Thursday, June 30, 2016

An End to the Book Buying Ban

Well folks it is the end of June. I've made it! I worked so hard and got so far and in the end mostly succeeded in my book buying ban for June. Its been tough. There had been many times I was tempted to buy books (as I mentioned on Tuesday) and I mostly turned them down.

However, today is June 30th and I just got the notification for UPS a package will be delivered today. In an effort to save myself some money (B&N was having a sale) I ordered the reward for this success a few days early just before the holiday weekend. My thoughts were July 4th is on Monday so I'll have to wait extra long for it anyway. This will work out just fine.

My reward, if you didn't know, was Hamiltome. The giant book about Hamilton (the musical). Ah and UPS thinks they are doing me favor because they are delivering it while they are in my area today.

Argh the irony!!

I am not going to beat myself up over the fact it will be delivered in June though. I think I've done a great job this month resisting the call of books. The floodgates may open in July but I'm going to try to keep the buying to a minimum. It has gotten out of control these past few years and I want to read the books on my shelves not just look at them.

If you are thinking about going on a book buying ban, I recommend it. I've never done one before and had an interesting (and dramatic) month resisting book sales and ordering books.

A few tips!

1) Set a specific amount of time - I see people put themselves on bans "for the foreseeable future" and know they are going to fail. Eventually you will buy books again.

2) Don't worry if you fail - Obviously I failed a little bit, but overall things were successful! I bought less books than I normally would in June.

3) Outline a specific reason you want to book ban - My ultimate goal was to read more books than I bought this month. Maybe you want to set a goal amount to save before you buy your next book or read a certain number of books before you purchase again. Whatever you decide! Its up to you!

That's it! Let me know how your book buying bans have gone in the past! Happy Reading!

June Wrap Up (2016)

Books Mentioned:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

T5W- Top Settings I Want to See More of

It is time, once again, for Top Five Wednesday. I love this meme and the topics have been really amazing lately. I know I've been doing a lot of list posts lately. I promise I'll be working on some discussion and reviews soon. I've been super busy lately at work and exhausted when I get home!

1) Tortall - When I was a child I was constantly in this world and reading about the characters there. I loved it and I got lost there many afternoons. I want to climb back into that world with new stories and characters someday.

2) Fantasy world with Technology - Not steampunk! I'd be interested to see more modern fantasies where magic and technology cross pathes.

3) The Old Kingdom - After I discovered Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy, I wanted even more books set in this world. I love the characters so much I can't wait for the next installment!

4) Africa - Future africa? Fantastical Africa? Folklore/fairytale retellings based Africa (based on African mythology/folklore? I'll take any or all of these please because I don't know of any.

5) Asia - While there has been a wave of books set in the middle east or based in middle eastern culture, I haven't seen many based in East Asia or India. I'd love to see more based here just like I mentioned about Africa.

Any Suggestions? Thank you!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top Ten Times I Almost Broke My Book Buying Ban in June

Guess who is on a book buying ban this month! ME! This is me recounting a few of the times I nearly broke that ban throughout the month for Top Ten Tuesday Freebie.

1) On day one when I went on Amazon and saw Jennifer L. Armentrout's Covenant Series was SUPER cheap. - It is in fact still cheap and taunting me daily.

2) During that Book Outlet Summer Reading Sale - Phew guys this was a close one!! I had a cart together and everything.

3) When my mom offered to go to the book store with me. - She offered to go! She never does that! (I then had to explain what a book buying ban was)

4) When the price of Hamiltome kept going up - Hamiltome is my reward for keeping up this ban for the whole month. If it got obscenely expensive, I was going to break or cry

5) This moment right now. Today.

6) When A Dance With Dragons was on $4.99- I just finished A Feast for Crows and need to know what happens next.

7) When Book Depository sent me an extra 5% site wide - So many UK editions to consider.

8) Saturday mornings in bed when I can't sleep - This is a normal time for me to shop for books. Sadly I couldn't buy any of those books.

9) When I was watching June book hauls and everyone had amazing new books.

10) After my Owl Crate came - After that box of bookish goodies arrived on my doorstep (The only book I was going to purchase this month) it was really hard not to buy more.

*Also when I wrote this post. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Owl Crate Unboxing

In June I splurged on the Owl Crate Royalty box because who can resist royalty? Not I! I was really pleased with this box and I would definitely order one again in the future. Check out the video description for links to all the products.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Review- Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)
Series: Falling Kingdoms  #1
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Published: December 2012
Source: Purchased
Hardcover - 412 pgs
Add it // Buy it

Rating: 2/5

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed... and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It's the eve of war.... Choose your side.

Quick Thoughts: Ugh!

Full Review:
I'll keep it short. This book fell completely flat for me. The characters didn't compel me to keep reading. The world building was practically nonexistent and the plot was very predictable. After hearing so much hype about this series, I was expecting to be really impressed. Instead there was a cast of trope-based characters that didn't hold my attention during the constantly shifting points of view. The different points of view made the book confusing and disjointed. Overall nothing made me care about the characters.

It took me almost seven months of giving up and going back to this book to finish it. Maybe I should have just given up, but there was potential there. I thought things were at a turning point several times, but it fizzled every time. I'm disappointed but I still have some interested to see what happens in the next books.  I already have book two so I'll probably check it out in hopes the next installment will work better.

My Last Review----> The Scorpio Races

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Scorpio Races (Review)

The Scorpio Races

Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal
Age Group: Young Adult
Published: October 2011
Hardcover - 409 pgs
Add it // Buy it 

Rating: 5/5

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

T5W - Favorite Personal Blog Posts or Videos

Top Five Wednesday was a bit delayed! I was a bit lazy posting this even though I mostly had it written. #LazyBlogger. Also #HotBlogger because it has been really summery suddenly.    Anyway this week the topic was five posts/video you've written that you are proud of and these are mine!

Random Post:

Five Reasons to Check Out the Library - I love libraries and I promote them a lot. I'm proud this was an early post in my blogging career.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - This is a book I did an initial review of and rewrote it completely upon reread. I'm proud I gave this book a second chance because it completely won me over during round two.

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers - Mortal Heart was an ARC I won from Goodreads and it was a series I was super excited to read before anyone else did. I posted my review just before release and I felt like a real blogger when I could do that.



Abhorsen Review - Hot Key Books saw this review and put it in their playlist about the Abhorsen Series. I was really really excited when that happened. 

Three Reasons to Read- Several people commented saying they wanted to read the series after I made this video which made me really happy. Its a little dated now because the fourth book is our but I'm still proud of it. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Top Ten Books I've Bought so far this Year

OK, while I normally follow the Top Ten Tuesday topics to a T, this week I don't have ten favorite books that were released this year. I haven't read that many new releases. Instead, I'm just going to list the top ten books I'm excited for that I've bought this year. Some of these are new releases and some of them are older titles. 

I haven't read any of these, but I'm so excited for them. 

Passenger (Passenger, #1) Spies and Prejudice A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1) The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)

Ungodly (Goddess War, #3) The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath & the Dawn, #2) The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3) The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1) The Serpent King

Monday, June 20, 2016

Favorite Book to Flim Adaptations

Though there are those who argue the book is always better. However, there are film adaptations I adore despite, or maybe because of, their many flaws. I've made a video about some of them, but I continue to find new ones all of the time. Let me know your favorites!!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Review - Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)
Series: Seraphina #2 (Final)
Genre: Fantasy 
Age Group: Young Adult
Published: March 2015
Hardcover - 608pgs
Add it // Buy it 

Rating: 3/5

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways. 

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

Quick Thoughts: At the end of Seraphina I couldn't believe this would only be a duology. There were so many storylines started in book one that needed to be explored and tied up. In the end I think Hartman did a good job wrapping up her story, but there were many things I still had questions about at the end of this long book. I still enjoyed the characters and the world building is excellent.

Full Review: At the end of the day my feelings about this book are conflicted.

If I based my review entirely on characters, prose and world building, Shadow Scale would rank at the top. Hartman is incredibly skilled at writing and I loved the world. However, the plot and wrap up to the store left me wanting something more. In the end there was very little character growth from Seraphina which was really disappointing. She struggled throughout the book to make good decisions and was befuddled by her enemies, but never learned from her mistakes.

Throughout this duology Hartman discussed both race and religion prominently. Seraphina travels abroad and encounters many different views on her mixed heritage both rooted in religion and cultural differences. Hartman's world is full of rich details and I enjoyed how much we explored, literally, in this wrap up. Hartman is also a master at writing beautiful phrases that sucked me into the story. 

However I was disappointed we rushed through the scenes in Goredd at the end of the story after spending so much time abroad throughout the book. One of the most frustrating parts of this novel was despite the build up throughout both books, the romance disappeared into the background almost completely. In general it seemed like the old characters were abandoned for a new set of traveling companions. Overall I missed Seraphina's homeland and wanted to get back to it sooner!

Towards the end the story was a bit muddled and rushed. There were some last minute revelation that were great in theory, but glossed over so much I felt like that there were added for shock value. To me this wrap up could have used a little more trimming as far as the traveling and more explanation at the end. Overall it was ok, but compared to Seraphina it fell flat.
Happy Reading

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Top Five Wednesday - Favorite Fathers/Father Figures

As we approach Father's Day this weekend, it was only appropriate to talk about our favorite literary fathers and father figures for Top Five Wednesday.

My Last Top Five Wednesday ---> Top Five Character Names

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year

There is nothing to say! These are the books I cannot wait for these books to be released. Thank you to Broke and the Bookish and Top Ten Tuesday for this topic so we can talk about exciting new books.

Covers first, descriptions below. Beware the descriptions of sequels!! 

Three Dark Crowns (Untitled, #1) Imprudence (The Custard Protocol, #2) Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

Monday, June 13, 2016

May Favorites (2016)

Overall in May I didn't have a lot of time to develop favorites. I was in a wedding and attended two graduations. Early in the month I was doing everything possible to keep my head above water. Towards the end of the month I had a little more time to relax and enjoy some books, music, movies and blogs. Check out what I've been loving! 

Book Favorite: 
This month is a tie. I simply cannot pick between my favorite reads from May. Both Finnikin of the Rock and The Scorpio Races were amazing. They were the best among a month filled with many great reads. I loved them! 

Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1) The Scorpio Races

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Currently Reading (Tome Topple Update)

This week has been an amazing reading week. As of writing his post I've finished A Feast for Crows in a week! I cannot believe how fast I read this installment of the series. I need the next one now, but with no release date for Winds of Winter, I don't know if I should read it right away. I've been spacing this out over years. I can wait right? Maybe???

Friday, June 10, 2016

Review - Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Genre: Science-Fiction
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Published: 2015
Hardcover -599 pgs. 
Add it // Buy it

Rating: 5/5

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Star Jar Update

This year instead of making a TBR jar or quote jar like I've done in the past, I've decided to turn my mason jar into a star jar. I update it fairly regularly after I make final decisions on ratings. When I was working on it recently, I thought I would do a little update to show how it looks so far this year.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

T5W - Favorite Character Names

Often when a new characters is introduced, one of the first things we learn is their name. A name is essential for my vision of a character and sets up my feelings about the character from the moment they are introduced. Character names are a lot like book covers. You shouldn't judge a character by their name, but I do. This week on Top Five Wednesday we are talking about our favorite character names and I don't have reasoning behind this list. I can't even rank them. So there is no rhyme or reason behind these. I just like the names. They are all strong ladies, but that was unintentional. 

Maura and Blue Sargent (The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater) 

Let it be known I tried not to pick two Maggie Stiefavter books for this topic, but it was impossible not to name those three ladies. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Eight Reasons I Love Retellings

One of my favorite types of stories or favorite genres is the retelling. I focus on two types of rellings for the most part. I read a lot of fairytale retellings and Jane Austen retellings. These two types of books account for a large number of the books on my shelves and on my TBR list. Today for Top Ten Tuesday (from the Broke and the Bookish) I thought I'd try to tell the world why I love them so much.

1) Retellings answer what if questions - Any retelling explores different paths than the original story. For example, what if Beauty and the Beast was set in the future? What if Persuasion was set in space?

2) Retellings can be very close to the original stories or loosely based on the original story -  Both are fun to read and it is exciting to find out an upcoming release is a retelling. I like having that frame for the story.

3) A high percentage of retellings have great covers.

The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath & the Dawn, #1) Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) The Darcys of Derbyshire: A Pride & Prejudice Variation Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1) For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1)

4) Retellings are familiar stories with interesting twists - I like following a story I know while also coming across the unexpected.

5) Compared to original stories retellings have more characters and more character development - Many fairy tales are short and simplistic. There are often many more characters with much more depth than those original stories.

6) Sometimes retellings are like published fanfiction and give you all your dreams - I think this is especially true of Jane Austen retellings and continuations. In these stories authors often explore what happens after the end of the original story or the moments inbetween scenes.

7) They are usually fun and fast reads!

8) They introduce me to new classics and fairy tales - If I hear a book is a retelling of something, I often will check out the original thing before I read the retelling. This has led me to many interesting books.

Happy Reading!

My Last Top Ten Tuesday ---> Ten Books I Want to Read by the Beach

Saturday, June 4, 2016

#TomeTopple TBR!!

There is a new readathon in town and I'm ready to start reading! This time I'm participating in the Tome Topple Readathon which was created by Sam at ThoughtsonTomes. I love Sam's channel and this idea is fantastic. During this readathon the focus is on page numbers rather than a total number of books and you are supposed to read the large books on your shelves. I'm excited to focus on larger books for once and tackle some of the chunkier books sitting on my shelves. Check out what I've pick for my TBR!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Review - Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Vol. #1-20)

Chew: The Omnivore Edition, Vol. 2

Chew: The Omnivore Edition, Vol. 1

Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he's a hell of a detective - as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest and most bizarre cases. 

Rating: 3/5

When I saw the Chew Volumes on the shelf at the library, I was very excited. I had heard many good things and I was reading a lot of graphic novels so I selected several of these Omnivore Editions to devour at once. (excuse the puns) I went home from the library a happy girl with many comics to keep me occupied.

Like I said, I was excited to start these and the series started out strong. There was a lot of action and a bit of a paranormal vibe to keep me interested. I really liked the kickoff to this comic and flew through Omnivore Vol. 1. It was only in the second volume where things started to drag for me.

Even though I liked the characters, I was frustrated with other aspects of this series. The world became too unwieldy. Every issue went off on another tangent and the story never felt connected to a main plot to me. What was the real question? We weren't just following Tony around for fun. What was the point? Eventually my interest started to wain.

Overall, the story stalled so often to start another plot line that didn't have any connection to what was already happening. Even if it was connected, it was left unresolved. I understand that as the story moves forward loose ends will be tied up. However, as someone who was only semi-invested in the story, I didn't care enough to stick with it.

PHEW- Ok. Yes, I was frustrated. No, it isn't all bad.

The art style is interesting. There are a lot of vibrant colors and it clearly showed all the action. This story can be gory at times and that was one of the things that turned me off. (Maybe for me personally smaller volumes in larger stretches would solve this problem) I liked the bits of extra content that were included like alternate cover choices for the issues. I do recommend these Omnivore Editions! They are a great way to move through the series quickly.

We will see if I go back to this series. Let me know if things get more coherent after Vol. 20.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

May Wrap Up (Part 2)

This month has been a fantastic reading month for me. Compared to the past two months where graphic novels dominated my wrap ups because of a reading slump, novels have made a comeback. I read some truly amazing stories this month and cannot wait to tell you more of my thoughts in reviews coming soon! If you want to see what I read in the first half of may, check out my Readathon Wrap Ups from Yearathon, Bout of Books and RYBSAT. 

Books Mentioned: 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

As of this moment I do not have any preorders coming in June and I'm trying to keep that going. However, I could easily break down to order this title. I am a sucker for historical figures and strong ladies. The synopsis also compares this to The Princess Bride which is one of my favorite movies. I'm going to try and rein it in until I see a few reviews, but I can't wait for it to be released! The early reviews I've seen are all good and the three authors sound fantastic, but my wallet weeps so I'm trying not to order this at this moment. You go order it for me and I'll live vicariously through you! 

My Lady Jane

Expected Publication: June 9, 2016

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.