Sunday, 31 March 2013

March Wrap-Up and April TBR

It's the last day of March and therefore time to reflect on the books I read this month. It was a fairly good month for me, I read some really good books, but I was also disappointed with a few. :-/ I have included links to either my Goodreads review or a review I posted on my blog.
  1. The Archived by Victoria Schwab- **** (four stars)
  2. Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder- **** (four stars)
  3. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd- ** */* (two and a half stars)
  4. Splintered by A.G. Howard- **** (four stars)
  5. Prophecy by Ellen Oh- ** */* (two and a half stars)
  6. Altered by Jennifer Rush- **** */* (four and a half stars)
I have also made some changes to my monthly TBR's. This is my first year planning out and blogging about books and I want to find what's right for me. I have decided to choose three books (rather than four) for review each month. From now on, I will be posting a real book review on my blog for my TBR (or review books). The other books I read during the month will probably have some short notes on Goodreads or maybe a Goodreads review if I feel like it. So you can expect three book reviews per month on this blog from now on. Here are the books I've chosen.
  1. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  2. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  3. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 
I am really excited to read these books! They're really different from each other although they're all part of the same genre- fantasy, in case you weren't sure. :) I do have a back-up for Shadow and Bone in case I cannot get it from my public library in time. Please let me know your thoughts on these books in the comments below! 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend the Most

This week for Top Ten Tuesday I have split it into two divisions: Popular and Less Popular books because I feel like some of the books I strongly recommend, everyone has read! :) I also have included series as well as books.

Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most
March 26, 2013
More Popular: 
  1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: Seriously, who hasn't read this? But if you haven't, do it RIGHT NOW. You will not regret it. 
  2. Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld: This series was a very consistent, excellent series! The character development and world-building was maybe the best I've ever seen in the dystopia genre. Overall, tons of twists and turns and awesome adventure! I can't stop myself from recommending this to everyone. 
  3. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins: Again, almost everyone has read this. If you haven't, where have you been???? The craze has mostly died down, but I bet it'll be back when Catching Fire comes out as a movie! Anyways, the first two books were amazing and I definitely recommend it for those of you who haven't read it. 
  4. Divergent by Veronica Roth: I've really been seeing this book growing in popularity and encourage you all to read it! The character development is a bit lacking and there are some holes in the world-building, but overall an action-packed dystopia adventure that will keep hooked the whole way through.
  5. The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan: Of all his series, this one is definitely my favourite. Even though I'm not in middle-grade, I really enjoy these books! The plot never fails to surprise me and I really like the Greek mythology. Definitely recommended reads.
Less Popular:
  1. Blood Red Road by Moira Young: Though I don't really recommend the sequel, this debut was absolutely amazing. I am so glad I happened to see this on the shelves at my library and picked it up because now I can't stop raving about it! I recommended it to several friends who have all enjoyed just as much as I have. Seriously-- You will not book this amazing dystopia adventure down.
  2. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder: This book was so amazing! I don't think many people know of this author, but I really enjoy her books. Magic Study wasn't as good as this one, and I haven't read the rest of the series, but I very highly recommend this book to anyone (except younger people because some parts are a bit mature). Whenever someone asks me what they should read, I show them this book. 
  3. Legend by Marie Lu: I almost put this on the "more popular" shelf, but in truth, it's kind of in between. Anyway, I think more people should read it than they are currently, so I put it in this section. This is another phenomenal dystopia (I knowww) with great characters and a twisty plot. Yay!
  4. Ingo series by Helen Dunmore: I read this series quite a while ago, but re-read the first one last summer, and I really loved them in middle grade! They are full of suspense and adventure and I often recommend it, especially to younger readers. 
  5. Variant by Robison E. Wells: My friend recommended this to me and since then I read it and at the sequel (not as good), but really loved the first one. Anyone who wants a mysterious sci-fi should look no further. 
That's it for now! Thanks for reading.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Splintered by A.G. Howard

I realize I haven't been doing any real reviews recently so I've decided I really should do a formal review. And what better book for it than Splintered, as I have a lot to say about this book. I can't guarantee no spoilers. Hope you enjoy the review!

Title: Splintered
Author: A.G. Howard
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retellings
Pg. #: 372
Rating: **** (four stars)

This book. THIS BOOK. I want to give it 5 stars, at least 4.5 because I really enjoyed this book. But it had some flaws that I just can't overlook.

First, I wish I could've taken my time with reading the book because I started it way too late and the due date was approaching. I finished the book in two days, which says something because I was able to do so without getting very bored. I was discouraged before starting Splintered because I had seen some negative reviews but I am so glad I read it!

The plot and pacing was good. There were some really cool twists I wasn't expecting, but there were also a few times where we had no information about Alice or Wonderland, and then, bam! Information overload. I also found there were little lapses of boring whenever the romance took centre-stage. More on that later... Anyway, the opening of the book was very enticing and the following chapters until she enters Wonderland were very entertaining. It was interesting, unique, and the characters were great. Once Alyssa enters Wonderland, things get a little more dull. I found every scene with Morpheus boring and unnecessary, and more on why later as well.

I found the book to be brilliantly written, with vivid descriptions and imagery. I loved the weird twists on the Wonderland creatures-- Especially the ferret/snake thing that gave her a wish. That was cool. However, I still wanted more. Some characters, like the ones at the Mad Hatter's tea party seemed kind of flat and I wanted more weirdness from them. Hopefully this will be granted in the second book, Unhinged. I loved the premise of this novel and the plot and creative ideas were awesome.

Now I'm done with my constant praising of this book because there were issues. I'm talking about the characters. The love interests, Jeb and Morpheus, in particular. Jeb seems like a good guy... At first. In truth I wanted to scream at him because he was so frustrating! He kept trying to control and bubble-wrap Alyssa, and she's way better and stronger than that! He treated her like a five-year-old, and that made me angry. Not to mention the whole thing with his girlfriend. Taelor and Jeb's relationship is typical and mainstream: Rich and pretty mean girl is the girlfriend of the laidback, caring best friend of the main character who secretly like each other *yawn*. It makes Jeb even more of a lame jerk for dating her to "hide and control his feelings for Alyssa". And Morpheus. Honestly? The freak is a sick and twisted moth. He's creepy, manipulative, untrustworthy, and selfish... even I could see that. Who would even consider addressing feelings for him (Alyssa, apparently).

I found myself enjoying the end of the book (after Alyssa leaves Jeb to the end of the second chapter) when Jeb wasn't in it. It was exciting, weird, and highly entertaining. So at least the beginning and end portions were great. However, the last chapter left me in a bad state as well. SPOILER ALERT. I feel like Morpheus had died (as mean as that sounds), not actually lived. His death showed his sacrifice for Alyssa, and it just seemed like the book ended way too perfectly. Oh yay everything is fixed! They all lived happily ever after! SPOILER ALERT OVER. 

I have to say, this book was truly amazing if not for all my problems with the romance and characters. I would recommend this book to any fantasy or retelling lovers, however, would forewarn them greatly in advance about my issues with the novel. Thanks for reading!

Reading Update (7)

For a change I have decided to do a quick image college of some photos I took as my update. Check it out. :)

I also have decided to change Prodigy by Marie Lu to Prophecy by Ellen Oh for my March TBR. Prophecy is still a 2013 release. I am doing this because, though I plan on reading Prodigy soon, the due date for that one is extended further compared to others, like Altered or Revolution 19 which I plan to read before. I have also decided to make a few changes to my TBR's from now on, which I'll talk about when I do my wrap-up at the end of this month. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Top Ten Books I Own That Are Sitting On My Shelf Unread

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they will post a topic and then participants will make their top ten according to the topic. Feel free to go to their site and join in. This week's topic I have slightly modified so it makes more sense to me. And it is...

Top Ten Books I Own (bought or received) That Are Sitting On My Shelf Unread (long title!)
March 19, 2013
  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: This has been showing up on a lot of my lists lately, but honestly, I can't wait to read this! I was given the LOTR pack for Christmas, but was seriously considering buying it anyway, so I guess I'm guilty there. Anyway, I'm just waiting for the right time to read this.
  2. Shine by Lauren Myracle: I need to read this! I won it and I honestly cannot wait to pick it up. I'm thinking in April, maybe?
  3. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen: I guess this is a bit of a cheat, because this is my sister's book, not mine, but I'm sure she would let me borrow it. Anyway, she's read it and it's sitting on her shelves, waiting for me, so I'd like to pick it up. I liked What Happened to Goodbye, but my expectations are way higher for this novel. 
  4. Chu Ju's House by Gloria Whelan: Not the usual book I would pick up, but it's my sister's and she said she really enjoyed it and gave it to me, so I'm excited to read it too. 
  5. The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis: I've never read the Chronicles of Narnia *gasp*, not even one book. I received this as a gift and would really like to go back to my childhood and read this book, and the series if I enjoy it. Does anyone know which order I should read it in? I'm a little confused. :-/
  6. Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen: Again, way out of my comfort zone, but I also won this book with a friend and I think it sounds interesting and I am really looking to try different genres of books. I hope it will have a good storyline, interesting characters, and stay entertaining!
  7. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: I read "A Little Princess" when I was little and loved it! I know this classic is more like a children's book, but I think the term "classic" means it can apply to all ages. I don't know how I got this, but I'd like to read it. 
  8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: More classics I haven't had the chance to read (that's a lie, more like I have too many other books I want to read first). I do own Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but Huck Finn is the abridged version so I would get it out from the library instead.
  9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: I plan on waiting before reading this, but still. I have heard such good things about it and I really want to read Charlie's supposedly touching diary entries. Love it or hate it books always intrigue me. 
  10. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling: I really want to read this, but have decided to wait a few years before doing so. But I really had to buy it-- It was Jo's first book since HP!!!
Thanks for reading. That's it for today! Comment with your thoughts to my Narnia question above and post the links for your lists. Thanks! :)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Name Game Book Tag

My friend Brianna at The Book Nook has tagged me once again for a new tag: The Name Game Book Tag! This tag was created by Kimberley at Kimberley's Book Nook, and you can find the original tag here. In this tag, I must choose a book I have read or own that represents me with the letters of my name matching the first letter of the title. I bent the rules a little for the first one but I just had to include it. Please enjoy!

I tag anyone who wants to participate!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they will post a topic and then participants will make their top ten according to the topic. Feel free to go to their site and join in. For this week, my list could go on forever, but it does say "top", so I sadly had to narrow it down. :'(

Top Ten Books at the Top of My Spring 2013 TBR List
March 12, 2013
  1. Pivot Point by Kasie West: I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this novel and it sounds like a riveting book. The cover is stunning as well. I can't wait to get it in my hands, but I had to suspend it so I actually have time to read it. :P
  2. Taken by Erin Bowman: I need this book. Re-reading the synopsis, I've determined how much I want to read this book on a scale from: I'll read it at the last minute once I get it or put it on hold again to I will stop whatever I'm reading and read it right away, regardless of other books due dates or priorities. I am leaning to that very extreme "I'll read it right away despite anything". 
  3. Going Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt: I don't really read cutesy, contemporary books, but this one sounds really fun and spring is the best time (at least to me) for light reads, so this is definitely on my list! 
  4. Shine by Lauren Myracle: I first found out about this book on a "beautiful covers" list on Goodreads and have since won a copy that I share with my friend. It is absolutely beautiful and sounds like an emotional and powerful story.
  5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer: I tried this book and I just wasn't into reading it at the time, but really am dying to. This spring is the time to read it for sure. 
  6. Mind Games by Kiersten White: This is lower on my list than expected because I am nervous about reading this book. I think it sounds amazing and want to like it so badly, but it seems a lot of people are not liking it as much as they thought they would. Nooooo.... But I still think it will be a great book!
  7. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson: I think this book sounds very interesting, plus I have a new copy of it from the library at my house and I am the first person to sign it out. :) 
  8. A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass: Several of my friends have read and loved this book, and I feel like it will be a great spring read. The story sounds interesting and very enlightening. 
  9. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick: For some reason I never read this book. In middle school, everyone was reading this, and I was kinda like "I'm sorry, what???" It is a middle grade book for sure with big illustrations and not a ton of text but the title and cover has always intrigued me and I think I would still enjoy it now. 
  10. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: I'm practically chanting "read it!" to myself right now about this book. Lot's of people seem to love it and I also would like to read it in anticipation for the movie release. 
That's it for my top ten! Leave the link to yours in the comments. :)

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Top Ten Series I'd Like to Start But Haven't Yet

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they will post a topic and then participants will make their top ten according to the topic. Feel free to go to their site and join in. This week's topic is...

Top Ten (eleven, really) Series I'd Like to Start But Haven't Yet
March 5, 2013
  1. The Mortal Instruments/The Infernal Devices: I feel like such a bad person for not having read these yet aha. 
  2. The Lynburn Legacy: Someone inform me why I have not began this series yet. 
  3. The Raven Cycle: I love the cover of this book and the name and cover of the next book were just released! So gorgeous! The story sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it. 
  4. Caster Chronicles: I've heard awesome things about these books, and I can't wait to read them, especially considering the movie that's coming out soon! Ah!!!!
  5. Tiger's Saga: A YA fantasy about tigers and the circus. I can't wait to read this series, and I've had a high recommendation from a friend.
  6. Breathe: I can't wait to read this dystopia book! It looks really good and I really like the cover. Also, the title and cover for the next book, Resist, is now released! 
  7. The Iron Fey: Now this one isn't really my fault, because I have it on hold from the library but there is only one copy so it could take months to get to me (seriously people, if there's one copy of the book get in gear and READ IT... And this is coming from a book hoarder and even I would read it right away! Rude...). Now that my rant is over, I can say that this series sounds really suspenseful, magical and awesome!
  8. Shades of London: The Name of the Star is sitting on my shelf, waiting for me, but dang it I haven't read it yet! This looks like an amazing historical fiction!
  9. The Lunar Chronicles: This is a bit of a lie because I read 20 pages of Cinder in January but I didn't really feel like reading more at the time, however I am very interested in actually starting and pursuing the series. Several people have also encouraged me to stick through it. :P
  10. The Giver: This is one of the older dystopia books and I am so excited to read the series. I've meant to many times but never did. 
  11. The Lord of the Rings: Now this is technically one book, not a trilogy, let alone a series, but I had to put this on because I've been meaning to read it and I need to get my act together! 
Also, some trilogies I'd love to read: Gemma Doyle, Under the Never Sky, Shatter Me, and more! 
Note: Some books such as the Lynburn Legacy or Breathe, I am note sure how many books will be in the series/trilogy/duology. 

Thanks for reading! That's it for now. :)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Liebster Blog Award!

Thanks so much to Julia @ Books as Wings for nominating me for this awesome award!

The rules for this award are simple. Thank and link back to the nominator, answer the 11 questions, nominate 11 blogs, and list 11 facts about yourself. Also, make sure the blogs you nominate have under 200 subscribers and comment to let them know. Finally, copy and paste the award in your own blog!

My Answers (to Julia's questions):

  1. Where is your favourite place to read? A variety of places. I like reading on my bed, in the living room where it's very bright (I especially like it on snowy days), and I love reading anywhere outside, particularly by water in a mountain or forest setting. :)
  2. What blog post of yours is the best representation of who you are? A very interesting question. There are two posts I identify as representing me well, and those were both part of a library challenge I completed last year. They are my Book Scavenger Hunt and Ginny Weasley post. Ginny Weasley shows my connections to her as a character, and the scavenger hunt reveals some things about myself and reading. 
  3. Have you ever dreamt of becoming an author? YES. I have always wanted to become an author, inspired by my love of books and constant imagination and thinking of "What if...?"
  4. What's better: reading or writing? This is not a question I can answer completely because I love both so equally that it's hard to choose. On the other hand, I most likely would not be as compelled to write without reading, but writing is one of my two biggest passions. 
  5. What fictional world would you most want to live in? Anyone who knows me at all will know the answer to this will be Hogwarts and so I'm not going to bother to explain. I mean, think of all the adventures and magic and completely developed world it is. 
  6. Do you like/agree with the common trends in reading currently? It depends. Girls in dresses on a cover/faces on a cover? Noppppppe. Dystopia? Yes and no. I LOVE dystopia (one of my all-time favourite genres), but it's hard to sift through all of them right now! I mean, it's not the only genre out there. Photography rather than graphics on cover? Overrated. It really depends, but mostly, no, because then the originality is gone which is a huge factor in books for me.
  7. What would your dream library look like? Good question! Big, wide windows and mahogany everything (it's my desk colour and I think it's beautiful). There would be chairs everywhere, like big cushy chairs and couches. There would be comfy benches with window shutters, almost (see my tumblr for an awesome picture) somewhat isolated from the rest of the library. There would be warm fireplaces too. The colours would be light blue on the walls and bright sunlight or white light from the snow shining through. Finally, I would love for it to be in a tower or lighthouse. 
  8. How do you judge whether or not to take the time to read a blog? I scroll through the first page, just looking at the post titles or seeing which book titles jump out at me. If the blog talks about books and genres I'm interested in, as well as having a layout and theme which seems as if they have taken time to make it beautiful, then I will most likely love the blog. 
  9. What's your view on graphic novels? I have only read the Uglies graphic novels, but I would love to read more to expand my reading horizon. They're great for people who are intimidated by novels, however for me they will never beat the lyrical quality of the written word.
  10. E-books, hardcover, or paperback? Paperback, generally, because they don't have jackets and look so clean and beautiful. But I still like hardcover. I have never read an ebook but I personally like the thought of having a hard copy with a cover but I don't really have anything against e-books. I just hope real books stick around. :)
  11. What makes you want to blog? I really like spreading my love of literature with others and learning to think more deeply about the books that I am reading, which blogging and reviewing has helped me with. Blogging just opens up so many doors and exposes me to a ton of really awesome blogs as well. Plus, it's fun!
My 11 Random Facts (about myself):
  1. I am a competitive dancer and take styles including jazz, ballet, lyrical, and pointe, as well as student teaching younger kids. 
  2. I love dessert. Any kind, but mostly chocolate. I am obsessed with chocolate. I can be bribed extremely easily with chocolate. 
  3. I'm a Harry Potter freak. The only series I have re-read start to finish is Harry Potter, with a total of 5 times. Hoping to make it 6 this year. 
  4. I round everything to the number 7, because it is the magical number. My favourite number is 713, because 7 is the Harry Potter number and because 13 is unlucky to everyone so I decided it would be lucky for me. Then I started noticing the number 713 popping up all the time in Harry Potter. It was weird... I like predicted it or something...
  5. I love climbing trees. I really want to be able to jump from tree to tree like Rue in the Hunger Games or Yelena in Poison Study.
  6. Winter is my favourite season, and I love snow. People think I'm crazy, but that's ok. 
  7. I love the ocean, and really any body of water. I have a very high tolerance to cold temperatures in water. I also love tubing. 
  8. I have many mannerisms that make me appear as if I am a super-organized person, like being somewhat obsessive over certain little details and loving lists (I make lists of everything), but I am a strong believe of the "out of sight, out of mind" theory as far as organization goes. Stuff random objects in my closet? Done. 
  9. My somewhat realistic jobs include author, dance teacher, and English teacher. Other than author, my ultimate dream job is working with horses in some sort of production like Cavalia.
  10. Things on my bucket list: Ride horses (and maybe jump them!), go zip lining, white-water rafting, surfing, and scuba-diving. Pretty ambitious! :P
  11. The basics: My favourite colour is turquoise/bright blue, I love animals, my favourite TV series is Heartland, and I want to travel to the United Kingdom, France, and Italy most of anywhere.

My 11 Nominees:
  1. Paige @ Paige's Pages
  2. Ivana @ One Book
  3. Meagan @ Meagan's Literature Blog
  4. Grace @ Reading Your Life Away 
  5. Dorothy @ The Reading Machine
  6. Jacqueline @ Jacqueline's Bookmark
  7. Ali @ Loving Life by Reading
  8. Alex @ Colour Me Inspired
  9. Osereme @ Write That Thought
  10. Inaara @ Inspiration Station 

My Questions (for my nominees):
  1. What is the most important part of a book for you? For example: Plot, characters, writing style, etc.
  2. Is there a particular book that has inspired you to want to travel to a certain place? 
  3. Do you prefer to buy or borrow books and which do you do more often?
  4. What is the greatest influence on you reading or not reading a book? 
  5. If you could design the cover for one of your favourite books, what would it look like?
  6. What is your favourite hero/heroine and villain from a book? 
  7. Do you prefer stand-alone books, duologies (I hope that's a word), trilogies, or series and why?
  8. What are your top 5 all-time favourite books/series and why do you love them? 
  9. Do you find the publication date to be important when reading a book? Do you like to read newly released books? 
  10. What is your favourite bookstore and do you prefer individual ones or chain bookstores? 
  11. Why do you continue to read, possibly write and blog? 
Thanks so much to Julia again! I may add the last nominee but for now I'm sticking with 10. Thanks!

Friday, 1 March 2013

February Wrap-Up & March TBR

In the month of February, I read some really good books. Here they are.
  1. Legend by Marie Lu- ***** (five stars)
  2. The Maze Runner- **** */* (four and a half stars)
  3. The Stepsister Scheme- **** (four stars)
  4. Gone- **** (four stars)
  5. Sweetly- **** (four stars)
  6. Princess of the Midnight Ball (approx. 200 pages in)- TBA
 Favourite Dystopia of the Month goes to... LEGEND BY MARIE LU!
Favourite Fairytale Retelling of the Month (this one was hard) goes to... THE STEPSISTER SCHEME BY JIM C. HINES! 
I am kinda surprised that it wasn't Sweetly that won out, as I did have some issues with the winner, but I thought it was so original. Finally...
Book of the Month: LEGEND BY MARIE LU! It was amazingly amazing, even though all my choices this month were really great. 

Moving on to my TBR for March. I have decided to be reading 2013 released books! So here are the books with release dates from 2013:
  1. The Archived by Victoria Schwab 
  2. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
  3. Prodigy by Marie Lu
  4. Splintered by A.G. Howard
I also have a few more in mind (Prophecy, Revolution 19, and others that may come to the library). 

Also, my friend and I entered a contest with the library and won! We won 9 novels and some other stuff as well. I am really excited because Shine by Lauren Myracle and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky are among them!

Thanks for reading!