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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Collective Book Haul

Hi There. It's been awhile since I did a book (or library) haul, here's a collective one from books I've gotten throughout this month. It's a combination of books I got from the library this past week, books I got with some gift cards I got for Christmas and two books sent from publishers (that I am ecstatic for!) Now onto the books...

Books from the Library:

Slated by Teri Terry - I have recently been hearing some great things about this book. I've been wanting to pick up a dystopian and this one sounded perfect.

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid - This one was raved about awhile ago and I always come across it at random times. I finally decided to borrow it from the library and give it a shot.

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin - This book has been popping up around me lately and I thought the premise sounded unique and interesting. 

World After by Susan Ee - I finished Angelfall the other week and I wanted this book immediately. I have to know what happens next! 

Books I Bought (with gift cards):

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan - I have one book left to read in the Percy Jackson series and I want to the start with this series soon. I'm so excited for some more greek mythology!

The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms series #2) by Cinda Williams Chima - I've been collecting this series so I can marathon it. A fantasy series like this sounds right up my alley.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta - I have been loving fantasy lately and after eyeing this book for awhile I finally got my hands on it. I can't wait to dive into this one.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson - This is another one that I've been eyeing for awhile. I'm so excited to finally have it and will def. be reading this one soon.

Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms, #2) by Morgan Rhodes - I got Falling Kingdoms for Christmas and wanted to have this one on hand before I started it. I'm dying to start this series.

From Publishers:

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, #2) by Ransom Riggs - Holy moly am I happy to have this book and to get visit this world again. Look for a review coming soon.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski - I have been hearing some amazing things about this book and was dying to have it when it randomly showed up in the mail. I think this might be my very first unsolicited ARC. I could be wrong, but I don't remember signing up for any giveaways or anything. Regardless I'm so freaking excited for this book!

Have you read any of these lately, if so, what did you think of them? What books have you gotten lately?

Monday, January 27, 2014

ARC Review | The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown 
Author: Holly Black
Publication: September 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC I received at ALA 2013

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave. 

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself. 

Review: I freakin' loved this book. Now that I got that out of the way, let's talk about why. First off I loved that this book was new take on vampires, like nothing that I have read before. The vampires were raw, dangerous and similar to the "classic" vampire but with elements that made them unique to this world. They reminded me of the Anne Rice's vampires in interview of a vampire, but with a more modern twist. Holly Black did such a fantastic job building this world that I didn't want to leave it despite how horrifying it is. 

This book not only has vampires, but adventure as well. I found myself wanting to know what happens next as Tana and her growing group of tag-alongs journeyed with her to a place where no one knows what is to come or what is going to happen to them. The realness within these pages both surprised and impressed me. I loved that there were all types of relationships and characters in this book. We meet a variety of people that are bisexual, homosexual, straight and transgender. 

This was my first Holly Black book and I can say that I will definitely be reading some more of her work. The writing in this book flowed so beautifully that it has stuck with me months after I read it. This book has become one of my all time favorite books. While I'm happy that this book is a stand alone (because there aren't enough of them in YA), I'm sad that there won't be more of Tana and Gavriel. However I can see myself rereading this book and reliving their story and this world again and again. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What are some of your favorite vampire books?

Friday, January 24, 2014

(Audio)Book Review | Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Title: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Performed by: Kate Reinders
Publication: September 5th, 2011
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Source: ARCycling (Thanks Jennifer!)

Rating: 4 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other Schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight or haze a freshman. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention. Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: She and the other players girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming. In this hilarious and romantic reimagining of Aristophanes Lysistrata, the battle of boys against girls is on.

Review: This was the first audiobook that I listened to all the way through. I have tried audiobooks before in the past and I couldn't finish them. It wasn't the story, it was always the voice. I had requested this one during an Arcycling event not realizing it was an audiobook, but I was happy to give it a try anyways. I ended up really enjoying this one, not only because of the story but I loved the voice as well. 

The story was, as described above, a classic boys against girls type of story. I felt that the characters and the rivalry was portrayed accurately and was entertaining to read about. The story takes place in high school, and feels like high school. At times, the immaturity of the characters was a bit young for me and I found myself withdrawing from the story, but I still enjoyed the book. I liked that while there was romance in the book, it wasn't a main focal point and it didn't take over the storyline. 

One of the best parts about this book is the voice that read it to me. Kate Reinder is fantastic and I can say that I would definitely listen to another book she reads. I felt that her voice fit Lissa perfectly and it felt like she was just talking to me over coffee and telling me her story. I don't think I would have liked this book as much as I did if Kate hadn't been the one to tell me the story. 

With spring and summer approaching, I would recommend picking this book up. This book is the perfect light, quick read (or listen). I've heard good things about Kody Keplinger, especially The DUFF and I look forward to picking that one up in the upcoming spring/summer season. 

Let's chat: Did you read (or listen to) this one, if so, what'd you think of it? Have you read any of Kody Keplinger's novels? Have you ever been in a boys vs. girls rivalry? Who won?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Book Review | The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publication: May 11th, 2004
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Bought it

Rating: 3 out 5 stars

Synopsis: A long, hot summer...

That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father. 

But sometimes unexpected things can happen - things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

Review: I'm embarrassed, but excited to say that I have finally read a Sarah Dessen book. This is my very first Sarah Dessen book, I don't know what took me so long to pick one up, but I'm happy to be on the Sarah Dessen train. While this one wasn't my favorite book, I'm looking forward to reading more Sarah Dessen. Let's talk about this one first.

Overall I really did enjoy this book. I liked the storyline with the dramatic twists and the relatable dialogue. The people, the events and the thoughts and feelings of the characters were all relatable and could happen in real life. I loved the focus on relationships, I think that's a truly unique aspect to Sarah Dessen and her stories. After reading this one and hearing about her other books, she's one of the best to write about realistic, relatable relationships. 

The character development in this book is fantastic. I felt like I knew the characters, I related to the characters, I got frustrated with them, they had me rooting for them. I felt that every single character was extremely well developed, I loved seeing each of them get their own moment to grow, learn and have a chance at happiness. 

The romance was very sweet, though I have to say I was so frustrated with Macy at times. I couldn't help but think, girl, what the heck are you doing? Get you're head on straight and see what's right in front of you! I did like the slow burn into a flame between Macy and Wes. It wasn't a common relationship to see develop in a YA book and I really enjoyed that. 

The only complaint I have about this book and the reason its only 3 stars is because I had such a hard time getting through it. It was so slow at times and I just wanted to put it down. I had to force myself to finish this one and while I'm glad that I did, I was a tad disappointed after all the great hype I've heard about Dessen's books. Does this mean I will never read another one of her books? Absolutely not. I am very excited to pick up another one of her books and give it a swing. Got any recs?

Let's chat: Did you read this one, if so, what'd you think of it? What's your favorite Sarah Dessen book and why?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review | Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab

Title: Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself
Author: "Science Bob" Pflugfelder & Steve Hockensmith
Publication: November 5th, 2013
Publisher: Quirk Books
Source: Sent for review from Quirk Books. Thanks, Quirk!

Rating: 4 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Nick and Tesla are bright 11-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics, and getting into trouble. When their parents mysteriously vanish, they're sent to live with their Uncle Newt, a brilliant inventor who engineers top-secret gadgets for a classified government agency. It's not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own - engineering all kinds of outrageous MacGyverish contraptions to save their skin: 9-volt burglar alarms, electromagnets, mobile tracking devices, and more. Readers are invited to join in the fun as each story contains instructions and blueprints for five different projects.

In Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab, we meet the characters and learn how to make everything from rocket launchers to soda-powered vehicles. Learning about science has never been so dangerous - or so much fun!

Review: Nick and Tesla's story was a quick, very enjoyable read. The storyline was not what I expected, but I loved the surprise twists that this book takes, twists that will keep you or a middle grader interested in the book. This book takes you on a fun, clever adventure that is highly entertaining. 

This book delivers the refreshing characters that are often in middle grade books. No romance, just good old fashioned mischievous fun with friends. I loved the unique characters, they were brilliant kids and you were able to see their brilliance through their projects. Which leads me to one of the coolest features of this books....the science projects. Within the story you get to build the very projects that Nick and Tesla are building. Not only is this interactive and awesome, but educational as well. These science projects are awesome as well. My favorites were the rocket launcher and the soda pop decoy. I also loved the mobile tracking device...I never would have thought of such a brilliant idea. 

If I were teaching a science class at a middle school, you can bet that this book and its projects would be part of the curriculum. Since I'm not, I will have to give this book to all the kids around me and maybe join in to help them build these projects. This book is a fun, clever, and highly entertaining read that I would recommend to not only middle graders but anyone who is looking for a quick, educational and enjoyable read. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? Have you read any interactive books before, if so, what were they and did you like them?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 Bookish Resolutions

This post is not exactly on time. That's because I've been putting a lot of thought into what bookish resolutions I want to set for myself. Here's a few that I've decided to start the year off with.

This is my Goodreads challenge for the year. Last year I had the same challenge to read 100 books and I made it with 103. It was awesome and a ton of fun. I want to do that again this year. 

I have a bad relationship with series and finishing them (don't we all...okay maybe I'm the only one). I want to finish some series I've started as well as read some series that I've heard people rave about but I just haven't quite gotten to them yet. Some series I have yet to start include The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness, The Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand and The Codex Alera Series by Jim Butcher.

This is an obvious one and one I'm sure to have in common with a majority of you. I have a lot of books on my shelves that I bought but have not read yet. I started to count them all out, but stopped once I passed 50 because I still had a ton more to go and I was terrified to know the exact number. I feel as though I'm betraying those books that I so very excited for and wanted to read but never got around to it. In order to read more without adding to my shelves, I'm trying to read more from my shelves than I add to my shelves. We'll see how long I can hold out on that notion. 

This is sort of a broad resolution. I typically read more fantasy and dystopian books than contemporary. So I want to branch out. I want to read some contemporary. I want to read more adult books. I especially want to read more adult fantasy. Let's do this.

I was watching a video on YouTube by Regan, a booktuber, when she talked about her bookish resolutions. She talked of conquering the NPR Top 100 Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Book List this year. I have read about 4 or 5 books off this list, but there are so many on there that I want to read. 

I read a few books with some friends this year and I wish that I would have read more. It's a great experience to read a book the same time as a friend and be able to talk about it, freak out about it, text each other in the late night/early, early am when you stayed up late reading and something crazy happened. Looking forward to doing this more often this year. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Book Review | Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication: February 5th, 2013
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: Bought it

Rating: 4.5 out 5 stars

Synopsis: The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison- even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Review: This series just gets better with this book! Marissa Meyer does such a fantastic job retelling Cinderella with Cinder and Scarlet is no exception. I'll admit that I wasn't sure I was going to like this one as much as I enjoyed Cinder, but it surprised me. I ended up liking this book even more than I enjoyed Cinder.  It's pack full of action, drives the larger series plot forward and has a cute romance in it! 

When I read fairytale retellings I'm always wondering how in the world the author is going to tell the fairytale in their own unique way, just exactly how are they going to tell a classic tale but in a different way? Marissa does such a fantastic job of keeping the classic elements of the fairy tale, but adding her own twist on it. In this retelling of Red Riding Hood she keeps the classic elements such as Scarlet and her red cloak, Wolf, and a Grandmother that goes missing. To go into more details would reveal some spoilers so I'm going to skip them, but trust me when I say that this series are some impressive retellings and highly enjoyable. The sci-fi twists she spins in this book make it all the better. This book never went where I thought it was going to go, it was constantly surprising me and all in good ways. 

Scarlet has become one of my favorite characters in this series. I love that she is a great partner for Cinder in the way that she balances Cinder's characteristics with her forthcoming personality. Scarlet is determined, doesn't take any crap from anyone and stands up for herself and those around her. Scarlet and Wolf melted my heart a little every page they were on. I love the way their romance developed throughout the book and the way that they grow and strengthen each other. 

In this book, we meet Thorne and oh my goodness, oh my goodness guys. He's so fantastic. I really can't wait to see more of him in this series. I am so ready for Cress! This book was even better than the first book and I look forward to seeing this series gain momentum and I have high hopes for the next book. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What are some of your favorite fairytale retellings?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bout of Books | Day 7 - Final Update

Day 7 Update - Final Update

Number of Pages Read: 230
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: In between books
Today in 3 words: I DID IT.

Total Pages Read over the Read-a-thon: 863
Book Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

I buckled down and finished A Clash of Kings today and I am so glad that I did. The book is 963 pages so reading 863 pages of that is the equivalent to 2-3 normal sized books. I feel fairly accomplished. I did want to get more reading done than I did, but it is what it is. I'm already looking forward to the next read-a-thon :) For now onto the next book! 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bout of Books | Day 6

Day 6 Update

Number of Pages Read: 30
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: Oh George, Why?!

Oh George, Why
are you're book so long! I enjoy them but it seems as though I'm not reading as much as I should when I'm not finishing books. I didn't get to read much today.  I apologize that my updates have been so redundant from reading the same book all week. I'm planning on finishing up the book tomorrow and maybe I'll sneak another one in. Happy Reading :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bout of Books | Day 5

Day 5 Update

Number of Pages Read: 50
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: Just Keep Reading

I didn't get much reading done today because my sister was visiting! At this point I don't think that I'll make my goal of reading 3 books. I'm planning on finishing up A Clash of Kings and reading one of the other books before this read-a-thon ends. Now on to some catch up reading :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bout of Books | Day 4

Day 4 Update

Number of Pages Read: 93
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: Things Got Crazy

I'm still working my way through A Clash of Kings but things just got crazy, and I mean crazy good. I only have about 250 pages left in the book that I'm hoping to finish in the next two days. I just want to read it and find out what happens but life interrupts reading time. It's all good though, I'm having fun reading and I hope you are too! Happy reading, all :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bout of Books | Day 3

Day 3 Update

Number of Pages Read: 193
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: You're Almost There

I'm so very anxious to finish up this book. It's getting really good so it's easy to keep reading but all I keep thinking is just keep reading, just one more page, come on you can read another 20 pages. Now back to reading...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bout of Books | Day 2

 Day 2 Update

Number of Pages Read: 190
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: Finish It Already

I'm not sure that it was the best decision to start this readathon by reading such a massive book. I'm happy that I'm reading it and really enjoying it, but I want to read more books!! So many books I'm dying to get to during this read-a-thon but I don't want to stop reading this one. WHAT A DILEMMA. So here comes Day 3 and with it a drive of determination to finish this book (or get damn close to finishing it!)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bout of Books | Day 1

Bout of Books read-a-thon is starting off to a great start with some really fun challenges! Want to join in this read-a-thon? You still can, sign up here.

Reading Update

Number of Pages Read: 132
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: Not enough reading

I did not get the reading done today that I wanted to get done. I hope that tomorrow will be better!

Challenge 1

Hosted by Bookish Comforts.

The Challenge: Imagine if you will, that you have just received some FANTASTIC news! You have won a $100 book buying spree! Now comes the hard part though: what books will you buy?! For this challenge, you'll be creating your book buying spree wish list.

This would be a dream come true! Here is my book buying spree wish list (from The Book Depository):

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepard ($9.99)
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis ($9.99)
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson ($15.33)
Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes ($18.99)
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund ($9.02)
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton ($9.63)
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan ($9.99)
The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima ($9.99)

For a total of: $92.93

What books would you buy if you won a $100 book buying spree? How did you're reading go on this first day?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0

It's time for another Bout of Books readathon and I can't be more excited! It's the week before I go back to college and it's time to buckle down and some reading done! What is a Bout of Books readathon?

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Are you convinced to sign up or join in? If so, head over to the sign up page, join in and proceed with the reading. 

Within the week of this read-a-thon I'm planning to read at least 3 books, but hoping to read more. Here is my tbr for the week:

I'm currently reading a Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin and just over 100 pages in. This book is a massive one, nearly 1000 pages! Once I finish that one, I'll be jumping into Eric Smith's Geek's Guide to Dating which I'm very excited to read and think that it will give me a nice break after finishing A Clash of Kings. I'm then hoping to read Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab to get a light-hearted reading in. If I can fit in, I'd love to pick up Pushing the Limits! 

I'll be updating my twitter, @aloveofbooks, if you want to see my progress!


Day 1

Number of Pages Read: 132
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: Not Enough Reading

Day 2

Number of Pages Read: 190
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: Finish It Already

Day 3

Number of Pages Read: 193
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: You're Almost There

Day 4

Number of Pages Read: 93
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: Things Got Crazy

Day 5

Number of Pages Read: 50
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: Just Keep Reading

Day 6

Number of Pages Read: 30
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Today in 3 words: Oh George, Why?!

Day 7

Number of Pages Read: 230
Books Read: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Currently Reading: In between books
Today in 3 words: I DID IT.