Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: Tiny Pretty Things

Tiny Pretty Things by  Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 26th, 2015
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 5/23/15 to 5/25/15
448 pages

Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette's desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

After finishing Tiny Pretty Things, I've come to wonder whether all ballerinas are like this, whether they are all super competitive. There is so much drama, tons of it, and why do these girls just keep harassing each other?

The chapters alternate between Gigi, the new girl in New York from California, Bette, the girl who has everything, and June, the perfectionist. Gigi is new and the only black ballet dancer in the Academy, and even so she has been casted the lead roles in both The Nutcracker and Giselle. Bette, having everything being taken away from her, including her boyfriend Alec, by Gigi, starts bullying Gigi. And then June, who is half-asian (!!) does the same because her mom is threatening to take her out of the Academy, since all she's been getting are understudy roles.

Did I mention how much drama there was in this? Does this actually happen in companies or I guess in ballet academies such as this one? Some of the things that happened to Gigi were horrible, yet to be honest I understood the jealousy that June and Bette had for her. Though honestly this is why the lead role should never go to the same person!

Even though I loved the diversity, there wasn't much going on plot wise. It was the same harassment, and it was sad to see Gigi slowly go a little crazy because of all the girls plotting against her. And no one was friends with anyone, or at least they pretended to be friends. Ha. 

To make it clear, the only reason I rated this as 3 stars is because I'm not such a huge fan of drama. And I hate reading about bullying. And someone really needs to enlighten me about ballet, because this is just scary if some of these things are accurate and actually happen. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Musical Book Tag

So Amber @ Young Adult Indulgences created this fun tag about MUSICALS. To be honest I've only watched a handful of musicals, well, just the more recent ones. But this is such a cool tag so of course I'm going to do it muhahaha. 

1. Tag at least five people. You probably want to tag them on Twitter so they’ll know that way too. :)

2. Thank the person that tagged you. (Thanks Amber!)

3. Give Amber credit or else she will hunt you down! ;) The original tag is here with ALL THE QUESTIONS, I picked 10!

There's A World - From Next To Normal

A BOOK WITH A GREAT WORLD YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF: Is is no surprise that my answer is still Harry Potter even after all these books I've read. Honestly I just find it the least dangerous, haha...ha.

What You Own - Rent

WHAT AUTHOR DO YOU HAVE TO OWN ALL THE BOOKS BY?: Definitely Marissa Meyer! I am in love with her series, The Lunar Chronicles, and her writing is just so amazing, I need to own all of her books. YA books at least.

No One Mourns The Wicked - Wicked

THE CHARACTER YOU HATE THE MOST FROM A BOOK: Oh yes there was this ONE CHARACTER I hated very much, and that is Ashley from Sleepaway Girls. I don't hate anyone more than her, honestly.

All I Ask Of You - Phantom of the Opera

FAVORITE ROMANTIC PAIRING?: Oh romance. Let me think. I have a lot. Like Seraphina and Lucien from Seraphina, or Blue and Ganesy (aka Blue and the Raven Boys, just all of them) from The Raven Cycle.

I Should Tell You - Rent

A BOOK YOU THINK YOU SHOULD HAVE KEPT YOUR FEELINGS HIDDEN ABOUT OUT OF FEAR: Not really of fear because I FEAR NOTHING, but I kind of feel sad that I did not like All Our Yesterdays as much as everyone else did. Same with Finnikin of the Rock

Dancing Through Life - Wicked

YOUR ULTIMATE PICK ME UP/FEEL GOOD BOOK: HA I almost never read anything that isn't sad! But I really loved reading Throne of Glass and also The Kiss of Deception.

Think Of Me - Phantom of the Opera

THE LAST BOOK YOU COULDN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT: Definitely Made You Up because what is even real, and what isn't? So many feels!

La Vie Boheme - Rent

A BOOK THAT FEATURES AN INTERESTING CAST OF QUIRKY/DIVERSE CHARACTERS: I am the Messenger had so many random and weird characters, but they were all so well done!

You're Timeless To Me - Hairspray

A BOOK YOU CONSIDER A CLASSIC: I would say Flowers for AlgernonEveryone should read it! 

Don't Do Sadness/Blue Wind - Spring Awakening

A BOOK THAT WAS NOT A TEARJERKER DESPITE BEING SAD: Ooooo, sadly it was Black Dove, White Raven. It was still amazing, but I just didn't cry!

And now for the tags!

Ely & Chami @ A Book So Fathomless || Alma @ Journey Through Fiction || Kayla @ A Thousand Lives || Frannie @ Frannie In The Pages || Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: Made You Up

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: May 19th, 2015
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 5/21/15 to 5/23/15
448 pages

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

I'm not going to lie, but I was immediately pulled into the prologue, you know why? Because it talked about FREEING THE LOBSTERS FROM THE TANK AT THE SUPERMARKET, and that's when I knew this was going to be the best book ever. And I was not wrong. NOT WRONG AT ALL.

Made You Up has everything. It has humor, it has fully developed characters, it even has a freaking mystery surrounding the school, AND more importantly of course, it has all the feels.

Alex has schizophrenia. She's paranoid of everything, and constantly takes photos to see what's real and what isn't. She got kicked out of her old high school, and now has to attend East Shoal, with its rich uniformed kids and an after school club that she MUST attend because of community service work. 

BUT THEN COME MILES. The boy that she believes helped her free all the lobsters (though she thought he wasn't even real!) Though he's quite the jerk, and ALSO IS GERMAN (my heart), but underneath his cold exterior, he's a pretty nice guy. Though a little dense. 


I am completely in love with the hate then love trope. I honestly loved how perfect the dynamics were between Alex and Miles, and how dense the both of them were (Alex a little less dense, hahah). The best part was that this wasn't focused solely on the romance. There's the mystery surrounding the school principal and the glorified school scoreboard. And there's the deal with Celia, the "school bully" and her involvement with said principal. And of course, Alex's schizophrenia, which serves as an unreliable narrator. Seriously, you will not know what is real or not until she figures it out for herself. 

This is definitely one of my new favorites of 2015. It is SO WELL DONE, especially with the unreliable narrator. I seriously suggest picking it up right now, I am not kidding.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #56

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Five Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer

That is if I end up going to the beach this summer! Seriously, being all the way in Upstate NY for the summer means NO BOSTON and NO ATLANTIC OCEAN. I guess I have Lake Ontario but meh. I might just have to change this to "porch reads" HAHA.

I know that beach reads implies "happy, fluffy reads", but I don't really like to read those. I cherish my sob stories hahah. But I'll try to add that ONE happy read. Ha. Haha.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold - I know, this is supposed to be sad too! Even though it is supposed to be funny. I don't know, it has to do with road trips so I think I will count it as a summer and beach read. HA. 

Emmy And Oliver by Robin Benway - According to all the reviews I've been reading, this is supposed to be more light-hearted than it sounds. SO it goes on this short list. Ha. 

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall - Clearly this is the only true fluffy contemporary on the list, and even then that probably isn't true. HA. But come on, 14 viewpoints of two people getting together? What is the worse that could happen?

I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson - LOOK. IT HAS THE WORD "SUN" IN THE TITLE! 

Life In Outer Space by Melissa Keil - I'm sad that this is hard to find in the US, I guess I'll just have to get it through Amazon. I know for sure my library doesn't have it! 

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee - Because OREGON TRAIL and also CHINESE AMERICANS! That's me! Even though I'm half.

Burying Water by K. A. Tucker - I have this on my kindle and because of my persuasive little blogger friends, I'm going to read it soon.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge - Also have this on my kindle because YAY AMAZON SALES. And after reading Crimson Bound, I'm going to read all of her books!

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon - Allergies? I think this describes summer and spring pretty well. 

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley - I recently heard this was about bird people. IS THIS TRUE. Because that would be super amazing! And birds = summer. Look at all these connections I'm making hahaha.

Well I guess I'll be sobbing at the beach. Is it just me, or are more and more books turning out more and more sad?

Anyone mind recommending me ACTUAL HAPPY FLUFFY reads?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: Pushing The Limits

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
Pushing The Limits #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April 30th, 2013
Source: Bought
Date Read: 5/17/15 to 5/20/15
391 pages

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with 'freaky' scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his surprising understanding, Echo;s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can PUSH THE LIMITS and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her HOW TO LOVE AGAIN.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

If anyone even knows who I am, they'll know that I am not a fan of romance. Yet here I am, willingly and on my own, writing a glowing review on Pushing The Limits, a purely YA romance novel. No fantasy or sci-fi involved. 

But then again that's not true. This isn't a story that solely revolves around romance. Pushing The Limits brings up a huge topic, and that is the reality of life. There is no such thing as a black and white world, in other words there's no defining right or wrong answer. This is portrayed with both Echo, the main character, and the love interest, Noah. Both of their lives are filled with hardships, and of course we, as the audience, are supposed to root for them to achieve their goals.

Noah is the "bad boy". He's a delinquent in school, and he's working with the new school counselor to work out visitation rights with his brothers who are being taken care of in a different foster home than him. He is desperately doing everything he can to get his brothers back, even if he himself doesn't have his life together. 

Enter Echo. All she wants is to fit in again with the social world, even though she knows it's not truly something she cares about. After being absent from school for a month and coming back only wearing long sleeves, people have only assumed the worst. But Echo won't tell anyone the truth of what truly happened, because she herself has repressed those memories and now can't see to remember anything about what her bipolar mother has done to her.

There are a ton of characters to root for in the novel, but by the end, everything is thrown back into your face. And that is life. Noah believes he's doing the right thing by rescuing his brothers. The foster parents of his younger brothers believe they're doing the right thing by taking away visitation rights from Noah (which I RAGED about). Echo believes her mother should at least deserve some forgiveness, because when she was on her meds everything was okay. And Echo's father believes that Echo should never see her mother again. Everyone sees things in a different perspective, and none of it is truly right or truly wrong. 

And along with that, the relationship between Noah and Echo goes from disinterested to love, AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. It was a nice slow burn, but of course, not without lots of angst regarding Echo's chance of being bipolar and Noah wanting his family back. The only complaint I have is small, and that's Noah's use of the term "baby". I honestly thought the word didn't fit him.

Overall, I loved the dynamics between all the characters, and the life lessons that were portrayed in the book.

And now I'm done being serious. SUMMARY IN DOGE LANGUAGE:


Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: Hourglass

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Hourglass #1
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: June 14th, 2011
Source: Library
Date Read: 5/1/15 to 5/4/15
390 pages

One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may also change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should've happened?

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

I read this in order to clean out my Goodreads TBR, it's kind of a challenge I set myself in order to not lose myself in all the new releases, you know? Unfortunately, it did NOT turn out to be as good as my 18 year old self wanted it to be (that was 3 years ago, by the way).

In summary, Emerson can see ghosts of the past, but they're not really ghosts, but rather just rips into time. Basically she's seeing the past (kind of). Everyone thinks she's crazy, so she didn't tell anyone about it. Her brother, her caretaker, decides to hire this "therapist" because she's been having so many problems regarding this lately. And this therapist, Michael, shows her that she's not the only one with special abilities. 

After that, a bunch of things happen, and it kind of drags on. Suddenly, lots of people have these abilities, (even her best friend apparently). It's also like X-Men, but just toned down a lot. And of course time travel is involved, and you know how I scrutinize books with time traveling.

Surprisingly, the time travel didn't bother me, but rather it was the romance instead. I wasn't down with Michael the therapist going on dates with Emerson, who's 17. I couldn't stop imagining to be like 30 years old, because NO WAY is he only a sophomore in college. I mean sure he's not a REAL therapist, but it threw me WAY off in the beginning. And yeah, that's why I'm not really on board with the whole relationship. 

In the end, I kind of just skimmed the rest because I was BORED. I just didn't think this needed to be 400 pages! It was so very long, and I couldn't keep myself focused. This was just a meh book, and I couldn't get myself to care about it, even with all the "action" in the end. I'm not going to be continuing with the series. Oh well.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What To Expect From A Certain Val At BEA

So I noticed that SOME PEOPLE (cough cough Holly and Shannon) came together and created a GET TO KNOW YOU post for their TTT this week, without telling me! So after many apologies, I finally forgave them, and then decided to do my own and join the fun. So if you see a person that looks like me doing ALL OF THESE THINGS, then you know who that is. Feel free to come over and we can be awkward together!

I tend to not get overexcited! I'm not the type of person to yell or shout or even TALK to the authors about how much I like their books. I am a very calm person, and I'm pretty easy to please. Even if I get nothing from BEA, I'll be content with the fact that I am meeting two very lovely (and weird) bloggers! (I'll be content, but I'll be sad) Instead, I'll get excited over a donut from Dunkin Donuts, or something.

When I'm nervous or pressured, I am social. Don't ask me how this works! Just at the Rochester Teen Book Festival, I got so stressed at seeing the line to see Sarah Dessen (even though it wasn't even the line I was looking for), that I ended up starting up a conversation with someone waiting for the Jennifer Niven panel (Emily if you're reading this, this is you!) 

I'm scared of not being able to get to everything, which is why I'm currently downplaying BEA. LOOK AT ME CONFESSING THIS. BEA is everything I've hoped for, but I can imagine that books and ARCs may run out by the time I get there. And that makes me sad. 

I hate waiting in lines. I'm going to have to bring a book with me to keep me company when I'm not waiting in line with Holly or Shannon. But I think I'm going to a number of the same events/authors with them, so I will be fine!

I plan to actually look like a 21 year old. Guys I'm actually 21. NOT 16! Mistake my age and I will destroyyyyy youuuuuu. 

I love my dog, Ollie. This has nothing to do with BEA, but if I could bring Ollie, I would. And guess what? Ollie isn't even my official dog. Sure my housemates and me all take care of him, but he really belongs to one of my housemates. But she's in NYC working now. So I'm taking care of him in Rochester. (aka he's MINE)

I actually have no idea what's going on, I haven't even packed yet! I don't even know what I'll do if all the ARCs I get won't fit in my suitcase!Well I do have a plan. I'm bringing my backpack, and I'll try to make sure my suitcase doesn't weigh more than 50 pounds on the bus ride back. Ha. But also, I've been assigned to be the public relations person on our little team of three, for getting around NYC and stuff. But other than logistics, I know nothing about BEA. I literally left it all up to Shannon. Sure I know who I want to see and I made my schedule (copy and pasted), but do I know where it is in the convention center? Nope.

And that's it! Are you impressed? ARE YOU? 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

DNF Review: Hold Me Like A Breath

Hold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher: Bloomsbury 
Release Date: May 19th, 2015
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: DNF
400 pages
Rating: --

Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can't protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family's line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Look at that cover. Do you see that cover? Do you?

Now look at my face. Does it look like a happy face? No.

I tried reading this book, I tried. I ended up at around 35%, which is a lot to get through before finally deciding to just stop. I really needed to stop before I literally died of boredom.

Let's see here. Do you know what this book should actually be called? This should be renamed "Penelope's Platelet Counts". Want to know what that is? Well I'll give you the description so that you don't have to read this book. Basically, our MC here, Penelope, has a condition where her "platelets" are much, much lower than everyone else, so much that she bruises so easily and is very fragile and can't do anything for herself because a freakin' car door can bruise her hand. 

So what do we get here. Looking for an intense, thriller featuring THE BLACK MARKET and ORGANS? Then run far, far away from this book. What you'll get instead is Penelope's determination to always bring up her platelet counts, worrying about her platelet counts, and whether she can actually go places. And she can't. She's stuck with her posh family. 

Oh and yeah her brother dies in like the first 15%, and she still only cares about her platelet counts. IS THIS ALL YOU CARE ABOUT. 

I'm sure if I stuck around for longer I would've encountered something else other than platelet counts, but I highly doubt it. So I'm done. Done done done. Read this at your risk. I'm sorry for offending anyone for this review.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #55

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Books Completely Exceeded My Expectations

I've noticed that with the tons of books I read, I've been slowly branching out into new genres. Like YA contemporary, sci-fi, and even romance, which I thought would never happen. And there have been books I thought I wouldn't like, but then I DID. And some that were just MORE than I expected, which just blew me away.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Honestly, I think I put off reading this just because I didn't really know what the subject was about, and I thought it would be boring. Instead, it only turned out to be one of my favorite novels of all time. AND TEARS.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown - First off I only read this because the main character shared the same first name as me, and I was just reading it for some challenge, BUT IT ENDED UP BEING AMAZING. And I just had so many feelings for the MC, that I had to take breaks in between meetings.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown -  I read a good amount of mixed reviews, so when I got a copy of it through NetGalley, I wasn't THAT excited. But man was I in for it. Red Rising was just pure awesome with tons of action that I could not put it down. It was a good start for 2015.

The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman - This is actually my most recent read, and although it's not one of my favorites, I'm surprised that I even liked it at all. Despite all the creepiness and the stalking.

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios - SURPRISE I actually wasn't expecting to like this, or at least I was going to lump it in with all the other generic YA contemporaries (which to be honest, I have nothing to lump it in with, so I don't know why I thought that). But IMYT ended up being just as good as all my friends said it was.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - Her Shiver series didn't appeal to me, so I wasn't really excited for this novel, even though I heard so many good things about it. BUT WHERE WOULD I BE WITHOUT BLUE AND HER BOYS NOW? HUH?

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - I knew I was going to love this one, but I wasn't expecting ALL THE THINGS that came with it. Like I got more than what I asked for, and I was already asking for a lot to begin with. And also Jennifer Niven is the sweetest person EVER.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson - I didn't know what to think of an epic fantasy, but I am so glad that I read this one before any other, because Sanderson's writing is gold, and I didn't even know it!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer - Loved loved loved LOVED THIS BOOK, and again, like the Raven Boys, I read good reviews on it but just never really was excited about it until AFTER I finished the book.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - I remember when this first came out and Rowell was just becoming known, I thought it was a cool synopsis and nothing more, but then I just related to ALL the characters, and now it's one of my favorites.

Yay for TTT freebie! Were there any books that you weren't expecting to be beyond awesome?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: The Last Good Day of the Year

The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Release Date: May 19th, 2015
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 5/14/15 to 5/16/15
288 pages
Rating: 1/2

Ten years ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor, Remy, watched as a man broke into Sam’s home and took her younger sister, Turtle, from her sleeping bag. Remy and Sam, too afraid to intervene at the time, later identified the man as Sam’s sister Gretchen’s much older ex-boyfriend, Steven, who was sent to prison for Turtle’s murder.

Now, Sam’s shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. As long-buried memories begin to surface, Sam wonders if she and Remy accurately registered everything they saw. The more they re-examine the events of that fateful night, the more questions they discover about what really happened to Turtle.

Master storyteller Jessica Warman keeps readers guessing in this arresting page-turner.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

The creepy teddy bear on the cover does not lie about the contents of this book. This is definitely one book where the cover accurately portrays its creepiness. Sure, it isn't a gory mess, but anything involving stalkers in Santa costumes tends to creep me out a bit.

I'm just going to go straight to what started it all, the abduction. Samantha Early, at age 7, spends a lot of time with her best friend Remy, and her little sister Turtle (Tabitha), who she may or may not love fully. One Christmas Eve, a man dressed up as Santa Claus enters through the screen door, and with both Remy and Sam watching, he kidnaps Turtle right under their noses. It isn't until 10 minutes later they have the courage to confront their parents during the Christmas Party. 

YEAH. CREEPY RIGHT? Basically this story is a mystery and a thriller in one. It jumps ahead 10 years into the future, where Sam has a new little sister, Hannah, and Turtle has been deemed dead. She was never found, however, there is a suspect. One who had been wearing a Santa suit that evening. However, is he truly the culprit? According to witnesses, he was only unaccounted for an hour. Is that enough time to hide a child from everyone? 

There is a lot of figuring out in the story. And honestly, I didn't really find the twist to be that much of a plot twist, just because it wasn't a character I really knew or cared about. However, the ending and the way the culprit was watching everyone was very, very creepy (But I won't spoil it for you). WHY DO PEOPLE KIDNAP CHILDREN? AND MURDER THEM? WHY?

And the jumping back and forth between the past and the present was pretty random. I'm not sure if it was because I didn't pay attention to the dates, but at one point I thought something was taking place in the present, but actually it was taking place in the present. And that was just hard to process. But more importantly, there really wasn't any closure. And I guess that is the point of the novel, but I need my closure! 

To be honest I thought this book was going to be bad, but I ended up liking it more than I did! This really was a page turner, and I really wanted to know what happened and who the abductor was really. Sadly we never get the whole story, but you get what you get.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Rochester Teen Book Festival!

I'm pretty sure I talked about this a lot, but on Saturday (technically today since I'm scheduling the post), I attended the Rochester Teen Book Festival, and it was a lot of fun despite my nerves! Plus, this is technically my first book event, major or not, but seeing that BEA is just around the corner, I felt like this was my warm up for the real thing.

I'm going to start off by saying that I don't show my excitement outright, but instead keep everything inside. In other words, I tend to seem like a very calm person when it comes to fangirling, and it's true, I am very calm. I don't like to shout or scream or talk loudly with anyone about interests unless 1) I am very excited about something and 2) I know the person very, very well. This is kind of why I am dreading BEA a little, because I'm afraid that I will be overwhelmed by everyone's excitement, but because I attended this festival, I think I am more prepared.

With that said, I do want to recap what happened! The event took place from 9am - 5pm (8 hours how did I do this), and it was divided up between the opening, four author panel sessions, and an autographing session. Basically, I could choose 4 panels to go to, and that meant choosing authors. Luckily, but also unfortunately, I really was only there to see Jennifer Niven, since Sarah J. Maas hurt her ankle and couldn't attend (Sadness). But I also went to see the authors of the books that I read. (Sarah Dessan, Ally Condie, and Ellen Hopkins were guests as well, but those lines were so long that there was no way I was going to dedicate my time to them since I haven't even read their books!)

I brought along my journal to take notes, so here are some fun things I learned about today! Most of it has to do with writing!

  • She used to write adult fiction, and also went to school to become a screenwriter
  • Because she was so interested in the Arctic, she took a trip there and also wrote about it so much that people referred to her as "Arctic Girl"
  • Her writing led her to write adult historical fiction, but then after her agent passed away, she poured her heart and soul into a YA, All The Bright Places.
  • Finch was inspired by a real boy she knew. (His uncle was actually at the panel)
  • All The Bright Places only took six weeks to write!
  • All the places in the book exist except for the bookmobile, sadly, which is why someone MUST come up with it.
  • There is a movie deal, and Elle Fanning is playing Violet!

(The questions were all directed to all the authors, and weren't specific, sadly)
  • For writing a book, scenes help create a character. A character lives in your head!
  • Writer's Block: The inability to cut yourself a break. Most people think that it's because they have run out of ideas or just can't write anymore, when it really is because we tend to think our writing HAS to be perfect throughout the first draft. The first draft is only the bare bones of the novel.
  • There are many different writing processes. Neal Shusterman can only write linearly, from the beginning to the end, while Jonathan Maberry writes the end, and then aims for that. 
  • It's important to remember that there are real world consequences to any of the rules you create in your world. If you want to write about everyone disappearing on Earth except for these two characters, think about all the planes! They would come crashing down!
  • Neal Shusterman goes through four edits before moving on to another chapter. And he always writes down the first draft by hand!

  • Grimalkin in Julie Kagawa's The Iron Fey series was actually inspired by an Irish mythical cat/fey, rather than Cheshire cat.
  • Katie McGarry actually has repressed memory, and she transferred that to her character in Pushing the Limits, Echo.
  • She actually spent weeks trying to figure out a name for Echo, who originally was supposed to be named Sarah.
  • Katie was also a reluctant reader. It wasn't until she read The Outsiders when she became more invested in books.
  • Originally Julie Kagawa had (spoilers for The Iron Queen, highlight to read) Ash and Megan separate rather than together in the end, but her editor made her write another book and continue the series in order to bring them back together.
  • Katie's new series Nowhere But Here will feature three sequels, and she hung out with a legitimate biker gang for six months to write the novel!

Overall, I got EVERYTHING I wanted and more. I also sat in Cinda Williams Chima's panel, but I didn't take any notes because I haven't read any of her books. I also got a couple of books signed for my friends and myself. And even though I felt a tiny bit out of place during the opening ceremony because of ALL THE TEENAGERS from schools, I saw more adults at the panels and at the autographing sessions. I know the event placed an emphasis on teenagers, but you know, adults read YA too!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #27

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Thanks to Netgalley's READ NOW offer, I got The Witch Hunter! And I also surprisingly got Everything, Everything from Random House Children's! I'm very excited to read both of these!
From Edelweiss I got The Immortal Heights, Newt's Emerald, and also Ice Like Fire (even though I have never read Snow Like Ashes, it will happen I promist)

Oh man, I have just been working a lot these past couple of weeks, buying lots of random things (yay Target), reading a decent amount even though it's not as much as I wanted it to be, playing lots of video games (I can't help it sorry), and DRINKING ALL THE ALCOHOL. There's this festival going on, the Lilac Festival, and my friends and I went to a wine tasting, and there was just so much wine. SO MUCH.

I'm currently hosting the oldies aka my parents at my house, so I've been driving them around showing them the sights of Rochester, haha. And TOMORROW I will be waking up at 8am (why are these things so early) and driving over to the Rochester Teen Book Festival, which I will recap on SUNDAY. I plan to be well prepared and get my books to go get signed and also bring a notebook to take notes during the panels! I AM EXCITED BECAUSE 1) It is 10 min away from me and 2) IT IS FREEEEEEE. I've literally been waiting all year for this hahahah!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: Apple and Rain

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 5/8/15 to 5/10/15
352 pages

When Apple's mother returns after eleven years of absence, Apple feels almost whole again. In order to heal completely, her mother will have to answer one burning question: Why did she abandon her? But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother's homecoming is bittersweet. It's only when Apple meets her younger sister, Rain-someone more lost than she is- that she begins to see things for how they really are, allowing Apple to discover something that might help her to feel truly whole again.

From the author of the acclaimed The Weight of Water comes a beautifully-crafted, moving novel about family, betrayal, and the ultimate path to healing.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

I've been wanting to read Apple and Rain since it came out in the UK/AUS or somewhere that wasn't in the US, so when I was approved for it (Thanks Netgalley) I was very, very excited to read it. And I'm glad that it lived up to all the amazing reviews I read earlier, because this was such a realistic read. 

Apple's real name is Apollina, and her last name is even crazy (I'm not even sure I got her first name right!). Her mom left her for her dream of Broadway in the US, and Apple doesn't stop wishing for her to come back. And then one day out of the blue, years later, her mom does come back. She pleads with Nana, asking for another chance to be a mother, that she's ready now after all those years.

So right, ok. Apple goes home with her mom because she believes her mom is invincible. But once she moves in, she finds that she has a sister that no one knows about, Rain. Rain believes that her toy baby is real, and that "she" needs real food, real milk, a real doctor check up. This would be fine with a little kid, but Rain is already 10 years old. And her mom doesn't know what to do with her. Or Apple for that matter. The mom is a sucky mom, and I may not be an expert at parenting, but I'm sure the author's intention was to show how bad of a mom Apple's mom actually is.

This lies on the more realistic end of contemporary, where even though there is some romance, it gradually develops throughout the story. And we also get to see Apple and Rain's relationship slowly grow from hate (on Rain's end, honestly), to caring. However, the most important part is seeing how Apple slowly realizes how her mom isn't the mom she dreamed about, but yet forgives her because she has good intentions. It's just really sad to see her mom just leave both of them at home to travel to London for job opportunities, and asking Apple to skip weeks of school to take care of Rain, because Rain doesn't want to go to school.

Apple and Rain was such a beautiful, realistic read, and I felt so much for Apple. I'm just surprised she was able to forgive her mom so many times, because there were a lot of things that happened that I would have raged about, if I had her as a mother. The fact that the author created her as a cool mom in the beginning deceived me as well, which led me to think that Apple living with her mom was better than living with her strict Nana. But as the story went on, I saw the truth. AND IT WAS SO REALISTIC AND I WAS DECEIVED.

So yes, I loved Apple and Rain. It's a nice, painful read, haha. Well not too painful, but definitely on the sad side.  
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