Author: Brianna the Randomness Reviewer

I'm a 16 year old writer, reader, and reviewer. I hope to publish my own YA book some day.

Randomness Update: Where have I been and what have I been doing?

Hi everyone! I hope you have all been having an awesome day so far. So…where have I been these past two months? Well, I haven’t been doing much of anything related to reading, writing, or blogging. All I have been doing is math. Lots and lots of math. If you’ve been here a while, you probably know that math is not my thing. I do not plan on going into a math-focused career, so why do I need to take an advanced math class to graduate college with an English degree?

On another topic, I believe I have found a new favorite author: Mary H.K. Choi. I recently finished her newest novel, “Yolk” and absolutely loved it. Her writing reminded me of John Green, but it was more modern. My review of “Yolk” by Mary H.K. Choi will be posted soon.

I also started a reread of “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo in preparation for the Shadow and Bone Netflix series. I originally read SoC before I read the Grisha Trilogy and could not get into it. However, I now have more knowledge regarding the world and the magic system and have actually enjoyed the book a lot more than when I DNFed it.

Until my math class is done, I will not be blogging very much. I will have plenty of time during the summer to write and read and blog. I am not abandoning you guys! I am taking time to focus on math so that I have more time for what I love.

That being said, I do have some posts scheduled for the upcoming weeks and I will continue to be active in responding to comments and following new blogs. I am officially going on hiatus while I finish up my math class. Keep being awesome and don’t forget to read.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Brianna

“Girl on the Ferris Wheel” Blog Tour: Review

Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a fantastic day so far. I am excited to be a part of the blog tour for “Girl on the Ferris wheel” by Julie Halpern and Len Vlahoes. This tour is hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

Book Details:

Girl on the Ferris Wheel
by Julie Halpern, Len Vlahos
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: January 12th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Synopsis:

In Girl on the Ferris Wheel, Julie Halpern and Len Vlahos expertly tackle this quirky and poignant romance that explores what first love really means—and how it sometimes hurts like hell.

Tenth graders Eliana and Dmitri could not be more different. He’s an outgoing, self-confident drummer in a punk band called Unexpected Turbulence. Eliana is introspective and thoughtful, and a movie buff who is living with depression.

Dmitri quite literally falls for Eliana when he sees her in gym class and slams into a classmate. The pair then navigate the ins and outs of first love. Exciting, scary, unexpected, and so much more difficult than they ever imagined. They say opposites attract, but they soon realize that there is so much they just don’t understand about each other. It begs the question: How long can first love possibly last when you’re so different?Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42643176-girl-on-the-ferris-wheel
Purchase:Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LeZgIFB&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/girl-on-the-ferris-wheel-julie-halpern/1134864931?ean=9781250169396iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/girl-on-the-ferris-wheel/id1512784422?mt=11&id=1512784422&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
AUTHOR BIO:Julie Halpern is the award-winning author of seven young adult novels, one novel for adults, and one picture book for young readers. In her imaginary spare time she enjoys traveling, making cosplay for her kids, and eating baked goods. Julie lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Caldecott-winning author and illustrator Matthew Cordell, and their two children.

Len Vlahos dropped out of NYU film school in the mid ’80s to play guitar and write songs for Woofing Cookies, a punk-pop four piece that toured up and down the East Coast, and had two singles and one full-length LP on Midnight Records. After the band broke up, he followed his other passion, books. He is the author of The Scar Boys, a William C. Morris Award finalist and a #1 Indie Next pick, and Scar Girl, the book’s sequel. Len lives in Denver with his wife and two young sons, where he owns the Tattered Cover Book Store.

My Review:

“Girl on the Ferris Wheel” is great for those who enjoy short, easy contemporary reads with positive representation of anxiety. Eliana and Dmitri were both great characters on their own, but for me they lacked chemistry. When the synopsis says that all they have in common is a love for film, I guess you should listen to it.

Eliana is at first very whiny and manipulative. She manipulates her guidance counselor into leaving a class based on one bad grade. Somehow, I found her less whiny with Dmitri, which is often the opposite with romances. The anxiety and depression representation in this book was very good for a YA. It was very clear how Eliana and Dmitri’s miscommunication on the subjects affected their relationship.

There were several instances where I found myself wondering if this really was a YA book. Sometimes, it felt geared toward middle grade, other times the themes were too mature for a middle grade novel.

Overall, “Girl on the Ferris Wheel” explores depression and anxiety through “love-crossed” teenagers with communication issues.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

TW: Mention of suicide

Thank you again Xpresso Book Tours for hosting this tour!

Randomness Discussions #12: A 2020 Wrap-Up and 2021 Blogging Goals

Hi everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday season, regardless of what holiday you celebrate. I had a great Christmas with my family. I received a new computer, some clothes, and “I Killed Zoe Spanos” from my parents and a Dobby Funko Pop from my sister. Today I will be looking back on my 2020 blogging goals to see what I actually accomplished and also share my goals from 2021!

2020 Goal: Set blogging schedule

Haha! That totally happened, right? I have learned that a set schedule for blogging does not work for me, and that’s okay. Literally everything else has a set schedule, so why not let my blog have a little spontaneity?

Goal Accomplished: No

2020 Goal: Write more discussion posts

This year, I started Randomness Discussions and also had the chance to interview some amazing authors. This is a goal I will keep for 2021, because I really do enjoy writing discussion posts.

Goal Accomplished: Yes

2020 Goal: Read 40 books

I did read 40 books this year, but barely. Looking back, most of the books I read were long, dense fantasy and sci fi novels, which can take me a decent amount of time to read. This year I want to explore genres that I love but rarely read, such as mystery and contemporary.

Goal Accomplished: Yes

2020 Goal: Interact more with the blogging community

I met some fantastic bloggers this year via the internet and I want to continue to interact with you all! I love reading your posts and participating in the tags everyone creates.

Goal Accomplished: Yes

2021 Blog Goals:

  • Read 50 books in a year
  • Reach 200 blog followers
  • Interview more up-and-coming authors
  • Read more indie books
  • Post more of my writing that isn’t blog related

2021 Random Goals:

  • Invite more people to my girls camp
  • Publish my book/get publishing deal
  • Get my license!!!
  • Start a new writing project
  • Take more college classes
What are some of your goals for the new year?

End of the Year Book Tag 2020

Hi everyone! There are only a few more days until Christmas! Branes and Noble has been super busy with holiday shoppers and I think I have Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer stuck in my head for eternity, but I’ve loved my job so far. I’m surrounded by a bunch of book-lovers and that’s awesome. Today I will be doing the End of the Year Book Tag. I did this tag last year as well.

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

I need to finish these three books before 2020 ends. I’m at the halfway point in all of them, but “Concrete Rose” is the shortest, so I’ll probably finish that one first.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

Um, seeing that it’s December, no. I’m not a seasonal reader anyway. I read depending on mood and series. If I’m in the middle of a series, I like to finish the series in one run.

Are there any new releases you’re still waiting on?

I don’t believe so, although I will say that I did not get to many of my anticipated books of 2020, (I’m looking at you “Aurora Burning” and “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue”).

What are three books you want to read before the year is over?

I requested this one from Netgalley and would like to read it before the end of 2020. Other than that, I just want to finish the three books previously mentioned!

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

Seeing that “Queen of Shadows” currently sits as my favorite read of 2020, there is still hope for “Empire of Storms” to snag that position!

Have you started making reading plans for 2021?

Some books I’d like to read in 2021 are in the image above! I also want to read more mystery and contemporary fiction in the coming year, as I enjoyed both genres thoroughly in 2020!

I hope you enjoyed this tag and I tag anyone who wants 2020 to be over. What are your reading plans for 2021?

Randomness Discussions #11: My 2020 Reading Stats

Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a great day so far. It’s time for me to share my 2020 reading stats! This is the first time I have shared my reading stats, but I’d like to make it an annual thing. I made some pie charts to explore the different types of books I read this year. Note that this is is different from overall blogging stats. I will be writing a separate post for 2020 blogging stats soon!

So far, I have read 39 books and my goal is to read 40. I am currently reading three books at the time of this post and I should be able to finish them all.

Half star ratings were rounded up. Some books were not rated.

Note: I messed up on the women authors. I actually read 18 because I read two SJM books.
  • Favorite female author of 2020: Tie between Marie Lu and Jandy Nelson
  • Favorite male author of 2020: Tie between Markus Zusak and John Green (Did you really think that was going to change? Lol!)
  • Favorite non-identifying author: Aiden Thomas

Reviewing Stats:

Total Reviews: 37

Overall, I’d say it has been a decent year for reading. How many books did you read this year? What was your favorite five-star read?

Birthday Book Tag!!!

Hi everybody! I hope you are all having an awesome day so far. Today is my 16th birthday and I wanted to celebrate by doing the Birthday Book Tag! Sixteen is a big number in YA books. Many of my favorite YA heroines and heroes were 16 when they set off on their adventures and I look forward to the adventures that this new chapter in life will bring me.

“Today Tonight Tomorrow” by Rachel Lynn Solomon might seem cliche from the description, but it was actually pretty enjoyable.

My most anticipated release has already been released, but I haven’t read it yet.

“Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas has been one of my favorite books of 2020. I look forward to reading more from Aiden Thomas in the future.

“Scythe” by Neal Shusterman definitely deserved the hype it received. It was the last book I read and I can’t wait to read the sequel!

I don’t think I talk about the quotes in “Turtles All the Way Down” enough, despite it being one of my favorite books. John Green’s writing, especially in this book, is amazing and you can never tell me otherwise.

I read “Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys a few years ago but I feel like I would get more out of it now as a more mature reader.

I can’t think of a particular book that helped me, but I do know that reading a few pages from a favorite book can help me to refocus.

I tag all of my blogger friends with December birthdays!

November Wrap-Up:

Hi everyone! I hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving. I have some super exciting new not related to Thaksgiving in any way: I got a job at Barnes and Noble!!! It is literally my dream job and I’m super excited.

Today I will be doing a wrap-up post of November. I don’t write wrap-ups very often, but I’d like to start doing them at the end of every month if possible.

Blog Posts:

Other Writing:

  • The second draft of my ending for “These Broken Pieces”
  • The first draft of an English 101 paper on underemployment in agriculture
  • The first chapter of a new dystopian project (title yet to be determined)

What I Read:

  • “Scythe” by Neal Shusterman
  • “Incendiary” by Zoraida Cordova
  • “Empire of Storms” by Sarah J. Maas
  • “The Project” by Courtney Summers

What I Want to Read Next:

  • “Thunderhead” by Neal Shusterman
  • “Bone Crier’s War” by Katherine Purdie
  • “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

What I Watched:

  • The first few episodes of The Office. Probably won’t finish the entire season because it’s leaving Netflix
  • Umbrella Academy
  • The Social Dilemma
  • The Voice

What I’ve Listened To:

  • Jordan Feliz
  • Christmas songs
  • The Mandalorian soundtrack (it’s a good for reading and writing)
  • The Hamilton soundtrack

Random Stuff I’ve Done:

  • Got a job at Barnes and Noble!!!!
  • Decorated for Christmas
  • Reached the halfway point on my required driving hours
  • Made a mug cake
  • Got the Shrek song stuck in my head (can’t remember the name of it)
  • Registered for spring semester college classes (Spanish 101 and College Algebra 2)
  • Reorganized my bookshelf

Overall, I had a pretty good November! What have you been up to this month?

“Scythe” by Neal Shusterman : Review

Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars

Hi everyone! I hope you are all having an awesome day so far! I’ve been reading and writing quite a bit. I’m currently reading “Incendiary” by Zoraida Cordova and “Empire of Storms” by Sarah J. Maas.

Today I will be reviewing “Scythe” by Neal Shusterman, the first book in his Arc of a Scythe trilogy. This was my first book by Neal Shusterman and I really enjoyed it.

The Breakdown:

  • Genre: YA dystopian, thriller, fiction
  • Author: Neal Shusterman
  • Pages: 443
  • Format: Physical hardcover
  • Publication: Simon and Schuster

The Plot:

Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch are growing up in a perfect world where no disease, politics, or problems arise. Death comes by Scythe, dealers of death in many forms. Citra and Rowan are taken on as trainees in the methods of the scythes.

The plot is what really drew me in to “Scythe.” One would think that a world with no problems would lead to a plot with no thrill, but it was quite the opposite. The Scythedome was full of corruption and deception that I wasn’t expecting. Every detail was covered in the world development.

The Characters:

The characters for me weren’t as intriguing as I would have liked them. I found that Rowan’s motives weren’t exactly clear as for why he wanted to become a scythe and train under renowned Scythe Faraday. He was one of several children, somewhere in the middle of his family. It was mentioned that he wanted to be noticed, but why would anyone want to be noticed for the act of bringing death?

I like how each scythe chose his or her name based off of a historical person. There were scythes named after Marie Curie, Nelson Mandela, and Anastasia Romanov. I also liked how the attraction between Citra and Rowan was subtle and not overbearing. Sometime the romance can over power the plot in fantasy and dystopian books.

The Writing:

Neal Shusterman’s writing was detailed and interesting. While “Scythe” is a story with a serious and thought provoking tone, there were still moments of humor and joy.

“And the scythes, Earth’s grand bringers of death, began to file out into the rotunda for donuts and coffee.”

“For only the pain of empathy will make us human.”

Overall:

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this dystopian thriller and look forward to the next installment.

Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars

TW: murder, descriptions of neck snapping, drowning, death by fire, kind of death, (no one is truly dead as everyone is revived)

I hope you enjoyed this review. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Image result for thanksgiving stickers

The Liebster Award: Takes 1+2

Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a great day so far. I’ve been doing a decent amount of reading, finishing “1984” and starting “Scythe” within the past week. I was nominated by both Sweaters and Raindrops and The Corner of Laura. Thank you both so much for the nominations! I’m going to answer Siren’s questions first and then Laura.

1. Favorite dessert?

I just love dessert in general. My favorite kind of ice cream is mint chocolate chip, my favorite cake is bacon cheesecake, and my favorite candy is caramel M & Ms. I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter desserts just because of how rich they are.

2. What is your love language?

I don’t actually know because I am fifteen and have never dated anyone.

3. What’s your comfort read?

I seriously need to do reread of The Lunar Chronicles! I miss the characters in this series more than I thought I did.

4. If you could learn what language, what would it be?

I started learning Spanish last year and I’ll be continuing my studies next semester. It’s a fun language to learn actually. I eventually want to go to Spain and put my studies to the test.

5. Thoughts on the impact of social media?

I don’t have any social media due to the fact that most of my friends talk to me through text anyway. I had Snapchat for a little while but ended up deleting it.

6. Do you like to dance?

I’ve been taking dance classes since I was four. I’ve taken ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical. I decided to take a break this year from dance, but I do miss it.

7. Go-to karaoke song?

I like to sing the Hamilton songs, specifically Aaron Burr, Sir, What’d I Miss, What Comes Next, and You’ll Be Back.

8. Favorite and least-favorite trope?

I enjoy the morally gray character trope, unreliable narrator, and friends to lovers. I hate love triangles with a passion and I’m also not a huge fan of enemies to lovers.

9. What’s your favorite thing to do alone?

Well, reading obviously, and also writing and piano. I’m teaching myself through piano tutorials on YouTube.

10. What are your bad habits?

I have a bad habit of dog-earing pages when I find interesting quotes. Yes, I’m one of those monsters. I also have a habit of not being able to keep my desk clean.

11. Tomes v.s. short stories

Tomes all the way. I have trouble reading short stories and being intrigued through the whole thing, even though it is short.

Laura’s Questions:

1. If you could move out of 2020 and into any other time period in history, which would it be?

I don’t really know. 2010s maybe? That’s a tough question for someone who hasn’t even lived 20 years.

2. Where’s your favorite place to read?

I like to read on the porch and in my bedroom with my book pillow.

3. If you could be any existing fictional character, which one would you be?

I’d probably choose to be Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles because we are basically the same person or Ginny Weasley because I’d love to be a Weasley child.

4. What was the last time you stayed up way too late to finish a book?

A couple nights ago actually. I was trying to finish “1984” by George Orwell and I did. Watch for a review soon!

5. Audiobooks, physical books or eBooks?

I read to much to read on an e-reader and I can’t pay attention to audiobooks, so physical books for me please!

6. Which book would you love to see a TV adaption of?

I’d love to see a “Throne of Glass” t.v. series. I think it would be really entertaining.

7. If you could bring back a fashion trend, which one would it be?

I don’t know! Oversized flannels have kind of gone away, so I guess oversized flannels for the win.

8. If you could visit any fictional place, which would it be?

Hogwarts. Hogwarts is the only acceptable answer.

9. Teleportation or flying?

Teleportation would be so cool! I’m not sure flying would be for me.

10. Who is your favorite Disney character?

You’re making me choose one!? I’ll list a few of my favorites:

  • Rex from Toy Story
  • Belle from Beauty and the Beast
  • Loki from the Avengers movies
  • R2-D2 from Star Wars
  • So many others that this list would go one forever!

11. What is your favorite item you bought this year?

I bought this awesome cardigan, but also, like, books.

I tag: Anyone who hasn’t been nominated for this award because you deserve it! Thank you again for both of my nominators!

My Questions:

  1. What is your favorite reading snack?
  2. What is your favorite blog post from another blogger? Your own blog? Share them!
  3. Hogwarts or Camp Half-Blood?
  4. If you had to choose, would you rather read from the same author for the rest of your life or read a different author for every book?
  5. What book do you plan to read next?
  6. What was the last book you read that nearly brought you to tears?
  7. Share a new blog I should I follow!
  8. Coffee or tea?
  9. Libraries or independent book stores?
  10. Are you more of an introvert or extrovert?
  11. Vent about your least favorite book!