Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August Snapshots

1 & 2. I went to McKinny Falls State Park last week for the first time to go Pokemon hunting. It was really nice to see it at a time when it's (mostly) full with water.   

3 & 4. Added some B&N exclusives to my vinyl collection while Barnes and Noble was hosting Vinyl Day. With the addition of PTX Vol.I-III, my Pentatonix vinyl collection is complete, I just need to get PTXMas on CD to complete the rest of my collection. And I added these beautiful Harry Potter soundtracks to my collection. It's so cool to finally be able to add these to my collection, and hopefully WB will release the rest of the soundtracks on vinyl.

5. My family took a day trip to Abilene and dropped my little brother off at college. His campus is really nice and of course I had to look for Pokemon while I was there. 


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Rainy Days (Playlist)

It's has been raining pretty much nonstop here in Texas. I don't mind the rain but it's been raining so much that I had to make a playlist to get me in the mood for this weather. So here's a collection of songs that I like to listen to while it's raining, curled up with a good book:

I am the type of person who usually likes to listen to slower, quieter songs while raining, because I think that the sound of the rain enhances the music. I know some people like to blast their music while it's raining and drown out the sounds, but I'm pretty much the opposite (but Fall Out Boy's Jet Pack Blues falls in between that spectrum).  - Jessica

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Cursed Child (Review)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely love Harry Potter. I talk about Harry Potter a lot and I have so much Harry Potter merchandise that I'm always carrying my love for Harry around. So needless to say I was really excited to learn that there would be an eight story in the form of a play on West End and subsequently a book of the script. Earlier this week I shared all of my experience of getting my copy at midnight, and I wanted to do a follow up post on my thoughts of the story. There's been a lot of mixed responses from fans. I really loved the story but I did have a couple problems with the book and some other opinions (SPOILER WARNING) that I'm sharing down below. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Cursed Child Midnight Release

Last week I went to the midnight release for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at my local Barnes and Noble (but really my friend and I ended up partying hopping-more on that later). I remember going to the midnight releases for the last two books and movies of the series, and I have missed those experiences so much. I was so exciting when news broke that many bookstores would have midnight releases and I knew immediately that I was going to go all out.

Since I was dead set on going all out, I dressed up as Hermione Granger (because I wasn't going to miss out on the chance to dress up as my favorite character). So I curled my hair (in a more of the movie style), paired up a shirt I got ages ago from Hot Topic with a black skirt and tights, and I finished the look off with replicas of Hermione's wand and Time Turner from Noble Collection. There were definitely better costumes than mine, but I think mine looks pretty good for a thrown together costume. Plus I looked like I was going to the Hogwarts version of an American private school. 

So my friend, Shelby, and I headed to our local Barnes and Noble to go join in the festivities. I had some nostalgic moments while we were there, because I went to the same store for the release of Deathly Hallows. But overall it felt like a very different environment than I was expecting, there were less people there but everyone was still really excited for the release. We ended up getting tickets 43 and 44 in line, and I was so excited to be among the first group of people to get to pick up their books. Since we got there so early to get our tickets, we did get a little bored cause it didn't feel like there was much to do, so we ended up going to BookPeople to check out what they were doing for the midnight release. 

When we got to BookPeople, it was crazy, there were a lot more people there. I had some friends at BookPeople waiting to get their books, so I was able to visit them and we walked around and saw all the things that they had set up (like the mini Diagon Alley pictured above). And while we were there I had to take a picture with Peeta, a corgi puppy that was dressed up like Harry. He was so cute! I'm definitely going to need to dress up my own corgi like Harry one day. It was a lot of fun to visit BookPeople and see what they had going on.

We didn't get to stay too long at BookPeople, but we saw so many cool costumes and things set up. When we returned to Barnes and Noble it was almost time to get in line. Not going to lie, I shed a lot of tears while we were waiting in line and I was so happy to get my copy. So afterwards, I rushed home and read the book in one sitting. I'll be sharing a full review with my opinions later this week, but I will say again that love this story. - Jessica 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Books I Read In July

July wasn't my best reading month this year, I still managed to read nine books even though I didn't have a whole lot of time to read. So here's the books that I read and some of my thoughts and opinions on them:

Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall - This book follows Jane as she starts babysitting the younger sisters of the guy she has a crush on. I had previously read Hall's debut, A Little Something Different, and I ended up loving it. I thought that this book was cute, as I expected it to be, but it wasn't as memorable and the storyline fell a little flat to me.

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson - This is a coming of age story that follows Henry Denton, a boy who has frequently been abducted by aliens and they have given him the choice to save the world in 144 by pressing a red button, which he has has no intentions of doing. I absolutely loved this book, it is definitely one of my favorite books I've read this year. I loved the characterization and the writing, especially the narration. Overall this book felt different from any other coming of age story that I've read, and it was a beautiful read.

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate - This book follows seven students after their school is involved in a major scandal. I enjoyed this book, I did have some problems initially with the narration because the story is divided into seven different points of view. I did get used to the different points of view, and I thought it was unique that the author had each character represent the seven different sins. As a result though of the different characters, there were some characters that I absolutely loved and others that I didn't like as much, which might have influenced my opinions on the book as a whole, but for the majority I really enjoyed this book.

Gathering Darkness and Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes - These are the third and fourth books in The Falling Kingdoms series. The first two books in the series felt like set up books and I wasn't sure of the direction that the author was taking the stories. In these two books I felt that the story really picks up and I fell in love with the story. I really liked how the characters developed and I can't wait to read book five when it comes out at the end of the year.

An Author's Odyssey by Chris Colfer - This book is the fifth book in The Land of Stories series, a middle grade series about twins, Alex and Conner, as they travel to a fairy tale world. I love this series and for the most part I really loved this books. I loved the story and it was so unique and fun, but the only problem that I had with this book is that there is so much build up toward the next book (which is supposed to be the last in the series), and I don't like how a lot of elements are left unresolved. I am highly anticipating the last book because this one left off on a major cliffhanger and I can't wait to read how it will all end.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby - This book follows Finn as he tries to find his friend after she has been kidnapped. I enjoyed this book, the writing was beautiful and I liked the characters and elements of magical realism within the story. This book won the Printz prize last year, and I can definitely understand why.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu - This book takes place in a fantasy world, where some survivors of an illness develop supernatural powers, and follows Adelina as she learns to control hers to take part in a rebellion. I have loved Lu's previous works and this one met some pretty high expectations. This book was a lot darker then I expected, but I enjoyed the world and the fantasy elements. I really liked the characters as well, so I'm interested to see how the rest of the trilogy plays out.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by