Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: a hardcover provided by the publisher for an honest review

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?


It's official, folks. Rainbow Rowell is amazing. If you don't remember, I fangirled over her Fangirl. While I still haven't read Eleanor & Park, I was lucky enough to receive this beautiful finished copy from the publisher. Boy, I'm grateful. 

I used to read mostly all adult books (because I didn't know how great YA could be), but ever since blogging, I've barely read any adult novels. If I have, I'm sure it's been only rereads. Landline made me want to go scour for uncovered treasures again. Because this rocked. 


After doing another fingerling session over Rowell, the main question now is how did it rock? 

  1. Georgie. She is a completely flawed human being. She's a workaholic, has a reputation of siding with her coworker (and male and ONLY best friend) over her poor husband, and just makes poor choices. She's not portrayed as a young, perfectly put together writer and middle aged mother. She "lost" herself and as a result, her hair isn't too great and she's put on weight. Yet, while she's way older and in a completely different situation than I am, she's absolutely relatable. I had to remind myself that she was older (but in a good way, it wasn't like Rowell sounded too young). There was sympathy and I felt like we became friends, just like I did with Cath from Fangirl.
  2. Neal. I knew it. All fictional Neals are good. Exhibit A: Neal from Once Upon a Time. Exhibit B: Rowell's Neal. He may have a barrier around him (at least in flashbacks, oh glorious flashbacks), but he's adorable. I wanted to marry him. He's a geeky artist-turned-father. He's frustrated with Georgie and especially with Seth, but he's supportive.
  3. Flashbacks. Remember those flashbacks I talked about? Well, along with the time machine phone, we're also treated to Georgie's flashbacks. To me, they were crucial to the story. They helped us understand everyone's backgrounds and the evolving feelings, assisting in where our sympathies lie. 
  4. MAGICAL PHONE. I'm a sucker for time machine books. They're not always good, but I give props to an author for making a somewhat-trope into their own plot. Yes, I may screamed at Georgie once or twice to do a sensible thing she wasn't thinking about, but I enjoyed her journey in discovering it, using it, and deciding what to do. 
  5. Rainbow Rowell. I can't help it, I'm a total fangirl of her writing. She's one of the best third person narrative writers, in my opinion. 
I think Rowell's books are one of those love 'em or hate 'em books. Not everyone will be crazy for them, but she can definitely create a cult following. She manages to give the main characters—Georgie, Neal, and Seth—such LIFE, but still create so much personality for the supporting characters—like her sister and mother. 

Verdict: St. Martin's Press and Rainbow Rowell need all the celebratory food NOW.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I'd Want With Me on a Deserted Island

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's topic is a typical scenario that I think everybody considers. How would I survive? How did it happen? What three things would I want with me? What books would I want with me? How long would I stay stranded? Or like this week's topic, who would I want with me? Looking at my list, most of them are from fantasy books. No surprise there.

The Survivors

Katniss from The Hunger Games
 Duh.

Caelana from Throne of Glass
I really wouldn't be scared at night with her by my side.

Katsa from Graceling
Or her.

Tarver from These Broken Stars
Not only is he great at survival, but he's also cute. Two-in-one!

The Cuties


Aelyx from Alienated
We can bond over being in a strange land.

Zach from United We Spy
Like with all of these, let's forget about their leading ladies existing. I love Cammie and all, but we'll be on a deserted island.

Levi from Fangirl
EMERGENCY DANCE PARTY!

The Companions

Caitlin from Parallel
When I read Parallel, one of the biggest things that stood out to me was how great of a friend Caitlin was to Abby. She stuck by her side through all the craziness and all the theories. Perfect survivor companion.

Gabrielle from Perfect Scoundrels
Not only is she tough, but she's motivational and witty.

Paulina from Kiss of Deception
Another friend who's unwaveringly loyal and tries to stay positive despite rough circumstances.

Who would you want to be deserted with?

And don't forget about my GIVEAWAY happening this week! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me Giveaway!

In ONE week, it'll be my birthday.


This is a biggie. I'll be 18 years old. A week after, I'll be spending time in Nicaragua. During the week I come back, I'll be SKYDIVING. A few days after that, I'll be moving into college in Tampa. A week after THAT, I'll be starting classes. TWO weeks after that, my brother is getting married and my little sister is turning 15 years old (driving permit age!). It's a lot of changes for this girl at once. Decisions and changes are probably my biggest kryptonite-like things in my life. But it's all happening. And I'll try to embrace it. Because apparently, I'll be an adult. 

I reblogged this on my Tumblr here.

Money decisions (I just bought my first laptop) might be a looming presence in my life right now, but since it is my birthday, I want to spread the love. As a college student, who knows if I'll ever be able to again. Hence, today's giveaway. 

THE PRIZE: Any $10 book from The Book Depository or Amazon (free shipping for both, no worries). OR two of the following books.


Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook (ARC)
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller (ARC)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (Paperback)
Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore (ARC)
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (ARC)
Something Real by Heather Demetrios (ARC)
Ashes to Ashes by Melissa Walker (ARC w/bookmark)
Just One Year by Gayle Forman (Hardcover)
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (SIGNED Hardcover)

THE RULES: Must follow me. (that sounds powerful, huh?) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for being in my life!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: ON THE FENCE by Kasie West

Title: On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Publication date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review

She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.


A lot of authors try to be The Great One in fun, YA contemporaries. There are so many superb authors out there. I have my favorites, but I have come to a solid conclusion. Kasie West succeeds. When it comes to summery books, she's your woman. 


Others try. 
While this wouldn't be my favorite West novel, it still doesn't disappoint. The main character Charlie is  the only girl in her family of brothers and single father. She's sporty, one of the guys, and her connection as a narrator doesn't waver for me. Their lifelong friend and neighbor has felt like one of the brothers, but as to be expected, Charlie's and Braden's perspectives of each other changes as situations unfold. 

I have to admit that I'm a sucker for these kind of stories. The next-door neighbor romance, the tomboy, the girl with lots of brothers; it instantly appeals to me. These stories also have predictability, but when they're fun and written by Kasie West, it's completely fine with me. Call me bias, I don't care. 

Charlie starts becoming interested in hot Evan, a cardboard cutout character, after her new job and discovery of makeup. I see it in the way of Evan solely being in the story to move things along. His presence pushes Braden's feelings to come to play, to get Charlie a new outlook, and to push Charlie to feel okay with putting effort into her looks. He's basically a stepping stone in Charlie's life and while he didn't impress me as a character, he was necessary to the story. 

I wish we knew more about Charlie's brothers. For the longest time, I couldn't remember who was who, except for possibly Gage. I would've liked to see their personalities come through a little more. The only thing we truly know is that they're incredibly sporty, include and love Charlie, and are protective. Here's the gray area: some bloggers have ranted about how sexist the brothers are. While I can see why they think that, as a girl who has a protective big brother and father, I see it as love. I'm all about WOMAN POWER! and not treating women as if they're naive, weak, or unequal. But they were being brothers. In my opinion and from what I can remember, I thought they were being sweet. Maybe if they had come across stronger to me I would have felt differently. But I saw it as innocent.

Just like with The Distance Between Us, I loved the interaction with the two lovebirds. I still believe that the greatest relationships are friend-based and that's what Charlie and Braden have.

"I already told you to stop reading me."
"I can read you because I know you better."
"In your dreams."
"Yes, you've been there, too."

It wasn't as if the whole book was perfect, there were annoyances and I nitpicked certain areas. I still wasn't disappointed though. It was fun. Summery. Cute. Romantic. Stable. Another Kasie West novel. 

Verdict: I only hate that I don't have another Kasie West book to binge immediately afterwards.

Quotes and other elements may change after publication.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: TV Fandoms

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
I don't have scientific proof, but I'm pretty sure that bookish people are the greatest fans. Not only do we create bookish fandoms (The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or The Fault in Our Stars, anyone?) and follow them unfailingly on all social media fronts (mainly on Tumblr), but we also wave around our TV flags proudly. Except for my family members, I only follow bookish people on my Twitter (they're the only people that interest me, Facebook is for friends IRL and draaaaama). Because of that, my Twitter feed is about mostly about books, but the secondary slot goes to other forms of entertainment. Every week, I get tweets about The Bachelorette/The Bachelor, I see Tumblr photosets of Sherlock or Doctor Who, and when a movie comes out, there WILL be movie reviews, song lyrics, or thoughts posted. Bookish people make the best fandoms. We know how to be loyal. We know have to squeal. We know how to express and emote. We're used to it. And so, like we have our favorite books, we have our favorite TV shows.

When people tell me TV show fandoms aren't as big.
Or  that they don't like TV. 
That's why I love this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic. I love seeing new TV show/movie recommendations, but I also love seeing the TV side of my literary peeps. Doctor Who and Sherlock always seem to be the most popular (I think it's the "geek factor") and while I need to watch Sherlock sometime, neither of those are on my list. In no particular order, I list the top TV shows I like bombard my DVR with.

1. Blacklist. Actually, I lied. There's no particular order after THIS one. Blacklist is, hands down, my favorite TV show. It's creepy, suspenseful and DRAMATIC. It also has the fabulous James Snyder. And unlike other shows or even movies, I even had to close my eyes at some parts.

2. Ellen. The Ellen Degeneres Show might be a "talk show," but it's the one show that has made me laugh repeatedly and watch every episode even though I know only half of the guests they have on. Those Dennis Quaid secret camera segments? GOLD.

3. The Amazing Race. The show I watch with my dad and no matter how annoying the contestants are, I CARE and I'm hooked. I'm usually so tense in the second half of the season because I NEED the my decent people to make it.

4. Person of Interest. We actually just caught up last night to the season finale and I CAN'T EVEN.

5. The Big Bang Theory. I'm a TBBT newbie even though my siblings started watching a long time ago. It's a perfectly hilarious 30 minute break from life.


6. Elementary. Retelling of Sherlock with Watson as a girl. I feel like there's another show that may deserve this spot more. But I can't remember and I crave to catch up since we're SIX episodes behind so it deserves this #6 slot.

7. Once Upon a Time. It really shouldn't be on this list. I feel almost ashamed that it is because of everything it's done to me this past season. BUT IT IS. I can't help it.

8. Dance Moms. I'm a horrible human being especially since I read Something Real. It's addicting, okay?


9. So You Think You Can Dance or America's Got Talent. I felt like they should share a spot since they're both competition reality TV. SYTYCD has wonderful choreography and pleasant people. AGT has magic and hilarious auditions.

10. Downton Abbey. Oh, what you do to me, Downton. Characters have been scarred, have lied, kept secrets, DIED, and have completely crushed my soul. I keep going back for more.

While some of these don't necessarily have fandoms, they have me as a loyal watcher, whether I treat it as the best thing ever or as a guilty pleasure. So what are your TV fandoms? 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rewind & Review: June 30 - July 13

Hosted by Shae Has Left the Room
I liked the beach when I was younger, but it was one of those things for me that I liked it more when I was THERE. The thought of it made me groan. Well, we went to Ft. Lauderdale during the week of Fourth of July and that beach was beautiful. I also was able to escape life so if I could permanently escape it and live at the beach, I'll be fine with that. Just let me take my books.

Books I received this week:



Books I read: a bunch of halves

What I'm reading now/next:
  • Top Ten Inspired: TV Fangirling
  • Review: On the Fence by Kasie West 
  • Happy Birthday to Me Giveaway
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I'd Like to Be Deserted With
  • Waiting on Wednesday 
  • Preview: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
*Subject to change

Bookish (and not-so-bookish) Happenings:
  • My roommate FINALLY replied back and it turns out she's an engineer. I'm rooming with smarty pants. I'm already intimidated.
  • TRISH DOLLER works at my local B&N. There will be pictures in the next R&R. 
  • My family of girls (consisting of one mother, two sisters, and me) hosted a bridal shower for my future sister-in-law in three weeks notice. We survived. 

Retro picture
I was looking through old journals and I tried to find a picture of me near the time I started my FIRST journal at six years old. This was off by just a week or two! 
How was your last two weeks?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Macmillan
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review

In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.


While the characters are great and the plot picks up, the writing is what stands out. Pearson is a fabulous narrator, which I think is sometimes overlooked in fantasy. The plot is a necessity, but Pearson's writing stood out for me. Lia is the main narrator, but it does bounce to the "prince's" and assassin's" POVs occasionally in the beginning. After Lia and her maid Paulina escape Lia's future marriage, running away to a far-off inn, the assassin and prince follow. There, we don't know who is who and who Lia is exactly referring to. All of this could completely bomb if the writer doesn't pull off the writing. But Pearson basically flipped her hair like Beyonce and blew me away with her writing.

However, at first, I worried about everything. The inn setting felt a little too dragged out. I was too confused with the boys (which I see now is FULLY intentional). I was just feeling iffy about it all, and unfortunately that's a side effect of reading a hyped book. On the flip side, there's a reason it was hyped.

We hit the TWIST and basically...


 Then this definitely happened...


I'm still kicking myself over how gullible I was. You see, I had it all figured out. I guessed and felt right and then Pearson TRICKED me. She completely deceived me, when I thought the only deception going on was between Lia and the boys does this mean Pearson kissed me in an authorly way? So I believed her and BAM, knocked down.

After that, everything picked up and went full force. All these spoilery things that I can't mention, but I'm dying to, believe me. Political strife and personal anguish happens as well as longing and hatred. Once we got over one twist, trauma, or problem, we were almost instantly introduced to another, but in a good way. Unlike other authors who will blatantly place conflict in a plot to force it to be interesting, Pearson does it with ease, making it feel natural.

I had people warn me about the non-love triangle, but despite their warnings, I was still super nervous while reading. From the very beginning, I wondered how it would play out until Lia clearly wanted one guy more. Then the TWIST happened and it was essentially cemented. Then the fun begins and I had a nagging feeling that Lia would cave. It left off with her still only wanting one guy, but I can see a love triangle playing into the mix in the sequel. I really hope that won't happen, but I'll try to mentally prepare myself anyways.

If it does happen, I might even forgive it if I could just get my hands on the sequel now. I liked this book that much.

Verdict: A twisty fantasy with feels and encore-worthy author moves. Bravo, Pearson.