Monday, June 30, 2014

Looking Forward: July

Sometimes it's really hard for me to keep track of what comes out what month, especially while juggling early reviews and publisher catalogues and all the other confusing bookish things bloggers deal with. It's just a LOT OF BOOKS ALL THE TIME. How do you ever keep them straight?! So on the last day of the month, I post a guide to what books I'm most looking forward to in the following month and that you should keep an eye on. So, since it's the last day in June, here are the July releases most tempting me:

Featured book of the month:


Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard
The final book in the Something Strange and Deadly series is coming out on July 22nd! I've read it already, and spoiler: it's the best yet. And it will crush your soul into tiny little pieces, and I love it.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Book Haul, or the One with the Missing Package

This week has been a rough one for me. I suffered through the most tragic of first world book blogger problems: a lost package. With a BOOK inside it. A book that is now floating somewhere in UPS limbo, trying to find its way home to me. *sniff*

With any luck the package--which was mistakenly mis-addressed by one tiny number, meaning UPS had no idea who I was any longer--will appear. In the meantime, here are this week's other goodies:

Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Review: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Release date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: No
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss
Length: 256 pages
Rating: It's not you; it's me. (But maybe a little bit you.)


Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter's come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I've watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I'm the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I'm tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I'm tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don't know why. I think it's because death is coming for one of them, or both. All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.

This review gives me all the sads, since I was expecting so much to love this for many reasons. 1) Anderson is positively revered in the blogging world for her novel Tiger Lily, which I have not read 2) my dear friend Ellis loved this book (and has a super positive review of it posted here) and 3) THAT SYNOPSIS. It called to me. But sadly, number 3 was the thing that came back to bite me, since that mystical, haunting, mysterious synopsis is completely misleading. What The Vanishing Season actually is is a small, quiet coming of age story, which could be a tremendous thing. But it's not the thing I wanted.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The YA Prom

Welcome to the YA Prom, hosted by Gaby from Queen Ella Bee Reads and Alexa from Alexa Loves Books! They had the fabulous idea to throw a YA prom today. To learn more about it, check out either this post or this one!

Now, onto the important questions. 1) What am I wearing to the YA prom? and 2) Who is my date?

The outfit:

I wanted to dress like spring personified, and in my fantasy YA prom-land (let's pretend I'm being styled by Alice Cullen, okay?) I have the budget for an Elie Saab gown and a Kate Spade clutch.

The boys:

Okay, now THIS is where it gets really tough. I have so many book boyfriends. How could I possible choose which one to take as my date? (Because let's pretend I'm being styled by Alice Cullen which means I am Bella Swan which means all the boys want to eat me date me.) Chaol? Nikolai? Ryan? Warner? Cricket? Levi? Hector? Etienne? Thorne? Gansey? Wesley? Percy? Roar? Peeta? Should I date my childhood loves, Michael Moscovitz or Numair Salmalin? Should I go highbrow and link my arm with Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley, or Mr. Thornton?

Well, you know what? In fantasy-Cullen-I-am-Bella-Swan-land, I DONT'S GOTTA CHOOSE.

Catch ya at the prom, lovelies. My harem is here to pick me up.

Don't forget to check out the original post, to link up to either Gaby's post here or Alexa's post here, and to join in the hashtag #YAProm at 8:30!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Favorite Covers of 2014 (So Far)

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I limited myself only to books published in the first half of 2014. (I cheated once). Every book on this list (but one, because I'm a cheater) is already out. Basically, I have to set myself parameters or I will dump thirty thousand pretty covers on you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Reasons to Read: Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

Review: Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard
Release date: July 22nd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Yes, #3 in the Strange and Ever After series
Source: ARC borrowed from Gaby/e-ARC via Edelweiss
Length: 304 pages
Rating: Heart? What heart? Sure. Take it, Susan Dennard. I'm not using it much. Also, WHY AREN'T YOU READING THIS SERIES??


In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.

I'm going to do this review a bit differently. I will talk about my feelings for Strange and Ever After (!!!!???NOOO!!!OMG!!YESS!SWOOON!NOOOOOOOOOO!!!ARRRGH), but it's always so hard to review series enders without spoilers, and I SUPER DO NOT want to spoil you for this book, because there are sucker punches and huge emotional reveals and all kinds of good stuff that you want to discover on your own.

Reasons you should be reading this series:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review: Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Review: Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson
Release date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Point (Scholastic)
Series: No
Source: Purchased
Length: 304 pages
Rating: I loved this! What a lovely, entertaining summer read. Plus, FAKE DATING.


A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. 

Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

I bought this book partially on a whim and partially because I just love this kind of fluffy, modern-Cinderella story. Blame Notting Hill. Blame Teen Idol. Hell, blame Camp Rock, if you want to. I love them all. I could read/watch these types of stories for... well...

And while this book is definitely that, it's got quite a bit more heart than I was expecting, and was actually way funnier. I am so glad I listened to that whim, because I really enjoyed Catch a Falling Star in a way I was not expecting, and here's why:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

Review: 17 First Kisses by Rachel Allen
Release date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: No
Source: ARC via Edelweiss
Length: 352 pages
Rating: Surprisingly delightful, though flawed


No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. Contemporary, for me, is very hit or miss, but the common denominator in all my favorite contemps is definitely voice. And that was the element in 17 First Kisses that really, truly earned my love: the fact that Claire's voice is funny and touching as all hell. While this was by no means a perfect read for me,  the likes definitely outweighed the dislikes, and I ultimately really enjoyed myself.

Monday, June 16, 2014

"Review": Rebels: City of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia "by" Kendall and Kylie Jenner

Review: Krap: Krappy of Krap: The Krap of Krap and Krapia by Kendall and Kylie Jenner
Release date: The Apocalypse
Publisher: Satan
Series: I don't even want to answer this
Source: Hell's minions
Length: Interminable

Kendall and Kylie Jenner, stars on the hit reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, present their debut novel—a thrilling dystopian story about two super-powered girls who embark on a journey together.

Two cities… Two girls… A shared destiny…

In a world of the far future, the great city of Indra has two faces: a beautiful paradise floating high in the sky, and a nightmare world of poverty carved into tunnels beneath the surface of the earth.

Kendall and Kylie Jenner, the youngest sisters in the Kardashian dynasty, have written a gripping tale of air, fire, and a bond of blood

Rebels: City of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia: Written by Kendall and Kylie: But Not Really: But Not At All

(Kendall and Kylie Jenner, dressed in artfully tattered jeans, artfully tattered t-shirts, and artfully tattered souls, lounge in their third bedroom. Kylie thumbs though a magazine, trying to find pictures of herself. Kendall lowers her Prada sunglasses and sighs a sigh of deepest existential ennui.)

Kendall: I'm, like, soooooo bored.

Kylie: OMK, like, me too.

Kendall: We should, like, do something. You know? Like with our lives.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Book Haul, or the One With All the Catch-Up

Not to be confused with ketchup. (Or catsup, if you're weird) (No offense) (but honestly, catsup?)

So I filmed a vlog which was obviously the greatest vlog to ever be filmed... and then it got dumped. Whomp whomp. But it was actually less tragic and more serendipitous, since I then realized I'd left out a good chunk of the books I've gotten this week. And then I looked back even further and realized that I've forgotten to put a ton of books in my hauls this month, so this is the week where I go in a rectify past mistakes. I'm so good at lifing.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Review: Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

Review: Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore
Release date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Disney*Hyperion
Series: Yes, #1 in the Dark Metropolis series
Source: ARC from the Publisher
Length: 304 pages
Rating: Lovely idea, okay read, rather whelmed.


Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder's mother is cursed with a spell that's driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.

Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city's secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own. Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they're not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don't always seem to stay that way.

Okay, so Blogger decided to eat my first draft of this review, which is always fun. But anyway, I was very excited for this book because a) it seems very original and atmospheric b) a little birdy told me there is an LGBT plotline and c) MAGICKS. While Dark Metropolis is by no means a bad book, it failed to set my world on fire.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Beach Blanket Book-Go

Okay, so that is a terrible title and only makes sense if you've heard of Beach Blanket Bingo, but whatever. I was bummed that I missed the Top Ten Tuesday topic a couple weeks back asking which books will be in your beach bag this summer. Not only do I live in Los Angeles, but I live pretty close to the beach, so my beach bag is an actual thing that I take care to assemble every summer. Here are the books that WILL be in there this summer, followed by the books I'd like to slip into the bags of some of my friends.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Once again, I am operating under a loose interpretation of "ten", and once again, no cares are given. Also, I'm loosely interpreting "fantasy", and I'm loosely interpreting "this year", since a few of these reads weren't actual read this year, but they were all reviewed this year. Basically, I'M A REBEL.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sneak Peek Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins sneak peek
Release date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Series: Yes-ish, #3 in Anna and the French Kiss series
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Length: Five chapters
Rating: Whyyyy do you have to end after five chapters? Shippy things were getting good!


From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Okay, so a review of a sneak peek--five chapters, to be exact--is a bit out of the ordinary, but it's Isla, for crying out loud! When I heard that I had access to the first five chapters, I knew I'd be reading it, because I'm a terrible masochist and I just can't resist torturing myself. But you can torture yourself too! You can request it on Netgalley here and then sit in agony until August 14th, when the rest of the chapters (i.e. the whole book) is released. Oh, and you can read the first two (really, one) chapters here.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Book Haul, or the One With All the BEA Books

I'M BACK FROM BEA! And I'm... exhausted! However, the blogging show must go on, so here are the books I snagged at Book Expo America. In the vlog I'll list my top ten books of BEA, share which book caused a Hunger Games situation, and clasp my number one most anticipated read to my cheek, like normal people do. Below that, I'll show you every single book I got while I was in New York!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Release date: June 24th, 2014
Publisher: Touchstone (Simon & Schuster)
Series: No, unfortunately
Source: BEA 2014
Length: 400 pages
Rating: SQUEEEE!


 A modern adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice based on the Emmy Award-winning phenomenon, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie's life as a twenty-four-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets—and for Lizzie's viewers. Suddenly Lizzie—who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman—was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet provides more character introspection as only a book can, with revelatory details about the Bennet household, including Lizzie's special relationship with her father, untold stories from Netherfield, Lizzie's thoughts and fears about life after grad school and becoming an instant web celebrity.

Written by Bernie Su, the series' executive producer, co-creator, head writer, and director, along with Kate Rorick, the novelist, TV writer, and consulting producer on the series, the novel features a journal-entry format and design, complementing the existing web series, while including plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like it's never been done before.

It's no small secret that the web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is my most favoritest adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, which is my most favoritest novel in the world. I am incapable of reviewing The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, both a novelization and an expansion of the web series, as someone who is not a lifelong Janeite and a fangirl who frequently says, "I thought you were Chinese" when people walk unexpectedly into the room.