Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Last Olympian is the fifth and final book of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I found it to be a pretty fitting conclusion to the Percy Jackson series.

As some of you who've been following me know, I'm not a super fan of the Percy Jackson series. However, this book really did amp up the action level. The whole book basically takes place over a week and a bunch of stuff happens.

My problem with this series is still that I just can't get into the characters. My two favorite characters are background characters who hardly get any time. For me, I care less about the action part of books and way way more about the people part of books.

So, overall I thought this was a well-rounded conclusion to the series. It leaves it open for the next installment to take off, but it ties up the major loose ends.

Prequel / Sequel Challenge Points: 74 +2 = 76 + 10 = 86 points

Hello Lovelies! Another top ten tuesday coming at you, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is...

Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me I Must Read

(To be 100% honest, most of these come from my friend Melissa. She has great taste in books, so I pretty much automatically add something to my TBR if she suggests it. Thanks Melissa!!)

Monday, August 18, 2014


You guys, I've been waiting for this book for two years. I know that isn't as long as some, but it's still been a really long time. But you guys, it was so worth it.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins is the third in the sort-of-series that begins with Anna and the French Kiss.

Perkins has the ability to write contemporary YA in a way that makes me feel like I'm living it. Isla and Josh's romance is damn-near perfect. Perkins excels at the awkward, does he like me or doesn't he stage. She make the relationship bumps believable. No relationship goes perfectly 100% of the time.

Possible Minor Spoilers ahead:

I loved that Isla and Josh had both had sex with other people. It's unrealistic and annoying when two virgins continuously meet in contemporary YA. I think that's a trend that's changing, but I'm glad that Perkins chose to support the fact that teens have sex, and often with more than one partner. I also liked that Perkins goes a little more in-depth with sex scenes than YA authors usually do. Don't get me wrong, it isn't like erotica or anything, but she doesn't completely fade-to-black either. And I like that. For some teens, the only sex education they have is through novels. So it's important to try to include as much of the experience as possible. I also really liked that it took awhile for Isla and Josh to have sex. Perkins writes the build-up scenes perfectly: the aggravation of constantly having to stop before you go to far, the question of where the heck you can have sex at that age, and the constant wanting--she writes them all spot-on.

My one slight problem with the book is how spontaneous their relationship is. And it does become part of the problem for the two of them, but they were declaring their i-love-yous within a month of dating. And that's pretty quick. But over all, I loved Isla and the Happily Ever After.

I would recommend it to anyone looking for a contemporary young adult novel with plenty of romance. It's definitely a book that gives you the butterflies.

Favorite quotes: [...] I wish the world would swallow us here, whole, in this moment. And that's when it hits me that this--this--is falling in love.
He bared his soul, and I held it against him.

(Even though I don't really think of this as a series, most people do consider it one, so..) Prequel / Sequel Challenge Points: 64 + 2 = 66 points, plus 10 for finishing a trilogy = 74 points!

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho was recommended to me by a family member.

Unfortunately this was one of those recommendations that made me question if the family member had even met me. The only reason I would have recommended this to me is that there's a pull quote on that back that says "As memorable and meaningful as Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince"--what a crock of bull.

Sure, The Alchemist had quite a few so-called "deep and meaningful" lines if you're new to the repackaged dogma scene. If this is the first time you've ever come across the concept of following your heart or "your Personal Legend" as Coelho deems it, than this book might come across as ground-breaking.

But to me, it was common sense pared down to a simplistic level. Of course, I believe you should follow your heart. And I know it isn't always easy. But frankly, I don't need a tidy little book to tell me that God has a path for me, and if I follow my heart, I'm on it.

I was irritated that it was compared to The Little Prince because that book meant so much more to me. I did read it in high school, so that could be part of it. Or it could be that it was the first book I read in French by myself, or it could be that it's just so much better than The Alchemist. I could be irritated by The Alchemist because the family member that suggested it hasn't always been 100% supportive of my life choices, and it felt like passive agressive preaching while I was reading it. There's a lot of factors that go into the reading of a book. But none of the factors worked in my favor for this read.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hello lovelies!! Top Ten Tuesday is always hosted by The Broke and the Bookish--and this week they're stumping me with a list of Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I Want to Read.

So all of these books are from my Goodreads To-Read list, but I'm not actually 100% sure I want to read them. So let me know which are worth it!!

1. Gone by Michael Grant: It seems like it should be an exciting story, but I've heard mixed reviews.
2. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith: I want to be psyched about this book, but I hated the Casual Vacancy. And I don't want to be disappointed again.
3. The Program by Suzanne Young: This seems like it could be obnoxiously falling into the YA dystopian category, or it could be beautiful and new. I'm nervous about it.
4. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke: I started this ages ago, and I didn't particularly love it, but I didn't get very far. I'm nervous about it not picking up more though.
5. Beautiful Darkness by Garcia & Stohl: I enjoyed the first in the series, but I wasn't thrilled by it. So I'm nervous that the second one is going to drag.

6. Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck: I think the summary sounds cool, but I've heard not great things.
7. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: I haven't heard much about this one which makes me nervous since Between Shades of Gray is so lauded.
8. New York by Edward Rutherford: I wanted this so badly one Christmas, and I've gotten like 50 pages in, but it's pretty slow going.
9. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: I want to read this, but hooo boy that's a project.
10. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson: I just loved 13 Little Blue Envelopes so much!! I'm worried the sequel will let me down.

So what do you think lovelies? Any of these I should drop like a hot potato? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

If I Stay by Gayle Forman is an interesting look back at a person's life and deciding if life is still worth living without the people who made up the most important moments.

If I Stay is quick read. For taking place basically entirely in a person's thoughts, it dives right in and just goes. 

This book packs a lot of emotion into a short 200  or so pages. That worked for me. I knew what I was getting in to, and I felt connected. I'll admit that since I'd seen the trailer for the movie before I read the book, I did picture most of the characters as the actors who'll be playing them. I'll also admit that the age difference between Mia and her brother is almost exactly the age difference between me and my brother, so that hit especially close to home.

Mia's (and her family's) devotion to music made me want to whip out my violin or find a piano and play some music myself. I wanted to envelope myself in music while reading this.

Overall, If I Stay worked for me. I'd recommend it to people who like novels with tough choices and high emotions.

Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington was a fabulous debut mystery novel.

Olivia Bloom is a new student at Wickham Hall. She's there on an art scholarship, but she already feels out of place. She accidentally befriends a boy who claims to see ghosts, and somehow, the hottest boy in school seems to like her. Of course that's all going to change when she dies.

Talkington strikes the perfect balance between dark fantasy and grim reality. She also manages to capture the voices of more than one character in first person. It's hard to do multiple characters in first person and make them seem unique, but Talkington nails it.

The only part of the story I didn't particularly enjoy was the romance. It obviously took a back seat to the mysterious part of the plot which I appreciated, but it made the romance seem like it was under developed. I didn't believe in the relationship.

Over all, I'd recommend this to fans of ghost stories and murder mysteries.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hexed by Michelle Krys had a whole lot of potential but ultimately fell flat.

I was psyched when I heard about this novel: a cheerleader who finds out she's a witch and needs to track down a magic book? That sounds amazing! It sounds almost like an episode of Buffy. And that's what I was expecting: a kickass female lead who struggled with coming into power in the middle of a war zone. What I got was a whiny teenager who fulfilled almost every stereotype about cheerleaders and special snowflake syndrome in the books.

Not only was Indigo an unfulfilling main character, but the story line would be most kindly described as "flawed". Spoilers ahead, so tread carefully! My biggest problem was with the loss Indigo faces. She takes a single chapter to cover this major loss in her life. She basically stays in bed for the whole chapter. Give me the pain! Give me the feeling like you have to hold yourself together in front of people but sobbing until you can't cry anymore when you go to bed or get in your car alone. Give me the feeling in your throat when you're choking back tears but can't allow yourself to cry. Give me more than a chapter before people close to her tell her to get over it.

Basically this entire book was just a letdown for me. I wanted to like it, and there were moments when I felt like I was going to be drawn in, but then Indigo would be a horrible person or the story line would jerk around awkwardly, and it would draw me out again.

Overall, I can't think of anyone to recommend this book to. I don't know if Krys was ever a cheerleader or went to high school, but she plays into all the major tropes regarding the two. I don't think it's a worthwhile read, and I can't believe they're making a sequel to this. I'm only giving it two stars because of the few places where I got involved in the plot and Krys momentarily made me care.

Favorite Quote: None.

Hello Lovelies!! Yes, once again, I didn't get my Top Ten Tuesday post up on a Tuesday, but I really wanted to share my choices, so here they are. (Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish )

My Top Ten Books I'd Give to Readers Who Have Never Read Graphic Novels

For readers who enjoy alternate readings of history and a little darkness:

For readers who enjoy superheroes and multiple generation storylines: 

For readers who enjoy story lines (with bonus humor!) that begin in separate places but merge:

For readers who enjoy more recent history through an individual's perspective:

For readers who enjoy unique (and a little bizarre) storylines:

For readers who enjoy sassy superheroes:

For readers who enjoy adventure with a side of fantasy:

For readers who value humor (with a dash of seriousness) but don't feel quite ready for the full-on graphic novel format:

For readers who enjoy unusual non-human main characters and adventures:

And for readers who want to read what's new and popular (to be honest, I haven't read this one quite yet, but I'm psyched for it!!!):

So what do you think lovelies?? Which of these have you read? Which graphic novels would you suggest to me??

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction with David Aja and Javier Pulido is a delightful look into the world of one of the underrated Avengers. 

I get tired of hearing people talk about the characters from the Avengers movie and leaving Hawkeye (Clint Barton) for the last in the line of their favorite heroes. Clint is freaking awesome. It's not his fault that his screen time was minimal and that he was a minion for half of the movie.

My Life as a Weapon is a look at what Clint does outside of the Avengers. It's a wild and crazy life for someone with no "super skill" and normal human healing and strength. What amazes me--as usual when it comes to graphic novels and comics--is the amount of depth that can be shown between pictures and words. I feel like I just read enough for two or three movies/books, but it's a 136 page book.

I thought I could read this at my work and not have to buy it, but after I read the first two comics, I had to take this gem home with me.

My Life as a Weapon is perfect for people who love superheroes or heroes who are damaged.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August - October 2014 Reading Challenge

Hi Guys!!

So my friend, Melissa, convinced me to join a young adult book reading group on Goodreads (Crazy for Young Adult Books). One of the things the group does is various reading challenges. I think I'm going to work on two.

The first is a challenge with 2014 releases that occurs between August - October. Here's the list of books I'm planning on reading:

1. Title that is four words long : Everything Leads to You

2. Author debut novel:

3. Girl on cover: The Winner's Curse

4. More than 4 colors on the cover : Like No Other

5. Standalone : Starbird Murphy and the World Outside

6. New To You Author : I'll Give You The Sun

7. Book under 300 pages : The Shadow Hero

8. Author's first name has the same amount of letters as your first name :

9. Cover you love :

10. Male author :

11. A book centered around traveling or a road trip : Royally Lost

12. Recommendation from a friend : Don't Look Back

13. Author you love : Isla and the Happily Ever After

14. Cover that is the color of your eyes : The Well's End

15. A book of your choice  :

(And to be honest, I went through and picked all these out at work, and then I left my list in my apron. So I'll be editing this to add in the 5 I can't remember.)

The other challenge is an alphabet based challenge.  For this one, I think I'm going to start at this point in the year, so I'll definitely be double-dipping between the two.

Have you ever done a reading challenge, lovelies? How'd it go? Let me know in the comments!

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater was a bit of a let-down. 

Shiver is the first in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. It's a dual narrative, switching perspective between Grace and Sam. Sam is a werewolf--but not your traditional werewolf. He can't switch back and forth at will. His change is forced by the cold. Grace is a human who has been in love with the wolves around her house since she was attacked as a child. An accident brings them together, and once they're together they're unwilling to let each other go.

I'm not sure why exactly Shiver didn't do it for me. I mean, I was promised werewolves, but that was a little lacking. The entire book is more about Grace and Sam's love for each other than the fact that there are werewolves. I mean, I was promised a love story, and I wasn't super enthusiastic about that either. It felt a little bit contrived. And it was based around a little bit of a hero-loving complex. 

Overall, I just felt a little underwhelmed by this book.