[Book Review] I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Fair warning: this is going to be an ode to a book. If you’re not about that life, you’ll probably want to click away from this page right now.

As I am writing this, I literally finished reading I’ll Give You The Sun approximately 15 minutes ago. Everything is fresh. Everything is vivid. This book… it’s like Jandy Nelson took a chunk of my soul and formed it into a story. That’s not to say that it’s about my life; I’ve never experienced really anything that happens in this book. But I felt it – deeply and powerfully.

Let’s take a look at my Goodreads updates:

IGYTS

As you can see, by 5% of the way through the book, I was sold. The first chapter is like a breath of fresh air, with a character I could see myself in, but in a more metaphorical way than I ever have before. Everything about this book – the narration, the structure, the descriptions, and the plot itself – is a work of art. But it is laugh-out-loud funny, too, which completely caught me off guard! I knew it was going to be poignant. I knew it was going to be powerful. A number of people had recommended it to me over the last few months, so I knew it was going to be good. But I had no idea it was going to essentially become a part of me.

You know how there are some books that get hyped and hyped and hyped and you’re SO excited to read them, and then you do and it’s just… meh? I was afraid that was going to happen here. After SO many recs, I honestly didn’t expect much. I kept putting it off because of this. But at the same time, it feels as though this week was probably the most perfect time for me to read a work of art. Honestly, that’s a story for a different day. Maybe this will be a two-part ode… but I really needed it this week.

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So, the synopsis for the book, as found on Goodreads and Amazon goes something like this:

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

And, yeah, that’s kind of what it’s about, but it also barely scratches the surface. I understand why it’s written this way – and I honestly don’t want to say much more about the plot for fear of killing some of the reveals – but seriously, people. Not even close.

 First of all, there’s Noah. Noah is the cinnamon-rolliest cinnamon roll to ever roll cinnamons. Fact. He sees the world through an artist’s eyes, and consistently emotes using titles of hypothetical paintings as a prominent part of his inner monologue. Let me tell you, I could always see the painting in my head. Noah resonated with me in the very core of my being. I’ve never loved a fictional character more.

Jude, on the other hand, I struggled with. But only in chapter 1, which is told from Noah’s point of view. To be fair, they’re both pubescent in chapter 1. Age 13 isn’t easy for anyone. Especially girls. By the time we get to 16-year-old Jude’s point of view in chapter 2, everything changes. She’s no longer the normal, popular, flirtatious girl we met in chapter 1, and so begins the unraveling of the true story.

IGYTS contains more passion, heartbreak, honesty, and hope than any work of fiction I have ever experienced. It took me 3 days to read. I could have done it in one sitting if I could have A) kept my emotions in check and B) read it consistently without stopping on every page to talk to somebody about something that just happened. No joke. This is a thing I did. I’d say I talked (in person) to or messaged  a total of 15 different people during the course of the last three days. All to talk about this book. And only maybe 3 of them had read it before. Basically, I am pushing this book on everyone I know. Shamelessly.

So, please. If you’re looking for something that will touch your heart and make you squee with joy, pick up this book.  If you want something to help deal with pain, pick up this book. If you want something that will just make you see the beauty in the world, pick up this book. It’s actually less than $7 on Amazon right now *wink wink*

As if I even need to include this, my final rating for
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson:

5 star

Duh.

Until Next Time ❤

 UPDATE (20 minutes later): Apologies for the utter word-vomit that is this review. I had some feels and I had to get them out. If you don’t understand, then you have no soul.

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The Epic Summer Book Haul

Starting a book club was a bad idea.

I mean, it was a great idea & has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life, but… it was also a BAD idea. For my bank account. Because books. I can’t stop buying books.

As I was taking these pictures the other day, I thought to myself, “you know, it doesn’t really seem like all that many, does it?”…and then I looked at my Kindle purchases. Ah. Yes. Therein lies the problem.

So, without further ado (and to avoid feeling the need to justify myself to the internet), I give you my summer book haul, June-August 2015.

Oooooh pretty 🙂

This is essentially my whole TBR pile right now. I honestly didn’t own many unread books before this whole book club thing…you guys are the worst best, if you’re reading this.

The breakdown:

*Note how I listed no reasons for purchasing the graphic novels? That’s because I don’t need a reason. I just want them ❤

You may recognize this photo from my Book Square Challenge post on Tumblr or Instagram. I figured why not kill 2 birds with one stone? These are the covers from the Enchanted Collection Box Set, which I purchased on Amazon Prime Day for like $17. It was basically the only good sale that day, I’m fairly certain.

And, of course, the illustrious Harry Potter box set. Basically my prized possession right now, if we’re being completely honest. Remember when I got this set for $40 over 4th of July weekend? *Happy sigh*

Now for the scary part…the e-books. I have even less restraint when it comes to Kindle deals, if you can believe it.

AND there you have it. A total of 59 books purchased or received as gifts since June 1. Not sure if I should be proud of that or ashamed of my lack of self control? Ah, well. I’ve got books to take my mind off of this terrible moral dilemma!

Back to the reading chair!

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have read any of these books! I’ve only read a few of them, so far!

Til Next Time ❤

[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 ❤

[Book Review] Anna & The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

I don’t quite know where to start with this review. I really loved Anna. She’s a LOT like me, which was a little freaky but also kind of annoying. Like, I don’t really want to read about myself all that much. The primary difference between myself and Anna, though, is the one thing that made me dislike her – her inability to communicate with other human beings. So, maybe I wish she were a little bit more like me? Who knows. I’m a conundrum.

Though this book is touted as a romance novel, it didn’t FEEL like a romance novel for the majority of the book. I still can’t decide if I think it is one or not. Obviously, the romantic relationship is the central focus of the story, but it didn’t play out in a way that was enjoyable (for me, at least), and I feel like the romance in a romance novel should be enjoyable to read. Personal opinion. You guys, I honestly fear I may be ready to move on from the angst & drama of YA, oh no!

With those two grievances out of the way, though, I did enjoy this book. I don’t want my review to come across like I didn’t. I read it pretty quickly – about 2 days – and never once was I bored or uninterested. I found all of the characters to have a unique perspective & each was interesting on his/her own, but when put together, the cast of this book is really great. The way the characters play off of each other & interact with one another feels very realistic, for high schoolers (or even undergrads).

In the long run, the majority of the plot here is driven by Anna’s inability to communicate with people – both in a literal and figurative sense. Literally, she doesn’t speak the language, which causes a few minor hiccups in her integration into boarding school life. The real problem, though, is that she is unwilling to take a chance & speak her mind and, as such, jumps to all the wrong conclusions about pretty much every person in her life. If this book taught me anything, it’s to say what I’m thinking, lest I sabotage my own chance at happiness.

I’m not necessarily put off by this method of plot development, but it is a very “YA” thing to do, and one I’m looking forward to putting behind me as I try to branch out from the genre.

Final word:

4 star

I struggled so much to write this review because I can’t really articulate how the book made me feel. From a technical perspective, it is nothing spectacular and I have clearly made a point to air my grievances, but Stephanie Perkins has a way with characters that makes them come alive & really helps you connect to the story. For that reason, this book gets more stars than my review would lead you to believe. Haha.

I hope any of this made sense to you. I’ll be accepting questions to clarify my jumbled mess of a thought pattern. I promise.

Until Next Time ❤

Flash Fiction Wednesday: The Nurse is In

Happy FlashFic Wednesday, all! Thanks for tolerating my hiatus! I figured this would be the perfect day to pop back in with a little writing. As always, this is an exercise in writing short pieces, but mine happen to continue a single narrative. You can find parts one & two here. Constructive feedback is always welcome!


Sienna just stared at him. What do you even do in a situation like this? There certainly had to be a way to break this awkward silence, but first she needed to break the connection. Reluctantly, she dropped Luke’s hand back to his knee and put some distance between the two of them by standing & pressing herself into the wall, those currents still pulsing through her body as if they had become an integral part of her bloodstream.

The expression on Luke’s face had not changed. He stared up at her with equal parts confusion and awe plastered all over his face, as well as just a hint of desire. He wanted that feeling back, and so did she.  Also, she needed to get that glass out of his hand before it caused even more problems, right? Right.

Sienna slowly knelt down on the floor in front of where Luke was sitting. She reached up to grab a pair of latex gloves out of the first aid kit and put them on. Tentatively, she reached for Luke’s hand again, gently touching his skin with her fingertips through the gloves. While not nearly as effective as she had hoped, the gloves did a decent job of numbing the sensation; enough that she could keep her head clear while she set to work cleaning out his palm.

It occurred to her – as she was practically holding her breath and using every last ounce of concentration to keep her features neutral – that neither of them had spoken for a while… how long had it been? Twenty minutes? Surely longer than is socially acceptable, but Sienna could not string together a sentence right now to save her life. Instead, she merely peeked up at Luke through her lashes, more than a little pleased to find him also holding his breath and still looking dumbfounded. At least she wasn’t the only one who didn’t have a clue what to say. Or do.

She made quick work of the last few pieces of glass (to the best of her ability ignoring the magnetism  and grabbed the peroxide from the kit to disinfect the small cuts. As she dampened a cotton pad, she chanced another look at him, only to find him inspecting his palm.

“You’re pretty good at this. Are you in nursing school, or something?” his eyes did not leave his hand.

“No, I, um… I have a little brother who thinks he’s Evel Knievel. I can’t count the number of times I’ve cleaned gravel out of that kid’s knees.”

Sienna fumbled with the peroxide, grateful that Luke was so entranced by his own palm that he did not notice. She reached for his hand once again, warning him, “this is going to sting.” He flinched a little, but didn’t pull away.

Once she was satisfied that the cuts were sufficiently disinfected, she wrapped up his hand & tossed the gloves in the small trashcan. “Well, you’re all patched up. Maybe next time you’ll think twice before starting a cage match in proximity to a glass coffee table?” She tried to fix him with an indifferent stare, but he just smirked as he stood up and reached for her face. Everything in Sienna’s world went technicolor.


Flash Fiction Wednesday is a monthly writing challenge, initiated by @loudlysilent, to write a piece of fiction, 600 words or less, on the first Wednesday of every month. Check out FlashFicWed on tumblr for more writing from across the web!

Until Next Time ❤

Break Time – I’ll Be Back (you totally just read that like Arnold, didn’t you?)

Announcement! I’m taking a hiatus – just for this week – to finish getting things set up with AdultBooklr! We’ve got all kinds of things planned & I need to get my butt out of our 24/7 chat so I can actually get stuff done for all our wonderful members.

In case you missed it last week, AdultBooklr is a Goodreads/Tumblr crossover community founded by yours truly on the hallowed date of June 11, 2015. The only requirements for membership are that A) You are over 18; B) You love books; and C) You have a tumblr account. That’s it! If you meet these qualifications, come check out what I feel is the greatest place on the internet.

Not convinced? Let me tell you more.

Oh yeah, and books. Lots & lots of books.

Hope you’ll come hang out with us! I’ll be back next week for your regularly scheduled programming. ❤

New Developments! Goodreads Group for Tumblr Users 18+!

Hey out there! So I’ve had an incredible last 24 hours. Isn’t it amazing how quickly certain aspects of your life can change? I’m really excited about this new development in my internet life and wanted to share it with YOU, sweet reader.

So it all started yesterday (remember how I said I was making new friends on Tumblr?) when I realized that the majority of book blogs I follow were run by persons aged 13-17. Obviously, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but I was feeling like I needed some interaction with people who had shared similar life experiences with me. So, I made a post. And in 24 hours, that post has gotten over 1,500 notes. I discovered that I was not alone in these feelings.

Discussions began about hypothetical meetups of all the “adult” booklr users and I thought, “why not? why couldn’t we all congregate somewhere other than Tumblr?” So I made a group. And I posted about it. And you know what? We have nearly 150 members in less than 24 hours.  It may not seem like a huge deal to you, I don’t really know. But to me – this is magical. A group of adults who love books & love to talk about books and are willing to participate in activities. It’s really freaking cool.  And I’m completely flabbergasted that it all stemmed from one little post. So flabbergasted, in fact, that my writing quality has seriously deteriorated for this post (apologies).

All this to say: if you are over 18 & have a Tumblr blog and a Goodreads account, you should join us. We’re having the best time talking about books, comics, sharing our own writing, and just general randomness. Click the widget below to join!

“Adult” Booklr – We have wine & forts & kittens!

"Adult" Booklr 146 members

So, we decided it would be great to get to know each other better after the “Epic Adult-Booklr Train”…Come join us!

View this group on Goodreads »

Share book reviews and ratings with “Adult” Booklr, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

[6] Obsessive Wednesdays: Recaps!

Once again, Tumblr interferes with my writing time. Lol. I’ve spent the entire morning making new friends, though, so – worth it! Sometimes socializing just needs to take precedence over isolated writing time.  Tumblr is definitely in my obsessions list for all-time. Y’all should add me there. Here are a few other things I’m adoring this week:

Beauty

hair collage

Wella 050 Toner

As recommended by the adorable Lauren Bradley Cox, I used this toner to color my hair silver right before Comic Con. For anyone interested in giving it a try (there are lots of other colors to try out, too), here are my tips!

1. Make sure your hair is lightened as far as you can get it, or this product will not work. It may take multiple bleachings (which should be spread out over a few months, with deep conditioning treatments in between) before your color is lifted enough. I highly recommend Olaplex to keep your hair healthy throughout the bleaching process.  Yes, it’s expensive, but the travel kit in that link will last you MULTIPLE bleachings. I’ve used it at least 6 times already.
2. Mix the toner with a 20 vol. developer at a 1:2 ratio of toner-to-developer. This is significantly stronger than what the instructions on the packaging suggest, because this product is intended to be an additive to a toner mixture, not used on its own. I made the mistake of following the box directions & ended up looking like this. YEESH! That’s blue on the length & yellow on the roots. It was NOT a good look, and I had to go out in public like that to pick up my daughter from my in-laws. *cries*

unnamed

3. Apply with a brush, not a bottle. You want even saturation since this is being used as a dye. A bottle will have a harder time distributing the product evenly.
4. Leave on for a full 45 minutes. It might look like the color has fully processed before this, but just leave it on. Since this is a toner & not a dye, it will fade with your initial wash & be much lighter than it appears as it’s processing.
5. If you’re using 050 & it comes out too blue for your liking, I recommend following up with Lee Stafford Beach Blondes purple toning shampoo. This shampoo is a much warmer purple than the majority of toning shampoos I’ve found. It combats the blue & brings it back to a nice lilac-y grey.
6. Love your new hair color 😀

Books

Colorworld

I found Colorworld Books at Wizard World Des Moines this past weekend. I was drawn in by their gorgeous aluminum prints/ bookmarks, and intrigued by the book the store is named after. When I got home on Sunday, I started stalking their social media & found their Etsy shop. I happened to have a $25 Etsy gift card on my account, so I pulled the trigger & ordered the first book. I’m so excited for it to arrive – it sounds amazing, and it looks simply beautiful.

Wendy, a 19-year old college student, can sense emotions when she touches people. As the sole caregiver for her younger brother Ezra, she is strapped for cash and decides to participate in an allergy study. But something goes wrong, and when Wendy wakes up, she learns that someone is dead and it was her skin that did it. Unable to touch people for fear of hurting them, Wendy is on the hunt for answers. Did they mean to make her a weapon, or something else entirely? That’s when she finds out she’s not the only one; superhuman abilities are real. Gabe, who works with the company responsible, feels badly about what happened and offers his help. Together they learn that Wendy was targeted for a specific reason, and it has nothing to do with her death touch.

PS I Still Love You

Yeah, yeah. It was on my list last week, but I just finished it & IT WAS SO GOOD. I’m working up a review with @loudlysilent for the Wind-Up Books Chronicle, so I’ll post a link once that’s ready. I just need to reiterate how obsessed I am with these characters.  I love, love, love them! And the ending. Oh man. *MELT*

SHOPPING

6pm.com

Just discovered 6pm.com, thanks to one of my forever-loves, miss Nicole. It’s essentially Zappos’ outlet site & it has SUCH GREAT DEALS. Go & enjoy, my lovelies. Enjoy the pretty, affordable shoes.

 

I’ve been very distracted lately, so that’s all I’ve got this week. Add yourself to this list. I’m obsessed with you for reading this. Let me know what you’re geeking out over so we can be in it together!

Until Next Time ❤

 

[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 ❤

Nailed It. Highlights From Wizard World Des Moines 2015.

At least now the world knows. YES. Iowa – little old, in the middle of the country, surrounded by cornfields, home to James T. Kirk & Clint Barton, Iowa – can most definitely support a large-scale comic convention. The weekend was so successful that Wizard World has already announced their return in May of 2016.  3-Day Passes sold out weeks before the event (much to the detriment of one procrastinating blogger) and Saturday passes were sold out by Friday. People have wanted this for so long and we had something to prove to those Wizard World Execs. Pretty sure we nailed it.

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Based on my experience, the event was very well-organized & the venue was highly conducive to the flow of such a convention. Vendors and Artists set up booths in the main exhibition area, while celebrity meet-and-greets/photo-ops were housed in a smaller, adjacent area. Panels could be accessed either from an escalator within the photo-op area or via the main escalators in the lobby. The smaller breakout rooms were packed & made it easy to find whichever panel guests were interested in attending.

I’m thrilled by the success of this event and cannot wait to return year after year. It’s a single step towards getting all kinds of large-scale events to come to the Midwest AND for showing the world what kind of crazy fun us nerds can have when we all come together to celebrate our fandoms.

And now, the weekend in photographs:

Friday

We spent the majority of Friday just exploring the exhibition floor & getting in lots of selfies with our favorite cosplayers. I met the greatest Spock impersonator I’ve ever seen & obviously HAD to get a photo. I was honestly a little intimidated (dude was 6’7″!) and maybe acted a bit of a fool, but whatever. Happens, right? I was excited.

My girl KiT & I made one large sweep of the autograph area, where we ran into Miss Iowa 2014, Autumn Weaver, dressed as Wonder Woman! She is such an inspiration & a total doll. I spied her on Saturday dressed as Slave Leia (I think it was her) and then again as a member of Starfleet.

There were a number of Clark Kents floating around, but this was by far the best. I was really struggling with my camera here, thus the ridiculous faces.

When we headed back to the bar, we ran into this all-female Guardians of the Galaxy group & definitely had to get a picture. And then hubby snuck up on us & gave us the best photobomb of the weekend. Because of course hubby was at the bar. I should have known.

The best part of Friday, though, was ABSOLUTELY the 41st Chapter of the Mandalorian Mercs, Vhett Manda Clan, who were taking bounties & arresting members of parties for a small donation to their charity. We arrested KiT’s husband since we had lost them & didn’t feel like scouring the hall to find them. Instead we paid $5 & waited for them to come to us.

Hahaha. I giggled for a long time.

After the convention closed for the night, we all went out for a group dinner at Quinton’s (because Zombie Burger had a 1.5 hour wait…obviously). Look how cute we are!

Saturday

Saturday was the only day any of us Cosplayed, and we had 3 very different characters. One of these times, we’ll have to figure out a group thing, I think.

I have to say, for pulling hubby’s costume together so last-minute (we’re talking Wednesday night), I’m pretty damn proud of myself on this one. I give you: Matt Murdock (and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, just for good measure).

I had never done SFX makeup before, but I’d say this turned out pretty rad. I did  a couple trial runs on myself Thursday night, just to make sure I knew what I was doing. I still had a few difficulties with the prosthetic Saturday morning, but it all came together in the end 🙂

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Of course, then you’ve got my iteration of Days of Future Past Quicksilver! This was a costume hubby wore for Halloween last year, but since I wanted to color my hair silver anyway, I decided to just hijack the costume.  We even found my twinsie (although from a different universe) and I slowed down long enough to get a photo. The rest of the day I must have been moving too fast, because I don’t have any other pics of my cosplay. Oops.

Of course, then you have the most in-character cosplayer of the day: our Joker, aka RyanTheGr8. He was hamming it up for the camera all day. The kids loved him (except for the one that screamed bloody murder….oops) and the professional photographers loved him, so he’s in a bunch of official Wizard World photos from the weekend, too.

Here’s that time he found the rest of his villain buddies & Batman.

And that time he got his head chopped off by Revan.

That time he got REALLY excited about finding Carmen San Diego & Waldo.

That time he protested against vegetarianism with Poison Ivy.

And that other time I slowed down enough to be caught on camera.

Haul

Last, but not least, my comic con haul – not as big as I would have expected, but that’s probably for the best considering our current financial situation:

My first and only purchase on Friday was this Spike Funko! I mean, obviously.

We passed the Colorworld booth on Friday & I just KNEW I needed to buy something from them, so I rushed back over on Saturday. We found out they had a discount for people who have the ConTV app (which I do), meaning I got a free paper print with my purchase of 2 bookmarks (which only cost $5 total)! These bookmarks are AMAZING. They are printed on aluminum & appear holographic. They’re just gorgeous. I got a Boba Fett (which I don’t have a pic of) and this Hermione Patronus one. I’m super obsessed & will probably buy more from them in the future. Also, the Colorworld book sounds so interesting & is now on my TBR.

The paper print I chose from the Colorworld shop was this Super Smash Bros. print – it’s so epic & will look great in our guest room, but it did get a little bent before I had the chance to buy a protector for it. Womp womp. Hopefully it won’t be noticeable in its frame. If so, I’ll just have to go ahead & buy another. Because I lurrrrve it.

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Sorry for the absurdly long post today, but it was such a great weekend. I don’t even think I recapped 60% of it here, but these are the only photos I ended up with. Lol. SOOO that’s what you get. Because I’m a bad blogger. It’ll be better next time, I promise!

Until Next Time ❤