Friday, April 18, 2014

Feature Follow (23): Spring Break!

Feature & Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkiee's View & Alison Can Read. Check out their blogs and the Featured Bloggers of the week! This is great for finding amazing new blogs to follow and for gaining followers yourself. 

This week's question is:

Spring Break. Where would be your favorite destination spot if you could join the Spring Break festivities?

Well, technically, I AM on spring break (from grad school, but not from work, booooo). 
If I could go anywhere I would want to go to Okinawa, Japan. Because it is like the Hawaii of Japan and has awesome resorts and beautiful beaches (so spring break-y!)

Also it has the Churaumi Aquarium which is one of the largest aquariums in the world! And has this:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Feature Follow (22): Late April Fools

Feature & Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkiee's View & Alison Can Read. Check out their blogs and the Featured Bloggers of the week! This is great for finding amazing new blogs to follow and for gaining followers yourself. 

This week's question is:

Late April Fools. What was the best prank you’ve played or had played on you? Share!

I live in NYC, so there are a lot of scammers out there trying to get people to pay to become actors. So this random dude approached me one day saying he was casting voice actors. It was super shady and a too-good-to-be-true offer. Of course all I had to do was pay $300 to make a demo tape. I politely declined, but because I can't say "No" outright I gave him my email address to get him to go away.

Fast forward, two weeks later, I start receiving phone calls from an unknown number. It was someone who had gotten my number from that shady street guy. They kept calling and I was annoyed, but I let the calls go to voicemail and thought nothing of it. Then a month later I get a call from that number and decide to answer.

This old man kept talking about how I could work on a project with Mel Gibson (I kept thinking "Why did they choose Mel Gibson? He's not really an actor I would want to work with even if I was an aspiring actress.") I said "No" multiple times even though he started crying and talking about a surgery he was having later that week. I politely ended the call even though I was annoyed.

Fast forward another month, I'm telling my friends this hilarious story and they're laughing their butts off. I think to myself, "Wow, this story is really funny." They finally calm down and say, "Yea....that was us."

For two months they were prank calling me pretending to be  a random casting director, they even had a video of the fated phone call. It was too hilariously complicated for me to be mad.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Feature Follow (21): Reading Habits

Feature & Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkiee's View & Alison Can Read. Check out their blogs and the Featured Bloggers of the week! This is great for finding amazing new blogs to follow and for gaining followers yourself. 

This week's question is:

How have your reading habits changed in the past few years? Did you get interested in a new genre? Do you read more? Less? Why do you think your habits changed, if they did.

My reading habits have changed a lot. When I was younger, I read a lot of "adult" books (i.e. romance, high fantasy, sci-fi) and a lot of chapter book series (i.e. Babysitter's Club, Thoroughbred, Animorphs).

Now I'm more of a trilogy series reader or stand-alone and I DEVOUR YA/MG.

My theory is that when I was younger I couldn't wait to grow up, so I read very adult books. But now that I'm an adult (boo) I am super nostalgic. Also, I YA/MG are so fun! And there's so many options in the genre, but they often have an overarching theme of coming of age or finding who you really are.

Also, I read a lot more on my kindle. I used to judge how to pack my bag/purse based on whether I needed to bring a hard cover or a paperback with me (because we all carry books around all the time, right? Right?!). But now, I don't need to worry about that since I have my trusty kindle. I do miss actual books sometimes, so if there's a book I'm really excited about I'll buy it in hard copy (or some books/series that I love, I'll buy AGAIN in hard copy).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (22): The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that features upcoming novel releases.

The Walled City
Genre: YA Dystopia/Multi-Cultural
Hardcover, 432 pages
Release Date: Nov 4, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown
Books also published by Ryan Graudin: All That Glows
Noteworthy: A BEA buzz book.

There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.

Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work in brothels—or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (17): YA BOOKS - SPRING 2014 EDITION

Axie's Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading in SPRING 2014

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)
Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Book 3 in Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Release Date: April 8, 2014
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?
Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1)
Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: April 8, 2014
In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

The Nethergrim
The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin
Genre: MG Fantasy
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes' honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned!

Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together--and work apart--in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: April 15, 2014
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
Genre: YA Historical
Release Date: April 22, 2014
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?
We Were Liars
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Genre: YA Suspense
Release Date: May 13, 2014
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
Second Star
Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Genre: YA Contemporary/Re-telling
Release Date: May 13, 2014
A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

Bloodwitch (The Maeve’ra Trilogy, #1)
Bloodwitch by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Genre: YA Fantasy/Vampires
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Vance Ehecatl was raised with every luxury he could imagine in a beautiful greenhouse within the powerful empire of Midnight. Vampires are the only guardians Vance has ever known since he was abandoned by his shapeshifter family as a baby quetzal, and he is grateful to them for generously providing for all of his needs. When an act of violence forces Vance from his sheltered home, he is startled to meet Malachi Obsidian, a fellow shapeshifter with conflicting ideas about Midnight and its leader, Mistress Jeshickah. 

Malachi claims Vance is a bloodwitch, who Jeshickah and her trainers, Jaguar and Taro, are trying to control. Vance doesn't know anything about the rare and destructive magic Malachi says he possesses, and he can't believe Jeshickah would use it to hurt others. But when his friends begin falling ill, Vance starts to realize his perfect world may not be as flawless as it seems. Now Vance must decide who to trust—the vampires he's always relied upon, or the shapeshifters who despise them

Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii
Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter
Genre: YA Historical 
Release Date: May 27, 2014
When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.

LUCIA is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air. . . .

When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them -- to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?

What's on your Spring Reading List?? 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (21): Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that features upcoming novel releases.

Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, #1)
April 1, 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
436 pages
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.
I'm excited for this book...because I love trolls.

Do you remember this movie? AMAZING.

For serious, though, this book sounds super epic. It reminds me of The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle, which is another troll-steals-bride story << Why is this appealing to me???

Also, for some reason, this movie comes to mind. I know, I know, trolls and goblins are different species, but whatever. 

Okay, enough about 90's movies. I want to read Stolen Songbird because, damn, look at that cover! Those sleeves are fantastic! 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Feature Follow(20): Changing A Book's Plot

Feature & Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkiee's View & Alison Can Read. Check out their blogs and the Featured Bloggers of the week! This is great for finding amazing new blogs to follow and for gaining followers yourself. 

This week's question is:

Change the Plot. If you could, what book would you change the ending or a plot thread? Go ahead and do it…change it.

Oooh, this is a tricky question. I think my biggest concern is that I know what I want to have happen to the characters, but at the same time I really respect an author's vision for where their characters are going (especially now that I've made a few characters of my own). But if I were to change any plot/thread (and purely for fangirling reasons) then I would change the ending of the Animorphs series. I had a long (probably too long) conversation about this just the other day. Without giving spoilers I will just tell you that I spent a good amount of my preteen/early teen years invested in this series. And while I think it was totally worth it, after the last book I was left with this empty feeling in my gut. And now that I'm an "adult" I realize it was lack of closure.

I suppose K.A. Applegate must have done that in order to let the reader's imagination make up an ending, but I HAVE TO KNOW what happened to them! Anyway, if K.A. Applegate is reading this and you happen to have an explanation of what happens next, please send it to me. Email, Twitter, Facebook, Smoke Signal, Strange singing telegram man I will accept any form of communication.