Books

What I Read: June

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Hello fellow bookworms! It’s hard to believe it is the end of another month of reading! The books covered in this post will be on the light side–only four–because in addition to these four new reads, I also reread the entire A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Because I am obsessed. I am honestly thinking about going in for round three this month, but I’m trying to make myself read some new stuff! Aside from ACOTAR, here’s what I read this month:

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: This book is one of the many reasons I love Owl Crate. I doubt I would have picked up this book on my own, because based on the cover, it is not something I would have been drawn to. However, I fucking loved this book. I wish this book had been around when I was a teenager because it spoke so much truth to my introverted self. If you have ever felt like the weird one, whether at school or in your family or in your job, this book is for you. I have so so much love for so many aspects of this novel. It obviously spoke to my introverted self, but also to my creative self, as it examined the pressure to create, and this weird balance of creating for you while also creating for your audience. It’s an interesting take on that relationship, one I only know from the audience side of things, but could someday end up struggling with as a writer. But I cannot say enough good things about this book. Read it. ASAP.

Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz: I’m not going to tell you my thoughts on this book here, since we discussed it in the latest episode of Down to Fangirl. So go download the podcast and hear all of Brianna’s and my thoughts!

Prodigy by Marie Lu: This is the second book in the Legends series. I really enjoyed Legend, but I struggled a bit with Prodigy. It could be ACOMAF interference–once I start reading that book, I don’t want to read anything else–but I didn’t love it as much as the first one. I did just buy Champion, the final in the trilogy, and I am hopeful I will enjoy it. The one thing I really liked about Prodigy is the shift in the Les Mis retelling. In the first book, the two main characters are modeled after Jean Val Jean and Javert. However, in this one, the love triangle very much resembles the Cosette-Eponine-Marius relationship, which is cool. It’s definitely worth a read, especially if you liked Legend.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This is the second book I’ve read by Morgan Matson after seeing her speak at the LA Times Festival of Books, and it was just as enjoyable as the first one. I don’t typically love contemporary YA literature, but Matson’s stories are such fun reads. In particular, her dialogue always rings so true (coming from someone who listened to teenagers for eight years). This is the perfect book to read during the summer: humorous, fun, romantic, and still touching and thought-provoking. I’m looking forward to reading more of her books!

Even though it was a light month of reading, it was a good one! I’m aiming for seven new books in July, so make sure you check back then, and follow my bookstagram to keep up with all my reads!


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Owl Crate Subscription Box: June

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It’s that time of month book-loving friends, aka my favorite day of the month, time to check out the latest offering from Owl Crate! If you are new to these parts and have never heard of Owl Crate, well suffice to say, it’s the shit. Owl Crate is a monthly subscription box designed for lovers of young adult literature. Each month’s box includes at least one book, plus several other bookish goodies that are always themed and super fun to unveil. This month’s theme was Make it Out Alive, which I loved, and the box had not one, but two amazing books! Here is a look at what we received this month!

Alright, I hate to start out with kind of a whimper, but one of the first things I saw was this zombie sleep mask from Archie McPhee. I’m so not into zombies so this one is kind of wasted on me. However, I am super stoked to use this Divergent themed bath bomb from Fizzy Fairy Apothecary (also, adorable shop name). Each bomb has a faction charm inside, can’t wait to see where I end up!

One of the first dystopian novels I ever read was The Giver by Lois Lowry, so I am mega into this patch from Laserbrain Patch Co. And if you have been paying attention to my bookstagram (@coffeebookswinerepeat) you know that I am now OBSESSED with A Court of Thorns and Roses, so I was beyond excited to see this bookmark from Hey Atlas Creative. We also got a sweet magnet from Little Inklings Design with a quote from An Ember in the Ashes, which I haven’t read, but have on my list.

And like I said, we got TWO books this month. The first is called New World Rising by Jennifer Wilson, and is about a girl trying to survive in her dystopian world (you can rarely go wrong with that premise in my book). We also got a special edition with an exclusive cover of The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson, which I can’t wait to dive into.

Another awesome Owl Crate box! The theme for the July box is Wanderlust, which sounds amazing, and once again, I am counting down the days until it arrives. If you are interested in subscribing to Owl Crate, please use my referral link, right here! Thanks friends and happy reading!

 

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What I Read: May

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So May started out as a very diverse month of reading and ended with my complete consumption of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Which I have so many thoughts and feels on I will probably give it its own post sometime soon. Honestly, I don’t know how I am going to tackle my June TBR as I have yet to recover from the series. But aside from that, I did read some other awesome offerings that I would love to share to with you!

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson: I don’t know that this is a book I would have just picked up, but I heard Morgan speak during the LA Times Festival of Books and she seemed so fun and cool, I went out and literally bought all of her books. This one started a little slow for me, but I really got into it about halfway through. Her characters are so real and I loved their flaws and dimension. I also appreciated that the ending didn’t just slap a pretty bow on everything. Her style is very true to life and I enjoyed her writing. Definitely looking forward to reading the rest of her books.

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green: So I rambled on about this one quite a bit on my Instagram. A couple of weeks ago, Jane commented on one of my pictures of one of her books and offered to send me an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of her newest book. I about peed my pants. I have been reading Jane Green novels for years and throughout college, I reread them constantly (mostly because I was too poor to buy new books). Her writing has had a big impact on my own writing, and I was so thrilled to get a sneak peek at this new book. I loved The Sunshine Sisters so so much. It’s the perfect summer read, and will especially hit home for anyone with siblings and imperfect parents. Highly, highly recommend checking it out!

Stray by Elissa Sussman: This is another one with a personal connection for me because I will be coordinating Elissa’s wedding next year! When we met for our consultation, she told me she wrote YA novels that were about “fairy tales, feminism, and food”. I was like girl, you are speaking all my languages. This was a fun read with a unique twist on some classic fairy tale characters. I especially loved all the fairy tale imagery. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series, and I am seriously looking forward to working with Elissa on her wedding!

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller: This was a fun read, though definitely not as strong as I was expecting. It was entertaining, great for summer, and perfect if you love pirates. But I thought everything–story, plot, characters–was pretty surface level. I wanted a more in depth story and more complex characters, especially considering the subject matter. I think a lot was left unexplored. With that said, I could definitely see myself reading the sequel to see what happens next.

The ACOTAR Series by Sarah J. Maas: So. Many. Feels. My original plan was to read ACOTAR this month and then finish the rest of the series over the summer. Yeah, that did not happen. I almost immediately jumped into ACOMAF (AMAZING!!!) and then immediately into ACOWAR. And then after ACOWAR I gave myself a day to recover. And then last night I started to reread ACOMAF. Other than Harry Potter, I can’t tell you the last time I reread a book. Seriously, so much love. I will go into more details on all three books once I finish my reread. Suffice to say, I’m in love.

Assuming I can put down ACOTAR for a while, I have a long TBR for June. What are you reading this month?

 

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Owl Crate Subscription Box: May

Well bookworm friends, it’s time for another Owl Crate reveal! The theme for the May box was Comic Explosion, which I knew meant it wasn’t going to be my favorite box. Comics are cool and all, and I can get down with a good Marvel movie, but they just aren’t my fave. But nevertheless, there were still some cute items in this box and I am much more intrigued by this month’s book than I thought I would be. On to the goods!

Owl Crate provided the comic book zipper pull and button.Owl Crate includes a themed button in every box, and not going to lie, I usually throw them away, but this one is actually cute. This pen from Ooly is fun and kind of makes me wish I still had a classroom because it would be perfect for a teaching pen.These coffee flavored candies from Kafe are pretty tasty, and if you know me at all, you know how much I love my coffee, so I was all about these.

I was super psyched to see that I got the Wonder Woman Funko Pop figure. I am not a huge collector of Funkos, but I think they’re kind of adorable and I was happy to see I got the kick ass female version. And it is perfectly paired with this Dio Candle Company Wonder Woman candle that smells like an island vacation (apparently Wonder Woman hails from a tropical island?).

As I said, I am super intrigued by this month’s book, Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. I don’t think I would have picked it up on my own, but I think I will be able to relate to the introverted, creative main character. Now I just have to find some time to read it! There was also a sneak peek at a new comic Afar, which TBH, I’m not gonna read. But sneak peeks are always fun :o)

So not my favorite Owl Crate ever, but some cute items and a (hopefully) good book. The theme for June’s Owl Crate box is Make It Out Alive, which I’m hoping means dystopia mania. Fingers crossed for some rebels and anarchy! If you are interested in becoming an Owl Crate subscriber, please use my link right here and help me earn some free boxes! Happy reading!


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What I Read: April

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April was a pretty solid month for reading. I finished one awesome series and started another one and read some other great novels in between. And I managed to exceed my goal of five books per month. So go me! Here’s what I read in April:

Ten Thousand Skies Above You and A Million Worlds with You by Claudia Gray: I read the first book in this series last month and really enjoyed it. It’s definitely more sci-fi based than I usually read, but Gray created such a cool world, and such relatable characters that I really got into it. I read all three books within the span of about two weeks and I wanted more! I will be seeking out more books by Gray (who has also written some Star Wars tie-in novels) because I loved her writing style. I even learned some stuff about physics!

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty: So I have read a couple of Moriarty’s books in recent months and absolutely loved them. I had high expectations for Truly Madly Guilty, and I don’t know that they were met. It took me a long time to get into this book, I didn’t have the immediate connection to the characters that I’ve had in her other books. Also, the whole toddler incident hit a little too close to home for me, and some moments were hard for me to read. But even without that personal aspect, I don’t feel like this one was as good as The Husband’s Secret or Big Little Lies. Still a good read, just not as good as I have come to expect from Moriarty.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab: So this book was in an Owl Crate box a long time ago and I’ve just never got around to reading it. I liked it, though it took me a while to really get into it. The concept was intriguing and I was a fan of the whole Romeo and Juliet kind of spin on the relationship between Kate and August. I don’t know that I’ll run right out for the next book, but I could definitely see myself picking it up at some point. It was a little more gruesome than I like, but I liked the two main characters so much that it kind of made up for the gore.

 

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: I was kind of eh about this one. I love the idea of a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I didn’t love this one. I think my main issue was that I didn’t like either of the main characters. Both were kind of annoying, along with being not super nice people, so it made it hard for me to care about what happened to them. I liked the concept, but found the execution lacking.

Legend by Marie Lu: I really enjoyed this first book in the Legend series. I was recommended Legend by a friend of mine who is a librarian since it is loosely based on Les Mis, which I love, and also because I am working on a retelling of my own. If I hadn’t know it going in, I’m not sure I would have picked up on the Les Mis notes in this, but I think I would have enjoyed it all the same. I love the world that Lu has created, and again, the two main characters are relatable and likeable. I already ordered the second book in the series, so that should tell you something about how much I enjoyed the first one. I also got to here Marie Lu speak at YallWest this past weekend and it was really cool listening to her thoughts on dystopian YA lit.

All in all, April was a great month of reading. I have a seriously long TBR for the next couple of months and I don’t know how I am going to make the time to finish all the books I want to read. But I’m sure I will find a way! What are you currently reading?


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Owl Crate Subscription Box: April

Well book friends, it’s hard to believe, but May is already here. How the eff did that happen? That means it’s time to take a look at this past month’s Owl Crate box. I was super excited about the Head Over Heels theme, and though this box didn’t turn out to be as girly as I had expected, it still turned out to be a super cute box. Here’s what I got this month:

This Pride and Prejudice headband from Storiarts is adorable. I don’t think I’m nearly cool enough to pull it off, and since my Disney bestie Brianna is a big Austen fan, I’ll be passing it along to her. My Levi and Cath (from Fangirl) candle from Novelly Yours smells so freakin good! Coffee and chocolate are two of my favorite things ever, and pumpkin is such a great scent for candles, this was probably my favorite item from this month’s box. This keychain from Bookworm Boutique is cute, but I actually haven’t read Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, so I need to get on that before I tote around the keychain.

I am supes excited about this month’s book, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. I legit had it in my hands at the bookstore a week or so ago, but I was good and put it down (my TBR is out. of. control.) and then a couple days later, found it inside my Owl Crate! It was obviously meant to be.

I’m planning on starting A Court of Thorns and Roses in May, and this beautiful print from Evie Bookish has me stoked for it. And I can’t wait to drink this chocolate (!!!) tea from The Tea Spot. Yes please.

Overall, a very cute box this month! The theme for the May box is Comic Explosion. I’m not a huge comic fan, but I have embraced Marvel thanks to Disney so hopefully I’ll find some cool stuff in the box that I can connect with. If you are interested in checking out Owl Crate for yourself (and if you haven’t picked up on the fact that it’s awesome yet, please go back and read all of my OC posts!) please use my referral link and help me earn some free boxes! Thanks friends!


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LA Times Festival of Books

On Sunday, I had the pleasure and privilege of volunteering at the annual LA Times Festival of Books. I am ashamed to say that I had never even been to the festival before, but I don’t think I will be missing it ever again because it was so awesome. When I arrived for my volunteer check-in, I was assigned to book signings, and since I was there early, I got to choose which area I wanted to work in. I obviously chose the Young Adult signings booth, which was luckily right next to the YA Stage. During my four hour shift, I got to listen to three different panel discussions with some of the top YA authors, including Melissa de la Cruz, Morgan Matson, and Shannon Hale.

After each discussion, the authors came over for book signings, and I was literally standing right behind them the entire time. Listening to the conversations the authors got to have with their fans was so inspiring. I teared up several times throughout the day (seriously, I don’t know how the authors kept it together) hearing these teens talk about how much books mean to them. I don’t know if I can actually put into words the effect the whole experience had on me as an aspiring YA author.

After my shift ended, I headed over to one of the lecture halls on USC’s campus for a panel discussion with four of the top YA authors: Jennifer Niven, Nicola Yoon, Angie Thomas, and Nina LaCour. I reviewed Niven’s first YA book, All the Bright Places, here on the blog, and I also absolutely loved Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star. I have books from the other authors on my TBR list. It was incredible to hear four amazing female authors talk about everything from their writing process to their inspiration and research to the craziest thing they did as teenagers. The panel was absolutely awe-inspiring and I am so glad that I was able to attend.

la times festival of books

I of course focused on the YA booths and event happening at the festival, but every genre of book was well-represented. There was a great kids section, along with horror, romance, mystery, basically everything you could ever want from a book festival. If you are in the LA area, I would highly recommend attending the LA Times Festival of Books if you can because it was an amazing and inspiring day!


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