Tag Archives: arc

ARC Review – Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton

Title:  Diplomatic Immunity
Author: Brodi Ashton
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Aspiring reporter Piper Baird decides to write a scathing exposé on the overprivileged students at an elite Washington, DC, school, only for her life to change when she begins to fall for the story’s main subject, in this new realistic contemporary romance from Brodi Ashton, the author of the Everneath trilogy.

Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic immunity…it’s all part of student life on Embassy Row.

Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love? 

Molly’s Review – 

Huge thank you to HarperTeen for an advance copy of this book!

I really loved this book! I went into it with high hopes and they were met! This is my first book by Brodi Ashton and wow, her writing is so fun! I breezed right through this book, and was totally engaged from start to finish.

Our MC, Piper, is a journalist. She’s a big neurotic and will do anything for a story… and college tuition. So she gets it into her head that if she can get into this super competitive Ivy league high school in Washington D.C. that she’ll win a prestigious scholarship that will get her into Columbia. She manages to get into the school and is shocked by the way that the privileged elite that attend the school act, and what they can get away with. Especially those with diplomatic immunity.

On Piper’s first day of school she makes a fool out of herself in front of the son of the Spanish diplomat. Raf is charming and a bit of a bad boy. Piper sees her in with the DI crowd (diplomatic immunity kids) and starts to put together an expose on the shit that they get away with. She knows that this story will get her the scholarship that will get her into Columbia. Only she doesn’t really plan on falling for Raf but… she does. And then lines start to blur…

I really loved the voice of this book. Piper was so relateable because she’s not perfect. She lies and uses and she loves and cares so deeply. Her brother is on the spectrum and the way that she interacts with him is perfect and I just loved her whole family, money troubles and all. I also loved that Raf’s brother was also on the spectrum and that they had something really intimate to bond over. That they could get each other on this different level. And that it made Piper all the more human when she starts to delve away from her path of “getting the story”.

The writing in this book was so effortless. I love it when I fall into a book and just read and don’t feel like I’m putting in any effort. Sure some books I love to really dig into and have to think about, but there are times when I just need something smooth. This was perfect. It had just enough drama, enough heart and humor that it kept me engaged and I flew through it.

Really enjoyed this one! Don’t miss out!

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Halloween!

Hard to believe Halloween was just last weekend AND NOW IT’S OVER FOR ANOTHER YEAR! Ugh, it went by too fast. This YEAR has gone by too fast! I can’t believe that it’s almost 2016! So much has happened this past year and I am dizzy just thinking back about it.

So what did you guys do for Halloween? I made the BEST LIFE CHOICE ever and dressed up as my true self… er I mean…

H1Wednesday Addams!

I wore my costume to work the day before Halloween and won 3rd place in our costume contest! I was BEYOND pleased with how well this turned out!

Then on Halloween I went to a Halloween Book Swap at Mackenzi Lee’s (yes the author of THIS MONSTROUS THING GO BUY IT NOW) house. There were lots of bookish people there (as my husband calls us, “The Gang”) and everyone dressed up! I sadly didn’t get photos with everyone, but here are a few!

H3Mackenzi & I (She was one of the wives from MAD MAX: Fury Road)
H4Melissa & I (She was a Camp Half-Blood camper)H5Rachel & I (She was the Fox from the cover of FURIOUSLY HAPPY!)

There were like 10 or so of us in total and I’m really sad that I didn’t take more photos! Everyone looked so cool! We all ate and drank and chatted and relaxed and it was just a chill time with cool people and then…

H6BOOK SWAP! So I posted about our last book swap, back in June where a bunch of us got together, brought 10 books, and then laid them out on the floor. We then each got a number and went in a circle and got to choose a book! We decided to do this again and it was so fun! More people came so there were WAY more books this time. We all took turns, and sometimes people would steal books from each other (kinda like Yankee swap) and all while having really engaging bookish conversations. I am REALLY starting to love these parties!

H7Here are the books I ended up going home with! I am SO excited to read them all!

It was a really fun party and I’m so glad that I was able to go! I highly encourage getting your local book friends together and starting a swap group! It’s cheaper than #booksfortrade (postage wise), a great way to share books, AND it’s just fun to spend time with your people.

Did you do anything fun for Halloween? Tell me in the comments!

Recent Bookish Adventures

Hello! Look at me update! And not take six months to do it! So last month (June) and this month (July) have been rather bookish! In July I read something like 18 books and I’m now 28 books ahead on my goodreads challenge (to read 100 books). Holy crazy wow. Also last month I attended two book events here in Boston.

The first event was a children’s lit trivia night. I went with the lovely Mackenzi Lee and some other authors and book friends and while we did not win, we did exceptionally well (and I think we got like 4th place). I knew like two answers but hey, it was fun to go out and meet some new people.

After that Mackenzi and I set up the first Boston Book Swap (okay I’m sure it’s not THE FIRST but whatever, it’s the first of more that we plan to have!) we got the idea from the popular #booksfortrade on twitter and first it was just going to be the two of us swapping books but then we thought hey! let’s invite more people! So we (she) contacted all the book people we know in Boston (I know like, five, but more now!) and set up the party. Everyone was allowed to bring 10 books to trade. Sadly the day of the party was very stormy and rainy and not that many people wanted to trek out to Mackenzi’s place, so we only ended up with six people. But it was a TON of fun and there were A LOT of books!

IMG_1265All the books that were brought!

How it worked was like this: we each drew a number and then went around in a circle. You were allowed to choose one book from the floor OR you could steal a book from another person. Each book was allowed to be stolen three times. It took awhile and there were some hilarious steals but we all went home with lots of books!

IMG_1270All the books I ended up with! (Two were BEA gifts from Nicole and a few were extra’s given to me by Mackenzi)

I feel like the book swap was a success and I hope that more people will go next time!

This month I’ve been reading a lot as well, probably not as much as in June, but I DID get a huge ARC package from HarperCollins so I have A LOT of stuff to read…

IMG_1484IMG_1487I’m still in shock at how generous Harper was to me this month. This is my third time getting ARCs from them and this is the most I’ve gotten so far. I’m SO excited to read all of these, and a few are books that I have been DYING to read one of them being…

IMG_1486We are not surprised at all, now are we?

Again I cannot say how happy I am to be back in the USA where I can have the chance to participate in book events and make book friends and get physical ARCs. My bookish heart is filled and my bookish dreams are slowly being fulfilled.

Finished Copy Review — Duplicity by N.K. Traver

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Title: Duplicity

Author: N.K. Traver

Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: In private, seventeen-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts just for the thrill of it. In public, he looks like any other tattooed bad boy with a fast car and devil-may-care attitude. He should know: he’s worked hard to maintain that façade. With inattentive parents who move constantly from city to city, he’s learned not to get tangled up in things like friends and relationships. So he’ll just keep living like a machine, all gears and wires.

Then two things shatter his carefully-built image: Emma, the kind, stubborn girl who insists on looking beneath the surface – and the small matter of a mirror reflection that starts moving by itself. Not only does Brandon’s reflection have a mind of its own, but it seems to be grooming him for something—washing the dye from his hair, yanking out his piercings, swapping his black shirts for … pastels. Then it tells him: it thinks it can live his life better, and it’s preparing to trade places.

And when it pulls Brandon through the looking-glass, not only will he need all his ill-gotten hacking skills to escape, but he’s going to have to face some hard truths about who he’s become. Otherwise he’ll be stuck in a digital hell until he’s old and gray, and no one will even know he’s gone.

River’s review:

Huge thank you to Thomas Dunne Books for letting me review a finished copy of this book!

I had a love-hate relationship with this book. I HATED the first half and LOVED the middle and was okay with the end. Brandon is NOT a likable character an I’m fine with that. But he falls too neatly into the stereotypical pierced, tattooed, black-wearing “bad boy” role for me. I wanted more depth. More than just ‘my parents are always busy boo hoo I’m going to be an ass for basically no reason’. Because yes his parents ignored him, but they were also too stereotypical for me as well. So the first half of the book where we meet Brandon and his family I was just wanted more.

I was so intrigued with the hacker aspect of this book (the whole reason I requested it) and I would have liked to have seen where Brandon had learned some of his skills. A little more history. Because not just everybody can pick that up. I also would have liked to have seen MORE hacking in the beginning. The story jumps right into things and I wish there would have been more build. I also would have liked to have seen more time with Jax and his shady business.

I also really had a problem with the way Brandon treated women in this book. The only girls I really remember were Ginger (portrayed as kinda a trashy goth slut), Beretta (who actually was pretty cool), Alice (? The girl who kept trying to get his attention after he drove the BMW to school. She was portrayed as a trashy preppy slut) and Emma (a pure, delicate snowflake with a perfect body and perfect everything). Hell I didn’t like the way the girls in this book were portrayed period. And I don’t buy that it’s because it’s from a male POV. If that’s how we’re going to write males… well then. I wont get into it. But yeah.

So what I DID like was after Brandon and his duplicate “Obran” (worst. name. ever.) were traded and Brandon was taken into a super computer. That part was SO COOL. I loved the world inside the computer, how Brandon reacted to it, and his new friend Seb. I did roll my eyes a little at how obviously similar it was to Resident Evil (holographic glowing child? Zombie dogs?) but those were good additions (and would have been better if slightly more original). I liked the explanations behind the tech (even if some of it really probably wouldn’t work in real life, or now at least) and the situations that Brandon was facing. The middle portion was gripping and I flew through it.

Brandon’s “solution” to saving himself and Emma was a little confusing, but I liked that his heart was in the right place. I felt so bad for Seb and kept hoping that it was all a joke or a trick. And then the very end… left me hanging. Is there going to be another book? Should there? I’m not sure. Will I read it? Maybe!

So overall this could have been better if it had been fleshed out and a bit more genuine. If all of it had been as gripping as the middle that would have upped it a star and made for an excellent book. If you do like books with hacking and computers then this will be the right book for you!

Physical review copies

Some of you might remember that one of the things about being in the USA that I was most looking forward to was being able to contact publishers for physical review copies of books. I sent out a few requests last summer and got no replies. So I sat on it for a little and then did some research, asked around on twitter, and composed my ‘Dear Publisher’ letter. I think I sent out about 5-6 requests and got one reply. So I tried again and got a few more. Sadly most of them were saying that they didn’t have anymore copies of the book/ I was requesting too early/ to try NetGalley. I DID get put on a blogger list for one publisher and got a response from another. I sent in a few more requests to those two publishers and… nothing. So I was ready to give up, to stick with my eARCs, and to just remain jealous of people who were getting unsolicited copies of books that I’d requested. (I know, I know, I’m not that well known, I don’t have over a thousand followers, I did have a few periods of time where I wasn’t able to review, I KNOW that some of my jealousy is unfounded. But still sometimes it really stings.)

IMG_0859Last week I received this!!!!! I was so shocked and excited! I had requested this from the publisher that has me on their blogger list and I couldn’t believe that they sent me a finished copy! I’m almost done with the book and I can’t wait to review it.

So after that happened I was like ‘yes! I finally made some progress!’ and was feeling pretty good about myself (and hoping that the other book I’d requested from them would show up soon :fingers crossed:) when this happened:

IMG_0892 IMG_0896I almost cried when I opened these two packages. Out of the eight I had requested four and was so happy that Harper sent me all the extras. A lot o them were already on my schedule and I am BEYOND excited that I have ‘A Good Girl’ because I downloaded the eARC last year and never read it and now I have a VERY good reason to!

IMG_0893Receiving Emmy & Oliver though… that made my day, week, month!!!! Robin Benway is one of my favorite authors and I have been so excited for this book. I love having it on my shelf and it’s going to be my next read once I’ve finished the two books I’m currently in the middle of.

I’m just so happy that I was able to connect with the publishers and finally receive some physical ARCs. I was really, really ready to give up. But now I have confidence and hope that I’ll be able to build a good reviewer relationship with them! Ahhhhhhh, I can’t wait to read these!!!!

In other news… I STARTED MY NEW JOB! And so far it’s been amazing. This whole week has been amazing. And it’s only Tuesday!

Catching up!

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Hey guys! Happy Easter, or Passover, or Sunday or Day or whatever! I finished two books AND two reviews today and I’m feeling pretty good about life. I LOVE my new apartment (there are days I can’t believe we live here!) and I start my job in one week from tomorrow. My birthday is at the end of the week (yes I DO accept presents — I kid!) and the chocolate Godiva eggs that I got my husband for his first Easter were delicious!

As we all know, Sammy is amazing and has been posting my reviews up on here (YOU ARE AMAZING MY SAMMY! I will send your package this week!!!) so I’m just going to write a little something here to show that I AM alive and that yes, it does look like I am getting back into the swing of reading and reviewing. I’ve read some AH-MAY-ZINGGGG books these past few weeks (reviews are coming!!!)

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Here are the covers of the books that I have recently FLOWN through. All 4.5 stars or higher!!!

Also, because I start my new job at MIT next week, I went shopping for some new work clothes. I’ll be working in an office and there’s a dress code. I’m hoping to someday achieve the greatness of Pieces of V.‘s office style, but it’s a work in progress.

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I am so pleased with everything! The shoes were on sale and the dress… when I picked it up off the rack my friend commented that it looked too big for me. I tried it on and it was a perfect fit (I might look thin but I have some hips!) I grabbed the cardigan to give some color to my pretty dark wardrobe (I already have a lot of black and white tops). And I want to go back to H&M (probs on my birthdayyyyy) to grab some pants (I want to rock a pair of white pants SO badly!).

In love with my new home, finding time to read, new job starting, oh and I finished my taxes! Talk about things finally starting to go well. Now if only I could finally get some physical ARCs… (yes, that still hasn’t become a reality. Sobs)

River’s 2014 End of Year Book Survey

2014-end-of-year-book-survey-1024x984Well well well. Look who just finished their 2014 goodreads challenge of 150 books. (Look who also has to do laundry and figured this would be a good way to kill time during the spin cycle). Yes, I did it. A week ago I didn’t think I was going to make it. But I DID IT I DID IT! And I figured that now would be as good a time as any to fill this out! So let’s get crackin!

2014 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read:
150

Number of Re-Reads:
2

Genre You Read The Most From:
Young Adult

Best In Book

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?
Blue Lily, Lily Blue

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Afterworlds

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
Afterworlds (baaaaaad way)

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
The Raven Boys etc.

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?
After the End/ A Handful of Dust / The Retribution of Mara Dyer

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
Katrina Leno 

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
#GIRLBOSS 

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Blue Lily, Lily Blue

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Blue Lily, Lily Blue

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?
20601687

11. Most memorable character of 2014?
Can I choose Gansey again?

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
Althea & Oliver 

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?
All the Bright Places

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
The Beginning of Everything

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
GANSEY FANCY FACE *
*loosely ininterpreted quote

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?
Longest: Afterworlds 640 pages
Shortest;  Annie & Fia 34 pages 

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most
Afterworlds (at how AWFUL it was!)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Adrian & Sydney!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Noah and EVERYONE in The Raven Boys 

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Blue Lily, Lily Blue 

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Gone Girl

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Sorry, nobody beat Gansey. 

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
The Half-Life of Molly Pierce 

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Salvage

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Audrey, WAIT!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
Rain Reign 

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Althea & Oliver

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
All The Bright Places 

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?
Rain Reign

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Afterwolrds (and it means I HATED it)

Blogging/ Bookish life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?
Ummmmmm

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?
My Blue Lily, Lily Blue Review. Hahaha. 

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
SDSURT

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Rainbow Rowell at Harvard Bookstore omfg she was AH-MAY-ZINGGGGGG!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?
Getting responses from publishers when making my first physical ARC requests :3

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
No clue, too lazy to check. Sure it was a book event one.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
All of them?

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
My employee discount? Does that count? Hahaha. Um, winning $80 from my work to basically buy books from my work? No srsly though, not really a ‘discovery’ but just being able to access books and events now that I’m back in the USA has been fucking AMAZING.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
YES! I finished my goodreads goal and kept up with my ARC schedule.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
Dreams of Gods & Monsters

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
THE LAST RAVEN BOYS BOOK OMFG

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
My Heart and Other Blackholes

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?
THE LAST RAVEN BOYS BOOK OMFG 

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?
Blog and review more in general

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
All the Bright Places