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Friday, September 22, 2017

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Blog Tour: Finding You - Excerpt & Giveaway

Finding You
Author: Lydia Albano
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Taken from home and family, all they have is each other.

Isla is kidnapped from a train platform in broad daylight, and thrust into a nightmare when she is sold to a sadistic aristocrat. Locked in a dungeon with a dozen other girls, Isla's only comfort is a locket and the memory of the boy she loves. But as days pass and more girls disappear, she realizes that help is not coming... If they're going to survive, they'll have to escape on their own.

Swoon Reads is proud to present Lydia Albano's debut novel, a powerful story of a teen girl finding strength and hope in even the worst circumstances.

About the Author:

Lydia Albano is a (self-proclaimed) Bunburyist living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she promotes Oxford commas, spends her money on musical theater, and demands the Myers-Briggs letters of everyone she meets. Her debut novel, Finding You, will be released in September, 2017, with SwoonReads/Macmillan.
Goodreads | Twiter

If you want to take a look at the whole tour schedule, Finding You - tour schedule

Before I post the excerpt, here's a giveaway!
US/CAN only; Winner receives a print copy of Finding You, ends Sept. 28
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I catch my breath and watch as they descend the steps, the prison soundless but for the muffled thuds made by their boots. No one else speaks, moves, breathes.

The stranger is not a prisoner; if anything, he is leading the men. His clothes are fine, velvet and silk, but unflattering: his cravat tight but everything else ill-fitting; a black bombin hat perched awkwardly on his close-shaven head. He walks quickly with jagged steps toward the cell, and I recognize him: Curram’s man, the one who handled the money at the warehouse.

He stops only inches from the bars and looks in at us, his face twisted into an ugly, condescending sneer.

We all shrink back at the same time, as far from the cell door as possible. Someone’s hand clutches mine, small and cold as ice; Eugenia stares at me, trembling. I squeeze her fingers with my own, wishing I could tell her to be strong, that we’ll be all right. But I’m sure we won’t be.

The man is smiling now, his pale eyes raising gooseflesh on my arms. He puts a key in the cell’s lock, turns it, and opens the door.

I can’t back up any farther. The walls feel closer, the cell smaller. Someone starts to cry, and my pulse races in my ears. The man looks like a giant, towering over us with his arms crossed, amusement evident on his face.
He is still as stone except for his eyes, which flick from one of us to the next. I brace myself for him to move, but when he lunges forward, I jump anyway. It’s Eugenia he grabs, yanking her to her feet, pulling her hand out of mine. I’m too startled to hold on, fixated as her hair tumbles forward to cover her face, and it’s as if I’m seeing myself taken away, her skin as white as bone in the shadows.
He adjusts his grip on her arms as she screams for help and thrashes uselessly. He’s bigger, stronger, and I’m frozen in horror.

I hear her cries, and they might as well be mine.
The man’s hat is knocked off his head, and with a grunt he flings Eugenia out of the cell and to the ground outside.

The soldiers hoist her to her feet; she looks like a porcelain doll, pale and fragile, between them. They drag her up the stairs, weeping and still begging for help, and I sit, unable to move.

The fancy man is still standing in the entrance to the cell, but now he is watching us. He bends very deliberately to pick up his hat, his eyes running over us the entire time. When he places the hat slowly onto his head, he’s smiling.

Then he backs out of the cell and shuts it behind him, turning the lock and hooking his cluttered ring of keys on his belt once more. He turns, climbs the stairs, and is gone.

Eugenia’s screams echo off the walls, or perhaps only in side my head. Fear fills the air, pushing my heart faster and faster. I can’t think about her. I don’t want to imagine what comes next.

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Fangirl Friday: Natural Disasters + Lit InvAsian

I want to start off and just say that I'm really sorry to everyone who has been affected by these natural disasters. Even if you know someone or have family that have been affected by the hurricanes (Irma, Maria, Jose, and Harvey) and the powerful earthquake that hit Mexico. It seems that mother nature is throwing everything at us and just testing us on how well we can work together and how strong we can be. I'm pretty sure we are gonna prove her wrong.

Now for some good news in the world....

Lit IncvAsian is gonna launch extremely soon!

I'm awful at summarizing and Glaiza explained it way better than me! Here's the info!

"Lit InvAsian was created by the #AsianLitBingo co-hosts after the support and appreciation that followed #AsianLitChatLit InvAsian is run by a group of bookworms and #DiverseBookBloggers dedicated to uplifting Asian voices in literature. We aim to highlight the diversity of Asian voices through spotlight features and annual events like the Book Club, Asian Lit Bingo and Asian Lit Chat. This upcoming weekend, we're launching our first bi-monthly book club, so check out our Twitter @LitInvasian to vote on the forthcoming book poll. Help us choose what to read and learn more about the Lit InvAsian features to come! We'll also be updating TwitterGoodreadsInstagram,Tumblr and Litsy: litinvasian over the coming weeks. Our book club is open to anyone to join, so feel free to drop by."
-Glaiza, Lit InvAsian Co-host
Go follow them and join the book club!

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon | Review (Everything Ruined?)

Everything Everything Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything
Nicola Yoon
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Reviewer: Sophia

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I'm part of a reading challenge on this app called Habitica where I have to read a book turning into a movie this year, so Everything, Everything kind of got picked because of that. (I know it's problematic. The reading challenges are the only reasons why I chose to read the book.)

Anelise and I were also throwing out random books from our library for hours and this was the first that we both had a copy of or could borrow from the library, so here we are.

I was hoping to learn more from Everything, Everything than I actually did. Madeline Whittier, aka Maddy, is someone who has SCID - an immune disorder where those affected basically have to be isolated from everything. I learned virtually nothing but the bare bones definition of SCID for the duration of the book:
  • You have to be isolated from the world
  • Anything, ANYTHING can trigger a reaction
  • It is basically a very miserable life
Let's be honest: it's the dictionary definition.

And everything is so WHITE. White walls, white rooms, white bookshelves - I like the occasional white but ALL white is associated with hospitals. I suppose hospital is the atmosphere Yoon is going for? Still, though. Hospitals do have a splash of color somewhere? At least I'm pretty sure they do, but I'm that one kid who rarely went to the hospital.

So if you want the really quick version: the romance is the plot. I'm usually not a fan of contemporary romance, but I've been on a contemporary streak lately after reading some amazing books lately in the genre. The romance between Mandy and Olly is adorable - seeing their limited interactions, IMs, emails, etc. and even when they saw each other outside of those. If you don't mind a cute romance or have a curiosity to know more about SCID, then Everything, Everything might be up your alley. But I like learning things. This is why I'm still Ravenclaw and not Gryffindor, so Pottermore is wrong, I tell you. WRONG.

I thought the layout was interesting and different, making the book seem quicker. I also loved the illustrations - they complemented the story really well and felt like a nice addition.

Despite the cute romance, interesting layout, and amazing illustrations, I am still disappointed with the ending. It's one of those endings that might depend on the reader’s preferences, but I thought it was a screwed up ending where some of the characters have HUGE issues. I know I have my own issues of life, but this one is a really messy issue and I'm surprised no one got even a tiny bit suspicious for what? 16, 17 years?

I know there are some out there who will turn around and say that Everything, Everything is a fantastic novel. It is! But the ending ruined everything, and I cannot add this to my collection of shove worthy books.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel | ARC Review (Crows and Death)


Black Bird of the Gallows
Meg Kassel
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Reviewer: Sophia

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.
Advanced copy provided by Entangled Teen via Netgalley

“I'm going to sleep!” says reviewer, as she furiously types on the keyboard. The next time she looks up, an hour has passed, leaving her with one less hour of sleep and an 8 am class looming closer.

Obviously, I am a complete night owl because all of my decent reviews (aka my usual self and not some half hearted attempt of I THINK THIS IS A REVIEW BUT MY BRAIN IS CRYING SO I GIVE UP *presses schedule*) are all written after all the other souls in the house are sleeping soundly.

There's only one other soul 99% of the time.

Also, I read this weeks ago and completely forgot about the release date being last week, so I started writing other reviews and reading other books and poor Meg Kassel’s debut just sat there crying at me silently, “Are you going to review me?”

Five Things about Black Bird of the Gallows

At the same time, I had high expectations for Kassel’s debut novel, I also didn't, for some weird and odd reason my brain won't conjure up (the brain is strange, very strange). Here are some things to be aware of before/when picking up the book:

Death is a theme, but used differently - the few novels I've read with a death theme always have something in common: there's probably a grim reaper, and the grim reaper collects souls. Kassel uses a similar theme, but it's not the exact same theme. Honestly, I'm curious if this has mythology ties - is it okay if I kind of regret dropping myth and folklore senior year? I sacrificed it for college credit in speech instead (that's okay, right?).

I am in love with gorgeous lines, and Kassel delivers - I mean, they're not enough that I want to draw them (this is a rare thing to happen), but there are lovely lines and descriptions! And there's humor. I think I enjoyed the humor more often.
Suddenly, I notice the light steam coming off his skin—the same coming from my mouth when I speak. It feels like I’m sitting next to an attractive, boy-shaped wood stove.
There's a music aspect - As a once upon a violin player, music is important! Okay, maybe not important in my life as much as books are, but music books are cute. Music plays a major role in Black Bird of the Gallows when it comes to character development. When we first meet Angie, she's not as confident with her music as she eventually becomes later in the book.

Birds! (Okay, Crows) - It's probably a bad idea for me to read another book involving birds after Shatter Me, but I'm fine with birds in this one. The crows are also one of my favorite parts of the book - the crows aren't directly involved with death, but they play a role as well.

It gets dark - Black Bird of the Gallows might be less dark at the beginning, but it gets dark, VERY dark near the end. (Secretly my evil little heart likes this. I'm worried.)

Overall: Black Bird of the Gallows is perfect for those who enjoy books about death but are looking for something different than what we usually see.
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Friday, September 15, 2017


Fangirl Friday: Stranger Things 2 + Pirate101!

Hey guys!
It's been another stressful week for me, but I'm sure yours was excellent! I got exciting news to share with you other than the fact that I'm still reading Chamber of Secrets. It's been quite a week, so give me a few more days to finish this bad boy and get on with the HP reading challenge I set myself up for.

Stranger Things season 2 is coming very SOON! I'm honestly so excited about this! They release posters that pays homage to the 80s movies and it's fantastic! Check out the newest one that pays homage to the movie Jaws.

Any gamers in the room? Pirate101 got some new updates going on and hopefully you all are excited as Sophia! (I don't play games. I have no life right now. School is ruining my free time. Help.) Check out the video below!

Any Hellboy fans? I love the movies, but it's getting a reboot. I wasn't TOO happy about it. Now I am after I saw this photo of David Harbour as Hellboy! I can't wait for the release of this reboot!

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017


I Would Be a Better Contemporary Character Than Any Other Genre

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m an avid reader open to all kinds of genres except for a particular one I like to steer clear of as much as possible (though lately that’s been failing because Ninja Girl by Cookie O’Gorman is so cute and there’s a Korean MC and she’s really bad-ass so…).

I am not a fan of contemporary novels.

I’m not! I dislike it because well… I just don’t connect well with contemporary for some reason. Plus, most of the novels in contemporary are romance, and I’m not a big fan of romance either. PDA makes me extremely uncomfortable, and complete strangers hitting on me is a surefire way for me to give a nasty look (and if they go too far, a very nasty comment).

But if I think about it, and I mean really think about it, I would make a better contemporary character than a fantasy character.

I would probably run from all the monsters.

I’m afraid of bugs - all of the bugs (I forgot what the actual phobia name is, but it starts with an ‘e’ and I’m a little too lazy to actually look it up at the moment). But still, if I’m afraid of bugs, then I’ll definitely be more than a little afraid of a monster. Monsters are bigger than bugs, who are smaller than the palm of my hand.

I’m not a sword-wielding bad-ass.

I probably look like I could kick someone’s butt and hurt them severely, but I never went through any training myself. The chances of my survival in a contemporary novel is a lot higher than a fantasy novel.

I’ll be a damsel in distress in a fantasy novel, too.

I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that. If anyone seeing this is sinister and mean ill will towards me, I’m screwed for sure.

I’d be too awed by the world to even focus.

Contemporary worlds are realistic, and I live in a realistic world, so I’m not going to be looking at a flat square that can message people in complete awe. Fantasy worlds are more elaborate and prettier than contemporary, and I love looking at pretty landscapes and buildings. (This is one reason why I really wanted to go to a college that is a 5 hour round trip. The campus is gorgeous.)

I’d get killed in my sleep.

I’ve been told I sleep like a dead person, and my mom has to whack me for me to actually wake up. Don’t worry, guys, she’s not abusing me. The point is, if I sleep like a dead person, I would never know if a monster sneaks up on me and takes a chunk of my brain.

I’d get killed regardless. RIP to me.

Sleep is probably not the only time I can get killed easily in a fantasy novel. Chances are, I’ll slip on ice, trip over a bump in the carpet (I’ve actually faceplanted on one) - I’m somewhat clumsy and even Lupe knows it.

Would you survive longer in a contemporary novel or fantasy novel? Do you want to live in a fantasy novel where you’re counted on by everyone to save the world, and there are potentially monsters at every turn? I would love to know your thoughts on this, so be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or chat with me on Twitter (@HannahSophiaLin).

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Friday, September 8, 2017

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Fangirl Friday: Hurricane disasters + Show/Movie issues

Hello! I hope all of you had a fantastic week. I feel so bad for those in the way of the three hurricanes that are going on right now. If you are in the way, please take precautions, evacuate or find a shelter near you. Please stay safe out there!

You all know Disney is starting to film the long awaited live action movie Aladdin. News broke out that they have created a new character in the film and hired a "white actor" to play the role. EVERYONE was honestly not happy about this. I'M not happy about this. I don't like the fact that they have created an unnecessary new character that will try to be the "potential husband for Princess Jasmine." Of course, this is a movie that shouldn't have a white character at all. Disney is receiving tons of backlash for this. I mean they whitewashing this film. Not good Disney. NOT GOOD!

In other news, Cartoon Network is going to add a fourth member to the Powerpuff Girls and will make her debut on September 17 in a five part movie event. I was shocked at first meaning, HOW DARE THEY TRY TO SCREW UP MY CHILDHOOD! Then I saw who was voicing it and all of my worries went away. Toya Delazy will be voicing the fourth Powerpuff Girl meaning that we will have a POC as a fourth member of the Powerpuff Girls! HURRAY FOR DIVERSITY!


Any fans of Lady Gaga out there? Check out this Netflix trailer of her new documentary!


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