Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern! (@Cecelia_Ahern )

Flawed (Flawed #1)
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Published: Feiwel and Friends

My Rating:

You will be punished…
Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.
But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.
In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

Being imperfect isn’t a crime, but in Celestine North’s world, one little imperfection can literally brand you for life. Celestine, believes in perfection, and she believes she is perfection, considering she’s a straight A student and is the longtime girlfriend of Art Crevan, son of the famous Judge Crevan. She had it all, until one night...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Throwback Thursday! Stephanie and NYCC 2016! (Part 1)

October 6:

Thursday my sister, Victoria, and I got to the Javits Center around noon.

We didn't go to any of the panels we possibly wanted to see. Some were at Book Con @ NYCC a block away: A World Unlike Any Other: The Importance of Setting in Fantasy and Sci-Fi and Villain Squad: Villains and Anti-Heroes in Literature.

Instead we went around the Javits looking at Artist's Alley and picking up free books in the Exhibit Hall.

Thursday's haul.
The Star Wars book is just excerpts from Star Wars and Del Rey novels.
Wolf's Mate (Wind Dragons MC #5) by Chantal Fernando (I didn't know it was part of a series. I just grabbed it).
Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James - ARC
Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves - ARC
Nemesis by Brendan Reichs - ARC
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - ARC - signed

At First In Line I showed them the email I received in exchange for the Blood Rose Rebellion. I got very excited when I read the jacket because I have a friend from Hungary named Noémi (No-amy). I messaged her about the book and asked if her name is popular in Hungary.

She said:
"It's not a very common name, actually. It was a writer who came up with it in 1872. In that book the main guy is an aristocrat and he goes on his boat and discovers an island where only a mom and the daughter lives. He falls in love with the daughter, whose name is noèmi. It means beautiful. So then he starts going back and forth between his real life and the mysterious island with his beautiful lover. And writers like to use the name in their books ever since."

While passing by Her Universe and checking out the Marvel apparel I saw Ashley Eckstein. I am glad I got to see her and speak with her because the next day the Ahsoka book signing was a bit of a disappointment. More on that below.

I told Ashley how excited I was to hear her narrate the audiobook and just how perfect it was that she did so. She was humble and nervous about her performance and hopes the fans like it. I told her she is a pro and have a feeling it will be good.

We spoke about the differences between acting out Ahsoka's lines for The Clone Wars series and reading an audiobook.

She said that for the series you feel the emotion and can ad-lib the lines a bit but for an audiobook every word must be correct. Victoria and I assured her we have read along with some audiobooks and we caught some mistakes. So she shouldn't fret if it is not perfect.

Besides reading the text as correct as possible, there is also expressing the different emotions and doing different voices for the other characters.

I told her that at past Comic-Cons (they didn't do it this year) that the Penguin Booth has had a recording booth for people to read excerpts from Star Wars novels and I have tried it. It is really difficult and I give narrators so much credit.

I finished Ahsoka and I likeed. Ashley did a good job and I like the added sound effects and classic Star Wars score they have added.

While checking out the Del Rey-Penguin Random House booth I saw editor Mike Braff. Mike is the editor of the Red Rising trilogy. I was wearing a new Red Rising shirt. I ordered a Howler t-shirt from etsy and it came with extra decals: the symbol for House Mars, the sigil for Reds, and a scythe. I bought a black t-shirt and placed the House Mars wolf on the center front, and the Reds sigil and scythe on each sleeve.

So when I saw Mike I walked up to him and pointed at my shirt. I asked about Pierce and Sons of Ares (I had hoped they'd be there to collect some pins).

He said Pierce wanted to come, but Mike told him no. He has to write. Mike had just read the first 250 pages of Iron Gold and mimicked locking his lips about it but expressed it's awesome. But he sent notes to Pierce and now he must look over those notes while writing the next 250 pages.

And since the Sons of Ares is run by Pierce's sister, they were not there.

I said I understood and hope to see Pierce at Book Con in May and next year's NYCC. I told him how I bought the prints of the Red Rising maps from the Kickstarter and hope to get them signed.

I also asked for a photo, because why not?

My sister and I also asked what else he edits:
The Dire Earth Cycle and Zero World by Jason M. Hough
The Clash of Eagles Trilogy by Alan Smale
Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
The Devourers by Indra Das

Mike also told us about the scheduled signings at the booth.
Victoria had heard about the The Bear and Nightingale and there was to be a signing that afternoon at 4pm. So we decided we'd skip the NaNoWriMo Meetup and go to the signing.

Katherine Arden said that this was her first signing ever and that Victoria was her first. So she signed that in Victoria's book! And I am the second. She's really cute.

Friday, October 7:

The first thing my sister and I did that Friday morning was go to the Disney Booth. I had gotten an email that there would be a signing at 6:00pm with E.K. Johnston (the author) and Ashley Eckstein (the narrator) for the new Ahsoka novel. I wanted to ask if we would need bracelets for the signing. No bracelets required. I was just told by a woman who worked there to be there 15-30 minutes before it started.

Yea right. This is Ashely and Ahsoka we are talking about. I planned to be there no less than an hour before. But when I got there before 5pm I just missed them selling their last copy of Ahsoka and capping the line. They said people had been lined up since about 3 or 4PM, after they heard about the signing at a Star Wars panel that morning.

I was heartbroken. I think the man there felt bad because before someone told him the line was capped he offered to sell me another book for them to sign. But that's not the point. Why would I want them to sign a book they have no involvement with? He also said Ahsoka would be on sale in bookstores on Tuesday. But then it won't be signed and that is the point.

Why didn't the woman that morning tell me to BUY THE BOOK NOW? That that would be my "ticket" to the signing. I also kicked myself for not thinking of it, but honestly, she made it seem like it would be a give away. And let's be honest, Disney can afford to give a few out for free at NYCC.

I got over it and ended up downloading the audiobook instead. I really wanted to hear Ashley narrate it anyway.
After going to the Elementary panel we went to Stories of Imagination: Your Must-Read Book Review from Harper Voyager and Epic Reads

I took some notes of the books that interested me. They would compare it to other stories, so say if you like Gotham and Dead Like Me then you'll like This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)by Victoria Schwab.

So I have a whole list of books to check out.

When we got there we had to sit in the back. At the end of the panel they gave out Epic Reads tote bags with books inside. Well, they underestimated the attendees and ran out of tote bags. We did get one book.

Friday Book haul:
A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan
Beheld by Alex Flinn - ARC

Both are from Harper Collins so I can't remember now which was a given at the Epic Reads panel and which was a give away at their booth.

There was also an Epic Reads: Fantasy Frenzy Meetup.
Epic Reads invites readers of all ages to join a round-table where fantasy authors Heidi Heilig (The Girl from Everywhere) and Maria Dahvana Headly (Magonia) will dish about their books and other fantasy favorites. Bring your books and get them signed; it’s an Epic Reads Book Club! Free advance reader copies and fun Epic Reads swag will be up for grabs!

Nothing was said about clearing the room after each meet up group finishes. Vic had been waiting in the room early, and after the Pokémon Meet Up ended the Epic Reads people kicked my sister out of room and made her get on the queue. Again, they ran out of tote bags and books. My sister was pissed off so she didn't stay. Neither did the others who missed out on the swag.

She wishes she fought to stay in the room because another group of girls refused to leave and were not kicked out and they all got books.

We complained the next day to the people at the Harper Collins booth. The girl there just shrugged and said sorry. So we pushed the issue, next time make it damn clear as crystal that you clear those rooms. And get more tote bags. If your room capacity is 100 people, get 120 bags filled with books.

So after that disappoinment with Disney and Epic Reads we went to dinner.

We came back in the evening for the Your Opinion Sucks! – Rotten Tomatoes Critics vs. Fans panel.

They capped the line but my sister and I didn't GAF. We stayed on the queue, as did others, and the capped line because a "no guarantee you'll get in" line. We ended up getting in and standing in the back for a hilarious panel. The Rotten Tomatoes panel is always a good time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday! 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To (But TOTALLY plan to)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

  1. This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston - I was all about this one, then I forgot it came out. Now it's going back on my list for this year.
  2. Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys - Again, I forgot this one had came out. I feel like this is going to be the running theme between most of these on the list. 
  3. Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton & Nina Bocci - I purchased it, looked at the cover, and then got distracted by something and never went back. Plan is to read it before March.
  4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany - Everyone talked so much shit about this my excitement for it just died. I'll get to it, one day.
  5. Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin - I'm a ratings junkie, so the ratings for this one seemed not the greatest, even though I loved the synopsis. 
  6. All in Pieces by Suzanne Young - I have to, have to, have to read this. I've just be so lax when it comes to YA. 
  7. My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul - Another one where I got distracted by things. This WILL get read this year.
  8. Drag Teen by Jeffery Self - This one made me iffy so I pushed it out of my mind. But I still am intrigued by the concept.
  9. Idol by Kristen Callihan - This may be one of the ones I read sooner rather than later. I just have to be in the mood for some musical romance.
  10. The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock - This seemed great when I read the synopsis, but I haven't been in a historical fiction sorta mood. 
That is one of the biggest reasons I haven't read any of these yet. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Book Review: The One Man by Andrew Gross! (@the_andrewgross)

The One Man
Author: Andrew Gross
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Published: Minotaur Books

My Rating: 

1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war, or end it.
Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the U.S. suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, he is Semitic looking, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Polish ghetto. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man.

The One Man, a historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross, is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely compelling.

This novel is near to perfection. The characters were well developed and their emotions are expressed in an intense and compelling way. I certainly felt their grief, fear, guilt, and hope too. By the end I was a crying, and on public transportation.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year, Thank God!

Happy New Year! Bye Bye 2016 and hello 2017! I for one am so relieved to say goodbye to that awful year. There were ups and downs, and even though there were more downs than ups, we made it through.

I know that the blog has looked extremely bare the last few months, I just got overwhelmed with the second half of the year, but like I said, new year. New rejuvenated energy and I'm going to get this in order over the next couple of days (weeks). There will be new reviews and hopefully back to some fun things.

Now last year, we did the Reading Bingo. I kind of failed to keep at it, but Stephanie didn't! She got through most of it.

Let's see what she accomplished.

1) Male Author - Anna and the Swallow Man, by Gavriel Savit
2) Male POV - Golden Son (Red Rising #2), by Pierce Brown
3) Finish a series - Morning Star (Red Rising #3), by Pierce Brown
4) ARC - A Fine Imitation, by Amber Brock
5) Blue Cover - Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys
6) Mutli-POV - Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet, by H.P. Wood
7) Setting you'd like to visit - The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni
8) Under 150 pages - Rappacini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
9) Fantasy - The Book of Life, by Deborah Harkness, Narrated byJennifer Ikeda
10) Read a Sequel - Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness, Narrated byJennifer Ikeda
11. Standalone - The After Party, by Anton DiSclafani
12) New to you author - The Land of Enchantment, by Leigh Stein
13) Re-read a favorite - Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin, Narrated by Rosamund Pike
14) NYT Bestseller - A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, Narrated byJennifer Ikeda
15) Historical Fiction - The One Man, by Andrew Gross
16) Horror-Thriller - The Cask of Amontilado and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe
17) One Word Title - Alight, by Scott Sigler
18)Physical Book - The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeymi

What I didn't get to:
Graphic Novel - The Untamed
Chosen by a Friend - The Count of Monte Cristo
Monsters/Deamons - The Bane Chronicles
Retelling/Fairytale - The Bear and the Nightingale
Book with author with N - Nicole Yoon


Over this next weekend, I'm going to update that page and revamp it for 2017! 

So look for new content soon and please bear with us.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Blog Tour: A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole!

To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.
But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.
For some, they are real life.
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.
I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.
I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.
The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.
In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.
And I am soon to become one of them.
I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…
… or at least I was, until I met Achille.
And everything changed.

Anything Tillie writes I will love. This wasn’t an exception to that rule. This was a beautiful and sad tale of unexpected love, growth and acceptance.

We have Caresa, who is a Duchess. And with that comes the arranged marriage. Basically a business deal to keep the family business afloat. She heads off to Italy to be with Prince Zeno. If you think this is going to be a love story between these two, you’re sadly mistaken once meeting him. He’s cold, arrogant, womanizing, and not about this marriage. Caresa still is willing to marry this guy for the sake of the family.

That is until she meets Achille. Insta-attraction to the wine maker. Immediately, these two are drawn to each other. Achille, living a private life since he lost his father, meets Caresa and is taken with her. She finds out that he is dyslectic and only has an education of maybe an 8th grader. She helps him to grow and learn to read. There we find out that he has had a letter from his father that he hasn’t been able to read. But once he does, it’s this big A-Ha moment.

Of course there is some heartache. He leaves, not thinking he is enough for Caresa, leaving both of them pretty brokenhearted. But when he comes back to fight for her, your heart soars a bit.

This was a great love story that Tillie has weaved. Different but amazing none the less.


As my papa’s G5 began its descent, I looked out of the window beside me and waited for the plane to break through the clouds. I held my breath, body tense, then suddenly the burnt-orange remnants of daylight flooded the plane, bathing the interior with a soft, golden glow. I inhaled deeply. Italia.
Fields and fields of green and yellow created a patchwork quilt below, rolling hills and crystal-blue lakes stretching as far the eye could see. I smiled as a sense of warmth ran through me.
It was the most beautiful place on earth.
Sitting back in my wide cream leather chair, I closed my eyes and tried to prepare myself for what was coming. I was flying to Florence airport, from where I would be swiftly taken to the Palazzo Savona estate just outside of the city.
I would meet Prince Zeno.
I had met him twice before—once when I was four, of which I had no memory, and again when I was ten. The interaction we’d had as children had been brief. If I was being honest, I had found Zeno to be arrogant and rude. He had been thirteen at the time and not at all interested in meeting a ten-year-old girl from America.
Neither of us had known at the time that that our betrothal had been agreed upon two years prior. It turned out that the trip my papa had taken to Umbria when I was eight was to secure a forever-bond between the Savonas and the Acardis. King Santo and my father had planned for their only children to marry. They were already joined in business; Zeno’s arranged marriage to me would also strengthen both families’ place in society.
I thought back on my New York farewell of nine hours ago and sighed. My parents had driven me to the private hangar and said their goodbyes. My mama cried—her only child was leaving her for a new life. My papa, although sad to see me go, beamed at me with the utmost pride. He had held me close and whispered, “I have never been more proud of you than I am right now, Caresa. Savona Wines’ stock has plummeted since Santo’s death. This union will reassure all the shareholders that our business is still strong. That we are still a stable company with Zeno at the helm.”
I had given him a tight smile and boarded the plane with a promise that they would see me before the wedding. And that had been that.
I was to marry Zeno, and I hadn’t protested even once. I imagined to most modern-day women living in New York, the process of arranged marriages sounded positively medieval, even barbaric. For a blue blood, it was simply a part of life.
King Santo Savona died two months ago. The shareholders of his many Italian vineyards, the stakeholders in Savona Wines, had expected his son, Zeno, to immediately step up and take charge. Instead, Zeno had plunged himself into the party scene even harder than before—and that was quite a feat. Within weeks my papa had flown out to Umbria to see what could be done.
The answer: our imminent union.
One winner gets a Signed Copy of A Veil of Vines + Limited-Edition The Future Mrs. Marchesi T-Shirt

Enter HERE

Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday! Movie Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

Top five all time favorite movies adaptations from a book or play.

1) Clueless - it was based on Emma so it counts, even if I have never read Emma. This movie defines a generation and is so quotable. My friends and I have gone to Clueless Trivia and won!

2) Steel Magnolias - was a play based on the life of the writer's sister and community. They say write what you know, but it was also the perfect chemistry of the cast in the 1989 movie that makes it work. I know this movie by heart and my sister and I would act out the salon scenes with our Barbie dolls and beauty parlor accessories.

3) Little Women (1994) - How could I not love a story about sisters? When Beth dies, I cry so hard my body hurts. Also, I had such a crush on Christian Bale as Laurie, before I knew how intense he is!

4) Pride and Prejudice (2005) - I am talking about the one with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. The chemistry between the two is hot. This is another movie I know by heart. I love the proposal scene in the gazebo. After all that arguing and Lizzy telling Darcy she would never marry him, they look like they want to passionately kiss each other.

5) Ever After - is the best adaptation of Cinderella. She and the prince actually get to know each other and talk about books and stuff. She inspires him. Not to mention Angelica Houston plays an evil step-mother so well.

Top five favorite movies from the 90's

1. Titanic - Probably my favorite movie ever. Cheesy as it may be, something about this movie always speaks to me. No matter what, I can watch it and still laugh and cry at all the same parts.

2. Speed - Give me Sandra and Keanu any day. Again, a movie I can watch and never get bored with it. Keanu's acting is highly questionable in this, but there is something about falling in love while driving a bus with a bomb strapped to the bottom. Suspense people!

3. A League of Their Own - There is no crying in baseball! Everyone remembers that line because it is a great one. I loved how girl power it was without being in your face. Plus, it gave me one of my favorite Madonna songs.

4. Edward Scissorhands - Before Johnny Depp got weird and Winona started stealing. I loved this movie and if you haven't seen it, you're missing out the amazing minds of Depp and Burton.

5. Legends of The Fall - Some people fell in love with Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise. I fell in love with him in this movie. It will always be one of my and my mom's favorite movies we ever seen. It's tragic and beautiful.