July 16, 2016

Summer Reads

Hi everyone! Now that we're well into summer (on the northern hemisphere, at least), I thought I'd mention some of my favorite summer reads. I also recommend these books for slumps (or any other time really, these books are gr9). All of the cover images have links to Goodreads if you want to check them out!

1. Since You've Been Gone, by Morgan Matson

I couldn't not mention Morgan Matson in this list. She writes THE BEST summery contemporaries. Out of the (two) Morgan Matson books I've read, this is definitely my favorite, and a good one to read if you're just starting her books. It's about Emily, who's best friend Sloane has mysteriously disappeared, leaving only a bucket list for Emily behind. Full of fantastic characters, great friendships, and a tad of mystery, this was one of my favorite reads of 2015. Highly highly recommend!

2. Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend, by Katie Finn

Okay, technically this is still a Morgan Matson book (Katie Finn is a pseudonym) but I think this is another great summer read! It's a quick, light, and fun read that will keep you guessing. Broken Hearts is about a girl named Gemma who ends up bumping into her former best friend in the Hamptons... who hated her, last time they were speaking. What could go wrong? Filled with romance and friendships, this is the first book in the Broken Hearts and Revenge series.

3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin

If you're looking for more of a paranormal, this book is definitely for you! Unbecoming is about Mara Dyer, who is the only survivor of an accident that she doesn't remember. The first book in the Mara Dyer trilogy, delightfully creepy and will keep you on your toes! Pro tip: don't read this book alone in your room with the lights out. DON'T.

4. The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renée Ahdieh

Not feeling a contemporary? Definitely check out The Wrath and the Dawn! Based on the stories of the Arabian Nights, Khalid marries a new woman each night and leaves her dead the next morning. When Shahrzad's close friend becomes one of his victims, she volunteers to become his next bride, survive the night, and take revenge. The world is amazing and Renée's writing is A+++. Another one of my favorite reads of 2015, I really really recommend this book for summer or any time! Two added bonuses: the cover is so pretty in person AND the sequel, The Rose and the Dagger, was just released!

That's all of my books! Any that you like, or that you'd add to this list? Tell us below!

ALSO I have some exciting news... (yay exciting news!) (please tell me someone got that reference) I started my own blog! It's bookishpages.wordpress.com if you want to check it out. I'll be posting both bookish and lifestyle posts, and I'm really excited to (hopefully) start blogging more! Feel free to follow it if you want to stay updated, I'm still figuring out WordPress so it may be a bit messy (oops). And don't worry, I'll still be posting on here too!

Okay, that's all for this post! Hope you're all enjoying your July!

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April 9, 2016

The Hamilton Book Tag!

Hey everyone! So if you don't know, Kaylie and I (Alyssa) have been OBSESSED with Hamilton lately. I actually got to see it back in August and I'm seeing it again next week in New York, and I couldn't be more excited!

If you don't know, Hamilton is a musical about the founding father Alexander Hamilton, told through hip hop music. This might sound like a strange concept, but the soundtrack is AMAZING. Even if you don't usually listen to Broadway soundtracks or hip hop (like me), I would highly recommend it! You can listen to it on Youtube or it's available for streaming on Spotify.

Maureen Keavy created a lovely tag with questions related to some of the songs on the Hamilton soundtrack and we thought it would be fun to do! You can watch her video here. We actually cut out a few questions due to spoilery-ness, but we hope you enjoy this tag nonetheless.

The Room Where It Happens: A book world you would put yourself in

Alyssa: Of course, the first book that came to mind was HARRY POTTER but I'm going with the Truthwitch universe, from Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. Elemental magic? Fighting? Adventures? SIGN ME UP.

The Schuyler Sisters: An underrated female character

Kaylie: One of my favorite books is Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Zuzana is a reason why. Zuzana is quirky and tiny and full of so much sass. She deserves more recognition!

My Shot: A character that goes after what they want and doesn't let anything stop them

Kaylie: Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series. One thing I love about Celaena is that she literally will not put up with any B.S. She is willing to do most anything to get the job done, including dropping a few bodies.

You'll Be Back: Sassiest villain

Kaylie: This question was a bit difficult for me because, well, most villains tend to act more... villainous than sassy. But I chose Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter books. I guess, in part, I associate her with sass because she's played by Helena Bonham Carter.

Non-stop: A series you marathoned

Alyssa: The Lord of the Rings trilogy for me! The edition I have is a monstrous binding of all three books in one. It has over 1,000 pages (!!). After watching (and loving) the movies, I read the first book in the bind-up and the rest separately. It took a looong time to read, but it was so worth it!

Satisfied: Favorite book with multiple POVs

Kaylie: There are so many good books with multiple POVs (honorable mentions: Eleanor and Park and the Heroes of Olympus series), but I'm going with Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Each of the characters were distinct and it was interesting to learn more about them through their individual perspectives. The multiple POVs also added to how the story was told and how the plot unfolded.

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: A book/series you feel like will be remembered throughout history

Alyssa: Definitely The Hunger Games! Already, everyone knows the series and it's so well-loved. The Hunger Games has made such a big impact in our generation, there's no way it could not become a classic.

Helpless: A relationship you were rooting for from the very beginning

Alyssa: Ruby and Liam from The Darkest Minds series! Admittedly, they were a bit instalove-y, but I just think they were soso cute together. You could say I was completely HELPLESS from the very beginning. *wink wink

Ten Duel Commandments: Favorite fight scene

Kaylie: This is sort of spoiler for Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas, so heed (if you repeat yourself again I'm gonna scream*)! I loved the fight seen between Aelin and Manon! Both ladies are equally strong fighters so it was a very engrossing and well matched fight. Can't wait to see more interaction between them in future books.
*if you actually got that reference I love you

Say No To This: Guilty pleasure read

Kaylie: The Selection series by Kiera Cass. Ugh, I have a love-hate relationship with this series. America is just about the most indecisive and frustrating character ever, but I had to keep reading to see how things ended. It's also a very girly book (I mean, it is about princesses), but it still manages to be entertaining.

What Comes Next: A series you wish had more books

Alyssa: For this question, I have to go with The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer! The last book, Winter, was released this past November, and the novellas in January. But I'm really going to miss the cast of characters and their world.

Right Hand Man: Favorite BROTP

Kaylie: Will and Jem from the Infernal Devices. If you've read the books, I feel like this doesn't need much explanation.

What'd I Miss: A book/series you were late to reading

Alyssa: I have to admit, I didn't get around to starting The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare until about a year ago.... I know, I know. I'd been putting it off since I didn't really like The Mortal Instruments, but I like Clockwork Angel so much better! I *just* started Clockwork Prince a few days ago (Don't judge me... too many books, too little time. *sigh*). I'm really enjoying it so far, though!

Wait For It: Most anticipated upcoming release

Alyssa: I don't know about you guys but I am BEYOND EXCITED for A Court of Mist and Fury! It's the sequel to Sarah J. Maas's book A Court of Thorns and Roses, which I absolutely LOVED. It comes out May 3rd!

It's Quiet Uptown: A book/series that put you in a book hangover

Kaylie: I don't really get into book hangovers often, but Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare put me in a slump. It was such a wonderful conclusion to one of my favorite series, so nothing really compared, and it took a while to process that it was over.

Okay, that's it for this tag. Thanks so much for reading! If you're interested in doing this tag, please feel free to do so! Sorry we haven't been active on the blog lately, but we'll try to post again soon.

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January 3, 2016

My Most Anticipated Books of 2016

Hi guys! Today I'm here with a post of the books I absolutely need to get my grubby hands on in 2016. Of course there are plenty of releases I hope to get to, but I limited myself to the top sixteen.  And to keep things from getting too long, I'm just going to list them all (in chronological order of publishing date) with a sentence or two (or some gibberish) explaining why I want need to read them.

1. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (Jan 5)
Alex Bracken + time travel + romance = MUST HAVE

2. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (Jan 5)
Kick-butt witches with fantastical powers, two of which (no pun intended) are best friends.

3. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (Feb 2)
MORE LUNAR CHRONICLES *mouth foaming*. (I also heard that there would be a story about a certain wedding...)

4. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (Feb 16)
A fantasy debut with MORE TIME TRAVEL.

5. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (Mar 8)
Look at that glorious cover! Cassie Clare is a fantastic writer and I will continue reading her books as long as she writes them. PLUS. CAMEOS FROM TMI CHARACTERS.

6. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke (Mar 22)
Okay, mostly on my list because THAT COVER, but also! It's a mystery with unreliable narrators (talk about intrigue).

7. Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins (April 5)
The Rebel Belle trilogy is so much fun (Southern Belles + kicking butt) to read and I can't wait to see how it ends!

8. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (May 3)
MORE PERCYYY (and Apollo) (but mostly Percy). Enough said.

9. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson (May 3)
Morgan Matson is the queen of contemporary and is one of my auto buy authors (plus COVER LOVE).

10. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (May 3)
This one is about Rhys. It's a Hades and Persephone retelling. It's Sarah J. Maas.

11. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (May 3)
Okay, May 3rd, 2016 is going to be a glorious day for book lovers world wide. Also need to find out how the duology ends!

12. The Last Star by Rick Yancey (May 24)
The Fifth Wave is one of my favorite books, so I can't wait to see how the series will be wrapped up!

13. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (July 26)
Kasie West, yet another queen of contemporary, as well as adorable book covers.

14. Throne of Glass #5 by Sarah J. Maas (Sept 6)
It doesn't even need a title. If it is Sarah J. Maas I will read it, if it is Throne of Glass, I will devour it.

15. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Sept 22)
Sequel to Six of Crows, which was absolutely glorious. AND MORE HEISTS?!?

16. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (Nov 8)
Alice in Wonderland retelling about the Queen of Hearts written by the queen of retellings.

Okay, so those are my sixteen most anticipated reads publishing in 2016! What are some of your most anticipated books of 2016?

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January 1, 2016

Superlatives: Book Edition

Hi guys! This year, we decided to share our favorite reads/releases in the format of book superlatives. We picked out categories (such as best dressed and most likely to succeed) and each chose a book we read or a new release from 2015 to go with each category. Here's what we came up with:

Best Dressed (Prettiest Cover)

Kaylie: There were so many pretty covers this year (honorable mentions include Queen of Shadows, The Wrath and the Dawn, and Six of Crows), but I really liked the cover for Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. I don't think the picture does the physical cover much justice, but the illustrations are so detailed and colorful and the use of negative space is perfect!

Alyssa: This one was really really hard for me to decide, as there are SO MANY pretty covers out there! But I decided to go with Rain by Amanda Sun, which is the second book of the Paper Gods trilogy. The watercolor art is beautiful, and I love the colors. You can't tell from the picture, but the cover is made of a textured paper material. And I love how it goes so well with the design of the first book, Ink... anyone else unhappy about the cover change for the final book? And the book itself is a unique and overall amazing read!  

Most Likely to Succeed (A Great First Book)

Kaylie: I highly enjoyed Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The formatting of the book made it so much fun to read and the plot of the book was enthralling! I also loved the characters (yes, even the evil space computer thing) and they way the book ended, setting up for the next book. The second book is titled Gemina and is scheduled to release Fall 2016.

Alyssa: For this category, I would have to go with The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. I loved everything in this book- the fascinating world, the characters, the poetic writing style... Plus, the book ends in a way that left me dying to find out what would happen next! The second book, The Rose and the Dagger, is set to be released May 2016.

Cutest Couple (Best YA Couple)

Kaylie: Six of Crows had ALL THE SHIPS. I loved our little crew and all of the couples in this book, although I'm on the fence about Kaz and Inej (she's too good for him). Highly recommend, not just for the romance, but for the heist and action and plot, too!

Alyssa: One of my favorite couples was Mara Dyer and Noah Shaw from the Mara Dyer series, specifically in The Evolution of Mara Dyer. Their relationship evolves A LOT more in this book, and you can see that they just work so well together. There's not a lot more I can say without spoilers, but Mara Dyer is one of my favorite series (especially Evolution). 

Class Clown (Funniest Book/Character)

Kaylie: In true Rick Riordan fashion, The Sword of Summer cracked me up. So much wit and sarcasm condensed into one teenaged boy! As one of my favorite authors, Rick Riordan did not disappoint with Magnus Chase!

Alyssa: How could I not go with Simon of Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda? Becky Albertalli writes Simon with the perfect mix of laugh-out-loud hilariousness, sarcasm, and sassy-ness. Simon is definitely one of my favorite books of the year- you can read my full review here.

Heartbreaker (A Book that Gave You All the Feels)

Kaylie: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven was one of  my favorite reads this year. It deals with mental disabilities and has beautiful writing. I can't say much else without spoiling the plot, but it made me cry, a lot.

Alyssa: So I FINALLY got around to reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins this year. There were some parts where it was a bit slow for me, but I enjoyed it overall. Not much I can say without spoilers, but the deaths of CERTAIN CHARACTERS *cough cough* made me REALLY emotional. Also the movie made me cry. 

Most Likely to Become an Actor (A Book You Want to Be Adapted to Film)

Kaylie: The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas is one of my all time favorites! It has a perfect mixture of fantasy, romance, and action. I also love the characters and the world it's set in (although I wouldn't love living in it). I think that it has great potential to become a television show.

Alyssa: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard was one of my most anticipated releases of this year! It's filled with action, mystery, fantasy, and more. The book was full of twists and turns and always keeps you on your feet. It's like The Hunger Games + X-Men + a bit of The Selection. (Actually, it turns out Red Queen is becoming a movie... it's being directed by Elizabeth Banks, who played Effie in The Hunger Games!)

Most Changed (Best Series Finale)

Kaylie: The Lunar Chronicles is another one of my favorite series and it kept getting better as it progressed! Although there were some times when Winter dragged on a bit, it was a very satisfying conclusion. I'm glad that Marissa Meyer took the time and 800 pages to wrap up the series nicely.

Alyssa: I read Monsters of Men, the final books of The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness this year. While the conclusion was sad (as in most series), it summed things up well for the most part. The Chaos Walking trilogy is one of my favorite series.

Person that You Wish You Knew (A Release You Didn't Get to this Year)

Kaylie: There were so many releases I didn't get to this year (Red Queen, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, A Darker Shade of Magic)! But I chose An Ember in the Ashes because it's been getting spectacular ratings and has gotten lots of good hype! The plot sounds interesting, so I hope I can get to it next year.

Alyssa: One of my most anticipated books that I didn't get to read this year was Ten Thousand Skies Above You, by Claudia Gray, the second book of the Firebird series. I loved the first book, A Thousand Pieces of You- it had an interesting and unique plot, and the story always kept me on my toes. I really hope I get to Ten Thousand Skies next year so I can see how the series progresses! Plus look at that cover *heart eyes* 

Biggest Gossip (An Over Hyped Book/Biggest Let Down)

Kaylie: I was kind of disappointed with The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. The Heroes of Olympus is such a good series and the previous two books were my favorites of the series, so I had very high expectations. I think that it fell flat for a conclusion. A lot of the book was rushed and I felt that the book was too short to tie everything up. Hopefully, we'll get more closer in Rick's new series, The Trials of Apollo.

Alyssa: After meeting Suzanne Young, author of The Program, at a local book festival a few months ago, I was excited to read the book. Unfortunately, it ended up being a disappointment for me. Personally, I disagreed with the way she used mental illness as a plot point and the way it was portrayed. I also disliked most of the characters and the romance. However, her newest release, Hotel Rubysounds intriguing, so I may read it in 2016.

That's it for this post! Thanks so much for reading and happy new year!
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October 8, 2015

Shadowhunters Teaser!

Hi guys! I'm back from my hiatus, if only for a bit, because I really wanted to dicuss the Shadowhunters Teaser Trailer that just dropped! If you don't know much about Shadowhunters as a show, I'm going to refer you to my post from a while back. I talk all about the cast and stuff, so if you're confused, check that out! Okay, now if you haven't see the teaser yet, here it is:

Some things I would like to comment on/noticed with screenshots! (in chronological order):
  • I'm glad the the age difference isn't too significant (Clary's age is 17 in the books, but 18 on the show) 
  • The angelic runes on the birthday cake (0:01) and in the smoke (0:07)!
  • Among all the glitter and fabulousness of Magnus, we get a really quick glimpse of Clary, looking extremely lost (0:09)
  • Also, the key that Magnus has- will it help Clary with her memories or does it symbolize something? (You can also see that it is in the shape of an M at 0:13)
    • At 0:17 I'm 97.99% sure that the rune that appears is fearless, which is not unexpected since it's Jace. I'm also curious about what those three birds represent (are they pulling a Divergent?!)
    • If you pause around 0:25 you can see Alec with his bow and Magnus and Jace in the shadows on either side of him. The rune is the neon lights is love, but it is split in half. Very fitting. I also spotted the deflect, angelic, and agility runes on Alec.
    • Izzy is a badass with her whip and the precision rune
    • From 0:34-0:41, we see Simon! First, we see Simon in the room with two other people (possibly Camille on the chase?), but then the people disappear (symbolism?) and then the room crumbles to black and white. The chandelier is also dripping blood.
    • At precisely 0:42, we see Luke with a gun in front of a backdrop of graffiti. The precision, love, angelic, and fearless runes are all there together. We also see some wolves, bones and two women with red hair (one of them has an angelic rune on her forehead), possibly Clary and Jocelyn? 
    • At 0:44 we see Clary for a flash, in what looks like the same place as she was earlier (during the Magnus sparkles), except now there's FLAMES
    • Then she's running down the hall the we saw Alec in earlier, also with the split love rune
    • And then she's twirling around in what appears to be some of her drawings, maybe of demons and runes (you can see an iratze or heal rune in the picture below), ALSO ON FIRE. It appears to be inside the Fray household, which you see at the beginning when Clary blows out the birthday candles.
    • Then she's wielding a seraph blade like a pro in the alley where Jace first appeared
    • Clary prancing through the dark
    • Malec with a hint of glitter, as it should be
    • Izzy looking flawless, even when she's running
    • Again, that split second shot of Clary with all the artsy lens flares-
    • MORE PAPERS BURING (probably more of Clary's sketches). I spotted an angelic rune and an iratze, as well as what could be soundless, agility, and deflect runes
    • And then the end shot, with Jace, Clary, Alec and Izzy in front of the New York skyline! (WHY NO SIMON?!?)

    Overall, I was really happy with the teaser! It didn't really give us any clips from the actual show, but instead hinted about what was to happen in the plot. My favorite part is either the part with Alec or Luke because hidden symbols! I loved the representations of everything and the use of runes, as well. I think what I'm most curious about are those quick shots of Clary with the lens flares that kept on reoccurring. Maybe they were just thrown in there for dramatics, but I think that it might be important later on, especially since each of those shots were so brief.

    Shadowhunters premieres January 2016, on ABC Family (soon to be Freeform)! You can also keep up to date on Shadowhunters news here.

    Okay, that's it for this post! Let me know what you thought about this teaser and if there was anything else I didn't catch! I'll try to post again soon,
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    August 17, 2015

    Summer Recap + A Hiatus

    Hi guys! Since the end of summer is almost upon us, I thought I would recap all that's happened on the blog and in my life this summer!

    In June, we didn't get a whole lot of posts put up because that was around the end of school year when everyone gets swamped with finals and essays and last minute assessments. But, Soumya posted her May wrap up and when school was let out, Alyssa and I got the chance to attend the Bay Area Book Festival. It was such a fun way to start the summer.

    In July, I joined my first book subscription box and I wrote an unboxing post. Alyssa also posted her first review on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertali. Um, the blog kind of turned one and I hosted my first giveaway... I also wrote another Top Ten Tuesday post on my favorite book nerds in YA. And then last but not least, Soumya posted her review on The Wrath and the Dawn.

    Okay, so now onto the hiatus part. I'm going to be going to be starting high school next week. I'm going to be a freshman and gonna get my self hopelessly lost. I'm honestly rather terrified because I have no clue what to expect. All I know of it is the hopefully exaggerated version of it where lower classmen are stuffed into lockers, the teachers eat children, and the cafeteria food has a mind of its own (Eek). So because of this first year anxiety, I'm planning to take a hiatus once I start school. That way I'll have time to adjust and focus on studying. I'm not sure how long I'll be gone, but I hope I can post again soon.

    Until next time,
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