Monday, June 30, 2014

June Book Haul

This is where I give a small recap on the books that I have gotten and read for the month of June.

Checked out from the library:

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger (Finishing School #1)
Fragments by Dan Wells (Partials #2)
Red Glove by Holly Black (Curse Workers #2) 
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm #1)
Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia (Castor Chronicles #3)- I ended up having to return this one because I thought it was the second in the Castor Chronicles... silly me!
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #2)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Daughter of the Flames (Ruan #1) by Zoe Marriott
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (A.K.A. J.K. Rowling!!!!!!!!!)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

Bought: The book store had a really great sale (no judgment!) and I had some credit for selling things back

The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer  (Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin
White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
Faerie Wars (The Faerie Wars Chronicles #1) by Herbie Brennan
The Purple Emperor (The Faerie Wars Chronicles #2) by Herbie Brennan
Ruler of the Realm (The Faerie Wars Chronicles #3) by Herbie Brennan
Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
Fell (The Sight #2) by David Clement-Davies
13 to life (13 to Life #1) by Shannon Delany
Secrets and Shadows (13 to Life #2) by Shannon Delany
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa
The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa
The End Games by T. Michael Martin
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Doors Open by Ian Rankin
Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth
Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth
The Alchemyst (The Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1) by Michael Scott
Starters (Starters #1) by Lissa Price
Once: An Eve Novel (Eve #2) by Anna Carey

Free:
  • Net Galley (ARC for an honest review)
Contact by Laurisa White Keys
Ingredients of Young Outliers by John Shufeldt
The Recruit by Robert Muchamore
  • Won from a Goodreads competition
Invincible (Piercing the Veil #2) by C.A. Grey- this is an advanced copy that I will read and review as soon as it arrives in the mail.
  • From the free pile at Second and Charles
Left Behind (Left Behind #1) by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone (movie) by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (movie) by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (movie) by J.K. Rowling
Blood Red Road (Dust Lands #1) by Moira Young
A lot of Anatomy and Physiology study materials (you know to get a head start on studying for my PhD in Physical Therapy)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

  • Free book for Kindle
Gone (Parallel trilogy #1) by Kristine Kersey
Amethyst (Guardian #1) by Heather Bowhay
Insight (Insight #1) by Jamie Magee
Everblue (Mer Tales #1) by Brenda Pandos
Everflame by Dylan Peters


Read: Reviews to come soon
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
Partials (The Partials Sequence #1) by Dan Wells
Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth
Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi
Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger
City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare
The Hunger Games (Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

I am just going to go ahead and admit that I have a lot of books that need to be read- it is kind of embarrassing just how many books I buy or get for free and then take forever to read!


Review: Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1)

Author: Veronica Rossi
Pages: 374
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 12/4/2012
Standalone or Series: Under the Never Sky #1
Source: Bought
Rating: 4.5 stars




Summary Via Goodreads:
In a world of danger
an unlikely alliance
breathtaking adventure
and unforgettable romance...


Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.
If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.


Review: This is definitely different than most dystopian novels that I read. The others are about a government that cannot truly protect them from some outside influence whether real or fabricated. In this case the government has created a dome that not only protects the people from the outside world it essentially cuts them off entirely. This happens with them being able to roam the realms which are described as better than real. I mean how crazy is that? Aria has not even seen real rocks, trees, or breathed fresh air. So yeah! Boy was she in for a really rude awakening.

The events of the story definitely surprised me so that made for a very enjoyable read. Definitely did not take the course that I had thought, but then I like that in novels. I don't want to be able to figure everything out and I love to be surprised and even shocked.

I really liked the character of Perry as he seemed to be pretty multi-dimensional. He had really good reasons for behaving the way that he did in the beginning and for the choices that he made. He really was a good person that was just trying to do the right thing and he was motivated by loyalty, love, and family ties. He was willing to do everything in his power to protect those he loved, much like Aria. So I really liked that.

Aria got on my nerves at first but she turned out to be very strong, independent, and self-sufficient. I suppose I should have been more forgiving. I mean the girl had never really had to do anything for herself before and had never felt pain or gotten sick. So she had a bit of a culture and system shock in the beginning of the novel.

I like Aria and Perry's relationship for the most part. Towards the end I felt like it was just a little bit forced and slightly rushed. However, if I had just risked life and death with a man I might develop some feelings for him as well. But really? In a very short span of time suddenly there are romantic feelings that were not present before? Hopefully the romance portion will not be a major factor or motivation in the future novels. A little bit is ok and perfectly acceptable but I don't want to read a hot and steamy huba huba type thing. I also thought that Aria dealt with learning the truth about her, her family, and her government with a lot of grace and maturity.

The supporting characters were also very well done and really quite entertaining. All of them served a purpose and provided the story with a lot of very memorable moments. I look forward to seeing more of them in the next two novels.

The writing was freaking fantastic! Plenty of action, plenty of suspense, basically just plenty of everything that I love in a novel. I found myself really getting into the novel and trying to rush ahead to find out what happens next.

This book is somewhere between great and freaking fantastic. Don't really know what it is but something just irks me about the romance. Can't quite put my little finger on it but it just took something away from the novel. I could just be bitter and cynical... who really knows. I would recommend this book and I will read the rest of the series. I already have the 3rd book Into the Still Blue and I am trying to get the 2nd book Through the Ever Night. Can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review: Scarlet

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)

Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 452
Publisher: Fiewel and Friends
Publication Date: 2/5/2013
Standalone or Series: 2nd in the Lunar Chronicles
Source: Checked out from the library
Rating: 5 stars





Summary taken from Goodreads: Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Review: Ummm... wow! Marissa Meyer does it again people! I could not put this book down. I mean we are talking took me all of 3 hours to read this book and I am pretty sure that I stopped breathing a few times. I have to admit when I found out that the book would be alternating between the continuing story of Cinder the wanted fugitive and Scarlet who is just trying to locate her grandmother I was just a bit worried. However, the transition between the two stories was very smooth and in the end they seamlessly tied into each other and no loose ends were left to unravel. Again the book ends on a cliffhanger and I went to the library this afternoon but Cress was not in stock so now I have to wait! The injustice of it all.

I really liked that Cinder got to continue on with her story with the introduction of a new character who just about knocked my socks off with his wit and humor. Oh my goodness I laughed out loud at some of the stuff he said and did. I really look forward to watching her continue to grow and to except her new found role as the story continues in Cress.

Scarlet was yet another strong female character who loves her grandmother so much that she was willing to risk her own life to save her! Plus she is not afraid to use a gun, so I like her already! The only problem that I had with this book is the romance between Scarlet and Wolf it just felt kind of forced, not enough to detract from the awesomeness that was this book but enough to leave me feeling somewhat lacking. I just felt like Scarlet was naïve and sort of rushed into something with Wolf. Now granted there might have been a reason why Scarlet felt some of the things she did for Wolf, which is explained in the book but I will not give any spoilers. So, that could account for some of the sheer awkwardness, hopefully it will get less meh in the next book.

Overall brilliant read and a fantastic story! Also, could we all please just stop and take a moment to marvel at the cover art that is on these novels I mean really. They are eye-catching, artistic, and really convey what the book is about. Also I like that the color red was used to tie the books together to create a series that is unique but also flows really well. So, props to whoever designed them because you are my hero.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)
Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Review: Cinder

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages:390
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: 1/3/2012
Standalone or series: 1st in the Lunar Chronicles
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 stars





Summary taken from Goodreads: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


Review: This book rocked my world! I am a huge sucker for a twist on classic fairytales or stories in general. I liked that the story incorporated the classic story of Cinderella, the Hot Zone, cyborgs, Asian culture, some star wars type stuff, and of course had a matrix spin to it. I really, really, really liked the female protagonist Cinder. She was strong, independent, genuine, kind, funny, and smart. She really did care about her family especially her sister Peone and her android friend Iko, whom she would do anything to save. Despite all of her struggles with being a cyborg and therefore a second class citizen, unveiling the earth shattering secrets of her past, trying to win her freedom from stepmother who owns her due to her cyborgness, and trying to avoid a murderous Lunar queen she still thinks of others and puts their needs above her own. There was no wishing on a star in this story, oh no! and certainly no fairy godmothers to turn pumpkins into carriages. Cinder was the one who made everything happen and was certainly not a damsel in distress. I just love strong female characters!!!!!!!!!!!

I like the little bit of romance that sort of sizzled under the surface between Cinder and Prince Kai, it was very believable. After all the two only know each other a whopping two or three weeks over the course of the novel. There was no love at first sight just simply admiration between the two people because well Kai is a prince after all and Cinder is a renowned mechanic. This respect blossomed into a sort-of friendship that was formed out of necessity and then turned slightly flirtatious. It is obvious the two have romantic feelings for each other but it is not the main focus of the story.

The supporting characters were also very well done! I really felt emotions for them anger and hate for the stepmother and the other stepsister (not Peone) who did not like Cinder, revulsion for the Lunar Queen, pity for Prince Kai who has an awful lot on his plate throughout the novel, and of course sympathy and respect for Cinder who kept her head held high throughout everything. 

The ending did leave off on quite the cliffhanger so I will be devouring Scarlet soon (just checked it out from the library yesterday!). 5 stars and two thumbs up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Flashback Friday- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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This is a weekly meme that is hosted by Rebecca over at Bookshelf Fantasies as a way to recap books that are older (been published for at least five years) but still have a special place in our hearts.






It will come as no surprise that I picked Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by the lovely and talented J.K. Rowling.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

I received this book as a birthday present when I turned 10 and ever since then there has been no turning back. I am talking midnight book premiers and midnight movie premiers (all while dressing up in character of course). I probably know more about Harry Potter than I do about American History! On my 11th birthday I anxiously awaited my Hogwarts acceptance letter and was sorely disappointed when nothing came by way of owl. I imagined it to look something like this:



Harry Potter was more than just a book it was a movement and one that I desperately needed at a young age. I needed a book that could sweep me off into a distant magical land and where a boy who was different from everyone else, was ignored, bullied, and looked down upon could turn out to be someone very important.



In elementary and middle school I was bullied by guys and girls. I didn't come to school with my hair done up really pretty, I never had the coolest clothes, always had my head in a book, etc. I watched as my friends got guys and succeeded at being girls. And then there was me. I had big curly bushy hair, acne, wore weird clothes because that was what I liked, and didn't have a guy take true interest in me until my freshman year of high school (a romance that lasted all of two months). I longed to be swept away by the Hogwarts express and learn all about transfiguration, potions, charms, etc. all while making really awesome friends. And meeting the hunk a hunk of burning love... Oliver Wood, he's mine ladies back off!



See him hovering at the goalposts. Oh yeah!

Sadly I never did get into Hogwarts but I guess visiting the World of Harry Potter could be the next best thing. In short this book kicked off a life long love for a boy wizard who against all odds beat the fiercest dark wizard of all time and figured out what love, friendship, and family really meant. Thanks J.K. Rowling for letting me come along for the ride!

OH! And whenever I meet someone who says that they do not like Harry Potter because it is a children's book, compare it in any way to Twilight, and anything else blasphemous I imagine I look a little something like this:

My favorite places to get books

Here is a list of my favorite places to get my beloved books:


1- I will always love Second & Charles which is a used bookstore that is only in certain parts of the country. They are really fantastic because I can sell them my unwanted books, movies, games, etc. in return for store credit which allows me to get some more books. Their prices are for the most part fair, however they do tend to mark up the books that they know are in high demand, luckily I am a very patient person and can wait to get the book at a cheaper price. This store is 10 minutes from my house and it is a very dangerous thing come pay day. Somebody hide the debit card!!!!!!! Also they have a free section out front where they put what they could not sell and some people will come and put stuff of their own out there! It is amazeballs and I love it to death!!!!!!!

2- Thrift stores and garage sales: these are also really great places to find books because they are usually very, very cheap. Think like the $1 and under price range. I can find some really great books but I do have to do some digging and be patient, however it does often pay off and I can get some really great reads!

3- Amazon and Powells: I love their online selection of new and used books and I can usually get some really great deals. Throw in the free shipping for orders over $35 on Amazon and $50 on Powells (which is not a hard price to hit if your me and you have a 50 page to read list) and you can get a really great deals on your must-have books.

4- Bookstores: well duh! I like the instant gratification of these stores. I go in, I get the book, I leave. There is no waiting for the book to come back in stock, however I do tend to have to pay a little bit more for these books. However, if it is a book that I want and they have it then how could I not buy it. I also check the in-store and online clearance section and can usually find some really great deals there.

5- Library: The good old library I can't forget thee. Free books for the win. The only problem is that I have to give them back, womp womp. I can usually find pretty much any book on my to-read list in the library it also gives me a safe option to try books that I normally would not read. I am a chicken and don't want to spend money on a book that I may not like. So, library for the win! Also I have had some libraries have an annual sale where I can in fact buy the books for very cheap. Once I got a book for free from this sale and then gave it to my dad as a birthday present. He is now hooked on William Least-Heat Moon (a personal favorite of mine) *insert evil snicker here*

6- Borrowing them from friends: I have to be careful with this one because we all have that friend/friends who just do not view books as the most sacred thing on this planet and will not treat our beloved book in such a way. You know who I am talking about those people who give you back a book with the spine broken, the pages dog-eared, water damaged, dirty, etc. Down with these people!!!!!!!! Off with their heads!!!!! However, if you have a friend/friends who understand then this can be a really great resource and will save you money, because we all know that money don't grow on trees yo!

7- E Reader or E books: While this does not carry the same magic as my beloved books being in my hot little hands it is much more economically efficient. Not only are the books cheaper and sometimes free but they also do not take up room. I will not have to buy more storage for the books that threaten to topple over on me and kill me (it could happen ya know). I have to say that I am grateful that my mom gave me her Kindle and I have enjoyed it immensely in the past few months.

8- Steal them!: Not that I am condoning theft of books in any way, but you know it is always an option. Not really though, please do not steal books that is wrong and just plain not nice!

If you guys have any other suggestions for how to get books please share with me and the rest of the interwebs world!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: The Giver

The Giver (The Giver #1)



Author: Lois Lowry                                                                                     
Pages: 179
Publisher: Ember
Publication Date: 1/1/1993
Standalone or Series: First book in The Giver quartet
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 stars

 

 

Summary (taken from Goodreads): Jonas' world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.




Review: I read this book for the first time back in middle school (not telling you how long ago that was!) and I was smitten then. I freaking love this book and have re-read it multiple times. The most recent time was a few weeks ago in preparation for the fourth book in the series Son which I will review soon. Even on this re-reading I found myself being drawn into the storyline (even though I knew exactly what was going to happen) so that is how I know that the book is good. I have heard this book being described as the first dystopian novel and I have to say that I agree. I believe that this book launched the genre that I now know and love so well which dominates my bookshelves, cleans out my bank account, and threatens to consume my room.

The plot line kept me interested the entire time, the first time I read the book it was the mystery and suspense that kept me going and the re-reads were to catch the little details that I missed on the first pass through. That is what I love about reading, when the book is really good you can re-read and feel like it is the first time all over again because of something that you caught this time that sheds a new light on the events of the book. The characters were very well developed and I felt like I could relate to them. I felt for Jonas as he struggled with the new knowledge and understanding that was being handed down to him from the Giver. His whole world was turned upside down and I can remember being in middle school and feeling that way myself. I was changing in new ways and the world was beginning to make more sense. Even now I feel like my world will occasionally get turned upside down as I come to terms with new knowledge and I begin to see things in a new light. Such as with Jonas when he began to see that the world was not perfect, there is corruption in all societies, parents are not always right, the world will never be fair, and sometimes it is difficult to come to terms with who you really are. I honestly feel that this book is still relevant to my life today as a twenty-something year old and I will continue to recommend this book to everyone! In fact it is currently on loan to a co-worker who has never read it, I told her to prepare to have her life changed because I know that mine sure was.

I firmly stand behind my rating of five stars as this book was and continues to be freaking fantastic, no matter how many times I read it!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Welcome!

Hey there!

My name is Emma and I have been struggling with this whole making a blog thing for a while. I have tried a few times with some success. It is a lot of work, but seeing as I need a creative outlet that does not cost me money this whole blogger thing seemed like a worthwhile shot. This time I will stick with it. Unlike the last few times I will not limit myself to one particular theme. The first blog I had was a DIY blog and unfortunately I just didn't have the time or the money to do any crazy renovation (I figured my college dorm roommate would appreciate the lack of remodeling). The second blog was a fashion blog but since I feel weird standing outside with a tripod taking pictures of myself that one also fell by the wayside.

Now for a little bit about me: I am pretty awkward, I love to hike, rock climb, camp, go to thrift stores, read (it could be a sport for me), obsessed with Harry Potter, and of course I love to hang out with my dog (Noel). So pretty much just your average 20 something year old who is trying to figure out this whole working girl thing, not to mention I am about to go back to school in January to get my PhD in Physical Therapy. Somebody pinch me! I can't wait to see where life takes me, thanks for coming along for the ride!

-Emma