Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top Ten Bookish Bucket List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks topic is your top ten bookish bucket list. I've actually never really thought about this, but here are ten things that I definitely need to scratch off my list.

1. Personalized signed copy of ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth. Okay, so ALLEGIANT technically wasn't my favorite book. I think I gave it three stars, but I do love the other two books something fierce. And since I already have the first two signed/personalized, I definitely need the last one to complete my collection. Sadly, nowadays it's easier said than done.

2. Personalized signed copy of DREAMS OF GOD AND MONSTERS by Laini Taylor. Again, I already have the first two books signed and need the last one signed as well. Hello, collection! The good news is Laini will be at Teen Book Con on April 26th, so I'll finally get my chance. I LOVE YOU, LAINI!

3. Go to BEA. BEA kind of scares me, but I've always wanted to go. One day...one day.

4. Meet up with my blogging buddies. Seriously, I love my blogging friends like whoa but haven't had the opportunity to meet them. Alexa, Tori, Julie, Hannah...the list could really go on and on.

5. Have a blogging retreat. I think I've talked about this to certain bloggers before, but how fun would it be to get your best blogging friends together and rent out a beach house or cabin somewhere? Too much fun!

6. Meet Katja Millay, have her sign my copy of THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY, and eat little nookies/Torchy's Tacos with her. Because I feel like my Little Nookie- Katja- and I have had this discussion too many times and need to make it a reality.

7. Replace all of my ARCs with finished copies. I'm really poor right now but try to do this as often as possible, especially if there's a signing in town and even more so if I absolutely love the book. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime.

8. Go to the Strand Book Store in NYC. Never been, need to go.

9. Visit all of these BEAUTIFUL bookstores. Because you know, I'm rich and whatever (*dripping with sarcasm*).

10. Obtain a first edition copy of Jane Eyre. My insides are giddy with the thought of this. It'll probably never happen, but never say never!

There you have it! What are some of the things on your bookish bucket list?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR Pile

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks topic is the Top Ten Books on my TBR Pile. My pile is kind of freaking huge, but let's see if I can narrow it down to just ten. ;-)

1. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Nothing says spring flowers like a contemporary novel! I love the cover and have heard amazing things about this book. Can't wait to sink my teeth into it...or something like that.

2. Tease by Amanda Maciel. I don't know why, but I enjoy reading books about bullying and cyber bullying. It's always a tough read, but it's realistic and makes you think about how something someone views as a tiny thing can drastically change someone's life. In general, it makes you think and personally inspires me to get out there and do something about it.

3. The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder. I adored The Probability of Miracles and already have a feeling I will love this book. It's about friendship and first love and aren't those the best kinds of books? It also doesn't help that the cover is adorable.

4. Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira. All I've heard are good things about this book. Also, Stephen Chbosky is quoted on this novel. If that isn't the best recommendation ever, I don't know what is.

5. Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Laini Taylor. Dude, I preordered this book ages ago. I NEED IT! Don't try calling, tweeting, or texting me while I'm reading this book. Honey badger don't care. Honey badger don't give a...*ahem*. Yes, I will be lost in reading.

6. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I plan on starting it this weekend and am ridiculously excited. LOVED My Life Next Door. Squeeeeeee!

7. Tease (The Ivy Chronicles #2) by Sophie Jordan. I love me some NA and Sophie Jordan!

8. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. Hello, Jenny Han wrote this. If she wrote a menu, I would read it. Plus, how cute does this book sound?

9. Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Because I love me some JLA!

10. Deeper by Robin York. I recently bought things and have heard good things about it. You know I love me some NA books set in college. Does it count that I just started this? :-P

There you have it! What are some books on your Spring TBR pile? Do we share any of the same ones? Cause if so, maybe we should read them at the same time. ;-)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: This Side of Salvation

Title: This Side of Salvation
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Expected publication: April 1st 2014 by Simon Pulse
Source: eARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review

"Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure: The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined..."

First line: "If this were the last night of my life, I could be at peace with that."

Thoughts: Wow, what a refreshing yet perplexing novel. Initially going in, I had very high expectations. The author's Shade trilogy is one of my favorites, and I know she knows how to write a fantastic novel. I can honestly say I have never read a YA novel that had me questioning family dynamics and life choices so many times in the course of a few pages. THIS SIDE OF SALVATION is Jeri Smith-Ready at her finest. Honestly, I cannot recommend this book enough.

The novel starts off in the now. David is at a party and is about to come home to a very unexpected surprise (and not the good kind). He thought his biggest problem would be trying to sneak his drunk sister and himself back home and hopefully not running into their very strict, religious parents. What he gets is an empty house and his parents clothes laying on the bed, as if their bodies just vanished. Was The Rush real or is this just some stunt his crazy dad is doing to teach him and Mara a lesson?

This is the question that David constantly has to ask himself. The novel jumps back and forth between what is happening in the present and what happened in the "Then" (past). You get to experience through David's eyes how it is growing up with a religious fanatic father who only speaks in bible verses. You also get to witness how things were before and how things could have been if it weren't for this one devastating tragedy. As you can see, David's parents are not the easiest to handle. They have very religious viewpoints that go from being a certain age before you can start dating to not so subtly rejecting David's best friend, Kane, for being gay. I couldn't even imagine living with such narrow-minded people, and the scary truth is, people like this exist. They take religion to a whole different, extreme level. Now, here's the thing...Though I very much disagreed with David's parent's beliefs, I still respected them for it. Not once did I hate them. It's just how they are. That's how well-written this novel is. Even though certain characters don't make sense to you nor do their actions make sense, you never once hate them.

I'm really glad the author decided to write this entire novel through a male perspective. Honestly, it's where she shines (pun intended). She just does such a great job of having him deal with situations and emotions but still keeping him laid back. This is basically reminded me of every single one of my guy friends. I always question how they keep this calm demeanor when everything around them is falling apart. The truth is, they're probably freaking out inside the same way David is/was.

Overall, I have to say that I really hope Jeri Smith-Ready writes more contemporary novels. THIS SIDE OF SALVATION is so different than anything I have ever read, and that is really saying a lot. I cannot wait for other readers out there to experience this journey and to be as amazed as I was. Needless to say, I highly recommend this novel.


5 Stars

“Oh yeah, pain. I think it's the same when we lose someone we love. It never stops hurting. But maybe it shouldn't. That pain, after all, is a souvenir of love."

“One thing I've found that eases the pain," Cody said, 'is to remember that we are all connected, to those we know and those we don't know.”

“Okay, stud, just one more question." She formed an L with her thumb and index finger. 'Why are some people in the audience holding the sign for "loser"?'

It was my turn to laugh at her. 'That's not for loser.' I set down my soda, mirrored her gesture with my hand, then straightened our pinkies to form the sign-language letter. 'The L stands for "love".”

Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: Foreplay

Title: Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles #1)
Author: Sophie Jordan
Published: November 5th 2013 by William Morrow
Source: Bought

"Before she goes after the life she’s always wanted, she’s about to find the one she needs.

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.

Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…"

First line: "All my life I knew what I wanted."

Thoughts: Loved it! It's really as simple as that. From the moment I cracked open FOREPLAY, I couldn't stop reading it. This is definitely one of those addicting novels where, even if you have things to do that day, finishing this book becomes your number one priority. Work? Sleep? Food? The Walking Dead? Family? Sorry, guys. FOREPLAY > you.

First off, I'm a huge fan of Sophie Jordan. I adore both her YA and historical romance novels. Needless to say, when I found out that she was writing a NA book, I knew I had to read it ASAP. Well, she doesn't disappoint. There's sexual tension, humor, and a cast of lovable characters you truly wish were your friends. Pepper, our leading lady, is easy to relate to. Either you know someone like her or you are her. She's slightly awkward, innocent, and a true friend. Plus, on top of that, though she goes out with her friends (because they kind of force her to), she knows that college is about studying so you can achieve something greater. How amazing is that? Of course there's partying, but the most important thing you can take away from any kind of educational intuition is knowledge. I adore Pepper for this!

Now, we have to talk about Reece. There is an instant connection between him and Pepper, however, the relationship is anything but easy. He's definitely swoon-worthy and often too cute for words. There's a scene involving a sink that had me smiling from ear to ear. Hot guys can be awkward, too! I love that he's there for Pepper and can also see why he tries to keep her at a distance. After all, she's using him to learn about foreplay. Her focus is on Hunter (who is sweet but no Reece). At the same time, he can't stay away from her. The scenes he has with her are STEAMY and pretty much make this novel what it is. Gosh, I'm blushing just thinking about some of these scenes. You know it's good if a book has you blushing!

Honestly, I could go on and on about this novel. I can talk about Emerson and Georgia (Pepper's friends), Reece's brother and even Hunter, but really, you should meet them for yourself. For those who question the NA genre, this book will have you loving it. I, for one, seriously cannot wait to read the next novel in this spectacular series!


5 Stars

Favorite Quotes:

“'I see enough. I saw you.'”

“'I wouldn’t have waited this long for you. I would have already showed up at your dorm the minute I decided I wanted you. I wouldn’t leave until I convinced you that you were mine.'”
“'You can’t even see it. I’m the safest thing you’ll ever find.'”

"Everything slowed. Like someone hit a pause button. Blood rushed, a dull roar in my ears. I imagined I could even hear the muffled thump of my heart.

Then everything leaped to action."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Books In The Fantasy Genre

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks topic is all about fantasy! Who doesn't love to escape into the world of magic, faeries, and intrigue? I sure do! Anywho, here's my top ten favorite fantasy novels of all time!

1. Harry Potter and the All of the Above. No one does witchcraft and wizardry like J.K. Rowling. This is the only series where I actually went to the B&N book parties and waited to receive my book at exactly midnight. Stayed up all night reading them and then skipped class in the morning. I'm not going to say it was the right thing to do but in retrospect, it was totally worth it.

2. Fire by Kristin Cashore. This is the sequel/prequel to Graceling, and I absolutely adored it. What's your Grace? Show me whatcha workin' with!

3. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. Hello, Melina Marchetta wrote it. If you love her contemp novels, wait until you read her fantasy series. “Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?” Siiiiiiiigh.

4. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. This was actually recommended to me by a very excited publicist, and she had every reason to be gushing over this novel. It has everything I love about fantasy books. DRAGONS! Come on. Plus, the writing? Beautiful!

5. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Freaking love this book! It's similar to The Hunger Games, but dare I say better? I dare.

6. Defiance by C.J. Redwine. Forbidden love, duel points of views, and an insane amount of heartache. I LOVE YOU, LOGAN! I mean, I told my blogger bestie Karen from From What It's Worth to read it, and she actually gave it 5 stars. Do you know how rare that is? Very.

7. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. There's a reason they call books like these epic fantasies. It kind of remind of me GRRM's Game of Thrones series but different where it matters. Not as brutal or gory either (Thank goodness), yet still has enough heartache and intrigue to keep you going.

8. Touch of Power by Maria V. Synder. Maria Synder writes some of the best fantasy novels out there. They're written like contemporary novels only with complex magical situations that never work out in anyone's favor. Plus, get this...she knows how to write the perfect brooding and swoon-worthy male with the right amount of angst. Whoa.

9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Read this in high school and still love it. I must say that the inaccuracies in the movies are driving me insane since, in my opinion, this book is simply fantasy perfection. I guess Hollywood needed to squeeze out three movies and as much money as possible.

10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I saved it for last because I love it the most. Seriously, I've mentioned this book is so many T^3s that it's not even funny. I even preordered the third and (tears) final novel right when it was up on Amazon. A little over a month to go. CANNT FREAKING WAIT!!!

Even though this is a top ten, not eleven Tuesday, I'm still going to mention Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. It's too good not to mention. Fo' sho!

There you have it...my top ten list of favorite fantasy novels. Granted, the list continues to grow, but I'm pretty sure these eleven books will remain at the top. Others will just follow behind them...maybe.

What are some of your favorite fantasy novels?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Fates

Title: Fates (Fates #1)
Author: Lanie Bross
Published: February 11th 2014 by Delacorte Pres
Source: Finished copy courtesy of the publisher for an honest review

"Perfect for fans of Jennifer Armentrout, Julie Kagawa, Rachel Vincent, and Sarah J. Maas, and for girls who love all things pretty, romantic and inspirational.

One moment. One foolish desire. One mistake. And Corinthe lost everything.

She fell from her tranquil life in Pyralis Terra and found herself exiled to the human world. Her punishment? To make sure people's fates unfold according to plan. Now, years later, Corinthe has one last assignment: kill Lucas Kaller. His death will be her ticket home.

But for the first time, Corinthe feels a tingle of doubt. It begins as a lump in her throat, then grows toward her heart, and suddenly she feels like she is falling all over again--this time for a boy she knows she can never have. Because it is written: one of them must live, and one of them must die. In a universe where every moment, every second, every fate has already been decided, where does love fit in?"

First line: "Principal Sylvia Patterson pulled her office door shut, checked the lock, then hitched a stack of folders, slightly higher in her left arm as she made her way down the empty halls of Mission High."

Thoughts: What initially drew me to FATES was the cover. Honestly, the picture above doesn't do it even half of the justice it deserves. If you just happen to be in a bookstore and spot FATES, I highly recommend picking it up and enjoying it's beauty. As far as what's inside the book, I have to be honest and say I was a tad disappointed with this novel. There were a lot of highs and lows as well as sections where the book was fast-paced but then died for fifty or so pages. I guess I was just underwhelmed, which leaves me somewhere in the middle of neither hating it nor loving it. Merely just lukewarm.

This was kind of a confusing book for me. The story jumped from past to present so quickly to where I had a hard time keeping up. Are Corinthe and/or Lucas talking about what's happening now or happened before? Not sure. It was all just jumbled in, and while the writing was lovely, I couldn't truly ever just sit back and admire it.

I also found the world building to be lacking. Honestly, what's the difference between Pyralis and Earth? Other than sucking up energy from everything Corinthe touches, I wouldn't be able to tell you. Corinthe spent a good portion of the beginning pinning over Pyralis, and I couldn't fathom why. Did Pyralis rain Jimmy Choo shoes? Corinthe seems to enough the colors and fashion Earth has to offer as oppose to Pryalis' plain outfits and monotony. I don't know, but other than the constantly pain, I personally wouldn't have been missing Pyralis like she did.

My last issue with this book is that I found that both points of views very humdrum and not distinctive. Both characters are drowning with longing, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad one. Out of the two characters, I did find Lucas more interesting. He has such a gentle heart and truly worries over his sister. He hasn't had an easy life, but I'm really hoping things get better for him. He's one of those good guys you can't help but cheer for.

I will say that I very much enjoyed the romance factor in this novel. I loved how it wasn't overdone but still present. In so many words, it had the perfect amount of swoon. Also, I really enjoyed the last quarter of the book. To me, it's where the author truly shined. The story started coming together and though the ending does leave you with a lot of questions, you still feel somewhat satisfied and obviously craving for more.

For the most part, it was a lovely story, and I enjoyed it. The cliffhanger ending definitely has me itching to read the sequel (CHAOS). Other than the few issues I had with the book, I truly believe the author is a talented, lovely writer and look forward to her other books.


3 Stars

Giveaway: Thanks to the fabulous folks at Random House, I am giving away one hardback of FATES. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends March 21st.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: The Winner's Curse

Title: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse #1)
Author: Marie Rutkowski
Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by Farrar Straus Giroux
Source: ARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review
Reads the first five chapters online

"Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart."

First line: "She shouldn't have been tempted."

Thoughts: The Winner's Curse is exactly why I love reading and blogging so much. It has everything I admire, strive for, and love about YA novels or novels in general. Let's see, there's this insane forbidden romance that is both frustrating yet desirable. I also have to mention lovable and complicated characters that you can't help but cheer for. On top of all this, the icing on the cake has to be Rutkoski's exquisite writing which reads like a classic Jane Austen novel. Though we're only a couple of months into the new year, I can already tell that this book will be either number one or two on my list of top ten favorite books of 2014.

From the very beginning, I never once grew tired of Kestrel or Arin. THE WINNER'S CURSE kept me on my toes and though there isn't a lot of action, the world/character building kept me intrigued. The story is told through both Kestrel and Arin's point of views. Kestrel is the General's daughter and a society girl. She lives in a gorgeous house, lives a life of lavish, and is considered to be quite a catch. Now, you would think that being in this position would transform her into a gossiping snob, as most spoiled girls tend to be. No, not Kestrel. She is both compassionate and intelligent. I will say that I thought her character started off a tad on the weaker side, she grew stronger and stronger as the book progressed.

Now, let's talk about Arin. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with Arin. Even though I understood where he's coming from, this guy just kept stomping on my poor, fragile heart. Both characters do this, actually. Just not at the same time, If I were in his shoes, I'm not sure what I would have done. Probably much of the same as him. He's standoffish at first, but grows more and more lovable. Life has made him hard, and I guess the only person that can break that hard shell is Kestrel. Unfortunately, being who they are and where they come from, there will always be room for betrayal.

The romance is beautifully crafted. I believe the words "hot mess" probably describe Kestrel and Arin's situation best. As they grew closer, I couldn't help but swoon. Sadly, though, these moments are far and few. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way but wouldn't mind many more encounters in the sequel...hint, hint.

Overall, I think everyone in the reading world should pick up a copy of THE WINNER'S CURSE as soon as possible. I must say that the ending will leave you cringing inside. It's not necessarily a bad ending but definitely leaves you wanting and longing for the sequel more than you need air. If you think the cover is gorgeous, just wait until your introduced to the actual novel. I can't say it enough, THE WINNER'S CURSE is divine, stunning, and writing at it's best.


5 Stars

Favorite Quotes:

“Isn't that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?”

“Arin smiled. It was a true smile, which let her know that all the others he had given her were not.”

“How much easier everything would be if that were so. But Kestrel wouldn't let herself consider the truth. She didn't want to know its shape or see its face.”

“She didn't answer. She concentrated on the feel of the table's edge pressing into the small of her back. The table was simple and real, joined wood and nails and right corners. No wobble. No give.”