Bookish Feels: I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

The Book: A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

My Feels: Beautiful, heartbreaking, and poignant. Oh! My heart! The poetic writing is gorgeous, honest, and real, which made these characters leap off the page. You could just feel the yearning of these characters and the complexities within them. I liked how the novel portrayed that even good people can do bad things. That we make choices and have to live with them and how we should always be honest and true to ourselves. I also found the exploration of sexuality in the novel to be very well done and believable. I wish I had this book as a teen. Upon finishing, it impresses a new lens for you to see the world and as an adolescent it would have showed me the vibrant colors of life I'd missed. Remake your world, friends, by starting with this novel ;) You won't regret it.

Bookish Feels: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

The Book: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.  (From Goodreads)

My Feels: So this is a book I would absolutely love as a teenager. As an adult, I found myself loving it too! With the exception of the plot twist (you'll either hate or love it, or if you're like me, saw it coming a mile away), everything is to be adored in this story. The rich and vibrant characters, the bits of art work that added to the story, the slow-burn of falling in love, and the human desire of wanting more. Well balanced and paced, this is the kind of read you'll burn through in one sitting cozied up with a blanket and a hot beverage. Super cutesy and fun with a lot of heart I know you'll enjoy.

Suggestions for your TBR pile.

In lieu of writing up multiple book reviews of my current reads these past two months, I've decided to make a list that you may want to add to your TBR pile.

For you contemporary lovers: Stephenie Perkins's Anna and the French Kiss, and Isla and the Happily Ever After


Why you'll like it: Very cute YA romance set in the idyllic Paris at a school abroad. You'll fall in love with the city and the MC's in one quick read.


Why you'll like it: Another cute YA romance using some of the cast from Anna and the French Kiss. This one had a deeper romance and the MC's quirky and artsy. The setting also takes this from New York to Paris, to a charming town in Spain.

For you fantasy lovers: Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy


Why you'll like it: Want an immersive fantasy that's a tad dark, but also fresh? Try this Russian-inspired fantasy. I devoured this series immediately. It's so good, it may even sway you to root for the dark side.

And for those of you who love retellings (or even if you don't): Brianna Shrum's Never Never


Why you'll like it: This is a hooky (pun intended) tale about a bad ass captain. But is he truly the villain? Shrum takes you on his journey from a little Lost Boy to one of the most frightening pirates in Neverland. Pick this up, now. Though I feel I should warn you, you may end up SWOONING for the man with the hook ;)

Book Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.


Overview: Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.


Review: Dessen is the Queen of YA Contemporary. I remember being introduced to her books by my best friend at the time in high school. I was forever in love after that. The last few of Dessen's books haven't been my favorite. But the way Dessen writes, so readable but poignant with an engaging story filled with meaning, you can never really go wrong. With Saint Anything, Dessen really got her mojo back. A story about falling in love, being your own person, commitment to friendships, and a family healing. All good stuff to be found in a YA.

If you're looking for a good contemporary, this one is it. Though be prepared, you might be craving fries after reading this ;)

My only qualm with this book was the intro. Tons of backstory that I think could have been weaved in later on. But on the plus side, the contemplation of guilt and sense of loneliness really does hit you right off the bat that compels you to read.

Saint Anything definitely falls on the higher spectrum of my favorite Dessen books, but so far The Truth about Forever and Just Listen are still my favorites.

Book Review: Faking Perfect by Rebecca Phillips

I rated this 2 out of 5 stars.


Overview:When Lexi Shaw seduced Oakfield High's resident bad boy Tyler Flynn at the beginning of senior year, he seemed perfectly okay with her rules:

1. Avoid her at school.
2. Keep his mouth shut about what they do together.
3. Never tease her about her friend (and unrequited crush) Ben.

Because with his integrity and values and golden boy looks, Ben can never find out about what she’s been doing behind closed doors with Tyler. Or that her mom’s too busy drinking and chasing losers to pay the bills. Or that Lexi’s dad hasn’t been a part of her life for the last thirteen years. But with Tyler suddenly breaking the rules, Ben asking her out, and her dad back in the picture, how long will she be able to go on faking perfect?

Review: Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC in exchange of an honest review. Faking Perfect will be out on June 30th, 2015.

I really wanted to like this book and the blurb and opening chapter made me think I would. The following chapters, however, not so much. There was nothing wrong with the prose, or writing. The romance wasn't too heavy that it overshadowed the whole book and the pacing was fine. Rather the problems stemmed from lack of characterization. Yes, we feel sorry for Lexi but at the same time her character lacked depth. So though I may have felt sorry for her, I didn't really care about her.

Then the love interests. Ben, the perfect guy? Umm no, more like the shallow guy. I still don't know why Lexi has a thing for him. And then Tyler. I really wanted to root for this guy. But how can I when I hardly know him? His character wasn't fleshed out enough. Lack of characterization was what made my rating so low. Perhaps that's a bit harsh, but it makes it difficult to follow characters through a whole story when you don't really know them or like them. Because of that, the book was really hard to get through.

Beta Reading, Synopsis, and Rain

It's Thursday which equals my Friday! Hallelujah!

Michael and I will be going on a getaway trip tomorrow to Walla Walla in Eastern Washington! I seriously cannot wait, this has been one of the longest weeks ever so I am pumped to get out of the city and do some wine tasting.

This week I sent my manuscript to four beta readers. I dowloaded it on my kindle too, but I think I should probably stay away from it awhile to gain some perspective.


M2 seriously drove me bonkers over the weekend, I thought I was going insane. The below comic explains it perfectly.
Though none of my betas are done reading, I've gotten some good comments which makes me sigh with relief (so it wasn't a complete shit show, excuse my language), but I am anxious for the bad comments that will eventually come. It's necessary though, contructive criticism will only make M2 stronger, which is what I want.

In the meantime I've been working on my synopsis and query (you'd be surprised how long it takes to write one letter and a 1-page summary). I've also been doodling ideas for a contemporary romance in case M2 doesn't work out. Though M2 has series potential, I don't want to invest the time in it yet without knowing if  it'll be published or not (though rest-assured, I do have brief arc of the whole series in mind).

Oh and lastly, there was a thunderstorn and downpour yesterday and it's raining today! I guess you can't exscape rain in Seattle, even if it is Summer.

Book Review: Easy (Contours of the Heart #1) by Tammara Webber

I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.


Overview:

Rescued by a stranger.
Haunted by a secret
Sometimes, love isn't easy...


He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior...

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he'd worked so hard to overcome, and the future she'd put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth - and find the unexpected power of love.

A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl's struggle to regain the trust she's lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy.

Review: This is my go-to book that I'm recommending to everyone and anyone who'll listen. I don't read New Adult as often as Young Adult books, but I think that'll soon change with books like this one. Thank goodness for Goodreads, because I don't think I would have found this book otherwise.

So where to begin? I finished this in like two nights. Webber does a great job with characterizing, pacing, and creating authentic dialogue. "I felt like I knew these people," I told Michael after reading it, to which he replied, "You know they aren't real, right?" I shook my head. "They are real! They're alive in these words!"

When you can feel like that after a book, you know it's great. I fell quickly for Lucas and became so proud of Jacqueline by the end of the novel. And once I finished I felt empty because the story was over. It really made me think about my own novel and made me wonder if my characters were vibrant enough that readers would feel attached.

Then I found out there's a book two in Lucas's point of view and my emptiness went away :P Just downloaded it on my kindle and can't wait to read it!

If you like comtemporary romance with a badass good-hearted hero, pick this up. You won't be disappointed.