Geekerella by Ashley Poston

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Geekarella
 has been on my TBR for a long time now and I just haven’t gotten to it. Its the story of Elle, daughter of the man behind the ExcelsiCon CosPlay Convention and Costume Ball. Now living with her awful stepmother and two stepsisters, Elle lives and breathes Starfield. So when a soap opera star is cast as the male lead, she is completely skeptical. She blogs her opinion and it goes viral. When a costume contest is announced at ExcelsiCon, Elle is inspired to enter, wearing an old costume from her attic. With the help of a new friend, the old costume is made beautiful and Elle makes quite the impression at the contest.

geekerella2bquote2b2For soap star Darien Freeman, playing Carmindor in his favorite show-made-movie is a dream come true. The super-fans, however, have lowered their expectations and voiced their opposition to the teen heartthrob playing the classic role. Only Darien knows how dedicated he is to doing justice to the role, yet still, he wants to avoid the awkward meet-and-greets with fans. ExcelsiCon is the last place he wants to show his face but his father/manager gives him no choice.

Without giving away too much of the story, I will say that I do like the through-the-airwaves trope in YA fiction when its done well, and in my opinion, Geekarella was done very well. Elle, at times, did grind my nerves just a little bit. She was so insecure and stubborn that it was just too much. And then she would say “My father raised me to be brave” and bla bla bla….well, you have been failing at that, my friend. Darien, I thought was actually a great character. I thought he was a great representation of a teenage guy and he was fun to read. The secondary characters were great as well, especially Sage. And I just loved picturing the Magic Pumpkin. How creative is that idea? Hats off, Ashley Poston!!

Soundtrack: “Star Trek: Deep Space 9 – Main Title” composed by Dennis McCarthy

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Review + Happy Book Birthday: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young!

Sky in the Deep has been so highly anticipated for months upon months. I remember first hearing about it back in oh, December maybe? Someone said Norse or Vikings and I was ALL. OVER. IT!!! I requested it from NetGalley and I was SO excited that they granted me a copy!!! I finished it a couple weeks ago and I’ve been holding back the review from my blog so that I could drop it here on this very special release day. Congrats, Adrienne! I wish you all the best!! Now on to the review….

36597702I very much enjoyed this book for many reasons. First of all, its action-packed. If you are squeamish, be warned. There is blood and gut-spilling and wound infection treatment and burns and…yeah, this book has it all. Its not horror-movie gory or anything, but there is plenty of mention so just a heads up. But back to the action, this book has it. Eelyn (what a pretty name!) is a warrior. Its how she was raised; its in her soul.

So this leads into my second point: Sky in the Deep is a love story. Love for family, clansmen, and soulmates. When I read all the talk of family in the synopsis, I was a little concerned that this was going to be a mushy family saga. I am so glad I was proved wrong! The familial relationships were so realistic. There is love, yes, but there is also betrayal, hope, hatred, and kinship. As for the love interest, I don’t think I’ve ever read one so refreshing. I expected a major hate-to-love trope story. While in general that’s what this is, again, the story is so solid. Its not mushy, gushing, and crushing; it wasn’t insta-love. In fact, we hardly hear any talk about Fiske being handsome or sweet…its all there in his actions and just such an organic way. Once love is declared and things heat up, the two are just so sweet and perfect and their shared moments are so beautiful and genuine. Fabulously handled.

And my third point: You can’t talk or think about this book without mentioning the world-building. Perfect. I could play out every single moment of this Viking-esque world in my mind: what each of the villages looked like, their different settings, their armor, their leaders,everything. Another thing I was nervous about was hearing long descriptions of weapons because it just seems that most books that have extensive weaponry tend to go on about how special this sword is, or how this axe was someone’s fathers, etc. Nope, not here. The author has excellent on what is important (not ornate weaponry).

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Last but certainly not least, the characters are truly what makes this book excellent. Every single character is well-played and unique, contributing their own piece to Eelyn’s heart. From Eelyn’s father (who is a fierce man, but who is the perfect mix of gentle yet strong for his daughter) to the Tala (the ‘enemy’ clan’s spiritual leader), the characters are colored the story so vibrantly. Havard was, by far, my favorite. Aren’t we all suckers for cute, curious little kiddo’s?

I could probably sit here and continue to think up wonderful things about this book, but this review has gone on long enough. Do you see, now, why I waited until the book was actually released to publish this review? You wouldn’t be able to go to the bookstore and pick the book off the shelf and dive right in. So without further ado, just go read this. You’re welcome.

Book soundtrack: Sky in the Deep Playlist (Spotify)

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Gone Rogue (Wires & Nerve: Vol. 2) by Marissa Meyer

34930815I admit: I never had a real appreciation for Iko until reading the Wires and Nerve books. In the main Lunar Chronicles books, she is just Cinder’s friend, but I love in these books that she is given some time in the spotlight. We literally get to see Iko and the other characters in their relationships, as well as friendships. These graphic novels are more than another story in the Chronicles; they are a testament to this crew. Talk about “Squad Goals”!

In Gone Rogue, we see the crew in a post-Levana world. Cinder is on her way to introducing democracy and trying her best to get the people of her kingdom back on track. However, there is big trouble brewing with the wolf soldiers on Earth. They want their humanity back, believing that the crown is hiding the cure. They will do whatever it takes to get it. Meanwhile, Iko struggles personally in a big way, questioning her own creation. With the help of her friends, can Iko accept herself and defeat the monsters? Read the book to find out!

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Illustration by Julie Crowell

Wires and Nerve: Vol. 2 has an immense amount of character growth in several of the characters, but most of all, Iko. Moral of my story: if you haven’t read these, READ THEM! I gave Vol. 2 only 3 stars, but Vol. 1 4 stars because I found more humor and pure enjoyment in #1. Volume 2 had its humor spots, its sweet spots, and its suspense…but I just prefer the first one.

Book soundtrack: “Shooting Stars” by Bag Raiders

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WWW Wednesdays #1

G’day everyone, and welcome to my very first WWW Wednesday! Lately I have seen at least 2-3 Book Blogger Directories being compiled and as I went to begin browsing for new friends in the blog world, I came across WWW Wednesdays and its definition so I think I’ll try it out! In case you (like me) are new to this meme, it seeks to answer 3 W’s (wow, sensible!): What did you finish recently? What are you currently reading? and What do you think you’ll read next? So without further ado….

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What did you finish recently?
I just participated in a Read-a-thon and I got so much reading done! I read ten children’s books, two humor books, and two YA books. I will be reviewing the two YA books soon here on my blog (Wires and Nerve: Vol. 2 by Marissa Meyer and Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young). So let me mention a couple other books I read:

Here are the highlights of my children’s book reading experience. These are books by important figures: Malala Yousafzai (the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner), Chelsea Clinton (political activist and correspondent), and Hoda Kotb (TV personality and journalist). I don’t have any children right now, but someday, these are books that I want to read to my child. While I’ve Loved You Since Forever is just fluff (but seriously adorable fluff….the pictures are beautiful and of everyone’s favorite sweet animals. Yep, otters and elephants and owls and foxes!!), Malala’s Magic Pencil and She Persisted are both powerful reads for children. Whether its learning about bringing education and peace, or the STEM sciences, or just finding your own voice, children will hopefully be inspired to take their place in the world and make a difference.

What are you currently reading?
18460392Currently I am about 85% through All the Bright Places. I have had this one on my iPad for a long time now but just never prioritized it, but now I decided to pick it up and go for it. In 2015, it won the Goodreads “Best Books of the Year” in the category of YA Fiction. To give you a little perspective, this book won out over Simon vs. the Homosapiens and Everything, Everything. I have read 4-5 other books from that category and yes, I’m a bit surprised too. Personally, I don’t think I’m liking this one more than others on the list (2 were 5* reads for me), but it definitely is a powerful read. Trigger warnings for suicide and depression.

What do you think you will read next?
31343879I need to read something light and fluffy next because I’ve been binge reading and reading long books and now heavy, emotional books. My default “fluffy” genre is cozy and/or paranormal cozy mysteries. I just found a new series I will try, and then its back to the grind of ARCs to be read, library books to finish, and shelves to clear off.
I know not everyone is into cozies. Maybe some of you don’t even know what they really are. Basically a cozy mystery is a book/story that is usually set in a small town or close-knit community, and violence and sex are downplayed and replaced with mild humor. In a nutshell: not scary, not emotional, but filled with quirky characters and situations. Another thing I enjoy about cozies is that the main characters have a unique quirk (i.e. being a witch, for example) and/or occupation. There are cozies about house flippers, crafters, baristas, bakery owners, stay at home moms, etc. Lots of things you don’t necessarily see in your everyday mainstream genre, but yet you can relate to or find interesting. So that is my take on that topic.

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There you have it folks, my first WWW Wednesday. I look forward to doing more of these in the future. Stick around to see reviews for Wires and Nerve: Vol 2  and Sky in the Deep (which releases next Tuesday, 4/24/18). Until next time….ciao!

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

37834816Just in case you live under a rock, Ruin and Rising is the third and final book in the Grisha Trilogy. The trilogy centers around the conflict between the Grisha (known as the practicers of the small science, they are the magical elite who can do things like heal, summon wind [or light or darkness if you’re really special], etc.) and the otkazat’sya (‘the abandoned’; those who do not practice the small science). Our three ‘heroes’ are Alina, Mal, and Nikolai, and we follow them through a war with the sexiest, broodiest book villain ever: The Darkling.

So Ruin and Rising was quite a turnaround from the previous two books in the Shadow and Bone (Grisha) trilogy. FINALLY I got the feels I was looking for and expected based on the hype around the series. I mean, yes, I liked the first two books, but book 3 finally brought things together and completely sucked me in! There were a few times when I literally had to stop reading because I was overwhelmed by what was going on in the book. FEELS!!!! Thank you, Leigh!! But now its over! 😦

78487280f7266a3a32838801b739e97fAll gushing aside, the book was not perfect. After three full books, I still feel connected to maybe half of the side characters. Zoya’s sarcasm and mood was hilarious; Hershaw and Oncat are great just because I love to picture a big man toting a little cat all across the countryside; Genya is a badass (ruination, baby!) and David…well, he’s good at what he does; and Misha was a great new addition to the little crew. So cute!! As for everyone else in the party, meh. The twins I could never figure out and remember who was the guy and who was the gal. I hardly remember the others’ names and they were with Alina through most of book 2 and all of book 3 for the most part.

And now to discuss the ships. It seemed like all three guys practically got their own book. Was this the intent? Book 1 was pure Darkling. Book 2 was Nikolai’s time to shine. And Book 3 was Mal. Yes, there were smatterings of each character in each book of course, but there was certainly a focus to each installment. As for the ending and who she ultimately ends up with? Alina’s decision reminded me of Katniss in The Hunger Games. I pretty much guessed that this was where she would end up, but I still had my hopes for other suitors.

d1209313b65f0fb322e99cc22530b600I did love the epilogue though. I that was a suitable ending and it was touching. That being said, though, I wouldn’t mind this being a series where we got to see Leigh’s take on all three (or four) possible scenarios. I was expecting something along the lines of the third amplifier to happen so while I was a bit surprised, I wasn’t overwhelmed (see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), and I knew something was coming.

And a final thought, Alina and the Darkling’s ‘connection’ TOTALLY reminds me of Kylo and Rey in The Last Jedi. Just have to throw that out there. That is so stuck in my head now, and its not a bad thing!

Soundtrack: “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Lorde

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*BLOG TOUR* Messing with Matilda by Cat Lavoie

📖 About the Book 📖

39086791Title: Messing With Matilda

Author: Cat Lavoie

Release Date: April 4, 2018

Genres: Chick Lit, Romantic Comedy

Publisher: Cat Lavoie

As a professional organizer in New York City, Matilda Hart wages war against chaos and clutter on a daily basis for her clients—and she vows to never let it invade her own well-ordered world.

But when her boyfriend decides to deviate from the path she’s been planning for them, Matilda’s perfectly structured life begins to crumble. She reluctantly finds herself back in the tiny hometown she fled a lifetime ago—determined to lay low and avoid running into anyone she used to know. So why is she reconnecting with her former best friend and putting up with the bridezilla antics of Amber, her high school nemesis?

When Matilda is tasked with keeping the bride-to-be’s heartbroken ex away from the ceremony, she discovers she has history with the man who’s trying to sabotage the wedding. Matilda quickly realizes that teaming up with cute and quirky—but hopelessly devoted—Silas Flynn could be mutually beneficial. He needs help wooing the woman he considers the love of his life and Matilda can’t pass up the chance to finally get back at the meanest of the mean girls by assisting Silas in his attempts to disrupt her wedding.

Will everything go according to plan for this mismatched pair? Or will working so closely together make uptight Matilda and laid-back Silas lose sight of their common goal?

One thing’s for sure—things are about to get messy.

Meet the Author: Cat Lavoie

Cat Lavoie is a chick lit writer from Montreal, Canada. She loves writing fun and quirky romantic comedies and is the author of BREAKING THE RULES, ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN, PERI IN PROGRESS and MESSING WITH MATILDA.

A fan of all things feline, Cat loves cats and hopes to someday have a house full of them in order to officially become a crazy cat lady. (But one or two cats will do for now.)

If she isn’t reading or writing, Cat enjoys listening to podcasts (mostly comedy and true crime) and watching way too much TV. She fell in love with London many years ago and hopes to go back one day. Cat is currently at work on her next novel.

To connect with Cat and find out more about her books, visit CatLavoie.com and follow @CatLavoieBooks on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Enter the Giveaway

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My Review

My favorite thing about most chick lit (and other closely related genres) is reading the quirky occupations that the main characters have. I get tired of reading about office assistants and lawyers and the occasional photographer or author. In Messing with Matilda, the title character is a professional organizer in NYC. This career plays a lot into her personality as well, as she is a bit uptight and comments frequently about the importance of being on time, people (or animals) making messes, and wanting to organize her friends’ closets or pantries.

One thing that many readers–myself included–will probably appreciate that this is not an insta-love story. I know I get sick of the same tropes, so when Matilda first meets Silas and calls him messy (of course) and hates on his “man bun” (how sad! I’m a sucker for a man bun!), I was relieved. I admit that the book was surprisingly unique in that Silas’ agenda was quirky, and Tilly’s friendships were each different and unique. Overall this was a quick, simple, and charming read.

Book soundtrack: “Your Type” by Carly Rae Jepson

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Tag Tuesday: Easter Book Tag

170412-better-chocolate-bunny-easter-se-335p_56963533f30696ec7e11f1525df3013c-focal-1000x500Happy (belated) Easter, everyone! I hope that your baskets were full of goodies and you had a nice weekend with family. If you aren’t an Easter holiday observer, then hopefully you had a good weekend in general. My fiance and I had a Star Wars marathon in addition to Easter festivities. His birthday was last Thursday and he was so excited about the release of The Last Jedi so you better believe we watched all nine movies. Oh boy!

Anyway, today I bring to you the Easter Book Tag. This tag was originally vlogged by Rosie the Reader. This is a pretty short and sweet tag but I’m working on a monstrously large one for next week – stay tuned!

Rabbits – A book you wish you could multiply

1505944943061594800_220I’ll kick this off with Outlander. I have only read as far as Voyager (book 3) in the series so far, but I simply love these books! And the show now too, of course. Yes, the two have their differences of course, so I have to keep them different in my mind and sometimes I feel like I need to keep my books handy by my side while watching. Or maybe I just need a “quick guide”! But back to the books. One cannot mention Outlander without expressing love for Jamie Fraser. He is a man of beautiful words and deep love and will make any reader swoon! Another amazing thing about these books is the historical detail. Its no wonder these books are so long. They are thoroughly researched and beautifully written. If only all books are so thorough and beautiful.

Egg – A book that surprised you

32766747My pick for this is one of my favorite reads from 2017: Library of Fates. I didn’t have high hopes for this book because Aditi Khorana’s first book didn’t have the highest rating on Goodreads, but this book blew me away! I was so surprised by the beauty of this book and how wonderfully the magic and folklore were woven into the story. I honestly did not predict most of the events of the book, which I had very much expected to. This book was one that I received for free as an ARC but loved so much, I bought a hard copy for myself when it was published. If you still haven’t read it, pick it up! Its a really great read! I would love to read more books like this–it was perfection!

Hunt – A book that was hard for you to get your hands on

cb19f00d-3a9e-4884-8e70-0516e274ad32Generally I read books as I find them, rather than hunting books that I want to read so this one was tough for me. I’ll choose Dumplin’ though, because last year at a signing I got to meet Julie Murphy at a release party for Ramona Blue. I had her sign my copy of RB but what I really wanted her to sign for me was Dumplin’ because as a singer with body issues, I identified with that book. I looked around the shop and could not find a hard cover copy to have her sign for me! I was so bummed! I complained probably a little too loudly and a store employee overheard me. She went to check the store again and no, sure enough, no more copies. Julie was sad for me, the employee was sad for me, I was sad for me. Bummer all around. Well, then a manager overheard. She thought maybe there were one or two stashed in the back. Sure enough, there was one more copy in the back and it was all mine! And that’s how I got my signed copy of Dumplin’.

Lambs – A children’s book that you still enjoy

Hands down: The Giving Tree. There are several more, of course. I am a sucker for kids books and books from my childhood or books that we read to young campers at my summer camp, but man, The Giving Tree just gets me in the feels! I hope that everyone has read this book. If not, add it to your personal library. Share it with your children and with your friends’ children, and your family members’ children. Its just that worthwhile.

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Spring – A book with a cover that makes you think of Spring

35020380Wild Beauty! This book came in a Fall/Winter Owl Crate box and I haven’t been able to motivate myself to read it just yet because it hasn’t felt like the right season! But now that its spring, it feels like the perfect time! Either this month or next month I’m going to try to dive into this book. Its all about a family of women living on a lush garden estate which enchants guests from around the world. In their legacy, they may not fall in love too deeply or their lovers will vanish. Then one day a mystery boy appears in the garden and changes everything. From what I read in reviews, Wild Beauty is all about beauty and love–all the things we need more of in the world.

Rising From the Dead – A book from a deceased author

18373Get your Kleenex ready. My pick from this one is Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I can barely say or spell the title without getting sad. I think I’m just scarred from reading this in my childhood. I remember reading it in, maybe sixth grade and becoming so engaged in the book and being extremely crushed by the ending! I have no idea how I would feel reading it now. If it would still bring out such an emotional reaction from me or not, but I know it made an impact from me and I thought it was a powerful book.

Baskets – A book that is in your Amazon cart or wishlist right now

37546906There are so many!! Right now I am debating on whether or not to pre-order Ace of Shades. I’ve been waiting on this one for months now (haven’t we all?!)! ARC reviews being posted are really great and are only making me more excited. Is it April 10 yet?!

Candy – A book that is sweet

23395098My pick for a sweet book needs to be Fangirl. I put off reading this one forever because I read Carry On first and didn’t like it too much (don’t hate me!). However, I’m glad that I gave Fangirl a chance because it was SO.GOOD.!!! I loved Levi and his sweetness. He went straight into my list of top 5 book boyfriends. Another sweet thing about this book was Cath’s relationship with her father. Her relationship with her sister was strained throughout the book but of course they had to work things out. So ultimately, a very sweet book that I very much loved.

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So that’s the tag, my friends! If you’re reading this and are still in an Easter-y mood, feel free to take this on. I picked out a few books I haven’t thought of in a while, so maybe this tag would give you the same opportunity as well! Until next time…happy reading!

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

35121240From the first time I saw the cover for The Hazel Wood, I was desperate to read it. I remember seeing it plastered everywhere at ALA in Chicago last summer and I was SO bummed that I wasn’t able to get an ARC. This book just screamed my name with all of those little cover details in silver and gold and its promise of dark fairy tales and mystery! I never got my ARC and I had to wait all the way until release day to read it. AHH!! Once I did read it though….well….its one crazy ride, let me say that!

In The Hazel Wood, we read about seventeen year-old Alice and her mother Ella, who have lived their lives on the run trying to escape the bad luck that seems to follow them. Alice’s grandmother, Althea, is a famous author who wrote a collection of dark fairy tales called Tales from the Hinterland. When Alice and her mother receive word that Althea has died, they believe they can stop running from life. Ella marries a rich New Yorker and Alice settles into school. One day their lives are turned upside-down again when Ella is kidnapped by two people claiming to be from the Hinterland. Alice’s only thought is, of course, to save her mother and to do so, she enlists the help of a rich friend (guy–duh) from school, named Ellory Finch. The adventures in the Hinterland and the Hazel Wood thus ensue.

The first half of the book has a relatively straightforward, young adult, urban, contemporary feel to it. We meet the characters, we see Ella and Alice’s relationship and background, we feel the curiosity about Althea’s book, we definitely get a feel for Alice’s hot temper and icy attitude (in my opinion–not good character qualities and she wears on my nerves). I was never bored because there is always curiosity being fed and then eventually it just smacks you in the face.

So about a third through the book everything breaks loose when Ella is kidnapped. Worlds collide and now we really meet Ellory Finch. Now, its a good thing the guy who has a crush on Alice happens to have parents who don’t care about him AND a credit card without a limit. They run around the city of New York and search and run away and search, etc.

61cfb50fac2c90725043dd5378250617Maybe halfway/two-thirds through, we make it to the Hinterlands. I’m not going to lie. I feel like I just need to read this whole part over again because so much happened and I didn’t fully latch onto the logic of the where and the what and the big picture. Honestly it was just rather a blur of confusion. There were some good concepts and some neat ideas and I absolutely loved the darkness and creepiness of it!! HOWEVER, it made my head spin and I felt like I was the one lost in the Hazel Wood. Maybe that was the point?!

To sum this up, I liked the writing and the concept…I think I just need to read it again and smooth out some of the details in my mind. My mind was lost in the dark forest but I was really enjoying the scenery!

Book soundtrack: Freak on a Leash by Korn

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