Monday, December 11, 2017

Foolish Hearts Blog Tour: Favorite Shakespeare Quotes


Title: Foolish Hearts
Author: Emma Mills
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: December 5th, 2017!

From Goodreads...
A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn't supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn't know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they're both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia's ever seen. As Claudia's world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.

*****

I'm a pretty big fan of Shakespeare, and while I haven't been able to read A Midsummer Night's Dream, I was excited about the Shakespearan aspect to Foolish Hearts. So I knew that I'd want to make my blog tour post about that particular part of it. But what to talk about? One thing I love most about his works is that they were really modern for the time. There is much that you can relate to, that's relevant to the world now. So I thought about my favorite quotes, the passages I've marked in the plays of his that I've read. But with an added twist of seeing if any characters of Foolish Hearts would say or agree or be these. :D (I was inspired by Mary's Shakespeare post [which is perfect] to do *this* part). Anyway, here they are! 

"I am not bound to please thee with my answers."  -from The Merchant of Venice
Though part of a larger conversation I really liked, this was my favorite of the comments (but also "Every offence is not a hate at first" is GREAT TOO). Self-explanatory, and also something that Iris adheres to for sure. Not often a nice person, no, but someone who wouldn't take shit from anyone and who always stood up for herself. I loved that. (Also can we talk about how this play ended with a sexual joke? I love Shakespeare).

"I show more mirth than I am mistress of; and would you yet I were merrier?" -from As You Like It
Love so much because Rosalind is like asking her cousin to let her feel sad, because that's what she wants to feel. She doesn't want to have to fake it. I can 1,000% relate to that. And so would Gideon. People only see what they want to see when it comes to him. They see this fun, sometimes weird, life-loving guy. But he's so much more than that. He can't always laugh or smile away things. But they want him to be able to, because a sad Gideon is apparently too much. (People can really suck).

"Can I not say 'thank you'? My better parts are all thrown down, and that which here stands up is but a quintain [a wooden post], a mere lifeless block." -from As You Like It
ahh, tongue-tied Orlando who got defeated by Rosalind's quick wit and (probably) beauty. I feel it, how awkward and hard it is to speak, when you like someone. And so does Claudia. She's shy, not-so-socially-competent, and she doesn't always know how to talk to Gideon. But she tries, and she learns who he is better than most, and also becomes more confident in herself re: socializing, as the book goes on. She is my kindred spirit.

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts."
You might have heard of this one, which is (yet again) from As You Like It. If you can't tell, this play is one of my favorites! Haha. Anyway, I feel like it's just really accurate about how people are. It's not that people lie or deceive or fake it til they make it. It's that people are just really multifaceted individuals, and they especially don't stay the same throughout their lives. And I think it fits a lot of the characters in this book. They all have their own personalities. But they might be different depending on who they're with or how comfortable they feel in certain situations or if they grow throughout the course of the novel.

a few more from As You Like It I just really want to share:
"Do you not know I am a woman? When I think, I must speak."  
"Good shepherd, tell this youth what 'tis to love. -It is to be all made of sighs and tears."

"Our doubts are traitors, and makes us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." -from Measure for Measure
This definitely fits myself, and Claudia, and probably every person ever? How many of us have let our doubts get the best of us? Keep us from going after dreams or love or success? Shakespeare knew, as well as we all do, that we can't let the doubts win. We have to TRY and work and do our best. <3

"The miserable have no other medicine but only hope." -from Measure for Measure
Another incredibly relevant quote! Hope can be a lifeline.


Going back through all my notes and saved passages, I remembered just how much I love Shakespeare. And how much his works make me smile. I haven't read enough of them yet, though. I HAVEN'T EVEN READ A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. Say whaaaat? I'm hoping to change that in the near future because when I asked Twitter (as you do) what play I should read next, an overwhelming majority voted for Midsummer. So it has to be good, right? And this book made me want to read it *even* more. Foolish Hearts was AMAZING, y'all. You should absolutely check it out. And laugh and cry and feel *all* the feelings. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Do You Suppose She's a Wild Beauty?

Playing on an Alice in Wonderland quote for my latest review. :D

*****

Title: Wild Beauty
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017!
*Physical ARC kindly provided by Macmillan.

From Goodreads...

Love grows such strange things.


For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.


My Review!
I’ve been sitting on this review since May. GUYS. SINCE MAY. I don’t know what’s been my deal, other than in general meh feelings toward blogging and especially writing reviews (I’m tired a bit, which is why I’ve tried to not care that I’m barely writing full ones anymore). I’d been excited about this book since I learned of it, and even more excited that it featured bisexual characters. So when I received a copy of Wild Beauty in the mail, I couldn't not devour it as soon as I was able to. And I loved it so much, it’s now on my forever faves list.

Anna-Marie McLemore has quickly become one of my favorite authors, ever since I fell utterly in love with When the Moon Was Ours last year. There is something so purely enchanting about her books. I think part of it is her writing. Gorgeous prose that you just want to sink your teeth into. And another part is the characters. I have not disliked one of them yet (unless they were the Paloma and Corbeau families, in which case they can all fuck off forever thanks). So yeah, if you guys haven’t read one of her books yet, you're really missing out. 

At the heart of this story is family. The family you’re born with and the family you make. It’s about love and a magical garden and flowers and a boy given back before it takes another. It’s about a mystery that won’t go away until it’s solved, and a chance for the Nomeolvides women to change their fate. Because at La Pradera, there might be magic and girls who grow flowers, but the garden always takes something from them. It is alive in a way that forces the family, and the people who own the land, to take a look at what happened in the past.

I was so invested in everyone’s lives, and I needed to know what would happen, and if they could break the curse that threatens everything they hold dear. The book surprised me, in the best possible ways. I loved the love that the cousins had for each other, and for their mothers and grandmothers. I loved the love that they had for Bailey, and the boy who came out of the earth. It was fresh and inventive and full of the beauty of life. It was the kind of book that will stick with me, and one that I see myself reading more than once. Wild Beauty is just a stunner.

RATING:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I Won NaNoWriMo!

guys. GUYS. I'm so excited to be writing this post. Because I fucking defeated NaNo this year, even amid an awful month for me. I was so busy with work, so much so that I definitely lost energy and time on the weekends to write. I also hit a depressive spiral (which feels like it has ended, but I'm still not up-to-par) in the middle, making it hard to do anything. So I'm proud of myself for this, because November sucked and I needed a win. And this event got me to write 50,000 words of a novel I KNOW I'm going to finish at some point (hoping for December, but we'll see). So I can't really be all that mad that I spent more time on my writing this month than I normally do, when I could've done other things. Especially when I see these amazing stats!

best day: November 27th with 6,963 words
finished on: November 28th
total words: 50,186

As you can see, I started off fairly good, hit a snag, and then destroyed the end. (Also, this is basically the way the depression spiral went. You can easily tell when that started to hit me. LOL). I deeeefinitely cannot do what I did in those 5 days of Thanksgiving break again, but it's not impossible for me to write at least 10K on the weekends. And if I can't, then maybe being an author isn't for me. If I don't finish books, I will *never* make it. So I have to get to that point, and I'm glad for NaNo because it forced me to work. But I enjoyed it, too. It never felt like something I HAD to do, but wanted to. And that was what I'd hoped for before going into November.

I think the biggest reason this was such a success (besides my absolute love for this story and need to write it) was the fact that I'd outlined a little ahead of time. I've always been a pantser. I don't outline for books, especially not to the extent that I did for NaNo. I mean, I will write down plot bunnies or maybe future scenes/dialogue, but I typically just start a story and go from there. It... has not worked out so well in the past. Clearly, if my track record for finishing books (which is 0) is any indication. I'm not going to start outlining every small detail or plot point, but I need to spend time thinking about the stories, trying to figure out where to go next. It helped so much having my broad plans for the WIP, because when I hit writer's block, I could move past it. 

This month of NaNoWriMo was a learning experience. It wasn't easy, especially when I realized I will be doing a lot more revising than I thought, but it was fun! It felt SO GOOD to hit 50,000 words. This has given me more confidence and a determination to finish this book. AND I just bought Scrivener with the winner discount, so I can't wait to start using it! I think, once I get used to the way it works, the levels of organization on there will help me even more to get books done. I love how much you can do, and THE SPLIT SCREENS! I need to watch way more than just the one Youtube video I looked at, but I'll become a master at Scrivener in no time. And lastly, NaNo gave me a clearer picture of what it means to make writing full-time. 

I can still do things I want, even when I write full-time. I sacrificed (I slept very poorly that weekend), I did. But I was still able to do what I wanted, even when I spent a lot of my hours writing 25,000 words. I finished/read three books! I played Animal Crossing Pocket Camp for hours on end. I played trivia with my family. I snuggled with our pets. I watched episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine here and there. I even went shopping and picked out new glasses. I did not need to sacrifice as much as I thought I would if I tried to write like this, where I make myself try to hit my targets for the day, in-between giving myself rewards like reading a damn good book. I don't have another 5-day weekend coming up, but I always have time off, so I don't really have more excuses. I know, realistically, what I can do when it comes to writing now.

So, I can't wait to see what December brings. Because I am seriously like hoping to finish this book before 2017 ends? I know it's a monumental task, but I'm up for it. I haven't written much this weekend, but my job kind of drained me so I'm okay with it. I also felt like a break was needed, a little, so I don't burn-out. I really pushed myself last weekend, and it went well, but I can't do that all the time. But I'm into the second semester of college in the WIP, so everything after this should go fairly easy? LOLOL. I don't know how much more words I need, so I'm not doing word count goals or giving myself a certain # to hit anymore. But I'd say, roughly, it'll be an 80K novel. We shall see once this month ends! :D

In the meantime, here is a little snippet :)
*click to enlarge the pic so you can read it!


How did you guys do with NaNoWriMo? Did you win it? If not, that's okay! If you got any words down, you still did AMAZING. This year has been such a trash-fire, so celebrate what you've accomplished, yeah? :)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

(87) Top Ten Places I'd Want to Visit in the Harry Potter World

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topicTen Bookish Settings I'd Love to Visit.

Today's prompt was fun! But I decided to tackle just ONE bookish setting, and tell y'all about where I'd wanna visit in it, and of course I picked Harry Potter. My favorite. 😍

*****


1. Diagon Alley through the Leaky Cauldron with a stop at ALL THE STORES. Gotta get my wand from Ollivander's, browse Flourish and Blotts for books, and pick out my own beautiful owl.

*source*

2. Hogwarts. Well, OBVIOUSLY. But specifically, I want to go live in the Gryffindor tower for forever a few days. It's my home. <3

3. Hogsmeade for a nice mug of butterbeer and also a stop at Honeydukes for candy.

4. Grimmauld Place because of it being Sirius' home. It's dark and sad and lonely, but BUT IT'S A PART OF SIRIUS. 

5. the Beauxbatons' school, because I feel like it'd be glamorous and beautiful. And it would be something different from England's world of Harry Potter.

6. the Quidditch field to play a ~quick~ game. In reality, I'd probably be too scared of the heights, but I'd also want to give flying a try. And I'd love to go watch a few games. See what it's like.

*source*

7. Hagrid's hut. It's nothing spectacular, but I'd take a trip there to go visit one of the best people ever.

8. Illvermorney. Even though I don't really care for the American school or its houses, I'd still want to see it! I imagine it a lot like the oldest universities of the country. So yeah, plus it's actually more possible than traveling to Hogwarts. LOL.

9. Charlie's job, to SEE THE DRAGONS. I'm sure it'd be fine and nothing would happen, right, RIGHT? *pretends dragons are nice creatures who just want a cuddle* Still, it'd be worth it.

*source*

10. The Burrow. I just want to go live here forever and ever. I love this cozy, chaotic house so much. And I love the Weasleys. I'd at least want to spend a Christmas with them or something. It'd be so FUN.


Where in the HP world would YOU want to visit? Would any of these make your list? Or would you just wanna see and do everything? Let's talk! :)

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 2017 Releases

This has got to be the slowest month of the year for publishing books. And honestly? I think I'd hate having a December release date. It's so close to the end of the year, and you've got so many more books to look forward to in January and February, so yours just kind of gets forgotten. This is definitely not all of the books I found, so if you're curious for more, just search December 2017 releases on Goodreads lists! But I wanted to highlight a lot of the ones people have heard about, and some that you might not have. :)

December 5th

December 12th

December 19th

December 26th

I've already read: Foolish Hearts, which was SO AMAZING. So much goodness and bff-ness and Shakespeare-ness. I loved the friendships and the banter. MAKE SURE YOU GET THIS BOOK, Y'ALL.

From NetGalley/ALA: NONE. YAY.

My most anticipated: I don't really have one? Of course I want to read Kasie's, but I was sorely disappointed with her last release that I'm wary of it. I've heard SUCH good things about Prince in Disguise and Roomies, so those are now on my TBR pile. But yeah, it's a quieter month, which is fine because then I can catch up on all the ones I haven't read yet. LOL.



What December releases are YOU most excited about? Am I missing any that should be on my radar? Have you read of these yet? If so, what did you think of them? Let's talk! :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

(86) Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topicTop Ten Books on my Winter TBR.


I've been so in a sort-of-slumpy-mood with reading lately, that I couldn't decide on a TBR that wasn't made up of physical ARCs and eARCS. I couldn't determine what I'd read for the next three months unless it was on my review pile. I've been picking books at random for the last few months, but I've hardly finished ANY of them. So, I went the easy and uncomplicated route. Because I do still plan on reading all of these, even if I don't get to them very quickly!



What books are on YOUR winter TBR? Did any of these ones make your list? Let's talk! :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

October Mini Reviews

Because of ALA annual this past June, I had a lot of October releases to read and talk about. And while I liked all of these, I didn't really have a whole lot to say about them, so I'm posting all the mini reviews together. :)

*****

Title: This Darkness Mine
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: October 10th, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
This was probably the most fucked up Mindy McGinnis story yet. I don’t even know what to THINK of it. It was weird and twisted and psychologically/medically inclined, but I don’t even know if I could say whether I loved it, just enjoyed the ride, or didn’t feel anything at all. It was just so… unbelievable at times too, and the MC was unreliable and unlikable, but to a degree that I could go along with? I DON’T KNOW, GUYS. I really don’t. I think I’m just going to settle in with a middle rating. One to show that I liked the book, because it was entertaining and I couldn’t stop reading, but beyond that, I don’t know what more to say.
Rating: 3 Paw Prints!  


Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)
Author: Julie C. Dao
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: October 10th, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
TW: abuse by guardian/parent figure

I looove villain origin stories. I love villains and antagonists, which is a huge reason why I wanted to read this book in the first place. Xiefang is not a heroine. She’s not a good person. But I liked her anyway, because of it. She was brought up in an (emotionally and physically) abusive household, shaped into someone ugly and dangerous by her Guma, and told that one day she would become Empress. That it was her destiny. So, that’s what Xiefang did. She followed not her heart, but fate, toward a life without love and without friendship. Throughout everything that happened, though, you glimpse the pieces of Xiefang that her aunt tried to suppress and destroy. A bad character with good moments. A villain with a heartbreaking past. It isn’t a nice story, not really, but I enjoyed it a hell of a lot. It was descriptive and enchanting, a reimagining of how the Evil Queen came to be. I can’t wait for the sequel!
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!


Title: All the Crooked Saints
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: October 10th, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
There's not much I have to say about this book because there just wasn't a whole lot to it, and I didn't always understand the miracles part. I also don't want to get too into it, because I'm not Latinx, and cannot speak on the rep. It's such a massive part of the story, too. But I've heard that it's problematic, so I'd suggest reading reviews by Latinx readers to see why! Aside from that, I did enjoy All the Crooked Saints. I wasn't sure since it's set in 1962, and I'm just not interested in that point in time, but I really liked how family-focused it was. The characters were all wonderful and multi-faceted. And it was intriguing, reminded me a little of the Raven Cycle series. But not nearly as good as that! So my feelings are pretty mixed here, and I was hoping to love this, but I didn't. I'm still glad I read it, though.
Rating: 3 Paw Prints!


Title: A Line in the Dark
Author: Malinda Lo
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 17th, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
A thriller that just wasn't very... thrilling. It wasn't as dark as I'd expected. I mean, what happened is fucked-up (and I think I saw that ending coming a little, so it didn't hit me like it should have, and I wasn't a fan of the switch-up in POV). But I just didn't get that from the overall tone of the book. And I didn't really care for the characters all that much, though I felt for Jess. She's the overweight, nervous sidekick to her beautiful best friend, and she's not very good with people. But she's caring, and shy, and she doesn't know how to deal with her crush on Angie. So, I don't think I quite liked everything that goes on. It was a quick read, though, and it reeled me in until I couldn't stop. So I don't know, I liked the book but didn't love it.
Rating: 3 Paw Prints!


Title: Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me
Author: Carrie Ann DiRisio
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
Refreshing. Unique. It poked fun at the tired tropes, overused character types, and problematic content we still see in YA today, but less than just a few years ago. But it actually made so many good points, and it's a helpful tool for authors to take a few seconds to stop and think about what they're writing. It made me chuckle, for sure, and I found its format and style really interesting. I didn't always like when it became story, though; it felt almost chaotic and unnecessary at times. And I'm sad I read an ARC and missed out on all the illustrations and extra-ness of the book! But all in all, an enjoyable read!
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!


Title: Gray Wolf Island
Author: Tracey Neithercott
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 10th, 2017!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
*eARC kindly provided by Random House Children's via NetGalley*

I still don’t quite know what to think of this one. It wasn’t what I was expecting, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. I found the friendships compelling, and the banter was fun. All the characters brought something different to the quest, and they are all there for their own reasons. But I didn’t come to love this, or them, and didn’t feel the emotions as heavily as I wanted to. The treasure hunt felt really anticlimactic, and I’m not even sure I understand everything that happened. It was quieter on the action, more focus spent on the characters, and their secrets. It was one of the few books I was able to finish during my slump, so it was definitely an interesting read that kept my attention until the end. But I also don’t remember much about it now? WHOOPS. I did really enjoy it, though!
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!


I also read the Lady Killers nonfiction book, and it was FASCINATING. October was clearly the month for books with fucked-up aspects and murder and revenge. LOL. What were your favorite October releases?