Winter Reads Wrap-Up + Reading Goals for Spring

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, to say the least. However, I have been reading quite a bit despite my lack of posting (so sorry, btw!). I’m still getting the hang of this blogging-while-in-school thing, but I’m pretty proud in regards to the number of books I’ve been able to finish in light of all the paper writing I’ve been doing. That being said, I’m just going to jump right into the books I read at the tail end of this Winter season!

10956The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides – Alright, so this was a novel that I needed to read for one of my classes, but I wanted to include it because it isn’t usually analyzed critically (meaning you’re not going to crack open a Norton and find this there). I read the majority of this novel on a spontaneous trip home, and I wasn’t impressed. For those of you who don’t know, this book is about a town and its obsession with figuring out why five sisters killed themselves. The descriptions of death were extremely unsettling, and there were times where I needed to put the book down. I also did not enjoy the point of view in the novel because it was from the town’s perspective, which bored me more often than not. I found myself skimming pages because there was so much unnecessary commentary. However, I have an overall appreciation for the novel (granted I had to write a paper to obtain this appreciation) but I found that the things I didn’t quite like about the novel were done intentionally. The film adaptation is supposed to be done really well, so perhaps I’ll have better luck watching that.

18692431Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I listened to this driving home for spring break using my Audible app. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I struggle with reading physical copies of contemporary novels, but I knew I wanted to read this book before its film adaptation came out. I’m so glad that I gave this book a try. Yoon’s writing is clear and quick to read, but still beautiful by how easy it is for her words to evoke emotion in the reader. This book was narrated by Bahni Turpin and Robbie Daymond, and I thought they did a phenomenal job. As much as I try not to let a poor narrator influence my thoughts towards the novel, a bad narration can ruin the whole reading experience, and I’m thankful that that did not happen with Everything, Everything. Overall, this novel is a well-written, quick and engaging read that I think most people will enjoy.

32737127Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me by Lily Collins – This is another read that I listened to on Audible. I’ve really enjoyed audiobooks lately, and I’d highly recommend giving this one a try since Collins narrates it herself. This is such a cliche thing to say, but this book is the one that I didn’t know I needed to read. After I finished it, I felt as if I had just underwent some sort of healing process that I wasn’t even aware I needed to experience. I could relate to almost everything Collins was talking about, especially when she addressed the toxic relationships she’s had in her life. Her writing is very raw and genuine, which made it all the more easier to feel like I was having a conversation with a friend. This book was also very inspiring in regards to my writer aspirations because Collins tells us about her aspirations as a journalist and the means she took to get one step closer to her dreams. 

25785357Firstlife by Gena Showalter – I had a love/hate relationship with this book. It took me so long to get into it, but once I was (it took about 100 pages) I couldn’t get enough of it. The writing itself isn’t that great, but Showalter never fails to create an engaging plot and interesting characters. I was mostly interested in the romantic relationship of the novel, which I’m thankful for because if it was not there, I probably would have given up on the book altogether. To my surprise, this book has been given a lot of praise among the book community, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a try. I picked up the sequel (Lifeblood), but I’m honestly not sure when I’ll get around to it.

27883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber – UGH. This. Book. I received this book in OwlCrate’s February Box for my birthday, and I’m so happy that it’s a part of my collection. As if the cover wasn’t beautiful enough, the writing itself is freaking gorgeous. Garber incorporates a lot of color imagery in the novel, and the whole book is one whimsical adventure/mystery. It felt like I was experiencing Caraval for myself, which I think was such a clever thing for the author to achieve. The writing was more mature than some of the recent YA books I’ve read, and I was quite thankful for it. There’s nothing worse than feeling disconnected from a story due to poor writing. I wasn’t crazy about the main character, but I liked her enough to root for her and wanted her to win. Plus, I lived vicariously through her because her love interest might be one of my favorite YA love interests to date. Julian. What a dude. P.S. This book earned a five star rating. 🙂

Spring is upon us, and THANK GOD for that. While there’s not much I love more than snuggling in my bed with a good fantasy read, I’m ready to kick the habit for the next six months or so. I’m going to preface this section and tell you all that I am not an outside person. I hate being hot, and I hate being in close proximity to things that can crawl on me (ahem, bugs). Spring is the perfect balance because it’s not too hot yet, so I can convince myself to sit on my front porch with a cup of iced tea and good book in hand–and not just any book. It’s contemporary season y’all. 

You’re probably asking yourself, “Danielle, why are you excited? You don’t like contemporary.” Wrong… well, kind of. Contemporary isn’t my favorite genre of YA, and I often refer to them as fluff reads. However, what I like about contemporary compared to fantasy is that the book relies heavily on interesting characters. There’s little to no world building required, so from a writer’s standpoint I almost find it more difficult to keep your reader engaged because they’re relying solely on your characters and their relationships. That’s probably why I don’t typically reach for a contemporary read because I find it really difficult to find a book that holds my interest past the first thirty pages. However, I want to push myself to read different genres, and the thought of trudging through dark, twisted fantasy novels when it’s so beautiful outside does not sound appealing in the slightest bit.

I don’t have a specific list of books I want to read this spring season; I tend to deviate towards them anyways, but be sure to follow me on Goodreads to stay up to date with what I’m reading. I will say, however, I just finished Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall and would definitely recommend adding it to your Spring TBR. Leave a comment below of what you plan to read this Spring season–I’m always looking for recommendations! 


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