Friday, July 21, 2017

This is How it Happened by Paula Stokes

e-ARC, 384 pages
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Published by: HarperTeen
Read from: July 15-18, 2017
Source:  Edelweiss (I received a copy of this book from the Netgalley and the Publisher in exchange for a just and honest review. This did nothing to influence my review.) 
For fans of: Contemporary, Romance, Sparkly Covers, DEAR, Realistic Fiction, YA 

     Somehow I’ve become a liar. A coward. Here’s how it happened.
     When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.
     As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.
     Incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully told, Paula Stokes’s story will compel readers to examine the consequences of making mistakes in a world where the internet is always watching…and judging.


      After reading Girl Against the Universe in two sittings I added this Stokes book without even reading what it was about. Hell I don't think I even got a good look at the cover but I still added it. I had heard this was a little heavier than what she ususally writes, but I didn't mind because it was her. And I was right not to worry because it was still so good. 
     Genevieve Grace awakes from a coma and doesn't remember what put her there at first. As things start to come back, she realizes that there was a crash and her famous boyfriend didn't make it. The other person involved in the accident is the one person who everyone assumed was guilty because of his past. Genevieve starts to realize that maybe their anger to Brad might be misplaced. 
     I really couldn't put this book down. I was reading it in line at the grocery store, at the desk when I was at work, at lunch from work. Just everywhere. I was hooked on wanting to know what Genevieve would do next. I was rooting for her, but then I got mad at her, and then I was happy with her again. I was all over the place with my feelings for her character and that's how I knew I loved the book. Whenever I can feel so much for them, I know that it's something I love.
     I also really love Stokes' way for words. Her writing style always sweeps me away to wherever the book is set. And this one is set in the beautiful state of Utah. I've never been, but from this book I imagined being at the park where she volunteered and seeing all the cliffs and different views that she saw in the book. It literally took me away to the Utah and made it easy to imagine the setting. 
     And of course, last but not least, I loved the super relevant message from this story. A lot of times people don't give a second thought to their words or actions because they are behind a screen. But this book makes the reader really think about the person on the other side of the screen and whether or not what they may have said or done was justified. It's such an important message to remember in this digital age and to remember what you say can really affect some people. Remember to keep kindness first.
     There's not too many books that I say should be considered required reading in schools. To be honest, there's only been two this year so far: THUG and This is How it Happened. Teens need thi message to make sure they think about more than just the amount of retweets or likes they'll get. 
Overall, I give this

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

I don't normally talk about the audio books I listen to because most of them are backlist, but I really want to start! So, I'm starting Listen Up to write short reviews on the books that I listen to! 
Audio, 6 parts
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Published by: Arthur A. Levine Books
Read from: June 11-14, 2017
Shadowshaper, #1
Source: Library 
For fans of: Series, 

     Cassandra Clare meets Caribbean legend in SHADOWSHAPER, an action-packed urban fantasy from a bold new talent.
     Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra's near-comatose abuelo begins to say "Lo siento" over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep.... Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.
     Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order's secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick's supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family's past, present, and future.


     I'm not sure why this book didn't originally make it to my TBR. To be honest, I just plucked it off the shelf from the library I work at because I needed something to listen to at my desk while I was planning stuff. Whatever the case may be, I'm glad I decided to listen to it. 
     Sierra is a normal girl who live in Brooklyn and likes to paint. Until a dude from the Walking Dead comes and busts up her friend's party. After running away, she finds out about Shadow Shapers who connect with the living world through different arts. She thinks there's no way that its real. Until she realizes that it's more real than she thinks... 
     What first drew me to this book was the mention of the Caribbean legend. I love finding out things about different cultures and this was right up my alley.I loved finding out new things through Sierra's character and I loved all the rich, culture that was displayed throughout the story.
     Speaking of which, Sierra and her family, Robbie, and everyone just felt so real. I know that's one of the most cliche things to say, but it's true. I really loved the way she was there to I connected to them. As if I was really in their group of friends. From the way they talked to the way they handled their business, they all felt so real and well rounded. 
     I also thought this book was very well written. I started out listening to it in my car, but it got to the point where I had to bring it in to work and listen while I was planning things because I couldn't stop listening to it. And the narrator is Anika Noni Rose so that was even more amazing. And then there were times where she actually sung some parts of the book which made it SO MUCH BETTER. 
     This book was already good, but pair a great story with a great narrator and amazing characters, and you have an absolutely unforgettable book.  I can't believe I waited this long to read this. But now that I have read it, I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel. 
Overall, I give this

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

WoW: A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

This bookish meme tells the blogosphere what we're waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for! It's hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine!

A Stranger in the House

     From the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, a new thriller featuring a suspicious accident, a wife who can’t account for herself, and unsettling questions that threaten to tear the couple apart
     You come home after a long day at work, ready for dinner with your wife.
     But she’s not there. And it looks like she left in a blind panic. Her cellphone and her bag are still in the house.
     You fear the worst. You call the police.
     And they tell you that your wife’s been in an accident. She lost control of her car as she sped through a street on the worst side of town.
     The police think she was up to no good.
     You refuse to believe it.
     Then you start to wonder. You’ve been married for three years and you thought you knew her better than anyone on Earth.
     But maybe you don’t.
     In your house, everyone’s a stranger. And everyone has something to hide. Something worth killing for.

Published by: Pamela Dorman Books
Expected Publication:  August 15, 2017

Why I'm Waiting: I JUST finished The Couple Next Door (Late to the party I know smh) but I really liked it. I'm also super interested in seeing if this novel lives up to her previous one. Plus, this premise sounds SO GOOD and I love the title and I JUST CAN'T WAIT OK?

What are you waiting on this week?
Will you be waiting on this with me?
Was this a great pick for my first adult WOW?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Top Ten Books on my Backlist I want to Get to!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the BookishEach week we will post a new Top Ten list . Everyone is welcome to join. 

This week's topic is:
A Freebie!
TTT is on hiatus until August, so I'll just be doing some freebies to fill it's spot! 
Top Ten Books on my Backlist I want to Get to! 

Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)Battle Royale
Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)
Dangerous GirlsWinger (Winger, #1)
PointeStarflight (Starflight, #1)
And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)Frostblood (Frostblood Saga #1)

What backlist items do you want to read? 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hidden Figures: Books to Movie Review

PG, 127 minutes
Release Date: January 6, 2017

The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.(From IMDb)


     I tried so many different times to go and see this in the movies, but the first and second time I went it was sold out. And then school stuff. And then other things started happening, when I finally was able to check it out from the library, I got the blu-ray version, but our Blu Ray player didn't work. It was all just a huge mess. But I didn't let any of that stop me... And I'm more than 1 million percent happy about that. 
     I think my favorite part of this movie was the numerous messsages it portrayed to people watching this. It showed thier iconic performances in their careers as not only women, but African American women. As a kid my momma always told me I was growing up with two strikes against me already, so I shouldn't give them another one. I thought I understood the meaning of this, but I feel like I never understood it fully until now. This movie showed me exactly what to do to avoid that third strike: KEEP PUSHING. And any movie that can still teach me something, I'm all for it. 
     As for the acting, it was amazing. I cried about 5 times throughout the entire movie. Some when they didn't even call for tears, like when Dorothy said "Well that's in the wrong place," and again when Katherine gave her EPIC rant about the bathrooms. I made my husband rewind it so I could watch it again because the first time was blurry. As some of you may know, any book/movie that can get me to feel so many different emotions, I'm a huge fan of. Henson, Spencer, and Monae brought these ladies to life on the big screen and they all gave Oscar Worthy performances. 
     This movie is iconic for so many reasons and I can't wait to see all the opportunities that this film opens up for people. From the actresses to the little girls who have watched the film and now know what they can be capable of. 
Overall, I give this

And just beccause I loved it so much that I wanted to watch it again: 

*I do NOT own the rights to any of these clips. They were merely provided via Youtube to enhance the review and bring more attention to the movie.* 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Stacking the Shelves #130 & the Weekly Wrap-Up!

This bookish meme tells the blogosphere what all we borrowed, bought, and received for review. It's hosted over at Tynga's Reviews.

From #BooksforTrade: 
All the Crooked Saints

Thank you so much to @_tatilee! I cannot wait to get to this one! It sounds so good! 

From a friend: 
Gunslinger Girl

I'm so glad I have friends like Amber @ Dulivre who knew I wanted this and grabbed it for me at ALA. I wasn't able to go because we have such a strict no vacay policy during the summer reading program, but one of my most anticipated of 2018 was accquired by my sweet friend! Thank you! 

The Weekly Wrap-Up!

Monday 07/03/17:  Review- What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
Tuesday 07/04/17: Top 10 Tuesday: Freebie! It's on hiatus until August, so I picked- 10 things I've Learned Since I started Working at the Library
Wednesday 07/05/17: Waiting on Wednesday: The Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
Thursday 07/06/2017:  Review: Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
Friday 07/07/17: Listen Up: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Me on Instagram: 

What went on at your blog this week? 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wesley James Ruined my Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

ARC, 228 pages
Release Date: June 18, 2017
Published by: Swoon Reads
Read from: July 12-15, 2017
Source: TxLA 2017
For fans of:  Contemporary, Romance, Sparkly Covers, YA

     Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.
     So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.
     But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.


     As cliché as it sounds, when I saw this cover I KNEW I would love this book. It had the makings for everything I love about fluffy contemporaries: hate to love troupe, some funny times, and of course some swoony times. But unfortunately, it had all these moments but also some other things I wasn't too fond of.
"I remember a lot of things about you. [...] I remember things about you, too. And none of them are good."
pg. 12
Back in the day Quinn and Wesley were best friends. Until he ruined everything with Quinn and her family. Quinn was happy to get rid of him when he finally moved away, but completely unprepared when he turns up again... And at her job no less. She must get rid of him... But how?
"Pirates don't do magic tricks. They rape and pillage.' You're thinking of vikings."
pg. 14
                Ok, so the main thing I wasn't a fan of in this book was Quinn. She annoyed me to NO. END. She was so naïve. The stuff she blamed him for clearly had absolutely nothing to do with him. Like the whole situation was anti-climactic. I'm pretty sure that was the reasoning for the author, but the entire thing seemed so incredibly stupid and tiresome to hold a grudge against someone for something like that for so long. And it was even worse that she was ok with people TELLING HER what she was doing was completely uncalled for. Yes, I get it, she didn't want to blame the true person for their problems, but what right did that give her to do all this to someone else that didn't deserve it? And then add ANOTHER person to the mix? Ugh this is one of those instances where I wanted to jump into the book and slap the MC because it seemed like no one else wanted to.
"Which character are you?' She's a wench.'"
pg. 26
And then there was the ending. That too was anti-climactic. After all that was done, the apologies and original make-ups weren't even in the book! Like I ONLY kept reading this to see just what she did to make it up to him and it was a voicemail that wasn't even written in the book. It kind of made the whole ending a little eye-rolley for me. It missed the mark completely with that wasted scene.
"The only thing that's given me any pleasure lately is my plan. I've spent most of the past week dreaming up ways ho get Wesley's ass canned."
pg. 73
However, I did like the setting. I went to a Medieval Times with my high school band years ago on our band trip. We went for a show too where they rode horses and the tables are high. It's like an arena. Anyways, because I had been there, I was able to clearly imagine what it was like to work at Tudor Tymes. I was further transported there because I also worked at a restaurant for a point in time and everything about the hustle to the register to the smells sticking to you was correct. I was captivated by the setting and found that that small aspect kept me tethered to this book.
"It's just that I've noticed- and please don't get mad at me for saying this- but it seems like he's all you talk about lately."
pg. 83
Lastly, the LOL moments made all the difference. I found myself laughing at the things that happened to Quinn, which I probably shouldn't have, but still lol A lot of the things that happened, she deserved. To be honest, there were times when I wish she had been more embarrassed, but for the most part it was ok.
"Three weeks ago, no one remembered Wesley James even existed, aside from me. And now he's completely infiltrated my life and somehow managed to brainwash my friends."
pg. 116
I'm sorry for the ranting, but there wasn't anyone that I know that had read it yet and I needed to vent. I haven't ranted this hard about a character for a long time, but sometimes, it has to be done. Hopefully I will like Honeybourn's next character much more.
Overall, I give this

Real rating 2.5 but I rounded up! 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Listen Up: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

I don't normally talk about the audio books I listen to because most of them are backlist, but I really want to start! So, I'm starting Listen Up to write short reviews on the books that I listen to! 
Audio, 9 parts
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Published by: Penguin Audio
Read from: DNF
Source: Library 
For fans of: Adult,  Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Thriller, Audio, Stand-alone

     The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense.
A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
     Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother's sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from--a place to which she vowed she'd never return.
     With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.
     Beware a calm surface--you never know what lies beneath.
     Cast of Narrators:
Rachel Bavidge, as third person narrator/Nel's voice
Sophie Aldred, as Jules
Daniel Weyman, as Sean & Josh
Imogen Church, as Erin Morgan
Laura Aikman, as Lena


  I was iffy about this from the start because I was not the biggest fan of The Girl on the Train. I remember even liking the movie better than the book. So you can understand that I had some trepidation when I heard this one was coming out.
     I've said this many times in various reviews that I'm a character driven reader. Hawkins seems to ALWAYS make characters that I can't stand. And this one had SO MANY OF THEM. For all the point of views this book had, I wasn't a fan of any of them. As a psychological thriller I'm sure that's the goal, but there's supposed to be at least one character who seems ok.
     I also was not a fan of the plot. In the entire 2 and a half CDs that I listened to, I was not creeped out and I didn't care about any of the plot twists that were revealed. It just didn't seem like there was much happening and I didn't care to finish it. This was disheartening because everyone has said this one is better than GotT. I wanted to like it, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.
     I've decided that if there's a movie, I'll watch it, but for now I can do without finding out what happens at the end of this book. I'm not sure I even remembered what I read to begin with. 
DNF at 3 out of 9 CDs

Did you read this?
What did you think? 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Hardcover, 510 pages
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Read from: July 8-12, 2017
Monsters of Verity, #2
Source: Library
For fans of:  Action, Paranormal, Fantasy, Dark, Monsters, Series, Series Enders, YA

     KATE HARKER isn't afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she's good at it.
     AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

     Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims' inner demons.
     Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?


     This Savage Song caught me completely by surprise last year. Having only read one other book by Schwab, I wasn't prepared to LOVE it as much as I did. Nevertheless, after finishing it, I was DESPERATE for this book. 
" turned out that being alone lost some of its charm when you didn't have a choice."
pg. 10
     Kate Harker is hunting monsters. One of the only people who still believe they're a threat. August Flynn is a monster who wanted to be human, but now he knows his duty. But now, they see they must come together again to make sure the monsters don't win the upcoming war. 
"I don't have to be invincible. [...] I just have to be stronger than everyone else."
pg. 210
     I'm not sure what it is about Verity and Prosperity, but I fell in LOVE with those places. We don't get much details about it, but I saw it in my mind as a dark, gritty place, where things go bump in the night. And every time I opened the book, I fell into that dark place and the rest of the real world fell away. Schwab didn't give many details about the surrounding area, but she was able to show the world instead of just telling us about it. 
"...only fools shouted when they wanted others to listen. Smart men spoke softly,expecting to be heard."
pg. 229
     Then there was the characters. I fell for them all over again. I loved August's gentleness and Kate's feral nature and how they gelled together. Then there were all the other characters, both new and old. They all had a purpose and were all completely rounded. 
"I'm sorry to tell you that good deeds don't prevent bad ones..."
pg. 243
     The ONLY issue I had with this was the ending. This story built up for 480 pages, and the climax seemed to be stretched over the rest of the pages, but it was a lot smaller than I was expecting it to be. Basically, I felt like the buildup was on Level 15, and the big war scene was on like 9. But the very ending DID almost break me, and to anyone else that reads this, Godspeed. 
"I didn't stop fighting. [...] I just got tired of losing."
pg. 344
     I haven't read a 500 page book this fast in a long time. I was addicted to turning the pages of this book and I couldn't stop. I was sad that I read it so quickly. It really is that good y'all! 
Overall, I give this