Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (38): DOWN WITH THE SHINE

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Release date: April 26, 2016

Summary: There's a reason they say "be careful what you wish for." Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for "balls of steel" and got them--literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave. 

These are things Lennie only learns when it's too late--after she brings some of her uncles' moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago. 

Lennie didn't mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles' moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their "important family legacy," she thought they meant good old-fashion bootlegging. 

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year. 

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can't be unmade...

Thoughts: I read Kate Karyus Quinn's Another Little Piece earlier this year, and absolutely loved it, so I'll be checking out anything she comes out with in the future. And this one sounds very intriguing. As the daughter of a Tennessee-native, the idea that a family uses moonshine to grant wishes is absolutely wonderful. I'm hopeful that this book will be just as strange, creepy, and oddly poetic as Another Little Piece

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Does my choice sound interesting to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (37): WHEN WE COLLIDED

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Author: Emery Lord
Release date: April 5, 2016

Summary: Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power to save or destroy them. 

Vivi and Jonah couldn't be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi's zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there's something important Vivi hasn't told him. 

Thoughts: I haven't read either of Emery Lord's previous books, but both of them are on my TBR, so why wouldn't this one? That cover is completely different from the covers of Open Road Summer and The Start of You and Me, but I am definitely digging it! The colors, the paint splatters, the font? Love it all. This sounds like a swoony, emotional rollercoaster, and those are usually my favorite kinds of contemporaries, so you can see why I'm anticipating this book!

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Does my choice sound interesting to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What I'm Watching -- Fall 2015!

Hey, guys! As you should know by now, television is one of my other obsessions. So today, rather than talk books, I thought I'd bring you my thoughts on all of the fall shows I am/will be watching this year! I'll go through my shows day by day and let you know why I'm excited, or what I think so far!


Dancing with the Stars: Honestly, I probably wouldn't be watching this show if I wasn't living at home right now. But my parents are ABC reality junkies, so Monday nights are pretty much taken up all year-round by DWTS, The Bachelor/ette, and Bachelor in Paradise. However, I will say that this season has been fun so far. I love Bindi Irwin and the PenaVegas. This one is definitely my guilty pleasure for the year.


Agents of SHIELD: This show is so perfect. Definitely one of my favorite shows. A lot of people had mixed feelings about this show when it first started, but it has grown and developed into something amazing. The season 3 premiere was this week, and let me tell you this: it may have been a premiere episode, but those were some finale-level feels happening. Seriously. Can't wait to see what happens this year, especially in conjunction with the upcoming Captain America: Civil War

Scream Queens: Okay, I know I probably shouldn't like this show. And yes, some of the insults and language are a bit much for primetime television. It's a little uncomfortable sometimes, But at the same time, the mystery is very intriguing, and there are some characters I genuinely adore already. And in the two-hour premiere, I was already blown away with a crazy twist that I did not see coming. So I'm excited to see where it goes from here, and how they keep the mystery alive. Also, there are some pretty funny moments that don't rely on stereotypes or gross language. Like the moment when Pete cut a circle into the glass window in the door, then ended up breaking all of the glass when reaching for the door handle. I laughed out loud then and at other moments, so I'm in for the long haul!


Empire: YAASSSS. My mom and I finally gave into the hype this summer and binged the first season. It is SO GOOD. This week's premiere was, as always, game-changing. So much went down in only 42 minutes! The characters are all amazing, because not a single one falls into the purely good or bad category. They are all just doing what they think is best. There are moment when I'm like "FAMILY" and other times when I just want to strangle everyone involved. And that's when I know a show is really a favorite; when I get invested enough in the characters and story to cry or yell at the TV. 

American Horror Story: Hotel: This one doesn't start until next week, but I am SO excited for it. I'll admit that I haven't even finished Freak Show yet. (That will have to wait until its DVD release.) But I loved Asylum and Coven, and Hotel looks absolutely brilliant. The cast is perfection, so I'm highly anticipating its premiere. 


Scandal: A perennial favorite. As a Jake/Olivia shipper, I was not happy with last year's finale, so I was desperately awaiting this season for the other shoe to drop. The premiere was fantastic, blending the overall story arc with the return of the serialized "case of the week" aspect. Truth be told, I just can't get over how much I love these characters. And I just want to see what directions their lives go in episode after episode. This one's a real nailbiter, too. I just love it

How to Get Away with Murder: The sophomore season of this show started last week, and it was just as insane, if not more, than it was last season. And that cliffhanger? Whoa. These are morally ambiguous characters, but I can't help but fall in love with them. Especially Connor and Wes. And it is always a pleasure to see what twisted thing Annaliese is going to get up to next. This season is going to be another doozy!

Haven: Next week, the final arc of episodes begins. That's it, folks. This show is coming to an end. And I am so ready to find out how it all goes down. But at the same time...I'm not ready at all. *sob* As interesting as the plot is (and it SO is; so many fantastic twists and turns), it's really the characters that steal the spotlight. All of these main characters hold a very special place in my heart, and it might just break when this is all over. I'll be mentally preparing for the end from now on. 

Elementary: This one doesn't start for another month, but I am obsessed with this show. Last season ended on a completely heartbreaking note, and I was so upset that we had to wait so long for it to be resolved. This season is going to start on a heavy note, and oh my God I'm almost crying just writing this. I just need my Sherlock to be okay! Can't wait for this to start up again so I can see how Joan and Sherlock are handling this. 

Supergirl: This doesn't start for over a month, but I am very excited. I'll admit, I was a little hesitant about it when it was first announced. Melissa Benoist was pretty blah on Glee's season 5, so I wasn't sure about her role as Kara Zor-El. But the trailer for the show just look like a ton of fun. Plus, I had no idea that Jeremy Jordan was going to be in it, so that right there is reason enough for me to check it out. I'm very intrigued to see how it will fare. 


Doctor Who: Okay. So I really need to catch up on this show and finish watching Series 8. But I really do want to catch up in time to see the Christmas special this year, because RIVER SONG. (!!!)


Once Upon a Time: SUCH A FAVORITE. I've been angsting over this show ever since the spring finale. And the premiere this past Sunday definitely did not disappoint. As you should know, I have a crazy amount of ships on this show, and I just love all of these characters to death. With the addition of Merida this year, I'm still so interested to see what's going to happen for the residents of Storybrooke. This show also gives me ALL the feels. Just so much love for this show.

Quantico: This is a new show for the season, and probably the one I've been the most interested in since upfronts in the spring. The premiere was last Sunday, and DAMN. It was incredible. The mystery is definitely already twisting in ways I don't expect, and the characters are extremely intriguing. I can't wait to see how it's all going to go down, and how these relationships develop throughout the season. I'm already thinking this is going to be a new favorite!

Tell me: what shows are YOU watching this fall? Are any of your favorite shows on my list as well? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (36): THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Author: Lauren Morrill
Release date: December 8, 2015

Summary: It's not about the destination, it's about the journey...

With her trust baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm--the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize. 

Liza can't imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She's therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she's especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens to be Liza's ex-best friend and leaders of the Athenas, a show choir that's the band's great competition. 

But it's not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza's best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she's about to find herself lost at sea. 

Thoughts: I haven't read either of Lauren Morrill's previous novels yet (but Meant to Be is on my September TBR!) But that won't stop me from picking up her next one! Even though I hated marching band when I was in it in high school, it still brings up some fond memories looking back at it now. And a book about a over-achiever drum major on a cruise ship just sounds like SO much fun! Plus, that cover? I love the combination of the illustrations with the real couple at the top. So cute!

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Does my choice sound interesting to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Birthdays! -- September 29, 2015

*Note: when celebrating birthdays for books in a series other than Book 1, I will not list the summary, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. If you've read the first book(s) in the series, or are just insanely curious, follow the book title link to the Goodreads page to read the summary there! 


Title: Daughters Unto Devils
Author: Amy Lukavics

Summary: When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner's family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries. 

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn't right on the prairie. She's heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can't be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul. 

Series Starters

Title: Menagerie
Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: Menagerie #1

Summary: When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black=top, she discovers a fierce, sharp=clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she's forced to "perform" in town after town. 

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other "attractions"--mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies--are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she'll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed. 

Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1

Summary: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price--and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction--if they don't kill each other first. 

Title: Zeroes
Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti

Summary: Ethan, aka "Scam," has a way with words. When he opens his mouth, whatever he wants you to hear comes out. But Ethan isn't just a smooth talker. He has a unique ability to say things he doesn't consciously even know. Sometimes the voice helps, but sometimes it hurts--like now, when the voice has lied and has landed Ethan in a massive mess. So now Ethan needs help. And he needs to go to the last people who would ever want to help him--his former group of friends, the self-named "zeroes" who also all possess similarly double-edged abilities, and who are all angry at Ethan for their own respective reasons. Brought back together by Scam's latest mischief, they find themselves entangled in an epic, whirlwind adventure packed with as much interpersonal drama as mind-bending action.

Tell me: what new releases are YOU excited for this week? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: REACHED by Ally Condie

Title: Reached
Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched #3

Why I read it: To finish out one more series on my long list of unfinished series!

Thoughts: Boy, did I dislike this book. Mind you, not as much as I hated Allegiant. But still a strong dislike. In fact, many of my problems with this book were similar to the problems I had in Allegiant.

If we're being completely honest, I began reading this book with the expectation that I wouldn't like it. I didn't enjoy the second book in the series, Crossed, very much, so I was already disillusioned with the series in general. And reading this book, all of my fears were confirmed.

Here is my main problem with this concluding novel; the main conflict and problems in this book seem entirely separate from the rest of the series. The main overarching conflict from the first two books is solved fairly quickly here, within the first quarter of the book. And, as in Allegiant, a whole new complication arises that was barely hinted at within the first two books. It made for a very disjointed story.

I also don't care for the characters in this series. We get the POVs of all three main characters in Reached, but it's difficult to tell them apart. Their problems and thoughts are similar, all three characters constantly worrying about the same things. None of them have enough personality for me to really care about them and their fate that much, even when the situations they find themselves in are very dire.

If I didn't care much for the main characters, then the secondary characters I've all but forgotten already. I can't remember any of their names, much less remember their exact roles in the plot. Part of the problem is that basically all of the secondary problems are new to the series, introduced only through the course of this last book, and only serve as plot devices rather than well-developed characters. They are props, not people.

I really liked the first book in the Matched trilogy. It wasn't a favorite, but it was enjoyable. But unfortunately, the series only went downhill from there. I am glad I have finished yet another series, but this will most likely make my list of least-favorite books for the year.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read this book yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (35): WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Author: Robin Talley
Release date: October 27, 2015

Summary: Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They've been together forever. They never fight. They're deeply, hopelessly in love. When the separate for their first year at college--Ton to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU--they're sure they'll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive. 

The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Ton, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship. 

While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won't understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni's life. As distance and Toni's shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide--have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

Thoughts: I am so glad we are getting more and more LGBTQIA+ books out there in the mainstream. I've heard great things about Robin Talley's other book, Lies We Tell Ourselves. I would also like to read that book, but it's a historical fiction novel, which is not usually my favorite genre. But this contemporary sounds much more up my alley, and I think it's especially wonderful that it features a nonbinary protagonist. And on a totally shallow level, that cover is sooo pretty. 

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Does my choice sound interesting to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book Birthdays! -- September 22, 2015

*Note: when celebrating birthdays for books in a series other than Book 1, I will not list the summary, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. If you've read the first book(s) in the series, or are just insanely curious, follow the book title link to the Goodreads page to read the summary there! 


Title: This Monstrous Thing
Author: Mackenzi Lee

Summary: In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch's life shattered to bits. 

His brother, Oliver--dead. 

His sweetheart, Mary--gone. 

His chance to break free of Geneva--lost. 

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead. 

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair's horror further damages the already troubled relationship. 

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay... 

Author: Erin Bow

Summary: A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace--sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals--are raised together in small, isolated schools called Preceptures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war. 

Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Precepture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace, even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world's most war-worthy resource--water--she has little chance of  reaching adulthood alive. 

Enter Elian Palnik, the Precepture's newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta's world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elian dragged into the school in chains. The Precepture's insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewqrds, can make no dent in Elian, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn't even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages. 

What will happen to Elian and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war?

Title: Dreamland
Author: Robert L. Anderson

Summary: Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people's dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person's dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea's mother is certain are right behind them. 

Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. AS Connor breaks down the walls that she's had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that's so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what's real and what's not?

Title: What We Saw
Author: Aaron Hartzler

Summary: Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone's house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early--the feeling that maybe he's becoming more than  just the guy she's known since they were kids. 

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills's shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn't have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate's classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can't be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It's a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time. 

Series Starters

Title: Blood and Salt
Author: Kim Liggett
Series: Blood and Salt #1

Summary: "When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in--blood and salt."

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time. 

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town's history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own. 

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself--and discover the truth about Quivira before it's too late. Before she's all in--blood and salt. 

Author: Rae Carson
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1

Summary: Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home--until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? 

Series Continuers/Enders

Title: Sound
Author: Alexandra Duncan
Series: Salvage #2

Author: Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #3

Tell me: what new releases are YOU excited for this week? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (34): FIRST & THEN

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Title: First & Then
Author: Emma Mills
Release date: October 13, 2015

Summary: Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Case, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life. 

Thoughts: This sounds like such a cute, fluffy contemporary. That cover is so adorable and colorful! This is also pitched as Friday Night Lights meets Pride & Prejudice. Now, I haven't watched FNL yet and I haven't read P&P, but this might be just what I need to get me into both of them! I just can't with how adorable this sounds. Definitely intrigued!

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Does my choice sound interesting to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Birthdays! -- September 15, 2015

*Note: when celebrating birthdays for books in a series other than Book 1, I will not list the summary, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. If you've read the first book(s) in the series, or are just insanely curious, follow the book title link to the Goodreads page to read the summary there! 


Title: Dumplin'
Author: Julie Murphy

Summary: Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed "Dumplin'" by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things h ave always worked...until Will takes a job at Harpy's, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn't surprised to find herself attracted to bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. 

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant--along with several other unlikely candidates--to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she'll shock the hell out of Clover City--and maybe herself most of all. 

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine--Dumplin' is guaranteed to steal your heart. 

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

SummaryFor twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows--the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find. 

Lace Paloma may be new to her family's show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it's a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace's life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the group as it is in the trees. 

Title: Tonight the Streets Are Ours
Author: Leila Sales

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she's tired of being loyal to people who don't appreciate her--including her needy best friend and her absent mom. 

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him. 

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music--the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does--Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was, either. 

Title: Ash & Bramble
Author: Sarah Prineas

Summary: When the glass slipper just doesn't fit...

The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story. 

Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother's fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker. 

Pin isn't free for long before she's captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her--a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince--instead of finding her own happily ever after. 

Sarah Prineas's bold fairy tale retelling is a dark and captivating world where swords are more fitting than slippers, young shoemakers are just as striking as princes, and a heroine is more than ready to rescue herself before the clock strikes midnight.

Title: Mirrored
Author: Alex Flinn

Summary: A modern, multi-generational tale of Kendra, the witch from "Snow White," who trains Violet, an ugly, lonely, and heartbroken girl in the 1980's who transforms  herself into "the fairest one of all" but still cannot win Greg's heart, and Celine, Greg's daughter with Violet's high school rival, Jennifer. 

Title: One
Author: Sarah Crossan

Summary: Tippi and Grace. Grace and Tippi. For them, it's normal to step into the same skirt. To hook their arms around each other for balance. To fall asleep listening to the other breathing. To share. And to keep some things private. The two sixteen-year-old girls have two heads, two hearts, and each has two arms, but at the belly, they join. And they are happy, never wanting to risk the dangerous separation surgery. 

But the girls' body is beginning to fight against them. And soon they will have to face the impossible choice they have avoided for their entire lives. 

Tell me: what new releases are YOU excited for this week? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Film Fridays! -- September 11, 2015

*movie titles link to IMDB pages*


Despite the amount of work my mom and I got done on the house this weekend, we still managed to sneak in a couple of movies!

Title: Snowpiercer
Starring: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell

Thoughts: This wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

This movie, based on the French graphic novel series Le Transperceneige, shows a post-apocalyptic society where the only people left on the planet live on a train with a perpetual motion engine that circles the entire globe once every year. We follow Curtis (Evans), a man who lives in the slum-like tail section of the train, on his quest to traverse the length of the train and take over the engine.

What I liked: I loved the acting here. Lately, Chris Evans is often stereotyped into the "muscle-bound, All-American," so it's fantastic to see him in a different kind of role. There's a moment near the end of the movie where Evans gives this utterly devastating monologue, and it is fantastic. And while Evans is obviously the star of the movie, the supporting actors Swinton, Hurt, Bell, and others also turn in more-than-solid performances.

Not only is Evans's acting superb, but his character's arc is truly something, as well. For such a high-concept story, it ends up being Curtis's story that really resonates throughout.

The world-building is top-notch as well. As the movie progresses and our characters move throughout the train, the different things they encounter are fascinating. In one train car, they happen upon an elementary classroom, and the lesson going on is both chilling and educational for everyone, including the audience.

Parts of this film are horrifying and brutal, but it definitely fits the bleak tone. It's hard to swallow, but appropriate for the movie.

What I disliked: There are a few moments that just don't make much sense logistically. For fear of spoilers, I can't completely explain it, but if you watch this film, take note of the scene when the train goes around a curve so two sides of the train are facing each other. Logistically, that scene makes zero sense, and it jolted me out of the story enough to bother me.

The action doesn't flow well. An early fight scene is on of the most visually stunning sequences in the film, but fight scenes are often followed by long lulls in the action. The flow is choppy and disjointed, and not in a pleasant way.

And finally, the ending. Just after we finished watching the movie, I was a little stunned at how it ended, but still feeling a lot of the feels brought on by Evans's acting. But looking back on it now, several days later, I think I truly hate the ending. And yet, sitting here as I write this review, I can't think of any other way it could have ended. Based on the choices that all the characters made, it might just be the logical, if insane, way things should have played out. It just feels like such a letdown after such an incredible journey for Curtis. But as the song says, you can't always get what you want.

Overall, this is a movie that I'm going to have conflicting feelings about for a long time. I still recommend it, if just for Chris Evans alone.

Rating: C+

Title: Cloud Atlas
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae

Thoughts: I liked this movie much more than I thought I was going to.

This movie follows six different stories in six different times, but the actors play multiple characters across the timelines. If you'd like a better synopsis, try the IMDB link in the title above, because I certainly can't give it to you.

This is a long movie at three hours. It took almost half of that time for me to really get into each of the stories, but once I did, I was enthralled. It's fascinating to see how each of the stories are connected by plot threads, and each story is so unique. Of the six timelines, only the 2012 story is comedic in tone, and while it's amusing, I didn't connect to it as much as the others. My favorite stories were the last two chronologically, the Neo-Seoul story and the Big Isle story. I also feel like they were the most connected of all, and made the most impact on the film as a whole. Each actor is definitely strongest is the stories in which they are a main character.

Also, I had no idea James D'Arcy was in this movie. That was such pleasant surprise.

So let's get to what every review of Cloud Atlas brings up: the cross-race portrayals. Since each actor plays characters across the timelines, many of the actors end up playing multiple races, and even multiple genders. But the most obvious being Neo-Seoul. White actors like Jim Sturgess, James D'Arcy, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving wear a combination of makeup and prosthetics to make them appear Asian.

Yes. I know that it is problematic. Hollywood has a long, sordid history of white actors playing Asian characters through yellowface. I don't need to be the voice of outrage because many others have been down that road before me, and done it much better than I could ever hope to do from my position of privilege.


I will say that it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. The actors' appearances are changed, but for the most part, I feel that the portrayals steer clear of stereotyping. I do think that the worst offense in the movie is Halle Berry's brief role as an Asian man. That specific part did rub me the wrong way, but the majority of the race and gender reversals hardly phased me.

I love seeing how everything comes together in the end. How people can find each other time after time, and how there is a ripple effect throughout time. I nearly teared up at the end.

I do think it's a good movie. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But it's a sweeping story that covers time and distance, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rating: B

On Tuesday, September 8th, the following movie came out on DVD and Blu-ray: 

Starring: Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn

And two movies are releasing to theaters! 

Title: The Visit
Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould

Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut, Michael Ealy

What am I most excited for? The Age of Adaline! My parents saw this in theaters in May and loved it, so I've been anxiously awaiting its DVD release so I could love it, too! 

What I'll Be Watching

I'm definitely hoping to watch The Age of Adaline this weekend. Also, I finally got my mom to watch Think Like a Man last week (which I had already seen), so I'm hoping we can finally watch Think Like a Man Too this weekend, as well!

This week, the trailer for the Christmas-horror film Krampus was released. If you've read the Christmas anthology My True Love Gave to Me, you'll recognize Krampus from Holly Black's story. The fact that this film stars Adam Scott and Toni Collette already had me intrigued, so the trailer just makes me that much more excited! It looks pretty scary, but also funny in parts? And it just looks like a fun time!

Tell me: what movies have YOU seen lately? What are you planning on seeing very soon? And what trailers are you the most excited about? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Duology Review: TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han

Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1 and #2

Summary: Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. 

They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved--five in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control. 

Why I read it: Because I've heard amazing things about both books, and I was in the mood for some more contemporary!

Thoughts: SO ADORABLE. And before I even say anything else about the content, can I just shout-out these precious covers? Both of them are so cute, from what Lara Jean's wearing, to the font of the titles that looks like handwritten Sharpie. Plus, the naked hardcovers match the color of Jenny Han's name on each book. Such fantastic packaging.

I am so glad that I decided to wait to read the first book until the second book came so I could read them back to back, because the end of the first book is just begging for a continuation. The story flows from the first book to the second pretty flawlessly, which is why I decided to do this dual review rather than review each book individually.

Lara Jean is probably the cutest, most endearing character I've read in a long time. In a sea of cynical and jaded YA protagonists, Lara Jean's naivete and innocence make her such a breath of fresh air. She's a sixteen-year-old who loves her family and still calls her father "Daddy," and I related to her so much. Hell, I'm a twenty-four-year old college graduate and I still call my father "Daddy." Jenny Han's greatest accomplishment lies in making Lara Jean so completely realistic.

Judging by the title, I knew this book was going to have at least a couple of swoon-worthy boys. And I wasn't disappointed. Throughout the course of this duology, there are three boys who are love interests for Lara Jean in some capacity, and I found merit in all three of them. Not only do they all have very distinct personalities, but they also represent different things to Lara Jean: different aspects of her personality, different periods in her life, and different ways that you can love someone. But none of it ever feels forced or heavy-handed; there were moments when I could truly imagine her ending up with each one.

Believe me though, I did have a ship.

But Jenny Han never makes things easy, just as they never are in real life, either. There are plenty of swoons in these books, but there are also plenty of opportunities for tears. And it is all so worth it.

For a pair of books that is mainly a romance, I was pleasantly surprised with how much of the story also revolved around Lara Jean's family. It's yet another reason these books are so realistic. Lara Jean's two sisters and their father are so well-developed for secondary characters, and I love how involved they are in her life.

In the end, I think these books are about relationships in general. Relationships of all kinds, whether they be friendly, familial or romantic. Aside from the letter-sending incident described in the synopsis, there are no huge plot points that change the course of the story. The relationships Lara Jean develops and the choices she makes drive the story completely, which make it both realistic and unpredictable.

If you're looking for an adorable, swoony contemporary with a dose of bittersweet realism, then this is absolutely the duology for you.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before: 5/5 stars
P.S. I Still Love You: 5/5 stars
Overall: 5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read this book yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (33): A STEP TOWARD FALLING

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Author: Cammie McGovern
Release date: October 6, 2015

Summary: Sometimes one mistake can change everything. 

Emily doesn't know why she froze. Or why Lucas did, too. Afterward, she thought of different ways to rationalize it. But the truth is, they could have helped Belinda, and they didn't. It's a mistake they'll both have to live with. 

Sometimes doing nothing is the only way to cope. 

Belinda doesn't want to talk about what happened. Because when she does, it feels like it's happening all over again. 

Sometimes good can come from bad. 

Emily and Lucas's punishment is community service at a center for people with disabilities. People like Belinda. Soon they feel like maybe they're starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. Like they could help not only those at the center but also each other. 

But when Belinda returns to school. Emily and Lucas have to figure out if they can do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt most. 

Thoughts: This is definitely not my usual type of book, and to be completely honest, I wasn't sure I wanted to read it at first. I heard mixed things about Cammie McGovern's first novel, Say What You Will, and I didn't know if this content would fully interest me. But this book has gotten a nice number of good reviews, and I think it might be really eye-opening as well. So I'm definitely ready to give this book a shot!

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Does my choice sound interesting to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (25): Finished Series I Have YET to Finish

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

Each of the following series is finished, as in there are no more books coming out in that series. The story is complete. And I own all released books in each series as well. To tell you the truth, this is just downright embarrassing! 

Series I've Already Started

*Tempest by Julie Cross (1/3)

*Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (1/4)

*Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (1/6)

Series I Haven't Even Started Yet

*The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

*Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

*Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

*Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman

*Newsoul by Jodi Meadows

*Graceling by Kristin Cashore

*Razorland by Ann Aguirre

Tell me: what finished series are YOU most embarrassed to not have finished yet? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Birthdays! -- September 8, 2015

*Note: when celebrating birthdays for books in a series other than Book 1, I will not list the summary, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. If you've read the first book(s) in the series, or are just insanely curious, follow the book title link to the Goodreads page to read the summary there! 


Title: Drowning in Inevitable
Author: Shalanda Stanley

Summary: Olivia has spent her whole life struggling to escape her dead mother's shadow. But when her father can't even look at her because Olivia reminds him of her mother, and her grandmother mistakenly calls her "Lillian," shaking a reputation she didn't ask for is next to impossible. Olivia is used to leaning on her best friend, Jamie; her handsome but hot-tempered boyfriend, Max; and their wild-child friend, Maggie, for the reality check that her small Louisiana town can't provide. But when a terrible fight between Jamie and his father turns deadly, all Olivia can think to do is grab her friends and run. 

In a flash, Olivia, Jamie, Max, and Maggie become fugitives on the back roads of Louisiana. They're headed to New Orleans, where they hope to find a solution to an unfixable problem. But with their faces displayed on all the news stations, their journey becomes a harrowing game of hide-and-seek from the police--and so-called allies, who just might be the real enemy. 

Author: Kate Scelsa

Summary: Mira is starting over at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can't get out bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she's with Sebby. 

Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who's been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn, it's as if he's been expecting this blond, lanky boy with mischief glinting in his eye. 

Sebby, Mira's gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives. 

As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira's world, he begins to understand that they hide in order to protect themselves to keep each other safe from those who don't understand their quest to live for the impossible. 

Series Continuers (Extras)

Title: Stand-Off
Author: Andrew Smith
Series: Winger #2

Author: Wendy Higgins
Series: Sweet Trilogy #4 

Tell me: what new releases are YOU excited for this week? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below!