None right now

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Author Interview: Ryan Gebhart (Of Jenny and the Aliens Blog Tour)

Published: August 1, 2017 by Candlewick Press
When boy meets girl meets alien, the angst of first love gets an extraterrestrial intervention in
a tale both outrageously funny and full of heart.

Ten years after Earth sent messages out into deep space, there has been an answer. Music from a distant planet has reached the world’s radios. Are aliens about to invade? No one knows, and almost-eighteen-year-old Derek doesn’t really care, because at a wild end-of-the-
world party, Jennifer Novak invited him to play beer pong, and things, well, progressed from there. Derek is in love. Deeply, hopelessly in love. He wants it all — marriage, kids, growing old on a beach in Costa Rica. For him, Jenny is the One. But Jenny has other plans, which may or may not include Derek. So Derek will try anything to win her — even soliciting advice from an alien who shows up in his hometown. This alien may just be the answer to Derek’s problem, but is Derek prepared to risk starting an interstellar war to get his girl? Just how far is he willing to travel to discover the mysteries of the universe — and the enigma of


Hey, Ryan!! I'm so excited to have you on the blog today! 

Let's get the most important question out of the way—are you left-handed or right-


Now, I've always been fascinated by alien stories. Unfortunately, I've found many stories 
with alien premises blend together. What do you think makes OF JENNY AND THE 
ALIENS stand out?

I think I'm too close to the story for me to unequivocally state that JENNY is unique and stands out from other alien books. All I can say is that it's about a boy's first love and humanity's first contact with another species and how our expectations of both won't match reality. It's a story about the possibility of world peace and/or an interstellar war. It's about the lengths someone will go to in order to “win” the girl. It's about our rigid standards of love versus the boundless reality of love.

Are there any lines in OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS that you're particularly proud of 
and can share with us? 

“Love is not a shape. There is no love triangle, no love square. Love is a network. It's a form of communication.”

What does your ideal end-of-the-world party look like? 

Good food, good friends, good drinks, and my family.

If aliens really were to come to Earth, what is the one thing you hope they'd bring with 

Less awkward dating apps.

And what would you hope they take away from their time here?

Beer pong.

Ryan Gebhart is the author of the middle-grade novel There Will Be Bears, about which Publishers Weekly said in a starred review, “Fully developed characters, complex and realistic relationships . . . and a spot-on narrative voice . . . make this story stand out. About Of Jenny and the Aliens, the author says, “This book is about first love and discovering that we're not alone in the universe, and how maybe those two things aren't that different from each other.” Ryan Gebhart lives in Ohio. 

His debut young adult Of Jenny and the Aliens, about first love and discovering that we're not alone in the universe, will be released Spring 2017 with Candlewick Press. 


• 3 copies of OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS will go to 3 winners 
 • US Only 
 • Read the Rafflecopter Rules for more details 
 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Discussion: The Feeling After Reading A Hyped Book

I've been on a bit of a reading kick lately, at least by my standards. That means I've finally been able to get around to some books I've been hearing a lot about or wanting to read for a while now. And I noticed a feeling I'd get whenever I'd finished a book that had been particularly hyped to me.

I don't know--I might be the only one who feels this way. And it's kind of hard to explain. It's more complicated than a sense of disappointment or pleasure. The feeling is kind of a combination of, "Huh, so that's what everyone has been talking about" and "I finally read it" and "these characters and this story are real to me now."

It's almost like meeting a celebrity that I've been fawning over. I had these preconceived notions of what the book would be like, and now that I've read it, it has become something beyond what I could imagine. Sometimes it's a little disappointing. Sometimes it totally surpasses all the hopes I had. Sometimes I really don't know what to think, but at the end of the novel, I have genuine feelings about the book.

That's not to say that I don't like hype. I think it can be overwhelming and I think it can be dangerous for book lovers' wallets, but I appreciate it for what it is: people shouting their love for a book. But every time I finish a hyped book, I just feel strange.

This discussion post is a bit short, but I guess the whole point is to figure out if anyone out there knows what I'm talking about or experiences the same thing? I know everyone has different feelings on hyped books, but what about the feeling after hyped books? Let's chat! Also, let me know which hyped books you've read recently and what you thought of them!! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Lefty's Lowdown: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
Published: July 11, 2017 by Delacorte Press
Source: Won a free ARC in a giveaway. All thoughts stated in this review are my own.
Summary from Goodreads:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?
I knew literally nothing about this book. I won it in a giveaway and someone on Twitter said they really adored it and that we should all put it on our TBRs. It looked like a quick read, and so I picked it up and dove in. I DO NOT REGRET A THING. This book really took me by surprise in the best way. And like that person on Twitter, I say PUT IT ON YOUR TBR STAT.

This book has alternating perspectives--Kit, who is in a really dark place after her father died, and David, who is insanely intelligent but has no friends. These characters had me hooked instantly! They have two very distinct voices, but I didn't find myself favoring one POV over the other. I was equally engaged throughout the whole thing. And boy did I feel for these characters. So, Kit's dad died and nobody wants to freaking talk about it. They want her to move on because that would make the situation more comfortable for them. But on top of that, she keeps a devastating secret bottled up and then uncovers ANOTHER DEVASTATING SECRET. Like, things are not going well for this girl and I totally sympathize with her. And then there's David. He's on the autism spectrum and people are so fucking mean to him. It absolutely killed my heart to see the way that people treated him when he was such a PURE LIL CINNAMON ROLL. Honestly, he's my favorite character that I've read about in a whiiiile. 

What I really admire about this book is that yeah, it's a romance, and yeah, I ship Kit and David out the wazoo, but it's also not just about romance. Like, it's more than just wanting these characters to get to smoochin. It's about getting to know someone and really seeing the good in them. Seeing the truth in them. About being truly comfortable with someone, trusting them, and forgiving them when they do something painfully human. 

Somehow this book managed to break my heart and put it back together again. I love this book. I highly, highly recommend this book. It's underrated, if you ask me, with only 240 ratings on Goodreads. What to Say Next is not just your average YA contemporary book, and I think everyone could probably learn a little something from it. 

Again, I highly recommend this. 

Read it. 

My rating: 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday Post #33

  • I'm done with work!!!! Thursday was my last day and it feels WONDERFUL to be done. The waitressing life is not the life for me. Of course, I wanted to make some money while I still could so Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week I worked 12-hour shifts and it really truly exhausted me (hence why the blog wasn't particularly poppin' this week). 
  • I hope everyone had a wonderful, safe 4th of July (if you celebrate it). My dad came to visit (which meant I had to clean my entire apartment) and he made breakfast and dinner and we mostly just relaxed. It was a good day! To be honest, I don't care that much about 4th of July so it was nice to just have good food and good laziness. 
  • I LEAVE FOR FLORIDA TOMORROW! I am so so so excited. I'll be staying with my sister for 3 weeks, hanging out by the pool, and living my absolute best life. 
Books read this week:

- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

- Doing It All In The Book Community
Currently reading:

- What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber
- Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

- Discussion: The Feeling After Reading a Hyped Book
- The Eclectic Corner #4: Song Lyrics 

Here are my favorite photos from this week! Make sure to follow me (@leftyreads) to see everything I post! 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Discussion: Doing It All In The Book Community

I'm the type of person who likes to do it all. I'm like that at work, at school, and in the book community. So, honesty hour: I know we're not supposed to be comparing our achievements to other people's achievements, but the truth is that when I see people who are doing more than I am, who are more beloved, more successful...I feel like I need to do more--work harder. I recognize that's not necessarily the healthiest approach to life, but it is mine nonetheless. I was raised to believe I have to be the best. While I realize now that's simply not feasible, it doesn't stop me from trying.

So that leaves me where I'm at now.

I have a blog (obviously). I have a booktube channel. I have a bookstagram account. I'm on twitter and goodreads. I'm a writer. I'm a reader. Oh, and not to mention I have a full-time job in the summer and I'm a full-time student during the school year who is involved in many activities plus a fairly active social life.

To call it a juggling act would be an understatement. Here's the thing: Doing it all (and doing it well) might be possible for some, but not me. Booktube, bookstagram, and book blogging all require an immense amount of thought and creativity, and being vigilant on all 3 platforms is exhausting. It drains me. Plus, there's promotion and interaction and reading/watching other people's content. Then, add reading and writing (two very time-consuming activities) to the mix, and there simply aren't enough hours in the day for breathing.

Sometimes I consider ditching some of these activities and narrowing my focus, but the problem is that I don't do all these things because I want to be better than others or I want to feel accomplished. No, I do all these things because I enjoy them. Booktube, bookstagram, and blogging are all different mediums for expressing my love of books and bonding with others who love books, and they each provide a unique experience in the book community, and I want the full experience, but am I getting the full experience if I can't dedicate adequate time and energy to each platform? And so the cycle continues.

Personally, I give the most thought and energy to my blog. It is the platform I have worked on the longest and it is basically my child. It's something I'm so proud of. And since it's a writing medium, I think I'm better at blogging than being entertaining in front of a camera or taking artsy photographs (though I am always trying to improve both of those skills). My most creative ideas work best for my blog and I always tend to be most pleased with the content I churn out for my blog.

Granted, having said all this, I must admit, my lack of juggling prowess is partially my fault because I have horrible time management skills and I get distracted easily and I'm a slave to my laziness.

But here's my question for you: Do you struggle with some of these things as well? How do you go about juggling the intricate web of the book community? Plot twist--this isn't a discussion at all but a plea for help (kidding, but also not at the same time). Where do you like to focus your energies in the book community? Let's chat down below! 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Lefty's Lowdown: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Published: February 21, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Read for free on All opinions stated in this review are my own.
Summary from Goodreads: 
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I'd heard a lot about this novel but I wasn't quite sure what to expect, really. A cute dude romance. That's all I had in my brain going into this book, and boy was I misguided in that. This novel is more than a sweet story of two boys falling in love. Much, much more. Reading this book allowed me to embark on a journey of asking questions and learning how to come to terms with feelings. 

I've seen a lot of reviews criticizing Ari's character, claiming he's mean and treats people poorly, and I just have to disagree. In my opinion, Ari was painfully real and relatable. I saw a young boy who resorted to coping mechanisms and aversion tactics, who didn't know how to handle all the thoughts swirling around his head, who was often lonely and bored and insecure. I saw so many pieces of my heart in Ari, so many pieces of my fears and flaws. Maybe he wasn't a particularly likeable character, so to speak, but he was a character I really sympathized with, rooted for, and ended up loving, despite his flaws, and I think that's a truly beautiful, raw relationship to have with a fictional character. 

Dante, on the other hand, was a delightful contrast to Ari. He was unabashed and so generous with his love. He was exactly the person Ari needed in his life. With that said, though, this is not really what I'd consider a romantic book. In my opinion, their relationship is more about friendship and different variations on love, and the way feelings truly affect you. Of course I shipped them together because they balanced each other out beautifully, but they didn't have the sort of relationship where I wanted to push their heads together and make them kiss like two dolls. I wanted their relationship to evolve slowly, for them both to really figure things out before they came to terms with their feelings for each other. I was more than satisfied where these characters ended up--I was grinning like a fool by the time I reached the novel's conclusion. 

Now, admittedly, this is not a plot-focused book by any means. It's all about character development. I'm all on board with that, but I know a lot of people are not as gung-ho about it as myself. So, yes, this book is essentially plot-less, but it still managed to keep my attention and keep me eager to know what happens to my little babies. The writing style took me a little bit of time to get used to, but by the end, I really adored it and I think it fit the story. It was a bit jagged and jarring at first, but by the end of the novel it seemed more seamless. 

This is a novel that truly explores what it means to grow up and what it means to be a person. This is a novel of juxtaposition, of beauty and ugliness. Of honesty and stifled truths. Of being happy and simply just being. Aristotle and Dante provided a unique reading experience that I know I will revisit one day. My reaction at the very end was simply to close my eyes and say "Wow." 

My rating:

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday Post #32

Books read this week: 
- Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin (★★★★★)
Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (★★★½)
Top Ten Books I've Read In 2017 So Far

New To My Wishlist #4
June Recap
Currently reading:

- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber

- Top Ten Books I've Been Meaning To Read But Haven't Yet
- Sunday Post #33

- Discussion: Doing It All In The Book Community
- Would You Rather #4
 Okay, y'all, I got some hecking exciting book mail recently, but I'm holding off sharing it until I can film an unboxing video!!


I did get this one from Netgalley:

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
Published: August 29. 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

Here are my favorite photos from this week! Make sure to follow me (@leftyreads) to see everything I post! 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Lefty's Lowdown: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Published: May 3, 2016 by Simon Pulse
Source: Read for free via All opinions stated in this review are my own 100% honest thoughts.
Summary from Goodreads: 
“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.
 As you may or may not know, in February I will be studying abroad in Austria for my final semester of college. So when I saw that this takes place in Europe, I knew I needed to read it. While this novel had its problems, it was a light, interesting read, and it definitely made my wanderlust flare.

So, Lina's mother just died. On her way out, she started telling Lina these stories of her time studying abroad in Italy, and her friend Howard, who she met there. Then she breaks the news that this Howard character is Lina's father and begs Lina to go live with him in Italy and get to know him IN ITALY after she dies (not in Italy). Obviously, I enjoyed the setting of this novel, but it was moreso than the fact that it takes place IN ITALY. Howard lives in a cemetery, basically, and all the friends Lina makes IN ITALY have really interesting houses. I was really charmed by that aspect because I am obsessed with cool houses.

Something else I really loved while I was reading is that when Lina arrives at Howard's she discovers a journal that her mother sent to the house for her from her time in Italy. It catalogs a scandalous romance, some poor decisions, and a harsh truth for Lina. The journal is a story inside of a story, which I always love, and it presents an almost-mystery--and I needed to figure out how things played out. Plus, we get to follow Lina as she checks out some of the places her mother mentions going to IN ITALY so it was like a lil tour and that was a lot of fun.

The romance between Lina and Ren is cute and sweet, but nothing particularly special. It seemed to move a bit fast. Not insta-love fast, but fast nonetheless. Ren was immediately taken by Lina, and part of it just seemed to be because she was new. But don't get me wrong: Ren was cute! I loved that he was willing to be there for Lina for anything, and he always seemed to be down for an adventure. I was rooting for their romance, definitely, but it was no Epic Love, ya know? What I thought was cuter than the romance was the relationship Lina and Howard develop. It's a strange father-daughter dynamic, considering the two of them have only known about each other for a short time, but the way their relationship changes and grows is heckin adorable. As a bonafide daddy's girl, I'm a sucker for a lovely father-daughter storyline.

Now for the thing that bothered me most about this book: THE END. Yes, it was a bit predictable. But that's to be expected. It was really just one event that genuinely angered me and spoiled the entire ending for me. You see, Lina goes out with a guy she'd been flirting with throughout the whole book, except she's only using him to see Ren, and that just bothered me so much. It made some of their sweet moments taste a little bitter as I was reading.

This book was charming and sweet and a really quick read. It is a really nice summer read, and it will absolutely sate any desire for a light, fun contemporary book.

My rating: