Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

28245707Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde 

Expected publication: March 14th 2017

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Jason Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

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This was such an unexpectedly great book. I’m so blown away by how much fun this book was to read.
Super adorable romance, really diverse and relatable characters, wonderful writing, this book has it all.
The plot of this book is pretty cool but the characters are what makes this book so fantastic. I really loved the positive representation that these are character provided and how relatable they were.
I loved the fandom aspects of this book and it was so awesome that it was set at Comic-Con.
I really enjoyed all of the references and how fangirly the characters were.
Overall, Queens of Geek is super fun and wonderfully diverse. It’s relatable and has so much positivity. I’d definitely recommend it.

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Review: The Lost Herondale by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman

23380998The Lost Herondale by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman

Published March 17th 2015

Simon learns the worst crime a Shadowhunter can commit: desertion of their comrades. In the early nineteenth century, Tobias Herondale abandoned his fellow Shadowhunters in the heat of battle and left them to die. His life was forfeit, but Tobias never returned, and the Clave claimed his wife’s life in exchange for Tobias’s. Simon and his fellow students are shocked to learn of this brutality, especially when it is revealed the woman was pregnant. But what if the child survived… could there be a lost Herondale line out in the world today?

 

 

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I always say I’m going to stop reading Shadowhunter books but I always get wrapped up in them. I love The Infernal Devices series to the ends of the earth but The Mortal Instruments series dragged on and on for me and I stopped liking them after book three. I didn’t plan on continuing with Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy but I was gifted a copy so I thought I might as well finish it.
I’m not a fan of Simon, never have been, so The Lost Herondale tested my patience pretty much 100% of the time.
I do love the writing style. Cassie Clare has so much talent and her world building is amazing.
I did like The Lost Herondale a bit more than Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy so that was a nice surprise.
Overall, if you’re a hardcore fan of TMI, you’ll probably love this book. But if you’re like me and tired of TMI being dragged out, you should probably pass on this book.

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Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

23447923The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Published March 7th 2017

The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

 

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I read one of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s other books, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, a few years ago and it blew my mind. It was incredible in every possible way. I loved it and I will always recommend it. So I was beyond pumped when I heard about The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. It sounded amazing, it had diverse characters, it was written by the same person who wrote Ari and Dante. I knew it would be awesome, I knew I would love it. However, that’s not the case.
I wanted to love this book so much but it just didn’t do it for me like I thought it would.
I was expecting to fall in love and cry and everything that Ari and Dante did for me but The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is pretty basic. It’s okay. I liked it for the most part but I didn’t love it. I might recommend it to some people but I wouldn’t go out of my way to tell people about it.
My main problem with this book is the stereotypes and assumptions. There was a lot of them and it didn’t sit well with me. It felt cheap and thoughtless at times. Things like “one thing about Sam was that she didn’t throw like a girl” just wasn’t okay. I would never have expected things like that in this book so it really surprised me.
One thing I thought was really cool about this book was that the main character is adopted by a gay Mexican man. The main character is white but he identifies with his father’s culture because that’s how he was raised. I hadn’t seen that before in a book (or movie or tv show or anything, to be honest) and I thought that was pretty cool and maybe a lot of people could relate to that and feel a bit of representation.
I did like the main character, Sal, a lot. He was very different from most YA male characters and I thought it was really amazing. I loved his dad the most though. He was such an incredible character. If you’re looking for a book with great family dynamics, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life has it.
I wasn’t a big fan of Sam, Sal’s best friend. She was kind of hurtful to Sal at times and I felt like she was ignorant to a lot of things and was very self-righteous. But she did have really good character development so that was nice.
The plot was kind of… not there. This is a pretty big book, 464 pages, but nothing really happened. If I had to describe the plot of this book to someone, I don’t think I could. There was an awful lot of nothing happening in this book.
I did really appreciate how there wasn’t any romance in The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. Most YA contemporaries are romance driven and it can be difficult to find something without romance.

Overall, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life was okay. There was a good deal of things I didn’t like but if my expectations weren’t so high, I might not have been so disappointed. If you’re looking for a book exclusively for diversity or you don’t want any romance, you should check this book out. Or if you’re not that critical of a reader, you might enjoy this book a lot more than I did. But for me personally, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life didn’t do it for me. I think it could have been a lot better and I can’t ignore the thoughtlessness of some of the things in this book.

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Recommendation Friday

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This week I’m recommending the newest release from on of my favorite authors.

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By Your Side by Kasie West

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

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I’m a massive fan of Kasie West’s books so I had no doubts that I wouldn’t love this book. I have yet to read one of Kasie’s contemporaries and not fall in love with it. And By Your Side was extra special to me.
I loved the writing, the plot was super cute and fun, I really liked the characters (Jeff was so dumb though), but what I loved most about this book was the representation of anxiety disorder in the main character. I wasn’t expecting that aspect of diversity in this book and I was really thrilled to see such a common mental illness being represented in a main stream YA novel. I really related to Autumn because of that. I really loved how the plot didn’t focus on her anxiety but it was definitely part of Autumn’s life. It showed how she managed her anxiety and how it affected her life. It felt really authentic. I felt like Kasie normalized anxiety disorder in By Your Side. I also loved how supportive Autumn’s family was (her mom even encouraged her to take time off from school) and how Dax always tried to help instead of freaking out about it.

Overall, I loved By Your Side. It was a cute, fluffy YA with a great representation of anxiety disorder. I definitely recommend this book.

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Cover reveal: Warcross by Marie Lu

The cover for Marie Lu’s newest book was just revealed on EW and I’m blown away by it!

Warcross by Marie Lu

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Expected publication: October 3rd 2017 

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Head over to EW to read an excerpt from Warcross

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Diversity Spotlight Thursday #2

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Diversity Spotlight Thursday a weekly meme created and hosted by Aimal at Bookshelves and Paperbacks. Every week, the goal is to come up with one book in each of three different categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR, and one that has not yet been released. 

Book I have read

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In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

The star of Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin presents her personal story of the real plight of undocumented immigrants in this country.

Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents and brother were arrested and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family.

In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven’t been told. Written with Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families likes the author’s and on a system that fails them over and over.

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I’m a big fan of Diane from Jane the Virgin and I also loved her in Orange is the New Black so when I randomly seen this book on Book Outlet, I had to grab a copy. I read it soon after receiving it in the mail, which is pretty rare for me to read a book right away. I thought this book was amazing. I learned a lot from reading it and I was shown a perspective that I haven’t seen before. I really appreciate everything that Diane put into this book and it’s definitely worth a read.

Book on my TBR

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

LBGTQ main character

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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I feel like I’m the last person to read this book since I see it hyped up so much in the book community. My friends Fiderly and Jasmine both love this book so they’re definitely my main motivation to pick this book up. I’m hoping to finally read Simon VS this month.

Book releasing soon

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

LBGTQ characters, character with autism spectrum disorder and anxiety, Chinese-Australian character

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Jason Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Expected publication: March 14th 2017

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Queens of Geek has a bit of everything. It’s extremely diverse and is exactly what is needed in YA right now.

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Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

27883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Published January 31st 2017

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

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This is one of the most interesting and creative books I’ve read in a long time.
I loved the concept of this book so much. Actually, my favorite thing about Caraval is the concept. I thought it was so cool and different from a lot of books I’ve read.
I also was very invested in Scarlett and Tella’s relationship. As the synopsis says, their father is very cruel and abusive so the two girls are very close in a lot of ways and I appreciated that.
Scarlett, however, is not my favorite character in the world. I thought she was really annoying and she drove me crazy for most of the book. I haven’t seen anyone else feel this way so maybe I’m the odd one out on this but Scarlett kept this book from being 5 stars.
Overall, I thought Caraval was a really fun read. I wasn’t really that critical when I was reading because I was so caught up in the plot which is rare for me. If you’re looking for a really cool fantasy book, I’d definitely recommend Caraval. But if you’re easily frustrated with annoying protagonists, you might want to skip this book.

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Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

30095464The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Publication: March 7th 2017

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

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Even though I found this book to be confusing at times, I really enjoyed it. I loved the writing style and concept so much. Everything seemed very well thought out and very detailed. I really liked the alternating narratives and the world building was really cool. There is some info dumping here and there but it wasn’t terrible. I really liked all of the characters. They were all well written and developed.
Overall, I really enjoyed this this. It’s pretty original and I really loved the concept. If you’re looking a fantasy that has great world building and a great concept, I would recommend The Bone Witch.

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Life Update and Unhaul!

Hello my fellow bookish friends! I’ve missed you all dearly. I just wanted to pop by and say hello and give you all an update and let you know I’m still alive. I’ve had a lot going on with planning my wedding, working on finding a new job, and just being in an overall slump. I’ve been getting myself out of said slump and the one book helping me has been The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon which was released today! So please go take a look at The Bone Season series because it’s phenomenal and so is the third book (The Song Rising) in this series. I’ve been milking it a bit, since I don’t want it to ever end and I’m not sure I can handle re-reading the same three books until the fourth one comes out, but you get my point The Bone Season series is amazing and get on that train if you haven’t yet.

Anyway, now onto my second portion of this post. I’m moving in with my soon-to-be husband in June after we get married. And, we don’t have the space for all my books, so I went through and found a good number that I don’t read/didn’t very much like and/or don’t find interest in. So I’m coming here to offer them to you guys!

It’s first come first serve, please e-mail sbayides@gmail.com and I’m thinking $3 per book, I’ll accept paypal or venmo, please keep this within the United States only.

If the pictures aren’t clear enough here’s a list :

A Million Worlds With You  by Claudia Gray
Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
Everland by Wendy Spinale
Roseblood  by A.G. Howard
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Vassa In The Night by Sarah Porter
The Monuments Men  by Robert M. Edsel, Bret Witter
Ugly Love  by Colleen Hoover
The Princess Diaries  by Meg Cabot
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
The Girls of Atomic City  by Denise Kiernan
Of Fire and Stars  by Audrey Coulthurst
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Thanks everyone for your patience with me and I hope to get a good few posts up soon! <3

Review: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

31145190Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Published October 6th 2016

A propulsive, compelling, and unsparing novel set in the grimly violent world of the human and drug trade on the US-Mexican border.

On the outskirts of Juarez, Arturo scrapes together a living working odd jobs and staying out of sight. But his friend Faustino is in trouble: he’s stolen money from the narcos to smuggle his girlfriend and her baby into the US, and needs Arturo’s help to get it back. To help his friend, Arturo must face the remorseless world of drug and human traffickers that surrounds him, and contend with a murky past.

Hovering over his story is the unsparing divinity Santa Muerte, Saint Death–and the relentless economic and social inequalities that haunt the border between Mexico and its rich northern neighbor. Crafted with poetry and cinematic pace and narrated with cold fury, Saint Death is a provocative tour de force from three-time Printz Award honoree Marcus Sedgwick.

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This was a very interesting book. It was very serious and not really a book to read for fun, if that makes sense. The tone of this book very intense and I feel like it’s more a of an educational read than something to read to relax. This book almost felt like the author’s commentary on current events than a fictional story. And I really didn’t mind that. It was very thought provoking.
I really loved the writing style and I’m definitely interested in the author’s other books because of the writing style. I really appreciated the diversity of the characters and how much Mexican culture it brought to the table. The entire book is very relevant and I really liked seeing a perspective that I haven’t seen before. I was very emotionally invested in the characters and even though I had a hard time relating to them, I still really liked them.
Overall, this was a really interesting, thought provoking read and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a book outside of the norm.

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