Book Review: The Duff

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
  
Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 out of 5 stars
Young Adult, Contempory, Romance

Synopsis: This book follows Bianca, a high school student who finds out that she is considered the Designated Ugly Fat Friend (DUFF) of her friends group. She in turn, to escape a not so good home life, starts a “enemies with benefits” relationship with Wesley Rush, the womanizer who first informed her of her DUFF status in the first place.

 My Thoughts:  POSSIBLE SPOILERS (I try not to spoil but read my thoughts at your own risk)

I feel I need to start by saying that I don’t usually pick up contemporaries, however, this author is attending YallFest and I felt like I should probably go ahead and read it before I go. 

I really enjoyed this story, I felt it had a good message. Being that girls tend not to see themselves the way others do, that we tend to pick out our flaws and see ourselves as the DUFF… I wish I could say it isn’t true, but it’s just a normal part of life I suppose… 

Bianca is actually a semi strong character to me, she has her self esteem issues but she also knows who she is, what she wants and she doesn’t apologize for being herself nor does she try to change anything about herself to fit in. I have to commend her for that…

Wesley is an interesting character also, it kind of opens you up to realize that seemingly perfect people don’t really have perfect lives. He’s a handsome guy, gets lot of action, seems to live without a care in the world but he is actually really lonely and only has one real friend that he is with regularly.

You learn bits and pieces about the other characters in the story, but most of the book focuses on Bianca and Wesley and the way things and people around them affect their lives and relationship.

So in all, I felt is was a pretty real story. Not completely realistic but real enough that I related to the characters well and I was pretty hooked into the story. There was a lot of sex in this book, not graphic but I guess not really as much as I usually expect from YA books… So if that is not something you like to read about, I wouldn’t pick this one up.

Recommended: Anyone who loves contempory romances, real life situations, and strong willed characters. 
P.S. This book is very different from the movie (which I watched first and loved) just a head up. 

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Top 5 Wednesday: Halloween Recommendations 

The Top 5 Wednesday tag was created by Lainey at GingerReadsLainey and the weekly topics are found in this Goodreads Group.

The topic for today is Favorite Halloween Recommendations 😍

I’ve done a lot of posts on Instagram regarding spooky and creepy books… Honestly, I don’t feel there are enough in the genre that I normally read. I may need to branch out a bit later on to find some more for future October reads.

These are 5 on my shelf that I have read, and aren’t necessarily scary but all have a sinister vibe going for them.

  

1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

This book definitely had a creepy element. I mean, ghosts who murder people, that’s freaky… But the main character, Cas, has a special knife that sends them on their way. However, he finds his match with Anna and ends up trying to find out more about her instead of sending her on. I’ve talked about this one before, it’s definitely one I would recommend to someone who likes ghostly things and doesn’t mind a little blood.

2. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

I’ve talked about this one recently too, it’s inspired by the classic book by H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau. It also has that creepy element, but no ghosts… It’s set just after the turn of the century, and it’s about a girl who finds her father living on an island. She discovers some pretty gruesome secrets he’s been keeping, and there’s some minor romance also ❤️

3. The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie

I loved this one, a perfectly YA ghost story. It is about a girl who moves into a haunted house, meets a boy at school and together they try to solve the mystery. It’s just a cool story and I loved the characters and the unique storyline.

4. The Diviners by Libba Bray

This one is definitely creepy, it hooks you from the first chapter… I actually had to read this one during the day because the main villain scared me, and I love horror stuff. This follows a bunch of different characters who all have a different angle on the story but it all ends up bringing them to same place. I love stories like that too, lots of suspense ☺️

5. Lockwood and Co. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

This is a Sherlock Holmes inspired middle grade series, but the twist of the story is that only children have the ability to see ghosts. Lockwood and Co. are a small independent agency who are hired for the mystery of The Screaming Staircase. It’s just a cute little spooky story, I really enjoyed it.

So that is my T5W this week, if you know of any spooky stories that you think would have me hiding under my covers, let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading! 

The time and place book tag

This book tag was created by Jen Campbell and I was tagged by my lovely book BFF Michelle at MichellisLife… Ok, so idk if she actually tagged me, but she told me about it and so I’m doing this 😍

So the idea of this tag is to pick 10 books from your shelves that you associate with a specific time and place in your life. Tell the story behind the choices and what the book is about.

So I’m going to start by saying that I did pick a couple important books that I don’t actually own yet, but that I read at important times and that stick out to me so I will insert photos of the covers I found with Google 😏 I’ll start with these.

  

1. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
I read this when I was about 22ish, when I worked in a clinic. I loved this job so much, I loved all the people that I worked with and I consider it to be one of the best periods of my life. These books spread through our workplace like wildfire, we all passed them around and this was close to the time when the first movie was coming out. There was a whole lot of Team Jacob (me 😍) and Team Edward wars going on lol. This book always reminds me of those ladies… If you haven’t heard of it, it’s about Vampires… And a human who falls in love with one of them. I still love these, no matter how annoyed I get at them… I will probably buy them someday.

2. The Indian Captive by Lois Lenski

This book is about a girl who is captured by Seneca Indians and they raise her. It’s a amazing story, it’s been a while since I read it so I don’t remember a lot of details. I picked this one because it was first book I chose for myself to read. My mother took me to the library one day, I was about 10ish, and I didn’t want to be there that day (so sad). She took me to the kids section and told me that I had to pick a book and that I was going to read it. I just picked this at random because I was mad that she was making me, I ended up loving this book to pieces and I credit it with making me fall in love with reading… So thanks mom and Lois Lenski 😀

3. He’s just not that into you by Greg Behrendt

This is a self help book, about all the excuses girls give men when they just really aren’t that into you… Let me start by saying, I was extremely sheltered. I was homeschooled my whole life, the only social circle I had was church youth group and I was considered “the good girl” so they also seemed to shelter me from real world stuff as much as my family did… I truly believed when I was young that the first guy I met would be amazing, and we would fall in love and have that cute little story to tell people… Ha! I think you know where this is going, and that definitely didn’t happen. I also had lots of crushes on guys I knew and I became maybe, a little desperate… This is not a time I look back on fondly, until I read this book… It helped me realize that the right guy would put as much effort as I did into a relationship, and that I didn’t have to push so hard or be someone I’m not. I truly believe it changed my life and gave me the freedom to find my own confidence.
Now on to the books I actually own lol 😘

  
4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

When I was a kid, my mom used to read to us and this book was my favorite of all the ones she chose. It’s about 4 children who find secret passage through a closet to the magical land of Narnia, where animals talk and there are all kinds of magical creatures. The kids have to help them defeat the evil queen… Not all of the story follows the same 4 children but it’s been so long since I’ve heard the story and I can only remember the 1st book. But I plan to read this as an adult soon, or maybe just read it to my son 😍

5. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

So… I didn’t actually finish this book… But the story I associate with it makes me laugh. Like I said, I was homeschooled, and my mom chose our reading material from lists of books for whatever curriculum she was using at the time. This was one of the choices, and I personally never really liked the books that she chose. So instead of reading the books, I would read random pages so I could give her details without actually reading the book… It worked lol, and it’s actually a funny story about how my brother and I duped her… However, I do want to read this book I’ve seen lots of movies about this which is why I own it now 😊

6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers /Philosophers Stone by J.K. Rowling

I remember when this book came out, it was so popular and everyone I knew had read it… My mom kind of boycotted it because she didn’t really like us to read things about witches and stuff… I don’t think she really knew what the book was about to be honest. So my brother went to actual high school for a couple years  and this book was on his required reading list so, she had to let him read it. I don’t think he liked it, my brothers not a reader. But, because she let him read it, she had to let me also and I LOVED it… It will always be one of my most favorite series ever… Funny twist, my mom actually picked it up too and she loved it even more than me lol

7. I’m a Believer by Micky Dolenz and Mark Bego

This is an autobiography by Micky Dolenz from The Monkees. Most people know that I’m a huge Monkees fan, and if you didn’t…. You do now 😉 I became a fan in 2000 when VH1 made a movie about them, I even got to see them on their 35th anniversary tourin 2001 (2nd row seats, thank you very much lol). So I watched all the shows and read lots of stuff about them, but I really loved Micky’s book… It also had lots of pictures… I recently got Davy Jones’s book on my nook also, so hoping to read that also.

8. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This book is about a boy who discovers a secret world full of peculiar children whose are being hunted by these evil guys called wights who was to eat their souls 😱 I worked at a library in a small town in Oklahoma for a while, and they were always sent boxes of ARCs. This happened to stand out to me because the cover, wow. So my boss let me read it, I loved the whole thing and it really helped me get back into reading at that time… I was going through some stuff, I had just gotten married a few months before and my husband is in the military and was sent to Korea for a year. I was living with my in-laws whom I had only met a couple times before and not for long periods, my dad had passed away suddenly earlier that year and I really was just having a hard time… But this book helped me remember how healing it can be to escape into a different world for a while, and it will always be special to me.

9. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

This book is about a girl in California in 1918, during the Spanish flu epidemic. She loses the guy she’s in love with to war but he comes back to haunt her and she has to figure out why. It’s a beautiful story and the author did a wonderful job researching the history. I love this book because it was one I picked for the only book club I’ve ever joined, and everyone loved it! This rarely happens to me, people I recommend books too don’t usually like them lol, so I was pretty excited that they all really liked it… So this book always reminds me of those ladies, and the awesomest book club ever 😍

10. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater 

I’ve talked about this one before, it’s about 4 boys from a prestigious school and a girl from a family of psychics, she being the only one without the gift, who go on a quest to find an ancient Welsh King who will grant them a wish. This book I buddy read with Michelle (I linked her booktube above, check her out ☺️) and while we have read a few books together now, this was one I feel we both loved equally. So this series will always remind me of her, and that one part in the first book where we were like OMGosh, he’s what! 😏 no spoilers, just read it!!!

So those are my 10 books, thanks for reading! I don’t know who to tag but if this sounds interesting to you, please do it and send me the link so I can read your choices 😀

2 of a Kind

I wanted to do a little post about the type of series you don’t see often, duos… Yep, series that only have 2 books!

Most series in YA are trilogies, and it also seems to me that it’s becoming more popular to have 4, 5, 6 or more! 

I often find myself intimidated by larger series, so sometimes, less really is more (especially when you’re a slow reader like me) So I’m going to mention 3 of my favorite duos that I own and highly recommend 😀
  
1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

This series is about a boy, Cas, who has inherited the job of taking care of murderous ghosts and sending them to the beyond with a special knife that’s been in his family for years… He meets his match with Anna and ends up trying to find out what happened to her in order to get her to move on. It’s a very interesting story, I personally had never read anything like it and I still find it to be one of the more unique ya series I’ve found.
   
2. The Peculiar series by Stefan Bachmann

This is a story about changlings who are disappearing and Bartholomew is a changling. He goes on this adventure to save his sister, who is taken, before something awful happens to her or they take him too. It’s a fun fairy steampunk adventure! It’s very unique story and I am a sucker for good fairy stories 😀
  
3. Incarceron series by Catherine Fisher

This story is about a prison that is alive. It follows a character on the inside, Finn, who is trying to find a way out by following the legend of Sapphique, the only person to have ever escaped the prison. The world on the outside is ruled by an evil queen and all modern technology has been banned and replaced with strict protocol, specific to a certain era in history to “simplify the world”. The daughter of the warden, Claudia, discovers she has a way to communicate with Finn on the inside and decides to help him escape, and the prison itself is determined to keep that from happening. It’s truly fascinating, the world is intense and it all adds up to a crazy adventure.

So these are the duos I have read and loved, feel free to click the links and check them out yourselves. It’s always nice that if you read a book and love it to have just a little more, and also… You don’t have to wait as long for the series to finish if all the books are not out… Lots of pluses to being 2 of a kind 😏

If you know if any duos that you’d like to recommend, feel free to leave a comment! 

Thanks for reading!

Top 5 Wednesday’s – Top authors you’ve discovered this year

This is a weekly take created by Lainey at GingerReadsLainey and the weekly topics are listed in this Goodreads Group.

This weeks topic is the Top 5 Authors You’ve Discovered This Year.

  
My first choice is Megan Shepherd who is the author of The Madman’s Daughter series. This is her debut novel and it was inspired by the classic, The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells. I had not read the original that it was inspired by, but I found Megan’s story to be very fascinating. It kept me interested, the characters were all really different and I really wanted to know more… Thankfully there are 2 more books in the series, each inspired by a different classic book. Definitely worth checking out if you enjoy historic fiction with a fantasy twist.

2nd one I’m going to mention is Maggie Stiefvater and she is the author of The Raven Cycle series, the first one being The Raven Boys. I loved this series so much! It follows 4 boys from a private academy who are in search of a ancient welsh King and the mystical ley line he is attached to, and they are joined by Blue who comes from a family of psychics but she is the only one of them to not receive that gift. It’s fast paced and I love the way the author writes in a kind of riddle style where you really have to keep going to find out the whole story. It really draws you into their world, and Ronan Lynch is my hero 😍

3rd is Claudia Gray the author of The Firebird series, the first book being A Thousand Pieces of You. This story follows a girl who uses a device called The Firebird, to travel into dimensions in search of the boy she thinks may have killed her father. I found the story fascinating, unique, with fabulous world building and I really like the idea that every choice that could ever be made in your life would create another dimension with the consequences of said choices.

4th is Jesse Andrews who wrote the book, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. This is a contemporary story about a kid who finds out his childhood friend has cancer, and even though they aren’t really friends anymore, his mother tells him he has to spend time with her. It’s not a topically heartfelt story where sarcastic boy falls in love with cancer patient and blah, blah… It’s about a sarcastic boy who is forced to hang out with a cancer patient when he’d rather be hanging out making stupid movies with his friend Earl and he doesn’t understand why the reader even cares about his story… It’s ridiculous… And I loved every minute of it 😏

Last but not least I chose Jonathan Stroud for his book series, Lockwood and Co. with the first book called The Screaming Staircase. This is a middle grade series, and it’s a Sherlock Holmes type adventure. I found the story unique because it involved kids who have an ability to see ghosts and such, but once they reach a certain age, it fades away… So there are all these children who are tasked with ridding people of their hauntings and they have little competing agencies and such. It was a fun adventure, I enjoyed it and would probably be inclined to check out some of his other work as well.

That’s it for my top 5, thanks for reading! Feel free to follow, check out my Goodreads or my Instagram, that_one_girl_who_reads, also.