Tea & Book Chat: Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano

*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This is no way swayed my opinions.*

Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano is a coming of age YA novel that takes place in New York City.  I always love reading about my city through the eyes of other people so I’ve been eager to check this one out since I first heard about it.  I also feel like the cover is an excellent representation of people who live in NYC (their clothes choices are spot on) and I love the outline of the skyline behind them.  The novel follows Sadie, a teen taking a summer photography class, during the summer between her sophomore and junior years of high school.  Sadie is at that pivotal point in her life when she over analyzes every situation and the circumstances that she’s faced with does not make it any easier for her to handle.

Summer in the Invisible City

Sadie is a really interesting character to read from the perspective of.  She’s not your typical strong female character but her summer experiences transform her.  Sadie is vulnerable and desperate at times, especially when it comes to handling her less than perfect father.  Allan is an “important” artist who Sadie has been looking up to her entire life.  He’s the reason she became interested in photography and the reason she wants to attend art school for her college education.  She’s spent years of her life trying to impress him but no matter what she does, he remains uninterested.  It’s heartbreaking to read about their relationship because he is just such a disappointing person and it’s for reasons completely independent of Sadie.  As if her father visiting NYC for the month weren’t enough, Sadie is also struggling with her social life.  One of the “popular” girls is in her summer class and they begin to form a friendship but it seems to be coming at a cost to her relationship with her long time best friend Willa.  Willa is probably my favorite character in the book. She’s so certain of herself at such a young age and you can tell how much she cares about Sadie.  I only wish we had gotten more of an ending for her character.  The there’s Sam and Noah but I won’t go into them because it’ll be more interesting to discover as you read (but I promise it’s not a love triangle!).  It’s a combination of the relationships between people and the time period in Sadie’s life that this book takes place that make it special.

Final Thoughts:  Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano is an enjoyable coming of age story taking place is the greatest city in the world, New York (not that I’m biased or anything).  It blurs the lines between fluffy beach read and raw contemporary, exploring the positive and negative relationships in Sadie’s life and how they’re altered throughout her summer as she figures out who she is.  I would recommend this book to anyone who’s ever felt a little bit lost in their life and is looking for a character that displays a different type of strength in her own time.

Rating 5

A sparkling coming-of-age story about self-discovery, first love, and the true meaning of family, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen.

Seventeen-year-old Sadie Bell has this summer all figured out: She’s going to befriend the cool girls at her school. She’s going to bond with her absentee father, a famous artist, and impress him with her photography skills. And she’s finally going to get over Noah, the swoony older guy who was her very first mistake.

Sadie wasn’t counting on meeting Sam, a funny and free-thinking boy who makes her question all of her goals. But even after a summer of talking, touching, and sharing secrets, Sam says he just wants to be friends. And when those Sadie cares about most hurt her, Sam’s friendship may not be enough. Sadie can see the world through her camera, but can she see the people who have loved and supported her all along?

Set against a glamorous New York City backdrop, this coming-of-age romance is a gorgeous summer read—one whose characters will stay with you long into the fall. (via Goodreads)

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BookTube: Top 5 Books I Read This Spring

Hello bookworms! (It’s been way too long since I last said that!) Now that I’m getting back into the swing of things I’m catching up on all the videos I’ve been wanting to make since before the wedding.  One of them is the Top 5 books I read this Spring which I have to show you here today!

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Waiting on Wednesday: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting.  This week I’m choosing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling which really needs no explanation.  Yesterday I began my re-read of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and I’m planning on re-reading The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows as well prior to the sequel release next month and I’m getting more and more excited by the minute.  I already assembled my squad for the midnight release party and the only thing that’s left is to plan my outfit! If you haven’t already, you can find the midnight release party closest to you on this new website set up by Scholastic!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne, is the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. It will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places. (via Goodreads)

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5 Fandom Friday: My Favorite Places To Read

5 Fandom Friday is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly and Megan of The Nerdy Girlie!  For more information, here’s our introduction post about how 5FF came into being.

This week’s 5 Fandom Friday topic is our favorite places to read.  As I’m sitting here in our Little Mermaid shell bed at Disney, the first place that came to my mind is vacation… until I realized that I’ve read a whopping 30 pages in the past two weeks so I had to amend my answers.  I usually read A LOT but things have been so crazy with the wedding and now the honeymoon that I’ve taken a bit of a break but once I get back to NY, I can’t wait to resume my reading in these places!

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.36.00 AM1) In front of my comic bookshelves on Andrew and I’s super comfy couch that we bought without ever sitting on.  We got really lucky but we could just tell from the photo that it had to be the most comfortable couch ever!

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2) In Andrew and I’s bed! Ever since I was little, reading in bed has been my favorite place of all to relax and get lost in a good story.

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3) My bed at my parent’s house.  Like I said, this has been my longtime favorite and I know I’ll still love to read there when I stay over (especially in the morning because I’m ALWAYS the first one awake)!Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.42.11 AM

4) Outside in the springtime.  I love admiring the Cherry Blossom trees and spending time outside before it gets unbearably hot. I’m so happy to have a backyard again so I can enjoy the outdoors in the private.

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5) And lastly, which is the place I read more than any other, is on the train when I’m commuting to and from work.  I love reading on trains (and planes!) because it’s such a great chunk of uninterrupted reading time.

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I hope you’ll be sharing your favorite places this week! And if you want to participate in future 5FF’s, you can find the rest of the June topics listed here :-)

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Pokémon Cookbook

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting.  This week I’m choosing the Official Pokémon Cookbook which is finally coming to the United States!  It’s been available in Japan for a while but VIZ Media will be printing in English soon.  The cookbook is *supposed* to be aimed at kids so obviously I’m super excited for it.  All of the foods in the cookbook are made to look like Pokémon and I’m especially excited to make some Poke Ball Sushi Rolls.  The cookbook comes out on December 6th (I’ve already pre-ordered my copy!) so it’s the perfect holiday gift for the gamer in your life<3

Pokemon Cookbook

Fun & easy recipes inspired by favorite Pokémon characters!

Create delicious dishes that look like your favorite Pokémon characters – from desserts to pizza – with more than 35 easy, fun recipes. Make a Pokéball sushi roll, Pikachu ramen or mashed Meowth potatoes for your next party, weekend activity or powered-up lunchbox. (via Amazon)

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BookTube: Rip it or Ship it: Harry Potter Edition Ft. Tiffany from About to Read

During BEA last week, Tiffany and I were able to coordinate our schedules and film collaboration videos for each of our channels!  One that I’ve always wanted to do is the Rip it or Ship it Tag because I love theorizing about characters who aren’t together in canon.  I thought it would be fun to add a twist to the tag and only use Harry Potter characters so that’s what we did. We ended up with some really awful couples and a couple that we could actually see working.  We also filmed a Cinderella recommendations video for Tiffany’s channel which you should check out!

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Tea & Book Chat: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

**Warning! If you haven’t read A Court of Thorns and Roses which is the first book in the trilogy by Sarah J. Maas, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas is the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy and it was my most anticipated read of 2016.  I can also confidently state that it will be my favorite book of the year (despite the fact that it’s only May and we still have 7 more months of reading to go – The Raven King is a very close second).  I know that most people seem to either love or hate SJM and these books but I fall on the former side.  I didn’t think I could possibly love one of her books more than I loved ACOTAR but alas, A Court of Mist and Fury proved me very wrong.  The number of emotions I felt so intensely while reading this book left me one of the biggest book hangovers I’ve ever experienced (to the point where it’s been a week and I am still not finished with the book I picked up next which should’ve taken 2-3 days to complete).  Everything in A Court of Mist and Fury shifts and the love interest I was rooting for becomes the main character I felt he was destined to be so to simply say I loved it is something of an understatement.

A Court of Mist and Fury picks up after the events that occurred Under the Mountain with a very broken Feyre existing alongside Tamlin in his Spring Court.  It’s clear that the traumatic experience effected everyone in a different way and I loved that Feyre did not just completely revert back to normal.  As a result of her time being tortured by Aramantha, Feyre evolves into a much stronger character than we see in the first book.  She is no longer willing to be controlled and caged by Tamiln despite his promise of protection.  I had picked up on hints of this behavior while reading ACOTAR and I have been solidly on Team Rhys since the ending so this book was pretty much everything to me.  (please note, ACOMAF includes some of the steamiest scenes I’ve ever read and they are so so perfect)  I have to say that I was not expecting to fall in love with all of the members in Rhysand’s court but I could not imagine a better band of characters.  Their group dynamic is something I live for in books and I wish I could sign up to be part of their team.  One character disappointment is the path the Lucien ended up on.  He saw everything that was happening to Feyre and all of the signs that she was unwell and unhappy and chose to ignore them.  He has a lot to make up for in book three.  We also get to see more of Feyre’s human sisters which was a pleasant surprise.

A Court of Mist and Fury

Now for the worldbuilding! We spend the majority of A Court of Mist and Fury in the Night Court and it sounds incredibly breathtaking.  You may remember that Amarantha had modeled Under the Mountain after Rhysand’s Court of Nightmares but it turns out that there is much more than meets the eye.  I wish I could go for a stroll through the  streets of the court during the night when it is intended to be viewed.  The descriptions were breathtaking and I can’t wait to revisit them in the future.  We also get to see the Summer Court which I enjoyed as well.  I’m glad that we’re getting to branch out and explore much more of the Fey world than we were given the opportunity to see in ACOTAR.  I also love seeing the different types of powers each High Lord wields and how it relates to their domain.  At 640 pages, I felt like ACOMAF could have double in size and I wouldn’t have wanted a single detail cut.  I can only hope that the final book will be well over 1,000 pages!

Final Thoughts:  A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas is the outstanding second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy.  I’m sure you’re familiar with second book slump when reading a series and I am thrilled to say that ACOMAF is the complete opposite.  It’s like, a second book spectacular.  Feyre and Rhysand’s character development hits new heights in this book and readers are delighted with the opportunity to explore more of the Fey world.  The stakes are still high despite Amarantha’s demise in ACOTAR and all of the events that occur will play with your emotions until you feel like you have nothing left to give.  Some breaks may even be needed while reading because woah.  My verdict: Read it. Then re-read it. Then repeat.

Rating 6

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights. (via Goodreads)

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Art Gallery: Tsum Tsum’s are Invading the Comic World!

It’s no secret that I adore Disney’s line of Tsum Tsum’s (here’s a post I wrote about while anticipating the first Star Wars collection, and one about my addiction to the app game) so when I heard that Marvel would be incorporating the incredibly adorable toys into some of their variant covers, I was beyond excited!  In addition to the covers, there’s going to be an in-continuity Tsum Tsum miniseries written by Jacob Chabot and illustrated by David Baldeon.  The story follows a crate of Tsum Tsum’s who think they’re actually the heroes they’ve been designed after who get lose in Brooklyn.  My absolute favorite of the variant covers has to be Chris Samnee’s Spider-Man cover but I also really love Joelle Jones’s Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur.  There are going to be 20 variants in all but below are my top 5! Although the Captain Marvel Tsum variant isn’t included below, it does make me wish that she’ll appear in a future collection!

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Amazing Spider-Man #16 by Chris Samnee

2

Captain America: Steve Rogers #5 by Helen Chen

3

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #10 by Joelle Jones

4

Invincible Iron Man #12 by Brandon Peterson

13

The Mighty Thor #10 by Natacha Bustos

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Tea & Book Chat: Map of Fates by Maggie Hall (The Conspiracy of Us #2)

**Warning! If you haven’t read The Conspiracy of Us which is the first book in the trilogy by Maggie Hall,will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

Map of Fates by Maggie Hall is the second book in The Conspiracy of Us trilogy and while I hadn’t been as invested in the first book as I had hoped, the cliffhanger ending left my interest piqued enough to continue reading.  Plus, the cover of Map of Fates is one of the prettiest of the year in my opinion!  I’m pleased to report that I enjoyed Map of Fates much more thanThe Conspiracy of Us and while it still wasn’t a 5 star read, I am genuinely looking forward to the conclusion because the story has really upped its game.

One of the elements I took the most issue with in the first book is the love triangle between the main character Avery and two of the guards from the twelve ruling families, Jack and Stellan.  I’m not a huge fan of love triangles in general but if they’re done well I’m able to get behind them.  In The Conspiracy of Us I didn’t quite understand or ever get the feeling that Avery and Stellan could potentially be interested in one another but Hall did a much better job of making it believable in Map of Fates.  In fact, I ended up liking Stellan a whole lot more than I ever expected to.  I suffered a bit through the beginning of the book, having read The Conspiracy of Us within the week it debuted last year because I couldn’t quite remember which character was which and it took me some time to acclimate to each’s demeanor once again.  If you’re in the same boat I would suggest a book one re-read or to read your past review / Goodreads so you’re able to jump right in and avoid any confusion.

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My favorite part of The Conspiracy of Us is the amount of travel the characters undergo because it allows the reader to experience new places without ever having to leave their couch.  The travel aspect remained one of the driving forces of my interest in Map of Fates and I cannot wait to see where they’ll be exploring in book three.  The revelation at the end and the new pieces of information the characters were able to ascertain from the clues have left me craving the conclusion.  The stakes are high, the structure of the twelve ruling families is inevitably going to be evolving and Avery West is at odds with many leaders in the Circle.  I couldn’t have asked for a more exciting installment!

Final Thoughts:  Map of Fates by Maggie Hall is a much better installment in The Conspiracy of Us trilogy than book one.  I had very minimal complaints this time around (although I’m still not very invested in Avery’s character) and I found myself flying through this quick paced YA thriller.  If you enjoy media involving espionage and have a case of wanderlust, Map of Fates will leave you feeling satisfied.  If you had mediocre feelings about book one, I can promise that Map of Fates will draw you in further.

Rating 3

Two weeks. 



That’s how long it took for Avery West’s ordinary life to change forever: In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle’s enemies, and fell for a boy she’s not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny. 



Now, Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it’s too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day despite her best intentions, making her question what she believes at every turn.
 


But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: in the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem. (via Goodreads)

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Tea & Book Chat: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #4)

**Warning! If you haven’t read the first three books in The Raven Cycle quartet by Maggie Stiefvater, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of The Raven Boys (book one), The Dream Thieves (book two) and Blue Lily, Lily Blue (book three) if you haven’t started the series yet!**

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater is the fourth and final book in The Raven Cycle series and it is one that I could not get my hands on quick enough (seriously, I preordered the hardback AND the kindle versions).  Having fallen madly and deeply in love with Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah, I couldn’t wait to spend more of my time in Henrietta and Cabeswater while the gang tries to navigate the mystery of Glendower.  It’s long and sometimes slow moving journey but I have truly savored every moment.  The Raven King is now my favorite book in the quartet and I can absolutely foresee myself re-reading this series for years to come.  I also have to note that I was so nervous going into this book because it’s the end of an era but after reading the prologue I was confident this couldn’t warrant anything less than 5 stars.

One of the top three reasons I keep returning to this series(as I’ve stated in my reviews of the past three books) is the characters.  I cannot let go of them.  Stiefvater created such an intricate group of friends who’s bond with one another is stronger than anything else.  They love each other deeply in the way that only real friends can and in typical high school fashion, theirs is the most important relationship in their lives.  The lengths that they’ll go for each other and the way they feel each others pain is truly inspiring and griping.  Gansey remains my favorite Raven Boy with Ronan as a close second.  I also must note how swoonworthy all of the romance in The Raven King is.  It’s the sweet kind of slow burn that’ll have you begging for more.

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The stakes are at their highest in The Raven King as the search for Glendower draws to a close.  It’s so heartbreaking to see Gansey wonder what he’ll have to live for after the search that consumed the majority of his life ceases to continue.  Plus there’s that whole event that’s been foreshadowed since The Raven Cycle that my poor heart would never be ready to contend with.  All of the characters see a balanced amount of story time in The Raven King although we see more Henry Cheng and the jury is still out on him for me.  I think I may enjoy him more during a re-read but I didn’t want him to take any page time away from my precious Raven Boys and I can honestly say that is my only complaint for this book.

Final Thoughts:  The way I felt while reading The Raven King is something that I cannot accurately describe.  I feel so attached to this series, to these characters, and to the world of Henrietta and Cabeswater that I know this is a series that will be lurking around in my heart forever.  The Raven King is a book that I hugged multiple times while reading it and after finishing it.  If you can’t decide whether this series is for you or you’ve tried to read the first book but had trouble with the slow pace, I would urge you to give it another try.  I cannot sing the praises of The Raven Cycle high enough and I want everyone to share in this bookish treasure with me!

Rating 6

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path. (via Goodreads)

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