time in forever I'm actually ahead on my Goodreads challenge. MIRACLES DO HAPPEN, PEOPLE!

  
 


On the blog

I did a good job of posting on the blog. I didn't post as much as I wanted to, but doing real life stuff is hard, man. However, I did post more than usual, so I'm proud of myself.

Reviews:

Features:

In the life

Remember my film class? Well, my dudes it's a film class dedicated to Spanish movie-maker Pedro Almodovar and dude has some weird movies. Some very weird movies, which I happen to like a lot. So that has been very exciting, if a little tiring. 

Do you remember how I was pissed Sense8 was getting cancelled? Well, we're going to get a 2 hour special! SO YAY EVERYONE WHO WROTE IN AND TWEETED AND SUCH! Seriously, I wish we could get more, but I'll take what I can get.


I turned 22 this month. THE HORROR. I don't know about the whole feeling 22 thing yet, but I'll keep you posted on how wonderful or awful it turns out to be. I celebrated by eating pancakes and swimming in the pool. Also some dancing the night before. No drinking, though. You've got to make responsible choices, everyone.

My little sister graduated secundaria* and I'm so proud of her. They grow up so fast. So, I went to her graduation and traveled and the such. It was all very exhausting, but you have to do what you have to do for your little siblings, right?


I've also been rocking out to Evolve, Imagine Dragons truly did us all a solid. As well as As If It's Your Last by Blackpink and Yes I am by Mamamoo. #girlgroupstakeovertheworld. As for TV and shows, I've been watching kdramas and living for them as well as variety shows. How can 2 Days and 1 Night be so good every single time???? LIKE WHAT IS THIS COMEDIC SORCERY???? 

And last but not least, I'm writing again. It's a contemporary about two best friends trying to find themselves and navigating their senior year at college** and I'm having so much fun writing it. I have a Pinterest board for the main characters and I'm just super excited about writing it. Hopefully, I finish it this time around. 


*I think that's junior high for all of you non-Mexican people out there.
**it's only slightly biographical


That's all on my end. What about you guys? What exciting things have happened in your life this June? Did you take over the world? Did you conquer your TBR? Did you bake some awesome cookies or cake or made pasta? I want to know.