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

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

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

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!


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.


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


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. 


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!


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

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 


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.


“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.


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:

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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?