Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top Ten OCD Bookish Habits

This is a weekly meme hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish

This week was a freebie so the past topic I picked was top ten OCD bookish habits.

1) I HAVE to read a series in order. Even if it's a cozy mystery series where you can read the series out of order and not lose much. Nope, I have to read the books in order.

2) I HATE it when book covers do not match. Seriously, I wish there was some law that kept publishers from changing the cover mid-series because it drives me bananas when covers don't match. I'm forever bitter that my Princess Diaries books don't match up because I bought those way back when they first started and those suckers changed covers like three times in mid-publication and thus none of them match. SO annoying.

3) I will only get rid of a book if I need space on my shelf. I still have my Twilight book even though I hated that one. Plus when I was doing that Twilight read along, I sort of mass edited, wrote snarky comments in the margins, so my copy is not any good for resale anyway.

4) I have to have my books all be the same type as well as match. If I buy a paperback then I have to buy paperback for the rest of the series, even if I wound up loving it and eagerly awaited the sequel. That's why I STILL haven't gotten to A Dance of Dragons because I was waiting for the paperback release.

5) I have to read my books in the order I got them in. I don't know why, it's just a thing with me.

6) Same with reviewing. I have to review books in the order I read them in.

7) I have a book list making problem. The whole reason I started my group on Goodreads was to just keep track of books and make lists.

8) I tend to read my TBR list by the order in which they were published in. It just makes it easier on me really.

9) I tend to organize my shelf by author, and then by when their books were released, and then in series order. I just can't do that color matching stuff I've seen some people do. It looks pretty sure, but I just can't.

10) I hate stopping a book mid-chapter. Sometimes I have to do it, particularly with the books I read on the go, but I try not too. I at least wait till there's a paragraph break or something. But mid-page? Nope, can't do it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Review: Avalon

TITLE: Avalon
Book 1 in the Avalon series
AUTHOR: Mindee Arnett
PUBLISHED: January 21rst
GENRE: Science Fiction
PREMISE: Jeth and his friends go on a mission from their boss to retrieve a ship lost in the dark reaches of space...
MY REVIEW: May I just say I love that more sci-fi is popping up in YA? Oh, I'm sure hard core sci-fi fans hate it because it's not "real" sci-fi (whatever the hell that means) but I personally love it. Sci-fi could use some more voices and I particularly love that more women are doing it. If that makes me a bad sci-fi fan then oh well. This one is even more interesting to me because it's so different from the authors last offering, The Nightmare Affair (which I adored despite the many tropes). Yay for authors doing completely different things and not taking the expected route!
Personally, I loved this one. The writing is good. It's got a sort of Fireflyish feel to it. There's interesting and fun characters. There's a good plot. It's got adventure and action. There's NO LOVE TRIANGLE. It doesn't try too hard to impress you like some sci-fi can be guilty of. It's kind of like Star Wars where it's mostly just here for the adventure of space. I like that.
This is one of the first new series of the year that I really like. Can't wait for the next book (as well as the sequel to Nightmare Affair which comes out later this year).
WHO SHOULD READ: Firefly fans, Star Wars fans, Sci-Fi fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five space ships

Book Review: Evertrue

TITLE: Evertrue
Book 3 in the Everneath Trilogy
AUTHOR: Brodi Ashton
PUBLISHED: January 21rst, 2014
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Romance
PREMISE: Nikki, Jack, and Cole seek to bring down the Everneath.
MY REVIEW: This trilogy was one of those that was up and down for me, quality wise. It's entertaining enough to keep reading, but isn't what I would call a must read series. I liked the first book well enough (but apparently not as much as everyone else did, which seems to happen to me a lot. ;sighs;). I felt the second book upped the series quite a bit because there was more plot and more focus on Nikki as a character.
This book, unfortunately takes us back to all the problems of the first book. Most of it is tied to the annoying love triangle. I'm sorry, I'm just sick to death of love triangles. Before anyone goes on about how YA over does it, I would like to point out that adult fiction has plenty of it as well. This is one of the worst with much male posturing and trying to make you think for a brief moment that Cole has a chance but then oh silly no, it's always going to be Jack. Seriously, what was the point of all that stuff, if you were just going to go for the obvious love interest? If you do a love triangle at least make it so I believe that both men actually have a chance. Otherwise, you're just wasting my time. Time which should have been spent on the actual plot.
As a ending this was...okay. It tied up loose ends and did the all the things a ending should. It was just...predictable. No one died, there weren't major sacrifices, the character ended up precisely who I figured she'd always end up with. Honestly, it was a bit of a boring ending. Fans of the trilogy should enjoy it though.
WHO SHOULD READ: Everneath fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five love triangles that have a obvious ending
RATING FOR TRILOGY: Three and a half out of Five

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Book Review: Going Rogue

TITLE: Going Rogue
Book 2 in the AKA series
AUTHOR: Robin Benway
PUBLISHED: January 14th, 2013
GENRE: Mystery, Adventure
PREMISE: Maggie has gotten used to a semi-civilian life with an actual boyfriend and a bestie who both now know her secrets. But her situation is threatened when her parents are questioned by the higher ups...
MY REVIEW: While AKA is probably not going to replace the whole in my heart that Gallagher Girls left (not its fault, I loved GG something fierce, it's going to be awhile before I find a YA spy series I love just as much), it does at least help me mourn. There are a few plausibility issues here and there, but what this series makes up for in plausibility is it's just plain fun characters.
Not going to lie, I read this series one hundred percent for Roux. Maggie's parents and shady uncle are fun too (that whole conversation Maggie had with them about how they met was the BEST). But I am here mostly for Roux. Also, lets give it up for actual female friendship! Yes, YA, it does exist.
Some of the flaws from the first persist a bit. But this series was always meant to be a light-hearted fun spy romp and a light-hearted fun spy romp it most certainly is. All I ask for in the next book is more Roux please.
WHO SHOULD READ: Gallagher Girls series fans, fans of Also Known As, spy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five safes

Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Review: Warrior

TITLE: Warrior
Book 2 in the Prophecy series
AUTHOR: Ellen Oh
PUBLISHED: December 2013
GENRE: Fantasy, Adventure
PREMISE: Kira continues her journey. Basically.
MY REVIEW: Sigh. This is one of those series that I WANT to love so much. It's got diversity, it's got a great setting, a kickass heroine, and the author herself is pretty cool (at least judging from some of the interviews I've read that she's done). But...I just feel underwhelmed when I read it.
It's sort of like those movies you go to that have those beautiful special effects but the story, the acting, and the overall elements of the thing just make it a pretty but blah movie. It really doesn't help that the writing is the tell but don't show kind.
I had picked up the second with the hopes that maybe there had been improvement because sometimes that can happen with series (see Across the Universe). But...there wasn't. It doesn't get worse. But it doesn't get better. So, if you were a fan of the first, then by all means, pick this up. If you were ho hum about the first one like I was, you'll likely feel the same about this one. I'll likely skip the next one and leave the series to people who actually enjoy it.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fans of Prophecy
MY RATING: Three out of Five sighs

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review: Unhinged

TITLE: Unhinged
Book 2 in the Splintered series
AUTHOR: A. G. Howard
PUBLISHED: Jan. 7th, 2014
GENRE: Fantasy/UF, Retelling/Reimagining
PREMISE: Alyssa tries to deal with her life now that she's apart of Wonderland's messy politics.
MY REVIEW: I was a bit late to read Splintered, and despite a few personal issues regarding treatment of the popular girl, I wound up liking it a lot more then I thought I would. If you're looking for a twisty Alice referencing/retelling then this series will definitely deliver.
Regarding the popular girl thing, my issue is that she's basically just stereotyped and vaguely slut-shamed because she's a cheerleader/popular girl type. It's annoying and I wish YA authors would cut this the hell out. Oh, and before anyone chimes in and tries to point out the MC is in a love triangle, we shouldn't slut shame the MC either. We shouldn't be slut shaming AT ALL. This is a huge problem that is in YA and I wish people would stop it.
Other then that entirely personal issue (I say personal because it doesn't hinder the book or anything, it's just a personal pet peeve of mine that makes me roll my eyes), this was a very solid sequel. Revelations about characters are had. Specifically some really interesting ones regarding Alyssa's parents (and bless this series for making the parents into flawed but not horrible people). There's some good character growth on Alyssa's part and some good plot twists near the end that make me eager for the third book.
So except for some of the same problems the first book had, this was an overall really good sequel. I for one am looking forward to the next one.
WHO SHOULD READ: Splintered fans, Alice in Wonderland fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five butterflies

Book Review: The Dream Thieves

TITLE: The Dream Thieves
Book 2 in the Raven Cycle
AUTHOR: Maggie Stiefvater
PUBLISHED: September 2013
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: Blue and the boys continue to discover the secrets of the ley lines.
MY REVIEW: I think this series will honestly be a matter of your own taste. If you love Stiefvater's stuff, you'll probably adore it. If you don't mind series taking their time to get to the point, it'll be a good one. However, if you are neither of these then...you probably won't be a fan.
Luckily, I happen to like Stiefvater's style. I do still think this series is rather slow at times but the interesting character dynamics make up for that. Because that's the main reason I stick with this series: the group dynamic. It's interesting all around, even in the ever annoying love triangle. I can forgive flaws in storytelling if you have interesting (i.e. flawed) characters and all these characters are interesting in their own little ways. I admit though, Blue's mother and her friends are my favorite.
So, the series isn't perfect. Like I said, your enjoyment of it will probably come down to a matter of personal taste. But if you enjoyed the first book then you will probably love this book just as much.
WHO SHOULD READ: Maggie Stiefvater fans, those that don't mind more character based urban fantasy
MY RATING: Four out of Five ravens

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Review: Erased

TITLE: Erased
Book 2 in the Altered series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Rush
PUBLISHED: January 7th, 2014
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Adventure
PREMISE: Anna and co. are now on the run and looking for answers. They may however, not like what they find...
MY REVIEW: Altered was one of those pleasant surprises from last year. I hadn't heard much about it so I didn't have many expectations. But it managed to be a very fun thrill ride so I was looking forward to this sequel quite a bit.
Rush managed to deliver. This one leaves right off where the last book did and assumes you're smart enough to keep up so you're not bombarded with info dump after info dump (I hate when sequels do that. SO annoying, even if I do get why authors do it). Quality wise it's still on par with the first so the series didn't go down hill. It didn't go up hill either. But it's still very entertaining.
So if you liked Altered or are looking for a new action based UF series to sink your teeth into, this one is a good pick.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fans of Altered, Kelley Armstrong fans (reminded me a lot of Darkest Powers)
MY RATING: Four out of Five action scenes

Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory

TITLE: The Impossible Knife of Memory
AUTHOR: Laurie Halse Anderson
PUBLISHED: January 7th, 2014
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
PREMISE: A girl deals with her father's drinking problem.
MY REVIEW: Looking for a serious contemporary read? Well then this is your lucky day. As always Anderson takes a sensitive subject and manages to write about it in ways that aren't condescending, don't sugarcoat things, and makes you think.
While I don't think this is the best work I've read by Anderson (Speak and Chains are my favorites of hers), it's still a book to be proud of and the first of 2014 that I highly rec. It's still early in the year so I can't say if it's the best of 2014 yet. But knowing Anderson, it'll be in the top percentage of quality YA books this year. It's definitely one of the top ten reads of January for sure.
So as always, Anderson delivers. If you are a contemporary book fan, this is a must read.
WHO SHOULD READ: Anderson fans, Realistic fiction fans, Ellen Hopkins fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five toasts to the author

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Review: Palace of Spies

TITLE: Palace of Spies
Book 1 in Palace of Spies series
AUTHOR: Sarah Zettel
PUBLISHED: November 2013
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Mystery
PREMISE: Peggy gets caught up in court intrigue when she poses as a missing lady-in-waiting.
MY REVIEW: I picked this one up mostly because of my love for the authors other series: The American Fairy Trilogy which is such an underrated historical fantasy series. While I don't love this one nearly as much as I do with that trilogy (to be fair though: I fangirl hard over that trilogy), this one is still pretty solid.
I will warn that it's slow. If you're looking for an exciting time period mystery, this one probably isn't for you. But if you don't mind a heroine who uses her brains more then fists, then this one should be fun. Sometimes it does get a little TOO caught up in the historical details but at least the details are nicely done and it makes for a logical mystery for the time period.
So not as good as the American Fairy Trilogy, but still a nice solid period mystery for those that enjoy such things.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of The Agency series, Sarah Zettel fans, historical mystery fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five wigs

Book Review: Defy

Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Sara B. Larson
PUBLISHED: January 7th, 2014
GENRE: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
PREMISE: Alexa poses as a boy in the prince's guard when her kingdom is attacked...
MY REVIEW: I'll be honest: I didn't care much for this one. Most of that is disappointment on my part. I was really looking forward to this one and the hype kind of built it up in my head. So fifty percent of it is my own fault. To be fair to the author, this is her first book. There's nothing truly unreadable about it. It's just...flat feeling. It's like when you go to a action movie and while the movie itself is perfectly entertaining enough, it won't be one of those you go to watch over and over again because it's a fairly simple movie that doesn't really grab a hold of you.
I myself am also giving this book lots of leeway because it's the author's first book. Not everyone can write tremendously right off the bat. For a debut...it's okay. Were this a seasoned author though, I'd be giving much lower marks. Because there were several plot holes, there was sloppy world-building, and the plot itself was paper thin. Romance also took over the book, which if this were meant to be a romance novel, would not be a problem. But it's marketing itself as a fantasy adventure, so I feel kind of cheated. It doesn't help that the romance was the annoying kind instead of the sweet/kind of cute kind. All the characters were also cookie cutter stock characters who never venture past their roles to play. Maybe they will in the next book, but I don't care enough to find out.
There were a few good scenes here and there. The writing was decent enough. As I said: it was readable. It just isn't what I would call a must read.
WHO SHOULD READ: Romance fans who like fantasy type settings
MY RATING: Three out of Five I wish this had been better sighs

This was a Net Galley received from Scholastic Press in exchange for a honest review.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review: The Naturals

TITLE: The Naturals
Book 1 in the Naturals series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
PUBLISHED: November 2013
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Mystery
PREMISE: Cassie has an unusual gift that the FBI decides to put to use in order to find killers...
MY REVIEW: So I freely admit: this one isn't totally original. Teens with powers solving mysteries has been a thing in YA for awhile now. But I love the trope so I don't particularly mind. Like most of what she does, Barnes takes a familiar trope and puts a new fresh spin on it.
The characters are fun. The mystery is good and twisty. There's also a little left over in order to entice you to read the next book. I could have done without the love triangle but it never takes over the book so I don't find it nearly as annoying as I usually do. Which, considering forced love triangles are a pet peeve of mine, is kind of a testament to how well the author handled it.
So this one isn't totally original. But if you're a fan of the mystery solving group of teens genre then totally pick this one up. It's a solid addition to the group.
WHO SHOULD READ: mystery fans, Body Finder series fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five sleuths looking for clues

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Book Review: In the Age of Love and Chocolate

TITLE: In the Age of Love and Chocolate
Book 3 in the Birthright Trilogy
AUTHOR: Gabrielle Zevin
GENRE: Dystopian (sort of)
PREMISE: Anya becomes an adult and decides her fate and deals with the consequences of what she decides...
MY REVIEW: This trilogy will forever be one of those that I have really conflicted feelings about. On one hand: lovely writing. Great character journey. Realistic about romance. Talk of law and how some laws can create criminals instead of being helpful.
On the other hand: confusing world. To this day I don't understand why chocolate was outlawed. I give the author credit for taking the idea and running with it, but it just plain doesn't make sense. Especially when it's revealed in this book that apparently chocolate being outlawed is a US thing. Everyone else eats chocolate and is fine. I just...don't understand it. At all. Plus for something that's supposed to be dystopian, it sure feels like a contemporary novel. Where it not for the constant mention of chocolate and the date, I would routinely forget that this is in the future. In fact, take away the chocolate part, this could be a regular contemporary book and you wouldn't lose anything. For contemporary readers who don't like dystopians this might be ideal. For the rest of us...it feels a bit like false advertising. Plus as a ending this was...kind of predictable. One or two things were a surprise, but overall, not much excitement going on.
So while this is good....there are things about it that bug me. But that's been me with this whole trilogy to be honest.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first two, contemporary readers who aren't sure about dystopians
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five candy bars
RATING FOR WHOLE TRILOGY: Three and a half out of Five I Love Chocolate shirts

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Make You Cry

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish

This week: Top Ten Books That Make You Cry (or in my case have a lot of strong devastated feelings about)

Note: I am a weird person when it comes to things that make me feel strongly. So...this list is probably going to be weird to some of you.

1) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I can't really go into why this one gave me massive feels without spoiling a large amount of the ending and I say this book is best read when you have no idea what's coming. Just please. Read it. I'll be here for you when you have sorted through your feelings.

2) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

That awkward moment when you love a book but also hate it because of the feels you get at the end...

3) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Still not over it. For more info on what it is, read the book.

4 ) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Also still not over it.

5) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I don't think I really need to go into why this is on here. Lets just say when the movie comes out I hope the theaters have lots of kleenex's handy.

6) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

No one can bring about feels by writing quite like Anderson. Her other books are just as wonderful.

7) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

While writing style/prose wise this book is average. The story and the things it has to say about how the way people treat you stays with you is powerful stuff.

8) Harry Potter series (but particularly 7) by J. K. Rowling

This one is pretty self explanatory to anyone who's been a fan of Harry Potter. The seventh book was a emotional ride and a half whether or not you agreed with/liked the ending.

9) The Hunger Games Trilogy (but particularly 3) by Suzanne Collins

Unpopular opinion: I loved Mockingjay. I thought it was wonderfully done and while some things sucked (FINNICK!), it was a powerful emotional ending. The Hunger Games people have their work cut out for them with this sucker but I'm confident they can manage it.

10) The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein

Trying not to spoil anything for movie fans who haven't read it (and seriously, why haven't you?) but um...lets just say the third is not going to be as happy an ending as Return of the King. Assuming of course Jackson doesn't say screw it and write his own ending. But Jackson seems to be following the book pretty accurately (aside from Tauriel/Legolas) so I don't think he will.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Looking Ahead: February 2014

So this is a new feature that I'm hoping to be able to do on a monthly basis that is just going to be previews of books coming in the next month that I'm excited for. 

Books I'm Excited For/Eager to Read in February:

1) Lunar Chronicles Book 3: Cress by Marissa Meyer
Released Feb. 4rth.
Why I'm Eager: Um....it's the Lunar Chronicles? If you've read it, you know why I'am eager. If you haven't read it, pick up Cinder pronto. This series is made of total awesome.
Other Notable releases on Feb. 4rth: Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine
Mistwalker by Saundra Mitchell

Released Feb. 11th.
Why I'm Eager: Pivot Point was one of the many early pleasure reads of 2013 last year. After the way it ended, I can't wait to read what happens next.
Other Notable releases on Feb. 11th:
Scarlet Book 2: Lady Thief by A. C. Gaughen

3) The Well's End by Seth Fishman
Released Feb. 25th
Why I'm Eager: The plot sounds right up my ally. Plus, YA could use some more sci-fi so I say bring it.
Other notable release on Feb. 25th:
Tin Star series Book 1: Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci
On Feb. 27th: Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick

Some Adult Releases that look interesting:

Released Feb. 4rth
Why I'm eager: Because no matter how many times it burns me, I cannot resist the allure of a new UF series. ;prays this one is good;
Other interesting ones on the 4rth: Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler
On the 11th: The Waking Engine by David Edison

5) Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard
Released Feb 20th
Why I'm eager: It's fantasy. With dragons. It doesn't take much to make me pick up a book you guys.