Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1

Summary: When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf int he woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin--one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. 

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it...or doom Tamlin--and his world--forever. 

Why I read it: Sarah J. Maas. DUH. I actually got to meet her the week of its release! (As you probably already know. I still haven't shut up about it.) So I decided to read it to start off the Bout of Books 13 read-a-thon!


First of all, the characters. Feyre is such a great protagonist, because she is NOT perfect. She makes mistakes and she's quick to judge everyone around her. But she's only human, and I love the flaws in her character. Every relationship she has with the other characters develops throughout the book; there is nothing stagnant here. Dynamics shift and perspectives change, so how she sees Tamlin, Rhysand, and even her sisters, is different from the beginning to the end.

Speaking of Tamlin and Rhys, and adding in Lucien, how delightful are these High Fae? Between the Throne of Glass series and now this series, Sarah J. Maas really is excellent at giving us swoon-worthy male characters. Tamlin is all golden sunshine and fierce loyalty, and Rhys is all mystery and darkness, and Lucien is all sarcasm and protectiveness. I love all three of them for very different reasons. Tamlin is the obvious love interest, Rhys is the dark horse, and Lucien is the male best friend (the role of which I'm very fond of, as you know).

Once you've read this book, let the shipping wars commence! I know what side I'm on already. I love Tamlin, but I'm Team Rhys all the way!

Do I even need to mention the writing? This is a Sarah J. Maas book, of course I loved the writing. That's silly.

This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but it's also woven in with elements from Tam-Lin and East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Beauty and the Beast is a very well-known fairy tale, so that is the one everyone mentions when talking about this book, but I've heard very few people talk about the other aspects. It's easy to tell how Beauty is reimagined for the story. There certain scenes pulled directly from the tale and slightly reworked to fit, and other things are simply alluded to. But what I love the most is how well the elements from the other two fairy tales are used to fill out the story. It's incredibly well done.

The last quarter of the book is where things start to shift away from Beauty and the Beast and into other territories, and it is one hell of a ride. Once again, I'm amazed by how Sarah J. Maas managed to pull me in from page one and keep me there until the very last page.

PLUS, it's technically a new adult series, which makes it my official first new adult book! Feyre is nineteen, and there are some steamy times. Part of the reason I've stayed away from new adult is that most of them sound the same. They're all contemporary books with a girl and a guy getting into a relationship with a lot of a sex, and often the girl is a shy virgin and the guy is aggressive and I just don't like to read about those kinds of relationships very often.

ACOTAR, on the other hand, avoids those tropes entirely. And I hope that this represents a shift in the way we can view new adult. Hopefully it ushers in a new era of new adult that includes fantasy and paranormal and real, meaty plots. Because some of us want the steamy times without the relationship drama and dark pasts!

Whoa, went on mini-rant there. Rant over!

I highly recommend this book, especially if you're a fan of fantasy and steamy romance.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read ACOTAR yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven

Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven

Summary: Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. 

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister's recent death. 

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the "natural wonders" of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It's only with Violet that Finch can be himself--a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink. 

Why I read it: I've been on a huge contemporary kick lately. Don't ask me why. Maybe because they're have been so many great new releases lately? I've just heard so many great things about it, so I decided to pick it up.

Thoughts: I loved it.

It's now been a while since I read this book, but it's still just as hard to find the words to describe how much I loved it, and why.

I can never decide if I'm a fan of dual-POV stories, but when it works, it really works. And it worked here. Both of our protagonists, Violet and Finch, were so richly drawn. They had their quirks and distinct personality traits, and I felt like I could know these people in real life. And I loved their relationship. I absolutely loved the way it built from the ground up, and how it progressed throughout the story.

We don't get many secondary characters here. There are a couple of Finch's friends, a couple of Violet's, and the families of course, but none of them ever get much of the spotlight. And that's okay. This story is very much about Violet and Finch and their influence on each other, not the world around them.

The writing was wonderful. I could see everything coming off the page, could picture every detail in my head.

And the plot. Here's where it gets hard to articulate my feelings. I love the whole idea of "wandering," and all the places they go are so interesting and fun. What was even better was finding out after I read the book that all of these places are real. That made me appreciate it even more, the fact that Jennifer Niven had put so much thought and research into the book.

I won't spoil you. I can't even think about spoiling you. This book is heartbreaking. I knew that general feeling going in, but it didn't lessen the blow. There were times I was outraged, disgusted by the people around Violet and Finch, violently upset that no one could see what was going on. But that's realistic. Not everyone is open-minded. Not everyone is intuitive enough to know. Not everyone is sensitive enough to understand. And it's horrible, but it happens. Maybe this book will help others see it in real life when they couldn't before.

But even so, it's still filled with hope. It's filled with that fantastic sense of wonder that we sometimes lose going from childhood to adulthood.

I don't have much more to say. It's a beautiful book and every time I think about it, I smile a little. Highly recommend.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read this book yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Waiting on Wednesday (23): WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Author: Rae Carson
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Release date: September 22, 2015

Summary: Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold int he world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home--until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? 

Thoughts: Once again, THAT COVER. I'm loving the huge title and the beautiful colors. And apparently this is the year for the resurgence of YA westerns! I have to admit, I've never been a big fan of westerns, but between this and Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman, I think I'm going to become one. At least in the YA world. They just sound so wonderful! And who doesn't love a good "girl disguises herself as a boy" story? I haven't read The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson yet, but I definitely want to pick them up, as well as this one!

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Does my pick sound good to you, too? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#RYBSAT Wrap-Up!

Hey guys! I just wanted to wrap-up my reading week with #RYBSAT! This was SO much fun. The week before RYBSAT, I participated in the Bout of Books 13 read-a-thon, which was my very first read-a-thon ever. So I wasn't sure if I wanted to participate in RYBSAT and do the two read-a-thons back to back, but I'm SO glad I decided to just do it! 

I ended up only finishing my first two books on my TBR, but I'm okay with that. In the past, I've had an entire MONTH where I only read one or two books, so to read two books in one week is still amazing for me. 

I finished: 


True by Hilary Duff and Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson. 

I read the Hilary Duff book only because I've read the first two books, and I really needed another series to finish. Those books are really not very good, but it was something to finish. Sometimes you have to read the "meh" books in order to really appreciate the amazing ones. Which is what Since You've Been Gone is. An AH-MAZING book! Seriously, I couldn't put it down. It's cute, funny, heartwarming, and made me cry. It was like the perfect summer book. Can't recommend it enough. 

I started: 

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Unfortunately, I didn't really get to read on Sunday, the last day of the read-a-thon, otherwise I may have had a shot at finishing this one. But my parents and I went vacation-clothes shopping, and along the way we bought the final season of Glee since we hadn't watched it. And then my mom and I ended up watching 9 of the 13 episodes on Sunday night. Ha! So no reading. But I'm definitely liking where this is going so far. It's very intriguing, and I love the writing style! 

Total pages read: 903

I'm proud of that total pages read number! I have so many books on my TBR that it's been nice to knock a few off in these last couple of weeks, thanks to the read-a-thons. The hosts of RYBSAT were always hosting reading sprints on Twitter, and I participated in a couple of those, and the RYBSAT official twitter page was always reposting Instagram pictures tagged #RYBSAT onto the Twitter page. I have to say, I was thrilled to see a couple of my own pictures on there! All in all, it was a great week. I had such a blast, and now I can't WAIT until the next round! 

Tell me: did YOU participate in RYBSAT? How did you do? What was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday (18): Books I Plan to Have in My Beach Bag

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

This is actually the perfect TTT topic for me this week, because in a week and a half, I'm leaving for a week-long vacation in Florida! And the first three days there, we're spending at Daytona Beach! Since my mom and I have actually planned what books we're taking on vacation already, those are the books I'm going to share with you! There ARE ten books here, but since so many are in series, I'm just giving each series a number and coming up with a top 5 instead! :)


1. The Razorland trilogy by Ann Aguirre. 

Okay, I know. Not the beachiest, summery-est reads. But my mom wanted a completed trilogy to read, and both of us are obsessed with zombies and zombie-like creatures. So she's been saving this series for when we were stuck in the car for hours upon hours!


2. The Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand. 

Mom and I were looking for another trilogy/series to take, and these seemed like fun! I love these covers, and I've been eyeing them on my shelves for a while now. So it seems as good a time as any to read them! 


3. The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

I've been dying to read these for so long now, and I just haven't had the chance to pick them up yet. So I'm taking them in the hopes that I can read both fairly quickly! 

4. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

I only learned about this book maybe the week before it came out, but it sounds SO COOL. And it's a fantasy standalone, which don't come around very often! It'll be the perfect book to break up all those series. 

5. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

I read Since You've Been Gone last week for #RYBSAT, and immediately wanted to read ALL the Morgan Matson books. And this one is about a road trip, so how fun would it be to read while on the road? I ordered it from Barnes & Noble this weekend so it will be here before we leave, and this will the book I start the minute we hit the open highway. 

Tell me: what book are going to be in YOUR beach bag this summer? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Birthdays! -- May 26, 2015

*Note: when celebrating birthdays for books in a series other than Book 1, I will not list the summary, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. If you've read the first book(s) in the series, or are just insanely curious, follow the book title link to the Goodreads page to read the summary there! 


Title: Daughter of Deep Silence
Author: Carrie Ryan

Summary: I'm the daughter of murdered parents. 
I'm the friend of a dead girl. 
I'm the lover of my enemy. 
And I will have my revenge. 

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story--and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she'll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process. 

Author: Robyn Schneider

SummaryAt seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it's easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French. 

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times. 

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down. 

Title: Tiny Pretty Things
Author: Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Summary: Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance--but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette's desire to excape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best. 

Author: Margo Rabb

Summary In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels--118 of them, to be exact--to dull the pain of her loss that's still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who seems to truly understand Eva's grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head-over-heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness--and, perhaps, her shot at real love--Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the west coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love. 

Series Starters

Title: The Cage
Author: Megan Shepherd
Series: The Cage #1

Summary: When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments--tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together fro different cultures--all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone. 

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer--a handsome young guard called Cassian--appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo--where the exhibits are humans. 

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be int he arms of her own jailer--though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so...what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road #1

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father--the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent--but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father, and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both. 

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They' And while Emily--the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member--is in town, he's gonna prove it to her.  So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down. 

No one wants to them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home. 

Series Continuers/Enders

Author: Lindsay Cummings
Series: The Murder Complex #2

Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #2

Tell me: what new releases are YOU excited for this week? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (22): THE CAGE

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Title: The Cage
Author: Megan Shepherd
Series: The Cage #1
Release date: May 26, 2015

Summary: When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments--tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures--all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone. 

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer--a handsome young guard called Cassian--appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they coudl ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo--where the exhibits are humans. 

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be int he arms of her own jailer--though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so...what world lies beyond the walls of their cage? 

Thoughts: THAT COVER. It is so gorgeous. I haven't read Megan's Madman's Daughter trilogy yet, but I really want to, especially now that she has this new book coming out in a week! The only alien book I've read is The Host, even though there are a TON out there to choose from. But this one sounds the most intriguing to me! I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Does my pick sound good to you, too? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Book Birthdays! -- May 19, 2015

*Note: when celebrating birthdays for books in a series other than Book 1, I will not list the summary, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. If you've read the first book(s) in the series, or are just insanely curious, follow the book title link to the Goodreads page to read the summary there! 


Title: Illusionarium
Author: Heather Dixon

Summary: What if the world holds more dangerous--and more wonders--than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? 

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then--as every good adventure begins--the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations--or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. 

Title: Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia

Summary: Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She's pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She's not prepared for normal.  

Title: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak
Author: Brian Katcher

Summary: It all begins when Ana Watson's little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, resume-building school trip. 

If slacker Zak Duquette hadn't talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn't have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana's last shot at freedom from her uptight parents. 

Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon. 

But in spite of Zak's devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as long as Ana--and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don't expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more...

Series Continuers

Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Series: Dangerous Creatures #2

Series Enders

Title: Lion Heart
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #3

Tell me: what new releases are YOU excited for this week? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below! 

#RYBSAT 5 -- Announcement

Hey guys! This is going to be a fairly short post, but I just wanted to come on my blog and officially announce my participation in #RYBSAT Round 5! 

For those of you who don't know what RYBSAT is, it stands for Read Your BookShelf-A-Thon. The way this particular read-a-thon works is you find a spot on your shelf and start reading from there, continuing along the shelf. You are allowed to skip books you've read before, and you're allowed to skip 2nd books in series. For instance, if you have a trilogy on the shelf you pick, you would read the first book in the trilogy, but you're not required to continue on to the second and third; you would be able to skip the rest of the series and continue down the shelf.

This round is going from May 18th-May 24th midnight, so I'm a day late. But I was still unsure I was going to be participating until today when I thought, Why not?

RYBSAT is hosted by several people, as you can see from the graphic above, but I became aware of it through Lainey @gingerreadslainey. You can find her on Youtube or on Twitter, and please do, because she is totally awesome.

If you'd like to see my TBR, you can go to my Instagram and check out my latest photo! I won't be posting updates here like I did for the Bout of Books, so if you want updates on my progress, be sure to follow my Twitter and/or Goodreads!

ALSO, if you want to participate, make sure to use the #RYBSAT on all your tweets or Instagram pictures as you read, and follow the official RYBSAT twitter handle, @RYBSAT15!

Tell me: are YOU participating in #RYBSAT? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Bout of Books 13 -- Day 7 Progress Report and Final Wrap-Up

Hello, and welcome to the day AFTER the Bout of Books 13 read-a-thon! 

Day 7 Progress Report

Pages read -- 196
Books finished today -- 2 (Austenland and Chew Vol. 1 Taster's Choice)

Week-long Wrap-Up!

Total pages read -- 884
Total books read -- 4
        Books read -- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas -- 5 stars (FAVORITE)
                               Deadly Class Vol. 1 Kids of the Black Hole by Rick Remender, Wes Craig and 
                                             Lee Loughridge -- 5 stars
                               Austenland by Shannon Hale -- 4 stars
                               Chew Vol. 1 Taster's Choice by John Layman and Robert Guillory -- 4 stars

Final thoughts -- I am SO happy I decided to finally join in on a read-a-thon! I managed to knock 4 books off of my TBR, and I made sure to read every day. Sure, it might not have been a ton every day, but at least I read some. I also managed to participate in 5 out of 6 challenges for the week, and I'm not usually one to participate in that kind of thing. But I'm so glad I did, because they were so much fun! I am extremely proud of what I accomplished this week, and I will definitely be participating in the next Bout of Books in August! Check out their website here for exact dates on the next round, and many more details about the read-a-thon in general. Thanks for such a great week! 

Tell me: how did YOU do during Bout of Books? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bout of Books 13 -- Day 6 Progress Report

Hello, and welcome to the final day, Day 7, of the Bout of Books 13 read-a-thon! 

Day 6 Progress Report

Pages read -- 134
        Total pages read -- 688
Books finished -- 2 (ACOTAR and Deadly Class Vol. 1)
Currently reading -- Austenland by Shannon Hale
        So far? I am LOVING it. At time of posting, I only have less than 20 pages left. I think I 
                     actually do prefer the movie (cue the stone-throwing!) but I am really enjoying the 
                     book. And it's fun recognizing which lines in the book were transferred directly to the 
                     screen. It's such a fun book!
Time spent reading -- I have no idea. I give up on this front. 

Today is the last day of the read-a-thon, ladies and gentlemen! And I now know that I am not going to finish all five books that were on my TBR. However, I think I will end up finishing 4/5, so I'm pretty pleased with that! The plan for the evening is to finish Austenland, then quickly read Chew Vol. 1 before midnight, and I'm fairly certain I can do it. 

So check back tomorrow to see if I succeed! I'll be posting a Day 7 Progress Report, as well as full wrap-up for the read-a-thon!

Tell me: in these final hours of the read-a-thon, how is YOUR progress going? Will you finish all that you set out to achieve? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bout of Books 13 -- Day 5 Progress Report

Hello, and welcome to Day 6 of the Bout of Books 13 read-a-thon! 

Day 5 Progress Report

Pages read -- 140
        Total pages read -- 554
Books finished -- 2 (ACOTAR and Deadly Class Vol. 1)
Currently reading -- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
        So far? I'm having a hard time getting into this one. I have heard such great things about it, and 
                     I'm sure I would like it, too. But it's a little slow at the beginning so it's taking a while to 
                     read, even though it's so short. 
Time spent reading -- 1 hour
        Total time spent reading -- 7.5 hours
Confidence level ?/10 -- Now down to a 4. Oops! There's absolutely no way I'll be finishing both 
                                         Perks and Austenland. I'm not even sure if I can finish one of those. But I 
                                         may switch to Austenland and see if I can power through it!

Day 6 Challenge -- Favorite Read Photo

Today's challenge is hosted by Stephanie at Once Upon a Chapter, so go check out her blog! The challenge is simple: take a photo of your favorite read so far in Bout of Books 13. And since I've only finished one novel and one graphic novel, I decided NOT to participate in the challenge today. *sad face* Honestly, we all know what my choice would be *cough, cough ACOTAR cough* So instead, I'm just going to get back to reading for the day! But be sure to hop on over to Stephanie's blog anyway, especially if you are participating in this final challenge!

So that's it for today's update! Check back tomorrow for my Day 6 Progress Report! Then on Monday, check back for my Day 7 Progress Report as well as the wrap-up for the whole week! 

Tell me: how are YOU doing during the read-a-thon? And what has been your favorite read so far? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, May 15, 2015


Title: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things
Author: Ann Aguirre

Summary: Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won't peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She's learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it's working just fine...until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He's a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted. 

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. he's got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. he doesn't expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage. 

But love doesn't mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again...

Why I read it: It looked so darn cute, and I needed a good, cute contemporary after reading so much heaviness this month.

Thoughts: I got pretty much exactly what I expected out of this book. It is a very cute, fluffy contemporary with quirky characters and a cute romance.

I finished this book a while back, and it's given me a lot of time to think about what I did and didn't like about this book. And I've come to the conclusion that this is not a bad book, not in the least. It's just not the kind of book I need.

I really liked these characters. Our main character Sage is so quirky and adorable, and it was so much fun to read from her perspective. In the first few pages, we learn that she has the nickname "Post-It Princess" at school because every day, Sage finds someone who is having a bad day and gives them a compliment on a pink Post-It note, sticking it to their locker. This was my favorite thing about Sage. It's so unique and quirky and absolutely perfect. I also enjoyed her commitment to the environment, and her refusal to ride in cars (for several reasons). I especially loved that Sage is an average girl, and she never goes through that "beautiful butterfly" transformation, noting that she was really gorgeous all along. She's just a cute teenage girl, whose butt may be a little too big for her figure. And I loved that. I related to that.

The love interest, Shane, is pretty interesting, too, though he's a little more cliched. He intrigued me a lot at first, but as the story progressed, his character fell a little flat for me. Lila, Sage's new best friend, I adored. She was definitely one of the most interesting characters in the book, with her penchant for reinventing herself to fit her friends. But she's able to be herself with Sage, and I enjoyed her sarcastic self so much.

I also really liked Sage's relationship with her aunt. There is a part near the end of the novel where they share this really poignant moment together, and it was probably my favorite part of the whole book. It made me tear up a bit, it was that lovely.

I love all these YA books set in fictional small towns. They feel so real, are so well fleshed-out, that I can see everything clearly in my head. From their school to Sage and Shane's houses, to the coffee shop. It was all perfectly described.

It's refreshing to read a book where the two main characters get together fairly early, and we get to see just how awkward a teenage relationship can be at first. That part was definitely realistic.

Now, unfortunately, onto the aspects I didn't love so much.

You might notice that the synopsis hints at some heavy topics, but I keep describing this book as cute and fluffy. That is one of my main problems with the story. One of the reasons I was drawn to this book (other than the absolutely adorable cover) was the promise of angst. I may be a glutton for punishment, but I love a good angsty book. Both Sage and Shane have dealt with some dark stuff in their pasts. In Shane's case, most of it is revealed fairly early on. But in Sage's case, it is heavily hinted at for most of the book until something happens to bring it all up again, and she finally confesses her story to Shane.

For how heavy these conversations were, I feel like it was glossed over a bit. Like, things were really bad for a few pages, but it was quickly gotten over through the power of love. For as many issues as Sage had, they didn't affect her character as much as they should have, at least in my opinion.

Sage often refers to her dark side, the product of her past, as Shadow Sage. And there a few moments when she lets Shadow Sage out to play. But whatever Shadow Sage did always felt incredibly tame in comparison to what she could have done.

This darkness really took me out of the story, because I didn't feel that the heaviness of their pasts were balanced by the the reactions and consequences. In other words: there was not enough angst. It felt too easy to get to the end of this book.

For the most part, I enjoyed the writing, but there were times when instead of just breaking the page to show the passage of time, Aguirre would very quickly summarize what was happening. Along the lines of, "We all finished dinner. Lila went home and I did the dishes. After cleaning up the kitchen, I watched TV with my aunt until it was time for bed. Then I changed into my pajamas and crawled into bed where I fell asleep until the morning." It was too much telling for me. None of those sentences were necessary to the story, and I don't need a play by play of everything that happens. This happened often in the book, but I wish it would have just been skipped over until the next piece of action.

The other thing that bothered me is a pet peeve of mine, and I didn't even realize it was my pet peeve until reading this book. The title of the book is repeated several times. Sage refers to herself as "the queen of bright and shiny things" in her narration a couple of times, and then Shane refers to her the same way in a song he writes later in the book, despite the name never having been brought up in conversation. At least as far as we see. So having the title repeated so many times within the prose was a little annoying, and something I never thought to be annoyed by before. Oh well.

Overall, it's a very cute, light book, even though the subject matter demanded a little heaviness. I would still recommend this to lovers of contemporary, especially for younger readers.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read this book? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Bout of Books 13 -- Day 4 Progress Report and Day 5 Challenge

Hello, and welcome to Day 5 of the Bout of Books 13 read-a-thon! 

Day 4 Progress Report

Pages read -- 80 
        Total pages read -- 414
Books finished -- 1 (A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas)
Currently reading -- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
        So far? After finishing ACOTAR yesterday, I only managed to read 8 pages of Perks, so I'll 
                     need some more time to form a real opinion!
Time spent reading -- 1 hour
        Total time spent reading -- 6.5 hours
Confidence level ?/10 -- Moving on down to a 7. I only have three days of the read-a-thon left, so 
                                        I'm not sure I can read both Perks and Austenland, but I will make time for 
                                        both graphic novels. 

Day 5 Challenge -- Cover Color

Today's challenge is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, so go check out her blog! The challenge is to find at least four books with the same main color on the cover. And, true to form, I couldn't pick just one color! Though I may have fudged the rules a little...oops! You know me. 


So honestly, these are all slightly different shades of teal, but they just looked so pretty together, I couldn't resist!

Books shown: The Swan Gondola by Timothy Schaffert, Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson, True by Hilary Duff, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. 


It just so happened that Eleanor & Park and My Heart and Other Black Holes were right next to each other on my shelf, so I thought, Yes! It was meant to be. So I just found the other two to go with them! Though Broken Monsters has a little too much of the peach color. 

Books shown: The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes, and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. 


I JUST realized I actually forgot to feature a book in this picture! The whole reason I thought of orange is because I saw The Martian on my shelf. And then I forgot to put it in the picture. *sigh* Oh well. This is still going to be my official entry! 

Books shown: Allegiant by Veronica Roth, The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke, World War Z by Max Brooks, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, and Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren. 

So that's it for today's update! Check back tomorrow for my Day 5 Progress Report and the Day 6 Challenge!

Tell me: how are YOU doing during the read-a-thon? And what color do you own the most books in? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bout of Books 13 -- Day 3 Progress Report and Day 4 Challenge

Hello, and welcome to Day 4 of the Bout of Books 13 read-a-thon! 

Day 3 Progress Report

Pages read -- 182
        Total pages read -- 334
Books finished -- 0
Currently reading -- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
        So far? STILL loving it. Even more! So fabulous. Can't wait to see how it ends today!
Next read -- Deadly Class Vol. 2: Kids of the Black Hole
Time spent reading -- 2.5 hours
        Total time spent reading -- 5.5 hours
Confidence level ?/10: Still a 10! I WILL do this!

Day 4 Challenge -- From Modern to Classic

Today's challenge is hosted by Ranty Runt of a Reader, so go check out her blog! The challenge is to choose a book that you believe will be considered a classic in 100 years, and provide two reasons for your choice. Also, the book must have been published in 2005 or later. (Which means Harry Potter is out. *cries*)

I'm telling you. If I thought the last couple of challenges were difficult, THIS one is a doozy! At first, all of my inclinations were towards books I haven't even read yet, such as Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn or The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. But I wanted to choose a book I had read, just so I could extra-special enthusiastic about my choice. So I turned to Goodreads and searched my "read" shelf, looking for books published in or after 2005. 

Let me tell you. 2005-2007 was a dark time for my reading habits. Going down this particular rabbit hole, I was bombarded with things like Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl and The A-List. I was a major teen drama junkie back then.

So I narrowed the search and looked for books that I given 5-star ratings. Let me tell you, this was still difficult. I could easily go with the obvious; The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, or The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. These are books that have huge fanbases, including me, and I find extremely well-written. The Hunger Games really revolutionized the dystopian genre, kickstarting it into popularity again. And The Fault in Our Stars is the story of two broken individuals, (classics love broken people), and it's a very real snapshot of life in our time, told through teenagers with cancer. Both of these could easily be considered classics within a 100 year's time.

But for my answer, I decided to go with a book that was very recently released by an author I admire a great deal. A book that I find beautifully written, and heartbreaking, and very important. I think this could grow to become a classic in the future, and more importantly, I think it should become a classic. And that book is...

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

If you've read my review on this book, you should know exactly how I feel about this book. But for the sake of the challenge, here are my two (plus bonus) reasons I think this book could become a classic. 

1. It is beautifully written. It is often the books with the most beautiful prose that sticks in our mind for generations to come. It's easy to read an entertaining story that is told in a very straightforward manner and think it is a fantastic book. And it could be. But it might not be something that lingers. I think All the Rage will linger for a long time. I know I will be recommending it to anyone and everyone that I can. 

2. It is very indicative of our time. All the Rage is an eye-opening look into the rape culture that pervades our society right now. Hopefully, a hundred years from now, rape culture will be a thing of the past, or at least on its way out. But this book will continue to resonate as a part of our past, whether rape culture still persists or not. 

Bonus. It is not a huge phenomenon right now. Many books that become classics are not popular in their own time. It is only later, when rediscovered by scholars and other readers, that they become considered classic literature. All the Rage is getting very good reviews from those of us that read it, but it is not trending, it is not something you see all over the place. 

So that's it for today's update! Check back tomorrow for the Day 4 Progress Report and Day 5 Challenge! 

Tell me: how are YOU doing during the read-a-thon if you are participating? And what book do you think could become a classic in the future? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bout of Books 13 -- Day 2 Progress Report and Day 3 Challenge

Hello, and welcome to Day 3 of the Bout of Books 13 read-a-thon! 

Day 2 Progress Report

Pages read -- 40
        Total pages read -- 152
Books finished -- 0
Currently reading -- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
        So far? Still loving it! So much. 
Time spent reading -- 1 hour
        Total time spent reading -- 3 hours
Confidence level ?/10: Still a 10! I CAN DO THIS. 

Day 3 Challenge

Today's challenge is hosted by Kristina Horrner, so go check out her blog! The challenge is to create a haiku about the book you are currently reading. So here is my best attempt! 

Feyre and Tamlin
A Court of Thorns and Roses
Romance will ensue

Ha! Okay. So that was cheating just a little bit. I mean, come on. It just worked so perfectly, how could I resist? So I'll try to do another! 

Huntress and Faerie
Beauty and Beast Retelling
With a Tam-Lin Twist

Okay. Slightly better. More descriptive. Summary. But still. Could be better. I mean, Kristina's is so funny! Maybe I should try a funny one. 

Two books, so much Fae
ACOTAR and Throne of Glass
Love those pointy ears

So this one is not strictly just about the book I am currently reading, but still. Sarah J. Maas wrote both books, and she really is obsessed with pointy-eared men. She said so herself last weekend. But let me try just one ore time to get it perfect. 

Tamlin, Lucien, Rhys
Where are all the ugly men?
Not that I complain

Okay, I think I'm done. I could probably come up with a million of these and none of them would be that good. I'm just not cut out for haiku writing, I guess. I'm just proud I came up with one, let alone four! 

Tell me: how is YOUR Bout of Books progress going? And can you write a haiku about the book you're reading? Let me know in the comments below!

Waiting on Wednesday (21): CARRY ON

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release date: October 6, 2015

Summary: Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School fo Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he'll be safe. Simon can't even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can't stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you're the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything. 

Thoughts: If you've read Fangirl, you already know about Simon and Baz. And honestly, I'm still kinda waiting for them to tell us it's all been a huge joke, because I still can't believe that this is actually a thing. But I'm so excited for it! I can't wait to see Simon and Baz again, and see how Rainbow handles an actual fantasy novel! :D

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Are you excited for Carry On as well? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bout of Books 13 -- Day 1 Progress Report and Day 2 Challenge!

Hello, and welcome to Day 2 of the Bout of Books read-a-thon!

Day 1 Progress Report

Pages read -- 112
Books finished -- 0
Currently reading -- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

  • So far? LOVING it! 

Time spent reading -- 2 hours (distracted while watching TV)

Honestly, I could have done a little better yesterday if I hadn't been so fixated on LAST WEEK'S episode of RuPaul's Drag Race that I had already seen. But also in my defense, I drove home four hours yesterday after Sarah J. Maas's event in St. Louis on Sunday. So I lost a ton of reading time, and I was exhausted! So I'm still confident I can complete my goals for the week!

Day 2 Challenge

Today's challenge is hosted by Lulo Fangirl, and here's her explanation in her own words! 
Create the ultimate character face-off.
Pick two of your all-time favorite characters. They can be from the books you chose for the read-a-thon (or not — totally up to you).
Even though they are both your favorite, you HAVE to choose one as the winner. And tell me why.
Sell me on why this ONE character is your favorite character of ALL characters.
This is such a tough challenge, but also a fun one! So I decided to do NOT ONE, NOT TWO, but THREE rounds of competition! So we have my favorite females, my favorite love interests, and my favorite best friends. Because I couldn't just pick one!

Round One:
Celaena Sardothien vs. Alina Starkov

Who: Main character from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
Why I love her: She's a teenage assassin who still loves dresses and eating and puppies. She's basically the best of both worlds--total badass, and complete girl. I love that she can be both. 

Who: Main character from the Grisha trilogy (Shadow & Bone) by Leigh Bardugo
Why I love her: She goes on such a journey throughout the series. She has to learn to deal with so much in such a short time, but her friends remain the most important part of her life the whole time. And she is unwaveringly loyal. 

(Come on now, did you doubt for one second that Celaena would win?)

When I think of characters who have suffered in their lives, Celaena usually tops the list. She's been through so much in her life already, and it's only going to continue. There are only three books out so far in this six-book series, and already Celaena has gone through more character development than most characters do in their entire series. As much as I love Alina, I just can't imagine anyone overthrowing Celaena from her throne as my favorite female character. 

*Note on Round Two: Let's be honest. I can't use my newest book boyfriend for spoilery reasons. So all I'm going to say is Shatter Me. And you know.* 

Round Two:
Chaol Westfall vs. Carswell Thorne

Who: The captain of the guard and prince's BFF in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.
Why I love him: Yes, I am completely CHAOLENA forever and ever. Chaol is so loyal, but also ridiculously sweet, and fiercely protective of those he loves. The moment I fell in love with him was at the end of Throne of Glass, when he lays on the ground and puts his hand right outside the circle next to Celaena's. Like, I melted into a pool of butterflies at that scene. Plus, he's hot. Who could ask for more?

Who: Captain and dashing rogue in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.
Why I love him: If Chaol is the good guy, then Thorne is the bad boy. Whom I can never resist. Thorne is sarcastic and thoroughly unable to take himself seriously, but he's always there for his friends when they need him. And once again, he's hot. I just love a sexy bad boy. 

(Once again, could you not see that coming?)

Though I love Captain Thorne to pieces, no one gives me quite as many butterflies as Chaol. Everything he does for Celaena, or Dorian, or the kingdom in general. He's so loyal and protective, and he's going through just as much character development as anyone else in the series. I will also love you, Chaol Westfall. And thank you, Sarah J. Maas for giving him to us. 

Round Three:
Jamie Roth vs. Kenji Kishimoto

Who: Secondary character in the Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin
Why I love him: Let's face it. I just have a soft spot for male best friends. Jamie is relentlessly sarcastic, even in the face of danger. Jamie is always there for Mara, even when times are hard. (And I mean, REALLY hard.) He never abandons his friends. 

Who: Secondary character in the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
Why I love him: Kenji also falls into the relentlessly sarcastic category. He's overconfident and absolutely hilarious, even in the face of danger. (Wow, I really like this character type. Obviously.) He's friends with Adam to begin with, but the friendship he develops with Juliette is the one that made me fall in love with him.


What sets Kenji and Jamie apart in my mind is Kenji's soft side. Jamie has a bit of one, too, but he keeps his even more hidden. Kenji develops such a close relationship with Juliette that he's occasionally able to really open up to her and show her that vulnerable side of himself, the side that made my heart break for him. He's constantly protective of his friends, and he takes it upon himself to keep morale high, so he hides his fears and worries from most people. And that vulnerability is what makes Kenji my favorite best friend. 

WHEW. That was a little difficult, but I had more fun than I thought I would! That's it for today's Bout of Books post. Come back tomorrow for the Day 2 Progress Report and Day 3 Challenge! 

Tell me: how are YOU doing on the read-a-thon? And who would win in a face-off of your very favorite characters? Let me know in the comments below!