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The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black 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.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black ReviewThe Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
IndieboundBook DepositoryPublished by Little Brown on January 13, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

If I could only write one sentence about this book, it would be: This book is so magical, it made me want to write as soon as I finished reading it.

That’s a sign of a great book. When I close a book and want to write something of my own, it’s like the book hit something right in my brain and my heart. Now, not every brilliant book does this, but I think Holly Black’s writing does things to my brain. She has this amazing way of crossing Fantasy with Real World, with both sides being knowledgeable of the other. Sometimes the books that have the Fantasy taking care of Real World and RW being absolutely ignorant of the Fantasy… That gets old after a while.

Now, yes, there were some characters who didn’t quite care for the other side. That’s a thing that happens. We can’t all have hive-minded fairy-loving humans. Even the main characters have to slay some evil. That’s another thing — a girl knight?! I loved it. That paired with her musician brother was brilliant. Of course there’s a great deal of darkness and making deals with the fairy king. How else do you stir up trouble in this kind of story?

I also loved that the novel starts off with talking about the horned prince in the glass coffin. It isn’t necessarily a spin on Snow White, but I loved that he remembered what people told him while he was asleep and they thought he wasn’t listening. Also the fact that anyone who tried to break the coffin disappeared. I mean, like, weird stuff happened to “tourists” and people who were newer to the town, but there is some crazy stuff. And I loved that the one mother kept the changeling AND her own son (that a fairy tried to trick her with).

I could keep going on and on about what I loved — there’s a lot. This book is really wonderful. It also makes me want to read more 3rd person POV. I am not the biggest fan of Fantasy, but Holly Black’s style just makes my brain and heart happy.



Tales of a coffee addict


I’m sitting here on a foggy Monday night with a cup of delicious Gevalia vanilla coffee (nope, not a sponsored post, just super delicious) because of a blasted headache. Our site at work got hit by a spam bot, so I spent most of my morning trying to get something to work. Hence the headache and need for coffee at almost 9pm. Also, the french press decided to spew some of the coffee on the counter. I have mastered the fine art of breaking those things, if you weren’t aware. If this one is broken, it’s at least Broken French Press #2, if not #3.

Oh, and there are marshmallows. For reasons. I usually add almond milk, but I thought, “Heck, why not?!” Especially since I have yet to master the fine art of steaming milk for coffee purposes. That’s a thing to add to the 2015 To Learn list. That list doesn’t have too many things on it yet, but it’s steadily growing.

So, how did I become a coffee addict? I don’t really know. It’s been an ebb and flow over the years. There were times when my family went to Starbucks every Friday night and my sister was making espressos all the time, and when she wasn’t making good use of the espresso machine, she was making coffee so dark, it’d turn your fingernails inside out. I know, I’m even grossing myself out. (insert emoji with tongue sticking out and eyes closed)

I always liked the smell of coffee, but we weren’t allowed to have it until… I’m not sure when. Until recently, I’d have coffee maybe once a week on my day off, but now it’s an almost daily thing. Heck, I even use the decaf coffee I accidentally bought to battle the sick. Antioxidants, right?! Right. I know you’re probably turning your nose up at the mere mention of decaf, but at least I’ve kicked my instant coffee habit. That stuff is so bad, I don’t even know how I started drinking it. I’m not even going to compare it to anything to save you (and I) from the grossness.

The fact that I had Carmel Macchiatos for breakfast every day before Book Expo America probably didn’t hurt my love for coffee, either. Sidenote: Starbucks’s hot chocolate tastes like they put way too much cocoa powder in it. Or something. Maybe I should’ve just ordered the mocha…

I’m not one of those people who has gotten really into coffee to the point when I’m getting pour overs or other fancy things. Like, the fanciest I get is cold brewing coffee. I mean, all that is is putting it in a loose leaf tea bag in a pitcher of water in the fridge. It takes away the astringency, which is super nice.

Do you do anything fancy with your coffee? What’s your preferred method of brewing? Let me know!


Fan Experiences

About a month and a half ago, I went to go see Pitch Perfect Sing-Along at Phipps Plaza with some friends. It’s one of those things that sounds super dorky, but it was so much fun. In the lobby, a local school’s a cappella group sang Christmas songs. In the theater, you could hear everyone singing along, especially during the Cup Song. Including the cups. I didn’t turn around, but I’m going to guess that some people were packing cups.

A few weeks ago, The Backstreet Boys released the trailer for their documentary, Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of. They’re releasing it on VOD (Video on Demand), but also said that there would be screenings. Now, they’re seeing how many people will go to each screening through this website. They’ll only have the screenings if the required number is met, which depends on the theater size. And yes, it’s $20 if your city mets the limit, but think about it. Think. About. It. I’ll not only be sitting in a theater, watching the film a day early, but I’ll also be surrounded by 50 other BSB fans. And I’m not even claiming to be their biggest fan. Heck, not until recently did I listen to their most recent albums. Which are fantastic, by the way.

On top of that fan experience of being with other people who appreciate this film and this pop band, it’s their story directly from them. I feel like with pop music, we’ve seen all these people paraded on the covers of Tiger Beat, YM, and other magazines that probably gave you whiplash from such a throwback mention! Haha. Also the fact that BSB has stuck to it. It seems like they’ve had their ins-and-outs, but they’ve stuck to it and they’ve really made it work for the long haul. That demands respect right there.

There are so many good and ridiculous memories with BSB music in the background. There’s the time my cousin Karen showed me one of their tour DVDs that also had the music video for Everybody — which truly won me over. There’s the time Brittany pointed to their faces as we listened to a song so I would know whose voice I was hearing. The list goes on and on.

So, if you have a chance to see this film, do it with people. It’s so fun watching films with people who really, really love it.

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Debut Author Challenge 2015

It’s that time of the year again! I’m pretty sure I didn’t even try at the Debut Author Challenge in 2014, but I’m sure as heck gonna make a go at it for 2015. I know a couple of people who are debut authors, so I’m super excited to read their upcoming novels.

My goals: Read 12 debut novels, and at least 6 need to be from authors of color. That’s one book per month.

Some of the books I’m looking forward to reading:

  • The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark
  • When Reason Breaks by Cindy L Rodriguez
  • Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
  • Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda by Becki Albertalli
  • Hello, I love You by Katie M Stout
  • For the Record by Charlotte Huang
  • First & Down by Emma Mills (Elmify)

Looking at my list, it looks like there are some great Contemporary YA books coming out. Do you have any suggestions as far as debuts in other genres? Let me know below!

Also, here are some of my other 2015 Goals:

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It’s worth repeating: Be Kind.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: Be Kind.

It sometimes comes off as a cheesy sentiment. Why be kind when you can make sarcastic remarks? It’s the easier route to go toward negative, even if it’s for the sake of comedy.

So, why be kind? I always assume that I don’t know what the other person is going through when I cross paths with them. I work in retail, and when someone comes in the shop with a question or they’re looking for something, I go for being authentic and kind. I know I have my rough days when I want to hide under the counter, making graphics for our social media sites, but I can’t.

I know a part of it is that I want everyone who walks into the door to become a loyal customer who tells all his/her friends ALL about us. It’s the same thing online. Sometimes I get sassy and say that I never want to read a certain kind of book or I would never do XYZ, but it never comes from the idea of wanting to offend someone. Yes, I have definitely said some things in the past that weren’t nice. Sometimes I was standing my ground and sometimes I took some things to far. We all have our moments of stupid.

Being kind is definitely a work in progress. It’s really easy for me to respond to someone asking me, “Well should I do this THIS way or THAT way?” by saying, “Do whatever you think is best.” Is it a cop-out? Yep. Sometimes I just can’t think on my feet and it takes me an hour to respond to emails asking me about how one becomes successful in “BookTube”.

I feel like being kind comes easy for some, but those of us who were raised on sarcasm and getting made fun of for our weirdness… We make the negativity our shell and our defense mechanism. Let’s turn that. Let’s treat people better than we’ve been treated.