February

Before I begin this post, let me just start by apologizing. To my readers and followers, and also to my blog. It’s been nearly a month since I last updated, which just isn’t right! I vow to not let that happen again anytime soon, so expect some good things to come!

Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo

The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey

A Sense of the Infinite, by Hilary. T. Smith

Vengeance Road, by Erin Bowman

All the Rage, by Courtney Summers

The Story of Owen, by E.K Johnston

February was an odd sort of reading month for me. We began required reading in my English classroom, so what you see above is an assortment of my personal choices and necessary lit.

I began the month strong with Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I took so much from this book, because when I put it down it was like someone had messed around with my heartstrings. If I honestly had to sum up this book in a few words, it would be SO. MANY. FEELS. Just…. so many. I don’t really think I’m going to say much more as I have a special review for it coming up, but all I have to say is this is a definite favourite of mine at the moment.

The next book I read was The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, which was as good and addicting as other reviewers have said. I felt that at times it could be a bit ridiculous, but there was such a strong cast of characters, and a plotline that was so crazy it just worked. It was a novel that really made you THINK about the bigger picture, considering this was a book where aliens took over Earth and wiped out a huge chunk of our population. And come to think of it, the plot wasn’t so crazy as one would think. I mean there could be a chance that one day… Ah, nevermind. I told you this book made you think too much. (But really, I loved it!)

A Sense of the Infinite was the first of my school’s required reading. It was a contemporary novel about best friends, and how sometimes relationships don’t always work out, especially when one half of it is more controlling than the other. I liked the story enough that I continued to flip pages in anticipation, because it didn’t feel required to me. I believe I could’ve picked this book up on my own, and overall it made for a quick read.

Erin Bowman’s Vengeance Road was one of the originals I had chosen at the beginning of the year that were put on my MUST READ list. And rightfully so. Who’d’ve thought I’d fall in love with the gritty plains of Arizona, 1877? Yes… that was my attempt at the dialect featured in the novel, which made the experience all the more amazing! This Western exceeded my expections and more. With such a strong-headed protagonist who is definitely a new heroine in YA literature, addictive writing that never failed to set the time and place perfectly in my mind, and a riveting conclusion that kept me turning the pages until the very end, following Kate down the road of vengeance was a thrilling journey for sure! More Westerns, please! 😀

All the Rage was also on the school’s list, but the thing was, I had heard of it before. In the end though, it didn’t matter how I ended up picking it up- on my own or because of class- because what mattered was that I got the chance to read it either way. This was a book that tells the story of a girl in a small town who got raped, and the aftermath of it all. Evident by the title, it was dark, serious, and made readers feel, just as I felt anger along with the protagonist. This was certainly a powerful novel that I believe everybody needs to read.

I finished off the month of February with E.K Johnston’s The Story of Owen, which I was conflicted about. For me, it started off really slow, and I wasn’t into it at all. (If you haven’t guessed it yet: This was also required reading). It picked up though towards the middle, and made for an interesting urban fantasy. Not something I would pick up in a store or library myself, though.

Well there you have it! As I promised at the beginning, I’m going to be better now. More updates, more news, and more reading!

Your fellow bookworm,

Zoie 😉

January

So begins another year of reading! With a vow to widen my ‘genre horizons’, I started off this month excited to see what was in store for me. And while I admit I did not venture far from realistic contemporaries in January, I have been making progress by adding more and more fantasy to my TBR list!

Without further ado, here were this month’s reads:

The Boy Next Door, by Katie Van Ark

Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins

Lost Stars, by Claudia Gray

Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli

My Heart and Other Black Holes, by Jasmine Warga

I’m not going to lie- I didn’t start this year off with the BANG! I had wanted. Because unfortunately for me, Katie Van Ark’s The Boy Next Door wasn’t at all what I had hoped for it to be. A Swoon Reads publish, I expected to be swept of my feet- but ended up falling in the dust. Maybe it could work for others, but most of the time I just found myself counting down the pages until The End.

Lost Stars, however, was not a disappointment! (It was also the only non-contemporary book I read this month, so bonus!) Author Claudia Gray brought the Star Wars world to light in this brand-new story. And the coolest thing of all- it was YA! Best friends Thane and Ciena have always dreamed of becoming pilots for the Empire, but when one of them joins the Rebellion, the two are forced apart on opposite sides of the war. It was a fairly long book, but with such an intriguing plot (not to mention how wonderfully written it is) it’s totally worth it!

Next we have Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss series! To me, it wasn’t so much a series as the last two being companion novels to Anna, but nonetheless I loved seeing familiar characters make cameos and contributing to these stories. The thing about Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After was that they all featured such relatable protagonists, all of whom seemed real. Her writing was absolutely addicting, with swoon-worthy stories to gush over. I recommend Perkins to all contemporary readers, especially those in need of a good romance!

One of my favourites of the month had to be Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by debut author Becky Albertalli! It was just wonderful, with great voice and an even greater heart. This was such a cute read about not-so-openly gay Simon, and how his sexual identity could be on the line when someone discovers his secret emails with the guy who may just be the most adorable person he’s never met. Friendship and family are so strong in this novel, and was just heartwarming all around. I loved it!!

The last book of January was a bit of a darker one- Jasmine Warga’s My Heart and Other Black Holes. When physics nerd Aysel is in need of a Suicide Partner, she finds her perfect match, a boy named Roman. And as he becomes more intent to end his life, she begins to question whether she even wants to go through with it after all. This novel was so beautifully written and SO QUOTABLE, and really makes you aware of the fact that no matter how someone may seem on the outside, the inside could be a whole different story. It did make you feel a bit glum yourself, but in the end this was a story I believe many people should read. It was just dazzling.

So that’s it for this month! Stay tuned throughout the next few weeks- I’ve got a few surprises up my sleeve. 😉

And until then, keep reading!

Zoie ❤

December

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While it started off as a slow reading month for me, two weeks off school quickly allowed me to catch up on some necessary winter reading!

Untwine, by Edwidge Danticat

The Distance From Me to You, by Marina Gessner

Say What You Will, by Cammie McGovern

Signs Point to Yes, by Sandy Hall

If I Stay, by Gayle Forman

Where She Went, by Gayle Forman

My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins

The first book I read this month was Untwine, by Edwidge Danticat. It was the story of two sisters, twins who had been born holding hands, and how one car crash will change the lives of both. Beautifully written and incredibly insightful, this novel is definitely recommended to fans of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay.

The Distance From Me to You, while it took me a while to read, was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. The writing at times could feel flat, not containing much voice, but at the same time it was the way of storytelling that was something that compelled me into the plotine. Thumbs up, Marina Gessner!

And because I loved A Step Toward Falling, a new YA I read just last month, I decided to pick up author Cammie McGovern’s debut, Say What You Will. I found that the storyline seemed to be quick-paced and while I liked how page-turning it was, it made for the plot to be all over the place at times.

Last month I also read A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall, which if you can recall was a book that I loved. Like, it just gave me ALL THE FEELS. So going into her second novel, Signs Point to Yes, I strongly believed that this book could not compare to her adorable debut. I mean, how could it? A Little Something Different was just AMAZING. And yet, miracle of miracles, I was surprised again! Signs Point to Yes was just as beautiful as her first book, so fans of Sandy Hall, pick this up!

This December I took to reading If I Stay again, because I remembered loving it when I read it more than a year ago, and found the writing and story as poetic as I did the first time. I also read the sequel, Where She Went, which is a novel I once started but never finished. This time I did, and once again Gayle Forman does a terrific job of telling a story.

The very last book of the year I read was one I recieved for Christmas, a holiday anthology entitled My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories. Many YA readers would recognize contributors, such as Rainbow Rowell, who was the main reason it was number one on my Bookmas list, as well as Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, Jenny Han, Matt de la Pena, and Ally Carter. While some stories to me were just okay, favourites included Midnights, Angels in the Snow, Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me, Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus, It’s a Yuletide Miracle Charlie Brown, and The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer.

I definitely recommend checking out some of these titles, because most were such a pleasure to read! And with January already in progress, it’s time to find some more books to cuddle up with….

Zoie ❤

November

November Reads

As far as good reading months go, November was definitely one of my top months this year, perhaps following August. I could go on, but all you have to do is just look at this list, and right away you’ll understand that there were some gems in here:

Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell

Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy

Side Effects May Vary, by Julie Murphy

A Step Toward Falling, by Cammie McGovern

Save Me, by Jenny Elliot

A Little Something Different, by Sandy Hall

First & Then, by Emma Mills

I mean GAHHH, how amazing does this list look? Now do you get why I was so excited about it?

The first book I read in the month of November was 517 pages of pure bliss! Rainbow Rowell’s much awaited Carry On was everything her fans would want, and even more. I admit, going into it I was dubious, because I wasn’t even sure that the whole idea of expanding Simon Snow’s world from little bits of fanfiction in Rowell’s Fangirl to canon was a good idea. How glad was I that I was proven wrong! Despite the multiple POVs, each character had a unique voice, and once again one of my favourite authors was able to put her magical storytelling abilities into such a wonderful novel! I am proud to say that Carry On has become one of my favourite fantasies this year, and it was even nominated for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction on Goodreads!

The next book I read was critically-acclaimed Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy, and it was as every bit as awesome as all the reviews have suggested! Featuring a strong heroine, I engulfed the story of Willowdean Dickson, and what it means to be comfortable in your own skin, a novel that I believe every person should read, as every person has at one point not been at home with their body.

Because I read Dumplin’, I decided to read Julie Murhpy’s debut as well, Side Effects May Vary. I felt that it wasn’t as strong as her latest book, but nevertheless had a plotline that stole me away. I liked the characters, Alice and Harvey, and the way they had NOW and THEN point of views. It was a unique way of seeing a story come together from different sides (and times!) of the story.

A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern was probably up there with Carry On, based on how much I loved it. Because (spoiler alert!) I loved it. All I wanted to do was gobble this up in one sitting, because the writing, the characters, the everything was just amazing. But most of all, it was the plotline that got to me, leaving me with the message that (as written on the cover): Sometimes the worst thing you can do is nothing at all.

Unfortunately, Save Me by Jenny Elliot was not one of the books I enjoyed this month. It was one I was looking forward to, as it was published by Swoon Reads, which so far has published books I have enjoyed so far. I felt that the writing was too flat, therefore making the characters and plotline flat as well. This combination just doesn’t bode well for me, and sadly took away from my reading experience.

A Little Something Different, by Sandy Hall, was also a Swoon Reads publishing. In fact, it was the first publishing of their firm. And unlike Save Me, it was an absolute delight to read, not to mention especially unique. It is a love story told from fourteen points of view, none of which contain those of the two falling in love. I just thought it was a brilliant way of storytelling, taking a really simple love story like that. All of the POVs, as well as the two love interests, were so fun to read about, and all in all this book was sweet and adorable. Definitely one of my favourites of the year!

The last book I read this month was from the debut author Emma Mills, First & Then. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone read this in one weekend, because that’s exactly what I did! The writing flowed smoothly and the story was cute, and that cover was gorgeous as well. I know that I’ll be looking forward to more by Emma Mills in the future!

That was all for the month of November, and stay tuned for more this month as this wonderful reading year draws to a close. Until then, keep on reading!

Zoie ❤

October

Time to update for October’s reads, which I realize is long overdue. Oh well, time flies when you’re having fun reading, or however the saying goes… 😉

Infinite in Between, by Carolyn Mackler

Everything, Everything, by Nicole Yoon

Proof of Forever, by Lexa Hillyer

How to Say I Love You Outloud, by Karole Cozzo

The Night We Said Yes, by Lauren Gibaldi

Emmy & Oliver, by Robin Benway

Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler was a book that I truly loved, but was very different in my eyes. Told from five perspectives over their four years of high school, it seemed to me that there were five complete separate stories that managed to touch throughout the years. I mean, of course their stories were all connected, but when I thought about it they all just read like each POV was about everyone’s individual high school life. Here’s the thing: though sometimes plain and assuming, Mackler was able to make it a story of interest by intertwining all their stories into one unforgettable journey.

Everything, Everything. There was so much buzz about Nicola Yoon’s debut, but for me I didn’t see what it was all about. It was a good story, I’ll give you that, but I wasn’t too caught up in the plot and the characters and all that. Mind you, I did like all the illustrations and unique way of storytelling. Also, my sister absolutely loved it, so I guess that just proves that everyone has their own thoughts and opinions about critically-acclaimed novels, or any novels really.

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer was a great book, as I found myself invested of the second-chance summer of Zoe, Tali, Luce, and Joy. My only problem with it was the whole time-travelling theme, because it was not something I expected would happen when I got into it. Once you got used to the idea though, it made for a very pleasant read.

How to Say I Love You Outloud was a book I was especially looking forward to, as it was a Swoon Reads publishing, along with Love Fortunes and Other Disasters and Velvet, two books I have read within the past couple of months and loved. I’d have to say that while I liked the storyline and writing, the characters and momentum seemed too flat to me, and the romance in it seemed to be a subplot rather than the main idea.

The Night We Said Yes by debut author Lauren Gibaldi was interesting. Told in then and now perspectives, it showed us both love stories of Matt and Ella. While the idea is unique, I wasn’t quite invested on it as I was with other books this month.

The last book I read in October I’d have to say was my favourite. Emmy & Oliver was just the perfect read for me, because I couldn’t get enough. Even after I finished it I would think about passages in the novel, reading them outloud to my friends and just smiling at the mere thought of it. The characters were so REAL, and the friendships in this book were so strong it just read very well. The writing was dangerously addictive for me, because I almost consumed Emmy & Oliver in one day, dedicating my time with it on the couch with a blanket and a tea. It was beautifully executed, and is definitely a MUST READ I believe for YA lovers. Robin Benway, I’m a fan!

While October’s reads weren’t all that memorable for me, the ones that were made up for it all. I have some great reads so far this November to share soon when the month is gone, but until then, happy reading!

Zoie 🙂

September

Is it November already? Huh… well, this seems like a good a time as any to tell you my September reads, which are long overdue!

Here we go:

P.S I Still Love You, by Jenny Han

Like it Never Happened, by Emily Adrian

Playing with Matches, by Suri Rosen

Mosquitoland, by David Arnold

Velvet, by Temple West

Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard

Oh, I loved all of these books! There were some that really stuck with me, others that were just a delight to read, and others that were a bit different…

Since I’ve kept you all waiting for a full month now, I’m going to do this month’s reads in a new way, by categorizing them in the three ways I mentioned above.

First, the ones that were a delight to read! (Because everyone needs books like that in their life):

P.S I Still Love You was one of those light reads that I grabbed immediately upon finishing its previous book, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, which I read in August. I felt that the sequel was a necessary read if you loved the first, and thought it summed up Lara Jean and Peter’s love story quite well. For any fans of Jenny Han, her latest book did not disappoint!

Another YA I read this month that was just as compelling and wonderful was Emily Adrian’s Like it Never Happened. She has such great writing that resulted in me never wanting to put it down. I vaguely recollect myself late into the night reading this book, eyes drooping with the desire to sleep, but always telling myself “just one more chapter!”. Warning- you may read this novel in one sitting.

The last book in the category of “Books that were a delight to read,” is Playing with Matches, by Suri Rosen. I really liked this book because the writing was just straightforward, yet still with the whole show-don’t-tell thing going on, making it easy to follow. The story line was actually really interesting, with teen matchmaker trying to set up her older sister without her finding out that it’s her, and is also set in my home city, which was just super awesome. (Don’t you love when that happens? They mention a location or franchise you’ve heard of and you’re just like “I know where/what that is!! I’ve been there!” Ah, jolly times.)

Next category, please! Here we have “Books that were a little different.” And guess what? There’s only one book listed…

And it’s debut YA author David Arnold’s Mosquitoland. Even the name appeals to me, despite describing such a land being one of my worst nightmares- but don’t worry; besides some face paint and references to Mississippi, there’s not much of the pesky blood-sucking insects! This novel is listed as a little different as it took a while for me to get into it, if only because of the writing. At times it felt overwhelming, with it being full of witty sentences and large adjectives. Think of it like this: When you start an old classic (say Pride and Prejudice), you notice that all the old English can be a bit hard to follow and understand at times, but after a while you get so used to it that the rest of the book reads smoothly and you almost don’t notice it anymore. That was what my experience with Mosquitoland was like- after you got used to the fancy-ish writing, it was a truly enjoyable book. In fact, I appreciated the writing that made the book up, and besides the unforgettable bold protagonist Mim, was one of the reasons I really liked this novel.

And now for the books that stood out with me, my favourites of the month of September!

First of all, I’ll mention Red Queen. You may or may not have read my blog post on it, where I may or may not have fangirled over it. Why? Because it was just AMAZING. A must read for any fans of YA, Dystopian, Fantasy, Science Fiction, or all of the above! There’s so much I can say about it, but I feel my last post summed up all my feels in a more elaborative format, so check that out if you’re interested 😉

And lastly, there was Velvet by Temple West, which, (wait for it), was a vampire romance. I know, I know! I was totally dubious going in, because the first thing I thought of was Twilight, and I just had mixed feelings. But I am not ashamed to say how much I sincerely loved this book, and that it has become one of my favourites! It just goes to show that you always have to give things- whether novels or otherwise- a chance, or else you’ll miss out on a whole lot of awesomeness. Also, a lot of books I was hesitant to read have become new favourites of mine, and Velvet was just another example of a skeptical Zoie being proven wrong, and boy, was I glad!

Those were all the reads for September! I realize now that October’s reads will need to be uploaded pretty soon, so stay on the look out for that, too. I also have some really exciting posts I can’t wait to share with you all that will be coming in random intervals in the next month or two to come!

Until then, keep on reading!

Zoie 🙂

August, Part II

I’m still in shock at the fact that there needs to be a part two for my August reads. All my reading last month really hadn’t dawned on me, because I honestly felt like I had all the time in the world, despite fitting in all that summer fun.

Here’s the list of what I read in August, in case you needed a refresher:

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

The Fill-in Boyfriend, by Kasie West

Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella

Between the Notes, by Sharon Huss Roat

Kissing in America, by Margo Rabb

Love Fortunes and Other Disasters, by Kimberly Karalius

All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han

I left off my last post with my thoughts on Between the Notes, so it’s time to now focus on my following read, Kissing in America.

This was one that I found at the library, where I unexpectedly took home seven books. You can read about that here. As you know, I was hesitant to read Kissing in America. (And yes I realize that I judged the book by the title. The cover also was beautiful, if not a bit darker than covers I usually pick up. Here’s a lesson though, everyone: Don’t judge a book by the cover.) I loved this book, so, so much. It was full of poetry, containing works by e.e cummings, Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. It was a very interesting read, a bit different from other books I’ve read this month, but nonetheless great. Recommended!

The next on the list was Love Fortunes and Other Disasters, another read I scored unintentionally at the library. This book particularly stuck with me last month, because I couldn’t stop talking about it. There’s a review on it to come though, and I don’t want to spoil too much, so that’s all I’m saying for now.

And then there was All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven. Words cannot express how much I loved this book, or more specifically, the writing. I had waited all summer for the hold to arrive at the library, due to the number of people also wanting to get their hands on it. When it finally came, I dropped everything and went straight to pick it up. There was something so compelling about the story, because I couldn’t put it down. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be irresistible. It was one of those books where I couldn’t stop thinking about the plotline, and the characters, and the everything. This is a must-read for YA lovers!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has also become a very popular novel in the YA world lately, despite it being published back in 2013. I’d say this is thanks to the newly released movie, in which I admit was what brought my attention to reading it in the first place. The trailer looked absolutely hilarious, and I knew I had to read it before I could see it. While the main character, Greg, could be a bit insufferable at times, I found the novel interesting and unique. It certainly was unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s light and easy, and also had me laughing out loud at times. What I found most different was the fact that the book is supposedly written by Greg Gaines, so we got a lot more insight into his mind than we usually would with first person narrators. (Of course, don’t let that confuse you- the author still is Jesse Andrews.)

And we’ve reached the end of our list! Time to close off our August reads with Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Sweet, simple, and just wonderful to read, I sped through this novel wanting more. Luckily, there was still the sequel P.S I Still Love You to get my hands on!

Have a wonderful rest of September everyone!

Your fellow bookworm,

Zoie ❤