Monday, October 27, 2014

Firstborn by Lorie Ann Grover

So I’ve had this book since it came out in January. And I finally got around to reading it. But I was beyond disappointed. This book had so much potential with the themes and topics it dealt with. I feel like Grover barely scratched the surface when it came to dealing with the gender roles and the flaws in the society.

And for a book that I believe is a stand-alone, it sure did leave the ending very open. To me there was no real conclusion. She never really proved to everyone that she was just as good if not better than the boys her age. The only ones to truly accept her were Mirko and Ratho. And those stories are left somewhat open as well.

I was also disappointed with how the plot panned out. We learn a lot about the Madronian rule and R’tan culture but then there is no conclusion to the problems that plagued the world. It was great world building but nothing came of it. This isn’t technically a spoiler, but I feel like the end was just Tiadone running away from all the problems in the world to be on her own. That is not the sign of a strong female character. Tiadone shows throughout the book that she is equal to the other males, but the ending kind of reverses some of that.

Overall, there was potential with this world and the storyline but it was poorly executed in my opinion. Because I liked the concept I have to get it 2.5 out of 5 Stars even if I felt the novel overall to be lacking.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

WHY DID IT HAVE TO END LIKE THAT??? That is not a nice cliffhanger at all Amy Ewing. I don’t approve! Other the the “horribleness” of the ending, I really enjoyed this book. I have heard people compare this to the Selection Series, but honestly I see no connection. These girls are auctioned off to the wealthy to bear their children and then are tossed away after they have served their purpose. The Duchesses and Countesses are all in a competition to obtain the best surrogate and will go to any length to obtain what they want.

The world is beyond ridiculous where girls are literally bred to be surrogates for the wealthy and powerful. However, underneath that there are the rebels with Lucien, Violet, and the other person who I won’t name so I don’t spoil anything. The “magic” within the book (AKA the auguries) are an interesting facet. One to control color, one for shape, and one for growth. With these three powers, the surrogates and doctors are able to create whatever is desired in the child.

As for the characters, Violet was your typical strong-willed female who completely despises the system. Lucien is there to help her along her way and is a source of information for what is really going on. Then there is the love interest Ash. I thought this match was a little forced and cliche. Of course she had to fall in love with the one guy who was unavailable and would get her in the most trouble. Even though we don’t see a lot of Garnet, I feel like he will be a very important character and confidant for Violet as she grapples with what happens at the end of The Jewel. Plus he is your stereotypical bad boy, who completely defies everything expected of the royals.

Overall, I really enjoyed this new dystopian novel and obviously need the next one now. I need to know what is going to happen to Violet now that that thing happened (I know that sounds stupid, but obviously don't want to spoil it for people who haven't read it). I have to say though, with the books I have been reading lately, I appreciate the cliffhanger even if it infuriated me to no end. And because I literally just finished the book, the cliffhanger is still fresh in my mind for me to agonize about why Amy Ewing decided to leave us hanging like that.

4/5 Stars

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

This book literally starts with you meeting this pretentious doctor. He introduces his practice and how he gives his patients the illusion that he cares, when in reality, he knows everything way quicker than the time he spends with them. Dr. Marc Schlosser is basically the complete opposite of what you would hope for in a doctor.

There were a lot of instances where Marc was really annoying to me. And I don’t even know if annoying is the right word. He was just so condescending and a character you were supposed to hate. Like when he would try to judge how he acted by stating that it was due his practice or his work. He was using his unique practice to justify some of the borderline unethical things he was doing in his practice. He just really got on my nerves, but I still wanted to read the book to see how it was all going to unfold.

Throughout the book, Koch used this amazing writing style to describe how the body worked. While these were incredibly descriptive and sometimes really in-depth in terms of body function, I really enjoyed the imagery. The human body is a fascinating topic and I feel like Koch really embraced that in his writing.
It was war. You’re better off winning a war than losing it. History teaches us that.  And biology. You’re better off beating someone to death, than being beaten to death. From time immemorial, the man has guarded the entrance to the cave. Intruders are sent packing. People. Animals. A persistent intruder can’t say later that he hasn’t been warned.” (pg. 195)
My only real complaint is the slowness at the start of the book Koch sets up the relationship between the Schlossers and the Meiers and the subsequent death of Ralph. And with that explanation and background information, the timeline at the beginning of the book is weird. Koch switches between the present after Ralph’s death, the summer leading up to his death, and his time in med school. At times it seems out of place even though it makes sense towards explaining what is happening in the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, especially the writing. This book has been translated into English from Dutch, but it is not noticeable and Koch’s imagery and language is translated beautifully. I was only slight disappointed by the end. I feel like it did not completely wrap everything up, but I guess that is the nature of the story Koch was telling.

*I received this book from BloggingForBooks in exchange for an honest review*

4/5 Stars

Top 5 Wednesday- Favorite Titles

  1. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
  2. 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
  3. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
  4. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (not pictured)
  5. Tithe by Holly Black

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Greek mythology is always something I have enjoyed. And this was a really interesting take on it. The book basically revolves around Kate, who is being tested to see if she can take on the role of Persephone, and then there is Henry AKA Hades. The book takes place in Eden, MI and is centered around Kate learning about the Olympians and learning a little at a time about the Underworld.

All of this is complicated by the fact that Kate still has to pass 7 tests to be accepted and no one has passed before her.  All previous 11 have died. And to add to that, someone is trying to keep Kate from passing the tests.

This book did not have much action, but since it is the first in a series, it focused more on Kate learning about this hidden world and the Gods. This book was about Kate coming to terms with her future whether she passed or failed. The book also largely focused on the budding romance between Henry and Kate. I really appreciated how their relationship unfolded. It did not seem too rushed or fake to me. It progressed as expected without being annoying.

Aimee Carter has a unique writing style that really pulled me into the story. I got through this book really fast because it was intriguing and it was also shorter than a lot of other books. There were a lot of twists and turns in this book. And the end revelation really surprised me, but that may be because I read the book so fast. Overall, it was an enjoyable read and I will be picking up the next one in the future.

4/5 Stars

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I have been wanting to read this for a while, but when my cousin texted me yesterday morning raving about this book, I knew I needed to finally get around to it. Plus with the movie out now, I don’t want to get spoiled. I was up until 4 am last night finishing this book. Initially I was just going to finish the first part of the book, but that quickly turned into finishing the whole book because I was so engrossed.

The book is told from Nick’s perspective during the investigation and Amy’s diary perspective detailing Nick and her’s marriage leading up to the incident. I really enjoyed learning about this couple from the two points of view. It gave me as the reader different perspectives to look at as I tired to guess what was going on before we actually found out. Throughout Nick’s chapters there we all these little clues and red herrings where he would mention how many times he had lied to the police or how he smiled at the wrong moment. I loved how Flynn used these to make it grayer about what was happening.

 I don’t want to say too much about the plot because it is really best to go into this book mostly blind. But let me just say this is a messed up story, about messed up characters, who do messed up things. And it is absolutely nuts how much thought had to go into to creating this story and making everything connect and work out. I applaud Flynn’s ability to write this insanely good thriller.

4.5/5 Stars

Friday, October 17, 2014

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Lost magic, three kingdoms, three teens. That is the basic structure of Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. But this book is about more than just the lost magic and the three kingdoms. It is about Cleo’s journey to save her sister, Magnus’s journey towards love, and Jonas’s journey towards revenge.

I really enjoyed the alternating perspectives in the books. They went beyond the three characters that book focuses on. But for the most part they stuck to the three kingdoms (Paelsia, Limeros, and Auranos) and the kindred. While at times I would get frustrated because I would want to know more about a certain character but had to read a few chapters before I found out what happened. But that just goes to show how enthralled I was with this book. Once I was about 100 pages in and the story and journey became apparent, I didn’t want to put this down and finished it in one sitting.

The 2nd half of this book is leading up to a major battle between the three kingdoms and all the secrets everyone is keeping are exposed. I loved how we got the perspective of each kingdom on the oncoming bloodshed. Some of the choices made in the book were absolutely devastating. While some characters needed to die for the story to progress, I really disagreed with other deaths.

Throughout the book Ioannes really intrigued me. It was like the creepy stalker watching all the characters and seeing what they are up to. He clearly is an important character in these series, we just don’t know the full extent yet.

Overall, this was a great introduction to the world and these characters. I cannot wait to continue on with the series in Rebel Spring. Morgan Rhodes is a fantastic writer and has a way of pulling you into a story.

4/5 Stars

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

So this is the Bookspolosion book of the month for October. And yes I just bought this book yesterday and I’m already done with it. Don’t judge. Becca Fitzpatrick has also written the Hush, Hush Series which I absolutely adored! So I was definitely looking forward to see what else Becca Fitzpatrick could right. This book did not disappoint. She is definitely able to write an eerie, mysterious, thrilling book.

The main character in this book is Britt. She is an average teenager who has still not gotten over her ex and is hoping this backpacking trip will be the key for them to get back together. But everything is not as it seems. I found it a little hard to believe that the way Britt and Korbie’s parents are described that they would let them drive up to the cabin with a storm coming. I just don’t believe they wouldn’t have checked the weather before letting them leave. But I understand they had to get stranded on the mountain for the plot to occur.

As for the love story in this book, it bothered me for a lot of the book that this girl was falling in love with one of her captors. But as we learned more about Mason, it started to bother me less. I think the love story could have been written a little bit differently to make it not so weird to fall in love with your captor.

Overall, I really enjoyed this style of writing from Becca Fitzpatrick. I definitely think she should continue to write novels with this thriller aspect. Was this an amazing book, no. However,  I did enjoy it.

4/5 Stars

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Book Haul #3

Really small book haul today, just two books. But I thought I would share them since I may forget to if I don't do it now.

1. Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick. This is the Booksplosion book of the month and I decided I had to have a physical copy of this one.

2. 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith. I'm on an Andrew Smith kick right now, so since I was already getting one book, I got this one too. I've also heard a lot about this book, so yeah can't wait to read it.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

So I clearly enjoyed this book since it took me under 4 hours to read. I loved going back to the idea of a school to learn magic, just like how I got to in the Harry Potter series. But the similarities between the two stop there. Call is an interesting character because it seems that no matter how hard he tries to fail, he ends up doing something amazing (even if it is dangerous). But the one thing that makes him special is his determination. Call was determined to fail the Iron Trial, then he was determined to get kicked out of the Magisterium, and finally he is determined to not turn into what he truly is inside (and yes i know that is vague, but I don’t want to spoil anyone).

I loved the trio of apprentices in Call’s group. Aaron, Tamara and Call are all very different characters from various backgrounds that work really well together. While it takes some time for their friendship to develop, I appreciated that it wasn’t an immediate thing. They took the time to mistrust each other and grow closer through their training exercises.

When I met Holly Black and Cassandra Clare they said that they wanted to shock people at the end and I can definitely say I was shocked. I had one theory towards the halfway point of the book. But boy was I completely wrong. I cannot wait for them to finish the next book so I can see what lies ahead for our three characters in their Copper year. But I also know it may be awhile since both authors have a lot they are currently working on.

Overall, I really enjoyed this middle grade fantasy book. The characters were great and I adored the world. Especially how complicated the Magisterium seems. I know I would definitely get lost.

4.5/5 Stars

Friday, October 10, 2014

Winger by Andrew Smith

I literally have no idea what I can say about this book other than amazing. Maybe the first 20 pages were meh, but the rest of the book more than made up for it. Andrew Smith’s writing is both entertaining and hilarious. I don’t really know what else to say about it. I just love the way he combines what is happening to Ryan Dean, what is going on around him, and what Ryan Dean is thinking. It is amazing. Plus all the pictures and cartoons and things. And I almost forgot this book also takes place at a boarding school, you cannot get much better than that.

Well, now that I’ve completely ranted about how much I loved this book. Let me just continue and say that even though Ryan Dean is a ridiculously flawed character who makes ridiculously stupid mistakes, I cannot help but love him and eagerly wait to see how he is going to talk his way out of something. And I felt so bad for him at the end. He had finally got his life mostly together, when life just had to throw a curve ball at him. Regardless of the end, Ryan Dean was still able to grow throughout the book and was not the same character by any means at the end.

The last thing I want to mention is how much I absolutely adored the final chapter of this book. Even though it was less than a page long. It was perfect and totally summed everything up. That chapter has the potential to be my favorite way to end a book (at least a book that isn’t in a series).

5/5 Stars and definitely one of my favorites of the year!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Top 5 Wednesday- Female Characters

The top two for this are easy. Hands down Celaena and Hermione. The next three were a little bit more difficult, but here we go.
  1. Celaena Sardothian from Throne of Glass Series
  2. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter Series
  3. Ismae from His Fair Assassin Triology
  4. Lisbeth from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy)
  5. Arya from the Inheritance Cycle

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

J by Howard Jacobson

This was an interesting book to say the least. The premise is intriguing with respect to the world that Jacobson has created. I read mostly YA fiction, so the writing style of this book was quite intense at first, but once I got into it, it did not seem as bad. The writing is beautiful and descriptive.

Ailinn and Kevern’s story really pulls you in and you are left questioning the society they live in and how they can survive in it. I absolutely loved the whole concept of What Happened, If It Happened. The setting just leaves you asking all these questions about why things are the way they are.

Overall, I somewhat enjoyed this book. While the writing was great and descriptive it was sometimes to intense for me. But that could be because I mostly read YA novels and adult crime novels here and there, so this complexity of writing is not always in the books I typically read. That being said, I really enjoyed the world Jacobson has created. It is a mix of dystopian with the love story.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from BloggingForBooks.

2.5/5 Stars

Monday, October 6, 2014

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Everyone is constantly  talking about this book. And I have to say, it is definitely as good as everyone says. After finishing my last book, I needed something light and happy. This book was exactly what I needed. It was entertaining and the characters were real.

This was a contemporary which is typically not my genre. However, the idea of a road trip across America sounds amazing. I loved watching Amy and Roger grow both as individuals and as a couple throughout the book. They were both what the other needed at that time in their lives.

I absolutely loved all the playlists throughout the book and the scrapbook pages about their trip. The one aspect of this book that was slightly disappointing was the end. I really would have loved to know more about what the results of the detour were. Like what happens with her mother, Julia, and Charlie. Plus of course what happens between Roger and her. But at the same time the ending was perfect since it ended at the end of their detour. She was finally in Connecticut which was the goal all along.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it was a quick read. While this may have been better to read in the summer, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. After reading this, I definitely will be picking up more of Morgan Matson’s books in the future.

5/5 Stars

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Book Haul #2

So I have a few books to share with you guys! I went to a used book sale today and got 9 books all in really good condition for under 15 dollars! I was quite pleased with myself.
  1. Frankenweenie by Tim Burton. I literally only picked up this book because it is black pages with white font which is amazing. Plus the movie was cute
  2. #1-#4 of the House of Night Novels by PC Cast and Kristin Cast. I've heard a lot about this so finally decied to pick up the first few.
  3. The Luxe and Rumors by Anna Godbersen. Again heard a lot about these and the covers are pretty.
  4. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. This is the 2nd in the series and the UK cover, but it was in near mint condition and only a dollar so I couldn't say no. I love the US covers, but now I can be different and get the UK ones.
  5. Wake by Amanda Hocking. So when I saw this on the table at the Sale, I literally screamed. I have wanted to read this series forever and this is a first edition in amazing condition! So excited that I can finally read it.

I also got Iron Trial at the book signing this past week which was supper fun!! I'm surpised by how short it is, but I have heard that it is great.

Finally I also picked up a hardback copy of The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith! I have reccently started Winger by Andrew Smith, and I'm loving his writing and wit, so I saw Marbury Lens for 99cents and just had to get it.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Meeting Holly Black and Cassandra Clare!!!

So we just got back from the signing. And let me just say the banter between Holly and Cassie is amazing. They have so many great stories to tell.

I also loved hearing about how they wrote the book. The idea of writing 500 words then giving it to the other person is so strange. But yeah they are awesome writers and awesome people.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September 2014 Wrap-Up/October 2014 TBR

So apparently September was a really good month for me. I read a grand total of 21 books... Which is just absolutely nuts. With school started I never thought I would be able to keep reading that many. I don't think that will continue with how much time school work is starting to take. 

For the sake of space, I'm just going to list the books with a link to a full review if I did one. In order of reading:
  1. Black City by Elizabeth Richards
  2. Of Triton by Anna Banks
  3. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  4. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
  5. Control by Lydia Kang
  6. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  7. Inbetween by Tara A. Fuller
  8. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  9. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  10. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  11. The Girlfriend by Abigail Barnette
  12. Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  13. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  14. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
  15. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
  16. Alienated by Melissa Landers
  17. Rumble by Ellen Hopkins (Booksplosion book of the month)
  18. City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
  19. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  20. Gone by Mo Hayder (I have like 50 pages left, so that counts as done. I'll finish it really soon.)
As for my October TBR, for the most part I just pick books out of my TBR Jar, but I know for a fact I want to get to these four this month.
  1. Winger by Andrew Smith- just bought this one and the cover is beautiful so I must read it soon
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- I definitely need to get around to this one especially because I will be meeting her in October
  3. The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black- again meeting these two on Thursday and getting this book so must read. 
  4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs- I just really don't want to wait any longer to read this one. 

Top 5 Wednesday- Ugly Covers

In no particular order with pictures:
  1. The original Shatter Me cover by Tahreh Mafi
  2. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  3. The entire Lux Series (specifically, Opal and Obsidian) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  4. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald