Saturday, August 20, 2016

July & August Book Haul

I must admit, this summer has been pretty crazy.  I've done so much already, and it's not even over yet!  I've also gotten a ton of incredible and exciting books that I'm going to share with you now. 

July

Review
-The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
-The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn
-Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana
-Wake the Hollow by Gaby Triana
-Scary Out There by Jonathan Maberry
-Santorini Sunsets by Anita Hughes
-Court of Fives by Kate Elliot
-Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliot
-The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo by Drew Weing

Won
-A Season for Fireflies by Rebecca Maizel
-Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

NetGalley


Edelweiss



August

Review
-Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
-Breakaway by Kat Spears
-Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton
-The Cat King of Havana by Tom Crosshill
-As I Descended by Robin Talley
-Tetris by Box Brown
-Demon vol. 1 by Jason Shiga
-Science Comics: Dinosaurs by MK Reed and Joe Flood
-Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
-Secret Coders: Paths and Portals by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
-Wonder Women by Sam Maggs
-Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein
-Tell Us Something True by Dana Reinhardt
-The Edge of the Light by Elizabeth Brown
-The Muse by Jessie Burton

Won
-P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

NetGalley


Aside from books, I got the Revive VoxBox from Influenster!  Inside are compostable coffee pods, various types of protein powder, cookies, shampoo, and a shaker bottle.  I'm actually loving the protein powders...my boyfriend has been trying to get me to drink more protein shakes, but I never really liked them until now!

Blogger Tricks

Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

Title: Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here
Author: Anna Breslaw
Publisher: Razorbill
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: April 19th, 2016
Pages: 288 (ARC)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon Author

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor. 

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. And if they ever find out what Scarlett truly thinks about them, she’ll be thrust into a situation far more dramatic than anything she’s ever seen on TV…

Scarlett isn't the ideal student, she isn't what most would consider the perfect daughter, and she certainly doesn't fit into the popular group at school.  Who is Scarlett Epstein, anyway?  On Tumblr, she's known best as Scarface, a fanfiction author in the Lycanthrope High online community.  These are the people who know her the best-- faceless, nameless fans of the same tv show she's been watching religiously for years...until one day it gets cancelled.  Scarlett is forced into the real world and is surprised to find that high school can be just as interesting as the life she dreamed up.

Anna Breslaw has created a character I can really relate to, and I loved the story because of it.  Scarlett found her passion for writing when she dove headfirst into the world of fanfiction, just as I did when I was a young teen.  She began to find inspiration within her daily life and the people who surrounded her.  Her snarky sense of humor was one of my favorite qualities, making me laugh out loud numerous times over the course of reading this book.

Unfortunately, I didn't fall in love with every character in this story, as Scarlett's best friend was mostly absent, the love interest wasn't very appealing, and I was hoping to see more support from the family, since a typical teenage social life was absent.  The only relationship I really enjoyed was the one between Scarlett and her neighbor, Ruth.  Ruth was a calm, omniscient old woman who took each day at a time.  Scarlett would help her with her garden and listen to stories of her youth, asking advice whenever she needed it.   Many times Scarlett had no one to turn to, Ruth was there.

Another thing I could have probably done without or with less of, was actually getting to see Scarlett's fanfiction.  Although that is a huge factor of what this book is about, I enjoyed reading about her real life more than the one she created online, so whenever parts of her writing popped up, I would speed-read through it just to get back to seeing how she'll actually deal with the situations she gets herself into.  I would have liked to see Scarlett's relationships develop a little more with some of the other characters, such as her love interest, best friend, and family, but overall, Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here was a book that I could see myself reading over and over again just for the laughs.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

What I've Been Watching This Summer

I like to get most of my reading of the year done during the summertime.  Relaxing outside in the shade (I burn easily) with a good book and a glass of iced tea...that's the life.  Unfortunately, it's been way too hot lately to enjoy being outside for more than a few minutes at a time, so I haven't been reading as much as I would like to.  Instead, I've been devoting a lot more of my free time to shows and movies, and I'd like to share a few with you!

TV Shows


Big Brother
I am obsessed.  OBSESSED.  This  is one of my absolute favorite shows, and it's on 3 times a week!  I love that Nicole, James, and Da'vonne are back with a few siblings of past contestants thrown in there.  If you haven't watched it, please do...I want to get you obsessed too!


The Bachelorette
I don't know why I'm watching this...I really don't.  I began watching The Bachelor early in the year as a joke, but I really liked JoJo, so I started watching her season.  I've already fallen behind, and I'm not so sure I want to catch up.  Plus, she said goodbye to the guy who looked like Jim from The Office, and he was (obviously) my favorite of the bunch.


Orange is the New Black
Like many others, I put my life on hold mid-June to binge-watch the new season.  This show is AMAZING.  This season was amazing.  My heart broke for some of my favorite characters, and the only thing I hate about this show is that I have to wait another year to watch new episodes.


American Horror Story: Murder House
This is my favorite season of them all, and I've been waiting to show it to my boyfriend for months.  We finally had the time together to watch it, so we finished it in a couple days.  I can't wait to show him Asylum next!

Movies


Swiss Army Man
This movie was the last movie I've seen in the theater.  It was weird amazing, hilarious, and heart-felt.  We chose to see it, not really knowing anything about it, but oh my god, I'm so glad we did.  I can't remember the last time a movie has made me laugh until I cried.  All you need to know is that Paul Dano's character finds a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe), and together, they go on a magical adventure.  Just go see it, because you won't regret it.


The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Let's be honest, I watched this solely because of Alexander Skarsgard...but it was pretty good.  This movie was all about finding yourself, and the main character does exactly that.  So many parts of me could identify with Minnie, who felt she was undesirable until she caught the attention of an older man.  She spirals out of control, but finds that her family and her passion for art will always remain, even when feelings of love and lust do not.

What I Want to Watch Next (TBW?)


Dead of Summer
I've been seeing a lot of previews for this show over the past month and it shot up to the top of my watch-list.  I'm just hoping that it won't be too watered down.


The Road Within
This is definitely the movie I'm going to watch next.  The Road Within is about three teens who escape their mental health facility and take a roadtrip with the ashes of one's recently deceased mother.


Stranger Things
Here's another amazing Netflix series I need to binge-watch.  I've loved Winona Ryder forever, and I love all things 80's and science fiction.  I've actually already watched the first episode and like many others, I love it and can't wait to watch more!

Have you been watching any of these shows or movies mentioned?  What's on your watch-list for this summer?

Friday, July 1, 2016

June Book Haul

I can't believe that June has already come and gone!  While I've been house-sitting for a majority of the month, I managed to stop home and gather up all of the books I've gotten in the mail recently.  There are a bunch of great titles here but I'm especially excited for And I Darken, Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, The Graces, and Labyrinth Lost!


Review
-Finding Abbey Road by Kevin Emerson
-The Fixes by Owen Matthews
(ARCs from HarperTeen)

-Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke
-Friends is Friends by Greg Cook
-Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard
(Finished copies from First Second)

-The Season by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer
-Ripple by Heather Smith Meloche
(Finished copy and ARC from Penguin)

-The Graces by Laure Eve
(ARC from Amulet)

-The Real Peter Pan by Piers Dudgeon
(Finished copy from St. Martin's Press)

Won
-And I Darken by Kiersten White
(ARC from First In Line)

-Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
-The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
-One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards
-The Cellar by Natasha Preston
(ARCs from Sourcebooks Fire)

I also received a pair of rainbow sunglasses from Random House to celebrate Pride Month...I've been wearing them everywhere!

As for the non-bookish mail, I got two VoxBoxes from Influenster...one being the ZzzQuil VoxBox, which included a sample of the sleep aid, and the other being the Goddess VoxBox, which included Always Radiant pads, Cutex nail polish remover, Pantene shampoo and conditioner, Sinful Colors nail polish, Downy laundry scent booster, and Dickinson's Witch Hazel facial toner.  It's been 3 years since I first began using Influenster and I'm still loving the products that they're sending out to reviewers!

If you aren't a member of Influenster yet and would like to receive free boxes of full-size products, click here to sign up!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Wink Poppy MidnightTitle: Wink Poppy Midnight
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Publisher: Dial Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Mystery/Magical Realism
Release date: March 22nd, 2016
Pages: 247 (Paperback)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon Author

Every story needs a hero. 
Every story needs a villain. 
Every story needs a secret. 

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous. 

What really happened? 
Someone knows. 
Someone is lying.

From the description alone, I was sucked into this story of heroes, villains, secrets and lies.  Midnight is Poppy's little secret, and he's tired of chasing after something he'll never truly be able to have.  Poppy is in love with Wink's older brother, who never gave a damn about her.  Wink meets Midnight and all of their lives seem to flip upside down.  When someone goes missing, it's up to these unusual characters to figure out the mystery they left behind.

April Genevieve Tucholke is a magnificent storyteller and knows exactly how to keep her fans on their toes.  As the one consuming this mysterious tale, you never quite know who to believe, yet I found myself able to relate to all three main characters.  Who could be the villain when they all seem to genuine?  Wink Poppy Midnight may be on the shorter side, but it puts a lot of weight on its readers.

Although the story definitely had an interesting plot, I held onto every word because this author's writing style is almost hypnotizing.  Full of whimsical charm and dark undertones, this is the perfect read for a gloomy day.  Wink's entire life felt like a fairytale and she seemed to pull everyone else into it.  Midnight seemed to be finding himself, and Poppy just felt lost.  The characters were all unreliable and confusing, yet enthralling.  This book consumed my mind over the few hours it took me to read it. and left me trying to figure out where everything began to spin out of control.