Reviews: A Hilarious Memoir, a Heartbreaking Historical Fiction, a Surprising Murder Mystery, and an Addictive Assassin Fantasy!

As promised, here I am with some reviews of some recently (and not-so-recently) read titles! I haven’t written a review in such a long time, so let’s hope I remember how! Also, instead of including all of the book info in the post, I’m going to link to Goodreads for this one, don’t hate me.


29102966MY MAD FAT DIARY: A MEMOIR (Rae Earl, #1) by Rae Earl

Add it on Goodreads!

Special thanks to St. Martin’s for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

Reading a whole lot like fiction, this memoir is a book that I’m so glad I took a chance on. Rae’s writing on her teen life is so relatable, fun, and utterly hilarious. Any fan of YA contemporary will immediately fall in love with Rae and her story, so don’t let the fact that it’s a memoir scare you away! I really can’t picture anyone not enjoying this book.

5 hearts


25614492SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys

Add it on Goodreads!

Wow, what an incredible story. This was my first time reading Ruta Sepetys, and I was blown away. Her storytelling is beautiful and heartbreaking. She took me on a journey of survival, love, loss and hardship following a group of individuals whose stories history often neglects to tell.

I’m an avid reader of historical fiction , particularly about the second World War, and this book did not disappoint. I can’t wait to read the companion, Between Shades of Gray.

5 hearts


29995905CITY OF SAINTS AND THIEVES by Natalie C. Anderson

Add it on Goodreads!

Special thanks to Penguin Random House for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

I went into this looking for an intense mystery or thriller, but what I got was so much more. Tina is the definition of a badass female heroine. She’s extremely stubborn, fierce, and can’t be controlled. But among these somewhat common elements of YA are unique and interesting focuses on Africa’s poverty, refugees, and warfare that I’d never read about before.

5 hearts


30011014POISON’S KISS ( Poison’s Kiss, #1) by Breeana Shields

Add it on Goodreads!

Special thanks to Penguin Random House for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

I really enjoyed this book and it was a super quick read! The concept of a kiss that kills is nothing new, but the addition of the Indian folklore was an element that kept the book from being more of the same. It kept my interest but I still had some problems with the ease of resolution to some major events. The ending felt more like an epilogue than a final chapter, but I’m still very excited to see what the second installment brings!

3.5 hearts


As I mentioned above, it’s been a while since I’ve written reviews, so these were rough. But I hope that you enjoyed it, and will check out some of these lovely titles!

xo

2017 Resolutions, Wintersession, and New Ideas

Hi everyone! Last time I posted I was back at home, still on break, cuddling with my cat, and it was still 2016. Now, I’m back at school, just started Wintersession, and it’s 2017.

The first thing I want to talk about is my 2017 reading and blogging resolutions! I mentioned in my first post back after 6 months that I let a lot of release dates slip by me – books unread, reviews unwritten. Well, my friends, my goal for 2017 is to not let that happen again. Before I read anything else, I’m going to move through my pile of ARCs until they’re all read. I also plan to purchase the few eARCs that I’d requested and then let expire so that I can keep my promise to review them for the publishers. Since coming to college my incoming book flow has definitely slowed way down, which I think is actually a good thing. If you asked me if I could name some upcoming releases I’m excited about, I wouldn’t be able to tell you more than a couple. That’s how out of the loop I’ve been. So, considering I’m in college for another 5 months or so, the same will be true for my near future, allowing me to read what I’ve already got.

Second, you’re probably thinking, “Hey, Emily? I though college life is so busy that you don’t have time for anything but work?” Regular semesters: YES. Wintersession: NO. It’s my first Wintersession at RISD so I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect, but I can tell you after a week, it’s about a quarter of the rigor a regular semester. We only have to take one studio class, and can choose to take a liberal (I was going to take Fiction into Film, but it was later canceled, so no liberal for me). Wintersession is the time when RISD encourages freshmen to test out their future major, so I’m taking a Web Design class in the Graphic Design department! I’m so excited about what I’ll learn for so many reasons. One of them is that I’ll finally be able to design and code the blog layout of my dreams for Books & Cleverness!

So now that you know I’ve got some free time, you can expect some posts from me here in the next 5 weeks! I actually just started and finished a book yesterday! I’m planning on writing “review digest” posts, where I feature a few books that I’ve read recently and share my thoughts. I’ve been finding it extremely hard to write full-length reviews for books lately.

That’s about it! I’m so happy that I’m getting the chance to return to the book blogging world again for a short while. While I can truthfully say that I didn’t really miss it while I was engulfed in first-semester work, I can say that now that I’m back reading again I feel like my old self.

Talk to you very very soon!

xo

Returning to the Wizarding World: My Thoughts on the CURSED CHILD and FANTASTIC BEASTS!

2016 was a pretty great year for Harry Potter fans, am I right?! From the amazing Pottermore updates that were a wealth of new information about the world to the release of the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, to the amazing film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in November, this was the year we got to return to the Wizarding World! [This post on Pottermore actually sums up the year pretty well.]

I didn’t read a lot of what was published on Pottermore, but I did take the two quizzes that truly mattered to me: the Ilvermorny Sorting and the Patronus quiz.  Adding to my status as a Ravenclaw, I can say that in my home country, I would attend school at Ilvermorny as a Thunderbird! I was really surprised by my result, but deep down it’s true I love a good adventure! As for my Patronus, I was definitely let down. I got a weasel. Yes, a weasel.

But enough about me and my status in the Wizarding World, let’s talk about all of the wonderful official content we got to devour this year!


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

29069989Unfortunately, because I don’t live in the UK, I wasn’t able to attend a performance of the play (maybe when it comes to Broadway in 2018!). So instead, a few friends and I went to our local Barnes & Noble for the midnight release party. This was the first ever Harry Potter-related release party I’ve ever gone to for a book, as I was a little late to join the fandom. It was a lot of fun! The store was all decorated, and there were events for each of the Hogwarts houses. It was solely child-oriented, though, which I found a bit frustrating.

Anyway, I had preordered so I got in line, we had the countdown, and before I knew it, I had the book in my hands and I was on my way home. As soon as I got home I got ready for bed, plopped down, and read for hours. Continue reading “Returning to the Wizarding World: My Thoughts on the CURSED CHILD and FANTASTIC BEASTS!”

Hey, remember me?!

This honestly feels so strange sitting down and writing a blog post after about 6 months. So much has happened and changed in my life since I wrote my last post about my high school graduation. I’ve barely picked up a book to read for pleasure, and blogging hasn’t even entered my mind until this past week. So, what’s been happening?

Well, this past summer was crazy and went by way too fast. Dorm shopping and preparing for college consumed all of my time.

September came around and I moved to RISD to start my freshman year of college. It has been the best experience of my life. I’ve proven to myself that I can do anything, after having doubts about moving 6 hours away from home and dealing with migraines. I’ve been feeling healthier and happier than ever before. I get to do what I love every day and be surrounded by others who are incredible and feel the same way I do. I’ve made so many amazing friends. RISD is an extraordinary place, and I’m so glad that I’ve made it my home for the next 4 years.

But, with all of that comes an extremely rigorous workload. I have no time for anything but working, eating, and sleeping. Hence, radio silence here on the blog.

I’m home for about 2 weeks for Christmas break and decided that I would try and make up for lost time on my reading, and check in with you guys. I let a lot of ARC pub dates pass me by which I’m pretty bummed about. I feel awful not fulfilling my promises to the publishers. I’m still getting lots of books in the mail as well, which makes for nice surprise texts from my mom letting me know I’ve gotten a package at home!

This week I want to read a few books, so we’ll see what I decide to go for. As of right now, I’m almost done reading the Fantastic Beasts screenplay. I saw the movie and loved it, and am now reading the screenplay before I go see it again!

I’m so out of the loop in the book and blogging world. What’s been going on? Any releases I should check out — upcoming or recent? Let me know!

I don’t know if I’ll be posting any more until I’m done in May, but I hope that I will!

But until next time,

xo

Who’d be on my Dream Author Panel?

Woah, it’s been a while. But that’s not what this post is about. Stay tuned for an update soon…


I’m always looking forward to events when I get to hear authors speak and ask questions about their books, so I thought it’d be fun to come up with a list of authors who I’d put on my dream panel!

While these authors may not be the best on a panel together (fantasy and contemporary aren’t normally paired), I chose these authors based on who I’d love to hear speak the most!



1077326J.K. Rowling

I can’t have my dream author panel without the queen herself. She’s shared so much magic with me through her books, and I have so many questions STILL that I’d love to ask her. Plus, with the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts releases, my list of questions is growing exponentially!

Talking points I’d love to hear: Transitioning from writing novels (both children’s and adult) to screenplays and scripts, returning to the Wizarding World after quite a bit of time (were these storylines already happening in her head while writing Harry Potter and are just coming to fruition now?)



1238111Marie Rutkoski

If you’ve been following me at all, you’ll know that I LOVE this woman’s books. The Winner’s Curse trilogy was such a whirlwind of emotions. I’ve actually gotten the opportunity to meet her and hear her speak, but that was before I really dove into the trilogy and became a superfan. I have so many more questions now! Plus, listening to her share her travel stories and research is super interesting.

Talking points I’d love to hear: More about her research and travels around Europe, what it was like writing a story that developed such a large and fervent fanbase, what’s next?!


151371Jenny Han

Ah, Jenny Han‘s contemporary books. They make me swoon. I would adore hearing how she got the inspiration for such swoony books and boys. Some must be based on real-life events, right?

Talking points I’d love to hear: Would she ever write something other than contemporary, a spin-off of either of the YA contemporary trilogies, any more stand-alones in the works?


Jennifer E. Smith 
805184

Another lady whose contemporaries I ADORE. I’d basically want to see her for the same reasons as Jenny Han, because everybody needs some cute romance in their lives! Also, she’s coming out with a new book in May 2017, Windfall, that I have in my hands and cannot wait to read!

Talking points I’d love to hear: Where did those long titles come from, how does she come up with such adorable and dare I say unrealistic scenarios for romance?


Those are the first four authors that popped into my head, and whose books I’ve constantly loved for years. If I were putting together a panel, you bet these ladies would all be on it!

If you’re looking to find author panels or book conferences to attend, or even want to plan one of your own, Eventbrite is a great resource. You can check out their conference registration software to get started!

Who would be on your dream author panel?xo

 

*I was approached by Eventbrite for this post, but I was in no way sponsored by them.