quotes Elisquared likes

"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green




10 Truths and a Dare
Authors(s): Ashley Elston
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook; 304 pgs
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Kindle Audible
Bookshop.org - Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tour Schedule

Week One
5/1/2021 - The Book View - Review

Week Two
5/2/2021 - What A Nerd Girl Says - Excerpt
5/3/2021 - YA Books Central - Excerpt
5/4/2021 - Fire and Ice - Review
5/5/2021 - BookHounds YA - Excerpt
5/6/2021 - YA Book Nerd - Review
5/7/2021 - Lifestyle of Me - Review
5/8/2021 - Moonlight Rendezvous - Review

Week Three
5/9/2021 - Jenguerdy - Review
5/10/2021 - Ficticiouswonderland - Review
5/11/2021 - Book-Keeping - Review
5/12/2021 - Amani’s Reviews - Review
5/13/2021 - booksaremagictoo - Review
5/14/2021 - Eli to the nth - Review
5/15/2021 - Emelie's Books - Review

Week Four
5/16/2021 - Kait Plus Books - Excerpt
5/17/2021 - Zainey Laney - Review
5/18/2021 - onemused - Review
5/19/2021 - Midnightbooklover - Review
5/20/2021 - amandainpa - Review
5/21/2021 - Geauxgetlit - Review
5/22/2021 - two points of interest - Review

Week Five
5/23/2021 - Book Briefs - Review
5/24/2021 - Momfluenster - Review
5/25/2021 - Star-Crossed Book Blog - Review
5/26/2021 - michellemengsbookblog - Review
5/27/2021 - Rajiv's Reviews - Review
5/28/2021 - Do You Dog-ear? - Review
5/29/2021 - Books and Zebras - Review

Week Six
5/30/2021 - My Fictional Oasis - Review
5/31/2021 - Popthebutterfly - Review

The Summary

This companion to Ashley Elston's beloved 10 Blind Dates follows Sophie's high-achieving cousin Olivia as she juggles last-minute P.E. credit, end-of-year parties, and a secret new romance in the chaotic week before graduation.

It's Senior Party Week, that magical in-between time after classes have ended but before graduation, chock-full of gimmicky theme parties, last-minute bonding, and family traditions. Olivia couldn't be more ready. Class salutatorian and confident in her future at LSU, she's poised to sail through to the next phase of her life.

But when the tiny hiccup of an unsigned off-campus P.E. form puts Olivia in danger of not graduating at all, she has one week to set things straight without tipping off her very big and very nosy extended family. Volunteering to help at a local golf tournament should do it, but since Olivia's mom equipped her phone with a tracking app, there'll be no hiding the fact that she's at the golf course instead of all the graduation parties happening at the same time. Unless, that is, she can convince the Fab Four--her ride-or-die cousins and best friends Sophie, Charlie, and Wes--to trade phones with her as they go through the motions of playing Olivia for the week.

My Review

A quick, cute comedy full of a big family, solid friendships, an unexpected romance, and a whole lot of golf, 10 Truths and a Dare by Ashley Elston, the follow up to her book 10 Blind Dates, delivers in the fluffy fun category of YA contemporary!

In 10 Truths and a Dare, we meet back up with the Messina family, but this time we're focusing on cousin Olivia, the got-it-all-together Salutatorian.  Buuuuuut there is one tiny little snag in her grand graduation plans--she never passed her P.E. credit (oops, guess golf wasn't the priority).  And that is where the shenanigans begin!  Olivia doesn't want her nosey, yet loveable, family to find out, so she enlists the help of the other 3 of the Fab Four (Sophie, Charlie, and Wes) to run interference between her parents/grandparents/everyone while Olivia works to get those credits!  Oh, and while she's hustling, there may be a little romance, as a treat.

I adored 10 Blind Dates, so I was very excited to pick up 10 Truths and a Dare!  Not quite as adorable as the first book, this one has an underlying tone of ethics.  Not in the big, preachy way, but just as a life lesson of integrity.  This balances the book out, so that the quirky interference the cousins are running doesn't overpower the story.  But this is 100% still enjoyable, full of moments that made me snortgiggle. Just how I like my YA contemporaries--I can't read something too sugary sweet, or it doesn't ring true to me.

Elston has a knack for creating lovable, but real, characters.  Learning more about Olivia, and in turn her family, made me like them all the more.  Elston crafts real teenagers (because yes, they sometimes, who'd've thunk it, overreact), all people I could see knowing as a teenager.  While we didn't see the whole big Messina crew constantly, the focus on the Fab Four was great.  I am not close with my cousins, but I am super close with my siblings, and the relationships between all four friends (because to be clear, Wes is not their cousin) felt really similar to my own family.  Olivia and crew get up to some antics for sure, but she also learns more about herself, where her priorities should lie, and how to come clean when you mess up--all important lessons tempered with a half-baked, switch phones, fib-to-the-family plan.  

A read-in-one-sitting book, this is the perfect read to wrap up the end of a tough school year.  Check out 10 Truths and a Dare by Ashley Elston for your next YA contemporary pick!

Final Rating

About the Author

Ashley Elston is the author of several novels including: 10 Blind Dates (a Top Ten ALA Quick Pick and the companion to this book), The Rules for Disappearing (a finalist in the Best Young Adult Novel category of the International Thriller Writers Thriller Awards), This Is Our Story, and The Lying Woods. She has a liberal arts degree from Louisiana State University in Shreveport and worked for many years as a wedding photographer before turning her hand to writing. Ashley lives in Shreveport with her husband and three sons. 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

 Goodreads | Amazon

3 winners will receive a finished copy of 10 TRUTHS AND A DARE, US Only.




Stuffed: Into Darkness
Authors(s): Liz Braswell
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook; 315 pgs
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Kindle Audible
Bookshop.org - Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tour Schedule

Week One
4/26/2021 - Kait Plus BooksReview
4/26/2021 - PopTheButterflyReview
4/27/2021 - Nerdophiles  - Review
4/27/2021 - booksaremagictooReview
4/28/2021 - The Momma SpotReview
4/28/2021 - BookHounds Ya  - Review
4/29/2021 - For the Love of KidLitInterview
4/29/2021 - fictitious.foxReview
4/30/2021 - Moonlight Rendezvous  - Review
4/30/2021 - I'm ShelfishReview

Week Two
5/3/2021 - MidnightbookloverReview
5/3/2021 - Two Points of interestReview
5/4/2021 - Books a Plenty Book ReviewsReview
5/4/2021 - Eli to the nthReview
5/5/2021 - Little Red ReadsReview
5/6/2021 - Lifestyle of MeReview
5/6/2021 - Celiamcmahonreads  - Review
5/7/2021 - michellemengsbookblogReview
5/7/2021 - A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt

The Summary

No Stuffy has ever gone into the Darkness and returned....

Clark can’t wait to go away to camp this year. For the first time ever, he has actual friends to hang out with. Catherine-Lucille and D. A. will both be at Camp I Can with Clark, and C. L. has already promised to induct him into her exclusive camp club—the one for campers who know everything there is to know about the world of Monsters and how Stuffies protect kids from them. And now that he knows (or suspects . . . very strongly) that his grandma-made Stuffy, Foon, heroically saved his own father from a horrible fate, Clark is obviously bringing Foon to camp along with him.

But once Clark gets to camp, he and his friends discover things are off. There are strange, gooey findings in some of the bunks, the adults are acting weird, and, worst of all, their Stuffies and dolls go missing right at the moment they need them the most—when they go on the intersession camping trip and end up trapped in a creepy old cabin. What Clark and his friends don’t know, and what the mighty Foon soon discovers, is that the Monsters have launched a revenge campaign against Foon—a campaign that entails sucking the very life out of Clark. Now it’s up to Foon to enter the World of Darkness and take on the Monster in charge in order to stop the plot and save Clark’s life. 

In the long tradition of Stuffies vs. Monsters, this one’s a battle for the ages—one that will certainly go down in Stuffy history.

My Review

The second book in the series by Liz Braswell, Into Darkness (Stuffed #2) expands upon the world we are introduced to in Stuffed--the world of monsters and Stuffies.

Now just like most kids, I had some beloved stuffies (I still have a few that keep me safe), and I knew that they had special abilities.  In Stuffed, we were introduced to this world, and in Into Darkness, this world will have to be defended once again.  Because you see there are terrible, horrible, disgusting monsters that live in the creepy corners and the shadows; ones who suck the energy from unsuspecting humans.  But Stuffies keep their humans (and even humans they may not know) safe from the monsters.  And there is no more heroic a Stuffy than Foon, the warrior stuffy that saved the Boy's (we know him as Clark) Dad from a horrible death at the hand of the King of all monsters.

Now that Clark is keyed into the world of monsters versus Stuffies, he and the friends he made at Camp I Can are tracking the monster activity.  Meanwhile, Foon and his fellow Stuffies are preparing for what seems to be an even more sinister monster plot.  Into Darkness brings Humans and Stuffies together again, working to fight back the monsters.

This is action-packed, funny, and a little frightening--a perfect combo for the adventurous middle grade reader.  The world of Stuffies is one all kids can relate too, and so many adults (because who didn't have/still has their favorite Stuffy?).  The pacing is a little slow at times, but when the action flows, it makes up for it.  I love seeing the human world from the stuffies perspective, and then also getting the view point of Clark and his friends.  Once you dive in, you'll never see your own stuffed animals the same way.  Pick up Book 1, Stuffed, and Book 2, Into Darkness, at your local bookstore as soon as possible!

Final Rating

“So how do we stop the Monsters?” Saneema asked. “Especially if none of us are here on Saturday and Sunday?”

“Well, we can start by figuring out how they’re getting into camp,” Catherine-Lucille said. “We’re in the middle of nowhere. Monsters usually hate that. They like being around people they can torture and feed on. There’s no scary bedrooms here, and we keep all our stuff under the bunks. There’s no basements or attics for them to hide in. So where are they, and how are they getting here?

“We need to keep our eyes and ears open, listen at doors when the counselors are talking. We need to make sure every weird incident is reported to us. First. So we can see if there’s a pattern or something. We need to find every potentially scary location at the camp. Dark, deserted, dismal—Monster spots. We need to ID them and set up guards.

“And we need. To make. More. Stuffies.”

About the Author

Liz Braswell spent her childhood reading fairy tales, catching frogs, and going on adventures in the woods with her stuffed animals. She has a degree in Egyptology from Brown University (and yes, she can write your name in hieroglyphs). After making video games for ten years Liz now writes full-time and plays video games for fun. She has written Snow, Rx, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, and several books in the best-selling Twisted Tale series, including Part of Your World and As Old as Time. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two children, a cat, a part-time dog, three fish, and five coffee trees, and still sleeps with a Stuffy.  

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads | Amazon

3 winners will receive a finished copy of STUFFED: INTO DARKNESS (Stuffed #2). US Only.




Take Me Home Tonight
Authors(s): Morgan Matson
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook; 416 pgs
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Kindle Audible
Bookshop.org - Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tour Schedule

Week One
4/26/2021 - For the Love of KidLit - Excerpt
4/27/2021 - PopTheButterfly - Review
4/29/2021 - Do You Dog-ear? - Review
4/30/2021 - Book-Keeping - Review
5/1/2021 - Kait Plus Books - Review

Week Two
5/2/2021 - Eli to the nth - Review
5/3/2021 - BookInNeverland - Review
5/4/2021 - Fictitiouswonderland - Review
5/5/2021 - Emelie's Books - Review
5/6/2021 - onemused - Review
5/7/2021 - What A Nerd Girl Says - Review
5/8/2021 - Not In Jersey - Review

Week Three
5/9/2021 - Fire and Ice - Review
5/10/2021 - Moonlight Rendezvous - Review
5/11/2021 - booksaremagictoo - Review
5/12/2021 - Feed Your Fiction Addiction - Review
5/13/2021 - BookHounds YA - Spotlight
5/14/2021 - Midnightbooklover - Review
5/15/2021 - I'm Shelfish - Review

Week Four
5/16/2021 - Book Briefs - Review
5/17/2021 - Dazzled by Books - Review
5/18/2021 - A Dream Within A Dream - Review
5/19/2021 - Books and Zebras  - Review
5/21/2021 - fictitious.fox - Review

The Summary

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist in this romp through the city that never sleeps from the New York Times bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone.

Kat and Stevie—best friends, theater kids, polar opposites—have snuck away from the suburbs to spend a night in New York City. They have it all planned out. They’ll see a play, eat at the city’s hottest restaurant, and have the best. Night. Ever. What could go wrong?

Well. Kind of a lot?

They’re barely off the train before they’re dealing with destroyed phones, family drama, and unexpected Pomeranians. Over the next few hours, they’ll have to grapple with old flames, terrible theater, and unhelpful cab drivers. But there are also cute boys to kiss, parties to crash, dry cleaning to deliver (don’t ask), and the world’s best museum to explore.

Over the course of a wild night in the city that never sleeps, both Kat and Stevie will get a wake-up call about their friendship, their choices…and finally discover what they really want for their future.

That is, assuming they can make it to Grand Central before the clock strikes midnight.

My Review

This book was so great! I have read a lot of contemporaries, but every time I pick up a Morgan Matson book, I am never disappointed, and Take Me Home Tonight is no exception!  It had everything: humor, romance, hijinks, drama, and crime.  Sucks you right in, and keeps it coming until the end!

The book starts off normal enough, with two friends, Stevie and Kat, awaiting the casting announcement for their Fall play, King Lear.  But, alas, the norm is disrupted when their Theater teacher says he "needs more time" on it.  This sends panic through the group, but none more than Kat, who has played up this role as the most important thing for her Senior year.  And of course, she expects her best friend, Stevie, to feel the same.  But Stevie doesn't, and is focused on her own drama in the form of her Dad canceling on her for her 18th birthday dinner.  

Typical high school drama, and Matson could've just kept it that way.  But nope, Kat and Stevie are off to magical New York City (being from Connecticut) to try and salvage both Stevie's birthday night and (secretly) Kat's chances at her "once-in-a-senior-year" role.  
What could go wrong?

Matson focuses on the relationship between Stevie and Kat in such a realistic and beautiful way.  My best friends in high school were my everything, and that is what Kat and Stevie have, as well.  But growing up sometimes means growing apart, and the girls realize this in a very inconvenient, stuck in NYC kind of way.  They have to fall apart to come back together, and the events that plague the girls (some good, some bad, and some outrageous) all add up to develop a deeper friendship than they had before.

The supporting cast in this book is a delight, and if you're a Matson fan, you will see some returning characters from her previous books, so keep a sharp eye out for that.  Within these supporting roles, both Kat and Stevie have some really great friends and family, and Matson takes the opportunity to explore, albeit lightly, how love works romantically and familiarly.  But the love one has for their friends is the overarching focus, and each encounter leads, in a way, to Kat and Stevie's relationship.

Now, all that makes this book sound very serious, and it is in some parts, but this is a plot filled with crazy, the kind that you always read about happening in NYC, but even more crazy (at least to me) then I think actually happens.  I loved it though; I think that the over-the-top escapades helped highlight the realistic, more grounded instances within the book.  Also, they were just so fun to read about.  And live yourself (I can't be the only person who dreams of the fantasy of NYC, no?).

Fast-paced, twisty, and turney - Kat and Stevie's adventure through one New York night will keep you entertained and glued to the page (oh and their friend Teri has some very crazy stuff happen to her that takes place simultaneously - all I'm going to say).  Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson is a real winner, and might just be one of my favorite of her books so far.  Pick up your copy wherever books are sold on May 4, 2021!

Final Rating

About the Author

Morgan Matson is a New York Times bestselling author. She received her MFA in writing for children from the New School and was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author for her first book, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, which was also recognized as an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults. Her second book, Second Chance Summer, won the California State Book Award. She lives in Los Angeles. Visit her at MorganMatson.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

4 winners will receive a finished copy of TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, US Only.




This month was a slower reading month for me, compared to January.  I read only 4 books total, but I'm blaming the fact that February is shorter than the other months (flimsy excuse, I know, I know.).

I also spanned the age bracket this month, which is always fun, reading: 1 adult book, 2 YA books, and 1 middle grade book.  I'm trying to make sure I read more widely, not just genre and content, but age group as well.  I don't know about you, but I find different things to enjoy/relate to dependent on what age group I am reading in.

The genres were pretty consistent with my favorites: contemporary, fantasy, and sci-fi--my three favorites.  If I'm having a hard time getting into reading, I definitely reach for a comfort read, which is typically sci-fi/fantasy.  Do you have a comfort genre that helps with difficult reading months?

Overall, I really enjoyed each of the books I read this month, and I recommend them for everyone to read!

 The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

The first book I read this month, and it blew me away!  It felt like a warm hug, as I was reading it.  All my Goodreads review says is, "This was beautifully perfect".  And it really was.  I could live in this book, it was just so full of love, family, and the strength we have within ourselves.  A battle of injustice with a hero who is initially seen as normal/average/unremarkable; he ends up being anything but, and saves the day using his mind and his heart.

This was a 5 STAR for me.

"A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours."

If you haven't had a chance to pick this up yet, make it a priority because you won't be disappointed.  I have already ordered TJ Klune's other books because I want to devour all he has written.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

One of the challenges I've set for myself for 2021 is to read more BIPOC books, whether it be author or character (hopefully both).  I've heard really great things about Binti, so I got the ebook to check out.  It was interesting, and quick (didn't realize it was only 98 pages), but I definitely felt it was missing things.  There are more books in the series, and the premise/world-building/characters were enough to make me interested to continue.  But it wasn't quite what I thought.  Definitely going to continue to see if it becomes one of my faves.

This was a 3 STAR for me.

"Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself — but first she has to make it there, alive."

I think this is a good introduction, but wasn't as fully fleshed as I would've liked, but as there are additional books, recommend checking it out if you like sci-fi!

I had the opportunity to review this book through Rockstar Book Tours (check Jaime out; I love working with her!), and it was beautiful/adorable/impactful; a perfect middle grade introduction to love and gender identity!  Here's my full review, so please check that out to learn more.  Polonsky has a very deft hand when creating the plot and characters, making you feel what both Essie and Ollie are going through.

This was a 4 STAR for me.

"From the author of the critically acclaimed Gracefully Grayson comes a thoughtful and sensitive middle-grade novel about non-binary identity and first love, Ami Polonsky's Spin with Me.

In this elegant dual narrative, Essie is a thirteen-year-old girl feeling glum about starting a new school after her professor dad takes a temporary teaching position in a different town. She has 110 days here and can't wait for them to end. Then she meets Ollie, who is nonbinary. Ollie has beautiful blue eyes and a confident smile. Soon, Essie isn’t counting down the days until she can leave so much as she’s dreading when her time with Ollie will come to an end.

Meanwhile, Ollie is experiencing a crush of their own . . . on Essie. As Ollie struggles to balance their passion for queer advocacy with their other interests, they slowly find themselves falling for a girl whose stay is about to come to an end. Can the two unwind their merry-go-round of feelings before it's too late?"

This is such an excellent book for both adults and kids, one that can be read together as a family even!  And a great addition to the ever expanding LGBTQ+ world of middle grade books!

Into the Dark (Star Wars: The High Republic) by Claudia Gray

I am in love with this multi-media idea that Disney Lucasfilms Press is doing! The 3rd book (kind of...all the books/comics go together in a way you could technically read them in any order) of The High Republic project, I was so excited to be a part of this blog tour through Rockstar Book Tours (again, check them out)!!  Diving into a little known time period in Star Wars history, we get to learn all about the peak of The Jedi Order in the universe.  Excellent entry for veteran Star Wars author Claudia Gray, it was not only a great Star Wars book, but a great sci-fi/action book!  Check out my full review here!!

This was a 4.5 STAR for me.

"Long before the Clone Wars, the Empire, or the First Order, the Jedi lit the way for the galaxy in a golden age known as the High Republic!

Not everyone who hears the call to adventure wants to answer it....

Jedi Padawan Reath Silas loves adventure—reading about it, that is, not living it. Content to spend hours browsing the Jedi Archives on Coruscant, Reath dreams of being one of the great scholars of the Jedi Order. But Reath's master, the well-respected and virtuous Jora Malli, has other plans: she's taken a post at Starlight Beacon, the Republic's shining new outpost on the edge of known space. As her Padawan, Reath must join her, whether he likes the idea or not. (And he most definitely does not.)

So Reath reluctantly boards the ship that will take him and a few other Jedi to the dedication of Starlight Beacon, where Master Jora waits for him to start their new adventurous life on the frontier. But trouble in hyperspace leaves the ship and other nearby vessels stranded, with only an eerie abandoned space station reachable for shelter. And the secrets hidden there will not only bring Reath to a crossroads but, if left unchecked, could plunge the entire galaxy into darkness..."

This made me super hyped to jump into all The High Republic books/comics; Star Wars fan and sci-fi fans alike will really love this one!

So there you have it, all the books I read in February 2021.  Have you read any of them, and if you did, what did you think about them?  If you haven't gotten to read any, which are enticing you?  

Let me know what you read in February in the comments, and happy reading!

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