Review: Note to Self by Connor Franta

31443393Note to Self by Connor Franta

Published April 18th 2017

In his New York Times bestselling memoir, A Work in Progress, Connor Franta shared his journey from small-town Midwestern boy to full-fledged Internet sensation. Exploring his past with humor and astounding insight, Connor reminded his fans of why they first fell in love with him on YouTube—and revealed to newcomers how he relates to his millions of dedicated followers.

Now, two years later, Connor is ready to bring to light a side of himself he’s rarely shown on or off camera. In this diary-like look at his life since A Work In Progress, Connor talks about his battles with clinical depression, social anxiety, self-love, and acceptance; his desire to maintain an authentic self in a world that values shares and likes over true connections; his struggles with love and loss; and his renewed efforts to be in the moment—with others and himself.

Told through short essays, letters to his past and future selves, poetry, and original photography, Note to Self is a raw, in-the-moment look at the fascinating interior life of a young creator turning inward in order to move forward.

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I really loved A Work in Progress so I was very excited to start Note to Self. I haven’t seen Connor’s videos so I’m not deeply invested in him which might be the reason I was so disappointed in Note to Self. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the photography in this book. Connor clearly has an eye for aesthetics and he’s work is really inspiring to me. But everything else in this book felt kind of boring and repetitive. I did like most of the poems but the essays just didn’t do it for me. Maybe because A Work in Progress was so open and Note to Self didn’t offer me anything new. I think people who are fans of Connor and love everything he creates will like this book much more than someone like me who just follows him on Instagram for his photography.

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Review: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

35606560The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Published October 3rd 2017

From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.

Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.

this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
fall
root
rise
in order to bloom

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I don’t know a lot about poetry and I don’t have a lot of experience reading poetry either so I don’t know how much stock can be put into my review. But I really enjoyed The Sun and Her Flowers, maybe even more than Milk and Honey. Even though I really liked Milk and Honey and could relate to many of the poems in that book, I felt like The Sun and Her Flowers was more my cup of tea. I was really inspired by a lot of the poems in this book and many resonated very deeply with me.
I do think The Sun and Her Flowers is worth reading, even if you’re not super into poetry.

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Review: A Work in Progress by Connor Franta

22886113A Work in Progress by Connor Franta

Published April 21st 2015 

In this intimate memoir of life beyond the camera, Connor Franta shares the lessons he has learned on his journey from small-town boy to Internet sensation so far.

Here, Connor offers a look at his Midwestern upbringing as one of four children in the home and one of five in the classroom; his struggles with identity, body image, and sexuality in his teen years; and his decision to finally pursue his creative and artistic passions in his early twenties, setting up his thrilling career as a YouTube personality, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and tastemaker.

Exploring his past with insight and humor, his present with humility, and his future with hope, Connor reveals his private struggles while providing heartfelt words of wisdom for young adults. His words will resonate with anyone coming of age in the digital era, but at the core is a timeless message for people of all ages: don’t be afraid to be yourself and to go after what you truly want.

This full-color collection includes photography and childhood clippings provided by Connor and is a must-have for anyone inspired by his journey. 

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I’ve never seen Connor’s videos before and I’m typically disappointed in books by YouTubers. But I seen so much hype around this book that I picked it up and I actually really liked it.
A Work in Progress is very well written and in a style that feels conversational. I felt like I was friends with Connor and was just hanging out, listening to his stories.
It was really interesting to read about Connor’s life and he seems like a really cool person. All of his stories are well spoken and not overly detailed.
I really enjoyed the photos scattered throughout the book and how unique this book felt compared to other memoirs I’ve read.

Overall, I really enjoyed A Work in Progress and would recommend it if you’re looking for a great non-fiction read.

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Review: I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin

33916153I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin

Published September 5th 2017

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely,
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two best friends will document every moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

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I bought this book solely because the title reminded me so strongly of my best friend and I. I’m not normally a fan of books with a text/email writing format but it worked so well for this book and I think Gaby and Allison did a great job writing in this style.
I didn’t really relate to the characters in the way I was hoping I would but I definitely related to the workings of their friendship. My best friend and I are long distance so the struggles the characters went through of being so far away really hit home for me.
I really loved the character development of both girls. It was beautifully done and I was really impressed.
There was a few slow spots towards the middle of the book but since it’s such a quick read, it didn’t bother me that much.
What I loved most about I Hate Everyone But You is how it’s clearly thoughtfully written. I wasn’t expecting it to be written so well but Gaby and Allison are very talented and I’m excited to read any books they put out in the future.

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Review: Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

19099368Unravelling Oliver  by Liz Nugent

Published March 6th 2014

“I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”

So begins Liz Nugent’s astonishing debut novel—a chilling, elegantly crafted, and psychologically astute exploration of the nature of evil.

Oliver Ryan, handsome, charismatic, and successful, has long been married to his devoted wife, Alice. Together they write and illustrate award-winning children’s books; their life together one of enviable privilege and ease—until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious, and subsequently beats her into a coma.

In the aftermath of such an unthinkable event, as Alice hovers between life and death, the couple’s friends, neighbors, and acquaintances try to understand what could have driven Oliver to commit such a horrific act. As his story unfolds, layers are peeled away to reveal a life of shame, envy, deception, and masterful manipulation.

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An unsolicited copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher

This book wasn’t for me and in my opinion, it was a complete mess. From a horribly sexist main character with no redeemable characteristics to random racist characters that are completely pointless to the story to an overall messy writing style, this book was truly terrible. I always strive for positivity in my reviews even if I personally didn’t like it but I can’t think of one good thing about this book.
I know the main character was written to be unlikable but I was left infuriated by every character in this book and I actually threw the book away from me at some points because it made me so angry.
This book was a waste of my time and I wish I had just put the book aside after the first few chapters and not finished it.

 

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One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

 One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
Published : September 19, 2017

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.


Ugh I loved this. More than I thought I would. I literally just flipped through this like there was no tomorrow. It literally took me two days to read this. I LOVE Blake’s writing and the characters in this book. Except for Katharine but I think that was obviously purposeful.

If you haven’t picked this up yet, please do. The writing is great. The flow is absolutely wonderful, there’s no gap or awkward portions of these two books. And the characters all work so well together, the relationships are great and I found myself wanting more and more as I kept going.

I think this is becoming one of my “go to” for recommendations and re-reads

 

Blog Tour: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover + Giveaway

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Published October 3rd 2017 by Atria Books

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

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Review

Colleen Hoover is without a doubt, my favorite author. I haven’t read a book from her that I didn’t love, that I didn’t stay up until 1am so I could finish it, and Without Merit is no exception.
I read the whole book in one sitting and I couldn’t put it down.

I loved everything about Without Merit. From the stunningly complex, incredibly flawed characters to the well written plot. I related to Merit in such an unexpected way, it almost brought me to tears a couple of times. I understood so many of the things she was going through and it was almost comforting to read about a fictional character that mirrored myself in so many ways.
There was so much development to the characters. I loved how each character had their own issues and everyone was flawed in such a realistic way. It felt like reading about real people.
Each “problematic” quality is addressed and dealt with at some point in the book and it really showcases how taking the time to calmly address issues is so much more effective than keeping secrets, talking behind someone’s back, or being passive aggressive.

The plot was so well written and thought out. There wasn’t any crazy action or over dramatic schemes. It certainly was not boring either. Like I said, I was up until 1am reading this book and I’m normally asleep at 9:30.

Overall, Without Merit is a stunning read and I can’t wait to reread this book over and over. I loved every second that I was reading it and I never wanted it to end. If you’re a fan of Colleen’s books, you’ll want to pick up a copy of Without Merit ASAP. Or if you’re new to Colleen’s books and want to jump in the ocean of feels that is CoHo books, Without Merit is a great one to start with.

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Visit www.WithoutMeritbook.com for teasers, tour dates and more.

 

Giveaway

Win 1 of 5 signed hardcover copies of WITHOUT MERIT! 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

408567071_hr.jpgColleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, This Girl, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Ugly Love, Maybe Not, Confess, November 9, and It Ends with Us. She has won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance twice – for Confess in 2015 and It Ends with Us in 2016. Confess was adapted into a seven-episode online series. In 2015, Colleen and her family founded The Bookworm Box, a bookstore and monthly subscription service offering signed novels donated by authors. All profits are given to various charities each month to help those in need. Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Please visit ColleenHoover.com.

 

FIND COLLEEN ONLINE:

Website: www.ColleenHoover.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/ColleenHoover

Twitter: @ColleenHoover

Instagram: @ColleenHoover

 

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Cover Reveal: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

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He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

Expected publication: May 8th 2018 by Tor Teen

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Review: Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

29960675Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Expected publication: September 5th 2017

Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

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The synopsis for Mask of Shadows says “perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo”. I think whoever wrote that set this book up to fail in comparison to those two writer’s books. Comparing a book to the likes of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo is a very bold claim and I feel like because of that claim and the epic sounding synopsis, I was let down by this book.

The plot is kind of boring and unoriginal. It felt a lot like The Hunger Games and by a lot, I mean almost an exact copy. I’m not really into reading books that are very similar so the plot really wasn’t for me.
I liked the writing. It wasn’t Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo level but I liked it. It felt like the writing of a debut novel but I think there’s a lot of potential for the author.
The diversity in the main character is what held this book together for me. I’d never read about a gender fluid character before and to be honest, I don’t know a lot about gender fluidity. I was very interested to learn about Sal and see a new perspective. If the main character wasn’t diverse, this would be a two star book for me.

Overall, Mask of Shadows was okay. I liked it for the most part but whenever I think about this book being compared to Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, I roll my eyes. That line is clearly a marketing ploy and shouldn’t be taken seriously. If you don’t mind books having similar plots, you might really like this book. Or if you’re on the hunt for a gender fluid character, Mask of Shadows would be a good one to pick up. But, if you’re looking for amazing writing and an original plot, you’ll want to skip this book.

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Cover Reveal: Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

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Making a Murderer meets Scandal in this story of police corruption, family secrets, and illicit affairs from bestselling author K.A. Tucker, celebrated for her “propulsive plot twists and searing seduction” (USA TODAY).

Noah Marshall has known a privileged and comfortable life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that’s been rattling in her closet for years, and succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family’s life. Reeling with grief, Noah is forced to carry the burden of this shocking secret.

Gracie Richards wasn’t born in a trailer park, but after fourteen years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it’s all she knows anymore. At least here people don’t care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop, murdered in a drug deal gone wrong. Here, she and her mother are just another family struggling to survive…until a man who clearly doesn’t belong shows up on her doorstep.

Despite their differences, Noah and Gracie are searching for answers to the same questions, and together, they set out to uncover the truth about the Austin Police Department’s dark and messy past. But the scandal that emerges is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.

Complex, gritty, sexy, and thrilling, Keep Her Safe solidifies K.A. Tucker’s reputation as one of today’s most talented new voices in romantic suspense.

Expected publication: January 2nd 2018 by Atria Books

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PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xdbjuD

Apple iBookstore: http://apple.co/2wyKbIm

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2wzcDdY

Books-a-Million: http://bit.ly/2wz3P8e

Google eBookstore: http://bit.ly/2w4JjJy

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2vY8g9x

About the Author:

image005K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge and is the bestselling author of Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series and the novel He Will Be My Ruin. She lives in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and a Chug.

 

Find K.A. online:

Website: www.katuckerbooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/K.A.Tucker.Author

Twitter: @kathleenatucker

Instagram: @katucker_

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