Guest Book Review: On the Come Up

the following is a book review written by the lovely Stephanie Volkmer from the Beauty and the Bookish Blog!
ff

div

9C2072B6-A8A3-410B-AD63-08E050D61BB2Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.

divi

I’m sure y’all know by now, (and if you don’t I’m about to educate ya) Angie Thomas released a new book this past week called On the Come Up. If you don’t know who Angie Thomas is, well, she’s just the queen who has held the top reigning position of NYT’s best seller for the past 2.5 years for The Hate You Give. It’s pretty widely known.

And now she’s released another book. I was able to snatch the arc (advanced reader copy) from the jaws of my ravenous coworkers and was able to emerge victorious with the arc in hand, with only a few minor tears of clothing. (I kid, honestly my one coworker passed it to me on the DL because she managed to sneak it before anyone else, but that sounds a bit boring.)
But to the book. Honestly, I got it because so many teens started picking it up and asking me if they would like it, or their parents were asking “is this appropriate?” (Which by the way extremely frustrates me on so many levels-but that is neither here nor there) And I’m tired of not having an answer for them.
Synopsis: Bri is 16 and wants nothing more than to be the next big rapper, up there with all the greats. But it’s difficult when it seems like no one wants her to do anything of her own dreams, and keeps comparing her to who and what she isn’t. But will she find out the space to prove who she is on her own, or will she just go with the tide?
Things I liked:
* Jay (Bri’s Mom) was probably one of my favourites in the whole book because not only was she always 100% there for her kids, she did mess up and own the things that she messed up on. I loved her voice and it was amazing.
*Friends/strong family circle: I love when authors realize that people need people, like you might not like them much but everyone needs someone and Bri had a strong group of friends around her all the time. It was so great to see “group of friends” instead of “strong silent loner”
*I also liked how we got snippets of the songs and raps that Bri preformed, though I’ll be honest I really wanted a soundtrack to go along with this book so that I could hear it in my head, but that’s a moot point. 🙂
*I also loved Bri’s character arc. I felt like we really saw her grow and change through out the whole novel and it was such a relatable story.
Things I didn’t care much for:
*Honestly the cussing kinda drove me off a bit. I know that it sounds like I’m a prude and I know that’s the way a lot of people talk, but I just don’t care for it in my books. This is just a personal thing, not at all a slam against how Angie wrote because honestly I think that she wrote it really well, it wasn’t in there for the shock value at all, it was basically “this is what real life sounds like” but I just personally didn’t care for it.
*There were a few times during the story where I felt like there were some weird jump cuts to some unrelated things, but I also think that was part of the arc and the final version will probably tighten those up as well as give a bit more to the background.
IMG_1941
Overall thoughts:
I enjoyed this book a lot. I loved getting in Bri’s head and seeing all the actions play out with the writing and the plot and it was amazing. I would recommend this book for anyone who has a dream, who wants to speak out and who is basically On the Come Up.
I gave it 4 stars and can definitely say it’s well worth the read.
Happy Reading and remember life is too short for mediocre books!
four

Give Stephanie  some love in the comments. She worked really hard to get this review up! ♥️

untitled

Advertisements

DNF that Book

ww

Well, that title is really provocative and click-baity. Sounds like someone is desperate for attention. I’ll look into it. xP In all seriousness, I’m here to give y’all a little pep talk for your Wednesday.

div

This all really came about because I started a book, and I could feel instantly it wasn’t the fit for me. I’d loved the author’s previous work, but I had some issues with this new story. And sometimes, I keep pushing and I waste so much time trying to make that book into something it isn’t. I feel like in the book community DNF-ing is looked down on. It’s a last resort.

also, rabbit trail: just because you DNFed one of an author’s books but loved some others, doesn’t mean you’re a bad fan. Not every book that your favorite author writes is FOR YOU. sometimes it’s just not a good fit.

But I’m here to tell you that your time is more valuable than that. If you can truly feel that a book isn’t for you, then DNF THE DANG BOOK. There are millions of other books out there for you.

DNFing is not a bad thing. Most of the time it’s not because it’s a bad book(well, sometimes). This is why on most of my DNFs or negative reviews I try to include a disclaimer saying something to the effect of “this book wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t for you”

So this post is kind of a condensed hot mess, but what I’m trying to say is: Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it on a book you know you’re not going to love. IT IS OKAY TO DNF BOOKS. I’m not even going to get into the ridiculous shame culture around DNF-ing, rating DNFed books, and reviewing DNF-ed books.

Girl, DNF that book.

Sometimes you gotta trust your gut.

divi

untitled

What’s the most recent book you DNFed? why’d you DNF it? I’m genuinely curious, haha. LET’S CHAT, Y’ALL.

Book Review: Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss

ff

div

e9eff9f86eeaf224016c8ce711cdf079Lacey Barnes has dreamt of being in a movie for as long as she can remember. However, while her dream did include working alongside the hottest actor in Hollywood, it didn’t involve having to finish up her senior year of high school at the same time she was getting her big break. Although that is nothing compared to Donavan, the straight-laced student her father hires to tutor her, who is a full-on nightmare.

As Lacey struggles to juggle her burgeoning career, some on-set sabotage, and an off-screen romance with the unlikeliest of leading men, she quickly learns that sometimes the best stories happen when you go off script.

divi

Are any of use truly surprised that I loved this book? I would think not. If you are surprised: do you know me? 😂

This book was different than Kasie West’s previous books. There’s always some sort of plot unrelated to the romance, but this one was especially fun. I loved the mystery of trying to figure out who was sabotaging the set, and the focus on Lacey’s complex relationship with her father.

This is also in a different sort of style than Kasie West’s other books, with the chapters juxtaposed with brief excerpts from Dancing Graves. It gave us a great view into the movie and the character that Lacey was trying to portray.

I did not like the fact that Lacey doesn’t like animals. WHO DOESN’T LIKE ANIMALS? That’s just not right, y’all. Seems a little suspicious. I feel like maybe after a couple years of therapy she’ll realize that animals are a blessing that we do not deserve but yet have received. But not liking animals… nah, girl.

This has um… a lot more kissing than in Kasie West’s previous books. I see no issue here. Donovan was so sweet and honestly like amazing? Such a soft boi, gosh. YALL KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT SOFT BOIS. THEY ARE MY ACTUAL WEAKNESS.

The romance felt older than in the other books, which I liked! It was just a bit more adult as both Donovan and Lacey were mature for their age. (I’m not talking like sexual content, but like depth in the relationship and also more kissing 🤪) the romance on a whole was just so sweet and cute! Also the kissing was very well done… ahem.

I loved how even though Lacey moved and has this whole new busy life, she doesn’t forget about her friends back home and still makes time for them and they still make time for her.

Also! The girl friendships in this are honestly amazing. GIRLS SUPPORTING GIRLS IS ALWAYS AN AMAZING THING. I am here for it. I STAN. *slams table* They were all there to support each other, not tear them down and honestly? Yes yes yes YES.

Well are any of us surprised here? I loved this book. The romance is amazing, there are amazing girl friendships full of support and all the wonderful things. Also soft bois ❤🙌🏻

FIVE

What’s your favorite author? One who you’ll always buy their books, you’ve always loved their books? 

untitled

Five Amazing 2019 Releases I Would Sell My Soul For

ww

HI AND WELCOME TO ANOTHER YEAR. much like other years, there are many books that I desperately would love to get my hands on. Like last year’s post, a disclaimer! I am only included books I haven’t received as ARCs. So there’s some that I’m really anticipating, but they’re not on here because I have them, thus I don’t need to sell my soul for them.

div

– the boy who steals houses – c.g. drews
release date: april 4, 2019

can we talk about what a bad fan I am? I haven’t read A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES yet. BUT LEGIT THIS IS ONE OF MY MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF THE YEAR I WOULD GIVE ANYTHING FOR ITTTTT. also the cover was just revealed and we all know what a sucker I am for good covers… the need is real, y’all. also living for the hufflepuff yellow. REPRESENT.

– nexus – lindsay cummings, sasha alsberg
release date: may 7, 2019

this isn’t some book I’m expecting to change my life, but I loved Zenith. I need me some more angsty tension! also like the cliffhanger Zenith left us on is totally not okay. I need this book in my hands!

– again but better – christine riccio
release date: may 7, 2019

I have followed and loved Christine’s writing videos, and I’m so excited and pumped to finally get to see and read the book she’s worked so hard over! also like the cover is gorgeous and the book sounds amazing. BASICALLY I NEED IT NOW, Y’ALL. (also a fun fact: a fake cover I created for this book was in christine’s fake covers video! (it’s at 6:40!))

– maybe this time – kasie west
release date: july 9, 2019

I mean, are any of us surprised here? It’s a Kasie West book. OF COURSE I’M DYING TO READ IT. I don’t even know what it is about, but if I had money it’d be instantly preordered, but instead I’m keeping an eye out for ANY(legal obv) way to get my hands on this book!

– untitled – kendare blake
release date: september 3, 2019

This book has no title, no synopsis, but I’m already ready to give you my soul, firstborn, money, and basically anything for it. I just discovered it’s the conclusion(which I half knew but I forgot) and I’m SOOOO READY by like not ready at all. WHAT PAIN AWAITS ME, Y’ALL? the first three books have already destroyed me. I can’t wait for this to destroy me too.

divi

So if you’re willing to give me these books in exchange for my soul, HIT ME UP, y’all. just kidding. (maybe)

I clearly have no chill. But that’s what anticipating amazing new reads does to me! What are your most anticipated reads of 2019??? LET’S CHAT!

Book Review: Evermore (spoilers for Everless!)

ff

BEFORE THIS CONTINUES: THIS POST AND REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR EVERLESS BY SARA HOLLAND

div

91dzdkyjwplThe highly anticipated sequel to New York Times bestseller, Everless! 
Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.
The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

divire

I’m honestly at a loss to review this. Like, I have no words. But I’m going to try, so we’ll see how this goes. This book is the perfect follow up to Everless. If Everless tore my heart out, this book crushed it, stomped on it, and rolled it in broken glass, then shoved it back into my chest. Am I being a little dramatic, maybe? I’M NOT EXAGGERATING YALL. Not being over dramatic. THISSSS BOOK.

The writing style of this is glorious. All at once at has the feel of an old magical fairytale, a heart pounding ya fantasy, and it just feels beautiful and magical and shattered.

This book handles the whole “suddenly revealed that mc is an old magical being or princess or something and she didn’t know it” really well. SARAH J MAAS, TAKE NOTES. I really love how this book deals with it because rather than having her suddenly change personalities and go by a new name(*cough*aelinashryver*cough*), Jules is still… Jules. She also Antonia, and the Alchemist, but she’s still the character we feel in love with in Everless.

Can I just say I LOVE the magic system in this story? The idea of time magic is just amazing, honestly, and the blood iron system is something I’ve never seen anything even remotely like in any story. Blood magic isn’t new, but this currency, time style of it is completely original and so absolutely interesting.

Ahem. *taps mic* is this thing on? We all know my obsession with slow burn romances. I love reading them, writing them, watching them…. it’s an addiction(one I’m completely fine with, no issues here! xD) WELL THIS HAS A SLOWBURN ROMANCE THAT WILL KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF(probably in slow motion, tbh) I am OBSESSED. it’s just like an unspoken connection. Everyone can see it, even them probably but they literally ignore it on purpose for most of the story. Can you say denial?? It’s so slow burn but so satisfying when all the hours of reading and shipping FINALLY pay off. SO. FREAKING. SATISFYING. This book also does changing the love interest in the second book so so so we’ll (SARAH J MAAS, LEGIT, START TAKING NOTES. NOT EVEN KIDDING TBH)

I loved loved loved loved loved all the different friendships in this. There’s Ina, and Amma, and Liam, and Elias, and then there’s friends from Everless that aren’t in the book but they’re not like suddenly forgotten now that so much has changed for Jules (*cough*sarahjmaasplstakenotes*cough*)

This book handles amnesia so well too! Rather than just having it go like normal fantasy novel character amnesia goes, Sara Holland makes Jules really fight to remember anything, and while Jules isn’t an unreliable narrator, she’s very driven by strong emotion(wow me too ayyy), so there are moments and chapters of frustration of fear and sometimes it feels very much like an unreliable narrator(best of both worlds wow)

There’s so much depth and complexity to the villain and the relationship between Caro and  Jules. It’s not just black and white, like she’s evil and Jules is good. There’s so much more there, so much the unpack. And by the way, the ending scenes are absolutely beautiful.

There’s usually a portion of a review of a sequel where I compare the second book to the first, to see how it measures up. That’s so hard to do with this one, because both books are so completely different. The first book was like the tip of this iceberg, this book IS the iceberg. It’s stunning and well written and driven and romantic and soul crushing and just really really really great OKAY

there’s also so much pain in this. Like wow, Sara Holland DID NOT hold back. Not a freaking smidge. LIKE WOW. I may have cried.

several times

This book is an absolute stunner. It’s beautifully written and (IT WILL RIP YOUR HEART OUT) has the feel of a classic fairytale with a modern YA spin. It’s amazing, and you absolutely have to read it(so you can be in pain with me ahahaha)

FIVE

What’s the best sequel you’ve ever read? Like, one that was even better than the book before it?? Let’s chat!

Favorites of the Month!

ww

I didn’t get much read in January. To be honest, it’s been a crazy month! I read four books altogether, three new reads and one reread! Out of all that, two new five star reads as well as the reread being a five star! So not much to write home about, but there were some real gems this month!

div

thatnightThis book really hits you. It deals with anxiety, depression, survivors guilt, grief, and living after a tragedy. It’s so, so beautiful and I love the heart and soul of it. I adored every second, cried my way through some of it. Highly recommend to anyone who can handle the triggers, especially people who have experienced trauma and grief. For those things, this book really resonated with me.

I ended my month by rereading Everless and diving into Evermore! I loved Everless just as much the second time around, and cried some more. And Evermore… After reading Everless, I wasn’t sure how Sara Holland could top it. But Evermore is the perfect followup. It’s even better than Everless, which was amazing. I honestly can’t even put into just so few words here how good it was! Luckily, I’ve got a review coming for it this Friday!

divi

There wasn’t much this month, but I really loved most of what I read. Three out of four is pretty good! I can’t wait to see what great reads next month brings!

What was your favorite book that you read in January?? Have you read any of my faves from January? Let’s chat!!

 

Book Review: That Night by Amy Giles

ff

div

thatnightOne night in March, a terrible tragedy shakes the Queens neighborhood where Jessica Nolan and Lucas Rossi live.
The year since the shooting has played out differently for Jess and Lucas, both of whom were affected by that night in eerily similar, and deeply personal, ways. Lucas has taken up boxing and lives under the ever-watchful eye of his overprotective parents, while trying to put good into the world through random acts of kindness — to pay back a debt he feels he owes the universe for taking the wrong brother.
Jess struggles to take care of her depressed mother, with the help of her elderly next-door neighbor, and tries to make ends meet. Without her best friend, who’s across the country at a special post-trauma boarding school, and her brother, who died that night, Jess feels totally alone in the world.
When Jess and Lucas’s paths cross at their shared after-school job, they start to become friends… and then more.
Their community — and their families — were irrevocably changed by a senseless act of violence. But as Jess and Lucas fall in love, they’ll learn to help each other heal and move forward — together.
That Night is an emotional and ultimately hopeful story about tragedy, love, and learning to heal.

divi

re

My feelings about this book are kind of a mess. Like me, tbh.

This book heavily deals with grief. There are also some trigger warnings needed, which I will include at the end of the review.

Gun violence is something that affects a lot of people. As a teen in America, it’s made me scared. Scared to go to a public school. To go to a concert. I think it’s so important to have books that take on this tragedy, and living in the aftermath of one.

This story dives deep. It deals with living in grief, the shattering effect of death in a family, and ptsd anxiety, depression. It’s a lot. I know what it’s like to lose a brother. It’s absolutely soul destroying. And I related so much to so much of the grief in this story. But also one thing to know about grief is that everyone deals with it and expresses it differently. Often in books, everyone is part of one monolith of grief, with the same feelings and expressions. But I think something really amazing that Amy Giles does here is differentiate. There’s lots of characters and practically all of the major characters have been affected by the tragedy and touched by the grief. Yet not one character is grieving in a similar way. Everyone grieves differently!

We also have several on-page anxiety attacks. Which goes into how this book deals with anxiety and depression. Both are featured in the story. Lucas deals with some fairly debilitating anxiety. And at times it rules his life, but other times it’s a bit silent. I feel like that really is how anxiety is. Some days it won’t let you go. But other days it’s sleeping. I think it’s important to note that not all people with anxiety are anxious all the time! So don’t see someone having a good day and say: “See! You don’t have anxiety, you were just anxious.” Anxiety is different. Be sensitive. I also loved seeing a boy in a YA novel with anxiety. Maybe it’s just the YA I’ve been reading, but I can’t even think of any other boys in YA I’ve read about with anxiety. Boys get anxious too! Lucas is also really open with Jess and some others about his anxiety, which I really respect.

I loved the endless text thread to Marissa. It helped us to see the relationship between them even though Marissa is basically never on page in the book. It also helped to show how Jess was feeling, without using telling. It was really cute, and I loved all the Disney references!

Let’s talk romance, y’all. You knew we’d get here in this review. The romance? SO. GOOD. The tension and build up was amazing, and I loved every minute. Then there was the awkward first kiss. Even though they were so comfortable with each other, even they had an awkward first kiss! I feel like books always have such great kissing and the first kisses are wonderful, but that’s not how it is for everyone!

This book is absolutely amazing. I loved the feeling of hope throughout the last of it. For lack of a better phrase, this book features the tunnel, but also the light at the end. It’s not perfect at the end, but it’s okay. It’s a better place. The emotional growth for Lucas and Jess by the end of the story is stunning.

Overall, this book definitely made me cry in several public places, and it’s pretty great.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: suicide attempt of a major character, on page anxiety attacks, gun violence, mentions of suicide, descriptions of a mass shooting, on page depression, grief, PTSD, drug abuse *

*As always! If I left any trigger warnings out, please feel free to comment them below and I will add them!

FIVE

Have you read this book? Did you love it as much as I did?? If not, what didn’t you love? Let’s chat!!