Monday, July 22, 2019

Reading Rush 2019 TBR


Hey, guys! 

It's time for the first-ever Reading Rush readathon! This readathon was previously called the Booktube-A-Thon! I'm so excited about the changes that Ariel and Raeleen put into place! What are you reading for this awesome readathon?

Stay tuned for my Twitter engagement and Instagram reading updates! I'll also be updating on my Reading Rush page and Goodreads! 

Twitter: {here}
Instagram: {here}
Goodreads: {here}
Reading Rush: {here}

Challenge 1:

Purple on the cover

Renegades (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer

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I plan on reading this with a couple of friends! I'm so excited to continue catching up on Marissa Meyer's books!

Challenge 2:

Read a book in the same spot

The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab & Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

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Back when The Near Witch was repackaged and republished in March, Alex (my boyfriend) and I decided to preorder gorgeous hardbacks from the UK book store Forbidden Planet. We were so intrigued by the premise and we've really enjoyed the Schwab books we've picked up previously. Alex managed to read the entire book in under 12 hours and he really enjoyed it. I'm eager to see what I think. 

Mooncakes was available to read through NetGalley without any problem, so I'm really excited to see what I think of this lovely little graphic novel. It looks so colorful and cute. 

Challenge 3:

Read a book that you meant to read last year

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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I've been meaning to read this since it came out, but I only acquired this early this year. My boyfriend, Alex, really adored the audiobook for this book. I cannot wait to dive in! 

Challenge 4:

An author's first book

The Near Witch

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I plan on doubling up on this challenge. This is Schwab's first published work, just with a new cover and some extra bits. I also plan on reading the short story at the end: The Ash-Born Boy

Challenge 5:

Non-human character

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I believe that the main character of The Near Witch is a witch or comes in contact with a witch. Either way, there is some paranormal activity! I think there might be a god-character in Sky in the Deep too. I'm not quite sure, but with all the books I'm reading, I'm pretty sure I'll be encountering a non-human character. 

Challenge 6: 

A book with 5+ words in the title

The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre (The Two Princesses of Bamarre #0.5) by Gail Carson Levine

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I picked this up for this challenge really late last night before the readathon started. I plan on listening to this via audio through my library. When I was young, my favorite books were by Gail Carson Levine and I'm so eager to see what I think of this prequel to the 

Challenge 7: 

Read a book and watch its adaptation

The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

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This is a modern-day retelling of Little Women - one of my all-time favorite books..ever. The reviews on Goodreads are looking pretty bleak for this one, so I'm not surprised if I end up DNF-ing it. Though I'm hopeful for the best. I plan on starting this book via audio through my library and seeing how it goes from there. I also have the physical book on my shelves.


What are you reading for the readathon?

Happy reading!
Olivia
~Liv the Book Nerd~




Wednesday, July 17, 2019

{Review} Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Page Count: 453
Published On: November 8, 2016
Published By: Feiwel and Friends
Genre(s): YA, fantasy, retelling, romance
Source: personally purchased
Where To Find It: Amazon // Book Depository 

My Rating: 3 stars













Goodreads synopsis:

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


~~~

Hey, guys!

I've been such a fan of Marissa Meyer for years, but this story did not live up to my hopes. I bought this book a long time ago, knowing that because it was Marissa Meyer that I would enjoy it. While the book was entertaining and interesting, I was just bored and sick of the main character by the end of it. 


Though this was a really fascinating retelling and back story to the Queen of Hearts, I felt like the amount of buildup toward her eventual end was really slow. Sometimes getting through this book felt like a dredge through a muddy pond. The book started out so nicely -- from the bizarre introduction to the world of Hearts to the immense amounts of baking that Cath partook in. However, once you got into the book it was as if the madness and bizarre-ness of the world of Wonderland were completely thrown out the window. Granted, a lot of the events that occurred were bizarre and the characters were wildly strange, but they just weren't what I would expect of the characters of Wonderland. I wish that it had been more consistent. 

The plot was also not the best. The majority of the plot was just Cath whining about what she didn't want to do. She didn't do much of anything. She was just obnoxiously whiney. I felt like she refused to stand up for herself when it meant the most, she constantly ignored the advice of others and did whatever she wanted even though it was obvious that she wasn't the best at making decisions. Actually, she never really made many decisions. Not the decisions that counted. She also was just really dumb and wouldn't support herself until she had the help of a dude. I felt like the book really lacked the feminism that Meyer had frequently shown in her other works.

When it comes to Marissa Meyer, I know that I can count on her to create a really dimensional and romantic relationship bloom from the most annoying characters. This was not the case in Heartless. While I really liked Jest's character. I wish the book had been a dual perspective between Jest and Cath (though I know why MM didn't use that technique). Their relationship was just a bit too annoying for me. She really just gave us the reasons to ship the two characters, I felt like it wasn't shown enough to actually make me connected to their relationship or feelings. Just not my cup of tea. 

Overall, the book was underwhelming and kind of boring. I didn't like the main character, the romance was bleh, and there should have been more feminism, stabbing, and more murder from the Jabberwocky. There was hardly any plot to make it worth it to me. Though I didn't like the bits that tend to make or break the book, I really did enjoy the magic, the side characters (Hatta, Cheshire, and more), the world of Chess, the Jabberwocky conflict, and the baking. I wish that I had loved this book, but I just didn't click with it. I know so many adore this book. I definitely would have loved it more in 2016 when it first came out. 



Happy reading!
Olivia
Liv the Book Nerd ~


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

{Review: Series Reread}: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer



Hey, guys!



I had already decided that for 2019 I would splurge and reread more books -- especially my favorite series. The past six months have been really rough. I have to be honest. Going back to some of my favorite series has been so therapeutic. Visiting The Lunar Chronicles, especially, has been like visiting a good friend. I absolutely adore this series. It has one of the best cast of characters and being with them again is so nice. 



Here are my thoughts when it comes to rereading the series!



First things first, I decided to pick these up via audio and I definitely do not regret it. I love these audiobooks! Sometimes I'll be a little iffy about the audio and pick the book up physically, but I've only picked up the physical books to see if I've hit the halfway mark and check out name spellings.


Cinder (#1)

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This is the third time that I have read Cinder. Back when it first came out in 2012, I quickly picked it up from the library and loved it. I gave it five stars. Three years later, in 2015, I picked it up again and gave it 5 stars. This year is no different and I gave it 5 stars. I originally picked the audiobook up on a whim and I definitely do not regret it. I absolutely adore every part of this book. Marissa Meyer's method of creating characters is so much fun and I love how she develops them throughout the book. She's such a fantastic storyteller. You can just tell that she put so much work into the world building and the character building. She's so wonderful. 


Scarlet (#2)

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I've also read this 3 times:
March 2013: 5 stars
February 2015: 4 stars
May 2019: 4 stars

I honestly do not remember rereading this book in 2015 and giving it 4 stars. I vaguely remember rereading the series to continue the series, but I don't remember docking the book a star. 2015-me had the right idea, however. Scarlet did not stand the test of time. The characters, Scarlet and Wolf, were just not as compelling as Kai and Cinder. They were dynamic and really well fleshed out, but their behaviors are just kind of annoying sometimes. 

Scarlet has this persona that she's really tough and brave, but she was just constantly screaming, sulking, and crying. Granted, she goes through a lot of crap that no one should have to go through, but sometimes it was just so repetitively tragic. I wish she had been more complex than what she portrayed. Also, the voice that the audiobook narrator gave her is annoying as hell. Fake French accents just grate on my nerves. It wasn't fun. 

Wolf, however, I understand. I think I enjoy him more than I have in the past. I think this reread really cemented the demented-ness of the mutation experiments that occurred on Luna. It's really messed up! I don't think it had fully sunk in how terrible Luna's actions were until now. Let's chalk that up to the lack of development and understanding in 15/17-year-old Olivia. 

Also! Carswell Thorn is amazing and I adore him. He's so flawed, but I can't help but root for him. He's just so fun.


Cress (#3)

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2016: 5 stars
2019: 4.8 stars

Cress never disappoints. I absolutely adore the character Cress and I especially love the interactions between Cress and Thorn. I love their romance and I love how they help each other grow as people. They're precious beans and need to be protected. 

I loved how there were so many perspectives throughout the book. It really added the extra depth and dark vibes that the series is so well known for. Each character goes through so much, but they always grow into themselves and learn from their mistakes. I love these characters.

Wolf and Jacin really annoyed me in this addition, however. Wolf was being a mopey asshole and was putting the team in jeopardy. He just wasn't acting like himself and it was annoying. Jacin is just a grump, but I appreciate that he doesn't change himself for others. He's a bit dense, but he's fun.

This book is so action packed and fast paced. I really didn't want to stop listening to it. There's a reason that it's one of my favorites of the series. (However, we will see which one is my new favorite after I finish the series.)

Fairest (#3.5)

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This was actually my first read of Fairest! 
4.5 stars

Back when this first came out, lots of people were telling me to just skip it because it didn't really add to the story....WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? I love it when authors include additions that develop other characters -- especially the villains! This was so good! 

This didn't make me sympathize with Levana's cause, but I definitely understand her more now. I hate that she had to go through what she did, but she could have done something to make her life better and make the lives of others better because of what she experienced. Instead, she consistently made terrible choices, didn't learn from them, and then made even worse choices. 

She's so self-centered and self-absorbed. She's a narcissistic asshole and she's straight up evil. Her character is so frustrating and it just made me feel sad for her because she didn't want to change and she didn't want to make an effort to be kind. 

She's evil. 

You definitely should read this if you're going to read the series.  


Winter (#4)

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2016: 5 stars
2019: 4. stars


This was the longest audiobook that I've ever read, but it was also so freaking fun. By the end of it, I was making the most ungodly noises as things were happening and I managed to wake up my dog as he sat in my lap while I listened. This book was just a fantastic roller coaster of emotion and character development. I am so freaking happy that I reread this series. 

Of all of the Lunar Chronicles books that I've read, this was the book that I had read only one time. Because of that, I hardly remembered it. This was as close to first-read do-over that I could get and I'm so glad. 

I love these characters and I love how the series ended. I'm eager to see what I think of Stars Above.

*written as soon as I finished this book June 25*



 Stars Above (#0.5, 0.6, 3.1, 4.5)

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Rating: 4 stars

The Little Android: This was so sweet. I was quite confused at first because I thought it was an Iko story, but I really love how Meyer tied in the story of the Little Mermaid. It was tragic, but still hopeful and heartwarming. I really liked how we got to get a glimpse into the world of the Lunar Chronicles before Cinder was even introduced. 

Glitches: Oh my goodness. This was so sad, but so cute. I loved seeing how Cinder's life began after the surgeries. It was so fascinating to see the family dynamic of the Linh family before the plague struck.

The Queen's Army: Wow. This was one of my favorites. It was so fascinating to see who Wolf was before his transformation and after he was transformed. It's sick how Levana treated her people. This was just so good.

Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky: Oh my goodness. This was really fun too. It's so interesting to get the chance to see such a pivotal moment in Captain's life. I love him still.

The Keeper: Scarlet is probably one of my least favorite characters, but reading this novella gives me a new perspective to why she is like she is. I like her a little more, but I still don't like her as much as I like the other characters. 

After Sunshine Passes By: Oh. My. Gosh. I love Cress. A precious bean who doesn't deserve any bad in her life. A literal sunshine.

The Princess and the Guard: Winter is such a strong character, but she's so misunderstood by the end of the book. Winter goes through so much, but she still remains so wholesome and good. She deserves the world.  It was also really nice to see Jacin before he became the hard guard- dude that he is. I loved his interactions and adoration for Winter. A wholesome duo. 

The Mechanic: This was honestly probably my least favorite of the novellas. I understand why so many enjoy this novella - Kai is beautiful and lovely and deserves the world - but I wish that this had been a retelling from his perspective and a different scene. It just didn't feel so different from the actual scene. 

Something Old, Something New: This was my favorite by far. AAAAH it almost made me cry. I am so happy with this ending. I wish that there was another wedding novella to follow this one, but I'm so happy with this novella! I want more!


Favorite of the series: Cinder or Winter
Favorite romantic pairing: either Cress and Thorne or Cinder and Kai
Favorite character: Cinder or Cress
Favorite non-romantic relationship: Thorne and Iko

What's your favorite of the series? Let's discuss in the comments!

Happy reading!
Olivia
~ Liv the Book Nerd ~


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Teen TItans: Raven by Gabriel Picolo and Kami Garcia


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Page Count: 192
Published On: July 2, 2019
Published By: DC Ink
Genre(s): YA, fantasy, comics, graphic novel, sequential art
Source: personally purchased
Where To Find It: Amazon // Book Depository 

My Rating: 4 stars












Goodreads synopsis:

When a tragic accident takes the life of 17-year-old Raven Roth's foster mom--and Raven's memory--she moves to New Orleans to recover and finish her senior year of high school.

Starting over isn't easy. Raven remembers everyday stuff like how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can't remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. And when impossible things start happening, Raven begins to think it might even be better not to know who she was before.

But as she grows closer to her new friends, her foster sister, Max, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she's ready to face what's buried in the past...and the darkness building inside her.


~~~

Hey, guys!


I originally was provided an ARC on NetGalley for this graphic novel, but I was unable to access the file no matter how hard I tried. After a couple of days, the book was released and I pretty much ignored my bank account and bought the book. I definitely wasn't disappointed. I'm so excited to continue to support Gabriel Picolo and his artistic endeavors. His art is so beautiful and exciting. 

I've been a fan of the DC superhero group - the Teen Titans - for the majority of my life. Though I'm more of Marvel fan, I still consume some of the DC work from time to time. I tend to stick to Aquaman, Wonderwoman, Catwoman, and the Teen Titans and whatever comes from their respective canons. I'm not well versed in the DC universe, but I still like some of what they've released. From the animated Teen Titans TV show from the early 2000s (NOT Teen Titans Go), to the comics that are so iconic and fun to the new material that has been gradually been released -- the characters have always been a staple in my (still limited) DC Comics consumption. 

Garcia has been such a big name in the YA world. I've never really been a fan, but I'm really pleased with the story in Raven. Raven is one of my favorite characters and I'm really eager to see where her story goes in these graphic novels. This graphic novel was a really fun look into her character, but it was still quite underwhelming. I had hoped for a more solid story line, but it just wasn't the tea. The ending was very flat and I just felt like the writing itself wasn't that great. 

However! I feel like the artwork really carried this graphic novel. Picolo is so freaking talented and every line, every bit of his art was flawless. He did such a fantastic job! I've followed Picolo on social media for quite a long time and I couldn't be more pleased with his work in Raven. This graphic novel was excellent. If you enjoy the Teen Titans, you'll like this graphic novel.

Overall, I had hoped for more from the story, but the art really boosted the entire package. 

Happy reading!
Olivia
Liv the Book Nerd ~



Sunday, July 7, 2019

June 2019 Reading Wrap Up + Mini Reviews


Okay, guys!

I've read so many freaking books this month. It's honestly so bizarre that I've done so much reading the past two months. Perks of working part-time and having the summer off from school I suppose. I really really love the books that I read this month. It was just such a fun reading month. Let's jump into it! 




Reading Stats:

Total Number of Books/Things Read: 20
Number of Novellas:2 
Number of Rereads: 6
Number of Graphic Novels: 6
Adult: 3
YA: 9
Middle Grade: 5
DNFs: 1

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Circe by Madeline Miller
4.75 stars 
read physically and through Audible

This was such a fantastic book. It's definitely going to be one of my favorites of the year. This is the sort of feminist novel that I didn't know that I needed. Circe is such a fascinating, strong, and powerful character. Her development throughout the book was so addicting to watch and I just love her so much. The focus on her growth, her story, and her power was just so fabulous. When she first had her child, the focus and narration surrounding her first two years of motherhood were just so spot on. I'm not a mother -- full disclosure. However, I'm the eldest sibling (kind of, my sister is 1 minute older -- so whatever), so I understand how hard being a mother is. When my mom first started working full time, I had to pick up the slack of helping with the kiddos. 

This book is just so phenomenal. Click {here} for my review!



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Fangirl & Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
5 stars
read physically

Two of my all time favorites! These books are just automatic five stars. I was honestly so scared that I wouldn't enjoy these as much, but they absolutely lived up to the hype. 

I'll have a re-read review up soon!

Here are my original reviews!

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
4.9 stars
read physically

Another new favorite! Margaret Rogerson did not disappoint! This was so freaking magical and beautiful. I honestly want to reread it and tab it up. It was honestly just so phenomenal and well done. I love Margaret Rogerson's books so much!

Full review to come!

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Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

4 stars
read physically

This was the only book that I managed to read for the Buzzword-A-Thon, but I'm really happy that I read it. Francesca Zappia is such a wonderful writer and I absolutely adore this story. The main character, Alex, struggles witschizophrenia and the hallucinations that result from her disorder. With her schizophrenia, Alex's perception causes her to be an unreliable narrator. I really loved that perspective. She's so scattered and confused and scared -- while I feel terrible that she has to deal with those experiences, it allows me to learn something new and empathize with her more easily. This book was so good. I cannot wait to read more from Zappia. 

Full review to come.

Click {here} for my review for Eliza and Her Monsters.

Courtney's review for Made You Up {click}



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Saga #54 by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan
5 stars
read through Hoopla 

One day during the middle of the month, I decided that I wanted to torture myself and read the last bit of the Saga series because I missed the series. Instead, I made myself cry and I almost threw my phone across the room. This series is phenomenal and I cannot wait for more to come out. I need it.


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Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
4.8 stars
read via audio through Hoopla 

Aaaaah! Cress is probably one of my favorite additions to the Lunar Chronicles series. Before I did this series reread, it was my favorite. I'll discuss more of that once my series review is up. 

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Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer
4.5 stars
read via audio through Hoopla 

Of all of the Lunar Chronicles books, this was one that I hadn't read. I'm really glad that I read it though. It was awesome to get some back story on Levana, Winter, and Selene. It definitely added to the story and gave it an extra layer of depth. 


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How To Read by Kwame Alexander and Melissa Sweet
 3 stars
e-ARC provided via publisher

This was such a lovely picture book. I loved the poetry and how the art contributed to the story that the poem told. This is going to be a favorite amongst the young children of the world. This is so great for kids.

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{DNF} The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

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read physically

I just really could not get into this book. I didn't like the characters, the plot, the conflict. I just wasn't a fan at all. I DNF'd this around 145 pages in.

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

3 stars
read physically 

This just wasn't it. I've been anticipating Sally Thorne's sophomore novel ever since I read The Hating Game. I even pre-ordered it. However, this story was just so bland and boring. I was semi-entertained for the majority of the time, but I hardly liked Darcy, Tom was just bleh, and their romance was just so forced and annoying. I liked the concept and the themes surrounding family, change, and sibling relationships -- but it just wasn't done well. This was just so scattered. I feel like the pressure was too intense for Thorne. This was kind of a flop.

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Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer
4.8
read via audio through Hoopla

Another Lunar Chronicles reread. This was so much fun to listen to. I loved being with these characters and seeing the story wrap up. Marissa Meyer is so wondeful.


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Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #1-4 by Josceline Fenton, Rebecca Sugar, and Chrystin Garland
4.5 stars
read digitally through Hoopla

I loved this little volume. Steven Universe is one of my favorite shows and reading these graphic novels brings me so much joy. 


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Wundersmith the Trials of Morrigan Crowe (Nevermoor #2) by Jessica Townsend
4.8 stars

AAAAH THIS BOOK! I'm still recovering from the wonderfulness of this story. I cannot wait for book 3. I need it! I'll have more cohesive thoughts in a review. Stay tuned!


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Memento by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman 
5 stars

This was perfect and everything I needed from an Illuminae Files and AIDEN back story. I cannot wait to get back to Obsideo.


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Steven Universe: The Ultimate Dough Down by Talya Perpa, Rebecca Sugar, Meg Omac, and Lorena Alvarez Gomez
4.75 stars
read digitally through Hoopla

This was so cute. I love Steven Universe so much and this was just so wholesome and wonderful. I love the focus on Sadie's character and her feelings surrounding Lars' absence. 

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Steven Universe: Camp Pining Play by Rebecca Sugar
5 stars
read digitally through Hoopla

This was so much fun. This volume focused on Peridot and Lapis and their relationship. I just need more wholesome stories about them. I love them so much.


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Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems (#1-4) by Josceline Fenton, Rebecca Sugar, and Chrystin Garland
4 stars
read digitally through Hoopla

I'm such a massive fan of SU and this volume was just so wholesome and great. I honestly don't know what order to read these comics (thank you Goodreads). If you love the show, you'll love the comics.


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The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O'Neill
5 stars
e-ARC provided via NetGalley



This was such a lovely and perfect little story. I absolutely adore everything about this story, the art style, the plot, and the characters.

The representation in this book was so freaking wonderful! Wonderfully done!

I loved learning more and more about the world of dragons and tea dragons. I'm so in love with this world.

I hardcore recommend this book to anyone who loves whimsical, lovely, soft stories. Everything by Katie O'Neill is perfect so far.

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Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

4.5 stars

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
4.75 stars

Letters to the Lost was such a freaking fantastic contemporary romance. Declan and Juliet are such fascinating characters and I loved their love story and I couldn't put this book down. Kemmerer has a way of creating a cast of characters that you absolutely root for and hope for. This book was so addicting and I wish that I had more from these characters. I'm so freaking glad that Brigid wrote More Than We Can Tell. SO GOOD!

More Than We Can Tell is one of the best contemporaries I've read all year. I didn't think it could live up to the awesomeness that was Letters To the Lost, but oh my gosh it did. Rev is such a wonderful, complex, soft boy. His story was so compelling and I couldn't put it down. Emma was just wow. So realistic, so smart, so complex...I love her. As their stories intertwined, I just fell in love. I have so many feelings that aren't fully manageable. This book was so emotional and perfect. 


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Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach (narrated by Samuel L. Jackson)
3 stars
the reading is 4 stars
read via audio through YouTube

Alex pulled this up on his phone on a quick little car ride and I was completely shook. The audiobook is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and he just hit every line perfectly. This book is definitely not for kids, but it's a satirical play on the classic bed time stories that they love so much. This is a really fun book for parents and siblings of younger siblings.


What's your favorite book that you read in June?
Happy reading!
Olivia
~Liv the Book Nerd~