Book Tag – Back to School

It’s that time of year bookworms! Back to school is an exciting time of year. New pens, pencils, and markers. New notebooks and planners. Back to school shopping was always my favorite kind of shopping! This tag originally comes from a YouTuber named Jenny Unscripted.

English/Language Arts – Name your favorite author or books’ writing style

Amanda- John Green is my favorite author. But Ellen Hopkins is my favorite writing style. The way she writes her books in such a poetic way is incredible.

Antonia- I really love the way Patrick Rothfuss writes in The Kingkiller Chronicles. It’s as though the main character is telling the story directly to you and it adds so much depth to his character.

Math – A book that made you frustrated

Amanda- The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. I just wanted to get some answers. I almost dnf’d it.

Antonia- Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima. I character I loved from the previous series died in this one and I’m still so mad about it. (Note: I resent the fact that this one is for math because math was always my favorite subject.)

Science – A book that made you think or question things

Amanda- Any book by John Green. Also The Alchemist by Paul Coelho.

Antonia- The Shack by William P. Young.

History – Your favorite book from a different time period

Amanda: My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows for a historical fiction. And The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien for a book that’s actually from a different time period.

Antonia- I love any of the regency romance novels by Julia Quinn.

Art – Your favorite book with pictures

Amanda- Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast. This book (and the second one) have actual pages with pictures in them rather than just cute little pictures with the chapter headings.

Antonia- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.

Drama – A book you would love to see adapted to a movie or TV show

Amanda- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas would be excellent to see as a tv show for sure.

Antonia- I totally agree with Amanda but to choose my own, I think The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory would make amazing movies.

Music – Name a character you think would have the same musical taste as you

Amanda- I think Charlie from Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow has potential to have the same musical taste as me. Likely some moody alternative music but also sometimes some poppin’ rap/hiphop.

Antonia- Simone from Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts. She mentions what music she’s listening to often and I loved all her choices.

Lunch – A food you would love to try from a book

Amanda- I’m going to be basic on this one but I’d love to try butterbeer or any of the candies from the Harry Potter books.

Antonia- I always wanted to try all the foods from the epic feasts in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques.

Bus Ride Home – A book or author that is relaxing

Amanda- I’d have to say the Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich. Reading this series is like hanging out with an old friend. Always a good time guaranteed to have some laughs.

Antonia- Beastly by Alex Flinn. I’ve read it so many times at this point that it’s like hanging out with an old friend.

Extra Credit – A book someone else told you to read and you ended up enjoying it

Amanda- Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. My step sister told me to read this and I’m glad she did. It was super good.

Antonia- Most of the books Amanda yells at me to read. Most recently was the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Goodreads summary:
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?
It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.
In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Review:
Okay, I totally loved this story. I borrowed this book as an audiobook from my library because I liked the look of the cover. Then I read the book summary and thought it could be something I would like. I had doubts at first because I was really annoyed listening to the narrator reading the email addresses over and over and I almost DNF’d the book about 20% in. But I didn’t and I’m glad I didn’t.
I LOVED Jessie. She’s a girl who’s trying to find herself. Her mom died and she’s trying to figure out how to continue living without the one woman that’s supposed to be there for her whole life. On top of all of this her dad has married a new woman, a complete stranger, and totally changed her life by making her move across the country. So this poor girl is still trying to figure out how to keep on living without her mother and also going to a new school where she doesn’t know anyone, living in a new house that doesn’t feel like her own, trying to figure out how to accept all these changes and be happy. I admire the crap out of Jessie for the strength she shows because I would have lost my freaking mind trying to deal with all of that at sixteen.
Enter “Somebody, Nobody.” This mysterious person who starts emailing Jessie with the advice of who to befriend, who to avoid, and how to survive at this crazy new school. I loved the idea of SN keeping an eye out for Jessie and helping her navigate this new school. Though about halfway through the story I just wanted to yell at him to TELL JESSIE WHO HE IS ALREADY. (We sadly don’t find out who SN is until Jessie does.) We are left guessing at the identity of SN for most of the book. I liked this a little because I spent most of the book arguing in my head with Jessie about whom she thinks SN is. That’s all I will say about SN except that I totally knew who it was and I’m SO HAPPY that SN is who I thought they were.
I think the family dynamic was written really well. I come from a pretty dysfunctional family. I have step parents and siblings and know how hard it is to adjust to having a new family living in one house and learning how all the different people work together and around one another. The family dynamic was written and portrayed accurately and I really liked that. I feel like there aren’t enough books that have stepfamilies and crazy broken, makeshift families that are outside of the norm of a mom and a dad or a single parent home.
I ended up really loving this book way more than I thought I was going to. I thought I would like it well enough, but I definitely loved it. There really is nothing negative to say about it aside from the annoyingness of reading the email addresses, but that’s only because it’s an audiobook. I adored the characters. They all played their own parts very well and each added something to the story. I loved the message that the story gave. Jessie learned so much about herself, but she also learned so much about how she treats others and what she deserves from life. I think this is an excellent young adult story and should be read by anyone and everyone.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

ABC Book Challenge |E|

Hello, Bookworms!

This week we will be talking about books with the letter E. For those of you that are new here – here’s the deal, each week we post about books beginning with a specific letter of the alphabet starting with A and ending once we’ve gone all the way to Z. We’re going to mention one or sometimes a few books that were super memorable with the letter of the week and also books that are still living on our TBR lists. So without further ado.

Read last week’s post here.

This week’s letter is – E.

Most Memorable Books 

Amanda

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – This book was absolutely incredible. The way that it ended was just mindblowing and heartbreaking at the same time. I might even say it was my favorite of the series, but I could change my mind when I do my reread this fall in anticipation of the final book.

Earth’s End by Elise Kova – Book three in a five book series that I read as a boxed set on my Kindle. This whole series was incredible and probably one of my top ten new reads of the year (you’ll see it pop up all over with the other book tags and bookish lists I post.)

Antonia

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I’ve loved her books ever since I picked up Obsidian on a whim. This one is the last book in The Dark Elements series. It has a really well done angels vs. demons theme and the most swoon-worthy bad boy.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini – This was one of the first books I really obsessed over. The end of the series was so bittersweet and a little devastating but I’ll always have such pleasant memories of this book. (No one even think about mentioning the movie.)

 

Books Still on Our TBR Lists

Amanda

(An) Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – I’ve read this book before but I honestly don’t remember anything about it. The third book came out recently so the whole series is on my TBR list with the first two books as a reread.

(The) Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead – The third and final book in the Glittering Court Trilogy and I am beyond ready and excited to see what’s going to happen in this series conclusion.

Antonia

Everneath by Brodi Ashton – I just got all three books in this series and am really excited to see how the Orpheus/ Eurydice myth ties into it.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I saw the movie trailer and thought it was interesting before I ever knew it was a book. After Amanda’s review of it, I knew it had to go on my TBR list.

 

This is what we’ve come up with for this weeks letter! Do you have any memorable books that start with the letter E? What about books that you haven’t managed to read yet? Feel free to answer in the comments and thanks for reading!

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

Summary:
Witnessing the fallout from the poor choices their parents make, three teens are clinging to the last remnants of the secure and familiar world in which they’ve grown up. But what was once clear is now confused. Everything is tilting.
Mikayla is sure she’s found the love her parents lost, but is suddenly weighing nearly impossible choices. Shane has come out, but finds himself struggling to keep it all under control in the face of first love and a horrific loss. Harley, a good girl just seeking new experiences, never expects to hurtle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is. Ellen Hopkins crafts a wrenching story that explores the ways we each find the strength we need to hold on when our world’s been tilted completely off its axis.

Review:
Tilt by Ellen Hopkins is a sort of companion novel to her adult novel Triangles (you can find my review for Triangles here.) I really enjoyed that book and was super excited to read this one and get the story from the perspective of the children. Hopkins once again did not disappoint.
This story starts off right where Triangles does. It’s the beginning of summer break and that’s the best time of year for any kid. The time with no responsibilities, the time for the beach and camping and all the fun summer activities, which yes, usually involves doing things our parents wouldn’t want us to. I know I sure went a little crazy in the summertime when I was younger.
I really liked this book better than Triangles. I’ve spent all day thinking about why this is and I think I’ve settled on the fact that I have a much easier time relating to the characters within Tilt. I’ve been the girl that sneaks out of her house. I’ve been the girl who goes to her mom’s house because I could get away with murder there rather than have to follow the ruled at my dad’s house. I’ve been the girl who drinks and smokes even though it’s not the best or right way to deal with my problems or emotions. These characters are going through things that I understand and can completely relate to. That’s something that will immediately make me love a book, reading about a character that I can relate to or have similar experiences too. Like my review for Triangles, I’m not going to go into the details of each character, but I really loved them all. They’re just kids trying to figure out what their place is in this crazy world while also fighting seemingly insurmountable struggles.
This story, Tilt, talks about so many subjects that are normally shied away from. One character struggles with being a pregnant teenager and what that means for her future. She struggles with the decision of abortion versus adoption versus keeping the baby. Another character struggles with being gay and having a boyfriend that’s infected with HIV. Then his sister dies and he falls down the depression hole and uses drinking and drugs to try to cope with his feelings. The third deals with how she views herself versus how she thinks others view her. She does things and makes choices that she knows she probably shouldn’t but does them anyway because she craves attention and mostly just wants to be loved. Even though I’m almost 25, I remember what it was like to feel similarly to these characters and deal with these struggles.
I preferred Tilt over Triangles for one other reason. I’m not sure what it is that makes me feel this way, but the young characters in Tilt seem to have such a better awareness of those around them. They’re most considerate of how their loved ones are feeling and (for the most part) how their actions will affect those that they care about. In Triangles, that seems to be something lacking from the adults. You would think it would be the other way around where the adults would be overly concerned about how the results of their actions on their children, but the children, Shane, Mikayla, and Harley are always thinking about how their parents would feel if they did this or that. It was something I liked and I thought it showed an interesting maturity in them.
Overall I really enjoyed this story. It’s another book from Hopkins that hits close to home and makes you think about topics that people usually avoid. This book makes you take a hard look at choices that some teens have to make. Tilt talks about things that should be talked about rather than shied away from. With relatable characters and a story so interesting I just couldn’t put the book down until I finished every last page. I recommend this book to every reader out there for sure. Hopkins is an incredible writer and I’m just blown away by her talent every time I read another of her books. If you haven’t read any of Ellen Hopkins works stop what you’re doing and go read any of them right now.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

Summary:
Holly is filled with regret after eighteen years at home with her three children. She sheds sixty pounds and loses herself in the world of extramarital sex. Andrea is a single mom watching her friend Holly’s meltdown with a mixture of concern and contempt. Holly is throwing away what Andrea has spent her whole life searching for. So what is she picks up Holly’s castaway husband? Marissa has more than her fair share of challenges-a gay, rebellious teenage son; a terminally ill daughter; and a husband who buries himself in his work.
As one woman’s marriage unravels, another’s rekindles. As one woman’s family comes apart at the seams, another’s reconfigures into something bigger and better. In this story of connections and disconnections, one woman’s up is another one’s down, and all of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness.
Unflinchingly honest, emotionally powerful, surprisingly erotic, Triangles is the ultimate page-turner, told in gorgeous, expertly honed poetic verse that perfectly captured the inner lives of Hopkin’s unforgettable characters.

Review:
Have you ever read anything written by Ellen Hopkins? No? Then don’t bother finishing this review. Stop what you’re doing and go get one of her books right now and read it. Everything written by this author is absolutely incredible. She’s for sure one of my favorite authors out there. The way she writes is just mind-blowing.
Triangles is the first of her adult novels that I have read and I didn’t realize that it was going to be written the same way her young adult novels are. Hopkins writes her stories in poetic verse. She’s telling us the story that we’re reading, but within that story, there are poems that reflect what’s going on within the story or tells of things to come. If you haven’t read one of her books you don’t know what I mean, so go read one of her books and then come back and read this review. After I finished this book all I could think was how difficult it must be to come up with stories like these and then write them in the form that she does. To find the right words to reflect what the story is telling. It’s honestly so amazing and I’m in awe of her talent and creativity.
As for the story, it was interesting as her stories always are. Also, as usual, this book was about many different hard topics. Hopkins isn’t one to shy away from those controversial or difficult subjects. She’s honest and powerful and real about things that need to be said. Things like cheating on your spouse, from random hookups to actual affairs, teenage pregnancy from the parents perspective, having a child who comes out to you as gay and seeing the two different sides of accepting parent and the disdainful parent, parents that have disabled or ill children. This story was honestly hard for me to read because I’m eight months pregnant and thinking about my child dealing with heartbreak or illness or the struggles within these pages had me tearing up quite a bit. This is a book that will no doubt make you feel all the emotions and think about these hard topics that you may not have thought about before.
I’m not going to go into detail about any of the characters specifically because I don’t think I can do it without spoiling because of some of my thoughts about certain characters. So instead I will talk about the overall of the book. I think it was so fascinating to see these three women have their lives connect and slowly intertwine between their choices and their children and such. Three women, so very different from one another, going through their own struggles and dealing with said struggles in their own way, it was so interesting to see the three hugely different personalities dealing with their life issues in their own ways (even if I didn’t agree with some of those ways, it was still a little fun to watch them crash and burn). Three women who, from an outside perspective, have the world and still aren’t happy with it.
Overall this story was emotional and powerful, sexy and exciting, dramatic and entertaining. It had characters you can love and characters you can love to hate. I’m not surprised in the least that I loved this story. I think Ellen Hopkins did an excellent job with this adult novel, just like she always does with her young adult ones.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Summary:
Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?
As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.
Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outside being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.
Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.

Review:
I was given this book by my Aunt (when I say given I mean that she sent me home with a book stack like five books tall and I wasn’t really given a choice or opinion about it) to borrow because it really left an impression on her. I’m really glad she gave me no choice in borrowing this book because I have many feelings about it. It’s not a book that I would generally choose for myself to read. It’s a super serious book and I tend to stick to fun, lighter topics or books that have deeper meanings. I really enjoyed this story though, it was eye opening and heart wrenching and made me feel all of the emotions.
Orphan Train is the story of a young girl that’s been screwed again and again by the foster system. She’s with yet another set of foster parents, one that wanted her and one that agreed to make her husband happy and she never lets Molly forget it. Molly’s foster mother is a bitch. There’s no other way to say it. She’s unnecessarily mean and goes out of her way to make life harder for Molly. With her foster father as the middleman that never really picks a side between Molly and his wife, he just hopes they’ll work it out. His lack of any sort of intervention is really frustrating to me since he’s the one that wanted to foster Molly in the first place. Enough about them, they suck.
Molly is a girl I could get along with. She’s been through a lot in the short amount of years she’s been alive. Regardless of all of that, she has a pretty good attitude. She tries to maintain a ‘whatever’ attitude as if she doesn’t care about anything, but we get to see her crack and actually let herself care about people in her life (but not her foster parents because they suck). It was really nice to see Molly come out of her shell once she meets Vivian, our other main character. Vivian is a very interesting character because we meet her at the end of her life. We see that she’s made something for herself. She’s a wealthy widow that lives in a big beautiful house. Going from knowing her in this part of her life to learning about the struggles of her childhood was interesting. I liked it because reading about all of the complicated (sometimes horrible) things that Vivian endured was hard, but we already knew that it got better because of her situation in the present day. Reading Vivan’s story was honestly hard. She endures so much, so many traumatizing and horrible things for a girl so young, but through all of it she doesn’t give up. If I were her, I would have just given up on everything, but she doesn’t. She kept moving forward, looking at the positive things like friends she’s made and getting to go to school until eventually, life gets better. I enjoyed getting to see what made Vivian into the person that she is today.
My favorite thing about this story was probably the way that it’s written. Orphan Train is written with two alternating perspectives. The first perspective is the present day where we get to follow Molly as she meets Vivian. They connect and learn how alike they really are. The second point of view is Vivian’s life as she’s telling her story to Molly. I thought it was written really well in a thought-provoking way. The alternating perspectives gave us just enough information to see the similarities between these two orphans despite the different time periods they grew up in. I really enjoyed that it’s written in a way to set up to compare and contrast the orphan experience with a then and now kind of effect.
Overall I really enjoyed this story of two independent but strong women who learn to accept the help of those who care about them, even though they don’t want to. I appreciate that they both learned so much about themselves through the stories of each other. Finally, I love that even though Molly and Vivian both went through some series struggles, they came out on top and got their own happy ending (of sorts.)

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!