Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Author Spotlight: Nina LaCour






Nina LaCour is one of those authors that I came across one day, not knowing that I was going to fall in love with all of her books, and it only took me a chapter to realize that her characters and stories stay with you forever. 

I found Hold Still on sale. I read the back and decided, yeah, I want to read this. I wasn't prepared for a story about loss, hope, and a topic that hit close to home. It broke me, it put me together again, it made me subscribe to the "Nina LaCour Fan Club*." The adventurous The Disenchantments and the oh-my-god-my-heart-can't-handle-the-feels Everything Leads to You soon followed and they did not disappoint. Now, we are getting ready for a brand new and completely unforgettable (trust me, I'm pretty good at predicting stuff like that) novel: We Are Okay. I'm not okay. I won't be okay until I get my hands on that book and read every single page. But, until then, I'll leave you with a taster: 

"You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother."

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. 


I know, I know. Your heart hurts. And it'll probably hurt a little more while you read this beauty but the heartbreak is worth it. 




*Is there a fan club? Because, if there is, I will join. And if there isn't, we should make one. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year, New You?

So, we all know that the beginning of a new year means that a list of resolutions (that we'll keep until the second week of January because...oops) needs to be written. I usually recycle a lot of my resolutions---read x amount of books, travel, stop being such a grinch---but I also take a lot of inspiration from a few carefully selected books that I read during throughout the year. This year, I will take a piece of advice from the following: 


       


1. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes: 

Say yes. Say yes to saying no more often. Believe in yourself.  It is okay to think you're amazing (because you are). Don't be afraid of trying new things.  

2. I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee: 

Speak your mind. Be yourself. Weird is underrated. 

3. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah:

Be proud of where you were born. Love your mother unconditionally. Regardless of the situation, even with the sourest of lemons, you can usually make a good lemonade if you keep moving forward. Your life might be difficult but there's always someone out there with an inspiriting story. Listen to them.  

4. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick: 

Work hard. Then, work harder. Never give up. 

5. You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein: 

You'll grow out of it. Everyone is self-conscious. You have to stay strong because that self-doubt is not going anywhere...but you can learn to tame it. 

6. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schemer: 

Voice your opinion.  Usually, you only see a piece of someone else's life. Don't judge. You never know what they're going through. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Don't Fold the Page Recommends: Non-Fiction

Sometimes I need a break from my beloved Fiction-everything and there's nothing like a good non-fiction title to get me motivated. Here are just a few titles that I've read recently:



How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran 

What it is: A memoir intertwined with essays about everything from fashion to abortion. 
Why you should read it: Say whatever you want about Caitlin Moran but she's fearless. She will tell you her opinion, regardless of how controversial it might be, and do it with wit and intelligence. Even though I don't agree with everything she had to say in this book, I loved that it made me think about so many different issues. 

Add it on Goodreads




Girl Up by Laura Bates

What it is: An Illustrated guide containing everything about being a young woman. 
Why you should read it: This is a fantastic guide that feels like your best friend is giving you advice. Laura Bates is HILARIOUS and she touches some delicate subjects without sugar coating anything. This is the book that I wish I could've had when I was a teenager and, even though I read it in my late twenties, I still got a lot out of it. 

Add it on Goodreads




Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein

What it is: A study about girls and sex, which includes interviews with a number of young women.
Why you should read it: Even though this book is bright pink and it's called Girls & Sex, this would make an excellent gift to any young man. I say this because many of the stories are centered around sexism and the difficulties women face today. While women can get a lot out of it, imagine if a guy reads this before he starts dating. I think it would make all the difference. 

Add it on Goodreads




Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed 

What it is: A collection of inspirational quotes. 
Why you should read it: I don't know about you but I love quotes. I love to be able to find inspiration or to draw wisdom from a sentence or two. I usually end up finding the best ones out of the blue but this book contains so many gorgeous ones. 



Add it on Goodreads  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Blog Tour: Mind Games by Heather W. Petty {Review + Giveaway}



ABOUT MIND GAMES:

Sherlock Holmes and Miss James “Mori” Moriarty may have closed their first case, but the mystery is far from over in the thrilling sequel to Lock & Mori, perfect for fans of Maureen Johnson and Sherlock.

You know their names. Now discover their beginnings. 

Mori’s abusive father is behind bars…and she has never felt less safe. Threatening letters have started appearing on her doorstep, and the police are receiving anonymous tips suggesting that Mori—not her father—is the Regent’s Park killer. To make matters worse, the police are beginning to believe them.

Through it all, Lock—frustrating, brilliant, gorgeous Lock—is by her side. The two of them set out to discover who is framing Mori, but in a city full of suspects, the task is easier said than done. With the clock ticking, Mori will discover just how far she is willing to go to make sure that justice is served, and no one—not even Lock—will be able to stop her.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N


REVIEW:

I've been dying to read this sequel. Just in case you don't know, Lock & Mori is an original story based on Moriarty and Sherlock set during their teenage years. If you're a Sherlock fan, this is a must because this is such an original way to visit those beloved characters. 

Mind Games picks up pretty much where Lock & Mori ends. I was a bit nervous because sequels tend to be less impressive than the first book but this was not the case here. I was hooked from the very first chapter, which also happened with Lock & Mori. There's something about Mori that I find fascinating. Her voice is unique, so dark and strong that I just want to get lost in her world. Also, her relationship with Sherlock continues to develop in this one and I cannot tell you how much I love the way Petty adds layers to it. 

This series is everything. It has mystery, romantic tension, complicated (to say the least) family dynamics, and one of the best duos in YA. Please do yourself a favor and read this. Or buy it for your friends. Or both. Yeah, actually, please do both. 

ABOUT HEATHER W. PETTY:


Heather Petty has been obsessed with mysteries since she was twelve, which is when she decided that stories about murders in London drawing rooms and English seaside villages were far superior to all other stories. She is the author of the Lock & Mori series. She lives in Reno, Nevada, with her husband, daughter, and four hopelessly devious cats. You can visit her online at HeatherWPetty.com.








Tour Schedule:

Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of MIND GAMES (US Only)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Blog Tour: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst {Review + Giveaway}



ABOUT OF FIRE AND STARS:

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.



Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N


ABOUT AUDREY COULHURST:

Audrey Coulthurst writes YA books that tend to involve magic, horses, and kissing the wrong people. Her debut novel, Of Fire and Stars, will be published on November 22, 2016 by Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. When she’s not dreaming up new stories, she can usually be found painting, singing, or on the back of a horse.

Audrey has a Master’s in Writing from Portland State University, is a member of SCBWI, and studied with Malinda Lo as a 2013 Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow. She lives in Santa Monica, California.






REVIEW:

I'm a huge Fantasy junkie so I've been having a little trouble finding one that feels unique. Of Fire and Stars has an element that I haven't encountered in the genre before: LGBTQ romance. Even though love triangles are not my thing, I had to give this one a chance. Even though I didn't love every aspect of it, I was addicted to the story from the start.

My favorite part of the novel was the romance. I loved how it developed naturally, slowly and realistically. I've read countless stories where the romance sparks out of nowhere and grows like a wild fire so I'm so glad this one builds up. It is definitely a journey and I am so glad that the LGBTQ literary world is expanding. Again, I wish that the romance wasn't part of a love triangle but I think it was done well. 

As far as the world and the fantasy element itself, I did think it was lacking a bit. I like that this is a standalone but I wish that the world had more opportunity for development. While this book is easy to read and only takes a couple of hours, I really wanted certain aspects of the story to be stronger. However, I really enjoyed the plot and the way the story progressed. 

If you're looking for a fantasy with a little twist or if you want to add a diverse book to your shelf, definitely check this one out. 

Tour Schedule:

Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of OF FIRE AND STARS (US Only)

Rafflecopter Code:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Author Spotlight: Nicola Yoon


One of my favorite things about Nicola Yoon is that her books are not only beautiful on the inside, they are absolutely stunning on the outside. Look at these covers! They just scream "pick me! pick me!" and I listened to them. I've never been more excited than the moment I received an ARC of Everything, Everything.  I read it the same day and I still consider it one of my favorite books of all time. And when The Sun is Also a Star showed up a couple of months ago, I just couldn't wait to share it with the world. Nicola is such a master at writing diverse and interesting characters. Her stories are vibrant and atmospheric. She makes you care so much about her characters that you will find yourself wishing you could meet them. She has every quality that you're looking for in a new favorite author. While Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star have a lot in common, they also stand on their own. I did find TSiAaS to be slightly more dramatic but I don't mean that in a bad way. I loved that it deals with a difficult subject (deportation) while staying relatable. It opens up a discussion on serious topics and I really appreciate a book that keeps me thinking way after I'm done with it. 


So, the million dollar question: which one should you read? I think you have to read Everything, Everything. And once you're done with that, pick up The Sun is Also a Star when it comes out November 1st because you need them both in your life. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

October-November Wishlist

Sometimes you have books that you cannot wait to get your hands on, either because you love the author so much that you know anything they write will be an instant favorite or because you have a really good feeling about a book. The following are books that are either out now or will come out in November. My bookshelf is ready. 

Out Now: 

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta 

There's only one name that comes to mind whenever someone asks me to name my all-time favorite author. I have a lot of authors that I love but Melina Marchetta's fantastic books always stand out to me. I believe there's nothing she can't write and make amazing so Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is destined to be a favorite. 









Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King 

A.S. King had me at Please Ignore Vera Dietz. I fell in love with her writing style and her wonderful characters, novel after novel after novel. The first line of the synopsis for her latest is "Actually Sarah is several human beings" and, my friend, how can this be bad? It can't be. No one does Magical Realism like King so I can't think of a better use of my time. 







Out November 15:



Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

One of my favorite TV hosts wrote a book! And it sounds amazing. It includes eighteen essays that describe his life in South Africa and his upbringing considering his birth was considered a crime at the time (since his dad is white and his mother is black). My daily routine consists of watching The Daily Show while I'm getting ready in the morning so I cannot wait for this book to show up on my doorstep. 







Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick 


If you don't think Anna Kendrick is the most hilarious human being on the planet then...get out! (kidding, don't leave). Honestly, I have been looking forward to this book since the second she announced it. I love autobiographical essays by funny women so this is right up my alley and, I'm not even ashamed to say this, but Ms. Kendrick is one of my female crushes so I need to know more about this fantastic little somebody. 
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