Snarky is the New Adorable - Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall Blog Tour + ARC Review + Giveaway

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall Review

Oh my what can I say... this book was just so perfectly cute. On my list of favorite types of romances, right under "hate at first sight", is cute, awkwardly ones. And the latter's pretty much Been Here All Along in a nutshell. (you know it's been awhile since I've sat down to write a good ol' review, also my brain is currently very sleep deprived as I've developed a habit of accidentally staying up all night reading)

Synopsis & Details:

Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already read more... dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do.

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong…

Title: Been Here All Along
Author: Sandy Hall
Series: N/A
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, YA
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks Swoon Reads!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.

Basically we have Dorian, your well put together, neat freak, list-maker, and his friend Kyle, the sweet, messy, bisexual, sporty guy (who reminds me of shaggy dog for some reason). They've been best friends since they were children, and all's good... Tilll teen rom-com cliché strikes (his words not mine) and Dorian (the supposedly straight friend) realizes he's chest deep in love with his totally platonic bestie Kyle, who also happens to be dating a uber popular cheerleader. Basically one word, inevitable doom.

While reading Been Here All Along (BHAA) I highlighted a ton of quotes.

This is one of those books that possess beautiful snarky humor. And you know me, the snarkier the better. Here lies my favorite quote:
"I have become a teen rom-com cliché. There is no hope for me."

BHAA (sorry not sorry, my sleep deprived brain is feeling too lazy to type) has this sweet earnestness to it (or should I say Kyle-earnestness *ba-dum-tshh*) As I mention above the romance in this book is very much a first lovey type. It's sweet, innocent, and adorable. Kyle and Gideon... just #goals.

Me while reading this book:

There a couple points of views, however it doesn't weigh down on the book at all.

In fact I feel like the multiple POVs improved the story. While we're on the topic, my one little complaint is, sometimes the voice of the different characters weren't really that distinct, occasionally I'd have to check whether it was Kyle's or Gideon's POV cause I couldn't really tell. Though I have to say I felt like Erza had a really clear, distinct voice.

One last thing I'd like to mention is that I feel like the character development was great,

especially with one character. (and since I hate it when people mysteriously allude to a character in their review, without telling us who they are. The developy ink human is (view spoiler)[Ruby].

I pretty much finished Been Here All Along (I'm writing this the next day, and yes my brain is feeling better) in one sitting. This book has an adorable romance, and if you're looking for a light, quick, sweet. read, you might want to give this one a go.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Do you prefer "hate at first sight" romances or sweet adorable ones?
Blog Tour Schedule
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Uhhhhh.... What Just Happened???? - Cursed Child Review

Monday, August 15, 2016
Cursed Child Review

Okay I'm just gonna lay this down. I really reallly wanted to adore this script, play, book thingie (we're just gonna call it a script, capiche?) I was beyond excited for Cursed Child as I so adamantly displayed in this post about the new developments in the wizarding world.

Synopsis & Details:

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later. Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. read more... The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Title: Harry Potter & the Cursed Child
Author(s): J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
Series: Harry Potter
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: Library

However I have to say my feelings about this script are mixed at best.

Part I drove me nuts (and not in the good way) just ask my family, I literally raged my way through Cursed Child. (You can not even fathom how many times I put down the script to yell at the characters for being 1. way out of character 2. stupid) Though I kept reading on cause it's Harry Potter, and no Potterhead can just abandon a Potter book.

Let me just say this, Scorpius, my man is the best thing to ever grace Cursed Child (well Albus wasn't too bad himself, though occasionally his rational decision making skills were a bit lacking. But seriously, the poor dude, Albus Severus Potter, pfft what kinda name is that?)

Cursed Child reads like a fanfiction (and not even a good one at that), not like a Harry Potter book.

It's honestly like the two aren't really even in the same world. Plus, Harry, Hermione, and Ron feel different, kinda as if some of their personality was chopped off.

Part II was marginally better than Part I (translation: less angry raging) I found myself enjoying the story more. Honestly beside Scorpius, Part II is the sole savior of Cursed Child. (Scorpius and Part II are the only reasons Cursed Child isn't getting 1 star) (view spoiler)[*warning, major, major, spoilers, turn back now or forever suffer* What the f**king hell (in this case foul language was really a necessity) Voldemort has a daughter... (not sure what to feel about it, kinda cheesy to be honest. I would have liked this story a lot more sans-Voldy) Also awhile back on the ol' tumblr I saw a post that claimed to be a Cursed Child spoiler that said Cedric Diggory became a Death Eater, and I about died of laughter, turns out it's kinda true... yeah no that's totally out of character.]

Cursed Child is an okay addition to the Potter Universe (if a bit unnecessary).

I wouldn't say I 100% hated it, but I don't particularly adore it. Though if you're a potterhead I definitely recommend you at least check it out.

Also even though I haven't personally seen the play, if you have a chance to see the play before reading the script, you should wait to see the play. From what I've heard the play's visuals more than make up for the poor plot. I hope I get the chance to see it someday. (Rock fact: this is the first 2 starred review I've ever posted on Quartzfeather, and honestly it's kinda sad, never imagined it'd be this book receiving that honor. And yes that was an Over the Garden Wall reference)

Rating: 2/5 Stars

So have you read Cursed Child? Or better yet seen the play? If so a penny for your thoughts?
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How Technology Has Changed the Way We Enjoy Books - Guest Post

Monday, August 8, 2016

Today Caroline from Culture Coverage will be join us with a post about how tech has influnced the way we read. I hope you enjoy!

If you haven't been living in a vacuum for the last few decades, then you'll probably have already seen how the advances in technology and the advent of the internet have revolutionized how we do, pretty much, everything.

In such a short space of time, we've gone from libraries, phone boxes and reference books, to having literally everything we could ever need in small compact devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

And books haven't escaped this technological revolution. These are just a few of the ways that reading and enjoying books have changed in recent years!

eReading: The concept of e-books has been around for the majority of the last century,

with attributions for the inventor of the format spread over several candidates throughout a 22 year period (1949-1971).

Although no one is sure who was the true pioneer in the e-book movement, it’s undeniable that e-reading found its commercial success after Amazon’s Kindle release in 2009. Now, it’s easier than ever to enjoy reading, as these electronic devices let you carry around a whole library of material in one compact product! Most smart devices now also offer apps to share e-book formats, so you can even get your daily reading fix straight from your phone or laptop.

While you can't argue with the convenience of this, some avid readers are less-than-enthusiastic about the developments.

They worry about losing that holistic experience you get from actually turning the pages and making your way through a physical novel.

However, whether you like it or not, e-reading has definitely changed the face of the book world forever!

Audiobooks (the best friend to tired eyes!)

Audiobooks are another fantastic product of our age of technology and have unarguable benefits for books lovers. My first experience of this format was through childhood story tapes, and I remember endless nights falling asleep to a whole range of exciting tales.

As an adult, audio-reading in this way is still one of my favorite pastimes. For those with text and writing-heavy jobs who spend all day staring at tiny fonts on computer screens and paper documents, coming home and reading can be near to impossible.

If you are one of these people and still want to get your literary fix on an evening, audiobooks provide a fantastic respite and a great alternative without straining your already tired eyes.

Remember When You HAD to Go to a Bookshop:

Now, I’m not saying that going to the bookshop isn’t a fantastic treat and amazing experience in its own right. I think it’s safe to say that all book lovers enjoy all the time they can get in these literary meccas. But there’s definitely benefits to being able to buy online.

Internet distributors, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Powell’s Books, make it easier than ever to refill your bookcases when you’re running out of things to read.

You can easily browse reviews, read plot summaries and chose your next book buy, and with one click, it will be delivered straight your door! In our modern world of jam-packed schedules, being able to do this is a fantastic benefit.

Similarly, e-book stores, such as Kindle, mean that even when you’re out and about— taking a break at your local coffee shop or waiting for the train—you can browse a whole library of options and find the next perfect read for you. All that’s required is a good WiFi network to connect you to the online store.

A Word of Warning:

Unfortunately, it’s this convenience of buying online that brings one of the few drawbacks the influence of technology has had on the way we enjoy books. Before the advent of e-books, we would have never, ever worried about our safety when reading.

However, now numerous criminals have gained access to their targets bank accounts via details saved on their e-readers.

While this is not necessarily the fault of the devices and has more the do with the insecure nature of the public WiFi networks that they rely on to provide their service, it’s still worth taking note.

Kindle Fire users in particular—as these devices require the most internet access out of all e-readers—have been warned to use a Virtual Private Network to keep yourself safe. If you don't know what this is or want to know what varieties are available, this VPN review website has more info and covers a wide range of options that are on offer.

The Benefits of Online Book Clubs:

It’s not just our own personal book experience that has been transformed by technology; it's also allowed us to create a virtual literature community that is unlike anything the world has ever seen before. While once discussing your favorite novels or slating over-rated authors would have been restricted to meetings with friends or local book clubs, now there's an entire virtual world where you can share you opinions.

Book blogs are becoming increasingly common and allow literally anyone to discuss their latest must-reads.

Alongside this, almost every online bookstore has a section dedicated to reviews where you can share your opinions and learn from other people!

There’s no denying that technology has revolutionized the lives of book lovers. Some adore the convenience these advancements have afforded us, while others worry about losing the authenticity of a paper-based culture that has been around for many years. So, what do you think? Are technology and books a match made it heaven or a sad reflection of modern life? Leave a comment below and share your ideas.

About the Author

Caroline is an entertainment and technology blogger and an avid reader.

She loves the way the internet has transformed book culture and hopes she can share her tips for combining her two greatest loves—tech and reading—with fellow literary fans.

You can find more of Caroline's work at Culture Coverage
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Some Disappointment in the Fantasy Department - The Neverland Wars + Glass Sword DNF Discussion

Monday, August 1, 2016
Glass Sword & The Neverland Wars DNF Discussion

I don't do DNF discussions a ton, mainly cause I don't really DNF a lot of books. Or if I end up putting them down, I still have intentions to finish reading them someday in the future. However I've got two on hand that I'd like to talk about so it's time to discuss.

The Neverland Wars

cover of The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse
Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That's what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home. read more...

However, Gwen doesn't know this. She's just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn't know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she'll discover she's in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She'll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won't be the only one. Peter Pan's constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she's going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she's going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.


Title: The Neverland Wars
Author: Audrey Greathouse
Series: N/A
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Retellings
Source: Review copy from the publisher. Thanks Clean Teen!

I picked up The Neverland Wars because it was a retelling, and I had yet to find one of Peter Pan that I really liked. (if you have any Peter Pan retelling recs I'm more than happy to here 'em) It started off great, and from what I gleaned from the summary it had a unique enough plot. Then I got to this part of the book...

Finally, trying not to arouse suspicion, Rosemary asked, “Gwen, what are hormones? ”Gwen set her laptop aside on the nightstand. She smirked, but she resented the implication that all of her behavior and feelings had been dismissed as an inevitable, impersonal product of her adolescence. “They’re little things that get inside of you once you start growing up. They’re like tiny bugs that start changing how you feel about everything. They bite at every part of your insides, infecting you with grownupness before you even know you’ve caught them.”

And well. After this it was a bit difficult to take the MC seriously... The writing style wasn't bad, and I probably would have read on but I lost interest.

It may seem a bit over the top to abandon a book because one paragraph, but while deciding whether to DNF or not, I read a couple reviews and saw that the book just wasn't for me. Maybe I should have given this book more of a chance, but honestly in my opinion there's really no use in reading a book you don't enjoy, what do you think? Also because what Gwen said about hormones, she ends of scaring her little sister, Rosemary, and while I was reading that part I was thinking, seriously?

Glass Sword

cover of Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different. Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. read more...

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.


Title: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Library

I honestly quite liked Red Queen, but Glass Sword never managed to hook me. I got to about 80% but then my digital loan expired. Technically I still had the time to finish the book if I really wanted to, but I decided not to. For the entire 80%, Glass Sword was really boring, however I didn't really notice I wasn't enjoying it till after I read a negative review and I realized I was dragging my way through the book.

I really wanted to like it because I did enjoy the first book, however the more I think about it the first book wasn't all that great either. I read Red Queen (tongue twister alert) not long after I started my blog, so I wasn't as picky back then. I'm not 100% on whether or not I'd still like Red Queen if I reread it now, to be sure I'd have to read it again. What's your opinion on Red Queen? I've seen a lot of people calling it a huge mash of a lot of other dystopian and fantasy books, and I can definitely see where that opinion it coming from.

Also everyone on Twitter was screaming about how Glass Sword had torn out their hearts and such, so I was expecting something astounding, but for me it was kinda meh. I suppose the end could have been the part ripping apart their hearts, which I didn't get to, but honestly I wasn't really feeling this one. If you've read Glass Sword in it's entirety, is it worth it to stick around to the end?

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I do my DNFs in a discussion formats cause often times I still have lingering questions after putting down a book. So if you've read either of these novels can you do a girl a favor and help me decide whether their worth picking up again?
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