The Devil You Know (Review)

The Devil You Know
By: Trish Doller

Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions. 

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids (Review)

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

By: Sarah Ockler

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life. 

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

Heart to Heart: "No Offense, But..."

I've always thought the role of fiction was to capture a reality. Whether the story was about a preteen wizard in this magical world or about a girl in a dystopian society in which her survival serves as a source of entertainment. Wherever the story was set was irrelevant. It just had to feel real. Even if the world was alien to my own. Even if the people in that fictional society operated on rules different than my own. I just needed to be able to relate and understand the characters, even if I didn't agree with them. 

"It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense."
Mark Twain
I think of writing as the written equivalent of a photography. When you take a picture, it's supposed to capture something that's already there. It's supposed to be an expression. An interpretation of the photographer's view of reality. 

Isn't that the same with writing? Aren't you picking and choosing words and recreating images and concepts and expressions? Aren't authors capture certain truths?

Recently there has been controversy surrounding Joss Whedon and the Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. I went it saw it on opening day before I could be bombarded with reviews and other people's opinions of it. I went into it a blank slate. I really enjoyed the first movie but other than the cinematic interpretation, I'm not really into comics. I don't know much of backstories and relationships. All I know of this universe is what I've seen from the movies. So when I watched Age of Ultron and I really like it. I thought it was funny and I thought it built on the foundation of the first movie.

Then I started seeing articles where people hated it. I read those articles and I wanted to see why they hated the movie. Color me curious. There were accusations of sexism, anti-feminism, and a slew of other problematic findings in the writing. Things that I didn't notice while watching the movie. Then I read a really interesting blog post on Tumblr.  This person listed all the ways that she felt Joss Whedon has introduced problematic material into the Marvel Universe.  

And honestly, because I haven't seen Buffy, Angel, Firefly or anything else from Joss Whedon, I couldn't speak one way or another about those accusations. That's not what I found interesting about the post.

When I was reading, I couldn't help but think about the relationship between an author and his characters. Among the accusations levied at Whedon, this particular person was offended by the things the characters said and did. 

Like I said, I don't know much of the characters and the comic backstory, every thing that I know if from what I've watched of all the Marvel movies, so I could be wrong. 

But I just think it's unfair to assert a character's opinions onto a writer. Before this controversy I didn't even know "quim" was a word, much less a slur, and I honestly didn't even pay it attention when Loki hurls it at Black Widow in the first Avengers movie. 

But after some research, I understand why people would be offended by it. Completely understandable. But I don't understand how someone would use it as support of Whedon's problematic behavior. 

I don't know if Joss Whedon has the same views as Loki does towards women and even though I don't condone the use of slurs, I think it's true to Loki's character. This is a character who believes himself to be superior to everyone else and feels as though his right to rule has been unjustly taken from him. So do I think he would be a misogynist. Yes. Do I think in a moment like that, he would hurl a slur at Black Widow? Yes. Do I think he would hurl a slur at anyone else in that moment? Yes. Do I agree with the use of the slur? Absolutely not. 

I didn't really associate the use of the slur to the writer. 

It's like when people wanted to remove the N-word from Huckleberry Finn. It doesn't change the sentiment because you remove a word. It just makes the story less authentic. Not to say that gratuitous use of slurs is okay. I think it's about finding a balance and staying true to the story and the characters. 

Last year, I was reading The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu. Again I read reviews in which people took offense to the language and views of the characters. I'm not saying that they shouldn't be offended. You should. The views were racist and sexist and just highly problematic in a lot of ways. But even though I vehemently disagreed with the views, I think that it's important that they were included. 

I just believe that it's an author's duty to capture a reality. Human nature is human nature. Whether they choose to include problematic dialogue and characters in their stories or not. I believe nothing good comes from ignoring these issues. Even if authors choose not to include this language in literature that doesn't mean these ideas and people who think like this cease to exist. It's a missed opportunity to address issues and by ignoring them they fester because they go unchallenged. 

When I was reading The Truth About Alice it just reminded me people still think like this today. It was mind blowing to me, but it definitely brought the reality of the persistence of this kind of thinking to the forefront of my mind and it made me think. 

In Kathleen Hale's No One Else Can Have You, I know people were upset by the use of the "R-word". I know personally, I try to stray away from using that word, but mainly because it offends others not because I was personally offended by it. But when I started noticing how people were really personally offended by it, it just reinforced the disuse from my vocabulary. It used to be a word that I used. Now it's  permanently retired from my vocabulary and I understand how and why it's offensive. 

I'm not saying that the inclusion of problematic words and concepts should be purely pedagogic, because that's not what I believe. I do believe that the use of these words can be, but I also believe that authors who include problematic behavior and language have a responsibility to create an authentic story. Even when I hate it. Even when I disagree with the use. As long as it makes sense to the character and the situation, I think it's important that it's included. It's not an authors responsibility to make you feel comfortable, it's there responsibility to capture a reality. As long as people who people still use the words and still think like that, I feel as though authors have a duty to capture that side as well. It's not dissimilar to the relationship of reporters and news subjects. 

I think it's important that if an author is trying to be authentic to his or her story, there is a responsibility for the reader to not attribute the behavior of the character to the author. The author is not equivalent to the character. And it's unfair to do so. 

The Duff (Review)

The Duff
By: Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper may not be the prettiest girl in her high school, but she has a loyal group of friends, a biting wit, and a spot-on BS detector. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. But things aren't so great at home and Bianca, desperate for a distraction, ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. 

2015 Summer Reads May Giveaway

Thank you everyone who signed up for the challenge. It's going to be a great summer and to kick off the challenge, here's the first giveaway. 

(also the one known as the Mermaid prize)

The Rules:
To enter the giveaway, just link any YA book that you've reviewed in the month of May.
You have from May 1st to May 31st to link your reviews.
Every link counts as an entry.
You have to signed up to the challenge. 
You have to be 13 years or older. 
Winner of giveaway has 24 hours to respond and claim their prize or prize will be forfeited. 
Another winner will be chosen if original winner forfeits their prize. 

The Prize:
ARC of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
DVD of The Little Mermaid
& Mermaid and Bookish swag

You can continue added links to your reviews until May 31st, 2015. I will contact the winner up to a week after the giveaway ends. 

BEA 2015: Roommate Wanted

Hey lovelies!!!

So BEA is right around the corner and I know most responsible, well-planned, people have already found roommates. 

A couple of weeks ago I was one of those people, but one of my roommates bailed and there's a vacancy in our room. 

I already booked a room a couple of blocks from Javits. Including me, there are two people in our room. Both, female.

We're looking for one more roommate (but possible open to two more). 

I've got the room booked from 5/26 until 5/30, making the total cost during the stay about $539 with three people. Which might sound like a lot but that includes complimentary breakfasts and drinks. And the room has a full kitchen and fridge so if you decide you don't want to eat out every night, you don't have to. 

It's a couple of blocks from the Javits center and a bunch of bloggers are staying at the hotel already. 

If you're interested or knows someone who might be interested, or need more details please email me or tweet me!

Spoiler Alert: Book Deal!!

It's no secret, I love Sarah Dessen. Love her works. I'm pretty sure I own damn near all of them (if not all of them). The only problem that I have is that I only have one ebook copy of her book. 

But as of today, problem solved. 

Four of Sarah's books are going to be on sale today for only $2.99. I don't know about you, but I'm definitely buying. 

Click the link to buy Sarah's books.

2015 Summer Reads Challenge

photo 15summerreads.jpg

Last Year I hosted my first ever Reading Challenge. It was fun and pressure free and my attempt at promoting reading in the summer. It went better than I expected and I got tons of positive feedback (better than I expected or anticipated). So I thought I'd host the challenge again this year and revamp it.

The Changes
Obviously, the first major change is that I'm hosting it on Tumblr this year. For a lot of different reasons, I thought that Tumblr might be a better fit. I have a bigger audience and I'm just hoping that this platform is a better fit. Another major change is I'm saying "bye bye" to the bi-weekly challenges. They didn't really work and it was a lot of upkeep, but even though I've decided to take away that aspect of the Summer Reads challenge, I've decided to amp up another aspect. Now I'm focusing on making the prizes better for the Monthly Challenges. This year there will be prize packs. Four really awesome and amazing prize packs for each monthly giveaway.

You'd probably be reading in the summer anyway and this is just a fun opportunity for everyone in the bookish community to get together and get rewarded for something they'd probably be doing anyway. Every month, when you either add a review to the linky list or use the hashtag #MHHBSummerReads15, you'll be entered to win some really incredible prize packs.

Last year if you won you received some really cool books, this year, I'm putting some incredible prize packs of the bookish variety.

Sign up via the Linky list. I'm also making a goodreads group as well, but for you to be considered for the giveaways you have to sign up via the linky list. The goodreads group is just an easy way for you to keep up to date with the challenge. I'll always send notifications on both tumblr and GR.

So the challenge will officially kick off May 1st until August 31st. The start of each giveaway begins on the 1st of each month and ends on the last day of the month.
Winners will be notified sometime in the following week, after the giveaway ends, that they won their prize and have 48 hours from that notification to claim their prize. If they do not claim their prize within that time frame, they thereby, forefit their prize and a new winner will be chosen. You must be 13 years old or older and be comfortable with giving me your address. While prize packs can only be shipped to the US, the reading challenge is international.If you are an international winner than you can choose a book(s) equal to the value prize pack via The Book Depository.
You Have Until August 1st to sign up for the challenge.

Everything Else
Although you can read whatever you like, the only reviews that will be counted towards the giveaways are YA book reviews.

I'll be posting links both on the blog and on Tumblr and Goodreads, but I'm definitely most accessible via Tumblr. 

If you have anymore questions, just message me and I'll try to answer to the best of my abilities! 

Good Luck and Happy Reading :)


Spoiler Alert: Book Deal!!!

If you ever wanted to read the Legend series by Marie Lu the stars are aligning!!! Each book in the series is going to be on sale for $2.99 each. 

I've read the book in the series and I'm planning on continuing with the rest. I'm not one to pass on pass on a read good book deal (read: pass on any book really).

Click the links below to get your copy!

Snow Like Ashes (Review)

Snow Like Ashes
By: Sara Raasch

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.