Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. ** I had yet another very successful library trip. It's too bad I can't seem to read as fast as I check out all the books. Click the covers to find out more about each book!
My Library Loot
I Heard It's Really Good From Several Little Blogger Birdies
I'm Hoping This One Will Tide Me Over Until September
I Was In a Fantasy Mood
The Sequel I Hope Is Better Than The First
This One Sounds Like A Sexy Adult Version of Throne of Glass - We Shall See
Goodreads Summary: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
The Winner’s Curse had me hooked from beginning to end. There wasn’t a single dull or boring moment.
What did I like about The Winner’s Curse? I pretty much liked it ALL. Rutkoski can write, and she can write well. The descriptions were vivid, the people were memorable, the setting and fighting was easy to imagine. I was even clouded with emotion while reading about the oppression of the slaves. It was also perfectly paced. Although it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, it was so much more.
The characters in The Winner's Curse will blow you away. I can honestly say that I felt something for each and every one of them, whether it was hatred or love. Kestrel, the general’s daughters, is intelligent and brave and Arin is also intelligent and brave, making those two and their very sticky/complex relationship a battle of the minds and soul. It was perfectly well done, and I’m not even talking about just the romance. Their relationship was something beyond that. I loved Kestrel’s friendship with Jess and Ronan as well, it seemed true. I refuse to go into any further details because I don’t want to give anything away... so moving on.
One of my favorite parts of The Winner’s Curse was how much strategy played an important role in the whole thing. Everyone was always needing to stay one step ahead of the other characters. It wasn’t just a book about war, it was a game of wits and strategy. I couldn’t’ even tell you whose side I was on sometimes.
The Winner’s Curse will be sure to delight fans of all different types of young adult fantasy novels. It’s the perfect book for the readers who enjoy a plot that is ever moving and changing, the ones who love a book that will make you think, and who likes reading about war and strategies. Bottom Line: I'm ready for book two!
Now that I have been blogging for almost two years I feel like I can officially give some helpful advice to my fellow book bloggers out there. I wrote this post not only to give you some helpful websites full of blogging tips and hints and other stuff, but I wrote it to also praise all those blogs and websites that without their help my blog would look like crap, and you probably wouldn't even be reading this right now. So here are some awesome blogs and other sites that really help me keep my blog looking fabulous and running smoothly. ** Please share with me some of your website secrets that keep your blog running and looking beautiful! I can use all the help I can get. :)
The Five Obvious Ones
1. Goodreads has been a life saver since I started blogging. I keep track of my To Be Read Pile using Goodreads which keeps me better organized than I ever have been with just a word document. I also love how I can announce to other readers and bloggers what I am currently reading and get to check out what they are currently reading as well. Not to mention Goodreads also has some giveaways you can enter to win some ARCs.
2. I never used Twitter before I started my blog. I just didn't get the point of it. Now I love it. It's not only a great way to share with the world what I post on my blog, but I get to interact with authors and a lot of them tweet back! It's awesome. Not to mention getting to talk with other bloggers and all the fun Twitter chats and events.
3. Once Google Reader was over I needed to find a new platform to not only follow new bookish blogs, but to organize and keep track of the blogs I was already following. Although Bloglovin has its annoying moments, such as when it says I still have unread posts, but they don't show, it has been good to me. It's easy to follow other blogs.
4. I'm not sure why, or I just don't remember why I chose Blogger to host my blog, but I did. It's free and it has been pretty easy to use. I know a lot of people prefer Wordpress, but since I haven't had any big problems with Blogger I'm just going to stick with it. One day I hope to actually have my own site, but I don't have the the money for that right now so my website will continue to have .blogspot at the end of it.
5. Google has been without a doubt the most helpful search engine ever whenever I would encounter a blogging crisis. Every time I need help with just about anything book or blog related I just Google it and most of the time I find what I need.
The Five Sites That Make My Blog Pretty
1. PicMonkey is a similar type of program like Photoshop, but it is free! It takes a little while to discover all of the interesting things you can do with this program, but it is totally worth your time. I like using the site to make collages among other things. I made my blog header using this site along with all of my side bar headers.
2.I stumbled upon A Universe Behind Your Eyelids a long time ago when I was in search of a way to put boxes around text. I really needed to spruce up how my reviews looked on my blog. This site didn't just give me a tutorial, it has a text box creator. Every single time you see a text box on my blog I made it using this site. You can change the color of the box, the color of the border, all of that fun stuff. I know many of you probably just use the code to make boxes on your site, but for some reason I just always found this way to be easier for me.
3. My favorite post from the Code it Pretty blog is the one that taught me own to use different/unique blog fonts from google fonts and how to put them on my blog. It was an easy to follow tutorial. Hence my recently new font for my reviews. There are other helpful tutorials on Code it Pretty along with other website suggestions for your blogging needs. 4. The wonderful site LinkWithin gave me what I found to be the easiest way to add a related posts widget on my blog that shows up at the end of each post.
5. Giphy is pretty much my go to site for whenever I want to use entertaining gifs in my discussion posts. I tried using Google to find gifs at first but that was too much of a pain. It's so much easier to use Giphy. How do you find gifs?
Two Of My Favorite Book Blogs That Offer Great Blogging Advice
1. Parajunkee gives its readers some of the best book blogging advice that I have ever come across so far while blogging. The best is that a lot of her advice is aimed directly at book bloggers not just general advice for any old blogs. Her feature is called Book Blogging 101.
Goodreads Summary: Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought. Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.
I had such high hopes for Panic, BUT
in the end I just felt indifferent toward the whole book.
I’m not sure if it was my high expectations, my personal mood when I started reading, the fact that I could relate to no one in this book, or simply because Panic was just mediocre. I just wasn’t interested for most of the book.
I can say with certainty that there was one very captivating element of this novel, every time there was an awesome cool dangerous challenge in the competition I was ready for it.
I was excited. Game on. They were the best parts of the book. I practically skimmed through the rest of the book to get to them. Sadly, they were the only time I felt something and there aren't even that many challenges.
Whenever there wasn’t a challenge going on I looked a little something like this.
I didn’t care about the characters, I just couldn’t connect with them. Even when I found out how harsh some of these kids’ home lives were, it did nothing to bring me to care about them. I actually did care a little bit for some the characters….in the very last chapter. That is something at least. Otherwise the kids (and adults, cops, everyone) were kind of idiots that I didn't understand.
I realize they are only teenagers, but aren't these kids who will be adults very soon and going away to college? Ugh. I sure hope not. It’s a darker novel, but yet didn’t bring out any strong emotions in me. Sadly, I feel that Oliver just didn’t deliver on this one. It felt like she tried too hard, or maybe just not hard enough. On top of the blah characters, everything seemed pretty predictable to me as well.
However, to the last 100ish pages...
I was finally completely pulled into the story (besides the very beginning for like two pages), but also this book is 400 pages long…so yea I don’t think that is saying much.
The only panic I felt while reading was an overwhelming worry that this book wouldn’t be great, and I was totally right to panic, because it wasn’t. I was very disappointed. I was hoping for something more.
If you are really looking forward to reading Panic don't let me stop you. There are plenty of readers out there who enjoyed Panic, but it just wasn't for me. The whole book was just very bland. I would however recommend Oliver's other novels.
I had a lot of fun with this week's topic. I tried to be creative and I think I did okay. I took this topic as an opportunity to express my feelings about certain characters who could really use some time away (in prison, an insane asylum, a resort, etc.) for one reason or another. I decided to sentence them. **This post does contain a few spoilers when I describe who certain characters should be sentenced. Therefore, if you haven't read the books that I mention at the beginning of the number then you should stop reading that said paragraph. Basically, just read with caution. :)
Top Ten Characters Who I Think Should Receive The Following Sentences (In No Particular Order)
1. Joffrey Baratheon - Game of Thrones - Sentence: Beheading - To save everyone some trouble Joffrey should have just been committed the minute he was born, but sadly he was not. He is a sadistic crazy little jerk. I even chose him over his very dirty "parents" to be sentenced, that is how much I hate Joffrey. 2. Dolores Umbridge - Harry Potter Series - Sentence: Life in Azkaban w/out Parole- Umbridge is an evil villain that boils my blood more than anyone else in the entire HP series. 3. Jacob Black - Twilight - Sentence: Mental Health Facility - Besides the fact that Jacob is totally immature and I can't stand him, he falls in love with the baby of the girl he was originally in love with from the beginning. Ummm....it's just weird. I think talking it out with someone may help him. 4. Peeta Mellark - The Hunger Games - Sentence: Sabbatical - I want him to go away for mostly selfish reasons. I want him out of the way so Katniss will be with Gale forever. 5. Percy Jackson - Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus - Sentence: The Beach - Percy has literally been to hell and back. He deserves some R and R for as long as he wants where no monsters or Gods can bother him. 6. Hilly Holbrook - The Help - Sentence: Forced to Live in The Present - With this sentence I can only hope that Hilly would have a change of heart and realize her views are totally wrong, or maybe she will be so freaked out she will just stay inside at all times keeping to herself and not bothering anyone and suffer a little. I'll take either one. 7. Jake Stephens - Eat, Brains, Love - Sentence: Zombie Shock Collar/Ankle Monitor - I hate to say this about Jake since I like him and he isn't always hungry for people, but due to his zombie tendencies I think it would be safer for everyone if he was monitored. 8. Gollum - Lord of The Rings - Sentence: A Peaceful Afterlife - Gollum was crazy and had some serious problems once the ring bacame his precious and deserves some punishment, but since he is already dead and gone I can only hope that he finally found peace. 9. Victor & Eli - Vicious - Sentence: A Padded Room Where They Can't Use Their Powers - I may love these characters, but if you read the book you know why I put them on this list. 10. WICKED - The Maze Runner - Sentence: Complete Shut Down - This organization is just messed up and should be shut down, and everyone working for them should be committed.
Goodreads Summary: Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a must read.
Here is why…
It’s Hilarious, Unique, Complex, and Real.
It’s full ofRedemption, Betrayal, Love, andLaughter.
The characters areEnjoyable, Crazy, Adorable, andSmart.
It’s alsoShocking, Well Written, Hopeful, andBeautiful.
The Bottom Line: Where’d You Go, Bernadette is fantastic. Read it.
**What did you think of my new straight to the point review? I had fun writing it, but I want your opinion! I won't do these kinds of reviews often, but I thought it would be nice to spice my reviews up a little bit from time to time.
Here are all of the top bookish stories, blog posts, pictures, and videos I found this past week. I put this post up every Sunday so come back again next week for more bookish awesomeness. Click away and enjoy your Sunday!
My 2014 summer reading list is already starting to get out of control, but my love for lists and new shiny books made me giddy and excited when I came across Publisher Weekly's list of Best Summer Books 2014.
Chloe Grace Moretz has been in about 10 book to movie adaptations including If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, and apparently The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. The young adult books to movies are ever growing. I'm not sure what I think of this. I base my decision on if I want to see them on their trailers.
I have read so many books where the pacing seems off, or I'm just not happy with it. There Were Books Involved has a great post on the importance of pacing. If pacing is a bookish topic that interests you then I would highly suggest you check out this post.
If you are looking for some laughs then you must read Parajunkee's post, Cover Junk. There are some highly amusing bad covers featured and Parajunkee's comments just make the post that much better.
The Cafenated Book Reviewer never seems to fail at having interesting and unique blog posts. She is starting a new feature, Recipe & A Book Recommendation! This week features Death Dip and Zombies. Check it out.
Will you be seeing any of these? I plan to see them at least on DVD, I'm not sure about seeing them in theaters yet.
Goodreads Summary: Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood. Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide. City of Dark Magic could be called a rom-com paranormal suspense novel—or it could simply be called one of the most entertaining novels of the year.
When I first started reading City of Dark Magic I thought it would be a challenge to actually enjoy it since I felt like the content about famous classical music was over my head, but luckily after plowing through the first chapter I became more confident and started feeling less dumb. This was a good thing since no one wants to read a book that makes them feel dumb. I had such a hard time writing this review so I apologize for its briskness.
City of Dark Magic was a very unique novel and nothing what I was expecting, but an enjoyable read all the same. The main character, Sarah, was a funny special kind of interesting person that I can say I immediately enjoyed reading about. I also found Prince Max to be intriguing and charming along with the many other very different minor characters. The only negative thing I have to say about the characters is that it was beyond frustrating that the readers don’t get a lot of time reading about Sarah and Max interacting. My favorite scenes were when they were working together. I also had a few moments where I just wanted to yell at them to TALK to each other instead of assuming things, etc. I guess I just wanted some more romance and even more action since there wasn’t a lot of action during the whole book, although the ending was fantastic.
The paranormal part of this book was a very pleasant addition. It was perfectly different. Without giving anything away… I’m just going to say that the author manages to mix the past and the present and a mystery seamlessly.
Even though City of Dark Magic wasn’t perfect, it was a delightful read and I plan to read the sequel soon. This book would be a great choice for fans of classical music, history, Prague, and a good adventure mystery novel.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. * Apparently I seem to think that I need all the books from the library that I can carry every week. Oh well, I love having so many reading options when I go to pick up my next read. Click the covers to find out more about each book!
My Library Loot
The Title Sold Me: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared
Another Adult Book I Snagged This Week
The One I Checked Out Once Before But Didn't Read - Alien Exchange Student (Enough Said)
Goodreads Summary: Starting over sucks. When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. And then he opened his mouth. Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. The hot alien living next door marks me. You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don't kill him first, that is.
My initial knee-jerk reaction when I first started reading Obsidian: This is Twilight fan fiction where Edward is meaner and an alien instead of a vampire. It was so eerily similar, I would have made a list of comparisons, but I didn’t keep track while reading. It took a lot of effort to work past my initial judgment, but I eventually did and was able to sit back and enjoy the story for what it was. I guess since I read and heard so many good things about Obsidian I was hoping it was going to blow me away, but it didn’t, and yet I was engrossed in the story anyway. Not to mention, I’m going to read the next book, although I'm not sure if I will read past the second one yet.
Katy – She is a book blogger, so I immediately liked her and could relate to her excitement over receiving books and getting posts up on time. She is kind of an introvert who tries to break out of her shell a little bit. She is cute and smart and not just a love sick teenager. She actually cares most about her friendship with Daemon’s sister, the only minor interesting character, more than Daemon.
Daemon – I didn’t like him at first, I actually straight up disliked him and I can’t even say for sure if he totally grew on me by the end of the book. Daemon is a straight up ass. I know he has some reasons behind why he is mean to Katy that make sense and that I can understand, but being straight up plain rude wasn’t necessary. He does sound pretty hot though. It’s weird how much I had a problem with him, considering I’m a fan of bad boys, but this one just wasn’t doing it for me. I did however loved his alien powers.
Daemon & Katy – I liked their very interesting and sometimes very comical with their banter relationship. They aren’t my favorite ship or anything, especially because of how much of an ass Daemon could be, but I do like them. The sexual tension scenes were really well written and I like that Katy isn't all "I totally don't care you are an ass, I love you anyway and want to be with you forever."
The Plot and Such
The overall plot among other things in Obsidian reminded me a great deal of Twilight, and as I mentioned before, this my friends bothered me. I have no problem with Twilight, I own the books, I’ve read them, it’s all good, but I was thinking this book would have been something more, and it was, but not by much. It seems with how many people loved this book I am in the minority here. I don’t know how the Twilightness of it didn’t turn more people off. There were so many scenes that screamed Twilight at me. I did however enjoy the pacing of the book, I read it from start to finish in no time. I thoroughly enjoyed the action scenes. Getting to see aliens fight in all their glory was pretty cool. Even though the plot was pretty basic and reminded me of Twilight, for some reason I'm still not sure about, Obsidian kept my attention from start to finish.
The Bottom Line
I enjoyed Obsidian thanks to its few redeeming qualities. Katy and her coolness, the times it made me laugh, and the steaminess made for an somewhat enjoyable read. I still can’t tell you why even with all the issues I had with this book I still enjoyed it as much as I did. It’s a mystery. Anyway, I guess I would recommend this book to fans of young adult sci-fi romance, but with a cautious warning that it is very similar to Twilight.
Here are all of the top bookish stories, blog posts, pictures, and videos I found this past week. I put this post up every Sunday so come back again next week for more bookish awesomeness. Click away and enjoy your Sunday!
I'm a fan of tote bags and wish I could own them all. If you are a fan as well then you should check out these bookish tote bags.
If you love to take online quizzes as much as I do then you will enjoy taking How Scandalous Is Your Reading History? I have only read 27 of the banned books on this quiz. I need to work on that.
For fans of Downton Abbey and Reign... Read My Breathe Away's post where she gives some reading suggestions based off of these two television shows is one you won't want to miss. So many books I now want to read!
Reader/Blogger Wishlist is taking place again on April 14th! I didn't get to participate last time so I'm hoping to this time around. Read this informative post to find out what exactly the RBWL is.
Goodreads Summary: Tomorrow is for regrets. Tonight is for being together. On a cold winter night, Rachel and Jason’s lives collide on Manhattan Bridge. She’s running from life, he’s running toward it. But compassion urges him to help her. His offer of a place to stay leads to friendship and trouble. There’s his fiancée back home in Oregon and a family who just don’t trust this girl from the wrong side of the tracks. But when the connection between them is so electric, so right… everyone else must be wrong. And as the snow begins to settle on the Hudson, there’s nothing but the possibility of what could be – of this, right here, right now. Them.
If I were to describe I Found You with one word it would be different, and no I don’t mean bad different. I Found You wasn’t like any of the other new adult romances that I have come into contact with before. It was heartbreaking, joyful, and because I refuse to spoil anything, refreshingly different.
Lark managed to create complex interesting characters that although where hard to relate to, were well developed. I also enjoyed the fact that we get POVs from both Rachel and Jason. The romance between them was cute and steamy. They seemed to fit perfectly together, even if their relationship does seem to move quickly. The minor characters, like Jason’s family and Rachel’s past acquaintances, were a nice touch that helped flesh out the main characters, their past and present, and added a lot of purposeful drama.
When I first started reading I Found You I was concerned that even with wanting to figure out the mystery of why Rachel was on the bridge the night they met, ready to end her life, that there wouldn’t be a lot of real plot movement, it just seemed off at first. Yet, the story did pick up and I slowly got to uncover both Rachel and Jason’s history at a good pace, and there ended up being plenty of drama and shocking discoveries that kept me interested enough to keep reading. I did read it in one day.
There is so much more I could say about this book and the very hard subject matters that it touches on, but I refuse to have spoilers in my reviews. Therefore, I will just say that Lark did a great job at handling these not talked about enough tough issues with grace. One last thing I want to point out, at times I may have felt like the story was really hard to believe, but then again, this is a piece of fiction.
I would recommend I Found You for fans of the New Adult genre, for those of you who don’t mind reading about people with troubled pasts, for everyone that doesn’t mind reading a different kind of novel, and the ones out there that want to read about a love that will make your heart swell.