Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cress by Marissa Meyer is the fantastic third installment in The Lunar Chronicles. Here's a gif of how I felt reading the last 100 pages or so...


As Meyer demonstrated in the last Lunar Chronicle book (Scarlet), she's fantastic as incorporating new characters into this story line without losing track of the others. I love Cress and I think Cress reacts to situations very in character aka like someone who's spent the last seven years of her life on a satellite. 

And I love how Meyer used the foundations of the original Rapunzel tale but morphed them to fit into the universe she's been building. I can't wait for Winter to come out. In 2015. Sigh.

I know there are people who don't enjoy this series, but I can't think of a reason why they wouldn't. I've been recommending it to everyone. 

Prequel / Sequel Challenge Points: 52 points + 2 = 54 points!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hello Lovelies!!

Yes, I recognize that it's no longer Tuesday, but I wanted to participate in this week's TTT because it's a pick your own, and I had already decided on my theme and then didn't get around to posting. So, here we are.

Top Ten Books I HAD to own, but still haven't read

1. The Casual Vacancy. I mean come on, I had to get this asap. But it's been sitting on my shelf for about a year and a half and I haven't read it. EEEEP. 

2.  The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao. I was so excited to see this at a yard sale that I picked it up immediately. But I haven't read it two years later.

3. A Discovery of Witches. This book sounded so good that I just had to get it! But I've had it for two years and still haven't read it.

4. A Visit from the Goon Squad. Another great find that's been sitting on my shelf for two years.

5. New York by Edward Rutherford was technically a gift, but I really wanted it. And I got it about six years ago and haven't read it yet. To be fair, I've started it I just haven't gotten very far.

6. Thunderstruck. After reading Devil in the White City, I desperately needed all Larson's books but I haven't read this one yet.

7. In the Garden of Beasts. Another Larson one which I got as a present, but haven't read yet, even though I would have bought it for myself if I hadn't been given it.

8. The 5th Wave. I got this as soon as it came into the store cause I really wanted to read it, but I've had it for a couple months now and haven't picked it up.

9.  Ready Player One. Another one I had to get right then, but haven't picked it up in the six months or so I've had it.

10. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. This looks sooo cute and I've heard such good things but I've had it for six months and haven't picked it up yet. 

So that's it lovelies! A peek at my book shelf and my procrastination skills. Which of these do you think I should pick up ASAP?? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Goal Check-In

Hello Lovelies!

I just realized that by this time next week we'll be starting month 6 of 2014 aka the beginning of the half way point!

It's insane. I can't believe 2014 has gone by so quickly. I mean, part of that is preparing for the biggest move of my life but I don't even know. 2014 is just clipping along. But I thought I would take a moment to check in with myself and my blogging goals for the year. I know I haven't been hitting all of them, and I'm hoping taking this time to remind myself will encourage me to jump back on my goal train. 

So here's my original post if you'd like to see what I'm referring to. 

1. Commenting hasn't been going super well. I definitely read a lot of other blogs, but my commenting needs to get back up. Something for me to keep in mind.

2. I haven't done much design work. I have several saved ideas, but I haven't actually done anything. I need to work on that.

3. I've failed pretty spectacularly at this. It was a goal to blog more outside of reviews and including reviews I've hit 3 posts a week, but outside of that, eeeeep. usually just one: top ten tuesdays. And I even missed that for several weeks.

4. Wow! I've actually hit this goal! I've already finished three series this year which is slightly unexpected: Chaos Walking, The Dragons of Blueland, and The Selection.

5. So far I've read 53 books this year according to my goodreads, so I'm well on my way to reading 100 this year!

6. I've fallen really behind on this goal since I've read 26 new books to my 18 previously owned books and 9 borrowed books. I'm going to try to get back on this goal.

7. I did this! I read four books in a week. 

8. My little followers notification on blogger still says 0 but I usually have at least two hits per post, so I think I have two followers out there somewhere. HELLO BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!! THANK YOU!!

9. I've reread two books: Mansfield Park and The Wanderer. 3 to go!

10. Pare down book owning is somewhat successful. I just brought in another two bags to the used book store, but I left with a bag too, so y'know it's a process.

11. Read a classic a month: well, I've read 5 classics so far, so even if it wasn't 1 per month, it's totaled the same for now.

So not too shabby! I definitely have some work to do, but I've already successfully completed two of eleven goals!

How are you guys doing with your goals, lovelies? Leave me a note in the comments!

Specials by Scott Westerfeld is the third book in the Uglies series. 

According to my Goodreads (uhmmm friend me? if you want?), it took me over four months to finish this book. It's 384 pages. It's not a hard read. So why did it take me so long that I could have read 3 pages a day and finished it in the same time?

I mean, it talks about self-harm and it talks about consent regarding one's own body, I should be crazy about this book! But I'm not. I actually don't really like this series much at all. But I'm determined to see it through at this point.

I don't think it addresses being female well. I think Tally has a huge case of special snowflake syndrome. By this time in the series, I'm sick to death of her going back and forth on whether she wants the cure or doesn't want it. I'm sick of her and Shay's relationship. I don't think it's an accurate view of female friendships. I'm sick of Tally and her boy of the moment. I have pretty much no interest in whatever is happening to Tally as a a character. But I also do have just the barest bit of curiosity about the world. I think the world he's created isn't inaccurate. And I want to know what will happen to the world by the end of the story.

So I'll read the fourth book and finish the series, but I'm not thrilled about it.

Prequel / Sequel challenge points: 50 pts + 2 = 52 points!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer is the equally excellent sequel to Cinder. Now, you might know that I generally don't like second books in series that much, but Scarlet was fantastic. Maybe it's because Meyer introduces a new set of characters while simultaneously following the story line that she introduced in the first novel. Maybe it's just because Meyer is a fantastic writer. But no matter which way I spin it, I just know that I devoured Scarlet almost as quickly as Cinder and enjoyed it almost as much (if not--eep!-- more).

Scarlet follows Cinder's escape attempt from prison. In France, we meet Scarlet (the titular character) who is searching for her missing grandmother while trying to keep their farm business afloat. She meets a stranger in town who goes by the name of Wolf and might have some clues as to where Scarlet's grandmother is at.

I was just as enthralled by the universe in this novel. Meyer fleshes out that space travel more, and she allows us more knowledge of things that were only hinted at in the first book. And I swear my heart just melted at a couple points.

After I finished, I immediately texted my friend that we needed to talk about how amazing this series is. I can't understand how it hasn't gotten huge huge huge yet!!!

Seriously, guys, if you haven't started The Lunar Chronicles yet, pick it up!

Prequel / Sequel Challenge Points: 48 + 2 = 50 pts!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hello Lovelies!

It's Tuesday again, and The Broke and the Bookish's prompt for this week is Top Ten Books About Friendship.

I'm not going to lie. I had a hard time this week. I could think of one, no problem, but the rest, I really had to scour my bookshelves (both digitallly and physically) to come up with some answers. 

So in countdown style (from hardest to think of to the biggest duh)...

10. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld: Now I might not be super enthusiastic about the rest of the series, but I can't deny that Shay and Tally's friendship starts off super strong. Tally follows Shay into the wild world alone. That seems like a pretty strong foundation for friendship. 

9. The Selection by Kiera Cass: I really enjoyed America and Marlee's friendship. I wish they'd been more open with each other, but I think it's obvious that they care for and support each other.

8. Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery: Paloma and Ozu are darling friends even with their huge age difference.

7. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry: Annemarie and Ellen are a pretty fantastic standard for friendship. I mean, how many friends can you count on to hide you from Nazis?

6. Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: The Little Prince has many friends through out his travels, but I think I appreciate his friendship with the pilot the most. 

5. Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls: Oh god, this book killed me in my childhood. But it gives the best descriptions of childhood friendship between owner and pet that I've ever read.

4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: Lyra spends most of the book chasing after her kidnapped best friend Roger. If that's not a strong friendship, I don't know what is. 

3. Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie: Every single Toot & Puddle book focuses on how strong their friendship is. It's strong enough for one to go traveling without the other, it's strong enough to find a birthday present when it seems like there isn't one left, and it's strong enough to make one friend go out and find the other. 

2. Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce (particularly Sandry's Book): This series is all about four friends bonding together and strengthening their own power and self-confidence through the friendships they create with each other. 

1. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling : I pretty much assume if this isn't on your list, you never read it. Or you're trying to be original. Either way, Harry Potter is entirely about friendship. And that's part of why it's my favorite series. 

So what books are on your list, lovelies?

Monday, May 19, 2014



Seriously guys. Marissa Meye's Cinder is so good. I realize I'm like a trillion years behind on this band wagon (or like two years but that's like a trillion in book land), but if you're like me and you haven't read this one yet, get on it! This is a fantastic retelling of Cinderella, but it's also so much more than that. Let me break it down for you.

1. This is a four book set and although each book appears to focus on a different character, it doesn't leave the other characters behind. In fact, Cinder's story isn't finished in the first book.

2. This definitely veers sci-fi over fantasy. I guess the cyborg part should have given that a way, but I was still struck by how sci-fi it was. Cause I usually don't read much sci-fi, but this one is amazing.

3. This is set in the future in New Beijing. And although Meyer doesn't come out and say it, I think it's pretty safe to say that all (or most) of the characters are Asian (and I say Asian intentionally because the world has narrowed down to 7 countries: the United Kingdom, the European Federation, the African Union, the American Republic, Australia and the Commonwealth of Asia.

Let me point out to all you wonderful fan artists out there that I would love to see some with actual Asian characters!! It'd be sweet.

4. Meyer's writing pulls you in. I didn't make any notations of specific quotes, but that's because I was entirely engrossed by the story line. It just grabbed me and I had to hit the ground running with it. I literally finished this book within 24 hours because I couldn't put it down.

Overall, this book is so good. I've already started Scarlet and I can't wait to read Cress and Winter.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The One by Kiera Cass is a wonderful ending to The Selection trilogy.

I thought Cass did an excellent job of winding up all the loose ends of the series. She made the relationship outcomes believable, and the situations were realistic in the set-up of the universe.

I mean, I don't think it was a perfect book. The more I thought about The Elite the more disgruntled I became with the King's sudden personality change. I also think that this book wrapped up a little too neatly. All the strings were tied up in one event that really didn't take that long. I just expect resolutions to occur in stages when there are multiple issues presented.

Overall, I think The One gives a satisfying conclusion to The Selection.

Favorite Quote: "Bravery hides in amazing places."

Prequel / Sequel Challenge Points: 36 + 2 = 38 + 10 for series completion = 48!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I just finished The Elite by Kiera Cass and I am so excited. I posted about 50 pages in that I thought this was going to be a long book because of what I presumed would be the obvious back and forth in America's mind between Maxon and Aspen. I was so wrong! 

First of all, I was genuinely nervous that this book was going to be all about the love triangle, but I was so wrong! Cass manages to include more on the Rebel attacks occurring, more on the gradually failing state of Illea, and more character development than in the first one. To be sure it's a little bit easier to provide character development when your cast of main or semi-main characters goes from around 50 down to around 20. 

Sure, I did still get a little annoyed with America's back and forth, but usually her reasoning behind it made sense. She knows what she wants in a relationship; unfortunately, America has the same problem which most people have of idealizing something that can never be perfect. And I think America grows as a character in this one. She makes some unwise choices, and she occasionally comes across as petulant, but I think we'll see a lot of growing up in the last book of the series. I left my friend's copy of The One at work, so I'm heading over there right now to pick it up! I can't wait to see what Cass does for the finale. 

Favorite Quotes:  "Love is beautiful fear."
"I kind of wanted someone to rearrange the stars so they spelled out his words."

Prequel / Sequel Challenge Points: 34 + 2 = 36 points

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman was (for the most part) surprisingly thoughtful.

This was another book club pick, and I was excited to read it because I love the Netflix show which is based on it. So let me just say that Netflix took some pretty big liberties in turning a memoir into a narrative story line. I mean, I should have seen that coming, but I didn't really so I feel like I should warn other people.

Kerman goes to jail for a 10 year old offense of carrying drug money across national lines (or something to that affect). Although she knows intellectually at the beginning of the book that what she did was illegal, she doesn't really believe that she should serve prison time for it. But as she goes through her 13 month sentence she begins to realize the lasting consequences of the small role she played in the drug trade business. Kerman does a good job of pointing out the fact that she had it so much better than most of the other women in there. She was engaged outside of prison to a wonderful man who visited her pretty much every week. He was buying them a house so she knew she'd have somewhere to live when she got out. She already had a job set up though a friend upon her release date. She got countless letters and books from various friends and relatives. And she got money to spend in the commissary on any items she wished. Even though it's clearly a memoir, Kerman manages to point out the lack of all of these things which the other women have to face. She points out time and time again the many ways in which our prison system is failing the very people we would like to rehabilitate. And she gives a list of resources to donate to or help in any way possible at the end of the book.

However, I almost put this book down. I kept getting irritated at her blatant disregard for any sexual identity outside of lesbian and straight. She also occasionally reinforces certain stereotypes (referring to women as "dykey"). She also gets a little hypocritical at one point where she talks badly about a prisoner who left and then lied to a magazine about the conditions of the prison and then talks about how great prison has been for her in another part (talking about how much weight she's lost in a positive manner and how many great relationships she's formed).

I think it's overall a great introduction to the state of prisons today. It will definitely tug on some heartstrings (and hopefully purse strings too) but I think it's also good to keep in mind that this is one middle age, middle class, white woman talking about something which is vastly more prevalent in poor people and people of color.

Favorite Quote: "Do you have to find the evil in yourself in order to truly recognize it in the world?"

Disclaimer: I was given a free ARC of this copy with the understanding that it would not influence my opinion or review of it at all. These are my real thoughts on the book.

The Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton is an interesting look at the relationships forged through a lifetime and what happens to them when the people involved are recovering from losses.

I received an ARC of this through GoodReads probably almost a year ago now. (I am the worst! I shouldn't ever ask for ARCs because it takes me so long to read them.) I've been making my way through it for about two months -- it's kind of been a book that's been hanging around in my bedroom for when I have a couple minutes to read (it's got pretty short chapters for the most part, so it was handy to have to read there). I finally finished it last night. 

I really wasn't sure how I felt about this book in the beginning. On the one hand, it had mostly female characters including a mixed-race main character (who felt very awkward about being mixed-race for the most part). It takes place in England which is pretty cool. But it also takes place after the death of Hope's mother. So it's all very sad and everyone's grieving in their own ways. And that was hard to jump right in to. Also Beatrix Potter plays a large part which I kind of had to adjust to because it's been so many years since I've read any Beatrix Potter books. 

Eventually though, I thought this story truly bloomed into something lovely. As the characters recognize their own faults and flaws, I think you get a good understanding of how major loss changes people and their priorities. Clayton really shows how people grow and change with the challenges of life. I didn't read the Wednesday Sisters (which is sort of the first book) so I'd be interested to see how that changed my opinion, but over all I thought it was beautifully written. I think it'll be a sure sell for people who like slow build stories with very well-written female friendships.

Favorite Quotes: "If there is no end of failure, I said, then perhaps there might be no end of success, too, if you just go on about putting words to paper? / If there is no end of failure, Allison, Bea said, success must b the act of putting words to paper as best we can."
"Family history is little more than expectation to be overcome [...] A straitjacket of limitations on who we otherwise might be."
"We can't help who our parents are [...] We can't help that we love them--I can't and you can't and we shouldn't, even when we hate what they do. But we aren't them."

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen might just be my least favorite of her novels. 

I've read Mansfield Park before. During my junior year of college, I took a class on Miss Jane Austen, and we read all of her novels. Some of them I was surprised to find I enjoyed. Some of them I find that I dislike less now that I've had some distance between us. And some of them I just generally dislike. Mansfield Park falls into that latter category. 

So a brief synopsis (with some spoilers if you find Austen's works unpredictable).

Fanny Price gets adopted by her rich aunt and uncle. She has two snotty girl cousins and two boy cousins: one who is snotty, one who is the love interest. After she spends six years growing up with the cousins (from 11 to 17) there are a snotty brother and a snotty sister who move in down the way. The brother (Mr. Crawford) toys with Fanny's cousins hearts. The sister (Miss Crawford) originally wants to catch Fanny's snotty boy cousin, but then decides that Edmund (the love interest) is much more interesting. Edmund falls in love with Miss Crawford but is frequently troubled by her view of the church (since Edmund's going to be a pastor, y'know).  There's this whole large chunk about this play which they're going to perform but then they get caught by Fanny's uncle and don't perform at all. Then Fanny's eldest cousin gets married to the stupid but rich guy down the road and takes Fanny's other cousin with them on their honeymoon. Mr. Crawford decides he wants Fanny to fall in love with him and in wooing her, falls in love with her. Fanny doesn't love him because he's a jerk. Miss Crawford decides she can't marry someone as low-class as a pastor. Fanny and Edmund eventually marry. 

Okay there's a few other things that happen but that's the gist of it.

Anyway, I had to reread it for a scholarship, and I think I ended up writing on something pretty interesting, but I'm still not thrilled with Mansfield Park. 

What about you, lovelies? What's your favorite Austen novel? Do you have one? (I'd suggest Persuasion or Northanger Abbey if it was up to me :D )

Hello Lovelies!!

Yes, I know it's Thursday. I was working on a scholarship application for the last two days and my roommate defended her thesis on Tuesday (woot! woot! passed with highest marks, atta girl!!) so I haven't had a chance to write up my post yet even though I did figure out which books would be on it on Tuesday. So without further ado...

The Top Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't

So I've separated these based on how I feel about them now. First off, let me give you a couple books I almost put down but I'm glad I didn't.

1. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire: I love classic stories from the point of view of other characters, so I sure this would be an instant favorite of mine. But, my goodness, the beginning of this book is soooo sloooooow. I almost put it down a couple of time, but I finally took it with me to my grandparent's cabin where it was the only book I had so I forced myself to finish it. And by the end, I was content with that decision. I'd never call it one of my favorites, but I'm glad I struggled through it to the other side.

2. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck : I read this in my junior year of English in high school, and most of my class hated it. In fact, I was the only person to finish the whole book in my class. And I hated it. Despised it. I had never felt so betrayed by an English class book before. But then I did an independent study with that same teacher during my senior year, and I watched the class below me read it, and I started to like it more. I haven't reread it, which I might like to do sometime, but I actually revised my opinion of it to really liking it.

3. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien: As you might recall, I started The Hobbit when I was in sixth or seventh grade, got about half way through, and set it down. I picked it back up about a year ago. When I put it back down for several months. Finally I finished it a couple months ago. And I hated it too. I gave it a two-star review. But the more I think about it, the more I enjoy it. I was disgruntled with the second film because they began to veer so far from the book (and not just in an adding in extra information way).

These next books I can't decide if I'm glad I read them or not:

4. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare: I read this about two years ago. I was sure I was going to love love love it. But it fell a little flat for me. So flat that I almost put it down a couple times. But I finished it. And I did end up reading the second one in the series about a year ago, and I have plans to keep reading (mostly because one of my friends insists that it gets amazing), but I just feel really ambivalent about the first one.

5. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: Let me preface this by saying I read Nabokov's Pale Fire my senior year of high school and loooooved it. It's probably one of my favorite books especially in writing style. There are so many beautiful verses in that book, and I was sure I'd like Lolita because I'd heard it referred to as a great love story somewhere. And even though I knew it was about a young girl with an older guy, all the modern references I'd seen of it implied that she was a teenager. She's not. And I'm perpetually disgusted by the subject matter, but I still gave it three stars because Nabokov's writing just gets to me.

6. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn:  I didn't really like this book. I wanted to put it down frequently, but since it was for my book club, I forced myself to finish it. And I didn't really like it. It made me want to shower cause it made me feel so gross. I didn't like this book, but I'm weirdly glad I finished it at least?

And finally a few books which I finished but I wish I hadn't wasted my time.

7. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes: This was another book club read, and I just couldn't get into it. Like I read it in the middle of a giant snowstorm which I thought would be nice because it's set in Tuscany and it'd be all sunshine and delight, but there was just something missing for me. And if I'd had my choice, I wouldn't have wasted my time finishing it.

8. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: This book was just so frustrating for me. I couldn't relate to any of the characters until the last 50 pages or so, and I didn't think they redeemed the book enough for me to be glad I spent my time reading it.

9. The Bat by Jo Nesbo: I've heard that some of his other books are much better than this one, but I prefer reading series in order, so I've never attempted any of his other ones. This just didn't thrill me. I was bored by the writing style (or translation style). I felt like too many events piled up before a resolution was attempted. And I just didn't enjoy it like I thought I would.

10. Intertwined by Gena Showalter: I love Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series, so I was sure I would love her young adult series too. Boy was I wrong. I hated this book. I finished it because I kept hoping it would get better. But I actually gave this book a one star review -- there aren't many books that I finish which get that low of a rating.

So those are the top ten books which I almost put down but didn't. What about you lovelies? Did you struggle with any of these books? What books have you almost put down but elected not to? Were you glad you finished them?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Yup! I'm going to do it! I have a scholarship essay due mid-week, so we'll see how this goes, but I'm definitely going to give it a shot! I'm hoping to wrap up a few books I have lying around my house and start and finish The Elite!