Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fantasy December: The Secrets of Life And Death Review


So I didn't get to Dune yet again, but I'm proud to say that I read the four other books I set out to read for Fantasy December! I rounded out 2014 with 63 books read after finishing Rebecca Alexander's urban fantasy novel The Secrets of Life and Death.

Alexander's book was written in dual perspectives from different times and dealt with the Enochian findings of John Dee and his assistant Edward Kelley. In one perspective we got Kelley's story and in the other we got the perspective of Jackdaw who was a woman long dead but hanging onto life due to the knowledge of John Dee's magical findings. 

The book starts out with a Felix Gruichard a professor of anthropology who is called in by police to examine a body of a girl whom has strange markings on her. Felix notices that the markings look very much like the angelic language Enochian that John Dee and his assistant claimed to use to talk to angels. The first chapter really grabbed me, but as the book went on it started to lose me and I think it was the dual perspectives that did the book in for me. 

I typically LOVE dual perspectives but in this book there seemed like such a disconnect between Kelley and Jack's stories. Yes they are connected by Enochian and the magic that extends life and also by the villian that you meet at the end of the book, but other than that it almost seemed like this was two different stories. I think I would have preferred this book if we only had Jack's perspective.

Although I had some issues with the point of view, the book itself was written well enough that it kept my attention long enough to finish it. I think it was a quick read and something easy to get through, but it's not the best book I have read this year. 

My Rating:

★★★☆☆


*I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for this review. For more info about this book click here.
Have you read this book, what did you think?
Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Goals/Resolutions for 2015

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday the topic is my top ten goals or resolutions for 2015. For me this list will pertain to both my reading and blogging habits. As always this weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
  1. READ MORE! This is my number one resolution and challenge to myself to keep on reading. I always see bloggers saying, "Oh I only read 100 books this year." and I think to myself, "WHAT? I've only read 60!" So I would like to be able to consume more books next year.
  2. Finish that series. I'm really good at starting series, and then forgetting about them and never finishing. I want to be able to keep track of my series better.
  3. Stop Buying Books. I mean not completely but I need to read the books on my shelf first. Also I'm 24 and still live at home so I really need to go to the library move and save up my money.
  4. Network with other Bloggers. It wasn't until I started doing TTT that I actually saw a comment on my blog. I really enjoyed doing Sci-Fi November, and I would really like to network with other bloggers better.
  5. Write more discussions. I tend to mostly write reviews or do lists, but I would like to explore different topics on this blog. I might have a couple Outlander discussions in the mix soon.
  6. WORK ON YOUR DAMN BOOK! I'm in the middle of revising a novel I've been working on but I've been avoiding it lately. Not that Artemis (my protagonist) hasn't been talking to me, but because she's being too whiny and I don't know what to do with her right now. For her story everything can't go back to normal right away, so I think I'm struggling with how to write her story without her conflict being completed resolved. 
  7. Go to the library More. Okay this is pretty much what I said for No. 3. I think I need to utilize my library card more. I mean I donate to them every month so I should use it!
  8. Stop Suffering Through Crappy Books. I have been getting better at this after suffering through a few YA series that everyone else seems to love. Since then I've decided that if I read the first book in a series and I don't like it I'm not reading the rest. I also need to be better at giving up on standalones. The only ones I'm making an exception for are the books I receive for review.
  9. Stop worrying about who reads your blog! I think sometimes I get caught up in how popular my blog may or may not be, and I need to remember that I started this for fun. For me!
  10. More Giveaways. I'm holding my first giveaway for Fantasy December, but it hasn't had too much interest. I would like to do a few more in the future, but I'm not sure what books to give away. My blog turns a year old in May so I think I'm going to try to do some US only & Internationally Only giveaways via The Book Depository, but I'm not sure what to giveaway. Suggestions are highly welcomed.
What resolutions/goals are you making this year?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Fantasy December: Outlander Review


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is really only fantasy because the protagonist Claire Randall travels back in time to 18th century Scotland via some rocks. Prior to reading this novel I had included it on my TBR for Fantasy December, but really this novel is historical fiction with a slight fantasy twist. Although the novel wasn't a straightforward "fantasy" novel I still ended up really liking it. I think this series is my next guilty pleasure. Give me more!

Firstly, I have a few comments on some of the most common complaints I saw in reviews about this book. Yes, there is a lot of sex in this novel, but I don't think it's fair to compare the book to Fifty Shades of Gray. Some of the sex scenes in the novel were not very long or descriptive and basically came off as "and then we did it." Except for the last scene of the novel, be prepared for that one. 

[SPOILER AHEAD]

Friday, December 19, 2014

2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

2015TBR
Guess whose participating in another reading challenge for 2015? Me...if you couldn't figure it out, it's me. 

I have WAY too many books on my TBR shelf and since Bookish is hosting a TBR Pile Reading Challenge I'm hoping to shed some books off my list. Since I'm also doing the fairy tale retelling challenge, I'm going to plan to try to read different books on my TBR for this challenge. Also, I really need to finally tackle Dune and I'm hoping this will help me do that.

There will be levels to aim for in this challenge and I think I'm just going to go for the first level--A Firm Handshake (1-10 books). I like to aim low, at least for my preliminary plans. So as you know, I like to plan out my challenges even if I don't always follow through. So here is what I'm planning on FINALLY reading in 2015:









These are just my preliminary plans they could change (very likely) and I may add some more once I start shaving books off my list again. I also wanted to make these first ten books varied enough so that I wouldn't get bored. 

Are you participating in the TBR Pile Reading Challenge?

Happy Reads, Everyone!

Stacking the Shelves (2)



I think I might have a problem...a book hoarding problem. I have a friend that says, "Yeah...but I think that I'm just starting my collection for my personal library." She might have a point. 

So this is my second installment of Stacking The Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tygna's Reviews. This week all of my books are borrowed from the library, so I am likely to start them soon but not right away.


  • Audiobook: Princess In The Spotlight-I've actually already listened to this one. Listening to the audiobooks of this series before Royal Wedding comes out was the best idea I ever had.
  •  Cinder By Marrisa Meyer-I'm going to finally read this one!! ....soon!
  • Strands of Bronze and Gold By Jane Nickerson-Ditto to the above! Just maybe after my vacation.
Which books are you adding to your shelves this week?


Top Ten Tuesday: 10 books I wouldn't mind Santa bringing me


Do not fret, you didn't sleep for the last five days and miss the weekend. It's not really Tuesday, but since I will be out of town with limited access to email, I won't be able to do TTT next week. Since I really liked the topic, I didn't want to skip it so I'm doing it a little early. As always TTT is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This Tuesday's topic is the top ten books I wouldn't mind Santa brining me this year.


....oh wait I have to wait until JUNE for this one! Anything you can do about that one Santa?





I have heard nothing but great things about this book. It seems to be getting more attention now so maybe eventually I'll read it!



I saw this delightfully weird movie not knowing it was based on a book. For once in my life I actually prefer the movie tie-in cover. 



Yup, I still haven't gotten to this sequel. Hey Santa, help a girl out!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fantasy December: Mid-Month Update

Since we've reached the half-way point in the month of December, I figured I should write an update post about where I am with my Fantasy December Reading Challenge.  

Guess who is tabling Dune again? Me, it's me. I don't know, I think I'm just not prepared to read Dune yet. Also because I just got another review book from Blogging For Books. 

The good news is that I still only have four books on my list. The better news is that I am halfway done! 



I'm going on vacation this Saturday so I'm excited to get started reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It's quite long, but I do have a flight to Florida and back to Pennsylvania and we plan on spending a few days at the pool. If, IF I finish it I'm hoping to start Rebecca Alexander's The Secrets of Life and Death, I received this one for review from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. Wish me luck on finishing my reading challenge!

What are you planning on reading this month?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fantasy December: Book Review: The Kane Chronicles


So I'm going to do something a little different on the blog today. Instead of doing a book review of each book from The Kane Chronicles, I'm going to do mini-reviews of each book and then my usual overall review. 

THE RED PYRAMID

This is the first book in the series and I think Riordan does a great job at introducing the fantasy elements of the Egyptian Magicians. I love that when you are reading you actually see the hieroglyphics of the spells they are casting. I did not know that Sadie and Carter were biracial prior to reading this series and I really liked that inclusion in the book. Especially since Riordan makes Carter and Sadie's identity issues part of the story. The adventure and the quest to save the world from Set, the God of Chaos really hooked me. I also liked that the Kane kids weren't these all power "chosen ones." They were so powerful because they had A LOT of help. You'll figure out what I mean. 

THE THRONE OF FIRE

I like that in this second installment the Kane kids are not only fighting evil but also enemies from within the Egyptian magician community. I think that made more sense and was realistic when you considered the struggle for power. I also like that Set, yeah the baddie from book 1, basically is regulated to an annoyance. Kind of like Crowley from Supernatural. This book delves deeper into the myth of the gods by bringing Ra into it. In this novel the kids are on a quest to awaken Ra and they have to travel within the different levels of the Egyptian underworld to complete the task. That was the really cool descriptive part of the book. Although I kind of liked the second book better, I think it really was just a set up for the final battle.

THE SERPENT'S SHADOW

In the final installment of the series the Kane kids have to figure out how to defeat the chaos snake Apophis who intends to engulf the world in darkness. This one brings about interesting concepts about the Gods' shadows and what would happen if you captured one. What I loved about this novel was that the weird Sadie-Walt-Anubis love triangle finally was resolved...sort of. I also like that even though Carter is supposed to be this "chosen one" his response is "maybe later." He wants to just be a regular kid that practices and teaches magic in the meantime. I also liked the open ending, so you know that Riordan may return to the Kanes one day. 

OVERALL

I really enjoyed this series, and I think my favorite thing about it was Sadie Kane. Sadie's sassy, take no one's B.S. attitude is what made me love this book. I also really enjoyed the duel perspectives between the two siblings. The only complaint I have is that there were times were I had to remind myself if I was reading Sadie or Carter's chapter. There were only a few instances where their voices tended to blur. I'm actually glad I found this issue, because I think Riordan has improved a lot on this in his Heroes of Olympus series. It's really cool to see a writer hone and develop their craft over the years. 

I still think I like Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus series better, but I did find this venture into the Egyptian Gods really fascinating. I'm giving this one a 4 out of 5 Stars.

What did you think about the Kane Chronicles?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fairytale Retelling Challenge 2015

The Daily Prophecy

I recently discovered that Mel from The Daily Prophecy is hosting a fairytale retelling challenge for all of next year. I've been looking for something to motivate me to finally read the Lunar Chronicles, so maybe this will get my butt in gear.

The challenge won't start until the first of the year and rereads count, so it's another reason that I am intrigued by this challenge. I also like that there are levels you can aim for depending on how many books you end up reading.  I'm aiming for Magic Mirror, maybe I will get to Big Bad Wolf. The 6 different levels are as follows:
  • Prince Charming: 1 – 4 books.
  • Magic mirror: 5 - 9 books.
  • Big bad wolf: 10 – 15 books.
  • The wise princess: 16 – 20 books.
  • Wicked fairy Godmother: 21 – 25 books.
  • Bluebeard: you are killing it! 26+ books.

I like to plan out my challenges, even if I don't follow through with them. I'm planning on trying to read the following in 2015:
Are you joining the challenge? Which fairytale retelling will you read in 2015?


Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I Read in 2014


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is the top ten books that I have read in 2014. I thought this one was going to be a lot harder, but I ended up just going with my gut instincts. If you've been reading my blog since I started participating in TTT, these will probably not come as a surprise to you. As always, these are in no particular order.



Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

OMG! I loved this book. This was my first foray into steampunk and I loved every minute of it. The boyfriend gave me the rest of the series for Christmas so I might just reread this one before I start Behemoth.



UnWind by Neal Shusterman

Yo, this is probably one of the most effed up books I have read, but it was so damn good. I highly recommend this whole series.


A Song of Ice and Fire By George R.R. Martin

Okay "technically" I started this series in 2013, but I love this series. A lot of people don't love all his wordy description but it's my favorite part. I also love that he writes woman not only as "strong" but as freaking people with vulnerabilities and different personalities. He knows how to write real women.




This one is a no brainer. Cabot is my favorite author so of course the ending of the Heather Wells mystery series is on my list. Also this one reminded me why I fell in love with the series in the first place. It's so funny!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Royal Wedding Cover Reveal & Excerpt!!!

You have to know by now that Meg Cabot is my favorite author. So you probably also know how freaking excited I am that Meg is putting out an adult follow up to not only The Princess Diaries but to The Mediator Series. These are two of my favorite series by Meg, and they are also the books that I believe really helped me want to become a writer. (Finishing my book and trying to get it published is a whole other story.)

When news was released that an adult follow up to Forever Princess was coming out, I was ecstatic. I was super pumped when I found out Royal Wedding was coming out in June, because my birthday is that month. Happy Birthday to me! Today I saw Meg share a link on her facebook page where you could read the first excerpt via Cosmopolitan. I think this is my favorite part so far:
I swear Dr. Goldberg must be the only person in the entire Western Hemisphere who doesn't know Michael's name.
Is Michael Mosvovitz the world's greatest lover? 'YES!' says sex-mad Princess Mia, declares the cover of this week's InTouch. 
Michael's dad thought this was so hilarious, he bought dozens of copies to give to his friends and even his patients. Michael's asked him to stop, but his dad won't listen. "You really expect me not to buy this?" Dr. Mosvovitz asked. " My son is the world's greatest lover! It says so right here. Of course I'm going to buy this!" 
You will also notice that the cover for the new novel was revealed in the article. I really like the design of the cover. I think it's simple without looking boring and I love that it is "Tiffany's Blue." I think that color is perfect for Mia. One thing that bothers me with book designs is when they put real people on the cover. I think this series has always used graphic design to it's advancement by not doing that.  I really like the silhouette effect that was included in the design of the cover. I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

I'm super excited about this follow up novel. Right now I'm debating on whether I should just preorder this book now or wait until it gets closer. I was going to reread all the books in the series before the new one came out, but I opted to relive the series by doing the audiobooks. I'm only on the first one, but it is reminding me why I loved this series in the first place. It also reminded me that Mia & Michael are my ultimate OTP! I just hope I don't crash my car from laughing too hard!

Who else is excited about Royal Wedding

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (1)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is about sharing the books you have added to your shelves this week. These books can be either physical or virtual, books you've borrowed, bought, review copies, or even giveaways. 

As you can see this is my very first time participating in stacking the shelves. I've seen a lot of bloggers in my feed doing this post, but every time I want to participate I haven't gotten any new books. This week is different, as I exchanged christmas gifts with my boyfriend already so I received some new books this week.



BOUGHT:
  • Leviathan By Scott Westerfeld I've already read this book when I borrowed it from my library earlier this year but I loved it so much that I wanted to have a copy of it. I mentioned this to my boyfriend so I thought I was going to get for christmas but then I saw it at the Library Book Sale for a quarter and had to call him to make sure he didn't get it for me. Luckily he thought I already had it!
  • Gone by Michael Grant I've had this on my list for some time but just never got around to it. I also saw it at the Library for a quarter and figured I better nab it right then and there.
  • Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel I saw the movie in college for a campus event for mental health awareness week, so I did want to go back to read this book. It's memoir so it's not really in my comfort zone but it's nice to branch off into different genres. This one I also got for 24 cents!!
BORROWED:
  • AUDIOBOOK: The Princess Diaries. I wanted to reread The Princess Diaries before Royal Wedding comes out but to reread ten books would have been too much for me to do right now. So I opted to listen to the audiobook while I'm in my car. Anne Hathaway narrators the first book and so far it is reminding me why I loved this series so much in the first place. Also, if you want to know what it was like to be a 14-year-old girl in the early 2000s, this book is it.
CHRISTMAS:
  • Behemoth & Goliath (Leviathan Series) By Scott Westerfeld As I stated above the boyfriend thought that I already had Leviathan (because I already read it) and I did say maybe I would get the rest of the series for Christmas AND I DID. WOOHOO. I might even reread the first book in the series before I complete it. I love me some Scott Westerfeld. 


Which books have you bought or received this week?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fantasy December: Winter Giveaway! (US Only)



So you may have noticed that I never do giveaways on this blog. Mostly because I'm still a baby in the book blogging community (my blog is not even a year old yet!), but also because I'm a book hoarder. I just want ALL the books! But since the majority of these books are fantasy and I declared it Fantasy December I wanted to FINALLY do a giveaway. It's also my way of saying happy holidays and thanks for looking at my silly little blog.

My copy of Moonkind by Sarah Prineas is an ARC, but the rest are all (too my knowledge) books that were published as part of their book launch. So here is how this is going to work. I'm going to be selecting two winners that will have a choice of three of the books in the pile. It will be first come, first serve, so the first place winner might pick a book that the second place winner wanted, so be mindful of that. 

Whatever I don't get rid of might be in the next giveaway I host. Maybe in May when my blog turns a year old! I also will eventually host an international giveaway via the Book Depository for my international followers (probably also in May). Good luck and may the force be with you...oh wait, wrong movie... err I mean blog!

P.S. This is my first time hosting a giveway so let me know if you have any questions!

Happy Reads Everyone!






Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New To Me Authors


As always Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week's meme is the top ten new to me authors I read in 2014. I thought that I would actually have more than ten, but turns out that's my magic number. Also as always in my lists, these are in no particular order.

Neal Shusterman, for the Unwind Dystology


Stephanie Perkins, for the Anna and the French Kiss companion series



Jon Skovron, for Man Made Boy



Rick Yancey, for The 5th Wave



Lauren Oliver, for Panic


George R.R. Martin, for A Song of Ice and Fire



Jamie Ford, for Songs of Willow Frost


Patrick Ness, for More Than This


Jodi Lynn Anderson, for Tiger Lily


Robin LaFevers, for Grave Mercy

I highly recommend all of the above books and authors. Which are on your list?