Thursday, July 31, 2014

Looking Forward: August

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 July, here are the August releases most tempting me:

Featured book of the month:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Review: Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
Release date: July 29th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: No
Source: eARC via Edelweiss/ Print ARC from BEA14
Length: 320 pages
Rating: Not my cuppa tea. MPDGs, road trips, instalove, secret pain, and pretentious ephiphanies of great importance.


Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

I wanted to love this. I figured this would be the perfect book to read whilst actually traveling, and while I was by  no means road tripping, I did read the second half on a train and the windows were open so my hair was definitely being tossed about and it was vaguely road trip-esque. Unfortunately, "vaguely" could also describe the level of emotional attachment I felt for the characters in Let's Get Lost.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

THIS POST TOOK FOREVER. Also I am in Oxford currently, meaning I am nowhere near my books so this was all done by memory and the magic of Goodreads, meaning I sort of vaguely pictured my bookstacks of doom and tried to remember which author stacks were tallest and oh man, I'm tired. I need to not own so many things. One of these days the books are going to swallow me whole.

Every single picture here represents the version and cover of the book I own. Every book shown is either in my apartment, aka the place that I live, in storage at my mom's house (thanks Mom), or they're on my Kindle, though that's only a couple of them. And some are even here in my suitcase!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Review: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Release date: August 26th, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Reads (Macmillan)
Series: No
Source: Print ARC from BEA14
Length: 272 pages
Rating: An imperfect yet ABSURDLY ADORABLE ode to the art of shipping.


The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....

Ship mode: ACTIVATE.
HAAAA as if my ship mode is ever deactivated

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

Review: Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke
Release date: August 14th, 2014
Publisher: Dial (Penguin)
Series: Yes, #2 in the Between
Source: Print ARC from the publisher
Length: 320 pages
Rating: Chilling, haunting, and atmospheric. Not perfect, but damn if I didn't love it even more than the first. Also, NEELY.


The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it's easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he'd done both to me.

The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet's life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River's other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn't long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own . . .

My review of book one, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
This review contains spoilers for book one

I really loved book one in this series, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, even though part of my brain new that I shouldn't have. Just like Violet, the protagonist, I felt glowed up by the prose and the creepy atmosphere and the haunting, chilling quality of the storytelling. I was charmed and repulsed by smooth-talking, magic-doing, lying liar River in equal measure. And the sequel was just the same experience for me in that the writing is still magnificent, the settings are still Gothic and chilling, and I was completely spellbound by it yet again. However, it was also a very different experience, because Violet is a very different protagonist.

She's starting to see more clearly, and it could NOT be more welcome.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Oh, the Places You'll Go!: Reading Memories

As you may or may not know, I've been doing a lot of traveling. I'm currently in London, where I plan to hit up a bunch of bookshops and spend all my money and go home completely broke. Before this, I was in Africa and Botswana with my extended family, and it's been a truly amazing experience. But of course, I've managed to squeeze in a couple reads here and there, and it got me thinking: I will always associate the books I read on this trip with this trip.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Release date: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt (Macmillan)
Series: Yes, #1 in the Remnant Chronicles
Source: Purchased
Length: 492 pages
Rating: I probably should not have loved that but I kind of really did.


In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

This book does a lot of things that kind of grinds my gears. For a lot of it, it focuses on romance over plot, and triangular romance at that. There are multiple first person points of view, which are always so terribly tricky to pull off if the voices blend together. So much of it hinges on the mystery reveals, so will it fall apart once the mask of deceit is lifted?

And yet, you guys, I couldn't stop reading this book.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Confederacy of DNFs

It's been all quiet on the blogging front this week, but for good reason: I'm on vacation! In Africa! My extended family and I are in South Africa right now and head to Botswana today and to say this trip has been one of the best of my life would be an UNDERSTATEMENT. Anyway, I'm getting time for reading, but not much time for blogging. So let's do this the quick and dirty way, shall we?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Book Haul, or the One with Isla and the Fangirl Ever After

ISLA. AND FANGIRL. BUT MOSTLY ISLA. (Also I'm in South Africa right now SURPRISE) (BUT ISLAAAAA) (and some other stuff)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Review: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
Release date: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: Disney*Hyperion
Series: Yes, #1 in the Midnight Thief duology
Source: ARC from the publisher
Length: 368 pages
Rating: Like a glass of water at room temperature.


Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives

This review is a killer one for me to write, and I've been putting it off for a few days. On paper, Midnight Thief is everything I love. Look at that synopsis! It's like Blackburne was pulling idea from a "Things Gillian Loves" hat. Thieves! Asassins! Knights! VICIOUS WARRIORS WHO RIDE BLOODTHIRSTY WILDCATS. SIGN ME UP.

Sadly not this kind of wildcat but CAN YOU IMAGINE
 I predicted that this would be one of my top reads of the year. And then I started.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Gooooooooooal!: YA Soccer

If you follow me on Twitter, you miiiight have noticed that I'm pretty into soccer/football and all things related to World Cup including very attractive soccer players. Okay, perhaps obsessed is a more accurate word. I make a point to watch every single game I can, I root for my favorites, cry when they lose, shriek when they win.

I expected to be tweeting into the void with all my soccer-induced all caps-ing, but I was delighted to discover that so many people in my bookish corner of the internet also care about soccer (or football, as everybody but us Americans call it, for reasons I am too lazy to Google). And so that got me thinking about some of my favorite YA books with soccer!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Book Haul, or the One with the Red, White and Books

Still waiting on the missing mystery package (le sob) BUT a very exciting package is coming for me on Tuesday and I am literally counting down the hours (and damn near close to counting down the seconds because EEEE IT'S COMING). But I bought myself some loverly reads this week:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook
Release date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
Series: No
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss
Length: 384 pages
Rating: That was unexpectedly WONDERFUL.


In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

I'm a fantasy girl. I like witches. Dragons. Assassins. Princesses. Thieves. So what does it say that I put down my high fantasy YA read in favor of Magnolia? Well, it says this is a damn good contemporary, that's what it says.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West
Release date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: No
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss
Length: 320 pages
Rating: Sunshine in my soul


She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.

Fun? DEFINITELY. Original? Not really. Endearing? HELL YES. Kasie West is an auto-read, auto-buy author for me, and while I didn't love On the Fence as much as The Distance Between Us (which I CRAZY LOVES, so it's a pretty high bar), I still could not put OtF down. And oh, my soul needed this joy, you guys. I was in a low point where all the things were sad and I just needed a ray of Kasie West contemporary sunshine to shatter the darkness.
The clouds parted and LO, A KASIE WEST NOVEL APPEARED!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

#ReadISLA #BreatheISLA #LiveISLA



I'm super stoked to announce that I'm part of the #ReadIsla campaign. What does that mean? It basically means I get to... um... do what I already do and fangirl about Stephanie Perkins' amazing contemporary series (artful exhibits A and B because it is always fun to draw pictures of hot fictional boys) (oh, and my fangirl reviews of Anna and Lola). But it ALSO means I get to give away swag and books and all kinds of cool Isla-related things! There will be Isla challenges, Isla tweets, Isla drawings, all because Isla-ve you! #GetIt #ItsAPun #Iloveyou? #MovingOn

There is also an incredible preorder campaign for Isla and the Happily Ever After. If you preorder from any of these indie bookstores, you'll get a signed first edition and cool swag. DO IT. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO HAVE DAT SWAG

Don't forget that the first five chapters are on Netgalley here (which I've reviewed here) and that the first chapter is free to read here! Next week there shall be MOAR COOL ISLA THINGS. GET EXCITED. Because I'm excited.

ETA: You can all read the first five chapters online free here! Eeeeee!

Top Ten Favorite Classics

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
When I was a teenager, I read three things: pretentious classic literature, British royal history non-fiction, and "chick lit". My beach bags usually had Dostoevsky and Sophie Kinsella side by side. I read Meg Cabot as a young teen and a smattering of YA, but it wasn't until Twilight and then, to an even larger degree, The Hunger Games that I returned to the world of YA that I'd loved so much as a preteen.

Why am I telling you this? To let you know that I am a HUGE lover of classics, mostly the British kinds with men in breeches, repressed sexual tension, and epic romance. Here are some of my favorite classics of all time: