Tuesday, October 27, 2015

ARC Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Title: November 9
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: November 10th 2015
Pre-order the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day of her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

My thoughts:

This is the first Colleen Hoover book I read after 3 years so I dove into this one erring in the side of caution. And it was a good thing I did because nothing has changed from CoHo's writing, nothing. I believe that there are two basic components that make up a CoHo book: simplistic writing and a crazy, crazy twist; and she delivered precisely on both accounts... but at the expense of what?

November 9 was written as a reflection of your average and typical romance novel, this is mainly because 1) Fallon is a major Romance fan and wanted the perfect "love" scene 2) Ben is a writer so of course he'd be appealingly pretentious, tortured (aka a drunken vagrant... jk), and writing a book about the two of them. I'm going to be honest and say that I enjoyed reading the few chapters of Ben's book more than I liked reading 70% of the actual novel. There was a depth and heart to his writing that I felt that CoHo's lacked, which is obviously ironic since she technically wrote his book... but still, I found myself wanting to read the dark complexity of his words as opposed to the slightly upbeat, angsty November 9 CoHo wrote.

Between the two main characters, I found Ben's chapters much more fascinating to read than Fallon's. I felt that Fallon lacked personality, which Ben ended up giving her. It was like Ben was the writer and every time they saw each other, he would somehow write more of her character for her to mature and accept herself. Sure, it was interesting to see Fallon develop and truly find herself but I liked how Ben was an unreliable narrator when it came to his chapters. He mostly focused on his relationship with and feelings for Fallon that you sort of get sidetracked from his issues. It makes you all the more curious about what he's hiding and where his character is really going while Fallon is literally just an open book whose storyline is clear and headed in one direction.

In regards to the plot twist, I will say that the major plot twist in the book actually caught me by surprise. I seriously did not expect it, I did not even notice that the story was going in that direction. I was impressed so CoHo gets extra brownie points for that. However, there were subplots that I felt were a bit too cliche and I was disappointed when I read them. I felt like CoHo just wasted one November 9th on that event. But oh well, to each his own.

Two of the things that really appealed to me in this book were 1) the wit of the characters and the fun back and forth between the characters and 2) the emotions that November 9 evoked in me. I have always loved humour in my books, especially witty dialogues and I was glad to see that in this novel. I found myself smiling as I was reading certain lines and even outright laughing at Fallon and Ben's banter (I won't deny that they have amazing chemistry). And the feelz? Don't even get me started. I cannot even count the times pieces of my heart chipped off. CoHo is definitely the master manipulator of emotions, she just knows the way to everyone's hearts.

While there were certain aspects of November 9 that I did not particularly love, I will say that I overall enjoyed this book. It was a quick and simple read that didn't take me too long to finish. One thing I do know about Colleen Hoover is that she has a magic touch that shifts a simple, not too special book into something more. November 9 was not an astounding nor impressive book but it was a good read and I just hope that I will enjoy the next CoHo book I read as much or even more than I did this one.


Monday, October 26, 2015

{Blog Tour} The Waterwitch Babes' Truthwitch Tour: Street Team Appreciation Post and Closing Remarks

See the full tour schedule HERE.

I still remember the day back in May (specifically the 27th) when I got to see Susan Dennard in BEA and had to pretty much fight people to the death for an ARC of Truthwitch. It made my first BEA so memorable and so special. And after weeks of holding myself back and finally delved into Truthwitch and came out a new woman. Ever since falling in love with Truthwitch (and basically Sooz's writing) I vowed to do my best to make sure that Truthwitch would be as successful as possible. And that was when Nicola, my Threadsister, asked me to be one of the clan leaders for the street team and also the time when that simple "Hell yes" changed my life.

I had never been immersed in such a passionate and enthusiastic group of people until I met The Waterwitch Babes and the rest of the Truthwitch team. The hard work everyone puts into thinking of Heists, planning super fun #ClanChat(s) and other really cool activities amazes me. Sooz, Nicola and the amazing ladies from New Leaf Literary who put so much time and effort into everything, thank you. Your patience, kindness, selflessness and everything completely astounds me. I just hope that we can do you amazing ladies proud.

And the Waterwitch Babes, oh my god. I never thought that we would get this close. I did not just get a group of members, I was also blessed with a clan of sisters. I am so grateful to have you all in my life. Our conversations don't just revolve around Heists or projects, I love that everyone takes the time to really chat and get to know each other. And one of the things that really amazes me what you fabulous ladies is that when one person is down or going through something, you never fail to send encouragements and be as supportive as possible. And that's what I think of you ladies, you are one of my support systems, it warms my heart and gives me so much honor knowing that I have you at my side taking on all these challenges. Let's continue to make waves, Babes!

The Waterwitch Babes Truthwitch Blog Tour is the product of months of masterminding and being crazy secretive. We wanted to give everyone a chance to see the different experiences we and our collaborators have had with Sooz and Truthwitch. We hope that we've piqued your interest as a reader and gave you all the fuzzy feels with our posts. Thank YOU so much for taking this tour with us and may you find the clan where you belong (you can totally take our unofficial Clan sorting quiz to help you out, click HERE).

Sunday, October 25, 2015

{Blog Tour} Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Title: Why Not Me?
Author: Mindy Kaling
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Publication date: September 15th 2015
Buy the book: National Book Store / Fully Booked
ISBN: 9781101905579

From the author of the beloved New York Times bestselling book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and the creator and star of The Mindy Project comes a collection of essays that are as hilarious and insightful as they are deeply personal.

In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

My thoughts:

I had so much fun reading Mind Kaling's Why Not Me?, it was great to take a breather from all the Young Adult and New Adult books I have been reading and try a Non-Fiction for a change. I have always had such great experiences reading Non-Fiction books by women (Chelsea Handler's books and Tina Fey's Bossypants are just a few of my favorite autobiographical novels that never fail to make me laugh and smile no matter how many times I reread them) and Mindy Kaling did not disappoint.

This book had me hook, line and sinker as soon as I flipped over to the introduction "Hello Again". There is something so natural and sassy about Mindy Kaling's humor that you literally just cannot help but giggle at everything she writes. But other than the deeply rooted humor Mindy Kaling likes to entwine into her writing, she also adds a heavy dash of thoughtfulness and heart into each discussion of her life. You cannot help but empathize with her in regards to her different experiences. She just has this way of really reaching out towards a reader and beckoning you into her hilariously complicated life.

Mind Kaling's Why Not Me? is the perfect read if you are looking for something light and fun but also carries an underlying depth. I am actually looking forward to my next visit to the bookstore because I need to a grab a copy of her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?. Don't worry, Mindy, you don't need to bribe me with Skittles to like you... just continue to write really awesome books. That's all.


Something Strange & Deadly Read-along: Discussion One

Hi all!

So I am currently participating in a read-along for Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard and literally having all the fun! I have no idea why it took me so long to start reading SS&D but hey, better late than never, right? As part of the read-along, Stephanie from In Wonderland aka the hostess extraordinaire of the read-along made a few discussion questions and I'm here to answer a few of them.

How do you think you would react to the Dead walking around in your city?

There is a 99.999% chance that I'd pee myself/faint/whimper/get lost or all of the above... at the same time. I really wouldn't know what to do even though the Dead aren't really too zombie-ish, there's still terrifying about the fact that they're quite unpredictable. I'd probably also start assembling my own The Walking Dead team to protect me in case something insane happens, like, Idk the Dead apocalypse or something. (Yes, my team would totally have Eleanor and Daniel in it, just so I could watch them throw each other down. Lol.)

What do you think about the Dead? Are you glad it isn't too zombie-ish, or were you hoping for a more zombie-esque theme?

Nothing beats a shambling, decaying, flesh-eating zombie but Susan Dennard's Dead is like a more sophisticated version of them. (Who knew historical zombies would be something I needed in my life? Thanks, Sooz!) The thing with the dead is that there's a sentience to them that gives them an extra oomph that your average zombies don't have. I'd still want to stay away from them. Like maybe put a continent distance between us. *backs away slowly*

Well, that was fun! If you guys want to join the read-along, feel free to check out Steph's read-along post HERE.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

Title: Blood and Salt (Blood and Salt #1)
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date: September 22nd 2015
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.

"When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in-- blood and salt."

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town's history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself-- and discover the truth about Quivira before it's too late. Before she's all in-- blood and salt.
(Image and summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Growing up a horror junkie has got me constantly looking for my next fix and to say that my standard for horror-themed movies and books is high would be an understatement. But oh. My. God. Kim Liggett blew those standards to bits and exceeded my expectations amazingly. Blood and Salt is easily one of my most favourite reads of 2015. I read this book last June and I have reread it about eight times since then and I have loved it every single reread I did.

Blood and Salt is a beautifully nuanced novel that tackles different forms of unconditional love that will leave your heart aching and bursting with feelings. But even more than the evocative emotions this book will make you feel, Kim Liggett will literally put the fear of cornstalks in you. While the whole cornstalk bit may seem very Children of the Corn-y, Kim Liggett intricately weaves her own style and magic into every stalk, grain and drop of blood that appears in the book. My soul was so conflicted-- it did not know whether to cower in fear or keep flipping the pages because I just needed more Ash and Dane and Quivira.

I absolutely adored Ash, mostly because there were moments when she reminded me of myself. She was not perfect, she made mistakes but those small imperfections were what made her so relatable to me. I was able to really connect with her, especially when it came to times when Ash had to make choices and even more when she interacted with her family (I am really close with my mom and seeing how Ash was with her's reminded me so much of my relationship with my mom). But if there is one thing that I admire most about Ash is that she is so brave. There were times when I thought that she would bow out because of how creepy and unknown the situation was but noooo, she held her head high and moved on. It was just so amazing to see that and she inspired me so much. Getting to know Ash and connecting with her was such a great experience for me.

Ash + Dane = Louisse's #1 ship (#Dash4lyf, heehee, get it?) But seriously, seriously, what I feel for the two of them goes beyond just shipping, reading about how their relationship progressed and all the terrifying shit they had to go through made me want to pull them out of the book and protect them. It wasn't even just all the things happening in Quivira that was terrifying, their love and how intense and consuming it was honestly scared even me. Their love was a big presence in the novel, it sucks you in and finds its way into your bloodstream until your heart starts to beat to the rhythm of Ash and Dane's (figurative) dance. It was sexy, beautiful and terrifying. I got shivers every scene they had together. Legit.

And the horror? Holy crap, I don't even think I can talk about it. But let me just say, you will not be able to look at corn the same way ever again (*cough*humaneating*cough*).

Blood and Salt was fucking amazing, I hardly ever curse online but this is one of those super rare and special moments because I am 10000000% serious. I am so in love with this book and I think everyone needs to read it. Kim Liggett's words feel as if they've been infused with magic and everything darkly beautiful in this world.

"When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in-- blood and salt."

Is a line Ash's mom said to her in the early parts of the book but I chose it because it pretty much sums up what I feel for Blood and Salt. I am so emotionally attached to this book, I can't even. Seriously. And the ending? Let's just say that Kim Liggett had me crying in public (specifically Walmart and Dunkin' Donuts). Ugh. This book. This booooook. Read it. ASAP. Plus, it's the perfect Halloween read...

You're welcome.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Making Waves with the Waterwitch Babes (3)

Making Waves is a weekly question feature created by the Waterwitch Babes (part of Susan Dennard's Truthwitch Street Team). Every Thursday, we'll have a fun question that all are welcome to answer on their blog. Anyone can join! The questions will be random and/or relate to the upcoming book, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. A link is provided so that everyone can link up their post and participate in the fun!

To participate, we ask that you use the Making Waves banner in your post and link back to the Waterwitch Babes blog.

This week's question:


It may be a bit biased for me to choose Water since I am a part of the Water clan but honestly, the Water Clan is perfect for me. Having gotten to know my fellow clanmates better and constantly working with them has made me realise how much Water really suits me. They are a very calm and peaceful clan but when you provoke them, then you better watch out because they make huge waves. And the Water clan (especially the Waterwitch Babes) is a ridiculously fun and hardworking group.

However, when I took the awesome quiz one of the Waterwitch Babes (ahem, Charlene) made, I got Fire, which, in a way, does reflect my personality. I have always been told that I have a fiery personality. Feel free to take the super fun quiz below or click HERE to be redirected to the quiz.

And also, do share your link to your Making Waves post.

You can find the Waterwitch Babes here:
Next week's question:


See you next week!