Monday, September 28, 2015

ARC Review: Zeroes - Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti

Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
Series: Zeroes, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: September 29th, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Subversion, superheroes, and Scott Westerfeld are three of my favorite S's, so I was looking forward to see how this book would play out (also before anyone says anything about the last S, I know there are three authors but I am not familiar with the other two and their names are not S names so do not start with me).

I love stories where the main characters aren't, well, the heroes. I find it so enamoring exploring the multifaceted nature of people and the way they can be so much. I absolutely am here for the concept of a superhero that isn't the typical "fly around in a mask, tight suit, and cape and save the city from imminent disaster day after day" and I am so about the idea that your superpower might not be all it's cracked up to be. Everyone wants to be an Avenger, but what if your lot in life is a "reject/crappy" superpower? I like that this is a book about the other superheroes, the ones that aren't living it up in Stark tower anytime soon.

The powers themselves were pretty cool. Like I said, I liked that they were fleshed out and were hindrances as much as they were helpful. We had Ethan, who had another voice in him that could say whatever one wanted to hear and charm his way places, but the voice didn't shut up when the situations seemed like they'd be trouble; Kelsie; who can control the energy of a crowd, which can go happy or anxious; Thibault, who's got the invisibility with a catch: everyone forgets him; Riley, who's blind but can see through other people's eyes; and the leader, Nate, who can make people follow him.

I wasn't sure if I liked that there was a clear-cut leader just appointed like that. I usually prefer when groups exist in books and leaders emerge through character development. Also speaking of character development, I feel like the book was so long but there was so little fleshing of the characters? I can see why because there was a rotating cast of first-person narrators to switch between and that forced the authors to make some sacrifices, and it wasn't like they were static characters by any means. I just wished some aspects of their selves came across a little bit more.

My only other real negative is the pacing. I'm not sure if I would call it slow exactly but it didn't work for me 100%. There was just a lot of switching between characters and they each told tiny bits of things happening and then back to another character and while it did pick up towards the middle it took me a lot longer to read it than I anticipated, even though I did like the story a lot. However, both the pace thing and the character thing are still only enough to knock one star off, although I'm still mulling the book over.

Now that we've got negatives out of the way, I was super into the story! Throughout the whole book, you could really see the characters struggling to come together as a team, and I loved that the authors highlighted the problems with trying to be heroes. The plot raised a lot of questions about who to trust, which characters would act which way, etc and I liked that it wasn't assumed that once the team got back together they'd just cooperate and be best friends.

The characters I mentioned before, although they might not have been 100% what I wanted developmentally personality wise, their stories were brought to life quite well. I was engaged reading about how they influenced one another and the world around them, as well as how their powers worked. These aspects of the story were definitely well-thought out and well executed.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I thought it was a new and refreshing concept and I can't wait to see more from these authors.

- Noor

Think carefully: if you had a superpower, what would it be?
Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

ARC Review: Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows
Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: September 29nd, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Look, if that divinely morbid cover art isn't enough to convince you . . . then I'm pretty much at a loss.

I'll try anyway.

The incredible amount of hype for this book unsettled me, primarily because I've never read Leigh Bardugo's previous work. The line for this ARC copy (thanks Henry Holt and Company!) was excessive, and when I first picked it up, I had relatively indifferent thoughts towards it, even after the blurb.

However, after barely the first page, I was hooked. This, in itself, is really a feat. If you're on a a reading low, read this book. I haven't really been getting that interested in what I'm reading these days . . . but this book wrenched me right out of my slump. Bardugo blasts through the first chapter, guns blazing with clever, well-paced prose, lively and mysterious characters, a fitting and adaptive tone, an eerie and dangerous setting -- it's fantastic. The greatest achievement of this book, however, is in its totality: it is one hell of a series-starter. Bardugo is able to present six of the wildest and angstiest people I've had the pleasure of reading, with a twisted as hell plot, and she does this all while laying down un-finished story arcs, tiny Chekov guns, and a breathtaking finale that releases the major tension in the novel but piles on so many more questions.

In short, this book is probably smarter than all of us.

The characters are just incredible. Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, and Wylan. Each of the six main characters are utterly believable and interesting in their own rights. Now, this is hard enough to do with traditional narration. But Bardugo tackles the mountain of a challenge of using multiple-character narration in this piece, giving us five different persepctives. AND IT WORKS. So often, characters in such pieces are either reduced to caricatured language, or they all sound the same. In this piece, Bardugo really works herself hard to keep each of the characters distinct. It's not completely distinguishable, mind you, and there are a couple of instances of overlap -- but this is to be expected as six people should share some kind of similar thought.

Also . . . the characters. They're so good. They're handled so well. Kaz, for example, is nearly indestructible for much of the novel due to his level of forethought, intelligence, and utter emotional coldness . . . but Bardugo still imparts great suffering and hardship on Kaz and because of her ability to craft well-defined characters, we suffer as well. And it's weird that we suffer because all of the characters have the morals of a black hole.

Also, THE CHARACTERS. Their romances! Are! Not! Prioritized! The characters have emotional journies that are not entirely relative to the main plot of the novel, and this has the incredible effect of making the novel feel as though its characters are historical and actually real rather than fictional. All three of the main ships in this novel never interrupt the main storyline, and we are then able to actually watch how the ships affect characters in their decisions unrelated to romance. It's a work of art.

The prevalence of non-traditional morals, characters with disabilities, strong female friendships, and romances that back-grounded and developed . . . . it's good on the representational front. Not perfect, but good enough to keep me going.

The writing is just good. It's just so good. And its implemented to build a world that I want to live in after having read it. I want to be in Kerch and explore the whole of the city.

- Marlon
What is your weapon of choice? 
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Here at We Live and Breathe Books, two of us choose five books each week. This weeks topic is...

Books On My Fall TBR

Kiersten's Picks

The Fantasticks
Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

College is hard and gets in the way of all my fun YA novels. But that doesn't mean I'm not reading - being a theater design major means reading a lot of plays. This week, my set design class is starting our project on The Fantasticks, so I'll be reading it, and listening to the music, very soon.

Book by George Furth
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Company is another musical I'll be reading and listening to this week. This musical is for my costume design class. My costume class is quite intense and I have to read and design the show in a week. This should be interesting.

Michael Weller
Goodreads | Amazon

Of course, my design classes aren't the only ones that require I read plays - I'm also taking a play analysis class this semester. You may have figured it out (it's not obvious at all), but one must read plays in order to analyze them. Moonchildren is the play we will be discussing later this week, so I'll be reading this soon.

A Flea in Her Ear
Georges Feydeau 
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

This play isn't exactly for a class - this play is one that my school will be doing later this school year. Even though I'm a costume focus within my major, I am assisting lighting design for this show, so I must read this play. I'm sure you can guess when I need to read this play... this week! I am in quite a predicament.

A Thousand Nights
E.K. Johnston
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

IT'S NOT A PLAY! HUZZAH! I actually contemplated listing my calculus textbook since I've been relearning calc 1 and 2 over the weekend in anticipation of my first calc 3 exam tomorrow (well, today now), but I saw that Noor mentioned this one below, so I decided to include it. This is one book that I really want to find time for in the next two or so weeks. Since I have an eARC of this, I'm way more likely to actually read it than a physical copy. But I'm still insanely busy - if the four plays I need to read this week weren't enough, I'm also going into technical rehearsals for Kiss Me, Kate, a show I was the associate costume designer on, on Thursday. Woooooo! I love not sleeping.

I apologize that this Top Ten Tuesday turned into a pity party. I hope all you lovely people are able to spread your Fall TBR out over more than a week.

Noor's Picks

Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff 
The Illuminae Files, #1
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Not only does this have a beautiful, hardcore cover, but it sounds so exciting and thrilling and ever since I got my hands on it at BEA I've been anticipating reading it. I've got a few books I'll be tackling before this one but it won't be long before I see what's in these ~600 pages.

Black Widow: Forever Red
Margaret Stohl
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Marvel won't give us a Black Widow movie, but at least Margaret Stohl has given us a Black Widow novel. Not only do I adore Margaret Stohl as a human being, but I also just love Black Widow as a character and so I am high key excited to read this book and expunge my mind of anything Natasha Romanoff did in Age of Ultron.

A Thousand Nights
E.K. Johnston
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Fairytale retellings -- I know 1001 Nights isn't a fairytale exactly -- are honestly my favorite concept, I would go to war for a good retelling. This one in particular looks like it'll be great so I'm hopeful. It doesn't come out until the end of October so while I have to wait a month like normal people, Kiersten has a NetGalley ARC, so if she gets to it before I do, I'll definitely be harassing her for details.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz
A.S. King
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

After I read I Crawl Through It (review here), I immediately wanted to explore other works by A.S. King. I honestly just picked this one because it had a cover I liked and at least one person said they liked it in the Goodreads reviews of I Crawl Through It. I'm interested in seeing the variation in her writing and this could very well not be the next A.S. King book I read, but I know I'm definitely going to try to read something by her soon.

Kafka on the Shore
Haruki Murakami
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

I've been meaning to read this, and Murakami in general, for an obscenely long period of time, and I've actually had this sitting on my bookshelf for a while, but for some reason my mind decided that this was a book I needed to read while flying so I'm going to read it on November 10th, on my flight to New York.

What's on your TBR?
Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

ARC Review: I Crawl Through It - A.S. King

I Crawl Through It 
A. S. King
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Surreal
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

This was the most unexpected book I have ever read.

Never having encountered a piece of fiction quite like this -- a YA novel surreal to the core, but still grounded in reality -- it took a few pages for me to get with the program and understand the way it was written. When Stanzi mentions the invisible red helicopter her friend Gustav is building that she can only see on Tuesdays, this does not mean he does not allow her to see it any other day or that it's merely a joke between them. It means he is truly building a helicopter that is invisible to most, and to Stanzi, it is visible on Tuesdays. When China Knowles says she has swallowed herself, turned herself inside out, this is not simply a metaphor for shrinking into herself after a traumatic event. She is genuinely seen as organs on legs by the characters in the book.

The best way to read this book is to take everything literally. In any other book, mentioning a character where her hair was so long you swear it grew a foot since the day before would be taken as exaggeration. Of course it didn't, but it seemed that way because it's just that long and the reader can piece this together. In I Crawl Through It, everything is so surreal, that nothing is exaggeration. Landsdale Cruise's hair grows a foot with each pathological lie she tells, and there is a dangerous man in a bush who gives out chains of letters that are infinitely long and there is an invisible island you can fly to in the invisible helicopter to escape the school where there are daily bomb threats and drills and practice tests.

And it all works so remarkably well. I finished the book not only mulling over what I just read but wondering why I'd never read anything by A.S. King before, resolving to put her at the top of my list of authors to be read soon.

Not only was the story so interestingly woven but it was well written and also had some important points about how we all cope with trauma/stress/bad-things-of-a-serious-nature in different ways. Whether that involves lying and baking or dissecting all the animals in the school or building something no one can see or writing poems about how inanimate objects have more self-esteem than you, this book showed teens compartmentalizing and avoiding their trauma and it also showed them dealing with it in important ways like standing up to an abuser, and it was cool that it wasn't just a weird book with inside out girls. Not that I wouldn't have read that book to be honest.

I briefly mentioned that it was well-written and I want to touch upon that as well. I absolutely loved A.S. King's voice in this novel. Every line seemed so purposeful, so powerful, and so many of them were so beautifully phrased. A lot of the book had an air of gloom and that was cool too because you could feel it coming from the character's words, not the author's, and it reinforced the fact that they were sad and stuck and looking for something.

When I picked up I Crawl Through It, I was expecting a regular realistic fiction YA book about sad, stressed kids in high school. I wasn't expecting anything bad, because regular realistic fiction YA books about sad stressed kids in high school are often books I like, but this was not like anything I've read before and I hope you read it too.

- Noor

Would you rather be inside out or hairnocchio? 
Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Stuffed Animal Saturday: Financial Accounting 9th Edition, Jerry J. Weygandt, Donald E. Kieso, Paul D. Kimmel

Stuffed Animal Saturday is a meme that we post here at We Live and Breathe Books to showcase the book we're currently reading with one of our favorite stuffed animals and discuss our stuffed animal's opinion (well, it's really our opinion, but that's besides the point). We hope you enjoy our quirky feature as much as we enjoy writing it!

This Saturday, me and Hydrant are reading Financial Accounting, 9th Edition, by Weygandt, Kieso, and Kimmel. While this is not our typical genre of book, we decided to try it out.

So far: We're on chapter two, but its looking like we're going to be spending the whole semester reading the book. What we know from our reading so far: accounting is very very important and everyone uses it, or at least the finished numbers of it, in business. Which is what makes the world go round, so we're learning very important stuff. Seems really educational for a Young Adult blog, but hey, we're open to reading anything here at We Live and Breathe Books. I'm also reading some lovely pieces on coding java, power politics in the Soviet Union, and more!

Sneak peek: The following is an excerpt from the opening section ("What is Accounting?") of "Chapter 1: Accounting in Action."
What consistently ranks as one of the top career opportunities in business? What frequently rates among the most popular majors on campus? What was the undergraduate degree chosen by Nike founder Phil Knight, Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, former acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Thomas Pickard, and numerous members of Congress? Accounting.1 Why did these people choose accounting? They wanted to understand what was happening financially to their organizations. Accounting is the financial information system that provides these insights. In short, to understand your organization, you have to know the numbers.
Accounting consists of three basic activities—it identifies, records, and communicates the economic events of an organization to interested users. Let's take a closer look at these three activities.
In all seriousness, I've been insanely busy the last few weeks and I've read at most the few pages of an actual YA book (I know, what a sad life I live). But when things settle down, I'll be able to get my act together and start reading more YA, but for now, me and Hydrant are still reading my Financial Accounting book.

- Amrutha

Are you and your stuffed animal reading anything interesting? 
Let us know in your own Stuffed Animal Saturday!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Double ARC Review: Dumplin' - Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date:September 15th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Willowdean Dickson might have introduced herself to her coworker as "resident fat girl" (she also threw in cashier and Dolly Parton enthusiast) but one of the beauties of her character lies in the way she is not just pigeonholed into one type of fat representative -- she is not the timid, hates-her-body all the time girl who shrouds herself like some kind of villain but she is not the has-no-cares girl either who will remind you just how perfect her size makes her. She is a real character, not a trope.

Willowdean isn't the only character with any kind of "flaw" here. In fact, one of the main focuses of the novel is that Will competes is a local beauty pageant -- a pretty big, important local pageant which her mom is in charge of running and has been since I believe 1997 (or at least that was the year she won) -- and Will's decision to compete, as a not-typical looking competitor, prompts three other not-so-typical looking girls from her high school to emerge from the woodwork and compete, and they form this sort of band of misfits with Willowdean. One of these girls, Millie, is overweight to a much greater degree than Willowdean -- specifically "Millie is that girl, the one I am ashamed to admit that I've spent my whole life looking at and thinking, Thing could be worse. I'm fat, but Millie's the type of fat that requires elastic waist pants because they don't make pants with buttons and zippers in her size."

I thought this was a really important thought to showcase because even though Willowdean herself is one of the ostracized, she still has her own prejudices and throughout the book unlearns them. When she uses Millie to think that things could be worse, it's like assuming things are bad as they are, for either of them, even though Millie is the happiest, most optimistic character in the book. She also has the most confidence too. She sings a song on a ukulele to ask a boy to be her date for their schools Sadie Hawkins dance and when Willowdean hears her immediate reaction is to cringe but Millie's friend relays that he said yes in an "of course" sort of tone, because why should her appearance take precedence over the grandness of the gesture? Likewise, another girl in the group, Amanda, has uneven legs and wears corrective shoes and Will is surprised to learn she's very talented at soccer, and athletic enough to play for a team. Hannah, rounding out the group, has uneven teeth, and has been compared to a horse at school, and Will, in her internal monologue, even says to herself that if she doesn't want to fix them she shouldn't have to, but still eventually asks why she never did, out of curiosity.

None of these questions or reactions make her a bad person, just someone learning that people are more than meets the eye. In fact, I think this book does a wonderful job with body positivity. There's the fact that Murphy doesn't use the overweight characters as the comic relief or the inspirational speeches or the butt of the jokes or any of the tired tropes we've seen again and again. They're just friends girlfriends and characters and yes, their weight does affect their lives like when Will is so terrified to move forward with Private School Bo because the thought of him touching her fat terrifies her or when she has issues with her formal dress for the pageant but those are just realistic problems thrown in based on who the characters are and Will is fat so of course it's gonna have a little impact on her life. Like someone telling her that doing a pageant is "brave," to which she thinks
"But I don't want it to be brave. I want it to be normal."
Which is probably my favorite line in the book, honestly.

I felt like the characters were so realistic and the writing was genuine and the combination of the two things just made the book great. Murphy managed to create a great cast of characters; I'm so far down in the review and I haven't even mentioned Mitch or El, and I only barely mentioned Bo. The romance in this story was so well constructed and I didn't feel like I was reading a typical love triangle of "will she pick this boy or this boy" but a real life story of friendship and more than friendship and lines and love. I liked the personalities of both of them and they are honestly sweet people and that's all I'll say on the boys. As for El, the friendship relationship was one of my favorite aspects of the story because I was wondering, like Willowdean, whether they truly were growing apart as people and were destined not to be friends. It was a truly emotionally wrecking experience and I may or may not have shed many tears at the end of this book. I just felt like it was so relatable -- the jealousy of sharing your friend, the hurt when their friend who you hate gets information about their life before you do, the sense of encroachment when something was supposed to just be yours and now its theirs too but they'll do it better. Some of Willowdean's emotional outbursts felt so juvenile but they felt so unexplainably real. 

As for the writing, Julie Murphy truly captured the spirit of a small Texas town and put it into this book. It's a light read, you could 100% just sit and read it all at once, and you would probably want to. It's cute, it's fluffy, there's some deadpan humor, and one of the characters calls a boy Peachbutt consistently, so get yourselves a copy ASAP.

(Also, I find it fitting that last night was the Miss America pageant and 500% of me definitely watched it and 900% of me was definitely rooting for Miss Alabama because her nickname was Egg McMuffin and I deeply resonate with that)

- Noor

Marlon's Dumplin' Review
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Dumplin' is awesome. It's sweet, hilarious, provocative, and so well balanced.

The absolute best thing about the novel is its message, carried mainly by its protagonist, Willowdean. If for some reason you don't know what this book is about, it's a body positivity-book. Willowdean regards herself as a fat girl, and has the will and confidence to own that image in a society that actively tries to shame it, and through her the novel tries to lay out the nuanced world of body-positivity. 

What drove the novel, for me, was the characters. They felt, for the most part, honest. Willowdean, for example, is not pressed into the role of preacher for body-positivity, nor is she its perfect mascot. While she exudes confidence in herself and is often the one to help her friends (like, giving them advice about having sex) she has grown up with harsh beauty standards and can be problematic herself: she spends a lot of the book being thankful that she's at least not as fat as one of her peers, Millie. Really, none of the characters (except for maybe Mitch and to an extent Bo) are pressed into roles that lack nuance. Ellen, for example, is Will's best friend but she hardly fulfills the best girlfriend cliche, and they have a complex, realistic friendship like normal, real human females. Honestly, I felt their relationship was more important than ones with Bo and Mitch, but those, I guess, were necessary for the novel to show that any girl can fulfill the YA love triangle between hot muscular athletic guy and hot loner guy. And while those other relationships did feel real, they were stretched and made into such a huge part of the book that it was hard for me to get a good feeling for the other subplots, and contributed to an overall pacing issue. In the end, it just made me frustrated with Will and the boys, even though the main romance is built with an honest friendship and feels great.

As for the writing, this novel is hilarious. Will, when she turns up the sass, is probably one of my favorite protagonists to be in the head of. It's brilliant, because there are no moments when people's bodies are used for comedic effect, which, in a piece about bodies, would have been pretty simple for a less considerate author. The descriptions are good, the narrative voice is good, the dialogue is some of the best I've read all year . . . the writing is just very spot on. The plot is fluid and complex, focusing on dead aunts, boys, pageants, dying friendships, and so forth, and it is consistent.

The fault, for me, with the book is the nigh unholy pacing. The central action promised in the blurb happens in the second half of the book. While the book certainly can be read quickly, as the scenes transition fluidly and are generally concise, there is just so much before the pageant that it becomes confusing, and there are no real milestones because the novel deals with several subplots at once. Then the pageant happens quickly. The pacing felt rather awkward this way.

That said, I still highly recommend Dumplin'

What do you love most about yourself?
Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Review: Tonight the Streets Are Ours - Leila Sales

Tonight the Streets Are Ours
Leila Sales
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Tonight the Streets Are Ours is actually a really great book, while I had some personal issues with it.

The book begins with Arden Huntley, who is 17 and "recklessly loyal," -- let me just say right now that the beginning of the book and character introductions and the voice of the narrator, everything in the beginning was flawless. I don't want to give away a-not-so-important plot point that happens in the beginning just because I really loved the way it was written and I can't do it justice.

Anyways, so Arden is loyal. Arden has a best friend, Lindsey. You can probably guess what happens next: Arden swoops in to save Lindsey, "drowning herself in the process." The backlash from this is that Arden realizes how she is the one to care the most or do the most in her relationships, and faces a lil existential crisis because of it.

She does some random googling which leads her to a blog, "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," run by this kid Peter who lives in New York City. She becomes obsessed with this kid's personal blog, going all the way back to the beginning and reading all the posts.

Alright, then the plot gets a little messy and the characters all get really annoying, in which they make bad decisions and I hate them all (these are the so called "personal issues of mine"). But to be fair to Sales, this book's character representation was honestly super accurate of reality. I know people in real life that are this crazy and obnoxious and would make the decisions that happened in this plot.

The best thing I can say about the messy nature of this plot is it actually seems like the characters were driving the choices. It felt like Sales built some really complex characters and let them make their own choices, the choices that felt right for them, rather than constructing a realm in which it feels like the choices are made for them. It made me feel as though I was actually experiencing the story, rather than watching it happen.

Also, the character development in this piece is solid. There is very little I can say here other than I loved the classification of this book as a love story, and that I don't want to give anything else away, so please read the book!

- Amrutha

What is your most defining characteristic?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Review: Everything, Everything - Nicole Yoon

Everything, Everything
Nicola Yoon
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Number of times Everything, Everything mentioned The Little Prince: eight

Number of times Everything, Everything made me cry: four

Number of times Everything, Everything mentioned the state fish of Hawaii (Humuhumunukunukuapua`a): I forgot to count but probably between three and five

I realize the first and third points aren't really relevant to someone who isn't me (and that third one isn't a High School Musical reference before you go there) but the point is that this even though this a book about a girl who spent eighteen years in the confines of her house, you still find ways to relate with her through the voice Nicola Yoon gives her. For me, it was her favorite book being mine as well and a memory of an old interactive map that my brother and I broke by pressing the Hawaii button over and over. For someone else, it might be the fact that she hates math or loves outer space or only owns white t-shirts and Keds or is half Japanese and half African American. (I think this is the point I was trying to make, I was also mostly just excited about all the references to The Little Prince y'all don't know how much I love that book I even have a pop-up edition of it shoutout to my best friend Anika for that)

Moving on, I absolutely loved loved loved the structure of this book. Before we get into that, I'll just give a little background on the book: Madeleine is living with SCID, a rare disease that affects her immune system so severely that she needs a constantly sterile environment, hence the whole never having left her house thing. She's been pretty well-adjusted with it, but when a boy her age moves in next door and they become friends through email and instant messaging, that tiny bit of change serves as a catalyst for a lot more change.

So, back to structure. Interspersed among the pages of "normal" writing -- you know, the whole "paragraph format, first person narration, dialogue in quotes and separate indented paragraphs" thing -- were breaks in the traditional format for more "fun" things that added to the story -- conversations that happened on an instant messenger, pages from Madeleine's notebooks showing things like a "pre-kiss checklist," a map of despair, a guide to Hawaiian reef fish. Even some of the pages of the book that were traditionally formatted were told in a way that added breaks in the reading because an entire "chapter" would just be one line, or one short conversation, or one paragraph. Sometimes, they were short, one line, spoiler reviews of books, which she had an entire blog dedicated to, and we caught glimpses of. I just want to share two of my favorite ones because they were also two lines I really liked in the book (especially because one of them is that line that has the title that makes you go hey look its the title but also it's my favorite book so double props):
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Spoiler alert: You don't exist if no one can see you." 
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Spoiler alert: Love is worth everything. Everything." 
I feel like this book was just full of heartbreaking or gut-wrenching one-liners (and not the comedic kind). I mean, the writing throughout the book was beautiful as well, and for a first book, I think Nicola Yoon did a fantastic job, but what really got me were certain lines that just jumped off the pages. I thought about integrating them into this review somehow but I'm just going to go ahead and show you some that I liked a lot (by the way, the copy I have is an ARC I got at BEA, so these quotes may have been subject to change in the finished product):
"Her pain is endless. It falls off the ends of the world. Her pain is a dead sea. Her pain is for me, but I cannot bear it anymore." 
"My guilt is an ocean for me to drown in." 
"Olly's math says you can't predict the future. It turns out you can't predict the past either." 
Speaking of Olly (well I didn't speak of him, but that last quote did) I haven't even mentioned anything about how much I love the story itself. Because I do. Seriously. This was honestly one of the best books I've read in a really long time and it stayed with me for so long after I put it down. The book had like four main characters and even then, two of them were kinda subtly main but they were so intriguing. I was afraid Madeleine and Olly were going to be instalove because the back cover is kindof misleading and it takes two paragraphs that happen in different places in the book and make it look like one passage, but I loved them. I loved Carla, Madeleine's full-time nurse, and out of the four times I cried, I'm pretty sure two were for her, so there's that. And Madeleine's mother just put me through a whole slew of emotions and I always just felt bad for her but honestly she was very well written.

I honestly devoured this book and I was so invested in seeing where Madeleine's life was going to go. I know the ending will probably have a 50/50 response but I enjoyed it. There were consequences to face while exploring the ways trauma can affect a person and nothing was played off as the character in question having ill intentions or being malicious -- which would have resulted in too cartoonish of a villain figure -- but rather being in need of help and facing a mental illness. (Sorry for how inarticulate that was, I was trying to be vague but still give you the gist of it.)

Overall, it was a really sweet, emotional book and Nicola Yoon expertly managed to capture the voice of a teenager who wants more than her lot in life.

- Noor

Can you give us a one sentence spoiler review?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Carry On - Rainbow Rowell

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on Carry On by Rainbow Rowell!

Carry On
Rainbow Rowell
Series: N/A
Release Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Waited on by: Noor 

Rainbow Rowell continues to break boundaries with Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl. 

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything. 

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

Fangirl was such a good time and I can't believe we're less than a month away from the release of the fanfiction that the main character is so known for. I'm really excited for Carry On because Rowell said -- at least I think this is what she said -- that she isn't trying to be herself writing as Cath writing as the author or any of that, she's just writing the book and telling the story. I know the Carry On passages in Fangirl weren't as strong as the actual Fangirl parts of fangirl but that's because the point of Fangirl was to focus on Cath and her real life. This time, it's all about the fictional world (which is now I guess real) so it'll obviously be more developed and fleshed out. I have faith in Rainbow Rowell and her prowess as a writer and I'm excited for her take on ghosts and monsters and kissing (oh my).

- Noor

What are you waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Completed Series I Have Yet to Finish

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Here at We Live and Breathe Books, two of us choose five books each week. This week's topic is...

Completed series I have yet to finish!

Kiersten's Picks
  1. The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan - I've read all the books in the Heroes of Olympus series except for the finale, The Blood of Olympus. When books come out during the school year, I just don't get to them. It just happens like that. That being said, I did want to read this book over the summer, but I've been holding out hope that the elibrary will get this book soon since it has all the other books.
  2. Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson - Bitter Kingdom is another book that sadly did not get read because of school. It's also a really expensive ebook (I'm not saying it's not worth that much, but it's just hard to pay that much for a digital book when I have so many other books to read, you know?), so that has been something keeping me away from it. I really do want to finish this series though, since I absolutely loved the first two books.
  3. The Lynburn Legacy trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan - I'm sensing a pattern when it comes to fall releases. I read the first two books in the Lynburn Legacy trilogy, but I have yet to read the finale. Someday I will get there, and on that day, I'm sure Sarah Rees Brennan will stomp on my heart with her story.
  4. The Crewel World trilogy by Gennifer Albin - It's really bad that I haven't read the finale in this series because I actually own it. Perhaps I'll pull it together and actually finish this series this year.
  5. The Dharian Affairs trilogy by Susan Kaye Quinn - This is the only series on my list where the finale isn't the only book I haven't read. I'm a huge Susan Kaye Quinn fan, so I read Third Daughter right away when it came out. Since then, I haven't gotten around to Second Daughter or First Daughter yet, which is disappointing because I'm sure they're amazing.
Noor's Picks
  1. Partials Sequence by Dan Wells - I have a terrible habit of reading the first book in a series, loving it, but then not keeping up with the series because I feel like I'd be giving too much attention to that series and not to all the other potential unread books of the world so even when I own the later books in the series I put off reading them and don't finish for a long time. Either that or I binge read the whole series. The first thing is what unfortunately happened with Partials.
  2. Graceling Realm by Kristin Cashore - Another sad case of enjoying the first book and not reading the next ones but in this case, it was also that the other two books were companions rather than sequels so at first I was just confused as to whether there was more to the series and then as to whether it was about the same characters and then when I figured it out I had a huge TBR list ahead of them.
  3. Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan - I didn't realize Kiersten put this on her list but I don't feel like changing it so we'll have doubles and you'll technically be getting a Top Nine. I just didn't read these because be the time they happened I was so tired of the same characters and I didn't want to stick around for more books on them and I did start reading them and I do realize there are more characters but I felt like I should get out while I had the chance. That being said, I am so here for him tackling other mythologies -- I loved Kane chronicles and I'm excited for the Norse mythology books I hear are happening.
  4. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - I know Winter doesn't come out until November so it isn't technically complete yet but by the time I get to the other books it will be so I'm cheating a little and I want to include it so you can all know how much I hate myself because this is a weird case where normally I like the book enough to go above feeling bad for other books when I ignore them for this series but then the second book wasn't out when I read the first and when it came out I just kept putting it off for no reason other than I'm a masochist???? Anyway I suck and I'm going to read the rest of these eventually.
  5. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien - I have read some of this. I have not read all of it. I really really like Lord of the Rings as in I really enjoy the movies and I know things that happen in the book that don't happen or happen differently in the movies that I haven't read and I just really like it so I did start reading it and honestly the only reason I haven't finished is because I bet distracted by newer shinier books and I think "well these have been around for a while they aren't going anywhere" and I figure I'll get back to them later so it's just a long process but later will come.
What completed series have you still not finished?
Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

ARC Review: Lizard Radio - Pat Schmatz

Lizard Radio
Pat Schmatz
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBT+
Release Date: September 8th, 2015
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Yes! I finally got to it! This was one of the first books I picked up at BEA, so thank you Candlewick Press for giving me this ARC.

I often write about books with diverse subject matter and characters, and often I will crack down on a books that either don't have it or don't do it well. Lizard Radio is one of the few books with diverse subject matter as a key piece of its central themes.

Kivali, the main character, lives in a "dystopian" world where teens are taken to a camp to Conform them, forcing a rigid, orderly set of behaviors so that their adulthoods can be predictable and maintain a tight society. If they do not conform, they are made outcasts. I say "dystopian" because while Schmatz's camp system has many elements of the dystopias we're used to, the trials that Kivali is put through are the ones that we face in our society. What I love about this work is that it is not very far off from our reality: the camp and conforming system works on precisely the same binary ideology and employs many of the same mechanisms as our modern socialization systems. In other words, they're using the same "leader/follower," "boy, girl," "evil, good," strict binaries and enforcing them in a way that we're used to but often don't notice consciously: boys and girls being separated physically, for example, and being socialized in extremely different ways. The plot itself is very focused on answering questions regarding these binaries and other things about coming of age and what it means to be a member of society. Therefore, it's pretty average, with few unexpected twists. There is the addition of the Lizard Radio . . . and you won't understand it for most of the book, but it's cool, I promise.

One of the weaknesses in this book is the characters. Many of the secondary characters feel precisely like secondary characters. While a couple have their own backstories, I can feel them being purposefully sent to the back of the stage, simply because the book is short and its story focuses heavily on Kivali's coming of age.

Despite the other characters, I flat out love Kivali. She's snarky, weird, and living breathing proof that society is messed up. She faces all of the binaries I talked about before head on, and challenges them. She's pretty ruthless, but she has a soft side. Because it's a coming of age book, her character does mature over time. She later realizes everything works on a spectrum: there is no absolute "good" or "evil," just what a society believes is good or evil, and there is no "girl" or "boy," only behaviors society characterizes as feminine and masculine. Therefore, in both instances, there are a multitude of areas in between. It was really wonderful going through a coming of age story that focuses on the gray areas: some choices are morally gray in the book, and I like that. It's fresh. At first, I thought Kivali's bender themes (bender being a term in the book for people not strictly in a gender role) were going to overrule the rest of the plot, but instead, they're woven in tightly to the rest of the action in meaningful ways.

Schmatz's writing is smart. When Kivali is disinterested, the scene is presented with weak and off-hand descriptors (l-shaped building, round-roofed structure). When Kivali is afraid, the scene is menacing, when she's nervous or breaking down, the scene mirrors this with the appropriate descriptors. Too often, this is something missing from a novel. Throughout this, there is a constant lyricism to Schmatz's writing that just kept me drawn in.

The weakest part of the book, for me, is the slang/jargon/etc. While fairly intelligent, we're introduced to it from Kivali's point of view, while she's busy battling questions about why Sheila has left her at the mercy of what at first seems like a summer camp. Even when we get direct descriptions, they're spare: the Mealio is this building, the Pieville is down that road, etc. Though the writing itself is spot on, the beginning makes the jargon seem more confusing than interesting.. It took me about a third of the book to get a good feel for the jargon. Once I did, everything made a lot more sense.

Overall, I would recommend Lizard Radio. It's short and very sweet.

- Marlon

What was your worst summer camp experience?
Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Stuffed Animal Saturday: Dumplin' - Julie Murphy

Stuffed Animal Saturday is a meme that we post here at We Live and Breathe Books to showcase the book we're currently reading with one of our favorite stuffed animals and discuss our stuffed animal's opinion (well, it's really our opinion, but that's besides the point). We hope you enjoy our quirky feature as much as we enjoy writing it!

This Saturday, me and Pusheen are reading Dumplin' by Julie Murphy!

So far: Pusheen and I haven't actually started Dumplin' yet, but Pusheen feels like she's really going to connect with this character since she's a bit rotund herself. (Not that she's self conscious about it or anything - she likes being squishy, and she likes eating cookies.)

Sneak peek: Since we haven't started Dumplin' yet, Pusheen thought it was a good idea for us to include the blurb for the book for people who may not know what this book is about.

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
Pusheen is very excited to see what happens in this story - she's always had dreams of being a pageant cat but they told her she couldn't take her cookie on stage, which was a deal breaker. Dumplin' hits shelves September 15th!

- Kiersten

Are you and your stuffed animal reading anything interesting? 
Let us know in your own Stuffed Animal Saturday!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Review: Firewalker - Josephine Angelini

Josephine Angelini
Series: Worldwalker, #2
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Thanks to Feiwel and Friends for the ARC I received at BEA. 

picks up exactly where Trial by Fire ends, which is -- without giving away too much for anyone who hasn't read the first book -- with a recovering Lily in our/her world.

And they stay in our world for some time, which I was a little saddened by because Angelini did such a fascinating, thorough job worldbuilding in the last book -- it's what gave Trial by Fire a huge chunk of its appeal for me. In fact, the beginning of the book ends up being kinda slow and boring, and it was hard to get through but I kept reading 1. on the hope that once they worldjumped things would pick up and 2. because of the Lillian parts, which I have conflicted feelings about actually.

Okay, so Lillian is sortof my favorite character in this whole series and the more morally ambiguous she gets, the more I like her. And a lot of this book is dedicated into delving into Lillian and her backstory and why she made some decisions she did. And I really liked learning all those things. I just wasn't sure if I liked the way I learned them. A lot of information we get is just told to us, through mindspeak (if you haven't read these books, I'm sure you can figure out what that is) between Lily and Lillian and Lillian is just showing Lily certain things from her life. Some of the scenes were really interesting but it was still just like someone was telling someone else a story for a large number of pages. It would have been nicer to see more action and less explanation.

The book just took a really long time to pick up but it did eventually. Although some of the picking up involved a lot of things that made me angry, like Lily and Rowan (her bae) being really annoying with not telling each other things and keeping secrets. It's like they've never watched a movie or read a book??? Haven't y'all ever heard that honesty is the best policy!!! Also, some of the minor characters, like her friends, didn't seem realistic in the way they handled situations but others were a lot better, like Juliet, her sister (who is amazing).

And there were obviously things I did like as well! We got to explore a lot of Lillian, as I mentioned before, and I liked the ways the characters interacted and it was more of a high stakes kindof deal this time. I also like the way Angelini doesn't make her plots too transparent and she writes really good endings, as this was a cliffhanger much like the last one.

Even though I didn't like Firewalker as much as I liked Trial by Fire, I still liked the way the pace picked up at the end and I'll still stick around to read the conclusion.

- Noor

Have you ever been let down by a sequel?
Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Previously on WLABB: August 2015

Previously On We Live and Breathe Books is an end of the month wrap up post. Previously allows us to recap all our posts from the past month and discuss what's going on in our lives, including what books we're reading, any fun things we've been doing, and a TBR for the next month. Our inspiration for this meme comes from Midnight Madness Newsletters created by Melanie at YA Midnight Reads.

Posts from August

Previously on WLABB: July 2015
Double ARC Review: Never Always Sometimes - Adi Alsaid
Top Ten Tuesday - Fairytale Retellings I Want to Read
ARC Review: The Dead House: Dawn Kurtagich
ARC Review + Interview: The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts - K.C. Tansley
Stuffed Animal Saturday: Downcast - Cait Reynolds
ARC Review: George - Alex Gino
Top Ten Tuesday - Authors I've Read the Most Books From
Waiting on Wednesday: Why Not Me? - Mindy Kaling
Double ARC Review: Court of Fives - Kate Elliott
Double ARC Review: Another Day - David Levithan
ARC Review: The Accident Season - Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Guest Post: Writing for a Series by Christina Benjamin
Double ARC Review: Lair of Dreams - Libba Bray
Stuffed Animal Saturday: Infinite in Between - Carolyn Mackler
ARC Review: Legacy of Kings - Eleanor Herman
Top Ten Tuesday - Books that Would Be on Your Syllabus If You Taught YA Dystopians 101
Waiting on Wednesday: The Fate of Ten - Pittacus Lore
Double ARC Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between - Jennifer E. Smith
ARC Review: Infinite in Between - Carolyn Mackler

Keeping Up with the WLABBers


August is kind of a blur for me. Since the beginning of August, I've packed up all my things and unpacked them into my new apartment for the beginning of my junior year at Syracuse. It's very strange to be an upperclassman. Besides that, this week is my first week of classes for the semester, and I can already tell that I'll be very busy with work. Hopefully I'll still find time to read!

The only real highlight in August is that I got to meet my new littles! In the drama department at SU, the current students get into groups of bigs and act as mentors/friends to the freshmen/transfers who become their littles. I got one fabulous little last year, and this year I got two more amazing littles! My group decided to do a Greek gods theme, so the bigs wore Camp Half-Blood t-shirts, and I transformed the littles' shirts to look like togas. (If you don't recognize me/don't know what I look like, I'm the one on the right end!)

If you read my section of last month's Previously, then you know I sort of cheated and included Red Queen and Never Always Sometimes when I wasn't entirely done with them yet. Well, I decided to cheat again (I know, I'm only cheating myself or whatever) and include them in my August reads since technically I finished them in August. I'm also cheating with The Copper Gauntlet since I haven't entirely finished that one yet. But it's going to happen soon. For The Bane Chronicles, I had read the first four when they were coming out, so I read the last six when I got the book from the elibrary. Instead of putting all the covers of the six stories I read, I decided to just include the main cover. Similarly, I read a bunch of the Shadowhunter Academy Chronicles in August from the elibrary, but I only included one cover. My other reads were The Accident Season, which was absolutely incredible, and Voice of Gods, which I was reading in anticipation of reading Legacy of Kings, but I just didn't get to it. Wow, this was a really novella heavy month for me.

Now that I'm back at school, there will be less time than ever to read, which is quite sad. Hopefully I can get some better time management skills this year, and I'll still be able to read! The first five of these are September releases that I got at BEA, and I got A Thousand Nights, which comes out in the beginning of October, on Netgalley. I think, at the bare minimum, I'll be able to read A Thousand Nights since I'm much quicker at reading ebooks than print copies.


I'm amazed I got to read as much as I did: nearly all of the books on my last TBR! The beginning of the month was pretty slow, marked by (starting to) teaching my sister to play tennis, going to a few poetry slams, and trying to figure out my schedule for the fall. The last ten to fifteen days, however, have kept me on my toes trying to get all the pre-school things done. I'm now the only treasurer for NYU's Slam poetry team, and so I've had to do all of the budgeting stuff by myself, which is scary because I'd rather face Chuthulu-Godzilla-Voldemort than math, event organizing, and contracts. I'm a commuter, so packing hasn't kicked my butt, but getting back into the swing of things and spending much of my day in the city made reading all day a little harder.

Anyway, that's basically it for me!

Holy crap Heather Demetrios has destroyed my life. I was going to read Young World first, but Exquisite Captive had such a pretty cover . . . and I was tempted. At first, I wasn't sure, but it quickly became one of the best books I've read this past year. The same goes for The School for Good and Evil #2: A World Without Princes. The Diviners and Lair of Dreams felt like mountains: it was easy to lose myself in them, because they went on. I had read some of Zeroes back in June, and it too was quite long. Same as the rest, it was awesome. George and Post Traumatic Church Syndrome took three train rides, in contrast. There were a lot of books I started during this time: Young World, Six of Crows, and Fairest, but I haven't finished any of them, so I'll have to leave that for next time.

I am cheating the heck out of Blood Passage here as I have nearly finished it. Gosdamn incredible.


Did August actually happen or did I just imagine it? I 'm going with the second option. August was full of not unpacking my clothes and repeating the same 12 outfits all the time (I mean I did more unpacking than that but there's the whole laundry issue too) and sending out emails and finally checking my grades from last spring (Amrutha if you're reading this I know I told you I already checked them but I lied) and buying things online and doing a bunch of stressful things that I don't feel like talking about and then some not so stressful things like kayaking and finally getting some bookshelves!! Let's look at the shelves, shall we?

First, we have the main shelf, which is supposed to be a vertical shelf but I put it horizontal in the space under my loft bed because its width was the perfect amount for the back wall and it fits there nicely without taking up excess space in my room. Ignore the two piles of books on top of the shelf, those are books that I couldn't make room for in my shelves, but they're books I don't read anyway -- textbooks and old books and such -- so they're going in the shelves in my closet. And that third stack is books I have to prop up on the top of the shelf once I put other things up there.

Next, I've got a ladder shelf, which I really love as well because it's such a fun, aesthetically appealing display, and it has so much more room than it lets on. Also, it fit nicely into a corner of my room next to my closet, but doesn't get in the way of the door, and doesn't look like it's stuck in a corner so it's great with the space thing.

And lastly, this is my favorite one of all, though it isn't exactly a shelf. I was in a furniture/home decor store -- the same one I got the ladder shelf from -- shopping for shelves when I spotted it and I fell in love with it and I immediately had to have it, whether I used it for books or not. I love the wooden baskets and the vintage feel and the way they swing and everything about it. I ultimately ended up using them as sort of TBR baskets and I just put books I'd like to read in the near future in the baskets because I have a habit of thinking "oh I'll read that next" and then when I finish a book I forget completely so now I'll have little baskets reminding me.

I still have a lot to do before I'm done with my room but it was still fun watching my room go from this to this: 

My next step is definitely taking care of the dreadful blankness of that wall. The only reason I haven't yet is a. I have a weird process I like to do things in so I have to finish a few other things before I can do decorations and b. I did start to put up a map one of my best friends gave me but then I ordered some other prints and a tapestry and things online so I'm going to wait until I have all my decor things before I figure out placement. Anyway, now that I've bored you with furniture talk, let's discuss what I've been reading this month!

So this has definitely been a better month for reading than last, in which I only read four things, two of which were not a lot of pages. Anyway, I already reviewed the first six books you see on this list, so if you want to know my thoughts you can read them in full detail. The other three, I have reviews scheduled for so you'll get the same detailed analyses (I knew you were worried but fret not) but in case you want to know some of my thoughts right now, I think August was a very good month for me, book-wise. I think Everything, Everything might be my favorite of the books I read and that means a lot because one of these books is a Cassandra Clare/Holly Black combo and one of them is a series of satirical short stories by the lead actor in my all-time favorite movie. And yet, in my opinion, it trumps them both. I just loved it so much and I can't wait to share my review. I'm also excited to review Dumplin', which was a fun book to read and also had me thinking in a southern accent for a little while after. Does that ever happen to any of you, where you spend a lot of time watching a TV show or reading a book and you just start thinking in that character's voice instead of your own? I do it all the time, right now I'm writing this as Gossip Girl. It was really nice to read those two books though, because Firewalker left me kindof confused. I liked the first book but I felt like this book just didn't hit the mark, and I kinda need to stew over it a little, but it's ruining my theory about second books, which is that if it's a three book series, they're the best book, and if it's more than that, they're a really strong pillar in the structure. Anyway, it was still a great month for books, and I hope September is even better.

I am honestly so excited to read all these books. I especially have my heart ready for Black Widow because if Marvel won't give us a movie, at least Margaret Stohl gave us a book. I'm also super hella planning to read Zeroes because Scott Westerfeld has been my home skillet since scholastic book fairs were a thing in my life (I mentioned this in another post) and I feel like the fact that I've owned it since June and haven't read it yet is an issue that needs to be remedied this month. Really, all of these books are books I really want to read, and I hope I read a lot more than just these six!!

Awesome Blog Posts I Read:

This Is Not How You Put Someone In The Mood by Meg @ Cuddlebuggery - While this might not sound book related, have you ever been reading a scene in a book where an author just uses a completely weird and misplaced word in a scene that it should definitely not be used in? A word like moist, for example? This post is a fun discussion about that.
When You Need to Cry Over a Book In Public by Melanie @ YA Midnight Reads


Hi guys!! This month started off pretty slow, with goodbye dinners and work and frantically packing one day before moving in for school. The last ten days however, have been hectic beyond belief. With moving in, training for the club I’m in, classes starting, work, still trying to be social, turning 19, and going home to see family, I’ve had literally no time to breathe (which, to be honest, is how I like it most of the time). I’m really excited about this year and it’s honestly off to a really great start, so I hope its an indicator for the year as a whole. Also I hope I don't just avoid checking my sophomore year grades until the next September (COUGH COUGH I HATE YOU NOOR). 

So this month, I read some books on my July TBR

Because this month has been super busy, I haven’t done a whole lot of reading (*covers eyes in shame*). However, I did read Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between, The Accident Season, Court of Fives, and It's About Love. Everything here I have either reviewed/will review/someone has reviewed so look out for those! I liked pretty much every book I read this month so August has been pretty good over all. 

Surprise, I still haven't read And the Mountains Echoed. It's still on the list. I also really want to read a lot of the BEA books I got (which are also some of the only books I brought with me to school when I was frantically throwing things into boxes). I've heard nothing but good things about The Copper Gauntlet, Everything Everything, Dumplin', and Illuminae. Can't wait to settle into school and start reading lots again.

What have you been up to last month?
Let us know in the comments!