Unboxing Books July 2014

You know those videos in which people unbox their monthly subscriptions (Nature Box, Julep, etc.)? Well, I knew I wanted to do something similar when I saw two packages on my front porch this afternoon. I knew I needed to capture my reaction when opening the second package, as you’ll see in my video. Necessary, I tell you!

FTC Disclaimer: I received both of these books for review in exchange for my honest review.

The Books:
Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson and Lisa Papademetriou, Illustrated by Keino [Goodreads | Pre-Order | Preview]
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins [Goodreads | Pre-Order | Preview]

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare Review

8755785 198x300 City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare ReviewCity of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
IndieboundBook DepositorySeries: The Mortal Instruments #6
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster on May 27, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 725
Format: Hardcover
four half stars City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare Review
In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

725 pages seemed quite daunting, but once I got through it, I felt like I could read any big book! With Clare’s writing, it’s a quick pace, but nicely balances out the action and the serious talks and the hilarious lines.

If you have not read The Infernal Devices series before this book, DO IT. One of the characters will thoroughly confuse you and you won’t understand why and how and what the heck is going on if you haven’t read TID. It’s one of those things that is so important and wonderful if you’ve read TID. Just do it, okay?

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the previous two books in this series. They were absolutely ridiculous and rather painful for me. City of Heavenly Fire redeemed the series and reminded me what I loved about each character, scene, witty line, and more. It tied everything together quite well between this series, The Infernal Devices, and introducing us to the main characters of The Dark Artifices.

I love Clare’s writing in how visual everything is. I could imagine the demons and the place they were going through to get to Jonathan. I also love the witty / hilarious lines. Alec had the most sass and even when he was drunk, he was on point. We also get drunk Simon, which is just plain hilarious.

That ending went on a little too long. I know, this book is so long and I love this series! But there comes a time when you just need to let it go. Okay, now you’re singing that song. Okay. It was nice to see the wedding and to see some other things be explained. It just dragged on way too long. It’s nice to see some peaceful moments after being dragged through a demon dimension, but c’mon. C’mon.

Super fun, super wonderful. I can’t wait for The Dark Artifices! Also, I heard that Cassandra Clare announced that there will be some short stories / novella things for Simon? WANT.

four half stars City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare Review

Just Like The Movies by Kelly Fiore Review

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

justlikethemovies 201x300 Just Like The Movies by Kelly Fiore ReviewJust Like The Movies by Kelly Fiore
IndieboundBook DepositoryPublished by Bloomsbury on July 22, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 300
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
two half stars Just Like The Movies by Kelly Fiore Review
Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson.

Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend.

While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques?

Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.

Okay okay alright alright, so. This book. It was cute. It had a nice thing going on with the reenacting scenes from Lily and Marijke’s favorite Rom Coms. But that’s really it. It was a fun read, but I felt like I had read this story or seen this story before. It just felt like an okay book.

I felt like Marijke’s relationship with Tommy was really strangely written. I think she wanted to spice up their relationship and felt the need to make these grand gestures when T-dawg was not that kind of person. I mean, the dude had his faults, but Marijke really put him under the spotlight a few times. There was just a lot of miscommunication, mostly dealing with her making these grand gestures. She could’ve let one of his bandmates in on her plans to make sure he was there. And the final time he REALLY messes up (and doesn’t even know it)… She could have told him straight up what was going on in her life. But no. SIGH.

I really related to Lily. She wasn’t looking for drama or to change everything about her. There was a little bit of a wardrobe change, but she was still true to herself. I really don’t see anything wrong with that! Because of her mom, she has a different stance on dating (being that her mom dates a LOT of guys — no slut shaming though, she just wishes her mom would spend more time being a mom). I could TOTALLY connect with her in her crush on Joe. Just. Yes.

Overall, I thought the idea of playing out the scenes from movies was interesting, but the story was a bit dry. Since they’re playing out scenes from romance movies (some of which are comedies), I thought there would be more comedy? I think that may be it. Especially since I just read How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True, which is super adorbs RomCom-y.

two half stars Just Like The Movies by Kelly Fiore Review

Noggin by John Corey Whaley Review

18049084 198x300 Noggin by John Corey Whaley ReviewNoggin by John Corey Whaley
Book DepositoryPublished by Simon & Schuster on April 8, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 356
Format: Hardcover
five stars Noggin by John Corey Whaley Review
Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

You know when you’re looking for a particular kind of book and it just sort of falls into your lap? Noggin by John Corey Waley came to me by way of a local book club. We rotate the genres we read each month and this month ended up being our Contemporary month. I had no idea what to expect from this novel other than the positive things people said about Where Things Come Back.

Noggin is hilarious, serious, self-aware, fun, honest… The list goes on. When you have a story about a 15 year old guy whose head was cryogenically frozen for five years, you get a lot of those things.

There were some interesting reflections in the book. One of which was nostalgia. For Travis, what he’s reflecting back on happened a couple of days ago, but to everyone else around him, that stuff happened 5 years ago. It sort of reminds me of Summer from ~the hit Fox tv show~ The OC. She gets really nostalgic at times, turning to people and asking, “Why can’t we go back to the way things were?” Even though she’s talking about things that maybe happened 6 months or a year ago. Even that short-term nostalgia can be painful when things feel like they’re all a mess and keep piling on.

Something that I really appreciated was the awareness of how white Travis’s hometown was. He actually explains it as opposed to just describing characters as we meet them. I thought it was a good “check your privilege” kind of moment in the book.

There were times when I thought Travis was being so selfish — and he was, don’t get me wrong — but he brings it into perspective, specifically when he’s talking to Cate and reminds her how intense teenage love feels and reminds her of some of the things she did when she was younger. I know there were a few times when I want Travis to move on and focus on anything else, but think about when you were a teenager or maybe even today and think about the things you find most important and what you would do to obtain them. That’s what he’s getting at.

Overall, freaking ace book. I know I’ve only read about 18 books so far this year, but I have a feeling that this one will be one of my top 5.

five stars Noggin by John Corey Whaley Review

This entry was posted in Review.

BEA Book Haul – 2014 Edition

Welcome to my BEA Book Haul! I know, I know, I’m a tad late. It took me three tries to record this haul thanks to the heat and other mishaps. Anyway, I picked up almost 25 books (if you include the finished copies).

Some of the books: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater, Landline by Rainbow Rowell, The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen, Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke… To see the whole list, check out my BEA 2014 Goodreads shelf!

Book Expo America was great and only somewhat overwhelming! It was great to see book blogger friends, fellow book lovers, booktubers, authors, and so many other fun people.

BookCon was everything. Fun, overwhelming, insane… I didn’t expect so many people to be there! Sure, Veronica Roth and John Green had panels, but WHO KNEW 10,000 people would be there! It made BEA seem like a wide open field in comparison, space-wise and people-wise. During the BookTube Meet Up at the Con, I definitely got a bit overwhelmed and maybe almost had a panic attack or something because there were so many people! Ahhh. I signed books, badges, labels, got hugs, a bracelet, took pictures… A lot happened in an hour or however long it went! It was one of those things where I lost track of time.

The second/post-BookCon meet up was a bit more chill. The guys working at the Strand said if we wanted to meet there next year that if we called beforehand, they’d set up a room for us! Whoaaaa. It was actually pretty funny because one of the guys working there asked me if this was an internet meet up and when I said yes, he said, “I’ve been to a couple of those! Cool!” Okay, I like you, Strand. You have cool people. And awesome books for great prices.