Monthly Bookish Awesomeness: July 2015

In which I recap what went down in the last four weeks here and outside the blog.

July had been utterly wondrous. I met the lovely Robyn Schneider—as smart and funny and nerdy as her work. My dearest godson Carlisle, who is the adorablest, turned three. I was more actively present in our church than ever and still had the energy to help organize a bloggers/readers meet up. I had my visa interview. And on top of these I managed to blog regularly and finish six (6!) books. Time is a peculiar thing.

Books I Read

Extraordinary Means 02Fans of the Impossible Life 02The Night We Said Yes 02

Other Stuff I Posted

Book Birthdays

Paperweight   You and Me and Him 01   Go Set a Watchman 01

Happy book birthday to Paperweight (7th, HarperTeen), You and Me and Him (7th, HMH Books for Young Readers), and Go Set a Watchman (14th, Harper), which all found a place in the shelves this month!

Book Radar

Never Always Sometimes 01   Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes 01   Another Day 01   The Rest of Us Just Live Here 01

This coming month, I’m excited for Never Always Sometimes (4th, Harlequin Teen), Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes (18th, Disney Hyperion Books) (!!!!!), Another Day (25th, Alfred A. Knopf BFYR), The Wild Ones (25th, Philomel Books), and The Rest of Us Just Live Here (27th, Walker Books).

Gold Star

#BOOKWORMSUNITE YOU GUYS!!!

It’s strange how we pulled this off but we did. Three weeks maybe. Three weeks was all it took to, in a whim, suggest a meet up, get an enthusiastic response, brainstorm, put the words out and make it happen. But stranger is the event itself. Stranger is people actually showing up. Stranger is people actually having fun. In fact, standing in that room, in a coffee shop roughly sixty miles from home, I’ve never felt more myself, more at ease with my own skin, amongst people I’ve only either met briefly before or known online. Some even were just introduced that afternoon. But I felt the camaraderie. It was heartwarming. And I’m grateful Dianne, Hazel, Inah, Faye and Aimee all said yes that fortunate day.

Shannelle 01Eriele 01image

Around the Interwebs

Now that I actually have a news feature, aptly called Unmissable Weekly, there will be less items in this section.

How was your month? What was the amazing book or film or music or dessert you consumed? Is there a post you think I should check out? Also, HAVE YOU READ Go Set a Watchman? Sound of in the comments below!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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REVIEW: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Extraordinary Means 02

Title: Extraordinary Means
Author: Robyn Schneider
Format: Paperback, 324 pages
Publication: May 26th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Bought from National Book Store
Genre: Fiction—Contemporary
Other classifications: Physical Illness, Young Adult

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Fully Booked

Synopsis

Up until his diagnosis, Lane lived a fairly predictable life. But when he finds himself at a tuberculosis sanatorium called Latham House, he discovers an insular world with paradoxical rules, med sensors, and an eccentric yet utterly compelling confidant named Sadie—and life as Lane knows it will never be the same.

Review

Wry, bittersweet and often contemplative, Schneider’s sophomore book has the heart and humor of The Beginning of Everything, if decidedly darker.

Seventeen-year-old Lane Rosen has lived every single day of his life preparing for the future—paying attention to assignments, taking AP classes—until he’s diagnosed with totally-drug-resistant tuberculosis and, suddenly, senior year is happening four hundred miles away, without him. Then there is Sadie Bennett—buoyant, rebellious Sadie—who’s made peace with her condition. The story takes place in a sanatorium reminiscent of Hailsham called Latham House and right there, Lane is reunited with Sadie, whom he once went to summer camp with. Extraordinary Means is a paradigm of a quiet YA, in that it effectively mixes keenness to dialogue with characterization and subtlety with emotional resonance. It is a steady read up to the last third, when the narrative takes an inevitable turn, in a flurry that doesn’t feel rushed.

“I did the flash cards every night, but it was no use, because it wasn’t the multiplication table that was giving me trouble. It was the pressure of being told two things: 1. That I only had a short amount of time, and 2. That I had to get everything right.”

There’s nothing we haven’t already seen in this novel, but that’s the beauty of it. Schneider doesn’t need gimmicks to tell a gripping story. It just is. And I laud how she speaks the language of the teens she’s writing for and about. There are video games and Facebook updates and Harry Potter references and Tumblr and butterbeers and a John Green novel. I mean, how often do we get a John Green shout out in a contemporary book? Schneider is an extraordinary (come on, you know that’s bound to come up), unapologetic nerd and that translates very well into her work. She also nailed her acknowledgement twice now.

“”Yeah, but all it takes is one person who wants to stir up trouble, and suddenly everyone’s panicked,” Nick said. “Look at history if you don’t believe me.”
Game of Thrones isn’t real,” I told him, and Marina snorted.”

Of course, it would be remiss to not talk characters in my review. If Schneider’s characters are a club, I’d sign up without vacillation. And maybe it’s just me but I have this sneaking suspicion that the author wrote Lane for me. I connected easily with him. In high school (extending to the early half of college), I was that guy whom no one considers inviting for night outs “and I probably would have made an excuse if they had, not because I didn’t want to, but because I thought I shouldn’t.” “I followed the rules because that was why rules existed, to be followed.” Those are Lane’s—and mine—word per word. Even our handwriting would look neat next to each other, I have no doubt. But hard work and handwriting aside, he’s just relatable through and through. Sadie, however, while never boring, seems to flicker in places. And Nick, Marina and Charlie are as entertaining and layered, as opposed to being mere plot devices. You would want to be in their circle.

“I hadn’t known it was possible to fail breakfast.”

But Extraordinary Means isn’t so much about being sick—for fine works are almost never about just one thing—as it is about finding your people, fitting in and living in the now—an echo of a theme the author first explored in her debut. It is a story of second chances and coming to terms with reality. And although I predicted how it’ll end, it did not stop me from caring. Plus the romance is neither excessive nor hastily done, which is always a treat.

Never Let Me Go meets Looking for AlaskaExtraordinary Means is a satisfying follow up from Robyn Schneider, with solid opening lines that is fast becoming her brand.

4.0 out of 5

Author

Robyn Schneider 02

Robyn Schneider is a writer, actor, and online personality. She is a graduate of Columbia University, where she studied creative writing, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she studied medical ethics. She lives in Los Angeles, but also on the internet.

Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

So. Have you read Extraordinary Means yet? If no, do you plan to? What about Schneider’s debut The Beginning of Everything (I definitely recommend)? Do you read the acknowledgements and author’s notes in books? And I’m pretty certain I talked about this before but have you seen this novel’s trailer? Because I ADORE IT and here, you’re welcome. ALSO, I’m attending the author’s signing tomorrow! YAAAY!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

Monthly Bookish Awesomeness: May 2015

In which I recap what went down in the last four weeks here and outside the blog.

Hey y’all! So I know I’ve been away for more than a couple of weeks now—and I apologize—but I recently went through a surgery and a slightly unexpected weekend escape before that. I’m recovering well, though, and excited to be back blogging regularly soon!

May had been really wonderful. My  childhood best friends were in town, however briefly, and I spent the whole weekend with them before I had my operation, which went successfully. This month, I also got to read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (FINALLY!!!) and More Happy Than Not, which both exceeded my expectations. So yaaay times two! And oh. I watched Pitch Perfect! No, not the sequel. Oops. It was pretty aca-mazing.

First week of May, the lovely Hazel Ureta of Stay Bookish invited me over at her blog for Behind the Lens and I’m a happy snowman! Thank you so much, dear!

Books I Read

Grasshopper Jungle 01More Happy Than Not 02Half Bad 02

  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith – Smith is many things, but what he does best is writing complex teenage boys. I had problems with the narrative style but, overall, it’s a candid look on growing up.
  • More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – This is a strong debut you guys, with characters as unforgettable as the book is unflinching in its portrayal of confusion, love, homophobia, friendship and a lot more. Silvera surely is set to win many, many fans.
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – There’s only one thing you need to know about this novel: Becky nailed the character voice. I mean, I can’t even. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is such a charming, smile-inducing read. The cast instantly feels familiar and you can’t help but root for them. WHO GOES OUT THE GATE PUBLISHING HER FIRST BOOK THIS GOOD?!!!
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik – I have conflicting opinions about this. Very. But it’s reminiscent of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone with fae-ish elements. And, somehow I requested this from Netgalley thinking it’s YA, but it’s not.
  • Noggin by John Corey Whaley – Gaaah. I’ve never cry heaved so hard. There was this one scene that’s just beautiful and sad and poignant and I lost it. The overall tone was very nostalgic and there were times the MC was too whiny for my liking but it still is one of those stories that you know will stay with you in a long while.
  • Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver – D (of Oops! I Read A Book Again) and I are currently buddy-reading this one. This is my first title from the author.
  • Half Bad by Sally Green – Yeah, I read this in April but wrote a review this month. Terrific character connections, blunt writing style and quietly compelling.

Other Stuff I Posted

Book Birthdays

Made You Up 01   Uprooted 01   Anything Could Happen 01   Extraordinary Means 01

Happy book birthday to Made You Up (Greenwillow Books), Uprooted (Del Rey), Anything Could Happen (Push), and Extraordinary Means (26th, Katherine Tegen Books), which all found a place in the shelves this month!

Book Radar

More Happy Than Not 03   The Witch Hunter 02   Every Last Word 01   Untitled-4

June will see both More Happy Than Not (2nd, Soho Teen) and The Witch Hunter (2nd, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) coming out into the wild, woohoo! Along with Every Last Word (16th, Disney Hyperion), and The Night We Said Yes (16th, HarperTeen).

Gold Star

I’m introducing a new feature in my monthly recap! Gold Star, inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, aims to spotlight a person, book, project or anything that makes the world a happier place (because I’m cliché like that). And this month’s Gold Star belongs to… The #BooksArentDangerous initiative! So basically, together with The NOVL, Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia asked the bookish community to upload a photo using the hashtag. And for every picture posted, they will donate a book to First Book, to help underfunded schools and libraries. They reached their goal of 5,000 and I just think that, for readers like us, spreading the love of reading is such a fulfilling cause to be a part of. Fantastic job, ladies!

Around the Interwebs

I hope you all had an awesome May! For those of you who didn’t get to attend BEA15, did you torture yourselves by staying on Twitter (like I did)? And for those of you lucky bastards who went, what was your favorite part? Let’s talk in the comments below!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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I Would Give Up the Internet

The Extraordinary Means Tag.

First off, I’m so thrilled that Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider (which I just learned is pronounced with /ɪ/ and not /aɪ/; thank you Margot!) is coming out this month! As you know—or not (c’mon, look at my header!)—her debut The Beginning of Everything is one of my favorites. And so when I was tagged to do this challenge, I got pumped up!

… Until I saw the actual challenge. Boy, there are some really torturous questions here! But. Let’s get down with it.

Thank you Wesaun for the tag! (Shucks! I realized I don’t know your YouTube channel!) Also, this is originally a video tag but whatever.

*Click the book covers to be directed to their Goodreads page.*

1. I would give up the internet for a month for a signed first edition of this book.

To Kill a Mockingbird 01

This is a serious commitment. SERIOUS. I mean. The inter-freaking-net! For a month. So I’m going with the one book that started it all for me. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Imagine me walking the hall with All The Swagger.

2. I would give up pizza for a year if it meant I could sit next to this author on a long plain ride.

How can you live WITHOUT something you absolutely love for a year? HOW? It has to be Rainbow Rowell. I mean. She’s funny and smart and I’m guessing she flies Class A, too.

3. I would sit through a thousand hours of commercials if it would ensure Hollywood made this book into a movie.

 Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda   Winger 06

HAHA. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli or Winger by Andrew Smith. And I wouldn’t settle for anything less. It’s With The Best Team or nothing. I’m not even kidding. I will burn Hollywood to ashes before they do anything stupid. Preferably with Josh Boone helming and John Bailey doing the cinematography.

4. I would never read a new book again if it meant I could live inside this book.

PJO 01via

That’s it. I MEAN. Le fuck?* This is Extraordinary indeed! But. Let’s say, HYPOTHETICALLY. It’ll be the world of the Percy Jackson books. I’ll be an Athena kid. And I’ll be friends with the gang. Cross that, BEST friends.

5. I would let my Google search history be made public if it meant I could be best friends with this author.

As if the interwebs need more evidence of my weirdness. John Green. Have you seen how fast he speaks? There’ll be no time wasted! Plus he’s funny and smart (do we have a trend here?) and geeky and, OH, he’s a Swiftie!

6. I would donate everything I own to Goodwill if it meant I could date this book character in real life.

I’m blanking on this one. Mainly because the girls I’d want to date are taken and I approve of the couple. Hmm. Maybe Sam from The Perks of Being a Wallflower? I know I know. There’s the boyfriend. We’d just hang out. OR since we’re playing extremes. I’d take Simon Spiers to an Oreo date! He’s gay. He’s taken. We’ll have fun.

Emma Watson Gif 01via

You Are Tagged!

Awesome-Cait @ Paper Fury
Cristian @ The Bookish God
Denisa @ Bookworm Extraordinaire
Dianne @ Oops! I Read a Book Again
Joe @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts
Kate @ The Magic Violinist
Levi Isaac @ Levi Isaac’s Blog
Liam @ Liam’s Library
Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books
Miggy @ The Quirky Reader

(I’d also like to hear Hazel’s (@ Stay Bookish) and Jon’s (@ Bookish Antics) thoughts but they don’t do tags. So yeah.)

And YOU. If this is awesome to you, consider yourself tagged!

Other books mentioned:

 Extraordinary Means 01   The Beginning of Everything   The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Okay. Confession time: what would be your answers? Spill!

*Props to you for getting the reference!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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