Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September 2015 Challenge Recap



Fantasy reads for this month could have been better. However, you can bet that next month will be chocked full of fantasy due to all the amazing upcoming releases and October! You can check my intro post about Flights of Fantasy here. You can check out January's recap here, February's recap here, March's recap here, April's recap here, May's recap here, June's recap here, July's recap here and August's recap here.

Flights of Fantasy books I've read in September 2015




Diversity books are pretty much my calling no matter what the genre is. I cannot get enough of them. Please check out my intro to the Dive Into Diversity challenge here. You can check out January's recap here, February's recap here, March's recap here, April's recap here, May's recap here, June's recap here, July's recap here and August's recap here.

Dive Into Diversity books I've read in September 2015



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ten Books To Read If You Like Rainbow Rowell


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 to read if they like this super popular book/author. I decided to choose ten top books to read if you like Rainbow Rowell. I listed a bunch of cute, romantic contemporaries. I hope you enjoy it!

1. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is part mystery, part contemporary and all the feels. There is also a lot of talk about Oreos! You will fall in love in Simon because he is pretty fabulous!


2. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales is a coming-of-age story about Elise who finds her calling in life through DJing and music.


3. Something Real by Heather Demetrios is a whirlwind of a story about Chloe (aka Bonnie Baker) and her family being on a reality TV show for most of her life. Hear what she has to say about her journey.


4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is one of my favorite books and one that I have read when I was a teenager. A coming-of-age story about Charlie who just lost a friend. He tries to figure out how to cope when he meets two people who helps him figure out who he is. Life is infinite.


5. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han is seriously the cutest book ever about first love and sisterhood. Lara Jeans letters to her past crushes were sent out to the guys. What will Lara Jean do?


6.  P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han is the sequel to To All the Boys I've Loved Before. I enjoyed PSISLY even more than the first book. The whole entire time the reader is either rooting for Peter K.  or John Ambrose! This is another heartfelt book that you should pick up!


7. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord made me cry. Paige lost her boyfriend who passed away a year ago and she tries to see past the death and to move on with her life. With strong friendships, English class and Quiz Bowl, she is able to overcome her fears.


8. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is cute romance situated in the city of love! Follow Anna and her life at a boarding school in Paris!


9. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is about Lola who is a bit eccentric but is a total sweetheart. Her next door neighbor and his family relocates back to her home town and she is torn about her feelings for him. Lola and the Boy Next Door is my favorite book in Anna and the French Kiss companion series.


10. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins is about Isla the hopeless romantic who has been pining for Josh for a long time. Join Isla to find out where love will take her.


11. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a coming-of-age novel that is about Nick and Norah who find each other through Where’s Fluffy? and broken hearts. Definitely check out the film adaptation after you read the novel.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Banned Books Week 2015

Image from www.tamusa.edu

Banned Books Week is being held September 27th - October 3rd. Every time I think about censorship, I always think about Fahrenheit 451 with Guy Montag and the historical role of book burning. By censoring books or even films and music, we are creating an environment where people cannot have the freedom of speech. The government and authority like to censor things because they are fearful of the ideas portrayed in these mediums. They think the ideas will corrupt the masses and they fear the masses will go against authority. By censoring they believe they have control over everyone. Censorship shows how authority lacks the confidence and trust of its people.

Not only has many good books have been censored but the reasoning why the books are being censored are ridiculous. This year it the 33rd annual Banned Books Week and it is important to spread the awareness of the freedom to read. We need to protect the rights to be able to write, read, watch and listen to some of the most fantastic literary ideas. This is our past, present and future. We need to preserve history! We need to protect the freedom to read and access to open information. We should be able to encourage children to read. Literacy rates are important and by denying children access to certain books, we are denying them access to education.

“We must teach students about their First Amendment rights rather than restrict their use of particular books and materials. As educators, we must encourage students to express their own opinions while respecting the views of others.”— Pat Scales

What are your thoughts about censorship?  Are there any banned books that you enjoyed reading?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Looking Ahead: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories Cover Reveal


Jim Tierney illustrated the cover to My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, a wonderful winter anthology edited by Stephanie Perkins. Yesterday, he revealed his cover art for Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, also by Stephanie Perkins. I love how he illustrated Summer Days and Summer Nights similarly to My True Love Gave To Me. They look fabulous next to each other and the colors contrast nicely. In terms of design, Olga Grlic did a wonderful job with the typography. Both anthologies complement each other nicely. The deciduous trees, valley and lake is perfect next to the coniferous trees, mountains and frozen lake.

Check out some of Tierney's art work on his website. I cannot wait to match up the couples on the cover of Summer Days and Summer Nights with the characters in the anthology. I hope someone makes an animated version of the cover just like My True Love Gave To Me and I hope there is a lovely UK version because I love my UK version of My True Love Gave To Me.

The author line up for Summer Days and Summer Nights is fantastic. I am looking forward to reading stories by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth and Jennifer E. Smith. Ms. Perkins revealed Marigold and North will be back which I am ecstatic about because "It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown" is my favorite story in My True Love Gave To Me. Check out more information about Summer Days and Summer Nights here!

North and Marigold from Stephanie Perkins's website

The anthology will be released June 14, 2016. It's perfect timing to start next summer! What do you think about the cover art? Will you be picking up Summer Days and Summer Nights next June?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Favorite Fandom Etsy Vendors

I saw Alexa's tweet last month about Etsy stores selling fandom items and decided to put together a list of some of my favorite Etsy shops. Some of my favorite fandom items are purchased through Etsy but I also purchase fandom items through other websites and stores as well. I love official merchandise but there is something special about handmade items. The magic the artisan puts into the products is special. The love the artisan pours into making the item is unique. There are some pretty fantastic artisans that produce amazing items that are worth it checking out!

Here is Alexa's initial tweet.



Candle and Tarts
Fictitious Fragrances
From the Page
Frostbeard Studio
Bookish Candles
The Fragrance Library

Bookmarks
Craftedvan
Happy Hello Designs
Magic Bookmarks

Other
Cookie Cutters: jbkgift
Soaps: The House of Wormwood
Tote bags: Pivot Book Totes
Hair bows: Fangirl Creation
Magnets: Refrigerator Prose
Aprons: AJsCafe
Nail Polish: LynBDesigns, Literary Lacquer
Jewelry: Little Literature
Literary Emporium
The Colorful Geek

What are some of your favorite Etsy shops?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR


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 on their fall TBR. The following books are in no  particular order.

1. The Rose Society by Marie Lu is the sequel to the The Young Elites. I love the first book and cannot wait to read more about Adelina! If you are looking for a dark fantasy, definitely check out The Young Elites before reading The Rose Society.


2. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan is about a boy named Magnus who lives in Boston. He find out he is a descendant of a Norse God! Who doesn't love reading about mythology? I can't wait to read this first novel of Riordan's newest series.


3. Winter by Marissa Meyer is probably on the top of a bunch of people's TBR list for the fall and I don't blame them. Fairytale retellings, diversity and in a sci-fi world. YES, please!


4. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord is definitely on the top of my list and I recently acquired it through a trade. I love The Start of Me and You and I cannot wait to read more novels by Ms. Lord.


5. Renegade by Kerry Wilkinson is the sequel to Reckoning. If you are interested in reading a dystopian, definitely check the Silver Blackthorn series out.


6. What We Left Behind by Robin Talley is definitely a book I am dying to read. I enjoyed reading Talley's debut novel, Lies We Tell Ourselves, and I can't wait to read more books by Ms. Talley.


7. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is probably one of my top anticipated reads this fall because it's freaking RAINBOW ROWELL!!! I love her writing, her characters and pretty much everything about her! Fangirl is one of my favorite books so a story about Simon and Baz is going to be freaking fantastic!


8. Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales is definitely a book I am looking forward to read. I unfortunately missed a launch event for the novel last week but I am still excited to read the novel. Sales wrote This Song Will Save Your Life and I fell in love with that book. I am hoping this book up to par with This Song Will Save Your Life.


9. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is a gift I received from last round's #OTSPSecretSister aka Nicole from The Book Bandit. I love Fangirl and Stevenson designed the cover art for Fangirl. I love Stevenson's drawing style and cannot wait to read this graphic novel.


10. Separated @ Birth: A True Love Story of Twin Sisters Reunited by Anais Bordier and Samantha Futerman is a book I have been wanting to read for awhile even before I watched the Twinsters documentary. A set of twins born in Korea were separated at birth. One was adopted by an American couple and the another was adopted by a French couple. A couple decades later, the twins were reunited through the wonders of technology!


Monday, September 21, 2015

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Title: Crenshaw
Author: Katherine Applegate
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: September 22, 2015
Pages: 256
Source/format: e-ARC from Edelweiss

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

My Thoughts

Life as Jackson is quite tough. His parents aren't making enough money to make ends meet. His dad works random odd jobs here and there but when Dad gets sick, Dad has to cancel his appointments. His mom works multiple jobs. Jackson's dad is very prideful and doesn't want to ask for help because he believes if he asks for help, then he is a failure. Jackson also lives with his sister, Robin, and his dog, Aretha.

Jackson is all about facts and he loves how science is all facts. He wants to be animal scientist when he grows up. What's ironic is that he has an imaginary friend named Crenshaw the cat. Crenshaw often visits Jackson at times he needs Crenshaw the most. Crewnshaw is a human sized cat with white and back fur. He loves bubble baths and he likes the surf. Jackson and Crenshaw bond over purple jelly beans. Jackson learns to enjoy the magic of Crenshaw while he can even though there is no logical explanation of why Crenshaw exists.

"Imaginary friends are like books. We're created, we're enjoyed, we're dog-eared and creased, and then we're tucked away until we're needed again." - ARC of Crenshaw

When parents say things are all right, children often believe their parents until they find out things are not okay and everything is not all right. Since Jackson is a fact lover, he would rather have his parents tell him the truth about what is going on. He doesn't want his parents sugarcoating everything and pretending that everyone is peachy keen. He wants his parents to tell him and his sister about what is going on; he wants the truth.

Katherine Applegate wrote a middle grade book that covers multiple topics such as multiple sclerosis, poverty and homelessness. Applegate has a way of tackling tough issues in a way where the reader can understand wholeheartedly. Most middle grade books I read are usually fantasy. Applegate integrates fantasy into a contemporary novel. She adds some humor to difficult topics. Crenshaw opens the reader's eyes to other types of families besides the perfect family of four living with a dog in a nice house with a white picket fence. Crenshaw is a heartfelt novel for readers of all ages.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

Title: Blood and Salt
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date: September 22, 2015
Pages: 368
Source/format: ARC from BEA15

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.

“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.
 

My Thoughts

Blood and Salt is an incredibly captivating and compelling romantic horror love story. I was at the edge of my seat hungry for more. From the first page, I was hooked. Kim Liggett's Blood and Salt is the perfect read if you are hunting for a haunting and chilling horror romance. A dead girl always haunts Ashlyn Larkin. Ash finds out this girl is tied to her because of her mother's history in Quivira, Kansas. Ash ends up leaving her home in NYC with her twin brother to return to the spiritual commune her mother once lived in.

Ash and Rhys are twins and they are complete opposites of each other. Ash is daring, curious and competitive. Rhys is cautious and likes to follow everything by the books. There are a couple of twists and turns that I thought worked well in the book. I love the flashback memories that Ash has throughout the whole novel. It helps complete the story and ties the past with the present and future. The intricate history of Quivira definitely interested me. All I can think of is Vampire Diaries and the love triangle between Qetsiyah, Silas and Amara. The promise to be immortal between two people is not promised between the intended and someone is angry and wants revenge. The villagers of Quivira remind of the Travelers. Both live in a cult like world.

Liggett's descriptive words are hauntingly beautiful. She also adds a bit of comedy through Rhys and weaves magic within the a Village like society. Five hundred years will unravel due to the ultimate sacrifice of love!

I would definitely suggest reading this novel for the month of October. You will definitely be craving for more. Liggett's words bewitch the reader and you will be scared to turn off the light. For some readers, I highly suggest not reading this book at night. I cannot guarantee that you will have nightmares or be creeped out.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe

Title: The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen 
Author: Katherine Howe
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date: September 15, 2015
Pages: 400
Source/format: e-ARC from Edelweiss

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

A haunting, contemporary love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Conversion

It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a sĂ©ance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.

As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose petal lips and her entrancing glow. But there’s something about her that he can’t put his finger on that makes him wonder about this intriguing hipster girl from the Village. Why does she use such strange slang? Why does she always seem so reserved and distant? And, most importantly, why does he only seem to run into her on one block near the Bowery? Annie’s hiding something, a dark secret from her past that may be the answer to all of Wes’s questions . . .



My Thoughts

Wes Auckerman is 19-years-old and attends NYU's summer film program. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Wes can't wait to pursue his passion for film making. At a filming of a sĂ©ance in the Bowery, Wes and his film buddy, Tyler, see a girl with a satin bow blocking the frame. Wes is intrigued about the girl who tries to communicate with him until she vanished. He is drawn in by her beauty. He wants to find out more about her but Tyler needs to find this girl, Annie, in order for her to sign a media release in order for Tyler's art film to be presented. Wes also meets a girl named Maddie at the sĂ©ance  However, Annie is the girl of Wes's dreams but Maddie is a girl of reality. How are Annie and Maddie connected?

The novel is written in dual POV. Readers get to see what is going on in New York through the eyes of Wes and also through Annie's POV. Katherine Howe writes evocative description touching all five senses. The novel is beautiful and eerie at the same time. The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen keeps you at the edge of your seat wanting more. History and the supernatural collide in modern day New York which gives the novel an interesting vibe.

I find it unusual Wes is oblivious that Annie keeps disappearing and reappearing out of nowhere. The fact that he is entranced by her beauty from the first time he meets her is amusing. He goes out of his way trying to find her even though he doesn't know anything about her. Select people can see Annie and apparently no one has a clue who or what she is. Some of the narration could have been cut down a bit. I found the novel quite lengthy. However, I enjoyed Howe's take on memories and film. The transience of the memories and the permanence of the film merge together, layering each other while creating a piece of art.

If you are looking for a contemporary with history, mystery and a bit of romance, definitely pick up The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen. This will be a great read for October.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Looking Ahead: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

For those who missed it, Entertainment Weekly revealed a book trailer for Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Summer Sword by Rick Riordan. I love the visuals and I am excited to read The Summer Sword. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is Riordan's latest series centered around a boy named Magnus who finds out he has Norse blood. Riordan merges Norse mythology with Boston to create this new Middle Grade Series.

I currently live right outside of Boston and was technically born in one of the neighborhoods of Boston so I am super amped about The Summer Sword, the first book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series. The book will be available Tuesday, October 6, 2015.

Synopsis (from goodreads):

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .


Also, check out where Riordan will be visiting this year for The Sword of Summer Tour. Fortunately, Riordan will be speaking in Boston on Monday, October 5, 2015. If you would like to attend the event at the Back Bay Events Center, definitely purchase tickets through Harvard Book Store. Not only will you hear the wonderful Rick Riordan speak, but you will have the chance to pick up a signed copy one day early.

Check out Entertainment Weekly for the book trailer. What do you think of it? Also, are you planning to attend one of Riordan's events this year?

Never Forget 9/11

I normally don't write a lot of personal posts on this blog but today is a huge day for a lot of people, especially in the United States. Today marks the 14th anniversary for the 9/11 attacks. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news about the plans crashing into the Twin Towers. I was in Honors World History class in 9th grade when the PA system turned on. Everyone found out the devastating news at the same time and the whole day was such a whirlwind. Students, faculty and staff were definitely not focused on academics. There were TVs available for everyone to get coverage of what was going on across the nation. Guidance counselors were available for students to talk to if they lost anyone during the attacks. I should be grateful.

I should be grateful because my father was suppose to be on one of the flights that flew into the Twin Towers. Of course at the time, I didn't know my father flying to Los Angeles that very same day. Apparently my family was calling my mother all day to make sure my father was okay. By some miracle, my father oversleep and missed his flight. By not waking up to his alarm on time or by sleeping through his alarm, it saved his life. My some crazy miracle my father's life was saved by something so small.

Life is short. It can be cut at any moment. I know one of my classmates lost his father during the 9/11 attacks. I believe his father was on one of the flights departing Boston to Los Angeles. You never know what will happen to you or a loved one. Cherish what you have. One moment you can be happy enjoying life and the next moment your life is crashing down before you. Embrace life, don't dwell on it. Never forget.

Image from quotes gram.com


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish


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 ten finished series they have YET to finish. The following books are not in a particular order.

Series I've started


1. All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness took the world with a storm with A Discovery of Witches. I enjoyed read the first two books in the trilogy and I still need to read the last novel in the series. The Book of Life concludes the trilogy and I heard wonderful things about it. I met Harkness once and cannot wait to meet her again in October with Katherine Howe.


2. Noughts & Crosses series by Malorie Black is a twist on a dystopian. I have only read the first book, Noughts & Crosses, but it is excellent. I hope to remaining three books.


3. The School for Good and Evil trilogy by Soman Chainani just released the last book out this July. Although I have read the first book, I still need to read the last two books in the trilogy. If you are looking for a twist on fairytales, check out this Middle Grade read.



4. Proxy duology by Alex London is a dystopian. I have only read the first book but I am excited to read Guardian when I have a chance.


5. The Vicious Deep trilogy by Zoraida CĂłrdova is a captivating mermaid series. I have read the first two books in the series and cannot wait to read the last book, The Vast and Brutal Sea. What I love about this series is how the main character is not a female mermaid.


6. To Kill a Mockingbird duology by Harper Lee is definitely series everyone was raving about earlier this year when Go Set a Watchman was buzzed about. I've read To Kill a Mockingbird back in 8th grade and I cannot wait to read the sequel!


Series I want to start


7. Birthmarked series by Caragh O'Brien is a wonderful dystopian series about a midwife named Gaia. Her mother has been taken by the Enclave and Gaia finds out why. I have been dying to read this for awhile.


8. The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout is a New Adult series about demons and gargoyles. I am definitely amped to read this paranormal romance series.


9. Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout has been popular in the blogosphere for some time now. I have acquired Half-Blood through #booksfortrade on twitter and I am dying to read this series. I heard it is very similar to Vampire Academy series and I enjoyed Vampire Academy very much.



10. Delirium series by Lauren Oliver is dystopian series I have been wanting to read for some time but just haven't had the chance to start. I own all three books in the series and it would be nice to marathon all the books.