Review: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy by Ameriie

31450752Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy

Published July 11th 2017

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).

untitled1

I really love the idea of this book. To pair up people in the book community with bestselling authors is such a cool idea. I really appreciated the recognition of vloggers/reviewers as important contributors in the book world. I’ve seen some people have issues with the Booktubers being involved in the book but I personally have no hard feelings towards them. I think it’s really cool for them and it’s too bad that others are holding negative feelings towards them just because they’re successful in an unconventional way.

The stories themselves are pretty hit and miss with me. There was a few that I really loved but others I didn’t like and skimmed over them. My favorite stories were Beautiful Venomby Cindy Pon and Benjamin Alderson and Death Knell by Victoria Schwab and Jesse George.  I think this book is worth reading just for those two stories, especially Cindy and Ben’s story.

Overall, this book was pretty much what I was expecting. I feel like a lot of short story collections are hit and miss with most people so it didn’t surprise me that Because You Love to Hate Me was no exception to that for me. If you’re really excited about this book and love the authors and Booktubers, I think this is worth buying. If you’re a very casual fan, like myself, you might want to go to your local library or borrow it from a friend before spending your money.

232666472326664723266647

22465605

Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

27834600In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Published April 19th 2016

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Sometimes the only thing to fear…is yourself.

When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to the English countryside for a weekend away, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, an unnerving memory shatters Leonora’s reserve, and a haunting realization creeps in: the party is not alone in the woods. 

untitled1

In a Dark, Dark Wood was pretty good. Not my favorite from Ruth Ware but I did like it much more than The Woman in Cabin 10.
I thought this was the most creepy of Ruth’s books and it definitely did keep me entertained. I didn’t think the concept was the most original but it’s a classic creepy set up and you can’t really go wrong with it.
Something I’ve struggled with when it comes to Ruth’s books is connecting to the characters and really loving them. I just couldn’t seem to get into any of the characters in this book. I felt very neutral towards them and I wasn’t very emotionally invested.
I really liked the writing in In a Dark, Dark Wood and I thought the writing actually kept this book alive for me.
I did find the first 3/4 of this book to be better than the last 1/4. I can’t really put my finger on what changed for me in the last 1/4 but it wasn’t quite there for me.
Overall, I enjoyed In a Dark, Dark Wood and would recommend it if you’re looking for a quick, entertaining thriller. It’s not the best book I’ve read but I think it’s worth checking out.

232666472326664723266647

22465605

Blog Tour: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor + Giveaway

32968540Akata Witch (Akata Witch #1) by Nnedi Okorafor

Published July 11th 2017 

Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do.

Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But just as she’s finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them against a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs?

untitled1

Review

I’ve been wanting to read Akata Witch ever since I seen it on Tumblr a few months ago. The cover is so beautiful and the synopsis sounded amazing. I heard that Akata Witch is “The Nigerian Harry Potter” and that definitely sold me.
My favorite thing about this book is the writing. It’s rare for me to come across a book with such timeless and articulate writing. Nnedi Okorafor is so talented and I’ll be reading any book she writes.
The characters were all well written and complex. I really loved Sunny from the first chapter and as the book went on, the more I loved her.
I also loved the world building and concept so much. It was so imaginative and unique.

I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book. Akata Witch is a fantastic fantasy with beautiful world building and rich with culture. I definitely recommend picking up this book.

2326664723266647232666472326664723266647

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) sets that include the paperback of AKATA WITCH and a galley of AKATA WARRIOR (ARV: $10.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on July 17th, 2017 and 12:00 AM on August 7, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about August 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

 

 

18746776Akata Warrior (Akata Witch #2) by Nnedi Okorafor

Expected publication: October 3rd 2017 

A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book. 

Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

Much-honored Nnedi Okorafor, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, merges today’s Nigeria with a unique world she creates. Akata Warrior blends mythology, fantasy, history and magic into a compelling tale that will keep readers spellbound.

untitled1

 

About the Author

 

Nnedi OkoraforNnedi Okorafor was born in the United States to two Igbo (Nigerian) immigrant parents. She holds a PhD in English and is a professor of creative writing at Chicago State University. She has been the winner of many awards for her short stories and young adult books, and won a World Fantasy Award for Who Fears Death. Nnedi’s books are inspired by her Nigerian heritage and her many trips to Africa. She lives in Chicago with her daughter Anyaugo and family. She can be contacted via her website, www.nnedi.com.

 

 

 

22465605

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

32895291The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

 Publication: July 25th 2017 

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel.

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

untitled1

ARC of this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is my favorite book from Ruth Ware so far. I loved The Lying Game so much more than The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood.
I loved the plot, the writing, and the pace of The Lying Game so much.
I thought the plot was the most original of Ruth’s books and it really stood out to me. The writing in The Lying Game is fantastic. The pace is a slow burn (if you’re into fast paced thrillers, this one probably isn’t for you) but I was very entertained and it kept me reading on to find out what was going to happen.
Even though I didn’t love the characters, I liked them so much more than the characters in Ruth’s other books. I thought they were more relatable and complex.
I was expecting a bigger end to this book. I was hoping it would really pick up the pace and have a big boom for an ending but it didn’t.
The Lying Game was kind of predictable but for me, it was more about reading how everything would unfold.
Overall, this is my favorite book from Ruth Ware and if you’re wanting a fun mystery/thriller, The Lying Game is a book you’ll want to check out.

23266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

Review: Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White

28822458Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White

Expected publication: July 25th 2017 by Scholastic

Once upon a time, a girl skipped into the forest and became a zombie.

Wait, no, that’s not how this story is supposed to go. Let’s try again.

Once upon a time, a boy did a horrible job as a sheep-sitter and burned his tongue on stolen pie.

No, children in these stories are always good and virtuous. From the top.

Once upon a time, a king and queen tried to find a princess for their son to marry, and he wound up fleeing from a group of very hairy vampires.

Hmmm…

What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales… in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don’t accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you’ve never heard them before.

untitled1

I was sent an ARC copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This was such a fun read. I really loved the creativity and writing style. The concept was a lot of fun and I think young readers will really enjoy it. The Princess and the…Pea? was probably my favorite of all the stories and I even laughed out loud while reading it.
I don’t know if this really appeals to an older audience but I think middle school and elementary readers would really enjoy this book.

232666472326664723266647halfstar-e1424616015397

22465605

Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

28187230The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Published June 30th 2016

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another intense read.

untitled1

This is my third book from Ruth Ware and to be totally honest, it’s my least favorite. I was actually expecting this to be the best Ruth’s books because I’ve such hype around it, especially in bookstores.
The synopsis (like all of Ruth’s books) sounds amazing and I expected The Woman in Cabin 10 to be an insane psychological thriller that I would read in one sitting. And even though I did read it fairly quickly, it wasn’t as captivating as I hoped it would be.
I loved the concept but I really didn’t like the characters. With the characters always being drunk or constantly drinking, it was annoying and that alone made me want to quit reading the book.
Some of the things through out this book didn’t really make sense to me and I think it could have been edited better.
The pace was a slow burn, which I’m okay with, but when the plot kicked into gear, I really started to enjoy the book so much more.
Overall, The Woman in Cabin 10 was hit and miss with me. For everything I liked, there was two things I didn’t like. I think this book had a lot of potential but it missed the mark with me.

2326664723266647halfstar-e1424616015397

22465605

What did Steph read while she was M.I.A.?!

Ok so, this is going to be QUITE the hefty post. Because I’ve neglected you all in the past months, and have finally got the chance to come back to this wonderful community and all you lovely people. I want to make sure I let you all know what I’ve been reading while I was planning my wedding and such. I love talking to you all so this is going to be a brief write-up on everything I read but it still counts, does it not?

Here’s the list of everything I’ve read while I’ve been M.I.A. and Star Values, as well as a small write up also, please excuse me if I mix up plot points etc. :

The Winners Curse by Marie Rotkoski2.5 Stars – Really wished for some more action and HATED the love triangle.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley — 5 Stars – Absolutely loved the main character, and the plot kept me hooked. Pick it up if you get the chance
Calamity (The Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson — 5 Stars – I will always love the Reckoner’s series, and this was a good conclusion, I wish it never ended.
Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis 4 Stars – SUCH GOOD WRITING. I just couldn’t get any sort of connection with any of the characters, so I didn’t really get emotionally dragged into it.
Walk on Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson 5 Stars – This was such a good book, constant action and running plot that it kept me intrigued and I loved the main character
A Court of Wings and Ruins ( A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas  5 Stars – Did I really need to put down 5 stars? Uh duh, this was SO DAMN GOOD. Oh man, I can’t even…
The Weed That Strings The Hangman’s Bag (Flavia De Luce #2) by Alan Bradley 5 Stars – Flavia is great, the story line was great as well just like the first book!
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas 5 Stars – Well….rip my heart out why don’t you SJ.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler 5 Stars – LOVED LOVED LOVED this book, it was so wonderful and hilarious. I highly suggest listening to it on Audiobook because Amy narrates it and it’s 20x better that way.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 4.75 Stars – This book was hard to get into but once the plot started moving it was PHENOMENAL. Not my standard YA read but great all the same.
Gemina ( The Illuminae Chronicles #2) by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff  — 4 Stars – Loved this book just like I loved Gemina, I think I liked Gemina better tough
The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi — 5 Stars – Oh man, what a beautiful book, I absolutely loved the characters, the plot, the writing. Everything!
Death Masks ( The Dresden Files #5) by Jim Butcher — 4 Stars – Gotta love a good Dresden book, pick up this series if you haven’t yet.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber  — 5 Stars – Didn’t really love the characters, but the setting OMG. The atmosphere was great and so was the plot. Loved guessing and thinking what I thought was right and being wrong
Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes  — 5 stars – My second time around reading this, still love it as much as before.  I seriously CANNOT wait for the next book. I need it ASAP.
Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson — 3.75 Stars – I guess I really like Rae Carson. This book was great. Strong female lead, and good plot.
You by Caroline Kepnes — 3.25 – I thought the perspective writing was cool, and I thought it was really creepy. It’s not for everyone, I didn’t really feel like I liked the graphic scenes in this book, but it was hella creepy and I was super hooked while reading it.

WELL FOLKS. That’s everything I read while I was MIA. I’m still 8 books behind for me goodreads goal so hopefully I get that fixed soon (probably while I’m in Iceland August 13-23) Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought.

Also any recommendations based on these reads would be AWESOME since I liked the bulk of them.

Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

15797848There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Expected publication: September 26th 2017

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

untitled1

ARC was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Review is from advance partial reading copy

I was very curious to read There’s Someone Inside Your House. I’ve read a couple of Stephanie Perkins’ other books and this sounded nothing like her normal fluffy, cute romances and I’m 100% down for authors trying new, unexpected genres.

There’s Someone Inside Your House starts off with bang. The first chapter has the first murder and it’s fairly fast paced. My advance partial reading copy was 151 pages and if I remember correctly, it took place in a week’s time or close to a week.
The murders are very gory and horrific but of the ones I read about, they weren’t overly detailed. They are described bluntly but not with a ton of graphic details. It would also be easy to skip over the gore if you really didn’t want to read that.
I liked the main character, Makani. I thought it was very cool that she was a PoC and there was diversity in this book. She talks about being African American/ Native Hawaiian several times through out the book and addresses a few of her experiences as a PoC.

I’m not easily scared when it comes to reading horror books but a couple of the murders had me a little paranoid at night. I was surprised how scary this book actually was.
I loved the setting of this book. It’s set in a small town in Nebraska and as someone from a nowhere town that’s 20 minutes from Nebraska, I could relate to a lot of the things going on in this book.

This has nothing to do with the book or the author but I’m really annoyed that the publisher sent out advance partial reading copies. I was sent There’s Someone Inside Your House in an elaborate PR box along with four other ARCs of their biggest fall releases and I was very disappointed to see that only 151 pages of the book was included. None of the other reviews I’ve read mention that their review is from a partial ARC so either they decided not to mention it or they all had complete copies. It doesn’t make sense to me to have both complete ARCs and partial ARCs and it’s unfair that some reviewers would have an advantage with complete copies. As it is, I can’t give a real review because I only have 151 pages. Granted, I did really enjoy those 151 pages but I can’t fully review a book I can’t finish.

I do have a theory of who the killer is. There was a pretty big hint with one of the murders. Honestly, it was such a big hint towards a character that it took away a lot of the mystery. I can also see that its a fake hint. It points to a character so directly that it could be there just to try to throw off the reader.

I’ll update my review and give a rating when I buy a finished copy on release day. From the 151 pages, I’d give There’s Someone Inside Your House four stars.

 

22465605

Blog Tour: The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana + Giveaway

32766747The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Expected publication: July 18th 2017

A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

untitled1

Review

The plot and concept of this book slayed my life. I loved the plot (and cover) of this book so much! The Library of Fates has such a stunning concept and I fell so in love with it. I also really loved the Indian culture that was incorporated into this book. It was really beautiful and I thought it added so much to the story.

I liked the main character, Amrita, well enough. I adored her friendship with Thala. It was so great to see an awesome fictional friendship between two girls.

I really liked the writing style for the most part but there was a few places that felt like it could have been a bit better. Some spots in this book weren’t as developed as others but to be honest, the plot was so amazing, I didn’t mind at all.

 

Giveaway

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana (ARV: $18.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on July 10th, 2017 and 12:00 AM on July 31, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about August 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

 

About the author

Aditi KhoranaAditi Khorana spent parts of her childhood in India, Denmark, and New England. She has a BA in international relations from Brown University and an MA in global media and communications from the Annenberg School for Communication. She has worked as a journalist at ABC News, CNN, and PBS, and most recently as a marketing executive consulting for various Hollywood studios including Fox, Paramount, and Sony. She is also the author of Mirror in the Sky. She lives in Los Angeles and spends her free time reading, hiking, and exploring LA’s eclectic and wonderful architecture. For more information, visit aditikhorana.com.

22465605

I Read YA Week – Sunday Challenge

It’s Sunday! And today’s challenge is :  Acknowledge a YA book you believe should be taught in high schools

I think I’d have to suggest The Ocean at The End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

I think this really needs to be taught in English classes. The writing is so beautiful and it’s just a great story about what makes us human and the darkness within all of us. I really appreciated this book when I read it, and I would LOVE to see this book taught in schools.