Monday, January 23, 2017

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard! (@victoriaaveyard)

Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Published: HarperTeen

My Rating:

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.
But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

As if living in a world where the color of your skin could get you killed, now there’s a world where the color of your blood, is everything.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern! (@Cecelia_Ahern )

Flawed (Flawed #1)
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Published: Feiwel and Friends

My Rating:

You will be punished…
Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.
But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.
In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

Being imperfect isn’t a crime, but in Celestine North’s world, one little imperfection can literally brand you for life. Celestine, believes in perfection, and she believes she is perfection, considering she’s a straight A student and is the longtime girlfriend of Art Crevan, son of the famous Judge Crevan. She had it all, until one night...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Throwback Thursday! Stephanie and NYCC 2016! (Part 1)

October 6:

Thursday my sister, Victoria, and I got to the Javits Center around noon.

We didn't go to any of the panels we possibly wanted to see. Some were at Book Con @ NYCC a block away: A World Unlike Any Other: The Importance of Setting in Fantasy and Sci-Fi and Villain Squad: Villains and Anti-Heroes in Literature.

Instead we went around the Javits looking at Artist's Alley and picking up free books in the Exhibit Hall.

Thursday's haul.
The Star Wars book is just excerpts from Star Wars and Del Rey novels.
Wolf's Mate (Wind Dragons MC #5) by Chantal Fernando (I didn't know it was part of a series. I just grabbed it).
Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James - ARC
Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves - ARC
Nemesis by Brendan Reichs - ARC
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - ARC - signed

At First In Line I showed them the email I received in exchange for the Blood Rose Rebellion. I got very excited when I read the jacket because I have a friend from Hungary named Noémi (No-amy). I messaged her about the book and asked if her name is popular in Hungary.

She said:
"It's not a very common name, actually. It was a writer who came up with it in 1872. In that book the main guy is an aristocrat and he goes on his boat and discovers an island where only a mom and the daughter lives. He falls in love with the daughter, whose name is noèmi. It means beautiful. So then he starts going back and forth between his real life and the mysterious island with his beautiful lover. And writers like to use the name in their books ever since."

While passing by Her Universe and checking out the Marvel apparel I saw Ashley Eckstein. I am glad I got to see her and speak with her because the next day the Ahsoka book signing was a bit of a disappointment. More on that below.

I told Ashley how excited I was to hear her narrate the audiobook and just how perfect it was that she did so. She was humble and nervous about her performance and hopes the fans like it. I told her she is a pro and have a feeling it will be good.

We spoke about the differences between acting out Ahsoka's lines for The Clone Wars series and reading an audiobook.

She said that for the series you feel the emotion and can ad-lib the lines a bit but for an audiobook every word must be correct. Victoria and I assured her we have read along with some audiobooks and we caught some mistakes. So she shouldn't fret if it is not perfect.

Besides reading the text as correct as possible, there is also expressing the different emotions and doing different voices for the other characters.

I told her that at past Comic-Cons (they didn't do it this year) that the Penguin Booth has had a recording booth for people to read excerpts from Star Wars novels and I have tried it. It is really difficult and I give narrators so much credit.

I finished Ahsoka and I likeed. Ashley did a good job and I like the added sound effects and classic Star Wars score they have added.

While checking out the Del Rey-Penguin Random House booth I saw editor Mike Braff. Mike is the editor of the Red Rising trilogy. I was wearing a new Red Rising shirt. I ordered a Howler t-shirt from etsy and it came with extra decals: the symbol for House Mars, the sigil for Reds, and a scythe. I bought a black t-shirt and placed the House Mars wolf on the center front, and the Reds sigil and scythe on each sleeve.

So when I saw Mike I walked up to him and pointed at my shirt. I asked about Pierce and Sons of Ares (I had hoped they'd be there to collect some pins).

He said Pierce wanted to come, but Mike told him no. He has to write. Mike had just read the first 250 pages of Iron Gold and mimicked locking his lips about it but expressed it's awesome. But he sent notes to Pierce and now he must look over those notes while writing the next 250 pages.

And since the Sons of Ares is run by Pierce's sister, they were not there.

I said I understood and hope to see Pierce at Book Con in May and next year's NYCC. I told him how I bought the prints of the Red Rising maps from the Kickstarter and hope to get them signed.

I also asked for a photo, because why not?

My sister and I also asked what else he edits:
The Dire Earth Cycle and Zero World by Jason M. Hough
The Clash of Eagles Trilogy by Alan Smale
Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
The Devourers by Indra Das

Mike also told us about the scheduled signings at the booth.
Victoria had heard about the The Bear and Nightingale and there was to be a signing that afternoon at 4pm. So we decided we'd skip the NaNoWriMo Meetup and go to the signing.

Katherine Arden said that this was her first signing ever and that Victoria was her first. So she signed that in Victoria's book! And I am the second. She's really cute.

Friday, October 7:

The first thing my sister and I did that Friday morning was go to the Disney Booth. I had gotten an email that there would be a signing at 6:00pm with E.K. Johnston (the author) and Ashley Eckstein (the narrator) for the new Ahsoka novel. I wanted to ask if we would need bracelets for the signing. No bracelets required. I was just told by a woman who worked there to be there 15-30 minutes before it started.

Yea right. This is Ashely and Ahsoka we are talking about. I planned to be there no less than an hour before. But when I got there before 5pm I just missed them selling their last copy of Ahsoka and capping the line. They said people had been lined up since about 3 or 4PM, after they heard about the signing at a Star Wars panel that morning.

I was heartbroken. I think the man there felt bad because before someone told him the line was capped he offered to sell me another book for them to sign. But that's not the point. Why would I want them to sign a book they have no involvement with? He also said Ahsoka would be on sale in bookstores on Tuesday. But then it won't be signed and that is the point.

Why didn't the woman that morning tell me to BUY THE BOOK NOW? That that would be my "ticket" to the signing. I also kicked myself for not thinking of it, but honestly, she made it seem like it would be a give away. And let's be honest, Disney can afford to give a few out for free at NYCC.

I got over it and ended up downloading the audiobook instead. I really wanted to hear Ashley narrate it anyway.
After going to the Elementary panel we went to Stories of Imagination: Your Must-Read Book Review from Harper Voyager and Epic Reads

I took some notes of the books that interested me. They would compare it to other stories, so say if you like Gotham and Dead Like Me then you'll like This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)by Victoria Schwab.

So I have a whole list of books to check out.

When we got there we had to sit in the back. At the end of the panel they gave out Epic Reads tote bags with books inside. Well, they underestimated the attendees and ran out of tote bags. We did get one book.

Friday Book haul:
A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan
Beheld by Alex Flinn - ARC

Both are from Harper Collins so I can't remember now which was a given at the Epic Reads panel and which was a give away at their booth.

There was also an Epic Reads: Fantasy Frenzy Meetup.
Epic Reads invites readers of all ages to join a round-table where fantasy authors Heidi Heilig (The Girl from Everywhere) and Maria Dahvana Headly (Magonia) will dish about their books and other fantasy favorites. Bring your books and get them signed; it’s an Epic Reads Book Club! Free advance reader copies and fun Epic Reads swag will be up for grabs!

Nothing was said about clearing the room after each meet up group finishes. Vic had been waiting in the room early, and after the Pokémon Meet Up ended the Epic Reads people kicked my sister out of room and made her get on the queue. Again, they ran out of tote bags and books. My sister was pissed off so she didn't stay. Neither did the others who missed out on the swag.

She wishes she fought to stay in the room because another group of girls refused to leave and were not kicked out and they all got books.

We complained the next day to the people at the Harper Collins booth. The girl there just shrugged and said sorry. So we pushed the issue, next time make it damn clear as crystal that you clear those rooms. And get more tote bags. If your room capacity is 100 people, get 120 bags filled with books.

So after that disappoinment with Disney and Epic Reads we went to dinner.

We came back in the evening for the Your Opinion Sucks! – Rotten Tomatoes Critics vs. Fans panel.

They capped the line but my sister and I didn't GAF. We stayed on the queue, as did others, and the capped line because a "no guarantee you'll get in" line. We ended up getting in and standing in the back for a hilarious panel. The Rotten Tomatoes panel is always a good time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday! 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To (But TOTALLY plan to)

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

  1. This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston - I was all about this one, then I forgot it came out. Now it's going back on my list for this year.
  2. Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys - Again, I forgot this one had came out. I feel like this is going to be the running theme between most of these on the list. 
  3. Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton & Nina Bocci - I purchased it, looked at the cover, and then got distracted by something and never went back. Plan is to read it before March.
  4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany - Everyone talked so much shit about this my excitement for it just died. I'll get to it, one day.
  5. Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin - I'm a ratings junkie, so the ratings for this one seemed not the greatest, even though I loved the synopsis. 
  6. All in Pieces by Suzanne Young - I have to, have to, have to read this. I've just be so lax when it comes to YA. 
  7. My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul - Another one where I got distracted by things. This WILL get read this year.
  8. Drag Teen by Jeffery Self - This one made me iffy so I pushed it out of my mind. But I still am intrigued by the concept.
  9. Idol by Kristen Callihan - This may be one of the ones I read sooner rather than later. I just have to be in the mood for some musical romance.
  10. The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock - This seemed great when I read the synopsis, but I haven't been in a historical fiction sorta mood. 
That is one of the biggest reasons I haven't read any of these yet. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Book Review: The One Man by Andrew Gross! (@the_andrewgross)

The One Man
Author: Andrew Gross
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Published: Minotaur Books

My Rating: 

1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war, or end it.
Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the U.S. suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, he is Semitic looking, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Polish ghetto. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man.

The One Man, a historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross, is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely compelling.

This novel is near to perfection. The characters were well developed and their emotions are expressed in an intense and compelling way. I certainly felt their grief, fear, guilt, and hope too. By the end I was a crying, and on public transportation.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year, Thank God!

Happy New Year! Bye Bye 2016 and hello 2017! I for one am so relieved to say goodbye to that awful year. There were ups and downs, and even though there were more downs than ups, we made it through.

I know that the blog has looked extremely bare the last few months, I just got overwhelmed with the second half of the year, but like I said, new year. New rejuvenated energy and I'm going to get this in order over the next couple of days (weeks). There will be new reviews and hopefully back to some fun things.

Now last year, we did the Reading Bingo. I kind of failed to keep at it, but Stephanie didn't! She got through most of it.

Let's see what she accomplished.

1) Male Author - Anna and the Swallow Man, by Gavriel Savit
2) Male POV - Golden Son (Red Rising #2), by Pierce Brown
3) Finish a series - Morning Star (Red Rising #3), by Pierce Brown
4) ARC - A Fine Imitation, by Amber Brock
5) Blue Cover - Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys
6) Mutli-POV - Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet, by H.P. Wood
7) Setting you'd like to visit - The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni
8) Under 150 pages - Rappacini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
9) Fantasy - The Book of Life, by Deborah Harkness, Narrated byJennifer Ikeda
10) Read a Sequel - Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness, Narrated byJennifer Ikeda
11. Standalone - The After Party, by Anton DiSclafani
12) New to you author - The Land of Enchantment, by Leigh Stein
13) Re-read a favorite - Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin, Narrated by Rosamund Pike
14) NYT Bestseller - A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, Narrated byJennifer Ikeda
15) Historical Fiction - The One Man, by Andrew Gross
16) Horror-Thriller - The Cask of Amontilado and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe
17) One Word Title - Alight, by Scott Sigler
18)Physical Book - The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeymi

What I didn't get to:
Graphic Novel - The Untamed
Chosen by a Friend - The Count of Monte Cristo
Monsters/Deamons - The Bane Chronicles
Retelling/Fairytale - The Bear and the Nightingale
Book with author with N - Nicole Yoon


Over this next weekend, I'm going to update that page and revamp it for 2017! 

So look for new content soon and please bear with us.