Let’s Talk About: My favorite book covers

One of the prompts for my Romanceopoly reading challenge is “post pics of your favorite cover,” so I figured I might as well just talk about a bunch of book covers I love!

I definitely have a type when it comes to book covers, and that type is usually colorful drawings. Seriously, put a cover like this on a book and I will most likely read it.


We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar
★★★☆☆

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
★★★★☆

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan
★★★☆☆ to ★★★★☆

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
on my TBR!

We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra
on my TBR!

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
★★★★★

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
★★★☆☆

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg
on my TBR!


#romanceopoly: cover beans


What do you like in a book cover? Have you read any of these books? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Advertisements

ARC Review: Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. Lee

Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. Lee
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 14, 2017
Source: ARC from publisher

The only thing worse than not being able to tell your best friend you’re head over heels in love with him? Having to smile and nod when he enlists your help to ensnare the girl of his dreams. 

Braylen didn’t even want to go to Lennon Pryor’s epic graduation-night party, but when Fynn begs her to be his “wingwoman,” she can’t deny him. Talking up her BFF—how he’s magic behind a camera, with a killer sense of humor and eyelashes that frame the most gorgeous blue eyes in the history of forever—is easy. Supporting his efforts to woo someone so completely wrong for him? Not so much. 

Fynn knows that grad night is his last shot before leaving for college to find true love. And thanks to Bray, he gets his chance with the beautiful Katy Evans. But over the course of the coolest party of their high school careers, he starts to see that perhaps what he really wants has been in front of him all along. Bray’s been his best friend since kindergarten, though, and he’d rather have her in his life as a friend than not at all. 

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two best friends whose sexual chemistry is off the charts…if only they’d succumb to it.

After enjoying Molly E. Lee’s Ask Me Anything a few weeks ago, I was pretty excited to get an email offering Love in the Friend Zone. Friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, but I just couldn’t get on board with this one. I suppose I should say that this isn’t necessarily a bad book, it just wasn’t for me.

The first thing I want to mention is that there’s a whole lot of drama in this book with very little actual plot. The entirety of the plot is that Fynn has asked for Braylen’s help in hooking up with the girl of his dreams, not realizing that Braylen has been secretly pining after him for years. That’s it. That’s the plot.

Nearly the entire book takes place over a single evening — a party, to be exact — and it’s pretty much just one cliche after another that keeps these kids from getting together. In general, I don’t have a problem with tropes. What I have a problem with is when a book relies on one cliche after another to move its non-existent plot along, and this book was full of cliches. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there’s a scene where the lights go out, and I could have told you exactly what was going to happen because I’ve read it so many times.

Another thing I want to talk about is the friends-to-lovers trope itself. When it’s done right, I absolutely adore it. Some examples of books that have done it right are Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi, Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren, and Not So Nice Guy by R.S. Grey. The thing that sets these books apart is that the progression from friends to lovers feels natural. It’s not like a switch flips one day and both people are like, “whoa, I love you, where did that come from.” Here, I’d say that, for maybe 90% of the book, Fynn is entirely focused on a different girl, a popular girl nicknamed “Killer Boobs” who has a history of bullying his best friend. (So, basically a classic teenage girl stereotype.) Am I really to believe that Fynn just suddenly loses his feelings for this girl in favor of his best friend, who’s been there all along?

I feel like I can’t really say any more about this book without spoiling the whole thing, so I think I’ll just end by saying that I was really disappointed by this book. I think I would have liked it a lot more as a teenager than I did as an adult.


Have you read Love in the Friend Zone? What’s your favorite friends-to-lovers book?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I can’t bear to get rid of

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is actually books I refuse to let anyone touch, but, quite honestly… that seems a little excessive. I mean, anyone?? Sure, there are some books I wouldn’t lend out to just anyone. There are books I wouldn’t let a small child flip through. But, I mean… I do trust my boyfriend and my mom and a few other relatives enough to share those books with them.

I posted a couple weeks ago about my recent unhaul. So, instead of today’s actual topic, I thought I’d go with books I can’t bear to get rid of.


Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

I have a signed copy of Starry Eyes (one of my favorite books!!) that I got from my Uppercase subscription. I’m never getting rid of that.


Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

I’ve owned this book for at least twenty years. It’s gone through multiple moves and different states. It’s a little beat up at this point, but it’s not going anywhere.


Landline by Rainbow Rowell (ARC)

I still can’t believe I have an ARC of one of Rainbow Rowell’s books. She’s so amazing and this one was an easy five stars from me.


Running With Lions by Julian Winters

I think this is the only personalized book I own! I met Julian at BookCon last year and he was so, so nice.


The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

This was my favorite book when I was in high school. I have no idea if I’d still like it if I read it now, but there’s so much nostalgia attached to it and I can’t even think about getting rid of it.


What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

We all know that this is one of my favorites, so clearly I have to hang on to it.


In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (ARC)

Honestly, I was just so floored to end up with an ARC of a Judy Blume book that I don’t think I’d ever be able to get rid of it. This wasn’t my favorite book by her, but… it’s JUDY BLUME.


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

I’m not sure what it is, but I just can’t imagine ever getting rid of this one.


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I’ve owned this book since I was in high school and it’s survived many unhauls.


Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater

This is another one that has a lot of nostalgia attached. I’ve had it since I was very, very young and I don’t think I’d be able to ever get rid of it.


Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Which books are you hanging onto? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Book review: Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart

Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 14, 2006
Source: Purchased

At the Manhattan School of Art and Music, where everyone is unique and everyone is ‘different’, Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. It doesn’t help that she’s known as the girl who sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of her favourite superhero, just so she won’t have to talk to anyone. Her best (and only real) friend is there for her, but that’s only if she’s not busy – she’s always busy! 

It’s no surprise that Gretchen isn’t exactly successful in the boy department. Her ex-boyfriend is a cold-fish-sometimes-flirty ex who she can’t stop bumping into. Plus, she has a massive crush on a boy named, Titus but is too scared to make the first move. One minute he seems like a sensitive guy, the next, he’s a completely different person when he’s with his friends. She can’t seem to figure boys out!

Gretchen has one wish: to be a fly on the wall in the boy’s locker room. What are boys really like? What do they talk about?

I can’t review this one without spoilers, sorry.

I’ve had Fly on the Wall on my TBR since it came out thirteen years ago. I never quite know what I’m going to get when I read an E. Lockhart book. There are some books by her that I’ve liked (like her Ruby Oliver series) and others that I really haven’t (like Genuine Fraud). It seems like a lot of her books have really mixed reviews, and Fly on the Wall is no different.

Let me start by saying that this is one of the easiest books that I’ve read in the last few months. It took very little effort to read it, and before I knew it, I was done. I don’t think I spent more than two hours reading the whole thing. There were parts of it that I really liked. The ending, in particular, was very cute. I also liked Titus and the way he stood up for Brat, and everything that happened with Malachy and Katya. All of this is why I gave it two stars and not one.

Everything else, though? Weird at best. Incredibly problematic at worst.

This is where the spoilers really get going.I’m going to be blunt here. You see how, on the cover, it says in big, bold letters, “How one girl saw EVERYTHING” — well, everything is referring to penises. I think it’s really important to just put that out there. A good chunk of this book is made up of the fly version of Gretchen sitting on a locker room wall and ogling her classmates’ penises. She flies up close to one guy to get a good view. She makes comments about penis size and compares her ex to his classmates. It’s all very creepy.

As if that isn’t weird enough, Gretchen also decides to grade all of the boys based on their butts. Like… letter grades. How odd. There are full descriptions of so many butts. It was like being inside Tina Belcher’s mind.

I mean, I don’t really have a problem with teenage girls exploring their sexuality. I think it’s great that this book talks about how Gretchen gets turned on when she sees a naked guy, how it’s a totally different experience than seeing her classmates clothed. Especially in 2006, this wasn’t really a thing in YA books. But let’s be honest here for a second — these guys have no idea that one of their female classmates is creepily staring at them. I could not get over how weird and creepy it was for this girl to be nonchalantly examining her classmates’ penises and butts without their knowledge and not finding anything wrong with it. I would’ve hoped for this to be challenged at least a little bit, but nope. Gretchen just resumes her normal daily activities one day and it’s like none of this ever happened.

Can I also talk for a second about two MAJOR plot points that were never resolved? First, we have Carlo and Xavier who get bullied for taking an African dancing class instead of a sport that the other boys in the grade deem acceptable. I can definitely see this happening. Gretchen witnesses them being made fun of and even beaten up for it, and then… nothing happens. It’s totally forgotten about, despite multiple scenes featuring these characters. I didn’t necessarily need justice, but something would have been nice. And then, my biggest question while reading this book, what exactly was happening to Gretchen’s body while she was a fly? Was she just kind of in a coma? If she wasn’t eating or drinking, how did she stay alive? How did she even become a fly? How did she get turned back into a human? SO MANY QUESTIONS. NO ANSWERS.

One thing that I didn’t really understand was the slang in this book. Literally every character refers to penises as “gherkins” and breasts as “biscuits.” Gherkins… okay, I guess that makes sense. But BISCUITS? It took me some time to figure out what that was referring to. It was just… so weird. What was the point? It was almost like either the author or the publisher was afraid to use any anatomically correct terms (or actual slang words) and had to make up these weird food-related words for an entire school to use.

I don’t know that I can really recommend this one as anything other than a very odd, very fast read.

#killingthetbr: three months on shelf


Have you read Fly on the Wall? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Book Review: How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley

How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Fascist politics are running rampant in America today–and spreading around the world. A Yale philosopher identifies the ten pillars of fascist politics, and charts their horrifying rise and deep history.

As the child of refugees of World War II Europe and a renowned philosopher and scholar of propaganda, Jason Stanley has a deep understanding of how democratic societies can be vulnerable to fascism: Nations don’t have to be fascist to suffer from fascist politics. In fact, fascism’s roots have been present in the United States for more than a century. Alarmed by the pervasive rise of fascist tactics both at home and around the globe, Stanley focuses here on the structures that unite them, laying out and analyzing the ten pillars of fascist politics–the language and beliefs that separate people into an “us” and a “them.” He knits together reflections on history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory with stories from contemporary Hungary, Poland, India, Myanmar, and the United States, among other nations. He makes clear the immense danger of underestimating the cumulative power of these tactics, which include exploiting a mythic version of a nation’s past; propaganda that twists the language of democratic ideals against themselves; anti-intellectualism directed against universities and experts; law and order politics predicated on the assumption that members of minority groups are criminals; and fierce attacks on labor groups and welfare. These mechanisms all build on one another, creating and reinforcing divisions and shaping a society vulnerable to the appeals of authoritarian leadership.

By uncovering disturbing patterns that are as prevalent today as ever, Stanley reveals that the stuff of politics–charged by rhetoric and myth–can quickly become policy and reality. Only by recognizing fascists politics, he argues, may we resist its most harmful effects and return to democratic ideals.

If I’m being completely honest, I have absolutely no idea how to review this book. I added it to my library wish list — where I track books I want to read, just not immediately — shortly after it came out. I happened to be scrolling through Overdrive one day when I saw it was available as an audiobook, so I figured I might as well listen.

And the book is fine. Really, it is.

But is it good?

I’m not sure.

As I was listening, I was reminded of both Madeleine Albright’s Fascism: A Warning and Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die, both of which I read last year. I even thought of Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen, which touches on the same topics (sort of), but in a much more engaging way. What I’m getting at, I guess, is that this book wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before.

As a primer for fascist politics, it’s fine, if a little… dramatic. I understand what Stanley is getting at, but it seems that any political ideology that he doesn’t agree with could be considered “fascist,” and although I am in agreement with his politics, it still didn’t sit right with me. I don’t think that conservative politics are inherently fascist. They’re just conservative.

In the end, if you want a pretty basic introduction to fascism, check out this book. If you’re looking for something deeper, you can probably give it a pass.

Have you read How Fascism Works? Do you like political nonfiction?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

1 thing this week:

  • I’m headed to Tennessee tonight and I am VERY EXCITED.

Blog hopping:

  • Bibi is celebrating her first blogoversary with a giveaway!
  • Daniel‘s review of Fly on the Wall is probably the best thing I’ve ever read.
  • Rain gave a bunch of advice on using Edelweiss!

Song of the week:

I listened to Levitate kind of obsessively after Trench came out, but then I kind of… didn’t until a couple days ago, when I remembered that I’ll be seeing Twenty One Pilots in a couple weeks. Luckily I still remembered all the words, because it took me forever to get that song down.


How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

ARC review: Midnight Radio by Iolanda Zanfardino

Midnight Radio by Iolanda Zanfardino
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Source: ARC via Edelweiss

An intriguingly interwoven tale of four lives changed by a mysterious late-night radio broadcast that wakes them up from their mundane existences. Each tale speaks to different social issues without pandering to a political agenda: LGBT+ rights, racism, social network addiction, and the difficult decision between settling down versus following your dreams. Each tale is told in a vivid, polychromatic illustration style that flows from one character to another and back again in a uniquely identifiable fashion.

I downloaded Midnight Radio from Edelweiss on a whim. Not having read anything from this author or publisher before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I figured that a 160-page graphic novel was pretty much risk-free.

The first thing I want to say is that I’ve never read a graphic novel with this kind of art before, but I really enjoyed it! I also really enjoyed how each of the four stories was illustrated in a different color. It really helped me keep track of what was going on in which story and it clearly differentiated scene changes, both definite pluses.

Of the four stories, I think Stephen’s was my favorite. Stephen is Insta-famous, with hundreds of thousands of followers that dote on his every word (or, I guess, photo). Behind the scenes, Stephen is dealing with family and friendship issues and, for reasons we never quite find out, never speaks. I would have loved to read an entire graphic novel just about Stephen. (Not that the other three stories weren’t also good.)

What kept me from rating this five stars was two things. First, the stories do come together at the end, but I wanted more from it. Second, I would have liked to have gone a little more in depth with these characters. I feel like we only scratched the surface of their lives and could have gone so much further.

All in all, I really enjoyed this one! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you’re looking for a good graphic novel.


Have you read Midnight Radio? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’