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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When Reading Accidentally Falls Off the Priority List

Reading has accidentally fallen off my priority list recently and I'm HATING this. Because. ALL I WANT TO DO IS READ. But there's taking care of the little guy, doing homework, housework, and well there's Halloween and my birthday just 3 days after that. In other words too many priorities that bump themselves up my list and knock reading down to a lower priority. BUT I MISS IT.

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How can I remedy this situation? Well it's simply, really, I'll have Hermione tell you. 

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Or maybe I can just catch a few pages when I can.

What are your tricks to sneak in some reading when life is just to busy?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

TTT | New Series I Want (NEED) to Start.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies over at the Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is:

Top Ten New Series I Want to Start

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review | The Demon King

Title: The Demon King
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publication: October 6th, 2009
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Source: Bought it
Series: Yes! This is the 1st book.

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can't sell - the thick silver cuffs he's worn since birth. They're clearly magicked - as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off. 

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history - it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back. 

Meanwhile, Raisa ana'Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She's just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains - riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raise wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea - the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her - including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for. 

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards. 

Review: This is my first Cinda Williams Chima book! I can't believe it took me so long to read one of her books.. but I'm so glad I finally picked this one up. 

I fell into a bit of a reading slump after I started this one, but it wasn't this book that did it. Don't get me wrong, I loved this book. a ton. but I think I would have loved it a little bit more if I didn't end up putting it down for almost a month right in the middle of the action. This book is filled with action and it never stops so it was easy to get right back into the story. 

I love the writing style of Cinda Willaims Chima's writing. It's so eloquent and once I picked the book up again after that break, I had to keep reading. I had a hard time putting it down. The world in this book is fantastic! I love the magic, the political system, the kingdom, everything. I can't wait to learn more about the world as I continue in the series. 

The characters were all perfectly wonderful! Hans was one of my favorites because he always kept me on my toes. I never knew what he was going to do next. And Raisa was a fantastic female character, I loved that she has strength to stand up for herself and a curious aspect to her that made her actions interesting throughout the story. 

If you like fantasy, I highly recommend this one to you! If you are looking to get started with a new series, look into this one, you might really enjoy it!

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? Have you continued the series? What other Cinda Willaims Chima books do you recommend? 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book Review | Snow Like Ashes

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Publication: October 14th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Borrowed an ARC copy (Thanks Rachel!)
Series: Yes! This is the 1st book.

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Synopsis: A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making. 

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians' only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter's magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter's defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians' general, Sir. Training to be a warrior - and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather - she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter's magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she's scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she's always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn't go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics - and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own. 

Review: THIS BOOK. IS AMAZING. One of my favorite books of the year so far! I devoured it in one day, didn't want it to end and nearly cried when it ended and I couldn't start reading the next one immediately. 

The writing was beautiful, the world was interesting and unlike anything I've read before. I really enjoyed reading about the rebel cause, and from the point of view of a group of people that have been refugees for most, if not all, of their lives. I also loved the magical elements within this story! And kudos to the way this society values females to run the kingdom!

Meira is a fantastic female MC. She's strong-willed and hard-headed which can be admirable qualities. With Meira, at times her stubbornness made me frustrated with her. However, but the end of the this book I FREAKING LOVED HER. She grows as the book goes on and I can't wait to watch her grow more, especially after that twist at the end (which I had no idea was coming, and literally made my draw drop).

A boy that smells like worn book pages. Can I have one? I didn't entirely see a love triangle in this book. I think it started to form as the book went on and I'm worried about it taking on life in the next book, or for the rest of the series. Because, well, both of the guys are wonderful. I might have to say that I love Theron a little bit more, because he smells like worn book pages (and he's pretty awesome, too). 

I highly, highly recommend this one. Please, friends, check this one out anyway you can (legally of course). I don't think you'll be disappointed in what you find. For now, I'm going to be counting down the day until I can get my hands on the next book in the series. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What did you think about the world? Which boy caught your eye? Did you see that twist coming in the end?? 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

TTT | Places Books Make Me Want to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful ladies over at the Broke and the Bookish. This week's the topic is 

Top Ten Place Books Make Me Want To Visit

1. Hogwarts. We all know what series this is from and I'm sure it's not a surprise that it's on this list! Hogwarts would be the NUMBER ONE place I'd visit if I could go anywhere in any of the books I've read.

2. Medieval Times. This comes from all the fantasy books that I have read. The stories of knights, kings, sword-fighting, archery, and magic are something that I would absolutely love to immersed in!

3. 19th-Century England. After reading some Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, I would love to visit the time that their characters lived in! It would be an incredible and interesting experience. 

4. Backpacking across Europe. I'm referring to the traveling done by Alison and Willem in Just One Day/Just One Year. I loved reading about their travels and dreamed of traveling like that myself someday.

5. Sorry-in-the-Vale, England. I believe this town is fictional, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to visit it. I encountered this lovely town in Unspoken, First book in The Lynburn Legacy, by Sarah Rees Brennan. Sorry-in-the-Vale is a small town with history and all kinds of secrets and paranormal stories going through it. I'd love to visit this town, its history and all the secrets it holds. 

6. The Strand Bookstore, New York. This is a pretty famous bookstore in New York city. I first read about it in Dash and Lily's Book of Dares and since then I've wanted to visit The Strand. Since this is a real place and I have a friend or two that live in New York, I hope to be able to walk into The Strand someday! 

7. Pacific Northwest (Washington state). I first fell in love with the Olympic Peninsula while reading Twilight. When I got the opportunity to travel there a few years ago I fell in love with it again. My husband and I both feel the same way and would move there if it wasn't for leaving our families behind. 

8. San Francisco, California. I loved reading about this city in Lola and the Boy Next Door. After reading it, I've been wanting to visit the city and experience all the awesomeness it has to offer!

9. Camp Half-Blood, in New York (I think). This camp sounds epic. I love greek mythology and any chance to immerse myself in an experience surrounded by greek mythology(and their abilities), you can sign me up! 

10. Amsterdam. I read about this trip in The Fault In Our Stars. Gus and Hazel had a beautiful experience in Amsterdam that it made me want to go! Also I think it would be amazing to visit The Anne Frank House!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Finally Started This Series(and so glad that I did!)

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness
Publication: July 14th, 2009
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Bought it
Series: Yes! This is the 1st book.

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creatures: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

Review: I've heard so much love for this series, and that only made me more nervous to start reading it. I've been wanting to, but scared that I wouldn't like it as much as everyone else. But I knew that I needed to start this series. Thankfully I picked it up after I felt like it was staring me down. 

The writing in this book is so unique. It took a little while to get used to it, but once I did it completely immersed me into Todd's life and his thoughts. The random pieces where you saw how it felt to hear the "Noise" was incredible and added even more to the story's experience. 

Todd is an incredible character, not only in who he is as a person, but also his growth throughout the story. I can't wait to see him grow and learn through the next two books of the series. I enjoyed seeing Todd bounce off and learn from the other characters in the novel as well, the men that take care of him, the girl he meets and many of the other people he meets on his journey. 

I can see why this book won a literary prize, and it was well deserved. There are so many themes and messages sent through this book, that if I discussed all of them, this would be a super long post! I will say one, and I apologize if I'm a bit cryptic in trying to avoid spoilers! I enjoyed the way that war was played into this book and specifically, the way that men (and women) reacted to war and the way that innocence was played into the whole mix. 

This book has so many great qualities it's hard to talk about them all without doing a bit of gushing.  Filled with fantastic characters, a great story and an incredibly unique world, this book will hook you in with the writing from page one. Todd's thoughts will keep you going, and then the action will kick in. This book is action-packed. I'll admit, I forgot I was turning pages after a certain point, I just had to know what was next. I'm def. looking forward to continuing this series!!

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? How did you feel about the writing style? What were some of the themes of the story that stuck with you (if any, and if not what were some themes of the story that came to mind when reading)? 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Three Reasons Why I'm LOVIN' Fall This Year

Fall is finally here! My favorite season. Scarf weather! Coffee...hey, you, pumpkin spice, we meet again;)! Here's some other reasons I'm loving fall this year...

I found this new recipe, Bloomin' Baked Apples, on a blog called The Gunny Sack. It's simple and delicious. It's like a warm slice of apple pie and it's oh sooo good. Here's some pictures from when I made it last night:
Any good recipes you've tried this fall?

There's this beautiful tree in our back yard that's huge and so colorful. Our whole backyard is full of beautiful leaves and the site out our window is one of beautiful bright colors. 

Here's the view outside our window:

What's the most beautiful fall color area around you?

SOOOO MANY GOOD BOOKS COMING OUT THIS FALL! Afterworlds, Talon, Even in Paradise and Endgame: The Calling are just a few that I'm very excited for. Also excited for The Retribution of Mara Dyer!!! What books are you excited for this fall?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Review | The Elite

Title: The Elite
Author: Kiera Cass
Publication: April 23rd, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought it

Rating: 3 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Just a heads up: This is the second book in the series, there may be spoilers for the first book, The Selection, listed in the synopsis and my review. 
The Selection began with thirty-five girls. 
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's heart is fiercer than ever - and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?
America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want - and America's chance to choose is about to slip away. 

Check out my review of The Selection if you're curious how I felt about the first book in this series :)

Review: I love this series, but I'm not too fond of this book. This book is my least favorite of the series. Most of it I was going crazy with how America was acting throughout the entire book. The story mostly revolved around one thing: America bouncing back and forth between Maxon and Aspen and who she was going to pick to be with. 

It wasn't only America's indecision that drove me crazy, it was her actions as well. She was so indecisive and immature throughout this book. I don't think I've ever been so frustrated with a character. It's hard to say more without spoiling anything, but my overall feelings was my frustration with America's inability to make a decision and the childish way she acted throughout the entire book. So what kept me going through the book? Maxon. He's one of my favorite male characters, ever. He's sweet, honest, and incredibly thoughtful. I'm totally team Maxon. 

There isn't much world-building in this book which was a bit frustrating, but there was enough to keep the story going and to have a little more substantial plot line throughout the story. I loved getting to know Queen Amberly. I have yet to read The Queen, but I'm looking forward to reading her story. I've already read The One, so look forward to my review of that coming soon! 

PS Have you heard the news?? Kiera Cass is going to write 2 more books in this series! There's more info on this, but I'll post it to my review of The One. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What team are you on, Aspen or Maxon? 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Wrap Up & Favorites

Books I Read:

I only read 4 books last month...just 4! I can't believe it. Mostly because I started a lot of books and didn't finish them yet (because I was a major serial reader last month). 

In September, I read and finished:

Isla & The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - LOVED this one. Such a lovely ending to series!

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas - LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one too. Such an amazing series! I hope if you haven't started this series yet, then you will soon :D

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - I read this one in anticipation for the movie and I really enjoyed it. It was entertaining and so intriguing.

Fire in the Woods by Jennifer Eaton - I read this one for a blog tour and really enjoyed it. Check out my vlog review.

Some of my Favorite Posts around the Blogging Community:

Hannah over as So Obsessed With wrote a lovely post titled "To Thine Own Self Be True". Her post is about picking up books your interested in reading even though you find out that it has not-so-good reading. I've been victim of skipping out on a book because of the ratings on it aren't high enough...but I've also picked up some books and loved them even after finding out that they're ratings are lower. I loved that Hannah wrote about sticking to your guns and still reading those books you're interested in even when they may not have the best ratings.  

Maggie over at Just a Couple More Pages wrote a great post about Independent Bookstores titled "Where Are All The Good Independent Bookstores?" While the post starts out with some disappointing service that Maggie received at one of her local independent bookstores, the post ends on a really nice note. I like that Maggie emphasizes her support of independent bookstores, as well as talking about some great ones that she has visited before. Love this post!

Ginger over at GReads! Books wrote a wonderful post titled "That Moment When You Hit a Reading Block..." As you can see I might have hit a reading block this past month since I only read 4 books. I love that Ginger talks about four different types of readers. I have to say that I'm a bit of all four types of readers. I'm a little bit of a late night reader, and I have the same problem some nights as Ginger where I only read about 10 pages before falling asleep. I'm also a little bit of a scheduled reader, making sure I do some reading while my son takes his nap during the day. But I also slip in being an Anytime Reader and a Sporadic Reader as well. I think she did such a great job talking and describing these different types of readers and I definitely related to this post!

Some New Shows I Started Watching (or dvr'd to start watching):

How To Get Away With Murder - The pilot sucked me in. I'm so excited to watch the second episode tomorrow night! 

Gotham - I dvr'd this show and haven't started watching it yet, but I'm excited to see what this show is all about. 

Selfie - I kept seeing commercials for this one over and over and figured WTH, I can just dvr it and see if I like it. 

Manhatten Love Story - This one seemed pretty cute so I dvr'd it to see what happens. I haven't heard much about this one, so I'm looking forward to watching it. 

What shows did you start (or continue) watching this month???

I also have to throw in that Gilmore Girls is on Netflix(!!!) I've been dying to watch this show from the very beginning through all the seasons so finally I can! So much excitement. I might not be getting much done this month... ;)