Tag Archives: Books

BEA & BookCon 2018 Recap

After missing BEA last year, I was excited to be back again for 2018! This year was totally different from my previous years attending in many ways, starting with the fact that it was kind of a last-minute decision!

Now that Novelly Yours has become my main focus, I knew I wanted to attend BookCon to meet up with my candle reps, meet customers, and say hello to other bookish shops that were attending as vendors! My regular crew wasn’t attending BEA this year so I didn’t really have plans to attend but I still really wanted to. I managed to sneak in the last day of Book Expo with friend and rep Brittany (@bookswrotemystory) by my side and then we both hit BookCon with the rest of the rep crew!

BOOK EXPO (BEA)

    

In previous years, I focused a lot on all of the things that we did day-by-day and this year, I think I’m switching that up a bit because things felt very different this year. I noticed that there weren’t as many bloggers in attendance, which could be for a number of things. I know that the BookExpo team switched some things around and changed blogger/media attendance fees. I don’t know if this was to cut down on/discourage blogger attendance in actuality or if the community just kind of felt like it was (those were the rumblings we all heard within the last couple years), but it did seem like there were fewer people I knew there… But there’s also the fact that there are a lot of newer bloggers on the scene now and a lot of the veterans that I know have taken a step back from blogging, or at least to the extent where BEA is not a priority. In that sense, it did seem a little less familiar.

Meeting Kerri Maniscalco at BEA18

The pace of the conference is quite different from previous years as well. There are far fewer galley drops and books laying about the floor, free for the taking. Everything was much more scheduled and we had to line up for pretty much anything we wanted to do. I’m no stranger to standing in lines at BEA but I was also really looking forward to just walking around and trying to find some new, interesting reads this year and I couldn’t really even peep at any books. Everything was very protected, lots of secret drops that you had to be watching for on social media or things that were announced but the title kept a secret, and even more ticketed signings than in previous years. It’s not a bad thing — ticketed signings and and scheduled drops can help the organization process and keep things orderly, which I know was a concern among to blogging community if not all of the BEA attendees. It did make it difficult to do anything without a schedule and I was trying to be a bit more casual this year so those two concepts didn’t really work together, but I did manage to meet a few authors and grab a few ARCs that I really wanted to! I was surprised that there just weren’t really a lot of things to go and browse like there had been in previous years, not even with some of the smaller publishers. It was rare to see ARCs around on the floor to look at or take.

With Leigh Bardugo at the Macmillan blogger party

Another perk of attending the one day of BookExpo was that I was in town for the Macmillan blogger party! They’re one of my favorite publishers and I still treasure our working relationship and how well I’ve grown to know the team and even the authors! I somehow always manage to get there late (this time it was because Laini Taylor was the last signing of the day and we needed MUSE OF NIGHTMARES and then we had to check into our Airbnb after moving out of our hotel) so I was rushed again getting there, but I stayed until the very end! I got to say hello to Marissa Meyer again (though I neglected to get a photo with her) and chat with Leigh Bardugo! I saw the lovely faces of the Macmillan team, spent time chatting with bloggers, and even got to meet a couple new friends that I hadn’t met before! It’s always such a fun time and it’s one of my favorite parts of the conference!

BOOKCON

  

This was the first year that I attended BookCon since its inception so I had no idea what to expect!! The first year was kind of a hot mess and they seemed to have it down to a science now this year. It was nice having it on the same floor as BookExpo and I already knew where everything was. The upsides of BookCon were taking the time to meet some other vendors like OwlCrate, The Bookish Box, Book Beau, North Ave Candles, and Beacon Book Box. I’ve met some of the owners before but it was nice to say hello to people for the first time and make some new connections as well!! I had also made some candles to hand out around BookCon and that was really fun to be able to meet some people that way and hand out some fun goodies!

Other than attending as a vendor, I can’t say I’d ever go to BookCon as a regular attendee again. Every signing in the regular autographing area was ticketed and since I had a press pass and didn’t receive a BookCon badge ahead of time, I could register for any of them and a representative of BookCon didn’t get back to me to see if there was a way for me to do that. I didn’t push it because I knew I was going to BEA, plus I’ve attended many book events, so I didn’t want to take that opportunity away from someone else who really wanted to meet their favorite author! Most things on the floor were ticketed as well and I didn’t have desire to wait in a lot of those ticket lines so I just ended up walking around and hanging out with my friends most of the time, as well as making the time to chat with the aforementioned vendors!

Nearly everything at BookCon is something that’s available for purchase, as well, meaning that unless I was buying books, I likely wasn’t picking anything up. Knowing how many books I’d have to tote back home, I didn’t feel like it was necessary to buy something all the way out in NYC and take it back to IL. A lot of people purchased books for signings but since I own all of the books from my favorite authors and I didn’t attend that many signings at BookCon, there was no reason for me to buy those either. I guess when you’re spoiled by BEA and ALA, getting books at BookCon felt silly (as weird as that sounds) but I also think the event is designed much more for consumers and the general public and not so much someone who can attend BEA or other book conferences like ALA. I think I ended up with 2 or 3 books from BookCon vs the other stack that I was able to obtain from BEA.

 

I definitely had fun meeting the people and hanging out with my friends at BookCon but I don’t think I’d pay to attend just for me. Hopefully in years to come, I can participate in more of a vendor fashion, whether that’s having a booth or collaborating with another vendor!

Did you attend BEA or BookCon this year? Have you attended in previous years? What did you think?

Looking for more BEA news? You can check out my recaps from previous years I attended!
BEA 2013 | BEA 2014 | BEA 2015 | BEA2016

Top Ten Tuesday – July 3, 2018: Books With Red, White, and Blue Covers

TOP TEN TUESDAY
July 3, 2018

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader GirlThis week’s topic was a love freebie so I chose Books I Could Re-Read Forever

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday but I really liked this Red, White, and Blue theme! There aren’t a lot of covers that have strictly red, white, and blue in the true sense of the colors so some of these are a touch stretched, but I do love how these colors right brighten up a book cover!

BOOKS WITH RED, WHITE, AND BLUE ON THE COVER

I’LL MEET YOU THERE by Heather DemetriosReview


WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo | Review


 

WIRES AND NERVE by Marissa Meyer | Review


CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber | Review


ALL FALL DOWN by Ally Carter | Review


THE GEEK’S GUIDE TO UNREQUITED LOVE by Sarvenaz Tash | Review


TRULY DEVIOUS by Maureen Johnson | Review

(I actually think that’s orange and not red but I’ve committed to it now and I like the bright blue)


the fixer jennifer lynn barnes

THE FIXER by Jennifer Lynn Barnes | Review


SIZZLING SIXTEEN by Janet Evanovich | Review


Do you have any favorite red, white, and blue books? I do like how these colors look together but I’m extra fond of blue books!

As Seen on Bookstagram | Pin Pals, Pin and Button Storage/Display

After five years of blogging, sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas. So much has changed over the years, including my blogging style, many times over, and I’ve gotten so much more into taking photos and posting on Instagram as a part of my love of books and bookish merch!

In an attempt to keep things interesting and fun, I wanted to started a little something new for me where I take a post that I had originally shared on Instagram — or “bookstagram” for those in the book community — and took it a little further in a blog post. There’s a limited  number of characters that you can share on Insta and the point of those posts is more to get to the point, rather than writing a whole narrative, but sometimes each post deserves a few extra words, and “As Seen on Instagram” is a fun way for me to do that!

 

I recently made an excellent purchase to display all of my buttons and pins!

It’s called a Pin Pal and it’s from a shop called Ardent Adornment! These Pin Pals come in various sizes and have the option to include a pocket for your bookmarks too! It’s just exactly what I needed to display my pins and buttons because they’ve just been sitting around in mugs and balance on shelves and I never got to admire them!

I really love the quality of these hoops too. April, the owner of the shop, hand makes each one and they’re quite sturdy! The fabric is wrapped tightly within the hoop and the back is reinforced so if you ever need to move your pins and rearrange, there won’t be glaring holes in the fabric and it helps keep everything stable.

I have one Pin Pal with a pocket where I’ve tucked some bookmarks in and stuck pins on the front pocket, and I have another that doesn’t have a pocket (seen here) so I can fill it up with as many pins as possible!


How do you display your pins and buttons? Do you have anything like a Pin Pal? Don’t forget to stop by Ardent Adornment to check out her shop and Instagram!

If you want to read the original post, check it out above or head to my Instagram page where you can follow for all kinds of bookish photo updates! 

The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3) – Lev Grossman

The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3) – Lev GrossmanTitle: The Magician's Land (The Magicians #3) by Lev Grossman
Publishing Info: August 5, 2014 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: March 6, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Magicians (The Magicians #1), The Magician King (The Magicians #2)

Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose, he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic, but he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.

Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, and a new Fillory--but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrificing everything.

bookreview1

I have a hard time with endings so this was a little bittersweet! I enjoyed the first half of the book a lot more with the set-up but I actually appreciated how well the beginning set up the ending without the reader knowing it. I always really love when authors have everything come full circle and this book did that for the book itself and also for the series. It really shows how well an author can craft plot and really know where the series it headed right from the beginning.

I actually also really appreciated that we get to see exactly why Quentin is the main character of this series. Up until 75% of the way through the final book, it still seemed like this series could have been about Julia or even Eliot or Janet, but we finally get to see in the end why this is Quentin’s story and what made this so magical and a perfect fit for him, so I’m really glad we got to that point! It’s interesting to see how the series follows all of the main characters but then how the focus really comes back to Quentin in the end.

It was quite interesting starting the TV show after this book and having finished the whole series. Obviously this review isn’t about the show, but watching something that’s inspired by the series and doesn’t follow the exact storyline also gave me more appreciation for how things wrapped up in the end and put things into perspective. The show really focuses on all of the characters and since I read the series, I already have that feeling that Quentin is the main focus but he’s really not in the show — it’s everyone. Actually, I guess the series really still spotlights Julia, Eliot, and Janet (who is Margo in the TV show) and they have their own stories as well but it’s just so interesting to note the similarities and differences.

The TV show was actually the inspiration for me to read this series (so I could watch the show) but there was something that I really connected with in terms of the whole feel here. I wouldn’t say it’s one of my all-time favorite series but there really is something that tugs at my feelings and it has that sort of obsession quality, so even though it’s not the greatest and best, I still have so much love for it!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult fantasy that’s not high fantasy. Is this low fantasy? Urban fantasy? What do you call it? I’m horrible with genres like that. But I loved that this was magical and fantastical but it wasn’t a WHOLE fantasy world. It has that sort of Harry Potter feel that takes you away to a magical land but the real world is still there, and I really loved it in an adult setting instead of children’s or YA.
Left Me Wanting More: Character interaction. I’m actually thinking back on this having read it months ago but I feel like I wished the characters had been together a little bit more for some of their timelines… But there were other character reunions that I also loved!

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I just really enjoyed this series and the TV show honestly made it even better. They’re different but really great in their own ways and I loved the original story of The Magicians.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE MAGICIAN’S LAND

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    ALEX VERUS

The Magician King (The Magicians #2) – Lev Grossman

The Magician King (The Magicians #2) – Lev GrossmanTitle: The Magician King (The Magicians #2) by Lev Grossman
Publishing Info: April 9, 2011 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: March 4, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Magicians (The Magicians #1), The Magician's Land (The Magicians #3)

Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.
Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly-learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.

bookreview1

THE MAGICIAN KING was absolutely a better book than THE MAGICIANS. I felt like THE MAGICIANS was just pieces of a story all cobbled together and didn’t really follow one long thread to make it feel like a cohesive novel and THE MAGICIAN KING actually feels like a story, moving with purpose. It’s an interesting series to get the hang because it’s not like there’s one obvious conflict that carries throughout all three books, as is often the case with trilogies, and yet they’re also not independent of each other. I did like the developments here and where the story went, delving further into the magical world and the elements of Fillory.

I think the thing I enjoyed the most about this book was Julia’s story. Honestly, it was much more interesting the Quentin’s and if you read any review of THE MAGICIANS, you’ll probably read how whiny and unappreciative Quentin is of his time and experiences at Brakebills. It really didn’t bother me as much as it could have but I felt like Julia’s story was much more interesting. THE MAGICIAN KING introduces Julia right off the bat as a completely changed person. There’s something much more unearthly about her and the book spends its time going through flashbacks of Julia’s life after that fateful day when she was presented with the Brakebills entrance exam, working its way forward to explain how she got the way that she is. She has many more hardships, a much more developed personality and story, and the more interesting side of the magical developments. That was really the biggest draw to me and this book.

I also liked the reappearance of several characters, plus a few new ones along the way. I had actually forgotten a few of them with the show clouding my memory and I enjoyed seeing them again! I’m also looking forward to seeing what they do with the TV show. I already know it doesn’t follow the books closely since we started getting way into Julia’s story right away and it doesn’t follow the events from THE MAGICIAN KING either, but I definitely wanted to read the books first and get a feel on the “real” story before moving on to an adaptation. Both are interesting and I’m appreciating both in their own ways!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Book-to-TV adaptations. I’ve really enjoyed seeing how the book and the TV show differ here! I really appreciated both individually and I’ve also enjoyed comparing the two.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection to the first book. I actually preferred THE MAGICIAN KING to THE MAGICIANS and I liked how much more it developed, but I wish the books really flowed together more.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I thought this was the best book in the series. I think if you hated THE MAGICIANS, you may still not enjoy this series as much but I do think this book got better!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE MAGICIAN KING

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    ALEX VERUS

Undead Girl Gang – Lily Anderson

Undead Girl Gang – Lily AndersonTitle: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
Publishing Info: May 8, 2018 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Zombies
Date Completed: April 24, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There's not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley's favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone's explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer...before the killer strikes again.

bookreview1

This book was a lot of fun! Ever since I finished UNDEAD GIRL GANG, I’ve been thinking about how much I enjoyed this book. This is exactly the kind of book I was looking for and always have a craving for! I really enjoy dark comedy and campy-type books and UNDEAD GIRL GANG had all that and more.

I really loved Mila as the main character in this book. She was just a real person, from not hiding her witchy ways to having a normal plus-sized body to her family interactions to her on-and-off interactions with the popular girls. Everything about her was enjoyable and relatable and I loved her as the book’s heroine. It was great to see a mystery added in the book too. It really carried the paranormal plot when the recently dead girls accidentally get brought back to life and gave them a purpose and a timeline.

I also really liked Mila’s friendship with Riley. It’s easy to idolize the good things about someone when they’re gone and on the flip side, it was great to see how much her friendship changed after Riley’s… change. I just really appreciated seeing all of the different sides of friendship and how it’s not always perfect.

I really enjoyed the story-telling style, looooved the sarcasm and humor, and it was an overall fun feel with the witchy/paranormal aspects. There was even a good twist that I didn’t see coming! Books like this are just so much fun to read and always something I enjoy — campy, funny, sarcastic, but still with great style, flare, and characters. I’d definitely recommend this one, for fans of KILL THE BOY BAND (but with a paranormal twist) and How to Hang a Witch (with even a bit more sass)!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Dark humor. Give me alllllll the dark humor books! Tell me more! I want more!!!
Left Me Wanting More: Pages! I just had so much fun reading this. There really wasn’t anything I was missing!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you love some good sarcasm, dark humor, paranormal elements, and a great book about friendship topped off with positivity towards being yourself, this is a great book to pick up!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE UNDEAD GIRL GANG

              

The Final Six (The Final Six #1) – Alexandra Monir

The Final Six (The Final Six #1) – Alexandra MonirTitle: The Final Six (The Final Six #1) by Alexandra Monir
Publishing Info: March 6, 2018 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: May 10, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.

For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.

As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.

bookreview1

First of all… I did not know this was a series going into it and it really does affect how you view a book. I kept waiting for things to lift off (quite literally) and this just didn’t have the action that I was expecting. It really felt like THE HUNGER GAMES meets Space Camp and I was looking for way more (or any) space action actually IN space. The ending was a surprise and I didn’t realize that we were going to get zero answers or resolutions, which even for a cliffhanger was kind of disappointing. There really was no wrap up even for the first book and it was just left totally open on nearly every account.

Besides my series rant, this book was… okay. I’ve been in a YA slump because maybe I’ve read too many books (GASP) or something but I feel like a lot of books have really been misses for me lately with concepts that have been done before, books that need more meat on their bones, or tropey romances/plots that have been done way too many times. Obviously you can’t please everyone, but I think this book could have benefitted from less romance and I’m not saying take the romance away but I would have loved that personal bond that wasn’t all head-over-heels. BUT ALAS, that is often how teenage love goes so it’s not like it’s unrealistic. I don’t like using the term instalove because I don’t not believe in REAL instalove that lasts but this felt like a more… shallow instalove that I just didn’t latch onto. I felt the connection and I actually liked it, but then it reached a point where it was that “can’t live without you even though we just met” thing again and I was over it at that point.

And for a book that’s all about going to space……… no one spent any time in space, and that’s what I was here for! Okay, okay, I get it. It’s a series and you didn’t know that, Brittany, blah blah but we could have spent like, a little time in space. In transit? Just a little? I was really expecting something to happen in that respect and to be honest, I was expecting the whole book to take place on a moon/planet so the fact that none of that happened in the first book was a let down. The ending also rapidly got very cheesy and a little silly and after my other frustrations, it just wasn’t enjoyable after that.

THE FINAL SIX started off well and had my interest but a lot of things added up to just really miss the mark for me. It was still an interesting concept but grand ideas turned into believable plot for which I just couldn’t suspend my reality enough. Will I read the next book? I’m really not sure. I didn’t love the writing in THE FINAL SIX but if we’re actually getting to the space part, I’m definitely interested. But the instalove might kill that desire to read it because the love story really turned me off near the end of this book.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Space Race. You see so many things about Jupiter’s moon having the ability to host life forms so I’m kind of a sucker for anything where people try to inhabit it or terraform a planet. It’s just fascinating (and maybe a little terrifying).
Left Me Wanting More: Friendship. The romance here just really brought me down. Things got way too dramatic so quickly and it ended up being annoying.

Addiction Rating
Consider it

I really like the concept for the series but I REALLY wish this book had been combined with whatever is coming in book two. I felt like there was far too much time spent at training and not enough getting to the point of things. As with a lot of books lately, I feel like this could have benefitted from better editing to really push the story forward.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE FINAL SIX

              

Book Title Buzzwords | LIE

Book Title Buzzwords

I love noticing title trends in the YA world (and in adult books too!) and I can also tell that there are certain words I latch onto. Book Title Buzzwords features books that I’ve read (or want to read) that follow some recent trends! 

TELL ME LIES, TELL ME LIES…

I have some new books on my TBR all about lies and I’ve realized how much it pops up in YA lit! I actually think I’ve posted a Book Title Buzzwords about “lies” before but it bears repeating since it keeps popping up and I wanted to share these new titles with you too! These four are specifically all mystery/thrillers and they all sound quite interesting!!

LIES YOU NEVER TOLD ME by Jennifer Donaldson
This is my most recent read in the “lies” department and it was a really interesting book! I did have some things I wished would have been developed a little differently but I liked the overall ending and I think it’s worth the read!
Find it on Goodreads

THE LIES THEY TELL by Gillian French
I love a good summer thriller and this book sounds perfect. I’m interested in the intrigue and mystery wrapped up in this novel and I hope it has a few surprises for me!
Find it on Goodreads

DARE YOU TO LIE by Amber Lynn Natusch
The name of this series is “Hometown Antihero” and if that doesn’t immediately get me, I don’t know what will! I love the sound of this book about a daughter hellbent on clearing her father’s name.
Find it on Goodreads

THE TRUTH BENEATH LIES by Amanda Search
Two girls on the run and their stories collide. I love when two separate story lines merge to create the bigger picture. It sounds like a very interesting book and consider me hooked! 
Find it on Goodreads


What are you favorite “lying” books? Have any of these titles caught your eye?

Far From the Tree – Robin Benway

Far From the Tree – Robin BenwayTitle: Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Publishing Info: October 3, 2017 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes, Edelweiss
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Date Completed: May 9, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Also Known As, Going Rogue (Also Known As #2), Emmy & Oliver

A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

bookreview1

I’m really glad I read FAR FROM THE TREE because this was such a lovely book. I’ve been skirting away from more “serious” contemporary fiction lately but I love Robin Benway’s books and I already knew from EMMY & OLIVER that I enjoyed her more realistic fiction style as well as cute, quirky spies.

I’m really glad I didn’t skip this book because of its serious content. Too often with tough, sensitive, or emotional subjects, I’m just not in the mood or the place mentally to take those on in book form or the writing ends up being a little too much for me, so I loved how Robin Benway crafted this story. It is a serious book but it’s written beautifully and the characters really shine and carry this book. Not every book dealing with real life topics have to have characters who are solemn and I loved the sarcasm and slight comic relief that still came through from some of these characters. Robin Benway really does a great job at making sure her characters are well-rounded and that they come off as real people and not just a character in a book and I really loved that in FAR FROM THE TREE.

I also really enjoyed the three different POVs that shared three different experiences with adoption, family, and just life in general. Each character was so well-rounded, different, and really well represented. I really appreciated each situation and their respective hurdles and hardships and I’m glad that readers got to see each situation from that character’s perspective. It wouldn’t have been the same to have one narrator sharing this experience as an observer and I love that we got to see all three siblings in their own voices.

The ending was just perfect also. It wasn’t a book that needed a fairy tale happy ending, but it was a great way to wrap up this adventure and it just felt right. It wasn’t too sad and it wasn’t overly, cheesily happy. I really appreciated and enjoyed the writing and whether Robin Benway is writing a fun spy novel or a serious realistic story, I’m here for it!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Realistic fiction. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book specifically about adoption — it’s usually used as a twist or point of sadness in a book — and I really liked how it was accurately portrayed in three distinct ways here.
Left Me Wanting More: History. I don’t feel like this book was missing anything, really, but I also would have enjoyed getting to know even more about each family. 

Addiction Rating
Read it

I thought this book was very well done and it was a great representation of the adoption process on so many levels and all of the things that go into that decision.

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BOOKS LIKE FAR FROM THE TREE

              

Alex, Approximately – Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately – Jenn BennettTitle: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Publishing Info: April 4, 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Date Completed: February 23, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Starry Eyes

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

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I had heard so many good things about ALEX, APPROXIMATELY and I had been wanting to read it for a long time! Not able to read as many print copies as I would like, I started binge-reading audiobooks and it was finally time to read this one when I found an audio version from Hoopla! (Bless you, Hoopla.)

This book was really cute! I also recently read STARRY EYES from Jenn Bennett and I just love there realistic situations and characters that she captures in her books. There were so many realistic family and relationship moments that I really connected with and that felt very true in so many ways. I also had so much fun with the romance from start to finish! I knew what was happening with Mink/Alex/Bailey/Porter as soon as it started to unfold (although I don’t think that it was really secret to the readers) and I was totally there for that!

There was a little bit that just didn’t have me 100% in love with the book and I think at times it was just a little over-the-top, but just barely. Some parts were a little too dramatic for my tastes but really most of it was so incredibly realistic and I was easily able to connect with all of the characters, even the secondary ones. I loved the supporting cast of friends and family and they really added so much to the book, which is always something that I love.

I really enjoyed this book a lot and it lived up to the hype! I’m so glad that I finally got around to reading it, and it also led me straight into STARRY EYES, both of which have kicked off my new-found love for Jenn Bennett!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Realistic fiction. I kind of shy away from contemporary sometimes, depending on the content and author, and this was fun and refreshing!
Left Me Wanting More: Maturity. Yes, yes, it’s young adult, I know. There were just a coooouple teen drama moments that were irksome but I guess that is really true to the teenage years! I just forget about them because I never felt like I was that dramatic. (I totally was.)

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really, really enjoyed this book and there was a lot to swoon about! I’ve become an instant fan of Jenn Bennett and I can’t wait to read more!

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BOOKS LIKE ALEX, APPROXIMATELY