Upload Change

When I first started blogging again, I was really enjoying it. I was constantly reading books, and wanting to discuss them.

But things have slowed down….a whole lot.

Now uploading everyday is starting to feel like a chore, rather than something I actually enjoy doing – which is probably why I’m writing up all my posts after midnight just so that they can go up by 10 AM.

I’m not enjoying it anymore.

So, I’m not going to upload everyday, take away some of the stress that has been piling up. I don’t want to say I’m “taking a break” or “going on hiatus” but my uploads will probably be more sporadic. I’ll get some books read, some writing done, and come back – but I’ll probably only upload a few times a week, instead of everyday.

I don’t want this space to feel like a chore or obligation. I want to post on here, because I genuinely am excited to post about a book I loved, or writing tip, or anything. As of right now, I’m constantly scrambling for something to write about and get posted.

The funny thing is, I never intended to keep posting every day Monday-Friday, but then I started liking having a post go up everyday. What was once fun, has started to become tedious.

I’ll be back soon, with more book reviews and writing insights!

Movie Review: The Space Between Us

I remember seeing the trailer for this movie when it came out, and my first thought was, I want to see that! Of course, none of my friends wanted to see it, and life got busy, so I never ended up seeing it in theaters. Who knew Mordred was a martian? (Watch Merlin if you haven’t already.)

The Space Between Us

Gardner Elliot, the first human born on Mars, begins an online friendship with Tulsa, a teen in Colorado. On his maiden voyage to Earth, the 16-year-old finally gets to experience all the joys and wonders of a world he could only read about. Problems arise when scientists discover that Gardner’s organs can’t withstand the atmosphere. United with Tulsa and on the run, the interplanetary visitor races against time to unravel the mysteries of how he came to be, and where he belongs in the universe.

I’m a sucker for anything science fiction, and this was such a feel good movie, even though problems arise for Gardner that severely threaten him. He’s on a journey to experience life on Earth, meet (in person) Tulsa, and find his dad.

I loved the way the movie was shot, all the colors were so vivid, and saturated, making everything so beautiful and bright.

Like with any movie that follows two teenagers around, it can feel a little unrealistic at points, but for this movie, I think it helps sell the story. It’s Gardner’s first time on Earth, so of course he should experience as much of it as he can. So there are plan rides, stealing cars, driving out into the desert, and carrying on.

I thought Asa Butterfield portrayed someone who had never seen Earth before really well. The wonder, and euphoria that is so clearly evident on his face as he takes everything is adorable. It made me want to find a friend and go on a road trip.

It got a little predictable towards the end, when you find out who Gardner’s father is, but that’s not really a huge deal breaker for me.

This a pretty brief review, but overall, I really enjoyed this movie, and would definitely watch it again. Personally, I would rate it a 7.5/10, but I’m a huge sucker for anything SF or remotely SF, so…

 

February Wrap- Up

I ended up reading ONE book off my February TBR, and that one book put me in a reading slump.

So, I ended up reading whatever held my interest.

I don’t know if I’m going to do a March TBR – because I can’t trust my self to stick to it.

I thought that I didn’t read much this month, but I read SIX books. For someone who was in a reading slump, I’m impressed.

Out of the six I read, two of them fell pretty short, but I thoroughly enjoyed everything else on this list.

Since I have a review for each of the books listed, I’m just going to give a brief blurb about them.

â—ŠFirst book I read:

Hunting Prince Dracula – Kerri Maniscalco – 5/5

Audio Book Finished: February 6, 2018

I loved Stalking Jack the Ripper and this book was no different. I loved the Indiana Jones-esque scenes towards the end, and it was so easy to get lost in the story. I will forever ship Thomas Creswell and Audrey Rose Wadsworth. I cannot wait! for Escaping from Houdini!

â—ŠSecond book –

The Great Hunt – Wendy Higgins – 4/5

Audio Book Finished: February 8, 2018

I had tried before to read this book, and I don’t know why I waited so long! I ended up really loving this book, and the world and magic system that Wendy Higgins created. Also Paxton – as much as I loved him, he kind of got annoying, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the antagonists reasoning for her actions. But overall, I did really enjoy this unique world.

â—ŠThird book –

Royally Screwed – Emma Chase – 3.75/5

Paperback Finished: February 11, 2018

This was a fun, quick read, that was definitely swoon worthy. Pretty much the moment I finished reading this one, I went to Amazon and ordered book 2! If you’re looking for a fun, hot, new adult read, definitely check this series out!

â—ŠFourth book –

Zenith – Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings – 3/5

Hardcover Finished: February 15, 2018

Ugh, my opinion is pretty clear about this book in my review, but I had some pretty high expectations for this novel, and was super excited about it being a SF novel, and it ended up letting me down.

â—ŠFifth book –

Artemis – Andy Weir – 3/5

Hardcover Finished: February 27, 2018

This was the next book to let me down. The Martian was soooo good, but this book just fell so flat for me. Weir had a bar that he should have hit, and he missed it. I think that this book would make a good movie, but as a book, it was just lacking in a lot of areas.

â—ŠSixth book –

An Enchantment of Ravens – Margaret Rogerson – 4/5

Hardcover Finished: February 28, 2018

I loved this book! I really enjoyed the story, the world, and the characters. But because I loved it so much, I wanted more of the story. I wouldn’t be opposed to more books set in the world!

This is a pretty short post, but that’s my February Wrap-Up! I’m already two books into March, so maybe I’ll have a better reading month, and actually read the books that were on my February TBR list!

 

Book Review: Invisible Ghosts

Invisible GhostsTitle: Invisible Ghosts

Author: Robyn Schneider

Pub. Date: June 5. 2018

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


Rose Asher believes in ghosts. She should, since she has one for a best friend: Logan, her annoying, Netflix-addicted brother, who is forever stuck at fifteen. But Rose is growing up, and when an old friend moves back to Laguna Canyon and appears in her drama class, things get complicated.

Jamie Aldridge is charming, confident, and a painful reminder of the life Rose has been missing out on since her brother’s death. She watches as Jamie easily rejoins their former friends—a group of magnificently silly theater nerds—while avoiding her so intensely that it must be deliberate.

Yet when the two of them unexpectedly cross paths, Rose learns that Jamie has a secret of his own, one that changes everything. Rose finds herself drawn back into her old life—and to Jamie. But she quickly starts to suspect that he isn’t telling her the whole truth.

All Rose knows is that it’s becoming harder to choose between the boy who makes her feel alive and the brother she isn’t ready to lose.


I’m going to start this post off with a little appreciation post for Robyn Schneider’s other two YA contemporaries – The Beginning of Everything and Extraordinary Means.

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: In one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

The Beginning of Everything

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met—achingly effortless and fiercely intelligent.

Together, Ezra and Cassidy discover flash mobs, buried treasure, and a poodle that might just be the reincarnation of Jay Gatsby. But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: If one’s singular tragedy has already hit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

I’m SUPER picky when it comes to contemporary reads, especially YA contemps. I often find that I can’t relate to the characters, and overall my preference lies with SFF. There are some authors who are automatic buys when it comes to YA contemp. novels, and Robyn Schneider is one of those authors. Back in 2013, when The Beginning of Everything  first hit shelves, I remember seeing it in my local Barnes and Nobles. It was bright yellow, bright orange, and bright blue, and the cover just spoke to me. I don’t remember if I even read the synopsis (I probably did) but I bought it.

Remember how I said I’m picky with my YA contemps? Well, I read this, and fell in love. It wasn’t a typical YA, the characters never fully acted in the ways I expected them to, and I loved everything about the novel.

Now, fast forward 2 years. It’s the end of February or March, and I’m at the first ever Apollycon hosted by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and in the swag bag of book and bookish goodies we received there is an ARC of Robyn’s next book, Extraordinary Means. I had no – absolutely no idea that she was writing a new book, so I freaked out, and went to read it instantly.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and Extraordinary Meansconfusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down. Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

This book was perfect. Once again Robyn had managed to tell this darker story, but the humor she wove into it felt so natural and so right. All her characters feel so realistic in the way they act and communicate with each other. They feel like teenagers that you’d go to school with.

I’ve never experienced the tragic backstories that most of her characters tend to have, and my high schools days were pretty ordinary, but her characters always felt like true teenagers, and not some of the idealized or romanticized ones that I tend to find in YA contemps. They feel like lighter contemps, but the messages that they carry are deeper. And overall, I just absolutely love the stories she tells.


Now onto the review for Invisible Ghosts – I managed to get my hands on an ARC of this book, and my review will be completely honest. Like in all of my reviews, the first part will be spoiler free, followed by a section that will contain spoilers.

I may have freaked out when I found out that Robyn Schneider was working on a new book, that ARCs would soon be available and that the title would be Invisible Ghosts.

From the point forward, I entered any giveaway for this book that I could find, because I desperately wanted a chance to read it early ^ see first part of this post.

Then the book arrived in the mail – thanks to #booksfortrade on Twitter – and I freaked out all over again.

Invisible Ghosts follows Rose Asher who can see dead people – namely her dead brother Logan, who is Netflix obsessed (aren’t we all). Not taking the situation for granted she spends most of her free time watching shows with her brother who is forever stuck at fifteen.

That is until her old bff Jamie Aldridge moves back to town, and suddenly Rose’s life starts changing, as Jamie’s charismatic, charming and confident personality fills Rose with life.

But what would your reaction be if the only person you could talk to started hanging out with someone else? Logan is stuck forever at fifteen, and reacts badly to losing his sister.

The writing, pace and message of this book are perfect.

I was listening to Robyn’s Instagram Story the other day, and she said that the reason it takes so long for her to write books is because every day she sits down to write, she edits (from the beginning) everything she has written so far, before starting new words. When I initially heard this my mouth dropped, and I was convinced that doing that was counter productive. But you know what, I’ll eat my words.

The time and dedication is so clearly evident in this novel. I didn’t feel like there was excess information, or unnecessary information – every word, line, phrase, sentence all had a purpose and a reason, and it made the story so utterly wonderful to read.

Okay, I feel like I’m laying it on a little thick, but I honestly loved this book. It was like a breath of fresh air. I’ve read a few books in the month of February and while some have been good, and made me happy and excited, this was the first book to make me actually feel. By the end of the book, I had tears coming out of my eyes. This is easily my favorite novel of her’s and I can definitely see myself re-reading this again and again.

Let’s briefly talk about Rose and Jamie. I loved the two of them. I loved how we got to see Rose grow, and change and become someone who chose to blend into the crowd decide that blending in wasn’t worth it. I loved how we saw Jamie as that catalyst, that final push for Rose to “bloom” – yes, I went there.

Rose was already examining her spot in the high school hierarchy, and wasn’t thrilled with it, but continued to settle. God, we’ve all been there, friends with people just so we weren’t alone. Hell, I did that in High School, even in Middle School – I was the new kid, everyone else had been friends since kindergarten, so I sat with the first people who let me sit with them. It wasn’t until later that I found my group of friends.

Granted, Rose’s case is different, but the sentiments and reasonings are still the same. It’s awful being alone in high school, it actually sucks. You get in your head, and you think everyone is staring and/or talking about you – it sucks. And then there is always this one Queen Bee, who has a bunch of little minions, or followers only so that they can look up upon her and she can look down and berate you. No one is perfect in high school – no matter what they might think – you can only hope that they grow out of it.

I felt like Rose and Jamie progressed as a couple really quickly, and I had to keep reminding myself that they didn’t just meet; that they had been close friends as children and already had a history. So while their relationship was cute and all, it felt a little like insta-love, but they are also teenagers, and teenagers tend to fall in love so fast and so hard and so often, that it wasn’t entirely annoying. I said it in a previous post, I’m iffy on insta-love in books, but it depends on the book.

As for Logan, I really liked Logan. He’s stuck forever at 15 – I wasn’t expecting a lot of emotional maturity from him. I did feel like he was pretty selfish, and not entirely unaware of how he was behaving – he wasn’t stupid, he had brains, so I assumed that he knew he was behaving poorly towards his sister…but again, 15 year old boy.

I definitely recommend reading this book when it comes out. It’s such an amazing story, and I think’s it very relatable. We can’t let the ghosts (literal or otherwise) hold us back from living our lives and doing what we love, otherwise we might just be stuck on the sofa watching Netflix all day. (Not that that’s a bad thing.)

Now onto the spoiler part.

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Last chance!

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Let’s start with Rose –

Rose Asher can see her dead brother Logan, and since his death, which she places part of the blame on herself, she’s secluded herself off, spending her afternoons sitting on the couch watching shows on Netflix with Logan.

At schools she’s “friends” with a group of girls.

“At lunch, I sat with the same group of girls who’d adopted me out of pity back in middle school. I guessed, we were friends, but it didn’t really matter what we were, because lunch tables are just another version of assigned seating.” (pg.5)

“Some friend groups are defined by a sport everyone plays, or an extracurricular everyone joins, but we were defined by Delia Kelly. We were her subordinates, the adjectives to her nouns.” (pg.5)

I use the term “friends” loosely.

After her brother’s death she gravitated away from her friends, and was picked up by Queen Bitch and co. It’s pretty clear that Rose doesn’t really fit the mold of subordinate, and wants more.

She bikes to and from school everyday, and everyday she has to pass the spot where her brother died. I thought that it was interesting that she only half blamed herself for her brother’s death. I thought it was really mature of her to acknowledge that he was also at fault, old enough to remember that with a deadly life threatening allergy he should have never left the house without his EpiPen. But she held herself accountable for some of the blame because they had an argument and she left the house, which meant that he had to then come after her.

To me, Rose felt like a real high school teenage girl, though maybe she knew who she was a little more than I knew who I was at 16. Or maybe it’s because she lost her brother that this filter was removed from her vision, and she could see people for who they were. Rose didn’t seem to romanticize high school. She knew that she was missing out, that it was her fault for pulling away, that if she had tried harder instead of building walls, she wouldn’t be stuck at a lunch table trying to appease Delia Kelly.

Enter Jamie Aldridge.

The King Tut to her Cleopatra…and then the Antony to her Cleopatra.

I loved that they had a history before Junior year of high school. I loved that Jamie, who is open, charismatic, charming, funny, and able to make Rose laugh, is the catalyst she needs to break free of the cage she’d built around herself. And then to find out that Jamie can see ghosts too. Now, I thought that was a twist – well I mean, I figured someone else would have to be able to see them…So maybe the twist is that he can exorcise them/put them at peace. Regardless I like Jamie.

I loved that he called her Cleo, and that he gave her the strength to be herself. I didn’t really feel like Jamie had much of a role, except give Rose that final push to change her life. I think without Jamie it would have taken a little longer for Rose to realize that she couldn’t spend every day on the couch watching Netflix with Logan – Jamie just expedited the process.

But I also feel like that line of thought is unfair to Jamie, because while everything *seems* to be easy for him, I don’t think it was. I think that if this book had been told from alternating view points, we would have seen Jamie suffering. The way I read it, Jamie really cared for Rose, had for a very long time, and to see her suffering quietly, I think it hurt him.

Great. Now I want a version of this book from Jamie’s perspective.

I loved how natural the two of them felt together. Their cute banter, and teasing – it made me feel warm and fuzzy. The way they interacted with their friends – can I copy and paste myself into that group of friends? Please? It was just so fun and refreshing and the ease at which they were all comfortable with each other. It felt so natural, and I loved how they treated Rose as if she had never left. They just opened their arms, and accepted her back into the fold.

Now I know that this is a YA contemp with ghosts. But I kind of wish that Logan had gone just a little bit more poltergeist, and then came around to having to go. And I also wish that there had been a way for the parents to say goodbye, but at the same time, the parents seemed to have moved on for the most part, and seeing the ghost form of their dead son would have raised so many red flags.

I wish Logan had gone a little more rage filled –  I don’t know why. I think it would have added a creepier element?

Though I did love how the book ended, it made me cry. I actually had tears running down my face for the last handful or so pages.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I want to wipe it all from my mind, so I can experience it all over again. It’s been a while since I just thoroughly loved a book so much that I just want to sit and start it all over again. I hoped that this book would be as good as her previous two contemps, and it didn’t disappoint.

The last two paragraphs of this book sums up life so perfectly, and since it’s such a huge spoiler, I won’t share it here, even in the spoiler section. But it’s good advice that everyone should try to follow.

Invisible Ghosts is out June 5, 2018. You should pre-order this book, and sit down and read it the moment you get it into your hands. 10/10 would recommend.

 

Book Review: Royally Matched

Royally MatchedTitle: Royally Matched

Author: Emma Chase

Pub. Date: February 21, 2017

Rating: ♥♥♥♥


Some men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.

He’s not handling it well.

Hoping to help her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora agrees to give him “space”—but while the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:

Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.

A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world’s most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.

While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.

The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit… and her naughty sense of humor.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight. As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.


I didn’t think that I would love this book more than the first one.

BUT

I did! I so, so, so did!

I actually loved Royally Matched so much more than Royally Screwed. Don’t get me wrong. They are both swoon worthy and ohmygod hot, and royal brothers Nicholas and Henry are perfectly imperfect hotties, but the story for Royally Matched was just way cuter.

I don’t watch the Bachelor – which is pretty funny, since I love books with that kind of premise, and this book has that! If I had to choose which female MC I relate more too, it would be Sarah, over Olivia.

I have this huge cheeky grin on my face as I write this, because I loved this book…though the rum might be playing a tiny part.

I loved Henry. At the end of the first book his life is utterly turned upside down, and he’s left struggling to come to terms with becoming the Heir Apparent to Wessco, next in line to rule. In an attempt to take charge and prove that he’s capable, he decides to take part in a reality tv show. Though, twist, the girl he falls for isn’t part of the show.

Sarah has a dark past, and is content with just living her life in a routine that she never breaks, until she is asked to participate in Matched: Royal Edition. Sarah is the complete opposite of Henry, and the attraction is undeniable.

I definitely recommend checking this series out! If you like hot princes, fun fantasy romances, and smart ass inner dialogue, then you’ll like these books.

More in-depth with potential spoilers time!

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If I had to choose, I would choose Henry over Nicholas.

When I first started reading Royally Matched I couldn’t get into it because I loved Nicholas and Olivia so much from Royally Screwed. But I actually prefer this book over the first one. While both plots in both books are so far fetched, and literal fantasies, Royally Matched just felt more realistic. I know. I know. How realistic can it be with fictional princes, in a fictional kingdom, with a lot of rules, decorum, and duties – but with that being said I’m a sucker for “Bachelor-esque” plot lines.

Also I’m a sucker for down-on-his-luck hot princes.

I was actually happy that Nicholas and Olivia weren’t really in this book, that it focused solely on Henry and Sarah.

I loved their romance. It was a little insta-lovey with them falling in love in about five and half weeks, but I couldn’t be mad. While it was quick, they did get to know each other before really doing anything. There was a lot of teasing, and flirting before anything bed bound happened. Even then, they were together for over three years before they even got engaged, but the “I love you” came about five weeks after meeting.

Even with the accelerated timeline, their relationship progressed pretty naturally. Henry had some moments of “cave man” where he went all super protective, but I think that he was SO within his rights.

Neither Henry or Sarah are perfect, and they make mistakes with each other, but I think that’s realistic for any people. No one is perfect, and people will make mistakes, it’s inevitable.

I thought Sarah stood so well on her own before Henry. She had a successful job, an apartment, moved past her dark past, but I loved how Henry opened her up, gave her the strength to actually live life, instead of shying away. Even once they were together, it never felt like she revolved around him, and she never backed down from teasing back – especially once she really started opening up.

The ending of the book surprised me a little bit. I didn’t expect them not to get married right away, and oh my god their letter writing made my heart so happy.

This whole book just made me so happy.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series Royally Endowed! I’m going to put it in my Amazon cart right now!