Monday, January 30, 2017

Favorite Cover of 2017 (So Far)

I needed a relatively short post to write up today, as I’m both angry at some of the awful current events going down and not feeling the greatest. So today, you’re getting my favorite cover of 2017 (so far)!

Defy the Stars
(Untitled #1)
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Hardcover, 512 pages, Little, Brown Books
Genres: YA, Sci-Fi

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that's now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth's robotic "mech" armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel's programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis--even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel's devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

My Thoughts

I don’t really know what this is about, but I also don’t really care. It’s such a beautiful book. That cover is gorgeous! Usually, I’m more of a cover model fan, which is kind of the minority in publishing nowadays, but this cover just speaks to me. I think it's the purple. I'm a sucker for purple. Now, some of my other top contenders for my favorite covers of 2017 (so far) do have cover models on them, but I’ll save that discussion for another post.

Anywho, I really enjoyed Gray’s Evernight series way back when, and her Fateful book was good too. I haven’t read A Thousand Pieces of You (it’s on my list), but I’ve heard good things. Let’s hope Gray writes a mean sci-fi book.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Stacking the Shelves: The Insane Five-Month Hoard

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

I haven’t done a Stacking the Shelves since August. AUGUST.

You’d think there would be a ton of books coming up in this haul, wouldn’t you. Well… you’d be sort of right. There’s a lot, but not like there used to be. You see, I’m slowing down on my book-buying. Why? Well, I’m worried about the whole book-moving ordeal. I’ve moved myself out of my parents’ house, but my books still haven’t made it to their home yet. That’s going to be a fun and heavy day. Ugh.

Anyway, here’s what I got, minus a few I either accidentally left out or didn’t remember to take a picture of:

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Forged by Erin Bow
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
My Life Next Door by Huntely Fitzpatrick
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Dangerous Deception by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
Firefight and Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines
Magnolia by Kristi Cook
The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes (not pictured)

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Ice Like Fire and Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch
Starflight by Melissa Landers

These are my Christmas presents. You can see some of the books here too.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Under the Lights by Abbi Glines
The Odds of Lightning by Jocelyn Davies
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
And I Darken by Kiersten White

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson by Nancy Peacock
Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia
He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker
The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
Losing the Light by Andrea Dunlop
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Well, there it is. Five months’ worth of books. Yikes. I’ve got a lot of reading to do.

What books have you bought/received lately?

P.S. I’ll explain more about the S&S visit in my upcoming New York trip recap post!

Friday, January 27, 2017

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 pic.

It's like all of the shows I watch (not counting Netflix originals) just merged in front of my eyes. Add in the cast of Shadowhunters, and we're good to go.

P.S. Did anyone watch Supernatural last night? What’d you think?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Review: Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne

Savage Drift
(Monument 14 #3)
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Hardcover, 306 pages, Feiwel & Friends
Genres: YA, Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic, Sci-Fi

The stunningly fierce conclusion to Emmy Laybourne's Monument 14 trilogy.

The survivors of the Monument 14 have finally made it to the safety of a Canadian refugee camp. Dean and Alex are cautiously starting to hope that a happy ending might be possible.

But for Josie, separated from the group and trapped in a brutal prison camp for exposed Type Os, things have gone from bad to worse. Traumatized by her experiences, she has given up all hope of rescue or safety.

Meanwhile, scared by the government's unusual interest in her pregnancy, Astrid (with her two protectors, Dean and Jake in tow) joins Niko on his desperate quest to be reunited with his lost love Josie.

Author Emmy Laybourne reaches new heights of tension and romance in this action-packed conclusion to the Monument 14 trilogy.

My Review

Crazy things are happening to the kids who were once locked in a superstore. Crazy things, indeed.

Before I really get into the review, I have to say that I did finish this book in less than eight hours, despite its flaws. Obviously, it was a quick-paced read; I just didn't enjoy it as much as the first books.

Okay, so basically books one and two were about survival and a bunch of teenagers taking care of children in an awful situation. This made the tone light and funny, even with a serious vibe from the threat of death hanging over the characters' shoulders. Unfortunately, Savage Drift took away most of that tone. The plot went from survival to focusing on issues of morality and discrimination. There's nothing wrong with a book showing injustices that can happen (especially in our current times); it just wasn't expected in this read. 

Also, some characters, situations, and plot elements were over-exaggerated to make everyone but the kids appear evil, stupid, and/or uncaring. Even the kids made some stupid decisions that seemed too ridiculous for young adults to make. *cough* Awkward and unnecessary love triangle. *cough* I guess my complaint with this storyline stems from how over-the-top the entire thing was. It just needed to slow things down a little and get rid of that strange love-triangle thing.  

Despite my complaints, this book was a good read. It had me upset and frustrated at appropriate times, and I felt for the characters. I also really appreciated how in this series the font changes for a new character's POV. That made the chapters very readable. 

All in all, I'm not really sure how I feel about the conclusion to this fast-paced trilogy, but I'd recommend YA readers who are fans of shows like The Walking Dead or any post-apocalyptic series try it out for themselves.

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Freedom's Slave by Heather Demetrios

"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...

Freedom’s Slave
(Dark Caravan Cycle #3)
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Hardcover, 608 pages, Balzer + Bray
Genres: YA, Fantasy

An Empress Fighting for Her Crown
After three long years in exile, Nalia is ready to return to her homeland and sit on the throne that is rightfully hers. But the gods might have other plans. Forced to endure untold horrors on the journey to Arjinna, Nalia learns that it will take more than cutting down the tyrant Calar to get her crown.

An Army Fighting to Survive
Raif’s return to Arjinna as the commander of the revolution against Calar and her army isn’t as smooth as he’d hoped. Though he has more soldiers than ever before, his love for Nalia is losing him the trust of his comrades...and the war. But little does the resistance know that insurrection is brewing among Calar’s own ranks—and from the one person she trusts the most.

A Land Worth Fighting for
Arjinna is dying—Calar’s evil experiments with dark magic and the strength of her own psychic powers threaten to destroy the land of the jinn. Is Nalia and Raif’s enduring love enough to transform and rescue their homeland? Will they be willing to save the realm, no matter the cost?

My Thoughts

I still haven’t read book two yet. *Hides head in shame.* I really enjoyed Exquisite Captive, but I don’t remember a lot about it. To help myself remember, I think I’m going to reread the first book before I marathon the whole trilogy.

Oh, and did you see that this book is going to be 600 pages?! Holy monkey! Blood Passage was only 500, and Exquisite Captive was around 480. There’s a huge page jump there. I’m hoping it doesn’t look too weird on my shelf like Mary E. Pearson’s The Beauty of Darkness does. Maybe Balzer + Bray will use the thin, Bible-like pages…?

What book are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

So I Lied a Little Bit and a Book Unhaul

Okay, so I know I said I wouldn’t be around very much this semester because of grad school, but I kind of lied. Maybe… I’m going to try my hardest to post at least a few times per week until the end of May (after that I’ll go back to my daily schedule). Now this may be a little wonky during midterms, but I think it’s doable-ish.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a college student. This means I change living spaces a lot. Most of my books stay with my parents at their house, but I’m going to officially graduate soon. Thus, I will need to rent an official one-bedroom apartment that I don’t share with any roommates. Or, I’ll move to New York and keep all of my books in Missouri until I can afford to have someone ship them to me. ;)

Either way, it’s time for me to cut down by getting rid of ones I’m either never going to read or that I did read and didn’t particularly enjoy. Below you’ll find my chosen sacrifices. Oh, and forgive the horrible image quality. It was late and I’d just gotten back from a six-hour trip.

Merlin’s Dragon by T.A. Barron
I love T.A. Barron’s other Merlin books, but I just don’t think I’ll ever read this one.

Destiny of the Wolf by Terry Spear
I read this one, but I didn’t enjoy it enough to continue with the series.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I don’t think I’ll ever get to this book.

Wings and Spells by Aprilynne Pike
I read book one, but I don’t really have an interest in reading book two.

The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman
I picked this up at a library sale. It was a stuff-a-bag-full-of-books-for-five-dollars sale, but the premise of this book doesn’t really intrigue me.

Devilish by Maureen Johnson
Same as The Big Crunch.

The Fallout by S.A. Bodeen
This is the second book in a series, and I don’t have the money or time to really invest in the first book. Maybe someday I’ll pick up book one, but it won’t be before I get rid of this dude.

Half Bad by Sally Green
I wanted to like this book. I really did.

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan
I won this book in a giveaway, but it just took up too much room. Plus, it doesn’t even have Orion in it. He’s the one I’ve been trying to find some more literature on.

Just so you know, I’ll be trading these books in at my local used bookstore, so they’ll probably be gone by the time this post is up.

Well, there’s my picture of shame. I’ve given up on so many series here. Ugh.

What are some books you’re thinking about getting rid of?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake

(Frostblood Saga #1)
Publication Date: January 17, 2017
Hardcover, 384 pages, Little, Brown Books
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby's powers are unpredictable, and she's not sure she's willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon. All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king's tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

My Review

Another fantasy book has been released upon the young adult world, and, unsurprisingly, it’s a good one!

Okay, so before I begin, I do have to admit that there are similarities between this book and other popular fantasy books, but this is completely okay. The similarities aren’t blatantly obvious and the major differences are rather huge. However, I would say, for the popular YA fantasy fans, Frostblood is kind of a cross between Red Queen and Ruined by Amy Tintera. It’s fast-paced, full of action, and rife with powered people.

Ruby is one of those powered people. She’s a fireblood, perhaps the only fireblood now that the king’s wiped them out. While Ruby doesn’t seem to have a very unique personality, she’s strong-willed, and her fiery temper that comes about as a result of her powers is rather amusing at times, especially around Arcus. Arcus is the frostblood who saves Ruby from a group of the king’s soldiers. He’s also mysterious, emotionally and physically scarred, and a frostblood. I very much enjoyed him. Although, I’m hoping he gets some more character development in book two.

As for the plot of this particular story, I managed to thoroughly appreciate the first half. While the prologue kind of made Ruby’s imprisonment seem less dire once the actual book began, everything did flow naturally after that. I felt Ruby’s pain and suffering, and I wanted her to become a stronger version of herself through her various trials.

However, after the first half, things weren’t as focused. There’s a bigger emphasis on everyone’s powers, but no limitations are set up in regards to these powers, so it was a little confusing at times watching Ruby go from “I can’t throw fire at a bush,” to “I’m spouting out walls of flame towards this enemy.” Also, the gods aspect along with the magic voodoo going on kind of threw me off. I was expecting this story to be solely about two races of powered people, but there ended up being more magic involved. Sometimes, I was okay with this, other times, it seemed strange.

None of these minor issues really took away from my enjoyment. It’s a fun book that uses some regularly seen fantasy tropes and shapes them into a unique storyline. I just hope book two sets up an even bigger world with even greater stakes. Oh, and there also needs to be a map in the finished copy. A map would be very helpful.

*Note: I received an ARC of this book to review from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I'm Not Dead!

Hello! I just wanted to write a quick post to update you all on why I've been gone for so very long. 

I'm currently in graduate school, and, while grad school is normally hard for the two or so years it takes to get everything done, I decided to be a smart cookie and get everything done in one year. 

What does this mean? Well, it means I have very little time for blogging. I'm still reading every once in a while, but reviewing has been fairly impossible, as any time I spend not working as a graduate assistant or doing homework is spent sleeping/eating/bathing/working out/doing other essential tasks. 

I fully plan on being back once I graduate, and I have a lot of things that I'd like to share with you, including my recent (awesome) trip to New York, a signing I went to last fall, and what books I loved in 2016. (Above is a picture of me on the Staten Island Ferry.)

If you find that you can't live without me and my updates, make sure to follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram. I try to post on those platforms often.