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Monday, August 7, 2017

Blog Tour: When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn (Review & Giveaway)

When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn
Published: August 1, 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Source: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review as part of the blog tour. All opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own.
Summary from Goodreads:
“This isn’t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, I’m in jail at the moment. I imagine I’ll be here for a long time, considering. But I’m not writing this down for absolution and I’m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because I’m not sorry for what I did to Rose. I’m just not. Not for any of it.”

Ben Gibson is many things, but he’s not sorry and he’s not a liar. He will tell you exactly about what happened on what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. But he’s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.

I don't have much experience with thrillers or mysteries, but when I read the synopsis for WHEN I AM THROUGH WITH  YOU, I was immensely intrigued and knew I needed to read this novel! I'll admit, this is more of a survival story than a thriller, so it wasn't quite what I expected, but there were still so many wonderful things about this book! 

The characters in this book and their relationships with each other were phenomenally done. That was by far the most fascinating aspect of this story. Here we are with a group of teenagers, all broken and flawed and hoarding their secrets, but just trying to do their best. I was so invested in figuring out the intricacies of this group. Who is lying to whom? Who is sleeping with whom? Who hates whom? That was the most thrilling part for me, unraveling their truths. They were all kind of shitty, but that was most of the fun. 

From the very beginning, Ben, the narrator, tells us he is locked up, that he killed his girlfriend Rose and he doesn't feel bad about it. He tells us that he's not explaining everything because he's seeking to lighten his punishment. He just wants the truth to be out there. Interesting, no? Of course, the main appeal of the novel is to figure out why he killed Rose, but from the beginning, I had a hunch and my hunch was correct, so the ending wasn't as shocking as I would have liked. But, once again, it was amazing to see Ben transform with each page, to see how he reached that point, how he ended up in a cell. 

While this book had plenty of plot, it felt more character driven for me. I just found the plot to be...slow toward the second half. As far as thrillers go, I wasn't particularly thrilled. And I guess that's because this book is more of a survival story than a thriller. That's the only reason this book wasn't a five-star read for me. Because, while the writing was incredible and the characters were enticing, I found myself slogging through certain parts. Plus, it's a dense book, so even though it's only like 300 pages, it felt much longer than that. 

My rating: 

•3 copies of WHEN I AM THROUGH WITH YOU by Stephanie Kuehn will go to 3 winners 

•1 winner will receive a copy of WHEN I AM THROUGH WITH YOU & THE SMALLER EVIL by Stephanie Kuehn

•4 winners total

•US Only
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 2nd
Pink Polka Dot Books- Welcome Post

August 3rd

August 4th
Bookish in Bed- Revew & Fave Quotes

August 5th

August 6th
FicGal- Review

August 7th
Reading in the Rain- Review & Fave Quotes

August 8th
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I grew up in Berkeley, California, which is a quirky sort of a place with many wonderful bookstores. When I was fifteen, my very first job was working in one of those bookstores. It’s where I would go after school, and I’d read everything that I could. Back then, some of the books that had the greatest impact on my life were young adult novels, and now, as an adult, I’ve found my own passion in writing for teens.

Other passions of mine include mental health advocacy, social justice, and sports of all kinds. When I’m not writing or reading (or studying for graduate school), I’m usually outside running or playing with my family. I currently live in Northern California with my husband, three kids, and our menagerie of pets. Life is loud, joyous, and filled with animal hair.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my last name is pronounced keen. I know! I don’t get it either.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sunday Post #34

  • I know I haven't been around for the past few weeks, but that's only because I didn't have internet access. But I am back and I am trying to get posts scheduled so that I still have stuff going up when school starts (we all know how terrible I am at blogging during the school year). 
  • I'm back in Arkansas, which means I'm not in Florida anymore which is devastating, but I had a wonderful time! I got to spend so much quality time with my brother and sister and it broke my heart to leave, but it's time to get back to the real world. I move into my new apartment TOMORROW with my best friend. It's crazy. This will be the first time I'm living in an off-campus place and paying bills. 
  • It's shaping up to be a tough semester, with getting everything in order for grad school (which includes taking the GRE) and preparing for my semester abroad, along with all the other responsibilities I'll have (I got a job in my school's English department and I write for the school newspaper (hoping they'll start paying me) and I'm the philanthropy chair for my sorority). So. Yeah. It's gonna get crazy very quickly. 
Books read this week: 

~ Caraval by Stephanie Garber (★★★★★)
~ Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally (★★★★☆)

~ The Eclectic Corner #7: Song Lyrics
~ ARC August TBR
Currently reading: 

~ When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn (& giveaway because blog tour)
~ What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy
~ The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Features/ misc:
~ Book Aesthetics: 2017 Releases
~ Love Interests Book Tag (Original)

~ Sunday post #35 

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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lefty Lowdown: Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally
(Hundred Oaks #8)
Published: July 4, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
Source: I received an eARC of this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. All the opinions stated in this review are my own.
Summary from Goodreads: 
Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.

All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?
Real talk: I'm not, like, a fan of this series. I've read 3 of the books and I got them all for free. I thought the other 2 books I've read were merely okay, nothing I'd spend money on. However, I enjoyed Coming Up for Air a lot. This novel managed to give me the fluffy, romantic fix I needed, along with depth and characters I ended up becoming very invested in.

In this installment, we're introduced to Maggie, swimmer of pools, eater of many foods, and kisser of nobody. She has spent so much of her time being focused on swimming and qualifying for the Olympics, that she never took the time to think what she could be missing. Until now. Until she realizes that she's off to college soon and she's never even kissed a boy. She doesn't want to go to college completely inexperienced, so she asks her hot, swimmer, best-friends-since-they-were-kids best friend to show her the ropes a lil bit. He's wary at first but eventually agrees and things get STEAMY and COMPLICATED and I loved it. They're relationship was absolutely wonderful! Of course, it's friends-to-lovers so it's destined to be great. You can tell how much they genuinely care about each other and respect each other.

They were great characters on their own, too. While I'm not a swimmer, I could really relate to the conflicts Maggie struggled with, whether it be issues with ex-friends or comparing her success to others'. And Levi was just honest and caring and he makes some mistakes but you can tell he feels so bad about them and if I were to ever have a daughter, he's the kind of boy I'd want her to date.

This novel also deals with topics like bullying, double standards for men and women, and females owning their sexuality! It really has some wonderful messages in it, and it's a quick, light read! I really do recommend this one to contemporary fans! Even if you're not into sports or you haven't read any of the other books in the series. This one can be read completely on its own!

My rating: 
4/5 stars

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Eclectic Corner #7: Song Lyrics

The Eclectic Corner is a feature on The Left-Handed Book Lover in which I talk about basically anything I want. A whole variety of topics! This is kinda like my chance to talk about non-bookish things. I came up with this idea because I really wanted to incorporate my love of TV shows and music somehow. This gives me a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers beyond similar taste in books.

For some reason, I feel like I don't actually talk about music that much on my blog, and that is just a plain ol' travesty because IT'S MUSIC WHO DOESN'T LOVE MUSIC. 

So here are some song lyrics I really vibe with.

**disclaimer - I literally chose songs from my favorite lyricists, so while I honestly love all the lyrics that these artists have graced us with, these are the ones that really just speak to my heart, ya know? 




Have you heard any of these songs? What are some of your favorite song lyrics??? 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Lefty's Lowdown: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Published: January 31, 2017 by Flatiron Books
Source: Purchased
Summary from Goodreads: 
Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.
Let me tell you a quick story. We alllll know how much hype has surrounded this book this year. It felt like everyone was talking about this book for months leading up to its release, and for months after. I'm sure, then, you understand my trepidation when it came to reading it. Of course, it has such a lovely cover that I had to buy it, but once I purchased it, I began to wonder if it really interested me anymore or if it was just the hype. Was I ever really going to read it? Then, I did a twitter poll at, like, 1 AM and asked what I should read next. I was on a serious  contemporary streak, but I threw this book into the poll on a whim. And what do you know? The vote rested heavily in Caraval's favor. My mentions were blowing up with people telling me I absolutely HAD to read it. I decided to trust twitter and crack 'er open.

It was an incredible decision.

I had to work in the morning, so I was not planning on reading an ENTIRE book that night, but that's what I did. I could not tear myself away from this novel or its characters. It was the book I didn't realize I needed, but luckily, my tweeps had my back.

What really kept me engaged in this book is that you never quite know who to trust or what is real. It was riveting. The gears in my head were turning the whole time trying to puzzle out the truth, and I could not wait to see how everything played out.

Of course, one reason I adore this book so heckin much is because of Julian!!!! I began to fall in love with him the moment he was introduced, and as I got to know him more, I straight up plummeted. There's an air of mystery surrounding him, but he's also kind and willing to actually give pieces of his life for Scar. He is my new book boyfriend and I will fight all of you for him, okay? I think my one complaint with this book, without giving any spoilers, is that I don't love where his story ends up. The way he is characterized in the end made everything we learned about him throughout the novel seem kinda superfluous. I really hope we get to see more of him in book #2 though because I need it.

This novel was an absolute roller coaster of emotions. One second I was wearing a toothy grin and the next I was getting misty-eyed and the next I was swooning. I just felt so connected to this story and absolutely engrossed. I couldn't tear myself away from it while I was reading, and now I can't tear my heart away from it weeks after having finished it.

My rating: 
5/5 stars
One of my favorite reads this year! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

ARC August TBR

Hello, lovelies!! My blog has been a bit dry these past few weeks because I haven't had internet access, and blogging from my phone is too frustrating to even try. BUT I AM BACK!! And though August has already started and I'm a little late to the party, I present you all with my ARC August TBR.

For those of you wondering what ARC August is, it's a reading challenge that occurs throughout the entirety of August in which you read as many ARCs as you can, be they upcoming or backlist, physical or electronic--all ARCs are on the table. For more information on the challenge and how to sign up, head over to Read. Sleep. Repeat's lovely blog.

I'm super pumped about ARC August because, let's be honest, there are soooo many books I gotta catch up on.

Okay, okay, now onto my TBR.

Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland
Published: July 11, 2017 by Disney-Hyperion

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Published: April 4, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
Published: June 13, 2017 by Henry Holt & Company Inc

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Published: July 18, 2017 by Simon Pulse

Of Jenny and the Aliens by Ryan Gebhart
Published: August 1, 2017 by Candlewick Press

No Good Deed by Kara Connolly
Published: July 18, 2017 by Delacorte Press

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
Published: August 29, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
There you have it! It's not a particularly extensive selection, but I do have non-ARC books I want to read this month as well, so who knows if I'll even get to all of these. The end of August is when school starts up again and I can incredibly busy again, so I'm going to do my best.

Are you participating in ARC August? If so, let me know what you're reading. Also, let me know if you've read any of these books and which ones I should be excited for!