Friday, 31 October 2014

October Wrap Up and November TBR

October was pretty equal with September, which is not too bad - for me.  I read a total of 8 books and one novella, if you count If I Stay which I finished on the first of October (and already talked about in my last wrap up, so will be ignoring from this point forward).  I read four books from my 8-book planned October TBR, which is better than I was expecting, considering I never read what I plan to.  Here are the books:

1.  Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor (mini review)
2.  Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (mini review)
3.  Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick (mini review)
4.  172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad (mini review)
5.  Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant (review)
6.  Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (5 stars)
7.  Messenger by Lois Lowry (4 stars)
8.  Son by Lois Lowry (4 stars)

Throne of Glass was a reread so that I could move on to Crown of Midnight; I'm glad I made time to do that.  This month has been a little bumpy with my reads, with a range of ratings.  My favourite reads were Night of Cake and Puppets and Crown of Midnight (both 5 stars) and my least favourites were Black Ice (2 stars) and 172 Hours on the Moon (3 stars).

I'm currently reading These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.  It's okay so far; slow going, but intriguing.  I'm hoping to warm up to it a little more, but I'm having a little difficulty with the characters - one slightly more than another.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Opposite Book Tag

Today, as you can tell, I'm going to do the Opposite Book Tag.  Thanks Lauren @ Always Me for tagging me!

First Book In Your Collection / Last Book You Bought

I have had books throughout my entire life and I really couldn't tell you which is the first book that I ended up owning.  However, the book I Saw It In the Sea is a book my parents say that I used to love as a child.  Apparently, I went around asking family members to read it for me so often that they still remember all the words (I still remember all the words) and my Nana got sick of it.  The last book purchase I made was the Hush, Hush box set.  I've already read these books, and I own another copy of Finale.  When I saw the box set on sale, I couldn't not get it.

A Cheap Book / An Expensive Book

The cheapest book I have bought is a tie between Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and Angelfall by Susan Ee, because I can't remember their exact prices, but they were both under $10.  The most expensive book I've bought is Infinite by Jodi Meadows which was $18 or $19, being a hardcover - still pretty cheap considering!

Monday, 27 October 2014

7 Problems I Have With Commenting

I am hopelessly bad at commenting on other people's posts.


After thinking about why this is, I've come to the conclusion that these problems all stem from one main issue: being constantly worried I'm going to humiliate myself.

Me, after leaving an embarrassing comment.
Here's a list of some of my issues...

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Soundtrack Saturday - Shadow and Bone

Soundtrack Saturday is a meme created by the lovely Erin, over at The Hardcover Lover.  The idea is to pick some songs that relate to the book in a few different ways.  This week I'm picking songs for Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.  Some of my choices are a little loosely related (I read the book quite a while ago now), but I hope you'll see the connection.
*This post also contains spoilers (sorry), so if you haven't yet read Shadow and Bone, I wouldn't recommend reading this.

Friday, 24 October 2014

The Friday 56 - These Broken Stars

"She considers the question, then nods, reaching up to tuck her hair back where it belongs.  "Where will I sit?"
Sit?  Why on this comfortable chaise lounge I've carried here for you in my pocket, Your Highness, so glad you asked.  I clamp my mouth shut, struggling not to say it aloud." - These Broken Stars, page 56, by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and you can find out more information in her post here.

I've only recently picked up this book, and I'm finding it a little slow to start - perhaps due to the fact that I'm reading Crown of Midnight at the same time.  It has it's moments (like the one I've quoted above) though, so I'm hoping I'll be more drawn into it when I can dedicate some undistracted time to it.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Mixed Feelings
I went to the library the other day, and picked up a couple books.  I decided to grab Messenger of Fear because I hadn't read a Michael Grant book yet (shock horror!), and I'd heard some good things about it already.

The book follows a girl named Mara, who wakes up in a field surrounded by a strange yellow mist, and meets the Messenger of Fear - who comes after people when they're bad.  That's as much as a synopsis as I'm going to give you.

The first thing I noticed about this book was that it was deceptively short.  There were about 310 pages, but had the spacing and font size been "normal", I think it would have been about half the size.  This could also partly be due to the fact that there was something happening all the time and there was barely a moment to rest.

I really enjoyed the writing in this book, though there were a few moments where Mara, the narrator, talked directly to the reader or referenced finding something out later, which I didn't like.  It seemed a little out of place and unnecessary.  I suppose it could have been used in an attempt to create a creepy atmosphere, but that didn't work for me.

Speaking of creepy, I really didn't find Messenger of Fear to be scary.  I had no qualms about reading it at night whilst home alone (which is really saying something, considering I'm the biggest scaredy-cat in existence).  However, it was really gory at times, so if you are bothered by that I wouldn't recommend this.  Though it totally grossed me out (highlight for spoilers[especially the part about Derek's eyes boiling in their sockets *shivers*]), I thought it suited the story and was really what makes this a horror book (apart from the concept of someone coming after you if you do something wrong - that's pretty horrifying, I guess).  Oh, and there was one particular character, The Game Master, that was terrifying.

My biggest issue with this book was that though I liked finding out small parts of the mystery slowly through the course of the story, I found that way too much was left unexplained [for example, the yellow mist itself, Oriax, Daniel, the reason for the people in the Game Master's body thing, even the Messenger's backstory] and there was a massive information dump right at the end - basically a whole new aspect to the plot was introduced - which really didn't fit into the tone of the novel, in my opinion.  The reason this didn't bring down my rating more is that this book is meant to be part of a series.  I'm not sure if it's going to follow the same characters, or be set in the same time, but I desperately hope that it at least partially ties up these loose ends and develops more of this new plot aspect.

Here's another thing that I didn't feel great about (including spoilers that will ruin the story for you):
[The bullying of Samantha by "Kayla" didn't sit right with me.  This is my question:  If Mara really did do all the things that Kayla did, and had the same reasoning (jealousy, tough time at home, wanting to entertain her friends), would she really feel guilty enough after Samantha's suicide to want to atone for it?  All her reasons for the bullying were so shallow (except for her feeling that Samantha was taking away the one thing that Mara was good at - that was at least more personal*), and she knew that she was driving Samantha to a point of no return.  So why, after achieving this goal, so to speak, does she want to make up for it?  It didn't make sense to me.  I also should mention that I suspected that Mara was Kayla from very early on - there were some very obvious clues, like Mara's connection to words and the familiarity of Kayla's room.
*I am definitely not trying to say that this is a good reason to bully someone, just to be clear.]

The thing I was most surprised about was the overall message and feeling I got from the story.  Rather than being horrified at the events, I was left feeling hopeful.  I felt like the book was a message of hope; hope that you can overcome your wrongdoings and achieve redemption, and then be able to move on and live a long and happy life.  It also touched on the theme of people's problems explaining their actions but not excusing them, which I liked.

So overall, I have very mixed feelings about this novel, but I did enjoy it.  Sorry that there are so many parts I've had to hide in this review but I couldn't discuss it without mentioning them.

Have you read any of Michael Grant's books?  Should I read the Gone series?  If you've read Messenger of Fear, what did you think of it?  I'm especially interested to hear about other's thoughts on the massive chunk that I have hidden.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Top Ten New Series I Want To Start - Top Ten Tuesday

This week's Top Ten Tuesday - hosted by The Broke and the Bookish - is the top new series I want to start.  It's supposed to only include series that began in the last year or two, so I will try my best to stick to that.

1.  The Lynburn Legacy (beginning with Unspoken) by Sarah Rees Brennan
2.  Blood of Eden (beginning with The Immortal Rules) by Julie Kagawa
3.  The Fifth Wave (beginning with The Fifth Wave) by Rick Yancey
4.  The Lunar Chronicles (beginning with Cinder) by Marissa Meyer
5.  The Raven Cycle (beginning with The Raven Boys) by Maggie Stiefvater

6.  Between (beginning with Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea) by April Genevieve Tucholke
7.  His Fair Assassin (beginning with Grave Mercy) by Robin LaFevers
8.  Splintered (beginning with Splintered) by A. G. Howard
9.  Goddess War (beginning with Antigoddess) by Kendare Blake
10.  Every (beginning with Every Breath) by Ellie Marney

So there's my top ten for this week.  There's a lot more series from the last two years (and more) that I want to begin, but obviously this list couldn't go on forever!

Be sure to link to your top ten below!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Mini Reviews ft. Black Ice, Throne of Glass and 172 Hours on the Moon

Appreciated the Attempted Message

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick
It's no secret that I enjoyed the Hush Hush series by the same author.  Maybe it's because I hadn't read much else in the YA genre.  Either way, I've become attached to the series.  Black Ice was a different story.  First off, I didn't like any of the characters.  In fact, most of them annoyed the heck out of me.  Especially the best friend - who is actually a really terrible friend - Korbie.  I could tell that the MC, Britt, was supposed to grow throughout the story, but I wasn't feeling it.  It was almost like she was just telling the reader that she had changed.  She was also fairly dumb.  I don't know about you, but I don't think it's smart to take supplies before you leave a cabin to hike through the snow.  I think it's common sense.  I think I could have dealt with this if the book hadn't been written from Britt's perspective.
There was a lot more of an emphasis on romance in this than I was expecting, but that's my fault, not the book's (with the tagline of "Danger is Hard to Resist", I should have been more prepared).  Because of this though, I found large chunks of the story to be boring.
There was a lot of talk about relying on yourself but I'm not sure that the message was executed entirely well.  There's plenty of angry reviews about this on the books Goodreads page, if you want to see more on this topic.
I guessed the main "big secret" almost straight away, but Black Ice kept me reading to find out how all the details fit together, and was overall mildly entertaining.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Q&A - Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award and One Lovely Blog Award

As you can tell from the title, I have been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award and the One Lovely Blog award.  Thank you to Erin @ The Hardcover Lover and Jennie @ A Bookworm Called Jenny for nominating me for the former and to Giselle @ Perks of Being A Reader for nominating me for the latter.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Mini Reviews ft. If I Stay, Dangerous Girls and Night of Cake and Puppets

I'm going to slowly phase out these introductions, because they seem unnecessary and awkward, but I wanted to mention that I know I said I wouldn't review Dangerous Girls but I need to.  For closure.  Also, if you have yet to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone (or any of these books), you don't have to worry about spoilers.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Before I say anything more, let it be known that I did, in fact, enjoy this book.  Three stars means I liked it.  I just didn't like it as much as I was expecting to.  With all the raving reviews I'd seen for this, I thought I was going to fall in love with it.  So really, it's my fault for giving in to all the hype.  It also may have to do with the fact that my brother's name is Adam, and the love interest in the story is named that too.  Now that I think of it, this could be why Shatter Me was weird to me...
Back on topic - It was difficult for me to connect to the characters.  I liked them all, but they seemed so strange as I've never met anyone remotely like them (except for Mia - the main character).
This was an emotional read (which is weirdly a good thing), and every time the perspective shifted back to the present from a flashback, I'd get a little jolt of despair in my heart, realising how much things were going to change.  I didn't get to the point of tears, but I strongly suspect this is due to me finishing the novel on a public bus.
So, overall, I was a little underwhelmed.
Sad Things

Deeply Disturbing

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
This book.  Where to begin?  The story follows a girl who is on trial for the murder of her best friend.  The narration jumps back and forth between the past and the present, and I thought that was done really well, with the events in each time period all linking in together.  I also liked how realistic this was to the kind of teens the friends in the book were - without holding anything back.  The word "lurid" was used a few times.  Yeah, this didn't affect my opinion of the book in any way, it's just something I noticed and I'm running out of things to say about this without ruining something.  I will say that it was entertaining and kept me interested but (highlight for spoilers): [I really wasn't surprised by the ending.  This is perhaps because I'd read a lot of reviews saying how mind-blowing the ending was, and the only option that could possibly be that mind-blowing was Anna being the murderer.  I also really don't understand how she was found innocent after the judge being convinced she was guilty for so long, and how someone so messed up could come across as so normal.  Also, this book is not the best thing to read only a month before going on an unsupervised holiday with your friends.  Lol.]  Other than those couple things, I did enjoy the suspense and I'm looking forward to reading Dangerous Boys at some stage.

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor
I'd been saving this Daughter of Smoke and Bone novella for a rainy day, and going back for my final (and most intense) term of high school definitely constitutes as a rainy day.  And it was everything I'd hoped it would be.  The story follows Zuzanna and Mik, a couple of characters from the trilogy, and how they first met.  The writing is spectacular and the story is adorable.  I couldn't wipe the grin from my face during some parts of it.  Not to mention the happy tears.  O, how strangely fiction affects me.  This is a must-read if you enjoyed the Daughter of Smoke and Bone books (this novella occurs at some time during the first book, I believe).  It was short and sweet, and it's a new go-to for when I'm feeling sad.
*unapologetic squealing*

Those are the mini reviews I have for today.  Have you read any of them?  I hope you are having a great day and I'll have another post up soon!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Book Cake Tag

Many thanks to Lauren @ Always Me for tagging me to do this post!  This post includes a question for cake ingredients and you have to choose a corresponding book.  So without further ado...  My book cake!

a book that was a little slow to start with but really picked up as it went along

One that comes to mind is Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake.  I ❤︎ Anna Dressed in Blood, so I was surprised when this book started off a lot slower and wasn't as creepy/gory/scary.  But there was a turning point and everything I loved about the first book was suddenly back.

a book that had a really rich and great plot

I love Daughter of Smoke and Bone and this book was no different, except I feel like things started to get a lot more intense and were a lot bigger than just Karou and Akiva.

a book that you thought was going to be bad but actually turned out quite enjoyable

This book was such a surprise and I didn't even realise I was enjoying it until I couldn't put it down (or more truthfully, minimize it during class).  One of my favourite contemporaries for sure.

a sugary sweet book

Angel Cake even has a sweet title, so it's perfect for this question.  Plus the romance is adorable.  If my memories are to be trusted.

a book that covered every single element that you enjoy in a book
(eg. funny moments, action moments, sad moments etc.)

I could have picked any of The Mortal Instruments books or The Infernal Devices books because for me, they have everything that I like in a book.  They're funny, have some great characters, sad moments and action moments.

a book series that you can turn back to for a little pick me up when you're feeling down

This is definitely one of my guilty pleasure reads.  I only read it for enjoyment and the nostalgia because it reminds me of easier times, when I first read it.  And yeah, my first option was Harry Potter.

The Cherry On Top
your favourite book this year so far

It's a tie between Shadow and Bone and Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  The difference is that I am yet to read the sequels to Shadow and Bone and to be honest I'm kind of scared to because of the negative feelings I've been getting about the next books in the trilogy.  But the real reason I'm putting it off is because I want to reread Shadow and Bone because I loved it that much and I'm waiting to have sufficiently forgotten the details.

So that was the Book Cake tag!  Thanks again to Lauren for tagging me!  As per usual, I am unsure of who to tag, so I am tagging anyone who wants to do this - make sure you link me to your post in the comments!  I would love to hear your responses.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Soundtrack Saturday - Seraphina

Soundtrack Saturday oops today is Sunday is an awesome feature created by Erin @The Hardcover Lover, where you make a soundtrack for any chosen book.  This week I'm picking Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.  Unfortunately this week the songs I've picked are pretty spoiler-y, so if you haven't read Seraphina yet, you really should, and also don't read this post.  If you have read the book, here are the four songs that I picked!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

September Wrap Up and October TBR

I finished 7 books in September, and one on the 1st of October.  That's quite a lot of books for me, considering I read on average 3 or 4 books a month, so I'm excited to do a wrap up post!  Here are the books:

1.  The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (review)
2.  We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (review and discussion)
3.  Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout (mini review)
4.  Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (mini review)
5.  Fang Girl by Helen Keeble (review)
6.  Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck (5 stars)
7.  Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (4 stars)
8.  If I Stay by Gayle Forman (3 stars)

Tiger's Curse was a reread for me, so as you can tell, I am in the half of people that fell in love with this book.  Dangerous Girls messed me up, and I'm not going to do a review because I feel like reading reviews for it before ruined it a bit for me.  I was a little underwhelmed with If I Stay because of all the hype surrounding it.  I will have a mini review of it up soon.

I'm not sure how much time I'm going to have for reading this month - being that my final exams start in 27 days and I have some serious studying to do.  I find that in these kinds of situations, I either find myself reading a lot or not at all.  So, to keep up with last month, I'm going to pick 8 books and see how I go with those.

1.  Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (reread)
2.  Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
3.  Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
4.  Messenger by Lois Lowry
5.  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (reread)
6.  The Evolution of Mara Dyer (reread)
7.  Son by Lois Lowry
8.  Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (reread) 

Finally I want to say a massive thanks to everyone reading this and anyone who has ever commented on one of my posts.  This is the longest I've ever stuck with a blog (4 months now) and it is undoubtedly because I have been made to feel so welcome.  I'm so happy to be part of this community and it's really made a difference in my life.  So thank you!

How was your month?
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