Thursday, 29 January 2015

Thoughts on "The TBR Jar"

So, this is something I did while away from blogging.  I learnt about this idea quite a while ago, but never felt the urge to use it as I've always been pretty good at knowing (or at least choosing) what to read next.  It never occurred to me that I could use this method to force myself to read books that I've just not been getting to.  Until two days ago.
Everyone has their own individual rules or guidelines for their TBR Jar, and as expected, I do too:

- at least once a month, I will pick a book from the jar and read it
- the books in the jar are books that I intend to read
- they're books I'm excited for, but need an extra push to get to
- if I know I'm not in the mood for a book I pick, I will be allowed to replace the book and choose another
- if I replace the book more than once, I must remove the book from my TBR

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I Mustache You Some Questions Tag

It always seems the way that I am pulled out of a blogging slump is through a tag.  So thank you very much to my friend Veronika over at Reading is Dreaming With Open Eyes for tagging me to do this challenge!
Let's see how I go...

Four Names That People Call Me

- Sabrina... duh.
- Sabs
- Saburrito (yeah, I don't know either)
- Sabo

Four Jobs I Have Had

- being an older sister
- restraining myself from purchasing books
- student
- keeping my temper (I've got better at this job over my lifetime, I assure you)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

My Little Holiday in South Australia

This is going to be a pretty different post to what I do normally, so feel free to skip it if you're only here for the books!

Recently, I was away from the internet because I went on a one-week holiday to South Australia with my family.  It was a lot of fun, and I took a lot of pictures!  This is mostly because I got a new phone with a great camera recently, so I was snap-happy.  Today I thought I might share some of the pictures with you.  I originally tried to embed them as a slideshow, but it just didn't look the way I wanted to, so I've put all the separate images out on this post.  If you're interested, keep reading!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Mini Reviews ft. Dangerous Boys, She Is Not Invisible and Tiger's Promise

Here I am with another set of mini reviews.  Even though I said I wanted to do less of these this year.  Oops.  Spoilers are hidden.

Dangerous Boys
This is going to be the shortest of my reviews today, as I really don't want to spoil this amazing book for you.  Ever since reading Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, I was on the look out for this book.  I was constantly searching on my library's website to see if they'd got it in yet.  Finally, late last year, it appeared as one of my search results.  I hit that "Place Hold" button so fast.  I didn't even know I could move that quickly.  Anyway, my point is, I had high expectations for this book.  And, most surprisingly, they were met.
My favourite part of this book was watching Chloe's transformation.  As the novel is told from three different times, the present, the past and "The End", the changes in Chloe are easy to notice.  I also felt that the use of the different parts was executed perfectly in creating suspense and fear over what was going to happen.  This didn't have so much of a 'wow moment' (like Dangerous Girls did), but it was the journey to the end that was shocking.  The horror of it all crept up on me.
Another thing I loved was how well the author made me understand and feel exactly what Chloe was.  The awful and insane was made to seem reasonable, and I think that was the creepiest part of all.

She Is Not Invisible
 This was an impulsive borrow from my local library.  I’ve seen it on the shelf there a few times and it’s strange size drew me to it - along with having read some pretty good reviews on it - so this time I decided to pick it up, despite already being in the middle of three other books at the time.  I’m happy to say that I do not regret choosing it, as I enjoyed it quite a lot.  Laureth is one of my new favourite characters and I think I would really get along with her if she were real.  She has such a strong, loving and trusting personality that really comes through in the book.  The story follows her and her brother, Benjamin, as they try to find their believed missing, coincidence obsessed father in New York after someone finds his writing notebook there.
My favourite part of this book was reading from said notebook.  Laureth’s father is an author and has been stuck planning a book about coincidences for years.  These plans fill his notebook.  And coincidences fill this book.  It was a lot of fun finding these coincidences and at the same time reading about some in the pages of the notebook.
I understand that parts of this novel was a little unbelievable.  It’s hard to imagine a girl and her younger brother being able to just sidestep security measures at an airport, for instance.  Sure, a lot of things came together almost incredibly, but isn’t that what coincidences are all about?
 “[Coincidences] tend to fall into two sorts.  The ones that are so pathetic that they don’t excite anyone but you, and the ones that are so incredible that they are literally just that; unbelievable.” —page 74
I guess what I am trying to say is that some of the harder to believe things didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the novel.
The ending was super sweet despite certain fears that emerged about two thirds through, and I appreciated that very much.
One final thing:  for those who’ve read the book, can you guess how many words this review is?

Tiger's Promise
Tiger's Promise by Colleen Houck
I won this as an audiobook from a giveaway that was hosted on Colleen Houck's website - thanks!
This was an entertaining enough addition to the Tiger Saga.  The prequel follows Yesubai in the time that she knew Dhiren and Kishan (and a little before that too).  It was intriguing to find out more about Yesubai's character and what exactly led her to her tragic fate.  Whilst I liked Yesubai, and felt sorry for her position in life, I didn't agree with some of her beliefs - she seemed to think that evil was in her blood (highlight for slight spoilers)[and that there was nothing in her power to change herself into a good person.  I understand that you can be doubting yourself for a time, but I don't think you can look back on your decisions, regret them, and then blame them on your evil father's blood that runs in your veins.  You have to take responsibility for your actions.  You are not defined by your blood].  Sometimes the way Yesubai talked about Kishan seemed a little out of character too.
There were also no tigers in this novella, which was understandable, but still a little saddening.  In saying that, it was nice to hear about Ren and Kishan in another time, before they met Kelsey and before...well, everything went wrong.
I liked hearing more on Deschen, Ren and Kishan's lovely mother, too.  She was so kind but definitely not submissive.
The bonus chapters at the end were also interesting - I absolutely loved hearing a little from Ren's perspective, though Yesubai's mother's story was horrifically sad.
I think the performer did a great job sharing this story, and changing all the voices so you could tell who was speaking.
I'd highly recommend this novella to anyone who enjoyed the Tiger Saga.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Top Ten 2014 Releases I Didn't Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted every week by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's theme is 2014 releases I wanted to get to, but didn't.
There are a lot of books that I could have put in this weeks list I discovered, after looking through this Goodreads list (in fact, I didn't even get through the entire list before getting more than twenty options), however I could only think of a few off the top of my head.  So, for the first time, I am going to have a list that is in a particular order!

1.  The Bane Chronicles
I never read the short stories in this book when they were released as e-books, because I was waiting for it to be published in paperback.  I finally got it for my birthday in December and am making my way slowly through it.

2.  Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Considering I only read Crown of Midnight late last year, I can't say I was really waiting for this one, but I bought it as soon as it came out and I am currently reading it.

3.  The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
I've been a big fan of Cassandra Clare for quite a few years now, and since reading The Spiderwick Chronicles last year, I've also become a fan of Holly Black.  I received this book for Christmas and am planning to get to it next month.

4.  The Young Elites by Marie Lu
I love Lu's Legend trilogy, so it only makes sense that I was anticipating this one.  As soon as it became available in my library I jumped in the queue to borrow it.  I'm still waiting (grrr).

5.  Infinite by Jodi Meadows
Yeah... if you've been around my blog for a while, you'll know that I just haven't gotten around to this one yet.  For some reason unbeknownst to me.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

New Design

This is just a quick little post to acknowledge that I've updated the design of my blog!  It took me a long time and I'm fairly happy with the result.  I'm so glad to be started the new year with a fresh design, especially since I was getting so sick of the old one.

Everything seems to be working for the moment, but, in saying all this, if you notice that something is a little out of whack please let me know so I can go about fixing it!

I may be tweaking some things here and there over the next week or so, but I did try to get the majority done in one hit.

I apologise if you happened to visit the blog whilst I was updating - it wasn't pretty!

I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading Sabrina's Stories and for commenting - to those of you who do.  I appreciate all of you and I hope to continue feeling fulfilled by blogging in 2015.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Soundtrack Saturday - Dangerous Boys

Today I have another Soundtrack Saturday post for you.  This book meme was created by Erin at The Hardcover Lover, in case you didn't know, and the aim is to pick a book you've read and pick songs that fit it.  There's more information here.

This Saturday, I'm picking songs to fit Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas.  This was the last book I read in 2014, and I enjoyed it even more than Dangerous Girls (I seem to be in the minority here).  If you haven't read Dangerous Boys yet, I 1) highly recommend that you do and 2) suggest that you don't read this post as there are many, many spoilers.

* The links are to lyrics, rather than the actual song. *

A Song That Fits The Beginning
For this I've picked All Signs Point To Lauderdale by A Day To Remember.  I think it matches Chloe's feelings at the very beginning of the novel - "I hate this town" and "I just can't be tied down" being some of them.  I also think there's a few lines that fit with how she feels towards her mother at the beginning such as "now I never know the things to say to you".

A Song That Fits A Character
I've chosen No Different by Tonight Alive for this category.  The whole chorus - "I was looking for something to drown out the pain.  But with all the wrong answers it started again.  I learned on that very day, I just cannot keep running away from myself.  Under a spell dragged myself to hell."-  seems to fit with Chloe's decisions such as pursuing the relationship with Ethan (poor, poor Ethan) just to forget about the rest of her life and problems, and how, in the end, Ethan became part of her problems.  Other decisions she made, like, oh I don't know, GOING ALONG WITH MURDER, fit with the "dragged myself to hell" part.

A Song That Fits A Relationship
Heavy In Your Arms by Florence and The Machine is the song I've picked for this.  I think it describes perfectly the way that Chloe feels about Ethan's love of her, only the perspective is wrong.  "My love's an iron ball, wrapped around your ankles" and "my love has concrete feet" describe how Chloe thinks he is holding her back.  "[S]he took me to the river, where [s]he slowly let me drown" and "Who is the betrayer?  Who's the killer in the crowd?" are also some pretty cool lyrics in relation to what happens at the lake house.

A runner-up song choice for this category was, strangely, Happily by One Direction.  I think it fits Chloe's relationship with Oliver pretty well, except for the part where it was anything but happy!  "It's four A.M. and I know that you're with him.  I wonder if he knows that I've touched your skin.  And if he feels my traces in your hair I'm sorry, love, but I don't really care" and "I know you wanna leave, so come on baby be with me" are totally things that Oliver would say though.

A Song That Fits The Ending
I picked Break Your Little Heart by All Time Low for this one.  The chorus seems to encompass the ending: "I'm gonna break your little heart, watch you take the fall, laughing all the way to the hospital.  'Cause there's nothing surgery can do when I break your little heart in two."
I think the fact that Chloe stabbed Ethan, and then didn't care when he found out (well, she cared if it meant she was going to be found out, which I guess didn't matter in the end anyway) counts as breaking his heart.  I could imagine her laughing about what she did too.  I also think it's funny how the song mentions surgery, as Ethan had to have the surgery for his stab wound, but it couldn't do anything to fix what had happened.
And finally, "I'm moving on but you're left behind" is Chloe's attitude to everyone when she decides to leave her town for good and...visit...her dad.  Yikes.

Thanks for reading my Soundtrack Saturday of this week!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

2015 Bookish and Blogging Resolutions

Happy New Year!

Yes, I realise I am seven or eight days late, depending on your time zone.  As mentioned in my last post, I went on a little family holiday with minimal access to internet, so I haven't been updating for the last... well, while.

Since it's my first post of the year, I've decided to share with you some of my goals for 2015.  I've tried to keep them related to books and blogging, but some cross over into my "outside" life too.  They're all things that I can realistically accomplish this year, and are all under my control.

So, without further ado:  My new year's resolutions!

1.  Finish all my owned, unread books.
These include: Siege and Storm + Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray, The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, The Bane Chronicles, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes and Infinite by Jodi Meadows.

2.  Read these other specific books.

These are books I have had on my TBR radar for a long time that I really want to read.

3.  Read at least 2 classics this year.
I want to understand what's going on when people talk about them.

4.  Read some adult fiction.
I'm thinking at least five.  For example: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, Vicious by V.E. Schwab, and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

5.  Stop saying the word "really" so often.
I'm aware that this is an issue for me.  "Very" is another word that I use too much.  I need to work on using better descriptive words than "excited" and "good" and stop thinking that slapping a "really" or a "very" in front of them changes their meaning more than slightly.

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