Book Review: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Alice picks up a lottery ticket for her best friend (and crush) as a joke for his 18th birthday. The ticket turns out to be a multi-million dollar winner. This book follows the aftermath that results. We follow three best friends:

  • Alice, the main character, is madly in love with Teddy, the lottery winner. She is also struggling to come to terms with the fact that, at eighteen, she’s lived without her parents for half of her life. She has to determine how much effect they are going to have on her life moving forward.
  • Teddy is the multi-million dollar winner. He goes from sharing a one-bedroom apartment with his mother to having more money that most people will ever see. And that definitely has some ramifications!
  • Leo is their best friend who has always dreamed of getting into a specific graphic design school. But his (very serious) boyfriend goes to college in Michigan. He’s got a very big decision to make.

What I Liked

  • The whole concept was great. I feel like “winning the lottery” is usually the end of a story, but in this case it was the beginning. It was fun to explore all the ramifications, good and bad, of winning the lottery. I also liked that the author included pretty realistic actions what you would do after winning the lottery. (Google what to do, of course!)
  • I loved all of the characters in this book too. They were well-rounded, and I felt invested in their choices.
  • It wasn’t a cheesy “I’m-a-high-school-senior-who-needs-to-make-seemingly-important-but-cliche-decisions” sort of book. The decisions actually were important.

What I Didn’t Like

  • This book made me cry quite a bit. It was well written, which means I got invested in the characters and when things were difficult for them, it made me cry. It wasn’t in a beautiful sort of way though, like in Letters to the Lostit just made me sort of depressed. 😦
  • This one is a spoiler, so highlight over the white text to see it:
    I felt like Teddy’s attitude shift toward’s Alice at the end was sort of unexpected. I can see where the author tried to lead up to it, but it still felt like a pretty sudden switch in character. It also felt like too easy an ending. Although it’s definitely what I wanted, for Alice’s sake, I’m not sure it was the most realistic. Plus, I sort of liked Sawyer too.

In Conclusion

This is a pretty cute young adult novel.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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100 Book Quotes + Giveaway

I now have over 100 followers! 🎉 To celebrate, this post has 100 quotes about books. Not all of them have attributions – some of them are just fun sayings. If you know of an attribution that I don’t have, please let me know.

PLUS I also have a young adult book giveaway!! Details are at the end of this post.

  1. “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
  2. “Bookmarks are for quitters.”
  3. “A day without reading is like… just kidding. I have no idea.”
  4. “We lose ourselves in books. We find ourselves there too.”
  5. “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” Oscar Wilde
  6. “I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” J. K. Rowling
  7. “Everyone is a reader… Some just haven’t found their favorite book yet.”
  8. “You know you’re a bookworm when your house is one book away from being considered a library.”
  9. “I enjoy long romantic walks through the bookstore….”
  10. “Buying a book is not about obtaining a possession… but about securing a portal.” Laura Miller
  11. “Ordinary people have big TVs, extraordinary people have big libraries.”
  12. “I see a book, I see coffee, I see a good day ahead.”
  13. “All the secrets in the world are contained in books.” Lemony Snicket
  14. “A good book makes you want to live in the story. A great book gives you no choice.”
  15. “I have a terrible sleeping disorder. It’s called reading books that are too good.”
  16. “To read a book for the first time is to make a new acquaintance; to read it a second time is to meet an old friend.” Chinese proverb
  17. “The cure for boredom is books. There is no cure for books.”
  18. “The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.” Harper Lee
  19. “I tried everything to get to sleep last night. Well, everything closing the book and putting it on the nightstand. Let’s not get too crazy.”
  20. “Books are delightful society. If you go into a room and find it full of books – even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome.” William Gladstone
  21. “Keep reading. It’s one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have.” Lloyd Alexander
  22. “To read or not to read… that is a silly question.”
  23. “Why can’t people just sit and read books and be nice to each other?” David Baldacci
  24. “Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. Some books just swallow you up heart and soul.” Joanne Harris
  25. All I want is peace, love, understanding and a library bigger than the Grand Canyon.”
  26. “What do you mean ‘I can’t believe you read the whole book already?!’ What are you supposed to do once it’s open?”
  27. “So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.” William James
  28. “I’m a bookaholic on the road to recovery. Just kidding. I’m on the road to the bookstore.”
  29. “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” Cicero
  30. “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” Descartes
  31. “Book hangover: The struggle a person goes through trying to reconnect with reality after finishing an amazing book.”
  32. “There is space on everyone’s bookshelves for books you have outgrown but can’t give away. They hold your youth between their pages, like flowers pressed on a half-forgotten Summer’s day.”
  33. “Did you order from Amazon again? We’re getting your books their own house.” from Gilmore Girls
  34. “I never understood people who don’t have bookshelves.” George Plimpton
  35. “Hell hath no fury like a woman interrupted in the middle of one of her favorite author’s books.”
  36. “We read to know we’re not alone.” William Nicholson
  37. “When you read a book, the neurons in your brain fire overtime, decinding what the characters are wearing, how they’re standing, and what it feels like the first time they kiss. No one shows you. Your brain paints the pictures.” Meg Rosoff
  38. “A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.” Chinese proverb
  39. “I don’t buy books. I adopt them.”
  40. “If there is a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet then you must write it.” Toni Morrison
  41. “Books are proof that humans can work magic.”
  42. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… the man who never reads lives only one.” George R. R. Martin
  43. “Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you’d most like not to lose.” Neil Gaiman
  44. “Books aren’t just made of words, you know… they’re also filled with places to visit and people to meet.”
  45. “To a bibliophile there is only one thing better than a box of new books. And that is a box of old books.”
  46. “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.” Charles Eliot
  47. “I love books because I don’t have to wait for the commercials to be over to find out what happens.”
  48. “Oh for a book and a shady nook either indoors or out with the green leaves whispering overhead or the street cries all about where I may read at all my ease both of the new and old for a jolly good book whereon to look is better to me than gold.” John Wilson
  49. “Books fall open, you fall in.” David McCord
  50. “The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and the sweet serenity of books.” Henry Longfellow
  51. “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” Walt Disney
  52. “Write to be understood, speak to be heard, and read to grow.” Lawrence Powell
  53. “Reading is to your brain what water is to a tree.” Terry Hill
  54. “When we read and write, we become superheroes, sports starts, mermaids, angels, grown-ups, and crazy creatures.”
  55. “Read more books it’s good for your soul.”
  56. “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” W. Somerset Maugham
  57. “Reading is the ultimate adventure, books are the ultimate destination.” Mark Ankerud
  58. “Great books help you understand, and they help you to feel understood.” John Green
  59. “Did you know that parents are the key reading role models? High frequency reading parents are six times more likely to have high frequency reading children.” Karon Graham
  60. “The stories we love best live in us forever.” J. K. Rowling
  61. “Read in order to live.” Gustave Flaubert
  62. “To find just the right book at the moment when the soul is hungry for it is a miracle, and not a small one.” Jane Steger
  63. “You’re never too old/too wacky/too wild/to pick up a book and read to a child.” Dr. Seuss
  64. “Any books that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” Maya Angelou
  65. “Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.” Paul Theroux
  66. “I walk into a bookstore like I’m in a musical.”
  67. “Happiness is a cup of coffee and a good book.”
  68. “Sometimes I forget myself in a book. And when I have to stop reading it takes me a minute to remember where I am. Or who I am.”
  69. “When I’m really into a novel, I’m seeing the world differently during that time – not just for an hour or so in the day when I get to read. I’m actually walking around in a bit of a haze, spellbound by the book and looking at everything through a different prism.” Colin Firth
  70. “You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be – I had a mother who read to me.” Strickland Gillilan
  71. “That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”
  72. “The person who deserves most pity is a lonesome one on a rainy day who doesn’t know how to read.” Benjamin Franklin
  73. “When I say ‘I wish they would turn this book into a movie’ what I really mean is ‘I wish they would turn this book into a 17-hour-long spectacle that includes every single solitary detail and doesn’t deviate at all from the storyline and has perfect casting.'” Problemsofabooknerd.tumblr.com
  74. “The more you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss
  75. “The best place for your nose is in a book.”
  76. “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”
  77. “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” Dr. Seuss
  78. “Cutting libraries in a recession is like cutting hospitals in a plague.” Eleanor Crumblehulme
  79. “Reading is dreaming with open eyes.”
  80. “Fill your house with stacks of books, In all the crannies and all the nooks.” Dr. Seuss
  81. “The journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page.” Rachel Adams
  82. “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” Mark Twain
  83. “Each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from elsewhere.” Lois Lowry
  84. “No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” Confucius
  85. “Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
  86. “What you read when you don’t have to determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” Oscar Wilde
  87. “It has always been great comfort to me that I could bring a book anywhere, to any place. To any part of my life.”
  88. “A book you finish reading is not the same book it was before you read it.” David Mitchell
  89. “One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” Theresa Gray
  90. “Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine pleasurably.” C. S. Lewis
  91. “I hate the idea that, when it comes to books and learning, hard is often seen as the opposite of fun. It’s strange to me that we should be so quick to give up on a book or a math problem when we are so willing to grapple, for centuries if necessary, with a single level of Angry Birds.” John Green
  92. “I am simply a book drunkard.” L. M. Montgomery
  93. “Without libraries, what do we have? We have no past and no future.” Ray Bradbury
  94. “There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.” Jacqueline Kennedy
  95. “That’s how it is with books, isn’t it: They’re not in a hurry. They’ll wait for you till you’re ready.” Charles Bukowski
  96. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” C. S. Lewis
  97. “If you think reading is boring, you’re doing it wrong.”
  98. “Books are the perfect entertainment; no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everyone doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.” Stephen King
  99. “I was born with a reading list I will never finish.” Maud Casey
  100. “I don’t have a favorite book, I have hundreds.” J. K. Rowling

Copy of Bookish christmas gift guides

And now for the fun part – a giveaway!

Winner will receive the following ten books listed below. All of the books are used (I read them :D) but are in very good condition.

The Martian by Andy Weir (paperback)
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (paperback)
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (paperback)
Magnolia by Kristi Cook(paperback)
Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci (paperback)
Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci (hardcover)
Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger (paperback)
Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (hardcover)
Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger (hardcover)
Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger (hardcover)

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Sweepstakes will be open to entry between December 26, 2017 and midnight Arizona time on January 2, 2018. Approximate retail value of giveaway is $32 (US) based on current Amazon prices. No prize substitutions allowed.

Giveaway open to those 18 and older who are residents of the United States. (I don’t have the legal knowledge to open it up to younger or international readers, I’m sorry!)

Winner will be chosen using the Rafflecopter below. I will email the winner on January 3 to get their mailing address. If they don’t respond within a week, I will use the Rafflecopter to choose another winner. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited by law. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. One entry per person. Duplicate entries will be deleted.
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Book Review: The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Sage is one of a few orphans chosen by Conner Bevin to pretend to be the long-lost prince. Conner, a nobleman, claims that this is the best for everybody – for the kingdom, for him, and the orphan he chooses. We as the reader get to follow Sage as he competes to be the best false prince for Bevins plan, and as he uncovers the details of the plan.

What I Liked

  • There were a lot of subtle complexities to this book. It wasn’t a mystery, but we were constantly learning new things about all of the characters, the kingdom, and the plan to be a false prince. It kept me intrigued the whole way.
  • I’m struggling to find a way to describe this book without giving much away. Lets just say that it definitely cracks my top five books for this year.

What I Didn’t Like

  • This was clearly written for an upper middle grade or lower young adult audience (similar to the Percy Jackson series I would say). This was fine by me, but I want to let you know in case that isn’t your cup of tea.
  • There was a specific chapter that confused me so much that I had to read it twice. But once I got it…. wow!

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a great fantasy, this is your book!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Book Review: V is for Virgin by Kelly Orman

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This book follows “Virgin Val” after she is dumped for wanting to be a virgin until marriage. Unfortunately, hometown rock star prodigy, Kyle Hamilton, posts about her purity pledge on the internet, causing her a lot of unwanted attention.

What I Liked

  • The hint of a relationship between Kyle and Val was enough for me to pick up the next book. (It’s also the only reason I gave this book three stars instead of two.)
  • The author did a pretty good job of addressing the topic of virginity in a fair way without including religion.
  • It was interesting to see how Val handled the sudden fame that gets thrown her way.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Based on the Goodreads summary, I had expected this to be a romance. It was actually more of a story about how Val deals with unexpected fame.
  • This book was sort of dry. I love Kelly Orman’s books (especially Cinder & Ella!), but I was very close to putting this book down and not picking it back up. I feel like there was a doctor’s appointment or something where this book was my only option and that’s why I finished it.
  • I feel like the author missed the opportunity to add the point that someone who is not a virgin has no less value than someone who is. There is a specific scene in which this could have easily been done. (To be fair though, she also doesn’t look down upon the non-virgin characters, it just isn’t addressed at all.)

In Conclusion

This book was only so-so. Go read Cinder and Ella (also by Kelly Orman) instead!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

The day she breaks up with her boyfriend, Ezra, Kady’s planet is invaded and she has to dash to escape on a spaceship. Pretty soon, they are being pursued by the same corporation that attacked their planet. But that’s not all – there are multiple ominous occurances on her ship

What I Liked

  • This is definitely the best book I’ve read this year! I’d tell you to go read it right NOW, but you actually probably want to set aside time for this one. Once you pick up this book, you will not be able to put it down. (My friend definitely warned me about this, but I didn’t believe her. I had to pretty much pry the book out of my hands to go get food. And even then, it barely happened. :)) So set aside eight hours or so and grab some snacks.
  • The action! As I said above, this book is un-put-downable. Every time you think things are starting to make sense, something occurs to up the tension. What you think is the focus or a problem, isn’t always the case when you find out the bigger issue.
  • The format of the book is unique. It’s told almost like an FBI or crime report – through any transcripts, documents, video footage, emails, etc. the narrator could get their hands on. This is one book you want in person, not as an eBook or audio book.
  • The main character is great at IT – which I feel you don’t see very often in books, at least not done very well.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Not much. It was a fantastic book!

In Conclusion

Go read this!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

 (affiliate link)

Book Review: Rogue by Julie Kagawa

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This review contains spoilers for the first book in this series, Talon. You can see my review for Talon here.

Summary

This is book follows Ember Hill, who has now gone rogue with the mysterious (and motorcycle-riding) Cobalt. In addition to avoiding Talon, who ruthlessly punishes dragons who go rogue, she also wants to rescue Garret. The only problem is that he’s on trial at a high-security camp for St. George – the centuries-long enemy of all dragons.

What I Liked

  • Sometimes, Ember is pretty bad-a**. There are some great scenes and action sequences in this book that I could play out in my head like a movie. She keeps fighting regardless of the obstacles thrown her way.
  • It was really interesting to see the world from the rogue perspective, as opposed to the “I’m a hatchling owned by Talon” perspective we got in the first book.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Love triangle. Just tell me who to root for, and I’m game! Give me two options and I’m hesitant to through myself into the emotions/actions of the main character.
  • This one didn’t have as much tension as the first one. Don’t get me wrong, the action was great, but for a while they are just wandering and almost just looking for trouble. And I’m not a fan of those types of books. (Stone in the Sky is another example of a book that does this.)

In Conclusion

Another great addition to the Talon series. If you like the first one, you’ll probably like this one too. 🙂

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Book Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This is book follows Ember Hill, a dragon disguised as a teenage human living on Crescent Beach. She has moved there with her twin brother, Dante. She is tasked with learning how to assimilate with humans before she is assigned her permanent position with the dragon organization, Talon.

This book also follows Garret, a human trained to hunt dragons. Shoot now, ask questions later. He is sent in undercover to uncover dragons and eliminate them before they cause trouble for the humans.

What I Liked

  • Did you read the summary above? Dragon. Dragon Slayer. Need I say more?
  • This world was just so imaginative. Grounded in the world I know, but with these whole new worlds within it. Talon, the dragon organization, has its own unique intricacies and politics, which were really cool to discover as Ember discovered them. St. George, the dragon slaying organization, is similar to any military organization, except steeped in centuries of history.
  • This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I read it on breaks, at lunch, and any free minute I had until I finished it. I can’t think of many more specific things, but the tension between the two main characters (Ember and Garret) is enough to keep you going!

What I Didn’t Like

  • I didn’t understand her desire to rebel. She often wanted to get free and fly, but I couldn’t quite see why. I guess this could just be because I’ve never been a dragon though so…
  • Sometimes she makes stupid decisions. But it’s not a really big issue.

In Conclusion

If you like dragons, or fantasy, or Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey series anyone?) then this book is for you! The book takes place over a summer, so there’s not really any high school drama – I know some people avoid those books.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)