Hi there! I read this book a while back and I *finally* figured it was time for me to actually get a move on reviewing all of the books I’ve read so far this year (almost over 50, nbd). So here is the first in a *really* long line.

Title: We Are Okay

Author: Nina LaCour

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Source: Hardcover, US

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

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Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

 

 

 

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I remember when I was finishing this book I drove early to work so I could sit in the parking lot to finish it. I needed to know what happened in the end!

First off, the character development is amazing. I loved getting to know Marin and Mabel throughout the story. The way Marin talked about her grandpa was lovely, too, and I enjoyed their relationship together. There are a few big twists that are really laid out well with the characters throughout the story. I feel like I should have seen it coming because some of the hints are so obvious after the fact. Yet, I loved finding it out when LaCour intended us to.

The story itself is haunting. I love how beautifully the story is told and how LaCour sets up little traps and turns for the reader to go down and fall into. It’s lyrical in a sense and I think that added to the work as a whole. I can’t believe I haven’t read anything by her before and I can’t wait for more.

The ending of the story was sweet and hopeful, which I think is the best way a book can end, especially with the bombs that were dropped right before that. I think the best part was the ending and the sense of closure that the characters got. I semi-hope there’s a sequel, but I’m happy with the way it is right now.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Book Review & Giveaway: First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy

Hi guys! I hope you’re having a lovely summer so far. Mine has been super busy, but I’m here with an awesome book and giveaway today! I’ll be reviewing First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy. Keep reading for a giveaway too! Huge thanks to Alexandra for reaching out to me for review and providing both copies 🙂

Title: First We Were IV

Author: Alexandra Sirowy

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Release Date: July 25th, 2017

Synopsis: It started for pranks, fun, and forever memories.

First We Were IV
Goodreads | Amazon

A secret society – for the four of us. 
The rules: Never lie. Never tell. Love each other.
We made the pledge and danced under the blood moon on the meteorite in the orchard. In the spot we found the dead girl five years earlier. And discovered the ancient drawings way before that.
Nothing could break the four of us apart – I thought.
But then, others wanted in. Our seaside town had secrets. History.
We wanted revenge.
We broke the rules. We lied. We told. We loved each other too much, not enough, and in ways we weren’t supposed to.
Our invention ratcheted out of control.
What started as a secret society, ended as justice. Revenge. Death. Rebellion.

Source: ARC copy, provided by author

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MY REVIEW

Are you ready for a thriller? This book kept me hooked until the last page. I needed to know what happened at the end. More importantly — WHAT HAPPENS TO THE FOURTH CHARACTER?!

My favorite part about the book was the characters. It’s told from one of the main members’ point of view – Izzie – and it’s an interesting perspective. I think it really worked for this book in particular. Getting to know the characters as she knew them was fascinating – especially since she conceived of her Order.  Since I got attached to all of them so early, I was kind of dreading the ending because I didn’t want anything to happen to my smol cinnamon rolls. MUST PROTEC!

I found the mysteries of the whole book one of the best parts. You go into it knowing something is going to happen to one of the characters (um… the title, guys, the title tells all — okay definitely not all but some), but no matter what, Sirowy writes so well that you simultaneously want to finish it and prevent finishing it so everyone stays where you can see them. I thought some of the rebellions (the term the Order uses for the stunts they pull) were a *bit* far-fetched, but hey we forgive movies, so why not forgive the book?

This book was awesome, not to mention the secret society part. It was compiled excellently – I loved the little inserts of the video transcriptions 🙂

All in all a really compelling book – loved it!

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GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Okay, so if my review sold you on wanting to read this book, or if you’ve read one of Alexandra’s other books (The Telling or The Creeping),  Alexandra and I have teamed up to giveaway a copy of this book! All you  have to do is follow this link to the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • US and Canada Only
  • Must be 18 years or older or have parental consent
  • Runs from today to the 25th

Good luck!

Happy reading,

Sophie

Posted in Blog Tours, Bloggers, Sophie

Blog Tour: The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone

Hi there! I’m back with another blog tour, but this time I’m bringing you one by one of

The Unlikelies
Goodreads | Amazon

my new favorite authors — Carrie Firestone!

About the Book:

THE UNLIKELIES

By Carrie Firestone

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Release Date: June 6th 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis: Five teens embark on a summer of vigilante good samaritanism in a novel that’s part The Breakfast Club, part The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and utterly captivating.

Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby in distress and a video of her good deed goes viral.

Suddenly internet-famous, Sadie’s summer changes for the better when she’s introduced to other “hometown heroes.” These five very different teens form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads and discover that there might be truth in the saying “no good deed goes unpunished.” Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships–and anonymity–intact?

This rich and thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, and wisdom.

About the Author

Carrie Firestone has lived in rural, urban, and suburban places, and, while she currently Carrie Firestone.jpg lives in the suburbs, she is decidedly a CITY person. She loves parties, and all kinds of music, and books about random people doing random things in random places. She loves to travel with her husband, and two daughters, Lauren and Emily. When she isn’t writing, you might find her reluctantly sharing her popcorn at the movies, trying to get people (or dogs)  to do a conga line, or adding items to her loose ends list.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

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May 29

YA Obsessed– Review
When Curiosity Killed the Cat– Q&A
Book Munchies– Promotional Post

May 30

Never Too Many To Read– Review & Fave Quotes
Go Read a Book– Review
Susan Heim on Writing– Promotional Post

May 31

We Live and Breathe Books– Review & Fave Quotes
Reads and Thoughts– Review & Fave Quotes
Buried Under Books– Review

June 1

Super Space Chick– Guest Post
The Mind of a Book Dragon– Review & Playlist
Her Book Thoughts– Review

June 2

Bookmark Lit– Review
Reading to Unwind– Review & Fave Quotes
A Thousand Words a Million Books– Q&A

June 3

Here’s to Happy Endings– Review
Wishful Endings– Review
A Lovelorn Virgo– Review & Dreamcast

June 4

The Book Return– Guest Post

Dream Within a Dream– Promotional Post
review
When I found out I was going to be part of this tour, I screamed a little. I LOVED Carrie Firestone’s first novel, The Loose Ends Listso much so I couldn’t wait to help promote her second one!
Firestone doesn’t disappoint! I loved the way she wrote this one. It’s a different kind of vibe than her first one. The characters in this novel come alive and I wish I had a crew that came together in such an unorthodox way like these! The diversity of the characters are also a really cool aspect of the book – but it’s done in a way where it’s a thing, but not the thing.
The evolution of the characters really made me love this book. The different ways they come together and ultimately fight together made me really enjoy it. My favorite is definitely Sadie. Not only do I love the name Sadie, but throughout the book I feel like she really comes into herself as a person.
One of the major themes, aside from altruism, is growing up and growing apart. Sadie’s struggle to reconcile her new friendships and her old ones, especially with her best friend, really resonated with me. I had to go through something similar this past year because my friends had graduated and I still had one year of high school left.
I highly recommend this book to those looking for a quirky read. This is one perfect for your summer bag!
playlist
I chose these songs because they reminded me a lot of the characters and some of them just made me laugh. Hope you enjoy!

giveaway

About the Giveaway

  • 3 finished copies of The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone
  • US Only
  • No P. O. Boxes
  • Follow the tour for more chances to win
  • Runs through June 6
  • Please read the Rules and Regs of Rafflecopter

Here’s the link! https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86238/?

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Hi there! Can I tell you how excited I was to get this in the mail? I received an advanced copy from a publicist for review and I was so excited to read this. I saw it last fall and was immediately intrigued. I can’t wait for you guys to read it this May!

Synopsis:

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about

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two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Publisher: SimonPulse                                  Page #: 320

Expected Release: 30 May 2017                 Edition: ARC

My rating: 5/5 stars

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What a cute contemporary read! I couldn’t wait to see where these characters took me, and I loved how Menon characterized them! I am not entirely one for insta-love books, and it seemed like this one might be one, but I did appreciate all that happened within these pages.

I remember finishing it late the night before a scholarship competition and wanting to get up and dance around. Here are some of my initial thoughts (via Goodreads):

I love this book so much! Dimple and Rishi made me believe in so much.

I don’t think my sleep deprived brain had much more than this to type out. I enjoyed this book so much and have had some time to let my thoughts on it marinate.

One thing this book champions is the strength of Dimple as a female. I love it when female characters are hard on asserting themselves and there are always many obstacles that they face when this happens. I appreciated Dimple’s initial prickliness toward Rishi! Their first meeting is probably one of my favorite scenes in the book, especially seeing it from both sides of the story.

Rishi reminded me a bit of myself. I am a romantic (though not a hopeless one, and certainly not as much as Rishi), and I loved seeing him persist throughout this book. It was interesting to watch him develop as a character and more than just a boy in love. He’s sweet and kind, and I like that he doesn’t become overbearing and demanding of Dimple. He gives her room to be herself and appreciates her even more for her genuineness.

I cannot speak to how accurate this story was to Indian culture. I imagine, however, that with the author’s background that it was, at least to some extent, accurate. I like that it took the taboo idea of arranged marriages and made it something that the reader could understand in modern context. I think that people are really quick to judge arranged marriages, especially in the United States because we don’t understand it and what it means to people today. I think Menon did very well demystifying this for us, and I really loved the way she did it.

This is definitely one I’ll be rereading! I can’t wait to read it this summer again.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Blog Tours, Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Blog Tour: The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

The Best Kind of Magic

by Crystal Cestari
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy

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Synopsis:
Amber Sand isnot a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber’s pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone’s soul mate.

Amber works ather mother’s magic shop–Windy City Magic–in downtown Chicago, and she’s confident she’s seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one–her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor’s son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father’s missing girlfriend, she’s distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can’t see her own match, she can see his–and it’s not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn’t her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and willappeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.
 
This book was so cute! Amber is a spunky and hilarious narrator throughout the entire novel. I really enjoyed getting to know her and the other characters through her point of view.
At first we start off with Amber being really unsure of herself and while she enjoys her matchmaking skills she doesn’t want to be a matchmaker only – she wants to be a baker. I love that there were other things that Amber was interested in and that she didn’t let her magic be the only thing that defined her. She becomes a more confident young woman as the story continues and I really liked that character development.
Amani was definitely one of my favorite characters. She’s complex and different and I can see where Amber would be frustrated with her as a best friend. However, I love their friendship and how they’re always there for each other even when things get a bit hairy. They support each other in ways that you want best friends to be there.
 
Here is the playlist I selected for the book! I picked these because they reminded me a lot of Amber and the plot, especially the end! Enjoy!


With rainbows in my hair and stories in my head, I am a writer drawn to magic in the everyday world.

My debut novel, The Best Kind of Magic, arrives May 16, 2017 from Hyperion. Follow Amber Sand, a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love, as she takes off on a fun and romantic adventure toward happily ever after.

We are giving away one (1) finished copy of The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari. This is open to US and Canada only and ends on May 26th. You can follow the rest of the tour for more opportunities to win, however you may only win once! Click here to enter the giveaway!
Happy reading,
Sophie 🙂
Posted in Bloggers, Q & A, Sophie

Interview: Laurie Forest, Debut Author of The Black Witch

Hi guys! Happy release day to The Black Witch and Laurie Forest (among soooooo many others I’m excited for)! Today we have Laurie on the blog with an interview about her debut novel.

Displaying The Black Witch jacket.jpgIf you’re wondering what her book is all about click here for a link to my review and synopsis of the book.

Here’s a little bit about Laurie: 

Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands. The Black Witch (May 2017, HarlequinTEEN) is her first novel, and Wandfasted (The Black Witchprequel, Summer 2017, HarlequinTEEN) is her first e-book novella.

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Without further ado let’s jump into this interview!

Sophie: Hi Laurie! My name is Sophie and it’s pleasure to speak with you/work with you. I enjoyed the exploration you took while writing The Black Witch and I found everyone in the book fascinating! What inspired you to write this story?

Laurie: About eight years ago, my then pre-teen daughters started putting Harry Potter in front of me (I’d never really read any fantasy before, I preferred non-fiction almost exclusively). After watching them devour the books, dress up like characters in the books, style birthday parties around the books and get so excited about the movies, I broke down and cracked open the first book. I read through the entire series in less than two months.

I was instantly hooked and stunned that J.K. Rowling was able to tackle so many serious issues so effectively (and inspiringly) in a metaphorical/fantasy way. I started to read every YA fantasy book my kids handed me, and then some.

During this time, as I was immersing myself in vivid stories of dragons and werewolves and witches and wizards, a dramatic, real-life story was going on around us here in Vermont – the fight for marriage equality. My husband and I were involved in supporting marriage equality, which was a surprisingly hard battle. Prejudice I never knew existed came out of the woodwork against LGBTQ friends, completely blindsiding me.

This real-life story did have a happy ending – Vermont legalized marriage equality in 2009. But the darkness I had witnessed reverberated in my mind. It set me mulling over prejudice in more general terms (religion-based, gender-based, etc.) as I was reading The Golden Compass series. The spark of a story lit inside me – a fantasy story where people with wings are rejected by pretty much every religion/culture for no sound reason save tradition. On a lark, I started writing that first scene down and found myself as instantly hooked by writing as I had been by fantasy fiction (it felt like magic). My fledgling story rapidly found its own trajectory and rapidly veered off into pure fantasy territory.

S: Elloren is a character who is entrenched in her prejudices, what was it like writing a character like that? Why did you decide to write her brothers so different from her?

L: In The Black Witch, I really wanted to delve into where a prejudiced way of looking at the world springs from, so it was an interesting challenge to not only create a dangerous, destructive world-view, but to make it seem rational to the main character (via how sheltered she is and how many lies she’s been told – and there’s a strong religious justification for her world-view as well). My idea was to thrust the reader into that world-view along with the main character and then turn everything completely on its head. Elloren is a naïve sort who doesn’t start out very rebellious, so I think her easy acceptance of most of her cultural prejudices makes sense. Her brother Trystan, being gay, is already privately at odds with the culture, so I think it makes sense that he’d be a bit cynical about it all, although he becomes more of a rebel as the series goes on. They all do. And Rafe’s nature is free-thinking and open-minded, so I think he has a natural tendency to question everything and go his own way.

S: This book is riddled with difficulties Elloren must overcome, not to mention the political turmoil between the classes in that world. What was the most difficult part about writing this book?

L: The most difficult part was pulling so many threads into a coherent whole, especially since I wrote the book’s scenes out of order. I had to go back and streamline all the different cultures and the political timeline.

S: I found myself drawn to the Ulrich twins. Their sensitive natures and undying support really connected with me. Do you relate to any of the characters? Who?

L: At the moment I feel closest to Prof. Kristian. Or at least I want to be like him. He’s quietly heroic and very active, behind the scenes, in the Resistance. He has no magic, but he makes good use of the talents he does have (mainly his intelligence and knowledge of history) to try and shine a light on injustice and right it (we learn more about him as the series progresses).

S: My favorite character is definitely Diana! I love her fierce loyalty and strong character. Do you have a favorite? Why?

L: Right now my favorite is Ariel Haven, because she’s been so abused and misunderstood for so long, but she still hasn’t been completely broken. I feel like Ariel has the heart of a true hero underneath all the trauma.

S: Ariel is a great character. I really liked her rough edges. I don’t know how much you are aware of the negative reviewer on Goodreads, but I found her when I was adding The Black Witch to my “currently reading” shelf. Frankly, I was appalled and I disagree with what she is saying. Is there anything you’d like to say pertaining the message of your book?

L: The Black Witch, at its heart, is a critical exploration of the harmful nature of prejudice in whatever form it’s found. I think a narrative like this, with its condemnation of hate and dismantling of internalized racism, is quite relevant. My goal for the series is to promote diversity in an entertaining story. My overarching theme (I hope) is that any government or culture or religious system of belief that does not promote diversity can lead to a very dark place. Kind of the path to Mordor.

Or in the case of The Black Witch, Marcus Vogel’s vision for Gardneria.

S: The ending is such a cliffhanger! Are there any current projects you’re working on that you could share with us?

L: Book Two of The Black Witch Chronicles is written and I’ll be leaping into the editing/sensitivity readings of that very soon with my editor at Harlequin TEEN and sizable team of readers inside and outside of my imprint (it’s been important to me to have this narrative read by people from many different backgrounds to check for sensitivity – and I also get a lot out of online sensitivity discussions which have given me much guidance as well). We’re hoping to put

Book Two out next year. The e-book prequel to The Black Witch, Wandfasted, comes out July 1, 2017 (it’s currently up on Amazon for pre-order and the cover reveal is coming soon!). It’s being sold as a novella, but it’s around 250 pages – I can’t seem to write short, lol. Wandfasted happens 20 years in the past. It’s the love story of Elloren’s parents, Vale and Tessla (oh my, romance is fun to write). I like to think of it as Pride & Prejudice meets Lord of the Rings .

You get a glimpse of the original Black Witch on the front lines in this book (which was extraordinarily fun to write) as well as many characters from The Black Witch as young people – Aunt Vyvian, Uncle Edwin, Prof. Jules Kristian, Lucretia Quillen and Fallon Bane’s parents. And baby Gareth  Also, there are battling dragon armies in this e-book.

S: Thank you so much for your time, I had a pleasure chatting with you! Are there any closingcomments you’d like to make?

L: I’m looking forward to the book getting out there and hearing from readers. And I hope the book provokes further discussion! Thank you for taking the time to interview me and thank you for your review of The Black Witch 

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Be sure to check out The Black Witch!  I encourage you to read it and see what you think of it 🙂 If you lucky ducks live close to these places be sure to go see Laurie while she’s on tour!

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Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hi there! I hope you’re having a wonderful day. I know that it’s been warming up around Michigan so I’m excited to read outside! I was sent a copy of this book by Harlequin Teen for an honest review, and I’m pleased to shared it with you today.

Synopsis: A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa

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Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.

Publisher: HarlequinTeen                                My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Expected Release: 2 May 2017                        Source: HarlequinTeen/Publicist

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I don’t read reviews prior to reading books. I don’t think it’s a bad thing if you do! I like to form my own opinions of books before I see what others have to say, it’s just a personal preference of mine. That being said, I read a few of the reviews of this book when I was about half way through the book. I had been enjoying the book so far and was adding it to my Goodreads (finally). It had a low, low rating of 1.88 stars (avg), and it really caught my eye. I found that there was a reviewer on Goodreads who expressed extremely negative opinions about the book calling it racist, homophobic, and ablest – to name a few. While I don’t agree with her opinion, what really bothered me was that people jumped right on board with her before reading the book themselves and began to rate the book as 1 star. I think it’s fine that she rated it so low! People are entitled to their own opinions! However, it is unfair of the other members of Goodreads to immediately assume that that reviewer’s word is gospel. Her opinion of the book is just that – an opinion. What I write in my reviews may differ what you think about the book, and that is okay! I am allowed to think what I think and you are too. I think one thing people are forgetting here is that we need to read and think critically. And that means that we need to encounter things first-hand to see if things match up to what is being said before jumping to immediate conclusions.

With that rant out of the way – here are some more thoughts I had about the book!

I enjoyed this book! It was definitely high fantasy and a little different from the ones I’ve read before. I liked the various descriptions of the people and how intricate it was. I did find that a little confusing at times though, but not enough for it to really be a bother.

I found Elloren to be really annoying at first. She was irritating and I hated the thought process she went through and how she viewed her world. However, stepping back I could see the perspective the author wanted me to take. I read in the author’s letter that she was trying to mimic and grow a person who is prejudiced deeply, and Elloren really shows it. One thing I didn’t understand was how much more progressive her brothers were versus Elloren because they were raised in the same environment.

The development of the other characters was a fun thing to read about. I liked seeing the veil of prejudice come up as Elloren attended University. I felt like it showed how sheltered she was and ignorant of the world. My favorite character is Diana by far. She is strong willed and fierce.

The language of the book was a little awkward and repetitive at times, but I felt like it was pretty good for a debut novel.

Overall a good book to read, especially if you have time!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Book Review & Giveaway: Alex and Eliza by Melissa de La Cruz

Hi guys & happy (belated) Easter (if you celebrate it, my family does). I’m here today to celebrate the recent release of this awesome novel by Melissa de La Cruz  Alex & Eliza. 

What you want to know about the book:

1777. Albany, New York.

Alex and Eliza
As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

Publisher: Putnam                          My rating: 4/5 stars

Release Date: 11 April 2017          Source: Penguin RandomHouse

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Here are some initial thoughts when I finished the book:

I was enamored with this book! It was sweet and lovely. I love Eliza and her sisters – they seem to really pop off the page and become the women I would have wanted to be friends with. Eliza is like a real-life Lizzie Bennett – spunky, spirited, and quick-witted. She quickly became one of the women I love in literature. I definitely need to do more research on her!

I completely agree with my original self! It was a sweet read all around and I really enjoyed myself when I read it. Eliza was super fun to read and I love the voice that de La Cruz gave her. She is the woman I would have wanted to be if I had been alive during the Revolution. Throughout the book she becomes less of a woman in history (lesser known, too) to someone who is living and breathing within the pages. I love the life that de La Cruz has given her.

I haven’t jumped on the Hamilton craze yet. I know, I know, it’s pretty much blasphemy these days to say that but I haven’t had time to seek out the music. That being said, I really love how this illustrates history. I’m a big history junkie and this was right up my alley.

This reminded me of a colonial version of Pride and Prejudice. The banter between the main characters and the general voices of the characters really carried that vibe. I like to think that Darcy is a hopeless romantic at heart, so it was fun to see Alex’s side of the story as well as Eliza’s.

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Because I loved this book so much I’m giving away a hardcover copy! It’s US only (sorry guys, shipping isn’t cheap!). It ends on the 22nd (1 week from today). Just click the Rafflecopter link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Q & A, Sophie

Q & A Friday: Laini Taylor & Cecilia Vinesse Interviews

I can’t believe it’s Friday already. I feel like this week flew by! I am so excited to share with you some interviews I did for Justine with Laini Taylor and Cecilia Vinesse. Both of these ladies had events in the past couple of weeks and I had the pleasure of speaking with both of them.

Laini and I played a quick round of 5 Quick Questions. It was fun to hear how she would place herself within her book. You can find the link to the full article here. Here is a snapshot of it:

Would you rather be a Godspawn or human?

Godspawn, if I could choose!

Who wins in a fight, Lazlo or Thyon?

Oh man, what kind of fight? I’m gonna have to go with Thyon.

(Originally published on justinemagazine.com)

I got to have a full conversation with Cecilia. It was so fun speaking with the debut author (Seven Days of You). Our full chat can be seen here. Here is one of my favorite responses from her.

Sophie: Hi, Cecilia! So glad to have you here today. To kick things off, why don’t you tell us something that isn’t in your bio.

Cecilia Vinesse: Hi! Oh my, something that isn’t in my bio. Hmm, let me think about this. I was a really, really big musical theater person for a really long time. I had the all original cast albums of different shows, and I had all the lines memorized. I used to, this is embarrassing, I’m sharing something embarrassing, I used to, when my family was out of the house, we used to have this really steep set of stairs so I would play the music really loud and I would sing it at the top of the stairs like I was in a production of the show. I really thought that was what I wanted to do, like I really thought that was—for a large portion of my teen years that was my dream, but then I realized I’m actually really nervous in front of crowds and that I like telling big stories, but maybe in a quieter way. So slowly over the years all of my Broadway posters came down off the wall. I still like it but not in the same obsessive way that I used to.

(Originally published on justinemagazine.com)

I hope you enjoyed both of them, I know I had a blast.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Chat: Reading Slumps

Hello! Hope you’re having a great week thus far. I’ve got a short week this week at school, so I have a lot of time to read! (Well, and do other things like see Beauty and the Beast with my friend and watch more Glee.)

Today I wanted to talk to you about reading slumps. We’ve all been there. You’ve just finished a phenomenal book and you’re still living in the wonderful world that just ended (or didn’t if it’s a series unless it was the last book in that one). Alas, all good things must come to an end at some point. Yet, you want to go back in time and start reading that book for the first time again. I have felt that way with many books (The Upside of Unrequited being the latest probably).

As a book blogger, being in a reading slump is the worst. I need to read so I can review and stay up to date with all of the buzz! So what do I do to fight this? Here are a few of my tried and true tricks.

1) Read a contemporary. I love contemporaries because they’re light and fluffy. Many of them have strong underlying messages in them too, and I love them even more for that. It’s nice to take a dip into the “real” world and see someone go through something that you have (or haven’t) and sympathize with their plight. Also, I love how fast they usually go. Some of my go-to contemporaries are To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny HanThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, anything by Sarah Dessen, and the latest contemporary that I bought.

2) Re-read my favorites. I don’t know how you people expect me to have just one favorite book. I have some all-time favorites (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Shug by Jenny Han, You Were Here by Cori McCarthy to name a *few*). Re-reading a favorite book is an awesome solution because it’s revisiting a world that you’ve come to love. I always find that there are details that I missed the first time around and it’s fun to find all of the new things about the book that I love.

3) Start reading multiple different books. This one isn’t for everyone! I know it’s tough to read more than one book at a time for a lot of people, but if I’m feeling a slump come on I start a bunch of different books. Chances are one is going to grab me and suck me in. After I finish that one I have all of the other ones that I started that I can come back to. I slowly make my way through my books this way. (I have so much that I have to read vs. ones that I want to read in addition to this that it’s necessary to read more than one book at a time.) If the book that you picked up isn’t working for you then you can try one that you already started and come back to it later! This is how I finish so many books around the same time. It’s pretty effective when you have a huge tbr stack.

I hope my tips have helped! Are there any tried and true ways that you use to get out of a slump? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading,

Sophie