Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Sneak Peek Sunday: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Hi folks! I hope you’ve been having a great summer thus far. I can’t believe it’s already July! Time has been flying by. I am loving my time abroad, and can’t believe the midpoint has already passed us.

Today I’m here to discuss one of my TOP anticipated reads! If you recall, I did a post on Asian voices I was looking forward to reading at the start of the year. This one was a book I have been looking forward to since last year!

I want to say, thank you so much to the publisher for sending me a copy via NetGalley. Additionally, I read from a physical ARC I traded for. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This does not bear any weight on how I read and reviewed this book.

Title: Spin the Dawn

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf BFYR

Expected release: July 9, 2019

My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Y’ALLLLLLLL I was hooked from the first line of the first page. It was an absolutely all-consuming love. I could not put this book down. Here’s what I first said when I marked it as ‘Read’ on Goodreads:

SOMEONE HOLD ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS BOOK !!!!!!! Wow, okay, this was an incredible book, and I cannot wait to write a full review of it – look for it this Sunday, folks!

My review

Here we are today, on this fine Sunday. I sincerely did enjoy this book a lot. The world building was well done, and the characters were compelling. I could not wait to see what would happen. For some reason, I thought the section with the trial to become the imperial tailor would last longer, but now I see that it was nicely paced.

The characters themselves were so great. They were dynamic, and I’m interested to get to know more of them in the coming book! I’m most interested to learn more about Lady Sarnai. She seems like a woman I can get behind. Her past has shaped her present greatly, and it’s obvious she works hard to keep her guard up. I hope she and Maia connect in the next novel!

The tales that were part of this story were so good. I loved how they were woven throughout the book, and how they added more layers. It made me want to stay in the world a little longer.

The world itself was so gorgeous. I can’t wait to see the map!!! It’s so lush, and the areas Maia travels to are so different from each other, but I felt like I was right there with her.

I highly, highly recommend this incredible novel. Please do yourself a favor and pre-order yourself a copy or pick it up Tuesday!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Q & A Friday: Morgan Matson on Change, Weddings, and the Grant Family

Hi, there! Welcome to my last post in this series. If you wanted to read the previous posts I had in this series, you can read them here and here.

Today I’m going to talk about the swoon-worthy novel Save the Date by Morgan Matson. This was the second Matson book I read, and it was such a sweet read. I found the characters so relatable, and I loved the Grant family so much! If you wanted to know more of my thoughts on this book, be sure to check out my review. I can’t wait for you to read this interview I did with Morgan!

A little about Morgan:

morgan dog.jpg

Morgan Matson was born in New York City and grew up there and in Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended Occidental College as a theater major, but halfway through, switched her focus to writing and never looked back. She received an MFA in Writing for Children from the New School, and then a second MFA in Screenwriting from USC.

She is the New York Times bestselling author of five books, all published by Simon & Schuster. 

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her rescue terrier, Murphy, in a house with blue floors that’s overflowing with books.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Want to know more about Save the Date? Here’ the synopsis!

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractedly cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Interview

Hi, Morgan!! Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me about Save the Date. I can’t wait for everyone else to read it. It was such a fun read!

To start things off, why don’t you start by describing your book in 10 words or less.

Okay, I’ll give it a shot! I don’t write short books, so brevity is always a challenge for me. But how about this:

Wedding disaster, little sister, cute boys, unexpected dog, happy ending?

Perfect!! Weddings are so much fun. What made you want to write about one?

Aren’t they? I feel like there’s so much inherent drama in a wedding! All the family members coming together, and people from two different families joining up.  I’ve never been to a wedding where there wasn’t at least one last minute crisis, and so I thought it would be a great setting for a novel. And I also thought it would be fun to write about a wedding not from the POV of the bride or of a planner, but the younger sister, who’s both a part of the wedding and seeing it from the outside. It let me have my (wedding) cake and eat it too!

Charlie’s sister’s wedding goes through quite a few classic wedding disasters. What was the most fun one to write about?

I think the most fun one to write about was the decorations mishap. I thought to myself, what would be the worst event to have your wedding decorations mixed up with? And a nine-year-old’s Australia-themed birthday party seemed to be just the perfect amount of terrible. Nobody wants a wedding with koala decorations!

Yes! That scene was hilarious!! Who doesn’t love koalas anyway 🙂 Do you have a favorite part of a wedding (both fictional and in real life)?

I have two favorite parts of any wedding. The first is the moment when the officiant asks if anyone knows a reason why the couple should not be married, to speak now.  The part of me that loves drama is always holding my breath at that moment, even though I’ve never been to a wedding where anyone has ever said anything.  But we’ve all seen so many movies and TV shows that we’re primed for high drama at that moment!

And my other favorite is the couples’ first dance. It always makes me well up! I love that moment when these two people, who’ve been through this whole ceremony together, are now able to exhale and dance together as a married couple for the first time ever.  In every wedding, you can kind of see the couple look at each other like, “We did it! We’re married!” It’s just my favorite moment.

The dance is so touching! I love it too. I loved the Grant family! They reminded me of mine. Do you have a lot of siblings too? Does the Grant family remind you of your family?

Oh, I’m so glad you liked them! They were such a blast to write. I do not  have a lot of siblings – I have just one older brother, so we were a smaller family. But maybe because of that, I always wanted a ton of siblings and a big family.  I was even jealous of my friends who had three siblings in their families – it just seemed like there was always more going on!

So the Grant family was more of what I’d imagine a big family to be – lots of coming and going and drama and fights and laughter.  I wrote the big family that I always wanted to have! But of course, bits of my family made it in there too – the little sayings and rituals that are totally normal to your family that nobody else understands.  My mom, like Mr. Grant, is a really accomplished gardener, so that’s where that came from.  And parts of the Grant house, especially the front hall and the kitchen, were based on my family’s home in Connecticut.

I also noticed a lot of Easter eggs hiding within your book. How many did you include? What was your favorite part of writing them in?

Good eye! I love including little Easter eggs in my book – it’s one of my favorite parts of writing a new book, getting to check in with characters from other books.  My favorite part was probably getting a bunch of characters from Unexpected Everything in there, especially because in the past, many of my Easter eggs have just been passing references or little hints.  When I saw a way to actually have these characters engage with the Grants, in a way that didn’t feel forced, I got really excited.  I felt like I actually got to reconnect with the characters from Unexpected Everything, and catch everyone up on what they’d been up to.

There’s also a pretty quick reference to Amy from Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, and most of my books now have had a long-running reference to something first set up in Second Chance Summer, and it pops up again here too.

Charlie struggles a lot with change throughout the book, whether it be moving houses or choosing which school to go to in the fall. Is this something you struggle with yourself? How did your own experience help you shape Charlie’s?

This trait, of struggling with change, is absolutely something that Charlie and I both share.  I hate change, and have ever since I was little.  And Charlie’s feeling regarding going to college in the fall – her ambivalence about it – was my exact same feeling.  All my friends were so excited to be going to college and I just didn’t feel that way. It was like I could sense that what we’d had during our high school years was going to be very different very soon and I just wanted to hold onto it a little longer rather than rushing onto the next chapter.  But like Charlie, I soon realized that life moves only forward and if you can (it’s hard to do) it’s better to think of change like an exciting adventure rather than something to be dreaded.

But since I had this feeling that I hadn’t seen expressed much in books or movies, I wanted to give this to Charlie – and maybe someone else who feels this same way will see their feelings reflected!

I love this! Thank you so much for your time!

Big shout out to Morgan for being amazing! Her interview was awesome, and I had so much fun coming up with questions. Be sure to check out Save the Date if you haven’t already.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you’re having a good week so far. This remember when I said I would make a longer list of books that are coming out this year with Asian characters? Well today is that day! I’ve been looking forward to this day for so long, and I can’t wait to make this compilation for you. I will be including ones that have been or will be released in 2019, so get ready.

1. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He | April 2

Described as Chinese Game of Thrones, He’s debut follows Hesina as she’s thrust into her crown when her father, the king, is murdered. As she investigates her father’s death with illicitly retrieved information, Hesina must protect her court and navigate the deception.

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

2. The Girl King by Mimi Yu | January 8

Lu and Min are betrayed when their father, the king, names their male cousin the heir to the throne. The sisters descend on two very opposite paths, but both pursue what they believe to be their rightful place in the kingdom: the throne.

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

3. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo | May 7

K-pop idol Lucky is on a sole mission to find a burger after her performance in Hong Kong, and tabloid writer Jack sneaks into her hotel on assignment. When the two accidentally bump into each other, sparks may catch fire.

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

4. Hungry Hearts ed. by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond | June 18

This anthology chronicles lives through one of the best parts of culture: food! While it’s not particularly Asian focused, it does include many tales written by Asian authors, and I can’t recommend this enough. I can’t wait to read it myself!

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

5. There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon | May 14

Ashish Patel gets dumped and loses his mojo, so he grudgingly agrees to be set up by his parents. Sweetie Nair, a formidable track and field athlete, is tired of her parents telling her that her fatness makes her lacking. In a turn of events, the two find themselves together and sparks may be flying.

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

6. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim | July 30

Maia’s dream of becoming the best tailor in the land is suddenly rocketed forward when she answers a summons from her father at the court. Posing as a boy, Maia weaves her way through court intrigue, and will face the ultimate challenge of sewing the gown of the emperor’s bride-to-be.

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

7. Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim | June 11

Returning to her childhood home in San Francisco’s Chinatown upon the news of her mother’s passing, Natalie Tan find the transformation of businesses that were once booming. Natalie also finds that she inherits her grandmother’s restaurant. Facing the choice of helping her community grow and her own harbored resentment toward it, Natalie finds help in unexpected people.

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

8. I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn | May 28

Fashion enthusiast Kimi Nakamura is determined to turn everyday things into her own original projects. As things become a mess at home, she jumps at the chance to visit her grandparents in Kyoto and is swept up in the gorgeous new-to-her city. Unbeknownst to her, Kimi may just find things are closer to her heart and discover more about her mother than she thought she would.

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

9. The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala | April 23

Esha moonlights as the Viper, the top assassin combating the fallout of what she lost in the coup. Kunal has been a trained soldier his whole life, and he has never strayed from his path under the watchful eye of his uncle. When their paths cross, their worlds are blown apart with both vying to be the one on top.

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

10. Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye | January 22

Sora and Daemon seek to set themselves apart in their society and become part of the elite warriors Society of Taigas. During one of their scouting missions, Sora and Daemon encounter a mysterious group of soldiers and decide the best way to help is to infiltrate them.

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

11. 96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash | January 15

Raya Liston feels bound to her path with her acceptance to UCLA. When her grandma passes and the opportunity to spend the summer in India with her cousin in the place her grandma spent many of her formative years, Raya jumps at the chance. What surprises her the most is the abundance of love and herself.

Add on: Goodreads Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

12. Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao | June 4

With an affinity towards blood, Anastacya Mikhailov has learned that she is a monster. An accident in the middle of the night results in the death of her father, and she is sentenced for his murder, but Ana flees with the truth. On the run, Ana must find allies and uncovers the deadly world that would kill her father to stage a coup.

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

13. Caster by Elsie Chapman | September 3

Aza Wu has been burned by magic before — it has taken her sister from her, and she knows to stay far from it. In the shadow of her sister’s loss, Aza must save the legacy of her family’s teahouse, Wu Teas. Stumbling upon a secret invitation, Aza decides to take a chance and enters an underground casting ring, where the stakes may be higher than what she bargained for.

Add on: Goodreads Pre-order: Amazon| Book Depository | IndieBound

That was an awfully long list, I know, and that doesn’t even cover half of what I want to read. I’m sure that I will come out with another list once more releases are announced, especially toward the middle of the year. I hope that you make sure to check them all out this year and support this amazing community.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Chat: 13 Anticipated Reads ft. Asian Characters & Authors

Hello and happy Thursday! It’s Friday eve, and I’m so excited to get through my one class tomorrow and to crew practice. I have been enjoying college so far, but I’ll address that later on with a catch up post. Today I’ll be talking about We Were Liars by E. Lockhart which was published a few years back. I finally got around to reading it, but it was the special deluxe edition — which is super pretty and aesthetic.

Title: We Were Liars

We Were Liars
Goodreads

 

Author: E. Lockhart

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release date: May 13, 2013

My rating: 4/5 stars

The New York Times bestseller We Were Liars is now available as a not-to-be-missed hardcover deluxe edition! Whether you know how it ends (shh . . . don t tell!) or have let too many seasons go by without discovering the truth about the Liars for yourself, you will want to get your hands on the exclusive new content in this deluxe edition.

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends the Liars whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

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This book was… I don’t even know how to feel about this book even though I finished it a month or two ago. It was quite the mind trip, and I don’t know how to feel about the *twist* of the ending.

I know it’s divisive, one of my best friends loves it and the other hates it. One of the things I felt the whole time was how murky and unreliable the narrator is. Cadence is swimming in the unclear memories she has and her friends are there to help her uncover them. At the very beginning I didn’t trust Cadence, and other than the unnerving sense that things were very wrong, I was in limbo for the entire book.

The character development was well done. As a reader you truly get to know Cadence and what is going on inside her head. You get to process her trauma alongside her the whole time, and it’s something that makes her relatable as a character. Once things come to a head and she figures out what truly happened on the island, you feel as betrayed as Cadence does. I couldn’t stop the I trusted you, and you betrayed me thoughts from flooding my head.

The Liars and the rest of the Sinclair family are interesting. I wasn’t as invested in their stories other than how they kept things from Cadence. At the end everything makes more sense (obviously), and I can’t imagine what they went through. I like how Lockhart hints at their own personal grief and loss as a family, and how it effects their interactions with each other.

This twisty tale is haunting and melodic in the way it’s written. I recommend it to people who are up for a bit of a psychological mystery or someone in the mood for an unreliable narrator.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

#throwbackthursday: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Posted in Bloggers, General Updates, Sophie

Monthly Update: An August to Remember (haha sure)

Hello there! I’m here to just talk a little about myself and give everyone a bit of an update as to new changes in the blog and what I’m hoping to do these coming months. And to talk a little bit about my summer and all of that good stuff.

As you have noticed my posting frequency declined a lot for a while there. I had tried several times to come back, but unfortunately it was just too much to blog and work and get school work done. However, now that it’s summer, I’ve had a little bit more time to sit and review all of the books I’ve read (err, 61 in the year thus far as of the writing of this post), but I’m still plodding forward to catch up to what I’m currently reading. I’ve found that I’m a lot faster when I listen to audiobooks as well as read physical copies.

As of today, I begin classes at Michigan State, which I’m extremely excited about! I am coming in as a second semester freshman due to the amount of credits I am awarded through Advance Placement tests. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and I can’t believe I’m here!

This past summer was a whirlwind. At the very beginning of June I was in New York for BookCon. (It’s like ComicCon for books, pretty much a book lover’s dream.) While there I had the amazing opportunity to interview several fabulous authors including Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, Erin Chack, Melissa de la Cruz, and Renee Ahdieh. My interview with Marie Lu was even featured in Justine Magazine‘s August/September issue! You can find all of my writing (excluding the interviews with Marie Lu and Caden from @athousandbookstoread) here on Justine‘s website. However, most of my summer was eaten up by working two jobs and adding a third one in there with Justine. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep and I worked every single day of the summer minus my mini vacation to New York. (News flash — college is hella expensive!! 😛 )

This past month I’ve read (and re-read) several books. Some notable ones that you’re going to want to watch out for are Invictus by Ryan Graudin, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, and Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush. Invictus is due to be out on September 26, and the last two are due out in October (10th and 3rd respectively) All of these were fabulous, and I couldn’t put them down. A few books that I recently re-read were Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. Fangirl was an obvious go to for me this time of the year especially with the parallels in our situations! I don’t think there are enough books about being a college freshman, but I hope there are more coming!

Since I’m starting to get into college life, I can’t promise that I will post regularly. It’s a lot to balance, and I want to make new friends and get into college life! That being said, I will do my best to keep you in the loop with all the kinds of changes headed your way. I will probably take a break around the first part of December due to finals, but that feels like years away from today. Thank you all for your loyalty to the blog, or your new-found following! I’m so glad you’re all here with me on this journey!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hi, guys!! I read this way back in February, but to this day I still love it so much. Maybe this calls for a re-read… Anywho, I cannot wait to finally write my thoughts down about this book. MY HEART WAS JUST A LITTLE BIT BROKEN AFTER IT NO BIG DEAL HAHAHAHA *tear*

Title: Seven Days of You

Seven Days of You

Author: Cecilia Vinesse

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release date: March 7, 2017

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

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

I had a lot of feelings about this book when I finished it — and when I was reading it. Here are some things I said on my Goodreads account:

WHAT IS THIS LIFE?!?!? THIS BOOK. I’M CRYING RIGHT NOW OH MY GOD.

Okay, well this is a beautiful story about beginnings and endings and everything that comes with both. It’s lovely to see everything play out (even though it’s ripping me apart right now) and I can’t help but feel the bittersweetness of the entire situation. More thoughts to come with a full review!

So maybe some tears were shed. Just because I get really invested in characters doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing! It was poignant and fresh and I loved the setting!

Maybe it’s because her name was Sophia, but I loved her. I could picture her in Tokyo savoring her last few days there, and dragging her feet to leave. I couldn’t imagine that kind of move. I moved houses within the same city and that was hard.

The characters are what made this book amazing for me. I loved their development and their quirkiness. Mika was hilarious and the *perfect* (but flawed) best friend. David was the brooding-but-lovable guy friend. Honestly, their trio reminded me of my trio of friends I had at the time. When Jamie enters the scene, it was fun to see their dynamic change and shift around him. They seem like great people to be friends with overall.

I wish I had more details that helped me get around Tokyo a bit better. A map on the end pages would have been so fun! I did like the small details that Vinesse added about it, but there could have been a few more to make it more immersive.

I really wanted to finish this book, but also I wanted more than seven days. I wanted a year. Or more. Really, anything more that Cecilia would give me I would read. I want to know what happens after. PLEASE TELL ME THERE’S A COMPANION NOVEL OR SEQUEL IN THE WORKS I’M DYING OVER HERE.

I also got to meet this lovely creator of the novel and do an interview for Justine Magazine. Here is the link to our chat!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

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 Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Hi there! I’m back at it again with another review this Sunday. This time it’s for Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. This made quite a splash when it was published last year (the day before my birthday if I may add) and it took me forever to actually read it, but my lovely friend Brittany totally did. I’m so glad to have read it, and I can’t wait to read Wayfarer.

Here’s some things about the book:

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

 

Passenger (Passenger, #1)
Goodreads

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion                My rating: 5/5 stars

Release Date: 5 January 2016               Page #: 486

Edition: Hardcover, US

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I started reading this over Christmas break and I was super excited to get to it. I waited almost an entire year to actually read it and I can’t believe I did. What I loved most about it was Etta and her strength. I’m a sucker for strong female characters, and this definitely delivered.

I love different eras and this brought me right to them. I loved how detailed each setting was and how accurate it seemed to be. One of my weaknesses is that I’m a history junkie and learning about them even if it’s through fiction is awesome to me. It’s even better when they’re accurate and to my knowledge this one hits the nail on the head.

The story alternates points of view and it’s nice to see both sides of their story. I love seeing people and characters develop through the other characters’ perspectives especially in action books like this one.

Music is a huge element in this book and as a music nerd I kind of loved it. The idea of how things that are connected and interwoven through music and that music is a language everyone speaks is beautiful. I love how much it brings people together and that this was a big part in helping Etta especially come off the page. It added depth to the story that I’m not sure it would have had without it.

Overall this was a really exciting book. I moved through it at a generally fast clip, but didn’t have much time to sit down and read it. I will say that I enjoyed it when I did get the chance to read it in snippets.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

 

 

Book Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Hello there! I hope you’ve had a good weekend so far. I’m busy in Chicago and I’ll be getting home tonight at a decent time (hopefully). Anyway, I’ll be reviewing Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. Niven debuted in YA with All the Bright Places and I loved it soooo much. I met her twice last May when I went to BookCon and she is one of the loveliest people I know. (Shoutout to her for reviving that wonderful word.) If you haven’t read ATBP yet I definitely recommend you do.

Here’s what you need to know about the book:

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” 28686840But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Release date: 4 October 2016

Edition: Hardcover, US                                    Page #: 391                             My rating:4/5 stars

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I enjoyed this book – not as much as All the Bright Places, but I liked it in its own right. The entire time I read the book I found myself both frustrated and in love with the characters. I was invested in seeing what would happen to them, and I liked how it alternated the chapters.

I was not as emotionally wrecked after this book like I was for All the Bright Places. Instead I felt hopeful and happy with the way things ended for the characters. Jack and Libby are adorable and I definitely squealed (out loud) reading some parts of the novel. This book gave me happy, mushy feels a lot and my inner romantic was in heaven.

One of my favorite parts of the book was how it was structured. The alternating perspectives along with the small background chapters came together nicely. They portrayed each character beautifully and I could really understand them both. I loved seeing Jack and Libby’s relationship unfold from both sides! It was like being friends with the guy and gal in a flirtationship and watching them get together. I am just a big mushy romantic sometimes so this definitely made me smile a lot.

The main themes throughout the book address mental health. I personally cannot speak on the struggles of mental health, but I sympathize with people who do. I always enjoy reading different books with characters that have mental health or talk about it in a way that is accurate and different. I commend Niven for writing not one, but two great novels that deal with this sensitive subject. Getting different perspectives out there are always a great way to build empathy between people. It also gives people like me a better idea of what it’s like for people who deal with mental health issues (along with other ones about race, religion, identity, etc.).

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂