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

5.22.2017

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older [Review]

Title: Shadowshaper
Author(s): Daniel José Older
Edition: Audio, 7 hours 21 minutes/6 discs
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: November 1, 2015
Source: Library
Buy: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Book Depository




Summary

Sierra Santiago planned to have an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears... Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.

With the help of a mysterious fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one -- and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family's past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for herself and generations to come.


Full of a joyful, defiant spirit and writing as luscious as a Brooklyn summer night, Shadowshaper marks the YA debut of a brilliant new storyteller.


My Opinion



If you have been aching for a great supernatural book with kick-ass Latinx and Black characters, full of family, danger, and love, then look no further because Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older has it all!

The first thing, and maybe this was even more apparent because I was listening to the audiobook, was the voice within this book is amazing.  Each character is distinct, and while maybe not wholly explored, rounded in presentation.  Within the voice comes each character's heritage.  Both Latinx and Black culture is prevalent, with a multitude of different countries represented.  Sierra, Robbie, and their friends all come from different families, customs, and beliefs, and this is reflected in their speech, clothes, and attitude.  I felt like I was in their slice of Brooklyn, one which I've never experienced before.

Older also didn't hesitate to discuss the differences between minorities either.  While it wasn't an especially big part of the book, the prejudices that do exsit between White, Latinx, and Black cultures were mentioned.  While I am in no way an expert on this subject, it made the events of the story more believable because it is set in a real society rather than a perfect one.  Also Sierra's group of friends feels even tighter for overcoming those prejudices and assumptions that color everyone's perception.

So with that, this book would've been just a fantastic contemporary exploring the dynamics and relationships of the neighborhood, and Sierra's crew.  But of course, there was magic to be had, and BOOM it turns into Urban Fantasy!  Shadowshaping is very unique.  It reminds me of a religion, and feels very dogmatic and synced into the machismo that can exist in Latinx culture. By the time Sierra learns about shadowshaping and her place within that heritage, the magic is dying, and it is up to Sierra, a girl never meant to be a shadowshaper, to save it.  

The mix of art and magic is very powerful, not only in the book, but in life.  Most artists, be it writers, painters, or musicians, work from the soul.  Shadowshaping takes that to another level, actually harnessing the souls of one's ancestors into the artwork to make it come alive.  Also the aspect that the medium of the drawing makes the shaping more powerful is too cool (for instance, chalk is easily destroyed, while paint is stronger).  It's beautiful, and a gift I wish was real (cause I'd want to learn PRONTO)!

The pacing is fantastic, the mystery is not easily guessed, and the ending leaves you needing more!  Luckily, there is a sequel coming out this September (Shadowhouse Fall) so you don't have to wait too long (unless of course you read it when it first came out, then you did have to wait a bit)!  Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older is one of my favorite 2017 reads, and one you don't want to miss!


Final Rating


Extras


E-Novella


Interview with Daniel José Older

5.19.2017

Past. Present. Future. May Edition


This feature highlights the books I've read, the books I'm reading, and the books I'm going to read; just a fun little way to keep track of everything! 

I'd love for you all to join in if you want! Leave me a comment to your post or just let me know in the comment what's your Past. Present. Future. in Books!



PAST:

Riveted by Jay Crownover - I don't really talk about many adult books on this blog, but I do read them.  Specifically, I love romance -- probably my #1 fave adult genre.  And Jay Crownover does romance spectacularly.  Modern, hot, and with a satisfying happily-ever-after, she delivers each time.  Riveted is no exception; Book 3 in her Saints of Denver series, oh man do Church and Dixie sizzle.  Loved it for sure, but for older readers only!



When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare - Speaking of romance, here's another I read, well listened to, recently.  I thought getting an audiobook of a romance novel would be weird, but Tessa Dare's writing mixed with the amazing narrator, Carmen Rose, it was super enjoyable.  While I prefer modern romances, I do love to delve into a good historical romance, and this one had such charming leads in Maddie and Logan (Holy God Logan!).  Again, for older readers only!




PRESENT:
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus - I'm typically not a big mystery fan, but when I read the summary of this book, I was intrigued!  I love The Breakfast Club, and this is inspired by that with a murdery twist.  I also had the opportunity to be a part of the blog tour with Rockstar Book Tours, and I am very excited to write my review!  If you're not typically a murder mystery fan, I suggest picking this one up because you'll still really enjoy it!




FUTURE:
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera - I have only heard amazing things about this book (all of Adam Silvera's books actually).  This was one of my book club's picks for this year, but unfortunately I missed that month (argh family stuff).  So it is for sure on my TBR list!





If  you've read any of these books, let me know what you thought (but NO spoilers) down below in the comments!

5.17.2017

Waiting on Wednesday (99)

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

Here's my pick for the week:


Chaotic Good
written by Whitney Gardner
Publication Date: March 13, 2018


Soon-to-be senior Cameron hopes to complete her costume portfolio away from the online abuse she has endured since winning a cosplay contest dressed as a character from a game she's never played. Unfortunately, the only comic shop in her new town—her main destination for character reference—is staffed by a dudebro who challenges every girl who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother's suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming experience to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she is shocked at how easily she's accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Before she can say "Demogorgon," Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the dudebro; a friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk; a handsome Dungeon Master, and her brother Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her "secret identity" gets more and more entrenched, Cameron's portfolio falls by the wayside—and her feelings for her DM threaten to make a complicated situation more precarious. Cosplay, comic shops, and college applications collide in this geek-girl anthem from You're Welcome, Universe author Whitney Gardner, complete with fully illustrated comic pages from Gardner herself.

(Summary from Goodreads)


I know this book doesn't come out until NEXT year, but I NEED IT!  It sounds exactly up my alley.  I've been a geek my whole life.  I love sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes, comics, video games, tabletop games; anything you think a typical geek is into, I'm probably way into it (Marvel comics), or have dabbled in the scene (D&D for instance).  But the places that hold my near and dear are often the realm of the dudebro who mansplains to me exactly what I already know, or just makes me feel so uncomfortable I have to leave.  Which really sucks!  Luckily, being a seasoned lady, I tell 'em to fuck off, but little middle school/high school Eli was too intimated to even try!

The fact that Cameron uses her cosplay skills to go incognito to her comic book store is so awesome, and a possible solution I would've used if I had any talent in that area whatsoever.  I love books like this, that deal with fandom and the geeky side of things.  I can't wait for this one to hit shelves!

What book are you waiting for?

5.15.2017

BOOK BLITZ --- Air and Ash by Alex Lidell [Excerpt + Giveaway]


I am very excited to be a part of the Book Blitz for Air and Ash (Tides Book 1) by Alex Lidell!  This book is said to be a great book for Tamora Pierce fans (of which I am most definitely one) but set on the high seas.  I love stories where girls have to go in disguised and end up kicking all the boys butts!  Also, I haven't read many books based on ships that weren't about pirates, so this will be refreashing!

Very excited about getting my hands on this book, and you can enter for a chance to win a finished copy down below (plus a copy of Sarah J. Maas's  A Court of Wings and Ruin)!


About the Book


Title: Air and Ash
Author: Alex Lidell
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Danger Bearing Press
Pages: 284
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads

Master and Commander meets Tamora Pierce in a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess’s quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms.

After a lifetime of training, seventeen-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission—and fails.

Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battle worthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile’s blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over.

But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future.

Air and Ash is the thrilling first installment of the Tides series. Recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Tamora Pierce, and Naomi Novik.




Excerpt

My breaths come quick, my side vision a blur of sand. The horses rear, showing their bellies and hooves. When Red turns to the beasts, I crash into him. The impact ricochets through me. I drop my rock.

Red staggers but remains standing.

I wrap my arms around Red and draw the other pistol from his waistline even as he throws me to the ground. I land in a heap and breathless, but my hands still clutch the gun.

Inconveniently, the bloody weapon is as much a danger to me as to the men. It bucks in my hand, yielding to the natural pulse of Clay’s uncontrolled magic. Rising to one knee, I move the barrel between Bald and Red. “Stop,” I command. “All of you.”

Three sets of eyes grip me. None give a sign of recognition. I little blame them—having spent most of my life aboard an Ashing ship, the only people who’d reliably recognize me are those I’ve served with. This Felielle trio is unlikely to recognize even Thad outside the throne room, or think twice if they heard my name absent salutation.

My palms are moist, but I know better than to let the fear slip into my voice. “I believe the man has understood your message,” I say.

Clay’s dog chooses that moment to run up beside me and bare its teeth. Its low growl leadens the air between us.

One heartbeat stretches after another, punctuated by the break of waves and the horses’ snorts. My breaths come quick and shallow. I’m unlikely to miss at this range, but the pistol is good for one shot only.

Bald squints. “What’s your stake in this?”

“A broken law and a bound man.” I shake my head. The constant foreign presence in Ashing is a necessary burden for now, but I hope to see it end after the war. “One pistol has fired already, gentlemen. I expect the Ashing patrols are en route to investigate.”

Red scowls at me, likely calculating whether he might knock me to the ground before I squeeze off the trigger or the horses scamper. He probably can.

I scowl back, hoping the thugs’ employer paid them too little to risk their hides so greatly. “I would wager you will pay with your horses and backs if the patrols come upon us now.”

Bald snorts and makes a decision. “Is the lady correct, Domenic? Has the message penetrated?” He lands a vicious knee in the man’s abdomen.

Domenic’s jaw tightens, and he has to draw a breath before he can speak. “I have a debt.” His voice is steadier than I had expected. “I will pay it.”

“Why, that is all we wished to hear in the first place.” Bald pats Domenic’s shoulder and turns away, then twists back and punches Domenic’s jaw as an afterthought. “A pinch of a memory aid.” He chuckles at his joke and, accepting the reins from Red, swings into the saddle. The horses neigh and pick up a gallop, eager to be away, and I raise my free arm to shield my eyes from the flying sand.




About Alex
Alex Lidell is an avid horseback rider, paramedic and ice cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, Alanna started Alex’s lifelong love for YA fantasy books. Alex’s debut novel, The Cadet of Tildor, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards finalist. Her second book Air and Ash releases in May 2017.





Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive a finished copy of Air and Ash & a hardcover of A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, International.


4.03.2017

BLOG TOUR --- Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant [Review + Giveaway]


Title: Zenn Diagram
Author(s): Wendy Brant
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, 328 pages
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble - Book Depository














Tour Schedule


Week One:
3/27/2017 - Two Chicks on Books - Interview
3/28/2017 - Here's to Happy Endings - Review
3/29/2017 - BookHounds YA - Guest Post
3/30/2017 - Just Commonly - Review
3/31/2017 - Happily Ever Chapter - Excerpt


Week Two:
4/3/2017 - Eli to the nth - Review (ME!)
4/4/2017 - Literary Dust - Interview
4/5/2017 - Book Briefs - Review
4/6/2017 - Pretty Deadly Reviews - Guest Post
4/7/2017 - Savings in Seconds - Review



The Summary


Eva Walker is a seventeen-year-old math genius. And if that doesn’t do wonders for her popularity, there’s another thing that makes it even worse: when she touches another person or anything that belongs to them — from clothes to textbooks to cell phones — she sees a vision of their emotions. She can read a person’s fears and anxieties, their secrets and loves … and what they have yet to learn about calculus. This is helpful for her work as a math tutor, but it means she can never get close to people. Eva avoids touching anyone and everyone. People think it’s because she’s a clean freak — with the emphasis on freak — but it’s all she can do to protect herself from other people’s issues.

Then one day a new student walks into Eva’s life. His jacket gives off so much emotional trauma that she falls to the floor. Eva is instantly drawn to Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist who also has a troubled home life, and her feelings only grow when she realizes that she can touch Zenn’s skin without having visions. But when she discovers the history that links them, the truth threatens to tear the two apart.

My Opinion

Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant is a great book to welcome Spring: a cute romance that truly feels developed mixed in with some supernatural powers results in a book you can read in one sitting.

Eva is a math wiz, which in typical contemporaries would make her a social outcast by default (gotta love those high school cliches).   But refreshingly in Eva's case it isn't her math know-how that keeps her apart, it is her ability to read a person's emotions by a single touch.  This self-inflicted exile masquerades as germaphobic, but it is a safe-guard.  I can't say I blame her either as I can barely handle my own emotions let alone others'.

Zenn is the "new boy" at school, and the two meet during a math tutoring session.  The longer they are together, the more of a crush Eva develops.  Of course, Zenn is a mystery in and of himself to Eva, as his jacket gives off major emotional vibes, but she can touch his skin without a peep.

The touch of magical realism is refreshing in what would be a traditional YA romance.  This supernatural element adds a hint of suspense to the overall story, but the romance is still center-stage.  Brant manages to develop Eva and Zenn's relationship organically--there is no insta-love here, which could've been such an easy trope to fall into with the supernatural element.  Ultimately, you learn how Eva and Zenn are connected, and you still keep on loving these two.

Light, quick, and cute, Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant is a great new book to pull off the shelves.


Final Rating


About the Author

Wendy Brant: So my name alone should give you a clue that I graduated from high school when bangs were big and clothes were baggy. I went to Northwestern University and majored in journalism even though I had no desire to be a journalist. I've been married to a great guy for a whole drinking-aged person's life. I've got two amazing and yet very different (and very tall) teenage kids. I like crappy food, pinning inspirational quotes on Pinterest, have a tendency to start paragraphs with "anyway", and I wish I were funnier. I would love to be one of those really, REALLY funny bloggers (like Insane in the Mom-Brain) that makes you pee yourself a little bit. I am only moderately funny. I admit that. It's one of my great sadnesses in life.

I started writing fiction when I was 10, but tried to be practical with the whole journalism thing. Didn't take. Shortly after college, the fiction-writing desire reared its non-practical head and I've been writing ever since. 

Anyway, I'm probably just like you. We'd probably be friends if we met in real life. (Well, let's be honest. It's likely that only my friends are actually reading this blog, so we probably ARE friends in real life.) But whether we are friends in real life, or just virtual friends through cyberspace, I hope you will enjoy your time here.

Check out my debut YA novel, ZENN DIAGRAM (KCP Loft 4/4/17), available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Target!



Giveaway

3 winners will receive a hardcover of Zenn Diagram.
US Only.

3.29.2017

BLOG TOUR --- Hearts & Other Body Parts by Ira Bloom [Review + Giveaway]

Title: Hearts & Other Body Parts
Author(s): Ira Bloom
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook, 352 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble - iBooks - Book Depository













Tour Schedule


Week One:
3/20/2017 - Adventures of a Book Junkie - Interview
3/21/2017 - Here's to Happy Endings - Review
3/22/2017 - BookHounds YA - Guest Post
3/23/2017 - YA Books Central - Review
3/24/2017 - Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Interview


Week Two:
3/27/2017 - Beauty and the Bookshelf - Review
3/28/2017 - Novel Novice - Guest Post
3/29/2017 - Eli to the nth - Review (ME!)
3/30/2017 - The Cover Contessa - Interview
3/31/2017 - Emily Reads Everything - Review



The Summary


A novel of love and monsters.

Sisters Esme, Katy, and Ronnie are smart, talented, and gorgeous, and better yet . . . all three are witches. They have high school wired until the arrival of two new students. The first is Norman, who is almost eight feet tall and appears to be constructed of bolts and mismatched body parts. Despite his intimidating looks, Esme finds herself strangely -- almost romantically -- drawn to both his oversized brain and oversized heart.

The second new arrival is Zack, an impossibly handsome late transfer from the UK who has the girls at school instantly mesmerized. Soon even sensible Esme has forgotten Norman, and all three sisters are in a flat-out hex war to win Zack. But while the magic is flying, only Norman seems to notice that students who wander off alone with Zack end up with crushed bones and memory loss. Or worse, missing entirely.

Hearts & Other Body Parts is a wickedly addictive novel about love, monsters, and loyalty. And oh yeah, a Japanese corpse-eating demon cat. 

My Opinion

Hearts & Other Body Parts may seem on the outside to be a serious supernatural tale, but crack open the pages and you have a humorous mash-up (dare I say, a monster mash) of classic horror creatures set in the scariest place of all: high school.

Witches, vampires, and Franklin Norman Stein (also known as Frank N. Stein...get it?) come together to form one crazy journey through the trials of the heart, and the trials of attempted murder.  Now, that may sound like the serious supernatural tale, but with the story chock full of campy humor, the death doesn't seem so serious.

There's the classic love...quadrilateral...between the three Silver sisters, and the second newest boy at school, the dashing Zach Kallas.  But little do the sisters know Zach is placing them under his thrall, priming them to be the next meal for himself and his Master.  Yeah, those pesky vampires, always trying to suck your blood.  But Norm is not just a mild-mannered giant, and so the story goes.

Of course, there is the problem of the corpse-eating cat, but you'll have to discover that for yourself.

Delightfully cheestastic, but with a heart-filled plot, Hearts & Other Body Parts is a fun, hilarious read, sure to brighten up your day with hexes, murder, and the occasional demon cat.

Final Rating


About the Author
I grew up in Annapolis Maryland. My mother is an artist and my father was a judge on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

I studied English Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park. I also have some background in Eastern religions. After college I moved to Japan, where I taught ESL. I married a beautiful Japanese woman named Yasuko, moved to LA and taught junior high school English, ESL, and Japanese for the Los Angeles Unified School district. I am conversational in Japanese, but by no means consider myself fluent. 


After serving my debt to society in LA Unified, I went into the fashion business with my wife, who is a very talented fashion designer and is likely to read this, so I can’t say enough good things about her. We eventually branched into the vintage kimono business. I probably know more about Japanese textiles than any straight white man you’re likely to encounter. I’ve been writing humor for Funny Times since 2010. I currently live in West Sonoma County with my family and an assortment of furry beasts.

Website | Twitter  Facebook | Goodreads |

Giveaway

3 winners will receive a finished copy of Hearts & Other Body Parts.
US Only.

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