Thursday, March 31, 2016

My Thoughts on the Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice Movie

I thought I’d share my thoughts and feels about the Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie. In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard about this particular movie, I’ve posted the trailer below:

Now, I knew going into this movie that it wasn’t going to be the greatest for a variety of reasons. One being Ben Affleck is not my Batman. Two, I’m more of a Marvel girl than a DC girl. And, three, I’d heard terrible things about it from the Thursday night premiere, which is sad because I went to see the movie on the Friday the movie came out. I was hoping reason #3 would mean I would be pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoy the movie, and it did help a little, but I was still underwhelmed by the whole thing.

My first complaint about the movie is that the beginning was ridiculously slow. Soooooo very slow. Also, Jesse Eisenberg is an AWFUL Lex Luthor. I don’t know how/why Zack Snyder decided Lex Luthor should be portrayed by Eisenberg, but I can honestly say Eisenberg’s performance had no redeeming qualities for me. I couldn’t find any believable motivation behind the character’s actions at all. Of course, this could also be because of the script. A lot of important plot points seemed to get glossed over or cut out throughout the movie while the angst between Batman and Superman just keep getting stronger for no rational reason.

My other critiques involve Batman’s weird dreams (not a spoiler because it’s the first scene of the film), the random and loud soundtrack, the excess use of special effects/CGI and blowing things up, and an Alfred that was too young when compared to the film’s Batman.

After all of that complaining, I do have to say that there were some good parts to the movie. Wonder Woman was awesome! I wasn’t expecting to like her as much as I did. Henry Cavill was really good as Superman (again) and Ben Affleck wasn’t horrific as Batman. Also, once the action picked up after the first two hours or so, it didn’t stop.

All in all, if you’re a DC fan, you have to see this movie because of obligations to the franchise, but if you’re just looking for a random movie to watch, don’t expect this to be the next Avengers. The characters are a lot less developed, the plot a little iffy, and the effects really cheesy, but hopefully the future Justice League movies will step up DC’s movie-making game.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, what's really got my pages in a twist is...

The Rose and the Dagger
(The Wrath and the Dawn #2)
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Hardcover, 416 pages, Putnam Juvenile
Genres: YA, Fantasy

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as "a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance."

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

My Thoughts

Oh my god, it’s almost here. I actually survived the wait for this thing. Hallelujah! If you don’t know, the first book in this duology was actually in my Top 3 Books of 2015. I LOVED IT. It deserves every bit of my praise. It is just that good.

What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Review: Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

Walk the Edge
(Thunder Road #2)
Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Hardcover, 384 pages, Harlequin Teen
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds

Smart. Responsible. That's seventeen-year-old Breanna's role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully's line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas "Razor" Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don't belong. But when he learns she's being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it's time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he'll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she'll help him seek answers to the mystery that's haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they're both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they're going from here.

My Review

We’re back in Snowflake, Kentucky for this second installment in Katie McGarry’s hot new YA contemporary world. And boy, are things getting heavy.

The book starts out introducing the new female of the Thunder Road bunch. Her name is Breanna and she has nine—yes, you heard right NINE—brothers and sisters. Brenna is smart and likes to solve puzzles, so when Razor comes into her life acting like the biggest puzzle of all, it’s no wonder she wants to “solve” him. Especially since Razor’s not exactly the most talkative member of the Reign of Terror and now that some secrets have come to light, he’s not sure the Reign of Terror is even for him anymore. He’s the perfect mystery, right?

Granted, the love story between Breanna and Razor seems to be a little cliché at first. I mean, she’s the smart, misunderstood, and mistreated girl, while he’s the bad boy with a dangerous secret. However, the problems the two face are not cliché whatsoever. Breanna’s family issues all stem from being the “good girl” of the bunch who never has any problems, so her parents never make time for her because they think she has her life together. How many of us have lived through that before? I know I have. I thought Breanna’s family was ridiculously realistic and I wish I had seen more of her relationship with her parents. Additionally, Razor’s family problems were so heart-wrenching that I just wanted to cuddle up with him and kiss it all better. The only issues I had with any of the two’s family dilemmas were 1) Breanna’s parents were a little too medieval towards the end, and 2) I wish Breanna and Razor had made it a point to share their feelings a little more. It constantly seemed like all the adults were just brushing the main characters’ emotions off.

Because this is a Katie McGarry story, there can’t just be a love interest with some family drama. No, there’s got to be some sort of dangerous thrill in there somewhere. In comes douchebag Kyle who decides blackmailing people is a good way to get through life. I have to admit, normally I loathe the naughty picture/sex tape/etc. plotline, so I was a tad disappointed that a Katie McGarry novel had one. Katie usually has such unique plots, despite writing romance books (I have nothing against romance books, but sometimes the plots are a tad repetitive), and resorting to such a terribly overused trope had me worried, but Katie managed to pull it off. There was a little more to Kyle than met the eye and Breanna didn’t let Razor solve her problems for her. That took a lot of heart, and I’m glad Breanna is such a strong, lifelike character.

By the end of this book, I couldn't believe it was over. I had flown through it in less than ten hours (with some minor breaks along the way) and I am now desperate to get my hands on the third book. 2016 just started, but I need 2017 here immediately.

All in all, I can’t recommend this book enough. Yes, it had some overused tropes, but you have to trust Katie McGarry to put her own, fantastic spin on them, because you know she will, and you’ll love her even more for it. So, if you’re in any way a fan of romance, motorcycles, hot boys, and/or kissing scenes, don’t hesitate: run to your nearest bookstore, purchase Walk the Edge (and Nowhere But Here if you haven’t read the first book yet), devour Walk the Edge, then sit in misery like me and wait for book #3.

*Note: I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Monday, March 28, 2016

#PenguinTeenOnTour Event Recap

In case you somehow haven’t managed to see the bajillion posts I’ve put up in the past month that talk about the #PenguinTeenOnTour signing, well… I went to the Penguin event on March 25th in St. Louis. Karen Bao, April Genevieve Tucholke, Sabaa Tahir, Alywn Hamilton, Rachel Hawkins, and Alison Goodman were all there to sign books and answer questions.

The event started off with the panel discussion and the authors answered questions that were mostly about writing and characters. I’ve recapped the Q&A to the best of my ability, but I’ve summed some stuff up and left some stuff out (unintentionally, I can’t take notes on everything and still enjoy myself). 

Q: How long did it actually take you to write your book and/or get published?

Sabaa’s Answer: Six years.

Rachel’s Answer: Six months for Hex Hall.

Alwyn’s Answer: Six books.

Alison’s Answer: Six months until I was picked up. (Random note: She has a lovely Australian accent.)

Karen’s Answer: I wrote a butterfly book about climate change that was published by my school. In college/high school (note sure which) I wrote a book and contacted my orchestra instructor who was a literary agent. He helped me get published.

Sabaa made fun of Karen for being an “underachiever” because Karen is majoring in music studies and biology while writing books.

Q: Why do you like writing for young adults?

Sabaa somehow got onto the subject of loving chocolate and wanting chocolate before answering the question.

Sabaa’s Answer: Teenagers don’t have a lot of control in their lives and the corrupt government in my book kind of mimics parents and teachers controlling teens’ lives. Also, teens in refugee camps and the like have to deal with the regular problems teenagers have along with terrible situations.

Karen’s Answer: I get to revisit first times.

Q: If your characters were on a dodgeball team, who would win?

Alison’s Answer: Lady Helen wouldn’t be the one to spill first blood. However, Harper and Helen would probably be friends.

Rachel’s Answer: Harper would probably have a get-to-know-each-other party with snacks so everyone could be friends.

All of the panelists called Rachel the tour mom because she had a magic bag with random things like lozenges in it. Sabaa joked that she’d even have a cheeseburger in it.

Q: Which do you feel is more important when you write, plot or characters?

Alison’s Answer: Characters and plot are intertwined.

Karen’s Answer: World-building and characters are the ones I feel are most important.

Alwyn’s Answer: Plot came first in the first six books, but in Rebel of the Sands, the character development came in and I got published.

Q: What books would you recommend for readers?

Karen’s Answer: I need to read Glass Sword.

Rachel’s Answer: I blurbed And I Darken by Kiersten White. It was fantastic, but I don’t normally read YA when I’m writing unless I have to blurb it.

Sabaa’s Answer: I’m the same way. Though I’d recommend Renee Ahdieh’s The Rose and the Dagger and Ruta Sepetys Salt to the Sea.

Alwyn’s Answer: I have to read YA when I write. I really liked The Girl from Everywhere and The Winner’s Kiss.

Q: How do you write believable characters?

Sabaa’s Answer: I interviewed warriors for Elias like a member of the FBI and a police officer.

Alison’s Answer: You have to have motivation behind your character’s thoughts and actions.


That was the end of the Q&A, or at least the end of my notes. Immediately after the Q&A, the signing happened. 

The first author I met was Rachel Hawkins, and, while I was excited about meeting all of the authors, Rachel was the one I was most happy to meet (and the only one whose books I’d read).

She was impressed that I had all of her books to get signed and she asked me where I was from. We also fangirled over the Demonglass cover, and she told me she wanted the parasol from the cover but that it was actually Photoshopped in. 
Sabaa Tahir was sitting next to Rachel, so I went to her line next. 

I felt so ashamed because I hadn’t read An Ember in the Ashes yet, so I didn’t have a lot to say to Sabaa.

The next author I met was Karen Bao. Again, I hadn’t read her books and I had to admit that when she asked if I had. *sigh* Oh, the shame.

I made some lame excuse about being busy, but I told her not as busy as she seemed to be. She said she had two exams next week along with edits and touring to do. Eww…

I also awkwardly asked for swag from Karen and babbled about my love of buttons.

The fourth author I talked with was Alison Goodman. Because I don’t want my beautiful covers to get injured, I usually only take the book without the dustjacket to signings. Alison asked me, just to make sure, if I had gotten a dustjacket. I joked with her that I had. We also talked about history and having classes about the history of Middle Earth or other fantasy worlds.

April Genevieve Tucholke was stop #5. I think April was sick because she didn’t talk a lot during the panel. I felt bad getting only two of her books signed and not her new release. I just didn’t think Wink, Poppy, Midnight was my kind of read.

She signed my books with little devil horns, though. It was cute.

The last stop was Alwyn Hamilton’s section. Again, an author asked me if I’d read her book and I had to say no. L But she joked that she wasn’t my teacher asking if I’d done the homework. Alwyn also signed some swag for me.

I had all of the authors sign a poster Main Street Books gave out at the event.

Sabaa put devil horns and a tail on her pic, and Karen drew a unicorn horn on hers. :)

All in all, the signing was a super fun event. I met up with Carole again and we talked about other book-related events. All of the authors were nice and I can’t wait to read some of their books.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

My Thoughts on the "Severus Snape and the Marauders" Short Film

Have you all seen this yet? And by this, I mean the fan-made Harry Potter prequel short film. It’s fabulous! I found it via Teen Vogue’s article, but Justin Zagri was the one who created a story about J.K. Rowling’s famous Marauders and Severus Snape and brought it to life on screen

I, personally, am not sure how accurate the story is based off of Rowling’s character backgrounds, but I think it fits very well into the overall storyline. Just watch and you’ll see:

Does this not make you want a prequel series? I think I’m foaming at the mouth for one right now.

While I don’t necessarily picture all of the characters as the way they were portrayed, all of the actors had me in absolute awe. The actors who played Sirius, Peter, and Remus, to me, did a fantastic job of delving into their characters. Sirius was a carefree jokester. Remus was the logical one—some of the time. And Peter was a scared little weasel, err… Excuse me… rat.

However, while I enjoyed the depictions of Severus, Lily, and James, their actors just didn’t quite mesh with my interpretations of the characters. I felt like James came off as a little too aggressive. I know James was a bully, but that fight was very rough. Oh and also, the special effects for the fight were really good. Peter’s casts had me cracking up! But back to the characters. None of the actors were bad, some just didn’t match my vision of the characters, either the visions I’ve made through reading the Harry Potter books or the visions I’ve come up with from what I’ve seen depicted in the films. While I am nitpicking, I promise, these minor flaws—and when I say minor I mean microscopic—do not detract from the epic-ness that is this film.

All in all, this is an amazing display of the power of Harry Potter fans. We’ll never get tired of seeing the Wizarding World come to life, and I think, since we can’t always get a new book or movie (although we are getting one of each of those very soon *squees loudly*), fans are the best way to keep the world alive. I would not be disappointed at all if another video like this made its way into the world. Actually, I’m kind of hoping for it because this thing was, in the words of Ronald Weasley, "bloody brilliant!"

For more info about the film, check out the “Severus Snape and the Marauders” website.  

Note: There’s also another Harry Potter fan film called “The Greater Good” on the site. It’s about Dumbledore!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: The #PenguinTeenOnTour Edition

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It allows book buyers to share their accumulation of books with the online book-loving community.

The #PenguinTeenOnTour event is happening soon. Thus, I had to purchase all the books!

Dove Arising by Karen Bao
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

I also got another library book.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

This thing is ginormous!

What books have you bought/received lately?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Dean Winchester Friday

Dean Winchester (or sometimes Jensen Ackles) Fridays make me a very happy fangirl. You'll see why when you look at the gif.
He winked at me!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, what's really got my pages in a twist is...

A Court of Mist and Fury
(A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Hardcover, 640 pages, Bloomsbury
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms--and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future--and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

My Thoughts

I’m pretty sure everyone is waiting for this book, right? Oh, and Team Tamlin, ftw!

What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: The Randomly Appeared Edition

 "Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It allows book buyers to share their accumulation of books with the online book-loving community.

I wasn’t expecting this book to show up at all. What made it completely surprising though is that it showed up at my parents’ house during the week that I was there for spring break. Weird, right? It’s like Penguin knew…

Rookie Yearbook Four by Tavi Gevinson

I won a bunch of books back in December from Penguin Random House, and I noticed a week or so later that I was actually missing a couple of the books that were pictured on the giveaway post. A representative told me to wait another week to see if they’d just been shipped separately. The books never came and I forgot about contacting Penguin to let them know. I guess they remembered they hadn’t shipped all of the books because now I’ve got one of the three I was missing… Maybe the other two will show up soon?

What books have you bought/received lately?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Dean Winchester Friday

Dean Winchester (or sometimes Jensen Ackles) Fridays make me a very happy fangirl. You'll see why when you look at the image.

Why?! This is terrible!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Let the Wind Rise by Shannon Messenger

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, what's really got my pages in a twist is...

Let the Wind Rise
(Sky Fall #3)
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Hardcover, 320 pages, Simon Pulse
Genres: YA, Paranormal

The breathtaking action and whirlwind adventure build to a climax in this thrilling conclusion to the “remarkably unpredictable” (BCCB) Sky Fall trilogy from the bestselling author of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

Vane Weston is ready for battle. Against Raiden’s army. Against the slowly corrupting Gale Force. Even against his own peaceful nature as a Westerly. He’ll do whatever it takes, including storming Raiden’s icy fortress with the three people he trusts the least. Anything to bring Audra home safely.

But Audra won’t wait for someone to rescue her. She has Gus—the guardian she was captured with. And she has a strange “guide” left behind by the one prisoner who managed to escape Raiden. The wind is also rising to her side, rallying against their common enemy. When the forces align, Audra makes her play—but Raiden is ready.

Freedom has never held such an impossible price, and both groups know the sacrifices will be great. But Vane and Audra started this fight together. They’ll end it the same way.

My Thoughts

Am I the only one irked at this cover change? The first cover was gorgeous, the second was good, but this one… This one reminds me of a Middle Grade book or something. Why must publishers constantly do this to me? Anywho, I’m looking forward to seeing how Vane and Audra’s story ends.

What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?