Friday, July 31, 2015

July Wrap Up

In July I managed to read 10 books! I definitely could have done better, but I binge watched season 4 of Private Practice so yeah... Anyway! I read:

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

2. The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

3. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

4. Heart: A Romantic Short Story Collection by Rose Fall

5. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

6. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

7. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

8. A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

9. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

10. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers




Favorite of the month: This is a very hard question. I'm gonna go with either A Court of Thorns and Roses or Grave Mercy!

Least favorite of the month: Definitely Heart. I just did not like that one at all.

What was your favorite read this month?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Lunar Chronicles (Re)Read Along Sign Up


I have yet to read this series. So when I found out that The Book Addict's Guide was hosting a read along of the book. I figured that it would be the perfect time to finally read it! Plus, Cinder just so happened to be $2.99 on my Nook recently! Aaaaand the paperback of Cress is only like $4.99 on The Book Outlet so the universe is just kind of screaming at me that it's time to read this series. 

Details:

The read along will span from August 1 - December 7, 2015. Readers will be allotted four weeks to read each book. Here is the schedule for each book:

  • Cinder: August 1 - August 31
  • Scarlet: September 1 - September 30
  • Cress: October 1 - October 31
  • Winter: November 10 - December 7


Note: Since Fairest is such a short read, it will not be officially included in the read along (it's way too quick to dedicate a whole month to it)! If you want to read Fairest too, the downtime between Cress and Winter might be a great time to squeeze it in!

  • Readers will have four weeks to read each book (though the entire month will be allotted).
  • At the end of each month, readers will be encouraged to write either a review of the book or some sort of recap post.
  • Readers are also encouraged to share updates (NON-SPOILERY) on social media using the hashtag #TLCReadAlong! At the end of each month, one person using the hashtag will be randomly selected to win a TLC-related prize! Contest is open to US participants only. Sorry! But we hope that regardless of country, you'll join us in reading!
  • There will also be opportunities for fun Lunar Chronicles posts related to each book -- think less book report questions, more fun and games!
The details of the read along are posted at The Book Addict's Guide

So yeah, basically I'm excited to participate in my first read along. I've had these books on my radar for awhile now, but I felt like they sounded weird so I hadn't picked them up yet, but everyone else likes them so it's obviously time for me to pick them up!

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers


His Fair Assassin #1
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Pages: 549

Summary (from the back of the book):

Escaping from the brutality of an arranged marriage, seventeen-year-old Ismae finds sanctuary at the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must be willing to take the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany, where she must pose as mistress to the darkly mysterious Gavriel Duval, who has fallen under a cloud of suspicion. Once there, she finds herself woefully underprepared—not only for the deadly games of love and intrigue, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

This book totally blew me away! It was so much better than I was expecting, not that I was expecting it to be anything but good! This book has everything! Betrayal, politics, romance, adventure, action! It will have you questioning everyone you meet as to what their motives are!

This story follows Ismae who is sold by her father at the age of fourteen to marry a disgusting pig farmer named Guillo. She is rescued and taken to the convent of St. Mortain where she chooses to serve Death and is taught all the skills an assassin may need. Three years later, she is ready to begin going on assignments. Her first big assignment is to pose as a mistress to Gavriel Duval who is the half brother to the duchess of Brittany. She is to keep an eye on him because the convent has reason to believe that he is up to no good. But among those closest to the duchess, Duval seems the least suspicious to Ismae. So they must try and figure out who the real traitor among them is. I really enjoyed the mysterious aspect of this book. Who is the traitor among them working for the French? It really kept me guessing and feeling unable to trust anyone and I loved it!

I really enjoyed the characters in this book! Ismae is very dedicated to doing the work of Mortain. She doesn't question what the convent is telling her, believing them to know all. She thinks very little of men because all of the men in her life have been horrible to her. So she is not at all trusting of Duval when she is first assigned to tag along with him. But everything she learns while out with Duval makes her question what the convent has taught her about carrying out Mortain's will. Maybe it's not all about vengeance. She wants to believe that Mortain is also merciful. Duval also teaches her that not all men are completely awful like her father and Guillo.

Duval is wonderful. He is kind, caring, smart, strategic, and just wonderful. He is dedicated to the duchess and to helping her get out of a totally gross arranged marriage and helping her come up with strategies to keep Brittany safe and free from France. He is just so very good. He's a bit of a grump as well.

I never in a million years would have guess that Anne, the duchess, was only twelve years old during most of this book! That seems FAR too young to be having to worry about the well being of an entire country and avoiding gross old men who want to marry you for your throne! But I guess that things were far more different back in the day. She is a VERY strong young lady!

The only character that I found to be truly unlikable was d'Albret or whatever his name was. Every other character, not matter how awful they were, I seemed to be able to find the tiniest sliver of good in them or in the motives behind their actions. But that man was just really and truly vile. He was only out to help himself at the expense of a little girl! What a CREEP! Also, Madame Dinan was pretty awful as well. You'd think she'd care a bit more for the well being of the girl she's been caring for for years. I guess not!

I really enjoyed the note from the author at the end of the book explaining how this was all based on true events! It seemed that very few things were pulled out of thin air and I really liked that! I don't think I've read a whole lot of historical fiction in my life, but of them, this would by far have to be my favorite! So interesting!

I liked how everything in this book wrapped up nicely so there’s no cliffhanger or anything, but I’m kinda disappointed that the other two books don’t follow Ismae and Duval! I want to know what other shenanigans they get up to! I feel like there’s so much more that could happen with them! This is the thing that makes me the most sad, but also I am excited to know what happens with the character who the next story is about! 

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, assassins, and ‘courtly drama’, as I saw someone say. That is a good way to describe this!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#7)


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting for...


The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner's Trilogy #3
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Pages: 352

Summary (from Goodreads):

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.
But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

So excited for this one! What are you waiting for this week?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#5)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week's topic is Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds!


1. Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
2. Dorian Havilliard from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


3. Pram Bellamy from A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano


4. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling


5. Alex Sheathes from Delirium by Lauren Oliver


6. Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


7. Aza Ray from Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
8. Jason from Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley


9. Hazel Grace Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


10. Charlie from The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Okay, that was a really hard topic! Who are some of your favorite book nerd characters? :)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#6)


Stacking the shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to highlight books received each week!

For the week of July 19th-25th I got...


This far more pleasing hardcover copy of Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken. Just had one eensy little pencil mark that was easily erased. Yay!




And on my super brief trip to the Black Hills, I made my boyfriend go an hour out of the way so that I could go to the bookstore to spend my hard earned halter breaking money (3 down, 12 to go...). So I got this series! And since they didn't have the book of novellas there, I just ordered that off amazon. 

Bonus photo: Enjoy my photos of the lovely Black Hills National Forest by Spearfish, SD!! :)


What awesome goodies did you get this week? :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Heart: A Romantic Short Story Collection by Rose Fall


Publisher: Amazon
Publication Date: July 10, 2015
Rating: 2 Stars
Source: Ebook From Author For Review
Pages: 143

Summary (from Goodreads):

These are stories about first kisses, near death experiences, adventures in indie clubs, and European bucket lists. 

These are stories about wanting love, searching for it, finding it, losing it, and beginning again. 

These are stories about finding yourself and learning to be brave. 
These characters are bonded together by the things they want, the things they’re afraid of, and the things they’re still trying to figure out. 

This is about growing up but staying young. This is about HEART. 

In this collection are 5 romantic short stories and a special preview of the author’s upcoming novel How to Get Your Heart Broken.

Alright, I received an email from the author of this book asking me if I'd like to review it. Pretty exciting!

Buuuuut.. I did not really care for this book. Besides the fact that I'm not a giant contemporary fan, this book felt to me like it still needs a lot of work. It didn't feel done at all. I was left feeling really confused or totally lost at some parts and I have a lot of unanswered questions.

This book consists of five really short stories about love in different stages of life pretty much. 

The first story was called The European Boy. This 16-year-old girl is in Germany (I think?) hanging out in a bar with some boys, one of which she has a big crush on. The girl struck me as kind of dumb. Basically this story is just them leaving the bar and going back to their hostel and it truly felt kind of pointless to me. I felt like it just plummets headfirst into the story with no introduction or background information. I had a lot of questions after reading this story.

The second story was Loveless. I felt like this story just jumps around and abruptly changes scenes. The main character, Mae, felt to me like she had a superiority complex and treated the other girl in the story like she was just below her. And says they're not friends, but then goes to a party with this girl and asks her about boys like they're friends. And it felt like it just ended.

The third story is Seven Seconds in Heaven. This story felt the most complete and least confusing for me! So it was probably my favorite of the five. The main character runs into the girl he lost his V-Card to at a college laundromat/cafe and they get a second chance. The main character kinda seemed like a douchebag.

*THIS PARAGRAPH ESSENTIALLY SUMS UP WHAT HAPPENS IN THE 4TH STORY SO YEAH SPOILER ALERT*
The fourth story is We Met At Target.  Basically this chick trips over herself at Target and gets caught by some totally gorgeous dude and they don't speak, but she thought he was SO charming and she thought about him for months afterward. Then she miraculously trips over herself again at Target and the SAME dude catches her and he starts walking away until she asks him if that's the part where he asks her out and they just start kissing in Target... And then some confusing stuff happens and she's freaking out on everyone at his funeral and throws his urn into a pond.... I couldn't deal with this story.

The final story is What Scares You. It's about a girl on a date with some incredibly boring guy, but after the date he saves her from getting turned into roadkill by a taxi and has a sudden change of heart and wants to get to know him. And I didn't really like her either.

I liked that the stories were nice and short. It's got a really lovely cover. I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't work for me. I think if it had a little more work, it would have been a LOT better. The author seemed nice. I really wanted to like it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#6)


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting for...


The Rose Society by Marie Lu
The Young Elites #2
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Pages: 416

Summary (from Goodreads):

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.
Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers that murdered her love, the Crown Prince Enzo Valenciano.
But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#4)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week's topic is Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters. After looking through lots of people's lists to get examples of diverse books, I have come to the conclusion that I have not read very many. So these will probably mostly just be diverse books that I've heard of. Oops.


1. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
What's diverse about it? Takes place in a middle eastern setting with characters from the middle east!


2. Romiette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper
I read this one way back in the day. I ordered this book out of one of those scholastic book orders they hand out in school. Did anyone else ever get those? I loved those.
What's diverse about it? Interracial relationship! And neither one of them is white.


3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
What's diverse about it? Diverse author.


4. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
What's diverse about it? The main character has two dads.


5. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
What's diverse about it? It shows the difference between social classes. The Socs who are rich and popular and have it all and the Greasers who are quite the opposite.


6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I didn't really like this book...
What's diverse about it? One of the characters is gay and the main character is dealing with some mental health issues.



7. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
What's diverse about it? It features a gay couple.




8. Legend by Marie Lu
What's diverse about it? Diverse author.




9. The Young Elites by Marie Lu
What's diverse about it? Diverse author.




10. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
I read this one in school at some point in my life.
What's diverse about it? The main character is Indian.

Okay, so I lied. I just had to look a little harder, I've actually read all of these books. And now that I just saw Island of the Blue Dolphins on a list on Goodreads, it made me remember another book I read in college in my Diversity class, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was called. This is gonna bug me forever. I think it's about Native Americans and the main characters mom or grandma is named Ida I think. That is very little information, but if someone knows what it is, you should tell me to spare me the pain of never remembering what it is.
What are some diverse books you've read?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson


The Remnant Chronicles #2
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Pages: 470

Summary (from the back of the book):

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country...and her own destiny.

Ahhh! This series is so good! I really enjoyed this book! Not quite as much as the first one, but it was still really good.

Lia and Rafe are prisoners of the Komizar that come to live among the Vendans at least until they outlive their usefulness. They are both weaving lies to stay alive until Rafe's band of four soldiers can figure out a plan to break them out of Venda.

It really doesn't feel like a whole terrible lot actually happens in this book. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. You get to see a lot of Venda and their culture and hardships and you see that maybe they're not quite as barbaric as everyone had always thought they were. Lia builds unexpected relationships with some of the Vendans who see her as some kind of divine sign from the gods because of her gift. She really catches their interest. 

Something bad is brewing in Venda. All the patrols they have going out and slaughtering whole groups of soldiers from the other kingdoms are just the beginning of what the Komizar has planned for Morrighan.

I still just love Lia. She's smart and sassy and brave and just awesome! She tries to do everything she can to keep Rafe safe from the Komizar. She grows to care for some of the people of Venda even though she was always told such horrifying stories about them. She is forced to make some pretty tough choices, but she's really strong so she can handle it.

Rafe is still pretty much perfect.

I liked Kaden a little bit more in this one than the first one, but just a little bit. I feel like he gets kinda butt hurt that he can't make Lia feel about him what he feels about her. But he still does a lot to keep her safe so he's not all bad. You learn a lot more about his background and where he came from and how he ended up as Venda's Assassin.

The Komizar is pretty awful. All he cares about is his power and how he can get more of it. There were some parts where it seemed like he was trying to not be so awful, but no, he was just plain awful. When you learn about his past, he doesn't seem like he should be soooo bad, but all that power must have gone to his head.

The secondary characters that you meet in this book are pretty great as well.

The romance... For a little bit, I kinda felt like Kaden was being pushed at me more and maybe that love triangle was making a comeback, but that was not the case. Rafe is still the one. I hated that Lia and Rafe pretty much had to pretend to hate each other in front of everyone, but I liked that they both understood that it was all a show for the Komizar and the rest of the important Vendans. It kind of seemed to spark a bit of rage within them at first, but they knew they loved each other and and no matter what awful little lie they had to tell the Vendans that they would be fine. I hate when this happens in books and they take it all personally and get all offended when it's CLEARLY being done in the best interest of one of the characters, but they just can't see it. If that makes any sense? Anyways, I also liked the moments they manage to be alone together in the Sanctum. There better be a lot more Lia/Rafe love going on in the last book!

Overall, this book was wonderful. If you haven't read this series yet, what are you waiting for?! I will be slowly dying as I wait for the next book now. Because fit is going to hit. The. Shan. I don't see how anything really good can happen for Lia in the next book after the events of this one! It seems like everyone who was ever on her side in Morrighan is not going to be anymore and ugh, I just need to know how that all works out!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#5)


Stacking the shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to highlight books received each week!

During the week of July 12-18 I got...


Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson.. Soooo excited!!!


Article 5 by Kristen Simmons!

Thanks to @briannaagill for the trade.


Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers


Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers


This HIGHLY disappointing hardcover copy of Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken. Why used bookseller from Amazon?! Why would you neglect to mention the fact that it's a library discard, you unbelievable dirtbags!

Also, from Netgalley I got A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano that I'm too lazy to find a picture for.

So I had a pretty good book week!! Did you get anything good this week?


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Books That I Have Acquired By Questionable Means

Since I don't have a review ready to post for today and I feel like I should post something, here is a list of the books I have in my possession that I have acquired by questionable means. I guess only one is really kinda bad, but I technically shouldn't really have these books at all. So here they are for your viewing pleasure!

1. The House of Thirty Cats by Mary Calhoun

I guess this is probably the only book I have for this list that I snatched with the intention of keeping it forever. This was on the bookshelves in my 4th grade classroom. And I read it and quite enjoyed it and I guess the crazy cat lady in me took over and I took this one home with me and never looked back. If I remember correctly, it brought little 9-10 year old me to tears. It's quite well loved.


2. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

This was a book that I somehow managed to steal from my senior English class in high school. I don't remember why I still have this. I guess I must have just forgotten to return it and the teacher never noticed. I didn't love this book or anything. I'm certain I still have this one by accident.


3. Ending Violence in Teen Dating Relationships by Al Miles

This one I stumbled across while I was doing my internship for college. I put in 150 hours at the local women's shelter/ supervised visitation center. I was doing some office work for them and found this book and I was looking at it and they told me I could borrow it and I forgot to ever bring it back before my hours were done. Oopsie!

Do you have any books acquired questionably? How'd you get them? :)

Waiting on Wednesday (#5)


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting for...


Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Pages: 304

Summary (from Goodreads):

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.

Basically, this book made my list of books I'm waiting on solely because I LOVE that cover with a passion. In fact, I'm gonna go pre-order this one right now.

What books are you waiting for this week?