Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gears of Brass Cover Reveal!


Gear up for GEARS OF BRASS! 
 

 





















A world like ours, but filled with gears of brass, where the beating heart is fueled by steam and the simplest creation is a complex clockwork device.   

Within this tome, you’ll find steampunk fairy tale re-tellings, as well as original stories that will send your gears turning.  

Welcome to the steampunk realm, with eleven authors guiding your path. 
GEARS OF BRASS is a steampunk anthology published through Curiosity Quills.  It will be available for purchase on November 10, 2014.  Within the pages, you’ll come across clockwork inventions and steampunk-ified fairy tale retellings.  Eleven authors will guide you through worlds filled with airships, top hats, and corsets. 
Meet the authors:
Jordan Elizabeth writes young adult fantasy for Curiosity Quills, including ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW which was published in October and the upcoming TREASURE DARKLY; she’s represented by the Belcastro Agency.
J. Million is the author of Last of the Giants and can always be found reading or writing.

Lorna MacDonald Czarnota is a professional storyteller and author of several books including, Medieval Tales That Kids Can Read and Tell, Breadline Blue, Legends Lore and Secrets of Western New York, Wicked Niagara, Native American and Pioneer Sites of Upstate New York, and Dancing at the Crossroads: Stories and Activities for At-Risk Youth Programming.

SA Larsen is represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary and is the author of published short stories, community-interest stories, and magazine articles focused on children. 

Grant Eagar is an Engineer who would take the tales he told his children at bed time, and transform them into fantasy stories. 

Clare Weze is the author of The House of Ash (forthcoming) and the co-author and editor of Cloudscapes over the Lune.

Eliza Tilton: gamer, writer and lover of dark chocolate; author of the YA Fantasy, BROKEN FOREST, published by Curiosity Quills Press.

Heather Talty's stories have been featured in Enchanted Conversation, as well as her own fractured fairy tale site, Mythopoetical (www.Beatrixcottonpants.com).

W.K. Pomeroy is a third generation writer who has published more than 70 short stories/articles/poems across many genres and styles, which now includes Steampunk.

Christine Baker is the author of Lana's End, The Guild of Dagda, and many more. 

Natalia Darcy: a bookilicious reader, tea drinker and Zumba aficionado who enjoys playing cards against humanity and washing her hair with ice cold water. 
 
 


You can get your steampunk fix before GEARS OF BRASS is released in November.  To enter for your chance to win a copy of GEARS OF BRASS, you will need to share the cover.  This can be on your blog, Facebook, Twitter… Each time you share the cover image, log it into Rafflecoper click here to record it.  It will give you more chances to win.  The drawing for the winner will be held on October 27th. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Are Character Driven

Hey guys!

Every week the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish Blog give us a pre-determined topic to list our top ten books. This week the topic is the top ten books that are character driven.


I had to dig very deep to come up with this list and it took me really thinking about why I liked each book before I put it on the list. One thing that I found is that a lot of the books that I read are not exactly character driven in the sense that the characters are simply reacting to circumstances that are beyond their control due to the type of story or setting in the book. One example of this would be books that are in the dystopian or fantasy genre, due to the nature of the world and the type of conflicts I do not feel that these types of books are necessarily character driven. This is due to the fact that the plot line is driven mainly by outside influences and a lot of times the characters are harder to relate to in these types of novels. That is not to say that I do not like the characters in these novels, but as far as them moving the story along well, eh not so much. I tried to pick books that the characters are the main driving force and they are the ones who are making most if not all of the conflicts seen throughout the book. Now that my very long introduction is over here is my list of books that are character driven:
 
1) The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • The women in this book are absolutely phenomenal. Their pain, joy, heartbreak, and turmoil becomes your own and you just want to reach through the pages to help them with their problems. This story follows a group of women who are trying to balance their old customs and traditions with their new found lives in Western culture. They experience a lot of ups and downs and learn the meaning of family. A wonderful book and you should all read it... like right now... go.
2) Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
  • Another book that deals with family issues. This story follows one women and her three children as she tries to raise them on her own and then later follows each of her three children and their families. There are lots of family dynamics, drama, and just general awesomeness.
3) Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler
  • I don't think that it is of any surprise that Anne Tyler made my list twice. She is my all-time favorite writer and I just adore her work. Saint Maybe follows the story of Ian who blames himself for the deaths of his older brother and sister-in-law. Ian and his parents take in their dead son's three orphaned children who absolutely adore Ian. This is just such a heart-warming tale and offers some seriously scary insights into the dynamics of family life.

4) Shakespeare's plays
  • I mean come on! Character driven to the max. All of his plays host a variety of different characters that move the story along, there really is nothing else helping them. If Shakespeare wanted a plot twist then he had a character make it happen. I am going to give you guys two specific examples:
    • Othello, which is one of Shakespeare's tragedies. I have to say that Iago is one of the greatest villains of all time. He is just so cunning, manipulative, and ruthless. He just played every single character in this story and made them bend to his will using nothing else other than words. The premise of the story is that Othello is the Moore of Venice and is highly respected among his peers , he is also married to the beautiful Desdemona. Iago plans to enact his revenge on Othello by planting doubt as to his wife's faithfulness, so basically just by some well placed "clues" and some carefully placed words he makes Othello do the unthinkable. It really is a play about the fragile nature of the human psyche and is just so powerful. The characters make you have some major feels and they are the main plot movers and twisters. I highly recommend this one!
    • Twelfth Night, which is one of Shakespeare's comedies. In this play at the time that it was written the audience would know that the girls were played by boys. So, therefore many of the jokes are funny because it is a guy playing a girl who is pretending to be guy; which in modern times is sometimes sort of lost in translation. This little scenario sets up many of the conflicts that arise in the play and is only expedited by the other characters who have their own motives. The premise is that Viola and Sebastian were traveling at sea when their boat crashed. Viola believes her brother to be dead and knows that women will not find work so she pretends to be her brother and sets up with the Duke. Well, the Duke is very fond of Olivia and sends Viola to whoo her for him. In a twist of fate Olivia falls for Viola whom she believes to be Sebastian, while Viola has fallen for the Duke. You can see how the conflicts are caused by the character's actions and their reactions to the other characters in the story. This play should have a laugh track because it is just absolutely hilarious and I love to re-read this play.
5) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • No list would be complete without adding this story which combines the darker side of human nature, the danger of prejudice, the perils of judging a book by it's cover, greed, family, and love all into one heartwarming story. The character's in this novel are simply unforgettable and will stay with you long after you put the book down. I highly recommend this book if you want to read about some amazingly real and down-to-earth characters.
6) It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  • Again, no surprise that this book made my list. I just adore this book and I loved every single character in it. This story follows Craig who suffers from depression and throughout the story learns that happiness can only be found in yourself. He grows throughout this book as he interacts with people from his high school and those that are on the psychiatric floor with him. Through learning about the demons that other people are fighting he soon realizes that he could be well and whole again because he has a family that will support him and loves him no matter what. Yes, I do realize that I have a lot of family centered novels on this list. Apparently I read more of those than I ever really realized.
7) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Anther classic that I absolutely adore. I just cannot get enough of this book and the two main characters have such a wonderful relationship. They genuinely care and look out for each other. George would burn the world down if it meant that he could keep Lenny, who is much like a child, out of harms way.  I think that this book really captures the companionship, trust, and loyalty that siblings feel. There is just something about that special bond that would make you do just about anything to keep them safe and this story explores that in an unforgettable way.
8) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Now I realize that this book does have some fantasy elements mainly in the form of magic. However, it is the two warring magicians who have Celia and Marco fight each other that spark this entire battle. The magic is merely a means to an end and it is the characters themselves that make the magic happen. All of the characters in this story are so multi-dimensional and just seem to reveal themselves to you in layers. I also liked how intertwined the stories are to one another, it really brought the characters to life for me. Each character was just so significant to the telling of this story and there were no fluff or filler characters. Each one had their own unique role and made the story so special and fantastic.  
9) The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • This one might be debatable because there is a fantastical world in which magic, witches, wizards, and dragons are an everyday occurrence. So, of course there is going to be some forces which the characters cannot control. But please let me plead my case. The main threat to the wizarding world is Lord Voldemort and the death eaters. He is the one causing the main turmoil and the fantastical elements are simply a means for which he carries out his plan, the elements themselves do not cause the conflict. The characters in this series are very memorable as well and many of them can be found to stand in for metaphors. Depending on how you view this series there are underlying darker tones throughout the novels that have to do with good/evil, light/dark, and life/death. Now the characters in the first couple of novels are slightly reactive and just sort of deal with the conflicts as they come, however in the later novels probably beginning with the third book and increasing from there the characters start becoming proactive. They move the story along and provide twists in the plot that are of their own making. They are the ones to make and carry out their own destinies instead of just sort of going along with the flow.
10) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • I don't read a lot of contemporary novels so this one was definitely stretching the boundaries for me. This is the story of Cath who's twin sister Wren does not want to room with her at college. This leaves Cath with a roommate that she does not really know at a college that she never really wanted to go to. The one constant that Cath does have is Simon and Baz, which are parallel to Harry and Draco, and the fan fiction that she writes about them. This is bordering on the young adult/new adult line and is a wonderful story about finding yourself in that scary world of college. Filled with heartwarming friendships, new found love interests, some villains, and of course family (the good and the bad). I love the characters because of the fact that they made mistakes and were never viewed as perfect. They realized that they had shortcomings and were willing to make sacrifices in order to redeem themselves and protect the ones that they love. I have never quite related to a character as much as I did to Cath and I think that that is why this book makes the majority of my lists.
That's it! There is my list of ten books that I would recommend you checking out which I believe are character driven. Let me know if you agree/disagree and what book are on your list in the comments.

Thanks!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Wrap-up and October TBR

Hey guys!

Today I am sharing my September Wrap-up and October TBR. If you would like to watch the video then here it is:

For those of you that are reading this at work or just don't want to watch the video, here is the written version of my month:

Books read in September:
  • I am the Other by Phillipe de Vosioli
    • Rating: 0 stars
    • Thoughts on the book: I did not finish this book. The plot line was confusing, the characters felt distant and cold, and the constantly switching perspectives left me with something to be desired. I hate doing this to books because I love reading and even if I don't like a book I try and finish it, but after reading 100 pages I just could not get into the book. So, I just sold it to Second & Charles in the hope that maybe somebody will buy it and love it. It deserves a loving home that I just could not give it.
  • The Death Cure by James Dashner
    • Rating: 5 stars
    • Thoughts on the book: Overall I thought that this was a solid conclusion to this trilogy. There were some loose ends that were left open at the end and the last portion of the book felt slightly rushed and a little bit sloppy. I did like the fast paced action of this book and I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of my reading time. I give this book 5 stars.
  • The Kill Order by James Dashner
    • Rating: 5 stars
    • Thoughts on the book: This book gives some really great back story information on what WICKED is and how the sun flares and the virus worked in the world. I loved the fact that there was an all new cast of characters and that I got to read from some different perspectives. This book is told from just one point of view and the characters are so well-written that sometimes it Thomas on their journey through WICKED training.
  • City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
    • Rating: 5 stars
    • Thoughts on the book: This series has been redeemed! After the horror that was City of Fallen Angels I was less than enthused to read this book. However, I was pleasantly surprised and I am back in love with this series again. I am looking forward to the conclusion and to reading the Infernal Devices series which I hear is even better than the Mortal Instruments.
  • Catherine by April Linder
    • Rating: 5 stars
    • Thoughts on the book: Oh my goodness! This book is just so cute and heartwarming. I loved the plot line and the characters, it just all felt so real. This book is a modern day re-telling of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, while I have never read this book reading Catherine makes me want to pick up this classic. I absolutely love a good mystery and while I kind of knew who done it, the storyline keeps you hoping until the very end that you were wrong about your assumptions.
  • Pretties by Scott Westerfield
    • Rating: 5 stars
    • Thoughts on the book: A great middle novel to this series. I loved Uglies and this book did not disappoint. There was no awkward middle novel-ness, oh no! It was pretty much non stop action and Tally was once a again a bad ass with something to prove. The new characters that were introduced were wonderful and entertaining and the old characters were just as awesome as before. Specials will be epic!
  • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
    • Rating: 5 stars
    • Thoughts on the Book: This book was just so fun and cute! I loved the time travel aspect, the characters were so much fun to read, the imagery was wonderful and I felt like I could really see these fantastic costumes, and overall it was just a great read. I flew through this book in one sitting and just devoured it!
  • Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini
    • Rating: 4 stars
    • Thoughts on the book: Overall I really liked this book. I did have some problems with it which I will discuss in a formal book review. The premise was good, the characters were not very relatable, the main character did get on my nerves, the writing was wonderful, and the book just did not resonate with me. I liked it but I did not love it. I will however read more of his books because I do love his stories.
  • How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson
    • Rating: n/a
    • Thoughts on the book: I am not quite finished with this one yet but I am almost halfway done with it. So far I am loving it! I cannot get enough of the main character because she is just so funny, smart, and witty. I absolutely adore her inner monologue and her issues with her friends and family are just so relatable and universal. I am sure that this will be a 5 star novel and is probably going to make my favorite books list. So glad that I picked it up on a whim. :)
Books to be read in October:
  • City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • Unwind by Neil Shusterman
  • Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
  • The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
    • technically I started this book in September but I am only 50 pages or so in. So far it is freaking fantastic. :)
  • The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Were Hard for Me to Read

Hey guys!

Every week the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish Blog give us a pre-determined topic to list our top ten books. This week we are talking about the books that are hard for us to read regardless of the reason.
My list this week is a sort of hodge podge of different books from many different genres and the reasons vary from I just plain hate this book to I just can't deal with the character's stupidity any longer. Here is my list in no particular order:


1) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • This book is just so freaking slow and the content is hard to sort through. The freaking whale does not show up until almost the end of the book and until then it is just some crazy man sailing the seven seas. I read this book mainly just so I could say that I officially read it. I liked it well enough about 3 out of 5 stars however I read it in middle school so maybe if I go back and revisit it one day I can have a renewed sense of appreciation for this classic.
2) The Works of William Shakespeare
  • I love William Shakespeare and it is no secret. I just cannot get enough of the sheer loveliness that is his writing, however at one point I had a hard time getting through his plays. I can remember in high school that I had to buy the copy of the play that had normal English on the other page in order to understand what the heck they were saying. I am so glad that I stuck with it and figured out how to decipher the writing style because now I have met the love of my life. Please give his works a chance and I promise that it will be love and you both will be very happy together.
3) A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer
  • This one was purely the content. The book follows the journey of a young boy who lives with parents who treat him horribly. He does not even have a name! His parents abuse him, treat him like dirt, and get other people outside of the family unit to do the same. Throughout the book we see him grow up and discover that he is worth something and deserves to have a normal life. Once you get past just the shocking aspect of the book you will be blown away and your life will be changed. I read this book in one sitting and to this day it remains a top pick for me. I want to continue on with the series and find out what happens to him as he grows up.
4) Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neil Hurston
  • The language is what makes this book so hard for me to read. Eventually I grasped the dialect and the book did go faster after that however there were still parts of the book that I had to re-read several times before I finally got the general gist of what was being said. However difficult the dialect is to understand it is a necessary part to the book. Just like a main character helps drive the story along the dialect sets the mood and tone for the book and introduces you to a different way of thinking. I highly recommend this book and after a while the dialect just comes naturally to you.
5) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • This book marked the end to my beloved series, it was just so hard excepting the fact that after this book that was it. No more midnight book releases complete with parties at Barnes and Noble and me dressing up with my friends. This was it, the story was complete and there could be no more late night conspiracy theories with my friends once I finished this book. Also the fact that pretty much everyone that Harry ever cared about dies doesn't make it any better. Why J.K. Rowling? Why? Where is the 8th book? I want to see my favorite characters all grown up and what their kids are up to at Hogwarts. Does Professor McGonagall become the next ghost professor? The world may never know. Dang it! Now I am all nostalgic.
6) My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  • Get ready to have your heart ripped out when you read this book. It is such a beautiful story with characters that become your friends you really feel their pain and that is what makes this book so difficult to read. The subject matter isn't very easy either. This story is about a girl named Anna who was born to be a perfect blood type match for her sister Kate who has leukemia. Basically Kate's parent's needed someone to be able to donate blood, bone marrow, etc. for Kate whenever she needed it. Now Anna is expected to give up one of her kidney's for Kate so she can continue to live and Anna is suing her parent's for the right to her own body. It really is a beautiful book and makes you question so many things. I confess that I baled my eyes out over this book and to this day it remains one of my favorites.
7) Nonfiction books
  • I am just lumping the non-fiction books together as one because as a whole it does take me a lot longer to read these types of books. It is not the fact that the books don't interest me or that I do not enjoy this type of literature it is merely the fact that these books just go slower. The slower that the book is the more I have to read each and every word to really take in the message that is being portrayed. Since I must slow down to absorb this type of literature that means that I must also break the book up into manageable parts so I do not get burned out. I usually break these books up with another faster paced novel that is being read purely for sake of fun and no thinking required.

8) Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  • I picked this book up before I knew what it was about pretty much because I saw handcuffs and thought oh wow a mystery novel! I should have known from the knowing look that the cashier gave me that this was definitely not a mystery novel. I did not make it even halfway through this book before I had to put it down. I have tried romance novels before and it is not necessarily the content (a.k.a. the sex) that makes me cringe. It is the portrayal of the male and female characters. The men are always portrayed as being masculine, impossible to resist, and very overbearing. The women in these novels are weak minded, weak spirited, and just plain submissive. I cannot stand these stereotypes and just can't get past that to read and focus on the story. I just can't.
9) the Twilight series my Stephanie Meyer
  • This series started out actually pretty good. I must say that I rather enjoyed this book and I was looking forward to continuing on with the adventures. However, as the story progressed Edward turned into a flat out stalker, Bella seemed to have absolutely no spine or self-respect, and the love triangles were possessive and just got plain annoying. You knew that Bella would never choose Jacob and no matter what you kind of knew that Bella would end up as a vampire. It was just obvious. I think I stopped with the third book and did not even try the fourth one. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Sorry twihard fans!

10) Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
  • My hatred for this book goes deep! It might have something to do with the fact that in the span of two years I had to read this book a total of eight times. I did not like this book the first time and with each re-reading the hatred only grew. No real reason I just really hate this book, can't quite put my finger on a true reason. I guess I just didn't really like the characters, the plot was just boring, and the writing made me feel like fingernails on a chalkboard. In fact even to this day if I pass this book in a store I still feel some hatred and have to stand there and death stare it for a minute before I can move on about my business.
There ya go! That is my list for this week. Please let me know if you agree or disagree with any of the books on this list.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: 5/22/2012
Series or Standalone: The 1st in the Edelstein Trilogie
Source: Bought from Second & Charles
Pages: 322
Rating: 5 stars
 
Summary via Goodreads:
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

 

My review: The first thing that drew me to this book was the fact that it was translated from German. I though that was just a really cool detail and made the book high up on my TBR list. Overall I really liked the book I thought that the characters were funny and engaging, the plot line really drew me in, the book was fast paced and thrilling, the historical elements that were thrown in, and the writing entertained me.

What I did not like:
  • The main character Gideon did irk me just a little bit because he was quite arrogant and seemed to believe that he was above everyone else. However, after a while he did kind of grow on me a little bit and I actually began to enjoy his company. I still think that he is up to something and we will have to see how the romance element with him plays out.
  • I have to say it was not that hard to figure out where the plot was going. I pretty much figured out the main twists beforehand but it was still a very entertaining read and I want to find out what happens next because I do want to know what the secret is that will be revealed when the circle is complete.

What I did like:
  • I read some reviews after I finished the book and one of the complaints was that Gwyneth seemed younger than 16 and they compared her to other female heroines. I do not think that this is a fair comparison because in dystopian novels a 16 year old has to act older in order to survive. Gwyneth was like a breath of fresh air because she was silly, giggly, awkward, down to earth, and just so relatable. She had this innate sense of curiosity about the world and the secrets that her family was keeping. Her heart was always in the right place and she was brave and stood up to people when she felt like something needed to be done. It is ok that she was not rock solid because a normal 16 year old girl is not rock solid and sometimes needs to just be weak for a second. I liked her spirit and her spunkiness.
  • The other supporting characters really made this novel pop. There are so many just evil villain type characters that I think it is going to make for a very interesting series. They were multi-dimensional and just so entertaining to read.
  • The plot kept me entertained. Even though it was pretty easy to figure out I was still enthralled in this novel and could not put it down. I wanted to find out what happened next and just flew through the book.
  • The writing was hilarious. There were parts that made me giggle out loud and earned me a few stares. I did not care however because the banter between some of the characters is just so wonderful and entertaining.
  • I liked how the time travel aspect was approached. There was some history thrown in there and everything sort of weaved together. I was happy with the scientific aspect because if it were just two people randomly traveling back in time at any point then I feel like the book would have felt a little bit to juvenile for me. However, with the incorporation of the historical figures, scientific elements, and some conspiracy theories it added another layer to the story which was much needed.
If you are looking for a book that is going to make you think and teach you the mysteries of the universe then this is not the book for you. However, if you want to be entertained by a cast of kooky and quirky characters with a slightly evil edge, a plot that draws you in, and two young time travelers exploring the past then this is the book for you. If you haven't already you should read this book!

Also where is the nearest Barnes & Noble because I need Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green or somebody is going to get hurt.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Book Review: Catherine

CatherineAuthor: April Linder
Publication Date: January 2, 2013
Publisher: Poppy
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Source: Courtesy of Goodreads First Reads
Pages: 320
Rating: 5 stars





Summery Via Goodreads: A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.


My Review: I am a huge fan of retellings and granted that my usual taste is fairy tale retellings. However, I just loved this book and I am now in the mood to read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and I also need to check out Jane which is a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

When a story is told from two different perspectives it is going to go one of two ways. The story will be either be enhanced from these differing points of view or the story will be hindered because the viewpoints just don't make any sense. In this case the different viewpoints were necessary to make this story really stand out. The first viewpoint that we see is from Chelsea who up until the point where she finds a letter from her mom, whom she believes to be dead, that her dad has hidden from her leads a very ordinary life. The finding of this letter sparks in here a desire to track down her mother who has been missing for fourteen years. She is thrown into a mystery that is bigger than she ever could have imagined. Throughout this story you see the main character grow as a person and this is slightly a coming of age story. Through learning about her mother she also learns a little bit about herself and her dad. Chelsea was very relatable as a character and I liked her spunk and go-getter attitude. She wanted to learn more about her mother and never gave up on her search for the truth.

The next viewpoint that we get is Catherine, the mother who has been missing for all these years, and her voice is from herself twenty years prior. She is responsible for giving the backstory on her forbidden romance with Hence who is an aspiring musician who shows up on the doorstep of the club her father runs. Through her we learn about her relationship with Hence, a little bit more about her family, and the heartbreak of a first-love. You also feel for Chelsea's dad who love Catherine but was never truly loved back by her. I liked Catherine and even though in the beginning you just can't believe that she would walk out like that towards the end you are rooting for her and a happy ending. She was not as relatable as Chelsea was but then I have never been head over heels in love so that could be part of the problem. I did love her collection of books that lined the walls of her room. I just love characters in books that love to read and collect books. It just makes my heart smile. :)

The book definitely kept me on my feet and it did have some feels. There were a few points in the book that I teared up just a little and really felt for Catherine as she dealt with some very emotional ups and down as well as Chelsea who is dealing with her issues with her dad, trying to find out about her mom, and coming to terms with the fact that her mom walked out. The mystery part of the story was good, a little bit predictable, but it did keep you hoping you were wrong until the very end.

I thought all of the characters in general were well developed and had a lot of depth to them. That is something that I have a pet peeve with in books so to read a novel where I could relate to all of the characters in some way was a refreshing change. I have to admit that I did not like the dad in the beginning but in the end you end up just feeling so sorry for him and can understand why he did the things that he did. The plot never really dragged but there was not a whole lot of action however the pages just kept on turning as I waited with bated breath to find out what happened next!

So, that is it! This book is so cute and I recommend it to anyone who just wants a good love story and mystery. Five stars and you guys should definitely check this one out. Let me know in the comments if you have read this book and what you think. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday- Ten Authors I Have Only Read One Book from but Need to Read More

Hey guys!

Every week the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish Blog give us a pre-determined topic to list our top ten books. This week we are talking about authors that we have only read one book from but wish that we could read more. Just to be clear these books are all ones that I have rated 5/5 stars, so it goes without saying that I love these books and I just need more by this author.


*note: due to my power being out for all of Monday night I am doing 9 authors this week. Sorry guys but the struggle was real*

Here are the top 9 authors that I want to give a second chance:

1) Rainbow Rowell
  • What book have I read:
    • Fangirl
      • Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan... But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
         
  • Why I want more:
    •  I just related so much to this book especially the main character Cath and her love of a childhood book character named Simon Snow. I actually saw Eleanor and Park as well as Attachments at my local thrift store and for some insane reason I did not pick them both up. I just left them sitting there on the shelf and now that I want them I can't seem to find them second hand. I need more cuteness, adorable characters, and engaging storylines in my life right now. Give me more Rainbow Rowell or somebody is going to get hurt.
2) Ned Vizzini
  • What book have I read:
    • It's Kind of a Funny Story
      • Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life - which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself. Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety. Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.
  • Why I want to read more:
    • This book was just so thought provoking, amazing, and powerful. I honestly could not put this book down and it took me all of one day to read this book. I just can't say enough about this book or this author and I need more Ned Vizzini in my life.
3) George Orwell
  • What book have I read:
    • 1984
      • While 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is more timely that ever. 1984 presents a "negative utopia", that is at once a startling and haunting vision of the world — so powerful that it's completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of entire generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions — a legacy that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.
  • Why I want more:
    • I guess I just like to make myself paranoid that the government is watching everything that I do. My friend in high school made me read this book because he wanted to share with me one of the best books that he had ever read, and being a good friend I obliged. I actually had my doubts about the book but after a few pages I was hooked. The main character was just so relatable because he was questioning what was real and if what he knew to be true and good was actually the best thing for him. I read this book at a time in my life when I was having to question my own decisions and plan for the future so I can understand how the main character felt. What decision is the right one? Do I want what is easy or do I want to take the high road and fight for what I believe in? All of these are questions that everyone struggles with and you need to read this book... like right now... go... read.
4) Harper Lee
  • What book have I read:
    • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Why I want to read more:
    • Why you only write one book? Where is To Kill a Mockingbird part 2? Scout and Jem grow up, have kids, etc.; why this no happen? I need more from you Harper Lee and you just refuse to deliver. This is another book that was just so thought provoking and powerful that it forced me to read it in one sitting and I was never the same afterwards. I recommend this book to everyone and it should be a staple in everyone's reading diet.
5) F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • What book have I read:
    • The Great Gatsby
  • Why I want to read more:
    • I have this thing for the 1920's and historical fiction so combining the two is a dream come true. I loved the imagery in this book and it felt like I was right there experiencing the love triangle right along with the main character. This book was a required school reading for me and I just could not put it down. It drew me in and has never let me go.
6) Madeline L'Engle
  • What book have I read:
    • A Wrinkle in Time
  • Why I want to read more:
    • I picked this book up because it looked interesting and was on of my first introductions to the world of fantasy. I fell in love with the characters and found myself rooting for their happy ending. I actually did not even realize that this was a series until this year so I might be reading more on their adventures. I will probably need to re-read this book though before I continue on with their story.
7) Amy Tan
  • What book have I read:
    • The Joy Luck Club
  • Why I want to read more:
    • I loved this book because it dealt with the topic of immersion into a different culture. I am not sure why but this is a subject that has always fascinated me and I just wanted this book to never end.
8) Erin Morgenstern
  • What book have I read:
    • The Night Circus
  • Why I want to read more:
    • Basically her writing style is perfection and unlike anything that I ever read. It completely captured the mood, ambiance, and magic of the Night Circus and really drew the reader in. The romance aspect of the novel was very well done and even though it was a major portion of the storyline it never felt overpowering like in some novels. It was just there simmering beneath the surface and gave an added spark to an already wonderful novel. The romance was needed to make the story really shine and the two characters always felt relatable and were very well-rounded. A perfect example of adult fiction that can be enjoyed by all ages.
9) Scott Westerfield
  • What book have I read:
    • Uglies
  • Why I want to read more:
    • It actually took me a minute to really get into this book because the main character struck me as cookie-cutter and kind of whiny. All she cared about was getting the operation and becoming a mindless pretty but throughout the book some major character growth happens and she actually ended up being pretty bad-ass. I want to continue on with this series to find out what happens next. Also Scott Westerfield is one of those authors who dabbles in a variety of different genres. He has his dystopian Uglies series, his steampunk Leviathan series, his vampire type Peeps series, and then there is the Midnighters series which I have no idea what that is about but I own all 3.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Reader Confessions: I Never Finish What I Start

So, I have a major confession for you guys today... I hardly ever finish series. Usually I get pretty far into the series (like with the Series of Unfortunate Events which I just lack the 13th and final book) and then other times I just read one book (think A Wrinkle in Time which I didn't even know was a series until I joined Goodreads) but I just never read the entire series. This surprisingly just doesn't bother me as much as it probably should. I don't know what is wrong with me? Sometimes I just get bored with the story, other times it's the characters that just start to annoy me, and the most of the time I just forget about the book and slowly over time lose all interest in the series all together. Basically I just have a hard time finishing what I start.

I have come up with a few ways that I think could help me to be able to finish more series:
  • pick short series, we are talking no more than five books. So basically I am not going to be reading any Meg Cabot or P.C. Cast books anytime soon.
  • check Goodreads to see what the rating for a series is before I buy the books. My most recent example is the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. I bought the first three books and then heard and read some terrible reviews for the books so I ended up just selling them back. Basically I made most of the money back but still I could have saved myself that money in the first place by just not buying the books.  
  • don't read the series all the way through from start to finish to avoid burnout. It can be daunting to read a 6 book series one right after the other so if I break it up and read things in other genres in between them then I might be able to finish the series.
  • just make myself do it. I have to admit that being lazy is one of my worst habits and if I just make myself do this then I can overcome my tendency to not finish series.
  • when I am reading a book in a series that I am having a hard time making myself read choose another book to supplement with. I am doing this right now with City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments #5) I am liking the book more than #4 but I am still having a hard time making myself read the book so I am also reading another book at the same time. This book is called Catherine and is a modern re-telling of Wuthering Heights and has a lot of mystery to it. Two totally different genres, storylines, content, etc. so when I get frustrated with one I just pick up the other one. It seem to be working well for me and I will have read two books in one week. :)
What about you guys? Do you finish what you start at whatever cost or are you like me and apt to just not finish the series? Let me know in the comments or on twitter @ Emmareads11 #seriesunfinisher

Thanks!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday- Top Ten Underrated Authors in Adult Fiction

Hey guys!

Every week the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish Blog give us a pre-determined topic to list our top ten books. This week the topic is the top 10 authors in whatever genre of my choosing. I chose to do adult fiction because I feel like a lot of times this is sort of an overlooked genre. While I love my young adult, paranormal romance, fantasy, and sci-fi books there is just something about sinking my teeth into a good adult fiction book (figuratively of course, there is not book biting going on over here). Also, I am trying to broaden my horizons so I do not get stuck in a reading slump, and this is a good way to remind myself that I do like adult fiction and it is really not so scary after all. So here it goes in no particular order:

1) Mitch Albom
  • Why you should read this author:
    • I have read the majority of his books and I just love every single one of them. His stories are definitely some tear jerkers but they are the kinds of stories that resonate with you and leave you wanting more.
  • If you like:
    • books that deal with tougher topics (i.e. death)
    • tug at your heartstrings type of feels
    • quote worthy writing style
  • Books by this author:
    • Tuesdays with Morrie
    • The Five People You Meet in Heaven
    • For One More Day
    • The Time Keeper
2) Anne Tyler
  • Why you should read this author:
    • I first read her books in high school as required reading and I can remember finishing the books well before I needed to because they were just so darn good. I have yet to read something by her that I do not like. I just love her story lines, her characters, and the issues that she deals with. All of the issues are things that real families struggle with and it is not always just a good happy ending which is so much like real life that sometimes you forget that you reading a book. Her stories have stuck with me over the year and every time that I recommend her to someone they come out just loving it!
  • If you like:
    • well-written characters
    • family issue books
    • plots that draw you in and keep you coming back for more (without the use of dragons which is a challenge yo)
  • Books by this author:
    • The Accidental Tourist
    • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
    • Breathing Lessons
    • Saint Maybe
    • Back When We Were Grownups
    • The Amateur Marriage
3) Amy Tan
  • Why you should read this author:
    • Another author that I read in high school for assigned reading and absolutely loved to death. I just fall in love with her worlds, writing style, and characters. They all just feel so authentic to me and her books deal a lot with the challenges of blending into a different culture. Considering that I am of polish heritage I can understand the difficulties that her characters face because sometimes it is hard to explain certain traditions to people who are not familiar with them. I just love how heartwarming her stories are!
  • If you like:
    • feel good stories
    • exploring new cultures
    • family issues
    • inner turmoil with characters
  • Books by this author: 
    • The Joy Luck Club
    • The Bonesetter's Daughter
    • The Kitchen God's Wife
    • The Hundred Secret Senses
    • Saving Fish From Drowning
4) Jodi Picoult
  • Why you should read this author:
    • If you want a tug-at-your heartstrings book with tons of feels, tears, and yes even some laughter then this is the author for you! I absolutely love Jodi Picoult and her books are some that I keep coming back to re-read. The story lines and characters truly stay with you and you feel their emotions so vividly on the page that at certain points it is physically impossible not to cry. Your heart will break, be put back together again, but will never be quite the same. Amazing author and truly spectacular books!
  • If you like:
    • characters that stay with you
    • family issues
    • tough topics
    • ethical dilemmas
    • crying
  • Books by this author:
    • My Sister's Keeper (if you don't read any other book by this author you must read this one!)
    • The Pact
    • The Storyteller
    • Vanishing Acts
5) Harper Lee
  • Why you should read this author:
    • Harper Lee may have only written one book but this book has stood the test of time. The issues that are explored in this book are still relevant to today's society and we can all take something away from this book, no matter how many times we read it. I love this book! It truly holds a spot of honor on my bookshelf.
  • If you like:
    • books that make you think
    • mild violence
    • ethical issues
    • exploring human emotions
    • society issues
  • Books by this author:
    • To Kill a Mockingbird
6) George Orwell`
  • Why you should read this author:
    • George Orwell has a way of weaving a tale that will not only makes you think, explores the darker side of human behavior, makes you question what is right and wrong, and also makes you just slightly paranoid. Whether it is the fact that big brother might just in fact be watching you or you become curiously suspicious of all animals and their plan to overthrow you I can guarantee that his books will stick with you long after the last word.
  • If you like:
    • kind of weird stuff
    • what is wrong with society
    • mild violence
    • slight paranoia after reading the book
    • books that make you think
  • Books by this author:
    • 1984
    • Animal Farm
7) Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Why you should read this author:
    • His books are some of the most amazing stories that I have ever read. There is just something so magical and wonderful about Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Watson. The mysteries that they unfold are done so with good old fashioned know-how and just a little bit of luck. Read these books if you want to give that good ole noggin a work-out and exercise some of those problem-solving skills.
  • If you like:
    • mystery
    • suspense
    • unique writing style
    • books that make you think
  • Books by this author:
    • The Sherlock Holmes series
8) William Least Heat Moon
  • Why you should read this author:
    • He is the king of the road trip novels. I absolutely adore his work and I always come away knowing more about a different section of the country and the people that inhabit it. His writing style just brings the people to life and you really do feel like you are on the trip with him. I especially like to read about the places that I have been because I know exactly where he is talking about. In some of his novels he even brings in some of his culture and talks about growing up on the Indian reservations. Thought provoking, superb, possibly one of my favorite authors.
  • If you like:
    • travel books
    • road trips
    • learning about people
    • new cultures
    • non fiction
  • Books by this author:
    • Blue Highways
    • River-Horse
    • Prairie Earth
9) Tennessee Williams
  • Why you should read this author:
    • Technically he is a play wright but I don't give a crap. I just love him and his work because it is just so freaking beautiful. One of the reasons why I love him so much is because I went to college in Mississippi and that is where he is from, so I was surrounded by his work. I fell in love and we have been very happy ever since. I have read his work and had the opportunity to see it brought to life on the stage. His writing is beautiful, haunting, and his characters resonate with you. You will be left wanting more, I promise!
  • If you like:
    • beautiful writing
    • strong characters
    • character development
    • having your emotions toyed with
    • exploring the human psyche
  • Books by this author:
    • The Glass Menagerie
    • A Streetcar Named Desire
    • Cat on A Hot Tin Roof
10) F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Why you should read this author:
    • I am a huge fan of this author and he is another one of those authors that I found because I was forced to read him for school. So school reading can be fun if you find the authors and stories that truly speak to you. I love his writing style which is full of drool- worthy imagery, his characters which have depth and dimension, and their is just the right amount of romance.
  • If you like:
    • romance
    • period pieces
    • imagery
    • great writing
    • characters that you will absolutely adore
  • Books by this author:
    • The Great Gatsby
    • The Curious Incident of Benjamin Button
    • This Side of Paradise
    • Tender is the Night
Well, that is it! That is my top 10 Tuesday post for the week. Let me know in the comments if you love any of these authors or if you have any that you want to recommend to me!

Book Review: The Night Circus

The Night CircusAuthor: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Genre: Adult fiction
Source: Bought off of Amazon 
Pages: 387
Rating: 5 stars


Summary via Goodreads: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.


Brief Overview of Thoughts: One thing that drew me to this book was the fact that the author wrote the first draft during a thing called nano wrimo. This is a write-a-thon of sorts that challenges people to write a set amount of words in a weeks time. So that was really cool and for those that love to write keep at it! I can honestly say that this is one of the best books that I have ever read. It was one of those books that I knew going in would either be done well and would be an amazing read or would fall short. I recommend this book to anyone who does not mind a bit of a slow read, whimsy, magic, and a terrific love story.

What I did not Like:
  • Normally I read books that have a lot of action. Whether that is because there is a mystery and the plot is beginning to unfold or whether the action is just people beating each other up. It did take me a minute to really get into this book because the pace is quite slow as there is a lot of back story, however this is necessary to set up the romance between the main characters as well as explain the origins of the Night Circus. But if there could have been some sort of epic action scene (or maybe even some dragons thrown in there) I would not complain.

What I did Like:
  • The characters. This is one of the few books that I have read that there is not a single character with whom I have a problem, however small that problem might be. I can honestly say that each character was well-written and I loved how all of their stories were intertwined. No character was just thrown in there for fluff or to be a filler of sorts. They were all just so magical and had wonderful personalities that really came through in the writing style. You could tell when a character was speaking because there was a slight shift in the writing style and speech patterns, which is something that I just adore in books.  
  • The writing. Just like the Night Circus entranced and enthralled the visitors as they watched the marvels unfold the writing kept you entertained and interested. Even during the slower parts there was something about the writing style that kept you turning the pages to find out what was coming next. I have never read writing that influenced  me quite like Erin Morgenstern's did and I am not sure that it is something that many writers can do.
  • The changing perspectives. This is an aspect that can go horribly wrong if it is not done correctly. However, I feel that for this story there would have been no other right way to do it. Having the story go in a chronological order would have taken some of the magic and suspense away and the story just would not have felt the same. This also helped with some of the slower back story sections because it was broken up into manageable pieces which helped the reader from feeling like they were reading a hundred pages of nothingness.
  • The love story. This is definitely an adult love story and not in a raunchy romance novel way but in a very believable and slow kind of way. Celia and Marco did not even know that they were competitors for a very long time and even after Marco found out he waited many years before he revealed himself to Celia. However, they both found themselves creating tents at the Night Circus that would please the other person and would build and feed off of each other. Much like those in a good relationship will do things to please the other person and will bring out the best in each other. The thing that I liked the most was that the relationship was a slow burn type of thing and there was no instalove. It really did seem like a true relationship, minus the whole magical powers thing.
  • The ending. Everything was cleared up and explained and for the most part it was a happy ending.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this debut novel and I look forward to reading more from her. I even went so far as to look up which books were similar to this one on Goodreads.