Thursday, September 20, 2018

Blog Tour: Perfect Harmony

Here's the full tour schedule!
Hosted by FFBC Tours

Perfect Harmony by Emily Albright 
Amberjack Publishing 
September 18, 2018 
Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Pippa Wyndham is a top cellist―she’d never settle for anything less. Determined to get into the nation’s most prestigious music college, nothing’s going to stand in her way . . . Until her senior year of high school when a new guy from a fancy New York conservatory transfers to her school. 

Declan Brogan’s cocky, and he knows how amazing he is at the cello. He has every intention of knocking Pippa out of first chair and showing her who really belongs on top. Forced together when assigned a duet, their personal competition and mutual dislike transform into a teasing friendship.

Torn between her childhood crush and the boy who threatens her dreams, Pippa finds herself at risk of losing her best friend, her future, and the boy who makes her heart melt. Struggling to make things right, Pippa discovers that sometimes the thing you want the most doesn’t always end up being the thing you need.

Perfect Harmony by Emily Albright was such a cute, feel-good read. I read it super fast over the course of a day and had a huge grin on my face the whole time. If you're looking for a light but super adorable read I can't recommend this enough! 

One thing I really loved about the book is how it was set in Portland, Oregon. I'm an Oregonian so I loved reading about my home state. It was so cool! Also, Albright's little details about Oregon, such as the PDX carpet, really made the book feel authentic. 

Also, I loved all the scenes in NYC! I recently went there and I loved revisiting some of my favorite spots while reading. I was living vicariously through Pippa. Additionally, all the college talk was also super relatable. Every time  OSU or U of O was mentioned I was "look there's my state schools!".

I loved the music aspect of the book. I was in school orchestra (as a violinist) myself for seven years and my best friend is a talented cellist. Having the importance and power of music highlighted was fantastic. All the orchestra scenes really struck the right note with me ;)

I'll warn you right now that there's a love triangle in the book. I didn't mind it in the least (although it helped that I felt it was very clear the whole time who she really liked). In fact, the romance was so sweet and I was rooting for the characters the entire time. Also, Declan wasn't a jerk - even though they had a little musical competition going - and he treated Pippa amazingly. 

All in all, I had a ball reading Perfect Harmony. The romance is sweet and exciting, the friendship and family dynamics were complex, and I loved seeing Oregon and school orchestra represented! 

4/5 Stars 
*received for free in exchange for an honest review*

About the Author

Emily Albright is the author of EVERYDAY MAGIC and THE HEIR AND THE SPARE, both available now from Simon Pulse. Her next novel PERFECT HARMONY will release 9.25.2018. 

She's a writer, a major bookworm, a lover of romantic movies, a wife, a mother, an owner of one adorable (yet slightly insane) cockapoo, and uses way too many :).

And here's a Giveaway! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway Enter to win one of three (3) copies of Perfect Harmony (USA only) 

Good Luck and Happy Reading :)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems

There are so many books that deserve more publicity and love. Here are a few of my beloved books I picked up on a whim. They deserve more readers! 

1. Otherbound by Corrine Duyvis
So I've talked about this one a lot but I couldn't not add it! Otherbound is such a fun, diverse fantasy from 2014 that deserves so much more hype. 

2. Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
This is my absolute favorite Sharon Shinn book of all time. I am so glad I picked up this older gem on a whim. 

3. Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
Rose and Rot blew my mind. If you're an artist or a performer (or if you like magical realism) read this! 

4. Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
Murder Most Unladylike is a middle grade book that I absolutely adore and think more YA fans should pick up. I had such a blast reading this clever first book in an amazing kid's mystery series. 

5. Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff
This is such an underrated book that surprised me so much. It was incredible! 

6. The Season by Sarah MacLean
I picked this book up many years ago at my local library and it started my love for regency era london! 

7. Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
A while ago, while I was at Powell's, I picked up a used copy of Crown Duel. I had so much fun reading this treasure!

8. Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo
As a ballet dancer, I'm pretty picky about what ballet books I read. But this was so realistic and amazing and unique!

9. On the Edge of Gone by Corrine Duyvis
Yes, I know. This is another book by Duyvis. I just love her books.

10. The Idiot by Elif Batuman 
This is another book I just picked up on a whim. I read it while on my England trip and on the plane rides back. I was so immersed and was laughing and awe-struck the whole time. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

If you loved To All The Boys I've Loved Before...

Hi! Have you read To All the Boys I've Loved Before until the spine broke? Did you watch the movie the moment it was released on Netflix and proceed to re-watch it three times? Do you need something new to read or watch or obsess over?

If you answered yes to these questions... then this post is for you! If not, go read the book, watch the movie, and come back! Now, let's start!


(you may be wondering why X-MEN is up there with all the cute flicks... 
it's because Lana Condor is in it!) 

Bonus Idea: 

If you're a fan of trying new things you should get your hands on some Yakult (the Korean yogurt drink from the film!) 

It's apparently becoming prettttyyyy popular right now thanks to the movie ;)

Now go forth and find some new favorite books and movies! 

(and, in the meantime, let's all cross our fingers for a sequel!) 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Review: All the Birds in the Sky

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Anders 
Published: January 2016

A novel about the end of the world--and the beginning of our future

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families.

But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca of San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together--to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.

All the Birds in the Sky is such a delight. It's weird and imaginative and smart. There's not any book that I feel is similar. It's incomparable. Also, I have a feeling this will be taught in many, many literature classes. There's symbols and passages that could be analyzed over and over.

But don't worry, it's also a super fun read. You don't have to be a student or a super genius. I am a YA lover primarily and I feel a lot of other YA lovers will enjoy this. I love the quirkiness and continuous excitement that Anders incorporated into her story. 

The love story is the best part. Both Patricia and Laurence were weird children - outcasts - and found a bit of solace in each other. However, along with their similarities come extreme differences. Patricia is a witch while Laurence has a great talent for technology and science. And, when they meet again in San Francisco I was so rooting for them to end up together.

So, I can't not mention the birds. The birds that talk to Patricia as a child are such personalities that really set the tone for the story. However, my personal favorite character that wasn't human was the super computer that Laurence makes. It's wonderful and I can't wait for future readers to meet it. 

I feel as if this was such a hard book to review. I recommend just picking it up and experiencing it for yourself. There's so many specific scenes I want to talk about - but I don't want to spoil it for you. Just enjoy the ride!

P.S. Anders is such a one-of-a-kind witch with words. I can't wait to see what she writes next! And, if you disliked the Avatar: The Last Airbender movie as much as the rest of the world did, read her hilarious review here

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 
Published: September 2011

Two starcrossed magicians engage in a deadly game of cunning in The Night Circus, the spellbinding bestseller that has captured the world's imagination. 

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

Yes, I know I’m behind the times. But I FINALLY read The Night Circus and I can now say with a great deal of conviction that this beautiful piece of art is worth all the hype. The world Erin Morgenstern has created drew me in with its tantalizing descriptions and magic. So, if you’re one of the few people left who hasn’t had the pleasure of reading The Night Circus, please do. 

The book spans many years and journeys many places. We meet so many wonderful characters and experience such highs and lows. And, from the moment I met little Celia and her magician father, I was invested. 

Actually, scratch that. From the very first sentence I was hooked. From the very first description of this elegant, mysterious circus, I knew I had found my next favorite book. The circus itself is a living, breathing character in the story. And with each description of its magical tents and delicious aromas, I felt an increasing sense of longing to go there myself. 

Of course, there is a constant tension throughout the story. The story is about a competition after all. And it’s exciting and scary and mysterious. However, this competition breeds romance. And the romance between Celia and Marco is exquisitely breathtaking and fairytale-esque. 

But Celia and Marco aren’t the only wonderful characters. The whole cast is extraordinary. Herr Friedrick, a clockmaker, was a dearly beloved character to me. Of course, as a ballet dancer myself, I had a certain fondness for Ana Padva.  I had so much fun with Poppet and Widget. And Bailey Clark is the unsung hero of the story.

When I finished the book, I felt as if something had been taken from me. I felt like a resident of some town in Europe who had experienced the wonders of Le Cirque de Rêves, and went back eagerly the next night to discover it gone - relocated to some new lucky place. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Blog Tour and Review: A Room Away from the Wolves

Hosted by FFBC Tours

A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma 
Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Mystery

Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave...

Nova Ren Suma is such an amazing writer. One of my favorite books of all time is her book The Walls Around Us. You should definitely go pick that one up! While A Room Away from the Wolves didn't quite reach the awesomeness of TWAU, I still immensely enjoyed it. It was an exquisitely crafted story that left me hanging onto each and every word. 

So, first of all, I love the inspiration for one of the parts of this book. Suma visited an old house with a portrait with eyes that followed her. The portrait became the inspiration for Catherine de Barra's portrait in Catherine House. Isn't that deliciously eery? The whole book is full of easter eggs like that. 

The characters are amazing. Bina (Sabina) is such a tricky narrator, but I still grew attached. And the mother-daughter dynamic explored was so interesting. And dark. In fact, the thriller/mystery qualities of the book were so visceral and made me want to keep reading. There's also so many side characters such as Anjali and Lacey. Oh and, by the way, this is a ghost story... a strange, bizarre ghost story. 

The ending of the story is a bit confusing, but it's beautiful and haunting and makes me want to read the book all over again so I can understand it better. Perfection. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to those willing to be lost at points. You have to be willing to have things revealed slowly. Just read the pages and enjoy the beautiful words. This book is not for the faint of heart; it's not a book where everything is straightforward. It's so much more fun!

4/5 Stars
*Received for free in exchange for an honest review*

About the Author

Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels THE WALLS AROUND US as well as the YA novels IMAGINARY GIRLS and 17 & GONE, which were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. Her middle-grade novel, DANI NOIR, was reissued for a YA audience under the title FADE OUT. 

She has a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Millay Colony, and an NEA fellowship for a residency at the Hambidge Center. She worked for years behind the scenes in publishing, at places such as HarperCollins, Penguin, Marvel Comics, and RAW Books, and now she teaches writing workshops. She is from various small towns across the Hudson Valley and lives and writes in New York City.
And Here's a Giveaway!
for one copy of A ROOM AWAY FROM THE WOLVES (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck and Happy Reading!