Review Rendezvous: 10/7/17


The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, romance, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 356
Publish date: November 1st, 2011
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Future of UsIt’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long—at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right—and wrong—in the present.

I read this one a bit ago, but it was interesting enough to stick with me and get a read-over. It poses the question “What would you do if you could see your future?”. Sure, everyone jokes about superpowers and how it would be nice to know, but if you think about it, seeing the future comes with complications.

At first Emma thinks this website is a joke, and though I can’t remember how, she accepts that it’s actually the future. She makes some quips asking why she’d be so open about something like going to the psychologist, which makes you think about the fact that we do overshare quite a bit now, and it has become very commonplace.

It doesn’t take long for Emma to start trying to change the future. She goes after a new boy, changes her situation, and makes friends with the sole purpose of seeing how her future ends up. Josh, on the other hand, doesn’t think this is quite a good idea, and I’d be inclined to agree with him. They eventually get into quite the fight, and Emma begins depending on the information far too much.

Overall, the themes on the dangers of technology and knowledge of the future really stuck out to me. Eventually Emma learns her lesson and lets things be, which shows some good character growth on her. I did enjoy the book, enough to read it twice, so I would certainly suggest it to others 🙂

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Chasing Ella Blog Tour


I have another excerpt from the lovely book Chasing Ella for you today! If you haven’t gotten your hands on it already, you need to!


Finch must feel it too because he hasn’t spoken a single word. He stares me down like a hunter stalking its prey. I wish he would bite me, lick every inch of my body, and take what he wants. But I am not that girl—even if he is that guy.
“Are you sure we haven’t met before?” Finch breaks the silence between us. “You look familiar.”
I shake my head. “I’ve worked at the tutoring center since sophomore year. That could be why I look so familiar to you.”
He blushes, turning his head to the side for a second. “I guess you get a lot of dumb jocks in here.”
“No one is dumb. Some people just need more help than others.”
“And you can help me?” he asks without hesitation. His tone is hopeful.
“I don’t doubt that you will graduate with our class by the time I finish with you.”
Finch leans forward, digs his elbows into the wood, and cups his face in his hands. The two feet that separate us is not enough when he flashes me a panty-melting smile that goes straight to my core. I cross my legs and suck in a deep breath, reminding myself to keep it together. I cannot let my guard down around Finch. But he does things to me that I wish wouldn’t happen, stripping away my willpower.
“You’re graduating this year, too?”
“With honors,” I confess.
“Smart, beautiful, what else do I need to know about you?” He stops himself, as if deep in thought, and then continues, “There is something about you. I can’t put my finger on it, but I know you from somewhere other than the tutoring center.”
“I’m not in a sorority or on the cheerleading team, so I doubt it.”
“That’s not it,” he says, unfazed by my dig at the company he keeps. “Those girls blend, but a girl like you stands out from the crowd.”
“How so?” This I’m dying to hear.
“You’re not like those girls.”
I snort. “Well, thanks for pointing out the obvious and making this conversation even more awkward.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
I shrug, pretending as though his words didn’t just cut through me. Finch would never see me the way he does a sorority girl or a cheerleader. That much is clear from his comments. I stand out from the crowd all right.
He crosses his arms over his chest, holding my gaze. Those eyes are like daggers that cut deep into my soul. I wish he’d say something to end my suffering. The silence is deafening and driving me crazy.
“What’s your name, tutor girl?” He’s so fucking cute that when he winks at me, I can’t decide if I want to kiss or punch him for calling me tutor girl. But it sounds more like a term of endearment than an insult coming from Finch.
“For starters, my name is not tutor girl.” I sink further into the chair and decide what to say next. Around Finch, I’m nervous yet bold, just like I was at the party.
“I’m still waiting, Princess.”
“Princess is not any better,” I mutter. “Try again.”
After an awkward pause, he stretches his hand across the table. “Hi, I’m Shawn Finch, tight end for the Strickland Senators and failing yet another class. I like to party and do stupid shit that ruins my grade-point average, and now, I need this beautiful, spitfire girl to keep my dumb ass from failing.”
“I already told you that you’re not dumb,” I counter. “You shouldn’t talk about yourself that way.”
“That’s all you took from what I just said.” He shakes his head, still holding out his hand and waiting for me to shake.
I slip my fingers between his and electricity sparks between us. It’s as if we never had any time apart, our bodies still connected as one. There’s something between us that no one can deny. He knows it. We both know it.
“Ella Fitzgerald,” I finally say, letting go of his hand. The sensation between us is too much for me to handle.
“Definitely not tutor girl,” he says, smiling. “Nice to meet you, Ella.”
“Nice to meet you too Finch.”
“I’d rather you call me Shawn.”
“Everyone calls you by your last name,” I point out.
“You’re not everyone.”
His words take me by surprise, causing my breath to hitch. “Either are you, Shawn.”
“I like hearing you say my name,” he says, his voice almost a whisper. “Say it again.”
“Shawn,” I breathe, maintaining eye contact.
The tension between us provokes a deep yearning inside me. I’d love to give into my desires, lunge myself across this table, and admit that I’m the masked girl from the party.
His muscles flex under the black fabric stretched tight across his chest. Like most of the athletes on campus, Finch has on the standard athletics shirt and track pants uniform they all sport to class. Some days it’s jeans or shorts, but today, Shawn is wearing black track pants to match the Strickland Senators football shirt. And he sure knows how to wear it.
I have to stop this before someone notices. Breaking eye contact with Finch, I grab his textbook and slide it between us, and then, flip open to the middle of the book. “Shall we begin?”
“Let’s see what you’ve got, tutor girl.” He says it with a cocky smirk and another sexy wink.
“Okay, Finch,” I challenge.


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Once a King or Queen of Narnia


I mentioned on Twitter last week that we were in the process of creating some fun costumes and doing a photoshoot for one of my all time favorite classic books. Well, I just finished up editing the photos and can now proudly display them!

My sister and I went with Susan Pevensie in her green dress and older Lucy Pevensie from the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

I absolutely loved getting to create these costumes. Over 50 hours of work went into making both of them, and we visited four different craft stores in the process of obtaining the right materials. We also ordered some items online (such as the trim for Susan’s cape, which is actually the exact same trim they used in the movie). The hardest park of my costume was figuring out the best way to make the sleeves for my outer dress. The hardest part for Cassy’s was the creation of pretty much all her props because she had some complicated designs haha.

Right now we have no plans to create another cosplay, but I’m definitely open to the idea. Let me know what you think of the costumes in the comments below, and tell me if you’ve cosplayed before!


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Review Rendezvous: 9/30/17


Prism by Nina Walker
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, dystopia, romance
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 315
Publish date: August 17th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & Noble

PrismWhat if color held the secrets to powerful magic? 

Forced to move into the palace, Jessa begins training as a Color Alchemist under the direction of the kingdom’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Lucas. As an alchemist, Jessa must capture and harness the color of living things. Every color has a unique purpose, except red. Red is the untapped magic no one can access—until Jessa.

Prince Lucas is running out of time. His mother is deathly ill and healing magic hasn’t worked. When Lucas suspects someone is using alchemy to control her, he sets out to discover the truth, no matter the cost.

I have had quite a few ARCs and review copies recently, so it’s taken me a bit to get to this book. But boy, am I sad that I waited this long! There are so many good things about this book, I can’t help but love it!

First of all, the entire premise of magic is new to me. There is probably other books out there that have a similar magic system, but I haven’t yet found one. In order to access magic, people must be born with the skill to take it from objects with physical color. They can only take it from organic objects, at least, until Jessa accesses it in the middle of her ballet solo in one of the most prestigious shows in the area. Seeing as untrained magic is highly dangerous and illegal, she’s immediately taken to the palace for training.

I will admit, the first thing that stuck out to me was the romance. It’s a bit insta-lovey and sometime I was wondering why they were focusing on that instead of, I don’t know, surviving? But, Jessa is only sixteen, so it kinda makes sense, especially since she’s been in a normal life up until this point.

There is so many secrets and plans in this palace, I don’t know where to start. I think every dystopian monarchy is bound to have a resistance pop up, it’s practically inevitable. However, one of the people on the inside of the palace may surprise you.

There’s also the character of Lucas. Not entirely sure why he’s ready to protect Jessa so quickly in the book, but at least it’s not his main focus. He’s trying to save his mother, and will do anything to accomplish that.

I really want to read the next book in the series so soon! Jessa and Lucas are both in a prime position for more character development and higher stakes, so I can’t wait to see where this story takes them!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


If you liked this book, check these ones out:

Crowns

A young girl is kicked out of her home only to realize she has the potential to learn great magic.


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Cover Reveal: Antipodes


I’m back at it with another cover reveal. I love that this one is landscape based, you don’t see a lot of that in YA contemporary! Meet the beautiful Antipodes by Michele Bacon!

unnamed (1)

Book Stats:
Genres: Young adult, contemporary
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble

When Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she is focused intently on her mission: do something unique that will erase the mess she made of her life days before her 17th birthday. She’s already lost her swim team captainship, her boyfriend Ben, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin’s chances of a good future. Once Erin sees her uninspiring host family and city, though, Erin’s not so sure.

Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. A mission used to sound like a fun adventure, and the only ivy she cared about was the stuff growing around her grandparents’ back porch at their peaceful Upper Peninsula home. When had her priorities gone upside down?

Now Erin balks at NZ’s scratchy school uniforms, cold houses, and her hosts’ utter inability to pronounce her name correctly. Christchurch does boast amazing rock climbing, gorgeous scenery, and at least one guy who could make her forget Ben if she lets him. With months ahead of her, Erin slowly begins to draw on the years behind her, one step back into her memories and then another, as she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world to find that when life turns your world upside down and you’re farthest from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from.

I need to read more contemporaries, so this one is definitely going on my TBR! I’m going to drown in all of them someday…

Also, the author is hosting a giveaway in honor of the reveal! They have 3 ARCs available, which should be sent out in January of next year! Giveaway available in the US only.

Below is an excerpt from the book for your reading pleasure!


Alone at lunch, Erin cracked her Italian book and read ahead. The clouds had burned off during her art experiments, but everything was still damp. She juggled her Italian book and lunch until Jade called her name.

“In here!” Jade pulled Erin into a gymnasium.

They sat on the floor, and Jade said, “How are you finding New Zealand?”

“Still jet lagged,” Erin said.

“True kiwi lunch here, want some?” Jade held out a plastic container of brown and grey food.

“Every time someone mentions kiwi, I picture fuzzy green fruit,” Erin said.

“Aye, we’ve got kiwi fruit, too. This is bangers and mash.”

“Funny, isn’t it? Last night, Felicity asked whether I liked—whether I fancied—kumara. An orange vegetable. Not a carrot. Soft in the middle when cooked, but not a squash. Then she served it and it was a sweet potato.”

“Kumara are my favorite in winter.”

“Yeah. My grampa used to make them with brown sugar and cinnamon. I love them, so you see how off-kilter I feel. Same cars, but yours are smaller. And slower. Everything is a little slower. We speak the same language, to an extent. But sometimes? I have no idea what people are saying. And sometimes, words have entirely different meanings. At home, biscuits are small, fluffy, buttery breakfast breads. What you call biscuits, we call cookies.”

“Sounds delicious, either way,” Jade said.

Outside, a circle of guys bunched up over the rugby ball, pushing hard but not moving in any particular direction. “Aren’t words funny?” she said. “I once met a girl at a resort in North Carolina—that’s actually in the southern part of America—and she and I realized when a Chicago native says she skis, she means skiing in snow. But we also go water skiing.

“In the south, though, where it’s warm, skiing means water. And they call the other kind snow skiing.”

“Here, of course, the North Island is the warm part, and we get the cold down here,” Jade said. “One of us is upside down.”

“Yeah. It’s definitely me.”

MicheleAbout the Author:
Michele Bacon was born in Trumbull County, the only square county in Ohio, where books were her favorite means of escaping an unhappy childhood. Writing was her transparent attempt to create the things she craved: big happy families, international adventures and unconditional friendship. From a young age, she was drawn to people’s stories, and she still wants to know how you met your best friend or fell in love with your partner.

In high school, she embraced her inner geek and wrote her first novel. In college, there were short stories and still more novels. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in English, with concentrations in critical theory and creative writing.

Full-time work sapped her creative brain for several years, but her professional life was one of reinvention. In state government, business management consulting, and nonprofit fundraising, she adapted easily and absorbed the languages of different professions. Her last paying job was as an independent fundraising consultant for nonprofit organizations. That was seven years ago.

Since then, she has been writing and traveling (and, let’s be honest, chasing down small people who don’t like to wear clothes). She’s traveled to all 50 states and dozens of other countries, always collecting pieces of characters and ideas for stories. She recently spent a year on sabbatical in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she may have left her heart at Ilam School. Now that she’s settled back in the States, she’s writing for adults and young adults, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and baking like a fiend. (You’d thinking baking would be the same everywhere, but it’s not. Something is different about kiwi butter.)

When an idea strikes, she scrawls sweeping plot outlines, character idiosyncrasies, and ideas for scenes on the nearest blank spot of paper. Her current manuscript was born of those torn slips of paper, used envelopes, lollipop wrappers, fuel receipts and–once–that little paper bit that keeps a nursing pad sticky until it’s time to use it. Her manuscripts are better than the quality of papers where they began. Promise.

Outside of writing, she is a tabletop game enthusiast, passionate skier, and lover of prime numbers. She also is a mentor at the Moving Words Writing Clinic, and a freelance copyeditor.

She lives in Seattle with her husband and three growing children.


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