Cover Lust Friday: Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings

Freitag, 29. April 2016

Cover Lust Friday Logo

   Cover Lust Friday is a weekly meme that's all about covers. Pick a cover that stands out to you, add your reason why you've chosen that particular one or what you like about it. Let's have fun with it and share the love for our favorite covers.

   The Cover:

ZENITH by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings
Published: June 21st 2016 by Mirabel Inc.
Number of Pages: /
Series: Yes, #1 in The Andromeda Saga

   Most know her as the Bloody Baroness, the captain of a fearsome glass starship called The Marauder. Androma and her crew strike terror in the hearts of those who cross them amongst the many corners of the Mirabel Galaxy.
   When a routine mission goes rogue, the all-female crew is captured by a bounty hunter from Andi’s past and forced into a job that could, quite literally, start a war that will devour worlds.
   Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, the ruthless ruler Nor waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time. The final pieces are about to fall into place, liberating a plan that will tear Mirabel in two.
   As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, there is one lesson that proves to be true: No one can be trusted in a galaxy that runs on lies and illusion.
   From internet sensation Sasha Alsberg and multi-genre author Lindsay Cummings comes a new serialized space opera, full of action, intrigue, and steamy star-crossed romance. (

   The Reason:

   There's just something about this cover that is really appealing and mysterious, though it might not be the most elaborate and detailed one, but the details you can see look interesting. I like the font used for the title since it fits nicely against the background. And, the little logo type thing in silver above it looks really cool, making me wonder if it'll have some sort of deeper meaning in the book, or if it's just a nice design. 
   I really want to read this book and the cover is great!

* * *

   Want to join in? No problem! Just follow the 'rules' below:

  1. Write a blog post (or post a picture using #CoverLustFriday on Instagram) about a cover you love.
  2. Add your link in the comment section of the original post (click here) so we can have something like a list going on.
  3. And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  4. Check out other posts, and have fun!

Ask the Author: Zan Romanoff (A Song To Take The World Apart) + Giveaway

Samstag, 23. April 2016

   Welcome to this weeks edition of Ask the Author!
   This time I've contacted the amazing Zan Romanoff a couple of weeks ago and asked her if she'd be willing to answer a few of my Q's. Luckily she agreed so check out her intriguing sounding upcoming release, A Song To Take The Wold Apart, and her awesome As to my Qs. 
   Also, would you like to win an ARC of A Song To Take The World Apart? If so you can enter the goodreads giveaway by clicking right here! (The giveaway runs until May 10th, US only)

A Song To Take The World Apart by Zan Romanoff
Expected Publication: September 13th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 320 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Hanging out with Chris was supposed to make Lorelei’s life normal. He’s cooler, he’s older, and he’s in a band, which means he can teach her about the music that was forbidden in her house growing up. Her grandmother told her when she was little that she was never allowed to sing, but listening to someone else do it is probably harmless—right?
   The more she listens, though, the more keenly she can feel her own voice locked up in her throat, and how she longs to use it. And as she starts exploring the power her grandmother never wanted her to discover, influencing Chris and everyone around her, the foundations of Lorelei’s life start to crumble. There’s a reason the women in her family never want to talk about what their voices can do.
   And a reason Lorelei can’t seem to stop herself from singing anyway. (

Interview with Zan Romanoff

   1 – Describe A Song To Take The World Apart with a haiku.
   so: family secrets
   girl best friends and boys in bands
   the ocean; magic

   2 – What sparked the idea for A Song To Take The World Apart?
   There are a lot of answers to this question, because when I first started working on what would ultimately become the book I thought it was something else entirely. It began as a short story about Lorelei as an adult, told by a bartender who falls in love with her while she's singing at a club. It was supposed to be part of a collection of short stories about people who have magical powers that are low-key ruining their lives-- not in any epic, world-changing way, just, like, for instance there was one about a guy who wanted to be a party photographer but kept getting assignments that fell around the full moon, which was a problem, because he was a werewolf. I'd been reading a lot of epic and urban fantasy, and as much as I love those genres, I wanted to write something about what that kind of power-- and its attendant difference-- would feel like on a small scale in the day-to-day.
   So I thought the Lorelei story was just going to be one of a handful in this collection, but as soon as I started working on it (well, as soon as I started writing the draft from her POV) it became clear that I had way, way more to say about being a teenage girl in Los Angeles, about making mistakes, and about learning to live with an imperfect family, about having a voice, about friendship and romance, than a short story would allow. I honestly feel like I tricked myself into it, somehow-- I stumbled onto a plot that allowed me to talk about basically everything I really care about in one book.

   3 – What was the most challenging about writing A Song To Take The World Apart and which scene was the most fun to write?
   All of the scenes where I had to write about Lorelei listening to music were terrifying, because it's such an emotional, physical experience-- I really didn't want to get too purple about it, but also those are absolutely crucial moments in the book, so I had to make sure they were impactful enough. I feel like it's easier to write a good character moment, or a sharp piece of dialogue, because they're more concrete. Describing a sensation is really tough-- and even if you do it well, it still probably just won't land for some people!
   One of the scenes I had in my head basically as soon as I knew I was going to write a whole book of this story was a party scene that happens towards the end at a gorgeous house on a hill in the Pacific Palisades. The house is based on a real one, and even before the book existed I'd known I wanted to write something set in it at some point-- it's a very beautiful, very LA house-- and so getting to that point in narrative and finally getting to put the characters in this place, where everything was gorgeous and everything was going to fall apart, felt amazing on many levels.

   4 – What do you like most and least about your main character, Lorelei?
   Lorelei is, I think, fundamentally a nicer person than I am. I mean, she still does some selfish, messed-up stuff, but there's a sweetness to her that was really interesting to inhabit, maybe especially because I also had her doing the selfish, messed-up stuff. A lot of the book is about how you can do impulsive, greedy things and still basically a good person. It's still much easier for me to see that for L. than it is for me to see it for myself!
   That said, she's also young and shy and reserved in a way that can be a little frustrating, sometimes-- it's just, like, girl, ask the questions you have! But she's not gonna do that, so.

   5 - In retrospective, is there anything that you’d change about the story or are you happy with the way it turned out in the end?
   I don't think I can answer that question yet! I'm very curious to see what the reader response to it will be. I'm sure in a year there will be tons of things I want to adjust, and even now I'll be re-reading it and get to lines where I'm like oh god, is that dumb? Does that make sense? But in general, right now, I feel good about where it ended up. (Shout outs to my friends who read a zillion intermediate drafts and my agent and editor, all of whom gave my guidance that made it a much, much better story than I could have written on my own.)

   6 - How do you feel about the fact that in only a few more months hundreds of readers will be able to hold and read your debut novel?
   Thrilled. Terrified. I mean thrilled. But also terrified. Mostly thrilled? Ocassionally overwhelmed by being terrified? It's a strong feeling, I can tell you that much for sure.

   7 – What do you think about the cover? Is it anything like you imagined it being?
   I LOVE THE COVER. Like everyone else, I'd heard horror stories about people being given bland, generic covers, or stuff that had nothing to do with their book, so I was very much braced for the worst, especially after the rest of the process with Knopf had been so easy. (Something's gotta go wrong at some point, right? That's the Jewish gospel on the subject anyway.) But the final cover is only a few tweaks away from the first version they showed me, because I loved it instantly. It's perfectly dreamy and otherworldly, and I love that Lorelei is staring out at you, daring you to return her gaze.
   As for what I'd imagined, I actually wrote a little bit about it on my Tumblr-- I had never been able to picture a cover image that wasn't this photograph, which I knew they'd never let me use, so it was a massive, massive relief to have them put together something that was, essentially, exactly what I didn't know I wanted yet.

   8 – Seeing as you’re a YA author I’m sure you also read YA, so I wondered, what were the last three books you’ve read and what did you think of them?
   I read so much YA. So much of it! Most recently, Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows, which I could not get enough of, and Brandy Colbert's Pointe, which I thought was incredibly smart and harrowing. I've seen Naomi Novik's Uprooted shelved both as YA and as straight fantasy but either way I loved it and recommend the hell out of it.

   9 – Did you listen to any particular songs or artists while writing A Song To Take The World Apart? If so, could you give us an example?
   I don't listen to music while I'm actively writing (unless there's something playing in a coffee shop, but I usually ignore that as much as I can), but I do do a certain amount of walking around and thinking about the story and listening to music while I'm in the process of drafting. For A Song, that was basically Lorde's Pure Heroine on repeat; I'm totally obsessed with the sonic spareness of that album, the way her lyrics tend to be so specific and concrete but also somehow still manage to be emotionally evocative. Don't you think that it's boring how people talk is like a key that unlocks the voice of my own sullen teenage self. The drink you spilled all over me / Lovers' Spit left on repeat / my mom and dad let me stay home / it drives you crazy getting old could have been a line from my high school diary. There's a scene with Lorelei in a car with a boy that's basically just me transcribing the way 400 Lux makes me feel.

   10 – What advice could you give aspiring authors?
   Read a lot. Write a lot. It will take longer than you think it should and it will be harder than you want it to be. You have to learn to love the work. (Or just Marge Piercy's For the Young Who Want To, basically.)

   11 – If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
   How boring am I if I say flying? But like, honestly, I want so badly to be able to fly.

About the Author

   Hello! I write essays + fiction, mostly focused on food, feminism, television and books. I graduated from Yale in 2009 with a B.A. in Literature, and now live and work in Los Angeles.
   My young adult fiction is represented by Logan Garrison at The Gernert Company. If you want to get in touch with me about something (anything!) else, I’m zanopticon at gmail dot com.

Waiting on Wednesday: Everyone We've Been by Sarah Everett

Mittwoch, 20. April 2016

   Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine in which we discuss our most anticipated upcoming releases.

   The book:

Everyone We've Been by Sarah Everett
Expected Publication: October 4th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 400 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Addison Sullivan has been in an accident. In its aftermath, she has memory lapses and starts talking to a boy that no one else can see. It gets so bad that she’s worried she’s going crazy.
   Addie takes drastic measures to fill in the blanks and visits a shadowy medical facility that promises to “help with your memory.” But at the clinic, Addie unwittingly discovers it is not her first visit. And when she presses, she finds out that she had certain memories erased. She had a boy erased.
   But why? Who was that boy, and what happened that was too devastating to live with? And even if she gets the answers she’s looking for, will she ever be able to feel like a whole person again? (

   My thoughts:

   This book sounds absolutely fantastic and the cover is literally everything. I cannot wait to get my hands on it and read it up. I mean, a story about shadowy medical facilities that erase memories and the hunt to find our why a certain boy was erased from the main character's memories, what more could I want?

   Let me know in the comments below or via twitter (@Alice_Reeds) which books you're waiting for this Wednesday!
Shade Me by Jennifer Brown Cover

Blog Tour: Jerkbait by Mia Siegert (Review + Deleted Scene)

Mittwoch, 13. April 2016

   I am honored to be part of the blog tour for Jerkbait by Mia Siegert, since I knew I simply had to read it the second I heard about it over on twitter a while ago. When Mia tweeted about the blog tour, I knew I had to participate, and luckily I got in. I had truly high hopes for this one so check out my review below to see what I thought, and below that, check out the exclusive deleted scene that Mia sent me so I could share it with you!

Jerkbait by Mia Siegert
Expected publication: May 10th 2016 by Jolly Fish Press
Number of pages: 350 Pages (Paperback)
Series: No

   Even though they're identical, Tristan isn't close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself.
   Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, the brothers begin to feel the weight of each other's lives on the ice, and off. Tristan starts seeing his twin not as a hockey star whose shadow Tristan can't escape, but a struggling gay teen terrified about coming out in the professional sports world. Robbie's future in the NHL is plagued by anxiety and the mounting pressure from their dad, coach, and scouts, while Tristan desperately fights to create his own future, not as a hockey player but a musical theatre performer.
   As their season progresses and friends turn out to be enemies, Robbie finds solace in an online stranger known only as “Jimmy2416.” Between keeping Robbie's secret and saving him from taking his life, Tristan is given the final call: sacrifice his dream for a brother he barely knows, or pursue his own path. How far is Robbie willing to go—and more importantly, how far is Tristan willing to go to help him? (

* Thank you to Mia and Jolly Fish Press for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review *

   Jerkbait surprised me in many ways, not in negative ones, rather contrary. Reading the blurb I was sure this would be an emotional read, but I didn't expect just this level of depth in terms of emotions and insights into the life of the amazing twins Tristan and Robbie. I've not read any other novel that featured twins as protagonists, so that in itself was already an interesting experience, especially since the two are so different.
   I admit, it took me around two chapters to really, really get into the story, but once I did, I couldn't stop and thus devoured Jerkbait in just under 12 consecutive hours with merely a few short breaks for food or e-mails. The story is utterly intriguing and captivating thanks to Tristan's voice and the plot itself, the way certain things and his thoughts are described. I love how, across the novel, the way he thought and felt about his brother started to change and how he also slowly learned new things about himself through it.

   If we're already talking about Tristan, I absolutely loved him and felt for him so hard. For so many years he felt like the shadow his family barely acknowledges next to his brother, pushed into a life that wasn't quite what he wanted. While his father wanted him to be a hockey player like his brother, Tristan wants to be an actor and play in musicals, which is truly unique and I've not seen it in any other book I've read so far. Tristan also writes stories, which we get to read a few snippets from. They are really good and fit into the story perfectly.
   I really liked the fact that Tristan really felt like an actual eighteen year old boy with logical and relatable trains of thoughts, which I always greatly appreciate in YA stories. He was a character with layers and hobbies, adding to the whole point of him feeling like an actual person and not just a flat character to fit the plot.
   Robbie, Tristan's twin, was also a really intriguing character and I felt even more for him. He was plagued by struggles and insecurities driving him to suicide attempts and an online friendship. He felt like he couldn't ask anyone for help since his parents refused to acknowledge his suicide attempts as such, and being gay in a sport like hockey isn't really taken too positively, as shown through the way their school and team mates react to the news. I felt so bad for him and wanted to just give him a hug for more then half the story. He was a wonderful character that, just like Tristan, felt real, which I very much appreciate.
   Honestly, I have no idea when it comes to any and all things hockey, but I'd totally walk around wearing a jersey showing off their numbers and names because I love these two just that much.

   As mentioned before, the plot of Jerkbait is amazing and unique, because of the twin aspect and also because of how important hockey is to their parents, and Robbie, and how much Tristan loves musicals. Seeing those two play into the plot, the way everyone, especially their parents, react to the news of Robbie being gay, it's both utterly heartbreaking but also truly realistic in every way because, in real life, people are not accepting just like that. Being a gay athlete, it's something our world seems to still be struggling with way too much, so I loved how well it was shown in this story, but also the fact that it doesn't make you any less of a good athlete and person.
   Lastly, I really enjoyed Mia Siegert's writing style a lot. I love the way she showed certain scenes, described trains of thoughts and emotions, created remarkable characters and a plot that will pull you in and not let you go even after you're done reading. She definitely made it onto the list of authors whose books I will buy asap after their release, or try to get my hands on ARCs, because I think she's just that good.

   All in all, I truly enjoyed Jerkbait a whole lot. It's captivating, intriguing, entertaining, unique and honest in so many ways. It shows just how hard it can be to be a teen nowadays, how hard it is to live under the ambitions and pressure of your parents and everyone around you, and how hard it can be to chose or say that right thing. It's a fantastic read that I definitely recommend to everyone.
I give Jerkbait by Mia Siegert 5 out of 5 stars. 

* * *


   Our parents didn’t ask us why we came home early that night instead of staying over. I was grateful for that. The last thing I wanted was her calling Heather’s mom and asking her what happened and why we were home. They could have assumed that Robbie had a freak out or something, and I was doing the responsible thing by escorting him home. I’d bet money that they wouldn’t think it had anything to do with me.
   Robbie walked to the stairs, looked back at me, and told me to make popcorn and get some Coke. I was usually bad at making popcorn, growing bored watching the bag slowly pop and inflate. Waiting for the four-second pause was impossible, so usually I’d pull it out prematurely, tear the bag open to a few minuscule bites and an abundance of kernels. Other times, I’d go to do something else that’d only take a second and return to the beeping of the buzzer letting me know the four minutes was up and I’d not only made charcoal but set off the smoke detector as well. Tonight, however, I did it right. When I poured the popcorn into a bowl, there were only a few kernels and the popcorn was soft and light. With a sprinkle of salt, it was ready.
   I went upstairs to my room and saw Robbie at his computer waiting for me. “I downloaded the movie for you,” he said.
   “What movie?”
   “The Phantom stuff. Twenty-fifth anniversary or something, I don’t know. Figured if you weren’t there, you could at least see it.”
   Seriously?! This day was so unordinary, and it was weird that my perception of my twin was changing. I guess really it wasn’t Robbie’s fault that Mom and Dad thought he needed someone to watch him, and he did offer to cover me.
   Robbie hit play, then turned the lights off. We climbed up to the top bunk and popped our sodas open.
   The Phantom of the Opera opened with an auction. The old viscount started to sing about a monkey figurine, questioning life versus being dead. Then the screen lit up, explosions everywhere. The overture was booming, the organ haunting and loud. A gigantic chandelier was unveiled. The hair on my arms stood straight out. This wasn’t like anything I expected. Each song had new meaning with the actions to accompany it. It was heartbreaking, and terrifying. Christine was so beautiful, and so fearful. Christine’s struggle to decide whether to fall for the Phantom, who was hated by society, or Raoul, who was the childhood friend, knocked the breath out of me. The lengths the Phantom went to keep Christine to himself, like a possession, was scary beyond belief. I gripped the mattress when the Phantom began killing people left and right, not just a stagehand who mocked him but the fat opera singer Piangi too. The deformed Phantom became the monster that society perceived him as.
   I was so engrossed that by the time the film ended, my Coke can was still nearly full, and I hadn’t eaten any popcorn. I still felt like I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to thank Robbie for downloading it, but couldn’t. It seemed lame, like it’d ruin the purpose of what I just saw.
   Wordlessly, I climbed off the top bunk and set the soda underneath my bed before I got under the covers. It was 1:30 in the morning. Robbie climbed off the bunk just to turn his iMac off before he followed suit. The mattress springs squeaked with his body weight. I wanted to tell my twin goodnight, but we hadn’t said that since we were kids and thought that was what we were supposed to do. I thought about the movie, about how Christine got together with Raoul/Luke Skywalker even though they were best friends. Phantom wanted nothing more than to love Christine and feel love in return. Instead, hated by everyone, he became the monster society perceived him as when all he wanted was a little affection despite his physical deformities.
   I thought about Heather and how she was my best friend, yet she was dating Durrell. But the parallels weren’t perfect. Durrell wasn’t a monster. He was popular, a great student, a great athlete, and nice guy. My stomach turned and I felt horrid and ugly and alone. I thought about Robbie and the hockey team. Maybe when he talked about being an outcast he meant he felt the same way, too. Felt that he was alone and ugly, an outcast that was supposed to turn into what society expected of him. An outcast who couldn’t be free.

Excerpted from JERKBAIT by Mia Siegert. Copyright © 2016 by Mia Siegert. Excerpted by permission of Jolly Fish Press, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Ask the Author: Kate Hattemer (The Land of 10.000 Madonnas)

Samstag, 9. April 2016

   Welcome to this weeks edition of Ask the Author!
   For this week I've contacted the lovely Kate Hattemer, author of The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy and The Land of 10,000 Madonnas. Fortunately, she took some of her time and answered 8 of my questions about her upcoming release which I am really excited about and looking forward to reading.
   Here are her A's to my Q's: 

The Land of 10.000 Madonnas by Kate Hattemer
Expected Publication: April 19th 2016 by Knopf
Number of Pages: 352 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Five teens backpack through Europe to fulfill the mysterious dying wish of their friend.
   Jesse lives with his history professor dad in a house covered with postcards of images of the Madonna from all over the world. They’re gotten used to this life: two motherless dudes living among thousands of Madonnas. But Jesse has a heart condition that will ultimately cut his life tragically short. Before he dies, he arranges a mysterious trip to Europe for his three cousins, his best friend, and his girlfriend to take after he passes away. It’s a trip that will forever change the lives of these young teens and one that will help them come to terms with Jesse’s death. (

Interview with Kate Hattemer

   1 – Describe The Land of 10,000 Madonnas with a haiku.
   Five not-quite-friends and
   smoothies, squabbles, sightseeing
   in Europe – but why?

   2 – What sparked the idea for The Land of 10,000 Madonnas?
   Nearly four years ago I was fortunate enough to spend a summer traveling in Europe, and my time there definitely shaped the characters’ journey. I became fascinated with artistic representations of Mary, especially Annunciation and Pieta scenes, and they inspired many of the book’s concerns, both literal and thematic.

   3 – What was the most challenging about writing The Land of 10,000 Madonnas and which scene was the most fun to write?
   When writing this book, I became downright appalled at how naïve and over-ambitious I’d been when I’d first plotted its six different perspectives. I’d known I’d have to differentiate their voices, but I hadn’t realized how challenging it would be to map out each character’s arc, to juggle simultaneously six characters' development and maturation (and sometimes regression). Probably three-fourths of the revision process was focused on this aspect alone.
   It was a difficult book to write, but I had a lot of fun too. I think teenagers give humor a position of extreme privilege in their lives, and it was a pleasure to let humor insinuate itself into even the darkest moments (as it tends to do). And I like to write slapstick – there’s one scene with a strawberry smoothie explosion, and another where a pigeon displays his very good aim, if you know what I mean.

   4 – In retrospective, is there anything that you’d change about the story or are you happy with the way it turned out in the end?
   This book took a lot of work and a lot of revision, and there were several moments along the way where I truly doubted whether I was capable of writing the book I wanted to write. And although I can be endlessly neurotic, I’m really trying not to return to the book with that critical eye – it is what it is, and I’m proud of it.

   5 – What led you to writing and wanting to be an author? Is it the way you imagined it would be?
   Reading has always been my favorite thing to do, so the idea of writing had long been in the back of my mind. However, it wasn't until my freshman year of college that I knew I wanted to be a writer -- after a devastating death in my family, the only solace I found was through novels. So that, I think, is how I came to wanting to write them myself.
   In some ways, this career is just as I envisioned – the writing itself doesn’t change. But the publishing industry is always full of surprises.

   6 – What do you think about the cover for The Land of 10,000 Madonnas? Is it anything like what you envisioned it to be?
   I love it! Every time I see a cover for a book of mine, I breathe a giant sigh of relief that I’m not the one who designs them. They are never anything like what I envision, and that is something for which I – and everyone – should be extremely grateful.

   7 – What advice could you give aspiring authors?
   Read. Surround yourself with interesting people, and listen to them talk. Read. Surround yourself with interesting people, and talk yourself. Read. Do things that scare you. Read. Fall in love. Find a job. Read.

   8 – If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
   I was at a bonfire the other night and a friend of mine brought up the question of mediocre superpowers – like, superpowers that just aren’t that good. You can go invisible… but only in the top half of your body. You can fly… but only two inches above the ground.
   Ever since then I’ve been obsessively cataloguing mediocre superpowers. So let me say that I’d love to be instantly dry the moment I step from the shower. No more wet hair. No more towels. I’m not asking for much, universe. You want to pony up?

About the Author

   I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio as the oldest of eight siblings. I attended Yale University and taught high school Latin in Virginia before returning to Cincinnati, where I worked as a bookseller. I’m now writing, teaching, reading, and running in the greater DC area. My debut, The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy, was named a best book of the year by the American Library Association, Kirkus, Bustle, and the LA Public Library. (Kate's website)

Paws for Forest

Donnerstag, 7. April 2016

   Welcome everybody to a definitely different blog post today.
   Today I'm coming to you with a topic that is in no way related to music, books, or writing. Today I'm hear to tell you about a two pawed dog that needs your help to get two new paws and a bear cub that has lost her family. This is a charity post. I've not been asked or paid/rewarded in any for writing this, but rather am doing it because animals are very dear to me.

   A couple of days ago I was just browsing through the internet, as you do, and I stumbled upon a Polish animal clinic that made the news, slowly, through having saved a 2 month year old bear cub, and is also working on saving a two pawed dog named Forest.
   Forest was trapped in the forest for more then a week and, to free himself, he had to bite off his front and back right paws before help came. He was taken to a animal clinic and how they are trying to save his life and get him prosthetic legs. One of the doctors has spent every day, every hour, with Forest to make sure that he's okay and now they've started a fundraiser to get him said new paws, hence the title of this post.
   On the left you can see a picture of poor little Forest and his two paws. He's such a cute little creature and I would love it if, by posting this, I could help out even only a tiny bit to get him two paws.
   Below you'll find a link to where you can donate the money, and the direct bank data. Any donation, even if in form of $2/2€ or whatever, would be appreciated. Personally I've donated 200 PLN, which is roughly 49€.

   Furthermore, as I mentioned before, they also have that tiny, super adorable, bear cub that's merely 2 months old. She was found alone in the forest without her mom and family. The people from the clinic watched her for 5 days, hoping her mom would come back and find her. Unfortunately she didn't. 
   They've taken her in and now want to help her get her strength back so she'll be able to go back to nature. Meanwhile they are also looking all over the place for her mom, but so far she's not been found yet.
   I think ABC 7 news has picked up on her story, which makes me really happy, because look at that cute bear face, she's gorgeous. Also, she's been called "Puchatka" which is the female version of "Puchatek", aka the Polish name for Whinny the Poo. Isn't that adorable?
   If you want to help them with a small donation so they can pay for her treatments, food etc. there's a link to that too. On their Facebook page they've said that one meal for her costs around 5 PLN, which is around 1.20€, so any donations would truly help them out.

   As I promised, here is the link for the payment system for two pawed Forest and here for Puchatka, the cute bear cub.
  And here is their bank information for direct transfers:

Ośrodek Rehabilitacji Zwierząt Chronionych
ul. Zamoyskiego 15
37-700 Przemyśl
(IBAN) Bank Zachodni WBK: 27 1500 1634 1216 3005 4390 0000
In the title: FOREST / PUCHATKA
Transfers from outside of Poland Swift : WBKPPLPP

   Edit (07/04/16): If you decide to donate something for Forest, the veterinarians kindly ask you to post a picture holding up a piece of paper saying "Łapy Dla Foresta" (Paws for Forest in Polish) and post it on their Facebook wall as sign of support. Some people posted pictures of their animals showing off those signs, others just hold it up themselves. I think it's a really cute gesture, so if you'll donate, why not give that a shot too? :)

   I know I usually don't post things like this, but it's something that's dear to my heart and I'm sure there are people out there who love animals just as much as I do and would like to help those two poor souls out a little.
   Thank you so much!

Review: The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati

Dienstag, 5. April 2016

The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati
Expected Publication: October 11th 2016 by Delacorte Press
Number of Pages: 400 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disorder, almost triumphed once; that was her first suicide attempt.
   Being bipolar is forever. It never goes away. The med du jour might work right now, but Zero will be back for her. It’s only a matter of time.
   And so, in an old ballet-shoe box, Catherine stockpiles medications, preparing to take her own life before Zero can inflict its living death on her again. Before she goes, though, she starts a short bucket list.
   The bucket list, the support of her family, new friends, and a new course of treatment all begin to lessen Catherine’s sense of isolation. The problem is, her plan is already in place, and has been for so long that she might not be able to see a future beyond it.
   This is a story of loss and grief and hope, and how some of the many shapes of love—maternal, romantic, and platonic—affect a young woman’s struggle with mental illness and the stigma of treatment. (

* Thank you, Karen, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review *

   There are books you know you will like, and there are books that manage to exceed all your hopes and expectations. The Weight of Zero was high on my list of anticipated reads of 2016 and it didn't fail to deliver, beat all my expectations by a tenfold and easily stands a giant chance at being my book of the year 2016, even though it's only April.
   The Weight of Zero belongs to my favorite kind of books, those contemporaries that deal with hard topics such as depression and bipolar, as in the case of this one. Knowing that, I was painfully aware, and afraid, of all the tropes that could possibly litter this one, but, thankfully, I found none of them. The Weight of Zero shows a very truthful and realistic, raw and honest portrayal of those two mental illnesses, of life, friendships, and love with them, and it does it brilliantly.

   Our protagonist in The Weight of Zero is Catherine who, as mentioned before, is suffering of bipolar and depression which drives her to the decision that, at some point in the foreseeable future, she wants to commit suicide. That sounds really sad, might be discouraging to some, but her tale isn't sad. It's very honest, intriguing and funny at times, offering insights into both the social and psychological aspect of living with a mental illness, or multiple ones. 
   I absolutely loved Catherine. Her voice felt like that of a young adult with quirks and thoughts that felt like ones something someone of her age would actually have. I loved how passionate she was about their history project, loved her relationship with her new friends and the way she started to change over time. Her character arc was amazing and I loved every second of it. She wasn't one of those perfect Mary Sue type girls who only realized their true worth and everything because of a boy, no, she does it all on her own and it's beautiful to watch. Something else that stood out to me was how she learned to differentiate between her self and her illness, understanding that they are two different things, not a single one.
   Speaking of her friends, I loved Kristal. She was an amazing character, a wonderful friend, and just generally someone I would love to be friends with in real life. I loved every scene in which we saw the two of them interact, even the sadder ones, because it really felt like reading about two young girls and not forty year old philosophers.
   And Michael was just perfect in every way. He wasn't your typical swoon worthy "Mr. Six pack I could have every girl I want and I'm a bad boy" type love interest, but rather an ordinary boy with a wonderfully crazy family. He was amazing, toward Catherine and his friend. He also seemed like someone I would have loved to be friends with during my school times.

   Another thing I loved about The Weight of Zero was the fact that it showed that the right medication and psychiatrist can really have very positive effects on you and your journey with mental illnesses. Usually, we only see medication shown in a either neutral or negative way, but here we see the positive one, which is definitely something I wish we could see more often. The same goes for Catherine's psychiatrist who is great at his job and shows that they are really there to help you and not make you feel worse or force you into talking and doing things you don't want to my manipulating you.
   When it comes to Karen Fortunati's writing style, I can only say that I think it's amazing and her voice for Catherine was intriguing, realistic and great. Her trains of thoughts made sense, the way she described certain scenes and moments was captivating, and it really made you feel whatever it was that was happening to Catherine. I cannot wait to see what Karen will write next because I will definitely read it.

   All in all, I think The Weight of Zero is one of those wonderful examples of a hard topic book done very much very right. It shows a really realistic view at mental illnesses and living with them, it gives you hope and shows that you can still have a normal and happy life despite them, that even during dark moments, there are still good ones. So I can only dearly recommend this book on so many levels, no matter if you're looking for a book with wonderful friendships, a cute romance or a hard topic book in general, this one is a very good choice fitting all three of them.
I give The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati 5 out of 5 Stars.

Hamilton Book TAG

Samstag, 2. April 2016

   Welcome to the Hamilton book TAG!
   Just like basically everyone else in the book community, I'm obsessed with Hamilton. For
those who don't know, Hamilton is a musical that is basically the big thing right now. Getting tickets is basically impossible since it's just THAT good. It took me a while until I actually checked it out, despite having seen people talk about it on twitter like crazy. But once I checked it out, I can't stop anymore.
   This TAG was created by maureenkeavy over on YouTube and I discovered it through polandbananaBOOKS. Of course I immediately thought that I simply have to do it too. So strap yourselves in and let's get this party starting!


   1. The Room Where It Happens: Book world you would put yourself in.
   Okay, this is probably my favorite song of the entire musical because of just how upbeat and fun it is, a great song to dance to. But that's not the point. 
   Okay, the answer I think is definitely a no-brainer, since I'm sure everyone and their grandmother will say this very same one: Harry Potter. I mean, why would you want to live in any other fictional world when you can live in the wonderful world of Harry Potter. And don't tell me I can't pretend I'm 11 so I can go to Hogwarts.

   2. The Schuyler Sisters: Underrated Female Character.
   This one was a tricky one because I had the option between going with an obvious or different answer. In the end I think I want to go with the latter, a non-obvious answer. So, I will go with Maddie Freeman from the Awaken trilogy by Katie Kacvinsky. I love her character, love the trilogy, and am really sad that so few people have read it and appreciated her and the world she fights against.

   3. My Shot: A character that goes after what they want and doesn't let anything stop them.
  Another one of my favorites from Hamilton. This was actually the first song I ever heard from it during their live stream from the White House.
   For this one I'm going to do with Penryn from Angelfall. Throughout the entire book her only focus was finding her sister and she didn't let anyone get in her way of doing just that. There was no getting sidetracked, no forgetting about it for half the book and then being offered some lame quick solution, but it was THE thing on Penry's mind.

   4. Stay Alive: A character you wish was still alive.
   Because I don't want to bring up any dramatic spoilers, Allegiant looking at you again, please simply refer to answer #6 for this one, though ONLY if you you're all caught up on BBC Sherlock, or don't care about the show.

   5. Burn: The most heartbreaking end to a relationship you’ve ever read.
   This song is beautifully tragic and filled with emotions, I love it.
   My answer for this one will definitely be Champion by Marie Lu. I don't even know how to formulate my thoughts for the way this relationship ended.

   6. You'll Be Back: Sassiest villain.
   For this one I will just go ahead and take a TV show character, who also happens to be a book character actually, simply because I can and love this character lots. Of course I am talking about the one and only James Moriarty from BBC Sherlock. I love that series, I love Moriarty, I love the actor who plays him and the way he plays him. He is sassy and amazing.

   7. The Reynolds Pamphlet: A book with a twist that you didn’t see coming.
   I will not answer this one because, just like Christine (polandbananasBOOKS) I REALLY don't like to know about a twist before going into a book. I want the twist to take me complete by surprise and not be wondering all through the book WHEN it will come. That isn't the point of twists!

   8. Non-stop: A series you marathoned.
   The series that comes to my mind, besides my usual answer being the Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkins, is the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. I bought this one maybe a week before my mock exams, which might have not been my wisest move, and one I picked up the first book, I felt myself unable to stop until I was done with all six of them. My grades ended up pretty good despite that, so there was no damage done.

   9. Satisfied: Favorite book with multiple POVs.
   Love, love, LOVE this song.
   I'm not quite sure if this book counts, but I will just pretend it does for the time being, and say Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. This book blew my mind while I read it and I am anticipating the sequel like nothing else because I HAVE to know how the story continues. If you've not read this one yet, definitely give it a chance even though it's a massive book. The audiobook is also truly amazing with a while number of different voice actors reading the different characters. So good!

   10. Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: A book/series you feel like will be remembered throughout history.
   As much as I would LOVE to say the Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin, Some Boys by Patty Blout or The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati, we all know the one and only true answer to this question is Harry Potter, because Harry Potter. No need for further explanation.

   And that was it, that was the Hamilton Book TAG. I had so much fun doing it, and of course listening to Hamilton while answering because that's just a must and a given. What are your thoughts on Hamilton? If you do this TAG, leave a link in the comments below or tweet it at me (@Alice_Reeds) so I can check out your answers!