Author Archives: Nicole & Isis

About Nicole & Isis

Hi! This is Nicole and Isis, and we will be running this awesome book blog. We're both aspiring authors, which means that we do a lot of reading and writing, so we hope you enjoy our posts! Currently, we're both co-writing an urban fantasy novel, as well as writing our own individual fiction novels. Basically, we're both constantly writing. But in order to write better, one must read. Therefore, we have our very own book club. Here we will discuss some of our favorite books.

BookTube-A-Thon TBR 2017

Standard

Image result for booktubeathon

From today until July 30th is the BookTube-A-Thon, and I’ve decided to try it this year since I’m fifteen books behind according to goodreads. I feel like I’m already failing since it is almost 2 P.M. where I am and I haven’t started reading at all. Hopefully I can catch up to everyone who started reading at midnight. Here’s the books I plan to read this week:

Challenge #1: Read a book with a person on the cover

28818313

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria. Set in the 1900s, two girls who can create illusions through their magical art try and fail at trying to con their city’s elite. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, so I’m excited to finally get to it. It’s 376 pages.

Challenge #2: Read a hyped book

561456

The third book in the Percy Jackson series, The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan. I’ve wanting to continue this series for a while, and what’s more hyped than Percy Jackson? This is 312 pages.

Challenge #3: Finish a book in one day

13167160

The third book in the Saxby Smart, Private Detective series. I had meant to finish and review this before the read-a-thon started, but oh well. The best laid plans and all that. This is 224 pages.

Challenge #4: Read about a character that is very different from you.

130208

I feel like this is a weird attempt to say read a diverse book, but I’ve seen people decide to go with animal protagonists and outgoing characters for this. Anyway, I choose The Land by Mildred D. Taylor. In post-Civil War Georgia, Paul-Edward Logan struggles with being biracial. He dreams of owning a piece of land. This is 369 pages.

Challenge #5: Read a book completely outdoors

15704307

I’m gonna make this as easy as possible for myself and start my reread of the Saga books. This is 160 pages.

Challenge #6: Read a book you bought because of the cover

15831653

Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells. The cover combined with the title caught my attention when browsing the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and I knew I had to find out what it was about. In a world where magic is a drug, a patrol cop finds herself in trouble as she shoots the lead snitch in a crucial case. This is 385 pages. 

Challenge #7: Read seven books

16054808

For my last book I knew I had to pick this one up. My mom raved about it after she finished this middle grade mystery in two days. Something she never does. This is 288 pages.

So that is my TBR for this week. It adds up to a total of 2,114 pages. Very intimidating but I’m really hoping to get to all of them. Throughout the week I will be doing update posts, but for now, I’m going to get to reading.

 

Saxby Smart in the Treasure of Dead Man’s Lane and Other Case Files by Simon Cheshire and R.W. Alley

Standard

7674721

“I’ve got some homemade spy gear with me.”

“Why do you have to keep bringing spies into everything?”

“Spies are cool.”

“So are fridges, so what? We are not spies. This is detective work.”

This is the second book in the Saxby Smart, Private Detective series. Like the first one, it follows Saxby Smart as he solves three cases.

The first case in this one is called The Tomb of Death. It’s about a missing comic. This was my least favorite for reasons that isn’t the book’s fault. Simply put, the person who had the book before me wrote in the early pages who did the crime. So it was hard to be into the mystery when I already knew what happened. 

The second case is called The Treasure of Dead Man’s Lane. It’s about finding a treasure in an old house. I thought this was a fun mystery. It’s different from the others, but I had a hard time with it. In it, it has an old letter where they find clues. It’s in a different font and everything. I had a really hard time reading it, so a lot of time I had no idea what Saxby was talking about. I couldn’t guess any of the answers so that takes some of the fun out of it.

The Fangs of the Dragon is the third and final case of this book. It’s a weird case that involves robbery’s that are not really robbery’s. This was my favorite case of this book. It was a little too lucky guesswork on Saxby’s part, but I really liked how the mystery unraveled. 

All in all I think this still a five star book. It’s such a fast and addicting read that I can’t wait to jump into the third one.

The Curse of the Ancient Mask and Other Case Files by Simon Cheshire and R.W. Alley

Standard

6472545

My name is Saxby Smart, and I’m a private detective. I go to St. Egbert’s School, my office is in the toolshed, and these are my case files. Unlike some detectives, I don’t have a sidekick, so that part I’m leaving up to you-pay attention, I’ll ask questions.

Saxby Smart is the best detective in his elementary school. He has his own office set up in his shed where he has his thinking chair and his desk. He makes case files for each of the mysteries he solves. Three of which are in this book. 

The first one is call The Curse of the Ancient Mask. This was my favorite case out of this book. A classmate’s father thinks the mask he picked up in Japan is curse, and Saxby helps them out. I like the whole storyline of this one.

The second case is called The Mark of the Purple Homework. Student’s essays are getting destroyed, including Saxbys. I liked the mystery of this one, and how Saxby’s questions to the readers were set up. It’s different than the others, and it’s a lot of fun.

The third case is called The Clasp of Doom, and it’s my least favorite. While I still enjoyed myself, it was mainly because I like the writing style. The mystery was a little boring to me.

This is a children’s book aimed at grades 3-6 I would say. But I still had a blast reading it. It’s slightly unique I would say because the book invites the reader to participate. Saxby regularly pauses his story to ask the reader if they have figured out what he did. He also lists all the facts he has gained periodically through the stories. 

The stories themselves are fun, but not too complicated. That doesn’t mean they are that easy to figure out. While I did figure out two of the mysteries myself, and plenty of the clues, there was one case I couldn’t and other clues I had no idea what he was going on about. It was all completely logical though, and very easily to follow along.

I was surprised by the summary of this book on goodreads. It mentions this series was created to get boys interested in reading. I don’t understand the distinction. While reading, I was slightly impressed how Saxby’s best friend Izzy was super girly and super scientific and smart and helped so much with Saxboy’s case. And it was just a fact. There was no she wasn’t like other girls or anything like that. It was simply her room was pink and glittery and she had all the research Saxby needed, and that was that. I think this book could get a lot of kids reading, not simply boys since it’s a boy narrator. I know this is a minor thing, but it’s something I felt like pointing out.

This is a series of ten books. I currently have the first three checked out, and I look forward to reading the other two soon. It’s a fast, easy, fun read. I also really think that kids would enjoy this, and parents and guardians will love how this book encourages them to think.

The Big Sick-Movie Review

Standard

The-Big-Sick-poster

The Big Sick is a romantic comedy based on a true story. It’s about Kumail, an aspiring comedian, and Emily, an aspiring therapist, as they go through their relationship. They deal with commitment issues, Kumail’s parents wanting to arrange a marriage for him, lying, trust issues, and a medical coma.

The Kumail in the movie is actually Kumail in real life. He and his wife actually wrote the script too. I think that really added something special to this movie. I’m not a big fan of romantic comedies. I usually think they are boring and typical. This movie was a breath of fresh air. The two love interests had actual chemistry together. It was actually funny and heartbreaking and well acted out. I also loved that both of their parents were featured heavily.

This is a small film. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January where  it was picked up by Amazon Studios. It was a limited release last weekend which is when I saw it, but it’s a wider one this weekend. I strongly recommend going out and watching this movie. Kamail Nanjiani is definitely somebody to watch and support as he grows bigger. 

 

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

Standard

freakout

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.

Nicole: The Gauntlet by Karuma Riazi. I’ve talked about this book a lot, and I still really love it.

Isis: At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson. I’ve talked about this one endlessly.
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.

Nicole: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan. It was fantastic.

Isis: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat gave me life. It’s the best sequel ever. The political aspect is so juicy and the romance is such a slow burn. So great, so good.
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

Nicole: The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. I haven’t picked this up yet, and it’s really sad.

Isis: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich. This one has really poor ratings on Goodreads for some reason. I’ve heard that it shouldn’t be taken too seriously in order to enjoy it. I’m still really looking forward to it.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Nicole: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan. It comes out in October and I can’t wait.

Isis: The Last Cigarette on Earth by Benjamin Alire Saenz. This is Saenz’s new poetry collection that was pushed to August 15. I’m so excited because the only poetry I read comes from Saenz.
5. Biggest disappointment.

Nicole: Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani. I quit this book around fifty pages in. It was sad because I was looking forward to loving this book. But the subplots regarding the main character’s romance put me off too much even when I was enjoying the mystery.

Isis: What in God’s Name by Simon Rich was so disappointing. It’s an angel book that I was really excited to read, but it was so poorly executed. Not only was the entire thing stupid and boring, it was also body-shamed to an extreme. No good.
6. Biggest surprise.

Nicole: Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier. I expected to love this book, and was really surprised that it was just blah. And I didn’t know that it had iffy rep so I was also surprised by that. I think this question was supposed to be about a book that surprised you in a good way but oh well.

Isis: Preacher vol. 1 by Garth Ennis definitely took me by surprise. I loved the TV show so I read the comics, and it was not what I expected. Very different from the show, and way more bloody and shocking. I love both.
7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Nicole: Karuma Riazi

Isis: I liked C.S. Pacat’s world-building and characterization a lot, and I would definitely read anything she writes in the future. I also love that she’s very open about being genderfluid and bisexual.
8. Newest fictional crush.

Nicole: Alex Fierro from The Hammer of Thor

Isis: Jesse Custer from Preacher. I adore him.
9. Newest favorite character.

Nicole: Ballister Blackheart from Nimona

Isis: Damen from the Captive Prince series quickly became my favorite character.
10. Book that made you cry.

Nicole: No books have made me cry this year.

Isis: At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson brought me pretty close to tears.
11. Book that made you happy.

Nicole: The Hammer of Thor. Doing this tag has made me realize that I haven’t read as many books as I thought I had so I’m sorry I have a lot of repeating answers.

Isis: Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan. It was such a great book. Very sweet and pure. I wish more people talked about the Roosevelt series.
12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year. 

Nicole: I think the last adaption I saw was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children so I’ll put that. Much better than the book.

Isis: Does the Vampire Academy movie count, even though I’ve never read the book? I enjoyed the movie. It was cheesy, but entertaining. Interesting vampires.
13. Favorite review you’ve written this year. (Booktube version: Favorite video you have done so far in this year)

Nicole: My Zombies at the East End review. I feel like I explained my feelings very clear in that one which I struggle with sometimes.

Isis: My Captive Prince review is probably one of the longest ones I’ve ever written ’cause I just had a lot to say.
14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Nicole: I’m going to cheat again and say the books Isis got me for Christmas. She got me the full Vampire Academy series and it’s amazing even if that series has unfortunate covers. But I don’t get a lot of books all the time and almost all of them aren’t new so they look really nice.

51xRMmsh6xL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Isis: I recently bought this manga, My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame. It’s such a beautiful hardcover edition full of the most beautiful art. I can’t wait to read it.

30292689
15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Nicole: Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and The Flying Witches of Veracruz by James Endedy

Isis: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s about angels, so of course I have to read it.

Netflix Book Tag

Standard

Image result for netflix

1.Recently Watched: The last book you finished reading

Isis: Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan. This is a sequel in the Roosevelt series, and I really enjoyed it. I think it’s an important read, really diverse. It made me so happy.

34521649

Nicole: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. It was a good graphic novel.

19351043

2. Top Picks: A book/books that have been recommended to you based on books you have previously read

Isis: I read The Song of Achilles because everyone recommended it after reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. But I was so disappointed in The Song of Achilles. It was not my cup of tea. I still don’t get the hype for it.

11250317

Nicole: People recommend The Iron Trial by Cassandra Claire and Holly Black to people who like the Harry Potter books. I did not like it at all.

20578940

3. Recently Added: The last book you bought

Isis: I just recently bought an e-book I found randomly called Bonfires by Amy Lane. It’s about two older men who fall in love, both men have children from previous marriages, both are trying to get through life. It just sounds right up my alley. I’m excited to read it.

34389595

Nicole: I finally bought The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. I’ve been wanting it for a long time, so now I’m resisting the urge to drop what I’m currently reading in order to get to it quicker. 

21979832

4. Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about (2 you’ve read and 2 you have never read or have no interest in reading)

Isis: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Gotta go back to the oldies. 

41865

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I feel like everyone has heard about this book. 

16068905

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Love Shadowhunters, but I don’t like the author of the books. I don’t think I’m missing out on anything. The show is amazing.

256683

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’ve heard mixed things about this one. I’m not interested in a new book format or whatever. The story itself doesn’t really interest me.

23395680

Nicole: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. A surprisingly good book.

345627

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. With how everyone talked about it, I expected it to be fantastic. It wasn’t.

16101128

The Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I feel like everyone can still be obsessed with it, but after I found out the premise my already mediocre interest fell completely away. It just doesn’t sound interesting to me at all.

13335037

The Black Witch by Laurie Forest. This one’s buzz is mainly on twitter, but it still counts. At first I was interested in this one because I simply heard it was about witches and it was good. Then all the negativity surrounding it happened, and I learned it was about unlearning racism, badly, in a fantasy setting. Even if it was well done, I still would have decided not to read it. It simply isn’t a plot that interests me.

25740412

5. Comedies: A funny book

Isis: The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore. I loved the humor in this book. It was the sort of humor that sinks in and really gets to you. If that makes sense. I still think about this book. It had a lot of heart too.

74731

Nicole: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan. I think it’s his funniest series yet.

15724396

6. Dramas: A character who is a drama queen/king

 Isis: As a drama queen myself, it’s hard for me to really pinpoint other drama queens/kings because I think everyone should be dramatic. But Juliette Ferrars was pretty dramatic in the Shatter Me series. I really loved her development though.

Nicole: Draco Malfoy is the ultimate drama king.

7. Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover

Isis: The new Carry On paperback book has this amazing cover. Simon and Baz are cartoons and they look beautiful. 

32768522

Nicole: Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon.

6055161

8. Watch it again: A book/book series that you want to re-read

Isis: Eventually, I’d love to re-read the Gives Light series. I’ve talked about this one before. It’s one of my favorites. It’s set in a Native American Reservation, which is something you don’t see a lot. It was beautiful and so informative.

15810499

Nicole: I’m not a big re-reader. I have been kind of wanting to re-read the Harry Potter series, which is the only books I’ve really re-read before. Also the two books I mention in the childhood favorites list.

3194351644879

9. Documentaries: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone

Isis: I think everyone should read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s a good starting piece.

22738563

Nicole: Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M.E. Thomas. I think it’s not popular, but it really opened my eyes. I think it has important information that society, especially present in the media, doesn’t share at all.

15841837

10. Action and Adventure: An action packed book

Isis: I don’t read many action packed books, but Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan was full of action. I wanted it to slow down, but it never did.

28187

Nicole: The  Outliers by Kimberly McCreight. This book never stopped from the first page. Every page had something dramatic happen till the very last sentence.

26116473

11. New Releases: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read

Isis: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but I’m dying to read When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. It looks so good and sweet and summery. I still haven’t bought it yet, but soon!

28458598

Nicole: Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh comes out on July 25th, and I can’t wait. It’s a middle grade mystery book that includes ghosts, and it sounds amazing.

32711709

12. Max: Tag some people

Everyone, consider yourselves tagged