Thursday, July 28, 2016

I'm Back!



So it's kind of been while since my last post, and I know I didn't warn you about my sudden hiatus, but I am now back! It's been an absolutely crazy month-- I've finally moved back home from Chicago, and it's so incredibly nice to be back on the farm. As well as that, I had a minor surgery that I am almost fully recovered from, and I've managed to read absolutely nothing. It's killing me. Not a single book.

However, I've been cooking up some great bloggy plans. August is going to be such a great month over here at Doodle's Book Reviews, and I can't wait to share everything with you.You know what they say... All in due time.

So, keep checking back for new posts, because they're back to normal again. Next week has some pretty good stuff coming, if I do say so myself.

Happily,
Stephanie

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tuesday Reviews-- The Book of Kringle: Legend of the North Pole by Derek Velez Partridge

It's Christmas in July!


Title: The Book of Kringle: Legend of the North
Author: Derek Velez Partridge
Publisher: Vista Clara Productions
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Format Read: Hardback
Rating: Four and a half

Description from Goodreads: In a magical land on top of the world, an epic struggle between light and darkness was waged between two brothers. King Kringle riled with a harsh hand over the elves of the North Pole, allowing no laughter, no play, and no Christmas celebration. There was only one, truly kindhearted soul who could make a difference and change the course of the world. Would the elves be able to find Santa and bring joy and laughter to the land. Manusol the Elf knows the answer, for it is written in the Book of Kringle.

I read this description and the first thing I'm thinking is that I have way too many questions running around in my head. Is the King one of the brothers? Is Santa? So I went into this picture book with pre-determined skepticism, and I find myself pleasantly surprised at what I found instead.

All of my questions were answered on page five, and the story itself was actually pretty cute. You get to learn what the North Pole really is (Hint: it's not really a pole!) and follow Manusol on his journey to save his friends and family from a future of King Kringle's rule. The pictures that accompany the story add to the experience, because they are so detailed and they are full-page, full-color illustrations.

THE BOOK OF KRINGLE is not the same Santa Claus origin story that we all know and love-- it's a retelling, one that shows you a brand-new perspective on the history of the North Pole, and those who live there. It's a s fresh story of good versus evil in relation to Santa and his realm of characters, narrated by an elf who stands up for what he believes in, and does what he can to set things right.

The story was 30 pages, and each one of them included gorgeous pictures on quality paper that would take a pretty hard rip to do damage. One of the things I loved most about this book was the cover, and how thick and sturdy it is. It has that special, old-leather-book feel to it, and I can set it on my shelf and I know it's going to last.

I give THE BOOK OF KRINGLE four and a half stars. It's a perfect bedtime story for any child during the Christmas season, and I recommend it to anyone who celebrates the holiday season! This is a picture book that will quickly become a favorite in your family.

Happily,
Stephanie

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

BEA Wrap-Up Part 3


Waking up on Friday after a successful Second Day of BEA was all at once energizing and devastating. Energizing because I was so ready to go and I knew the day's schedule like the back of my hand, and devastating because my feet were still so frigging sore. But I was actually very relaxed going into Day 3. I knew the layout of the showfloor, I was going to be working with the most relaxed schedule of the entire expo, and I was finally out of a dress and into a good pair of jeans. The day was destined to be great.

Getting to BEA that morning proved to be a bit of an amusing feat. Ticket drops for the signings later that afternoon were at 8am, and I didn't have any that I wanted to go for. Stephanie @ OhanaReads, however, wanted that Marissa Meyer ticket and was ready to fight for it, so she got up and went to stand in the line for tickets at 5:30. 

Yes, you read that right.

5:30 in the morning.

I, however, chose to use those precious hours of the wee morning to get some well-needed rest. I slept as long as I could, and crossed over to the expo, meeting Stephanie in line for the showfloor, only to find out that after all of her efforts, she still didn't get her hands on a ticket. She was disappointed, and we were disappointed for her, because HEARTLESS was one of only two books that were must-grabs for her BEA experience.

But we persevered, and though Stephanie was a bit downcast, we made our way through Day 3.

My Friday schedule was super chill. The only thing I had on my list before noon were signings for THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING and CARAVAL, and I ended up not even getting to the booth in time to get a ticket for the second one. So I was just kind of milling around, checking out booths and catching random drops, when I get an all caps text from Stephanie saying that Jay was here and he had a few ARCs of NEVERNIGHT for people who came up to him and said "Never forget".

Now.

I think this is the appropriate time in the post to tell you that I am a HUGE FREAKING JAY KRISTOFF FAN. 

Like, there are no words.

ILLUMINAE just... it.. 


If you'd like, you can check out my review of it. 

My number one priority for the week was GEMINA. If I didn't leave with GEMINA, then there were going to be some major problems. 


So I get this text, and immediately I'm ready to throw my schedule in the trash and look for Jay. At that time, I'm in the beginning of a gap between drops/signings on my schedule, so I dedicated my time to looking for Jay. I figured, how hard could it be? HE'S A GIANT AUSSIE. I'm looking all over the showfloor, but I'm not finding him, so I send my mom to check out the other half of the floor while I head to the cafeteria on the top level of the center to look for him from a bird's eye view. Stephanie was already up there and we proceeded to spend the next hour looking for Mister Kristoff. at this point, we both had things we needed to get to, so we headed downstairs and ran around following the schedule, which included drops of THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR and ONE PARIS SUMMER, which I a-d-o-r-e-d.

The GEMINA drop that I mentioned before, it wasn't until three. But if you went to BEA, you know why I got there at 1 and went to scout out a line. If you haven't ever been to BEA, let me tell you this: Major Books/Authors Have Lines That Make You Wait for Hours and Hours. I was actually at a Penguin signing (David Arnold's KIDS OF APPETITE), which was at the same booth at the GEMINA signing would be, and after my mom went and picked up a copy of THREE DARK CROWNS (THE JEALOUSY FACTOR IS UNREAL) she went to find the GEMINA line, which was already of a good length, while I waited for KOA. My mom managed to let people in the line know that two more of us would be coming in like two seconds, and we were golden.

I want to take the time to mention that the KOA signing was not the first time I had met David Arnold. I met him last year at Anderson's Literature Conference and had the privelidge of sitting at his table for the first day. Such a pleasant person to have a conversation with, very friendly, and I always remembered the MOSQUITOLAND author as a nice person to engage with. Flash forward to BEA, when I stepped up into his line, and he looks and says "I've met you before." and I told him that he was right, that wed met at Lit Con, and this was easily one of the hilights of my BEA experience, simply because, as a small blogger, you don't get recognized that often, and it's such a great feeling to have someone remember who you are. I've had this happen with four authors, and each time it's just the most amazing thing.

Anyway, by the time I get done with the KOA line, the GEMINA line is already going crazy. I took my spot with Mom, and soon after that Stephanie joined us. Pretty quickly after that, Bayram @ NeverEndingBooks made his way over to the line and jumped in with us. We spent the next two hours chatting and running to drops, until Bayram and I were heading to a Disney drop when I nearly ran into this hulking monster of a man. I look up, and it was jAY FREAKING KRISTOFF.

My brain about exploded.

Not even kidding.

And at this point, Bayram and I are just starting ot get to know each other, so he doesn't know how big of a fan I am, but I just turned to him and was like "IT'S FREAKING JAY KRISTOFF." and he, ever so chill, goes "Oh yeah, Stephanie told me you were a big fan of his." 

AND I NEARLY EXPLODED BECAUSE JAY WAS RIGHT THERE AND SO MUCH EXCITEMENT.

But he was signing an ARC of NEVERNIGHT *Cue mental screaming* so I didn't want to bother him while this other girl was having her moment, so I went to the drop with Bayram and by the time we got back to where he was (Thirty seconds, tops) Jay was gone. So we're looking around, spinning and searching so hard, and finally I see him halfway across the showfloor. 

So I just... I kind of... I totally sprinted. I booked it over to him, and it was such a problem because one stride for him is like three for me and so I felt like I was in track by the time I got to him, but God is good because another girl stopped him just as I was closing in, and I didn't have to run anymore. So he looks over at me while he's talking to this girl, and I'm like "I think I have a password for you." And just as he put the marker to this girl's book, we get swarmed. I mean, these bloggers were like frigging bees. Nowhere in sight, and then all of a sudden THERE'S A HOARD OF THEM. *ironic laughing bc I'm a blogger* So he gives this girl her book, she stands back, and then pulls out what he admitted was his second-to-last ARC left in the bag, and asked me who he should sign it to. So I'm talking to him, full on shaking, and I ask for a picture, of course, and he obliges. So I go to give my phone to the girl who had just gotten her ARC, since she offered to take it, and then I have to sit there and struggle with the phone because my hands were shaking so badly I couldn't unlock it. 
 Eventually, though, I got it done and left Jay to his other fans while I went back to the line and screamed and shook as I marveled over the ARC and retold the story to my mom while Stephanie went to go see if he'd given away his last ARC.


 Sometimes around here, our friend Eli @ The Silver Words joins in, and the madness begins. The line. starts. moving. And we have GEMINA in our hands after two hours of waiting and I'm totally not crying over it and that was how we ended our showfloor time.

Something I forgot to mention earlier is that Bayram was in line for the HEARTLESS ticket drop as well, and he didn't manage to get a ticket either. But something miraculous happened that afternoon. Not only did someone give him their ticket, but someone also gave Stephanie their ticket! after such a crazy wait, they ended up getting exactly what they wanted!

From there, we went up to the room and hung out for about an hour before heading over to a local sports bar for a BEA blogger meet-up, hosted by Octavia @ Read.Sleep.Repeat. and Whitley @ Reading With A Vengeance. This was such a fun way to end the evening, as getting us all together resorted in so much bookish fun and card swapping. It was a great way to get to connect with the other bloggers, swap stories, and get the low down on what BookCon was going to be like, since I'd heard nothing but horror stories.

Also, I'd just like to make it known that I took my heels off for this dinner. I wore flip flops instead. 

At the end of that day, we were ready to just go to sleep. The exhaustion was real, and after we got back to the hotel, that's exactly what we did. We went over the schedule for Saturday, and then completely... passed.. out.

Stay tuned for the tales from BookCon, coming at you next Wednesday.

Happily,
Stephanie

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tuesday (Series) Review: The Selection (Books 4 & 5)



In November of last year, I binged the first three books in The Selection Series, and because I'd read them one right after the other and conquered them within a week, I did a Series Review. Now that the last book has come out, I think it's about time to post a second Series Review-- this time, for books four and five.

If you haven't read the first three books in the series (THE SELECTION, THE ELITE, THE ONE) then I need to stop you right here. Because as much as I'd like for you to read this post, it will completely spoil you for the series. And this is definitely one that I want you to read. 

So, just for now, disregard this post. 

Bookmark it, favorite it, make it a shortcut on your desktop so you'll have it once you DO read the books, but for right now, please go read something else. 


Are you gone yet?

Did you go?

You clicked my link, right?

Right?

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Okay, I think we're safe now.

If you're still here... HELLO YOU WONDERFUL SELECTIONER YOU!

I am now going to continue with my reviews. Please stick around.




Author: Kiera Cass

Titles:
THE HEIR (The Selection Series #4)
THE CROWN (The Selection Series #5)

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Dates:
THE HEIR- 5/5/15
THE CROWN- 5/3/16

Formats Read: Hardbacks

Ratings:
THE HEIR- 3.75 stars
THE CROWN- 4.5 stars

Description from Goodreads for THE HEIR: Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon-- and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection- no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, on entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her... and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.




Description from Goodreads for THE CROWN: When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illea to hold her own Selection, she didn't think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn't sure she'll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you... and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible-- and more important-- than she ever imagined.



Going into THE HEIR, I didn't realize that the book was going to be about America's daughter. As much as the idea intrigued me, I wanted more Maxmerica! MOOOORE. But, in a teensy way, I got it. Because of course, Eadlyn's story would not be complete without her parents. 

My first impression of Eadlyn... she's brutal. I know a lot of people disliked her, but I didn't feel that way. Yeah, she's harsh. Cold Cut-off, and distanced. But wouldn't you be that way too, if your entire world was constantly plastered on the media? If you always got what you wanted? If you'd been doing nothing but learning to run the country since you learned to read? Because that's exactly the situation Eady was in, and I felt for her. It would SUCK to live like that. Sure, she's a spoiled brat most of the time, but it's not like she can help it that she was brought up living in a palace where everyone waited on her, hand and foot.

In fact, I rather liked Eadlyn. I feel like I'd be just like her if I were in her situation. I sympathized with her so much throughout her books, and I was actually pretty shocked by how much hate she got. What, do people think that being a princess comes with zero responsibility? Wear pretty clothes, get your face on the tv, sit around eating bon bons all day? Come on, guys.

And then, to be forced into having a Selection when you'd specifically been told that there would never be another? I think Eadlyn has a right to be quite a bit frustrated with that. She's being forced to do something that she's always been 100% against, and with little to no warning. 

So then the Selection starts, and she has all of these great guys, and of course she starts sending them away ASAP. My immediate favorites were Kile (Because that best friend vibe), Hale (Something every day), Henri (Hi today!) and, though maybe he wasn't actually IN the Selection, I loved Eric. 

If it had been me, I'd have chosen Kile. WOODWORKS PLUS SCHREAVES? Y. E. S.

And I loved how each of them reacted to the people hating on Eadlyn (the parade). And I loved the fight in the kitche. And I really did enjoy the book. But I feel like it was too short. Two books in general felt short for a Selection. 

Until I got to book five.

And book five blew book four out of the freaking water.

**SPOILER ALERT**



ALL MY GUYS WERE ELITE!

ALL OF THEM!



**END SPOILER ALERT**

And I just want to say, I totally called the ending. Boy and everything. 

But I loved watching it play out, and I loved watching Eady's relationships with each of the boys develop and sweeten and become so tight.

I loved every single thing about this book, down to the details. Which is why I'm not going to spend much time on it, because all you need to know is that it was beautiful and I loved everything and you definitely need to read it.

And I'm going to tell you that out of all of the chapters in these two books, the last three were my favorite.

And out of all the scenes in the last two books, (This is not spoilery, I made sure.) my favorite was the last major scene in the book with Kile. I was bawling like a baby and it was a glorious scene and I think I died a little bit inside but I loved it more than words can say.

So, yeah. I absolutely adored these last two Eady books. This series is an extraordinary thing, and I hope you got to experience it as I did.

Happily,
Stephanie

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