Monday, January 26, 2015

Pretty Books (2)

This is the second installment in my Pretty Books Series! I love making these videos. It is so much fun to go through my shelves and decide which beauties I want to show case this time! Let me know what you think of these lovely books.

Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

The Shadowhunter's Codex by Cassdandra Clare & Joshua Lewis
The Resurectionist by E.B Hudspath

Treasure Island by Robin Lewis Stevenson
Harry Potter Box Set by J.K. Rowling

The first installment ----> Pretty Books (1)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Review - Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

 Four: A Divergent Collection (Divergent, #0.1 - 0.4)

Genre: Sci-Fi/ Dystopian 
Hardcover - 285 pgs
Source: Purchased
Published by Katherine Tegen Books 
Add It // Buy It
Rating: 4.5/5 

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of abnegation's faction leader did the same. Tobias's transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child. 

Newly christened "Four," he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future--and the future of the entire faction system. 

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again. 

The four pieces included here--"The Transfer," "The Initiate," "The Son," and "The Traitor"--plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers an electrifying glimpse in to the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the Divergent trilogy.

Do you know what I forgot? Veronica Roth's writing sucks me in! When this book came in the mail , I could not forget about it. Normally books don't bother me until I pick them up. This one did. I couldn't forget about how much I wanted to read it. Her writing is fast paced and fun. This made me forget my bitterness and anger about this series and once again put me in the thrilling and amazing Divergent world.

Four's story was even more addictive than the original Divergent series to me. These short stories are fast paced and really got me inside Four's head. He is thoughtful and I loved seeing him grow and change as he switched factions and found his place in Dauntless. This gave an even more complete picture of the world and characters.

There are so many sides to Four and it is interesting to see him make his way and discover some of the problems within his society. Lots of hints about the future and you can see the foreshadowing for the Divergent trilogy. I loved it, there were parts that dragged for me, but seeing things through Four's eyes was fantastic. I highly recommend it especially if you loved Divergent.

Individual Story Ratings:
The Transfer: 4/5
The Initiate: 5/5
The Son: 4/5
The Traitor: 5/5

Friday, January 23, 2015

Review - Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bendall Smith

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
Genre: Biography 
Kindle - 668pgs
Published by Random House
Source: Library Overdrive
Add it // Buy it 
Rating: 3/5 

From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world’s most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace. 

In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen’s daily routines—the “red boxes” of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press—as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends.

Anything related to the British Isles interests me so when I started my Expanding Reading Horizons project, I started hunting a biography. This was quite a different book than what I normally read and it took me a few chapters to get back into the swing of non-fiction reading. Honestly I haven't picked up much non-fiction since college. It was very readable and the language wasn't difficult to follow which made this an easy read.

Even though it was interesting with a lot of information about the Queen and the Royal Family, I thought it was lacking in a few areas. I found the first half really interesting. This section includes a lot of information about Elizabeth's early life, her marriage to Phillip and her first two decades as queen. For me this section was filled with new information and a great mix of political, social and personal information. I thought this section kept moving with a nice variety of topics and covered the events of the Queen's life with good depth.

As we moved closer to present day, I thought the author's personal opinions became more apparent and her writing had to be taken with a larger grain of salt. Especially her portrayal of Diana seemed harsh and villainous. I also thought the sections on the Jubilees dragged a lot. They were heavy on the description, but low on interest for me. You could really tell which Prime Ministers the author liked and which she didn't as well.

Overall I think this book was an interesting introduction to the life of Queen Elizabeth and told me a lot of things I didn't know before. I would recommend it, but really be aware of the author's biases throughout the book so you aren't swayed too easily.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

T5W - Series I want to Start in 2015

This was last week's topic, but I mixed up my weeks and I really wanted to post this video I had already made. I want to really work on reading what I already own this year so I want to start all of these series. I'm very excited about them so hopefully this all works out. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Need to Shut Up and Read Already

There are so many books on my TBR list I want to read. So many of them sound amazing and are always at the top of my list even if I don't read them right away after I purchase them. Don't ask me why. I don't know why these amazing sounding books fall off my radar, but they do. I talk a lot about how much I want to read them, but I never pick them up. I need to shut my mouth and just read the books already!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Review- The Resurrectionist by E.B. Hudspeth

  The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black

Genre: Science Fiction/Horro
Hardcover: 208pgs
Published by Quirk Books
Source: From publisher for review
Add It // Buy It
Rating: 4/5 

Philadelphia, the late 1870s. A city of gas lamps, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages—and home to the controversial surgeon Dr. Spencer Black. The son of a grave robber, young Dr. Black studies at Philadelphia’s esteemed Academy of Medicine, where he develops an unconventional hypothesis: What if the world’s most celebrated mythological beasts—mermaids, minotaurs, and satyrs—were in fact the evolutionary ancestors of humankind?

The Resurrectionist offers two extraordinary books in one. The first is a fictional biography of Dr. Spencer Black, from a childhood spent exhuming corpses through his medical training, his travels with carnivals, and the mysterious disappearance at the end of his life. The second book is Black’s magnum opus: The Codex Extinct Animalia, a Gray’s Anatomy for mythological beasts—dragons, centaurs, Pegasus, Cerberus—all rendered in meticulously detailed anatomical illustrations. You need only look at these images to realize they are the work of a madman. The Resurrectionist tells his story. 

There are some things that just sound better together. For instance, a lab notebook of a 19th century doctor sounds like a fun thing to explore, but if you add in the promise of mythical beasts it sounds even better. This book is beautiful and so well crafted. Quirk Books never fails to impress with the lovely way they put their books together. The content is also very interesting.

The journal section is a story that might keep you up at night. This biography of Spencer Black has quite a bit of the macabre atmosphere to it.  It is also a little gory if you are squeamish so be warned. Overall the story reminded me a lot of The Island of Dr. Monroe. The creep factor is that high. However, this story is much shorter (less than 70 pages) and left me with even more questions. The abrupt ending and many loose ends is where this book lost a star.

Section two, aka The Codex Extinct Animalia, is stunning and captivating. I spent a long time staring at all the detailed anatomical drawings. All of the creatures drawn in this book had great detail and thought put into the sketches. I was really impressed with the illustrations. I think I'll be able to go back through in the future and enjoy the illustrations even more.

My advice: Check this book out! It is really neat.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

#RYBSAT TBR (Round 4)

#RYBSAT also known as the readathon where you read the books on your shelf in order has already started! I created a TBR of five books which is awful ambitious for me and the hours I'm going to work. Even so I'm really excited to particpate and I will be doing my best. Check out the video for more information about the creators and what I'll be reading. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To

This week I am participating in Top Ten Tuesday again! This meme is created by the Broke and the Bookish every week.

This week we are talking about the books released in 2014 we didn't get to. There were so many amazing books that came out in 2014, but of course I didn't have time to read them all. I still haven't read all the books that came out two years ago!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bout of Books Updates & Wrap Up

Last week I participated in the Bout of Books Readathon. The point of the readathon is to read more than you normally would and to meet new people! I had tons of fun participating and read quite a bit. All the links are below, but if you want to see what I read this week check it out! 

Bout of Books Blog

Daily Updates:
Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4  - Day 5 - Day 6 - Day 7

Happy Reading! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

End of Year Book Survey (2014)

In the middle of December I saw Jamie (From the PerpetualPageTurner) post her survey, but as usual life got in the way and here I am in the middle of January posting this survey. I've never taken one of these so I'm interested to check it out. Plus my best friend and I were looking through surveys we used to send across email the other day and laughed a lot so I am in the survey mood. I copied this survey directly from her site and the past included her graphic so I want to give Jamie full credit for those as well. I hope you enjoy reading about my 2014 reading year.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Bout of Books(12) Sign Up +TBR

It is Bout of Books time! I've been waiting for another Bout of Books because I always get a ton of reading done during this readathon. I cannot wait. So pumped! This is a week long readathon and I am preparing to read an entire series during this week and a classic.

Bout of Books Info:

Good luck to all participants!

Friday, January 2, 2015

#FridayReads (18)

Obsidian (Lux, #1)

As I've mentioned a few times, I haven't had a lot of luck reading lately. However that has all changed today! I picked up Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout this morning on my way out the door on a whim. I've been meaning to pick this up as a reread and I want to finish up the series.

I've read half the book today and I had trouble concentrating at work because I wanted to read so badly. That feeling is terrible, but it was also wonderful because it means I am back! My reading game is in full swing and I am so so so happy. I don't want to make huge plans, but I hope to just marathon this entire series and kick 2015 off on the right reading foot.

Happy Friday! What are you reading?

December Wrap Up (2014)

I didn't read much in December, but I liked everything I read! I hope January will be a better month for my reading than December. If not, my year is not looking good bookwise!

Reviews Mentioned: 
Jane Austen Cover to Cover:
Infernal Devices Series Review:

Other Books Mentioned: 
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Persuasion by Jane Austen