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!


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!

-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)

-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 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!