Friday, July 31, 2015

July Wrap-Up


July has been a really great month! I turned 20, my kitten, Mia, turned 1, and I read a crap-ton of books (aka 14)!  :)


The first book I finished this month was All I've Never Wanted by Ana Huang. I really enjoyed this book and you can can check out my review HERE

Rating: 4/5 stars


I read this entire book in one sitting- I could not put it down! I absolutely loved the story and the characters. Kris was sweet and brave and North was protective and swoony! Overall, I had a complete blast reading The Academy by Emmaline Andrews!

Rating: 5/5 stars


Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye was a short novella that I definitely enjoyed reading.

Rating: 4/5 stars


The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak was really fun, sweet, and entertaining and you can read my full review HERE.

Rating: 4/5 stars


Where You Least Expect by Lydia Rowan was a quick and cute little romance story that I really liked, but didn't quite love.

Rating: 3/5 stars


I've been really excited for Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and am so psyched I finally got to it. The cover is beautiful and the premise was really cool. I think this was a case of my expectations being too high from all the hype and the book falling a bit short. That being said, I really did enjoy this book and will definitely be reading the sequel.

Rating: 4/5 stars


The Girl & the Machine is a short story Beth Revis has up for free on Wattpad. This is a fast read with a twist you don't see coming.

Rating: 4/5 stars


Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan is one of the most heartwarming and eye-opening books I have ever read. And it has a permanent spot on my favorites shelf. <3

Rating: 5/5 stars


Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling is a quick and inspirational read.

P.S.- Happy Birthday to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter! <3

Rating: 5/5 stars


I finally read the first two books in the Doon series by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon and it was really awesome and fun! I loved the characters and the setting and I cannot wait for the sequel!

Rating: 5/5 stars


Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon absolutely blew my away! For more of my thoughts check out my review HERE.

Rating: 5/5 stars


Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout was the third and final book in The Dark Elements series. And I think it was the perfect conclusion to an amazing series! <3 #TeamRoth

Rating: 5/5 stars


I really enjoyed Lying Out Loud! I loved seeing all the cameos and I thought Sonny's sense of humor was great. But it really could have used just one more chapter. :)

Rating: 4.5/5 stars


-Kristen ♥

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Synopsis: This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more. 

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, ha ve 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.

Review: This book was absolutely nothing like I'd imagined it would be. Instead, it turned out to be so much better. I just finished reading Everything, Everything and knew I needed to write down my thoughts immediately.

The first thing I want to address is the format of the book, it was such a refreshing change from the usual and really expanded my enjoyment of the story. Now onto the feels.

This book is one of those rare ones that can really change you as a person. It's the kind of book that makes you want to go out and live life to its fullest potential. It's the kind of story that reminds you that life is precious, but that being alive and living are two separate things.

Madeline was a wonderful main character. I loved seeing her grow and change and stand up for herself. I adored Olly. I loved how sweet he was and I loved that Olly was only a stepping stone for Maddy to change her life, not the sole reason.

The big twist in the story was so unexpected and made me so freakin' angry and I'm glad Maddy, as a character, was allowed to hold on to her justifiable anger.

In the end, I absolutely fell in love with this book. If I had one complaint, it's only that I wish the story could have kept going for one more chapter (or ten). Seriously though, you should read this book. Everyone should. It's kind of life-changing.

An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Rating: 5/5 stars

-Kristen ♥

Thursday, July 23, 2015

#Bookstagram

I love books. And I love pictures. So it makes sense that I would love pictures of books! Today I want to showcase a few of my bookstagrams that I'm quite proud of.

A photo posted by Kristen (@kmichelle1) on

A photo posted by Kristen (@kmichelle1) on





A photo posted by Kristen (@kmichelle1) on

A photo posted by Kristen (@kmichelle1) on

-Kristen ♥

Monday, July 20, 2015

Book Spotlight: The Stellow Project by Shari Becker (Author Interview)

Title: The Stellow Project
Author: Shari Becker
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: June 23, 2015

Synopsis: When a killer storm unexpectedly hits Manhattan, seventeen-year-old Lilah Stellow’s dad insists that she and her younger sister, Flori, take refuge at their cabin in the mountains. But instead of joining them with the experimental drug that keeps Lilah alive, he disappears just as news reports name him as a prime suspect in an act of ecoterrorism.

As days pass without her medicine, Lilah finds herself teetering on the edge, caring for her sister, and growing increasingly certain they’re being watched. In her search for answers, Lilah is thrown into the center of a mystery involving an off-the-grid research facility and finds herself drawn in by Daniel, an intriguing boy who is the son of the lead scientist. As she dares to seek answers, Lilah slowly realizes that even the best intentions can go horribly wrong.

©2014 Bird on a Wire Photography
About the Author: Shari Becker was born in Montreal, Quebec, and was raised speaking both English and French. As a child, she spent her summers in the Adirondack Mountains catching fireflies, minnows, and toads. She has an MA from New York University and has worked for Nickelodeon, for Disney-owned companies, and even for an Emmy Award–winning puppeteer. She is the author of two picture books, including Maxwell’s Mountain, a Junior Library Guild Selection and Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book. She now lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with her husband, their two daughters, and their dog. She loves lakes, but despises the bridges that run over them.


Author Interview:

First off, I'd like to thank you for joining me on the blog today! 

Thanks for having me!

1. Describe The Stellow Project as a tweet (140 characters or less)! 

Dependent teen finds inner grit when she becomes a pawn in a mystery involving her family, the government and a top-secret lab in the woods.

2. What inspired you to start writing? 

I was actually a pretty spacey kid. In elementary school I used to sit in the back of the classroom imagining that all the items in my pencil case were characters. The eraser was an evil dragon, the hole puncher was an innocent princess, the pen was the horse … you get the picture. My parents have all these notebooks filled with my drawings and stories. I even tried to sell a picture book to a publisher when I was in fifth grade-ish. They let me down gently, but I didn’t give up. I tried to submit a romance story to Seventeen Magazine when I was in 9th grade. They let me down gently, too. But clearly, I was a woman on a mission.

3. What kind of research, if any, did you do for The Stellow Project

At first, everything was just an idea in my head. But then I had to figure out if any of my crazy, sci-fi ideas would actually make sense. My friend is a pulmonary doc-tor, and he explained the basics of heart and lung surgery to me. My brother-in-law is a master tech guy who explained cell phone technology to me. My father-in-law used to be a liaison between the FDA and a pharmaceutical company, so I had him read over all my lab scenes.

I did a lot of the research about satellites, government organizations and weather, online. You’d be amazed at how many amazing tornado sky photos you can find using google. When I wasn’t sure if my ideas were credible, I would go online and just begin searching keywords.

4. Do you have a specific place where you write? 

Yes, I write in a sunroom / office off my family’s living room. There are lots of windows, but I have to keep the blinds closed or else I’ll get totally distracted by the people walking down the footpath that runs by my house.

An old friend of my mother’s gave me a beautiful antique roll down desk. The desk is small, which is a good thing, because I am not so organized, but there’s not enough room for a ton of mess. Sometimes, I’ll write on the couch in my living room at night. My dog will curl up beside me, which is sweet and cozy, but it is hard to be serious when a dog is licking your knee … or foot.

5. What are you reading right now?

I’m between books. I recently finished “All The Light We Cannot See,” “I’ll Give You The Sun” and “Blue Lily, Lily Blue”. I’ve been so busy launching “The Stellow Project” that I haven’t had time to pick out my next read. I’m open to suggestions! Do you have any?

I recently finished Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman and it was awesome!

This or That... 

Ebook or Real book?

Real, but audio is actually my favorite

Twitter or Facebook? 

Facebook

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate.

Past or Future? 

Future

And just for fun - What is the strangest thing on your desk right now? (Pictures are more than welcome.) 

At the moment my desk is a place for all things lost. I pick up random objects in the house, intending to put them away, but I somehow end up back at my computer, writing, and just forget about them. There is a kitchen timer, an old flip video cam-era, a bag of knitting wool, a lint roller and a nail clipper. I can’t send a photo … it’s too embarrassing.

Thank you so much for answering my questions- I can't wait to read The Stellow Project!

-Kristen ♥
 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Book Spotlight: Hourglass by Pauline C. Harris (Author Interview)

Title: Hourglass
Author: Pauline C. Harris
Publisher: Fire and Ice YA Books
Publication Date: March 11, 2015

Synopsis: Jude Sprocket has been a pirate her whole life. Taken in by a man who found her alone on a distant planet at the age of seven, all she has to remember of her past life is the loss her hand - the vague memory of a race through the woods and a bloody aftermath. Now, her father recently dead, seventeen-year old Jude has inherited his spaceship - Hourglass. Determined to get off Earth and continue her father's legacy of piracy, she assembles a crew and takes to the stars. But more than abandoned ships and hidden treasure await Jude in the vast void of space. She's haunted by dreams of a distant land, children hiding in the shadows, and a little girl she somehow feels the need to find. When Jude and her crew stumble across an uncharted planet, curiosity gets the better of them and they land, unaware of the dangers that wait. Suddenly, Jude's worst nightmares are coming true as she lands on the planet she was never meant to leave.

About the Author: Pauline C. Harris is the author of middle grade and young adult science fiction novels and published her first book at the age of fourteen. She's currently working toward a degree in English. Other than writing, her time is consumed mainly by reading, playing the violin, watching old black and white movies, and trying to survive her college classes.


Author Interview:

First off, I'd like to thank you for joining me on the blog today! 

1. Describe Hourglass as a tweet (140 characters or less)! 

In this gender bent retelling of Peter Pan, Jude inherits her father's spaceship and stumbles across a hauntingly abandoned planet.

2. What made you decide to do a Peter Pan retelling? 

I’ve been really into retellings lately (both reading and writing them!). I also love the idea of taking a normally male oriented fairytale and changing the protagonist to a female. I think it gives a nice twist and new vantage point to the story. And I’ve always loved Peter Pan and I thought a space travel, scifi retelling would be super fun!

3. What inspired you to start writing? 

I credit a lot of my initial inspiration for writing to the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. I absolutely love those books and when I first got into them when I was in elementary school I knew I wanted to write books like that.

4. What kind of research, if any, did you do for Hourglass

I watched the Disney version of Peter Pan, read the J.M. Barrie novel, and quizzed my dad (in his infinite wisdom on scifi novels) about how spaceships work. That was basically it.

5. Do you have a specific place where you write? 

Not really. Especially now since I’m in college, I’m constantly moving around – from home to school to various trips – so I just write whenever and wherever.

6. What are you reading right now? 

I’m just about to start Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and I can’t wait. I’ve heard so many great things about it.

This or That... 

Ebook or Real book? 

Real book, definitely. I love the feel and the smell and everything.

Twitter or Facebook? 

That’s a hard one…probably Twitter. Facebook is better for personal stuff, but I love talking with other readers and writers in Twitter.

Chocolate or Vanilla? 

Chocolate!

Past or Future?

Future. Scifi future. ;)

Peter Pan or Captain Hook? 

Captain Hook! Villains are always more interesting than the protagonists. (And if you read my retelling, you might find Peter Pan isn’t as nice as everything thinks)

And just for fun- What is the strangest thing on your desk right now? 

It’s not necessarily strange, but it is a little random. I have a typewriter on my desk.


-Kristen ♥

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Blog Tour: A Friendly Engagement by Christine Warner (Guest Post + Giveaway)


Title: A Friendly Engagement
Author: Christine Warner
Series: Friends First, #1
Publisher: Entangled
Publication Date: June 23, 2015

Synopsis: What's a little engagement between friends? 

Omar Esterly is married to his job. But when Omar sets his sights on a potential, family-oriented client, his confirmed bachelorhood becomes a problem. Fortunately, his friend and employee, Devi Boss, has the perfect plan...

Okay, so it wasn't exactly Devi's plan to become her friend's fake fiancĂ©e. Lies aren't her style. However, Omar offers her a big, beautiful raise - enough to track down the missing father she's never known - and Devi reluctantly agrees to the whole engagement hoax... 

This was supposed to be a no-strings-attached win-win for both Devi and Omar, but when they cross the line between friendship and...well, something more, Devi realizes she's made a huge mistake that just might cost her both job and friend - falling for her fiancé.

About the Author: Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her husband, three children, one laptop and a much loved assortment of furry friends. Besides laughing and a good round of humor, Christine enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmitic. A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines. A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, Christine enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on Facebook, Twitter and her website.


Guest Post:

Today I’d like to talk about dedications. I think it’s one of the little features in almost every book that is often overlooked. I always check out the dedication page when I sit down with a new book. 

Why?

Because I love reading those passages, and I marvel at how a few well chosen words can say so much about the author and the people they dedicate their work to.

After my first book was accepted for publication I didn’t have to think twice about who would get the coveted dedication page. The hard part was deciding what to say without getting to wordy or to sappy. (Both bad habits of mine) My sister was the tank of strength in the bumpy journey I jumped on in the pursuit of becoming a writer and then taking the final plunge into publication. I couldn’t have done any of it without her encouragement and support.

My second book, I had no other option but dedicating my work to my awesome daughter. As a baby she was my pride and joy, as she grew to a pre-teen and then a teenager we had our share of battles. She’s now a young adult, making her way out in the world. Through all the changes we’ve held one steady constant—our love for each other that has carried us through trying times and into a strong friendship.

My third book was dedicated to two very important people in my life that left this earth to soon—my mom and dad. I miss them every day.

The fourth book I wrote was dedicated to all my wonderful readers. And every time I think of this dedication I smile. There’s nothing better than hearing from readers, and knowing that I might have brightened their day with one of my stories.

Now that my fifth book has burst onto the scene—and a sixth and seventh are on the horizon—I didn’t have to think too hard to decide who I’d dedicate my books to. Although, I do admit about worrying if I’ll get the words right.

I won’t reveal the dedications for books two and three in the Friends First series, but I do want to share my dedication for book one, A Friendly Engagement:

To my very special niece and nephew who have given me many smiles through the years as I’ve watched them grow into the amazing people they are today. 

My beautiful niece, Cassandra Devi Rianna Singh-Suwal, who has the strength to do things her own way, and my awe-inspiring nephew, Cristendra Raj Singh-Suwal, who has the biggest heart of anyone I know. 

I love you both. 

If you’ll notice my heroine in A Friendly Engagement shares my niece’s middle name of Devi. Besides dedications, I love “borrowing” traits, names, and characteristics from those in my life.

Are you like me and look forward to that sneak peek into an author’s thoughts by reading their dedication? Or do you skip the dedication page altogether?

I bet after reading this, you’ll check out a few if you haven’t before.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Review: The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

Title: The Heartbreakers
Author: Ali Novak
Series: The Heartbreaker Chronicles, #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: August 4, 2015

Synopsis: "When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. And he had no idea that I was the only girl in the world who hated his music."

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD...for four hours. She's totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she'll never see him again.

Except, Stella's life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer?

Review: I really enjoyed The Heartbreakers- I thought the book was sweet and entertaining and that the band itself was a lot of fun!


Our main character Stella, is the oldest of her triplets and the love she has for her brother, Drew, and sick sister, Cara, really touched my heart. The band members were my favorite, I loved each of their personalities and the antics they got up to. I really admired Stella's love for photography and how she finally finds the courage to pursue her passion. Oliver Perry was confident and sweet. I really loved how Cara never let her cancer get her down and she always saw the bright side.


Overall, this book was sweet and fun and the whole time I was wishing the characters were real so I could hear the Heartbreakers perform and see Stella's photography for myself. :)

An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

-Kristen ♥
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