Rating System:

For those of you who don't know, I rate books based on their ability to hold my attention. I don't really like to rip apart someone's hard work. If I don't finish a book, then I don't feel comfortable rating it. So you might see a lot of 4 and 5 star ratings. However, if I do have issues with a book, I will always tell you. Enjoy! (:

Friday, July 29, 2016

Blog Tour: Gemini ARC Review


Hello and welcome to my stop on the Gemini blog tour! I can't wait to tell you about this lovely debut! Let's get started, shall we?

About the Book
In a powerful and daring debut novel, Sonya Mukherjee shares the story of sisters Clara and Hailey, conjoined twins who are learning what it means to be truly extraordinary.

Seventeen-year-old conjoined twins Clara and Hailey have lived in the same small town their entire lives—no one stares at them anymore. But there are cracks in their quiet existence, and they’re slowly becoming more apparent. Clara and Hailey are at a crossroads. Clara wants to stay close to home, avoid all attention, and study the night sky. Hailey wants to travel the world, learn from great artists, and dance with mysterious boys. As high school graduation approaches, each twin must untangle her dreams from her sister’s, and figure out what it means to be her own person.


Told in alternating perspectives, this unconventional coming-of-age tale shows how dreams can break your heart—but the love between sisters can mend it.

About the Author
I grew up in California’s Gold Country, where I spent a lot of time sitting in trees, reading books and writing stories in my head. Now I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I spend a lot of time sitting in coffee shops, reading books and writing stories on my laptop. I like to play board games with my husband and kids, watch the kids' soccer games, and scare them with my terrible dancing. 














The Review
Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee
3.75 Stars

To start off I would like to thank Hannah from The Irish Banana Review for choosing me to participate in this tour and to everyone involved in getting me an ARC for it (some download issues were involved). Gemini had been one of the many debuts I had been really looking forward to reading this year and I really enjoyed it. I had never actually read a novel about conjoined twins before so it was really interesting for me to see what that was like.

Our twins are two teenage girls named Hailey and Clara. For a while I kept switching between who I liked and who got on my nerves and you might be thinking "uh-oh", but actually for once I think this is a good thing. The reason for my back and forth was because I had my own opinions on how these two should be living life going forward. I completely did not understand how they could disagree on such huge things, but by the end I felt my eyes being opened slowly as I began to understand at least a little better than before. They dealt with everyday teenage girl issues, but also the issues of I am stuck to another human and I have to consider them and their feelings. I found this to be a nice dynamic to witness. As I said before, I have no idea what it is like to be with someone 24/7 my whole life, but I really think Sonya did a wonderful job of portraying the inner thoughts and everyday struggles of these two characters without making it seem too abnormal or like a major burden. She really gets you to understand that this is their normal and anything else would be completely foreign to them even when it feels so normal to you. I thought that was amazing.

Obviously, there are more people in Gemini than just Clara and Hailey. They actually have a great group of friends that are tight knit and funny! And while I'm having trouble recalling all of their names right this minute, I loved them. They seemed like the people I have in my life and they didn't feel the need to water down their problems because the twins might have bigger ones. I really enjoy when I can so easily see myself hanging out with all of the characters in a novel. Now for the boys, I found them to be goofy and adorable and I'm so happy they were there even if the book wasn't about them. I think Alek and Max in particular really added to this internal journey that Hailey and Clara were on. Also, who didn't love the guys chasing the bats. I definitely giggled. Sonya created a great group of people to be around and I cannot wait to see what kind of people she'll introduce me to next.

Overall, I gave this book 3.75 stars mostly because at some points I couldn't get myself to read. I don't know if this was because of a slump, hangover, or if it was simply the wrong timing. But I can tell you that if I had read it at a different time, I would more than likely give it 4 to 4.5 stars. I love a good book about discovering what you want and we had that times two. The sisterly bond and that love was incredible. I highly recommend picking this one up and lucky for you, it's on shelves now! So grab yourself a copy of Gemini, or enter the giveaway below, and come back and talk about it with me! I'd love to hear your thoughts as always!

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:

I would like to thank everyone involved one last time and also you, for stopping by and taking the time to read this post. Even if you're only here for the giveaway, thank you as well. I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend and I hope you read something amazing.
Xoxo,
Gabriella

Sunday, July 24, 2016

An Interview with Kathleen Glasgow

A Little Bit of Background
If you've been around a while then you already know that I met Kathleen Glasgow at the Tucson Festival of Books back in March. I expressed to her that I was a blogger, a relatively new one at that, and somehow we ended up talking about the possibility of an Interview. Cut to June. With Barnes & Noble hosting B-Fest and Kathleen talking at our local Eastside store, we decided that would be the best time for an interview. This was my first in person interview and I was so ridiculously excited! Finally, you get to read it!






About the Book
Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.


Add it on Goodreads!
Preorder now from:
Indie Bound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository




About the Author
Kathleen lives in Tucson, Arizona and writes for The Writer's Almanac. If you need some nifty anecdotes about dead writers, she's your girl. Kathleen likes Tyrion, Shireen, coffee, cheesecake, and the Isle of Skye. She received her MFA from the University of Minnesota and her BUS from the University of New Mexico. Kathleen's poems and stories have appeared in Bellingham ReviewClackamas Literary ReviewCimarron Review, and many other journals. Her first novel for young adults, Girl in Pieces, will be published by Random House/Delacorte on August 30, 2016. Be sure to check out her website, follow her on Twitter, and follow her Instagram!


The Interview


Would you mind sharing about yourself? Feel free to get random, we appreciate weird here.
I spent my teenage years in Tucson, I moved here from Pennsylvania. Some weird things that people don’t know is that I have a penchant for stand-up comedy. Not doing it, but watching it. I started getting pretty lonely around 12 and 13 and I’d stay up late and watch “Evening at the Improv” on cable. I watched Jim Carrey before he was Jim Carrey!

When did you realize that writing was something that you wanted to do?
When I won a writing contest in the seventh grade at Cross Junior High School on the North side of Tucson. It was during a weird hybrid class called Typing-English and you basically learned to type while taking English lit. We had to do everything on typewriters and all the classes were asked to write a short story together and the principal was going to read them aloud over the intercom. I had a lot of ideas and so everyone was like, just let her write it and I did. We won.

What were you doing when you found out your book was going to be published?
I was sitting in my office at the University of Minnesota and my agent called to let me know we had multiple offers having only sent it out on submission six days before. She let me know we had about 7 offers and that I would have to be talking to publishers that day. I had to get up and shut my door so no one could hear me cry. As Charlie would say, it was a very momentous occasion.

Can you tell us a little bit about Girl in Pieces?
Girl In Pieces is the story of Charlie Davis, a homeless 17 year old who suffers from acute depression. This is a story about survival, hope, and art and a girl learning to live in the world.

Girl in Pieces surrounds kind of a tough topic, did you ever get so immersed in the darker feelings that you had to step away and take a breather?
*Pause* Yes. Yes, there are feelings that I had to access that I had successfully overcome and so there were times that I would step away for a couple weeks before I went back.

How personal would you say Girl in Pieces is to you?
Charlie’s story is her own. I had my own experiences that were similar to hers, but her story is her own. Who wants to know about me???

I saw on your Instagram that Charlie ends up in Tucson, what made you choose our city over something cliché like Los Angeles?
I put her in Tucson because I wanted her to go from a very cold place, which in the book is Minnesota, a place where she could hide herself under her clothing, to somewhere warm where she couldn’t do that. What better place than Tucson as a place where you can’t hide? There are so many wonderfully weird people here and they are all just letting it hang out. Charlie’s clothing is like armor for her. It was necessary to force her to shed some physical layers as she sheds emotional armor.

Are you currently working on anything? If so, is there anything you can tell us?
I signed a two book contract and book two is due in, um, like a month. It’s set in Northern New Mexico. It’s about a girl, Tiger Tolliver, whose mother dies. Part of the book is about how parents think they’re doing the right thing by keeping you close, but their protectiveness might actually not help you live a full life. It’s a book about skateboarding, grief, and first love, though not exactly the one Tiger is expecting.

One question I love to ask people is if I gave you a series of books, let’s use Harry Potter in this case, and I told you to stack them vertically what book would you put on the bottom of the stack?
The first one. You build up the series. What kind of fool does it any other way??
*We go into a discussion about how if you took said stack and sat it upright, the books would be in the correct order and that’s why you stack them with the first on the bottom. Everyone else is just wrong. ;)

Which book, other than your own, are you most looking forward to this year?
Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig. It’s so twisty and the plot is nimble as hell. Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally it is gorgeously written, great characters, great mother-daughter story.

If there was one thing that you want your readers to know, what would it be?
Never stop reading. The only place that I ever found myself was within a book. You are out there, somewhere, inside someone’s pages, someone’s story.

What’s next on your bookish bucket list?
Everything. I want it all.

Hardcover, paperback, or ebook?
Hardcover, though I have a special crush on thrift store paperbacks that smell musty, have notes in faded ink, and sometime have letters and postcards stuck between the pages.

Standalone or series?
Standalone.

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram.

I had so much fun sitting down with Kathleen. What this interview doesn't show are the jokes, laughter, insight, shopping advice, and so much more. Sometimes you can just tell when you've met a wonderful person. And she was kind enough to give me a copy of Girl in Pieces, which is amazing, and sign it as well. Look for my review in a couple of weeks. I really hope you enjoyed our conversation and will pick up your own copy of Girl in Pieces. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Let me know what books you're looking forward to or what you're currently reading. I hope y'all have a wonderful day.
Xoxo,
Gabriella

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #2

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a series hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. This week I want to talk about Vicarious by the ever lovely Paula Stokes. Let's get to it!

Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. 

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you, for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the neural recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.

I've been waiting for Vicarious for a while now. It sounds amazing and it's by Paula Stokes, an author who has yet to let me down. I highly recommend you check out her other novels and then grab yourself a copy of this one with me. Vicarious will be out on August 16, 2016 and you can preorder it now. Paula is even running a cool preorder incentive & giveaway for one lucky person who preorders here! So join me in all the Paula Stokes awesomeness! What books are you looking forward to? Feel free to share with me in the comments. Link me to your post if you have one! Happy Wednesday!
Xoxo,
Gabriella

Monday, July 18, 2016

Conversations: Series, Yay or Nay


It's that time again! This week for conversations, we are talking about book series and whether or not we appreciate having them. Let's get to it!

I feel like this is going to be a super short post because I love book series! I know I usually take forever to finish them *cough Harry Potter cough*, but I can't help but love the fact that I get to enjoy these characters and their worlds for such a long time. I'm so needy when it comes to the characters that I love. I have finished several standalones and prayed that I would one day get a sequel or even a companion novel. A few recent ones would be Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes, The Blood Between Us by Zac Brewer, Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson, and so many more. I just need more! I will fully admit to my greed.

Now I completely understand that a series is a commitment, but I dive in. I have purchased a few boxed sets without having read a single book. I committed myself to those books and so far, they haven't let me down. I just love books! However, I get that standalones also cost so much less and my wallet would love me if I didn't read as much. But life without books? No way. In the end, just give me all of the books. Standalones, companions, series, I WANT THEM ALL. How about you? Tell me your preferences. Leave me the link to your post in the comments if you have one! Have a wonderful weekend!
Xoxo,
Gabriella

Monday, July 11, 2016

Firsts Review

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
5 Stars

Firsts was the Better Read Than Dead Book Club pick of the month for May, yes this review is super late. Grace and I had chosen this book because we love sex positive reads and were hoping this would satisfy the lack we were feeling within YA. Unfortunately, Grace couldn't easily get her hands on a copy in Australia so she sat this one out. However, I very much enjoyed every second of it!

If you didn't already know, our main character Mercedes has sex with virgins so they can give their girlfriends the perfect first time that she didn't have. Also, her best friend, Angela, is saving herself for marriage. This is exactly what pulled me in. The actual synopsis lets you know there will be talk about sex, it will not be something that we tiptoe around, teenagers have sex, let's talk about it. I love that! We'll get to all of that later because I need to talk about it.

Right now, let's talk about the characters. Mercedes is smart, charismatic, confident, sarcastic, lonely, secretive, and many more things that most teenagers are. I found her to be very relatable. Angela is kind of our goody two-shoes, innocent character and I wouldn't have her any other way. Faye however, is someone that I was unsure about for the majority of the book, but she may surprise you. Saving the best for last, we have Zach. I just love him. He's so sweet and adorable and goofy. I just can't get enough of this guy!

*Singsong*
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Let's talk about you and me.
Let's talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be.
Let's talk about sex.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system... This novel is so sex positive, it's insane! We talk about safe and unsafe sex, rape, pregnancy, and even abstinence. At one point even that age at which we lose our virginity is discussed. We get the awkward fumbling as well as the sureness that comes when you have the right chemistry. Maybe I'm reading the wrong books, but seeing all of this in just one YA made me so happy! If you're like me, I highly recommend.

Laurie wrote an amazing novel that is about friendship, love, acceptance of self as well as others, and so much more. I take back my previous statement. I recommend Firsts to absolutely everyone. I love it wholeheartedly and have even gone so far as to tell Laurie that should she decide to venture out and write a new adult companion novel, I would be all over it. Seriously. Go grab yourself a copy and join me to gush over its greatness!
Xoxo,
Gabriella

Vernal Blog Tour & Giveaway



About the book:
Vernal by Randi Cooley Wilson
To be Released on June 30th, 2016
Genre: New Adult/Paranormal/Fantasy
Serena has a bright future etched in stone.
Tristan has a dark past that haunts him.
Together, they have a love that can never be.
Sheltered, and unable to escape her bloodline, Serena St. Michael has spent the last two years training at the Royal Protector Academy. Struggling with a dark past, Tristan Gallagher’s current assignment is to protect a lifetime of secrets. One chance encounter will change everything. Serena must decide if she will follow her heart, forsaking all she’s ever known and risking a future worse than non-existence. Tristan will break every rule to save Serena, even if he can’t keep her. In their world of darkness, one love will ignite an ancient war. When pasts collide with the present, and secrets are revealed, will love be enough? Or will one lie destroy it all?
When you’ve hidden behind a mask for so long, would you reveal yourself for love? Vernal, the first novel in The Royal Protector Academy series is a dangerously exciting and darkly romantic tale that will take your breath away.


About the author:
Randi Cooley Wilson is a “New Adult” Paranormal/Fantasy and Contemporary Romance author. A resident of Massachusetts, she makes stuff up, devours romance books, drinks lots of wine and coffee, and has a slight addiction to bracelets.
For more information visit: http://randicooleywilson.com











Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you'll check out the book. I know I will! You can find the rest of the tour here! I hope y'all have a lovely Monday!
Xoxo,
Gabriella

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #1

Waiting on Wednesday

Welcome to my very first "Waiting on Wednesday" post. Basically I just tell you about an upcoming book that I just cannot wait to read. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, feel free to make your own post and link it up. This week I am going to talk about Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova.

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition in this highly original fantasy adventure.
 



Doesn't that just sound amazing? Labyrinth Lost first caught my attention with the cover, it's gorgeous. But then I read that synopsis and whoa. I love a good witchy read and this one just sounds utterly unique and a book surrounding a specific culture that I have never read about, yes! Everything about this is drawing me in and I cannot wait to read it. Labyrinth Lost releases on September 6, 2016. I hope you'll grab a copy!
Xoxo,
Gabriella

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Conversations: Book Borrowing Rules


Welcome to another Conversations post! Today's topic is "What are the do's and don'ts for someone who wants to borrow your books?" Now this one is a toughie. I don't really lend out books anymore. Let's start with why.

Once upon a time I lent my best friend some of my Gossip Girl books. Now she read them and liked them, but one day when I asked for them back it was revealed that her mother had given my books to Goodwill. I was crushed. Her mom kindly bought me copies, but she bought the wrong cover in a mass market paperback edition no less (BLECK!) for one of them. I still feel bitter about it. 

Now even after that I let another close friend borrow book 1 from the Private series and while this was completely not her fault, my book was destroyed. A water bottle burst in her backpack and not only are the pages all crinkly, but the cover is being held on by packaging tape. Book 2 in that series is still missing to this day. I have since forgiven her, but one rule still stands. No one borrows my books.

However, upon some thinking, I would let certain people borrow my books. These people basically being one person. Grace. Even though she is in Australia and highly unlikely to borrow any of my books anyway. Grace is my type of bookish person. She's careful with her books. She doesn't dog-ear pages. She doesn't crack spines. Books are precious and she treats them as so.

Do you let people borrow your books? Do you have certain rules for these situations? I would love to hear all about it in the comments. Did you write a Conversations post? Leave me a link! Happy Saturday y'all.
Xoxo,
Gabriella