Thursday, April 30, 2015

Audiobook Review: Beauty Queens


My Rating:
★★★★ 1/2


This is my first foray into anything by Libba Bray and I have to say I was really impressed with this novel. It seems like you either love or hate this one, and I was definitely in the loved it camp. 

I actually liked that I listened to this audiobook over actually reading it because there are a lot of footnotes to explain references in this world. In the book version I might have ignored them, but in the audiobook it interrupted the narration so you had to pay attention to it. The author herself does the narration which I have never experienced before, and I really enjoyed it because you could tell her enthusiasm was genuine because she wrote this. 

So Beauty Queens is almost like a female response to Lord of Flies. Instead of shipwrecked school boys, we have beauty queen pageant contestants crashed landed on an island and trying to figure out how to survive. The world in this book also has an all powerful "The Corporation" that seems to run everything in this version of the US, so it was almost slightly dystopia. Only it was so real and plausible that it made this book seriously scary. Seriously if you read this book and didn't notice parallels to our world, I don't think you were paying attention. Scary stuff in this book.

One of the things I loved about this book was the diverse characters. Although there are only two characters of color in this series, there are also gay characters in this book, and it really made every girl really interesting. There were times when Tiara and Mary-Lou sounded the same to me, up until we really start getting into Mary-Lou's past and she realizes that she doesn't have to pretend to be someone she is not. 

This book really celebrates girl-power and shows what happens when girls stop tearing each other down and start building each other up. I highly recommend it.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Brontë Tag

Jess over at Curiouser and Curiouser started an original tag The Brontë Tag, and tagged me like a million years ago so I'm finally get around to completing this one.

Jane Eyre

A book/series with a twist you didn't see coming


Dude...this book was great but I totally did not see where it was going to go. AT ALL. As a staunch sci-fi fan I really should have seen it coming, but I didn't.


Shirley

A book/series with more than one protagonist


This really shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that visits my blog. I love Deryn and Alek. 


Villette

A book/series set at school


Set at a boarding school, Maureen Johnson's ghost story seems perfect for this particular tag.

The Professor

A book/series you didn't like by an author you love


Sorry Meg, this one just wasn't that great. I still read all of them because I love her writing, but it was hard to connect to the character.


Agnes Grey

A book/series with a positive female friendship


I haven't written up my review of this audiobook yet, but I am getting there. This book definitely shows what happens when girls stop tearing each other down and start building each other up.


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

A book/series with a protagonist who is a parent


Okay...this might be cheating a little because there are a million characters in this fantasy series.


Wuthering Heights

A book/series with a problematic love interest


There was kind of a love triangle in this novel that I really didn't care for. I really just didn't see a reason for Alyssa to end up with anyone. Even though Jeb gets better in the end of this book, I just really still didn't like their relationship. 


Tales of Angria

A book/series that reminds you of your childhood


This is a book that I read during my childhood but every time I see in my shelf I'm just reminded of being a kid and having my mom read it to me.


I'm too lazy to tag anyone, but feel free to participate and check out Jess' original post.



Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fairytale Retelling: Fairest Review


Wow look at me go! I'm making some good progress on the Fairytale Challenge this spring, as this marks the 7th book I've read towards this challenge. 


My Rating:
★★★★

Fairest is the prequel to the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. It is the origin story of Queen Levana and explains to the reader how she became the evil queen that she is. Spoiler alert, she was kind of always evil. At least that's how it came off to me.

I have to admit I didn't like this book as much as I liked the other books in this series. I think this is something about me, and not an overall feeling about the book. I just really hate Levana. Even though she had some terrible things done to her, I think she was just always this manipulative bitch that twists her evil doings into thinking she is doing everything for the greater good of her people. She got power hungry and angry and she did unspeakable things to a man she claimed to love and to her own niece.

So even though I hate the character, Meyer still writes so well and weaved such an interesting tale that I ended up giving it 4 stars instead of the 3.5 I would have normally given it. Although I don't particularly like Levana, I still think her origin story was really interesting. The book did explain a lot about her personality and it did solve a lot of questions that I had from the earlier books. We also got to see how Winter came to be the Lunar Princess, which I think is something we'll need to know once Winter comes out. Although, I assume it will be explained in the beginning of that novel.

So it's not that I hated this book, it just didn't wow me like the other three did. I still think it was a really enjoyable read that was easy to get through.

If you like villain origin stories and want to know about Cinder's early childhood life, I would recommend reading this book. However, I don't think it hurts if you skip this one and just read the other three novels.

What did you think of this prequel novel?


Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Authors of All Time


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is your top ten favorite authors of all time! I feel like we did this topic already? Did we? Or am I just crazy? So here are mine, which was not that hard to come up with to be honest.


Dude, of course Meg is at the top of my list. I practically have a blinking banner on my blog about how much I love her. Not really...but if you are a frequent visitor you have to know that she is my favorite author.


A lot of people criticize Dessen for being formulaic, and I can see that but every time I read one of her books I remember why I love her so much. Definitely in my top five.


I got to meet Holly Black this year and I was too excited to gush over how much I loved The Curse Workers series. But seriously I love her stuff...I've just been bad at keeping up at it.


I think part of my love for Johnson is because we come from the same state. YAY Pennsylvania! I totally forgot about her Shades of London series so I need to get on finishing that one, but I love all her standalone novels.


Um...is this a question? Don't you people remember how much I gushed over the Leviathan series? 


Um...duh? Of course I love the woman who brought us Harry Potter!


Yeah I'll admit it...sometimes Martin is WAY too descriptive but sometimes I really adore his description. I think he really wowed me with his multiple point of view writing style.


Okay...I know this is a really pretensions answer but I really love Macbeth and a Midsummer's night dream, so I definitely would consider the bard as one of my favorites. 


Wilde was a funny dude, but you definitely had to read between the lines sometimes. I adore him and would definitely consider him one of my favorite authors.


I couldn't think of a tenth author so I took a look at my bookshelf and the Kane Chronicles was almost slapping me in the face. Riordan writes for a younger audience then what I'm used to reading just I find his adventure stories to be so gratifying. 

What authors are on your list this week?


Happy Reads Everyone!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fairytale Retelling Challenge: Cress Review


So I'm really making some progress on my Fairytale Retelling Challenge and my Finish That Series Challenge. Once I finish Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles I will have the latter challenge completed. But as far as what I planned to do for the Fairytale Retelling Challenge I am on track with my goal. I planned on reading 5-9 books for this challenge and Cress will mark the six one I have read! So YAY! I've already reached my Magic Mirror goal!



My Rating:
★★★★★


Okay, enough about challenge updates let's talk about Cress! First of all...why didn't I start reading this series sooner? I LOVE THIS SERIES! I think that with each book I have just loved the series more, and I think that Meyer's writing has gotten better each time. Like seriously can I fast forward in time so I can get my hands on Winter already?

So in the third book we get a lot of reveals about the Lunars and the plague, but we also get to meet Cress. Well, we get to know her a little better and she is so cool! Cress may not be able to fly a spaceship like Scarlet or fight like Cinder, but she has some other cool skills that make her an important member to this ragtag group. Cress is a programmer that understands code and can take down some maximum security systems. She is also a Lunar shell, so I like that we got to see how life was different for them. 

There isn't a lot of Scarlet in this book, as a huge chunk of it does focus on Cress's contribution to this adventure story. We also get a lot of Thorne and I thought that what Meyer does with his character arc was so important. I also love that we get to see a different side of Thorne when he is with Cress. I love their relationship. He is definitely my favorite character in this series and I am excited to see what else is in store for his character development.

While this novel doesn't necessarily end on a cliff hanger, it ends and you are just thinking, "Wait! Where's the next one? I need it now!" So yeah...I'm definitely going to be impatiently awaiting the release of Winter in the fall. I'm really glad I found another series to love, because lately I've been reading a lot of duds. With this series, every time I open up the next book I know I'm going to love it and it's just really nice to have a series like that again. 

What did you think about Cress?


Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Do audiobooks count towards reading challenges?



So if you have been following my blog this year you probably noticed that I started delving into audiobooks a lot more. When I first starting listening to books on audio I was having a conversation with another bookworm friend about whether or not audiobooks should count towards our Good Reads Challenges. I say they absolutely do! But I think in the past that wouldn't have been my answer.

Okay I'll admit it, there was a time when I was a book snob. I didn't really read comics and I never listened to audio books. When Audible first started getting big and running commercials I wasn't a huge fan of it. I had this dumb idea that listening to someone read you a book is not the same as actually reading it yourself. I kind of looked down at it, and looking back now I think that idea is pretty dumb.

Listening to an audiobook is different from actually sitting down and reading the words from the page yourself, but I think that is the point. With an audiobook you actually know how to pronounce all the character names! If the book is set in a different country sometimes you even get to hear a regional dialect, which is a huge difference from what you hear in your head when reading yourself. I actually like doing at least one book in a series now so that I can pronounce everything correctly!

Looking back on it now, I think it's ridiculous that I looked down on audiobooks. That kind of excludes people that may have visual disabilities and can't physically see the writing. So how is that fair to those individuals? It's not. Even though I'm not flipping through the pages myself, someone else is and they are just reading the text aloud to me. Would you say that you didn't read a book just because it was one that your parents read to you before bed? No, you read that book, so I think it's the same concept.

So let's bring it back to my initial question: do you count audiobooks towards your reading challenges? I do, and I think you should too! I mean... really why wouldn't you count it towards your reading challenge? Don't be like old book snob Deanna!


Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Audiobook Review: Dark Triumph




My Rating:

★★★★★

So I just recently got into listening to audiobooks, but lately I have been in a slump. I listened to half of City of Ember before I just gave up on it. I thought maybe I needed to take a break from listening to books. Then I realized that maybe listening to books that I wouldn't normally read wasn't the best thing to do. There is a reason why I didn't want to read those books, so I decided to start trying to find audiobooks of books I really wanted to read. Which is how I found myself listening to Scarlet on audio, followed shortly after by Dark Triumph.

Dark Triumph is the second book in Robin LaFevers' His Fair Assassin Trilogy. What I love about this series is that they are companion novels, so this second book does not follow Ismae after Grave Mercy, but rather gave us a taste of what Sybella had been doing. I'm actually really glad I did the audiobook for at least one of these books because now I can pronounce all the names correctly!

In the first novel Sybella came off as kind of a bitch, so she spoke to me on a lot of levels. This novel really showed us why Sybella is the way she is and the reasons she doesn't trust the Abbess is definitely understandable. This novel really made me hate the Abbess. Especially since she was all pissy at Sybella for leaving her post, but if she hadn't traveled with Beast to deliver him to the Duchess he would probably be dead. Like Sybella, I just wanted to hit the Abbess at this point.



Her story is a lot darker than Ismae's which we learn more about later in the novel once her friendship with Beast starts developing more. Which I loved because their romance was such a slow burn. Like you knew they would come to love each other, but Sybella's surliness towards him in the beginning just made me laugh. Opposites definitely attracted here! Also, I really liked that LaFevers wrote a romance between a beauty like Sybella and a big ugly brute of a man like Beast. Sybella has no problem talking about how ugly Beast is, but that doesn't stop her from falling in love with him. I thought this was such an important type of romance to include in this series. (Asti from Oh the Books actually wrote a post about Beast's ugliness and her thoughts on the lack of ugliness in YA, which you should totally go take a look at.)

So Sybella was this surly and cynical character, but she always got the job done and that was why I loved her so much. Her story was a lot different from Ismae's, but it still gave me everything I wanted from a sequel. I would 100% recommend this book to everyone I know, and I'm really excited to read the final book about Annith.

What did you think about this book?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

ARC Review: Magonia


My Rating:

★★★1/2

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley is a sci-fi YA fiction novel that is set to be released later this month. I happen to have an ARC and I actually read it BEFORE the novel was released. (This usually never happens for me.) Let me just say that while I did enjoy this novel and I would recommend it to other sci-fi/fantasy readers, the book itself didn't blow other things I have read out of the water. It was a enjoyable, quick read that was easy to follow, but it didn't amaze me like I thought it would.

I think the main reason the book didn't blow me away was because we got off on the wrong foot. First impressions do matter, especially in books and when I began this one I almost DNF it. In the beginning while the main character Aza was explaining to the reader her condition she came off as really pretentious and it was almost like the author was trying way too hard to write how teens talk. The fragmented statements and the way that it was written almost like a tumblr post really annoyed me. It really turned me off, but I knew from the summary that Aza was going to eventually find herself on some sort of spaceship so I wanted to get to the heart of the plot before saying this book wasn't for me.

Once the novel got into the plot and you meet all the different Rostrae and Magonians, I was in it for the long haul. This part of the novel is what made it so interesting to me. The descriptions here were really thought out and I could really picture what characters like Wedda and Kik, and even the Breath looked like. The idea of the war between the Magonians was also really cool, so I really enjoyed this book once I got to the action scenes.

The Magonian people also was a part that confused me. At times it seemed like the author used Rostrae and Magonians interchangeable and it took me some time to realize that they were different races (kinds?) of bird people (for lack of a better word.) I think that needed to be fleshed out and explained more. I wanted more about their capitol city and who they really were. I think that the book ends on a high note, but it also leaves some questions unanswered. So if there is a second book I would like to see a more clear resolution and the Magonian world fleshed out more.

So okay I'm complaining a lot, but I did really enjoy this novel! I loved that we got multiple perspective by also getting Jason's thoughts after he thought his best friend died. I love multiple point of view, and I think that Aza and Jason were distinguishable between each other. They didn't come off as two-dimensional so that was definitely one of the redeeming qualities to this novel.

Although I was really nit-picky with the novel, I would still go out of my way to recommend it, especially to fans of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. The mystical elements to the ships in the sky will definitely be something a lot of readers will love.


Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Crown Of Midnight


My Rating:
★★★★★

First of all I want to point out that it was not that I disliked the first novel in this series, but that I just thought the sequel was so much better. I'm serious! I was really impressed with this follow up. Bravo Sarah J. Maas.

So why did I love this second novel so much? Um...because we got to see how much of a BAMF Celaena was! We saw some of this in the first novel, but that was more about the competition and less about her actually assassinating people. In the second novel she straight up murders the bad guys and I was left looking at the pages blankly in shock. It's definitely interesting to realize that she has a deep dark side that we didn't get to see before.

Her past is slowly unraveled to us via Chaol's own research, which I think was very cool but also pretty predictable. I knew that she was not who she said she was, I knew there was more to her past than she let on, so I was not all that surprised when it was finally revealed. I was just like, "I knew it!" when it was finally spelled out.

I think the only thing that I wasn't too crazy about was that the book ends with a lot of uncertainity. I guess that's actually a good thing because it makes me want to go get the third book in this series. I just want to know what fate has in store for Celaena now!

What did you think of Crown of Midnight?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fairytale Challenge: Scarlet Audiobook Review


So I feel like I have been slacking with my Fairytale Challenge lately so I decided to listen to the audiobook for the second novel in The Lunar Chronicles. The second book was so good that I kind of wish I had sat down to read the words myself, but listening to the audiobook definitely counts too!

My Rating:

★★★★★


First off all, I loved Rebecca Soler's narration on this audiobook. I'm not really that picky with narration but I have noticed sometimes that female narrator's do really bad male voices. I thought all of the characters voices were pretty distinct and I didn't mind Wolf or Thorne's voices in the audio. I was actually glad I did the audio for at least one of these books because it cleared up how to pronounce some of the names.

So I absolutely loved this sequel from the moment I started listening to it. First of all I love the idea of companion novels so I was really excited that we got introduced to a new character in this novel. I didn't realize that we would later meet up with Cinder, but I was really excited to see how this story unraveled. 

Oh and I totally did not see Wolf's story arc coming! I kept thinking, "What is this dude's deal? Who is he?" and I can't believe I didn't figure it out earlier. I feel really conflicted about him, but I really like Scarlet, and her grandmother was so freaking cool! I loved how Meyer slowly unraveled how exactly she was involved with Cinder's origin story. I like that we've not just getting data dumps, but her story piece by piece. I think it makes me want to just read more.



Did anyone else get a Han Solo vibe from Thorne? I mean he would totally say that right? Maybe it's just the Star Wars fan in me, but I loved Thorne because he reminded me so much of Solo. I mean... criminal, thief, has a crappy ship that he thinks is the best...hmmm sounds familiar to me. I also enjoyed the love/hate relationship between him and Cinder. He annoyed the crap out of her but in the end she would have been more annoyed had he not survived alongside her. I also thought his comic relief was necessary for this story. He might be my favorite right now.

I genuinely really enjoyed this book that I'm kind of mad at myself for not getting to this series earlier. I thought this second installment was actually better than Cinder. I saw a lot of improvement in the plot and the writing, and it left me wanting to get my grubby hands on the next book in the series. Marissa Meyer has won me over with this one. 

What did you think of Scarlet? Did you love it as much as I did?


Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I want to check in on


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely bloggers over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is the top ten characters you want to check in on. Basically the book/series is over and you want to see what their life is like afterwards.

At first this prompt was hard for me, and I kind of cheated a bit because two of the characters are getting adult follow up novels. I'm actually surprised that I made it to ten. Woo hoo!


So I really want to hear from Sparrow Delaney because I really wish her story was longer than one book. I really wish this became a series, as I really thought it had a lot of potential. Maybe it didn't sell well, but I would love to hear more from her. 


I really want to know about Deryn and Alek Sharp's life after living on the Leviathan. Yes they would totally take Deryn's surname because she wore the pants in that relationship. haha. But actually she was pretty gender fluid and a BAMF. I may have also convinced myself that Verity from Code Name Verity is their daughter. I DID THE MATH and it could be true.


No, not Harry Potter, but Hermione. I want to know more about Hermione's life after the Battle of Hogwarts. I want to know about what happens before her and Ron get married and have children. I want to hear about her kicking ass and taking names.


I want to check in on Cassel Sharp after all the craziness of his life has died down. Maybe it never did die down if his family has anything to do with it. 


Um...I need another book from this series because it kind of just ends with some things unresolved. I need to find out what happens to Jessica after this book. Seriously, Scott Westerfeld get on that shit!


Luckily Meg Cabot is giving me another glimpse into Suze Simon's life next year when she puts out an adult follow up to this series. I am so pumped!


There is a possibility that Riordan might write more about the Kane siblings but I would like to see what they are up to now that they saved the world.



Omg, I read these books so long ago but I want to know what Cam is up to now. Is she a private eye, does she work for the CIA? CSI? Someone give me a story about grown up Cam Jensen!


I know that we get the epilogue but that's not enough. I want to know what Katniss and Peeta's life is like after The Hunger Games and taking down the Capitol. Do they even work?


And finally Princess Mia! I am getting another peek into her life when Royal Wedding comes up in June. I am so excited!

What characters do you want to peek in on?


Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March Wrap-up!

What? It's already April? That's crazy. I feel like this year is going by so fast. Is it just me or is that what just happens when you become an adult?

March was really the month of comics as I read less books and a whole lot of graphic novels. It was really good to delve into a new medium that I haven't really been paying that much attention to.

BOOKS I READ

                     


See! I wasn't exaggerating, I really read a lot of graphic novels in March. I'm not sure how I also managed to read four books as well. So I guess I'm pretty proud of myself. Even though I have so many more books I need to read and I didn't really do that well on my challenge progress.



AUDIOBOOKS



I didn't listen to that many audiobooks because for the most part I listened to books that I had already read in March. I wasn't too crazy about any of these and I actually DNF one I was much recently listening to. I think I might just need to take a break from listening to books ing April.


CHALLENGES PROGRESS

ha ha ha. Guess who sucked at working on their challenges this month? This girl!

TBR PILE PROGRESS

Okay maybe I didn't totally suck at this challenge in March because Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? was book three for my TBR Pile Challenge. Let me tell you that book was FUNNY! I love me some Mindy Kaling. It is also probably why I decided to rewatch all nine seasons of the office. I also need to catch up on the Mindy Project.

FAIRYTALE RETELLING PROGRESS

I surprisingly managed to read a third book for this challenge, when I thought I really wouldn't get to it. Splintered was the third book for that challenge, so I'm hoping to get to the rest of the series soon to complete this challenge.

FINISH THAT SERIES

Haha nope! I did not get to this challenge AT ALL!

What books did you read in March?

Happy Reads Everyone!