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Carpe Librum Box Unboxing: Jul/Aug Box

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Disclaimer: Not sponsored. Paid for in full with my own money. 

My very first Carpe Librum box arrived today! (Squeezing in a quick unboxing post before I head out for the day).

I recently heard about Carpe Librum on instagram and when I found out the theme for July/Aug is Made In Singapore, I jumped right in. I’ve always been a fan of local books, and have always tried to advocate more people to read local. This July/Aug box is the best of both worlds! Carpe Librum is a book subscription service from Singapore. I’ve always wanted to get a book subscription box but most book boxes originate from the US, and they either don’t do international shipping, or its too expensive for me to subscribe to. In comes Carpe Librum, complete with door step delivery at only $35. Win!

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Inside the box.

I immediately noticed the NOTbook from Epigram Books, and am greatly pleased that the book selected for this box is also published by Epigram Books! Love at first sight. Did you notice that the box is filled with red and white strips? Love the little details that keeps with the theme.

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In full view.

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Let’s Give it Up for Gimme Lao! by Sebastian Sim

Finalist for the 2015 Epigram Books Fiction Prize

“I don’t aspire to be nice. I do what is necessary to get what I want.”

Born on the night of the nation’s independence, Gimme Lao is cheated of the honour of being Singapore’s firstborn son by a vindictive nurse. This forms the first of three things Gimme never knows about himself, the second being the circumstances surrounding his parents’ marriage, and the third being the profound (but often unintentional) impact he has on other people’s lives.

Talented, determined and focused, young Gimme is confident he can sail the seven seas, but he does not anticipate his vessel would have to carry his mother’s ambition, his wife’s guilt and his son’s secret. Tracing social, economic and political issues over the past 50 years, this humorous novel uses Gimme as a hapless centre to expose all of Singapore’s ambitions, dirty linen and secret moments of tender humanity.

Of course, the main beauty of a book box is the book itself. The selected book for the month is Let’s Give it Up for Gimme Lao! by Sebastian Sim. Have seen this floating around, and was even recommended to me on goodreads but have yet to pick it up and try. Several good reviews on goodreads — sounds pretty interesting from the back blurb. It’s a big hunk of a book, which scares me a little bit (on a bit of a reading slump 😦 ), but I’m hoping it’ll be easy to fly through.

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‘I am not Kiasu, I am Singaporean’ NOTbook from Epigram Books & What the Singlish Stickers from Zinkie Aw.

Definitely a big fan of the NOTbooks from Epigram Books, so I’m delighted to have received one in the box. My fiancé always tells me I’m a bit kiasu (which is Singlish — Singaporean English, for being afraid to lose out — google it!) and kanchiong spider (Singlish for someone who is always anxious and on their toes) so I must always do things quickly otherwise I will feel like I will lose out to everyone else. Which is true. I am both of those things. This NOTbook is so apt for someone like me. In fact, the whole line of NOTbooks is very me.

Also these lovely stickers, filled with the Singlish slangs that are often heard in Singapore. Have never heard of these stickers before, but you’ll never know when you keen to Singapore-ify your things. (Making words up now, I see.)

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IKAT handwoven bookmark from Gypsied and “Complain King” set of pencils from Souvenirs from Singapore.

I follow Gypsied on Instagram and am a fan of their goodies, though I’ve never purchased anything from them (my version of window shopping). Always happy to have a new bookmark in the family. Have been using more fabric bookmarks as of late, after I rediscovered the fabric bookmark I got when I was 7 from my cousin a while back. Am always on the hunt for more.

And I’m in love with these set of pencils from Souvenirs from Singapore. The text on these pencils are so ridiculously funny, so very Singaporean, and so very me. I’m going to sharpen them and place them in my pencil box at work. What is better than teaching a bunch of kids? Using a pencil with hilarious text on it!

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Lastly, the box comes with an Epigram Books catalogue, which is always appreciated as well as coupons for BooksActually and Epigram Books.

Definitely impressed with the items in my Carpe Librum box and will definitely consider getting the next one that they put out. Their boxes come in limited quantities, so you can follow them on instagram (@carpelibrum.sg) to check out when their next subscription box will be out and get your hands on one if you’re interested.

Many thanks to the people behind Carpe Librum for a wonderful first experience!

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June Book Haul

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book sale buys:

the marriage plot by jeffrey eugendies • middlesex by jeffrey eugendies • i’ll be right there by kyung sook shin

library e-books:

spud by john van de ruit • smart girls get what they want by sarah strohmeyer • the rule of thirds by chantel guertin • suicide notes by michael thomas ford • rage: a love story by julie ann peters • in too deep by amanda grace

netgalley/edelweiss:

cameo by tanille • the secret diary of lizzie bennett • if i were you by lisa renee jones • the library of unrequited love by sophie divry • you by austin grossman • i take you  by eliza kennedy • the list by joanna bolourt

won from a giveaway:

everything leads to you by nina lacour

This is an accidental book haul. I’ve had all these e-arcs/review copies left over from last month so I definitely need to get round to them this month. I headed to the bookstore earlier in the month with my boyfriend and he found I’ll Be Right There for me! I’m so excited to be reading Kyung Sook Shin’s new book. I loved her previous book, Please Look After Mother which is one of my favourite books of all time. We also went to another book sale and I got the other two Eugendies books The Marriage Plot and Middlesex. I read The Virgin Suicides last month and I fell in love with his writing. I know he’s a popular author, so I’m very excited to have found these two books for only $5 each! What a steal.

I only recently discovered that I could borrow e-books from my local library through the Overdrive app on my iPad so I might have gone a little crazy. There are some gems in there, so I will certainly be borrowing more e-books off the app. It’s so convenient and everything is free! I like that you can place holds on the e-books for free (holding books at the library for physical copies require money here!) and they’ll just email you whenever the book is available.

Lastly, I won Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour over at The Reading Date! I haven’t gotten the book yet, but I’m sure it’ll be sneaking into my mail pretty soon. I cannot wait to get my hands on it!

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Sneak Peak: Isla and the Happily Ever After By Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After By Stephanie Perkins
Anna and the French Kiss #3
Publication Date: 14 Aug 2014 by Dutton

Goodreads

Summary: From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

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Disclaimer: This is not a full review of the book but only a sneak peak. I received a copy of  Isla and the Happily Ever After c/o of the publisher via Netgalley. Isla and the Happily Ever After is also available to everyone on Netgalley.

OKAY. Okay.

I have waited for Isla and the Happily Ever After for what feels like forever now. Its publication date kept getting pushed back and I needed this book so badly. I love Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. I love Stephanie Perkins’ writing and her ability to make me swoon. And the boys, oh the boys… 

I usually hate reading sneak peaks because I hate having to stop reading after a couple of pages, but I couldn’t resist. From the 50-page sneak peak, I know I’m going to gobble up this book all in a day the moment it comes out. I am already in love with Isla and Josh, and we’re back in SOAP (School of America in Paris) where it all began. I especially loved chapter two, it was so simple yet hilarious.

I know I’m going to love Isla already, just from these 50 pages and I’m certain that the rest of the book will be fantastic. Isla is a lovely character; shy but also kind of manic and obsessive. I can’t wait for Isla to be released!

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May Library Haul

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may library haul:

actors anonymous by james franco • burial rites by hannah kent • juvie by steve watkins • this song will save your life by leila sales • mr penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore by robin sloan • in the woods by tana french

Yes, I went to the library despite having a bunch of books existing left to read but y’know how it is. Right? Right? I’ve been reading a lot of the books I got off Netgalley and its taken a toll on me. I’ve gotten into this state of mind where I worry that the books I got will go unread and unreviewed, so I’ve binged-read them. Hence my trip to the library to just relax and calm myself. They will get read, don’t worry — I’ve gotten some fantastic books (read and reviewed!) off Netgalley this month!

I’m already halfway through Mr Penumbra’s and I am absolutely in love with it right now. I’ve also read a few pages of Juvie but didn’t manage to finish it the last time I check it out of the library. The boyfriend and I almost bought Actors Anonymous at the book sale the last time, but the overwhelming amount of bad reviews made us decide otherwise. Nevertheless, I decided to check it out just to see what I think of it. I’m excited for In The Woods and This Song Will Save Your Life — I’ve heard nothing but good things about both of these books and yes, that is the large print of Burial Rites. Why do I need large print? Who really knows….

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May Book Haul

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book sale buys:

night film by marisha pessl • two boys kissing by david levithan • allegiant by veronica roth • telegraph avenue  by michael chabon • how i live now by meg rosoff • the virgin suicides by jeffrey eugendies • veronika decides to die by paulo coelho • never let me go by kazuo ishiguro • eleven minutes by paulo coelho

collective book buys:
(gifted by my boyfriend some time ago, but have yet to read or show)

all she was worth by miyuki miyabe • snow country by yasunari kawabata

I’m very excited to start reading these lovely books soon. I’m particularly excited about The Virgin Suicides, which is my favourite movie of all time (Sofia Coppola also happens to be one of my favourite directors) but sadly have never read. I’ve heard that it’s just a beautiful, if not even more, as the movie so I can’t wait to dive into the story again. I’m also excited to dive into the final installment of the Divergent series, Allegiant — I’ve been putting off from reading it because I don’t want it to end just yet. I’ve recently finally gone to see the film for Divergent and I’m getting excited again to be in the world of Tris and Four.  Night Film is one of my favourite buys at the book sale. I bought it for only $8; I saw it a few weeks before at the bookstore selling it for $22 or so, so I’m extremely happy I decided to wait out. What a steal! Lastly, I desperately want to watch How I Live Now, seeing how the trailer came out in theaters not too long ago (I feel like we’re so behind with films and everything is already out everywhere else?!) and it looked SO GOOD. Definitely have to go and read it before watching the film (I don’t even know when it’s out here!)

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Library Haul | 08/12/13

Headed to the library earlier in the week and scored 16 books (hurray for doubled borrowing limit, till Jan 2014!):

IMG_1715Adult fiction selection

1. Something Borrowed By Emily Giffin • Review
2. The Patchwork Marriage By Jane Green
3. Fight Club By Chuck Palahniuk
4. Fear Of Writing By Tan Tarn How
5. All The Sad Young Men By F. Scott Fitzgerald
6. A Pocket Full of Rye By Agatha Christie
7. Commencement By J. Courtney Sullivan
8. Black Flower By Kim Young Ha

I’m a huge fan of Chuck Palahniuk’s work, so it’s about time I finally picked up the cult favourite, Fight Club. I did pick up Commencement before though I wasn’t able to get round to it, so now that I’m done with University for the year, I’m hoping I can finally get round to it. Lastly, I’m so excited for Black Flower by Kim Young Ha – it’s the only book (translated so far, I think) that I don’t own yet so I’m looking forward to reading this one. I met Kim Young Ha in November at Writers Festival – will blog about that soon!

IMG_1716 IMG_1717Young Adult fiction selection – loving the blue sides of You Don’t Know Me

1. You Don’t Know Me By Sophia Bennett
2. The Liar Society By Lisa & Laura Roecker • Review
3. Want To Go Private? By Sarah Darer Littman
4. The Tragedy Paper By Elizabeth LaBan
5. Confessions of a Hater By Caprice Crane
6. Colin Fischer By Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz

Have recently just read The Liar Society and I’m hooked! I’ve just picked up the second book on my kindle, I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on Confessions of a Hater since it’s been released, so I’m glad my library has finally stocked it!

IMG_1718 IMG_1719Other book selection – in love with the illustrations in My Ideal Bookshelf

1. My Ideal Bookshelf
2. The Sartorialist

And some other books I’ve borrowed and read from the library (that I’ve since returned):

1. Firecracker By David Iserson • Review
2. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares By David Levithan & Rachel Cohn
3. Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick By Joe Schreiber
4. Bridget Jones’s Diary By Helen Fielding • Review

Reviews for Au Revoir and Dash & Lily’s will be up on the blog soon!

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Quick Update + Currently Reading | 30/09/13

Apologies for the lack of posts lately – I’ve been completely consumed with university and family stuff that I haven’t had the chance to really sit down and properly read (which is why there is a lack of #fridayreads and reviews)! I’ve settled down quite a bit now, and can somewhat manage my time better so I will be posting more reviews up hopefully very soon!

Fangirl honestly put me in a bit of a reading slump but I recently picked up I Have The Right to Destroy Myself by Kim Young-Ha and it’s exactly what I needed! Given my circumstances, I’ve been a bit slow at reading but I’m slightly more than halfway through so hopefully I can get it done by this week!

Enough talking, time to show you my recent book purchases!

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  1. I Have The Right To Destroy Myself by Kim Young-Ha
    Goodreads • Bookdepository

    I don’t encourage murder. I have no interest in one person killing another. I only want to draw out morbid desires, imprisoned deep in the unconscious. This lust, once freed, starts growing. Their imaginations run free, and they soon discover their potential… They are waiting for someone like me.

    A spectral, nameless narrator haunts the lost and wounded of big-city Seoul, suggesting solace in suicide. Wandering through the bright lights of their high-urban existence, C and K are brothers who fall in love with the same woman – Se-yeon. As their lives intersect, they tear at each other in a struggle to find connection in their fast-paced, atomized world.

    Dreamlike and cinematic, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself brilliantly affirms Young-ha Kim as Korea’s leading young literary master.

  2. Vivian Versus The Apocalypse by Katie Coyle
    Goodreads • Bookdepository

    A chilling vision of a contemporary USA where the sinister Church of America is destroying lives. Our cynical protagonist, seventeen-­year-­old Vivian Apple, is awaiting the fated ‘Rapture’ -­ or rather the lack of it. Her evangelical parents have been in the Church’s thrall for too long, and she’s looking forward to getting them back. Except that when Vivian arrives home the day after the supposed ‘Rapture’, her parents are gone. All that is left are two holes in the ceiling…

    Viv is determined to carry on as normal, but when she starts to suspect that her parents might still be alive, she realises she must uncover the truth. Joined by Peter, a boy claiming to know the real whereabouts of the Church, and Edie, a heavily pregnant Believer who has been ‘left behind’, they embark on a road trip across America. Encountering freak weather, roving ‘Believer’ gangs and a strange teenage group calling themselves the ‘New Orphans’, Viv soon begins to realise that the Rapture was just the beginning.

  3. Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn #2) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
    Goodreads • Bookdepository

    When sweet revenge turns sour… Book two of a trilogy fromNew York Times bestselling author Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian.

    Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

    Not even close.

    For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.

    And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.

    Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

    It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn…

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#LocalLit: Library Haul | 12/09/13

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#LocalLit is my personal project into reading and promoting more Singaporean Literature.

Okay, I’ve been lusting over these books for the longest time but I’ve been trying to go on a bit of a book buying ban. So what better way than to take advantage of the libraries! The books below are mainly poetry books so they should be pretty quick reads for me.

I love how Math Paper Press always keeps their designs looking minimalistic yet extremely gorgeous. Math Paper Press is a small publishing company here in Singapore. You can check some of their stuff here or visit their Facebook! (You can purchase these books from BooksActually – they ship internationally!)

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  1. Bursting Seams by Jollin Tan
    Goodreads • BooksActually

    Bursting Seams
     is a raw and passionate exploration of the body through poetry. The book mines the inescapable linkages between physicality and difficult emotions in poems that are traumatic and revealing, but also tender and self-empowering.
  2. Transparent Strangers by Loh Guan Liang
    Goodreads • BooksActually

In Transparent Strangers, the city is more than steel and glass: it is also a landscape where emotion is as much architecture as it is part of human experience. With subjects ranging from burial sites to Taiwanese dramas, this debut collection of poems meditates on the distance we must cross with words to make the everyday unfamiliar again; if only to understand ourselves better.

 

Cyril Wong’s prose poems remark, instruct, exclaim and curse at a world long settled into its desire-ridden forms. These protracted sentences both attack and reflect on the miasma of memory, working life, the delusions of family life, and the paradoxes of lust and love, moving between meditative moments, philosophical arguments and cryptic to lyrical tongue-lashings. Time, or our failure to exist meaningfully beyond its dimensions, forms the heartbeat of this book.

 

Is love born from duty, misplaced ideas of nobility or the thirst for dependence? Jerrold Yam’s second poetry collection confronts the very act of creation, wrestling it from family, religion and sexuality—a triptych of forces that bears as much a promise for redemption as a capacity for cruelty and hurt.

 

My name is Benjamin Hong, aged 8, height 90cm, and studying at Loyang Primary School.

Mummy said we are going to Bedok Reservoir, and I changed out of my school uniform. She forced me to wear a red T-shirt & shorts. She painted my nails red too, but that was super fun.

I could hear Mummy’s footsteps on the gravel. I could hear the water in the distance, ebbing closer and closer. There were no stars, just darkness. I didn’t want to open my eyes. With my head against Mummy’s chest, I could hear the rhythmic beating. The sound made me calm and relaxed. All I heard was the sound of water splashing around Mummy’s waist.

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#FridayReads | 30/08/13 + Library Haul

I’m home from a library trip with a mini book haul! Here are some books I hauled today (and last week):

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  1. Commencement by Courtney Sullivan
    A sparkling debut novel: a tender story of friendship, a witty take on liberal arts colleges, and a fascinating portrait of the first generation of women who have all the opportunities in the world, but no clear idea about what to choose.Assigned to the same dorm their first year at Smith College, Celia, Bree, Sally, and April couldn’t have less in common. Celia, a lapsed Catholic, arrives with her grandmother’s rosary beads in hand and a bottle of vodka in her suitcase; beautiful Bree pines for the fiancé she left behind in Savannah; Sally, pristinely dressed in Lilly Pulitzer, is reeling from the loss of her mother; and April, a radical, redheaded feminist wearing a “Riot: Don’t Diet” T-shirt, wants a room transfer immediately.Together they experience the ecstatic highs and painful lows of early adulthood: Celia’s trust in men is demolished in one terrible evening, Bree falls in love with someone she could never bring home to her traditional family, Sally seeks solace in her English professor, and April realizes that, for the first time in her life, she has friends she can actually confide in.

    When they reunite for Sally’s wedding four years after graduation, their friendships have changed, but they remain fiercely devoted to one another. Schooled in the ideals of feminism, they have to figure out how it applies to their real lives in matters of love, work, family, and sex. For Celia, Bree, and Sally, this means grappling with one-night stands, maiden names, and parental disapproval—along with occasional loneliness and heartbreak. But for April, whose activism has become her life’s work, it means something far more dangerous.

    Written with radiant style and a wicked sense of humor, Commencementnot only captures the intensity of college friendships and first loves, but also explores with great candor the complicated and contradictory landscape facing young women today

  2. Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson

    ‘As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me …’

    Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love—all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

    Welcome to Christine’s life

  3. XVI (XVI #1) by Julia Karr

    Every girl gets one.
    An XVI tattoo on the wrist–sixteen.
    Some girls can’t wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay.

    Then, with one brutal strike, Nina’s normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there’s one boy who can help–and he just may hold the key to her past.

    But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure…

    For Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet.

  4. Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara

    A resonant debut novel about retreating from the world after losing everything—and the connections that force you to rejoin it.Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somewhere she can be alone.

    Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.

  5. Beneath the Glitter by Elle & Blair Fowler

    From internet stars Elle and Blair Fowler comes a scintillating new novel that takes readers Beneath the Glitter of the glitzy L.A. social scene.Welcome to a place where dreams are made.  And where nothing—and no one—is ever what it seems.

    After their make-up and fashion videos went viral on YouTube, sisters Sophia and Ava London are thrust into the exclusive life of the Los Angeles elite.  Here fabulous parties, air kisses, paparazzi and hot guys all come with the scene. Sophia finds herself torn between a gorgeous bartender and a millionaire playboy, and Ava starts dating an A-list actor.  But as they’re about to discover, the life they’ve always dreamed of comes with a cost.

    Beneath the glitter of the Hollywood social scene lies a world of ruthless ambition, vicious gossip…and betrayal.  Someone close to them, someone they trust, is working in the shadows to bring the London sisters falling down. And once the betrayal is complete, Sophia and Ava find themselves knee-deep in a scandal that could take away everything they care about, including the one thing that matters most—each other.

  6. Bunheads by Sophie Flack

    As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah’s universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other “bunheads” in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?

  7. A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin

    A hint of Recovery Road, a sample of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and a cut of Juno. A Really Awesome Mess is a laugh-out-loud, gut-wrenching/heart-warming story of two teenagers struggling to find love and themselves.Two teenagers. Two very bumpy roads taken that lead to Heartland Academy.
    Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl in a very compromising position, Justin’s summer took a quick turn for the worse. His parents’ divorce put Justin on rocky mental ground, and after a handful of Tylenol lands him in the hospital, he has really hit rock bottom.

    Emmy never felt like part of her family. She was adopted from China. Her parents and sister tower over her and look like they came out of a Ralph Lauren catalog– and Emmy definitely doesn’t. After a scandalous photo of Emmy leads to vicious rumors around school, she threatens the boy who started it all on Facebook.

    Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends.
    A funny, sad, and remarkable story, A Really Awesome Mess is a journey of friendship and self-discovery that teen readers will surely sign up for.

#FridayReads

For this week’s #fridayreads pick, I’ll continue reading Beneath the Glitter & Lovely, Dark and Deep. So far I’m really liking Lovely, Dark & Deep. Beneath the Glitter is okay, it’s just a very simple read so far.

What are you reading this Friday?