Monday, October 16, 2017

A Post That Doesn't Really Seem Like A Post

Hello everyone! I'm sorry I just sort of disappeared there for a while...September was SUCH a busy month, and October is shaping up to be a pretty hectic one as well.

Here's my current problem: I want to do NaNoWriMo in November, but I'm having trouble finding a project that I'm really interested in pursuing. There are a few ideas I have banging around in my head, but none of them are really exciting. I don't really see the point in committing to all that stress and time and work if I'm not passionate about my project (because then it feels like a chore rather than fun). I guess I'll just have to see whether something comes to me or not.

Honestly, I'm not really in the mood to do a review or anything today, so I think I'll just leave it at that. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Monday, September 11, 2017


I'm usually not the grumble-y type, but I am quite annoyed with the Google accounts set up right now. I have WAY too many email addresses--I'll be the first to admit that--but I hate how difficult they make it for me to switch between them. Grrr.

Anyway, now that I've gotten that out of my system, let's move on to today's review!

YES! IT'S KASIE WEST'S NEW BOOK! Have I ever mentioned how much I love Kasie? 

I'm a little short on time, so I'm going to copy/paste the summery from Goodreads (sorry).

Can’t buy me love…

Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment—

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun…until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

My review:

What did I think? I LOVED IT! 

I'll be completely honest. I was a little disappointed with BY YOUR SIDE and P.S. I LIKE YOU. Both books weren't bad...they just weren't as good as THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US and ON THE FENCE. I was a little uncertain of whether or not I should buy LUCKY IN LOVE since her last two books weren't my favorites. 

But I am so, so glad I bought a signed copy from Hicklebee's (my favorite bookstore). Because I think this may be my new favorite Kasie West novel!

I know a lot of other reviewers weren't huge fans of Maddie, but I found her college-related attitude relatable. That said, I was really mad that Kasie stuck to popular universities like UCLA and Stanford. I'm sorry, but UCLA has an acceptance rate of 18%. Stanford's is 4.8%. Maddie is a good student, but I don't think she had the resume or exceptionality to get into those schools. (Sticking to super selective colleges is my pet peeve and the sole reason I couldn't bring myself to give this book five stars on Goodreads).

I also liked that Maddie's friends felt like real people. They were diverse, and while I didn't quite understand why she was friends with one girl, I thought there was good chemistry between them. I also really liked the love interest, Seth. I think Xander is still WAY more swoon-worthy, but Seth is pretty great. 

I did feel that Maddie was a little irresponsible with her money, but I attributed that to poor financial literacy, which isn't exactly rare in eighteen-year-olds. The conflict in the story was great, and I liked watching Maddie's personal growth throughout the novel.

Seriously. Read this book. If you like YA romance, this is a great fluffy read. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Nothing today!

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a great Labor Day. I've been really busy lately, so I haven't had time to write a review or create a writing prompt for you today.

I hope you have a great Monday and I'll see you back here soon!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Writing Prompt #5

Hello! I started doing writing prompts last year during NaNoWriMo, and I decided to continue doing them from time to time. If you are interested in seeing past writing prompts, I've added a new label for writing prompts to help keep them organized from the rest of my writing posts. I hope at least one speaks to you and helps you get your pen moving!

For today's prompt, you first need to pick two numbers between one and twenty. No, they can't be the same number.

Got them?

Now, look at the list below and find the word or words next to the numbers you selected.

1. Pocket watch
2. A thank you note
3. Apron
4. Paper airplane
5. Stapler
6. A pair of old combat boots
7. Potion
8. Fire escape
9. Designer sunglasses
10. Baseball bat
11. Walnut
12. Spiders
13. Poster
14. Concert ticket
15. Dragon
16. Earrings
17. Glass
18. Screams
19. Polio
20. Wallet

Here's your challenge. Try to write a scene, a poem, or a short story that includes both words. Remember that if it's not working, you can also pick new words and go from there. There's no cheating--it's all about inspiration!

I hope this gets your pen moving!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Hello everyone! I'm here doing a review on a book I read yesterday called THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER.

The book is by Sarah Dessen, who recently released a book called ONCE AND FOR ALL. I haven't read anything by Dessen before, but since I've heard such good things about her work and I couldn't get my hands on ONCE AND FOR ALL, I decided to try out THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER.

What it is about:

THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER is follows a girl named Macy, who lost her father about a year and a half ago. Since his death, her family has splintered, and Macy tries to be the perfect, "fine-just-fine" daughter her mom wants.

But that isn't who Macy is. She's miserable at her summer job, and she finds things feeling a little...empty. But when her summer gets sidetracked by a catering crew, Macy begins to see what could be if she just let go of the barriers she built after her father's death and allows herself to not be perfect.

My review:

After reading this book, I understand why Dessen is such a popular author. I really enjoyed THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER. It covered topics that aren't usually discussed in YA fiction and did so quite well. A lot of teens feel trapped in the cycle of achieving "perfection," and I don't think I've read a book that tackles the topic so well.

There's a lot of symbolism and so many literary devices that make this book so much deeper than just a YA novel. While it may not have the same difficult language as, say, Shakespeare, THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER would certainly make for a good YA book club read. There's a lot that could be discussed and unpacked.

The plot was well-constructed. It never felt like there wasn't enough or too much going on. There were a few surprises along the way, but I will say that I ran into one of the most cliche cliches to ever cliche near the end. That was pretty painful and really threw me out of the story.

The writing was not as good as many other books in the contemporary YA genre. I didn't feel pulled in to the story in the way similar books do. That's not to say the writing isn't good. It's just not as addicting as other writing I've read.

In addition, I didn't like the way the romance arcs ended up. (warning...slight spoiler) For once, I'd like a book where the main character and a guy can end the book as friends rather than as romantic interests.

If you want to read a YA book that's both light and deep at the same time, check out THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER. I would certainly recommend it, and I'm looking forward to reading more work by Dessen soon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review: ROAR

Hello everyone! I'm back today with a review of ROAR, the book I got in my FairyLoot box back in June. You can check out my unboxing post/review of the box here.

It took me FOREVER to get around to reading this book, but I'm super happy I finally did! I read it in one sitting, which certainly tells you something about how engaging the story is.

There are slight spoilers in this review (for the first third of the book), so be warned!

ROAR is by Cora Carmack. I've never read anything by her before (probably because this is her first YA novel, although is she a very established Adult author), and while I don't think her Adult books are my sort of thing, I am definitely open to reading more of her YA stuff and I can't wait to read the second book in the Stormheart series.

So, you might be wondering, what is ROAR about?

Aurora (or, as she's sometimes called, Rora) is the princess of Pavan, a sort of city-state in the lands of Caelira where magical, somewhat sentient storms threaten the destroy pretty much everything. Supposedly the only thing that can stop the storms are Stormlings, people who are born with magical powers to battle them.

As queen, Aurora's job will be to fight of the storms that threaten Pavan. The only problem? Aurora doesn't have a drop of Stormling magic. In order to keep her lack of power secret and keep the throne, she agrees to marry the prince of another city-state who is rumored to be extremely powerful.

But she soon learns that the prince she's planning to marry has his own agenda and the things she thought she knew about Stormlings and magic aren't quite true. There's a way for Aurora to become a Stormling--if she's just brave enough to take it.

I have to admit that the plot of the book is pretty straightforward.

Anyway, onto the review!

First and foremost, I think it was the characters that I liked the most. Rora is multidimensional, and I liked that the author made her reactions to things feel natural. Cassius, the prince she's betrothed to marry, is my favorite character by far. He has a Draco Malfoy thing going for him, and the way he thinks is really interesting. I hope that I'll get to see more of him in the second book!

I also liked that the author dipped into the heads of multiple characters. While Rora is certainly the main character, I loved reading scenes from different perspectives, and it did a good job adding conflict to the story.

The writing style feels like fantasy but is also very accessible, which makes it an easy read for people who aren't huge fantasy fans. There are moments when the writing style feels more contemporary, but that only brought me in closer to the story.

ROAR works to set the stage for the sequel, and I could definitely tell that was the case when I was reading it. It felt like not enough happened. In a way, I almost feel like its 378 pages could have been condensed to 200 and then the reader (aka me) could have seen more happen.

I also felt like the magic could have been better defined. I'm not quite sure what the rules are or if there are any. I think this is partially because Rora is learning about the real state of magic, but as a reader, it bugged me not to know what was possible and what wasn't.

Overall, it was a great read, and I feel like I trust FairyLoot's taste in books a little bit more now. A solid our stars.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Nothing This Week!

Hello everyone! I've been pretty busy lately, and I won't have a chance to do a review this week. I hope you have an amazing Friday!

Monday, July 31, 2017


Hello! I hope you are having a wonderful day. I figured I'd wrap up the month of July (where did it go?!) with review of a YA book called THE HUNDREDTH QUEEN.

What is it about?

Kalinda, an orphan who has spent her life in the Sisterhood's mountain temple, is chosen by the king to become his hundredth wife. She's whisked away from the only life she's ever known and taken to the palace, where she must fight in a tournament to the death to secure her place as one of king's wives.

But as she's pulled into a plot to kill the king by the element-controlling bhutas (a group persecuted and butchered by the king Kalinda is supposed to marry) and she begins to fall in love with her guard, Kalinda must confront the secrets and danger surrounding her before they destroy her.

You can check out the Goodreads page for the book here.

My review:

I really enjoyed the Indian-inspired world and mythology. So many fantasy books take place in a world with a European feel, and it's refreshing to read a book set in a world that doesn't feel like medieval England. The setting descriptions make the world feel alive as you read the story. The writing manages to be descriptive but not clunky, something I definitely appreciate.

The fantasy elements in THE HUNDREDTH QUEEN are really fun, and I wish that there were more scenes filled with bhuta magic. Based on the cover, it feels like there should be a lot of magic in the story, but the book felt more focused on the many layers of politics at the palace rather than the fantasy part.

While the writing isn't amazing, it is quite accessible. The book reads more like a contemporary novel rather than a high fantasy book, so if you are just getting into YA fantasy, I can see how this book would be a good place to start.

THE HUNDREDTH QUEEN attempts to explore the role of women in a patriarchal culture and tries to convey the power of sisterhood. While I appreciate the author's attempt, the message of female empowerment is overwhelmed by the mean girl stereotypes that abound throughout the novel. When the author does try to expand upon the themes of female power through the narrator's thoughts, the book begins to feel preachy, which succeeds in bogging down the already slow-moving plot.

Overall, THE HUNDREDTH QUEEN felt like a book that was trying to do too much. There's a political plot, the romance subplot, the arena fighting plot...and rather than combining to create a fast-paced book, all these elements make the plot felt clumsy. However, the amazing world, fun magic, and accessible writing make up for the stilted-in-places plot.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sarah J. Maas Preorder Offer!

For those of of you who don't know, I am a HUGE Sarah J. Maas fan. I love her THRONE OF GLASS series SO MUCH, and I'm really excited for the next book in the series, TOWER OF DAWN to come out this fall!

Here's the beautiful cover of TOWER OF DAWN for those of you who haven't seen it:

It's different from the other THRONE OF GLASS covers because it follows Chaol rather than the usual suspects. To be completely honest, Chaol is not my favorite character in the series. In fact, he ranks pretty low on the favorite character list.

That said, I'm hoping that TOWER OF DAWN will give me a different perspective on him as a character. Plus, I love Sarah's writing style, so I'm really here for that.

If you have already preordered TOWER OF DAWN (or are planning to!), here's the link to the preorder giveaway! I REALLY love the pouch, so I'm excited to get mine in the mail when TOWER OF DAWN comes out.

I am in no way affiliated with the giveaway. I'm just trying to pass the news along because it seems like so few people hear about them.

Here are my reviews for book one, book two, and book three in the series (there may be spoilers!).

That's it for today! Have a great week!

Monday, July 17, 2017

OwlCrate vs. FairyLoot

Last week, I did a review of FairyLoot's June box. Today I'm putting OwlCrate and FairyLoot head to head, talking about the pros and cons of both boxes based upon my experiences with both companies.

Let's start with the box itself. OwlCrate and FairyLoot both have adorable boxes. The boxes are well-designed, and they appeal to the bookworm in me. OwlCrate's box has a more nerdy leaning while FairyLoot feels more fantasy, but that fits the culture of both boxes well.

Next up: the spoiler cards. Both boxes include a card with original artwork on one side and a list of the items included in the box on the other. The OwlCrate spoiler card is significantly smaller than the FairyLoot one, which is nice because it's easier to tuck into the pages of a book or use as a bookmark. The FairyLoot spoiler card is too large to be used as a bookmark, but unlike the OwlCrate spoiler cards (which usually have the name OwlCrate written prominently and in large letters), FairyLoot spoiler cards have the company's name written in the bottom corner, out of the way of the artwork. This makes it feel like you could display the FairyLoot card for the design in a way you can't for OwlCrate spoiler cards.

Neither box has spoiler card art that takes my breath away, but I think I like the FairyLoot artwork a little bit more than OwlCrate's. That said, OwlCrate's spoiler card artwork is always a surprise, unlike FairyLoot, who uses the same artwork on the spoiler card to announce the theme on their website and Instagram.

As far as the information included on the card is concerned, the writing for FairyLoot's spoiler card is more awkward and less fun than OwlCrate's. However, I like that FairyLoot writes down every item in the box on the card. In my experience, OwlCrate doesn't include extras (like free samples for soon-to-be-released novels) on their spoiler cards.

What about the items in the box? OwlCrate and FairyLoot send out a similar number of items in each box, but the items in the FairyLoot boxes feel bigger and more useable to me. While OwlCrate usually has two "large" items (e.g. candle, tote bag, pillowcase, box of tea) per box, FairyLoot tends to have three or four.

I've noticed that OwlCrate sends out more items specific to a certain fandom or story (although I have noticed them moving away from that) while FairyLoot is more concerned with items that fit the theme.

The books. A book subscription box would not be what it is without the book. I have been really happy with OwlCrate's selections in the past, but I'll admit that some of the books they've chosen have not been my favorite. However, their taste in books is more similar to mine than FairyLoot's. 

The books themselves are similar in footprint: a recently released and hardcover edition of a YA book. OwlCrate has started doing exclusive covers, but I usually like the "real" cover more than the ones they send. 

The book's extras. Both boxes include a letter from the author and a signed bookplate. FairyLoot's book comes in a little bag and includes a bookmark and reading buddy card, which are nice touches that make the box feel special. OwlCrate usually includes stickers, a poster, a temporary tattoo, or another item from the publisher to go with the book. There's something about book-related swag that I love, so I'm a big fan of that.

Announcing the next theme. OwlCrate and FairyLoot both post the next month's theme on Instagram, so following them there is a great way to know what's next. Of course, you can also find that information on their respective websites. 

Both boxes also include an announcement in the box itself. The back page of FairyLoot's FairyScoop discusses the next month's theme, talks about the book and which fandoms will be represented (such as Harry Potter), and reveals a supplier for the box. OwlCrate, on the other hand, includes a small card with the theme on one side and a sneak peak on the other. The art you'll find on the back of the FairyScoop is exactly what will be on the next box's spoiler card, but the OwlCrate cards feature art that you won't see in the box itself. And I do have to say that I consistently love the art on the OwlCrate sneak peak cards!

Here's a picture of two OwlCrate theme announcement cards.
(It didn't turn out as well as I would have liked, but oh well.)

What about the box's price? OwlCrate boxes are $29.99 USD if you don't count shipping and handling. FairyLoot's July boxes are £26.00, which is about $34.00 (I'm rounding a little bit) at the current exchange rate.

This means that OwlCrate boxes are slightly less expensive than FairyLoot boxes. While only a significant drop in the value of GBP will make FairyLoot cheaper than OwlCrate, the conversion rate will change the price of FairyCrate boxes in USD.

How much does shipping cost? Shipping on book subscription boxes is not cheap. OwlCrate and FairyLoot shipping prices depend upon final location. For people in the US, OwlCrate shipping is $6.99 USD. The shipping on a FairyLoot box to the United States is £14.00, or about $18.00 USD.

Because of the nature of having one box in USD and the other in GBP, conversion rates do come into play. In addition, shipping ranges wildly based upon where you live. If you live in the United Kingdom, FairyLoot shipping will likely be cheaper than OwlCrate's $19.99 international shipping cost.

My verdict. I feel like I get a greater number of useable items from FairyLoot, but the shipping price places it in the "for special occasions only" area. OwlCrate is more affordable, but I feel like I often end up with items that don't have a place in my life or that belong to a fandom I'm not a member of.

I hope that helps you get a better sense of the similarities and differences between the two boxes! Which box sounds better to you?

Monday, July 10, 2017

FairyLoot June Box Review!

Hello! I'm returning this week with a review of FairyLoot's June box! This is the first FairyLoot box I've received, and I'm excited to share it with you.

Before we being, maybe I should explain what FairyLoot is. FairyLoot is a YA subscription box (similar to OwlCrate, another book subscription box I reviewed back in September). FairyLoot is a little different because it focuses on fantasy books (rather than all YA genres). That said, they'll occasionally include a book with a science fiction feel. If you are interested in checking out FairyLoot's website, here's the link.

I'm trying to become a little better at photography (my goal is to one day is to have more of my own photos on this blog, rather than just taking the occasional book cover off of Goodreads), so I took my Fairyloot box and camera outside to a garden in order to photograph the goodies I got in my box. I'm proud with how (most of) the pictures turned out, and I hope you enjoy seeing the items up close!

Here's the FairyLoot box! FairyLoot ships worldwide from the United Kingdom, and my box got a little damaged in the mail. You can see the dent in the box above. Luckily, none of the items inside the box were harmed.

(You can see the damage from the shipping on the box in this picture, too.)

One of my favorite things about subscription boxes is how cute the boxes themselves are! FairyLoot boxes have a lot of cool little details that make the box feel extra-special. My two favorite touches are the quote written on the box (which states "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten") and the story written on the interior of the box. If you look close enough, you can see the writing on the inside of the lid.

Like OwlCrate, every FairyLoot box has a theme. June's theme was "Elementalist." Above is the spoiler card featuring artwork based on the theme. You can also see the writing on the inside of the box that I was talking about earlier.

The back of the spoiler card explains what the box contains and why FairyLoot decided to include it. The explanations on the card did an excellent job describing the inspiration behind each item, and I liked how that gave the items context and it helped all the items in the the box fit together under the theme's umbrella.


The biggest item in the box was the pillowcase designed by Miss Phi. I absolutely love the design (the colors are even prettier in real life!), and I ran out and bought a pillow for it as soon as it arrived. The quote on the pillow makes it a perfect addition to my reading chair.

I had a really hard time getting a decent (let alone good) picture of it, so forgive me! I'm still learning.

FairyLoot also included potion sticky notes. It doesn't say on the packaging (or the spoiler card!) who made them, but I think the little bottles are adorable. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but I know that they will make my office a little more magical!

According to the spoiler card, the purple is for health, the blue is for magical power or mana, and yellow is for stamina.

The box also included lip balms based off of the different benders in Avatar: The Last Airbender. I'm a huge fan of Avatar, so I was really excited to receive something based off of the television series. Geeky Clean made lip balms for all four elements, and I received the waterbending one.

A few days before I received my FairyLoot box, my family was debating what type of bender I would be. I've always thought of myself as the firebending type, but they agreed that I would be a waterbender. I guess the universe (or maybe just FairyLoot!) agrees.

One of my favorite items included in the box is this bar of soap. Made by Ascent Bath And Body, the soap smells absolutely amazing...which is a good thing because everything from the FairyLoot box smells like it, too!

The bar of soap itself is black and features glitter in it. The triangular shape makes it a little hard to use, but I love it too much to care.

(Fun fact: it took me FOREVER to find a good place to take a picture of the soap.)

I received a bracelet made by In The Moment. The bracelet features a hamsa hand charm next to a shiny bead. According to the spoiler card, the hamsa hand is a protective symbol that brings the owner happiness, health, luck, and good fortune.

The bracelet itself is pretty, but it's probably my least favorite item from the box. Not only is the bracelet not really my style, but I'm also allergic to the metal that was used to make it. I'll probably end up giving it to a friend.

Another one of the cool items included in the box was a handmade vegan candle by Witchwood Remedies. FairyLoot sent out five different candle scents, and each one is based on a different type of magical storm in the book they sent out this month. I received the Firestorm candle.

The candle itself is very pretty, and I love the botanicals and crystals on top of the candle. When I first opened the candle and smelled it, I wasn't a huge fan of the scent. But it's started to grow on me. Maybe the candle just needed to age a little bit?

The candle's scent is hard to explain. It smells a little bit like a campfire with a touch of something else I can't put my finger on.

Here's a picture of the candle from above. You can see the bright red, orange, and yellow toppings.

FairyLoot also included two "extras"--a postcard based off the FROSTBLOOD series and a sample of THE WALKING LAND.

I haven't read FROSTBLOOD before, but this postcard definitely piqued my interest. If you can't read it, the postcard says:

Destroy the throne
Kill the king
Take your revenge

Pretty catchy, huh? 

FairyLoot also included a sample of THE WAKING LAND, which came out in late June. It looks like a really interesting story, so I'm excited to dig into the sample. The cover seen here is the UK edition, and the vines on the cover may have influenced my decision to do garden-y photos for this post. 

Now that I've gone through all the fun items in the box, it's time for the most important thing included in the box...the book!

FairyLoot sends the book in a cute drawstring bag. It has the FairyLoot logo on one side and the words "Happy Reading" on the other.

This month's book was...
ROAR by Cora Carmack!

Inside the drawstring bag, there's the book, a signed bookplate, a FairyLoot bookmark featuring the same artwork as the spoiler card, and a letter from the author. You'll just see the bag, book, and signed bookplate in the picture above.

I haven't read the book yet, but it looks really interesting and I can't wait to start it.

FairyLoot also included a small pamphlet (called FairyScoop) that includes an interview with Cora Carmack, next month's theme, and book recommendations for books similar to ROAR. I thought it made a nice addition to the box, and it was a fun way to get to know the author beyond her bio in the back of the book.

Before I sign off this rather long blog post...

FairyLoot includes a card with a reading buddy number. Two people get the same code, so you can track down the other person on Twitter or Instagram and share your reading experience with him or her.

So...if you received #FairyLoot00257, feel free to email me! I don't have an Instagram or Twitter account, so this is as close as I can get to reaching out to my reading buddy.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely day!

Monday, July 3, 2017


Hello there! I know I said that I wanted to be back in the blogging game mid-June and it is now July, but everything has been REALLY busy lately. I feel like I say that all the time now, but it's true!

The good news is that I WILL be blogging more often. I sat myself down and really considered how blogging fits into my life, and I realized that it's something that is really very important to me. That's why I'm working towards making it a priority again, but please be patient with me as I try to get back into the flow of things!

To kick things back into gear, I'm here reviewing THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED.

I love how the cover manages to connect to SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA but still stands apart as its own story. THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED stands alone, but a handful of characters from SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA make cameos in THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED.

(Phew. Typing those long titles out is exhausting! From here on out, I'm calling them SIMON and UPSIDE. Cool? Cool.)

A summary from me:

UPSIDE is about a seventeen-year-old girl named Molly Peskin-Suso (if the last name Suso looks familiar, it's because Abby from SIMON is Molly's cousin!). Molly falls in love often--she's gone through twenty-six crushes--and hard. But despite how much her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to make a move, Molly can't let go of her caution. That's why she's never been kissed, let alone had a boyfriend.

When Cassie falls for a new girl named Mina, Molly begins to feel a chasm opening up between them. She worries about growing apart from her sister, and she can only see one solution: dating Mina's friend, Will. But as much as she keeps pushing herself to fall for Will, she can't let go of her growing feelings for her coworker Reid. But can she manage to put her fear of rejection aside and turn crush twenty-seven into boyfriend one?

And one from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. 

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

My review:

First and foremost, I really liked the diverse cast in UPSIDE. The world we live in is made up of people from a variety of backgrounds, and I thought that UPSIDE did a good job reflecting that.

The writing was also very good. It's similar to the writing style of SIMON, which means that it tends to be rather philosophical without turning pretentious. The dialogue feels real, and the descriptions of the different areas and neighborhoods make you feel like you are there alongside the characters.

Molly was an interesting narrator. I loved her affinity for crafts and small creative touches, and that part of her personality came out in the way she described the world around her. However, I struggled to connect with her obsession with getting kissed. There's no doubt that Molly is more than a little boy-crazy, but her persist narration about romance made it hard for me to sympathize with her and made her feel unrealistic. I kept hoping I'd learn something new about her and she'd start to feel more three-dimensional, but that never happened.

Like SIMON, UPSIDE is more than just a story. It's also chock full of amazing messages about growing up and letting go of fear. Growing apart from siblings is a theme that features prominently, and it is one that I connected to personally. Another great message talks about there not being an age where one has to meet certain "growing up" benchmarks (such as being in a romantic relationship). That's a message I want to see in more YA books, and I was a little disappointed because I felt like the rest of the story undermined it.

Unlike SIMON, UPSIDE leaned too heavily on getting its messages across that the story started to sag in places and left a number of threads underdeveloped. According to, UPSIDE is over 100K words long. I can't help but think that Becky Albertalli could have used that space to expand emotional impact of the story. I enjoyed every scene in UPSIDE, but many felt unnecessary to the messages or the plot.

UPSIDE's biggest problem isn't that it is a bad book--it's just that it isn't as good as SIMON. As I read it, I kept waiting for all the feels and geekiness and cuteness of SIMON to show up. And while some of that stuff was certainly present, it just wasn't as good as SIMON. I'll certainly pick up Becky Albertalli's next book. I just hope it's a little closer to SIMON than it is to UPSIDE.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Camp NaNoWriMo & Hiatus

Hello! I can't believe it's been over a month since I last blogged...things have been REALLY busy.

April Camp's NaNoWriMo has come and gone, and I'm happy to say that I've earned to right to use this banner...

(I had some trouble adding the banner into this blog post, so fingers crossed that it loads!)

That's right! I made it to my Camp NaNo goal! I think April's Camp is always the hardest for me (for some reason that's when inspiration decides to go on vacation to somewhere warmer), so I'm really proud that I was able to hit my goal. The people in my cabin were incredibly supportive, and all of my NaNoWriMo experiences have been excellent.

In addition to sharing my excitement at winning NaNoWriMo, I wanted to let you know that The Reader's Perch will be on hiatus for the rest of May and a portion of June.

Bye for now!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Camp NaNoWriMo!

I mentioned this in my last post, but I figured I'd make an "official" announcement (even though April is halfway over).

I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo this April! My goal is a little over 20K words, which is reasonable considering all the stuff that is currently cluttering up this month. The people in my cabin have been incredibly helpful and supportive, and it makes me wonder how I ever did my first Camp NaNo without a cabin.

NaNoWriMo is doing daily Camp Care Packages, something I absolutely love. If I remember correctly, last Camp they only set out the care packages every few days. The Camp Care Packages help me stay motivated and excited to write.

If you are looking for an opportunity to stop procrastinating and start writing, I highly recommend Camp NaNoWriMo! Every experience I've had with them has been incredible.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Review: SCYTHE

Well, it looks like 2017 is going to be the year of the MIA Birdie. I hit a huge reading slump coming out of 2016, and it stuck with me for a couple of months. But I'm starting to get my hands on some books I'm excited to read, so I hope that there will be more reviews on the way!

I want to let you know that I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month with a goal of around 20K words. But I'll talk more about that in another post! Today I'm reviewing SCYTHE, a book by Neal Shusterman.

(Source: Goodreads)

For those of you unfamiliar with the author's name, Neal Shusterman is not new to the writing game. According to his bio on the book, he's written over thirty books and is the New York Times Bestselling author of UNWIND. I haven't read UNWIND, but I did read his book EVERLOST a few years ago, which means I am familiar with his writing style.

By now, you're likely asking yourself what Scythe is about. Here's a quick summery (written by yours truly):

SCYTHE takes place in the future, when humanity has conquered death through technology. People can only be rendered "deadish" by falling from buildings or being shot. The only way people die in the traditional sense is if a Scythe ends them.

Citra and Rowan are selected to be apprentices of a Scythe, and it's decided that only one of them can be a Scythe. The other will be killed. 

Despite this, Citra and Rowan begin to fall for each other. But the Scythedom is beginning to fracture into two sects, and Citra and Rowan are being pulled apart with it.

A LOT happens in this book, so it was a little hard to give you the stakes while not spoiling the book. If you want to read the Goodreads summery, you can check it out here.

My review:

Before I begin gushing about SCYTHE, I feel like I have to start with a little disclaimer. I'm not a huge fan of Shusterman's writing style. It's very formal and can be a little awkward at times. I've read books where I feel like I'm experiencing the story alongside the characters. Not so with SCYTHE. The writing distanced me from the action, and I never felt like I was part of the story. I was simply a spectator rather than part of the adventure.

Those of you who have read my other reviews know that I can be incredibly forgiving when it comes to reviewing a book if I love the writing. Even if a book has sub-par characters and a mediocre plot, I'll still give it a good review if the writing is amazing and addicting. The fact that I enjoyed SCYTHE enough to review it shows that the book's other qualities were wonderful enough to overcome writing that falls in to the "meh" category. That's no easy task.

The plot is full of twists and turns, making for an incredibly entertaining journey. While the reader gets to see quite a bit of Citra's background, very little of Rowan's is revealed. While this works within the confines of the story, I felt like I was left with more questions than answers about who he is.

But what really makes this book stand out are the ideas. The premise is fascinating, and the story prompts questions about when death is merciful and when it isn't. The world has lots of really cool elements to it that I wish I'd thought of first.

In sort, I recommend SCYTHE. If you read it for the story and the ideas it contains, you'll enjoy it. Just be prepared to find the writing a little clunky.

Monday, March 6, 2017


Hello! I did a review on THE DARK DAYS CLUB, the first book in the Lady Helen series, back in December. Today I'm here to review the second book in the series, THE DARK DAYS PACT.

Warning...spoilers ahead! (and lots of fangirling)

(Source: Goodreads)

Goodreads wants you to know:

June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.

The fangirling:

I started this book YESTERDAY and finished it this morning. For another (shorter) book, that's not a big deal. But keep in mind that this puppy is 483 pages long. I seriously could not put it down. 

One of the reasons I haven't been writing many reviews is because I haven't really been reading books good enough to warrant a review. I know that sounds harsh, but it's true. But DARK DAYS PACT is not like the other books I've read this year. It's pretty much perfection in book form.

There's a sort-of love triangle, and I know that Lady Helen isn't going to end up with the guy I'm rooting for. Trust me when I say that the shipping in the Lady Helen books is strong. There was shrieking when I was reading this book. Not going to lie. I know there are some of you out there who can't stand love triangles, but this one is well done. 

I loved how Alison managed to make this book even better than the last one. The world pulls you right in, and even though the writing is in third person, you still feel like you're there in Helen's head. The dialogue is great, and I love the way Alison writes her characters, although there are A LOT of them (maybe--dare I say it?--too many).

If you have not read this series, start immediately. You don't know what you are missing.  

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Blogging Woes

Okay...where did the time go?!

Last time I checked, it was the middle of January. Now February is almost over, and I haven't done a single book review, a post about writing, or even statement explaining just how far behind I am with life.

I wish I could say that you'll see a huge improvement on the blogging front, but the thing is...I haven't really been reading very many good books lately. There's been a lot of picking a book up, sort of wading my way through the first half and then putting it down because it doesn't grab me. There's no pile of books screaming "REVIEW ME!!" It's quite the opposite, actually.

Which leads me to ask everyone out there reading this to consider commenting or sending me a message suggesting a book. Seriously. I need every recommendation I can get.

Thanks for popping by! I hope you have a wonderful evening.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Reflecting On 2016 Goals

Happy New Year! That's's officially 2017! It feels absolutely unreal to write that.

At the beginning of 2016, I wrote a post outlining my goals for 2016. If 2016 has taught me anything, it's the power of reflection. It's when we look back that we learn the most about ourselves and are most able to make changes. (Plus it's always fun to celebrate when you reach a goal!)

Without further ado, let's get to it!

First, I want to make forty or more posts over the course of 2016. That sounds doable for me, and I hope that it'll still give you new content every so often.

During 2016 I was able to post a total of...

*drum roll*


That's right! I surpassed my goal by exactly ten posts. To be honest, there was a point in June when I thought that there was NO WAY I would be able to meet this first goal, so surpassing this goal is extra-sweet for me. 

Second, I do a great job of vanishing without warning, so I'll try to put out warnings when I'm going to disappear for a week or two.


I did TRY to do a better job, but I don't think I really met this one. There were a lot of periods during the year when I disappeared without a trace. I guess this is a good thing for me to keep in mind when I make my list of goals for 2017, eh?

Third, I'm going to try to read more MG so I can do MMGM. I'm hoping to do one MMGM post a month. That will be difficult because the local library is lacking in that area, but I'm going to try to make it work!

I freely admit that MMGM just didn't happen around here. In fact, by the end of April or so, I pretty much decided that I wasn't going to stress myself out about trying to fit in MMGM. I'm enjoying a lot of YA books, and since I like to keep things pretty fun around here, I think I'm going to read whatever grabs my interest...within the YA and MG categories (for now). 

Fourth, I want to do more posts about writing. I think I did exactly one in 2015, so I have lots of room for improvement in this area!

I just did a quick click through of the posts labeled "writing," and it looks like I did twelve posts about writing in 2016 (plus two posts that I wrote but never hit the "publish" button). That's eleven more than in 2015, so I think I definitely met this goal!

Lastly, I want to hear more from you. This is more of a wish than a resolution, but I want to receive feedback from you. I hope your suggestions will help The Reader's Perch improve.

When I posted a small sample of my writing in February, so many wonderful people sent me kind emails or posted comments. I was quite nervous to share my writing, and all of your amazing support means the world to me. I would love to receive more emails and comments in 2017, so don't be shy about sending me a quick note!

Thank you so much for reading this post! Are you taking the time to look at your 2016 goals and reflect on them? How did you do?