Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #97

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Scary Books I Will Most Likely Avoid

Let's be honest, I am not at all a fan of spooky or creepy books. Why? Because that is not how I roll at all. Nevertheless, I will compile a list of books that I have seen floating around. Not that I'll read them.

I mean, unless you really want me to read them because they are THAT good, then I will consider it.

The Dead House came to mind because I now have a bookmark of it. I love said bookmark, but I don't think I would ever pick up the book. #sorrynotsorry.

A photo posted by Valerie (@innocentsmiley) on

The same author also wrote And The Trees Crept In, otherwise known as The Creeper Man, which to me sounds much more scarier. I actually have this book, but I'm not exactly sure if I'll have the guts to read it.

I was just reading the synopsis of Shutter, and I caught the fact that the main character is a tetrachromat. And I'm like, isn't that when you have four cones rather than three cones (in your retina?). But sure, I guess that includes auras of the undead. Anyways, I think I would actually read this. Maybe get an ebook of it or something.

I will most likely be reading Stalking Jack The Ripper at some point! Seeing as it doesn't seem too creepy compared to the others here. How bad can it be? Am I right? Right?

Okay Daughters Unto Devils looks creepy. Too creepy. Doesn't the girl on the cover reminds you of the girl from the ring? And basically any other creepy looking girl from any scary movie? Because no thank you. Bye.

Oh and speaking of the ring, how about The Girl From The Well. I remember reading reviews of this and being like "never in a thousand years, nopity nope nope."

I've heard of Of Metal And Wishes, and honestly I don't know. It doesn't sound like my kind of novel, yet I have heard bloggers rave about it.

And the cover for The Women In The Walls looks creepy enough, don't you think. Unfortunately I haven't heard the greatest things about this book, so even if I was all for horror, I will probably pass on this one!

Last Seen Leaving isn't exactly horror (Which I CLEARLY MENTIONED JOEY), but I think I would still count it as creepy and spooky. And not my type of book. I tend to keep away from thrillers as well, especially YA thriller. I haven't had much luck in that category, and I'm not sure if it's because I genuinely don't like them, or they're just bad.

Saw We'll Never Be Apart at Shannon's house this weekend, on her bookshelf, and no thank you I will gladly "be apart". Because I don't even care or know what it's about. Creepy trees? Maybe. Ugh.

Do you love reading thrillers or horror? Or no? How do you feel about Halloween coming up?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Want To Know About Boarding School? (A Resource)

Where I had fun with Freepik Designs

Hey guys! Today, I want to talk about my past experience with *drumroll please* boarding school! Not many people know I attending boarding school for high school, and even now it’s such a weird topic to talk about because it was such a long time ago. But my main motivation for bringing it up now is 1) the portrayal of boarding schools in YA and 2) I have a whole Tumblr dedicated to people asking about my boarding school experience.

Let’s start with the basics. Why did I go to boarding school?
1. Swimming

And that’s basically it. Did I end up swimming? Well yes, I did. I spent more than half of my time in the pool, which I half regret and half do not because it kept me in shape I suppose. Even though I would never go back and redo high school again, I really enjoyed my time at boarding school. I made a lot of amazing friends, some I am still in touch with today.

Now, you may be wondering, what is it like at boarding school? Well I have all the answers for you. In fact, I have a whole Tumblr page dedicating to answering asks about it. This page, called Boarding School 101, was created years back with my best friend, who was my roommate while I was there.

We get a lot of questions from students wanting to attend boarding school, as you can see from just visiting the site. So many, that I ended up categorizing and tagging the asks. I also even have a separate page of photos of the boarding school my friend and I attended. Both authors and writers in the past few years have actually asked us questions about boarding school, which is why I am blogging about it here! I feel like there is a lot of good (and miscellaneous) information from all these questions, and our answers of course.

That's pretty much all I wanted to say! Feel free to check out the Tumblr if you're interesting in boarding school at all! Whether it's just for fun, or you're writing about it. Of course, not every experience is the same, but I think overall my experience is pretty similar to others!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #96 (Featuring My Cat)

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Ten Characters I Would Name A Cat After

Featuring, my cat, whose name is Primrose. You know, from The Hunger Games. 

Look, I'm not a Shannon. I'm not a HUGE fan of The Hunger Games (sorry Shannon), but even I couldn't change my cat's name after I adopted her. Why? Well she LOOKED like a Primrose. Sweet, adorable, and well, sometimes she is a little bad. But what can I do.

Let's start shall we? If I were to rename Primrose, here are the character names I would pick! Accompanied by pictures, of course!

Liesel from The Book Thief

Because Primrose loves me books. More specifically, rubbing her face on the corners and occasionally trying to take a bite out of them.

Look at how sinister and sassy she looks in this picture.

Noah from The Raven Boys

You know, if Prim was a boy cat. Also look at her, hiding from the world.

Just your usual scratching. She's secretly mischievous and does things I don't want her to do. Speak of the devil, I just heard something fall in the kitchen.

Miles from Made You Up

Again, if Prim were a boy. Apparently cats like being in boxes because it serves as a place away from stress, anxiety, and overall petting.

Lena from Metaltown

I don't even like the Lena from Metaltown, but Shannon's daughter is named Lena and she is my best friend and of course I would name someone after her.

Aza Ray from Magonia

Prim is no bird person, but her eyes change from adorably cute to this. It's a big enough change for me. Also Aza is a cute name.

"Verity" from Code Name Verity

Verity is such an elegant, deep name. Like Primrose! But maybe more for older and more mature cats, rather than this squish right here.

Levi from Fangirl

I think Levi would make a great fish name. And I guess a cat name too.

Do you have a cat? Or a pet? What would you name them?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Review: Aerie

Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley
Magonia #2
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 10/12/16 to 10/16/16
320 pages
Rating: 1/2

Where is home when you were born in the stars?

Aza Ray is back on earth. Her boyfriend Jason is overjoyed. Her family is healed. She’s living a normal life, or as normal as it can be if you’ve spent the past year dying, waking up on a sky ship, and discovering that your song can change the world.

As in, not normal. Part of Aza still yearns for the clouds, no matter how much she loves the people on the ground.

When Jason’s paranoia over Aza’s safety causes him to make a terrible mistake, Aza finds herself a fugitive in Magonia, tasked with opposing her radical, bloodthirsty, recently-escaped mother, Zal Quel, and her singing partner Dai. She must travel to the edge of the world in search of a legendary weapon, The Flock, in a journey through fire and identity that will transform her forever.

In this stunning sequel to the critically acclaimed Magonia, one girl must make an impossible choice between two families, two homes—and two versions of herself.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I’m not exactly sure how I should review this. I don’t know if my tastes have changed over the year, since I read Magonia. Looking over that review, it seemed like I really loved it, despite the lack in world building and the almost love triangle.

Beware, if you're interested in reading this series, there are potential spoilers for the first book in the review below!

Remember what I mentioned about the ending of Magonia? How it got us back to square one? Well because of that, I’m not surprised that Aza’s destructive mother, Zal, broke out of Magonian prison, seeking revenge and control over Aza. Again. This time, there’s a rush to find a secret weapon. One that will somehow make Zal even stronger than Aza. And of course Jason, Aza’s boyfriend is brought into the mix. Though he makes some really questionable events, in which he thinks he is protecting Aza, a fugitive Magonian. But in reality he is not.

Aerie reads the same way as Magonia, not surprisingly. The writing is strangely beautiful, written lyrically. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that the plot remained similar to the first book, though with the addition of the US government now coming into play.

I’m not sure what changed since a year ago. But here are some quick thoughts as to how I feel today.

  • Why was a second book necessary? I actually thought the first ended well. Or at least had a closed ending.
  • The first book had a lack of world building, and I thought the sequel would at least expand where the first didn’t.
  • I dislike Jason a bit. I understand he feels as if he can’t do anything to protect Aza, hence going towards the government for help. But how could he NOT foresee that turning against him?
  • I remember nothing about Heyward. Apparently, she is the real “human” Aza, the one who was kidnapped by Magonian’s as a baby in order to place Magonian Aza within a human family.
  • There’s no fear of character death here. Even though I did not get as emotional as I did during Magonia, the death was well-placed.

Overall, I still enjoyed the novel, but my lack of a memory kept me from being fully immersed. I tried to look up some sort of recap, but I barely found anything. But asides from that, I felt that this didn’t bring anything new to the table. The plot varied slightly compared to the first novel, and because of that I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be. I still like bird people though, haha.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October New Release Giveaway Hop!

Hello there!

This month, I've decided to join in Shannon's Giveaway Hop that she does every month, the one that showcases new releases (SHE FORCED ME). I actually have something I can giveaway this month, and it is...

Drumroll please.

I absolutely loved Our Chemical Hearts (and you can read my review of it here), so I will be sharing my ARC with the giveaway winner!

The giveaway is US only, and the usual rules follow. This means no cheating, no using multiple emails, you know the drill!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Review: Replica

Replica by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 9/30/16 to 10/3/16
554 pages

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever...

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

A very long time ago, in a house I no longer live in, I read Delirium. I remember liking it a decent amount, though I admit that was a time I felt like I had to like everything. If I were to read it again, I’m not sure I would have the same feelings I had years ago. Nevertheless, I still keep track of Oliver’s books, because she was one of the first YA authors I read, as a young adult.

Don’t get me wrong, I did like Replica! It actually reminded a bit of Stranger Things (though Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts says I can’t just compare anything to Stranger Things, so let me specify) in that there are clones called replicas, and they’re all locked in this laboratory, and treated like lab rats. Remember the time in AP Biology when we were breeding fruit flies? And we couldn’t release the next generation of fruit flies and instead drown them? Yeah, it was like that, except with humans. Or replicas.

Gemma and Lyra are both connected to Haven, the institute that houses all the replicas. It is really sad to read about Lyra, who as a replica, has to undergo a bunch of procedures. While there, they aren’t treated as humans, but rather as objects. They are constantly referred to as “it”, and honestly, it was horrible to read. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case, as it made me care more about the characters in general. On the other hand, Gemma is leading a pretty normal life, though her parents are way too overprotective. She’s been waiting forever to go on a road trip to Florida with her best friend, but at the last minute, her parents refuse to let her go. Why? Because her father has connections to Haven, which is on an island off the coast of Florida. He doesn’t want Gemma knowing what is going on there, or the connections between it and their family.

As you’ve probably heard, Replica has a unique format. You can read either Lyra’s or Gemma’s side, but you won’t get the full story unless you read both. I ended up reading a couple of chapters at a time before flipping over to the other side and reading the same corresponding chapters (reading one chapter each took too much energy haha). Although I found this really interesting and different, it felt a little unnecessary. The chapters could have just switched off between Gemma and Lyra. But then again, I liked how there’s variability in how you can experience the book.

Oh! And Gemma lives in Chapel Hill! Which is where I am! Right now! Though it is so not true that Chapel Hill is a boring place to live in. It’s only boring if you are under 21, or not in college. Which ended up being the case for Gemma anyways (but then it’s like that for anywhere. I will never regret the day I turned 21).

In the end, this didn’t exactly blow me away, but I still found it highly entertaining and a fast read. I don’t think I can say that Lauren Oliver is my absolute favorite YA author, but she does hold a place in my heart.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Review: Fear The Drowning Deep

Fear The Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 8/3/16 to 8/6/16
304 pages
Rating: 1/2

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

There’s something about old, coastal towns that I really love reading about. Probably because it reminds me so much of New England, even though this takes place on The Isle of Man. Nevertheless, the setting here paired with sirens, sea monsters, and the likes drew me in. Although I was expecting something a little bit different, I did thoroughly enjoy Fear The Drowning Deep.

The town is continuously haunted by drownings of women, and they don't know what's causing them. In the midst of all of this, Bridey, who is deathly afraid of the ocean after seeing her Grandad jump off the cliffs, takes the job of helping out the town witch, Morag. This involves going out to the beach to collect herbs, which is terrifying for her. Along the coast, she finds an unidentifiable boy, who she calls Fynn. The two spend a lot of time together, while Bridey figures out the truth behind the disappearances and drownings.

Spoiler, it's these squishy animals. Just kidding

I'm a huge fan of stories about mermaids, sirens, sea monsters, and the likes. Fynn turns out to be an interesting character (for reasons I will not say) who ends up wanting to stay by Bridey’s side. Yet even though I say this, I didn't like the fact that (Spoiler, highlight to read) Bridey's blood is what made Fynn lose his sense of violence as a sea monster, and in the end, caused him to fall in love with her. It made the relationship seem a little fake, even though Fynn admits he found her beautiful beforehand (which I really don’t buy at all). (End spoilers) I also liked the sisterly bond between Bridey and her sisters, mainly her younger sister Grayse. The story featured a very tight knit family, one that sticks by each other, and even a stranger who is only supposed to stay temporarily.

However, I did find the writing to be very dense and detailed. Maybe it was because I wasn't too invested in the story or the characters, but there were times where I couldn't help myself as I skimmed ahead. It really wasn't until the end where the action picked up, but even so it wasn't enough to make up for my boredom in the beginning.

Overall, I don’t regret reading Fear The Drowning Deep, however I felt like it lacked the spark that makes a book unforgettable (seeing as I read this back in August, and I barely remember anything, hence why I keep notes from back then).