Saturday, June 28, 2014

Side Effects May Vary Review

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 336

Synopsis (from Goodreads)-
What if you'd been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she's said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she caused irreparable damage to the people around her—and to the one person who matters most?

My Rating

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book, but for many people it's a hit or miss read.  I know for many people the main character can be annoying, and I can see that, but I liked the main character. However I do realize that she is not the best person, but at the same time I also understand where all of that anger comes from.  I thought this was a very unique book with a plot that definitely has not been done before.  It is told in flashback from the main character Alice's point of view and her childhood best friend Harvey's point of view.  I enjoyed the two different points of views because you got to see not only how the cancer affected Alice, but you also got to see how it affected the people around her like Harvey.  Needless to say, I wish I had a Harvey in my life.  He's definitely one of my favorite male characters that I have read in quite some time. 
One of the great things is that the characters felt so real.  There was one point where I actually had to put down the book because I was so angry with one of the characters.  They felt like real people that could have gone to my high school, and  think that was one of the best parts because sometimes, even in contemporary books, the characters don't feel real to us.  With this book, I didn't feel like I had that problem. Even Alice felt very realistic.  So overall I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Favorite Summer Reads So Far

So for me, summer started at the beginning of May.  My classes ended during the first week of may so we're going to talk about my favorite books so far this summer.

Now most of my favorite books so far this summer have been contemporaries because I have been in a super big contemporary mood this summer!

The first one I recommend is My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.
 The Goodreads Synopsis:
"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

My Thoughts:
I read this during Bout of Books 10.0.  It is rather long for a contemporary at almost 400 pages, and I read it in a little over a day  So I would definitely suggest it.  It's a very realistic family dynamic which was a pleasure to read.  There was also a nice plot twist that I really enjoyed.  The plot was a very nice romance.  While it is mostly about the relationship, there was a lot about family throughout the book.

The next book I recommend is This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.  If you are looking for something super adorable. You need to read this!

The Goodreads Synopsis:
If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

My Thoughts:
This is another long contemporary at over 400 pages, and once again I flew through this.  This is the definition of cute fluffy romance like if cute fluffy romance was in the dictionary the cover of This Is What Happy Looks Like would be the picture.  I really enjoyed it. I personally would recommend all of her books, but this is the one I read this summer.  I really enjoyed the email aspect as well. I love books with email in them.

 The last book I will recommend to you that I have read so far this summer was Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson.  This was not only a nice romance, but there was a lot of character growth

The Goodreads Synopsis:
Before Sloane, Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, and she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—someone who yanks you out of your shell.

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list with thirteen bizarre tasks that Emily would never try. But what if they can lead her to Sloane?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Wait…what?

Getting through Sloane’s list will mean a lot of firsts, and with a whole summer ahead of her—and with the unexpected help of the handsome Frank Porter—who knows what she’ll find.

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

My Thoughts:
Once again this was a long book at almost 450 pages, and I felt like I flew through it.  The only thing I didn't like about this book was that I was reading it on a tablet.  I got an ebook copy of it while I was at BookCon and it was one of the first books i read when I got home.  It was such a unique story, and I would definitely recommend it if you love contemporary, but want something a little different.  Emily throughout the story is trying to find herself and through that a romance develops, not the other way around.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

If You Like Looking for Alaska

If you enjoyed John Green's novel, Looking for Alaska, I have some recommendations.

If you liked the high school setting and want a book about finding yourself, I would recommend The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (also known as Severed Heads, Broken Hearts in other countries).

If you liked the high school setting in Looking for Alaska, this has that setting, but it also has quirky lovable characters. If you liked Pudge, Alaska, Takumi, or the Colonel, I can almost guarantee that you will be able to find a character you love in this book.

So what's it about?  Well according to Goodreads:
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.
But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

If you're looking for that high school setting but want a lighter narrator, I would suggest Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews.  Now as a warning, this is a lot of crude humor, so if that isn't your taste then this is probably not a book for you.  

However if that is your type of humor, then this is a great book for you.  I found myself laughing because it was a very true portrayal of what high school feels like (you know besides the dying girl).

So what does Goodreads say it's about:
Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

Well if you just want some quirky characters, but just want a light and fluffy story, I would suggest Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins.

Why do I suggest Lola and the Boy Next Door? Because these characters are so quirky and they are great to read about.  It is a quick fun read so if you are looking for a read that could take a day or less this is definitely your book.  Also this isn't a book with a lot of heavy topics so if you are looking for something light to read especially during a book hangover.

So Goodreads synopsis:
Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Last, but not least, I recommend This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. 

If you liked the deeper topics in Looking for Alaska, then I think that you will really enjoy This Song Will Save Your Life.  It is a story where they main character tries to find herself.  This isn't a "light" read, but it's not a hard read.  It's about 200 pages, so it is a quick read as well.

So here's the Goodreads synopsis:
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

These are just some of my recommendations, and I hope you enjoy them :).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Selection Review

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Series: Book 1 in The Selection Series
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Romance
Pages: 336

Synopsis (From Goodreads)
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

My Rating

My thoughts

I read this immediately after I finished We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and I needed a lighthearted easy read.  If you've read We Were Liars, you will understand why.  So if you're looking for some amazing literary master piece this isn't the book for you.  It was a good story,but if you are not a fan of love triangles, this is probably no the book for you.  I can appreciate a good love triangle every once in a while.  The characters can be incredibly frustrating, and I found myself wanting to smack Aspen, and America wasn't much better, but there faults make for a more interesting read, in my opinion.  However annoying America Singer may seem at some times, she did redeem herself when she said this line.  "I am not choosing him or you.  I"m choosing myself."  
So needless to say, I plan on continuing on with the series, and I would definitely suggest it if you are looking for a romance or an easy read.  However don't go into it expecting to get a lot out of it except for a great story.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Booktube Census

As some of you may know, I decided to conduct a Booktube census.  I was inspired by Hank Green who for the last two years has conducted a Nerdfighter census, and I was quite curious about the demographics of our community.  I had a few snafus with this project.  While surveymonkey is an excellent website, I could only do ten questions at a time, which isn't a big problem, but it would have made life easier.  Also you can only see 100 responses at a time.  So there are about twenty responses that I couldn't even use.  This was also an easy fix, but it definitely made it a challenge.

Now I'm sure you may or may not be wondering if I'm even qualified to tell you about this data.  I definitely would not say I'm "qualified", but I am a math major who took AP Statistics in high school and did well enough to test out of one of my Stats classes.  So we're going to go with yes! (that's an excited exclamation point not a yelling at you exclamation point).

So let's get into the survey results!

The first question was "What is your gender?"
These results were what was expected.  There was approximately a 9:1 female to male ratio.  However what I found quite fascinating is that a little over 1% of our community is not male or female, about .76% is transgender.  While that is not a large portion of people, I still found it a larger portion than I expected.  Other than that though there was nothing particularly exciting about these results

The second question was "What is your age?"
These results also were what I expected.  We are predominately mid teen into our mid twenties.  I did find that a large portion of the community was in my age bracket (18-21), which actually surprised me because I feel most of the people I communicate with in the community are either much older or much younger than I am, but the thing I found the coolest is that we almost have a true bell curve.  For those who aren't remotely interested in Statistics a bell curve is a good thing :). Here's what the graph looks like (I'm really only showing you the graphs that may be somewhat interesting I don't want to show them all to you).

The third question was "Where are you from?"
Once again these results aren't super shocking.  The top four countries were the U.S., the U.K.,  Australia, and Canada (in descending order).  However there is a vast portion of people from other countries.  While I didn't have a great pool of countries (I picked countries that showed up on the analytics on my YouTube channel so I will admit it was a poor pool).  Now I could unfortunately only look at the first 200 comments in the others section.  However some of the more popular other categories were Belgium, Ireland, Argentina, and Portugal.  Some of the ones that I found interesting and surprising were the UAE, Turkey, Serbia, and Malta.  There were quite a few interesting countries that popped up that I hadn't anticipated.

The fourth question was "How involved are you in the Booktube community?"
This was a particularly important question to me because I make videos, I am a blogger, and I try to be an active participant.  So I wanted to see the ratio of active to passive participants.  Unfortunately there are more passive participants than active participants.  I would personally love to see that there were almost no passive participants. I would love for everyone to be able to comment on videos, but I know that with the way YouTube is set up for some people that isn't a possibility (I am not sure if that is still a problem though).  I personally love comments and talking to people so that is why I wish more people were active participants in the community.  However on a more positive note, there are twice as many people who make videos regularly than who make videos sporadically.  So if you're making videos, keep doing it! :) Here's this graph:

The fifth question was "Who's videos do you watch most frequently?"  I specifically worded it this way because I wanted to see who's watched most frequently rather than who are most people subscribed to because you can look up everyone's subscriber count.  What I found most interesting is that the booktubers with the most subscribers were not necessarily watched the most.  I actually ended up comparing the number of subscribers to the percentage of people who watch them frequently.  I ended up making the subscriber count out of 100 so it goes along with the percentage.  When looking at it like this, 23 of the 34 booktubers are watched more often than they are subscribed to.  There is however a potential for bias since certain booktubers did help spread the survey via Twitter and Facebook, but that percentage shouldn't be too large.  So now it brings the question of why do people watch videos more often than they subscribe.  I also would like to add that there were a lot of responses in the other field, which I really really appreciate it was hard to keep up with all of them, but I know I missed some fantastic booktubers.  So here is the chart for just the number of people who watch these youtubers.  I don't want to show the comparative chart because I don't know how people feel about others seeing their subscriber account (yes I know it is public, however it is a touchy subject for some and would not like to step on anyone's toes). 

The next question was "What genres do you generally read?"  I picked this one because I know a lot of people think booktube is too YA centric.  However 96.5% of people who responded read YA.  Now I also understand that there can be response bias, but I don't believe it could be that major because I did have a rather large pool of responses.  So essentially keep reading YA if you want to, and don't worry so much about it being a focus on booktube, but definitely still branch out because the more variety the better.  However what I found was shocking that for all of the other categories with the exception of the other category and non-fiction, at least thirty percent of the participants read each of these genres (I know that was poor wording, but the graph will show it all!).  Also I was shocked that 15% of people read non-fiction as well. So here is the graph. :) 

The next two questions I want to talk about together, and they are "Which videos do you watch most often?" and "What videos would you like more of?"  Not so surprisingly most people watch hauls most often, and the followed by TBRs, which I wasn't expecting.  I don't like making TBRs but as I thought about it I really enjoy watching them.  By far people would like more recommendations videos.  This was slightly surprising to me because it seems whenever someone asks what videos they want more of it is review videos (which also was highly requested).  Also some of the more common answers in the other category were discussion videos and original content.  I wanted to see what viewers would like to see more of so we could branch out as a community, and possibly show our viewers some of the content that they wanted to watch.  Here are both of the graphs.
P.S. sorry about the fact that the axis is highlighted, but I'm too lazy to redo the picture. It's been a lot of work.

The next question was "Favorite authors."  This was just because I was curious.  However I believe a picture is worth a thousand words so I will just show you the graph :)

The last question was "Have you been to a book event?" Again this was a question that I was just curious about because I want to meet as many people in the community as possible, and book events are one way to meet people.  Also this was a segway for a question in the next Booktube survey I want to do, but you will have to wait and see (or watch my video on my youtube channel you can probably guess what I mean).  This is also one where I think the graph gives a more accurate description than I could so here it is :)
If you have any questions will be more than happy to answer them, and any and all comments would be appreciated!

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Welcome to my blog. On here we will be talking about all things books and other nerdy things. I hope that you will continue on this journey with me where I will hopefully be much less cliche.