Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

 "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...

Smoke in the Sun
(Flame in the Mist #2)
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Hardcover, 416 pages, G.P. Putnam
Genres: YA, Fantasy

The highly anticipated sequel to Flame in the Mist--an addictive, sumptuous finale that will leave readers breathless from the bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn

After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice--to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor's ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead.

With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and very the safety of the empire.

My Thoughts

Have I mentioned lately that I hate cover changes? And this cover makes me really sad/mad. Why? Because I LOVED the cover for Flame in the Mist. It was soooooo pretty. And this one, well, it just has too much going on. Flame in the Mist was simplistic, while this looks like a Photoshop mess.

I read Flame in the Mist last summer, and it was an okay read. It wasn’t anything super special, in my opinion. I think I gave it three stars, which was very low compared to what I gave Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn. That plus the new cover design doesn’t have me super excited for this one. If the cover design had stayed the same, I probably would have bought this book; now though, I think I’ll just check it out from the library. I do want to know how it the duology ends, but these books aren’t my highest priority.

What book are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Top Ten Books I've Re-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’ve Re-read

Okay, so the actual topic this week is Books I Could Re-read Forever, but I don’t reread books as much as I used to. Back when I used to reread, I had certain favorites that I’d go for over and over again. This is that list.

Note: I'm using the past tense of read with a hyphen for re-read, and the present without the hyphen.


The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward

The Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole

The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

The Merlin Saga by T.A. Barron

The Mediator series by Meg Cabot

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis


Alright, there you have it. My list of books I’ve re-read. What did you put on your list? Let me know in the comments section.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Review: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

(The Illuminae Files #1)
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Hardcover, 602 pages, Knopf Books
Genres: YA, Sci-fi

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

My Review

Oh gosh. I don’t know where to start with this review. I feel like everyone and their brother loved this book, and I just thought it was okay… I mean, is there anyone else out there who didn’t love this book? Please identify yourself. I don’t want to be alone.

Okay, so I’ll stop being weird now. I just was a tad disappointed in this book. The reason I say a tad and not a lot is because I knew going in that I probably wouldn’t love it. I just don’t like epistolary-style writing in science fiction. Actually, the only other time I’ve read that style (the mix of emails, letters, etc. as the narrative of a story versus the typical chapter by chapter) is in Meg Cabot’s Boy series. I really enjoyed it in Cabot’s books, but that was a contemporary romance, not a sci-fi with intricate plot points.

What I didn’t expect, though, was for the plot to be a less captivating version of Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. Now, I haven’t read the book series, but I’ve watched the TV show, The Expanse, and it is fantabulous! But, Illuminae was eerily similar. Normally, that would be okay. I would typically be able to enjoy both without thinking too much of it, but the writing style of Illuminae just killed it for me. Sure, it’s a fast read despite being 600 pages long, but I couldn’t connect to the characters on an emotional level. I also didn’t find the plot as engaging, even when there were major twists and turns happening.

I also thought some of the language use was a little weird. I don’t want to spoil anything, but a certain “character” got a little lyrical and melodramatic, which I find strange due to the “character’s” background.

HOWEVER, despite how much I’m downing this book, I did find myself curious as to what happens in the sequels. I might pick Gemina and Obsidio up at a later date. Now, though, I have no plans to immediately go out and buy the other books in the series. They’re just not a priority. Another plus for this book is, like I mentioned, it’s a quick read. I think if someone was in a reading slump and they liked sci-fi books, this one would be a good one to try. I think I finished Illuminae in something like four days, and I wasn’t even super invested in it.

Back to why I want to read the sequels, the reason I was curious about what’s going to happen next has to do with the ending. The last few pages were very impactful. I just wish some of that impact had been in the beginning and middle of the book as well. And maybe it is or will be for other readers. Maybe I just was comparing The Expanse and this book too much.

All in all, I think if you go into Illuminae knowing how the writing style plays out and recognizing that the hype may just be a little too up there, then you could probably enjoy this book. It’s got a good story with some elements of shock value, and its short word count makes it a quick read.

*Note: I borrowed a copy of this book from my library. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

It's Time to Go on a Book-Buying Budget. *GASP*

Alright, guys. This is a post I’ve been both anticipating writing and completely dreading to write. Why? Because I’m super excited about the idea of it, but I’m super weary about the execution and reason for it.

Basically, this post is all about my book-buying addiction, and how it needs to slow down. Not stop, just slow down. A lot. Therefore, this entire post is about my plans to go on a book-buying budget. Sounds super fun, right?

Now that I have my own full-time job, with my own full-time paycheck, I can buy whatever I want—as long as my bank account can afford whatever it is. And yes, my bank account can afford to buy books, but I just don’t need all of the books at one time. To recap for you, I’ve bought 21 books in less than two months. That’s insane. I can’t read that many books in four months, let alone at the rate I’m buying them. You can see some of the books I’ve bought (plus some that were gifts/review copies) in the photos throughout this post. As you'll see, it’s time for a change.

I’ve been on book-buying bans before. I just didn’t buy a whole heck of a lot of books last year. That was mostly because I was saving up to move to NYC. Now that I’m at NYC, I don’t have to worry as much about saving up. (Although, if I move back to Missouri, I need to worry about saving money for the trip back.) Then, though, I had a real goal in mind. I couldn’t buy books because otherwise, I couldn’t afford NYC.

I’ve never been on a budget before though. At least, not when it comes to books. I came up with this budget plan last month, and I promptly failed at it in January; however, I think January was just a crazy special case. There were a bunch of author events happening in January, plus, I’d just decided to do the book budget in the middle of January. So half the month had already gone by by the time I made the decision to budget. To fix this, I decided not to start my budgeting until February, and so far, it’s still intact.

My book budgets is this: I can buy as many books as I want as long as I don’t spend more than $75/month on books. The only thing this won’t include is June’s BookCon, which I’m hoping to go to this year. 

The reason I chose $75 as my limit is because a year of $75 purchases will lead to under roughly one total paycheck (after taxes). This means I’ve only lost two weeks of my life at work towards buying books, some of which I haven’t even read yet.

For February, I’m doing pretty well. I’ve spent $53-ish on books, so I have $22 left. I actually don’t plan on spending that $22. Now, I’m not letting my leftover money rollover to the next month. If I don’t buy a book in March for example, that $75 doesn’t contribute towards April’s budget for a total of $150. However, if I go over budget in March, then the amount I’m over will detract from April’s budget. Make sense?

I’m really hoping this plan works out. It’s not that I don’t want a bunch of books. My dream in life is to own a house somewhere with a giant library of books. I just can’t afford to keep spending money on them, especially if I move out of NYC next year.

I’m crossing my fingers that this goes smoothly.

Do you have a book-buying budget? If not, how do you keep from buying all the books? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Stacking the Shelves: The Surprisingly Odd 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.

This week has been an odd one. Not bad, or at least, not all bad. It’s just been odd. First of all, I’m still sort of sicky. I’m mostly fine. I just have a runny nose in the mornings. However, randomly sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday, I managed to injure my back. Like my nose, it's also okay now, but it was strange that the injury happened at all. I also had an exterminator come to try and kill the mouse that’s living in my wall. (Still unsure if the mouse is dead or not.)

I actually had some surprise things happen this week that balanced out those awful things. Most of the surprises are book related. Okay, so all of the surprises are book related.

The Traitor Prince by C.J. Redwine
Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

I bought three books this week, and I was surprised by three others. The Traitor Prince is one I bought during my lunch break at Barnes & Noble, simply because I wanted to treat myself. As for the other two, Macmillan was having a free book giveaway for Black History Month. They let everyone grab an ARC and one finished book on a first-come, first-serve basis. I snagged these two. They sound pretty good.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

These two books feature another bought book and a surprise book as well. The Gentleman’s Guide was a random purchase made on the same day as The Traitor Prince, only this time from Amazon, when I realized The Gentlamen’s Guide would soon have an award sticker on the cover. I love that authors and books get awards, but I hate when they put the sticker on the cover. I’m still bitter about not buying The Hate U Give before they put a sticker on that one. *sigh*

As for Sightwitch, I actually entered a raffle at work and won. It was a total surprise because I entered the raffle last week, so I thought I’d lost. They have these giveaway raffles once every few weeks or so, and this is my first time winning one.

 An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Oh! I almost forgot! I also nabbed a copy of An Ember in the Ashes on Kindle whenever it was $2.99. Because of the cover redesign, I figured I’d go ahead and read the book as an ebook before purchasing the entire series in the new covers. Now, if I don’t like the series, I don’t have to waste my money buying a $10 paperback or a $18 hardcover (if they rerelease the hardcover with the new cover).

Well, there you have it. My surprisingly large book haul.

What books have you bought/received lately?

Friday, February 23, 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.

Lol. I need to rewatch this episode. I almost forgot about little Bobby-John.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Review: Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

Frost Like Night
(Snow Like Ashes #3)
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Hardcover, 496 pages, Balzer + Bray
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.

Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.

Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.

Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.

As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.

My Review

It’s been two years, but I finally finished Sara Raasch’s Snow Like Ashes trilogy, and big surprise here, but I very much enjoyed it.

Going in, I didn’t really remember some of the smaller plot points and details, since it had been a year since I finished book two, but I was able to catch up and re-immerse myself in the world about 50 pages in. So, those first 50 pages were a little hard to trek through, but once I got past them, I was going through chapters fairly quickly.

One thing I love about Sara’s writing is how her action scenes play out. They’re very realistic, even with magic thrown in. It’s not just a young teenager leading the battle by herself. Instead, Meira, our main character, has adults around her who know what to do, how to plan wars, etc. Meira focuses on her area of expertise—magic and individual fighting. Of course, she gives her opinions, but she also takes advice. I was so happy with how the battles and fighting strategies played out simply because of elements like this.

As for the characters, they definitely matured since books one and two. Meira has a heartfelt personal journey, Ceridwen learns to live and love, and Mather just plain ol’ grew on me. I was totally a Team Theron girl in Snow Like Ashes, but Mather managed to thaw my cold heart. (See what I did there. *wink *)

The only kind of negative thing I need to mention is that this book is long. When I was reading, I did, at some parts, feel the book could have been a little shorter. However, I can’t exactly pinpoint where things should be cut, because all of the scenes I’m remembering all seem important. It’s just a big book, so be prepared going in.

All in all, if you’re a fan of Thrones of Glass, Game of Thrones, Falling Kingdoms, or Avatar: The Last Airbender, you’ll love this YA fantasy trilogy. It has seasonal magic, cute boys, bada$$ ladies, and great action scenes.

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Nightblood by Elly Blake

 "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...

(Frostblood Saga #3)
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Hardcover, 400 pages, Little Brown
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Ruby's world has changed more than she ever could have imagined. She's in love with a powerful Frost King. She's the heir to the Fire Throne. And she may be a Nightblood--the spawn of a vengeful deity hellbent on releasing his wraithlike Minax from their prison. Once freed, these beasts will roam the earth, devouring every last person until he or she is nothing but an empty husk. But Ruby is able to control the Minax to a degree, and now she, her beloved Arcus, and her friend Kai must find a way to bring Frostbloods and Firebloods--sworn enemies--together to make a stand against a foe more deadly than any they've faced.

In this heart-pounding finale of Elly Blake's gorgeously written and action-packed Frostblood Saga, the fate of Frostbloods, Firebloods, and all of humanity is at stake.

My Thoughts

I haven’t read the description for this one because I still haven’t read book two yet. I don’t want to be spoiled. But, I really should get my hands on these books. They have such pretty covers, and Frostblood was a very entertaining fantasy read. While some of the magic was a little underexplained, I did like the characters and the overall plot.

At least, with this being the last book, I’ll get to finish up the series in one sitting. Binge reading for the win!

What book are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Top Ten Books I'm No Longer Interested in Reading

  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’ve Decided I’m No Longer Interested In Reading

I actually did a book unhaul last month that shows roughly one hundred books I’m not interested in reading anymore. (Here’s part one and part two in case you’re interested. The unhaul also explains why I’m not interested in the books anymore.) But here’s a shorter, much more manageable list of 10.

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Immortal City by Scott Speer

Valiant by Holly Black

Wake by Lisa McMann

Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi


Alright, there you have it. The books I’m not interested in reading anymore. What did you put on your list? Let me know in the comments section.