Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #66

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: All in Pieces
Author: Suzanne Young
Release Date: November 8, 2016

From New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young comes a heartrending new novel about a girl struggling to deal with anger issues while taking care of her younger brother with special needs.
“Anger-management issues.”
That’s how they classified Savannah Sutton after she stuck a pencil in her ex-boyfriend’s hand because he mocked her little brother, Evan, for being disabled. That’s why they sent her to Brooks Academy—an alternative high school that’s used as a temporary detention center.
The days at Brooks are miserable, but at home, life is far more bleak. Savvy’s struggling to take care of her brother since her mom left years ago, and her alcoholic dad can’t be bothered. Life with Evan is a constant challenge, but he’s also the most important person in the world to Savvy.
Then there’s Cameron, a new student at Brooks with issues of his own; a guy from a perfect family that Savvy thought only existed on TV. Cameron seems determined to break through every one of the walls Savvy’s built around herself, except if she lets herself trust him, it could make everything she’s worked so hard for fall apart in an instant.
And with her aunt seeking custody of her brother and her ex-boyfriend seeking revenge, Savvy’s fighting to hold all the pieces together. But she’s not sure how much tighter she can be pulled before she breaks completely.
I feel like I could relate to this one because anger issues is something I know well lol. But I also like Suzanne Young's writing. This may turn out to be a cool one. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday! Back To School Freebie: Favorite books I read in school

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

It's that time a year again. When kids get all stressed out because homework is piling up. And the days still holidays begin to count down. Back to school!

1. The Pigman (The Pigman #1) by Paul Zindel
What I remember most about this it that the author is from Staten Island and I think my English teacher in high school said the story took place there too. Being from Staten Island I would picture my neighborhood as the setting of the story.

2. The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
I really liked Poe's writings the semester I discovered his works. This short story was my favorite. I had a good English teacher that semester, Ms. Moussourakis. She, like myself, was a fan of the 1960's gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Dark Shadows was influenced my many gothic themes and this was on of them. SPOILER ALERT: A man takes revenge on someone who insulted him by encasing him in a wall of bricks!

3. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
This is just a classic story and study about society. Being a fan of the TV show LOST I then reread during the show's first season and the book still held up.

4. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
This is my favorite play. I must seem like a cynical person having two books in a row that are about the failures of society. I'm not, but I guess I just like stories about them. Anyway, this play is flawless and since reading it in high school I have seen it performed twice. Once in London two years ago, staring Richard Armitage as John Proctor, and again this year on Broadway staring Saoirse Ronan as Abigail. I would see it again anytime.

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is another book I reread after high school, when the movie with Leonardo came out. I think I liked it better the second time. When I read it in high school we had a fun and eccentric teacher, Ms. Decker, who made reading interactive. While reading The Great Gatsby we also did a group project where each group had to research a different aspect of the 1920's: fashion, music, food/diet, news, etc, and we had to present our research in the form of a play.

6. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller is a good writer. This play always stuck out in my memory. Even
years later when saw the play on Broadway with Andrew Garfield and Philip Seymour Hoffman I remembered the details like the stockings, and the hose in the basement.

7. MacBeth by William Shakespeare
The witches were my favorite part. I would love to see it performed. Though due to superstition it is called "The Scottish Play".

8. Othello by William Shakespeare
Most of the other classes in my school were given Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet to read, but I never read those. Besides the two I mention here I only ever read Julius Caesar, King Lear, and The Merchant of Venice.
I liked Othello more than those. The manipulations of Iago are diabolical.
I am so sad because I would have loved to Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ewan McGregor play Othello and Iago. It was in London though and they never brought it to Broadway.

9. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
At the time I was not a fan of the book itself because of the prose. I often wonder if I should reread it as an adult and see if that has changed. However, I love the concept itself and all its themes and symbolisms. I like watching modern interpretations of the classic story. Such as the way it was used on Showtime's Penny Dreadful and the West End production starting Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch.

10. Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya
I read this my first semester of my sophomore year. I remember it was very sad and I liked it. I think the main character had a child who was an outcast because he/she was albino. I hope I am remembering that correctly.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Review: The After Party by Anton DiSclafani!

The After Party
Author: Anton DiSclafani
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Published: Riverhead Books

My Rating:

From the nationally bestselling author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls comes a story of 1950s Texas socialites and the one irresistible, controversial woman at the bright, hot center of it all.
Fortier is the epitome of Texas glamour and the center of the 1950s Houston social scene. Tall, blonde, beautiful, and strong, she dominates the room and the gossip columns. Every man who sees her seems to want her; every woman just wants to be her. But this is a highly ordered world of garden clubs and debutante balls. The money may flow as freely as the oil, but the freedom and power all belong to the men. What happens when a woman of indecorous appetites and desires like Joan wants more? What does it do to her best friend?

Devoted to Joan since childhood, Cece Buchanan is either her chaperone or her partner in crime, depending on whom you ask. But as Joan’s radical behavior escalates, Cece’s perspective shifts—forcing one provocative choice to appear the only one there is.
A thrilling glimpse into the sphere of the rich and beautiful at a memorable moment in history, The After Party unfurls a story of friendship as obsessive, euphoric, consuming, and complicated as any romance.

The After Party was a fast read. I got through 100 pages in a day easily - which was a plus.

They story was entertaining in a Real Housewives of Houston way, only set in the 1950's. The women take care of their families, go to social functions and gossip.

My thoughts on the two main women:
Cece, given her childhood and family life I get her attachment to Joan, but it crossed over into a self-destructive obsession.

The secret Joan withheld was easy to guess before it was revealed. While it was tragic I didn't feel overly sorry for her. Perhaps because she was spoiled. I guess, though, that her decisions are more true to life. Not everyone gets to pick themselves up when they hit rock bottom. In a more inspirational story she would have achieved her dreams to "go where the ideas are."

I loved the descriptions of the fashion of the day. DiSclafani painted a clear picture for my mind to imagine the glamour and elegance. I thought of fashion sketches and illustrations of the 1950's.

Overall I was luke-warm about The After Party. I liked it well enough, especially that I finished it in 4 days, but it's not added to the favorite list.

3 out 5 cocktails.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Book Review: The Summer Games: Out of Bounds by RS Grey!

The Summer Games: Out of Bounds
Author: R.S. Grey
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
Published: CreateSpace
Source: Author

My Rating:

I despise Erik Winter.
He’s arrogant and cruel—a man I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy—and by some twisted turn of fate, he’s my new Olympic gymnastics coach.
I’ve had to contend with gruff coaches in the past, but Erik is far worse. His stern demeanor complements a body built for intimidation, and his reprimands come from a mouth so cunning, I know it could strip me of my defenses—if I let it.
Though each of us would love to be rid of the other forever, we are bound to each other by need and necessity. I’m his rising star, his best shot at proving himself to his critics. And without a coach, I have zero chance of winning gold in Rio.
The easiest way forward would be to wave a white flag and make peace with the man I’ll be sharing close quarters with for the foreseeable future, but he is intent on war.
Fine. By. Me.
If he pushes me, I’ll push back harder. If he wants to test me, to play with my head, I’ll show him just how many boundaries I’m willing to cross. Because I know it’s not a choice between winning or warring—not if you can have them both. At the end of it all, I plan on leaving Rio with gold around my neck and his icy heart in the palm of my hand.

With this year being a summer Olympic year, this book couldn’t have come at a better time. The final five blowing it out of the water in Rio, and this final five doing the same. Add some romance into the mix, I felt like I had a front row seat to the action.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #65

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Author: Sarah Maria Griffin
Release Date: October 4, 2016

Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?
Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.
This just sounds hella cool. Like Frankenstein on acid or something. Plus, the cover is equally as cool.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday! Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven't Read Yet

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

This is going to be a big list for us because we both have 10 books each. Just bear with us.

1. The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1) by Michael Scott
I have no idea how long this has been on my TBR pile. I would guess over ten years. I also have no idea how many books are in the series.

2. Courtesan by Dora Levy Mossanen

3. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
The receipt is from Boarders (I miss them!) and is dated March 26, 2008!

4. The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
This is a signed copy I bought from Housing Works in August of 2005. Eleven years!! Ok, I have to move this up and read it in 2016.

5. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
I bought this while on a cruise in September 2009. I loved her other novel Rebecca, but I kept putting this novel off. Partly because my sister tried to read it before me and didn't like it, though she also loved Rebecca.

6. The Vespertine (The Vespertine #1) by Saundra Mitchell
I probably bought this because I liked the cover. The receipt says April 30, 2011.

7. Vixen (Flappers #1) by Jillian Larkin
I bought this because I knew someone with the same last name. And I liked the cover.

8. Illuminae: The Illuminae Files - 01, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I still have the ARC from Book Con 2015 on my TBR(among others I picked up from Book Con 2015.) And now there is a sequel coming out.

9. Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles #1) by Anne Rice
I never read the book and I picked up a 20th Anniversary edition while at Book Con 2014. Still waiting there, but since they are vampires they can wait longer.

10. The Untamed, Sebastian A. Jones, Peter Bergting, Darrell May

I have many, many, many books, some ARC, that I picked up from New York Comic Con over the years. But this is one, a graphic novel, I should read before this year's NYCC. This is only a fraction of my TBR. I think there are about 80 books just stock piled. There are also the Star Wars novels that I have accumulated. Most not even considered "canon" anymore. There are also ebooks on my nook. I buy or collect books faster than I can read. I need to make it a mission to read the TBR pile before collecting more.

11. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Every since I've seen the movie, I knew I needed to read the book. And I still need to.

12. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Another movie favorite. I've flipped through some pages and it is still on the top of my list.

13. Something Blue by Emily Giffin
I loved the first book and I've been kind of iffy about starting this one but I refuse to take it off my TBR.

14. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This was recommended to me and I just never got to it.

15. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
I was all ready to read this and then the movie came out and everyone talked crap about it. My need to read went down.

16. Hush, Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick
Another rec but I just keep forgetting about it. I have it, I just need to be in the mood.

17. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Huge ER fan, so I love Michael's work. Jurassic Park being one of my favorite movies, I want to know how the book holds up.

18. Easy by Tammara Webber
When I first went into the New Adult world, Easy was everyone's top read. It is still on the deck for me to pick up soon.

19. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
My friend told me I should read this. I can't even remember why now but I know it's been on my list for a while.

20. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
I got this book from NYCC one year. I was so excited because I met Mindee and she talked the book up. Once NYCC was over, it kinda left my mind. 

Most of my TBR list consist of recommendations or pretty covers that I see around. One of these days I'm going to get to it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #64

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Author: Jocelyn Davies
Release Date: September 20, 2016

A bolt of lightning inspires an incredible journey in this charming, magical realism adventure that takes four teens on an all-night journey through the streets of New York City.
Extraordinary things happen when we least expect them.
Tiny, Lu, Will and Nathaniel used to be best friends. Then life-defining events the summer before high school tore them apart. Now, three years later, they hardly talk anymore. Nathaniel has become obsessed with winning the prestigious science scholarship that his genius older brother once won. Will has risen from anonymity to popular soccer star. Lu grew into a brash, impetuous actress. And shy, poetic Tiny has slowly been fading away.
But fate weaves their lives together again the night before the SATs, during a wild thunderstorm that threatens to shut down New York City. And lightning strikes.
Before they know what's hit them, the four teens embark on an epic all-night adventure to follow their dreams, fall in and out of love, reconcile the past, and overcome the fears that have been driving them since that one lost summer. And by the time the sun rises, odds are they’ll discover that there’s a fine line between science and magic, and that the mysteries of love and friendship can’t be explained.
Another New York inspired story. I think I'll connect with this one because it's about friendships and growing up. I went through the same thing kind of with my high school friends. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday! Books With School Setting

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

High school is a drag no matter who you are. So I always wanted to go away to a sleep-away camp or a boarding school. Basically when I was younger, I just wanted to get away. But that's why we have books. 

  1. Anna and the French Kiss (Boarding School)
    This may be one of the best because it's in Paris. Who doesn't want to go to school in Paris?
  2. Vampire Academy (Supernatural Boarding School)
    What I loved about this one is that everything happens at night because of the vampires. Like a slumber party every day!
  3. Twilight (High School)
    There was nothing special about this school besides the fact that sparkly vampires went there. But the scenery was gorgeous.
  4. Harry Potter (Magical Boarding School)
    This is the boarding schools to end all boarding schools. Still waiting for my letter to arrive by owl. Maybe they have a continuing ed program.
  5. Looking for Alaska (Boarding School)
    This felt more like a realistic take on boarding schools. And since John went to one, I believe everything.
  6. The It Girl (Boarding School)
    This was hilarious at how over the top it was. Now all I think about is the cliques and mean girl shenanigans that happen at boarding schools.
  7. The Catcher in the Rye (Boarding School)
    School wasn't the best for Holden, but who could blame him really?
  8. Never Let Me Go (Kind of a Boarding School)
    I know this wasn't really a school but to the kids it was all they knew of it. Kinda like a school meets an orphanage meets a holding facility for clones.
  9. Rites of Passage (Military School)
    Again, not really a school but more like a school of hard knocks. I loved this and it made me want to go to military school. Good thing I'm too old because I know I wouldn't have survived.
  10. Gossip Girl (Rich High School)
    High School for the rich and somewhat famous. Before snapchat and instagram, this is what high school was all about for the preppy's. Or I like to think so. xoxo 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Review: Steadfast (True North #2) by Sarina Bowen!

Steadfast (True North #2)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: July 12, 2016
Published: Rennie Road Books
Source: Author

My Rating:

She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.
Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there's no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.
For Sophie Haines, coming face to face with the man who broke her heart is gut-wrenching. Suddenly, he’s everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never turn up volunteer in the church kitchen.
She knows it’s foolish to yearn for the man who returned all the heartsick letters she wrote him in prison. But the looks he sends her now speak volumes.
No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie's police chief father. But it's a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.

This book hit home, it ripped a little bit of my heart out. Now, I didn’t have long emotional drawn out tears like I’ve had with some books but I did have tears a lot, like A LOT throughout this book.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #63

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Author: Emma Chase
Release Date: September 19, 2016

Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled Series & Legal Briefs Series, returns with the first of three sizzling standalone books about a family of racy, irresistible Royals.

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka “His Royal Hotness”, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant—hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.
Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.
Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.
There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately—the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.
But to Olivia—Nicholas is worth it.
Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is, but more importantly, who he wants to be: a King…or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.
Who isn't a sucker for a royal family? I haven't read an Emma Chase book in a while, but this one has me excited. Kind of reminds me of the movie Prince and Me, sorta.