Saturday, December 31, 2016

December 2016 Recap

So we've arrived at the final monthly recap of 2016! As I mentioned in my 2016 Rewind, I'm not at all sorry to see this year go!

Real life continued to be an uncooperative arse in December, meaning another unproductive reading/blogging month. The icing on the turd cake that has been 2016 is the nagging cold that I've been battling the last 2 weeks. It's always fun to have to answer the office phone sounding like a Mandrake from Harry Potter in its death throes. XD

I did manage to finish a book in December:

This is an absolutely gorgeous book, with lots of photos from the show, the lyrics to all of the songs, and fantastic behind the scenes stories. Plus: deckle edges!

I wish all of you much happiness in 2017! Happy reading and blogging! :D

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Rewind

Hello, friends! How is it possible that we've reached the end of another year? I think I said something similar in last year's rewind post, but 2016 has been so insane, you'll have to forgive my memory lapse. XD

Every year has its ups and downs, but 2016 was particularly heavy on the downs. I promise not to go on whining about real life stuff, lol. Said stuff did creep into reading and blogging, though, and pretty much brought both to a standstill. It is what it is, but I'm so, so, so, so, so, so ready to bury 2016 in the trash then set it on fire. And then possibly run over it with a bulldozer, just for good measure.

Unsurprisingly, I missed my Goodreads challenge by like 10 books for like the third year in a row. I've lost track of the consecutive number of years of failure because it's become the norm, lol. Ah, well—maybe next year, because by default, 2017 HAS to be better than 2016!

2016 did manage to provide a few bookish highlights, including meeting Maggie Stiefvater and returning to YALLFest with Ally and Melissa. I was thrilled to meet the lovely Victoria Schwab at YALLFest as well as see Alexandra Bracken again.

While I didn't get to read a lot of books this year, I LOVED quite a few of the ones that I did get to:

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

This was my most anticipated read of 2016 and the front-runner for favorite book of 2016, and The Raven King did not disappoint. I savored every word of this baby, as was its due. All hail The Raven King and its ingenious queen, Maggie Stiefvater.

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

I technically read this one at the very end of last year, after I'd already written my 2015 rewind post. So now I must shower it with infintite love in the 2016 rewind. Do you love paranormal? Do you love Jane Austen? Do you love witty heroines who circumvent the restrictions of their eras? Do you love brooding male characters with a hint of danger to them? Do you love beautiful prose? Then The Dark Days Club is for you!

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I LOVE morally gray characters, and Vicious is one of the best books I've ever read that features them. The story is absolutely mesmerizing from start to finish.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Oh look—it's V.E./Victoria Schwab again, LOL. Her follow-up to last year's A Darker Shade of Magic totally delivers. If you love Avatar: The Last Airbender, you'll totally dig the elemental magic in this series. Plus there's time travel, alternate Londons, and pirates!

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

RHYSAND. That is all. XD

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

And here's SJM again, LOL. While this installment felt a wee bit off in the pacing department, it was still one hell of a read with an ending that is guaranteed to utterly destroy you.

Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger

This wonderful novella is a perfect introduction to Carriger's Victorian steampunk world of supernatural creatures, tea, and lots of wit. It's also the perfect complement to readers already familiar with her Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

I admit to being a tad skeptical of yet another Shadowhunters series, but Lady Midnight was a most pleasant surprise and left me eagerly awaiting its sequel, Lord of Shadows.

How did your 2016 in reading/blogging go? I wish all of you a very, very Happy New Year, and all the best in 2017! :D

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 Book Blog Discussion Challenge

The 2017 Book Blog Discussion Challenge is hosted by
Feed Your Fiction Addiction & It Starts at Midnight.

Alrighty, let's try this again, lol. I participated in this year's challenge and hoped to be more consistent with writing discussion posts, but then real life, especially the last few months, brought blogging in general pretty much to a full stop. I did have fun writing the discussion posts that did make it to the blog and getting to meet some new bloggers. I also started keeping a list of possible future topics that I never had time to turn into posts, so I'm happy about going into 2017 with some ideas ready to go. XD

I'm sticking with the same goal as 2016, which is:

1-12 – Discussion Dabbler

If you'd like to sign up and join in on the fun, click on either of the links above!

Friday, December 2, 2016

November 2016 Recap

Welp, there's not much of a recap for November because there were like 3 posts, 1 of which was the October recap. XD Real life has just been a greedy time suck lately, devouring every nanosecond. At least getting to go back to YALLFest last month provided a much needed, even though it was short, break from full-time adulting.

I also got to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them last month, which was excellent. I'm definitely looking forward to more installments! I've been trying to tune in when I can to the every episode ever Simpsons marathon that's currently airing, but alas, real life usually thwarts my efforts to catch like an hour of TV.

I didn't read ANY books at all in November. *sad face* On the upside, if I read even just one book in December, I'll still have surpassed November's total! Yay for setting the bar low! XD

What are you guys reading in December—any holiday-themed reads?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (150)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
If You Could Change One Thing from the Fourth Film, What Would It Be?

Hands down, I'd want to see a totally different take of Michael Gambon's Dumbledore asking Harry if he put his name in the Goblet of Fire. Seriously, WTF was up with Dumbledore yelling at Harry in the film?!!! The memes that came out of that scene do make me laugh, but every time I watch GoF, I cringe during that moment. Talk about awkward and out of character. :/

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (149)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Would You Rather Break into Gringotts or the Ministry of Magic?

To everyone who's celebrating today, Happy Thanksgiving! The long holiday weekend means I get to write a blog post or two, lol.

Ah, this is a tough question. I mean, imagine all of the treasures lying within the vaults of Gringotts. But the Ministry of Magic is . . . the Ministry of Magic! As much as I'd like to check out all of the priceless items stashed in Gringotts, I'd opt for some unauthorized exploration of the Ministry. I'd consult with the trio first before attempting this; after all, they successfully broke into both places! XD

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Adventures at YALLFest 2016

Oh, hello there! It's been very quiet around here for almost 2 weeks, but I think I'm back? I'm still feeling a bit meh and it's been hard to find the motivation (and time) to read and blog, but here goes with jumping back into blogging.

Ally, Melissa, and I had so much fun attending YALLFest for the first time last year that we absolutely wanted to go back. The logistics involved in pulling off this year's trip were much trickier with everyone's insanely busy schedules, but, fueled by our love of books (and lots and lots and lots of coffee), we were determined to return to Charleston.

Once again, a small group of authors had signings on Friday, the day before the actual event. We made really good time driving up to Charleston and arrived early enough to walk around for a while and do some shopping before the Alexandra Bracken signing in the afternoon. Both her Friday and Saturday signings were limited to a certain number of people, so Ally and I figured that Friday was our best shot. We also went to her signing last year, and she was incredibly sweet both times. She actually asked me if we'd met before, and I told her yes, at last year's event. It was very flattering to be recognized, and I swear I'm not a stalker or anything, lol. I got my copy of Passenger signed:

After grabbing an early-ish dinner, we checked into our hotel and worked out our strategy for Saturday. The signings, panels, and events at the publisher booths all go on simultaneously, so prioritizing is a must. This year, we spent more time checking out the publisher booths; several of them had hourly giveaways and/or contests. We did attend the opening keynote featuring Sabaa Tahir and Victoria Aveyard, and while we were waiting outside the Charleston Music Hall for the doors to open, we spotted Veronica Roth, Margaret Stohl, Leigh Bardugo, Susan Dennard, Justine Larbalestier, and Scott Westerfeld. Maggie Stiefvater also passed by on the way to her signing, which unfortunately was at the same time as the keynote. We weren't terribly disappointed we didn't get to go, though, because we got to meet her back in June during one of her tour stops promoting The Raven King.

While the three of us spent most of the day checking out the publisher events, I went to the Victoria Schwab signing in the afternoon. I thought it best to get in line pretty early, and I did not regret my decision. Not only was there already quite a bit of a line when I got there, but there was a hiccup when it got closer to the signing time. She was supposed to sign in the bookstore, but the room wasn't ready for her at the start time, so she stood outside the bookstore for a while and started signing books to keep to the schedule. How AWESOME was that of her?! By the time it my was my turn, we had moved inside the bookstore, where they were playing the Hamilton soundtrack. :D Victoria was so, so, so lovely, and I love what she wrote in my copies of Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic:

The last event of the day that we checked out was Riveted's YA trivia contest, which featured free yummy cupcakes (yay!) and the chance to have your name picked from the "Chalice of Flames" to compete on teams with authors Jenny Han, Brendan Kiely, Jason Reynolds, Scott Westerfeld, and Suzanne Young. Alas, none of us were chosen, but it was still a lot of fun to be in the audience and watch. We also received ARCs of Cristin Terrill's Here Lies Daniel Tate.

After the trivia contest, the three of us were more than ready to call it a day, so we headed back to the hotel to munch on leftover pizza and snacks from the stash we'd brought for the trip and to check out our goodies. Here are a few pics of my haul:

The Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron
Denton Little's Still Not Dead by Lance Rubin
The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
Just Another Girl by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
All Fall Down by Ally Carter
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

Not pictured: the cookie that was also handed out to everyone who received an ARC of The Valiant. When you received your book, they asked you to pick your weapon: swords, bow and arrow, or trident. You then received a cookie decorated with your weapon of choice on it. The cookie looked so tasty, I ate mine before I had a chance to take a photo of it, LOLOL. Mmmmm . . . cookies.

Everyone who was at the Scholastic booth for the Just Another Girl ARC giveaway got to meet David Levithan! I was also super, super excited about the ARC of Frogkisser! They also gave out lip balm, which you can see in the photo below and which I thought was some very clever marketing!

The New York City postcard is actually a cool promo piece for Brandon Sanderson's Firefight. I got the NYC mug while we were out and about on Friday browsing the local stores. So basically I went to Charleston, South Carolina to buy an NYC mug, lol.

Riveted gave out excerpts of the upcoming Shadowhunters novel, Lord of Shadows, along with these awesome posters:

After a whirlwind two days, it was time to pack up the car again and head home. We went to this awesome bagel place for breakfast one more time, where I got to eat my second garlic bagel of the weekend. Mmmmm . . . garlic bagels. I've rarely found them here in Florida, and as an NYC native, bagels are practically their own food group to me. XD

For the second year in a row, YALLFest was an amazing experience, and I absolutely recommend checking it out to anyone who's thinking about going, We definitely hope to make a third trip there in 2017!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

October 2016 Recap

Ah, yes, today is already the 8th of November, isn't it? And here I am, just getting around to posting the October recap. Oops. XD

Without sugarcoating it, real life has been kicking my ass lately, hurling quite a few unexpected curveballs, or maybe beanballs would be more apt if you're a baseball fan. I've barely been getting the real life necessities done, so reading and blogging have pretty much been tossed aside for the past few weeks. Adulting is hard!

I'm slowly trying to get back on track and hope that heading back to YALLFest later this week will help kick-start my motivation to pick up a book and read it. I also hope to get back to regular commenting soon; I know I've been spotty at best with it.

October was such a blur that I was surprised to find that I actually did read some books and post some reviews, lol. I really enjoyed the 2 books I read last month, so I'm just choosing both as my October faves:

And here's one of my favorite quotes from the ARC of Cloudwish:

But maybe life couldn't be kept incubating indefinitely. Maybe it was ready to hatch a bit earlier, like right now, if only she'd play along.

Reviews Posted:

Monday, October 31, 2016

ARC Review: Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger

Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger
Romancing the Inventor (Supernatural Society #1)
By Gail Carriger
Gail Carriger
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Publication Date: November 1, 2016

To Sum It Up: Imogene Hale isn’t sure what to expect when she enters into service as a parlourmaid for the Woolsey vampire hive, but surely life there must be more interesting than the one she’s leading now. Intrigue for Imogene arrives quickly in the form of Madame Genevieve Lefoux, a brilliant inventor indentured to the hive. The chemistry between the two is instant and undeniable, and Imogene would love nothing more than for the inventor to show even the smallest sign of sharing Imogene’s feelings. Madame Lefoux, however, appears to still be nursing a broken heart, and Imogene faces quite the challenge in convincing the inventor that she might be able to love again.

Review: What a trifecta of awesomeness Gail Carriger has released in 2016: first with her novella Poison or Protect, then the second Custard Protocol novel, Imprudence, and now with her latest novella, Romancing the Inventor. I was very, very much looking forward to reading the latter not only because I absolutely adore the supernatural, Victorian steampunk world of Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series and will read anything set in it, but also because Romancing the Inventor checks in on Madame Genevieve Lefoux, a Parasol-verse character last seen facing a rather hapless fate after running amok through the streets of London with one of her inventions.

Readers who are not familiar with Madame Lefoux’s previous adventures need not worry here. The ingenious thing about both this novella and Poison or Protect is that they are entirely self-contained; no familiarity with the Parasol-verse is assumed or required. You get enough of Madame Lefoux’s backstory to understand her character here, but without overwhelming neither newcomers to the world nor readers who already know her history with too many details. Carriger strikes a harmonious balance in writing with both sets of readers in mind.

Although Madame Lefoux features prominently in Romancing the Inventor, it’s parlourmaid Imogene Hale, a character new to even readers of Carriger’s other works, who is the novella's protagonist. Life in a small English village holds very little for Imogene, so she gains employment at Woolsey Castle, home to the Woolsey vampire hive and its queen, Countess Nadasdy. The much hoped for excitement Imogene sought among vampires doesn’t take long to materialize, and what follows is a wonderfully sweet, slow burn of a love story. The romance runs into a few obstacles along the way, including hesitance on the part of Madame Lefoux, who still isn’t quite over a past love. Fortunately for Imogene, she later gains a very persuasive ally to assist her with convincing Madame Lefoux to entrust her heart to someone again.

Like Poison or Protect, Romancing the Inventor was just the right number of pages. Other novellas I’ve read felt a bit short and not long enough to really get to know the characters and/or tell a complete story, but neither issue arises here. Math and I have always been archenemies, but even I chuckled at the clever math references. I’m also extremely curious to read more about a certain character from the Parasol Protectorate novels thanks to the side of that character that’s shown here. Not only would I love to see this character featured in a future novella, but really all of the minor characters from the Parasol-verse because these novellas are such a delight to read.

All in All: I can’t emphasize enough that you can pick up this novella and enjoy it whether you’re completely new to the world or have read any number of other works set in it. If you loved the original Parasol Protectorate series like I did and always wondered what happened to Madame Lefoux, then definitely read Romancing the Inventor to find out; you won’t be disappointed!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fandom Mashups (77)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
It's Halloween and you want to go out and cause trouble! Who are you taking with you?

Gah! How is tomorrow Halloween already?! I feel like it was just New Year's! Now I have to go drown my sorrows over how this year has almost totally slipped by me by eating as many Reese's peanut butter pumpkins as possible. XD Now on to assembling a team of troublemakers:

  1. Ronan Lynch (The Raven Cycle): Ronan and trouble are practically synonymous, and Ronan can be very, very creative.
  2. Fred & George Weasley: Mischief. Managed! XD
  3. Homer Simpson: Homer can cause mayhem without even trying, so imagine the results if he puts some effort into it!
  4. Loki: It doesn't even need to be Halloween to give this trickster a reason to wreak havoc.
  5. Cole St. Clair (The Wolves of Mercy Falls): I'd love to see how much chaos ensues from Cole and Ronan teaming up. Bonus: a snarkfest is likely to break out between the two, lol.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (148)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
How Did Dean Thomas Add to the Overall Storyline?

Dean may not have destroyed a Horcrux or had a penchant for blowing stuff up like some of his other friends, but he was a loyal friend, a member of Dumbledore's Army, and an all-around nice guy. I think one of his most significant, and unintentional, lol, roles in the series was getting Harry to realize just how much he liked Ginny while she was dating Dean. XD

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
By Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: Facing impossible odds in their battle against Erawen and the Valg, Aelin and her friends set out to rally any allies they can. Along the way, Aelin finds out a devastating truth about her destiny, but she’ll accept whatever cost if it means ridding her world of the Valg and restoring prosperity to her homeland of Terrasen.

Review: Reading a new Throne of Glass novel has truly turned into an epic event, especially considering the increasing page counts. Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, Heir of Fire, Fireheart (all these titles make me think of another queen from another fantasy series with “throne” in the title) has certainly come a long way from when we first met her as assassin Celaena Sardothien. The series as a whole has come a long way, expanding the world, the story, and the characters with each successive book. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we’re already five books in.

At this point in the series, I really do think there are quite a few parallels between Throne of Glass and Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, even down to the ice and fire. ToG isn’t only just about Aelin/Celaena anymore, either. Aelin’s companions have steadily moved toward the forefront, often making the more recent books feel like they feature an ensemble cast of characters, again à la GoT/ASoIaF. You always know, however, who indisputably owns ToG; that would be Aelin, of course.

I’m on a roll with the ToG/GoT parallels now, and I might not be able to quit. Like GoT’s fiery dragon queen Daenerys Targaryen, Aelin finds herself fighting to regain her throne. Unfortunately for Aelin, she runs up against some unyielding opposition from the lords of Terrasen. Determined to breathe life back into her kingdom, Aelin resolves to do whatever must be done, emphasis on whatever, to defeat Erawen and the Valg. Denied the backing of Terrasen’s lords, Aelin must look elsewhere for allies, even if a huge question mark hovers around their trustworthiness, and that’s putting it mildly.

Much of Empire of Storms focuses on Aelin and her cohorts attempting to build an army and hunting for a possible way to send the Valg back to the hell they spawned from. While there was no shortage of intense action scenes, the book occasionally felt a tad too much like a buildup to the series finale. Something about the pacing of Empire of Storms just felt slightly off compared to the other installments. I also found myself really wishing that I’d read The Assassin’s Blade before reading this. I wasn’t exactly lost, but I definitely got the impression that familiarity with the novellas provided the optimal Empire of Storms reading experience. And while I’m mentioning the couple of quibbles I ran across, I cannot overlook the complete absence of a certain character. It’s just that I LOVE said character, and to only see a handful of passing references in about 700 pages? Ouch—that hurt.

Overall, though, Empire of Storms commanded every spare second of time I could devote to it. I loved Manon so much in this book; her plotline has become one of my favorites. Maas continues to demonstrate her insanely formidable fantasy writing chops with this novel as well. Reading ToG is such a fully immersive experience thanks to its richly detailed world and equally deep lore. Maas also ups the series’ heat factor. Way up. It’s not quite as steamy as her other 2016 release, A Court of Mist and Fury, but there were still moments when I feared that my copy of Empire of Storms would spontaneously combust.

All I have to say about the ending was that it was crueler than cruel. I have to try not to dwell on it because I only get all upset anew over having to wait for the next book. Delaying reading new releases certainly has the advantage of not having to endure long waits for the sequels, but this is Aelin Galathynius we’re talking about here; she demands that you read her latest adventure immediately!

All in All: As much as I love Aelin and her friends, I think some pages could have been shaved off here. Empire of Storms was still one hell of a read, though, and Sarah J. Maas reigns supreme as the queen of YA fantasy.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fandom Mashups (76)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
You're headed to the Moon! Who are you taking with you?

  1. The Doctor: He's seen just about everything, so I wouldn't worry about potential troubles like hostile aliens with him around.
  2. Spock: I completely trust him to keep our trip running smoothly.
  3. Lisa Simpson: Dad Homer went to space and narrowly avoided disaster, but Lisa would totally be responsible on this journey.
  4. Bender (Futurama): I'm taking this snarky robot along to make us laugh, even though I know there's a 100% chance of him insulting everyone in the process because that's just Bender!
  5. Han Solo: Can we please travel to the Moon in the Millennium Falcon? XD

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (147)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Favorite Arthur Weasley Moment

I love Mr. Weasley, especially his fascination with all things Muggle! The Arthur Weasley moment that always makes me laugh is when we first meet him and he doesn't immediately realize that THE Harry Potter is in his home, LOLOL.

Monday, October 17, 2016

ARC Review: Cloudwish by Fiona Wood

Cloudwish by Fiona Wood
By Fiona Wood
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher
Publication Date: October 18, 2016

To Sum It Up: Vân Uoc Phan tries to fly under the radar, far, far away from the spotlight. She harbors a secret crush on Billy Gardiner, star of her school’s rowing team and totally unattainable because of the difference in their social and economic statuses. Vân Uoc is a scholarship student, the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants who fled their homeland to Australia, where Vân Uoc was born. Vân Uoc doesn’t believe in magic, but when her wish that Billy would like her suddenly seems to start coming true, she can’t help but wonder if magic might just be possible.

Review: I’ve wanted to read a Fiona Wood book for quite some time, and, thanks to some wish fulfillment that perfectly ties in to the plot of Cloudwish, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the novel. The book’s pretty cover also complements its story wonderfully, capturing the sweet, heady romance that develops between protagonist Vân Uoc Phan and her dream crush, Billy Gardiner.

This is like the zillionth time I’m saying this, but contemporary, and in particular contemporary romance, isn’t usually my thing, so for me to fall hard for that type of book, I had to have really, really, really liked it. And I really, really, really liked Cloudwish. Vân Uoc has a lovely, engaging narrative voice that is occasionally (and hilariously) self-deprecating but never self-pitying. Fiona Wood is also a prose genius, which made reading this such a delight. In her talented hands, what could have been a very formulaic story instead exudes charm, poignancy, and wit.

Vân Uoc is a richly drawn character whose personality I related to very, very much. We both try to attract as little attention to ourselves as possible and react like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights when we end up attracting it anyway. We’re also both skeptics when good things happen to us; we struggle with accepting them at face value and instead wonder when our luck will run out, which it’s bound to do. So when Vân Uoc makes a wish for her crush at school, Billy Gardiner, to like her and it starts coming true, she figures that Billy, a known prankster, is just playing a joke on her. She looks for every possible sign that the relationship that’s slowly building between them isn’t real. Thanks to Wood’s knockout writing, the build-up is simply exquisite.

The other, equally compelling side to Vân Uoc’s story is that of the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants who have high hopes of their only child becoming a doctor or a lawyer. Vân Uoc, meanwhile, aspires to be an artist, something that she hides from her parents. At school, she often feels the social and economic divide between her and her classmates, a difference that a clique of mean girls constantly reminds her about. For Vân Uoc, only able to attend the elite Crowthorne Grammar thanks to a scholarship, the school’s casual clothes day is something to dread, as everyone else turns up wearing designer labels she and her family could never afford. Vân Uoc, however, isn’t the type to feel sorry for herself, making you want to root for her even more. You want her to pursue her dream of becoming an artist. You want her to see herself as the lovely person her friends see. And you absolutely want her and Billy Gardiner’s romance to be 100% for real and forever.

Fans of Jane Eyre will also adore all of the references to Charlotte Brontë’s novel and Vân Uoc’s musings on what Jane would do in a particular situation. Even if you don’t love Jane as much as Vân Uoc does, there’s still plenty to love about Vân Uoc herself and her tale here.

All in All: Cloudwish is a winning contemporary romance, and it’s completely hooked me on Fiona Wood’s writing.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fandom Mashups (75)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
You've been framed and sent to a notoriously harsh prison for a crime you didn't commit. You manage to escape! Who's going to help you plot your revenge?

  1. Aelin (Throne of Glass): There's nothing that this lady can't do, including come up with the most brilliant revenge plan ever, which may involve some sharp weapons and some assassinating. XD
  2. Sirius Black (Harry Potter): In a perfect world in which that thing that happened in Order of the Phoenix didn't happen, Sirius is helping me get some sweet, sweet vengeance.
  3. Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy): Here's another character who was framed for a crime she didn't commit. Fiery Rose isn't the type to ever forget something like that, either, and you can totally count her in on the revenge plotting.
  4. Ronan Lynch (The Raven Cycle): Ronan is generally pissed off at the world, and I don't think it would take much convincing to get him to join up in getting some payback.
  5. Edmond Dantès (The Count of Monte Cristo): I'd absolutely want the guy from quite possibly the greatest revenge story ever told to be involved in writing my own tale of revenge!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (146)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Which Books Would You Recommend to Ginny?

I LOVE pushing my favorite books on other people, even when they're fictional, lol. For Ginny, I tried to got with some badass heroines—just like her.

  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: Ginny, meet Aelin. Aelin, meet Ginny. XD
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead: I think Ginny would appreciate MC Rose Hathaway's no-nonsense approach to . . . everything.
  • Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab: Shades of Magic's Lila Bard loves adventure, the more dangerous the better. And who wouldn't be fascinated by Kell's many-sided coat?
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater: Uh, because I recommend this series to EVERYONE? XD

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fandom Mashups (74)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
You've become famous! *hair flip* Who do you want as part of your entourage?

Being an introvert, I've always wanted my own entourage, lol. It would be cool, though, to hang out with this crew:

  1. Aelin (Throne of Glass): She's one of the most badass characters ever, so of course I'd want her by my side. No one would ever mess with us!
  2. Harry Potter: Um, because he's Harry Potter? XD
  3. Cole St. Clair (The Wolves of Mercy Falls): Here's a guy who absolutely loves the spotlight, and he's more than welcome to take all of it for himself, lol.
  4. Tony Stark: Another guy who loves fame and who can also deflect attention away from me.
  5. Gansey (The Raven Cycle): I want Gansey in my entourage because 1) I love him and 2) I'm going for an entourage within an entourage, hoping that he'll convince Blue, Ronan, Adam, and Noah (and Henry) to join up as well.