Uncategorized

Books I need in my life, like, yesterday…

GIVE ME ALL THE BOOKS!

650757

It’s a new year, (I know, we keep saying this) and with it, comes new books! I decided to compile a very short list of books I need in my life…like, yesterday! Some are new, still awaiting to grace the shelves of the wonderful, and magical land called…bookstores. Did you say it with that dreamy tone in your voice? Good. Some, have been out but have not graced my shelves, which is a problem. Why have they yet to do so? Well, MONEY. And the lack there of. My heart aches that I have yet to find my long lost uncle, cousin, grandparent, whatever, who is flowing with money and feeling mighty generous to bestow me with tons of it so I can buy ALL THE BOOKS! Or, solve world hunger, I know. #Priorities.

Anyhow, here are my “I need them NOW” list and why. I was hoping and not so subtlety hinting, btw, that I wanted BOOKS for Birthday/Christmas. (they’re a week apart) No. One. Got. Me. Book. Gift. Cards. I feel betrayed by my family. I’m still hurt almost a month later. Okay, not really, but it would’ve been nice. The thing is, I’m the only reader in my family. The concept that all I want as gifts is either coffee gift cards and/or book gift cards doesn’t seem to compute. They all go, “Really? That’s nice. So, what do you really want?”

*brow raise* THAT IS WHAT I REALLY WANT!

Le sigh. Anyway, on to the list!

RED QUEEN

10212034

Goodreads Synopsis:

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

_______________________________________________________

This book has been one of the most anticipated young adult debuts of 2015. From the moment HarperCollins debuted that cover, it was over. Starry eyes all around the world twinkled! Everyone is talking about this book because, I mean, look at that cover. It’s sheer perfection. Bravo, Harper, bra-vo. *golf claps*

I’m telling you publishers and self-publishers…A GREAT COVER WILL sell your book! I wanted this book not even reading or caring what it was about. But of course, after the first winds of cover lust subsided–just a bit–my rationale kicked in and said, “Hm. I should probably check out what the story is even about.” Well, color-me-interested! I am very much intrigued. I feel as though this heroine is going to be totally bad ass. Similarities of Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas) come to mind, plus throw in a little Game of Thrones and you have one epic sounding journey ahead. Bring it Victoria Aveyard!

EVE: THE AWAKENING

FINAL EVE COVER

 Synopsis:

Eve is an outcast. A chimera. After years of abuse and rejection, 19-year-old Evelyn Kingston is ready for a fresh start in a new city, where no one knows her name. The esteemed Billington University in sunny Southern California seems like the perfect place to reinvent herself—to live the life of an ordinary human.

But things at Billington aren’t as they seem. In a school filled with prodigies, socialites, and the leaders of tomorrow, Eve finds that the complex social hierarchy makes passing as a human much harder than she had anticipated. Even worse, Billington is harboring a secret of its own: Interlopers have infiltrated the university, and their sinister plans are targeted at chimeras—like Eve.

Instantly, Eve’s new life takes a drastic turn. In a time filled with chaos, is the world focusing on the wrong enemy? And when the situation at Billington shifts from hostile to dangerous, will Eve remain in the shadows, or rise up and fight?

______________________________________________________

Isn’t that cover hardcore awesome? I’ve had the privilege of connecting with this debut author who gave me a sneak peek into the first half of her book, EVE: The Awakening. It’s a young adult sci-fi full of ass-kicking, aliens, hilarious dialogue, and a pretty swoon-worthy love interest. Once I got a taste of this story, I was anxious for more! I wanted all of it. EVE is a fresh, and unique take to the alien stories we’ve read before. What I love about our social outcast heroine is her snarky, witty attitude as she’s tossed into a prestige collegiate setting with Mean Girls extraordinaire. You’ll love our leads but you’ll be pulled into and equally love or love to hate these well-crafted supporting characters Moreci cleverly intertwined into the plot-twisting story.

As of now–though not confirmed–release date may fall this Spring. So just a few more months! You can check out the first three chapters (and they’re nice, chunky, and lengthy chapters of goodness) for free on her website! www.JennaMoreci.com 

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU

17234658Goodreads Synopsis:

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

______________________________________________________________

 So, here’s another case of Cover Lust, where Desiree took one look and said, “I want you. I gotta have you. Done!” And well, if you asked her what the book was about, she…why am I speaking in third?…I, would have no idea. I STILL don’t know what it’s about! I just copy-pasted the synopsis above and haven’t read it yet. I’m laughing in that, “you’re such a sad person” way. Anyway. This cover is stunning and speaks to me. Luckily, covers that have spoken to me in the past have yet to failed me. Now, let’s read this synopsis, shall we? Or me…you probably already did, cause well, you’re normal. One moment…

*Elevator music*

Whoa. Okay. I’ve read it and I am most definitely intrigued. You know what it reminds me of? BioShock Infinite. It’s a video game (with sweet graphics). There’s a mystery to be solved and different dimension skipping where the main character and the supporting role’s lives get altered with the passing of each. The look of it even reminds me of the cover of this book.

bioshock_infinite_wallpaper_by_slydog0905-d5z35jy

18849-bioshock-infinite-1920x1080-game-wallpaper

Loved this game, both visually and the story’s premise. Makes me want this book even more now!

HEIR OF FIRE

72897_original

 Goodreads Synopsis:

(WARNING: This is 3rd book in series. Synopsis may contain SPOILERS)

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

____________________________________________________________

This is an author who truly surprised me. Her debut novel, Throne of Glass is the first in a six-part high-fantasy series. First, I’ve never been a fantasy reader. I haven’t picked up many in my time. Everyone and their mother raved about Sarah J. Maas and these books. Since May 2013, she debuted Throne of Glass–book one–then released a prequel compilation of novellas called The Assassin’s Blade, then followed book two, Crown of Midnight. Ending 2014, we were given book three of the series, Heir of Fire.

I finally gave in and bought both The Assassin’s Blade and Throne of Glass. I fell in love with her writing, this epic, well-told story, and the characters. She was the “Red Queen” talk of last year and most definitely did not disappoint. Not only does she take you on these amazing journeys with an ASSASSIN heroine–what?!–who loves to be girly, she interweaves crazy fantastical plot twists and throws in an interesting love triangle that isn’t at all annoying like almost every other love triangle out there. *smiles*

I have heard that book two rips your heart out and then book three does NOTHING to mend it. Yeah, I’ve been holding off on reading the next two but am feeling antsy. It’s time. I have Crown of Midnight, but NEED Heir of Fire. I have already been warned that the way book two ends, will require me to have the next one in hand to help me cope.

OPEN ROAD SUMMER

Open-Road-Summer

 Goodreads Synopsis:

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

_____________________________________________________

 This is one of those, “Everyone has been talking about this. Ermergerd, you need to get this and read it now!” Last year, Emery Lord was the talk of contemporary YA. Apparently, this book is freaking amazing and will give you the feels. I loved the cover (of course, cover slut that I am. “Hi, my name is Desiree, and I am a cover slut.” In unison, “Hi, Desiree” all around). We all need those fun, slightly antsy, swoony, summer contemporaries every so often to cleanse the other genre palate. Sold. Need it. Want it.

THE HEIR

a4f96f2b39f8514993befbda123619d0

 Goodreads Synopsis: (WARNING: Spoiler spinoff of The Selection Series)

Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought

_____________________________________________________

OMG! Okay, this book is one of those guilty pleasures, TV watching, like the Bachelor that may drive you insane at times, and fill you with anxiety but you Can’t. Stop. Reading. It! You need to know ALL THE THINGS! I loved this series! It infuriated me at times due to the heroine, America Singer’s lacking ability to MAKE A DECISION! I became really invested in Maxon. I wanted to know him, and understand him. I wanted to know what he was thinking half of the time. The One, what we thought was the last book in the series, gave you all the anxieties and all the feels. You wanted more. The choice was made–FINALLY–and then you were only given a glimpse of their happily ever after and huffed, closing that last page. After ALL THAT STRESS, you wanted just a little more.

Well, thank you Harper Collins and Kiera Cass, because we got A LOT more! In The Queen (novella), we get a special epilogue of Mer and Maxon, married and happy. Then comes the announcement. She’s pregnant! And oh, there’s more. Kiera Cass later released that America is pregnant with TWINS! A boy and a girl, but the girl is born first and thus we have, The Heir.

Fast forward twenty years, and it’s the girl, Princess Eadlyn’s turn to hold a Selection. I’m so freaking excited for this. I do hope Eadlyn is less like her mother though. It will be interesting now reading from the perspective of the person who will be choosing and not from a contestant, like America. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be cheesy, it may be a bit stressful (if Kiera holds to her “fun” surprises), but for some reason, we all won’t be able to put it down.

DELIVERANCE

thumbnail_Deliverance

 Goodreads Synopsis:

(WARNING: This is 3rd book in series. Synopsis may contain SPOILERS)

Everything hangs in the balance, and nothing is certain: Rachel has been kidnapped by enemy forces and is being taken to Rowansmark while Logan, imprisoned and awaiting trial, is unable to leave Lankenshire. Separated from each other and their Baalboden comrades, each must find a way to achieve what they desperately want: to rid their world once and for all of the Commander and the tech that controls the deadly Cursed One.

Fighting through her pain and embracing the warrior she’s become, Rachel will do whatever it takes to escape her enemies’ clutches and join Logan in his fight. But when she learns a secret that changes everything, she realizes that escaping Ian and his tracker friends is no longer an option if she wants to save the people she loves. Instead, she’ll have to destroy Rowansmark from the inside out—if she can survive the journey through the Wasteland.

Logan needs allies if he wants to thwart Rowansmark’s power grab and rescue Rachel. But securing allies will mean betraying his beliefs and enlisting the help of the man he hates more than anyone: Commander Jason Chase. Driven by his fierce love for Rachel and his determination to make their world safe, Logan may be just the weapon the city-states need to defeat the Cursed One.

But as Rowansmark bears down and uneasy alliances are tested, will Rachel and Logan’s love for each other be enough to surmount the unbelievable odds against them?

_________________________________________________________

 This was probably one of the first fantasy novels I delve into. I had heard through Epic Reads about this awesome couple that they lovingly shipped…hardcore. Logan and Rachel. Well, I wanted to know who this said couple was. Rachel (notice a theme here? I gravitate towards bad ass heroines) is a no-mess, slightly impatient, well-trained hunter and tracker like her father who went missing. This is a very interesting concept because it’s set in the future, sort of post apocalyptic, but things have digressed to medieval era and then toss in some fantasy elements like DRAGONS and you’ve got one hell of an adventure.

I absolutely LOVED the premise that forced Logan and Rachel together. Let’s just say, they both were NOT happy about it. I really like Logan’s character. His methodical mind in intriguing to read. It’s a dual perspective story and with such different personalities, it’s fun getting both of their takes on their current situations. I have read the first two books in the series and it left me with quite the hangover. I have been waiting for this third and final book in the trilogy because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WITH RACHEL AND LOGAN! The feels were just being upped in the previous book. They’ve had a lot on their shoulders and have to navigate a whole town of people, threat of a “Cursed One”, a dictating leader, oh, and yeah, a new relationship. Can’t wait to see how it all ends.

Here’s my Book Talk for Deception (book two) by the awesome C.J. Redwine

INVADED

17316770

 Goodreads Synopsis:

The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe…until a threat to both their worlds reunites them.

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.

The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return?

_________________________________________________________

 And last, but never least, is the next book in the Alienated trilogy? I don’t even know if it is set to be a trilogy but anywho, the first book, Alienated was a fun, swoony take on aliens. It was fun and had a contemporary feel but it’s sci-fi! Intergalactic exchange student who’s hot but awkward to our world’s cultural interactions, has no qualms knowing he’s the superior species, and get’s on the overachieving, competitive, prides herself in being intelligent, witty heroine’s nerves? Yup. Sign me up. Now, we have the second part taking off where book one left us and I’m ready for all the struggles and swoony feels. Did I mention it’s swoony?

Here’s my Book Talk for Alienated (book one) by Melissa Landers

And this concludes my “NEED THEM NOW” feature of books. All the books. What books are you just NEEDING in your life, like, yesterday?

Writing Blog

Writing in the New Year

laptop-coffee-notebook Hello friends! It’s that time again where I crawl into my most comfiest of clothes, don’t wear makeup, prescription glasses on instead of contacts, my hair is a nest on top of my head, and the coffee is flowing till the wee hours of the night. I’M WRITING!  What? Oh, you think you can write a book and look glamorous while doing it? LIES! Lies, I tell you! As some may know, last year, I finished drafting my first book. *wide eyed, gaped mouth* I. Know! It was one hell of a journey. After finishing the draft to my Dystopian book, (the first of a Duology) I found a freelance editor and sent it off to get ripped apart…in the best way, of course. While waiting on that to happen, I was encouraged to start another story. Something different from a Dystopian, since the market is quite saturated with them at the moment. *shakes fists* “Thanks Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner and The Giver…” I’ve explained this story before, but in short, I struggled with the idea of a new story when the first one was still fresh in my head. Finally, the new story clicked and the last few months has been outlining and plotting. Right before the holidays, I started drafting the first chapter. Now, the holidays are over, the new year is here for the taking and I’m ready and excited to jump back in! writing advice TWEET A twitter pal went to an author event and tweeted some of their advice. I saved a couple to remind myself when that bugger on my shoulder tries to discourage me. SJMaas Writing advice medium_The-hard-part-about When you actually wet your feet and begin writing the story that lives in your head, one of your biggest enemies lies within: your inner Editor. And let’s be honest, as much as you wish you were awesome (and perhaps you are), you need another pair of eyes. You need an actual Editor whose brain is crafted to see the little things and catch plot errors. While writing, you want to get it right, perfect and you want it down the first time. You put all this pressure on yourself, writing, proofreading, rereading, and wanting to figure out ALL THE THINGS from the beginning so your story sparkles with flecks of gold. That becomes the downfall of many writers. The pressure for it to be “perfect” on the first draft leads to disappointment, crippling insecurtiy, and then…quitting. Even if you don’t quit the story entirely, your pace drastically slows down, leaving days, weeks, MONTHS since you’ve last touched your manuscript. I’ve read and been told time and time again; The first draft is going the suck. “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” Just get the story out. Drafting should be the quickest part of your ‘Writing a Book’ journey.  Revisions is where the meat of the process is. Revisions takes MONTHS. (sometimes more) That’s where you can go back, reread your entire story from beginning to end and catch all the things. Then, you get to give it to a professional who will read and catch all the things, marking your entire manuscript in BLOOD RED. Then, you hand off to beta-readers to dissect and give you the outside reader’s perspective. THEN, you go back in and fix all the things. Reread all the things (For the thousandth time) and maybe….just freaking maybe, it’ll be time to send that sucker out to query and hope and pray an agent and editor publishes you. head_desk_stress_gif_by_japanerd1-d4srqbk Book one is about to start Revisions. To say I’m…well, I’m dreading and looking forward to it. MY POINT! Don’t over think the final outcome of the manuscript. Focus on telling the story. Do your research, outline and plot the crap out of it and then write like the wind. Write-Your-Book-Today As of yesterday, I made official with a writer friend, my 1ooo/words a day goal. I proofread my first chapter from a month ago, made some suggested additions/changes, and then continued my story. writing-a-book

My total word count was: 1697! Boo-Yah!

BOOYAH Sure, it was past six in the morning when I got there but hey, it’s okay, I’m nocturnal. The brain doesn’t fully wake up till about after eleven at night anyway. Even now, it’s almost four in the afternoon and my eyes are heavy and refusing to wake up, even with the coffee at my side. My hope for this year is that I may have the final draft of my first manuscript, maybe if I’m efficient, be in final Revisions of this second manuscript I’m drafting now, and hopefully be in the process of drafting the second and last book of my first concept duology. With those goals in mind, it’s gonna take some major discipline, constant kicking of procrastination’s ass, and accountability. Luckily, I have two strong, writer friends who I know will keep me on it. Writing is very much a solitary lifestyle. You’re in your head and over your laptop for endless hours on almost a daily basis. Weekends don’t mean anything. Holidays sometimes don’t make a difference until your loved ones drag your smelly ass in the shower, forcing you to wear a bra and brush you hair, for goodness sake. Though, that is the case, writing can’t be done alone. You need others. You need friends who will be blunt and critical of your work, because sharing it is the only way to make it better. You need the support of others who’ve been there or are currently there with you. photodune-4599763-journalist-s I’m very much the loner, and happily so. I’m shy and introverted. I’m extremely friendly though and easy to converse with but am a bit anti-social–go figure. When I started this new venture, and truly committed to it, I thought it was the perfect loner job. My insecurities thought I wouldn’t have to show anyone my work (until querying), and that the typical networking keys didn’t apply to me in this career path. HA! *chokes in laughter* Oh, how naive were you past, Des. *pats past self on the head* No, my friends. The publishing world/industry requires networking, marketing, and human interaction. So sorry to all my hermit crab friends out there aspiring to be writers. This new year, challenge yourself. I double dog dare you to write that story you’ve been meaning to write for a while now. I dare you to pick one of your many brilliant ideas and just do it! Don’t think further than that. Don’t try and format what this one book will get you. Whether this is the one to publish first or not, just get it done! Time slips between our fingers like water, and the next thing you know, you’re thirty, reminiscing years of dreaming that have yet to lead to action. FORGET THAT! Let’s make this shizz happen! Now! Today! Lets…. hyperbolememe

Well, here’s to Writing in the New Year! What are your writing goals this year? 

Uncategorized

New Years and the New Year…

IMG_0021

Coffee selfies, Epcot, Cirque de Soleil, and fancy hotels, OH MY!

Happy New Year! It’s 2015, or how all the cool kids are saying it, “Twenty-Fifteen”. I’m getting used to it now. I hadn’t been using the shorter version of the millennium years before. Well folks, a new year is upon us. Before it arrived, we were blissfully distracted by all the festivities, family gatherings (dreaded or not), presents, resolutions, etc. Then, the new year came and we began the navel-gazing, finding the meaning of life for this new chapter in our lives. No? Just me? Well, fine. I won’t be ashamed of talking about it.

Oh, by the way, I have dubbed this year, the year of COFFEE SELFIES! My Instagram is full of them–addictingly so–and I get made fun of for ALWAYS having coffee pictures on my feed. So I decided that this year, I would keep track of the number of them. This may be a slightly terrifying, eye-opening self-realization come the end of this year. Moving on!

Looking back, 2014 was a ROUGH year. Granted, when you really look deeper, beneath the surface, there were flecks of gold moments that sparkled when the light caught it just right. Poetic, I know, she says sarcastically. Those little flecks, you must grab onto them, dwell on them for a moment and appreciate them. This new year, I want to be more brave. I want to put aside as much negativity as possible. I want to be a little bit more selfish.

What? Yeah, I said, selfish.

Very long story short, I spent the better part of the last ten years of my life (my 20’s which have come and gone) living for others. Pleasing others with my lifestyle. I followed a box format of life that at the time, I truly believed in but have recently regretted. 2014, I dwelled on that regret. 2015, I’m choosing not to.

I’m choosing to put them aside, peer into the life lessons, the self-discovering epiphanies, and choose different from now on. I’m gonna take this year, and truly live for me. I’m gonna pursue things for me. Not for what society expects of me. Not for what family expects from me. My age gives way certain pressures towards life needing to supposedly look a certain way. I used to let that bother me. I would allow their expectations to plague me. I wanted to achieve said expected things in a very short amount of time because my clock was ticking and I was already way behind schedule…according to society. You know, the whole,

“Why aren’t you married yet? Did you get a degree? You don’t have a stable career yet? You don’t own a house? You don’t have children yet? Don’t you want any? You’re not dating anyone? You still haven’t lost weight?”

Oh, I’m not joking about that last one. I live in one of the most superficial and vainest cities in the country.

Anyway! Let’s recap the ending of “Twenty-Fourteen” onto the welcoming of, “Twenty-Fifteen!”

New Year’s Eve

IMG_0112

My mother sprung an impromptu road trip on my brother and me. We were told the day before New Year’s Eve to pack for a five day trip to Orlando. One of her oldest friend’s birthday is the 31st. So, we arrived to the festivities, also preparing ourselves for the New Year. She’s an interior decorator and her house sparkled of blue, golds, and silver with touches of peacocks everywhere. New York dropped the ball on TV and we crossed the threshold, halfway into the decade now.  Crazy!

Fancy Hotels

IMG_0057

Her friend was able to hook us up with a ridiculous deal to stay at one of the Epcot resorts, allowing us the next day to take the boat over to the Epcot park.

IMG_0100

One of the entrances (which I can’t believe I forgot to take pictures of), the ceiling looked like a night sky full of stars and as you walked, a streak of light descended, making it look like a shooting star. I’m obsessed with the night sky, stars, etc. Take me to a Planetarium to see a Star show and I’m the happiest woman, ever. Then, get me coffee and we’re golden!

Arriving to the hotel, I was more than happy to not move from that bed! Give me a cozy bed, away from the masses and I’m happy. (Wow, I’m telling you, I’m a simple gal) I never nap, but I had slept maybe four hours before that four hour drive, straight to the birthday/New Year party. Next day, I didn’t want to move.

IMG_0027

Family Dinner

The last time I was at a Planet H0llywood was for my sixteenth birthday, when South Florida used to have one. New Years Day, we ventured to Downtown Disney and ate a delicious (and freaking expensive) meal.

IMG_0130

Your eyes never NOT have something to look at when you’re at a Planet Hollywood restaurant. Luckily, they’re countless, classic, Hollywood memorabilia. I could have used a music change, but it was a fun place to splurge and dine at. Also, the perk of being at Disney gives it an extra allure.

IMG_0127

My beautiful mother (center), big brother (right), and my mother’s oldest friend (left), enjoying the dinning experience.

IMG_0024
Momma and Me

IMG_0126

My sangria sucked so I switched it for a simple Margarita. Tasted like a more tangy lemonade. I never get Margaritas–I’ve tasted a few before and they were horrible–but this one did not fail me.

Cirque de Soleil and Epcot

IMG_0006

Downtown Disney, ready to experience our first and MUCH anticipated, Cirque de Soleil show! For years, before BRAVO T.V. was what it is now and no one watched it, we would watch the full productions of the different Cirque de Soleil shows, dreaming of the day we could see one LIVE.

IMG_0004

FullSizeRender_1

FullSizeRender

 Survey Says...

Well, the thing is, those years of watching the productions on BRAVO, we had a certain expectation. The show was good. The talent was exceptional. The production itself, well, for us, it felt lacking. The space was surprisingly small and intimate. You would think that would have made the show pop and awe. If they would have matched the production with what we have seen before, then yes, it would have. To me, it felt like the condensed version of the actual show. Like with stage theatre, when they give you the black box version of a performance instead of the full let’s say, Broadway stage version. I enjoy ed it. I was only sad that my Mom had a lack-luster reaction. She was really excited before.

IMG_0129

Then, there was Epcot at Disney World. I love Disney. I love being and feeling like a kid again. The thing with Epcot is, we have been going there…Every. Freaking.  Year. for the last three years. Here’s the thing: (I keep saying that, I know) When you live in Florida, you tend to get used to Disney. You usually get last minute hook ups to a park and half-ass it. We’ve been half-assing Epcot for years. Kinda bored of it.

One very cool redeeming quality was FINALLY GETTING TO GO ON SOARIN‘! I have been trying to get on this ride at Epcot every year. It’s the most popular ride. The line takes HOURS! Since we half-ass it, we never get there in time to get Fast Pass tickets. Last time, we waited two hours only to end up progressing, maybe, ten feet. Yeah, so we left. This year, we were determined. We stayed. We sat on the floor and scooted our asses over every 35 to 45 minutes, moving a few steps forward. I never plan on making that line again without a Fast Pass, but the ride was so worth experiencing.

It’s a 3D experience where you are propelled in the air on seats and made to feel as though you’re hand-gliding all throughout California. It was thrilling, amazing and beautiful. If you ever find yourself in Epcot, check out SOARIN’! But try and get a Fast Pass. If not, wear cushion shoes, clothes you don’t mind dirtying if you sit on the floor, and a book.

Reading

IMG_0131

My first read in 2015 was Morgan Matson’s SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE. I’ve heard a lot about this read last year. The dust jacket is one of the most beautifully crafted I’ve seen. When you open it, on the inside is an entire vibrant photo. It’s beautiful. I started it on the car ride over to Orlando and then cracked it open occasionally for bed time. The pace of the story is a bit slow for me. I haven’t finished it. I put it aside for a moment to jump on the DUFF train. (Remember? Previous post)

I’m barely at the middle mark so I still have hopes that it will get better. It’ll possibly be my next Book Talk, coming to a bloglovin’ or inbox near you. 😉

Final Thoughts:

Our little five day vaca was a good getaway. Exhausting, but good. We hadn’t gotten away in some time and as I mentioned before, 2014 was kind of a bitch. Not as evil as 2013, but still a rough one all the same.

Returning home, I endured a three day migraine. Not fun. Now, that the fog of it’s wilting, I’m focusing on what this new year means for me. I have many goals, and ideas floating around in my head. I need to sit down and truly gather my thoughts and map out quarterly goals for the year. A writer and friend, Jenna Moreci (check out the first three chapters of her Sci-Fi awesomeness, EVE: THE AWAKENING which are free on her website right now www.jennamoreci.com – and I don’t say this cause she’s a friend. I got a sneak peek at a portion of her story and it’s really good. I need the rest…yesterday…I’m looking at you, Jenna *winks), she lives by the Quarterly Goal list. She puts them on her phone and keeps herself accountable to attempting to finish at least 50% of it by the end of the three months. I like lists. I like writing them and then the satisfaction of scratches them off. Don’t know why. Call me, Old School.

There’s a lot we could say, did not go according to plan last year. I’m determined to MAKE things happen this year. Middle of last year, I was chatting with the bestie (who lives in Missouri) and I told her about a tattoo idea I was pretty set on if I were ever to find the guts to get a tattoo. As some of you may know by now, I finally passed that theshold this past September. We got best friend tattoos on our ankles. Her eighth. My first. Well, the tattoo that I thought would be my first is a quote. “She believed she could so she did.”

I was reading a book–I believe it was Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey–and the main character had a tattoo along her rib cage. That was the quote. (I want a different placement) It left me thinking one night and I realized I wanted to be that woman. The one who wanted it, believed she could, and went for it. I am so not that girl but doesn’t mean I can’t be. Sure, there’s years of thinking habits that need to be broken, hence the desire of the tattoo. To see it as a daily reminder.

I’m claiming this year as my year. Have I done that before. Yep. But, this is the first year I actually believe it and feel the motivation to chase after it, make it happen.

So, with that said–before I rant more and bore you all–HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here’s to a new year full of brave moments, adventure, chance encounters, kismet greetings, carefree leaps, and love. Let’s set goals. Not outlandish resolutions that get left up in the air to the shooting star gods, in hope that they’ll just somehow magically come true.

Now, whoa there eager laddie. Don’t go cray cray either and stalk a guy, club him over the head, drag him to the court house and force a marriage ceremony because you “believed” you two were meant to be, and so you “did” what it took to make it happen. *backs away slowly* Yeah, you know who you are. Don’t come back saying I inspired that behavior, young lady! *winks*

Till next time! Happy reading, y’all!

Lets Talk BOOKS

Book Talk: ‘The Duff’ by Kody Keplinger

6931356

Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

_________________________________________________________________________

My Thoughts:

NON-SPOLIERY SECTION

Before the book, I had first seen the trailer of the new adaptation that is set to release in theaters, February of this year. I had an entirely different expectation going into the novel because–as I found out upon completion–the movie premise was completely reinvented and only loosely adapted Kody Keplinger’s contemporary young adult novel.

For a reporter assignment, I had decided while I was on vacation for the new year (follow up blog about that coming up), that I would/should take a quick gander at the novel before reporting on it–duh, right? Anyway, I was in the middle of another read which sadly has been a bit slow paced for me, and decided to take a pause and hop on ‘The Duff’ train. I wasn’t expecting my inability to put the book down. Between the four hour car ride back home, then changing into pjs and landing on my glorious bed which I missed–terribly–I ended up reading the entire novel in one sitting. I was hooked and invested. Our main character, Bianca, reminded me so much of MTV’s ‘Daria’ with her cynical outlook, wit and sarcasm. I actually related to Bianca, a lot.

She soon finds out through the school’s ‘too good-looking for his own good and worse he knows it’ man-whore that she is in her circle of friend’s the DUFF (Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend). “WTF?” was pretty much Bianca’s response. This begins to plague her mind. All of a sudden, she sees it and she gets it, and she’s simply horrified by it, because she believes it’s true.

The resident man-whore, Wesley Rush, nicknames her, “Duffy” and doesn’t seem to go away. Suddenly, he seems to be everywhere, making Bianca’s already hatred for the boy only grow. In the meantime, we get a glimpse of Bianca’s home life that’s falling apart and Bianca is not the type to emotionally divulge out loud to anyone.

My goodness, did I relate to her character a ton. I’m not nearly as cynical or clever with the wit but her emotional dealings and process mirror my own very much. Not a good thing, I know. (For those who’ve read it) 

It turns out Bianca finds a very interesting way to deal with her overwhelming circumstances and it just so happens to be with the last person on earth she would ever think, believe, or want. Wesley Rush.

For my NON-SPOILERY friends: Do. Not. Base. Your. Opinion. (of the book) On. The. Movie. Trailers! Though, I will be most likely checking the movie out (because I’m a Mae Witman fan) I enjoyed the book’s original premise/concept far more. The ‘DUFF’ concept, I thought was relatable, and pretty genius, but the true background that drove the book (unlike the movie’s, where she desires to end her Senior year changing her ‘Mean Girl’ label of THE DUFF) is Bianca’s attempt to distract herself from her problems and thinking/hoping they won’t catch up with her eventually. They do, of course. The other theme in the book that may correlate with the movie is; there’s always more to a person than the label they display on the surface. The book was a witty, fun, and quick read. I would definitely recommend it and gave it 4 out of 5 stars!

And this concludes the NON-SPOILERY SECTION of this post…Turn away. I don’t want you yelling at me. I warned you. I’m about to SPOILER-IT-UP in this joint…Not that there’s a lot more to spoil but yeah….

Wesley Rush is an arrogant, no filter, not a single hair on his freaking tongue, jackass who shouldn’t be allowed to look as good as he does. I mean, why the hell are girls so desperate that his cheesy crooked ‘sexy’ grins and lines get them falling somehow on his lap? With that said…who the hell ever thought he would grow on me, that little twit, and I would be rooting for him and Bianca?

When Bianca kissed him, I gasped out loud. I couldn’t believe she just LAUNCHED herself at his lips. What really took me by surprise was his reaction. That boy wrapped one arm around her waist and dig his other into her hair and pulled her to him, attacking her mouth as much are she was doing to him. Girl wasn’t even drunk. Nope. She was full of Cherry Coke. And pent up secrets, angst, and overwhelming parental crapstorm waiting for her at home. She needed a release. She needed not to think. She just wanted her mind to shut the hell up and her body to feel.

And damn, was that kiss hot! Now, with Wesley’s reference of her being the Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend, I was not expecting him to react so sensually back to her advances. I mean, yes, he’s a man-whore. A shameless, no regret or qualms about his whore-ish ways, so you’d think, as did Bianca, he’d do anything with a vagina, right? Well, sure, but let’s be honest. If a guy is not physically attracted to a girl, it ain’t gonna happen. Not the way it did between the two of them.

Of course, after the kiss is over, Wesley opens his mouth and just ruins it. Every. Damn. Time. The boy always sports a shit-eating grin after one of Bianca’s weak moments, and usually follows it up with an equally arrogant, snub about how irresistible he is. Putting myself in Bianca’s position, I would get so frustrated with him. Just like her, I wanted to lash out and wring his neck…then kiss him again. Dammit!

The kisses escalate to sleeping together. The fear of her father relapsing from his sobriety comes true when her absentee mother reappears after months away, only to give Bianca’s father divorce papers. He flips out and starts drinking heavily again, which in turn, makes him angry and mean. Thirteen years away from the bottle, gone. Things are falling apart at home, and Bianca doesn’t want to confide in her two best friends–Casey and Jessica, wanting to protect her father’s weakness. Worse, she doesn’t tell them about her new enemy-with-benefits thing with Wesley that begins consuming her time.

Now, what we have here is what I like to call, ‘The Broken Cookie’. It turns out that–to Bianca’s horror–Wesley’s a great listener and his life isn’t roses. It’s pretty messed up too. He craves companionship and hates loneliness, hence the constant need to hook up with girls. He’s using his looks to put up a front that he doesn’t ‘need’ anyone. He takes back the power that’s missing in his life through his open lifestyle. This is what connects the two. The ‘broken cookie’ syndrome is the swooning of girls around the world, excited to find their own hot Wesley they can “fix” too. Negative, Captain! *blaring warning alarms* But hey, that’s reality. Back to the fantasy world of fiction!

“Wesley Rush doesn’t chase girls, but I’m chasing you”

It was cute and endearing when he chose to put away is self-deprecating, self-defense mechanism and for the first time, do the chasing. He found someone who understood him, saw him for him, and gave him more than what a meaningless fling could. He chose Bianca. And in the end, she chose him back. Everyone with me, “D’awwwwww!”

Book’s Theme: 

“No matter where you go or what you do to distract yourself, reality catches up with you eventually”.

In the end, Bianca decided that being ‘The Duff’ wasn’t going to have the power it once had in the beginning. She realized that everyone felt they were someone’s DUFF. Labels like DUFF, whore, bitch, etc. are surface level stereotypes that other people give and though in part, the person’s actions may imply the label to appear true, there’s always more the the story. There’s always something deeper that provokes certain actions and behaviors. Wesley was a man-slut but deep down, his actions stemmed from something more.

Bianca’s actions throughout the entire novel lead to one final epitome: You can run but you can’t hide. Life will always catch up. Your problems will still be there when you stop hiding behind x,y, and z.

We can pretend something isn’t happening. We can find crazy or numbing ways to distract ourselves from said problems, but in the end, reality always catches up with us…maybe not today, or tomorrow…but eventually, it always does.

Book to Movie:

MV5BODM2OTQ4NzM4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzg4MDM1MzE@._V1_SX214_AL_

Let’s vent about the movie for a moment, shall we? Thanks!

After finishing the book, something in my mind went, “Errff?” The entire time, I remember waiting for some bitch, mean girl to be introduced into the story. Why? Well, I remembered seeing Bella Thorne on the trailer. Finishing the book, I went back on YouTube to search out all the trailers and clips they have available for the movie.

Conclusion: They changed everything about the story. Now, yes, I know that all book to movie adaptations get tweaked here and there but for the most part–lately–I hadn’t encountered a book being completely strayed away from, reinventing the plot entirely. Pretty much, all that was derived from the book was the two main characters and their personas, the dreaded label of, ‘The Duff’, and the life lesson ending of, “everyone is someone’s DUFF.”

The entire interaction between Bianca and Wesley–her using him as a distraction from her life issues and that coming to it’s climax, fall, and resolution–gone. The movie now made Wesley and Bianca, apparently, childhood friends who lost their way due to social hierarchy at school, and now that she knows she’s been labeled ‘The Duff’ by mean girl extraordinaire (Bella Thorne’s newly made-up character), she enlists the exchange help of popular, hot guy, Wesley–who’s failing a class–to change her senior year status.

Basically, they went all teen cheese, rom-com, evoking the “Mean Girl” gods to give them another cult teen “as if” classic.

Why am I gonna watch it? Well, Mae Witman playing Bianca, is why. Of the entire cast, she is the only one I feel who is perfectly cast. I love her work as an actress and feel she can bring a believable portrayal of Bianca. Putting the whole, ‘they completely changed the entire book for the adaptation’ thing aside; I think it has the potential to be just that; a fun, teen rom-com a la ‘Mean Girls’.

Though I am not very confident of the writer and director who were placed on this project, there is one credit I will make. The writer of ‘Bandslam’ wrote the screenplay to ‘The Duff’. I remember seeing the movie poster for ‘Bandslam’ and seeing Vanessa Hudgens on it and instantly cringing that it was probably going to be a typically, beyond cheesy teen movie that would go from theaters, straight to Disney Channel. Boy, was I actually pleasantly surprised. A lot of that had to do with casting of the main role, Will (Gaelan Connell). The film was fun, endearing, and full of classic music references and culture. I enjoyed it for what is was. With that said, I’m hoping the trailers are pushing the teen cheese, but the actual film will have more substance and heart, like the book.

In Conclusion:

4stars

4 out of 5 stars!

I genuinely enjoyed this read. It surprised me. I related to our main character. I related to feeling like ‘The Duff’ in my group of friends growing up. I believed the issues and connection our two love interest characters had. Though I thought their “relationship” thing, whatever, was entirely UNHEALTHY and not the promising beginnings of anything grand and substantial (but hey! It’s high school. I remember my dumb choices too), I rooted for them. I rooted for Wesley changing his ways, especially after seeing into his deeper going-ons. I wish the film would’ve stuck to being faithful to the book but I understand marketing. I get why they perhaps felt, the concept of THE DUFF was brilliant and how they could play to a certain audience if they revamped it. So, I won’t hate them for it. At least we forever have the true content in the lovely things I hold dear forever…BOOKS!

And this concludes my first BOOK TALK of the New Year! HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! I hope you all had a wonderful, safe, and inspiring holiday leading to 2015. Can you believe it’s 2015??? I can’t. Still processing.

Happy reading everyone! Till next time.