So I finally got around to seeing To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Netflix and it was delightful. It was every bit as charming as the book was and the casting was truly spot on. Lana Candor is the perfect Lara Jean. She’s sweet, shy and romantic. She’s unassuming and comfortable being in the shadow. Noah Centineo is the perfect Peter. He just oozes the big man on campus charisma. You can’t help but fall in love with him, which it seems like everyone on the internet has. The story is the same. Lara Jean is 16 and is about to start her Junior year in high school. Her big sister is going off to college making her the big sister at home. Her mother died when she was young so it was just her and her sisters and her dad. Lara Jean has never had a boyfriend but she’s had a few crushes. She wrote her crushes a letter that was never meant to be read until they were. Two of those letters went the Josh, the boy next door who dated her older sister Margot and Peter, her former friend from Middle School. Peter and Lara Jean decide to fake date to make Peter’s ex girlfriend jealous and help her avoid Josh. All goes well until of course she starts to have feelings for him. The movie goes by at a pretty clip. Establishing both Lara Jean and Peter and their relationship. As they spend more time with each other we see what a great couple they are for each other. They allow each other open up to each other and be honest about their feelings that they can’t be with each other. I also love that while Peter asks Lara Jean to do things outside her comfort zone like go to parties, he never asks her to change who she is. Obviously in the book we see more development of their relationship then we do in the movie because of time constraints it still comes out. They relationship may have started as pretend, you can see from the beginning that there was always something there. If there is one thing I wished there was more of was Kitty. Kitty was always my favorite character in the book and I think she needs her own series. *cough Jenny Han cough* I can only hope that Netflix greenlights a sequel so we get more of Kitty, Lara Jean and Peter in the future. The movie is not earth shattering but it is so cute and charming that i feeling it’s going to be on heavy rotation in my Netflix queue for now on.
So how did I do with this year’s challenge. Pretty good, I think. I read a few books that I normally wouldn’t have read and other books I would have because I love the authors. I didn’t complete the challenge though and I’m sad about that. Will have to do better in 2018.
- A Book with a Trans Narrator: Eddie Izzard in Believe Me by Eddie Izzard
- Queer Narrator: Apollo in The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
- African American Narrator: John Lewis in March Vols. 1-3 by John Lewis
- African Narrator: Did not complete
- Narrators from various socio-economic backgrounds: Rainey, Rio and Frangie from Silver Stars by Michael Grant
- Asian-American Narrator: Lara Jean in Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han and Daniel in The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
- Disabled Narrator: Call from The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
- Narrator that survived Abuse: Feyre, Rhysand, and pretty much every character in A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
- Asian Narrator: Sunja in Pachinko by Mi Jin Lee
- Native American Narrator: Did not complete
- Mexican Narrator: Cristina in Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
- Indigenous Mexican Narrator: Did not complete
- Muslim Narrator: Kamala in Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson
- Jewish Narrator: Rainey in Silver Stars by Michael Grant
- Atheist Narrator: Magnus Chase in Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
So I competed 12 out of 15, which isn’t bad but I was really hoping to do all 15. How well did you do this year?
It was a great year for books and some of my favorite series ended this year. I’m looking back at some of the series I loved that gave us their last chapters in 2017.
- Prisoner’s of Peace Duology by Erin Bow -This was an unexpected ending as I didn’t know it was even in the works before I bought it. The Swan Riders, the follow up to the Scorpio Rules was quite a ride. Greta forged her own path to save her people but not everyone was ready to let her go.
- Firebug Duology by Lish McBride – Lish McBride has left it open for a return to this series but for now Pyromantic is the last book of the Duology. I do hope we get more adventures with Ava, Lock and Ezra because these books have been nothing but delightful
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Series by Jenny Han – I thought this series was over before and while I enjoyed it I’m not sure if Forever and Always, Lara Jean was truly necessary because I felt Lara Jean ended up in the same place she was before. I will make allowance that her decided to go to school out of state was a big growth for her.
- Reawakened Trilogy by Colleen Houck – This one I’m glad ended because I’m not sure I would kept up with it for another book. I just never really connected with the characters I did with her last series, The Tiger’s Saga. I am very happy that she will be going to back to her Tiger’s in 2018.
- Chronicles of Nick Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Technically, Nick Gautier’s story will continue in a new series but the narrative that is Chronicles of Nick is at an end. I can’t tell you how much I love Nick and I’m not ready to let him go.
- Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Trilogy by Rick Riordan – This was a groundbreaking series in a lot of ways. Positive representation of Muslims, Queer, Trans and those with disabilities is so important and to have all of them represented in the main cast of characters is amazing. Thank you Rick!
2017 is almost at an end. It was quite a challenging year but at least it was filled with a lot of great books. Here are the Top 10 posts that got the most views on Stacks this year. Thank you for all of you stopped by and took a glance at our little corner of the internet.
- Quick Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han I’m pleasantly surprised this one came out on top. It got over twice many views as #2 of this list so you all must have loved it. I’ll admit, I had mixed feelings about this novel because as much as I loved Lara Jean and glad I got to spend more time with her, I’m not sure it was really needed another book.
- Sending Love to Sarah Rees Brennan This is another surprise since it was originally posted in 2016 but I hope the continue views have sent Sarah more healing vibes because I do love reading her books.
- Quick Review: Intensity by Sherrilyn Kenyon I just adore this series and even though I’m unsure if this is the last book in the series or just shift in the series focus. Either way, I can’t wait to read more about Nick.
- Some of My Favorite Quotes from In Other Lands Another post about Sarah Rees Brennan. This one got a boost from the author herself!
- Rick Riordan Presents I was excited to read about Rick’s new imprint featuring authors of color writing about myths and stories about their cultures. It’s great seeing Rick use his power to feature new voices and help diversify our stories.
- Review: Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray One of my favorite books of the year from one of the best series I have read in a long time. Here’s hoping she doesn’t take another two years to finish the series finale.
- Highs and Lows of Fandoms by Cassandra Clare and Maggie Stiefvater Another post from 2016 that was big in 2017 probably because many of the issues still exist.
- Review: Endure by Sara B. Larson Another surprise. This review made the 2016 list of Top posts too.
- Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare Cassandra Clare knows how to bring the drama. I’m happy that she’s decided to publish the finale of this trilogy before starting her next Shadowhunter trilogy.
- Review: Half Lost by Sally Green In 2016, this was the top post and in 2017 it’s still in the Top 10 and I’m still surprise. I guess not though because the book still haunts with it’s powerful ending.
We are now halfway through June so I can accurately say we are halfway through the year. It’s time to check in and see how we are doing with our reading challenges. This year we decided to split up our Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading challenge into two different. One for authors and one for narrators. I’m doing the Narrators and I have to say, I’m doing pretty well. Now, I think there may be a few arguments over some of my books but who doesn’t love a good debate? Going off my list of the books I’ve read, I discovered that there were a few things we should have discussed before setting the challenge out. For instance, can you use the same book for different categories if they have more then one Narrator? I’m going to go with yes because you are getting different perspectives from different characters. So here we go.
- Book with a Queer Narrator: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan. Narrator: Apollo. Ok, so this maybe a stretch because as Kate asked me Can we apply modern categories of sexuality to ancient Gods? Well I don’t know, but in The Dark Prophecy, Apollo is currently exiled to Earth as a mortal and while being on Earth has shown equal interest in both Men and Women. So, in the context of the book, I’m counting it.
- Book with a African American Narrator: March Vols. 1-3 by Congressman John Lewis. Narrator: John Lewis
- Book with characters from various socio-economic backgrounds Silver Stars by Michael Grant. Narrators: Frangie, Rainey and Rio
- Books with Asian American Narrator: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han and The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Narrators: Lara Jean and Daniel. I decided to count both since they are both Asian Americans but they have very different perspectives on growing up in America. Lara Jean is definitely your more typical middle class teenage girl who grew up in the suburbs. She’s also mixed because of her Dad is white so she straddles both sides. Daniel grew up in New York City and is the son of two immigrant parents. (I thought about using Natasha from The Sun is also a Star as my African American Narrator but technically speaking she’s not American as her family was living in the US illegally)
- Book with a Narrator who has survived abuse: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. Narrator : Feyre. I really could have picked any character in this book but since it’s all from Feyre’s point of view she gets the top billing.
- A Book with a Mexican Narrator: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Narrator: Cristina. I admit I maybe stretching it a little thin with this one. Cristina is one of six narrators in Lord of Shadows and not one of the two main characters but she is an important to the story as a whole so for now I’m counting it but it might change before the year is out.
- A Book with a Muslim Narrator: Ms. Marvel Vols. 2-4 by G. Willow Wilson. Narrator: Kamala
- A Book with a Jewish Narrator: Silver Stars by Michael Grant. Narrator: Rainey I know that I have already used Silver Stars before but Rainey is a fascinating character. I love reading her.
- A Book with an atheist Narrator: Believe Me by Eddie Izzard. Narrator: Eddie Izzard. He doesn’t go too much into his atheism but he does make it very clear he doesn’t believe in any god.
9 out of 15 is pretty good. Even if you take out the few iffy ones, I’m still over halfway done with my challenge. How are you doing?
**This Review contains some Spoilers**
This series was meant to only be a duology and I thought it worked pretty well as just To All the boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You. So I was a little hesitant but excited when I found out that Jenny Han had decided to write one more book. On the one hand, I felt that Lara Jean’s story wrapped up nicely. Yes, it had an open ended ending but there was a sense that Lara Jean had finally started to find her Identity. And on the other hand, there was some unanswered questions, like were her and Peter really going to make it? What about their senior year? Would Kitty continue to be awesome? The answer is to that last questions is of course. Reading through this book and getting back to Lara Jean’s world of baking and arts and crafts, I was little disappointed to find that Lara Jean’s new found identity pretty much was all Peter. Her new friends were all his friends. Their plans mostly seemed to revolve around his schedule of Lacrosse games. To be fair, she did build friendships on her own with Lucas and Pammy but she wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for Peter. This became more apparent when they started to talk about college. Peter had already been accepted into UVA on a Lacrosse scholarship and Lara Jean had always wanted to go there. It’s a good school and only 15 minutes away so she could stay close to her family. Well, when she doesn’t get into UVA, there is a panic because now they have to deal with a long distance relationship. So she makes a plan to go to William and Mary for one year and transfer to UVA so they can be together. Things get even more complicated when Lara Jean who gets accepted into UNC after originally being wait listed. After a quick drive to Chapel Hill, Lara Jean is in love and it’s clear this is where she is meant to be. Now she will be 3 and half hours away instead of only 2. All this talk of college and what school would is the best, I can’t remember of any talk about what she wants to study. We know that she loves to bake and loves to crafting but what else in her life? Is she going to be an English major? biology? French? We have absolutely no idea who she is outside of her family and Peter but I could say the same thing about Peter too. As frustrating as Lara Jean’s behavior I started to realize that Peter’s identity is just as dependent if not more so on Lara Jean’s. He is very much the perfect boyfriend. He’s polite and good looking, athletic and charming. He organizes her father’s bachelor’s party to not only get on his good side but make her happy. He is also afraid of losing Lara Jean. Thanks for a moment of true honesty they seem to have finally found each other and where they want to go. They are going to try to make it work and I hope they do but where does it leave them. I sort of feel like we are left in the same place as were with the last book. They both are still growing and finding themselves as they should be at 18 and they are still together and going to fight to make their relationship work despite the distance but their future is still up and the air. I think it’s a very good development for Lara Jean to spread her wings and live on her own for once. Her life has always been about her family and then Peter. Finally in college she will be able to truly find her identity without them around and I think it will only make her stronger. It will make her relationships stronger and if her and Peter do work out them both stronger. Now, I hope in a couple of years, we come back to Virginia for Kitty, the high school years because I think that would be the most amazing story of all time.
I’m excited and nervous for this one. I thought the last book was the last book in the series and I thought it ended on a good note. I hope this one will too.
The month of May has a lot of great new books coming out and of course I’m already behind in my to-read list. Sigh. Anyway, here’s a list a few books that I’m definitely going to try to get to in May. Let’s see how I’ll do.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
Seeker by Veronica Rossi
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson
So 2016 is almost over. Thank God or Oh No. Who knows what 2017 will bring but we do know it will bring plenty of good books. Here are 10 I’m really looking forward too.
- Pyromantic by Lish McBride. – I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this one and it was everything I hoped it would. I can’t wait for it to come out in March so I can read again.
- A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – The second book was one of my favorite books of this year and the way it ended makes me even more excited for it. Feyre is back in the Spring Court with Tamlin but this time she knows who she is and who he really is.
- Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – I didn’t even know this was even in the works when I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and it’s sequel P.S. I Still Love You earlier this year. I found the two books to be very charming and sweet. I loved Lara Jean and Peter and I thought their story was over but I guess not. I’m still holding out for Kitty novel.
- The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon – This is another book I got an early look at and for all of you still waiting, it’ll be worth it. I’m going to re-read The Bone Season and The Mime-Order again before this one comes out.
- King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard – Mare gave herself up to Maven and who knows what that sadistic bastard has planned for her. Will Cal save her or will she save herself? Will Farley forgive her? The rebellion continues
- The Untitled 3rd book of the Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir- This is such an awesome series I can’t say enough great things about it. Who knows what will happen next as Laia, Elias and Helene take on the Martials.
- Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth – This Veronica’s first book since the Divergent series ended. No matter how you felt about Allegiant you have to admit that Roth is one brave storyteller.
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – If her last series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, is anything to go by this one is going to be a real crowd pleaser!
- The Ship of the Dead and The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan – Rick Riordan has been on a winning streak lately with both his Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard and The Trials of Apollo series’. Not only are they imaginative they are truly fun. Riordan hasn’t been afraid to take on tough subjects and bring a diverse cast of characters to his books and make them both relatable and accessible. It’s going to be a busy year for Percy Jackson.
- Silver Stars by Michael Grant – In this revisionist history story we met three brave women who are fighting in World War 2. The end of the last book saw our three heroines have all survived their first battle but the war is still a few years from ending. There are more battles to be fought before our heroines get to go home.
What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?
Since Kate posted her update, I figured I should do mine. I’m doing much better on the Meduim/Genre/Industry Sub-Challenge then the other 2. So far I have read Captain Marvel for my Graphic Novel with a superhero, Nimona for Graphic Novel without a superhero. The Hidden Oracle for a book meant for Children and Cravings a cookbook by Chrissy Teigen for a book from a genre I’ve never read. Half Lost, a book with a Queer Character. To All The Boys I’ve Loved, a book with an Asian American Character. And finally Endure by Sara b Larson for a book by a Woman author. To be honest, I could have picked almost any book I’ve read this year for that last one because so far I have only read 3 books written by a man.
So that brings my total up to 7 out of 30. Yikes, that’s not great but it’s 1 better then Kate. ;-).