Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review – Scorched by Mari Mancusi

Scorched (Scorched, #1)

Genre: Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy
Hardcover – 352pgs
Published: September 2012 by Sourcebooks
Rating: 3/5

Don't leave me here... It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she's going crazy. It wouldn't be a big surprise—her grandpa firmly believes there's a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it's begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it...

He's come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

He's everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.

Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head—a dragon that won't be tamed.

Dragons are my favorite mythical creature and I do a respectable amount of fangirling over Dr. Who. So how could I resist a story that had time travel and dragons? I would pin this as Terminator with dragons. I saw someone compare it to Eragon too which is fairly accurate as well. Both descriptions had me itching to read this. After finishing the book though, I have mixed feelings. I have a lot of issues with this book, which I will explain below, but I also really liked it and had a hard time putting it down. 

The characters get a silver star from me. I like Trinity and the brothers, but I had a hard time connecting with Trinity. Connor and Caleb's point of views were too similar. It wasn't always easy to tell who was narrating their chapters. Even though their stances on dragons are different, I've started thinking of them as one unit since they use a lot of the same references and have so many of the the same experiences. The dragons get gold stars. They get gold fiery stars because I love them and their part in the story was great.

The story is a mix of fantasy/contemporary/sci-fi/paranormal and several other things mixed it. Normally I like mash up of genres. It makes things interesting and great combinations make great stories. In this case though, I think things are a little scattered. The action was really good and kept the story flowing, but sometimes the story moved onto a new topic when the other one didn't feel complete. There are a lot of elements to this story, which I liked, but they feel under developed, which I didn't.Mostly I had problems with the world building (or lack there of). I have a lot of questions about the inner working of this world, which isn't always a bad thing. However, in this case I think the questions are ones that should be explained. I'm hoping they will be in book two, but since a lot of the set up/timey wimey explanation happened in this book, my hopes are not high. 

An overall enjoyable reading which I will be picking up the sequel to soon. I'm interested to see what happens to Trinity and the dragons. 

Happy Reading!! 


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Three Tips for New Library Patrons

Libraries are lovely places and I absolutely love to visit them. When I started visiting the libraries I really enjoyed it but sometimes found them frustrating or confusing. Every library is different so these are just some suggestions based on my experiences at the library about finding the library that works for you. 

1) Try more than one -
If you strike out at one library, try another. Individual public libraries choose how to spend their funds and each library has its own unique selection of books. If you can't find what you are looking for at your closest library, maybe try out the next closest. Personally, I was finding one library a little stressful because there was limited parking I had to pay for, high demand for the books and it was hard to find books. I have another library that is only a few more minutes away (in the other direction) and decided to try that one. I have found this experience to be much more enjoyable. There is more parking which is free, lower demand on the books and I actually like the selection more. Also the drive there is less stressful. I've ended up going to the library more often since my switch. 

2) Learn the Lay of the Land (aka browse a lot) -
Libraries are not always set up in the easiest way to understand. I've been in ones that have multiple levels, lots of room and many entrances. It takes time to find subjects you are interested in and may take even longer to find the book.  If you don't find what you are looking for easily be sure to ask. Librarians are great people who know their building better than anyone. The section you are looking for might be tucked in a corner just waiting to be pointed out. 

3) Visit Often -
I've had many interesting experiences in libraries and the #1 thing I've learned is libraries are complex beings and you only use them to their full potential by visiting often. 

They have book sales, events of all kinds and offer many services to the community. Librarians are rather wonderful people and I am jealous of their knowledge and expertise. Last time I was at the library the ladies were helping people fill out passport applications and the time before that there was resume help. There are also often programs for kids that include homework help, special events and programs. There are computers to use, databases to explore and of course so many books to read. While searching for services on my library's website, I have learned about so many more.

It is simply amazing the amount of resources to be found at the library. Check them out! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list

I love participating in this feature that is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. They select fantastic topics for their Top Ten Tuesday feature. This week's topic is the top books that you want to read this fall. There are so many books that I want to read. My TBR shelf is huge and since fall is my favorite season, I typically pick up quite a few seasonal books during this time of year. I also end up picking up a lot of paranormal and darker books around now.

I have three categories for these 10 books on my Fall TBR list. 

   1) Books that have been on my TBR for    ages 

-        Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
-        Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
-        Cinder by Marissa Meyer
-        The Diviners by Libba Bray



  2)   Books that make me think of Fall

      -         This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppal
      -         Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
      -         The Monstrumologist by Rich Yancey
      -         Conversion by Katherine Howe



       3)   Random Books I Want to Read

-     Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
-      The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Here they all are! This is my lovely TBR for this fall. I'm really hoping to get through all of these books in the next few months. I'm very excited about all of them.

Happy Reading! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review - Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Genre: Young Adult Fantasy 
Hardcover: 467 pgs
Rating: 5/5 
Add It // Buy It 

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final

Last year when I read and reviewed this book I enjoyed it. I really liked it. I remember really good things about the book, but also that the writing didn't gel for me. I liked all the elements, but something kept me from loving it wholeheartedly. I can't even tell you what it was. I don't know if I just wasn't in the mood for it or if I was distracted, but I felt really detached from the book. I gave it a four stars and moved on thinking it was good, but missing something for me.

I call do over.

This book! This time I was blown away. I know this is the reaction I was missing the first time. I loved this! Hartman's writing is excellent. It is rich and engaging. Her word choices are atypical and I looked up a lot of definitions while reading this book. I liked that her phrases and approaches to writing were different than a lot of the young adult fantasy that I've read. Both times I read this book it was more than I was expecting.

Also as much as I love dragons, books featuring them sometimes seem very similar as far as dragons are concerned. A lot of the same mythology and beliefs are used over and over again. Hartman adds her own flourishes to these tired myths. I absolutely loved her take on dragons. The political and court drama also added an element I wasn't expecting when I picked this up. So many dragon books feature dragons as beasts or noble creatures. This story combines those two ideas and it is one of the most unique dragon books I've ever read.

Also I loved Seraphina and Orma quite a bit. I cried toward the end of the novel and loved their discussions. Overall, the characters felt complete and I identified with their struggles. I liked all the elements of Seraphina and could understand her struggles between staying distant for safety and needing company to curb her loneliness.

I'll admit that there is a lot of language to take in. Not only does Hartman use uncommon words, she makes up words too. There is a glossary in this book that was my best friend for the first few chapters. Language, religion, dragon politics and characters are all plentiful and complex. However, the extra terminology helps the world building immensely and adds to the story. I devoured the book this time around and I'm dying for the sequel.

Happy Reading! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

#FridayReads (16)

This week I've been reading like a fiend. I'm really enjoying everything I've picked up as well. Today I plan on reading two books for sure. I'm almost done with Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and I've reached the half way point with Grave Mercy. I've also been listening to the audiobook of Lirael so I'll probably be working on that. What are you reading?


Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review - The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)

There are some books on my TBR shelf I know I'll love when I pick them up. I was trying to wait until the sequel was closer. (It won't come out until March.) I could not resist this gorgeous book though! I've made myself very happy and also miserable now that I've read this book. I'm dying for the sequel, but loved this so much. Check out my video review of The Winner's Curse for my thoughts on this amazing book!!


Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Hardcover - 355pgs
Published: March 2014 by Macmillan 
Rating: 5/5 
Add It // Buy It 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction.

Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More

This week is a very interesting topic on Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. I have so many books on my shelves I need to read. This gave me an opportunity to look through my books to see which authors I've read and loved but haven't read any more book by them yet. 

Rick Yancey - I've only read The 5th Wave, but I also own the Monstrumologist Series by him. I really enjoyed The 5th Wave and I'm very excited to read the sequel and his monster series.

Brandon Sanderson  - Everyone raves about the Mistborn series, but I've only read The Rhithmatist. I hope I can pick up some of Sanderson's other books at some point because his writing was awesome!

Patrick Ness - The only book I've read by Patrick Ness is A Monster Calls, but I own the entire Chaos Walking Trilogy which I really want to read as well. I have heard nothing but good things about all of his works as well.

Leigh Bardugo - Personally, I haven't finished the last two books in the Shadow and Bone series. I loved the first book and need to read the rest!

Diana Peterfreund - For Darkness Shows the Stars is one of my favorite adaptations of Persuasion   I've ever read. Her second book is also an adaptation, but I keep putting it off because I haven't read the book its been adapted from, The Scarlet Pimpernel. Eventually I will get there!

Huntley Fitzpatrick - I loved My Life Next Door, but I haven't picked up her next book yet. I am very anxious to get it too since I want the marching spines to look great on my shelf.

C.J. Redwine - Again, this is another series that I started, but haven't pick up the next books. I loved Defiance. I really want to see what happens in that series and have heard lots of good things about the books.

Erin Morgenstern - I don't know if The Night Circus will ever be topped or if Morgenstern ever plans to write another book, but I would love her to. I was enchanted by her first book and would be very interested to see what she could come up with next.

Gabrielle Zevin - Elsewhere was a book I really connected to as a middle schooler. I have the first book in her Birthright series and I really want to get my hands on her standalone book The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. 

Marie Rutkoski - I've recently finished The Winner's Curse. I am dying for the next book in this series because of the ending of that book. Alas The Winner's Crime doesn't come out until March. I will await anxiously.

Happy Reading! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review - Captain Wentworth's Persuasion by Regina Jeffers

Captain Wentworth's Persuasion: Jane Austen's Classic Retold Through His Eyes
Genre:  Historical Fiction/Regency Era                 
             Retelling of Persuasion 
Paperback: 385 pgs. 
Published: March 2010
Rating 3/5 
Preorder // Add It 

Readers hear Captain Wentworth’s side of this tangled story in the revelation of his thoughts and emotions. Wentworth initially suffers rejection and frustration because the titled Elliots do not consider him good enough for their daughter Anne. Despite her feelings for Wentworth, Anne allows others to persuade her to break off their engagement. Eight years later, when Wentworth returns from fighting against Napoleon’s army, the difficult years of war have reversed fortunes. Now it is he who is rich, having won many prizes in battle, while the Elliots are deeply in debt and in danger of losing their good name. Will Wentworth seek revenge by choosing another woman over his former love? Can he walk away from Anne, or will the memory of her lips and her touch capture his love once again?

It is difficult to find adaptations of Persuasion. It is not adapted as often as Pride and Prejudice. Maybe because Captain Wentworth and Anne's story isn't as easily translated to today's audiences, or because Wentworth isn't as popular as Mr. Darcy. I think the most likely reason is because there aren't as many obvious title variations available for adaptations or continuations since it has a one word title. Whatever the reason, there are far fewer books that explore my favorite Austen work and I hunt them with fervor. 

This was actually one of the first Persuasion adaptations I had heard of, but it took a while to find a copy in good condition. When I finally picked this up and started reading, I was surprised. The story is advertised as Wentworth's side of the story. I was expecting something along the lines of Amanda Grange's books (Mr. Darcy's Diary, Captain Wentworth's Diary etc.) which follow the original story closely, but through the hero's eyes. Instead Jeffers presents us with a before, during and after view of Wentworth.

My overall feeling is meh. There were moments within the book that I really enjoyed. However, I wasn't impressed with Jeffer's description of Anne and Wentworth's relationship. During the parts of the book that were set before and during Persuasion, their interactions were pretty much in character and believable.

The section of the story that was set after their marriage was not as enjoyable for me. The number one thing that bothered me was Wentworth's use of endearments for Anne. They were over used and ended up interrupting my reading so many times. If I read "sweetling" one more time I was going to throw the book across the room. Their characters are just a little off and the longer the book went on, the more it bothered me.

After the Persuasion part of the book, the story took such a weird turn too. A lot happens during this section which I think Jeffers could have made an entirely separate book. Honestly, I think it would have been more interesting to have a continuation of Persuasion for this part of the story instead of a book that tried to span so much time. The book simply goes on too long. Jeffers tries to cover too much and lost my interest. 

Happy Reading! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Reading big books is a pleasure I never tire of. I have a lot of them, but this is a tag to show off some of my largest books both read and unread. Check out the original tag video that 1book1review created a while ago. No one tagged me, but it was a lot of fun to do!

Happy Reading! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Most Anticipated Releases for Fall 2014


Last night I made a cup of tea before I went to bed, which is a regular practice for me as the months get colder. However as I curled into bed with my book, I realized his is the first time I’ve done this since April. Fall is coming! Not only is fall my favorite season, it is the season of my birthday and more importantly book releases. It is that exciting time of year when the publishing industry explodes with new books. This fall seems like there is an exceptional number of books that I am waiting on to be released.

The Fall by Bethany Griffin (Release: October 7, 2014) 
Preorder  // Add It

Since fall is the season we are discussing, it seems like this book should go first. I'm thrilled that there is going to be a retelling of "The Fall of the House of Usher." This is one of my favorite Edgar Allen Poe stories that I've read. This was also recently discovery for me which makes me anticipate the book even more. 

Madeline awakes in a coffin. She was put there by her own twin brother. How did it come to this? In short non-chronological chapters, Bethany Griffin masterfully spins a haunting and powerful tale of a tragic heroine and the curse on the Usher family. The house itself is alive around Madeline, and it will never let her escape, driving her to the madness just as it has all of her ancestors. But she won't let it have her brother Roderick. She'll do everything in her power to save him—and try to save herself—even if it means bringing the house down around them.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Reads (15)

There are so many books I want to read over the next couple of weeks and I have no idea where to start. I want to participate in several read alongs this week including ones for The Burning Sky, The Raven Boys  and Sabriel. As you may know, that list includes books from two of my favorite series of all time!! Plus I've started some amazing books over the past few weeks that I would like to finish. So I have no idea what I'll be reading today or this weekend. If you have any suggestions about which one of these I should pick up, please help me choose! 



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review - Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer by Karen V. Wasylowski

Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer (Darcy and Fitzwilliam, #1)

Regency Era Retelling of Pride and Prejudice 
Paperback - 496pgs
Published -Feb. 2011 by Sourcebooks
Rating : 2/5

A gentleman in love cannot survive without his best friend...
Fitzwilliam Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam couldn't be more different, and that goes for the way each one woos and pursues the woman of his dreams. Darcy is quiet and reserved, careful and dutiful, and his qualms and hesitations are going to torpedo his courtship of Elizabeth. His affable and vivacious cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam is a military hero whose devil-may-care personality hides the torments within, until he finds himself in a passionate, whirlwind affair with a beautiful widow who won't hear of his honorable intentions.

Cousins, best friends, and sparring partners, Darcy and Fitzwilliam have always been there for each other. So it's no surprise when the only one who can help Darcy fix his botched marriage proposals is Fitzwilliam, and the only one who can pull Fitzwilliam out of an increasingly dangerous entanglement is Darcy...

Within the story of Pride and Prejudice, there are so many characters that we only receive glimpses of. While we may want to know more about Charlotte Lucus, Anne de Bourge or the handsome Colonel Ftizwilliam, Austen gives us just a limited peak at their natures and personalities. Any opportunity to explore their stories further is fascinating to me and one of the things I love about adaptations of Jane Austen's works is the chance to delve deeper into these characters.

So when I found a story featuring Darcy and his dashing cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, I knew I wanted to pick it up. This book offered a deeper look at the friendship we see just moments of at Rosings during Lizzie's visit to Charlotte. It didn't turn out as expected. While there were plenty of characters explored in this story, I found they were unrecognizable from the ones I love so much from P&P. Lizzie is rarely present without throwing a tantrum or picking a fight with her husband while Darcy is a emotional mess the entire book.  Colonel Fitzwilliam had his moments, but overall he was too angry for me to really like. He is so aggressive throughout the novel and completely different than the lighthearted humorous man I have in my head.  Lady Catherine is not only easy to like, she is my favorite character from the entire novel! (Which is a nice change of pace, but in complete opposition to the last 200 years of Austen history)

Most of the time when an author takes liberties during an adaptation with a character's personality, it doesn't bother me. Like I mentioned there are a lot of side characters that we only see in a few scenes so their personalities, likes/dislikes and manners are not all set in stone. However changing their core virtues and making characters like Lizzie and Darcy unrecognizable seems like false advertising.
Things were not all bad. For instance the opportunities the author took to explore Colonel Fitzwilliam's mental state after the war, was very interesting and was a realistic struggle he would have had. I also liked the Colonel's romantic interest, Amanda. Their relationship was strange and it seemed like the author did not want them together for most of the book, but I liked her. (There were so many hoops they needed to jump through!) Speaking of difficult relationships. I would imagine after their marriage, Lizzie and Darcy's relationship could have been difficult and tenuous at times. However, there is so much shrieking and fight in this book I just wanted to get away from them. I don't want to feel this way about Darcy and Lizzie! It also bothered me that so much of Lizzie's behavior was blamed on her pregnancy and stopped after she had the baby.

Honestly this would have worked better as a P&P inspired book or just a historical fiction. There were just too many changes to the main characters and too little left to like.  I don't think its worth the nearly 500 pages.