2015 Favorites!

Wow happy New Year’s Eve everybody! It’s been a full, but really quick year for me. I did a lot of things and I’m glad I did. It makes me feel productive lol! I have so much to talk about so let’s go!

I think I started this blog last year right before the new year started and I’ll be honest, I haven’t grown as much as I would’ve liked with this blog. I wanted to be really active in the community and in the blog in general so that I could have some place to talk about my bookish ideas and reviews! However, in my personal life things have been really busy aa.

Let’s just keep it simple:

Books
I’ve only read about… 10 books this year? It’s really dismal to some people’s year where they read books in the hundreds, but I’ll have to be honest, I get so busy that I hardly have any time to do anything else other than school, shows, and work! However I’ll list my personal favorites that have been on the blog (or maybe not sorry Scarlet and Cress!).

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Mass
I actually met Sarah J. Mass right when Throne of Glass was just published before it turned into something so big and now I feel really stupid for not getting in the hype before! This series has come such a way with just the three books that I’ve read and I can’t wait to continue on this journey. This type of stuff just sucks me in.
I started Cinder after wanted to read for forever (but you know, money) and finally when I did, I just binged. So. Hard. Cress is probably my favorite out of the three that I’ve read, just because I love Cress and Thorne so much. I know everyone loves Cinder and Kai but Cress and Thorne guys. C’mon. I’m planning on picking up Winter soon!
Emmy and Oliver by Robin Renway
This book came out of left field for me. I heard about this book for a while and I didn’t know how I would like it since I don’t really have a good track record for contemporary romances. BUT wow. I really loved this book. The writing was so smooth and casual and I didn’t get a hint that the author was trying to sound like a teenager (does that make sense?). It was such a great ride and it brought up some really good points that were entirely in character. I recommend this book to people who are like me and are wary of contemporary romances!
Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki
I really love biographies because I really love the story of people. So when I read this, I was not disappointed. This book gave me such an insight to a normally closed off and private culture. It makes me want to go to Kyoto myself (which I will do some time in my life). Mineko is a very smart woman and a pretty damn good writer as well. She tells the story in a very objective way while also speaking of her thoughts. 
Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
This book is kind of on the last of my favorite list, but I still really enjoyed it. I love the world that was created and I want to know more of it and I want to just jump right into it again. This is supposed to be a series I think so I hope we as the readers get to go back into the world of Magonia again!
 Music

I’m a huge lover of music and though some of the stuff I list might be outdated, I discovered it here in 2015. Here’s a 2015 playlist of the songs I loved this year!

That’s really it for me guys. I would do a movie and show section, but I hardly got to do any of that this year! Hopefully next year will be more haha.

What are your favorites of 2015?

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Review: Girl of Myth and Legend

Title: Girl of Myth and Legend
Author: Giselle Simlett
Published: December 29, 2015
Pages: 363
My Edition: DARC on my Kindle from Netgalley
Buy It: Kindle
Rating:

A girl with a past she tries to forget, and a future she can’t even imagine. 

Leonie Woodville wants to live an unremarkable life. She wants routine, she wants repetition, she wants predictability. So when she explodes in a blaze of light one morning on the way to her college, it’s enough to put a real crimp in her day. 

And things only get weirder… 

Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. So – no pressure there, then.

Leonie is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it. 

But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive. 

Dare to dream. Dare to hope. Dare to be a legend. 

Girl of Myth and Legend is a story that kind of came out of left field for me. I saw it on Netgalley and both the cover and the story seemed interestingly enough that I wanted to read the ARC that was on the site. Surprisingly I got to download it immediately so I’m pretty excited that this is my first ARC review, whoo!

Anyway, I found this book super hard to put down and I just really devoured it. Now the bare bones of the story is pretty cliche, if I’m honest. It’s your typical unassuming hero’s journey. They don’t seem like the hero, but find something inside or something otherwordly that makes them the hero and you as the reader follow their story. It’s happened since forever and it will still happen. Some really good examples? Harry Potter and Percy Jackson come to mind. Either way, this book is a really great story on its own.

Simlett creates this whole world of the Imperium and that’s what I love. I love stories that create their own world and make it different than anything else. In the world there are a variety of magic users and magic types–it really makes me want to know more about the world of the Imperium. I want to know what makes this society tick and I want to know its history etc. etc. Simlett does such a great job at bringing the reader into the world of the Imperium that we can connect to Leonie more because we are a newcomer to the world just as Leonie is.

Speaking of Leonie–I really liked Leonie’s arc in the story. I’ve read some pretty harsh reviews about the book specifically on Leonie and I feel like people don’t realize how far she’s come from where’s she’s started in the beginning of GOMAL. Now Leonie hasn’t pulled some Zuko from Avatar, but she’s made some progress from her gloomy and anti-social personality. She’s become a stronger version of herself by the end of the novel and I want to watch her grow and change. Leonie is running away from her past and from pretty traumatic events in her life, but that’s what makes her grow as well (as we all do. Remember guys, we were just as bad as teenagers. Please.).

Leonie and Korren. Oh Leonie and Korren. I really like Leonie and Korren. I don’t really see them as a romantic couple (I mean it’s obvious that it’s going to happen, but I don’t). I really see their relationship as two people who’ve connected through their hardship. Like friends. Really good friends. Sure it’s in a really short span of time, but I’ve had friends that I’ve made instant connections with in a short time. This didn’t fully represent what my relationship with my best friend is, but we’d look out for each other the way Korren and Leonie looked out for each other. Actually, I was Korren and my best friend was Leonie haha. I really like how their relationship is forming.

Other than that? This book was just addictive. I wanted to just plow through the entire book and I wished I read faster. And then when it was over, I actually felt like the book was too short. I actually wanted the book to go further. It felt really abrupt the way it ended, but it just leaves me wanting more. I felt that certain things were a bit too long, but most of it felt a bit too short and rushed.

Some fair warning though, I got confused multiple times with how the dialogue is written. It’s written with the one ‘ rather than the normal ” so it was really difficult discerning the dialogue from the paragraph sometimes. I thought someone was speaking when they weren’t and I had to back track. Though, this is more of a technical thing than a thing with the writing and I’ve read weirder things so it wasn’t that bad.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and I want to follow the series. I can’t wait for the next one.

Let’s Talk, It’s Tuesday #2

Hello lovelies! I know this is supposed to be a podcast, but if you’ve read my unintentional hiatus post you’ll know that I haven’t been able to get onto my computer and unfortunately, Blogger’s mobile platform is just terrible so I didn’t even try to tackle that (another reason I’m thinking of moving over to WordPress grr). SO because of that, I won’t be recording podcasts probably for a while. So since I won’t be able to, I’ll just put it in text form. I like talking more, but eh, whatever works.

Onward with the discussion!

Todays topic follows the series I started on my views with Young Adult fiction. Today’s section is: Love. Insta love, slow burning love, all of it specifically in the Young Adult fiction genre.

So let me start off with saying that I love romance. I really like the cute romances that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and also make me cry and hurt because conflict. The reason I don’t really like adult romances is because it gets sexual at some point (which all the more to you if that’s what you like), but I’ve never really thought that all romances need to have a sexual element. So I stick to cute fuzzy romances. If you’ve ever seen my history in shojo manga, you’ll know I’m a sucker for those kinds of romances.

Now, I say I love romance, but I feel like now in the Young Adult genre it’s kind of a necessity rather than a writer’s choice whether it’s intentional or not. It’s obvious that, considering the audience, some sort of romance is going to probably sell better than those that don’t have it at all. I’m not speaking for everyone reading the books in the genre, obviously, but it’s true. So as a writer, you have to think of it in that sense sometimes. Even when I started writing later in my teens, I felt that way. I felt that I needed to have some kind of romance or I felt like my stories would never get any kind of attention past publication (I never got anything published, but that was me thinking ahead).

It’s kind of strange. I really like romances in stories, I think they make for really nice subplots if they’re written properly and there’s some justification–but I get really annoyed with romances that seem to spawn out of nowhere (cue the insta-love) and at times when characters have, you know, other things to worry about. Sometimes I feel like the publicist was like, “hey there’s not a romance, sorry it ain’t gonna sell” so the writers are scrambling and then you get a pretty half-assed romance that wasn’t needed. Like at all.

Insta-love. Oooooh insta-love. That is probably my least favorite trope for YA romances. It’s very Romeo and Juliet in taste, but even worse. I feel like it’s almost like an epidemic in the YA genre. There’s an idea that people need to have a romance, but it seems to come out of nowhere. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about fate or something like that. Being a theatre major makes me understand that it’s a pretty common thing among stories to have fate or otherworldy powers bring people together, control events, etc. etc. I’m just talking about a romance that seems to be wedged in the story unwanted and unneeded so it’s choppy, it’s unrealistic, and it’s just… really spontaneous with no chemistry to back it up.

Again, I really like romances, but I really dislike how it’s become like a necessary part of every YA novel out there. Next week I’ll talk about YA and kind of the community that is around it. Granted, this will be more of an….ignorant, for the lack of a better word, post because I haven’t really been inside the community. I’ve kind of been on my own.

What do you think about romance in YA? Love it or hate it? I’d love to know!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature started and hosted by The Broke and The Bookish
This week’s topic: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases of the First Half of 2016

Whoo~ What a mouthful haha. Anywhoodles. Since I’m starting to get in the swing of things again in this blog I’m actually starting to keep track of the new releases and man am I excited! Here are my top ten!

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

I have heard about this book nonstop and I love the wave of fantasy that’s coming out right now. I’m a huge fan of these kinds of worlds and I cannot wait to indulge in another one!

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
I read a review about this book and I’m already hooked. These sailor esque novels are really getting to me and I really love them (especially after Magonia). 
Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney
Another fantasy novel? Yes please.
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Aladdin retelling? I’m so here for this. Aladdin is probably one of my favorite Disney movies (I know it’s not accurate shush), but this novel just sounds super interesting and I’m totally here for retelling of the classics.
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
This book is also -ahem- everywhere. I mean time traveling ships? Uh yeah.
The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele
A fantasy novel and it’s set in my hometown. I’m so excited for this. I wonder if it’s going to be serious all the time or if there’s going to be a lot of humor. I hope there’s a lot of humor.
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Like the Throne of Glass series, I’m super into the Lunar Chronicles. I still have yet to pick up Winter but I’m planning on doing it soon. I hope that once the whole series is done, there’s a nice box set that I can get. 
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
There’s kind of an ongoing theme here isn’t there. Fantasy having to do with kings, queens, princesses, princes, and magic. What can I say? I’m a huge sucker for those. I hope this book has a creepy side to it. 
Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor
Time traveling historical fantasy. That’s kind of a mouthful, but hey it sounds pretty damn interesting. I can’t wait.
The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
Well I guess my one year, hardcore studying of Russian history has prepared me for something. I can’t wait to read this, I’m super interested in how the story being set in the Russian monarchy is going to change how the story progresses and how the characters act. 
Well there they are. My Top Ten most anticipated. What are yours? Comment with your link, I’m super curious!

Review: Emmy & Oliver

Title: Emmy & Oliver
Author: Robin Benway
Published: June 23, 2015
Pages: 352
Buy it: B&N | Kindle | Book Depository | Kobo
Add to Goodreads!
Rating:


Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

Now anybody who’s been following this blog knows that I look at YA novels (specifically contemporary) with a pretty critical and jaded eye. I used to consume this stuff nonstop and then I kind of got older and kind of didn’t. I started to dislike what the genre was etc, etc.

This novel however has me hooked. It gives me a little hope for the genre. I really loved all of the characters and I cared for them a lot and I wanted the best for them. I was interested in how the story would go.

Like the synopsis said, Emmy’s best friend Oliver returns home after being kidnapped for ten years. This is their story. It’s a pretty good story. It’s set in California, which I can relate to whoo hoo! Other than that I felt that Emmy was pretty level headed, even though she’s keeping secrets from her parents as do most teens. I didn’t get a sense of this weird edge that teens written in YA tend to have, which was really nice. I just got this sense of this girl who’s going to graduate high school really soon, looking toward the future an wanting to get away from her hovering parents.

Oliver was the same. This story doesn’t change POV, but there was a really nice way Oliver was written and it was really easy to catch onto his uneasiness and his confusion. He also brings up a really good point in the novel where he says that he feels like he’s been kidnapped again. He feels that he’s been uprooted from his old life in New York and plopped into an unknown territory. It was a really interested and really real way of putting his situation. Oliver wasn’t caged and locked like most Criminal Minds episodes might show. Oliver was raised by his father and had a pretty decent life. It brought a new perspective into the novel which I really enjoyed and I kind of wish I had more of that.

The romance was really cute. I mean, I came in here expecting romance and I got it. It was really adorable, warm, and fuzzy and I wanted their relationship to work out. I’m glad this didn’t go a weird “we used to be best friends and kind of in love and even though we haven’t seen each other in ten years we’re STILL SO IN LOVE” route. That’s way too unrealistic for me and I wouldn’t be able to take that.

Overall? This novel was addictive and just a really nice contemporary novel. I’m glad this book lived up to the hype I kept seeing around it and I’m glad I got to enjoy it. Even though it looks like I’m looking for something to rant about, I’m really not. If I was, I’d be wasting my time and I wouldn’t be reading YA novels anymore–but I find little gems like this one and I feel like it’s worth going through some novels I really dislike in order to find really good ones. I finished this novel pretty quickly and I couldn’t put it down very easily. If I get a whiff of another contemporary novel this good, I think I’ll look at it in a more optimistic light.

My (Unintentional) Week Hiatus

Hi readers! I know I’ve been gone a week and I have a pretty good reason for that.

Recently my boyfriend’s laptop (which I’ve been using because my laptop is as good as dead) decided to stop working. I simply refreshed it and it didn’t want to restart ever since. He has it now and hopefully we can get it back to working condition.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t been posting. I have reviews I have to put up (which I will) so I’ll be doing that right now since I’m using my mother’s computer now.

In the mean time, I’m going to be looking at laptops and such so that I can have one of my own and not feel bad when suddenly it stops working.

Sorry about that lovelies! The next week should be somewhat better, but I say expect some of the same sporadic posts.

Weekly Review

Hello readers. I’m going to be changing Sunday Wrap Ups to Weekly Reviews. I think the name has a better ring to it, so I’m just going to be keeping it like that.

Anywho, I’ve gone through a lot this week which is a good start for the winter break before my Spring semester!

Starting Monday, I tried my best to change little things in the blog and updating things since I’ve been gone for so long. As you may have noticed, I changed my name back to “Words Off the Page”. It’s been a weird and experimental year for me since I’m just starting up a book blog again, but I’m glad for the people who’ve been here from the beginning lol. I decided to have full life posts in a personal blog that I will have a link to in the side bar. This will be what I call “Journal Entries” and they’ll be little life tidbits hopefully daily, but Blogger kind of sucks on mobile so I’m not sure 😛

On Tuesday I had a really long day. I went to a shoot for a short film that I’m helping out at my college and I was freezing most of the time. I don’t know how the cast did it in those ridiculously thin costumes. My feet and my hands were so stiff I could hardly text. I’ve got some awesome pictures throughout the shoot.

In case you missed it:

How was your week?