Thursday, 31 December 2015

December Wrap-Up + January TBR


As I write this, there is still a good three hours until the end of the day. Which is good since I completed my Goodreads Challenge of 30 books for the year about an hour ago. Okay so here is what I set out to read for December:

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stievater
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
The Rose Society by Marie Lu 
Life and Death by Stephanie Meyer
Winter by Marissa Meyer
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stievater
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
- my friend's manuscript

So what did I actually accomplish? Not all of these. Instead I sort of completely deviated from my TBR lol. Here's what I finished:

- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Review to come)
- Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (Reciew)
- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (Review to come)
- Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
- The Rose Society by Marie Lu (I need to finish 100 more pages as I write this!!)

Personally I feel I did a pretty good job. I finished five books. I may have been overestimating with that TBR for December, but no matter. I did what I could. Here's my January TBR:

- Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (I can't WAIT!!)
- Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (Already read some and can't wait to finish!!)
- The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (Just got approved for the e-ARC!)

I'm setting my expectations low for this month because I've got tons of summatives projects and final exams at the end of the month, so I don't know how that will go. Hopefully I manage to get through these three! 

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading about how I completely failed my December TBR. Now moving on we still have January, don't we? ;) Anyways, are there any books on my TBR that you are also planning to read in January? I'd love to hear what you are reading in the comments below!

Happy New Year!!

ARC Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Firsts (ARC)
By: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Pages: 320
Published: January 5th, 2016
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Sypnosis:
"Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up."


Please be warned that there is a lot of sexual themes and has some rape triggers.
Not suitable for younger audiences.

Add FIRSTS on Goodreads right here.

I received an advanced readers copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, so how does one express their love for this book? I absolutely loved it, and would have finished this in one sitting if I were given enough time. It was amazing in many ways, yet... there was a confusing (kind of major) plot-hole? So I'm rating Firsts with a 4.5/5 stars due to its compelling plot and characters, but slightly questionable plot-hole. 

So let's begin with the positives, shall we? This books starts off with Mercedes giving a "favour" for Evan Brown's girlfriend where she is helping him learn the ropes to sex and give his girlfriend the "perfect" first time. This book takes a completely different take on the sex/dating concepts we keep seeing; ranging from that girl who wears mini-skirts and other provocative clothing, that girl who literally flirts with everyone, and that girl who has slept with the entire high school.

Instead, Mercedes is the girl who seeks out virgin guys so they give their girlfriend the first time Mercedes never had. Hard to wrap your mind around, isn't it? Like, how on earth is Mercedes' behaviour acceptable? If you knew someone like this, you would probably ignore them and silently think of disgust as you pass them in the halls. Well, that's just part of the magical writing in this book. Flynn did an amazing job with character depth and motivation. The way she wrote Mercedes makes you totally feel sympathy for her, and completely understand why she's doing what she's doing. It takes a great writer to make the reader feel for the protagonist.

Mercedes is a flawed heroine, and she knows that; it doesn't stop her from being who she is and trying to improve herself. She is also a person who tries to cut everyone away from her in order to stay in control. She has a rocky relationship with her divorced mom and dad, a person-with-benefits relationship with Zach (her "Wednesday" friend), and a growing distance between her best friend, Angela. The thing is, that all these relationships were developed and the characters developed, in such a way that I was emotionally attached to these characters and desperately wanted them to be happy and understood. Flynn is amazing at writing characters and developing them as well as their relationships.

Okay, so I'm pretty sure the message Flynn wanted to get across was that sex is okay as long as it's consented and protected, slut-shaming is not okay, and sex is a precious thing. I loved that Mercedes was a big supporter of these things as this is a increasing problem that should be addressed more often in the high school setting. It's okay to have sex whenever, as long as it is consented and protection is used.

So onto the one slightly negative thing. I loved how Mercedes wanted to secretly help these guys give their girlfriend's the perfect first time, but I'm slightly confused as to why she thinks that they would keep their word and not tell anyone. She never really thought about her secret going out. And that is what worried me most because we all know people talk, and it was unimaginable how she thought it was never going to get out of their little circle. Although this was a problem, I liked how Flynn wrapped it up Mercedes' story and solved the major conflicts related to this problem.

Final Verdict:
All in all, I absolutely loved Firsts. It was a story of a girl trying to figure out who she was through the themes of sexual identity, sex, love, and friendships. It was one of my few favourite contemporaries with hidden depth behind the plot. I highly suggest you pick it up.

FIRSTS releases in stores on January 5th, 2016.



Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish over here. Today's theme is "Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016." Boy, I can't wait for these to come out!

10. Everland by Wendy Spinale


9. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab


8. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater


7. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer



6. Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn


5. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas


4. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken


3. The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry


2. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig


1. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard



So there are my top ten most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016! Thank you and I hope you enjoyed this week's Top Ten Tuesday! What are some of your most anticipated books of 2016? Let me know in the comments below!

Read on! :)

Monday, 28 December 2015

The Beautiful Blogger Award

Thanks Claire at BlankSlaters for nominating me for The Beautiful Blogger Award! I've never done anything like this, so this will be a first. Go check out Claire's blog! She has an amazing blog!

Rules
  • Link the blogger who nominated you
  • List seven random facts about yourself
  • Nominate seven creative, beautiful bloggers
  • Notify the amazing people you nominated for the award

SEVEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

FACT #1: I'm a lefty but technically ambidextrous
It's weird. I say I'm a lefty since it's so much easier than saying I'm ambidextrous. I mostly write and draw with my left, but I can also write (but not draw since it ends up looking like crap) with my right. In sports with balls, I can use either hand/leg. For racket or bat sports, I'm right hand for, but I've been practicing with my left and getting pretty good. The only thing that restricts me, is that I have to use scissors with my right hand. 

FACT #2: I can't dance for my life
I can't dance at all. Literally at school dances my friends are like "wtf are you doing Em," and then I go sulk in the corner and hang out with my phone. Yeah... so please never ask me to dance.


FACT #3: I play a lot of sports
I can't dance to save my life, but I'm pretty good at sports! I've probably played a majority of the popular sports for a period of my life. However, I'm pretty solid with the ones I'm doing now (karate and badminton) since I'm actually pretty good. I've won three tournaments for badminton after only playing competitively for two years and I'm almost at my black belt after nine years. 

FACT #4: I always wear a ponytail
I always wear a ponytail, especially in public. I just can't stand my hair waving all of the place and I can't think properly without it tied up. Yep, I'm weird. 

FACT #5: I'm a huge adrenaline junkie
I once jumped out a two-story building last year, thinking it would be fun. It was, but it kind of hurt afterwards lol. I also love roller coasters and stuff like that. Am I scared of that stuff? No, not really.

I aspire to do this one day.

FACT #6: Yet, I have never broken any bones
I do all this crazy jumping and stuff, yet I've never broken any bones. Weird. Maybe it's because I have really flexible joints? My wrists and ankles are double-jointed.

FACT #7: I'm slightly colourblind
This is pretty bad as an artist. I get confused between orange and pink, and blue and purple sometimes, so I pretty much stick to black and white for most things. 
This pic confuses the heck out of me.

So here's seven random facts about me. I know, I'm weird. And for the nominations! 

I nominate:
Make sure to check out all of the blogs I nominated! All of them have lovely and fantastic blogs! Thanks for reading!

Happy Monday! :)

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Preview Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch (Preview)
By: Susan Dennard
Pages: 416
Published: January 5th, 2016
Published by: Tor Teen
Series: The Witchlands #1
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Sypnosis:
"On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others. In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires. Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness. 

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch."

Add it on Goodreads right here!

So I was lucky enough to receive a 45% preview of Truthwitch written by Susan Dennard from NetGalley. With less than two weeks before release, I figured this would be a great way to get you all even more hyped for Truthwitch as it's my most anticipated release for 2016! (Not that I haven't already been talking about it tons and tons! XD) So onwards!

Where do I even begin? Everything about the preview I read was amazinggggg! The world-building was spectacular, the characters, EVERYTHING. I was so immersed in the world that Sooz created. The Witchlands are such an intricate world, it's even better when scrolling through Sooz's Pinterest board for Truthwitch. And the action scenes are the best! Some novels, I'll skip over the fight scenes because they aren't realistic at all, but with Truthwitch, man, Sooz knows what she's doing.

THE ANSWER IS YES YES YESS!
But those weren't even the best part. I think the best part about this preview what the relationships between each of the characters. What Sooz has here is honestly one of the best female friendships I have ever read and it was literally my favourite part of the preview. The way that Iseult is always there for Safi (and vice versa.) and the way that they would do anything for each other, gives me all the feels. I love the concept that they are Threadsisters and the fact that despite being from two completely different backgrounds. I just don't know how to contain my excitement for this book!

This book lives up to the amazing hype that has been created for it. Mind you, I've only read less than 50% of the book, so I have no idea what happens in the latter half of the book, but I'm pretty sure the ending is spectacular and awesome anyways!!

I should have a review for the full book when the book comes out! I can't wait for this book to come out on January 5th, then I can read it and cry. I know for sure when I first see it in stores, I'm going to pick it up and cry. As Duane and I put it, "it's infinite and infinite love."



Also, remember, if you preorder the book, make sure to head over to thewitchlands.com to claim your awesome swag (a signed bookplate and a cool double-sided poster)!

Thank you and I hope you enjoyed today's mini review on the preview of Truthwitch. Are you excited for Truthwitch's release? Or maybe you've already read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Happy Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Movie Review: The Force Awakens (Spoiler-Free)

Star Wars - The Force Awakens
Series: Star Wars Saga (#7)
Director: J.J. Abrams
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Length: 135 min
Released: December 18th, 2015
Rating: 95% (Rotten Tomatoes)
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Sypnosis:
Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a rag-tag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance. (x)

As you all (hopefully) know, the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, just released last week and broke all opening box office records. Today, I'm going to be talking about my thoughts of the movie and is absolutely spoiler-free



I just want to put this out there, this movie was GREAT okay. You may or may not know, but I'm actually a huge, huge fan of the saga, but the details will come later in another post. I would rate this movie with a 4/5 stars due to its amazing characters and was overall a fantastic reboot to the series. 

The main characters, Finn and Rey, were fresh new characters that I loved to follow around in this movie. Finn was one of the first characters we were introduced to, played by John Boyega, Finn’s unique background as a past storm trooper provided a different perspective to this movie being the fact that we've never seen a storm trooper turn to the good side. His acting was spot-on providing some of that clueless comic-relief and great one-liners here and there. That being said, with Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, as the main main character, she was badass and a great heroine and role model for all kids to look up to. She kicked-butt everywhere she went and lives up to the line of awesome female characters in the Star Wars universe. BB-8, the droid companion in the film, was super cute too.

The antagonist was great too. Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, was uber hot and with his anger issues, it makes me love him even more. He was a great character and played it so well that I wanted to hug Kylo to a million pieces (despite the fact that he’d probably kill me). Yes, he was that good, and that precious.

So what about the returning trio? Mannnn, the returning trio were greattt! Han Solo was pretty prominent in this movie and Harrison Ford fit right back into his character from before. He's still the handsome risk-taker with a smart-alek. Princess, or should I say, General Organa, played by Carrie Fisher, was a great part of the film too. Her returning relationship with Han is still #relationshipgoals. Luke, played by Mark Hamill, did not have a lot of screen time and I don't want to spoil anything so I'll just skip over him. Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 also were returning characters. Overall, the returning characters mostly took a backseat in this film to let the new kids take control of the show, but were still amazing and ties those original fans back to the original trilogy. 

How about the setting? Well, J. J. Abrams could have at least been a little more original here. Before I knew the planet was Jakku, I thought we were on Tatooine. Sand and more sand dunes. I literally thought we were on Tatooine until it was mentioned. So what about that snow planet? Pretty much Hoth with some pine trees (or as I like to say: CANADA). And that planet with water? I'm pretty sure that was Naboo. But in reality, I couldn't really care less, this didn't really affect my rating; it's just the little things a Star Wars fan notices. 


Now enough ranting about the setting, the plot was mostly what let me down I think. To keep this spoiler free, I'm going to have to be really vague. But all in all, similar plot points from the original and prequel trilogy were recycled in The Force Awakens. J. J. Abrams is great at rebooting franchises, but original ideas? Not so much.

So how would I describe this movie? I still find it surreal that there is a new Star Wars movie out. It's literally been my dream to be able to witness the Star Wars films in theatres, and now it's come true. But if I had to use one sentence to describe this movie? I think I would consider it as really, really good fanfiction. Don't get me wrong, The Force Awakens was a really great movie, in fact, it broke all box office records on its opening weekend, but there was something about it that makes me feel that it wasn't the best it could have been. Again, don't get me wrong, I'm extremely excited to see where the new films are headed and to be quite honest, The Force Awakens is still wayyyy better than the prequel trilogy.

Final verdict:
Despite some of the bad stuff I said about the movie, you should still really go see The Force Awakens. It was amazing and it's for sure to please any Star Wars fan. Not a Star Wars fan? This could make you become a young padawan.


Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed today's movie review! Have you seen The Force Awakens already? Let me know in the comments and maybe tweet me on Twitter so we can discuss!

May the Force be with you! :)

Monday, 21 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Best Books I Read in 2015


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish over here. Today's theme is "Top Ten Best Books I Read in 2015." 

To clear things up: I switched last week's theme with this week's. 

As I keep telling you guys, I really didn't read a lot of books in 2015, and I really should step up my game. With still a little more than a week left of December, this list is sort of incomplete, but will include some of the books I am still currently reading. 

10. The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie



9. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater



8. Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews



7. Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan



6. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard



5. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell



4. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas



3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo



2. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski



1. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas



Thank you for reading today's Top Ten Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed reading about my top ten best books of 2015! What were some of your favourites? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

The Holiday Book Tag

  This tag was originally created by my good friend Megan over @ Magic Book Buyer
Thanks for tagging me, Megan!

1. Take a picture of your green and red books!


2. Would you rather drink tea, hot chocolate, or coffee while you’re bundled up reading?

Any of them would be fine while reading honestly! Though I would really prefer not to drink anything while reading a book because I'm sort of clumsy and might end up knocking over the cup! XD

3. What is your favorite book to read around this time of year?

Like Megan, definitely Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone or any Harry Potter book! Just all the feels, and the childhood, holiday vibes from that one.

4. What is a book you’re really hoping to get this holiday season?

I'm hoping to get Truthwitch in the new year and possiblyyyy Heir of Fire and Illuminae! I got a $50 gift card so I'm waiting on a good Indigo holiday sale!

5. If you could, or if you are, what book would you gift to someone this season and why?
Oh man, I have no idea. I'd probably gift my cousin with a book from the Throne of Glass series since I got her into it this past month and she's craving more!


I'm tagging:

- Claire @ Blankslaters
- Duane @ Duane Reads
- Alexandra @ Literary Legionnaire

If I didn't tag, feel free to still do the tag and link me and Megan (@dreamernwisher) on Twitter!

Thank you for reading and I hope you have an amazing weekend!

Happy Holidays! :)

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Bookish Things I Wouldn't Mind Santa LeavingUnder My Tree This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish over here. Today's theme is "Top Ten Bookish Things I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year." I'm swapping this week's and next week's since hopefully by next week I should have read some more books that will definitely be possible contenders! But onward with this week's theme!

10. Time to Read

Nothing said... XD

9. Live By The Sun, Love By The Moon, Shine Like The Stars Tee


Prettyyyyyyy.

8. Hogwarts Alumni Sweater


Sooooo prettyyyyy omg.

7. Throne of Glass Lithographs T-Shirt

Man... I'd wear the hell out of this t-shirt if I ever got one.

6. Illuminae


This book seems like the type of book I need to own before reading. I wouldn't mind if Santa got it for me so I wouldn't have go buy it or get it from the library. ;)

5. The Girl From Everywhere


This wouldn't be possible to get during Christmas unless I got an ARC. But you never know. ;)

4. Anything by viria


I've been following viria for a very, very long time, and I've never gotten the opportunity to support her or to purchase any of her art. So maybe this year? She's a fantastic artist and does art ranging from anime to Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. You can look through her art here.


3. The Raven Boys phone case


I'm a huge sucker for pretty art of boys and even more so when it's done by the author themself! So if any of you want to get me it... *casually leaves link here*

2. An ARC of Truthwitch


Oh man, even if I don't get an ARC, I can't wait for Susan Dennard's newest novel to come out! Can't wait to see what I've helped to promote come to life and finally read it! I need a preorder of this ASAP!

1. A Signed Copy of Heir of Fire


I really would cry if I got a signed copy of this. It was my favourite book of the year and probably so far. I could relate to the characters so much, the story was interwoven incredibly and ahhh, the emotions. Yep, I would freak if Santa left this for me!


So how about it? Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this week's Top Ten Tuesday! What are some bookish things that you wouldn't mind Santa leaving you? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Tuesday! :)