Jul 21, 2017

Review | Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano

Title: Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano
Series: Diary of a Haunting #1
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: August 25, 2015 by Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★

Synopsis: When Paige moves from LA to Idaho with her mom and little brother after her parents’ high-profile divorce, she expects to completely hate her new life, and the small town doesn’t disappoint. Worse yet, the drafty old mansion they’ve rented is infested with flies, spiders, and other pests Paige doesn’t want to think about.

She chalks it up to her rural surroundings, but it’s harder to ignore the strange things happening around the house, from one can of ravioli becoming a dozen, to unreadable words appearing in the walls. Soon Paige’s little brother begins roaming the house at all hours of the night, and there’s something not right about the downstairs neighbor, who knows a lot more than he’s letting on.

Things only get creepier when she learns about the sinister cult that conducted experimental rituals in the house almost a hundred years earlier.
The more Paige investigates, and the deeper she digs, the clearer it all becomes: whatever is in the house, whatever is causing all the strange occurrences, has no intention of backing down without a fight.

Found in the aftermath, Diary of a Haunting collects the journal entries, letters, and photographs Paige left behind.


Thoughts: The idea of Diary of a Haunting creeps me out. Writing this review is kind of creeping me out, in all honesty. I couldn't read this book at night, because like with a scary movie, it would freak me out to try and go to sleep afterwards. The thing is, not much happens in the book.

Paige, the MC, moves into a creepy house with her mom and brother, and she notices some weird things. They can be brushed off as paranoia or her imagination, and since we are reading from a diary format, not much is explained which didn't work out that great for the story in some cases. The sense of dread scared me most, thinking that something really creepy was going to happen made it worse. Nothing really creepy happens, and then the ending was terrible.

I didn't give it a higher rating because the conclusion was both really weird and felt really rushed. It was like someone completely different wrote the ending and it just did not work out well. I don't want to spoil anything but the ending is probably complained about the most on Goodreads (seriously, go check it out.) But speaking of authors, I can't seem to find a picture of the author, or much of anything else. That probably creeped me out the most.

Jul 20, 2017

Review | When by Victoria Laurie

Title: When by Victoria Laurie
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: January 13, 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis:  Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client's young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie's whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it's too late?


Thoughts: I was really intrigued by When because it reminded me of a book I read years ago, Numbers. I didn't wait long before picking it up and read it rather quickly. Unfortunately this didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Maddie is more of a serious character, mature for a teenage girl, since she's dealing with issues in her home life. I definitely liked her, and I also enjoyed the idea that she could see people's death dates. The story itself though, was pretty unrealistic (besides the whole death-day-seeing thing) and also felt really predictable. I realized I knew what was going to happen next in every plot twist, and that made me just want to finish it off quickly.

It was still an entertaining read, but there wasn't much to the story that came as a surprise or felt that classified it as a "thriller" per se. Maybe it just wasn't for me. Overall though, it was an okay read, but my favorite part of it is definitely the cover.

Jul 16, 2017

Sunday Post #2

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I was hoping to read more than I did this week, but unfortunately that did not happen. I did somehow manage to find myself in the middle of 6 books. I put a few on hold, and am slowly working through the rest, but I am enjoying all of them. Also, I am pretty happy that I have been posting regularly.

I really liked this feature last week, and I found a few new blogs. After going through my blog feed I noticed that a lot of the blogs I used to follow are inactive and so I am looking forward to finding more blogs now that are active, as well.

On my blog this week:
- Review | Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
- Blog Tour + Giveaway! | The Duke of Defiance by Darcy Burke
- Review | Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
- Review | You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Leviathan

Currently reading:
- The Duke of Defiance by Darcy Burke
- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
- Boys Over Flowers, Vol.1
- Bang by Barry Lyga
- A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Finished reading:
Nothing! :(

YouTube: I finally uploaded a new video on my YT channel today as well, sharing my Summer TBR even though were almost a month into the summer. I wanted to upload it sooner but wasn't able to.


Hope everyone has a great Sunday and week. Happy reading :D

Jul 14, 2017

Review | You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Leviathan


Title: You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Leviathan
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: June 7, 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis:  Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.


Thoughts: You Know Me Well was one of the first books I've read that fall into the #OwnVoices category and the LGBT genre. But it was sort of a let down. The story was interesting, and it was told in a dual POV but I had a hard time connecting with Kate. I did like Mark, and wanted him to be happy, but also wanted him to stop pining over his best friend.

I got through the story really quickly because it was such a short book, told in about a night(ish) so it also felt like it needed a bit more. I still liked the book but wasn't all that impressed overall.


Jul 12, 2017

Review | Nimona by Noelle Stevenson


Title: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Series: N/A
Genre: Graphic Novels - Young Adult
Publication: May 12, 2015 by Harper Collins
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.


Thoughts: This was such a fun read! I definitely had to start there. I saw Nimona every where on Booktube and I really wanted to read a graphic novel that wasn't part of a series (cause those are usually super long) so Nimona was the perfect choice. And it was so great!

The characters are lovable, the story is fun and captivating, and there is humor but also some heartfelt moments that made this one of my favorite graphic novels ever! The art is so awesome too, it definitely made me want to read more of Stevenson's work.

I highly recommend Nimona to everyone, especially to anyone who has wanted to start reading graphic novels but has never dared to give them a chance. This is definitely a perfect place to start.

Jul 11, 2017

\\ Blog Tour \\ Excerpt & Giveaway | The Duke of Defiance by Darcy Burke [CLOSED]


The Duke of Defiance by Darcy Burke

Synopsis: Difficult and defiant as a child, Bran Crowther, Earl of Knighton left England as a young man to pursue independence and adventure. He never expected to inherit the title and when duty calls him home, he still finds Society’s codes constricting and others’ expectations oppressive. Nevertheless, he needs a wife to be a mother to his young daughter, preferably a woman of intelligence and warmth who is, above all, immune to his idiosyncrasies—and to falling in love.

Widow Joanna Shaw isn’t interested in a second marriage, not after the loveless, passionless union she endured. She’d much rather dote on her young niece and nephew since they will likely be the only children in her life...until she meets a precocious girl, in desperate need of a mother. But her father, the so-called Duke of Defiance, is as peculiar as he is handsome, and Jo won’t take another risk with her heart. Their rules, however, are made to be broken, even when the consequences could destroy them both.


Purchase: AmazonBarnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Excerpt: She sank into a curtsey. “Good morning, my lord. My sister wishes to convey her deepest apologies, but her son is ill, so she asked me to come in her stead.”

Bran registered the tidy upsweep of her dark brown hair and the green-brown of her earnest eyes as well as the simplicity of her modest slate-gray gown. She was rather monochromatic, except for that hint of green in her eyes, and the tiny gold flecks that danced near the pupil. He recalled that she was widowed, which perhaps explained her somewhat dour appearance. Or maybe it was just that he was used to warmth and vibrancy and colors that defied possibility in England. Barbados seemed like an imaginary world now.

“I see. Do you have children of your own?” he asked.

Pale swaths of pink highlighted her cheeks. It was the barest bit of color, but he caught it. How could he not against the dull palette she provided?

Dull?

No, that wasn’t an apt description. Her attire was dull, her hair a bit too severe, but she possessed an attractive, feminine form. Indeed, her breasts were perhaps spectacular. And she was pretty, with long, dark lashes framing her eyes and rose-colored lips that were just a bit too full. Not too full, he amended.

“I do not,” she said, drawing his attention back to his question about whether she had children.

“Then how can you be qualified to help me with this endeavor?”

“My sister sent a list of characteristics and requirements you should seek.” She straightened her shoulders and looked him in the eye. “She also sent me with her express confidence.”

He liked her fortitude. “Well then, I suppose you will suffice. Come along.”

Her nostrils flared slightly, and her eyes widened just the tiniest bit, the gold flecks seeming to brighten. As he turned to lead her to his office, he considered that he might have just offended her again. He had called her abilities into question, but why wouldn’t he?

He strode toward the back corner of the house, where his office was located. It was a large chamber with a wall of bookshelves and windows that looked out to the garden. He moved behind the desk and indicated for her to take a chair on the opposite side.

She slowly sat, her gaze wary and her mouth tight.

He frowned. “My apologies if I insulted you.”

“If you’d rather I didn’t stay, you have only to say so.” There was a steely set to her shoulders and a clipped edge to her tone as she spoke. “Nora wanted to help you, but I’ll understand if you decide I won’t suffice.”

He dropped into his chair. She had cheek to go with her fortitude. He liked that too. He’d been prepared to deal with milksops and featherbrains when he’d returned to England—people like his mother and brothers. Not that they really were milksops or featherbrains, but they liked to put on as if they were, thinking it was somehow attractive. He supposed it wasn’t fair to assume an entire population shared the same characteristics as his family.

“I’m afraid I must also apologize for the other day. I meant no offense. Sometimes… I speak without realizing how my words might sound.”

One of her dark, slender brows arched. “Forgive me for saying so, but I’ve found that’s a trait shared by most men.”
____________________________

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 Check out the other books in  The Untouchables series:

Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card, Signed copy of The Duke of Daring and Swag
*If the chosen winner resides outside of the US, an eBook will be sent instead of the print book.*



Jul 10, 2017

Review | Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: December 1, 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?
 

Thoughts: I was honestly surprised by Catching Jordan because I did not really know what to expect. Jordan is a star football player and captain of her team. Yep, her team. She's a tomboy and the guys consider her one of them, which is fine by her until she develops a crush on the new guy and then things start to change a bit.

I loved her and wanted to be her friend. She's lovable and sweet, but also kick ass and a great team captain. She's definitely relateable as a teenage girl though, learning how to handle a first relationship, not seeing the obvious, and a great friend to all her teammates.

The romance is important part of the story, but so are the friendship among these characters. The family doesn't fade into the background either, since Jordan's family is definitely involved in her sports and other aspects of her life. And while this book does talk a lot about sports, its definitely readable for those of us out there who have never watched a football game in our lives (that's me!)

Catching Jordan is part of a series of companion novels, but can be read as a stand alone and is definitely a great pick for the summer (even if it takes place during the school year.) It's a laugh out loud romantic/friendship comedy that I was able to get through really quickly. I definitely recommend it for YA readers out there.

Jul 9, 2017

Sunday Post #1


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I can't believe more than half the year is gone already! The first six months went by so quickly, and I know the rest of the year is definitely going to fly by as well.

This week was exciting for me because I decided to come back to my blog and actively post again, which I have done! To read more about me being back, check out my Life Update + Wrap Up post.

This is also my first time participating in the Sunday Post, so I am excited to discover new blogs out there that also participate, especially since I've been out of the blogging game for a while.

I reviewed a couple books as well, even though I read them about a year ago, but it's still exciting to be reviewing more regularly.

Reviews:
Currently Reading:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • Boys Over Flowers, Vol. 1 
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Finished Reading:
  • Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler 
  • The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan (DNF)

Not much else to update on for the week, but the next few weeks will be a little better if I remain more active. Happy reading :D 

Jul 7, 2017

Review | The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson


Title: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: May 3, 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?


Thoughts: This one was definitely my "perfect summer read" because it had everything I wanted: summer break, friendship, family, romance, parties, scavenger hunts, pizza, and summer jobs that included lots of dogs. This was my first Morgan Matson book and I must say, I was not disappointed.

Andie does have it all planned out, but life happens, and she has to change her plans last minute and that's when the story really begins.

The book is lengthy, and the writing takes its time to develop the characters and introduce characters, but I loved this about it. It felt like a real summer, which has long days and short nights, which feels like it will drag on forever until it's only a couple weeks from ending, and then sort of speeds up so quickly you almost want to cry cause it's over.

This book felt exactly like that, and while there were some slower parts in the story, I enjoyed it thoroughly and devoured this book in a couple days.

I loved the characters, each unique and they had an amazing friendship. I loved the romance that developed slowly but was fun and passionate, the way many teenage/new adult romances usually are not. I loved the strain in the family, because there was opportunities to change, grow, and develop.

The Unexpected Everything is definitely a great summer read that I recommend everyone who enjoys YA to pick up.

Jul 6, 2017

Review | Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Chairapotra & Dhonielle Clayton


Title: Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Series: Tiny Pretty Things #1
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: May 26, 2015 by HarperTeen
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette's desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

Thoughts: I really had no idea what this book was really about, because I usually borrow audio books from the library by how familiar or interesting the cover looks to me, but I am glad I picked this one up. I've seen Tiny Pretty Things described as Pretty Little Liars meets Black Swan and that is pretty accurate. Following the point of view of three very talented, and very competitive ballerinas, we are introduced to Gigi, Bette, and June and their world where they attend a very prestigious ballet school and compete for the most coveted roles. 

Gigi is the new girl who lands the lead role in the Nutcracker; Bette has been the best for years, trying to be as great as her sister was; June works hard at perfecting her dancing but has yet to land a leading role, so her mother threatens to take her out of the school. Each of the girls has a secret, as well, but they are willing to go to great lengths to keep those secrets safe, while struggling to be the best ballerina in the school. Not only do they compete in their dancing roles, but they also have personal conflicts that make their issues more difficult. These girls could be pretty awful to each other, but the mystery on who was doing some of these things kept me very interested in the story.

I am glad I grabbed an audiobook copy of this instead of reading the book, because the story was told in alternative point of views, but it also helped emphasize the diversity of the girls. Gigi is black, Bette is white, and June is half-Korean, so the different narrators made it easier for me to know who's POV we were following, and made each character more unique. 

The story does end in a bit of a cliffhanger, so I was left feeling surprised. The sequel was recently released and I am definitely looking forward to diving into this story again soon. 


Jul 5, 2017

Life Update | Wrap Up of Sorts + Currently Reading



Life Update:  

It's been a long time since I've tried to keep this blog consistently active. It was difficult because of school + work, lack of reading or motivation to read, creating a YouTube channel and keeping that updates, and other life stuff. But regardless of all the changes in my life, and my transition to a more popular way of talking about books on social media, my blog will always be my favorite form of expressing myself when it comes to books.

Earlier this year, I made an attempt to post more often by cleaning up and transitioning my blog back to Blogger. I am still trying to clean it up, but I have a lot of posts to go through and it's just a work in progress. Then, I tried writing up reviews and I realized I haven't reviewed any of the books I've read in the past year. So that left me feeling a little unmotivated. When I finally graduated college, I expected to have a little more time on my hands while I transitioned jobs, but I had some family stuff which sort of put everything on hold for a couple weeks. Then I had about a week of self-care and relaxation before a mini-vacation and then getting my butt back into gear.

And now here I am.

With all that, I've thought about what to do with this blog, and how to get back into the whole blogging thing. I decided that I want to start off with a quick wrap up of what's been going on, what I've been reading (it hasn't been much) and where I plan to pick up and move forward with. I've noticed that checking out other blogs and seeing how consistently they post, or what they post, encourages me to get really back into this.

Reading:

Like I said, I haven't been reading much but every little bit counts so here's what my year to date looks like

  • Books Read: 12
  • Books DNF'd: ≈ 6
  • Favorite Book (so far): The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Books Reviewed: 0
There hasn't been much of anything, but on my YT channel I have uploaded 23 videos so there is that. But again, I feel the need to update my blog and keep it active. Let's see how well I can do this time. 

Currently Reading: 

I'm currently reading a few books and I also have a summer TBR that I want to follow in hopes that I will read more this summer. I've been attempting to finish the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series since I am obsessed with Game of Thrones but that hasn't been going great. I started A Darker Shade of Magic but that's also something I might have to put on hold right now. I decided to re-read and continue the Boys Over Flowers manga because I really did enjoy it when I was reading it a few years back. I've read one book of my summer TBR so far, and might start another one soon but that's all I am currently reading.

Blogging:

I haven't made time to blog to be honest and I really want to. I have started by catching up on reviews and since I read pretty slow, I am sure I can be up to date really soon if I actually try. Which I am, since that's the whole point of this post. I want to write all the reviews on the books I've read so far, post a monthly wrap up towards the end of the month, and also update the look of my blog. Definitely plenty to work on and I do have time to right now, I just normally don't. I also want to read more, of course, because I haven't read much and I miss it. That is all.