Books I Can’t Live Without + GIVEAWAY!

Hello bookworms! Today I have an exciting giveaway to share with you! I partnered with Penguin Teen to giveaway a copy of the upcoming YA fantasy novel, The Reader by Traci Chee which is the first book in the Sea of Ink and Gold series, as well as an adorable tote bag!  The Reader follows a girl named Safi who lives in a world without books which is something that I never could / would ever want to imagine.  What would even be the point of anything? There would be no learning, no internet, and everything would be extremely primitive.  Books provide such a wonderful escape into other worlds.  They force us to see things from perspectives different than our own and I truly believe that they help to make us more tolerant and accepting of other cultures and allow us to have empathy for people in situations different than our own.  They’re also a wonderful way to experience other parts of the world that you may not be able to afford to travel to and they teach important lessons.  There’s a quote I’ve seen online that essentially says that books are the only purchase that make you richer and I fully stand behind that sentiment.  That’s why when Penguin contacted me about celebrating books and sharing The Reader I jumped at the chance! Below is a synopsis of the book, my video about the books I couldn’t live without and the rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway!  Good luck and even if you don’t win, the book comes out on September 13th so you should definitely look for it at your local bookstore!  If you want to get a taste for the book, you can read the first two chapters here.

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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 Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon.  I adored her debut novel Everything, Everything so I’ve been anticipating her follow up since last year.  This book is a love story between Natasha and Daniel who meet on a crowded street in NYC only hours before Natasha’s family is getting deported to Jamaica and the description leads me to believe that we’ll see multiple futures play out until we know which one comes true.  I really hope Nicola’s husband will be illustrating this book as well!

The Sun is Also a Star

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? (via Goodreads)

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Pokemon, PotterCon & Book Shopping Vlog ft. Jordandene, Geekscape & More!

I’ve been having a really fun time getting into vlogging! It’s really weird and awkward at first if you’re filming in public so I’m still adjusting to that but I love having the footage to look back on afterward so I’ve been making a concerted effort to vlog whenever I’m on the go.  Two weekends ago, I had a really exciting string of days so I combined footage from Jonathan of Geekscape’s Pokemon Go meetup, PotterCon at Irving Plaza in NYC and National Book Lover’s Day at Barnes and Noble with Monica.  At PotterCon I finally got to meet Jordandene who is a super lovely person and she filmed a little clip with me for my video!  There’s also a ton of Harry Potter cosplay (the winner of the contest’s cosplay is one of my favorite I’ve ever seen) and a mini book haul.

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Little Loves #7

Hi everyone! I’m back with my next installment of Little Loves.  Little Loves is a post series I created as a way to acknowledge and appreciate more of the little things that are making me happy every day.

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💖 Swimming in the 113 degree heat & drinking rose with childhood friends 💖 Finally reading a Katie Cotugno book and loving it even more than I expected to 💖 Pokemon Go even though I’m getting a little bored of finding the same Pokemon 💖 PotterCon & Harry Potter and the Cursed Child release day shenanigans with my fellow Potterheads 💖 Fresh avocado in all it’s best forms (avocado rolls, guacamole, on top of omelets & even plain) 💖 Haikyuu! because the main character is my favorite ever 💖 Vlogging! Which seems awkward at first but ends up being a really fun way to chronicle things that happen and makes it easy to look back on them 💖 An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night because I was absolutely blown away by both books 💖 Setting up an office space for myself in our apartment so I’ll stop being lazy and blogging in bed 💖 Manga binges and chai teas with matcha powder 💖 Halloween decorations 💖 Already starting my pumpkin buying habits and it’s only halfway through August 💖 Culling my closet and only keeping the items that make me the most happy 💖 Breaking 6,000 subscribers on YouTube! I really really love YouTube 💖 Jumping into the fifth Mortal Instruments book so I can finally finish this series and move on to Lady Midnight 💖 Binge watching Stranger Things 💖 Re-reading Peter Pan and participating in BookTube-A-Thon after Pokemon Go took my attention away from reading for most of July 💖

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BookTube: Pokemon Go Book Tag

Judging by my Pokemon addiction, it was only a matter of time until I found a book tag to go along with it!  I have to say that my interest has been tapering off a bit lately because I’ve caught *most* of what’s out there and I get bored seeing the same things over and over again.  I think my interest will be renewed when the game is updated with trading or the addition of my Sylveon<3 But as you’ll see in my video, I’m pretty excited about my Gengar!  Thanks again to Aentee of Read at Midnight for creating such a wonderful tag and amazing graphics to go along with it!

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes #2)

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

**Warning! If you haven’t read An Ember in the Ashes which is the first book in the series by Sabaa Tahir, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can watch my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

A Torch Against the Night is the second book in the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir.  We read the first installment last month for the Spines With Wines book club and the minute I finished reading I could not have been more thankful that I already had an ARC copy of A Torch Against the Night that I picked up at BEA in May.  If I’m being completely honest it was a huge struggle not to immediately dive into this one because I didn’t want to accidentally spoil anything in theAn Ember in the Ashes live show (I am the worst liar in the world).  This is one series that I can’t believe I waited so long to read because I love it to pieces / sort of wished I had waited longer to read it because WHY AND HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT ANOTHER YEAR FOR BOOK THREE?!

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A Torch Against the Night continues Laia and Elias’s stories and picks up with the pair journeying across the Empire to fulfill Elias’s promise of helping Laia break her brother Darin out of Kauf (without any certainty that he’s still alive) and all of the very many struggles they face along the way.  My favorite addition to this installment is Helene’s perspective.  Now that Elias and Laia are outside Blackcliff and on the run, we can rely of Helene’s perspective to keep tabs on the Emperor Marcus and Elias’s awful mother, the Commandant.  One of the major plot points I was hoping to hit upon more in this book is that concerning the Nightbringer and boy did we ever get some answers there!  I loved the continued infusion of fantastical beings such as efrits, wraiths and jinn and the world-building which was largely established in the first book continued to develop further.  There’s a lot of build up in the first half of the novel but the overwhelming second half is pure action and adventure.  You will actually find yourself incapable of putting this book down or stopping reading for any interruptions.  Seriously, clear your schedule.  Also get ready to feel ALL kinds of things.

Final Thoughts:  I don’t think anyone who read An Ember in the Ashes could possibly need a review to tell them that it’s worth continuing the series but alas I’ll reiterate it anyway.  READ THIS BOOK.  The characters continue to show growth on their personal journeys and those who’ve already left an impression on your heart will dig themselves in deeper.  Villains will push even more limits, characters will be unmade and reborn, and the everything is the highest of stakes.  I cannot wait to see how everything plays out in book three and I never thought I would end up loving this series as much as I do.

Rating 6

A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee (The Thousandth Floor #1)

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

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee is pitched as a series for readers who enjoy Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl so I immediately added it to my TBR.  I was so excited to pick up a copy of the ARC at BEA (despite it’s beautiful final cover not having been released yet at the time the ARC was printed) and it ended up being the first book I read from my haul when I returned home.  The Thousandth Floor was just the right combination of drama, suspense and most of all ridiculousness because while the book may seem like it’s about your typical group of rich teens, it’s actually about your typical group of rich teens FROM THE FUTURE.  The book takes place in Manhattan, which has been replaced with a single thousand floor tower (the rich kids living on the upper floors) in the year 2118.  I definitely enjoyed the story but if it hadn’t been for all of the inventive future tech and ways of life of the future I wouldn’t have been as into it as I was.

The Thousandth Floor begins with a character falling off the roof of the thousandth floor and plummeting to their death and then it immediately flashes back and details the events of the past two months leading up to that night.  The victim of the fall isn’t revealed until the final chapters so all of the speculation also adds to the fun of reading.  The story is told through the multiple POVs of mean girl Leda, little miss perfect Avery (no really, her parents designed her genetics to be perfect) who’s harboring quite a secret, the outgoing and fun-loving Eris who’s life is about to spawn much gossip, Rylin, the poor girl from the lower floors of the tower who bonds with a member of the upper floors and Watt, a tech genius, also with a big secret.  I will say that this is one book that I didn’t love all of the perspectives in.  Despite some overlap in story lines, I found I most enjoyed Leda, Eris, and Avery’s POVs.  The story is really quick paced and it’s so full of drama that it’ll keep you completely engaged.  Even if there’s a lull in plot, it doesn’t feel that way because that’s when McGee takes the opportunity to describe some fun futuristic element such as screaming gummy bears, hover cars or floating bubbles of alcohol.  I don’t want to go too far into her vision of the future because part of the fun is definitely reading and discovering everything for yourself.

Final Thoughts:  The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee is one of the few novels which lives up to the marketing comparison made prior to its release.  If you enjoy Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars you’ll definitely find enjoyment in this novel.  Come for the drama, stay for the intriguing future ways 2118 has to offer and you’ll be left wishing you didn’t have to wait a whole year for the next installment.  This is great book to read if you’re in a slump because it’s quick paced and attention grabbing and the mysterious plot will definitely having you craving the next chapter.

Rating 5

New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall…. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

BookTube: July Book Haul!

July was a big book haul month for me since it’s my birthday month! I added so many new titles to my never-ending TBR list but since I’m already having a wonderful reading month this August, I’m excited to jump into so many of them.  It was a slow month for new releases (as summer usually is) but I definitely made up for that with a bunch of backlist books!

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Waiting on Wednesday: Fireworks by Katie Cotugno

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 Fireworks by Katie Cotugno.  I finally read my first Katie Cotugno book last week and she’s now one of my favorite contemporary authors.  Her writing is just so pretty and enjoyable and I basically devoured 99 Days.  I also love reading her blog and her twitter and I seriously cannot get enough of her<3 Her newest book Fireworks takes place in Orlando in the 1990s during the boy and girl band craze and it follows two best friends competing to be next big popstar. I absolutely love the cover for Fireworks and I love that it has the same aesthetic as 99 Days.

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From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-’90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness. (via Goodreads)

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TeamSilverSpace Channel Announcement! (GameTube?)

Anyone who knows Andrew and I knows that books are my thing and video games are his thing.  He’s been wanting to start a video game channel on YouTube for quite some time now but everything got a bit sidetracked since we were crazy busy planning our wedding.  I had gotten Andrew the game capture equipment he needed for Christmas last year so that just shows you how long this has been in the works!  I’m so excited to be part of Andrew’s channel and it’s really fun to be able to collaborate with him on something that I know he loves.

I definitely consider myself more of a casual gamer. I love the old games from my childhood (which is why we’re starting with Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Quest as our first Let’s Play series), Pokemon (in all of its iterations) and anything I can play on my 3DS.  I’m definitely going to be going out of my comfort zone as we continue on with new games because my gaming skills seem to have peaked during the N64 days.  I’m horrible at first person shooters and other games that require me to control where I’m looking and walking simultaneously.  I feel like people are going to watch our channel and think I’m great at gaming and then the second we debut a newer game, everyone will see just how awful I really am lol!  Either way, it’s fun to spend some quality time with Andrew and record our conversations.  I’ve always wanted to make more time to play video games so I’m excited that we now have a reason to do so!

I’m glad we waited to start the channel too because Andrew worked really hard on all of the channel art and it completely paid off. I’m heed over heels in love with his design! He made me into a magical girl Pokemon trainer<3  And he animated the opening sequence.  Andrew’s brother and my brother-in-law Joe also created the music for us! (Fun fact: Joe did the credits music in my YouTube videos too!)

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Anyway, here are the first few episodes of our Let’s Plays! I hope you enjoy and if there are any games you want us to play, let us know in the comments and we’ll keep a running list for future episodes!

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Kristin

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