Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times - although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix's father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix's existence rather dangerously in question...
Nix has grown used to her father's obsession, but only because she's convinced it can't work. But then a map falls into her father's lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it's that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

Rating:  3.75 Stars

There seem to be a lot of pirate themed novels coming out this year. I can't recall any I've ever read, with perhaps the exception of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Princess Bride (sort of), but The Girl From Everywhere was a good place to start among the many offerings in 2016

I enjoyed the concept of time travel by pirate ship. Time travel alone is a cool concept, one I very much like (big Doctor Who fan), but by pirate ship?

Heidi included some intriguing things involved with the travel of The Temptation (Nix's father's ship). He pilots, but only she can read the map. It brought up the very real question, in terms of the story, of possible paradoxes. If he succeeds in his goal, will she still exist? It's a question that had me wondering throughout the book (I tend to overthink time travel and the whole step-on-a-butterfly theory).

Kasmir was one of my favorite "secondary" characters. He reminded me, in terms of mannerisms, a bit of Gambit from the X-men (yum!).

As a fairly thick novel, I liked that there was a lot of story to go through (the bigger the book the better in most cases), but this felt a bit heavy at times. The beginning was a bit slow to get through and I could see why other readers might have had trouble with the pacing.

I do think the story is rewarding, though. If you stick with it, you're treated to a grand adventure through space and time (doo wee ooo...).

My only regret is that, as this was an ARC, I'm going to have to wait such a long time before the next book in the series.

Music Recommendation

Once I thought of the tune, I couldn't get it out of my head and I can think of no better song for a time travel song that this.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review: Hollow Beauty by Khristina Chess

When tall, gorgeous Brody asks Olivia to the prom, she’s ecstatic—until he suggests that she use the two months before the dance to lose some weight. Does he think she’s fat? His comment sends Olivia on a spiral of insecurity and dangerously rapid weight loss that borders on anorexia.
As her pounds vanish, her friendship deepens with Ross, the new prep cook at the diner where she works. Despite his mysterious limp, he doesn’t suffer crippling low self-esteem like Olivia does; usually, she can’t even look at herself in the mirror anymore. But when she’s riding dirt bikes and searching for caves with Ross, she doesn’t feel ugly or fat, just herself again—hanging out and having fun.
With Brody, instead of finding the romance and true love she had hoped for, she feels like a terrified rabbit that he’s going to devour. She refuses to think about that. She’s almost thin enough to be beautiful for the prom.
And then the unthinkable happens.

Rating: 1 Star

I have read books that dealt with similar issues to Hollow Beauty, such as Wintergirls or Paperweight. Eating disorders among teenage girls are a sensitive topic and can be written about with thought, care, and respect. I found none of these things in Hollow Beauty.


To begin with, Olivia decides to diet because some boy she barely knows asks her to prom and says she can diet until then. What a terrible & shallow character to decide to diet on a whim like that. Olivia has no self esteem or self respect.

If you're going to decided to lose weight because some jerk makes an offhanded comment, you don't get to be angry (even silently) with your friend when she says you're slim enough already after seeing your diet change to practically nothing. Though, I don't believe she'd noticed in only a day, two at the max.

For someone who explicitly said she doesn't have an anorexic or bulimic bone in her body, suddenly saying "Eating doesn't make sense. Won't I lose the weight faster if I starve?" is absurd. Olivia starts to sound stupider by the minute.

How many times does this need to be said: you do NOT fall in love with someone after a week! Also, it's rude to make plans, then ditch that person because something "better" came along. I can give her a little credit for at least telling Ross she can't come and why because lying never ends well, but it's still a rotten thing to do.

How is it that Olivia can spend the entire book knowing what the signs of an eating disorder are, keeps saying she'll never do that, but turns around and does it? The way she's doing it makes her look like an idiot. I'm supposed to believe she's 18? 

Now some comments on her dating Brody.

First of all, letting a guy win because he can't handle being beaten by a girl is a sign of a bad relationship. Second, letting him win shouldn't translate to going further sexually than you're ready for.

"Was I crazy for even considering sex with him?"

YES you loon! He's manipulative and pressuring you to sleep with him. He's a narcissistic asshole you've let destroy you with one comment. Why the hell are you still with him?!

You're repulsed by the idea of having sex with him, but hey, maybe if you drink you'll be able to go through with it? What kind of thinking is that?

OK, no. When you're thinking that drinking will help you relax and maybe the problem in a relationship is you because you won't loosen up and have sex, that sounds like an emotionally abusive relationship.

Now, Ross.

Ross is at least a little creepy. He is watching Olivia so closely he notices teeny tiny things, like the fit of her jeans, the bones in her wrist, etc. If someone told me that, regardless of whether we were friends or not, I'd be weirded out.

I can't say that jumping from one relationship to the next is such a smart idea, especially when the last one was ridiculously abusive. Leaving that, dealing with an eating disorder (yes, that IS what Olivia had), and becoming majorly involved with the next guy just isn't smart. And really, how many ED people can quit cold turkey and "heal" themselves with no help whatsoever? It isn't realistic and gives the wrong idea about someone with this sort of issue.


The plot sounded like it could be a great book chronicling Olivia's story, but it ended up being terrible.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Water's Wrath Cover Reveal

This is a series of magic, adventure, and most importantly, books! Vhalla is an amazing character that I feel really strongly about as I read through Air Awakens. Today, I want to share with you the cover reveal,  and some new content from the author herself, about the fourth book in the series: Water's Wrath.

Harry Potter Thursday: What books would you recommend to Luna?

Harry Potter Thursday is a weekly meme created by Uncorked Thoughts.

Luna Lovegood is easily my favorite character in the Harry Potter novels. It's a shame that we don't get introduced to her until book five because she'd have been a great person to see around.

I know Hermione is meant to be the bookworm icon of the series, and I'll admit that I see her that way too, but I think that Luna is just as much of a book nerd, or at least would be given half the chance. She's in Ravenclaw, for crying out loud. I can picture gushing about the latest book I've read and feeling weird because I'm fangirling, but then she comes up with this quote:

This week's topic is meant to be what books I'd recommend to Luna. The list would be insanely long and detailed if I listed all of the ones I'd use, so I'll try to limit it to just a few.

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi

It's a short series of five books that I think Luna would find charming. She's got a great interest in magical creatures, especially the sort that even wizards don't think exist.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I'm not sure whether the people who do magic in this book would be considered Muggles or not, but from the wizarding world perspective I think they would be. So, imagine reading this book as Luna, a witch, and seeing how clever these Muggles are to figure out magic on their own and create something as wondrous as Le Cirque des RĂªves.

R.O.D. Read or Die by Hideyuki Kurata

This series and it's spin off R.O.D. Read or Dream feature women that can manipulate paper into any form they choose, including animals and weapons. They're also the biggest book nerds you'll ever find (with the possible exception of Anita from Read or Dream; not a big book person, that one).

I think Luna would find their book love fascinating, not to mention that their love transcends the norm and becomes something they can use aka paper magic.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

I think that if Luna were to read this book or see the movie, she might start thinking about what the Other Mother, if the book or movie got it straight, and if not trying to figure it out for herself.

Of course, if she already knows and accepts that the Other Mother is a beldam, then she might be criticizing Coraline and pointing out all the clues that would have led to the discovery of OM's true identity long before it's actually revealed.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Worst Love Interests

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Gingerreadslainey. Check out the Goodreads group here.

There are some characters that can never be forgiven, especially for what they do to the one person they're supposed to love.

Fair warning, there will be mild/moderate spoilers here as I discuss why these people are bad love interests.

Counting down these are the worst love interests I could think of:

5. Aspen Leger, The Selection series

Having only read The Selection so far, I'm basing my opinion of Aspen on that alone. He's a two faced jerk who loves America, but then rejects her because he's a lower caste number than her and doesn't want to drag her down with him. She tries to move on when she's Selected, but then he becomes a guard and professes to still love her and asks her how she can possibly stand the charade of the Selection. Seriously, dude, knock it off and move on.

4. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games series

There's a lot of intense emotion going on in this book, so some of Katniss's action may be forgiven due to her age and the insanity of what she endures, but I've never seen her as a good love interest for Peeta. Peeta himself is not my favorite character, but he deserves better than to be led on and lied to.

3. Edward Cullen/Jacob Black, Twilight series

As much as I might enjoy these books, neither Edward nor Jacob are particularly good love interests for Bella. Both are incredibly selfish and manipulative, not to mention jealous of each other. It really starts in earnest here in New Moon and continues through the end of Breaking Dawn.

2. Frankie Malone, Tomorrow Will Be Better

Frankie Malone could have easily been a good person, but he deceived Margie (his wife) when he married her. He never wanted to be married, he just wanted to do what he perceived to be "normal". This was cruel because he could never give Margie what she wanted or needed from a marriage and he wasn't truthful about that at any point.

1. Maven, Red Queen

The second prince starts out seeming great. He's a sympathetic character, he shows what we think to be genuine affection for Mare (the main character), only to find out that's he's a traitorous asshole that's been using her all along to further his quest to become king.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Review: Guardians of the Scroll (Palace Library #2) by Steven Loveridge

Thrown back in time by The Palace Library, three children must protect a dangerous and magical manuscript. Only the power of The Scroll can control the savage creatures of The Nether World.
Harry, Eleanor and Grace must battle monsters and face fire to wrestle The Scroll from the cruel grasp of Caesar and Cleopatra.
At the moment of victory, a new evil emerges to steal it away.
Captured, with the Library of Alexandria burning all around them, how can they escape?

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

Rating: 4 Stars

Here we have another adventure from the Palace Library. It was just as wondrous as the first book with a fair bit more danger.

I loved that the children were able to visit the Library of Alexandria, dangerous as it was. That library is the ultimate dream for a bibliophile: to visit that great and terrible source of knowledge which was tragically lost in our world.

The tales of Ancient Egypt have always been fascinating to me, finding out how they lived, what they learned back then. It makes me wonder just how much more knowledge we'd have if the Library hadn't burned.

The adventure was thrilling and so tense in parts that it urges you to continue reading, to read and read until you've finished the tale. Some parts were a bit squirm inducing, such as when Henry is locked up and being questioned by the soothsayer, but not so much that I would keep the book from any child interested in it.

I found the ending to be very good in that it was a interesting ending, definitely one that left me wanting to read the third book (out sometime this year I hope!), but I was sad too because it left the story at a point with so much potential, so many questions and feelings that I felt a bit out of sorts after finishing it.

Music Recommendation

I selected The Pirates of the Caribbean Theme Song as played by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra for this book as it embodies the adventure of the story with all of its ups and down and perilous plot points.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Best Suggested Books You Loved

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Gingerreadslainey. Check out the Goodreads group here.

I love getting suggestions for books. Most of the time they turn out really well and I love them just as much as the person who recommended them to me.

This week's topic features my favorite books that have been recommended to me. If I can, I'll link to the person that recommended the title to me.

5. Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory

Thank you to Sam @ Novels and Nonsense for recommending this series (i.e. talking about it so much that I finally had to pick it up :D ). My husband and I have become big fans and keep requesting them from the library. Hopefully they'll finally buy their own copies so more people in our area can read these hilarious volumes.

4. The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

It feels like everyone who has read young adult novels has recommended these two series and I've finally started them with the first book of The Infernal Devices, Clockwork Angels. It's a very interesting series so far and has a lot of elements that I look for when I read. My husband has read the whole series and keeps telling me I need to read the series because he enjoyed it a lot. It's helpful to have him around because he can help answer all the questions these books are raising as I read them.

3. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I'm not sure who recommended this one, as it was a general recommendation not one targeted at my specifically, but I think it was Raeleen @ Padfootandprongs07.

I haven't finished it yet because it was a library copy that had to go back, but so far it is one of the best, msot hard hitting books I've read. It's got a realistic writing style and a lot of issues faced by the characters that are exciting, if not good for them. These things make for a good story and I'm anxious to get a copy and read it fully.

2. The Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O'Malley

A co-worker at the time recommended this series. I like comics, I like video games, I liked the look of the trailer for the movie that was coming out at the time, Scott Pilgrim vs the World. I didn't know at the time that it was a comic series in its own right. I'm glad this co-worker knew, though, because I found not only a series that I love, but an author whose other comics are just as great as this series is.

1. The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

Aria Mia always knows what books I'll like. We share very similar tastes and I think this was one of the first books she ever suggested, though there have been many more. I'd heard of The Rook previously, but I wasn't sure if I'd like it. Thankfully I listened to Aria and found myself having adventures with Myfanwy Thomas, the Rook in England for the supernatural secret service!

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Songs I Wish Were Books

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme that is brought to us by The Broke & the Bookish. Check out the topic list here.

Music can really speak depths to us. There are some songs that tell epic stories that seem like they should be longer, like they should be our favorite thing: a book!

These are some songs that I would probably have at the top of my to-buy list if they were actually books. I'll link to the videos on YouTube so you can get a feel for these songs, or even listen to them while reading the list.

WARNING: some of these videos might have suggestive or trigger worthy material (self harm, nudity, etc.). Please be aware of this before viewing any of them.

10. Cirice by Ghost

9. The Rifle's Spiral by The Shins

8. 1, 2, 3, 4 by Plain White T's

7. F**king Perfect by P!nk

6. Animals by Maroon 5

5. Confident by Demi Lovato

4. Haven't Met You Yet by Michael Buble

3. Once Upon A Dream by Lana Del Rey

(Yes, specifically this version. It's haunting, it's beautiful).

2. In the End by Linkin Park

1. Meet Virginia by Train

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: The Palace Library by Steven Loveridge

Three children stumble upon an extraordinary library in an old house. Armed with magical books, and accompanied by an enchanting deerhound, they leave through a door that takes them to a world in the past.
Beyond the door, a kingdom is in crisis. The Great Sword of State has been stolen and destroyed. The Queen reveals an ancient prophecy that says only children can replace the Sword and she sends them on a journey that takes them beyond the world's end.
The children must unlock the secrets in their books as they face storms, fight traitors and tackle dragons. Without knowing who they can trust, can they succeed?

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 Stars

This book was a rather fun read.

Anyone who has ever read the Narnia books or seen any of the movies will notice right away that there are a lot of similarities in The Palace Library. This was a little troublesome at first because I had some difficulty separating the two, but as I read further I started to enjoy the story more.

The thing that I liked the most was the setting. The library was everything that one could want in a library and it was so lovely that I wish I could open a secret door and find myself there.

The writing has some ups and downs, I'll  grant you, and there were parts that dragged a bit. I think some of it was the fact that there was a lot of overly descriptive parts, particularly dealing with feelings. Adults don't seem to care for those parts as much as a younger reader might, which is who this book is aimed towards.

I would recommend this to any child that enjoys books and their parents as well, especially one that might need reminding that magic exists, especially between the pages of a story.

Music Recommendation

Debussy's Prelude to "The Afternoon of a Faun" sounded like just the right music that would be playing in the background as Grace discovers and explores the Library.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday Street Team Review: The Possibility of Now by Kim Culbertson

Mara James has always been a perfectionist with a plan. But despite years of overachieving at her elite school, Mara didn't plan on having a total meltdown during her calculus exam. Like a rip-up-the-test-and-walk-out kind of meltdown. And she didn't plan on a video of it going viral. And she definitely didn't plan on never wanting to show her face again.
Mara knows she should go back, but suddenly she doesn't know why she's been overachieving all these years. Impulsively, she tells her mom she wants to go live with her estranged dad in Tahoe. Maybe in a place like Tahoe, where people go to get away from everyday life, and with a dad like Trick McHale, a ski bum avoiding the real world, Mara can figure things out.
Only Tahoe is nothing like she thought. There are awesome new friends and hot boys and a chance to finally get to know Trick, but there is also still massive amounts of schoolwork. Can Mara stopping planning long enough to see the life that's happening right now?

I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review.

Rating: 3.75 Stars 

I think this book is one of those that you'll appreciate as a standalone story, but you'll appreciate it much more if you're someone who is into skiing, snowboarding, etc.

I was mainly interested in this book because I thought that witnessing Mara's academic "difficulties" and her handling them would make for a good read. They did and I was pleased to see how things worked out in the end.

The skiing atmosphere was different from anything I've read. I've never really read any books that involve winter sports (except for figure skating), so the introduction into that world was cool. It was a bit heavy handed and slow at times, which is why I think if you know a bit about that culture going in, you'll be better off.

One of the main points of Mara going to Tahoe, at least according to her Now list, is to get to know her father. I didn't get that kind of development in the story. They don't interact much, even though they're living together in a small cottage, and the only time you learn something of real significance from Trick himself is near the end of the story. It wasn't fulfilling. Even after you find out the reasons why Trick has been largely absent from Mara's life, I was left wondering why this seemed like it was supposed to be a big deal when the conclusion fell flat.

The romance aspect was a bit unusual, but I found myself kind of liking it by the end.

At the beginning of the story you think it'll end up with Mara dating one guy, then towards the middle it looks like it could be either one of them, and by the end it's the guy you thought it would be, but the road there was full of misunderstandings. Usually I hate it when a relationship gets built up only to be destroyed by stupid misunderstandings, but that didn't happen here. Things were worked through and neither party was as much of a jerk as I would've expected.

I was pretty happy with the ending. It didn't end as neatly as you might have expected from a contemporary YA novel, though it did backtrack a little in the "second ending" and make things happy(er).

Music Recommendation - Ain't It Fun by Paramore

Mara learns to loosen up and find what really matters to her during the course of the story. This song really spoke to that feeling, I think: find yourself and have fun!

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Were Spoiled For

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Gingerreadslainey. Check out the Goodreads group here.

Spoilers are the bane of any readers existence. However, what with the Internet being what it is, it is almost impossible to avoid them. Most BookTubers or bloggers will warn you, but that doesn't always happen.

Before I go on, I want to warn anyone reading that there is a huge possibility of spoilers in this post. I will do my best to talk around them, but be warned.

These are the top 5 books that were spoiled for me.

5. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I am so glad that I was spoiled for this because it means I don't have to read through it and suffer myself. I don't think a single person I've spoken to has enjoyed this book and while I usually am annoyed with spoilers, in this case they were only saving me from the mud that was this series.

4. The Shop on Blossom Street Series by Debbie Macomber

Every once in a blue moon, my mother and I are reading the same series. It doesn't happen often as we have different tastes in books. However, this series was one of them.

She tends to skim books and thus finds things out faster than I do. The first few books in this series were spoiled for me and I was pissed. It only took a few times (and me shouting at her for spoiling huge things) to get it into her head not to talk about books until I was done and for me to learn to screen phone calls until after the last page. :D

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

One I can't remember where I heard the spoiler, but long before I actually got to sit down to read this book I knew how it was going to end. I probably heard it at bookshops or read it online somewhere because the book is/was so popular that everyone was talking about it one way or another.

Luckily, I still enjoyed the book immensely, so it wasn't a spoiler I was really upset about.

2. The Shadowhunters Chronicles by Cassandra Clare 

It's difficult when your partner is reading a series ahead of you because you have no interest in it yet, but it is more difficult when they're read all the books and you're getting interested but haven't the time to read it.

Over the years, my husband has read The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. In both instances I've asked him about key plot points, so yes the books were spoiled but I was asking for it in this case.

1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth

This one was the biggest and most disappointing. I don't remember who it was that spoiled it exactly, but it was a BookTuber that made no effort to warn of spoilers in her video. I know I don't follow her anymore and this is one of the reasons why. It was a spoiler in regards to what happens at the end of this book and it was the biggest kick in the face. I'm not sure when, or if, I'll ever read this series now.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten OTPs

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme that is brought to us by The Broke & the Bookish. Check out the topic list here.

Freebie weeks are both really exciting and really stressful! There are so many options and you have to narrow it down unless you want a blog post the size of a dissertation.

I decided for my Valentine's themed Top 10 Tuesday to do my Top 10 OTPs (one true pairing). Some of them will be established couples that do end up together, some of them might not be confirmed yet, and some of them might be completing non-canon but I wish they were!

Counting down, here are my top 10 true pairings.

10. Belle and the Beast, Disney's Beauty and the Beast

I love any re-tellings of Beauty and the Beast, but the Disney version was my first and I will always treasure it the most. I love them because not only do they find love, but they learn to overcome prejudices that they each have (and I do believe Belle had issues with the Beast's appearance at first) and  find happiness.

9. Celaena Sardothien and Dorian Havillard, Throne of Glass series

I have finished Throne of Glass and started Crown of Midnight. So far, these two are my favorite. I think they've both got the attitude to deal with the other and in Throne of Glass I sense a real tenderness between them that could be such a great love if only they would get over themselves!

8. Yuko Ichihara and Clow Reed, xxxHolic

It's been awhile since I've read the whole of xxxHolic, but I do remember that a large portion of it is thanks to what Clow was willing to do for the woman he loved. Yuko is such a mix of emotions, but remains incredibly strong throughout, even knowing all the bad things that she does. They are tragic in my eyes and truly need a happy story somewhere, even if it's a flashback or something.

7. Cath and Levi, Fangirl

These two are such dorks and so adorable together, I can't help but love them. Sure they've got their issues, but the way they mesh together (slowly, over the year) makes me happy in a gently smiling kind of way. Their's is a sweet romance rather than a crazy kind of love story.

6. Harry Dresden and Susan Rodriguez, The Dresden Files

I wish this show had been longer and had shown this relationship. It isn't as much a main part of the series as you might be imagining, but it has huge implications on Harry's life. So, so sad, this pair, but so good when together.

5. Sophie Hatter and Howl the Wizard, Howl's Moving Castle

I prefer this pairing from the movie (not as big a fan of the book). Their character growth is so much bigger in the movie. Howl becomes a responsible wizard and stops running from things. Sophie goes from what she believes to be an unattractive girl to a wise young woman that has learned where her strength comes from and what true love is.

4. The Doctor and River Song, Doctor Who

All of space and time and these two found each other. I love River more than anything and she loves the Doctor enough to rip apart space and time.

I thought that the first time we saw them together, when it was River and 10, that that episode was the saddest part of their relationship, that they couldn't make me love them or cry for them any harder.

Well hello there Christmas Special 2015, thanks for proving me wrong!

3. Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter series

This was something from the movie's that I really liked getting into my head. As far as I can remember, nothing every existed between Luna and Neville except friendship and membership in the new Order of the Phoenix. However, I think they would've been really great together. An expert in herbology and an expert in magical creatures (lots of experience at the Quibbler to thank)? They've would've been the cutest power couple in the Wizarding World!

2. Hermione Granger and Viktor Krum, Harry Potter series

Ron was a good best friend for Harry and he did a lot throughout the series, but I never for one minute believed that he was good enough for Hermione. I never felt any chemistry between them. Hermione and Viktor, on the other hand, seemed like they could be a very good couple if they'd given it a go. 

Would it have been hard given that they live in separate countries? Sure, I'll give you that, but they're wizards, for crying out loud. That makes things far easier than it would if they were both Muggles.

1. Alana and Marko, Saga

Alana and Marko are one of the strongest pairings I can think of. It starts out with them falling in love despite the hatred and differences that exist between their planets/species. They manage to move past the hate, fall in love, and start a family.

This is not always a happy pair, though. There's a lot of trauma, a lot of fighting, and a few times where you're not so sure that things are going to end well for them. This series isn't over yet, either, so there's time for things to go badly wrong. I'm holding out hope, though.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Tasty Book Tours Release Blast: Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill

Welcome everyone to the release blast for Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill. Thank you to Lisa Filipe of Tasty Book Tours for allowing me to share this post on my blog today.

For those of you that don't know already, Call Me, Maybe is the story of Clementine who, on her way to California, accidentally switches phones with the mystery man that was sitting next to her at the airport. After discovering this, they connect and realize that they actually live in the same city. Since it would be a hassle to ship the phones and be unreachable, they use each other's phones for a few days. This is just the beginning as things start to heat up before they even "meet".

“Ellie Cahill is definitely one to watch!” raves bestselling author Cora Carmack, and this steamy, upbeat modern romance about connecting in all the best ways proves it once again.
Clementine Daly knows she’s the black sheep. Her wealthy, powerful family has watched her very closely since she almost got caught in an embarrassing scandal a few years ago. So when Clementine’s sent on a mission to live up to the Daly name, politely declining isn’t an option. Of course, the last thing she does before boarding the plane is to grab a stranger’s phone by mistake—leaving the hunky journalist with her phone. Soon his sexy voice is on the line, but he doesn’t know her real name, or her famous pedigree—which is just the way Clementine likes it.
Despite all the hassles, Justin Mueller is intrigued to realize that the beautiful brown-eyed girl he met at the airport is suddenly at his fingertips. They agree to exchange phones when they’re both back in town, but after a week of flirty texts and wonderfully intimate conversations, Justin doesn’t want to let her go. The only problem? It turns out that Clemetine has been lying to him about, well, everything. Except for the one thing two people can’t fake, the only thing that matters: The heat between them is for real. 

There's a lot of interest in this title. To follow the tour, check out the tour page here.

If you want to add this title to your Goodreads TBR, click here.

Since the book comes out today, you can buy it straight away at any of these retailers.

Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

This isn't Ellie Cahill's first rodeo. She written a few other books you might be interested in and she's active all over the Internet. Here's a bit about this amazing woman and some ways to follow her work.

Ellie Cahill is a freelance writer and also writes books for young adults under the name Liz Czukas. She lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, son, and the world’s loudest cat.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

This isn't all! I know, it's great finding out all this stuff about an author and realizing that thankfully there will be more to read after you finish Call Me, Maybe, but there's a bit more to share!

The publisher is hosting a giveaway for an Amazon giftcard worth $25. Wow! I'd be updating my wishlist at this point. You can enter in the Rafflecopter below and after you've done that, I can share with you a blurb from Call Me, Maybe that might just intrigue you even more than the summary already has.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

“What the hell?”

Honor looked over. “What’s wrong?”

“My phone is going completely nuts. It sent me a whole bunch of text messages from myself. Look at this.” Was it possible to get a virus or a worm on a phone? And when had it happened? I held it out.

Honor squinted at it, then looked up at me, eyes going wide. “Oh shit.”


“That’s not your phone.”

“What!” I pulled the screen back to look at it myself.

Below my number the content of the messages was only partially visible, but it wasn’t hard to figure out.

+1 (847) 555-2015


+1 (847) 555-2015


Oh. Fuck.

I thumbed the lock open and had to search frantically for the messages app. It wasn’t where I kept mine on the screen. When I found it, it had the number 15 in a little red circle. The phone app showed another red circle, this one with the number 6.

Oh double fuck.

I said it out loud. “This is definitely not my phone.”

“I already said that. So whose is it?”

I scrolled through the increasingly frantic messages from my number. Whoever had my phone didn’t give a name.

I tapped into the phone app and selected my number. Tension drew me up high in my seat, stomach flopping like a fish, and all traces of drowsiness gone.


No no no no no no no, this could not be happening to me.


Honor must have grabbed the wrong phone at the airport!


Who the hell had my phone?


God, it could have been anywhere. It could have been on its way to Katmandu by now!

The sound of my own voice startled me. “Hi, you’ve reached Clementine. Please leave a message.”

As the automated voice gave me my options at the end, I realized I had no idea what to say. But it was too late to think about that now. Beep.

“Um, hi. I’m the person who has your phone. I am so sorry. I don’t know how this happened, um . . . I’m, um . . . please call me so we can figure out what to do.”

When I disconnected, I shot Honor a look of death. “You took the wrong phone!”

“It was the only one there!” he protested.

“Obviously not.” My hands curled tight around the strange phone as I fought the urge to punch him in the shoulder.

“I swear to god, Clementine, it was the only one there. You left it plugged in; I grabbed it, end of story.”

“Then how did this happen?”

“How should I know?”

Serena the flight attendant appeared in the aisle looking concerned. “Is everything all right here?”

“Fine,” Honor snapped.

“Don’t be a dick. It’s not her fault.”

“Well, it’s not my fault,” he said.

“Well, it sure as hell isn’t mine!” I said through gritted teeth then looked at Serena. Time to channel my grandmother. I gave her my best Miriam Schulman-Daly patrician smile. “Everything’s fine. Just a little problem with my phone. Thank you.”

The pilot hit the brakes as we arrived at our gate and the plane filled with the metallic chatter of seatbelts releasing. Serena hurried back to the head of the plane and Honor got up quickly, like he was determined to be the first one off. I guessed he was avoiding talking about this any longer on the plane.

Probably for the best. Because I was going to kill him after all.

He seemed determined to stay ahead of me the whole time, using his longer legs to eat up the terminal all the way to the escalators to baggage claim. I was out of breath by the time I got on behind him, but that wasn’t going to stop me. Oh no. The longer I had to think about this, the madder I was getting. I poked my brother in the back of his head.

“I swear to god, Honor, if we weren’t surrounded by witnesses—”

He turned, looking sullen. “It’s possible there were two phones plugged into the outlet, okay?”

“Uh, ya think?”

Just then the phone started vibrating in my hand.

It was a call, and it was coming from my phone.

“Oh god, it’s him—her—whoever.” I didn’t even know since I hadn’t listened to the no doubt angry voicemails. The texts had been enough.


Was I about to get screamed at?


“Answer it!” Honor exploded.

I swiped the phone to life. “H-hello?”

“Hello?” A masculine voice replied and I practically jumped out of my skin. There was a fifty-fifty chance it would be a man answering, genius.

“H-hi,” I stammered. “I’m the idiot who took your phone.” Probably best to approach this humbly.

He sighed, making static in my ear. “Hi there. Thank you for calling.”

“I’m very sorry,” I said.

“Yeah, me, too.” He sounded resigned. “What are we going to do?”

“Um . . .” I had no idea. What were the options, even? Probably the easiest thing to do would be for me to get a new phone, disable mine remotely, and import my number to the new phone, but that would leave this stranger with a dead phone and I’d still have his. Now theoretically, he could do the same but that presumed he could get a new phone where he was. And that he had the cash to do it.

“I could FedEx it to you, I guess,” I offered. My heart quailed at the thought of trusting my precious phone to any kind of delivery service.

“Meanwhile we’re both phoneless while they’re in transit.”

“Right.” I followed Honor to the baggage claim area on autopilot. All my concentration was on the phone.

“And that assumes that they don’t lose our packages.”

“Yeah,” I said, sounding much cooler than I felt. “Not my favorite option . . .”

“Mine either . . .” the voice said softly. “The thought of never seeing my phone again hurts in a way that I’m a little embarrassed to admit.”

I laughed, glad to hear I wasn’t alone. Though probably for way different reasons. “Okay, so what then?”

“Where do you live?”

“Chicago. But I’m in California until Friday.”

“You’re from Chicago?” he asked. “So am I. But I’m in Florida until Friday, too.”

“So, do we wait until we’re both back and trade?”

He made a soft whimpering sound. “I guess we have to.”

“I promise you I’ll guard it with my life until I get back,” I said.

“I’ll take good care of yours, too.”

Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: The Face in the Mountain by Magnifying Children's Horizons

Boma and his father are nature giants in Vomper Creek, located in the midst of mountains and meadows. Together, Boma and his father help the nature beings manage the natural world they all live in. When Boma’s father needs to sleep for a hundred years, it’s up to Boma to make sure everything in nature runs smoothly, and he is worried he won’t be able to remember everything his father taught him.
The Face in The Mountain will help your child discover the inner-workings of nature and recognize that everything in nature is inter- connected. It also shows the importance of developing character traits like confidence and responsibility.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 2 Stars

I really wanted to like this book because it looked beautiful, had a good message, and seemed like it would be a quick and pleasant read.

Well, it was quick and the art was lovely, but that was about it.

As it is, the prose was too much. It dragged the story on and made the going very dull. I tried reading it myself first before reading it to my son. He got bored with the amount of talking there was for the amount of pictures.

The story was good, but this book was stuck in a hard place. It felt too long to be a good picture book and much too short to be a good children's book. With a bit of development in either direction, I think this book could have been a lot better.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Harry Potter Thursday: Rename the books from Dumbledore's point of view

Harry Potter Thursday is a weekly meme created by Uncorked Thoughts.

I love the Harry Potter books, though Harry Potter is not my favorite character by any stretch of the imagination. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading about his adventures, but I think there are richer characters within this world than him (Hermione, Luna, etc.). This week's Harry Potter Question asked me to take a look at one such character: Albus Dumbledore.

The idea is to rename the books from his point of view. Dumbledore was a great man, but he did have his flaws which I believe he knew, understood, and even admitted to at times.

It was fun trying to imagine new titles. I only wish I knew something of graphic arts to have been able to create new covers for each one!

Albus Dumbledore and the Year of Gryffindor (or: Never Mind Those Pesky Slytherins)
Albus Dumbledore and the Year of Let's Mess With The Teachers (or: Hiring Lockheart will be fun!)
Albus Dumbledore and the "I'm so smart but I missed 3 underage wizards becoming animagi" Year
Albus Dumbledore and the Year of Dangerous Things That Shouldn't Be Around Children (or Goblet of FIAH!!!)
Albus Dumbledore and the Year the Ministry Tried to Take Over (or: Corelius, You're a Prat)
Albus Dumbledore and the Next Great Adventure
Albus Dumbledore and the Year of Being in Harry's Mind

This week's topic makes me wonder what a book from Dumbledore's perspective would be like. There's so much to his behavior that we only ever hear from Harry's perspective.

What did you think of this week's topic? Let me know in the comments if you answered the topic this week and I'll check your post out.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Please check her blog out as she has good choices weekly and you can share your WoW link as well as view others.

The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.
Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.
The title I chose for Waiting on Wednesday this week is A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

I love Sherlock stories. I have yet to read all the original tales as there are so many, but the ones I have have been truly special. I like spin-offs or retellings and seeing one where the leads are descended from the legendary duo of Holmes & Watson is enough to get me very excited.

What I'm curious to see, as I've not heard a lot of information about this title, is what the time period it is taking place in. Sherlock stories were Victorian England, I believe, and if Charlotte is his great-great-granddaughter, that would put this in either modern times or just before? What will solving crimes be like in this day and age of police work?

Luckily I won't have long to wait as this title is set to be released on 1 March. Just a few short weeks now!

Top 5 Wednesday: Biggest Badasses

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Gingerreadslainey. Check out the Goodreads group here.

This week's topic gave me pause for about a minute. Once I had the first name on my list, all the others came pouring out of the woodwork. I only wish there was more room to include them all, but here are my top five favorite bad asses.

5. Anita Blake (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series)

For me, Anita was a huge bad ass, but only up to a certain point. I think she was her strongest through the first six or seven books, but after that, she (and the story as a whole) started going downhill.

4. Mercy Thompson (Mercy Thompson series)

Mercy goes through a lot of s*&# in this series. She has to deal with prejudice on multiple levels: she's a Native woman (at least partially), she's a female mechanic, and she's a shifter in a mostly werewolf society, all of this not to mention the emotional and physical turmoil she goes through while still managing to get the job done.

3. Myfanwy Thomas (The Checquy Files series)

Anyone who wakes up with no memory, manages to pull themselves together and go to work with a supernatural MI5, and manages not to lose their sanity/sense of humor deserves to be called a badass in my book. Myfanwy Thomas definitely makes this list and is one of my favorites to do so. She's got a lot of wit and I'm anxiously awaiting her next book.

2. Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass series)

A teenage assassin that is one of the best at her job? She's feared by everyone because of her skills, but she's still a likable character.

1. Harry Dresden (The Dresden Files series)

Harry's got some mad skills and goes up against some of the most terrifying baddies I've ever read about. Add to that his personality, his kindness, all of the things he does for everyone he meets, the fact that he never backs down no matter the odds, and I think  you'll agree he's got the top spot on this list.