Wednesday, November 25, 2020

REVIEW: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo


Title:
 
Clap When You Land
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Acquired: Purchased (hardcover)
Goodreads: ADD
Purchase: Amazon/Indigo/Book Depository


In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.




I'll admit, I was weary as hell going into my first book written in verse. I don't read poetry (not as a rule, I just don't seek it out), so Clap When You Land felt like a mountainous feat. If you're feeling the same way about this one, DON'T. My God, don't. THIS BOOK WAS EVERYTHING.

Told from alternating perspectives, Yahaira in New York, and Camino in the Dominican Republic, the sisters explore the depths of their individual fears, loves and aspirations, until they are finally made aware of each other and begin to share a single pain: the loss of their father.

My copy of this book is overrun with a rainbow of tabs; lines highlighted with no regard to my anxiety about writing on pages. Acevedo created something with this narrative that spoke so unbelievably loud to my heart, that I had to pause in moments, put the book down and sit in my awe of some seriously powerful lines. The characters were so distinct, their emotions so appropriate to their circumstances. This was a reading experience that I will never forget, and I urge you to experience it too!



Read if you like:
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Key themes: 
family, loss, coming-of-age, pain, familial connections, long lost family 

Challenges:






credit: goodreads author page

 

 

ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Poet X, which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award, the Carnegie medal, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and the Walter Award. She is also the author of With the Fire on High—which was named a best book of the year by the New York Public Library, NPR, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal—and Clap When You Land, which was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor book and a Kirkus finalist.

She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo has been a fellow of Cave Canem, Cantomundo, and a participant in the Callaloo Writer’s Workshops. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion, and resides in Washington, DC with her love.

CONTACT LINKS 

Friday, June 26, 2020

REVIEW: If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

Title: If You Come Softly
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Release Date: September 28, 1998
Acquired: Purchased for my collection
Goodreads: ADD

A lyrical story of star-crossed love perfect for readers of The Hate U Give, by National Ambassador for Children's Literature Jacqueline Woodson—now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, and including a new preface by the author

Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he's in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he's going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don't exactly fit in there. So it's a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. In one frozen moment their eyes lock, and after that they know they fit together—even though she's Jewish and he's black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that's not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world has to get in their way.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

REVIEW: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Title: Cinderella is Dead
Author: Kalynn Bayron
Genre: YA Fairytale Retelling/Continuation
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Acquired: Earc approved via Netgalley
Goodreads: ADD

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew...

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

BLOG TOUR: Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth


Title:
 
The Falling in Love Montage
Author: Ciara Smyth
Genre: YA LGBT+ Contemporary/Romance
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: June 9, 2020
Acquired: Earc sent via Netgalley
Goodreads: ADD

Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.

But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.

Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.
 best friend, forever.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

REVIEW: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Title: My Favorite Half-Night Stand
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Release Date: Dec 4, 2018 
Acquired: Purchased for collection
Goodreads: ADD

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

REVIEW: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Harpercollins (Teen)
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Acquired: Library Borrow
Goodreads: ADD

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain—and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life—and all the rules everyone expects her to play by—once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.





Word of advice before you start reading this book: make sure you've eaten. The food prepared in here made me hungry on a whole other level; Acevado can describe a meal like no one else.

Emoni Santiago is a teen mom in her senior year of high school, she also has an effortless penchant for creating incredibly delicious and memory-provoking dishes. College applications are on the horizon, but with a full plate at home taking care of her daughter and working a part time job, she's had little time to think about what her future might look like. After being encouraged to take a new culinary course offered at school, Emoni soon realizes that her dreams are bigger than she initially thought, but is raw talent enough to help her impress the right people? Or will she finally learn where a little focus and discipline can get her?

If you asked me to define 'wholesome' with a novel, With the Fire on High would be my response. The stakes were low, the conflict was non-existent and the food descriptions were mouthwatering. I found a lot of the aspects in here to be a little too well explained; ends too neatly tied up, and would have really liked to see the characters placed in some deeper waters, however the family dynamic warmed my heart, and the romance was innocent and cute (even though it felt a little forced at time). If you're looking for a breezy, thoughtless narrative, you should consider reading this one!



Read if you like:

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Key themes: 
friendship, romance, family, love, cooking






credit: https://christinalaurenbooks.com/bio 

ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is a New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X, With the Fire on High, and Clap When You Land. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, The Poet X, won the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She is also the recipient of the Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, the CILIP Carnegie Medal, and the Boston Globe-Hornbook Award. Additionally, she was honored with the 2019 Pure Belpré Author Award for celebrating, affirming, and portraying Latinx culture and experience.

Her books include, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes 2016), The Poet X (HarperCollins, 2018), & With The Fire On High (HarperCollins, 2019), and Clap When You Land (HarperCollins, 2020).

She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo has been a fellow of Cave Canem, Cantomundo, and a participant in the Callaloo Writer’s Workshops. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion, and resides in Washington, DC with her love.

CONTACT LINKS 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

BLOG TOUR: Kingdom Above the Cloud by Maggie Platt (SPOTLIGHT)




Title: Kingdom Above the Cloud
Author: Maggie Platt
Genre: Young Adult - Christian Fantasy
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: April 17, 2020
Goodreads: ADD

What if the nine Fruit of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were locked in a battle for control?

Abandoned as infants, Tovi and her twin brother were raised by an eclectic tribe of warm, kind people in a treehouse village in the va lley. After her brother’s sudden disappearance Tovi questions her life and her faith in an invisible King. Ignoring her best friend Silas’ advice, she decides to search for her brother in the kingdom on top of the mountain.

Above the cloud, the Council of Masters receives their orders. Tovi and her brother are the objectives. King Damien has a plan and Tovi is the key. The Council of Masters want her, but will she remain unscathed?

Amidst the glamour of the kingdom above the cloud Tovi is torn between her own dark desires and unanswered questions. It starts with a snake and a crown. When the ring is complete, will her life be over?

Friday, May 1, 2020

May 2020: To Be Read


-MAY TO BE READ-

Let it be known that this was the month I decided to take on more buddy and group-reads than I can possibly handle *sigh. But I am determined! I will read like my life depends on it, and my MAKE MYSELF PROUD.

I also want to attempt to not buy 1000 books from Bookoutlet, but who are we kidding!? I buy books in my sleep now.

As always, keep an eye on my Instagram at the end of the month for the 'May Giveaway' announcement. It's going to be an EXTRA special one because I hit 1k on my Bookstragram recently!

Here are the 13 books (+ blog tour read) I have planned for May: 



Thursday, April 30, 2020

APRIL 2020: Wrap-Up

-APRIL WRAP UP: (6) BOOKS-

I had such high hopes for April, and it really did start off strong. Good head space, strong will to read, and then the the quarantine demons reared their ugly heads in MY head again and I was back to only feeling relieved after watching copious amounts of Youtube and scrolling Instagram *sigh.

I did read some GREAT ones despite that though. Two of them are books that will stick with me for a long time, and will probably recommend until the end of my days: The Southern Bookclub's Guide to Slaying Vampires (Grady Hendrix's BEST so far, in my opinion, and The Went Left by Monica Hesse.

With those included, my total for this month was (6):


Monday, April 27, 2020

REVIEW: The Half Sister by Sandie Jones

Title: The Half Sister
Author: Sandie Jones
Genre: Adult Fiction - Drama/Thriller
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: June 16th, 2020
Acquired: Egalley approved via Netgalley
Goodreads: ADD

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Hello Sunshine Book Club pick The Other Woman, comes a compelling new domestic suspense novel about a family who is forever changed when a stranger arrives at their door.

THE TRUTH: Sisters Kate and Lauren meet for Sunday lunch every week without fail, especially after the loss of their father.

THE LIE: But a knock at the door is about to change everything. A young woman by the name of Jess holds a note with the results of a DNA test, claiming to be their half sister.

THE UNTHINKABLE: As the fallout starts, it's clear that they are all hiding secrets, and perhaps this family isn't as perfect as it appears.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

BLOG TOUR: They Went Left by Monica Hesse


















Title: They Went Left
Author: Monica Hesse
Genre: Young Adult - Historical Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Acquired: Sent by publisher via Netgalley
Goodreads: ADD

Germany, 1945. The soldiers who liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp said the war was over, but nothing feels over to eighteen-year-old Zofia Lederman. Her body has barely begun to heal; her mind feels broken. And her life is completely shattered: Three years ago, she and her younger brother, Abek, were the only members of their family to be sent to the right, away from the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Everyone else--her parents, her grandmother, radiant Aunt Maja--they went left.

Zofia's last words to her brother were a promise: Abek to Zofia, A to Z. When I find you again, we will fill our alphabet. Now her journey to fulfill that vow takes her through Poland and Germany, and into a displaced persons camp where everyone she meets is trying to piece together a future from a painful past: Miriam, desperately searching for the twin she was separated from after they survived medical experimentation. Breine, a former heiress, who now longs only for a simple wedding with her new fiancé. And Josef, who guards his past behind a wall of secrets, and is beautiful and strange and magnetic all at once.

But the deeper Zofia digs, the more impossible her search seems. How can she find one boy in a sea of the missing? In the rubble of a broken continent, Zofia must delve into a mystery whose answers could break her--or help her rebuild her world.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

April 2020: To Be Read


-APRIL TO BE READ-

I tried with all of my might (a whole 8 days obviously) to avoid creating a TBR for this month. I told myself that I would strictly mood read, or even stick to the one blog tour book I have to read this month as my only "for-sure" read. But alas, the call to go through familiar motions was a comfort too loud to ignore. 

As always, keep an eye on my Instagram at the end of the month for the 'April Giveaway' announcement! (You will have your choice of any book, or books, worth up to $25 on Book Depository).

Here are the 8 books (+ blog tour read) I have planned for April: 





Tuesday, April 7, 2020

March 2020: Wrap-Up

-MARCH WRAP UP: (6) BOOKS-

The fact that I even read anything at all this month is wonder, truly. My mind has been so anxiety-riddled with everything that's going on in the world that I can't seem to focus on anything for longer than 2.5 min. I'm sure it's been the same for a lot of you out there, but I truly hope you were able to find solace and comfort in some great books!

I miraculously, and through sheer force to be honest, read (6) books this month: