Thursday, May 12, 2016

I'm On Wordpress Now

Greetings, minions!

I've decided to ditch Blogger in favor of Wordpress. You can find me over at joeyharpel.com. It's a bit minimalist at the moment so as not to detract from my words (that's not true; HTML is kicking my ass).

I also have a shiny new mailing list that you can sign up for if you so desire.

It's been fun, Blogger. Peace out.

Monday, August 31, 2015

[List] Books That Made Me Cry

I've been called many things: a cold-hearted fish, an ice queen, and, well, other names that I can't say in mixed company. I'm not an emotional being, unless you count rage (I rage quite well). There aren't many books that have brought me to tears, but some do exist. These are those few.

Beware. This post is fraught with spoilers and unhappy emojis. (ノД`)・゜・。


The Kill Order - James Dashner 

The Kill Order follows lovable, dorky Mark as he fights to survive in a world devastated by sun flares and disease. Of course, I read the The Maze Runner trilogy before reading the prequel, so I essentially knew what was going to happen. But I kept hoping, praying, that Dashner would let Mark live.

I was in denial up until the last page when he died. But at least Mark finally got the girl, right? They died together so shouldn't I be happy? Shouldn't I?!

It was worse than when Thomas shot Newt.

Yeah, I said it.

I always liked Minho better anyway.
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. Nazi Germany never is. I was tense throughout the entire novel, worried Max was going to be caught and killed, and when he was dragged off to the concentration camp . . . I was beside myself.

But he lived. (Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr. Zusak)

It was everyone else's deaths that unexpectedly hit me hard, especially the neighbor boy, Rudy, who was in love with the main character. All he wanted was a kiss from her and the stingy little Saumensch wouldn't give him one until after he'd been blown up!

And the father's death . . . why?  ಥ_ಥ Just why?




Troy - Adele Geras

Obviously Trojans die like crazy in this book, but the death that bothered me most was Hector's son. I knew all along the two-year-old was going to die. How could he not? He's the heir.

But they didn't have to throw him from a fifty foot wall onto a bed of rocks, did they? DID THEY?


Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie - Jordan Sonnenblick

Watching the cutest most sweetest five-year-old boy go through cancer treatment. Need I say more?
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows - J.K. Rowling

*weary sigh*

Not only did she kill off a majority of her characters, but the fact that my favorite series, the one that got me hooked on reading, came to an end had me balling my face off.

(。•́-ก̀。)

Why couldn't it have gone on? Rowling doesn't need to have a life. We should all just lock her up in a cupboard under the stairs and demand she write Harry Potter forever. And ever.

Who will join me? ୧༼ಠ益ಠ༽୨




Notice how the covers all have similar color schemes? Apparently orange is the color of death and despair. I think it's worse when you know someone is going to die, but you can't stop it. Then again, you're given time to prepare, to steel yourself. When the death comes out of nowhere, it doesn't seem as real. Like the author is playing some sick joke.

The next book I think will have me reaching for the tissues is The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, since the series is coming to an end. And I have a horrible suspicion that one of the boys (read: my book boyfriends) is going to die. I won't be able to handle it. If the cover comes out orange, I'm rioting.

What books have turned your face into a gooey mess? 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book Riot YA - Box Two



So I "accidentally" forgot to unsubscribe from the Book Riot YA Quarterly. While I really enjoyed the last box I got, which had an amazing chalk coffee mug in it, I decided it was too expensive to continue. I've only read one out of about eight books they've sent me, and I gave one away since it was a romance and I had little interest in it. So I was surprised when Quarterly sent me an email saying they'd sent my package. 

Well. I just might have to "accidentally" forget again in another three months. Anyway, this box's theme is all about friendship and junk. 

What I Received: 


Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi: 

Corey, Holly, and Savitri are closer than family until a random act of violence shatters their world. A gunman shoots at their car, leaving Corey dead, Holly in a coma, and Savitri the sole witness to the crime. 

When Holy wakes up, she is changed--determined to hunt down Corey's killer, whatever the cost. Savitri fears that Holly is running wild, losing her grip on reality. Friends should stand by each other in times of crisis. But can you hold on too tight? Too long?

Part graphic novel! Should be a fun read. At least there's death. 

Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour: 

Emi has been entrusted with her bother's Los Angeles apartment for the summer as a graduation gift, but she isn't sure how to fulfill his one condition: that something great take place there while he's gone. She may be a talented young production designer, already beginning to thrive in a competitive film industry, but she still feels like an average teen, floundering when it comes to romance. 

But when Emi and her friend Charlotte discover a mysterious letter at the estate sale of a Hollywood film legend, Emi finds herself chasing down the loose ends of a movie icon's hidden life. The search leads her to uncover a decades-old secret and the potential for something truly epic: love. 

Um, I'm a bit worried about this because it's essentially a lesbian romance. I don't have a problem with lesbian romances, but it's not exactly my type of reading material. However, one of the reasons I'm subscribed to these boxes is to get books I wouldn't normally read. So I will give it a whirl and, who knows, maybe I'll really enjoy it. Or maybe I'll loathe it completely and have something to rant about on my blog. 

A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith: 

It's senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready--ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn't prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe's new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she's been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it harder to eat or even breathe. 

But most especially, she isn't prepared to lose Noe. 

For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don't involve Annabeth. Without Noe's constant companionship, Annabeth's world beings to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she's really meant to be--with her best friend or without. 

Don't have much to comment on here, sounds pretty boring. I'm hoping for explosions of some kind. And I don't mean the hormonal ones. 

WithIt Book Light - Who doesn't need a book light? Much excite. 

Knot & Bow Library Cards - Too. Freaking. Cute.  

Three books is a good haul. I'm not sure if I'll subscribe to the next box or not if they're going to insist on giving us literary fiction. But I always feel like I'm going to miss out on a really good box, so I stay subscribed. *sigh* It's an addiction. 

Are you a subscriber? Are these books something you'd read?

Monday, July 6, 2015

[Review] Broken World - Kate L. Mary

Title: Broken World
Author: Kate L. Mary
Genre: Horror
Published: July 2014
My Rating: N/A (Didn't finish)

Description (from Goodreads): When a deadly virus sweeps the country, Vivian Thomas sets out for California in hopes of seeing the daughter she gave up for adoption. Then her car breaks down and she's faced with a choice. Give up, or accept a ride from redneck brothers, Angus and Axl. Vivian knows the offer has more to do with her double D's than kindness, but she's prepared to do whatever it takes to reach her daughter.

The virus is spreading, and by the time the group makes it to California, most of the population has been wiped out. When the dead start coming back, Vivian and the others realize that no electricity or running water are the least of their concerns. Now Vivian has to figure out how to be a mother under the most frightening circumstances, cope with Angus’s aggressive mood swings, and sort out her growing attraction to his brooding younger brother, Axl.

While searching for a safe place to go, they pick up a pompous billionaire who may be the answer to all their problems. Trusting him means going into the middle of the Mojave Desert and possibly risking their lives, but with the streets overrun and nowhere else to turn, it seems he might be their only chance for survival.
 


My Review: I'll start by saying I got a free kindle version of this off of Amazon through BookBub. I'll also say I'm not a huge fan of zombie post-apocalyptic novels. There are so many of them out there and they all kind of seem alike, but I thought I'd give this a shot. I think it was the cover (and the fact that it was free) that drew me in. It's simple, but has a definite thriller vibe to it and no dorky zombies or blood and guts flying everywhere. Pretty desolate.

Because I haven't actually finished the novel, I can't do a complete review nor am I going to try and give it a rating. I'm just going to nitpick. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

[Review] The Vicious Deep - Zoraida Córdova

Title: The Vicious Deep
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 2012
My Rating: ★★★1/2

For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave. 

He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth. 

His best friend, Layla, is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he's heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he's suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods . . . 

My Thoughts:

Tristan Hart is Percy Jackson's slutty, older cousin. He's a bit of a screwball, he's popular with the ladies, and he's the grandson of the Sea King. Totally likable, except for when he's being a complete ass to the girls he dated before. Seriously, he's a whore. But he's a funny whore, so I forgive him. 

When he first transforms into a merman, the reaction is a bit . . . nonexistent. There's some panic, some disbelief, but then the arrival of two merfolk (via his bathroom faucet) distracts you from the fact that Tristan now has a sparkly blue tail. And, of course, his biggest concern is where his junk went. Boys. This wasn't the only time where I felt like I was reading the bare bones of a scene, like it wasn't fleshed out enough. Despite this, Córdova has some great descriptions and Tristan's voice (first person, past) is spot on. 

My biggest complaint is that I wanted to skip all the high school fluff and get straight to the plot--Tristan claiming the Sea King's throne. The novel mostly takes place on the beach or at his high school. I was really expecting more of a, you know, underwater theme. Maybe I'll get that in the next book. 

Part The Little Mermaid and part The Lightning Thief, The Vicious Deep makes for a great summer read. 

Have you read it?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Book Riot Box Five

So since I found a job, I figured I'd indulge myself and subscribe again to Book Riot's Quarterly. I've only done this once before and was pretty pleased with the goodies I got, though I ended up giving the romance novel to my grandma. My TBR bookshelves are too big for me to read stuff I'm not particularly interested in. 

For this box, they chose books that tell familiar stories from new angles.


Books I Got:


Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi - NOT to be confused with the Fantastic Mr. Fox (as I did). Here's the Goodreads description: What makes a marriage? Is it the end of fairytale romance? It might be if your husband is the writer Mr Fox, who does devilish things to the heroines of his stories. His wife is unable to change his ways, but when his imaginary muse, Mary Foxe conjures herself one sunny afternoon and confronts him, things take an unexpected turn.

Also came with a brief essay article thingy from the author (on the left in the picture). Usually Book Riot sends out a poster of some sort. I guess this counts? 

Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson - A comic book. I'm not a huge fan, since I prefer words over pictures, but the premise seems interesting enough--Pakistani Muslim girl living in New Jersey becomes a superhero. I like the diversity. Should be a good read. Brief, but good. It comes with a note from the author too. 

I Also Received:


-A hat. I do live in Minnesota and need to keep mah ears toasty warm, but I don't think I'd wear it further than my backyard. When I showed it to my mom, she shook her head and muttered, "I know I didn't drop you on your head when you were a baby."

She says that a lot.

-Literary Tattoos. Cute, but I probably won't use. 

-Shakespeare candy. In case you've ever wondered, Shakespeare tastes like lemons.

-A coupon for 20% off handmade iPhone chargers. I think, like, ten people received these. I can shove an iPod cord into a book myself (which I wouldn't do because that's book abuse). I don't need to pay 50 bucks for that. I'm not too disappointed I didn't get one.  

I do love the anticipation of getting these. Constantly checking the mail to see if it came, suppressing the urge to stalk twitter to see if other people got theirs. However, I can't say I'm terribly excited about what I got. I was a lot happier with the previous box because there seemed to be more stuff. Granted, I did get a bonus book, but it still totaled four books. This one only has one and a half. Not even. Maybe one and a quarter. *grumbles* Comic books...

Moar books, Book Riot. Moar books!

The next box ships in March, so I'll have until then to decide if I'm just wasting my money.

Is anyone else a subscriber? 


Thursday, November 13, 2014

[Review] Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie - Jordan Sonnenblick

Title: Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie
Author: Jordan Sonnenblick
Genre: YA Fiction
Published: 2004
My Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Steven has a totally normal life (well, almost). He plays drums in the All-City Jazz Band (whose members call him the Peasant), has a crush on the hottest girl in school (who doesn't even know he's alive), and is constantly annoyed by his younger brother Jeffrey (who is cuter than cute - which is also pretty annoying).

But when Jeffrey gets sick, Steven's world is turned upside down, and he is forced to deal with his brother's illness, his parents' attempts to keep the family in one piece, his homework, the band, girls, and Dangerous Pie (yes, you'll have to read the book to find out what that is!)

***

I got this book from Book Riot's Quarterly Subscription, otherwise I never would've picked it up. I don't read realistic fiction very often (ok, never). Because Book Riot got me to read it, I thought I'd resubscribe and get the next box some time this month. Much excite.

The book is almost too short. I read it in only a day and I'm the slowest reader ever. The writing is simple, yet powerful. When I wasn't laughing, I was trying not to bawl my face off. It's saying something when you can provoke an emotion besides rage out of me. Watching Steven's brother--who is in fact cuter than cute as the synopsis says--go through cancer treatment is heartbreaking. I mean, why doesn't Sonnenblick just take a sledgehammer to my chest cavity? It'd have been a lot less painful.   

Steven's character is pretty funny, though he gets a little whiny at times, especially when he's feining for attention. It's nice to watch him as he learns there are more important things in life than his wants. The relationship he comes to have with his brother is, well, amazing.

Unfortunately, that all goes to hell in the sequel, After Ever After. From what I understand (mind you, I haven't read it yet) the book is set years later when Jeffrey, the younger brother, is a teen (yay, he survived the first book). Steven's not around, however, because he's gone off to Africa to find himself (musicians, eh?). I'm not sure what that's all about, but I'm looking forward to seeing Jeffrey grown up.

I'm glad I gave this book a try. It's made me more willing to break through my cocoon of science fiction and fantasy and try something realistic.