[9] Obsessive Wednesdays: August Obsessions

Hello again! I’m back. I told you I’d be back and, while I’m a little late, I AM here! I figured I’d just ease myself back into this whole thing today with a quick little obsessions post, because my body has the worst timing & decided to come down with its second case of bronchitis this year – YAY! Not…

So I’ve got a whole month to catch up on with obsessions, but I’ll try to keep things to a minimum today…key word: try.

First of all – BOOKS

The Martian

So, this was an AdultBooklr August read-along that I started on September 1 because I’m a slacker. Regardless, I cannot tell you how many times I was reading this book and laughed out loud. I mean really, REALLY loudly. I highlighted something like 25 lines throughout this book. I loved it so much. I have a full review coming, so I don’t want to spill all my thoughts here, but holy crap. I loved this book. I kept turning to my husband to say “you HAVE to read this book”, “PLEASE tell me you’ll read this book?”, or “it would make me SO happy if you would read this book”. He’s probably tired of hearing it. Too bad. It’s so good. So, y’all gotta read it 🙂

Queen of Shadows

The moment so many of us have been waiting for! The 4th installment in the Throne of Glass series was released on September 1, and I cannot wait to read it! I pre-ordered the UK paperback from The Book Depository, which has not arrived on my doorstep yet, BUT I did get a Kindle copy from my library just this morning (eep!), so I’m FREAKING out! I’m actually about 30% of the way through Assassin’s Blade right now, because I didn’t expect to get my hands on Queen of Shadows until closer to the 15th. So now I’m going to be power reading Assassin’s Blade today so I can hopefully start Queen of Shadows tonight and AHHHH! I’ve heard some rather discouraging things about this installment, so I’m a tiny bit worried, BUT still open-minded. If you want to follow along with my escapades, check out my #OGFQoS tag on Tumblr or the Unofficial AdultBooklr Read-Along thread on Goodreads!

COMICS

The Wicked + The Divine

The official AdultBooklr read-along graphic novel for September is volume 1 of The Wicked + The Divine. I’ve had this trade for a couple months, now, and just picked it up a couple weeks ago, after we had selected it as our read-along for September. I still haven’t actually finished it, because I got distracted by The Martian, but I’ve only got one issue left in the first volume & then I also own the 2nd and all the current single issues, so I can get all the way caught up! This series is based on a really unique premise of 12 Immortals, who return to Earth once per century to live among the humans for 2 years before they die. This event is called “The Recurrence”, and is the basis for the whole series. I don’t have much more information beyond that, except that it’s exciting & unpredictable and the artwork is just utter perfection. Highly recommend.

Batgirl

August’s AdultBooklr graphic novel read-along was Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart, with art by Babs Tarr. I was late on this read-along, as well, but instantly fell in love with Barbara & this storyline of hers. I’m constantly mesmerized by Babs Tarr’s artwork, and have been a  fan of hers for a while now. I have the newer issues of this run, as well & I’m really looking forward to reading them.

Scarlet Witch

So, Wanda’s getting a new solo arc this fall and you know that makes me hella excited. I love her redesign by Kevin Wada and this cover by David Aja. I can’t wait to see what Marvel does with her. Again, I’m a little bit skeptical, but still optimistic. They did make some pretty huge changes to the character’s origin story, which is super obnoxious. Thanks, copyright. Bah.

LIFESTYLE

FabFitFun

Hellooooo, new favorite subscription box! Ok, I’ve done a bunch of different subscriptions over the last couple years & this one takes the freaking cake. FabFitFun is a quarterly box that combines fitness, lifestyle, and beauty products into one.  Every box is the same, but they jam nearly $250 worth of products into a $50 box every 3 months, and it is AWESOME. Take a look at  their summer box:

That’s a wireless bluetooth speaker, a 14k gold necklace, an exclusive jump rope, fragrance sample, tarte lip gloss, hair repairing spray, spray-on moisturizer, nail wraps, cleansing sponge, and a gift card to Headspace, which is a guided meditation app! Total value is near $300.

I actually loved this box so much that I ordered one for me & then a 2nd for my BFF as a birthday gift! The necklace alone is worth over $100. I got the yellow gold version with a moon pendant, and Kristi got the rose gold version with a horseshoe pendant. We both love them & I’m so excited to see what’s in the Fall box, which ships in a couple weeks! If you’re interested in checking out this service, you can get $10 off your first box with this link!*

*I have not been paid or sponsored by FFF. I just REALLY love this box <3.

Passion Planner

Yep. Still loving my Passion Planner! Thought I’d bring it up again, because we’re closing in on the end of the year AND they’ve been having lots of flash sales on their Academic planners! I’m finally working out an effective system & I need to do my August reflections/ September goal-setting and I’ll be writing up a thorough review in the near future!

TECHNOLOGY

Photo Candy App

I almost never pay for my apps. I don’t really see the point. BUT, I found this cute photo editor app & loved the different options it gives. PLUS, one of my credit cards has iTunes rewards, so I just recently received a $25 iTunes gift card, so it didn’t REALLY feel like spending money on an app. Anyway, Check out some of the cute edits I’ve done with this app! There’s a free version, too, by the way! You just get ads & a few less features. Still a totally great app, though!

I used it to create a couple fun Instagram posts last week:

    

OSMO

This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Osmo is simple. It’s an iPad accessory that turns your tablet into an interactive game system. You get a stand and a little mirror attachment that hooks over your camera, as well as some Tanagram pieces & a set of both red & blue letter tiles. You then you download their free apps to play. There’s a Tanagrams game, multiple Word games, Physics games, and even an Art studio game. My mother-in-law bought this for Kiddo’s birthday and we have been having a BLAST with it. Check out the video below for more information!

BB-8

Ah yes. Last, but CERTAINLY not least. BB-8 is the newest addition to the Star Wars Droid family. In case you hadn’t heard, Sphero has developed a remote-controlled version of the little guy with some seriously cool features. You can control him via any iOS or Android device, he responds to your voice, you can record and display holographic messages, he’s got an autonomous setting, and he has an adaptive personality. I have watched a number of BB-8 demos, and wanted to order one more than ANYTHING on Force Friday (September 4). Unfortunately, the price tag was a little high at $150. BUT THEN I GOT A SURPRIIIIISE today, when my husband informed me he ordered one!! We’ll have our very own BB-8 this time next week! Booyah ( yes, that just happened. deal with it)

Whew. OK, so I didn’t do a GREAT job being brief today, but I’ve had a lot of time to obsess without talking about it! It’s been a MONTH, you guys! A whole month where I didn’t write a thing. Nothing. It feels good to be back 🙂

How about you? What’ve you been up to since I disappeared? I’d love to hear from you!

Til Next Time ❤

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[Book Review] Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)

I did it. I finished Heir of Fire. I have a lot of thoughts here, so I’m going to try & organize them as best I can. I’ve tried my best to avoid spoilers for the other 2 books in the series, but if you haven’t read those & don’t want to risk it, I suggest you go back to one of my earlier reviews: [Throne of Glass] or [Crown of Midnight]!

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

First of all, this book took me a LONG time to read (I guess some people don’t consider 3 weeks that long for a book, but I definitely do). I just couldn’t binge-read it the way I did with the first two books. Now, this could easily be attributed to book burnout after the aforementioned binge sessions, OR it could be because the storytelling in this book changed so significantly & felt really disjointed compared to the rest of the series. My guess is it was the latter, but the whole burnout thing is maybe a contributing factor.

The thing about this book compared to the first two is that we’re following multiple concurrent story lines. This I have no problem with – I mean,  our favorite characters get separated & we start following each of them independently – duh. There was just something about the way it was executed in this book that felt…choppy? Every time I started getting invested in one of the story lines, the narrative would switch over to a different one & I’d lose my momentum. And then put the book down and not feel that burning desire to pick it back up.

The book is divided into two “Parts”, which are directly related to a decision Celaena has to make. I’ll say that Part 2 was MUCH more consistent than Part 1 & only took me a few days to read. Once I hit the 70% mark in the book, I got that fire back for the series. It was just one of those instances where the book in the middle of the series is spending so much time building up to what’s to come that nothing REALLY happens. Except for that one thing that happens in the last 100 pages. Because Damn. That HAPPENED.

Celaena’s character development is basically stunted for the first 2/3 of the book. She’s her same stubborn self, still reeling from the events of Crown of Midnight.  It takes a long time for her to start climbing out of the abyss of despair she was dropped in, but once she takes that first step, things really start to pick up.

We’re also introduced to quite a few new characters – dare I say too many? I think maybe. Perhaps not too many for the entire book, but too many in close succession, for sure. Things got kind of chaotic for a little bit during Part 1 & it was hard to keep track of the pieces that were flying in every direction and in no way coming together.

All-in-all, I did really love this book once I had finished it. I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads because I think it’s setting us up for something absolutely, undeniably epic in the next two installments. It just suffered a little bit from what I call “The Two Towers” syndrome – where the middle of the story is just the middle of the story & has no beginning or end of its own. Can’t fault a series book for that, but it does make it EXTRA frustrating to have to wait around for the next installment!

4 star

Have you finished Heir of Fire? What did you think?! I need to know! I need someone to talk about this book with, please tell me!

Until Next Time ❤

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases Remaining in 2015

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Woo! So I was going to do something a little different today, but it’s going to take more time than I had anticipated to put it together. Hopefully it turns out well & becomes a regular feature I can do here. Ooooh surprises! I hope to have it done by next week for y’all 🙂

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is Most Anticipated Releases For The Rest of 2015 – and boy, do I have a few of THOSE suckers. A few of them have come up in my Waiting on Wednesday posts, but most of the ones I’d posted for that have already been released this year (YAY!) so there are quite a few new ones on this list!

1. Queen of Shadows / Sarah J Maas

2. Library of Souls / Ransom Riggs

3. The Rest of Us Just Live Here / Patrick Ness

4. Armada / Ernest Cline

5. Lair of Dreams / Libba Bray

6. Carry On / Rainbow Rowell

7. The Stars Never Rise / Rachel Vincent (released today: COUNTS!)

8. The Trouble With Destiny / Lauren Morrill

9. Ink and Bone / Rachel Caine

10. Soundless / Richelle Mead

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up hosted by The Broke & The Bookish
Until Next Time ❤

Sienna & Luke Are Back for Flash Fiction Wednesday

So, I missed last month’s Flash Fiction Wednesday, which meant I had to make an extra effort to participate this month. And also, there is no Obsessive Wednesday post for this week. Because Flash Fic. That’s why.

This month’s excerpt is a continuation of the piece I wrote in April, which you can read here. This is a really rough draft that I spent literally zero time editing, so please don’t judge too harshly. On the other hand, I would really love any constructive feedback you lovely readers might have.


“Oh my god, I’m so, so sorry! Are you ok?” she searched his face for signs of anger or embarrassment, but saw only the dumbfounded look of someone who had just been dropped into a pile of glass.

As far as Sienna could tell, Luke hadn’t felt what she had: that electricity that shot from her fingertips throughout her entire body, leaving shivers lingering on her spine and a tingle in her chest. At least, if he had felt it, he showed no signs as he staggered to his feet on his own.

“I’m fine, Ace. Now you just have more glass to dig out of my flesh,” he showed her his left hand, newly embedded with tiny pieces of glass. “Hope you have a strong stomach.”

Sienna did not, in fact, have a strong stomach. As she led Luke to the upstairs bathroom and fetched the first aid kit from the medicine cabinet, her mind swam. Between the alcohol, caffeine, adrenaline, squeamishness, and the near-literal electric shock she just sustained, it was a miracle she was even conscious right now. She took a steadying breath before looking Luke in the eye as she reached for the shard of glass still sticking out of his arm.

“You going to make it?” he asked her, apparently genuinely concerned. Crap. Was it that obvious that she was not handling this well?

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just…this is gonna hurt.”

Sienna tried to steel her face, not wanting Luke to see how uneasy she was. But was it the injury? Or was it him? She was by no means inexperienced when it came to men, but something about his pale green eyes and left-side dimple had her practically worshipping him in her mind, like some kind of giddy schoolgirl. No. That was ridiculous. It was definitely the injury. Sienna hated blood.

One more calming breath and Sienna grasped the shard of glass and slowly pulled it from Luke’s flesh, careful to avoid making contact with his skin or looking him directly in the eye. She knew it had to hurt – like a bitch – but Luke didn’t make a sound, aside from a sharp intake of breath when the glass finally dislodged itself from his skin. She had a stack of gauze pads at the ready for when the blood came, and pressed them firmly against the wound as she prepared to disinfect the area. Luckily, the large shard appeared to be the only foreign material in this wound, and she had it bandaged in just a few minutes – all without making direct eye or physical contact with Luke.

But then it came time to address his left hand. Sienna grabbed a pair of pointed tweezers, a trashcan, and a small flashlight. She took a seat on the edge of the bathtub – right at eye-level with Luke, who was watching her with an admiring kind of curiosity.

She tentatively reached for his injured hand, needing to bring it closer to her so she could properly examine it. The instant her skin made contact with his, the electric shock was back, running from her toes to her earlobes and back again, but this time she didn’t let go. She simply sat there, staring at their hands together, allowing this foreign and admittedly pleasurable feeling to course through her.

When she finally regained enough of her wits to realize she was in this bathroom with another human being, she reluctantly brought her eyes to meet Luke’s. The utterly stunned look on his face seemed to indicate that this time, he had felt something, too.

“Now I understand why you dropped me.”


Big thanks to @loudlysilent for inviting me to partake in FlashFictionWednesdays. If you’d love to get involved, just write a piece of fiction 600 words or less & share it with us on the first Wednesday of every month with the hashtag #FlashFicWed!

Until Next Time ❤

Ready Player One Review on the Wind-Up Books Chronicle

Oh, hello there! So I’m just back from a whirlwind adventure to Cincinnati for my BFF’s sister’s baby shower. The weekend was seriously the best & I’ll be putting together a brief recap of our escapades soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to direct your attention to The Wind-Up Books Chronicle, where I sometimes contribute book-related jibberings and have participated in my first group review of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. *Spoiler Alert: I LOVED it*


 

Head over to WUBC to check it out!

Ready Player1


 

Until Next Time ❤

[Book Review] Throne of Glass

Woo! I finally jumped onboard the Throne of Glass train! I’ve felt so left out these past few months since I started blogging & following all these book blogs that are just OBSESSED with this series. I knew I was going to have to read it & finally got around to cracking open the first book last week.


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.


I knew from the book synopsis that I was going to enjoy this book. I mean, an assassin, a land without magic (just the mention of it would indicate that magic had existed at one point in this world), and a competition to become the King’s personal Champion? Those things are all 100% in my lane. I love fantasy, so there was no way I was going to dislike this book.

This is one of those narratives that just dives right into the story. There’s no character- or world-building up front. It’s just BOOM. Immediately into the action. I love that. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the development of characters and settings, but I love the feeling of being hooked on the story from page 1. And with this one, I most definitely was.

The story begins as Celaena is being hauled into the building at the labor camp where she has been imprisoned. She is taken to see the Crown Prince of Adarlan (who else kept reading this as Alderaan the whole time? Just me? Ok...) who will make her an offer to compete to become the King’s Champion and, after 4 years of service, earn her freedom.  That’s all within the first 10-or-so pages of the book. Sarah J. Maas definitely has this whole “hooking readers” thing down to a science.

Celaena Sardothien is a character I have been waiting for for ages – not the FEMALE character, but rather ANY character. The fact that she is a she is just the cherry on top.  She is absolutely fierce and lethal, yet she opens her heart so easily despite everything she has been through, including waking up between her murdered parents in a pool of their blood, being taken in & trained to be an assassin at the age of EIGHT, and spending a year in a labor camp at age 17 where most prisoners only survive for a few months. She also loves as fiercely as she kills, whether it’s a friend, lover, or even stranger – she is capable of such compassion.

There are many secrets throughout this book that unfold over time – when done well, it’s a thrill ride and you find yourself just hanging on for dear life. However, not all instances are done well, and I did find many of the twists and turns to be somewhat predictable. Either the foreshadowing was a little obvious, or I’m getting WAY too good at picking up on the subtle hints & putting the pieces together. That’s not a huge gripe, as I still love each and every turn the book made, but it did kind of unhook me from the story when I was just waiting for the ball that I knew was coming to drop.

I’d say the one thing that genuinely irked me throughout this book was the love triangle. I’m definitely a fan of romance in books (I don’t find it necessary, but who doesn’t love watching people fall in love? This is why shipping is a thing, right?) BUT I’m so incredibly over the love triangle thing. Will she? Won’t she? Who’s she gonna pick? Bouncing back & forth between the two… ugh. It’s exhausting & I’d rather just watch two people dance around each other for 400 pages than have the main character waffle between two men who are completely dopey over her. Also, I ship one of the guys with her SO hard it’s not even funny. So there’s that.

All said, I still loved the crap out of this book. The ending was pretty epic and leaves us wide open for book #2.  There are hints at magic throughout, and I expect that to become a bigger part of the story as the series progresses. I’m completely in love with the characters and I totally see where all the hype is coming from.

I’ve actually already finished Crown of Midnight & started reading Heir of Fire, so it’s safe to say I’m a fan of the series. I wish I had realized that it’s not complete yet before I had started, though. There is no greater torture than waiting for the release of the next installment of a series.

Final Verdict:

4 star

(only lost one star because of the love triangle)

Well, how about you? Have you read this series? Are you in the group of uber fans? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until Next Time ❤

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl At Midnight

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Happy Wednesday, friends! It’s been a while since I participated in a link-up, so I thought I’d jump back onboard & tell you about another book I can’t wait for the release of!

The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey

I’m really excited for this debut novel from Melissa Grey. I’ve seen it pop up on some of my favorite book blogs & booktubes, and it has always captured my attention. I mean, even the cover alone – how gorgeous is that?! And then you read the summary and it’s all over – anticipation level: 11/10. Luckily I only have to suffer for another week, since its release date is NEXT TUESDAY! And with my birthday on Thursday, I’m thinking it’s not gonna be hard to justify the purchase of a new book ❤

“Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.”


What are you waiting for this week? Head over to Breaking the Spine to see everyone else’s!

Until Next Time ❤

WTF is Flash Fiction?

I’ve never heard of flash fiction. Not until this week when the remarkable @loudlysilent nominated me to write some. Would you believe I’ve never, EVER written fiction? I mean, I guess I started something once but I wrote like a page & then scrapped it.  So this is so VERY far outside my comfort zone right now. But. Life doesn’t really care if you’re comfortable, now, does it? Neither does @loudlysilent, apparently.

So, don’t be too harsh, but please feel free to provide constructive criticism. This is the first scene from a story I’ve had in my head for a while. It’s not terribly eventful, but hopefully it’s compelling enough for a first try 🙂


The Very Beginning

Sienna didn’t want to be here. She wasn’t interested in these people or this party. She wedged herself into the far corner of the oversized sectional, trying to separate herself from the rest of the drunken idiots.  At least it was a comfortable couch, she guessed.

Maddie never mentioned how, for a group of tattoo-covered, body-modded, hardcore twenty-somethings, her friends were unbelievably exclusionary. You’d think people who are constantly judged by society would be more accepting of new people. It’s not even like Sienna was so straight-laced that she couldn’t relate to them. She had bubblegum pink hair, after all. And a handful of tattoos – none of which anybody ever appreciated the way she did. She listened to every kind of music and was always open to meeting new people. Just not people who had no interest in meeting her. She wanted to leave, but she had promised Maddie she’d stay for a few drinks. So she did.

She was in the kitchen, mixing her third or fourth vodka & Redbull when she heard the crash, which made her spill the last of her vodka on the floor. Goddamn it. She scrambled into the living room to see a couple of the aforementioned drunken idiots laying on the floor amidst the shattered glass and bent frame of what used to be Maddie’s coffee table. Oh, and then there was the blood. Great.

It didn’t take long for Maddie to start in. She was usually pretty level-headed, but the pool of blood on her hardwood floors clearly sent her over the edge.

“What the FUCK were you two doing? This isn’t the fucking UFC championship! Go get a trash bag and some towels and help me clean this up!”

“Aw, come on Mads, we’re sorry. I was just trying to show Luke, here, some of my mad wrestling skills. I’ll pay you back for the table, I promise,” the dark-haired guy with the gigantic ear gauges and Sailor Jerry sleeve gave Maddie the most obvious puppy-dog eyes and pouted, to which she only responded with a giggle and a nod. Gross.

This guy thought he was so smooth, and it was clear he had Maddie wrapped around his finger. He sauntered into the kitchen with a shit-eating grin on his face to get a trash bag, like Maddie asked. As he passed Sienna, he winked at her & said,

“My buddy in there seems to be bleeding. You sober enough to play nurse, pinkie?”

Sienna shuddered at the nickname and rolled her eyes at Sailor Jerry in complete disgust before making her way into the living room to check on her patient. She assumed she was the most sober person in the room, and as such, best equipped to tend to the poor bastard with a shard of glass protruding from his bicep.

“Hey, dumbass. Can you stand up? There’s a first aid kit in the upstairs bathroom,” Sienna stands above him with her arms crossed, trying to look as uninterested as possible. In reality, the confident yet genuine smile he gives her makes her breath catch.

“How about you just call me Luke, instead of dumbass? Can you give me a hand?”

“Sienna. Come on, let’s get you upstairs.” she reached out her hand to help him up, but gasped and let go as soon as he touched her, sending Luke tumbling gracelessly back into the pile of broken glass. What WAS that?

Top Ten Tuesday: Recently Added to My TBR List

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Happy Tuesday, internet!  Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is for the books I’ve recently added to my TBR list. My list is absurdly long – 580, to be exact. SO intimidating. But I kind of love it.  Anyway, here are my newest additions:

1. French Milk by Lucy Knisley – This was one of the graphic novels laying out on the table when I attended a Comics & Beer event this past weekend. I thumbed through the pages for about 5 minutes & it definitely seemed interesting enough to add to my TBR.  |   A place where young Americans can seek poetic magic in the winding streets of a beautiful city. The museums, the cafs, the parks. An artist like Lucy can really enjoy Paris in January. If only she can stop griping at her mother. This comic journal details a mother and daughters month-long stay in a small apartment in the fifth arrondissement. Lucy is grappling with the onslaught of adulthood. Her mother faces fifty. They are both dealing with their shifting relationship. All the while, they navigate Paris with halting French and dog-eared guidebooks.

2. Blankets by Craig Thompson – Another that I discovered this weekend & everyone in the room was raving about – this one’s going to be read pretty soon if it is all it’s cracked up to be   |    Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith

3. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green –  Haha. Ok this one I found because of a Buzzfeed Books quiz: Which John Green Novel Are You? and it turns out I’m this book. So I’ve got to read it, right?   |    Will Grayson meets Will Grayson. One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers are about to cross paths. From that moment on, their world will collide and Iives intertwine. It’s not that far from Evanston to Naperville, but Chicago suburbanites Will Grayson and Will Grayson might as well live on different planets. When fate delivers them both to the same surprising crossroads, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in new and unexpected directions. With a push from friends new and old – including the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, offensive lineman and musical theater auteur extraordinaire – Will and Will begin building toward respective romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most awesome high school musical.

4. Othergirl by Nicole Burstein  –  A book blogger recommendation (sorry, can’t remember who from). Definitely sounds up my alley.  |   Louise and Erica have been best friends since forever. They’re closer than sisters and depend on each other for almost everything. Just one problem: Erica has superpowers. When Erica isn’t doing loop-the-loops in the sky or burning things with her heat pulse powers, she needs Louise to hold her non-super life together. After all, the girls still have homework, parents and boys to figure out. But being a superhero’s BFF is not easy, especially as trouble has a way of seeking them out. Soon Louise discovers that Erica might be able to survive explosions and fly faster than a speeding bullet, but she can’t win every fight by herself. Life isn’t a comic book – it’s even crazier than that.

5. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – This was a Waiting on Wednesday pick by the lovely Rosie Reads. I have been hearing tons of great things about Patrick Ness, but haven’t read any of his work yet.  This one sounds extra intriguing to me.  |   What if you weren’t the Chosen One? What if you’re not the one who’s so often the hero in YA fiction; who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you were like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend might just be the God of mountain lions…

6. More Than This by Patrick Ness – Miss Rosie also mentioned in her last Waiting on Wednesday that she adored this book by Patrick Ness, so onto the list it went!  |   A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies. Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive. How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place? As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife? From multi-award-winning Patrick Ness comes one of the most provocative and moving novels of our time.

7. A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin – Random book blogger recommendation  |   For Matthew Swift, today is not like any other day. It is the day on which he returns to life. Two years after his untimely death, Matthew Swift finds himself breathing once again, lying in bed in his London home.Except that it’s no longer his bed, or his home. And the last time this sorcerer was seen alive, an unknown assailant had gouged a hole so deep in his chest that his death was irrefutable…despite his body never being found.He doesn’t have long to mull over his resurrection though, or the changes that have been wrought upon him. His only concern now is vengeance. Vengeance upon his monstrous killer and vengeance upon the one who brought him back.

8. The Jewel by Amy Ewing – Random book blogger recommendation  |   The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring. Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life. Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

9. Full Ride by Margaret Peterson Haddix – One of my favorite authors as a teenager (loved Among the Hidden & Just Ella), so when I saw she had some newer titles I obviously had to add those to my list!   |    Becca thought her life was over when her father was sent to prison for embezzlement. It didn’t help when he used her as his excuse: “How else is a guy like me supposed to send his daughter to college?” She and her mother fled their town and their notoriety, started over, and vowed never to let anyone know about their past. Now a senior in high school, Becca has spent the last four years hiding in anonymity. But when it’s time to apply to colleges and for financial aid, her mother gives her a rude awakening: If she applies, her past may be revealed to the world But Becca has already applied for a full-ride scholarship. And as she begins to probe deeper into the secrets of her past, she discovers that she and her mother might be in danger of more than simple discovery – by revealing the truth about their past, she might be putting their very lives in jeopardy.

10. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows – This is quite possibly the most positively reviewed book of the last few months, based on what I’ve seen. It’s all over booktube/ booklr & seriously sounds just perfect.  |   Wilhelmina has a hundred identities. She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne. She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone. She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

What have you been adding to your TBR pile? Check out today’s linkup, hosted by The Broke & The Bookish for more!

Until Next Time ❤

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Book Review: The Duff

You guys! Apparently I completely forgot to write this review. I finished the book back at the end of February & I guess I just got so caught up trying to finish Bloodlines that I spaced it. Which is a damn shame, because I really, really loved this book.


The Duff on Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.


I knew I needed to read this book from the moment I saw the first movie trailer. And now I kind of don’t want to see the movie because the book was SO much better than I expected. I kind of feel like the movie is going to change a LOT of the narrative & character motivations, simply based on what I’ve seen in the trailer. ANYWYAY…

OGF REVIEW

Let’s start with Bianca. I love Bianca. She’s snarky and cynical but deep down she’s all soft and mushy. I love her. I want to be her BFF. Hell, I’d be her DUFF, I don’t care.  Bianca’s got a lot more real-life problems than most YA protagonists. Her mom kind of bailed on their family without explicitly leaving – she just travels all the time & isn’t present in their lives.  Bianca’s the “responsible” one of her friends – the one who drives them around & doesn’t party, but always makes sure they’re having a good time (even when she’s not). Plus, when her problems get to be too much for her, she partakes in my favorite kind of escapism – sex therapy.  Maybe it’s not healthy, but it sure is relatable.

And Wesley Rush – oh, Wesley. Who isn’t in love with you? Wesley’s the entitled rich kid/ ladies man who’s actually just really, REALLY lonely. I love how he opens up around Bianca because he knows there’s something broken about her, too. They are vulnerable with each other and it’s really endearing, the bond they form.

Now, let’s get back to the general premise of the book: The DUFF. Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Politically incorrect? Sure. But also a pretty brutally honest commentary on the nature of basic human vanity. Be honest: once you heard of the DUFF, how much did you think about whether you were one or if you had one? I kinda figured it was me, even though I typically wouldn’t call myself FAT, just average. It’s definitely not one of my amazing friends. Maybe everybody feels like the DUFF when comparing themselves to the people they love & admire most? Philosophical questions inspired by the words of a YA author…

Regardless, the fact that this acronym even exists is absurd – did Keplinger coin it, or was it around & just outside the mainstream? Either way, it’s mainstream now. And it’s disgusting. Even though the message of the book ultimately swung back around to “Everyone is somebody’s DUFF”, that’s not how it’s going to be used & some poor kid is going to start getting called “Duffy” and who knows what will happen after that?  THAT in and of itself is the only negative statement I have about this book: that people are going to take this word out of context, distort it, and use it for harm. Because that’s what people do.

Sigh. I still maintain that the book itself is really great. An emotional ride, heavy on the steamy bits (without being explicit), with lots & lots of heart. Characters that are complex but still relatable. Just enough plot twists to keep things interesting (even though the ending is still PRETTY predictable).

Final Verdict (no surprise):

5 star

 

Have you read the book? Did you also see the movie? I’d love to know how they compare so I can get over this fear of ruining the whole thing with a really bad film adaptation!

 

Until Next Time ❤

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