Friday, March 28, 2014

{Blog Tour+Giveaway} The Prophecy: S.P. Cervantes

Series: Secret of Shadow Hill #2 
Genre: Young Adult Romantic Fantasy 
Publication Date: November 19, 2013 
Publisher: Center One Books 
Page Count: 268  

Synopsis: Ava Fox has spent the past year acclimating to her new life as a wizard of Shadow Hill. Over the past year, her connection with Dalton has only grown stronger. They share a bond she has never known and can't explain.
The danger is still there, even after the Sabatino coven was defeated, and Ava's future is anything but sure. Her powerful relationship with Dalton continues to make others wonder about the Prophecy, and their place in it. Time and again Ava's loyalty and strength will be put to the test as she fights for those she loves. There are many more secrets of Shadow Hill that will be revealed in The Prophecy.

About the Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Blog|Newsletter Sign-Up

S.P. Cervantes lives in Orange County, California with her husband and three chilrden where she is a teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family, writing, reading, and running, but is always thinking of an idea for her next novel.

S.P. Cervantes is currently working on her new contemporary romance, while finishing the final novel of the Secrets of Shadow Hill series.

S.P. Cervantes has a B.S. in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Cross Cultural Education.

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Feature and Follow Friday (2)

Feature & Follow is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The purpose is to meet new people and gain more followers in the book blogging community. 
If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers. But you have to know, the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I will follow you if you follow me :)

I went to Portland this month and took a hike to this waterfall, it was the most gorgeous, lush, and WET location I have ever been to. Fun Fact: This area was where Twilight was filmed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring 2014 Bloggiesta

Today is the official  of 

That means that across the Blogosphere, people will be tweeting, writing, reading, doing everything they need/have needed to do for a very long time, etcetera etcetera. Basically, we all get to have fun and party (but don't stay out too late) to our heart's content the entire weekend! 

Ze Twitter Chats:
Social Media and Your Blog: Thursday March 27 @ 9 p.m. Eastern
The Technical Aspects of Blogging: Friday March 28 @ 4 p.m. Eastern
Organization and Time Management: Saturday March 29 @ 11 a.m. Eastern
Book Blogging/Misc. Blogging Improvement: Sunday March 30 @ 8 p.m. Eastern
This time I am DETERMINED to finish and accomplish the many things on my To-Do List.

Bloggiesta To-Dos

  • Schedule all 5 Divergent Trilogy Series Posts
  • Schedule all (thought-of) Discussion Posts
  • Schedule all Posts for the next TWO WEEKS
  • Schedule tweets on Hootsuite
  • Cross Post all Reviews to Goodreads/Amazon/B&N
  • Work on my Pinterest account
  • Set up a Facebook account/Fan Page
  • Organize TBR List
  • Participate in Twitter Chats
  • Do a Few Mini Challenges 
  • Comment on People's Posts
  • Have Fun!!! :)

Posts I want to write

-What I've learned....My FOUR Month Blogoversary!!!
-The Fairytale Survey: Spontaneous Saturday (2)
-The Geography of You and Me: Jennifer E. Smith
-Reader's Workout (1)
-Skin and Bones, Smoke & Steelheart: Mini Reviews (1)
-The Glow: Helen Whapshott
-Allegiant: Veronica Roth

Goals Accomplished
-Participated in 'Social Media and Your Blog' Twitter Chat
-Participated in 'Organization and Time Management' Twitter Chat

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Cellar: Natasha Preston

Rating: 6.5/10 
Series: The Cellar #1
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Kidnapping
Publication Date: March 1, 2014
Recommended For: Fans of the Body Finder
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page Count: 347
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought from Powells

Goodreads Synopsis: Nothing ever happens in the town of Long Thorpe – that is, until sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson disappears without a trace. No family or police investigation can track her down. Spending months inside the cellar of her kidnapper with several other girls, Summer learns of Colin’s abusive past, and his thoughts of his victims being his family…his perfect, pure flowers. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out….

I'm actually being good this time, and writing this review less than a day after I finished it. YAY ME! You know what that means? Everything about this book is fresh in my mind. The first thing I would like to establish are my extremely mixed feelings regarding this book. The really good part of it was that it was a page turner, and the whole, "I couldn't put it down once" phrase applied. The bad part is that I was beginning to feel bored once Summer was kidnapped, which was about 40 pages into the book. 

So how could I be bored and have this be a page turner all at the same time? 

Well....I don't know how that could happen either. I credit my interest in this book to my not having read a book where the protagonist gets kidnapped in probably over a year. So that would credit a large portion of my like/dislike for this book. That book I read a year ago (January 8, 2014- according to Goodreads) was The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting. One of the reasons (okay, the only one) that my "Recommended For" section says "Fans of the Body Finder" is because of the parallels I drew between the two books. 

BOTH books had kidnappings done by psychopaths that want to take care of their girlfriends

That fact might seem small and insignificant to someone who hasn't read either book, but that is the entire basis of The Cellar's plot. While The Last Echo had a lot more to its plot, I still think that its freaky how similar the two books are.

On a completely non-plot based factor, the covers are freakishly the same. The Body Finder Quartet has a theme where every cover has a simple picture of a flower. I'm not exactly clear why or what the significance of that is which may be because it was over a year ago when I was no where near book reviewing, so I had just floated through books like a little bee to multi-colored flowers (no pun intended). The Cellar's cover however does have a lot of significance because it was flowers that Colin/Clover renamed the girls he kidnapped and because of what flower symbolize in our world. 

The cover of the version of The Cellar I read gives a much darker, grim feeling of something dark, dank, disgusting, and a soul-sucking void of torture. When in actuality, the cellar was fully furnished with a kitchen, shower, bedroom, etcetera. The title 'The Cellar' also seems misleading to myself. Preston truly delves into the horrors of a psychopath in this book, so much in a way that makes you question your own sanity, which is what a psychopath would want (I'm just guessing because I have never met, or wish to meet a psychopath). With the emotions she evokes, the thoughts she provokes, one would expect a more twisted title. Something double-meaning(ed), simple, silent, and deadly. Everything I'm obviously over thinking. 

The narration was one thing I loved and hated with this book. The Cellar was narrated by three people -Summer/Lily, Colin/Clover, and Lewis- and perfectly interspersed with flash backs. What I loved was Lewis' desperation in trying to find his girlfriend, and Colin/Clover's inside look into the criminal mind. Summer/Lily's narration however seemed like nothing special. I feel an urge to call it flat, but as the same time she was full of desire to escape the cellar and wanted to get back home like any normal person would in her situation. I know she reacted the way she 'should' have (or was expected to), and there's nothing I can specifically pinpoint about her voice that I didn't like. 

I just didn't. That's the truth.   

This phrase is a guarantee to get me locked up in a mental asylum, or just a sign of Natasha Preston's good writing but, "I loved Colin/Clover". He wasn't on the villain-you-love-to-hate level, but something even deeper and subtler because he actually believed what he was doing was right. The same way you would say "McDonalds is unhealthy, and Exercise is good for you" is how he justified murdering 'dirty' prostitutes and kidnapping girls to keep them 'safe' and 'pure'. 

Conclusion: This book made me very conflicted because of the narration, plot, and twisted mindset of 'the Flowers' captor that was gripping, yet not completely satisfying at the same time. I will definitely be rereading this in about a year to see how my opinion might change.   

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Book Vs. The Movie~ Divergent Trilogy Series Part 1 of 5


In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Welcome dear readers to my Divergent Trilogy Series Part 1 of 4. I have a lot planned, and as you can read (there's a handy title just for those purposes) this is a comparison review of the Divergent movie and the book.  I know everybody and their second cousins third mother (where did that come from?) is doing a review, but I just thought I would join he crowd. 

The Book: I never liked the book. *turns away with tears in eyes* *turns back and sobs* There! I said it! It was always mediocre to me. The reason why is because EVERYONE in my ENTIRE GRADE was FREAKINGSHLY OBSESSED with the series. *flails* So I basically didn't like the series because everyone did. My thoughts have changed/been impacted by my recent reading of Allegiant, so now I'm conflicted. Anyway, onto the review


My feelings about Shailene Woodley at Tris are a bit mixed. She doesn't exactly look the part. I know this isn't usually a huge issue when it comes to movies as long as the acting is great, but Tris being small and petite was such a huge part of her character. That's what made her an invincible, yet understated force. Instead, Christina was 5 inches shorter than Tris instead of vice versa. I also thought she wasn't the most amazing actress in the world. Nevertheless, I think pressure was put on her, everyone has high standards, and people will always have their own individual ideas and visualization of a character. I believe an actor can't always live up to everyone's expectations, and that was just the specific case for my personal opinion about her. I mean....I still remember her as Felicity from the American Girl movies. 




One of the biggest areas that Summit Entertainment succeeded in was Four. Most of my friends think Theo James is ugly (idiots *rolls eyes*), and I was one of them (What was I thinking?) but when I saw him 40 feet tall, my opinions....changed. What words shall I use to describe him (you know, besides swoon-worthy, hot, and yummy)? He was understated, and subtle. Two extremely interesting decisions, while he  was never an in-your-face character, he could have been betrayed as a menacing force of nature, an emotionless wall of brute force.  Instead, he was (to quote Little Women) "like the tide...once it comes it goes out slowly, but it can't be stopped". He crept up on everyone until the very last moment, and then everyone noticed him. In the book, I didn't see him as a real person, he seemed foreboding, and one-dementional, somewhat like a cardboard cut out (although I would love a cardboard cut out of Theo James). In the movie, he seemed perfect in every aspect and was the very best casting decision. 

I LOVED the chemistry between Theo and Shailene (I mean, look at the giant 'LOVE' up there). How many people's favorite scenes were when Theo took off his shirt (such a huge bonus) and then they started making out? On paper (computer screen) that sounds really weird. Anyway, their dialogue together, and
 the way everything seemed so fluid between them was what made Tobias and Tris the ultimate on-screen couple, or shall I say Four and Six? May I add that the soundtrack  was amazing? I'm not the biggest fan of Ellie Goulding, but Dead in the Water was incredible for this scene.

-Sets: There were quite a few times where the camera either panned around or gave us an aerial view of 'Chicago' which looked incredible. On top of that, the fear landscapes were done excellently well, especially Four's can I just tell u how nervous I was (although I was perfectly fine) when rhe two of them were on a beam about 40 stories up? Or about the room/box that's walls individually moved in and practically gave me claustrophobia. 

-Jeanine: Besides Theo James, Kate Winslet stole the show. I could not have casted her part better myself. I keep talking about how quietly Four crept up on me. Jeanine was in my face as broad as daylight. She was cold, calculative, knew which battles to pursue, and when to draw back so that her next move would strike even harder. Winslet was the best Erudite that has ever existed, her gaze leaving marks upon your soul. Okay, maybe not that intense, but definitely creepy. If I had one, I would slap the 'Villain you love to hate' stamp all over her. 

-Natalie Prior: Ashley Judd played this role better than an Asian kid on the piano with a tiger mom parent. I know that makes no sense, but in the Asian community translation = VERY WELL. She was sort of like an older Cammie Morgan. She could blend into any surrounding. She was selfless, wise, and peaceful, but at the same time she was able to go believably badass and humorous. It was kind of like when Mulan drew her sword to face the Huns when they underestimated her for being a girl.....or being Abnegation.  

-Secondary Characters: Summit Entertainment messed up on this one big time. I know that Divergent was written in first person, and like The Hunger Games, was meant to be told in the narrator's perspective, but I was watching the #SOBPL (Story of Beatrice Prior's Life). My mom -who knew nothing about Divergent except that there were five groups of people named after adjectives- had no idea what any of the secondary character's names were. Christina, Will, Peter, Edward, Al, Drew, Molly, Lynne, practically even Eric weren't given life. We also can't forgive the scriptwriters for excluding Uriah from the entire movie.  It was as if someone had just played the 'attack Tris at the chasm' card in the Divergent board game. The motive, circumstance, and even characters weren't established whatsoever. Hardly anyone noticed that Will and Christina were best friends with Tris, let alone that they were in a relationship and the significance of Tris shooting Will.

-Details: There's some quote out there that I'm having trouble recalling that's about the importance of details, but whatever. The point is that the script writer, or whoever was the one that called the shots missed details. I know people say "Focus on the big picture!" and all of that stuff, but I honestly don't care. They missed simple details in the dialogue, props, and other aspects that would have been so easy to fix. How hard would it have been to hand Ansel Elgort a measly pair of glasses? Or to have Tobias kiss Tris after the results were shown? Or remove some mascara from Shailene Woodley's eyelashes? Or to add water to the chasm? Or have people eat Dauntless cake? Are you catching my drift?

Final Verdict: Everyone always knows that the movie can/will never live up to the book, but Divergent did try very hard. I personally loved the movie as a movie only and would give it 4 1/2 stars, but as a book adaption I would probably have to rank it as a 3 star one. While flaws were few, they were major ones that impacted the story, along with Insurgent and Allegiant. 

Post Script~ Clues for the next posts in this series. 
-Has anyone read the last book before/after seeing the movie, and started wondering just how much the decisions would affect the overall feel of the trilogy in movie form?
-Fact of the Day: This is NOT a new Hunger Games, please people, there are broad similarities, but the same, new,CPR better thing? I don't think so. 
-Why does everybody love Divergent?
-Factions. Factions. Factions. 
-How do you think both the score and soundtrack affected the movie? It is huge in terms of setting the stage. What are your thoughts?

Music Mondays (2) + It's Monday! What Are You Reading (1)

If I Lose Myself: One Republic~ The Divergent Trilogy. 

In honor of the Divergent movie coming out (and the fact that I recently read Allegiant), I decided to make today's Music Mondays about the Divergent Trilogy. So, I was on the airplane, on my way to Portland (see massive STS book haul), and this song came on, and I thought it would be perfect. This song is basically a lyrical representation of how Tobias becomes Tris's new family, and their truly epic love story. I have my interpretation next to each line, yes, I am a certified weirdo for doing so. 
I stared up at the sun~ This symbolizes both the Dauntless flames and Tris being overwhelmed with the change of faction Thought of all of the people, places and things I’ve loved~'That I left behind' my wonderful addition in song lyrics. I stared up just to see~more being overwhelmed With all of the faces, you were the one next to me~Throughout the entire training process, Tobias was always with and there for Tris among the unfamiliar Dauntless,was faces
This is a basic overview of Tris and Four's love story, and the beginning of their relationship, mostly displayed in Divergent itself.
You can feel the light start to tremble~Or trust of the faction and their leaders Washing what you know out to sea~Tris FINALLY felt like she had found a home, but all of that was ruined when Jeanine induced Dauntless with the syrum You can see your life out of the window tonight~It's almost as if to isn't is the only night left, and the two of them are reflecting on their life (if you know what I mean in Allegiant)
This verse is a lot more about Insurgent and Allegiant - all of the emotion and turmoil that arose.

This meme -hosted by Book Journey- is "a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!"
Recently Finished: Grasshopper Jungle: Andrew Smith~  My review is coming very soon for this weird book. Jayne @ Fiction_TheNewReality said that this is the kind of book the blogger community either loves or hates. I wanted to be on the love side so badly, but I'm not Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the storyof how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.
Currently Reading: Always and Forever: S.P. Cervantes~ This is for my blog tour stop on Friday, yes I know I'm cutting it close.  Synopsis: Twin sisters Ava and Hannah were ripped from their peaceful seeming lives into a whirlwind of attacks and war only to learn the real truth about their existence. 
Nothing was as it seemed anymore and may never be again. They had already lost their father in childhood now they have to cope with their mother’s kidnapping as they watch those sworn to protect them risk their lives.
Future Reads: The Prophecy: S.P. Cervantes~ My blog tour stop for this is on Friday, so check back because there's an awesome giveaway and review  Synopsis: The Prophecy: S.P. Cervantes~ Ava Fox has spent the past year acclimating to her new life as a wizard of Shadow Hill. Over the past year, her connection with Dalton has only grown stronger. They share a bond she has never known and can't explain. 
The danger is still there, even after the Sabatino coven was defeated, and Ava's future is anything but sure. Her powerful relationship with Dalton continues to make others wonder about the Prophecy, and their place in it. Time and again Ava's loyalty and strength will be put to the test as she fights for those she loves. There are many more secrets of Shadow Hill that will be revealed in The Prophecy.
The Cellar: Natasha Presten~ This was part of my huge Portland haul, and seems like it will be one hec of an edge-of-your-seat book (cliche alert!!!)  Synopsis: Nothing ever happens in the town of Long Thorpe – that is, until sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson disappears without a trace. No family or police investigation can track her down. Spending months inside the cellar of her kidnapper with several other girls, Summer learns of Colin’s abusive past, and his thoughts of his victims being his family…his perfect, pure flowers. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out….

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