Monday, August 31, 2015

Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler

Title: Infinite in Between
Author: Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication date: September 1, 2015
Pages: 480
Source/format: ARC from BEA 2015

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):  Printz Honor author Carolyn Mackler returns with this striking new novel that chronicles the lives of five teenagers through the thrills, heartbreaks, and joys of their four years in high school.

Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….

Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.

Echoing aspects of John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Carolyn Mackler skillfully brings the stories of these five disparate teens together to create a distinct and cohesive whole—a novel about how we can all affect one another’s lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.

My Thoughts

Five different yet unique teens are randomly selected to be in Group Eighteen for the freshmen orientation project at Hankinson High School in New York. Little did they know is how their lives will intertwine with one another's over the next four years.

Carolyn Mackler easily captures the voices of the five teens over the span of their high school career. Mackler was able to master the multiple POVs effortlessly. Sometimes multiple POVs can be messy and confusing but Mackler was able to streamline all five voices and make them all distinct. Each chapter is a different POV and each chapter is short which makes reading the POVs more enjoyable. Not many authors can pull off five POVs. I find having the months and the high school year at the bottom of the pages is a brilliant idea to figure out how far the crew is away from graduation.

Mackler highlights the most important parts of their four years at Hankinson whether it be good, bad and in between. Mackler doesn't sugarcoat the life of a teenager. Readers can see how the teens mature and change. She covers a wide range of topics most teens go through such as friendships, family dynamics, loss, applying to college, firsts and love. Mackler breaks down stereotypes and there is more to the geek, the princess, the basket case and the jock a la The Breakfast Club. If you're a big fan of coming-of-age, multi-perspective contemporary novels, definitely check out the Infinite in Between.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Looking Ahead: A Tyranny of Petticoats Cover Reveal

So yesterday USA Today Life revealed the cover to A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls. I am so ecstatic about this anthology not only because there are some amazing authors contributing but the anthology is a collection of historical fiction and fantasy featuring some fierce females. I love historical fiction and fantasy so this anthology is definitely right up my alley.


FROM USA TODAY LIFE

From an impressive sisterhood of YA writers comes an edge-of-your-seat anthology of historical fiction and fantasy featuring a diverse array of daring heroines.

Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They're making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

With stories by:

J. Anderson Coats
Andrea Cremer
Y. S. Lee
Katherine Longshore
Marie Lu
Kekla Magoon
Marissa Meyer
Saundra Mitchell
Beth Revis
Caroline Richmond
Lindsay Smith
Jessica Spotswood
Robin Talley
Leslye Walton
Elizabeth Wein

Are you looking forward to reading A Tyranny of Petticoats? What authors are you most excited about?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Traveler's Notebooks

I have been journaling for quite some time and I wasn't introduced to traveler's notebooks until this past winter in 2014/2015. I know there is a huge traveler notebook community and planners are becoming a huge thing lately. The original, Midori Traveler's Notebook, originated in Japan. The original comes in standard and passport sizes. Lately, traveler's notebooks have becoming popular for a variety of things. It's a great system once you start using it.

What's a Midori Traveler's Notebook?

The Midori Traveler's Notebook is essentially a piece of leather that is folded in half to create a cover. This simple piece of leather has a vertical elastic strap down the center of the spine that holds paper inserts. There is a tin clasp that holds the strap into place. There is also an elastic loop that secures the notebook together. The traveler's notebook comes with a bookmark cord and there are a bunch of inserts you can purchase. The original Midori comes with the traveler's notebook, ones blank insert, an extra elastic loop and a thin cloth bag. The Midori Traveler's Notebook is a minimalist system and is easy to customize.

What's a Fauxdori?

Fauxdoris have been quite popular lately and there are a quite a few vendors on Etsy that make homemade fauxdoris. A fauxdori is a traveler's notebook crafted by artisans. The great thing about fauxdoris is the customization; you can customize the cover however you like. You can choose the color and type of the leather (or fabric or vinyl), the number and color of outer elastics, the number and color of the inner elastics, the size and you can personalize your fauxdori with embossing, stitching, pockets and inscriptions.

Why should you purchase a traveler's notebook?

With YouTube videos, blog posts and Facebook groups, there is so much love for this wonderful notebook. What I love is that you can customize your traveler notebook in so many ways. You can choose the cover, the elastics, the inserts and the setup of your traveler notebook. There are different sizes you can pick from to suit your every day needs. Some people have one notebook but others will have several and will use them for different things. All your thoughts can be compiled into one notebook and it will help streamline your life.

What can you do with a traveler's notebook?

Art | drawing, painting, coloring, scrapbooking
Brain Dump | reminders, lists, notes
Budget | expense tracker, couponing log, payment deadlines, online shopping log, gift buying log
Health and Fitness | recipes, water intake, exercise log, meal planning, medication tracker
Home | address book, cleaning schedule, babysitting log, shopping lists, pet log
Inspiration and Motivation | quotes, prayer, ideas, personal development, focus, reflection, goals
Journaling | daily, travel, dream, time capsule, gratitude, project, hobby, bullet journal
Planner | monthly calendar, day-to-day, weekly, to-do-lists, party planner, baby planner, wedding planner, teacher planner, work planner, student planner, blog planner
Puzzles and Games | sudoku, crossword 
Reviews | book, movie, music, wine, restaurant, etc.
Travel | itinerary, road trip
Wallet

My Traveler's Notebooks

My first traveler's notebook is the original standard size brown Midori Traveler's Notebook. I also have a second one which is a custom made standard sized one from 3 Speckled Fawns. Before buying a traveler's notebook, I used to use regular bound journals and notebooks to write in. I love how the traveler's notebook is easily customizable and how I can swap out inserts whenever I please. I am also fond of the feel, look and smell of the leather covers. I am also a big fan of keeping several inserts together in one place. The traveler's notebook has helped me organize my life and my thoughts.


Definitely check out the links below for more information about traveler's notebooks and the accessories.

Favorite blog posts and YouTube videos about traveler's notebooks include the following:

Jet Pens' Midori Traveler's Notebook Comprehensive Guide
Pretty Neat Living's Show and Tell: Traveler's Notebooks video
So Obsessed With's My Foxy Dori & Other Favorites
So Obsessed With's Guide to Faux Doris: The Inserts
So Obsessed With: Guide to Faux Doris: The Cover
Stuff & Things Midori Traveler's Notebook Review video

Where to buy Midori Traveler's Notebooks and Inserts
Amazon
Baum-Kuchen
Goulet Notebooks and Inserts
Jet Pens
Maido

Where can you buy a Fauxdori?
3 Speckled Fawns
Buteo Bunker
FoxyFix
Chic Sparrow
ImperfectlyPerfekt's Keelindoris
Lyra and Co (Cloth) 
Onica Hanbury Studio
Ray Blake's Raydori
Tough Old-Boots 
Zenok Leather
ZLYC

Favorite Insert Brands
Frasizzle.Made
Homemade Craft
Lyra and Co
Papier My Day
The Planner Emporium
Tumbuckle Design
Taroko Shop
YellowPaperHouse

Favorite Sticker Vendors

Hello Ashleyann Prints
It's Planning Time
Jet Pens
Kitten Plans
Station Stickers
Paperbey
The Planner Junkie Inc.
Pretty Sheepy
That Moxie Chick Studio
Whimisical Flamingo Co. 

Favorite Stamp Vendors
Ms. Kimm Creates Stamps
Mommy Lhey Designs
Studio l2e
Sweet Stamp Shop
Waffle Flower

Favorite Accessories
Bookmarks | Handmademits, R H Mohler
Dashboards | Hobby Lane Designs 
Folders | Onica Hanbury Studio

Facebook Traveler's Notebook Groups 
Inserts, Inserts, Inserts for Traveler's Notebooks 
Midori Traveler's Notebook Resources

Looking for a planner instead?
Day Designer
Emily Ley Simplified Planner
Erin Condren Life Planner
Inkwell Press LiveWELL Planner
Passion Planner
Plum Paper Designs

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Books If I Taught World Building


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to list their top ten books that would be on their syllabus if they taught ________. World building is never confined to the genre of fantasy although fantasy novels has some of the best worlds. Below are 10 fantasy and dystopian novels with some interesting and distinct worlds. The following books are not in a particular order.

1. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski contains an interesting world with a political war between the Valorians and the Herrani.


2. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini is historically magical with elements of science with parallel worlds of Salem.


3. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is blend of the everyday Muggle world with an incredible magical world or witches, wizards and magical creatures. This is a series for all ages and is definitely a new classic.


4. Reckoning by Kerry Wilkinson contains a dystopian world centered around Silver Blackthorn and how she becomes an Offering for King Victor of Windsor.


5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan contains world of humans, Gods and half-bloods. If you like Greek mythology and urban fantasy, definitely check out this series.


6. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins contains a dystopian world where 12 districts cater to the Capitol until the mockingjay leads her people to an uprising. I love reading how each district and the Capitol differ from each other.


7. The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare is a steampunk late 1800's Victorian-Era London series which involves shadowhunters, humans, demons, warlocks, etc.


8. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is about the wonderful Land of Oz and how Dorothy meets a variety of different people and creatures in order to return back home to Kansas.


9. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is about a fantasy world of Wonderland where Alice encounters many creatures and the King and Queen. Although a children's book, there is a lot of symbolism in the characters.


10. Stardust by Neil Gaiman is about Tristan on a search for a falling star and stumbles upon a mystical faerie realm of magic which is completely different from his English town of Wall.



Monday, August 24, 2015

Firewalker by Josephine Angelini

Title: Firewalker
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: September 1, 2015
Pages: 352
Source/format: ARC from BEA 2015

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.

"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."

Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.

Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!



My Thoughts

"Love is being willing to become the villain so that the one you love can stay a hero." - Page 245, ARC of Firewalker

Firewalker, the second installment of The Worldwalker series, picks up right where Trial by Fire left off. Lily Proctor is transported back to her Salem and severely injured along with Rowan. Lily has been missing for three months and everyone is frantic when she returns back home. Her mother has a sense of where Lily went but everyone thinks she is crazy. Even though Lily is transported home, Lily still "meets" with Lillian. Lillian is so desperate to get Lily to return back to the alternate Salem that she will do almost anything to get Lily to world jump. In Firewalker readers will discover more about Lillian's secrets as she shows them to Lily.

Angelini does a fantastic job weaving fantasy elements and historical fiction elements to create a magical historical fantasy. Even though it's not true historical fiction, the world building is phenomenal and I feel like I am transported into magical world in the past. The characters are rich and I was sucked into the story right from the beginning of the book. I am glad Angelini didn't add a huge time gap between Trial by Fire and Firewalker. Angelini incorporates some science into Firewalker which I love! Magic is science and witches can transmute energy and matter. It's pretty interesting to read about. Also, what is there not to love about parallel worlds. I find it intriguing to read about Lily's world compared to Lillian's world.

It's interesting to see Lily re-adjust to her dimension of Salem and for Rowan to absorb everything in Lily's world. Rowan is a quick learner and is adamant to heal Lily and to make sure Lily's family is okay. I was a bit hesitate when a few characters are willing to become mechanics so fast. I figured they would think about it a bit longer since the idea of witches and mechanics are unheard of in Lily's world. Having a witch claim a willstone is something that is not thought of lightly. And the whole scene with Carrick and everyone willing to world jump in an instant should have been thought out more carefully. It didn't seem realistic that Lily's friends would be willing to sacrifice their own lives for her's and didn't give any thought about their families. The love triangle cannot be avoided but at least it's civil for the most part. There is reason why Lily sways from guy to guy but last half of the book is absolutely heartbreaking.

Like in the first book, Firewalker shows ethnic and socio-economic diversity. Although it is not the central focus of the plot, it shapes the plot. There is so much emphasize on friendship and trust in Firewalker. You never know when someone will betray you. I still don't know who to trust at times. Hopefully, my allegiance will be cemented when I read Traitor's Pyre. The third book in the series has such a fitting name! If you are looking for a heartbreaking historical fantasy with science, magic and romance, check out The Worldwalker series.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Title: The Copper Gauntlet
Author: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication date: September 1, 2015
Pages: 304
Source/format: ARC from BEA 2015

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium -- but things only intensify there. The Alkahest -- a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic -- has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes -- and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

As the mysteries of the Magisterium deepen and widen, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take readers on an extraordinary journey through one boy’s conflict -- and a whole world’s fate.


My Thoughts

Callum Hunt is back at home with his father Alastair. He discovered shocking news about who he is at the end of The Iron Trial and is trying to figure out what to make of it. Everyone is out to kill the Enemy and Callum is trying to figure out who to trust. When I first read The Iron Trial, I couldn't wait for The Copper Gauntlet. Holly Black and Cassandra Clare crafted a Middle Grade series with adventure, magic, suspense and with a little bit of humor. The twist is the main character is not the chosen one. The Alkhahest, a copper gauntlet, is missing and if under the wrong hands, chaos will occur. Call, Aaron and Tamara are trying to stop the Alkhahest falling in the wrong hands or the Makar will die.

Callum, Aaron and Tamara start their copper year aka second year at the Magisterium. They are still trying to hone their skills as a Mage. Once a Mage learns to controls the elements, they are able to graduate from the Magisterium. The pace in The Copper Gauntlet moves consistently and I enjoyed this installment more than the first. The first book was more about laying out the foundation of the series. The second book is more about Call learning about who he is and what he can become. He harbors a secret very few people know about. He doubts himself a lot but proves that he can overcome anything. Chaos magic is discussed more in detail throughout this novel. Friendship and trust is super important and it's interesting to see how each character approaches what friendship truly means to them. Trust is tested and it's intriguing to see what each character is hiding from each other. Everything unfolds at the end and everyone thinks the Enemy of Death is dead but of course they cannot outrun the Enemy.

One of my favorite characters is Call's pet chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. Even though he is not a main character in the series, he is an important asset to the group. The Copper Gauntlet is a fun Middle grade read for all ages. I highly recommend the Magisterium series for readers who enjoy the Harry Potter series and books written by Rick Riordan. I can't wait to pick up The Bronze Key.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Top Ten Auto-buy Authors


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to list their top ten auto-buy authors. The following authors are not in a particular order.

1. Rainbow Rowell is pretty much the queen of contemporary. Her novels are perfect in every way and I cannot wait for Carry On to be released!


2. Melissa Landers captivated me with her Alienated series. I am hoping a third book in the series will be released but for now I am looking forward to Starflight.


3. Stephanie Perkins made me fall in love with Anna, Lola and Isla. Why did I take so long to read those books? They are fantastic and I cannot wait to read more by Ms. Perkins! Even her short story in My True Love Gave to Me is perfect!

Image from speakerdata.s3.amazonaws.com
4. Emery Lord made me cry twice when I read The Start of Me and You. I picked up a copy of Open Road Summer and I cannot wait until When We Collided comes out.


5. Stacey Lee's debut novel is emotionally gripping. So much goes on in Under a Painted Sky and it has become one of my favorite books. I cannot wait to read Lee's upcoming novels, Outrun the Moon and Touch Me Not.


6. Cassandra Clare has been an author I have been following since the early 2000's when she wrote the Draco Trilogy fan fiction. Soon after I fell in love with all of her Shadowhunter series. I have been waiting for Lady Midnight to be released and I am sure it will not disappoint.

Image from shadowhunters.wikia.com

7. Mike Curato wrote and illustrated two perfect picture books about a little elephant and a little mouse. Little Elliot, Big City and Little Elliot, Big Family are timeless books and are perfect companions to the Olivia books by Ian Falconer.


8. Akihisa Ikeda wrote and illustrated Rosario + Vampire and Rosario + Vampire: Season II and I absolutely fell in love with the graphics and the writing of the manga. I hope to see more works by him in the near future.

9. Rick Riordan is pretty much the king of Middle Grade! I have enjoyed all three of his Middle Grade series and I cannot wait for Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer to be released.


10. Kim Liggett's debut novel, Blood and Salt, is hauntingly beautiful and I am sure Liggett's future novels will be gorgeously written.



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Looking Ahead: Anticipated Pre-orders

It's the middle of August and everyone seems to be talking about about Fall 2015 and Winter 2016 upcoming releases. I have a good amount of books on my list that I am looking forward to. There are some books I already pre-ordered or I plan to pre-order. Let's check out some of my most anticipated pre-orders.

The Sword of Summer of the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by Rick Riordan is my #1 Middle Grade anticipated book for the fall! Norse Mythology and Boston? Yes, please! And look at the stunning cover art! If you are in the Boston area, you are in luck because Rick Riordan will be speaking at the Back Bay Events Center on October 5. Check out this link for more information.










The Rose Society by Marie Lu is the sequel to The Young Elites and has been on my radar for quite some while. I am excited for this release and I pre-ordered it when Amazon had a deal for it under $10.00.









Lady Midnight of The Dark Artifices series by Cassandra Clare has been on my list forever. Originally, it's suppose to be published sometime in 2015 but the publication date got bumped to March 2016. I love me some Shadowhunters so there is no doubt that I am looking forward to this beauty.









Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett is being released at the end of September and I am so psyched to get my hands on a finished copy. I already read an ARC of it and fell in love! It was probably one of my top 3 anticipated books I wanted to obtain at BEA. If you plan to be around the Boston area on Saturday, September 26, 2015, make sure to stop by the Boston Teen Author Festival at the Cambridge Public Library. Liggett will be there!!! Check out this debut author! You won't regret it!






Drift and Dagger by Kendall Kulper is the companion novel to Salt & Storm and will be released the beginning of September. Definitely pick this up if you love historical fiction, fantasy and magic! Kulper will also be attending the Boston Teen Author Festival. She also has a e-novella coming out soon called Saltwater Heart.








Starflight by Melissa Landers has been on my list since I found out about it. I enjoyed Landers' Alientated series and cannot wait to read this sci-fi novel. The cover is stunning and the synopsis is intriguing. I wish it's February 2016 so I can pick up this wonderful book.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top Ten Authors I've Read The Most Books From


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to list their top ten authors they've read the most books from.

1. Akihisa Ikeda - 23 books. Ikeda wrote Rosario + Vampire and Rosario + Vampire: Season II manga. Both are fantastic and addicting. Both series are action packed and has a wide range of paranormal characters. If you want to delve into a manga about a boarding school with a variety of creatures such as vampires, succubi, witches, etc., definitely check out this series. The manga is much better than then anime by the way. I love how the main character is a human who tries to hide the fact that he is a human at a monster school.


2. Cate Tiernan - 22 books. In high school I was obsessed with Tiernan's Sweep series and couldn't wait to get my hands on all the books. The series is a paranormal fantasy focused on witches. I loved Tiernan's writing and also read the Balefire series which is about witches as well. I have read some books in the Immortal Beloved series which is so so and I have yet to start reading her Birthright series.

Image from Catetiernan.net

3. Richelle Mead - 15 books. I have fallen in love with Mead's Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series. They are addicting. I am a huge paranormal fantasy reader and both series did not disappoint. If you like reading about vampires, definitely check out both series.


4. Charlaine Harris - 14 books. Harris wrote The Southern Vampire Mysteries series. If you enjoy paranormal fantasy about werewolves, vampires, witches and fairies, definitely check out this series. This series is adult and has adult content such as sexual encounters. The TV show True Blood is loosely based on this series.


5. Rick Riordan - 14 books. I have read all of Riordan's series and they don't disappoint. I love how Riordan weaves mythology into Middle Grade books for all readers to enjoy. Not only am I learning mythology but I am enjoying the adventures Riordan created. His writing is humorous and I can always depend on him to cheer me up. Definitely check out Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus and The Kane Chronicles. Riordan has an upcoming series called Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard which is based on Norse Mythology


6. J.K. Rowling - 13 books. Harry Potter has been a big part of my life and thank you to The Queen for inspiring me for being who I am today. Thank you for creating such an imaginative yet an important story for many readers to enjoy. Thank you for creating a loving and welcoming community of Potterheads. I have not found a community so generous and so accepting. The Harry Potter community accepts everyone and it's like a family. When I go to Harry Potter events, I see them as reunions. Thank you Rowling for the magic and for making this beautiful thing happen!

Image from dailymail.co.uk

7. Darren Shan - 12 books. Shan wrote the Cirque du Freak series that I was obsessed with in high school. I devoured those books so quickly one after another. If you like paranormal fantasy and vampires, definitely check this series out.


8. Brian Jacques - 11 books. Jacques wrote the Redwall series. Although I have only read half of the books in the series, Shan has shaped a good chunk of my childhood. I started reading Redwall books in grade school and have been hooked on fantasy ever since. Mossflower is my favorite book in the series that I have read so far. I hope to read the whole series one day.


9. Cassandra Clare - 11 books. All of Clare's book are about the Shadowhunter world and I am not complaining. I have been following Clare's work since her Draco Trilogy fan fiction hit the internet in the early 2000's. Not only have I fallen in love with her writing but I love the world building in The Mortal Instruments and in The Infernal Devices series. I can't wait for the The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours series. I also enjoy reading her Middle Grade series, Magisterium, which is co-authored by Holly Black.

Image from shadowhunters.wikia.com

10. Melissa de la Cruz - 10 books. I have read all of the Blue Blood books and started to read de la Cruz's Heart of Dread series which is co-authored by her husband. Although the Blue Bloods series is not my favorite, I am somewhat addicted to her writing.



Monday, August 10, 2015

Isla and the Happily Every After by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Publication date: August 14, 2014
Pages: 339
Source/format: Hardcover from Molly from Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

My Thoughts

After reading Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Isla and the Happily Ever After. Isla is first introduced in Anna and the French Kiss and now she has her very own novel. Isla Martin has been crushing on Josh Wasserstein for years but always held back because Josh had a girlfriend. Isla bumps into him at a café in Manhattan, New York City before school starts and catches up with him. I think it is cute how she has been pining him for years but I did find it a bit stalkerish when she wanted to see if he returned to the café day after day. Isla and Josh are both seniors in high school at a boarding school in France. She even researches more about him online and even ends up living in his previous room at the residence hall at the School of America in Paris.

I enjoy reading about how Isla and Josh become a couple. Reading about how Isla and Josh interlace each others' fingers and how they are completely honest with each other is part of the journey. I absolutely love how Josh is creative, artistic and doesn't care about what others think about him. Although Perkins conveyed romance quite well in this novel, Perkins also touches upon strong friendships. Isla is good friends Kurt Donald Cobain Bacon. Kurt is the rational one. He helps Isla figure out what she should do when she doubts herself. I definitely love how Perkins includes a reference to Kurt Cobain in the novel. And of course, I was excited to read about the Harry Potter reference.

I cried when I read this book. It's full of love, heartbreak, drama and so much more. Perkins captures what it means to be in love so perfectly. Isla and the Happily Ever After echoes To All the Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You, both by Jenny Han. Gen reminds me of Margot and Hattie definitely reminds me of Kitty. The sisterly bonding is very similar to To All the Boys I've Before. I find it interesting that the youngest sister in both books impulsively sends something in the mail which leads to happy endings for Isla and Laura Jean.

Although Anna, Lola and Isla are interconnected, they are unique and they carry themselves differently. I love the cameos of characters from Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. It definitely made the book more special. The novel is full of emotions. I was riding a roller coaster. Isla and Josh are meant to be and to read about their journey about good and bad times is important. Work hard for what you want! Don't give up! Anything is possible! Isla and Josh Forever!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Typography Talk (1)

Typography Talk is an original feature where I discuss about book cover design and typography. Even though people always say that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, you know everyone does. A book's cover art needs to captivate the potential reader. There are some readers who will be more inclined to purchase a book not only based on the synopsis, but also based on how the cover looks like. Colors, typeface, medium, spacing and originality are all factors that help make up a cover.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales has an intriguing cover. Because each word in the title is only four letters long, having justified type spacing works well. The background conveys how the book is somehow related to the music and we can assume the girl on the cover is either the main character or a girl with importance in the book.

I do like how the cover artist decided to use a photograph to convey the tone of the book instead of creating a graphic for the cover.

Having the words in a simple sans-serif typeface is easy to read especially when the lettering is in white. The pink lettering spelling out LOVE pops off the cover. It has a good contrast from the clean white lines.





Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee has a gorgeous cover. The ombre sky definitely works well with the title of the book and the silhouettes of Andy and Sammy puts the spotlight on the female characters in the book.

The dark blue/purple title type is simple yet stands out from the watercolor like background. I like how the title looks like it's slightly sponge painted sans-serif. Having Stacey Lee's name in a loopy more decorative font goes well with the curves of the zodiac animals and adds elegance.

From far away, readers can see squiggles that actually Chinese zodiac animals. Snakes, rabbit and dragons are depicted on the cover. These animals have great meaning because they correlate with certain characters in the novel. When I look at the cover, I know the characters will be embarking on a journey. Sammy can be seen with the violin which is significance in the story.


Inked by Eric Smith has a pretty awesome cover. Because the novel is about the magic of tattoos, the typeface is perfect! Not only the title look like a tattoo but the lime green and cyan outlines/glow makes it pop out of the blue cover. The glowing is significant in the book. I absolutely love the contrast in colors. Because tattoos are so important in Inked, it's great that the title is the focal piece.

The intricate floral pattern frames the tattoo title and looks nice in front of the starburst lighting blue pattern. Lighting is super important to the plot so it's nice that the lighting is incorporated but it's subtle. Just by looking at the cover, readers know the novel is a fantasy.

If you want to know more about the cover process, check out what Jenny Zemanek, Eric Smith's cover artist, has to say here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

Title: Mechanica 
Author: Betsy Cornwell
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication date: August 25, 2015
Pages: 320
Source/format: e-ARC from publisher

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

My Thoughts

"Love between friends could create life." - ARC of Mechanica

Betsy Cornwell incorporates a classic fairytale about Cinderella with steampunk elements creating a wonderful and enchanting story about Nicolette Delacourt Lampton the inventor. The Faerie world and the humans once lived together peacefully but humans banned anything Fey related because some relationship complications.

After Nicolette's mother passes away with a Faerie disease, Nicolette's father remarries Lady Halving. However, Nicolette's dad dies on New Year's Eve when she was only 10-years-old leaving Nicolette an orphan. Machines that she hide from Stepmother are the only things left she has from her mother besides her memories. Piety and Chastity, Mechanica's stepsisters are unfriendly even though Nicolette befriends them with kindness. On Nicolette's 16th birthday, her mother unveils how to find the secret workshop which is hidden from Stepmother, Piety and Chastity.

Cornwell focuses on friendships and independence. I love reading about an independent girl who is strong. Nicolette thinks about what is best for her and will not have others pity her. She does not require a man to take care of her because she is capable of taking care of herself. She is fierce and a good role model for girls. I also enjoy reading about women who love science. Not many females dabble into science and especially more on the engineering side of the field. It's inspiring to see Nicolette and her mother embracing their love for tinkering with mechanisms and creating beautiful yet useful contraptions. Friendships throughout the novel are important. Building strong and healthy relationships are important. Nicolette meets Caro and Fin at the Marketplace and become good friends. Her greatest friend of all is Jules who keeps her company everyday at home.

I absolutely fell in love with the cover when it was revealed. It's gorgeous and perfect for the book. What bothered me was when Piety and Chastity, also known as the Steps, rip pages out of the leather-bound books. It definitely made me cringe. The pacing of the story can be slow at time and is drawn out but I enjoyed the interactions of the characters. Overall, Mechanica is intricate Cinderella retelling full of magic and inspiration. However, there are certain areas I wish Cornwell went into more detail. I want to know more about the Fey magic that is used in the workshop, what happened to the orders that Nicolette has to fulfill and what are the Ashes. I also want to know more about the outcome of the Cultural Exposition Gala. Mechanica may not be a fast paced book but it is a novel to savor slowly.

If you plan to be around Brooklyn, NY on Saturday, August 8th, Cornwell will be making an appearance at The Way Station. She will also be at the Brookline Booksmith on Sunday, August 9th. Check out more information about the two events here.