July Wrap Up

This month I read 13 books and 2 novellas! I think that is pretty good considering I also had a lot of travelling. Here they are:

Before I Fall by Lauren OliverThousand Words by Jennifer BrownHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Heart of the Matter by Graham GreeneIndependent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

Burn for Burn by Jenny HanGentlemen by Michael NorthropThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila SalesGraduation Day by Joelle CharbonneauThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Afterworlds by Scott WesterfeldCan't Look Away by Donna CoonerTo All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny HanThe Son by Veronica RothThe Initiate by Veronica Roth

  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  • Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
  • The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
  • Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
  • Gentlemen by Michael Northrop
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  • Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
  • Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • The Son by Veronica Roth
  • The Initiate by Veronica Roth

And my favorite book I read this month was….either This Song Will Save Your Life or To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before! Both were really great contemporary.

Here’s my update on Bookish Bingo, hosted by Great Imaginations!

summer bingo july

 

For a stand alone, I chose Thousand Words

For MC is LGBTIA, I chose Afterworlds

For Asian MC, I chose To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

For a series finale, I chose Graduation Day

Free space!

For set on an island, I chose Burn for Burn (which is set on Jar Island)

For music or dance themes, I chose This Song Will Save Your Life

For set in Europe, I chose Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (which is set in Scotland)

Book Haul!

I picked up a lot of books this month…

  • Tease by Amanda Maciel
  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Obsidan by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  • First Sight by Clara Kensie

From my library…

  • Nerve by Jeanne Ryan
  • DUFF by Kody Keplinger
  • How to Love by Katie Cotugno
  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
  • Guardian by Alex London (currently reading)

ARCs from the publisher…

  • The Bargaining by Carly Anne West
  • The Dickens Mirror by Ilsa J. Bick
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
  • Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch
  • Girl on Fire by Leah Wilson
  • Press Play by Eric Devine

I have so much reading to do! 🙂

That’s it for my July. How was your month?

Waiting on Wednesday: The Young Elites

waiting

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine, focusing on unreleased books we are excited for! This week I picked:

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

I loved the Legend trilogy and I can’t wait to read more from Marie Lu! What did you pick?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Owned Authors

top ten tuesday key

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Broke and Bookish, where we talk about our top ten of any topic! This week’s theme is most owned authors – but since I only own literally one book from every author on my shelf (except Suzanne Collins, Marissa Meyer, and Rick Riordan), I’m just going to do my top ten most read authors.

  1. Sara Shepard – 18 books, including the whole Lying Game series (6 books) and books 1-12 of the Pretty Little Liars series.
  2. Rick Riordan – 9 books, including the whole Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (5 books) and books 1-4 of the Heroes of Olympus.
  3. Cassandra Clare – 8 books, including the whole Infernal Devices series (3 books) and books 1-5 of the Mortal Instruments series.
  4. Veronica Roth – 6 books, including the Divergent series (3 books) and 3 novellas.
  5. Lauren Oliver – 6 books, including the Delirium series (3 books), 1 novella, Panic, and Before I Fall.
  6. Julie Kagawa – 4 books, including the whole Blood of Eden series (3 books) and book 1 of the Iron Fey series.
  7. Jeanne DuPrau – 4 books, including the whole City of Ember series (4 books).
  8. Suzanne Collins – 4 books, including the whole Hunger Games series (3 books) and the Year of the Jungle.
  9. Lauren DeStefano – 4 books, including the whole Chemical Garden series (3 books) and Perfect Ruin.
  10. James Dashner – 3 books, including the whole Maze Runner series (3 books).

Those are my top ten! What are yours?

Countdown Survey

I saw the Countdown Survey over on Christy’s Book Addiction, and it looked like a lot of fun, so I decided to do it! We are counting down from 10 to 1, so I’m just going to get started now!

10- Books Already Released On Your Wishlist

  1. Obsessed by TR Ragan
  2. Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
  3. Storm by DJ MacHale
  4. Guardian by Alex London
  5. Renegade by Debra Driza
  6. Earth Star by Janet Edwards
  7. Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement Moore
  8. Rebel by Amy Tintera
  9. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
  10. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

9-Favorite Covers

The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiBurn for Burn by Jenny HanRumble by Ellen HopkinsDorothy Must Die by Danielle  PaigeThe One by Kiera Cass

White Space by Ilsa J. BickPoached by Stuart GibbsWicked by Gregory MaguireAcross the Universe by Beth Revis

8-Not Yet Released Books You Can’t Wait For

  1. Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  2. Atlantia by Ally Condie
  3. Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
  4. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  5. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  6. Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
  7. The Young Elites by Marie Lu
  8. Talon by Julie Kagawa

7-Auto Buy Authors

  1. Marie Lu
  2. Tahereh Mafi
  3. Leigh Bardugo
  4. Sarah Dessen
  5. Gayle Forman
  6. Sara Shepard
  7. Lauren Oliver

6-Book Boyfriends

  1. Thorne from Cress by Marissa Meyer
  2. Kent from Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  3. Percy Jackson from Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
  4. Simon from the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
  5. Neville from Harry Potter by JK Rowling
  6. Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

5-Books You Recommend the Most

  1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Legend by Marie Lu
  3. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
  4. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
  5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

4-Book You Thought You’d Like But Didn’t

  1. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
  2. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  3. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  4. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

3-Books That Made You Cry

  1. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  2. Rumble by Ellen Hopkins
  3. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

2-Books You Plan On Never Reading

  1. Fifty Shades Of Grey (enough said)
  2. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

1-Favorite Genre at the Moment

Contemporary! Particularly the heart wrenching kind.

If you do this, I can’t wait to hear your answers! This was a super fun countdown.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski Review

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (The Winners #1)

Published Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 2014

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Format: Hardback

Buy this book: AmazonBarnes & Noble

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400Winning 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.

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998I picked up this book because it reminded me a little bit of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, which is one of my favorite trilogies. It’s packed with a historical fantasy concept that I really love reading. But that’s not exactly what this book was.

The Winner’s Curse is kind of like a fantasy romance. The main plot of this book is the ‘star crossed lovers’ idea between a general’s daughter and a slave. Therefore, the plot rested upon the romance. But I never really liked the romance until the last twenty or so pages of the book. Up until then, I just wasn’t feeling anything between the two characters. They set up a bit of a love triangle and I really wanted Kestrel to be with the other guy, who she had so much history with and he was so sweet! Arin failed for me as a love interest and Kestrel’s love for him just seemed so sudden for me to really understand. After she buys him as a slave, she feels a bit of buyer’s remorse from the purchase (known in the book as the winner’s curse, thus the title). But so soon after she is already thinking about him in a loving way without spending much time as him.

The book started with a very interesting depiction of slavery in this fantasy world. However, Arin ruined this plot for me. Kestrel lets him go so freely and it broke the slave/owner relationship. Kestrel would let Arin go into the city alone, just assuming he was meeting a ‘lover,’ when he was instead planning a rebellion from inside the castle. She trusted him way too much, often sharing government or war secrets and then letting him run around. Arin seemed to control Kestrel’s actions much too often. Kestrel doesn’t do anything about it either, even when they are in public. There is one scene when Arin insults one of Kestrel’s friends, Jess, and Kestrel doesn’t do anything about it, even for the sake of showing some type of slave/owner relationship in public.

The fantasy in this world is very small. It reminds me more of a redo of a historical fiction because there is nothing fantastical about the world. It reminded me so much of the Roman empire – from the constant conquering of tribes around the pennisula, the enslaving of the native people, the self governing of the tribes, and the way everything about the government was set up. I mostly pictured the structure of the Roman empire with the fashion of the English empire. Even the downfall of this empire is the very thing that made the Romans collapse.

The plot was intriguing. The native Hermani people, who have been enslaved, are rebelling against the people that conquered them. This takes place around halfway through the book giving it plenty of time to unfold before reaching the ending. I really liked how the book was set up to give us a more extended look at what developed after the rebellion. The ending of the book was very interesting and took a very different direction than I thought, which makes me interested in the second book to be released next year. All of the rebellion scenes were very interesting and wish more of the plot came from this part of the story.

Overall, this book was okay. The romance failed for me, although that was the main concept of the book. The fantasy aspects, while well developed, could have been stronger, as well as the depiction of slavery in this world. However, the rebellion plot saved this book for me.

4b94f-pawprint938bc-pawprint d8ee9-pawprint

 

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld Review

Afterworlds

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld 

Published Simon Pulse September 23 2014

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Contemporary

Format: I received this as an e-arc from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion or the content of this review in any way.

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998

Since this is like two stories in one, I am first going to talk about what I thought of Afterworlds, as in the paranormal romance book and then the book as in Darcy’s publishing story.

So first with the paranormal ghost stuff…

This part of the book was boring. Every time I ended one of the contemporary chapters, I groaned at the prospect of having to start one of the paranormal chapters. By the end, I just ended up skimming most of them. I think my main problem was just that there were way too many things happening – Lizzie was trying to discover the afterworld, solve the mystery of her ghost friend, solve a terrorist attack, the actual romance. To make it worse, most of the characters don’t have names but are just referred to as ‘the bad guy.’ When there are like four ‘bad guys’, that doesn’t really help much.

The Afterworlds were really boring and confusing. I hated the way the book began. The first chapter I really liked as the terriorist attack was happening, but as soon as she met Yamaraj, it started going downhill. Her relationship with Yamaraj was so rushed and it did not make any sense. They kiss in the first chapter, maybe five minutes after meeting. This is explained a little bit further on, but what is never explained is why they start dating and being in love and all that stuff. Yamaraj himself was a boring character, an attempt at the ‘bad boy’ trope. I didn’t care what happened to him, at all.

As for the mystery aspects of it, I didn’t connect with any of the characters in this part of the story. The writing wasn’t particularly good and the plot was confusing. If this was a real series, there is no way I would ever continue on with it. It just wasn’t very good…

Onto the contemporary publishing story…

This part was really interesting. I liked the story about Darcy getting published. As a reader, I was interested in the publishing world – how authors get agents, find publishing houses, editing. I think this was all described really well, mostly in part to Westerfeld’s own experience as an author. Therefore, I’m assuming this is mostly how the whole ‘getting published’ thing goes down, although some stuff was really annoying. These authors had the most annoying phrases like ‘protag’ (just say protagonist! it’s a couple extra syllables, that’s it!), ‘I’d TBR that’ (no, no, no), ‘deb sisters’ (I really hope no debut author runs around like that).

But then you stuck the publishing story into the hands of Darcy, one of the most frustrating protagonists (see, I did it!) ever. She never gets anything done and then freaks out when it’s due in a week. She blows her entire budget. Darcy lacks any amount of responsibility and I found it so hard to like her character. Everything that is happening to her is great and amazing, but it doesn’t seem like she cares about any of it. If I was getting published and didn’t have another job or anything, I would be dedicated to waking up everyday with the goal of making my novel better. But Darcy wakes up everyday with the goal of getting the best Ramen noodles in New York. She’s so irresponsible and it’s so annoying because I just kept wanting her to grow up and adapt to the situation!

Another of my qualms with Darcy is her relationship with Imogen. Darcy literally runs around immediately being in love with Imogen right after their first kiss, which takes place a couple weeks after they meet, and by the end of the book, is declaring Imogen as her soulmate. Yep. She gives up so much of her time that she could be writing trying to fix all of Imogen’s writing problems. She’s so clingy all the time. There’s also the whole trust issue, which is a little too commonly used, but it worked in this case because of the pen name aspect for Imogen. I also hated how lightly they took the LGBT issue. I get that the book is about publishing, but there is no mention of any type of problems considering their relationship, especially with them living in New York and becoming an author. There has to be more backlash than what they get. When it is mentioned, it barely even brings up the point but in a side note. This relationship killed any hope of me feeling for Darcy.

Overall…

This book had a billion problems. The characters weren’t very likable, the plot was boring in one part, and it just wasn’t working as a whole. I really liked the concept of a author going through the publishing process and then reading her book, but this just didn’t sell the concept for me.

63169-pawprint8dfc7-pawprint