Friday, June 30, 2017

[Review] Four Weeks, Five People by Jennifer Yu

Four Weeks, Five People by Jennifer Yu
Version: ARC Paperback
Rating: 3 stars

Release Date: May 2nd 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:
They're more than their problems
Obsessive-compulsive teen Clarissa wants to get better, if only so her mother will stop asking her if she's okay.
Andrew wants to overcome his eating disorder so he can get back to his band and their dreams of becoming famous.
Film aficionado Ben would rather live in the movies than in reality.
Gorgeous and overly confident Mason thinks everyone is an idiot.
And Stella just doesn't want to be back for her second summer of wilderness therapy.
As the five teens get to know one another and work to overcome the various disorders that have affected their lives, they find themselves forming bonds they never thought they would, discovering new truths about themselves and actually looking forward to the future.
I received this ARC from Miss Print's (Emma) ARC Adoption over here! Thank you Emma!

This will be a hard review to tackle, so please bear with me.

Four Weeks, Five People is told in alternating 5-POVs from the characters attending a wilderness therapy camp for the summer for their respective disorders. Stella has an anger-based depression and it's her second time coming to the camp. Clarisa has OCD and has a mother who is never satisfied with anything she does. Ben has a dissociative disorder and makes everything in his life into a movie. Mason has narcissist personality disorder and he thinks everyone at the camp is below him. Andrew has an eating disorder and he yearns to return back to his band and make them famous. 

The five of them are stuck together for four weeks and learn much about themselves and the people surrounding them.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

BookExpo & BookCon 2017 Recap

BookExpo & BookCon 2017 

BookExpo Logo

This was my second time attending BookExpo & third time attending BookCon, and it was still as exciting as it has always been. I skipped BookExpo/BookCon last year since it moved to Chicago, and I wasn't completely sure I would be attending this year until two or three months before, but I am glad I did!

Here are just some of my highlights from that week:

BookExpo (June 1 & 2)

Penguin Random House (and specifically Penguin Teen) definitely deserves a shoutout for their wonderful staff & lineup. They had so many popular signings, like for Leigh Bardugo's Wonder Woman and Marie Lu's Warcross, and they managed the lines pretty well; I didn't have any trouble trying to find the line. Their staff, including volunteers, were also very friendly and nice to chat with! 

Some of my favorites from Day 1 of the show:
  • Owlcrate's wheel, which consisted of either recent YA books or YA related swag, such as candles and calendars. I won Roseblood by A.G. Howard from the wheel. 
  • Disney also did a drop for The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken, which I didn't know about prior to the show so that was a nice surprise! And the art is just stunning. I mean, look at this!
(Photo from Amazon)
  • I also made it to the drop for Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen, which I had been anticipating since I absolutely loved Gaughen's Scarlet series. 

Some of my favorites from Day 2 of the show:
  • Of course, Marie Lu's Warcross signing on the second day was wonderful as expected.
  • Perhaps my most anticipated event for BookExpo and BookCon was Leigh Bardugo's Wonder Woman; it was my first time meeting Leigh, and I was just in the middle of reading Crooked Kingdom so that was a nice touch. The line for the signing started over an hour before, and it was nice to have book buddies to sit down with to pass the time. :-)

  • One of the last things I did at BookExpo was meet Julie Dao at her signing for Fires of a Thousand Lanterns and let me tell you - she was an absolute sweetheart! I cannot wait to read her debut.
  • I also met Holly Black, who was so friendly and a pleasure to chat with.
Scholastic also dropped Maggie Stiefvater's All the Crooked Saints, which wasn't announced pre-show, so that was a pleasant surpirse!

One thing I noticed is that Little Brown/The NOVL does not announce any dates and times for its events prior ro the show, so it's definitely worth heading there early on to grab their schedule.

The atomosphere was great, the lines went by fast, and BookExpo 2017 was even better than my first year (2015).

My BEA book "star" :D

BookCon (June 3rd)

BookCon is an annual thing I do with my friends, so above all, for me, it was more hanging out with my friends with the added bonus of being around books and authors. I only went the first day and didn't really plan a schedule.

If I can summarize BookCon into one word, it'll be lines.
Lines everywhere. Things at BEA that had absolutely no line (such as the Grishaverse) was swarmed on BookCon.

Despite the crazy crowds, I did have a great time.

Penguin had a bunch of random giveaways throughout the day with no coherent line, and they had a pretty cool giveaway promoting their new Underlined product. We got a zippered tote, a box with two books and some swag, a pouch, and a beach towel for signing up for Underlined. One of the books was The Golden Compass, which I've been thinking of reading anyway, so that was a cool surprise.

The only signing I went to at BookCon was the meet and greet for Kerri Maniscalo (Hunting Prince Dracula) and Lyndsay Ely (Gunslinger Girl). In fact, I think my next read may be Hunting Price Dracula.

I left not long after since I was still a bit tired from BookExpo, and the crowds were just not my thing.


BookExpo - A fabulous *insert many other positive adjectives here* event that I would reccommend to anyone with any role in the industry, whether it be blogging or selling.

BookCon - It's a nice event to enjoy with family or friends, but beware of the crowds.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

[Review] Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #3 
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 stars

Published: May 2nd 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: 
Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.
When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
This was such an endearing end to one of my high school favorites. It seem like all my favorite series are ending this year. While To All the Boys I've Loved Before is my favorite of the trilogy, Always and Forever brought me back to my own senior year of high school. There's the growing up and the separation from family and friends, as well as the fair share of drama.

[Review] Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3 stars

 Published: 1987

Goodreads Synopsis:
Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
A poignant story of one college student's romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man's first, hopeless, and heroic love.
This is a hard book for me to review.

I say this with the knowledge that my friend recommended me this book many years ago and I finally picked it up and finished it for #asianlitbingo not quite understanding what I had read. It is clear that Murakami writing style is artistic, even poetic at times. It even bares likeness to Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which our narrator Toru mentions reading - this likeness I will explain shortly.

I was really unsure as to why my friend has recommended this book, beyond the fact of reading literature outside of YA; Norwegian Wood is depressing and dark, written by Murakami during a period of depression. This review mostly stems from my discussion with her after I read the book. There are deep meanings behind it - of loss, of sexuality, of youth, especially in one's college years (in a way, a coming of age novel), and of importance (what we find important now vs. later).

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

[Review] Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Series: Flame in the Mist #1
Format: ARC Paperback
Rating: 4.5 stars

Published: May 16th 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:
The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.
So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.
The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires. Renee Ahdieh is well-known for her The Wrath and the Dawn duology, which was a romantic retelling of A Thousand and One Nights. 
I received this ARC from Miss Print's (Emma) ARC Adoption over here! Thank you Emma!

Flame in the Mist has its hints of romance, yes, but this is a dark story. Emphasis on dark. It's nothing like TWATD. The way Ahdieh juggles two extremely different genres is masterful and precise. You know you're in for one hell of a ride when the opening pages feature the seppuku of a character's father. 

What a great ride it was. Flame in the Mist had the action, but it also had a great story behind it, as well as well-rounded characters.