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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

TTT: Books I Want to Read on the Beach this Summer

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish. 

This week is about BEACH READS! Here's my...

Top Ten books that I want to read on the beach*

*beach as in also outside.. I don't go to the beach all that often but I do like to read outside as much as I can! 


Some summery YA...

     

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson - I have loved every Morgan Matson book I've read so far and I can't wait to dive into this one. Her books are perfect for summer!

Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods - I've heard good things about this one and bonus! it has summer in the title! 

Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins - I've heard mixed things on this collection, but I'm excited to see how I like it and which stories stand out. 



Of course, some fantasy...

    

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh - I LOVED The Wrath & The Dawn and I cannot wait to read this one. I admit I've been putting it off a little bit since this is the last book and I don't want it to end but I don't know how much longer I can resist reading it. 

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce  - I started reading this one quite a while ago and got completely distracted by other books and didn't come back to it. I was loving it so far and I can't wait to get back into it!

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi - This was one of my most anticipated new to me authors. I've also heard some promising things so far on this story!



Some Jane...


Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen - I'm overdue to read some more Jane Austen so I would love to pick up one of her novels this summer. S & S is what I'm thinking at the moment, but that I could change my mind. 


A Few Adult Novels I've Been Hearing A lot About Lately...

     

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante  - This book has been popping up a lot lately and all with positive remarks. 

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld - A Pride and Prejudice retelling - yes please! This sounds like a perfect summer read.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan - I'm a sucker for books involving royalty and "regular" people falling in love. Also this is somewhat of a Kate and Prince William fanfic? Even better!


What books do you want to read on the beach this summer? (Do we have any in common?) Or what summer books do you recommend?















Friday, May 27, 2016

What I'm Reading This Friday/Long Weekend

This week I finished up The Raven King! It was a a whirlwind. I marathoned the series for the most part over this past month and it's so weird to have it all done. I'm left with SO MANY FEELINGS! After that I wanted something a little lighter but since I have a bit of a book hangover, I want something that's going to grab my attention.

Here's what I'm reading this Friday and the long weekend..


I started up The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood since it's due back at the library next week and I won't be able to renew it. I'm about 60 pages in and it isn't grabbing me like I wish it would just yet, but I hope that something happens soon. It's okay so far -- just not wow-ing me like I'm in the mood for. 
The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen is a review book, so I'll be fitting that one in this weekend. I haven't heard much about it as far as reviews go. But I'm excited to get into it; it sounds like a fun read. 
If I finish up those two, I'll probably jump into one of these books I got from the library last weekend, or perhaps the Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes which I borrowed on ebook from the library, and I've been hearing some great things about. 

What are you reading this friday/weekend? I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a good holiday! 





Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fondness For... A Mysterious Society, Gaiman and a Survival Story.

Recently, I've been thinking about the books that I read before I started blogging. These were books that I went into the library or the bookstore and picked up, 98% of the time on a complete whim. This 98% of the time, I hadn't heard of the book at all but the synopsis and, if I'm being honest here, the cover made me want to bring it home with me. These are books that I haven't been able to talk about on here because I feel that it's been too long since I've read them to do a review, and I'm not the biggest re-reader. I was brainstorming some features and thinking about doing a post once in a while highlighting a couple books that I read before I started blogging, where I picked them up, what I liked about them, etc. This week is my very first and I would love to start with a middle grade series that I have loved dearly, a book by a famous author, and a YA survival story. 

Firstly, a middle-grade story that holds a special place in my heart.. 



"Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?"

Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children - two boys and two girls - succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you're gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help. 

A little tidbit about me, I used to work at Target and I found this book while browsing the book section one day on a work break. The cover drew me in - isn't it gorgeous - but the synopsis drew me in even more, but I read the first couple pages and had to buy it. I LOVED it. I loved the witty and clever humor it had to it. I loved the puzzles and the challenges the children faced. I loved seeing the children's different personalities bicker and yet come together in the end. It was such a fun read. Even better is that this is the first book of a trilogy. I love the second one just as much and I don't think I ever got around to finishing the third book (I used to be terrible at finishing series, I didn't want them to end). Ever since I read this, I've been looking forward to one day re-reading these with my kids. 

And then, there's Neil Gaiman..



Under the streets of London there's a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armor and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks. 

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

This book was recommended to me by a classmate in college many years ago. It was the first encounter with Gaiman that I had and I fell head over heels in love with the writing and the world. This was a book that I remember not being able to put down, I just had to keep reading. The writing was captivating. The world was so fantastical and whimsical. I was so excited to see what waited around the corner as Gaiman was constantly surprising me. This book is so good, I still recommend it! 


And lastly, a survival story that I really enjoyed..



Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove. 

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all -- hope -- in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. 

I've always been a bit of a sucker for survival stories. I find them fascinating! Especially survival stories that come about because of natural disasters. This story seemed plausible to me, a meteor that knocks the moon...I mean anything can happen in space. Learning the cause of what would happen if the moon was knocked closer to the earth was devastating and scary. As mentioned in the synopsis, the tsunamis, the earthquakes, the volcanos, it's crazy! I remember thinking that the main character was so sensible through it but yet scared, she seemed so strong to me. This story has really stuck with me, I remember quite a bit of what I read and it's been probably five years since I read this one. I really enjoyed it and I could possibly see myself revisiting it so I can finish the series (once again, terrible at finishing series in the past, haha!)

Are there any books that have stuck with you for years? Which ones and why do you think they've stuck with you for so long?









Monday, May 23, 2016

I Can't Stop Thinking About These Books! (Book Talk on ADSOM & AGOS)

I haven't been able to stop thinking about these books since I finished them over a month ago. I wanted to review them but I figured it would pretty much just be me gushing all over the place about how great these books are. So I'm changing it up a bit and doing more of a book talk kind of thing, or at least attempting to. :)

So what books can't I stop thinking about.. well I'm sure you've heard plenty about them and if you haven't, then let me introduce you to..
A Gathering of Shadows both by V.E. Schwab (Also known as Victoria Schwab)



A Darker Shade of Magic tells the tale of:

Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London - dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George - to Red London - where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire - to White London - ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back - and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they'll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure. 

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive - a feat trickier than they hoped. 

Let's start with the characters..
These books are very character driven. I wasn't prepared to feel so much for these characters! Though, really, I shouldn't have been so surprised...I mean, they are written by Victoria Schwab. The character development is so great throughout the first book and continuing on into A Gathering of Shadows. I LOVED seeing the characters try their own things, and go on their adventures to find more about themselves. And the ships.. I just... I want them to sail off on smooth-sailing seas and be happy forever. 
I really liked the range of relationships throughout the books as well. There's a relationship between Kell and Rhys, a brotherly relationship that was refreshing to see. A rivalry sort of relationship between Kell and Holland. A budding relationship of love between Kell and Lila. I also really liked seeing the relationship between Lila and the one person in her life that she is somewhat close to. 
If you haven't read these, be prepared that these are more character driven than you might think. I have read some reviews that state how boring this book is, and it may have a slow beginning but it does pick up and it's worth sticking with just to get to know and love these characters.
The continuing growth throughout the second book had my heart growing and also being ripped apart. I also loved a few of the characters that were introduced in the second book, especially Alucard. 

I can't forget about the world..
V. Schwab knows how to craft a fantastical world in such a way that will captivate you. She's incredibly original and so in depth with the world that it played like a movie in my head while I was reading. The magic system was completely original and I love that it was based on the elements. Elemental magic is my favorite kind of magic. The parallel worlds is such a cool concept that makes you wonder if something like this actually exists (hey, anything is possible, right?!) 
I have to admit that after reading the synopsis I was a bit intimidated about all the different worlds. I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to follow along. I thought that I would get lost. And while it did take a while to learn the differences between the different Londons, I wasn't lost in the worlds at all, and it was much easier to catch on to the differences than I thought. 

And of course, one of my favorite things, the writing..
V. Schwab is definitely a favorite author of mine. Not just because I have loved everything I've read by her, but also because her writing is just fantastic. There's a melody and flow to it that keeps you engaged in a way that's special. It makes you not only fall in love with the world, the characters but also the words that describe them and the sentences that they're mentioned it. I like to take my time when reading V's books because I want to savor every word. It's hard for me to describe exactly how much I love Victoria Schwab's writing but just know that it's fantastic and I hope you fall in love with her writing (and stories) as much as I do everytime I read one of her books. 

After all that, I don't think it's any surprise to say that I gave both A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows 5 GLOWING STARS. I can't wait for the next book to come out, and I think that the cover reveal is coming the day that this post is going up so YAAAAY!!

Okay, give me your thoughts! (or I should ask a little nicer, huh? ;)) I would love to hear your thoughts and your favorite parts while reading these. Or even reasons that you'd want to read these or not want to read them (though I hope I changed your mind on not wanting to read them).






Sunday, May 22, 2016

I Brought These Books Home From the Library This Weekend

I have a little routine with my library; I visit every Saturday morning. I bring my books in and check out more. Every. Saturday. This makes Saturday mornings one of my favorite parts of the week. I thought I would share the things that I got this week since a lot of my holds came in at once....(doesn't it always seem to happen that way, lol!)


This is why I walked out of the library feeling RICH. I'm looking forward to all of these!




Lush with details from Chinese folklore, Serpentine tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.

When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self - even as she falls in love for the first time.


I checked this one out earlier this year and had to return it but I still REALLY wanted to read it, so I put in another request. This book sounds like an AMAZING fantasy, and I'm always up for an amazing fantasy story.




For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams - and only her dreams. Because he doesn't exist. 

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He's stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole new life Alice isn't part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn't as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

I am a sucker for any books with anything involving dreams in them. I find dreams fascinating. After hearing about this book, it became one of my most anticipated. I'm so excited it finally came in and I can read it, finally! 





Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle. 

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloave McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she'd be spending at her mom's him in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there's no reason Sloane shouldn't enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn't always play by the rules, she knows he's the perfect distraction from everything that's so wrong back home. 

But it turns out a measly ocean isn't nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friends, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane's carefree summer might not be as easy as she'd hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself. 

After re-reading the synopsis I want to pick this up right now and read it. With summer coming close, this is one book I would love to kick the summer off with. Also, I've heard nothing but good things about this one!





When zodiac-obsessed teen Wilamena Carlisle discovers a planetary alignment that won't repeat for a decade, she's forced to tackle her greatest astrological fear: The Fifth House - relationships and love.

But when Wil falls for a sensitive guitar player hailing from the wrong side of the astrology chart, she must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her dead mother's legacy and the very system she's faithfully followed through a lifetime of unfailing belief. 

This book has another buzz word for me, stars and cosmic. I know that this is more focused on astrology than actual space, but I've never read a character into the stars with astrology. It seems like a cute contemporary, another one that seems fun to kick off the summer with.




She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world...

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years- a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity - only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of the Aladdin. 

I hadn't originally planned to read this one anytime soon, but after I watched a gushing review from Samantha at Thoughts on Tomes, I immediately requested this book. I've heard nothing but good things from everyone else as well and I can't wait to see why there are so many good things people are saying about this one. 




What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII the son he so desperately wanted?

Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, know as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: his older sister Elizabeth, his best friends and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William's mother, Anne Boleyn.

Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a King's desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England's fortunes forever.

It was the anniversary of Anne Boleyn's death this past week and I can't quite remember where but I had a recommendation of this retelling of the Tudor history. Before I blogged I read some Tudor history stories and LOVED them. I've been looking for another good one ever since. This recommendation coming from fellow bloggers, I couldn't resist checking it out. 



Ruined by Amy Tintera

A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.

Evelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents' brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped. 

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lost. Driven by a blind desire for revenge,re Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera's borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera's throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir's true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it's the only way to salvage Em's kingdom and what is left of her family. 

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her missions. Em's rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life - and her family - on the line, love could be Em's deadliest mistake. 

I haven't anything about this book. I have heard good things about Amy Tintera's other series and when I saw that she had a fantasy coming out, I went and requested it. Have you read this one? What did you think?

And last but not least...


Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. 

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane's child's-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love with.

I've been following along with the book picks for Emma Watson's book club, Our Shared Shelf. June's pick is Persepolis and so I got a jump on it and put in a request before it ended up like the other months; too many requests that by the time I get the book the month has long passed. I've also heard such great things about this graphic novel that I can't wait to dive in. 


Are there any books you see that I should read right away? What books did you take home this week/weekend?

















Wednesday, May 18, 2016

An Interview with an Irregular Reader (aka My Husband) |& Help Me Pick a Book for Him to Read

One of my favorite posts I've ever read was written by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner when she wrote about being married to a non-reader. I related to this post so much as I am also married to a non-reader. I thought that since my husband and I celebrated our anniversary this past weekend that it would be fun to do a little interview with him about books.



How many books would you guess that you read a year?

H: "Probably not enough. If I had to say, I'd say two or three."
Me: Whaaaat?! Really that's it?! You should read more books ;)



What was the last book you read all the way through?

H: "Zodiac by Romina Russell"
Me: Oh yeah, I remember you talking about it....did you enjoy it?
H: "Yeah, it had a really cool concept, I think that you'd like it"
Me: I'll add it to my never-ending tbr list :D


Do you have a favorite genre to read?

H: "Historical Non-Fiction."
Me: Hmmm. Not a genre that I've read much of! or anything of...


Are there any books on my bookshelves that you want to read?

H: "I might consider reading Game of Thrones but that's a long shot. I feel like you really need to like to read to attempt those books."
Me: Really! What about reading the audiobook?
Him: "Sure"
Me: *Runs off to overdrive to request Game of Thrones from the library*



What is your favorite book?

H: "The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster."
Me: I thought you were going to say an HP book!
H: "Nah, that's my favorite series. The Phantom Tollbooth is my favorite book. Come on, you're the book reader."
Me: Haha, I thought you would still pick a book in the HP series as your favorite book.. 


If I pick a book out for you, would you attempt to read it?

H: "Define attempt... is that what you were doing this interview for..to get me to read a book"
Me: HAHAHAHA, nooooo not at all. ;) I mean attempt as in you would give it a shot and if you don't like it after 100 pages, you can stop reading it. 
H: "ah, okay, I'll do it."

Me: Well that's all the questions I have. Thank you for letting me interview you for the blog. 
H: "Anytime!"



I need your help! Help me pick out a book to get my husband to read (and hopefully not be able to stop reading). I've been wanting him to read some of my favorite fantasy series, because I think he'll really enjoy them. The three to choose from are: 
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwa
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Which book from the three listed above do you think my husband should give a shot?





Monday, May 16, 2016

Review | Love, Lies and Spies (ARC)

Title: Love, Lies and Spies
Author: Cindy Anstey
Publication: April 19th, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Source: Book trade with Sarah from What Sarah Read - Thank you Sarah!!
Series: Not that I'm aware of (though I wish there was more coming!)

Rating: 4 out 5 stars



Synopsis: Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She's much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she's determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana's traveling companions...and Juliana herself.

-From Goodreads


Review: As a fan of Jane Austen, I was very excited to get into this book! The pitch I heard was Jane Austen meets spies and as a fan of both of those, this became one of my most anticipated releases of the year...and it didn't disappoint. 

I loved the characters in the novel. It was more character driven than plot driven, much like Jane Austen's novels are, so it was a bit slow at parts - but not unbearably slow! I loved the headstrong determination of Juliana and her drive to achieve the goals she set for herself, both personal and professional (especially because "professional" goals were not appropriate for her to have). I loved seeing her drive to succeed for herself and her lack of care of what others think. Spencer was a great love interest as well. Not broody, but intelligent and a bit secretive (not in a bad way) made him quite swoony. The interactions between Spencer and Juliana were my favorite parts of the book, I couldn't get enough of them! 

I have to mention the writing and how impressed I was with it. The writing was very classical, but easy to read. It was Jane Austen in modern language. It really made it feel like it was set in a Jane Austen-type setting with Jane Austen-type characters. I really appreciated the writing!

The plot of this story really comes in at the end when things start happening. At this point I was so involved in what was happening between Juliana and Spencer that I was a bit surprised by all the action. This book delivers the action along with the swoons. I loved every minute of it! I haven't found a title that describes the book so accurately as it does with Love, Lies and Spies. I truly enjoyed this quick and light-hearted read!


Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What do you think about mixing Jane Austen-type story with spies? Also, I'm wondering if you have a favorite Jane Austen story and if so, what is it?