Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Books So Far in 2015

This has been a very interesting reading year for me. I've read a lot of books and I've increased my reading challenge to 125 books! However, a lot of them have been graphic novels so I constantly feel like I'm cheating. I only listed novels here though because I have read quite a few amazing ones! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. They come up with amazing topics every week!

June Wrap Up (2015)

June has been quite a month for me! I read nineteen books this month. Thirteen of those were graphic novels, but six novels is still great for me.

Books Mentioned: 
Game of Thrones Vol. 1 Graphic Novel by Daniel Abraham & George R.R. Martin
Manhattan Mayhem - Mary Higgins Clark
Full Metal Alchemist Vol 8 -14 by Hiromu Arakawa
Wait for You - J. Lynn
Trust in Me - J. Lynn
Ouran Host Club Vol 1 -6 by Bisco Hatori 
Scorched by Jennifer L. Armentrout
End of Days - Susan Ee
Rebel Yell by S.C. Gwyne

Music from this Month: 

This month has been all about what I will motivate me to run fast. (There has been a lot of running this month) All of these are great motivators and have great music videos.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Anticipated Releases for 2015 (June - December)

There have already been a number of amazing releases so far this year and there are still so many coming! The second half of 2015 will have my wallet weeping because I'm going to need so many of these books! Since I am a fantasy lover, a lot of the books I am excited for do fit into that category. There are quite a few contemporary books though and a few historical fiction titles as well!


The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy, #3) Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1) Silver in the Blood (Silver in the Blood, #1)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Top Five Wednesday - Single Sitting Reads

Top Five Wednesday! Today we are talking about books we read in one sitting (or close to one sitting in some cases!) All of these books really pulled me in and I could not put them down for anything! 

Top 5 Wednesday Group: http://goo.gl/l587My

Friday, June 12, 2015

Review - The Martian by Andy Weir

 The Martian

Series: Stand Alone! 
Genre: Science - Fiction
Source: Library/Purchased
Published: Random House (2014) 
Paperback - 385 pgs
Add it // Buy it 

Rating: 5/5 

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

When I originally downloaded this book from my library, I was pretty sure I would be confused and bored through most of this book. I had heard there was a lot of science involved and space isn't normally my favorite setting (although I am a big Star Trek fan). However, borrowing it from the library is a low risk investment and it was available so I thought Well, I'll try it.

Best decision this year!

This is my favorite book so far in 2015. While I loved so many other ones, this one really took me by surprise and blew me out of the water. The writing, characters and story are amazing. I was absorbed in Mark's story the entire time I was reading it and really felt like I was reading an actual log rather than a story. I became very invested in this story and Mark's survival and couldn't put the book down. I read about 75% of the book in one sitting then finished it the next morning.

My favorite part of this book was Mark’s journal entries and the voice he had while writing them. This book is mostly Mark in his own on Mars. He is trying to figure out a way to live long enough for other space missions to reach the planet and possibly be rescued. Without the clever voice Weir has created, I think this book would've been much more difficult for me to read. Mark’s voice is clear, clever, and full of personality. He really makes the book. You want him to survive as much as he does and it filled me with emotion.

There is a lot of science. However, Weir did a great job breaking things down so I understood what was what. There are a lot of explanations and you know the basics of what is going on. There are some basic terms you need to keep track of but not too much jargon that it gets overly confusing or boring. The story is rapid fire and moves really quickly. The story feels very stripped down, but the style works very well for what is going on.

At its very core this is a survival story. There are a lot of high intensity moments and dangers you aren't sure Mark will survive. Mark needs to adapt and try to figure out how to survive with minimal resources at his disposal. I cannot imagine the amount of research that went into this story or the effort it took to develop such a charismatic character. Weir created a character who had just enough sarcasm and sass to make me laugh out loud while my heart was pounding from anticipation. I was on the edge of my seat!

This is one of those books I wish I could read for the first time all over again. I doubt the experience will be the same when I reread it, but I'd like to anyway. So I want to say Thank You Andy Weir because this book was incredible. I am already pushing it on my friends and I will continue to do so. I really enjoyed this unique store and the writing is top notch! I highly recommend it!

Happy Reading!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Review - Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

 Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)
Series: Throne of Glass #3
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover - 562 pgs
Source: Purchased 
Published by Bloomsbury (2014) 
Add it // Buy it

Rating : 5/5 

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

Sarah J. Maas has done it again. She blew me away with another installment in this series! When I started this series, I knew right away the fantasy world was going to be amazing. I did not realize what a captivating journey Celanea was going to go through and how crazy this ride was going to be. Maas' writing is amazing and it always draws me in.

We meet even more amazing characters in this installment and travel farther with Celaena away from the Capital to the edges of the Fae realm. It was great to expand this world even more and finally see more magic. The tone of this book is much darker and even more violent than the first two books. I love that Maas does not shy away from darker storylines. It makes her writing so much richer and even more engrossing to me.

Celaena's growth took such a huge turn in this book as well. I appreciated her slow character development over the course of the first two books and novellas but was so pleased with the massive changes in this book. We were getting to a critical moment where Celaena needed to change to keep the story moving. This series is really starting to take off and it feels like we are moving from build up to the results of decisions the characters have made. Meanwhile, all the characters are all really starting to change and find their places as conflict continues to ramp up.

While I love all of the other characters in this series, we need to talk about the King. I know literally everyone avoids him in order to stay alive. However, I need to know more about him! Every single element of this series has me hanging on my seat, but I am very curious about why the King is as evil as he is. What is this man's end game? World domination? Right now he is such an evil but out-of-reach villain, it is hanging me up as I read especially after the revelations of this book. I think this is all going to resolve in the next book, Queen of Shadows, but it has been bugging me.

Overall I think this is the best installment in the series yet. I loved how things changed and we learned more. I can't wait for the next book in this series! I'm glad I waited to read it as long as I did so I don't need to have such a long tortuous wait.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Top Ten Books I'd Love To See As Movies/Tv Shows

I think it goes without saying I would want these shows and movies to be great interpretations and to be entire franchises that roll out the entire series that I mention here. This is a dream world where great interpretations are the only thing that comes out of Hollywood.

TV Series Wish List

1) The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater - If this became a show, I would probably die. There is a fan made trailer (here) that has me so excited even though there is no evidence this will ever happen. I would pass out from excitement then watch faithfully every week and buy all the merch possible. Do you hear me TV Industry! (Glendower reference anyone?)

2) His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers - If this was a Outlander style show, I think it could be really beautiful. Plus I think it would be interesting to see everything happen in sequence rather than following each character's story.

3) Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins - This series is lots of fun and I feel like a quirky TV show could get it the attention it deserves.

4) Virals by Kathy Reichs - This is a high school paranormal series that I think could really be high intensity and lots of fun to watch.

5) Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan - Let's start this franchise over! It can't get worse!

  The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)

Movies Wish List

1) Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour - This could be such a fun and touching summer movie. I loved the characters and I think it would be fun to see with friends.

2) Penryn & the End of Days by Susan Ee - This book has so much action and crazy twists and turns it could be a great film and the trilogy would be so intense!

3) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - The atmosphere of this book would be so cool as a movie! Plus the circus would be so magnificent on the big screen.

4) Landry Park by Bethany Hagen - Think dystopian Blank Space full-length film!

5) Legend by Marie Lu - I didn't love this book, but I think it could make a good action adventure movie. There wasn't enough to keep me interested while reading, but maybe in film form it would.

My Last TTT -----> 2015 Beach Bag Books! 

Review - Manhattan Mayhem edited by Mary Higgins Clark

Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories from Mystery Writers of America

Genre: Mystery Short Story Collection
Hardcover: 320 pgs
Source: Quirk Books 
Published by Quirk Books (Out today!)
Add it  // Buy it 

Rating: 4/5

Best-selling suspense novelist Mary Higgins Clark invites you on a tour of Manhattan’s most iconic neighborhoods in this anthology of all-new stories from the Mystery Writers of America. From the Flatiron District (Lee Child) and Greenwich Village (Jeffery Deaver) to Little Italy (T. Jefferson Parker) and Chinatown (S.J. Rozan), you’ll encounter crimes, mysteries, and riddles large and small. Illustrated with iconic photography of New York City and packaged in a handsome hardcover, Manhattan Mayhem is a delightful read for armchair detectives and armchair travelers alike!

I received this book from Quirk in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

At one point I was obsessed with mystery novels. For about a year in high school I read and collected so many mass market paperbacks and devoured mysteries with content that may have been a bit too mature for me. The obsession faded, but I still pick up murder mysteries on occasion. So when Quirk offered up their beautiful collection of mysteries stories, I was pumped!

Like most collections like this I enjoyed a good chunk of the stories, but there were ones that fell flat for me. There is a great variety of topics and types of mysteries contained. It was nice to see a mix between heavy, dark stories and ones that were light-hearted well dispersed throughout the book.Since they are short, the stories are not very complex, sometimes seemed rushed and can be unpolished. I skipped the ones that didn't hold my interested but only did that a few times.

If you live in or are familiar with New York, this book will be more fun for you. While I can scrape together scenes from movies and TV, someone who knows New York will probably appreciate the descriptions of the area more.The book itself is beautiful and is formatted very nicely. The black and white photos of New York City are a nice touch and helped me place each story.

Overall, I liked the collection. Many of the stories were interesting and fun to read. I found many more that I liked than not. My favorite story was Three Little Words. I also really liked Trapped! and Red-Headed Stepchild. If you like mysteries, I would recommend checking this collection out.

Happy Reading

Monday, June 1, 2015

May Wrap Up (2015)

This month has been an interesting reading month for sure. There were a lot of readathons happened this month and towards the end of the month I was on a real graphic novel/manga binge. All of these things put me pretty far ahead for my reading challenge and I had a really great reading month!