Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List

Once again it is time for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish! I've been finding a lot of new books through Goodreads and I've purchased some new books that I'm really excited about.

So this list is half ones I've just added to my always growing TBR list. The other half is books I've actually purchased recently and added to my personal physical TBR pile.

Books I Recently Added to my TBR

1) The Child Thief by Brom - Adaptations of Peter Pan draw my attention like moths to a flame. I'm very very interested in this one!

2) Dragonfly in the Amber by Diana Gabaldon - I just recently finished Outlander and loved(!) it so I need to get the next installment. I must find out what happens to Claire and Jamie.

3) A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis - This book popped up on my radar and when I say can't wait for it, I really mean it! This one sounds rather unique and I'm very excited to pick it up this fall.

4) Illusionarium by Heather Dixon - One more book that sounds like it will be a great new release. Last year I read and I loved Entwined so now I can't wait to see what comes of this story.

5) Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas - This one is a dark fairytale retelling of Cinderella and I cannot wait for it to come out.

The Child Thief Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2) Ash & Bramble A Madness So Discreet 

Books I've Purchased Recently 

6)  Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes - This book has been on my radar for a long time and I just picked it up at the library. I figured I would give it a try before purchasing it since so many people are hyping it up.

7) The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski - This was one of my most anticipated books of this Spring and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into. If I didn't have so many things started, I would have read this already.

8) Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman - Seraphina! I can't wait to get back into this world and see what happens to these characters.

9) The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas - Recently, I finished The Burning Sky and immediately ordered this second book.

10) The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - Another preorder from this Spring! Cannot wait to pick this one up. Obviously, I have a lot of fantasy books to read.

The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2) The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2) Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)

Monday, March 30, 2015

March Book Haul (2015)

While collecting my books for this book haul, I realized that since I'm trying to buy less books my book hauls will be smaller in the future! This is good because it means I'm sticking to my goals! However, I'm sorry this means shorter (and possibly less exciting?) hauls for a while. 

Books Mentioned: 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top Ten Books From My Childhood I'd Like to Revisit

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a topic I love to talk about. Childhood reads we want to revisit! I'd love to reread all of these books because they all had a big impact on me when I first read them. Some of these were books I carried with me all the time and I don't remember when I first read them.

1) High Hurdles by Lauren Spelling - These books were my companions as a child. I loved them. They are all about DJ who is horse crazy and wants to ride in the Olympics. She is fantastic and I adored her like no other. I constantly carried these with me and read the series several times over. No one has heard of it, but I loved it.

2) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - Of course these are here! I actually brought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to work today. I need to reread these since I can't remember when the last time I did. Isn't that sad?

3) The Black Stallion by Walter Farley - Can you tell I was a little horse crazy myself as a kid? I loved the adventure of being on an island with a wild horse. Then of course the rest of the series is a lot of fun and tons of adventure!

4) My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George - Living in a tree by yourself without parents and having a pet falcon, who wouldn't love these books?

5) Eragon by Christopher Paolini - I want to revisit this book, but not the rest of the series. Books two through four are a huge time investment and I don't love them nearly as much.

6) White Fang by Jack London - Classics were actually really prominent in my childhood reading especially ones like this. I'd like to read them again to get the more adult version rather than the nice animal story I remember!

7) The Second Bend in the River by Ann Rinaldi - I remember being obsessed with this book when I read it. I couldn't put it down and read it several times. My memory vs. the description is very conflicting though so I'd like to read it again.

8) Gib Rides Home by Zilpha Keatley Snyder - Another horse book! This one was an eighth grade book project and I've picked up a copy since then.

9) Alanna The First Adventure/Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce - Honestly I don't remember which one of these series I read first. However, they were both important to me and I still love them dearly. I've reread them several times since middle school, but always love them and could read them all over again.

10) Crispin by Avi- Again, another book I remember really enjoying, but not when or what actually happens. All the details about this book are fuzzy and I wish I could remember what was so amazing about it. Maybe it would come back to me if I reread it!

Let me know what you remember about these books in the comments! Maybe it will jog my memory!

Friday, March 20, 2015

#FridayReads (19) & Vacation TBR

Today I'll be traveling for a weekend getaway with friends! I don't know how much I'll be able to read on this little trip, but I must take a couple of books along just in case! I'm sure you understand.

Right now, I'm planning on taking Paper Towns by John Green. I've been telling myself I need to reread John's books and since the trailer came out yesterday it motivated me to take it along.

Also I have a copy of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I've been wanting to read this for ages and I'm hoping I'll have some time to get into it. If not, I'll stick with Paper Towns. 

Of course, both of these could change on my way out the door.

Paper Towns The Three Musketeers

What are you reading this weekend?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review - Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian (Lux, #1)
Genre: Paranormal YA Romance
Paperback - 335 pgs
Published by Entangled Teen (2012)
Source: Purchased (x2) 
Rating: 5/5

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens. The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

When I finished rereading this book, I was going to update my review to include some new thoughts I had. Instead I realized I never wrote a review!

Originally I read this book at the end of December in 2012 in one sitting. I sat up until one in the morning reading on my iPad then I started Onyx in the same night. The next day I read Opal and Shadows (the prequel to this series) Needless to say, I was addicted. The final two books weren't out in the series at the time and I couldn't wait for more. Sadly as I waited, the excitement faded and I moved onto other books. I forgot about this series that was so much fun and easy to reading.

Now a full two years later I have started rereading this series. Obsidian was the perfect way to kick off my reading year. It is just as fun and addicting as it was two years ago. Katy and Daemon have great chemistry and their banter is hilarious. The romance of course has lots of steamy moments and you can see some of these twists a mile away. You cannot go into this series looking for serious or literary writing. It isn't here. Instead these books are 100% fun and leave me wanting more. (Like I said, addicted)

Katy is an awesome character. She is spunky and has a love for books I can completely connect with. I often wish her love of books played a larger part in the story, but I love when it makes an appearance. She is as loyal as she is stubborn which can make for some interesting situations. Plus she and Dee have a great relationship that is important to both of them, not just used to introduce Katy to Daemon.

There a lot of parallels between this book and Twilight out there. I remember thinking the same thing when I originally read it. However, this book has a different feel from Twilight and the writing is better. I love Armentrout's stories. She is excellent at writing romances I cannot get enough of. I'm really hoping to finish this series this year.

A lot has changed in two years but not my love of this book! Definitely check it out if you haven't jumped on this train yet.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Unexpected and Very Late February Book Haul

Books Mentioned: 

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab 
The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
Frigid by J. Lynn
The Mystery Writer's of America Cookbook edited by Kate White

Review - Given Good Principles by Maria Grace

Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Kindle Book
Source: Purchased
Darcy's Decisions - Add it // Buy It
The Future Mrs. Darcy - Add it // Buy It 
All The Appearance of Goodness - Add It // Buy It
Ratings: DD & AAoG (3/5) TFMD (4/5) 

These three companion books set up a very different set of circumstances for Darcy and Elizabeth to navigate. 
In the first book, Darcy's Decisions, Mr. Darcy has just lost his parents and is struggling to find his own footing in the world. While he has all the wealth and privilege he could want, the weight of being Master of Pemberley is crushing him. He chooses to turn to his curate to help find the right path. Several painful discoveries make guidance even more necessary.
The Future Mrs. Darcy follows Elizabeth's journey. She and Jane recognize their sisters' problematic behavior and set out to change it after their mother falls ill. They worry it is too late to salvage their reputations and secure good matches for any of the sisters. The girls must learn to run their father's estate and manage one another
In the final book, All the Appearance of Goodness, Darcy and Elizabeth finally meet. Their lives have taken different course, but as their acquaintance begins, it is still uncertain if they will understand each other.

Darcy's Decision (Given Good Principles) The Future Mrs. Darcy (Given Good Principles, #2)All the Appearance of Goodness (Given Good Principles #3)

These books go by in the blink of an eye. Each one is less than 250 pgs and I found them a fun and easy-to-read diversion. I was craving some P&P adaptation and these satisfied that very well. I found both the prequel novels interesting and really like the deep look into the shaping of these two characters. The author obviously knows quite a bit of Regency history and I found the books really interesting, especially the historical elements mentioned.

However, I didn't think the characterization of Lizzie or Darcy was accurate. Both of them take different paths than the original story, which can and does work very well in some adaptations. It just didn't work for me this time. Instead of pride and prejudice ruling their relationship, it felt like discomfort and anxiety did. The author took a lot of liberties with all the characters' storylines and introduced a lot of these points without a lot of explanation or resolution. The changes made some of the characters really unlikable like Georgiana, who comes across as a brat, and Miss Bingley is absolutely atrocious. Even some of the villains are completely different or totally removed!

I did really like Darcy's relationship with his curate and how that relationship helped him grow and change. I also really liked the relationship between the Bennet sisters. These relationships made up a bulk of the first two novels.

These things wouldn't have bothered me in a historical fiction, but since it is an adaptation they did. Maybe it would have worked better as one larger independent story? Will check out Maria Grace in the future though. Her historical cadence and references were interesting and fun to read.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review - Clariel by Garth Nix

   Clariel (Abhorsen, #4)
Genre: YA Fantasy 
Hardcover: 382 pgs
Source: Purchased
Add It // Buy It
Rating: 4/5 

Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilp. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her - and it is herself she must question most of all.

I have been trying to sort out my thoughts about this book for weeks! I gave it a four star rating, but I have a lot of feelings about this installment in the Abhorsen world. This is more of a discussion/review than straight out review of the book though. The review section doesn't contain spoilers, but I've separated out a section for discussion on some points that does contain spoilers for this book and the Old Kingdom Series.


This book is set a few hundred years before Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen, but it doesn't seem like a prequel to me. Personally, I would read the original trilogy first, then Clariel. There isn't as much explanation of magic or the world and that is what really drew me into the series originally. I think it was easier for me to love Clariel if you already love her surroundings and had a complete picture of her surroundings.

Clariel lives in a very different Old Kingdom than the original trilogy. I loved seeing the Old Kingdom before it became the wild place it is during the trilogy. Once again Nix has impressed  and awed me with his world building skills. It feels like he has built an entirely new world even though there are recognizable elements from Sabriel and Lirael's era. The political and social world of Belisaere is rich and complex. Even though Clariel is new to her surroundings, she is very resistant to learning anything new or different. It makes it a little harder to learn about the Old Kingdom through her. We do get to see how the guilds work and how the dead are not the only dangers in the Old Kingdom at this time. There are political dangers as well as threats from those who do not use magic at all.

Even though this was different than the Old Kingdom Trilogy, I appreciated how different it was. Nix is so adept at writing his heroines. They all have their flaws and challenges, but they are all trying to find their place in the world. Clariel is different though. She is having a hard time adjusting to her new surroundings, and I felt for her. My heart twisted so many times. She is struggling like so many of us do at her age. A lot of heroines in books can so easily step into the role they have been set up to play and even if they have flaws, they play their role perfectly. It makes for great stories, but what about the people who can't get it right immediately?

Overall, I think a lot of people are going to love or dislike this book. I've seen a lot of complaints about Clariel and I can see where people are coming from. However, I think she is a character that breaks the mold. She is part of a larger history of the Old Kingdom. I found her story interesting and I applaud Nix for writing a character who is difficult to like. I agree this is isn't my favorite Old Kingdom story, that honor still goes to Sabriel, but this is a great addition to the history and story of this world.

Full stop if you haven't read this book or the Abhorsen series. I highly recommend them and need to get some of my thoughts out after the break!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Results of Weekend Reads

On Thursday I posted a Weekend Reads video and told you all a few things I had started and hoped this weekend would be a read extravaganza since I had an extra day thrown in because of snow! What I didn't tell you is I also had a day off on Monday due to an electrical outage at work. Even more reading time! Because I do Friday reads videos every so often, I thought I would start telling you what I actually read over the weekend. Sometimes I'm very sucessful after a Friday Reads and sometimes not.

This weekend I think I did fairly well. I did not read broadly or finish anything, but I made quite a lot of progress in one book. In fact, I was a bit obsessed with Outlander this weekend. I could not put it down. Of course, some life stuff got in the way so I couldn't spend the entire weekend reading. I did read nearly 300 pages, which would've polished off any of the other books, and very sneakily started the TV show as well.

Overall, Outlander took up all my free time this weekend and I can't stop thinking about it. I really didn't believe people when  they gushed about this one, but I'm very quickly coming to the dark side.

What did you read this weekend? Any thoughts on Outlander? Am I going to need the sequel immediately?

If you are wondering, what is this Outlander book? Check out the description below although I'm sure you've heard stirrings about it since the internet has been obsessed for the past year or so. 

Outlander by Diana GabaldonThe year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Weekend Reads (March 6th)

Yesterday about twelve inches of snow fell at my house. As a result, we had a snow day! It is the first one this season for me. Because I did some reading yesterday and I have a three day weekend (the power will be off at work on Monday for maintenance), I thought I'd post a vloggy style video about what I'm reading at the moment. After finishing Storm of Swords, I'm been all over the place with reading so I can't decide for sure what I'll pick up,

Also here is a picture of my puppy frolicking in the snow. Snow is her favorite thing ever.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Library Haul (4)

Last weekend I took a trip to the library. It was even more of an adventure than normal since it started snowing on my way back! I made it home with books and audiobooks. Check out my haul to see what I picked up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top Ten Books Of All Time! (from the past three years)

This week the topic for Top Ten Tuesday is the best books we've read in the past three years. I'm very excited about these amazing books I've read in the past few years. I'm not going to give a lot of description since I would basically be fangirling over them all. I chose books that I read in the past three years and were published in the past three years. So these might not be my absolute favorites, but they are close to it!

Vessel The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1) Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)

Monday, March 2, 2015

February Wrap Up (2015)

This month I was in a reading frenzy from start to finish. I read thirteen books this month which completely blows my mind. I thought ten was a lot in January and I blew that out of the water. Here is a quick overview of everything I'm still catching up on reviews and I've been trying to enter my thoughts on Goodreads as well (not full reviews in most cases but an overview).

Books Mentioned: 

Clariel - Garth Nix
Darcy's Decision - Maria Grace
The Future Mrs. Darcy - Maria Grace
All the Appearance of Goodness - Maria Grace
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Alan Moore
Mr. Darcy and the Secrets to Becoming a Gentleman - Maia Hamilton
Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo
Frigid - J. Lynn
Onyx - Jennifer L. Armentrout
Hawkeye Vol. 1 - Matt Fraction
Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo
Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Howard Pyle
Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin