P. S. I Still Love You: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

*P. S. I Still Love You is the sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. As such there are major spoilers for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this review.*

“You only know you can do something if you keep on doing it.”

psistillloveLara Jean didn’t know what to expect when all of her love letter’s were mailed. She knew she was upset and panicked. What she didn’t know was that the letter she wrote Peter K in eighth grade would lead to a fake relationship. She never would have guessed that it would lead to something more.

Lara Jean knows she loves Peter now. For real, not as part of their pretend dating. But she still doesn’t want to get her heart broken. She’s still afraid of getting hurt.

When another love letter makes its way back to her, Lara Jean is confronted with feelings from a crush she never quite forgot. Lara Jean might have feelings for two boys. But she can only be with one in P. S. I Still Love You (2015) by Jenny Han.

P. S. I Still Love You is the sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and picks up shortly after the first book’s conclusion.

It’s hard to give this book a “real” review because there are a lot of spoilers–even with the summary because a lot of the driving plot mentioned above doesn’t come until after the first hundred pages.

P. S. I Still Love You was one of my most anticipated 2015 releases. While To All the Boys I Loved Before is a solid novel and functions perfectly as a standalone, I loved Lara Jean enough to want to read more. I also had a sneaking suspicion this book would have more John Ambrose McClaren* which I definitely needed in my life. (Not going to lie, he is my favorite character.)

This book does not disappoint. Although a lot of the plot focuses on Lara Jean’s romantic life, this story has a lot more going on. Lara Jean is still trying to be a good sister and live up to the standard set by Margot. She’s still taking care of Kitty and their father. She has to face cyber-bullying and changing friendships. Thanks to Peter (and her letters getting sent) Lara Jean has also come out of her shell and is trying new things.

It is particularly poignant to watch Lara Jean learn that the bonds that tie people together don’t always last forever and, more importantly, that sometimes that is the best thing for everyone. This story is imbued with a sense of nostalgia for the past as Lara Jean looks back on moments from her childhood but also immense optimism in terms of facing the unknown as she wonders what might come next.

Although Lara Jean doesn’t always make the decisions I would make in her position, she is such a well-written character that it doesn’t matter. Everything Lara Jean does and chooses makes perfect sense for her character in the moment so that the overall ending is deeply satisfying and absolutely perfect given the arc of both books.

P. S. I Still Love You is a must-read for fans of Jenny Han and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Also highly recommended for readers who enjoy slice-of-life novels with fun families, light (happy) romances, and especially for readers looking for a book that encapsulates nostalgia and optimism like no other.

*Follow me to my Exclusive Bonus Content if you want to talk more about John Ambrose McClaren (with some spoilers)!

Possible Pairings: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo, Nothing But the Truth (And a Few White Lies) by Justina Chen, Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti, Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg, The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman, Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu, The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson, Undercover by Beth Kephart, The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart, Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott, The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

Exclusive Bonus Content: I loved John Ambrose McClaren just from the snippets we got about him in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Sometimes with a secondary character you can tell, by how they are written, that they are loved by the author and have a bigger story of their own. That was definitely the case with John and I was absolutely thrilled to find he played a bigger role in the novel.

While the romance aspect of P. S. I Still Love You didn’t go exactly how I had wanted (Team JAM in case I wasn’t clear) it still totally made sense for Lara Jean. I also feel pretty strongly that she and JAM will find their way back to each other, but I’m okay with having to imagine that part on my own–that’s the nice thing about open-ended conclusions to a favorite book.

So obviously I had strong feelings about these characters. Because of that, I made some buttons for any fans who want to declare their allegiance. You can see them all in my Buttons inspired by To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before & P. S. I Still Love You post. Also you can tell from my blog’s sidebar which teams I have chosen.

July (2015) Reading Tracker

You can also see what I read and received in June.

Books Read:

  1. Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
  2. Suicide Notes for Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Books On Deck:

  1. Lion Heart by A. C. Gaughen
  2. Nameless by Lili St. Crow
  3. The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
  4. The Truth Commission by Susan Juby
  5. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
  6. Once Upon a Crime by P. J. Brackston
  7. Splintered by A. G. Howard
  8. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  9. Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius
  10. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
  11. Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
  12. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
  13. The Edge of Forever by Melissa E. Hurst
  14. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Books Bought:

Gifted/Traded Books:

Arcs Received:

If you want to see how I’m doing with BEA 2015 books check here.

July 1: Two books and only one day into July?! I’ll take it!

Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad: A Picture Book Review

Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad by Liz ClimoRory is an energetic dinosaur who lives on an island with his father in Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad (2015) by Liz Climo.

When Rory’s dad needs quiet time, Rory sets out to find some adventures all by himself. Little does he know, Dad is there every step of the way to make sure that nothing goes wrong.

Bright, bold colors and clean lines help bring these whimsical characters (previously seen in Climo’s comic Tumblr and her book The Little World of Liz Climo) to life.

Climo’s hand lettering lends a folksy quality to the otherwise sleek style of her digital artwork. Ample white space on each page and small pieces of text make this a read-aloud option with broad appeal. An excellent addition for most collections.

*A more condensed version of this review appeared in an issue of School Library Journal from which it can be seen on various sites online*

Week in Review: June 28

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

This week was pretty quiet blog-wise which sometimes happen when I pre-schedule because I forget to lay in other content. Oops!

After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo I started putting what I read in to practice. Last Sunday I did my tops and got rid of about half of them. I might still get rid of more. I’m trying to decide if a shirt can “spark joy” while still being kind of uncomfortable to wear. (I think I know the answer but I also feel like I need to own as many black shirts as humanly possible, you know?) Other interesting discoveries: I hoard hangers when I am anxious and overbuy them for fear of running out. (I do the same thing with sticks of butter. I don’t know why.)

Next up will be pants/skirts but not sure when yet. Ideally I want to tackle one category (or most of one category) every weekend until I’m done but working weekends sometimes get in the way.

Anyway.

This was a really fun mail week. (Like, I love getting mail to the point that I watch other people at work open their packages and volunteered to open unclaimed boxes. AND I NEVER GET THIS MUCH MAIL! OMG!)

I also took this amazing (if I do say so myself) picture of the Empire State Building this week:

Foggy view of the Empire State Building from this weekend. #newyork #nofilter #fog#empirestatebuilding #makinguphashtags

A photo posted by Emma @ Miss Print (@missprint_) on

I wrote a short story that I thought would be about a dreamy boy but it totally isn’t.

This week I read The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope a classic which embarrassingly slipped my notice as a kid/teen and started Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (yay Western! but I’m not sure about the portrayal of Native people in it–maybe in that respect Westerns just shouldn’t happen anymore, I don’t know) and Consent by Nancy Ohlin (I already have pages of questions/notes so I’m not sure how I feel yet).

I’ve been feeling really, really stressed by all of the reading challenges I signed up for on top of my Goodreads one. After much deliberation, I decided the stress isn’t worth it so I’m withdrawing from everything but my Goodreads challenge which I will meet regardless. I know I will read fantasy books anyway, I know I will read more the 365 days of YA anyway, and I hope I might finish some series but the actual tracking is just overwhelming right now.

If you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my June Reading Tracker.

How was your week?

Dove Arising: A Review

Dove Arising by Karen BaoPhaet Theta has lived in Base IV of a colony on the moon for all of her fifteen years. Despite her name sounding like “fate,” she doesn’t put much stock in destiny. Phaet knows there is no room for a larger, grander life within the oppressive rules and regulations issued by the Standing Council keep residents safe.

There is no room for defiance or even annoyance when the colony’s militia could be listening anywhere.

That also means Phaet’s mother can be detained at a moment’s notice leaving Phaet in charge of her two younger siblings and unsure how she can keep any of them out of the colony’s horrifying Shelter division.

With no other options, Phaet quickly abandons her dreams of scientific study to join the militia in hopes of earning enough money to cover her mother’s medical bills and her family’s expenses. All Phaet needs to do is survive training and earn enough money for her family. Simple. At least until everything Phaet thought she knew turns out to be very wrong in Dove Arising (2015) by Karen Bao.

Dove Arising is Bao’s first novel and the start of a projected trilogy.

Dove Arising starts with a fascinating setting. The moon colony is filled with new technology as well as a detailed history, details of which come in the form of exposition delivered as clunky asides throughout the narrative. While the information is often crucial to the story it is also often a distraction from the plot.

While not truly derivative, it’s impossible to read Dove Arising without drawing parallels to other big name dystopian novels. Readers who are fond of plots involving training and initiation, conspiracies and possibly corrupt regimes, will definitely want to pick up Dove Arising. Readers looking for a purely sci-fi novel might be better served elsewhere.

Phaet is withdrawn and quiet. Introspective and rational to a fault, she is an interesting narrator in that she is often a bystander in her own life. Bao expertly demonstrates Phaet’s growth as she learns to fight her own battles during training–her first time without best friend Umbriel to do the talking for her.

Dove Arising is an interesting sci-fi novel with a diverse and varied cast of characters. Although they never quite come together in Dove Arising, all of the pieces are here for a strong and wildly popular series. These strengths combined with a game-changing ending that will leave readers eager for the next installment make Dove Arising a promising start to a new series.

Possible Pairings: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, Legend by Marie Lu, Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Divergent by Veronica Roth

Split Second: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

*Split Second is the second book in West’s Pivot Point duology which begins with Pivot Point. As such this review contains major spoilers for book one!*

Split Second by Kasie WestEverything changes the moment Addie chose to stay with her mother after her parents’ divorce. Staying on the Compound is familiar. The Compound gives her the support she needs to advance and train her psychic ability to Search different outcomes for every decision she makes. Not to mention it has advanced technology the likes of which the Norm world can’t imagine.

Addie knows she stayed for a reason. Why else would a path where her boyfriend manipulated both Addie and her best friend Laila be the best option? The problem is she still isn’t sure why because she also asked Laila to erase Addie’s memories of the Search.

Laila, meanwhile, knows she can restore Addie’s memories. She just needs to learn how first. She knows Connor–a boy at school known for selling contraband tech–will be able to help. Unfortunately, Laila did not realize that he might be the only guy on the Compound immune to her charms and manipulation tactics.

When Addie goes to Texas to visit her Dad, she expects to have a quiet six weeks of relaxing and solitude. That changes when she meets Trevor who seems achingly familiar even though Addie barely knows him.

Together Addie and Laila have all of the pieces to restore Addie’s memories and unearth a much bigger secret. But only if they figure out how to put all of the information together before it’s too late in Split Second (2014) by Kasie West.

Split Second is the sequel/companion novel to West’s debut novel Pivot Point.

Split Second picks up one week after the events from Pivot Point play out. Given the nature of the stories, Split Second does function in many ways as a standalone however a lot of the emotional resonance will be lost without reading Pivot Point.

While Addie is dealing with the fallout from Duke’s lies and tricks, Laila is grappling with guilt over her (unintentional) role. Laila also has a letter Addie wrote asking her to restore Addie’s lost memories and no idea where to start.

The story unfolds in chapters alternating between Addie and Laila’s first person narration (each labeled with texts written to each other). West handles the overlap and convergence of the two plots expertly to make for one cohesive novel.

After meeting Laila in Pivot Point, it is great to see more of her story in Split Second. Laila is often calculating and even ruthless when it comes to protecting people she cares about. But she is also loyal to a fault with hidden depths. Laila always projects an effortless confidence that is delightful to behold.

While Addie rediscovers Trevor in Texas, Laila is left on the Compound where she finds Connor. Connor’s introspection and calm is a perfect counterpoint to Laila’s bravado and extrovert personality. Both characters have a lot of secrets and make conscious choices in what they present to the world and what they choose to protect. Their changing dynamic adds a great element of both humor and sweetness to Split Second.

Split Second is another fantastic sci-fi adventure complete with not one but two romances. West does a great job bring readers back to Addie and Trevor’s story while also introducing Laila and Connor. Although there are still a lot of questions (and many readers who would love to see more about these characters), Split Second is the perfect conclusion to a delightfully fun series.

Possible Pairings: Loop by Karen Akins, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, Parallel by Lauren Miller, Soulprint by Megan Miranda, Fair Coin by E. C. Myers, Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Charlie, Presumed Dead: A Review

charliepresumedeadEveryone is going to miss Charlie. He’s young, handsome, rich and charming. A world-traveler who always knows the right thing to say and all the right people. It’s a tragedy when Charlie is presumed dead when his bloody jacket is found at the site of a shocking accident with no trace of a body left behind.

Charlie’s memorial service is filled with mourners despite the short notice–including Lena and Aubrey. Although the two girls have never met, they have one important thing in common: both of them are dating Charlie.

While Aubrey came to the memorial seeking closure and hoping to move on from her tumultuous year as Charlie’s girlfriend, Lena is certain that there is more to Charlie’s disappearance including clues that will lead them both on an international hunt for the truth.

Traveling from Paris to London, Mumbai, Kerala and Bangkok will teach Aubrey and Lena some hard truths about themselves and whether they can trust each other. Their trip will also reveal shocking truths about Charlie that are beyond anything they could have imagined in Charlie, Presumed Dead (2015) by Anne Heltzel.

Charlie, Presumed Dead is Heltzel’s first novel.

Lena and Aubrey are complete opposites with few reasons to trust each other and fewer reasons to like each other. Heltzel’s dual narration allows readers to understand more of each girl’s motivations as well as their secrets. Charlie, Presumed Dead is a tense thriller that will have readers questioning everything.

Charlie, Presumed Dead has a narrow focus on Lena and Aubrey as they unravel Charlie’s lies. What begins as a simple plot expands into a simultaneously creepy and surreal journey as their search is contrasted against vivid international locations inspired by the author’s own travels.

Filled with twists, jaw-dropping shocks and several genuinely scary moments, Charlie, Presumed Dead is a page-turning mystery guaranteed to keep readers guessing until the very last page.

Possible Pairings: Shift by Jennifer Bradbury, The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti, The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu, After the Kiss by Terra McVoy, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty, I am Princess X by Cherie Priest, Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield, Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan, Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten