Book Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

13132816
Book Review: Emmy & Oliver
Release Date: 6/23/15
Publisher: Harper Collins
Source: ARC from publisher
Add on Goodreads

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

If I could give Emmy & Oliver 6 stars, I would. I loved every bit of this book THAT much. It was slow in the best way; it made me feel every emotion. The whole book I was just like

tumblr_n13275DaJF1toc0a2o1_500

Robin Benway does like, everything right, but what I fell in love with way back in Audrey, Wait! was the dialogue. HOLY TAYLOR SWIFT the dialogue between every character in Emmy & Oliver was next level witty and hilarious and insightful. Reading the synopsis, you’d think that it’d be heavy, and of course, there were sensitive moments where I ached for the characters – especially Oliver, but those feelings were balanced out with the impressive dialogue that sent me from crying to laughing in seconds.

Of course the natural progression of The Romance was ADORABLE, BEAUTIFUL, ETC. but it was really the friendship that stole the show. Friendship was a Big Deal in this book and it was delightful. Emmy may be the MC but every single other character is so developed, from Emmy’s BFFs Caro and Drew, to her parents, to Oliver’s parents (and his sisters! omg). The friendship between Emmy, Caro, and Drew was everything; they were accepting, understanding, and patient. The way Oliver was such a missing chunk of them all for ten years bonded them (including Oliver later) in such a unique way and it was done PERFECTLY.

I’m trying to think of something I didn’t like about the beautiful, bittersweet Emmy & Oliver and coming up with absolutely zero. IF YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE THE HEARTS-IN-EYES EMOJI, I WILL GIVE YOU YOUR MONEY BACK*

Signed,

Robin Benway fan 4lyfe.

*no I won’t so good thing it won’t happen.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows

tttTop Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we create top ten lists that involve books.

Today I am counting down (in no order) the Top Ten Books I’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows. Some of these have actually already been adapted onto the screen, but well… you’ll see why I’ve included them on the list. And here goes!

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. OKAY, I’m sure you’re already like, “WTH KIND OF LIST IS THIS?!” but hear me out. The Twilight Saga movies were… well, you know. Not completely horrible, but they actually could’ve been… good? ESPECIALLY AS A TELEVISION SERIES. Think about it–The Vampire Diaries had a lot of similarities in its initial seasons, and that show was hella addictive. Twilight was super dazzling when I first read it (whatever, I won’t deny this), and I think it maybe wouldn’t have received as much flack as it did if it was a tv series instead. (Let me now direct you to this lovely video in which Twilight is envisioned as a miniseries WITHOUT Rob, Kristen, and Taylor.

2. Dark Swan by Richelle Mead. Think a mix of Orphan Black, Lost Girl, Dollhouse, Buffy, and all of those other TV shows featuring strong females in leading storylines. As I read Richelle’s urban fantasy series, I could totally see it as a TV series. It has the perfect mix of humor, drama, romance, action, and opportunities for badassery and a whole lot of eye candy.

3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Do I even need to explain this? When Throne of Glass first released, there were all of these Game of Thrones comparisons–and I agreed with them only because the I could totally see this book series playing out so epically and visually stunningly on the screen in an HBO miniseries or something.

4. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle. My all-time favourite book has actually already been made into a film by Disney and it stars Mischa Barton (pre-The OC) and Jared Padalecki… but the film totally changed the story around and nixed two pretty important characters (HER BROTHER, OMG HOW COULD YOU CUT OUT JOHN AUSTIN?!). I’m not sure this book could ever be captured perfectly as a film, but anything would be better than that 2002 version -_-

5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. This book is so adventurous and fun and THE WORDPLAY IS HILARIOUS AND LOVELY, and I think this was be a great film! For some reason, I’m thinking Tim Burton-style like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory just because it’s about a little kid and all of the loopy (but completely literal) stuff he encounters.

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. This seriously has the potential to be THE CUTEST FILM… but only if the director, cast, and writers KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. Ugh. I’m kinda 50/50 on this because it could be great or it could be a cringey disaster since there are so many dangerous risks in casting Anna and St. Clair. Ahh, whatever, I’LL TAKE THE RISK.

7. The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Again, LOL. But seriously, the movie was… not bad, but not great despite a mostly well chosen cast and the really accurate set, etc. I think my biggest issue with the film was pacing which would make sense because I’ve just always thought this would’ve been way better as a TV series. Something similar to Battlestar Galactica or LOST with the whole humanity in peril mixed in with romance and a non-human (or smoke monster) threat.

8. Servants of Fate by Sarah Fine. I recently reviewed Marked, the first book in this series, and I think it would play out so well as a TV show It has that similarity to shows like Grey’s Anatomy or Rookie Blue because of the whole doctors/daily dangerous job stuff as well as the individual cases in each ep overlaying the major season arcs. But then you also get a paranormal twist. WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN THAT? Also, again it reminds me shows like of Lost Girl or Orphan Black. Also, drama of the romantic nature. Yes please.

9. The Shades of London by Maureen Johnson. I got major Doctor Who/Torchwood vibes from these books, and I think a ghost agency in London would make a completely entertaining and enthralling TV series. Plus I’d like to see Stephen in his police uniform IRL please and thank you.

10. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. So I believe this is already going to be a movie which is fine, but I think it’d be waaay better as a television series. Just imagine what an amazing, awesome intro this show would have! Anyway, I remember when Cinder came out there was a lot of comparisons to Sailor Moon and Firefly, and those are A+. With that said, nothing else needs to be said. TV show, please!

Would YOU like to see any of the books listed above as movies or TV series?

Book Review: Clear by Jessica Park

park-clearBook Review: Clear: A Death Trippers Novel
Release Date: 2/15/15
Publisher: Flat Finn, Inc.
Source: Purchased for Kindle
Add on Goodreads

Stella Ford’s grasp on reality is already loose, and it’s about to come undone.

When the college junior flees Chicago and leaves her toxic family behind, she heads for coastal Maine to find the one person who brought her peace years ago: Sam Bishop. But the Sam she once knew now has painful secrets.

Stella is determined to heal them both. Healing, however, is a challenge when the walls of her everyday existence collapse. And when Sam’s best friend is his worst enemy.

When the line between life and death blurs.

When an end is just a beginning.

When lust and rage rule.

Yet during extraordinary chaos, there can be extraordinary love, even if that love comes with a twist.

Welcome to death tripping.

Review:
Having enjoyed Jessica Park’s contemporary novels, I was pretty interested in her first paranormal story since I knew she had the ability to create these really complex and likeable characters (ex: Julie, Matt… Celeste, FLAT FINN). Although I’d read the synopsis of Clear plenty of times before the book had made its way to my Kindle, I have to admit that I still didn’t have a clear (HA HA) concept on what exactly the story was about. This only made the reading experience 10x better because I legit had no idea what was happening or where it was going the entire time.

Right off the bat, I was invested in Stella’s story. Her strained relationship with her family made me feel for her, and then there’s this nice guy Sam who shows up and without any hesitation just lifts her spirits. So precious! Then you get the chapters that follow when her life hasn’t exactly improved, but she meets up with Sam again and he’s completely different as in ultra broody and all rugged. But then he’s actually still really nice? And then you everything is just coasting alone nicely and romantically and you’re like “Hey, isn’t this a paranormal novel? Oh well, this is pretty great, I’ll just keep rea–” BAM. The plot takes such a turn. And holy mole, yeah, this story is definitely a paranormal one.

Kiiinda spoilery, but basically Sam has the ability to bypass death (hence the death tripper title). He can fully die–and has died many times–but then he always comes back. There are plenty of ~side-effects~ upon his return, but I think it’s much more fun if you discover those on your own since they’re pretty entertaining/shocking/CRAZY so I won’t go into detail. In a word: Whoa.

What I probably liked the most about this novel was that it was so unique to anything I’ve ever read. Jessica Park totally created this whole death tripper mythology (??) out of nowhere and basically ANYTHING goes. Plot twist after revelation after OMG steaminess after another plot twist. However, while their ultimate goal was perhaps a tad too easily solved, I don’t think I would’ve minded that as much if I didn’t sorta dislike Costa, Sam’s best friend. I mean, dude’s got his issues and I feel like even though his heart was in the right place, he just never grew on me? Which is sad because I liked the dynamics of their friendship pre-death tripping.

Stella and Sam, on the other hand, didn’t have to grow on me because I liked them both throughout the novel, both as individual characters and as a duo. Let me tell you that there is A LOT that goes down in this novel (seriously, every few chapters I was texting fellow bevy member Steph with vague, yet manic capslocky freak-outs). Overall, it was insane and confusing because I didn’t know what to expect and at one point there are like three people making out with each other and I’m just like WAIT WHAT! But in a strange way, I kind of liked that the novel kept me constantly alert and surprised. Added with the fact that Jessica Park’s prose and dialogue just ~snaps together so well, I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for something different from the norm.

Clear was certainly quite the unique novel. It was… dare I say it? … SUCH A TRIP.

Is it Winter yet? (Game of Thrones recap 5×05: “Kill the Boy”)

GoTtitlescreen
In this week’s episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” we get a break from all of the drama in King’s Landing and focus on the gritty stuff happening outside the royal core.

5×05: Kill the Boy

First things first: Grey Worm is ALIVE. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Ser Barristan Selmy. Like Daenerys, I’m freaking upset that he died in an alleyway killed by rebels and not in some epic, sacrificial blaze of glory that he deserved. Alas, that’s what this show is all about—dreams turned into devastation and crushed hopes. In response for what the Sons of the Harpy have done, Dany rounds up all of the leaders of the ancient families and introduces them to kids who are starving for flesh. Viserion and Rhaegal’s buffet includes one of Dany’s recent informants Hizdahr, and perhaps moved by his super dramatic utterance of “Valar Morghulis,” she decides to postpone the feeding session. …And I guess Dany is really moved by his ~bravery (or is it that fancy robe of his? I don’t know…) because she kinda proposes to him. Yep, alert the presses! Dany is getting married …and it’s not to her current confidant/boyfriend Daario Naharis. Ohhhhh myyyyy. Meanwhile, legit romance seems to be blooming for Grey Worm and Missandei as they share a kiss. Okay, then.

Not too far away are Jorah and Tyrion still sailing towards Dany and whomever is left of her council. They take a shortcut through the ruins of Valyria, a city that was once the city. To Tyrion’s complete surprise, a wild Drogon is spotted, just cruising along the skies. Chills! I mean, Westerosi don’t really ~believe in dragons anymore and are more interested in thrones and crowns and politics, so Tyrion’s reaction is pretty great. He doesn’t really get time to absorb the sight in front of him, however, as he and Jorah are suddenly attacked by a bunch of stone-faced dudes with the same disease Shireen Baratheon had as a baby. Tyrion is able to make it onto shore untouched, but the same can’t be said for Jorah who has secretly caught the stone plague. I guess now he can really forget about expecting Dany to welcome him home with open arms.

Up north, Sansa is back home except it’s not exactly the home she remembers since her entire family is dead or “dead” or a bastard/Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Cue all of the sad-related emotions of the world as she gazes upon the broken tower Bran once climbed before it all went downhill (literally, in his case). Although Sansa is secretly informed that “the north remembers” and there are still secret Stark supports who’ve got her back, she’s still engaged to Ramsey Bolton. Yuck. Then she “meets” Reek, a.k.a. the poor unfortunate soul who used to be Theon Greyjoy but is now Ramsey’s slave boy. She hates him since he supposedly killed Bran and Rickon, but she obviously hates Ramsey even more. Dude is straight-up deranged and perhaps the most unstable person in Westeros. One day he’s chopping off people’s essential body parts and the next he’s playing the model host serving everyone wind at family supper. His dad Roose Bolton is totally not here for his son’s crap, but he lets Ramsey parade around like an idiot anyway. Then he drops the bombshell that his wife is preggo and it looks like it’s going to be a boy, i.e. a legitimate heir to the Bolton name. That puts a damper on Ramsey’s party, but the slightest of smirks on Sansa’s face. After dinner in what’s probably the worst father-son bonding moment ever, Roose tells Ramsey a disturbing story about his mom, then assures him that he doesn’t have to worry about all of that official bloodline stuff. Instead, they have to focus on Stannis’ incoming party.

Further up north, Jon Snow asks Aemon Targaryen for advice on how to dole out orders to his men that he knows they are going to hate. Aemon’s all “LOL most of them hate you anyway, so who cares?” and you can’t help laugh at his old man logic. You also can’t help but feel bad for him as he’s the last Targ in Westeros (well, that we know of………….). And is it just me or is everything Aemon says just so on point in this episode? His final piece of advice to Jon is that he has to “kill the boy” because it’s time to be as swift as a coursing river, with all the strength of a great typhoon be a man. Later, Jon has a meeting with Ygritte’s bff/fellow ginger Tormund Giantsbane. Jon asks the same question he asked Mance Rayder: for the wildings’ help. Tormund reluctantly agrees to go round up his friends, but only if Jon comes with him. Road trip! Well, more like boat trip. Jon delivers the news to his men, and as expected they aren’t happy. Then there’s Dolorous Edd who is just straight up sad because even though he’s loyal to Jon, he can’t forget that it was the  wildings who killed Pyp and Grenn :(

Stannis, meanwhile, also makes plans to get the hell out of Castle Black. It’s time to continue on their journey, he decides. He also decides to bring along his wife and daughter even though they’re basically heading into war. Maybe he just wants to get his daughter away from Gilly before she can ask more (understandably) ignorant questions. “Is this every book there is?” she asks Sam in the library. Yeah… she’s definitely a keeper, Tarly.

Winter still isn’t here, but I think it’s getting a closer? Maybe? Just a little? Whatever is happening, a northern chill is definitely making its way southbound.

(Cross posted to Up and Comers)

Hey Mama (A List of Memorable Mothers in Books and on Screen)

Fact: It is Mother’s Day.
Fact: I love making lists.
I think you know where this is going…

It goes without saying that mothers, in all forms and variants, are influential. I mean, I could quote a line from a John Mayer song right now about the important cycle of mothers once being daughters or maybe I could fill this post with capslock lyrics from Taylor Swift’s “The Best Day,” to make you all cry… but instead I’ll just highlight these 10 memorable mothers in books and on screen!

Mrs. Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)
mrsbennet
Let’s start this list off with a bang–a super loud, boisterous, rowdy bang. Mrs Bennet. She be cray and husband-hungry for her daughters, but you know it’s all out of love. Okay, maybe it’s a liiitle bit about the money as well, but she just wants what’s best for her children. And in the Regency Era, that meant a husband who lived on a massive property and had a salary of at least 10000 pounds. (5000 would suffice, too.)

Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)
lorelaicoffee
Ummm so I stopped watching Gilmore Girls halfway through because of stuff like school and life, but I’m adding Lorelai to the list because 1) She’s not like a regular mom, she’s a cool mom, and 2) I know KT will appreciate this one because Lorelai is one of her faves 😀

Molly Weasley (Harry Potter)
mrsweasley
Idk about you, but hand-knitted gifts for every Christmas ever would be the ultimate gift because Canadian winters are harsh, yo. Plus there’s the fact that Mrs. Weasley seems like she’s always be yelling at her kids, but it’s just because she loves them and would do anything for them. Even kids who aren’t her kids, like Harry and Hermione. Hell, she’d probably take care of Draco if he’d abandoned his Death Eater roots and sought refuge at the Burrow.

Niki Sanders (Heroes)
nikiheroes
Heroes used to be my LIFE, and it makes me sad that it’s not a regular thing I think about or watch anymore. With that said, there were a lot of sketchy mother characters on this show. Then there was Niki (a.k.a. Jessica, Tracy, etc etc) who lived a sketchy life, but cared SO much for her son Micah. Everything she did was for her little boy genius and it was super endearing.

Cersei Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones)
cersei-wine
LOL Cersei. MOTHER OF THE YEAR, yeah? Let’s ignore the fact that her children’s father is actually her brother. Cersei is the definition of UNCONDITIONAL MOTHERLY LOVE. I mean, Joffrey was an absolute monster, and she still loved him.

Catelyn Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones)
catelynbran
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have Lady Cat. She totally doesn’t want her son Robb to get caught up in a war, keep Jaime Lannister hostage, or marry Talisa (Jeyne in the books), but she supports him anyway. SHE SUPPORTS HIM ALL THE WAY TO THE VERY BLOODY END T_T

Mrs. S (Orphan Black)
mrss
Mrs. S may not be Sarah Manning’s birth mother, but holy crap, does she look out for the birds in her nest. Don’t let the tea set on the kitchen table fool you because I think this woman has a shotgun within reach 95% of the time. She won’t hesitate to shoot if you mess with her family.

Catherine de Medici (Reign)
catherinereign
Megan Follows’ portrayal of Queen Catherine on this show is absolutely entertaining. As a queen is apt to do, she cares immensely for her kids a.k.a. the heirs to the royal throne. She has murdered, schemed, blackmailed, and God knows what else to keep her kids safe. Okay yeah there was that whole business with Clarissa, her daughter who wore a potato sack on her head or whatever, but with that exception Catherine is the ultimate Mama Bird.

Shmi Skywalker (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
shmiskywalker
To quote Han Solo in Return of the Jedi, “Hey, it’s me!” so you know I have to include a Star Wars madre on this list. Little Ani’s mom it is! Although Shmi is a major factor in Anakin’s descent towards the dark side, she’s also the one who teaches him the major life lessons that I think paired with Luke’s whole speech brings him back to a ~good in the end. As a kid, Anakin was fearless and wanted to help a bunch of strangers he’d just met–because of Shmi’s teachings. Plus, she raised Anakin on her own. BEING A SINGLE MOM IN TATTOOINE AIN’T EASY OKAY.

Janine Hathaway (Vampire Academy)
(no gif for Janine because she doesn’t exist in non-book form…)
 Rose Hathaway’s badass guardian mother may not have been present while she was growing up, but at least she’s only an eloquent and heartfelt telegram away. Example: “I’m glad you’re back. What you did was inexcusable.” LOVE YOU TOO, MOM.

And because I can’t think of anything clever or amusing to end this post with, I’ll just end with this totally appropriate Spice Girls video.