Summer Blogger Promo Tour: Wrap up!

You might have noticed that I participated in the Summer Blogger Promo Tour this summer. I had guest posts from eight bloggers throughout July and August, and I really enjoyed getting to know each one. Today is the last day of the tour, and I’m going to wrap up what happened!

Summer Blogger Tour

In case you missed them, here are the posts:

Ink on the Shelf: Jen detailed a super awkward encounter with a gym and some cheesecake.

The YA’s Nightstand: Mily told us about her which UK to US cover changes she likes or doesn’t like.

SJ Bouquet; SJ told us her favorite first lines in books.

The Book Bratz: Jessica and Amber, the hosts of the SBPT, let me interview them about their book boyfriends, favorite villains, what which character they’re most like.

Dana Square: Dana told us about her favorite and least favorite book to movie adaptations.

Endlessly Reading: Andrew gave us a list of his favorites: book, song, dessert, literary hero, and more!

Ana Loves…: Ana did the 7 Deadly Sins Tag!

The YA Club: L.S. Murphy of the YA Club told us why her favorite book means so much to her.

I also enjoyed getting to do guest posts for each of these blogs. I think my favorite was the book club review of Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour that I did with Mily at The YA’s Nightstand. I also enjoyed doing the Book Cake Tag for Ana at Ana Loves…

I definitely plan on staying touch with all of these lovely bloggers on Twitter and by checking out their blogs. And I hope to do the Summer Blogger Promo Tour next year! 🙂

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Decatur Book Festival

decatur book festival

Hey guys!

I just wanted to tell you that this weekend, I’ll be attending the Decatur Book Festival! I have some really awesome opportunities lined up, and I’ll be covering the festival for WatchPlayRead. I just wanted you guys to know because I might be a little MIA on the blog this weekend. I’ve got a couple of posts lined up, but if I can’t respond to your comments, please do know that I will! I read all of my comments, and I try to respond to all of them.

Some people at the festival I’m excited to see:

Stephanie Perkins

Maggie Stiefvater

Jennifer E. Smith

Adi Alsaid

Leigh Bardugo

Jennifer Mathieu

Possibly Lev Grossman

AND YOU! Will you be at the Decatur Book Festival? If you will, LET ME KNOW! I want to meet some awesome bookish people this weekend. Comment here if you’ll be there. 🙂

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you guys because I know my bookish followers will appreciate it. Hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend!

Book Review: Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Let's Get LostTitle: Let’s Get Lost

Author: Adi Alsaid

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date:

Hardback: 338 pages

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Bought

Check out the summary on Goodreads.

What I thought:

I’m going to start this review with what I didn’t like about this book. Mostly because what I didn’t like happened right at the beginning. Leila is on a road trip from Louisiana to Alaska to see the Northern Lights. On her way, she stops by a car shop in Mississippi (I live in MS, so this was cool!) and meets Hudson. I don’t want to give too much away but can you say instalove? Geez. Here’s one of Hudson’s reasons why: “I like her face. I really like her face.” (page 33) Seriously? Ugh. So yeah, that annoyed me because you guys know I hate instalove. Also:

“He only allowed himself a quick glance at her, knowing as soon as he saw her that she was the kind of girl who could make you think your life was not complete unless she was in it.” (PAGE 1)

That was on page one and two. UGH.

On the other hand, here’s a quote I loved:

“Funny, how it took a little bit of pain to remember that certain parts of yourself were alive.” (Page 37)

After Leila leaves MS, she meets Bree. This was probably my favorite section. I should mention that each of the sections are kind of told from the perspectives of the people Leila meets (though they are in third person). Bree lost both of her parents and fought with her sister, so she’s been hitchhiking across the country. This section had emotional depth, which I appreciated, and the friend chemistry between Leila and Bree was pretty on point.

The other two sections we get before we have one set from Leila’s POV were Elliot, a funny guy who’s had his heart broken, and Sonia, a girl still grieving over the loss of her first love who is trying to figure out how to move on. I enjoyed both of these sections; Elliot’s for the humor and for the romance I was rooting for, and Sonia’s for the feels and hijinks. Though it was kind of annoying how Leila was just able to turn up, somehow convince these kids to allow a freaking stranger to help them, and then save the day. Every time practically.

Leila’s a bit of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, though I think that’s partly the point. Leila is kind of kept at a distance from the reader as we only really see her through the eyes of the other people (super attractive, smart, spontaneous, and drive a cherry red car *rolls eyes*). We finally get her real story at the end though.

ROAD TRIP!!! I love travelling and road trips and seeing new places. This book did a wonderful job at describing these places, but not in a touristy way; it did describe some places in it, of course, but it showed how the people there live, what it’s like to live in Vicksburg, MS (which I don’t think is quite as exciting as Hudson does), or what it’s like to camp in Alaska and wait for the Northern Lights. It made my wanderlust flair up for sure.

The bottom line: Even though I didn’t like the instalove and I’m not a huge fan of MPDGs, this book was really entertaining, fun, full of adventures, and quite enjoyable. It made me smile, laugh, and want to road trip RIGHT NOW (thank goodness I’m going on a small one this weekend!).

Rating: 7 – pretty good

Reading next: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Book Review: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Title: The Truth about Alice

The Truth about AliceAuthor: Jennifer Mathieu

Genre: YA

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Publication Date: June 3, 2014

Hardback: 199 pages

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Bought

Check out the summary on Goodreads

What I thought:

I didn’t like this book as much as I’d hoped to, which isn’t to say that I didn’t like it.

The Truth about Alice is set from four different POVs (well, five, but Alice only gets one chapter at the end). I liked how we read about the rumors surrounding Alice from these other people’s POVs first. This was really different from anything I’d ever read. I think some of the POVs were really distinctive, like Kurt’s (the boy-genius who’s had a crush on Alice for a long time), but others were sometimes a little hard to distinguish (Elaine and Kelsie). I could tell who was who by what they were talking about, obviously, but sometimes they both sounded like the popular girly-girl (“like, totally”). POSSIBLE SPOILER: I wish Alice’s had been written with a little more of a reaction to the rumors. I could barely empathize because she didn’t really feel affected or delve into her feelings about the rumors.

The characters were pretty well-developed though. Even if it was sometimes hard to distinguish between a couple of them, we do get to know them really well. We got to understand each one of them and begin to see the motives behind their actions towards Alice. The book was also rather well-written, especially for a debut novel. I thought the idea behind the novel was really interesting, as was the execution (differing POVs, all of which weren’t the actual person they were talking about).

On the other hand, I wish there had been something MORE. It just wasn’t enough for me. There didn’t seem to be any resolution. I felt somewhat distanced from what was going on. I mean, I’m definitely not unfamiliar with bullying (*cough*I have no hair*cough*) but I couldn’t connect with what happened. The book kind of just went in a straight line, if that makes sense. I felt the same way throughout the whole book; there wasn’t a point where I was more excited or animated. I also thought the end kind of fell flat.

The bottom line: Good book, well-developed characters, but not enough story for me. I can definitely see why some readers would absolutely love it. I liked it, but I just didn’t connect enough. I needed more. I will say that I do want to see more from this author.

Rating: 6 – good, but not great

Reading next: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout

Waiting on Wednesday: Snow Like Ashes

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!Snow Like Ashes

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Author: Sara Raasch

Release date: October 14th, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Why I’m excited:

Female heroine. Magical kingdoms. Fantasy, magic, good and evil, and an ancient locket. I don’t know, it just sounds crazy good to me, and I love the title. I kind of hate love triangles, but still, I am looking forward to reading this one.

What are you waiting on?

 

Book Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and MeTitle: The Geography of You and Me

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Publication Date: April 2014

Hardback: 337 pages

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Borrowed from the library

Check out the summary on Goodreads

What I thought:

I knew what I was getting into when I started this book: a hopefully swoon-worthy romance, cute characters, probably a little too idealistic storyline, and a lot of too good to be true. Did all of this stop me from enjoying this book? Heck no. In fact, I loved all of that. Sometimes you want to read a story where it all just works out, don’t you? This isn’t your typical romance though. Shortly after meeting in an elevator in New York, both Lucy and Owen move away from each other. The two of them spend most of the book on two different continents, communicating through postcards (a bit of a joke between the two). This makes it so that the romance is a little less passionate than you might see in other contemporaries. The two characters hardly spend any time together before they realize that there’s just something about the other that they love. It leads to a kind of instalove, but it didn’t bother me in this case.

I think this is because they have separate lives throughout the novel. They each have separate relationships, different schools, and live on completely different continents. So yes, they like each other pretty quickly, but then they must figure out who they are separately before finding each other again.

So I had some issues with the relationship, but my favorite part of this book was seeing all of the different places they went. After meeting, Owen and his father leave NY. They take a road trip across the country, so we see several places through their eyes, before they settle (sort of) in a few cities. Lucy’s father gets a job in Edinburgh (You guys know I loved this!) and then eventually London, but she also takes several trips to different countries. I am a wanderer myself and I love to travel; being able to spend time in my favorite city in the world (Edinburgh) and experience some new places as well was awesome. But not only do these two travel, they deal with some deep feelings (especially Owen who works towards overcoming the grief about his mother’s death), which made this a book not only focused on romance but on some profound feelings too. However, I did get a little bored in the middle with this separation of the two of them and I just kept wanting them to reunite already.

I definitely preferred Owen to Lucy, however. Lucy lives in the penthouse of her building, and her parents constantly leave her at home to travel to other countries, meaning they leave her alone in a penthouse in New York for weeks at a time. She gets kind of emo about this, has no friends, and blah…cry me a river. Owen’s feelings felt much more profound to me as he worked toward overcoming his grief. Once Lucy started to grow and confront her feelings with her mother, I liked her more.

The bottom line: Recommend for hopeless romantics and lovers of travel.

Rating: 7 – pretty good

Reading next: Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I want to read but don’t own

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet

So there are a bunch of books I want to read that aren’t out yet and a bunch that I want to read that ARE already out, so I’m going to give you five of each. 🙂

**All titles linked to their corresponding Goodreads pages**

Have you read any of these? Which would you recommend I try to buy first? Also, link me up to your TTT!

Echo BoyTop five books I want to read that are already out:

V for Vendetta

Echo Boy

The Girl with All the Gifts

If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller

Wool: The Graphic Novel

Bonus: Amy and Roger’s Epic DetourA Thousand Pieces of You

Top five books I want to read that aren’t out yet:

The Rosie Effect

The Beat Goes On

A Thousand Pieces of You

Afterworlds

Snow Like Ashes

Book Review: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the WellTitle: The Girl from the Well

Author: Rin Chupeco

Genre: Horror

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Publication Date: August 5, 2014

Hardback: 267 pages

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Bought

Let’s start with a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

A dead girl walks the streets.
She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.
And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.
Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

What I thought:

I am a huge fan of mythology and legends, always have been. I’ve always thought Japanese myths were particularly interesting. Their legends are complex, mysterious, and freaking creepy. There’s usually a horrible death, which makes these tales even scarier. This is why I wanted to read this book so much. It was also pitched as a mix between Dexter and The Grudge. Are you kidding? I had grabby hands for months. Even if you haven’t seen it, I’m sure most of you know what The Grudge is about or have seen the picture of the creepy girl with the long, stringy black hair. That’s Okiku, and she’s the narrator of The Girl from the Well.

So Okiku is our narrator. I enjoyed her narration and the writing style. She spoke formally, and she spells out words (it is instead of it’s). She also doesn’t call the other characters by their names at first; Tark, our main character other than Okiku, is “the boy” at first. But as Okiku gets to know Tark and his cousin Callie (“the young woman”), she starts to tell us about them by using their actual names. I thought it showed how she started to become more emotionally attached to these humans; very cool.

On the other hand, she was kind of boring. She’s supposed to be this super scary ghost enacting vengeance upon child killers. She hunts them and drowns them as she was drowned (I won’t go into Okiku’s myth here, but if you’re interested – which you should be – you can read more about her HERE). But this only happens about three times in the whole book. I really did enjoy Okiku’s development throughout the book; she starts to understand and empathize with humans, particularly Tark and Callie. But I think this happened too quickly and we didn’t get enough time with her as the terrifying ghost she’s supposed to be. I thought her development and growth was well-done, but it made her no longer scary pretty quickly in the story.

I liked Tark and Callie, but I don’t think their backstory was developed enough, especially Callie’s. We do learn a little about Tark and how he came to be possessed by a powerful spirit, but I could have used a lot more info because I think it would have been fascinating. Tark was probably my favorite character. He had this horrible thing done to him, but he isn’t a complainer. He doesn’t bother anyone else with his issues and keeps to himself. But he’s funny, smart, and independent.

I do want to say that as much as I liked the horror in this book (and trust me, parts of it were truly, truly scary – especially the first time we see Okiku enact her vengeance), some of it felt super cheesy. Like low-budget, B movie horror. I almost laughed a few times. Like I said, some of it was actually really creepy and made it so that it was hard to go to sleep, but other parts were just SO cheesy.

I won’t give anything away, but I really liked the end.

The bottom line: Creepy, psychological, horrifying, and surprisingly enlightening. Sometimes it was seriously scary, but other times it was almost laughingly cheesy. For fans of horror and mythology.

Rating: 6.5 / 10

Reading next: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Bout of Books 11: Wrap Up!

This past week I participated in my second Bout of Books read-a-thon. I really enjoyed it, just like last time, and I exceeded my goals which is super exciting!

Bout of Books 11

Here are my goals with how I completed them!

– Read two novels: I read The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco and The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (review this week). I also read half of The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (review this week)
– Read five children’s books: Okay, I guess I didn’t meet this goal, but I read 4/5 so that’s pretty good. I read Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg, Lost and Found and Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers, and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.
– Read at least three single issue comics: I read four issues of Batman and Robin and four issues of Batman, Incorporated!
– Read two trade paperbacks or graphic novels: I read Volumes 6-8 of The Walking Dead comics and Volume 1 of Chew
– Post reviews of at least half of what I read: I reviewed The Girl from the Well (review up later today), Through the WoodsChew over on WatchPlayReadOkay, not quite half, but I think I did pretty well.
– Participate in at least two Bout of Books challenges: These are linked to where you can find my entries. The Book Scavenger Hunt, The Book Spine Poetry Challenge, and The Spell It Out Challenge. Three challenges! Yay. All three of these were super fun.
– Participate in at least one Bout of Books Twitter chat: I participated in the chats on Monday and Saturday. The Twitter chats are a lot of fun and also super overwhelming, but I made some new blogger friends and gained some new followers. 🙂

The bottom line: Bout of Books is my favorite thing. I enjoy challenging myself to read more than I usually do in a week, and I’m really proud of myself for this week – I read 1,824 pages! That’s awesome. I exceeded my page count from last time and I met pretty much all of my goals. I’m looking forward to the next Bout of Books!

SUNDAY FUNDAY: WEEK IN REVIEW [12]

The lovely Cristina over at Girl in the Pages started Sunday Funday as a way to recap the bookish (and not-so-bookish) things that have happened that week.

August 18 – 24, 2014

This was a pretty good week. I participated in Bout of Books 11 this week, which was super fun. I read A LOT (almost 1,800 pages!!). Look out for my Bout of Books wrap up post tomorrow!

Also, I reviewed Chew Issue #1 and Bodies Issue #1 over on WatchPlayRead! Check those out. 🙂 And if you missed it, I reviewed Preacher Volume 1 over there last week.

ALSOOO!! I found out that I will be getting a press pass for the Decatur Book Festival, and I’m super pumped! I hope to meet a bunch of amazing authors and if any of my lovely followers are going, PLEASE let me know. I would love to meet up with you!

Coming up on the blog this week: Reviews of The Girl from the WellThe Geography of You and Me, probably several reviews of Oliver Jeffers’ adorable books, Top Ten Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday, and possibly a review of Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid (depending on if I have time)

Books read: Like I said, I read A LOT this week: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, Chew Volume 1, The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco (review tomorrow), The Walking Dead Volumes 6-8 (might review soon), Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (review this week), Lost and Found and Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers (reviews probably this week, and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.

TBR: I added several books to my TBR this week. I bought The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu and Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid (both of whom will be at the Decatur Book Festival). I also checked out several volumes of The Walking Dead comics out from the library, as well as Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout (who will also be at DBF).

Non-bookish things I’m excited about:

I’m kind of only thinking about the fact that I’m going to the Decatur Book Festival. It’s been a YEAR since I’ve been to a book festival, and I need it so bad. Also, it’s going to be a nice little weekend trip with one of my favorite people (Hi, Jugee!) and I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait to be surrounded by bookish people and authors and books. So again, if you’ll be there, let me know!

How did you week go?