Waiting on Wednesday #4

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: Zeroes
Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Superheroes
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Pages: 560
Ethan, aka "Scam," has a way with words. When he opens his mouth, whatever he wants you to hear comes out. But Ethan isn't just a smooth talker. He has a unique ability to say things he doesn't consciously even know. Sometimes the voice helps, but sometimes it hurts - like now, when the voice has lied and has landed Ethan in a massive mess. So now Ethan needs help. And he needs to go to the last people who would ever want to help him - his former group of friends, the self-named "zeros" who also all possess similarly double-edged abilities, and who are all angry at Ethan for their own respective reasons. Brought back together by Scam's latest mischief, they find themselves entangled in an epic, whirlwind adventure packed with as much interpersonal drama as mind-bending action. 

Why I'm Waiting

I am really excited about this book. I am a big superhero fan, and something that I love more than superheroes is stories that are a commentary on being a superhero and having powers. Because "double-edged abilities"? I am sold! I love the idea of being super without all of the super perks, and exploring all the downfalls about having powers. Mostly though, I totally think my mouth has a mind of its own which gets me into trouble, and I would love to see that as a power.

Are you excited about Zeroes? What are you waiting on this week?

Review: The Witch Hunter

Title: The Witch Hunter (The Witch Hunter #1)
Author: Virginia Boecker
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 2, 2015

I received a eARC of The Witch Hunter from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (via Goodreads)

The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.
Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear.
Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.
Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him.
But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.
Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.
The Witch Hunter is a quick fun adventure. It was so easy to get pulled into the story with the fast paced and gripping writing, the world filled with tension over witchcraft, and the snarky characters. While there were definitely some darker and serious parts, the story played out as more of an adventure book with a little bit of romance and funny characters thrown in. The plot had a little bit of everything that I love: mystery, families of choice, self discovery, and a good dose of magic.

Elizabeth Grey lives in a world were magic is illegal and witches are hunted. And she is one of the ones doing the hunting. However, the world she knows changes when she is accused of being a witch and finds herself saved by Nicholas Perevil, essentially the rogue version of Merlin. Soon she is learning things to make her question her life before and Blackwell, the country's head inquisitor and leader of the witch hunters.

Elizabeth went through so much character growth during the book. Growing up in a society where witchcraft is seen as evil and working as a witch hunter, she has to completely change all the way she thinks and explore every idea she has been taught when she is helped by the reformists, a group of pro-magic people led by Nicholas. She has to look over her upbringing, her family group, her crush, and even her society's history in order to determine what is real about witchcraft. I loved being apart of her struggle to make sense of this new world and to see her resistance and discoveries when faced with these new ideas. The world that Elizabeth saw at the beginning of the book was a completely different one by the end.

Also drunk Elizabeth is my favorite!

Elizabeth and John's relationship was sweet. It felt a little bit rushed over such a short period of time, and there is this thing with a bird and a tree that I still don't really understand. All that being said, they were so cute with their glances and growing relationship. John is such a kind with a sad family past guy that it is very easy to like him.

I loved the supporting characters especially George and Fifer. Though they may have not been as fully developed as I would have liked, I thought they added a lot to how much I enjoyed the story. I really loved George. As the King's Fool and a reformist, he was an interesting and hilarious character that started to form a friendship and understanding with Elizabeth. While his character wasn't fully explored in this book, I am hoping for more of him in the second book. (Also we got backstory on almost every character but him! I mean am I the only one who saw the reference to him being gay that just never got brought up again?) Though I didn't seem to like Fifer when she was first introduced, I adored Fifer by the end of the book. Most of it probably has to to with her relationship with Schuyler, a revenant brought back from the dead. They just remind me of those couples that just bicker all the time but really care for each other. Surprisingly super sweet.

The ending sort of fell a little flat for me. As usual in these types of books, the big showdown happened, but then there was this last chapter that ended kind of "eh." I actually didn't know that it was the beginning of a series and not a stand alone, but even then the transition into the next book was still a little lackluster. Still definitely going to read the next book because I want to see what happens in this world and to Elizabeth and John and my lovely George.

Rating: 4 out of 5. The Witch Hunter is such a page turner! I would totally recommend it.

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Can you believe that we are almost half way through 2015?! That idea sounds absolutely crazy to me. Where on earth does the time goes? Let's be honest, probably to reading and looking longingly at books. And now there are more to be excited about! The rest of 2015 looks like it will filled with some awesome books!
1. Armada by Ernest Cline
Release date: July 14, 2015

2. Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl
Release date: October 13, 2015

3. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Release date: August 27, 2015

4. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Release date: September 1, 2015
5. Soundless by Richelle Mead
Release date: November 10, 2015

6. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Release date: October 20, 2015

7. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Release date: October 6, 2015

8. Willful Machines by Tim Floreen (Side note: what happened to the other cover? I like that one so much better!)
Release date: October 20, 2015

9. Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young
Release date: November 3, 2015

10. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Release date: July 7, 2015

So those are the books that I am most excited about this half of the year! What books are you all excited for?

Waiting on Wednesday #3- Black Widow: Forever Red

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: Black Widow: Forever Red
Author: Margaret Stohl
Genre: YA, Superheroes
Publisher: Marvel Press
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Pages: 304
Enter the world of Black Widow in this thrilling Marvel young adult novel, penned by #1 New York Times bestselling author Margaret Stohl.

This novel features all the thrilling adventure readers will expect from the Marvel brand, backed up by the young-adult cred of #1 New York Times bestselling author Margaret Stohl. Uncover a new side of the Marvel Universe, accessible to old fans and new readers alike, as Stohl weaves an unforgettable story through the world of the Black Widow.

Why I'm Waiting

I think my heart stopped beating when I saw "Black Widow" and "young adult novel" in the same sentence. Don't pinch me or tell me this is all a dream because this is a real thing that is happening! I am absolutely excited about this book! After my uncomfortable viewing of Black Widow in Age of Ultron (except her friendship with Clint), I really need a well written dose of my kickass, snarky, intelligent Natasha, and I hope that this book will give that to me. It is still early days so I haven't seen any indication of what the actual plot is of the book, i.e. just look at that synopsis which is just an example on how many times you can squeeze the words "Marvel," "Black Widow," and "#1 New York TImes bestselling author Margaret Stohl" into three sentences. But in an EW interview, Margaret Stohl teased this:
Black Widow Forever Red tells the story of Natasha Romanoff and the two teens who find an unlikely way into her life—particularly Ana Orlova, a seventeen-year-old Russian girl now living in Brooklyn. The novel takes us from New York to Eastern Europe, and we get to see more of Natasha’s backstory than we ever have before.
Still not a whole lot of info, but I am a fan of learning lots about Natasha's backstory. I haven't read anything by Margaret Stohl, so I am not sure how that is going to go down but I am going to keep an open mind. I have high hopes, and I am sooooooo excited to get my hands on this beauty. 

Any Black Widow fans in the house that are pumped for this too? Are you curious about reading Black Widow: Forever Red? What book are you waiting on this week?

Top Ten Books I'd Love To See As Movies/TV Shows

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Probably like many people, I have a love/hate relationship with books to movies. So many times I criticize them to until only charred movie tickets remain, but when I read a book I love, I get this knot of hope in my gut that it will become a movie. I think it is getting the chance to see the world that we can only experience in our heads come to life that creates that desire for books into movies. Even if sometimes that are... not exactly right. But no matter how I am feeling about book to movies, I always go to see them, and I always want more of my favorite to become movies. It's mostly a vicious cycle of hope and heartbreak but with movie theatre popcorn.


1. Red Rising series by Pierce Brown
Surprising absolutely no one, including my family, friends, and unfortunate strangers in coffee shops who as what I am reading, I really want Red Rising to be a movie. My deep love for this book needs a movie form for me to criticize. It would be amazingly epic, and I would get to see a live action Severo be a little shit. Win-win for all. Now tell me which literary goddess I have to sacrifice to in order for this to become a reality.

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl would make a great movie. I would really love it and relate to it, and I'm pretty sure a ton of other people would too! It had friendship and family and the most adorable couple, and it would be a great going away to college and figuring out your place in life sort of movie. I would probably cry just as much as when I read the book.

3. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
First off, I just love this book. It warms my heart, and it would be such a lovely movie. David and Leo are such amazing, well developed characters who grow so much, and I how love to see their friendship in live action. I also feel like this book would be a movie to demonstrate transgender identity to a younger audience, maybe help a few people going through the same feelings that David and Leo were or at least create some understanding. Yo more diverse movies!
4. The Inheritance Cycle series by Christopher Paolini
Let's pretend that the 2006 Eragon movie never existed, shall we? I do! I would love to see a full movie series of the Inheritance Cycle books. I really loved the series back in the day. All of the magic and dragons were my life force. I would really love to see that world come to life. Oh I would love to see the characters treated better. Yeah. In other words: I demand a redo!

5. The Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson
A book like Steelheart was made for the big screen! I mean everyone loves superheroes/supervillians, and it would be interesting to see The Reckoners along side these superhero movies as almost a commentary on them. Also it would be good to see something superhero-y outside Marvel and DC (shh I still love you both). Also David's metaphors! I wouldn't mind laughing at those in a movie.

6. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
I ask you, kind readers, what kind of world to we live in when this book is not a movie yet? A sad, sad world. This one would be a tough movie to create with all the stories and perspectives going at once. Maybe it's even impossible to do it justice! But every selfish bone in my body wants to see this movie! Just imagine watch Crowley and Aziraphale get drunk or the apocalyptic horsepersons in the pub or Crowley intimidate his plants. It would be so imaginative and hilarious.

TV Shows

7. 1-800-Where-R-You series by Meg Cabot
Preteen self, this one is for you, kiddo! I loved this series when I was younger, and I always thought that it would make the best TV show. I wanted to be Jess Mastriani so badly with her interesting locator powers and her snarky attitude. Also Rob was pretty much the guy of my dreams at that time.

8. Penryn and the End of Days series by Susan Ee
The epic value that this would have as a TV show is off the charts. While it could be a good movie, Penryn and the End Days as a show would be able to get in all of the world details that I loved in the books. And I am so ready for badass fighting Penryn! Give me ten seasons of this post-apocalyptic masterpiece, and I will be a happy camper.

9. Young Avengers by various writers and illustrators but the Keiron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie was my favorite
Young Avengers would be the coolest TV show! I mean if they are making Marvel shows, then introducing the Young Avengers team seems like the best move to relate to a young adult audience. Plus they are one of my favorite superhero teams. It is so easy to love these complex characters like America Chavez, Eli Bradley, Billy Kaplan, and...well all of them honestly. Just as long as it stays nowhere near the Children's Crusade story line because I can only cry so many tears. Also maybe it might lead to a Runaways TV show, yes? Let me dream big.

10. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
This series was meant to be a show, and I wish it was already. I would love to be able to really follow along their journey and really get into all of the mysteries surrounding Blue and the Raven Boys. Plus with a show, the characters can really be explored, and maybe we can see some of the crazy antics they get up to. Another random note: I also really want to see Gansey's cardboard constructed town in real life. I keep picturing it in my head, and I would just really love to see it in the show.

Bonus: Book to movies/TV shows that are actually happening!!!
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (directed by Steven Spielberg. See, kids. Dreams really do come true.)
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Grace Ellis
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Would you like to see this books as movies or tv shows too? Do you think some would be better as movies while others would be better as tv shows? Maybe if you are brave enough, tell me who you would fancast in one of these books to movies/tv shows?

Monthly Rewind: May

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monthly Rewind is a monthly blog feature that looks back on each month, including a bit about each month from me, blog posts, books I've read over the month, my five monthly favorites, and my monthly TBR list.

May! Lots of things happened in May. Graduation, organizing and visiting with all of my family during graduation, a very fun time at an English major party which resulted in an awful hangover while all said family was getting into town, having a blast at my grad ceremony with my friends, and finally graduating! It was a really rewarding experience and I am glad that I got to experience it with all of those friends. Then I came back home and spent time with my sister, which was great because I hadn't seen her in a while. Then went back up and got all of my stuff and have been trying to sort through it all. It is exhausting. Then add job hunting onto that. It has been a month.

Books read this month: 2. It's been a busy month, alright!
The Wrath and the Dawn, The Witch Hunter
Book reviews: ugh none. I got some queued up. So prepare!
Favorite book of the month: The Wrath and the Dawn. My review is pretty much a love letter to Renée Ahdieh's writing. Xoxo, I'm obsessed.

TV: Constantine and Steven Universe
It seems like I am bad luck for shows because as soon as I like something and start watching it, POOF channeled. See: The Fades, In the Flesh, Happy Endings, Eye Candy, etc. Same goes for Constantine. I watched the pilot when it first came out and then forgot about it, and then rediscovered it and loved it! And now I am stuck with a whole lot of questions and no program has picked it back up yet! Probably I am just going to have to read the comic now.

I also watched Steven Universe too! This show is so sweet and wacky. It has really short episodes so it is great for just a little break to keep your spirits up. Plus I love all of the Gems especially Garnet!

Food: Liquidology Cold Press Juices
Okay for most of this month, I swear I have only eaten burgers. You travel, you get a burger. So when things finally started to settle down again, my body was like "Give me something nutritional! I beg you!" Then I found these really great juices at the farmer's market and discovered they had a store right near my house. My nutritional savior! I have only tried two so far, but they are epic with super good a complex flavors. My favorite has been City Scout which has navel oranges, cinnamon, and other ingredients that I can't remember right now. All I know is that they are delicious and have made me feel a little bit healthier!

Beauty/ Fashion: Shorts
This month I moved from coast back into central Cali, and it's too hot (hot damn). So I have been wearing a lot of shorts, probably much to the chagrin of all the people who get blinded by my pale legs. I picked up a pair of army green lace ones and a pair of purple ones that I have been really enjoying wearing recently. I am going to be wearing them a lot too because it is only going to get hotter.

Music: Road trip playlists and a monthly playlist
I spend a lot of time on the road this month, and I have been enjoying my road trip playlist, Are We There Yet? Lots of upbeat pop punk, lots of Fall Out Boy, and lots of nostalgic 90s and early 00s music. Pretty much things that I can sing to in the car!

Also this month I am introducing a monthly playlist of songs that I have been loving each month. This way you can get a listen to songs that I have been enjoying during the month! I will probably have each up for two months. So enjoy and I hope you find something you like. Here is: May I Get a Hell Yeah.

Person/Thing: Mark Hoppus's twitter
Yes that Mark Hoppus. The amazing Blink 182 bassist and singer. I have been really getting into twitter this month, and I just have love his tweets. So funny! Seriously I would totally recommend checking him out if you want a good laugh.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
I still need to finish this book! I just have a third left. I just haven't had time, but it is sitting on my bedside table just begging for my to finish it.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
I am so excited to read this! I have read the web comic, but there is something about reading it as a graphic novel that sounds so satisfying. I will probably blaze through this in a wonderful afternoon!

Olivay by Deborah Reed
This book looked like such an interesting story. I requested it when I was looking to read something different from what a normally read, and this psychological thriller seems like it will do just that.

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
I just got this book last week, and I am so excited to read it. It seems like a book lovers fantasy! Plus I have always found the Great Library at Alexandria to be one of the greatest losses of all time and would love to see what would happen in a world that still had it.

How was May for you all? Any favorite you want to share? Any of these book one your TBR list for this month?

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1)
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: May 12, 2015

I received a eARC of The Wrath and the Dawn from Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (via Goodreads)

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. 
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

What a powerful book! Powerful love story. Powerful friendships. Powerful adventure and intrigue and mystery. But most of all this book is all about powerful secrets.

("Say powerful, again." "Powerful.")

If you can't already tell, I am such a fan of this book. It was a fun and gorgeous read that kept me entertained all the way through. The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights but it expands on the main story that is used as a framework for all the tales in the original. Shahrzad, or Shazi, volunteers to marry the Caliph of Khorasan, Khalid, and though she is supposed to die at dawn like all of his wives before, he extends her sentence to hear the rest of the story she tells during the night. She is adamant to tell this story and extend her life, in order to discover Khalid's weakness and to take revenge on his killing her best friend. But there are secrets behind the Caliph and his actions, and he might not be the monster the city thinks he is. Or maybe he is. 

My love for this book may have to a lot with how much I adored Renée Ahdieh's writing. The writing is both gorgeous and easy to read, and it really just sucked me into the story. The plot had a comfortable pacing was a told in third person, giving insight into the actions of many characters such as Tariq, Shahrzad's father, and of course Shahrzad herself. Her descriptions were so phenomenal and really brought the Middle Eastern setting to life. Everything from the guard's eye to a bit of food was had these amazing concisely accurate descriptions. Honestly, I could listen to her describe things all day. Her vivid descriptions are what gave this story life because it immersed me into this beautiful setting and drew me to the characters.

Shahrzad is such an amazing character. Loved, loved, LOVED her. She is bold, strong, and determined like no one would believe, and quite a few times stubborn to a fault! Directly from the beginning, she is determined to discover Khalid's weakness and shows herself as an equal to him even in the life threatening position she put herself in. 
Shahrzad has such a quick mind and amazing wit that keeps her alive essentially and navigates her through life in the Caliph's palace.

The relationship between Shahrzad and Khalid is probably one of my favorite love stories of all time. It was so complex and full of levels of trust/distrust, secrets, and love. Shahrzad doesn't want to fall in love with Khalid. In fact, that is the opposite of her whole plan to avenge her best friend's murder! But as the story goes on she sees that man behind the king, almost in a Beauty and the Beast sort of way of learning to love a beast. And I was right there with Shahrzad about my confused feelings toward Khalid and their relationship. He has his reasons as you discover, but there is still the cold hard fact that he killed all of his previous wives. But damn it if I didn't love Khalid too! Khalid is such a complex character who I respected so much by the end.

Also my heart nearly beat out of my chest every time he called Shahrzad "my queen." I swooned big time.

I am a sucker for great friendships, and this book had two amazing ones: Shahrzad and Despina and Tariq and Rahim. Shahrzad and Despina, her handmaiden, were so snarky with each other, and their stubborn attitudes made them such even matches. I loved their interactions, and I ended up copying down so many quotes from their conversations:

Shahrzad smiled at this in spite herself. "You're arrogant." 
"As are you, my lady Shahrzad. But I do not see this as a shortcoming. For without a measure of arrogance, how can one attempt the impossible?" (ARC 42)
They are put into this position of queen and handmaiden where they have to be close, and it was so interesting to see them grow from distrusting to being more open with each other. 

Tariq and Rahim is another friendship that makes this book. Tariq is Shahrzad's childhood sweetheart and Rahim is their childhood friend, and they are resolute in finding a way to save Shahzrad from the same fate of the Caliph's pervious wives. I am pretty sure that they have matching BFF tattoos somewhere because what bros. These two were so funny together! Sure, there were lots of serious moments between them as they search for a way to help Shahrzad, but I just loved their familiar little jibes at each other.

"Well, if anyone can talk their way out of a beheading, it's you." 
"I thank you, Rahim. As always, your abiding confidence in me casts any possibility of doubt astray" (ARC 122).

Also while Tariq does give this story a little love triangle action, for once it actually didn't bother me too much. I usually loathe anything love triangle related, and I thought this one was done very well so far. I think because Ahdeih establishes such an interesting relationship between Shahrzad and Khalid while also giving insight into Tariq's perspective of the situation that it helps the story along.

The only thing I would say is that the ending seemed a little rushed. So much happened in so few pages that I was just like: "Well this got out of control quickly." Despite that, I feel like it did set it up well for the next book though, which I need right now!

Rating: 5 out of 5. I enjoyed every gorgeous word of this book. The writing, the characters, the relationships! I can't wait to read The Rose and the Dagger.