ARC Review: They Both Die In the End by Adam Silvera

Title: They Both Die in the End

Author: Adam Silvera

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Date of Publication: September 5, 2017

Publisher: HarperTeen

Description: On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.


I received They Both Die in the End at Bookcon after waiting over an hour at Adam Silvera’s book signing. Needless to say, it was worth the wait.

Adam is as great a writer as he is a person. Not only is he extremely talented, he makes his readers feel important to him. He is a high-quality writer AND person.

The story has a unique premise. It focuses on the “live as if you were dying” motto. The story begins with the characters receiving a call from a company called Deathcast. Ultimately, the company’s job is to inform ‘Deckers’, the stories term for people about to die, that their time on earth will be ending in less than a day. Because of this call, the characters are faced with an internal conflict: do they live out their final day or do they try to stay away from harm? Throughout the story, readers begin to reflect on this question as well. How would you live if you knew you were dying in less than twenty-four hours?

The world that Silvera builds is descriptive and thought out. Silvera explains Deathcast vividly to give readers an image of what it represents. Silvera, also, explains the world’s viewpoint on Deathcast and Deckers. He explains the perks that Deckers receive on their last day. These perks include simulators that give Deckers a safe alternative to experiencing life’s thrills and, more importantly, an app that allows you to find a friend who will help you live out your final day.

Not only does Silvera build the world in a flawless way, he creates the story effortlessly through characters. The story is told through more than just Mateo and Rufus’ point of view. It is also told by members of their families and other people they do not know that contribute to their story. Because of the various points of view, the story has more dimension.

My favorite character of the story was Mateo. Even though at times he was way too afraid of living out his final day (but, I mean, who wouldn’t be afraid when they are guaranteed death), he was the character who I felt more attached to. He truly cared for his dad and his friend. The story revolving around them was emotional and at times made me cry. He made the story has a deep impact on its readers.

My least favorite character was surprising Rufus. At first, I felt he was obsessive over his ex-girlfriend. He was too aggressive. In my opinion, he was not a great character. I did not feel any emotions toward that character.

Overall, it was an incredible story. It made me feel every emotion. I cried, I laughed, I just was an emotional mess. I highly recommend this story!

 

ARC Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

TitleTop Ten

Author: Katie Cotugno

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Description: Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?


Top Ten

I had high hopes for this book. Top Ten had everything going for it. The cover and the synopsis were both captivating and made me wait in a line for over an hour to receive the book. However, the book, though still good, did not live p to my expectations.

top tenn

The cover for Top Ten

Top Ten revolves around the relationship between Gabby and Ryan, two friends best friend. The protagonists both believe a romantic relationship will never come from their friendship. However, after an event that occurs one night, they begin to reconsider this fact while recounting their top ten moments of high school.

Cotugno uses their top ten moments to enlighten readers of the relationship between Gabby and Ryan. This list includes pivotal moments between the protagonists that reveals the history of their friendship. Through the top ten list, we meet character and experience events that have shaped their relationship.

The premise of using the list to portray the characters and their relationships was a clever idea. However, I do not believe it was executed properly. Cotugno incorporated important events into the list to show the history of their friendship. Even though it made sense to add these events to the story, there is no way they would logically be one of their top ten moments. Every single moment that was mentioned ended in a major conflict. One of the characters’ favorite moments resulted in Gabby and Ryan not speaking for five months.

In the beginning of the story, the friendship between Gabby and Ryan appears to be unbreakable. They are referenced to not ever being apart. Also, Gabby constantly states how she does not know if she will be able to survive without Ryan.  However, throughout the story, there are multiple events where Gabby and Ryan are not close or have stopped being friends. Reading through the moments where Ryan and Gabby are not friends makes the statement illogical. Gabby has been without Ryan many times, why would this time be different?

Another flaw is their damaged relationship. The protagonists rarely converse in public which results in Gabby constantly questioning their friendship. In every top ten moments, the friends fight about their difference in lifestyles. Whenever one of the friends doesn’t understand the other’s choices, they get in a massive argument instead of trying to understand the other person. When the characters fight, they choose to say the words that will hurt the other person to an extreme extent. That is not a healthy relationship.

Besides the minor flaws, the novel was written well. The writing style was my favorite aspect of the book. Cotugno has an easy writing style that makes the book a quick read. Overall, I believe that the book could excel without these issues.

 

BookCon: Final Thoughts and Haul!

bookcon sign

I am finally home from the craziness that is BookCon. I am still suffering from exhaustion and back pain from carrying all the books that I got. Despite the fact that BookCon was extremely tiring and crazy, I did have an amazing time.

Day 1: Arriving in New York

The day I arrived in New York, I had to take the train in from New Jersey. On the train, I met a family that was attending BookCon. It was their first Bookcon and the mom asked me if I could give her son and his friend some advice on what to expect. After talking to and giving advice to them, it was time to leave the train. When I finally arrived in New York, I met up with Booktubers and Bloggers. We went out to eat and talked about what events we wanted to attend. Overall, day one of New York was so much fun. I met so many new amazing people, especially Justin and Laura! Not to mention, I finally went to the Shake Shack and it was amazing!

Day 2: BookCon!

The first day of Bookcon was amazing! I spent a majority of my day with Laura, Justin, Jennifer, and many other incredible people! The main signing that I wanted to attend was Adam Silvera. Luckily, I was within the first 25 attendees waiting and I received a copy of They Both Die in the End!

After that, I went to more in-booth signings and ARC drops. However, the highlight of my day was going to the Entangled Teen booth to meet one of the authors that I wrote a review for and also meeting the publicist that sends me books to review for the company. Also, the publicist published my aunt’s new young adult series, Proof of Lies! It was incredible to meet an author whose book I had reviewed and a publicist that lets me review their company’s books. Anyway, if you have never read True Born by L.E. Sterling, you definitely need to!

LE  sterling.png

Later on in the day, I met another awesome blogger, Dee from Nerd and Lace. Actually, I won a giveaway from her blog two years ago at BookCon but I never met her until now. She was very nice and hilarious! She is definitely one of my favorite people that I had met.

Day Two: Final Day of BookCon

Out of my three years of being a BookCon attendee, I have never seen something as chaotic as the Sunday of BookCon 2017. Penguin did a horrendous job at managing their booths. Because Penguin was placed directly in the middle of the show floor and it was a big mob, you could not go anywhere near their area. Not to mention, the staff around Penguin was extremely rude.

I was waiting for the E. Lockhart signing at BookCon. When I saw other people waiting for the signing, I believed it was in my best interest to do so as well. When the security told us to move at 10:29 (literally one minute before the line was supposed to form), we all tried to move out of the way of other attendees while waiting in the vicinity of the table where they would be giving out tickets. Out of spite, the line security members started the signing line on the opposite side of the Penguin booth so that many people who were not waiting got a place in line. As I walked to the end of the line, I walked across an area that was meant for lining up but was vacant at that time. When I did this, a member of the Bookcon staff pushed me away. There was no reason for a staff member to put their hands on me. I simply made the mistake of walking in an area that I was ill-informed that we couldn’t walk on. Many people saw her do this and brought it to her attention, she tried to lie even though it was evident that it was her fault. She only apologized when a fellow attendee mentioned to her that it was a violation of their no harassment policy and that I could sue her for touching me without my consent. Her actions were inappropriate and disgraceful.

Besides the unfortunate events at Penguin, I was extremely happy. I got (almost) all of the ARCs that I had wanted. Also, I spent the entire day with Laura, Justin, and Sarah. Honestly, without those people, BookCon wouldn’t have been as much fun. It was great meeting so many awesome people and getting to experience BookCon with them. I cannot wait to see them again. Also, I cannot wait to get to read the ARCs we received.

Books I Received that Were ARCs:

  1. Top Ten by Katie Cotugno
  2. Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill
  3. Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni
  4. Follow Me by Sara Shepard
  5. Suspect Red by L.M Elliott
  6. Natural Disasters
  7. The Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
  8. Odd and True by Cat Winter
  9. Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert
  10. She, Myself, and I by Emma Young
  11. A Short History of The Girl Next Door by Jared Reck
  12. Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock
  13. The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente
  14. Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne
  15. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
  16. The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose
  17. The Goblins of BellWater by Molly Ringle
  18. A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
  19. The Audition by Maddy Ziegler

Signed Books that I Got:

  1. Mean Girls by Micol Ostow
  2. Red Dirt by Anna Jarzab
  3. At Home in the World
  4. The Rules of Love and Grammar by Mary Simses
  5. Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore
  6. Feed by M.T. Anderson
  7. Select by Marit Weisenberg
  8. The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera
  9. Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
  10. All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
  11. If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  12. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
  13. Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
  14. Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake
  15. The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
  16. Life is Like a Musical by Tim Federle

Other Books I Got:

  1. Aging Disgracefully by Danny Cahill
  2. Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  3. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
  4. The books I got in the VIP bag…. I cannot remember the books.

IMPORTANT REMINDER:

DO NOT SELL ARCs!!! Just a friendly reminder since I know a few of you did not know what an ARC is. An ARC is an Advanced Reader Copy which means they are uncorrected proofs and have not been published yet. Publishers give out ARCs to create hype for the books. Often, they are given to reviewers to promote and review the book prior to its publication. With that being said, it is absolutely, 100% illegal to sell ARCs. You cannot give people your ARCs in exchange for money. You could face severe penalties. Also, DO NOT BUY ARCS!!! You are just as bad if you buy books. Authors work really hard on their books and you’re damaging their success.

To end this on a happy note: Thank you to everyone who is nice and welcoming to the blogging community. I loved meeting you all! Comment below your BEA/Bookcon experience.

BookCon For Beginners: Part 2

It’s that time of year again! For the people who are unaware of what “that time” is, it is when BookCon is close and many newcomers are prepping for their first time. BookCon can be best described as a beautiful chaos. The event is incredible and allows you to create many amazing memories, however, if you are ill prepared, you will not enjoy the event. Conventions, like BookCon, are not something that you can simply arrive at and hope for the best. The events require some knowledge and planning. Luckily, this being my third time attending, I am here to help you!

If you are familiar with my blog, you may have noticed that I had a similar post last year. Also, I had weekly posts leading up to the event to help you fully prepare. Because those posts were so popular and helpful, I decided to recreate them this year and include some new tips. Because BookCon is a primarily new convention, they are continuing to improve so my posts will be different from the originals. If you all enjoy this post, let me know and feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have about BookCon!

Though a rolling bad is not necessarily needed, it could be a massive help!

At BookCon, you will get plenty of books. As you all know, books are heavy. Carrying many books with only a few tote bags is complete hell. If you want to save your back and arms, put a rolling bag in coat check. NO ROLLING BAGS CAN BE ON THE SHOW FLOOR, YOU HAVE TO CHECK IT INTO COAT CHECK!!

Do not over plan!!

I did this, too. I thought that I could be at five places at one time. Unfortunately, I was completely wrong. I am going to state the sad truth, you will not make it to half of your events if you over plan (especially if they require a wristband). For autographing area signings, you have to be in line AT LEAST an hour before it starts. It does not matter whether you buy a book or not. Despite BookCon stating that you need a book purchase, a purchased book does not mean that you will be able to get it signed. So, if you are planning on buying a book and showing up ten minutes before the signing, you have a slim chance of that happening.

Also, unless you are a VIP, you need to be super early for popular panels in order to get good seats. Panels are first come first serve! VIPs, you get first to pick for seats as long as you stand in line twenty minutes prior.

To be honest, I ditched my schedule and spent most of my Bookcon at the booths.You receive way more free stuff at booths and you can still go to signings that you don’t have to wait in line for hours. Spend a lot of time at booths!

Arrive at Bookcon really early!!

I do not know if BookCon is still having wristband events because they haven’t announced the autographing schedule yet. However, the wristband signings were significantly better than the sessions the prior year where it was based off who arrived at the autograph line early. The prior years, people would buy the book but not be able to get it signed. However, the wristbands were given out before BookCon even started and GUARANTEED you an autograph. Only problem, the people in the front of the line to get into the convention get first choice of wristbands. If you are at the end of the line, you WILL NOT receive a wristband. It’s annoying but it is, in a way, fair because if you show us at the convention at 4am you do deserve the wristbands you want. I arrived at 4:30 AM last year and I was one of the first thirty people in line. Because of that, I got all of the wristbands that I wanted. (In the picture above, that was all of my friends and me waiting in line at 4:30. It’s tiring but it’s so exciting that you do not care!)

DO NOT CUT LINES!!!!!!

If there is one thing that I despise, it is line cutters. And if you happen to have a habit of cutting lines, you better not do it around me. I will call you out in front of the whole convention center. And since BookCon has a strict rule against cutting lines, you will be asked to leave. I do not care to hear your reasoning for cutting lines. If I see you cut, I will not hesitate to call you out.

Stay at the Show Floor

So, you can either spend your whole day waiting in line for signings at the autographing area, or you can spend you day receiving many books and having to only waste thirty minutes in line at booth signings. The show area is incredible. Last year, I spent the whole day there and received many amazing books! However, DO NOT (UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE) TAKE MULTIPLE COPIES OF ARCS!! You are the biggest asshole if you take three ARCs when there are other people who paid to go to BookCon who would love to have one of those ARCs. You only need one ARC and if your friend wants one, share the ARC. Don’t be annoying. You will be the reason publishers refuse to bring ARCs and we will all hate you. Also, SELLING ARCS IS ILLEGAL AND A SERIOUS MATTER. There was a lot of controversy over these two topics after BookCon last year, If you do these things, you lose respect in the book industry and will probably never receive ARCs again. ARCS ARE A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT!!

Socialize While Waiting

In all honesty, you will spend half of your day in lines. It could go both ways: it could either be terrible or you could make the most of it and talk to fellow bookworms. You are going to be surrounded by bookworms, make friends!!

Wear Comfy Clothes

You will be walking A LOT! You want to wear shows and clothes that won’t make you in pain. Keep in mind, the floors are concrete and only some exhibitors have carpet floors. Concretes is hard on your feet if you walk on it all day. Also, flip flops, although they are comfy, aren’t desired shoes.

Get the App!

The BookCon app is truly a blessing. Not only is it informational, the people you meet on the app are so amazing. I still am great friends with many of them. On the app, there are planners that you can use to organize your schedule for BookCon. Also, it allows you to see whats going on during the event. Another fun thing is every year, I make a group chat with newbies and experienced BookCon attendees where we plan meets ups and talk about books. Usually, we will all go out to dinner one night during BookCon. If you are interested in joining it, contact me!

There are events around BookCon, too!

The fun of BookCon will be available at other places around the city! Because, so many authors will be staying in New York, book stores will typically host events with them after BookCon. If you look at the event tabs on bookstore websites, they will list when they are hosting events around the time of BookCon. Many Attendees will be at the other events as well.

Do Not Bring Every Book From Every Author You Want To Meet!

You will regret it. You will have to carry those books with you for the whole day. Also, some authors may only sign one book so it would be a waste. Bring only the ones that you desperately want to get signed.

Bring Snacks!

My friend and I forgot to bring snacks because we were planning on buying lunch instead. However, me and my friend were too bus looking for books that we wanted so we never bought lunch. Starving, my friend and I ate left over food from Penguin that had been out all day. I would strongly advise you to being snacks so you don’t have to eat stale food and have people look disgusted at you.

Follow and turn on post notifications for publishers and other people at the event.

Many publishers and authors will tweet about give aways at the event. When I was there last year, all the books that I wanted  had received  because of these giveaways. Once you see a notification, you have to sprint to those booths because their items will be gone in seconds. Last year, there was one final copy of Futhermore by Tahereh Mafi (she is my favorite author ever) and I waited by that booth until they finally tweeted it. I ended up getting that book sixteen seconds after they tweeted it.

Bookcon Checklist

  1. Book money!!!! Books are sold at Barnes and Noble price. If you want five hard cover novels, then bring around $110. A lot of booths give out free books so you really don’t need to buy many books.
  2. Lunch money. Lunch is pretty pricey at convention centers. Snacks are a far better option since lunch is expensive and takes up too much time.
  3. Your ticket!!!!! It is the only way you will be allowed inside.
  4. A lanyard for your ticket!! You should wear your badge at ALL TIMES!
  5. One tote bag. You will get more but you want to bring one to hold your books until you find more totes.
  6. Rolling bag!!
  7. Snacks!
  8. Some books that you want to get signed.
  9. A list or schedule of who you want to meet.
  10. Business cards if you are a blogger, booktuber, author, publisher, etc.

 

Bookcon FAQs

  • Will they post a map of the show floor? Yes, but the maps aren’t that great.
  • How early should I arrive at the convention center? Two hours before or earlier. The earlier you arrive, the better chance you have at getting wristbands for everything you want to see.
  • How early should I arrive for panels and signings? In booth signings: a half and hour. Autographing area and panels: an hour and a half or earlier.
  • Will there be food to buy there? Yes, but it will be pretty pricey.
  • Will it be okay to bring a backpack with me? Yes, But I recommend bringing a rolling bag and putting it in coat check.
  • Do you need to buy books for signings at Bookcon? Only if it says that you do on the details of the signing.

Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

*I was granted this ARC by the author but all opinions are my own*

TitleProof of Lies

Author: Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Date of Publication:March 7th, 2017

Publisher:Entangled Teen

Description: Some secrets are best kept hidden…

Anastasia Phoenix has always been the odd girl out, whether moving from city to international city with her scientist parents or being the black belt who speaks four languages.

And most definitely as the orphan whose sister is missing, presumed dead.

She’s the only one who believes Keira is still alive, and when new evidence surfaces, Anastasia sets out to follow the trail—and lands in the middle of a massive conspiracy. Now she isn’t sure who she can trust. At her side is Marcus, the bad boy with a sexy accent who’s as secretive as she is. He may have followed her to Rome to help, but something about him seems too good to be true.

Nothing is as it appears, and when everything she’s ever known is revealed to be a lie, Anastasia has to believe in one impossibility.

She will find her sister.


In the first book of Diana Rodriguez Wallach’s upcoming series, she sets the stage for a story of excitement filled with intriguing characters. Proof of Lies gives the series a promising appeal. Also, this series opener allows readers to become immersed in the story that Wallach is creating.

As a reader who mainly focuses on fantasy and contemporary books, I was nervous to read something out of my comfort zone. However, I welcomed Proof of Lies with an open mind and I was pleasantly surprised. Based on this outcome, I believe that Proof of Lies is a great book for all genre-lovers.

The plot of Proof of Lies is different from your stereotypical mystery novel. Instead of the story leading us to the person who is guilty, readers are caught trying to decipher clues through conspiracy theories.

In the beginning, the book has a slower pace which made it hard for me to get interested in. A vast majority of the first half of the novel was detailing of Anastasia’s struggles and feelings which could get tiresome at various points. However, once the plot thickened, the story was addictive. I couldn’t put the book down. Readers will become invested in the story and will be on the edge of their seats while trying to uncover the mystery.

The characters in the story were written in a remarkable way. Wallach has a talent for making her characters dynamic and realistic without damaging how they are perceived by the audience. The main character, Anastasia, was a sympathetic character. Readers learn about her and the struggles that she faces in a deeper way.

Finally, I greatly enjoyed Wallach’s writing style. The author has the ability to naturally tell a story. This talent makes the story feel realistic while entertaining the audience.

Overall, Proof of Lies  is a must read for young adult lovers. Readers will greatly appreciate this debut to the series. I believe that this story will create a massive franchise. I cannot wait to see what is left for Wallach to create.