Top 5 Wednesday: LGBTQ+ Reads

 

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started, and is now hosted by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes
If you want to join in checkout the Goodreads page!


April 19th: Favorite LGBTQ+ Reads
–Talk about your favorite books that feature LGBTQ+ characters or are by LGBTQ+ authors.

(Changing this a bit – spotlighting LGBTQ+ reads I NEED/WANT to read.
– Not comprehensive of course)


Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda – 1

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Summary:
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.

This book is crazy popular – everyone LOVES it. A movie is being made! I have to read it! And I’m a sucker for cute romances so… I need this in my life.

Anyone want to buddy read this over the summer?
I have the e-book but haven’t gotten to it yet.


The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue – 2

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Summary:
An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

This is one of my most hyped releases for the year. European travels, 18th century (bisexual!) romance. Family dynamics. Pirates! I need this in my life.


They Both Die At The End – 3

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Summary:
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news is: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—an unforgettable day that will change both their lives forever.

I haven’t read ANYTHING by Adam Silvera but I want to read LITERALLY ALL OF THEM. Of all three of his books, this is the one that most intrigues me – I want it.


Peter Darling – 4

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Summary:
Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.

But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

This is the least hyped book on this list. I haven’t seen much on it, but I recently added it to goodreads and I really want to read it. Its a Peter Pan retelling featuring  a growing up, trans Peter, and not-so-villainous Hook (a favorite of mine in retellings) and a romance. It has really great reviews too – though not very many.


The Wishing Heart – 5

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Summary:
With a book in her bag and a switchblade in her pocket, Rebel’s been thieving her way through life while hoping for a cure to fix her ailing heart.

But when the bejeweled vase she just tried to hawk turns out to be a jinni’s vessel, Rebel gets lost to her world and dragged within another. Now every magical being in the city wants the vase for himself.

Thrust into a game of cat and mouse in a world she never knew existed, Rebel must use her uncanny skills to find a way to free Anjeline the Wishmaker.

But wishes have consequences. And contracts. Anjeline’s freedom could unravel a love like Rebel has never known, or it could come at the cost of Rebel’s heart…

I received an e-arc of this for a book blog tour from Entangled Teen – its really good so far and features a lesbian romance in a fantasy setting – something far too rare. My tour stop/review is May 13th!


What do you think of my list?

Are any of these on your TBR?

Have you read any? 

What did you think?

Let me know!

Netgalley Review: It’s All Absolutely Fine

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

November 17th 2016

Date I Read The Book:

December 2016

My Star Rating:

4 stars

Chronology:

Standalone /  graphic autobiography

Official Summary:

IT’S ALL ABSOLUTELY FINE is a darkly comic, honest and unapologetic illustrated account of the daily struggles with mental health. Ruby Elliot, aka Rubyetc, is the talent behind the hit tumblr account, ‘Rubyetc’, which has over 210k followers and growing. Taking readers on a journey through the ups and downs of life, the book will encompass everything from anxiety, bipolar disorder and body image to depression and identity, shining a light on very real problems – all framed with Ruby’s trademark humour and originality.

Ruby balances mental health with humour, making serious issues accessible – and very funny. With the superb talent to capture the essence of human emotion (and to make you laugh out loud), this book is as important and necessary as it is entertaining. IT’S ALL ABSOLUTELY FINE will include mostly never-before-seen material, both written and illustrated, and will be an empowering book that will make you laugh, make you think, and make things ok.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

Sorry this review is so late…

Whoops.

This is a pretty great book. It’s an illustrated memoir – it is unflinchingly honest but also sidesplittingly funny.

It is down-to-earth and relatable to nearly everyone, and it a great portrayal of mental illness in the multi-dimensional – good days and bad days.

I recommend it greatly.

 

 

NetGalley Review: Get It Together, Delilah!

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

April 4th, 2017

Date I Read The Book:

January 2017

My Star Rating:

4 stars

Chronology:

Standalone

Official Summary:

A story about falling in love, literally.

Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn’t have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it’s working fine. Her dad is on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, so Del’s managing the family café in his absence. Easy, she thinks. But what about:
– homework and the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell
– or how one of Del’s best friends won’t stop guilt-tripping her
– and her other best friend is so in love with his tutor he might go to jail for her if Del doesn’t do something

But who cares about any of that really, because above all else, she can’t stop thinking about beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street until one day Rosa comes in the café door . . .

And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

Delilah is awkward and stubborn and I loved her, even if I wanted to smack her silly for not telling her dad about things and for dropping out of school which made me stressed out FOR HER, despite being a fictional character. Her motivations are real, and she is well developed. All the characters are.

The romance is super cute, and slow going, its very realistic, there is no immediate happily ever after, most of the characters act like idiots very often but by being fallible they are real.

I loved the setting and I loved the story, all the little details brought it to life and I highly recommend it!

 

NetGalley Review: Royce Rolls

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

April 4th 2017

Date I Read The Book:

January 2017

My Star Rating:

4 stars

Chronology:

Standalone

Official Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Bentley Royce seems to have it all: an actual Bentley, tuition to a fancy private school, lavish vacations, and everything else that comes along with being an LA starlet. But after five seasons on her family’s reality show, Rolling with the Royces, and a lifetime of dealing with her narcissistic sister, Porsche, media-obsessed mother, Mercedes, and somewhat clueless brother, Maybach, Bentley wants out. Luckily for her, without a hook for season six, cancellation is looming and freedom is nigh. With their lifestyle on the brink, however, Bentley’s family starts to crumble, and one thing becomes startlingly clear–without the show, there is no family. And since Bentley loves her family, she has to do the unthinkable–save the show. But when her future brother-in-law’s car goes over a cliff with both Bentley and her sister’s fianc inside-on the day of the big made-for-TV wedding, no less-things get real.
Really real. Like, not reality show real.

Told in a tongue-in-cheek voice that takes a swipe at all things Hollywood, Royce Rolls is a laugh-out-loud funny romp with an LA noir twist about what it means to grow up with the cameras rolling and what really happens behind the scenes.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

This entire book is essentially satire and I loved it!

Mind you, I was unsure of this book, as I am the sort of person who’d arguably rather gouge out my yes than watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Which this book is literally a parody of.

But Royce Rolls is self-aware of that, and makes fun of its self for it essentially. Which means I enjoyed it immensely.

The book is funny and witty, and mixes tropes and parody from a bunch of different reality shows in a way that comments on and makes fun of them.

The book is told in a mix of email/news reports and Bentley’s first person POV. Literally mixed media. The over-arching story keeps you on your toes, and there is twists that I didn’t see coming, I love seeing the way things unfold when you’re not expecting it to be as hardhitting/intelligent as it actually was. It is more than dumb comedy.

The characters and the romances are all great, and I didn’t see the ending coming at all, which was good.

I will say that it got bumped down to 4 stars because the ending felt a bit like it was getting ahead of itself, it confused its own timeline a bit, and didn’t address some of the things it brought up (ex. why a certain someone left home in the first place).

Other than that, I thought it was a fun read. I recommend it!

NetGalley Review: Zenn Diagram

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

April 4th, 2017

Date I Read The Book:

October 2016

My Star Rating:

5 Stars

Chronology:

Standalone contemporary

Official Summary:

Eva Walker is a seventeen-year-old math genius. And if that doesn’t do wonders for her popularity, there’s another thing that makes it even worse: when she touches another person or anything that belongs to them — from clothes to textbooks to cell phones — she sees a vision of their emotions. She can read a person’s fears and anxieties, their secrets and loves … and what they have yet to learn about calculus. This is helpful for her work as a math tutor, but it means she can never get close to people. Eva avoids touching anyone and everyone. People think it’s because she’s a clean freak — with the emphasis on freak — but it’s all she can do to protect herself from other people’s issues.

Then one day a new student walks into Eva’s life. His jacket gives off so much emotional trauma that she falls to the floor. Eva is instantly drawn to Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist who also has a troubled home life, and her feelings only grow when she realizes that she can touch Zenn’s skin without having visions. But when she discovers the history that links them, the truth threatens to tear the two apart.

Zenn Diagram, Wendy Brant’s sparkling debut novel, offers an irresistible combination of math and romance, with just a hint of the paranormal. Readers will swoon over Zenn and connect instantly with Eva, the most fully drawn prodigy in teen fiction today.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

I am a huge fan of prodigy stories, I’m pretty sure it stems from my love for JJ Abrams Star Trek version of Chekov. Pretty sure.

I loved this book, I read it in about two days instead of doing AP Chem and Calc homework (I still got it done don’t worry).

Certain parts of the story are a bit predictable, but not in a bad way, in the way most contemporaries end up being predictable. I loved the way all the characters were portrayed though, none were 2 dimensional or used as a plot device, all had depth, and lives outside of our protagonist’s existence and I loved the way her gift was used to show that.

I also particularly loved her family, especially the quadruplets (Quints was one of my favorite movies as a kid, it reminded me a bit of that). I loved her parents and her family history, and the way it mentioned her family’s focus on religion without ramming it down the audience’s throat. The background relationship of Josh and Charlotte was also great.

I also felt like I could relate to Eva more than I could to most contemporary protagonists. I don’t really go to parties, and I too, am immensely stressed about college applications and scholarships, and I loved the way that was portrayed in the background of this story, like YES, realistic life in YA! Also, minus most of the trauma and romance, Eva’s general awkwardness is so me. Her cup of tea discussion? Totally something I would probably do, considering I have spent many a breakfast/lunch in school discussing foster care, health care, various legal statutes, and vaccinations with my friends. For fun. I am that kind of person.

If you are also that kind of person, or if a cutesy, off the beaten path, contemporary appeals to you, I’d recommend this book.

It was a bit different than I expected, but I loved it.

Read If You Like:

  • The Love That Split The World
  • Because You’ll Never Meet Me
  • Learning To Swear In America

 

NetGalley Review: Strong Is The New Pretty

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

March 7th, 2017

Date I Read The Book:

October 2016

My Star Rating:

4 Stars

Official Summary:

Girls being fearless. Girls being silly. Girls being wild, stubborn, and proud. Girls whose faces are smeared with dirt and lit up with joy. So simple and yet so powerful, Strong Is the New Prettycelebrates, through more than 175 memorable photographs, the strength and spirit of girls being 100% themselves.

Real beauty isn’t about being a certain size, acting a certain way, wearing the right clothes, or having your hair done (or even brushed). Real beauty is about being your authentic self and owning it. Kate T. Parker is a professional photographer who finds the real beauty in girls, capturing it for all the world to see in candid and arresting images.

A celebration, a catalog of spirit in words and smiles, an affirmation of the fact that it’s what’s inside you that counts, Strong Is the New Pretty conveys a powerful message for every girl, for every mother and father of a girl, for every coach and mentor and teacher, for everyone in the village that it takes to raise a strong and self-confident person.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

This was a quick read, took me about an hour, since it is mostly pictures. I thought it was great, the quotes all well chosen, the pictures were amazing (My grandpa is a professional photographer and I got a bit of that gene in me – I love photography) and the commentary was well thought out and inclusive. The flow of some pictures to others felt a bit off at times, and some felt better suited to other sections, which is what marked this book down to a 4 rather than 5 stars. But if you consider yourself a feminist, have a daughter, are a daughter, or like photography, I would definitely recommend this book!

 

 

 

Netgalley Review: Superman Science

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*I received an e-arc of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review*

Original Release Date:

March 1st 2017

Date I Read The Book:

December 2016

My Star Rating:

3.5 stars

Official Summary:

Superman is the World’s Greatest Hero! With super-strength, lightning speed, laser vision, and the ability to fly, he keeps Earth safe. But what is the science behind strength, speed, sight, and flight? And does anything or anyone in our world have similar abilities to Superman? Superman Science explores how real-life science and engineering relates to the Man of Steel’s famous powers and the real-world connections may surprise you.”

My Review: 

This book was cute. Mainly, it goes about explaining Superman’s powers in the real world context. He flies so this is a simplified version of how planes work. He’s strong here’s world records of strength. Most connections are basic lessons of physical science, historical feats, and connections to different animals.

The layout and organization is really well done. It did feel overly dumbed down in places, but that may just be my AP brain. This is meant for younger children after all. Though, in a lot of places, it felt only tangentially connected to Superman. Superman was the jumping of point to learn the science, but he wants the main focus it felt.

I think the reason I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I could have is I forgot it was targeted for much younger children, and so the fact that everything was so simplified and truncated made me feel patronized.

I think, if your 10-14, maybe a little younger or older depending on reading level/sciences you’ve taken, you’ll like this. Especially if you like Superman or you like learning. But if your the kind if person who takes AP sciences courses, you won’t get much out it.

 

Arc Review: Nowhere Near You

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*I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Original Release Date:

Feb. 7th 2017

Date I Read The Book:

End of January/Beg. of February – 2017

My Star Rating:

5 stars

Chronology:

Sequel

Official Summary:

Following up her acclaimed debut, Because You’ll Never Meet Me, Leah Thomas continues the stories of Ollie and Moritz in another heart-warming story of unique friendship.

Ollie and Moritz might never meet, but their friendship knows no bounds. Their letters carry on as Ollie embarks on his first road trip away from the woods–no easy feat for a boy allergic to electricity–and Moritz decides which new school would best suit an eyeless boy who prefers to be alone.

Along the way they meet other teens like them, other products of strange science who lead seemingly normal lives in ways Ollie and Moritz never imagined possible: A boy who jokes about his atypical skeleton; an aspiring actress who hides a strange deformity; a track star whose abnormal heart propels her to victory. Suddenly the future feels wide open for two former hermits. But even as Ollie and Moritz dare to enjoy life, they can’t escape their past, which threatens to destroy any progress they’ve made. Can these boys ever find their place in a world that might never understand them?


Since this is a sequel, there will be spoilers for the first book in this review. You can read my review of the first book here: Review: Because You’ll Never Meet Me

Read this review at you’re own risk if you haven’ read the first book. (Though I love these books to bits so GO READ IT).


My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

I discovered these books by accident.

I was searching for an e-book to read, stumbled across Because You’ll Never Meet Me. I picked it up thinking it was a cute, gay love story told in letters. I also thought it was a standalone. I was very wrong about these books.

These books are part-contemporary romance/friendship, and part modern day Sci-fi (a-la X-Men or Stranger Things) and are super funny, filled with pop culture references. It is also told entirely in letters. I love how we learn more about our characters as they grow to trust each other, and how we discover secrets of the world around them as they do. The voices come clear distinct and amazingly well.

Our two main characters are: Ollie, a sheltered American boy whose allergic to electricity and Mortiz, a blind german boy who also happens to be gay.

I spent the entire first book dying for them to get together – and they didn’t. But I was satisfied with Mortiz’s love story (a blind boy and a mute boy and really they are so cute) but Liz annoyed the hell out of me. I thought the first book was a standalone, and I was crushed, I needed more, but the ending was well wrapped up, so I didn’t even think about subsequent books.

Cue November, where I discover this book exists, and go into a frenzy. I was lucky enough to get an ARC but took a while to get through it to savor-it/not fail school.

So, Nowhere Near You.

We start off where we left in the last book. Ollie crossing the power line to go an a road trip and find the other oddball kids. Mortiz trying to confront both his past and his future. Both of them ingesting over the fact that they may now actually meet.

And within two pages we get a Hamilton reference, so you know its great.

I love the character relationships in these books, and I loved seeing more of their pasts as they learn secrets kept from them, I loved meeting new mutant kids. (Ollie’s meet the mutants road trip felt very X-men) The writing in these books is funny, and a little heartbreaking and so so so GOOD! (Also, Mortiz angsty-ly crushing on Ollie from across the ocean through me off guard and made me very happy because for once they were actually talking about their feelings!)

This installment does have more sci-fi than the first as we learn more about the “blunder kinder” – but is still cross-genre contemporary/sci-fi like the first.

I don’t want to say too much else, or I’ll give something away.

But, I highly recommend these books, and this sequel, and I am already desperate for a third book (that I’m not sure exists or not – it does work as a duology). Easily one of my favorite series.

 

 

 

NetGalley Review: The Edge of Everything

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

January 31st 2017

Date I Read The Book:

January 2017

My Star Rating:

5 stars

Chronology:

First in a series (which I just found out and I’m so excited!)

Official Summary:

It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

I didn’t know this was going to be a series when I picked it up, but I’m so glad it is! This is my current favorite read so far of 2017. It wraps up this story nicely while setting up for the next book SO WELL.

The characters are all great, complex, and hilarious. The dual POV works really well, each character having a distinct voice. The concept is great, and it was very well executed, and the pacing of the plot is phenomenal. I loved the mystery, and the side characters, and the subplots.

The romance felt a little instal-love for my taste, but its built on so well and its so cute I found I didn’t mind. Zoe wasn’t whiney or all “I’m just a normal girl, why me” which was great because I hate that.

I really don’t want to say too much lest I give something away. But Definitely check it out, its part fantasy, part contemporary and all amazing!

And I’m super excited to see what future books hold for Zoe and X (and for X’s past, I’m dying to know!).

NetGalley Review – Nemesis #1: Dreadnought

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

January 24th 2017

Date I Read The Book:

January 2017

My Star Rating:

4 stars

Chronology:

First in a series

Official Summary:

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, she was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But then her second-hand superpowers transformed her body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but between her father’s dangerous obsession with curing her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and the classmate who is secretly a masked vigilante, Danny’s first weeks living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined.

She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer, a cyborg named Utopia, still haunts the streets of New Port City. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

Diversity!

Often, diverse books are contemporaries, as if a gay/trans/etc. character cannot star in a fantasy or sic-fi plot because their plot revolves around being gay/trans/etc.

I like diverse contemporaries, but I’m glad we got a ski-fi book too, because this book was great!

I thought the subject of Danny being trans was well written and well handled, though I have no first-hand experience with such things, so take my words with a grain of salt.

Danny had a unique, refreshing voice, and I loved her. Loved the way she got her powers and why. I loved the side characters (even the ones I hated, they added to the story), the villain was amazing, and Sarah’s backstory was my favorite thing (Danny and Sarah would also make the cutest couple).

The plot was well paced, you’re grabbed from the beginning and I didn’t get bored once. (I read this in about 2 days).

If you like superhero stories, or if you’re looking for a diverse read, I highly recommend picking this one up!