Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Hey y'all - it's Top Ten Tuesday time again.  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies at The Broke and The Bookish, and this weeks theme is: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. 

This is TOUGH.  But I did it: Here are my top ten books on my winter TBR.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Autoboyography - Christina Lauren

Title: Autoboyography
Author: Christina Lauren
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 3 Stars

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

I feel like I am in the minority with this book.  I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.  Mostly, it just drove me wild that there was NO PLOT!  The plot, really, can be summed up as: Tanner pines over Sebastian for 300 pages. 

What I did like:
*Gay and Bisexual characters!  I think it's so important to have visibility for the LGBT community.  I know the community has come a long way over the years, but there are still so many people who genuinely don't believe in equal rights for the community.  There's a long way to go.

*Audrey - I think Audrey was the most well-developed character in the book (and that's saying something, because she's hardly ever in the book, AND she's not even really that well developed.)

What I didn't Like:

*Tanner and Sebastian
- Tanner was the main character and he was just kind of blah.  He didn't really have much substance to him.  He wasn't really well developed either.  He was just flat and didn't seem that endearing. 
-Sebastian was just a jackass.  I certainly appreciate how hard it must be to be gay and Mormon, but that's no excuse to treat Tanner like crap. He broke up with Tanner a couple times, and led Tanner on, jerking Tanner around and making Tanner think that something might happen even if it wouldn't. 

*Tanner's Parents - they were totally wishy-washy and played supportive without actually seeming that supportive.  Like they would say that they totally love and accept him no matter what, but then when they move to effing UTAH, they make him stay in the closet, because hey: Mormon's.  Sure son, we love you so much, we want you to go back in the fucking closet! 

*Plot?!  Where was it?  Seriously, where did it go?  Sometimes reading a book with no plot works, but not here.  It was just Tanner whining the entire time about how he was in love with Sebastian.

*Tanner and Seb's "relationship."  - Okay, so they spent a lot of time hiking, and talking about how Sebastian is Mormon, and how he won't call himself gay because of that.  But did they ever really talk about anything deeper and really get to know each other?  I don't know - and I thought it was weird.  How can you love someone if you never really get to know them?

Overall, the book was just a dud.  It didn't really hit home with me the way I hoped it would.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I'm Thankful For

Hey Y'all.  I heard about this thing, ya know ;) called Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish - and you know I just had to jump in and take part.  This week, the theme or topic is Top Ten Books I'm Thankful for. 

GAAAHHH!  How can I pick just TEN BOOKS I AM THANKFUL FOR?!  (I didn't - I picked more than ten!) 

The Harry Potter Series!

 I was 20 when I started reading the Harry Potter series.  (I know, I know, adult reading kids books!  But they're just so good.)  I have always loved reading, but I think it's safe to day that the Harry Potter series is what really started my obsession with reading.  How can you not be thankful for that!

Eleanor Wests Home for Wayward Children Books:

These books are so creepy and weird, and so incredibly well written that you'll find yourself wishing they would never end.  I love that Seanan McGuire packs a punch with these books, and doesn't hold back with the creepiness.  Just. So. Amazing.

A Song of Ice and Fire

The Song of Ice and Fire Series is just so awesome - I love the characters, the story, everything.  (I know, I know, these aren't technically Young Adult books, yet here I am posting them on my YA Book Blog.  That's how much I love these books!) 


So, reader friends - those are the books I am thankful for (right now...)  Go check out the Broke and The Bookish blog - and tell me what books YOU are thankful for!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Warcross - Marie Lu

Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 Stars

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

One can tell that Marie Lu worked in the video game industry before becoming an author - this book is full of the detail one could only expect from someone familiar with the world of video games.  Warcross is full of imagination, bright colors, and a bad guy that you don't expect to be the bad guy.

Emiko Chen, the rainbow haired hacker from New York, gets herself a one way ticket to Tokyo and a debt free life after she somehow glitches herself into a Warcross championship game.  Hideo Tanaka, the creator of Warcross, makes Emiko a wild card and she is drafted into the games, playing with players who have been competing professionally for years. 

I won't get into all the details of what happens (I want you to be surprised!) but let's just say the book will have enough twists and turns to keep you reading and wanting more.

The characters in the book are very well written.  I can feel Emika's hesitance, and later, her anger and frustration.  I can feel the way Hideo wants to live life in his own way - and make some changes that are...unique.  The characters are well-developed enough that I couldn't tell what was going to happen with a certain character until it happened.  (Which speaks to how well written the story was as well.) I think that what each character does, what they say, how they behave and grow, is right in line with who they are at the beginning of the book.  As always, Marie Lu does a great job of creating characters who are strong throughout the entire novel, and who grow and develop throughout the book.

The story is so well written and well developed that I just wanted to dive right in and live in this world.  Marie Lu, as always, does a great job of building up her world and making it believable.  (Just to give you an idea of how into this book I got, I actually had a dream about it one night.  I kid you not.)  When the characters are competing in their competitions, I felt like I was right there with them.  When Emiko ventured into the Dark World, I wanted to be by her side to keep her from doing anything stupid.  The whole story is just amazing!

This is a book you will want to read, right now.  You'll find yourself wishing Warcross were actually real!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

October {2017} Wrap Up

Hey Y'all!  I read a decent amount in October month (Surprise!)  Here's my wrap-up for the month.

Books I read:

Total Books Read in October: 8
Total Pages Read in October: 2765

The Hate You Give - Angie Thomas

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Rating: 5 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

I feel like there aren't any words good enough to describe this book and how amazing it is.  This book is the most important political book I have read in a long time.  This book is so relevant to American society today. 

Based on the Black Lives Matter movement, this book takes place in Garden Heights, and involves the incidents that happen after Starr witnesses one of her best friends - Khalil - get killed by a police officer.  In the days and weeks that follow, it becomes known to people from GH that Starr is the one who was in the car with Khalil when he got shot.

The development of the characters in this story is phenomenal - especially Starr.  You see Starr going from a girl who thinks she can't speak out about her friends death to a girl who realizes she HAS to speak out about her friends death.  She lives in two worlds - her Garden Heights world, and her private school world - and she thinks she needs to keep them separate because her white classmates will judge her if she acts like the person she really is (and let's face it - they will, and they do.)  But Starr makes a decision and starts using her voice to stand up to her white classmates and friends, and to stand up to police brutality against unarmed youth in her neighborhood.  She becomes an activist and realizes she needs to stand up and fight against systemic racism not only in her neighborhood, but in the whole country.

I appreciate Angie Thomas's hard hitting look at racism in America, and the way she approaches the topic of police brutality towards black people.  Hell, I love her for it.  I love that she takes a topic too many {white} people are scared to talk about, and lays it all out in the open.  She does it in a way that is wonderful and amazing - the book could come across as preachy, but it doesn't. 

After reading this book, I know there even more things that white people need to know about this book, the BLM movement, and themselves:

1. You need to read this book.  Don't judge, don't jump to conclusions.  Just read this book.
2. The BLM movement is not about you. Let me say that again for the people in the back: It's Not About You. It's about black people.  It's about ending violence towards black people. It's about ending police brutality towards black people.
3. When you say "All Lives Matter," you are erasing the voices of black people and undermining a movement and a people who need and deserve to be heard.  You are erasing the fact that systemic racism exists in our country, and that police brutality towards black people exists at an alarming rate. (When was the last time you saw one of your white friends get killed because a police officer thought their hairbrush was a gun?!) 
4. Don't sit around saying #BlueLivesMatter, or saying that not all cops are bad cops.  We all know there are good cops.  We all know there are bad cops.  We all know that even the best people can do shitty things in certain situations.  Just stop.

There were so many things said in this book that hit me right in the gut, but one of the lines that stood out to me was something that Starr's uncle Carlos said to her when they were talking about Khalil:

"Even if he was, I knew that boy.  Watched him grow up with you.  He was more than any bad decision he made.... I hate that I let myself fall into that mind-set of trying to rationalize his death.  And at the end of the day, you don't kill someone for opening a car door. If you do, you shouldn't be a cop."

Because I feel like black people can really describe the heart of and importance of this book so much better, I need you to check out reviews of The Hate U Give by these reviewers.