Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Royals by Rachel Hawkins

 "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...

Royals
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Hardcover, 256 pages, G.P. Putnam
Genres: YA, Contemporary

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond.

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.

My Thoughts

The premise of this book sounds so cute! It’s like one of those cheesy, irresistible Hallmark royalty-romance movies! I’m a sucker for princes, so that tidbit mixed with the fact that I love Rachel Hawkins’s Hex Hall trilogy is making me really want to get my hands on this.

What’s not making me want to get my hands on this: that ugly cover. It’s just trying too hard to be cute, ya know? I feel like it’s a cover for a small girl, not a teenager. Oh well, maybe I’ll just check this one out from the library and hope the paperback gets a new cover…

What book are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Read

It’s Top Ten Tuesday time!

If you’re unaware, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly original feature created by The Broke and the Bookish, and it’s now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week there’s a new Top Ten theme that the blogger responds to with their own list of answers.

This week’s theme is… *drumroll please*…

Books I Can’t Believe I Read

I just want to clarify that some of these books are on this list for different reasons. Some titles I’m angry about, some I’m just surprised I actually picked up.

***
Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

This book surprised me in a good way. I just recently read this, and I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did. I want the sequel now!

Lifeblood by Gena Showalter

I was disappointed in this one. I actually couldn’t believe I read such an egh book by Gena Showalter. One of my favorite authors. Especially when the first book was good.

Sanguine Mountain by Jennifer Foxcraft

This one just has such a strange concept that I can’t believe I read it. And liked it! It’s about bat people! Not vampires, but bat people!
Evermore by Alyson Noel

I just don’t know why I stuck with this series for so long. I still haven’t read the last book, but the first five were just so bad.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I think this one will be on at least a few people’s lists. I don’t even care so much about the ending; it was the awful world-building concept that frustrated me. You can’t just build a world and then claim it’s all fake!
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I enjoyed this series when it came out, and I don’t think it’s one of the worst romances out there now. Mostly though, I just can’t believe I read this series. I think I even borrowed money from my mom to buy the ebooks, not that she knows what I bought. ;)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I just can’t believe that after all of those years, we got an eighth Harry Potter “book.” When I first read it, I thought it was good. Now that I’ve thought about it and read things about it, I know how bad it really was. Still going to see the play in October though.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

This one’s on the list because I can’t believe I actually got to read it! I also can’t believe I went to the release party at my local Wal-Mart (no bookstore in my hometown) at midnight and read the book out loud, taking turns reading chapters, with my sister. Craziness.

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice

Wth did I read?! This book was freaky! It was some kinky nastiness that I wish I could scrub out of my mind. It wasn’t even normal romance/erotica stuff, it was just weird. In a bad, bad, bad way.
The Chosen by J.R. Ward

This one made me so angry. I was sooooo looking forward to this one, but one of my favorite characters turned into an abusive a$$hole. I actually don’t know if I’ll continue reading Ward’s books after that disaster of a book.

***

Alright, there you have it. My list of Books I Can’t Believe I Read. What did you put on your list? Let me know in the comments section.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Pierce Brown's NYC Iron Gold Event Recap

Alright, it’s time to talk about the third author event I attended in the month of January. And what’s terrible/awesome/expensive, is that it won’t be my last. I actually have two more I might possibly attend this coming week. Yikes.

Anywho, I went to Pierce Brown’s Barnes & Noble Union Square NYC event on Wednesday, January 24th. To actually get a wristband for the event, not only did you have to buy the book from B&N, but you also had to pick up a wristband sometime between 9 a.m. and when the event started. Not a big deal, except I didn’t expect there to be a line.

The line outside B&N

Thankfully, I work only five minutes away from this particular B&N and I was in the middle-ish area of the line, since I got there around 8:50 a.m. So, I was able to get to work on time, since work for me doesn’t start ‘til 9:30.

Once I got off work, I immediately hauled s$$ back to the store, only for a lot of people to already be waiting in the seats. And it was only 6 p.m.! This meant I had to find my seat and wait for the event to start. No shelf browsing for me. *sigh*

When the event actually started, Pierce Brown and his editor Tricia from Del Rey had a conversation about Iron Gold. The only problem: the editor’s voice was super soft. It was hard to hear what she was saying 75% of the time. However, Pierce Brown was a very loud and engaged speaker, so all of us could hear him perfectly fine.

Tricia and Pierce (This pic is from B&N).

Listening to Pierce speak and hearing some of the questions fans asked from the audience, I realized that I didn’t remember as much about the Red Rising trilogy as I thought I did. Which sucks, because I just finished it in October of 2017. I’m thinking I may need to do a reread before diving into Iron Gold

Pierce answered really nerdy (full respect for the nerds) questions about the domes over the planets and how the science “works” for his world. However, he fully admitted that he just made stuff up and/or went down research wormholes late into the night.

Probably the biggest controversy when he talked was when he mentioned how he decided to make decisions about killing a character in Red Rising. So, if you haven’t read that book or Morning Star, please don’t read the next few paragraphs.

Apparently, Pierce put all of the names of his characters, minus Darrow and Mustang, into a hat, and then drew a name out to decide who to kill. The name ended up being Pax. What’s sad is that Pierce actually had a plan for Pax that involved Pax and Ragnar becoming Bash Brothers in the sequels. Also, Pax and a character I didn’t hear the name of would have fallen in love and had a kid together. This would have made the first mixed child in their world. Again, I didn’t hear the name of the woman, so I don’t know what the mixed heritage refers to. However, none of that happened because Pax was killed off in book one. Boo…

Another funny story Pierce had was about his previous editor for the first three books. Whenever his editor, who I believe was named Michael (if that isn’t his name, we’re just going to call him that for now, ‘kay?), first read Golden Son’s ending, he was in his cubicle at the Del Rey office. Apparently, Pierce only told his editor that there was a wedding at the end of the book. Whenever Michael actually got to the end of Golden Son, he very loudly exclaimed worlds like “What the hell?!” Yep, that wedding was brutal. It was like the Red Wedding in space.

As for the signing portion of the event, it went pretty well. Unfortunately, I’d sat in the middle row, so I had to wait a while to get my book signed. You could tell though that Pierce Brown had gotten used to doing these events over and over again because he was signing and posing for pictures like crazy.

A B&N employee took photos for attendees

Once I got to him, he asked me if my name was pronounced Rachelle (Ra-shell). I said yes and that I was surprised he knew it because most people just say Rachel. After posing for the pic, he said “It was nice to meet you, Rachelle. I mean, Rachel.” We chuckled, and that was the end of the event. I walked off, so I could make my way home.


I think this was the first event where I didn’t act like an awkward fool when I met the author. But, then again, there were so many people that he was flying through the signing line. I think there were at least 200-250 people.

All in all, it was a good event. I just need to go brush up on my Red Rising knowledge immediately.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands
(Rebel of the Sands #1)
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Hardcover, 316 pages, Viking Books
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three.  She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.

My Review

A gun-slinging girl in a desert fantasy world sounds like a pretty fun read to me, so I don’t know why I put off reading this book for so long. That was a pretty big mistake on my part.

Amani is a strong female character who doesn’t want to live the life her small town has set out for her, and I don’t blame her for wanting better for herself. The people in her country are very sexist. But Amani can outshoot almost anyone, and that aspect combined with the rich desert world and a solid magic system make this book one hundred times better than any wild west cowboy story out there.

As for the main squeeze of the story, Jin is a good male protagonist/love interest. He’s the typical brooding, mysterious guy with a shady past, or so we think… I actually was surprised to learn who/what he was in later chapters. Also, his interactions with Amani are pleasantly charming, hilarious, and swoon-worthy 95% of the time. (There was a 5% time where he was just being rude, so I can’t give him all the props.)

Now, the plot of the book is where things get interesting for me. Because, while I loved the main characters, I have little to say about them. They’re great. End of story. The plot, though. Yeah. The first half was, like I’ve mentioned, a wild west/desert shoot-out set in a fantasy land. It was great! The second half of the book, though, kind of becomes more of a magical fantasy story. While I didn’t hate the second half of the book (I liked it well enough), I thought the atmosphere of the story really changed from the first half. I guess I just missed the tone I’d gotten used to on page one. Oh, I was also very shocked by the twist of events that happened in the second half. I totally wasn’t expecting any of that.

Even though the first and second parts of the book were different in tone and atmosphere, I still LOVED the book. I’ve already purchased a copy of the sequel, and I plan on reading it as soon as possible, especially now that book three is almost here.

All in all, if you love shoot-’em-up cowboy stories, fantasy tales, or, heck, even Aladdin, there’s a very high chance you’ll enjoy Rebel of the Sands.


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

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Stacking the Shelves: The Space Edition

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

I only bought one of the books this week, but it was an expensive one… Oops.

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

I preordered this book back in December so I could get the preorder incentive—the character poster. It has two other characters on it than what’s pictured, but the full thing wouldn’t fit in the frame. Thus, I thought Darrow’s pic was the most important to capture. I also went to Pierce Brown’s signing in NYC this Wednesday. Stay tuned for my recap.


Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

Borrowed this one from work. It’s an ARC copy. I have a whole shelf of Tor and Forge ARCs that sit behind my desk. And I can’t keep them! I have to return them. Boo… I’ve already finished this one, so it’s back at my work desk now.


Empress of a Thousand Skies & Blood of a Thousand Stars by Rhoda Belleza

Penguin Teen was nice enough to send me a finished paperback copy of Empress and an ARC of its sequel. I’ll be posting a review of Empress on February 1st for a blog tour. Make sure to check it out!

What books have you bought/received lately?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Dean Winchester Friday

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


Dean was a bit of an alcoholic in seasons past, so I’m not sure if it’s a good idea for him to be drinking so much wine. His liver is probably shot. At least he’s still cute.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Unearthed's NYC Event Recap

So last week, I attended Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s NYC event at Books of Wonder for their newly released title Unearthed. Unearthed is apparently a YA Indiana Jones book set in space. Sounds good, right?

The giant Unearthed poster (left) and table all set up for the event.
This was the first event I attended alone. Boo… My roommate didn’t want to go with me since it was on a holiday and it was super cold out. I almost didn’t attend either, but I’m glad I pushed through my fear of the cold. (I’ve been getting ridiculously sick lately, so the icky weather is my new nemesis.)

Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are hilarious. They are completely lovely geeks, and I’m totally here for it. They talked about Star Trek, video games, Indiana Jones (of course), and even soundtrack composers.

Both of them have such a fun connection to each other. You could tell that they were friends and that this wasn’t a simple case of two writers being forced to work together. They genuinely love what they do together.
Meagan (left) and Amie (right)

Speaking of what they do together, they mentioned how, in order to write their books, they actually have a team of people behind the scenes. For instance, they have a doctor friend who helped them figure out what kind of painful hand injury they could give their main character that would allow her to still perform dangerous tasks with only seconds to live.

Amie also talked about how she was originally scared to have Meagan and Jay Kristoff (her coauthor for the Illuminae books) meet for the first time, just because she wanted them to get along. But apparently, after drinking and singing karaoke together, Meagan and Jay really hit it off. Amie had nothing to worry about. She said that they were basically like the same person because they liked the same things.


As for the signing portion of the event, there was a lot happening there. I got to the event a little later than I’d planned (stupid subway was slower than dirt), so I was number 22 in the signing line. But, thankfully, I still had time to purchase a copy of This Shattered World, which was the plan all along.

That was the plan. To pick up This Shattered World. And no other book. Alas, I ended up buying Unearthed too, and Traitor to the Throne, but that’s just because I’d finished Rebel of the Sands earlier that weekend. With the purchase of Unearthed, I also got a free tote bag! Yay for free stuff!

Once the signing portion started, I browsed the shelves of Books of Wonder while numbers 1-20 went through the line. When I finally reached Amie and Meagan, I said something super awkward. Because it’s me, and I’ve just grown to accept the fact that I will never not say something awkward at an author event.


Anyway, I was talking to Amie Kaufman, and she apologized for the line taking a long time. I said something like “Oh, no problem. I’ve waited hours before for an event.” Then, I realized how rude that could potentially sound, as in, “Oh, don’t worry, your event didn’t attract as many people as these other authors I’ve seen.” Which isn’t true at all, there were actually a lot of people at the event.

So, to make up for what could potentially sound like a mean, catty statement, I said something along the lines of “I had to wait hours for Tamora Pierce’s event. This entire building was full of people.” *sigh* My big mouth just doesn’t know when to stop. I think Amie understood what I meant though, because she was like, “Yeah, it’s Tamora Pierce” in almost a fangirl-esque kind of way… I hope.


I didn’t really get to talk to Meagan for very long. She just kind of signed my books, and I started the trek home, silently berating myself for my verbal diarrhea.

Well, that was how that event went. I went, I saw, I bought books, I got the books signed, and I put my foot in my mouth. Let’s hope my next event has less embarrassing stories attached to it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Allied by Amy Tintera

 "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...

Allied
(Ruined #3)
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Hardcover, 416 pages, HarperTeen
Genres: YA, Fantasy

In the final book in the New York Times bestselling Ruined series, the romance of The Selection and the epic stakes of Red Queen come together in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.

Emelina Flores and her sister, Olivia, were determined to bring peace to the people of Ruina. But as the war for liberation raged on, what triumph and freedom meant to Em and Olivia slowly changed. As Olivia’s violence and thirst for vengeance became her only ambition, Em was left to pick up the pieces.

But it’s not only Em who is upset by Olivia’s increased violence. Other members of the Ruined army are beginning to see the cracks, and soon a small group of them defects from Olivia’s army and joins Em instead. The two sisters are soon pitted against each other in an epic battle for the kingdom and the future, and only one will win.

My Thoughts

I was very disappointed in book two of this trilogy. I guess it was because I enjoyed Ruined, book one, so much, and Avenged just didn’t have the same enjoyment factor that the first book did. Hopefully, the third book turns things around; however, I’m not sure when I’ll actually pick this one up. Of course, I’ll buy it just to complete my collection.

That cover is gorgeous, though. It’s definitely better than Avenged’s cover.

What book are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Top Ten Books I Liked But Can't Remember Much About

It’s Top Ten Tuesday time!

If you’re unaware, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly original feature created by The Broke and the Bookish, and it’s now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week there’s a new Top Ten theme that the blogger responds to with their own list of answers.

This week’s theme is… *drumroll please*…

Books I Liked But Can’t Remember Much About

This will be a pretty short list. I don’t really think about this topic very often, and I don’t have a lot of books that immediately come to mind, so… Let’s see what I can think of.

***
The Host by Stephanie Meyer

I remember the basic plot of this one, but I don’t remember as much about the romances.

Everbound and Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

I remember the plot of the first book, but not the sequels. I’m thinking it’s time for a reread.

Matched by Ally Condie

I still haven’t read the last book in this trilogy, so, in order to finish the series, I need to reread the first two books.

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

This is a confusing, but good book. I don’t remember who’s who and what’s what though.

The Soldiers of Halla by D.J. MacHale

I read this series in middle school/junior high. I want to reread it though, because I can’t remember how the last book ends.

***

Alright, there you have it. My list of books I read and liked but don’t really remember anymore. What did you put on your list? Let me know in the comments section.