October 29, 2015

Review: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan
507 pages
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Norse Mythology
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: I bought it!
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Amazon
My Rating:
Goodreads Summary: Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

My Review

I am a huge Rick Riordan fan. Percy Jackson is a character that will always stay with me. I absolutely love his witty, funny, and adventurous novels, and The Sword of Summer turned out to be exactly that.

What somewhat started out as the usual quest type novel, turned into yet another unique and fun young adult book by Riordan that just so happens to feature the Norse gods this time around. Even though it was formulaic like the Percy Jackson books, it still had some very unique and funny surprises. It was way more unique that I thought it would be.

Even though I shouldn't have, I may have compared Magnus to Percy, but even though I did, it really didn't matter. Sure they are both funny and cute, but they are both different in wonderful ways. I loved that Magnus was his own person and was different enough from Riordan's other characters to keep it fresh. All of the minor characters in The Sword of Summer also stood out on their own, and I loved their endearing demeanors and brave souls.

I was not disappointed by the start of this new series by Riordan. I appreciated it and look forward to reading the rest of the books. I think all of Riordan's fans will like this new series, and it doesn't hurt that the main character (as we found out in the previous series and by his name) is related to Annabeth, which will hopefully mean our beloved Percy and Annabeth may make appearances in this new series. One can hope.

The Bottom Line: The Sword of Summer is yet another wonderfully adventurous novel by Riordan. I think his fans will approve even if his books are similar, because they are just that entertaining.

October 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #15: The Forbidden Orchid

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Because... I like this author and the cover & story caught my eye

The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Goodreads Summary: Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters living in a small English market town in 1861. The girls' father is a plant hunter, usually off adventuring through the jungles of China.

Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan fails to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid, meaning that he will be thrown into debtors' prison and the girls will be sent to the orphanage or the poorhouse. Elodie's father has one last chance to return to China, find the orchid, and save the family—and this time, thanks to an unforeseen twist of fate, Elodie is going with him. Elodie has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper The Osprey, and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China.

But even if she can find the orchid, how can she find herself now that staid, responsible Elodie has seen how much the world has to offer?

What are you waiting on?

October 27, 2015

TTT #50: Creepiest Covers

These 10 book covers give me the chills

October 26, 2015

Review: Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson

Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson (Sept. 2015)
336 pages
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Other
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: The library.
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Amazon
My Rating:
Goodreads Summary: Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking:

Never interfere.
Never be seen.
Never walk the same person’s dream more than once.

Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.

Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town, and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?

From talented debut author Robert L. Anderson comes a stunning, complex, and imaginative story of the fine line between our dreams and reality.

My Review

I had a really hard time writing this review for Dreamland. Perhaps I had a hard time writing my review because of my own personal issues (It seems that I am in a slight reviewing slump), or perhaps it was also because my feelings for this book are all over the place. I guess I'm just going to break it down into nice little categories.

The Writing: It seemed a little choppy to me. This is also a personal prefernece.
The Characters: Likeable and also aggravating. Dea is a likeable and enjoyable enough MC, but her mom fits perfectly into the young adult mom trope, where she hides important information from her daughter to keep her safe/because she thinks it is for the best, but really it just makes everything worse/that much harder.
The Setting: The dream world was intense and dark. I loved it and yet I wanted more. (I think the pacing has something to do with my uneasiness of the dream stuff.) I did like the small town setting a lot.
The Story: Hmmm.... I can't really go into it much, but I sometimes felt disjointed from what was going on.
The Pacing: Was on point and also wasn't. Mostly it was good enough to keep me curious, but sometimes waiting for the details of the dream world to unfold was horrible.
The Romance: This was average.
A Standalone?: This book would make a good first book in a duology.

The Bottom Line: I can't really say more without giving away a lot of the interesting little surprises Dreamland has in store for its reader. I can say that I was somewhat disappointed, but I still did enjoy this quick read. The cover still makes me smile.

October 25, 2015

Read-a-thon Accomplished

A few days ago I decided to do my very own personal read-a-thon. Read my original post here. So yesterday I did it. I had the day off and I read my little heart out. Here is what went down.


Start: Sat. Oct. 24th at 9:00 am
Finish: Sun. Oct 25th at 2:00 am
Total read-a-thon time: 17 hours
Time Actually Read: 10ish hours (I was curious so I actually timed this.) I could have read more but I had to eat, I was dog sitting, my new couch came, and I did want to spend dinner with my husband, but I still read a LOT!
Original Reading Goal: Two novels and Two Graphic Novels
Actual Books Read: Two Graphic Novels and One Novel (Which was longer than I thought, but really good.) Pictured Below (I enjoyed all three!)
Total Number of Pages Read: 801 pages
Would I do it again? Of course. Do I have any time in the near future to do so? Not really. :(

I hope all my lovely readers has a chance to do their very own personal readathon at some point! I know it is hard to find time, but it is worth it.

How I felt after the read-a-thon...

October 22, 2015

I Feel Like Gabbing Today - I'm doing my own read-a-thon!

** I want to share with you the very random thoughts that pop into my head and chat with you about them. Many are bookish thoughts and many are not. I feel like I don't have enough discussion type posts on the blog so I am giving this a whirl. Some days I will talk about a specific topic and sometimes I will just throw some random thoughts at you. So please sit back, relax, and take a second to chat with me today.

Read-A-Thons are My Jam

I love read-a-thons! There is just something about the challenge of reading as many books as I possibly can in a given amount of time that makes me swoon. It doesn't hurt to have a group of people who love reading as much as me participating as well. I really do enjoy the camaraderie. I also love mini challenges and everything else that happens during a read-a-thon, but mostly I like to...
Bout of Books is my all time favorite read-a-thon! One whole week of reading, twitter chats, mini challenges, and even more reading?! Sign me up! I am sure most of you have also heard of the Dewey 24 hour read-a-thon. Sadly, I am never able to participate because I work Saturdays, and that was no exception this year. But by crazy chance and miracle (or because I follow her blog) I stumbled upon Bookish's blog post about her experience participating in Dewey and her tips of participating in a read-a-thon. This was a sign. I realized that I should just make my own read-a-thon since I ironically just so happen to have this Saturday off work. 

I have to work this coming Friday night and Sunday, but I have ALL day Saturday to read. The only thing I have planned for this weekend is being home for when my couch is delivered, that is it. Even my husband has work and will be gone a good chunk of the day. That means almost NO DISTRACTIONS all day. Could I have a more perfect opportunity to do my very own read-a-thon? I don't think so. (Days off are rare as I'm sure most of you know.) If you want to read all day Saturday with me you are more than welcome to join in on the fun. OR if you are busy you can pick your very own read-a-thon day sometime in the near future and read your heart out when it works best for you.

When I am Reading



Start: Sat. Oct. 24th at 9:00 am
Finish: Sun. Oct 25th at 2:00 am
Total Reading Time: 17 Hours
Total Books I Want to Read: Two Novels & Two Graphic Novels
My Level of Excitement to Begin: Off the charts!
The Amount of Fun to be had: Infinite

What I am Reading

My Back-Up Option

If you want to read all day with me on Saturday then please leave me a comment so when I take a quick break I can check in with you! If you can't join me this weekend, that is totally understandable since this is last minute and not really an official thing at all. I just hope you find some time to have your very own personal read-a-thon! Or maybe you don't like participating in read-a-thons because of the pressure or for another reason. I would love to hear your thoughts on this week's topic below! Happy reading! :D

October 19, 2015

Short & Sweet Review: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
384 pages
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: The library.
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Amazon
My Rating:
Goodreads Summary: Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

My Review

Dumplin' has been praised by many, and now it is time to add my admiration to the collection. Why should you read Dumplin'? Because...

Will is a character many can relate to, and she is impossible not to like. 

A novel full of friendship, loyalty, hardships, and what it really means to be a teenager, is a perfect addition to the young adult contemporary novels out there and one fans are sure to enjoy.

The best and the hardest part about reading Dumplin' was its frankness with many issues teens face today, and many I myself faced in the past.

Dumplin' is well written and full of laughter and love. Don't miss this gem!

October 16, 2015

I Tried and Succeeded in Making Some Pinterest Recipes

I love trying new recipes! Love it. I can spend hours on Pinterest finding new recipes to try and I never regret it. I have been meaning to write a food post since forever and I am so glad I finally did, as I am sure you are too! Here are some of my all time favorite recipes that I found on Pinterest and tried in the last year. I am not very good at describing the food I eat, but I sure do like sharing these recipes with you!

My Favorite Fall Recipe

Photo from Chelsea's Messy Apron

{Slow Cooker} Sweet Potato, Chicken, & Quinoa Soup

I love this recipe and my husband loves it too. I even got my parents to try it and it was a big hit! This is one of my all time favorite fall recipes and I can't wait to make it again. Sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes... what more could you want? Find the recipe here.

Always An Instant Hit

Photo from Julie's Eats and Treats

Green Beans, Chicken, & Potatoes

I have yet to hear someone say they didn't like this one! Who knew sprinkling Italian seasoning over a pan of chicken, potatoes, and green beans would be so appetizing? It is super easy to make and super delicious. The only thing I wasn't a fan of was how much butter the recipe calls for. I only use half of what you are supposed to and it still tastes delicious. Find the recipe here.

Yummy in My Tummy

This is my very own picture!

Cheesy Sausage Tortellini

This one is a tiny bit more complex than the last two, but it is so freaking good. That is all I have to say about this one. Find the recipe here.

I Love Everything Ranch

Another picture that is all mine!

Ranch Chicken

This Ranch chicken will only take you a few minutes to prepare and it tastes so very very good. I love serving this dish with corn and brown rice. Find the recipe here.

This is a Must Try

Photo from Frugality Gal

Honey Teriyaki Chicken

When I was compiling this list I realized that most of my recipes include chicken. I think that is because it is decently cheap to purchase and well liked by many. Anyway, this is probably my favorite chicken recipe on today's list. Find the recipe here.

Another Chicken Dish

This picture is all mine!
One Pan Balsamic Chicken and Veggies

This recipe is wonderfully flavorful and pretty darn healthy. We used fresh green beans instead of asparagus. My husband and I loved it. Find the recipe here.

Pizza is My Drug of Choice

Photo from Ella Claire
No-Crust Pizza Bites

I can eat pizza all day every day in just about any format. When I found this healthier version I had to give it a whirl. These no-crust pizza bites were unbelievably tasty. My husband devoured so many of them, probably making them less healthy, but they were just so darn good! Find the recipe here.

Please share some of your favorite recipes in the comments!

October 13, 2015

TTT #49: Authors I Would Love to See Write a Book Together

I am so excited to be participating in this week's topic! I thought I would have a hard time coming up with ten different author pairings, but it turns out that I really didn't. I would DIE if these authors teamed up together to write a book. In no particular order, here are my dream author duos...

October 12, 2015

Review: Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine

Of Dreams and Rust (#2) by Sarah Fine (Aug. 2015)
280 pages
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Other
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: The library.
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Amazon
My Rating:
Goodreads Summary: War erupts in this bittersweet sequel to Of Metal and Wishes, inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and called “relentlessly engrossing” by The Romantic Times.

In the year since the collapse of the slaughterhouse where Wen worked as her father’s medical assistant, she’s held all her secrets close. She works in the clinic at the weapons factory and sneaks away to nurse Bo, once the Ghost, now a boy determined to transform himself into a living machine. Their strange, fragile friendship soothes some of the ache of missing Melik, the strong-willed Noor who walked away from Wen all those months ago—but it can’t quell her fears for him.

The Noor are waging a rebellion in the west. When she overhears plans to crush Melik’s people with the powerful war machines created at the factory, Wen makes the painful decision to leave behind all she has known—including Bo—to warn them. But the farther she journeys into the warzone, the more confusing things become. A year of brutality seems to have changed Melik, and Wen has a decision to make about him and his people: How much is she willing to sacrifice to save them from complete annihilation?

My Review

Of Dreams of Rust is the sequel to Of Metal and Wishes. I really liked the first book, but I wasn't blown away. When I read Of Dreams and Rust, I was completely blown away!

Of Dreams and Rust has everything in a book that I love. It has a lot of action, romance, suspense, interesting characters, a blurred line between good and bad, unique war machinery, and beautiful writing. You can see why it blew me away. 

While I only just liked Wen originally, I grew to freaking love her in this book. She is fiercely strong and wonderfully came into her own. I wasn't a fan of Bo in the first book, but he too continued to grow and surprise me. Melik is still strong and kind and hard when needed. I enjoyed reading about all three of these characters.

After you get through the first couple of chapters the pacing of the book is incredibly fast, and I loved it! I didn't want to stop reading once I started. It was nail biting, ugly, dark, beautiful, and crazy. I am just so glad that the emotional roller coaster ride concluded with a satisfying ending. This unique novel shouldn't be passed up. My only complaint is that I think the book could have been a little longer, it was a little short at only 280 pages.

Sarah Fine is an author you don't want to miss out on! She really knows how to write some astonishingly beautiful and dark pieces of fiction.

October 8, 2015

Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry (May 2015)
496 pages
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: The library.
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Amazon
My Rating:
Goodreads Summary: Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

My Review

I'm going to start off my review with the two main characters' opening lines.

"Top three awful moments of my life: Meeting my biological father at ten. Breaking my arm in three spots at nine. Falling into a hole and being trapped there overnight with a dead body at eight."

"It's three in the morning and Mom and I continue to wait."

My First Thought: Is this going to be my kind of book? A few pages later... Why, I guess it is! *smiles wide*

This seemed like a longer romance novel to me since it hit close to 500 pages, but I liked these characters enough that I didn't mind one bit and am thankful for its length. I am so glad I decided to finally take a chance on reading one of Katie McGarry's novels. I don't read a lot of young adult romance, but I am trying to be more open minded about what I read so I gave it a shot.

If I am going to read a romance novel, I prefer one with dual POVs from both the male and female (or male and male or female and female) love interests. I don't know if this will make sense to you, but the dual POVs seem to make me less aggravated with a character with a budding romance when I can get inside both peoples' heads.

In Nowhere But Here we get to witness Emily try to figure out who her biological father is, and if she can find a way to let him into her life. All the while we also get to see Oz deal with trying to conquer his dream of becoming an official member of the Reign of Terror. Their issues are different and the same. Figuring out where and how you belong as a teenager is always difficult. As for these two as a couple, they are super cute and have some steamy moments. Honestly, I didn't find them annoying at all, which is a big accomplishment for a young adult romance. Usually the "will they won't they" or "we fight because we don't communicate thing" drives me insane, but there really wasn't a lot of that here.

The Bottom Line: I am sure fans of Katie McGarry will love this novel. As for everyone else, next time you are in a romance type mood I suggest you pick up Nowhere But Here.

October 7, 2015

Library Loot #38

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 may have went a little crazy at the library this week, but only a little. There are just too many wonderful books coming out this fall! I can't keep up.

My Library Loot

1. I'm squeezing in one last summer book.

2. I've been curious about this one for quite some time.

3. My new audiobook.

4. I've heard a million good things about this book. 

5. I've been waiting for this beauty.

6. This one sounds unique. 

7. 8. 9. 10. New graphic novels to try,

11. I just came across this one at work.

12. Another fall release I have been waiting for!

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