Oct 4, 2017

Author Event | Colleen Hoover - Without Merit Tour!


Last night I had the opportunity to quickly meet Colleen Hoover, author Ugly Love, November 9, It Ends With Us, and her newest YA book Without Merit. She was touring for Without Merit, which I was lucky enough to receive an eARC for. Thanks to Ariele Fredman and Atria books for giving me the opportunity to participate in another blog tour. If you haven't checked that out, I have a short review on the book yesterday and there's also a giveaway!

 

Colleen Hoover was appearing at Chevalier Books in Los Angeles and when I found out, I immediately bought my ticket. I also convinced one of my best friends to get a ticket too, so I wouldn't be on my own. With the purchase of the ticket, we also received a copy of the book, which is great because I love adding more books to my CoHo collection.

We got there right on time and it was packed. The bookstore itself is small to be holding such a large event, so people were filled up all the way in and even crowded around the front. I noticed there was already some sort of line so I asked a nearby fan if they were in line to get their book, but they were already in line for the signing even though CoHo was speaking. We got directed to the front and after making our way through the crowds, we managed to get our books. But our number in line was #133 so we realized we had a bit to go. It was a little difficult to hear Colleen even though she had a microphone, but she was answering questions for the most part. She discussed the names of her characters in Without Merit, and talked of possible upcoming movie adaptations, but she only spoke for about 10 minutes which was a little disappointing.

After her talk was over, they had people get in line by their number but since we had such a long way to go, we headed for the coffee shop next door, and then continued to browse a few more shops down the street. About 45 minutes later we made our way back and they were only in the 60's but we decided to hang around the shop instead. We browsed through books, and I really wanted to get a few, but am on a book buying ban! Finally we were standing in line, and even though we had a few restless people get ahead of us, it was overall a quick process.


When we finally met her, she signed all my books (I had 4 for her to sign) and I took some pictures. I felt sort of awkward because CoHo didn't seem to want to talk at this point (since she was probably tired from the commotion) so we got a quick picture and were off. It was a overwhelming, but I was really excited about visiting the "oldest indy bookstore in Los Angeles" and am glad I had my friend with me. I was a little disappointed with the whole experience because there were too many people in the small area, and the bookshop workers weren't coordinating the event as well as it should have been, but overall am glad I was there to meet her.

Don’t miss Colleen on tour for WITHOUT MERIT:



SEATTLE, WA
Monday, October 2nd
THIRD PLACE BOOKS
7:00 PM    
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA  98155

LOS ANGELES, CA
Tuesday, October 3rd
CHEVALIER'S BOOKS
7:00 PM    
126 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90004

KANSAS CITY, KS
Wednesday, October 4th
WOODNEATH LIBRARY CENTER
7:00 PM    
8900 NE Flintlock Rd
Kansas City, MO  64157

CHICAGO, IL
Thursday, October 5th
ANDERSON'S BOOKSHOP – LA GRANGE
7:00 PM    
26 S La Grange Rd
La Grange, IL  60525

CINCINNATI, OH
Friday, October 6th
JOSEPH-BETH BOOKSELLERS
7:00 PM    
2692 Madison Road
Cincinnati, OH  45208

POTTSTOWN, PA
Saturday, October 7th
BOOKS-A-MILLION
6:00 PM    
Coventry Mall
351 W. Schuylkill Road Ste G16
Pottstown, PA  19465

NEW YORK, NY
Sunday, October 8th
NEW YORK COMIC CON
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM   
500 West 36th Street
Hudson Mercantile
New York, NY  10018

DALLAS, TX
Tuesday, October 10
SMU BOOKSTORE
7:00 PM    
B&N College
Southern Methodist University Bookstore
3060 Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, TX  75205

Oct 3, 2017

\\ Blog Tour \\ Review + Giveaway! | Without Merit by Colleen Hoover


Title: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: October 3, 2017 by Atria Books
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis: The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.


Thoughts: I read this in one day. Well technically, I started it the night before, read a bit before going to be bed and woke up the next day and read the rest. I literally spent an entire day reading Without Merit and it was so worth it. Colleen Hoover is easily one of my favorite authors and I was truly surprised with this book because it was unlike her others that I have read. Without Merit is YA and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I didn't know that the focus of this one would be so much on family, I absolutely loved that. Sure, it has some romance, but we get to experience the dynamics between Merit and her family.

The characters are the best part of this book, really, because each one is so realistic and dealing with their own issues that you find you can connect with all of them as well learn to love them. It was hard to understand why everyone was the way they were, but once the secrets start to come out, it's kind of shocking (which is something CoHo always does so well) and we can't help but love these characters more.

Like so many others, I find it best to go into her books blindly because you don't really know what to expect from the synopsis. CoHo always throws a curve ball in there and when you think you know everything, BAM! You're hit with something else. This is definitely the most unique of her works that I've read, and I loved every page of it. Without Merit is odd and memorable to say the least, a little different than anything I've ever read and I definitely recommend it to everyone.


Giveaway
Win 1 of 5 signed hardcover copies of WITHOUT MERIT! Contest is open until October 30th



Sep 28, 2017

Quick Reviews #7 | Love & Gelato by Jenna E Welch // Dark Horses by Cecily von Ziegesar



NOTE → This is a quick set of reviews on books I read some time ago, in attempts to catch up on reviews. I do not have a star rating for these reviews, but I do try to express how I felt about the book. This is a feature I am bringing back and will be regularly used to share my thoughts on books.


Love & Gelato by Jenna E Welch

Synopsis: Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.


Quick Thoughts:
This is one of those books that I got because I loved the cover. It also sounded really cute. It was, in short, predictable and a bit boring. I was able to predict all the small twists in the plot, and while I normally enjoy contemporary romances such as this one, I was overall disappointed in how meh I found this one. The premise sounded really unique, for the most part, but again it was just a predictable teen book.


Dark Horses by Cecily von Ziegesar

Synopsis: Merritt Wenner has been self-destructing ever since the tragic deaths of her grandmother and her horse, and after an epic all-night bender she walks out of the SAT and disappears. Her parents, looking for a quick fix, ship her off to a residential equine therapy program.

At Good Fences, Merritt meets Red—a failed racehorse and a terror in the barn. Red has never bonded with anyone, but Merritt is not afraid of him, which makes all the difference. Soon they’re sneaking rides after curfew, which catches the attention of Red’s owner. Recognizing their potential, he funds their launch into the competitive hunter/jumper circuit.

Against the cutthroat backdrop of competitive riding, Merritt and their groom, Beatrice, develop an attraction. Merritt also finds herself drawn to Carvin, a rival rider. But in Red’s mind, Merritt belongs to him alone. Anyone else poses a threat. And Merritt can’t foresee what he’ll do to keep her to himself.


Quick Thoughts: Dark Horses is slow-paced for a thriller, and not much exciting or deadly I guess, really happens. The characters aren't exactly likable, and while I enjoyed the POV's it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. It is another predictable read, which a rushed ending that left me feeling unsatisfied.

Sep 20, 2017

Review | The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre


Title: The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
Series: Deanna Madden, #1
Genre: Adult - Thriller
Publication: January 21st 2014 by Redhook
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: I haven't touched a human in three years. That seems like it would be a difficult task, but it's not. Not anymore, thanks to the internet.

I am, quite possibly, the most popular recluse ever. Not many shut-ins have a 200-member fan club, a bank account in the seven-figure range, and hundreds of men lining up to pay for undivided attention.

They get satisfaction, I get a distraction. Their secret desires are nothing compared to why I hide... my lust for blood, my love of death. Taking their money is easy. Keeping all these secrets... one is bound to escape.

What if you hid yourself away because all you could think of was killing? And what if one girl's life depending on you venturing into society?

Thoughts: This was one of those books that I bought so that I could read right away. Normally, I buy books and they sit on my shelves for a very long time. I was so excited to read this though, that I picked it up right away, and I am happy to say that I was not disappointed.

The Girl in 6E follows our protagonist Deanna (or Jessica) who is, like the synopsis says, a recluse. She refuses to leave her apartment because she fears that her "lust for blood" will make her kill someone. Instead, she's made arrangements with neighbors (to lock her in at night) and sexy UPS men (to leave packages unsigned at her door) and other similar tactics in order to keep herself inside and keep everyone out there safe from her.

Deanna is a cam girl, and a very popular one at that. The details of this industry are explained vividly, which is why this is considered an erotica, even though she's on her own for about 85% of the book. She's an interesting character, and I loved how the author thought of everything when explaining how she was able to live without ever leaving her apartment. There are so many small details that I appreciated, and gave me a more thorough understanding on how it is possible to live this way.

I was very interested in the story, especially because there is some mystery about how Deanna got to this point in her life, which isn't revealed until later in the book and left me a little shocked. Deanna's life takes a bit of a turn when she has to consider leaving her apartment in order to do something good, instead of evil, like she has always expected from herself. While I was really captivated by the book the whole way through, I felt that the ending was a little too neatly finished off. I felt a little let down that the conclusion was tied off so neatly and while there were some minor loose ends, I wasn't as intrigued to continue the story as I was hoping.

I do recommend The Girl in 6E to fans of thrillers and erotica, this is an interesting take. I am not sure how soon I will pick up the next two books in the series, but I did read somewhere that there is a movie adaptation coming soon, so possibly before then. And although the ending fell a little flat for me, I still want to read more about Deanna and find out where her life is going from here.

Sep 16, 2017

Short Story Saturday | The Lighthouse Keeper by Daisy Johnson


This feature was created by Lauren from 365 Days of Reading

Title: The Lighthouse Keeper by Daisy Johnson
Anthology: Fen: Stories
Rating: ★★

One Line Summary: The story of a solitary life by the sea, and a woman’s courage.

Thoughts: I probably didn't "get" this one. I mean, I do get that it is about a woman who has a job that normally is only given to men, and works where there is male domination. I appreciated that our protagonist was a woman, and that she was going against the odds, and female empowerment, etc. but the story just felt a little bland for me. I mean I get it but I don't get why other people love it, I guess.

This is another story that I listened to on the podcast Levar Burton Reads, and if it wasn't for his narration, I probably wouldn't have finished this story. I am still trying to enjoy short stories, even though they are usually not my cup of tea, but I guess this one was especially not for me.

Sep 15, 2017

Literary Fashion | It + Love & First Sight


It's been quite some time since I created some sets over on my Polyvore profile, so with feeling very motivated to blog today, I decided to take advantage of the moment and create some new outfit posts to share too. These are my two most recent reads: It by Stephen King and Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist.
It by Stephen King

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with this cover. I wanted to capture the simplicity but didn't want anything too creepy. I was excited when I found the red 80's style pants before I remembered that the second part of the book took place in the 70's. The remake though does take place in the 80's so it's still appropriate. I wanted to incorporate more colors but really couldn't figure it out without clashing with the rest, so I settled for this. 

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

I had quite the opposite feelings for this cover because while it also mostly white, the title has so many colors that I wanted to capture them all. I didn't really know what kind of outfit to use though, especially because the protagonist of this book is a guy, but I went with a cute simple outfit and was pretty happy with the outcome. The outfit was also inspired by my friends outfit from this past weekend, so that's something xD

That's it for this weeks Literary Fashion (like I post these every week *insert eye roll*) and I am going to attempt to create more sets to share with you guys. I might aim for every Friday but that's a high expectation. Happy reading :)

Sep 14, 2017

Review | It by Stephen King


Title: It by Stephen King
Series: N/A
Genre: Horror
Publication: January 5th 2016 by Scribner Book Company (first published September 1986)
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered, a good place to live. It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, It lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each person’s deepest dread. Sometimes It reached up, seizing, tearing, killing…

The adults, knowing better, knew nothing. Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of It was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until the grown-up children were called back, once more to confront It as It stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.


Thoughts: It kills me (no pun intended) that this book did not get 5 stars from me. But with an ending like that, how could it? Let's start from the beginning. Stephen King writes amazing books, amiright? We all know he's a best seller and has a million books and you can't possibly walk into a bookstore anywhere and not find at least one of his books. I am not sure if It is his largest book, but it is by far the largest book I have ever picked up, and it was intimidating and I really didn't know I had it in me to read a book this big again ever (Gone with the Wind was the last large book I read; It beats it by about 100 pages.) But I had to. I never watched the mini-series when it aired all those years ago, I'd never tried to read It before, but with all the hype surrounding the new movie I wanted to give it a shot. Was I really planning to read it? No, not really. I was looking for a specific paperback edition that I wasn't sure I'd ever find. Then my boyfriend surprised me with the copy I wanted and I had to read it. I just had to.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD, BUT NOT REALLY. JUST PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

It starts off with Georgie's death (spoiler alert?) I think at this point, we all know Georgie and the paper boat and the sewer and death, right? If not, sorry, I just spoiled the first few pages and/or first few minutes of the movie. This scene is iconic, and honestly we can expect that once you encounter Pennywise, you really can't expect a good turn of events so you really shouldn't be surprised this kid dies a gruesome death.

I guess the first thing I should mention is that I was surprised by how detailed each page was. That's the thing to note, Stephen King writes details. A LOT of them. It feels like stepping into his world when you read It. You learn street names and corners, neighbors and stores, houses, and parents and histories; you learn what's gonna happen to a random kid who just happened to be riding a bike near one of our many protagonists; you learn how a family got to Derry and what they do now, just because they'll bump into someone who knows someone who might be around when the kids encounter something. It's that detailed. There is really no detail left out when it comes to learning about this little town of Derry, Maine where creepy things happen and lots of people (especially children) experience them. With 1153 pages, could you really expect anything less though?

Let's get to the good stuff. You may or may not know, but It focuses on seven kids in the 50's who face It. Fast forward to about 30 years later (give or take a few years) and they have to come back to town because It is back and killing people again. You can get that much from the synopsis. Of course, that's not all this book is about because again, details. We mostly focus on the first six children: Bill Denbrough (Georgie's older brother), Richie Tozier, Ben Hanscom, Beverly Marsh, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Stan Uris. School has just let out and in different ways, these children come together and form an unbreakable friendship. Later they are joined by Mike Hanlon, who they meet while facing their bullies Henry Bowers, Belch, Victor Criss and Co. That's another thing about Stephen King, right? He always has a bully who really tortures their victims, and King does not shy away at how really terrible these experiences can be.

Anyways, they become friends, they start seeing "things" a.k.a. Pennywise in his many forms. The story is told from all their points of views, flip flopping between past and present, and explaining other details along the way. I was in love. I loved the characters, I loved the details, I was creeped out by everything that was happening. I was reading (and listening) to It every chance I got (and it still took me a month to finish) and I thought it was taking over my life. I would think about these children when I let my mind wander, I would hear creepy noises at night and wonder if Pennywise was finally coming for me, too, and I was seeing news stories about Derry on TV at the gym — this actually scared me because I thought I saw it said "Derry, Maine" on the news when I knew that wasn't possible. This book is powerful. 950 pages in and I thought it was amazing and all of a sudden...I didn't. While the characters were still amazing, the details were all still there, the story kind of fell apart. We are reaching the end of the story and it's like Stephen King decided "Fuck this book, I'm over it, let me just finish this off and be done with it."

Okay, it's not that bad. But it's pretty bad. One scene in specific. I was literally cringing, like why? why is this happening? really?! If you've read this, you have to know what I'm talking about. And yes, I've read King's explanation on this specific scene but I still feel like "ugh that was really weird wtf I can't."

Have you ever seen or read any of Stephen King's movies/books? Because if you have, you may have noticed that the story is going along fine and then BAM! *insert guy with crazy hair saying "ALIENS" meme* (you know which one I mean right?!) That's pretty much how the ending of It is which was fine, but I felt sort of dissatisfied with it. Also, I don't appreciate that the turtle really wasn't explained until the end. I really wondered the whole book about it and I was disappointed I had to wait until the last hundred or so pages to read about it. It sounds crazy right? Like am I really ranting about a turtle right now? What?? Yes, really. My boyfriend thought I was joking when I mentioned that the turtle couldn't help them. I wasn't sure if I even knew if it was a real thing (but it is and Google has answers if you want to search up "turtle Stephen King")

Anyways, when the story comes to the end and all things are revealed I kind of felt very "meh" about it. It could've ended so many other ways that could've been better (not that I can think of any myself) but I felt deflated. Like honestly, I felt like Pennywise's red balloon, being filled up with all this awesome air of suspense and creepiness only for someone to let go and let all the air out before I got a chance to be tied up. That's how I felt... like a balloon. Is it weird that I just described my emotions as a red balloon or does that make so much sense to others like it does to me?

I can't say that you shouldn't read It. You really, really should. I mean, of course, only if you like horror or suspense, or are a fan of King's work. If you haven't read It, you really need to. But I am warning you that I saw a few other reviews about this ending, and I am not the only one that feels this way. I read somewhere that King doesn't know when to end of book, always adding 100 pages too many. Or he doesn't like saying goodbye. I get that. But I felt like he finished the first 950 pages at one point, then finished the ending all those years later just to get it done. So be prepared for that. But also be prepared for so much good stuff. Details and characters and plenty of Pennywise.