Book Club Recap: The Unexpected Everything Review

Hey everyone! If you didn’t know, I just hosted my first month of my new book club! If you didn’t read my last post, you wouldn’t know that I actually decided to take break from it this coming month because I have a lot of important deadlines coming up in May. However, it will be back up and running in June!

The April book was The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson. I’m here to write a little review for you guys on it today.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

My Thoughts:

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Initially, I was a little weary of picking up this book because IT IS SO LONG- especially for a contemporary. I do think some scenes could have been a bit shorter, but I actually really enjoyed reading a longer contemporary. I got to fall in love with the characters a little more which helped with my overall enjoyment of the book, and it was still an easy read.

As my first Matson book, this one did not disappoint! I fell in love with the characters, the story, and the writing.

I really loved that this book was not the typical fast love story, and the characters got to know each other a little bit before actually going out, which I appreciated a lot. I also really liked learning about the job that Andie ends up taking for the summer- dog walking. It was really interesting because I didn’t ever think about all of the components that went with it.

This book also really gives you those summer vibes. It was the perfect book to read right now because we’re so close to that warm weather and that really helped me get through the month! Matson really knows how to make you feel like you’re there with the characters, spending the summer with them. It just felt so real.

Also, so much happens in this book, and I had no idea where it was going to lead to. There isn’t really a main plot or conflict in the novel. I would say that there are a lot of subplots that all end up connecting in the end. For one, there is Andie’s relationship with her dad, as well as the conflicts she has with her friends, her boyfriend, and herself. I think Andie’s character development was really significant and inspiring. She really learned who she was in those two months of summer, and she changed a lot as a person. The growth experienced showed through the actions she takes in the last few chapters a lot.

I just really loved both the love interest, as well as the relationship Andie has with all of her friends, and I really think this is worth the read if you like contemporary novels!

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Have you read this book before? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

Xo, Jess

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Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett | review

*I was provided an e-ARC of this book by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Hello everyone! I am back with a new review for you guys today! Happy release day to Jenn Bennett! Make sure to go pick up a copy of this book today because it was amazing and I highly recommend it! But, let’s get into the review :)

Goodreads Synopsis: 
Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

My Review:

The first thing that I have to say about this book is that I love it! It was so well written and kept me interested the entire time. I really wanted to know how it was going to end and what was going to happen to the characters.

This book has so much going on but it was so amazing! I feel like there were a lot of small conflicts rather than one big one, but I loved how well they all connected to each other. It also features the friends-to-enemies-to-lovers trope, but it was done really well.

Zorie, the main character, was very oblivious/immature in the beginning which I did not really like, but by the middle of the book I think she really developed a lot. I fell in love with Zorie and Lennon, and I could not get enough of their relationship. It was so cute, and I could not wait to see where it went.

Lennon was such a great character. His personality towards the other characters was so funny because he is so sarcastic, but when it came to Zorie, he was compassionate, caring, and just so sweet.

I also really liked the setting of this book. I have gone camping quite a few times in the last year, so the struggles they had were struggles I could relate to. This made the story so much better for me. Also, I think that really added to the romance of it.

I think the synopsis does not do this book justice, because there is so much more to it than just the camping trip gone wrong aspect, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

Overall, the story was just both beautiful and heartbreaking, but the ending made my heart so happy and full.

I am definitely going to buy the finished copy of this book once I get a chance, and I can not wait to read the other Jenn Bennett book I own!

Rating: 5/5 stars!

Xo, Jess

Review: By a Charm and a Curse

I was sent an advanced copy of the book in order to review it for a blog tour.

I haven’t done a review in what feels like forever! I knew I wanted to participate in the blog tour of this book because the description is so interesting! Check it out below:

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Synopsis (Netgalley):

A kiss is never just a kiss.

Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

After reading Caraval by Stephanie Garber last year, I have been dying to pick up another carnival-related book.

This one was the perfect choice.

The beginning is a little slow, but the pace picks up a few chapters in. The humor is a little different than what I am used to in my YA books, but I loved it a lot. The writing flows really well, almost like a poem. I really appreciated how easy to read it was. Often times in fantasy novels, I get confused by all the extravagant words, especially in the world-building. This was easy to follow along with.

The characters were also really relatable. I loved Emma a lot because of how sweet she was. Although she was in a tough position, she always strived to do what is right.

The romance was also done very well in this novel. It wasn’t too lovey-dovey or too heavy. The relationship didn’t take anything away from the plot, which I liked.

Overall, if you were a fan of Caraval or The Night Circus, I would highly recommend this book! The setting/world was just amazing, and the storyline was great. It was a really enjoyable read for me and I can’t wait to buy the finished physical copy.

rating: 4/5 stars

xo, Jessica

Turtles All The Way Down- Review

As you may have heard, John Green’s new book, Turtles All The Way Down, came out on October 10th. I was extremely excited to read it, because I have loved previous books by him.

I purchased the audiobook and began listening to that a few days after the release. Before I could even get 1/4 of the way through, I knew I had to own the physical copy. On Tuesday, I bought a signed edition from Target, and having it in my hands made me feel so much closer to it. I could actually see the words he had written, and it made the whole experience even better for me.

Goodreads synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

My review:

I immediately fell in love with this book. This was the first book that I truly felt connected to the main character of a novel. I could relate to so many of the thoughts she had and it helped me make sense of my mind. The way John phrased Aza’s anxiety is the best description I have read. It really coincided with my own anxiety, and I could not be more grateful for this novel.

It really focuses on the struggles of everyday life of what it is like to live inside your own head. I feel like I can give this book to someone if I ever had to explain my anxiety to them. For me personally, it is extremely difficult to put my anxiety into words because I can not fully understand it half of the time. But when I read these words, it was as if every thought I had was written out for me.

Not only does she struggle with anxiety, but she also has obsessive thoughts which I can relate to as well. The combination of OCD and anxiety is extremely difficult and draining. You can feel how tired Aza is from suffering from this.

I had tears in my eyes while reading this book.

It was poetic and thought provoking and absolutely everything I needed to read, especially right now.

I think I may have found my new favorite YA book.

Rating: 5/5 stars

xx, jessica

Loves Me Not, Loves Me // Book Review

*I received this book for review, but all opinions are my own*

Loves Me Not, Loves Me by Brittany Julian is a poetry collection split into 2 parts. The first part, “Heartache’s Interlude” focuses on heartbreak and the pain caused by it. It also details the healing and forgiveness you must do for yourself.

The second half is about love. A main focus in this book is that you can’t have love without heartbreak, and vice versa. You need to go through some hardships to be able to feel love completely.

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I really, really enjoyed this book. The poetry is amazing and relatable. Even if you have never gone through heartbreak or experienced true love, you can feel the words the author is writing nonetheless.

I haven’t read any poetry books in a couple of months, but this one reminded me why I love them so much.

Here is one of my favorites:
please don’t convince yourself
that you are too complex
to be loved
you are not a problem
waiting to be solved
there is no algorithm
for us humans
who fall in love
no way to calculate
if the love will be worth the loss
in the months to come
or if all the frogs i’ve kissed
have led me to meet
one f****** prince

If you want to purchase the book yourself, check it out here!

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Illuminae- Book Review

Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Goodreads Synopsis: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

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My Review:
I recently read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff and let me tell you- it was a rollercoaster of emotions.

This book is sci-fi, so definitely not my normal read. I went into it without knowing anything, besides that the book community really loves it. I think that really helped with my overall enjoyment, because I don’t think I would have bothered to pick it up otherwise, and I didn’t know what to expect. It tells a story through conversations, interviews, emails, and so much more. It is definitely not your typical YA book. Every page is like a new adventure. It shows different point of views, including a computer’s, and the overall concept was so unique.

The co-authors did an amazing job piecing this book together. The writing was really good, and the page editors knew what they were doing. The layouts are so intriguing and it was cool turning the page and not knowing what was going to be there.

It is so clever and well done, because you learn so much from just snippets of information.

I will admit, the beginning was a little hard to get through because there are a lot of technical science terms introduced, but they are essential to the story. It was a little confusing because there were so many names and characters. Once you get through the first few pages you get a feel for it and get used to the terms.

I totally and 100% ship the main characters, Ezra and Kady. Their connection is just so real and so honest. I love the sarcastic and teasing relationship they have because that relates to me a lot. I really felt connected to these characters, even if I have never gone through something like this.

There are a couple of plot twists at the end that I did not see coming at all. They were completely shocking to me (my literal reaction: No no no no no no).

I will definitely pick up Gemina, the sequel, soon because after the cliffhanger I need to know more.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber- Review

Book: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Goodreads Synopsis: Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

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*Spoiler Free Review*

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

There has been tons of hype surrounding this book for the past month or so in the book blogging community. Of course I had to join in because the synopsis was really intriguing. Let me tell you, it definitely lives up to its reviews. I read page after page in the course of a couple of days. I stayed up late just to finish it because I wanted to know what would happen next. I genuinely could not put it down.

No, this book is not perfect (is any book?). But the storyline was just so interesting that it makes up for it. For one thing, you don’t know which direction it is headed in. You might be expecting one event to happen, but the plot takes a total turn. There were points where I was internally screaming because I didn’t see something coming.

The introduction of this book is what really got me. Stephanie Garber really knows how to draw in her readers. It was so sad to read about, but when a book can pull out my emotions, I know it is a good one.

The characters are also amazing. You feel like you can’t trust anyone, because the whole island is so mysterious. But at the same time, I still shipped a lot of the characters together, even if I wasn’t sure I should. There were some relationships I secretly wanted to happen, and some that were happening that I didn’t want at first.

I don’t want to share any more details because it is important you don’t go into the book knowing more than the synopsis above. It will make the enjoyment and initial confusion so much better.

Overall, this book really lived up to my expectations. It was clever. It was well written. I am really hoping for a sequel to this because the story can’t just be left there. I will be the first to buy book two if it happens!

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Temporary Storms- McKayla Debonis (Book Review)

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**I was sent this book to review by the author, but all opinions are my own

Hello and welcome to another book review! Today I will be talking about more poetry (shocker!) by the author McKayla Debonis.

Temporary Storms is McKayla’s first poetry book and it was self-published. That being said, there were a few grammatical/mechanical errors, but they did not affect my overall enjoyment. For her debut as a poet, this book is a great start. 

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The book is separated into 2 parts: The Storm and The Forever. The first half really focuses on pain, specifically related to mental health disorders. It also describes heartbreak, both with a significant other and with friends, which were very spot on. It was a great visual picture in words. 

The main symbol in the book is storms. It uses storms as a metaphor that “pain is temporary, you are forever.” I love that idea, and the book itself was very encouraging, especially in the second part. The Forever is all about forgiveness, but not of others, of yourself. It is the idea that you are worth so much and you should be happy with who you are. It is about acceptance, and relief after “leaving the storm.”

I found that many of the poems really resonated with me, and I know that this is the book I will turn to when in need of some inspiration. If you have gone through heartbreak, I am sure you will be able to connect to this book. If you have not, the emotion behind every word will still draw you in. The feelings are ones that every person goes through in their life, be it long or short term. 

The words are very honest and they tell the authors true emotions. 

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Here is an excerpt from the book:
After the Storm:
those dark menacing clouds have passed
you can finally see the sun and a clear
blue sky once again
a rainbow overhead
glittering seamlessly
the storm has passed and yet you are still
here because those storms are nothing
more than a temporary doom
you are still standing because you are
forever

I hope you decide to check it out and read the book. It is temporarily off the market for revision, but it will be up soon. For now, check out McKayla’s Instagram and Twitter for updates!

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Bright Minds Empty Souls- Review!

Yes, I’m doing another poetry book review. That’s because poetry has played a big part of my life for a long time, so I want to share as much of it as I can with others.

This poetry book, Bright Minds Empty Souls, is actually by Jennae Cecelia, who I previously interviewed! I have been in love with the poetry she posts on her Instagram, so I was dying to get my hands on her first book. She has another book which you should also check out if you like this one!

I LOVE this book. The poems are generally short so I read it all in one sitting. I felt very connected to the book, and I found myself highlighting and underlining so many of the lines. It was easy to read and understand, which I like. It didn’t need intricate words to make it beautiful. Jennae knew how to take simple words and turn them into a masterpiece which I truly admire.

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Also, I just want to talk about how amazing the cover is. It is different from most poetry books I own because it contains more than just the title. But I love that it is unique. The sketch on the front fits the book completely.

The theme itself is very focused on relationships, which I don’t have a lot of experience in. However, the words made me feel connected, and I understood, to some extent, what the author was feeling.

All in all, the words stuck with me for a long time after reading the book. It sparked some creativity in me, and inspired a lot of my recent poetry. Some even made me cry; that is how much power they hold over me.

If you are looking for a short collection of poetry to read, I really recommend beginning with this one.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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**This book was sent to me for review but in no way affects my opinion**

Milk and Honey! Worth The Hype?

I began writing this as soon as I put the book down. In fact, I am writing this intro last because I wanted to get all my ideas out first. I read it all in one sitting (minus the first 20 pages). I have so much to say about this book, so let’s just get on in.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur is a poetry book that I’m sure you have all heard of. It’s been all over Tumblr and Twitter for months now, and rightfully so. I am a huge poetry fan, so I knew I would get around to reading this eventually, and I can honestly say I am glad I did.

It’s not what I expected. Whether that is a good or bad thing can be interpreted by you because to be quite honest, I’m not sure.

The poems had so much raw emotion behind them. I drank up every word. I have many post-it notes marking up the pages I loved. Some of them made me think about life in a whole new perspective. They gave me hope.

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It is so simplistic but gets the point across in very few words. I think that is something many authors/poets struggle with most but Rupi has definitely perfected.

Each poem is so powerful and strengthening. It made me feel unstoppable; It made me soar. This book is something everyone needs to read.

It deals with rape, equality, heartbreak, and kindness. It teaches you to love yourself and all your flaws. To know your worth and not allow a man to take anything away from you. I really appreciated the ideas and messages. The messages may be a little cliché, but the way Rupi puts them into words is phenomenal.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy as many poems as I had hoped. I wanted to like every single one, but I know that is too optimistic. But this book just had so much hype to it, that I hoped I would fall in love with it more. Don’t get me wrong, the writing is amazing, but I hoped for more.

Usually when something is very mainstream I don’t enjoy it as much. I think that’s why I didn’t like this book as much as I had hoped. Also, it was a bit repetitive. Some of the poems were very similar to each other, but that might have also been intentional. Just not something I liked about it too much.

In the end, this book was a really nice, quick read. I recommend it to anyone over the age of 15 as some of the topics were a bit risqué.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

Let me know if you have read this book before because I would love to know your thoughts!

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