July 31, 2019

Most Anticipated August 2019 Releases

Summer's almost over, but there's still plenty of time for reading. ;)

Waiting For

1. A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause (8/6/19)
I love historical fiction...even if that cover is a bit creepy.

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2. Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry (8/6/19)
I love when author friends write books together.

3. Cape by Kate Hannigan (8/6/19)
Middle grade superheroes in WWII!!!

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4. Start Here by Trish Doller (8/13/19)
Always here for a good friendship story.

5. Color Me In by Natasha Diaz (8/20/19)
I'm hoping for a very nuanced story. :)

Already Read - You Should, Too!

1. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (8/13/19)
Stacey continues to write great historical fiction.

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2. The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais (8/13/19)
We always need more books with Deaf characters.

What August books are you excited for?

July 30, 2019

Emma's Bookish States of America Challenge

As if I don't already have enough on my plate, I'm starting another reading challenge. A few years back, I posted suggestions of books people could read that were set in almost every state of America. Well I decided to do a personal update of the list, and I actually managed to cover some of the states I had to leave blank last time (though eight states are still without YA books).

I've already mostly completed this challenge because I had to choose a lot of books I'd read and knew where they were set. (Goodreads is not great for trying to find settings...) But you'll see there are still a few states I need to cover. 

(There's a real dearth of YA books set in the west.)

Out of the blank states, I have books I could read for Iowa, Arkansas, and New Hampshire, but if anyone has more suggestions, please let me know. And if anyone has recommendations for YA set in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Rhode Island, please tell me!!

Here's what I have read (I've included multiple books where applicable so if you want to pick up this challenge, you have options):

Alabama - Don't Touch
Alaska - Not If I Save You First
Arizona - Vengeance Road, Just For Clicks
California - Outrun the Moon, If I'm Being Honest
Colorado - From Twinkle, with Love; Sadie
Connecticut - Since You've Been Gone, My Life Next Door
Florida - Don't Date Rosa Santos, First & Then
Georgia - Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Dear Martin
Hawaii - Summer Bird Blue
Illinois - Famous in a Small Town, The Comeback Season, Love, Hate & Other Filters
Indiana - The Fault in Our Stars, The Start of Me and You
Kansas - Hearts Unbroken, Just Visiting
Kentucky - Tash Hearts Tolstoy, Breakfast Served Anytime, My Heart and Other Black Holes
Louisiana - Out of the Easy
Maine - This Is What Happy Looks Like, Wild Blue Wonder
Maryland - More Than We Can Tell, The Upside of Unrequited
Massachusetts - American Panda, Free to Fall
Michigan - The Names They Gave Us, A Million Junes
Minnesota - Cold Day in the Sun
Mississippi - Magnolia
Missouri - The Art of Lainey
Nebraska - Fangirl, Girl Out of Water
Nevada - Overturned, The Chapel Wars
New Jersey - Bookishly Ever After
New Mexico - Love Letters to the Dead, Your Destination Is on the Left
New York - Pride, Like No Other, Together at Midnight
North Carolina - Belles, The Sound of Drowning
Ohio - A Madness So Discreet
Oregon - Not Now, Not Ever; This Side of Home
Pennsylvania - With the Fire on High
South Carolina - The Inside of Out
Tennessee - Racing Savannah
Texas - Puddin', Lucky Few, The Field Guide to the North American Teenager
Utah - By Your Side
Vermont - Truly Devious, Two Can Keep a Secret
Virginia - To All the Boys I've Loved Before, The Raven Cycle
Washington - Serious Moonlight, The Game of Love and Death
Wisconsin - Better off Friends
Wyoming - Wild Hearts

So I'm doing pretty well on this challenge! We'll see if I can keep it up. :)

July 26, 2019

Random Friday: Favorite Episodes of My Favorite TV Shows

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following:
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my blog.
  • Blog about this week's topic (or a variant of it).
  • Add the link to your Random Friday post at the bottom of this one.

Today is all about the episodes that make your favorite TV shows your faves. Here are mine.

Gilmore Girls -

Uh....so many that I did an Odyssey article about all of them, lol. So here's a link to that. The gist is, I love Jess, I love Luke and Lorelai, and the only good episode from the seventh season is the series finale.

This Is Us -

Season 1, episode 16, "Memphis" - It's so heartbreaking and utilizes the combination of flashbacks and present day so well.

The Office -

"The Dinner Party" is pretty great. I love the series finale. I really like the season 3 finale. And I love Jim and Pam's wedding.

Veronica Mars -

"Weapons of Class Destruction," naturally.

Great British Bake Off -

For this show, I think I need to choose a season, and I think I'm rather attached to collection 3 on Netflix (a.k.a. series 6), as well as Netflix's collection 1 (series 5). And I really hope they'll get the actual seasons 1 and 2 soon, because getting to watch season 3 was a delight.

All right, what are YOUR favorite episodes from your favorite shows?

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July 25, 2019

So You Like... #85

With this post, I'll have covered all of Taylor's released albums. This last one is focusing on...


If you haven't read the following books yet, you definitely should!


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Which Taylor Swift album is your favorite? What books would you recommend for fans of her music? I can't wait to do one of these posts for Lover in a few months. :)

July 21, 2019

Rewind & Review #139

~We spent a few days in Asheville, North Carolina, which was a nice treat. I haven't had a proper vacation in two years, so it was nice to get away, explore a new place, and eat LOTS of food. (That's the Saska way when we travel.) We toured Biltmore, spent an evening at a board game cafe, found the local bookstore, took a food tour.
~Also. It's too darn hot. (Bonus points if you get that reference.)

Books I Received for Review
American Royals by Katharine McGee (from Random House via NetGalley)

Books I Won/Traded for/was Gifted
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (won in a Twitter giveaway)

Books I Bought
Maybe This Time by Kasie West
Midsummer's Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca
Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer (in the final Uppercase Box)
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Books I Read
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (5 stars)
Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally (reread)
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (4 stars)
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert
Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim (3.5 stars)
Maybe This Time by Kasie West (4 stars)
The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais
Like No Other by Una LaMarche (reread)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed in the Last Few Weeks
   (from 7/8-7/13)
   (from 7/14-7/20)

July 20, 2019

Review: The Revolution of Birdie Randolph

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert
Grade: C+
Release date: August 20, 2019
An ARC was provided by Novl and LBFYR in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Dove "Birdie" Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she's on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past...whom she knows her parents will never approve of.

When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family's apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded--she's also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she's known to be true is turned upside down.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I picked up Brandy's books because I loved her short story in Summer Days & Summer Nights, but each one I've read hasn't lived up to that story. I'd read an excerpt of this one when its cover released, and I was really intrigued and excited about it. So here's what went wrong.
I'm always a bit uneasy about rebelling storylines in YA, but this one seemed to be going okay. But I felt like we barely got to know Booker before he and Birdie were moving so fast. There's also a plot twist that starts to get hinted at, and when I guessed where it was going, I felt disappointed. I feel like that twist has been used a lot lately (though I can't remember other examples and wouldn't want to spoil it for y'all anyways), and it's one I've never been a fan of. And then it took another turn that left a bad taste in my mouth. So that definitely colored my opinion of the entire book.
There were things I like, I promise! I liked Birdie's affection for and relationship with her older sister. I liked the layers of Birdie's dad. I really liked the diversity of character experiences; Brandy created a lot of fully-fleshed characters and I appreciated how they represented the facets of the Black experience.

Also, this is going to be super nitpicky, but Birdie and Booker were going to a Bulls game in the middle of the summer, and I didn't think the NBA season ran that long? 

Content warnings: underage drinking, addiction issues, racism and microaggressions, foul language, a sex scene between two teens

The Verdict: Not TERRIBLE, but I guess Brandy's books aren't for me. Points for a great cover, though.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Probably not.

July 17, 2019

Awkwordly Emma's Eighth Blogoversary

Well, y'all, I've been officially doing this for eight years. It's hard to believe I started my dear little book blog that long ago (although it wasn't a book blog until 2013).

To celebrate this year, I'm doing a giveaway (obviously) AND I'm doing a birthday book tag I found!

A book with a plot that seems cliché, but you adore it anyways.

Everyone under the sun is doing You've Got Mail retellings (including me, *gulp*), but this one is definitely my favorite:
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Your most anticipated book release for this year.

Well, 2019 is half over, but I do have several anticipated books for the second half of the year. This time, I'd have to say...
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Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake
Supernova by Marissa Meyer
A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth

A book that surprised you with how much you loved it.

I semi-enjoyed Always Never Yours last year, so the fact that I LOVED If I'm Being Honest definitely took me by surprise!
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A book that certainly deserved all the hype it got.

Oh, definitely Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson.

A book with some very beautiful and truly memorable quotes.
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Ooh, that's hard to pick because I tend to focus less on quotes from a book and more on the book as a whole. I'd probably have to go with The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord or The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo.

A book that you read a long time ago but think you might appreciate more if you read it when you were more mature.

I think I would have appreciated Fangirl even more if I read it as a college freshman or sophomore, because I would've more keenly understood Cath's struggles.

A book that kept you incredibly happy during a sad or demanding period of your life.

Ooh boy, I have a lot of these. The first one that comes to mind, though, is Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. I read and reread it a bunch during the last couple months of senior year, when my advanced creative writing portfolio was killing me. I found comfort in this friend-focused but also swoonworthy story. <3

Annndddd now for the giveaway. The winner will receive...

~a paperback copy of Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
~a hardcover copy of one of my favorite books from this year (list will be provided to winner)
~a mystery ARC

This is a US-only giveaway, just because of shipping costs and requirements. But I'll definitely try to do an international giveaway later this year, so watch for that if you can't enter this one. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email, and no cheating. The giveaway ends a week from today, so good luck!

July 16, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Auto-Buy Authors

There are some authors whose books I'll preorder as soon as they're available, or make sure I get an ARC. These are those authors.


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3. Emma Mills
(I preordered her upcoming fifth book as soon as I knew about it lol.)


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8. Marie Rutkoski

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9. Angie Thomas

10. Jennifer Lynn Barnes
(For the most part. Since I had an ARC of Little White Lies, I haven't bought that yet, and I haven't read her earliest series.)

Who are your auto-buy authors?

July 15, 2019

Nineteen 2019 Reads Check-In

I'm doing this post a little later than I usually do, but it's time for us to check in and see how I'm feeling about my Nineteen 2019 Reads thus far. (As in the past, if I reviewed a book, I've linked to the review instead of its Goodreads page.)


Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills (5 stars)
Hungry Hearts by various authors (4 stars)
I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn (4.5 stars)
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (4 stars)
Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon (4 stars)
Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (4 stars)
Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway (4 stars)


Enchantée by Gita Trelease (3 stars)
In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen (3 stars)
In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton (3 stars)
I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest (3 stars)
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf (3.5 stars)
When the Ground Is Hard by Malla Nunn


The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin (DNF)
Opposite of Always by justin a. reynolds (DNF)
Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok (3 stars)


Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Pretty in Punxsutawney by Laurie Boyle Crompton
The Raven's Tale by Cat Winters


An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra


10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
Color Me In by Natasha Diaz
Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai
The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao
She's the Worst by Lauren Spieller
Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz
Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell
Suggested Reading by Dave Connis
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker


It's not as many as the last few years, thankfully.

Dust Boy, Ash Girl by Andy Fukada (I'm guessing, at least, since its pub date hasn't been updated and if it were still gonna be pubbed in 2019, I feel like it would have a cover and summary by now)
Reconnected by Catherine Tinker

At least this is a smaller section than in past years!

Well, that's it for now. I'll do a final wrap-up in December. :)

July 12, 2019

Random Friday: Unexpected Lessons from College

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  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my blog.
  • Blog about this week's topic (or a variant of it).
  • Add the link to your Random Friday post at the bottom of this one.

1. Your advisor might not always be on your team.
Your academic advisor is supposed to be there to help you graduate on time, to give you advice (obviously), and to support your career goals. But sometimes they aren't. Sometimes they're convinced their plan and their experiences are the only way to do things, and sometimes they'll even keep you from doing something supposedly guaranteed for all seniors of your major. Sometimes you have to turn to the other professors in your department for support instead. 

2. College friendships can be weird.
If you go to a small enough school like I did, your friendships form based on who lives in your dorm, who you have the same classes with, who you're assigned to sit next to in chapel, etc. But then you often forget to go out of your way to see those people at other times, or you easily fall out of each other's lives after college ends.

3. You may not achieve anything memorable.
I tried for three years to get a short story, a poem, a creative non-fiction piece, even my photography, published in our arts and literary magazine (the magazine that I was even on staff of for three semesters), and I never did. It always hurt when my freshman friends would have pieces accepted instead; of course their writing was good, but I felt mine was just as good. As far as I know, I was the only person in my year to never get anything published in the Review, and it still stings.
I didn't do anything else that got me an accolade or a superlative. But hopefully my time will come.

4. You don't have to be roommates with your best friend.
Honestly, the whole college housing system sucks. Being assigned to live with a random person is hard. I'm so impressed by everyone who makes it work, because I'd rather live with someone I've chosen and who I know I can get along with. But even then it's hard because you share the same tiny living space and it's so hard to get alone time. If you're an introvert, sometimes you just want a bedroom to yourself so you can breathe and not feel the pressure of other people and their habits.

5. It's okay not to date.
Everyone says it's okay not to date in high school, but it's also okay if you aren't ready for that in college either. Or maybe the selection of people is just...really sucky. (The subsection of good single guys at Asbury was...really low, and it kept dwindling as I got older.) Even if everyone else around you is coupling up, and God forbid, getting married WAY too young, you don't have to.

6. You should make sure your intended major's department will be able to help you with internships.
I can't help but wonder if I'd still be working in publishing if the professors in my department had had better connections so I could've had a publishing internship during college.

7. You're not always going to know where you belong.

Yeah, home is home, but most of the time you might only live there for two to four months a year. But also a college dorm never quite feels like home because you can't paint the walls, choose your own furniture, or even fit all your belongings.

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July 10, 2019

Review: Truly Madly Royally

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Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud
Grade: B-
Release date: July 30, 2019
An ARC was provided by Miss Print's ARC Adoption Program in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Fiercely independent and smart, Zora Emerson wants to change the world. She's excited to be attending a prestigious summer program, even if she feels out of place among her privileged, mostly white classmates. So she's definitely not expecting to feel a connection to Owen, who's an actual prince of an island off the coast of England. But Owen is funny, charming...and undeniably cute. Zora can't ignore the chemistry between them. When Owen invites Zora to be his date at his big brother's big royal wedding, Zora is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, along with her family and friends. Everyone is talking about her, in real life and online, and while Owen is used to the scrutiny, Zora's not sure it's something she can live with. Can she maintain her sense of self while moving between two very different worlds? And can her feelings for Owen survive and thrive in the midst of the crazy? Find out in this charming romantic comedy that's like The Princess Diaries for a new generation. 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I love a good meet-cute. Truly Madly Royally has a great one, and I wish the premise connected to that had continued a little while longer before launching into Zora and Owen actually dating.
Overall the book is a bit surface-level, like a DCOM or Hallmark movie, but there were some moments where the author tried to go a little deeper. I'm not sure they always worked, but I appreciated the moments about Black hair, when racist issues were highlighted, and when the supposed mean girl was given depth (though I wish that had come a little sooner so she had felt like less of a stereotype).
I appreciated that Owen wasn't the heir to the throne, and I liked that he did call Zora out on some stuff, thereby helping her character arc, but I felt kinda meh about the romance in general. It didn't give me butterflies like some YA romances do.
I found Owen's dialogue a bit stiff at times like the author was trying to make him a little more formal because of his upbringing, but not quite succeeding at that goal, especially when he used some phrasings and slang that were still very American.

The Verdict: This is a great choice for younger YA readers.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Still thinking about it.

July 9, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters and Their Hogwarts Houses

I'm going to have a little fun with today's topic, since it's a character freebie, and sort some of my favorite book characters into the Hogwarts houses!


1. Mercy Wong from Outrun the Moon

2. Twinkle Mehra from From Twinkle, with Love



4. Ariel Stone from You Asked for Perfect




7. Starr Carter from The Hate U Give

8. Nix from The Girl from Everywhere (although she has some Slytherin and Ravenclaw tendencies, too)


9. Alyson from Just One Day

10. Millie Quint from Her Royal Highness

Do you know which Hogwarts houses your favorite characters would be in?