Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Unrivaled by Alyson Noël

I have seen on Goodreads that Unrivaled has gotten a lot of mixed reviews, so I just want to say outright that I LOVED this book. It ended on a huge cliffhanger and I need the second book (Unrivaled is a planned trilogy) right now!

Unrivaled follows the perspectives of Layla, and aspiring journalist; Tommy, an aspiring singer; and Aster, an aspiring actress; and occasionally, Madison, the biggest movie star of the ages. Layla, Tommy, and Aster, attempting to make it big in Los Angeles, take coveted positions in a "competition" as promoters for a billionaire's L.A. clubs. But then Madison, who's presence crosses paths with all three main characters, goes missing. And Unrivaled turns into a Sara Shepard-like mystery. 

Unrivaled was a really quick read for me because it was so captivating, and as a result, every spare moment I had was spent reading this book. I also loved the location and the way Hollywood was woven into it. Unrivaled definitely goes on my Goodreads shelf of "Favorite Books of 2016".


Points/Questions I want to make/ask:

1. What is the secret of Madison's past? Clearly she is somewhere from the South, but the only detailed thing we are told is Madison was involved in some kind of fire, and she burned HERSELF (I haven't figured out why, though) and that is how she got the scar on her arm

2. I am almost positive that Madison is still alive, and she sure isn't dead, and Aster DEFINITELY did NOT kill her. That leads me to this question: how does finding blood on someone's clothes mean that said person is dead? I felt like there were hints all over the book that Madison was planning to orchestrate her disappearance in order to protect the secret of her past. I got the impression that implicating Aster was part of the plan, which leads me to my next point. 

3. Does Ryan now know about the truth of Madison's past? He kind of sort of threatened her with the whole "tell me how you really got that scar" speech, but did she tell him the truth and he then agreed to help her? Madison did say she "wished him the best"...

4. What did Ryan do to Aster???

5. If Madison is still alive, where the hell is she? 

6. What was with that ending scene?!

My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows

"Was that a horse joke?"

It is moments like these that make My Lady Jane so incredibly funny and entertaining. My Lady Jane, an alternate history of the story of Lady Jane Grey, has you laughing a the dedication, before the story even starts. The dedications read "for anyone who knows there was enough room for Leonardo DiCaprio on that door" and "And for England. For what we're about to do to your history." It's obvious from the start that the book is going to be hilarious, which it is, but it is also mind-blowingly fantastic. Instead of the Protestants vs. the Catholics, it's the eδians (pronounced "ethians"), people who can shape-shift into animals, vs. the verities, people who can't. In my opinion, this is super creative.

My Lady Jane follows the perspectives of three different characters (each of the three authors wrote the perspective of one of the three characters): Edward, Jane, and Gifford. All of them mingle in the plot of Lady Jane Grey's life, just not as history knows it. Lots of historical figures make appearances in this book, and even more are mentioned. You will find yourself wanting to research these historical figures. You will also probably want to look at a family tree of Henry VIII. Needless to say, My Lady Jane is absolutely fantastic.

I had the pleasure of going to the Lady Janies' signing, and if you have a chance, you should to. They do a theatre performance with props, and they read from a scene that contains the quote at the beginning of this post. 

My Lady Jane definitely is one of my favorite books of the year, and it will be on my "Favorite Books of 2016" shelf on Goodreads if you would like to take a look.

Add My Lady Jane to your shelf on Goodreads here.

Visit the My Lady Jane website here

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gemina (Illuminae Files, #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

**I received an ARC of this book at BookCon**

OMG. All I am going to say is that Gemina had what I call the "second book spunk" as oppose to the unfortunately common "second book slump". Illuminae (book 1) starred characters Kady and Ezra. Gemina continues Kady and Ezra's story, just in a different way. Gemina stars two different characters, Hannah and Nik, and the book takes place on Jump Station Heimdall, a destination mentioned in Illuminae. I will post a more detailed review when the book comes out in October. I am also dying to get my hands on a finished copy of the book, as a lot of the art was not final or nonexistent (art TK). But even without the completed art, this book was fucking fantastic! I thought Gemina was 10x better than Illuminae, which was fucking fantastic itself! 

Check out Gemina on Goodreads here.

Check out Amie Kaufman's website here and check out Jay Kristoff's website here!

Dreamology by Lucy Keating

First off, I just want to say that this cover is adorable.

Now, on to the book part. Dreamology follows a girl by the name of Alice who has been having dreams that feature a boy by the name of Max for many years. Alice and Max have gone on a ton of crazy adventures together, and most importantly, they have fallen in love. But Max only exists in Alice's dreams. Or does he? One day, at Alice's new school in Boston, Max walks into Alice's class. But this Max has a girlfriend, is nothing like dream Max, and most importantly, he doesn't know who Alice is. Or does he?

Dreamology was a very enjoyable read. It was a very quick read, but it still felt kind of amateur to me. However, this is Lucy Keating's debut novel, and I think that overtime her writing will strengthen, or at least be even more appealing to the YA reader. One thing that I did appreciate about this book was that I thought it was going to have some magical aspect to it, but it didn't, and I actually appreciated that. Dreamology was good, but there wasn't anything special or spectacular about it.

Rating: 3.6/5 

Check out Dreamology on Goodreads here.

Visit Lucy Keating's website here

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tumbling by Caela Carter

**I received this book from Penguin Teen for review (thank you Penguin Teen!!!)

First off, I just want to say how pretty and creative this cover is. Tumbling follows the perspectives of Grace, Leigh, Wilhelmina, Camille and Monica, five elite gymnasts, over the course of the two-day olympic trials. The cover features a girl grasping on to the olympic rings, which, in my opinion, is extremely clever, the idea of having to tightly grasp on to your dream in order to achieve it. 

I really liked the culturally important references that Caela Carter made through the novel, such as through eating disorders and to the LGBTQ community. The character growth throughout this novel was tremendous; the amount of growth and change that these characters went through over the course of two days is unbelievable. Also in regards to the characters, I found it impossible to specifically root/favor just one of the girls, and I think that can be attributed to Caela Carter's fantastic writing. 

I also really appreciated the short biographies of each girl at the beginning of the book and the glossary of gymnastics terms at the end of the book. It was really helpful and the reader will find his/herself constantly referencing these two resources to better understand the novel. The release date of Tumbling was also strategically released at the beginning of the summer, with the olympic games coming up in just a few short months. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I love gymnastics, and though I am waaay to tall to be a gymnast, I loved that I got to be a part of the gymnastics world for a little while. While Tumbling was/is not one of my favorite books of the year (so far), I still really enjoyed it.

4.5/5 Stars 

Check out Tumbling on Goodreads here

Check out Caela Carter's website here

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Amateurs by Sara Shepard

Sara Shepard has a new book coming out this November, and low and behold, it is filled with tons of murder and mystery!

I love Sara Shepard! I read the books of Pretty Little Liars before the show was a big phenomenon, and I loved them, so I have continued to read all of Sara's books, including The Lying Game series, The Perfectionists series and The Heiresses. They are all eerily similar, but for some reason the concept of it never gets old. Sara really knows how to write a great mystery. Needless to say, I devoured this ARC. 

The Amateurs follows a group of kids who meet on a crime-solving website/forum and band together to solve a murder. Aerin, Maddy, Seneca, and Brent come together to solve the murder of Aerin's older sister Helena, who was murdered. It was a typical Sara Shepard book, but I devoured it nonetheless.

There were a lot of exciting twists and turns that happened in this book, and a lot of them I totally was not anticipating AT ALL, and I really appreciated it. I also really enjoyed the concept of this book. If you love PLL, or any of Sara's books, you will love this book, and if you haven't read any of Sara's other books and/or you haven't watched Pretty Little Liars (season premiere is June 21st on Freeform) but love mysteries, you should definitely pick up this book come November. I would give this book a 4.95/5 stars.

Grade: A

Check out The Amateurs on Goodreads here: 

Runied by Amy Tintera

Recently, I just finished a fantasy book (the first in a trilogy) by Amy Tintera. Ruined follows a girl named Em who is one of the Ruined. The Ruined are humans that have special magical abilities, and all the non-Ruined have made it their mission to exterminate them. Em is a Ruined without any magical capabilities, which has made her somewhat of an outsider, but she is out for revenge when her entire family, including her mother, the Ruined queen, are killed and her younger sister Olivia is abducted. Em decides to impersonate a princess from another kingdom who is set to marry Cas, the prince of the kingdom responsible for killing her family. She plans to enact her revenge from this advantageous position, but no surprise, she starts to develop feelings for Cas and begins to question her desire for revenge. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I was expecting to be completely blown away by it (I got this impression from Margot from Epic Reads) but I really wasn't. It was good, and it was a nice quick read, but I just wasn't blown away by it, and I have been blown away by a lot of books recently. That being said, if you love fantasy, I would definitely pick up this book. I, however, would give Ruined a 3.5/5 stars. 

Check out Ruined on Goodreads here:

Thursday, June 9, 2016

New York Times: By the Book Tag

I first watched Jessethereader enact this tag, and he tagged anyone who would like to do the tag, so I thought it would be fun if I took a shot at it!


What book is currently on your nightstand?

Well, a) I don't have a nightstand because I have a loft bed, so I have this pocket thing that I stick books in and b) right now, I'm reading the book that would normally be on my nightstand, so... If I were sleeping, the book on my "nightstand" would be Tumbling by Caela Carter. 


What is the last truly great book you read?

That is a really hard one. I have read a lot of truly great books lately, so I would have to narrow it down to The Lovely Reckless, The Thousandth Floor, and A Court of Mist and Fury. I'm going to go with The Thousandth Floor because the story and the writing was just so unique; you read about a different conceptual view of the future then you would read about in books such as Divergent and The Hunger Games and I found it to be absolutely exceptional.


If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you want to know from them?

Uh, J.K. Rowling of course! She's my all-time favorite author and it was her books that really got me into reading. We would honestly just sit and talk about all things Harry Potter and other books that we are reading. 


What book might we be surprised to find on your bookshelf?

Nothing. I read everything. But if I had Fifty Shades of Grey on my bookshelf (which I don't) you would probably be surprised to find it there. 


How do you organize your personal library?

So, my shelves are all over the place; I have a handful attached to my bed, a small nightstand shelf next to my bed, a white shelf next to my desk, and a closet full of shelves. So the book on the shelves on my bed and the white shelf all contain books that are a part of a series as well as my ARCs. And all the books in my closet are books that are not a part of a series, but I do group books by the same author together (i.e. John Green). I also have my fashion books and my political books on these shelves. And then the nightstand thing with the shelf is where I keep biographies and memoirs. 


What book have you always meant to read but just never gotten around to?

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I have no idea why I haven't read this book: Everyone seems to love this book, but for some reason I just haven't gotten around to reading it. But I know that when I read it, I will love it. I am planning to read it this summer. 


Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel like you were supposed to like but just didn't:

Fallen by Lauren Kate. I heard a lot of good things about this series, and I know they were filming the movie (what happened to that? Shouldn't it have come out like, a year ago?) and I always like to read books that are going to have a movie adaptation if I haven't already read them. But I really just didn't like this book.


What kinds of stories are you drawn to and what types of stores do you tend to stay clear of?

I love fantasy, particularly retellings of fairy tales. I also love books with princes and princesses in them (like The Selection). I tend to steer clear of paranormal in general (including paranormal romance, which, by the way, might explain why I didn't really like Fallen... but I loved Twilight and the Vampire Academy series, so...), it's just not my thing. 

#9: If you could require the President to read one book, what would it be?

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler. With all the work President Obama has done with combatting sexual assault, such as creating the It's On Us organization, I think he would really appreciate this book and hand it off to his daughters and try to convince other young readers to read it.  Combatting sexual assault also has a really personal meaning for me; Plus, I loved this book, so that's an added bonus.

So there you have it, the New York Times: By the Book Tag. I now tag any of you who wish to do this tag!

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Thousandth Floor Cover Reveal!!!!!

The Thousandth Floor, the AMAZING book that I have been raving about ever since I read, finally has a cover!!!! And it's beautiful!!!!! Check it out below, AND check out the cool video reveal. AND read the first four chapters of The Thousandth Floor, all on the Epic Reads website, and be the first to know... Just remember, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall... 

Check out the cover reveal video here and read the first four chapters here!   

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June TBR!!!!

It's June!!!!! School gets out this month, which means I will have a lot of time to read (assuming I don't slack and watch Netflix all day or a Law & Order: SVU marathon). So my June TBR is VERY ambitious, and I don't expect to get through all of them. I have allotted a total of 12 books, and without further adieu, here they are!

The first book for my June TBR is the book I am currently reading write now...

The Amateurs by Sara Shepard

I am super excited to read this book! I love Sara Shepard's books; they tend to be pretty similar but they are addicting nonetheless. Basically, this book follows a small group of teens and youn adults who meet on a crime-solving website, and they come together, to solve the murder of a teenage girl.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. I love retellings and I love Alice in Wonderland and I love Marissa Meyer, so I cannot wait to read this book. It is a standalone, and it tells the story of the Queen of Hearts. It should be a really interesting retelling, as I'm guessing it doesn't have a happy ending... I'm really looking forward to reading this. 

Ruined by Amy Tintera

I don't know too much about this book, but Kiera Cass blurbed it and it has princes and princesses in it, so I'm sold! Margot from Epic Reads also loved it!

Dreamology by Lucy Keating

This book has an interesting concept. Basically we follow a girl who has dreams about this boy, and they go on all types of adventures together and they are madly in love. But one day, the boy walks into her classroom and he is anything but the boy from her dreams.

Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman 

I don't know too much about what this book is about, but it's supposed to be historical, and I absolutely loved Anne Blankman's Prisoner of Night and Fog which you can check out here.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows 

This book looks AWESOME. It's written by three different authors, and it is supposed to be a hilarious alternate history/retelling of Lady Jane Grey's life. I love British monarchial history, so this book is right up my alley and I can't wait to read it!

The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele

I don't know the exact summary of this book, but I think it follows a group of characters from a magical world who slip through some type of portal and into our world. The Booksplosion crew were the stars of the book's trailor, which you can check out here

Unrivaled by Alyson Noel 

Don't know too much about this book, but it follows Hollywood starlets and it has a mystery involved, so it sounds like my kind of book!

Tumbling by Caela Carter

I love gymnastics, so this book looks like it is write up my alley! It follows a handful of characters over the course of two days during the olympic team trials. 

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae was such a special and cool book, and it's sequel, Gemina, was probably the book I most wanted to get at BookCon, and I did, and I plan on reading it this month. If you haven't read Illuminae yet, I will leave you to figure out what it's all about.

Original Fake by Kirstin Cronn-Mills

I don't know too much about this book, but it has tons of comic book panels and illustrations, so I thought I would give it a try!

The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

I am super-excited to read this book! I loved the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series, so of course I am excited to read this. The Hidden Oracle follows our main character Apollo (the God) who is cast out of Olympus and made mortal as a punishment by his father Zeus, and he now has to attempt to get back in his father's good graces. This sounds awesome, and I have heard a lot of good things about it. But beware, if you have not completed the Heroes of Olympus series, this book will spoil it for you...