Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Flipping the Scales by Pete Tarsi

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Is it weird for a 26 year-old to have an obsession with mermaids? I liked them when I was younger, went through a bit of a dry spell through my young adult years, and now: WHAM! I'm watching Aquamarine several times a month, am looking up mermaid tail-shaped blankets on Amazon (yes, it's a thing) and now want to read ALL THE MERMAID BOOKS!, apparently. The middle school nostalgia game is strong.

Author: Pete Tarsi
Series: Flipping the Scales #1
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: November 13, 2014
Pages: 250
Format: Paperback
Average Rating: 4.39

Meredith and Marina’s lives have been flipped upside down. When the translucent skirt that straight-A-student Meredith finds hidden on the beach gets wet, it transforms her legs into a mermaid tail. Despite the evidence in front of her, she insists that becoming a mythical creature isn’t scientifically possible.

Marina is allowed to experience one day per moon cycle among the humans. After hiding her tail on the beach that morning, she takes her first timid steps on land. When she returns at sunset to find it missing, she is left stranded and alone.

For the first time in her life, Meredith doesn’t have all the answers. As she searches for a way to return to normal before the next full moon, she makes waves among the school of mermaids. Meanwhile, Marina uncovers information about her past, and for the first time in her life, she must stand on her own two feet and take the lead on her own adventure. As Meredith senses her human side slipping away, a forbidden way to change back entices her. But it comes with a consequence: Marina wouldn’t be able to return to the ocean.

All Meredith wants to do this summer is study and stay as far away from the ocean as possible, but when she accidentally puts on a mermaid fin disguised as a skirt, college becomes the least of her worries. Meanwhile, without access to her tail, Marina must learn how to walk, talk, and behave like a human until she is able to return to the water. The best part about this book, for me, was the fact that it was so lighthearted and easy to read while also showcasing an incredible friendship and exploring the benefits and repercussions of stepping outside of your comfort zone. Despite the seriousness of losing the only world they have ever known, the switch allows both Meredith and Marina to enjoy a part of their lives they have continually shied away from. Meredith must learn that sometimes it is okay not to have all the answers, while Marina discovers that the best experiences in life do not happen when all you want to do is play it safe, and I think that this is a great idea to get across, particularly to younger readers experiencing the same sort of problems and worries (minus the tail).

The language was a bit difficult for me to follow at times - one of the characters uses text speak during her conversations, and I kept having to stop and figure out what certain things meant (mostly because I am an old lady, apparently, and am completely out of touch with current slang), and I did feel like the romances in this book were a bit unnecessary and did not really add much to the story.

  • Of the five girls, I think I connected to Jill the most. A lot of her reactions to things that were going on were the same as mine, and I feel like she was the most mature of the group. None of them seemed like the were sixteen/seventeen, but Jill was definitely the most level-headed and calm, which was surprising, considering that is supposed to be Meredith's territory.
  • My favorite part of the book was when Meredith was with Marina and Lorelei's school, and was learning all about the mermaids and how they swim/interact with one another. The underwater politics was something I would definitely have liked to learn a bit more about! 
  • I really enjoyed how loyal all of the girls were. A lot of times, books with high school girls as the main character(s) will use arguments and backstabbing to create drama, but there was none of that in this book (I mean, there was one instance of questionable decision-making, but it wasn't followed through), and I found that really refreshing. Lorelei and Marina's friendship was probably my favorite, but they were all great.


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Overall, this book was a great tale (ha) of friendship. It has a lot of heart with some great lessons, and is a fast read. There is a bit of mystery mixed in with all the adorable craziness regarding one of the girls' parents, which sets up for a second book very nicely, and I am interested in seeing how that eventually plays out. Definitely pick it up if you're looking for a cute, summery read!

Now, please excuse me. I am going to go and watch Aquamarine for the hundredth time while singing Part of Your World...

If We Were Having Coffee....

If We Were Having Coffee was created by Ashley over at Your Super Awesome Life. Grab your coffee (or Cherry Coca Cola, in my case), and lets chat a bit about what's been going on in our lives! Inspiration for the "questions" at the end is from Perpetual Page Turner.

If we were having coffee... I would tell you that the summer seems to be passing in a blur and that I am completely okay with it. Though summer is usually my favorite season, I find that this year I am not as into the hot weather and humidity as I usually am, though that may have to do with the fact that I have been working outside full-time. I am 100% ready for autumn. I'd ask you what your plans are for the final few weeks of summer, and whether you did anything fun or exciting that made June and July memorable?

If we were having coffee... I would tell you that the last few weeks have been tough for my family. We have been going through some stuff and kind of pinned all of our hopes on an outcome that didn't end up happening. A few days later, we received even more bad news. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and though everyone is trying to remain upbeat, I can feel the hopelessness underneath. I'd ask what you do to make yourself feel better when it seems like the world is working against you?

If we were having coffee... I would tell you that I have recently been working on time management and finding different schedules that work for me so that I can accomplish everything that I need to accomplish without becoming too stressed and overworked. It seems to be working so far. I have figured out that if I get over the fact that I am not a morning person and wake up around 6:30/7:00 every morning, I am able to get quite a bit of stuff done before I go to work, including homework, blog posts, and video uploads, which leaves my evenings free for relaxing. I'd ask if you have any time management tips??

If we were having coffee... I would tell you that I have been working on a short story for one of my classes and that it seems to have rekindled the inspiration for some of my older projects. Sitting down and actually writing has always been the part I have had the most trouble with - editing will forever be my favorite part of the process - but I have discovered a groove and am excited to explore it a bit more with ideas that are not school-related. I'd ask if you have been lacking inspiration for anything lately, and what you do to get it back?

If we were having coffee... I would tell you that I am really, really, really excited for the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children movie that is coming out in September. I keep watching the trailer for it over and over again because it is glorious. I'd ask what movie you have recently watched/loved or whether there is one coming out soon that you are excited for?

If we were having coffee, what would you say? Let me know, or link up your own post in the comments!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Weekend TBR [July 15-17]

The weekend is here!

Here are the books I am planning on reading:

Author: Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days #2
Publisher: Skyscape
Release Date: November 19, 2015
Pages: 314
Format: Paperback
Average Rating: 4.23

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken. Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

. . . . . . 

If you read last week's post, then you know that the first book in this series, Angelfall, was on my TBR. Well, I read it and now I am OBSESSED. I ordered the second and third books right away and haven't really been able to read much of anything else because Penryn and Raffe are all I can think about! (Raffe is definitely Fictional Boyfriend material, guys. Omg.) I am currently about halfway through World After, and hope to finish it within the next few days.

Author: C.E. Wilson
Series: N/A
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date: April 23, 2016
Pages: 460
Format: eBook
Average Rating: 4.0

White Frost has only ever known the darkness. Everything outside of her closed society is The Unknown – a strange and dangerous place accessible to only a chosen few. White’s only glimpse of the world beyond comes from her beloved cousin in the form of mysterious collections of words that hint at astonishing wonders. When an accident upends her simple existence, she’s given an unlikely chance to see the truth for herself. What she finds is greater and more terrible than she could have imagined, and before long she is forced to make the most important choice of her life: does she accept her safe, limited world that she’s known or take a desperate gamble in a world not meant for her with the Boy with Words?

. . . . . .

This book was on last weekend's TBR as well, though the goal was only to start it - which I did! I didn't get very far, but I do hope to continue with it this weekend.

What books are you planning on reading this weekend?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Teaser Tuesday [July 12]

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. All you have to do is grab your current read, open to a random page, and share two teaser sentences (that don't give too much away).

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This week's teaser:

His friendly face suddenly becomes serious. "You're naming your collector's-item, kick-ass sword that's made to main and kill, specifically designed to bring your ginormous enemies to their knees and hear the lamentation of their women—Pooky Bear?"

World After by Susan Ee

Ten Facts About Me [Top Ten Tuesday]

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they update their blog with a list of ten things that have to do with a predetermined topic.

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This can be a terrible quality to have sometimes, let me tell you. I hate it when things are out of place, messed up, or beyond my control. I despise change, disorganization and getting things wrong. All of these things tend to work together to constantly mess with my anxiety and throw me into an I MUST BE ABLE TO DO ALL THE THINGS RIGHT THE FIRST TIME AROUND mode, and I get really upset with myself if I can't make a situation better, do something wrong, or experience a change.

The best time of the week for me is when I can plan for the next one. I color-coordinate everything, map it out, and am always aware of what is happening at least a week ahead of time. Is that weird?

Anytime I go somewhere or meet someone new, they are always, always, always caught off guard when I get comfortable enough to joke around, and are never prepared for how sarcastic and cynical my sense of humor can be, especially because I am usually very quiet and reserved.

I was always afraid I was going to get into an accident or that I would get hurt/mess up somehow (thanks, anxiety), but last summer I finally decided that I would put all of my worries aside and go ahead and try for it. I am still unwilling to get behind the wheel of the car sometimes, but I really enjoy the freedom that comes along with having my license now, and the fact that I can go to the bookstore anytime I want without having to talk someone into giving me a ride!

*book shopping

We have a puppy preschool class at my place of employment once a week, and my coworkers make fun of me because I will literally swoon every time a dog walks by. I can't help it! They are so adorable, and I want about fifty of my own. I also freak out any time I see a rabbit, whether it be wild or in a store, and I have been known to go into a pet store for something and come home with a baby rabbit (seriously. this has happened twice). I currently have three of them, and the sad thing is, I don't show them or enter them in anything; I just think they make great pets!

Harry Potter relaxes me, so whenever I find myself with a day off or a bit of free time, I will pop in one of the movies (usually the first or second), and clean/do stuff with it playing in the background.

Yep. It's kind of sad, now that I think about it. The first time was my freshman year of high school, and my family and I went to Florida on vacation. I had so much fun visiting new places, lounging about the beach, and exploring Disney World! The second time I went out of state, I was was with my choir, junior year. We went to Chicago to partake in a national competition and won six trophies, which was cool. That was my first ever trip without my parents, and my very first time in a big city. I had a lot of fun and would LOVE to go back soon! Actually, I would like to go anywhere soon, just so I can bump that Times-I-Went-Out-of-State number up a bit.

I was very, very sick my senior year of high school, both physically and mentally, because my immune system decided to work against me that year. Add that to my regular, every day anxiety, plus the anxiety that accompanies senior year and all of the worries/problems from missing so much school, and I fell into a deep depression. When I wasn't physically ill, I would be so tired and stressed and anxious and worried and in a dark, dark place that I couldn't drag myself out of bed and made the situation even worse. I missed most of the year, my good grades plummeted, and I was not able to graduate with my class. I didn't end up graduating until almost a year later. It was not a fun experience.

I always say it's the summertime because I love the heat, but after working outside these last few months, I have changed my mind. Please don't tell my mom; I've made a pretty big deal about loving summer and the heat pretty much every single day of my life. I just love the colors, the warm-but-not-too-warm weather, and wearing comfy sweaters.

THE SMELLS ARE EVERYWHERE! I am constantly having to excuse myself from situations because people are putting on lotion, perfume or hand sanitizer. My mom and sister are awful about spraying way too much perfume and chasing me out of a room because the smell is so overwhelming that I start experiencing an allergic reaction. I cannot wash my clothes in certain detergents or fabric softeners, which makes the static unbearable, and I can't go into places that sell scented bath items or have burning candles because my allergies freak out and try to murder me. Basically, vanilla is the only scent I am 100% okay with.

What are some things you would like me to know about you?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Weekend TBR [July 8-10]

I find that working full-time makes my weeks pass in a blur of early mornings, long days, chlorine checks, snow cones, and telling children not to put water on the slide. Also, homework. Always. So, when the weekend finally does arrive, I am always fairly surprised and a little bit disappointed in the fact that we are one step closer to autumn.

This weekend, I will be reading:

1. Angelfall by Susan Ee: I'm currently about halfway through this book and am in. love. Thanks to my experiences with the Hush, Hush quartet, I was more than a little hesitant to pick up another series abut angels, but after hearing some good things and the fact that it has been on my TBR for a few years, I decided to give it a try and am really, really liking it so far. I hope to continue reading it this weekend!

2. The Boy with Words by C.E Wilson: This ebook was sent to me for review a few weeks ago, and since I cannot take my Kindle to work with me, I predict the next few weekends will be spent attempting to finish it and get a review up. It does not seem to be very long, and is one that I am very interested in reading, so I hope to pick it up within the next few days!

What are your weekend reading plans?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Weekend TBR [July 1-3]

The weekend is here! Here is my TBR for the next few days:

1. Flipping The Scales by Pete Tarsi: My progress last weekend was pretty much the exact opposite of what I had wanted to accomplish. Instead of completing Flipping the Scales, I finished The One by Kiera Cass. So, once again, I would like to make it a goal to get at least a little further in it book this weekend. I cannot really bring paperbacks to work with me—I carry around a bag full of first-aid supplies, sunscreen, pens, and various other poke-y, book-damaging things, so hardbacks are really the only books that stand a chance—so this has been one I am only able to pick up on the weekends, hence my slow progress.

2. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan: I bought this book last week and my complete love for Rick Riordan's writing/characters has pushed it to the very top of my TBR. I am currently 200 pages into it and really enjoying it so far; I hope to pick it up in between chapters of Flipping the Scales!

What are you guys reading this weekend?