Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Review: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies

Author: Lindsay Ribar
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 3 Stars
I haven't seen this one around much even though it came out earlier this year. I blame the cover, which doesn't really do the story justice in the least. I'm awful about judging books by their cover, and that's exactly what I was doing with this one whenever I saw it on shelves. But, my dad picked it out for me (and bought it for me, which was very nice of him!) and it didn't sound bad so I picked it up right away.

Here's what it's about: Aspen Quick and the rest of his family can steal things with their magic. Anything- your freckles, that annoying smoking habit you have, memories, feelings, anything at all. And you won't notice it, probably. After the sudden death of his cousin, Heather, Aspen is invited to stay the summer with his aunt and grandmother to use his powers "for good" by using them in a ritual that prevents the cliff over the town from falling. He invites his two best friends to join him, one of which he's had a crush on since he met. After the ritual goes strangely, Aspen begins to investigate and discovers that things are not what they seem.

For me, this book fell flat. There are a lot of mature themes that are touched on, like morality and what it means, family relations and how important they are, how empathy works and what it means to be a good person, just to name a few. And while it does brush up against these ideas, I wish there had been more time spent on them. I think the reason there wasn't a deeper look at these things has to do with the fact that it's a novel (I think it would have been better as a duology or a much longer novel) and that the protagonist is somewhat of an unreliable narrator. He's not completely unreliable, but he's definitely messed up enough that these things may not get across his radar like they do for the reader.

Speaking of the protagonist- I really didn't like Aspen. He's selfish, sort of rapey, and not at all the typical "hero" of a YA story. Which was awesome! Not because he was pretty bad, but because the author pulls it off so well! I wasn't necessarily rooting for him most of the novel, but I don't think the reader is meant to really like him. He's meant to come off as a pseudo-villain and it works really well with the plot. Still, I wish there was more time for redemption, which is another area that this book fell flat for me.

The best part were the reveals. Every few chapters something would be revealed and you're like "Yes I understand okay no more secrets" and then realize that the reveal just opened up so many more questions and then there's another reveal later. It was fun to untangle everything that was happening, especially because it moved quickly enough that the reader only had time to catch their breath before they lost it again.

TL;DR? A bit of a flat novel that features an unlikable (but still interesting) narrator and interesting plot twists every few chapters.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wrap Up (The One Where I Made an Oopsy)

Well, first of all, it's Sunday and I normally publish these on Saturday mornings. Second of all, I didn't post my college journey post on Thursday. I'm super, super sorry about that! Things were out of control here last week (I was so swamped I wasn't getting enough time to sleep and it was killing my motivation to even do fun things like read). Besides not reading or blogging I wasn't really interactive and it killed me a bit to know I had sort of let weeds grow on my online presence. That plus the two weeks I took off have made things hard. So I have a  few goals. This week I want to get back into regular blogging and reading. I'm going to make it happen so just watch me. Next week I want to be back interacting a bunch more, answering comments, being on instagram and tumblr again, and spending more time on twitter. Those are my goals, let's see how they go.

As for the college journey post that's been missing, well, expect to see that asap because I'm going to post it either tonight or tomorrow or Tuesday at some point.

Another piece of news: I didn't mention it last week, but I finished the rough draft of the novel I've been working on! As always you can find out more information about my writing adventures (and personal life) by checking out my other blog (which has gone through several name changes and will probably be going through several more throughout its life span until I settle on something I really really love) here.

Something else to note, I haven't done the news section of the wrap up in two weeks because I've been disconnected with the community. Expect to see that come back sooner rather than later because I enjoy that section of these posts.

Finished this Week
Nothing (*hangs head*)

Currently Reading
My main project is Empire of Storms and when that is done I will be picking up Lies of Locke Lamora, so pretty much the same goals I had last week.

Last Week

This Week
Monday-- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies Review
Thursday-- College Journey
Friday-- Ruin and Rising Review
Saturday-- Wrap Up

Friday, September 23, 2016

5 Star Reread Reaction: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)

Author: Sarah J Maas
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 5 Stars
Beware of SPOILERS for the series.

Third time's the charm! Actually, not really because I've pretty much always loved this book (surprised? didn't think so). While this is my third reread, it's only my first time rereading it knowing what happens in the next book. Which is actually huge! And it changed the way I read this book. Specifically, it changed the way I viewed Rowan and Aelin's relationship specifically. I'd never been that strong of a shipper for Rowaelin when I read this one, but now, knowing that they are the ship of the series, I do really appreciate their beginnings in this book.

The Secret of the Maps! There is something in the maps that has been staring at us from the very first book and I can't believe I just realized it! What am I talking about? So, there are little tower markers on the map at both Amaroth and Noll. And what's at both of these locations? The other towers that the king built with the wyrd key. I kid you not they have been marked on the map the whole time! There's nothing marking Rifthold, but we're told pretty plainly in the first book that there's a tower there, though we don't know what it means. Just food for thought. Did you notice it? Am I late to the game?

Reincarnation theory. Have you seen this one floating around? It's basically the idea that all the major players in the book are reincarnated from the legendary characters (like Gavin or Brannon). I wasn't too sure about this theory until my reread and I'm starting to wonder about it... The idea holds that Celaena is Brannon reincarnated and, honestly, there's some weight behind the idea.

WhiteTHorn and not WhiteHorn. This one is actually kinda embarrassing. I always thought Rowan's last name was WhiteHorn but realized that it's actually WhiteTHorn. LOL can't believe I did that.

The ending is what cements this as my favorite book in the series (so far). I mean, so much happens so quickly and I love it. Also, poor Dorian (my precious bby).

Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher
Edition: Kindle eBook
Rating: 4 Stars

I read this book thanks to Lys (the Mad Reader) recommending it to me. I've known about it for a while, but I haven't had that nudge to pick it up until she told me I must read it and I wouldn't regret it. Well, it was certainly a very good book and I absolutely do not regret it!

Thirteen Reasons Why is about a girl who committed suicide. She's left thirteen tapes for thirteen people to listen to and in these tapes she explains why she killed herself. Her name is Hannah Baker. The story is told through Clay's point of view as he listens to the tapes. He's not the first and he's not the last to get them and he barely knew Hannah Baker, but as he listens to her story he learns more than anyone knew before.

This is a powerful book. It's something everyone should read at least once. I wouldn't say it's a work of literary genius, but it's a work of great importance nonetheless. I understand now why school's often assign this book to teenagers. Suicide is a hard topic, and this book doesn't make it easier, but it does open the door to those important conversations, makes you look around the classroom and wonder if there is anyone contemplating suicide, and helps get rid of the taboo associated with the topic.

Because it was such a hard book to read it's a very hard review to formulate. I have so many thoughts in my head and they don't really have an order or necessary cohesion. But I'm going to try.

Mostly, this book made me angry. It made me angry that Hannah had to die. It made me angry to know people actually do kill themselves. Hannah's reasons made me angry. Not because they are trivial but because if just one of them hadn't happened, as small as it may have been, she might still be alive in the story. Hannah giving up made me angry- not because she didn't have that right or that agency, but because there was no one there to help her not give up. At once I am mad that she wasn't strong enough and yet I understand what it is to face depression and so I can understand that she reached her breaking point. And I am angry that I understand and I am angry that other people understand and I am just angry that these things happen. 

I am angry that Hannah made these tapes and sent them to people. I am angry that the only people who know are the ones who hurt her. I am angry that she is petty but doesn't she have a reason to be petty? I am angry that people had to listen to these tapes. She doesn't know what they're going through. If it were me, and I was in the state I am now, and I got a tape where someone told me that I was part of the reason they killed themselves then I would be in bad shape myself. I think that's a really personal thing, and something I don't normally think about, but I laid in bed staring and my ceiling and wondering what I would do if I were in the situation that Clay, or someone else from the tapes, was in.

I am angry at the other characters, too. I am angry at everyone on the tapes and everyone not on the tapes. I am angry that no one saved her. I am angry that they did anything to hurt her in the first place. I am angry. 

But it's really a good sort of anger. It's an anger that makes me reevaluate the world and consider every action and every word and every inaction. It's one that keeps me up late and just ponder the world and life itself. It's not an anger that takes away from the value of the book so much as add to it. And I really hope that when you read this book, you walk away angry, too.

Outside of this anger, there were a few authorial decisions that I didn't like. Small things (that I can't mention because spoilers) that just made the book miss some steps for me. They probably won't bother everyone, it's probably me being picky, but the small things always seem to be what get to me one way or another.

The best part of this book was the end. And I mean the very last page, the very last sentence, the very last emotion. It meant the world to me and it was a beautiful way to finish off this book. I hope that the ending leads to good things for the characters. I would be heartbroken to learn otherwise.

This book doesn't necessarily get four stars because I loved it that much, it gets four stars because it's such an impactful story. It stirred up so many emotions and made me think for so long after the last page that I know it will always live with me. If I'm ever a parent or an aunt or godmother or anything like that this will be one of the books I make sure to buy that child.

TL;DR? This is the most powerful book I've read this year and even though it brought such an anger out of me I think everyone should read it.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Wrap Up (The One Where I'm Finally Back)

Wow, those two weeks flew by really, really fast! And honestly? I could have done with another week taking a break from the blog, but I really missed being here. School has been in full swing for a week and I am swamped, to say the least, so my reading has gone way down. I'm hoping to remedy this soon.

I'm also officially head of PR for one of my school's literary magazines, alongside being just a regular old editor. Which is a lot of work, but I'm looking forward to it. I have complete control over all the social media for the magazine and, honestly, I'm going to take a moment to do a little promotion for it.

Quiver is Knox College's premier genre fiction magazine. We publish two a year, one in the fall and one in the spring. While only those who attend the school (or who are alumni) can submit, the social media will also be focusing on writing tips and tricks and other interesting and related information. If you're a writer I do recommend following one of the accounts (probably tumblr or twitter) and if you do, I will follow you back! In the past years they've let the social media's fall to the wayside and I really want to fix this and pick them back up. Which means if you talk about writing (or reading honestly) I'd love to follow you with these accounts. Follow on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. If it seems like I'm being quiet on my own personal social media, it's because I'm being busy on these.

Finished Last Two Weeks
Like I said, my reading has been slowed down considerably. I think it will be back up to some speed in a few weeks, or at least I hope. I did manage to finish rereading Queen of Shadows and got through volume 16 of Noragami, so I'm all caught up finally!

Currently Reading
I'm currently in the midst of Empire of Storms (and loving it!) but I don't think I'll finish it this week. If I do, somehow, manage to, I'll be picking up Lies of Locke Lamora, which I think will be a pretty quick read for me, honestly. I'm very excited to start this one! I've also been reading a bit of On Writing by Stephen King since my friend was kind enough to lend it to me, and I absolutely adore it.

This Week
Monday-- Thirteen Reasons Why Review
Thursday-- College Journey
Friday-- Heir of Fire Reaction
Saturday-- Wrap Up

I'm off to go work on more homework (boo). How have you guys been? I missed everyone so much!

Books I Want to Reread

I love rereading! It's a bit of a guilty pleasure, honestly, because it takes time away from reading new books but sometimes I just can't help myself. I used to never reread books but the older I get the more I want to revisit my favorite books and now it's a mark of a good book. When books don't live up the reread challenge it tends to tarnish my view of them and they seem to disappear off my shelves not long after (*cough cough* Divergent trilogy). So here are some books I really want to get around to rereading sometime.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
I loved books one and two but haven't picked up book three yet so I want to reread the first two and get back into this world. I am a bit afraid it won't live up to how much I loved it the first time.

A Darker Shade of Magic
I want to reread this one before getting on to book two. I have a feeling I will love this one even more the second time.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Another one I want to reread so that I can continue the series.

The Shadowhunter Chronicles
Basically, I just want to reread them all again and again until I am FINALLY living within the pages of these books. I love them so much!

I actually know for a fact that I will be rereading this trilogy very soon. I loved it the first time and I am ready for all those emotions again!

Riyria Revelations
I think it's been over two years since I read this series for the first time and since I consider it top-tier fantasy I really want to go back and reread it.

Well, it should be obvious why I want to reread these two...

Six of Crows
I liked it a lot the first time I read it, but now that I'm nearly done with the Grisha Trilogy I want to reread it again and look for ALL references of Nikolai and also prepare for the next book that releases in only a few months!

The Bone Season
This is part of my favorite series and I haven't had the chance to return for quite some time since the next book doesn't come out until next year and it's been one hell of a wait. I want to reread them before I get back to the series.

Falling Kingdoms
I own all the books but have only read the first one. I need to reread book one and then binge the rest because this is such a binge-worthy series.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy
I read each book as they were coming out so I haven't had the chance to read them back to back and I would really love to since I hold this series dearly and think they'll be better with the reread.

The Lumatere Chronicles
One of my all time favorite series in the whole world! It's sooooooooooo good guys you NEED to read it if you haven't. Why I don't read this every year I don't know because it totally deserves it.

American Gods
I know, you're thinking, didn't you just reread this one? Well, yeah, but I want to reread it again, duh? It's just my favorite book in the whole world.

I want to reread this one and then finish the trilogy, which I own.

What are some books you want to reread?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Wrap Up (The One Where I'm Taking a Two Week Break)

In last week's wrap up I talked about how this week was going to be an important wrap up and the reason should be pretty obvious now: I'm taking a two-week-long break from blogging. I actually did this last year around the same time and the reason is college. I move in on Sunday and I want the rest of this week to really focus on packing and getting things done that I need to get done. Next week, I want to be able to get back into the groove of taking classes and having regular homework again. I'll still be around, this won't be a proper hiatus, and will most likely be most active on twitter (@tsundokusam). I'm also planning to continue posting at least twice a week on instagram and trying to interact more there.

A few other things happened this week, though, that I want to talk about. First of all, my phone broke on Wednesday. It's fixed for the most part, but we had to completely wipe it. No problem, since I have a back up and iCloud and everything important is safe, but it's why I've fallen behind on some things I wanted to get done that were blogging related.

Another thing that happened is that my grandfather was in a car accident. He's okay, and as far as I know the other drivers are okay as well. He has been in the hospital since last night when it happened, because his breastbone has been cracked and he's in a not small amount of pain. I believe he's going home tonight, so it's nothing life threatening. It's especially unfortunate, because today is his birthday. :(

Now, done with all my personal things, let's move on to bookish news for this week! If I missed anything, please comment and let me know what's been going on in the community and if you ever want me to talk about something in particular, don't hesitate to get in contact with me.

I think the biggest news this week revolves around Gemina, the sequel to Illuminae by Jay Kristof and Amie Kaufman. It's been revealed that Marie Lu is doing all the art for the book! She's such a fantastic artist (alongside being a fantastic writer) and I don't think I'm alone in saying that this book just got ten times more awesome!

On twitter, Diversity has continued to be a pretty huge topic, though it's calmed down a bit the last few days. I have a lot of thoughts about diversity in literature and how it should be promoted and discussed, and I want to write a post about it, but I don't know when that post will be published. To boil it all down: I am all for diversity and I am all against violent language as the be-all means to make it happen.

Here are some other tidbits I found interesting throughout the week:
  • Lys at the Mad Reader has announced the Chicken Challenge, an October reading challenge she's hosting. I'm really excited about this one and look forward to participating!
  • ACOTAR 3 is officially up for preorder on amazon and it's only ten dollars right now! Never to early to preorder!
  • The Crown's Fate (the sequel to The Crown's Game) has had an official name change and is now called The Crown's Heir and is also available to preorder on amazon.
  • There's a new behind-the-scenes teaser for the new Beauty and the Beast movie and the voices are just spot-on, if you ask me.
  • Jeremy Davies is joining the cast of American Gods as Jesus, which I'm actually pretty excited for. In the novel Jesus only appears in a deleted scene that's really not a scene at all, but I definitely think there's room for him in the show. I also think Jeremy will do a really great job.
Finished This Week
I actually got a ridiculous amount of reading done this week. First I read the second volume of Pandora Hearts, which only took about 45 minutes. Then I raced through Ruin and Rising (which made me tear up, I'll admit) and finally finished Clash of Kings. I also managed to read The Movie Version, an ARC I received from Netgalley, and quickly read through In Search of Lost Dragons, which, while beautiful, was very underwhelming.

Currently Reading
I've just begun my reread of Queen of Shadows, but with the amount of things going on right now I have no idea when I'll finish it. My plan is to spend quite a bit of time today and tomorrow and Monday with it so that Tuesday morning I can run to the store and grab my copies of Empire of Storms and begin immediately.

Last Week

Next Week
--break from blogging--

See you guys in two weeks!

Friday, September 2, 2016

5 Star Spoiler Review: The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 5 Stars

This is the SPOILER FILLED review for this book. I have a non-spoiler filled review that was posted yesterday (find it here) and if you haven't read this book yet, I recommend checking out that review first.

Proceed with caution!