Please, Judge that Book by the Cover {+ Year Review}

Y’ALL. WHERE DID THIS FREAKING YEAR GO?

Let’s just talk about some of the things that have happened: I ordered the PERFECT gift for my family (they’re two pillows with maps of our home cities!), the election, I got some articles published to Her Campus (HELL YEAH!). Y’all broke my stats counter with all the visits to the Sex in YA post. That made me way more excited than it should have. I surpassed 1000 followers on Twitter.

The book blogosphere went super passionate over social issues like sexism, rape culture, and sex positivity. The election brought out the fire in people, and I hope we keep it burning these next four years at least. Crossing my fingers for forever.

I made some amazing new friends. I started college. Switched majors. Absorbed a minor. (officially, it’s now a Communications, concentration in journalism, with a minor in women’s and gender studies)

Oh yeah, and I did that one AMAZING internship at the beginning of the year.

This post is going to be a summation of all those things. I think that frequently, books are as they are presented. In that I mean, judge away. If a book has a cover that’s got me like “come hither” that bodes well for it’s contents. This has been a fantastic year for books. It’s been a lovely year for book covers. While I just did a once over of me, let’s get down and dirty with some of my favorite book covers of the year.

Leave a comment telling me the BEST thing that happened to you this year + your FAVORITE cover of 2016. 

xo,
Jackie 

One. 
Two. 
Three. 
Four. 
Five. 
Six. 
Seven. 
The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee
Eight. 
Nine. 
Ten. 
Eleven. 
Twelve. 
Thirteen. 
Fourteen. 
Fifteen. 
Sixteen.
Seventeen. 
Eighteen. 
Nineteen. 
Twenty. 
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#ARC Review || The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis || How Deep is Your Love?

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Published September 20, 2016
ARC via Andye @ ReadingTeen
Goodreads || Amazon

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

“My violence is everywhere here” (ARC)”

How does one even begin a review of a book that is literally EVERYTHING that they were hoping for? There’s this poem by Rudyard Kipling that you should read, mainly because the second half of “the female of the species” phrase is super revealing in terms of the context of the book. Plus it’s also just a really fun poem. Mwahaha.
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is the story of Alex, Peekay, and Jack. The story begins with Alex telling the reader how she kills. Alex is damaged by the Criminal-Minds worthy murder of her older sister. Her sister’s name was Anna, and she was both Anna’s protector, and the one to calm her when she felt too much. Her story is what I wanted from the New Adult book Marrow, by Tarryn Fisher. While I liked that one, THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is a story that will stick with me for a long time. And it’s all because of Alex. She may actually be one of my favorite characters out of any book ever.
She’s incredibly unique. I haven’t read a character like her except for in Marrow.
Alex is the discourse of right and wrong, she is the line between sanity and the insane, she is the vengeance and redemption. She knows who she is, and she’s more than aware that she is capable of murder, and is able to do so again. When Peekay and Jack invade her life, she does not suddenly become a whole new person. Peekay is the preacher’s kid, and their working together at the animal shelter brings them together. Jack is the beloved sporty hot guy of the high school, and senior year marks a fascination with Alex that he can’t shake off. They both want to know her.
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is about social injustice (think rape, sex offenders) just as much as it is about murder, a wolf in human skin, and the main character interacting with people her own age—really just people in general– for the first time. The book is all about the gray areas.
The story itself is incredibly authentic. I was connected to the town, to each of the character’s families. I was made to wonder, wanted to look through my high school year book, which of my classmates was the one who quietly avenged those wronged by society. In the center of Alex’s turmoil with her own (being, should I call it being?) being there was still a high school with academics and teenage drama and Life After High School.

The fact is that this book is beyond beautiful, and brutal, and heart-wrenching. And I love it.

“I’m this raw, bleeding thing feeling everything for the first time, the joy and the pain” (ARC). 

#Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Published: April 8, 2014
Goodreads || Amazon
Putnam Juvenile

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

Magic, manners, and forces of evil find us in (and Harper Price) in the South. Harper Price has it all: a super hot boyfriend, a best friend who lacks cattiness, jealously, and is just a Good Person, a doting mother and father. However, when the school’s janitor dies on her and passes his magical powers onto her, she’s transformed from a well-behaving, no swearing southern belle, to a southern belle with some serious pow-pow skills. I like her. I also like David, the person she is tasked with protecting from said dark forces. Together, they’re trying to figure out what they each are exactly, and how their personal lives (or more adeptly Harper’s, more superficiallyà her boyfriend) are going to be affected by said new found magical powers and kick-butt ability.
This book, even though I am not completely in love with is, is absolutely hilarious. I mean snort-giggle funny. Harper is so dang proper and polite, but when she’s pushed she does what she thinks is right to the best of her abilities. With the decorum of a hormonal fairy godmother in training. She’s bubbly, confused, and has got the best kind of sidekick in her BFF. She rolls with the punches with a reasonable amount of wariness. I love her. She’s practical but still is willing to take a leap of faith.
Same kind of goes with David. He’s kind of a nasty human at first. However, the story goes on and we, the reader, and Harper get to know him and his Aunt a bit more. His magical powers lie directly with Harper’s. Their destinies are intertwined.
Overall, I liked the plot, liked the romance, loved Harper, loved the friendship. Honestly this book was super enjoyable. And the cover is cute beyond belief. I don’t adore the book, and I’m not totally itching for the next books in the series. After adding this book in 2013 and not getting to read it until now, I’m a bit disappointed. It was good, but it wasn’t great. It was, however, worth the read.

The portrayal of a female friendship is perfect.

#BookLook || Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki

Saving Montgomery Sole

My Two Cents

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been COVETING a jean skirt since I got my red boots TWO WHOLE YEARS ago. That’s s super long time. I went shopping the other day and saw (and tried on) what I though was The One.

Long story short, it was a let down. So the search continues.

About the Book

Goodreads || Amazon

Montgomery Sole is a square peg in a small town, forced to go to a school full of jocks and girls who don’t even know what irony is. It would all be impossible if it weren’t for her best friends, Thomas and Naoki. The three are also the only members of Jefferson High’s Mystery Club, dedicated to exploring the weird and unexplained, from ESP and astrology to super powers and mysterious objects.

Then there’s the Eye of Know, the possibly powerful crystal amulet Monty bought online. Will it help her predict the future or fight back against the ignorant jerks who make fun of Thomas for being gay or Monty for having two moms? Maybe the Eye is here just in time, because the newest resident of their small town is scarier than mothmen, poltergeists, or, you know, gym.

ARC Review: A Thousand Night by E. K. Johnston

A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston
October 6, 2015 // Disney Hyperion
ARC via AndyeReadingTeen // ReadingTeen.net
Goodreads // Amazon

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

She was not my kind, yet there was some power to her that was not human, not quite. She did not die, and I wondered if I might at last have found a queen for whom I could set the desert on fire.” (ARC)
This might legitimately one of the most lyrical books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.  Desperately brave, terrifyingly strong, and strangely accepting of her fate- whatever it may be- the main character strives to not only save her sister from certain death at the hands of her would-be husband, but all the lives of the girls the ruler may have married. In this book, most of the characters are addressed by their title. I didn’t notice it though the novel, but when I put it down I realized I didn’t know the main character’s name. I only knew her as hope, empowerment, savior, magical, and born to be queen. This is her story: the story of how her one decision and her refusal to be anything less than daring changed the course of the world as we know it. *coughs* Also the evil dude is sexy as hell. See that quotes conveniently placed at the top? Although it was taken a bit too literally– *sighs all the sighs* He kind of reminds me of The Darkling. And goodness gracious is The Darkling just everything….everything. *swoons*
Since that first part of this lovely little review talked so much about the character I liked the best, let’s move on to the setting. Which I am in awe of. Setting consists of the cultural background, as well as the physical surroundings. Both of which I am just in complete amazement of. Seriously, girl, how did you do that? Tell me your secrets. Set in the Middle East (or at least a place like it) all the reader sees is sand, and in the far off distance, a mountain. Hot and dry, survival is impressive in this world. Goodness, there is no way I would want to live there (no, not even if I was made queen. I don’t think they have air conditioning. That would be seriously problematic) but I still think that it sounds just completely spell-binding. I mean, honestly, who wouldn’t? Living in tents and perching on plush rugs, riding camels and shopping in bazars. I just think that sounds so freaking cool. Not literally. As I mentioned before, they’re in a desert. It’s hot, hot, hot. But it’s also magical. The dry kind of magic that they all know is there and, you guessed it, can set the desert on fire.
They worship smallgods. Smallgods are a bit like Saints in Catholic faith. They can be regular people who do extraordinary things. Such as sacrificing yourself in place of your sister to a demon who likes killing his wives while in a human host bosy. Real friendly dude. See?-extraordinary.
Through this book, there are things of the paranormal nature, and this book is very loosely based on 1001 Nights. I really liked how the whole discovery of power, good and evil concepts played out. Super well done. Actually kind of believable. Trapped inside his own body, the true ruler is the host for a demon who basically wants to set the world on fire. He (the demon) has the ability to made people more impassioned in their work. Work quicker and harder. With more purpose. What I though was fantastic (even more than everything else) was how even in a society where women are the domestic sort, they do have the power. I don’t actually know how to explain it. *chuckles* Men would come and go and walk around like they ruled the world, but, in all actuality, it’s a woman’s world. A wife bowed her head when she knew she won a fight to save her husband’s pride. A girl has the power to save or destroy the world. The choice is hers to make, if she is willing.

Overall, although it wasn’t a five star read, I can’t recommend this book enough. It really is pretty amazing. And worth swooning over.


So. Another Darkling. Anyone else happy about this? Or is it just me? 


Covers on NetGalley that are Colorful and Beautiful

So I was on NetGalley the other day, totally minding my own business, and I stumbled (in a super graceful manner) across these covers. They aren’t books I would normally read, but the covers…oh, man. They’re actually kind of stunning. Of course, I’m a total cover freak. So maybe it’s just me. But I can’t resist them.
Then, as this is my usual train of thoughts, I though ‘HEY!’ I’ll put this on my blog and have it foreverrrrrr. Because that’s totally just what I do. Also, you kind of really need to see these two colorful covers. 
So without further rambling, here they are. 

In the summer of 1965 the informal parties that Ken Kesey was holding at his house in Palo Alto California were about to evolve into what became known as the Acid Tests. 
These spontaneous anarchic gatherings spread their tentacles far and wide until an entire generation seemed to be under their spell. Fifty years on from the Merry Pranksters multimedia mayhem, acclaimed author Rob Chapman explores in crystalline detail the history, precedents and cultural impact of LSD, from the earliest experiments in painting with light and immersive environments to the thriving avant-garde scene that existed in San Francisco long before the Grateful Dead and the Fillmore Auditorium. 
In the UK, he documents an entirely different history, and one that has never been told before. It has its roots in fairy tales and fairgrounds, the music hall and the dead of Flanders fields, in the Festival of Britain and that peculiarly British strand of surrealism that culminated in the Magical Mystery Tour. Sitars and Sergeant Pepper, surfadelica and the Soft Machine, light shows and love-ins – the mind-expanding effects of acid were to redefine popular culture as we know it. 
It’s a story that you think you know, but no one has laid out the narrative quite like this before. Chapman documents psychedelia’s utopian reverberations – and the dark side of its moon – in a shimmering day-glo portrait where the sublime, the sinister and the just plain silly co-exist in imperfect harmony.
The funny, moving and heartfelt family saga continues in the third instalment in Bluebell Gadsby’s diaries.
It’s the summer holidays and Flora has gone off with Dad to the exotic set of his new film and Mum is at home having a much-needed rest with baby Pumpkin. Bluebell, Twig and Jas have been sent to stay with Grandma at Horsehill in the countryside.
With Grandma keen that the children get as much fresh air as possible, they are sent off on bikes to go wild swimming and befriend the boys next door. With so much freedom, they can’t help but get into trouble, and Grandma doesn’t seem to be as capable as looking after them as she should be…
Natasha Farrant has worked in children’s publishing for almost twenty years, running her own literary scouting agency for the past ten. She is the author of the Carnegie-longlisted and Branford Boase-shortlisted YA historical novel The Things We Did For Love, as well as two successful adult novels. Natasha was shortlisted for the Queen of Teen Award 2014, and the second Bluebell Gadbsy book, Flora in Love, was longlisted for the Guardian Children’s Prize. She lives in London with her husband and daughters.

Make My Wish Come True by Fiona Harper

Find it on Goodreads
November 1, 2013
Review copy via Netgalley

Family-orientated and Christmas-dinner cook extraordinaire Juliet is trying to keep it together in the wake of her marriage breakdown two Christmases ago, but the cracks are beginning to show.

Bright and vivacious Gemma was always the favourite daughter…So she has no qualms about leaving Christmas in her sister Juliet’s capable hands; and escaping the pressures of her glamorous job, and the festive madness by jetting off to somewhere warm. 

When Gemma shirks responsibility once too many and announces she’s off to the Caribbean (again!); Juliet finally snaps. Gemma offers her sister the perfect solution – to swap Christmases: she’ll stay home and cook the turkey (how hard can it be?) and Juliet can fly off into the sun and have a restorative break.

In the midst of all the chaos, there’s Will, Juliet’s dishy neighbour who’s far too nice to float Gemma’s boat and may secretly harbour feelings for her sister; and Marco, the suave Italian in the villa next door, who has his own ideas about the best way to help Juliet unwind. 

Will the sisters abandon caution and make this a Christmas
swap to remember? 


Well now I want to punch people. And hug people. And go to England. The cute cover is slightly deceiving of the story between the covers. And I don’t mean the story was bad. Because it’s not, but it’s also not altogether what I expected. Which can be perceived as either a good or a bad thing. Right now, I’m not really sure what it is.

I know I read this in March, but I wanted some Christmas. I mean, I set it to Michael Bublé’s Christmas album yesterday and drank hot chocolate. This book, in all honesty, wasn’t very Christmas-sy. It was more ‘our family has a lot of issues we avoid and we kind of hate each other but tiz the season let’s give this one last shot and maybe find love along the way.’

This story is the tale of two sisters, two men and how they find themselves and rekindle the sense of family that was destroyed at a young age. Neither of the sisters really appreciate the other, so I think that this book basically tries to work through the problems. Misconceptions are revealed and worked through. A few plot twists here and dash of me wanted to punch people in the face here and there and- voila! Le book! The sisters swap Christmas’ and learn how the other one lives, and a little about each other along the way.

I would love to say I loved this book, but I didn’t. I couldn’t connect with it the way I wanted too and honestly, I didn’t like any of the male supposed love interests. I found them to be rather. . .annoying? Too perfect? I don’t really know how to put it. *chuckles* Anyway, I can’t recommend it. Not for any particular reason, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Christmas recs to remember?

Covers + Flowers: All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder

ALL WE HAVE IS NOW by Lisa Schroeder
Published: July 28, 2015 // Scholastic Inc.
What do you do with your last day on earth?
Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn’t leave, the world will end. But Emerson’s world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.
The city’s quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people’s wishes — and gives them his wallet full of money. 
Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day — maybe even their own. 
I do so love this match up. The sunset hues. Aren’t they lovely?  
What do you think? Have you pre-ordered or read this book yet? How is it? I am so curious. 

Books + Flowers : An Unlikely Pairing

June 9, 2015 : Henry Holt and Co
OUR BROTHERS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA by JONATHAN KRANZ
Don’t fall, Ethan scrawls in red permanent marker across the rides and signs of Sea Town. Since his brother Jason’s death, Ethan can’t let go of his big brother.
Don’t fall, Rachel reads as she prepares to dump back into the ocean the shells her brother Curtis collected. Curtis had Down syndrome, but that isn’t why he plummeted to his death from the Rock-It Roll-It Coaster.Together, Ethan and Rachel are about to discover just how far a man will go to protect his kingdom.With lyrical storytelling, Jonathan Kranz spins an irresistible tale of mystery and grief, guilt and culpability.
Why yes I do realize that the pairing isn’t overly cohesive. But I also think that it totally works. The light blue of the Mason Jar glass look a lot like the sea water and the wild flowers reflect the fair above the water in a sort of whimsical way. 
I actually kind of love it.
Those I would kill for a little bit of crimson in the bunch. That would be the divine cherry on top of the flower-and-book sundae.
So what are you thoughts? And have you read the book yet? Is it good or bad? Top of TBR worthy? And if you haven’t, isn’t the summary just so intriguing? 

ARC Review: No One Like You by Kate Angell

No One Like You by Kate Angell
Goodreads / ARC via NetGalley
Published April 28, 2015

For Rylan Cates, the gloriously sunny beachside town of Barefoot William may be home, but the pro baseball player needs to focus on spring training. Hiring a personal assistant to keep him and his four dogs organized for the next eight weeks is the first step–and Beth Avery is the perfect pinch hitter. 

Beth is still looking for her place in the world, and a couple months caring for Rylan’s two dachshunds, his golden retriever, and a Great Dane named Atlas should shore up her finances before she moves on. Except it’s Atlas who won’t budge, pushing her toward tanned, scruffy, sexy Rylan every chance he gets. One more strike and she’s calling the dog out–unless she and Rylan admit that the attraction they’re feeling is a game-winning grand slam. . . 

Come one! Come all! Not to the circus- no, no, no. Come to the beach where the sun is shining, baseball season is in and the dogs are even more perfect than the guys! Though, dogs do tend to be better than people. But, that is beside the point? And, dear reader, what is the point? Great question! The point, is that NO ONE LIKE YOU is the perfect beach read and, for goodness sake, it’s almost summer. That means beach time. And that also means that I expect you to have this one in your beach bag. Now, I’m not picky- physical copy or ecopy are both just fine.


Why, you ask? Another great question! Well, aren’t you just on a roll today!


First, the backstory was woven perfectly into the reality. The painting and the picture. Stops on the beaches and nostalgia. Running away in a healthy way. I do wish it was delved into a tiny bit more, but I do also realize I might not like the story as much as I do had it been done like that. So, thanks? I’m actually not sure if it has ever been done as flawlessly as it has been done in NO ONE LIKE YOU. Like, darling, give yourself a round of applause. And while you’re at it, have a bowl of ice cream. You deserve it.


Next, have I ever mentioned how much I love animals and pets and specifically dogs. I love them. The dogs always add to the story. I mean, the guy likes dogs. And the dogs like the guy. And that just makes everything better. There was this one book where the main guy didn’t want the dog and didn’t like the dogs and I just couldn’t get past it. It lowered my rating two stars. This one bumped it up a star. I MEAN THEY ARE JUST SO CUUUTE.


The dogs become the main girl’s family, as do the players on the team. And this girl needs a family. ASAP. Because the one she got stuck with sucks. Like they really, really suck. She should try to trade them in. OH WAIT. SHE DID. AND SHE GOT DOGS AND A NICE HOME AND A BASEBALL PLAYER. IN YOUR FACE. Heyyyy, batter batter.

This book is super cute, super sweet and it’s a total Summer Read.