Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 80

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make Me Pick Up a Book

1. Road Trip 
I love a good road trip novel! Just the idea of driving around and seeing new places is so exciting. Plus it's a great way to show character development and self-discovery!

2. Europe
I love to travel and would love to tour all of Europe someday. Whenever the characters go abroad, I will read that book!

3. Summer
I am in love with the summer: warm weather, fun, free time. It's the perfect setting for a romance and it's even better if it's at the beach.

4. The Tudors
I love historical fiction but my favorite era is Tudor England! I will read any book set during this time, especially if it's about King Henry and his wives.

5. Mystery
I love mysteries in both books and movies, so I enjoy reading a book where you have to figure out whodunnit! I think I get this from reading a lot of Nancy Drew.

6. Secrets
This probably goes along with "mystery" but I love books in which the character has a secret. I usually fly through the pages in order to figure it out!

7. Romance
I'm a sucker for a little romance in my books, so this will make me more inclined to read it.

8. Action
I hate reading exposition so there better be a lot of dialogue and action occurring so I don't get bored.

9. Swimming
This doesn't occur a whole lot but if a character is a swimmer I will definitely pick up the book. I then usually end up nitpicking everything about it but that's ok!

10. Humor
I love it when contemporary novels have comedy, especially if it's a book by Leila Sales!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 134

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released soon.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new. (from GoodReads)

I love this trilogy, especially how it's about different characters but the stories are intertwined. I was surprised that this cover didn't follow the same theme as the first two, but I still like it a lot. No official release date, but look for Isla and the Happily Ever After in September.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 79

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Books I Liked More Than I Thought I Would

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Whenever books are required for class, I'm always a little wary, but I ended up loving Jane Eyre! I think it was my favorite book I read all year in my literature class and we read some great classics. It's pretty long but totally worth it if you're into Gothic fiction.

2. Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
This was a vampire novel and I only picked it up because I received the third book in the series. I can't just read that one, can I? I was so surprised when I really enjoyed Hearts at Stake. I still haven't read the second or third books in the series, so I need to get on that.

3. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
I was so nervous starting this book because I didn't think I would like it. This came out before the current zombie craze so I had no idea that zombies were awesome. It's funny that this turned out to be one of my favorite trilogies.

4. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
This was marketed as high fantasy reminiscent of Game of Thrones. I'm not the biggest fan of high fantasy and I didn't know how it could compare to A Song of Ice and Fire, but I actually loved it! The world building wasn't as intricate as that of George R.R. Martin, but it was still really good.

5. Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
When I first started Glimmerglass, I had trouble getting into the story. But once I got past the beginning I loved the book! I still need to finish the trilogy.

6. Heist Society by Ally Carter
I saw this at my library and just picked up because I remembered it was featured on someone's blog. It endedup being one of my all time favorite novels.

7. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
I decided to read this for summer reading going into high school and absolutely loved it! It's such an underrated book but I think a lot of people would enjoy it.

8. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
This was required summer reading for my senior year of high school and the three books I read before it were terrible. I was pleasantly surprised when I found this book to be very enjoyable.

9. Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita
I've had this on my shelf for a few years and I finally read it a few months ago. I thought it was going to be total fluff but it was really good! Still fluffy, but the good kind. I can't wait to read the the rest of the series.

10. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
I had the first two HP books on my shelf all throughout elementary school but was never interesting in reading them. That is, until I saw the first movie! Then I read Books 1-4 in about a week because I loved them so much.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rebel Heart by Moira Young

Nothing is certain and no one is safe in the second book in the highly praised Dust Lands trilogy.

It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road, a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion. (from GoodReads)

I was really looking forward to Rebel Heart because I loved its predecessor, Blood Red Road. However I was a little disappointed in this - it didn't grab me as much as the first book and the plot was a little boring. I'm still holding out hope for the third book, though!

I remember how hard it was for me to get into Blood Red Road because of the writing style. There are no quotation marks around the dialogue and the spelling is phonetic, so all the bad grammar the characters use is right there on the page. But once I was used to the writing, it made the book so much more authentic! Thankfully, I didn't have the same problem starting Rebel Heart and the style didn't bother me at all.

The problem I did have was the slow pacing of the story. The whole book revolves around Saba trying to find Jack, the love interest from the previous novel. I was upset that Jack is barely in this book - and it was frustrating to spend the whole book looking for him. A story needs a little more action than a missing person case. The subplots of the book are all over the place - they are either dropped and never mentioned again (i.e. Saba's hallucinations) or randomly thrown in at the end (i.e. Saba's relationship with DeMalo). Also - do we really need a love square between DeMalo, Jack AND Tommo? It's getting ridiculous.

I missed the awesome and fierce Saba from the first novel and I'm still holding out hope that she returns in full force in the last book of the trilogy. But for now, Rebel Heart has a bad case of the Middle Book Syndrome.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: Christmas gift.

2012/Margaret K. McElderry/432 pages.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 133

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released.

Red by Alison Cherry

Felicity St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.

Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:

I know your secret.

Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say "strawberry blond." Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.

Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred? (from GoodReads)

Well, this is my kind of book because I have red hair! So I'm totally okay with redheads holding all the power. I wonder how we can enact this in real life... Just kidding, but I think this sounds amazing - I wonder how Felicity gets away with dying her hair? We'll find out on October 8, 2013.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 78

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Hilarious Book Titles

1. Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram
First off, this book was hilarious and a ton of fun. Even though the "serial hottie" could be a little creepy, he seemed like he was a good guy at heart. I love the play on words and how the title insinuates that the hottie is a serial killer - which is what the protagonist thinks!

2. Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
This book is adorable and I love science so it was right up my alley. I love how evolution is considered to be a freak of nature.

3. You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay
This is a play on the insult "you're dead to me" but with zombies! I read this way before the current zombie craze so kudos to Stacey Jay for getting a jump start on the genre.

4. Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell by Crickett Rumley
Every time I read this in public, people made fun of me. It's such a fun title though and tells you exactly what you're going to be reading.

5. The Liar, the Bitch, and the Wardrobe by Allie Kingsley
Love the change from the original title: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

6. Josie Griffin is Not a Vampire by Heather Swain
Most books feature characters that are vampires or supernatural creatures, so this is telling you that that's not the case!

7. Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
I like the creation of a new word "fauxmance" to denote a fake romance.

8. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
I think every girl in a fantasy or paranormal book needs Jessica's guide.

9. How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler
Most people want to be popular, so they might not pick up this hilarious and totally awesome book.

10. Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin
Freshman year is definitely an unnatural disaster, but this book is still cute!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 132

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released.

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy. (from GoodReads)

OMG I can't believe the main character is named Kiri because that's one of my friend's name and I haven't seen it anywhere else before. Anyway, this books looks awesome: summer, adventure, love, it has it all! And it's a debut. Look for Wild Awake on shelves May 28, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 77

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Books I Read Before I was a Blogger

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
I first started Harry Potter when I was in 4th grade and finished in 2007, so HP was never reviewed on here.

2. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray
My friend read A Great and Terrible Beauty when we were in middle school think and I picked it up because of the beautiful cover. Luckily for me, it was the perfect blend of romance, historical fiction, fantasy and a strong heroine. This is such a great trilogy!

3. Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
I read Uglies when I was in seventh grade (so long ago!) and it was one of the first dystopians I read. The series has such a great premise and tremendous world-building.

4. The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
I was wary of reading this because it was fantasy, but my friend wanted me to test it out first to see if she would like it (I'm such a great friend!). I actually really liked it, but I still haven't read the last book in the trilogy, so you could eventually get a review of that.

5. Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian
I picked this up in the bookstore because the protagonist has the same name as me! It feels like so long ago that I first read this and I occasionally pick it up if I want something light and cute.

6. Model: A Memoir by Cheryl Diamond
This is the first memoir I've read and I loved it! It's about the experiences of a model, but I liked how Cheryl was able to stay out of all the bad aspects of modeling (drugs, etc) and become a strong role model.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I read this in ninth grade, which is standard for most schools, so before I had my blog.

8. The Giver by Lois Lowry
This is one of my favorite books ever and the two times I read it (5th and 7th grade) were before Simply Books. Definitely check this out!

9. The Bayern Books by Shannon Hale
I still haven't read the last book in this series, but The Goose GirlEnna Burning and River Secretswere all awesome! These are some of the only high fantasy books I like. They are more like MG so I don't know how many of you will like these now, but I really enjoyed them when I was younger.

10. Tangerine by Edward Bloor
I read this in my 7th grade reading class and loved it. Beware of the big twist at the end!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book vs. Movie: The Host

So last weekend my friend and I went to see The Host in theaters. Originally I was really excited because I enjoyed the concept of the novel (even though it's by Stephenie Meyer) and I thought the trailer looked awesome. But of course my friend posted a bad YouTube review of the movie, so my expectations were a lot lower. Which is probably a good thing, to be honest.

The movie got a bad review because the reviewer had not read the book. If you haven't read the book, you will not like this movie. It's very confusing, moves quickly, and jumps from plot point to plot point. There is a little to no character development, so the "I love yous" seem
forced and unrealistic. I understand why someone would not like this because it's definitely not a paragon of cinematic art.

On the other hand, if you have read the book, you'll have a better experience. Since I already knew what was going on, it was fun to see the book come to life on the big screen. This movie is meant to be a companion for the book. There is a lot of material to cover, which is why everything felt so rushed. I thought the actors did a good job, especially Saoirse Ronan, who plays Melanie/Wanderer. The views of the desert were stunning and make me want to visit the Southwest. Some of the lines were pretty cheesy but made me laugh. Overall I think the atmosphere and message that Stephanie Meyer was trying to get across was present in the movie.

I would only recommend seeing the movie if you've read the book and really enjoyed it. Otherwise you might be confused and angry at the fast pace.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Deadly to Love Tour With Mia Hoddell

I've had the opportunity to be a part of The Deadly To Love Blog Tour and I'm really excited to present a blog post by Mia Hoddell! Her new book is Deadly to Love, so check it out. Today Mia discusses her top ten bookish confessions, some of which are mine as well!

10 Book Confessions
Here are my top 10 reading confessions. Some I am embarrassed to admit, others less so.

1. I’ve never read a Harry Potter Book – I tried to once but it was during the stage where I hated reading so didn’t get more than 20 pages into it. I’ve never picked one up since, although I have watched the movies.

2. I liked Twilight before it was made into a movie – I purchased Twilight before I knew anything about the movie and loved it. Sadly the movie and hype over it has changed my opinion.

3. I can’t stand novels like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, any Jane Eyre or Shakespeare   – Seven years of having to pull apart the writing and analyse it in huge amounts of detail during my school life has left me never wanting to see the above again. I was beginning to develop a love for reading and these books nearly put me off it again. Also I have a passionate dislike for poetry about potatoes, farming and birth as once again, having to study at least 24 on these subjects alone has put me off poetry.  There are so many great new releases I want to read anyway so I don’t have time to try these again.

4. I don’t allow people to borrow my books – I used to lend out my books but I’m now really possessive over them. I hate my books getting dog-eared or damaged (even the slightest mark) so don’t lend them out. Not to mention there are still a few I never got back.

5. Ebooks are growing on me – I used to only read paperbacks and would not touch ebooks, however they are now starting to grow on me due to my iPod Kindle/iBook apps. They are great to carry around and to hold however I would never buy my favourite author’s books as one and I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving paperback.

6. I can read about 900pages a day – If I do nothing but read I can get through 900 pages within twelve hours, now I just wish I could do the same with my own writing.

7. I don’t like to sell or get rid of my books – I think I am a bit of a book hoarder. I have run  out of places to store all of my books but still refuse to let any go.  I never know when I might want to re-read one though…

8. I hated reading until I was 14 ­ - I wouldn’t pick up a book until I was 14 no matter how many people tried to encourage me. I was more interested in sports.

9. I get scared by the slightest things in books – I have an overactive imagination and get frightened easily by what I read. One book has even kept me awake all night but I still continue to love gothic fiction.

10. I’m not a fan of books being made into movies ­– Every movie I have seen that has been developed from a book has ruined the book for me as it doesn’t live up to what I imagine. I know I shouldn’t compare them but when it’s a book you love it’s hard not to.

Thanks to Megan for hosting me on her brilliant blog and remember to check out Deadly to Love and the rest of the tour stops here: http://miahoddell.blogspot.co.uk/p/tour-schedule.html!

Thanks so much for visiting Simply Books, Mia! Make sure to check out the rest of the tour!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 131

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released.

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true. (from GoodReads)

I think this sounds very intense but looks like it could have a happy ending! Where the Stars Still Shine will be released September 24, 2013.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 76

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Characters I Would Crush on if I Were Also a Fictional Character

1. Will Herondale - The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
Well since I just read Clockwork Princess, I'm even more in love with Will than normally. I love his humor, sarcasm, the fact that he loves to read. It's also adorable how much he loves Tessa.

2. Jace Wayland - The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
I still don't know what last name to use with Jace (he seriously has like 3 or 4) but he's an awesome character. Him and Will are very similar, which is probably why I love them both.

3. Etienne St. Clair - Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
He's so cultured which is awesome and overall a very fun character.

4. Peeta Mellark - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I love how sweet Peeta is and the fact that he bakes give him extra points in my book.

5. Harry Potter - Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
If I went to Hogwarts, I would totally be drooling over Harry. He's a great Quidditch player, famous, nice, and pretty much saves the day in every book.

6. Hale - Heist Society by Ally Carter
Hale is a wealthy art thief who jet sets across the globe. What's not to love?

7. Will - Angelfire Trilogy by Courtney Allison Moulton
Another Will that I'm in love with! What makes him great is that he cares so much for Ellie - their romance is the best part of the book.

8. Four/Tobias - Divergent by Veronica Roth
Four was very mysterious and interesting in the first book, so I totally understand why Tris fell for him.

9. Kyle Hamilton - V is For Virgin by Kelly Oram
Kyle was handsome, famous, and a musician so I couldn't believe that Val  held out as long as she did!

10. Mr. Darcy - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I have to include as least one classic on this list, and Mr. Darcy is obviously the best romantic figure!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.
Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?

Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.

A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her. (from GoodReads)

I have been anxiously waiting for the release of Clockwork Princess for over a year now, which was when I finished Clockwork Prince. I haven't been this excited about a book for a long time - especially because all our questions would be answered: who is Tessa going to end up with? What exactly is Tessa? How will Mortmain be defeated? So it's no surprise to say that my expectation were extremely high. I'm delighted to say that Clockwork Princess surpassed my expectations! It was seriously one of most satisfying conclusions I ever read and I adored it!

It's no secret that I'm obsessed with Cassandra Clare and her two series: The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. I actually think I like The Infernal Devices better because of the historical fiction and the love triangle is actually good. So when I say Clockwork Princess is amazing, I'm taking into account all the other books I've read by Cassie. I can't believe that Cassandra Clare is still able to come up with great novels, but I'm so glad she does.

I know most people are interested in the romance (me included) so we'll start there. Most of the time love triangles are so overdone, but the tension between Will, Jem and Tessa was actually believable and made for a good story. Since they all love each other a lot (Will and Jem are parabatai), it was difficult to envision an ending where everyone was happy. Let me tell you, no matter what "team" you're on, the ending is so satisfying. I couldn't be more pleased with the way Cassie resolved everything. Some might say it's a "cop-out" but I was totally okay with it!

Speaking of other endings that are satisfying, the arc with Mortmain was resolved nicely and just fit in so well. Everything ties together and you won't expect how the day is saved, but I loved it! There were a few new characters and characters that had a lot more page time, like Cecily, Gabriel and Gideon. I actually enjoyed reading about all of them and getting some of their POVs. The brotherly relationship between Gabriel and Gideon was a lot more interesting than I was expecting and I was pleasantly surprised.

So, pretty much, if you haven't read Clockwork Princess yet, you need to do that ASAP because you won't be disappointed! I whole-heartedly recommend this entire trilogy. I laughed, I cried (multiple times) and just fell in love with this world and all the characters. I'm so glad there are more Shadowhunter books coming because I don't know what I'd do otherwise.

Rating: 10 out of 10.
FTC: bought!

2013/Margaret K. McElderry/568 pages.