Friday, July 22, 2016

The Summer That Melted Everything

Title: The Summer That Melted Everything
Author: Tiffany McDaniel
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 320
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review
Purchase this book:
AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Everything changed for Fielding Bliss the summer of 1984, the summer the worst heat wave he'd ever experienced swept over the small Ohio town of Breathed. 1984 was also the year Fielding found himself friends with the Devil. But that's really a small thing, considering just what went down that blistering hot summer.

Published by St. Martin's Press, The Summer That Melted Everything is author Tiffany McDaniel's debut novel. I'm just going to repeat that- debut novel. This is the first thing she's ever published, and I am truthfully blown away.

I finished this novel sometime around midnight, and I was honestly so stunned. How had a debut novel managed to leave me speechless, unable to move I was so emotionally affected. I'm not the type of person to hand out 5 stars to books left and right. If I give something all 5 stars, it means I really liked it. This novel completely deserves each of those 5 stars. This is definitely a new favorite book for me. 

I love books that take place before the 90s. That era just speaks to me- the simplicity of it all makes me feel at home. I could list off plenty of books I've enjoyed through my life as a reader that takes place during the 20th century that I've just completely loved. This novel, as mentioned in the synopsis, is about Fielding Bliss looking back at his summer in 1984. That particular summer is the summer that Fielding's father invited the Devil to town. And the Devil arrives, along with a nasty heat wave that makes national news. However, the Devil isn't anything like anyone expects. He's just a boy. Innocent, youthful, and wise. Fielding's family adopts the boy, who goes by the name Sal, and he joins the Bliss family. However, when you go around telling people you're the Devil, people start to believe you. And people liked having someone to blame for their misfortunes and wrongs. 

The Summer That Melted Everything deals with many issues that are sometimes difficult to talk about. Sal's race (black) causes prejudice in the town. People are even faster to judge and dislike him. And there are a couple homosexual characters as well, who also get judged by the townspeople. It was interesting to see how these aspects intertwined with the themes of prejudice and hate throughout the story. 

If you've read To Kill a Mockingbird (one of my all-time favorites) you'd get a similar vibe reading this book. Just the way it handles race and law reminded me of that particular novel ( in a good way). This debut novel is extremely powerful, leaving me in tears more than once. The writing is absolutely beautiful, and it's been a little while since a book has so emotionally affected me. Its fast moving plot, along with the way in weaves subplots together to create one complete novel calls for something truly amazing. It's difficult for me to describe how I was feeling after finishing the story. Speechless, perhaps would be a good word. Because I honestly couldn't function. I couldn't believe the novel was over- I couldn't believe everything that'd happened- happened. 

So please, please read The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel. It'll be released July 26th, so mark your calendars, because this is one story you do not want to miss. I'm so, so thankful to have been given a copy to review. I have no clue if I would have picked this one up if I hadn't, and that means I'd never have read one of my new favorite books. I'll be rereading this one. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

All About EBOOKS

I'm sure you've all seen countless "Ebook vs. Physical Book" posts and videos, so this post is going to skip over that and move straight on to talking all about the different ereaders. And for those of you blessed souls who haven't dealt with at least one said "ebook vs. physical book" post, ebooks are more convenient but physical books are still preferable.

So now for my ereader life story.

A few years ago, I bought something very similar to this nook. (Note: this is an newer, nicer, updated version of my nook.) At first, I loved it, and most of what I read I downloaded from OverDrive courtesy of my public library. If you haven't checked OverDrive out, you should. If you belong to a library or are a K12/College student, you most likely have access to OverDrive through that. But anyway, I was checking out all my desired titles from OverDrive, downloading the ePub file to my nook, and enjoying my endless supply of books. And if OverDrive didn't have my desired title, I could simply request the book with a push of a button, and typically within the month it'd be added to the collection. Then after a year or so of this, my Nook started acting crazy.

Now, what you must understand is that my nook had never been the easiest piece of technology to use. I spent many a night looking up articles and forums to figure out what was going on with my nook. However, this time my nook was simply not working, and it's been stowed away in my junk drawer ever since.

Have I completely given up on ebooks? No, dear friend, I have not. While I certainly prefer reading physical copies of books, being a book blogger, I often get digital copies of books for review. And quite honestly, it's easier to take ebooks for review, because I don't have to worry about it coming through the mail.

So how have I been reading ebooks? Well, my phone.

While I was using my iPad mini to read ebooks for a while, I've since made the switch to reading ebooks on my phone, because I always have my phone with me! I have the Kindle app, and all my ARCs are just downloaded to the app. It's a piece of cake.

So now you know my history with ereaders. Why don't we get into the fun part?

"Nooks are junky and unreliable, and probably won't be around in the near future." 

Who remembers Borders? The bookseller? It used to be up there with BooksAMillion and Barnes &Noble? If you aren't familiar with Borders, they're a bookseller that went out of business. So Nooks are a tablet manufactured and sold by B&N, which means that if B&N were to ever go out of business (following the trend of Borders) Nooks wouldn't be around either. Of course, the day B&N closes up will be a day of mourning for me, but it's not unlikely.

Plus Nooks just aren't that great! Mine was always having software issues. Really annoying ones that were hard to figure out. There were times when it would completely reset, and I would have to set it up like a brand new user. And it would erase all the ePup books I'd checked out! I didn't have the best nook on the market, but I think that still says something.

Plus owning a nook is expensive. I only actually bought one book on my nook, everything else I borrowed from OverDrive/My Library. However, if you are the type of person to buy the ebooks you read, you're buying them from Barnes & Noble. And I'm not going to be shy about this when I say that Barnes & Noble ebooks are expensive. So not only are you paying for the tablet, but you're paying for the $10 ebooks too.

So if you're going to buy an ereader, don't go the nook route.

"Kindles are Amazon, and Amazon is a good thing."

The other major ereader you hear about is the Amazon Kindle. As you know, Kindle is manufactured and sold by Amazon, along with all the ebooks you'd buy for it. Not only are Amazon's ebook prices better, but they frequently run awesome $1-$2 deals on all types of books- even YA bestsellers and things you wouldn't expect they'd run a discounted price for. And you can still download OverDrive books to your Kindle for free, it's just a whole lot easier than when you try to do it on a Nook.

Plus Kindle is Amazon, and Amazon isn't going to run out of business like B&N has the potential to in the future. So you're Kindle will be around for a long time.

Even better, Kindle digital format is so much easier to use than the Nook's. And there's an awesome app that'll convert any document into Kindle format for you to read on your Kindle. (Which is helpful when I'm getting a review copy of an unfinished book.)

As far as the quality of the actual device, I can't say much as I've never owned one. However, they seem to hold up well according to people I know.

"There's an app for that; because don't you already have a tablet?" 

Chances are, you already own an iPad, Samsung, or some other type of tablet. So why not just download the FREE Kindle App, like myself, and enjoy not having to pay for another device.

Besides, there's nothing a Kindle can do that an iPad can't.

So in the end, don't buy an ereader, just use your phone, tablet, or even your computer to read via the Kindle app. 


What are YOUR thoughts on ereaders? 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Conversations: Reading Series

Hello! I hope you're enjoying this fine Saturday. As usual, this fortnight brings us another Conversation, where we discuss a new topic. You can find out more about this feature here.

   Today's discussion is all about "reading book series- (yay or nay)?".     

Maybe you've done this before, maybe you haven't, but I know that once I've invested myself in reading one or two books of a smaller series, I feel inclined to finish off the series, even if I'm not really enjoying it. And if you think about it, that last book you forced yourself to read could've been another book that you actually enjoyed. (A stand alone, perhaps.) I feel as though book series are traps in some ways, but in other ways, I don't know where we'd be without book series.

On the one hand, I love reading a good book series! 
When I'm genuinely enjoying the books, having a series is a great thing. It allows for reading the books to become an experience. There's something to be said about waiting each year for the next book to come out in a series. It becomes a memory, a companion. And when the series is complete, you've grown as a person, and it's hard to believe that this series-friend has come to an end. It makes reading those books more personal and emotional, because they've lasted much longer than just reading one book. I know plenty of book series that I've cried while finishing, more because it was over than because the events taking place were sad. 

Plus, book series allow for more thorough story planning and more realistic development. Especially in fantasy and science fiction books, it's hard to complete the whole plot in just one book- no matter how long. It would be completely unrealistic to try and squish everything into one book- not to mention excruciatingly lengthy! I prefer for the character development and story arc to be realistic, and making your story into multiple books allows for that. 

Okay, don't roll your eyes, but series look great on bookshelves! Nothing's more satisfying than owning a whole series, especially when they're all in the same format, the same edition, and the same height! I love getting to gaze at how perfect my book series look all lined up and orderly.

So yes, when done right, book series can be a great thing.

On the other hand, authors need to stop trying to make so much money and just WRITE. 
I'm going to shamelessly mention James Patterson when I talk about the fact that a lot of authors stretch their stories out, taking meaningless, stupid turns that end up having no impact on the story just to release another book and make more money. A prime example of this is the horror that is the Maximum Ride series. That story could've been over in three books, but of course us gullible consumers will just keep buying his books. I just can't stand when something that could've been accomplished in one or two books is stretched out pointlessly just to make money. There are plenty of trilogies that could've been duologies, where the middle book was dull and accomplished little other than act as a bridge that could've been condensed and added to the end and beginning of the other two novels. Literally, nothing more annoying.

And there's the fact that sometimes I'm just not in the mood to commit myself to a whole series. Especially when there's, like, 8 books and they've all been released already, it's hard to want to jump into that type of thing. I mean, if all the books are released, I don't have any excuse not to read the rest of the series. I like having a break sometimes.

Plus series are just more to buy, more to read, and more to try to squeeze into your bookshelf. Sometimes I like just getting to read a stand alone, accept that this time it's all been told in one, nicely sized volume, and move on to the next thing.

So in conclusion? (Most) TV shows need more than just one season to accomplish their plot, just as (most) stories need more than just one book. However, I think we all know of a few TV shows that should've ended after just the first season. 

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think of reading book series!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Interview with Author J.A George

Hello! I got the lovely opportunity to work with author of the novel Gifted, Jessica George. She kindly provided an interview all about herself as an author and about her novel. You can read my review of Gifted here

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is J.A. George and I am the author of Gifted – The Hayven Series. I like to eat, write, read, bake and hang out with my friends, preferably at the cinema or at a restaurant.

What job did you wish to have when you were younger?
I use to want to be a doctor. Odd, considering I hate blood and delivering bad news…

What’s your favourite food?
Pizza. I really love pizza. I could eat one every day. I just…yeah, pizza is my answer.

What TV show are you into right now?
I’m slightly obsessed with Game of Thrones at the moment. Yes, I turn away and close my eyes at the really bloody, gory bits which, now that I come to think of it, means I probably miss out on 40% of the actual show!

What is the name of your latest book?
Gifted – The Hayven Series. I always add the series name to the end because there are a few books with the same “Gifted” title.

Tell us about Gifted in five sentences.
Okay. (That “okay” doesn’t count as one of my sentences!) Gifted is about a nineteen year old university student who meets a woman a little on the strange side, and then meets a young man a little more on the stranger side. These meetings lead to the eventual discovery of Hayven – a city separated from the rest of the world where only those with gifts can go. She makes an eclectic bunch of friends, who, even though I’m biased, are awesome. But Hayven has its dark side – Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, Cliders are determined to see Hayven return to the way it was one thousand years ago when the city was under the dominion of Madrina.

What genre is Gifted?
It’s a contemporary YA fantasy novel with hints of romance, adventure, mystery and…comedy, maybe?

Why did you write Gifted?
I started off writing Gifted because I wanted to read a contemporary YA fantasy novel that didn’t feature instant-love, a chosen one or a girl growing up in a dystopian society. I just wanted to read about someone normal, someone I could relate to. Someone who worries about the way she looks, but never says it out loud, has a sense of humour, thinks about the small stuff. Then I wanted to take her and place in a world she never thought existed. I also wanted to read about real young adult relationships. How falling in love isn’t as simple a process as one might think and how lust, fascination and curiosity don’t always mean love. I just wanted a realistic contemporary YA novel with fantasy thrown in for good measure.

How many editions of Gifted are there? How different are they?
Two and they are INCREDIBLY different! Edition two is almost unrecognisable. I’d say a good 95% has been changed between editions.
What is one major change you did to edition one that didn’t make it into edition two?
Romance. I incorporated heavy romance into my novel at first because I thought that was what readers wanted. I’m not the gushy, romantic type; I’m the kind of person who cringes at the unrealistic love scenes in a book and will more often than not, skip over it. I honestly thought you couldn’t have a YA novel without romance, so I forced it in despite my reservations and feelings towards it. My first edition of Gifted was full of scenes like this and I hated writing them. Honestly, I would cringe at my desk as I typed it out. I just…bleugh…it’s not for me. One evening, I’d just had enough and I deleted all of the romance scenes and completely revised my novel, resulting in edition two, and I am unbelievably happy with the way it is now. Gifted still has hints of romance, it’s just not heavy, unrealistic instant-love.

For you, what makes a good story?
When I read a book, I can tell whether the author has really enjoyed writing it. I know it sounds rather strange, but sometimes I can sense the author’s excitement and then I get really excited to read on!

Finally, how do we become authors?
Write. And keep writing until you’ve written a book you’d happily read.

J.A. George

Twitter: @JGeorgie_
Download a sample of GIFTED from amazon here:

Saturday, July 9, 2016


Title: Gifted (The Hayven Series #1)
Author: Jessica George
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 339
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review
Purchase this book:

Ava Grey happened to be the one to find the old woman withering on the floor, seconds away from death on her way to meet a friend for dinner. And because Ava was the one to find this woman, she was given mysterious powers that seemed to be transferred over from the woman to herself. When someone close to the old woman figured out that Ava had been Gifted, he takes her into a fantasy world, filled with millions of people just like her. But it isn't all sunshine in the land of Hayven, for an evil woman is gaining power, and it looks like Ava might have to be the one to stop it. What luck?

Gifted was truly a magical book to read. Everything about it was mystical and enchanting. I mean, how amazing is a world that is accessible by simply meditating? I would love to be able to sit down, close my eyes, breathe, and open my eyes to find myself in a world where people can fly, read minds, and turn invisible. Ava Grey, the main character, is the lucky girl who gets all this and more.

This story is a classic 'good versus evil' story, with a bit of twist. Ava wasn't destined to save the world of Naveya, she isn't the chosen one, or anything like that. She was simply caught up in a mess she was never meant to be in. 

So while I found the plot to be fantastic, and I enjoyed reading about everyone and all their different powers. My favorite part was definitely all the major and minor characters you encounter throughout the novel. Ava met quite a few people in the new world of Hayven, and made lots of friends. I enjoyed reading about each unique relationship she had. I think my favorite character would have to be Baleigh, who starts off as a cold, stiff, and distant person, but begins to melt as she becomes closer to Ava. Personally, I was not emotionally connected to Ava and Theo, the boy who finds her in the shop. Ava thinks about him constantly, and I was slightly annoyed, but it didn't drive the story to the point that it ruined the book for me. (Which romance has ruined books for me before- I'm not making this up!) Plus the relationships she keeps up with her friends overrules the forced love between her and Theo. 

I think that Gifted is a fantastic read for anyone who's in the mood for a really nice 'good versus evil' story. I enjoyed getting into the vibe that I had while reading Harry Potter, with a tangible villain and its dark supporters, and I'm looking forward to reading the next novel. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 310
Rating: 4 Stars
Purchase this book:
AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Georgie McCool loves her job. She loves what she does. And she and her partner in crime (or rather, in script writing) have a dream for their job that's about to come true. Except... well, except the only way they can make their dream come true is if Georgie skips her family trip to visit her mother in law to stay and work. To her relief, her husband doesn't get mad at her when she informs him that she couldn't spend Christmas with his family. To her horror, he decides to go on his own, with their two daughters.

And as Georgie watches her marriage crumble away from 1500 miles away, she discovers a magical telephone where she can speak to the 20 year old version of her husband, who was then her boyfriend.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed this novel. I listened to this book on audio on a long car ride, and that's pretty much the only reason I decided to read this. It was one of the only things I had checked out on audiobook, so I figured I'd go ahead and give it a shot. And as a reader of YA, I'm pleased to say I liked my small venture into adult literature. (Of course, it probably helps that it's Rainbow Rowell.)

I must confess that bits of it were very slow moving, and I got bored a couple times while listening, but the fast moving parts really made the book worth it. It was an 8 hour car ride, and every time we stopped to eat or rest, I never wanted to get out of the car and turn off the book. Plus it was very humorous. I was often trying to hide my smile or laugh so I wouldn't seem like a lunatic while listening, but the story along with the narrator's amazing acting put me in fits of laughter.

I did have a couple problems- mainly with how many loose ends were left untied by the end of the story. And I didn't like how passive Georgie could be. There were plenty of things I personally think she should've been upset about concerning her husband, Neal, but she always let it slide. And considering how feisty Georgie's personality is (or at least is supposed to be) I would expect her to stand up for herself. 

But aside from those things, I did really like this novel. 

Something I rather enjoyed was how Georgie's iPhone couldn't function unless it was plugged into a power source. So anytime she was talking to someone or just on the phone, she had to walk around with her computer or stand by an outlet. I found it ironic, because of how similar it is to a landline. When using a landline, you're restricted to how far the cord on the phone can stretch. 

I really appreciated the characters in this book, too. Each one was unique and different. My favorite was Georgie's 18 year old sister, Heather. I thought Heather was a hilarious, fun character to read about. I liked Georgie's mom, too. She made me laugh. 

So should you read this novel? While it may be more new adult than young adult, I really liked it, and found it to be a fun, light summer read. Four stars. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Conversations: Book Borrowing

Hello my friends! So I'm a day late, but I'm going to be posting another Conversation, hosted by our fellow book bloggers Joan @Fiddler Blue and Geraldine @Corralling Books. You can find out more about this fortnightly feature here.

Today's topic is "what are your dos and don'ts for lending out books". So let's get into it!

• • •

I'm not as bad as some people when it comes to lending out my books. I'm usually okay with letting people borrow one or two of my books at a time, but even I have my restrictions. 

DO return the books back to me in a decent amount of time. 

DO treat them as if they're your first born child. 

DON'T mess up the pages in anyway.

DO guard them with your life. 

DO read them. 

DON'T dog ear the pages. 

DO use a bookmark. 

DON'T lend my books out to other people. 

DO understand that if you damage or lose my book, you have to pay me back for it. 

DON'T tear, crease, or bend the cover of my paperbacks. 

DO tell me how the book is going, and how you like it. 

DON'T cause any water damage to my books. 

DON'T use me as your only book resource. There are libraries, bookstores, and eBooks for that purpose. 

but most importantly 

DO enjoy the reading experience, obsess over the story, and cry over the characters. Because in the end, I want to share the love of reading with as many people as I can, and lending out books is an easy way to do that. 

So that concludes my list! While it isn't every day that I'm lending books out to people I kind of know, I am often swapping books with close friends who are also avid readers (money saver) so I'm no stranger to lending books.

Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you participated in this fortnight's Conversation!