30 November 2017

The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 348
Publication: November 1st, 2016
Source: Library Copy
Genre: Contemporary
Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository 

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story. Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us. The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

So this book was not the book I was expecting it to be. I heard a lot about it and quite a few individuals had an issue with the whole concept of insta-love. Usually, I would agree; however, for some reason it worked in this novel and I really enjoyed the fact that Natasha and Daniel fell in love over the course of a day. The aspect of this book that made it so different it terms of “insta-love” from other books that I read was Natasha’s level of skepticism. I have found that typically the female lead of these stories end up swooning over the guy that is characterized as the male lead. Natasha was the complete opposite. She was determined to prove that love is an exact science and because of that it goes as easily as it comes. Because of this, it was up to Daniel to get her to see the world through a set of different lenses. Honestly, I found their love story to be romantic. It’s not completely realistic, but I do believe that there are people who find and feel strong connections to individuals that they have just met.

Another aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was all the cultural references. Half of my family is from Jamaica, so I definitely related to Natasha and her family especially her father’s desire to come to the United States to live out the American dream. Like Natasha and Daniel, sometimes I find it hard to live out the “requirements” of the heritage and culture of my family while still attempting to conform to certain ideals and traditions of American families. It can be hard and frustrating so watching Daniel and Natasha work out their inner turmoil related to their American experiences was extremely interesting.

Outside of the amazing character development, Yoon’s writing was phenomenal. I was not a huge fan of Everything, Everything, but this book was AMAZING. Her writing flowed and it was beautiful and unique. Not only did she write a story that addressed culture and immigration, but it also created a new way to look at love and she did a crazy amazing job making everyone connected. The ending wasn’t perfect. It wasn't knit into a neat little package where everything worked out for Daniel and Natasha. I LOVED that. I’m not saying that I hate perfect endings; however, I appreciate realistic endings and this one was real all the way to the end. Time and distance are a real factor when it comes to love and I definitely could appreciate that.

I really appreciated everything about this book. It was carefully planned out and written and I can tell that is her second book. It’s so beautiful and definitely delves into the philosophy associated with love. If you haven’t read this book definitely give it a chance. It is fascinating, beautiful, and just completely and utterly amazing.

29 November 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday #20, The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 480
Publication: March 29th, 2018 

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life. Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

I don't remember where I discovered this book. I'm sure it was from one of the many AMAZING blogs that I follow; however, this is one of my must reads of 2018. It sounds completely and totally amazing and I know that I will enjoy it especially since it takes place in Taiwan!

What book are you looking forward to?

28 November 2017

Top 10 Tuesday: Winter TBR 2017-2018

Happy Tuesday everyone! I can't believe it's almost the first of December! Time is definitely flying by. So if you didn't know which I'm sure you do, Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and Bookish. This Tuesday's theme has us focusing on our winter TBR. I just want you guys to know ahead of time that I am awful at TBR's. I'm such a mood reader that I rarely stick to them; however, this year I'm going to try extremely hard to get it together. : )

Here are some of the release of 2017 that I was supposed to get to that I haven't just yet. The list is a lot longer than this, but I at least want to read these four:

These are the four releases in January/February of next year that I really want to check out. Like before my list is actually longer than this; however, I'm trying to be realistic haha. I already have an ARC of Cruel Prince by Holly Black so I'm sure I can definitely read that one sooner than later.

These last two books are just books that I'm interested in reading that I already own or have currently checked out from the library.

What does your Winter TBR look like? 

25 November 2017

BookiskRealmReviews & Film #2

Happy Saturday Everyone! I hope all my US readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm back today with another look at some movies and TV shows I've watched or I'm currently watching! I hope you enjoy. : ) Let me know in the comments what you are currently watching! 


For some reason this past week I was craving the Harry Potter films. I don't have the first three films so I decided to go with watching HP & The Goblet of Fire. Ironically, this is my favorite book out of the series and my favorite movie. I really enjoyed learning about and seeing witches and wizards from other schools. It just adds a really fun and engaging element to the story. This movie adaptation isn't the best because a lot of different elements of the book are left out; however, I enjoy it every time I watch it. Shortly after I watched HP & The Order of the Phoenix which isn't my favorite book or movie, but is definitely extremely important to the overall plot of the books and films. I'm really interested in re-reading this book and watching the film again to see how close they are to each other.

Girls Trip was hilarious! I was not expecting it to be that funny, but then again I had to remember who was in the film. It definitely tackles some major issues, but its all about girl power and friendship and I'm always here for that. It was great and I definitely recommend it as a light film to enjoy. After watching Girls Trip I definitely wanted something a little more suspenseful so I decided to watch The Gift. It was interesting and suspenseful and everything I needed in a psychological thriller. I can't say anything about it because I will spoil it for viewers. Definitely check it out.

TV Shows

I took a break on watching 7th Heaven season 4 and decided to re-watch Downton Abbey. I can't remember where I stopped with the series so I just decided to pick back up with season 2 because I can remember everything from season 1. It's a classic and I'm sure most of you have seen it, but if you haven't I definitely recommend picking it up. 

What have you watched or what are you currently watching??

24 November 2017

Friday #56, #43 Amour Amour by Krista & Becca Ritchie

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:

  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading!!

Series: Aerial Ethereal 
# of Pages: 347 
Publication: December 12th, 2014
Source: Kindle Copy 
Genre: New Adult 
Goodreads | Amazon 

Love is a circus "Every day,” he says lowly, “I hold a person’s life in my hands. The circus is based one-hundred percent off trust. I give it all to someone, and they give it all to me.” The best aerial technique won’t land 21-year-old Thora James her dream role in Amour—a sexy new acrobatic show on the Vegas strip. Thora knows she’s out of her element the second she meets Amour’s leading performer. Confident, charming and devilishly captivating, 26-year-old Nikolai Kotova lives up to his nickname as the “God of Russia.” When Thora unknowingly walks into the crosshairs of Nikolai’s after-show, her audition process begins way too soon. Unprofessional. That’s what Nik calls their “non-existent” relationship. It’s not like Thora can avoid him. For one, they may be partners in the future—acrobatic partners, that is. But getting closer to Nik means diving deeper into sin city and into his dizzying world. Thora wants to perform with him, but when someone like Nikolai attracts the spotlight wherever he goes—Thora fears that she’s destined to be just background to his spellbinding show. This sexy and exhilarating New Adult Romance can best be described as Cirque du Soleil meets the steamy, athletic romance of Center Stage. *standalone & no love triangles—recommended for readers 18+ for mature content*

So this week I'm working on a NA book because I needed a break from reading solely school related material. I'm not that far into the book; however, I love the Addicted Series and the Calloway Sisters Series by Krista & Becca Ritchie so I'm sure I'm going to enjoy this one. This will be my first time reading a book with a circus related element so I'm really excited. Once I finish I definitely will be doing a full review.

"He kisses me, and I almost drop the hangers in a daze. If his eyes are hell, his tongue is heaven, and I would gladly return. I walk backwards with him, my lips stinging and my body aching. His hand falls to my hip, and it crosses my mind—he’s guiding me."

22 November 2017

Author Interview: Linda Fairstein

Happy Wednesday everyone!! It's almost time for Thanksgiving and I cannot believe it! This year has completely flown by; however, today I got the most amazing opportunity to interview New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein! Last fall Linda Fairstein introduced the plucky, 12-year-old sleuth Devlin Quick to young readers in her first book, Into the Lion’s Den in her popular Devlin Quick mystery series. Devlin Quick returned this November in DIGGING FOR TROUBLE: A DEVLIN QUICK MYSTERY (Dial Books for Young Readers; on sale November 7, 2017) as a modern-day Nancy Drew determined to solve mysteries. Keep reading to find out more about the author, the book, her answers to my interview questions! 

Series: Devlin Quick
# of Pages: 336
Publication: November 7, 2017 
Source: Copy from Publisher
Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository

Twelve-year-old supersleuth Devlin Quick heads to Montana to dig out dinosaur bones, but instead she uncovers a mystery. After successfully apprehending a map thief at the beginning of summer, Dev is going to spend the second half of her summer vacation in Montana with her best friend, Katie, exploring the outdoors and NOT getting into trouble. But after participating in a dinosaur dig, Katie and Dev suspect that someone bad is in the Badlands when Katie's found fossils are switched out for old rocks. The good news? With Mom back in New York, no one can stop Devlin from investigating! But the fossil thief isn't the only danger here, as snakes, scorpions, and bears abound, making Montana a treacherous place for finding answers. And when the mystery takes Dev and Katie back to Manhattan--to the Museum of Natural History--the case gets even more complicated, even with Dev's friend Booker there to help. Dev has to use her brains, brawn, and yes, okay, the lessons learned from her police commissioner mother if she wants to dig up the truth once and for all.

Ashley: What inspired you to use dinosaurs in this book?

Linda: As a kid, the first great institution I fell in love with was Manhattan’s AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY.  It’s the place I discovered dinosaur fossils and skeletons, and I’ve gone back with every kid – family and friends – over the decades as the knowledge about these giants and the exhibits depicting them have evolved.  Most kids I know are fascinated with dinosaurs, so that part was a natural.  In summer, I spend time every July in Montana, which is home to the largest fossil deposits in North America.  Someday I hope to participate in a dig, but until then Devlin Quick took on that fictional role for me in DIGGING FOR TROUBLE.

AshleyWhat was your favorite book as a child?

Linda: The first book that captured my heart was a volume of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES.  I loved the sing-song rhythm of his poems, and it was what my mother often used to read me to sleep.  I think that once I learned to read for myself, my pre-adolescent choice will always remain Louisa May Alcott’s LITTLE WOMEN.

AshleyHow did you select the names of the characters?

Linda: As most writers come to realize, their choices of character names are very important.  We want readers to identify with them, to like our protagonists and fear our villains.  I sometimes use the names of good friends, as a tribute to them.  In this case, DEVLIN is the name of one of my favorite characters in a very old Hitchcock movie – NOTORIOUS.  Cary Grant’s character was called Devlin.  It’s a strong name and an unusual one, and since my Devlin is named for her father, I grabbed it to give to her.

AshleyWhat makes writing a children’s book different from writing a book for adults?

Linda: There are a lot of differences between writing for adults and writing for children.  One is that the vocabulary has to be something that a 10-12 year old kid would use, and so that can be very different.  For me, the plotting is much more fun because my adult mysteries involve murder and very sophisticated forensics, while the kids’ series don’t have that life-and-death intensity.  There is also a lot more light-hearted humor in DIGGING FOR TROUBLE than in DEADFALL, my most recent thriller.  I stay keenly aware of the fact that my audiences for each series is quite different.

Ashley: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer or is writing your sole job/career for the moment?

Linda: When I started to write fiction in 1996, I was still a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.  I stepped down from that job in 2002 to write full time, which I do.  But I am still passionate about the issues facing victims of violence, so I keep my license to practice law and accept some cases from time to time.

Ashley: Did any children’s mystery books inspire you to start this series?

Linda: Both of my careers – in law and in literature – were inspired by my devotion to Nancy Drew when I was a young reader.  I envied her courage and her independence, and her loyal group of friends who helped her solve crimes.  My decision to create a twelve-year old sleuth named Devlin Quick is a tribute to my affection for Nancy Drew.

Ashley: What is your favorite part of this book? (Spoiler free if you can haha)

Linda: My favorite part of DIGGING FOR TROUBLE was trying to imagine a situation that would create some peril for smart young kids involved in a dino dig.  I wanted them to encounter a bad situation that could be unraveled by their brains and their moxie, along with a good dose of knowledge about fossils picked up along the way.  I love plotting Dev’s capers.

Thank you so much to Linda for that interview! I really enjoyed learning more about her books and her as an author. If you want to know more about Linda keep reading below! 

Linda Fairstein is best known as the internationally bestselling author of the Alex Cooper mystery series for adults, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages. She first dreamed of writing mysteries in the sixth grade. A voracious reader of Nancy Drew, Linda penned her first caper for kids, The Secret of Apple Tree Farm at the age of 11. Last fall, Fairstein returned to her childhood passion with the publication of Into the Lion’s Den. Prior to writing, Linda worked at the Manhattan District Attorney's office as the head of the Special Victims Unit from 1976 to 2002. She lives in Manhattan, Martha’s Vineyard, and Big Timber, Montana.

20 November 2017

Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Series: Royals
# of Pages: 370
Publication: April 4th, 2016
Source: Library Copy
Goodreads | Amazon

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself. These Royals will ruin you… Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from. Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals. He might be right. Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

This was not by any means the best book in the world. It's what I like to call a guilty pleasure or my favorite trashy romance. Before reading this book I heard my fair share of complaints from people who absolutely hated the book. However, I personally love to read controversial books and figure out what elements make people hate them so much. For this book, I saw a lot of complaints about the relationship between Ella and Reed. It's labeled as being abusive and sexist and quite frankly based on Reed's behavior it does take on that nature. I didn't find anything about his relationship with Ella to be romantic. He was a complete jerk to her UNTIL certain elements of their relationship change. That by no means addresses or excuses the nastiness that came with his personality; however, for some reason I still enjoyed the book. I can't necessarily pin point what it was. It could have been anything from how easy it was to read it to the drama that the Royal family constantly encountered. And let me tell you, Erin Watt knows how to write a good cliffhanger. As I'm writing this review, I have already made it through the first three books of the series and plan to start the fourth one sometime soon.

There really isn't anything positive to write about this first book. There's a lot of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. There are addiction issues that are not addressed, foul language used with people who do not deserve it, women who are looked down upon because they're women. It's a tragedy of a storyline and pretty crappy writing, BUT I freaking love this series! Like I stated earlier, I can not pinpoint why I really like the series except the fact that I genuinely enjoy a good trashy romance every now and then. I would definitely say that this book is not for everybody. And it is problematic to the point that it could bother anyone; however, while I saw the issues I still finished the book and instantly picked up the second one.

If you look at the rating below and then read the narrative that I just wrote, you're probably confused as to why the book was rated so low. Regardless of my enjoyment of the book, I cannot in good faith recommend such a problematic book. This does not mean that no one should read it; however, it does mean that I can't give it a high rating. Additionally, I don't think that this book is young adult. If anything I would classify it as new adult. The sex scenes are too explicit for it to be classified as young adult. Overall, not a great book; however, I definitely have made it into my guilty, trashy pleasure.

19 November 2017

Sunday Post #12

Happy Sunday fellow bloggers and readers. I am back with another Sunday post hosted by the lovely caffeinated book reviewer

Okay let's start with my week in a complete recap. Things have kind of slowed down at work because a branch that was closed just reopened so the customers that were coming to us are headed back to their home branch. School is finally winding down. I just turned in a twenty-eight page paper for one of my classes so I'm happy to start winding down. It's been a rough couple of weeks, but I have faith everything will be okay. With Thanksgiving approaching this week I'll be happy to get away and spend some time with family. 

The Sun Is Also A Star (5 stars) was AMAZING! I was definitely surprised by how much I enjoyed this book considering I'm not a fan of insta-love, but Nicola Yoon did such an amazing job. I think that everything about this book worked. I'm glad I took the chance to pick this up because I was going to bypass it since I didn't really like Everything, Everything. The Deep #1 (3 stars) was a random issue that I checked out on Hoopla via my library. It was published by Kaboom so I thought I would give it a try. It was pretty good. I have to read a few more issues to see how I really feel about it. Sleep Well Siba & Saba (4 Stars) was a picture book I intentionally decided to pick up. It was published by Lantana. They are a publishing company that focuses on diverse books. This is the second picture book that I've read from them and it is was AMAZING. If you're looking for diverse picture books, I would recommend checking them out. 

  • Paper Princess (The Royals #1) Review 
  • Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Books I'm Thankful For
  • Author Interview: Linda Fairstein
  • Naruto Vol. 1 Review 
  • Friday #56 
  • BookishRealmReviews & Film 

How has your week gone? Let me know in the comments below.

17 November 2017

Friday #56 #42 This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:

  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading!!

American attitudes toward immigrants are paradoxical. On the one hand, we see our country as a haven for the poor and oppressed; anyone, no matter his or her background, can find freedom here and achieve the “American Dream.” On the other hand, depending on prevailing economic conditions, fluctuating feelings about race and ethnicity, and fear of foreign political and labor agitation, we set boundaries and restrictions on who may come to this country and whether they may stay as citizens. This book explores the way government policy and popular responses to immigrant groups evolved throughout U.S. history, particularly between 1800 and 1965. The book concludes with a summary of events up to contemporary times, as immigration again becomes a hot-button issue. Includes an author’s note, bibliography, and index.

So this week I'm reading another book for my young adult materials class. It's been interesting so far, but not anything that I'm necessarily reading to brag about. It does tackle some difficult issues and I truly believe that it relates to everything that is going on in the country right now; however, the writing is getting to me a little bit. Hopefully I'll get used to it by the time I finish the book. If you've read it before please let me know what you think in the comment box below. 

"Refugees from ethnic genocide--the killing of an entire group of people by another--fled Rwanda, often spending years in camps in other parts of Africa. Some Rwandan refugees were eventually accepted by the United States. Others were not."

15 November 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday, #19 Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 464
Publication: April 3rd, 2018
Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations. But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

I originally just saw the cover of this book and it instantly pulled me in. I've never seen anything like it and the premise is extremely interesting. Luckily I was able to get a copy of it from Yallfest so I actually will get the opportunity to read this one sooner than later. I'm extremely excited to get to it.

What book are you looking forward to?