Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Top Ten Books I Want to Read by the Beach

Now that we've hit June I cannot stop thinking about my beach vacation. This week's Top Ten Tuesday fell just at the perfect time for me to imagine lying in the sand and soaking up the sun with a good book in hand. Check out the books I hope to read this summer with the ocean nearby.

The Vicious Deep What I Thought Was True Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1) 

 The Summer of Chasing Mermaids Pirates of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquests and Captivity in the Seventeenth-Century Mediterranean Not a Drop to Drink (Not a Drop to Drink, #1) 

Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2) Origin (Lux, #4) Passenger (Passenger, #1) 

The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)

My Last Top Ten Tuesday ----> Ten Books I Picked Up on a Whim

Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer Reading Goals (2016)

This summer I am hoping to read a lot of books. Every summer I have high hopes for my summer TBR. but I never accomplish them. This year I've scaled back the number of books I have as a goal and just picked a few. I'm anxious to read these!

Books Mentioned:

Friday, May 20, 2016

#FridayReads (20)

This past week has been a whirlwind. My days aren't long enough to get everything done! After work I've been trying to clean up my space before I crash into bed. My very busy weekend keeps catching up to me. Either way I've finished another Gail Carriger book, but want to take a short break from the series. While it is excellent and I've been devouring it, I could feel myself starting to skim the story in the last installment. I do not, under any circumstances, want to go back into that reading slump. So I'm trying to start something different.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review - Hawkeye Vol. 2-5

Hawkeye, Vol. 2: Little Hits Hawkeye, Vol. 3: L.A. Woman Hawkeye, Vol. 4: Rio Bravo Hawkeye, Vol. 5: All-New Hawkeye

 You can find my thoughts on Vol. 1 Here.

Hawkeye Vols. 2-4 by Matt Fraction and Illustration team
While I enjoyed these overall, they didn't pack a big emotional punch. The art is cool and I liked the innovative way Faction and the illustrators used the art to show different points of view and Clint's disability. The plot is slow to develop, but I enjoyed the characters and where the story was headed.

Hawkeye Vol. 5 by Jeff Lemire and Ramón Pérez (Illustrator)
This volume is a different story. (pun intended) Not only is there a new writer for this volume, but a new art style is introduced as well. This fifth volume made up for the lack of emotional connection in the first volumes by far. In contrast my emotions were all over the place during this story. There's more action, the art is more interesting and Kate is involved a lot more. I like this change up quite a bit and I'm excited for the next installment. 

Individual Ratings:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

T5W - Top Books From Summer 2015

Summer reading is one of my favorite seasons of reading. Over the summer I seem to pick up more books than any other time of the year. Last summer was a fabulous reading season and I picked up so many great books. This week the Top Five Wednesday topic was a bit broad, Summer Reads, so I decided to feature books from the Summer of 2015.

1) Full Metal Alchemist Series by Hiromu Arakawa - Last summer I raced through this manga series. It was an amazing series and I'm pretty sure the librarians were tired of seeing me show up to get more copies. It is fast paced but pacts a huge emotional punch.  The series is perfect to marathon over the summer!

2) Penryn and the End of Days Series by Susan Ee - It only took me a few days to finish this entire series over the summer. I had a few days off and read the first two books for a readathon. This series is easy to speed through and I was totally hooked! If I had all three when I started I think I would have finished these three books in as many days.

3) Storm by Brigid Kemmerer - This book isn't my favorite in the series, that honor is split appropriately between books two and four*, but it is a great intro to the series and a fun read. I highly recommend this paranormal romance series for a speedy and light summer read.

*If you've read the series you know why.

4) The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson - Surprisingly I read this on the beach last summer. I thought the high fantasy series would be tough to read on the beach, but the book was so addictive I couldn't put it down.

5) Rebel Yell by S.C. Gwynne - This biography of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was the best biography I read last year. It was really interesting with so much detail, but the writing style was witty and kept the book from being stale or dry. Jackson was an interesting historical figure and I enjoyed learning more about his influence.

 Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 (Fullmetal Alchemist, #1) Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1) Storm (Elemental, #1) Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson

Previous Top Five Wednesday ----> Top Five Characters I am Like.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

Sometimes the best books I find are books I read on a whim. I really like going into books knowing as little as possible so for me picking up books randomly can be the best thing to do. These are the top ten books I've read on a whim. - Check out The Broke and the Bookish for more topics!

1) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - When I picked up this artistic looking audiobook from my library, I had no idea it would change my life. I've reread this series more than any other and I still love it after finishing the series. I'm so glad I picked this up.

2) Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour - Another library pick that I loved! This story intrigued me right away with its attention to old Hollywood and film making. The cute contemporary romance and fun characters didn't hurt either!

3) This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales - Loved this contemporary about music and growing up. I was really touched by this story and how music was such a comfort in tough times.

4) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - The last time I was at Barnes and Noble I saw Illuminae on the shelf and I couldn't ignore it. I kept circling back to this book even though I had never had a strong interest in it before. After reading the first few pages, I was intrigued enough to pick it up. I'm so glad I did! This was a fun and unique read! I can't wait for the next book.

5) The Martian by Andy Weir - Though these books are not in a particular order, this should've topped the list. I loved this book last year and I borrowed it from Overdrive on a complete whim while I was at work one day. I could not put it down!!

 The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) This Song Will Save Your Life The Martian Everything Leads to You

6) Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix  - I love The Abhorsen Trilogy audiobooks so I decided to try another book by Nix on audio. I ended up really liking this one even though it is quite different than his other series!

7) Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich - At the end of last year I randomly preordered this book a few days before it came out. The cover is so creepy which intrigued me so I picked it up and read it really fast.

8) Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout - On New Year's Eve a few years ago I was sick and didn't hang out with anyone to celebrate the new year. Instead I spent the whole night reading this book and the sequel. I think I got less sleep because of my book than I would have if I went to a party!

9) Frigid by J. Lynn - This is my favorite of Armentrout's new adult books. It is super cute and steamy. I picked this up on a Saturday while I was curled up in bed and read it in a single sitting. It was so addicting! Whenever I need a reading pick-me-up, I grab this book.

10)  Clockwork Angel (Manga) by Cassandra Clare - Once upon a time my local bookstore was having a buy two manga books get one free sale. So I picked up this series as manga, which I had never seen before, and loved every moment of this adaptation.

Newt's Emerald The Dead House Obsidian (Lux, #1) Frigid (Frigid, #1) Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices: Manga, #1)

My Last Top Ten Tuesday ---->  Top Ten Childhood Characters to Revisit

Friday, May 13, 2016

Review - Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Purchased
Published: September 2013
Hardcover - 445 pgs
Add it // Buy it

Rating 3/5

CATH IS A SIMON SNOW FAN. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan... But for Cath, being a fan is her life--and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving.

Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can't let go. She doesn't want to. 

Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath that she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend; a fiction-writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world; a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words...and she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Finally I read the famous Fangirl! This was also my first Rainbow Rowell read. After so much hype over the past few years, I finally sat down and just read this book.

Honestly, I'm not disappointed, but I didn't like it as much as everyone else which I was kind of expecting because contemporary isn't my first pick.

Even knowing that though, I had a few issues with this book. This story was really slow to start. It felt like nothing happened in this first and, while I could relate to Cath on a lot of levels, I also found her really frustrating. There were a few things she did that just didn't make sense to me.

After the midway point, the pace and the character started to  jive for me though. The plot developed faster and I cared more about everyone in this story. I can pinpoint the moment things changed for me and after that moment things were really good. In the end this is a lovely coming of age story I think a lot of people will (and have) relate to it. It had a lot of heart and family was much more central than I was expecting.

I know  lot of people were frustrated or disappointed with the ending , but I really liked it. I think it gave readers a chance to "write" their own future for Cath and where her journey will take her. I imagine good things for her.

Happy Reading

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Goals Update #1 (2016)

Do you remember the goals you set at the beginning of 2016? I always forget by the halfway point of the year so I try to make reminder videos to update you on my progress and remind myself about the goals I set. In the video I go over all the goals I set and how things are going thus far in 2016.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

T5W - Characters I am Most Like

Another week, another Top Five Wednesday. This week the topic is Top Five Characters You Are Most Like. At first I thought we were talking about our favorite characters, but the topic actually took a little more thought. While there are a lot of characters I love, it was harder to find characters I share traits with.

1) Calla (The Raven Cycle) - Calla and I are actually quite different. However, we both work in offices, are prickly, like plum lipstick and eat burritos after bad work days. I also have a knack for guessing twists in movies that makes me think I might be a bit psychic.

2) Katy (Lux Series) - Of course I had to choose Katy! She loves books and runs a book blog! I wish I was even more like her because she is hella strong. I love her journey and I know I keep saying it, but I need to finish up this series!

3) Anne Elliot (Persuasion) - Throughout the book I identify with Anne because she works hard to make other people happy and comfortable. She puts her happiness second to others which I do a lot too. I don't submit to other people quite as often as Anne, but I know I prioritize other people's wants and needs above my own. It's not always a bad thing though I do need to fight against that urge sometimes.

4) Sophie Hatter (Howl's Moving Castle) - Book Sophie and Movie Sophie share at least one trait. They clean a lot and organize Howl's house. I love to get things organized. Right now my space is out-of-control messy because life is hectic and I hate it!

5) Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass) - Well everyone its time for me to spill my secret. I'm actually an assassin with awesome skills and an incredible story of survival. JK! Actually, I'm like Celaena because she loves pretty dresses and books. I wish I had her funds to shop until I drop.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Review - The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)
Series: The Raven Cycle #4 (Final)
Genre: Paranormal
Published - April 2016
Source: Purchased
Kindle Edition - 448 pgs

Rating: 5/5

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

From the beginning this series has been special to me and I have been obsessed with it for the past three years. Now, facing the end of it, I can't believe it is over and I will try to piece together some cohesive thoughts for a review.

When facing the end of a series you love, it is a hard thing to go into it confident things will be ok. The biggest fear I faced heading into this finale was disappointment. I was ready for death and feels but it is the execution of the wrap up that strikes fear into my reading heart. Especially after the many threads Maggie wove into the story at the end of BLLB, I was afraid the ending would be too unwieldy and big for me to feel satisfied at the end.  

This book felt different though. As I turned the pages, each choice felt weighted and leading toward the end. I could feel the ending coming and there was a darker, more sinister tone to this whole book. It turned out to be a beautiful finale and I am in awe of Stiefvater's work. Her writing style is one of my favorites and her planning obviously supreme. I feel like I knew what was coming, but I was still stepping into the dark. 

There were a few lose ends, but it is impossible to wrap up every detail. I also had a little trouble fitting the time line of this series together even after finishing this book. I think after a reread of the the entire series it may make more sense, but as of right now I am confused. Those were my only complaints. This series wrapped up beautifully. The characters make this series and their development throughout this series is phenomenal. I loved this book.

I will stop gushing about it now. Please no spoilers in the comments for others, but I would love to hear general opinions. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Currently Reading & #BoutofBooks Kickoff

This week we kick Monday off with a Currently Reading centered around my Bout of Books reading! Bout of Books will run this entire week and I have already made a TBR video and sign up for it. This is just an update on what I'm reading after the #RYBSAT and #YEARATHON readathons last week.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Review - Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

Series: Parasol Protectorate #1
Genre: Paranormal Historical Fiction
Source: Purchased 
Published - October 2009
Paperback - 373 pgs

Rating 5/5

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. 

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Quick Thoughts: Go Read This! Thus far this series is an absolute treat! My reading slump fell pitifully to the side to make way for this snarky and hilarious paranormal series set in Victorian, London.  Over the past few years I have developed a weakness for anything set in the Victorian Era and this one took the cake!

Full Review:  
There are few settings I love more than Victorian London. Often when fantastical books are set in this time they combine my favorite elements of books: Magic, steampunk inventions and Victorian sensibilities. This book is no exception.

The entire plot line is ridiculous amounts of quick paced fun and hilarity.  Alexia finds herself in ridiculous situations which made me laugh out loud at times. The plot is a bit predictable but it won me over anyway. The quick witted poke fun at the slow witted and everyone has a good time.  

From the very first pages I found these characters irresistible. Alexia is witty and has some modern ideas but she is still a proper Victorian lady. I loved how Carriger created a strong lady of her time rather than a lady out of time. I was submerged deeper into the story and the world because Alexia was written so well. Carriger also created a seamless combination of the supernatural and Victorian manners.

In short, this book is a barrel of fun and I already have book two so I'll be continuing on this adventure soon.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

April Favorites (2016)

This past month has been a bit strange for me. I've been really busy so I feel like I haven't had time to develop any new favorite things. So forgive me if this month it a bit slim. I've been participating in a walking challenge at work so I've been doing a lot of walking and running rather than reading (also because reading slump) or watching things.

Book Favorite:

You know what is coming. If you've ever met me or spent any time on my blog, you know what book was my favorite in April. It was going to be this book in almost any circumstance because I was going to read this book as soon as it was released!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ten Childhood Characters You'd Love To Revisit As Adults

For Top Ten Tuesday this week I think I took a different take on the revisit part than you were supposed to. I thought about this topic as if I could peek into the lives of the characters from my favorite childhood books in modern day or where they would be now. So that's the theme this week...

First and foremost is,,,

1) Amy Fleming (Heartland Series by Lauren Brooke) - When we left Amy at the end of the Heartland series, she was in a transition. I would love to see how that transition worked out for her and what she is up to now. Plus I grew up with her so I just wish I could check up on her. I am most curious about her life in particular.

Now everyone else!

2) Alanna and George (Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce) - I could read a million books about Alanna and her adventures. The ideal though would be seeing her and George going on adventures together. I just want to see more of them together and more Tortall adventures!

3) Harry, Hermione and Ron (Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling) - After all the controversial comments by Rowling and other cast members, I wish I could check in with the characters after many years in canon.

4) Alec Ramsey (The Black Stallion by Walter Farley) - When I was younger I loved horses so The Black Stallion books were my favorite books. I loved them so much and while Walter Farley's son has written a few books to continue the story, I would be interested in seeing these characters in a modern day setting.

5) Sam Gribley (My Side of the Mountain) - Would Sam still live on the mountain? Would his forest still exist?

6) D.J. Randell (High Hurdles Series by Laura Snelling) - At the end of this series we do get a glimpse into DJ's future, but I want another series about her and what she is doing now. I read this series so many times as a kid (horses again) and I love the characters so much.

7) Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry (Logans Series by Mildred D. Taylor) - I read a few of the books in this series of companion novels, but I don't think there are any set in modern day? Let me know if there are! Where would this family be now?

8) Eragon and Saphira (Eragon by Christopher Paolini) - The ending to this series is completely unsatisfying to me. Give me a spin off Paolini *shakes fist at sky*

9) Alianne (Daughter of the Lioness Duology by Tamora Pierce) - Ok ok ok. I know I mentioned two different Tamora Pierce series in this post, but these are the characters I really need to know how their stories continued. I just need to know!

10) Meggie (Inkworld by Cornelia Funke) - I didn't read Inkdeath yet so I don't know if all will be ok for me to check in with these characters in present day. However, I still want to know if Meggie's Dad can bring the raven gang into existence for me.

Monday, May 2, 2016

April Wrap Up (2016)

This month was a little rough for me! I really struggled to read over the past few weeks and I was slumping really hard. I made a few posts about it and talked about it a lot on twitter. It was rough but finally things are looking up (after a few false starts). We will see if it continues into May. I am crossing my fingers!

Books Mentioned:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Readathon Announcement and TBR (#RYBSAT #YEARATHON and Bout of Books)

Check out my Twitter for daily (or more frequent) updates for these readathons. 

Readathon Links

#RYBSAT (Twitter, Goodreads)
#YEARATHON (check hashtag on Twitter for more participants) Goodreads
Bout of Books: Website & Twitter

Sunday Coffee Break (2)

Happy Sunday! Last week was tough. There is a lot going on at my work. Because I work on a college campus, the week leading up to finals weeks is always hectic! I didn't have a lot of time to read a lot of blog posts. Even so, there was one that really stood out!

Discussion: On Book Slumps by Brittany from The Book Addict's Guide 

Since April has been a rough reading month for me due to a reading slump, I felt this post deep in my soul. While Brittany is more of an avid reader than me and has been blogging longer, she makes really good points in this post and I loved it.

Upcoming Releases for this Week:

After this past week, when The Raven King was released, it is hard for me to be as excited this week. However, there are quite a few great books coming out and this week seems to be the week for big spring releases. May 3rd is FULL of great releases. 

 I am going to feature just a few here today. These three sound awesome and I hope I can pick up at least one of them at some point. Book buying is taking a backseat right now though. Last month was a little out of control!

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2) Night Speed The May Queen Murders