Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #61

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015

I have read over 50 books already! And I'm so proud of that hahah. But yeah, I have a ton to pick from. Plus most of these are from 2015, which is cool because this is the first time I've kept up with all these releases hahah.

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway - The most down to earth, sad, FLUFFY book in the world. Don't believe me? Read it! I have yet to see a negative review!

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia - Alex and Miles are my new OTP. Everyone NEEDS to read this asap. I cannot recommend this enough.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab - KELL! I want a Kell. I also wanna travel between the Londons. Even though they aren't nice. I guess I'll just like to stay in Red London!

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - THE FEELS. I can't believe the book just ended that way. If you have read The Book Thief and loved it, you will love this too!


Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater - This series. I am very, very excited for The Raven King.


Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry - My first Katie McGarry novel and I loved it! I have Nowhere But Here, which I will read soon!

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein - I only worship Elizabeth Wein and read everything she has written and will write. This wasn't as sad as Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, but still.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold - The quirkiest read that was just perfect for me! Though my dad did not like it. Haha. Well he thought it was just okay. I say trust my judgement more!

I have read some stellar books this year. And I have 50 more books to go!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Make Me Read It Read-a-Thon (Voting!)

So if you haven't heard (which you should've by now), Ely @ A Book So Fathomless and I are hosting The Make Me Read It Read-A-Thon! In order to prepare for this, I will now be showing you the books for the event. All of these books I have, either digitally or physically, so I have no excuse to not read any of the ones with the most popular votes. Without further ado, START VOTING.


And here's the poll. Get voting people!

Which Books Should I Read?

The Winner's Curse
Shatter Me
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Cruel Beauty
Red Queen
Siege and Storm
An Ember in the Ashes
Something Strange and Deadly
Poll Maker

Friday, June 26, 2015

Make Me Read It Read-a-Thon! (Sign Ups!)

Hello hello! Do I have another special treat for you! Today, I will be teaming up with Ely @ A Book So Fathomless to host this fun Read-a-thon that EVERYONE can participate in. In other words, even if you aren't signing up or reading the books, you can interact with people who are!

What Is This Read-A-Thon About?
Look at the books you own, either physical, e-book or ones you've borrowed from the library and pick out a few you really want to read, or feel like you should read. It’s up to you how many you pick, personally I'd pick a few more than you expect to be able to read in a week. Example: if you think you’ll only read two, pick out five books or if you think you can read seven, pick out ten.

Make a list of these books on your blog, or make a video, or a Goodreads shelf or post a picture on Instagram—whatever is easiest for you. Then get friends, other bloggers/booktubers etc. to vote on which books you HAVE to read.

When the read-a-thon comes along, you read the books in the order of most votes. For example, if one book gets 10 votes—you read that first, then the one that got 7 and so on. If there's a tie, then it's your preference. The goal is to read as many as possible. 

When Will This All Take Place?
The Make Me Read It Read-a-Thon will start at 8am on July 20th and end at 12am on July 27th. The reason we have it starting at 8am rather than 12am is because 1) Ely said so, so blame her (HA just kidding), and so that readers that sleep early (me) don't have to miss too much of the read-a-thon! And then it ends on 12am because I said so. But the important point is that it's for A WEEK! 

Since this is an interactive read-a-thon, there is about a month to get some kind of initial post/photo/video/etc. where your readers can vote for which book you read! You can either have a poll, or just rely on the comments, have votes count more than once, honestly this is all up to you! If you plan to participate, make sure you have all your books ready for July 20th!

WE HAVE A TAG. If you're on Instagram or Twitter, our tag will be #MakeMeRead! If you have any questions, leave a comment or email us! 

WE'RE SUPER EXCITED TO BE HOSTING THIS (which we came up with in a day, ha). 

Link Up! Sign Up! Go go go!
Do you wanna sign up for the Read-a-thon! This is the place to do it! I would recommend linking up with your post/video/photo about the books you are using for the read-a-thon, so that other readers can hop around and vote, but it you're just super excited to join right away, then feel free to just paste in your name, blog name, etc. If you have a post ready but signed up already with your main blog URL, I will be going through and updating the links to link up to the proper post! So don't worry about it :D

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bob's Burgers

F.L.A.I.L is an original feature that is about anything that I'm currently obsessing about that is not book related! (*gasp*) It will feature anything from TV shows, to video games, and even to mini projects that I'm working on.

What It's About: Basically it's revolves around the randomness of this middle aged family who own a burger joint. They always get into these CRAZY situations every episode, but in the end it all works out (or sometimes doesn't), because FAMILY.

Why I Love It: It's only the best animated adult show ever. It completely beats South Park, Family Guy, and all those other shows that just make fun of current events (which sometimes isn't even funny). Also, the characters are unique and not stereotypical. You would think that Tina (the girl on the left) is left completely ignored, when in reality she's a strong, self-confident female character.  

And then the episodes themselves are hilarious, and the show is just getting better and better with each season. The creativeness in this show is 1000% gold. 

My Favorite Character(s): Definitely Louise. I AM LOUISE. She's such a little brat and a mischievous little demon, I LOVE HER. Also my favorite episode, The Frond Files, (which I've watched at least 3 times), she writes a story about how her school counselor sends in a robot from the future to come destroy her.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Throne of Glass Discussion (Part 1)

Hey everyone! Do I have a treat for you! Do you remember the time where I didn't know when or where I would read Throne of Glass? Well, I did! And so did both of my friends Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight and Holly @ The Fox's Hideaway. We have officially read the book! Woo! *throws confetti* So, what now? Well, instead of reviewing it individually, we decided to discuss it instead. This led to a rather lengthy discussion on what we thought, (what we forgot), and overall, what we liked and disliked about Throne of Glass! Since our discussion was *pretty* long, we decided to divide it in three parts! Links will be provided at the end to both parts 2 & 3! 

Without further due, here is part 1! Be prepared for some craziness!

Val: I'm about to start this discussion again, for real. So I really liked Throne of Glass, I liked it a lot. I'm not sure who I was rooting for, Dorian or Chaol (I can’t believe his name is pronounced as “Kale”, hahahah)

Holly: Whoa. Whoa. Wait. His name is pronounced as “Kale”? THAT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL. Also I am totes team Kale, after that Trial type of thing.

Val: I KNOW. I think I saw it on someone else's blog, and I was like “wut, I've been pronouncing it 'Ch-AWL' this entire time. What is life. But yeah, I am ALSO TEAM KALE. Shannon what team are you on?

Holly: I've been pronouncing it like Ch-awl too! IT MAKES MORE SENSE TO ME.


Shannon: I thought it was Kale from the start? But I also thought I was wrong, so who knows!

Holly: Celaena is a BADASS. I mean, she could be extremely stubborn, obnoxiously vain, and cold. But I think those “flaws” just made me love her all the more. I liked that she was a sexually confident female too, because they are sorely lacking in YA books.

Val: TRUE. It is so lacking in YA that I myself don't even know what sexually confident means. And I loved how she became slightly more caring in the end.

Holly: Basically, it means that these females know they're hot, and they don’t apologize for that. They're confident with and around guys, and they like flirting. NO SLUT-SHAMING. In so many books I read, most girls are the typical Mary Sue. Shy, innocent, always blushing at everything. They don’t know they're pretty, and they find it ridiculous that a guy would call them beautiful. They're kind of made to be superior to “those other girls” and it’s such a harmful stereotype and leads to slut-shaming. And oh, I loved her growth. She was so closed-off and angry at the whole world, but slowly, so slowly she became warmer and more caring. She started to feel more for people, let herself open up again. She’s been through a lot, so I totally understood her need to shut down and keep people out.

Val: Oh I see! YAY NO SLUT SHAMING. Yeah, same here. I've only read a few that have had confident girls as well. It all sounds very humble and modest :P And like what a girl is SUPPOSED to be like. Seriously. I’m glad that the people around me at least think differently, well I guess on Tumblr, Book Blogging community, and hopefully my friends think that slut-shaming is bad too, at least.

Holly: Oh, I don't think I have friends outside of this that see slut-shaming as a problem, which is sad. I try and catch it in books, and I like reading ones that say “fuck you” to the gender norms.

Shannon: I liked her by the end, but in the beginning, holy hell she was VAIN. I was like, girl, you are about to die, and you are worried about your boobs and your hair. STOP IT.

Ready to continue? Part 2 Part 3

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #60

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

My Ten Favorite Top Ten Topics We've Ever Done In The Past 5 Years

First off, congrats to the Broke and the Bookish for keeping up TTT for so long! 5 years is a lot! So to celebrate that fact, here are my top ten favorite topics!

All The Anticipated Releases - I love going through everyone's lists and seeing if I anything interests me! And you know how tempting it is to want books that aren't even out yet.

Top Ten Inspiring Quotes - I had so much fun coming up with a graphic for this one! It involved a lot of fun fonts!

Top Ten Childhood Books - This topic just makes me so nostalgic.

Top Ten World War II Books - Everyone knows that I am obsessed with WWII.

Top Ten Animal Companions - I actually made this topic up, but I absolutely love, love, LOVE animals.

Top Ten Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table - I definitely had fun with this one hahah

Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read - Only because peer pressure is the best hahah.

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows - Because sometimes we just need to take a break from all the books!

Top Ten Blogging Confessions - I LOVE CONFESSING ALL THE BAD THINGS I DO. Ok just kidding not anything bad, don't worry.

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year - I like this topic because it's easy to do and doesn't require much thinking hahah.

And that's that! Happy 5 years to the Top Ten Tuesday Meme! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Emmy & Oliver

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 6/19/15 to 6/20/15
352 pages

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

I don't know if this is evident, but I loved loved LOVED Emmy & Oliver. It was a book filled with fluff, angst, heartbreak, and just pure amazing. This incredibly down-to-earth book handles a hard topic, a kidnapping, flawlessly. I'm starting to see a trend with my high ratings. They are all books that explore all the perspectives, emphasizing that not everything is just black and white, good or evil.

Emmy and Oliver are neighbors, and have basically always been together since BIRTH. Until in second grade, when Oliver's father kidnaps him. And no one can find them. Until now. 

Oliver is back, and he feels out of place. Everyone says to give him space, to get settled back into California when he was in NYC this entire time. But it really isn't as simple as that, because as much as Emmy wants to continue her friendship with Oliver, from where they left off in elementary school, it's not that easy.
"You can't pick up where you left off," she said, her voice softer, "because he's not the same person he was back then. You're on an entirely different road now."

Emmy & Oliver is beautifully written. The dialogue is real, depicting accurate conversations between high school seniors (at least to me it seems pretty accurate). Oh, and don't forget that the side characters are realistic and incredibly supportive. THESE ARE THE FRIENDS YOU SHOULD HAVE. And there is just so many little and subtle things spread out through the writing, like comments about not slut-shaming, or about being like the other girls (because what's wrong with being like the other girls?), and also LGBTQ.

And guess what else? There are actual parents! And they play huge roles in the lives of Emmy and Oliver. With Oliver's disappearance, Emmy's parents have become more and more protective, and it affected Emmy to the point where she had to hide the fact that she learned (and loved) how to surf.
AND THE SHIP. Man, Emmy and Oliver are perfect for each other. I mean come on, the first time she sees him in 15 years, she sticks her tongue out at him! I ship them. They are too adorable for their own good.

Overall, THIS HAS BECOME A NEW 2015 FAVORITE. And I wish I highlighted more in my Kindle because there were some memorable quotes.  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

What? A Giveaway? Celebration?

So, I don't know if anyone knows, but FIRST OFF, I would like to celebrate the fact that I finally made it to 200 followers! I think this is a HUGE milestone for me, just because I'm a little blog, and yeah. Second, yes I am hosting a giveaway! 

I'm not going to go full out like I did during my blogoversary, but I still want to express how GRATEFUL I am for everyone supporting me and this blog. It means a lot. And for that, check out the two (!!) giveaways I have below! (No cheating please!)

Here is the US Only one!
Because I am pretty poor, and the Illuminae hardcover already weighs a ton. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And, now for International Only!
NOTE: This is only for International! Not for US! That's why you have the giveaway above! Here is a list of where The Book Depository ships to

Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: The Storyspinner

The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
Source: Library
Date Read: 6/15/15 to 6/18/15
432 pages
Rating: 1/2

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

I kind of picked this up from the library on a whim, with absolutely no expectations at all. And I actually liked it! The Storyspinner reminded me of The Kiss of Deception, and although there were some similarities, there was more of a focus on politics and death.

The story is split between two groups. One is of Jacare, Tex, Leao, and Pari, a group of Keepers, a race that has magical abilities, while everyone else doesn't. They are on the search for a lost princess, in order to strengthen the "wall" and keep bad things out. The other group is of Johanna, her family, and Lord Rafael. Johanna grew up as a Performer, until her father lost balance during a performance and died. From then on out, her and her family have been kicked out of the Performers' group until she turns 18.

Most of the story is about politics, and how this powerful duke, Duke Inimigo, has a plan of uniting all of the lands under his control. Unfortunately, Johanna gets wrapped up with everything, especially with her performing as a storyspinner (aka elaborate storyteller) on Lord Rafael's estate. In the beginning, I wasn't sure how I would feel about all the point of views. There were at least six of them! Over time, I did get used to it, and I got more involved in the story. 

Johanna is always trying her best to help her support her family, but she also is incredibly stubborn. She's pretty modest and refuses help, which is what leads to her and Rafi's hate then love relationship, which is honestly what I loved best about the story. Then on the other side, we have Leao and Pari's slow relationship, though I wish that was explored more. I think the Keeper's side of the story could have been expanded more, which hopefully will happen in the second book.

Speaking of MORE, I wanted more explanation of the Keepers, this mysterious "wall", and how it connected to a king and his heir. At first I thought the king was part of the Keepers, but then I found out he wasn't. And then I just got confused on why he mattered at all. But I'm hoping that will all be explained later. 

The Storyspinner was an enjoyable read, though I wish there was more on the world-development, and how everything came to be. And also, the book ended in an incredibly random place, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Like, it just ended....randomly, with no conclusion. You know how some first books have those "mini" conclusions, like a conclusion to an arc? Well this did not happen here. So yeah, but overall I'm glad that I picked this up! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

So I am stealing this tag. Okay not "stealing" stealing, but doing it without being tagged, that's what I mean! This was originally created by Tiffany @ About To Read, and because I had nothing else ready for Thursday, this is what I decided on. SO ENJOY. Plus it's Cinderella, who doesn't love Cinderella? 

Evil Stepsisters: a book with characters you just hate
Let's talk about the last two books I recently read, or DNFed in this case. Well, I'll just focus on Between the Notes, because the main character pretty much used her next door neighbor (love interest) when she needed him, and then refused to be seen with him since he was poor. No. Her friends weren't great either though.

Prince Charming: a book with a gentleman
Oh man this is hard. How about Kell from A Darker Shade of Magic? Even Rafi from The Storyspinner is turning out to be quite the gentleman. Kind of.  

Cinderella: a character that is graceful, kind, and defiant
Would I be cheating if I put down Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles? Hahahah. OH and also Vin from Mistborn.

Fairy Godmother: a character that always has someone looking out for them
I guess Aileana has Kieran to look out for her in The Falconer. But honestly most main characters have someone looking out for them! Even in More Happy Than Not, Aaron has both Genevieve and his mother looking out for his well-being.

Helpful Creatures: something that makes you happy when you’re sad
Like in real life? Like video games? LIKE OLLIE MY DOGGY?

Ashes: a book you didn’t care for
It's only the next big thing apparently, Seeker.

Pumpkin: a character with a transformation
Uh uh uh. I'm tempted to put Seraphina, but she doesn't technically count I suppose. Oh Iola from The Burning Sky can turn into a bird, but that's only because of magic. In Grasshopper Jungle characters started turning into MAN EATING GRASSHOPPERS, does that count?

Impossible: a book with an ending you didn’t see coming
Can I just change this to plot twist? Because Made You Up had an amazing one. And so did More Happy Than Not

Just Breathe: something that inspires you to be courageous
I'm not sure if courageous is the right feeling, but Mosquitoland inspired me to, I don't know, I guess go into the world with less worries? 

Happily Ever After: a book with a perfect ending
NOTHING. NO BOOKS DESERVE HAPPY ENDINGS. JUST SAD PITIFUL ONES. OH I thought of one, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

And now for the tags!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: Between the Notes

Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: June 16th, 2015
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 6/14/15 to 6/15/15
400 pages

When Ivy Emerson’s family loses their house—complete with her beloved piano—the fear of what’s to come seizes her like a bad case of stage fright. Only this isn’t one of her single, terrifying performances. It’s her life.

And it isn’t pretty.

Ivy is forced to move with her family out of their affluent neighborhood to Lakeside, also known as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Hiding the truth from her friends—and the cute new guy in school, who may have secrets of his own—seems like a good idea at first. But when a bad boy next door threatens to ruin everything, Ivy’s carefully crafted lies begin to unravel . . . and there is no way to stop them.

As things get to the breaking point, Ivy turns to her music, some unlikely new friends, and the trusting heart of her disabled little brother. She may be surprised that not everyone is who she thought they were . . . including herself.

Debut author Sharon Huss Roat crafts a charming and timely story of what happens when life as you know it flips completely upside down.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

So uh. This is sad. I figured this would be a wonderful and magical tale about playing the piano and how it heals the soul or something of that matter. But nope. This was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be.

Between The Notes centers around the main character, Ivy, who ends up moving to this poor neighborhood because her parents can no longer support their well off lifestyle while paying for her brother's therapy. She's afraid that everyone will make fun of her and her social life WILL BE RUINED, so she goes through great lengths to hide the fact that she now lives in a turd-like house in the "slums", also known as Lakeside.

There are a number of reasons why this book did not work for me. Such as...

The fact that this book revolves around social status.
Like why. WHY. I do not care! At a young age, I did not care at all what I wore or what people thought I did or where I lived or anything. Maybe it's just my town, but I don't even think there was a sole popular group! People were just in their own cliques! Basically, in the novel, Ivy is friends with these two girls, and she's only in it for the social status. Even her best friend, Reesa, sometimes ditched her because of the move. THIS IS HORRIBLE. Her best friend doesn't even support her at all. And she makes it seem like this situation, one that Ivy can't even control, is the worst thing to ever happen. Ugh.

There's a sort of love triangle
And....well I wasn't sold. There's these two guys. One lives in the same neighborhood, the other is rich. She hangs out with both of them. And she doesn't want to be seen with "bad boy" because he lives next door in the same "shitty" neighborhood, and she treats him coldly one day and nice the other (only when she needs him of course). AND SHE TOTALLY DOESN'T DESERVE HIM, he is way too nice for her.

Sending the message that living in a bad area makes you a bad person.
This pissed me off the most, especially since even the parents were not happy with living in a supposedly bad area, from what I've read, isn't bad at all? It's just POOR. SEE THAT'S THE THING. Apparently being poor means you're sad and unhappy and sure maybe you don't have everything in the world, that doesn't mean you should be ostracized at school! What has the world come to.

Man. I am done. To sum it up, yes there was piano playing, but no, not as much as I wanted there to be. This was a book that mainly focused on where you lived, how rich you were, and how that played in your social status at school. Even though the main character came to her senses in the end, I was still so infuriated with the beginning that I couldn't rate it higher.   

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #59

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Books On My TBR For Summer 2015

This is going to be quick because I am a lazy person and I want to go back to playing video games. Maybe I won't even get to all of these because of that HAHA. Just kidding. Here's what I have on the list so far!

The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace - Currently reading this one!

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli - Look at me, catching up with all of the last seasons releases!

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach - Hahah so many reviews of this the last few months. I will see what all the hype is about!

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken - JUST GOT THIS ONE FROM HOLLY @ THE FOX'S HIDEAWAY. She thinks she's letting me borrow it but THAT'S A LIE. Just kidding she has my Truthwitch

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness - I've never read any of his novels, but I know this one will be good!

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch - I finally can start this series, especially since I have the sequel to review as well.

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway - I HEARD AMAZING AND SAD THINGS ABOUT THIS. This will be read soon because it is coming out next week!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - I don't know what to think about this. But I've had it on my shelf forever.

Confess by Colleen Hoover - This is the one CoHo novel I have in my possession, so I guess this is the one I will be starting with!

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo - I think it would be a very good idea to move ahead with this series, because I'VE HAD IT FOR SO LONG. I'm surprised I remember a decent amount from Shadow and Bone ha.

Now the real question is, will I get to all of these this summer? I literally have no excuse I have these all.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Review: Mosquitoland

Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
Source: Bought
Date Read: 6/9/15 to 6/10/15
352 pages

"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange."

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Have you ever read a book that fits you so well, but on the other hand will most likely not appeal to everyone else's tastes? A book that is crazy, yet so believable at the same time, with the weirdness of the story hiding the true meaning of the story? Well, Mosquitoland is definitely one of those novels.

Mim, short for Mary Iris Malone, has recently discovered, unexpectedly, that her mother is currently in a hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, while she is stuck in Mississippi. Does this stop her? No. Instead, she swipes $800 from her "evil" stepmother's hiding spot, and boards a bus to Cleveland. And as you can see, the Greyhound bus is not as reliable as it should've been.

I would be lying if I said this novel was only a road trip. It's not. It's about a girl, diagnosed with psychosis supposedly (I say this because no one is certain what her diagnosis is), who despite all common sense, makes it her objective to see her mom. Along the way, life happens. She meets people that are utterly disgusting, others that are terribly sweet, and ones she never thought she would meet again.

This novel is about unexpected meetings, unexpected friendships, and unexpected kindness (in a way that isn't shown outright).

At the start of every chapter, Mim writes a letter to Isabel detailing her thoughts and feelings. Who this Isabel is, you will not know until the end, just like how you truly won't know who Mim is until you've read through the entire novel. This applies for all the characters, because they are so well developed, even though the weirdest shit happens to the trio, Walt (who has down syndrome!), Beck and Mim.

I think what may throw readers off is that the events aren't exactly believable. The side characters don't exactly have believable backstories (for one, Walt is found camping out alone in Independence, Kentucky). Plus, I was never really sure what scenes were exaggerated, and what were not. After reading many books with an unreliable narrator, I expected the same from Mim, though I'm not sure if that was the case in this....?

However, throwing all of that aside, this book is definitely a gem in a sea full of...uh...BOOKS. And sure, it's weird, but it's the good kind of weird. It's a book, where by the end, the underlying message of friendship and love and saying goodbye really hits you hard.

"We wouldn't leave you, Mim. Not like that."
"Not like what?"
"Like-high and dry." He clears his throat again. "At the very least, you'd get a liquid good-bye."

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Mass Effect Trilogy

Hey there beautiful people! I know what you're all thinking! "Ugh Val is going to talk about video games AGAIN". And guess what, you're right! Hahah. 

Oh but wait! There's a banner! What is the meaning of this! Why is Val turning a perfectly good word into an abbreviation? (Because I can that's why). OK HERE'S THE BIG REVEAL. I've decided to start MY OWN, NEW FEATURE. Basically, I'll be "flailing" about a new interest, video game, show, or anything not related to books. This is just a way of showing you what else I do in life, because I don't ONLY read books! Hence the little subtitle. Also I'm not sure how original this is, because I haven't googled it yet. I'm sure I'm in the clear.

Today, I will talking about this video game trilogy that I spent about three years of my life on, only to have the ending of it blow up in my face. Imagine your favorite book trilogy having a horrible, but necessary ending. Yes, this is how I feel right now.


There aren't any spoilers, but I don't want to disappoint anything!

Premise: The main character, Commander Shepard, discovers that these giant artificial intelligence ships are going to destroy all organic life as they deem fit. Of course, no one believes her (I choose to play as female), yet she still gains the trust and loyalty of a number of crew members, who all grow to respect her. And of course, no one heeds her warning, so EARTH AND THE REST OF THE GALAXY IS DOOMED.

Why I Love It: It takes place in freaking SPACE. And you get to travel to different planets, shoot aliens and humans alike, and meet AMAZING CHARACTERS with so much depth. I love them all. My favorite, of course, was Garrus. (ShepardxGarrus ftw)

Why It Destroyed My Heart: If anyone has finished the trilogy, they know how I feel. The thing that makes it THE WORSE, is that I spent so much time leveling up my characters, strengthening relations, collecting items around the galaxy, and it was all for nothing. No matter which ending I picked, it was the same (trust me, I checked on Youtube). And of course, I did not have the extended ending cut, so OF COURSE I would be pissed for like only 2 minutes of epilogue.

Do I Still Recommend It: Of course I do. THIS IS MY TRILOGY for crying out loud. I am just in SERIOUS denial that the ending ever happened, and I'm going to pretend everything is okay, and now I think I will just search for fanfic because I AM NOT OKAY.

Thanks for sticking til the end of the post! Don't worry! Next time I plan to talk about a TV show, so it's not going to be limited to only video games hahah!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

DNF Review: The Witch Hunter

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: June 2nd, 2015
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: DNF
368 pages
Rating: --

Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Sigh. So apparently this is another one of those books that you either loathe entirely, or absolutely love. Sadly, I'm in the former group.

There are a lot of things that stopped me from continuing, the first being my expectations haha. No but seriously, here's the rundown.

The main character is, contradicting. In other words she doesn't live up to her description. In the beginning, she's described as the best witch hunter, yet the number of mistakes she makes is larger than I would have expected. Wouldn't an experienced hunter not have many of these problems? Also, how did she get so good in the first place? I know she was trained, but I'm just not convinced.

Everything happens in the first 15%. Let me tell you what happened in the first...what, 10 minutes of reading the novel (Ok maybe not 10 minutes but same thing). The MC, Elizabeth, kills a necromancer by accident, drowns her sorrows in ale and absinthe, gets questioned by two random, sketchy guys looking for someone (*cough* her *cough*), has witches herbs in her pocket which causes the Inquistor, her employer for YEARS, to accuse her of being a witch without a doubt...even though she's a witch hunter. Oh, and this happens because she assumes the King wants to sleep with her.

There are way too many generic characters, and I can't keep track of them all. And I also don't care about them. There's a lot of guy characters, and from what I've heard (not that I read this far), most of them are attracted to Elizabeth. Or at least like her a lot. So yeah, I'm just going to avoid all that. Nope.

I really wanted to LOVE The Witch Hunter, because I've seen SO MANY awesome reviews for it! But I don't know, I just ended up not liking the way it was going. It was way too unbelievable (Elizabeth gains MORE wanted status than the Most Wanted Man in the land. By having witch herbs. And escaping. I think that's A LITTLE too much there).

To be honest, I think I'm just going to leave the reading of this to someone else, and spoil myself later. BECAUSE THIS IS A RANT DNF REVIEW, please take my review as a grain of salt. Because I know this is a well loved book and plus I didn't even finish this. I'm a little black sheep here :)
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