June 2015 Recap

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 2015 Recap

What I Read:


Where I Went:


Challenge Updates:

This month was terrible for my year-long challenges. -sigh- I didn't add in many books to any of them really. Bad Wren! 

More Happy Than Not

Dive into Diversity Reading Challenge

More Happy Than Not


The Wonderland Effect: Vacaville, California, USA
Scintillate: Cary, North Carolina, USA

Ask the Author: Shannon Thompson

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ask the Author

This time on Ask the Author...
I'll be interviewing Shannon Thompson the author of 'Take Me Tomorrow' and 'November Snow'.

Who is Shannon Thompson?

Shannon A. Thompson is a 24-year-old author, avid reader, and habitual chatterbox. She was merely 16 when she was first published, and a lot has happened since then. Thompson’s work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies, and her first installment of The Timely Death Trilogy became Goodreads Book of the Month. She is currently represented by Clean Teen Publishing, and Minutes Before Sunset releases on July 28, 2015. 

As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Between writing and befriending cats, she graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and she travels whenever the road calls her.

What was your favorite part in your story 'Take Me Tomorrow'?

Although it is difficult to pick a scene, one of my favorite scenes to write was when Sophia and Noah get locked in the forgery together. To me, it was one of the first times Noah broke down and took down his defenses enough for me - the author - to see him, but it was also the first time Sophia experienced how torn up he is. It was emotional, but those emotions brought the reality of it all together, even when Sophia hasn’t seen the war or the other regions since she was a child.

Any secrets you can share about your next book/story?

For all of those wondering, yes, a sequel is written, but Take Me Yesterday is relying on readers for publication. Sharing and reviewing it helps tremendously, and the sequel does include many answers to popular questions: what are the other regions like? What happened to Sophia’s mother? What were with the flashbacks of her mother? Who is Lyn? Will Noah and Sophia see one another again? I will say one more thing. Take Me Yesterday does venture outside of the Topeka Region. 

What is your favorite part about writing?

Other than meeting fellow writers and readers, I love losing myself. When I write, I don’t exist. Hours can pass, and I am completely unaware. I become my characters, and they teach me about life and love and much more. My favorite moments are the moments characters surprise me, when I never see their actions or secrets or thoughts coming. They send chills up my spine. 

Who is your favorite author?

I don’t have a favorite of anything, really, but I love Meg Cabot, Lynne Ewing, Cassandra Clare, Billy Collins, and more. Too many more.

What is your favorite book/series?

Again, it is impossible to chose a favorite book or series, but I love 1984 by George Orwell, and I often find myself returning to it. In YA series, I loved Daughters of the Moon, 1-800-Where-R-You series, and The Mortal Instruments. I could go on forever.

What inspired you to write in the beginning?

As a child, I suffered from night terrors and nightmares. When I say “suffer”, I mean that I could not differentiate between reality and fiction. Even after I woke up, I could see my dreams, and it was truly terrifying. My mother taught me to turn my struggles into stories, and my love for writing was born. When she died very suddenly, I knew I wanted to spend my life writing, so I started chasing a career in writing very young. 

Which character in 'Take Me Tomorrow' did you like writing about the most? The least?

Noah was very often both for me. Originally, he told half of the story (much like my other novels, which are told in dual perspectives) but it didn’t work out. When he was on drugs, he hardly made any sense, and when he was sober, he told too much. That’s when I realized Take Me Tomorrow was Sophia’s story - not his - and I hope the sequel releases because I think it gives great justice to Sophia and the others we didn’t get to learn enough about. Other than Noah, I think Lyn was my favorite, and Broden was the most difficult one. He’s so standoffish, and Lyn was always welcoming. 

Which character do you feel most represents you?

None of my characters are me, but Sophia is probably the closest in terms of physical life conditions. After my mother died, I was raised by my father and my brother, but we also had a husky named Shadow. I did live on a piece of land, and I used to check the acres with him. It was one of my favorite activities. Shadow inspired Argos, for sure, but Sophia is still very different from me, but she should be. She’s sixteen in a world very unlike my own. I wish I could say more, but I would end up spoiling Take Me Yesterday; however, I will say this - Sophia’s flashbacks are essential to her character - past, present, and future. 

What do you do in your spare time? 

I love to travel. I'm already hoping I can take another trip soon! I moved around a lot as a kid, so staying still doesn't feel natural to me. Taking a trip with a camera and a pen is when I feel most alive, but I also love watching old movies. There's a reason I named my cat Bogart - Humphrey Bogart is my favorite actor- and I also spend a lot of time watching Casablanca with my cat companion.

Thanks, Shannon! 

Review: 'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel

Travel Companion:

If I traveled with the main character Ender Wiggin, he would be:

The Navigator

Ender would be the navigator of the adventure. He would be the one with an actual compass. (Not the iPhone one.) We would all follow him anywhere. (We would be lost without him.)
We would meet Ender at the airport, who would be suspiciously eyeing everybody. (Including us.) We would either A) snatch his little child person and run or B) coax him to join us with the thought of exploration.
But either way would work.

At first, I didn't feel for Ender. I felt like I didn't get enough depth from him. It seemed like I was just watching him act and not think. I wanted more. What was he thinking? Why did he do certain things? I wanted to know about Ender. What made him tick? I needed more.
But as I moved through the story, I started to feel for him. I pitied him even. His whole world was different. It was new to him. He was plunged into battle. Forced to fight. I felt like that was terrible for his health, mental and physical. Ender deserved better. He deserved a childhood. He was too young to be a commander. Where was his childhood? His childhood was stolen away. He could have read and played games. Got a girl. Dated. Earned honor roll.
But no.
He had to be a commander. He had to fight the buggers. But he was too young. Ender needed a better life.
I hope he found it.

The Adventure Begins (And Ends):

We were taken through Ender's life from the moment he was taken to the Battle School to the end. How he fought. His isolation. His weaknesses and strengths.
There were twists. Rivals. People who hated Ender's mind. People who wanted Ender dead. The teachers forcing Ender to his limits. We saw how Ender reacted. He was quick on his feet. Smart and deadly so. 
The plot had a few twists. The ending. The truth behind the games at Command School. All shocking. You wouldn't expect them. They smashed into you and surprised you. They were interesting to the reader.

I'll Wait For You At the Gate:

The great thing about this story was the lack of romance. Sure, there was familial romance, but that is different than actual romance. The bond between Ender and Valentine was strong. Those two were great siblings to each other. They were there for each other. She was his warm memory, his home. The person he could rely on when things got tough.

Perks and Upgrades:

What an action-filled plot. We had some great action scenes. The two armies fight. The fight that took Ender by surprise. On top of that, Ender was a great strategist. He could fight well. He ordered his soldiers well. His tactics were unique. He crafted them on the spot. It was great seeing how the boy worked.

You Have Arrived at Your Destination:

The ending was great. It summed up everything that happened. What he did. Why he left. What happened after. Then we had Valentine and Ender. I expected those two to reunite. It was awesome when they did. Those two worked well together. A great duo. And what happened with the queen? Amazing. I wouldn't expect anything like that. And everything really was a misunderstanding. They didn't understand you, and you didn't understand them. If you spoke the same language, it would have been better.
I don't feel like there is a need to read the next books in the quintet. The story ended perfectly. Ender got something that could make him happy. The other books could explore Ender more, but I don't feel like I need to read them.

This review is short because this story was just too hard to place. I couldn't formulate my thoughts. It was hard to understand the book. I feel like it was on another level of comprehension. I was missing things; I know that. I can't explain things I don't understand.


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This Week's Topic:

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2015

Gosh. This list will be hard to complete. I've read some great 2015 releases. I've discovered some great books that were published years ago. 
It's hard to tell which ones are the best. I'm happy this is a top ten list. Picking just one would be devastatingly difficult.
I've chosen the books that have left an impression on me. Books I've given 4 stars or higher. (A 5 is hard to get. I am very judgmental.) 
Here I go!


If you could trade your biggest burden for someone else’s, would you do it?
Five teenagers sit around a bonfire in the middle of the New Mexico desert. They don’t know it yet, but they are about to make the biggest sacrifice of their lives.
Lo has a family history of MS, and is starting to come down with all the symptoms.
Thomas, a former child soldier from Liberia, is plagued by traumatic memories of his war-torn past.
Kaya would do anything to feel physical pain, but a rare condition called CIP keeps her numb.
Ellen can’t remember who she was before she started doing drugs. 
Kit lost his girlfriend in a car accident and now he just can’t shake his newfound fear of death.
When they trade totems as a symbol of shedding and adopting one another’s sorrows, they think it’s only an exercise.
But in the morning, they wake to find their burdens gone…and replaced with someone else’s.
As the reality of the ritual unfolds, this unlikely group of five embarks on a week of beautiful, terrifying experiences that all culminate in one perfect truth: In the end, your soul is stronger than your burdens.

My Reason:

This story showed diversity with characters from Ellen who had a drug addiction to Thomas who was a child soldier in Liberia.  These characters all had different problems. It showed me that there were different struggles out there. The premise was about sharing problems and discovering what other people had to live through. 
The way the author wrote out the story was fascinating. The teens' voices. Their struggles. Their connections to one another. 
The story was told beautifully. Bravo.


Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

My Reason:

This story was filled with action. We read about Elias and Helene duking it out for the awesome leadership position. And their relationship? Extremely complex. All the characters had interesting relationships and connections.
Sabaa Tahir did her research. Her world was complex and beautifully written. The weapons. The battle strategies. Great work, Sabaa!


"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange." 
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland. 
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane. 
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

My Reason:

This was a beautifully done story. Odd characters but fascinating ones. People who had stories. I liked the adventures our main character Mim went on. She went on many adventures and went to places far and wide. Her story was about going places and realizations. Which was great. Mim realized some amazing things. 


Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

My Reason:

I love Victoria Schwab. She is a great author. She creates amazing characters and amazing worlds. 
This story was amazing. It had some great world building. The magic was amazing. And Deliah was a badass and very cool. The characters were well-built and full of depth. 
Another great one by Victoria. 


End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy.

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

My Reason:

I got this as an ARC from Susan Ee.
That might have given it a bit more leverage on the rating scale, but it was also a great story.
Penryn was a great character. The chemistry between Raffe and Penryn was palpable. I felt like their romance was strong. Such a great bond. 
And the familial bonds? The family connections were strong. 
This story was a great conclusion to a great series.


What would you do to save someone you love? What about risking...everything?

In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and a terrifying march across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't stop—and in Salt & Stone, Tella will have to face the unseen dangers of the ocean, the breathless cold of a mountain, and the twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you've relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the beginning of the race there were 122 Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the fourth and final part of the race, just forty-one are left...and only one can win.

Victoria Scott's stunning thriller will leave readers' hearts racing!

My Reason:

This was a great sequel. Tella grew in this story. She became someone else. A stronger person. And Guy. He was given depth and personality. 
There was a lot of action. The Pandoras. The fighting. On par. On par.
I can't wait to know what happens next.


Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

My Reason:

This story had a great premise and great execution.
The world building was great. Pale blue people. Floating ships. Birds in your lungs. I've never read anything like that before.
The romance was a bit...eh, but I'll let it slide. This was a great story.


Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal. 

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

My Reason:

Mental illness is a reality for some people. This story showed a mental illness in an understandable light. It showed Alex's struggle. It showed the need for love and help from others. She gained strength from her loved ones' help. 


I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado - taking you with it - you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a yellow brick road - but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm - and I'm the other girl from Kansas.

I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I've been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.

My Reason:

What magic! What amazement! 
Welcome to Oz!
Oz was a new place. A place of death and destruction. 
This story expanded on the 'Wizard of Oz' story. It was a great retelling. It gave us a new hero to cheer for and some great companions. 

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex... and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

My Reason:

I got this as an ARC as well. That doesn't mean I'm giving it a higher rating because it is an ARC. 
I never knew about intersex people before. This story educated me. I found out what it was. It showed Krisin's perspective of things. How she felt. How other people who don't know someone who is outcasted may feel. It showed how terrible teenagers can be. And it made me smarter because of it. 
I never read a story like 'None of the Above' before.

My Ideal YA Book

My Ideal YA Book

Read. Breathe. Relax had a recent post called 'My Ideal YA Book Has'. I decided to take my own take on this idea. Thanks, Lisa, for the inspiration! 


The setting would be a dystopian world. I love dystopian worlds. Especially the post-apocalyptic ones. How has the world ended? What did the people do? How did they rebuild?
If the world DIDN'T end, how did the society become corrupt? What is the system? What is the thing that makes this setting unique compared to the other stories'? A caste system like 'The Selection'? A tough test that determines your fate like 'Legend'? Why did this unique thing come into place? Corrupt leaders? Rebellions? 

I believe the world will end one day. When? Who knows. We are melting the polar ice caps, so 'Thei 5th Wave' might happen. The tsunami wave is the most likely. I don't want the so-called 'sexy' aliens, though. 

Examples: 'Legend'. 'Ashfall'. 'Angelfall'. 'Cinder'. 


I would love a defiant female lead. She won't need anyone to help her. She has the skills to defend herself. She protects her family and friends with her dear life. Someone brave and a tad reckless. (Aka people like Penryn, Katsa, and Mackenzie Bishop.) 

The any male characters would be either:
A) Warm, kind, and funny (Like Marcus from 'Partials')
B) Dark and dangerous (Like Fade from 'Enclave'.)
C) Something Completely Different (Aka mood swings. Or something.)

(THEOOOO. Mr. McBroody himself. Just STARE at him and he broods back.)


If I HAD to have romance, it would be friends-turned-lovers or enemies-turned-lovers. Both are okay by me. The friends have a bond already. It makes natural sense for them to take it to the next level sometimes. ('Simons vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda', anybody?) Enemies-turned-lovers are great too. They hate each other, but they grow to love each other through different means. Whether it's a terrible curse that bonds them like 'The Assassin's Curse' or something else like a fateful marriage. It's also quite hilarious reading them seethe in the other's presence. Then, when they get together, reading them remembering their seething. Muwahaha!
If not, no romance at all. I like familial love and friendships better than lovers and boyfriends and girlfriends. If the relationship helps the story or the characters, go right ahead. If no, nope!

Other Stuff:

The book doesn't need this stuff, but I would love it if these things were there!

-That One Guy Who Relieves the Tension (Ehem. -coughs- Marcus -coughs-)
-The Sibling That is Helpful and Awesome (Saba's sister? Excuse me?)
-Magic ('A Darker Shade of Magic'. 'Heir of Fire'. Etc.)
-Action (ALWAYS!)
-An Elite High School (Like 'Food Wars'. Except that's a manga/anime. But that's okay.)
-Supernatural Stuff ('The Raven Boys'. That's all I have to say.)
-Best Friends ('Since You've Been Gone'.)
-Family ('Blood Red Road'.)

Culture Shock: Cat Cafes in HK (June 20)

Saturday, June 20, 2015
Yesterday, I went to a cat cafe in Causeway Bay and a trampoline park in Quarry Bay.
Man. I had fun. 

The cat cafe was great. The cats were adorable. You really had to look for them, though. They were all over the place. It was a two flat cat cafe. One half was the cafe part. The other was a workshop for an antique cameras place, a bakery, and a frame shop or something like that. (I can't remember what the third one was...)
You had to get a membership, which my aunt did. (Someone reviewed it and said she wasn't pushed on the subject. My aunt was fine with getting it because we knew we would come back sooner or later.) You could get cat-themed drinks and snacks. I didn't end up getting something to drink or eat. My aunt got tea, though. (If that counts.)

And this is the teacup. It's a cat. Adorable. 

I wandered the shop, looking at the baked goods. Almost everything I saw was cat related. The decor. The snacks and drinks. Even the bathroom had a cat-theme to it. The mirror had been drawn upon and had cat ear and whiskers on it. (So you could look like a cat.) 
And, ultimately, looking for kitties. 
And I found them. 

Mr. Bowtie dude. (I never found out their names. And I'm assuming this is a guy.)

Orange Stripes. (He's/she's sitting on a printer. I know. It's the antique camera side of the workshop. And he/she didn't come down the entire time I was there.)

Sleepyhead. (He/she slept the entire time I was there. But look at him/her! So cute! And with a cat toy next to him/her!)

Fluffy White Cat. (She/he was so cute. She/he hid for a bit until someone coaxed her/him out. I'm not sure how exactly... And then she/he went into a basket to chill.)

Other Orange-y Cat. (This one was hiding as well. She/he came out with the Fluffy White Cat. So cute.)

The Two Babies. (They stayed in their house. And they were mostly asleep until one of them woke up. See?)

The cafe did have some adorable sweets. And a bakery that made cakes with cat faces. Cookies too. They also made cakes for cats. It was interesting...

Some of the sweets are cheesecake and  chocolate and tarts. All cat-related, though.

You can visit the cat cafe as well. 
The location:
Flat D-E, 3/F Po Ming Building, Fu Ming Street, Causeway Bay.

And then the trampoline park. 

We went to Ryze Hong Kong. It was located in Quarry Bay. 
We first arrived at 10 am to get out at noon. They were booked to noon. We decided to get tickets to go later at 4. (I suggest you book ahead of time. Saves you some hassle. It did say that reservations were encouraged. Now, I see why.)
I noticed there was a huge amount of little kids. (Elementary school age and younger.) 
We left there, going to the cat cafe.
We went back to the trampoline place and got there at 3. We had time to spare, so we watched people bounce. We saw these two guys doing cool wall tricks. They seemed very professional. (Which was odd since the majority of the 'fliers' were kids from toddlers to high school kids.)
Well...long story short, we became odd creepers. (For a while.)
Then we go let in.
It was fun. I liked the feeling of bouncing. I hadn't gone on many trampolines before. It was a new experience. 
I guess I ended up bouncing for forty minutes out of my sixty? Something like that. It was a good amount of time. 
I also went to their foam pit. I tried to tightrope walk. Easy peasy. (My aunt fell on her first try. And then I explained the mechanics to her, and she got it easy.) 

My verdict? Good facilities. It was a bit crowded. And a bit loud. When your time ended, instead of stopping the music, they used whistles to scream in your ear. It reminded me so much of high school. 
It was good for all ages. I didn't do flips or splits, but I still became stinky and sweaty at the end. Anyone could do this. You don't need experience. I mean...I had none. 

If you want to jump jump jump, here's the address:
321 Java Road 3/F, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong.

Now. Why is this a culture shock?
It's more like the combination of many cultures in Hong Kong. It shows how multi-cultural Hong Kong is. We have the Japanese-style cat cafe and the very-Western trampoline park. It's just fascinating to see how other cultures mix together. 

Review: 'The Contingency' by Karona Thompson


The Contingency
Karona Thompson

Amazon (No link) / Goodreads

How does someone live in a world bent on destroying the very thing they are ? 
You don't. 
You don't live. 
You survive. 

And the only way to do that is to hide. 

Hiding. This is what Callia Gracie has been doing since the day she was found to have the Echthra blood component within her veins she has been doing. Hiding, in plain sight. 

In her home she's Callia Gracie but outside and to everyone else she is Frankie Sly. A name that's meant to protect not just her but those around her. 

But what will she do when she's found out? In a world where it is she against everyone, will she crumble and fall or will she stand and fight.

Note: I got this as a read-for-review.

Here Be the Players

Callia was okay. She wasn't the most interesting character. She was meek and shy at first. And when she used her powers, she didn't seem to act stronger because of it. She seemed to be the same. Sure, she gained a bit of confidence, but she still seemed to be the same. Shocked at her actions. Shy. Those are just a few words to describe Callia's personality. And Frankie Sly? I'm not sure that's a good code name or anything. It seemed to mock the soldiers. Like, 'I'm totally normal. My last name is coincidentally Sly!' I didn't feel for her. She was just so bland. She wasn't devious or rude. She wasn't very brave. Those are my favorite character types. She did care for her family, though. I'll give her her that. Callia just wasn't the sort of girl I would be friends with. She was just so dull.
The Prince was okay. His motivations were confusing. Why her? What do you see in her? Also, what's with you? Hot then cold. It's like that song. Geez. 'You're hot then you're cold. You're yes then you're no.' Those words exactly. He seemed to be kind deep inside. Deep inside, though. He could have had more time to explain or be explained. He didn't get enough pages to explain how actions.
Aaron was okay. He was loyal, but he gave up Callia too easily. If he loved her as much as he claimed, he would have fought more. He was like, 'Bye, Callia. I can't help you. Sorry.' Yet...he was kind and caring. He liked Callia no matter who she was. He didn't judge. That was an interesting part of his character.

The Adventure Begins (And Ends)

The plot wasn't too interesting. It didn't seem to be anything different. It wasn't that interesting or unique.
And I felt like it was echoing 'Shatter Me'. Here, we have a girl who has powers. She has to keep them secret, though. No one in her dystopian future has powers. (That she knows of.) She meets a guy who cares. And doesn't mind if she has powers. (Spoiler AlertThen she is taken. And ends up with super powerful guy's son who comes off as a rude guy who ends up being nice.

It just seemed to be copying. Or reinventing. I felt like there wasn't many differences with this and 'Shatter Me'. There were some. Enough to make it its own idea but too many similarities to deny.

The Swoon-Gasp-Swoon Factor


Ka-Pow Power

There wasn't a lot of drama or action. The action was minimal. And Callia seemed to blank out sometimes during an action scene. Since she didn't fight, things were a bit boring. Oh yes, your powers are cool. When and if you use them. She just never fought. Period. She only fought back once or twice. She finally had motivation. The majority of the story was her accepting her fate. She didn't really stand up for herself.

Kiss Kiss Fall in Love

The romance was annoying.
There was something between Aaron and Callia. A strong bond. A good friendship turned into something else. Maybe something more. I couldn't tell. But they worked well together. Cared for each other. It was obvious that they liked each other. You had to see it. 
There was absolutely no chemistry between Callia and the Prince. It was a bit dull. And she hated him with a burning passion. There was nothing there. Sure, he was nicer at times, but that didn't contradict all the punches and kicks he gave her. Saying thank you and trying to help. He didn't have to. It showed he could be a good person. If he wanted to. And perhaps he could be a love interest. Just not in my opinion.
There was no use for a love triangle. It felt like the Prince liked Callia, but Callia didn't feel much for him. And Callia had her heart set on Aaron anyways. There was no reason for a love triangle. 

Special Effects

The grammar was a huge problem for me. It seemed like every page had a grammar problem. Missing commas. Missing quotation marks. Words that seemed to not fit. (But if it was a letter different, that would be a different story.) They were just so commonplace. I considered putting this eBook down around halfway through when the grammar errors became more evident. And they were simple things. 

I really didn't like the massive amount of grammar issues. It wasn't just a few times. It was often. And that's where I have a problem. A few times would be one thing. Many times is another. 

The End

The ending was such a cliffhanger. It just ended on that open-ended note... So much could have happened. Someone dies. The Prince dies. The rebels appear. (None of this happens. At least, not to my knowledge.) So many chances. 

The story could have continued. It could have been longer and had the fight scene. It could have had more closure. You don't get anything. It's just the end. The end.
When I got to the ending, I sat there in shock. I scrolled down a bit. Nothing. I was shocked. The story surely couldn't end there! But it did. And that's what upset me. A cliffhanger is one thing. An ending in the middle of a scene is another.
This story could have been longer. So many things were thrown at you. So many questions. You needed answers. And you got none.