the bookworm tag | rainbow bookshelves, TBR lists, & more!

hey, loves!

i’ve been on a reading kick lately (i’m twelve books ahead of schedule on my goodreads challenge!), so i put together this fun book-themed tag. i decorated my bookshelf with some fairy lights and succulents to make my pictures look extra cute and everything.

also, happy late valentine’s day! i spent the afternoon hanging out with my musical friends, then went shopping with my bff. and my school does candygrams on holidays (you pay $1 and clubs will deliver little heart-shaped cards with candy attached to whoever you want), and i got one?? i was so shocked, and it was from exactly who i wanted it to be from, so overall it was a pretty great day. :)

anyway — the tag!


1) how often do you read?

pretty much every day. i take a book (or several) with me everywhere i go: school, church, car rides, etc. i read whenever i get the chance, even if it’s just one page while i’m walking to class.

my friends (and some teachers) at school tell me that i have a new book every time they see me, and they’re not wrong.

2) do you read or write fanfiction?

oh boy, no. i’ve never been one for fanfiction. i don’t see the appeal in writing it, because when i write, i want my own characters and my own story. i don’t want to leach off of someone else’s imagination. and i don’t read fanfiction, either, because i’ve heard that most of it is really bizarre stuff, or not good quality.

3) how do you organize your books?

just like everything else in my room, my bookshelf is organized by color! the rainbow gradient is the most colorful, happy part of my space.

i’ve thought about organizing my series separately, maybe putting them all on the bottom shelf so they’re easier to find. but that would mean ruining my rainbow, so i don’t know.

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4) what are you currently reading?

my lady jane by cynthia hand, brodi ashton, and jodi meadows. i think writeowl recommended it to me? it’s historical fiction with some magic thrown in, and i’m about halfway done with it right now. i’m enjoying it, but i find it a little hard to get into sometimes.

5) what is your favorite genre?

to read, emotional contemporaries or magical realism/fantasy. as for writing, i used to come up with a lot of fantasy stories, but right now i’m mainly interested in poetry.

398915866) how many books are on your TBR list, and what’s the newest addition?

right now, i have 264 books on my TBR list, which isn’t actually that bad, i don’t think. and my most recently added book is #neveragain: a new generation draws the line by david and lauren hogg. it’s nonfiction, and about two siblings who survived the parkland shooting last year. since i’ve never been good about keeping up with the news, i don’t know that much about the shooting, other then that it sparked a huge political debate about gun control. but i want to learn more, and i figured that i should start with reading about what actually happened.

7) pick a book with a cover that’s your favorite color

my favorite color is maroon, and out of all the books i own, the battle of the labyrinth is closest to that. i found my copy at an almost otherworldly book store in pennsylvania a few years ago.

8) paperbacks or hardcovers?

paperbacks. they hold two stories: the one written in ink, and the one written in the crinkled, folded pages. the one written by the author, and the one written by the reader. there’s just something more intimate about them, i think.

also, i like that they’re lighter and easier to hold or slip into my backpack.

9) do you own any signed books?

just two, i think. one is a copy of sarah j. maas’ a court of thorns and roses that i found at a thrift store, and the other is the prophet, the shepherd, & the star by jenny l. cote. she did an author talk at my co-op when i was in elementary or middle school, and she signed it for me there.

10) where do you usually get your books?

the library, mostly. the public one has a fairly large collection of YA novels, plus an indecently enormous children/MG section, and then my school’s library has a surprising amount of interesting books.

if it’s not from the library, chances are that whatever book i’m reading was either borrowed from a friend or found at a thrift store.

11) what books have you read this month?

i’ve finished seven so far: four novels, one nonfiction book, one collection of poems, and one graphic novel. my favorites are dear evan hansen by val emmich and crush by richard siken (thanks for the recommendation, ellie!).


if anyone wants to do this tag on their own blog, please go right ahead! just link back to this post if you do.

what are you currently reading?

xo apollo

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monstrous affections: an anthology of beastly tales | review

 

hello!

i received monstrous affections: an anthology of beastly tales for christmas, finished it two days later, and now i’m finally sharing my review of it. if i actually went through and talked about all fifteen stories, this would be an incredibly long, wordy post, so i’m only going to review a couple of them.

(this review has some spoilers, mostly for old souls and quick hill, but they’re not so bad that they’ll completely ruin the story for you.)

let’s get into it!


moriabe’s children by paolo bacigalupi – i adored the writing style in this story, which was simple yet poetic, and it was a great way to start the book. it dealt with heavy issues like sexual abuse and suicide without romanticizing them. in just a few pages, you already hated and ached for the characters you were supposed to, respectively, even without knowing too much about them. the ending was shocking and i didn’t see it coming at all.

old souls by cassandra clare – cassandra clare is supposed to be a great paranormal writer, but i wasn’t impressed by this at all. it’s about leah, a teenage girl who’s working at a retirement home over the summer while living with her grandma. she notices something strange about the young male nurse who works there too, and eventually finds out that he’s a vampire. the big reveal wasn’t shocking and kind of fell flat for me. however, i did find it refreshing that he wasn’t interested in leah at all, only in taking the blood of the elderly. it was nice to read about vampires and not have said ancient vampire be obsessed with a minor.

however, i didn’t find the story that engaging, i didn’t care about the characters, and having people from leah’s school bully a girl over facebook seemed farfetched and out of date.

ten rules for being an intergalactic smuggler (the successful kind) by holly black – this reminded me of the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, and it was one of the best stories in this anthology. tera was a fierce, clever and risk-taking mc who stowed away on her uncle’s ship and learned to be a smuggler. i adored her, the way she dealt with terrible situations, and her friendship with the alien was rather wholesome.

quick hill by m. t. anderson – this one started out alright but later descended into madness. the concept of this short story is that a family marries their sons off to a magic hill in order to keep bad things from happening in the world, i guess? it’s set in world war II and follows don thwait as he falls in love with a local girl and tries to avoid his destiny of marrying the hill to end the war. i enjoyed the idea and the slow romance up until part two, marriage, because that’s when the writing style changed and i found myself unable to understand what was happening. 

wings in the morning by sarah rees brennan – i’m going to be honest: this short story is the only reason i wanted the book, and i’m not 100% sure that it was worth it. while i adore brennan’s witty writing and captivating, three-dimensional characters, the story was basically copied and pasted from her novel, in other lands. i knew it was about the same characters featured in the book, so i was expecting something fluffy and cute about the best unlikely couple i’ve ever read about. but it was just the end of in other lands, told from luke sunborn’s perspective instead of the novel’s mc’s, elliot schafer. i recognized a lot of the dialogue as being straight from the book, and i was kind of disappointed about not having any really new content about the characters of in other lands. still, the writing is A+ and i did enjoy seeing luke’s thoughts for once, since he didn’t get as much of the spotlight in in other lands as he should have.

a small wild magic by kathleen jennings – this one is a tiny graphic novel, which was honestly a very welcome break from all the actual reading i’d been doing up until that point. the style is simple and cute, more sketch-like than cartoon-y. i wasn’t really sure what was going on half the time, but it’s about a bird/girl who can grant wishes, i think.

other short stories in this anthology: the diabolist by nathan ballingrud, this whole demoning thing by patrick ness, left foot, right by nalo hopkinson, the mercurials by g. carl purcell, kitty capulet and the invention of underwater photography by dylan horrocks, son of abyss by nik houser, the new boyfriend by kelly link, the woods hide in plain sight by joshua lewis, mothers, lock up your daughters because they are terrifying by alice sola kim


to sum up my thoughts on this book: it started out slow and wasn’t that gripping, but the stories in the second half mostly made up for it. none of them were really creepy at all, though. i think i was expecting more from it, since it has several really popular authors’ contributions. so if you decide to read this, don’t prepare for all of it to be spectacular just because it includes stories by cassandra clare, holly black, patrick ness, etc.

also, this whole demoning thing, wings in the morning, and the woods hide in plain sight all have casual lgbt+ rep: queer people just existing, without their sexuality being the main focus of the story. (wings in the morning is decidedly less casual than the others, but still, rep!!)

i did really loved the “pop quiz” at the very beginning of the book. this is terrible, but it might have been my favorite part? it was cute and funny and made everything more lighthearted.

while i think it’s difficult and slightly unfair to assign a single star rating to an anthology, monstrous affections was about a three star read for me. i adore the cover and the pop quiz, and there are a handful of really well done stories. but there were too many that fell short or left me confused to get a higher rating.


have you ever read this book? do you have any recommendations for books about monsters?

xo apollo

2018 reading recap

hey guys, i hope you all had a good christmas! or if you don’t celebrate it, just a great day anyway.

since it’s nearing the end of the year, i want to share the books (both the best and worst) that i read in 2018. this posts includes fun statistics and mini reviews/rants. :)

best book with a disabled mc: a taxonomy of love by rachael allen
best book with a lgbt+ mc: in other lands by sarah rees brennan
best book with a poc mc: the gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue by mackenzie lee
best book with a mentally ill mc: charm & strange by stephanie kuehn

not shown: horror, sci-fi

i’m so glad i started reading fantasy again. it was favorite genre when i was younger, but as i grew up i couldn’t find many fantasy books that looked interesting to me. thank god for magical realism and in other lands by sarah rees brennan for getting me back into it.

half stars are rounded up

i guess my star rating system is a little screwed up. because i can read a book that’s practically perfect, but if i don’t have some kind of emotional connection to it, it won’t be getting five stars. i think i only had four five star reads this year.

my favorites

 

carry on – the beginning is definitely heavily inspired by the harry potter series, but it develops into its own thing that is wonderful and and which i love dearly. so if you like harry potter, you’ll probably adore this book too! in fact, i actually liked it so much more than any of j.k. rowling’s books?? i’m so excited for the sequel to come out next year.

bone gap – i spent most of the book trying to figure out the genre. mystery? romance? fantasy? who knows, but it was amazing and i love it to death. it’s the kind of book that you want to reread as soon as you finish it because it will make so much more sense the second time around.

the gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue – i am not usually a fan of historical fiction, but this book is one of my all time favorites. things i love about this book: queer characters in historical fiction are rare but so needed (lgbt+ people have always existed!), monty is an idiot who constantly makes bad decisions (same, honestly), there’s so much rep, and the writing is witty, sarcastic, and engaging.

 

charm & strange – this was a twisted and intense story about a boy struggling with his sanity as he confronts a traumatic experience in his past. the mc, drew, is a dark sixteen year old with mental health issues — on top of that, he’s an extremely unreliable narrator, which makes trying to understand what really happens in the story difficult. like bone gap, you’ll understand better after a reread.

the perks of being a wallflower – the first time i heard of this book was about two years ago, when my friend told me it was one of the best books he’d ever read, but that i should probably never read it because it was that sad. and after i read it (without telling him, obviously), i completely understand why he thought that. because this book deals with so many heavy and uncomfortable issues that the mc faces while growing up that it was hard to stomach at times. this is one of the few books that i think actually changed my life.

in other lands – this fantasy story follows a trio of best friends from their early teens to almost adulthood: elliot, a bisexual know-it-all in the council training course; serene-heart-in-the-chaos-of-battle, an elf who ran away from home to join the warrior training program; and luke sunborn, a member of one of the most respected families in the world. full of war and messy romances, it goes from sarcastic and flirty to heartbreaking in an instant, and is one of the best fantasy books i’ve ever read. (also . . . elliot stabbed himself with a butter knife to get out of a conversation, which is so relatable??)

honorable mentions

 

most disappointing

 

a court of thorns and roses – a retelling of beauty and the beast. i don’t remember much of it at this point, but i think it was too slow, i didn’t like the mc, there were some sexual parts that i wasn’t expecting, and i just didn’t care about the story. there are only two redeeming things about this book: the cover is pretty, and i found my signed copy at a thrift store for maybe one dollar.

the maze runner – before i start: this wasn’t a bad book. it just wasn’t everything that i was expecting. it took me forever to get into because i found the first half so unbearably slow, and i didn’t think many of the characters were very likable. that being said, the pace definitely picked up towards the end and i plan on finishing the series.

 

no one else can have you – i only remember two things about this book: it’s about girl trying to unravel the mystery of her best friend’s murder, and i hated it. i’m pretty sure there were a few racist comments, as well as sexism, victim blaming, and a relationship between a teen girl and an old man (aka a pedophile). also, the author apparently stalked someone who left a bad review on her book, so maybe don’t support her by buying it.

schooled – this is about a homeschooled boy going to public school for the first time. i decided to read it because that’s the situation i’m currently in, but it was so, so horrible. the mc, capricorn, is so sheltered that he’s never had pizza, watched tv, or done anything that pretty much everyone, even homeschoolers, do. and then he goes to middle school for some reason that i can’t remember, gets bullied at first, but then somehow becomes super popular and decides that he loves public school?? which is fine but it doesn’t match up with the experiences of any of my formerly homeschooled friends. the rep was just so bad and exaggerated that it was sort of funny.


click here to view my goodreads and see all the books i’ve read this year.

did we read any of the same books in 2018? what are some books that i should definitely read in 2019?

xo apollo

where to get cheap books + thrift store book haul

i’ve bought sixteen books this week and i’ve spent under $20. that might sound rather impossible, because readers know that books can be ridiculously expensive. but it can be done, and i’m going to share with you where i find such cheap books. :)


amazon (used)

before you buy a book on amazon, you should check out those little used and new links below the format options. they’ll take you to a new page with more listings on it. you can get the same book for a much better price, just from a different seller. so i could buy the book in the picture for the actual price ($7.99), or i could get another new copy for $1.75.

book outlet

i found out about book outlet through mya’s unboxing post, and it’s a great site. they have tons of popular books, all priced much lower than if you bought them from a book store. plus, you can earn points (aka discounts) by purchasing books and completing little challenges.

i ordered six books from them last week. at the moment, i’m reading i am princess x, but i’m hoping to finish it today so i can start on moxie.

book fairs

i don’t know if everyone has one of these, but basically, the book fair is a warehouse that’s stuffed with inexpensive books. i think i’ve gotten more than half of my books there. they’ve got just about every book imaginable, and i always end up leaving with way more than i planned on buying.

i would suggest looking online to see if there are any book fairs near you, because it’s an amazing experience for book lovers.

thrift stores

my favorite place to buy cheap books is definitely thrift stores. i’ve gotten about thirty books from them this year, and i doubt i’ve spent more than that. most books at thrift stores are a dollar or less.

the best thing about shopping at thrift stores is that there’s always something new, and sometimes you can get really great surprises. for example, i found a signed copy of a court of thorns and roses by sarah j. maas.


now for that book haul!

i’ve been on a reading kick lately (if you follow me on goodreads, you know). unfortunately, i haven’t been able to go to the library as often as i would like, so i had to buy new reading material instead. i went to three thrift stores in two days, and this is what i found:

i’ve read a few of these before (the arctic incident, a grimm warning), but the rest are all new to me, and i have no idea what most of them are about. i don’t read book summaries anymore and i’m not sure why. at least that way every book is a surprise.

the books i’m most excited about reading are the rest of us just live here by patrick ness and peaches by jodi lynn anderson (she’s one of my favorite authors).


what are your favorite ways to buy cheap books? have you read any of the books in my haul?

xo apollo

2017 reading recap

hey.

i hope you all had a wonderful christmas. mine was fairly good. i’m currently putting together a haul, but i doubt it will be up until the new year because i have another family celebration to attend.

anyway, i saw book recaps on dragon waffles and paper fury and decided to make one myself. after all, i can only go so long without gushing/ranting about what i’ve read.

shout-out to my friend izzy for making me read paranormal/horror books.

so apparently 20% of the books i read this year were romance? that’s a bit concerning because i generally hate that genre. but it’s rare to find a contemporary that isn’t also a romance, so that probably explains it.

i had more books with lgbt+ characters on my tbr, but my mom wouldn’t let me read them. because, you know, i might become more open-minded and accepting and we can’t have that.

i’m very picky when it comes to giving five stars.

also, i don’t think i’ve ever given a book just one star in my life.

2017 favorites

(not all of these were released this year. they’re just the best ones that i read in 2017.)

how to say goodbye in robot – i started sobbing when i finished this one. (this might be because i am extremely emotional and not because the book was sad, although it was.) i really wanted everything to turn out well for ghost boy and robot girl, and it ended much differently than i expected.

tiger lily – peter pan retelling from tiger lily’s pov!! i’ve always loved peter pan and this book gave neverland new depth. it’s a romance, but not a fluffy one — it’s gritty and real and they hurt each other.

all the bright places – i know this one is controversial, but i actually loved it a lot. i read it when i was “asleep,” as finch would say, and it stuck with me because it was like i was reading about myself.

 the empty grave – thanks for ripping out my heart, stroud. i hate you for putting my sweet children through that.

lucky few – homeschoolers with death wishes!! sounds like my autobiography.

heap house – originally, i thought it was just really, really weird, but it’s been growing on me since then.

prettiest covers

(currently still reading the girl who drank the moon, but i can include it because i said so.)

overhyped

i might get hate for this, but i detest most of these and have no idea why they’re so popular.

must read in 2018

 how can i call myself a bookworm if i haven’t read any of maggie stiefvater’s books??

have you read any of the books i mentioned? do you agree/disagree with me on my picks for the overhyped section? let me know in the comments.

xo apollo

october book reviews

hey. :)

i read nine books last month, i’m kind of proud of that. i’m going to try and make the reviews shorter this time because of how many there are.

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this is where it ends by marieke nijkamp — 2/5 stars

i thought it was really boring. i didn’t care about any of the characters and the shooter wasn’t nearly complex enough to be a mass murderer. i finished it quickly because, although i didn’t think it was a very interesting story, i wanted to know who made it out of the school alive.

it has some really great reviews on goodreads, so maybe this is just a me thing?

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tiger lily by jodi lynn anderson — 4.5/5 stars

i am in love with this book and you all need to read it right now. it’s definitely one of my favorites. the characters were fascinating, i felt all of their emotions and ended up crying at the end. there are so many incredible quotes in this book that i want to slap all over my room.

i would have given it five stars, but the very beginning was a little slow, in my opinion.

this book broke my heart. i recommend it 100%.

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goodbye stranger by rebecca stead — 3/5 stars

 rebecca stead is one of my favorite authors. all of her books are phenomenal and a little weird. i fully expected to like this one, and i did. but it’s not that different from all the other middle school dramas i’ve read, except that it has a more serious theme.
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  there’s a feminist character in it, which is great, right? except it wasn’t a very flattering depiction, kind of like le fou representing gay people in the live-action beauty and the beast.
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 some of the chapters were told from the pov of a mystery character, in second person. i don’t really get why those chapters were in there, because they didn’t add anything to the plot. but it was a cute story about friendship and growing up and i can now say that i have read all of rebecca stead’s books.
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girls like us by gail giles — 2.5/5 stars

it talked about what it’s like to be special ed and (SPOILER) a rape victim (END SPOILER). i haven’t read many books with characters like that. it was a quick read and i liked the diversity.

my issues with this book: 1) engaging plot? i don’t know her 2) quincy is awful and rude 3) i kept forgetting whose pov i was reading, because they have the exact same voice.

 Image result for wonder book

wonder by r.j. palacio — 3/5 stars

it was a wonderful (ha) book, the writing flowed easily, the characters sounded their age, etc. but it was just another middle school story with drama and an underdog mc. in my opinion, anyway. i know a lot of people love wonder, so it’s probably just me and not the book.

the overall theme of this is “be kind!!” and while that’s great, it’s sort of simple. i was expecting something more meaningful and emotional, idk. and it bothered me that even though it’s about kindness, most of the characters weren’t kind to august — they just pitied him.

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fangirl by rainbow rowell — 2.5/5 stars
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 i’ve heard great things about rainbow rowell, so i’m a bit sad that this book didn’t click for me. it’s about a fanfiction writer with social anxiety, and it could have been a relatable book about being in a fandom, but it was actually really boring??
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it’s a character driven story, and that’s fine, but i thought they were all sort of awful people. real, but awful. (wren and laura are disgusting humans, and cath and levi are just so normal. sorry.) i like reading because i get to hear about dragons and love and wars, not so i can drag myself through 450 pages of unnecessary family drama and not wanting to do your schoolwork.
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 i didn’t like most of the book, but i enjoyed reading bits of cath’s simon snow fanfics (clearly based on harry potter). rowell has a book about simon and baz (carry on), and i want to read that. maybe a fantasy story will redeem this author for me.
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 the empty grave by jonathan stroud — 5/5 stars
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 this is the last book in the series. i don’t really know how to feel. of course it was amazing, but i’m sad now and the ending wasn’t really satisfying. it’s the kind of ending that makes you immediately want to look up fanfiction, because how could the story end there? (and this is coming from someone who has never purposely read fanfics before.)
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 i was so emotionally invested in these characters that i had to stop reading every few minutes and gasp, because what if this character dies, and did he just say what i think he said? i spent the entire time worrying about the cast, because i was pretty sure that someone wasn’t going to make it.
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 the strings weren’t all tied up by the end of the book, so i’m going to spend the rest of my life wondering about the skull and what happens to my ships. which is where the fanfiction comes in.
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 if you haven’t read the lockwood & co. series, you should get working on it. they’re witty and creepy and the characters work so well together. plus, it’s one of my favorite series.
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coraline by neil gaiman — 3.5/5 stars
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 this one is creepy and perfect for reading around halloween. it definitely would have been better if i hadn’t watched the movie first, but it was still worth reading.
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 the characters are all pretty great, they’ve got a lot of quirks and unique voices. but i felt like i didn’t know anything about them. and i guess it makes sense for this book, because it’s plot driven and the characters’ personalities aren’t super important, but still.
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i loved coraline and the cat because they’re both sarcastic and sassy, and their banter was pretty amusing.
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 this is one of those books that i think everyone should read. even though it’s not my favorite book in the world, it’s a classic.
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holding up the universe by jennifer niven – 2.5/5 stars
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 jennifer niven wrote one of my favorite books (all the bright places), and she’s an incredible writer, so i picked up this one, certain that i would love it. but i sort of can’t stand it??
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 there were lots of good things about this book, like its message of self-love and how libby, former “america’s fattest teen,” knows that she doesn’t have to lose weight to be accepted. i also enjoyed reading about prosopagnosia, which i had never heard of before. and i thought the anxiety and eating disorder rep was pretty good.
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 but the bad things outweighed the good ones. the characters were freaking annoying. i rolled my eyes at practically everything they did, even if it was normal, just because jack and libby and everyone else bothered me so much. i found a lot of it to be insanely unrealistic, like the bikini scene and the party and the entire romance. and the title had nothing to do with the story, and that always frustrates me to no end. also, jack thinks his younger brother is gay because he carried a purse for awhile. not a stereotype at all.
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  it had the potential to be a really great story, but it fell short for me.

a lot of my reviews were quite negative, idk what that’s about. sure, it’s possible that all the crappy books in the library found their way into my hands, but i think my mood might have affected some of them, too. so take them with a grain of salt, ok?
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xo apollo