Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Books Coming Out in March 2015

22465597Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 10

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

The Favorite by Kiera Cass
22917292Release Date: March 3rd

While America Singer's heart was torn between Aspen and Prince Maxon, her friend Marlee knew exactly what she wanted—and paid the price.

Revisit the captivating world of Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series in this digital original novella. Told from Marlee's point of view, this all-new 64-page story returns to the fateful Halloween when Marlee and Carter were discovered, and reveals how that night—and Prince Maxon—changed their lives forever.

The Favorite also features a teaser to The Heir, the fourth novel in the Selection series!

The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale 

Release Date: March 3rd

After a year at the king’s palace, Miri has learned all about being a proper princess. But the tables turn when the student must become the teacher!

Instead of returning to her beloved Mount Eskel, Miri is ordered to journey to a distant swamp and start a princess academy for three sisters, cousins of the royal family. Unfortunately, Astrid, Felissa, and Sus are more interested in hunting and fishing than becoming princesses.

As Miri spends more time with the sisters, she realizes the king and queen’s interest in them hides a long-buried secret. She must rely on her own strength and intelligence to unravel the mystery, protect the girls, complete her assignment, and finally make her way home.

Fans of Shannon Hale won’t want to miss this gorgeously woven return to this best-selling, award-winning series.

Confess by Coleen Hoover
Release Date: March 10th 

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies. 

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Release Date: March 31st 

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Hey Enchanters! What are you most excited for in March?? Comment below!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

American Beauty/American Psycho: Music Review

Fall Out Boy started their uphill climb to fame in 2005, when their album From Under the Cork Tree landed two number one hits: “Dance, Dance” and “Sugar, We’re Going Down.” They received a Grammy nomination in 2006 for Best New Artist but lost to country singer Carrie Underwood. After their release of Believers Never Die- Greatest Hits, the band broke up from 2009 to 2012 to explore individual careers. The lead singer, Patrick Stump, released a solo album in 2011 titled Soul Punk. It received some praise from critics but was otherwise unsuccessful. In 2013, the band regrouped and released their fifth album, Save Rock and Roll. It quickly topped the charts as the number one album, and the lead single, “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark” went triple platinum.

I’ve always considered myself to be an enthusiastic Fall Out Boy fan, just like anyone else, I would find myself ecstatic over just hearing “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” on the radio or could be found singing “Sugar, We’re Going Down” at the top of my lungs. Upon the release of Save Rock and Roll, their fifth studio album, released in 2012, I was pleased but confused. They seemed to be trying to convert to pop while still sticking to their usual rock vibe, and the transition seemed a little shaky. American Beauty/American Psycho, their sixth studio album, strays even further away from their previous sound, shifting towards pop. That being said, the lyrics are relatable and the sound is very easy on the ears.
The worst song on the album, surprisingly, was the title track “American Beauty/American Psycho.”  The lead vocalist, Patrick Stump sings, “I think I fell in love again/Maybe I just took too much cough medicine.” The song’s lyrics and beat suggest that the only consumption of cough medicine was during the creation of this song. The words lacked originality and depth, and the beat itself sounds like they are trying too hard to pull of punk-pop.
The opening single for the album, “Centuries,” still remains to be one of my favorites. The song starts with a solemn snippet from Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner.” (This is not the only outside musical influence that finds its way into the album- The Munsters theme appears in “Uma Thurman.”) There is just something about the line “Some legends are told/some turn to dust or to gold/but you will remember me for centuries” that is always makes you feel like you just conquered the world.
My personal favorite on the album was “The Fourth of July”. Stump comes through with his usual passion and the lyrics are some of the best on the album, with lines such as “Let the bridges I have burned/light my way back home.”
“Irresistible,” the opening song, is one of the strongest tracks lyrically. With words such as “I didn't come for a fight but I will fight till the end/This might be your battle, might not turn out okay/You know you look so Seattle, but you feel so LA,” it draws the listener in with a heavy and intense beat, having no hesitation or regrets.
The fifth track, titled “Novocaine” is addicting and makes the listener feel aggravated. While the verses aren’t really anything special, the chorus, especially when Stump hits a high note on “stuck” will be in your head for the rest of the day.
Other notable tracks include “Jet Pack Blues,” a slower song that has the same tone as “What A Catch, Donnie” from their album Folie A Deux, and “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” an anthem for the misfits in love and in life.
Overall, American Beauty/American Psycho pulls you in during every single song, whether you want to listen or not. It is not their strongest album lyrically or musically, but it is definitely their most interesting and unique one yet.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Book Review: The Paper Magician

22521286 The truth is, I don’t judge things by their cover, because that would be totally unfair and heaven knows how many good books I would have skipped out on. 

I judge them by their synopsis.

This is definitely what I did for The Paper Magician. I needed a new book to read, and this happened to be free on my kindle. The first few chapters were dull- but I was determined to pull through. 

The idea of the book is most definitely interesting. It takes place in London (which, I kept forgetting, except for the occasional use of “bloody” this or “wont”) in the early 1900s (which, again, I did not discover until the book was almost over). It focuses on the story of Ceony Twill, a girl who graduated at the top of her class at Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined. She goes to be an apprentice for Emery Thane, in order to be a *shudder* Folder. A Folder, or a paper magician, if you will, has the ability to fold paper into objects and then whisk it into existence by commanding, “Breathe.” This is not the only form of magic, as we are told, there are many different kinds, including the dark and forbidden magic, Excision. This is the ability to control human flesh. (Try not to think too much about that one, it’s very dark and morbid.) After Ceony has been with the magician for a few months, an Excisioner named Lila bursts in the door unexpectedly and yanks out Thane’s heart, right in front of Ceony. Now, it is up to Ceony to find Lila and get his heart back, before it’s too late. To do so, she must literally go into his heart and experience the memories hidden in his past. 
Except. The story is not actually- well, it’s not very intense. Possibly the biggest factor was that I didn’t like Ceony or her narrating. It was quite annoying. 

Now, all Ceony does for most of the first half of the book is complain about being a Folder and what she could do “if she was a Smelter.”

I’m just saying, if I had any type of magic at ALL, especially if it involves turning PAPER into real things and having the power to make stories COME ALIVE, I would not be complaining. That is definitely an AWESOME power, and I don’t know why she takes such horrible offense to being a Folder. Not only that, she is extremely rude to Thane for the first part of the book, and then it’s like she completely switches personalities.

I am not even started with complaining about her, so buckle up. Perhaps the most annoying trait she had was her incredible scrutiny and detail. She would sit there and describe the sky in more depth than any. one. has ever described the sky. The sky is BLUE, people. News flash: you do not need to describe it as a type of dark azure that looks like it’s been kissed by the ocean or whatnot. I am not saying detail is not important in a story, because it is extremely important. But it’s like describing a tree by saying, “Its curved upward like a ballerina, reaching the sky with it’s twisted arms. The leaves were rough, each one carved with the uttermost delicacy, as if the placement of the veins were as unique as snowflakes. The leaves varied in color, from dark greens, to light greens, to normal greens, all a different shade, as if painted by paintbrush that was slowly running out of paint. The wind teased it, whispering through the leaves, as if the tree had a story to tell.”
This is all well and fine and might be a beautiful description once in a while, but imagine if every object someone ever described to you was in this fashion, you would get annoyed with it. That was one of my biggest problems with our darling Ceony.

Speaking of which, Ceony had NO flaws. She thought nobody should be bullied, she was a hard worker, she graduated at the top of her class, she had a photographic memory that allowed her to memorize all of her folds quickly and seemed to act 100% of the time on her perfect instincts rather than reason. SHOW ME SOME WEAKNESSES HERE. Another frustrating thing was the romance- she fell for her romantic teacher way too quickly, and even then, it was solely on his outward appearance. She risked her life to save his even though she barely knew him. All she could think about for most of the book is how much it would destroy her if he died. Maybe if they had some more relationship building experiences, it would have seemed much more believable, but he wasn’t even conscious for more than half of the story. 

This book was not unbearable, despite the plethora of one and two star reviews that it has been receiving. The plot was unique and interesting, and the world of the Paper Magician was very well crafted. However, everything was extremely over-descriptive, and Ceony just seemed like a really basic, whiny character. If you are simply looking for a quick read with a good plot, The Paper Magician is for you. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight

14780875The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight 
Let’s pretend that my Valentine’s Day special review was actually posted on Valentine’s Day, like it was supposed to be. The truth of the matter is that I didn’t even purchase this book before yesterday, but since I just barely finished it, I thought I would start a review. 

Jennifer E. Smith is the most adorable author ever. I have decided this after now reading all three of her young adult novels. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight (Can I call it SPOLAFS? Good.) is cheesy. Way cheesy; totally predictable, and the most basic of love stories ever. Yet somehow I read it all in one sitting, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Because this book, while cheesy, is the kind of cheese you love to put on your crackers. It is absolutely and fantastically fabulous. 

Hadley misses her flight by four minutes. Two hundred and forty seconds. Yet somehow, that changes everything. Because of this, she is transferred on to the next available flight. Because of this, she is forced to sit in a window seat for the next several hours, next to a British boy named Oliver. Over the hours, they talk about everything, from their favorite colors to Hadley’s biggest problem: her father.

After the divorce, Andrew Sullivan, her father, moved away to teach at Oxford. He moved out of their house, out of the country, and out of Hadley’s life. Despite his recent efforts to insert himself into her life again, she can’t get over the fact that he chose to ruin their perfect family because he fell in love with a British girl named Charlotte. 

And that is how she ends up on a plane, sitting next to a polite boy named Oliver; her father is getting married in a matter of hours, and she has been invited as a bridesmaid. Over her growing dread about meeting her stepmother and being stuck in a plane, Hadley can barely keep her mind on anything else. Luckily, Oliver is able to distract her, and they talk for hours on end, laughing like two old friends. At the end of the flight, Hadley is shocked at how sad she is to leave him behind- even though they have only known each other for a mere couple of hours, it feels like forever. 
Through the chaos of getting hustled out, she loses sight of him in the crowd and is forced to leave without saying goodbye. Through the course of the day, fate will bring them together again and leave them both wondering if there is such thing as love at first sight.

I absolutely adored Hadley. This is not simply a love story between a boy and a girl, and I think it is heartbreaking that everyone focuses on that. Another big aspect of this story is the fact that a girl, who has had her dreams shattered from losing a father and a family, is learning to forgive and forget. It is very hard for her to put aside her feelings about being ignored by him and seemingly put second, after his new wife, but she begins to see that she never really lost her father. This is a story about all different kinds of love; falling in love and putting a broken love back together. 

I must admit, I was tearing up during many parts in this story (although it could have just been the fact that I was very tired yesterday) and my heartstrings were pulled. Despite my love for the father-daughter relationship, I was just wishing for more moments with Oliver. We don’t find out much about him, which is definitely disappointing, but the moments we do have with him are extremely satisfying.
So many people are disliking this book for its lack of depth. I do agree, it is a light and short read, and the development of the romance itself is lacking. But in my own humble opinion, I believe that the reason this story leaves of with so many questions is because love is simply like that. It is full of so many possibilities, so many what ifs, so many things that could or could not happen- so many things that could go wrong but so many things that could also go right. 

The most beautiful part of love is the possibilities of it.
Oliver and Hadley might have an unfinished love story, but think of all the possibilities and all the things to come.
The important thing is to live in the moment, and cherish it, and cherish the part of the story that Smith has weaved for us.

This story is imperfect, and flawed, but it sure is lovely. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

This Shattered World

This Shattered World

Finally, a book review- and I am really sorry that it has taken me so long to do so! 

This is the second book in the StarBound series and is written by writers Aimee Kaufman and Megan Spooner. Usually I don’t really like it when two authors co-write something, but these two pull it off really well. It is a sequel to These Broken Stars; but this review will not contain any spoilers for that book- so if you haven’t read it, that is totally fine.

This book is basically a futuristic forbidden romance. Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac are sworn enemies- she is a commanding soldier with the task of suppressing the rebels, and he is a spokesman for the resistance parties. In an effort to persuade peace with the two sides, Flynn kidnaps Jubilee to try and get her to see the rebels side of things. But this takes an unexpected turn as they both find out that their planet has been hiding many secrets. As they come closer and closer to unraveling the mysteries; they find more shocking truths. What is really the cause behind the Fury plaguing the civilians minds? What are the feelings developing between them? Soon they will be faced with the unavoidable decision: to sacrifice the ones they love, or send their home into darkness. Which will they choose?

And now that we have that out of the way, since I really suck at writing summaries, on to the actual review. I loved Lilac and Tarver in the previous book, (and they were actually mentioned and used in a few scenes!!!) but Jubilee and Flynn are just… mmm. I love her sassiness and how he is so absolutely chill about everything. What I really loved about their relationship is that you are always left wondering if they actually have feelings for one another. And I believe that this is actually a more believable relationship than the typical “I-am-going-to-throw-myself-all-over-you-but-I-don’t-actually-love-you-“ relationship. Plus, she beat him up a few times, and she stabbed him with one of those pink umbrella toothpick things.

You. Go. Girl. 

Despite the fact that I loved their relationship (at most times) I couldn’t ignore the fact that the plot was very unconvincing. If I expressed any of my frustrations there would definitely be some spoilers; so just believe me when I tell you- don’t look too hard into the actual depth and structure of the plot, I would just read this one for fun. It did take me a while to finish, which says something to the effect of- it couldn’t keep my interest for very long, but hey, that’s okay, not every book is perfect.

Final Verdict: This definitely was not my favorite book ever, and I did not really enjoy the actual plot. I was mostly reading it for Jubilee and Flynn’s relationship, and I am not ashamed of that. Those of you in the male gender would probably not enjoy this book too much- unless you are a fan of all the romance jazz.

I’m sorry this review is so short (and possibly confusing) but I think I have finally come out of my four month reading hiatus and that means more reviews, more often!

Love you all, goodnight. 

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