My 2017 Goals: Reading, Blogging and Writing

Hello everyone!

Long time, more about no talk, order no write, no see. I apologize for being pretty MIA lately. 2016 was a crazy year for me, in so many ways. I lost some friends, gained some more, reconnected with my estranged best friend and wrote not one, but two books. It didn’t leave a lot of time for blogging or reading. Continue reading “My 2017 Goals: Reading, Blogging and Writing”

Book Review: How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Genre: 

Young Adult, medical  Contemporary, Paranormal

Pages: 

368 pages

Part of a Series?:

It is in a way. She’s going to write similar novels with other historical moments like the Salem Witch Trials.

Release Date: 

July 26th, 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

My Review:

I love history novels. I love historical fiction. Probably because I’m a huge nerd and have an obsession with history, especially American history. Before I left school to focus on my writing, my major in college was history, with an emphasis on the American Revolution and Reconstruction. I love history. History is INSANE, and the Salem Witch Trials is just a tiny bit of what is incredible about US history. I did a panel with Adriana Mather (and the lovely Julie Buxbaum and Charlotte Huang) about a month or so ago, and I immediately fell in love with her as a person. She’s GREAT, and I love her background with this book.

Adriana is the descendent of Cotton Mather, the Puritan minister who had a pretty heavy hand in the Salem Witch Trials, and I love that she took that and ran with it in her novel. You can feel the familiarity of the world she builds in what she has experienced herself. The descriptions of the houses, the town, everything, felt like I was right there with her. I think its a mark of a good writer and a reader to be able to picture everything so easily without having to actually see it and I was with Adriana throughout the entire story. She paints the story with ease (though, as a writer, I know that this is SO not the case).

Samantha Mather, the main character, jumps off the pages and everything about it feels incredibly real. The history mixed with the paranormal…its just incredible. This book scared the crap out of me and kept me clutching the pages until the end. I loved every small discovery and the mix of witches and ghosts and magic and history felt like it was made exactly for me.

I think that’s what makes this book so damn good. It’s history. It’s magic. It’s scary. It’s full of action. It’s full of mystery. It takes so many different genres and mixes them together and you get this incredible story. Every character leaps off the page and I was eager to find out what happened at the end, and I was itching to learn more and more about the Salem Witch Trials that I perhaps didn’t know about before. It’s been quite a long time since I read a book that blended contemporary and paranormal so well and I loved this one. I loved Jaxon and Elijah and I loved the Descendents and I loved the intrigue of the whole novel.

When I did the panel with Adriana, she mentioned that she was going to be writing a story along the same lines about the Titanic and I’m OBSESSED with the history and story of the Titanic. I consumed books and articles and stalked websites and watched documentaries and I know more about the Titanic than I really should…so I’m dying to get my hands on this book. I was already excited about it but now I’m even more so after reading this book. Adriana is great at balancing fantastic characters with a compelling and addicting story and that’s a hard thing to do. I can’t wait for more.

 

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 Stars

34 Days Til Heartless by Marissa Meyer: A Spoiler Free Review!

Genre: 

Young Adult, information pills  Fairy Tale Retelling

Pages: 

464 pages

Part of a Series?:

Standalone

Release Date: 

November 8th, 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

My Review:

 

From the very first moment that I started this novel, I knew immediately that I was going to love it. First off, I just adore Marissa Meyer and I think she has an incredible way with fairy tale retellings. She did an entire space epic with Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White and it was amazing. I had high hopes for Heartless and they were not let down in the slightest. From the moment that the book started, with fun and silly banter between Catherine and the Cheshire Cat, I knew I was a in love.

Marissa gives a unique twist to the Queen of Hearts story. We only know so little of her from Alice’s adventures and this book opens her up, makes her human, makes you root for her. She’s so real and I love every bit of it. I hate that she feels so forced to marry the King, and be on his arm. I hate that she has so many expectations on her and she doesn’t feel like she can live up to them all. All I wanted for her was to be in love with Jest and open her bakery shop. Knowing how her story eventually turns out…you cling to the pages, hoping and wishing that something will change the story, that it will work out the way you want it to.

But its more than just the twist of the fairy tale we know. Marissa manages to create this new world in a world we already knew. She’s so good at taking the characters we’re familiar with and making them new, fitting them to this story. It was incredible, every single moment of the story. She expanded the world and made it her own and I can’t even begin to explain how much I enjoyed it. I have been in one of the worst reading slumps ever this year but this is one book that held my attention from beginning to end. Catherine is an incredible character, one that I immediately took a liking to, and I was hooked in so quickly, addicted to this new world she created for us. It felt like Wonderland had collided with Victorian England and it was a thrill ride.

There are only 34 days until Heartless is out in the world and I’m urging you now to click the links above and preorder your copy now. Fierce Reads is also doing an epic countdown where you can enter to earn prizes, including signed copies of Heartless so definitely check that out as well. This is an amazing fairy tale retelling and I know that I enjoyed every single moment of it. Marissa Meyer only continues to get better and I think she not only does the Queen of Hearts justice, she takes her story and makes it explode. She makes Catherine a real person, a person that you root for, even as you know she’s heading toward heartbreak and rage. I can’t wait to get my hands on a finished copy!

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Going Geek by Charlotte Huang

Genre: 

Young Adult, web  Contemporary

Pages: 

304 pages

Part of a Series?:

Standalone

Release Date: 

September 13th, 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

A girl forced out of her comfort zone finds that being true to herself is the best way to live her life, in this second novel from the author of For the Record.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect:
amazing boyfriend
the coolest friends
the most desirable dorm
But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn’t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles—and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.

Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary—or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself . . .

My Review:

Have I ever mentioned how much I seriously love boarding school stories? Seriously. I probably would have totally hated going away to school, because I’m a total homebody and I would hate having a roommate, most likely, but I absolutely 100% love boarding school stories. It opens up so many possibilities. I love that there always seems to be a distinct lack of supervision. I doubt that’s the way it really is but I love that the stories ALWAYS include that and it provides for so much shenanigans. Boarding school life is always sort of romanticized in a way in books and as soon as I find out Skylar was a boarding school kid, I was hooked.

What I loved about this book, and what made me love Charlotte’s first book, is that she excels at capturing the teen voice and the teen spirit. There are times when I’m about ready to strangle Skylar’s neck but I love Skylar. I love her journey for It Girl to Geek Girl to just straight up, I’m Skylar Hoffman and I may not totally know who I am but I’m figuring it out and that’s okay. She makes Skylar so real. She rises and falls and makes mistakes again and again but she comes out at the end a little stronger than she was in the beginning. What I loved was that Skylar doesn’t come out of the story, perfect and all knowing. She’s still stumbling and figuring things out, which I think is pretty normal for any 18 year old girl.

The best part of the book, however, is all the supporting characters. I adore each and every single one of Skylar’s new friends in her new dorm. I love how each and every single one of them is so unique and fun and they all have their own dorky quirks. All I could think of any time one of them came on the page is how much I wish they were real and how much I wish they could be my friends. I really think its a great thing when authors can create incredible secondary characters. Sometimes the supporting characters sort of blend in the background because the author focuses so much on the main character but every character that Charlotte brings on the page is so unique and so well developed and its why each one will stick with you.

This book comes out in less than a week and this blogger will be moderating her launch event with Julie Buxbaum and Adriana Mathers at Chevalier’s Books in Los Angeles and I honestly can’t wait. It’s a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. It’s a quick read, and a fun read and I absolutely adored it. Charlotte is two for two so far with me and I can’t wait to see what else she brings to the table.

 

Rating: 

4 out of 5 Stars

Thank God Its Monday Blog Tour featuring Jessica Brody’s A Week of Mondays and My Best and Worst Mondays!

AWOM_blogtour

I love Mondays. I really do. I know to most people that probably sounds super strange but I actually do really love Mondays. But Monday is also the first day of my weekend, diagnosis so maybe I’m a little biased :). Either way, buy I’m super excited to be a part of the A Week of Mondays blog tour, more about which is a brand new book coming in just a handful of weeks by one of my favorite authors and dearest friends, Jessica Brody.

A Week of Mondays!

A Week of Mondays_Cover Image

Add the book on GoodReads and Preorder the book at your local bookstore or at the following links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

Ellie is having the worst Monday of her life. She messes up her school speech for the class vice presidency position, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball tryouts, and the icing on top of this awful cake: her perfect boyfriend who is in a high school rock band dumps her. At the end of the day, Ellie wishes she could redo everything. When she wakes up the next morning, she discovers that it’s Monday again! She has six more chances to redo the day in the hopes of having everything go exactly the way she wants. But in the process, she just may find out that what she really wants and what she actually needs are two very different things.

About Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples, and electrical tape.

After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager of Acquisitions and Business Development. In May of 2005, Jessica quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a published author.

You Can Find Her:

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram

My Best Monday 

Like I said before, I adore Mondays. At the moment, I’m typing up this blog post with a Starbucks in my hand, enjoying the beautiful gorgeous sunny California day. It has already started out as a great day. I adore Mondays. But let’s see, my best Monday ever. I probably couldn’t pinpoint an exact day, that would just be too hard to remember. But I’ll tell you what could potentially be a great Monday.

My best Monday would include all my favorite things. I would wake up and go get breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, which is a little place called The Filling Station in Old Towne Orange. They have the most amazing breakfast and mimosas and that would just be an amazing start to the day. After that, I would drive down to Universal Studios, spending a handful of hours in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has easily become my favorite place to be since its unofficial open in February. My friends would be there and I would enjoy a butterbeer, go on both rides, do some magic with my interactive wand and watch the frog choir – which is my absolute favorite. After that, I would hop on the freeway to head home, making sure to stop at Sprinkles Cupcakes. I would grab some dinner at Mad Wolf Mongolian BBQ, which is my hometown and is literally my favorite place to eat; I can’t get enough. After that, I would head to Angel Stadium with my dad and siblings and watch a game, because the Angels and baseball are some of my favorite things in the world, and I would go home super happy, because they would have won, of course. On the way home, I’d stop by Barnes and Noble before they closed and spend the last few minutes in the store, shopping for all the new books that I could buy.

Simple. I think that would be the best Monday ever. All my favorite things.

My Worst Monday

Okay, so this is how it would start. It would start with me waking up way earlier than I want to. Remember, Mondays are my day off so I do not like getting up early on Mondays; that’s my one day to actually sleep in and it would be the daycare behind my house. The kids would be loud and wake me up from a fabulous dream involving me being a Shadowhunter and Matthew Daddario (aka Alec Lightwood) would be my Shadowhunter boyfriend. My hair wouldn’t straighten right, I wouldn’t be able to get my winged eyeliner exactly right, and my favorite shirt would have a massive stain on it – and I’d have no time to wash it. My favorite restaurants would be closed and it would be freezing cold (I’m such a baby when it comes to the cold). All of my friends would be busy and there would be no new books to read and Sprinkles would run out of my very favorite cupcake. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would be so crowded that day and I wouldn’t even be able to get my hands on a butterbeer. The Angels would lose that day. My worst days are always the ones where all the little things add up and I just feel like I can’t win. My car wouldn’t start. That sort of thing. I certainly hope that I don’t have one of those Mondays any time soon because the Monday I’m having today and the Monday I described above sound so much better than a bad Monday!

*******

Thank you so much for hanging out for A Week of Mondays blog tour! Look out this week for a spoiler free review of the book!