I am here to do another Friday reads post. I didn’t do so well last weekend, so I’m hoping to make up for lost time. For some reason I have been in a huge reading slump, but maybe my weekend reading plans will pull me out of it.
“From the author of You Must Not Miss comes a haunting contemporary horror novel that explores themes of mental illness, rage, and grief, twisted with spine-chilling elements of Stephen King and Agatha Christie.”
“#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying comes your next obsession. You’ll never feel the same about family again.”
“They were cowriting literary darlings until they hit a plot hole that turned their lives upside down.”
“The highly anticipated sequel to the international bestseller, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder! More dark secrets are exposed in this addictive, true-crime fueled mystery.”
Those are my overly ambitious reading plans that may or may not work out. However, if all I do is kick this reading slump then I will call this weekend a win. What are you reading this weekend?
Author: Stephanie Garber Published: 2016 Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy Rating:
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
This book was interesting from the get go, and the plot never slowed down. The whole idea behind a magical carnival was awesome, since I find books that revolve around carnivals to be fascinating. Although, I haven’t read any other carnival books, so my opinion might change in the future.
The main character, Scarlett, was always second guessing herself, and was afraid to break rules. This was understandable, given her horrible home life. However, I found Scarlett likable, and didn’t mind her more annoying traits. I could, however, see how some people wouldn’t be a fan of her. Her sister, Tella, on the other hand, was a bit reckless and immature. Still I understood her desire to want a better life for herself and her sister. I think she was a lot stronger and smarter than the book actually showed.
The book kept you guessing at every turn, and you never knew who to trust. At one point, I thought I had everything figured out. But then something happens, and now I have know idea what to expect next. I am generally more inclined to like books when the plot isn’t so predictable, which I feel is true of most readers.
The world building was outstanding. The author made Caraval come to live, and made me feel like I was playing the game along with the characters. The author didn’t spend a lot of time describing this magic carnival, but the little details told about the world were enough to make me wish it was real.
I found the book to have an underlying sisterhood/relationship theme, but it was more of a background element. The book was dark and whimsical, and I think the touch of whimsy made the book not feel so long. The story also strives to prove that everyone has an agenda, and that everything comes with a price.
“Hope is a powerful thing. Some say it’s a different breed of magic altogether.”
Control, and being controlled, were a big part of the book. It seemed most people were out to control Scarlett – even Tella. I didn’t like how Tella tried to get Scarlett to do things she was against, because she wanted to protect her sister. Sure, Tella was doing it out of love. Still, it felt underhanded. By the end, I felt pretty bad for Scarlett. And speaking of the ending, there was a minor cliffhanger that has me intrigued. I’m curious to see what comes next!
Despite all the good things I had to say about the story, it didn’t quite make it to 5 stars. I will say that Julian, the love interest, was a highlight of the book, because he was very swoon-worthy.
There are a few trigger warning for the book, but I wouldn’t worry too much about them. First and foremost, this is a fantasy book so it doesn’t really focus on heavy topics. However, you can visit the books page on Book Trigger Warnings if you would like. Don’t forget to give my blog a follow, because it makes me smile.
Authort: Dustin Thao Published: 2020 Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary/Magical Realism Rating:
Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes. Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail. And Sam picks up the phone.
I don’t want this review to be completely negative, but I always want to give you my true unfiltered opinion. And, truthfully, the story could have been executed better. The plot had so much promise, and I was hoping for a tear-jerking story. But, it didn’t live up to my expectations. The book started off a week after the male love interest, Sam’s, death. This was interesting, since most books don’t follow someone during the grieving process. This is exactly what the plot of the book was – watching someone, in this case Julie, struggle with their grief.
As the synopsis shows, there is a magical realism component in the story, which is that Julie and Sam can talk via phone to one another. The author’s take on this plot point was interesting, but different than how I imagined. I don’t know what I was hoping for – just that I wasn’t sold on the way this element was developed.
Julie as a character was just okay. But, it was annoying that she was clearly oblivious to the fact that she had Sam wrapped around her finger. She was willing to let him change all his plans for her, and forget about some of his friends in order to spend time with her. Their lives literally revolved around one another. Their relationship was frustrating to read about to say the least. Still, I guess that is how first love is for people.
“We are two parts of a song. He is the music. I am the words.”
Sam got on my nerves a lot. He was apparently such a devoted and kind boyfriend while alive, but in death he was kind of rude. At times he would snapped at Julie, even though she was doing things to make him happy. She might have occasionally overstepped, but he didn’t have to be so salty towards her. He always ‘unintentionally’ made her feel guilty about him dying. He claimed to want her to move on, but every time she tried to, he would make her feel bad about it.
All in all, I assume the moral of the story is that we shouldn’t live in the loss, and to not let grief consume us. You can’t hold on to the hope that the person you lost will come back. The only thing one can do is keep them in our hearts, and try to live on for them. The good thing about the book was that it was a quick read, which was nice for me.
However, I wasn’t emotionally invested in the storytelling. I mean, I didn’t even cry. I would recommend the book to fans of ‘If I Stay’ by Gale Forman. I have never read that book, but I did see the movie. For some reason, I find these two stories to be somewhat similar. Also, in ‘If I Stay’, there was the whole in between element, and I think that Sam was definitely caught in the in between.
Please give me your thoughts on this book, since I am probably going to get a lot of flak for this review. However, one thing is for sure – the book cover is stunning! Don’t forget to give my blog a follow.
Author: Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott Published: 2020 Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Mental Health Rating:
Kyle and Kimberly have been the perfect couple all through high school, but when Kimberly breaks up with him on the night of their graduation party, Kyle’s entire world upends – literally. Their car crashes and when he awakes, he has a brain injury. Kimberly is dead. And no one in his life could possibly understand. Until Marley. Marley is suffering from her own loss, a loss she thinks was her fault. As Kyle and Marley work to heal each other’s wounds, their feelings for each other grow stronger. But Kyle can’t shake the sense that he’s headed for another crashing moment that will blow up his life as soon as he’s started to put it back together. And he’s right.
I was very excited to read this book, since I was a huge fan of ‘Five Feet Apart’ by this author duo. The only thing I knew about this story was that it was going to be a hard-hitting contemporary. Or so I thought. The story has a very interesting concept, with a few twist and turns.
The plot is less about death and grief, more about life and healing. One of the most interesting factors was that for the first half of the book, you think you are reading one story, but the second half is a completely different story.
The twists were somewhat shocking, but I figured out one of them pretty early. For me, that isn’t necessarily a con, but I know some people would prefer more of a surprise.
“That’s the first thing you said to me, remember? Once upon a time.”
I thought that I was going to bawl my eyes out, as I did with ‘Five Feet Apart’, but that wasn’t the case. I’m not going to say that the book wasn’t touching. Still, I didn’t find it too hard-hitting. In my opinion, if you aren’t into heartbreaking books, then you should be safe reading this one.
The ending was nice, and wrapped up the story well. We should always remember the ones we love, and how they made us feel. Keep their memory alive in our hearts. But there does come a point when the grieving should end. We shouldn’t let loss consume us.
The writing was great. I find the authors to be great storytellers, and I will for sure be picking up more of their books. Let me know in the comments if you have read, or are planning on reading, this book. You can always follow the blog, which really helps it to grow!
Author: Kerri Maniscalco Published: 2020 Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Witchies Rating:
From the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series comes a new blockbuster series. Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself. And an intoxicating romance.
I am a fan of Kerri Maniscalco’s ‘Stalking Jack the Ripper’ series. Although, it’s worth mentioning that I have only read the first book in that series. However, I am very conflicted on my thoughts of this book. On the one hand I find the premise interesting, but I wasn’t thrilled with the characters, or the overall plot.
The book didn’t enchant me as much as I’d hoped it would. At first, I found the plot to be fast paced and engaging. But as the book went on, I cared less and less about the story. And don’t even get me started with the love plot. I get that this isn’t supposed to be a romance heavy book, which is a good thing. But the growing relationship between the two main characters, Emilia and Wrath, didn’t do it for me.
“Your heart will conquer darkness. Trust in that.”
The shocking twist wasn’t a shocking twist at all, and one could guess the villain, as well as the cliffhanger ending. However, it did at least leaves you wanting more, and anticipating the next book. As the reader, you do want to see what happens next. Are the more twist to come? What is in store for Emilia and Wrath?
Keep in mind that this isn’t a one session read, yet I do know some fantasy lovers can read a heavy fantasy in one sitting, so this could just be a me thing. I found the story to require a lot of focus and attention, which most fantasy worlds do. One of my biggest cons was the slow pacing, because it made the book seem longer than it is actually.
The writing was beautiful, since Maniscalco has a singsong way of telling a story, which makes it hard for me not to pick up the next book. In all honestly, I don’t think this book was my type of book, but I can see a YA fantasy fan really enjoying it. In the comments, let me know if you are a fantasy reader. Please hit the follow button, and share and like this post.
Author: Alice Oseman Published: 2016 Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary/Mental Health Rating:
Engaging with themes of identity, diversity and the freedom to choose, Radio Silence is a tour de force by the most exciting writer of her generation.
This book gave me ‘Catcher in the Rye’ vibes, since both stories don’t have a ‘true’ plot to them; it’s more of an important message. The whole point of the book was about finding yourself, doing what you love, and not conforming to others’ opinions of you. Life isn’t about making other people happy, but making yourself happy.
The characters were enjoyable to read about. And, there wasn’t a true romance plot, which is different than most YA contemporaries out there. It showcased friendship, and how guys and girls can be just friends. The book featured hardship and conflict, something that we all go through.
There were funny moments that made me laugh out loud. Other times it was sad, and making me feel empathy for the characters. Their emotions were raw and real. The plot wasn’t particularly fast paced, but the slower moving story helped to get the message across better.
“Hello. I hope somebody is listening.”
The underlying theme of everyone wants different things in life was amazing. There was such an element of truth within the story that the author captured well. Even when you think you know your life plan, it might not be as straightforward as you believe it to be. Following your heart is sometimes more important than what others expect from you.
There was a lot of focus on college, and if it is the only path in life. As someone that doesn’t have college degree, I know that school isn’t for everyone. At least it wasn’t for me. I want to mention the trigger warnings in this book, since I want other readers to know what to expect before going into the story. There is the death of a pet, suicidal thoughts, depression, and emotional abuse by a family member.
This book was a whirlwind of emotions, and a powerful story. I think it is best suited for older YA readers, who may understand the point of the story better. Please leave me your thoughts in the comments below. And it would make me smile if you shared and liked this post. Following the blog would make that smile even bigger!
I have stated before, or at least I believe have, that I suffer from mental health disorders. Well, lately, my mental health hasn’t been the best. I have my highs and lows, and this has definitely been a low month. However, reading has always been a solid coping mechanism for me. So, I wanted to share some ways that reading helps me, and might help you, cope with mental health struggles.
#1. Clears Your Mind
Honestly, reading completely takes your mind off your problems. When you are reading a high fantasy, you aren’t thinking about your everyday struggles. When you are falling in love with the boy next door, you aren’t worrying about the days to come. A good story captivates you, and everything else falls away.
#2. Problem Solving
Reading could possibly solve your problems. You may actually read a book about a character dealing with similar issues, or pick up a self-help book. Advice type books might not be your thing, but they can be useful when dealing with mental health. Books can give you clarity, or a new way to look at something, which is important.
#3. You’re Not Alone
Books featuring characters with mental illnesses are very beneficial, especially if the characters are facing the same diagnosis as you. Simply reading about somebody that is struggling with a disorder can be comforting. You don’t feel so alone, because you can relate to the character in one way or another.
#4. There’s No Competition
This might seem like a weird reason, but pretty much everything we do, or I do, feels like a competition. We see people online, or friends and family, doing these things that make us feel like we aren’t doing enough. Essentially, people are always competing against each other. But you aren’t going to compete with a book character. You can feel at ease and pressure-free.
The number one reason that books can help you with your mental health is because they make you happy. If you don’t enjoy reading, then none of the other tips are going to work. You have to read because it brings you joy, if everything else is to fall into place. Honestly, how could reading not ignite happiness?
I must admit that when my mental health is bad, reading doesn’t always do it for me. But, I try to remember these tips during the low periods, and keep reading. Please leave me a comment to brighten my day. And, like always, I ask that you follow the blog.
Author: Kelly Quindlen Published: 2020 Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary Rating:
Synopsis A poignant and deeply relatable story about friendship, self-acceptance, and what it means to be a Real Teenager. Late to the Party is an ode to late bloomers and wallflowers everywhere.
This story is much more than your typical high-school set contemporary. It had a sense of realness to it that many young adult books fail to capture. The main character, Codi, was awkward and atypical. She didn’t go to parties, and had a small tight-knit group of friends. However, there were times that I found her to be a bit irritating and selfish, which does reflect some everyday teens. I found her treatment of her brother to be a tad unkind, but I do realize that some siblings don’t get along, and she was trying to find herself without the opinions of others.
Once Codi is accidentally introduced to high school parties, new friends, and teenage antics, she discovers a whole new side of herself. The book showcases that as teenagers, kids are still finding themselves, and no two people are alike. However, it is okay to put yourself out there and meet new people. This is a lesson that many of us forget as we grow into adulthood and find it harder to make friends.
There were so many different types of personalities that teenagers could easily relate too. Not everyone is outgoing and social. Some people are scared to share who they truly are with others. And, some of us are shy and introverts. Along with the mixed personalities, there was a lot of focus on different sexualities. There were bisexual, gay, straight, and sexually unsure characters. Codi was, in fact, a lesbian. So the book was very diverse in a lot ways.
The overall premise was enjoyable and entertaining, but boring at times. It was as if I was reading about the lives of daily teenagers. I mentioned that this gave the story a sense of relatability, but a bunch of teens’ everyday lives can only be entertaining to a point. However, I am an adult reader, which makes me not the target audience for the book.
“Saying what you’re afraid of makes you brave.”
The main con with the plot was how much focus these kids put on relationships. As someone that was home-schooled and very sheltered, I didn’t have my first dating experience until my twenties, so I can’t say for certain if teenagers are all about finding a relationship. Also, I found the negative outlook on meeting someone online and a Tumblr forged relationship hurtful.
True, one must be super cautious when talking to people online, and must go in a group when meeting anyone from the internet. But, I for one found my husband on Tumblr of all places. Best thing that has ever happened to me. So, I am kind of biased in that front. I was pleasantly surprised that a book published in twenty-twenty featured Tumblr, since it is kind of a forgotten about platform. Does anyone still have a Tumblr?
Overall, the story was cute, and something that a lot of teenagers could find comfort in. If you are a more mature reader, then the book probably isn’t for you. Although, it might bring you back to your teenage years, and give you the nostalgia feels. For me, it was just an okay read with a solid enough plot. Please let me know your thoughts on the book in the comments below. Also, what were you like as a teenager? If you enjoy my blog, then give it a follow to get notified about all my new posts.
I have so many announcements coming at you. One of them I still can’t say, but I will be announcing it next month. The first is that I am going to be starting a book club! I have been wanting to do this for a while. I don’t know if anyone will actually join in, but I thought I would give it a shot. There will be a GoodReads page for the group, and it will be the ‘Hop It To Reading’ Book Club.
On the GoodReads page, we can discuss the book, and possibly set a date for a live discussion of the book. I will post a poll for us to pick the book for each month. The first poll is up now! I also might do reading sprints once a week on my Twitter (@bookswithbunny). I really hope some of you will join in on the book club.
Next, I want to host a Vampire Academy read-along, or maybe a buddy read. There is a VA series coming out soon, so I would like to read the books. I know that many people have already read this series, but if you haven’t, or are planning to reread it, please join in the read-along!
Those are all the updates I have for you guys this month. Please check back in March for my other exciting announcement! If you want to buy me a coffee or donate to my blog you can visit my Ko-Fi. All your support means the world to me!
Today, I am doing my first Friday reads post. I might not always have one of these post every week, but I do enjoy sharing my weekend reading plans with you. So, I will be letting you know what I plan on reading throughout the weekend.
Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe
I have about two hours left on the audiobook. I am confident that I can finish it by Friday night.
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I have been wanting to read this forever! I have the audiobook and plan on starting it on Saturday.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
In between, Saturday and Sunday I will be trying to finish Twilight with my husband. We are 40% of the way through the first book in the series.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
I will most likely not get to this book until next week, but I still have hopes that I can pick it up before the weekend is over.
Those are all my weekend reading plans. I would love to know what you are currently, or planning on, reading over the next couple of days. Please support the blog by liking and sharing this post. Also, it would mean a lot if you’d follow me. It really helps withmy blog’s growth.