Friday, July 21, 2017

Lucky in Love by Kasie West


Title: Lucky in Love
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication date: July 25, 2017
Pages: 333
Source/format: Publisher//ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture.

Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment --

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

"We make our own luck...We chose our own fate. We controlled our own future."

Maddie Parker is a senior at Tustin High School. She has two close friends, Elise and Blaire, and she currently works at the Santa Ana Zoo. Maddie's dream school is UCLA and she wants to study veterinary medicine. Although Maddie works hard in school, she is worried about the finances to pay for college. She is hoping she will get decent amount of scholarships since there are finance issues at home. Her mother works overtime and two jobs and her father is still on the lookout for a job. Beau, her brother, took some time off from college to try to get a job to pay off his loans. Maddie doesn't believe in luck but one day she buys a lottery ticket on the whim and she wins! She thinks the lottery winnings will solve her problems but unfortunately money isn't everything.

Kasie West wrote a honest book about real life things that teens have to worry about. Many teens are often trying to find ways to pay for their college tuition and fees and there are many teens who have finance issues at home. When there is not a lot of money to pay for things, it can put a damper to your spirit. However, Maddie makes the most of it and tries to be optimistic. Lucky in Love teaches readers that there is more to life than money. Sometimes people change because of money. Who can you trust? Maddie had to learn the hard way about which people are there for her just for her and not for the money. She had to learn who she can trust.

I love how Maddie is a hard worker and she strives for the best. Even though things are tough at home in terms of finances, she makes the best of what she has. Maddie has supportive friends that always has her back. Elise and Blaire are always there for Maddie. Seth Nguyen, Maddie's coworker, has always had an honest friendship with Maddie. I haven't read too many books with an Asian male love interest so it's refreshing to see this type of interracial relationship in a YA novel.

Seth is probably one of the very few people in the book that isn't using Maddie for their own benefit. He is the one that Maddie looks forward to see everyday. Also, there is no instalove in this book which I love! I enjoy reading about relationships that slowly progress from a friendship into something more. Maddie's quirk of randomly saying facts is something I can relate to since I do the very same thing. I appreciate Seth's passion in film making despite her parents disapproval of it as a career. Because Seth and Maddie attend different schools, it's nice to see them bond at work at the Santa Ana Zoo. There is no pressure in school to act a different way since they only see each other at work for the most part.

Lucky in Love is a fluffy contemporary novel. It's the perfect summer read and you will fly through the book with a smile. I highly suggest this novel for those who enjoy To All the Boys I've Loved Before, When Dimple Met Rishi and I Believe in a Thing Called Love.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie

Title: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
Edited by: Ameriie
Authors: Renee AhdiehSoman ChainaniSusan DennardSarah EnniMarissa MeyerCindy PonVictoria SchwabSamantha ShannonAdam SilveraAndrew SmithApril Genevieve TucholkeNicola YoonSasha AlsbergBenjamin AldersonWhitney AtkinsonTina BurkeCatriona FeeneyZoë HerdtSamantha LaneSophia LeeRaeleen LemayRegan PerusseChristine RiccioSteph SinclairJesse GeorgeKat O'Keeffe
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 320
Source/format: Publisher//Hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2
Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Leave it to the heroes to save the world--villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage--and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Because You Love to Hate Me is an anthology about 13 villains spanning from Medusa to Hades. Authors are paired up with booktubers, creating short stories about a villain prompted by their assigned booktuber. The anthology seemed promising but like most anthologies, stories vary in interest and rating. Some short stories I couldn't get through, while others I plowed through quickly. The ones that I enjoyed showed honesty and the characters are genuine in what they say and do. The words flowed well and the stories was decently paced.

I have always loved reading backstories of villains about how and why they become who they are today. There is a reason someone becomes a villain. People are not born villains. Usually something tragic happens in a person's past that turns them into a villain.

Some notable stories include "Jack", "Gwen and Art and Lance", "Sea Witch", "Beautiful Venom" and "Death Knell."

The Blood of Imuriv by Renee Ahdieh: 2/5

Jack by Ameriie: 4/5

Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani: 5/5

Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard :3/5

The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni: 3/5

The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer: 4/5

Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon: 5/5

Death Knell by Victoria Schwab: 4/5

Marigold by Samantha Shannon: 3/5

You, You, It's All About You by Adam Silvera: 4/5

Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith: 2/5

Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke: 2/5

Sera by Nicola Yoon: 3.5/5

Because You Love to Hate Me will satisfy readers who want to read from the villain's point of view and those who idolize the contributing authors and/or booktubers.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Because You Love to Hate Me Blog Tour: Soman Chainani and Samantha Lane

Thank you Bloomsbury for the opportunity to participate in the Because You Hate Me Blog Tour! I was fortunate to interview Soman Chainani and Samantha Lane. Don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post and check out the 12 other blog tour stops!


Title: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
Edited by: Ameriie
Authors: Renee Ahdieh, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, Nicola Yoon, Sasha Alsberg, Benjamin Alderson, Whitney Atkinson, Tina Burke, Catriona Feeney, Zoë Herdt, Samantha Lane, Sophia Lee, Raeleen Lemay, Regan Perusse, Christine Riccio, Steph Sinclair, Jesse George, Kat O'Keeffe
Pub. Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 320
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound
Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Leave it to the heroes to save the world--villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage--and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!


Q&A WITH SOMAN CHAINANI AND SAMANTHA LANE

What made you decide to write a mashup retelling of the Arthurian legend and the Persephone-Hades myth in more modern times? How did you decide what format to write "Gwen and Art and Lance" in?

Soman: I’ve always been obsessed with the Arthurian legend and the way the love triangle seems so timeless and universal. The story of Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot explores so many themes – loyalty, friendship, betrayal, definitions of masculinity and femininity, maturation, and so many more. It seemed instantly relatable to modern day high school, and so I began brewing an idea for how to make the Arthurian legend feel contemporary again. At the same time, the Persephone-Hades myth explored similar themes so I knew I could fold it in.

In terms of the format, I felt like we needed to shake up the Arthurian legend a bit and these days there’s so much drama in the texting between teenagers that I saw a great opportunity to really experiment with a new form. I’d never written in text messages before, but what I realized is that it’s more about what is not said in a text message than what is said. So much of editing the story was about cutting and letting the unspoken text stand for itself.

Samantha: These decisions really came from Soman. We spent a lot of time going over prompts (I think in the end we had over 12!) and we ended up deciding to mix two of our favorite things. Soman wanted to explore the King Arthur legend. I'm known for my love of Hades and Persephone. A mix of the two was a way to have both of us present in the story. A lot of my other prompts had the modern setting as well, so we took that as another element to mix in. It also allowed Soman to explore themes of popularity, modern day high school, and social media, which were all things he wanted to look at with his story. The format was also his idea as well. Social media and technology is a huge part of modern life, especially for teens. Once I saw that he used that format for his story, I tied my essay in using an Instagram format. It was an interesting format to work in and something I probably wouldn't have done if he hadn't gone that route. But I really like how my essay ended up turning out in that format! The team at Bloomsbury were really great about working with that format and creating a layout that was reminiscent of the Instagram platform.

How was the collaboration process for the both of you? Did you like writing in the villain’s point of view and why?


Soman: It was great! I had an initial idea for retelling the Arthurian myth in high school and Sam had the inspiration to work in Persephone and Hades into the concept, so I took that mash-up and ran with it. I tend to always write in the villain’s point of view – that’s what The School for Good and Evil series is all about – so it felt like I was coming back home.

Samantha: As I said earlier, we spent a lot of time in the collaboration process. One of the villains we both really wanted to do was a Sea Witch, but that villain got snatched up before we could claim her! We both were a little sad about that. So we ended up going through a number of prompts before we brainstormed, and Soman came up with the idea of mixing some stories together. He really wanted to explore some of the characters from Camelot, and I really wanted to see Hades and Persephone (especially Persephone). The result is the story he came up with. In regards to writing from the villain’s point of view, I really enjoyed creating my essay: The Bad Girl's Hall of Fame. I adore female villains, and using the social media format allowed me to create a gallery of some of my favorites, and discuss villainy through them.


ABOUT SOMAN CHAINANI

Soman Chainani's first novel, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List, has been translated into 26 languages across six continents, and will soon be a major motion picture from Universal Studios.

The sequels, A WORLD WITHOUT PRINCES and THE LAST EVER AFTER, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List as well. Together, the books of the series have been on the print and extended NYT lists for a total of 33 weeks.

As a writer and film director, Soman's films have played at over 150 film festivals around the world, winning more than 30 jury and audience prizes, and his writing awards include honors from Big Bear Lake, New Draft, the CAPE Foundation, the Sun Valley Writer’s Fellowship, and the coveted Shasha Grant, awarded by a jury of international film executives.

When he’s not telling stories or teaching in New York City, Soman is a die-hard tennis player who never lost a first-round match for ten years . . . until he started writing THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL. Now he loses all the time.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads | YouTube


ABOUT SAMANTHA LANE

A Midwestern girl living on the East Coast, Samantha has been uploading bookish videos on her channel, Thoughts on Tomes, three times a week since 2014. She is currently the moderator for Top Ten Wednesday. When not discussing fictional characters online, Samantha can be found playing video games, marathoning episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or napping with one of her pets. 



GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a copy of Because You Love to Hate Me! The novel will be sent by the publisher. Nicole's Novel Reads is not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail. Good Luck!


BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

July 11th: The Candid Cover

July 12nd: Once Upon a Twilight

July 13rd: Bumbles and Fairy-Tales

July 14th: Lost in Literature

July 17th: Nicole’s Novel Reads

July 18th: curlyhairbibliophile

July 19th: Page Turners Blog

July 20th: A Page with a View

July 21st: Novel Novice

July 24th: Peace Love Books

July 25th: The Plot Bunny

July 26th: The Eater of Books!

July 27th: Read.Sleep.Repeat


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Underburbs, Volume 1 by Joe Haley and T.J. Dort

Title: The Underburbs, Volume I
Author: Joe Haley and T.J. Dort
Publisher: Rolling Boil Press
Pages: 126
Source/format: Purchased/Paperback
Find it here: Indy Planet

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

A vampire girl from the monster world tries to take over the human world on Halloween night, and it’s up to a young witch –her newest recruit– to stop her! The Underburbs’ first trade paperback collects the first three issues, encompassing all of Countess Winifred’s Halloween invasion on the human world! Also, there are over 30 pages of bonus content including early sketches, artist’s commentary, and deleted scenes!

M Y  T H O U G H T S

One of my friends recommended The Underburbs comic series to me and it's fantastic so far! The creators live locally in the North Shore area of Massachusetts which is pretty awesome considering that is where I reside. I always love to support indie authors and artists. The Underburbs series as a whole is a dark comedy comic series that will satisfy readers who love Halloween, monsters and things that are creepy.

Angela Morgan, a human, is sick on Halloween and it's her last year to go trick-or-treating. Her mom tells her to stay home and to rest but Angela is jealous that everyone is out and about outside, including her brother. Winifred Pale, a vampire, broke through to the human world from the "evil dimension" where she decides to take over the human world with her magic scroll that changes humans into monsters depending on the humans' costumes.

Each page is framed in a black border with skulls at the bottom with the page number and creepy doodles decorate the top of the page with the title of the comic issue chapter. The pages are smooth like butter with a semi gloss. The artwork is in black and white. The plot of the story and the art work harmoniously well together. The omnibus includes the first three issues of the comic series and I fell in love with The Underburbs from the first page. I cannot wait to get my hands on the remaining omnibuses in the series.

The Underburbs is engaging, quirky and quite humorous. I highly recommend The Underburbs to readers who love Invader Zim, Squee!, Lenore, Tim Burton and Courtney Crumrin.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Her Cover Reveal

Danielle Rose has an upcoming horror stort story coming out this fall published by OfTomes Publishing. I've read Rose's Blood Rose novel and I am very intrigued to check out Her. If you are interested in a bone chilling story, pick up this short story in September.


Title: Her
Author: Danielle Rose
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: OfTomes Publishing
Pre-order LinkAmazon 

Synopsis:

Kemper Academy is over a hundred years old, but it has only recently reopened after a series of murders and stories of hauntings shut it down. Avlynn, a new student, refuses to let the rumors scare her, chalking them up to a bit of friendly freshman hazing. But when night falls and screams draw her from her room, she finds the truth is much more horrifying than any ghost story.


E X C E R P T

“Supposedly, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest on Halloween.” The flashlight’s beam cast an eerie glow on Daeva’s face. “This gives all the restless ghosts a chance to”—she paused dramatically—“get their revenge!” Her voice rose with the last word, tugging gasps from her audience. “I know almost everyone here is a freshman, so you’ve probably never heard of the ghost that haunts our school.”

After allowing a silence to settle, she went on: “Well, Kemper Academy reopened five years ago, after being forced to shut down in the early 1900s because of the murders. They found the bodies in a room on the third floor.” She paused, twisting the ball of her foot against the hard-packed ground. “Isn’t that where the new freshmen dorms are?”

I knew she was trying to get to us, and it was working. I’d always believed in ghosts, but I refused to let her know just how deeply she was affecting me. I wouldn’t let her have any power over me. After all, that’s all the seniors wanted: control over the freshmen.

“One day, the headmistress poisoned the food supply. Those who had gone to bed without supper were killed—one by one—when she stalked from room to room, knocking on doors. No one suspected the nun who ran the school would be the very person to lock out…” Everyone gasped in shock this time, me included. As people squished even closer together, the seniors chuckled.

“After the murders, she went up to the top floor of the observatory tower and jumped…to her death.”

In the corner of my eye, I saw someone rustling within the bushes. I knew what was coming next, so I braced myself for it.


ABOUT DANIELLE ROSE

Danielle Rose holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. Currently residing in the Midwest, where she spends her days dreaming of warmer temperatures, when she’s not writing, she enjoys pretending she lives in California, spending an embarrassing amount of time at Hobby Lobby, and binge-watching Netflix. Visit Danielle on the Web: www.Danielle-Rose.com.

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Typography Talk (5)

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.


The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horowitz is a whimsical middle grade novel about a magician apprentice, Carmer, who loves tinkering and inventing. Grit is a one winged fire faerie princess who ends up befriending Carmer by accident.

The cover design conveys the general gist of the story quite well. With its steampunk elements and an exhibition in Skemantis, the landscape fuses in with the city. The tree presents the Oldtown Arboretum that Grit lives in. Grit is also shown standing on a pedestal with one wing.

The type for the author's name works well and looks like there is a banner introducing people to this wonderful world. I love the typeface chosen for the series title. It's rigid corners represent the analytical thinking and the yellow to orange-red gradient and the glyph marks around Grit adds a playful touch.

The colors of blue and orange work well because they are opposites on the color wheel. Although the steampunk elements are harsh on the eyes with the dark colors, the intricate designs along with the pastel colors soften ambience.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi is a whimsical and colorful novel which accurately describes the novel. The main character, Alice, is born without pigment in the colorful world called Ferenwood. You can see her pictured in the center of the cover design. Every item depicted on the cover holds significance. The fox, the bangles, the ruler and paper scrolls all play a part in the plot. Oliver, who is standing next to Alice, plays an important role in the story and is Alice's adventurous companion.

Although the cover seems a bit cluttered, it works in the sense that when Alice and Oliver visit Furthermore, the world is not what you expect it to be and it is all over the place. The main color scheme on the cover taps into complementary colors. Purple is often next to yellow. Oliver's blue shirt in the top left is complementary to the orange fox located on the bottom right. These colors and the placement of the colors provide a nice balance despite the cluttered design.

The title of the book is part of one of the paper scrolls. The paper scroll is never-ending, sort of how Furthermore is. Having the type in block capital letters provides some structure in the crazy world of Furthermore. The contrast works well.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay by J.K. Rowling has one of my favorite type treatments for a logo. For the new Harry Potter related franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a series about Newt Scamander's magical creatures. Newt steps into 1926 New York City where everything is proper and structured. Most of the typeface of Fantastic Beasts is structured in all caps serifs except for some details that add a bit of character. The whimsical S represents the Occamy, which is a magical creature that is serpent like that can grow and shrink in size. Some of the letters also have some fur or feather like appendages. You can say that the logo is very beastly! For more information about the logo design, check out this Pottermore article.

In terms of the rest of the cover design, the gold lettering and magical creature design pops from the midnight blue background. The raised metallic areas had a nice touch to the cover art. I love seeing magical creatures such as the Swooping Evil and Niffler depicted on the cover since readers and viewers of the film will come across these creatures. The small yet significant quill separates J.K. Rowling's name and the title of the screenplay.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How Blogging Changed the Way I Read

I have always been an avid reader ever since I was a child. My mother took me to the library for story time and encouraged me to take books out of the library. She would rather me buy books than toys from a young age. I was always that kid that would beg my mom to take me to the library and for my dad to take me to the bookstore. I often spent my weekdays at the library and weekends at the bookstore wandering through many aisles and looking at many shelves of books. Immersing myself in a book for hours is definitely a favorite hobby of mine still to this day.

I used to frequently visit Borders before they closed. Before Amazon, I used to get cheap books at book sales and also at a bookstore called New England Mobile Bookfair. All books at the New England Mobile Bookfair are 20% off. Sure, the bookstore looks more like a warehouse but I didn't care. The books are organized by publishing house which I found interesting. At that time when I was younger, I was frustrated how the books are organized. Now, I find it to be a clever way to organize books because readers get to learn what publishing house publishes each book.

Before blogging, I would choose books based on new releases and also based on synopsis. I never relied on reviews before choosing a book to read. If it's assigned reading, I never questioned prior whether it was good or bad book. I guess I can say that I am more of a picky reader now after blogging.  Now, I also don't finish books if I can't get into them. I don't believe in forcing yourself to read something that isn't interesting to you. Reading is suppose to be fun. Of course if it's assigned reading, you have no choice to read the book, but life is too short to read a book you are not enjoying during your free time.

It wasn't until I started blogging that I really began looking more at reviews and the opinions of others. Now, I always check out the synopsis and reviews for almost every title that I am interested in. Should I pick up this book if most people gave it 3 stars? This book got 5 stars, so I must read this book because I would like it. But is the hyped up book as good as people claim it to be? I look at reviews for certain tropes that I like in books. If there are friends or reviewers that have similar book tastes, I will consider looking into their recommendations a little bit further. I want to know why someone gave a book 5 stars besides "The book is great." Why is it great? I want to know why I should pick up a book.

Blogging has kept me aware of what books are coming out in the future. I no longer just read back list books. I know a lot of bloggers are obsessed with the front list books and want all the ARCs but I like to know what books are coming out soon. I still love reading back list titles. Also, this awareness lets me figure out what books I can recommend to my students. I love recommending books to my students based on their interests. It definitely makes my day if I can recommend a book or two and to keep encouraging my students to read for fun.


How has blogging changed the way you read? Do you still have similar reading habits or are they completely different now?

Friday, June 30, 2017

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Title: What to Say Next
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date: July 11, 2017
Pages: 272
Source/format: ARC from Emma of Missprint as part of the ARC adoption feature

Rating: ☆☆☆ 

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

M Y  T H O U G H T S

David Drucker was surprised that Kit Lowell sat next to him during lunch. Although they are complete opposites of one another, they are able to start a meaningful friendship. Julie Buxbaum is able to tell a genuine story about a guy who is on the spectrum and a biracial girl who just lost her father in a car accident. Although there is a loss in the story and Kit is overwhelmed with grief, she finds solace in David.

What to Say Next is told in first person dual narrative. Julie Buxbaum is able to tell a story through the eyes of David and Kit and what obstacles they have to overcome everyday. She describes what David has to go through as the "weird" kid with the super popular sister. Kit, on the other hand, is going through tough times after she lost her dad but she also is having a hard time reconnecting with her current friends. Buxbaum also touches upon what it means to be biracial in an almost all white community and how families interact when races collide through Kit.

I love how David has his quirky moments and how he jots down things in his notebook. Although many people see David as different, he doesn't pay much mind to others. He marches to the rhythm of his own drum and finds ways to occupy his time. Kit finds out that she is a changed person after the death of her father and is trying to find herself. What to Say Next reminds readers that every cloud has a silver lining. Although there are obstacles and tough times in life, there is always something positive that can some out of it.

What to Say Next is a light read that will remind readers that there is always light in darkness and that opposites can be friends and sometimes even something more. Contemporary lovers will enjoy this novel. There is even a dash of mystery for the curious and a slight twist at the end.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Best Books I've Read In 2017 So Far


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to blog about their best books they've read in 2017 so far. Many books listed are contemporary but I did throw in a couple other genres in the mix. The following books are in no particular order.


1. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon celebrates women in STEM and the novel also breaks down stereotypes. The relationship between Dimple and Rishi is too cute. They both balance each other and are supportive of each others' passions.


2. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia is the ultimate fandom novel! Dive into Eliza's popular webcomic as she deals with her own monsters while connecting with the new guy in school who just happens to be a big fan of her webcomic.


3. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han is the last book in the The All the Boy's I've Loved Before trilogy. This heartfelt novel is the perfect read if you love contemporary, sisterly relationships and sweet treats. Also, find out which guy Lara Jean will ultimately end up with.


4. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli is a contemporary novel about finding who you are. With twenty-six crushes and zero kisses in her life, Molly wonders if she needs to step outside of her comfort zone. Maybe it's just because she hasn't found the right person...until now.


5. The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder is the perfect curation of crushes, friendship and finding one self. It's a quirky and delightful read full of nostalgia and innocence. Join Penelope on her adventure of self-discovery.




6. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See is a story about tradition, culture, family, love, loss, sacrifice, perseverance, new beginnings and origins. See takes writing to a whole new level. I highly recommend this novel who are interested in transatlantic adoption, mother/daughter relationships, the origins of Pu'erh and lovers of Lisa See novels!


7. After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat is about the aftermath of Humpty Dumpty's fall and what he has to overcome in order to live his life to its fullest. The picture book is beautifully illustrated in timeless muted colors and has a positive message.


8. I Believe in Something Called Love by Maurene Goo is rom-com that will sweep you off your feet with its heartwarming scenes and hilarious lines. Desi Lee excels at almost everything she puts her heart toward except love. She ends up creating the list "K Drama Steps to True Love" hoping it will help her with her love flailures.



9. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera doesn't release until September 5th, but it is a must read. It makes you think about what if you had less than 24 hours to live. Mateo and Rufus get a call from Death-Cast about their lives ending within 24 hours. The novel is about loss, hope, friendship and what it means to live your life to its fullest.


10. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco is the sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper. Join Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell in Romania where not only are they taking classes in forensics but they are hunting Prince Vlad the Impaler. I personally love this novel more than the predecessor. This novel will be released on September 19th.



What are some of your favorite books you've read this year?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy 20 Years, Harry Potter!

June 26th marks the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter! Come and share the magic with everything Potter like! Not only has Harry Potter been in my life for over 15 years but Harry Potter was life changing for me. I didn't dive into the fandom until after the fourth book was released when I was a freshman in high school. Who knew that I would still be loving Harry Potter in my adult years. As many of you know, Harry Potter has been a positive influence in my life and has helped me through many tough times. The books have transported me to Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and to a world that I felt comfortable. I could be myself and I didn't have to pretend to be something I am not.

Harry Potter has opened doors for many friendships. I bonded over Harry Potter in college with other Potterheads and it wasn't until after college, I began to attend Harry Potter conventions. Can I say those conventions are life savers! The fandom is so welcoming and it feels like a second family. Every time I go to MISTI-Con, it feels like a family reunion. Harry Potter conventions has provided a safe environment for many Potterheads. Along with conventions, I enjoy local Harry Potter meet ups in Massachusetts. It's a nice way to get together with others when conventions are not in session. 

The relationship between my sister and I has grown stronger through our mutual love for Harry Potter. We often attend Harry Potter conventions and events together. Harry Potter has helped me become a stronger person and to always persevere. After all, “happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."

Bloombury recently launched a new set of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone books in house colors. Definitely check them out! I was fortunate enough to get a paperback and hardcover in Ravenclaw blue and bronze through Book Depository. If you live outside of the UK, definitely check out Book Depository to see if they deliver to your country. They provide free shipping!

Image from harrypotter.bloomsbury.com
Check out some of my favorite Harry Potter related blog posts. I have listed a bunch below for you to check out. I have various posts from Pottermas features to convention recaps.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Teaser Trailer
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Film
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Obscurials
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Connecting Wizarding Worlds

LEVIOSA 2016 


Day 1 and Day 2 Recap
Day 3 and Day 4 Recap

MISTI-CON 2015


Day 1: The Beginning
Day 2 Recap
Day 3 Recap
Day 4 and Day 5 Recap

MISTI-CON 2015


Day 1 Recap
Day 2 Recap
Day 3 Recap
Day 4 and Day 5 Recap


POTTERMAS 2015 


November 13: Pottermas 2015
December 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
December 3: Harry Potter Trivia Contest + Giveaway
December 4: Harry Potter Gift Guide
December 5: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
December 8: How Did I Find Harry Potter?
December 9: Pottermas Butterbeer Recipes
December 10: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
December 13: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
December 15: Ranking Harry Potter Books and Films
December 17: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
December 22: Harry Potter Gifts I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year
December 23: Harry Potter Appreciation Letter and Digital Holiday Card
December 24: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
December 29: What Should You Read After Finishing the Harry Potter Series?
December 31: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

POTTERMAS 2016 


December 1st: Pottermas Introduction
December 5th: Ten Underrated Moments in Harry Potter
December 7th: Harry Potter Patronus
December 10th: Ranking Harry Potter Soundtracks
December 12th: Harry Potter Recipe
December 14th: Harry Potter Funko Pop Photoshoot
December 17th: Harry Potter Craft Tutorial
December 20th: Harry Potter Gifts I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree
December 23rd: Favorite Harry Potter Spells
December 28th: Favorite Harry Potter Character Quotes and Moments
December 31st: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Review

OTHER 


Harry Potter Spells Book Tag
Harry Potter Salem Wizarding Halloween Ball
Pages to Tea: Harry Potter Version
Fandom: Harry Potter Beyond the Books and Movies: A Focus on Fandom
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Midnight Release Recap


Harry Potter has lead us to so much more than the books. With the films, theme parks, merchandise, Pottermore and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I don't see the fandom ever dying. Long live Harry Potter!


Are you doing anything to celebrate 20 years of Harry Potter? How are you involved in the Harry Potter fandom? Please share your experience below.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to blog about top ten series they've been meaning to start but haven't. I decided to highlight several series that I want to start but haven't yet but I also included a few series I've started but want to finish reading. The series are in no particular order.

S E R I E S  T O  S T A R T

1. Delirium series by Lauren Oliver has been on my TBR list forever. I own all three books and have heard great things about this trilogy.


2. The Covenant series by Jennifer Armentrout is a series that I should have already read already but alas, all the books are still sitting in a pile somewhere. I heard great things about this paranormal/mythological series.


3. The Birthright series by Cate Tiernan is a shapeshifter paranormal series. I have read Tiernan's Sweep series about 15 years ago when I was a teenager and I've always wanted to read more books by her. Balefire is another series that I love that she wrote.


4. The Tudor Witch Trilogy by Victoria Lamb transports readers to the time of 16th century England. Fusing historical fiction, the paranormal and magic, I am entranced by the synopsis. I own all three books and I hope to start reading this trilogy soon.


5. The Curse Workers series by Holly Black is a paranormal urban fantasy series that has been on my TBR list for quite a long time. I own all the books as well.


6. Vicarious series by Paula Stokes is a sci-fi mystery thriller series that seems very intriguing. Bent on revenge of her sister's death, Winter won't rest until she finds out what happened to Rose.


7. The Network Series by Katie Cross sounds like the perfect paranormal boarding schools series. For those who don't know, I am obsessed with boarding school books.


S E R I E S  T O  C O N T I N U E

1. The School for Good and Evil series by Soman Chainani is one of the series that I definitely need to finish reading. I own three of the books but I seriously need to dive back into this fantasy middle grade series about magic and fairy tales.



2. The Casquette Girls series by Alys Arden is a paranormal series set in New Orleans. I enjoyed reading the first book, The Casquette Girls. If you love The Vampire Diaries and The Originals TV shows, definitely check this series out.


3. The Vault of Dreamers series by Caragh O'Brien is a sci-fi series about a girl who attends a prestigious school called The Forge School. All the students are broadcasted on the Forge Show, which is a reality TV show. However,  the school has secrets of its own. I have read the first book and enjoyed it immensely.



What series have you been meaning to start but haven't yet? What series would you recommend me?

Friday, June 16, 2017

I Believe in a Thing Called Loved by Maurene Goo

Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication date: May 30, 2017
Pages: 336
Source/format: Library/hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Desi Lee is an overachiever who is involved with sports, many clubs and has the grades for Stanford University. However, she is a complete klutz. Desi has a plan for everything in her life and she succeeds at almost everything except when it comes to love. She is always caught in the center of a flailure which is a flirt failure. Desi gets tongue tied, is a bit clumsy and always ruins her chances with a guy. Luca Drakos is the new guy at school and for some reason, he likes Desi.

Desi's father, who she calls Appa, means the world to Desi. After the death of her mother, Desi always wants to make sure Appa is living a good life. Appa loves watching K Dramas and Desi soon becomes obsessed with them. She uses what she learns in the K Dramas and applies it to her love life with her own list "K Drama Steps to True Love." I love the relationship between Desi and her father. It's one of the most genuine relationships I've read regarding a single parent. Appa is very involved in Desi's life and Desi treats him with respect and will share almost everything with him.

Maurene Goo breaks down stereotypes. Instead of an athletic, good looking guy, we have Luca, the artist who is more of the sensitive type. He has troubled past and he is that mysterious guy that Desi is intrigued with. Desi might be the valedictorian of the school and is involved in everything, accept anything art related, but she seems to only have two friends. She is not as popular as many people seem she is but Wes and Fiona are very supportive friends.

I had only one issue with the book and that is the ending of the book during the prom scene. It seems unrealistic. I don't want to spoil the book for readers but it was something that felt rushed just for the sake of a happy ending. However, I enjoyed reading about Desi being a quirky nerd, stating random facts at the whim. I Believe in a Thing Called Love is definitely a cute book and I adored reading the interactions between Desi and Luca for the most part.

I highly recommend this novel for readers who enjoy To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. This rom-com will sweep you off your feet with its heartwarming scenes and hilarious lines.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

BookExpo 2017: Day 2 Recap


BookExpo (previously known is BookExpo America) is book industry trade show that will took place May 31, 2017 to June 2, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City. This is an awesome event to network, to learn about upcoming titles and to immerse yourself in everything bookish. BookExpo is the leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry. I was fortunate enough to attend this year as an educator and blogger. I only attended the expo on June 1st and June 2nd. Check out my recap for Day 1 of BookExpo here.

Day 2 of BookExpo

Selina and I woke up around 7:30, got ready and went to Starbucks for a quick breakfast before gathering all of belongings to bring to Javits. We Ubered to the Javits and checked all of our bags since we plan to head to Penn Station from the Javits in the afternoon. This time we got to the Javits earlier than the previous day and had time to skim through the Show Daily for last minute galley giveaways. I was successful in securing a copy of There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins which was one of the priority books of the day. It was dropped right when the Exhibit Hall opened and I am so glad to be one of the lucky ones to get a copy.

I went to Macmillan to get a ticket for the 10:00 Dan Santat's  signing before heading to Penguin for the 9:30 Celeste Ng signing. Celeste was signing Little Fires Everywhere. Although she is lives locally to where I live, I wanted to meet her for the first time since I wasn't able to attend any of her events when her debut book came out. Her line was fairly long but the wait wasn't too bad. She is so nice too. I was able to chat with her for a bit while she signed my copy.

I went to Macmillan afterwards and stood in line to get a copy of After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again). I was chatting with a librarian behind me who traveled from Virginia for BookExpo. Her sister was also in the city but she was sightseeing. I found out she was planning to head to Boston after the BookExpo on the weekend to visit for a few days. Of course I had to ask what her plans were and gave some suggestions. I love how Macmillan entertained people waiting in line with those cartoon cutouts where you put your head in. We also got After the Fall tote bags too. They are fairly big and have a front pocket.

Afterwards, I went to the Autographing Area to get a copy of You'll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron signed. I met Shelley Michael who wrote All Aboard. Unfortunately, I did not get a ticket for Jan Brett but that's okay since Jan Brett line was super long. The line for Jason Reynolds was too long and apparently Simon & Schuster cut the line fairly early for Long Way Down. Jason Reynolds is pretty amazing. I managed to meet him a couple times at past events. I did manage to stop by to get a copy of The South's Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection by Matt Moore. Matt couldn't make it to the signing because his daughter was born the previous day. Congrats to Matt!

I ended up taking a lunch break and went to retrieve my left overs from the previously day from my suitcase after I dropped off my books. I met up with Selina in the food court to relax, eat and to chat for a bit. I had a lot of free time since my next thing on my schedule wasn't until 1:30ish.

MarcyKate signing Shadow Weaver
I went to the Exhibit Hall after eating and just walked around until about 15 minutes before the Shadow Weaver signing at Sourcebooks. MarcyKate Connolly was signing galleys of her upcoming MG fantasy novel called Shadow Weaver. This title is my second priority book of the day. I have met MarcyKate several times and it was nice seeing her again. I wasn't able to meet Kerri Maniscalco in person at BEA because of her signing line being so short. I was hoping to see her on the floor between signings but no avail. I have a copy of her upcoming book, Hunting Prince Dracula, and I didn't want to take time away from those who want to get an ARC signed. Kerri will be attending the Boston Teen Author Festival in September so I will definitely have a chance to chat with her then.

I probably stood in line to see Anna-Marie McLemore for awhile. That line was fairly long but I wanted to say hi and also to obtain a copy of Wild Beauty. I was surprised Anna-Marie said I looked familiar and asked if we met up sometime in the past. We did meet for the first time last year at ALA Midwinter in Boston. Crazy how she vaguely remembered me. She is too sweet and I love how she signed galleys with a teal sharpie!

Julie Dao signing Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
The next and last thing I did for the day was to meet Julie Dao who wrote Forest of a Thousand Lanterns! That's my last priority for the day and every minute waiting was worth it! Marci, Ashley and I didn't have to wait too long. Julie is oh so nice! She remembered me on twitter and we chatted about the upcoming title and I mentioned about how Melody kept raving about the book.

Selina had one more signing while I retrieved my bags and reorganized my books in my luggage. I
met up with Selina and after she got her bags and we Ubered to Penn Station for our train that was departing around 4:40ish. We got there at 4:00 to give us time to get food and do a bathroom trip. Unfortunately, our train was delayed an hour or so so we chilled in the waiting room the whole entire time. I couldn't wait to arrive at South Station in Boston. I felt like the trip home took forever. Selina and I hugged and said our farewells before I took the silver line to the airport where by boyfriend picked me up to head home.

Overall, BookExpo and NYC was a memorable trip even though Selina and I were only there for about 50 hours. I thought it might be my last trip to BookExpo but I might end up going next year since it will be in NYC once again. Some of my favorite moments including new people in lines and chatting with them and having mini chats with Emma from Miss Print and Nicole from The Bookbandit Blog. I am glad I was able to see Emma and Nicole at least a couple times during BookExpo even though it was for a short time.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Summer Essentials

It's not even summer yet and the temperatures are rising. With this increase number of days in the 90's, it is important to try to stay cool and to protect yourself from the sun. I am definitely not a summer lover like most people. I absolute love the fall and I am counting the days until September. However, as I wait for fall to approach, here are some some of my favorite things I use during the summer.


1. Hydroflask // $29.95 - $59.95

I use this water bottle every day year around but it's so helpful in the summer due to the insulation feature. I can fill up my Hydroflask with water and ice the night before and still have cold water the next morning even without the AC on. During the summers, I spend 3 weeks living in a college dorm for work without AC. My Hydroflask becomes my lifesaver. Also, the best part is that the Hydroflask prevents condensation! No more sweaty bottles.

2. Bionaire Whole Room Air Circulator fan // $49.99

I love this fan. It's a table top fan that circulates the air throughout the room to keep the room cool. I use this fan all the time and it's probably my favorite fan that I've used. I know many people complain how noisy it is but personally I love the noise because I need white noise to help me sleep at night. The fan has three speed settings and has a breeze and sleep mode. The remote controller is a bonus.


3. Moisture Wicking Socks // Varies in cost

This type of sock is amazing for the feet as the sweat is wicked away from the body. Your feet will be less sweaty when you take off your shoes which is a plus. Dry feet = happy feet!

4. Sunscreen 

Sunscreen is super important to wear every day outside. I have super sensitive skin and finally found a few face sunscreens I can use that won't break me out in hives. Asian sunscreens are more watery/milky and they spread on easily. Also, they are non-greasy on my oily/combination skin. I found one American spray sunscreen that won't break me out for the body.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ // 50 ml



Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 42 for Face // 30 ml


Missha All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF 50+/PA+++ // 70 ml


Coppertone Sunscreen Spray Clearly Sheer Broad Spectrum SPF 50 // 142 ml


5. Havaianas Flip Flops // Varies in cost

These flip flops are my favorite ones since they don't wear down every year where the heel of the foot is. The pattern usually retains and they are super comfy. They are my go to every year despite to higher cost compared to other flip flops. I usually opt for the slim ones.
6. Zeroll Original Ice Cream Scoop // $18.64

This is the holy grail of all ice cream scoops. I used this ice cream scoop when I worked at Brigham's and at Ben & Jerry's during the seven years when I worked in the ice cream industry. The heat from your hand will warm up the handle of the ice cream scoop and the heat eventually travels to the scoop section to make scooping easy.



What are some of your favorite summer essentials to stay cool and protected?