Book Haul | May 2016

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This month I got a total of 29 books, which is A LOT more than I’m used to! Most were sent to me by authors/publishers, but a few I bought for myself. I’ll list them all individually below!

Purchased myself:

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset1. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August: Goodreads / Amazon

2. Madame Bovary (Penguin Clothbound Edition): Goodreads / Amazon

3. Tales of the City (Harper Perennial Olive Edition): Goodreads / Amazon

4. The Dispossessed (Harper Perennial Olive Edition): Goodreads / Amazon

 

ARCs:

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5. With Malice: Goodreads / Amazon

6. The Female of the Species: Goodreads / Amazon

7. The Cresswell Plot: Goodreads / Amazon

 

 

 

 

Sent to me by BOTM Club (8-12) and Crown Publishing (13)

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8. Heat & Light: Goodreads / Amazon

9. I Let You Go: Goodreads / Amazon

10. Eligible: Goodreads / Amazon

11. & Sons: Goodreads / Amazon

12. The Association of Small Bombs: Goodreads / Amazon

13. Approval Junkie: Goodreads / Amazon

Sent to me by Bloomsbury Publishing:

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14. The Bricks that Built the Houses:  Goodreads / Amazon

15. Whisper to Me: Goodreads / Amazon

16. Hide: Goodreads / Amazon

17. Dead Ends: Goodreads / Amazon

18. Rebel Bully Geek Pariah: Goodreads / Amazon

19. There Will be Lies: Goodreads / Amazon

20. The Start of Me and You: Goodreads / Amazon

Sent to me by HarperCollins:

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset21. My Lady Jane: Goodreads / Amazon

22. We Were Never Here: Goodreads / Amazon

23. Red Velvet Crush: Goodreads / Amazon

24. Meet Me Here: Goodreads / Amazon

25. Down with the Shine: Goodreads / Amazon

26. True Letters from a Fictional Life: Goodreads / Amazon

27. Sing: Goodreads / Amazon

28. Unrivaled: Goodreads / Amazon

29. Dreamology: Goodreads /Amazon

Whew! That’s a lot of books! Clearly I have a lot of reading to do. I’m not complaining though! I was in a huge book slump for the first part of the year and now that I’m out of it, I want ALL THE BOOKS! If you guys have read any of these books, let me know what you thought! I’d love to hear your opinion! So far, I have only read all 3 arcs, but I’ll get into that more in my wrap-up!

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Reading Slumps | How to Overcome Them

We’ve all been there. The dreaded reading slump. One of the worst possible things to experience as a book-lover. You find yourself starting and putting down one book, then another, and another, because nothing is really catching your interest. So, what do you do? How do you get back in the mood to read? I’ve been through my fair share of book slumps in my 20ish years as a reader, so here are a few of the things that have helped me personally get through them.

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  1. DON’T READ.
    I realize this might sound a bit counterproductive because it’s the exact opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here. But sometimes too much of a good thing can actually be a bad thing. Reading a book when you’re not really in the mood for it is not fair to the book. You might be forcing yourself through a book and consequently not enjoying it as much as you would under different circumstances. You could be missing out on a great reading experience had you only started the book when your reading slump had passed. So, give it some time. Let your mind rest. Watch some netflix, do some yoga, hang out with your friends. Spend time on other hobbies and eventually, that urge to pick up a book will strike, and then you’ll know it’s time.
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  2. Watch Booktube videos or scroll through Bookstagram.
    Booktube and Bookstagram are a great motivator for me. Listening to someone talk about their passion for reading or looking at pretty pictures of books on Instagram really helps me remember how much I love reading. It can also help you find recommendations on books that sound interesting and may help get you out of your slump.
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  3. Get Cozy.
    If you don’t already have a designated reading spot, make one. Being in the right atmosphere will really help set the mood and get you inspired to read. Get a bunch of cozy pillows and blankets, light some candles, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and just make it your spot. I normally just read in my bed, but if I need an extra boost of motivation I’ll read in my reading corner in my office.
  4. Make some tea/coffee.
    This might sound like a silly tip, but I swear it helps me! There’s something about sipping on a cup of coffee while immersed in a book that just makes your reading experience so much better!
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  5. Read a book that doesn’t have a lot of hype or one you’ve never heard of before.
    I don’t know about you, but I’ve been let down by a quite a few over-hyped books, and this can sometimes lead to a book slump if said book doesn’t quite reach your expectations. In my experience, picking up a book that I’ve never heard of is a better idea because you may end up being pleasantly surprised by how much you enjoy it! And if you don’t enjoy it, at least you won’t feel too let down because you had no expectations for it to live up to in the first place!
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  6. Read an old favorite.
    Whenever I find myself in a book slump, the first book I reach for is always Harry Potter. I’ve read it so many times and because of that, I don’t have to concentrate too hard on what I’m reading because I already know what happens! Instead, I can just enjoy the story and the nostalgia it brings. It’s also a pretty good reminder of how much I love reading.
  7. Put your phone away/get rid of all distractions.
    This can be an issue even when you’re not in a book slump. I always have my phone next to me. Every time I finish a chapter, I’ll pick up my phone, check instagram, goodreads, facebook, etc. and it slows my reading down so much! This is even worse when you’re in a book slump! You need to eliminate anything that could change your reading atmosphere. You want a relaxing, quiet, cozy space, and your phone does not belong there. So, give yourself 30 minutes or an hour, set your phone on silent and just read. No distractions.
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  8. Reorganize your bookshelf.
    It’s a fun way to be around books without actually reading! And you may come across a book that you’ve been meaning to read for a while but forgot you owned but sounds really good!

Here are a few things you should not do if you find yourself in a reading slump:

  1. Set a goal.
    This will just put unnecessary pressure on yourself and make you feel forced to read when you really don’t want to, which will just make the slump worse. Refer to tip #1 above, and just don’t read, especially if you’re not feeling it!
  2. Force yourself to read.
    Again, refer to tip #1 above. If you aren’t in the mood to read, then don’t. Give your mind a break. Watch some Netflix instead.
  3. Read a long book.
    This may work for some people, but for me, I prefer to read short, fast-paced books to get out of a slump. Something light and fun is going to be much easier to get through than something long and deep that requires a lot of concentration. Stick to light contemporaries or fast-paced thrillers! Then, when you’re out of your slump, you can reach for the big books! You’ll enjoy them much more that way!

Well, that’s all I have for now! Hopefully this was helpful! If you have any other tips for getting over a book slump, I would love to hear them!

With Malice by Eileen Cook

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetWith Malice by Eileen Cook
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): YA, Thriller
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5 stars
Preorder it: Amazon

With Malice is a YA thriller about a girl named Jill who wakes up in the hospital to discover that she’s been in a terrible car accident. An accident that left her best friend, Simone, dead. And on top of that, they are saying that this “accident” was actually a murder, and Jill is the main suspect. The problem is, Jill has no memory of the past 6 weeks. So what happened? Was it actually a murder, and if so, is Jill the killer? Or was it just an accident?

I really enjoyed this book. I love thrillers because they keep me turning the page wanting to know what happens next. And that’s exactly what this book did. I had no idea what happened, if it was a murder, who the murderer was, or if it was just an unfortunate accident. But I was dying to know and by the last 1/4 of the book I was frantically turning each page in hopes of getting some answers!
The book is told mainly from Jill’s perspective, but every other chapter includes excerpts from interviews, news articles, blog posts, etc. which was really interesting. With Jill’s head injury making her a fairly unreliable source, these additional sources help the reader gain outside perspective into whether Jill is guilty or not. Jill, of course, believes she is innocent, but how can she be sure when she has no memory of the the accident or the events leading up to it?
One thing I didn’t really like about the book was Jill herself. I found her to be a little arrogant and unfriendly, and I think it would have been nice for her to have been a likeable character so you could more easily feel sympathy for her and her situation. I also felt a little unsatisfied with the ending. I didn’t hate it, but I definitely didn’t love it.
Overall, a highly addicting, fast-paced thriller and I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a quick and easy read that will keep you on the edge of your seat! This comes out on June 7th so make sure to preorder it here!
Overall Rating:
4stars

When We Collided by Emery Lord

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetWhen We Collided by Emery Lord
Published by: Bloomsbury
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Mental Illness
Pages: 352
Buy it: Amazon

This isn’t your typical YA contemporary romance. This is a book about mental illness. And I love that the author chose to write about that because I think it’s something that is so misunderstood, and most people are highly uneducated about it. Writing about it is a great step towards bringing attention to a topic that I believe needs to be talked about more often. This is what initially drew me towards the book in the first place.

When We Collided is a YA Contemporary about a girl named Vivi who is living with a mental disorder (I won’t say what because it’s more fun to find out on your own!), and a boy named Jonah who is grieving over the death of his father. Both have their own pasts they are trying to recover from.

I had a really difficult time deciding what to rate this book. I liked it, but I also had quite a few problems with it.

First of all, the relationship between Vivi and Jonah just didn’t do it for me. There was no real connection at all. I feel like this would have been a much better story had the romance been excluded. They met and almost instantly fell for each other. And I understand that this may be somewhat realistic due to Vivi’s impulsive personality stemming from her mental disorder, but I still didn’t feel a connection between them. I also found Vivi extremely unlikable, and again, this could be due to her mental disorder, but she was also selfish, immature, and honestly just annoying and these are all traits I think were unrelated to the disorder, and just the type of person she was underneath it all. .

On the other hand, I loved Jonah. I loved his family, all 5 of his siblings, and even his mom who is so distressed due the loss of her husband that she can barely get out of bed most days. I loved how all 5 of Jonah’s siblings had such strong, distinct personalities and I wish we could have gotten to know them better. I loved how much Jonah cared about his family and how hard he tried to be strong for them even when he was hurting so much on the inside.

I loved that we got to see two sides of mental illness – we got to see someone living with it first-hand (Vivi), while also seeing someone living with it second-hand (Jonah caring for his mother who is struggling with depression).

I also really loved the writing style. I thought it was so beautiful and poetic. I will definitely be reading more Emery Lord books in the future!

Overall, I think there are a lot of people out there who would really enjoy this book. If you’re a fan of YA contemporaries, I’d definitely give this a try!

*This was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Bloomsbury!

Overall Rating:

3.5stars

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetForbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Published by: Simon Pulse
Genre(s): YA
Pages: 454
Buy it: Amazon

Lochan and Maya are the oldest of 5 siblings. Their father abandoned them to live with his new family, and their mother is an alcoholic who cares more about spending time with her boyfriend, than paying the bills or putting food on the table for her kids. Their mother is almost never home, leaving Lochan and Maya to take care of and raise their 3 younger siblings. They have always felt close – more like best friends than brother and sister. And they basically play the role of parents to their siblings, rather than the role of older teenage siblings. This eventually leads to them developing feelings for each other. Yes, romantic/sexual feelings. This book follows them while they struggle with these feelings and their situation.

This was a tough one for me to rate. Throughout the majority of the book I was pretty convinced I would be giving it a 3 star rating. However, the end is what bumped it up to 4 stars. The end is absolutely heartbreaking, but I loved it.

I have never felt so uncomfortable while reading a book. I applaud those who have enough of an open mind to empathize with these characters and their situation, but it was a little out of my comfort zone. The topic of incest is rarely seen in YA books (and just fiction books period) so I also applaud the author’s boldness for writing about something that most view as disgusting and wrong. That takes guts.

Overall, this was a very well written story. It’s fast-paced and addicting but definitely not for everyone.

Overall Rating:

4stars

F. Scott Fitzgerald | Penguin Classics

This is probably my absolute favorite collection that I own. These editions are just to die for! Pictures don’t even do them justice – they are much prettier in person!

What’s better than having beautiful books that you can not only read and enjoy, but display around your house as decor? I love it!

I’ll post pictures of each book below, and links where you can purchase them if you want! I get a lot of questions about where I got these, so I figured that would be helpful. 🙂

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Aren’t they gorgeous?!

 Processed with VSCO with a5 preset  Flappers and Philosophers

 

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset This Side of Paradise

 

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset The Beautiful and Damned

 

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset The Last Tycoon

 

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset Tales of the Jazz Age

 

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset The Great Gatsby

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset Tender Is the Night

These also each come with a matching bookmark that is attached to the inside of the cover. It’s perforated so you just rip it off and voila! Free matching bookmark!

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Hopefully this was helpful and you guys enjoy these types of posts! 🙂 If you did enjoy it, let me know and I will be sure to do more!

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetWhat She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman
Published by: Kensington
Genre(s): Fiction, Mental Illness
Pages: 336
Buy it: Amazon

Wow, this was good.

What She Left Behind tells the story of two different women living in two different time periods. Clara is a teenager in the 1920’s who comes from a very prestigious family – her father being part owner of one of the largest banks in Manhattan. When Clara refuses to marry the man her parents had arranged for her to marry, and instead insists they approve of her relationship with Bruno, an Italian immigrant whom she is in love with, her father has her taken away to an insane assylum where she is held against her will, despite insisting over and over that she is completely sane.

Izzy is a teenager in 1995. She was put into foster care at a young age after her mother fatally shot her father in his sleep. Her mother is put in a mental institution but eventually moved to prison after her doctor declares that she is sane. Izzy is convinced her mother is mentally ill, despite what her doctor says, because what sane person kills their husband? Now, Izzy is living with her foster parents, Peg and Harry. They are working on a project at the same mental institution Clara was kept at, which is how Izzy comes across all of Clara’s belongings including her journal. She is immediately drawn towards Clara and her story and thinks that reading her journal will help her understand how a mentally ill person’s mind works, therefore helping to explain her own mother’s mentality and actions that led to her randomly killing her husband.

This story had me hooked from the first page. I read it in less than 36 hours. This is the kind of story that will have you turning each page wanting to know what happens next. I had such a hard time putting it down! I was skeptical at first because I hadn’t heard much about it and the Goodreads rating isn’t too great (I have no idea why!), but I’m so glad I read it because I loved it! There were some parts that made me SO angry and sad for the characters. There are some brutal scenes that will make you want to throw the book across the room. But overall, a highly enjoyable and addicting read and I would definitely recommend it!

Overall Rating:

5-stars