Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review - Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

Sabriel (Abhorsen,  #1) Lirael (Abhorsen, #2) Abhorsen (Abhorsen, #3)
Genre: High Fantasy 
Published: September 1996
Series Total: 777pgs

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn't always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

I've been fussing about this series for about a month and I cannot stop. I haven't heard people mention it or talk about it at all, but I think more people need to pick it up. Check out my video review to see what I thought of the Abhorson Trilogy.

You can check out my review of Sabiel, the first book, here.

Happy Reading! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

#FridayReads (12)

This has actually been a terrible reading week for me. I haven't touched a book since last weekend when I finished The Shadowhunter's Codex. I don't know what I'm in the mood for and I can't stick with anything I choose. I'm about 50% done with Tiger Lily but I know its going to rip my heart out.

My goal this weekend is to start something and try to finish it. I don't know what its going to be, but thats the plan. I keep dragging three books along with me in my bag so it might be one of these three.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3) Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1)

Let me know if you have any suggestions for books that would kill a reading funk because I seriously need some help.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer Reading

Now that we have officially entered summer, I think it is high time for me to post what I'm trying to accomplish this summer. I've created two TBR lists for this summer. It is ambitious and it is probably a little crazy, but hey isn't that what summer is for? The first TBR is a selection of books that I've owned for a while. Most of these I've had for over a year and really want to cross them off my list.

There is a full list of the books in this video:

The second is all about rereading! I've made this the summer of rereading and marathoning. I've already reread The Raven Cycle (relistened but whatever) and really enjoyed picking up on more details. I tend not to reread because I have so many books I haven't read yet. There is also a lot of pressure for me to keep up with my reading goal of the year to read 100 book and Goodreads doesn't count rereads. I know that at the end of the year I would know how many books and words I've read in a year even without the Goodreads Challenge. However, I like reaching that goal. It is something that really satisfies me.

Its been a long time since I've read any of John Green's books except The Fault in Our Stars. Therefore I want to reread his three other books (An Abundance of Katherines,Paper Towns, and Looking for Alaska) . I also want to reread all of the Shadowhunter books (The Infernal Devices Triology and The Mortal Instruments Series). I'm very excited to reread all of these books!!

I'll be participating in a few Read-A-Thons this summer and have two vacations planned so hopefully I'll have plenty of reading time to accomplish all of these goals. I'll let you know in September.

Happy Summer Reading!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review - Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Charm & Strange

Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Published: June 2014
Paperback - 224pgs

No one really knows who Andrew Winston Winters is. Least of all himself. He is part Win, a lonely teenager exiled to a remote boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts the whole world out, no matter the cost, because his darkest fear is of himself. But he’s also part Drew, the angry boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who, one fateful summer, was part of something so terrible it came close to destroying him.Sensitive, yet confronting. Unsettling . . . and utterly enthralling. Unlike anything you will have read before.

In an act of full disclosure I won a copy of this book from St. Martin’s Griffin and Goodreads. Thank you to both of them for the opportunity to read this book. 

Don’t worry about the synopsis or the tags on this book. It is better to go into this book without knowing what’s coming. This story is confusing, sometimes incredibly sad and a very interesting thriller. I really ended up enjoying it. It is unlike anything I have read before, and unexpectedly I finished it in one sitting. 

From the outset you can see there is a serious problem with the narrator, but without more information it is impossible to distinguish real and not real. Kuehn did a masterful job leading the reader through this dark and disturbed teen’s mind. There are so many questions about Drew/Win that seemed to press on me throughout the book. Why is there such a huge difference between Drew/Win? Is there any paranormal aspects to this book? Is it all in Drew/Win’s head? It was frustrating and not what I expected when I started this book. 

I suspect there will be quite a few people who give up on this book because of the confusing start and slow revelations. There was a point about 50 pgs into this story where I was staring at the page thinking Where is this going??? Do I want to keep reading this? Then, very slowly, things started to be revealed and I found myself completely absorbed in this story. 

I would encourage you to get make it past the confusing moments. There is a large chunk of the book where the reader is completely in the dark, but the ending is what makes this book an incredible piece of writing. I was left with my mouth hanging open at the end and actually reread that last few pages a few times just to try and wrap my mind around it. It blew my mind and made me very interested to see what Stephanie Kuehn will come up with next.

Rating: 4/5 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Top Five Wednesday - Naked Hardcovers

Top Five Wednesday was created by Lainey and I will leave her link and the link to the Goodreads group below. Every week they create a topic for your top five books in a certain category. This is my first time participating and it was a lot of fun! You can check out future topics and the full list of participants in the Goodreads group. 

This week's topic was your favorite naked books aka books without dust jackets. I love hunting for this and being surprised by it when I purchase books. Enjoy! 

Top 5 Wednesday Group:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review - Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Genre: High Fantasy 
Published: August 2012
Hardcover - 404 pgs 

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. 

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. 

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Sometimes you need to throw your plans aside to pick up a book you are pretty much guaranteed to like. I have a massive stack of books sitting on my floor that I need to read, but I picked this up instead. I was on a serious fantasy kick after I finished The Abhorsen Trilogy and needed something similar. I don't think I could have picked the book up at a better time honestly. 

Of course, going into this book I was rather excited. Assassin is one of my favorite character types. They are almost always clever and witty and their occupation makes the story fast paced and intriguing. Celaena is not an exception to this. However, she is not a cardboard cut out either. First of all a lot of assassin characters are male and very focused on the killing for money aspect of their jobs. Celaena is female, obviously, and she is at once both very feminine and focused on her skills and own desires. 

While she is a very dangerous and cunning killer, almost immediately I realized how complex and conflicted she is. One of my favorite of her many amazing character traits is her exploitation of her own femininity. While she enjoys wearing dresses, dancing and the occasional kiss, she isn't going to do any one because she is expected to. I fell in love with her intensity and independence. (I'm already pushing this on people) Speaking of love, there is already set up for an intense love triangle that I am sure is going to take several books to fully flesh out. I have a fairly good record for getting the love interest correct in love triangles, but I have no idea who is going to win out for this one! 

The book is heavy on the world building, but to me it was well balanced with character introductions and a fast paced story. Even though there is a lot of information, you can tell the world is only going to continue to grow and expand. We get a taste of history, politics, religions, cultures, wars, social customs and magic systems within this first book. This world is going to complex and I am excited for every moment of it. The same goes for the characters. This story is pure set up for a long series that I am already ready to continue on with. 

I gave this book a four out of five because this is a set up for an series that I see a lot of potential in. While I enjoyed all the characters, the pacing and the world building, I know this is set up and there are going to be more exciting things coming in the future. The sheer amount of unanswered questions and references to past/future events were the only thing that frustrated me mostly because I don't have the next books to read right now!  So I'm saving my 5 stars simply because I know something even more amazing is coming.

Rating: 4/5  

Top Ten Tuesday - Books on my Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted every week by the The Broke and the Bookish and I always enjoy participating because they come up with amazing topics. 

I had to laugh when I looked at the topic for this week. I've been planning a post about my Summer Reading plans for a couple weeks. I planned to post it later this week because the Summer Solstice is this weekend which typically is the official kick off to summer in my opinion. So I was torn if I even wanted to participate this week because I already have a very similar post planned.  Consider this a preview!  I'll be giving you a taste of that post here and advise you to come back in a few days to see the very ambitious list!

1) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

2) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

3) Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout

4) Storm of Swords by George RR. Martin

5) Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

6) Looking for Alaska by John Green

7) The Archived by Victoria Schwab

8) Linger by Maggie Steivater

9) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

10) Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

All the reasons I want to read these books is the same. I'm craving them and I want to enjoy them either for the first time or all over again!

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) The Archived (The Archived, #1) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years, #1) 

Happy Reading! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

June Book Haul (2014)

Today I have a larger book haul than I anticipated when I started to record it. I went to a few used book sales this month and also purchased some new books.

Books Mentioned:
The Glass Sentence - S.E. Grove

The Sight - David Clement-Davies 
Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Merlin: The Lost Years - T.A. Baron
The Merlin Effect - T.A. Baron
The Great Tree of Avalon - T.A. Baron
The Light Between Oceans - M. L. Stedman
Queen of Swords - Sara Donati
Scarlett Fever -Maureen Johnson
The American Heiress - Daisy Goodwin
Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
Sunwing - Kenneth Oppel
Darkwing - Kenneth Oppel
Wrinkle in Time Series - Madeline L'Engle
Guardians of Ga'Hoole - Katherine Lasky
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kid

New Books:
Strands of Bronze and Gold - Jane Nickerson
The Treachery of Beautiful Things - Ruth Frances Long
Summer and Bird - Katherine Catmull
Shattered Souls - Mary Linsey 
Vivian Divine is Dead - Lauren Sabel
This Song Will Save Your Life - Leila Sales
The Abhorsen Trilogy - Garth Nix
The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutoski

Happy Reading! 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Books and Coffee - Original Video Tag

I created a book tag for Youtube because I could not stop thinking about a certain character who would need to drink coffee in the morning in order to deal with a difficult assignment. If you are interested in checking out who that might be, check out the video!

I also have posted a book haul this week and I'm working on the post for that. Stay tuned for that post or check out my youtube page. 

Happy Reading! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

#FridayReads (11)

This week I have started a couple of things. I just finished Throne of Glass and I'm really interested in starting Crown of Midnight. I'm thrilled by this series to say the least and I've been listening to The Dream Thieves. I hope to keep reading one of these two, however, I can't decide what I want to pick up. We shall see.

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I've Read This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted every week by the The Broke and the Bookish and I always enjoy participating because they come up with amazing topics. This week is especially fun and I've decided to make a video instead of just a post today! 

As usual I'll list the books I'm going to mention. They aren't listed in any particular order and there isn't any order up until my top 3. If you want to know those, you'll have to check out the video! :) 

Books I've Mentioned: 
Days of Blood and Starlight - Lani Taylor

All of these books are amazing and so many of them are a part of a series that I cannot wait to continue!
Happy Reading! 

My Last Top Ten Tuesday------> Beach Bag Books

Monday, June 9, 2014

Review - The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)
Genre: High Fantasy
Published: May 2014
Hardcover - 374 pgs

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings — merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery — one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever.

Sometimes its exciting to read a series as it is published and be there from the beginning to enjoy all the anticipation for the next book. This is one of those times! I expect this series is going to take off so I advise jumping on the bandwagon now.

This was my first read by Brandon Sanderson and I picked it up at the library on my latest trip. I've been reading a bunch of fantasy novels this month and this is still one of the most unique magic systems I have ever read. Sanderson created a complex magic system that was interesting and engaging. The drawings are peppered throughout the books are very helpful in visualizing the descriptions of the crazy defenses and other elements of Rithmatist powers.

This book is labeled YA but I think anyone who likes fantasy will enjoy it. I found the world to be very interesting and can't wait to see a larger picture than Joel's school. There is a lot of introductory information and world building because this is the beginning of a series. I'm glad Sanderson has created such a solid foundation for the next books because I wasn't totally convinced when I started this book that I would be able to take the chalk "magic" seriously. This story becomes very serious very fast though because student start disappearing and many foes exist with in Joel's school and his world. I like the mystery and fantasy elements and am excited to see where this story goes.

The characters are absolutely fantastic. I loved Joel and his friend Melody. The two of them have such a fun and interesting friendship. I loved how there was no emphasis on romantic relationships. Instead Sanderson spent a lot of time developing the world and the characters. I can see the pair becoming a great team in future books and I can't wait to see them in action again soon.

Overall I loved this book and I'm thrilled to find such an interesting and unique story. If Sanderson's other books are anything like this one I'm sure I'll be devoring them soon.

Rating: 4.5 /5 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Book Character Tag

Check out my latest tag video!

The Questions:
1. Who is the best kick-ass character?
2. Which character do you most dislike? 
3. If you could date any fictional character who would it be and why?
4. If you could change a character in any way what would it be?
5. What character to you made all the wrong choices that didn't add anything to the book?
6. Which character was the best villain whom you love to hate?
7. Favorite side-kick character with the most heart?
8. What is your favorite fictional romantic relationship?
9. What character did you think was the strongest? 
10. Best protagonist?
11. Who do you tag?


Friday, June 6, 2014

#FridayReads (10)

I've indulged myself this week and picked up Throne of Glass. I am loving this high fantasy story and even though I don't have time to fly through it in one sitting, I totally would if I could... This is the only I'm planning on reading this weekend unless things don't go as planned.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

May in Review (2014)

I read 17 books in May! That is crazy!! I cannot believe I read that many books this month. Sadly, as far as videos go, I read a lot of Kindle books and listened to a lot of audiobooks. Therefore there are very few physical books in this wrap up. I still had an amazing month.

That's everything that I read this month! Thank you for watching and checking out my wrap up. 
Happy Reading! 

Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted every week by the The Broke and the Bookish every week and I always enjoy participating. This week there were two options. You could choose either Top Ten Books That Should Be In Your Beach Bag or Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer. I chose the second option because I am already trying to narrow down my list of books that I'll be taking to the beach next month. I've never been able to read 10 books on this trek of just 7 days, but I hope this year I'll be able to knock out some books that have been sitting on my shelves for ages. 

1) The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas- Even though this book seems like a brick, I think it would be a fun classic to read on vacation. I've had this books since Borders was closing and have always wanted to read it. The adventure and intrigue make me think I would like to read this in large chunks.

2) Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters - Obviously this book was meant to be read at the beach! Based on my experience with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I think this would be a humorous read for the beach.

3) Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins - I bought this book on a whim because I heard the author talk about it. Since then I've heard nothing but good things about this series. It is seriously tempting to pick this book up now that I've remembered how awesome this series sounds.

4) Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce - Even though Pierce is one of my favorite authors, I've never been as dedicated to the Emelan world as I was to Tortall. Therefore, I just haven't started this latest round of stories that follow the Circle of Magic characters. I'm hoping to catch up on her published works by the end of the year. This would be a good start.

5) Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin - I'm about 200 pages into this book already, but I would love to conquer a chunk of it over this summer and on the beach. I finished Clash of Kings almost a year ago so I'm a little confused with what's going on, but I hope to really jump into this story over this summer.

6) Not a Drop to Drink by - Mindy McGinnisThis story is all about a lack of water and defending a lake. Honestly I think being near the water would be the perfect setting to read this.  I'm also dying to read it!

7) What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick - Last year I took My Life Nextdoor to the beach and it was the perfect beach read. I plan on picking up this second book she has published because I am so excited to read something new from her.

8) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - Even though this book is about going to college, I think it would be perfect to read at the beach. Mostly I think I need to read this far away from expectations and hype because there are so many people who love it.

9) The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan - I am finally caught up on all of the greek mythology books by Rick Riordan. I would really like to read all of the Kane Chronicles before the final book in The Heros of Olympus series come out this fall. I'm very excited to check out this series.

10) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch - I've been hearing fantastic things about this series and I've recently rediscovered by love for fantasy. My reasons to take this to the beach are very similar to why I want to take Storm of Swords to the beach. I don't have this book yet, but I'm planning on picking it up.