Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday Thinks: Anticipation for The 5th Wave Movie


As a YA fan, going to the movies the past two years has been an interesting experience. All of these books are getting adapted into movies, books that we've either loved or hated, and the world of non-readers are joining our fandoms simply because they liked the movie.

The positive side about these adaptations is that, 1.) Watching the movies (sometimes tv shows) has caused more people to pick up the books. Sometimes, the movie release is what brings a beloved book up to best-seller status, and we do love to see our authors succeed. and 2.) Sometimes, the adaptations are AH-MAZING.

This being said, THE 5TH WAVE has just been turned into a movie. Releasing on the 22nd of January, it's been out only six days, and I'm happy to say that I'll be seeing it tonight.

So yes, I'm excited.

But I'm also nervous.

Oftentimes, YA/MG adaptations have been sketchy. There have been a good grouping of them that turned out beautifully, but then there are the bad ones, which tend to stick out more than the good ones. And with THE 5TH WAVE being the story that it is... it would be very, extremely easy to screw up the movie with too much of a creative license.

What I thought I'd do today is show the correlation between the adaptations that I, myself, have seen, and my opinions of the books. To make things easier, I'll use only three words-- LOVE, HATE, and EH. Self explanatory, right?



The Hunger Games
Books: LOVE
Movies: LOVE
What fan didn't love them?

Harry Potter
Books: LOVE
Movies: LOVE
Do I even need to say anything?

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Books: LOVE
Movie: HATE
The ending was too much of a betrayal for me. Things we had to wait two to three books to find out, Clary and Jace discovered in the firs movie.

Beautiful Creatures
Books: LOVE
Movie: LOVE
Though it condensed a multi-book plot into one, and left out many key points, I still really enjoyed the Beautiful Creatures movie.

Twilight
Books: LOVE
Movies: LOVE
Don't hate on my faves

The Fault In Our Stars
Book: LOVE
Movie: LOVE
As one of my favorite books, the adaptation and how closely it stuck to the book really warmed my heart.

Percy Jackson
Books: LOVE
Movies: HATE
Oh, come on. 16 vs 12. Same plot, but different ways about getting there. Way too much of a stray, and they aged it up in all the wrong ways.

The Maze Runner
Books: LOVE
Movies: LOVE
Though they didn't stay exactly stay on the dot, I loved every second of it.

Nancy Drew
Books: EH
Movie: EH
Just wasn't a fan of this series, I guess?

Divergent 
Books: LOVE
Movies: HATE
Don't. Get. Me. Started. I loved the Divergent adaptation, but Insurgent just... ruined it.

The Giver
Books: LOVE
Movie: EH
The movie wasn't quite what I was hoping for.

Beastly
Book: LOVE
Movie: HATE
So corny that I couldn't possibly love the movie as much as I did the book

Shadowhunters
Books: LOVE
TV Show: EH
The script is cheesy, and the acting is... yikes... but the plot is loveable.

And that brings us to THE 5TH WAVE.

Book: LOVE
Movie: ?

I'm not sure how it's going to turn out, but I hope that they stay as true to the book as possible. What I'm most curious about is seeing how they execute the character of Evan Walker. He and Sammy being my favorites other than Cassie, I'm highly intrigued. Knowing how thick of a character Evan is, I'm way ready to see what they do with him. 

And then there's the plot, which is mega wow and scare and *screams*.

So yes, I'm seeing it tonight.

And yes, I'll let you know what I think.

Happily,
Stephanie

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blog Tour: A Raven's Touch by Linda Bloodworth


Hello, and welcome to one of the stops on the blog tour for A RAVEN'S TOUCH-- a novel by Linda Bloodworth. My post for today will be a review of the book, and of course there will be teasers and author info as per usual.

So without further ado, let's get started!


Review:


Title: A Raven's Touch (Raven Wing #1)
Author: Linda Bloodworth
Publisher: Pronoun
Release Date: January 4, 2016
Format Read: eBook

Description from Goodreads: Bullied through high school, seventeen-year-old Justice St. Michaels is grateful for the help of her best friend Moira O'Fhey. Their only wish is to graduate high school, leave the sleepy town of Fallingbrook and all that happened behind them. The Heavens have other plans. Between the growths on her back and being involved in explosive school fights, nothing seems to make sense. When an unexpected encounter with Darien Raventhorn causes worlds to collide, it exposes the truth about Justice's real identity. To avenge a family death, Justice must embrace her birthright, and slay a demon before all Hell breaks loose.

After corresponding with Linda via Twitter, I decided to join the tour for A RAVEN'S TOUCH. I'd been eyeing the book for a while, but couldn't bring myself to purchase it due to my unwavering TBR stack, but seeing the tour sign-up was just the push I needed to do it. 

Let me start off by saying that A RAVEN'S TOUCH was not at all what I expected. I went into the story thinking something heavenly, since the description says "The Heavens" but what I got was so much more. If there was ever a "paranormal" story, it's this one-- there are a surplus of paranormal characters (Which I won't name due to shock value whilst reading) that appear all throughout the book, and it's pretty neat-o, I must admit. And then Darien showed up and basically captivated all of my attention from the time he enters the book, to the last page. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes paranormal romance. This is all kinds of paranormal, and the romance element is absolutely adorable. ALSO, there's a bit of a religious element to the book, which I loved to bits and pieces. A RAVEN's TOUCH is only available in eBook format, so you can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. Buy Links are below.



About the Author:

Linda Bloodworth loves chips, like really, ketchup to be exact. Ketchup chips are only found in Canada. Lucky for Linda she lives in Toronto with her husband and three fur babies. In between writing, debating for hours about the Oxford comma, and the misunderstood semi colon; Linda enjoys camping and getting away from the city on day trips.



You definitely don't want to underestimate crazy.

That's all for my stop on the tour. I hope you've enjoyed yourself, and if you want more information, be sure to contact the author on Twitter. She's always fun to have a chat with.

Happily,
Stephanie

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday Reviews: Front Lines by Michael Grant


Title: Front Lines (Soldier Girl #1)
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Format Read: ARC
Rating:

Description from Goodreads: Perfect for fans of THE BOOK THIEF and CODE NAME VERITY, New York Times Bestselling author Michael Grant unleashes an epic, gender-bending, and transformative new series that reimagines World War II with girl soldiers fighting on the front lines.

World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families-- to go to war.

These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.


Somehow, I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of FRONT LINES, which absolutely rocked my world, as I loved the Goodreads Description and was super excited to read it. I find WW II fascinating, and a gender-bending version of it entices me like nothing else.

Generally, the way reading works for me, is if I start out liking the book, I'll probably end up disliking it by the last page. If I start out disliking the book, I'll probably like it by the last page. There are rare chances, generally the books that receive five star reviews from me, that I start out liking and end the book loving. 

FRONT LINES was one of those books. I was hooked from Chapter One, and tearing me away from this novel was nearly impossible. I sped through it, and never have I ever been so emotionally exhausted after reading something. Exhausted, and with much more respect for our service men and women.

Pivoting pov's between three very different ladies with diverse backgrounds and nationalities, FRONT LINES follows Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schusterman as they enlist and make their way into the depths of war. You experience their struggles both within the military and their personal lives; each and every one of them feeling as real as they possibly could.

This is a book that WILL offend some people. There will be people that read this and take offense to terms used t describe some characters, but you have to remember that this book is set in the 1940's. Race was an issue. Gender was an issue. Things were said that, if said today, they would be made into a major problem. Do not take offense to these things. Fictional the book may be, but it IS Historical Fiction, which means that dialogue and culture and every-day life is accurate. 

Please remember this as you read.

I give FRONT LINES  five polished brass stars, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys war stories, historical fiction, and WW II. This is going to be the book that 2016 releases are going to have to beat out for my number one release of the year, I already know.

If you read FRONT LINES, I want to know! Tell me what you think!

Happily,
Stephanie

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Happy Blogiversary!


Welcome to the Doodle's Book Reviews second blogiversary! Two years, and I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of things around here, so I hope you'll all stick around for a while. These past couple of years have flown by so fast, especially having taken my summer-long hiatus last year, and I am ready for success in 2016.



This Year I Plan To

--Grow my blog's audience. This is the most important thing to me, this year, when it comes to blogging. I don't have the followers that most book blogs have at this point in their career, and I attribute that to my lack of (and sporadic) posting, as well as poor promotion. Things that I'll be working hard to fix this year. 

--Establish a logo. I've been trying to decide on a logo for Doodle's Book Reviews for a while now, and I want to get that done so that I can get bookmarks and business cards created, and so that I can personalize the blog more. That will allow us to be recognized by an image, as well as a name.

--Read more. It's simple, but true. In 2014, I read 71 books, and in 2015, I read 53. This year, my goal is to read 100 books, and I intend to meet it.

--Network more. I recently realized that I don't do much networking for things other than personal use, and as a blogger I really should take advantage of social media platforms. I already have my twitter account, but I also have little-used Facebook, Instagram, and Bloglovin accounts, so my hope is to get into the rhythm of posting on those, as well as putting my reviews up on Goodreads and Amazon.



Peoples Who Helped Make My Second Year Amazing


My mom
Because there have been moments this year when I really needed a push when it came to blogging and writing, and I can always trust her to give it to me. Also I know she's reading this, so *waves* Hi Momma!

Kaitlin @ Next Page Please






And last but not least,

Stephanie @ Ohana Reads
My Canadian sister from a different mister. She's been there for me in many a moment of need, whether it's over personal matters or blogging screw ups (I'm really not that great with computers, you guys. It's a miracle I can even halfway work Blogger), she's my go-to gal that I know I can always count on. 


Giveaway

Because it's my two year blogiversary, I'm going to give you guys the chance to win some books. This giveaway is open INT, to any country that Book Depository will ship to.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tuesday Reviews: Untamed by A.G. Howard


Title: Untamed (Splintered #3.5)
Author: A.G. Howard
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: December 15, 2015
Format Read: Hardback
Rating: Five Stars

Description from Goodreads: A post-ENSNARED collection of three stories-- available in both print and e-versions.

Alyssa Gardner went down the rabbit hole and took control of her destiny. She survived the battle for Wonderland and the battle for her heart. In this collection of three novellas, join Alyssa and her family as they look back at their memories of Wonderland.

In SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS, Alyssa recalls the most precious moments of her life after ENSNARED, and the role magic plays in preserving the happiness of those she loves. Alyssa's mother reminisces about her own time in Wonderland and rescuing the man who would become her husband in THE BOY IN THE WEB. And Morpheus delves into Heb's memories of the events of SPLINTERED in THE MOTH IN THE MIRROR, available in print for the first time.

This collection expands upon ENSNARED's epilogue, and includes some deleted scenes to provide a "director's cut" glimpse into the past and futures of our favorite SPLINTERED characters.

I started this book in tears. They were unintentional tears, brought on by A.G. Howard and her dedication page, and they pretty much set the tone for how I was going to feel whilst reading UNTAMED.

Fans of the Splintered Series know where this book starts off, and they know where ENSNARED ended. There were a lot of mixed reactions to the ending of that one, which is one of the reasons I was so over-the-moon-excited for UNTAMED's release. A peek back into Wonderland was just what this fandom needed, and it's exactly what we got. 

Now.

For those of you reading this review who have NOT read the Splintered Series... Don't worry, I'm not going to spoil anything. I'll be vague in my review, because for me, this book was an experience. It wasn't just a read. It was a trip back into a world that I love as much as my own, that I did not expect to get. It was getting inside the heads of characters that I hadn't previously had the chance to get inside. It was seeing things from different perspectives, and coming out of it loving each of the characters a little bit more (I didn't even think that was possible, so...)

The thing about UNTAMED is that you absolutely have to, must, are obliged, and have now been forced, to read the first three books... well... first. UNTAMED is life after book three, and it should be treated as a fourth novel. Though it's contents are three novellas, they are, if read out of order, extremely spoilery. And this is not a series that you want spoiled for you, let me TELL you.

So, about the book.

As mentioned above, UNTAMED is chopped into three short stories. The first is THE BOY IN THE WEB, which is a story told from Alyssa's mother's point of view, and it is a mixture of past memories and post-ENSNARED... things. There is content in this novella that gives you a new perspective on the lives and actions of both Alyssa's mother and father, and really helps you to see why certain choices were made. Though it was pertinent information, this was my least favorite story of the three, for no other reason that my attachments are more to Alyssa/Jeb/Morpheus than Mr./Mrs. Gardner.

The second story, THE MOTH IN THE MIRROR, I've been waiting a long time to read. As you probably know if you follow the blog, e-reader bug my eyes, so it's a difficult thing for me when novellas are released as e-book only. But on some occasions, gems like UNTAMED happen, where an e-novella is printed, and my problem is solved. The excitement to read this story, (The shortest of the three) was extremely high, and it was everything I wanted it to be. Set between SPLINTERED and UNHINGED, it is of course from Morpheus' point of view, and mostly based on his struggling to win Alyssa over in comparison to her Mortal Knight. It leaves you feeling some things for the moth, a ball of emotions that you can't seem to pin down, and that is why I love it. This was my second favorite story in the book.

Last but certainly not least, SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS. 
Let me just. Be still my heart. I cannot.
I need a moment.


Okay, I'm back. SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS was phenomenal to read as a fan of this series. I can't touch much on it because it is definitely chock-full of spoilers for ENSNARED, but I can tell you that this story alone makes buying UNTAMED worth it. There are so many things, so much more information to the ENSNARED ending that we didn't previously know or get to see, that we now have complete knowledge of. It's an absolutely beautiful novella, definitely my favorite of the three. Hands down. 

And so emotional!
But then again, this whole book was an emotional rollercoaster for me. I deeply adore these characters, and to get an unexpected chance to relive moments from this world that I didn't even know existed... it was incredible.

Five glistening stars to UNTAMED, and a huge hope for more, someday. If you haven't read this series,you need to. If you have, but haven't bought UNTAMED, you don't understand what you're missing.

Happily,
Stephanie

P.S. Rabid White is my favorite and he is mine and you will never love him as much as I do, never never ever!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thursday Thinks: Alan Rickman


Today, the Harry Potter fandom unexpectedly lost one of our actors. Alan Rickman, who played Severus Snape in all eight Harry Potter movies, died suddenly after a fast and secret battle with cancer. He was only 69.

Though we all know Rickman was involved in many other film and theater productions, there is no contemplation when it comes to which of his roles he was most known for. For fans of the books and movies, Snape was a character that stole our hearts, and I think we can all agree that Rickman was the perfect person to bring him to life. From Sorcerer's Stone to Deathly Hallows Part 2, we watched as he brought more and more of Snape into light, gradually showing us the truth and reducing us to sobs as the whole story came into view. 

Thinking back on the movies, it's an amazing thing to replay the many different levels of Snape's attitude, and how well Rickman played him. To think of Chamber of Secrets Snape, compared to Deathly Hallows 2 Snape, there are huge differences, and it's rare to find an actor that can capture the spirit of a character in such a way as to bring each of his dimensions and sides to the table. To be able to play.. certain scenes... and have them come out absolutely flawless, shows the true talent of an actor. And we know, from watching the movies, that Alan Rickman was certainly talented.

When my mom woke me up this morning to tell me, I was in an immediate state of shock and denial. Not believing it, I went back to sleep, basically thinking:


But then I woke up and went straight to J.K. Rowling's twitter account. Before I could even get there, I saw "ALan Rickman" trending on twitter, and I knew it was true, even before I found the tweets.





These tweets then led me to the account of Emma Watson, where I found tweets from Rickman's fellow cast members, all expressing their love.
















And then, of course, our Golden Trio





Dan took the time to write an brief essay for us on his thoughts



Messages that left most of the Harry Potter fandom feeling like this



While our inner monologue told us:



To help with the emotions, I headed over to YouTube, where I immediately went to one of my favorite bits of Alan Rickman on the Tonight Show.



And here, a ten minute video where Rickman talks solely about what it was like to portray Snape. The little things. The difficulties. The joys.




Snape being such an important character to me personally, I just want to send out a Thank You to our perfect actor. For bringing him to life in the best way possible, and loving the series as we do.  Like the rest of the fandom, I will be eternally grateful. For the red carpets, interviews, weeks upon weeks of fastening those buttons, and the copious amounts of head slaps.




I like to think that, in Rickman's final moments, he didn't just drift away from this world. I like to think that he simply broke through the glass and went off on a new adventure.




Alan Rickman may not be on this earth anymore, but he will always be in our hearts. He will be remembered when the movies are played. When we, the Potter Generation, someday read the books to our children and shed silent tears as our eyes travel over the words, "After all this time?"

I don't know about you, but in my mind, I will forever hear Rickman's voice answer



Emotionally,
Stephanie















Thursday Thinks: Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments


As I'm sure most of you know, Cassandra Clare's beloved Mortal Instruments series was rebooted as a television show for Freeform (Formerly known as ABCfamily) and the pilot episode aired this past Tuesday night.

There were a lot of mixed feelings about the fandom for this reboot- most of them positive, but there were some (like me, if I'm being honest) who didn't want to see the series have the possibility of becoming one of THOSE shows. You know the ones. The cliche teen shows that start out with a halfway decent season, and then either never get renewed, or get renewed infinitely, until the show no longer has an allure. Until it becomes something that no one wants to hear about.

I have to say, I've been pessimistic about this tv-show-morph since we first found out about it. I loved this series with all of my heart, and we already watched it adapt into a movie, which didn't do so well. I know a lot of people love the TMI movie, but I am not one of those people. It feels too much like what they did with the Percy Jackson adaptation-- not enough of the plot followed, details missed and overlooked, the actors were nearly all too old, the acting was... iffy, and then with the ending that completely skipped over a majorly important part of the books-- I do own the movie, and I don't mind watching it, but it will always be one of those movies where I point out the book-to-movie flaws every time I catch them.

But then we got a cast. And I like this cast a lot more than our movie cast.

And then I started to see videos, interviews, etc. with them, and I could see how they meshed.

The thing that really sent me sliding over to the positive side was the special Beyond the Shadows: The Making of Shadowhunters, where I was able to get an inside look at parts of the series, how the actors thought in terms of the Shadow world, their characters, and the inter-character relationships that are oh so evident throughout the series. Of course, getting to see clips from the show helped, and I looked at January 12 as a day to be excited for.

So I waited, and the day finally came.

I have to say, I was extremely nervous watching the episode. I knew it wasn't gong to follow the book directly, so I tried to keep an open mind, but this series being as dear to me as it is, I was practically biting my nails the entire time.

When the episode ended, though...

I didn't hate it.

I didn't love it. But I did not hate it.

Yes, there were differences. The plot is not the same as it is in the books, the characters are a bit less like they were at this point in the book (Jace less sassy, Izzy more pleasant, and Alec less possessive). And yes, it's a bit cheesy corny, but it was fresh, and definitely Shadowhunter-y, and I enjoyed it. I think this pilot pulled us out of the shadow of our movie and really gave us a fighting chance at showing the non-reading world what the Shadowhunters are about.

I have the second episode right here, on standby, so as soon as I publish this post, I can hit play. Because I do want more. I want this series to be everything we need and want it to be. Everything we deserve as patient and forgiving and loving fans. 

So if you've been waiting, unsure whether or not you should watch, I say give it a shot. It wasn't perfect, but it is definitely something that (At this point in the show) I approve of. Things may change, but as of the first episode, I think I can call myself a fan.

Also, it's Steph PSA time.

If you watched Shadowhunters and DID NOT like it. Please, I beg of you, don't send any hate to Cassie. She doesn't have as much control over this as you think she does. ABC has the rights to her series, they can adapt it however they please, and you are allowed to have your opinion but you should not punish someone for things that they cannot control. Be kind. Think before you type. And remember, this series is her baby, too.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Happily,
Stephanie

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tuesday Reviews: Random by Tom Leveen


Title: Random
Author: Tom Leveen
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Format Read: Paperback
Rating: One Star

Description from Goodreads: Who's the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of BEFORE I FALL and THIRTEEN REASONS WHY.

Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It's a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.

He asks for a single thing-- one reason not to kill himself.

The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he'll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can't help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he's not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.

WIth the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger-- and maybe redeem herself-- leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything...


I found this book by accident. Honestly, I was looking at Leveen's new release, SHACKLED, when I saw this paperback next to it. The premise sounded like something I'd enjoy, as I like the deep and emotional reads, so I picked it up and took it home with me. Though I was expecting to like it, maybe even love it, the only thing I felt when I finished this one was anger.

Like the Goodreads description says, Tori gets a call in the middle of the night from someone who claims to want just one reason not to commit suicide. Tori, already on trial for having cyberbullied a boy who ended up killing himself, thinks it's a joke. That someone who's been watching the news unfold about what happened has decided to prank her, like so many others have done. But as the night and conversation goes on, it seems less and less likely, and she has no choice but to do what she can to talk the caller out of it. 

But the story doesn't end the way you would expect, and because of this, I am going to use spoilers in this review. Not yet, though. I'll warn you before I do that so that you can choose whether or not you want to continue reading.

I would give RANDOM a very dim star. Just one. Because, while it started out gripping and intense... things happened. And then there are the characters, which I couldn't connect to at all, and for those of you that follow the blog, you know that if I can't connect to the characters, that's a big problem for me when it comes to the book. So, yes. One star. 

Side note: The Goodreads description mentions RANDOM being for fans of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. I have read and loved THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, and these two are not even in the same vein. If that is one of the things that makes you interested in RANDOM, take it with a grain of salt, because the only thing that even remotely channels THIRTEEN REASONS is the suicide element.


Now, I'll go ahead and tell you, more in depth, why I didn't like RANDOM. 

But beware:

****** SPOILERS******

At the end of the story, you find out that the caller never really planned to commit suicide at all. Instead, he is the Boyfriend (I am going to call him Boyfriend for the sake of this review, as I cannot fully remember what his true name was. About this point in the book is when I started getting angry, so I probably just spaced it.) of the kid who Tori helped cyberbully. The one that killed himself.

It turns out that Tori's brother, best friend (Both boys make multiple appearances in the book), and aforementioned Boyfriend knew each other, and concocted this fake-suicide scheme to show self-centered Tori that she could have put an end to the bullying, and that the boy's death WAS, in fact, partially her fault.

What infuriated me is that the two people she trusted most in the world, her brother and best friend, would do something like this to her, instead of sitting down and just talking. Add to it the fact that they both knew that she wasn't really going to go to jail for the boy's death, but that they knew she wasn't aware of that, and wanted to make her sweat it out... uncalled for.

And then, once they explain what they did, she sees it as perfectly acceptable, forgives them immediately, and starts dating her best friend.

Um, what?

As someone who has been on the other side of a phone when someone says they're going to kill themselves, I can tell you that it's stressful. Whether it's over text, IM, social media, or a phone call-- the platform doesn't matter. What does matter is that someone is reaching out to you to help keep them from going through with something that they're seriously contemplating. To make a fake scenario like this and have it be a joke is cruel; to have Tori act like it was a-okay and perfectly acceptable, is unrealistic. And if that IS how someone would respond to a situation like this, with being fine with the betrayal from their brother and best friend... wow.

So this has been my review of RANDOM by Tom Leveen. Have any of you read this one? What were your thoughts on it?

(Un)Happily,
Stephanie

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (#11): Wink Poppy Midnight


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that hilights upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.




Title: Wink Poppy Midnight
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: March 22, 2016

Description from Goodreads: The intrigue of THE VIRGIN SUICIDES and the "supernatural or not" question of THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER coalesce in this young adult mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, no one is quite who you think, and everything can change on a dime.

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blonde bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

For fans of Holly Black, WE WERE LIARS, and THE RAVEN BOYS, this mysterious tale full of intrigue, dread, beauty, and whiff of something strange will leave you utterly entranced.

I've been seeing ARCs of WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT pop up in the blogger-sphere, and at first I was pretty indifferent about it. And then I started seeing people read and love the story. And then I read the description. And now I want to see just what the hype is about, so I am ready for WPM to hit shelves. My curiosity lights are just flickering like crazy.

Have any of you read this one, yet? If so, what were your thoughts on it?

Happily,
Stephanie

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Book Review: Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass


Title: Happily Ever After (The Selection Series #0.4, 0.5, 2.5, 2.6)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 15, 2015
Format Read: Hardback

Description from Goodreads: The contents of HAPPILY EVER AFTER are as follows:

-The Prince (With two bonus chapters), Maxon's novella
-The Guard, Aspen's Novella
-The Favorite, Marlee's novella
-Three scenes from Celeste's POV
-Lucy's scene (bonus scene from THE ONE)
-The bonus epilogue
-Where are they now?
-A map
-Various illustrations


I realize that in last Friday's post, I said I was going to start HAPPILY EVER AFTER when I finished my TBR stack, but... I couldn't wait. I picked it up Friday night and now here we are.

Having already read THE PRINCE and THE GUARD, I wasn't sure going into it if I'd reread them or not, but then I read the first story in the bind-up, THE QUEEN, and absolutely had to read THE PRINCE. If you know me, you know that I am a complete Maxon girl, and I still have qualms with Aspen, so I did skip over THE GUARD, but then I found myself entering Marlee's head with THE FAVORITE. 

After knowing what happens with her in the series, I always thought it would be interesting to see things from her point of view. I wanted to see true love and sacrifice according to Lady Marlee, and this novella did not disappoint. I have so much more appreciation for Marlee now that I did before, and I adored her even then, but now it's a very different respect that I have for her.

The scenes from Celeste's pov were odd for me, feelings wise. Throughout THE SELECTION and THE ELITE, I hated Celeste with a passion. I wanted her out of that castle and I wanted to never hear of her again. And then... I started to love her in THE ONE. Her last scene in the book actually brought me to tears, and no one was more shocked than I. Reading from Celeste's point of view showed me the old reasons why I disliked her, and reminded me of why I changed my mind all over again.

And LUCY. I know that a majority of Selectioners love Lucy as I do, and I was over the moon to have a scene from her. Even the single chapter gave so much insight to Lucy as a person, not just as a shy, timid maid.

The rest of the bonus content was beautifully done and perfect, but not stories as much as information.

Five stars, of course, for HAPPILY EVER AFTER. I'm so glad I was able to get this one for Christmas so that I could dive back into the world of THE SELECTION. If you enjoy romance and princes and seeing how everything isn't as perfect on the inside as it seems on the outside, then this series is for you.

And now...

We wait for May.

Happily,
Stephanie


Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year: Resolutions and Hilights



Happy New Year!

As 2015 has officially come to a close, here we are beginning our New Year's Resolutions. This time, we're going to stick to them! I say it every year, and it still never happens, but this year I am convinced that I will stick to my resolutions.

Keeping this in mind, I got curious about what authors and fellow bloggers would have as their resolutions. So I sent out some emails and tweets, and I got responses. Below, are the resolutions of some names that you may recognize, as well as their hilights of 2015.

I'll start us off with mine, and away we'll go...





New Year's Resolutions and Hilights of 2015

Me!



Resolution: 
To blog more consistently. To work on my personality flaws. To get an agent and start the publishing process. To limit myself to one soda per month until June, and then make it 0. To get my license. And to start my freshman year of college as the person I want to be.

Hilight of 2015:
Meeting my best internet friend at NTTBF (AKA my best freaking friend ever). Best day ever, hands down.



Heather W. Petty


Author of LOCK & MORI

Resolution: 
I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions, but this year I'll be working on balancing things in my life a little better. When your passion becomes a career, it can be really hard to remember to take time away to just be a person for a while. But it's super important. So I'm going to try!

Hilight of 2015:
My hilight of 2015 was definitely going to the bookstore on my release day with my daughter and watching her jump up and down and squee over seeing my book on the shelf. It was a huge moment for me too, but seeing her excitement made it so much more fun!



Stephanie


Blogger @ OhanaReads

Resolution:
I want to start talking to bloggers more! When I say more, I mean I'd like to participate in more discussions and become closer with my blogger friends again. So commenting on blog posts, talking to bloggers on twitter, and more twitter parties are definitely a must.

To start advertising posts! Writing posts are pointless if no one is reading them! So this year I'm going to be trying my best to spread the word, and get more people reading my posts!

More giveaways! I love to spoil people, and promoting books, so why not do more giveaways and do both at the same time? With learning about Book Depository this year, and their free international shipping, I'm going to try to do a giveaway every few months! Whether it's on my blog, or twitter.

Hilight of 2015:
Becoming more known to publishers, for some people might not be a big deal but I've found that with being in Canada, bloggers have a harder time being noticed by the publishing houses. With some of the houses just being American, we don't even have a chance at all. So yes, to me this was an accomplishment and a hilight.

I've kind of adopted my local indie this year. It'a been a blast always visiting them, and always feeling at home with the books and workers there.

In October, my sister and I went to an Author Round Table Dinner for MYRCA, a Manitoba Literacy Choice Awards group for kids in grades 6-8, promoting books from all over Canada. Throughout the night we were seated with three different authors who rotated seats with other tables for each course. I was lucky enough to have been able to sit beside Kelley Armstrong, Larry Verstraeten, and Colleen Nelson, as well as see a family friend Maureen Fergus again. It was such an amazing feeling to have been able to be around so many book living people from Winnipeg, most of the time we don't get bookish events, so it was a pretty amazing experience for me. It was also the first time being around such a large group of book people since YALLFEST 2014. Since the dinner, my local public library system has asked to host me on their teen website as one of their favourite bloggers of 2015, and I've been invited from a local publisher to help promote their books.


Erin Bowman


Author of The Taken trilogy and VENGEANCE ROAD

Resolution:
My New Year's Resolution is to better balance work and family life. (This was my resolution last year, but there's still room for more improvement!) I'd also like to read at least 50 books because BOOKS. No further justification needed. ;)

Hilight of 2015:
My 2015 hilight was watching Baby Bowman morph from baby to a toddler in just twelve months. She keeps surprising me every day, and I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for our family.



Alana (AKA Ivey) @ The Hopeless Reader



Resolution:
To make more time to read because school has prevented me from doing so lately.

Hilight of 2015:
Attending YALLfest and meeting some of my favorite authors and booktubers. 



Philip Siegel


Author of THE BREAK UP ARTIST and THE REVENGE ARTIST

Resolution:
To learn to trust my gut.

Hilight of 2015:
Finding out I'm going to be an uncle again!

Kaitlin


Blogger @ Next Page Please!

Resolution:
Manage my time better- I feel like this is a constant struggle with me and with my schedule getting busier soon, I really need to learn how to make the most of my time. Sometimes I end up spending two hours doing nothing productive and I despise that feeling of knowing I basically did nothing, I hate it. I hope to be a more productive person in 2016 and in the next few years!

Don't be so quick to judge- Yeah, I am guilty of judging people based on first glance and making an opinion about them when I hadn't even talked to them before and I really want to stop doing that. I mean, I have two great friends that I judged off of first glance and I don't know what I would do without them now if I didn't bother to be friends with them based on the opinion I made when I didn't even know them. Judging is definitely a flaw I am guilty of and want to get rid of.

Learn how to do hand letter- If you know me, I am a huge font person and have a great love for hand lettering. This year I want to learn how to do modern calligraphy! I know how to do chinese calligraphy but modern calligraphy is definitely different from that. I hope to teach myself hand lettering and you know, the aesthetically pleasing kind!

Hilight of 2015:
I met some awesome people last year! Online and some in real life- Last year, I made a ton of blogging friends and am super excited to meet more in the coming years. Some blogging friends I also got to meet in person! Was super fun meeting them and I am so excited to talk and meet more people. I also got to see sooo many great authors and meet them which is definitely a great experience for people who love books. It's like meeting a celebrity! :D

There were so many great reads this year- As someone who was just slowly getting into the blogging community, I read and found out so many great books. Really happy with all the books I read last year and fairly enjoyed all of them. Fingers crossed that I will be able to read just as great books this year as I did last year.

I started taking blogging seriously- If you didn't know, I moved to a blogger blog around February of last year but before that, I went through a 7 month time period where I was just starting off blogging. Back then though, I didn't take it as seriously as I usually would and in February, I stepped it up and started taking it seriously.

Shows and Netflix came into my life- Around this time actually, I gained access to Netflix and binged the first of the 100, then Friends. Then, in the summer: Arow. Now, I will soon be keeping up with six shows and I honestly love watching shows. They do take a load of your time, BUT THEY ARE SO GOOD OMG. WORTH IT!



Leah Thomas:


Author of BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER MEET ME

Resolution:
Talk Less, Listen More- I had this one last year as well, and it's something I struggle with. Everyone in my family has that irksome habit of talking over other people, and I'm awful about interrupting people. It's a shame, because I'm genuinely interested in what people say-- I just get way too excited about conversating, I guess.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others- As a new author, and as a human being, this can only yield nightmarish results. I'm trying to compare myself to myself, and the progress I make, and not to the success of others. I think my characters have this trouble, too! That way lies madness!

Keep On Writing, Keep on Truckin'- I don't drive a truck. But I think a year can be a daunting thing, and you need to keep pushing through the inevitable trials it will present. I want everyone to make the most of a year that will surely throw some stones at us. Use those stones as fuel to keep moving; keep writing (and keep mixing metaphors!)

Hilight of 2015:
For me that has to go to the first email I received from a reader. Of all the wondrous things that happen when you finally get your work out there-- signings and travel and conventions-- the human connection is the most humbling.

Josiah


Blogger @ The Bookish Fanboy

Resolution: 
1. To read more books, 2. To be more active on book blogging, 3. To read the books that I really want to read, and not because of their popularity, 4. I want to be less quiet (Since I am an introverted person lol)

Hilight of 2015:
I've met so many amazing people in the book community (It may be on instagram, twitter, or any other social media platforms) and I'm thankful for that. 2015 was a satisfying one because I know that all of my decisions in my personal life and all the hard work-- it was all worth it!!!


Lauren Gibaldi


Author of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES and the novella MATT'S STORY

Resolution:
At the moment, like so many other, I'm obsessed with the musical Hamilton. A line from it is "Talk less, smile more." Though I obviously don't resolve to do that in the new year, I'm remixing it to be more appropriate. So my New Year's Resolution is: "Tweet less, write more." I wrote both THE NIGHT WE SAID YES and AUTOFOCUS (Which releases June 2016) prior to having a daughter. Now, my time is rather limited, so I really need to make the most of my writing time. But, of course, I can't avoid social media. So this year I vow to avoid it just a little bit so I can finish my next book. And reserve some more time to listen to Hamilton because... priorities.

Hilight of 2015:
The release of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES this past June, and my daughter's first birthday.

Brittany



Resolution:
As for my resolutions, well in my personal life I vow to just get healthy. I don't necessarily want to lose weight (Although that would be a plus) but just to feel better about myself. Stronger with more energy.
In my bookish life I want to be more diligent with my comments. Make time to visit my twitter friends' blogs. I also want to do more discussion type posts. They are always so fun to read. I just joined a challenge for that so it should be a good time!

Hilight of 2015:
So the absolute biggest hilight of my bookish year was attending BEA 2015! I saw all the excitement surrounding BEA 2014 and vowed that I would go and... I did! It was such an amazing and overwhelming experience to see all those bookish people band together. It was also great to hang out with my friend, which is what I will be completely focused on this year!



Bethany Crandell


Author of SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS

Resolution:
I'm not usually one for resolutions, at least not ON New Year's, but I have been making a conscious effort to SLOW DOWN and BE STILL! Life is busy and there are distractions everywhere. Even though it's important to stay connected and informed, it's also okay to just be quiet and be still. Good things happen when we give our brains a break.

Hilight of 2015:
"Realizing" that unexpected setbacks are the key to growth, and discovering pourable brown sugar! OMG. I didn't think oats and berries could get any better...


Eli



Resolution:
Eli does not believe in New Year's Resolutions!

Hilight of 2015:
Getting through my first AP class and getting a four, the birth of my twin cousins, going to the Last Bookstore in LA, finishing my manuscript, and meeting Marissa Meyer :D <3




Can you relate to some of these resolutions?
What were your hilights of 2015?
I want to know, so leave a comment!

I hope your 2016's are starting off with a bang, and that you all have a mega fantastic year.
I feel like it's going to be a good one.

Happily, 
Stephanie

Subscribe by Email