Wrap Up/TBR

July 2015 Wrap up and August TBR

july wrap up and aug tbr

My first wrap up and TBR. I’m so excited! I hope you’re as excited as me!!! This is my third full month of blogging and I think I’ve finally found a groove with things. I really love the community and I’m excited for many more of these to come! 😀

July Wrap Up

Books Rated 5 Folded Pages:
Books Rated 4-4.5 Folded Pages:
Books Rated 3-3.5 Folded Pages:
Books Rated 2-2.5 Folded Pages:
Books Rated 1-1.5 Folded Pages:
Books I’ve given up on:
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. This is the 4th or 5th time I’ve tried to read it and I just can’t. I got further than any of my previous times but it’s so dreadfully boring and I hate that it’s from whats-his-face’s point of view. I can’t even get far enough in to give it a proper review. I’d rather not start a reading slump so it’s done. At least I have a pretty version of it sitting on my shelf.

August To Be Read

If you saw my July Book Haul (Click here if you didn’t), then you’ll know I bought wayyyyy too many books. Usually my books come from the library but I have a feeling August will be the month of tackling my ever growing stack of books that I own but haven’t read.

What I REALLY want to get to:
What I want to get to but wouldn’t mind putting off:
If everything above has been read:
classic, science fiction, scifi

Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell

1984

Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Length: 668, Kindle book
Genre: Classic, Science Fiction
Rating: 3 Folded pages

Blurb:
In 1984, London is a grim city where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.

Review:
I finally finished it! Albeit, with a lot more skimming/skipping than I should have but honestly who can legitimately get through that long treatise from The Book? Because I certainly couldn’t. I would have quit the book entirely if I didn’t skip through it.

That being said I did enjoy the last part. The action finally kicked up and it wasn’t endless exposition. The book itself poses so many ideas to think about and I see why this is a classic but I still disliked the first two parts immensely. I was bored and I kept having to force myself through but it is no secret that I am not a big fan of classics. I want to read for fun and forcing myself through long winded and boring exposition is definitely not my idea of fun.

I do feel like I learned something from reading it though and I’m glad I did. I’m just also glad I’m done reading it. There isn’t much I can say considering it’s a classic. I’m glad it’s over and at least it’s given a few things to think about in the meantime.

Book Haul

July Book Haul!!!!!!!

Hello again! Today I bring you my fabulous July book haul! This month I bought a whopping 27 books. More books than I’ve bought in the past 4 years if you don’t count my college textbooks tbh (stupid college books with their steep prices). Without further ado in the order that I purchased them!


Barnes and Noble Haul!

I bought a total of 9 books when I random decided to go to Barnes and Noble kind of early in the month. It was like a happy birthday/graduation to me and it was awesome.

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  • Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton – Goodreads (for some reason the version I half isn’t on Goodreads same ISBN though)
  • In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang – GoodreadsReview
  • The Writer’s Lab: A place to Experiment with Fiction by Sexton Burke – Goodreads
  • Writer’s Guide to Character Traits 2nd edition by Linda N. Edelstein – Goodreads
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Goodreads Review
  • Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken – Goodreads – Review
  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen – Goodreads – Review
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – Goodreads – Review (note I have the BN leatherbound edition but it’s impossible to find on goodreads)
  • Kisses and Curses presented by Fierce Reads – GoodreadsReview
Amazon!wpid-20150706_175834.jpg

So I was trying to buy these shoe insert things on Amazon but they ended up being one of those weird add on things so you have to spend a certain amount to get them. (the one thing I truly hate about amazon tbh) which means I decided to go through my amazon wishlist. I picked one I’ve been wanting for a long time and that’s:

  • Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King – Goodreads
Bookoutlet!!

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I also bought 5 books from Bookoutlet. Because who can resist good cheap books!

  • A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson – Goodreads – Review
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth – Goodreads – Review
  • Ender’s Game By Orson Scott Card – Goodreads – Review
  • The Cute Girl Network by M.K. Reed, Greg Means, & Joe Flood – Goodreads – Review
  • The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson – Goodreads – Review
Amazon…again!

wpid-20150721_185740.jpgSo I realized a little too late that The Last Little Blue Envelope is actually the 2nd book in a duology soooooo, I had to do what any normal bookie would do and that’s go to Amazon and order the first book.

  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson – Goodreads – Review
After-Words

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My boss took me out to lunch for my birthday. We got to talking and I told her about how much I read and she was like “Oh so you’ve been to the bookstore right over there” and I was like “No. But I’ve been looking for an indie bookstore since I started working in Chicago” and to make this boring story shorter. I went back after work that day and ended up buying 5 books. It’s official. I have an addiction.

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry – Goodreads – Review
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – Goodreads – Review
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz – Goodreads – Review
  • Soulless by Gail Carriger – Goodreads – Review
  • Changeless by Gail Carriger – Goodreads – Review
Barnes and Noble….Again….

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I REALLY need to learn to control myself. For realsies. I can’t seem to help but jump off the deep end whenever I go into a bookstore. I went to get a birthday present for my cousin (which I did get) but also ended up spending money on another 6 books. I’m going on a book buying ban until I finish all the books I currently own. It’s official.

  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare – Goodreads – Review
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer – GoodreadsReview
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – GoodreadsReview
  • Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas – Goodreads – Review
  • Storm Front by Jim Butcher – Goodreads – Review
  • Fool Moon by Jim Butcher – Goodreads – Review

Do you have a July Book Haul? Post a link in the comments and I’ll go check it out! Also please let me know if you’d like a review of any of the writing books. As of right now I don’t plan to review them but if someone would like a review I would!

graphic novel, historical fiction, young adult

Graphic Novel Review: Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang

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Title: Boxers & Saints
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Publisher: First Second
Length: 512 pages (between both books), Paperback
Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 2 Folded Pages

Blurb:wpid-20150717_194631.jpg
In two volumes, Boxers & Saints tells two parallel stories. The first is of Little Bao, a Chinese peasant boy whose village is abused and plundered by Westerners claiming the role of missionaries. Little Bao, inspired by visions of the Chinese gods, joins a violent uprising against the Western interlopers. Against all odds, their grass-roots rebellion is successful.
But in the second volume, Yang lays out the opposite side of the conflict. A girl whose village has no place for her is taken in by Christian missionaries and finds, for the first time, a home with them. As the Boxer Rebellion gains momentum, Vibiana must decide whether to abandon her Christian friends or to commit herself fully to Christianity.

Review:
I didn’t much care for these to be honest. I really liked the premise. Especially since it tells two different sides of the same event, but for the most part it really fell flat. It was boring and at times overly wordy for a graphic novel.

I definitely understand the importance of these books. They show Chinese culture and allow readers a look into Chinese characters and I love this fact but I couldn’t get into them. The only reason I finished them is because graphic novels don’t take very long to read.

Little Bao annoyed me most times. His character didn’t seem to have any cohesiveness and he tended to do things I thought varied greatly with his established personality. I enjoyed Four-Girl and if I had choose I definitely liked Saints better than Boxers.

Four-Girl’s reasoning behind what she does and how she does it are more sound and believable. She was young and her family treated her awfully. Of course she found solace in a religion that forgave her “sins” even if they weren’t really hers.

Also her age made Four-Girl’s actions much more believable. Though I think Bao’s age was supposed to about the same as hers. I can’t honestly say if that’s true or not because I have no sense of the timeline in Boxers. Saints was a lot easier to follow in that aspect as well.

Honestly, these books are just not for me. I’m going to try to read Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese to see if I just don’t like these or if maybe I just won’t happen to be a fan of his. I want to try more because I think it might have just been the plot and how it was executed that I didn’t like.

tag

Day Three: 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge

3 days 3 quotes

The third and final day! Woooooooo~

Reminder for the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
  3. Nominate three new bloggers each day.

Today’s quote is from The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.

“One hand, five homes. A lifetime in a fist.”

It’s short and sweet but I find it so haunting. I had to read this book for my By and About Women literature course. I absolutely loved the course and this book. But 2 years later and this line is the only one that truly sticks with me. Anytime I read it, the mental picture of the woman who thought this and what her actions were when thinking still come to mind.

The last three people I nominate are:

Sarah at The Book Worm Blogg

Macy at Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Books

Adventures of a Dublin Bookworm (Sorry I couldn’t find your name anywhere.)

Fantasy, romance, steampunk

Book Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

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Title: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Length: 416, Regular paperback (not mass market)
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, Romance
Rating: 5 folded pages

Warning!: This book does contain some parts that aren’t for readers under 18.

Blurb:
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is the first book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

Review:
I LOVED this book. No seriously. I didn’t go into it with high expectations. I don’t usually care for adult novels and the first 10 pages I was seriously worried Alexia would annoy but honestly it’s one of those books that I already want to reread.

Soulless had me smiling like an idiot into the pages. I kept wondering if people were looking at me while I was reading because I literally had to stop myself from giggling while in the quiet car on my way to and from work and it ended up sounding like I was choking.

But moving past fangirling, I loved the way Carriger wrote this. I’m not a huge fan of third person but the way she writes it barely bothered me at all. And while it was omniscient, there were still super suspenseful parts where I NEEDED to know what happened but the current focus was still just as good. Usually, I find that with books that switch POVs or are in third person omniscient, I lose interest if the focus goes somewhere else so the author can try to create suspense but that definitely didn’t happen with Soulless.

I also loved all the characters and boy does Carriger know how to create characters. I mean, I felt myself falling in love with even Floote the trusty butler who barely has more than a few paragraphs devoted to him.

As you can see by my obsessive (and probably incoherent I’m sorry) fangirling, I really loved this book and I can’t wait to pick up the others in the series. I’m super excited to read about the world in general since she has a Young Adult series built in the same world as well and a spin off from the series about a separate character!

So far the world and how the book is written kind of reminds of Deanna Raebourn’s Lady Julia series. I love that series and reading this is making want to reread that since it’s been so long. What a great way to pull myself out of the beginnings of a reading slump.

www wednesday

WWW Wednesday #4 (7/29/15)

WWW Wednesday

Hello my loves~ Here’s my What’s. 😀

This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words but was originally hosted on Should Be Reading. To do the meme answer these three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What are you currently reading?

I’m still on hold with Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken. I keep picking it up just to reread the first few paragraphs of the chapter I’m on several times and then set it back down. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to finish this series. I have such a hard time forcing myself through books.

I’m also reading The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. It’s an amazing novel that I’ve already read before a few years ago and I’m having just as hard of a time putting it down now as I was then. It’s historical fiction and I just love the entire premise behind it. I want to pick up more of her books but they all have mixed reviews so we’ll see.

I’m about quarter of the way into The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson, which is the third book in the Shade series. I’ve followed her on Twitter for years but why haven’t I decided to start reading her books til now? She’s so witty and her characters are amazingly real and flawed.

What did you recently finish?

I’ve finished TEN books in the past week. I’ve kind of been reading non stop and I’m not sorry at all. Now I just have to catch up on writing the reviews. /oops.

What do you plan on reading?

This week I’m hoping to get to A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It’s hard for me to start because I don’t want to carry around that huge ass book and most of my reading is done on my commute on the train. I’ve given up on reading Wuthering Heights. (More about this in my wrap up/TBR). So I also want to start in on Jim Butcher’s Storm Front. And maybe Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond.

new adult, romance

Book Review: The Pact by Karina Halle

Title: The Pact
Author: Karina Halle
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Length: 379, Kindle Book
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Rating: 2.5 Folded Pages

Warning!: Super steamy bits in this novel not meant for anyone under 18. Please be aware.

Blurb:
It all started with a pinky swear…

Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.

Beautiful, funny and an ambitious businesswoman (with one hell of an ass), Stephanie Robson is one of Linden McGregor’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as he’s known her.

But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.

Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them were in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.

It sounded like fun and games at the time but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.

Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.

The pact is about to change everything.

Note: due to the dirty talk and sexy times, The Pact is not meant for anyone under the age of 18. All characters in THE PACT are in their thirties, therefore this is NOT a new adult book…even though love can mess you up at any age.

Review:

Okay, so I KNOW that the author (or whoever wrote the blurb) says this isn’t a New Adult novel because they are in their 30s but from the brief time I’ve been reading new adult this definitely reads like one. I feel like it counts because the characters start off as 25 AND they don’t act quite as mature as I feel they should if she was truly trying to market this not as a new adult. Moving on!

I both liked and disliked this novel. I love that fact that it’s a stand alone in a world of series. (I won’t even get started on how sick I am of everything being a series). But I think there were definitely some scenes that should have been cut and some decisions that I didn’t quite agree with.

I ended up skipping/skimming several chapters in the last 100 pages or so because I was so sick of it dragging on. The first 150 pages were amazing. I flew through them. I loved watching the main couple realize their feelings. BUT! Once they were together the super obvious and annoying cliches of tearing them apart was awful.

I did enjoy the last 50 pages so I think it slightly redeemed itself but I can’t give this a high rating since I physically couldn’t force myself to read those chapters. I needed to know how it ended which is the only reason I didn’t DNF it. I think that says a lot.

Although I’m bagging on this book a bit, I did really enjoy it. I’m starting to think that books purely about romance might not be my thing. I love South Korean Romantic dramas so I thought I’d like novels that are similar but I could be wrong. I digress…

I really enjoyed all the characters. They were flawed and real and I loved that about them. Halle has away of making all her characters extremely distinct and I hope to be able to conquer something similar in anything I may end up writing.

Overall an enjoyable and fast read. I really enjoyed the premise and just wish it didn’t get so boring right before the end.

2015 release, book releases

Top 5 August 2015 Releases I’m Looking Forward To

I’ve gone back and forth about deciding to do a series where I post the releases I’m looking forward to. It was a lot of work and finding the information was a bitch but I did it! Woo! That counts for something. Oddly I found more stuff for October and September but a lot of things released for August seem to be sequels to things I haven’t read. Let’s dive in shall we!

#5 Air Awakens by Elise Kova

air awakens

Expected Publication: August 27th

Summary (Via Goodreads):

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

Thoughts:

Landing number five just because it’s slightly out of my comfort zone and the second paragraph is written so awkwardly it physically makes me cringe, is Air Awakens. I like the premise well enough and I think it could be a really good read. I just hope the that second paragraph wording doesn’t make an appearance in the novel anywhere. :/

#4 The Veil by Chloe Neill

the veil

Expected Publication: August 4th

Summary (Via Goodreads):

Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil’s Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…

Thoughts:

This one really caught my eye. I haven’t seen anything similar to this concept regarding magic and I’m really excited to see how Neill fleshes it out.

#3 The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy

the creeping

Expected Publication: August 18th

Summary (Via Goodreads):

Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.

Now Stella is seventeen, and she’s over it. She’s the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it’s her small town’s ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She’s got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her.

Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work.

And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.

Thoughts:

So far I’m not sure the title matches the book well based on the description. I wasn’t going to really look at this book because the title didn’t really get me. It reminds me of gross horror movies from the 80s, and the description definitely does not. Which is why I’m pretty excited for it, the description gives me high hopes, I just hope they aren’t in vain.

#2 Dead Upon a Time by Elizabeth Paulson

dead upon a time

Expected Publication: August 25th

Summary (Via Goodreads):

It’s a fairy-tale nightmare . . .

One girl is kept in a room where every day the only food she’s given is a poisoned apple. Another is kept in a room covered in needles — and if she pricks her finger, she’ll die. Then there are the brother and sister kept in a cell that keeps getting hotter and hotter. . .

A sinister kidnapper is on the loose in Kate’s world. She’s not involved until one day she heads to her grandmother’s house in the woods — and finds her grandmother has also been taken. Already an outcast, Kate can’t get any help from the villagers who hate her. Only Jack, another outsider, will listen to what’s happened.

Then a princess is taken, and suddenly the king is paying attention — even though the girl’s stepmother would rather he didn’t. It’s up to Kate and Jack to track down the victims before an ever after arrives that’s far from happy.

Thoughts:

You don’t have to be on my blog long to realize I have a major weakness for fairytale retellings. I have mixed feelings about Dead Upon a Time. I really love the concept and obvious the fairytale thing is well, my thing. But this description leaves a lot to be desired to be honest. This novel is number 2 mostly because I really love the concept. I’m just hoping it’s executed well.

#1 Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

mechanica

Expected Publication: August 25th

Summary (Via Goodreads):

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

Thoughts: 
Surprise! Another fairytale retelling. Have I mentioned my weakness? Which is why Mechanica is number 1 on my list. It sounds a little too close to Cinder but I’m hoping the description doesn’t do it justice.

tag

Day Two: 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge

3 days 3 quotes

Here’s day 2! Thanks again to Ashley from What’s She Reading for tagging me!!! Just a reminder the rules are below.

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
  3. Nominate three new bloggers each day.

I chose a quote from Soulless by Gail Carriger this time. This line made me actually laugh at out loud when I was reading it and kind of reminded me of the inner dialogue I have running when speaking to people who think women are the weaker sex.wpid-20150720_184920-1.jpg

“How ghastly for her, people actually thinking, with their brains, and right next door. Oh, the travesty of it all.”

Today I nominate:

Analee at Books Snacks

Holly at Belle of the Library

Eleanor and Amy at A Fangirl’s Opinion

Feel free to ignore the nomination if you don’t want to do the tag or if you’ve already done it! 😀