Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2017

It`s that time of the year again, when you reflect on the first half of the year and think about all the resolutions you broke so far. Because June is almost over and most of us are still poor, fat and miserable. On a more serious note though, this is the perfect time to monitor your progress and see where you stand with your goals. In terms of reading, I am very pleased with myself. My goal was to read 50 books and so far I`ve read 28, which puts me ahead of my target. With that in mind, I thought it would be a nice idea to do the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

1. Best book you`ve read so far
This year I`ve read some amazing books and it was hard to narrow it down to ONE. But the one that impressed me the most was "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. When you read a historical fiction novel set during the World War Two you know you`re in for an emotional rollercoaster and this book did not disappoint. I also loved the fact that Death was the narrator. I thought it was an original thing to do and it added to the uniqueness of the story.

2. Best sequel you`ve read so far
The Fate of The Tearling

None. Because this year I was good at starting series and terrible at finishing them. The only sequel that I`ve read was "The Fate of the Tearling" which ruined my favourite trilogy and I`d rather not think about it.

3. New releases you haven`t read yet but want to
"The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas. I will be buddy reading it with my best friend sometimes around July - August. I know it addresses some important topics about today`s society and I`m 100% positive that it will end up on my Favourite Books of 2017 list.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
There are quite a few, as you can see from this list. But I`ll go with "They Both Die At The End" by Adam Silvera. Because he`s freaking ADAM SILVERA and he`s a God. Well, maybe not. But he`s so successful at creating beautiful and heartbreaking stories.

5. Biggest disappointment
"Caraval" by Stephanie Garber. I was so excited when I first read the plot. I thought we`ll be in for a magical ride that involves a circus and two sisters that will do anything for each other. Instead, we got the worst case of insta love, which is my least favourite trope. And that sisterly bond was as realistic as Kim K`s butt. If you want to know more about my problems with this book, check out my review.

6. Biggest surprise
I`ve finally finished "Pride and Prejudice" (third time is the charmer). I can`t say that it`s my favourite classic, but I liked the characters. Mr Bennet has a special place in my heart and Darcy wasn`t too shabby either.

7. Favourite new author (debut or new to you)
Patrick Ness. I think he`s an outstanding writer who can do no wrong. The man wrote everything, from middle-grade dystopian to YA contemporary with magical elements.  I know "Release" is already out in the UK and I`m planning on reading it very soon.

8. Newest fictional crush
I have recently started the Grisha trilogy and I hate to say it, but the hype surrounding the Darkling is real. I`m not one to fall for the bad guys, so that says a lot about Leigh Bardugo`s writing skills. At this point, I`m obsessed with this series and I need a Grisha TV Show. Possibly on the CW, as they select only hotties for their shows. (and don`t cancel everything like ABC/Freeform)

9. Newest favourite character
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon from "Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda" by Becky Albertalli. He`s such a precious character! I think that if someone put the word adorkable into a dictionary next to it there`d be a picture of Simon.

10. Book that made you cry
A Monster Calls

Again, it was hard to choose because I have read my fair share of emotional books this year. So I will go with the first book that made me cry this year and that is " A Monster Calls" by Patrick Ness. It`s a beautiful story about pain and loss and eventually moving on. Because my grandma died of cancer a few years ago, I felt a particular connection with this book and it`s definitely one of the best novels I have read this year.

11. Book that made you happy
"When Dimple Met Rishi" by Sandhya Menon. This is such a cute summer read! At the beginning of this novel, Dimple and Rishi are complete opposites. So it was fun to see their interactions and their developing feelings. There`s a review coming soon, where I`ll go into more details.

12. Most beautiful book you`ve bought so far this year (or received)

"Caraval", which makes me angry because I don`t understand how such a gorgeous novel can be so poorly written. Clearly, you should never judge a book by its cover.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
There are a lot, but I`d like to finish The Grisha trilogy and The Six of Crows Duology.

14. Favourite book community members
I can`t answer that because I love everyone. And I know that this is not Miss America and I shouldn`t give generic answers, but it`s true. Also, if I pick someone, I might forget someone else and I`d hate that. So yeah, I love everyone!

Top 10 Tuesday: Books To Buy Your Father

*Top Ten Tuesday in an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Hello, everyone and welcome to another themed Top 10 Tuesday post. Today the attention is on your old man, which is kinda cool because we don`t have Father`s Day in Romania. My parents divorced when I was six and even though I have a cool relationship with my mum, my dad was the one that raised me. We have a closed bond and like I said, I think it`s amazing to have a day when you celebrate that. Sadly, my dad`s in Romania, but I always make sure to call him on this day.

Initially, I wanted to write a post about the great father figures in literature, but after a closer inspection, I realised that they aren`t that many. You have Atticus Finch from "To Kill A Mockingbird", who's my literary hero. There`s the amazing Arthur Weasley and the ever-funny Mr Bennet from "Pride and Prejudice". But after that? Blank. This year I have read mostly YA and it`s shocking to see how absent most parents are. Obviously, I could have come up with more names, but the truth is they wouldn't have been memorable characters. So that`s why you are stuck with a recommendation list, which I hope will come in handy. I have divided this post in two, with 4 fiction books and 6 non-fiction ones.

For my fiction recommendations, I have selected mainly epic/ high fantasy. All of these books have spectacular reviews and are action-packed novels that will keep your father on the edge of his seat. If your dad loves a good plot and well-built worlds, you can`t go wrong with Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson or Brent Weeks.

On the other hand, classics are always a good idea. While I have selected the complete works of William Shakespeare, you can also go with Charles Dickens or Edgar Allan Poe. The trick is to get a gorgeous edition, like the Barnes and Noble Leatherbound Classics, for example.

My dad is a History major and he even was a high-school teacher for a couple of years. So he`ll probably enjoy anything that has to to with history or politics. But at the end of the day, you don`t need a degree to love reading about these subjects. Biographies are always a great start, as they`re not as tedious as some academic books can be.

Depending on what your dad likes, you could get him a science book. It can be about space or mechanics, it does really matter as long as it`s something that he`s passionate about. Or you could buy him a book about something you`re vocal about and start a conversation from there. For instance, I`m a feminist. I care about climate change and minority rights. Every time I call my dad we get into debates about current social issues and while we`re not always on the same page, I love our banter.

Let me know in the comments if you`ve read any of these or if you have any similar recommendations. As always, don`t forget to leave your blog links so I can check them out.

Summer TBR

As some of you might be aware, I`m a mood reader and I can never stick to my TBR. I try to go with the flow but at the same time, you need some stability in your life. I`m sad to say that after returning to work, I`m in a bit of a reading slump. I`m tired and nothing seems to catch my attention. My spare time is spent watching past seasons of Ru Paul`s Drag Race (which is my new obsession, FYI). Even though I am ahead of my Goodread s reading challenge, I know that if I don`t get out of this funk, I`m not going to accomplish my goal. In hopes of changing that, I`ve set myself a summer TBR. Obviously, I want to read more than 5 books this summer, but these are the ones I MUST finish.

"The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas
One of the most important books of 2017, this novel is bound to become a YA modern classic. I believe that most of you are aware of the story so I won`t go into details. I recently bought my best friend a copy of this book and if everything goes according to the plan, we`ll be buddy-reading it next month. We have similar tastes in books, so I`m 99% positive that we`ll both love this novel.

"Everything, Everything" by Nicola Yoon
All I know about this book is that it`s a book about a girl that`s allergic to everything and that`s the reason she does not live her house. But a new guy moves next to her, they fall in love and everything changes from there. I`m not going to lie, the plot has me worried and excited at the same time. Because I don`t want another one of those stories where you start living your life just because you meet a guy. It`s wrong and it sends a bad message. But most people seem to love this book so I will give it a chance.

"Truth or Dare" by Non Pratt
I`m cheating by adding this book to the list because I have already finished it. But I wasn`t done when I wrote the post, so what the hell? My blog, my rules. I got this book with my May Illumicrate, which I was meant to unbox on my blog ages ago. Anyways, I was presently surprised with this book and its portrayal of Youtubers. I will have a review coming up on Thursday, so stay tuned.

"Geekerella" by Ashley Poston
Or otherwise known as Cinderella of fandoms. I am a big fan of retellings, but 99% of them are fantasy and at one point, the get repetitive. So I was intrigued by a contemporary retelling of Cinderella. The book is also described as a love letter to nerd culture, and I have a feeling that it will be a fun read.

"Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo
The time has come for you to lip-sync for your life. Or for me to FINALLY be a part of the Grisha Universe. While I`m in a big contemporary mood, I also need to catch up with my series and this book seems like the perfect way to get back in a fantasy mood. Heck, I haven`t even started the damn thing and I`m already fangirling over The Darkling, based on things I saw online.

Let me know in the comments what books you`re planning on reading this summer. Your comments mean the world to me and I always reply to them. Also, don`t forget to leave your blog links so I can visit your blogs as well.

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 YA Contemporaries That I`ve Recently Added To My TBR List

*Top 10 Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

For whatever reason, I am in a contemporary mood since May. Maybe it`s because I`m back to work and I don`t have time to invest in long series. Maybe it`s because I have had a fulfilling reading period, but I`m really feeling YA contemporaries at the moment. With that in mind, I want to talk about some of the novels that I want to read this year. To make it easier, I have split this post in two. The first half talks about books that are out and that are on my summer TBR. The second half focuses on new releases. Since this post will be one kilometre long, let`s jump in:

"The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life" by Benjamin Alire Saenz
I have no idea why I haven`t read this book yet. For those of you that are not aware, Benjamin Alire Saenz wrote "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe", which is one of my favourite books. His writing style is lyrical and heartbreaking, creating unforgettable stories. This is set to be another beautiful novel about family, identity and friendship. From what I`ve gathered it has little to no romance and I cannot express how thankful I am for that.

"When Dimple Met Rishi" by Sandhya Menon
I had this book on my Most Anticipated Spring Releases list, but sadly, I did not get the chance to read it yet. You know how it goes: too many books, so little time. I will pick it up soon though, as it is a cute contemporary that also focuses a lot on Indian cultural aspects.

"Letters To The Lost" by Brigid Kemmerer
Another sad and impactful YA, because that`s how I roll. Juliet is heartbroken over her mum`s death and the only way she can cope is by leaving letters at her grave. Then one day, Declan find one of these letters and he starts communicating with Juliet. I am a bit worried about insta-love, but I do hope that the focus will be on family and loss.

"A Tragic Kind Of Wonderful" by Eric Lindstrom
The reason why I`m interested in this novel is that it features a bipolar main character. While more and more authors talk about mental health issues, the more prominent problems seem to focus on anxiety and depression. I`m extremely curious to see how this book will tackle bipolar disorder and whether or not we`ll see it romanticised. (a problem that many YA books apparently have)

"Wanderlost" by Jen Malone
A book where the protagonist is going on a trip around Europe, what more can you ask for? I know, we`ll definitely have a love interest and I`m OK with that. Why? Because I can deal with insta-love better when travelling is involved.

"Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell
Adding this book on this list feels a bit like cheating because it`s been on my TBR for two years. But this summer I`ll do it, so please don`t send the hate mail. I won`t even make a synopsis of this book as I feel like I am the only person that has not read it. Soon my friend, soon.

New Releases:
YA new releases 2017

"They Both Die At The End" by Adam Silvera (expected publication date - September 5th)
I know it`s only June, but I have a feeling that Adam Silvera will end up being my favourite writer of 2017. His novels are profound and meaningful, the kind of books that stay with you long after you read them. "They Both Die At The End" tells the story of Mateo and Rufus whose last wish before they die is to make a new friend. I think that this will be another book that has a devastating plot, but a positive meaning. I felt the same with "History Is All You Left Me". Reading it broke my heart, but at the same time, it made me appreciate life more.

"Dear Martin" by Nic Stone (expected publication date - October 17th)
If you enjoyed "The Hate U Give", you NEED this book in your life. Justyce McAllister is a top student and his future plans include an Ivy League school. After he is wrongfully arrested, he can`t fully recover, so he starts a journal to Dr Martin Luther King Jr. "Dear Martin" promises to be an emotional read, addressing important issues like racism and police brutality. A MUST READ NOVEL! I`m sure it will become an instant YA classic.

"Dress Codes For Small Towns" by Courtney C.Stevens (expected publication date - August 29th)
Billie McCaffrey is part of the Hexagon, a group of friends that always like to start up trouble in their small town, Otters Holt. Billie is also struggling with her sexuality and she`s afraid that she won`t be accepted by her family and friends. It sounds like a great coming of age story, that deals with sexuality and friendship.

"Little Monsters" by Kara Thomas (expected publication date - July 25th)
I don`t know much about this book, other than it was recommended for PLL fans. And I am sad to admit that I live for "Pretty Little Liars". It`s like a bad relationship when you know it`s trash, but you`re addicted to it. (though I want it to end and finally know who A.D. is) Anyway, returning to our book, "Little Monsters" is a YA Thriller that focuses on the murder of a teen girl in a seemingly ideal small town.

Let me know in the comments if you`ve read any of these books. Also, what books do you hope to finish by the end of 2017?

May Favourites

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times (when it ended). All jokes aside, May has been an amazing month. As some of you might be aware, I am on an extended holiday. Or to be more accurate, I am waiting to be relocated with the job. It`s a weird and somewhat stressful situation, and I am trying to make the best of it. Meaning I went home, to see my family and friends. And it was perfect because since I moved to London, I don`t get the chance to spend too much time with them. With charged batteries, I had a new found appreciation of things and it was a piece of cake to write about everything that I loved in May. So here it goes:

1. Books
When I packed my bags, I had 12 books in my luggage. I thought that a vacation is a perfect excuse to read. But I went back home, not on a retreat. I had to socialise and frankly, I quite liked it. While May wasn`t my best reading month, it did bring some of my favourite YA contemporaries. Funny enough, while they`re both LGBTQ+ novels, one will make you smile and one will break your heart. I am talking of course about "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" by Becky Albertalli and "History Is All You Left Me" by Adam Silvera. 

I did a review of "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" recently so I won`t talk too much about it. It`s a cute and fluffy contemporary, the type of book that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside. On the other side, "History Is All You Left Me" is deep and moving. It`s a powerful and emotional novel, so beautifully written that I have no words to describe it. Maybe that`s why I am having trouble reviewing it. Not to worry though, that post will come soon. (one can only hope) 

2. Music
The Cure! The Cure! The Cureeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I am currently going through my 80s phase. Every now and then I have a week when I only listen to songs from a certain period.  I know I am weird, don`t judge me! While the 90s remain my favourite, there`s no denying 80s had their appeal. So many great bands! And yet, none are as close to my heart as The Cure. From the melodic lines to the creative videos and haunting lyrics, I love everything about that band. 

And in case you were wondering, here my favourite songs:
1. Lullaby
2. Lovesong
3. Just like Heaven
4. Pictures of You
5. Fascination Street

3. TV Shows
I might have watched the entire "Gilmore Girls" for the 5th time and I am no even ashamed to admit it. A bit of back story: my mum is the worst at watching movies/ TV Shows because she doesn`t really pay attention. She has a serious Candy Crush Saga addiction, I`m not joking. But miraculously enough she enjoyed "Gilmore Girls" without getting bored. Maybe she saw herself in Lorelei, who knows? But yeah, I binged watched the show again and it was still enjoyable. I`ll always remain team Jess, and pretend that the revival did not happen. Because in my mind, Rory gets her shit together and she and Jess become an item again.

And that was it for "Fun with Flags". The wrong fandom, I`m sorry. But it is the end of the post though and I hope that you enjoyed it.

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