Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesdays #9: Ice Like Fire

Waiting on Wednesdays is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Title: Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2)
Author: Sara Raasch
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: October 13th

"It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.
Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?
Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?
As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world."

What are you looking forward to?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spotlight Wednesdays: True Love Story

Title: True Love Story
Author: Willow Aster
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Rating: 5/5

Why You Should Read It

This is one of those books that is so good, you just sit in shock after you finish it, wondering what the hell you're supposed to do with yourself now.
It's also one of those that rips your heart in two gleefully.
And you love it for it.

Sparrow's and Ian's story is absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking. The characters are beautifully dimensional, the plot makes sense, and the flashbacks just make you want to crawl into a corner and sob.

The pain is worth it for falling in love with these perfectly flawed characters.

Waiting on Wednesdays #8: Truly, Madly, Famously

Waiting on Wednesdays is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Title: Truly, Madly, Famously (Famous in Love #2)
Author: Rebecca Serle
Genre: YA
Release Date: October 13th

"In this romantic sequel to Famous in Love, new Hollywood "It Girl" Paige must navigate love with her co-stars, both on and off screen and all in the public eye.
Lights, camera, love!
After being plucked from obscurity, Hollywood's newest starlet, Paige Townsen, has a hit film to her name and Rainer Devon on her arm. But being half of the world's most famous couple comes with a price, and soon Paige finds herself dodging photographers; hiding her feelings for her other costar, Jordan Wilder; and navigating tabloid scandals that threaten to tear her and Rainer apart-and end her career as quickly as it began.
Rebecca Serle's sequel to Famous in Love is filled with the kind of celebrity drama and swoon-worthy romance fit for the silver screen."

Now, you may have noticed that I *slightly* fangirled over Famous in Love, and, truth be told, I'm still not over that ending. Which is why I'm ticking down the days until I can get my hands on this beauty.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

As promised, I'm back from my mad week in Hogwarts, am already desperately missing the toasty Florida heat, and come armed with plenty of pictures for you guys to enjoy.

It was my second time to the amazing park, this time there because they opened the expansion (Diagon Alley) three months after my last visit, and I could not rest easy knowing I'd only just missed what would surely be another awesome addition to the already incredible world that Universal had brought to life with Hogsmeade.

The entire week was amazing beyond words, but I'm pretty sure one of the highlights of my week was being chosen in Ollivanders first thing on my birthday morning (oh yeah, the reason why I went there was because of the expansion, but the reason why everyone else came was because I was turning 21. Yay! The satisfaction of handing over my ID that first time on my birthday was something else, let me tell you), and getting my very own interactive wand made of yew, with unicorn hair core; I also got quite a kick out of texting my aunt at 7am that I was outside Leicester Square, then giggling madly to myself because it was 7am, I was still half asleep, and it occurred to me that I had just flown over an entire ocean, only to find myself outside a tube station again.

I'm of the opinion that every Harry Potter fan deserves to go to this park at least once in their life. Years after my first visit, I still had incredibly vivid dreams of walking in Hogwarts, and going to the bathroom, only to hear Moaning Myrtle sob violently through the pipes (by the way, that's not a joke, if you go, you need to stop by the toilets in Hogsmeade, it's hilarious; I'm told she's also in the men's toilets, so it shouldn't be an impediment to hear Myrtle flirt with Harry). Hogwarts has always been my home away from home, and finally having concrete images, feelings and memories to go with the place was indescribable.

The expansion itself was breathtaking. They really outdid themselves with it, and even though the dragon doesn't hold a candle to the beauty of Hogwarts, it does have its' own unique quirks (handy hint and tip: don't stand directly under/in direct proximity to it for very long, or you will have the fright of your life).

And the train journey is truly something to behold. The best part, arguably, is crossing the wall between Muggle Kings Cross and Wizarding Kings Cross. If possible, try to get someone to film you going through, it looks really cool on video - but if that's not an option, make sure to stop for a bit and watch others go through before you do.

And the ride itself, Escape from Gringotts, is exhilarating to the last second. I'm not a big roller coaster fan myself, but absolutely loved this ride - it had just the right amount of coaster, mixed in with simulation, to make it good for both people who love roller coasters, and those who aren't too keen on them.

Having gone on it extensively (you won't believe the miracles of the singles line! It's a godsend, but do make sure to go through the full queue at least once, or you'll miss tons of fun stuff), I can say with absolute certainty that front row on the first cart is the place to be on that ride. The further back you get, the less awe-inspiring the effects are, because you can see all the heads in front of you, and it sort of takes away from the action going on in front of you -- unlike with Forbidden Journey, where, again, having been on it to exhaustion (less so this time around; I must have ridden that thing at least 100 times a couple of years ago), all four seats are pretty amazing, though the fourth seat is more likely to get sprayed by beasties.

That's my week for you guys. I'm going to go curl up in a ball and sleep for the next week, probably, but it was definitely worth it!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Waiting on Wednesdays #7: Very Good Lives

Waiting on Wednesdays is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Title: Very Good Lives
Author: J. K. Rowling
Genre: Nonfiction
Release Date: April 14th

"J.K. Rowling, one of the world's most inspiring writers, shares her wisdom and advice. 
In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, VERY GOOD LIVES presents J.K. Rowling's words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life. How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?
Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world famous author addresses some of life's most important questions with acuity and emotional force.
Sales of VERY GOOD LIVES will benefit both Lumos, a charity organization founded by J.K. Rowling, which works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children, and university-wide financial aid at Harvard University."

I knew this was coming out, and I had a vague idea that it would be this year, but I didn't realise until the other day how soon it was! I'm very excited to read it; I don't usually do nonfiction, but this woman's story is such an inspiring one, and the fruits of it have been such a huge part of my life, that reading up on her past never ceases to fill me with awe and respect. There's a real-life fairytale if ever there was one.