Sunday, July 5, 2015

Book Review: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

I am so excited to be launching the Summer Reading Diversity Spotlight today! This summer, expect a book review of a diverse book and/or a book written by a diverse author every other day on the blog. For the first week, expect a diverse book review every single day! An archive of the reviews can be read here. I'm so excited to be launching with a review of Delicate Monsters which I think it's safe to say is one of my favorite reads of the year.


Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA Contemporary
ISBN: 978-1250063847
Source: Received From Publisher
Add it to Goodreads


When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny.

Maybe it’s all of theirs.


Wow. What an extraordinary reading experience this was. My first thought as I began to read Delicate Monsters was, "Oh, that's a fantastic first line!" As I continued reading, my next thought was, "This is in third person." Third person is hit or miss for me, I've always been that way. But I kept reading and was taken by how quickly that wasn't a concern, how quickly I fell into the world of Delicate Monsters which is such a devilishly sweet treat. Maybe sweet is the wrong word for this tale because it's everything but. Delicate Monsters is a provocative, no holds barred look at what it's like to be a teenager, what it's like to be a broken human being. What it's like to hurt people, what it's like not caring about hurting people. It's a clever and brutally honest reflection of the world, and the thoughts and actions of the people living in it. It's a truth that won't always be easy to swallow.

All of the characters are three dimensional which is part of what really drew me in. They were so real. Such an honest reflection of the characteristics that we often try to ignore and dent. It's all here. I also really appreciated how diverse the characters were all around (race, class, etc...), making this a true mirror of the world we live in which is not reflected in fiction enough. Diversity matters, especially in fiction so it was so wonderful to see here. Another element that kept me hanging onto her every word? Stephanie Kuehn's writing and voice, oh my goodness, her voice is killer. Delicate Monsters is spellbinding. The characters, the setting, the story, the pacing, the writing, the voice... everything....everything it takes to make a stellar novel, this books encompasses.

...We shine. We burn out. But together, we can light the sky.

I've never read a blurb truer than the one that's on the cover for this book. "A chilling look into heartache and reckless redemption--not for the faint of heart." Kirkus nailed it. Delicate Monsters is dark and disturbing and chilling to the bone. If you're ready for this, dive in. Delicate Monsters is magnificent. It's my first read by Stephanie Kuehn and while her previous novels were on my list of books to read, I'm moving them high up the list now. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I am simply blown away.

Delicate Monsters is a mysterious and psychologically thrilling read, making this a story you'll want to devour in one sitting but not necessarily a novel you can digest in the same. I read it in three sittings and I'm still quite haunted by this experience. More than that I am once again completely fascinated by the world and the people living in it. Bravo, Kuehn. Bravo.

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn is available today.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

TV Talk: The First Week of Big Brother in Review


Photo Credit: All Photos from CBS

The Two Night Premiere

THE TWISTS
Can we talk about the twists for a moment?! I have been waiting for the Twin Twist since I started watching the show so I am OVER THE MOON about this twin twist FINALLY, FINALLLLYYYYY coming to pass. Yes!!!! Yes! Yes! Yes! I would totally figure this twist out so soon oh my goodness. That's like the first thing I would look for as a HG so I'm sad I didn't audition for this season hahaha. So the twist is that a pair of twins will be secretly playing as ONE HG and if they make it past 5 weeks in the house, the other twin came come into the game and play as their own person! The HGs finding out isn't a knock against them from BB, they just have to make it through the first 5 weeks, regardless of whether or not the HGs find out. Wow. I am so pumped to see this play out! I'm dying to see how long it takes for someone to notice! Especially since at this point, Liz gets on my nerves so I'm hoping I'll like her twin more.

As for the other twists? I'm glad to see Battle of the Block back. That was fun. I don't think they can do it for more than 3 seasons though. I think if they did do it next season, that would be pushing it. But I do like it. Then, there's the BB Takeover where a new twist is thrown at the HGs every week?! Every single week! Wow. Whoever came up with that idea probably got a bonus. Or the person who actually had to come up with all of those twists hahaha. I'm already annoyed by the sound effect that lets the HGs know there is a BB Takeover happening. Ha ha. Okay, so twists out of the way, let's talk HGs.

THE HOUSEGUESTS
I love that the HGs were so accepting of Audrey's identity. Speaking of the LGBT community, I can't wait for Jason to find out about the same sex marriage Supreme Court ruling when he gets out of the house!

I think it's hilarious that all of the girls are in love with the beauty that is Clay. Remember though, Devin was the most adorable one too. Ha ha ha. Anyway, it looks like a Clay and Shelli showmance is possible. I don't mind seeing that, they clearly like each other. For now. I don't know about calling them The Heart Murmurs though ha ha. Don't want to speak that onto their future children or anything!

What would really be funny though is if Clay liked Liz because Liz likes Clay and a showmance started there and Liz's twin didn't know and umm yeah, awkward! Ha ha! Maybe even game over? Also, I found it super funny that in the intro, Becky said that she can't stand divas... I wonder how she'll fair with Liz who seems to be quite the diva. Only time will tell!

Jace has already shown his BB Superfan knowledge and I think that could hurt him in the long run. He needs to pipe down.

I didn't watch the season of The Amazing Race that Jackie and Jeff were on but so far, I like Jackie and I am not too fond of Jeff. Though I'd be happier if both were evicted as soon as possible so the bigger Big Brother fans can play the game. I love The Amazing Race but this is one mash up I'm already over. It would be pretty funny if one of them won the game though.

THE ALLIANCES
On day one, Shelli, Da'Vonne aka Day, and Audrey made a very nonchalant alliance. Okay, that's cool. So far, so good.

THE GAME
James was the first person to win HoH. I really wanted him to slow down with his catches because he definitely was going for the win from the very beginning and not even taking into consideration that because of his skills here, he's going to be a threat later down the line when his HoH reign is over. For now, he's safe but he's clearly the real Beast Mode Cowboy and needs to slow it down before this beast gets evicted.

Jason won the second HoH which was exciting to see. That boy is in it to win it! Like James though, he needs to make sure he plays a really good game so he's not evicted because he comes off as too much of a threat.


Sunday Night
It was Alliance Central on Sunday night! Austin and Jace quickly became bros and made an alliance called "ShellTown" but little does Jace know, he's a huge target and Austin knows this and is perfectly fine with Jace taking the fall before him. Ha! Little do either know that Audrey and Day can see right through them and know that there's an alliance there. These ladies are on point! That said, I don't think Austin and Jace are fooling anyone with their alliance.

Speaking of alliances, Shelli and Clay have a bit of a showmance alliance forming and both Day and Audrey are quite aware of that as well, both optioning to keep Shelli on the outskirts of their female alliance because of it. Smart choice. So, basically Shelli is expendable and now it's essentially a two person alliance between Day and Audrey which works for me because they are really on the same page. I don't really mind at this point. I haven't seen much game play from Shelli yet. I know she's got it. But, I'm not connected enough yet to care.

Back to Jace for a minute. Day and Audry agreed that Jace was a physical threat. When Audrey talked to HoH, Jason, they talked about Jace being a threat. Jason had mentioned to the other HoH, James that Jace was a threat. Then, James, Jason, Day, and Audrey (I'm dubbing the "Diversity Crew") all had a meeting about Jace. They landed on backdooring Jace. Okay, cool. Seems like a simple enough task for week one given the choices (personalities) they've got in the house.

James told Jackie they needed a pawn and Jackie said she'd do it, she's not afraid. Whether or not she's seen the show, I think she should be afraid. I'd vote to evict her in a heartbeat. Anyway, Jason asked John to be a pawn. We also saw Jason and James ask Becky to be a pawn. She agreed and then cried, saying she was blindsided when she was nominated so I'm guessing we didn't see the rest of that convo that maybe ended on them deciding not to put her up in the end? I have the live feeds but I haven't really been watching so I'll have to go back and search for that convo. I'm not liking Becky saying she'd put Jason up in a heartbeat as it sounds like she's saying that out of anger and not actually thinking about the most strategic move which she can't predict because so much can happen between now and whenever, if ever she wins HoH.

So they also approached Steve about being a pawn. He was against it and didn't hesitate about expressing that. I loved that earlier, Day told Steve that he gave off an Ian vibe but I think that both of them being super fans and Steve being told he gave off that vibe really scared him away even more. Had he not known this, he still would have been against the pawn idea. But I think the Ian comment really set him over in that he was flat out against the pawn idea rather than slowing saying no.

So who was nominated? First, the BB Take Over. Since Day and Vanesa sat out of the HoH comps, they were safe this week as part of the BB Take Over. The catch? They each had 30 minutes to decide who they wanted to bring with them to be safe and this takeover was dubbed the BB Fast Forward to go along with The Amazing Race mash up currently going on as that have a Fast Forward element to the game on that show. Day chose to save Liz for the week. Vanessa chose to save Austin for the week. I love Vanessa's choice. It was calculated well. I think Day could have saved one of their alliance members though. I mean, c'mon! Her excuse was that Liz was the only one who gave her safety for the next week. Umm, that was guaranteed with an alliance choice. Man, oh man. Day is a really great player in this game, along with Audrey...they could be a powerhouse alliance those two. But Day need not overthink too much. I can see that she thinks that she's making the right decision as a super fan but sometimes the simple answer is the right answer. I hope she gets that soon.

Jason nominated John and Becky and he blamed it on lack of personal connection. Okay. James nominated Steve and Jackie, saying he was sure they'd both get themselves off the block. Weak speech, bro! If I were playing the game, I'd be fine with the nominations but think something was fishy with James given that terrible speech. I was impressed with his nominations but aside from that, James really needs to work on his game.

Cut to the Battle of the Block. John and Becky won the competition so Jason was dethroned as HoH, leaving Steve and Jackie up for eviction. Which was fine because those are the only actual threats that were nominated this week. So, to recap... Audrey's game is on point! Day's is too but she needs to remember not to overthink things and then she'll really be good. Being a super fan has its advantages and disadvantages. And Jace is the main threat which is fine by me. Time for the POV!


Wednesday Night
ALLIANCE
James wanted to create an alliance with Day, Audrey, Jason, Meg, and Clay. I think adding Meg and Clay into the mix is questionable. There's nothing that can be added to their alliance by including Clay and Meg is cool but I hope she ends up being more beneficial than I can see right now.

But as much as I was concerned about those two, Audrey went and practically rallied half the house for an alliance. I really wish she didn't do that because her game was on point before this moment and now she's getting on everyone's nerves. I'm sure the producers will make next week's twist go in her favor because she's a big ratings draw, let's be real. This is a game but it's also a business and the producers know what they're doing. So I don't see Audrey going anywhere in the next month really. I'd be super surprised if she did go home in the next four weeks but that said, she needs to cool it.

I love that Austin knew that Jace was annoying the house and went up to the HoH room to talk to James to get the focus off of Jace, his sole alliance member. I love how Jace invited an alliance upon himself with Austin, Audrey, and James. Ha! It's especially hysterical that James and Audrey just went along with it to appease him. Oh, lord.

DRAMA
Can we talk about Day for a second? Oh. My. God. That girl is on point! I love that she was counting inventory on week one. I love that she called out Shelli, Clay, and Jeff for spying on her. I love, love, love that she knew exactly how Clay and Jeff were playing the game, insincerely lying to her with apologies for coming at her. That girl is on point! She knows this game inside and out! She just has to keep her balance and keep the right pacing as well as keep her emotions in check for the rest of the HGs sake and she could really win this game. Those emotions, girl. They could ruin it all. There's so much that can go wrong but there's so much that can go right and she knows enough about this game to make it go right. So make it go right!

POV
By random draw, John, houseguest choice of Jason by way of Steve, Austin by way of James, and the nominees played. It was a spelling game so it's no surprise that Steve won and took himself off the block. I'm laughing here for two reasons. One because there's no way Jackie really thought she'd win this competition spelling judges, right? And two, there's no way anyone could have won against Steve, knowing he spelled trombonist! Wow. That win was his from the very beginning. So Steve took himself off the block and Jace was, as scheduled, back doored. Pretty smooth week one in regards to the game play decisions of the HoH. It won't be smooth sailing soon enough. Enjoying the calm before the storm.


Thursday Night
THE GAME
Audrey telling Jace that she had nothing to do with it. Ha! She didn't even need to do that. She should have fallen back and let everything play out as planned. Instead, she threw the whole house under the bus during WEEK ONE to try to play like she was innocent and not involved in the back dooring. No one else was as insistent as she about this. Oh, shake my head.

EVICTION
Why did Audrey vote to evict Jackie? Ugh. Audrey. I understand your method but it was completely unnecessary this week. You know that Tyra Banks "I was rooting for you" bit? Yeah. I'm feeling that with Audrey. Austin voted to evict Jace with Jace's blessing. So..... Jace knows he came on too strong and said in his eviction interview that he thinks it could have been Audrey who voted him out since he told Austin to vote with the house and he knows Audrey is trying to save her own butt. Audrey. The sole vote to get Jackie evicted. Jace was really attentive and in tune with the game but he's just an annoying guy and it's sad because there's nothing actually wrong with him, he's just got too much energy for that house is all. Sad to see him go. He could have done some great damage in that house.

THE TWISTS
Kathy Griffin was the celebrity guest this week for the BB Takeover. A phone was put in the house and the HG who answers the phone at the seventh ring gets the power to keep three people from voting. Whoa. Three people! Wow wow wow wow. Three is a lot of people to keep from voting. I can't say that I like it or not yet because it's too early to tell how well or terribly wrong this could go. So, we'll see!

I loved Jace's reaction to the The Twin Twist! I can't wait to see the twins make it four more weeks!

HOH
Becky and Shelli are the the new HoHs! Wow! I'm thinking Becky will nominate Audrey and Jason, Audrey because she's basically imploding and Jason because of that miscommunication about being a pawn. I have no idea who Shelli will nominate but we all know it won't be Clay! Crazy how Shelli wasn't even really a huge player a few days ago and now she's HoH. Who do you think she will nominate?

Watch Big Brother Sundays at 8/7c, Wednesdays at 8/7c, and Thursdays at 9/8c on CBS.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 2015 Releases On My Radar


July 1, 2015
Movies in Theaters
Terminator Genisys

July 2, 2015
Books
* Killer Game by Kirsty McKay (Add it to Goodreads)
* The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke (Add it to Goodreads)
* Tracer by Rob Boffard (Add it to Goodreads)


July 7, 2015
Books
* Paperweight by Meg Haston (Add it to Goodreads)
* The Escape by Hannah Jayne (Add it to Goodreads)
* Survive the Night by Danielle Vega (Add it to Goodreads)
* The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Add it to Goodreads)
* Don't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom (Add it to Goodreads)
* The Six by Mark Alpert (Add it to Goodreads)
* As If!: The Oral History of Clueless as told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast and Crew by Jen Chaney (Add it to Goodreads)
* Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (Add it to Goodreads)

TV
* Witches Of East End The Complete 2nd Season
* Playing House The Complete 1st Season

Movies on Blu-ray/DVD
* Woman in Gold
* The Drop Box

July 10, 2015
Movies in Theaters
Self/less
Minions
We Did on Our Holiday (Limited)


July 14, 2015
Books
* Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Add it to Goodreads)
* Armada by Ernest Cline (Add it to Goodreads)
* Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams (Add it to Goodreads)
* No Such Person by Caroline B. Cooney (Add it to Goodreads)
* Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones (Add it to Goodreads)

TV
* Magic School Bus The Complete 3rd Season

Movies on Blu-ray/DVD
* X-Men: Days of Future Past the Rogue Cut
* Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
* Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

July 17, 2015
Movies in Theaters
Ant-Man
Lila & Eve
Trainwreck
Boulevard (Limited)


July 21, 2015
Books
* Watch Your Back by Tracy Bilen (Add it to Goodreads)
* Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud (Add it to Goodreads)
* Selp-Helf by Miranda Sings (Add it to Goodreads)
* Damage Done by Amanda Panitch (Add it to Goodreads)
* Resonance by Erica O’Rourke (Add it to Goodreads)
* Love Lies Beneath by Ellen Hopkins (Add it to Goodreads)

July 24, 2015
Movies in Theaters
Paper Towns
Pixels


July 28, 2015
Books
* Fables Vol. 22: Farewell by Bill Willingham & Mark Buckingham (Add it to Goodreads)
* All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder (Add it to Goodreads)
* Adrift by Paul Griffin (Add it to Goodreads)
* What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss (Add it to Goodreads)

Movies on Blu-ray/DVD
* Home


July 31, 2015
Movies in Theaters
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Cast Party: Podcast Festival LIVE
A LEGO Brickumentary (Limited)
Extinction (Limited)
The End of the Tour (Limited)

What new releases are you anticipating this July?

Melody's June 2015 Wrap Up

Binged This Month: Orange is the New Black Season 3

Book Reviews
*** Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
* Never Never: Part One of Three by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

E-book/Book/ARC/SYNC Audiobook Haul
* The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian
* Wings by Aprilynne Pike
* Breakers by Edward W. Robertson
* The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
* The Falconer by Elizabeth May
* Torn by Erica O'Rourke
* Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
* More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
* What We Left Behind by Robin Talley
* The Living by Matt de la Pena (Audiobook)
* Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (Audiobook)
* Monster by Walter Dean Myers (Audiobook)
* Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Audiobook)


That's my lovely little sister, Taylor jumping in on the photo just as excited for More Happy Than Not as I am!

Blu-ray, DVD, & TV Reviews
* Blu-ray: Focus
* Movie: Brother's Keeper
* DVD: Rizzoli & Isles The Complete Fifth Season
* DVD: Teen Beach 2
* TV: Mr. Robot (USA) Series Premiere
* TV Week in Review #36 (Note: On Summer Hiatus)

Interviews
* Courtney C. Stevens (Faking Normal, The Lies About Truth)


June Notes
* Just one week after ending my six month literary internship with Louise Fury at The Bent Agency, I received acceptance into another internship! I am now an intern for MunaLuchi Bride, a bridal magazine geared towards women of color. I have already written well over a dozen articles for them, my archive is here. There I am above with three of the other new and awesome interns! It's going great and I am so, so, so excited for what's to come interning for this company!
* YA Runs A 5K 2015 participated in the super hero themed 5k in Philly and it was a blast! We are still raising money for We Need Diverse Books and there are plenty of gifts up for grabs to those who donate, including signed books and signed advanced copies as well was writing critiques!
* I announced my Summer Reading Diversity Spotlight Series which I am so excited about launching next week!
* Big Brother is back! Before its premiere, I gave my first impressions of the houseguests based on the press interviews! Check it out here!
* I participated in 5 Fandom Friday again! This time around, I talked about my favorite fashion forward TV characters!
* I also participated in Top Ten Tuesday, sharing the top ten books on my Summer "To Be Read (TBR)" list!


My Insane Book & Movie Challenge Update #18
My monthly update for my Insane Book & Movie Challenge is below!

Books


If you'd like to keep track of my reading progress as it happens and reviews as they are posted, feel free to follow me on Goodreads!

Books I Read That Are In My Bookcase
1. Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
2. Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction by Candace Cameron Bure with Erin Davis

E-books I Read
Read through Kindle App on iPad
1. Never Never Part One of Three by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

My favorite read this month was Never Never Part One of Three by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher.

Movies & Documentaries


Watched in June 2015
Wow, I haven't watched anything new movie/documentary wise this month! Wow, wow, wow! I am shocked! That's a first! I've been so busy with work and my new internship, that every chance I got, I was watching Orange is the New Black, Netflix's Between, and reading for the summer series. I'm determined to watch some movies this summer though! Can't have that!

Until next month, happy reading and viewing!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summer Reading: Diversity Spotlight

How was your first week of Summer? Mine was fabulous! I spent a ton of time reading and I am so, so, so very excited to announce my Summer Reading Diversity Spotlight as part of my Summer reading this year!

As you know, 1) I have a huge TBR goal this year and I'm way behind and 2) I took a pledge of my own to make sure that half of my book reviews every month are diverse. The problem? I haven't really been reading a lot this year and we're already halfway through the year! So basically, I need to kick it up a notch in more ways than one.

I've been inspired by We Need Diverse Books Summer Reading Series to do just that! Which brings me to this...


I'm challenging myself to post a book review of a diverse read every other day this summer.


For the first week - next week, you can expect a book review of a diverse book and/or a book by a diverse author every single day!!! Then all the way to September 22, 2015, expect a book review every other day right here on Hollywood the Write Way of a diverse read!

I will start an archive below so that if you want, you can bookmark this page and have a quick reference to every diverse read that I will be covering this Summer. Feel free to join in as well for the whole summer or one month during the summer! I am also open to suggestions of titles to cover!

Archive
1. Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn - Review Coming Sunday, July 5th
2. World After by Susan Ee - Review Coming Monday
3. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera - Review Coming Tuesday
4. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler - Review Coming Wednesday
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What are you reading this summer?