Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday Reviews: Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon


Title: Gilt Hollow
Author: Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Format Read: ARC
Rating: Five stars

Review from Goodreads: Willow Lamott's best friend is a murderer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. For four long years, she's tried to fade into the background-- but none of that matters when Ashton Keller comes striding into school, fresh out of juvie and fueled by revenge. The moment their eyes meet, Willow no longer feels invisible. Drawn tot he vulnerability behind Ashton's mask of rage, she sinks deeper into his sinister world and begins to question whether he's a villain, a savior, or both. 

Ashton thought he wanted vengeance, until Willow reminded him what he'd been missing. Noe he longs to clear his name and become the person she sees in him. But the closer they get to uncovering the truth, the darker the secrets become, and Ashton fears his return to Git Hollow will destroy everyone he loves, especially the girl he left behind.

GILT HOLLOW was one of my top three plucks from BEA. I'd been super excited when I found out it was going to be there, and this is one of those books that I sacrificed a few drops for, because there was no way I was leaving without it.

Let's go with characters first. I love me some contemporary, and usually the contemporary love interests are pretty great, but guys... ASHTON. I finished that book and dreamt about him when I went to bed. He's so great. Far from a typical, flat love interest, Ashton Keller is well-developed and easily lovable, and he stole my heart from page one. Literally. Page one. 

Willow is also pretty great. She reminds me a lot of myself, and I was able to relate to many of her struggles, which made reading the story so much fun. She, too, is more than just a page character, and her development is pretty spot-on as well.

Plot. Plot can be summed up like this...


The mystery was fantastic. I thought I had the killer picked out from early on, and I ended up being close, but still wrong. The way Langdon crafted the story was perfect-- not obvious from the beginning, a big shock when you figure it out, and even if you make the killer out early, the way she goes about the rest of the story should definitely be entertaining enough to still keep you intrigued.

I absolutely LOVED this one. If you like a little romance with your mystery, then this is absolutely a book for you. Tall, Dark, and Dangerous is at your service.

Happily,
Stephanie

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thursday Thinks: Diving Back Into the Bookish World


There's something about reading when you've been deprived of books for so long that just feels like coming home. 

As you may know, I read one book between August and November, and then only one over Christmas break. But I'm taking a semester off, and now my time is freer.

Now? I've read three books in five days. And it feels so good

I've read sci-fi, dystopia, and contemporary--all of which I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish-- and loved each of them. So far, I've picked good ones to jump back in with. Next, I'm finishing Bane Chronicles and then starting Natasha Preston's THE CELLAR. 

Amongst the reading, I've been sent a manuscript from an author who has requested that I beta for her, and I can't wait to dig into it. I've also started writing again... or should I say, rewriting. I'm taking the contemporary I finished last year and doing some edits and making changes, and hopefully I'll finish by the end of February and be able to start agent-hunting.

As well as this, I've started looking at upcoming bookish events, and have decided that authors are going to have to start coming to Missouri. We need to make this happen. Let's start a trend, #MissouriNeedsYA.

And guys, the 2017 releases I forgot about. The ones I knew were coming out, but have seen new news about and am even more stoked for.

Getting back into the bookish community on Twitter, also. Though I'm getting tired of opening the app and seeing nothing on my feed but politics, I'm slowly finding more and more bookish tweets.

Somehow, I can't believe I've been away for so long. Can't believe I let myself do it. It's a much better place, here.

It's good to be back, guys. It really is.

Super Happily,
Stephanie

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday Reviews: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Title: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Rating: Five Blazing Stars

Description from Goodreads: Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna's social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller ILLUMINAE continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain's pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiStrike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner, Soon Hanna and Nik aren't just fighting for their own survival; the fat of everyone on the Hypatia-- and possibly the known universe-- is in their hands.

But relax. They've totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, GEMINA raises the stakes of the Illuminiae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will  leave them breathless.


Okay, you guys. Let me first just remind you that this is a book I stood in line for ALMOST THREE HOURS at BEA for an ARC of this book. I did this because, as you well know, FREAKING ILLUMINAE (!!!) IS MY FAVE. So I waited in that line. Three hours for the drop, and then another two to get it signed. I stood in that line because I just knew GEMINA was going to be as good as the first book, if not better. 

See what might be my favorite picture from #BEA16: HERE
See Gemina Bookstagram: HERE


And you know what, guys?


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It was everything I hoped for.

Once again, the compilation for totally not-normal pages was just insane. You got radio transmissions, camera feed translated by our favorite analyst, IMs, emails, drawings (Round of applause for Marie Lu on that one), diagrams, even sheets of code among so many other things. The format is one of the things that makes the reading of this series truly a fascinating experience. If you read it via audio book, that's wondeful, and I'm not criticizing your decision at all but... wait... yes I am-- BUY YOURSELF A COPY OF THIS BRICK AND THUMB THROUGH THESE BEAUTUFIL PAGES AS THEY WERE MEANT TO BE THUMBED THROUGH. IT IS WORTH IT, I PROMISE.


Now, let's talk characters. I was highly disappointed when I found out that GEMINA wouldn't be centered around my beloved Kady and Ezra. I loved them as the focus of ILLUMINAE, and was so pumped to get more of them, and then the description came out and I was all sad puppy. But now I know Hanna and Nik, and holy geez I love them, too. Not as much as Kady and Ezra, but pretty darn close. Once again, Aussie Author Squad managed to make me love even the side characters that we had the littlest information about.

As for plot. My freaking goodness. I was never in doubt of the skills of our Aussie Author Squad, but I did wonder a bit how they were going to continue the story line without making the book seem unoriginal or predictable. *laughs* how stupid am I to even contemplate the skills of these guys? Because I just finished the book an hour or two ago and I cannot even handle this.

AGAIN WITH THOSE PLOT TWISTS. 

AGAIN WITH THE SENDING ME INTO A RAGE.

AGAIN WITH THE PULLING THE RUG OUT FROM UNDER ME.
(I'M LOOKING AT YOU, PAGE 589)

AGAIN WITH THE REALIZATIONS AND REVEALS THAT MADE MY BRAIN GO




Boy do these guys know what they're doing. Literally if I could screenshot my conversations with Ehmann and Bayram without spoiling all of the things, I would. Because it was ALL CAPS, BABY. Why? See above caps.

If you haven't read ILLUMINAE yet, and you're reading this, shame on you. *Mushu voice* DISHONOR ON YOUR COW. X-out this page and go get the book. Read it, then come back. Because you're missing out on what could quite possibly be the best reading experience you will ever find yourself in the middle of. 

If sci-fi, outerspacey, deathmurderblood is your thing, you'll love this. If it's not (I hate sci-fi) you'll probably still love it, beacause I hate sci-fi and here I am. Writing this. On a reading high (Not a dust high).

*Laughs at own joke that only GEMINA readers will understand*

Seriously, this book was amazing. It gets five blazing, exploding, burning stars for me. Book 3, I'm expecting you to come in clutch.



Happily,
Stephanie

P.S. It's nice to be back.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Thursday Thinks: I'm Back!



Hi. You may not rememeber me, since it's been FIVE FREAKING MONTHS since my last post, but I'm Stephanie *waves* and this is my blog.

You're probably thinking, "Five months of neglecting a blog, top notch blogger here."

In response to that, let me just say... College is hard.

I loaded myself with 17 credit hours last semester. Horrible, terrible, stupid decision, because I had literally 0 free time. The only times I left the house were to go to church and school, I didn't read anything until Thanksgiving break, and the idea of having time to blog properly was laughable.

As well as that, I had three hospital stays due to some complications with the heart (Another heart attack, no big deal, this is fine) and one of them entailed a surgery to replace the low battery on my pacemaker. Currently, I'm healing from that and psyching myself up to start classes on Monday. Now, if my friends could just come back from "home" (They're out of state kids. I've been very bored without them.) then I'd be stoked. 

Somehow, while basically being on house arrest for a month, I managed to have a lightning strike of an idea, and have written 9k in three days. It's a college-based contemporary, still in the YA category, and I'm pretty excited about it. 

As long as everything goes as planned, I should have much more time to get back on the blogging horse.

So, in two Tuesdays, get ready for a review. It's coming, I promise. 

Happily,
Stephanie


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