Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Haul (7) - April 2014

These are all the books I've acquired in the past month or so. There are quite a few!

Used Books From Better World Books

Tris and Izzie - Mette Ivie Harrison
Gib Rides Homes - Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Gib and the Gray Ghost -  Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Queen's Lover - Francine du Plessix Gray
Melting Stone - Tamora Pierce
Slide - Jill Hathaway
Winterling - Sarah Prineas
Murder at Mansfield Park - Lynn Shepard

Books I Won 

Mind Games - Kiersten White
Perfect Lies - Kiersten White
Under the Never Sky - Veronica Rossi

New Books 

Never Fade - Alexandra Bracken 
The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Mass
Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Mass
Dorthy Must Die - Danielle Paige
Dreams of Gods and Monster - Lani Taylor
Scarlet  - Marissa Meyer
Cress - Marissa Meyer
The Assassin's Blade - Sarah J. Mass

My Last Book Haul --------> March Book Haul 
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Series Review - Beka Cooper Series

You may know I've been reading the Beka Cooper Series by Tamora Pierce and I review Bloodhound a few weeks ago. I recently finished the last book in this series, Mastiff. Therefore, I decided to do a series review because I loved this series so much and I don't think very many people have read it. So I'm trying to spread the word.

Some Details About this Series:

World: Tortall
Books in the Series: Terrier, Bloodhound (My review), Mastiff 
Total Pgs: 1,731 (all the books are over 500pgs)
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: All three books are rated as 5 stars on goodreads, but I would rate the books as follows.
Terrier - 4.5 / 5
Bloodhound - 5/5
Mastiff - 5/5 (my favorite in the series) 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Ten Characters Who I Didn't Expect to Like

This Top Ten Tuesday is a very cool post that is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish every Tuesday. This week is a bit open ended. I've decided on the Top Ten Characters Who I Didn't Expect to Like. Most of these I ended up loving too!

1) Juliet - Shatter Me Series: I was unconvinced by Juliet in the first book of this series. She is a bit over the top at times and can be hard to sympathize with. However, after reading this entire series, I have fallen in love with her and her journey. The Shatter Me series has become one of my favorite reads of this year and Warner could be on this list as well!!

2) Tris Prior- Divergent: I wasn't immediately in love with Tris! I had such high expectations for this book and Tris was different than I thought she was going to be based on what people were saying about her. It put me off a little bit in the beginning. What changed my mind was how much Tris changed, how she grew, once she decided which faction she was going to live with. I quickly warmed up to her as the book went on and we learned more about her.

3) Lola - Lola and the Boy Next Door: I didn't expect to like Lola as much as I liked Anna from the first of Stephanie Perkins' books. I am still partial to Anna, but Lola was quirky and fun which quickly stole my heart. Her story is just as cute and romantic as Anna's with the added bonus of seeing Anna again! Lola is also hilarious which is one of the things that quickly got me on her side.

4) Tris - Circle of Magic/Circle Opens Series - Tris is very hard to like when you first meet her. She has some very good reasons for being hard to like, but as these series go on she really grows and develops. Her story is Shatterglass is actually my favorite in that series.

5) Jace - City of Bones: Jace is a jerk at the beginning of this series and I didn't like him for a while! I know he was like the obvious love interest, but I wasn't convinced by him at first. I think it was only after he saves Clary several times and they invaded the Vampire Hotel that I really started to like his character. There is a moment in City of Glass that really turns Jace around for me as well because before then his whining can be a tab frustrating!

6) Ronan Lynch - The Raven Cycle: I never expected to like Ronan after the brutish way he behaved in The Raven Boys, but when I learned more about him, I love him. He is complex and interesting and has very very cool abilities. I cannot wait to see how his story plays out in the next book! (which there is going to be news about on Thursday!!)

7) Jason Grace- Heros of Olympus: After Percy Jackson, I never thought I would like another half-blood leader character. This is a lot like how I felt about Lola. I like Jason now, after four books, but he still isn't my favorite half-blood. I can't wait to see what he does in the final book of the series.

8) Elliot North - For Darkness Shows the Stars: I love Persuasion and I was convinced I would never like a retelling's main character as much as I love Anne. I was wrong! I love Elliot so much. She turned out to be a great character that really captures the spirit of Anne, but also changes her for the better.

9) Daenerys Targaryen - Game of Thrones: I didn't know Dany existed when the books started, but I didn't expect to like her once she was introduced. I thought she seemed weak and stupid because of her brother. Later when some of her true colors start to shine through, I just love her character so much.

10) Kyler - Frigid: I think it is really easy to make a guy in a romance focused book overly macho or over the top with pining for the girl. After reading the synopsis, I was convinced Kyler was going to be one of those two. He actually turned out to very well balanced and I ended up really liking this book. It was one of my first new adult reads and I'm interested to see what is coming out as the next book.

My Last Top Ten Tuesday -----> Top Ten Bookish Things I want to Own.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

On My Shelf

This tag/challenge was a lot of fun! It was interesting to check out so many of the books on my shelves that I don't look at every day. Some of the books are popular and some are not! 

Books Mentioned:
Opal - Jennifer L. Arementrout 
Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 
Envy - Anna Godberson 
Lioness Rampant - Tamora Pierce 
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling

If you do an On My Shelf, please let me know because I seriously think they are one of the coolest videos that the booktube community has come up with in so long. Fun as well!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dorthy Must Die - Review

by Danielle Paige

  Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)

Series: Dorothy Must Die (Book 1) 
Published: April 2014
Hardcover (pgs 452)

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 blue birds. 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 the yellow brick road, though—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:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

I've been anticipating this book for a few months. I've never been a huge fan of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (I have a fear of monkeys) and I've never read the books. Even so, I have a deep love for the musical Wicked and have wanted to read those books for years. After reading this book I have a new appreciation of Oz and I really want to read the original Oz books. (I've downloaded them all for my Kindle as of yesterday) 

Part of what I loved about this book was the author throws us right into Oz. There are a few short chapters that introduce us to Amy and her life in Kansas, but then it is all Oz. It could be really hard to hook a reader because obviously we are familiar with the world and even some of the characters. Paige does a great job of using the familiarity of Oz to show just how dark and twisted the land of Oz has become. It truly is dark and twisted too! (In all the ways that make me want to keep reading though)

Amy was such a good main character too. She is spunky and brave which makes for some great dialogue. Its obvious there is going to be a lot of complex character relationships and plot points going forward just from this book! There is just a dash of romance in this story which was the right amount for the amount of action and the personalities of both characters. I felt a little misdirected as things came to a close at the end of this first book, but hopefully there will be some more explanation about that in book two.

As far as format goes, I enjoy books with short chapters. I love to take books along with me places and read a few pages throughout the day. Therefore, I like short chapters so I have clear stopping points. I know this bothers some people though. This book has a lot of chapters and they are usually short. I, personally, do not think it disrupts the story or bother me while reading.

This is one of the best books I've read so far this year and I'm already dying to read book two. I've heard there is a novella though so you can bet I'll be checking it out asap. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes darker fantasy.

Rating: 5/5 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Library Haul (1)

This week I went to the library with my best friend and got a few books out. Because I'll have to return these before I get to do a wrap up, I'm doing a separate haul for them. 

Books Mentioned: 

Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That I'd Like To Own

This Top Ten Tuesday is truly awesome. I love bookish products and I want so many! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish every Tuesday.

1) Accessoreads - I want all the bracelets that are in this Etsy shop. They are gorgeous and so literary!
 Sherlock Holmes Quote Cuff Bracelet, Literary Jewelry, Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes

2) Out of Print Clothing - Obviously this site sells clothing and I love everything on the site. One of my favorites though is the Library Tote that looks like a library card

3) This bookplate - I've wanted this stamp for ages! I've always wanted to have my own library and stamps like this always make it seem official. 
Custom Lion Puffin and Unicorn Ex Libris Bookplate Rubber Stamp C06

4) Mr. Darcy Mug - I love this mug. It is awesome and one of the best quotes in literature. I love Jane Austen! LOVE


5) Another Book Tote - This is so cool. There are also other products with this logo on them. (coffee mugs, phone cases and other stuff) 

Book Nerd Logo Glasses  Tote Bag
6) Book Candle! - What else can I say? I love the smell of books! 

BOOKS Candle
7) More Mugs! - I love big mugs and I have several that I drink out of. Therefore I would love to have as many book mugs as possible. 

Reading Funny Quote Mug - Book Lover coffee cup - book worm Coffee Mug - Literary gift

8) Expecto Patronum Sweatshirt! - I love this sweatshirt design that is simple but also very geeky! 

Expecto Patronum Sweatshirt Harry Potter Book of Spells T-Shirt Women Grey Tee Unisex Shirt Sweater Jumper Tshirts Size S M L

9) So Many Books! Bookends! - These are so cool! I love book ends and these are so true! 

So Many Books! Bookends
10) Book Nook - Someday I want to have a book nook. Someday when I have my own place I am determined to have a place to read. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Dream Thieves - Review

   The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)
**WARNING: This is a review of the second book in The Raven Cycle. There may be SPOILERS for The Raven Boys**

Series: The Raven Cycle (Book 2)
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy 
Pgs: 439 Hardcover
Published: September 2013

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after....

I read/listened to The Raven Boys last year and it ended up being my favorite book of the year so I was completely thrilled to get my hands on this book. Then I promptly read a bunch of other things before I picked this up. Finally I picked it up this past month and loved it.

Just a reminder, there might be SPOILERS for THE RAVEN BOYS if you keep reading

There is something about Stiefvater's writing that captivates me from the moment I start reading. It sucks me into the story. I felt it during The Raven Boys and sure enough, I felt it here too. I'm totally captivated by Blue and her Raven boys. This is one of the most unique and interesting reads I've picked up in a long time. (Maybe since I read The Raven Boys last year) All the elements that I liked in the first book (amazing writing, pacing, characters and mythology) all make appearances in this book.

Maybe book three is going to really pick up on the action though? I hope so because this book was great and I loved it, but it still felt like a lot of setup for the overarching story. That is not to say there isn't action in this book. That would be incorrect. There is a lot of action, mysteriousness and so many hilarious moments. This series is very quickly turning into one of my favorites.

I had a few more problems with this book than the first book. The biggest thing was it felt like we didn't make very much progress plot wise in this book. I expected the search for Glendower to keep moving forward because Adam's sacrifice woke the ley line. However, this book is much more focused on Ronan than any of the individual plot points introduced in the first book. I had a lot of questions at the beginning of this book and I think I have even more questions at the end. It's not exactly a negative thing because this book made me realize that this world is so much more complex than you realize in the first book. Still frustrating not to have answers though.

Even though I didn't get a lot of answers, I still loved this book. The characters are just amazing and they have such amazing storylines thus far in this series. I actually appreciated that this book focused on Ronan because in the fist book he seemed like the most distant of all the boys. He is cold, angry and a little dangerous, but seeing from his perspective really helped me to understand him a little more. His powers, family situation and personality are explained so much more clearly in this book as he discovers more about himself as well. I loved that development for him.

On the other hand, I am very upset with the direction Adam took in this book. His pride and anger seem to really dictate where his path is going. He was one of my favorite characters in the first book and now he is more on the back burner personally. I'm frustrated with him. I understand he would need to take some time to adjust because of the massive changes to his life in the first book. Still, through a lot of this book it seemed like he was standing still.

We got to know the rest of the characters, and several new ones, even more which was very interesting and a lot of fun. I feel like each one of the characters has an element of magic to them and it makes them so interesting and wonderful. I love each one of them and this book solidified that even more. I would definitely recommend picking up this book if you enjoyed The Raven Boys. Plus after the cliffhanger ending, I've been watching Stievater's social media for any hint for a cover/release date for book 3. I'm dying over here!

Rating: 4.75 / 5 

Friday, April 11, 2014

#FridayReads (5)

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

Today I started Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This is a reread for me in preparation to read books two and three of this series. I love Lani Taylor's writing and I'm enjoying jumping back into this world. I cannot wait to get to the next books. I already have a trip to the library planned this weekend so you may see some picture of what I pick up there.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Goal Check #1

At the beginning of the year I made a lot of goals about reading and other hobbies I have. After seeing some people doing videos like this, I decided to check to see how I'm progressing. Some I'm doing well, but others I need to pay attention to! I had forgotten some of these so it was  a nice refresher to look through to see how its going. 

Let me know how you are doing with your goals from the beginning of the year? Have you forgotten about them completely? 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Darkest Minds- Review

     The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)
by Alexandra Bracken 

Series: Darkest Minds #1
Genre: Dystopian 
Published - December 2012 
Hardcover (488 pgs) 

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living. (From Goodreads) 

There is a ton of hype around this book and I have been very interested to read it. I decided to pick this up this month because of #WednesdayYA which is a read-along that Misty and Liz host during the month. For March they picked this and I'm glad they did.

Overall I really did like this book. I wish I had read this book before I heard all the hype because so often that damages my relationship with a book. I had really high expectations for this dystopian because of all the amazing things I heard about it. Overall it was good, but it didn't blow me away and I had some problems with it. Namely I had some issues with world building/believability. There were a lot of really good moments in this book as well and I'm interested to see what happens in book two, Never Fade.

The characters are fantastic in this series opener. I really liked all the main characters in this book. Liam, Chubs, Zu and Ruby are excellent. Their banter had me laughing outloud at points. I enjoyed their relationship with each other and they were great as individuals too. They were a fun group of characters to read and this is a very character driven story. Obviously this isn't a walk in the park though, the four of them get into some serious situations where my heart was pounding. They are what really made me kept picking up this book and to keep reading. Ruby's character growth alone in this book is really engaging. Without such engaging characters, I don't think think this would have won me over.

I had some problems with world building and really losing myself to the world. Because this is a future version of our society, it was really easy to jump into how the basics of the world work. However, I had a lot of questions about how things deteriorated into the state they are in the book and the abilities the kids had. There didn't seem to be a lot of answers which was frustrating, but hopefully there will be more in the next book. I wanted to throw myself into this book and love it, but the introduction to the situation was vague so it was a little difficult.

We shall see where the next book takes us. I want to get back to this series soon and I'm anxiously waiting to see what book three will be called. If you didn't know the titles of the books will create a sentence so I'm excited to see what they come up with.

Rating 4/5

Sunday, April 6, 2014

March in Review (2014)

These are all the books I finished in March. Hopefully I'll read even more in April. I basically haven't read anything in the past two weeks so I'm a little behind in my reading schedule.

Books Mentioned:
Fitzwilliam Darcy Such as I was - Carol Cromlin
Bloodhound - Tamora Pierce
Mr. Darcy's Letters - Abigail Reynolds
Captain Wentworth Home From Sea- Mary Lyndon Simonsen
Making Sense of the Troubles - David McKittrick & David McVea
The Darkest Minds - Alexandra Bracken
The Dream Thieves - Maggie Stiefvater

Everything I've read so far in 2014

Bloodhound - Review

    Bloodhound (Beka Cooper, #2)
by Tamora Pierce

Series: Beka Cooper #2 
Genre: YA High Fantasy 
Pgs: 551 (Paperback)
Beka Cooper is no longer a Puppy. She's a Dog now - a full-fledged member of the Provost's Guard, which keeps the peace in Corus's streets. Beka's natural skills of observation and tenacity are augmented by her unusual magical talents, which allow her to gather information both from pigeons are from the eddies of dirt and dust that swirl on street corners. But even her magic isn't very useful when unrest comes to Tortall's capital in the form of counterfeit coins, which turn up in shops all over the city. Merchants raise prices to cover their losses, and with winter coming on, hikes in food and fuel costs could spell disaster - most of all for the city's poor.

The Dogs discover that gamblers are bringing the counterfeits from Port Caynn - and that the Port Caynn Dogs don't seem to be doing anything about it. Beka and her mentor, Clary Goodwin, are chosen to go undercover in Port Caynn and find out what they can. And wherever Beka goes, so do some of her animals. Departing from Corus with her are the scent hound Achoo, who has been newly assigned to Beka, and the pigeon Slapper, who carries the voices of the dead.

In Port Caynn, Beka and Goodwin delve deep into the gambling world. There Beka meets a charming bank courier, who may be involved in the counterfeiting ring. Things come to a head just as Goodwin returns home to report in Corus. It won't be enough to Beka to be her usual "terrier" self. She'll have to learn from Achoo to sniff out the criminals - to be a bloodhound.

When I was suffering from a reading slump that was like a bad cold, it kept coming back, I picked this book up. I am so happy that I did! Unsurprisingly I loved this book. I'm also in the middle of book three, Mastiff, and I am also loving it.

I really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, Terrier, but I thought it was a little slow to start and the journal format was unbelievable/just didn't work for me at times. This book really improved those two elements and had the great fantasy world I expect from Pierce. There were little things that happened (like Beka falling asleep during an entry) that made the journal format work better. I love Beka and her determination to stay on the right side of the law. She is one of my favorite characters that I've read in a long time. I like how she is still learning things, she forgets things and she stands up for what she believes in (even more strongly in the third books which I'm reading now). It makes her so easy to like and believable.

I was slightly disappointed that Beka was leaving Corus and the Lower City because the character of that area was one of the reasons I loved the first book. I was also sad that Beka's friends wouldn't be in this book as much.  However, Tortall as a whole is so richly developed that the new city, Port Caynn, is just was interesting and detailed as Corus. Beka also makes interesting in this city so my fears were unfounded.

I think its natural that the pacing in this book worked a lot better for me. We have already been introduced to Beka's world and how the Provost's Guard work which makes things start much faster. While counterfeiting doesn't sound like an interesting concept, I promise you it is much more dangerous and thrilling than you would think. Beka gets herself into so many sticky situations while she is hunting down bad coins.

If you are a Tamora Pierce fan, you probably have noticed the Rouge in her stories. Each one is different and has their own way of ruling a Court of Thieves. I found it so interesting to compare all the Rouges we have met in her stories. I think Pearl is the most interesting of them all. She was one heck of a character in this book. I also loved all the "easter eggs" in this book. There are some things introduced in this book that are relevant in series that are set after this. It is really really fun to find those small bits in this series.

I mentioned I'm already reading the final book and I've been forewarned by my best friend that I'm going to cry my eyes out. Therefore I'm taking my time and savoring this final book before I get to whatever gut-wrenching scenes that are ahead.

Rating 5/5