Akata Warrior Book Tour + Giveaway!

AkataWarrior_BlogBanner“To learn is to live.” – Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor

You know a book is amazing when days later, you’re still living in it. I love it when the book I’m reading becomes a part of my life, when the world is so immersive and the characters are so incredible and the story refuses to let you go. I truly feel like I’m living another life and for that space of time that book becomes my other reality. And now I am lost, having finished Akata Witch and Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor.

Continue reading “Akata Warrior Book Tour + Giveaway!”


Favorite Alex Rider Gadgets – Never Say Die Blog Tour

fullsizeoutput_1b22.jpegWhen I was in middle school (and some of high school), I used to be absolutely obsessed with spy / heist books. I loved them so much! Gallagher Girls, Heist Society, and of course the British teenage spy Alex Rider. I think he was actually one of my first book boyfriends. Lol. So you can imagine how sad I was when the Alex Rider series ended in 2011 with Scorpia Rising . . . and you can also imagine how I died when I found our Anthony Horowitz would be releasing a new Alex Rider book this year on October 10th! Then I got invited by Penguin Teen to participate in this blog tour for Never Say Die and read the book, got to the end, and died again!

So in honor of the 11th Alex Rider book, I thought I’d talk about 11 of my favorite Alex Rider gadgets, because how can you be a spy without the coolest gear ever? (Review at the end) Continue reading “Favorite Alex Rider Gadgets – Never Say Die Blog Tour”

Diversify the Verse

Screen Shot 2017-02-04 at 4.33.18 PMWe are now going into our fifth month of Diversify the Verse and I’m now just getting into talking about it on the blog because I’m terrible. Some of the material is recycled from our Instagram, but I wanted to also talk about my perspective and experiences on reading diversely. I know diversity in literature is also a very sensitive topic so if you have differing opinions, I encourage you to engage in a conversation with me if you’re inclined, but please be kind.

What is Diversify the Verse?

Diversify the Verse is a book club created by me and Alex  (@TheBooksBuzz) based on both Instagram and YouTube. Each month we read a diverse book, so a book with diverse characters (POC, disabilities, mental illness, LGBTQIA+, etc.), or a book written by an author who would identify as diverse, or an own voices book. On Instagram we give book recommendations for whatever diverse theme our book fits into all month. Then at the end of the month we host a live show on YouTube and discuss!

This whole idea came about because Alex and I are both booktubers and we were inspired by the Booksplosion book club run by Christine, Jesse, and Kat on YouTube and the idea of doing a live stream discussion about our monthly book. We wanted to do something different from them and we are both such huge advocates for diverse books, so we thought we’d combine the two and out came Diversify the Verse.

There are so many different kinds of books out there because there are so many different kinds of people. We hope that through this book group, we can inspire readers to pick up a book they wouldn’t normally lean to and learn something new whether it’s about their own culture/background or someone else’s.

Why should we read diverse books?

Diversity in books, movies, tv, and everything, just embracing diversity in life, is really important to me. As an Asian-American growing up, it was always really tough to find books with Continue reading “Diversify the Verse”

A Day in the Life of a Music Major

I love being a music major. I love music and it’s incredible ability to bring people together and to tell stories. I love that music allows me to be creative and expressive. I love performing and being on stage. I love the community music fosters. But I’m not going to lie, people don’t give music majors enough credit. My fellow classmates are some of the smartest, dedicated, hardworking, loving, and open people I know. When they say STEM majors require a lot of work, I could bet you that music majors are putting in even more time into their practice and studying. As a computer science double major, I, myself, would say I put in more time into music than anything else. So I just wanted to write a post about what my daily life was like this past spring semester and specifically, I’m a Bachelor of Music: Performance Major studying piano.

The thing about college is that you don’t usually have the same classes and schedule everyday. At my school we mainly have Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes and then Tuesday, Thursday classes. With my insane 20 credit load (16 is average), my schedule was all over the place, but I’m going to give an example of my average Wednesday (my busiest day) and my average Thursday.


6:30 AM – Wake up

6:50 AM – Eat breakfast while making lunch

7:15 AM – Leave the house and drive to school Continue reading “A Day in the Life of a Music Major”

Spring Reading Wrap-Up!

20 books, not bad. This spring semester of university was absolutely insane for me and I was in a reading slump and a life slump, so I’m actually surprised I got 20 books in between the months of February and May and I loved all of them. Most of the books I actually read during May, which is kind of funny since that’s when finals are, but I did a lot of binge and marathon reading.  A lot of these books are actually rereads and I’ve reviewed them in the past either in a blog post or in a YouTube wrap-up so I’ll add the link for those. And also, you can find more information about how I review on my about page.

(RR) = reread

Fantasy / Dystopian:

Winter – Marissa Meyer img_7614

Review in February Wrap-Up Video (7:10)

Wintersong – S. Jae-Jones 4

I think my favorite part of this book is the world it’s set in. It’s so alluring and enchanting and immensely dark, which I guess is why it’s so alluring and enchanting. The story and the characters on the other hand . . . there were many parts that kind of confused me and parts where I was like “why?” and Liesl really annoyed me because she just kept measuring her self-worth based on others opinions of her, which I guess was part of her arc, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a struggle whenever she’d start talking about it again. But in the end this book really broke my heart and I did enjoy it and I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

Continue reading “Spring Reading Wrap-Up!”

Standing Up – Kate Forest

I was sent this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, and honestly, I really loved it!

Synopsis (back of the book):

Standing up for yourself doesn’t require legs…

Brilliant physics major Jill Kramer tutors jocks in math to pay her tuition. The college junior has big dreams—NASA. And if her self-centered ex taught her anything, it’s to never again let a guy distract her from her goals, especially the hottie failing calculus.

Former football star Mike Lewis hopes the cute calculus tutor will save his otherwise perfect GPA. Top grades will convince his demanding father that he’s still pursuing law school and not his real dream—the Broadway stage. Acting seems unachievable at the moment, with him hunched over crutches and in crippling pain from a past car accident, but after amputation surgery he’ll strut on state-of-the-art prosthetics.

Jill can’t help but fall for Mike—brains in his head, muscles in his chest, and vulnerability in his legs. Mike loves her determination and her refusal to pity him.

But when choices have to be made—family versus goals, dreams versus love—they both need to find strength to stand on their own, side-by-side.

*Photo from Goodreads


This book wasn’t really what I expected. At the beginning I was a little hesitant and the New Adult style of writing took a little while to get used to, but I really started to fall in love with the story and the characters. It made me smile and laugh and at times it made me sad and frustrated, but I enjoyed the book so much. I read it all in a couple sittings.

Usually contemporaries don’t take place over a long period of time, but the timeline in this book spans two years, which was something I really liked because we got to see the characters really grow and develop a genuine relationship.

What I really loved about this book was the characters and how I found both of them to be so relatable. With Jill, I really identified with how driven she was and also her relationship with her family. With Mike, I could relate to his dreams of being an performing artist and that struggle he has with doing what his parents want him to do and doing what he wants to do. Both are not without their flaws and imperfections, and both have significant character arcs throughout the story and I loved seeing them grow.

Another thing I really loved was reading about a disabled character. Throughout this book Mike is going through the process of becoming an amputee and getting prosthetics.We see how Mike’s disability impacts his daily life, the way he sees himself, and his relationships with friends and family and Jill. I am not a disabled person, so I can’t speak too much on the subject, but I think it was written well and realistically. It gave me a lot of insight into what someone who is disabled or going through that process may be experiencing and I really loved reading a book that is diverse in that aspect.

If you’re looking for a diverse book, especially with a disabled main character, or if you are just looking for a fast contemporary, I definitely recommend you pick this up! I gave it img_7614 / 5 stars!

Love Always,

Belinda ❤

Books for Writing 1 : Crafting Characters

A piece of advice I’ve gotten from pretty much every author who is asked how to become a writer is to read as much as you can. Although most of the time I’m searching for another answer since I’ve heard it so many times already, I have to agree that it’s good advice.

I always find it really helpful to have books I can go to when I’m having writer’s block or if I’m writing something I just have no idea how to approach. I also find that after reading certain books, they find their way into my own writing somehow and help transform it. A friend of mine asked me to help her edit the novel she’s working on and I found myself frequently recommending books that have similar elements to her story or are good examples of things I think would help her writing. So I thought it may be fun write a post sharing some of the books I like to go to when I need help with all of you. I’ll try my best not to spoil anything.

Because there are so many influential books that come to mind, I’ve decided instead of writing one super extremely long post, I will write multiple long post. I am by no means an expert in writing in any way, but I wanted to also include some of my own tips for whatever subject the post discusses. Feel free to comment your own or let me know if any of this is at all helpful. 🙂

Crafting Characters

If I were to talk about what I think are my strengths and weaknesses, crafting characters would probably would fall under both. In some of the stories I’ve written, the characters just come to me. I have their whole history figured out, their relationships with others, their likes and dislikes, their voice. In others, it takes me long while to figure out who they are. I’m a big pantser, meaning I like to write without an outline, and most of the time the characters will reveal themselves to me as I continue to write.

Although, one of the things I did do when I started my latest fantasy novel is make character charts for my three leads, which I should really update because now there are arguably 4-5 leads. On this chart I list their age, appearance, qualities (negative and positive), skills / abilities, fears, ambitions / wants, background / history, important people in their life, and their family. Admittedly, I’ve forgotten to look back on it, but I think it was really helpful in the earlier stages when I had no idea really what my book was going to be about.

Another thing I did with this fantasy novel was create character playlists, which I may share with you later (I’ll link it here if I do). In this book there is the protagonist, I’ll call her MC, then there is the prince, and then there is the other guy. For MC and the other guy, it was easy. MC gets a lot of power, dark. and angry music, so a lot of Fall Out Boy, Sia, and Halsey to name a few. For the other guy, he gets some overlapping angry music, but a lot of break up / sad love songs. Poor guy. So he gets FOB, Adele, Troye Sivan. Then for the prince, I still am working on his playlist, but he’s got Mumford & Sons and Green Day so far.

If those doesn’t work, all I can say is just keep writing. Eventually you’ll figure it out. 😉 Now onto the books!

Shatter Me Trilogy by Tahereh Mafi:

  • Juliette’s transformation throughout this book is just incredible and not only do we see it in the things she does and says, but we also see it in the writing. We meet Juliette at the beginning the series when she’s been isolated in prison for 264 days and is bordering on losing her sanity. She’s very afraid and kind of filled with guilt and self-hate, but throughout the series we see her grow and transform into a strong and confident leader.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken:

  • This is another series where the main character transform from a very afraid, very quiet, very broken person in the beginning and finds so much strength throughout the series. Ruby’s character arc and her growth does not happen without set backs. There are many parts in these books where she closes herself off and she makes some not so great decisions, but I greatly admire how Alex was able to create and develop such a complex character.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas:

  • This is the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, but I’ve chosen this book because Feyre’s transformation throughout it is so inspiring and so well done. I’ll try spoil the books for you, but at the beginning of this book Feyre is going through some really serious PTSD and a lot of guilt. She really is not in a good or healthy place and she’s really broken but throughout the book she begins to heal. She begins to find herself again and love again. Even in life, I find her strength inspiring. All the things she’s endured, all the things she’s overcome, reading her story, even though it’s fictional, reminds me of the strength we all have to persist and carry on and succeed.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo:

  • The characters in this series have my heart and so does Leigh Barudgo’s writing. One of the things I love the most about this book is how we are introduced to the characters. The main cast is built from six different people, all criminals, all morally gray, and all with very complex pasts. I love how as we read, their histories are slowly revealed to us and in such an organic way. It’s like flashbacks but the flashbacks are so seamlessly woven into the story that you don’t even realize you’re being taken out of the present story line, if that makes any sense. Either way, it’s genius and has been a great help in my own writing.

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas:

  • I know for some people, they feel like the characters have changed too much throughout this series, that in the later books, they seem like they’re not the same characters at all, but that’s what I really like about Throne of Glass. Five books, six including the prequel, have been released for this series and so much has happened since Throne of Glass. To me, I would be surprised if our characters stayed the same, so that is why I’m also including this series under character development. I think what SJM excels in general at creating characters. There are so many characters in this series, a huge main cast, and also many supporting and minor roles, but somehow she’s able to make them all very individual and unique and complex. It’s something I find really interesting and something I really admire, the fact that she can have so many characters in this series and still get them all straight. Also, I know it’s not the same for everyone, but I’m genuinely interested in all the characters. For some of them, it took while for them to grow on me, but by book 5, I’ve really developed a love for all the main cast and I feel no urge to skip over any of their POVs.

Thank you for reading! Next up, I’ll talk about beginnings!

Love Always,



Winter Reading Wrap-Up!

This is so overdue but I wanted to do a wrap-up of the books I read over my winter break between Fall and Spring semester. So in total, I read 15 books from mid-December through the end of January. I honestly enjoyed all of them and gave them either four or five stars.

Some of these have I’ve reviewed on my Top 16 books of 2016 so I will link those to that post. Most of the other books I’ve also talked about in my January Wrap-Up video on YouTube. You can find more information about my reviews on my about page.

Fantasy / Dystopian:

Carry On – Rainbow Rowell img_7614

City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare img_7614

The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling img_7614

I finally read the first Harry Potter book and realized that I really have been missing out all these years. I really enjoyed reading this book and the gorgeous illustrations in it. It was so cute and fun and now I finally understand some of the HP world!

Library of Souls – Ransom Riggs img_7614

I really enjoyed this end to the trilogy. It’s probably one of my favorite endings because it was absolutely perfect! This may also be my favorite of the three books. I loved how we get to explore more of the relationship between Emma and Jacob. I also loved where Jacob’s character arc went. We get seeing him grow and really embrace his role as a leader and protector of Peculiars. Also the setting was really interesting in this book. They venture into Devil’s Acre which is a punishment loop and seems to be a place filled with every terrible thing that Ransom could come up with, but it was loads of fun to read.

Empire of Storms – Sarah J. Maas img_7614

This book was a roller coaster of emotions and feels! I loved it! I have my book talk linked if you want to watch me talk about my thoughts…and practically summarize the entire book.

The Young Elites – Marie Lu 4

Finally after all these years, I’ve finally read The Young Elites series! I really enjoyed these books. The first one I thought was okay, I just couldn’t really connect with the characters and I felt like I couldn’t grasp who they were. But most of that changed with the Rose Society, and The Midnight Star completely destroyed me. I finished it at 2:30AM one night and was sobbing. They’re so different from anything I’ve ever read because it takes anti-hero another level and I have never read a book where I feared all the characters to some extent. Adelina, Enzo, Teren (*shivers*), Giulietta, Maeve, they’re all terrifying. But I think what I loved most about this series was how morally gray everyone one was. No one was innocent, no one was inherently good, and that was so interesting to read. The world was also just wonderfully crafted with it’s own mythology, history, literature, and art.

The Rose Society – Marie Lu img_7614

The Midnight Star – Marie Lu img_7614

Passenger – Alexandra Bracken img_7614

I reread Passenger in preparation for Wayfarer because I’m so terrible to remember what I read and honestly, the first time I read it, I got confused every other page. And whenever things started to make sense, I’d turn the page and be confused all over again. This time though, I absolutely loved it! I feel like all I do on Bookstagram these days is talk about this series. This time around, I just realized how much I love the writing style. Crazy things happen as Etta, our protagonist, is thrown on a treasure hunt through time in order to save her mom, and I love how the writing allows us to see everything going through her mind. It’s detailed and sometimes slows down the pace, but I love how it makes everything feel so real. I also am in love with Nicholas Carter. He is a dreamboat!

Wayfarer – Alexandra Bracken img_7614

Wayfarer I think was even better than Passenger. I absolutely loved it. So much happens in this book and we get to see so much character growth in everyone, including Sophia. We also get to meet some new characters and travel to amazing places. And the ending is wonderful! I only wish this series was longer because I’m already missing everyone and this incredible world of time travel.

Scarlet – Marissa Meyer img_7614

I really love the Lunar Chronicles series. So many great characters with a diverse cast and a setting that brings the reader around the world and into space. At first I was hesitant about whether I’d like these new character since even though Cinder and Kai continue to be main characters throughout the entire series, we add in Throne, Scarlet, and Wolf in this book, but I grew to really love them. Thorne is hilarious. He’s rather incompetent and slightly pathetic and a such huge flirt, but he’s so much fun! I love how strong of a character Scarlet is, strong, smart, and incredibly brave. After her grandmother gets kidnapped, she sets out to rescue her. And Wolf, although menacing and huge, is such a softy who loves Scarlet’s homegrown tomatoes. I absolutely love him!

Cress – Marissa Meyer  img_7614


Gemina – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff img_7614

This was an audiobook reread because I absolutely love this series and the audiobooks are incredible. They’re voiced by a huge cast and we also get sound effects and even music in this one because of the annoying Lollipop song. lol. It took me a while to connect with the new characters Hannah and Nik, but I grew to love them and I’m looking forward to whatever comes next!


Royally Screwed – Emma Chase 4

Ghost – Jason Reynolds img_7614

Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw is a young black boy running away from life, the past, and bullies at school, and ends up joining the track team.  Ghost is a boy who tries to do the right thing, but somehow ends up always doing the wrong thing as he tries to navigate life. But throughout the book he learns from it and he begins to grow up and gain confidence in himself. I loved all the characters and how family is redefined in this book. Ghost’s mom, Coach, and Mr. Charles are all incredibly supportive and loving, as are the friends he makes on the team. It’s so honestly written with important themes and filled with Ghost’s hilarious narration. And after recently reading All American Boys, I will just read any book written by Jason Reynolds.


Thanks for reading! Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts?

Love Always,

Belinda ❤

Top 16 Books of 2016

In the year 2016, I’ve read 111 books according to my Goodreads, although the actually number may vary. There are some books that I read twice this year because they were just that amazing and most of the novellas that are also counted were counted as their individual story and as a bind-up if the bind up exists. In no particular order other than the order I thought to write them, here are my top 16 books of 2016. I’ve also posted a video on my new BookTube channel.
1. Shatter Me Trilogy – Tahereh Mafi

I’m counting this trilogy as one because the whole thing was amazing and I kind of binge read them….but if I really had to pick a favorite out of the three, it would probably be Ignite Me because Warner my love!!!

2. Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Hands down this is my favorite book of all time. It was the first book I read this year and I also read it later before Crooked Kingdom. The characters, the story, the writing, the world, the topics it discusses, everything about it is incredible. It blew my mind.

3. The Grisha Trilogy – Leigh Barudgo

I also binged these books and I kind of don’t remember what exactly happens in each book, they kind of blur together. But there are aspects of each book that I absolutely loved and aspects that were… upsetting… *cough* the end of Ruin and Rising *cough* (Just let me sob now *insert sobbing emoji x 100*). The Darkling is my love, he’s not even on my book boyfriends list because he’s on a list of his own. Again let me sob.

4. Throne of Glass Series – Sarah J. Maas

Okay, so calling five books as one is kind of cheating, but I don’t know which is my favorite out of all of the ones I’ve read so far (I still need to read Empire of Storms….). This series is just an amazing series, the characters, the world, the writing, the everything. I know I’ve seen some criticism about this series and the characters acting “out of character” but it’s been four/five books and a lot has happen. People change and I think this series does a good job at portraying that. I also loved how each book has it’s own story arc that is established and resolved in that one book, but there is also the greater story arc of the series. It makes each ending slightly less painful. But considering five of them were already out (including The Assassin’s Blade), I didn’t have to suffer for long.

5. A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas

This book completely destroyed my life. I honestly couldn’t do anything for a week after I finished it. Every other word going through my mind was Rhysand, Velaris, and ACOMAF. I spent all my free time over two days reading this gigantic book and it felt like a months had passed. So much stuff happens and it’s glorious!!!!! I loved seeing Feyre’s story arc through this book and she actually inspired me to start seriously painting again when she started painting again. Also RHYSAND!!!!! I know I call everyone my love, but that High Lord of the Night Court is on another list of his own. He is my everything.

6. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han

You don’t know how much it means to me that a contemporary book exists with an asian main character who is the girl-next-door. I loved this book and its sequel. It’s so cute and fun. I was smiling the entire time I was reading it.

7. Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

This book is the coolest book ever. I loved the different format of a dossier with texts, IM, emails, transcripts, etc. And I loved Kady’s character. As a computer science major, I loved that she’s a hacker and computer person and I love her bravery. I also loved Ezra who I think is hilarious. And of course AIDAN!

8. The Wrath and the Dawn – Renée Ahdieh

One of the most beautiful books ever. I loved that this book is a retelling of 1001 Nights and I loved that it’s set in the Middle-East. I think the culture there is so rich and old and beautiful and this book does really well capturing that and the magic there. I also loved the characters, Shazi and her strength and intelligence, Khalid and how passionate he is. He’s my number one book boyfriend (along with Kaz, Arin, and Warner because I refuse to choose).

9. The Raven King (The Raven Cycle) – Maggie Stiefvater

I never know how much I loved this series or how much this series meant to me until I started this book and realized it was almost over. These characters, Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Noah, Henry, just walked into my life and into my heart without me even realizing it until I had to say goodbye. I would love a chart with every character and how they ended up after this book because there are so many I still wonder about, but it was a good ending.

10. The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski

I loved this series, but I especially loved this first book. As a piano major, I loved that Kestrel played the piano and her connection to music. I felt like there’s a tendency to over romanticize music in books in comparison to how I relate to music, and I’m sure it’s totally different for everyone, but I just felt like it was more real. Even though Kestrel’s dad is a pretty terrible dad, I also really felt like I could connect with that relationship. And I also am in love with Arin and I love how complex he is and how is god is the god of death…. Oh Arin, how I love that boy.

11. Challenger Deep – Neal Shusterman

This book completely surprised me. I did not know going in that I would love this book as much as I did. I feel like for me it’s tougher to find books about mental illness that really resonate with me, but there was something about Challenger Deep that I fell in love with. i read it as an audiobook, and I actually prefer it as an audiobook because it felt so real and it felt like I was there. And I always love books that have two distinct storylines or aspects (as in the main story and an interwoven text) because I love looking for the line that connect between the two. This book had the Caden at home and then there was the Caden on a ship to the Marianas Trench. I just loved it.

12. The False Prince (Ascendance Trilogy) – Jennifer A. Nielsen

This book has always been one of my favorites and I reread it this year in audiobook format and it will forever be one of my favorite books. I loved Sage’s character, his wit, his intelligence. He is a genius and he’s incredibly brave and strong-willed.

I do realize how many times I’ve said love in this blog post and how many fictional boys that word has been associated with, but what can you do?

13. Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

I can’t believe how long I put off this book. The name sounds corny and cliché but this book is amazing and so much fun. I loved that it took place in Paris because I do love Paris. I got to visit a couple summers back and I desperately want to take another trip there. And I think this book captures some other aspects of Paris that paint it more realistically versus the really romanticized version we get of Paris in TV, Movies, and other media.

14. The Mortal Instruments series – Cassandra Clare

I also can’t believe that I finally finished this series. It’s been eight years since I entered the Shadow World and it’s had it’s ups and downs, but this year I was determined to finish it. I had originally tried to read City of Heavenly Fire when it first came out in 2014, but I quit around 200 pages in because I had completely forgotten everything and I wasn’t very interested in the multiple POVs besides Clary and Jace. But this year I reread the whole thing and after 4 months of reading City of Heavenly Fire, I finally finished it this week! I kind of thought that I was done the Shadow World and Cassandra Clare’s books, I’ve read the Infernal Devices, was about to finish this series, but now that it’s over, I’m really sad. I guess I never really thought it would happen and I’ll miss these characters so much. But at least there’s still the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy and I got roped into Lady Midnight once I found out it’s about revenge…. so I hope this isn’t a real goodbye. But if I had to pick a favorite out of all of the books it’s either City of Glass or City of Heavenly Fire (despite it taking forever for me to read).

15. The Wrong Side of Right – Jenn Marie Thorne

This is another book that really surprised me. Going into it, I never thought I’d like it as much as I did and I never thought that for weeks after I finished it, I would still be thinking about it. I think what really resonated with me in this book was the focus on family and there are so many mean stepmother / step-siblings stories and this one was the opposite. And I also really loved Andy. That boy is loads of fun! 🙂

16. Carry On – Rainbow Rowell

It’s been over a week since I’ve read this book and it’s still going through my mind. I live for Simon and Baz!!! The second Baz walked into the room I was cheering out loud, I hadn’t even formally met him yet in this book, but from what Simon was saying about him, I loved him. I so badly want to reread it, but I’ll probably wait until I finish reading the Harry Potter series so I can see how that ends up comparing….because I’ve only read the first Harry Potter book…on Christmas.

So that rounds up my “Top 16.” I had such a hard time picking these books, probably because my memory of what I read is terrible. And I also feel like I love books more as I’m reading them or right when I finish them and I end up forgetting that feeling as time moves on. So I guess some of these books are honorably on it.

I do realize how many times I’ve said love in this blog post and how many fictional boys that word has been associated with, but what can you do?

Did any of these books make your list?

Love Always,



Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

“Where there are villains, there will be heroes. Just wait. They will come.”

I’ve listened to this as an audiobook but the last 80 pages I had to finally finish off by reading the physical book and WOW! I’ve heard so many great things about Brandon Sanderson and this book lived up to the hype.

Steelheart is a dystopian novel set in a world where some people have been given special powers. They call themselves the Epics and they now rule over the world. Chicago has been turned into Newcago, a city turned to steel and ruled by the invincible Epic, Steelheart. When David was eight, Steelheart killed his father, but not before David saw that it was possible for Steelheart to bleed, and therefore killed. Seeking revenge, he hopes to team up with the Reckoners, a group of rebels fighting against the Epics, and bring end to Steelheart’s tyranny.

I feel like, listening to the audiobook, I wasn’t able to connect with the characters or the story as much as I would’ve reading the physical book, so the first half was kind of just okay. I liked all of the characters and how unique everyone was. They all have their quirks and I found that really fun. David with his inability to come up with good metaphors. Megan, the girl who gets the job done. Cody, the guy from Tennessee who is always talking about Scotland, the Homeland. Abraham, the profound Québécois. Tia, the woman behind the scenes. Prof, the mysterious leader.

I loved how the characters had accents in the audiobook, Abraham with his French accent, and especially Cody with his southern accent. It just brought out so much more in their character that I wouldn’t have caught on on by reading the book. Listening to it also made the story feel a little disjunct and not much seemed to be happening. It is the first book so it has to sets up this fantastical world and it does that really well, especially for how relatively short it is as sci-fi fantasy, and there certainly is a good amount of action in the first half but it just didn’t really seem to resonate with me.

What really stuns me about this book is how Brandon Sanderson is able to craft this incredibly detailed and unique world in such a short, relatively-speaking in terms of fantasy, book.

But the last 120 or so pages, in the audiobook and physical book, were just incredible. The action, the reveals, the pacing, the climax, it completely blew me away. I am still reeling from how amazing it was. I definitely want to reread the physical book and am so excited find out where the trilogy goes. So my rating for this book is probably a 4.5/5 stars.


Love always,