Thursday, July 26, 2018

{Guest Review: Courtney} She's Not There by Joy Fielding


Page Count: 368 
Published On: February 23, 2016
Published By: Ballantine Books
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
Source: University Library 
Age Rating: Adult fiction
Where To Find It: Amazon // Book Depository

My Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: 

A novel of psychological suspense about a woman whose life takes a shocking turn when a young girl contacts her, claiming to be her daughter, kidnapped in Mexico years earlier, from the New York Times bestselling author of Someone is Watching.

A lifetime ago, every year Caroline Shipley looked forward to her wedding anniversary. But then a celebratory trip to Mexico for the occasion with her husband and friends ended in the unsolved kidnapping of her infant daughter, Samantha. Now, fifteen years after that horrific time, divorced and isolated,Caroline is forced to relive the kidnapping by reporters who call every year on the anniversary of Samantha’s disappearance. However, this year when the phone rings, Caroline hears the sweet voice of a girl claiming to be her long-lost daughter. Plunged back into the world of heartbreak, suspicion and questions that led the case to run cold so many years ago, Caroline doesn’t know what or who to believe. But when she starts to figure it out, she finds the answers dangerously close to home.


      As this review begins, I want to start out by saying that I never would have picked up this book if it had not of been for my boss. The only reason this book came into my life was because my boss had become annoyed with me because I was sitting at the library circulation desk and just staring off into space. She instructed me to go find a book to keep myself occupied during a slow day at work. I got up, I grabbed the first book I saw and ended up really enjoying it. I usually read YA contemporaries, so this was definitely out of my comfort zone. In the end, I am so glad I did because Joy Fielding has become a new favorite author. I have another one of her books in my work locker to read in the near future.

     The book is filled with flashback scenes as well as scenes that are set in the present. The book starts fifteen years ago when our main character is happily married with two beautiful children. This all quickly changes when one of her children Samantha, is kidnapped from a resort on a family trip to Mexico. This book follows the events that unfold from Carole’s point of view in the years following. She becomes the victim of the media and eventually divorces her husband and becomes estranged from her other daughter Michelle.

      Out of the blew close to the fifteenth anniversary of her daughter's disappearance she gets a phone call from a young woman claiming that she believes she is Samantha and from there it takes us on the journey of finding out the truth. I won’t go into any more details to save you from the spoilers so you can take the journey I took. But I will say it is worth the read and I highly recommend it.

      She's Not There has striking similarities to the May 2007 disappearance of Madeline McCann. She was snatched from her bed in a resort in Praia da Luz, a resort in Portugal. Her abduction occurred while her parents were in a restaurant below her. The McCann case caused an uproar because of the circumstances revolving around the disappearance. Though this book is fiction and does not end like the case does in real life the similarities are definitely there but the story still stands on its own and is very intriguing. As someone who loves true crime novels and actually follows the types of cases in true crime fiction novels, I really enjoyed the plot and pace of this novel. It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Thank you guys for reading! Courtney {Instagram}

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

{Read-A-Thon: Wrap Up} Summer '18 Biannual Bibliothon

Biannual Bibliothon

Hey, guys!

This past week I took part in the Summer 2018 Biannual Bibliothon and I did so well! I cannot believe that I read so much! I read 10 books! Well, 6 books, 3 comics, and a novella; but that counts! I'm super proud of my progress! Not only did I manage to read 7+ books, I managed to make my Goodreads goal 5 months early! I've decided to up my goal from 85 to 95 books in a year. I may even increase it to 100, but I really do not want to get ahead of myself. School will be starting up again soon, so I just do not want to commit to that. Oh well.

Here are the books I read for the Biannual Bibliothon!
  1. Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat 
    • ~ 3 stars
  2. The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 1 by Kore Yamazaki 
    • ~ 3 stars
  3. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Persepolis #1) by Marjane Satrapi 
    • ~ 3 stars
  4. Paper Princess (Royals #1) by Erin Watt 
    • ~ 3 stars
  5. The Mirror and the Maze (The Wrath and the Dawn #1.5) by Renee Ahdieh 
    • ~ 3 stars
  6. Save the Date by Morgan Matson 
    • ~ 5 stars
  7. Lumberjanes: Beyond Bay Leaf Special #1 by Faith Erin Hicks, Noelle Stevenson, Rosemary Valero-O'Connell, and Shannon Watters 
    • ~ 4 stars
  8. Runaways #7 by Kris Anka and Rainbow Rowell 
    • ~ 4 stars
  9. Jim Henson's Storyteller: Fairies #1 by Matt Smith and Dan Jackson 
    • ~ 3 stars
  10. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Persepolis #2) by Marjane Satrapi 
    • ~ 3 stars
+ 81 pages from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
+ 20 pages from Kidnapped For His Royal Duty by Jane Porter {DNF'd}


1. Group book: The Wicked Deep: I couldn't manage to access an audiobook or ebook to read this. I didn't want to purchase it yet, so it just wasn't read yet. 

2. Buddy Read/From someone else's TBR: Kidnapped For His Royal Duty - I tried to read this with Alex. He forced himself through it and read it in one sitting. He hated it. 1 star. I tried to read it, but I couldn't even stomach the first 20 pages. It was just so bad. DNF'd.

3. Try the first chapter of 3 books and pick 1: Captive Prince & Paper Princess - These were just so easy to read. Captive Prince was actually my first book to try. I was going to read my 3 chapters during the first couple hours of the readathon, but it captured my interest right away. I managed to read the first 50 pages before I passed out asleep. The other books didn't really have a chance. I also read Paper Princess in the next couple days. It was just so angsty and wow. The writing for both novels wasn't the best, but I was thoroughly entertained. I'm definitely going to fly through the rest of the series. I will be picking up the other books. 

4. Read a book that has been on your TBR for over a year - I didn't exactly complete this challenge. I did read a lot of books from my physical TBR, but they had only been on my TBR for about 6 months. I'm still pretty proud. 

5. Read a predicted 5 star read: Save the Date - Oh my gosh. This book was just so well done. I absolutely adore everything Morgan Matson writes. She is just an excellent storyteller. I adore the characters she creates and I love how she focuses on family relationships and family units rather than just on romance. Charlie was absolutely charming and I really really want a sequel. 417 pages was definitely not enough for me. I needed more. 

6. Own voices: Persepolis 1 and 2 - Oh my. These graphic novels were so fascinating. I really enjoyed Marjane's story and her narration. Her art style was beautiful and I learned so much from her experiences. 

7. Read the last book you bought: The Ancient Magus Bride Vol. 1 - This was super fun. I really enjoy the series in manga form. I'm excited to see where the rest of the story goes. 

Number of Challenges Finished: 4/7
Total # of Pages Read: 1,840

Day 1: 220 pages
Day 2: 477 pages
Day 3: 164 pages
Day 4: 188 pages
Day 5: 383 pages
Day 6: 221 pages
Day 7: 187 pages

Happy reading!
Olivia ~Liv the Book Nerd~
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{Guest Review: Courtney} Made You Up by Francesca Zappia


Page Count: 428
Published on: May 19th 2015
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Source: Purchased on a Half Price book adventure
Age Rating: TW sexual assault is briefly mentioned & domestic violence

Where to Find It: Amazon // Book Depository

My Rating: 4.75 stars

Goodreads synopsis:  

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.


"I didn't have the luxury of taking reality for granted. And I wouldn't say I hated people who did, because that's just about everyone. I didn't hate them. They didn't live in my world. 

But that never stopped me from wishing I lived in theirs."

      If you know me, you know that books that contain themes revolving around mental health hold a very special place in my heart. I believe, when written correctly, they are a window into the people who suffer from these illnesses every day. I believe it is a way for us to put ourselves in other people's shoes. With that being said, Made You Up has made its way to my top ten list of 2018. The book held me at its grasp and I was unable to put it down. The book takes you on a journey where you do not know what is real and what is not because of Alex's schizophrenia and paranoia. She may be the most unreliable narrator I've read. She is unable to trust herself; however, the way that the story unfolds held me captive until the very last page.

      Our main characters world is filled with hallucinations, people, and noises that may or may not be really there. She takes pictures of the world around her knowing that reality will be there for her later in her photographs. She does perimeter checks of all the places she goes and she checks her food for poison. 

      This story also includes a romantic route, but surprisingly, I still fell in love with it even though romances are typically not my thing. This was not your typical romance. Their weird relationship was so interesting to follow because of the way that they interacted and attempted to understand each other. Their relationship had me hooked until the very end. I think the reason the relationship and love story didn't throw me off was because it was not your typical insta-love situation that usually drives me up a wall.

      In the end, Alex is able to come to terms with her mental illness. She starts the book with schizophrenia and she ends the book with it. She is not cured but that's okay. Zappia didn't romanticise going off your meds either and making it seem like everything is a walk in the park as long as the character stays on them. Because its not. Zappia also did an amazing job of treating Alex like an actual human being. There have been to many books where authors take too much from their characters and make it seem that just because they are mentally ill they must be wrong or they must not be able to make their own decisions all the time. And as someone who has struggled with her own mental health issues, it was really refreshing to see her being treated like an actual human being and not dehumanized for circumstances that are out of her control. 

      The only reason this book did not get a complete five stars was because of the ending. There was so much build up and it fell flat leaving me wanting more. It is still an amazing book that I recommend checking out and it will be one that I re-read in the near future.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

{Tag} Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Hey, guys!

      For some reason, Blogger is really glitchy and I couldn't even get to this page to load or add my opening remarks concerning this tag. I've seen this all over BookTub for the past few years and I always manage to forget to do a blog-version of it. I'm super excited to post this tag for you all. Eventually, I'll put up a video as well. Hope you enjoy!


1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2018.

I couldn't just pick one book for this category! Of course, A Court of Frost & Starlight is my #1, but I've already read so many books that have quickly become my new favorites.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas


Special Mentions

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf
The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell

Image result for the cruel princeImage result for foolish hearts
Image result for geekerellaImage result for bring me their hearts cover
Image result for the forest queen betsy cornwell cover

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2018.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.
  • Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  • The Spring Girls by Anna Todd
Image result for restore meImage result for children of blood and bone
Image result for spinning silverImage result for the spring girls

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
  • Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
  • West by Edith Pattou
  • Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas
Image result for kingdom of ash sarah j maasImage result for west edith pattou29749098

5. Biggest disappointment.
  • That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston
  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  • Confess by Colleen Hoover

Image result for that inevitable victorian thingImage result for confess colleen hooverImage result for cruel beauty by rosamund hodge

6. Biggest surprise.
  • November 9 by Colleen Hoover
  • Algedonic by R.H. Sin
Image result for november 9 coverImage result for algedonic

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)
  • Ashley Poston
    • Ashley's Geekerella really blew me out of the water. I cannot wait to read her other novel, Heart of Iron!
8. Newest fictional crush.
  • Lucien d'Malvane - Bring Me Their Hearts
  • Gideon - Foolish Hearts
9. Newest favorite character.
  • Yrene Towers - Tower of Dawn
  • Jude - The Cruel Prince
  • Prince Cardan - The Cruel Prince
10. Book that made you cry.
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
  • A Court of Frost & Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
31076583Image result for the prince and the dressmaker

11. Book that made you happy.
  • A Court of Frost & Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell
  • Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
Image result for the forest queen betsy cornwell cover31076583Image result for foolish hearts

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)
  • A Court of Frost & Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
  • Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf
  • (B&N edition) The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  • Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi
  • Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
  • Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas
  • Save the Date by Morgan Matson
  • Vicious and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

So far this year has already been such a good reading experience. I've definitely learned from my reading habits of last year. I've managed to only DNF one book, and I've also been learning and accpeting that I do not have to read all that is expected of me. Sometimes they just aren't for me and that's okay! For the rest of the year, I'm going to continue dedicating my time to books I actually want to read.

Which books have you enjoyed the most this year?

Happy reading!
Olivia ~Liv the Book Nerd~
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Saturday, July 14, 2018

{Read-a-Thon TBR} Summer '18 Biannual Bibliothon

Hey, guys!

This next week I plan on reading a ton! Starting today I will be reading for the Biannual Bibliothon. This round of Bibib has some amazing reading challenges that I'm excited to take part in. 

Biannual Bibliothon

Follow the Bibib Crew!
Twitter: @BBibliothon
Instagram: @biannualbibliothon
Subscribe to the hosts!:

1. Group book: THE WICKED DEEP
2. Choose from someone else’s TBR (suggested by @LizzardReads)
3. Try the first chapter of 3 books and pick 1
4. Read a book that has been on your TBR for over a year (suggested by @Swizzlemonster1)
5. Read a predicted 5 star read (suggested by @Shannon23xo)
6. Own voices - different than YOU
7. Read the last book you bought (suggested by @MyBookBehaviour)
Here are the books I've picked and the challenges they correspond with!

Challenge 1: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw:
I'm still trying to find a copy of this book without purchasing it. I do not currently have a car, so I'm trying not to bug anyone to run me to the library to nab it. So far my audio/ebook search is failing. 

Challenge 2: Kidnapped for His Royal Duty by Jane Porter
Alex and I picked this up for $4 the other day and we thought it'd be funny to read sometime. We're hoping to read this in a couple hours on Sunday. I'll keep you guys updated on Instagram. 

Challenge 3: 
1. The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokski (not pictured)
2. Paper Princess by Erin Watt
3. Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Okay, I decided to start this challenge around 1am last night and I decided to read the first chapter of Captive Prince first. Y’all, I was hooked. Now this challenge is all out of whack. I know I want to give Paper Princess a go, so that is why it is still on my TBR. I’ve decided that I’m going to wait to read The Star Touched Queen until a different time. So, I’m probably failing this challenge, but I’m hopefully going to read a lot this week. I could finish Captive Prince today.

Challenge 4: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Alex and I are planning on reading V.E. Schwab’s Vicious during our short trip to Seattle, Washington. I’ve had ADSOM on my TBR for the longest time, so I’ve decided to try to read this lovely book during the readathon. This is one of the books that I think I’ll be reading for a time, so I may save it for last. I know I’m going to also try to buddy read it with a few girls from my Tome Topple buddy read group as well.

Challenge 5: Save the Date by Morgan Matson
This is also my book club’s book of the month. I’m so excited to read this book. I’m in a major romance/contemporary mood so this is the absolute perfect time to read it.

Challenge 6: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Mattias Ripa
This lovely graphic novel was recommended to me by Mallory and I’m very excited to read this book. I’m really excited to get into this book.

Challenge 7: The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 1 by Kore Yamazaki

I picked this up on my last trip to Half Priced Books with Alex. I’m currently watching this anime series online and I’m really enjoying it. I’m excited to see how the books differ from the anime and vise versa. Manga novels are always a blast to read. 

I will be doing mini vlogs on my Instagram stories. I'm going to keep those videos and pictures in my Read-A-Thon highlights. Keep an eye out for those!

Happy reading, guys!

~Liv the Book Nerd~

Friday, July 13, 2018

{Review} We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Page Count: 52
Published on: July 29, 2014
Published by: Vintage
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Feminism, Essay
Source: Paperback - borrowed from my friend Martha
Age Rating: all ages! THIS IS IMPORTANT
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}

My Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. 

With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike. 

Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.


Hey, guys!

    I borrowed this lovely book from my friend Martha. She and I have awesome conversations about feminism and women's rights and other important our dogs. Anyway, shout-out to Martha for being lovely and letting me borrow her copy of this book. 

     We Should All Be Feminists is a short essay and a speech that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote and presented which is centered around feminism and how it is impactful in a twenty-first century society. Her speech centers around her own experiences and personal understandings about feminism. She emphasizes the importance of feminism and the understanding of feminism for all ages, but especially the young people of today. She ends her essay with a rallying cry for collective understanding and awareness for why everyone should be a feminist. 

     I really adored this small book. I'm definitely going to be acquiring a copy for myself in the future. Though most things were pretty obvious to me, as a feminist, I felt like her connections to her own life and the Nigerian culture were absolutely brilliant and so impactful. Her experiences and examples that she used were very engaging and insightful. I really appreciated that she did not just focus on the negative aspects of masculinity but addresses the biases that we as a culture have developed because of the differences that we share - specifically because of our biological make up. 

    This book is an excellent introduction to modern feminism. I'm so excited to share this with my family, especially my younger sister. I think it is important to realize how many stereotypes we have internalized and how they influence how we interact with one another. 

Let's be kind guys. Let's love one another. 
~Liv the Book Nerd~
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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

{Unpopular Opinion} Why I Will Not Be Finishing The Mortal Instruments Series

Image result for the mortal instruments books

Hey, guys! 

      If you've been an avid young adult reader for long, you've probably heard of The Mortal Instruments series. The Mortal Instruments is a series of six fantasy YA novels by Cassie Clare. The series follows Clary Fray who discovers that she is a part of the Nephilim (half-angel) people called Shadowhunters. She is thrust into a world full of dark forces and strange creatures that she only thought were a part of fairy stories. Shadowhunters protect the mundane world from the dark forces that are infiltrating the world. 

     The Mortal Instruments series is one of the most popular series in the young adult genre, however, I've always struggled to push myself to give it a chance. While I do enjoy the paranormal and urban fantasy genres, there's always been something that's held me back from continuing on with this series. 

      Back in the late 2000s and the early 2010s, I remember reading City of Bones and enjoying it...but not enough to actively wait for each installment of the series. Fast forward to 2016 and I still have not caught up on the Mortal Instruments...but, I want to! I managed to acquire all six of the books in the series. Of course, I had to read them all and catch up to read Lady Midnight! Of course, I had to! So I read the first two books. City of Bones was quite enjoyable. I'd have to say it was 4 stars. My review from 2017 probably says otherwise, but it's a 4-star book now. City of Ashes was a 3-star book. I honestly did not like it as much. Fast forward to December 2016 when I try to start City of Glass. I get 45% into the book, I get bored, I set it down for 3 months, read 5% more, and then it sits on my currently reading stack...for over a year! 

      Yeah. There is no way that I'm going to force myself to continue this series. If I can just neglect to finish a book for over a year without any regret, then I'm not going to force myself to even continue this series. I'm just not interested anymore. I just do not like the characters or the writing style anymore. Clary is so freaking annoying, the angst between Clary and Jace is just gross to me, and I really do not care about anyone. Maybe I care about Magnus, but that is about it. I do not think I'll ever read the Bane Chronicles so, I just do not care. 

      I know this sounds a bit harsh. If you love these books then more power to you. They are just not for me. I'm sure that the good majority of people really enjoy these books. The main reason I was going to continue this series was that I valued the opinions of my favorite bloggers, reviewers, booktubers, and bookstagrammer that adore these books; however, I just won't force it. If I'm not enjoying them, I'm not going to risk the unhappiness, the grumpiness, and the reading slump that will ensue if I force myself to read them. 

This decision is just something that I've been mulling over for quite some time. If you don't like this'll have to suck it up. Sorry. You can read them for me.☺️

So, yeah. I was bored. So I'm not going to force it. Oh well. The world is still turning. I have lots of other books on my TBR to try to read too. 

Happy reading, everyone!
Thanks for reading!
~Liv the Book Nerd~
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