Sunday, June 29, 2014

Rewind & Review: June 15 - June 29

Hosted by Shae Has Left the Room
These past two weeks have been...un-summery, or non-summery, whichever one. Shouldn't summertime be fun? I'd like to consider ME, this Summer, to be fun. But I find myself looking forward to the start of school, not only because I'm moving, but also because I seem to get more things done in the fall/spring. Summertime makes me agitated. School orientation, work, worrying, work, sleeping, work, and more BLAH. Thankfully, we have nice publishers in the world.

Books I Received: 

Books I've Read: 2?

What I'm Reading Now/Next: 

Upcoming Blog Posts:*
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Classics
  • Review: The Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
  • Then and Now: What Do You Want to Be? 
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Blogging Confessions
  • Thank you, Morgan Matson
  • Review: On the Fence by Kasie West
*Subject to change

Bookish (and not-so-bookish) Happenings: 
  • I had orientation for my university and I realized I'm a school dork. The best part of it all was registering for classes! 
  • I loved my book mail. Publishers rock. 
  • I put so many amazing books on hold at the library for my vacation next week. Open Road Summer, Wild Magic, A Mad Wicked, Folly...just to name a few! 
  • I RAN A 5K! I've done an unofficial one in my neighborhood before, but this time, I did the Neon Vibe 5k with one of my childhood best friends. Tutus and neon colors, ya'll. 
Then we celebrated with food.
How's your summer been?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Trends

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
There's this friend of the family who shouts "I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!!!" at our church play rehearsals quite frequently. So I'm going to channel her and yell, "I LOVE COVERS!!!!" because I really, really do. I wish a section of the bookstore would be devoted to pretty covers and that cover artists can take note of others' works without copying or overdoing it so they realize that hey, that awful trend should die so the actual great one can be produced more. This week, the topic is cover trends we like and dislike. In no particular order: 

The covers I like usually involve...
Maps. Road trip! Road trip!

Dance. What can I say? The covers and plots entice me.

Pretty dresses. But this trend is tricky because it all depends.

Illustrations. Cuteness overload.

Pretty Blues. I feel the opposite of blue when I see blue.

Fairytales. There's more, but props to Macmillan.

Titles. They're just preeeetty.

However, I'm not a fan of other covers...

Affectionate/kissy couple. Just stop. 

Helpless girls. *grumbles*
Okay, I know there are more out there (I remember some in previous weeks at Cover Snark), but I had work. Work = no time.


What trends do you like/dislike? 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Review: SUMMER OF YESTERDAY by Gaby Triana

Title: Summer of Yesterday
Author: Gaby Triana
Publication date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Back to the Future meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Haley’s summer vacation takes a turn for the retro in this totally rad romantic fantasy.

Summer officially sucks. Thanks to a stupid seizure she had a few months earlier, Haley’s stuck going on vacation with her dad and his new family to Disney’s Fort Wilderness instead of enjoying the last session of summer camp back home with her friends. Fort Wilderness holds lots of childhood memories for her father, but surely nothing for Haley. But then a new seizure triggers something she’s never before experienced—time travel—and she ends up in River Country, the campground’s long-abandoned water park, during its heyday.

The year? 1982.

And there—with its amusing fashion, “oldies” music, and primitive technology—she runs into familiar faces: teenage Dad and Mom before they’d even met. Somehow, Haley must find her way back to the twenty-first century before her present-day parents anguish over her disappearance, a difficult feat now that she’s met Jason, one of the park’s summer residents and employees, who takes the strangely dressed stowaway under his wing.

Seizures aside, Haley’s used to controlling her life, and she has no idea how to deal with this dilemma. How can she be falling for a boy whose future she can’t share?

So. Much. Potential. 

Actually, its potential wasn't fully wasted because I liked this book for the most part. I stayed up reading it until way after midnight and thought about it for an extra 30 minutes or so. So where did it go wrong? 

Well, first, I'll tell you where it was right. Gaby Triana's writing style and voice connected with me. Again, I had a problem nearing the end, but in all, Haley's narration sucked me in. She made quips and didn't bore me. I felt like I could picture the setting, both in the past and future. I knew from the beginning that I'd pick up another Triana book right away because her writing captivated me in a fun way. 

Another plus was the first half of the plot, which kept me reading. I was interested to see the past and meet Haley's teenage parents and explore the surprise with her. I loved reading about how Haley was trying to deal with it all and I begged for more. 

Unfortunately, that's where it ends. It might not seem like it, but those plusses weighed a lot in my mind so I don't consider this a bad book, perse. I just expected something different. 

The plot for me
THE PLOT. Oh, what great things it could have done. In the synopsis, it introduces cute Jason, a boy Haley meets in her parents' era. In the beginning of the book, it introduces the idea that Haley feels out of place with her dad and his stepfamily and whatnot. So when I kept reading, I figured there would be romance, but that Haley would actually resolve familial issues along the way...or AT LEAST at the end. Unless I misunderstood, I thought that if the author implies trouble in an area and busts open a door for a conflict for the MC to overcome and satisfyingly resolve, the MC would, you know, do so. Instead, We saw her parents a couple of times (not even a handful, I think), focusing on this unbreakable, meant-to-be mumbo jumbo love between Haley and Jason, the boy who is her PARENTS' age. 

Let's get this straight real quick. Jason and Haley meet and she's in his era for a grand total of, I think, three days. In that already limited time, they're only together for about 50-75% of that because she's napping or on the run or he's at work. So they might share some "deep" information, but I personally believe it's still superficial in the grand scheme of things. Then Haley considers STAYING with Jason and this is where I'd like to remind you all once again that he is the same age as her parents. Same. Age. Yes, she only knows him as a teenager, but it's just...wrong. Her wanting to grow up with her parents is wrong. It's all wrong. 

It continues to be wrong when THINGS happen at the end. Things that I can't talk about because it's spoilery. Basically, it made me very, very peeved. One of the non-spoilery things at the end that made me angry was the fact that familial issues were not resolved. I think the author made an attempt for resolution, but I wasn't fooled. More superficial things happened, but none of Haley's complaints and problems were actually addressed. Do you know what that makes me? Dissatisfied. 

Verdict: Some people may love the direction it took, but I would have liked it a whole lot more if it was less romance and more family and exploration.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Neggies: TEASE by Amanda Maciel and LIFE BY COMMITTEE by Corey Ann Haydu

Title: Tease
Author: Amanda Maciel
Publication date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperTeen)
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

With its powerful narrative, unconventional point of view, and strong anti-bullying theme, this coming-of-age story offers smart, insightful, and nuanced views on high school society, toxic friendships, and family relationships.

I'm embarrassingly late in posting this review. My reasons being that 1. I thought I already posted it and then 2. I forgot that I never actually wrote it, I just talked it all out in my head. This is the kind of book that warrants talking to yourself, writing and rewriting your thoughts in your head. I technically finished it since I skimmed the rest of the way (which was the last 10% or so), but it's basically a partial DNF. Throughout this story, I was intrigued by the plot, annoyed with the main character as well as disgusted, impatient with the author, and anticipating what would happen, but ultimately disappointed

I'm always saying how great it would be to read through the antagonist's POV (especially a villain in a retelling), but this particular story and POV did not work for me. At all. It's one thing to read a POV that owns her "badness," a POV who's complex, or a POV that can garner sympathy despite her wrong choices. It's an entirely different thing when it feels like you're expected to sympathize with the POV despite she being awful, a POV who repeats the same mantra in denial, or a POV who doesn't improve. As you can guess, Sara from Tease is the latter POV and I hated it. 

The book was first. Then it became annoying because there was no progression. Events may happen, but Sara never improved or "saw the light" or anything of the sort. WHAT IS THE WHOLE POINT? I felt disgusted while reading it (which is what led me to skim the ending) because Sara was in denial that her actions had impact. For a moment, I could understand her view that Emma had a role to play and that she made her own decision. However, most of the blame still should fall on Sara and she wouldn't own up to the tiniest bit. It was a constant "whatever, yeah, I did, BUT..." I liked  having a different perspective and getting into the mind of a bully, but I wasn't expecting how dirty I would feel and aggravated I would become. 

Verdict: This book may be for you, but it certainly wasn't for me. 

Title: Life by Committee
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books (HarperTeen)
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review.

Some secrets are too good to keep. 

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat. 

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe. 

Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.

But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

What is it about Corey Ann Haydu that makes me want to read her books even though this is two out of two that has left me feeling uncomfortable and dissatisfied

The subject of cheating is difficult to write, especially when the main character is in the wrong. What I want to know is how can Joe end up with two girls? Really. He's a complete dog (reality-wise, dogs are way better). From what we're told through Elise, he's a loser and weird and I have a feeling he's not cute either. Of course, Tab thinks he's wonderful. But we can all see through that and know that he's just one major flop. Joe and his womanly ways (or maybe he just attracts the unstable, who knows) were confusing to me. He behaved like a jerk to Tabby, obviously using her before running back to his girlfriend. After a few acts (which I can't talk about), he officially disgusted him. 

Tabby's young parents are expecting a baby and, of course, she throws in the baby jealousy card, but it was way too early in my opinion. Her parents acted stranger to me through the story and I would've sympathized with her more if it didn't feel like the author was just making the parents act like this so that we would sympathize with Tabby more. This kind of manipulation doesn't work on me. 

Those were my two main thoughts after finishing because besides the extremely weird group (my only thoughts: RUN AWAY, GIRL), the book was forgettable for me. I finished it, but I don't remember the ending. I blanked on Tabby's name until I reread the synopsis. When you can't remember anything about the book except for its frustrations and your negative feelings, you're not a good match. 

Verdict: Weird. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Books on My TBR

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Do you know what makes this summer TBR more important than others? This is my last summer before I leave for the university in the fall. I need to maximize this time as best as possible.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
I loved Alanna so I really don't understand why I haven't continued.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Perfect summer read, here I come!

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
I can't stop fangirling. (Fangirling, ha)

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Walker
Historical feminism, thank you.

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
A dystopian that I've heard recommended. I haven't read one in forever.

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
I've been on such a fantasy kick, this will be perfect.

Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
I keep telling my sister I'll read this so I'm determined to do so before I leave for college.

Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
I'm not sure I'm ready to finish this series.

Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
My one-word feeling about this: TERRIFIED.

What will you be reading this summer?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rewind & Review: May 17 - June 15

Hosted by Shae Has Left the Room
As you can see, it's been a while since a recap, a little less than a month. I took about a week off since I was already aloof on social media anyways. That was my FIRST break since I started in October of 2012. I needed that. I'm still not posting much, but it's just the right amount for me. There's no competition so *I* am the one that matters when it comes to my blog, right? Right. But man, I've gotten  BOOKS!

Books You Received:

Books I Read: 4

What I'm Reading Now/Next: 

Upcoming Blog Posts:
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Summer TBR
  • Waiting on Wednesday #8
  • DNF Review: Tease by Amanda Maciel
  • Then and Now: What Do You Want to Be?
  • Review: Summer of Yesterday by Gaby Triana
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Trends
  • Review: Since You've Been Gone

Bookish (and not-so-bookish) Happenings: 
  • My future sister-in-law had her bridal shower...her FIRST one. There'll be a second in July. It's starting to feel a little weird that my brother will be married.
  • As you can see up top, I like being whitelisted by Harper Teen.
  • I interviewed Livia Blackburne and hosted a giveaway for her debut. The WINNER is Meghan Hawk! Congrats, Meghan, check your email! 
  • I saw The Fault in Our Stars. Oh my.
  • I switched from Feedburner to MailChimp (and loving it!) so follow on the righthand side (up at the top).
  • My dad showed me a really cool app called Gif Wrapped. It's FREE and is oh-so great for a gif-user/lover like myself.

How's your week been?
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the great dads out there.
Love you, Daddy.