Event Recap: Leigh Bardugo ‘Warbringer’ Release Party at The Grove!

Let it be known, I’m not a massive DC fan. I’ve always been pretty heavily Marvel, though a love of Christian Bale and the amazing storytelling of Wonder Woman have made me a fan of both Batman and Wonder Woman. That being said, when I heard that were going to be YA versions of Batman, Wonder Woman and Catwoman by Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas, I was immediately sold.

Continue reading “Event Recap: Leigh Bardugo ‘Warbringer’ Release Party at The Grove!”

Book Review: In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody

Kennedy Rhodes turns down an acceptance to an elite private school, instead choosing to stay at her high school and jump at the opportunity to date the boy of her dreams. Three years later, Kennedy walks in on that same boyfriend cheating with her best friend—and wishes she had made a different choice. Continue reading “Book Review: In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody”

Tuesday Top Ten-My ‘Auto-Buy’ Authors!

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the Tuesday Top Ten!

I honestly have had a crazy week, and I’ve been so incredibly busy that I honestly couldn’t even remember if I did a Tuesday Top Ten last week. Turns out I did!

I got the idea for this week’s top ten from my dear friend Kayla’s blog! She did a booktag where she posted what authors she owned the most books of from her auto-buy list. I thought it was kind of fun but…I have over 500 books and I don’t have bookshelves so that’s a lot of work for me. But then I thought, well, I don’t have an idea for this week’s Tuesday Top Ten so voila! Now I have one.

All ten authors are authors that from right this moment (and perhaps before), I will buy everything they release, without even thinking about it. You know what I mean. Those kind of authors that you’ve read enough books to trust them, so that when they release a new book, you immediately want to pick it up and read it. Those ones.

Here are my top ten, erm, eleven:

11. Richelle Mead 

Its funny that a year ago, I would have scoffed at this, rolled my eyes at the cover of Vampire Academy, and never known how amazing this author is. Luckily, I put aside my vampire prejudices and read this book. Now I’m addicted to VA and Bloodlines, absolutely adore Richelle and I have a VA tattoo now. I will buy anything she writes because she takes something that has been done over and over again, has been beaten to a pulp and makes it fun, fresh, adventurous, sexy and amazing. Richelle Mead is incredible and I will be picking up every single one of her books from now on, easily.

10. Jennifer L. Armentrout

This is a very…I will buy everything she publishes from here on out. I don’t own everything by her at this point. I have read the entire Lux series (so far) and I don’t own it all. I have read the entire Covenant series and again, don’t own them. But I’ve read so much from her now, and I’ve been so thoroughly impressed by her, again and again, that any time there is a new release for her, I’m determined to head to the bookstore in order to purchase her new book. I trust her to take me on adventure, to make me laugh and to have perfectly steamy scenes that leave me panting for more.

9. Marie Lu

After reading the entire Legend trilogy, and being completely blown away from beginning to end, I’ve developed not only an addiction to Marie Lu, but a complete trust in her. I was ready to dive happily into her new book, The Young Elites, and worked my ass off to get a copy of it at ALA. I read it just last week and it blew my mind. I already have my ARC of it but I know that when it is released in October, I will totally be picking it up. I trust Marie Lu to write an incredible story every single time, and she will be one that I will be following for quite some time.

8. Veronica Roth

The Divergent series means so incredibly much to me; I don’t get tattoos of series just because I feel like it. I love Veronica Roth. I love her characters and her stories. I picked up the Four collection and read it in about an hour. I trust her, and I want to read everything that she puts out. She’s the same age as me so I know that she has a great future as a writer in front of her. Right now, I am unsure of what she is working on. Everyone is just talking about the new Four collection and I don’t think there’s anything set in stone planned for the future. Whatever it is though, you can definitely count on me to purchase it on the day it comes out.

7. Tamora Pierce

There is a stipulation to this, even though she’s totally tied for first in the list of my favorite authors. I buy every single thing Tamora Pierce writes as long as its in the Tortall world. Everything she has written in that world has just blown my mind and I love going back again and again and again. She hasn’t put anything out in that world for awhile, which makes me sad, but I always eagerly await a new one. I need to go back and read her Circle books, in the hope of getting an “auto-buy” feeling for those as well :)

6. Andrew Smith

Okay, yes, I need to go back and buy all the books he’s already released since I don’t own all of them, but of the ones I’ve read and own, I just can’t imagine him disappointing me. He is an absolutely incredible author and every book I read makes me love him even more. From now on, every time he releases a book, I will be at the  bookstore, grabbing a copy (or two…or three…) and making sure its in my collection. I trust him enough to always make me a happy reader.

5. Jessica Brody

Did I just use a picture of Jessica Brody from the first time I ever met her, over a year ago at WonderCon 2013? Yes, yes, I did. Apparently when I google “Jessica Brody author”, most of the pictures that pop up are the ones from my blog…which is kind of cool and maybe a bit creepy and stalkerish. But the point is, I’ll buy all Jessica Brody’s books because they’re all so good! I’ve read them all (except the Fidelity Files, which I’m working on), and she makes me laugh and she’s a great writer and I love supporting her. Its easy to imagine going to the bookstore on her release days and picking up her new book!

4. Sarah Dessen

I’ve literally bought every single Sarah Dessen book, on the day its released, since I was about fourteen years old. I doubt that is going to change any time soon, unless she starts writing truly awful books.Even then though… Sarah is one of those authors that usually makes me happy, and I love reading her books. Her last couple have been a little lacking compared to some of her earlier ones but I still buy each one with much eagerness because I know what a terrific writer she is and I always look forward to the great stories she tells. Plus they’re always the perfect summer books and I just love that.

3. Cassandra Clare

Whatever you feel about her, that’s your deal. I ran into a lot of people at ALA who don’t like her, and that’s your deal. But she is literally one of my favorite authors ever, I have a tattoo from her series and I will buy each and every one of her books on the day they come out, no matter what. I absolutely hated City of Fallen Angels, and I’m upfront and honest about that. But that didn’t keep me from continuing to buy The Infernal Devices series or from picking up the next TMI book, Lost Souls, the following year. I will pick up a copy of The Iron Trials (her novel with Holly Black) this fall (though I already have an ARC copy of it), and I’ll pick up a copy of The Bane Chronicles and Lady Midnight and so on. This is one author that I’m definitely going to continue to buy, because even though she writes a dud sometimes, she writes a great book that makes me happy too.

2. Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot has been one of my favorite authors since I was 12 years old, when I first picked up a copy of The Princess Diaries. I’ve literally bought every single book of hers, on the release day, since then. That’s 14 years of complete dedication. In fact, a few months ago, I thought “Wait…how is it Meg isn’t releasing anything this year?” Not even a week later, Meg announced two new adult books, based off of two of her very popular YA series. Those will most definitely be auto buys, without even pausing or thinking about it.

1. J.K. Rowling

She’s my favorite author in the entire world and she’s written a total of 10 books. Which seems like a lot but the first one came out in 1998, and that was nearly 20 years ago. She wrote the Harry Potter series and when that was over, I thought I would never again be able to experience the beautiful and incredible writing and storytelling of her again. Then The Casual Vacancy came out. Not one of my favorites but I did enjoy it and I purchased it immediately. As soon as it was revealed that she was Robert Galbraith, and that The Cuckoo’s Calling was, in fact, her novel, I immediately went on my e-reader and bought it. (I had to; at the time, bookstores didn’t carry enough copies to meet the sudden demand). Just recently I purchased The Silkworm, the sequel. I will continue to buy every single thing she writes, even if its, like, a history of toothpicks or something because I will read anything this queen writes :)

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Who are some of your favorite auto-buy authors? Share in the comments!

Love Letters to the Dead Book Review

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

My Review:

I knew when I saw the cover of this book that I had to read it. I first saw it when doing a bit of research on the authors that would be attending the Ontario Teen Book Fest. Something about this cover just jumps out at you and you can’t help but think…what is this book about? I put it on my TBR list and left it at that.

The next time I had encountered it was after Sylvia from Fangirl Feeels had acquired an e-ARC and reviewed it for her site (which you can read here). She really loved it, and she blew through it, and so I knew that I had to get my hands on it.

Then this past Tuesday, she had her launch event at the Barnes and Noble at the Grove, with Stephen Chbosky, and Sylvia and I ventured down the freeway to go and meet her. She read from her book, answered some questions and signed some books. You can find out all about that fun stuff in my vlog about it here.

The bottom line is, as soon as I came home from enjoying the book signing and cupcakes (because you can’t go to the Grove and NOT get Sprinkles), I dove into this book and was immediately sucked into this absolutely beautiful novel. It is hard while reading this book to realize that this is a debut novel. She writes like she has been doing it for so long and I felt so connected to the book.

The first time I ever picked up The Perks of Being a Wallflower and read “Dear Friend”, I knew that I was in for something special. When you open this book, you get “Dear Kurt Cobain”. Flip through the pages and you see all sorts of names: River Phoenix, Judy Garland, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, and more and that is enough to make me dive into the book. Each person chosen for a letter seems so perfect to what Laurel is going through in her life. They match perfectly and you find yourself comparing Kurt and Laurel or Amy and Laurel. Its beautiful. Its beautiful that the way Laurel found solace and found herself through writing to others.

Grief is a difficult thing to deal with. I’ve barely stepped my toe in it. When I was in 8th grade, two of my classmates died. One the week school started and another just a couple days after “graduation”, both in car crashes. Not long after, I lost my grandfather, which was incredibly rough. But I’ve never lost a sister, not like Laurel, and I can’t imagine what I would be like if I lost either of my sisters. That kind of grief is unimaginable and going on this journey of grief with Lauren is incredibly emotional and aching and just flat out beautiful. There are times when it feels so familiar and other times, it doesn’t but you still feel the pain and emptiness that she feels.

Because Ava has a way of connecting with her reader. Laurel is not speaking to us, she is speaking to dead people, dead famous people to be exact. But she feels so real, and even though you’re not the person you’re writing to, you feel everything she feels and its incredible. To be able to reach out to the reader like that and pull them in is just an amazing thing to do and I admire Ava for accomplishing that.

Bottom line: its an incredible, one-of-a-kind read. Its hard to believe that this is a debut novel because its so GOOD. She captures you from the very first page and pulls you through the story. You finish each letter with the immediate urge to read the next. This book is nearly impossible to put down. Its emotional and has beautiful romance and fantastic characters (god all those secondary characters are just fantastic!) and its a wonderful coming-of-age story about a girl dealing with the loss of her sister. This is a book I will definitely read again.

Plus, Emma Watson totally recommends it and you can never go wrong with Emma ;)

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Cress Book Review

Cress by Marissa Meyer

 

 

 

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

My Review:

Please take note that while there will be no spoilers for this novel, there will be spoilers for the previous books. You can read my review for Cinder here and my review for Scarlet here. 

It took me a thousand years it seems to finish reading this book but I finally did. This is not to say anything about the book though. That was all my doing. I bought this book the day after the release and I’m in SUCH a slump right now, reading wise, that I just couldn’t make myself read ANYTHING. But I pushed my way through because I was loving the book and I love these books, and the last 100 pages flew by because it just was so great.

I honestly think that Marissa Meyer is a genius, and she is able to weave fairy tales and science fiction and even a little dystopia so perfectly that everything about it is so genuine and so real to me. Its so easy to accept so much of what is going on in her novels and it just flows so beautifully. Her writing is beautiful, and her story telling is incredibly compelling. She is such a talent and I honestly can’t wait to meet her in April so I can tell her how unbelievably amazing and inspirational she is as a writer.

Moving on though, I loved how long the novel was and yet took place over such a small span of time. I thought that was beautiful. Marissa was able to introduce the character of Cress into the story, and creating her own path and her own journey and growth while sticking super close to the other characters and the story she had already created. I think that’s brilliant. She did that in introducing Scarlet in book two, and she does it so effortlessly in introducing Cress in this novel. She also (this gets a little spoiler-y, sorry), sort of matches characters up in the novel. Now, normally that sort of thing would bother me, like…really, there’s a person for everyone? Come on, now. But in the book…everything is so gradual and so realistic and she’s very good at building relationships between characters. I never really thought about the matchy-matchy of the people after the first initial thought of it.

Plus she just ROCKS at writing really great science fiction. Not even just young adult, but just good science fiction, and she blends the fairy tale stories in so well. One minute, I’m caught up in the story of Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood, or, as in this novel, Rapunzel, and the next, I’m holding my breath, wondering what the alien queen Levana is going to do to the earth or laughing at the ridiculous and lovable android, Iko. She takes this incredible world of aliens, and space travel, and Lunars, and androids and cyborgs and weaves it with these familiar fairy tales, and it all feels so real and so smooth. I also love that she takes the stories that we know from the popular Disney version and mixes them with the classic stories, that can be a little more gruesome than what Disney shows us. She puts a lot of time and effort, obviously, into building incredible stories.

I can’t WAIT to read Winter next year and I’m not too fond of having to wait until it comes out haha. She’s left us in an incredible position with the Earth pitted against the Lunars, and its absolute chaos and I reached the end in shock, awe and excitement. I also love the beautiful way that she introduces Winter (I know, that’s a bit spoiler-y, sorry again!) and I already know that she’s going to be an incredible character because she’s already blown my mind. Can it be time for Winter already?

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Book of the Week: Legend

Its been a pretty awesome week for me. I’ve really realized how much AWESOME is coming this year. Cassandra Clare alone is bringing a ton of awesome this year, if you read my blog post yesterday. So many movies (City of Bones,Sea of Monsters, Ironman 3, The Hobbit 2, Catching Fire, Monsters University, 42, and on and on) are coming out, and books. Fall Out Boy is back together; I get to see my music god, Andrew McMahon, back in concert.

So much awesome. Its also been awesome in my reading this week.

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this book with you guys ALL WEEK.

I’ve fallen really behind on my 200 books goal. It was my first week back at school, and I’m working extra hours at work this week so not a lot of time for casual reading. Kind of makes me sad, I was on a roll!

But anyway, the last book I finished was Prodigy by Marie Lu. Right before that, I read the first book, Legend. And I was pretty blown away. I knew immediately that I wanted it to be the Book of the Week.

In a world of dystopian novels, an absolute explosion of dystopian novels, this one stands out, most definitely.

So I give you, this week’s Book of the Week.

Legend by Marie Lu

jjj-book-club-november

Genre:
dystopian, young adult, mild romance

You May Like if You Liked:
The Hunger Games, Matched series, The Maze Runner series

Plot Summary: 
Its the United States of the Future, after things have started falling apart. Global warming is more than just a thing to come, its here and its destroyed many countries. Whats left is a few countries here and there. One is the Republic of America, a militant country, keeping their citizens in line for survival of the fittest. Two young people of this nation are June and Day, living on completely opposite spectrums.

June is of the wealthiest class in Los Angeles, and of the most intelligent as well. She’s scored a perfect score on her Trials, which has never been done before, and is close to graduating college at 15 years old. She worships the Republic and what it stands for. She wants to follow in her older brother, Metias’ footsteps and become a soldier of the Republic. She has everything she could possibly want; a nice home, good food, a new vaccine every year for the growing plague, and a purpose in life. That is, until her brother Metias is murdered and she’s suddenly on a chase to find the notorious criminal, Day, and bring him to justice.

Enter Day. Day came from the poor neighborhoods of Los Angeles, and when he scores an impossibly low score on his Trials, he’s taken away to the labor camps. Five years, at 15 years old, he’s a criminal on the run, fighting to survive the streets and fighting to provide for the family who thinks he is dead. His escape from the Republic and his knowledge of what really happens at these “labor camps” has given Day a reason to be very, very mad at the Republic. When his brother contracts the plague and his family has no way of paying for the cure, he does everything he can, even running headfirst into Republic soldiers, to save his brother’s life.

The novel is told in two different points of views, June and Day, as their two stories intertwine and collide, providing two very different stories of their lives in the Republic of America.

The Bad:

To be 100% honest, there wasn’t a lot of bad to me. I mean, I can’t even think of anything bad. The only bad I could maybe find for those people really looking for a “bad”, is that its another dystopian romance. However, it stands out in the dystopian novel world, in my opinion at least, and the romance is very small and very subtle. Its not overwhelming, like most books seem to be nowadays.

The only bad in my opinion was that it was soo good, and the sequel was good and the third book probably won’t be out for another year, at least, and I’m not good with waiting.

The Good: 

Marie Lu tells her version of a dystopian society in a way that comes across at maybe not 100% original but is a breath of fresh air when compared to others. There’s a lot of United States history and backstory of this; instead of just hinting that the society used to be the democratic USA, they say it was, and the Republic saved them from the mess that it was. You have the Patriots, and the Colonies, two separate rebel forces, reminiscent of the old ways.

I also like the characters as well. Day is the bad guy for much of this novel, but because you get his side of the story as well as June’s, you don’t see him as a bad guy. When you learned what happened to him, what really happened to him after he failed his Trial, you’re glad that he has been stealing from the Republic and causing mayhem. You want him to find the plague medication to give to his younger brother, you want him to make money to help his family. When it comes out that Metias is dead at the hands of Day, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, its an accident. He threw that knife to stop him but he would never kill him.

Then you have June, who honestly I couldn’t stand, because you’re getting Day’s side of the story and you’re watching June hunt down Day, even though she’s wrong. She doesn’t know she’s wrong and as you watch her discover more and more things about the Republic, like the truth behind her brother’s death, and her parents’ deaths from when she was a child, the truth about Day’s Trial score and the reason his brother is so sick. You watch her see the truth, but unlike a lot of the heroines of other novels that just see the truth and immediately change their loyalties, you see some realness in June. She’s been raised her entire life for the love of the Republic and the loyalty to the Elector Primo. She has been bred to become a loyal soldier and she’s good it. She struggles with the truths. When she makes the decision to help Day, its because she can’t stand to have someone punished for a crime they didn’t commit. She doesn’t become a rebel against this dystopian society so quickly as Lena or Cassia do in their novels.

Plus its just a good story. The Republic of America, combined with the Colonies and the Patriots, are all so confusing and you can’t figure out who is bad and who is good. Because you’re getting two very different viewpoints of a similar story, you’re having a hard time deciding who is wrong and who is right. The mysteries build up. You see June mourn her brother, and you’re so sad because he was all she had and you want someone to pay for it, but you see Day, and his struggles and you obviously don’t want him executed. There’s so much going on here. Neither one of the characters is a rebel, even though the society isn’t what it is made off to be. Day is just struggling to survive and doesn’t care about the politics of it all; his family comes first. June reveals truths about the perfect society that she loved but she has a hard time grappling with them, and her loyalty.

Rating: 

I give it a 5 out of 5 stars. The book has fresh characters, a fresh story and it made me want to immediately go out and buy the very recently released sequel, Prodigy, which I did and finished in a day or two. Now I’m dying for the next one.

Recommended or Not?

Definitely. I recommend for those who like young adult, dystopian novels but are looking for something new to read. Its fresh and fun. It has enough action without sacrificing character development, enough romance without sacrificing the entire story, enough rebellion without sacrificing the reality of it. This is good for both GIRLS and BOYs as well, whereas a lot of dystopian novels nowadays are more fitting for girls. Definitely go out and pick up this book.