Friday, July 31, 2015

Happy Birthday to Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling

Image from chapet.devianart.com
Happy birthday to Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling. The queen has created the best fandom in my opinion. Although, the Harry Potter series has finished awhile back, the fandom will never die. With spinoff movies, conventions and new book editions, Harry Potter will live on forever!

To celebrate this magical day, I will be hosting a giveaway for a mystery box of ARCs and finished copies of different genres. Most books will be YA. Authors include Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, etc.

Rules

1. Open to residents of the United States. 
(Sorry to my international readers. I hope to have a giveaway in the future for you!)
2. Winner must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. 
3. The giveaway will be sent from me via media mail and I will not be responsible for delayed shipping, lost or damaged items.
4. Giveaway ends on 09/01/2015 12:00 a.m. EST
Yes, I purposely chose September 1st for the giveaway to end. How can I not? Hop on the Hogwarts Express to enjoy the magic!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Image from madeit.com.au





Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak


Title: The Heartbreakers
Author: Ali Novak
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: August 4, 2015
Pages: 336
Source/format: e-ARC from Netgalley

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): 

 "When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. Unbeknownst to him, I was the only girl in the world who hated his music."

Stella will do anything for her sister—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD... for three hours. At least she met a cute boy at the Starbucks beforehand. A blue-eyed boy who looks an awful lot like...

Oliver Perry. Of course Starbucks guy is the lead singer for her least favorite band. Thanks, universe. But there may be more to Oliver than his world-famous charm, because even after she insults his music—to his face—he still gives her his number. Seriously, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver—dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band—when her sister could be dying of cancer?

My Thoughts

Cara, Drew and Stella are triplets. Cara's health has been declining and the triplets' birthday is approaching on July Fourth. Every year the triplets have a competition to see can get the best birthday present and usually Cara wins. With Cara being sick, Stella and Drew decided to team up and to go on a road trip to Chicago to get an autographed CD of the Heartbreakers, Cara's favorite band.

The beginning of the novel started out great but when Stella accidentally befriends Oliver and Oliver invites her and Drew to hang out with the band, it seems unrealistic. The lack of security is a bit weird for big stars like the Heartbreakers. The fact that Stella was asked to be an on tour photographer is improbable as well. I wish some of the events and actions that take place in the book are more practical. The chemistry between Stella and Oliver didn't do it for me.

The book is more of a fun read. I enjoyed reading about the different personalities of the triplets. Each one of the triplets is unique and Ali Novak makes readers second guess themselves about judging a book by its cover. Stella thought she never liked the Heartbreakers before she met them. However, once she gets to know them, she feels comfortable hanging out with them and even starts to fall for the lead singer. Although the book focuses more on Stella and Oliver, I would love to read more about Stella's siblings and the other band members of the Heartbreakers.

If you are looking for a fun, cute and quick read, The Heartbreakers might be a book for you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

 

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 characters who are fellow books nerds. The following characters are in no particular order. 

1. Cath Avery from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is a fanfic writer of Simon Snow and she devours Simon Snow books with a passion. If you are interested in the Simon Snow series, definitely check out Carry On.


2. Carter Penrose from the Sentenia series by Cara Bertrand works at the local bookstore.


3. Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green bond over An Imperial Affliction.


4. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is definitely a book lover. Hermione has memorized almost everything in Hogwarts: A History and she loves to read long books for a bit of light reading.

Image from steambooktrails.org
5. Will Herondale and Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare love reading and they bond over A Tale of Two Cities.

"Life is a book, and there are a thousand pages I have not yet read. I would read them together with you, as many as I can, before I die." —Will in Clockwork Princess



6. Matilda Wormwood from Matilda by Roald Dahl devours her books like it's no tomorrow at a young age. She pretty much reads the whole entire library.

“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”


7. Charlie Kelmeckis in Perks of Being a Wallflower reads a good amount of books that his teacher Bill suggests. He reads a good 12 books throughout the novel and pretty much all of them are classics.


8. Jo March from Little Women by Lousia May Alcott loves to read and write. She likes to write short stories and play scripts.


9. AJ and Sam in Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone both are part of the Poet's Corner and they both write poetry and share their poetry at the Poet Corner's get togethers.


10. Cara Sweeney from the Alienated series by Melissa Landers because she is a blogger and cares about Human-L'eihr relations. She doesn't care what other think and follows what she believes in.



Monday, July 27, 2015

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Title: Never Always Sometimes
Author: Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: August 4, 2015
Pages: 320
Source/format: ARC from NAS ARC Hop

Rating: ☆☆☆


Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

Never date your best friend
Always be original
Sometimes rules are meant to be broken

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they'd never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he's broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they've actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

My Thoughts

I've read Adi Alsaid's debut Let's Get Lost and wasn't super blown away with it. However, I was super excited to read Never Always Sometimes and when Alsaid mentioned about an ARC hop, I jumped on board. Instead of just having ARCs float around the country, Alsaid wanted a way to bring readers together. Alsaid decided to have send ARCs to readers where we share a bit of ourselves with each other. That's right, Alsaid lets bloggers vandalize his ARCs! It's a way for everyone who reads Never Always Sometimes to connect with the previous readers and to leave notes for the next reader. For more information about the Never Sometimes Always ARC Hop, please check it out here.

Never Always Sometimes is such a sweet book about two friends David (Dave) and Julia who live in San Luis Obispo, Califronia. The day before high school starts, they make a list of high school clichés that they will never do called The Nevers aka Dave and Julia's Guide to an Original High School Experience.

Almost four years later pass by and it is getting hard to avoid some of the items listed on The Nevers. Dave suggested doing the list and Julia finally agrees. As Julia's mom puts it, there is "no point of living a life less ordinary if you don't know what the other side looks like" (ARC, page 99). Dave and Julia cross things off The Never list like dyeing their hair a color found in a rainbow or go on an epic "life changing" road trip. These clichés bring Dave and Julia closer than ever before.

This book is a cute read about a friendship between a boy and a girl. It's about the journey of enjoying the moment and doing something spontaneous. Dave and Julia enjoy each other's company and they are pretty much inseparable. I love the humor Alsaid includes in this book. Dave and Julia are likable characters. The things they say are hilarious. I was laughing so much at the ridiculous things Dave and Julia did throughout the book. They have guts! I would never in my life do most of the things on The Nevers list. FYI, this book has unrequited love and cheating. Although, I do not like cheating in books I read, the outcome of the actions are realistic.

I love how at the end of the book, Dave and Julia create The Always list for clichés they should embark on in college. Although the novel takes place during the academic year, Never Always Sometimes makes a great summer read. I highly recommend this novel if you are looking for a endearing contemporary.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Looking Ahead: Drift & Dagger by Kendall Kulper

I am a big fan of Kendall Kulper's Salt & Storm and I was ecstatic when I heard about the companion novel, Drift & Dagger. And to add the cherry on top, Kulper mentioned her novella Saltwater Heart will be hitting the interwebs the same day as Drift & Dagger on September 8th. If you enjoy historical fantasy with a dash of magic, definitely check out Salt & Storm, Drift & Dagger and Saltwater Heart!

Drift & Dagger Synopsis (from Goodreads):

As a boy in the late nineteenth century, Mal's only friend was Essie, daughter of the Roe witch, and it was she who discovered that he is a "blank," not affected by magic, setting him on a career as a con artist, traveling the globe in search of a legendary magical dagger that can steal a witch's power.

As a boy in the late nineteenth century, Mal's only friend was Essie, daughter of the Roe witch, and it was she who discovered that he is a "blank," not affected by magic, setting him on a career as a con artist, traveling the globe in search of a legendary magical dagger that can steal a witch's power.






Saltwater Heart Synopsis (from goodreads):

The summer James lost his heart to Alice, Alice lost her heart to the sea. The confident and charming daughter of the town's most accomplished whaling captain, Alice changes James's life the moment she teaches him how to sail. But when her father needs to fill a spot on his ship, it's James who is offered the position, and the day he returns from his expedition, he discovers Alice has disappeared.

In this companion novella to Salt & Storm and Drift & Dagger, James must search the world for his heart's desire, a journey that takes him from the strange and mysterious world of the infamous Roe witch to the deepest and most dangerous reaches of the ocean itself.






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. Not only will you be able to enjoy all the amazing panels but Kulper will be there! This is a great opportunity to meet Kulper and to share your love for her books and the line up for the Boston Teen Author Festival is fabulous!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters

 

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 celebrates diversity/diverse characters. Although diversity in books is becoming more popular nowadays, I have always read diverse books. I am glad to see more diversity in books because more readers can relate to more books. The following books are in no particular order. 

1. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli because Simon and Blue are awesome! No seriously! Simon and Blue are in the closet but a classmate threatens to out them. Oreos, cute letters and a coming-of-age story...yes, please!!


2. Under the Painted Sky by Stacey Lee has a eclectic cast of characters who have an amazing friendship circle despite their heritage. It is beautifully written and I love how the friendship grows despite their differences. The characters' differences actually strengthens their friendship circle and actually helps them survive.


3. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone is definitely one of my favorite books of the year and covers topics such as OCD, finding yourself and what it means to be a true friend.


4. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is my all time favorite book. I first read it back in the early 2000's and fell in love. Chbosky created a stunning coming-of-age story. It's raw and real and life is not sugarcoated. Chbosky touches upon suicide, coming out, being a misfit and what it means to be infinite.


5. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley is a powerful book that can be hard to read. However, I find it extremely important for everyone to read. Set in the late 1950's, racial acceptance is hard to come by let alone coming out.


6. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is diverse in many ways. Lola's best friend is Asian, Lola has two dads and Lola is eccentric and doesn't follow the mainstream.


7. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is a classic! Trying to bridge the gap between social classes is important in this novel. Family and friendship are golden!


8. Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan includes characters of all different races, ethnicities, religions and upbringings. It's great to see middle grade books that can be relatable no matter who reads them.
Image from amazon.com
9. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman encounters two social classes and how love has no color. Blackman touches many different topics such as racial acceptance, alcoholism, violence, divorce and other sociological issues. This is an important read and I highly recommend it. I haven't read the other books in the series but I am looking forward to reading the other three books.


10. Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal is a coming-of-age story about nontraditional family dynamics, civil rights and so much more. I fell in love with this book when I first read it last year.



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pages to Tea (4)

P A G E S  to  T E A

I'm not sure if you know but I am a big tea fanatic. I have so many bags and tins of tea I probably can create a great wall of tea. I love how different teas have different properties. Some teas can be energizing and some teas can be calming. My favorite time to enjoy a cuppa is when I am reading a book. Hence why I am showing you some awesome book and tea pairings.



If you've read Fangirl, you know Levi is whipping up Mocha Pumpkin Breve lattes at Starbucks quite often. Teavana's Pumpkin Spice Brulee Oolong is the closest you can get to the Levi original. It contains notes of richly sweet and creamy white and dark chocolate with sweet pumpkin and caramel flavors. It has hints of toasty cinnamon-ginger spice. If you want more kick to your tea, mix the Pumpkin Spice Brûlée Oolong with Teavana's Maharaja Chai Oolong tea. Also, check out this recipe if you want to try Levi's signature drink. You may add espresso if you would like the caffeine.

[Percy Jackson series by Rick RiordanWhite Ambrosia by Tea Forte and Neem Nectar by Teatulia
 

Everyone knows ambrosia and nectar are the food and drink of the Greek Gods. In the Percy Jackson series, Demigods rely on ambrosia and nectar for their healing properties. However, they can only consume ambrosia and drink nectar in small quantities. Tea Forte's White Ambrosia is a white tea and is blended with fragrant Madagascar vanilla and the tropical tease of island coconut. It is delicate, refreshing and divine. Teatulia's Neem Nectar is a blend of black tea & Neem Leaf. The nectar has a delightful brightness including hints of cherry stones, orange rinds and caramel.



Lola is eccentric and loves to wear clothing that expresses herself. If her outfit is outrageous, sparkly and fun, the better it is. I would say Lola would definitely approve some metallic accents and some glitter in her life. Plain is boring. Why not add some glitter and gold? DAVIDsTEA's Glitter and Gold is a black tea filled with golden star sprinkles and has a hint of warming cinnamon. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

 

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 last ten books that came into our possession. The following books are in no particular order. I also included how I obtained my books listed.


1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera // Library



2. Isla and the Happily Ever After // From book swap



3. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler // From book swap



4. Unforgotten by Jessica Brody // From book swap



5. Where She Went by Gayle Forman // From book swap



6. Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman // From book swap



7. Made For You by Melissa Marr // From book swap



8. Drift and Dagger by Kendall Kulper // From book swap



9. The Good Girls by Sara Shepard // From book swap



10. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee // Pre-ordered


Friday, July 10, 2015

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date: March 19, 2009
Pages: 278
Source/format: Hardcover gifted by Nicole from The Book Bandit

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

“Dead girl walking”, the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret”, the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

MyThoughts

Wintergirls is a difficult book to read at times because of the content of the book. Laurie Halse Anderson writes about heavy topics and in this novel, she writes about eating disorders. In Wintergirls, Lia finds out her friend Cassie passed away in a motel room all alone. Both girls have eating disorders. Lia believes it is her fault that Cassie died due to the fact that Cassie called Lia thirty-three times and Lia failed to answer multiple calls. Was this a call for help? Was it Lia's fault that Cassie died? Does Lia need to continue wasting away in order to fulfill their pact?

Wintergirls is a chilling yet powerful book about teens facing issues about self-image. Anorexia, bulimia and the struggle of acceptance can be a daily things teens have to overcome. Anderson's description of words is haunting! I had goosebumps when I read some of the descriptions of Lia's visions and dreams. Lia feels in control when she can count how many calories she consumes. Cassie's death definitely triggered Lia to struggle more with her self-image. This control over what Lia eats is much more than a physical starvation. She psychologically believes that she is not good enough and that there are certain qualities to make the "perfect" Lia. It doesn't help when peers at school are bullying both Lia and Cassie. Lia strives for what she thinks is best for her but sometimes her vision blurs and she's not sure what is right for her. I found it creepy when Cassie would materialize in front of Lia reminding Lia of what Cassie has become. The way Anderson incorporates Lia's thinking process was quite interesting. The repeating of certain lines and the strikeouts definitely emphasized certain thoughts Lia has running though her mind.

It's hard for Lia to overcome her eating disorder especially if her parents are not together anymore and how she has a stepmother. Lia has never been close with her mother and at times there is tension at home when both Lia's mother and step mother are involved either in conversation or if they are in the same house together. It is interesting to see how Lia's father approaches Lia compared her Lia's mother. Lia's father, in my opinion, supported Lia and her struggle in a better way than Lia's mother.

Wintergirls may not be a book for everyone but if you are interested in picking up a realistic contemporary about a realistic teen issue, definitely check this out. However, I would not recommend this book for people who are recovering from a eating disorder in fear that it may trigger a relapse or an emotional meltdown.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read


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 hyped books they've never read. The following books are in no particular order. I know a lot of people love the following books but I never plan to read them. Hopefully I am not offending anyone. I am not really a high fantasy type of reader so most of the books listed will be high fantasy hyped books. I am also not a big fan of fairy books unless fairies are incorporated with other paranormal creatures that interest me.





by Sarah J. Maas




by Leigh Bardugo






by Maggie Stiefvater





4. Graceling Realm series
by Kristin Cashore






by Laini Taylor





by Stephenie Meyer







by E.L. James





by George R.R. Martin






by Julie Kagawa




by Leigh Bardugo