May 31, 2015

May 2015 Wrap-Up

My Life

I cannot believe that we are already halfway through 2015. It feels like just yesterday that I was laboring over a million midterms, and now I am studying for even more finals. The year goes by so quickly.

Unfortunately, reading was not a big priority this month because of all of the end-of-the-year projects, late night cram sessions, and countless panic attacks over homework, essays, and finals. 

On the bright side, there was also a lot of end-of-the-year festivities, including yearbook signings (I managed to fit a pun into every one that I signed), classroom parties (with a lot of cake), and the exchange of friendship bracelets (I make friendship bracelets every year for my circle of friends. It has become somewhat of a tradition). 

But, I did manage to read a couple and they were AMAZING. I am officially out of my reading slump and ready to tackle summer. 

May 28, 2015

Review | Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2) Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Release Date:  February 5th, 2012
Pages: 452
Review by: Max

Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood that picks up where Cinder left off and includes the story of a new character, Scarlet, while continuing to tell Cinder's cyborg/alien tale.

If you're planning to read Cinder and haven't yet, I would avoid reading this review because of spoilers.

After the her complete disaster at the ball, Cinder has been incarcerated. Which makes it a bit difficult for her to convince Prince Kai she's not evil, stop the actually evil Queen Levana, and fulfill her role as secret alien princess.

Scarlet, Marissa Meyer's version of Little Red Riding Hood, fights her own set of problems in the novel involving aliens (of course) and her missing grandmother in France, with the help of another new character named Wolf. Together, Scarlet and Cinder tell the story of the Commonwealth and Earth in the future through their own separate tales.

May 26, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday | Books to Read In the Summer

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by wonderful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. 

Summer is coming, whether you are ready or not. (I fall into the second category because I still have to tackle finals before I get my summer vacation).

So, it is time to stock up on the summer essentials: sunscreen, watermelon, sunglasses, flip flops, more sunscreen (I get burnt ridiculously easily), and, most importantly, the hottest books. 

If you are still looking for the perfect books to stash in your beach bag, this week's theme is definitely going to help!

May 23, 2015

I Read YA Week 2015

As you know (and if you don't, look up at our header) our blog is crazy for young adult books. These books, including the Harry Potter, Divergent, the Hunger Games, and countless others, have shaped who were are today. 

May 22, 2015

Review | Somewhere Only We Know by Cheyanne Young

Somewhere Only We Know

Author: Cheyanne Young
Release Date: June 15, 2014
Pages: 234
Review by: Tessa

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my opinion of the book. 

Anxiety rules Sadie's life. She is a slave to the pills that she is supposed to take once a day, but many days she end up swallowing three or more and the panic still haunts her. 

Aaron does what the pills cannot--make her feel normal, even though he is far from normal himself. Sadie has anxiety issues, but Aaron cannot even remember his problems due to a memory disorder. 

Summer is in full swing and Aaron and Sadie have everything planned out, until Sadie's grandmother gives her own plan. This summer, Sadie is supposed to do normal things, like get a job, volunteer, and most importantly, hang out with normal people who can actually remember what they had for breakfast that morning. 

Following her grandmother's regimen keeps Sadie away from Aaron, but she does not have to stay away during her dreams when she visits Isola Fiona. There, Sadie does not have anxiety and Aaron can remember everything with perfect accuracy. At first, it is just a silly dream, but there may be more to Fiona Isola than Sadie really thought. 

May 19, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday | Reasons We are Excited to Host our First Readathon!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by wonderful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. 

I was very sneaky this week and am using the freebie day to announce some very interesting news....

We are hosting a summer readathon!

We would like to share ten reasons why we are excited and you should be too. 

May 18, 2015

Extraordinary Means Tag

I was tagged by the wonderful Christina @ Christina Reads YA to do the Extraordinary Means Tag, which was created by Robin Schneider over on YouTube. By the way, she is the author of The Beginning of Everything, which I just added to my TBR and most recently, Extraordinary Means (I wonder where the title for this tag came from...).

Brace yourself. You are now going to find out how far I will really go for my favorite books. 

May 15, 2015

Review | The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

The Darkest Part of the ForestThe Darkest Part of the Forest

Author: Holly Black
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Pages: 324
Review by: Tessa

Fairfold has never been a normal town. Tourists flock from all over the country to experience the magic themselves. They come to marvel at the faerie circles and gawk at the horned boy sleeping in his glass casket on display in the woods. Some of them leave feeling inspired, but others never leave at all. Of course, in a place where faeries and humans live side by side, there are going to be some "accidents." 

But to Hazel and Ben, Fairfold is their home. Their childhood was spent running barefoot through the enchanted forest, dancing in the woods, and telling stories to their horned prince while he slumbers in his casket.

They have gotten used to how the faeries act. They know exactly how to avoid them and their magic. Until the faeries do not act like they are supposed to anymore. 

The faeries are getting more and more clever, which is never a good thing. Then the horned boy wakes up...

May 13, 2015

Book Battle | Splintered vs Alice in Zombieland

Welcome to the second round of Book Battles!

If you missed the first round between The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, then you should go on over and read it!

Today's face-off is between two retellings of Alice in Wonderland.

When I was a kid, Alice in Wonderland was my least favorite Disney movie. The Cheshire Cat haunted my nightmares and I would not go near any holes in the ground for fear of falling into Wonderland. The story was just too creepy for my childish brain.

Now, it is one of my favorite topics for retellings because it is so bizarre, unique, and just the right amount of terrifying.

Splintered vs. Alice in Zombieland

The Plot

Splintered- Centers around Alyssa and her struggle, and eventual failure, to live a normal life despite her mother's commitment to a mental institution and the fear of "catching" her crazy. It turns out that Alyssa is related to Alice from Alice in Wonderland and her story is not just a story after all. So, Alyssa needs to go back to Wonderland to fix Alice's mistakes, but along the way she discovers that the magical land is not as sweet and innocent as the story portrays it to be.

Alice in Zombieland- Alice's father believes in zombies, but she does not believe him until he is killed by one. Now, she is determined to avenge his death by killing any zombies that she can find. With the help of bad boy, Cole Holland, she might just have a chance against the wrath of the undead.

The Characters 

Splintered- The cast of this book was completely unique and intriguing. There is Alyssa, the skatergirl who is trying to be relatively normal in the wake of her mother's insanity, Jeb, the cute boy-next-door with a punk-rock style, and Morpheus, the hard-to-explain-without-giving away-spoilers guy who is equal parts sassy and mysterious.

Alyssa is a strong-headed main character who will do anything for those that she loves. Even if she does not seem like it on the outside, she is naive and very trusting (perhaps too much). She is also very sassy and sarcastic. 

Alice in Zombieland- The cast of this book is like a teenaged version of The Walking Dead, or any other zombie hunting production. There is the new girl, Alice, who has absolutely no idea what she is going. There is the bad boy leader, Cole, who also happens to be the love interest. Then, there is the jealous, ex-girlfriend, and the rest of Cole's lackeys. 

The most unique character was Kat, Alice's best friend. She did not care what anyone said about her. She was the best friend Alice could ever dream of, even when Alice ignored her and treated her like the zombies she hunted. Kat was perfectly snarky, girly, and the perfect foil to Alice. I really loved the sarcasm and sass that she brought to the book.

Alice is stubborn and bent on revenge. She refuses to give up on a difficult situation, especially if their are lives at stake. On the other hand, she is a cliche love-sick puppy when it comes to Cole. She completely melts over him and pretty much does whatever he says, even when she shouldn't. She is also easily influenced by gossip and peer pressure, which was not appealing. She has several jealous rages over the course of the book. 

The Writing

Splintered- Descriptive, whimsical but dark at times, crazy

Alice in Zombieland- Detailed, dramatic, violent

The Originality

Splintered- I can truly saw that I have not read an Alice and Wonderland retelling like this before. Actually, I have never read anything like it before. Howard put a morbid and frankly terrifying spin on the classic tale while still managing to incorporate all of the beloved aspects of the story. The originality comes in because of the unique perspective of the book. Apparently, Lewis Carroll was a little bit confused when writing his book. He actually thought that Wonderland was a nice, happy, and generally wonderful place to be, but according to this twisted story, he was as crazy as his characters.

New characters are blended into the story and hidden secrets of the real Wonderland are revealed. Splintered is so amazing because it remains totally original while still maintaining the roots of the story that everyone knows and loves.

Alice in Zombieland- Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing about Alice in Zombieland. Most of it was cliche and overly dramatic, including one of the parts I was most excited about--the zombies. In reality, this book is like a spin-off of any popular zombie movie or TV show. It follows the standard plotline: girl's family killed, girl wants revenge, girl falls in love in .001 milliseconds, girl tries to fight zombies with said love and fails, girl figures out she has some kind of special power that will help her defeat the zombies. Personally, I have seen this story arc a thousand times, and I did not really want to read it again.

The Romance

With these books, picking a better romance is like picking the better of two evils. 

Splintered- The romance in Splintered is centered around a love triangle. It is not really the center of attention, with all of the adventure that happens in the book, but it is present. I am alright with love triangles as long as they are unique and avoid the overused cliches, which Splintered pulled off. The competition is between two old friends of Alyssa, but it could not be more complicated. 

Alice in Zombieland- The romance, or should I say cheese, in this book reeks of insta-love. There is one of those annoying moments where the characters eyes met across the hallway and they just "knew" that they were going to spend the rest of eternity together.

The Faithfulness to Alice in Wonderland

Splintered- This is yet another category that Splintered passed with flying colors. All of the original characters from the book, even some that were not mentioned in the Disney movie and I never knew about until reading it, were included. The book also references the original story several times. The setting, Wonderland, is almost exactly like the one I know and love. The caterpillar, Cheshire Cat (who I have grown to love), talking flowers, Red and White Queens, and the jabberwocky all make appearances in the book.

Alice in Zombieland-  This book could really just be named Zombieland, because it had almost nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland. The zombies were the focal point of the book, not the tale of Alice. The only indicators that it was inspired by Alice in Wonderland is the arbitrary appearance of a white cloud in the sky that resembles a white rabbit. That is basically all of the ties to the book. No Cheshire Cat, caterpillar, 

There might be some deeper meaning that I am failing to see in comparison with the original tale, but my point is that Alice in Zombieland is not obviously related to Alice in Wonderland.


This round goes to...

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered was more unique, creative, and true to the original story. The romantic drama could be overwhelming at times, but is the only complaint that I have. The story of Alice and Wonderland is brought to life and given an interesting, but creepy, twist.

What is your favorite Alice in Wonderland retelling? Did you like Splintered or Alice in Zombieland more? What other Book Battles do you want to see?

May 12, 2015

Release Day Blitz | The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

I am so excited that THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh releases today and that I get to share the news, along with a special introduction from Renée herself!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Renée Ahdieh, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed copies of the book and some beautiful book inspired scarves, courtesy of Renée, Penguin Teen, and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

May 7, 2015

The Mortal Instruments TV Series | Initial Thoughts

I have a strained relationship with The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I loved the first three books and the prequel series, The Infernal Devices. But, I have been iffy about the rest of the series, especially the last book so far, City of Heavenly Fire. 

I hope that the television series can rekindle my love for this series.

As most of you should know, I hated the City of Bones movie. Jamie Bower did not look or act like how I imagined Jace, the romance was over exaggerated, and it was not really true to the book. I feel like this story could make should a good TV series, if done in the right way.

May 5, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Will Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by wonderful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. 

We all know it, but will never admit to it. There are just some books that I have sworn to NEVER read. There are a endless reasons, including but not limited to, too much hype, bad movies, complete lack of interest, spoiled and whiny main characters, and overly-cheesy romances. 

Here are the top books that find these criteria.

May 3, 2015

Book Blitz | In A World Just Right by Jen Brooks

In a World Just Right

by Jen Brooks 
Release Date: 04/28/15
Simon & Schuster Book for Your Readers
432 pages

Summary from Goodreads: Imagination takes on new meaning for a uniquely talented teen in this debut novel that is a breathtaking blend of contemporary, fantasy, and romance.

Sometimes Jonathan Aubrey wishes he could just disappear. And as luck—or fate—would have it, he can. Ever since coming out of a coma as a kid, he has been able to create alternate worlds. Worlds where he is a superhero, or a ladies’ man, or simply a better version of himself. That’s the world he’s been escaping to most since sophomore year, a world where he has everything he doesn’t have in real life: friends, a place of honor on the track team, passing grades, and most importantly, Kylie Simms as his girlfriend.

But when Jonathan confuses his worlds senior year and tries to kiss the real Kylie Simms, everything unravels. The real Kylie actually notices Jonathan…and begins obsessing over him. The fantasy version of Kylie struggles to love Jonathan as she was created to do, and the consequences are disastrous. As his worlds collide, Jonathan must confront the truth of his power and figure out where he actually belongs—before he loses both Kylies forever.