Wednesday, August 26, 2015

waiting on wednesday: september 1 PALOOZA (part 2)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted over at Breaking the Spine, where each week we highlight an anticipated release! This week we continue the September 1st releases, because they are many and they are all going to be amazing!!!

A Whole New World – Liz Braswell
Release Date: September 1

Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

I'm really looking forward to this one, because Aladdin is one of my absolute favorite Disney movies, and I think that this could be something great. However, I have heard mixed reviews about it, so I am proceeding with caution. But I will decide what I think about it when I get the book in my hands :) 

Vengeance Road – Erin Bowman 
Release Date: September 1  

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.


I'm usually not a huge fan of westerns, in movies or books, but I have been hearing so much about Vengeance Road lately, that I have to see what all the fuss is about. It actually looks really amazing, and the COVER is incredible, so I am excited to see what this one brings. 

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) – Sarah J Maas 
Release Date: September 1 


Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.


what are your picks this week?


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

waiting on wednesday: september 1st PALOOZA

Waiting on Wednesday is a  feature hosted over at Breaking the Spine, where we highlight a new release each week! This week is going to be a little different because there are SO many books coming out on September 1st. Because of this, I'm going to do half of the books today and half of them next Wednesday! Here we go :)

Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between – Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: September 1

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

I really have enjoyed Jennifer E Smith's other three novels, at varying degrees. I felt they got better as she published them, with her most recent release being my favorite, so I have hopes for this novel to be good! I am feeling the need for a cute contemporary in my life, especially after the inevitable trauma that Queen of Shadows will cause.

Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon
Release Date: September 1

This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

!!!! This is for sure one of my most highly anticipated books of the entire year, an opinion that has only escalated into even HIGHER anticipation because I have literally seen nothing but GLOWING reviews of this everywhere on the interwebs. I think this is such an original concept, and I seriously hope it lives up to my expectations. PLUS! Look at that cover! It is absolutely gorgeous and everything I could ever want out of a cover. Just let me have this book. PLease. 
Cut Both Ways – Carrie Mesrobian
Release Date: September 1

Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.

I've seen many many mixed reviews for this book, but I've decided to withhold my own judgement until I read it myself. I think it is so important for there to be positive representation of bisexuality (along with many other things) in YA books,  so I'm really hoping that this is a book that I can put under that category! 

what's on your WoW for this week? 


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

top ten tuesday: auto buy authors

top ten tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at the Broke and the Bookish, where each week we have a different bookish theme! This week's theme is: "August 18: Top Ten Of Your Auto-buy Authors (no matter the genre or what it's'll buy it from these authors!)."

 1. Rainbow Rowell – As one of my top five favorite authors ever, I think it is safe to say I would read anything this woman ever decides to publish. I've followed her from YA to Adult and back, from throwback contemporary to magical realism to (soon) pure fantasy, and I haven't been disappointed yet. Frankly, I think Rainbow is one of the most talented writers around today, and I will fully support her, whatever she decides to write.

2. Sarah J Maas – I only just started reading Sarah J Maas' Throne of Glass series at the end of 2014, but over the course of the last eight months, she has definitely become an auto-buy author for me. Throne of Glass is definitely one of my favorite series to EVER exist, and with the release of A Court of Thorns and Roses, which I loved almost just as much as the other series, Maas proved that she writes things that I like. I absolutely cannot wait to see what else she comes up with, because I will be there for it. 

3. Rick Riordan  – I began reading Riordan's books when I was in middle school, when only the first couple Percy Jackson books were out. Since then, I have bought and subsequently read every single one of his releases up until now. Rick Riordan has inspired my love of mythology, and I love the things that he does with the timeless stories, but certainly if Uncle Rick wanted to write about literally anything else, I would be first in line to buy that sucker. 

4. Stephanie Perkins – Some of my absolute favorite contemporaries are written by this woman. I have read Anna and the French Kiss over 10 times! I know these types of books are not for everyone, but I absolutely adore this woman and all of her novels, including her anthology of Christmas stories, which are the cutest. I believe her next release is going to be very different, a horror novel, and you better believe I'm going to read this one too, because I believe that Perkins has the midas touch– and anything she writes will be gold in my book. 

5. Morgan Matson – Like an idiot, I owned every single Morgan Matson book, but never read one until Since You've Been Gone had been released for about two months. Well. After that, which I ended up loving, it took me no time at all to fly through her other two novels, which I loved just as much and more than SYBG. Matson does touching, moving contemporary very very well, and I can't wait until her fourth novel. These are all personal favorites, so Matson's consistency has made me trust her.

6. Shannon Hale – Shannon Hale is another author that I have been reading since I was young, probably reading my first novel by her at 9 or 10 years old. The ones that I read when I was small are still some of my favorite books (The Goose Girl and Princess Academy) and I have since accumulated many of her other novels, from her ya sci/fi book to her adult contemporary to her middle grade fairy tale fantasies, I love Shannon Hale's writing, and I will continue to buy her novels.

7.  John Green – Many people have strong opinions about John Green and his novels, and I understand that he is not for everyone, but you'll forgive me if I love his novels and him as a person. I have been reading his books since 2009, and though some are better than others, I have never not enjoyed myself while reading a John Green book. They are short and fun and they have moments that I just stop and close the book and think about how John Green thinks of the things he does. IF HE EVER releases another book, it will be the best day ever.

8. Marissa Meyer – Though the conclusion isn't out yet, it is safe to say that the Lunar Chronicles have been a huge part of the last few years of my life, and will remain one of my favorite series, no matter what happens in Winter. I can't wait to see what Meyer does after she finishes this series, because I have no doubt in my mind that it will be amazing. The way she takes fairytales and makes them completely her own is something to behold, and I can't help but think she would be just as good at writing whatever else she chooses.

9. V.E. Schwab – pictured here are just a few of the books that V.E. (or Victoria) Schwab has written, and all of them are absolutely brilliant. From adult fantasy to adult super/anti heroes to all over the ya spectrum, Schwab has never failed to impress me. I absolutely love how original all of her ideas are, and from following her on twitter, I am unbelievably excited for whatever it is she comes up with next.

10. Jandy Nelson – Safe to say that I'll Give You The Sun is one of my favorite novels ever, and The Sky is Everywhere is no slouch either. These are both heartwrenching stories of love and loss, and it is truly like Nelson finds the bullet holes in your heart and aims the words right for them. I literally cried my eyes out while reading both of these books, more than once. Her next release isn't slated for release until 2017, but I would wait TWICE that to read a sentence that this woman writes.

What are your picks for this week?


Monday, August 17, 2015

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': the remnant chronicles 1 & 2

The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal – Mary E. Pearson 

synopsis (book 1): A princess must find her place in a reborn world.
She flees on her wedding day.
She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.
She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.
She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.
The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.
Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

The Kiss of Deception  

I had been gearing up to read this book for almost a year, because I bought it when it first came out, but, as is wont to happen when you have too many things on your tbr shelves, I kept putting it off for no apparent reason.  When I finally did get around to it, I was SO happy that I did. This is the high fantasy that I needed in my life. On the heels of finishing all the existing books in the Throne of Glass series, then the first two books in the Winner's Curse trilogy, I needed something high fantasy with an interesting heroine, and this book definitely delivered.  

First of all, I thought it was so interesting that being a First Daughter in Morrighan is such a big deal. The magic, a gift of Sight, passes down through the First Daughters, going all the way back to Morrighan herself, who led the chosen people of the Remnant to the land that comes to be named for her. I love the idea, and the way this "gift" was executed in this novel was interesting. I liked how it wasn't something you were just born with, it was something that came from within and could either be heeded and developed or ignored. 

The plot moved pretty slowly in the first part of the book, so it took me a few days to really get into it, but I never considered putting it down. I just think that is sort of a natural part of the first book of a fantasy series, that the worldbuilding can get sort of slow sometimes, but I really appreciated how intricate Pearson made her setting. The languages and cultures of each country, the realistic and complicated political relationships between them, and the diversity of the people in the book. Once I got into the world, I found myself really invested in its fate. 

As far as characters go, I felt that, since this book involved a lot of build up, I didn't get to know the characters quite as well as I did in the second novel, but I still ended up conflicted because I liked all of them, even though it was clear at the end that they all lied repeatedly, both to each other and to all the other characters in the book. Lia was an interesting protagonist, but like I mentioned before, she really comes into herself completely in the second novel, although I did like that she was so committed to her life outside the palace walls. As for the intrigue of the assassin vs the prince, I didn't realize that it was meant to be an intrigue over who was who until after the book was over. I just thought that I missed the reveal of who was who. But I did like the idea. Honestly, my favorite characters were Pauline, Gwyneth and Berdi, and how they were so lovely and supportive of Lia. I loved all of their friendships. 

Probably my favorite part of the novel was the journey from Morrighan to Venda with the assassin and his group, who weren't what I expected at all. Especially the part where they stopped at the vagabond camp, where we met Dihara and the other vagabond women. I loved how they encouraged Lia and stood behind her, even though they have a good relationship with the assassin, they believed what he was doing with Lia was wrong. The heartbreaking part of the novel was at the end of the journey, when Lia had to witness something truly awful (if you read the book, you know what I mean) I was constantly amazed by her strength and fortitude throughout all the difficult things that she had to go through.

Basically, this was a really really awesome novel that I felt was a great introduction to this world and all of its ins and outs, and a nice segue into the second novel, which I liked better, but only because I didn't have that period of adjustment like I did in the first book. 

The Heart of Betrayal (obviously, there will be spoilers for the first book in this review)

Talk about an awesome novel. I completely adored the way this one went, which wasn't in a direction that I necessarily expected, but one that was completely amazing nonetheless. 

I loved that this book took place in Venda, which was largely unknown to us in the first novel. It was so interesting to see the juxtaposition of the Kozimar and his "upper class" companions with the extreme poverty of the rest of the population. I felt that, as Lia felt herself growing more attached to the people in Venda, so did I. Though I *hated* (HATED) the Kozimar, I didn't hate all of Venda, and I really felt for Lia, because she was conflicted about her desire to leave and her growing attachment to the land. 

I really appreciated Lia's character development in this novel. She grows into herself, realizing that, too survive, she will have to embrace her darker side. She became more cunning, more willing to do whatever it took to stay alive, including what she would have previously thought unthinkable. The parallels between her and Venda herself, sitting high on their walls and drawing crowds to hear the borderline crazy things that they say, the fact that Lia was almost met by the same fate as Venda, it was all so interesting. 

As for Kaden and Rafe, I really don't have any strong feelings about who Lia ends up with. I actually really like them both as characters, even though they both have big flaws in my opinion. They've both lied and deceived Lia, they both are loyal to a fault, though maybe not to her necessarily, and they're both strong personalities. I feel for Kaden, as his life has been terrible so far, so I think that he and Lia could make each other happy, but I also appreciate that Rafe came across the entire world to find Lia, and has risked his life time and time again for her sake. 

The ending of this novel was SO dramatic, and I felt like I couldn't even breathe for the last fifty or so pages. From the almost-wedding with the red dress from the cover to the daring escape gone horribly wrong, I couldn't put the book down. I literally broke down in tears over Aster, sweet thing that she is, and I absolutely loved the loyalty of Rafe's friends in their efforts to get them out of Venda. 

I absolutely cannot wait for the third book to come out, I'm going to be on absolute PINS AND NEEDLES until next year. This is definitely a new favorite series for me, and I know I will be rereading them lots of times. 



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

waiting on wednesday: legacy of kings

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted over at Breaking the Spine, where each week we talk about a highly anticipated new release.

This week's pick: Legacy of Kings – Eleanor Herman
Release Date: August 25

synopsis: Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.


ohhhhh my god, how awesome does this sound?? I love reading about Alexander the Great (Maggie Hall's The Conspiracy of Us mentions Alexander and the myths surrounding him as well), and I am so looking forward to reading a teenage interpretation of this historical figure!! I absolutely cannot wait for this, I've seen a few people already raving about this one. 

what are your picks this week?


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

top ten tuesday: authors with the most

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at the Broke and the Bookish, and this week's theme is: "August 11: Top Ten Authors I've Read The Most Books From." I always love a chance to talk about some of my favorite authors, so I am totally in love with this week! I can't wait to see what you all put as well :)

1. Rick Riordan = 15 books

After following Percy Jackson and all of the Heroes of Olympus books through their publications, I read the Kane Chronicles and the two additional novels in the Percy Jackson world that Riordan wrote. Aside from the tiny series with millions of books that I read when I was really little, Riordan is the author that I have read the most books from, by far, and will remain forever one of my favorites.

2. Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler = 14 books

With 13 books in the Series of Unfortunate Events, it was easy for Lemony Snicket to secure a spot on this list. I love this author, for his strangeness as much as for his writing. I also read Why We Broke Up last year and loved it, proving that Daniel Handler can impress just as much as his alter ego, Snicket, can. 

3. Sarah Dessen = 10 books

I went through a stage where all I wanted to read was Sarah Dessen books, and I literally read every single thing she had written within the span of a couple weeks. Since then, I've kept up with her new releases, and though they aren't some of my absolute favorite books, I do find myself going back to them from time to time and always end up enjoying myself when I'm reading one of hers. 

4. Cassandra Clare = 10 books

Clare's Shadowhunter world is one of my favorite literary places to visit, and I know that this number will grow in the years to come. Between the six Mortal Instruments, three Infernal Devices and the Bane Chronicles, I have almost an entire shelf dedicated to Clare's novels. I can't wait for the release of Lady Midnight in 2016. 

 5. Ally Carter = 9 books

For me, as a thirteen year old girl in a boring southeastern town, the idea of girls being extraordinary was something really enticing, and Carter's Gallagher Girls series fed my need for excitement. I also enjoyed the three Heist Society novels, and though I haven't gotten to it yet, I feel sure I will like All Fall Down just as much as her other novels.  

6. J.K. Rowling = 11 books 

I think this is pretty self-explanatory. 7 Harry Potters, Fantastic Beasts, Quidditch Through the Ages, The Tales of Beetle the Bard, and a desperate read of the Casual Vacancy. I will love this woman forever.

7. Jennifer L. Armentrout = 7 books  

This woman has written an incredible amount of books, and I really would like to get more into her New Adult series, as I have heard great things about them! For now, I have read the Covenant series and the first book in the Lux series, and I loved every single second of these novels. I know the number by this woman's name will grow, because she is super talented.

8. John Green = 6 books

(I had to be shameless and use my own picture with this incredible person lol) I've read everything that John Green has written and I will continue to do so until he chooses to write no more words. He is one an inspiration to me, from his novels to his youtube to his social media platform and what he does with it. 

9. Richelle Mead = 7 books 

I read the Vampire Academy series last year, then read Bloodlines in 2015. I haven't continued on with that series yet, but I plan to, once I acquire the rest of the books! I also can't wait for her new release later this year, entitled Soundless. 


10. Sarah J Maas = 5 Books

Sarah J Maas is my queen, I bow to her, I will read her grocery lists if she would ever allow me to. Throne of Glass is, in my opinion one of the best series to grace the YA shelves, and I also adored her Beauty and the Beast retelling that came out this year. 

What are your picks for this list??


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

top ten tuesday: fairy tale retellings

After missing the last two weeks of TTT, I am happy to be back up and running! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, where each week there is a different theme of the bookish variety. This week's category is: "August 4: Ten Fairytale Retellings I've Read/Want To Read (or you could do fairytales I want to be retold or fairytales I love)." I personally adore all types of fairy tale retellings, so this is an exciting week for me!

I'm going to do five of my favorite retellings and five retellings that I would like to read.


 1. The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer – (pictured here: book 1: Cinder)

If you haven't heard of the Lunar Chronicles, I have one question for you: where the heck have you been? This is one of the most popular series in YA right now, and understandably so. It consists currently of three books and a couple of novellas, each of which deal with a different fairy tale retelling, but also each of which connects to the other books in many ways. Its sci-fi fairy tales, set in an interesting, futuristic world and given a decisive twist into things you wouldn't expect. They are a ton of fun, and definitely some of my favorite fairy tale retellings.

2.  The Goose Girl – Shannon Hale

Based on the Grimm fairy tale of the same name, this has been one of my favorite books (and also retellings) since I was eight years old. I've read it many times, and I never seem to get tired of it. I love Shannon Hale, and this book was absolutely a staple of my young life, and even now. If you haven't read this, just please do it. It is full of magic and bravery, of girls learning to be themselves, of princes and hard work and friendship and loyalty. I honestly can't think of a retelling that I could ever love more than this one.

3. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas

Sarah J Maas is one of my favorite authors right now. It seems that everything she touches turns into amazing stories filled with kickass, beautiful characters. This particular novel is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with faerie lore thrown in there. It is sexy and beautifully written, and I really just wanted it to go on forever. It was one of my most anticipated books of the entire year, and it did not disappoint. I absolutely cannot wait for the second novel to come out next year.

4. Cruel Beauty – Rosamund Hodge

Beauty and the Beast was always my favorite fairy tale, from the time I was a little girl, and so it isn't surprising that there are two Beauty and the Beast retellings on this list. Rosamund Hodge created a really awesome world in this retelling, which combines the classic story with elements of Roman society and mythology. I liked that I never knew what was coming next with this one, and the ending was super unexpected but beautiful at the same time.

5. The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh

I'm not sure if 1001 Nights is technically a traditional fairy tale, but I'm counting it as one for the purposes of this list because I just recently read this book and I'm completely obsessed with it. Romance and mystery, dangerous girls and lovable boys, all with an absolutely gorgeous setting that I seriously can't get enough of. You're going to want to hop on this bandwagon, because this series is going to be amazing.


1. Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4) – Marissa Meyer

This is the final installment in the aforementioned Lunar Chronicles series, and it is probably my most anticipated book of the entire year. I love this series so much, I can't believe that it is coming to an end, but at the same time I just want to read the book so bad that I won't be sad about it ending until after I get Winter in my hands. As the cover suggests, this one is a Snow White inspired story, following the other three novels, which were Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel.

2. A Thousand Nights – E.K. Johnson

I've never been that interested in the 1001 Nights tale, but maybe that's because I hadn't seen many retellings of it before this year. However, with the earlier release of The Wrath and the Dawn, which I loved, and then this book coming out later this year, I think it has become a story that I can appreciate through its retellings. This cover is completely gorgeous, right??

3. A Whole New World – Liz Braswell

This is the first book in a new series where Disney stories and fairy tales are reimagined in "unexpected ways." Again, I don't really know if Aladdin counts as a fairy tale, but since this is a retelling and Disney counts it as one, so will I. I have seen mixed things in advance of the release of this one, but I love Disney so much, I will definitely at least try this one when it comes out.

4. Mechanica – Betsy Cornwell 

This is a Cinderella retelling that sounds really similar to Cinder by Marissa Meyer, but I loved that book so much, I'm not complaining about the similarities. I like it when people reimagine fairy tales in a different world than their original one, it is something that fascinates me. So I do really want to get my hands on this one and give it a try soon!

5.  Crimson Bound – Rosamund Hodge

I have had this book since the day it came out, but I still have not gotten around to reading it. It is on my summer tbr, so I hope I can get it done by the end of August! This is in the same world as Hodge's other novel, Cruel Beauty, but it is not a sequel. It is a Red Riding Hood retelling and if CB is any indication, this one is going to be really cool.

What are your picks this week?


Monday, August 3, 2015

july wrap up

Goodbye, July! I feel like I say this in every single wrap up post I ever do, but I honestly cannot believe it is over. Now August is here, I'm going back to Uni in two weeks, and it is as hot as ever here in the southeast. Like 90% humidity, 100 degree days. (which I HATE) But you don't want me to get off on a rant about how much I hate hot weather, so I'll just stick to the books. For the past two weeks, you may have noticed that this blog went a little dark. That is because I have been living at the beach, the little bit of vacation time in my summer. Its amazingly beautiful and relaxing there, but the problem is that there is no wifi. No wifi = no ability to post. So I apologize for that, but I am back now! July was an awesome reading month for me, on account of the vacation time. I read fifteen books but only got around to posting four reviews. I would've posted more, because I did read some truly amazing books this month, but the no wifi thing really cramped my style. But despite it all, here is my July wrap up!

1. The Potion Diaries (US title: Madly) – Amy Alward ☆☆☆ 

When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.
Enter Samantha Kemi - an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam's family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they've fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime? And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news. No big deal, then.

(I'll let my goodreads review speak for this one) you can find that HERE

2. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell – Chris Colfer (reread) ☆☆☆☆

Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.
"The Land of Stories" tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
I first read this book a couple of years ago at the suggestion of some very smart girls that I babysit for, and I ended up falling completely in love with the series. Every year when a new book comes out, I can't resist rereading all of them. I think they're funny and clever without being too juvenile, and I love it when all of my favorite fairy tales are tied together in one world.

3. The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns – Chris Colfer (reread) ☆☆☆☆☆

spoilers! After decades of hiding, the evil Enchantress who cursed Sleeping Beauty is back with a vengeance.

Alex and Conner Bailey have not been back to the magical Land of Stories since their adventures in The Wishing Spell ended. But one night, they learn the famed Enchantress has kidnapped their mother! Against the will of their grandmother, the twins must find their own way into the Land of Stories to rescue their mother and save the fairy tale world from the greatest threat it's ever faced.

Again, I've read this before, but I think this one is tied with the last addition to the series as my favorite one. Also, this cover is for sure my favorite, it's so gorgeous!! 
4. The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning – Chris Colfer (reread) ☆☆☆☆

spoilers! The Brothers Grimm have a warning for the Land of Stories.
Connor Bailey thinks his fairy-tale adventures are behind him - until he discovers a mysterious clue left by the famous Brothers Grimm. With help from his classmate Bree and the outlandish Mother Goose, Conner sets off on a mission across Europe to crack a two-hundred-year-old code.
Meanwhile, Alex Bailey is training to become the next Fairy Godmother... but her attempts at granting wishes never go as planned. Will she ever be truly ready to lead the Fairy Council?
When all signs point to disaster for the Land of Stories, Connor and Alex must join forces with their friends and enemies to save the day. But nothing can prepare them for the coming battle... or for the secret that will change the twins' lives forever.
The third book in the bestselling Land of Stories series puts the twins to the test as they bring two worlds together!

This is is the book in the series that has the most twists and turns, and though it isn't my favorite, I appreciate that fact. It also sets up the next novel nicely with the mystery of the masked man and the fate of the twins' grandmother. 
5. The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms – Chris Colfer ☆☆☆☆☆

spoilers! Fairy tales are just the beginning. The Masked Man is on the loose in the Land of Stories, and it's up to Alex and Conner Bailey to stop him...except Alex has been thrown off the Fairy Council, and no one will believe they're in danger.
With only the help of the ragtag group of Goldilocks, Jack, Red Riding Hood, and Mother Goose and her gander, Lester, the Bailey twins discover the Masked Man's secret scheme: He possesses a powerful magic potion that turns every book it touches into a portal, and he is recruiting an army of literature's greatest villains!
So begins a race through the magical Land of Oz, the fantastical world of Neverland, the madness of Wonderland, and beyond. Can Alex and Conner catch up to the Masked Man, or will they be one step behind until it's too late?
Fairy tales and classic stories collide in the fourth adventure in the bestselling Land of Stories series as the twins travel beyond the kingdoms!
This is the newest addition to this series, and the only one I hadn't read before, and I have to say, I was not disappointed. I loved the addition of classic stories to the fairytale characters we've already gotten to know in the previous three books, and the twinge of romance and sacrifice reminds us that the twins aren't 11 anymore... they really are growing up throughout the stories. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves retellings! I have a full review of this up HERE!

6. I'll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson (reread) ☆☆☆☆☆

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you probably know that this book is absolutely in my top five most favorite books ever. In fact, it might be number one. I read it in November 2014, and I just felt it calling to me in the past couple months, begging for me to reread it. I have to say, I loved it just as much the second time, as I went through and really marked all of my favorite passages. It's lyrical, bittersweet, beautiful, and tugs at something inside me. The love I have for this book is a little bit unexplainable, you just have to trust me when I say that this is a MUST READ.

7. Nimona – Noelle Stevenson ☆☆☆☆

The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it "a deadpan epic."
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.
I am not a graphic novel aficionado. I do not know anything worthwhile about them, and I rarely venture into reading them, mostly because I'm intimidated and have no idea where to start. However, I have seen Noelle Stevenson's work around tumblr and the like, so when I saw this in my local bookstore, I felt like I should at least give it a try. I ended up finishing it in one sitting, laughing the entire way. I absolutely loved it, and it made me want to try more graphic novels for sure. (if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!)

8. Tiny Pretty Things – Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton ☆☆☆☆

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.

What a roller coaster ride this one was!!! I have a pretty extensive review where I talk about this book, up HERE, but really what you need to know is: shit gets REAL.

9. Lois Land: Fallout – Gwenda Bond ☆☆☆☆

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.
(from my goodreads review) 4.5 stars!!! I enjoyed this a lot more than I was even expecting to, and that's saying a lot. I love the idea of giving Lois Lane her own voice, and then letting her say really important things with it. she's snarky and fearless and utterly independent with a permanent record to match. I couldn't help but love her, flaws and all, because underneath her bravado and brass, Lois is a lonely girl who is dedicated to telling the truth, even when it isn't easy. I appreciated her character so much, and with this portrayal it's easy to see how Lois Lane, ordinary girl, stands up proudly next to Clark Kent.
aside from the brilliance of Lois' character, the plot of this book was fast paced, with heist and high jinks abounding. it was a ton of fun to read, and based on what I saw in this novel, I think this could be an awesome new series. I was swept up in the fun of it all, I almost didn't even notice how scary the adversaries were. Lois and her band of friends handled danger with bravery and ingenuity, and backing down is never in the cards.
if you like superheroes and kickass women, strange supernatural happenings and lots of sass, I'd say this is the book for you.

10. I Am Princess X – Cherie Priest ☆☆☆☆

Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen; illustrated throughout with comics.
Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.
Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.
Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window. Princess X? When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There's an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby's story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon---her best friend, Libby, who lives.

I loved the format of this book – comics mixed with prose, and I unexpectedly really really enjoyed the story. It was fast paced and twisty, throwing me into plot twist after plot twist as I tried, with May, to get to the bottom of the mystery that is Princess X. I think the less you know about the story, the better. It is pretty short and very readable, so I think anyone could get into this one.

11.  Emmy & Oliver – Robin Benway ☆☆☆☆☆

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?
Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

FAVORITE NEW READ!!!! I fell head over heels in love with this story, its characters, and the relationships between the two. I have a full review HERE, just know this one of the best contemporaries that I've read. (ever)

12. Every Last Word – Tamara Ireland Stone ☆☆☆☆☆

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

This was such an interesting novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't get a chance to write a full review for it, but I do have a lot of thoughts about it, so it might find its way into a spotlight post or something. It is new and different to me to read from the perspective of a person with OCD, especially the type that Sam suffers from. I appreciate the fact that Tamara Ireland Stone was dedicated to a true, raw portrayal of this condition, and I felt like I was educated through this fictional story. I felt for Sam, because of everything she has to go through, but I was also so proud of her when she progressed throughout the novel. If you're looking for something different and engaging, this is it.

13. Love Fortunes and Other Disasters – Kimberly Karalius ☆☆☆

In the tradition of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, one girl chooses to change her fortune and her fate by falling in love.
Love is real in the town of Grimbaud, and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita’s famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It’s a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love.
Fortunately, Fallon isn’t the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate—even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian.
Will Fallon and Sebastian be able to overthrow Zita’s tyranny and fall in love?
Let's be real: the reason I bought this was because of the cover. And what a gorgeous one it is, too. I must report that the story inside reflects the cuteness of the cover, and so even though it wasn't my favorite story of the month, I did enjoy reading it. I think Swoon reads does a fabulous job, so I will read pretty much anything they publish, and this one follows the tradition of adorableness.

14. Looking For Alaska – John Green (reread) ☆☆☆☆☆

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.

This was actually the first John Green book that I read, back in maybe 2010, and it remains my favorite one, to this day. I hadn't read it in a couple of years, so I decided to pick it back up in honor of paper towns and all the amazing things that John Green is doing. It was different than I remembered it being, but I love that you can read the same book at different times in your life and see different things, read it in a different way.  I love this story just as much as I did the first time I read it. 

15. Paper Towns – John Green (reread) ☆☆☆☆

Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...

I had to reread this one in honor of the movie coming out!! Honestly, I hate Margo. I hate her so much. But! I actually liked the movie portrayal of her better than the book, just because they made her less abhorrent. haha I do really enjoy Paper Towns as a whole, though. 

what did you guys love in July?

80% Read the Printed Word!