Monthly Wrap-Ups

Monthly Wrap-Up – April 2017

Happy May fellow book lovers! I can’t get over how quickly April flew by! I read (and listened) to four books this month. I’m pretty happy with that number. Even though I was on spring break, I had an alarming amount of homework, mostly papers. I was able to get some reading done on the subway (pros of living in Manhattan) and listened to a couple audiobooks. If you guys haven’t tried out Audible** yet, seriously do it! You get a 30-day free trial with one book, no charge if you cancel afterwards ($14.95/month if you don’t).

Books I finished:

TruthwitchTruthwitch by Susan Dennard

I actually read a book off my TBR!

I really enjoyed this story. The first hundred or so pages were a bit clunky due to the “info dumping,” however the story picked up and had me hooked.

I ended up giving this one 4 out of 5 stars. Although I’m going to reread it this summer. I wasn’t able to get fully invested in the world, due to reading it while extremely busy with homework and while on the subway. This fantasy world was interesting, but slightly complex at times (especially with the politics) and I was not in the right mindset for that. I definitely want to give it another shot before reading Windwitch.

Plot Summary (Spoiler-free)

This high fantasy world is ran by three empires, nearing the end of a previous truce. In this world, the magic system is known as “witchery,” a magic skill that sets an individual apart form the others. There are numerous forms of witchery, however some are more common than others (as our main character knows to well).

Safiya (Safi) is a Truthwitch. She can tell when others are lying, and her gift is incredibly rare. Rare enough, that she needs to keep her witchery a secret, knowing that many would kill for her powerful magic.

Safi’s thread sister (and best friend) is Iseult, a Thredwitch. Iseult can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her, but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness. She is fiercely loyal to Safi. Their friendship drives most of the plot (which I love!).

Safi and Iseult want to live in peace, however with the impending war between the empires, this is unlikely. The two later meet up with the cunning Prince Merik and attempt to escape the hinderance of a Bloodwitch.

Everything Everything by Nicola YoonEverything Everything

After reading Truthwitch, I figured I’d pick up a light, fluffy, YA contemporary book for a quick read. This is also the book in my giveaway and I figured I should read it. I’ve heard so much buzz about this one due to the upcoming movie.

I flew threw this book and ended up giving it 5 out of 5 stars.  I really liked the story, I thought it was super cute. I wasn’t blow away by the ending, but I didn’t hate it. I can’t believe this was a debut novel; the writing was done well and the story was gripping.

Plot Summary (Spoiler-free)

The story is about seventeen-year-old Maddy, who has been living with SCID her entire life. Due to this disease, she is essentially allergic to everything (well most things) and cannot leave her house for fear of triggering a reaction.

Maddy is content with her life and has strong relationships with her mom and home nurse, Carla. However, when a new family moves in next store, Maddy starts up a friendship with her neighbor, Olly. As the friendship grows, Maddy begins looking at the world in a new way.


The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Upside of UnrequitedThis may be my favorite read of April. I honestly could not put this book down and I think I finished it in two sittings. Along with being a fluffy YA contemporary story (which I was looking for), this book is stuffed with diversity. I really liked how the diversity was included, primarily that it wasn’t used as the only character development. I also loved that this story did NOT include a love triangle (it sounds like it does, but I promise it does not). I don’t hate love triangles, but I hate stories that use them to move the plot along. I gave this one 5 out of 5 starts.

Here is a small sample of the diversity:

  • The main character is Jewish, is overweight, and has two moms.
  • The twin of the main character is a lesbian.
  • The girlfriend of the main character is pansexual and is Korean-American.
  • One of the moms is a women of color.
  • One of the moms is bisexual.
  • One of the potential love interests is overweight.
  • Asexuality is mentioned as a think that may exists.

Plot Summary (Spoiler-free)

Molly is an expert in unrequited love. She has had twenty-seven crushes, but has never pursued any of them. After her sister, Cassie, starts dating her new girlfriend (Mina), the two try to set up Molly with Mina’s friend Will. Around this time, Molly starts working and her coworker, Reid, begins to catch her eye. The story focuses on Molly’s experience in exploring these two potential crushes and if she’s ready to pursue one.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (reread, audiobook)13 Reasons Why

I read this book a number of times in high school, and loved it. After the
release of the Netflix series, I wanted to
reread the book to compare the changes and figure out which one I liked more (Netfix won, by the way). After the controversy around the show developed, I considered comparing and contrasting them and sharing my thoughts in more detail. I probably will do this still, but I’m hesitant.

Plot Summary (Spoiler-free)

This story is about Clay Jensen, who receives a mysterious box of cassette tapes. He soon learns that the tapes were recorded by a former classmate and coworker, Hannah Baker, who recently committed suicide. The tapes turn out to be her recorded suicide note, detailing the thirteen reasons she felt she needed to end her life.

In short, I read this book for the first time when I was struggling with my own mental health. The book was helpful for me, as it demonstrated that little actions can add up in the end. I’ve never seen this story as Hannah blaming other for her death, rather explaining how various actions (both large and small) can snowball and how actions that may seem small to one person can be perceived differently by another (looking at you, Alex). I do agree that the book could have addressed mental health more in the story.

Without going too much into the show, I did like most of the changes. I loved that the show expanded beyond Clay’s point of view to see the effect of Hannah’s death on the various characters. Without going into spoilers, I liked the changes they made in Clay’s story. I thought the new ending was more realistic and was the right choice. I strongly dislike the changes they made with Hannah’s story, specifically changing her suicide method.

I do want to preface that this show can be triggering. If you’re worried about it, I honestly say proceed with caution, self-care if needed, and stop if you need to. The last episode in particular was a bit triggering for me. I don’t disclose my mental health history often, but I do have a long history of mental illness (first diagnosed around 8 or 9 years old) and I experienced massive negative affect after the show for a few days. I asked my boyfriend to keep an eye out for some certain behaviors and needed to self-care afterwards. As mental health differs from person to person, some people may be fine and others may have a worse reaction than I did. Just keep checking in with yourself and don’t be afraid to contact someone if you need help. Netflix did a great job adding trigger warnings before two episodes, one depicted sexual assault and one depicted the suicide, however there were more than two episodes that should have had these warnings.

If you guys want to know more about my thoughts on 13 Reasons Why, let me know!

 


**This post is not sponsored. I just love Audible. It has allowed me to get through so many audiobooks. Also audiobooks are kind of expensive, getting them for $15 dollars is a HUGE savings.**

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