Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Books/Movies To Read Or Watch To Get In The Halloween Spirit

This week the topic for Top Ten Tuesday is all about your favorite books and movies to get in the Halloween spirit. I love this topic. Not only is fall my favorite season, Halloween has some of the best mood setting movies and books. As always, the Broke and the Bookish host Top Ten Tuesday.


1) Hocus Pocus - Sistas! This will always be in my number one choice for all things Halloween! This movie is fantastic. It has witches, zombies, magic and a talking cat plus lots of laughs. All of this is wrapped up nicely with classic 90's style of course. It is a little spooky, but not scary so of course I love it!

2) Practical Magic - This movie has Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman and I think it is so underrated! It follows two sister witches who have taken very different paths in life and love. They need to work together to fix a breakup gone wrong. Again it has lots of magic and gets you into the Halloween mood so well. Some of my favorite movie quotes come from this movie as well.

 My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage!'

3) Sleepy Hollow - I'm going to squeeze my favorite TV of the moment in here as well. Sleepy Hollow is a great show that is loosely based on the story by Washington Irving. There is an amazing amount of intricacy and planning going into this show. I love it. 

4) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone- Even though this series is all about wizard, I associate the movies mostly with Christmas, but the Halloween feast and troll scene is classic. Plus any excuse to watch Harry Potter is a good one. 

5) The Mummy - This is another one of my favorite movies and the creepy nature makes it ideal for the week of Halloween. Plus is features a librarian who is confident in who she is and a dashing fortune hunter. What more could you ask for? 



6) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - If you like Supernatural, you will love this duology. Cas reminds me of the Winchesters so much and that's part of the reason it is so perfect for Halloween. This book is filled with supernatural situations and paranormal creatures. Lots of fun for the holiday! 

7) The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells - This read is a creepy fest! 

8) Virals by Kathy Reichs - Again this is a great story with creepy, paranormal creatures in it. I don't think it gets enough attention, but this is a great YA series. 

9) The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey - I haven't read this book yet, but I think it sounds like the ultimate Halloween read. There are monsters galore it sounds like and I'm anxious to read this one. 

10) The Fall by Bethany Griffin - A retelling of the Fall of the House of Usher? What could get you into the Halloween spirit faster? I've heard great things about this book and cannot wait to pick it up! 

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1) The Fall

Monday, October 27, 2014

My New Project - Broadening Horizons

Recently I’ve realized most of the books I read are fantasy and usually YA fantasy. Personally, I don’t think this is a bad thing. I want to read those genres and I enjoy them immensely. However, I want to push my boundaries and expand my horizons. I would like an effort to explore genres I’m not familiar with and read books that are outside my comfort zone. I’m going to be trying out six new genres by reading two books from each over the next six months. Check out my video below for a better explanation and a list of the genres (and a few books) I’ll be trying.  

Also I mention in the video I need suggestions for books in these genres since I’m just starting to venture into them. If you have suggestions for good examples of these genres, please let me know. I’d love to hear about them! 

Happy Reading! 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Would You Rather? - Book Tag

Recently I did the Would You Rather tag over on my Youtube channel. I decide which books I want to survive a raid of my bookshelf, which books I want to keep in certain circumstances and more. It was a lot of fun! Check it out! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top New Series I Want To Start

The constant stream of new ne of the many reasons I have a love/hate relationship with young adult. This week on Top Ten Tuesday the Broke and the Bookish have asked us what new series we want to start.

I've tried to pick series that have really caught my interest over the last year or two, but there are a couple older ones that I'm very excited for.

1) Avalon by Mindee Arnett - When you can get the chance to bring back Firefly in any way, shape or form, how do you resist? I am dying to start this series and want to read the first book before the next one is published.

2) The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepard - I've been a bit obsessed with historical fiction lately and I love retellings so this series really can't go wrong for me.

3) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - This is another historical series I am really excited to get my hands on. Sadly, I don't own it yet, but I've heard nothing but good things. This one is WWII era instead of medieval but still very appealing.

4) Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis - I don't normally jump at dystopian or apocalyptic stories, but this one sounds different and very interesting. I've heard it is violent so I'm a little hesitant to start it though so this one might take a little while for me to pick up.

5) The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson - This fantasy series has some really great reviews and a really interesting premise. I have already started reading book one, The Kiss of Deception, and I'm enjoying it very much.

6) Paper Gods by Amanda Sun - Another series that sounds so interesting! This one is about a boy who draws things that come alive! Why wouldn't I want to read this. Plus the covers are gorgeous.

7) Between Series by April Genevieve Tucholke - Both of the books in this series have cool names and the story sounds creepy. This isn't on the top of the list, but I'm still very interested in it and have heard good things.

8) Firebird Series by Claudia Gray - Technically this series hasn't even started yet, but I am so excited for this book. It sounds like Doctor Who with a cool twist and a female heroine. I'm pumped!

9) Wait for You by J. Lynn - I've slowly been building up my stock pile of this series and have a large collection of unread Jennifer L. Armentrout books in my collection. I really need to start and finish all of these series.

10) Dark Caravan Cycle by Heather Demetrios - The first in this series, Exquisite Captive, just over a week ago. This take on jinnis sounds so interesting and I really want to check it out soon.

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1) A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1) The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1) Avalon (Avalon, #1)
Ink (Paper Gods, #1)Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review - Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin, #3)

Genre: Historical Fiction
ARC: 464 pgs
Comes out: November 4th 2014
Published by HMH 
Series: His Fair Assassins #3 (Final) 
Add it // Buy it 
Rating: 5/5 

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...

I won a free ARC copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Goodreads, but this is an honest review with my own thoughts and feelings. 

I made a comment at the end of my Dark Triumph review that Annith's story would have to be truly phenomenal in order to top book two in this series. It was. It truly was fantastic and I am so full of stuff I want to say I don't know where to start.

Raven Cycle Fangirling

The latest installment of The Raven Cycle, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater is coming out on Tuesday!! That is only two days away and I just got my shipment notification that my copy is on its way! I am a total fangirl over this series and was introduced to it just over a year ago. Today I'm going to be trying to convince you to read this book and start this series just in time for book three to be released. I have three basic reasons why you should check it out and if you still aren't convinced, check back in a little while and I'm sure I'll think of more reasons. 
The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Hardcover: 385 pgs.
Published: April 2013 by Houghton Mifflin 
Series: His Fair Assassins #2
Add It // Buy It
Rating: 5/5 

When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge - but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.

But her assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father's rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother's love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for...

While it took me almost four month to finish Grave Mercy, I devoured this book a matter of days. With the groundwork laid for the covenant, the gods and the state of Brittany, Sybella's story started out in a totally different way. If you were put off by the very political and historical nature of Grave Mercy, I would encourage you to try this book out before giving up on this series. If you liked those element don’t despair! While those element don’t disappear, Sybella's installment is much more of a character driven story with strong elements of the political drama that took root in the first book. Personally I love the mix of political intrigue and assassin adventures.

Once again we are introduced to a Handmaiden of Death, who is a strong and capable female character. Sybella has an entirely different set of orders and struggles from her sister in arms. She is taking on the entire household of the traitor D’Albret in an attempt to save her Duchess from his clutches. This story is a darker and more twisted tale. Sybella must make discisions and her life’s story makes Ismae’s look like a cheery tale. I mentioned in my review of Grave Mercy it was hard for me to become attached to Ismae, but I was engrossed in Sybella's story from the beginning and even more taken with Ismae when the two are reunited. (These companion novels feel a bit like a historical fiction version of the Anna and the French Kiss books by Stephanie Perkins)

The character growth through this book is fantastic and Sybella’s personal story is heartbreaking, brutal and terrifying at times, but her journey through this book is really difficult to stop reading. Sybella’s romance pulls her out of the darkness that is wrapped around her. I loved her romantic interest as well as the many new characters we meet in this book.

Something I really truly appreciate is LaFever's ability to keep me as interested in the fate of Brittany as I am in the romance that blossoms in her stories. She keeps them balanced and both are very engaging. It would be easy to make either subject the priority. Instead they are both important, well planned and executed. LaFevers also has a very engaging writing style that has really kept me up at night reading her stories.

Sybella has wormed her way into my heart and while I am excited to see Annith’s story, I am so sad the second installment must come to an end. This book has captivated me and book three will have to be something really special for me to like it more than this one.

Check back for tomorrow for my thoughts about the third and final book in this series!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review – Cinder by Marissa Meyer

   Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Genre: Futuristic Fairytale Retelling
Hardcover – 390 pgs
Published: 2012 by Macmillan
Rating: 4/5

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

This morning I'm sitting here thinking about Cinder wondering what I could possibly say about this book that another review hasn't. Everyone loves this book. There are so many reviews and posts about this series that gush about the amazing Lunar Chronicles Series. I don't disagree with those people that this series looks like its going to be amazing and I really enjoyed the book. However, like so many books, the hype is so extremely positive and its hard for a book to live up to it. I really enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as the hype made me think I would.

Before I make it seem like I didn't enjoy this, let's jump into all the things I did love about this book. Cinder is an independent and really self-reliant character who has no problem speaking her mind or working for what she wants. I absolutely loved her. She won me over really quickly with her stubbornness and determination to get things done herself. It was also really nice for me to swoon over a love interest more than a main character. Prince Kai was a really fun character and I loved their quick witty banter throughout the book.

Meyer created a complex world around her main character. The writing is simple, but really effective at introducing the reader to the world and characters. I loved her futuristic spin for Earth and the Lunars are really interesting. I am curious to see more of the history of this high-tech world and the Lunars. The human/cyborg/android dynamic is really interesting and consistent throughout the book. Because the next two books are already out, I caught glimpses of things I'm sure are going to be important later on. Overall Meyer has a very engaging writing style and I am hooked on this series.

Because this is a fairytale retelling, it is predictable which bothered me a lot more while I was reading than it does now. Meyers built such a good foundation for her series with this book. I was thoroughly impressed with the elements of Cinderella that she used and how she shaped them within her own story. Even if you didn't know that fairytale, this story can stand by itself.

I can't pin point one thing that disappointed me about this book. I just didn't love it wholeheartedly. By the end of the novel, I was completely absorbed by Cinder and the story but the first half didn't capture me as much. I'm excited for the sequel and have heard things only get better from here so I'll pick up Scarlet soon to see how it goes for me.

So overall I don't have much to add to this discussion. I really enjoyed this story and would encourage people who have trouble at the beginning to keep going and give the story a chance to ramp up. Cinder's adventure is amazing and I'm invested so now I can't wait to see what happens in the next installment!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

If you've ever visited my blog before, you know I love to participate in Top Ten Tuesday. This feature is so much fun and I've been out of the loop for a while. If you are interested in participating you can check out a list of future topics and the Broke and the Bookish blog.

One of the most widely acknowledged appeals of books is their power to transport to new places and times. They can introduce us to new places in our own world, different versions of our world or entirely new worlds. For me, books have introduced me to so many new places that I wish I could visit. Some of these are fictional and some are real, but they all sound amazing!

1) Hogwarts - Really any magical place in this world would do, but if I ever got the chance to visit Hogwarts, I would go in a heartbeat! I expect this to be on a lot of people's lists because who doesn't want to visit Hogwarts?!

2) Funky Bones - After watching The Fault in Our Stars movie, I had a much clearer view of what the Funky Bones were. Now I'd love to visit them and see one of the places that was so important in that book.

3) Tortall - This was one of the first true fantasy worlds that I read when I was growing up. Whenever I read books based in Tortall or this world in general, I am totally lost within. I love it and all the depth that Tamora Pierce puts in this world. The magic and characters make me want to visit so much. (Plus there is a chance I could find a George Cooper which is a dream in and of itself.)

Tortall and Hinterland by laddybuck
4) Camp Half-Blood - Who wouldn't want to visit a camp filled with half-god children, strange creatures, monsters and deadly obstacle courses?

5) Virginia - One of my favorite series at the moment is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Throughout those books the characters are exploring the hills of Virginia and the forests. It sounds so beautiful and someday I would really like to visit the area to see the rolling mountains myself.

File:Germany-valley-north-fork-mountain - West Virginia - ForestWander.jpg
6) Brittany, France - I've been a bit obsessed with the His Fair Assassins trilogy by Robin LaFevers. This series takes place in medieval France/Brittany while Brittany is still an independent state. The characters travel all over the countryside and it sounds really beautiful and interesting.

7) The Old Kingdom - This world and especially this country sound so interesting. I'd like to visit in a safer time in its history than when we are introduced to it in Sabriel. The world is so dangerous and scary in that book. I'll visit it in better times and hopefully avoid the greater dead.

8) The United Kingdom - There are lots of books that take place across the UK including The Infernal Devices, Jane Austen's books (Visiting any estate would do), the Sherlock Holmes stories, and many more. Plus as a student of history I find the historical places of this area very interesting and read non-fiction about the UK quite a bit.
Lyme Park 2
[By Mike Colvin from Manchester, UK (IMGP3721) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons] 

9) Prague - After the descriptions of this city in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I just want to walk through Prague all the time. It sounds so mysterious, old and beautiful. If I could have Karou's apartment I would die!!

10) Alicante - The home of the Shadowhunters sounds like an interesting and secretive place that would be so cool to visit. Plus it is right in the middle of Europe so how can anyone not want to visit that amazing countryside?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pretty Books (1)

Everyone loves a beautiful book. I've started this series so I can feature more of the books on my shelves that are beautifully designed. These first ones I picked out are a mixture books that are popular right now and all time favorites.

Books Mentioned:

My Life Next Door- Huntley Fitzpatrick 
The Winner's Curse -  Marie Rutkoski
Ignite Me - Tahareh Mafi 
This Song Will Save Your Life- Leila Sales
Allegiant - Veronica Roth 
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness

Friday, October 10, 2014

Review – Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

   Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)

Genre: Historical Fiction
Hardcover – 549pgs
Published: April 2012 by Houghton Mifflin
Rating: 4/5

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

There are so many hauls and posts that contain this book, but I've seen very few reviews about it. Its possible I'm just traveling in the wrong circles, but I haven't seen a lot of buzz following this series. Either way I was drawn into this because of the promise of assassin nuns and a medieval setting.

At first I wasn't convinced by this story or Ismae for that matter, but she won me over in the end. With the word assassins involved, I was expecting the story to be a little more Throne of Glass-esque. This story is in a different vein though. Grave Mercy is much more historical fiction with well-built political drama centered around finding a traitor. While it wasn't what I was expecting, it was still very fun and I found myself reaching for it as often as possible.

The plot was slow to start, but things pick up later on and are very interesting. While Ismae is trained in fighting arts and more dramatic assassin skills, much of her time is actually spent using stealthy techniques which I really like. There isn't a lot of dramatic fighting scenes or sneaking off into the night for solo adventures. (I mean Ismae is an assassin so she does sneak off and do what she wants sometimes so look forward to that!) Even so, the hunt for a traitor is exciting and there are plenty of dangers both in life and love for Ismae.

The romance was one of my favorite parts of the book. A lot of YA have characters are instantly in love with one another. I really appreciated LaFever's approach the the romance in this book. First of all, she considered Ismae may have trouble forming trusting relationships with men because of the brutal abuse she has been subjected to. This felt really important to me as I was reading and an essential part of Ismae's character to explain. Secondly, even though the reader knows from the beginning, even from the description, these two characters will have romantic feelings towards one another, both characters are well-established before any romance happens between them. I loved both of them well before there was any romance involved.

To be honest the book could be a lot less than 550pgs if the margins weren't so big. I felt like I was flipping pages every 30 seconds, but that was the only thing that bothered me about this book. Its a long book, but mostly because of formatting.

The ending was very nicely put together and I am looking forward to the sequel/companion novel because I may have already picked it up.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fictional Boyfriend Tag

We all have crushes on fictional characters There are some characters its impossible not to crush on. Luckily a tag has been created that helps everyone talk about their favorite fictional boyfriends. Check out mine!

Happy Reading!! 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

September Wrap Up (2014)

This month was really crazy for me as far as reading was concerned. Before this month, the most books I had read in a month was 17. This month I broke that record by one book! So I read 18 books this months. That number amazes me. I cannot believe I read that much last month. So this month I am starting out at 7 books ahead of schedule for my reading goal and I am trying to stay that far ahead. 

 Books Mentioned: 


Graphic Novels


Also something I forgot: 

Happy Reading!