April 2017 Wrap Up

Good morning, and happy Monday, friends! Today I’ve got for you another wrap up, this time for April. Honestly, I know everyone says this, but I’m so shocked that April is already over. A third of the year has gone by and I feel like I’ve done nothing. Anyone else feeling like this?

Book I Read:

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate – ★★★★★

 

Books I’m Currently Reading:

Monstress by Marjorie M. Lui and Sana Takeda

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

 

Other Reviews I Posted:

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

 

Miscellaneous:

Ten Bookish Places I Want to Visit

To Blog or Not to Blog

Bookish Resolutions Update

 

Thoughts

Yes, I’m still reading 2 books that I started in February. Unfortunately, I’ve only been reading them on-and-off, and I’m at the point where I don’t always feel like reading them, which is why I picked up Monstress. I am definitely hoping to finally finish them this month so I can move on to other books!

How did April go for you? Did you get a lot of reading done? Did you do any other fun things? Let me know in the comments!

Have a lovely day, everyone!

~Becca

 

Book Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Noteworthy

Publisher: Amulet Books

Date of Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Dates Read: April 18th – 26th, 2017

Description:

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Buy It From: Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Note: I received an eARC of Noteworthy from Amulet Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: ★★★★★

I had such high hopes for this book, and I am so glad that it did not let me down.

I absolutely adore Riley Redgate’s humorous, engaging writing. She brought a lot of life to these characters, and she handled more serious discussions with such ease and grace that this entire book as a whole was such a pleasure to read. Topics that are discussed in this book include, but are certainly not limited to: bisexuality, wealth, and a heavy focus on gender roles/norms, as well as a thoughtful and careful discussion that the main character, Jordan, has with herself about her cross-dressing and trans lives. There are a lot more, but I’ll let you read about them in the book instead of hearing it all from me.

I’ve never read any book about a capella before, so serious originality points for that. It was interesting to read bits and pieces of how arrangements work and learn about a capella along with Jordan, though I understood very few of the musical terms. There was enough musical jargon to make the discussions feel real, but not too many to make this book too technical or too hard to follow. Balancing technical terms in novels can be really hard, but I think Redgate nailed it.

Of course, I love almost every single character in this book, especially the Sharpshooters. They all have unique personalities and stories, different lives with vices and virtues and everything in between. They all mess up, they all learn from their mistakes, and yet they make such a dynamic, well-functioning group, that every time there was conflict I itched for them to make up and be pals again. Jordan made for a wonderful main character, with flaws of her own but thoughtful all the same.

Noteworthy definitely picks up the pace closer to the middle of the book. At this point, events just piled one after another and made me sit on the edge of my seat, worrying endlessly about Jordan and the rest of the Sharpshooters. Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, they did – and just when you thought there was a way out, it was taken away like THAT *snap*.

This book made me feel a lot of things: anger, heartache, joy, fear, and my heart beat a bit too fast when things got really intense. Honestly, I read the scene about “manning up” right before I went to bed, and I couldn’t sleep because of how angry I was at this character for saying that. This is what Noteworthy did to my emotions and my sleep schedule. I truly never wanted to put it down.

Overall: A thought-provoking, endlessly entertaining read that I will recommend to everyone in a heartbeat!

 

My Bookish Resolutions: April Update

Hello everyone, and happy Friday!

Today I’m going to be discussing how my bookish resolutions have been working out so far – have I been keeping to them? Have I given up? Read on to find out!

Resolution 1: Read Every Day

Ha. Ha. Ha. As you have likely clearly seen, I haven’t been reading every day until recently. You know, school’s the usual excuse. I have, however, created a new schedule for myself that involves reading at 9 o’clock to calm myself down enough to go to bed at 10. I haven’t been following it perfectly, but it’s better than nothing!

Resolution 2: Read More Sequels

The only sequel that I have read this year is Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton, which I am still currently reading. I’ve had a lot of ARCs that I’ve wanted to get to, and I don’t read quickly enough to get through them all in a short amount of time.

Resolution 3: Buy Only Sequels

This is one resolution that I’ve actually been pretty good about! I’ve only bought 3 books this year: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi, King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard, and Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch. While ACoW is technically not a sequel, it is a spinoff from The Star Touched Queen, so I counted it as a sequel (my love for Chokshi made me break this rule tbh). I’m pretty proud of myself for only buying 3 books this year!

Resolution 4: Use the Library

I actually have been good about this, too, borrowing Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton before reading TttT. That’s pretty much it, though I plan to use it a lot more for other hyped books.

Resolution 5: Don’t Pressure Yourself with a Reading Goal

LOL I’ve already surpassed my reading goal of 3 by reading 4 books, which makes me very happy. It’s kind of freeing, in a way – and it’s fun to see the percent bar go above 100%. A false sense of accomplishment to make me feel like I’m being productive!


Did you make any bookish New Year’s Resolutions? How are they going for you? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

~ Becca

Thoughts on my blogging (LONG)

This post is going to be a bit of a jumbled mess, so bear with me while I attempt to put the feelings in my brain into words.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my blog and my place in the blogging world lately. I wrote a little thread about it on my Twitter, if you want to see the gist of it, but I decided that maybe it would be good for me to write out all of my thoughts and feelings on the subject. Maybe it will make me feel better, or at least help me finally come to a decision?

First, a little history.

I have been a reader for pretty much my whole life, thanks to my Mom, but I only started getting into writing when I was in the seventh grade. My main focus was creative writing, specifically fictional stories. I had a short story of mine published in an anthology in the eleventh grade (junior year), I was in a creative writing group for my last two years of high school, and took a creative writing class during the twelfth grade (senior year).

After I graduated high school, an opportunity came up to write blog posts for a popular student life website. Blogging was something I’d always thought about, but didn’t think I was interesting enough for. In this case, however, I was going to be a freshman in university, so I figured that it would give me plenty of material. I ended up writing for these guys for about a year and a half, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed it, most of the time.

About a month after I started blogging with them, I found out about booklr, a community of book lovers on Tumblr. I made my own booklr, under a different name. Eventually I came up with beccathelitwitch, and have carried that name forward with me ever since. Booklr started out being cool; there were a lot of gorgeous photos to share, lots of friendly people to talk books with, and lots of new books to learn about. Seriously, I don’t think my TBR pile would be this big if it weren’t for the booklr community. I also met one of my good friends, Kat, on there.

I dove right in, following all the popular blogs and entering giveaways and having my blog rated by the popular bloggers so I could gain some followers of my own. This is also where I started trying my hand at book photography. The following photos are a comparison of the first photo I posted on booklr, and the last one I posted to my bookstagram:

Okay, so I am the first to admit that I’m still not very good at photography, but at the very least I am a lot better at it than I used to be.

I started doing book reviews in the following January, and that was basically what my booklr was: 70% reblogged posts, 30% my own photos and posts. Honestly, it was a good time waster and a fun way to learn about new books. But I was just starting university, so while I wanted to do more of my own posts, do more for my blog, I had to prioritize school. I’ll admit that I craved to be as popular as the other blogs, to have publishers send me books, to have affiliate links, etc. But now I understand that that level of popularity took a lot of time, patience, and hard work, and while I like to think that I have the effort in me, the truth is that I have never had the time or patience for it.

I made this blog about a year and a half after, around the same time that I stopped writing for the student life website. Tumblr was ultimately more about photos, and photos were definitely not my strong suit, so I thought that I’d try my hand at a platform that focused more on writing – which I’ve been doing for many years now. (I also had a brief stint as a booktuber, but we’re not going to talk about that failure – LOL.)

Fast forward a year and here we are. I started out with a regular posting schedule, with meme posts and tags and reviews scheduled for specific days, and I was really excited about it. But, once again, school took all of my focus and time, and now I’m at the point where I’m lucky if I manage to post twice a week.

Okay, that’s great Becca, but get to the good stuff. Tell us how you really feel.

As I said before I went on that historical tangent, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I should continue book blogging. There are, of course, a million and one reasons why I think I shouldn’t.

No. 1: Time

You’ve seen me complain A LOT about how I don’t have the time to work on this blog, and I often don’t even make the time to read – how am I supposed to run a book blog when I don’t even read? I am a full time university student, trying to get a high GPA so that I can get into a good grad school program. I also work part-time, have quite a few familial obligations, a social life to upkeep, and enjoy my sleep. And, yeah, maybe I spend a little too long online window-shopping and watching YouTube. Blogs need time for creating posts and writing them, time to promote yourself across multiple platforms and get traffic to the blog itself. Can I even make that kind of time?

No. 2: Mediocrity

Because I don’t spend a lot of time on my blog, my skills are mediocre at best. And being mediocre in a sea of stand-out bloggers doing important and cool things is really disheartening. It’s kind of like “what’s the point of me continuing with my mediocrity when I can’t compete with everyone else?” (I mean, the fact that I am trying to compete may also be a sign that I really shouldn’t be blogging. It may also be a problem that is deeply rooted in a childhood of being told I’m exceptional and a young-adulthood of being told that I’m actually just average. But that’s a tale for another time.)

In addition, I’m really bad at being a critical reader, though I want to get better, and in the current political climate being a critical reader is more important than ever. I’m not bringing anything new or exciting to the table, I’m not opening people’s eyes to new ideas and problems and solutions, like a lot of wonderful bloggers are. Again, my current thought process is that if I’m not doing anything that makes people think, then why am I doing this?

No. 3: Focus

I have always considered myself a “jack of all trades and a master at none”, and this is probably the best cliche description of me that exists. I love to try new and different things, but that also makes focussing on one thing to “master” really hard. I’ve done seven different sports, half-learned to play the guitar, sing, and know a basic amount of French – heck, even the degrees I plan to graduate with cover three different disciplines (if you’re curious: science, arts, and humanities).

I want to learn how to cook and how to speak different languages. I want to be able to feed people good meals that don’t involve copious amounts of icing and butter (though there’s absolutely no problem with that), and be able to speak to people so that I can learn more than I ever could in just English. I also want to write so many novels, to publish my beloved characters and make people happy with my books. Focusing on blogging is really difficult for me because I just want to do so many other things on top of it!

No. 4: The Future

This one is pretty selfish, but I’m at the point in my life where I really need to start thinking about where I’m going, career wise. Is having a mediocre blog going to help me with my future job? Is this really where I should be putting my time and energy? If I drop this hobby, will that help or hurt me?

Okay okay, but then why are you still doing this?

No. 1: I like it

Yeah, okay, so I’m really not good at anything book-related, except maybe fictional writing, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy it. I started this blog because I enjoyed discussing books so much on other platforms, and writing was the medium I was the most comfortable with. I like doing tags and writing reviews, reading books and getting excited about them with people. The community is, most of the time, really great, especially since a lot of authors participate in these conversations on social media. As someone who’s not part of many clubs or communities in real life, this one means a lot to me.

No. 2: I’m stubborn

I’m a competitive and driven person, generally speaking, and I don’t particularly enjoy quitting hobbies, especially since without them I’m b o r i n g.

No. 3: ARCs

(I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be telling you all this or not, but if it turns out it’s a bad idea, gently let me know and I can edit)

To clarify: I requested a lot of ARCs, thinking that there was no way that I would actually be accepted for every single one of them (hello, mediocrity). Lo and behold, I had like seven different ARCs sitting on my shelf, and zero time to read them. If I do decide to stop blogging, it will be after I write the reviews for the remaining books, because while I am a slow reader, I am also a person who likes to complete her obligations and promises before moving on to the next thing. It’s the least I can do for being granted the advanced copies.


And so, here we are, over 1,700 words later. I had actually planned to say more, but I’m going to force myself to stop here, for everyone’s sake. And yet there is still a question hanging above my head: should I stay or should I go? Should I put my energy elsewhere, or should I continue in my average-ness?

If you have any thoughts, I welcome you to leave them in the comments down below. I’m happy to receive any and all input, if it helps me come to a decision.

If you’ve made it this far, I applaud you. I barely made it this far.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day/night, wherever you are. Thanks for reading!

~Becca

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

DISCLAIMER: this review was originally written and posted to my booklr (bookish tumblr) on FEBRUARY 7th, 2015, and is being archived on this blog. This review contains my thoughts on the book at the time that I read it, but I have not re-read it since then, so my feelings about the content may have changed.

 

RPO.jpg

Publisher: Crown/Archetype Publishing

Date of Publication: June 5th, 2012

Dates Read: January 2nd – February 6th, 2015

Description:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

But It From: Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

My Rating: ★★★★★

This book.

The plot was intriguing, with unpredictable twists that never failed to keep me on the edge of my seat. It had a good pace for the most part, too. If anything, there were some parts that were kind of slow, but they were mostly informational, so I could understand why they were necessary. Nonetheless, I never wanted to put it down, even though I had a test to study for. No regrets.

I really dug the characters, as well. I worried about them and called them my babies and got quite attached. They were snarky and fun and had their problems but were human and stupid and clever and I just loved this group so much.

I also loved all the 80’s pop culture references, some of which I understood, while others I had to read the explanations for. Honestly, the whole premise of the book was so neat to me. I grew up hearing about all this stuff from my parents, aunts, and uncles, and it was cool to read about it in action.

Sorry I don’t have more to say, but words cannot describe my feelings for this book. It was so so so so so good. So good. Shoutout to my boyfriend for letting me borrow it from him!

Overall: Definitely one of my favourites. Makes me want to read more sci-fi!

Ten Bookish Places I Want to Visit

It’s a big world that we live in, which means that there are a wide variety of shops and libraries to visit around the globe! Today I’ll be listing some of the places that I would love to visit, though this list is by no means exhaustive – I had to cut it down so I wouldn’t ramble on forever. As always, I welcome all suggestions for bookstores and libraries around the world that I should consider visiting – you may even introduce me to a new favourite!

Libraries

Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

I remember seeing this Colosseum-like building when I went to Vancouver about seven years ago (yikes!), but had no idea what it actually was until now. The architecture is what makes this building really neat, although I’m sure it also holds many gems inside. You can find out more information on the Vancouver Public Library website, and see the building on their Flickr!

Biblioteca Vasconcelos in Mexico City, Mexico.

The images I’ve seen of this library make it seem like a floating city of books. It’s a very angular library, lots of straight edges and modern decor – well, except for the white whale skeleton, which looks tiny compared to the enormity of the library itself. According to Rebecca O’Connell at Mental Floss, in 2015 the library held about 470,000 books, but the shelves weren’t all that full back then, another testament to its grandeur. I bet it holds more tomes now than it did back then.

The Library of Admont Abbey in Austria

Admont Abbey
Inside the Library of Admont Abbey (photo from the Stift Admont website)

This library is the epitome of Baroque style, with ceiling frescoes, limewood carvings, gold accents, and white surfaces to optimize the light. According to their website, the library holds 70,000 books of the 200,000 owned by the abbey. There are no barriers, and apparently you can tour the space without a guide! If I ever get to go here, I might have a Belle a-la Beauty and the Beast moment.

Delft University of Technology Library in the Netherlands

 

What I really like about this building is that most of it is underground. Delft University of Technology’s library has a living roof (of grass), and a giant skylight that points into a cone above ground. The inside has a modern feel, which I’ve come to expect from the Netherlands, and lots of different rooms for students to study in. Find out more info on their website, and see pictures on their Flickr!

Biblioteca Joanina at the Universidade de Coimbra in Portugal

Biblioteca Joanina
Inside Biblioteca Joanina (photo from the Universidade de Coimbra website)

Built between 1717 and 1728, Biblioteca Joanina holds rare, old books that can only be accessed by researchers, though the library itself is open to visitation by the public. It’s quite opulent, to say the least, with teakwood doors, gold-guilded decorations, and oakwood shelves that they claim deter pests from ruining the collection. Plus, they’ve got bats to help further protect the collection! How cool is that? You can read more about this gorgeous library on the Universidade de Coimbra website!

 

Bookstores

The Strand Bookstore in Manhattan, New York, USA

The Strand is one of those bookstores that I hear a million and one people talk about. It’s one of those bookstores that I swear is on every American/Canadian bookworm’s bucket list. They buy and sell books in their huge facility, claiming to have “18 miles of books”. I think I heard about this store in Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, and ever since then I’ve wanted to visit it. Maybe next time I’m in New York, though I don’t know when that will be… Find out more about this shop from their website!

Owl’s Nest Bookstore in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

This cute used bookstore is nestled in Canada’s East Coast, and is a favourite of locals and visitors, alike. At first glance it doesn’t look like much, but they’ve managed to pack a lot of books in this small shop. I can definitely see myself spending a lot of time here, just browsing through all the shelves and finding some hidden gems. I really love exploring quaint bookstores. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

Ben McNally Books in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ben McNally
Inside Ben McNally Books (from the Ben McNally Books website)

The inside of this bookstore is full of wooden decor and cozy leather chairs to curl up in. The decor is gorgeous, extending to the elegant artwork on the ceilings. They say that their shelves are always changing, that the owner and workers are open to new suggestions and always ready to help readers find something new.

Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon

Powell’s is another one of those stores that I hear about on Twitter, and is in many of those “places you have to visit!” lists for bookworms. Settled in Portland, Oregon, it boasts the title of the largest new and used bookstore in the world – so, really, it’s no wonder that everyone seems to want to visit!

El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires, Argentina

This is another bookstore that ends up on many bookish bucket lists – and, obviously it’s on my list, so I can’t blame everyone for wanting to visit. Buzzfeed even wrote an article about it! This bookstore is a repurposed theatre, with seating and a cafe on the stage and stacks of books where the seating used to be. You can check out photographer Niels Micker’s photos of it on Flickr. Talk about Instagram-able!


 

Thank you for reading, and remember to leave your dream libraries and bookstores down below in the comments! Have a wonderful Monday ❤

~ Becca

Book Review: Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

DISCLAIMER: this review was originally written and posted to my booklr (bookish tumblr) on FEBRUARY 16th, 2015, and is being archived on this blog. This review contains my thoughts on the book at the time that I read it, but I have not re-read it since then, so my feelings about the content may have changed.

Gathering Darkness

Publisher: Razorbill

Date of Publication: December 9th, 2014

Dates Read: January 17th – February 16th, 2015

Description:

Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred – the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic…

• THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.

• THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia’s overpowering magic – all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.

• THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred.

The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica… but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.

Buy It From: Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Morgan Rhodes is going to kill me with her books, I swear. I have always enjoyed her writing style and world building. And her characters, well, they’re so complex that I actually like the guy that most people hate.

AND MY OTP. THEY KISSED. THAT PROBABLY MEANS ONE OF THEM IS GOING TO DIE SOMETIMES DURING THE NEXT 3 BOOKS AND I DON’T THINK I’M PREPARED FOR THAT.

But as much as I enjoyed it, it didn’t quite earn 5 stars as the last 2 books had. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I feel like something is lacking in this book. That, and there is just so much going on at once that sometimes it’s a little hard to keep track of.

But yeah, if this is a milder version of Game of Thrones, then I will probably never read GoT. So much dying in this series. I can barely handle it.

Overall: Kind of meh at some points, but still a great read. My love for Morgan Rhodes knows no bounds.

March 2017 Wrap Up

Hello everyone! It is now officially April, and does anyone else think that March went by really quickly?

Today I am bringing you my very short March wrap up! As you may or may not have noticed, I accidentally went on a little unannounced hiatus because I lost a bit of control over my time management and homework, which is why this is going to be a baby of a post. Here’s hoping I stop doing that!

Books I Read:

Currently Reading:

  • Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton – I just started it, so there’s not much that I can say about it. I’m slowly working my way through the list of ARCs that I am immensely behind on.
  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – I’m also not very far into this one, and I haven’t read enough to form a great opinion.

Miscellaneous:

 


 

That’s it! Like I said, short and sweet. I apologize for disappearing, but I’m working on my time management skills right now, and hopefully that won’t happen again for a while. I guess it also helps that my term has ended! Ha!

I hope you all have a wonderful day, and expect another post from me on Wednesday. Thanks for sticking around!

~ Becca

 

 

Anticipated Releases: April to June 2017

Hello friends! My school term is finally over, except for exams, which means that I should (hopefully) be coming off of my hiatus now! Huzzah!

Today’s post is all about my most anticipated released coming out over the next three months. I did one on books released in January to March, as well, if you’d like to check that out! Once again, this post is in order of release, not in order of my favourites, just for more ease of writing (and because I can’t make up my mind…)

1. Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (May 2nd, 2017)

Noteworthy

Description:

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Riley Redgate is one of those people I wish I could be best friends with – seriously, on Twitter she’s absolutely hilarious and relatable. She wrote one of my favourite contemporaries, Seven Ways We Lie, so of course when I heard that she had a second book coming out, I added it on Goodreads right away. The premise just sounds so fun, and I’ve seen great reviews from other people with ARCs, so saying “I’m ecstatic” is probably an understatement.

 

2. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (May 2nd, 2017)

Always and Forever.jpg

Description:

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

I’ll admit, I haven’t read P.S. I Still Love You yet. But that’s not going to stop me from being excited for this final instalment of the TATBILB series. The covers are g o r g e o u s, and I definitely see a lot of myself in Lara Jean, so of course I want to keep up with her!

 

3. Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh (May 16th, 2017)

Flame in the Mist

Description:

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

This is another instance of me wanting to auto-buy a book because of the author. If you read my post about my favourite reads of 2016, you’ll know that Ahdieh’s The Wrath & the Dawn duology made it to the very top. I’m in love with Ahdieh’s vibrant writing, and I cannot wait to read a new adventure from her!

 

4. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (May 30th, 2017)

Dimple

Description:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book for months – I had wanted to add it to my last Anticipated list, except I was bummed to find out that it wasn’t coming out until May! But the release date is drawing closer, and I can’t wait to get my dusty library hands on this book.

 

5. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo (May 30th, 2017)

I Believe

Description: 

Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends.

So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study.

Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

Okay, this just sounds really adorable, and I like a good, adorable love story. The cover is eye-catching with the colour contrast, and I hear the father-daughter relationship is good n’ strong which makes my heart swell. So ready for this.

 


 

So, it turns out that all of my anticipated released for the next three months are all coming out in one month… oh boy…

Did I miss any of your faves? Leave them in a comment down below and remind me of all the other awesome books that are coming out in April, May, and June!

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone, and thank you for reading ❤

~ Becca

Book Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands

Publisher: Viking Books

Date of Publication: March 8th, 2016

Dates Read: January 19th – March 16, 2017

Description:

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him… or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

Buy It From: Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Edit: I have since learned that this book uses negative stereotypes and has hurt people. I encourage you to check out Fadwa of Word Wonders’s review, which discusses the problems with this book.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. First of all, I must say that I kinda like this whole Western-meets-fantasy vibe that the book’s got going on. It was pretty unique to me, and it made for an interesting, wide world.

So yeah, the world building was pretty neat.

I also really liked our main characters, Amani and Jin. Amani is snarky, independent, but wholly human. She is not perfect, though her shooting is, and when she messes up she acknowledges it, even if only to herself. Jin is swoon-worthy but he’s also got his own personalities and characteristics, his own story, so he’s much more than just the love interest. Together they make a great duo, between their banter, planning, and cooperation.

I did find that I was a bit confused by what was happening in the beginning, but soon enough I was on board for the ride. There were some small but effective twists and turns to keep the story interesting and not easy for the main characters, but there was always enough hope in the story to keep me reading. Of course, the sexism in some cities was infuriating, but Amani and all the other kick-butt ladies in this book surely proved all those men wrong. I’m excited to read and learn more about these wonderful ladies in the next book!

With all of these great aspects, though, it did lose one star. There did seem to be an awful lot of characters, and while they were all really interesting, it was hard to keep track of them. In addition, there was a point where 2 months passed between two paragraphs. I wish those 2 months had been expanded upon, had more detail written about them. I would have liked to have seen Jin & Amani get closer, to see their relationship develop instead of it just happening between the lines. It could also be hard to imagine the layout of the world, and I think a map would be nice, especially for people like me who are geographically challenged.

And I will wholly admit that this is another book where the girl is secretly special but doesn’t know it, even though she’s so strange compared to the people in her town. Where she meets a boy and eventually because of him finds out what makes her special. If you’re tired of those stories, this book might not be for you. In this case, I think Hamilton’s writing won me over enough for me to overlook some of the clichés. Seriously, her writing was lovely and really vibrant and descriptive.

Overall: A fun read with beautiful descriptions and interesting world.