Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Book Haul AKA I Splurged on a Bunch of Ebooks

Hello there! I haven't posted anything in awhile, so I'm excited to post this! I did some book splurging this month (yay for gift cards!).☺ I'll probably buy more ebooks in February too. My wishlist is a long one...

The Digital Haul

I got bought eleven ebooks (Past Life Strife was a freebie) and I've already read six of them: Deeper, The Distance From A to Z, Alliances, Conviction, Tessa Ever After, and Paige in Progress! The Deal and Perfect Kind of Trouble are high up on my TBR, so I may get to one or even BOTH in February!

I don't normally read books this quickly after I purchase them anymore, so this is exciting. :D

For Review

I've read Fusion, which is really good. I binge read Razia series this month and the last book was definitely the best!

Thank you to HarperCollins, Edelweiss, and S. Usher Evans for these review copies! 

The Itty Bitty Print Haul
Giveaway Win

Thank you so much to Pili @ In Love With Handmade for the pre-order of Truthwitch!! I'm hoping to read this one in February.☺

Signed Book Finds

I found a signed copy of What I Didn't Say at a thrift shop for $1 and I couldn't resist! I ADORE this book! 

I found a signed copy of Zeroboxer the same day, but at my local bookstore! I was pretty excited to find it. :)

That's it! Have you read any of these books? 

Also, I may go back to posting weekly hauls, but I'm not entirely sure yet. We'll see what happens next weekend.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

SST ~ Interview With Emily Henry!

Sunday Street Team is organized by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28. SST is a cross between a blog tour and street team for a couple different titles each month. As the title suggests, the posts go up on Sundays!

Go here to learn more about SST.

One of the featured authors for this month is Emily Henry! I was able to ask Emily some questions and let me tell you...her answers are great. It makes me even more excited to dive into The Love That Split the World when I can get that pretty book in my hands. (IT RELEASES IN TWO WEEKS. YAY!!) There's a lot of information about the characters (including something Harry Potter themed...) as well as quote, some songs, and more.☺ Enjoy the interview! Let me know what stands out to you the most!

About Emily's Book
Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start... until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.


**Releasing January 26th 2016 by Razorbill**

Interview With Emily Henry
Hi Emily! I'm excited to interview you for the Sunday Street Team. :)

Thank you so much, Kaitlin. I’m really excited to talk with you about my book!
There seems to be a fantastical, time travel element to The Love That Split the World. How large of a role does it play in the story?

The fantastical element is crucial to the story, but the book does read largely like a contemporary novel. Well, depending on whom you ask. In early reviews, I’ve seen TLTSTW referred to as sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, and magical realism.
I think this is because I tend to be a Believer™. By that I mean: I’m the friend who’s always like, “Guys, did you read that article about how octopuses might be aliens? I mean, definitely I think it’s possible our universe is a hologram. Of course telepathy is real—isn’t it obvious that our thoughts are travelling around in the ether, and occasionally they bump into one another?”
So all that to say, when I started reading about the science of time—and of time travel—I was like, “okay, this makes sense. Of course this could happen. There are a million different reasons and ways it could happen, but here’s the one that interests me most.”
2016 is going to be full of amazing time-travel books (shout out to Into the Dim, Passenger, The Girl From Everywhere), but mine might feel a bit less like sci-fi or fantasy because it’s not, exactly. It’s a story about a girl and a boy, and a world where every impossible thing can be explained, but often we don’t have enough information to do so.
There's only so much a book description can say about characters, so I'm curious! What is Natalie's personality like? How much have you been able to relate to her?
Oh, my dear, sweet Natalie. Natalie is... complex. She’s highly sensitive and prone to big feelings but she’s also cautious and analytical, always trying to understand why she does the things she does. And while the people she’s closest to have access to all those parts of her, she’s content to stay on the surface with everyone else.  If you asked her classmates to describe her, they’d probably say “funny,” but if you asked her best friend, Megan, she’d probably say “tender.”
How do I relate to Natalie? Ohhhh, too much. I know what it’s like to be a mushy ball of feelings, to look at the people around you and think, “Why can everyone else deal with this, but it’s paralyzing to me? Why is the world so overwhelming?”
Really, that’s first and foremost whom I feel like this book is for: people with big, powerful feelings. Those who sometimes feel too soft for the harsh world around them.

I always love to hear about the love interest. What are some of Beau's best and worst qualities?
BEAU. Beau’s best quality is his steadfastness. Beau is not the guy I would’ve gone after in high school. He won’t charm you with a witty retort or a reference to your favorite book. But when you need him, Beau’s going to show up. He has a relatively simple worldview and pretty much knows what he wants out of life, and this is especially alluring for a girl like Natalie, who’s ambitious and eager to start her future and has a habit of seeing the most complicated version of things. He’s sort of a human Chill Pill.
But he’s also a chronic underachiever, and a lot of the time, he lets other people’s low expectations of him define him.
What other characters can readers expect to meet?
Natalie’s whole family plays a significant role in the story, as does her best friend, Megan, who is just The Absolute Best™.  She and Natalie are one another’s rocks, and all the banter and wit you don’t necessarily get from Beau? Natalie doesn’t need it in a romantic partner because she has that match with Megan.
And then of course, there’s Grandmother, who is not, in fact, Natalie’s grandmother but an old woman who appears in the night to tell Natalie stories. I won’t say anything else because Spoilers.
What has been the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
I’d have to say getting to know other authors. There are a lot of things that occur to you when you sell a book, but I can safely say it didn’t occur to me that this meant I was going to become friends with so many amazing storytellers and writers.

It’s been a surreal experience, reading early copies of these authors’ books. I keep finding myself totally immersed and then suddenly, there’s this little zing through my body when I remember, I know the person who wrote this incredible story!
It’s an honor, and it’s also a pleasure to know that so many of these great writers are also just gems of human beings.
And while the fact that I’d have readers occurred to me, I still wasn’t prepared for the overflow of emotion and gratitude I felt when I got my first 5-star review from a stranger. It’s kind of funny, but knowing a stranger loved my book has had the effect of making me feel like we’re instant friends. I’m like, “okay, if you got this book, then you pretty much get me, so let’s just make cheese fries and talk through a made-for-TV movie.”

What is one of your favorite quotes from your debut (that you can share, of course)?

Hmmm. I think I’ll go with one that’s already out there in the wild:

“I am a tiny, important thing, tearing through the earth.” I think this is at the core of the story, that you and your life are sacred no matter how “small.”
What is a song that fits your book or ones of the scenes in it?
Ooh, can I do two? First, I’d say “Helpless” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, which fits the tone of the book beautifully. Every time I hear that song, it sends an ache through my heart and instantly makes me feel like crying. It’s a good fit for Natalie and her feelings about her hometown and her life there.

Second, I’d say “Threnody” by Goldmund, which is one of the most intimate pieces of music I’ve ever heard. I love all the silence between notes, and how you can hear the fingers on the piano keys in the recording. It’s beautiful and nostalgic and most of all, gives the feeling of being in the room with the person playing it. To me, it’s the sound of lying in fading light, tracing someone’s wrinkles and freckles with your fingers. It definitely inspired some of the scenes between Natalie and Beau, who plays the piano himself.
This is totally random, but very important: what Hogwarts houses would your characters be sorted into?
Oh, Natalie’s totally a Gryffindor, who could’ve been a Slytherin or even a Ravenclaw, but knew Megan would end up in Gryffindor so told the Sorting Hat that’s where she wanted to be.
I think Beau would get accepted to Hogwarts but he’d assume it was too fancy for him and throw away the envelope before his mom ever saw it. If you could get him there, the Sorting Hat would say Gryffindor and everyone would be shocked, because outwardly he’s a Hufflepuff.
...Not that I’ve thought about this at great length or anything.
Lastly, tell me a random fact about yourself!

Speaking of the sacred books of Rowling: my senior year of high school, whenever I’d sign in late for school, I’d list my reason for tardiness as Lord Voldemort.
Thank you for answering my questions. :)

Thank you so much for asking them! This was a blast!

Emily Henry's Bio
Emily Henry is full-time writer, proofreader, and donut connoisseur. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. She tweets @EmilyHenryWrite.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Reading List For "Savages" by Marina and the Diamonds

Reading List is a reverse playlist. Instead of sharing a list of songs that can go with the book in some way, I'm going to share a list of books that go with one song in some way. 
I. LOVE. THIS. SONG. It's one of my top favorites at the moment (the moment being second week of January--things could change by the time these words are seen by anyone else). I love most of Marina and the Diamonds songs. They're fun to listen to, but they also have pretty darn good lyrics. Picking an excerpt for "Savages" was a bit tough because I want to share all the lyrics. I wanted to make the quoted section short brief more, though.

One man can build a bomb
Another run a race
To save somebody's life
And have it blow up in his face
I'm not the only one who
Finds it hard to understand
I'm not afraid of God
I am afraid of Man

Is it running in our blood
Is it running in our veins
Is it running in our genes
Is it in our DNA
Humans aren't gonna behave
As we think we always should
Yeah, we can be bad as we can be good

Underneath it all, we're just savages
Hidden behind shirts, ties and marriages
How could we expect anything at all
We're just animals, still learning how to crawl
The Reading List
I was looking for books that showed both good and bad facets of humanity--books with characters that make horrible decisions or struggle with morals or just plain show how ugly humans can be. Books that focus on good vs. evil and the blurry line between right and wrong. Books that 

All the Rage is the first book that "Savages" reminded me of. It was because of this line: "Another day, another tale of rape / Another ticking bomb to bury deep and detonate." Once I connected that line to the book, which features rape and horrible human beings, it was hard to listen to this song without thinking of All the Rage.

From what I can remember about Dangerous Boys, some pretty twisted things happened. I remember ugly acts being committed by the characters. And hey, even the tagline on the cover seems to go with the song!

The main character of Dear Killer is a serial killer, so I would say it fits what I was looking for pretty well. :D There's definitely a lot of focus on morals and right vs. wrong.

I don't know if the vibe of Sweet Evil fits the song as much as the contemporaries, but I absolutely loved how good vs. evil was handled in this book (and the rest of the series). Some of its themes seemed to go well with the theme of the song.

A Book Request
I'm looking for any morally ambiguous books that you feel go with this song! I want characters that show their savage-like side. I want to see the ugly parts of humanity contrasted with the good parts. I want dark and shocking and, most of all, thought provoking. Do you have any recs for me?

Do you think these books go well with the song?

Friday, January 15, 2016

How in The World Do You Resist Requesting ARCs?

Do you want to cut back on requesting? Do you want to focus more on your backlist books? I've been slowing my requesting by a LOT these past few months because I feel like focusing more on the mountain of books that I've bought but haven't read yet. It's been pretty successful, so I am going to share what has been helping me!

Note: This post is based mostly on Netgalley and Edelweiss requesting (and autoapprovals).
Who My Advice Is For
I don't like to give blanket advice because I know situations vary and it's not applicable for everyone, so here are the people I'm gearing this post towards:
  • Bloggers that really want to either stop/pull back on/take a break from requesting and reviewing ARCs for whatever reason. It could be stress or time or whatever else.
  • Bloggers that want to experiment and see how well they could resist books--you know, just for the fun of it.
    • This is the main reason I started actively resisting. I really wanted to see how I would do! I was curious about my own behavior.
  • Bloggers who think they may cut back on requesting in the near future and are curious about tips.
Who I DON'T recommend my advice for:

  • Bloggers that oftentimes say they should be resisting more, but are mostly joking about it. If you are doing well with ARCs and don't feel a big need to cut back, then I recommend you just keep doing what you're doing.
  • Bloggers that just started requesting. I personally feel mostly positively about ARCs and I highly recommend getting into them for awhile and seeing how the process is like. It can help you with organization, time management, emails, stress management, and quite a few other things. It can also teach you a lot about yourself. (Just don't blog for the sake of reviewing them, okay? You'll get so much more out of the whole blogging experience if ARCs aren't the reason you're blogging.)
How I Resist Harper Titles
A bunch of bloggers have an autoapproval for HarperCollin's YA books on Edelweiss. There's a lot of joking among us about how hard it is to resist the books and how many books we get from there. This is where I started experimenting with requesting! I wanted to see if a new approach would work and the Harper books seemed like the perfect place to start since they're so tempting. These steps are mostly for anyone with an autoapproval, but who knows? You can probably adapt them to fit requesting in general.

Step 1: Look, but don't download (unless you intend to read it soon)

Along with looking, I've found it really helpful to list the titles I'm at least a little interested in as if I had actually downloaded them. This helps a lot if you keep a spreadsheet for your review TBR, but you can just keep a list on paper or in a digital notepad (whatever works for you). I usually wait months to read books I download off EW anyway, so I figured that I don't need to be in a rush to download them. (Plus, what if I change my mind later? I've done that. MANY times.)

Step 2: Go back a couple months later to pick up a few of my most wanted titles

I'm adding this because my first attempt at this process wasn't 100% successful, which I think is a good thing because it can feel good to splurge.

Step 3: At the start of a new month, look at the books releasing that month to see if there's any you need to read

Most Harper titles stay available until they release, so you can download them pretty close to the publication date. I started this step this month and ended up picking a title that I wouldn't have downloaded when it was first uploaded over one that immediately jumped out at me five months ago.

Wait, What About Requesting?
I don't have steps, but I do have some tips! 

Challenge yourself to add a smaller number of ARCs to your review TBR than the number of books you read (or DNF) that month.

If monthly goals work for you often, I definitely recommend making this your goal. I can tell you that I feel accomplished whenever I can say that I reached this goal in my monthly recaps.

Think of what the rest of your TBR looks like.

This is what I've been doing often lately and it's been really successful. I have a giant TBR and there's sooooooooooo many books I want to read soon. And I can't get to them all this year. When I see a great looking book on Netgalley or Edelweiss, I stop and think. Do I need to read that book sooner than the other ones that I currently have?

Don't look at your stats.

I will not request books with outdated stats, even if they don't change that much. I need my numbers to be as accurate as possible when my request is being considered, or else I feel dishonest. So, I decided to hold off on looking at my stats for awhile (follower counts/pageviews/etc.) and now my current numbers are not exact (though I don't believe they've changed much). My need to have as accurate stats as possible in my profile outweighs my need to request books, and it's stopped me from hitting that request button on Edelweiss and Netgalley for almost two months now.

Note: this may only work if you're reluctant to request with stats that aren't exact, but also if you feel like your numbers don't change very much. (If you feel that your numbers have changed a lot since you last checked them, then I recommend updating your profile to reflect that.)

Remind yourself that the book will release.

You'll have to wait longer to read it, but you will be able to read it.

Think of why you want to read an ARC of the book.

This could be as simple as the fact that you are just too excited for the book to wait. But you can also think of how you can help promote the book by getting the ARC and by reading it early. Are you on a blog tour? Do you want to feature the author? Do you want to help spread the word about the book?

Here's the question I've been asking myself: do I want to make sure I post my review sooner rather than later so that I can help promote the book close to its release date? This question applies more to books that are getting less early reviews (and are less hyped) than the books everyone wants to read.
What Do You Think?
Do you have any advice for resisting review copies that I didn't mention? Are any of these tips things you've tried?

If you have any questions, just let me know!☺

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Right of First Refusal Cover Has Been Revealed!

Do you know how excited I am for this cover? REALLY EXCITED. It means we're one step closer to the release of Dahlia's second NA book! (It's releasing on March 15th, by the way.) This is the second book in the Radleigh University series, which started out really well with Last Will and Testament. (Trust me. You want to start in on this series. The first book was really good and the rest of Dahlia's books are great as well.)

Anyway, you're here for the cover, right? Well, it's just after that description. It is PRETTY. Maggie Hall did it! This cover feels like a breath of fresh air, though I can't quite place my finger on why. I think it's the colors and the picture in general.

About the Book
On the lacrosse field, Cait Johanssen gets what she wants. Off the field is another story. Because what she wants is the school's hot new basketball student-coach, Lawrence Mason, who also happens to be the guy who broke her heart in sports camp two years earlier.

But it's Cait's new roommate who's got him.

Cait and Mase agree it's best to keep their past a secret, but she doesn't expect him to completely ignore their history...or how much it'll hurt when he does. So when a friend on the basketball team asks her to pose as his girlfriend for a night, Cait can't turn down the opportunity for distraction. (Okay, and a little spite.) But what starts as an evening of fun turns into a fake relationship with more lies than the usually drama-free Cait can handle, and it's only keeping her from the one truth that's nagged at her for years: Why did Mase cut her out of his life to begin with?

And is it really too late to get him back?

Add it on Goodreads

Preorder links: 

The Cover!
 It's so pretty, right? ☺

About Dahlia
Dahlia Adler is an Associate Editor of Mathematics by day, a blogger for B&N Teen Blog by night, and writes Contemporary YA and NA at every spare moment in between. She's the author of the Daylight Falls duology, Just Visiting, and the Radleigh University series, as well as over five billion tweets as @MissDahlELama. She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (45) ~ While I MEANT To Read These . . .

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and a weekly meme where we simply make a top ten list for the week's topic.
Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To 
Get To But Didn't

Ahh, I can't believe I haven't read Sarah Dessen's latest one! D: She's one of my absolute favorite authors! More Happy Than Not is one that I intended to read during the summer, but then I put it off . . . and put it off again. I was SUPER excited for The Boy Most Likely To to release, but haven't made much effort to read it. (Soon, maybe...) I haven't even read Silver Shadows, so is it really that surprising that I didn't read The Ruby Circle. (I really need to get onto finally finishing this series! Ooh, anyone want to join me in that? *nudges*) Air Awakens looks like SUCH a good read. I think I meant to read it in November, but of course that didn't happen.

As for Queen of Shadows . . . I was intending to start it the day it released, but then I decided to wait on it until I actually feel like reading it. That may take awhile.

From The Review Pile
These were some of my most anticipated releases that I got review copies of, but I didn't manage to get to them! :( I'm hoping to get to Traffick, Violent Ends, and Ice Like Fire before too long, but I don't know when I'll get to None of the Above. I definitely still want to read it, but I plan to read a finished copy (and I don't have one yet).

Have you read any of these? Which ones must I get to the soonest?

26 Things to Know About Natalie Blitt and Her Book

Guess what? The Distance Between A to Z releases TOMORROW. I'm really excited for this one, especially after working on this feature with Natalie! Her debut has been getting great early reviews, which is an even better reason to look into it (if you haven't already, that is).

Since this book is titled The Distance From A to Z, Natalie and I settled on an alphabet related post. I really hope you like learning more about her and this book. And I hope you're as excited to read it as I am! (Have I mentioned it's releasing TOMORROW? Eeeeep!) Thank you to Natalie for the wonderful list.☺

First, A Little About the Book
This full-length novel by debut author Natalie Blitt is a pitch-perfect blend of Stephanie Perkins and Miranda Kenneally that proves the age-old adage: opposites attract.

Seventeen-year old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.

That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to exclusively wear baseball caps and jerseys.

But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between the distance between who she is and who he is, is worth the risk.

This ebook's price is only $1.99!

**Releasing January 12th 2016 by HarperCollins**
26 Things to Know About Natalie and Her Book
A – Abby, the main character and heart of the book.

B – Baseball. Abby hates it, Zeke not so much. But it’s an important character in the story.

C – The Cubs is Chicago’s home team and one of the reasons that Abby hates baseball. Though I think this year, Abby might have felt differently about the team’s prospect.

D – Debut and dream. I couldn’t choose between the two because this is my debut release and it’s an absolute dream come true that it’s happening.

E – Erreur (French for mistake). That, sadly, is an important word in this book.

F – French – it’s everywhere and I promise that even if you don’t speak a word, you’ll understand it all.

G – Gratitude. That’s mine again. If I could have written the acknowledgements I wanted, they would have been pages and pages long. I am grateful for so many people’s help and love.

H – Huntington University, the college summer program for high school students where Zeke and Abby are forced together.

I – Inspiration. It was actually my husband who inspired the book. He suggested that I should try writing a story that my baseball-obsessed sons might be interested in. I’m not sure this qualifies.

J – Jock. How Abby defines Zeke. Only the word sounds funny in French.

K – Kissing. There may be a lot of it. Though it could be not enough…

L – Love. Of course.

M – Marianne, the French professor. She’s totally kick ass. I wish she’d been my teacher.

N – Notre Dame Cathedral. While it is located in Paris, Zeke may have found a version in Merrit.

O – Oui (French for yes). It gets used.

P – Paris! It’s Abby’s dream destination and, let’s face it, mine too.

Q – Quebec. There’s a road trip to Montreal and it’s swoony… until it’s not.L

R – Real life. In real life, I have three sons and it’s all baseball talk all the time in my house. Except they love the Tigers, not the Cubs.

S – Sportif. The actual French word for jock (see J).

T – Trivia. My favorite scene might be the trivia competition. I love a good competition, just like Abby!

U – University in France, specifically the Sorbonne, is where Abby wants to go. That’s part of the reason she needs her French to be perfect.

V – Vouloir (French for want). It’s explained in the trivia scene but I kind of love it.

W – Writer. That’d be Abby’s roommate and best friend Alice. She’s a poet but I couldn’t use P for anything but Paris…

X – Wait until you see what happens when Abby & Zeke watch an x-rated movie together. It’s… steamy.

Y – Young Adult books. They’re everything.

Z – Zeke, the boy Abby falls in love with and who challenges her views and the way she lives in the world.
More About Natalie
Originally from Canada, Natalie Blitt grew up on a steady diet of loyalist adventure stories. It wasn’t until she moved to Chicago after graduating from McGill and receiving a journalism degree from the University of King’s College, that she learned that not everybody sees the loyalists as the heroes. Now living in the Chicago-area, she dreams up young adult novels of a different sort: more kissing, less guns, but always a lot of loyalty. Natalie works at an education think tank and lives with her husband and their three sons. She knows a lot about baseball. She has no choice.

Natalie is represented by Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

How excited are you for Natalie's debut? Which of the facts caught your attention the most?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Two 2016 Releases | Underwater and The Girl From Everywhere

I have two reviews for you today! I intended to make them both mini reviews, but they turned out longer than expected...
Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.

Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on.

*Releasing January 12th 2016 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux*

My Thoughts
Underwater was simply beautiful, though I can't place my finger on exactly why it is. The rhythm of the writing was wonderful (there were a lot of short sentences as paragraphs that worked with story and made it even better). The writing pulled at me, evoked a response. It was just . . . pretty. The story itself is wonderful too. It's about bravery and living and caring for others. It leaves an impact.

I could hear Morgan's voice loud and clear (or just clear since she had a quiet demeanor). I could easily picture the scenes because of that (and the writing). There was so much feeling in her POV. I could easily connect to her and really feel was she was feeling because it felt so vividly described.

There were a couple things that I didn't like. The story lost its momentum towards the end--or maybe that was just me that felt less connected than before--so I didn't get a strong last impression of this book. I felt a much bigger impact from the first three quarters of the book than I did the last one. I also wish I got to now the supporting characters on a deeper level because I don't have much at all to say about them. Ben was really sweet! It was nice to see how Morgan's relationship with her brother helped her push herself. And Evan was adorable. That's pretty much all I have to say about them.

Underwater is a must read for any fan of YA contemporary! It's relevant and beautifully written. It's well worth the read.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.

*Releasing February 16th 2016 by Greenwillow Books*
My Thoughts
In The Girl From Everywhere, fantasy and historical elements blended well together create an inventive and fun read about finding your where your home is. The world was so cool! It was both rich and fantastical, but there was a modern feel (even though the book was mostly set in the 19th century). The time travel/navigation was an interesting concept and the fact that the characters traveled in a boat made it even better. There were hints of romance and plenty of mischief and mayhem--even a dash of mystery--to keep the book enjoyable.

Sadly, there were some things that I didn't like about this book. I went through this one at a snail's pace because it felt so slooooowwwww. I had a tough time staying connected to it. The time travel (despite loving the concept) was a little confusing for me. I didn't always fully grasp what was happening in scenes either. There were just some things--the mythical elements especially--that I didn't get. If I did fully get what was happening, my rating probably would've been 4.5 or even 5 stars.

It also felt like there was a lot of loose ends in this book. Despite knowing there's going to be a sequel, I can't shake the feeling that there should've been less loose ends. I can't say much about this without spoiling, but there is one thing that I think I can be vague enough about. There was something that was shown or mentioned three or four times and then . . . it disappeared. And it was my Favorite. Thing. Of. The. Entire. Book. Well, it was until it became a loose end. Since I read an advanced copy, I'm hoping that was something that was changed (or at least handled better) in the final copy. Maybe it'll show up in the sequel. Who knows? It bugged me that there was this amazing thing that went poof--gone.

Despite the parts that I didn't like about this book, it really was a creative and fun read. The ideas, the world, the concepts--they were all very interesting, even if I didn't always understand them. I can see this appealing to a lot of readers!

How excited are you for these books to release??

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Reading Update ~ Review Copy Edition

The title is self explanatory! I'm simply sharing short statements or mini reviews of books that I have read recently or, in this case, have been meaning to post reviews of for awhile. My next edition will be for some books I read in December.

I'm just going with the covers and a statement for each. Each cover is linked to the book's Goodreads page.

*I received a review copy of all of these books in exchange for honest reviews.*

Tarnished by Kate Jarvick Birch - 3 stars

This is the sequel to Perfected.

I . . . liked it. I was so excited to dive into this one, but I ended up not liking it quite as much as I wished. The good, though? Missy and Ella had an interesting friendship and it was nice seeing how it developed. They seemed pretty different in the beginning, but their similarities became clearer as the book progressed. They had the same struggle and the same hopes for freedom. That helped them develop a bond. I did like Missy more than Ella just because her voice seemed clearer than Ella's. Ella did become more fired up--more passionate and determined--so she she became a louder character. Besides those things, I really liked how the world became more ugly as Ella learned about the darkest parts of being a pet.

What were the bad parts? Things didn't go too smoothly for the characters, but . . . there was something about some of the events that just didn't feel convincing to me. Maybe it was the pace? Certain changes happened quickly and it seemed like there wasn't enough to back up that quick of a reaction or turn of events. Also, the book as a whole felt meh. It didn't feel like anything special. 

Overall, Tarnished was okay sequel that could've been so much better. Even though I really liked the characters and the world, they had so much more potential that wasn't met in this book.

The Devil and Winnie Flynn by Micol Ostow 
and illustrated by David Ostow - 2 stars

I was expecting so much more out of this book, but I just wasn't very impressed. Very little stood out to me about this one. The idea of the tv show was kinda cool and there were some spooky twists, but for the most part, I didn't connect to the story or the characters. This is one of those books that I could move on from with a shrug. *shrugs*

The Revenge Artist by Philip Siegel3 stars

I had fun reading The Revenge Artist! I didn't get into it as much as the first book, but I did have a tough time pulling away once the Revenge Artist's schemes started up. The romance was cute and the mystery was nice. Becca turned into a bit of a Veronica Mars type heroine for awhile. She was obsessed with finding the Revenge Artist and was constantly working on solving the mystery. I liked her character growth, though I didn't see a ton of it (that mainly seemed to happen in the first book). That kept this book pretty light. Overall, The Revenge Artist was a decent read that fans of light YA mysteries would enjoy reading.
The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens 5 stars

Have you ever cried after finishing a book because you were so darn proud of a character? Sadie's story made me so happy because she came such a long way. She could've easily given up and rejected forgiveness, healing, and change. She chose the tougher (and more rewarding) road, though, and that made this book rewarding. I loved being on that road with her. This book featured lies and truth and friendship and forgiveness and grief. I loved that Sadie's ex-boyfriend was one of the supporting characters and I loved that he wasn't the love interest (a big focus on the interaction between exes after breakups doesn't seem to happen often enough in YA). I loved that this book reminded me how much I love the little details that can make certain YA contemporaries stand out from all the rest, like a stuffed animal named Big, the paintball, a Yari, and the scars (Idaho, Tennessee, and Pink Floyd) that were in this The Lies About Truth.

I loved this book. It was a really satisfying story!

Have you read any of these books?