Month: March 2018

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett | Book Review

Posted March 28, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 9 Comments

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett | Book ReviewStarry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse on April 3, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
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5 Stars

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?

Jenn Bennett is a wonderful storyteller, and is quickly becoming a YA author that I trust to provide some really sweet, swoony contemporary romances. After really enjoying Alex, Approximately, I was excited to spot this next book of hers on Edelweiss. I’m happy to report that I loved this one even more. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. I was immediately drawn to the unique plot elements that were mentioned in the synopsis. Former best friends go camping and end up stranded in the wilderness, having to fend for themselves. I love survival stories, and stories that take place outdoors so I really loved this idea. It was done SO WELL.

2. I loved the little tidbits about how to survive outdoors, as well as the beautiful descriptions of scenery. There’s a pretty intense thunderstorm that happens in this book, and I was captivated by the way the author portrayed it.

3. The characters are sweet and quirky. I know I will never forget Lennon, son of a sex shop owning lesbian couple and a punk rocker has-been. He loves reptiles and graphic novels, wears all black, and has spiky hair and a dry sense of humor. He’s also very loving, loyal, kind of broken, and very mysterious. I loved him! Zorie is a wannabe astronomer, who gazes at life through the eyepiece of her telescope. Her birth mother died when she was young, and she’s fallen in love with her dad’s Korean wife, Joy, and adopted her as her real mom. This family, like all families, has some issues. As Zorie and Lennon work to survive the wilderness and the elements, they talk and work through how to survive their lives as well. They both grow so much individually as well as together, and I loved watching them process real emotions together.

4. Things got really good for me once the glamping trip ended and Lennon and Zorie were left to fend for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the parts leading up to that, but I got super invested at this point in the story and had a really hard time putting my book down to go to bed.

5. There was a strong focus on friendship and relationships that I loved.

6. I don’t want to spoil it, but there’s some major girl power moments towards the end of the book that had me cheering. I love strong women in books because they inspire me to be more assertive and not take crap from anyone.

All in all, I loved Starry Eyes. It’s swoony and deep and angsty and full of so much reality, set against the love-hate relationship between two best-friends-turned-enemies as they traverse the elements and depend on one another to survive the literal wilderness, as well as their own wild, untamed lives.

5 Stars

Top Ten Books That Take Place In Another Country

Posted March 26, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 61 Comments

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE going to other countries in books. It’s fun to read about the ones I want to visit and re-visit the ones I’ve been to. In a couple months we’ll be talking about books that awaken the travel bug in us, so I’m being very selective and not including books with strong travel themes so I can share those then. I’m hoping that this week’s topic will expand my TBR like crazy. I can’t wait to see where books have taken you!

Starry Nights
by Daisy Whitney (France)
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (France)
The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall (France to Turkey)

Hunting Prince Dracula
by Kerri Maniscalco (Romania)
Heist Society by Ally Carter (Italy, Austria, Poland, France, England)
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (Czech Republic)

From What I Remember… by Stacy Kramer & Val Thomas (Mexico)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (Thisby)
(I’m cheating with this one since Thisby doesn’t exist, but the author said that she pictured it as being a place like Ireland or Scotland, and it definitely feels like it!)
Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher (Australia)
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (Aruba)

Which countries have you enjoyed visiting through books? I want a ton of recommendations, so I’m going to do my best to visit all of you. But if there’s something you REALLY love, can you tell me in the comments so I definitely don’t miss it?


Books That Belong In the Freezer | Discussion

Posted March 22, 2018 by Jana in Discussion / 33 Comments

Ok, so I re-watch the TV show Friends, in all of its silly and heartwarming glory at least once a year and recently I came across the episode where Joey and Rachel push books on each other. Rachel comes across a copy of The Shining by Stephen King in Joey’s freezer and learns that Joey puts books in the freezer if they get too scary for him to handle. Anyway, they end up trading books: Joey has Rachel read The Shining, and Rachel has Joey read Little Women. Hilariousness ensues. Watch the clip here!

So my question for you today is: have you read any books that you would put in the freezer if you were Joey? Maybe they are scary or something sad is about to happen and you don’t want it to. I don’t read sad books, so that aspect doesn’t apply to me. And I haven’t read many REALLY scary books because I’m a wimp, but I’ve read a few that had me pretty freaked out (you might think I’m a chicken, which is fine):

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle is an amazing romantic suspense book with a bad guy who watches his victim through the window at night while she sleeps. I pretty much only have time to read in bed at night, and I’ve never been more grateful for living on the second floor and having mini blinds AND curtains. Nobody will ever see me.

Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout is terrifying. lol. Luckily I read it while on a cruise with my family, so I was never alone.

The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware takes place on a cruise liner, and the heroine hears evidence of a murder and nobody believes her except the killer who is now after her. AHHHH.

Shadowlands by Kate Brian scared me way more than I thought it would. Girl escapes the clutches of a serial killer, enters the witness protection program, and then uh oh. The writing is pretty great, so I was super scared.

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout features a girl who went missing with her friend and then returned alone with no memory of who she is or what happened to her. This is kind of my worst nightmare, guys.

Ok, so throw your scary/super sad/traumatizing books
at me that make you totally understand where Joey is coming from. 

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2018 TBR

Posted March 19, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 23 Comments

If you live on the other side of the world, please tell us what’s on your Fall to-be-read list this year. :)

Happy first day of spring! I love the green and the flowers and the bird songs that spring brings, so I’m excited even though I love cold weather and snow. This week’s topic encourages you to look ahead and see what you’re excited to read this season.

Do you feel like you tend to read certain kinds of books during this time of year? I definitely feel like the seasons influence the books I pick. I tend to gravitate towards contemporary romance and light women’s fiction. But I’m such a mood reader. lol. I always struggled with these seasonal TBRs when we did them at The Broke and the Bookish, but they were so popular that I knew I couldn’t get rid of them when I took over. So… Here’s my list of books that I want to read soon, but who knows if I really will?


By the Book by Julia Sonneborn
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Freshmen by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill


The Distance from Me to You by Marina Gessner
There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones
By Your Side by Kasie West
A Field Guide for Heartbreakers by Kristen Tracy


Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Have you read any of these yet? What did you think?
What’s on your spring TBR?

Ten Books I Was Surprised Impacted Me the Way They Did

Posted March 12, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 31 Comments

Today’s topic is the top ten books that surprised you, in either a good or a bad way. Is there a book you thought you’d love, but ended up hating? Was there a book you thought you’d hate but really loved? Major plot twist? Main character ends up with someone you weren’t expecting? Were you expecting a certain something from a certain author and they went completely rogue?

This topic is kind of similar to the “Books I Can’t Believe I Read” topic we did a few weeks ago. At least, that’s how my mind is thinking about this, so I’m forcing myself to spin this topic enough so that I don’t have too many duplicates. My spin is entitled:

Ten Books I Was Surprised Impacted Me the Way They Did
(This is kind of hilarious title, I know…)

Ok, let me explain. I’ve read a lot of books over the course of my life that caused extreme reactions from me, both good and bad. I’ve been scarred by some books, and I’ve also been uplifted and changed by some books. My list today showcases the books that have popped up in my mind for one reason or another over the years, and have impacted me in long-lasting ways I wasn’t expecting. There will most likely be some spoilers in this list, so if you see a book cover of a book you were hoping to read and don’t want to be spoiled, just skip past the words below it and on to the next cover. :) Then you’ll be safe.


1. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Ok, so this is an extreme negative reaction kind of book. I read this in middle school, and it shook me to my core for one reason and has stuck with me ever since. If you’ve read it, I’m sure you remember what George did the Lennie. I was blindsided and really upset by this.


2. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Here’s another bad book for me. A beloved pet dies in this book, in a very graphic way. The author pretty much spares no details, and readers read every gruesome detail. It killed me. My 4th grade teacher read this in class, and 21 years later I am still scarred by it. If I find out an animal dies in a book, I blacklist it no matter how great the rest of the book might be. It’s a 100% deal breaker for me.


3. Night by Eli Wiesel
I tend to really struggle with Holocaust books because it kills me to read about humans doing such awful things to humans. Like, how is the Holocaust a thing that actually happened and not a horror novel that is too bad to be true? I read this in undergrad for my Ethics and Values class, and I was pretty worried it would destroy me. And it is soooo sad, yes. But it’s written in a way that made me hopeful and uplifted. I was super surprised to find such a heartbreaking book that could lift me up at the same time. I really enjoyed Night, and it has stuck with me for years.


4. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
I had no idea that this book would be the book that made me discover the magical world of YA and fall in love with reading again… at age 18, no less (New Moon had just been released… so that shows my age a little. lol). A romance with sparkly vampires pretty much changed my life. I’ll be forever grateful for it.


5. The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
I loved this book until it crushed me. It also made me swear off all Nicholas Sparks books until the end of time. AND it made me realize I need to be better about making sure no animal die in books. IT WAS NICHOLAS SPARKS. What was I thinking!? I should have known… Whatever is pictured on one of his covers… at least 50% of it will die.


6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Every time I hear this title or see this book, a feeling of darkness washes over me. I read this as a child in school, and I was a very very tender and sensitive child. The violence and destruction in this book caused feelings in me that I can still feel if I’m in the right situation.

(Intermission message: I’m quickly being reminded that school stole my love of reading and kind of traumatized me. lol.)


7. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
It has been a LONG time since I’ve read a book that has made me THIS MAD. lol. I was very surprised by the extreme rage it drew from me. And honestly, I knew going in that it would make me mad, but my professor in library school made me read it. It did nothing good for me. lol. For more of my thoughts, read my review.


8. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
This book taught me that books can truly change your life. I mean, I suppose I knew this already. lol. What bookworm doesn’t know this? But Wanderlove reallllly did for me. And this is the first book I ever bought a hardback of after reading an egalley because I wanted to own a finished copy for my collection.


9. On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
I feel like this book pops up a lot on my TTT lists because it was so groundbreaking for me. First off, it changed my mind about self-published books (I used to never give them a chance, but then this gem found me… and yeah, On the Island was self-pubbed before Penguin got it). I’d heard so many horror stories of bloggers being harassed by self-published authors, not to mention I’d rarely read a good review for self-published books. I started to see a red flag every time I saw that a book was self-published because I was either convinced it would be a bad read or that I’d get harassed for my inevitably unfavorable review. I know, this is a bad thing to think. lol. Luckily this book changed my mind and I’ve since read a ton of really amazing self-published books I never would have given a second look before. On the Island also changed my mind about age gaps in relationships, and it made me really fall in love with survival-type story lines. I had no idea going in to this book that I would love it soooo much, much less finish it.


10. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Ok, so this is my most recent love (and a new favorite book), and I still can’t stop thinking about how much I loved it!! I thought I was kind of done with contemporary YA because nothing had been working for me in a few years (much to my dismay). But I have a major soft spot for Italy books. I mean, it’s Italy. I thought I’d be able to suffer through it at the very least. I was seriously surprised that Jenna Evans Welch was able convince me that there’s still something for me in YA contemporary lit. But she did, and I’ve fallen in love with the genre all over again!

Which books have surprised you?

Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes (version 2.0)

Posted March 5, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 26 Comments

So we first did this topic on The Broke and the Bookish back in 2013. Check out my favorite quotes back then! I still love all of those quotes, but today I get to share 10 more that I love! I’m excited to see yours!

1. “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

2. “…she made her home in between the pages of books.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, Linger

3. “If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”
― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

4. “There are good days and hard days for me—even now. Don’t let the hard days win.”
― Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury

5. “I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

6. “If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.”
― Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca

7. “Even in that time of utter darkness, somewhere deep inside me the memory of love and goodness had stayed alive.”
― Juliet Marillier, Heart’s Blood

8. “As mothers and daughters, we are connected with one another. My mother is the bones of my spine, keeping me straight and true. She is my blood, making sure it runs rich and strong. She is the beating of my heart. I cannot now imagine a life without her.”
― Kristin Hannah, Summer Island

9. “Stories are lights. Light is precious in a world so dark.”
– Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux

10. “When the paintings come out for you, it’s what people have meant all along when they talk about artists being immortal. In a way, their work can live forever. When the art comes alive it’s like the immortal version of the painting, like a little bit of the person painted has gotten to live forever.”
– Daisy Whitney, Starry Nights

My 13 Favorite Quotes from A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle | Blog Tour

Posted March 5, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour, Bookish Quotes / 2 Comments

My 13 Favorite Quotes from A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle | Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the official A Wrinkle In Time blog tour, hosted by Macmillan Children’s, in honor of the upcoming theater release of the A Wrinkle In Time movie (March 9, 2018!

I read A Wrinkle In Time just a few years ago as an adult in library school, so I don’t have the nostalgia surrounding the story like so many readers have. I did really enjoy it, though, and can totally see why it has become such a beloved classic. I’m excited to see the movie!

Today I’m going to share with you some of my favorite quotes from the book, which is going to be a bit of a daunting task because A Wrinkle In Time is SO quotable.

My 13 Favorite Quotes from A Winkle In Time

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

“Just relax and don’t worry over things that needn’t trouble you.”

“Nothing is hopeless; we must hope for everything.”
– Mrs. Who, quoting Euripides

“People are more than just the way they look.”

“‘We do not know what things look like, as you say,’ the beast said. ‘We know what things are like. It must be a very limiting thing, this seeing.'”

“Maybe if you aren’t unhappy sometimes you don’t know how to be happy.”

“I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.”

“We look not at the things which are what you would call seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal. But the things which are not seen are eternal.”

“But of course we can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.”

“To love is to be vulnerable; and it is only in vulnerability and risk—not safety and security—that we overcome darkness.”

“We have to make decisions, and we can’t make them if they’re based on fear.”

“The more a man knows, the less he talks.”

“The most memorable books from our childhoods are those that make us feel less alone, convince us that our own foibles and quirks are both as individual as a finger-print and as universal as an open hand.”

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Series: Time Quintet #1
Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux on November 7th 2017 (first published in 1962)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Time Travel
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It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Visit the other tour stops!

February 21st | YA Bibliophile
February 22nd | Adventures of a Book Junkee
February 23rd | Falling For YA
February 23rd | Fiktshun
February 26th | Addicted 2 Novels
February 27th | Swoony Boys Podcast
February 28th | Book Nerds Across America
February 28th | YAWednesdays
March 1st | Fiction Fare
March 2nd | Bookish Lifestyle
March 3rd | Forever Young Adult
March 5th | That Artsy Reader Girl
March5th | Hello, Chelly
March 6th | Book Briefs
March 7th | Ex Libris
March 8th | Reading Teen