Book Review: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom


 

Title: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful 
Author:  Eric Lindstrom
ARC Paperback: 275 pages
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Mental Health Awareness, Young Adult
Rating: star icon star icon star icon star icon

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In the vein of It’s Kind of a Funny Story and All the Bright Places, comes a captivating, immersive exploration of life with mental illness.

For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst–that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she’s been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimed Not If I See You First, examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are.


This book is one of my most anticipated releases of 2017 and I absolutely loved Lindstrom’s debut novel, Not If I See You First. There may be some spoilers in this review because I just read it and I have all of my thoughts running from my mind! If you haven’t read the book, you can still read this review but just a warning some minor spoilers. But, I did try to make this as spoiler free as possible.

In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful,we meet Mel who is dealing with bipolar disorder and hiding it from her friends to be “normal”. She’s also hiding another big secret, that she has a brother, Nolan.

I really loved the parent/aunt relationships that Mel has with her mother and Aunt Joan (HJ). I barely see parents in Young Adult books and I love when I see parental relationships amongst the main character. Hurricane Joan really stood out to me and I am so glad she was apart of this story.

My most favorite thing about Lindstrom and his stories are that they are female characters. As he is a male author, he always nails his female characters to the fullest. I always appreciate the realistic side to Contemporary stories, for instance in A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Mel gets her period. This had me cheering!!

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Especially that this novel is written by a MALE AUTHOR. It’s such a real thing and I applaud Lindstrom for this. (Thank you!!!) Mel felt so real and raw in this story, and I really loved her, she was super relatable just like Lindstrom’s other character, Parker.

” I have a date tonight”

She stops to look at me, eyebrows raised.

“With my soulmate…Netflix” (46, Lindstrom)

Going off of this book being realistic, Mel works at the old folks home, Silver Sands Suites and forms relationships with the residents such as a new resident, Ms. Li and Mr. Terrance Knight. I loved seeing how Mel felt so comfortable when she was surrounded by these people. Also, leading to a new friend, David. I rarely see characters with a job, I loved that Mel had a job.

I really like how Lindstrom NEVER focuses primarily on the romance in his stories. This book also did that, we do see her interest progress with David but it isn’t the main focus of the story. The main focus is Mel and her bipolar disorder. Their relationship felt real, especially the fact that Mel didn’t want to get close to him.

Mel experiences lots of high school drama with her past friends – Zumi, Connor and Annie – and we see her new friends (who are the bomb I love them) Holly and Declan. This is such a diverse friend group and I loved them. They do things like, Movie Roulette where they basically movie hop and it’s hilarious! I really liked seeing the way things went between Mel and her past friends, Zumi and Connor. Also, the exploring of sexuality between to females. It was AWESOME.

“Spoiler!” someone yells, laughing.

“Snape kills Dumbledore!”

“Shut UP!”

Roars of laughter and a room divided. Holly covers her eyes with one hand. (54, Lindstrom)

As for bipolar disorder representation, I cannot comment on the accurate representation because I haven’t had any experiences with bipolar disorder. However, I really did like seeing Mel’s “animals” at the beginnings of every chapter – for those who haven’t read it, Mel describes her mind, heart and , as well as her visits with Dr. Oswald and Dr. Jordan. I do wish we had more scenes of her visits with Dr. Oswald because I feel it was very important.

For those who have read Not If I See You First (or haven’t!), Parker is a runner who is blind. We see Mel going to the track and watch the joggers because it reminds her of her brother, Nolan who was a long-jumper. I really liked seeing the mention of running in his sophomore novel! I wasn’t sure if we would get that in this book.

Me after reading the book: 

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Overall, I really did enjoy this book and it did meet my expectations. However, I did feel it was slow at parts and to be completely honest I was getting a little bored toward the end and some of my questions went unanswered. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a lot! I would recommend 🙂


 

Book Review: By Your Side by Kasie West NO SPOILERS!


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Title: By Your Side
Author:  Kasie West
Paperback: 352 pages
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Genre: Contemporary/Romance, Young Adult
Rating: star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

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In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?


As all of Kasie West’s books, I devoured this one. However, I felt that the first hundred pages were very slow which were the library scenes. That disappointed me because I was really excited about the storyline of Autumn being stuck in a library over the weekend.

Yet again, West hits you with the feels. I felt so many feelings in this book and  I couldn’t contain myself. Swoony feels, OMG WHY SHE IS DOING THIS WHAT feels, and last I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO CRY A RIVER. But, jokes on you because I didn’t. WHY DON’T I CRY AT BOOKS!?!
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I love when books do this to me, I was so connected to all of the characters; Dax, Autumn and even Jeff. I was reading this until almost 3am one night because I really couldn’t stop reading it. Kasie West does that to me and I’m okay with it! Also, can I just mention how I hated her friend group? They were stuck up, just like Gia’s friends in THE FILL IN BOYFRIEND.  Why would they leave her at the library if they already knew she was in there? Hm!
This is where I’ll bring up Dallin, Jeff’s friend…Gah! I hated him. So, so much. He was such a jerk and he didn’t even apologize to Autumn for his actions and words he said to her. Ugh, I was yelling at the book when Dallin would show up.
 I really liked how this book was just like a roller coaster, it didn’t stay in one direction it had its twists and turns to the story. I really thought this was just going to be a story about a girl and boy who get stuck in a library for the whole story. They are stuck during a three day weekend without any connection to the outside world and have to really use their survival skills. Like, no phone connections and eating out of a vending machine with little cash.
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The story really turns around to be something else and I really liked that it did because quite frankly, I would’ve been bored. The library scenes bored me and I’m sad. But, like I said the story turned around for me! I really love the direction the story went and I was on the edge of my seat (like on a rollercoaster, see the analogy?!)
I was also as torn between Jeff and Dax like Autumn was. I felt like I was Autumn throughout the story and I really had a connection to her. I’d be friends with her 🙂 I loved Dax, he reminded me of Jess from Gilmore Girls because he loves to read and he’s shy but super witty. NEW BOOK BAE ALERT!! And Jeff reminded me of Logan because he was very adventurous.Though, I made my decision with Jeff at the end. He was actually a sweet guy and I like what he did for Autumn in the end. So don’t worry, I’m totally #TeamDax!
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Anyway, I highly recommend it was so good and probably my second favorite West book. I also want to point out that there is some mental health related in this book which I LOVED *claps all around* I am so glad that Kasie is bringing more diversity into her books. As well as implementing a character who is in the foster care system *claps again*. Foster care is SUCH an important topic that I feel is underrated *i’m passionate about* and I’m so glad Kasie choose to put this into By Your Side because it’s SOO NEEDED IN YA!!!

This gif explains my feelings in all:

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If you’re going to comment a spoiler, please put spoiler before writing! I don’t want anyone to get spoiled. Okay?

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What did you think of By Your Side or are you now more excited to read it??

 

#DiverseAThon Wrap Up


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Today is the last day of DiverseAThon. I have read two diverse books this week with school and work getting in the way. I’m posting my wrap up early because I know I’m not going to read today because of school work. To see my TBR post, click here.  Anyway, here is what I read for Diverse A Thon. I will also have a January wrap-up posted this week as well.

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This was a difficult book for me to get through. I started it earlier last year (won the book in a Goodreads giveaway) and I was disappointed. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016, and I really feel like it fell short. I went to the audiobook after having a hard time reading the book. The audio helped it go quicker haha.

My overall thoughts are that it really felt like Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and if it would’ve continued the story as the night that Mark and Kate have, that would’ve made for a better storyline.

As for representation, it was okay. I liked having a cast of LGBTQIA+ characters.

I did discuss this book on a liveshow with other Booktubers for the YA Booktube Awards if you want to see our thoughts on You Know Me Well, We are the Ants and If I Was Your Girl. Click here to watch it.

My Rating: star icon star icon

 

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This book was AMAZING. I’m so glad I read it. This follows David, who has known he wants to be a girl since he was young and Leo, who is a new student to Eden Park School and wants to just get by.

The transgender representation in this book was excellent. I loved it so much, it was a great story of friendship and acceptance. Ugh, it was so good.

This is not own voices, but…The author Lisa Williamson worked as an administrator at a Gender Identity Development Service. If you’re looking for a book that features transgender characters I really recommend this one.

My Rating: star icon star icon star icon star icon

 


So, those are the two books I read for DiverseAThon! If you participated, what did you read?

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The Booksgiving Book Tag


Happy Thanksgiving! SophiesSeries on YouTube created this awesome book tag just in time for Thanksgiving! I love it so much and I just have to do it! Feel free to answer any of the questions in the comments.

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The Wrangler/Savior: What character would be most likely to chase after a turkey and what character would be most likely to save it?  I’m going with two characters from Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children, Enoch would chase after the turkey, and Olive would want to save it. Image result for thanksgiving gifs

The Drama King/Queen: What book character would be most likely to start an argument at the table?   Celeste from the Selection Series, this is just her personality and she would make everyone angry during dinner by saying something rude.

The Space Cadet: What character would accidentally set the oven on fire? Clark from The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, I could definitely see him going off to his office or something and forgetting that he put something in the oven! 

The Loner: What character would most likely be a loner on Thanksgiving? (because, let’s face it, no one wants them there). – Martin from Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda because he’s just not the best person and everyone probably hates him.

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The Perfectionist: What character would be too preoccupied making sure that everything at the event is absolutely PERFECT? Lara Jean and Margot from TATBILB! They are both always organized and making sure everything is the best it can be. Their Christmas party was perfect, I’m sure they’d even pull out the piano again and make thanksgiving themed cupcakes!

The Embarrassment: Which fictional character has a littleee too much (AKA a LOT) of the holiday spiced apple cocktail? James from True Letters From A Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan. James tends to drink a lot, so much that he ends up saying things he shouldn’t.

What book are you least thankful for this year? I’m not least thankful for any book because I’m thankful for books.

What book are you MOST thankful for? I am thankful for many books, especially the books I’ve read this year. But, I’m really thankful to Jenny Han for writing my favorite soon to be series, To all the boys I’ve loved before, it means so much to me. 

Name one random thing that you’re thankful for 🙂 I’m thankful for my cats because they always make me happy when I need it the most. 

Gilmore Girls Book Tag 2.0


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I recently filmed the Gilmore Girls Book Tag 2.0 and I loved every minute of it! If you didn’t know, I’m the biggest Gilmore Girls fan and I also created The Gilmore Girls Book Tag back in 2014 when it released on Netflix in the US.

Pink Lemonade Reads on Booktube created this tag and I hope you guys will share it! I did the tag on my Booktube channel but I released I didn’t do all of the questions? The footage must’ve gotten lost or something…Maybe I’ll film a part two. But for now here is the tag in written form!

I had so much fun filming and editing this video!! I love Gilmore Girls so much and this was a great tag. I’ll be doing my OG one closer to the revival date! *SPOILERS FOR GILMORE GIRLS* 


1. I JUST GOT HIT BY A DEER – character having the worst day ever 

I’m going with Hank from My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul. Hank promposes to the girl of his dreams by writing the word P-R-O-M out in sparklers. This results in her house *almost* catching on fire. So, I guess we could say he had a pretty bad day.rory-deer-gilmore-girls-6515

2. STARS HOLLOW – wildly eccentric cast

I just recently read The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson and it has a vast cast of characters. Andie’s friend group is pretty large and I loved how they all had their own personality and felt like real characters rather than just side characters.Image result for tumblr stars hollow
3. COFFEE – a book you’re addicted to/a character w/ an addiction

In my video, I mentioned an author I’m addicted to and I chose Rainbow Rowell because I’m so addicted to her writing, I’d read anything by her!

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4. SOMEONE DEVIL EGGED BY CAR?! – great act of revenge
Okay, can I just say I’ve ALWAYS wanted to devil egg someones car? Like, it’s on my bucket list. A book that features revenge is Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan  this book is about a prank war and a group of “The Breakfast Club” like teenagers who are trying to expose The Chaos Club at their school. So many pranks and much revenge!tumblr_nd3i3bu52t1qzcyzso8_1280
5. MR. MEDINA – an illicit affair

I really don’t have an answer for this! I don’t know that I’ve read any books featuring an affair. Image result for max medina gilmore girls
6. KIM’S ANTIQUES – a world you’d be afraid to enter

Dystopian is a genre I rarely read. But, I think the Divergent world is one I wouldn’t survive in. I’m totally in Amity but I just wouldn’t like to live in a world that Jeanine rules and the blood? no thank you!

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7. HARVARD VS. YALE – character who needs to make a life-changing decision

In Landline by Rainbow Rowell, Georgie McCool makes a life-changing decision. She is able to call her husband Neal from 15 years in the past through her old rotary phone. She can either fix things or change them entirely.
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8. LUKE’S DINER – a comfort read

In my video, I chose Anna and the French Kiss (collection) by Stephanie Perkins. Her characters and writing is so fluffy and just makes me feel comfy while I was reading!

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9. AM I CRYING OR LAUGHING? – a book that messed with your emotions
A book that gave me all of the feels? BEEN HERE ALL ALONG by Sandy Hall. IT KILLED ME IN THE FEELS. AWH IT WAS SO CUTE.

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10. EMILY – the HBIC (Head Bitch in Charge)

I can’t even think of a character that tops Emily Gilmore!

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11. LORELAI AND RORY – favorite family dynamic

My favorite family is the Spiers from Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. This  is a family I would love to be in. I mentioned this in my Top 5 Wednesday Fictional Family post. They’re big fans of The Bachelorette and are just very accepting and fun!anigif_f13b0852ba95f07b029d7945b0fff937-24
12. I PUSHED HIM IN THE LAKE! – a book you’d throw in a lake

Okay, does anyone else just replay this scene over and over? It was hilarious!! I love Luke  and Jess’ relationship.  A book that I would throw in a lake is Elsewhere by Gabrielle Ziven. I don’t dislike books very much but this was one I really disliked. I just didn’t agree with the world and the character was very very annoying. anigif_enhanced-buzz-14033-1363392192-10
13. 1000 YELLOW DAISIES – favorite romance

So many romances to pick…I’m going to go with a recent romance from In Real Life by Jessica Love. Nick and Hannah were SOOOO cute! Despite Hannah running away from her problems…I really like how their story ended! Internet romance is adorable.

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14. JESS – an unpopular opinion
I’m #TeamJess forever and I’m not ashamed! I love Jess and his character so much and his character development was so great. An unpopular book opinion of mine is The Haters by Jesse Andrews, it was definitely a disappointing read this year and I’m sad because I really wanted to like it and I was looking forward to it. The humor wasn’t for me and it wasn’t much of a road trip book like it was said to be.

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15. FIRST SNOW – snowy or holiday read

One of my favorite holiday reads is Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan! I read it just last December and I can’t wait for the sequel!Image result for snow gilmore gif
16. HEP ALIEN – book centered around music

Would it be wrong if I picked Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist? Well, I am. I just read it this summer via audiobook and I loved it! It’s so close to the movie it was like I was listening to the movie. Image result for hep alien gif
17. HE’D BETTER HAVE A MOTORCYCLE! – your book crush

Lately, I’ve been torn between the #1 book boyfriend spot. Levi from Fangirl and Peter K from TATBILB are fighting for the top. But, it’s been Peter K a lot recently. So..I’m not going to pick 😉

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18. IT’S REPETITIVE AND REDUNDANT – a book that could have been shorter

I read short books to begin with because Contemporary is usually short. But, I’m going to say The Selection Series for this. I really loved this series though I feel like the Elite wasn’t needed! It could’ve been a standalone or duo! Image result for gilmore girls repetitive and redundant
19. KIRK – the weirdest book you’ve ever read

A weird book I’ve read is From A Distant Star by Karen McQuestion. You can read my review, it’s a sci-fi contemporary book in my opinion. I enjoyed it however the story was definitely weird! Image result for gilmore girls kirk gif
20. IT’S A LIFESTYLE. IT’S A RELIGION – that one book that means more to you than any other. 

Did I really do a book tag if I didn’t fully mention To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han? This book means the world to me. It’s one of my favorites, I’ve read it 4x and I’m going to be a mess when the third book comes out. If you haven’t read it, I really suggest it. 
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So, there is the Gilmore Girls Book Tag 2.0! I loved these questions. Go watch my video and the OG video! I don’t know who all are Gilmore Girls fans so I tag everyone!!

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SEPTEMBER WRAP UP 2016


September is over? It was so quick! However, now that September is over I can read my October TBR! During September I read three books which were pretty good books! I felt that I should share these with you, also because I posted a  DiverseAThon TBR! Let’s get started 🙂

17838528Toward the beginning of the month I was finishing up TUE for my bookclub, The Story Squad’s liveshow.

I really enjoyed this book and it’s vast characters. I really loved the friend group that Andie had, every time they went to The Orchard or the diner I felt like I was apart of the group.

My favorite scene was the scavenger hunt, it was so much fun to read! When they first announced a scavenger hut at the end of the summer I couldn’t wait to get up to that part. I have only read Amy & Roger so I didn’t get the easter eggs too much but it was fun to see some characters from Morgan’s other books.

Overall, I rated it 4 stars because of how predictable the story felt, I always guessed everything!! Though, it was a totally swoon worthy romance and I enjoyed the friendship group & character development very much.Book Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson // spoiler free//

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This book was my DiverseAThon read and I absolutely loved it! I got this book from a Uppercase last year and I never got around to read it. I’m so glad that I did. I had saw Alex @ TheBooksBuzz raving about how this was her favorite book and so I had to pick it up.

This is about Parker and she is blind. She was in a car accident when she was young and lost her sight. Throughout this book we get to see the world how Parker sees it. She goes on a date and is dealing with the loss of her father.

Parker is super snarky and witty and I LOVED HER. I love having real characters especially one with a disability who just wants to be like everyone else. She has Rules for everyone to follow which are awesome. She’s really just a blind protagonist who doesn’t want pity or anyone to stop their lives for her. Parker is also a runner which was amazing!! I love seeing characters with a disability who are just normal people! 5 stars. 

Anyway, if you haven’t read this yet..I suggest that you do!!

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Last, I read The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner which is a 9/11 based Young Adult Fiction book which just came out this month.

Kyle’s school is evacuated when the first plane hits. As he’s walking home, he finds a girl wearing wings and takes her home when he realizes she has amnesia; she doesn’t even know her name.

Kyle goes through a lot in this book in relation to the Towers falling down he has to run the house. His mother and sister are stuck in California and there are no flights going out. He has to take care of his Uncle Matt who is paralyzed from a motorcycle accident. And he’s waiting on updates from his father who is helping with the aftermath of 9/11.

I liked this book but I was really thrown off when romance was tied into it. Knowing that it was a Contemporary I already knew that romance would be written in, but I just didn’t feel it. Also because 9/11 is such a big topic that I felt romance threw the story off.


 

I really enjoyed my reading this month! I read some good books and now I can’t wait to read my October TBR! Which of these books would you like a review for & would you like to see my wrap-up in video form? Let me know!

 

October TBR & ReadAThons


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Hello everyone! October is upon us, it’s definitely one of my favorite reading months because of the spooky readathons and getting to read books out of my comfort zone! In this post, I’ll be adding the books I would like to read this month as well as the readathons I want to participate in. I will be adding one book for each readathon. Let’s get started!


#OwnVoicesOctober 

Created by: Katie Loves to Read and BooksWithWings

They dedicated the whole month of October to reading some Own Voices books! Here is what I will be reading…

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan & I wanted to read….When We Collided by Emery Lord I’ve had it on my Kindle and I wanted to get around to it. So, I’ll be reading either  or both!

Mara Dyer ReadAThon

I’d like to participate in finishing this series. I just picked up the second book, but I am going to try to read the first one too, since it’s been awhile since I read it! 26153925.jpg

SpookAThon – October 17th – 23rd

Created by: BooksandLala, Paige’s Pages & Bookerly 

Reading challenges haven’t been announced yet, but it’s basically a readathon for  thrillers. I’d like to read With Malice by Eileen Cook 

SBOOKTOBER ReadAThon September 23 -29th

Hosts:
Paper Faerie, The Owl Burrow, KalesKorner, Stacy’s Stories, Don’t Stop Readin’

Challenges I will be completing: 
Read a book featuring your favorite Halloween creature. (examples: Vampires, Ghosts, Witches etc.)
Read a book with fall colors on the cover.
Read a book with a spooky setting. (examples: haunted house, creepy forest, salem witch trials, etc.)

I am reading This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab this month for The Story Squad, so I figured it would tie in nicely into this readathon! It’s about monsters? How creepy can you get? *let me know if this counts!*.  I’m also reading I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson which is another Fall colored cover!


My TBR is always subjected to change, so this is just potential! Are you particpating in any October readathons?? Xx Happy Reading!