Monday, June 30, 2014

Best books read so far in 2014

I haven't read many books this year, 39 total, and not all of them have been enjoyable. I have decided to list the Top 5 books I have read so far (and these are in no particular order):



The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Lainey surprised me, it really did. I expected it to be about a shallow HS girl who only wants to get her ex back. Instead it was a story of a girl who finds herself while trying to win back the boy she thinks she should be with. It was a book about how people shouldn't judge others and I felt that was awesome. I finished it in one day and recommend it to everyone.



Cinder/Scarlet/Cress by Marissa Meyers

What an amazing series!! I love Cinder so much, I want to be friends with her. I thought it was going to be a cheesy story where the author tied fairy tales with dystopian thoughts. Marissa nailed it! It was such a great read, I don't know what else to say other than I am excited for Fairest and Winter!





 The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire by Clarissa Clare

I started this series last year and very sorry to see it end. It was a SUPER long book (over 700 pages!) but worth it. I devoured his book and when I was done, I wished I had slowed down. Clarissa ended the story beautifully but I am still sad the story of Jace and Clary is over.





 The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

I love a good dystopian and this book delivered! It is exactly what I think of when I think of a dystopian novel. This was the debut novel for Lindsay Cummings and now I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. 

 


Angelfall/World After by Susan Ee

Amazon recommended this book series to me. I am a sucker for angel books so I couldn't pass on it. I fell in love with them instantly! When I finished World After I found out the next book in the series hasn't been announced yet. Nobody knows when it might come out so I am left feeling unfulfilled. I don't like this feeling but all I can do it wait, like every other fan. Regardless, these two books are still a fantastic read! Read them and suffer with me. 😉 

What about you? What are your favorite books so far this year? 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Follow me on BlogLovin!

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12472303/?claim=542cvhnu2ub">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

I want to make sure everyone can follow me on BlogLovin! 

Book mail this week (3)

I was fortunate to receive book mail this week!


Alyssa (@WithTheBanned) was sweet and sent me this ARC. Thank you!  Excited to read! 


I won this gem from a Twitter giveaway (thank you @CAhnbooks and the #EnsconcedinLit Twitter party!) but I didn't know it would be personalized! How awesome! 



What did you get this week/weekend??

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My first book signing event - 6.28.14


I was scrolling through Twitter Wendesday evening and saw a flyer for a book signing event at Murder by the Books for Saturday afternoon where the speakers were Joy Preble, Jennifer Mathieu, and Kristin Rae. I had never been to a book signing event so I was excited when I realized I had no plans and could go! 

I was nervous to get to the event on time since it was Pride weekend in downtown Houston and the weather want exactly playing nice. I left super early not knowing what traffic might be like. Little did I know I would arrive a full hour before the event. Oops! But know that having to wait in a book store isn't really that terrible. 😉 

Here is the table where the authors would be signing. Since I was first to arrive, I was able to pick the best seat! 



Here are the lovely ladies talking about what they like about the other speaker's books, how important setting is in their book, what nobody warned them about when it comes to being an author, and what they are working on for upcoming stories. I felt it was a great experience to have a close one on one interaction with all of them. 



I was the fangirl who asked if I could get a picture with all of them, but I didn't want to interrupt Joy and Jen as they were signing books. Kristin told me to just walk behind the table and say I was taking a picture. She said since she was on the panel that it was ok. I adore her so much. 💖



I also asked for my books to be personalized, I'm a book nerd that way. Here is what they all wrote! 

Jen is SUCH a sweetie!! I want to just hang out with her and drink coffee sometime. 



Joy was so funny and had so much energy, I couldn't get enough of her.




Kristin was adorable!! She kept saying she had 'baby brain' so she would ask for the questions to be repeated. Poor thing. She did bring cookies so nobody really minded. ☺️




I really had a great time with these ladies!! They were so welcoming that I didn't want to leave the store. I hope everyone has a chance to meet them someday - they are so much fun.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Liebster Award Blog 2014



Hello all!! I was recently nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Ginger Reader 22.

About the award:
 "The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. So, what is a Liebster? The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Isn't that sweet? Blogging is about building a community and it's a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs." (We Loved Here)
___________________________________
Rules:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose people and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. No tag backs!
____________________________________
11 Things About Me:
 1. I was born a blonde but my hair darkened to red as I got older.

2. I was raised in a small town in Oklahoma that was only 6 blocks long.

3. I was just notified that I'll be running my first half-marathon in January 2015!

4. I have a small OCD twitch that causes me to do things in 3's

5. I have known by BFF for 25 years.

6.I am a middle child (older sister and younger brother)

7. I am the shortest in my family (5' 3 3/4" tall)

8. I won't eat fish but love eating sushi.

9. I work on, modify, and race muscle cars.

10. I currently own a GTO!

11. I have 9 tattoos and 7 piercings. :)

____________________________________________________
 My 11 questions from Ginger Reader:
1.  A book that you wish had a sequel? 
World After by Susan Ee ! The next book in the series needs to be released soon.

2. A fictional place you would like to visit? 
NIL but I'd like to be able to escape anytime I need/want to.

3. Book with the biggest cliffhanger?
Again, World After by Susan Ee. WHAT HAPPENS ALREADY?!

4. Favorite soundtrack?
I am not a big sound track person. I would say anything but "Frozen"!

5. Favorite quote? 
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." - Helen Keller

6. Favorite series?
The Mortal Instruments has to be my fave.

7. Fictional character you love to hate? 
President Snow from The Hunger Games. Need I say more?

8. If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
To make food out of sand! I'd never go hungry that way.

9. Favorite song?
More Than Words by Extreme (totally dated myself there)

10. Favorite 80's movie? 
 Anything with John Cusack!
11. Author you wish you were best friends with?
Paula Stokes and Lynne Matson. I adore them so much on Twitter!


______________________________________________________________

 I tag:

1. Sheena @ BookWasted 
  
2. Anyone who wants to answer the questions! I only had one blogger respond but I don't want to leave anyone out.
_________________________________
My questions for the tagged bloggers:

1. Do you have any hidden talents?

2. What book did you read that really surprised you in a good way?

3. Cats or dogs?

4. First book that you remember reading?

5. What book can you read over and over again?

6. Favorite female character in a book series?

7. What book do you recommend to everyone?

8. What book character would you want to be BFFs with?

9. What is your favorite type of book to read?

10. What male character from a book would you like to date in real life?

11. Have you ever read a book that made you cry?

Thank you again, Ginger, for the nomination!

 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ARC Book Review - Hungry by H.A. Swain

Hungry by H.A. Swain
I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Andye @ReadingTeen!
The basis of the book:

In the future, food is no longer necessary—until Thalia begins to feel something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. She’s hungry.

In Thalia’s world, there is no need for food—everyone takes medication (or “inocs”) to ward off hunger. It should mean there is no more famine, no more obesity, no more food-related illnesses, and no more war. At least that's what her parents, who work for the company that developed the inocs, say. But when Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that most people live a life much different from hers. Worse, Thalia is starting to feel hunger, and so is he—the inocs aren’t working. Together they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food.

My thoughts on the book:

I was super excited when Andye let me read and review this book! I have been looking at this one for a little while as I am a sucker for dystopian books. As I started reading, I had to wonder what I was getting in to because the story started out talking about a privileged daughter who had no worries at all who started having hunger pains in a world where hunger has been eliminated due to medicines given every 3 months. Thalia ends up fleeing the "Inner Loop" with the help of a boy named Basil. Thalia and Basil continue on a long adventure to try to start a revolution that will bring the corporation giant, One World, down because they control the nutritional and medicine  supply for the entire population. These long adventures really went on a lot longer than they should have.

I was slightly bored at times while reading. I lost interest a couple of times because the story jumped all over the place - meaning I felt I forgot the reason these characters were doing what they were doing. I felt the story was trying to cover too many story lines at once. Each Part easily could have been stretched into different books instead of crammed into one. It was really too much for me and felt rushed. Plus when the story ended, it didn't feel finished. There was no conclusion, no questions answered, nothing. It left you hanging and that makes me wonder if there is going to be a second book.

Here are the main things that bothered me about this story:

- There are no chapters. NO. CHAPTERS. There are four (4) Parts. I haven't ever read a book that didn't have chapters so it felt like the story just kept going and not in a good way.

- It felt as if there was nothing Thalia couldn't do. Thalia lived a life of privilege yet knew everything about food and farming based on past stories her Grandmother told her growing up. It would have been more believable if she had to learn something in a humble way.

- There seemed to be too much medical detail given. Thalia's mom is a doctor, the one who discovered how to suppress the hunger desire in humans, and talks in heavy medical lingo. I got lost along the way and skipped most of what she said.

- A lot of the characters have food names. That seemed a little unnecessary - Apple, Basil, Spinach, Strawberry. You get the idea.

With all of that said, I give this book 2 out of 5 stars. I am grateful to Andye of @ReadingTeen for giving me the opportunity to read this ARC.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Review - Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

The basis of the book:

The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London the peculiar capital of the world. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reacting experience

My thoughts on the book:

I really liked the story. Really, really liked it. I like how he has taken actual photographs and made an usual story from them. It is nice to have an usual and different type of story to read in a growing sea of sameness.

I truly wanted to know what would happen once I started reading. I did have moments when things didn't click for me or make sense but it didn't stop me from finishing. I could have just been tired from reading, who knows. I thought there was some good character development from the first book, which made me happy. I didn't want these characters to stay flat the entire way through however long the series might be. The way he has weaved this tale makes me anxious for the next book and it cannot get here soon enough. I cannot wait to see where he takes this story.

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It is one of the better books I have read and hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Book haul this week

I may or may not have bought a lot of books this week. I felt I needed to stock my shelves with a few good reads so here is my haul:


Above are all of the books I had no self control over and had to have. I really am excited to read all of them, even more excited that my local B&N released Graduation Day and Ruin & Rising early! 


I was sent the ARC of Hungry to read and give a review on (thank you, Andye!!). I just finished this book so look for my review soon.


The above pretties were won in various online contests. Secret Revealed from Librarything; Previously Loved Treasures from ArmchairBEA Twitter chat; The Here And Now from Twitter. 

What books did you get this week, or are really excited to get your hands on??

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book Review - We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

 We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

The basis of the book:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
(Borrowed from Goodreads.com)


My thoughts of the book:

Skip this book. I fell into the hype and wanted to experience for myself. I had such high, high hopes for this book. Sadly this turned out to be my first DNF of the year. The story had such promise but was poorly executed. It felt like a story of rich people and rich people problems. I got halfway through when I realized that I simply didn't care what happened. Not one bit. For those who loved this book and sing its praises, yay for you. This book just wasn't meant for everyone, mainly me. 

I give this book 1 star out of 5.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book Review - The One by Kiera Cass


The One by Kiera Cass

The basis of the book:

The Selection changed America Singer's life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen--and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she's made her choice . . . and she's prepared to fight for the future she wants.

Excerpt from Goodreads

 My thoughts on the book:

So. Many. FEELS! Will Prince Maxon choose America or will she ruin her chances by being too head-strong? She wants to stay true to herself but will it cost her everything?? And will she finally let go of Aspen?! So many questions that were finally answered!

Aspen... *sigh* I felt she hung on to that a lot longer than she should have. Aspen dumped her in book one, magically appeared at the palace as a guard, and made sure he was still in her life. I wish America wouldn't have lead him on as long as she did and he would have taken the hint sooner. That constant story line made me roll my eyes a little. I know, it added a depth to the story but it seemed too much. America had enough going on without him adding to the trouble.

Maxon... I was pulling for him to just be happy. Poor guy was tormented by his father, had the nation judging his every move, and women fighting to be the princess because they wanted the crown - not him. That sounds like a rough upbringing, not glamorous at all. 

America... She certainly was head-strong and stubborn. She had the best of intentions but didn't always think too clearly or think things through. (Uh... Diary, anyone?) 

I felt the last few chapters might have been rushed because it seems everything was suddenly over. Meaning Maxon made his decision and then a wedding was happening. What happened to the rebels? What happened to Maxon's plans to eliminate he castes? It left me with some unanswered questions, but only a couple. Overall I really liked the book and would probably read the series again in the future. 

I give this book 4 stars out of 5; the overall series 4 out of 5 stars. I would suggest this book/series to anyone and everyone. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Book mail this week

I am not one for a lot of book mail throughout the week as I usually try to buy in stores (I am a little impatient sometimes), but this week I received to book mail!


Extraction by Stephanie Diaz

And she personalized it for me! My first and hopefully not my last.



I also received a book I won on Goodreads. 


Second Star by Alyssa Sheinmel


Anyone who has been on that site and tried to win something from the Giveaways section knows it can be difficult. I have only won 4 books, received 3. Thanks a lot, Goodreads.

What books did you get this week, or plan to get?

Book Review - The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The basis of this book:

Amanda Singer has made it to the next level of The Selection process and one step closer to possibly being a princess, she is now part of the top four, The Elite. America is having a difficult time opening up because her heart is still with Aspen, her ex-boyfriend from back home, who also happens to be a guard at the palace. Things at the palace aren't always fun and games as the contestants are starting to turn on one another, the castes are worse than ever with people still suffering, the king starts to show just how much he dislikes America, and the palace is almost always under attack from rebels. America is still her strong, stubborn self which causes her to always be on the edge of being sent home. Will she make it to the end and become Prince Maxon's bride?

My overall take of this book:

I really liked this book. I was cheering for America to make it to the Elite round of the contest and calm down a little bit. At times it seems she was just too stubborn or reacted differently to be the one who stood out. I was hoping that for just once she would slow down and do what she is told. I am all for being true to yourself and being individual but it almost seemed too much. 

The flow of the story went very well. I didn't find myself bored or asking when it would be over. I believed how well the characters interacted with each other and the emotions that flowed between America and Maxon. I wasn't left feeling as if there were questions that wouldn't be answered in the third book.What did bother me a little bit was how much America was hanging on to her relationship with Aspen. Why wouldn't she let that go? Why was she always trying to hang on to that when it wasn't the best thing for either? I wanted her to stop leading him on, bottom line. She leads him on a lot and that can become irritating. 

I gave this book 3.5 starts out of 5. Again, I liked how it flowed, the character development, and how it felt like a somewhat light-hearted story. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Book Review - The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection - by Kiera Cass

Basis of the book:

America Singer wants a normal life and to marry her boyfriend, Aspen. Sadly that isn't how things work, nor is it that easy. Everyone is classified by a number, that number determines their jobs, pay, house, family size, EVERYTHING. Aspen is a lower caste (ranking) than America so that makes everything difficult and very secretive. It is certainly not wise for a female to marry down a class, she must set her sites higher. 

Prince Maxon wants to find love but has a hard time doing so because of who he is and the state of the nation. That is where The Selection comes in. America is hesitant because she doesn't want to try for the affection of the Prince when she has Aspen, but does anyways since she was pushed to sign up by Aspen and her mom. That is when America's world is turned upside down. She starts to see things with a fresh pair of eyes and an open mind, wondering if she could in fact be princess one day. Living life as a higher class means she takes nothing for granted when others do. Plus, is she willing to risk her heart to someone new?

How does it work? Think of Cinderella when the Prince sends out letters to all eligible ladies in the land. Girls between a certain age are encouraged to enter by filling out a form and having their picture taken. A committee selects 35 random girls to participate for the Prince's hand in marriage. Now think of The Bachelor, where all girls are battling to win Maxon's affections, and the crown. Things get down right cut throat at times.

My overall thoughts:

Doesn't that cover look like a great party? I want to go to that party! I would find another pose but regardless, looks like a great time! But after I started this book I realized that I probably don't want to be at this party.... Ever.

I was hesitant about the Selection book/series. Maybe it is the look of the girl sniffing her armpit (what is that pose about??) or that fact that most critics compared this to The Hunger Games (stop doing that!), but in the end I was HOOKED.  I couldn't get enough of this book. Will her heart stay with Aspen? Could she possibly love Maxon and become princess? This was NOT the sappy love story I feared it would be (Matched series, anyone?). I truly wanted to find out what would happen. I was one of the better reads I have found this year and so happy I picked up the series (yes, I wait until the entire series comes out before reading/buying...). 

I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5, it is such an enjoyable read. Can't wait to see what happens in the America/Aspen/Maxon love triangle!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Reveiw - Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick


FINALLY. The last book in the Hush, Hush saga.

The overall of this book:

Nora has finally discovered who she is and now has a to fulfill a vow to her dead father, The Black Hand. She is now in command and must lead his army of Nephilim into battle against the fallen angels (and win), but if she fails she and her mother will die. (No pressure, right?) Along the way Nora has rely on Patch a lot for guidance but is torn between wanting to fight for freedom for her people or doing what is right.Nora wants to do what is right but she also wants to be with Patch, how can she do that when he's the enemy?

My overall take of this book:

I couldn't wait for this story to be over. I felt it went on a book longer than it should have. I didn't feel there needed to be four books, it could have all been told in three. I still didn't feel a great connection between Nora and Patch, like a *real* connection/attraction to their relationship. I wasn't pulling for them to be together. I think Patch would have been better somewhere else but the heart wants what the heart wants, right? I didn't feel their relationship was a focus during this story, if really felt like a second, third, or fourth story line. It was more of her time with Vee, her best friend (whom I do not like at all).

I felt there were a lot of gaps in the story, holes big enough to drive a truck through. Some of the "main characters" showed up for a few pages and then disappeared for chapters at a time. Maybe they were just fillers to keep the story moving but the story didn't move very well. Nobody seems to care that Nora is never in school, not even her Mom. I didn't find that believable. At one point Nora had a job and only worked for one night then never again. Uh... huh? Also, in the first book the author made a huge deal about Nora being on iron pills but then never mentions them again through the last three books. C'mon... what good reader wouldn't notice something like that?

Honestly I was bored with this one. I was super excited to read this series because of the covers. *SIGH* Yes, I am one of those people that judges a book but the cover and I fell hard for this one. (Just look at that cover! It screams, "READ ME!") I'm here to tell you - DON'T. Pass on this one. You might be drawn to the battle of Heaven vs. Hell or Angels vs. Evil but you won't finish this feeling satisfied.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars, and the overall series 2.5 stars. I will not be reading this one again and currently fighting the urge to sell the series to Half Price Books.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Review - Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick


Look at that cover... Just take a moment to take it in. Why? Because he cover is far better than the actual book and yet has NOTHING to do with it.

Silence is the third book in the Hush, Hush saga and was released in 2011. Regardless, it does still read like a current story. This book really is better than the first two and part of it makes you want more - more of Nora & Patch, more of this bizarre world, just more.

In Silence, Nora has just been returned from being kidnapped and suffering memory loss. It is a bit frustrating at times because she seems to make things far more difficult than they should be. Yes, short term memory loss is tough, but she just seems to make it harder for no reason. She struggles to remember Jev/Patch too much. She almost makes it too painful and unbelievable. It seems she just tries too hard, if that makes sense.

And don't get me started on her inner-monologuing. UGH. Enough of that already. I am starting to realize that it is just part of the author's writing style but it is still annoying.

Nora still has her never-there-for-her Mom, BFF Vee (still don't really like her), Scott, Marcie, and Marcie's dad to "help her" through her memory loss. Yes, these characters play a big part in the overall story (not her Mom...) but they don't seem to develop as characters as the story goes on. They don't seem to grow with the experiences or with life in general. I don't feel I connected with them.

Thankfully this is a quick read and was over before you know it. It does make you want to read the 4th book immediately to find out what happens but only to find out what happens. I don't feel the premise of the story remains focused on Nora and Patch, it feels it has shifted to Nora and her possible future. I thought this was supposed to be a YA romance? Not feeling a lot of that as the book went on. I was disappointed to say the least.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this 3.

Stay tuned for a quick review on Finale, the last book in the saga.