May 9, 2017

Bout of Books 19 Sign-Up/Progress

I just figured out that the 19th round of Bout of Books started yesterday and around 8:00 PM (CST) I decided to join. This read-a-thon is perfect because I have just finished my last few days of grad school and now am officially on summer break! I haven’t had one of these since I started my BA so I am super excited for all the reading I can get done!

I have quite a few library books that are more than likely going to show up in the next week. With that being said,  these are the books that I am going to pull from. I also have ARCS that I have to read for review so these to particular lists will be what I pull from. I don’t have to say that I am a mood reader (I think 99% of us readers are) and so these might not be the ones I read, but since I am in the mood for them all at the moment they’re all in play for this read-a-thon.


Goals:
Finish at least three books during this readathon.
Read for 2 hrs. throughout the day.
Keep track of what I read during this read-a-thon every day.

The sort of TBR
From the Library
ARCS 

 


Daily Progress Updates
Monday
Books I’ve Read Today:  The Fifth Season by N.K Jemisin & Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Number of Pages: 300 (TFS) 10 (STTC)
The total number of books I’ve finished: 1
Total pages read: 310
Basic thoughts of the day: I was so glad that even though I didn’t know about the read-a-thon that I still read and ended up finishing one off the books on my TBR.

 

Tuesday
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Wednesday
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Thursday
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Friday
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Saturday
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Sunday
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May 4, 2017

Too Beautiful to Resist | Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday:Favorite Upcoming SFF Covers

Hello everyone, long time no blog! But since this semester has ended and I am free for the summer I can finally put some much needed TLC into my poor neglected blog.

As you can tell by the title of this post, for today’s Top 5 Wednesday we’re going to talk about those covers of science-fiction and/or fantasy that make us lust after them. The one that takes us from either young adults or adults to toddlers petting their favorite soft blanket. Today I’m going to be a bit different in the respect I’m going to talk about all the covers of future releases that have me enthusiastic about reading them. In this way, I haven’t actually read any of these books (besides those that are sequels) so most of these I’m going on the cover alone.

(click each titles name for the link to their Goodreads)

SHADOWHOUSE FALL by DANIEL JOSE OLDER | SHADOWSHAPER #2 | Arthur A. Levine Books| SEPTEMBER 12TH 2017

I recently read the first book in this series SHADOWSHAPER and I absolutely loved it. The magic, the family, the heart in this book. This cover is so beautiful and does the beautiful insides of this book so much justice! This one is technically urban fantasy but they’re so beautiful that I had to include them!

THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER by K. ARSENALT RIVERA | TOR | Their Bright Ascendency #1 | OCTOBER 3RD 2017

I have been lusting after this book for a long time and the cover makes me want it even more! Look at it! It’s a beautiful painting style cover with two dashing ladies on the cover. What more could you want in a cover? It screams fantastical adventure!

WARCROSS by Marie Lu |G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young | Warcross #1 | September 12th, 2017

I will be the first to admit that when I saw this cover I was not enthusiastic as I should be about this book. But the more I look at it the more I love the colors that they used and it really intrigues me to see in what aspects these colors are used. This will be the first book of Marie Lu’s that I will get to experience and I’m so excited!

THE CITY OF BRASS by S.A. Chakraborty | Harper Voyager | Stand Alone | November 14th 2017

I am not sure if this one technically counts as fantasy or urban fantasy. There are fantastical elements and I was instantly drawn in by this cover and this is a book for anyone who loved “The Golem and Jinni”. Djinn and foreign places are my kryptonite. Sign me up!

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi |Razerbill | ?? | October 31st, 2017

 This is another one that I found out about before the cover was revealed. I loved the premise but I also love this cover. It’s so mysterious (and slightly scary) and like the others I find myself drawn to not only the premise but also the gorgeous cover. Look at it! Doesn’t it scream “Open me, see what I’m about?”

April 16, 2017

Science, Dragons OH MY | A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan Backlist Review

A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan
Published by Tor Books on February 5th 2013
Pages: 334
Goodreads

Marie Brennan begins a thrilling new fantasy series in A Natural History of Dragons, combining adventure with the inquisitive spirit of the Victorian Age.
You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one's life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.
Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
"Saturated with the joy and urgency of discovery and scientific curiosity."Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on A Natural History of Dragons
An NPR Best Book of 2013

I can’t say that I am the most interested person in natural history. But what does interest me is the idea of taking an idea like dragons and spinning it on its head. With the last book in the series WITHIN THE SANCTUARY OF WINGS coming out on the 25th of April I thought it would be such an excellent time to start this series. Brennan mixes our Victorian time period and turns it on its head with the introduction of dragons. This is such a different spin on dragons that I couldn’t help but be hooked from the very first chapter.

Thanks to my library, I was able to read and listen to the audiobook of A Natural History of Dragons and in which both offer something quite unique. In the physical copy, there are drawings that are Isabella’s. This allowed me to experience how both mediums helped, in their own respects, to humanize and endear the readers to Lady Trent that otherwise with the memoir style that the book was written could easily put the reader at a distance.

What was CHARMING:

A DELIGHT to the EYES & EARS: They gave something completely lovely to the story. The only book that I have ever seen do that (that I enjoyed) has been the Illuminae series. The book gave us the drawings that Lady Trent made during the expedition and the audiobook (narrated by Kate Reading) was perfect and her voice was exactly how I thought Lady Trent would sound reading her memoirs.

DADDY and HUSBAND GOALS: I won’t give who the husband is but both her father and husband do such an awesome job of fostering her love of natural history when it would be so easy for them to crush it. When it appears that her father is calluse he really is being one of the best dads I have seen in this “era” of this book (it’s not our time but was heavily influenced by it). The closest comparison to what a spectacular dad Lady Trent’s dad would be of Mr. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice and how he loves Elizabeth (but doesn’t always do it in what we would consider the right reason). Her husband does the same type of fostering but in a completely different way and I just can’t handle how cute they are.

REALISTIC and INFERATING: Lady Trent was realistic. She had prejudices that came out in full force (which are infuriating) when it comes to her reaching their expedition and how she really does not like the place. It makes sense. She isn’t comfortable and it isn’t an experience that she, at 19, is completely comfortable with. Not to mention the fact that she doesn’t see herself as being in anyway different than the other women of her time other than the fact she likes natural history and it isn’t a subject her sex is allowed to like. She doesn’t fear being married, doesn’t fight it, and can genuinely see the need for finding a match. Again, this is a part that I love about her and her father. So read it and see what that part is!

NOT so CHARMING:

My HEART my FEELINGS my EVERYTHING: If there was anything that I didn’t like about this book was the ending. Oh, sweet BABY, it was sad. I cried. I will admit that I am still not over it. Oh, boy. (I’m not saying I didn’t LIKE the ending, it just was a punch in the feels)

With this being said, I really enjoyed this world and the expeditions of Lady Trent. If you love reading about the Victorian time period with a splash of learning about the natural history of dragons this is the story for you.

January 18, 2017

The Book that almost broke me | We Are the Ants Review

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published by Simon Pulse on January 19th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 455
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads

There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.
Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.
What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.
But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.
The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

My Review

I didn’t know what I was going to get when I started We Are the Ants. I knew what had been talked about but I did not know how much this book was going to affect me. Boy – did it. I hope that my review makes sense because I DID love this book so much.

I will say that for those who like trigger warnings this book includes: verbal/physical bullying, abuse, suicide (out of book), depression, and sexual assault.

Besides the fact that Henry was a boy and gay, his situation in the beginning of the story was one that I knew. I lost best friend growing up to suicide and I grappled a lot with that loss the same way both Henry and Audrey did in this story.

With this being said, Henry is a character that you can’t help but love – but also feel yourself hating at the same time. I feel that he is ultimately a realistic representation of the abuse and how someone who is depressed mentality is. But the parts of Henry that I hate are pieces of myself that I hated looking back at myself as a teenager suffering from depression and at some points of my life emotional/physical abuse. Henry is not a reliable narrator. One particular moment struck me in his unreliability.

“I think that most people would have pressed the button the moment they realized the stakes. Most people are motivated by their own self-interest, and pushing the button would ensure their survival. But I’m not most people. Maybe that’s why the sluggers chose me”

In this particular part two sides of me warred – my adult side and my teenage side. I remember having some of these same thoughts (not in the context of aliens but you get the point) as a teenager. But I wish that there was someone in Henry’s life that would be there to help him, talk to him, and just love him but also to smack some sense into him. Again – I understand this. I know Henry’s pain from his best friend, and boyfriend, committing suicide. His pain is mine and for that I think while reading I was a bit harsher on him then most characters.

I will say this, as the story went on the more I empathized with Henry and less wanted to throttle him. What he went through is horrible. The constant stream of abuse he suffers at the hands of pretty much everyone he is around – some of which are supposed to care for him (some even SAY they do all the while abusing him). My heart burned for him and I just wanted him to be happy.

One thing Hutchinson did was he created not only a main character you loved but secondary characters that you did as well. Audrey, Diego, and Henry’s older brother Carlie are all characters that at the end of the story I loved way more than I did at the beginning of the story.

I still believe that Henry would fall under the unreliable narrator and if you plan on reading this book you should go into the story with that in mind. This fact did not stop my enjoyment of the book in the slightest and I can see why it is the favorite of so many people.

December 31, 2016

It’s A Twisty Carnival Ride Tour | Freeks by Amanda Hockings ARC Review

It’s A Twisty Carnival Ride Tour | Freeks by Amanda Hockings ARC Review

Freeks by Amanda Hocking
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 3rd 2017
Pages: 400
Goodreads

Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…
Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.
When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.
But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.
Bestselling author Amanda Hocking draws readers inside the dark and mysterious world of Freeks.

One of the first things that comes to mind after reading Freeks is how unique and intriguing novel. The aspects of the book that drew me to it and why I was completely intrigued and agreed to participate in the blog tour. However with that being said, I felt that this book was okay. There were aspects that I loved but there were many things that I felt myself shaking my head about.

I don’t normally like mysteries but the one that the author weaved into the plot was one of the things that kept me reading the book. It was addictive but again, I don’t normally read mysteries. For those who do, I feel that there would be parts that seemed predictable at times. I feel like at some points there were aspects of the writing that overshadowed the characters for aspects of nostalgia towards the 80’s, but overall this did not overwhelm the characters just for those of you who have read Ready Player One it can get a bit like “I get it, we’re in the 80’s”.

Character wise I believe that the author did an awesome job describing the characteristics that made the people in the story unique. Mara was a solid character for the most part. The one thing that I didn’t like was her relationship with Gabe. Both of these characters were likable but together, despite the fact that they worked well together, were pretty insta-love. Pretty much instantly after meeting they were making out. I completely understand that this is a realistic aspect of being a teenager but it always has made me feel a little off when it comes to weither or not I think a relationship will last.  Sue me – I love a slow burning romance.

All in all, I think that Freeks is a unique and pretty quick read. Anyone that loves the 80’s, carnivals, and mysteries.