“Us adults are frequently suspicious of the young. You see it all the time on the news, hear the whispers on the streets. It’s always seen as such a terrible thing that young people are gathering with their friends, wearing strange clothes, saying words we’ve never heard, listening to music we don’t like. We forget so quickly that you’re us and we’re you.” – Poppy’s mom from ‘Ten Birthdays’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review a very interesting new book by author Kerry Wilkinson called ‘Ten Birthdays’, which was provided for review by Bookouture. This book was released in May of 2017, and is a coming of age story about a British teenager. So let’s get to why you’re all here, the book review! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Ten Birthdays’ follows the life of Poppy Kinsey as she evolves from a 16 year old teenager, into a 25 year old woman. On her birthday, Poppy receives one of 10 letters her mother wrote for her before her death on Poppy’s 15th birthday. At first Poppy is not sure if she wants to open the letters because it brings painful feelings to the forefront of her mind however, she eventually does read the 1st letter, and for the next 9 birthdays reads one letter a year. Throughout the story we see Poppy’s life change as she deals with friendships, relationships, and finding her purpose in life. Along the way poppy’s mother gives her life advice and tells her stories through the letters she wrote, and thus is able to stay a constant force in Poppy’s life.
Although you would think that this story would be very sad, it is actually more of a coming of age story, than a story of loss. Anyone who has had someone close to them pass away can relate to Poppy’s mixed feelings of love and sadness in regards to the letters her mother left her. Also, I really enjoyed the fact that Poppy is not your stereotypical happy protagonist, and because of this faces struggles and consequences for questionable decisions throughout the course of the book. You find yourself constantly rooting for Poppy, and interested to know what the next year of her life will bring her. I also like that the book shows the difficulties Poppy and her two childhood best friends Mark & Freya face as they grow older and make decisions that determine who the kind of people they will grow up to be. Lastly, although there is not a lot of diversity in this book, Freya is bi-racial (her mother is Jamaican and although the book does not actually describe her father, it does allude to the fact that he is white). Because of all of these factors, I would definitely give this book a 4 smiley face rating. It is a very enjoyable novel that you will not want to put down, and I definitely hope that we will get a sequel one day because I would love to continue to see how these amazing charterers’ lives turn out.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we have a book review of the first book in a new series called ‘Songs About a Girl’ by Chris Russell. This book was provided for review by Flatiron Books (a division of Macmillan Publishers), and was released on July 28th, 2016. Just so y’all know this will be a spoiler-free review so let’s get to the fun part of this blog, the book! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
This is a story about a 15 year old girl named Charlie who is given the opportunity to photograph the biggest pop band in the world Fire&Lights. Although Charlie is a quiet, shy girl, she is quickly is pushed into the spotlight after a photo of her with one of the guys from the band is leaked. At 1st Charlie decides to distances herself from the band, but when she finds a connection between their new lead single and poetry in her deceased mother’s old journal she can’t ignore investigating a possible connection. The harder Charlie looks for answers about her own past, the more she experiences the dark side of fame and fandom.
I’m going to start off by saying that the premise of this book was super interesting. We live in a time where reality & gossip shows allow us to feel closer to our favorite stars than even before. Also, with the addition of social media we’re able to join fandoms & feel a community around our admiration. Although ‘Songs About a Girl’ is marketed (rightfully so) as a One Direction fan-fiction, it really does speak to the current celebrity-centric culture we all live in. Although this isn’t a new topic, I really liked the way Chris Russell showed his love for fandoms in this story, but also showed the consequences of what can happen when they cross the line. I also really liked the characters he created. Charlie is a relatable protagonist, her bff Melissa is the fangirl in us all, the guys in the band are interesting and fun to read about, even the “villains” & more minor characters serve their roles well. The problem however, lies in how all of this comes together. In the end this story is a One Direction fan-fiction at its core which can either be a good thing or a not do good thing. If you really like romance & One Direction then you’ll probably love this book, but only if you really really love both of those things. Personally I’m a fan of both but this story just didn’t click with me. The whole time I kept getting distracted by who inspired which character and it took me out of the story too much. The big twist was very predictable (and I’m horrible at predicting this stuff so that tells you a lot), and the love triangle was solved to quickly (I know, I know, a lot of us have asked for this but a little more tension is always nice). Also, the mystery surrounding Charlie’s mom felt unnecessary & ultimately seemed like it could potential get in the way of the romance between her & the guy she chooses at the end of the book. I feel like this book serves a very niche market which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but because of this forces me to give it 2 smiley faces. This is definitely a quick, light summer read that you can try out if it sounds interesting, but because it doesn’t have a very vast market appeal I can’t recommend it for everyone. However if you do read it & love it, then book 2 is already out, and book 3 will be released later this year!
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“There was something so tragic about the acts of desperate girls. My helpless heart wished that I could write a different ending to the story, that I could have kept Chloe from disappearing and delivered Helen safely home. But trusting the wrong person wasn’t the only kind of desperate act. Wishing for the impossible could break you just as swiftly.Whether you wanted someone to love you or someone to protect you, it was hard to be a girl in need.” – Jenny Parker ‘The Lives of Desperate Girls’.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to discuss a new book by author Jessica Park called ‘180 Seconds’, which was provided by ‘Skyscape’ and ‘Two Lions’ for review. Jessica Park grew up in the Boston area and attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has also previously written several books entitled ‘Clear, ‘Relatively Famous’, as well as the series ‘Left Drowning’ and ‘Flat-out Love’. This review will be spoiler free, so if you’re ready let’s find out whether you should add this book to your summer TBR or if 180 seconds of your time is more than this book deserves. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
“She took my heart and held it safe. She promised to wait for me, with words that echo in my mind and tender touches that I can still feel on my skin”– Corey from ‘Before I Let Go”.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review a new book by New York Times Bestselling Author Marieke Nijkamp. You may recognize Marlene’s name due to the popularity of her 2016 debut book ‘This Is Where It Ends’, as well as the editor of the anthology Unbroken: 13 Stories Starting Disabled Teens which will be released in the fall of 2018. Today we have the privilege of reviewing her latest book ‘Before I Let Go’, which was released on January 2, 2018 and was provided for review by Sourcebooks Fire. This will be a spoiler free review however I will discuss how the ending affected my opinion of the book. So now let’s get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Before I Let Go’ is a Young Adult suspense novel surrounding the suicide of a bi-polar young teenage girl name Kyra in the small town of Lost, Alaska. When Kyra’s best friend Corey returns to Lost after moving away for several months, she begins to realize that the town is very different than she remembered. Corey is shocked to find that she is now treated like an outsider by people who have known her for her entire life, and feels that there is an aura of secrecy surrounding the town. However the thing that Corey finds the most shocking is the fact that everyone in town speaks very highly and lovingly of Kyra, despite the fact that Corey always saw that everyone in town mercilessly tease and abused Kyra her entire life. Corey begins to suspect that there is more to Kyra’s death than what she has been lead to believe, so she decides to investigate the story herself. Throughout the story Corey finds out dark secrets about the town and herself that she had never considered before. Corey also finds that she has enemies and allies in the town that will play an important role in uncovering the truth.
So now we’ve reached the point in the review where I tell y’all if you should buy this book or not. Honestly, this book is a little difficult to recommend because it was a solid 5 star read until I reached the ending of the book. Now this book does have some problems throughout, such as the fact that Corey is not a very likeable protagonist because of the way she treated Kyra after she moved (which is made even worst by how mentally ill Kyra is, and the fact that Corey knows this but still treats her this way). The book also contains several pages where the writing suddenly changes to a script style (like a play would have) which was really jarring and completely unnecessary to the story because it didn’t tie in with anything. However a positive point of this book is that we do get to see a lot of diversity with the inclusion of asexual, pansexual, and homosexual characters, as well as a very detailed accounting of Kyra’s mental illness that helps us really understand and fall in love with her character. The author truly does an amazing job of pulling you into the mystery of Lost and keeping you engaged throughout every twist & turn that comes our way. Unfortunately this is all ruined by the ending of the book. As soon as Corey solves the mystery we reach the climax of the book and then the story just ends. It does not resolve, it just ends. After all of the build up and great storytelling that the author does, this ending is just so disappointing that it honestly ruined the whole experience of the book for me. Because of this, I have to give this book a solid 2.5 smiley faces out of 5, which truly saddens me to do because this story deserved so much more.
“Maybe this is the definition of a summer fling? Finding someone you can be with like this, uninhibited. Not bogged down with thoughts of the future. Not bogged down with thoughts of much else outside of this moment and us.”– Finley from ‘You Before Anyone Else’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we will be reviewing the book ‘You Before Anyone Else` by Julie Cross and Mark Perini. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this amazing book earlier this year and am super excited to share this book with you! If you`re looking for a story with drama, heartbreak, love, and so much more, than this is the book for you. Are you already super excited? Yeah you are (just so you know, this will be a spoiler free review because y’all NEED this book in you life…like seriously you do)! Ok let’s jump into the review. Ready? Ok, lets go!!!
‘You Before Anyone Else’ is a YA romance which centers around teens Eddie and Finley as they navigate the difficult world of modeling in New York City. One night they meet at a party and thus begins an intense journey that will teach them both about love, sacrifice, and what it truly means to find happiness. On the surface `You Before Anyone Else’ seems like a very basic and predictable YA romance novel. Finley, the good girl who knits in her spare time and helps her disabled father care for her younger brothers decides to shed her image by hooking up with “edgy, bad boy” Eddie and then moving on with her life. However, life has a way of wrecking plans, and once you begin to learn more about these characters you see that they both have deep, personal scars that cause them to always make decisions that are in the best interest of those around them, instead of figuring out what they actually want. ‘You Before Anyone Else’ is told in alternating points of view so we get a chance to see the story from both character`s perspective. This can be a very difficult storytelling devise however Cross and Perini pull this off perfectly. Honestly this story will make you laugh, cry, and instantly take you on a beautiful journey that you never want to end. I would definitely give this book a 4 out of 5 smiley faces and suggest that you pick up your copy now…as in this very second…the links are below, honestly what are you waiting for?
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s `Monday Memos’ we’re going to discuss an AMAZING subscription box that y`all should all check out this holiday season! If you like trying exotic new dishes (or just want to impress your friends by how fancy you are) then the RawSpiceBar subscription service is for you. As you know, I never promote any band, artist, book, or product that I do not 100% believe in. I tried RawSpiceBar for the 1st time last year & I absolutely loved their service. Because of this experience I`m so happy to say that I have once again partnered with RawSpiceBar to bring you guys all the information you need to spice up your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other special event you have planned for this holiday season. Now let’s get to the review! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
I received the October kit which had an Oktoberfest themes inspired by German spices! This kit included the following spices & accompanying recipes: Horseradish & Mustard Seed (which included a recipe for Horseradish & Mustard Cabbage), Caraway, Fennel & Anise Bread (which included a recipe for Caraway Cheese Soft Pretzels), and lastly Schnitzel Spices (which included a recipe for German Chicken Schnitzel). The Horseradish & Mustard Seed spice had a very earthy, fresh taste that really gave the Horseradish & Mustard Seed Cabbage a unique taste that made me want to add it as a usual dinner item. The Caraway, Fennel & Anise Bread was definitely my favorite of the spices because the Caraway Cheese Soft Pretzels were super delicious. If you want mall level pretzels then you have to give this recipe a try. Lastly (but DEFINITELY not least) we have the Schnitzel Spices for the super yummy German Chicken Schnitzel. This dish was a little spicy, but the crunchy exterior and juicy interior really made the dish standout among common chicken dishes.
I bet you’re hungry now right? Well have no fear people of the internet because I have your solution! First I have a question for you. What’s better than awesome food? Give up? Awesome food at a discount! So here’s what you do. Go to www.rawspicebar.com, create your flavor profile (where you can describe your dietary needs RawSpiceBar can pick the right recipes & flavors for you), customize your fav recipes & flavors, then decide if you want a 6 month subscription (only $7 a kit) or a 12 month subscription (only $6 a kit). To make this deal even more awesome the box ship for free & you can $5 off your first month by using the code FLAVOR6! Amazing right? So whether you get your RawSpiceBar subscription for you or as a gift for the special chief in your life, you can’t go wrong with this AMAZING offer!
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to discuss an awesome new YouTube channel that every book lover will want to subscribe to right now (well finish reading this post and then go subscribe to the channel…ok? Ok). On this channel Zoe gives her viewers book recommendations, shows us book/bookmark hauls, and proves that she’s a fangirl just like the rest of us (so we can all obsess over our OTPs together yay!!!). So if you’re ready to release your inner nerd then let’s talk about some of the videos on this amazing channel. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The first video that we’re going to talk about is Zoe’s ‘BOOK UNHAUL! [#1]’ video which was uploaded on June 28th, 2014 (you can check out this video below). Honestly this is one of the first book unhauls that I remember watching and I really like the concept of this type of video. Just in case you’re not familiar with this type of video, a book unhaul is when a BookTuber discusses books that they are going to get rid of because they did not enjoy the book, decided that they will probably never read the book, for various other reasons. These are really great videos to check out because you can get a person’s honest opinion about a book before spending money on it. After watching several videos on a BookTuber’s channel you usually get a good idea of what their personal tastes are, and if you have similar tastes then their opinion of a book will probably match your opinion. The next book that we’re going to talk about is Zoe’s ‘BOOKS I’M TAKING TO COLLEGE’ video, which was uploaded on August 22nd, 2014. Now as every book lover knows, if we could we would literally carry our book collections with us everywhere (and I realize that you can do that with e-books but that’s a different topic for a future blog post). If you are/will be living in an apartment or dorm room in the near future then this is an excellent video for you to check out because honestly it can be hard to leave books at home when you now you’ll be away from them for a while (ok we have to resist using #thestruggleisreal here…must resist…ok we obviously can’t because the struggle really is real).
Now we’re going to discuss Zoe’s ‘MY FICTIONAL BOYFRIENDS TAG’ video, which was uploaded on May 28th, 2015. Now we know we’re all fangirls/fanboys at heart, and because of this we honestly have a very deep emotional connection to our favorite book characters (and because of this so many ships are constantly set loose on the world). This is a really fun video that you will definitely have on replay, and a entertaining tag that you can play by yourself or with friends. The final video that we’re going to talk about is Zoe’s ‘BOOKS I WANT TO BE ADAPTED’ video, which was uploaded on December 30th, 2015 (you can check out the video below). If you love books (and you obviously really do if you’re still reading this post), then you know that you have a list of books that you think deserve a TV and/or film adaption. With the trend of so many of our fav books already getting adaptions, it is very likely that your favorite novel could get a small or big screen adaption some day. I highly recommend this video because Zoe gives a very interesting list that’s full of variety, so you’ll definitely find something you like on this list.
Keep up with everything Zoe is doing here:
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to talk about an amazing channel that’s a little different than what we usually discuss. I think the coolest thing about YouTube that draws us all to it is that everyone is able to find interesting, entertaining people who share our interests and obsessions. Whether you love amazing covers, unique beauty/hair tutorials, hilarious comedians, or anything in between you’ll find the perfect channel to subscribe to. Today we’re going to talk about an incredible Booktube channel called abookutopia (which features a seriously entertaining self-proclaimed book-o-holic named Sasha) so if you love books and/or anything book related then you’re going to want to keep reading. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The first video that we’re going to talk about is Sasha’s ‘Divergent Book Trailer’, which was uploaded on July 11th, 2013 (you check out this video below) is a really fun skit that all Divergent fans will love! Sasha does a great job of showing that not only is she very knowledgeable about this amazing book, but she also has the ability to instantly mesmerize her audience and keep us interested throughout the video. In a world where most people have a VERY short attention span (I mean honestly why do you think we love Vine so much), it’s interesting to find someone that makes you want to watch their videos and not worry about the length of the video. The next video that we’re going to talk about is Sasha’s ‘Interview with Melissa Landers!’, which was uploaded on May 28th, 2014. This is a really fun interview to watch because it is extremely well executed, and demonstrates Sasha’s natural on-camera charisma and fun-loving nature. She has a lot of other really interesting interview with various authors on her channel so I would definitely check them all out!
The next video that we’re going to talk about is Sasha’s ‘If You Like This…| BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS!’ video, which was uploaded on February 5th, 2015. If you are a HUGE book lover (c’mon you know everyone reading this blog post should have their hand up in the air right now…yes you too), then you’ll want to watch this video on replay. In this video Sasha picks a really interesting and diverse group of books, and not only tells you which books you should check out that are similar to these books, but also why they’re similar. The final video that we’re going to talk abut is Sasha’s ‘My Playster eBook Library Tour!’ video which was uploaded on December 7th, 2015 (you can check out this video below). In the past few years everything we enjoy has gone digital and mobile, from handheld/mobile video games, to our music, movies, and even books. Unfortunately sometimes we are just so busy that we may not have time to actually pick up a physical copy of a book and let our inner bookworm go wild. Luckily, e-books solve this problem by allowing us to take digital copies of our favorite books with us anywhere through the use of a phone, tablet, and other devices. In this video Sasha tells us all about the website playster.com, and goes through her personal Playster eBook library. if you want to check out a new site where you can find e-books, movies, music, and games, or if you just want recommendations on new books to check out, then this is the video for you!
Keep up with everything Sasha is doing (and reading here):
Goodreads: sasha alsberg