The Sea Wolf (Classic Reviews) (A Tad Spoiler-y)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hello, and happy November! (I know it's already 2 weeks into the month, sorry!) Today I'm reviewing The Sea Wolf by Jack London. It's a great story, and I'm glad to have had the pleasure of reading it. I highly recommend it for sea-lovers and bold readers, but more details down below! Here's some info before we begin. 

  • Age Recommended: 11 and up 
  • Page Count: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (December 23, 1999)

The novel begins when Humphrey Van Weyden is swept overboard into San Francisco Bay, and plucked from the sea by Larsen's seal-hunting vessel, the Ghost. This ship's evil captain, Wolf Larsen - The Sea-Wolf - is a murderous tyrant who uses his superhuman strength to torture and destroy, his brilliant mind to invent sick games, and his relentless will to control his mutinous crew. Pressed into service as a cabin boy by the ruthless captain, Van Weyden becomes an unwilling participant in a brutal shipboard drama. Larsen's increasingly violent abuse of the crew fuels a mounting tension that ultimately boils into mutiny, shipwreck, and a desperate confrontation. (Synopsis taken from Amazon) 

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My Thoughts: 

There are so many things I enjoyed from The Sea Wolf, so prepare yourself for some gushing and rambling!

First and foremost, we have Humphrey Van Weyden, a book critic (*points to self* HEY) thrown on a ship in the middle of the ocean and forced to survive the frontier, also known as the schooner owned by captain Wolf Larson. Hump goes through a lot of character development, and he really grows as a person! I like how London shows that the path to being great isn’t easy, and it calls for a lot of pain and hard work.

As for Wolf Larson, he's a very two sided character. He’s tough, and scary, and a tad-bit crazy--who am I kidding, he's nuts--but there's also a ‘soft’ side to him. He’s really into books and philosophy, which I thought was pretty cool. BUT LET ME JUST SAY THIS:

His philosophical talks were my favorite parts of the book.

Honestly. They're all really deep and insightful, and I enjoyed being able to read and see things from his point of view. 

Another thing I really liked about the philosophical parts is that while the book stereotypes men as these big guys who work with their hands, Wolf Larson (and Hump too!) reveal that 'real' men are also people who have intelligence and morals...

They have brains too! *le gasp*

But with that being said, I also love that there’s female empowerment. Maud, another character that we meet a little way into the story begins as dainty and fragile. But as she works more and more on the boat, and experiences some challenges of her own, she becomes strong, and stronger.

I think my only big problem with the book was the lack of action near the end. The beginning was fantastic, it was packed with action and punching and fighting and whatnot. As you get deeper into the story however, the action takes a backseat, and the story focuses more on relationship development (which was a-okay with me because I’m a nerd for cute romantic things ;p). But from a synopsis like above, you’d expect some more, I don’t know, *HI-YAH*, than you actually get.

But all in all, I am more than impressed with the writing and plot. :)

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My Rating: 

I really enjoyed it! For those of you looking for a sea-faring adventure with a dash of philosophy and romance, this one is for you!)

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Thanks for joining me with this review, and I hope you have a great week! 

The Thing About Jellyfish (MMGM)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Happy Columbus day everyone! I'm back today with another review! There has been a lot of hype for this one in the book community, so I was really enthusiastic to pick it up. It's been on my TBR for a while now, and entering the book, I had some really high expectations. Clearly, the book has met and exceeded my expectations. It even managed to, uh, provoke some tears...Either way, I really enjoyed this one, and hope you will / did too! 

Age Range: 10 - 13 years
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
Source and Format: Hardcover, and the library! :-P

This stunning debut novel about grief and wonder was an instant New York Times bestseller and captured widespread critical acclaim, including selection as a 2015 National Book Award finalist!

After her best friend Franny dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don't just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door.

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My Thoughts: 

"It's peculiar how no-words can be better 
than words. Silence can say more than noise, 
in the same way that a person's absence 
can occupy even more space than their presence did." 

I'm really blown away by Ali Benjamin's writing. It's raw, and so real, and really hits at home for those who have lost a loved one. 

Suzy is an incredible character. Even from a reader's perspective, you can tell that she genuinely cares about Franny. She works tirelessly thinking and reading and researching facts about jellyfish. Suzy may not always make the best decisions, but she's definitely an embodiment of the phrase "It's not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us." 

Not only is Suzy sincere, but she is also very smart. (LOL, Smart Sincere Suzy) Her character is very unique, and you can see the thought put into her development. She doesn't talk very much, as a matter of fact, she barely talks at all, so the story takes place perhaps in her perspective, not outside, but in her mind. 

She's a really great person, and even with her flaws, I'm sure readers will aspire to have her loyalty and intelligence. Suzy has quickly become one of my favorite characters, and I don't doubt it for a second that future readers will agree. 

I want to note though, that this is a very sad book. It's quite the tearjerker, as it's about loss and letting go. 

But whether you just lost a close friend, or are a daring adventurer seeking an intriguing read, I can guarantee that this book will fulfill your needs. 

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My Rating: 

One of my absolute favorite books of all time! 

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Thank you all for joining me for MMGM and I hope you have a nice week! 

Reading Slumps: What They Are, If You're in One, and How to Overcome Them (Book Rambles)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hey everyone! I'm back again today with a ramble-ish type post (?) on reading slumps. The dreaded reading slump. Yup. If you've been keeping up with my depressingly inconsistent posting, you'll know that I, Cindy, the most bookly wormly person you'll ever meet, was in the reading slump of 2016. I just couldn't read for, like, the entire month of July. Being in a reading slump for a month makes you a certified expert, right? I'll just go with yes. So if you're wondering what reading slumps are, if you're in one, or how to overcome them, keep on reading! 

So what, exactly is a reading slump? A reading slump is basically when you can't pick up a book, when you have no motivation to read, or when there is just so much going on that no matter what you try, or how many times you try, you CANNOT READ. 

That, my friend, is a reader's nightmare reading slump. 

Now the question is, are you in one? The thing about reading slumps is that they are often confused with simply 'being busy'. Here's the difference between the two. 

Being Busy: You just don't have the time to read. You may get the chance to read a couple pages from time to time, but between {schoolwork, work, house cleaning, etc} you've just haven't gotten the chance. Your progression of books is a bit slow, but you are still reading. Which is great! Life happens, people get busy. 

Reading Slump: (Not all of these might be something you're experiencing, these are just a couple of things I did while in a slump.) You've been avoiding books altogether. You no longer have motivation to read. You are super behind on your reading challenge / goal. (Guilty as charged, check out my Goodreads *winces*) In other words, you are doing everything BUT reading. NOTE: You do not necessarily not have time to read. Just as you crack open a book, you realize that you forgot to walk your dog. "WHOOPS, looks like I can't read today." The next day, you grab your book and are about to read and realize that you're hungry. That is another scenario where you are deliberately avoiding books.  Oh! And a very clear example is that you're in a reading slump is you used to love reading, but now you run away from any book you come in contact with. 

So now, if you've come to realize that you really are in a reading slump, here are a few ways to overcome it! 

1. Set a goal on Goodreads. Have you heard about the yearly reading challenges? They're great. To create a goal, pick a number of books that you want to read this year. From now on, after every book you read, simply log it, and it will count towards your challenge. (Make sure that the dates in which you read the book are logged as well, so they count towards your challenge. 

I feel like this played a really big role in helping me snap out of it (It was more complicated that than that, obviously). I'm not on Goodreads a ton, but I keep a tab of it open on my computer all the time. Sometimes I'll click over, and I'll see the number of books I'm behind growing. It makes me feel all, what's the word, unaccomplished, and I want to be ahead again. 

2. Go to the library or bookstore. Or wherever you get your books. There's not a better way to not-avoid books when you're surrounded by them! *finger guns* But seriously, it can really help. Seeing all those spines and covers, and smelling the scent, yes, that renowned paper-y smell of books, might get you to slowly begin to falling in love with them the same way you did the first time as a child. 

3. Re-read your favorite book. This one is definitely the one that helped me overcome my slump. Although it was another book, not an old favorite of mine that I re-read. But that's beside the point. Finding a book (or reading one) that you truly enjoy is definitely a huge headway in overcoming a reading slump. I know a lot of you don't like re-reading, so here are a couple of my favorite books. 

  • Not If I See You First, by Eric Lindstrom (My absolute favorite, if you haven't read this one, go read it, what are you doing with your life? Go. GO READ IT.)
  • The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green (No brainer, you've GOT to read this one.)
  • The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin (One of my top rec picks, truly life changing) 
  • Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon (If you're looking for a cutesy love story, this is it!) 
  • (and obviously) Keeper of the Lost Cities, by Shannon Messenger (I've been in love with this series for who-knows-how-long, and hey, if you finish the entire series in one sitting, KUDOS to you!) 

And there you have it folks, my favorites. Also: Even if you're not in a reading slump, I recommend checking these out. They are AMAZING!

4. If you're a book blogger (like yours truly), re-read your past posts. Who knows, you might fall upon a review you did of your favorite book. Maybe you were fangirling about how you worship the author (*cough* Shannon Messenger *cough*), how the book is your best friend, how much you love the characters, how you've read the book over 27 times (it's true, I've read Keeper of the Lost Cities (the first one) 27 times), how it has taken over your life. And maybe, just maybe it'll make you want to read another book like that. 

5. Stalk authors on social media. There's no better way to get out of a reading slump than getting hyped for a book, y'know? And perhaps the author has a couple other books that have already been released that you could read...And you could always go on to sites like Goodreads or {insert other bookish website} 

6. And for the final, most important tip...Make time for yourself! Because, you know, reasons. 

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That's all I've got for you guys today! So are you in a reading slump? Do you have any tips to overcome them? Let me know in the comments below! :-) 

So Hard to Say (MMGM)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hey guys, welcome to MMGM! As many of you know, I've been in quite the reading slump this summer. I haven't read much, or blogged either, and most of what I've been reading is school required material. But it's funny how just a single book can revive your love of reading again. And the book that, metaphorically speaking, brought me back from the dead is So Hard To Say, by Alex Sanchez. 

  • Age Range: 12+ (There isn't any innapropriate content, there's quite a bit of kissing, may I add, but it covers some serious topics, such as gender and LGBT)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 1, 2006)
  • Source and Format: Owned, Hardcover

Frederick is the shy new boy and Xio is the bubbly chica who lends him a pen on the first day of class. They become fast friends--but when Xio decides she wants to be more than friends, Frederick isn't so sure. He loves hanging out with Xio and her crew, but he doesn't like her that way. Instead he finds himself thinking more and more about Victor, the captain of the soccer team. But does that mean Frederick's gay? He hopes not--he sees how everyone makes fun of Iggy, a boy all the other kids think is gay. Frederick has to deal with some tough choices: Even though he is curious about Iggy, he's just started fitting in at his new school, and he doesn't want to lose Xio, his best friend. 

In So Hard to Say, Alex Sanchez, acclaimed author of the groundbreaking novels Rainbow High, and Rainbow Boys, of which School Library journal said, "It can open eyes and change lives," helps younger readers look at self-discovery, come to terms with being gay, and accept people who are different from them. 

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My Thoughts: 

What a wonderful book. Honestly, it's a fantastic book. There so many things to love about So Hard to Say, but here are a couple of my favorites. 

Let's begin with how realistic (and relatable) it was, shall we? Frederick is put in a difficult position with Xio, and he wonders if there's something wrong with him. He questions what the definition of being gay is, and prays that he isn't, as he sees how Iggy, a boy everyone believes is gay, is treated.

It's really shocking to see how Frederick attempts to hide his problems and feels ashamed to be gay. Our world has become a place where some people aren't even comfortable in their own skin, and are made fun of because they are being themselves. Frederick would rather pretend to be someone he's not than to be himself and be ridiculed. 

This book can be very relatable for those LGBT fellows out there.

May I also add how ridiculously huggable the characters are? Ohmygosh, after finishing the book, I just wanted to hug EVERYONE. Xio is such a sweet girl, and she welcomes Frederick into the school with open arms. Frederick is willing to sacrifice his homosexuality to save his friendship with Xio. The characters are just so sweet and smol and I JUST REALLY WANT TO HUG THEM.

So, uh, yeah, those were my two favorite things about the book. It was a quick read, so there isn't much to say about it. :-p

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My Rating: 

Because it saved me from my reading slump. :-)

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Thanks so much for joining me for MMGM and I hope you have a nice week!
ALSO: There will be a very special post that will be uh, posted sometime next week. Keep your eyes peeled until then! :-)

Signing off!

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (MMGM)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hey everyone! I bet you all thought I was gone for good, muahahaha, but nope, I'm back! And happy August! (Sheesh, time flies by when it's summer!) It's been a while since I last posted, more than a month, actually. I've been in a blogging/reading slump for a while and have trying to get back in the swing of things. For those of you who have been wondering what I've been doing with my time since I haven't been blogging, I've gotten into the art of Bullet Journaling! ANYWAY, I'm back today with a review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by the lovely Heidi W. Durrow. 

Age Recommended: 10+ (It covers some serious issues, such as race and discrimination. Anyone can read it, obviously, but it may be a little hard to understand. 
Page Count: 272 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books; Reprint edition (January 11, 2011)

Source and Format: Library and hardcover

Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop. 

Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It’s there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity. Raised by her mother to think of herself as white, Rachel is now expected to "act black." And all the while, she keeps asking herself why she has to be defined by her skin, and whether labels say more about who she is or more about a world that attempts to brand her as black or white. 

This searing and heart-wrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society’s ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

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My Thoughts: 

This is overall a lovely book. Rachel's story inspires you to open your eyes to the problems in our society that may not affect you, but definitely exist. The plot is woven intricately, and I fell in love with the book as soon as I opened it. Everything in this story is there for a reason, and you'll find yourself wondering what each detail the author put in there means. 

I really enjoyed reading about the characters' pasts. They were an interesting group, and I was happy to find that many racial stereotypes were broken when you actually got to meet them. It's a great cast, and Rachel makes a lot of friends on her journey to find who she is. 

Speaking of the journey, let's talk about the plot. I really liked how it was formatted. You get the general gist of what the conflict is, but you don't get to figure out what the entire thing is until you read the book. Throughout the story, you get hints and clues and have to try to put everything together to figure out what the huge problem is. 

If you know me, you know that I'm a sucker for multiple POVs. In a lot of books, the author just tells the story in multiple POVs just for the fun of it. BUT this...this is a masterpiece. You can tell that everything is really thought out, everything is planned, everything is just discreetly set up. ALSO: My favorite part of the book may or may not be when the POVs collide. 

THE UNSATISFACTION! (also known as the ending) I was SOOOO hyped up for the ending, because everything was going so well! But as the pages slowly ran out and no solution seemed to be coming to the rescue, I started to panic. Like, really panic. So I quickly read through the last couple pages and NO. I could not believe my eyes. IT WAS A HORRENDOUS sight. The ending was unresolved. Okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but it seemed rushed. I bet Ms. Durrow could write another book continuing Rachel's story. *wails in agony* It wasn't too bad of an ending, to be completely honest, but I wish there was more. 

All in all, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky is a great book. I definitely recommend it. 

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My Rating: 

(Just the ending.)

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Thanks for joining my today for MMGM and I hope you have a nice week! (Hopefully I'll be able to post more consistently, but I'm not making any promises, haha). Bye for now! :-) 

*Sorry if there are any errors, by the way! I conjured this review up really quickly, so I didn't get the chance to proofread it, but here goes!*

Signing off!

Not If I See You First (YA Reviews)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hey guys! I have finals this upcoming week! So yes, I will be gone for a bit, but please, PLEASE, bear with me! I promise I'll be back during the summer more frequent reviews! Anyway this is my first review in a while (YAY finally!), so excuse any of my excessive rambling. Please welcome, Not If I See You First, by Eric Lindstrom. (And look at the pretty cover!)

  • Age Recommended: 12 and up  (There's a bit of swearing)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Poppy (December 1, 2015)
  • Language: English

In the tradition of novels of Gayle Forman and John Green comes this extraordinary YA debut about a blind teen girl navigating life and love in high school.

Parker Grant doesn't need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there's only one way to react--shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that's right, her eyes don't work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened--both with Scott, and her dad--the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom's Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

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My Thoughts: 

There are so many things I liked about this book, but let me begin with Parker. She's snarky, kind of selfish, but so so so so FIERCE. And that's what I loved about her. She's not the type of person to lie because being upfront and honest is what she's about. Although the synopsis might lead you to think that Not If I See You First is a romance novel, I find it more friendshippy? I mean, yeah it definitely has romance in it, but the friendship is what really grabs your attention. Sarah (one of her closest friends) is amazing. Their friendship is OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD. That's all I have to say.

Another reason why I really liked this book was how Parker's blindness is portrayed. She doesn't seem to let it get in her way, and I loved how realistic things were. The problems/situations that she faces are super realistic too, and you can totally understand things. It's also really well written, so if that doesn't say something....

There are also a few little things that made this book super cool too, not just the writing. The title has braille in it (If you look closely at the image, you can kind of see it) and so do the chapter titles. Although it might seem like a small detail, it fits perfectly with the book and it makes you just love it more! <3

There was a bit of swearing in this book, but I was able to look past that, since it's not OFTEN, and I guess Eric Lindstrom felt that it was necessary to express Parker's feelings...? I dunno. But it's not a really big problem, at least in my opinion

Overall? It's a great book with really sweet and caring characters that are not only make you want to love them, but make you remember them long after the last page. This one is truly a keeper. 

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My Rating: 

There's no reason *not* to give Not If I See You First a 5 star rating! 

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Thanks for reading my review! I hope you have a nice week! 

If You Like This, You'll Like That! // Recommendation Tag

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Hey guys! *waves* Okay, first things first, I swear my blog isn't dead! I've just been really, really, really, busy--finals coming up, HOMEWORK, projects in almost every class... Okay, so *maybe* I'm still on social media, but you get the point. Hehe. (Did I mention that I'm also sleep deprived? I'm sleep deprived.)

If you're wondering, yes, I'm still reading, in fact, I'm currently reading Illuminae. It's a great book, but for some reason it's taking me a REALLY long time to finish. Dunno why. :-( I'm not only behind on my reading, but I'm also behind on my reviews, like I have, what, 6 books I've read and have not reviewed yet? For me, it's panic everywhere, not just at the disco. I haven't even posted in the month of May, for crying out loud. So, um, happy May? BUT! I'm here now, so better late than never, right? 

OKAY. (Jeez, sorry about that ramble, haha. I haven't been able to get anything out for a while.) Today I am here with a TAG! I was tagged by the wonderful Sue Kooky (If you haven't checked out her blog, you really should, it's awesome) a long time ago...*cringe* but I was in that whole reading/blogging slump thing, so um, I never got to it. But here it is! 

Wait I have to nominate people first, right? *crickets* Okay, here we go. 

Analee at Book Snacks
(Her blog is amazing!) 


Paige at The Paige Turner 
(I know you haven't posted in a while, but a change in your blog look must mean that you are still alive...right?

NOW we can get to the tag. (Finally!) 

If you liked...                                                       Then you'll enjoy...

(Um, hello, they both have fish on the cover. Haha, just kidding.) They're both about two young, diverse girls who learn to overcome their problems in different ways. Out Of My Mind is about a girl named Melody Brooks who has cerebral palsy. It causes her to not be able to control her body movements, walk, or talk. Her story is all about her getting more comfortable about who she is and becoming stronger because of her challenges. It's a great book. Fish In A Tree is a book about a girl named Ally who has dyslexia. In the beginning, she doesn't know it, and she feels un-smart for not being able to read as well as the other students. She's afraid to ask for help, even when she needs, it but discovers that there's nothing to be ashamed of. 

If you liked...                                                                           Then you'll absolutely *LOVE* 

These books have two AMAZING protagonists and a bunch of awesome side characters. If you want what I call "the feels" (basically a wave of emotions crashing around in your head) then these books are for you. Everything, Everything is about Madeline (AKA Maddy), a girl who's stuck at home all the time. Why? Because she's allergic to the world. She's fine with it, really. But then the boy next door appears and that's when the tables turn. Not If I See You First is Parker's story. Parker is blind. She's also fierce, loving, a maybe a little selfish. The characters in these two books are *so* wonderful, and you just can't help falling in love with them, and their story. <3 

If you liked...                                                                   Then you'll like...

If you want a story that stays with you long after the last page, these two books ought to do the trick. Every Soul A Star a beautifully written novel in written in 3 perspectives. The characters are so unique. They really have depth and are described really well. I can't say much about the book without giving spoilers so that's that.  (I promise it's a really good book!) Lost In The Sun is about a boy named Trent who has a rather...scarring past. Yeah. Scarring. Throughout the book, he learns to let go and move on, since you can't dwell on things forever. I honestly really don't know why I paired these two books together, but JUST GO WITH IT. 

Okay, last one: 

If you enjoyed:                                                                Then you'll *LOVE* (and vice versa)

Ta da! You guys KNEW I had to sneak in Keeper. Hehe. Okay, this is probably the most unique pairing of this entire list, so hear me. Out. These two books have what I call the *IT* factor. It has just what grabs your attention and it keeps you interested. It makes you actually care about the characters. While you guys probably already know all about Keeper, You're Invited is about these four girls who start a party planning business. Interesting, right? That's the *IT* factor. Another thing these two books have in common is...SQUAD GOALS!!! They both have awesome characters who really care about one another. Kay, that's all I got. 


Thanks so much for tuning in, even after I've been gone. *cringe* Sorry! I promise I'll whip up a YA review for y'all sometime soon! MG is coming up, probably after all the YA stuff, but I've already gotten the books! I just have to read them first. Hope you guys have a nice week! Thanks again! 

Signing off!