Mundie Moms

Thursday, May 2, 2019

AURORA RISING: by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Book Review #AuroraRising



By: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Aurora Cycle
Published by: Random House 
To Be Released on: May 7th 2019
Purchase from: B&N Amazon
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 stars - I LOVED It!
I received an arc from the Australian Publisher Allen & Unwin


From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.


The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…


A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering


And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.


They're not the heroes we deserve. They're just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.


After the well deserved success of the Illuminae Files Series, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have done it again with an extraordinary first book in this new series. I was lucky enough to get an ARC from the Australian Publisher Allen & Unwin, and I loved it from start to finish. 


It is written in multi character first person, one of my favourite styles of writing, so we get to know all the characters well. I fell in love with this squad of misfits from the start. With all the same humor and sass as the Illuminae files, fans will adore this one too. Think Six of Crowes but in Space. I can't wait for the audio book now as I know it will make an amazing adventure to listen to.


The characters are the real stars of this book. I loved that they were all so different. I fell in love with the characters instantly. Their quirks and style making them easy to know. The very description of these characters made them almost fall of the page, it was that real. I got to know these characters just as they did each other as the story went along. They were thrown together by chance, but when the job needed to be done, they pulled together. It was a great mix, adding different alien races, humans and a human girl found after being in cryo-sleep for 200 years. 

I also loved the different worlds we were introduced to, starting at the Aurora Academy, then hearing about the different worlds our new alien friends come from, and also where our story leads us. It touches on themes of displacement and refugees and war. Fans of Amie's Starbound Trilogy with notice some similarities, which I loved. Fans of Star Trek, Indian Jones or Guardians of the Galaxy will love it too.  It may also have a few Lord of the Rings references in there from our girl out of time, which made me chuckle. This is my favourite book of the year so far. I think it it will take a lot to beat it. 


My 16yr old Daughter Megan & I were lucky enough to go to the launch and book signing at Dymocks in Melbourne on 30th April. As Amie is due to have a baby any day, (with her husband, not Jay) this was the only book signing the two could do together. Pictured below is Megan dressed in all her space get up with Amie and Jay. 







Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Happy Release Day To THE RED SCROLLS OF MAGIC by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu / Exclusive Quote + An INTERNATIONAL Giveaway #TheRedScrollsOfMagic #Shadowhunters



Happy Birthday to THE RED SCOLLS OF MAGIC by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu. This is the book Magnus and Alec fans of long been waiting for! To celebrate today's release, we've teamed up with Cassandra Clare, and Simon & Schuster to share an exclusive art featuring Magnus and Alec, along with this quote: 



“Alec found himself standing awkwardly alone in the center of the room as couples twirled around him. Crowns of thorns and towering multi-colored feathers blocked his vision. He looked around in alarm for an escape route. ‘May I have this dance, sir.’ Instead he saw Magnus, all in white and silver. ‘I was coming to find you,’ said Alec. ‘I saw you coming.’ Magnus pushed his mask halfway up his face. ‘We found each other.’”   

That's not all, thanks to Cassandra Clare, and Simon and Schuster, and New Leaf Literacy, one lucky reader will win a SIGNED copy of the book! To enter to win, please fill out the form below. This is open INTERNATIONALLY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE BOOK


From #1 New York Times bestseller Cassandra Clare and award-winner Wesley Chu comes the first book in a new series that follows High Warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood as they tour the world after the Mortal War. The Red Scrolls of Magic is a Shadowhunters novel.

All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping


___________________________


Read more about the book, and find out where to purchase a copy at here
Be sure to check out our Instagram page tomorrow! I'll have a signed arc to giveaway!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

SHADOWHUNTERS TV Series, S3B, E14; A KISS FROM A ROSE / Review #shadowhunters

UGH. The episode opens with Clary back in the Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants apartment. She suggests rather than Umbridging (yes, I'm making it a verb) her skin, he sends an email.
And I already want the episode to end. Their banter makes me nauseous. We then discover that Seb is making a Downworlder glamour herself as Clary. Insert the godawful show theme -- this is the huuuuuuuuuunt.

Indeed.

I keep hunting for material from the books to no avail.

In the storage room of the Jade Wolf restaurant, Maia opens the door because the pounding stopped. 'Cause that makes sense. Not that the vamps could still be out there or anything. Great dialogue moment:

Jordan: Alright. Uh. We just have to sit tight. Someone will come for us eventually.
Maia: Who?!?! My whole pack was just slaughtered, Luke stepped down and the Jade Wolf is freakin' closed on Mondays!

This is the moment that Jordan remembers that Maia is claustrophobic. No, for reals, it's in the show. Feel free to start with the eyerolls. He uses deep Lamaze (don't we all know that technique, MMs?) breathing to stop her from "wolf-ing" (her words) out.  Eyeroll. Eyeroll. Eyeroll.

Then we cut to Jace and Clary in bed. Still. Seemingly forever. Where Clary asks if Jace is feeling insecure. The Jace Herondale. My eyes have now officially glassed over.

GIF found here. 
It's so awful, you guys, that I yelled nonsense out. WORST DIALOGUE EVER award goes to Clace.  I died a thousand fangirls deaths, one at a time. It's so awful that the official Shadowhunters twitter account didn't make a gif of it for me to post here. 

Luke is still trying to find the relic sword, and has turned over the information to Alec. Izzy is still on her Gard tangent. She feels it's their responsibility to find out what' s going on. Alec gives her 24 hours. 

Meanwhile, Magnus goes to Lorenzo who accuses him of being "magic challenged" (if you're counting eyerolls, the Clace bit made my eyeballs freeze into position, so yeah....). Watching two excellent actors try to act their way through this nonsense is just the worst. 

But, help and magic come at a price. Lorenzo suggests a transfusion of magic. OMG. SO DUMB. Magnus' body crackles alive. The price, you ask? We have to wait for the Clace scene cutaway.

They're going skating. Clace are engaging in a sport I actually know.

Maia and Jordan are still in their supply closet, when Maia realizes Jordan has silver poisoning. She starts yelling, because that's logical, and Jordan starts coaching Lamaze breathing because she's freakin' out. Jordan tells her that when he's in a "bad situation" he imagines a time when he was happy. If only the cheese factor wasn't off the charts. But, it's Freeform, so we have a running away story from Maia when she was a teen. She called Jordan, and he came. Eyeroll x 100, but my eyeballs are frozen in a permanent one so, why bother. 

Jace and Clary skate, and I die a fangirl death again. Because, I could've written this fanfic, MMs. I could've. Our talented, physically gifted boy cannot skate. Kinda kills me. Not that he could do a triple axel his first time, but I'm fairly sure he could catch on to the gliding stride fairly easily. 

Jace leaves Clary on the ice to get a better pair of skates ('cause that makes sense in Shadowhunter World), and he runs into Sebbie. The conundrum is clear on his face. He can't hurt Seb, because he'll hurt Clary. Our boy is in Stuckland. And we hear another swell piece of dialogue:

Jace: So what are you going to do?
Seb: When Lillith brought me back, she brought me back stronger,

Of course, she did Seb 2.0. Quicker. Faster. Stronger. Dumber.  Sebbie's eye turn black as knocks out real Jace, and he transforms into Jace. Of course, he does. There had to be some semblance of action in this episode. 

Magnus steps into the room as Alec is pouring over pages trying to find mention of the Morning Star sword, and pages begin to swirl. Without answering Alec's many questions about getting his magic back, Magnus opens a portal to Belgium, where apparently a mundane was buried with the sword. 

Our favorite bro is not doing so well in his Jace disguise, because when Clary advises him of the Umbridge dealio that Sebbie performed on her, Seb-Jace says he must've done it out of love. Color Clary confused. Color me bored. This thing is unraveling way too quickly. 

Simon and Luke team up to find Jordan, because the Praeter alerted Luke that something could be wrong. In the storage closet, Maia and Jordan are having a confession moment. It's boring. Unnecessary. They've been there forever. Forgiving each other. Jordan's eyes close. Maia cries. I cry alongside her out of sheer boredom.

And eeeeeeeewwwww, we have THE KISS. Seb kissed his sister. Did we really have to see this? The answer is a quick NO. 

Back at the Institute, CSI Izzy is performing an autopsy on one of the victims of the Gard. She gets a phone call from Clary, who suspects Jonathan has done something with Jace and assumed his identity. Can Izzy track them down in time?

In a Belgium tomb, which sadly looks like the same sewer set from the previous episodes only decorated with torches, Magnus and Alec come to a dead end. The sword that was buried with the mundie is a fake. They realize with the real sword Jonathan can summon an army of demons. Deja vu.

Izzy finds Jace at the rink and revives him. The two of them (along with a random Shadowhunter) are headed to Harlem, because the traveling apartment loves being in hip places. 

Magnus tells Alec that Lorenzo's price was his apartment (what's with the real estate theme?). He reassures Alec that the magic makes him connected to "everything around" him. He needs it to matter. Such a sad moment for our favorite duo. Magnus realized that the apartment is only a possession as long as he has Alec and his magic. 

Finally, Luke and Simon find Maia and Jordan at the Jade Wolf. They also find the remnants of the massacre. Luke tells them to take Jordan to the Praeter, and that he will deal with the cops. His old partner arrests him for the massacre. 

Ambush time for Seb. Clary cannot stop him from escaping as Jace, Izzy and company slo-mo toward them. Clary doesn't know why she let him go. 

Magnus' magic is becoming problematical. He feels a nosebleed starting. Reminds me of, umm, let me see, oh yeah:

118596
GIF found here. 

In the last moment of the episode, we find Jace and Clary kissy-facing. Jonathan-Seb is role playing with FakeClary. It's all good, you guys. UGH.


FINAL COUNTS 
Total Eyerolls: Three pretty severe ones. One seismic one that shifted a few tectonic plates and registered on the Richter scale.
Worst Dialogue Ever: 3
Deep Lamaze Breathing Technique Used: 3
Stealing Another Shows Feels: 1
Deja Vu Feels: 1
Multiple Uses of Rented Sewer Sets: 1

Monday, March 25, 2019

SHADOWHUNTERS TV Series, S3B, E13; BEATI BELLICOSI / Review #shadowhunters

We start off with the Praeter Lupus investigating Maureen's victims. Nick, Jordan's buddy, gets stabbed by Maureen while he's in Twi-wolf form. Aside: I'm so glad they get to use that GIANT wolf imagery again. It's just plain comforting to know that werewolves are always giant and have kind eyes. Beati Bellacosi. Blessed are the warriors. One dead wolf boy. So starts our "this is the huuuuuuuuunt" thirteenth epi.

Simon hands Izzy a cup of tea and this brilliant dialogue commences:

Simon: How are you?
Izzy: Drained
Simon: Izzy, I'm so sorry about that.
Izzy: It was a joke.
Simon: You could've died.

Ah, this is exactly why I've lost all hope for the show. Remember, MMs, it was in the last episode when Simon literally drained Izzy's blood. So, yeah. Good writing, mes anges. Both of their phones chirp at the same time. And we have our Simon-Clary choreographed-for-no-reason slide moment:

The others update Sizzy on the sitch. The tie-in Jonathan-Clary rune, the brotherhood of the traveling pants, I mean, apartment. All of it. And I wonder -- how many people need to be tied to Sebbie? Is this an overused plot device? Nod your heads with me.  Jace thinks he's seen this rune before. Dun-dun-dun-dun.

Isabelle discovers that Magnus can't help her with the side effects from allowing Simon to feed off of her.

Our resident crazy, Maureen, begs the NYC vamps to let her into their clan. They refuse. Maia returns to the pack, but they don't want her either. Maryse and Luke shop for real estate, I mean, flirt with each other in an antique store. Maryse can translate some super-special code that can open a very important safe inside the shop. Luke's hoping that the sword Jonathan's looking for is inside.

Jordan informs Simon of the death of his buddy's and warns him about Maureen. He, also, hopes he'll join the Praeter, but Simon is no longer marked with Cain's mark. Jordan concludes he no longer needs the Praeter's help.

Clary is desperate to find where Jonathan's located, but Jace wants her to stop "just for minute". Jace realizes he may be looking in the wrong place for Seb-babe.

Izzy remembers about the Seelies tortured by the Gard. How quickly she forgot. She and Alec hatch a plan to find out what's going on. But our fave brother-sister duo, have a pause where Izzy realizes that Alec knows about the Simon-feeding-on-her bit, and he tries in vein (I couldn't resist the pun) to placate her cravings with some mundane addiction group talk.

Back to our code-cracking duo, Luke confesses to Maryse that he's suspended from work and that he's also left the pack. Do we care about the adult relationships? No, no we don't. Maia interrupts this moment to let Luke know that the pack is falling apart while he's on a date. I don't care about pack politics. But, the pep talk Maia gets from Luke is "alpha material" and bad dialogue all at once.

We get a quick primer on Paradise Lost as Jace explains how Valentine was obsessed with the war between Lucifer and his brother, Archangel Michael. Waaaaaait, does this mirror someone else's obsession with his brother? No, not SewerVamp Cain's but, could it be? Sebbie's??? And if you look closely at the illustration (incidentally done by a Silent Brother, mercifully, not Jem), the two bubbies are tied vis a vis a rune just like Clary's and Seebie's. Such quick tying up of loose ends, Freeform. Bravo. Now all Clace needs to do is find a way to separate Jonathan and Clary.

Filing this in the I Have No Idea Why category: Jace attempts to remove the connecting rune with a zappy, electric stele thingey. It's a weird scene and showcases how difficult it is to act seriously when given moments like this. And no, MMs, this thingey didn't work.

Maia and Simon meet up, and she tells Simon how she has to step up into a pack leadership role. She breaks up with our boy, who takes it like a champ (duh). After all, he has Izzy now. And this scene feels so generic that it could be lifted from any old Freeform show.

Maryse opens the vault and Luke discovers a book inside. They kiss because code breaking, as we all know, is a sexy time moment.

Clary lights every single candle she can find in her room. It looks ablaze. Bath and Body Works must've had their $10 candle sale, and our girl had a coupon. But that's okay because, Jace is there and she wants him.

Clary: But right now, I want you. *lovey-dovey indie song plays*  I love you.
Jace: *serious looking sad Jace face*
Just like that one of our favorite quotes becomes Freeform Fodder. I should trademark that phrase. It would've come in handy if there was a fourth season. Mercifully, there isn't one.

Back at the Institute, Mama Maryse and her kiddos are discussing the Latin words for Heavenly Fire. Apparently this referred to an "off-the-books Clave" program that was above Maryse's clearance level. Eyeroll number I've-lost-counting. Maryse begs them to stay away from it.

We have what this epi was missing a Shirtless Moment courtesy, this time, of Jace and Clary. But, it's interrupted by Jonathan, who in a Dolores Umbridge tribute writes on Clary's skin -- "I miss you". Bubby's lonely and none of us care.

Maia and Jordan have their scene where he tells her he's leaving. The moment is interrupted when the NYC vamps attack our wolfish pack. Slo-mo fight scene commences. Jordan gets stabbed in an attempt to save Maia.  She takes him out into a storage area. She's scared and not the Maia we know from the books.  Our epi ends with her trapped and the vamps, literally, banging on the door. I'm kinda feeling trapped, too, Mundie Moms, not gonna lie.


FINAL COUNTS
Total Eyerolls: 50 million for the kissy scenes alone
Worst Dialogue Ever: 4
Gratuitous Shirtless Moment: 1
Overused Plot Device: 1
I Have No Idea Why: 1
Stealing Another Shows Feels: 2 (Twilight, once again, proves immortal as does Dolores Umbridge)
Multiple Uses of Rented Sewer Sets: 3 (between the Seelie fight scenes, finding of Cain and searching for Maureen, Constantin/Freeform can write this off as a darn good investment)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery / Book Review #thebluecastle





By: L.M. Montgomery
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Released on: March 4, 2014
Purchase link: amazon | book depository
Add it to goodreads
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 stars

An unforgettable story of courage and romance. Will Valancy Stirling ever escape her strict family and find true love?

Valancy Stirling is 29, unmarried, and has never been in love. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she finds her only consolation in the "forbidden" books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle--a place where all her dreams come true and she can be who she truly wants to be. After getting shocking news from the doctor, she rebels against her family and discovers a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams.



When Stephanie Perkins recommends a book on instagram, I immediately order it. Here's what Stephanie said:

This novel features characters named Valancy (Valancy!) and Barney Snaith (Barney Snaith!!!), a host of horrid relatives, the ecstasy of leaving them behind, the quiet singing joy of exploring the Canadian wilderness, and a cottage on a remote lake island that is filled with books and cats and cozy fires. I mean, honestly. What more could a reader possibly want? This is one of Montgomery’s lesser-known adult novels, which is a shame, because it’s perfect. One hundred percent. A+
Although, the protagonist is a little older than our usual YA heroine, the story is so lovely and relatable that it will definitely hold both a teen's and a mom's attention. I think teens, in particular, will find the story very relatable as they try to settle into their rebellious moments.

Valancy's family is messy, prejudiced, completely overwhelming and so controlling. I completely related to Valancy's feelings of OMGSODONE. This novel is so rich in description and setting that I wanted to be ensconced in the Canadian wilderness with cats and cozy dinners and books to read. Doesn't that sound divine? But, it's the characters that steal the show. Valancy's over-the-top meddling relatives, her reaction to them, the kindness she finds when she breaks free are all tropes that (when done well) hold me entranced in their plot.

The twists were a little predictable as you can imagine. But, I found comfort in their predictability  rather than annoyance, because of the characters and setting. I completely adored plucky, unstoppable Valancy.

In these dreary days, where Spring can't quite make it self known in most of our hemisphere, The Blue Castle is the perfect book to curl up with while sipping that big pot of tea. Oh, and you may just need a cat. My doggos, while ready to curl up with me, weren't quite the same comfort as a cat.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

SHADOWHUNTERS TV Series, S3B, E12; ORIGINAL SIN / Review #shadowhunters



Every time, I think about stopping watching this pure crap show, I think, wait, it may have something redeemable in it. Sadly, I'm always wrong.

So in the second episode of Season 3B, we start off with the Brotherhood of the Traveling Apartment, as our boy, Seb,  and his sissy, Clary, find themselves in good old romantic Paris. Let's start with the awful dialogue right at the beginning:

Seb: I'll forgive you for trying to kill me anyway
Clary: So...how does this work? If one of us gets hurt the other one does, too?
Seb: That appears to be the case.
OML, we just watched an entire scene of it in the previous epi, and in case, we forgot, it was also in the things-you-wish-you-forgot intro of this epi. Bring out all the eyerolls all at once. I can't even with this show. So, I'll focus on the highlights or should I say lowlights.

Malec are being so cute, but weird. A whole monologue from Magnus on going to the Farmer's Market and making orange juice without magic. Let the counts begin! Shirtless Alec count: 1 Malec Fight Training Scene: 1 Malec Kiss Count: 1 It's all cute, but it's just playing to the fan base not moving the plot forward.

Our resident GPS locator, Jace, figures out there are drops in 'barometric pressure" whenever the apartment moves. He's only a jump behind them, now, having located a trace of them in Siberia.

From Today Show's website
Simon and Izzy find the Sewer Rat vamp, who (surprise!) has the Mark of Cain, too. Behold the awesome dialogue:

Back in the traveling apartment, Clary convinces Sebbie to let her go out with him. She thinks she's recognizable with her hair. Ummm, wouldn't she WANT to be recognized? Also, how does she know that Jace is looking for her? Not important. It's Freeform after all. With a swish (and a flick) of his stele, Seb changes her hair to a dark bob. Somewhere in this universe, Heidi Klum is impressed.

Cain and Simon bond over biblical history. We get the story of Cain and Abel. You guys. This show. Ugh. We find out how Cain became a Daylighter. We don't care except for the fact that the story mirrors Simon's. Kinda. Because, you know, Freeform takes all the shortcuts it can. He finds out that he needs to see the Wizard of Oz, I mean, the Seelie Queen. Did we even need to meet Cain? Probably not.

Cut to a bedroom scene with Malec. Is it just me or did anyone else cringe a little? They're cute, but intruding into their actual lovemaking was a little too awkward for me. I know nighttime dramas do this all the time, but umm, yeah-no. A well drawn curtain is fine with me.

Meanwhile, Jace and Luke are investigating Siberia. Lookin' all Off the Grid Hot.
Our favorite detective pair figure out that Lillith must have brought Sebbie back to life.

Montage of pretty places in Paris with appropriate French music. Our resident chef (can anyone, please, explain to me his food obsession?), Sebster, suggests hot chocolate in foodie paradise. I'm awaiting a scene of them sharing a croissant. And YES, we get that scene and this dialogue:

Sebbie: You know, they'll bring you another if you want. You're attacking that like a wolverine.
Clary: Sorry, I didn't have time to eat after I passed out in the Arctic.

Simon and Izzy are in the Seelie Court, where Simon gets the bad news that he may die in the process of getting the mark removed.

At the Institute, Magnus educates Luke, Jace and Alec on inter-dimensional domiciles, and I wonder if there anything like tiny, TARDIS houses. I forsee a new Property Brothers show.

Image result for property brothers gif
gif found here. 
In the antique selling with Seb portion of the show, we find out that there are middle class Greater Demons who hang out at schools, banks, brothels. Seb wants to exchange something for the Morning Star Sword. Demony asks for Clary to wait outside because of her Shadowhunter blood. Is our girl going to run away? This move allows GPSJace to track her. Seb kills the shop owner demon, and a bystander who was trying to get Clary away from the shop. We have NO IDEA who that bystander was. Thanks Freeform.

Our boy, Simon, burns up all his blood in the ritual. So Izzy, willingly, gives him her blood. With the backdrop of a sad, plinky song, Izzy begs Simon to bite her and drink. What we didn't get in the Twlight books/movies, we get here. The love. The agony. The passing out.

Then we get the moment, we've all been waiting for:
Back at the, mobile apartment, Sebbie is raging. Destroying everything. Being the demon that some fans grow to love. I still don't get it.

FINAL COUNTS 
Total Eyerolls: All the eyerolls in the universe
Worst Dialogue Ever: 3
Shirtless Alec: 2.5 (extra points for using the dialogue "bedroom"
Gratuitous Fan Base Scene: 2

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

FIVE FEET APART by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Laconis #FiveFeetApart


By: Racheal Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Laconis 
Published by: Simon & Schuster 
Released on: November 20th, 2018 
Purchase Links
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Stars 
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?


If you're a fan of books to movies, I highly recommend picking this one up! This book reads just like the movie. I loved this story. It had me crying, made me hopeful and had me wanting to do something more for these realistic characters I loved getting to know. 

I was really surprised with this story. I wasn't excepting to be so emotionally connected to it or the characters. It definitely had me feeling all the book feels. The characters are incredibly believable, and so easy to be emotional connect to. I loved getting to know each of them, and what they each offered each other. 

Most importantly, I really appreciated that this story opened my eyes to Cystic Fibrosis. What an incredibly brave battle those with CF have. I feel like this story does a beautiful, heartbreaking job at showing that and allowing readers to get a better understanding of what those who have CF deal with on a daily bases. This story made me want to learn more about it. 

I highly recommend reading this book. Whether you do so before or after seeing the movie, it's worth reading. Judging from the book, the casting for this movie is spot on. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Pride by Ibi Zoboi / Audiobook Review #pridebyibizoboi



By: Ibi Zoboi 
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Released on: September 18, 2018
Narrated by: Elizabeth Acevedo
Purchase link: Harper Collins
Add it to goodreads
Source: purchased
Rating: 5 stars


Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.


Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

Ah, Zuri and Darius. Much like my beloved Lizzie and Darcy, they make their way into your heart and you find comfort in their mere existence. I know it's no secret that I adore Pride & Prejudice. It's the book I've re-read the most, and I know it's cadences so well. When approaching a re-imagining, I'm always cautious. Some authors take too many liberties with the plot and characters. Some take too few. There exists a razor's edge balance that is sheer perfection. Ibi Zoboi glided on that edge like an Olympic figure skater and stuck all the landings.

The setting of Bushwick, with its ever-changing landscape, just seems so perfect for our times. So many neighborhood are going through revitalizations that are truly gentrifications. When the Darcys move into a McMansion across from Zuri's family's apartment, well, there are opinions flying all over the household. This is exactly what I loved. A big, messy family faithful to their roots. Zuri's loving mama fits so perfectly here. Her cooking attracts the entire neighborhood. Zuri's hard working dad fits in, too, because like many of us parents, he's just trying to keep it all together and make ends meet. Her loud, brash sisters fit in as well. It's definitely a block I recognize from my very early childhood. They are all up in each other's business and no one has room to breathe because comments and opinions are flying everywhere.

This is where we find Zuri. Zuri, who's looking forward to college. Zuri who is passionate, yet reserved about her poetry. Zuri who has so many, many plans until Darcy walks into her life. One of the sweetest moments is when they find themselves at a poetry cafe. I loved that scene so much.

A quick mention to the narrator, Elizabeth Acevado, who brought the book to life. Every nuance of every character came across as so real. I completely adored her delivery of the story.

So, it's my first 5-star read of 2019, and I'm relieved that a P&P re-imagining lived up to the source material. What are some of your 2019 favorite stories so far?

Friday, March 1, 2019

SHADOWHUNTERS TV Series, S3B, E11; LOST SOULS / Review #shadowhunters


From @shadowhunterstv twitter
As we say in ShadowhunterLand, ave, atque, vale -- hail and farewell. Maybe add in a good riddance for good measure. I've decided to bravely forge on with my reviews of these last few episodes. I wonder, at times, if any book fans are still watching. We've been through so much, MMs -- hail and farewell indeed.

Just in the recap of what occurred previously, I was already ho-hummed. Clary was sentenced to death? Jace forced Clary to come to Lillith? MAGNUS TRADED HIS MAGIC TO BREAK LILLITH'S BOND ON JACE? SIMON'S MARK KILLS CLARY? Where was I? Why didn't I remember this? Oh wait, it wasn't in the books! Eleven billionty pages of material, and our friends over at Constantin Films/Freeform just threw it all out. Wait, I remember now. The taste of fandom betrayal. Bitter with an aftertaste of Clary's coffee left out for days.

In BizarroShadowhunterWorld, Jace is attacked by Dotharki in a sewer. I kid you not, there were spear-wielding warriors. Oh wait, they are Seelies according to a whispered comment by Izzy, who along with Alec, follows Jace. RageyJace is my favorite as he allows the SeelieDotharki to impale him before Izzy arrests the faerie warrior.
Found on google.
Time to squeeze in our show's theme song -- "We're coming after youuuuuu, this is the huuuuuunnnnnnnnnt."

Mourning for Clary sequence follows where a montage of tearful Simon, melancholy Magnus and super-sad Jace seems contrived. This is one long sad video set to alternatively plinky music. It's sad, you guys, So sad.

And then Clarissa wakey wakeys. WHAT???? OMG. It's NewFaceJonathanSebbie! He says my favorite line ever -- "Resurrection brought back my real face." Yes, yes, yes, that IS a real line. Someone scripted it. Someone approved it. Someone, please, stop me from laughing until I cry. Or is is crying until I laugh?

From Shadowhunters tumblr
We do get the moving apartment from Lost Souls. And Sebbie-baby has plunked them down in Siberia. Because that's where you go when you don't want to be found in ClicheLand. Of course, Clary runs away through the literal frozen tundra.

From ShadowhuntersTV twitter
Sweet moment with Malec coming up as they take care of Caterina's kiddo, Madzie. As Caterina thanks them for taking care of the child, we get to hear Magnus thank her with the following phrase, "Oh, don't be silly, it is my unbridled pleasure." I choked-laughed on this because dear Everything, could the writing get any worse? I'm only 10 minutes into the show.

Cut to Maia and Simon and a brief discussion how it wasn't Simon's fault that Clary's dead. Then, a cut over to Izzy telling Alec that the Seelie confessed to being tortured by the Gard. Meanwhile, in a separate part of the Institute, Jace is having delusions of dead Clary. Izzy finds Jace all angsty and sad; she reminds him that the Owl did those things not him. It's a weird therapy moment.

I, honestly, half-watched the nonsense that followed. Sebbie brought Clary back in from the cold and served her soup. He's so thoughtful with his cooking. This plot line feels more and more like a psychological thriller. Truthfully, if it wasn't for the other annoying, multiple plot lines, this may be the best thing going for the show.

Whomp, there it is. Another plot. Madzie's Nana, Iris  -- I vaguely remember her -- came to torture Magnus and look through his memories for Madzie's whereabouts. Izzy and Alec figure out that they need to call Caterina. Sooooo many plots, you guys.

In a soup kitchen (the code word of the day must be: soup), we find our boy, Simon, looking for Raphael, who feels so bad about Heidi. But honestly, who cares about that, when Simon needs research on Daylighter abilities. He points Simon to the oldest vamp in NYC, who lives in the sewers of NY (they must've rented some sewer backgrounds and had to make good use of them - 5 stars for staying on budget).  Nomination for worst dialogue in the show:

Simon: How do you know this guy actually exists?
Raphy: Aren't all the legends true?

Excuse me, while I die a thousand deaths.

Gif found on google.
Izzy and Alec dispatch Iris, quickly, by using Seelie magic to entrap her. Consul Penhallow is not happy with Alec, but realizes she can't touch him because of political reasons. Izzy informs the Consul that prisoners are being tortured by the Gard. We see our poor Dorthaki from the beginning of the episode being tortured in a steampunk electric chair.

Back to the moving apartment, Sebbie wants to take Clary to Paris. So, she stabs him. Whoopsies. She apparently, also, stabs herself. That nasty little family rune thing. You guys, Clary could be dead for reals. But, nope. She rises. Realizing how linked they are.

*rising music* (that's what it said in the captions)
Sebbie baby: Amazing.
Clary: No! (but, said more like a matter-of-fact No as in "Would you like sweet and sour chicken?" "No")
Sebbie baby: We are one now, little sister. You and I...we are one.


FINAL COUNTS
Total Eyerolls: A good dozen
Worst Dialogue Ever: 4 (I put them in bold for ease in finding them ;) )
Stealing Another Shows Feels: 1
Multiple Uses of Rented Sewer Sets: 2

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

THE TRIUMPHANT by Lesley Livingston / Blog Tour: Book Review / Favorite Quotes #TheTriumphant


I am so thrilled to partner with Penguin Teen to celebrate the recent release of Lesley Livingston's THE TRIUMPHANT, the third and final book in the Valiant series. If you haven't yet picked up this series, I highly recommend you do! You can check out my reviews on the first two books here. Today's tour post includes information about the book, my thoughts, as well as Penguin Teen's 5 favorite quotes from the book. I always love getting posts like this from the publishers. It's fun seeing what parts of the book they enjoyed too. 

PENGUIN TEEN'S TOP 5 FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THE TRIUMPHANT: 


1. “I miss the days when all we had to worry about was beating the living tar out of each other.”

2. “I’m no more a lady than either of you two are lords. We’re all just gladiators, after all.”

3.   The murder itself was over in mere moments. The consequences would ripple down through the days and years to come.

4. “All of you,” Cleopatra continued. “All of you are extraordinary young women. Never doubt that, or what you have accomplished. You have all walked fearlessly into a place that, before you, was a kind of temple reserved for men only. You took oaths that, before you, only men took. You fought and hurt, and some of you even died . . . but you won glory in ways only men did. And you did it all with the grace of women.”

“And the occasional kick to the stones of the nearest man,” Elka said.

5.   "Destiny is not something that is given. It’s something you prove yourself worthy of taking."

ABOUT THE BOOK


By: Lesley Livingston 
Published by: Razorbill
Released on: February 12th, 2019
Add it to Goodreads

The final book in the Valiant series takes Fallon and her warrior sisters on an epic journey from the corrupt Roman Republic to the wonder of the ancient world: Alexandria, Egypt.

“You are from a world, Fallon, that values honor over everything else. Rome is not that world.”

In the wake of their victorious fight to win back the Ludus Achillea, Fallon and her gladiatrix sisters have become the toast of the Republic. Only for Fallon, glory turns to ashes when she learns that Cai has been stripped of his Decurion rank and declared infamia, cast down to serve as one of Caesar’s gladiators. All because he chose his love for her over the life of his treacherous father during the ludus uprising.

But treachery in Rome runs far deeper than Fallon ever suspected. While she is fighting for Cai’s freedom, the unthinkable happens and the Republic begins to tear itself apart at the seams. In the chaos that follows, the Achillea gladiatrices lose any protection they might have had once and for all. They’re not the only ones. 

When Fallon discovers that Cleopatra is in grave danger, she and her sister Sorcha rally their war band in an attempt to spirit the Queen of Aegypt out of Rome, embarking on a remarkable journey that will take them to Alexandria—the wonder of the ancient world—and beyond. Far beyond. Along the way, Fallon will have to decide where her heart truly lies, as well as what—and who—she is willing to sacrifice to get there

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

WARRIOR OF THE WILD by Tricia Levenseller / Book Review #WarriorOfTheWild


By: Tricia Levenseller
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Released on: February 26th, 2019 - TODAY
Purchase Link
Add it to Goodreads
Source: e-arc from publisher 


An eighteen-year-old chieftain's daughter must find a way to kill her village’s oppressive deity if she ever wants to return home in Warrior of the Wild, the Viking-inspired YA standalone fantasy from Tricia Levenseller, author of Daughter of the Pirate King.  

How do you kill a god? 
As her father's chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: To win back her honor, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying.
Levenseller does it again! Much like her previous books, this new release has a twisted storyline, and a fierce heroine who is capable of taking care of herself while trying to save those she cares about. This cover may be one of my favorite YA covers yet. It definitely captures the heart of this story perfectly. 

This book had me at 'Viking-inspired YA'. It didn't disappoint on that end. This story has it's ruthless moments, which I wouldn't except anything less given it's Viking inspiration. What I also liked about this book is it's fiercely, independent theme. Rasmira makes you realize that with a lot of hard work, and determination girls can do anything. Especially ones raised to be fierce warriors.

What I liked about Rasmira's character is her ability to do all she does, while also teaching others to save themselves. Even though she has been betrayed and wronged, something that fuels her banishment and survival in the wild, she does care about others, and wants to see them succeed. I also love her ability to outsmart her opponent. There are some things that happen to Rasmira and the handling of those things that definitely made me mad. Thankfully she gets the last laugh so to speak, and in the end, she proves who much she's changed and grown not only as a person, but as warrior and leader. 

Overall this was a quick, fast paced read. There's plenty of action, a number of creepy creatures and monsters that Rasmira and her friends battle in the wilds. Fierce warriors, themes of independence, feminism, and great world building. Don't worry, this book definitely wouldn't be a Levenseller book without some romance. I enjoyed this standalone fantasy.


Monday, February 25, 2019

Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu Will Be In Austin, TX 4/9/19! #RedScrollsOfMagic #Shadowhunters


Shadowhunters don't miss it! On April 9th Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu will be in Austin, TX to celebrate the release of their book, THE RED SCROLLS OF MAGIC! I am so thrilled to be moderating this event, which is hosted by Book People. This is a ticketed event. You can purchase your ticket (which includes a copy of the book), here. In case you can't make the event, but want a signed book, they also ship world wide. 

ABOUT THE EVENT PER BOOK PEOPLE:

Join us Tuesday, April 9th and the Central Presbyterian Church @ 7 PM

Book People is proud to present #1 New York Times bestseller Cassandra Clare and award-winning author Wesley Chu for their collaboration, The Red Scrolls of MagicThis is the first book in a new series that follows High Warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood as they tour the world after the Mortal War. The Red Scrolls of Magic is a Shadowhunters novel.


EVENT TICKETS & GUIDELINES

  • This event takes place at Central Presbyterian Church, located at 200 E 8th St. 78701
  • Pre-ordered books will be given to ticket holders the day of the event. They are not available for pick-up at BookPeople prior to the event.
  • A ticket+book admits one person to the event, and includes a copy of Red Scrolls of Magic.
  • Seating is general admission; first come, first served. 
  • A signing will follow the speaking portion of the event. Cassandra and Wesley will personalize 1 copy of The Red Scrolls of Magic. Cassandra will sign one additional book (either an additional copy of Red Scrolls of Magic or a backlist title) per fan. 
  • No posed photos/no signed memorabilia will be allowed.


ABOUT THE RED SCROLLS OF MAGIC


All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.

Friday, February 15, 2019

THE DEFIANT by Lesley Livingston / Blog Tour #TheDefiant #TheTriumphant


In honor of this week's release of THE TRIUMPHANT, the last book in this series, I'm thrilled to partner up with Penguin Teen to share my thoughts on the first two books. Today's posts will feature my mini reviews from the first two books, The Valiant, which you can read here, and The Defiant. Next week I'll be sharing my review for the epic conclusion of this must read series. 

THE DEFIANT (Book #2)


By: Lesley Livingston
Published by: Razorbill
Released on: 1/23/18
Add it to Goodreads

The darling of the Roman Empire is in for the fight of her life in this lush sequel to the acclaimed historical fantasy The Valiant.
     Be brave, gladiatrix... And be wary. Once you win Caesar's love, you'll earn his enemies' hate.
Fallon was warned.

Now she is about to pay the price for winning the love of the Roman people as Caesar's victorious gladiatrix.

In this highly anticipated sequel to THE VALIANT, Fallon and her warrior sisters find themselves thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon's heart - and her love for Roman soldier Cai - but the very heart of the ancient Roman Empire.

When dark treachery and vicious power struggles threaten her hard-won freedom, the only thing that might help the girl known as Victrix save herself and her sisters is a tribe of long-forgotten mythic Amazon warriors.

The only trouble is, they might just kill her themselves first.


Talk about girl power! This book is fueled by an amazing group of female gladiators that literally had me cheering for them the entire story line. Picking up not long after where The Valiant ends, this story wastes no time throwing it's readers into the surprising betrayal, and a rebellion that is a result of it.

Like The Valiant, this is a story fueled by strong women. Not just in their strength, but in their ability to rally together, to support each other, to offer friendship and love. They are united in a sisterhood, made up for fighters from all walks of lives. Some are closer than others, but no matter what, they all have each other's backs. With this storyline being much more intense, I really liked seeing how they laid differences aside, sacrificed their own lives, and worked together in their rebellion. They fought side by side because they wanted to. They fought for themselves, as much as for each other. Their fight was for freedom over having the chance to own their own lives, and not someone else controlling it.

This book definitely kept me hooked! There is a lot that happens, and I like that Livingston was able to add some humor, and lighthearted moments at just the right times. It kept the story entertaining, and not as dark as it definitely could have been. It was perfect placement. This story does go down a different path than The Valiant. There's still a lot of action scenes, rich Roman history, along with dangerous threats, a rebellion, and plenty of danger, and fighting. Like The Valiant, The Defiant is a well written, action packed, fast paced read fueled by GIRL POWER! It was definitely worth the wait for this book!

You can read my full 5 star review for this book here. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend picking up this series. 

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