Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens AgendaSimon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
Release Date:  April 2015
Rating:  4.5 Stars
Synopsis:  Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Review:  Man, high school sucked… you couldn’t pay me to go back and relive it.  But yet I somehow still enjoy YA novels.  Not sure what the heck that’s about!  I picked up this book at a book fair solely because I’d seen previews for the move version, Love, Simon, and I thought it looked cute and like something I’d probably go see.  But I swear I was so close to giving up on Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda a mere twenty-odd pages in.  I wasn’t sold on its quirkiness or characters.  I didn’t feel like I was getting into it at all.  And then I realized I was still reading 100 pages later, unable to put it down, and I was completely invested in Simon and Blue’s story/relationship.  Loving this book as much as I did really snuck up on me.

Despite my wonky start with this book, Simon came at the right time for me.  It was happy, despite some serious internal conflict on Simon’s part, and it really had me rooting for each of the characters.  I so needed a happy ending and I needed to think about something outside of my own little world.  I’m glad I kept reading.

I’m really looking forward to revisiting all of the characters from Simon in Albertalli’s forthcoming Leah on the Offbeat, which focuses on Leah Burke–badass girl drummer and my favorite character from Simon.  I would have liked to have gotten to know Leah a bit more, so I’m really excited for this one.

And yes, I’ll probably go see the movie!

Why you should be on the Book of the Month Bandwagon

I love Book of the Month.  I’m not even gonna lie–I log on first thing in the morning on the first of every month, often before I’m even out of bed, to see what the selections are.  I know they’re going to be a wide range and, a lot of times, out of my normal reading comfort zone.  I love that.  Since I started with BOTM, I’ve read some amazing novels that I otherwise would have passed by.  Here’s a peek at my BOTM shelf:

BOTM Shelf

Nice, right?

Some months I know straight away which book I want.  Other months, it takes me a few days to figure out.  You’ve got until the 6th of each month.  And on rare occasions, I can think of only one, none appeal or strike me.  Do I lose out by not choosing a book?  Nope.  That credit just rolls over to the following month.

What else is there to love?  How about the fact that you can order up to two additional books at a discounted price of $9.99 each?  We all know that new release hardbacks cost a heckuva lot more than that!  Case in point?  I added the new Kristen Hannah to this month’s box because I was torn by it and another book for February’s selection.

2018-03-01 14_32_48-Book of the Month

You can also “gift” a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription.  It’s perfect for those bookworms in your life–I can vouch for that!  My youngest sister was gifted a 3 month subscription for Christmas and really liked it.

If you’re interested in joining up, be sure to use my BOTM unique link.  If you join, you’ll get a free book–bonus!!!

Happy Reading!

Review: The Flight Attendant – Chris Bohjalian

The Flight Attendant - Chris Bohjalian

The Flight Attendant – Chris Bohjalian
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Release Date: March 2018
Rating:  5 Stars
Synopsis: Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police–she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home–Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Review:  Ok, I take back what I said a while back about being annoyed with authors currently using alcohol addiction as the method of choice to create an unreliable narrator/character–especially when it’s  as well written as Chris Bohjalian’s The Flight Attendant.

Cassie’s struggle with alcohol is very authentic in the moment, but apart from waking up in a dead man’s bed, there seems to be little consequence for her drinking… not much in the way of hangovers!  As someone who has struggled off and on for years with alcohol, I can vouch for a lot of the feelings Cassie had, particularly on days when she told herself she wouldn’t drink but ends up at the bottom of a glass anyhow.  Personal struggles aside, I really enjoyed Cassie’s flawed character.  I’ve never imagined being a flight attendant would be overly glamorous, and this only solidified that for me.

I did like the FBI reports interspersed throughout the book and felt like they added to the overall plot very well.  I wasn’t too sure about the agents themselves–I was in total disbelief that Cassie was allowed to fly out of the country in the middle of an ongoing investigation that, let’s be honest, she was at the wrong end of throughout.

The Flight Attendant would be a great summer/beach/vacation read.  It’s thrilling enough to keep you turning pages, but you also don’t need to map out characters and plots to try and keep up with things.  Maybe hold off from reading it on the plane, though!

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

I get by with a little help from my friends…

I had another post ready to go for today but something much more important has come up.

My youngest sister is a full time student working multiple jobs to pay her own way.  She’s an excellent student, very involved outside of class and is an amazing person.  She’s done mission work in Honduras (read her guest post here).  She’d help anyone with anything they needed, no questions asked.

Yesterday, she found out that her surgery to remove her wisdom teeth was not going to be covered by her insurance at all.  She’d already expected that it wouldn’t be fully covered so she had been putting money aside for some time now to cover the difference.

She’s now $1,300 short.  Without going into detail, family members aren’t able to help much because of financial/medical issues, and some family members plain old won’t help.  One of her friends has created a YouCaring page to help raise the funds for the procedure.  If she doesn’t have it done, she’s at risk of having her sinuses perforated and will continue to be in pain.

YouCaring - Destinee

I fully believe people are good.  I believe in the power of the internet and crowd funding.  So I’m asking–please consider donating.  If you can’t, I completely understand–not everyone has expendable income they can donate to a stranger’s sister.  But if you can’t donate, please share her YouCaring page wherever you can.  There is no one more deserving of the kindness of strangers than my little sister.  She’s just under 38% of the way there–and that’s in less than 24 hours.  I know we can get her there.

Again, you can find her page here:

Books I’ve Loved: High School Edition

High School Edition

Looking back and trying to remember what books I loved in high school was not the easiest thing ever.  I read… a LOT.  Not as much as other bloggers, but I read enough that I have trouble keeping track of what I read and when.  Thank goodness for sites like Goodreads!

High school, for me, was a very wonky and occasionally dark period.  There was a lot of crap going on in my life during those four years… stuff that really shaped me and who I am today.  I’ve always loved reading but I really feel like high school solidified reading as a comfort-crutch for me.  Books were my escape, my drug of choice.  This still applies today, but the addition of wine certainly helps!

Anyhow, these are the books that got me through high school hell:


I Was a Teenage Fairy – Francesca Lia Block
I remember seeing this book for the first time in the library and I picked it up based solely on the cover–something I’ve always done.  The habit has led me astray on occasion, but this wasn’t one of those times.  I was in love with Francesca Lia Block’s Mab.  She was thorny, crude, but oh so enjoyable to read.  This book spawned an ongoing love affair with Block’s books.  I think I’ve read nearly all of them to date, but this is still my favorite.

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
Neverwhere was my introduction to Neil Gaiman and was recommended by a friend’s mother who just so happens to be a cool ass lady.  I haven’t read it in years, but after having lived in London I probably should.  The humor was fantastic and very British.

Armageddon Summer – Jane Yolen & Bruce Coville
I remember this book so vividly, but when I went to look for it for the life of me I couldn’t remember the title–just that the cover had black and orange on it.  Yes.  I was one of those people.  Someone on Goodreads had the answer in less than an hour… I was impressed.  I had a fascination with religion and cults there for a bit, so I’m sure this probably hit the spot during that phase.

Sabriel – Garth Nix
I. Loved. Sabriel. Strong female character? Check. Magic? Check. A vividly imagined world with memorable characters? Double check.  I need to reread this… it’s been years.  And you know what? Up until a few days ago while pulling together book covers for this post, I honestly didn’t realize it was a full blown series.  I think I know what I’ll be taking with me for my long beach weekend in June!

The Princess Bride – William Goldman
The first time I read this may have been high school, but I’ve come back to it so many times since.  It has everything: true love, humor, sword fights, giants, rodents of unusual size… what more could a reader ask for? I have three copies of this book–a well worn paperback (my first copy), a hardback and an ebook copy.  To say I love this book is an understatement.  And this is one of the few movies that I love just as much as the novel.  Win win!

What books did you love as a teen?  Leave me suggestions in the comments!

New Series: Books I’ve Loved

Books I've Loved

I recently started following the fantastic  Tomes with Tea book blog after stumbling across a post about Amy’s favorite books as a teen.  I loved the idea of revisiting some of my past book loves and, since imitation is the best form of flattery, I’ve decided to start a new series here on Three Piece Heart called “Books I’ve Loved.”  This will be a monthly post around the first of each month and will take a look back at some of my most treasured reads.

Thank you, Amy, for the inspiration!  Check back later today for Books I’ve Loved:  The High School Edition.

February 2018 Book Wrap Up


Books Read: 5

The House on Sunset Lake – Tasmina Perry (Review)
Still Me – Jojo Moyes (Review)
806 – Cynthia Weil (Review)
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things – Jenny Lawson
The Woman in the Window – A.J. Finn

Currently Reading:

The Flight Attendant – Chris Bohjalian (Review)