Tags: Ultimate Book Tag + BW Mid Year Tag

I was tagged by Christine @ Life With All The Books to do the Ultimate Book Tag! Somehow I had never done this one before, so thank you for tagging me!

1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?
Yes, and it’s so annoying. All my life, I’ve wanted to be able to read on long drives. I’ve resigned myself to listening to audiobooks.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?
Probably Maggie Stiefvater. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything with quite that same spooky atmosphere.

3. Harry Potter series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.
I mean… clearly Harry Potter. Do I really have to give three points to defend its honor?

  1. There’s magic!
  2. Chocolate is an actual medical remedy!
  3. It takes place in a magical boarding school!

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what’s in it (beside books…)?
Well, I haven’t carried a bookbag in ages but I do carry a large handbag which contains, aside from my Kindle and physical books:

  • money, of course
  • snacks & often at least one bottle of water
  • headphones, phone, phone charger
  • at least half a pair of scrubs most of the time (why only half? who knows!)
  • reusable shopping bags if I remember to put them back in there
  • usually at least three sets of keys to my house for some reason?
  • my work badge/key + the spare key to our office mailbox?
  • an assortment of business cards for local businesses and restaurants and other doctors but strangely, never a business card for my actual self
  • a variety of dermatologic samples (I haven’t had to buy sunscreen in six years and I am stocked on every derm medication known to man)
  • once or twice, a cat that tried to sneak out of the house

5. Do you smell your books?
I like the smell of books, but I don’t usually shove my face in them.

6. Books with or without little illustrations?
Little illustrations are cute and I don’t mind if they’re there, but I don’t need them in my books.

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?
I don’t know if I really have an answer for this! I guess I really liked The Help when I read it (and I posted a five-star review of it) but then when I actually think back on it, I realize that’s it’s a pretty problematic book. That’s nothing to do with the actual writing, though.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!
My best story is probably the one involving Mr. Popper’s Penguins and how when I learned to read it (kindergarten) my principal paraded me around and made me read it to every classroom in the school. That was actually pretty embarrassing at the time and not very funny, so let me try again…

Oh, how about the time I put a book on my Christmas list (Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart) in I guess 2006 and my mom tried to order it from Amazon and somehow ended up giving me this erotic novel instead? I mean, I wasn’t like a child child, but I was a pretty innocent teenager at the time!

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?
I didn’t go around checking the page counts or anything, but I’m pretty sure it’s Identity by Milan Kundera.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?
Probably the complete works of William Shakespeare, which I bought during the approximately two weeks I was obsessed with him in high school. If not that one, it’s my Oxford Spanish dictionary, which I haven’t used since probably 2012 since that’s when I took my last college Spanish course.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself being an author in the future?
I wish I could write but I have trouble finding something I want to write about and then I’m really bad about letting other people read it! I do write books in my head when I can’t fall asleep, though. They just never make it onto paper.

12. When did you get into reading?
I’ve been into reading for as long as I can remember. Even when I was a little toddler, my grandma used to joke about how she’d offer to read me one book before bed and I’d bring her a pile of ten or twenty.

13. What is your favourite classic book?
I don’t read a ton of classics! Probably Pride and Prejudice, which is likely greatly influenced by basically doing a buddy read with my best friend during my junior year of high school. We’d read chapters while sitting across from each other and then talk about them and it was the actual best thing. Somebody, please try to replicate this feeling with me across the internet!

14. In school what was your best subject?
I don’t want to be like… that person… but I was super nerdy in high school and so I’m not really sure I had a “best” subject. But if we’re talking what I enjoyed most, then English. I took double English classes my junior and senior year and then when I got to college I took a bunch of lit classes as electives.

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated… what would you do?
Smile and say thanks? I was raised to be really polite so I can’t imagine that I’d do anything else.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?
I don’t read a lot of dystopian or magical series, sorry!

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while filming?
So I don’t really film myself… like ever… but one time I made a short film in college for a Library and Information Studies course! I don’t know what ever happened to it and I wish I could find it because I’m sure it’s terrible and cringey and hilarious! I don’t know if you ever watched College Life, but it was on MTV back in 2009 and it was set at my college. It was this whole big thing because the university was always going on about how they didn’t endorse it and it wasn’t representative of the college experience and whatever. My group did a parody of it and I was so proud of it! I did the intro and the credits and the soundtrack and I talked on camera a lot. Anyway, aside from rambling, my biggest bad habit was probably not making eye contact, so I was always looking at the floor or off in the distance somewhere and generally being really awkward. I think I interviewed some random people who gave halfhearted and only semi-related answers, so that was also great.

18. What is your favourite word?
I like persnickety!

19. Are you a nerd, dork or dweeb? Or all of the above?
I’m definitely a nerd.

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?
Fairies, I guess? Mostly because I read too many books about vampires when I was in high school. I’m not super into paranormal books these days.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?
Shapeshifters, maybe? Again, I don’t love paranormal books.

22. Spirits or Werewolves?
Spirits, just because the I feel like it’s hard to pull off a believable werewolf story. But, again, preferably neither.

23. Zombies or Vampires?
Ugh, neither one. What’s with all the vampires??

24. Love triangle or forbidden love?
Forbidden love for sure! Give me all of the pining from afar and all of the stolen glances!

25. And Finally: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?
You probably already know that I’m going to pick full-on romance! I’m also okay with action-packed. I’ll really read anything. I’m not that picky.

I’ve seen this one floating around a bunch, so I’m not going to tag anyone to do it. If you haven’t already done it, please do! I’d love to see your answers!

I guess I wasn’t technically tagged to do the BW Mid Year Tag, but Caidyn & Chantel tagged anyone to do it, so I’m going to say that counts. It sounds like so much fun and I love that there are questions about tv shows, movies, and music in addition to books! So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

1. Where are you on your Goodreads challenge? Ahead or behind?
I am so far ahead on my Goodreads challenge and I don’t really know how it happened. At this time last year, I was like six or eight books behind and totally freaking out about how I was going to catch up. I’m literally fifty-two books ahead right now. I don’t feel like I read enough to be fifty-two books ahead.

2. Have you really been reading your Top Ten (remember to link) books of the year?
So I’m guessing this is like the top ten books I wanted to read in 2018? If we’re talking this Top Ten Tuesday post (books I didn’t read in 2017 but will definitely read in 2018) I’m somehow at 10/10. (What? I achieved a goal? Sounds fake but ok.) There was also this Top Ten Tuesday post about 2018 releases I was excited about and I’m at 3/10, which sounds more like me.

3. Are you going to change some of your Top Tens halfway through?
I don’t think so. If I keep my current top ten list I still need to read:

If you think I should read something else instead, let me know!

4. What are your top five books so far this year?
Some five-star books this year:

But, honestly, I’ve had seventeen five-star books as of mid-June, so this is going to be an even harder question at the end of the year.

5. Any new releases you’re excited for?
I’m really excited for The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. Also 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne, the wait might actually be killing me. And Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren. Basically, I am excited for every book that’s coming out in the next six months, but I’ll stop there.

6. Favorite character of a new (either released this year or new to you) book this year?
I’m going to say… Bailey from Alex, Approximately just because we’re so similar.

7. What’s a book you regret not having read so far this year?
That would probably be The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, which has such great reviews and has been sitting on my nightstand for like three full months and I’m sorry but I just haven’t read it yet.

8. What are your favorite TV shows/movies you’ve watched this year?
I’ve only watched two movies this year (I know! I know!!) but they were both good. Love, Simon was, of course, amazing. The other one I watched was When We First Met and it was super cute! I only watched it because my friend texted me every night to ask if I’d watched it yet, and let’s be honest, that’s the way to get me to do anything. Just keep texting me.

For tv shows, I loved Aggretsuko! If you’re a woman in your 20s in an office job, I’m sure you’ll relate. (Even if you’re not, you’ll probably think it’s funny.) I also always love Bob’s Burgers and Riverdale.

9. What do you really want to watch before the year is out?
I want to watch season 4 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt but I already started that. I’m also excited for season 3 of both The Good Place and Riverdale. I actually don’t watch a ton of tv. (It’s how I have so much time to read.)

10. What’s one song you’ve become obsessed with?
I love, love, love IDGAF by Dua Lipa. I told my boyfriend that he better watch out because I’m prepared if my best friend catches him creepin.

I’ve also been listening to a bunch of Ben Folds recently. I’m not really sure what happened, but I’m really into him again all of a sudden! Mostly I’ve been listening to You Don’t Know Me and do you think my brain is trying to tell me something with these songs???

11. What are your favorite songs/albums so far?
I guess it was released at the end of 2017, but I still love Reputation by Taylor Swift. If you’re wondering, my favorite songs are (currently): King Of My Heart, Dress, and Getaway Car.

Other albums on regular rotation in my car are Everything in Transit by Jack’s Mannequin (favorite songs: MFEO Pt. 1 and Holiday From Real) and North by Something Corporate (favorite songs: Ruthless and Space). Both of those are throwbacks to when I was an emo teenager.  Also Glitterbug by The Wombats (favorite songs: all of them, but especially Greek Tragedy and Emoticons), and, of course, more Taylor Swift.

I guess I haven’t really been listening to a lot of new music this year.

I’m not tagging anybody in this one since I just did it for fun, but I would love to see your answers if you feel like playing along! If you do it, please tag me in it so I can see! And, as always, if you like to be tagged in things, let me know! The most stressful part of a tag is figuring out who to tag back!

Book review: The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: March 8, 2018
Source: purchased

Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…

When in doubt, always do the least amount of work possible, in order to preserve energy for important things like laughing and sex. Don’t look at me like that. This is a book about a sex scandal: did you really expect me to be a nun and/or the Virgin Mary?

I had seen this book floating around the book blogoverse for a bit before I decided that I wanted to read it. What tipped me over the edge was a tweet from the author about, of all things, a negative review. You see, in this review, the book was described as “Recreational outrage for misandrist feminists. Absolution & promotion of slutty behaviour.” I usually don’t like it when authors address negative reviews, but Laura’s response convinced me to pick up this book.

Anyway, this book was really great. It’s a YA contemporary focusing not on romance, but on the perception of women in the media and the way that women are vilified for the same thing that men are celebrated for. Because what does Izzy do to cause all of this commotion? She has sex with a senator’s son. God forbid. Do you think the boy in question has to deal with any of the fallout? Of course not. He’s an absolute angel that’s simply been dragged down by a lying, publicity-hungry teenager.

The thing here is that none of this is Izzy’s fault. She’s 18. She has consensual sex with appropriately-aged classmates. She doesn’t sell her story to the press. Her sex life should be her own business, but all of a sudden, it’s plastered across the internet and sleazy tabloids. Her classmates turn against her. Male teachers leer at her in the hallways. Her life is forever changed.

One of the things I most appreciated about this book was that the author never once blamed Izzy for her predicament. Are there a lot of things that Izzy’s done wrong in her life? Yes. Are there things she probably should’ve fully thought through before doing them? Of course. Is the reaction to her actions at all warranted? Nope. The mere fact that Izzy is sexually active should not be national news.

Hidden among the pages of the sex scandal are wonderful examples of character development and important lessons on friendship and the friend zone. Izzy is forced to grow up quite a bit over the course of the book and she makes some discoveries about why she acts the way she does. (Not necessarily relating to the sex scandal, just in general.) She also makes some regrettable decisions regarding her best friend and has to deal with that inevitable explosion of consequences as well. I’m trying so hard to avoid spoilers in this review, so I just want to mention that I was a little worried about how things would work out with Izzy’s other best friend, Danny, but I’m really satisfied with what happened.

The one thing keeping me from rating this book a full five stars was the setting. This is a book by a British author that takes place in the Bible Belt of the USA. This is totally fine and I can definitely see this kind of thing happening in that area. The problem I had was that I was constantly pulled out of the story by all the British terminology, like Izzy sitting in a toilet cubicle (bathroom stall) or being stopped by a prefect in the hallway (hall monitor, maybe).

Overall, I really loved this book. It’s about a pretty heavy topic and it has some pretty heavy scenes, but the humor comes through so much that it’s never overwhelming. I feel like Laura Steven is probably hilarious in real life and I’ve already decided that I want to be her friend. And, side note, I’ve never before seen a book reference Cute Is What We Aim For, so bonus points for that flashback to my high school years.