Sneak Peek Sunday: The Perfect Candidate by Peter Stone

Hello there and happy Sunday!! I’m happy to be here again with another book that will come to you this Tuesday. Thank you to the publicist for sending me an early review copy! This in no way affected how I read and reviewed this text.

The Perfect Candidate
Goodreads | Amazon

Title: The Perfect Candidate

Author: Peter Stone

Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR

Expected release: October 2, 2018

My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars

From debut author Peter Stone comes a heart-stopping, pulse-pounding political thriller that’s perfect for fans of Ally Carter and House of Cards.

When recent high school graduate Cameron Carter lands an internship with Congressman Billy Beck in Washington, DC, he thinks it is his ticket out of small town captivity. When he lacks connections and Beltway polish he makes up in smarts, and he soon finds a friend and mentor in fellow staffer Ariel Lancaster.

That is, until she winds up dead.

As rumors and accusations about her death fly around Capitol Hill, Cameron’s low profile makes him the perfect candidate for an FBI investigation that he wants no part of. Before he knows it—and with his family’s future at stake—he discovers DC’s darkest secrets as he races to expose a deadly conspiracy.

If it doesn’t get him killed first.


This book was pretty good overall, but slow paced in the beginning. It was really hard to get into at first, so I think that’s why I rated it lower than a four. I had a hard time getting used to Cameron’s voice, and I didn’t quite mesh with it.

This story starts right away with Cameron taking a taxi into Washington D. C. I really liked that Stone included a character from Cameron’s past so it threw a potential ally to him. Right away you could tell that Cameron was an outsider to this world. Something that confused me was why he arrived later than his housemates. Right away I liked his housemate Zeph. I could tell he would be a fun character throughout the novel.

The mystery portion of the book doesn’t start until a few chapters in, and I was curious to see how things would go down. I was sad to see Ariel go because she was a cool character, but I knew going into it to not get too attached to her.

I feel like the investigation portion of the book could have been more compelling. I wasn’t as invested as I felt that I should be. I think part of it could have been that I didn’t really connect with Cameron’s voice.

Something really surprising was the ending. I think this leaves the opportunity for a sequel in the least, if I got the final reveal correctly.

Overall, this book wasn’t too much for me, but I really think this could be a good book for someone else. I recommend you give it a try!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

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Book Review: A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Hi guys! As school draws near, I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing on here regularly. I had blogging regularly as one of my resolutions for the year, and it’s not too late to do it right?

ANYWAY! I’m here today with a review of A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan. Thank you to the publicist for getting in touch with me for a review of this book! I was provided a copy, but that does not influence the way I read and will review the book.

Title: A Touch of Gold

A Touch of Gold
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Annie Sullivan

Publisher: Blink

Release date: August 14, 2018

Source: Hardcover, US

My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars

King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?

**********************

This book was a fun retelling. I was looking forward to it when I saw it pop up on my Instagram feed and I was immediately intrigued. Retelling? Check! A story we don’t hear often? Check! Great characters? Check!

Overall there were a lot of great things about this book. I loved the seafaring and courage of Kora. She was a great main character, and while it took me some time for the story to get going, I did enjoy hearing things from her perspective. That being said, I do wish she had had a stronger voice. I felt that it was a bit rough in the beginning, but toward the end she came out clearer. I’m not sure if it was done purposefully or not, but I couldn’t quite vibe with Kora for a good portion of the book.

The characters drive the plot of the story well. When we first meet the Duke, though, I wasn’t too sure of him. Kora trusted him too quickly in my opinion. He was the first man to show her true kindness outside of her family, and while his backstory provided a solid reason why, I couldn’t put my guard down. Kora’s cousin is so much fun. She was by far one of my favorite characters in the story.

The weaving of the story started out a bit strained, but in the end things came together. I think it’s hard especially for debut novels to really nail this on the head the first time. It was still done with considerably good writing! I enjoyed getting to know the setting, and I wish I had a map to see all of the places Kora went!

All in all, this was a good book. I’m curious to see what comes of the sequel! The ending left a lot to be wanted.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

 

 

Book Tour: Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington

Welcome to out tour stop for Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington! We’re so happy to host Jess here with an interview.

About the BookLove Songs & Other Lies Cover

Title: Love Songs & Other Lies

Author: Jessica Pennington

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: April 24th, 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: It’s summer romance and second chances, the songs that stay in your head, and the boy you’ll never forget.

Two years after rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking forward to a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for her dream internship on tour. Three months with future rockstars seems like an epic summer plan. Until she learns she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems for both of them. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s brave enough to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Powell’s

| Book Depository | Macmillan

 

 Jessica Pennington.jpg

About the Author

Jessica Pennington is no stranger to the combination of love and drama. She’s a wedding planner, after all. A writer since the age of ten—when she sought publication for her poem about a tree—Jessica likes the challenge of finding the humor in a sad situation or highlighting the awkwardness in a romantic one. She lives in a Michigan beach town suspiciously similar to the one in her books, where she’s currently finishing her second novel, WHEN SUMMER ENDS, out April 2019.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Giveaway Rules:

1 winner will receive a signed hardcover of LOVE SONGS & OTHER LIES along with a swag bag filled with a t-shirt, bookmark, stickers, buttons, etc.

Rules are included inside the Rafflecopter giveaway

US only, 18+ or with parental permission

Ends on midnight May 12th, CDT

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f13123ce22/

Interview

Hi, Jess! So glad you could be here with us today. Why don’t you kick things off by telling us something we can’t find in your bio.

Hi, Sophie! I’m so excited to chat with you! I’m mildly obsessed with penguins. Is that in my bio? I don’t think so. But I am. I have a collection of penguin Christmas ornaments, and I don’t consider a zoo “legit” unless they have penguins on exhibit. The selfie I’m most proud of is one I took with a penguin (which was not easy!).

Describe your book in five words or less.

Oh, this is torture! Here goes nothing… first-love gets a second chance

A big part of this book is music (obviously lol). Do you listen to music while you write? What music got you through this novel in particular?

I listen to basically basically any time I’m awake. This book in particular, I listened to a lot of songs about love and breaking up. Which are my favorite kinds of songs anyway!

I love Vee! She’s an awesome MC. What was your favorite part about writing her?

Oh man, this is hard because I love a lot about Vee! I love how strong she is—even though she’s flawed and has fears like any teen girl—and also that she’s really open with people. I think there’s a real vulnerability about Vee and how she connects with people—you see it even in the way she connects with some of the crew on the tour bus.

If Vee were a song, which one would she be?

Well, most literally, she would be Meet Virginia by Train, because her parents named her after that song. But Yellow Shirt by The Icarus Account (which is Vee’s favorite song in the book) is one that I think describes her…she doesn’t see herself quite as clearly as those around her, but when she does, she’s this really magnetic kind of force.

There are a lot of details about touring and the music competition. Did you have to do a lot of outside research for this novel?

You know, there’s never been a reality TV show like the one in LS&OL (maybe there should be??) so I did have to rely on piecing together what I could find out about music tours and TV production and reality shows in general. I looked up layouts for tour buses, and for some of the venues they visit on the tour, and I had to map out the whole tour and how long it would take them to get from place to place. I have a whole road-trip map somewhere! That was actually one of the biggest pieces of research…figuring out the schedule for the whole show, and when they’d land where!

This is set after Vee’s first year at college which is awesome! I love books set in this time period. Why did you decide to write about that summer?

I didn’t set out to write anything set in college, or even to write a dual-timeline novel, it just happened! I had written most of the THEN chapters before realizing that their story wouldn’t end in high school. But I chose that timing for them to meet again, because I wanted them to have enough time to grow and change a bit, but not enough that they’d totally healed from what happened between them.

Okay let’s wrap things up here, if you could collab with any author who would it be and why?

Oh man, this is a hard question! I think I’d say Katy Upperman, because I loved her debut novel Kissing Max Holden, and just finished an ARC of her second, The Impossibility of Us, which left me reeling. I think we have similarities in the kinds of stories we like to tell and the way we tell them. And she loved Love Songs & Other Lies, so I think we have that mutual appreciation for each other’s work, which would be important when doing a collab!

*****

Thank you, Jess for this amazing interview!! Be sure to pick this awesome book up!! Follow the rest of the tour here:

Monday 16th

LILbooKlovers – Interview

Ashleigh’s Bookshelf – Review

Tuesday 17th

The Clever Reader – Dream Cast

Tale Out Loud – Review

Wednesday 18th

Smada’s Book Smack – Top 10 Quotes

BookCrushin – Review

Thursday 19th

My Fangirl Chronicles – Excerpt

A Blunt Book Blog – Review

Friday 20th

BookishBitsBlog – Guest Post

Books. Life. and Everything Else. – Review

Monday 30th

The Candid Cover – Interview

Belle’s Archive – Review

Tuesday 1st

The Cursed Books – Playlist

The Heart of a Book Blogger – Aesthetic

Wednesday 2nd

Portrait of a Book – Aesthetic

Vicky Who Reads – Review

Thursday 3rd

The Mind of a Book Dragon – Interview

Boundless Bookaholic – Review

Friday 4th

Claerie’s Tales – Fanfiction

Librarian Laura – Interview and Excerpt

Happy reading,

Sophie:)

 

I love love debut novels, and you don’t want to miss this one. I had the amazing chance to go meet Gloria in Chicago. I had such a good time, and we had a bit of an adventure trying to get back to Michigan. More on that later, let’s jump right in!

Title: American Panda

American Panda
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Gloria Chao

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Source: Hardcover, US

My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

**********************

Mei was awesome. I loved getting to know her and the story was amazing. I couldn’t put it down! There were times that I was laughing out loud walking around campus. It was cute and funny.

Here are a few comments I made right afterward:

This book FLEW BY for me! I couldn’t put this one down. I loved Mei and I loved her personal journey throughout the whole story. It was exhilarating, and I loved every moment of it. 

I wanted to finish this in time for the event that coming Saturday and I finished in time for my friends to even finish the book, too. This was a quick, sweet read.

Mei’s parents are big characters in this book, and their presence is felt throughout the story. Mei’s mom was well-meaning and loving. She tries to do a lot for Mei so Mei can focus on studying. I understand where they’re coming from, and from what I can tell this is a very accurate snapshot of what it’s like to grow up with Taiwanese parents. (I cannot speak from personal experience because my parents are Caucasian and American, though I am Chinese.) Chao pulled a lot of personal feelings and emotions into this story, and I appreciate the accuracy of her representation.

Another aspect I really liked about the book was her representation, even with the cover art. You never notice the lack of rep on covers until you see it, and you wonder why you haven’t see it before. I don’t see a lot of books with Chinese women or other Asian-American/Asian out in the world, but I love the recent efforts made by those women to write their stories. This book does a good job of having diverse characters but not having that as the main focus of it.

The story centers on Mei coming into her own in her freshman year of college. This setting is also something that isn’t often written in. I found that a lot of stories are about adults or high schoolers, especially seniors. This is another thing done well by Chao. She captures the freshman experience within her novel. Freshman year of college is a huge transition, and I think that Mei went through a lot of the things I’ve felt this year so far. She is trying hard to set herself apart from her parents while still needing their help. She wants to do things her way and must balance the wishes of her parents.

One thing I do wish it had done better was talk about Mei’s mental health. There are small conversations about it here and there, but it’s never addressed head on. However, I can see that it wasn’t the full part of the story so I can see why it wasn’t completely talked about.

I feel like I could talk about this book for days, but I’ll wrap it up here. I had an amazing time at the event at 57th Street Books. This is one of my favorite bookstores to visit, and I make sure to go when I’m in the area. Here’s a photo!

20180210_150017

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

 

 

 

Review: American Panda by Gloria Chao

Blog Tour: Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay

Hi guys! I am so excited to be part of the tour for this amazing book! Today I’ll be talking about Your One & Only by debut author Adrianne Finlay. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Your One and Only

by Adrianne Finlay
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 6, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis:

Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

About the Author

Originally from Ithaca, New York, Adrianne Finlay now lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa with her husband, the poet J. D. Schraffenberger, and their two young daughters. She received her PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University, and is an associate professor of English at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa.
She is also an avid soap maker, and sells handmade soap locally to raise money for type 1 diabetes research.
https://semisweetsoaps.com/

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Review

THIS. BOOK. I can’t get over how awesome this book was! I wish I could say it echoed pieces of A Brave New World, but I honestly don’t know because I’ve never read that book (missed that part of the required curriculum in high school, my dudes).

I like how intricately plotted this book was! It was two parts world, two parts character, and 100% amazing. (Sorry for the cliche, but I can’t help myself.) I loved the how the Homo Factus communed with each other and how they “perfected” the genes. It’s interesting to see how they evolved over time and how Samuel-299 (aka Sam) was pushing for genetic diversity.

As you get further into the plot, you see how this lack of diversity is sucking the life out of their community. Many of the cultural elements of human life are lost with each passing generation of these clones. This is what makes Jack such an amazing character. He adds depth to the world. He reminds them what it’s like to be human and not just carrying out what they have done for years upon years.

Carson-312 reminded me a little of Biff from Back to the Future. He was a big bully without much going on in the head, but Carson-312 was too smart for his own  good.

Follow the Tour

January 30th

Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome Post

January 31st

February 1st

Literary Meanderings– Guest Post
Justicereads– Review & Favorite Quotes
Vicky Who Reads– Creative Post

February 2nd

Wishful Endings– Interview

February 3rd

February 4th

February 5th

Giveaway

Prize: 3 copies of YOUR ONE AND ONLY by Adrianne Finlay (US Only)

Starts: 1/30

Ends: 2/9

Here’s the link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86278/

Be sure to check out this amazing book this coming Tuesday!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Sneak Peek Sunday: Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer

HI GUYS! I know I resolved to write more here this year, but it has been hard to find the time to sit and write among all other things going on right now. It has already been quite a year despite being only 21 days in. I’m here to talk about the debut book by Amanda Stauffer — and I can’t wait for you to read it this Tuesday!

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Title: Match Made in Manhattan

Match Made in Manhattan
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Amanda Stauffer

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Expected Release: January 23, 2018

Source: ARC

My Rating: 4/5 Goodreads stars

After two intense, dead-end relationships, serial monogamist Alison finds herself confused, lonely, and drastically out of touch with the world of modern dating. Refusing to wallow, she signs up for a popular dating app and resolves to remain open-minded and optimistic as she explores the New York City singles’ scene. With the click of a button, her adventures begin: On one date, she’s dumped before the first kiss; on another, she dons full HAZMAT gear; she meets a tattooed folk singer turned investment banker, an undercover agent who tracks illegal exotic animals, and dozens of other colorful, captivating personalities.

Giving them each her signature “pants speech”–her pants aren’t coming off unless she has a real connection with someone–she desperately wants to push past the awkward small-talk phase to find true love, but finding “the one” is starting to feel impossible. That is, until she meets Luke, who is sophisticated, funny, and not to mention, hot. Alison finds herself falling for Luke harder than any guy she’s dated and finally letting her walls down, but will he stick around or move on to his next match?

Match Made in Manhattan is a fast-paced, contemporary story about the struggles of dating in the digital age. Replete with online profiles, witty dialogue, and a super-supportive group of female friends, this all-too-real and relatable debut novel will have readers laughing, crying, and rooting for Alison all the way to the end.

***********

I remember when I was first contacted to read this book I was intrigued by the premise. I seem to be able to relate to the characters a lot more because I am seeing and experience the same frustration that Allison finds herself feeling.

The dating snafus that Allison goes through are SO GREAT. I loved how she navigated each situation differently and took it all in stride, even if it wasn’t easy. Her patience as a character is truly boundless, and you can tell how she handles herself in the wild situations she gets herself in with these dates.

Reading books like this one reminds me that I have high expectations for my own romantic life because of reading. It seems that while everything everything is going to hell for Allison, she still is able to find love and get out of her own head to experience falling in love. She gets to go on wild adventures even when things aren’t clicking for her. I love her spirit.

One of my favorite parts of the book was Allison’s job!! I learned so much about art and the architecture that I felt that I was there with her restoring buildings. It was lovely to see the world through her eyes.

All in all, I highly recommend this!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂