A Bit of a Break

I’ve been posting less lately due to school finishing up and now I’m going to be on a bit of a hiatus. Today marks the start of finals week for me. At the end of the week, I’m leaving for my trip to Europe yet I’ll be back in June! However, I’m taking a class next month that meets three times a week and has quite the lengthy reading list. So I’m hoping I’ll be able to post at least twice a week in June but we’ll see what happens!

Stacking the Shelves (14)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews – this is all about featuring new books that I’ve gotten from the past week!

 

Gifted or Purchased Books

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

 

Books From the Library

National Geographic Walking London: The Best of the City by National Geographic Society

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

God Went to Beauty School by Cynthia Rylant

 

Posts From This Week That You May Have Missed

Waiting on Wednesday (15)

 

Weekly Recap

There’s one week until my trip to Europe and I am just so very excited! However, I first have to get through a few finals, finish up a paper, and give a presentation as well. But that’s all okay because I’ll be on vacation super soon! Unfortunately, I’ve been in sort of a reading slump lately. I’ve been reading some guidebooks about the places I’m going to. I also started a book for one of the classes I’m taking this summer and I’m just not enjoying it. I want to be able to read for me yet I can’t since there’s like fifteen books to read for the course I’m taking next month. Although I am interested in some of the titles we’ll be reading, a few of the books for the beginning of the class aren’t holding my interest that much. But I just need to get through them and then I can start reading again for me once the course has ended!

 

Have you gotten any great books recently that I should add to my TBR? Does anyone have some suggestions for places to go when I visit London?

Waiting on Wednesday (15)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Breaking the Spine – this revolves around featuring an upcoming publication that a reader can’t wait to get!

 

TheSummerofChasingMermaids

Title: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

Author: Sarah Ockler

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 368 pages

Add this book on Goodreads!

 

From Goodreads:

From the bestselling author of Twenty Boy Summer, a talented singer loses her ability to speak after a tragic accident, leading her to a postcard-perfect seaside town to find romance.

 

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

 

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

 

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

 

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

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I’ve read a few of Sarah Ockler’s books and enjoyed them! Although I’m not usually that into retellings, I was instantly drawn to this story because I really love its beautiful cover! I absolutely love the beach and I figured a romance tale set near one would definitely be an awesome summer read!

 

Is The Summer of Chasing Mermaids on your TBR list? What’s your Waiting on Wednesday pick?

Stacking the Shelves (13)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews – this is all about featuring new books that I’ve gotten from the past week!

 

Books From the Library From Last Week and This Week

National Geographic Walking Paris: The Best of the City by National Geographic Society

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

 

Posts From Last Week and This Week That You May Have Missed

Waiting on Wednesday (13)

Waiting on Wednesday (14)

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

 

Weekly Recap

Recently I’ve had less time to blog due to school and work commitments so that’s why I haven’t been able to post as much as I normally do in the last couple of weeks. I was contemplating taking a hiatus starting in May but decided I did want to post some stuff even if I couldn’t devote my time to doing four posts a week as I usually do. I finished up that travel guide I was reading on Amsterdam and have started one about Paris! I’m psyched to visit since I love macarons! There’s two weeks until I leave for Europe and I think that’s probably why I keep seeing planes taking off whenever I’m walking my dog or on campus. Remember how a few weeks ago I said I was running for President of the QC LISSA organization at my school? I won the election! I’m quite excited to help plan some awesome events for my fellow students! I did get to attend that Children’s Literary Salon panel at the NYPL talking about Children’s Book Week: Its Past, Present and Future. It was a lovely event and it was nice hearing about future initiatives to get kids reading and learning! Also, they handed out free tote bags and posters promoting Children’s Book Week, which was super nice!

 

Did you get any awesome books this week? Does anyone have some suggestions for places to go when I visit Paris?

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simonvs.theHomoSapiensAgenda

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Pages/Format: 320 pages, Hardcover

Add this book on Goodreads!

 

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

 

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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When I first started reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I was totally psyched since it’s been getting a lot of hype lately. Unfortunately, this book fell short for me. I did have a good time with it but I wasn’t super in love with it like a lot of bloggers that I know are. I believe that it’s a really sweet story but I haven’t quite connected to it like others have.

 

But to be honest, I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like in this tale. I was a fan of the mysterious element to the story as Simon tries to figure out who Blue is. Once Simon does meet Blue, I adored how cute they were together! I liked how supportive Simon’s family was of him and how realistic they seemed. I was fond of Simon’s friends although I did feel that they could’ve been a bit more developed. But even with all the aspects of this story that I appreciated, this book didn’t stand out to me as wonderful.

 

I’m giving Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda 3.5 out of 5 stars. Although I enjoyed it, I haven’t found it as outstanding as many are claiming it is. However, I definitely recommend it as a light read for those in the mood for an adorable and comical tale!

 

Here’s my reading progress from Goodreads!

Simonvs.theHomoSapiensAgendaReadingProgress

Waiting on Wednesday (14)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Breaking the Spine – this revolves around featuring an upcoming publication that a reader can’t wait to get!

 

TheDevilYouKnow

Title: The Devil You Know

Author: Trish Doller

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 256 pages

Add this book on Goodreads!

 

From Goodreads:

Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

 

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

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I became a fan of Trish Doller after reading and totally loving Where the Stars Still Shine! I admit that I still need to read her debut story, Something Like Normal. So that one is on my TBR list as well as her latest tale, The Devil You Know! This new book sounds super exciting! I’ll admit that I’m not usually a fan of suspenseful thriller stories. However, after adoring Where the Stars Still Shine, I’m willing to read anything by this author!

 

Are you interested in reading The Devil You Know? Have you read anything by Trish Doller?

Waiting on Wednesday (13)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Breaking the Spine – this revolves around featuring an upcoming publication that a reader can’t wait to get!

 

PSIStillLoveYou

Title: P.S. I Still Love You

Author: Jenny Han

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pages: 288 pages

Add this book on Goodreads!

 

From Goodreads:

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

 

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

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I rarely pre-order books but I did with this one because I’m just so excited for it! I really loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – it’s such a cute story and I connected to it because I also have two sisters like Lara Jean. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go to the launch event for this tale since I’ll be in Europe. I’m also bummed that I probably won’t get to read this until July since I’m taking a Materials for Young Adults class in June and there’s so much to read for it. However, I have a feeling that I’m going to love it once I finally do get to it!

 

Did you read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and are you excited for P.S. I Still Love You? What’s your Waiting on Wednesday pick?

Stacking the Shelves (12)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews – this is all about featuring new books that I’ve gotten from the past week!

 

Gifted or Purchased Books

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

 

Books From the Library

National Geographic Walking Amsterdam: The Best of the City by National Geographic Society

 

Posts From This Week That You May Have Missed

Top Ten Tuesday (12)

Waiting on Wednesday (12)

Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

 

Weekly Recap

So lately my life has basically been all about doing stuff for school and working. I think that’s going to continue until the end of this semester. I’m surprised at how quickly this first semester has passed by – there’s less a month left of it! In exciting news, I’ve started reading a travel guide about places to see in Amsterdam since I’ll be visiting Europe near the end of next month! In more thrilling news, I’ve decided to run for President of the QC LISSA organization, which stands for the Queens College Library and Information Science Student Association! The officers of the group put together educational, fun, or networking events for students who are part of the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. I also have some fun plans for this weekend! The main branch of the NYPL will be hosting a Children’s Literary Salon talking about Children’s Book Week: Its Past, Present and Future and I’m quite excited to go!

 

Did you get any great books this week? Does anyone have some suggestions for places to go when I visit Amsterdam?

Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

WrittenintheStars

Title: Written in the Stars

Author: Aisha Saeed

Publication Date: March 24, 2015

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Pages/Format: 304 pages, Hardcover

Add this book on Goodreads!

 

From Goodreads:

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?

 

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

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Written in the Stars is the kind of book that I can’t say I enjoyed. However, that had nothing to do with Aisha Saeed’s writing style. It was all to do with how tragic I found Naila’s plight. I couldn’t help but be appalled by the way her family treated her. Despite the fact that parts of this tale may leave you frustrated and in tears, I believe it’s one that everyone should read.

 

Prior to starting this story, I didn’t know much about Pakistani culture. Written in the Stars opened my eyes up to a whole other lifestyle. Like with any way of life, I saw pros and cons with the customs of the Pakistani community in Florida where Naila grew up as well as with her extended family in Pakistan. While it was insightful to learn about their traditions, I felt for Naila as she navigated dealing with her life and the life her parents wanted for her. At the beginning of the book when she is still in Florida, she is constantly having to make excuses to her friends and boyfriend as to why she can’t participate in normal teenage events such as going to a school soccer game or the prom.

 

The author brilliantly portrays Naila’s struggle to appease her parents while being true to herself. To me, she seemed like the perfect daughter. She does basically everything her parents ask yet she sometimes questions some of the actions of her family. For example, Naila is quite vexed as to why she always has to attend events with other Pakistani families since Imran, her younger brother, is usually excused from them. The answer is never really given but seemed astonishingly clear – she is a girl and is meant to entertain others.

 

Even though Naila does break her parents’ rule about dating, I think they really overreacted. They refused to listen to Naila’s side of the story when it comes to her dating Saif. Her folks decide the family should visit Pakistan after learning that Naila has a boyfriend. Although a vacation seems normal, they proceed to essentially hold her hostage in a foreign country as well as force her to marry a man she barely knows and doesn’t love. I can understand how arranged marriages are a custom. But there’s a difference between having Naila agree to marry someone her family approves of versus selling her off to make sure she has no way back to Saif and the life she knew in Florida.

 

After Naila learns of the plot to marry her off and once she is married, she is trapped in some very terrifying circumstances. I thought the injustices of her situation were truly atrocious. Naila’s family – and then her new family after she is forced to marry – are more interested in what others are saying about them instead of her well-being. It was crazy to me how simple gossip can bring down one individual’s entire life. The thoughts of the community should not be enough to cast a person out and completely shun them.

 

I would’ve liked to see more of Naila’s relationship with her best friend, Carla, who is only mentioned a few times near the start of this book. I understood that Saif and Naila have a bond. But I wanted more scenes of them together to further get their love for each other. After I finished this tale, I was left wondering what was the fate of Selma, Naila’s cousin who she becomes quite close with while in Pakistan.

 

In spite of a few characters I wanted further connections with, Written in the Stars is an important book showcasing a lifestyle I don’t think is often advertised. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars because I consider it an essential story since I’ve never before read about a girl forced into an unwanted marriage. Kudos to Saeed for providing a glossary, author’s note about how arranged marriages aren’t always bad, and resources for those looking for further information or to help someone in a similar situation to Naila’s.

 

Here’s my reading progress from Goodreads!

WrittenintheStarsReadingProgress

Waiting on Wednesday (12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Breaking the Spine – this revolves around featuring an upcoming publication that a reader can’t wait to get!

 

MakingPretty

Title: Making Pretty

Author: Corey Ann Haydu

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 368 pages

Add this book on Goodreads!

 

From Goodreads:

Montana and her sister, Arizona, are named after the mountainous states their mother left them for. But Montana is a New York City girl through and through, and as the city heats up, she’s stepping into the most intense summer of her life. Her father is distracted by yet another divorce, and she’s growing apart from her sister. Then she meets wild, bold Karissa, who encourages Montana to live in technicolor and chase new experiences. But the more of her own secrets Karissa reveals, the more Montana has to wonder if Karissa’s someone she can really trust.

 

In the midst of her uncertainty, Montana finds a beautiful distraction in Bernardo. He’s serious and spontaneous, and he looks at Montana in the way she wants to be seen. For the first time, Montana understands how you can become both lost and found in somebody else. But when that love becomes everything, where does it leave the rest of her imperfect life?

 

Corey Ann Haydu’s third novel is a raw, romantic coming-of-age story, perfect for fans of Gayle Forman and Jenny Han.

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Hooray for another book by Corey Ann Haydu! This will be her third tale and I quite enjoyed her other books, OCD Love Story and Life by Committee. I really think she’s an underrated author but I’m going to continue on reading and promoting her work! I’m particularly psyched for her latest story since the cover is awesome and it’s set in New York City! I had won an ARC of this a couple of months back but I simply haven’t had the time to read it. Perhaps I’ll just get to it once I acquire a finished copy of the book!

 

Are you excited for Making Pretty and have you read any of Corey Ann Haydu’s previous books? What’s your Waiting on Wednesday selection?