Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Review: Freefall by Joshua David Bellin


Publish Date: September 26, 2017
368 pages [Kindle edition]
Margaret K. McElderry Books

Synopsis:
When the 1% and the 99% clash, the fate of the human race hangs on the actions of two teens from very different backgrounds in this thrilling sci-fi adventure.

In the Upperworld, the privileged 1% are getting ready to abandon a devastated planet Earth. And Cam can’t wait to leave. After sleeping through a 1,000-year journey, he and his friends will have a pristine new planet to colonize. And no more worries about the Lowerworld and is 99% of rejects.

Then Cam sees a banned video feed of protesters in the Lowerworld who also want a chance at a new life. And he sees a girl with golden eyes who seems to be gazing straight though the feed directly at him. A girl he has to find. Sofie.

When Cam finds Sofie, she opens his eyes to the unfairness of what’s happening in their world, and Cam joins her cause for Lowerworld rights. He also falls hard for Sofie. But Sofie has her own battles to fight, and when it’s time to board the spaceships, Cam is alone.

Waking up 1,000 years in the future, Cam discovers that he and his shipmates are far off-course, trapped on an unknown and hostile planet. Who has sabotaged their ship? And does it have anything to do with Sofie, and the choices—and the enemies—he made in the past?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Plan With Me: Creating & Co {Thrive}



I Suck at Read-a-thons [TBR List]

 Image from Sam's Nonsense

I love the idea behind this readathon so much. The ISATRAT is hosted by Sam of Sam's Nonsense. The other readathon/reading challenges are lower pressure for me because I don't want to try and do too much, but I also love that this one is so low pressure. I totally think I can do this. Below are the challenges from Sam.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The End of the Year Book Tag

I decided that I wanted to start doing a few book tags here on the blog for fun. The first one is the "End of the Year Book Tag" started by Ariel Bissett. The year is winding down now that September has hit and it's time to wrap up the reading stuff :)

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

I need to finish The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket, Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Version by JK Rowling, and Roseblood by AG Howard. I've started all four of these books and then put them down because I got sucked into others.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

#TheReadingQuest [Finish Line]

All artwork is designed by CW of Read, Think, Ponder.

I'm bummed that The Reading Quest is over :( I ended up finishing my Rogue quest line and reading 2 side quest books (and part of a third). I wish I would have been able to read more, but I was dangerously close to falling into a reading slump with some of these books. The highest rated one for me was the 24 page graphic novel for the mini game side quest. The rest were all 3 stars and under. I ended up with 120 EXP and 144.2 HP reaching a Level 3. Overall, I really enjoyed this reading challenge. I love the premise and loved participating! :)

ROGUE: +50 EXP

  • A banned book: Drama by Raina Telgemeier (238 pages, graphic novel) +5 EXP, +11.9 HP
  • A book cover with a partially obscured face: Mistrust by Margaret McHeyzer (333 pages) +10 EXP +33.3 HP
  • A book with under 500 ratings on Goodreads: Found by Stacey Wallace Benefiel (159 pages) +10 EXP, +15.9 HP
  • A book published by a small press: The Secret of the Sphinx by Samuel Bavli (134 pages) +10EXP, +13.4 HP
  • A book with a one word title: Caraval by Stephanie Garber (401 pages) +10 EXP, +40.1 HP
SIDE QUESTS:
  • POTIONS: 
  • MULTIPLAYER: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (read 16 pages) +0 EXP, +1.6 HP
  • GRIND:
  • TIME WARP:
  • OPEN WORLD:
  • RESPAWN: 
  • EXPANSION:
  • MINI-GAME: Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson (24 pages) +5 EXP, +1.2 HP
  • ANIMAL COMPANION: Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki (208 pages/marginalized author) +20EXP, +20.8 HP
SOCIAL MEDIA:
  • 4 instagram posts so far +4 HP 
  • 2 twitter posts +2 HP
Level 3 //  120 EXP // 144.2 HP

Monday, September 11, 2017

Plan With Me: Little Dog Paper Co {Yellow Brick Road}


I had a crazy hectic week and weekend, so I did not have time to film a Plan With Me during the week like I usually do. I filmed on Saturday afternoon after 2 back-to-back, partly overlapped soccer games. I used my phone (Samsung GS6) to record my first voiceover, so please excuse any flub ups, amateur here :)

MENTIONED:
Little Dog Paper Co: https://littledogpaperco.com/
Once More With Love : https://www.etsy.com/shop/OnceMoreWit...
The Coffee Monsterz Co: https://thecoffeemonsterzco.com/
Rory's Sweet Addictions: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RorysSweetA...

COUPON CODES:
SARAH15 for 15% off Little Dog Paper Co {if there is a sale, mention my name to get my exclusive freebie sampler}
**During this week, you can use SARAH25 to receive 25% off your Little Dog Paper Co order! and receive my pumpkin spice latte exclusive sampler**

SOCIAL:
IG: http://www.instagram.com/sjanee11
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjanee11
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sjanee11
Snap: sjaneellis
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/sjanee11
Food Blog: http://www.fantasticalsharing.com/
Personal Blog: http://rockytoprealtalk.blogspot.com/

MY PLANNER & ACCESSORIES:
Erin Condren Neutral Vertical 12m - get $10 off your first order with my referral link: https://erincondren.com/referral/invi...
Staedtler triplus fineliner

Music: Cold Funk - Funkorama by Kevin MacLeod from the Youtube Audio Library



Saturday, September 9, 2017

Book Review: Mistrust by Margaret McHeyzer


Published July 29, 2016
333 Pages [Kindle edition]

Synopsis:
I’m the popular girl at school.
The one everyone wants to be friends with.
I have the best boyfriend in the world, who’s on the basketball team.
My parents adore me, and I absolutely love them. My sister and I have a great relationship too.
I’m a cheerleader, I have a high GPA and I’m liked even by the teachers.
It was a night which promised to be filled with love and fun until…something happened which changed everything.

Friday, September 8, 2017

#LastYearAThon [TBR List]

Yes, yet another readathon. I told you I found a treasure trove! #LastYearAThon is hosted by Richard's Book Nook, Lavender and Mud, The Awkward Bookworm, and Kay Maldonado and runs from September 8 through 11. The premise is to read a book or books that you wanted to read last year, but didn't get around to reading.

My TBR is going to be short and sweet because this is a four-day readathon. The book I want to read is...


Illuminae! I wanted to read this technically before last year, but all last year, I kept meaning to buy it and everyone was raving about it. I had some major FOMO. I finally purchased it when Book Outlet had it on a major sale...like last month! I definitely want to read this over the weekend. It's the coolest book cover I have ever seen.

Updated on 9/11: Everything started to overlap there for a second. #YearAThon was September 4 to September 10 and #TheReadingQuest ended on September 10. So I didn't get to start Illuminae until yesterday when I finally finished Caraval. So I didn't get as far as I would have liked to. I am enjoying it immensely though.

Total books read: 0
Total pages read: 140 (not included Mistrust or Caraval)


Books I Read in August


Monday, September 4, 2017

Plan With Me: Scribble Prints Co {June Mystery Mini}



MENTIONED: 
Little Dog Paper Co: https://littledogpaperco.com/ 
The Coffee Monsterz Co: https://thecoffeemonsterzco.com/ 
COUPON CODES: 
SARAH15 for 15% off Little Dog Paper Co {if there is a sale usually you can get more off using the sale coupon code, but mention my name to get my exclusive freebie sampler} 
SOCIAL: 
Snap: sjaneellis 
MY PLANNER & ACCESSORIES: 
Erin Condren Neutral Vertical 12m - get $10 off your first order with my referral link: https://erincondren.com/referral/invite/sarahellis0916 
Papermate Inkjoy Gel 0.7 
Pilot G2 0.7 
Music: It's All Happening by Huma-Huma from the Youtube Audio Library

#AYearAThon [TBR List]

I decided to join in on the #AYearAThon fun. Each first full week of the month, a readathon is held and there are themes and challenges for each month. In the month of September, the theme is STANDALONES with the challenge of reading one-word titles. It runs from September 4 through 10.

I'm keeping my TBR list small. Both books are ones that are overdue for reviews on NetGalley. Both are standalones with one-word titles. I'm hoping to finish both this week.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Sequel September [TBR List]

I recently discovered a treasure trove of readathons/reading challenges and decided to try to do a couple in September and see how that goes. If it hinders my reading process or I get in a slump, I may not continue into October.

First for September is a month-long reading challenge called Sequel September hosted by Books & Munches. The goal is to read sequels. I need to do this so badly. I have a goal to finish 10 series this year and so far, I have managed to finish 1 (that has no more books coming out this year).

September TBR List + Upcoming Releases


In August, I finished 8 books and I am 8 books ahead of my Goodreads challenge! The furthest ahead I have been this year so far and I could not be happier. I'll talk about the mini challenge I did in August (like in past months), list my Owlcrate and Books on my Desk, and quickly go over where I stand on my Netgalley books. Then as always, there are the main challenges I'm doing this year. My mini goal for September is to read 2 Owlcrate books and 2 Netgalley books. Because most of the books on my desk are now Owlcrates :) I just hope to keep up the momentum of the last two months. The Biannual Bibliothon and Bout of Books readathons really kicked me into gear and prevented me from falling into a slump!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

#TheReadingQuest [Update #2]


All artwork is designed by CW of Read, Think, Ponder.

Bout of Books has come and past and I said I would update once it was finished. Here is my TBR post for #TheReadingQuest and my first update post. I have read 2 more books, pushing me just over to Level 2. I included my current reads pages read in my HP count. There are 12 more days and I'm hoping to finish my quest and a few more side quests :)

ROGUE:
  • A banned book: Drama by Raina Telgemeier (238 pages, graphic novel) +5 EXP, +11.9 HP
  • A book cover with a partially obscured face: Roseblood by AG Howard (read 6 pages) +0 EXP, +0.6 HP
  • A book with under 500 ratings on Goodreads: Found by Stacey Wallace Benefiel (159 pages) +10 EXP, +15.9 HP
  • A book published by a small press: The Secret of the Sphinx by Samuel Bavli (134 pages) +10EXP, +13.4 HP
  • A book with a one word title: Caraval by Stephanie Garber (read 54 pages) +0 EXP, +5.4 HP
SIDE QUESTS:
  • POTIONS: 
  • MULTIPLAYER:
  • GRIND:
  • TIME WARP:
  • OPEN WORLD:
  • RESPAWN: 
  • EXPANSION:
  • MINI-GAME: Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson (24 pages) +5 EXP, +1.2 HP
  • ANIMAL COMPANION: Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki (208 pages/marginalized author) +20EXP, +20.8 HP
SOCIAL MEDIA:
  • 3 instagram posts so far +3 HP
Level 2 //  60 EXP // 82 HP


Monday, August 28, 2017

Plan With Me: Bubba Bear Studios {Tweet Your Heart Out}


MENTIONED:
Bubba Bear Studios: https://www.bubbabearstudios.com
Little Dog Paper Co: https://littledogpaperco.com/
Once More With Love : https://www.etsy.com/shop/OnceMoreWithLove
The Coffee Monsterz Co: https://thecoffeemonsterzco.com/
Fox and Cactus: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FoxAndCactus
Rory's Sweet Addictions: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RorysSweetAddictions


COUPON CODES:
SARAH15 for 15% off Little Dog Paper Co {Pumpkin Spice}


SOCIAL:
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Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjanee11
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sjanee11
Snap: sjaneellis
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/sjanee11
Food Blog: http://www.fantasticalsharing.com/
Personal Blog: http://rockytoprealtalk.blogspot.com/


MY PLANNER & ACCESSORIES:
Erin Condren Neutral Vertical 12m - get $10 off your first order with my referral link: https://erincondren.com/referral/invite/sarahellis0916
Papermate Inkjoy Gel 0.7
Pilot G2 0.7

Music: Thingamajig by Audionautix from the Youtube Audio Library

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Book Review: The Secret of the Sphinx by Samuel Bavli


Publish Date: September 19, 2016
Published by Tambora Books
134 Pages [Kindle edition]

Synopsis:
The place is ancient Egypt. The year is 2558 BCE. Two of the king’s three sons have died in an apparent accident. Neb, who is the king’s vizier and a great magician, is the only one who realizes that their deaths were not accidental, and he tries to prevent the death of the king’s third son. The murderer, an evil sorcerer who fears Neb’s powers, has Neb abducted and casts a magic spell over him, imprisoning Neb’s soul in a great stone sphinx.

Four and a half thousand years pass, and Neb’s sphinx is on display in a museum. A teenage boy named Jon is visiting the museum on a class trip, and Neb immediately senses that this boy could be the key to his freedom. The sphinx speaks to Jon and tells him to return that night; but when Jon returns, the spirits of long-dead kings and demons try to prevent him from reaching the sphinx. After narrowly escaping the spirits, Jon finally reaches Neb. Intrigued by Neb’s story and by the prospect of adventure, Jon climbs onto the sphinx’s back, and flies back in time with Neb to search for the secret that will release Neb’s soul from its stony prison.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Bout of Books 20 [Days 5-7 Progress + Finish Line]

Bout of Books

Here is my progress for the last three days of the readathon plus my final thoughts. In the first four days, I've only read Unicorn Power! and read a total of 142 pages. I'm hoping to continue to read more pages per day. I started off with 4 pages read and on the fourth day I read 81, so the number keeps growing :) Little by little.

[DAY 5 PROGRESS]
Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki - started at 89%, ended at 100% (~22 pages) - done
Lumberjanes Vol.1 by Noelle Stevenson (24 pages) - done
Roseblood by AG Howard - didn't read today
The Secret of the Sphinx by Samuel Bavli - started at 0%, ended at 44% (~58 pages)

TOTAL: 246 pages // 2 books finished

READING UPDATE: I read a total of 104 pages today, so my page count just keeps on going up! I'm hoping to finish Sphinx tomorrow and continue Roseblood.

------------------------------------------
[DAY 6 PROGRESS]
Roseblood by AG Howard - didn't read today
The Secret of the Sphinx by Samuel Bavli - started at 44%, ended at 54% (~13 pages)

TOTAL: 259 pages // 2 books finished

READING UPDATE: I spent most of Saturday cleaning and cooking. I don't regret it because it needed done, but it meant I barely read until I was already entirely too tired. Hoping to finish Sphinx tomorrow (once again) and make a dent in Roseblood to finish out the readathon!
------------------------------------------
[DAY 7 PROGRESS]
Roseblood by AG Howard - didn't read today
The Secret of the Sphinx by Samuel Bavli - started at 54%, ended at 100% (~72 pages)
Caraval by Stephanie Garber - started at 0, ended at page 24 (~24 pages)

TOTAL: 355 pages // 3 books finished

READING UPDATE: I pushed through and finished The Secret and started Caraval in bed, so I didn't get as far as I had hoped there, but I broke 300 pages and finished 3 books.
------------------------------------------
[FINISH LINE]

TOTAL: 355 pages // 3 books finished

FINAL THOUGHTS: My goals were to finish 2 books and read every day. I accomplished that goal! Even though I had some very rough, low-page-count reading days, I did read every single day this week and I finished 3 books instead of 2, even though they were pretty low count books. I also wanted to finish off some books for #TheReadingQuest and I was able to do 1 quest line book and 2 side quest books. Overall, Bout of Books 20 was a huge success! I cannot wait for the next one. I'll be stopping by some blogs and Twitters today to leave some comments, but I hope everyone had a great week :)


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

#TheReadingQuest [Update #1]

All artwork is designed by CW of Read, Think, Ponder.

Figured I would give my first update for The Reading Quest. I will most likely update after Bout of Books this week :) Here is my TBR post for #TheReadingQuest

ROGUE:
  • A banned book: Drama by Raina Telgemeier (238 pages, graphic novel) +5 EXP, +11 HP
  • A book cover with a partially obscured face: 
  • A book with under 500 ratings on Goodreads: Found by Stacey Wallace Benefiel (159 pages) +10 EXP, +15 HP
  • A book published by a small press:
  • A book with a one word title:
SIDE QUESTS:
  • POTIONS:
  • TIME WARP:
  • EXPANSION:
  • MINI-GAME:
  • ANIMAL COMPANION:
  • RESPAWN:
  • GRIND:
  • MULTIPLAYER:
  • OPEN WORLD:
SOCIAL MEDIA:
  • 2 instagram posts so far +2 HP
Level 1 //  25 EXP // 36 HP

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Bout of Books 20 [Days 1-4 Progress]

Bout of Books

I'm going to split up the readathon progress between days 1 through 4 and then 5 through 7 with maybe the "finish line" tacked on. Here we go! Happy reading everyone :) Remember if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask your local Bout of Books Expert (I am one of I believe 6 or 7). :)

[GOALS]
**Read a little every day
**Finish two books

Monday, August 21, 2017

Plan With Me: Little Dog Paper Co {Brightest Stars}



**NOT SPONSORED OR PAID TO ADVERTISE**
Link to Brightest Stars kit: https://littledogpaperco.com/collections/stickers/products/brightest-stars-kit-planner-stickers

MENTIONED:
Little Dog Paper Co: https://littledogpaperco.com/
Once More With Love : https://www.etsy.com/shop/OnceMoreWithLove
The Coffee Monsterz Co: https://thecoffeemonsterzco.com/
Fox and Cactus: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FoxAndCactus
Rory's Sweet Addictions: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RorysSweetAddictions


COUPON CODES:
SARAH15 for 15% off Little Dog Paper Co {Pumpkin Spice}
STEFANI15 {Time Warp}
MADELYNNE15 {Unicorn}
MELISA15 {Flower}
CYN15 {Starfish}
ASHLEY15 {Ice Cream}


SOCIAL:
IG: http://www.instagram.com/sjanee11
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjanee11
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sjanee11
Snap: sjaneellis
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/sjanee11
Food Blog: http://www.fantasticalsharing.com/
Personal Blog: http://rockytoprealtalk.blogspot.com/


MY PLANNER & ACCESSORIES:
Erin Condren Neutral Vertical 12m - get $10 off your first order with my referral link: https://erincondren.com/referral/invite/sarahellis0916
Pilot G2 0.7

Music: Crystal by Vibe Tracks from the YouTube Audio Library

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bout of Books 20 [Reading List + Goals]

Bout of Books

Hello, folks! It's time for yet another BOB readathon to begin. The 20th Bout of Books readathon starts next Monday, August 21st. It will be my 17th time participating, which is crazy to me, but I'm so excited to participate once again. I'm going to be in the middle of doing #TheReadingQuest book challenge, so I want to make a dent in those books during the readathon. I'm also going to be an expert once again. So I hope to stop by and encourage lots of the participants :)

I may update occasionally on Twitter and will definitely be updating frequently on my Goodreads.

[GOALS]
**Read a little every day
**Finish two books

[TENTATIVE READING LIST]
**Roseblood by AG Howard
**Caraval by Stephanie Garber
**The Secret of the Sphinx by Samuel Bavli 

Good luck to everyone else joining in! Let me know what you plan on reading next week in the comments :)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Plan With Me: Scribble Prints Co {July Mystery Mini}


MENTIONED:
Scribble Prints Co: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ScribblePrintsCo
Little Dog Paper Co: https://littledogpaperco.com/
Once More With Love : https://www.etsy.com/shop/OnceMoreWithLove
The Coffee Monsterz Co: https://thecoffeemonsterzco.com/
Fox and Cactus: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FoxAndCactus
Bubba Bear Studios: https://www.bubbabearstudios.com


COUPON CODES:
SARAH15 for 15% off Little Dog Paper Co


SOCIAL:
IG: https://www.instagram.com/sjanee11
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sjanee11
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjanee11
Snap: sjaneellis
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/sjanee11
Food Blog: https://www.fantasticalsharing.com/
Personal Blog: https://rockytoprealtalk.blogspot.com/


MY PLANNER & ACCESSORIES:
Erin Condren Neutral Vertical 12m - get $10 off your first order with my referral link: https://erincondren.com/referral/invite/sarahellis0916
Papermate Inkjoy Gel 0.7
Pilot G2 0.7

Music: Cold Funk - Funkorama by Kevin MacLeod from the Youtube Audio Library

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Book Review: A Fabrication of the Truth by Katie Kaleski


Publish Date: September 16, 2016
250 Pages [Kindle edition]

Synopsis:
The last time Lexie Stein saw Dalton Reyes he lay in a pool of blood, hovering somewhere between life and death. Now, five years later, he’s the new guy in her high school. 

What happened between then and now is a mystery Lexie is afraid to explore. Just one lie uncovered from her past can cause the house of cards she’s so carefully constructed to come crashing down around her. And Dalton is the key to that past. 


She doesn’t need her grandmother’s warnings to convince her that Dalton means trouble. But the bond they shared as kids seems to have only gotten stronger, transforming into something wonderful and powerful. 


When Dalton opens up about the intervening years and what they mean for his future, Lexie is determined not to let him get away a second time.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Plan With Me: Scribble Prints Co {Unicorn kit}


MENTIONED:
Scribble Prints Co: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ScribblePrintsCo
Little Dog Paper Co: https://littledogpaperco.com/
Once More With Love : https://www.etsy.com/shop/OnceMoreWithLove
The Coffee Monsterz Co: https://thecoffeemonsterzco.com/
Fox and Cactus: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FoxAndCactus


COUPON CODES:
SARAH15 for 15% off Little Dog Paper Co


SOCIAL:
IG: http://www.instagram.com/sjanee11
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjanee11
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sjanee11
Snap: sjaneellis
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/sjanee11
Food Blog: http://www.fantasticalsharing.com/
Personal Blog: http://rockytoprealtalk.blogspot.com/


MY PLANNER & ACCESSORIES:
Erin Condren Neutral Vertical 12m - get $10 off your first order with my referral link: https://erincondren.com/referral/invite/sarahellis0916
Papermate Inkjoy Gel 0.7
Pilot G2 0.7

Music is Soho by Riot via Youtube Free Audio Library

Friday, August 4, 2017

Books I Read in July


Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin - 4 stars (finished 7/1)
I was gifted an ebook via Netgalley.
Review: here.

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris - 3.5 stars (finished 7/10)
BOOK 10 IN SOUTHERN VAMPIRE MYSTERY SERIES
This is where I start to get annoyed with the books and why I never finished the series. This reread was long overdue and I actually started it in January but put it down. Sookie is insufferable. Honestly, the last chapter is the only good part in the book. I think I've read the following book, but not the other two. So on to another reread and hopefully I can finish out the series ASAP. I'm ready to be done.

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst - 3.5 stars (finished 7/15)
I don't know how to explain why this book wasn't a 4 or 5 star rating for me. It was easy to read, but I just had no desire to pick it up and read it. I don't think it was boring and I don't think it was necessarily slow. It was just missing something. The story is told from two POV: Dennaleia, betrothed to Thandi, and Amaranthine (Mare), Thandi's sister. I did not care for Denna. I wanted to like her, but she irritated me. Loved Mare. Honestly, my favorite parts of the story were Mare and her pal, Nils, and their excursions outside the castle walls. I could read a book just on that and have done without the romance. The romance was a letdown for me and that may be because it was so drawn out and it took forever for it to finally happen. Funny since instalove is such an annoying trope nowadays. I enjoyed the big part towards the end of the story, but side-eyed the actual ending itself. Overall, I was just disappointed. There are so many great elements in this story but I just didn't like how they were put together.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - 5 stars (finished 7/19)
I honestly don't know if I can put into words how much I loved this book. I am not black. I have never lived in a place like Garden Heights. I have never feared being pulled over by a police officer. The MC, Starr, is a perspective that I don't have but appreciate. I was given the opportunity to read an own voices novel to gain some insight of a perspective I will never experience firsthand.

This story was gripping from beginning to end. There was humor and heartbreak. And what a tenacious main character. I loved Starr. I would read 10 more books about her and her family and friends. As the reader, you get to see Starr struggle with her "black self" (as she calls it) and then her Williamson self, having to be careful not to use too much slang around her white friends and classmates. You get to see how people react to Starr dating a white boy.

After her childhood friend, Khalil, is shot...Starr is overcome with grief and that was another part of the story I thought was so well done and honest. I was stunned at many-a-thing in the novel, but know these are common occurrences. I think it's important to immerse yourself in stories that you can never know or truly understand to make sure you can help be supportive of people who live this every day. To make sure that you use your voice to help make a difference because this stuff is not okay.

Freefall by Joshua David Bellin - 1 star (finished 7/20)
I was gifted an ebook via Netgalley.
DNF Review will be posted a week before release date. 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - 5 stars (finished 7/26)
I don't know if I can put into words how profound of a read this book is. I wish I hadn't waited so many years to pick it up. Years ago, I read a book called "For the Good of Mankind?: The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation" and all of those different instances of human experimentation really shocked me. While the doctors didn't really experiment on Henrietta, I feel they still violated her. They stole tissue from her body without her knowing. They never told her or her family.

Rebecca Skoot did the Lacks family a great justice by telling Henrietta's story...past just the HeLa cells.  What an extraordinary and selfless woman Henrietta was. What she endured in the last months of her life...I just cannot even imagine. I'm glad Rebecca wrote her story. I'm glad she wrote about Henrietta's five children. She also wrote on many other stories connected to the injustices of the time period where Henrietta's tissue was collected. It still blows my mind that it hasn't been made into law that pieces of you are no longer yours when they leave your body. Rebecca did an incredible job with an insanely large team to collect insurmountable amounts of information. They fact checked in multiple times. It's an insane amount of work but I think after all the Lackses have been through, it was a much deserved story to tell. It needed to be told.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. I think it raises important questions and touches on very important subjects throughout the novel. I think we are quick to forget our very recent history because it seems like it was so long ago that people weren't treated as people because they were different.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli - 5 stars (finished 7/26)
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.
I was flying on through it. I couldn't get enough of it. I enjoy so thoroughly how Becky Albertalli made her book such a diverse read without coming off as forced. It was so seamlessly done. There is representation for many many diversities (underrepresented body types, anxiety, Judaism, bisexual, lesbian, gay, pansexual, LGBTQIA+ parents, etc. I believe there is also a little biracial relationship represented) and they are all wonderfully positive. There is no negative connotation to it, other than some of the character's run-in's with ignorant people. Plus I love the normalization of breastfeeding. YES, BECKY, YES!

I enjoyed reading from Molly's perspective and really connected with her on a personal level. It felt like such an honest read. I loved how family was at the forefront of the story. I loved the pop culture references. It was just the sweetest story. I read most of it in a day and I haven't done that since Everything, Everything.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia - 5 stars (finished 7/28)
This book is a story of a senior in high school named Eliza, who has no interest in being involved in her school social scene. She has Monstrous Sea, a webcomic that she anonymously created. She throws herself into this webcomic heart, mind, body, and soul. She rarely reads comments, but know that it has an insane following. At school, she is the "weird" kid that is the target of many a joke. Her friends are two strangers that she talks to online. Until she meets Wallace, a boy she assumes is a football player, but discovers he writes Monstrous Sea fanfiction. Her first encounter with someone in the fandom she created. Neither speak out loud very much, but start to communicate through short notes back and forth and a friendship is kindled.

I thought most of this book was the cutest and most adorable read ever. The rest was so heart wrenching. At some moments, I wish I could shake Eliza and show her that her parents care and just want to be a part of her life. In other moments, I wish I could shake her parents and tell them to pay attention. I love the way this story was written - in a "normal" novel style mixed with instant messages, emails, online forum posts, texts, and snippets of comics. The artwork is phenomenal. I appreciate how Eliza grew throughout the story too. There was a lot you could pick up on while reading from her perspective and I like that she starting working on some of those issues towards the end of the book.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Adhieh - 5 stars (finished 7/30)
While I didn't finish this for the Biannual Bibliothon, I read the last 191 pages this morning, so I can tune into the live show. I was a little nervous starting the book because I peeked at some reviews here on Goodreads and a lot of people said that it was so boring. I can honestly say that I was not bored at all throughout the entire book. I think it was beautifully written and the story was so good. It was similar to Mulan, but not a retelling like it was marketed. I like that it was written in third-person omniscient and jumped around from character to character, so that you get a pretty large scope of what is going on. There are still a few mysteries and I'm looking forward to the second book of the duology to find out more.