Simply Sunday #30

simply sunday

Simply Sunday is a reading meme hosted by Books For a Delicate Eternity. It’s where you share your favorite quote; be it from a book, movie, novella, song, ect.

My favorite quote this week is from M.A.W:

we’re all killers.
we’ve all killed parts of ourselves
to survive.

we’ve all got blood on our hands.
something somewhere had to die
so we could stay alive.

Why I Chose It

I am in constant war with myself. I am my worse enemy. I’ve lost parts of myself in order to fit in, to make others happy, to simply survive in this world. This poem illustrates the harsh reality that I (and maybe you) have gone through, and even though it isn’t the most happiest thing in the world, it is still part of us. The beauty lies within survival and the strength I’ve had to keep on fighting.

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Do you have a favorite quote this week? Let me know down in the comments below!🙂

Emma

Book Review: I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil

Author: Gretchen McNeil

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release date: October 18, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 352

Purchase from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

synopsis

Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She’s starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend Jesse dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it’s time to use The Formula for herself. She’ll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win Jesse back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity and fix everything she’s messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?

MINIMAL TO NO SPOILERS LIE AHEAD. YOU’RE WELCOME.

I didn’t really know what to expect from I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Within the first three chapters I was inwardly groaning to myself: Ugh…not another cliche high school hierarchy story. After those three chapters and the explanation of what exactly a manic pixie dream girl is…well, I was hooked. 

The main protagonist, Bea “Trixie” Giovanni, is an incredibly smart, sassy, and stubborn biracial filipina on the brink of a unique and creative experiment. Her love for math helps her concoct a formula using applied math to real life. Her reasons for this experiment is to help her best friends Gabe and Spencer deflect bullying and to climb the social ladder in their senior year of high school. Bea’s reasons to use the formula on herself is to win her ex-boyfriend back from the clutches of Toile, the epitome of a manic pixie dream girl. Well, at least it starts out that way.

Bea’s personality greatly shifts throughout the story, which gets kudos from me. It is important for the character to grow and flourish rather than stagnant. No one wants to read about a character who is too set in their ways. I love the moments of clarity for Bea like when she realizes what her intentions have become by using the formula and the matters of her heart.

One of my favorite things (which in truth is becoming a thing I look for in books) is the amount of diversity. You’ve got a non-white strong female lead, a gay supporting character who does not die and is used as a sympathetic tool for main character, endearing portrayal of LGBT romance, and a romantic interest that is not part of the jocktocracy, i.e. not popular or is in a sport.  I loved Bea so much that I could honestly say I’d like to be friends with her. She is the kind of girl that likes to keep to herself, that loves math so much that she lives and breathes it. Her friends accept her for who she is just like she accepts them. There are a handful of times where Spencer tells Bea that she does not need to change for anyone, much less a guy who is fickle. #friendshipgoals

Then, there is Gabe who is just FABULOUS. I really like how McNeil addressed the stereotypical tropes of a gay young man, but also stayed true to Gabe’s true personality and wishes apart from the formula that made him a star. The portrayal of gay romance is also sweet, highlighting that love is never easy no matter what gender is preferred.

Lastly, the last character of this lovely platonic triangle is Spencer. There aren’t enough words for Spencer other than:

Spencer is the kind of guy we all want. The guy who values a girl’s worth and doesn’t demand change just to suit his needs. He is artsy, smart, and stubborn yeah, there are times Bea and Spencer butt heads. He is the voice of reason throughout the story. And boy, I wish Bea would have listened to him sooner. She could have avoided a lot of the mess created by the formula. But hey, if she didn’t make them…well, we wouldn’t have had such a whirlwind of a story!

This book also highlights feminism (the good kind), family relationships/dynamics, and what it means to be yourself. It is an outstanding hoorah! and is sure to fill you with unbelievable happiness and empowerment. I’m pretty sure my face was plastered in a goofy smile 89% of the time while I read.

Check out my Goodreads for a play-by-play reaction of this book!

addy5star

Simply Sunday #29

simply sunday

Simply Sunday is a reading meme hosted by Books For a Delicate Eternity. It’s where you share your favorite quote; be it from a book movie, novella, song, ect.

This week, my favorite quote is a short poem by Topher Kearby:

i thought i saw stars in her eyes

glimmering

shimmering

shining in the night

but i was wrong.

it was fire

and those eyes –

they turned my soul to ash.

Why I Chose It

I am the girl who loves, well…love. But I also love heartbreak, and the inevitable strength that rises from the ashes. I love the use of alliteration that Kearby uses, emphasizing the greatness of this girl he’s come across. I think it’s so simply, yet, so beautiful, conveying nature as a force to be reckoned with.

Do you have a favorite quote this week? Let me know in the comments down below🙂

With love always,

Emma

Book Review: Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

Author: Melissa de la Cruz

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release date: October 4, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 432 pages

Purchase from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

synopsis

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.

And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own.

SPOILERS MAY LIE AHEAD. PROCEED WITH CAUTION DEARIES.

Something in Between is what I needed after a tough week in the U.S. It tells a compelling and realistic story of an undocumented teen and how her status affects her future, the view of herself, and ultimately the resolve to fight. As a daughter of immigrants, I could relate to Jasmine and her family in a way that is unparalleled to any other character I ever read. My parents had to file and wait for citizenship, a process that isn’t easy just as Jasmine discovered throughout the story.

There are countless of stories that mirror Jasmine’s in real life. For those of us who are natural-born citizens, it is easy to forget that we are privileged – that we have an abundance of opportunities compared to our undocumented counterparts. Life Jasmine’s family – the reason they left the Philippines was to seek a better life full of endless possibilities and opportunity.

The rawness and authenticity of this story pulled at my heart and I cried. I am crying as I write this. I had a bucket full of empathy for Jasmine and her situation. I also really loved how she handled the hurdles that were thrown her way. This is contemporary and it has fluff, but it also heavily conveys the issues of immigration, identity, stereotypes, and the oppression of minority groups in the U.S.

Melissa de la Cruz weaved all these issues in the story seamlessly. She didn’t push her views down my throat, rather, she demonstrated it through Jasmine. Because of her “illegal” status, Jasmine began to question who she was, letting the fear of not having a paper that said she was a citizen contradict her feeling of being American. She also wondered how she would be treated by her race because she did not speak Tagalog (her native Filipino tongue) fluently. Lastly, the oppression of minority groups is seen in the story’s antagonist, Mason Blakely. Jasmine is targeted by his racist remarks.

As the story still lies in the realm of contemporary, there was a budding romance that made my heart melt – that gave me light. Royce Blakely isn’t your typical male protagonist. He is Mexican-American, dyslexic, and unbelievably adorable. He is charming without being arrogant. He is sweet without being obsessive. He is everything that Jasmine doesn’t need, but wants anyway. THAT is love. I love how they aren’t dependent on each other to live. There are also some definitely swoon-worthy moments that you’ll definitely have to see for yourself!

Then, there is an overwhelming amount of support – not just within Jasmine’s family, and they are pretty much a family I’d love to be a part of! but also regarding her peers. I think that’s an important idea to portray. A person should be judged by their character and not by the color of their skin, status, gender, ect.

Lastly, one of my favorite things about Something in Between were the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. They inspired me to never give up and to act. I cannot sit idly, while the world around me is in chaos.

This is one of those reads that you have to read – to gain knowledge and understanding of a facet within immigration. If you’re wondering what happens to Jasmine and her family, well…that’s something I am unwilling to give away😛 Something in Between will stay with me for a long time and I will always remember how it gave me an insight on immigration and Filipino culture.

My friend Sue @ Hollywood New’s Source wrote a beautifully detailed review of this novel. She further analyzes the topics I listed and gives textual evidence.

As for me, I give this lovely read…

addy5starUntil next time,

Emma

My Dream Bookish Panel

One of my favorite things to do as a lover of books is going to book signings. I love the opportunity of meeting some of my favorite authors and being part of the Q/A that often follows at the end of the introductory and moderator questions. If you’re like me, you often shy away from asking questions that a) are filled with spoilers or b) advice for aspiring writers.

Today, I am here to share with you my dream panel of authors/characters and the questions I’d ask them without the anxiousness that comes from speaking in a crowded room.

Jasmine de los Santos from Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

img_0254I just finished this lovely read last night and if you’ve read it, you’d know how Jasmine is a strong authentic character who fights in the face of adversity. Jasmine gives us a realistic insight on what it means to be an undocumented teen immigrant in America. She deals with the stereotypes of what it means to be undocumented, college dreams crumbling, and dating. Jasmine handles all of these obstacles with grace. Above all, Jasmine is an excellent student and I want to know how she does it!

Question: What are some of your favorite study tips for success?

Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare

Oh, Will. My lovely, tormented, sweet boy. Even as the years have passed, you are my all-time fictional boyfriend.fullsizerender If you haven’t read any of Cassandra Clare’s books, I highly recommend them. Will is the epitome of brooding, sarcasm, loyalty, and selflessly. He spent years pushing everyone he loves away because he believed it was the only way to keep them out of harms way. My heart still hurts with all that he had to go through. The two people who offered light in his life were Jem and Tessa, which leads me to…

Question: Do you remember the exact moment you fell in love with Tessa?

Aria and Perry from the Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi

This series is one of my favorite dystopians to-date! The main conflict is man vs. nature rather than rebelling against a society. Aria and Perry challenge one another and realize that what they believe of their world (dwellers vs. savages) isn’t always true. The romance between the pair is definitely swoon-worthy, too! Lastly, the friendship they have with Roar, respectively, is #squadgoals

Question: In one word, describe what it meant finding the Still Blue.

Rachel Caine, Claudia Gray, and Richelle Mead: Vampire Talk!

All these ladies wrote some series ass-kicking female heroines who are vampires and/or fought against them. Some of my questions would delve into their vampire world, respectively, and if they had a female pop culture icon as a model for their heroine. Most of all, I want to know…

Question: Which is your favorite vampire novel and did it inspire your 
own vampire story?

Libba Bray: Strong Heroines

The Gemma Doyle trilogy is severely underrated in YA, but it is one of my favorite urban fantasies in existence. It rivals my love for Cassandra Clare’s writing. Bray writes a multitude of strong heroines in coming-of-age novels. Her female characters flourish and find out who they are and what they can do to change their fate. Love isn’t a central plot device in this series, which makes it that much more empowering.

Question: Who was your favorite character to write?

J.K Rowling: Unforgettable Characters

Image result for the golden trio fan artMy dream author/character panel would not be complete without the mention of J.K. Rowling. The Golden Trio is the kind of friendship I admire; through thick and thin. If you are like me, you’ve probably grown up with Harry and company, wished you’d have received a Hogwarts letter, and secretly desire to be a witch/wizard. Even if you didn’t grow up with Harry, Hermoine, and Ron – their story is widely known all around the world and it is one that fills you with childhood nostalgia.

Question: If you could rewrite one character’s story cough Snape’s cough
who would you choose? 

Thank you all so much for joining me on this adventure! One day I would love to be a moderator if I can get over my fear of public speaking! I would like to give special thanks to Eventbrite for inspiring this post idea. Eventbrite is one of the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps people find and plan events. If you ever need to plan your own bookish conference or find one near you – it is definitely worth checking out!

Who is in your dream bookish panel?

I choose you! Yes, really! If you decide to write your own dream bookish panel post, make sure to leave me a link in the comments below! I’d love to check it out!

With love always,

Emma

Simply Sunday #28

simply sunday

Simply Sunday is a reading meme hosted by Books For a Delicate Eternity. It’s where you share your favorite quote; be it from a book movie, novella, song, ect.

My favorite quote this week is by Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.

Why I Chose It

At this present time, this is so so important to remember.

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Do you have a favorite quote this week? If so, leave a comment down below! I’d love to hear from you!🙂

Emma

Simply Sunday #27

simply sunday

Simply Sunday is a reading meme hosted by Books For a Delicate Eternity. It’s where you share your favorite quote; be it from a book movie, novella, song, ect.

My favorite quote this week is by Oscar Wilde:

Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

Why I Chose It:

I recently had to read The Critic As Artist in my British literature class, and I came across this quote. I found this profoundly beautiful with a bit of sadness sprinkled in for good measure. As an artist, Wilde saw the world for what it truly was and that is a punishment because 1) it is lonely and 2) it can be infuriating. It’s a paradox with no winner in the end.

At this point in time, it is okay to be different and to challenge the norm – to be a dreamer. Oftentimes, there are a handful of others who feel and think the same way. And even if there is not, do not let anyone extinguish the burning light inside of you.

Emma

Goodbye October, Hello November 2016 Edition

Hello lovely people of the interwebs! It’s been awhile – like two months too long! A lot of wonderful things have happened between August and now. It’s been challenging, but in the same regard, positively rewarding. The semester is nearly over and I’m managing A’s in all of my classes; a feat I am really proud of 🙂

As far as reading and writing, I’ve done a lot of the former. I’m only five books away from completing my Goodreads challenge! I’ve been writing poems here and there, mostly about love and wonder – that moment where everything changes and the world looks new.

Before I get a little ahead of myself, below are my favorite things for the past couple of months.

Favorite Book

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. In a coming of age story, Noah and Jude navigate the treacherous waters of life. The story is told in two alternating timelines. Noah’s chapters are of the past, while Jude’s is of the present. I love the beautiful lyrical writing style that Nelson uses to capture what it means to grow. I was instantly captivated by Noah and Jude, and while I read I forgot about my surroundings. To me, that is what makes a book positively mesmerizing and unforgettable. I laughed. I cried. I had my heart broken and put back together. This book is everything I expected and more. I highly recommend I’ll Give You the Sun to be at the top of your TBR pile.

Favorite Music

I may be a little late onto the band wagon, but I’ve fallen in love with the 1975. One of my favorite songs from their self-titled album is Heart Out.

Favorite Show

Reign

Season 3 on Netflix was just updated recently and I quickly immersed myself back into Mary’s world. A lot of people have conflicting feelings about this season because well…death. It comes back around with a vengeance.

The overwhelming emotion that plagues Mary is heartbreaking. The inevitable death that hangs over Francis comes true, but with twists that are sure to leave the viewers satisfied. Mary surrounds herself with a frenemy as her rival across the sea, Elizabeth, seeks ways to destroy her.

What I liked most about this season was the growth of Mary. There is one specific scene towards the end where she commands power and strength.

I honestly can’t wait to see what the next season brings! There are rumors about it being the last season and if it is…well, if you didn’t know – Mary dies at the hands of her cousin, Elizabeth. To see how the network unfolds the last few years of Mary’s life will be interesting.

If you’ve seen the latest season of Reign, what do you think of the season and of what is ahead?

Favorite App

PvZ Heroes

This is a new app in the Plants vs Zombie world using playing cards to attack the opponent. Users can play both the Plant or Zombie and whichever one you play is the hero of the story.

I think this is a unique way to view the “there’s always two sides of the story” concept. The more you play, the more you uncover new playing cards and heroes. There’s also comic strips before each match! There is an incredible amount of detail in this game and if you like PvZ then you’ll definitely like this spin-off game!

Favorite Drink

With the weather getting cooler, and the days growing shorter, a pumpkin spice frappuchino is what I like. I also can’t survive without water lately😉

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I hope your November is cozy, warm, and filled with happiness!

Stay groovy,

Emma

 

Simply Sunday #26

simply sunday

Simply Sunday is a reading meme hosted by Books For a Delicate Eternity. It’s where you share your favorite quote; be it from a book movie, novella, song, ect.

My favorite quote this week is by Vaclav Havel:

Just as the constant increase of entropy is the basic law of the universe, so it is the basic law of life to struggle against entropy.

Why I Chose It

This quote was featured in an episode of Criminal Minds and it really hit a resonating cord. Entropy is chaos and randomness and these words are so true to the endless tangle of trials and tribulations. When we are met with a road bump, it is our duty to fight and push through. Havel reminds me of what it means to be human – that there are days where chaos is the epitome of life and that is okay.

 

Favorite Reads on Wattpad: July 2016

Wattpad Reads

I’ve recently gone back on Wattpad after a three year hiatus. I’ve been slowly getting back into the swing of things like reading and writing. More reading than writing😛 These are some of my favorite Wattpad Reads so far. I’ve literally devoured each story within a day or two each.

Poise And Rationality (A Modernization Of Pride and Prejudice)Poise & Rationality by WhyFireFliesFlash. This is a modernization of Pride & Prejudice. The author interprets The Bennets, Darcy, and Bingley in a new light, where there is diversity within the classic we all know and love. The world is set in the one we know now and that’s one of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed it so much. For example, Jane is a nurse and Bingley is a doctor and Lizzie is in college studying English Literature! It’s also written fairly well! Currently, I’ve caught up to all the chapters that are available. I am patiently waiting to continue this lovely piece. I am most excited to see how the author interprets the moment Darcy reveals his love for Lizzie.

Valkyrie Rising (Completed)Valkyrie Rising by Witchoria. A mix between Uglies by Scott Westerfield and Divergent by Veronica Roth, this story is set in a post apocalyptic world where beauty is highly valued. Our female protagonist, Nadia turns her back on the Viry – the beautiful people in society – and joins the warrior section known as the Kuzabn. Although it is reminiscent of the dystopian stories we love, Valkyrie Rising is unique and original to the genre. I love the character development, characters, plot, and romance. The world building is also FANTASTIC, though, I know personally that the author plans on developing it IF there is a sequel. There is just so much that Nadia does not know. There are also shocking revelations as the story progresses. This story is completed so there is no waiting for uploads! I’m hoping that Witchoria writes a sequel as the ending is a major cliffhanger. I just simply NEED more.

Tell Me You Love MeTell Me You Love Me by Witchoria. I needed more from this lovely author and decided I wanted a sappy romance. Well, it wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t sappy at all! It was however, the kind of love I needed in my life. This story follows Greer and her struggle to become a mom to her niece. Her sister recently passed away and left Emma to Greer. Her life is a mess. Who is a girl to turn to? Enter Jackson Bellefonte. He is everything that Greer needs but can’t have. He doesn’t fit the profile of bad boy – that and the fact that he’s a minister! Or so she thinks😉

It’s a story of miscommunication, relationships, and finding out that love can happen twice in a person’s love. Greer tries to fight the feelings that she has for Jackson, while he tries to fight to stay in her life.

I loved this story to pieces. It was the right amount of fluff with the perfect touch of angst and happily ever after. If you love NA, this is a story to read! There is mature content within some chapters but that is to be expected with the genre. I won’t forget little Emma and her cuteness and I definitely will never forget Greer and Jackson❤ Supporting characters are also A+ like Greer’s best friend, Nova, Jackson’s crazy ex, Halley, and Greer’s neighbor, Mr. Mooney😀

P.S. This story is almost complete. There is only one chapter to go!

P.S.S. Zuz (Witchoria) also created the lovely banner in this post. She is amazingly talented!

I highly recommend these 3 stories and honestly, they deserve WAY more reads. So go and READ ON!🙂

Emma