Book Review

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

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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?

Tour

Blog Tour, Excerpt | We Didn’t Ask for This by Adi Alsaid

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We Didn’t Ask for This
by Adi Alsaid
On Sale: April 7, 2020
Inkyard Press
Young Adult
978-1335146762; 1335146768
$18.99 USD
352 pages


9781488056598

About WE DIDN’T ASK FOR THIS:

From Adi Alsaid, the acclaimed author of Let’s Get LostNever Sometimes Always, and North of Happy

Every year, lock-in night changes lives. This year, it might just change the world.

Central International School’s annual lock-in is legendary — and for six students, this year’s lock-in is the answer to their dreams. The chance to finally win the contest. Kiss the guy. Make a friend. Become the star of a story that will be passed down from student to student for years to come.

But then a group of students, led by Marisa Cuevas, stage an eco-protest and chain themselves to the doors, vowing to keep everyone trapped inside until their list of demands is met. While some students rally to the cause, others are devastated as they watch their plans fall apart. And Marisa, once so certain of her goals, must now decide just how far she’ll go to attain them.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound | Books-A-Million | Apple Books |Google Play


Add it to your Goodreads today!


Excerpt

The lock-in was going fairly well until Marisa unleashed her cronies and chained herself to the main entrance.

No one really noticed right away, busy as they were taking part in a number of lock-in-related activities: laser tag in the parking garage, a sanctioned food fight in the cafeteria, a photo shoot tutorial with a renowned YouTube influencer.

Once a year, in April, the doors at Central International School’s K-12 campus closed—though they didn’t literally lock—to allow the high school students to roam free for the whole night. Having the next day off school was nowhere near the best part. Nor, strictly speaking, were the activities themselves, though they were extravagant and wonderful and distracted everyone from what Marisa was doing.

People fell in love on lock-in night. They stumbled upon new passions that would shape the rest of their lives, discovered friendships they could not imagine living without, before or after. Traumas were resolved on lock-in night, anxieties disappeared, never to return, not even after the buses arrived in the morning to take the students back home.

This was well known to the few students who had been lucky enough to have attended before, or who had siblings who had attended in years prior. At Central International School, the student body ebbed and flowed, changing drastically from year to year, and often even more frequently. It was common to have different classmates every semester, and sometimes students would find the person who sat next to them in class—the alluring redhead who scribbled song lyrics on the margins of their textbooks, who one time turned and asked to borrow a pen they never returned, though they had offered a smile that carried with it joy beyond a simple gesture; the redhead who might have one day soon become more than just a classmate—was simply gone from one day to the next.

Even by international school standards, the turnover rate of both students and faculty had always been high, though it had a great academic reputation, and the city in which it sat was a diverse and world-class cosmopolis. Yet people never seemed to stick around for long, as if families were carried in by the seaside breeze, and carried away by the same. Most students had multiple passports, and their parents were multinational, or transient because they were diplomats, or titans of industry, or missionaries, or digital nomads, or teachers within the international school world. They had roots in many places, thought of no one place as home—or rather, thought of everywhere they’d been as home.

So it was rare for a student to be around for several lock-in nights. Even the locals, who made up a mere fifteen percent of the school’s population, often temporarily relocated during their high school years—a boarding school exchange in Switzerland, a South American road trip in a van with their family, a missionary excursion in Central America.

Despite all this, the lore surrounding lock-in night was always momentous, starting as an excited murmur the first day of school and building to a frenzy by the night before the event itself a month or so before the end of the year. Students wondered how, exactly, their life would be improved by the evening. There was no question it would—they could feel it on their skin, their heartbeats thudded with the knowledge that things were about to change, they had absorbed the gossip, not just a rumor or two, but dozens and dozens of first-hand accounts or verifiable secondhand stories, so many of them that it did not feel like hearsay but like fact—it was the how that was exciting. Would the redheaded classmate return to slip a hand into theirs during the movie marathon on the roof garden? Would their fear of heights be cured by the trapeze the school had set up on the football field? Or would it simply be a night of such fun that the joy would sink into their bones and change them into happier people?

Lock-in night, simply put, was magic. Even all those who had never experienced it knew it to be true.

Which, of course, was why Marisa planned her protest for that well-loved night. To make people pay attention, disrupt what brings them joy.

The mad desire to act had existed long before her plan did. Marisa loved the water as a baby. Her parents told the stories to anyone who would listen. She always feigned embarrassment at their anecdotes about her hour-long baths and surprising performance in toddler swimming classes, her dark, curly hair unfurling in the water behind her like a mermaid, her brown eyes huge within the goggles she always carried around. But the truth was that she loved the stories. They confirmed this was not a passing fad, not a childhood obsession that would lose its significance over time, not a baby blanket carried around charmingly until age ten, when it was shoved into a box and donated.

When she discovered snorkeling and, later, diving, that love blew wide open. This? This had been possible this whole time?

Though Marisa was only seventeen, her parents’ constant relocations for work meant she’d seen a hefty percentage of the world’s waters. She’d snorkeled in Mexico, Fiji, the Philippines, the Great Barrier Reef, Belize. And the more she did it, the more her heart broke. Human beings had found a way to kill water.

The places famed for their snorkeling were heart-­ wrenching. The destroyed beige reefs littered the oceans like ornate gravestones. They should have been resplendent with color. Books and scientists told her as much, and other divers did, too. Of course, though, they weren’t. Not anymore. The world had ruined that particular beauty before Marisa had ever had a chance to see it, killing the corals with spilled chemicals, suffocating the oceans with heat. Every time she surfaced, she would dive into the internet, trying to find a way to help. Changing her sunscreen to the reef-safe kind, cleaning up plastic on the beach, asking her parents to donate yet again; nothing felt big enough.

Then came the three-day weekend at the start of the school year that changed it all. She had convinced her parents to take the family to the beach, and the Cuevases, who knew their frequent moves could be hard on the children, relented de-spite the fact that neither of them felt settled in at work yet, and they would have really liked to stay in the city and run errands.

Marisa had heard amazing things about the snorkeling in the region surrounding the beach. She was always skeptical when she heard anything like that; she’d been disappointed enough. She was fine just swimming among whatever fish remained in the area and pretending this was what it had al-ways been like, this was the wondrous alien world other divers described. After their most recent move, she’d done her usual research and found on the most trustworthy sources that an untouched blip still existed, not too far from her new school.

She convinced her parents, who knew it was better to indulge Marisa than fight her, to take a boat to an island, then another, smaller boat to another, smaller island. Arriving at the clear, turquoise waters, which were peppered with butterflies from who knows where fluttering across the surface, whole waves of them outnumbering the tourists she had seen even on the mainland, Marisa allowed herself to hope. Well before her family was ready, Marisa was in her flippers and mask, and she sat on the edge of the boat and let herself fall backward into the warm waters. At first, her heart had soared: greens! Purples! Oranges! Bright colors in the reefs, finally. The schools of fish were more like armies, numbered not in dozens but in hundreds, maybe even thousands, various species all swimming in their separate schools, like great big flags unfurling mightily in the water.

Marisa followed them, kicking delightedly, her heart flooding with joy. Then she turned a corner around some rocks and her breath caught, as if someone had reached inside her chest and closed a massive fist around her lungs. Even here, she found murk and drudgery, the reef not on display so much as its dying was.

She emerged from the water and took off her mask, tears mixing with the waves. People and the trash with which they suffocated the world. She looked around, shading her eyes from the shimmering sunlight with her free hand. Maybe it was time to accept the world as it was.

As she turned to swim back to shore, she caught sight of something on the far end of the island. A construction site. Large, acres and acres of it, from what Marisa could tell, and a handful of bulldozers. She swam closer and saw the sign announcing the coming resort. Nearby, a trickle of brown-gray water weaved its way from below the makeshift wall around the site and dribbled onto the sand.

Yes, it was a travesty, an outrage that the world had been ruined before her arrival. But that trickle hadn’t reached all the way to the shore, not yet.

As soon as she and her family made it back to their eco-hotel that day, Marisa decided she had to stop that waste from reaching the ocean. Whatever she could do for the reefs, she was going to do it. If it was just shutting down that one construction site, or if it was something much bigger, she had to try. What else was there but to try?

Months of stewing later, of planning, of seeing the ruined remains of the ocean floors every time she closed her eyes, of thinking of a way to make everyone else see what she saw. It all led up to this moment, when Marisa hoisted a chain from the duffel bag she’d hidden on campus a few days ago. She weaved it through the handles on the double doors that led into the main school building, then she wrapped it three times around her own body, uncomfortably tight, so bolt cutters could not break through the metal without snagging on her skin. When she was satisfied, she grabbed three giant padlocks from the bag and locked herself in, meaning to stay.

She set the keys in the middle of her palm, rubbing them each in a pad of butter procured earlier from the cafeteria, and which had warmed nicely in her pocket throughout the afternoon. Then Marisa, rehearsing her speech in her mind one last time, looked up. She expected to see a sizable crowd already gathering. What she saw instead was a lanky blond sophomore leaving the bathroom across the open expanse of the building’s foyer. The boy was checking to see if he’d re-membered to zip up. He had not.

When his eyes met Marisa’s, he could tell she had seen him checking, and he stepped quickly away from her line of sight, failing to notice the heavy metal chain wrapped around her torso.


Adi Alsaid’s Bio:

Adi Alsaid_by Peter RossAdi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He’s now back in Mexico City, where he writes, coaches basketball, and makes every dish he eats as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he’s lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas and Monterey, California. His books include Let’s Get Lost, Never Always Sometimes, and North of Happy. Visit Adi online at http://www.SomewhereOverTheSun.com, or on Twitter: @AdiAlsaid.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday (4): Top 10 Books with Single-Word Titles

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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 the top 10 books with single-word titles. This list might be a little challenging for me, but I’m gonna try my best to find my top ten.

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

  1. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  3. Sadie by Courtney Summers
  4. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  5. Thirst by Christopher Pike
  6. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
  7. Eve by Anna Carey
  8. Switched by Amanda Hocking
  9. Virals by Kathy Reichs
  10. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Illuminae, Gemina and Sadie are favourites from the last two years. The rest of the books on this are long time favourites that I’ve read in the past ten years. I’m hoping to re-read most of these in the future!

And there you have it. My top 10 books with single-word titles. Which books made your top ten? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to chat with you!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday (3): Top 10 Characters I’d Follow On Social Media

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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 the top 10 characters you’d follow on social media. And I’m really excited to make this list.

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

1 . Kady from Illuminae. She is badass, witty and amazing with computers. I think her voice social media would be awesome

2 . Stella from Five Fee Apart. She is a positive person who cares about others. She makes YouTube videos about her illness and what’s going on in her life and I would follow her in a heartbeat. 

3 . Kiera or “Emerald” from Slay. Kiera created an entire world in VR. She is kind and creative and very talented. I’m following. 

4 . Leila from Let’s Get Lost. I would love to follow Leila’s travel adventures. She goes to several different places on her way to Alaska. She would have some fun content.

5. Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars. I’d follow Hazel immediately, in hopes of becoming friends. She is one of the most courageous characters I’ve ever read about. She’s kind, caring, and deserves more in her infinity.

6. Zelie from Children of Blood and Bone. Zelie has been through so much pain, but that doesn’t stop her from fighting for what she believes in. She’s strong, brave, and loves with her heart on her sleeve. And I love her so much.

7. Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Lara Jean is so cute and innocent. She has a lot of growing to do, but she’s on the right path. I’d love to see some baking videos from her.

8. Starr from The Hate U Give. Starr has seen things that no youth should ever have to see. But she takes her pain and uses it to try and get justice for herself and her loved ones. She is kind, brave and always has a good head on her shoulders.

9. Jace from The Mortal Instruments. I add Jace to almost all of these lists. I can’t help it. He’s funny and sarcastic. Loves with everything he’s got, but doesn’t like to show it. His social media would be hilarious.

10. Emily from Since You’ve Been Gone. Emily is kind and really shy.  She is brought out of her comfort zone quite often. Trying new things and meeting new people. I’d love to read about her fun adventures with new and old friends on her social media platforms.

And there you have it. My top 10 character’s I’d love to follow on social media. Which characters made your top ten? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to chat with you!

 

 

Movie Review

Cinema Sunday (2) | Feb 16th – 22nd

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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.


theinfluence

The Influence (2019)
⭐️
I love horror movies, so I was excited for this one. But there was nothing unique about this movie. Every point of the plot had been done before. I really didn’t like the actors chosen either. They either had no emotion or over-acted, it was awful. So many scenes made me cringe and roll my eyes. I don’t want to talk about this one anymore, I will not be recommending it to anyone.


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Mine 9 (2019)
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Mine 9 had me at the edge of my seat during the entire film. I couldn’t help but feel for the characters that were willing to put their job before their safety because they needed to make enough money for their families. It broke my heart. This movie is short and to the point, leaving no room to get bored. This mining crew was practically family. They cared for one another, and it really showed throughout the film. This movie is inspired by true events, and it will hit you right in the heart. I highly recommend this movie.


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Descendants (2015)
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I made my fiancé watch Descendants with me. He never saw it before, and it’s one of the newer Disney Channel movies that I fell in love with.  The music, the drama, bad kids trying to become good, all the fairy tales living in one place. Something about this movie latched on to my heart and won’t let me go.  This is one of the few movies that I can watch a million times and never get tired of it. If you haven’t watched Descendants, you definitely should! And then you can read the book Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz!


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 | No Exit by Taylor Adams

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No Exit
Author: Taylor Adams
Published: September 24th 2019
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 336
Genres: Thriller, Mystery
Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis

A brilliant, edgy thriller about four strangers, a blizzard, a kidnapped child, and a determined young woman desperate to unmask and outwit a vicious psychopath.

A kidnapped little girl locked in a stranger’s van. No help for miles. What would you do?

On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.

Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.

Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?

There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?

Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.

But who can she trust?

With exquisitely controlled pacing, Taylor Adams diabolically ratchets up the tension with every page. Full of terrifying twists and hairpin turns, No Exit will have you on the edge of your seat and leave you breathless.

Review

It’s taken me a bit to collect my thoughts, but I’m ready to write it all down. I didn’t know if I was going to like No Exit, simply because of all the hype surrounding it. When a book gets THAT hyped-up, my expectations go too high, and I always end up getting disappointed. But not this time. This time, all the hype is true. This story deserves all the awards because it is officially my favourite thriller of all time.

Darby Thorne is rushing back home during winter break in hopes of seeing her mother before she goes into surgery. She didn’t know her mother was sick until recently, and the guilt over their estranged relationship had her packing and hitting the road as quickly as possible. She needed to make amends with her mother before it was too late. But the weather had other plans for Darby. When she gets storm stayed at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere, Darby meets four other people, and they are forced to wait out the storm together. When Darby goes outside to try and find a signal on her phone she discovers a little girl caged inside one of the parked cars. Someone in the rest stop was a kidnapper.

I love Darby. She is brave and doesn’t take shit from anyone. She has faults and recognizes them. She doesn’t fool anyone but most of all she doesn’t fool herself. I connected with her instantly, making me excited that she is the main character of this story.

Every single chapter had me holding my breath. Just when I thought I had things figured out, the author throws in a huge plot twist. I voiced my shock multiple times throughout this book and even threw it again the wall at one point. That’s how invested I was. The tension, the mystery, the pain, the plot twists that I never could have anticipated. This book is a complete masterpiece. I could talk about it for hours and hours. I finished it a few hours ago and I already want to re-read it.

It’s been such a long time since I’ve been completely blown away by a book. Yes, I’ve rated 5 stars to other novels for great writing and characters but to have a plot throw me off guard as many times as this book did is insane. Books like No Exit are the reason I read. I love being blown away by all aspects of a story. Everything happened for a reason. Every little thing was important. Taylor Adams, I don’t know how you did it, but I think I found my favourite book of the year and it’s only February. Hell, I think I found my favourite book of all time. If you haven’t read No Exit, I highly urge you to pick it up. I promise you, you will not regret it.

If you’ve read this book let’s chat in the comments. I need some people to talk too about this! If you haven’t read this book, don’t look at the comments because there will most likely be spoilers.

5 Stars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author-photoTaylor Adams directed the acclaimed short film And I Feel Fine in 2008 and graduated from Eastern Washington University with the Excellence in Screenwriting Award and the prestigious Edmund G. Yarwood Award. His directorial work has screened at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival and his writing has been featured on KAYU-TV’s Fox Life blog. He has worked in the film/television industry for several years and lives in Washington state.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday (2): Last 10 Books that Gave Me a Book Hangover

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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 the last 10 books that gave me a book hangover. I have to be really invested in both plot and characters to get a book hangover. And I’ve read some great books recently that kept me invested even after the last page. Here is my top 10:

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

1 . No Exit by Taylor Adams. This is the last book I’ve read, and I still can’t stop thinking about it. The twists and never-ending suspense had me reeling after I finished this one.

2 . Slay by Brittney Morris. Slay was incredible. After the book ended, I couldn’t stop thinking about the video game developed in the book and all the creativity it took to write it. The characters were so genuine and I thought about this story for days.

3 . Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi. This is the sequel to Children of Blood and Bone and oh my goodness I can’t wait for the third and final book in the trilogy. These characters have found a place in my heart. And not knowing what is going to happen to them is driving me crazy.

4 . Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry. This cute stand-alone made my heart melt, and it left me in a huge book hangover. When a juvenile delinquent and the governor’s daughter fall for each other, nothing goes as planned. Katie McGarry always makes me fall for her characters.

5. Rose’s Ghost by Theresa Dale. I haven’t read many adult paranormal books. But this one had me reeling for weeks. After the last page, I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I started ranting to my fiancé about everything I loved about it. Even after talking his ear off I still felt like I was going to explode if I didn’t get more to this amazing story. And now I have book two and I can’t wait to read it!!!

6. Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. Everyone is obsessed with this trilogy, so I don’t think I need to explain why it gave me a book hangover. It also destroyed my heart only to glue it back together. Again and again. I can’t wait to read Obsidio.

7. Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid. Let’s get Lost was full of adventure and the last few chapters left me amazed. I did not see that ending coming which left me in one of the biggest book hangovers of last year.

8. The Rose & The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh. I know that everyone thinks The Infernal Devices is way better than this series. I am one of the few readers that disagree. The Mortal Instruments will always be my favourite Shadowhunter series and that is because of Jace and Clary. Their relationship has so many ups and downs but their spark and love for each other never left during the entire series. I could feel their chemistry like a burning candle. And I love them so much.

9. Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter I didn’t think I was going to get so invested in this book, but I did. None stop action and suspense left me breathless as two teens race against the clock to save themselves against to predators in the Alaskan wilderness. I love Ally Carters writing so much and I was in a book hangover for at least a week.

10. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour 5 teens on the open road during their last summer break together. A broken friendship. These band mates try to make the best of their summer before they go off to college and everything changes. The friendship dynamics were incredible and heartbreaking. Hangover for days.

And there you have it. The last 10 books that gave me a hangover. What books are on your list? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to chat with you!

 

 

Movie Review

Cinema Sunday (1) | Feb 9th – 15th

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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.


lord_of_the_rings_the_two_towers_2002__intl_original_film_art_35f6601c-8036-41fe-aa02-625fd3cef7d3_2000xThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I watched the first Lord of the Rings movie a few weeks ago, and it kind of fell flat for me. But, after some major convincing, I decided to watch The Two Towers, in hopes that I ended up liking it more than the first one. And I freaking loved it! My eyes never left the screen for a second as the action picked up and the stakes got higher. There was never a dull moment. I found my favourite characters and held my breath during the fight scenes. I never thought I would like The Lord of the Rings. But I was so wrong.


mv5bnza5zdnlzwmtm2nhns00ndjjltk4nditytrmy2ewmwzlmty3xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynzkwmjq5nzm40._v1_The Lord of The Rings: Return of the King (2003)
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You best believe that I jumped right into this movie after finishing The Two Towers. The last movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy took action to two hundred percent. Battle after battle left me breathless and anxious, praying that my favourite characters – everyone in The Fellowship, except Frodo. I’m sorry I just really didn’t like him for some reason – would be okay. And that ending! I was so sad after I finished this movie because I wanted more adventures with this cast. I’m planning on watching The Hobbit but I don’t think it’s going to be the same.


mv5boguymjljnwuty2fjnc00yji3ltk0nwqtzjg4ndk1m2zmn2ywxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynju2odm5mju40._v1_To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020)
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I wanted to love this movie as much as the first one but I just couldn’t. I did enjoy it for the most part. I loved the romance between Lara Jean and Peter. Being able to see them as an actual couple was awesome! I liked seeing more of Chris and Lucas too! However, I didn’t like the love triangle aspect, and I didn’t like how there were barely any scenes with Lara Jean’s family. I understand that the producers are trying to stay true to the book, and I loved the book so much! But, I don’t think these YA tropes worked as well after being brought to screen.


mv5bmdc1mmvjmdqtogu3os00otjklwjmogqtndmzmwrjndazy2y2xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtk5mze1mty40._v1_47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I love shark movies, so when I saw this one added to prime, I started watching immediately. This movie was everything a shark movie should be. A group of friends, non-stop terror. Life or death. There was never a dull moment. My heart was racing during this entire movie. I even jumped in my seat a couple times after getting scared. The actors were amazing. I believed every word they said. I do wish we got to see a little more of the aftermath at the end. But shark movies usually leave me wanting more in the end.


7611372645763xxl47 Meters Down (2017)
⭐️⭐️
After watching the newest 47 Meters Down movie, I decided to check out the first one. I don’t usually watch movies out of order, but these had complete separate casts. My hopes were really high after watching the second one. But I was really let down with this movie. There were plot holes, and scenes that dragged on for way too long. I absolutely hated the ending. And I got really bored at some parts. I did like the actors though. Claire Holt made everything a bit better. But I’d recommend the second movie because if I had watched this one first, I don’t know if I would have continued on to the second one at all.


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!