Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Review: Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan


Goodreads Description:
From the New York Times bestselling author of She’s Not There, a new novel about a woman whose family and identity are threatened by the secrets of her past.

Long Black Veil is the story of Judith Carrigan, whose past is dredged up when the body of her college friend Wailer is discovered 20 years after her disappearance in Philadelphia’s notorious and abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary. Judith is the only witness who can testify to the innocence of her friend Casey, who had married Wailer only days before her death. 

The only problem is that on that fateful night at the prison, Judith was a very different person from the woman she is today. In order to defend her old friend and uncover the truth of Wailer’s death, Judith must confront long-held and hard-won secrets that could cause her to lose the idyllic life she’s built for herself and her family.

I gotta say I was slightly reminded of it but only in a way that the past comes back to haunt them. The book was okay, I like the way the book was set up and the tone of it kept me interesting enough to continue onward with the book which lately has been happening to me that I just ditch books for a while before coming back to them way later. The author doesn't skirt around vocabulary and problems, she goes on about them without, to me, being overly offensive. She also doesn't seem to be conscious about this vocabulary but simply uses it for the sake of telling her story, not in a way that she WANTS readers to be triggered, or notice things on purpose.... I'm not making any sense, bear with me. 
I guess an example of it would be, naked people, people don't get triggered by naked people in art but if you see a naked person in public, they would. This book is taken in an artist form. Some people might like it, others might hate it, but the author did her work and created art out of work. And like any art, it can also be confusing which is why I ended up with a 3.5 rating because I found some parts of the plot to be a tad confusing and found myself having to go back a chapter 2 different times. 

Recommend it?
Yeah, it was interesting enough.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review: Understand by Ted Chiang


Goodreads Description:
Leon is a former coma victim, who has gone experimental medical treatment to repair the massive trauma his brain received after he was trapped under ice for more than an hour. He’s regained consciousness, found he has all of his faculties back and a whole lot more. Originally published in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in 1991. 

I had high hopes for the ending, based on the middle of the book, which was super intense. It seems like all of Ted Chiangs' stories have an important moral and this one is along the lines of, aren't you glad there isn't a drug the will give you infinite knowledge. And its true, I mean, as annoying as not knowing things can be, knowing everything seems exciting, but would it really be? I mean then what, then there is nothing to look forward to. The whole story seemed to be leading to this life changing moment that I simply wanted to skip to but I was so disappointed, and the ending seemed dulled compared to the rest of the story. Can't wait to read the rest of his stories though.

Recommend it?
Ehm... Eh,,, Yeah, it was still very interesting.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Author Spotlight: A. V. Geiger Episode 15

Episode 15: A. V. Geiger

So as some people can probably relate, interviewing authors is so much fun, getting to know small details of the minds behind our favorite works. In this case, I got to peek into the mind of A. V. Geiger, author or the first book I read this read, I BINGED more like, it was such an amazing book.
Below you may find buy links and a few other extras!

A.V. Geiger is an epidemiologist who spends far too much spare time on social media. By day, she studies women’s psychiatric and reproductive health. By night, she can be found fangirling, following people back, and photoshopping the heads of band members onto the bodies of unicorns. Her writing career began with celebrity fan fiction, and her work draws extensively on her own experiences with online fan culture. Her original teen fiction has received millions of hits on the story-sharing website Wattpad, ranking as high as #1 in the mystery-thriller genre. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and twin boys.

So Follow me Back will be your first official published novel, how did you feel when the news became official?

​It was an incredible feeling! I heard the news on a Monday morning, and I spent the rest of the day bursting into tears at random moments. The only problem was that I couldn't tell anyone right away. I had to wait a few weeks until the official announcement ran, and the secret nearly killed me.

V: That mustve been so hard to do, I wouldve been bursting at the seams.

Talk about a massive plot twist. Okay don't, let's not spoil. But how did you decide what changes to make?

​Follow Me Back went through several rounds of revisions from the Wattpad first draft to the final published version. There are ten totally new chapters in the published book that didn't appear on Wattpad. A lot of those changes were at the suggestion of my editor, but I also took notes from the comments left by Wattpad readers. There are over 90,000 comments to date, and I consider them my secret weapon. They give me all kind of information about what readers are thinking at every point in the story, so I know exactly when and where to throw a plot twist.

V: Wow, that is fantastic, I hadn't thought about it, what a wonderful way to edit xD over 90,000 bits of feedback xD

What sparked the idea of Follow me Back?

​When I first had the idea story, I was active in a real online fandom of a celebrity. I wanted to write a book about a fictional fandom that reflected my real experiences -- both forging online friendships with other fans and encountering plenty of online bad behavior.

V: it IS a cautionary tale.

Were any of the points of views easier than the other to write? If so, what do you think the reason for that was?

​Tessa, my female main character, was both easiest and hardest to write. Out of all the POVs, she is closest to my own voice, but she's also a flawed character with some unlikeable traits. Writing her chapters forced me to look critically at myself.

So You have written multiple novels on Wattpad (Adam_and_Jane), all of which have been well received, if you had to pick one world to live in that you have created, which one would it be?

That's a tough one! I don't like to play favorites among my books. My characters are like my babies, and I love them all in their own special way. That being said, I'd have to pick one of my fanfiction stories like Obsessed or Fill Me Up. Those books are pure wish-fulfillment romance, while my original stories like Follow Me Back and The Mermaid Hypothesis tend to be a bit darker.  

When you were writing Eric, was there any actor that you pictured in your head?

Readers are most welcome to picture whoever they like. For me, it was a young ​Zac Efron with a guitar.

V: Personally I pictured a young Henry Cavill.. Only because I love Henry Cavill.

What would you say the highlight/best part of this whole journey has been for you?

I hope the journey is just beginning! So far, the biggest thrill has been sharing the news about my publishing progress with my online readers. They've all been so supportive and excited for me every step of the way.

A message or idea you want readers to remember from this book?

It's important to remember that you never know who you're talking to online. My characters learn this lesson in more ways than one. They nearly write each other off and miss out on a great friendship due to the wrong assumptions they make about each other. On the other hand, both characters find themselves in real-life danger from people who initially seemed harmless online. Social media requires a tricky balance of open-mindedness and skepticism. You don't want to be too trusting or too closed off. I'm still figuring it out as an adult, and I hope my book encourages my teen readers to think about their own online behavior.

Follow Me Back

Goodreads Description:
Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts. 

BUY THE BOOK (Out on June 6th):

Advanced Praise:

"Geiger's social-media-saturated thriller (which fittingly got its start on Wattpad) should transfix teens for whom online relationships (romantic and otherwise) are integral parts of daily life, and catfishing and hacking are genuine fears." —Publisher's Weekly

"Follow Me Back is the perfect mix of fandom with just the right amount of suspense. An enthralling page turner from beginning to end." —Anna Todd, New York Times bestselling author of the After series.

 "Dark and suspenseful, Follow Me Back is sure to be the next big thing in YA Thrillers." —Ali Novak, author of The Heartbreak Chronicles and My Life with the Walter Boys

 "Follow Me Back is an unforgettable page-turner, and a cautionary tale for any fan who's ever wished that their favorite celebrity followed them on social media." —Sandy Hall, author of Signs Point to Yes and A Little Something Different

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: North of Happy by Adi Alsaid


Goodreads Description:
New from critically acclaimed author of LET'S GET LOST and NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES. In the wake of his brother's untimely death, a teen chef runs away from home to find his true path in life.

Carlos Portillo has always led a privileged and sheltered life. A dual citizen of Mexico and the US, he lives in Mexico City with his wealthy family where he attends an elite international school. His friends and peers-fellow rich kids-have plans to attend college somewhere in the US or Europe and someday take over their parents' businesses. Always a rule follower and a parent pleaser, Carlos is more than happy to tread the well-worn path in front of him. He has always loved food and cooking, but his parents see it as just a hobby.

When his older brother, Felix--who has dropped out of college to live a life of travel--is tragically killed, Carlos begins hearing his brother's voice, giving him advice and pushing him to rebel against his father's plan for him. Worrying about his mental health, but knowing the voice is right, Carlos runs away to the US and manages to secure a job with his favorite celebrity chef. As he works to improve his skills in the kitchen and pursue his dream, he begins to fall for his boss's daughter--a fact that could end his career before it begins. Finally living for himself, Carlos must decide what's most important to him and where his true path really lies.

This book made me hungry.
There are recipes in every chapter and I decided to make sure that I mentioned those and give my thoughts on the chapter, simply a sentence or so but that will be at the bottom because of possible spoilers.
The way that Adi manages to describe food and the way that it makes  you feel when you try a particularly good dish was delicious. I could almost taste the food and I wanted nothing but to eat the food described. 
There isnt much description on the main character (Carlos) but that doesnt mean I didnt cast someone in my mind anyways.
Vadhir Derbez

I actually grew to care for Felix which is sad because you know... Hes dead. when Carlos talks about and picture Feliz, he is the type of guy we all wish we know and had in our life, someone that we know would make our life a little better, we would live vicariously through them.

With that said, I am NOT the type to be impulsive, so for Carlos to do what he did, it is an anxiety ridden thing for me to read. Because it is so freaking real! Adis topics are real, the characters are real, everything is real, its all real life things. 

Recommend it?
Yes, I do

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pre-Review: Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner


Goodreads Description:
What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

I feel like this book will make me cry, that it will get super personal to me even though I dont have like.. a twin sister, not literally and things like that. But I have high hopes for this book, it just sounds so good and that is why I got it from Blogging for Books, so I am very excited about it for that. 
The fact that it involve texting while driving is such a good topic for me, not because I do it and thankfully not because I have lost someone, but because I always appreciate authors writing about real and current problems that often times are ignored, people don't want to talk about it or teens might not want to listen to because it comes from the news or things like that, its better to be able to relate to things than being told to do things.
So I am very excited and I can not wait to read it as soon as finals are over.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review: Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven


Goodreads Description:
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But 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.

I am conflicted on this book. It wasn't a bad book, far from it but I am not 100% sure how it made me feel. It was cruel, characters where cruel to them, to Libby really and Jack for liking Libby.
Instead of cruel, you COULD say that the characters were brutally honest. Libby had a good self esteem which I feel like in her situation is something to be admired, considering that in today's day and age teenage girls with more weight than is considered "attractive" by society, have serious self esteem issues, and even if they DO fit the standards, it is never thin enough. But not Libby, she owns herself, she will call herself out on herself before anyone else. Almost in a if you can't beat them join them matter. I wouldn't go ahead and call it self destructive cuz that almost feels wrong butttt... I mean.. she did kinda beat herself down in the process is having a strong self esteem.

Now, what with Jack having prosopagnosia, THAT was incredibly frustrating, not in a bad way but in a good way, creating empathy for the character and this disorder that his has, like, I simply would not be able to deal properly if I wasn't able to recognize people. Personally I am a very paranoid person so to have to think that my roommates coming into the house or my mother, and that I wouldn't know them, I would be freaking out most of the time.
I had no idea that this even existed, so yay for THAT awareness. 

I feel like the characters were good ones, that even though the book wasnt something that I was dying over that it is still very much worth while as we do see a solid and realistic change in the characters and that is something that is seriously appreciated on my shelf. 

Recommend it?
Yeah I do.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pre-Review: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Goodreads Description:
Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. 

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. 

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

So this is the second time that I do this, and its typically when I am super excited about a book.
So I have heard so many fantastic things about Jennifer E. Smiths books, but they hadnt really called my attention as much as this one. A lot of times I know nothing about a book before I jump into it, its either I know everything about a book or I know nothing, there is no in between for me. This one I just loved when I saw what it was about. For me, its a first of its kind. I had have heard countless stories of people becoming miserable and changing so much after winning the lottery. Sure, we all dream of what we would do if we won the lottery and it all sounds like the perfect life, but is it really? Im glad that there is YA book that will explore this scenario and I am so excited to hop right into it, review to come in the next 2 weeks.

Review: The Circle by Dave Eggers


Goodreads Description:
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. 

As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. 

Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America - even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Google turns evil.
This is the story our grandparents have in mind when warning us about technology and to be honest, I have kept in mind. Sure life is easier, the Circle has made sure of that. But maybe, life is too easy and for some, having accept to absolutely everything not just terrifying but downright wrong. 
The Circle has no one but the best people in technology and they are all working together towards using technology to making life easier for everyone, everything from TruYou, a single profile that contains absolutely everything about you to TruYouth, a tracking device on kids that ensures that AmberAlerts become obsolete and unnecessary. The book seriously talks about everyone and everything being accessible, cameras are all around, you can search everything about everyone and nothing is left unseen. 
Surely this sounds like a perfect world thanks to the fact that trolls are existence since everyone's true profile is out online, crimes are committed since everyone is being watched, kids aren't kidnapped because they are tracked.  We, along with Mae love this, we see nothing wrong, want to see what an ex is up to ? Surely someone if not himself has a camera set on his life, simply pop into his channel and watch.
The book kind of made me question my whole online life, like sure, by my definitions, I am doing nothing wrong.
Blogging: Well its books, surely there is no harm in that, I take tons of pictures and the book did make me uncomfortable about that. And what I mean by that is that I do often find myself looking at places thinking HEY that would make a great place for a book picture or planning to go places with bookish pictures in mind. So like.. Maybe books are a little too much a part of my life. 
Fanpages: Its like a drug, yeah I say and feel like I can quit those at any time of my life, and I am not spending much time on them to be honest, once a week I look for pictures and then thats it, stay for about 5 minutes every time that I post like 3 times a day... But maybe I CANT quit, maybe I have been pulled into this whole thing that is social media in which I need approval about everything that I like and therefor I post and I seek the approval of those that also like the same thing that I do.
Yeah... the book made me a bit paranoid. 
I feel like that is the point. 
It kind of reminded me of Black Mirror the whole technology obsession.
The Circle wants to know everything and will even have meetings with workers that don't put everything out there on the internet, but to the whole point of obsession. Mae gets told off more than ones for not documenting everything in her life but like Mae starts to realize that hey, they are right! I am depriving others of the same experience that I go through, that she is stealing from there and so privacy is something WRONG!
The whole place is a cult. It was disturbing to see Mae transforming into what the Circle wants to enforce. The Circle becomes as strong as the government if not stronger. 
Once Mae decides to be a more solid part of the Circle we see just how much people start to adjust their behavior when they know tons of people are watching which is a bit disturbing, always having to worry about what people think, knowing you'll be a piranha if you don't.
Until the very end, things continue to grow more disturbing when it comes to how much information is out there, there is nothing that can't be known, there is no choice. 

Recommend it?
YES I do, i really do.