Tuesday, June 23, 2015

[Review] These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Rating: 5 stars
Version: Advanced Reader Copy
Release Date: October 27, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis:
Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.

So if you're like me, trying to predict what would happen at the end of every book you read, let me just say - this is not one of those predictable books. 

Josephine Montfort grows up surrounded by 'old money', aka families who made their wealth through centuries of work and alliances with the best of the best. This is also the world where women are merely trading pieces who are expected to live a quiet life of luxury without much fuss, and give birth to continue the family name. Now when we first meet Jo, she's not really questioning her life (at least enough to leave such luxury), but the first seeds of rebellion are planted as she is the editor of the school's newspaper. 

She begins to question her life more when she starts to delve deeper into the mysteries of her father's demise. We see her transition from a girl so sure of the pureness and innocence of high class society and her family to one opening her eyes to how terrible reality really is. Jo even begins to learn the workings of the 'common class' and picks up useful skills such as pickpocketing from her new friend Fay. 

Her relationship with Eddie Gallagher is more complex than you'd expect, too. While they do rush into their romance at first, she still retreats back into the comfort of the upper class, and regrets her decisions. As a female heroine of YA, Jo grows and develops into a strong character, something I have been unable to find in the books I've been reading recently. Unlike those heroines who constantly ogle the 'dark, masculine mysterious man', she's focused on the task at hand. 

Her and Eddie also learn from their mistakes of rushing their relationship, diverging from typical YA 'love at first sight' romances. While the romance is constant throughout the book, it isn't a reminder each chapter when there's a mystery to solve!

And many of the characters, from pickpocket Fay to med student Oscar, are wonderful and unique, coming from all sorts of society.  The science behind the murders, or the forensic science, is great to read about, coming from someone who took a class on the topic. You can even sympathize with the villains (or at least, who you are lead to believe are the villains). They're all believable and realistic. 

Donnelly crafts a great story, fully immersing us in the world of NYC 1890. You can almost picture the Van Houten docks or the brothels of lower Manhattan. The history of the characters is in-depth, as well. Plotwise? I kept on reading to see what would happen next, and was blown away by the result. You wouldn't believe the lengths Jo would go to to solve the mystery. And the true murderer - while some may say he was predictable, his motives clearly were not. 

In a classic case of 'whodunnit', I'm kept constantly on my toes, and I honestly wish there were more books like this out there. Perfect for mystery lovers and history lovers alike. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

[Review] Reawakened by Colleen Houck

Reawakened by Colleen Houck

Rating: 3.5 stars 
Series: Reawakened #1
Version: Advanced Reader Copy
Release Date: August 25, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: 

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can't imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

I got this from one of the many giveaway drops at the Penguin Random House booth, and by looking at the cover/back description, I was pretty excited to read something on Egyptian mythology, since most of the books I read on mythology are either Greek or Roman. For an unedited ARC, it lived up to most of my expectations, with the occasional pitfall towards the end. 

Starting off, Lilliana Young is a girl living the life many of us dream of - rich and accepted to all her colleges. Yet, there's something missing from her life, and that is adventure, found by accidentally stumbling upon a mysterious mummy in the closed off section of the Met, a mummy who actually is one of three ancient Egyptian saviors who save the world every thousand years. 

For awhile you expect that it will follow the plot of a typical heroine unexperienced to the world jumps at the chance for adventure from mysterious guy' novel, but Lily has more spunk and resistance to the "call to adventure" than I expected. She's sassy, no-nonsense, but also craving more out of life. 

However, a flaw I noticed in Houck's characterization of her was the frequent mentions of Amon's physical attractiveness - especially how kissable his lips looked, and how often she wanted to kiss him. As attractive as Amon may be, a life or death situation has much more importance than the chance to kiss him. It's okay to hear once or twice, but every couple of chapters? Not so much. 

The major criticism I had with the book was the main villain, or who was supposed to be the main villain. We're introduced to Dr. Hassan's assistant, Sebak, who appears briefly for a second of a chapter, and then he returns as the main villain (Seth, god of chaos, doesn't actually show up and only manipulates him) who is obsessed with having Lily. The transition and development of his character is lacking, and he jumps from unimportant to suddenly important. I had to flip back a couple of chapters to remember who he is. 

While the villain's qualities lacked substance, the rest of the novel was strengthened by the mythological lore, a story dating back thousands of years, of brothers bonded together to save the world every time they are 'reawakened'. Each brother brings his unique skills and personality to the modern world; it's a shame we do not get to see much of flirty Asten and mature Ahmose towards the end. 

The story itself flows fairly quickly; there isn't much of a slowness to the chapters, and it shows how urgent Amon and Lily's mission is. The focus is mostly on our two main characters, and while it would have been nice to have some more background to the other characters, the fast-paced story and intriguing lore are what kept me reading onwards. I'd read the sequel. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Reactions While Reading An Ember in the Ashes

The team at Penguin has launched a campaign surrounding An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (which, by the way, you really should read if you haven't already). They're also giving you the chance to name the fandom! To do so, visit Two Chicks On Books.

As part of this campaign, we were given the opportunity to participate and we've decided to post our reactions while reading An Ember in the Ashes, all in gif form. To read my full review (more like me rambling about the feels), click here.

So without further ado, my reactions while reading this whirlwind of a book...

In the beginning:

Poor Barrius. Run, Elias, run.

Basically every scene with the Commandant:

She's a true villain.

Especially true when she hurts Laia.

The Third Trial:

Sorry? What? I don't think I'm reading this right. It's not real.

The Fourth Trial:
 photo why.gif

This isn't fair.

Aftermath of the Fourth Trial:

Nope. That's all.

What were your reactions when reading these scenes? What do you think was the most emotional scene? Do you have a good name for the fandom? Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (21) - The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: August 27th 2015 

Goodreads summary:
What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

Why The Rest of Us ?
1. Patrick Ness writes amazing books.
2. This book sounds amazing.
3. Hopefully I will love this book since amazing + amazing seems to equal this book.

I have thought so MUCH about the the very concept that this book is based on. What if a book didn't evolve around the so called "Chosen One"? Why not just an ordinary character? I'm so ecstatic that there's ACTUALLY  a book about this and I can't wait to read it.    

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

[Review] Abandon by Meg Cabot

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Rating: 3 stars
Series: Abandon #1
Release Date: April 2011

Goodreads synopsis: 

New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Being a longtime Meg Cabot fan, and also fascinated by a retelling of the myth of Persephone, I was pretty hopeful for this book. After reading it... I was somewhat disappointed. Time to explain why.

The myth within the myth, as I would say, was what I liked best about Abandon. The whole history behind Pierce's 'cursed necklace' and intertwining it with the French Revolution and other time periods, as well as the life of Hades's - well John Hayden in this novel, from normal mortal man to Lord Death, was a twist. Furies secretly being people you know reminded me of Percy Jackson's Mrs. Dodds, but hey, you really can't trust anyone anymore when you're Death's bride. 

Speaking of Death's bride, Pierce Oliviera - I've never met a more oblivious character. Not everyone is a Greek mythology enthusiast, understandably, but if you die once then awaken in a weird place and finally come back alive with a strange necklace, I'm sure you'd look into it. Or at least have a general knowledge of myths. This quote killed me - "All those strange names and people being hit with arrows in the Achilles heel and girls being swept down into the Underworld. It was complicated and weird and had nothing to do with reality." But whatever she went through wasn't complicated and weird and was definitely realistic, sure. 

Another negative was her overall blandness. I fail to see what exactly John Hayden sees in her, and I'm not being superficial or anything. It's great that she's unfailingly nice and thinks of others - but that's all there seems to be. What is there about her that makes Lord Death go crazy? Maybe it'll show up in the sequel. 

Moving onto John Hayden... Well the first thought when I found out his name was John was - Really? That's some name for a retelling of Hades and Persephone. I almost thought it was a pseudonym. But last name Hayden - Hades, get it? Names aside, for a god of death, he's surprisingly immature. He gets upset whenever Pierce spurns his advances and really goes out of his way to make sure she's safe. Nearly killing some guys or breaking parts of a cemetery is the way to go about things. Makes me wonder why he goes to such lengths for a plain Jane girl who really doesn't seem that special. 

Again, maybe we'll find out in the sequel, Underworld. Overall, the characters of Abandon were what made me lose interest, for being either too emotional or too bland, but hey, if you overlook that for a decent take on a Greek myth, it isn't that bad. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

[Review] Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Lois Lane: Fallout  by Gwenda Bond

Rating: 4 Stars
Series: Lois Lane #1
Version: Hardcover
Release Date: May 1, 2015

Goodreads synopsis:
Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.

I've been in a bit of a reading slump lately. I've haven't been able to start and finish a book in a while and was honestly thinking about taking a break from reading. Until I read Lois Lane. There are so many ways that this novel could have went wrong- too much focus on Superman, Lois's character could have been altered- and I'm so happy that this novel didn't do any of that. Lois is delightfully characterizied perfectly- she's determined, focused, outspoken, and brave. This book is about her as a teenager starting out in Metropolis and settling down and starting over in a new school.

When she gets a job as a reporter at the Daily Scoop, the youth division of the Daily Planet, her fearless, determined, truth-seeking side really comes out and she immediately begins investigating a group called the Warheads who she sees terrorizing a girl at school. The plot revolves around Lois figuring out what the Warheads are doing. The book was a contemporary, a mystery, a science fiction- and the elements of so many different genres in play in the book and it made the plotline so unique. The author, Gwenda Bond, did such a wonderful job interweaving all of the different aspects of Lois's life. I would stay up late reading this book because I had to find out what happened next. I was in a reading slump too so I haven't done this in a while! But the story was incredibly engaging and even when I would have to go to sleep I would keep on thinking about the book. 

Lois and Clark! (I mean SmallvilleGuy) oh god their relationship in the book was so cute. They only communicate via the internet and mainly an online chat but the relationship between them is developed so well. You can tell how much they mean to each other despite SmallvilleGuy refusing to tell Lois any details about who he is.  When Lois is in trouble or needs help, she know that she can get it from her online friend. SmallvilleGuy is her trusty sidekick and partner in crime, and Lois considers him her best friend. She turns to him whenever something major is going on in her life because she knows that he would listen and try to her out. The moments between them were absolutely adorable. I would love to read a whole book that was just their online chats, because it would be so entertaining!   

I think that the only thing that really bugged me in the book, was the too-convenient way things would just happen to turn up for Lois. When she starts her first day at school, she already finds a conflict and is offered a job and starts her job that same day. It didn't seem realistic at all and the moments like this where everything just happen to turn out perfectly would throw me off. I feel that, even in Lois Lane's life, everything wouldn't turn out that perfectly. But overall this was only a small annoyance for me.  

After finishing the book I'm thinking about starting the tv show Smallville because I want more of Lois! (Although it won't be the same since it mainly revolves around Clark) The sequel to Fallout cannot come out soon enough! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

[Review] An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Rating: 5 Stars
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Version: Hardcover
Release Date: April 28, 2015

Goodreads synopsis:
Laia is a slave. 

Elias is a soldier. 

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. 

THIS BOOK. I can't guarantee that this review will make any sense because I finished it yesterday and I still have no words. It's probably going to be me rambling on about all the feels. I wanted to stop reading it so that I could savor it for a longer period of time, but I couldn't. Ember is one of these books that stay in your mind for a very long time long after you've finished it.

Few books reel you in right from the start, and Ember is one of them. Right from the first chapter, I was engrossed and kept flipping through the pages. Both Laia and Elias's story were captivating and the alternation of narratives made it all the more intense since some chapters end on a cliffhanger and we have to wait until their next narration before we find out what happens. However, I did find Elias to be a more interesting character, and his story was more intense for the most part. My poor little (okay, not so little) Elias Veturius. Sabaa's writing is phenomenal and there was never a dull moment in this book. I kept trying to wait for a point where the action dulled a little so I could take a break from reading, but nope.

The characters are all so wonderfully written, from the main characters to the supporting characters like the other slaves and members of Elias and Helene's platoons. *sob* The side/supporting characters didn't feel like they were side characters because even they give you the feels. Man, Tristas & Aeila forever. I can't even imagine any of Elias's friends as Masks since they seem to be so different from how Masks are described to be. So in summary, the characters are quite amazing and are my favorite part of this all around great novel.

Another thing I loved is that Sabaa Tahir does not hold back! The world she has created is brutal and she doesn't hesitate to describe it in detail. This reminded me of Game of Thrones, only a lot better. She uses vivid imagery to describe The Empire, Blackcliff, and other aspects of this world. Some people may feel a bit queasy with some of the things in here, but I just thought it made it all the more real.

I'm so glad I read this after we found out there is going to be a sequel because there are so many unanswered questions and I can't wait to follow the rest of Elias and Laia's journey and all the craziness I know they will encounter.

Overall, I'd give this book a six star if that was a thing, because wow.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Let's Celebrate: ONE YEAR Blogiversary!

Yep, Wonderland Novels is officially 1 today!

A look back...
12,600+ unique page views
150+ followers

Most popular posts...
[Giveaway] Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop - January 15, 2015 - 599 views
Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop - July 2, 2014 - 482 views

Most popular review...
Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder - December 15, 2014 - 329 views

Thank you...
 I had a book blog back in 2010 and 2011, but stopped blogging for a while. However, after BookCon in 2014, I was once again inspired to create a book blog. After all, I love reading and sometimes wrote reviews anyway, so why not? I told Yiling, who attended BookCon with me, and she expressed her interest as well... and so, Wonderland Novels was born! I just wanted to thank all of you guys for sticking with us, even through our hiatus. Without you, the blog wouldn't be the same. I hope you guys have enjoyed our posts, and again, thank you! -Alice

To thank our lovely readers and followers, we are having a huge giveaway with multiple prize packs!
Prize #1: Winner's choice of two (2) books from the list below. US only.

Prize #2: An Epic Reads/Book Shimmy tote bag, a Sarah Dessen poster, and a random set of swag (bookmarks/postcards/samplers/etc.) from the pictures below (some signed). US only.

Prize #3: An eBook of The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh OR Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder (Winner's choice). INT.
These two books were two of our favorite books of the year and they were given 5 stars! Trust us when we say you'll want them. (:

Prize #1:

Prize #2:

Prize #3:

If you pick up entries you haven't done, you'll be disqualified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 4, 2015

BookCon 2015 Recap

So all of us here at Wonderland Novels were able to attend BookCon this year! It was an extremely packed day and it seemed like there was so much to do and not enough time for it.
Sarah, Yiling, and Raisa. (Sadly Alice left already before we could all get a picture together.)

Show Floor
Lois Lane!!
Yiling: I spent most of the day by Penguin Random House because there was so many activities going on in their booth from giveaways to signings. When we got to BookCon in the morning, we immediately went there to pick up a copy of one of Sarah's most anticipated arcs- Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The book is HUGE and honestly one of the most creatively designed books I've ever seen.

Another one of my first stops was to the Capstone booth to spin their wheel! I was so excited because they published one of most wanted books Lois Lane: Fallout. When I span the wheel, I landed on the spot to get a free pen but the people at the booth were kind enough to also let me pick a book of my choice. (Of course I picked Lois Lane!)

There were so many activities going on in the show floor but thankfully the space was not as crowded as last year although lines were so long. I wished that I could divide myself up so I could be everywhere at once!

Alice: After seeing BookCon lines, I no longer think the BEA lines were bad (except maybe that line for Black Widow, haha). There were lines for literally everything! The line for Penguin Random House's book drop was literally never ending. Go in at 10? The line was there. Come back at 1pm? Still a line. But I think most people can agree that Penguin Random House had the best drops for BookCon. I actually left early since I was still tired from BEA and didn't want to wait in any more crazy lines.

The Show Floor right before closing
Raisa: In comparison to last year's Bookcon, I'd say I got a lot more out of it. I knew what I wanted and I wasn't going to pick up every free thing I saw and not use it (I have so many posters and pins from last year). I also went to Penguin Random House for the free drops; unfortunately they ran out These Shallow Graves while I was waiting on line for it. The Show Floor was more organized than last year, but there were still many lines. I wish I could have divided myself so I could be in several places at once - I really wanted to get more books, but I couldn't be everywhere.

Sarah: Although it took a while for me to actually get in, I really enjoyed this year's Bookcon. The aisles were much wider than last year's so I didn't feel crushed in the crowd and had a much easier time viewing all the exhibits. I also really appreciated the schedule letting us know what and when each of the Penguin Random House giveaways were. The first thing I did was get a HARD COVER advanced copy of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman. The entire book and cover is so creatively formatted, its made  to look like a collection of censured documents. I can't wait to read the story inside! Some publishers were really creative with their giveaways. If you whispered "discreet" to someone at the HarperCollins exhibit you got a free book. Alice noticed these instructions printed upside at the bottom of their pamphlets. I just wish I could have went Sunday as well for even more cool books.

In-Booth Autographing
Yiling: I attended the autographing sessions for Carrie Ryan and Jennifer Niven at the Penguin Random House booth. I got to Carrie Ryan's autographing pretty early so I didn't have to wait on line for that long. I loved Carrie's The Forest of Hands and Teeth series so I was so excited to meet her and get a copy of her latest book Daughter of Deep Silence. I also got to meet the lovely Jennifer Niven and get a copy of her book All the Bright Places. I arrived half an hour early with Sarah and the line was already so long that it wrapped around the entire booth!

Alice: The only autographing I went to at BookCon was Cindy Pon's signing at the Month9Books booth since I had a front of the line pass. I can't wait to read Serpentine and Cindy was sweet!


My personalized autograph!
Raisa: So I was under the impression I had to buy Meg Cabot's book in order to get an autograph, and even though the BookCon app (and my friends) warned me about the long line at the Word Bookstore, I went anyway. The line did have many people but it moved more efficiently than I thought; probably only was there for 20-25 minutes. Next I went on line 45 minutes early for the signing - there were already a lot of people lined up! Luckily, I ran into my college friends and ended up sitting with them. And even though I didn't need the book (thought I wasted money), Meg Cabot actually asked me if I wanted a personalized autograph so that basically made my day. She's so nice!

I also went to CinemaSin's autographing session. The line was much shorter and I got to take a photo with them (with Ms. Cabot I couldn't) and they were really cool about photos. Didn't have to buy Jeremy's book but I bought it afterwords haha.


Renee Ahdieh, Marie Lu, Aisha Saeed, and Sabaa Tahir: Faraway Lands
Sarah:  So I had the awesome opportunity to see a panel with so many talented authors. Although I was only familiar with Marie Lu's Young Elite series and Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes, I still was able to enjoy the panel. In only an hour they each touched upon a variety of topics, everything from character development and world building, to female characters and diversity in books. Did you know Marie has to draw her characters before she can write a word because she used to be graphic designer for videos games (so cool)?! She also feels super awkward when writing romance scenes. And Sabaa actually feels guilty towards her characters and is jokingly called the "Commandant" by her mom.  One of my favorite quotes from the panel came from Marie Lu however, when she was answering a question on her Russian-Mongolian character, Daniel Altan Wing, from the Legend series. She told us of all the emails she's received accusing her of "hiding his heritage" by giving this half Asian boy blond hair and blue eyes. She was very saddened by this until receiving an email from a mother thanking her, "because that's exactly how my daughter looks". She went on to say that even though there are comparatively so few diverse characters, one character can not be a representation of an entire group because there are so many different kinds of people within that group, "and that's why we need more diverse characters".

 Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer: Truth or Dare

Marissa Meyer standing on one foot
while Leigh Bardugo answers a question.
Yiling: Me and Sarah both attended the panel with Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer where they played Truth or Dare. It was such a fun panel! Leigh and Marissa were both so funny and interesting. For one of the first dares that Marissa got, they reenacted a scene from Cinder (when Kai and Cinder first met). Leigh did a freestyle rap about her books (I was SO impressed that she came up with a rap so quickly and it was actually really good! She also showed off her Russian accent and even did a remake of "I'm a little teapot" where she turned into a sugar bowl instead. Marissa Meyer revealed that she would glamour herself into Meg Ryan (pre-plastic surgery), impersonated Thorne (Would you like to see my spaceship later?), and even made up a Lunar anthem!

Marissa and Leigh doing a Lunar waltz!
They also talked talked about more serious topics in relation to their books. Marissa Meyer got a question asking her about her diverse cast and if it was intentional to which she responded both yes and no. She talked about how when she was younger and she went to anime cons with her friends, one of friends told her about how she didn't know who to cosplay because no characters looked like her and how that always was stuck in the back of her mind. Leigh talked about the YA genre and how she found that people to shame people about reading genres like romance and YA because both of those genres are primarily created by and consumed women. They both discussed their strong female characters and Marissa talked about how one thing that she hopes that her readers got from reading her books was romance and love and she hoped to bring that to readers.

Overall, it was such a lovely panel! I laughed so much through out the whole thing and one hour was not long enough. The people sitting next me even remarked that they thought that it was the best panel ever and I wish that I could see them doing a panel together again.

BookCon was so much fun and I'm sadden that we aren't able to go next year. (Why is Chicago so far?!) Hope that you guys enjoyed our post! Were you able to go to BookCon this year?

Monday, June 1, 2015

BookExpo America 2015 Recap

BEA 2015 Recap

This was my first BEA and I was lucky to have had the opportunity to attend before it moves to Chicago in 2016! It was definitely a memorable experience for me and I met so many awesome people, from bloggers to authors. Prepare for a really long post!


Virginia Boecker
Day 1 (May 27): The show floor opened at 1 PM, so I arrived slightly before to pick up my badge. The first day was supposed to be my most relaxing day (though it ended up being the most tiring - don't know how that happened). The line looped around the Javits center and I was in awe at how long it was. However, a few minutes before 1pm, they allowed people to start entering and then everyone entered really fast so I didn't actually have to wait very long. I made a beeline for the Disney booth since they were doing a drop for A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston, which was on the top of my list. There was only one book left when I got there, and a nice guy and I reached for it at the same, but he let me have it! :D (Thank you to all the wonderful generous people there<3)

After, I wandered the floor a bit and got some interesting looking ARCs and headed to The White Rose signing with Amy Ewing around 45 minutes early since I didn't really have much to do between that time. I then when to a scheduled galley drop, wandered around the show floor again, and lingered until The Witch Hunter signing with Virginia Boecker, who is super sweet! This was, again, one of my most anticipated signings of the day since I've been looking forward to this book for some time now!

The last thing I had in mind for day 1 of BEA was HarperCollins' Walk on Earth A Stranger & Newt's Emerald Drop. Once the line started, it went by really, really quickly.

Overall, the overall trend for BEA day 1 was: sort of long lines, but they all went by pretty quickly once it actually started. It was also about 5 times less chaotic than BookCon last year, which gave it major bonus points in my book.


Day 2 (May 28): I sadly had to miss BEA on the second day even though I had fully planned on going! :-( Sad that I missed HONY's Brandon Stanton and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, but I did manage to see most of the other authors I had planned on seeing originally on the second day on the last day.


Day 3 (May 29): So the third day was by far the busiest for me. The very first signing I went to was Margaret Stohl's Black Widow! I bumped into Angela, with her gorgeous book dress (check it out on her twitter) on this line! This was by far the slowest moving line at BEA; usually, after the line starts moving, it goes pretty fast, but I waited around 45 minutes even after it started. I didn't anticipate that it'll take so long, so I missed Six of Crows (noo). I also saw a drop of A Whole New World at the Disney booth, much to my excitement. I then took time to wander around and eat lunch.

Eleanor Herman (in costume!), Adi Alsaid,
Katie McGarry, and Kady Cross 

My afternoon was much busier and at around 11:45, I headed to the Harlequin Teen power hour signing with Kady Cross, Katie McGarry, Adi Alsaid, and Eleanor Herman and there was a line forming even though it didn't start until 1 pm! However, I met Jessica @ Bookish Serendipity  and TJ @ We So Nerdy in line and had a lovely conversation with them, so the hour went by fairly fast.
Richelle Mead & her gorgeous hair

Right after the Harlequin Teen signing, I rushed to the 2:30 signing of Richelle Mead's Soundless, another one of my most wanted ARCs. The line was long, but not as long as I had expected it to be. I also met Sajda @ Across the Words on this line, and managed to also catch Marissa Meyer signing Fairest, which was a relief since I had originally planned to see her on the 2nd day! Marissa is probably one of the sweetest authors I met at BEA and I managed to get a photo with her. I then went to my last BEA 2015 signing, which was Erin Bow's The Scorpion Rules, which was quite spontaneous since I don't even think it was on my schedule. I also met Nichol @ Stacks Waiting on this line; I had been talking to her on twitter throughout BEA so it was great to see her in person! :-).

Although I was sad that my first ever BEA had come to an end, my body was tired and I was ready to head home (and come back the next day for BookCon ;)).

Summary: My highlights/"favorites" of BEA 2015 were:
- A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston drop
- The Witch Hunter signing with Virginia Boecker
- A Whole New World by Liz Braswell drop
Soundless signing with Richelle Mead
- Fairest signing with Marissa Meyer
 & of course, meeting all the wonderful authors and bloggers!

[Review] Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Rating: 5 Stars
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Version: Hardcover
Release Date: June 23, 2015

Goodreads synopsis:
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

So maybe I'm a bit late reading this book... and after finish this, I really don't know why I put it off for so long. Maybe it was the sci-fi elements since I'm not really a fan of sci-fi; it actually took a few chapters for me to get used to the idea that Iko was a robot! And here I thought robots didn't have personalities. Anyway, Cinder borrows a few elements from Cinderella (like the name) but is most definitely not a retelling. Though there is a very handsome prince. It takes place quite a few years after World War IV, which united Earth into a few nations/kingdoms/etc(?). There is also Luna, which is basically on the moon and is ruled by an evil Queen. Cinder, a cyborg, lives in the Commonwealth and work as a mechanic and it follows her story as she becomes entwined with Prince Kai. 

This is the first ever YA book that I've read with a bunch of science fiction elements in it since I usually steer clear of science fiction, but the fantastic plot and the lovely characters was more than enough to overlook the prominence of sci-fi in this. Its also categorized as a dystopian, which is quite interesting because it does have many dystopian elements, yet I'd hardly compare the Commonwealth to Panem or anything. In fact, Kai is a rather cute just and fair ruler. I think Marissa does a wonderful job creating a futuristic world that we may see as realistic. 

Next up: the romance! There isn't a love triangle! Woohoo. How many YA books these days don't have a love triangle?! Cinder and Kai's relationship developed pretty fast, but they make such a cute couple. I definitely bought in to the romance and it was actually one of my favorite aspects of the novel. 

Overall, I'd definitely reccommend this to anyone that likes dystopia, sci-fi, fantasy, or are just looking for a nice read with wonderful characters! Bring on book 2.