Gush Review: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Title: Moxie

Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Pub. Date: September 19th, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary/Feminism

Publisher:  Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Pages: 330

Formats: eGalley

Trigger warning: Sexual harassment & attempted rape

    

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Vivโ€™s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the โ€™90s, so now Viv takes a page from her motherโ€™s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. Sheโ€™s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu but what I got was all around awesomeness cover to cover! If you are a feminist such as myself, picking up this book is almost a no brainer but even if you’re not, this may be the book to change that. Much like our MC Vivianne, I was witness to many of the sexist games played by the opposite sex that are seen as harmless. Viv lives in a small town & attends the local High School where the schools Football team is the center of town life. Everyone down to the teachers & principal give the football team  much favoritism. This led to the blind acceptance of their treatment towards the females in the school & Viv has had enough.

Grabbing inspiration from her mother’s box of Zines where she’s stored memories of her Feminist activist days, Viv sets out to bring change to her school. She decides that anonymity is probably best in a school where the captain of the football teams father is also the Principal. What starts off as a Zine left inside the girls bathroom stalls, snowballs into a feminist movement no one in their small town Texas school would’ve imagined. We follow Viv as she slowly builds up her confidence & finds her voice through a movement she names Moxie. We see girls from all cliques start to answer the call to take a stand against age old “traditions” that are degrading to the females in the school.

Although most of the action takes place in Viv’s High School, we do also get to see her home life. Having lost her father at a very young age, it’s just her & her mom. I loved seeing Viv admire her mom without her knowing & how organic their relationship translated on to the page. There are also some really strong female friendships giving Viv the validation she needs to know she is doing the right thing. Moxie is all about fighting back the tired ideologies of women needing to behave “lady-like” or proper. It strengthens & uplifts women coming together & how powerful that can be.

Illustration from Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Our MC Vivianne is not at all the person you see portrayed on the cover of this book, not at first anyway. She loves listening to her moms stories of growing up and fighting back the patriarchy. Quietly wishing she had the courage to do something about the jocks and administration in her school who think it’s ok to objectify girls/women. Viv’s character development felt authentic for a teenager living in a small town in Texas. She didn’t voice her opinions right away, she found her voice within the other girls in her school. Viv is hands down a fave character for me because every time she felt like throwing in the towel she didn’t & instead came back harder! Viv’s mom is legit one of the coolest & hardest working moms I’ve come across in YA. She’s a nurse working long hours but who also has an amazing relationship with her daughter. She may not know it but she is also the source of inspiration for Viv creating Moxie. Viv’s grand-parents live next door & we often seem them around dinner time. LOVED the inclusion of grand-parents since that is very rare in YA books. Better yet, the fact that Viv loves them so much and can equally accept her own frustration at their old school mentality made her all the more relatable. A place of comfort for Viv, the scenes with her grand-parents gave the book a homely feel.

Lucy is the not quite so new girl but still pretty new to the school. She is taken aback by the things allowed from the male students having come from a more progressive school/city. At times she also gave Viv the motivation she needed to keep Moxie going all the while not knowing Viv was its creator. Seth plays the new guy in school & fits the mold of quiet-loner-mysterious-guy but there’s more than meets the eye with him. I was pleasantly surprised with Seth but I’ll be vague because I consider that spoilery. The Moxie Girls are not just from different cliques, they are also diverse in skin color and ethnicity. The inclusivity promoted by Viv spreads like wildfire throughout the school encouraging many to join. LOVED seeing the diversity bringing girls together to bring change!

Can you tell I LOVED Moxie to pieces?!?! I couldn’t flip through the pages fast enough, easily a 2017 top fave for the empowering message it sends across. United, girls/women are a force to be reckoned with! We don’t have very many books like these encouraging girls to stand together & fight for their rights. As I am writing this review, Twitter is ablaze with the mess that is Harvey Weinstein & the brave soul that is Rose Mcgowan standing up to an industry known for covering up sexual harassment. My first thought was, how appropriate that I am writing this review now. We need more Vivianne’s & Rose McGowans rallying the troops of women, together we are stronger & won’t be silenced. I cannot recommend Moxie enough to Feminists & those who have yet to find their voice…we all have Moxie in us ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿฝ

*HUGE Thanks to Macmillan, Netgalley, and Jennifer Mathieu for the galley of Moxie in exchange for an honest review. The physical arc pictured below I won from a Twitter giveaway.

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Some Sites Jennifer Mathieu included in her Author Note:

Feministing.com

rookiemag.com

bitchmedia.org

bust.com

thefbomb.org

scarleteen.com

therepresentationproject.org


Can you see yourself as a member of Moxie? I sure can! are there any lovely bookworms who’ve read Moxie or plan to? sound off in the comments below <3’s! 


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WWW Wednesday 10/11/2017

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted byย Sam @ Taking On a World of Wordsย and to participate all you have to do is answer the three Wโ€™s listed below. Once youโ€™ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Samโ€™s comments <3โ€™s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think youโ€™ll read next?

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Vivโ€™s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the โ€™90s, so now Viv takes a page from her motherโ€™s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. Sheโ€™s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

*I started Moxie yesterday & am currently 53% head over heels in LOVE with this book! trying to stop myself from inhale reading it has been a challenge. The MC Viv is someone who knows she wants to be a part of the change needed in her school but fears being ostracized. Her mother is her inspiration for the creation of Moxie, a “zine” aka magazine calling all girls to stand united against the sexism & misogyny widely accepted in her school. Best part: getting to see the Zines Viv creates, LIVING for the illustrations! โค review to come this week.

On Monday I finished & reviewed the EPIC time traveling adventure that was Invictus by Ryan Graudin (my review). If ever I were to have a checklist of things I’d like to see in a YA Sci-fi book, Invictus sure came close to meeting them all. Fun, well paced, amazing characters you can’t help but get attached to…sigh…I miss this crew so MUCH!!! *sobs* while I wait for Graudin to bless us with news of ANYTHING else set in this world, I’ll console myself by reading her other books ๐Ÿ™‚

A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the worldโ€™s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her fatherโ€”whose obsession with building his empire is causing a warโ€”Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrifiedโ€”but as she tests its limits, sheโ€™s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom thatโ€™s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

Next I’ll be reading The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) by Lauren DeStefano.ย I was lucky enough to get a Galley from Harper & can’t wait to dive in. From the synopsis I’ve gathered that this is sort of inspired by King Midas and his golden touch. I’ve also heard mention of mental health & disability rep being included in this story which makes this a MUST READ for me.ย 


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if youโ€™re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3โ€™s!


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GUSH Review! Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Title: Invictus

Author: Ryan Graudin

Pub. Date: September 26th, 2017

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publisher:  Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Pages: 464

Formats: eGalley & physical ARC

    

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

Since finishing up Invictus I’ve gone on a Ryan Graudin video binge on Youtube…this is when I KNOW I love a book! when I can’t let it gooooo! *cue Elsa/Frozen*  well in one of these videos Graudin mentions getting inspiration from Dr. Who and Fire Fly. These are shows I’ve only watched in passing & that now have immense curiosity for after finishing this book. Time travel alone has always intrigued me in Sci-Fi & that’s probably because I love History so much that the idea of traveling back to ancient Rome was SUPER appealing. We get introduced to our MC Farway Gaius McCarthy as he preps to take his final SIM exam to determine whether he is Recorder material. You only get 1 shot to pass this exam & failure means expulsion. Things go haywire during his SIM & Farway is given the boot from the academy. Being the best of the best, Farway knows his exam was tampered with however he has no real way of proving it. Faced with the reality of having all of his dreams of one day commanding his own time travel machine & crew taken away, Farway is quick to accept a offer from a Boss in the black market.

The opportunity: to man his own time travel machine in exchange for his services stealing valuable pieces from the past that will not be missed.

Translation: Stealing valuable pieces that won’t alter history & in turn alert the time travel police.

Farway of course gathers his most trusted friends from the academy and forms his crew to carry out these heists through different periods in time. When I think of my experience reading Invictus, the first word that comes to mind is FUN! popping in & out of time, wearing period fitting costumes, stealing ancient items all the while trying to stay incognito was insanely fun! Besides the awesome plot we get this great set of characters you can’t help but get attached to. I feel Graudin accomplished exactly what she said she set out to do with this crew & that was making them feel like home. By the end of the book I could tell you who was who blindfolded & that just made my reading experience all the more better. In terms of plot pacing I wouldn’t say it was fast paced however, there was never a time something wasn’t happening with one of the characters. There are also elements of parallel universes which I’ll be the first to admit intimidated the hell out of me however, I was able to follow the madness without having to double back haha!

Farway- at the top of his class, he knows he is destined for time travel. He is also well known for being born outside of times parameters. His mother is a Recorder of much fame garnering recognition for her many achievements. The truth about Faraways conception however is one well kept secret. Faraway wants nothing more than to follow in his motherโ€™s footsteps in hopes that it will lead him back to her (trying to be vague here lol). Itโ€™s hard not to like Farway, heโ€™s great with his friends aka crew and isnโ€™t scared to take some risks for the sake of time travel ๐Ÿ˜‰

Imogen- I LOVE THIS GIRL! I mean, who wouldnโ€™t love a character who wakes up every day & colors her hair in with different colored chalk? ๐Ÿ˜‚ funny, sweet, always positive, & loves her cousin Farway to pieces! She also keeps a Red Panda fur baby she named Safron who is feisty & offered up a couple of laughs along the way. Imogen is also the Historian on the crew & is in charge of researching the time periods they’ve been sent to steal from in order to dress them all accordingly.

Gram- you can find Gram at his station playing with his rubix cube & or computations to make sure they land in the exact time period desired. He is the Engineer who double majored as a recorder & basically I saw him as a Jack of all Trades. Gram is also a POC & I was glad to see this brought up by him seeing as time traveling may take them to places that would put him in danger. Gram is a very quiet character with a high IQ & the few times he was off the Invictus to aid in a mission I really enjoyed (hope to see more of this).

Priya- The medic on board & also resident beat master, Priya is known for compiling epic playlists. Her spicy Chai tea keeps everyone going & when she isn’t jamming to her tunes she can be found either patching up one of the crew members with stitches OR lending her mechanic skills to the maintenance of the Invictus.

Eliot- This character is SUPER mysterious & carries with her many truths. At first she annoyed the hell out of me but I came around to appreciate her resourcefulness. Without saying too much about this character for fear of spoilers, I will say that she kept things very interesting on board. As the source of Farways frustration I thought Graudin was writing her in as a love interest however, I’m so glad that isn’t the case & that her role is way more interesting than that.

I loved this cast of characters & the dynamic they brought to the page on board the Invictus. Although we don’t get a ton of time to delve deep into each one, I felt Graudin gave us enough to get to know them for their quirks & personalities. If you loved the cast of characters in Gemina, then chances are you’ll also love this crew ๐Ÿ˜‰

Many of my book blogging buddies have recommended Graudin’s books & until now sadly I hadn’t picked one up. I’m so glad I finally listened & found a new favorite. This was a almost 500 page book and yet it didn’t drag & actually left me flipping for more pages knowing very well that I had reached the end LOL! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED the ending & how everything led up to what isn’t necessarily a happy ending but one full of hope…these are always the best in my opinion. I haven’t seen any news of a sequel however, it was left with plenty of room to expand which again leaves me oh so hopeful! haha. In the mean time I have my imagination to conjure up ideas of where this crew could possibly be headed next, although not as good as Graudin, it will have to do ๐Ÿ˜‰

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*HUGE Thanks to Little Brown Books, Netgalley, and Ryan Graudin in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Bookworms! I’m hoping some of you out there have already read & loved Invictus cuz I am really trying not to fall into a book hangover & need some support lol! who was your fave character? better yet, do you know if Graudin is in her lair writing us a sequel? *fingers crossed*


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Review: Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor

Title: Night of Cake & Puppets

Author: Laini Taylor & illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Pub. Date: September 12th, 2017

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Formats: Physical ARC

    

In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first dateโ€”as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogyโ€”the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.

Night of Cake & Puppets is the novella that follows the 2nd book in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy which happens to be one of my TOP FAVE trilogies of all time! also the reason why I’ll read anything Laini Taylor writes….EVER! I first read this novella a few years back after reading the trilogy & still remember how much I ADORED it to pieces. When I heard through the Bookish Grapevine of an illustrated edition I knew I had to read in physical format. I’m so very happy to have received this ARC from the publisher, the illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo are ON POINT! he captures the humor & quirk of this beloved character & gives the best scenes in this novella an extra dose of magic. Di Bartolo is Laini’s husband & that perhaps makes him pretty much the perfect person to illustrate this story since I’m guessing he’s had some time to get to know these characters very well. I thoroughly enjoyed his illustrations & would love to see more of this collabo ๐Ÿ™‚

Night of Cake & Puppets is a novella set in Prague, home to Karou and her BFF Zuzana. While Karou is off on a mission (no spoilers for the DOSAB trilogy) Zuzana is on a mission of her own: to capture the heart of Mik the Violinist or at the very least his kiss! 

Zuzana was an instant fave character for me because of her eccentricities, whenever I think of her the quote “Though she be little, she is fierce!” comes to mind. Just like her grandfather, Zuzana designs puppets that are very life-like as well as a bit creepy. She is a lover of all things strange, dark, and magical which makes her a perfect BFF to Karou who is all of these & more. It also manages to catch Miks attention who is working in the same stage play as Zuzana. Before Karou went off on her adventure aka scavenger hunt, she blessed Zuzana with 5 scuppies which will grant her 5 small wishes. With her scuppies for back-up, Zuzana sets out to plan the most romantic night ever sprinkled with a touch of magic.

Mik is one of the few male characters in YA that I LOVE & as such, the next time I get asked on a tag to choose a book BF (terrible memory), my pick will ALWAYS be MIK! โค โค โค he’s that person, the one that wishes they had a more exciting life & is just waiting for THE night that will catapult him into said life. When he first sees Zuzana, he admire her fierceness from afar but couldn’t bring himself to talk to her. Their awkward almost encounters started to increase & he was genuinely intrigued by the mystery surrounding her.

Zuzana concocts this plan for the night she’s chosen to make her feelings known to Mik but it’s going to take some participation & effort on his behalf as well lol. I was completely knocked off my feet, left smitten on the floor (not an easy feat) with this magical night from start to finish. Taylor pulls you in for the night taking you through the streets of Prague while it snows & these two complete opposites take part in their own scavenger hunt. I honestly think Laini Taylor’s pen is infused with magic & whatever she writes is destined to come to life on the page & the readers mind. Highly recommending Night of Cake & Puppets to everyone! although it would be ideal to have read the first two books in the Daughter & Smoke and Bone trilogy, it is not a pre-requisite. You will however probably end up wanting to know more about Zuzana’s mysterious friend Karou & how she comes about those magical scuppies haha! Also…there’s Cake ๐Ÿ˜‰

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*HUGE Thanks to The NOVL/Little Brown Books & Laini Taylor for the Night of Cake and Puppets ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Zero Repeat Forever (The Nahx Invasions #1)

Title:ย Zero Repeat Forever

Author:ย Gabrielle Prendergast

Pub. Date:ย August 29th, 2017

Publisher:ย Simon & Schuster

Pages:ย 496

Formats: eGalleyย 

Trigger Waring: Suicide & Racismย 

ย ย ย ย 

He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesnโ€™t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills herโ€ฆ

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesnโ€™t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each otherโ€ฆ

Zero Repeat Forever is THE book that demanded patience of me in return for a nice pay-off. Slow paced yet instantly addictive, I couldn’t quit this book. The story follows Raven, her boyfriend Tucker, his twin brother Topher, and a few other friends who were sent away to Summer Camp after getting into some trouble back home. While away, planet Earth is invaded by the Nahx aka alien forces. The killings begin and don’t show any sign of stopping. Humans are hit with darts that turn their veins black & rob them of life. Raven & her friends were informed to stay in place until they can be rescued however, that seems less likely with each passing hour. Opting instead to move in order to survive, their group finds that they know very little of the Nahx. Gathering info from Kill videos circulating on the web, they know the Nahx can be killed with much difficulty. Getting close to a Nahx however proves to be near impossible until Raven gets injured & captures the attention of one Nahx soldier. Eighth has been one directive...”Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.”ย & yet the sight of Raven is enough to make him go against his very nature. Not only is he unable to dart Raven…he sets out to protect her from his own.

The heart of this story lies within its characters, with wonderful character development Zero Repeat Forever was achingly beautiful to read. Raven is considered to be a bit of a troublemaker but she’s really just your average teen. She wants to do better for her parents especially now that the world has been taken over but she’s also a free spirit. Raven is loyal to those she cares about & she also harbors a ton of anger towards the Nahx (rightfully so). Raven meeting Eighth wasn’t easy & I loved seeing the progression of their very complex relationship. I don’t want to reveal too much about Eighth for fear of spoilers so I’ll just say, this character broke my heart with his sadness and guilt. Some scenes are hard to get through because there’s a communication barrier (the Nahx can’t speak)ย & Raven has a ton of anger. What I loved about their story is that it wasn’t rushed & it went through stages making the reader feel all of the emotions both characters are trying to cope with.

Told in alternating POV chapters between Raven & Eighth, Zero Repeat Forever is not your typical fast paced action packed sci-fi. Instead we get a heartbreaking story of death & destruction, friendship, love, and the unlikeliest of bonds. Prendergast also covered some serious topics such as suicide & racism. Raven our MC is bi-racial & she does bring up (via internal monologue) the racism she’s experienced back home. Suicide does get introduced in the latter part of the book as a thought both Raven & Eighth have struggled with. I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did because of the slow pace. However, when I finally reached the last page I was left flipping blanks looking for more story. Zero Repeat Forever with it’s melancholy tone & Edgar Allen Poe quotes sprinkled throughout is now in my very top Sci-fi favorites. I recommend to all who enjoy a good sci-fi (think SyFy’s Falling Skies),ย love good character development, & don’t mind a bit of melancholy every once in a while ๐Ÿ˜‰

*HUGE Thanks to Simon & Schuster, Netgalley, & Gabrielle Prendergast for the eGalley of Zero Repeat Forever in exchange for an honest review

ย Hello Readers! I originally planned to have this review up last week but life got in the way, Zero Repeat Forever is already on shelves! has anyone read or plan on reading? I am SO READY for the next book cuz that ending left me with eyes wide open! haha ๐Ÿ™‚


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Gush Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Title:ย They Both Die at the End

Author:ย Adam Silvera

Pub. Date:ย September 5th, 2017

Publisher:ย HarperTeen

Pages:ย 384

Formats: eGalley

ย ย ย ย 

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

As some of you may have already noticed, the Goodreads synopsis for They Both Die at the End is pretty short compared to most. I personally found this raised my curiosity as a whole towards this book. I also was aware that this would be Silvera’s first YA Sci-Fi and being a fan of his first two contemporary books, I thought to myself…can he pull it off? now I know I should’ve never questioned his ability to deliver! One thing remains constant after I finish one of his books…I keep saying “This one is my favorite” smh, the truth is I love them all and he keeps evolving as a writer which makes him my #1 YA author ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

They Both Die at the End takes place in the span of a day in present day NYC. Although it is present day, Silvera added the Sci-Fi element by introducing Death-Cast calls. This call typically comes in at or around 12am informing you that today will be your last day. We start off with our main protagonist Mateo receiving the much dreaded call that will change the course of his life in just 1 day. From this point on we follow Mateo as decides to reclaim his life & step outside of his comfort zone…his bedroom. See, before the call Mateo took NO risks & lived his life in fear of so many things. We follow Mateo from the moment he decides to step foot outside his home to make one last connection with a “Last Friend” which is how we meet Rufus. Having also received the call, Rufus is pretty much set on going out with a bang. He is the ying to Mateo’s yang & their paths crossing almost feels like Life’s last gift to these two characters.

Weย also follows a series of side characters throughout the same day. Some have received the Death-Call while others have not, however each forms a piece to the puzzle that is Mateo & Rufus’ story. The only certainty is death, how you meet your fate is unknown to you. This is a story about living life to its fullest, hope, friendship, being true to yourself, love, grief, loss, and so much more!

One of the reasons i’m a fan of Silveras books are the characters he creates, they have a tendency to linger past the last sentence. This time wasn’t any different and I now have a full cast of characters to love & think about even now that I have finished this book…

Mateo-ย Our MC has pretty much lived a very low key life opting to stay indoors & browse the online Death-Cast forums. He follows others who have received the call & are documenting their last day online. His mother passed away & his dad is in a coma, he is very much on his own. As much as Mateo fears going out & just living his life, the idea of letting go & being free of all worry has always intrigued him. His best friend Lidia and her daughter (his Godchild), are the only people he really connects with.

Rufus- Complete opposite of Mateo, life hasn’t been easy on Rufus either. Always labeled as a bit of a trouble maker, things didn’t look good when he suddenly sees himself on his own in life with no family. Rough around the edges, Rufus is a character you can’t help but love. He is openly Bi-sexual and confident in who he is which makes for an interesting meet-up with Mateo who hasn’t quite figured out how to be his true self. Rufus also has a support system, he and 3 others make up The Plutos who I LOVED to pieces! #friendshipgoals

Friendship is always a strong theme in all of Silveras books & here we get introduced to characters from all walks of life. The way these lives come together delivered such a strong message, one that left me thinking of my own life path & those that matter to me most.

They Both Die at the End rocked me out of my comfort zone in the 48 hours it took for me to read it. It took me forever & a day to start living my life for ME, allowing myself to be as I am. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to come to this realization on the day I know will be my last. I’d probably also find myself in a mad dash to do it all with the fear hovering over my shoulder that anything could kill me. I was Mateo. I’m trying to find my inner Rufus lol. The thirst for life these characters feel on their final day is utterly contagious! it makes you want to get up & go outside eyes wide open to all the things beating with life around you. This is a book about LIFE if you’re willing to look past the title. There’s always a silver lining to Adam Silvera’s books, your heart will be broken by the end but you may also find yourself with a new perspective ๐Ÿ˜‰

*HUGE Thanks to HarperTeen, Edelweiss, & Adam Silvera for the eGalley of They Both Die at the End in exchange for an honest review

Hello Readers! I started off my day by ordering my copy of They Both Die at the End & can’t wait to give it a special place on my shelves. Anyone else have a copy in the mail they’re waiting for? I know I keep saying each of his books is my fave but this time I’m sure…THIS ONE IS MY FAVE!!!! lol…sure to be out done by his next book ๐Ÿ˜‰


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Arc August Review: The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember

The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember

Published by: Harmony Ink Press

Date of Publication:ย August 22nd 2017

Genres: YA Fantasy/LGBTQIA+

Pages:ย 173

Format: eGalley

ย ย ย 

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regimentโ€™s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xianโ€™s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commanderโ€”a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything theyโ€™ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy theyโ€™re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xianโ€™s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitorโ€™s bond to their animal is for lifeโ€”if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

The Tiger’s Watch is a diverse YA Fantasy centered around Tashi our gender fluid main character. Tashi is a inhabitor which by definition means you are bonded with an animal. This also means your life lines are linked & so when one dies, the other does too. Tashi is bonded to a golden tiger named Katala who if need be they can inhabit. As a soldier trained to be a spy, Tashi and their tiger are a team with Katala doing the killing. Tashi and her best friend Pharro who is also a inhabitor, are both sent away to hide in a monastery when their capital is brought down by an invading army. In this monastery, they are instructed to lay low and not call on their animals as it would call attention to their inhabitor identities. They are considered valuable in the inevitable war to come and so the monks try to keep them hidden. In the process of doing so, they only managed to call attention to Tashi & the invading armies’ commander Xian’s interest was instantly piqued. Xian makes Tashi his assistant of sorts providing Tashi the opportunity to spy on the enemy. The problem begins when there’s a spark of chemistry between Tashi & Xian that makes them question everything & ultimately leads them to make questionable decisions…

Tashi-ย Our Gender fluid MC takes some getting used to, I’m sure many will be annoyed with just how weak they are presented but it’s part of their story. Tashi was paired with the fiercest of animals at the age of 8, a hunter & killer who gets a thrill out of the chase. Tashi however, is the complete opposite and the very thought of killing literally upsets their stomach. I am hoping the sequel sees Tashi finding their strength & also recognizing how some of their decisions have hurt others. In this book we see Tashi make impulse decisions in hopes of changing a system they believe to be cruel. However, a ton of it came across as not well thought out & selfish. This character has a ton of growing pains ahead of them & I hope it’s evident in the next book.

Katala- Tashi’s golden tiger was one of my favorite characters in the entire book! I LOVED Katala! she is fierce, loyal, protective, and will NOT hesitate to get the job done even when Tashi is uncertain. As gruesome as some scenes would appear to be if you have a vivid imagination lol, I also found humor whenever Katala proudly killed an enemy soldier. Katala couldn’t contain her excitement at her achievements & as such would tap into her link with Tashi to show them the catch of the day, meanwhile Tashi doesn’t have the stomach for their Tiger’s appetite.

Pharro-Best friend to Tashi & at times the lines could get a bit blurred which means that yes a love triangle forms by the end of this story…sort of lol. Tashi has real feelings for Pharro, another inhabitor linked to an old wolf. Their relationship is complicated because Pharro knows that unlike Tashi who is bonded with a tiger with a long life span, he is bonded with a old wolf in his last days.

Xian-Commander of the invading army, at first comes off as ruthless and sadistic. He knows he can’t look weak in front of his army but he also has started to grow feelings for Tashi. I had some issues with this character who gave Tashi a sense of being owned, as if they were his possession. Tashi has formed a strange attraction to Xian and this leads to a ton of confusion on Tashi’s behalf. Xian is my least liked character, I just don’t trust him no matter what Tashi sees in him *shrugs*ย 

When I first heard of The Tiger’s Watch featuring a gender fluid MC, I was a bit worried about whether it would deliver good representation but also excited. I then saw the author’s name & instantly recognized her from Twitter. No, I haven’t read anything from Julia Ember til’ now but that’s about to change. Tashi is a much needed addition to the Young Adult books we have on our shelves. The world Tashi lives in, their society is much more advanced than our own real life world. Tashi being gender fluid wasn’t completely out of the ordinary in their world & whenever someone called Tashi “he” or “she” whoever knew Tashi would immediately correct the person by letting them know the correct pronoun is “they”. I absolutely LOVED the story & bond our MC shares with their tiger Katala. It was made up of mutual respect & trust at it’s core with Katala expressing her independence. Their bond was never a master/owner type relationship which I appreciated. I did however wish to see expansion in world building & growth from Tashi. With this eGalley, the author also sent a excerpt to the next book which is already promising. So I guess you can say my chief complaint is that I’d like to see more haha! but The Tiger’s Watch is definitely a must read for my diverse book blogging friends ๐Ÿ˜‰

*HUGE thanks to Julia Ember for providing me with a eGalley copy of The Tiger’s Watch in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Readers! yesterday was The Tiger’s Watch Book Birthday & I was so happy to see so many fellow book bloggers post their reviews <3! Please drop those links down below & I’ll swing by for a chat ๐Ÿ™‚ & if you haven’t picked this one up yet, please do & then tell me how much you love Katala! haha!


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ARC August Review: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

ย Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Published by: Penguin Random House/Kathy Dawson Books

Date of Publication:ย August 8th 2017

Genres: YA Fantasy/Magical Realism

Pages:ย 368

Format: eGalley

ย ย ย 

If youโ€™re not careful, you can spend your whole life looking for what youโ€™ve lost.

One stormy summer in a small Irish town, things begin to disappear. It starts with trivial stuffโ€”hair clips, house keys, socksโ€”but soon it escalates to bigger things: a memory, a heart, a classmate.

Olive can tell that her best friend, Rose, is different all of a sudden. Rose isnโ€™t talking, and Olive starts to worry sheโ€™s losing her. Then diary pages written by someone named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing development. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost tooโ€”and like Rose, theyโ€™re holding tightly to painful secrets.

When a tattered handwritten spellbook falls into the lives of these six teenagers, it changes everything. The spellbook is full of charms to conjure back that which has been lost, and it lists a part for each of them to play in the calling. It might be their best chance to set everything back to rights, but only if theyโ€™re willing to pay the price.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found takes place in Ireland, much of the time is spent outside in the woods, a abandoned house, and a pub with a mysterious owner whose age remains unknown. The teens in this book are pretty much left to their own devices. It’s during a bonfire party that one of the characters by the name of Laurel, wakes up inebriated to find the spellbook that would inevitably bind all of their fates together. The spellbook contains the ingredients to cast the spell that would find what you’ve lost however…for every thing found…you must be willing to lose something & the choice is not always yours to make. These characters have all lost something valuable that they are willing to take the risk in order to get it back.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found was one of those books I spotted early on & just knew I wanted to read right away. I’m a lover of all things witches, spells, and mysterious atmospheres and this book delivered on all three. We follow multiple POV’s as there are three sets of friends:

Rose & Olive: Best friends and polar opposites

Rowan, Hazel, and Ivy: Rowan and Hazel: are fraternal twins squatting in a abandoned house after leaving a toxic home environment. Their childhood friend Ivy followed them & plays a protective role over them

Laurel, Ash, & Holly: with this set of friends we only get Laurel’s POV as she tells her group of friends story

Stories told in Multiple POV’s tend to be some of my most favorite because it’s a great way to have each character fleshed out, by getting in their heads. It did take me some time to get used to all of the players in this book because some shared striking character similarities with each other. I didn’t find any of these characters to have a real distinct voice but I enjoyed following the threads that connected them nonetheless. I did however, appreciate the diversity in this cast of characters with Rose being a bi-sexual POC, Olive being deaf & bi-sexual, and Hazel being gay. Friendship played a big theme in this book as well as sibling relationships. These characters for the most part are deeply flawed but what stood out most was the genuine concern for one another.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found is my first read byย Moira Fowley-Doyle since I haven’t yet had the chance to pick up The Accident Season. Although there were moments of confusion, I was invested in this story and seeing it all the way through. Also, I wasn’t expecting the writing to be heavy with prose & so that took some getting used to but again it still maintained my interest. This is a slow paced read but the pay off makes it all worth your time. I found myself constantly trying to connect the dots & even went as far as making a little tree chart to see how each person knew the other haha! I can tell you this much…you won’t see the ending coming! & that alone was wonderful! seeing how well constructed & detailed this story really is was a real treat & speaks to the skill our author honed with her pen. I highly recommend Spellbook of the Lost and Found to those who enjoyed the movie The Craft & for anyone who enjoys piecing together a good mystery ๐Ÿ˜‰

*HUGE Thanks Penguin Random House/Kathy Dawson Books & Moira Fowley-Doyle for the eGalley of Spellbook of the Lost and Found in exchange for an honest review

Hello Readers! Have any of you had the chance to read Spellbook of the Lost and Found? if you have, did you see that ending coming? btw, since this is a mystery & those are best to go into blind lol, I opted to go with this review format instead of my traditional categories…thoughts?


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Friday Reads 8/11/2017

Happy Friday Readers!!! This has been one long and trying week, so happy to see it come to an end *whoop whoop* I’m actually surprised to have finished any books but I managed 3! LOL!

Earlier in the month I decided to join #arcAugust to help me make a dent in my physical & digital stack (see here). I opted not to have a set TBR because I am a mood reader and because I love to genre hop to keep things interesting and avoid slumps. I’ve read two eGalleys for #arcAugust & listened to 1 audio book from my back list…

  

I cannot even begin to tell you all how The Serpent King BROKE MEEEE!!! left me walking the New York City platforms hopping from 1 train to the next all the while trying to keep my tears under control. This story about friendship between 3 very different characters has managed to find a forever home in my โค for so many reasons (trigger warning: child abuse, racism, and homophobia) I will discuss in my review. I will be picking up a physical copy this month for my shelves & writing a Audio-book review over the weekend, just trying to decide between spoilery vs. non-spoilery haha! I have too many feels that need to be discussed! smh.

Soon after or around the same time really, I finished & reviewed The Epic Crush of Genie Lo which was my 1st chosen arc for the readathon. This was such a fun & diverse read with elements similar to those found in Rick Riordans books. Except we follow Chinese folklore centered around The Monkey King & I am so ready for more books with Asian representation. In my review I also linked two Own Voices reviews that I really enjoyed reading myself from two amazing bloggers.

Lastly, last night I finished reading Spellbook of the Lost and Found & will be writing my review tonight. I have not yet come up with a rating but I can say it’s between 3.5-4 stars. This book had that dark vibe that kept reminding me of the cult classic The Craft & could easily see it play out on the screen. Still gathering my thoughts but more to come…and will most likely watch The Craft cuz Fall please, I’m ready for my favorite season <3’s

 


I started When I am Through With You (Sins and Scandals #1) by Stephanie Kuehn….I legit JUST realized as I’m writing this post that this is going to be a series! GAHHH! freaking out at my desk cuz YASSSS! I started reading it this morning on the train ride to work & jeez it’s 50 shades of effed up! but oh sOoOo good! I’m already wondering if I’m in the mind of a psychotic killer. Just as soon as I publish this post I will be back to reading. This is also my 3rd read for #arcAugust & I’m content with that since it’s more than I’d have read by this date any month haha!


Also on the night stand for this weekend, is The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace which I am pretty excited about! my twin Gretchen over at ChicNerdReads LOVES this collection so much & I honestly don’t know what has taken me this long but better late than never ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy FriYay Readers! hope you’re all having a wonderful end of the week! what are YOU reading? watching? planning this Weekend?


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ARC AUGUST Review: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

Published by: Amulet Books

Date of Publication:ย August 8th 2017

Genres: YA Fantasy/Mythology/Re-telling

Pages:ย 336

Format: eGalley

*HUGE Thanks to Amulet Books, Netgalley, and F.C. Yee for the eGalley of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo in exchange for an honest review

ย ย ย 

The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imaginedโ€ฆ

This has to be one of the most fun and adventurous plots I’ve read all year long & I was so thankful for so many reasons! many have compared this to Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series which I have much love for. I can say that there are some similar feels but that goes for much of mythology, we can always find similarities. For me, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo stands apart for the following reasons:

1. A relatable Chinese-American heroine who is first and foremost just a student in High School trying to get into an Ivy League College before she starts juggling school & slaying demons

2. The story originates from the Chinese tale Journey to the Westย telling the story of Sun Wukong aka The Monkey King…I love all re-tellings however, I have never come across Chinese Folklore in Young Adult so this was a MUST READ!

3. The inclusion of Chinese culture specifically as it pertains to education and expectations. The pressures at home to over achieve bore so many similarities to those in Latinx culture. The fact that Genie wasn’t a child prodigy, she simply didn’t have a skill to set her apart in college applications & that alone made her very relatable…

The opening has us meet Genie Lo as she is meeting Quentin aka The Monkey King for the very first time. She witnesses him getting beat up by a group of guys in an alley & intercedes. She doesn’t know what to think of him when he shows up as the new kid in her class who just won’t let up on following her around. He speaks oddly enough but more than that, it’s what he is saying…he speaks of a greater power lying within her. Genie is someone who believes in Science and the things he is saying & more so doing are supposed to be impossible. Quentin doesn’t give up until he has made her question all that is real. Encounters with demons that leave her fighting for her life make her realize he isn’t lying and that the world may very well be in danger. Embracing her new found powers, Genie sets about to restore normalcy in California one demon at a time…

Genie Lo stole my heart with her sass but it’s the temper when she thinks you’re trying to take a jab at her that really made me care for her. She’s very self aware and makes no apologies for what sets her apart. Described as being very tall with a body that isn’t considered very feminine, Genie plays to her strengths. She’s part of a volley ball team not because she’s very good at it but because it’s a sport where her body is an asset & it looks good on college applications. Her moments of honesty really resonated with me & my own memories of High School. In Genie I saw a lot of my own self & it was refreshing seeing her not trying to change who she is for anyone.

Quentin aka The Monkey Kingย got a ton of laughter out of me! he dished out as much sarcasm as he got from Genie. I enjoyed the moments where he pointed out all the hoops students had to jump through just to get a higher education. He of course is a supernatural force & school is not really an obligation lol. Quentin teaches Genie to fight all the while knowing he hasn’t told her the full story of who she really is…

Yunie-Genie’s BFF has to be one of the best BFF’s I’ve come across in YA! she is HILARIOUS!!! & also has no hairs on her tongue. She had me from the moment she referenced her Ovaries upon seeing Quentin’s handsome self walk into their classroom smh HAHA!

Genie’s Momย is by no means what you’re probably used to seeing from parents in Young Adults. As a matter of fact, she reminded me of my own in many ways. Genie’s mom is a single working mother trying her best to keep her daughter goal driven. She also doesn’t have any chill when speaking her mind & seeing her conversations play out with Genie felt familiar. Her heart is in the right place, she just has high expectations for her daughter. There are some moments when she speaks about Genie’s appearance that may make some uncomfortable, for me this was very relatable coming from an old school home that encouraged education but also an ideal marriage. Genie fortunately has tough skin & knows that her mothers ideals aren’t her own & loves her nonetheless.

The Epic Crush of Genie Loย is fun, adventurous, packs a punch, and will leave you rooting for this heroines victory! The time I spent in its pages sparked so much interest in the Chinese tale from which it was inspired that I found myself researching on the side for my own growth. This is when I know I’ve come across a good book, when it leaves me wanting to dig deeper. This book was highly enjoyable while still imparting the reader with an inside look to a small aspect of Chinese culture. I was also a big fan of the humor throughout, so many LOL moments that I truly lost count (like I said, a very fun book haha). I also enjoyed the progression or development of Genie & Quentins relationship all throughout. It felt more realistic to go from truly not trusting Quentin to friends to something more than just friends.ย I only docked it 1 star because the writing in the beginning felt like it was trying to find its footing. It started off with a very middle grade feel and towards the middle/end, it makes its mark as Young Adult. I’m very much looking forward to more from this author who lends an authentic diverse voice to this genre.

*Please check out these Own Voices reviews: Read Think Ponder & One Way or an Author

Hello Readers! yesterday was Genie’s Book Birthday, did any of you get to grab a copy? & if you’ve already read it please share some non-spoilery thoughts down below ๐Ÿ˜‰


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