quotes Elisquared likes

"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green



Title: Sometimes We Tell the Truth
Author(s): Kim Zarins
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, 448 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble - iBooks - Book Depository

Tour Schedule

Week One:
8/29/2016 - Novel Novice - Guest Post
8/30/2016 - A Gingerly Review - Review
8/31/2016- Twinning for Books - Guest Post
9/1/2016- The Petite Book Blogger - Review
9/2/2016 - BookCatPin - Guest Post

Week Two:
9/5/2016 - Just Commonly - Review
9/6/2016 - Wandering Bark Books - Guest Post
9/7/2016 - The Reading Nook Reviews - Review
9/8/2016 - Literary Meanderings - Guest Post
9/9/2016 - Eli to the nth - Review (ME!)

The Summary

In this contemporary retelling of The Canterbury Tales, a group of teens on a bus ride to Washington, DC, each tell a story—some fantastical, some realistic, some downright scandalous—in pursuit of the ultimate prize: a perfect score.

Jeff boards the bus for the Civics class trip to Washington, DC, with a few things on his mind:
     -Six hours trapped with his classmates sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
     -He somehow ended up sitting next to his ex-best friend, who he hasn’t spoken to in years.
    -He still feels guilty for the major part he played in pranking his teacher, and the trip’s chaperone, Mr. Bailey.
    -And his best friend Cannon, never one to be trusted and banned from the trip, has something “big” planned for DC.

But Mr. Bailey has an idea to keep everyone in line: each person on the bus is going to have the chance to tell a story. It can be fact or fiction, realistic or fantastical, dark or funny or sad. It doesn’t matter. Each person gets a story, and whoever tells the best one will get an automatic A in the class.

But in the middle of all the storytelling, with secrets and confessions coming out, Jeff only has one thing on his mind—can he live up to the super successful story published in the school newspaper weeks ago that convinced everyone that he was someone smart, someone special, and someone with something to say.

In her debut novel, Kim Zarins breathes new life into Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in a fresh and contemporary retelling that explores the dark realities of high school, and the subtle moments that bring us all together. 

My Opinion

If you were one of those students in English Literature who dreaded reading The Canterbury Tales, well then I suggest that you crack open Sometimes We Tell the Truth. Kim Zarins does a masterful job of taking the great literary devices and structure of The Canterbury Tales and translating them into an amazingly refreshing and accessible novel, one which will make you appreciate The Canterbury Tales, erasing bad memories.

The overall premise of the book is a class trip/road trip tale filled with students from the same Senior civics class, on their way to Washington, D.C.  You see each of the characters through the eyes of the narrator, Jeff (get it like Geoffrey Chaucer), and then the book is interspersed with the "tales" that the students are set to do to keep busy by their teacher Mr. Bailey.  Each of these stories reveals something new about each character, creating a rounded experience without detracting from the main plot.

There is a little bit for everyone, and I think the heart of the story really shines through.  Each character is loving and hatful in their own way, and really reflects the dynamics of high school in a way that I feel reads very true.  I don't want to give a lot of the story away because it is a journey that builds as you travel along with the group, but it is encompassing and epic.

For both lovers of Chaucer and no-nothings about his work, Sometimes We Tell the Truth has something to hook all readers, and Zarins tells a romp of a good story!

Final Rating

About the Author

Kim Zarins has a PhD in English from Cornell University and teaches medieval literature and children’s literature at Sacramento State University.  Her debut novel, Sometimes We Tell the Truth, retells Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with modern teens, and she wrote it with a gigantic smile on her face (there are funny bits).  She also published two picture books for very young children.  When she isn’t reading or writing or teaching, she is feeding peanuts to a very hungry scrub jay named Joe.


Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova [Review]

Title: Labyrinth Lost
Author(s): Zoraida Córdova
Edition: ARC, 336 pgs
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Recieved from ALA for review
Buy: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Book Depository

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation...and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can't trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland...

My Opinion

If you are wanting an exhilarating, dark, female-driven, family-centric, magical journey, then stop because Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova is the book you've been looking for.

I have been needing a darker type of magic story for a while.  One that explores that earthier side of magic, with rituals and spells powered through parts of the real world, not just a wave of a wand.  Labyrinth Lost delivers that need and adds so much more.

I love the main character, Alex (Alejandra).  Zoraida has crafted a character that is still relatable even when being from a family of witches.  She doesn't want the power that she possesses because it scares her.  I think that we can all relate to that sort of fear in a way; we all have something to be afraid of, whether it is intrinsic or extrinsic.  She is struggling to be a part of this family who's very being is determined by their power when she is constantly fighting her own, and fighting it so drastically that she tries to spell it away.  I feel this can be used as a metaphor for how teen girls feel about themselves for the most part, at least I know that's how my friends and I felt.

But while Alex finds herself at odds with her family, there is nothing but love from all sides.  Her mother and sisters all love Alex, and she them.  But not only is her immediate family important, Alex has such a rich history, which is reflected it in the Latinx culture that plays such an integral part of the book.  Alex's ancestors span back centuries, and they all play a part in her family's history.  And all these people are definitively brujas, casting cantos, not spells.  This is an aspect of the book I absolutely adore; more representation of Latinx culture is needed within YA speculative fiction, and Labyrinth Lost is such an amazing addition to that genre. 

Then of course, not only are we shown the brujas of Brooklyn, but through Alex's banishing canto, she transports her entire family (and her ancestors too) into Los Lagos, a type of purgatory for brujas.  The elaborate layers of Los Lagos again mix many elements from Latinx culture, but also from other myths and stories, creating a rich, terrifying, oil painting of a world that Alex must trek through to save her family.

Luckily she is not alone on this journey, and again the amazing hand of  Zoraida crafts some complex supporting cast that you love to love and love to hate (but never really for long).  The voice of each character is distinct from one another, and each person, or creature, you meet adds something to the overall world of Los Lagos and the bruja culture, making the book one you'll want to explore again.

It's at all times a journey of discovery and family, but with such twists that it keeps you on your toes while reading.  Never a dull moment, Labyrinth Lost is a fantastical ride, leaving you aching on the other side to be a bruja yourself (I for one have been practicing my Resting Witch Face).  One of my top books of 2016, I can't recommend this one enough!  Out on September 6, 2016, you won't want to miss it!

Final Rating

Book Cover: 4/5 

Book Title: 5/5
Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 48/50: A+


Other Books by Zoraida

The Vicious Deep Trilogy


Visual Inspiration - Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Pictures/Art/Photographs all help me see the books I'm reading.  Often, while I'm online, I stumble upon images that remind me of the book.  These visuals add layers to the stories, and can be used to offer hints to the plot.  So I've decided to put out "Visual Inspirations" in order to spark readers' interests in those books that I love.  Please feel free to join in; hopefully you'll get some new books to read in the process!

If you're a horror nut, or just like to scare yourself, then this book is definitely for you! So without further ado, I give you inspiration this week from:

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Oh, what could all of this mean!?

If you like magic, danger, and a strong leading lady, then Labyrinth Lost is the book you've been looking for!  Full of heart, danger, and the unknown, you are sure to yearn to become a bruja as soon as you crack open the pages!

If you liked this, keep an eye out for more posts and check out my other Visual Inspirations!


Waiting on Wednesday (96)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming/recent releases that we seriously can’t wait to read


Labyrinth Lost
Publication Date: September 6, 2016

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition in this highly original fantasy adventure.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Love this BOOK, love this COVER, love this AUTHOR!  Zoraida's first series, The Vicious Deep, was great, and I think Labyrinth Lost is better!  Such a rich world and a super empowering family story containing so many strong women!  It is definitely a part of the kick-ass girls club of books!  10 out of 10 would recommend!!!

I am also a part of the Resting Witch Face Squad (RWFSquad); we're the Street Team, bringing you Labyrinth Lost realness!  so make sure to check my social media for any tweets/posts about fun happenings about the book!  

What book are you waiting for?


EXCERPT: The Flame Never Dies by Rachel Vincent Pre-Release Blitz + Giveaway!

I am super excited to be a part of this pre-release blitz to help spread the word that THE FLAME NEVER DIES, the second book in Rachel Vincent’s The Stars Never Rise series, is releasing on August 16th!

For those that are already caught up on this series, the wait is (almost) finally over! For those that haven’t yet met Nina Kane or discovered the dark and dangerous world she lives in, there’s still time to catch up - and a really sweet deal (details below) that will make you want to move this series to the top of your reading pile!

Scroll down to learn more about THE FLAME NEVER DIES and THE STARS NEVER RISE, the author, Rachel Vincent, and to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed hardback set of these two amazing books!

And for even more peeks at the fab content being shared throughout the blitz - shareable quotation graphics and excerpts - look for other blogger participants now through August 15th on social media #TheFlameNeverDies.


THE STARS NEVER RISE goes on sale!

In anticipation of the upcoming release of THE FLAME NEVER DIES, the publisher is dropping the price for the eBook version of the first book in the series - THE STARS NEVER RISE! So if you haven’t yet discovered this series, now is the perfect time!

Just head over to your favorite online e-tailer to look for THE STARS NEVER RISE with its newly lowered price or visit one of these online stores: 

Please note that at the time of this post some stores may not yet have updated their sites to the promotional pricing. If they haven’t, be sure to check back for this awesome not-to-be-missed deal!


 THE FLAME NEVER DIES (The Stars Never Rise #2)
by Rachel Vincent
August 16, 2016
Delacorte Press
352 pgs
Hardcover, eBook

For fans of Cassandra Clare and Richelle Mead comes the unputdownable sequel to The Stars Never Rise, a book Rachel Caine, author of the bestselling Morganville Vampires series, called “haunting, unsettling, and eerily beautiful.”

ONE SPARK WILL RISE. Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth—that the war against demons is far from over—seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant younger sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.
Nina isn’t about to let that happen . . . even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Here's a sneak peek from chapter two of THE FLAME NEVER DIES...
“What’s your name, sweetheart?” Ana asked the boy, and I realized there would be no teaching her caution where children were concerned. She had spent five years as a grade-school teacher.

“Tobias.” The boy’s voice was soft and hoarse, as if he’d been crying. His gaze slid from Anabelle to me, and I decided the glazed look in his eyes was from shock.

He reminded me of the kindergartners I’d spent my service hour with every day of my senior year, until the Church had declared me a cancerous wart on mankind’s collective hind end. Tobias could have been any kid in my class, terrified and traumatically orphaned.

We couldn’t leave him alone in the badlands. Yet ours was no life for a kid.

The irony in that thought hit home when my sister waddled past me, one hand on her huge belly. “Melanie,” I called, but she waved off my warning. When I glanced at Finn, he nodded to give me the all clear, the rifle still aimed at the ground. He’d inspected the car from the outside and squatted to peer beneath it, and had found no immediate danger.

Still, Mellie was too pregnant to fight or to flee from sudden danger, so I followed her, ready to pull her out of the path of evil should a demon burst from the bloody car.

“Are you okay, Tobias?” my sister asked, kneeling in front of the child with Anabelle’s help.

For a moment he only stared at her, studying her pale skin and even paler hair. Finally he nodded, his gaze fixated on her stomach, while I tried to calculate the mileage his family must have traveled in that doomed blue car. “You got a baby in there?”

Melanie laughed, and I marveled at the fact that she could find joy where the rest of us saw only tragedy and hardship. “Yes. And I like your name, Tobias.” She laid one hand on her stomach. “Maybe I’ll borrow it if this little one’s a boy.”

Assuming it lived.

Melanie was a tireless optimist, not blind to the dangers of the world, exactly, but not quite concerned enough about them. She refused to think about the overwhelming odds against her child’s survival, and neither she nor Ana had even glanced at the carnage inside that blue car.

And I hadn’t heard her mention Adam, the ill-fated father of her child, in weeks.

Reese pulled the SUV to a stop beside our truck, right in the middle of the road, and the other half of our group poured out of the vehicle. “What the hell?” Footsteps crunched in the dirt behind me, and then Reese and Grayson stopped at my side. She carried a plastic jug and he had a hose wrapped around his massive left arm.

“Looks like the parents are dead in the front seat,” I whispered. “Not sure what happened yet, but Finn hasn’t found any immediate threat.”

“Poor thing!” Grayson cried.

Devi rolled her eyes and scuffed her boot in the dirt on the side of the road. “What the hell are we supposed to do with him?”

“We can’t leave him here.” Maddock threaded his arm through hers, frowning as he watched the little boy. “It’s a miracle he’s still alive. He must not have been here long.”

“We’re not even going to think about taking him with us until we know what killed his parents.” Devi circled the car toward the driver’s side and used one hand to shield the sun from her face while she bent to peer through the window. When she stood a second later, she looked sick. “Nothin’ but blood.”

While the rest of us took a closer look at the car, Grayson, Ana, and Mellie lured Tobias toward the cargo truck with promises of water and chocolate from a box of sweets that had been intended for the general store in New Temperance.

As Devi and Finn had said, the front windows were too caked with blood to show anything at all, and through the rear windshield we could see little more than the outlines of two bodies sitting in the front seats. The trunk door stood open a couple of inches, and when I lifted it, I saw that the narrow center seat had been folded down, creating a small path into the trunk from the backseat of the car. A path just wide enough for a six-year-old.

My stomach twisted at the thought of what Tobias must have witnessed. How could any kid see that much carnage without being psychologically destroyed?

When the child was out of sight behind the cargo truck, Maddock opened the driver’s door while Finn aimed his rifle at the interior just in case. Nothing jumped out at us, but after one glance inside I gasped and stepped back. Finn’s jaw tightened, and even Devi covered her mouth in horror.

The man and woman, still buckled into the front seats of the car, were drenched in blood fresh enough to glisten in the afternoon sunlight. The dashboard, windows, windshield, and floorboard had all been heavily splattered with what could only have been an arterial spray.

Yet even through all the gore, two things were clear.

First, the man and woman in the blue car were not Tobias’s biological parents—their skin was as pale as mine, even accounting for the pallor of recent death. And second, based on the blood and bits of flesh caking their right hands, the couple’s wounds appeared to be self-inflicted.

The man and woman had simply pulled onto the side of the road, then ripped out their own throats.

About Rachel Vincent

Rachel Vincent is a former English teacher and an eager champion of the Oxford comma. She shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who’s been her # 1 fan from the start. Rachel is older than she looks and younger than she feels, and she remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy—but social media is a close second.


THE STARS NEVER RISE (The Stars Never Rise #1)
Rachel Vincent
June 9, 2015
Delacorte Press
368 pgs
Hardcover, paperback, eBook***

***See above for details on the promotional pricing of the eBook

Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

The Giveaway

Courtesy of the author, there is a blitz-wide giveaway for…
  • ONE (1) winner will receive a SIGNED hardback set of THE STARS NEVER RISE + THE FLAME NEVER DIES

Giveaway is US only. Must be 13 or older to enter. Giveaway ends on August 14th at 11:59 PM Pacific.

Enter in the Rafflecopter below...

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