Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Judge A Book By It's Cover

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is actually about anticipated book for the second half of 2017, but I am a dumb that read the topics wrong and wrote up a post for the Covers topic from May 2nd!! Since I already did all the work on that topic, and doing it for this week instead. 

This one was when I first started in the Blogging for Books program, and I ended up really enjoying this one! I am actually reading the third novel in the series, and all the covers have been really cool. 

So this is not necessarily true that I only chose this one because of the cover, I also had to read it for a Book Club I used to be in. This one turned out to be a bad example of when a cover is pretty. I just didn't like this one.

These Broken Stars By Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

This cover sure is pretty...and guess who still hasn't read this book? It's me, did you guess it was me?

This one I picked out of a box of arcs at my old local bookstore and I went "oh...neat!" I ended up really enjoying it...but still haven't finished the series yet.

Yup, for sure I only added this because of the cover. I ended up only reading it after I read one of her Star Wars novels (which I loved) and went, "oh, it's THAT Claudia Gray!" This one is in the win column. 

I ended up actually doing this one on audio, and I enjoyed it but I didn't love it. Not sure if I am going to finish the series. 

Yeah...I still haven't read this one. Maybe for next Sci-Fi Month I will finally read it. 

Yup another book that I felt "Eh" on. It wasn't bad but I didn't love. Only reason I picked it was because of that cover. 

I mean the design on this cover is so cool. I'm currently reading this, but I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. 

When I went to grab the photo from Goodreads, I glanced over the summary and thought, "oh that's what this is about?" I seriously just added it because the cover reminded me of Assassin's Creed. Oops!

Which books are on your list this week?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Review: Catalyst

Star Wars Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: December 14th, 2016
Format: Hardback, 330 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
War is tearing the galaxy apart. For years the Republic and the Separatists have battled across the stars, each building more and more deadly technology in an attempt to win the war. As a member of Chancellor Palpatine’s top secret Death Star project, Orson Krennic is determined to develop a superweapon before their enemies can. And an old friend of Krennic’s, the brilliant scientist Galen Erso, could be the key.

Galen’s energy-focused research has captured the attention of both Krennic and his foes, making the scientist a crucial pawn in the galactic conflict. But after Krennic rescues Galen, his wife, Lyra, and their young daughter, Jyn, from Separatist kidnappers, the Erso family is deeply in Krennic’s debt. Krennic then offers Galen an extraordinary opportunity: to continue his scientific studies with every resource put utterly at his disposal. While Galen and Lyra believe that his energy research will be used purely in altruistic ways, Krennic has other plans that will finally make the Death Star a reality. Trapped in their benefactor’s tightening grasp, the Ersos must untangle Krennic’s web of deception to save themselves and the galaxy itself.
So I will say that if you haven't seen Rogue One and you read this book, that is actually cool because it gives you a lot of background about the Ersos and really gives you a look into Orson Krennic and why he does what he does. Also why Tarkin is pretty much babysitting him in the movie. I don't think you need to read this book to enjoy the movie, but I think it helps to understand why the Ersos were so desperate in the beginning of the movie.

James Luceno can be hit or miss with Star Wars books for me, but generally I do think he does a good job writing for this property. I enjoyed this book a lot. I think it got off to a little bit of a slow pace, but once Galen started to work on the Kyber crystal energy project that's when it started to get interesting. This is also when we start to see how everything has unraveled.

I hated Krennic in the movie, but he's even worse in this novel. This dude thinks he's the force's gift to the empire, when he's really not that competent in his job. This dude thinks he's amazing and he should be given promotions, when he doesn't deserve them. He even gets demoted as one point and says to a higher up that he refuses to accept it. Like, dude are you for real? It definitely made me appreciate the scene in the movie where Vader force chokes him. Dude kind of deserved it.

One thing I really like about this novel was Lyra's relationship with the force. I think when the movie came out a lot of fans were wondering if she was a Jedi. In the movie it definitely looks like her attire resembles Jedi robes, but she is not a Jedi. I didn't get the sense that she is force sensitive either, just that she believes that the Jedi were good and noble and she wants to believe whole heartedly in the force. I did appreciate that she was suspicious of Krennic for the entire novel. It made me like her even more.

I thought Galen was really naive in this book, but I think that is kinda of the point. We have to see how Krennic manipulated him, and we have to see why they were in hiding from him. Galen was too focused on his work to really see what was going on with The Empire and with his old friend, and he pays for it.

As a tie-in to the Rogue One movie, I think this book was pretty good and I found it very insightful to explain things that were left out in the movie. It's definitely for Star Wars geeks, so if that means you I'd recommend this one. It was definitely a book for me!

Have you read this book? Any of the new canon star wars books? What do you think of the storyboard new direction in these books?
Happy Reads Everyone!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

3 Year Blogiversary... WHAT!?!

So...I almost forgot to even write a post to celebrate that my blog is turning 3 years old this month. I mentioned it briefly in my Why I suck at blogging post.  Having run a blog all myself for 3 years straight is a big feat, even though right now I don't feel that accomplished with it. I feel really guilty about not writing as much, and as a content creator that is a bad thing. But then I have to stop thinking this way, because I do this blog for FUN outside of my full time job and spending time with my love and family. Sometimes it's a difficult hobby to do, especially if you are in a book slump or just never can finish a book like me! Enough about that, today let's focus on the positive.


One big thing that has changed on the blog this year is regarding my name change. Last year I changed my blog title from Deanna Writes to Deanna Reads, but I didn't change the url; however, a few months ago I changed the URL so things would be consistent. I actually recently did the same thing with my Twitter handle, you may or may not have noticed that I went from @Dmvasso to @DReadsBooks. I basically just want brand consistency across my blog and my twitter platform so it's easier for readers to find me. Not that a really have a "brand" per se, but I work in marketing so I guess I am always aware of brand and what it means for content creators.

Other than the planned Sci-Fi Month back in November, I haven't really been doing any events this year. I kind of laid low and just posted reviews here or there and the occasional Deanna Listens feature post. I love doing those posts, but I don't know if anyone actually cares about them. I love podcasts, so I think I am going to continue doing them. I still think maybe I should start doing a similar feature for video games since they have taken over my life. I'd love to know if anyone would be interested in it!

So nothing too exciting has happened on the blog this year, but I definitely want to continue with it. I have to remember to not get so down on myself about not blogging so much. This is a blog for fun, for me, and I'm the boss so I can basically do whatever I want. I do want to thank everyone that has commented on a post or came to my blog, your reads mean a lot to me even though I may not know who you are. I've met a lot of cool bloggers here on the interwebs, and if I never started this blog I would never have found this cool community to be a part of.


So enough of my babbling! Onto the main thing you are all here for...the classic blogiversary giveaway. As a way to celebrate the milestone of 3 years on the blog, I am doing a giveaway. It it's going to be international (as long as the book depository ships to your country) and will be for whatever you want from the Book Depository that is under $30 USD. As always no cheating or all your entires would be deleted. I haven't really had this problem before, I feel the need to still keep this included so everyone has a fair chance. 

Good luck & may the force be with you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Why I suck at Blogging

So if you read my blog (I mean does anyone really? I don't think my Mom even reads this) then you have probably noticed that I haven't been that active. A few years ago I wrote a lot of different posts and was really active, but when I moved in with my boyfriend of 6 years I started reading less and work got a little crazy and I just didn't have the energy to write. I even kind of forgot that this month is my 3-year Blogiversary! How could I forget! But I'll be writing a different blog post on that.

So I'm not quitting blogging because I do love it, and I love the connections I have made with people, but I just haven't been able to really commit to it, and here are a few reasons why I suck at blogging right now!

The new Mass Effect game came out in March, and it basically took over my life. No seriously, I had to scan all the rocks and do all the side quests. I sunk 110 hours into this game, and just finished it recently. I loved it a lot, but it definitely took up a lot of my free time that I could have been spent reading or blogging. But as much as this took up a lot of my time, I don't think this is the real culprit of why I suck at blogging, there is another reason, and I think it's because I can't focus on a single book at a time.

Exhibit A:

I recently just finished one of the books on my "currently reading" shelf on GoodReads, but what person in their right mind is trying to read 7 books at once. WHY?? Why, Deanna, why? This is why you never blog because you can never finish a damn book! So, clearly I have a problem where I just can't get it together and I can't focus on one book!

Part of the problem is that I take out an audiobook from my library via the Overdrive app and get bored of them or just forget about them, and then I lose them. The thing I don't like about Overdrive is that if someone else has a hold on a book, you can't just renew the book like you can normally, you have to re-request it. So if there is someone behind you they get the book after your due date expires and you get put back into the hold queue. It's kind of annoying, but I've learned to live with it. Such is the case for The Rosie Project and A God In Ruins. 

So I know I have a problem with reading, but I don't really know how to fix it. Does any one else have this issue where they read too many books at once? Any suggestions on how to focus on one book at a time? 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is a summer freebie, so I'm doing my Summer TBR...which probably looks a lot like my spring TBR. Oops!

Catalyst a Rogue One Novel By James Luceno

I actually only have 80 pages left in this book, so I hope to be done soon. It's a cool book if you want more background on Galen and Orson from the Rogue One movie. It's definitely for Star Wars geeks like me!

Blood of Elves By Andrzej Sapkowski

One day I will actually finish this book, but other review books keep on getting in the way. I actually just found out that Netflix is developing a tv series based on the book series (not the video games) so I actually really do want to start reading these again.

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Um...ditto to the above. This book is just so long that it's a huge commitment and other books keep on getting in the way!

Heartless By Marissa Meyer

I'm a couple pages into this, and I'm just not sure about this one. I know it's gotta mixed reviews, but I still want to try to read it. 

A God In Ruins By Kate Atkinson

I started the audiobook on this one, and then I just didn't feel like listening to it and it was given to someone else so I have to wait for it to come back to me. I loved Life after Life and this is supposed to be a companion novel, but I just think it wasn't what I was expecting.

City of Miracles By Robert Jackson Bennett

I didn't know there was going to be another book in this series, but I literally got a review copy of this the day before it went public and this one is pretty long. Definitely want to read this one sooner rather than later. 

The Princess Diarist By Carrie Fisher

I'm waiting to get the audiobook from the library because Carrie herself narrates it. I've heard nothing but good things, and I really want to listen to this sooner.

Wynonna Earp Comics

We watched the first season of the tv series on Netflix recently, and by "we" I mean I watched it and my boyfriend just fell asleep! I really enjoyed it, and I found out that the guy that plays Doc Holiday is actually going to be helping to write a five-part arc in the comics. That's pretty cool, so I'm interested to see how the comics are different. 

Ahsoka By E.K Johnston

I'm kinda of waiting this one out so I can get the audio because Ashley Johnson (Voice of Ahsoka) does the narration. I've heard it's quite good and she really channels the other voice actors from Clone Wars/ Star War Rebels.

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn 

If you are a fan of the original Star Wars Expanded Universe like me, you were probably excited to find out that Thrawn is now canon. YAY! I haven't read this one yet, but I'm pretty excited to read about this diabolical genius. 

Which books are on your list this week?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Audiobook Review: We Have Always Lived in The Castle

We Have Always Lived in The Castle By Shirley Jackson
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Release Date: June 1st, 2010 (original print date 1964)
Format: Audiobook narrated by Bernadette Dunne
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.

I had zero idea what this book was even about, and only read it because it was on a list from BookRiot.com of audiobooks one poster highly recommended. And if you do get the chance to read this, I would suggest doing the audio because Bernadette Dunne does a really good job. You can get a sense of the creep factor with the Blackwood family, and you really get a feel for the time period of when this book is supposed to take place. This book was so eerie, and I think Dunne had a lot to do with that. I was creeped out so much, and that was the point!

So I was really interested in who actually poisoned the rest of the Blackwood family, because I really did not believe that it was Constance. We did have an unreliable narrator in Merricat, because we just saw Constance in her eyes. However, just the way Constance took care of everyone and managed the household made me believe this wasn't a person that would do something like this. Also, what was her motive? I really had to know. Was it Uncle Julian? Someone outside the family? I even thought that they were just never going to tell us, but they did and I was actually pretty surprised by it. The book does leave you in suspense for a long time before you find out who did it, so it was definitely a shock for me! Maybe i missed this, but I didn't get a sense for WHY the person who did it, did it and that does bother me a little.

The whole village is full of terrible people that are just awful to this family. They really believe that Constance did this horrible thing, and even if the court decided otherwise they KNOW she did it. Things just get worse when their mysterious cousin Charles shows up. I'm still not 100% sure if Charles really was their cousin and he was after their money, or if he was just a conman and was after their money. I don't think the book is very clear on this, only that Merricat really does not like this dude. I think this aspect of the novel is really telling that she is afraid of the unknown. This family never ventures outside of their home, and guests are not welcomed very much because it is out of their comfort zone. This family really does not go out of their way to do things they don't like to do. In the end of the novel you can really tell that they will never get of out their comfort zone of each other. They don't welcome guests and they just want to be left alone.

This novel was a great, creepy story that I really enjoyed! It's an older book, but I think at it's core it reflects a lot about society and how people treat each other. This book was actually the last thing we would get from Shirley Jackson, as it was published 3 years before her death. It was so creepy and very much the story of that old creepy house that every kid has a scary story about. I really loved it, and if you are looking for a classic, gothic tale, go read this!

Have you read this? What are your thoughts? Have you read anything else by Shirley Jackson?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: Boy Meets Girl

Boy Meets Girl
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: January 6th, 2004
Format: Kindle version
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Meet Kate Mackenzie. She:
works for the T.O.D. (short for TyrannicalOffice Despot, also known as Amy Jenkins,Director of the Human Resources Division at the New York Journal) is sleeping on the couch because her boyfriend of ten years refuses to commit can't find an affordable studio apartment anywhere in New York City thinks things can't get any worse.
They can. Because:
the T.O.D. is making her fire the most popular employee in the paper's senior staff dining room that employee is now suing Kate for wrongful termination, and now Kate has to give a deposition in front ofMitch Hertzog, the scion of one of Manhattan's wealthiest law families,who embraces everything Kate most despises ... but also happens to have a nice smile and a killer bod.
The last thing anybody -- least of all Kate Mackenzie -- expects to findin a legal arbitration is love. But that's the kind of thing that can happen when ... Boy Meets Girl.
This is the second book in Meg Cabot's "The Boy" series, and I have to admit I didn't like it quite as much as the first book, but I still found it really enjoyable.

This book experiments a little bit more with writing style as it is not only written in emails, but also in memos, scraps of notes on the back of receipts and even with recorded voicemails. I think this might be where it lost me, since I read this on my kindle and sometimes the formatting was all messed up. This might be a book that is better read in the print version.

If you haven't read the first book, it doesn't matter because although there are cameos from the characters in the first book this is not a direct sequel. This novel deals with Kate a woman who has a tough boss to deal with on top of moving out of her apartment with her ex-boyfriend of ten years. If anything, watching Kate try to find an apartment in New York City (even back in the early 2000s) really cemented why I would never want to live there. Rent is so damn expensive!

The book really does show you that there are some terrible people out there, like Kate's boss Amy and her fiance Stuart. Stuart is the reason that Amy makes Kay fires Mrs. Lopez because she won't give him any dessert. The situation is kind of funny, but I think one thing that bothered me was I don't think we ever find out WHY she won't give him dessert. When pressed she says, "he knows what he did" but we never find out WHAT she is talking about. So that bothered me a little, but it's not a deal breaker.

This is another not-so-serious, fun book to read if you just need something that doesn't make you think too hard or if you need a break from depressing books. I think the most interesting thing about this story isn't necessarily the plot, but the experimental style in which it was written.

Have you read this book in the series? Which is your favorite of this series?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Deanna Listens: Book Riot The Podcast

Deanna Listens is a monthly feature on the first Monday of every month (sometimes) I created to showcase some of my favorite podcasts. I kind of unexpectedly took a few months off from doing this feature, and this month's is actually late by a week. Mostly because life has been pretty stressful, but I am hoping to get back into the swing of things. For this month, I'm talking about Book Riot - The Podcast. 

If you're not familiar with Book Riot, which is so strange to me, like get your life together people, you can check out their website. I get a lot of my book/publishing news from them, and also get a lot of great recommendations for books to read. They also just have a ton of discussions that other readers would be interested in. They also have a podcast. 

So I was a little unsure if I would like this podcast. I listen to a lot of podcasts so sometimes I have "podcast ADD" and I jump around a lot and skip over podcasts I want to listen to for a long time. It's a problem. So one day I finally decided to take the plunge and listen to a complete episode, and I found that I did really enjoy it. It was nice to hear people talk about new things in the book industry, and hear qualms about ebook pricing,  something that bothers me too. I haven't listened to too many episodes of this podcast, but of the ones I have, I've enjoyed listening to Rebecca and Jeff talk about different issues in the book community.

I think Rebecca and Jeff have a good rapport on the show, and I enjoy listening to them talk to each other. One of the things I like about the Book Riot community in generally is that they are very socially conscious. When a book is problematic they don't have an issue with calling it out. In one of the episodes they talked about "that book" and wouldn't name it because they didn't want to give credit to the person in question. You can probably guess which one that it is, it's the one that eventually got cancelled. I like that they didn't want to give this person any publicity for actually saying the name of the book or the author. 

I haven't listened to many more episodes of this podcast, but so far I am really enjoying it and what they have to say. If you are interested in this podcast but don't know where to start, I would suggest starting on You Asked Us Anything or 2016 Year In Review. 

Got a great podcast you love? Give me a recommendation in the comments. No serious, please help, I'm running out of podcasts to listen to!

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Review: The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door By Meg Cabot
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: October 25th, 2005
Format: Kindle version
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Gossip columnist and single New York City girl Mel lives in the most exciting place in the world, yet she's bored with her lovelife. But things get interesting fast when the old lady next door is nearly murdered.
Mel starts paying closer attention to her neighbors—what exactly is going on with the cute boy next door?
Has Mel found the love of her life—or a killer?

This is surprisingly one of the few Meg Cabot book series that I just never read. I think I just didn't have that much interest in it, but I listened to an interview with her recently talking about the newest book in the series, so I figured I would give it a try. Also, I was really frustrated with reading the The Roanoke Girls, that I needed a happy palette cleanser and this book did the trick.

This book doesn't try to take itself too serious, and that's kind of why I liked it. It's kind of like reading a romcom about a girl that gets swept up into a whirlwind romance for it all to come crashing down. Mostly because the dude is a an idiot and doesn't tell her off the bat that he's not the actual person she thinks he is.

This book is kind of a blast from the past, as it was originally first published in 2002 and is set during a time when most offices and people where first starting to get email addresses and start corresponding with them. I was a kid when the internet became a thing, but I do remember a time where email did not exist. So although the book might seem really dated, I almost would like to read from a historical perspective, especially since the entire story is written in emails. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this format, but props to Cabot for experimenting with her writing. I still felt like I got the gist of the story, and I whipped through way too quickly.

The story is quick to get through, and it was just a fun read that I couldn't put down. If you ever want to know what life was like in the early internet days, I would recommend this one. Man does it read dated, but I think it's almost like stepping into a different time, even though it wasn't really that long ago.

Have you read any of Cabot "Boy" series? What do you think?

Happy Reads Everyone!