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ARC Review: This Adventure Ends

9.19.2016
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Expected Publication: October 4th, 2016 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: NetGalley
*I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected the opinions stated below.
Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.


Okay, first of all, if you haven't read her debut, First & Then, GO PICK THAT UP NOW. AND WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, GET THIS ADVENTURE ENDS BECAUSE YOU NEED IT.

Okay, moving on. I was very excited to read this book, especially since I've been on my recent contemporary binge, and I can easily say it delivered, and then it flew lightyears beyond my expectations.

Emma Mills has an uncanny ability to write dialogue. I can't tell you how many times I laughed. I'm in absolute awe of the way she fills this book with wit. Seriously. THE SASS AND THE BANTER NEVER END. Those of you who love witty and sarcastic characters will absolutely adore Sloane - and her first meeting with Gabriel.

This Adventure Ends honestly has one of the best first chapters I've ever read. Besides the fantastic wit that I've already mentioned (and will never stop talking about), Sloane absolutely TEARS DOWN a dude with just a few words, and I was in love by page, like, 5 or something.
"Geez. That was - was that a New York thing? Do they teach you that stuff there?" Yes. Here is your MetroCard, and this is how you publicly dismantle insufferable dicks.
I feel like I need to personally thank Emma Mills for Sloane. She's just got such a unique voice and her sarcasm/wit are the perfect kind - funny, dry, but not harsh. She's 17 and doesn't know what she's going to do with her life. She sings - she's dedicated, she's good - but is that really where she wants to take her entire life? Or does she want that one thing to just be for her? And she spends the majority of the book hunting down this painting just because she wants to help her friends, to give them something meaningful to hold onto. I LOVE SLOANE.
"Frank Sanger is for everyone." I look up at the sky as she taps away on her phone. "Maybe I'm the opposite. Maybe I'm for no one."
And there is just. SO much more to talk about. Sloane's father is so much fun. He's almost as quirky and witty as Sloane. He's a writer who's been struggling to find inspiration lately, and he starts to write fanfiction. I'll admit that I skimmed over the fanfiction bits because I wasn't interested in the premise, BUT, you guys, I LOVE THIS. The portrayal and positivity of fanfiction and being in a fandom here is SO BEAUTIFUL. JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I COULDN'T LOVE THIS BOOK ANYMORE.

Friendship is obviously very central to this novel, and not just between Gabe, Vera, and Sloane. They have a nice little group that I was honestly kind of jealous of, and the dynamics between all of them are killer. I especially loved the friendship between Sloane and Remi and the way they conspire together.
I don't even know where to start. Sad is just the tip of the iceberg.
I think my only real issue was that I needed Gabe and Sloane to have a few more conversations. I certainly liked them and rooted for them, but I just needed them to have a little more depth than they did, I suppose. That's not to say that it was love at first sight or that they developed way too fast, because neither of those are true! Their relationship felt so genuine and sweet, I just thought they could have benefitted from a few more conversations about the things they like, etc.

tl;dr: This Adventure Ends is a funny and witty tale about friendship and learning how to grow close to people. It has a perfect cast of characters, and Emma Mills writes in such a unique voice that you're drawn in immediately. 4.5 stars. 


*Please note: quotes not final. 

Books That Need to be TV Shows Immediately

9.14.2016
So TV was the choice of topic in last week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. But I (unsurprisingly) missed it and I LOVE TALKING ABOUT TV. So here I am.

There's been a lot of talk in the community about YA adaptions, especially after the Throne of Glass adaption news came out. And a lot of it has been negative. I realize that she's been under fire for her rep lately, but I did not see a single tweet about the adaption that was concerned with that - it was all just I DON'T WANT IT although I did see a few people who were cautiously optimistic. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't enjoyed many YA adaptions on TV. (Although I LIKED THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING WAY BACK WHEN, DAMMIT. Not that I ever read the books. And you know what? I LIKE SHADOWHUNTERS. I REALLY DO. I don't even like the book series but I enjoy the show. Is it the best thing over? No, of course not. But I have seen WAY shittier TV.) But I want people to stop shitting on YA adaptions. This is YOUR COMMUNITY. And all I ever hear is "no I don't want this adaption it's going to suck." And you know what? Maybe it will. But I am so, so tired of the negativity. I want Hollywood and every other studio to keep trying. I want them to keep making YA adaptions, because some day, they're going to get it right. And you might be ruining that. The second they announce an adaption, 90% of what I see is moaning and groaning. The other 10% is mostly authors who are being super supportive of their author friends!

This wasn't meant to turn into a rant, but another thing: I'm tired of people complaining about things being too different from the book. Now, if they're changing a character's ethnicity or identity, I understand that that's a totally different situation. If they're doing a complete 180 on a character's personality in a negative way, I get it! If they start killing off every good character and every POC, you have every right to be mad, not that you need me to say that. But if you're mad because they're changing basic stuff, adding new characters, etc. I just. Why. TV and especially cinema are a different medium than books - sometimes they do things differently. Sometimes because they have to, sometimes because they think it works better. And honestly, I never want to see exactly what I read. I already read it! BUT, if you don't like changes in adaptions, I'm not trying to say that you're wrong for that. I'm just trying to say that changes are inevitably going to happen, and if you don't like it? 

Here's a concept: if you don't like the adaption, don't watch it. Just let other people enjoy it.

Anyway. Like I said. I want them to keep trying. If they screw it up? No harm done, really. You still have the book. SO HERE ARE SOME BOOKS I NEED A TV SHOW FOR.

The Marauders (JK Rowling)


Sunday Street Team: A Shadow Bright and Burning

9.11.2016
Thanks so much to Nori and Random House!
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Expected Publication: September 20th, 2016 by Random House
Source: NetGalley
*I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected the opinions stated below.
I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?

Now, through no fault of its own, it took me over a month to read A Shadow Bright and Burning. It is a little long - at least compare to what I've been reading lately, which is really just contemporaries - but I've been having a hard time just picking up a book and reading it, no matter how good. And so this did lead to a little confusion on my part, particularly about who Blackwood even was or what the Ancients were, human or otherwise. And that did lessen my enjoyment a little, but like I said, that one is definitely my fault.

The author's writing style really does a fantastic job of drawing you into the world. This version of England is a perfect setting for the story and the way that it's described is truly magical. I could see it all so perfectly, and it might sound cheesy, but I could really feel the city, the people, the house.

Sexism plays a pretty significant part in this novel. Henrietta has an intriguing affinity for fire (as in, well, she can literally set herself on fire) but females? Being sorcerers? It doesn't happen. And that's something that plagues Henrietta throughout the novel, something that she comments on several times. It isn't just pushed aside and ignored. Henrietta struggles in her lessons as a sorcerer, and the fact that she's female draws even more attention to that. People makes comments, she makes a few speeches about it, and I really admired her strength in that respect.
Sometimes I wished that I could actually burn. 
Besides her responses to some of the blatant sexism that occurred, I really admired Henrietta for her struggle with maybe not being the one from the prophecy. She's so determined to prove to people that she's good, that she's capable, that they didn't make a mistake in bringing her to train with sorcerers. It's almost heartbreaking.

I was pretty neutral on the romance throughout. Yes, there's kind of a love triangle, and I can't say that I know for sure where it's going to end up. But the good news - I liked both of the love interests! I didn't love them, and I wanted more information about them, but I thought they were equally good love choices for Henrietta and both really respected her. BUT THEN. Somehow in the last 20% or so they both went really, really downhill for me, and the romance began to feel so ridiculous. Which sucked. The other good news - romance definitely isn't the focus of this novel!

I don't normally like to comment on plots too much (besides maybe pacing) for fear of spoilers, but here's what I will say: the plot in A Shadow Bright and Burning is interesting and magical and there was even a twist or two, but I didn't see anything terribly unique to it. However, the writing really brought it to life.

tl;dr: A Shadow Bright and Burning has a heroine who's so easy to connect and sympathize with that I'm confident you guys will love her. While I didn't find any astounding originality, the descriptive writing was beautiful and unique and really drew me in. 3.75 stars but I don't have a cat for that.


About the Author:
JESSICA CLUESS is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she's not writing books, she's an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.


Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday: September! (Contemporary Edition)

9.07.2016
Ah, yes. It's that time again. The first Wednesday of the month, where I overload my blog with books that don't come out for forever and basically TORTURE MYSELF. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

To recap: In August, I selected The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi HeiligGiven to the Sea by Mandy McGinnisDaughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller, and Vicarious by Paula Stokes for my WoW! I have The Ship Beyond Time and Daughter of the Pirate King now and I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED. 

This month unintentionally ended up featuring (almost) all contemporaries! 

The Book Jumper by 
Expected Publication: January 3rd, 2017 by Feiwel and Friends

Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever cost.
I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS COVER. I just can't stop staring at it. Also, SCOTLAND. I don't think I need to say anything else.

End of Summer Preorder Giveaway! (INTL)

9.05.2016
It's not quite the end of summer. It's still going to be in the high 80s this week (ew) and the bugs haven't started dying out yet (EW), but the semester is starting which means summer is dead which means my soul is also dead. Or hibernating, at least. I LOVE fall, I love the leaves and SWEATERS and blankets and the drinks. I do not love school.


But! Soon the Halloween movies will start. And then the CHRISTMAS MOVIES WILL START. And if you know me, you know nothing makes me happier than Hallmark Christmas movies (besides cats). And I will use Halloween and Christmas as an excuse to watch Harry Potter again.

Anyways. To celebrate (read: mourn) the end of Summer, I'm giving away a preorder of one of the books shown below! International, as long as The Book Depository ships to you, though that means you won't get it on release day, sorry! Ends September 30th, 2016.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

9.19.2016

ARC Review: This Adventure Ends

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Expected Publication: October 4th, 2016 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: NetGalley
*I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected the opinions stated below.
Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.


Okay, first of all, if you haven't read her debut, First & Then, GO PICK THAT UP NOW. AND WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, GET THIS ADVENTURE ENDS BECAUSE YOU NEED IT.

Okay, moving on. I was very excited to read this book, especially since I've been on my recent contemporary binge, and I can easily say it delivered, and then it flew lightyears beyond my expectations.

Emma Mills has an uncanny ability to write dialogue. I can't tell you how many times I laughed. I'm in absolute awe of the way she fills this book with wit. Seriously. THE SASS AND THE BANTER NEVER END. Those of you who love witty and sarcastic characters will absolutely adore Sloane - and her first meeting with Gabriel.

This Adventure Ends honestly has one of the best first chapters I've ever read. Besides the fantastic wit that I've already mentioned (and will never stop talking about), Sloane absolutely TEARS DOWN a dude with just a few words, and I was in love by page, like, 5 or something.
"Geez. That was - was that a New York thing? Do they teach you that stuff there?" Yes. Here is your MetroCard, and this is how you publicly dismantle insufferable dicks.
I feel like I need to personally thank Emma Mills for Sloane. She's just got such a unique voice and her sarcasm/wit are the perfect kind - funny, dry, but not harsh. She's 17 and doesn't know what she's going to do with her life. She sings - she's dedicated, she's good - but is that really where she wants to take her entire life? Or does she want that one thing to just be for her? And she spends the majority of the book hunting down this painting just because she wants to help her friends, to give them something meaningful to hold onto. I LOVE SLOANE.
"Frank Sanger is for everyone." I look up at the sky as she taps away on her phone. "Maybe I'm the opposite. Maybe I'm for no one."
And there is just. SO much more to talk about. Sloane's father is so much fun. He's almost as quirky and witty as Sloane. He's a writer who's been struggling to find inspiration lately, and he starts to write fanfiction. I'll admit that I skimmed over the fanfiction bits because I wasn't interested in the premise, BUT, you guys, I LOVE THIS. The portrayal and positivity of fanfiction and being in a fandom here is SO BEAUTIFUL. JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I COULDN'T LOVE THIS BOOK ANYMORE.

Friendship is obviously very central to this novel, and not just between Gabe, Vera, and Sloane. They have a nice little group that I was honestly kind of jealous of, and the dynamics between all of them are killer. I especially loved the friendship between Sloane and Remi and the way they conspire together.
I don't even know where to start. Sad is just the tip of the iceberg.
I think my only real issue was that I needed Gabe and Sloane to have a few more conversations. I certainly liked them and rooted for them, but I just needed them to have a little more depth than they did, I suppose. That's not to say that it was love at first sight or that they developed way too fast, because neither of those are true! Their relationship felt so genuine and sweet, I just thought they could have benefitted from a few more conversations about the things they like, etc.

tl;dr: This Adventure Ends is a funny and witty tale about friendship and learning how to grow close to people. It has a perfect cast of characters, and Emma Mills writes in such a unique voice that you're drawn in immediately. 4.5 stars. 


*Please note: quotes not final. 

9.14.2016

Books That Need to be TV Shows Immediately

So TV was the choice of topic in last week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. But I (unsurprisingly) missed it and I LOVE TALKING ABOUT TV. So here I am.

There's been a lot of talk in the community about YA adaptions, especially after the Throne of Glass adaption news came out. And a lot of it has been negative. I realize that she's been under fire for her rep lately, but I did not see a single tweet about the adaption that was concerned with that - it was all just I DON'T WANT IT although I did see a few people who were cautiously optimistic. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't enjoyed many YA adaptions on TV. (Although I LIKED THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING WAY BACK WHEN, DAMMIT. Not that I ever read the books. And you know what? I LIKE SHADOWHUNTERS. I REALLY DO. I don't even like the book series but I enjoy the show. Is it the best thing over? No, of course not. But I have seen WAY shittier TV.) But I want people to stop shitting on YA adaptions. This is YOUR COMMUNITY. And all I ever hear is "no I don't want this adaption it's going to suck." And you know what? Maybe it will. But I am so, so tired of the negativity. I want Hollywood and every other studio to keep trying. I want them to keep making YA adaptions, because some day, they're going to get it right. And you might be ruining that. The second they announce an adaption, 90% of what I see is moaning and groaning. The other 10% is mostly authors who are being super supportive of their author friends!

This wasn't meant to turn into a rant, but another thing: I'm tired of people complaining about things being too different from the book. Now, if they're changing a character's ethnicity or identity, I understand that that's a totally different situation. If they're doing a complete 180 on a character's personality in a negative way, I get it! If they start killing off every good character and every POC, you have every right to be mad, not that you need me to say that. But if you're mad because they're changing basic stuff, adding new characters, etc. I just. Why. TV and especially cinema are a different medium than books - sometimes they do things differently. Sometimes because they have to, sometimes because they think it works better. And honestly, I never want to see exactly what I read. I already read it! BUT, if you don't like changes in adaptions, I'm not trying to say that you're wrong for that. I'm just trying to say that changes are inevitably going to happen, and if you don't like it? 

Here's a concept: if you don't like the adaption, don't watch it. Just let other people enjoy it.

Anyway. Like I said. I want them to keep trying. If they screw it up? No harm done, really. You still have the book. SO HERE ARE SOME BOOKS I NEED A TV SHOW FOR.

The Marauders (JK Rowling)


9.11.2016

Sunday Street Team: A Shadow Bright and Burning

Thanks so much to Nori and Random House!
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Expected Publication: September 20th, 2016 by Random House
Source: NetGalley
*I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected the opinions stated below.
I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?

Now, through no fault of its own, it took me over a month to read A Shadow Bright and Burning. It is a little long - at least compare to what I've been reading lately, which is really just contemporaries - but I've been having a hard time just picking up a book and reading it, no matter how good. And so this did lead to a little confusion on my part, particularly about who Blackwood even was or what the Ancients were, human or otherwise. And that did lessen my enjoyment a little, but like I said, that one is definitely my fault.

The author's writing style really does a fantastic job of drawing you into the world. This version of England is a perfect setting for the story and the way that it's described is truly magical. I could see it all so perfectly, and it might sound cheesy, but I could really feel the city, the people, the house.

Sexism plays a pretty significant part in this novel. Henrietta has an intriguing affinity for fire (as in, well, she can literally set herself on fire) but females? Being sorcerers? It doesn't happen. And that's something that plagues Henrietta throughout the novel, something that she comments on several times. It isn't just pushed aside and ignored. Henrietta struggles in her lessons as a sorcerer, and the fact that she's female draws even more attention to that. People makes comments, she makes a few speeches about it, and I really admired her strength in that respect.
Sometimes I wished that I could actually burn. 
Besides her responses to some of the blatant sexism that occurred, I really admired Henrietta for her struggle with maybe not being the one from the prophecy. She's so determined to prove to people that she's good, that she's capable, that they didn't make a mistake in bringing her to train with sorcerers. It's almost heartbreaking.

I was pretty neutral on the romance throughout. Yes, there's kind of a love triangle, and I can't say that I know for sure where it's going to end up. But the good news - I liked both of the love interests! I didn't love them, and I wanted more information about them, but I thought they were equally good love choices for Henrietta and both really respected her. BUT THEN. Somehow in the last 20% or so they both went really, really downhill for me, and the romance began to feel so ridiculous. Which sucked. The other good news - romance definitely isn't the focus of this novel!

I don't normally like to comment on plots too much (besides maybe pacing) for fear of spoilers, but here's what I will say: the plot in A Shadow Bright and Burning is interesting and magical and there was even a twist or two, but I didn't see anything terribly unique to it. However, the writing really brought it to life.

tl;dr: A Shadow Bright and Burning has a heroine who's so easy to connect and sympathize with that I'm confident you guys will love her. While I didn't find any astounding originality, the descriptive writing was beautiful and unique and really drew me in. 3.75 stars but I don't have a cat for that.


About the Author:
JESSICA CLUESS is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she's not writing books, she's an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.


Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

9.07.2016

Waiting on Wednesday: September! (Contemporary Edition)

Ah, yes. It's that time again. The first Wednesday of the month, where I overload my blog with books that don't come out for forever and basically TORTURE MYSELF. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

To recap: In August, I selected The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi HeiligGiven to the Sea by Mandy McGinnisDaughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller, and Vicarious by Paula Stokes for my WoW! I have The Ship Beyond Time and Daughter of the Pirate King now and I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED. 

This month unintentionally ended up featuring (almost) all contemporaries! 

The Book Jumper by 
Expected Publication: January 3rd, 2017 by Feiwel and Friends

Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever cost.
I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS COVER. I just can't stop staring at it. Also, SCOTLAND. I don't think I need to say anything else.

9.05.2016

End of Summer Preorder Giveaway! (INTL)

It's not quite the end of summer. It's still going to be in the high 80s this week (ew) and the bugs haven't started dying out yet (EW), but the semester is starting which means summer is dead which means my soul is also dead. Or hibernating, at least. I LOVE fall, I love the leaves and SWEATERS and blankets and the drinks. I do not love school.


But! Soon the Halloween movies will start. And then the CHRISTMAS MOVIES WILL START. And if you know me, you know nothing makes me happier than Hallmark Christmas movies (besides cats). And I will use Halloween and Christmas as an excuse to watch Harry Potter again.

Anyways. To celebrate (read: mourn) the end of Summer, I'm giving away a preorder of one of the books shown below! International, as long as The Book Depository ships to you, though that means you won't get it on release day, sorry! Ends September 30th, 2016.


a Rafflecopter giveaway