May 10, 2016

BLOG TOUR: THE WAY BACK TO YOU by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott



THE WAY BACK TO YOU 
by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott 
384 pages 
Published May 3rd 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
4/5 Stars

ABOUT THE WAY BACK TO YOU:
Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken. 

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they're barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake. 

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her...and to each other.



As soon as I found out this was a ROAD TRIP NOVEL I WAS SO PSYCHED! I love road trip romance novels so much. I especially loved this one because the romance never felt forced. It went slowly, but it was filled with so much tension and history. The road trip helped to incite the romance, which was just so much fun. I can't be the only one who adores road trip contemporaries...right?! 

I really enjoyed the dual POVS in The Way Back to You. Each character, Cloudy and Kyle, process their grief in their own ways, and I liked seeing how that manifested itself, both physically and emotionally, externally and internally. This book definitely address how life can really suck sometimes, but you need to be able to reach a point where you recognize that and don't let it hinder you too much. 

I feel like way too many books dealing with grief these days are extremely heavy and very overbearing, but I didn't feel that way with this book. The seriousness of the topic was obvious and this book was sad, but I never felt overwhelmed, probably having to do with the timeframe of this book, almost half a year after the actual death has occurred. Of course, time isn't an instant cure for anything but the freshness of grief in literature can be too morose and exaggerated. Especially because directly after a tragedy almost every second of every day is grief, I was glad that we got some respite from that in this book. 

Finally, we have a good support system back at home. I strongly dislike the constant trend of bad parents and horrible adults in YA so it was refreshing to see the support of Kyle's dad and Zoe to Kyle and Cloudy.

Overall this was a great read and I totally recommend it! Plus it has GORGEOUS cover and spine, so  you totally want this on your shelf. 


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Michelle Andreani is the co-author of THE WAY BACK TO YOU (my debut novel!) with Mindi Scott, forthcoming from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. Also an occasional scatterbrain, milkshake devotee, and liker of love stories.

Mindi Scott lives near Seattle, Washington, USA with her drummer husband in a house with a non-sound-proof basement. Freefall, her first novel, was published by Simon Pulse in 2010. Her second novel, Live Through This, was published (also by Simon Pulse) in 2012. She contributed a chapter to Violent Ends, a collaborative novel written by 17 young adult authors (out in 2015), and co-wrote, along with Michelle Andreani, the 2016 novel The Way Back to You. She is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich.

Michelle: Website | Twitter | Instagram


Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of THE WAY BACK TO YOU (US Only)

Rafflecopter Code:
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Lastly, if you receive a finished copy of the book for being on the tour, we would love it if you would share it on social media (twitter, instagram, facebook, etc.) so people can see the pretty finished copy! 

May 6, 2016

DOWN WITH THE SHINE BLOG TOUR

I am honored to be part of the blog tour for Down With the Shine hosted by the amazing Hannah from The Irish Banana Review


DOWN WITH THE SHINE
By Kate Karyus Quinn
355 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by HarperTeen
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

ABOUT DOWN WITH THE SHINE:
Lennie always thought her uncles’ “important family legacy” was good old-fashioned bootlegging. Then she takes some of her uncles’ moonshine to Michaela Gordon’s annual house party, and finds out just how wrong she was.

At the party, Lennie has everyone make a wish before drinking the shine—it’s tradition. She toasts to wishes for bat wings, for balls of steel, for the party to go on forever. Lennie even makes a wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was murdered six months ago.

The next morning gives Lennie a whole new understanding of the phrase be careful what you wish for—or in her case, be careful what wishes you grant. Because all those wishes Lennie raised a jar of shine to last night? They came true. Most of them came out bad. And once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

April 25, 2016

FAMILY in Ya

Why. Why does everyone have to have a tragic past and dead parents and divorced parents and parents having an affair. Almost every ARC I’ve read this year has characters who’s parents and/or siblings are dead. Then, if they aren’t dead one of the parents had an affair, and its this huge secret that doesnt come out until mid book or the parents are divorced when the story opens. I’m honestly so tired of it. Most of the time it doesnt contribute to the story at all, and at this point its becoming trite and cliche. Next book I pick

The Hamilton Book Tag

First, I would like to thank Kaitlin at Next Page Please for tagging me in this AWESOME tag.

ARC Review: Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

Suffer Love
by Ashley Herring Blake
Expected publication: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hadley St. Clair's life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.

Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably "feels like home" to Hadley. Hadley and Sam's connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.

Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.

I found Suffer Love quite hard to get into at first. I tried starting to read the ARC I had as soon as I got it but I just wasn't feeling it. Eventually, I forced myself to sit down and read it. I thought the beginning was a little slow, which is one of my major book pet peeves, it starts me off on a bad note, you know? I know that we need exposition and background, but dragging immediately turns me off to the story. Anyways, even though Suffer Love did improve as it went on, I certainly wasn't that big of a fan. 

While reading, I went over to Goodreads to read some reviews, I was so confused. Almost everyone who had already reviewed it gave the book 4 or 5 stars and was saying stuff along the lines of  “Get out your tissues this one's a tearjerker” or “I cried throughout the whole book”, and at first I thought I just wasn’t far enough in the book yet, but once I was almost at the end I realized it just wasn’t getting to me as it did to others. I'm not really an easy book crier, so that could have been it? I don't know though. I just found it weird the reviews painted this picture of a hard hitting story when I didn't even sympathize with the main character. Maybe someone more sensitive would be more emotionally affected by Suffer Love?? I don't know. Someone who's read this needs to discuss with me lol.

The two main characters are Hadley and Sam. Hadley’s dad had an affair and her family has been fractured ever since, but her parents are trying to make things work again. (Even though it really doesn't seem like they are trying with each other.) Hadley is an only child and her relationship with her parents is kind of tense at the moment...until things start to get really cliche at the end. Sam was very forgettable and unrealistic to me. Like, he was a really nice guy, don't get me wrong, but I'm having trouble recalling anything else about him. (Yikes!!) 

Something I really enjoyed about Suffer Love was the writing style. It’s probably what stood out most to me while reading, and definitely redeemed some of the book for me. There is a good balance between humor, cute lovey-dovey moments, mixed in with very emotionally charged scenes. All spectacularly written. I can say I honestly laughed out loud at some parts! Overall, I thought it was a nice story but it wasn’t anything that special or outstanding for me.


April 12, 2016

Review: The Art of Not Breathing

The Art of Not Breathing
by Sarah Alexander
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: April 26th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Since her twin brother, Eddie, drowned five years ago, sixteen-year-old Elsie Main has tried to remember what really happened that fateful day on the beach. One minute Eddie was there, and the next he was gone. Seventeen-year-old Tay McKenzie is a cute and mysterious boy that Elsie meets in her favorite boathouse hangout. When Tay introduces Elsie to the world of freediving, she vows to find the answers she seeks at the bottom of the sea. 
3/5 Stars



The Art of Not Breathing is about a girl named Elsie whose twin brother drowned 5 years ago. Elsie is still coping with this loss, and even five years later her has no closure and her family is still terribly fractured because of her brothers death. Elsie is overweight, has no friends, hallucinates her dead brother, and is filed with self loathing. I immediately didn’t like her. Not to mention she literally watched her brother and his girlfriend have sex...like uh...that's like, uber weird. Elsie also is such a passive narrator. There are these scenes that seem like they should be so emotionally charged but just aren't. The book follows Elsie trying to remember what happened when her brother died , but for some strange reason Elsie can only remember when she passes out? I'm sorry but HUH?!?! Is this an actual thing? If you pass out you'll magically remember stuff that happened 5 years ago?! I was not falling for that at all. 

My other issue with this book was the character of Tay. All of the sudden he comes along and he's different from other guys and he's super hot but he's also described as "ADHD" and "socially awkward" but that never comes across from his actions or dialogue. At one point Elsie is trying to figure out if he's autistic and I was honestly appalled at the ignorance of our main character. I work with autistic kids all over the spectrum and Elsie was seriously considering Tay being autistic when not a single thing he did or said demonstrated any type of autistic characteristic. I just really couldn't get over that.  Like, I know autism can manifest itself in many different ways, but there was absolutely no sign that Tay was autistic or had anything wrong with him. None of his dialogue or actions gave me any "socially awkward" vibes. The other thing was that something was wrong with Elsie's twin, it seemed like it was cerebral palsy, but it was never given a name, and even as a 16 year old Elsie was unable to put the pieces together and figure out what it was? It was just another thing that didn't sit well with me.

Now to some positives. I was very invested in finding out what really happened to Elsie's brother. Wholistically, this book reminded me a little of We Were Liars because it has the ocean and the beach involved and everything is shrouded in a sense of mystery. As soon as we got the first real info about what really happened I liked the book a lot more because the pace picked up, as in the beginning it was moving very slowly and I was very bored. I also loved the incorporation of free diving, which is diving really deep with no air source. I've never seen that in a YA before and I thought it was super cool and I want to try it now. (Except I would totally suck at it since I can only hold my breath for about 10 seconds lol).

Overall, I was not the biggest fan of this book and found it dragging at parts but I think the mystery/thriller aspect partially redeemed it for me. The ending felt forced to me and Elsie's narration was very flat.  

March 31, 2016

March Wrap Up


Goodbye March, HELLOOO April!

March 30, 2016

Six of Crows

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
465 pages
Published September 29th 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Source: Purchased
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.
This book was so amazing I literally could not put it down. I started reading it around 11 o clock and then around 1 am my eyes started to get really tired so I put all the lights in my room on and kept going (albeit at a very slow pace) until 4am when I was able to finish this masterpiece. 


Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy #1-10)
by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman
Hardcover, 672 pages
Expected publication: November 15th 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: 5/5 Stars

March 25, 2016

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
by Becky Albertalli
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
There are good books and then there are great books. I've been reading a lot of ARCs lately, and I like so many of the ARCs I read, and sure most of the time I'm like "Wow this was really good!" but then, I go and read a book like SVTHSA, and it's like, books like this can't even compare to the ARCs I've been reading. I was just completely floored by SVTHSA. (Also I'm trying to change up my review style a little each post so BEAR WITH ME HERE PEOPLE. I'm also trying to write my reviews more in the style of how I talk rather then my more formal writing style, so yeah. )

  • This is the most adorable book ever. Okay. I was smiling like an idiot while reading it. 
  • Simon is adorable. He is so adorable and he's so funny and honestly he's just such a breath of fresh air. His life isn't tragic and his parents aren't dead or divorced and just - THANK GOD - because that trope is annoying the shit out of me right now.  
  • He is just such a pure character and even if you dont identify with his struggles you'll sympathize with him. 
  • Also, Simon is a BELIEVABLE teenager. In countless books YA authors just get so much about highschool completely and totally wrong, but I felt that Albertalli did a very nice job with making his high school experiences realistic. 
  • I couldn't guess Blues identity so every time we were introduced to a new male character I was like "Okay I bet this is Blue." (SO technically I guess we could say I guessed Blue's identity because I thought everyone was Blue! #smart #logicalsam) 
  • While reading this book my family and I went out to dinner and my mom didn't want us on our phones but I wanted to read it so badly I was sneakily reading my e-book under the table until my mom took my phone. THAT'S HOW GOOD IT WAS. LIKE, LITERALLY I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. (Until I was forced at least..but don't worry everyone, I got it back as soon as we were in the car on our way home)
  • PLATONIC GIRL/GUY FRIENDSHIPS THAT DON'T TURN INTO MORE. THANK YOU BECKY ALBERTALLI FOR NOT DOING THE WHOLE FRIENDS TO LOVERS TROPE WHICH I FEEL LIKE IS SO OVERUSED. Yay for platonic relationships that stay platonic.
  • If you don't relate to Simon I can almost guarantee you'll relate to one of the other characters.
  • I cried when it was over. Not because it was sad, because it WASN'T DON'T WORRY. It was just so freakin' cute and I didn't want it to be over and I was just so happy for Simon. 
GAHH okay so everyone,  if you're like me and for some godforsaken reason didn't read SVTHA yet, GET ON IT RIGHT NOW OKAYYY. Thanks (I know you'll love it) ;) This book was just so perfect and made my heart so happy.

That's all for now. BYEEE (and read svtha)

February 21, 2016

Why you NEED to read The Foxhole Court


Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He's short, he's fast, he's got a ton of potential—and he's the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn't need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil's not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil's new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can't walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he's finally found someone and something worth fighting for.

Titles: The Foxhole Court (All for the Game, #1), The Raven King (All for the Game, #2) , The King's Men (All for the Game, #3)
Author: Nora Sakavic

This is it guys. This is my most incoherent, babbly, fangirl-y, post ever. It had to be. I am complete Foxhole Court trash and I won't get over myself. These books made me so emotionally unstable.

HONESTLY, YOU DON'T EVEN NEED TO READ THAT BLURB. Ignore those covers and take my word for this, The All for the Game series is so so amazing and is so unlike anything else I've read and is also completely brutal and real.

Where do I even start with this series. They just are...so...good....it's hard to put into words how much I loved them but just know I spent a good 30 minutes crying after I finished the last one (The King's Men) because I was just so broken hearted they were over and I wasn't going to get to read more about these amazing characters. I kid you not when I say I'd be willing to read a good 10 more books in this world.

I guess I'll start with the characters then. I have never ever connected to side characters who did not get their own POV chapters, yet I connected to almost every single side character in the AFTG series (when the entire series is told from the main character Neils POV).  I love them all, and I care about them so so much. I'm amazed that Nora gave each and every one of them their own moments, fleshed out personalities and backstories and didn't make anything feel rushed or cliche.

Our main character Neil is on the run. His father is a crime lord whose territory spans over a large amount of the US, and Neils mother was the one who initiated Neils life on the run. Neil has never for a second had an easy life. Neil had parents who beat him, he traded in one horrible life with his parents at home for an almost equally horrible one on the run. When we meet him he has absolutely no one left for him. He flies through identities in hopes his father's mob will never end up on his trail again. He dyes his hair different colors, he wears color contacts, he never stays in one place too long, and he has no personal connections, no friends, no place to live. He's currently sleeping in the locker room at his school. Neil has nothing, and that is not an understatement. But he recently started playing Exy again, and he's given the chance to play for a college university, albeit the lowest ranked in the country. Even though Neil knows this may put him in the public eye, and gain him a lot of unwarranted attention he's been trying to avoid for years,  he takes the opportunity.

Now, Exy is a made up sport. Nora didn't want to have to go by the rules of some other sport so she said, HEY let me just create my own sport with its own rules and equipment and court and EVERYTHING. AND BOY DID SHE DO A GOOD JOB. Exy guys. Just...EXY. It's like football slash lacrosse slash soccer slash hockey slash tennis. Intense, action packed and violent. It was so much fun to read and I kind of wish they would turn this into a TV show right this instant so I could see Exy for real. If Exy was a real sport I would so be playing (even though I would totally suck...)

I want to talk so much more about Neil but I also want to get into the romance aspect of these books so I'll get into that right now. DON'T GO IN EXPECTING A ROMANCE, BECAUSE GUESS WHAT?! THERE ISN'T ONE. There is absolutely no romance in these books m/f or m/m. I went in expecting romance and guess what, I was a tad disappointed when I came up empty handed because there a lot of stuff on tumblr surrounding this book that says it's m/m romance, but...IT'S NOT. (I may be lying. A bit. But I want you to read and be surprised.)

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ THESE BOOKS BECAUSE "NO ROMANCE" highlight this. (It's not extremely spoilery but it gives a little more away about the romance aspect) (It's not a spoiler but...I dont want to advertise the books this way) (Okay so I might be lying a TAD when I say there is no romance. Things happen. Between the main character and another character. The main character is male. This other character is also male. There is m/m...things...going on. I really can't even refer to it as a relationship though. But if you don't want to read these because of a lack of romance, read them anyway. You will see the sexual tension building from book one. I promise. (Even if in book one you may be like...PLEASE TELL ME I'M NOT SHIPPING THIS THERE IS NO CHANCE IN HELL THIS CAN EVER HAPPEN WHAT AM I DOING TO MYSELF) Just hold on. 

Want a book that has
  • A slow burn relationship (Okay...I so lied about the no romance thing ;) I just don't want anyone to be expecting a love story when this is like, the complete opposite of that)
  • Diversity
  • People with really rough upbringings
  • Fighting, but the fun physical kind (at least on the court)
  • Fighting, the angry physical kind (because no one can control their tempers) 
  • Fighting, the other not fun physical kind where you get whaled on and cut up because you're being captured by a mob :))))))))))) *sense the sarcasm* 
  • (If you read that and are now going Sam...WHAT?! TOO MUCH. I promise it's brutal but never too brutal. It's captivating, and unique and heartbreaking.) 
(TRIGGER WARNINGS FOR RAPE, VIOLENCE, CHILD ABUSE, CUTTING, AND DRUG ADDICTION. )

OH MY GOODNESS. I JUST REALIZED I FORGOT TO MENTION THE ONE AND ONLY ANDREW MINYARD. Okay so picture like a Ronan Lynch esque character except just about 1000x more intense and without any kind feelings. Andrew Minyard is an amazing character. But he is not a good person at all. He is ambitionless, he's drugged for the most part, whether it be from his medication for his mental illness, cracker dust, cigarettes, or alcohol, he tends to be hopped up on something. Andrew Minyard is angry, violent and distrustful, yet would easily kill someone who was hurting people he loved. Andrew has also been through a helluva lot in his life. He's been in juvie, he's been in foster homes, it gets so much worse than that for him, but of course you have to read these books to find out his full story ;).


ALSO THE BEST PART YET: THE FIRST ONE IS FREE WHEREVER YOU DOWNLOAD IT. This amazing book is literally free. You have nothing to lose by reading it. And the other two are 99 cents each. SO.

Have I convinced you to read them yet...

These characters are so dynamic. The writing is not filled with cliches and promises of false hope. These books are raw and real and rough and will keep you engaged. The All for the Game series is absolutely amazing and you won't regret picking it up.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars (for every book and the series overall) If I could rate these over five stars I would. 

February 8, 2016

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On
Rainbow Rowell
522 pages
Published October 6th 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes
369 pages
Published December 31st 2012
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books/Viking
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
 
OH GOD. THIS BOOK. ME BEFORE YOU UTTERLY DESTROYED ME AND I CANNOT CONVEY THE STRONG OVERWHELMING EMOTIONS I FELT WHILE READING WITHOUT USING CAPS.



5/5 Stars


February 6, 2016

Passion

February 1, 2016

LOVE-A-THON!!

1. What’s your name?
Well HI! I'm Sam! Which is short for Samantha incase you didn't know, but I hate being called Samantha sooo lets just go with Sam.
2. Where in the world are you blogging from?
I'm here from the lovely USA!
3. How did you get into blogging in the first place?
I've loved reading ever since I was a kid, and I started out by discovering the Booktube world through a Divergent fan page I had created on Instagram. After I found the Booktube world it led me to the blogging world, where I would stalk a couple of my favorite blogs for months before I finally decided to try and make one myself. Before blogging I did Booktubing but I was so awkward and I would just say the same things over and over and setting up for videos, recording videos, and editing videos is just like, insanely time consuming, so we put an end to that and HERE I AM!
4. How did you come up with your blog name?
Hmm...I actually think my mom came up with it? I came up with my original name, REBEL BOOKS by myself by just googling "adjectives" and then finding one I felt fit with books, but when I was looking to purchase a domain I asked my mom for suggestions and she gave me this name.
5. What genre do you read and review the most on your blog?
YOUNG ADULT!
6. What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews?
I try to do discussions, and I sometimes participate in memes and blog tours. I am definitely not the most creative person so it's kind of hard for me to come up with cool stuff. oH WAIT. I actually do this thing called Bookish Food where I take books that have a very big food presence and I put in quotes of all the times the foods are mentioned and I find pictures to go along with the descriptions. Just to make everyone insanely hungry *evil laughs*
7. Best blogging experience so far?
Mmm...I wouldn't say I have one yet!
8. Favorite thing about the blogging community?
That everyone is very nice. People rarely ever ignore tweets and it's fairly easy to strike up a conversation with someone!
9. Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2016!
LADY MIDNIGHT, THRONE OF GLASS 5, A COURT OF MIST AND FURY, AND THE RAVEN KING. CAPS BECAUSE IM JUST SOSOSO EXCITED.
10. Name the 5 books you want to read this 2016 that you didn’t get to in previous years!
Hmm...I'm not sure actually. Maybe something by Patrick Ness? I usually get to everything I want when I want to.
11. What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read?
YIKES another hard-ish one. I feel like I don't really read many obscure books...but Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern and OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Hadu are some less popular ones I think everyone should read.
12. Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF?
ANOTHER ONE I DON'T KNOW. I think probably Izzy or Clary or Alex from TMI. Basically any of the main characters from The Mortal Instruments. I love them all so much.
13. Which book boy or girl would be your book boyfriend?
I have quite a list here but: Simon Lewis, Noah Shaw, Jem Carstairs, Will Herondale (I'm in a big Cassie Clare phase now) BUT AT THE TOP OF THE LIST IS ALWAYS KAZ BREKKER. ALWAYS. Oh and always the other loves of my life Rowan Whitethorn along with RHYSAND.
14. Who would you recruit for your apocalypse squad (5 characters max)
Okay so I feel like you need people with powers for an apocalypse squad or else you could be killed really easily so I would go with, Magnus Bane because MAGICC, Percy Jackson because more magic and he's like super witty and smart, Celaena Sardothien (do I even need to explain this one), Jace Lightwood because he's super good at battle plans and can also provide the eye candy and he can fight very well and I feel like him and Celaena would make a great team, and HARRY POTTER!!
15. Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests?
I'm a competition dancer so...that. Dance. Yay. My life is basically consumed by dance and reading and school work.
16. Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for?
CLOTHES. Even though I'm actually the worst to go shopping with considering I hate trying everything on, and I love comfy clothes so I'm always in lululemon and my mom is like "SAMANTHA YOU HAVE ENOUGH LULULEMON CLOTHES YOU NEED REAL CLOTHES" and I'm like "MOM THESE ARE REAL CLOTHES. I DON'T WANT TO WEAR JEANS. LEGGINGS ARE COMFORTABLE" My mother hates shopping with me.
17. At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing?
I DONT KNOW. Adele or something EDM probably.
18. Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book.
I would love to see Six of Crows turned into a movie with a script that is WORD FOR WORD AND LINE FOR LINE from the book.
19. What would your dream library look like?
It would be super clean. SUPER SUPER CLEAN. Only hardcover books, except every single series I love in hardback and paperback, my Harry Potter collection all nice and organized with my wands displayed. Nothing really on the shelves except books. All the shelves would be white. and not like fancy white decorative shelves, just like SIMPLE WHITE SHELVES that are sturdy.
20. Author you want to meet and sit down to tea with?
TOO MANY OMG. Okay so I can't even pinpoint a number one person but at the top of this list is Cassandra Clare, Sarah J. Maas, Maggie Stiefvater, and of course Michelle Hodkin because she is the sweetest author ever.

January 18, 2016

ARC Review: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson


We Are the Ants
by Shaun David Hutchinson
464 pages
Expected publication: January 19th 2016 by Simon Pulse
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Henry Denton doesn’t know why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

Since the suicide of his boyfriend, Jesse, Henry has been adrift. He’s become estranged from his best friend, started hooking up with his sworn enemy, and his family is oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. As far as Henry is concerned, a world without Jesse is a world he isn’t sure is worth saving. Until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.
THIS BOOK!! This book. THIS BOOK. *shoves book into your face, but in a polite way* MAN. THIS BOOK WAS SO SO GOOD. SO GOOD. LIKE REALLY GOOD. I teared up quite a few times while reading even though I'm not usually a book crier, it's just, We Are The Ants is such an emotional book! I know you might be thinking..IF THIS BOOK WAS SO AMAZING WHY DID YOU ONLY RATE IT 3 STARS SAM? Well..I shall explain that right now. Due to the subject matter of this book there are constant mentions of male masturbation, porn, quite a bit of male nudity, talk of anal probing (because like...aliens you know), and urination. I get that this is very realistic and all, but just because it's realistic and all doesn't mean that I, a 15 YEAR OLD GIRL, would have any enjoyment reading those parts. So yeah, aside from all those parts that made me QUITE A BIT UNCOMFY, THIS WAS A GREAT BOOK. Honestly, I think all those parts just added to the story, they made it grittier and realistic, but as I said, I was still beyond weirded out by them. 

Okay so now that we understand where that one star went let's talk about the rest of this totally fabulous book! Every once in awhile aliens, who Henry calls the sluggers, come and abduct him. The sluggers will destroy the earth, but they give Henry the chance to save it. He has 144 days to make his decision, and all he has to do to save the earth is press a big red button. Henry isn't so sure he wants to press it though. His boyfriend recently committed suicide, his grandmother has alzheimer's, his dad left his family, he is tortured at school, called "Space Boy" by the other kids in his grade, and is even brutally assaulted in the showers after gym one day, he's sleeping with someone who aggressively bullies him one second but makes out with him the next, and his older brother practically tortures him. 

As we follow Henry in his search for closure over his boyfriend's death and in his pursuit of answers about Diego's past we feel all of his pain. The aggressive taunting he faces in school is so upsetting, especially when his bullies take to physically attacking him. It is so hard to watch so many horrible things happen to Henry over and over. I itched for him to reach out to someone and I wanted him to get his closure so so badly. The length of this book really allowed for Hutchinson to showcase Henry's grief and struggles, but it also lends itself to the development of strong, well developed, relationships between all of our characters (which I will talk more about later). 

There are these really surprising and unique chapters placed throughout the book about these groundbreaking scientific discoveries. Each has the potential to change the world for the better, but each can also lead to the demise of humankind. and in every single one of these chapters the new innovation helps tremendously at first, but always eventually leads to the annihilation of the planet, typically on January twenty-ninth, which is the day the world will end if Henry doesn't press the button. 

Another amazing amaaaaazing thing this author did was that we do not have the typical "Oh look, here if your new love interest! LET ALL OF YOUR PROBLEMS BE SOLVED." That is not what goes on here at alllll. Henry is really, really suffering, and as a result of his internal struggles his relationships with his family and best friend suffer as well. He sure as hell isn't going to get right into an amazing relationship that changes him forever and motivates him to save the world, and so his relationships are complicated and filled with struggles and premature separations and hurt and sadness and fighting and yelling. But as Henry grows, so do his relationships with all of the important people in his life. This was such a satisfying part of the story, I especially liked the mending of Henry's relationship with his brother Charlie. Henry's family dynamics were just truly spectacular and done so well. There is never one person who changes Henry, it is a combination of his mom, his brother, Diego, Zooey, and Audrey, who all work so cohesively in this story. Also, can we just take a second to give it up for Audrey. She is literally an amazing friend and I loved her so much. 

Shaun Hutchinson also really explores this "morally grey area" with lots of his characters. Of course, there's going to be the characters that simply deserve a swift kick to the groin, but there are also the characters that are assholes that turn really vulnerable and caring at times, but then revert back to being even bigger assholes. It's infuriating yet riveting to read, because you're hoping for redemption at points but thinking to yourself "How in the world could they do that!" at others. 

We Are the Ants is an amazing book that explores themes of family, sexuality, suicide, depression, friendship, and bullying in a flawless manner. The entire book just flowed so seamlessly. I completely recommend this book and I am definitely going to look into some of Shaun Hutchinson's other books! 

January 10, 2016

Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger (Passenger #1)
Alexandra Bracken
496 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.
Oh gosh. I am honestly so so sad to be writing this review. I in no way tend to bash Passenger in this review, so I am sorry if any of what I say comes across as harsh, but I honestly just did not like this book. I wasn't fond of the characters, plot, or settings and felt very confused while reading. Alexandra Bracken's Darkest Minds series was one of my favorites. I was in love with her TDM characters and every book was so fast paced and kept me on edge, I reread them all multiple times and could clearly picture every character and every setting in my head. This is, most likely, why this book fell short for me. I had very high expectations that stemmed from the Darkest Minds and I just felt let down. 

I'll start with my problems with the characters. The first big issue for me was that I couldn't picture them. I kept trying and even when I thought I had a inkling of something it never seemed right, like the picture just didn't fit with the character I was reading. I thought Nicholas and Etta's relationship was very cute but things did seem to move a little fast. Also, Nicholas was a "pirate" but he was not anything like your stereotypical pirate (which I guess made him very unique). I mean, he was literally a legal pirate, which was so not what I was expecting (but I sort of got over that). 

Now, maybe I'm just dumb, but I was so confused with the whole ship (not romantic ship, but literal ships) situation. Like, one ship was shooting at another ship but then the ship was fine, but then the mast was falling or something and something was sinking but everyone was fine? I was honestly so lost no matter how many times I reread it. The ship fighting wasn't the only thing I was confused about. I kept getting lost in the entire Ironwood family tree and I just didn't have it in me to go back and remind myself of who these people were. 

What I did appreciate about this book was Etta's deep love for Alice and her determination to do anything for her. I also liked how flawlessly time travel was explained. I thought the time travel in this book was unique because you had to travel to the exact day it currently was, so although you could go back years if you wanted to interfere with something that happened in August but it was currently November you would have to wait almost a year. Since this is the first time travel book I've read I don't really know if this is the norm for time traveling but to me it felt new.  

I'm not a fan of historical fiction or time travel, I dislike boats, and I can't enjoy a book when I'm confused. Passenger was obviously not a book for me. I mean, it's literally historical fiction and time travel, possibly my two least favorite "genres", but I was hoping since it was Alexandra Bracken she would do something that made me enjoy it tons, and I just didn't feel that. Maybe if you like time travel and historical fiction you'll love this. Maybe it was an "it's not you, it's me" thing, since so many others love this book. I don't know. All I do know is that I really was not a fan of this book. 

I'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts of Passenger! Were you disappointed? Did you love it? Link me to your reviews as well & thanks for reading! 

January 9, 2016

2016 Challenges


About almost a year ago I signed up for this challenge in 2015, and unsurprisingly, failed epically. Now, I'm back this year with the hope of coming up with new and creative discussion posts! The 2016 Discussion Challenge was created by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight with the intent to encourage book bloggers to create more discussion posts! 
This year I will be attempting to achieve Creative Conversationalist, which amounts to at least 13 discussion posts throughout the year. 
13-24 – Creative Conversationalist

Good luck to everyone participating in this challenge!


The commenting 365 Challenge is hosted by Nori and is a way to discover new blogs in 2016. The goal is to find and comment on 365 blogs! I'm so excited to be participating in this and I hope that it will expand my social circles in the blogging world!

As of now these are the only two challenges I'll be participating in. What challenges (if any) is everyone participating in this year? 



January 7, 2016

An Ember in the Ashes



An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)
Sabaa Tahir
446 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Razorbill
Source: Purchased
4/5 Stars
Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
This book was very fast paced and pretty badass. An Ember in the Ashes is about a girl named Leia who’s older brother is arrested for treason. She seeks out rebels and makes a deal with them that she will risk her life spying within the empires greatest military academy in exchange for her brothers rescue. There Leia meets Elias, the schools greatest solider who secretly plans to desert, but must stay once he is chosen for a brutal competition to be the next emperor.

Leia is such a unique character in YA. In many young adult fantasy novels the main female character has some sort of special power, or can fight really well, but this is not the case with Leia. She has absolutely no fighting skill and she isn’t leading any rebellions or escaping from dire situations with her superb fighting. She’s afraid and she’s going to admit it, she’s got almost no means of protection while her life and body are in constant danger.

I really liked Helene and Elias’s complicated relationship. They went through so much together and I adored their devotion to each other and how hard they tried to protect each other. Even though they did have different ideals, Helene was extremely devoted to the Empire while all Elias wanted was to be free of the Empire, they still tried to protect eachother.

An Ember in the Ashes really surprised me because I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. It was so shocking and unique with such amazing characters and a very coherent world.

January 5, 2016

Firsts

Firsts
Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
320 pages
Expected publication: January 5th 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: eARC (Thank you St. Martin's Griffin!)
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.
Mercedes sleeps with other girls boyfriends so they can give their girlfriends a good first time. Except it wasn’t supposed to be a long time thing, but Mercedes reconciles it with herself by saying “this will be the last one” and then when another one happens she goes “ok no, for real, this is the last one”, and then some really shady guys get into the mix and her whole life begins to falls apart. 

The biggest issue I had with this book was that Mercedes was helping these guys cheat on their girlfriends. Even though she was doing it with the mindset that she was somehow “helping them” to give their girlfriends a good first time, I just couldn’t support it. The entire premise that the book is based off of is something I am completely against (cheating), but in its entirety it’s about a lot more then just sex, so don’t shy away from the book if you're against cheating because although it plays a large part of the story there is so much more to take away from Firsts. 

I really did grow to sympathize with Mercedes as the book went on. She messes up quite a lot, but she’s a pretty tough and unique character. She’s one that doesn’t slut shame and one who uses sex to empower herself. In the beginning of the book she is very distant. but she really grows as a character and you get to see her more vulnerable side as the book goes on. I also related with her love for chemistry. I'm a science geek and I definitely haven't read many main characters in contemporary novels who have a deep liking for science. 

Firsts was a book I was not expecting to love as much as I did, just based off of the premise, but I was so pleasantly surprised and even moved by it! Once I got over the cheating thing I was so immersed in Mercedes story I finished Firsts in just one sitting! 

January 1, 2016

My Most Anticipated Releases of 2016!

Happy New Year! In honor of the new year I've decided to share my most anticipated releases of 2016!