Movie Review

Cinema Sunday (4) | October 11th – 17th

Blue Water Color Ornament Blog Banner (1)

I originally created Cinema Sunday last year so that each Sunday I could step away from books and do a review of a movie that I’ve recently watched instead. I love movies so much because they bring stories to life. If you want to participate in this blog meme, feel free to use my banner, and don’t forget to link back to my Cinema Sunday section on my blog! I can’t wait to see your posts! 

I’ve decided to change things up a bit though. Instead of doing one big review, I’ve decided to do mini-reviews for all the movies that I’ve seen during the week. You can put your own spin on Cinema Sunday, by doing one or multiple reviews. By simply talking about all the movies you’ve seen during the week. By talking about movies you can’t wait to see! I want everyone to feel like they have room to be creative. To make this blog meme work for everyone who loves movies and wants to talk about them.


Halloween (2007)
⭐️⭐️⭐️
For someone who claims to love Horror movies, I can’t believe I haven’t seen a Michael Myers film before! Well I decided to change that fact this week. I did enjoy this film, it was very gory and made my stomach twist in horror. I love a movie that can bring out that reaction from me.


Countdown (2019)
⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
My mom recommended this movie to me, which was surprising in itself because she hates horror films. This movie was pretty good! It followed a few characters trying to change their fate despite the odds stacked against them. It was filled with scream worthy pop outs. It will most likely make it into my top favourite horror movies of the year. The reason I don’t always rate horror movies very high, is because of the cliché tropes that always encompass them.


Halloween II (2009)
⭐️⭐️1/2
This sequel was just as gory as the first one! However the plot didn’t change a bit. Still the same characters, trying to survive the horror that is Michael Myers. It was intense to watch and my stomach was still twisting in disgust, so I’ll give it that! I guess watching them back to back, I couldn’t get over the similarities to the first movie. It was all done before, except for a few twists in the end.


So these are my thoughts on all the movies I’ve watched this week. Have you seen any of these films? Do you agree with my thoughts? What movies have you watched this week? Let’s chat about it all in the comments!

Book Review

Review | The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Blue Water Color Ornament Blog Banner copy 2


The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Published: February 1st 1999
Publisher: MTV Books
Pages: 213
Genres: Contemporary, Coming of Age
Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis

standing on the fringes of life…
offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see
what it looks like from the dance floor.

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being A WALLFLOWER

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that the perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been on my TBR since the announcement of its release. I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to read it. I watched the movie when it came out because I was so excited to watch Emma Watson play another role than Hermione Granger. I thought the movie was fantastic, which made my expectations for the book extremely high.

The book is written in the format of letters. The main character Charlie writes to us, expressing his feelings about his first year in high school. He talks about his friends, his assignments, and about the days when he is not feeling okay. Charlie is shy, and he always puts everyone else’s needs before his own. He was so innocent as he learned how to become more social, instead of watching the socializing happen from afar. He was in fact, a wallflower.

I liked Charlie. He was curious about every little thing in life. Asking questions to anyone who would listen. So many people overlooked him as a weird kid. When in reality, he was just trying to fit in, and learn what it meant to be a friend. He also had some mental health issues that he needed to work through. As the book progressed, his mind became harder for him to bear. My heart was aching, knowing that he was hurting, and no one seemed to notice.

I am so glad that Sam and Patrick accepted Charlie for who he was and nothing more. I loved their friendship and their overall personalities. Each character was so likeable, which made the book even better for me. I also liked Charlie’s teacher, who took him under his wing and introduced Charlie to some amazing books. He pushed him to write essays on the books he gave him, and to go out and socialize more.

I could probably write a paragraph about each character because they were all so well developed. It was easy to see that Stephen Chbosky took the time to create all these different personalities. Each character had their issues to overcome, not just Charlie, which made the story seem that much more realistic.

I’ve decided to give this book four stars. It was very well done, and I think everyone should pick it up. The story felt so raw and honest, which has me still thinking about the characters and their future even though I finished the story. There are some trigger warnings for molestation. I have a hard time reading a book that includes sexual assault, especially when it happens to someone at such a young age, so I thought it should be mentioned. I do plan on picking up more books from this author since The Perks of Being a Wallflower was well crafted.

Stephen Chbosky grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Southern California’s Filmic Writing Program. His first film, The Four Corners of Nowhere, premiered at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win Best Narrative Feature honors at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

He is the recipient of the Abraham Polonsky Screenwriting Award for his screenplay Everything Divided as well as a participant in the Sundance Institute’s filmmakers’ lab for his current project, Fingernails and Smooth Skin. Chbosky lives in New York.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday (6): Top 10 Books with Really Long Titles

Blue Water Color Ornament Blog Banner

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme that is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we are given a prompt to create a list! All prompts are posted in advance over on her blog! I’ve always loved this tag, and I am so excited to be taking part again!


This week’s prompt is top 10 books with really long titles. Some of these titles are so quirky and unique, making this list really fun to make.

Click on the titles of the book to be re-directed to their Goodreads page so you can learn more about them. 

Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare
Aristotle and Danté Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares
I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

I have only read a few of the books on my list. Numbers 2,3,7 & 9. The other books on my list are on my TBR, and I am excited to read them in the future.

And there you have it. My top 10 books with really long titles. Which books made your top ten? Have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to chat with you!

Movie Review

Cinema Sunday (3) | October 4th – 10th

Blue Water Color Ornament Blog Banner (1)

I originally created Cinema Sunday last year so that each Sunday I could step away from books and do a review of a movie that I’ve recently watched instead. I love movies so much because they bring stories to life. If you want to participate in this blog meme, feel free to use my banner, and don’t forget to link back to my Cinema Sunday section on my blog! I can’t wait to see your posts! 

I’ve decided to change things up a bit though. Instead of doing one big review, I’ve decided to do mini-reviews for all the movies that I’ve seen during the week. You can put your own spin on Cinema Sunday, by doing one or multiple reviews. By simply talking about all the movies you’ve seen during the week. By talking about movies you can’t wait to see! I want everyone to feel like they have room to be creative. To make this blog meme work for everyone who loves movies and wants to talk about them.


The Grudge (2020)
⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’ve never seen The Grudge that was originally released in 2004, but I intend too. I figured I’d start out with the remake since it was released this year. It was good, and some parts were down right freaky! However, I did find that I wasn’t able to fully submerse myself into the film. I was constantly looking for something to do as I watched, because putting my full attention on the movie had me a little bored. Overall it was good and I plan to watch the originals.


Princess Mononoke (1997)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is my boyfriends favourite movie of all time, so I finally agreed to watch it with him. I have never seen an anime film before, but I watched it with an open mind. I thought it was really great. The story captivated me immediately, and the artwork that was used for this film was incredible. I’m going to have to start letting my boyfriend pick a movie more often.


Hocus Pocus (1993)
⭐️⭐️⭐️
I am ashamed to say that I have never seen Hocus Pocus until this week. My local theatre decided to bring it back for the holidays, and I thought it would be a great idea to see it in theatres for the first time. It was great. I was invested from the very beginning, and I wish I had seen it when I was younger. I feel like I probably would enjoy it more now if I had watched it growing up. Binx is my favourite character and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year with the sequel!


Jexi (2019)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I was in a pretty bad mood the other night so I put this movie on to keep my mind off things. I ended up laughing so hard that tears were coming out of my eyes. It was so stupid, as the entire movie was about a defective phone AI messing with this guys life. If you ever want to get into a better mood, watch Jexi. I promise you won’t be able to contain your laughter.


So these are my thoughts on all the movies I’ve watched this week. Have you seen any of these films? Do you agree with my thoughts? What movies have you watched this week? Let’s chat about it all in the comments!

<

Book Review

Review | The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Blue Water Color Ornament Blog Banner copy 2


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #0
Published: May 18th 2020
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 528
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis

Ambition will fuel him.
Competition will drive him.
But power has its price.

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined—every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

Review

It has been so long since I’ve read The Hunger Games, and I was ecstatic to hear that Suzanne Collins was coming out with a prequel to her epic trilogy. I got my hands on The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes as soon as possible, and I just finished the book last night. Let me tell you, it was one hell of a story.

I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews floating around. Readers seem to have either loved this book or hated it, leaving nothing in between. I will be honest when I say that I did enjoy it. It may not have been the prequel I was hoping for, but it was still a great addition to The Hunger Games world.

This book follows Snow in his last year of school before heading off to university. The hunger games is only ten years old, and the capitol is still trying to figure out the best way to showcase their shiny new game. In the end, it was decided that Snow and his class would be chosen to become the first ever mentors for the hunger games. Each student is given a tribute to stand by, and their futures may depend on how well they handle The Hunger Games and their tributes.

I really enjoyed getting a peak into Snow’s life before he becomes president. He was young and impressionable. I barely recognized him, as he was nothing like the awful man that we have all come to know and hate. He struggled just like people in the districts. He fell in love. He had friends that trusted him. I could tell that Suzanne Collins was trying to make him less loathsome. I’m not going to lie, I was conflicted. I didn’t know whether to feel for Snow or continue to hate his guts. Now that the story is over, I know my answer. Snow will always land on top.

Lucy Gray was by far my favourite character. She was so brave and poetic. Writing music to sing her feelings, as she didn’t know how to say them. I rooted for her until the very last page. She was a really special girl.

Overall, the story kept me engaged until the very end. There was love, trust and betrayal. Leaving my mouth hanging open at parts, and me screaming at others. I got so frustrated with the characters. They brought out lots of emotion from me, which always makes me appreciate a story. I’ve decided to give this book four stars. I can’t stop thinking about the ending and certain plot twists. I think this story is going to stick with me for a while.

If she ever comes out with another prequel, I really hope it’s going to be centered around Haymitch and the time he spent in The Hunger Games. That would be one heck of a story.

Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been busy writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. For preschool viewers, she penned multiple stories for the Emmy-nominated Little Bear and Oswald. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/Bass Christmas special, Santa, Baby! Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days.

While working on a Kids WB show called Generation O! she met children’s author James Proimos, who talked her into giving children’s books a try.

Thinking one day about Alice in Wonderland, she was struck by how pastoral the setting must seem to kids who, like her own, lived in urban surroundings. In New York City, you’re much more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole and, if you do, you’re not going to find a tea party. What you might find…? Well, that’s the story of Gregor the Overlander, the first book in her five-part series, The Underland Chronicles. Suzanne also has a rhyming picture book illustrated by Mike Lester entitled When Charlie McButton Lost Power.

She currently lives in Connecticut with her family and a pair of feral kittens they adopted from their backyard.

The books she is most successful for in teenage eyes are The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. These books have won several awards, including the GA Peach Award

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday (5): Top 10 Book Covers with Fall Colours

Blue Water Color Ornament Blog Banner

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme that is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we are given a prompt to create a list! All prompts are posted in advance over on her blog! I’ve always loved this tag, and I am so excited to be taking part again!


This week’s prompt is top 10 book covers with fall colours/vibes. I’m not gonna lie, I went through so many books on my Goodreads TBR trying to find fall themed covers because there weren’t many on my read shelf. This list was challenging and fun at the same time.

Click on the titles of the book to be re-directed to their Goodreads page so you can learn more about them. 

Where they Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
Perfect Paper by Sophie Gonzalez
Dark and Deepest Red by Anne-Marie McLemore
Fable by Adrienne Young
Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor
Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare
Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters
His & Hers by Alice Feeney

When I think of fall I think of deep reds, school, forests, corn fields and bright coloured leaves. I think this list shows my vision of fall perfectly.

And there you have it. My top 10 book covers with fall colours/vibes. Which books made your top ten? Have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to chat with you!

Tour

The Code for Love and Heartbreak Blog Tour and Excerpt

THE CODE FOR LOVE AND HEARTBREAK
Author: Jillian Cantor 
ISBN: 9781335090591
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Inkyard Press

BOOK SUMMARY: 

In this contemporary romcom retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma by USA TODAY bestselling author Jillian Cantor, there’s nothing more complex—or unpredictable—than love.

When math genius Emma and her coding club co-president, George, are tasked with brainstorming a new project, The Code for Love is born.

George disapproves of Emma’s idea of creating a matchmaking app, accusing her of meddling in people’s lives. But all the happy new couples at school are proof that the app works. At least at first.

Emma’s code is flawless. So why is it that perfectly matched couples start breaking up, the wrong people keep falling for each other, and Emma’s own feelings defy any algorithm?

SOCIAL:
Author Website: https://www.jilliancantor.com/
TWITTER: @JillianCantor
Facebook: @AuthorJillianCantor
Insta: @JillianCantor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1651861.Jillian_Cantor 

BUY LINKS:
Harlequin 
Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes & Noble 
Books-A-Million
Walmart
Google
iBooks
Kobo

BIO: 

Jillian Cantor is the author of award-winning and bestselling novels for adults and teens, including In Another Time, The Hours Count, Margot, and The Lost Letter, which was a USA Today bestseller. She has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Cantor lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

Excerpt

PROLOGUE

 I’ve always loved numbers a whole lot more than I love people. For one thing, I can make numbers behave any way I want them to. No arguments, no questions. I write a line of code, and my computer performs a specific and very regulated task. Numbers don’t play games or hide behind some nuance I’ve missed. I write an equation, then formulate a definitive and absolutely correct answer. 

And maybe most importantly, numbers never leave me. I tell this to Izzy as she’s sitting on her suitcase, trying to force it closed, having just packed the last of her closet before leaving for her freshman year at UCLA, which is exactly 2,764 miles from our house in Highbury, New Jersey. A number which seems insurmountable, and which makes me think that after this day, Izzy’s last one at home until Christmas break, we’ll be more like two strangers floating across a continent from one another than sisters.

 “Numbers,” I say to Izzy now, “are much better than people.”

 “You’re such a nerd, Em,” Izzy says, but she stops what she’s doing and squeezes my arm affectionately, before finally getting the suitcase to zip. She’s a nerd, too, but not for numbers like me—for books. Izzy is running 2,764 miles away from New Jersey to read, to major in English at UCLA. Which is ridiculous, given she could’ve done the same at Rutgers, or the College of New Jersey, or almost any one of the other sixty-two colleges in our state, any of which would’ve been within driving distance so we could’ve seen each other on weekends. Izzy says she’s going to California for the sunshine, but Dad and I both know the real reason is that her boyfriend, John, decided to go to UCLA to study film. Izzy chose John over me, and that part stings the most. 

“I can’t believe you’re actually going,” I say, and not for the first time. I’ve been saying this to Izzy all summer, hoping she might change her mind. But now that her suitcase is zipped, it feels like she’s really leaving, and my eyes start to well up. I do love numbers more than people. Most people.

 Izzy and I are only seventeen months apart, and our mom died when we were both toddlers. Dad works a lot, and Izzy and I have barely been apart for more than a night in as long as I can remember, much less months.

 She stops messing with her suitcase now, walks over to where I’m sitting on her bed and puts her arm around me. I lean my head on her shoulder, and breathe in the comforting scent of her strawberry shampoo, one last time. “I’m going to miss you, too, Em,” she says. “But you’re going to have a great senior year.” She says it emphatically, her voice filled with enthusiasm that I don’t believe or even understand. 

“You really could stay,” I say. “You got into two colleges in New Jersey.” This has been my argument to her all summer. I keep thinking if I say it enough she really will change her mind. But even as I say it, I know it’s probably too late for her to change anything for fall semester now, no matter how much I might want her to. And she just looks back at me with worry all over her face. 

“Em, you know I can’t.” 

“Can’t or won’t?” I wipe my nose with the back of my hand, pulling away from her. 

She leaves me on her bed, and goes back to her suitcase. She shifts it around, props it upright and then looks back at me. “You know what you need?” she says, breathing hard from managing the weight of her entire life, crammed inside this giant suitcase. “To get out there this year. Be more social. Get some friends. Maybe even a boyfriend.”

 “A boyfriend?” I half laugh, half sniffle at the ridiculousness of it. 

“If you keep busy, you won’t even notice I’m gone.” She speaks quickly, excitedly. There’s nothing Izzy likes more than a good plan, but this sounds terrible to me. “Christmas will be here before you know it—” she’s still talking “—then next year, you’ll be off to college, too.”

 Maybe that would be true for her, if I were the one leaving, and if she were staying here. If I were the older one, leaving for California first, Izzy would stay here, spend the year with John and barely even notice my absence. Which is what I guess she’s about to do at UCLA. But I’ve always needed Izzy much more than she’s needed me. 

“I hate being social. And I don’t want a boyfriend,” I say. “And anyway, you know what the boys are like at our high school. No thanks.” Mostly, they’re intimidated by me and my penchant for math, and I find their intimidation so annoying that I can barely even stand to have a conversation with them, much less a date. And the few that aren’t? Well, the one that isn’t—George—is my equal and co-president of coding club. He also happens to be John’s younger brother. We’re something like friends, George and I. Or maybe not, because we don’t really hang out outside of family stuff, school or coding club, and I guess in a way we’re supposed to be rivals. One of us will for certain be valedictorian of our class this year. The other will be salutatorian. And knowing George, he’s going to be more than a little bit annoyed when he’s staring at my back during graduation. 

“You love numbers so much and you’re so good at coding,” Izzy says now with a flip of her blond curls over her shoulder. She wheels the suitcase toward her bedroom door and stops and looks back at me. “You could always code yourself a boyfriend.” She shrugs, then laughs a little, trying to make this moment lighter. 

I don’t even crack a smile. “That’s a really ridiculous thing to say,” I tell her. “Thank God you’re going to be an English major.”

 But later, after it all fell apart, I would blame her. I’d say that it was all Izzy’s fault, that she started the unraveling of everything with her one stupid offhand comment on the morning that she left me.

Excerpted from The Code For Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor Copyright © Jillian Cantor. Published by Inkyard Press.

Tour

Smash It! Blog Tour & Excerpt

SMASH IT!
By Francina Simone
On Sale: September 22, 2020 
INKYARD PRESS
Teen & Young Adult Theater Fiction
978-1335146502; 1335146504
$18.99 USD
368 pages

About the Book

Olivia “Liv” James is done with letting her insecurities get the best of her. So she does what any self-respecting hot mess of a girl who wants to SMASH junior year does…

After Liv shows up to a Halloween party in khaki shorts—why, God, why?—she decides to set aside her wack AF ways. She makes a list—a F*ck-It list.

1. Be bold—do the thing that scares me.

2. Learn to take a compliment.

3. Stand out instead of back.

She kicks it off by trying out for the school musical, saying yes to a date and making new friends. Life is great when you stop punking yourself! However, with change comes a lot of missteps, and being bold means following her heart. So what happens when Liv’s heart is interested in three different guys—and two of them are her best friends? What is she supposed to do when she gets dumped by a guy she’s not even dating? How does one Smash It! after the humiliation of being friend-zoned?

In Liv’s own words, “F*ck it. What’s the worst that can happen?”

A lot, apparently.

#SMASHIT

About the author

Francina Simone believes in one thing: authenticity. She writes YA stories full of humor and hard life lessons with sprinkles of truth that make us all feel understood. Her craft focuses on stories about girls throwing caution to the wind to discover exactly who they are and what it means to love. Francina is also known for her BookTube channel, where she discusses controversial topics in books.

Social Links:
Author website: http://www.francinasimone.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/francinasimone
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/francinasimone 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44648676-smash-it
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcUVLS6cM_JiEHHXsmsqwrA?view_as=subscriber

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Smash-Francina-Simone/dp/1335146504
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/smash-it-francina-simone/1134580654
IndieBound:  https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335146502
Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Smash/Francina-Simone/9781335146502
AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/smash-it/id1485872174?uo=8&at=
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/audiobooks/details/Francina_Simone_Smash_It?id=AQAAAEDsER9R4M

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Fuck.

I’m an idiot.

It’s Halloween and I’m the only one in a packed club on Teen Night not wearing a costume. Girls are jumping and screaming lyrics in cheap shiny wigs, and all the guys, dressed in a motley of cheap polyester, are scoping out the dance floor, their gazes hopping right over me. Even the bartender, slinging water bottles, has on pink bunny ears.

This isn’t an I’m seventeen and too cool for dress up moment. I like wearing costumes. I just thought I’d look like an unintentional clown doing it. We’re at a club. Who wears a Halloween costume to the club? Apparently, everyone except this freak in an Old Navy hoodie and khaki shorts. I’m wearing khaki shorts, like a nerdy loser.

Some girl bumps into me and does a double take at the sight of my hoodie. It’s Florida; I know October everywhere else is like that meme of the dog in a wig wearing a scarf because “it’s sweater weather,” but we’re in Florida; the leaves don’t change here. They just fall off sometime between hot-as-fuck and damn-where-that-wind-come-from? So even though this white girl has on a mesh shirt over a nude bra—I don’t know what the hell she’s dressed as—I can tell by her raised brows and attempt to act like she didn’t see me that she doesn’t know what in god’s name I’m doing right now either.

Oh my god. Why am I like this?

This is what I get for not doing the yes thing. My mom bought this book by Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes, and—I’m not going to lie—some rich black lady with a gazillion TV shows shouldn’t be able to tell me, some sad black girl, how to be all, Say yes to the dress! But right now, I’m really wishing I had said yes when Dré asked, Are you sure you don’t want to put on something? It’s a costume party at a club. Don’t you have something sexy? Sexy nurse? Sexy vet? Hell, cut up your hoodie and go as a sexy hobo.

I’m wishing I had scissors or the foresight to go as Sexy Hobo, because now, while my best friends are onstage at the hottest teen club in Orlando, singing their asses off like rock gods, I look like the freak who has no social shame.

The truth is I have too much social shame. So much shame that it seeps out of me like fresh cut garlic on the back of the tongue.

I make eye contact with Eli. He’s on the keyboard, belting out lyrics and twisting in and out of a rap. His voice is the love child of Sam Smith and Adele. He’s all suave and mysterious to everyone here, but I know him as the boy who shaved off half an eyebrow when we were thirteen and those Peretz Hebrew/Palestinian hairy genes started coming in. His mom and dad were on that Romeo and Juliet vibe back in the day, and even though it makes for an epic love story, with real war and faking deaths to escape their families and countries (epic as hell), their genetic combo gave Eli thick brows and hair like nobody’s business.

He smiles at me with his dark brown eyes just under his fedora. Of the three of us, he’s definitely the broody one, writing poems about nostalgia and love.

Dré, on the other hand—he’s got on shades. Who wears sunglasses inside at night? Dré. When we were in middle school, Dré used to hide his Spanish and pretend his name was Andrew. I don’t blame him. Our school had a lot of white kids, and they always asked dumb as hell questions. I always got, “If you can’t get your hair wet, how do you wash it?” One kid asked Dré if Puerto Rican meant legal Mexican in Spanish. The kid legitimately didn’t know. I know our education system is shit, but come the fuck on.

High school has been a game changer for all of us. Our magnet school pulls in kids from all over the county. But now there are too many kids from way too many places. Now we have to be different to fit in—cue Dré’s flashy, Spanish-heritage-day-is-every-day evolution. He’s a self-proclaimed Puerto Rican papi, and he kind of radiates like a sunny day on South Beach.

Then there’s me. In my hoodie, khaki shorts, and Converse, stuck in the middle of a club with hundreds of kids basking in the glory that is Dré and Eli. I look like an outcast from a bad ’90s movie. I’m not uncool, but I do these uncool things as if I’m addicted to self-sabotage.

Mesh Girl looks at me again; she’s probably wondering why Dré keeps pointing and making steamy eyes at me while he spits some rhymes in Spanish. I know she’s thinking, How’d she get him? Girls have asked me that. They see me, with my not-slim body and my brown skin, and say, No offense, but damn, girl, how you got with Dré?

I’m not. Never have, never will. This flashy thing that he’s doing is our signal for me to check his hair. My only job is to make sure it still looks good. I nod and sway to the music, ignoring Mesh Girl’s eyebrows, which are raised to the top of her blond head. Is it bad that I like the attention? I enjoy her envy, even though I’m not the girl she thinks I am.

Some girl dressed like a pumpkin shuffles past me and reaches out to touch Dré’s hand. What she doesn’t know is that he’s transferring half a store’s worth of product onto her fingers. He spends so much time on his hair, we have to speed to school—which is the last thing we should do in Dré’s rusty old car, the Bat Mobile. It’s already two gearshifts away from blowing up with us inside. We call it the Bat Mobile not because it’s cool, but because it looks like a hundred bats dropped turds all over it and eroded the paint.

Even though it’s pretty much trash on wheels, I’m so jealous. I can’t even get my mom to let me practice my learners in her car. The queen of burning out engines thinks I’ll mess something up. Then again, here I am on Halloween, the only girl in the club not having fun because of my shitty choices.

Mesh Girl bumps me with her shoulder. “He’s hot, right?” She’s talking about Eli, and I do a weird laugh thing and nod, because I’m the worst at small talk, and it’s too much to yell, Yeah, I’ve thought that for years. I can like the way he looks, right? That’s normal, right?

She doesn’t seem to care that my laugh was borderline psychotic. “Oh my god, we should totally dance for them. Guys love that shit.” Suddenly this girl that I don’t know from Eve is pulling me toward the stage, and I start freaking out.

I’ve watched enough romance movies to have this scene planned in my head—but those are fantasies, and this is getting too real. People are staring at us as she starts twerking and swinging her arms around.

She waves at me. “Come on!”

Nope. I just smile and shrink back into the crowd. She’s clearly one of those people who really believes in herself—like, no one has ever told her she can’t do a damn thing, because, here she is, shaking her ass like she invented the booty pop.

Mesh Girl isn’t looking at me anymore. She’s dancing and looking at Eli, and—he’s looking at her. I know I’m not supposed to care, because he’s just my best friend and he and Dré are supposed to interact with the crowd—that’s part of the gig—but he’s looking at her and smiling like he’s impressed. He thinks this girl’s half-baked dance moves are cool. He thinks she’s cool.

I can dance better than that. I could be that cool.

Except I’m not.

I’m the girl who hides in the crowd. I’m the girl who isn’t even in costume. And now, the guy I maybe-sorta-like is smiling and singing to the girl who is doing the scary thing, even though she’s not that good at it.

Fuck my life. My crush is about to go up in tired-ass flames like the rest of my dreams. This isn’t the first time I’ve passed up doing what I want because I’m afraid of looking like a clown. It isn’t even the tenth or the hundredth.

Hell, just this morning I walked by a flyer for the school musical auditions, and when the drama teacher offered me one, I did the weird laugh, and—let’s just say she’ll probably never make eye contact with me again.

All I had to do was say yes. All I had to do was tell myself I’d try.

Why am I so chickenshit?

I make my way to the bar and order a soda.

The guy at the bar eyes me as he sprays Coke into my glass. He puts the Coke down in front of me, and just when I want him to walk away and leave me in my despair, he pulls off his pink bunny ears and puts them next to my bubbly soda. “Take these. I don’t want you to stand out.”

I shake my head. Honestly, he’s got long hair and it’s kind of greasy, so there is no way I’m putting that on my head. “I’m cool. Don’t need pity ears, but thanks.”

He laughs, and it’s low-key judgmental. “Yeah, because cool people don’t wear costumes, right? You must be a blast at parties.” He looks around at the club behind me. “Oh, wait.”

Rude. “Look. I happen to be a very cool person, thank you very much.” I shouldn’t talk when I’m in my feelings, because my voice goes up an octave and I can never get my eyebrows to stay still. They’re up in my hairline now, showing the whole damn world that I have no chill.

Dude puts his bunny ears back on and leans on the bar. “Yeah, it’s so cool sitting by yourself at a Halloween party with no costume.” He shrugs. “I’m not saying high school is going to be the best time of your life, but you should get over yourself enough to have a little fun while you can. Otherwise, you’ll be a cool adult sitting alone at a bar wondering why your life sucks.” He stands up, crosses his arms and looks proud of himself.

Is there a sign on my head that says, I’m having a hard time. Please do pile on? I take a deep breath and hate myself, because my first reaction is to smile and nod. But I stare him dead in the eye and say, “Because being a bartender at thirtysomething is so great.” I feel a little badass for saying it, but also super guilty for being a bitch.

“Well, one of us is having fun.” He wiggles his bunny ears. “And the other one is at a party full of kids and only has the bartender to talk to.” He pulls the white towel off his shoulder and starts wiping down the bar. “Don’t forget to tip.” And then he’s moving away and pulling out waters for a group of guys in some anime costumes.

I drop my head to the bar, which, regrettably, is sticky. That turd of a bartender doesn’t know me, but he’s kinda right. Some girl on YouTube—the one with the minimalist white walls that look chic instead of broke as hell—said everyone has a moment in life when there are two paths before them. The cool one where you change your pathetic ways and everything gets brighter and better. And the other one where you die sad and alone.

She obviously knows what she’s talking about, because she manages to make millions of people listen to her talk about hacking procrastination and how to make your room over with just a succulent and a few black-and-white photos strung up on the walls. 

I don’t want to be sad and alone, or to freeze every time my moment comes to shine. I want to be the fierce inner beast I know I am. I want Eli to look at me like I’m the only one in the room.

Something has to change, because that bartender and the succulent girl are right. If I don’t, I’m going to disappear like I was never here. 

Book Review

Review | The Cruel Prince By Holly Black

Blue Water Color Ornament Blog Banner copy 2


The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Published: January 2nd, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 370
Genres: Fantasy,
Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.


Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Review

I fell in love with Holly Blacks stories when I was in middle school. Her writing captivated me in a way I didn’t expect and she quickly became one of my favourite authors. When I heard that she was coming out with a new trilogy about fairies, I was ecstatic! And oh my goodness, this book was everything I hoped it would be and more!

I was very curious when I realized that this story was going to follow a human girl growing up in the fairie world. The first chapter pulled me in and that was it. I was obsessed. Jude is my girl! No matter what troubles she faced, she never backed down. She persevered, regardless of her fears and her uncertainties. She made me want to root for her, no matter her choices. I love her so much. She was considered weaker than everyone around her. But that only made her push harder to become the girl she wanted to be.

The villains in this story were cruel and compelling. I hated them so much. I was shocked that so much emotion was rolling off me as I read. A villain’s character is very crucial to a story. Holly Black created such masterful personalities. I hated and loved with everything I had while reading this story. Carden and his group of friends are bullies and they showed no mercy when it came to Jude. She was human. And that was their excuse for every awful thing they did.

Just when I had everything figured out, in came the plot twists. Towards the end of the book, I was literally gasping in shock at the events that took place. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Holly Black doesn’t hold back. She creates amazing worlds, characters and plots. Her stories will always leave me breathless and I can’t wait to jump into the next book in this trilogy.

5 Stars

Holly Black is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over thirty fantasy novels for kids and teens. She has been a finalist for an Eisner Award and the Lodestar Award, and the recipient of the Mythopoeic Award, a Nebula, and a Newbery Honor. Her books have been translated into 32 languages worldwide and adapted for film. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret library.

Book Review

Cover Reveal | May Day by Josie Jaffrey

If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective.
Just maybe not this one.It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.Body bags on standby.

RELEASE DATE: July 9th 2020 
BOOK DETAILS:
Publisher: Silver Sun Books
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Cover Art: Josie Jaffrey
Page Count: 386
Word Count: 100,000
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 14+
ASIN (Amazon): B0897NC74V
ISBN (Print): 9798645637330 
LINKS: Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0897NC74V/ Website:www.josiejaffrey.com/may-day Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50721393-may-day

And now onto the beautiful cover!!!

I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! The cover is gorgeous and Josie’s writing never lets me down. What do you guys think of this cover? Do you love it as much as I do?