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Top Ten Tuesday: Recently Added to TBR

3.31.2015
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This one was pretty hard considering I've recently added EVERYTHING to my TBR pile since I've been discovering so many things.



A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston: I absolutely LOVE the sound of this. It's got a gorgeous cover, sounds incredibly intriguing, and sounds like it's going to be beautifully written. OCTOBER IS SO FAR AWAY.

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab: Of course. This sounds like just my cup of tea, and I've heard nothing but good things about it. At least this one is already out!

Soundless by Richelle Mead: Again, love the sound of this. It seems so mysterious and like it's going to have a fantastic setting. (Why is November even farther than October?)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Taahir: Obviously. How could I not include this? High fantasy is my favorite thing lately, and I think this is #1 on my anticipated reads right now. I WANT IT. SO BADLY. 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: I'm gonna die with the wait for this one. Convicts and thieves and magic? BRING IT ON.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: The reviews I've read for this one have made it sound spectacular!

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Political thriller? Yes, please. Also, I'm still a sucker for boarding schools. 

The Young Elites by Marie Lu: Definitely seen some mixed reviews on this, but regardless, I can't wait to see what it's about!

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: My life lacks contemporaries!

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman: Just read that description. How could I not add this? It's so weird to think that by the time this comes out I'll already be in class again.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass: Okay, I've featured this before and this is technically #11 and not pictured above. But whatever. I'm just excited.
 
Okay, so these are all pretty hyped up books, but I haven't really had the time to discover any lesser known ones yet. It's really sad to think that I won't actually read a lot of these books until winter break or even until summer of 2016 because those are the only times I'll have access to a real library. SO SAD. Anyway. What books did you decide on for your TTT? Let me know! I'd love to discover more to add to the pile, obviously.

The Sunday Post {2}: LET CHEMISTRY DIE

3.29.2015
The Sunday Post is hosted at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, intended to recap the past week and share upcoming news!
It snowed. I cried. It was a fun time. I also forgot to do half of my History homework even though it was written down, then got my blood drawn for the first time ever. LET ME TELL YOU. I sat through two (albeit tiny) tattoos, but blood draws? NO THANKS.



Borrowed from a friend: 
Stung by Bethany Wiggins
Half Bad by Sally Green

Ignore the trash cans. Also ignore the dust. 

That's all for books! Which is good, because my reading speed appears to be .2 pages a day lately. College is STRESSFUL, guys. Which I'm sure is news to no one. But can we talk about weed out courses in college? I can't stand the fact that my Chemistry class is basically designed for half the people to fail. Hence the incredibly melodramatic title of this post.

In other news:
  • I'm currently working on transferring to a different school for the 2015-2016 school year. It's a more expensive school, so it's probably a bad idea, but I've found myself very unhappy here and the other school offers plenty of animal behavior classes that my current school doesn't. Just waiting to here back from financial aid. If all goes well, I'd love to hear from any of you in Madison! If there are any of you. I hope there are. That would be so cool.

  • Cry a lot about school. Again. And money. Nothing new there.
  • A list of the top ten books I recently added to my TBR. SO MANY, GUYS.
  • Review of The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows! About halfway through right now and, of course, I love it. 
  • Review of The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes! I read this about a month ago and actually really enjoyed it.
  • A list of ten books I recently added to my TBR. (I think I've probably added 50+ in the past two weeks.)
  • Also, a Waiting on Wednesday post. Possibly. I haven't decided if I want to start that back up again, because my blog will pretty much just look like memes, I feel like. BUT IT'S SUCH A FUN ONE.

What did you guys do last week? What's coming up? What fantastic bookish prizes did you get last week? Let me know!

Book Blast: The Calm After the Storm + Giveaway!

3.27.2015
This isn't YA, but I think it could appeal to a lot of people, and there's a great giveaway opportunity for you guys!

Calm after the storm

The Calm After the Storm by Mya O’Malley 
//Amazon//Goodreads//

Can true love shine through the darkest storm?
The storm of the century raged through the northeast, causing destruction and despair, millions were left without power and hope. Weeks later, countless people were still devastated by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, Emma Riley among them.
Determined she didn’t need the help of a man, Emma was convinced that she could brave the aftermath of the storm on her own. That is, until Jake came into her life.
After having suffered heartbreak and embarrassment, Jake Mack, a utility foreman, volunteered to travel north from small town, Georgia to assist with the aftermath of the storm. Jake was decidedly done with women. But he didn’t count on meeting Emma or falling in love so quickly. Can he trust this woman or will his past get in the way and ruin the relationship with the one woman he truly loves?

Review: Red Queen

3.26.2015
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Published: February 10th, 2015 by HarperTeen
//Goodreads//The Book Depository//Indiebound//

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
I had to think long and hard before deciding how I feel about this book, and even now, I'm still not entirely sure if I loved it or not.

Red Queen is not a very unique book. As many have stated, it has several obvious elements from other YA dystopians. I was able to get over this fairly easily, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who won't. I very much liked the idea of being separated by blood color, though, and stark contrast between the way Reds and Silvers live easily parallels our own world.

"Their methods are your own fault. You make us work, you make us bleed, you make us die for your wars and factories and the little comforts you don't even notice, all because we are different. How can you expect us to let that stand?"

The romance was by far the weakest part for me. I see it as rectangular, (though that changes by the end of the book) and I don't feel the chemistry with any of them. It felt like a huge waste of my time and I struggled not to skim these parts. I do appreciate that Mare never gets extremely lovey-dovey, so to speak, but that's honestly the only upside in the romance aspect. I think it's quite obvious what direction it will go in the future, with Kilorn making some grand revelation or gesture (possibly sacrificing his life for Mare? I could totally see this happening. Not that I want it to. But it feels authentic to the story so far for me), but of course Mare will fall in love with Cal. If this isn't how it turns out, I'll be pleasantly surprised.

"You better hide that heart of yours, Lady Titanos. It won't lead you anywhere you want to go."

Aveyard certainly knows how to write a fight scene. There were plenty of them, and I found these to be the most exciting parts. Described in vivid detail, I never struggled to understand what was happening or to imagine it myself. Her writing conjures images of sparks and twisted metal, shining silver blood, Mare's fear and rage and cold acceptance whenever she's put in the ring and forced to battle against Silvers who have been trained to use their abilities for years. I can only imagine what's in store for the rest of the series.

"You can talk your people back into their chains."

There are plenty of intriguing secondary characters in Red Queen. Farley, a member of the Red Guard, Kilorn, Mare's childhood best friend, Shade and Gisa and the rest of Mare's family, and others in the palace that Mare meets along the way. Each of them has their own story, and I appreciate that we got a glimpse into several of them. I hope that more will be revealed in the next book; I think there's a lot of history there to see.

"Anyone can betray anyone." 

Mare herself, though not the greatest narrator on the planet, kept me hooked. She's angry at the way her world works - and rightfully so. She's just discovering what a horrible place it really is while discovering powers she certainly shouldn't have. I can tell she's going to become a strong leader, and I think there's plenty of potential for some great character development there.

Overall: There are a lot of things I didn't particularly love about Red Queen, but because my gut instinct is to give it 4 stars, that's exactly what I'm going to do. The plot is exciting, there's a twist at the end I definitely didn't see coming, and the potential for the rest of the series is INCREDIBLE. I can't wait to see what kind of damage Mare can really do. 4 stars. 


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Need to Revisit

3.24.2015
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
So, this is technically supposed to be a post about books from your childhood or teen years that you want to revisit. But since I've been out of the game for so long, this is mostly just a post about books I need to reread before I can continue with the series, since so many sequels came out while I wasn't around. (I am still a teen, so technically these are from my teen years?) 


Incarnate & Asunder by Jodi Meadows: I'm pretty sure I actually remember enough to read Infinite, but better safe than sorry, right? Besides. I can never have too much Jodi Meadows in my life.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: I cannot remember a single thing from this book. Seriously. It's pathetic. But I know I really want to continue with the series, so I'll probably be buying this from Book Outlet when I manage to get a decent paycheck.

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock: This book tugged at my heartstrings. I read the first book as an ARC way back when and patiently (haha, no) waited for the sequel. Of course, that came and went while I was busy with life, and so did the final book! I can't wait to finish this series. But first, I have to remember something about this series beyond "There was someone named Kyle and someone named Jason and also a dead girl named Amy."

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: On top of the fact that I can't remember a single thing, (are you noticing a pattern here? I am) I actually didn't particularly like this book when I first read it. But my tastes have definitely changed and I know that the prose that I disliked before will be a huge high point for me this time around.

Legend by Marie Lu: This is one I actually remember a little more about, but certainly not enough to continue. However, I'm not sure how I'll actually feel about this on my second go-around. I remember the world-building being a little weak the first time I read it, but at the time, that wasn't something I cared about.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder: Okay, so technically, I'm not revisiting this since I never read it in the first place. But I do want to check this series out.

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris: This received a lot of mixed reviews, but I absolutely loved it. I could honestly probably read the sequel right now, but I want to make it easier on myself and reread Unraveling to remember all those little details.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: I fell in love with this book, like many others. I never ended up reviewing it, which I think I really need to do. Of course, to do that I have to remember something other than "!!!!!!!!!"

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I have no reason for adding this to the list, but who needs a reason to reread Anna and the French Kiss? I think I probably read this like twice a year.

Have you read most of these? What did you think? What books did you decide on for your TTT? Let me know!

The Sunday Post {1}: The End of the Eternal Winter! (Or Not)

3.22.2015
The Sunday Post is hosted at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, intended to recap the past week and share upcoming news!
It's no secret that weather in the midwest is unpredictable. (And horrible, if you ask me.) We were graced with the sun and 50 degree weather for two weeks. And then it snowed this morning. Nothing stuck, and I know we're doing way better than the northeast, but I HAD SO MUCH HOPE. I constantly wonder why I had to draw the short stick and end up in Wisconsin.

Anyway. It's been an exciting week! Especially, you know, since I came back from a two year hiatus.


 Bought: 
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Mass


For Review:
Angelfall by Susan Ee
Bomb by Sarah Mussi
When You Leave by Monica Ropal
Moonlands by Steven Savile
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers!
Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep - for the blog tour!
Thanks to Netgalley and Patricia and Anasheh at The Fantastic Flying Book Club! 
Awakening by Shannon Duffy
Won this one in a Twitter contest. Thanks to Heather Riccio! 

These should definitely keep me busy for awhile. I wanted to stock up a little bit before heading back to school so I could just focus on reading and reviewing. I am, of course, most excited for The Orphan Queen. I think I've been a Jodi Meadows fan since I was 15. (And incredibly embarrassing.) And I can't wait to get to Cold Burn of Magic - Jennifer Estep is always so fun!

In other news:
  • I got a job! For summer. At a grocery store. So it doesn't really matter now, since I'll be back at school, but they were nice enough to hire me before all the jobs are gone!
  • I reached out to Hazel at Stay Bookish about a new blog design! There will be cats involved. Look out for a new design in late May/early June!

  • I, unfortunately, head back to school. Write a history paper. Study endless hours of Chemistry. Cry a lot.
  • A list of the top ten books I'd like to revisit. (I can tell you that this list could probably be 25 books long. It's gonna be hard to trim it down.)
  • Review of Red Queen! Currently a little less than halfway through and have no idea how I feel.
  • A Discussion post (this is a subjective term....people actually have to say things for it to be classified as a discussion) about travel in novels!
I feel like my posts are too long for anyone to actually read. But I'd love to hear about what you did last week, what's coming up, or anything at all! Your comments make me smile more than anything. (This isn't even an exaggeration. Except for cats.)

Discussion: Secondary Characters!

3.20.2015
I'm writing this post at one in the morning, so I sincerely apologize for any confusion. I'm not even sure I know what I'm trying to say with half of this post. (Though that's probably the case at one in the afternoon, too.)

Secondary characters (or minor characters, or supporting characters, whatever you'd like to call them), to me, are a huge part of novels. While I know that writers only have a limited amount of words (unless you're George R. R. Martin, who can write over 1000 pages and still sell thousands of copies), I don't feel like a book is complete without some fleshed out secondary characters. I've seen several other people state the same. Sure, your main character can wield her swords and work with her love interest to take down the corrupt government. But does she have any friends? No? Okay. That happens. She's a busy gal. But I can't believe that the only characters you can really get to know are the narrator/main character, the (possible, depending on the book) love interest, and maybe the villain, depending on the writer. There are so many people characters come in contact with, all human beings with their own quirks and history.

I would personally say that Finnick Odair is a fantastic example of this. (Cue sobbing.) Plenty of details about his personality and his past are revealed as the books go on. Same with Haymitch, I'd say. I wish I could tell you about some of my favorite secondary characters, but honestly, I can't. I've read so few books in the past two years, and everything before that is such a blur. Which is why I'd love to hear about yours!

Earlier today, I asked on Twitter if anyone knew of any books written from a more minor character's perspective. Not in terms of a spin-off or anything, but a story told from someone close to that super special girl that is usually the narrator of a novel. Like if Red Queen had instead been told from Gisa's perspective. (Though this may be a bad example, since at the current part I'm in, Gisa and her sister are nowhere near each other.) Or if the Harry Potter series had instead been told from Ron's perspective. (Okay, this one is a bit excessive because that's a lot of books and Ron is arguably a main character and not a secondary one. But you get the idea. I hope.)

From the Ember in the Ashes trailer - credit to Penguin Teen!
I didn't receive an answer. Not that I really expected to. Who wants to write that book when you have a much more interesting character who's leading a revolution? But I, personally, am interested in the psychology of it. With a character watching from the sidelines as someone else ignites a resolution, or discovers amazing powers, or defeats all the villains, there's got to be something there - whether it's envy, an overwhelming amount of sympathy, I don't know. And I'm interested in all the behind-the-scenes sorts of things we would get to see. I don't know about you, but I'd say a lot of heroes and heroines manage to accomplish a lot of complicated things with very minimal help. A different character could be seen doing a lot of the grunt work, or just helping out along the way. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT ANYMORE.

Ultimately, I think it would take a very special author to write this kind of story. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like. 

Of course, this entire post is geared towards everything but contemporary. Contemporaries, for me, tend to generally have more secondary characters that I love; I think Stephanie Perkins does a fantastic job with this.

Anyway. If you're still here after that long-winded, entirely opinionated and confusing post:

Who are your favorite secondary characters? Do you agree/disagree with what I've said? What thoughts do you have on secondary characters? What authors do you think could pull this off? Please let me know! I'm sure I'm just completely ignorant of all the things.


Review: Bomb

3.17.2015
Bomb by Sarah Mussi
Expected Publication: May 7th, 2015 by Hodder Children's Books
//Goodreads//The Book Depository//
 
When Genesis goes on an internet date she is only anxious that this latest guy won't be 'The One'. She's not at all worried about meeting a dodgy bloke or getting in too deep. And when her date appears she texts her best mate, Jackson, to let him know that she thinks this time, he just might be 'The One'. And he texts her back with a huge: I LIKE.

It's the one all right. But not in the way she expects.

For when Genesis wakes up the next day, she can't remember a thing. She can't remember where she is, or how she got there. And she can hardly move because she is strapped into some kind of body armour ... and then a voice sounds in her head: 'Get on to the 37 going north. You are strapped to a vest made entirely of explosives. At the push of one button I can detonate you right where you stand.'
 


To her horror, Genesis has become an agent of mass destruction. The countdown to detonation begins now...
Bomb begins with Genesis waking up, dark and cold, unaware of what's happening. The first few pages simply involve her inner narrative as she tries to figure out what's happening. Once upon a time, this is the kind of writing style I would have liked. Short, sweet, and to the point. Easy to read because you don't get bogged down by complicated words and imagery that takes a second to catch up to. Unfortunately, it appears I'm much more fond of lengthy prose these days. The number one rule I was taught when I began writing was "show, don't tell." The opening certainly doesn't follow this rule, and the repetitive clipped sentences started to wear on me pretty quickly. This improves slightly as the novel goes on, but only slightly.

I think that, given the content of this book, this writing style is appropriate. Bomb very much takes place in the now, with the constant threat of danger looming over Genesis. The style keeps you focused on the present, which I think is important for a novel like this - I just don't personally like to read it. It bores me very easily.

The problem I have with Bomb is that it fails to find a balance between the present and the past. You have a character with a bomb super-glued to her and a voice in her ear telling her to get on a bus or she'll be blown up. Of course it's going to focus on the present moment, because in situations like this, it's so hard to think ahead or behind - all you can really focus on is fear. But this means that so many details that I find vital are left out. I need to know more about Genesis's past before I can really connect with her. I need to know about her history with Dave beyond "Dave the Save." There were some glimpses into her past relationship with her ex, Naz, but they weren't detailed enough for me. These characters all left me with a very foggy feeling, for lack of a better term. I don't really feel like I know anything important about them at all.

The Brightness is the terrorist group and a huge threat to society in this novel. And because this is such a prevalent issue, I'm disappointed with how it was handled in Bomb. Mussi delves into motives and reasoning that leads these people to their actions a little, and it was definitely interesting, but I think a LOT more could have been done with that. I wish we had gotten a bigger glimpse at the origins and the psychology of this movement. There's a boatload of unused potential there.

Moving on to Genesis. I think if a character's got a bomb strapped to her, I should feel things. I should feel afraid for her, sympathize with her. But Genesis didn't evoke any emotions out of me. I didn't feel the danger, the heart-pounding or the fear. She felt very dull to me, though I'm not sure I can explain why. In addition, Genesis manages to fool the voice inside her ear several times, though I don't know how. I don't know about you, but I think if I was part of a terrorist cell who had planted a bomb on a girl, I wouldn't think she was stopping to pee and then stopping again to get food because she's hypoglycemic.

I will say this - the ending was absolutely perfect, in my opinion. It's one that's very unexpected and leaves you thinking. 

Overall: I, personally, did not enjoy this novel. But most of my problems with it are incredibly preference-based, and I urge anyone who loves fast-paced easy reads to check this out. 2.5 stars.

*I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette!

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

My Spring TBR pile might look a little different than yours; I've got a lot of catching up to do for those books I never got around to because I thought they didn't sound interesting enough! Also, apologies for the awkward formatting of this post. Apparently I've forgotten how to do anything ever. 


1) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass
Obviously a party I'm super late to, but I just bought this yesterday and can't wait to get started. I've heard such great things and the first three pages were enough to get me hooked. (Of course, once I'm hooked, there goes my money on the rest of the series. Whoops.)




 2) The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

The Orphan Queen? More like MY QUEEN. I've loved Jodi Meadows since the start. (I was so embarrassing back then. Not that anything's changed.) No way can I turn down a book this gorgeous. Also, spies. Also, magic. I also just bought this one yesterday! B&N owns my soul.



 3) A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass
Apparently I don't need to have read Sarah J. Mass's books to be interested in everything ever. I cannot begin to explain how excited I am for this. The cover is gorgeous, the synopsis is everything I want in a book, and I'm actually not sure how I'm going to make it to May. (Probably more like July, because, you know, life and finals.)



4) Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Late to the party. Again. But DRAGONS. What could be better? I'm really into high fantasy lately, and again, I've heard so many good things about this. I haven't gotten it yet, but I should buy it soon enough. This sounds so incredible.




5) Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock

I have to reread Hemlock before I can get to Thornhill, but there's no way I can forget about this series. And honestly, I think I'll like it even more the second time. Thornhill is definitely something I can't wait to get to this Spring!





6) Deception by CJ Redwine

Another oldie. Also another sequel and yet another book I want
to reread. I remember loving Logan and Rachel but there's no way I remember enough details to get to Deception yet. Still, I can't wait to finally read it! This is long overdue.



7) The Cage by Megan Shepherd
I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I am so in love with the idea of a human zoo and what it could potentially mean for the psyche of those on display. I can't wait to read this one! Although May 26th doesn't really count as a Spring read for me anymore.





8) Rook by Sharon Cameron

A mysterious crusader leaving feathers in his wake as he rescues prisoners - or does he? Either way, yes please. April 28th can come anytime now.






9) The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
After seeing all the glowing reviews for the second book, how could I not want to get to this one as fast as possible? I'll admit that I've picked it up a few times in the past year and just never bought it, but NO MORE OF THAT.





10) ....
What do you think the 10th book on my Top Ten Spring TBR pile should be? Fire & Flood? All Fall Down? The Nightmare Affair? Something else? I appear to be particularly lacking in contemporary. Let me know in the comments, and let me know about your top ten!

Giveaway: Any YA Novel! (INT)

3.16.2015

Hello! As I try to start my blog back up, I thought a giveaway would be a great idea to get back out there. And as not-exciting as this giveaway is, it's a free book. We could all use more free books. That skyscraper of books you've got in your tbr pile? WHO CARES. LET'S ADD ANOTHER ONE. So, without further ado:

One winner will get their choice of YA novel (including pre-orders) under $16USD from The Book Depository. This is international, provided TBD ships to you! The giveaway ends on March 26th; Rafflecopter will choose the winner who must respond to my email within 48 hours. Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

3.15.2015
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater
Published: October 21st, 2014 by Scholastic Teen
//Goodreads//B&N//Indiebound//

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

The Raven Cycle is unequivocally my favorite series. Maggie Stiefvater never fails to disappoint, and as much as I hate waiting, she certainly makes it worth it. I cannot believe how much I've fallen in love with these characters. Blue Sargent and Richard Gansey are characters that I genuinely think are going to stick with me for a very long time. This book in particular showcases how fiercely Gansey cares for his friends, Blue's family cares for her, etc, though it's certainly a theme that's present throughout the entire series.

I don't think there's anything about this writing that I don't like. The prose is beautiful, the storyline is always evolving and taking you to new places, and the mystery is interwoven with so much more that just leaves you with the feeling that this book is so real. It amazes me how a book full of magic time-bending forests, people and objects literally pulled out of dreams, and a mystery focused on a buried king who's been sleeping for hundreds of years can still seem so real. But that's one of Stiefvater's many talents - she knows that there's more to a great story than just a little magic and mystery. Her characters are teenagers; they go to school, they argue, they worry. They're not constantly focused on romance, but they're still human - it's there. (I'm not going to start talking about Blue and Gansey, because I'd be writing for days. But Maggie Stiefvater knows how to hit me. She knows just how to make it hurt. AND I LOVE IT.)

Whereas The Dream Thieves was a lot more about the characters and getting inside the deeper parts of their minds, Blue Lily, Lily Blue was more about finally getting down to the mystery that's been brewing since book one. I appreciated the fact that we finally got some answers. What I appreciate even more is the fact that there's still another book left - I don't think I want it to end.

In short: this series is still going strong. Blue Lily, Lily Blue was a fantastic addition that stayed true to the characters we've already fallen in love with while finally revealing some long-awaited answers. Absolutely 5 stars.


Back in Business!

3.14.2015
I'm a little ashamed and a lot embarrassed at what happened to this blog. I was very young when I started it, and as I got older, I just couldn't keep up with the commitment. And so I kind of just disappeared without a word and forgot it existed.

I'm in college now, and even though I already feel like I never have time to finish anything, I miss reading. I miss blogging. I miss the community and the way it was so easy to find a new book to read, because someone I admire posted a 5 star review yesterday or because Wednesdays were full of new and exciting soon-to-be-published books. My time management skills definitely still need work, but I want to commit to this blog again. I want to commit to reviewing again. So I am.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to post every day. My grades and work take priority, and I don't have the kind of organizational and multitasking skills a lot of the community seems to have. On top of that, life is stressful enough as it is, and I don't want my blog to become yet another significant source of stress. I want to use it as stress relief. But I'll be posting once a week at minimum. Definitely more on most weeks. I'll be reading blog posts again. And I can't wait; I'm so excited to be back. Hopefully you stick around. I'll mostly be reviewing old books for awhile, since I don't have anything new and I need to catch up on the pile that's been sitting in my room for over a year.

There's a new (mostly) temporary design up, and I'll be working to switch over all the old formatting and broken links. Let me know what you think!

And if anyone's actually reading this, feel free to comment with current events below! I have no idea about anything anymore. Tell me all about the best books you've read in the past year and the upcoming books you absolutely can't stand waiting for. (Seriously. I have no idea what's out right now.) Tell me all about the new and exciting things that have happened in book blogging in the past two years. Leave nothing out. Please. I'm begging you.


3.31.2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Recently Added to TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This one was pretty hard considering I've recently added EVERYTHING to my TBR pile since I've been discovering so many things.



A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston: I absolutely LOVE the sound of this. It's got a gorgeous cover, sounds incredibly intriguing, and sounds like it's going to be beautifully written. OCTOBER IS SO FAR AWAY.

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab: Of course. This sounds like just my cup of tea, and I've heard nothing but good things about it. At least this one is already out!

Soundless by Richelle Mead: Again, love the sound of this. It seems so mysterious and like it's going to have a fantastic setting. (Why is November even farther than October?)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Taahir: Obviously. How could I not include this? High fantasy is my favorite thing lately, and I think this is #1 on my anticipated reads right now. I WANT IT. SO BADLY. 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: I'm gonna die with the wait for this one. Convicts and thieves and magic? BRING IT ON.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: The reviews I've read for this one have made it sound spectacular!

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Political thriller? Yes, please. Also, I'm still a sucker for boarding schools. 

The Young Elites by Marie Lu: Definitely seen some mixed reviews on this, but regardless, I can't wait to see what it's about!

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: My life lacks contemporaries!

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman: Just read that description. How could I not add this? It's so weird to think that by the time this comes out I'll already be in class again.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass: Okay, I've featured this before and this is technically #11 and not pictured above. But whatever. I'm just excited.
 
Okay, so these are all pretty hyped up books, but I haven't really had the time to discover any lesser known ones yet. It's really sad to think that I won't actually read a lot of these books until winter break or even until summer of 2016 because those are the only times I'll have access to a real library. SO SAD. Anyway. What books did you decide on for your TTT? Let me know! I'd love to discover more to add to the pile, obviously.

3.29.2015

The Sunday Post {2}: LET CHEMISTRY DIE

The Sunday Post is hosted at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, intended to recap the past week and share upcoming news!
It snowed. I cried. It was a fun time. I also forgot to do half of my History homework even though it was written down, then got my blood drawn for the first time ever. LET ME TELL YOU. I sat through two (albeit tiny) tattoos, but blood draws? NO THANKS.



Borrowed from a friend: 
Stung by Bethany Wiggins
Half Bad by Sally Green

Ignore the trash cans. Also ignore the dust. 

That's all for books! Which is good, because my reading speed appears to be .2 pages a day lately. College is STRESSFUL, guys. Which I'm sure is news to no one. But can we talk about weed out courses in college? I can't stand the fact that my Chemistry class is basically designed for half the people to fail. Hence the incredibly melodramatic title of this post.

In other news:
  • I'm currently working on transferring to a different school for the 2015-2016 school year. It's a more expensive school, so it's probably a bad idea, but I've found myself very unhappy here and the other school offers plenty of animal behavior classes that my current school doesn't. Just waiting to here back from financial aid. If all goes well, I'd love to hear from any of you in Madison! If there are any of you. I hope there are. That would be so cool.

  • Cry a lot about school. Again. And money. Nothing new there.
  • A list of the top ten books I recently added to my TBR. SO MANY, GUYS.
  • Review of The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows! About halfway through right now and, of course, I love it. 
  • Review of The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes! I read this about a month ago and actually really enjoyed it.
  • A list of ten books I recently added to my TBR. (I think I've probably added 50+ in the past two weeks.)
  • Also, a Waiting on Wednesday post. Possibly. I haven't decided if I want to start that back up again, because my blog will pretty much just look like memes, I feel like. BUT IT'S SUCH A FUN ONE.

What did you guys do last week? What's coming up? What fantastic bookish prizes did you get last week? Let me know!

3.27.2015

Book Blast: The Calm After the Storm + Giveaway!

This isn't YA, but I think it could appeal to a lot of people, and there's a great giveaway opportunity for you guys!

Calm after the storm

The Calm After the Storm by Mya O’Malley 
//Amazon//Goodreads//

Can true love shine through the darkest storm?
The storm of the century raged through the northeast, causing destruction and despair, millions were left without power and hope. Weeks later, countless people were still devastated by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, Emma Riley among them.
Determined she didn’t need the help of a man, Emma was convinced that she could brave the aftermath of the storm on her own. That is, until Jake came into her life.
After having suffered heartbreak and embarrassment, Jake Mack, a utility foreman, volunteered to travel north from small town, Georgia to assist with the aftermath of the storm. Jake was decidedly done with women. But he didn’t count on meeting Emma or falling in love so quickly. Can he trust this woman or will his past get in the way and ruin the relationship with the one woman he truly loves?

3.26.2015

Review: Red Queen

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Published: February 10th, 2015 by HarperTeen
//Goodreads//The Book Depository//Indiebound//

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
I had to think long and hard before deciding how I feel about this book, and even now, I'm still not entirely sure if I loved it or not.

Red Queen is not a very unique book. As many have stated, it has several obvious elements from other YA dystopians. I was able to get over this fairly easily, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who won't. I very much liked the idea of being separated by blood color, though, and stark contrast between the way Reds and Silvers live easily parallels our own world.

"Their methods are your own fault. You make us work, you make us bleed, you make us die for your wars and factories and the little comforts you don't even notice, all because we are different. How can you expect us to let that stand?"

The romance was by far the weakest part for me. I see it as rectangular, (though that changes by the end of the book) and I don't feel the chemistry with any of them. It felt like a huge waste of my time and I struggled not to skim these parts. I do appreciate that Mare never gets extremely lovey-dovey, so to speak, but that's honestly the only upside in the romance aspect. I think it's quite obvious what direction it will go in the future, with Kilorn making some grand revelation or gesture (possibly sacrificing his life for Mare? I could totally see this happening. Not that I want it to. But it feels authentic to the story so far for me), but of course Mare will fall in love with Cal. If this isn't how it turns out, I'll be pleasantly surprised.

"You better hide that heart of yours, Lady Titanos. It won't lead you anywhere you want to go."

Aveyard certainly knows how to write a fight scene. There were plenty of them, and I found these to be the most exciting parts. Described in vivid detail, I never struggled to understand what was happening or to imagine it myself. Her writing conjures images of sparks and twisted metal, shining silver blood, Mare's fear and rage and cold acceptance whenever she's put in the ring and forced to battle against Silvers who have been trained to use their abilities for years. I can only imagine what's in store for the rest of the series.

"You can talk your people back into their chains."

There are plenty of intriguing secondary characters in Red Queen. Farley, a member of the Red Guard, Kilorn, Mare's childhood best friend, Shade and Gisa and the rest of Mare's family, and others in the palace that Mare meets along the way. Each of them has their own story, and I appreciate that we got a glimpse into several of them. I hope that more will be revealed in the next book; I think there's a lot of history there to see.

"Anyone can betray anyone." 

Mare herself, though not the greatest narrator on the planet, kept me hooked. She's angry at the way her world works - and rightfully so. She's just discovering what a horrible place it really is while discovering powers she certainly shouldn't have. I can tell she's going to become a strong leader, and I think there's plenty of potential for some great character development there.

Overall: There are a lot of things I didn't particularly love about Red Queen, but because my gut instinct is to give it 4 stars, that's exactly what I'm going to do. The plot is exciting, there's a twist at the end I definitely didn't see coming, and the potential for the rest of the series is INCREDIBLE. I can't wait to see what kind of damage Mare can really do. 4 stars. 


3.24.2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Need to Revisit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
So, this is technically supposed to be a post about books from your childhood or teen years that you want to revisit. But since I've been out of the game for so long, this is mostly just a post about books I need to reread before I can continue with the series, since so many sequels came out while I wasn't around. (I am still a teen, so technically these are from my teen years?) 


Incarnate & Asunder by Jodi Meadows: I'm pretty sure I actually remember enough to read Infinite, but better safe than sorry, right? Besides. I can never have too much Jodi Meadows in my life.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: I cannot remember a single thing from this book. Seriously. It's pathetic. But I know I really want to continue with the series, so I'll probably be buying this from Book Outlet when I manage to get a decent paycheck.

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock: This book tugged at my heartstrings. I read the first book as an ARC way back when and patiently (haha, no) waited for the sequel. Of course, that came and went while I was busy with life, and so did the final book! I can't wait to finish this series. But first, I have to remember something about this series beyond "There was someone named Kyle and someone named Jason and also a dead girl named Amy."

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: On top of the fact that I can't remember a single thing, (are you noticing a pattern here? I am) I actually didn't particularly like this book when I first read it. But my tastes have definitely changed and I know that the prose that I disliked before will be a huge high point for me this time around.

Legend by Marie Lu: This is one I actually remember a little more about, but certainly not enough to continue. However, I'm not sure how I'll actually feel about this on my second go-around. I remember the world-building being a little weak the first time I read it, but at the time, that wasn't something I cared about.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder: Okay, so technically, I'm not revisiting this since I never read it in the first place. But I do want to check this series out.

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris: This received a lot of mixed reviews, but I absolutely loved it. I could honestly probably read the sequel right now, but I want to make it easier on myself and reread Unraveling to remember all those little details.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: I fell in love with this book, like many others. I never ended up reviewing it, which I think I really need to do. Of course, to do that I have to remember something other than "!!!!!!!!!"

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I have no reason for adding this to the list, but who needs a reason to reread Anna and the French Kiss? I think I probably read this like twice a year.

Have you read most of these? What did you think? What books did you decide on for your TTT? Let me know!

3.22.2015

The Sunday Post {1}: The End of the Eternal Winter! (Or Not)

The Sunday Post is hosted at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, intended to recap the past week and share upcoming news!
It's no secret that weather in the midwest is unpredictable. (And horrible, if you ask me.) We were graced with the sun and 50 degree weather for two weeks. And then it snowed this morning. Nothing stuck, and I know we're doing way better than the northeast, but I HAD SO MUCH HOPE. I constantly wonder why I had to draw the short stick and end up in Wisconsin.

Anyway. It's been an exciting week! Especially, you know, since I came back from a two year hiatus.


 Bought: 
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Mass


For Review:
Angelfall by Susan Ee
Bomb by Sarah Mussi
When You Leave by Monica Ropal
Moonlands by Steven Savile
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers!
Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep - for the blog tour!
Thanks to Netgalley and Patricia and Anasheh at The Fantastic Flying Book Club! 
Awakening by Shannon Duffy
Won this one in a Twitter contest. Thanks to Heather Riccio! 

These should definitely keep me busy for awhile. I wanted to stock up a little bit before heading back to school so I could just focus on reading and reviewing. I am, of course, most excited for The Orphan Queen. I think I've been a Jodi Meadows fan since I was 15. (And incredibly embarrassing.) And I can't wait to get to Cold Burn of Magic - Jennifer Estep is always so fun!

In other news:
  • I got a job! For summer. At a grocery store. So it doesn't really matter now, since I'll be back at school, but they were nice enough to hire me before all the jobs are gone!
  • I reached out to Hazel at Stay Bookish about a new blog design! There will be cats involved. Look out for a new design in late May/early June!

  • I, unfortunately, head back to school. Write a history paper. Study endless hours of Chemistry. Cry a lot.
  • A list of the top ten books I'd like to revisit. (I can tell you that this list could probably be 25 books long. It's gonna be hard to trim it down.)
  • Review of Red Queen! Currently a little less than halfway through and have no idea how I feel.
  • A Discussion post (this is a subjective term....people actually have to say things for it to be classified as a discussion) about travel in novels!
I feel like my posts are too long for anyone to actually read. But I'd love to hear about what you did last week, what's coming up, or anything at all! Your comments make me smile more than anything. (This isn't even an exaggeration. Except for cats.)

3.20.2015

Discussion: Secondary Characters!

I'm writing this post at one in the morning, so I sincerely apologize for any confusion. I'm not even sure I know what I'm trying to say with half of this post. (Though that's probably the case at one in the afternoon, too.)

Secondary characters (or minor characters, or supporting characters, whatever you'd like to call them), to me, are a huge part of novels. While I know that writers only have a limited amount of words (unless you're George R. R. Martin, who can write over 1000 pages and still sell thousands of copies), I don't feel like a book is complete without some fleshed out secondary characters. I've seen several other people state the same. Sure, your main character can wield her swords and work with her love interest to take down the corrupt government. But does she have any friends? No? Okay. That happens. She's a busy gal. But I can't believe that the only characters you can really get to know are the narrator/main character, the (possible, depending on the book) love interest, and maybe the villain, depending on the writer. There are so many people characters come in contact with, all human beings with their own quirks and history.

I would personally say that Finnick Odair is a fantastic example of this. (Cue sobbing.) Plenty of details about his personality and his past are revealed as the books go on. Same with Haymitch, I'd say. I wish I could tell you about some of my favorite secondary characters, but honestly, I can't. I've read so few books in the past two years, and everything before that is such a blur. Which is why I'd love to hear about yours!

Earlier today, I asked on Twitter if anyone knew of any books written from a more minor character's perspective. Not in terms of a spin-off or anything, but a story told from someone close to that super special girl that is usually the narrator of a novel. Like if Red Queen had instead been told from Gisa's perspective. (Though this may be a bad example, since at the current part I'm in, Gisa and her sister are nowhere near each other.) Or if the Harry Potter series had instead been told from Ron's perspective. (Okay, this one is a bit excessive because that's a lot of books and Ron is arguably a main character and not a secondary one. But you get the idea. I hope.)

From the Ember in the Ashes trailer - credit to Penguin Teen!
I didn't receive an answer. Not that I really expected to. Who wants to write that book when you have a much more interesting character who's leading a revolution? But I, personally, am interested in the psychology of it. With a character watching from the sidelines as someone else ignites a resolution, or discovers amazing powers, or defeats all the villains, there's got to be something there - whether it's envy, an overwhelming amount of sympathy, I don't know. And I'm interested in all the behind-the-scenes sorts of things we would get to see. I don't know about you, but I'd say a lot of heroes and heroines manage to accomplish a lot of complicated things with very minimal help. A different character could be seen doing a lot of the grunt work, or just helping out along the way. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT ANYMORE.

Ultimately, I think it would take a very special author to write this kind of story. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like. 

Of course, this entire post is geared towards everything but contemporary. Contemporaries, for me, tend to generally have more secondary characters that I love; I think Stephanie Perkins does a fantastic job with this.

Anyway. If you're still here after that long-winded, entirely opinionated and confusing post:

Who are your favorite secondary characters? Do you agree/disagree with what I've said? What thoughts do you have on secondary characters? What authors do you think could pull this off? Please let me know! I'm sure I'm just completely ignorant of all the things.


3.17.2015

Review: Bomb

Bomb by Sarah Mussi
Expected Publication: May 7th, 2015 by Hodder Children's Books
//Goodreads//The Book Depository//
 
When Genesis goes on an internet date she is only anxious that this latest guy won't be 'The One'. She's not at all worried about meeting a dodgy bloke or getting in too deep. And when her date appears she texts her best mate, Jackson, to let him know that she thinks this time, he just might be 'The One'. And he texts her back with a huge: I LIKE.

It's the one all right. But not in the way she expects.

For when Genesis wakes up the next day, she can't remember a thing. She can't remember where she is, or how she got there. And she can hardly move because she is strapped into some kind of body armour ... and then a voice sounds in her head: 'Get on to the 37 going north. You are strapped to a vest made entirely of explosives. At the push of one button I can detonate you right where you stand.'
 


To her horror, Genesis has become an agent of mass destruction. The countdown to detonation begins now...
Bomb begins with Genesis waking up, dark and cold, unaware of what's happening. The first few pages simply involve her inner narrative as she tries to figure out what's happening. Once upon a time, this is the kind of writing style I would have liked. Short, sweet, and to the point. Easy to read because you don't get bogged down by complicated words and imagery that takes a second to catch up to. Unfortunately, it appears I'm much more fond of lengthy prose these days. The number one rule I was taught when I began writing was "show, don't tell." The opening certainly doesn't follow this rule, and the repetitive clipped sentences started to wear on me pretty quickly. This improves slightly as the novel goes on, but only slightly.

I think that, given the content of this book, this writing style is appropriate. Bomb very much takes place in the now, with the constant threat of danger looming over Genesis. The style keeps you focused on the present, which I think is important for a novel like this - I just don't personally like to read it. It bores me very easily.

The problem I have with Bomb is that it fails to find a balance between the present and the past. You have a character with a bomb super-glued to her and a voice in her ear telling her to get on a bus or she'll be blown up. Of course it's going to focus on the present moment, because in situations like this, it's so hard to think ahead or behind - all you can really focus on is fear. But this means that so many details that I find vital are left out. I need to know more about Genesis's past before I can really connect with her. I need to know about her history with Dave beyond "Dave the Save." There were some glimpses into her past relationship with her ex, Naz, but they weren't detailed enough for me. These characters all left me with a very foggy feeling, for lack of a better term. I don't really feel like I know anything important about them at all.

The Brightness is the terrorist group and a huge threat to society in this novel. And because this is such a prevalent issue, I'm disappointed with how it was handled in Bomb. Mussi delves into motives and reasoning that leads these people to their actions a little, and it was definitely interesting, but I think a LOT more could have been done with that. I wish we had gotten a bigger glimpse at the origins and the psychology of this movement. There's a boatload of unused potential there.

Moving on to Genesis. I think if a character's got a bomb strapped to her, I should feel things. I should feel afraid for her, sympathize with her. But Genesis didn't evoke any emotions out of me. I didn't feel the danger, the heart-pounding or the fear. She felt very dull to me, though I'm not sure I can explain why. In addition, Genesis manages to fool the voice inside her ear several times, though I don't know how. I don't know about you, but I think if I was part of a terrorist cell who had planted a bomb on a girl, I wouldn't think she was stopping to pee and then stopping again to get food because she's hypoglycemic.

I will say this - the ending was absolutely perfect, in my opinion. It's one that's very unexpected and leaves you thinking. 

Overall: I, personally, did not enjoy this novel. But most of my problems with it are incredibly preference-based, and I urge anyone who loves fast-paced easy reads to check this out. 2.5 stars.

*I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette!

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

My Spring TBR pile might look a little different than yours; I've got a lot of catching up to do for those books I never got around to because I thought they didn't sound interesting enough! Also, apologies for the awkward formatting of this post. Apparently I've forgotten how to do anything ever. 


1) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass
Obviously a party I'm super late to, but I just bought this yesterday and can't wait to get started. I've heard such great things and the first three pages were enough to get me hooked. (Of course, once I'm hooked, there goes my money on the rest of the series. Whoops.)




 2) The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

The Orphan Queen? More like MY QUEEN. I've loved Jodi Meadows since the start. (I was so embarrassing back then. Not that anything's changed.) No way can I turn down a book this gorgeous. Also, spies. Also, magic. I also just bought this one yesterday! B&N owns my soul.



 3) A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass
Apparently I don't need to have read Sarah J. Mass's books to be interested in everything ever. I cannot begin to explain how excited I am for this. The cover is gorgeous, the synopsis is everything I want in a book, and I'm actually not sure how I'm going to make it to May. (Probably more like July, because, you know, life and finals.)



4) Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Late to the party. Again. But DRAGONS. What could be better? I'm really into high fantasy lately, and again, I've heard so many good things about this. I haven't gotten it yet, but I should buy it soon enough. This sounds so incredible.




5) Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock

I have to reread Hemlock before I can get to Thornhill, but there's no way I can forget about this series. And honestly, I think I'll like it even more the second time. Thornhill is definitely something I can't wait to get to this Spring!





6) Deception by CJ Redwine

Another oldie. Also another sequel and yet another book I want
to reread. I remember loving Logan and Rachel but there's no way I remember enough details to get to Deception yet. Still, I can't wait to finally read it! This is long overdue.



7) The Cage by Megan Shepherd
I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I am so in love with the idea of a human zoo and what it could potentially mean for the psyche of those on display. I can't wait to read this one! Although May 26th doesn't really count as a Spring read for me anymore.





8) Rook by Sharon Cameron

A mysterious crusader leaving feathers in his wake as he rescues prisoners - or does he? Either way, yes please. April 28th can come anytime now.






9) The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
After seeing all the glowing reviews for the second book, how could I not want to get to this one as fast as possible? I'll admit that I've picked it up a few times in the past year and just never bought it, but NO MORE OF THAT.





10) ....
What do you think the 10th book on my Top Ten Spring TBR pile should be? Fire & Flood? All Fall Down? The Nightmare Affair? Something else? I appear to be particularly lacking in contemporary. Let me know in the comments, and let me know about your top ten!

3.16.2015

Giveaway: Any YA Novel! (INT)


Hello! As I try to start my blog back up, I thought a giveaway would be a great idea to get back out there. And as not-exciting as this giveaway is, it's a free book. We could all use more free books. That skyscraper of books you've got in your tbr pile? WHO CARES. LET'S ADD ANOTHER ONE. So, without further ado:

One winner will get their choice of YA novel (including pre-orders) under $16USD from The Book Depository. This is international, provided TBD ships to you! The giveaway ends on March 26th; Rafflecopter will choose the winner who must respond to my email within 48 hours. Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

3.15.2015

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater
Published: October 21st, 2014 by Scholastic Teen
//Goodreads//B&N//Indiebound//

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

The Raven Cycle is unequivocally my favorite series. Maggie Stiefvater never fails to disappoint, and as much as I hate waiting, she certainly makes it worth it. I cannot believe how much I've fallen in love with these characters. Blue Sargent and Richard Gansey are characters that I genuinely think are going to stick with me for a very long time. This book in particular showcases how fiercely Gansey cares for his friends, Blue's family cares for her, etc, though it's certainly a theme that's present throughout the entire series.

I don't think there's anything about this writing that I don't like. The prose is beautiful, the storyline is always evolving and taking you to new places, and the mystery is interwoven with so much more that just leaves you with the feeling that this book is so real. It amazes me how a book full of magic time-bending forests, people and objects literally pulled out of dreams, and a mystery focused on a buried king who's been sleeping for hundreds of years can still seem so real. But that's one of Stiefvater's many talents - she knows that there's more to a great story than just a little magic and mystery. Her characters are teenagers; they go to school, they argue, they worry. They're not constantly focused on romance, but they're still human - it's there. (I'm not going to start talking about Blue and Gansey, because I'd be writing for days. But Maggie Stiefvater knows how to hit me. She knows just how to make it hurt. AND I LOVE IT.)

Whereas The Dream Thieves was a lot more about the characters and getting inside the deeper parts of their minds, Blue Lily, Lily Blue was more about finally getting down to the mystery that's been brewing since book one. I appreciated the fact that we finally got some answers. What I appreciate even more is the fact that there's still another book left - I don't think I want it to end.

In short: this series is still going strong. Blue Lily, Lily Blue was a fantastic addition that stayed true to the characters we've already fallen in love with while finally revealing some long-awaited answers. Absolutely 5 stars.


3.14.2015

Back in Business!

I'm a little ashamed and a lot embarrassed at what happened to this blog. I was very young when I started it, and as I got older, I just couldn't keep up with the commitment. And so I kind of just disappeared without a word and forgot it existed.

I'm in college now, and even though I already feel like I never have time to finish anything, I miss reading. I miss blogging. I miss the community and the way it was so easy to find a new book to read, because someone I admire posted a 5 star review yesterday or because Wednesdays were full of new and exciting soon-to-be-published books. My time management skills definitely still need work, but I want to commit to this blog again. I want to commit to reviewing again. So I am.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to post every day. My grades and work take priority, and I don't have the kind of organizational and multitasking skills a lot of the community seems to have. On top of that, life is stressful enough as it is, and I don't want my blog to become yet another significant source of stress. I want to use it as stress relief. But I'll be posting once a week at minimum. Definitely more on most weeks. I'll be reading blog posts again. And I can't wait; I'm so excited to be back. Hopefully you stick around. I'll mostly be reviewing old books for awhile, since I don't have anything new and I need to catch up on the pile that's been sitting in my room for over a year.

There's a new (mostly) temporary design up, and I'll be working to switch over all the old formatting and broken links. Let me know what you think!

And if anyone's actually reading this, feel free to comment with current events below! I have no idea about anything anymore. Tell me all about the best books you've read in the past year and the upcoming books you absolutely can't stand waiting for. (Seriously. I have no idea what's out right now.) Tell me all about the new and exciting things that have happened in book blogging in the past two years. Leave nothing out. Please. I'm begging you.