Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Trailer: The Siren by Kiera Cass


Another book of Cass' I have yet to pick up. *sigh* I need this one and the novella bind-up that came out last fall. Oh, and I can't forget that The Crown with its beautifully purple cover comes out soon. I'm going to be so broke before summer gets here.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword
(Red Queen #2)
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Hardcover, 444 pages, HarperTeen
Genres: YA, Dystopian/Fantasy

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

My Review

Oh this book. I feel like that about sums up my feelings, but I guess I’ll explain a little more for those who haven’t read it yet.

Glass Sword picks up right where Red Queen left off. And I mean right where it left off. This immediately got me back into the headspace I needed in order to remember what happened in the first book. Plus, it really helped that there was a ton of action right off the bat. Gotta love me some superpowered people doing superpowered-people things.

The plot of this book was just as compelling as the first book except for a few small areas that I found to either drag on or just simply not go the way I wanted them to. I won’t explain further because I don’t want to spoil anyone, but there was some slow parts towards the middle-endish of the book. It was nothing that would ever make me want to put the book down, it was just a little whiny and repetitive. I understand Mare has a lot on her plate, but I think her inner monologue got in the way a bit in a few scenes.

Despite this small complaint, Mare’s character did grow a lot throughout this book. She went from a scared girl running for her life to someone who is the complete opposite of that. However, I wasn’t sure I liked her character development towards the very end of the book. I guess I’ll know for sure by the time the sequel comes out, but for right now, I’m on the fence. As for my main squeeze Cal, he actually became a very fleshed out character and not simply “the love interest” within these pages. Yes, some of his character’s motivations remain a mystery, but for the most part, readers get to see an in-depth side to someone who was just an attractive enigma before. I love him! Err… it. I love it. Even though sometimes I disagreed with his decisions and favored Mare’s, or vice versa, I loved witnessing their arguments because each had good points. No one in this series has all of the correct answers and I think that’s what makes the story so compelling. I think some of the side characters like Shade, Farley, and Mare’s family, really helped bring this idea home.

There was also more technology and more powers in Glass Sword which helped shape the world-building aspect. I did find it odd however, that some of the newer superpowered people didn’t know how to use their powers when they’d lived with them their whole lives. That seems like a minor plot hole to me… And also, that ending! I really don’t know how I feel about Mare’s situation at the very last page of the book. It kind of weirded me out. Hopefully that situation wraps up quickly in book #3.

Also, just in case you didn’t see my wrap-up post from Aveyard’s signing event, book #3 is going to have dual POVs! I’m conflicted over this because I suspect Cal’s POV will be added. I really don’t want this to be like Allegiant’s Four, however, I’m excited to potentially see into Cal’s brain and know his feelings for Mare, if he is the new POV.

All in all, this book is an action-packed, mind-numbingly good addition to a series I can’t wait to finish. Let’s just hope I make it to 2017 before I die of anticipation.


*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: The Second Book Finally Got Here Edition

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly haul meme that is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It allows book buyers to share their accumulation of books with the online book-loving community.

Yes, I bought more books. However, I bought this particular book to reward myself for getting through a very stressful week. I’ve also already read this one, so there’s no harm in buying it!

Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

I hauled the first and third books in this series recently. For some reason, Amazon just got the second in because it was out of stock for a while. That’s why it didn’t ship with the third book when I ordered it. Whatevs.

Also, I really want to reread the first two books before I read the last book, Kings Rising. I just want to remember every little detail!

What books have you bought/received lately?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Dean Winchester Friday

Dean Winchester (or sometimes Jensen Ackles) Fridays make me a very happy fangirl. You'll see why when you look at the image.

Isn’t this adorable!?! I really wish that this relationship had turned out how it originally looked like it was going to turn out. So cute.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

Cruel Crown
(Red Queen #0.1 and #0.2)
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Paperback, 208 pages, HarperTeen
Genres: YA, Dystopian/Fantasy

Two women on either side of the Silver-Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

Discover the truth of Norta's bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.

Also includes an exclusive excerpt of the hotly anticipated second book in the Red Queen series! Glass Sword transports readers to the world of Silver tyranny, a Red dawn rising, and one girl's resolve to break down the system that will hold her back no longer.

Queen Song
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars
Diana Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.

My Review

First off, the book was incredibly short. While I loved being able to read something set in the Red Queen world before Glass Sword’s release, I was hoping the bind-up would be longer. Honestly, I would have been okay with these two only being released in ebook format until Aveyard had more short stories available which could then be put into a hardcover bind-up volume. Sounds good, right? Maybe it’ll happen in the future…

The first novella in the book is “Queen Song,” and it follows Queen Coriane, Cal’s mom, before and after she married Cal’s father, the future king. I was very confused while I was reading this one. I didn’t read the description so I had no idea Coriane was Cal’s mother. I thought I was reading about Queen Elara at first (it had been a while since I’d read Red Queen so I didn’t remember names at the time). However, once I realized who the main character was, this novella proved to be a fantastic mini-fantasy princess story. I absolutely adored the Coriane, little Cal, and the king. That ending, though… Ugh.
The second novella, “Steel Scars,” follows Diana Farley, captain of the Scarlet Guard. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first, even with the appearance of Mare’s brother. Farley is an interesting character, but she just doesn’t hold my attention for some reason. I also didn’t really like the correspondence snippets that were included in this novella. They broke up the story too much, so I mostly skipped over them.

All in all, I’d recommend this bind-up to anyone who enjoys the Red Queen series. While I don’t think not reading these novellas would hurt your comprehension when it comes to Glass Sword, I wouldn’t take the chance that you’ll miss something later on in the series because you didn’t read “Queen Song” and “Steel Scars.”

3.5/5 stars for the entire bind-up
4/5 stars for “Queen Song”
3/5 stars for “Steel Scars”


*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, what's really got my pages in a twist is...

Lady Midnight
(The Dark Artifices #1)
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Hardcover, 720 pages, Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genres: YA, Paranormal

Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.

The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.

My Thoughts

Let’s be honest. The only reason I’m looking forward to this is because I’m hoping for a glimpse of Alec. I mean, the story will probably be great, but what really is fueling my need for this book is a certain dark-haired archer. You feel me? At least I only have to wait a few more days for this one.

What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Firstlife
(Everlife #1)
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Hardcover, 416 pages, Harlequin Teen
Genres: YA, Paranormal/Dystopian

ONE CHOICE.

TWO REALMS.

NO SECOND CHANCE.

Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

My Review

Tenley has a choice to make. One that isn’t easy. Should she choose Troika, the lighter side, or Myriad, the not-so-light side? Unfortunately for Ten, the choice isn’t as easy as it seems.

We’ve all read the girl-can’t-choose-between-heaven-and-hell story. You know, the one where the sexy bad boy and angelically hot good guy come to battle for her soul? Well, Firstlife is like that, but it’s really not. Probably because these boys aren’t angels or demons, and are instead hoping to get Tenley’s afterlife.

Yes, there are two boys fighting for her life, after her first death, but Tenley has already made her decision and she doesn’t want any part of their worlds. That’s what makes this book so enjoyable, that Tenley isn’t just picking a world because one boy makes her knees buckle and her heart swoon, instead, Tenley is saying “Screw you all” in a very direct manner. I like it. Ten is a strong, unique character. While at first I found her sarcasm irritating and too distracting, simply because it got in the way of getting to know her character, I noticed that once Tenley’s story had progressed, her defense mechanism—sarcasm—seemed to fade and her true personality started to emerge. And SURPRISE! Tenley actually is a good person under all that sass, even though she’d probably tell you to say otherwise.

I also wasn’t as connected to the love interest of this story as I normally am to Showalter’s YA heroes. He seemed too standoffish and disinterested in Tenley’s predicament to even warner my affection. But, when I was about 30% into the book, he started to grow on me. And grow. And grow. And grow. Until, by the end of the story I was cursing Gena for making my bae hurt so much. How dare you harm my beautiful Killian, Ms. Showalter?! Killian isn’t just a hot piece of meat to flaunt about, though. He actually had some major character development. Even though this development seemed subtle, to think about it now, after reading through all of the twists and turns, I realize just how far Killian had to go.

The other characters in the story were often just as complex and sarcastic, like Archer/Bow and Sloane. Archer’s character had me lol-ing quite a bit during the first third of the book, and you’ll know why as soon as you start reading. However, I was disappointed in the character development of Tenley’s parents and the other various villainous people. They were too one-dimensional and I wanted more reasoning behind their actions.

As for the plot of the story, I must say that I had no idea where this story was going from start to finish. I had an entirely different ending mapped out in my head that never even saw a sliver of life. I commend Gena for her ability to keep me consistently on my toes. Although, I did have a hard time actually getting into the story at first. Like I mentioned before, the sarcasm was ridiculously heavy for the first 30% of the book, which made it hard to understand what Troika and Myriad are, as well as why and how Tenley was locked up in the first place. This explanation got better as things progressed, however. Also, Tenley’s predicament at the beginning of the book—her incarceration—is basically just a torture session that went on and on until that same 30% was over. 

Oh, I also had a hard time following the rules of the world, like the powers and why/how humans were different and if this was an alternate universe in the present day or a futuristic story. The world needed more concrete explanation. I think a definitions page would have been a good addition. But I still had a fun time reading it, things just could have been clearer.

Once the book started to slow down, I was hooked and things started to make more sense. Killian started to make me drool. Archer started to make me want to sign my soul over to Troika. And Tenley started to show me who she really was.

All in all, this is a must-read, must-buy, must-covet series-starter for any Gena Showalter fan. And if you’ve never read a Gena Showalter book, 1) What are you doing with your life, and 2) Start. NOW.
*Note: I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Monday, February 22, 2016

HELP! I Need Your Cassandra Clare Expertise!

Okay, guys, I need your help. I found out last week that Cassandra Clare is doing a book signing event in Kansas City on March 15th and I’m wondering if I should go or not. That’s where you come in. I need your expertise.


If you’ve ever been to a Cassandra Clare (or even a Sarah Rees Brennan signing since she’s coming along too), did you think the experience was worth all of the money/time/effort you had to put in to actually get there?

See, I have to travel about three hours to the event and then three hours back if I decide to go. I also have to take off work and maybe skip class for the day (I’m not sure about this since I’ve already skipped that same class for a signing in February. I might just be right on time for the event or a little late). That's another big thing. The tour date is on a Tuesday. Who schedules tour dates on a Tuesday?! I'm tired of having to take off for these things. Grr... Anywho, I also have a signing event I’m attending in St. Louis later on in March which I have to buy six books for.

All of that being said, I also don’t even think Clare is going to sign books you bring to the event. Meaning all I could possibly get signed would be Lady Midnight, since I already own her other books and I don’t have the money to buy more just so I can have signed copies. And the way the bookseller at the event makes it sound, I have to purchase a ticket, in addition to a book, in order to get my book signed.

Basically all of this rambling is just me asking you guys if you would make the trek over to the event and shell out the $$$ if you were me. Do you think it’s worth the hassle? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Pinterest Sunday: The TBR Jar

I have decided that Sundays will now be Pinterest days. What does that mean? It means every Sunday I’ll be sharing a bookish craft with you all that I found on Pinterest.

Obviously, none of these craft ideas were created by me, and I’ll give the creator the credit he or she deserves. I just want to share some cool and fun—and maybe even new—craft ideas with you. And maybe I’ll even scrounge up the willpower to actually do the craft one day. Who knows?

This particular craft is really all over the place. More than likely if you’re a book lover who follows any kind of book blogs, Booktubers, etc., then you’ve already heard of this particular craft. I’m just sharing it with you because I have yet to make one, and I really think I should.

This TBR jar image you see was taken by Veronica Serpa over at The More That You Learn.

I know, I know. How can any self-respecting book blogger not have a TBR jar already?! I just find the idea of forcing myself to read a book painful and icky. That’s kind of why I’ve stopped accepting review requests lately. (That and I am terribly behind on them. Ugh.)

I’m not sure what my TBR jar would look like, but think I would have to do the whole colored paper bit. It would be too boring to put regular slips of paper in it. I know there’d be over 100 book titles in the jar, so I would definitely have to get a pretty large container.

It would be kind of cool to have distinct colors for each genre of books. Like each fantasy title would be green and contemporary yellow. This would just help if I knew I wasn’t in the mood to read a certain genre.

One of these days I’ll actually get around to making one of these. It’ll be really fun, and even if I don’t actually use it, at least it will look cool on my shelves! XD

What do you guys think? Would you do this? Yay? Nay? Maybe? Or have you already made your own TBR jar? If so, you should show me a pic so I can steal ideas from you. ;)

Also, if you’d like to follow me on Pinterest, you can do so here. Or, if you just want to check out what bookish crafts I have saved so far, you can go here.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: The Yellow-Dotted Cover Edition

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly haul meme that is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It allows book buyers to share their accumulation of books with the online book-loving community.

Even though I’d just spent a ton of money driving to the Aveyard and Jordan book signing last week, I decided going to my local used bookstore was a good idea. Thankfully, I still had some credit from trading books in.

White Cat by Holly Black

I’ve already read the entire Curse Workers trilogy and I loved it! I just needed White Cat to complete my collection with the new covers. This means I can get rid of the old copy and get back some more trade credit at the used bookstore. Woot! Woot!

What books have you bought/received lately?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Dean Winchester Friday

Dean Winchester (or sometimes Jensen Ackles) Fridays make me a very happy fangirl. You'll see why when you look at the gif.

I don’t understand why they did this, but I giggle at it every time. Silly Jensen and Misha.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Brief-ish Thoughts on the Shadowhunters TV Show

The new Shadowhunters TV show has been getting a lot of buzz lately. Some of it is not so good while some of it is beyond ecstatic. Where do I fall on that scale? I’d like to say I’m somewhere in the middle.

And please note, these are my opinions. I totally understand if you feel differently about the show. I’ve heard mixed things and I can generally agree with both sides, so I’m not saying one way or another that it’s good or bad.

As for the bad, I understand that there are aspects of the show that are not only absolutely ridiculous but are also absolutely stupid.

Here’s my list of those bad qualities:

-The sometimes corny dialogue.

-The terrible special effects. (Umm… hello. Flying bike thing? WTH?!)

-The weird Valentine stuff that’s been going on like with the Seelie spies. (That’s what they were, right?)

-Isabelle’s overdone sex appeal. (Lots of women are comfortable in their bodies, but it’s not talked about every single day. If the Shadowhunters are used to it, why is it constantly referenced?)

-The whole memory demon & Alec thing. That angered me. Alec would NEVER do that.

-Please don’t hate me, but I’m not really a fan of Dominic Sherwood. I am mainly watching the show right now for two reasons. Numero one being MALEC. Numero two being Simon. (This is weird because I didn’t really care for him in the book. He’s just such a good actor in the show.)

-The terrible techy Institute. Enough said.

***

I think my main problem are the special effects. I’ve liked a majority of the aspects so far, but I could probably turn if things get a little too wonky. I have a feeling my comfortability with the show stems from the fact that I’m not a die-hard Clare fan. I don’t memorize quotes or know the names of every family/character, so when Freeform changes something, I tend not to notice unless it’s a pretty big change.


Here are my list of positive things about the show:

-ALEC!!!!! I love him. LOOOOOOOOOVE. Matthew Daddario, you are fantastic.

-Simon (I’ve already explained why.)

-The Parabatai thing, while sometimes cheesily portrayed, is actually pretty cool in the show.

-The character’s ages. I hate it when characters are too young to be doing the things they are.

-The light-up seraph blades. (They’re like lightsabers, only slightly less cool.)

-Malec (I’ve only seen the one episode with Magnus and Alec first meeting, so I’m not sure how I’ll continue to feel about the portrayal of them once things get rolling. I’m crossing my fingers so hard right now that everything’s good.)

***

All in all, there may be a few more negatives than positives for me, but I’m not going to give up on it. It takes some time for a show to get into its own and I feel like once this season is over, Freeform can take the criticism into consideration and give the fans a better Season 2.

So those are my brief-ish thoughts about the show. What do you guys think?

Oh, and before I forget, I just want to say that I’ve heard the Cassandra Clare/Sherrilyn Kenyon controversy. I’m not passing judgement now, but I can see where Clare may be in some hot water.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, what's really got my pages in a twist is...

Burning Glass
(Burning Glass #1)
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Hardcover, 512 pages, Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.

But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, her feelings easily usurped, and she sometimes can’t decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.

BURNING GLASS is debut author Kathryn Purdie’s stunning tale of dangerous magic, heart-rending romance, and the hard-won courage it takes to let go.

My Thoughts

Fantasy books are everywhere these days. And I have yet to read one I didn’t like, so me thinks this will be a good one.

What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?