Saturday, 30 July 2016

100th Post: Special Announcement!!

Hey guys for my 100th post, you guys said you wanted me to do something special. So here I am. Drumroll pleaseeeeeeeeee!

I'm moving to wordpress!

My blog has been moved to piplupsshadow.wordpress.com and I'll be posting there from now on! 



Some things are not completely finished updating, but I'm really proud to take my blog on this journey! I'd really appreciate it if you'd follow my blog there!

You can follow my blog via Bloglovin' below:

Thanks guys!

What do you all think of my new blog?
 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

THE CHASM - Release Day Blitz + GIVEAWAY!

It feels like just yesterday when the Island by S. Usher Evans came out. But really, it's already been almost three months! And now the sequel is out! I loved the first one, the Island, and wrote a review right here! I also reviewed an early copy of the Chasm right here! I highly recommend that you check out this trilogy because it's a really great read!
 
They survived The Island, but can they cross The Chasm?

Four months after Prince Galian was discovered alive on a remote island, he's adjusting slowly to life at the hospital under the Kylaen media's glare. His promises to Theo remain unfulfilled as fear of his father keeps him from taking concrete action. And the more he learns about the machinations in Kylae, the less sure he is that it's possible to make a difference. Across the great Madion Sea, Major Theo Kallistrate struggles to navigate the tricky political waters of Rave's presidential staff. To make positive change for her people, she must remain relevant and interesting to the Raven media and to the president. When he asks her to deliver a speech on her supposed two-month imprisonment at Mael, she's not sure she can stomach the lies. The Chasm is S. Usher Evans' breathtaking, fast-paced follow-up to The Island, which readers say is "not to be missed."  Buy the first book in the Madion War Trilogy today for Kindle, paperback, and hardcover, coming July 12th.


Giveaway!

 

 
Sneak Peek

Theo

"Bayard won't be back for at least two hours," Emilie said, glancing at her watch. "We will probably need to tweak his talking points based on his discussions with the Jervan president. Wesson, take the lead on that."
He nodded and scribbled in his book.
"Aruna," Emilie said, nodding at a younger girl I'd seen in a few meetings. She paled at being called on, but held her pen ready. "Find Cannon and tail him. Make sure he stays on message and doesn't dally in anything…embarrassing." She paused, a disgusted look crossing her face. "And if he does, make sure nobody knows. Talk to Wesson for crowns if you need it."
She nodded with a small smile. She might take that mission a little too seriously.
"And 'neechai," Emilie said, grabbing my attention. "You and I will spend the afternoon working on your speech. I trust that you've resolved whatever…issues you were having."
I dipped my head, even as dread coiled in my stomach. Emilie moved on to someone else, so I pulled the speech out from the calf-pocket of my jumpsuit. I'd practiced it once or twice while sitting in the pool, reading quietly to myself and envisioning what it would be like to speak in front of the Madion nation leadership.
But even in my head, I still stumbled through the parts about Mael. Stumbling wouldn't cut it for Emilie, so I prayed for a miracle.
"What's going on out there?" Emilie said, squinting to her left. I followed her gaze and saw a crowd of people standing at the hotel's entrance, craning over each other to get a look at whatever was outside.
I stood with the rest of the Ravens and walked into the lobby. The crowd grew more frenzied and then the front doors of the hotel opened.
The crowd pushed in then parted, and in strolled the last person I'd ever expected to see again.
"Amichai."
He was beautiful, a wide smile on his face and his gait confident. His brown hair was clipped shorter and he no longer wore the beard I'd grown accustomed to seeing on our island. He paused in the middle of the lobby to talk to two journalists who'd approached him, then threw his head back and laughed.
Then his eyes locked with mine.
It was as if everything and everyone disappeared. The corners of his mouth turned up and I suddenly forgot how to breathe. Electricity crackled in the hundred steps that lay between us, and I could've sworn I knew exactly what he was thinking. If I'd had any doubt about his reason for arriving in this city, in this hotel, on this day, it vanished in that moment.
As desperately as I wanted to run to him, for some reason, my legs wouldn't move. Something was keeping me from going to him, but for the life of me I couldn't remember what it was…
"What in the world is the princeling doing here?" Cannon's voice pierced my bubble, and I wrenched my eyes away from Galian's. Where I was, who I was with, and my purpose rushed back to me like waking from the best dream into a nightmare.
I found my voice. "I have no idea."
"I doubt he's meddling in the summit. He'd be stupid to disobey his father." Cannon shrugged mightily. "Then again, the princeling's never been too smart."
"Right, he's an idiot," I said.
Stupid, stupid princeling. How could he be so irresponsible as to come to Jervan? Especially after his father had forbidden anyone from Kylae to attend, or so Emilie had told us in a meeting earlier that week. And he just walked through the front door, announcing to the entire world that he was there.
I realized I was still watching him when Cannon's voice again interrupted my thoughts. "Come now, kallistrate, don't be star struck. He's just a prince."
I nodded hastily and turned away from him so I wouldn't be tempted to stare. "Just a prince, right."
And my amichai.

Galian

She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.
I drank in the sight of her: the way her velvet lips parted, how her big brown eyes widened slightly. Her hair pulled back into a bun, her Raven uniform immaculate. The shape of her body. How her dark skin had grown pale. 
"If you're trying to pretend you don't know her, perhaps you shouldn't stare," Martin snickered beside me. "I'll stare at her for you. She's a lot cuter than I remembered."
"Right," I said, turning away. "So do you think it worked?"
I had just finished talking to a reporter, feigning ignorance about any sort of summit or why the leaders from three of the four Madion nations were in this city. I'd made sure to talk about my plans to drink heavily and meet some hot Jervanian girls, just to play the part.
I attempted to keep the giddy smile off of my face as I checked into the hotel. When I snuck another glance at her, she'd turned away from me, but the rest of the Ravens kept staring at me, pointing and discussing amongst themselves. I wondered what they were saying.
"I apologize, Your Highness," the clerk said with all the sincerity of a wet mop. "All of our suites have been reserved by delegations to the summit. The only rooms I have are the basic rooms."
"I doubt I'll be sleeping in my own room anyway," I said with an overly confident grin.
The clerk, predictably, rolled his eyes in disgust.
I caught Martin's eye, and he snorted.
"Your keys, Your Highness," he said, sliding over two access cards. "Please be advised that there is a two hundred crown cleaning fee for any…destruction."
I winked at him then motioned for Martin to grab our bags. I would've carried my own, but it would've been contrary to the part I was playing.
"You sure faked that well," Martin said, tossing my bag to me once we were safely in the elevator.
"I wish I could say I've never been that much of an asshole before," I said with a small grimace.

About the Author

S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a “real job” as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit. Evans is the author of the Razia series, Madion War Trilogy, and Empath, published by Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing. 

Check her out on the below social medias:

Monday, 11 July 2016

ARC Review: The Chasm by S. Usher Evans

The Chasm
By: S. Usher Evans
Pages: 296
Published: July 12th, 2016
Published by: Sun's Golden Ray Publishing
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Sypnosis:
They survived The Island, but can they cross The Chasm?

Four months after Prince Galian was discovered alive on a remote island, he's adjusting slowly to life at the hospital under the Kylaen media's glare. His promises to Theo remain unfulfilled as fear of his father keeps him from taking concrete action. And the more he learns about the machinations in Kylae, the less sure he is that it's possible to make a difference.

Across the great Madion Sea, Major Theo Kallistrate struggles to navigate the tricky political waters of Rave's presidential staff. To make positive change for her people, she must remain relevant and interesting to the Raven media and to the president. When he asks her to deliver a speech on her supposed two-month imprisonment at Mael, she's not sure she can stomach the lies.

The Chasm is S. Usher Evans' breathtaking, fast-paced follow-up to The Island, which readers say is "not to be missed."

Add THE CHASM on Goodreads right here!
I received an advanced reader's copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to read this!

Sush kicked off her newest new adult trilogy less than three months ago and I am so glad that I was able to help promote the series every step of the way. After reading the Island, I was blown away with the great characters and premise, but now after reading the Chasm, I am hooked and am craving the Union (which is out next year on Valentine’s Day! The Chasm was an amazing follow-up to the Island with very real characters, and tension written so well that I felt like I was going to burst if nothing happened, causing me rate it with a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The sequel starts off with Theo and Galian separated once more, serving their countries in their own ways, but still thinking of each other; definitely not in the super whiny way that you would think, but they are trying to focus with their tasks at hand before thinking of the other. While Theo and Galian were always better together, they definitely still were amazing at making differences in their own countries. It was definitely a great sight watching Theo’s rebelliousness rubbing off on Galian. And when they were together, man, it was greattttttt.
The chemistry between Theo and Galian is definitely my favourite part of the trilogy. Sush has this amazing way of making them work so well with each other, even though they are almost completely different. Their bantering and conversations easily had me laughing and smiling even when their situation was grim. Theo and Galian are so, so precious, definitely OTP material.

Also, in this middle book, we learn so much more about the world Theo and Galian live in. We get to see how corrupted their societies and politics are. It made it seem even more real to me, like I could physically live in their world. We also learn so much more about the secondary characters like Kaden, the Queen, and Rhy. I've come to love each of these characters, so precious and MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS. And there are some characters that I can’t help but hate because of certain things they did. Sush creates really, really great and loveable characters, and also really hateable ones.

Aside from the slower pace, there was nothing I didn’t like about the Chasm. In fact, despite the slower pace, I still tore through this book really quickly. Sush really makes a triumphant return with this sequel, developing the amazing characters and world that she created in the Island even further.

Final verdict:
I feel that The Chasm was the perfect middle book in the Madion Trilogy, successfully meeting the expectations from the first novel, and creating a strong craving for the last installment of the trilogy. Amazingly well-written characters and world, I definitely advise you to pick this up because Theo and Galian are everything.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Art Dump #4 (Jul. 7)


It's been awhile since I last did one of these, so here we go! You can view the last one here.

Rowan and Aelin in this made up scene that I thought of. Done in May.

Rhysand with nice colours. Gotta redo it. May.
Studied Alex Colville's Horse and Train. May.
Rhysand from ACOMAF. I really like this one. June.
hehehe more Rhysand. May.
Noah and Echo from Pushing the Limits. May.

Ryan and Beth from Dare You To. June.
Lockscreen with quote from ACOMAF. July.

I didn't get a lot of time to doodle or anything like that these couple of months because of finals. But here are some of the main things that I did and well are good enough to show you guys hahaha. I need to draw more now especially since it's summer. Thanks for checking this out!

Keep creating!

Monday, 4 July 2016

June Wrap-Up + July TBR

 
Wooooooo!!! School's out and now I have a lot of free time!! Well kinda. Anyways I’m so so so sorry I haven’t been consistently posting on this blog, but heyyyyy now I’m back! I’m going to try blogging about three times a week now and I’ve got lots and lots more stuff to share with you guys! Especially since I’ve been reading so much, about a book every two days, I’ve got tons of reviews to write now. It really helps that I took out 80 books from my library… whoops? Without further ado, here’s what I planned to read in the month of June:

- The Chasm by S. Usher Evans
- Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
- Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
- Take Me On by Katie McGarry
- Signs of You by Emily France

And I mean I didn’t do a bad job eh? The only one I didn’t finish was Gemina, but that’s okay, because I did get through a lot more of it. And let me tell you, it’s reallllyyyyy goooddddd! Because I mean as I’m writing this in July I just finished it haha. So here’s all of what I read in June:

- Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (THE CHARACTERS ARE SO DAMN CUTE - 5 STARS)
- Take Me On by Katie McGarry (YES MARTIAL ARTS AND BADASS CHARACTERS, I NEED MORE - 4.5 STARS)
- Signs of You by Emily France (So thought-provoking and gut-wrenching - 4 STARS)
- A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi) vol. 1-4 by Yoshitoki Ooima (OMG a+ characters and really makes you think about what’s right and wrong and AMAZING ART - 5 STARS)
- The Chasm by S. Usher Evans (YESS AMAZING FOLLOW-UP TO THE FIRST - 4 STARS)
- The Gamer part 1 by Sung San-Young (AMAZING ART AND WORLD - 4.5 STARS)
- Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (yesssss great plot and definitely can’t wait to see where it goes - 3.5 STARS)
- Get Smart! By Brian Tracy (fairly good but quite repetitive with presenting ideas - 3.5 STARS)
- The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (loveeeee the characters, can’t wait to see what happens next - 4 STARS)

Welp that was a lot of books lol. I can’t believe I read all that during exam month lol. Here’s some books I plan to (or have already) read this month:

- Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (SOOO much character development and the twists omg - 5 STARS)
- Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (SO HEART-TOUCHING and hits so close to home - 5 STARS)
- A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi) vol. 5-7 by Yoshitoki Ooima (ughhhghh that ending I cry - 5 STARS)
- The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
- Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

… And much, much more! I’m not going to list all of them since I have 80 books to choose from everyday sooooo.

Some cool things that happened in June:
- I won a Frenzies First giveaway that included Ruined, Outliers, Crown’s Game, Unrivaled, Queen of Hearts, and True Letters from a Fictional Life!
- I won a copy of Fanart by Sarah Tregay!
- I passed my courses this year with an average of a 96%!
- Somehow my essay about Heir of Fire got a 100% in my english class.
- I went crazy at my library and took out 80 books O.o

Did you do any cool things in June?

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Book Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

A Study in Charlotte
By: Brittany Cavallaro
Pages: 321
Published: March 1st, 2016
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardback
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Sypnosis:
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

Add A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE on Goodreads right here!

Okay so before I read this book, I liked Sherlock and everything about that fandom. But now that I’ve read this book, man, I don’t like Sherlock, I fricking love Sherlock Holmes. My friends, Sondra and Megan, were bugging me about reading it, and when I finally started, I could not stop at all.

An amazing Sherlock-esque story with familiar yet different characters, an enticing plot, and giving me an intense craving for more, A Study in Charlotte deserves way more than the 5/5 stars that I’m about to give it.

The first thing that I absolutely loved was the fact that the main characters are descendants of the original Holmes and Watson! We are able to see little bits of the original duo in both Jamie and Charlotte, and while they are similar, they are also different in many ways.

Charlotte at the beginning seems a lot like Sherlock, but as the story goes on, her character begins to break the shell that she was taught to have since a young child, into a young woman who cares deeply for those important to her, and isn’t really all that stoic on the inside. Jamie has that similar “idk what you’re thinking Holmes but I don’t think that’s a great idea” thing like Watson, and like him, manages to keep their partner in check, but he has more of a reckless side to him that Watson never had.

What I really liked about their relationship was the fact that it was equally balanced since Charlotte often confided in Watson about his thoughts.

I loved the plot of the mystery, especially the twists at the end. I’m normally the type to guess at who was behind all the attacks, but I never could have guessed the outcome of this one. I loved the overall outcome of the story even if it was sort of an info dump at the end. It was purposeful so that they didn’t give away anything until the end. I felt it was done well.

I loved the pacing in this one. I just kept flipping and flipping the pages. I clearly remember how I was supposed to be doing a geography project, but instead I just kept speeding through it and was down in about 3 hours…. O.o The writing was so gripping and intriguing I just couldn’t stop. It'll definitely have you wondering how it ends... until the end.

Final Verdict:
A Study in Charlotte was an absolutely amazing rendition of Sherlock and I can't wait for the next ones in the trilogy to come out! Definitely pick it up if you are into Sherlock or mysteries with really cute teenagers!

Will you be reading A Study in Charlotte?

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year


Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and the Bookish over here. This week's theme is "Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year." I know I haven't been very active on my blog lately, but I couldn't pass up this week's topic! Here are my top ten 2016 releases so far, not including ARCs that come out later this year:

1. The Abyss Surrounds Us


An epic story of a girl named Cas who is suddenly swooped up by pirates and is forced to raise a Reckoner pup for them. Super diverse and a must-read debut for sure.

2. Truthwitch

Written by the fabulous Susan Dennard, she introduces her new quartet with an amazing start in a story of friendship and magic.

3. The Love That Split The World

A beautifully-written debut with a story of true love and what it means to do things for love, Emily Henry writes a fascinating tale of Natalie and her adventures through worlds with Beau.

4. A Study In Charlotte

With characters who are the descendants of the real Sherlock and Watson characters, A Study in Charlotte was an amazing page-turner that will have you on the edge of your seat.

5. The Island

An amazing start to a new trilogy, S. Usher Evans will have you burning as her characters, who are enemies, are stranded on an island together with no clear way out.

6. Outrun The Moon

Historical fiction at its finest, Outrun the Moon is set in in San Francisco during the San Francisco earthquake in Chinatown, following stubborn, but witty, Mercy Wong as she attempts to attend a private school.

7. The Unexpected Everything 

Definitely one to read this summer, The Unexpected Everything is a story of a summer where nothing goes as expected and Andie must deal with it as well as her best friends and this really cute guy who keeps appearing.

8. A Court of Mist and Fury

The sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses, this one absolutely blows the other ones away where we find out character motives and Feyre's true powers.

9. Rebel of The Sands

In an epic world, Amani must use her wits, powers, and maybe the mysterious stranger in town to get out of her town and save the world.

10. Signs of You

A story of beginning and endings, Signs of You was such a sweet conclusion of how Riley comes to terms with her mother's death while going on an adventure with her best friends.

In reality, all of the books I've read this year were amazing so far. I'll be writing reviews for all of the books listed here if I haven't already! The first one will probably be A Study in Charlotte later this week as my exams come to a close! I'm so done with exams omg. Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed reading about the books I love that have come out this year! 

Have you, or will you be reading any of these?

Sunday, 5 June 2016

3 Signs that you should've been a dragon, and what to do about it! (Ft. Pamela N.)

Hi guys! As you can tell by the title, I have another super special guest on my blog today. So I'm going to be handing this post off to my good friend , Pamela @ pamelanicolewrites.com! Take it away Pamela!

Hi people! First, I'd like to thank my favorite penguin lover girl for having me on her blog. Thanks Em!

I've been in a bit of a blogging slump lately, and this was exactly what I needed to get back on track. As you can see from the title, this has quite a lot to do with my favorite fantasy creature, dragons.

If you've spent your whole life being a human, then these are 3 signs that show that should've been born a dragon.

1. One of your favorite superpowers is flying

Let's face it, there too many cool superpowers to have only ONE favorite, but if flying is anywhere in the top of your top favorite superpowers, then you might be on to something *wink*.

2. You're supremely tempted to call yourself a bookdragon instead of a bookworm

Recently, Cait from Paper Fury prompted a twitter convo in which we discussed the potential of being not just bookworms, but BOOKQUEENS, AND YES BOOKDRAGONS. Because, why not?

3. You're slightly partial to stories in which people can turn into dragons rather than the ones that just feature dragons as another separate race

Gimme.

4. You love all dragon stories

They'll never be enough to satisfy your dragon instincts.

5. Sometimes, when you're angry, you wish you could spit fire, turn into a dragon and be a sexy, powerful dragon queen

Surely no one would give you any crap then, right?
So, what to do about this disastrous situation?
The answer will always be, surround yourself by dragons!

Dragons in TV

Go right now to watch How to Train your Dragon. You know what, go and watch both movies, and also, the TV show. Why not? Having dragons as pets would be so awesome *dreamy sigh*

Dragons in Music

If you know anything about me, you'll have known this was coming. Say hi to Imagine Dragons! These guys are the best! They make my favorite music, and are just so talented! Alright, they don't actually sing about dragons, but they're still amazing so we're going to forgive them for that.

Here are some of my favorite songs from them:

Spotify playlist:


Dragons in Books

If you haven't already, you should go ahead and start reading Julie Kagawa's Talon series. Peeps who turn into dragons, secret organization with hidden agenda, dragon hunters, betrayal, deception... All the fun stuff. ;)

Also, you give Eragon by Christopher Paolini a chance. If you're into the Tolkien-like writing style, then I think you'd enjoy it :D

And that's all! I hope the dragon inside of you is pacified now!

Rawr you later!


Thank you Pamela for your lovely post about dragons! As a dragon at heart (with a penguin everything else of course), this post really touches home!
Are you a secret dragon?

Thursday, 2 June 2016

May Wrap-Up + June TBR


Soooo much to dooooooo! Hey guys, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted consistently on this blog, and I am so, so sorry. School’s really been getting to me, so I decided to take a short unannounced semi-hiatus lol! Don’t worry, I’ll definitely be back posting every once in awhile! Gahhh, I can’t wait for the summer where I can read, and blog alllllll dayyyyy! So with this post, I thought I’d update you guys with what I’ve read this month:

- The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson (OMG SOO GOOODD - 4.5 STARS)
- A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (LIKE KABLAM MY MIND - 5 STARS)
- The Crown by Kiera Cass (This one was like crack man - 3.5 STARS)
- Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (DAMMIT SONDRA I AM HOOKED - 4.5 STARS)
- Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (Definitely not my fav, but decent - 4 STARS)
- Dare You To by Katie McGarry (I NEED MORE BOOKS IN THIS SERIES - 5 STARS)

And once again I completely failed to finish any of the books in my TBR from last month, so I didn’t bother putting it here lolol. Anyways, I feel that I had a decent reading month for the overload of work that I did… I mean, I read, right? All the ones I read this month were absolutely amazinggggg reads! I can’t wait for school to end so that I can read moreeeeeee! Here’s what I plan to read this month now that school is ending soon:

- The Chasm by S. Usher Evans
- Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
- Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
- Take Me On by Katie McGarry
- Signs of You by Emily France

*prays I can finish that* So here I am again with the low expectations lol! Hopefully I actually complete some of these this time around hahaha…

So here’s some cool things that happened in May:
 
- My band and I got gold at a music festival!
- Althea @ GirlsThatRead won my six month giveaway!
- I drew a hell lot of Rhysand.
- I got absolutely hooked on Legends of Tomorrow and Agents of Shield.

I wasn’t very active on Twitter during May, but I hope I will be more active this month! *nervous laughs because exams* As always thank you guys for reading!
 
What cool things happened to you in May?

Sunday, 22 May 2016

SST Review: Genius - The Game by Leopoldo Gout + GIVEAWAY!

Sunday Street Team was created by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28! For more info, click here

Genius: The Game (ARC)
By: Leopoldo Gout
Pages: 304
Published: May 3rd, 2016
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Format: e-ARC
Source: Publisher for SST
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Sypnosis:
"Trust no one. Every camera is an eye. Every microphone an ear. Find me and we can stop him together.

The Game: Get ready for Zero Hour as 200 geniuses from around the world go head to head in a competition hand-devised by India's youngest CEO and visionary.

The Players:
Rex- One of the best programmers/hackers in the world, this 16-year-old Mexican-American is determined to find his missing brother.
Tunde-This 14-year-old self-taught engineering genius has drawn the attention of a ruthless military warlord by single-handedly bringing electricity and internet to his small Nigerian village.
Painted Wolf-One of China's most respected activist bloggers, this mysterious 16-year-old is being pulled into the spotlight by her father's new deal with a corrupt Chinese official.

The Stakes: Are higher than you can imagine. Like life and death. Welcome to the revolution. And get ready to run."

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___. ___, ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___, ___ ___, "___ ___ ___ ___, ___ ___. ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ I just ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___."

Add GENIUS: THE GAME to Goodreads right here!

This review for Genius: The Game is posted as part of the Sunday Street Team hosted by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28! More more info on the street team, click here. Thank you to Nori and the publisher for sending me a copy to read in exchange for an honest review!

Like always, I’m always excited to start new books. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a lighter book, so I was super excited for a chance to take a break from brooding teens and such to read this one, which from the synopsis alone had me thinking of the fun it would include. The promise was quite fulfilled and with that I rate Genius: The Game with a 4/5 stars.

This book was a whirlwind from the start. Reading the synopsis, alone, had me absolutely hooked. I’m a huge sucker for competition, in general, but in books, it can have my heartbeat racing as if I were actually running a marathon. And even though it was much more of a competition of wits and innovation, I was still intrigued at how the main characters were going to end up winning. The Game was an interesting set of challenges that will for sure have you trying to figure out the puzzle for yourself.

Secondly, I absolutely loved the characters. Rex was funny, yet so caring that I wanted to hug him; Tunde was the genius I’ve always wanted to be; and Painted Wolf was basically my favourite character ever and everything I aspire to be. Not only was the cast of characters epically diverse, but they were so distinct from each other, each of them had different motives for why they wanted to be in the game. The writing of their voices had their own quirks and was absolutely hilarious at times.

Their friendship with each other (aka via internet most of the tie) reminded me of the friendship I share with a lot of people which are exclusively online. The moment where they all finally met made me tear up a little because I know exactly how they felt when they finally got to meet their friend in person. They worked so well with each other to try and win the game, they complement each other so well.

Lastly, I loved the little twists with the villain and their motives because it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. It took me by surprise, but was still completely reasonable. The ending was a little unclear, especially without a sequel planned, but I think it summed up the end of that particular journey with the characters.

Final Verdict:
Genius: The Game was an epic novel with really diverse characters. This competition will have you flying through the pages and trying to find out what happens next. I recommend this novel for those who love competitions, and really great friendships! 

Giveaway!

About the Author:
Leopoldo Gout is the producer behind many films including Days of Grace, which A.O. Scott of the New York Times called "a potent and vigorous film." He is also a writer, artist, and filmmaker. Leopoldo is currently involved in various film and television projects including major adaptations of the Alex Cross series, with the author James Patterson and the upcoming film adaption of Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life.

Will you be reading Genius: The Game?

Sunday, 15 May 2016

SST Review: OUTRUN THE MOON by Stacey Lee + 3 GIVEAWAYS!

Sunday Street Team was created by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28! For more info, click here!

Outrun the Moon (ARC)
By: Stacey Lee
Pages: 400
Published: May 24th, 2016
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Format: e-ARC
Source: Publisher for SST
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Sypnosis:
"San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can't sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the 'bossy' cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?"


Add OUTRUN THE MOON to Goodreads right here!

This review for Outrun the Moon is posted as part of the Sunday Street Team hosted by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28! More more info on the street team, click here. Thank you to Nori and the publisher for sending me a copy to read in exchange for an honest review!

Stacey Lee is one of those authors that came to my attention during a Twitter chat that was raising awareness of diversity in books. When I learned she wrote diverse characters, specifically Asian MCs, I was instantly craving for want because as Chinese myself, I find it so rare to see Asians in YA novels. So, when I heard Outrun the Moon was coming out, it easily became one of my most anticipated novels of 2016. My luck was even better when I was able to take the opportunity to participate in this SST hosted by Nori! Featuring a strong and diverse female character and the very real struggles of living in old Chinatown, I rate Outrun the Moon with an awesome 5/5 stars!

First of all, like many others, I’m not a huge historical fiction reader, but when I do end up reading the genre, I love it. The best thing about this book is how it blends the history with fiction to make it the best sort of historical fiction in my honest opinion.

Mercy Wong is the epitome of what I love in a character. She’s quick-witted, persevering, strong-willed, and very caring. Chinese aside, I could identify with her in so many ways. Like her, I will try and try again to achieve my goals which often are for the benefit for my whole family which she and I also care deeply for. Throughout the novel, she is hilarious when speaking her thoughts and is constantly trying to make the best of each scenario which is something I admire since I can never quite do.

Also, the historical accuracies in this novel are 💯💯💯💯💯💯💯👌👌👌. My great grandfather lived in a Chinatown in Canada during the same time period, and the stories my grandfather used to tell me fit right into what Mercy and the other Chinese people had to experience in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The novel does no such thing to hide the white supremacy and condescending looks people would cast at those who were Chinese, and the accuracy of it was so on-point at times I had to constantly remind myself that while so much has improved, this still happens to some people all over the world and really needs to be stopped. Also, I loved how the novel went into detail about Mercy’s life and what that was like because I really loved the little references to Chinese culture. I could relate to it so much.

I also really loved Outrun the Moon for its great female friendships that Mercy developed while at St. Clare’s. The group of friends were so unlikely, but they worked so well with each other! It was so cute and, in a way, it reminded me of my own friends, in the sense that we help and stick by each other no matter what. I thought the characters were all written really well.

Lastly, the writing is absolutely spectacular. Stacey Lee has this way of writing such poetic sentences that really speak to the reader. It really works with the Chinese idioms/saying of which Mercy constantly quotes from her mother. They provide lots of encouragement and add lots of beauty to this story.

Final Verdict:
Outrun the Moon was a fantastic heart-breaking story of hope and seeing the beauty in dark situations. I will constantly be recommending it for it has such a great Chinese female character who is an inspiration for everything I want to be. She doesn’t let society define her for what she is on the outside, and sets off to prove almost everyone wrong. If you love diverse books with great friendships and historical fiction, Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee is the one for you.

Giveaways!

For full information about the rules for these giveaways, please refer to this post right here!

The San Francisco Getaway:  


The Show Me San Francisco:  


The Hand Knit Shawl:  


About the Author:
Stacey Lee is a fourth generation Californian with roots in San Francisco Chinatown. Born in Southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. She has lots of experience with earthquakes, having skinned her knees more times than she wants to remember diving under tables. One day she hopes to own a hypoallergenic horse and live by the sea. See what she's up to on Twitter & Instagram: @staceyleeauthor. 

Will you be reading Outrun the Moon?

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Star Wars and Me

 
Star Wars and I have a pretty close relationship. Like books, the Star Wars saga have once been my saviour when things turned dark. So, I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard there was going to be a new Star Wars movies and literally couldn't wait for it or May 4th this year. Not only is it my brother’s birthday, but it’s also Star Wars day, and let me just say that I had an awesome time geeking out. But let's rewind to the origin of my Star Wars love.

My dad has always been a huge fan of the original trilogy and after I was born, the prequel trilogy was just coming out in theatres. So at the mere age of 3 (or whenever I started to understand things), I was already exposed to the Star Wars universe. Once I started understanding movies, my dad immediately made me watch Star Wars, and I was immediately in love. Whenever we went to Burger King, I would collect all the Star Wars toys they had, and I would play with them and my dad for long amounts of time.

This love obviously dissipated for a while there as I started getting into princesses and power rangers and other cool stuff like that. (I was a weird child. Anyways when I started to get back into that stuff, I was around nine or ten and started to actually understand the story. I was fascinated by the story of a guy who was torn between doing good and bad and what he thought was right, while saving his loved ones, and the galaxy around him. The story George Lucas crafted is beautiful and one of which I believe is a masterpiece.

I was also into LEGO and now literally own all the Star Wars sets from 2009-2014. To be clear, that's a lot of money right there, over $5000. (I know, imagine all the books I could have bought with that. But hey, I don't regret that stage of my life.) During this time, I started reading all there was on Star Wars, the comics, encyclopedias and went to watch the cartoons they've made, including the Clone Wars series. I was intrigued by the massive universe George Lucas has started and was determined to know all of it.

Well, guess what? I did read almost every resource available to me, and the concept art from the Star Wars concept books reignited my art interest. Now you think, “well with all this knowledge, I bet you never really got the chance to show it off.” And that's where you are wrong haha. I actually got the chance to write an hour presentation about my knowledge of Star Wars in sixth grade for an independent study project where I basically just geeked out for a whole hour. (To all those people who were my classmates, I'm so sorry.) Probably one of the highlights of that year to be honest. 

Then I started reading. This includes YA novels, and also basically every book about Star Wars written. It’s been fun. But after all these years, Star Wars still hasn’t left me, and I am so glad for it. In an epic tale of the dark and light forces of the world, I can’t thank Star Wars enough for an awesome childhood, ultimately leading me onto this path of reading which has led me to so many awesome friends. Let's just say that I'll definitely be marathoning Star Wars on Sunday.
 
Do you like Star Wars?

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Anime Review: Haikyuu!! (#GetYouIntoHaikyuu)

Haikyuu!!
Studio: Production I.G
Producer: Mainichi Broadcasting, TOHO animation
Genre: Sports, Comedy, Drama, School, Shounen
Episodes: 25
Episode Length: 24 minutes per episode
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis:
"Inspired after watching a volleyball ace nicknamed "Little Giant" in action, small-statured Shouyou Hinata revives the volleyball club at his middle school. The newly-formed team even makes it to a tournament; however, their first match turns out to be their last when they are brutally squashed by the "King of the Court," Tobio Kageyama. Hinata vows to surpass Kageyama, and so after graduating from middle school, he joins Karasuno High School's volleyball team—only to find that his sworn rival, Kageyama, is now his teammate.

Thanks to his short height, Hinata struggles to find his role on the team, even with his superior jumping power. Surprisingly, Kageyama has his own problems that only Hinata can help with, and learning to work together appears to be the only way for the team to be successful. Based on Haruichi Furudate's popular shounen manga of the same name, Haikyuu!! is an exhilarating and emotional sports comedy following two determined athletes as they attempt to patch a heated rivalry in order to make their high school volleyball team the best in Japan."

This past week, Wren and I hosted #GetYouIntoHaikyuu which was a watchalong of a sports anime called Haikyuu! It was so much fun, and we hosted a chat at the end. So for this review, both Wren and I are excited to share our thoughts and feelings on the show!

Characters

Wren:
Hinata isn’t a bad main character. I love his pure determination. Sure, he might not be the best receiver, but does he let that drag him down? No! He actually uses it to his advantage, wielding his faults like a pro. He doesn’t back down from a challenge. Hinata would make an amazing role model.

Kageyama is a child prodigy. Let’s not attempt to dumb it down. He’s amazing. I love his character development. He is originally a stubborn king who doesn’t pay attention to anyone else, but, by the end of the series, he trusts everyone else. He plays on a team at last.

Kageyama and Hinata are awesome together. I love their teamwork. The two of them work well together, complementing each other’s skills. Just watching them practice is amazing. I’m in awe.

Overall, the teamwork in the entire anime is strong, even with the other teams. They work together, as an unit not as a single player. Each has their own part to play. And they do it very well.

Sugawara is awesome. He’s calm and collected. But has so many emotions. You never see the yearning within him. He’s very good at controlling his feelings. He is very smart, and I admire him. He lets Kageyama take the setter position. But he watches from the sidelines and learns so much about the other players.

Daichi is kinda ignored at times. But he’s a super cool character! He’s the captain. While, the series focuses on Hinata and Kageyama, Daichi’s there. A strong and steady leader who offers up his best advice and supports the team. I’d like to be a leader like him, one day.

And not to forget Asahi. He’s a quiet and kindred soul. But he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. He took the brunt of the loss to the Iron Wall Team (whose name I forget currently.) He feels so much. He looks like a roughhousing bad boy, but he’s so quiet and nervous.

Nishinoya is by far one of my favorites. He’s a delinquent. And he’s a perv. But he’s a fantastic libero. Without him, I surely doubt that Karasuno would be able to receive a lot of the serves. He’s creative in his receiving, even using his shoe to throw the ball into play. Sure, he’s a comedy character, but I love him nonetheless.

When you are first introduced to Nekoma, you think, ‘Wow. They’re exactly like Karasuno!’ I know this was on purpose, but the similarities just showed the vast differences between the two teams. The two of them are so vastly different. Not that Karasuno is weak and Nekoma is strong. But they have different strengths and weaknesses.

I love Kozume's story. His story reminded me of...well...me. I saw a part of myself in him that I’d never seen before in any character. He was a loner. And it seemed like it didn’t faze him. But he had friends and a team to support him. So maybe there’s hope for me after all.

I didn’t particularly understand the introduction of the girls team. Why did we need to know about them? They didn’t become cheerleaders to the boys team or anything. While they had an interesting story, it wasn’t expanded, so I felt like they were useless.

Oikawa is kinda boring. Cute and smart doesn’t mean a lot to me. Plus, I hated how he antagonized Kageyama. Sure, his story is fascinating, but that doesn’t mean that an eager kohai is bad.

Em:
These characters are so adorableeeeeee. I love them all! In this season, the main characters are mainly the only ones developed due to the short time span. But Hinata and Kageyama are amazing. Individually they learn and grow so much, it makes my heart hurt. It’s like watching children grow and ahhhhh. Their banters and relationship grew and developed so much throughout the story that I was hooked and eagerly awaited the next season to see where their abilities would take them. But that aside, I noticed a lot of common sports anime tropes in this one. Of course, I wasn’t surprised because I mean what is an anime without its stoic, dark haired, sports-obsessed- genius boy. I know for me, I didn’t mind too much because I quite like that character trope lol. While this anime does have all those commonalities, this one does something quite different. Haikyuu made me root for all the teams playing, even if they were against the protagonist team. In Kuroko no Basket or Diamond no Ace, I would always root for the main characters team because the author pointed that slant. I feel that Furudate-sensei left it open for viewers to interpret and that’s what I loved about this one.


Plot


Wren:
The episodes leave off a lot and force you to watch the next one. It really builds up the tension, even ending an episode in the middle of a match. Which is a so so for me. I don’t mind furiously watching 3 or more episodes a day, but I have a life (sorta). I gotta do my homework and all.

The first half is super boring because they aren’t in tournaments. They go through a lot of practice matches. Which aren’t REAL matches. Well, sorta. They do act like they are real matches. In the first half, we see a lot of slow-motion and a lot more dramatization. Which I didn’t really like.

On the other hand, the second half is much more interesting. The matches speed up, and you really get to see Karasuno in action. I loved this half much more. It felt like watching an actual tournament. And there was a lot of tension because of this.

Somewhere in the middle, the show introduced the opposite of Karasuno. By this, I mean, showing the game from the opponent’s viewpoint. And it was amazing. You got to see the people who lost and their emotions. (Especially the team that Daichi’s friend was on.) It made me love this show.

And right about there, (ep 16, I think) this show acknowledged it was a show.

Life isn’t about winning and losing. It’s about learning from your mistakes. And changing your ways. This show proclaims this message loud and clear. You have to get up when you’re knocked down. It’s a fact of life. And this show is by far the best example of getting back up I’ve ever seen.

Em:
Okay, so this anime is sort of a typical sports anime. There are those cliffhangery moments at the ends of episodes and they make you keep watching which is great. But it’s not great WHEN YOU HAVE TO WAIT A WHOLE NOTHER WEEK FOR THE NEXT EPISODE. Well at least when I originally watched it, that’s what happened. At least this time I got to binge watch it lol. Personally, I was hooked from the beginning. After watching Kuroko no Basket, I needed a good sports anime to get me going and Haikyuu started airing around that time. The plot I found, picked up right away and had these amazing lessons that were packed into beautiful animation and characters. As Wren said, the message is loud and clear with this one. And it’s absolutely beautiful.

Art

Wren:
Okay...I’m not a huge fan of the art. At times, it looks off. The proportions don’t seem right or something. Plus, the shading on the characters is really distracting for me.

Also, that ball animation! It’s great. I love how they gave the ball life and motion. Like a really volleyball.

Em:
Oh my Lordy, the art was magnificent for this anime. Furudate-sensei has this amazing and unique style of drawing which I love so, so much. It’s so different from the other major sports animes since it has all the extra lines that make the story so much more fun and cute! Honestly his style is absolute goals.


Soundtrack


Wren:

The first OP is insane. I love it. It sets the perfect tone. I’m ready for an awesome battle. I got pumped up. I wanted some awesome volleyball action. I was ready!

The second one is much more tame. Which I don’t like. The second half is made up of the tournament. The calmer OP doesn’t match the intensity of the matches. The first OP would suit the second half much better.

Admittedly, I didn’t listen to the endings. I’m not a huge fan.

But in the second half, there was this background song that I ADORED. It was so cool. I don’t remember what episode it starts in, though.

Em:
I don’t really pay attention to the music all that often lol. I loved the OP and EP from what I remember. The in-episode music was pretty good. I sometimes watch anime without sounds since it doesn’t make a big difference to me lol.


All in all, this is one of my favourite animes ever. The friendships and teamwork is one of my favourite things ever, and deserves the 5 amazing stars we gave it! If you are into sports or anime, I highly suggest you try this one!

 Will you be watching Haikyuu?

Monday, 2 May 2016

April Wrap-Up + May TBR


Okay so this month literally went by so fast I barely got anything done at all in terms of reading. But man, I’ve been blogging a lot. For the past two weeks, I think I got a post out there at least every three days or so which is a huge record for me hahaha, especially for not scheduling anything. But I almost completely failed my reading goals I think lol. Here’s what I set out to read last month:

- The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
- Signs of You by Emily France
- The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
- Heartless by Marissa Meyer
- Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard (re-read) 
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Ahahaha, so now let’s see what I actually read…

- Heartless by Marissa Meyer
- The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight
- Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard (re-read)
- Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

So not totally horrible, but like 2/6 girllllllll??? What were you doing this month?? I was writing a hell lot of blog posts, playing badminton, and doing homework like crazy, that’s what lol! I still plan on finishing these ones as soon as possible, but since it’s now May… finals for my semester are coming up and well school is always first priority! Anyways, let’s set some low expectations for May, here’s my TBR:

- The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
- Signs of You by Emily France
- The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter
- The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

There we go, low expectations so I can exceed them and feel happy about it lol! So some news about me in the blogosphere from April:

- I celebrated my six month blogiversary and wrote about 5 reasons why you and I should continue blogging!
- I’m running a giveaway for some awesome swag! See my pinned tweet for details.
- I am starting another blog, that I’ll be co-blogging on with Claire and Duane called Wandering the Pages!

Anyways, I thinks that’s all for the news! I hope I’ll be able to get through all these books and my schoolwork as well! Blogging will definitely be sparse in May since I have to focus on an essay worth a lot of my English mark; I mean at least for that I get to re-read the Throne of Glass series. I’ll try to keep this blog and the other blog as active as possible! I hope you enjoyed today’s wrap-up post and TBR. If you have a wrap up / TBR post, let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading as always!