Thursday, June 30, 2016

5 Star Reread Review: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Edition: Hardcover
Related Reviews: The Raven Boys

Rating: 5 Stars
I read this book a few years ago when it originally came out and I was not impressed by it at all.  That would have been my sophomore year of high school I think, and having reread it and appreciated it now I realize that I've matured as a reader.  I don't think I've had such a good marker as this to show how I've changed as a reader and how I've gotten to be a better reader.

The Dream Thieves picks up not long after The Raven Boys ends.  Without giving any plot away, I will say this book focuses on Ronan.  Blue and Gansey are still very important, but it's not so much they're story as the first one was.  While very little happens, it's an important character study of all the players and it had me feeling all the feelz.

Being more of a character study, the focus shift is something that messed me up when I originally read it.  Going into it and knowing there wouldn't be as much action really helped.  This second time I was able to give the characters the focus they deserved and I really appreciated the character growth and the relationship growth between everyone.  It broke my heart in a million ways because of how beautiful the relationships are.

Of course, Steifvater's writing is as beautiful as always, no surprise there.  And in a different way than in the first book, but not in a lesser way.  If anything, her writing helps me fall in love with the characters more than anything else.

This is an incredibly hard review to write, and there's little more I can say without spoiling anything, so I'll leave it here.  I loved it to Mars and back and look forward to picking up Blue Lily, Lily Blue.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Gilded Cage

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine
For readers of Victoria Aveyard and Kiera Cass comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule and commoners are doomed to serve.
Our world belongs to the Equals aristocrats with magical gifts and all commoners must serve them for ten years.
But behind the gates of England s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.
"A girl thirsts for love and knowledge."
Abi is a servant to England s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family s secrets might win her liberty but will her heart pay the price?
"A boy dreams of revolution."
Abi s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.
"And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts."
He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate or destroy?"
Why I'm Waiting
This is one of my most anticipated books for next year and I'm practically dying waiting for this one! It sounds like an awesome read, and the whole trilogy will be published pretty close together, so there won't be a huge wait between books.

Gilded Cage releases February 14th, 2017

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

July TBR & Do You Wanna Buddy Read??

I have several books picked out that I want to read next month, but you know what's better than reading a book alone? Reading it with someone else!  So here are the books I certainly need to get to next month and if you're interested in reading along with me, let me know in the comments and we can figure out when to read.

The Assassin's Blade
This will be a reread for me, and marks the beginning of my annual Throne of Glass reread.  Once I finish And I Darken I will be launching into this one and I'm rather excited.

The Chamber of Secrets
Another reread to continue on with my Harry Potter reread.  My original goal was to finish rereading all of these before the release of Cursed Child, but I don't think that will happen.  Oh well, I'm not too worried since I'm enjoying taking my time reliving this world.

Throne of Glass
Another reread!  Have you noticed a trend?  This will be my fifth time reading this book and every time I read it it's a completely new experience.  I've never had a better benchmark for how my reading has changed and how I've matured.  I look forward to doing this every year and I can't wait to do it again.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue 
Not a reread!  And maybe my only one.  My only one for sure, at least.  I'm looking forward to continuing on with this series since I've fallen completely in love with it.

Other books I might get to next month (but I'm not holding out for it atm)
Caraval (an ARC)
The Raven King
Ruin and Rising

Monday, June 27, 2016

ARC Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

Author: Paul Krueger
Edition: eGalley courtesy of Netgalley
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
I received a copy of Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge from Quirk Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

Nightshade is an urban fantasy that takes place in Chicago and follows Bailey Chen, a barback with dreams of rising high (though, not in a bar).  When she is attacked by a demon-like creature she learns that bartenders, through the power of alcohol and mixing, are the defense between the general population and these monsters.  Soon she is in training to become one of them.  Of course, things are never easy, and the tremens (the demons) are starting to team up- something that everyone seems to deny is a possibility- and Bailey and her friends are the only ones who might be able to stop them.

I liked this novel, I really did, but it didn't blow me away.  It was a pretty standard urban fantasy, and because it was a novel and not part of a series, it moved pretty quickly and I didn't get as much time to really dig my feet into this one.  It wasn't a loss to the story, which benefited from the quick storytelling, honestly, but I wouldn't have minded if I had found out it was only book one of many.

My favorite part, besides it being set in Chicago (which is only an hour away from where I live, so, more or less, my home turf) was the magic system!  I don't drink (ahem, I am underage... but beyond that I actually have no interest in alcohol whatsoever) so the finer details were probably lost on me (like, I couldn't really picture anything, but that's okay) but overall it made a bunch of sense.  And between chapters there were notes on what makes the recipe magic, what they do, and what the history of the drink is.  I found that really interesting and thought it was a brilliant touch.

For the characters, I really liked them.  It's a pretty diverse, featuring a Chinese-American main character, an African-American side character (who is the ultimate bad-ass and I want a novel about her now), a trans side character (who is pretty awesome, as well, and I wish he had more page-time), and several gay and lesbian side characters.  The best part of the diversity?  It's not the main draw about the characters, it's just a fact about them and while it's part of their identities it's not the only part of their character and they're made interesting by all the facets of their characterization.  I thought it was handled very well, and would strongly recommend this if you're looking for something with a diverse cast.

Besides not having a completely original feel to it, I enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing what this author puts out next.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Wrap Up (The One Where I Went Into the City)

It has been a pretty lackluster week over all, with motivation for things waxing and waning, but yesterday I spent the whole day in the city.  My family and I picked my grandmother up and, even though we've lived in the Chicago area our whole lives, we did a totally tourist thing and did a bus tour.  It was really fun, the guides were fantastic, and we even stopped at Navy Pier for a few hours and I got to ride the new ferris wheel.  The only downside?  Sunburn.  It's not awful, but my forehead was bright red, and part of my chest does hurt a bit still.  I've had worse, so I'm not complaining to loudly.  Give it a few days and I'll be fine.

Finished this Week
I finished reading the first volume of White Sand, the newest chapter of Brandon Sanderson's Comer, and it is SOOOOOOO good so if you're a fan of his work check this one out when it releases Tuesday.  A full review will be coming later.  I also only have like three chapters left of Rebel of the Sands, so while I haven't finished it yet it will be done in an hour or so, so I'm counting it.

"Currently" Reading
I'm going to start And I Darken when I finish Rebel and then I'll be launching into my yearly reread of the Throne of Glass series.  Normally I don't reread Assassin's Blade since it doesn't always have an impact on the story, but I think certain characters from it will be returning in Empire of Storms so it seems like a good idea.  If I somehow finish both of those I will start my reread of Chamber of Secrets.

Last Week

Next Week
Monday-- Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge Review
Tuesday-- My Upcoming TBR (& Do You Want to Buddy Read?)
Wednesday-- Waiting on Wednesday
Thursday-- The Dream Thieves Review
Friday-- Summer and Yearly Goals Update
Saturday-- Wrap Up

I have a really full week next week!  I'm so glad it's summer and I've had the time to read and write reviews and posts again.  How's your summer going?

Friday, June 24, 2016

5 Star Reread Review: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

Author: George RR Martin
Edition: Leather-bound 
Rating: 5 Stars
This is technically a reread for me, but it's been two years and I want to seriously finish this series this time.  For the record, I don't watch the show (I mean, I'm trying to catch up but I've seen like three episodes) but I keep pretty up to date by reading detailed summaries and I've read the wikipedia pages for most of the characters in the books, so nothing really catches me off guard when I read these.  Somehow, I still found it extremely enjoyable!

For those who don't know (are you living under a rock?) this series is a sweeping epic fantasy about the events of the land of Westeros.  When A Game of Thrones starts, the Hand of the King has died under strange circumstances, and Eddard Stark, Warden of the North, the king's best friend, has been chosen as the new hand.  Politics swirl around the Stark family while on another continent the only heir's to the previous king (a completely different family than the current ruler) begin to amass an army in order to reclaim their throne.

The first thing I realized upon beginning my reread was how much of a mastery Martin has with words.  He is, for lack of a better term, a Wordsmith and it's beautiful to read what he has written.  Besides loving the story, I had such a good time enjoying the very words and the grammar on each page.  Not unlike poetry, he puts the right words in the right order.

Beyond that, though, are the characters.  My favorite ASOIAF character has and always will be Sansa Stark and I will defend her until my dying day.  Say what you will, she survives in a setting the rest of her family would wither in.  And I think viewers of the show are finally starting to see how badass she really is.  Beyond her, I really love all the character's, though.  Or, if I don't love them, I love to hate them.  There are two exceptions to this rule, and it might surprise people.  Those exceptions are Eddard and Catelyn Stark.  Catelyn waxes and wanes for me- sometimes I really, really like her, but more often than not I can't stand her.  Both of them frustrate me for different reasons.  But in the end?  That frustration is such a powerful emotion I can't help but applaud Martin for creating such deep and intriguing characters such as these that bring out all these emotions.

The story, of course, is phenomenal and sweeping.  How does someone plan ahead and create this sort of thing?  It's unfathomable how rich this world and plot are.  I can't wait to dig into the next one (spoiler alert- I already have) and the next one and the next one.  I hope to finish the series before Winds of Winter (something that seems very, very likely).  Have you read the books?  Do you watch the show?  Who's your favorite character?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Kingdom of Ash and Briars

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting. An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two - now three - after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince's band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.
Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut.
Why I'm Excited
Where to start?  The cover?  The description?  This book sounds like a home run!  I mean, it sounds absolutely amazing!  I love all the stores it says it's pulling from, and while that does sound like a lot to tackle, if it can be pulled off it will be amazing.

Kingdom of Ash and Briars will be released September 15th, 2016 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

ARC Review: Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1)

Author: Michael J Sullivan
Edition: ARC courtesy of Del Rey
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

I received an ARC of Age of Myth from the publishers.  Thank you!

Michael J Sullivan is one of my favorite author's thanks to his Riyria Revelations series (which, if you haven't yet read, you should go read RIGHT NOW) and so I've been excited for this one since it was announced he was writing another epic fantasy series.  Then, I heard he was going to C2E2 so of course I wanted to go and see him but didn't have anyone to go with.  And then it was announced that they'd be giving away ARCs of the new book and the next thing you know, I had two tickets and was dragging my dad to the show.  And now I have a signed ARC of Age of Myth (and I got Theft of Sword signed as well)!

Age of Myth follows several perspectives.  Raithe, a Rhune (think Human) who kills a "god"; Persephone, the widow of the previous ruler of her town and a very strong figure within her town; Suri, a young mystic with Fhrey (think Elf) powers; and Arion, a powerful Fhrey magician.  They would all seem to be set out on different paths until Raithe kills this "god", which turns out to not be a god at all but as mortal as everyone else, and changes the world forever.

I think I may have had too high of hopes for this one.  Part of that lies in how much I loved Riyria Revelations, a series that takes place in the same world as this one but several hundred (maybe thousands) of years later.  Basically, it's a different world.  And it's about completely different characters, not the ones that really made Riyria so amazing (Royce and Hadrian are some of my favorite characters of all times).  So, in these ways, I think I just, in my mind, overhyped it.  Of course, it could not live up to my expectations at all, which made me really sit down and think about how I felt about this book.

And, in the end, it was pretty good fantasy.  Not mind blowing, if only because I've read better.  There were also moments where it really dragged.  The story, though, asks many interesting questions, introduces us to colorful characters, and sets up a story I'm still very much interested in reading about.

My favorite thing about the whole book were the easter eggs that point to the Riyria books.  There are actually quite a few and I think fans of his previous series will be very happy with them.  They delighted me and surprised my quite a bit (I won't spoil any, but really, they're all pretty amazing).

Basically, if you're even slightly curious I recommend picking this book up.  With the way Michael J Sullivan writes his books every single word is chosen with care and every thread will be connected in the end in unexpected ways, so I fully expect each book to get better and better and finally culminate in one grand masterpiece.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mini 5 Star Reread Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone- Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, #1)

Author: JK Rowling
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 5 Stars
I received the Illustrated Edition for Christmas and wanted to read it right away, but forced myself to hold off until summer when I could properly enjoy it and also get the chance to reread the rest of the series.  I have a vague plan to reread them all before Cursed Child, but I'm not going to force myself to read them quickly because I want to sit back and enjoy every minute of returning to this world.

The first half of this book was a slog.  I don't remember it being that boring.  And maybe it's not, maybe that was just me not being the mood to read this book.  But the second half- when Harry arrives at Hogwarts (so, really, much more than half) flew by so quickly!  And I loved every second of it.  There wasn't very much I had forgotten, and that might have something to do with the fact that the movie is so similar.  The scene with the centaurs, though, was one that I needed a refresher for and was happy to have.

As for the art, it's absolutely gorgeous!  The depiction of diagon ally?  Amazing!  I ran around my house showing everyone because they all just had to see!  I'm so glad they decided to do this with these books, it's lent itself to them so well and has added another level of amazing to this already astounding world.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Wrap Up (The One Where I Have Very Little Motivation)

Which pretty much sums up the last few days.  I'm hoping today and tomorrow I'll get quite a bit done, but who actually knows?

Finished this Week
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge
The Dream Thieves

Currently Reading
Rebel of the Sands- I was halfway through this in an audiobook, and I was LOVING it, but I kept falling asleep as I listened so I picked up a physical copy and plan to start over and take my time with it.

Last Week

Next Week
Monday-- Sorcerer's Stone Reread Review
Tuesday-- Age of Myth Review
Wednesday-- Waiting on Wednesday
Friday-- Game of Thrones Reread Review
Saturday-- Wrap Up

How was your week?  Do you have any big plans for this weekend or the coming days?  Let me know!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Mini-Review: Narwhal- Unicorn of the Sea

Author: Ben Clanton
Edition: eGalley courtesy of Netgalley
Rating: 4 Stars
This is not at all the sort of book I normally read and review.  It's for children- very young children- and since I neither have any young children nor know any, it's probably strange to many that I read this.  Well, it's less strange when I tell you I'm absolutely obsessed with Narwhal's!  I couldn't resist picking it up for that fact alone.  And honestly?  It didn't really disappoint.

It's super cute and actually gives a few basic facts about Narwhals.  For young kids I'd probably recommend it.  And the art?  Absolutely adorable!  I want it on a pillow or bag or something, it's just so cute.

Besides the fact that it doesn't really have any sort of plot, I enjoyed this little book.

This releases on October 4th, 2016 for all those who are interested in picking it up.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

ARC Graphic Novel Review: Klaw- The First Cycle

Author: Antoine Ozanam
Illustrator: Joel Jurion
Translator: Mike Kennedy
Edition: eGalley courtesy of Netgalley
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Rating: 3 Stars
I received a copy of Klaw from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

I picked this one up and nearly forgot about it!  It had caught my eye because of the concept, but I didn't really know what to expect.  After finishing it, I learned that the artist is praised for his style, and while I did think it was gorgeous art, the story is what I focused on when reading.

Klaw is about Angel, a young boy who comes from a wealthy family and is bullied at school.  He even has his own driver/bodyguard.  He has a massive crush on a girl, and when her boyfriend is killed, seemingly by a giant tiger, he begins to suspect himself.

This graphic novel is split into three parts, and each is totally different from the last.  While they all follow the same character, they seem to shift tones and genres.  The first one is somewhat of an origin/coming of age story, the second is a spy-thriller/climax of an origin, and the third is a superhero drama of sorts.

The first two parts of the graphic novel I was totally behind.  I enjoyed watching the character grow and mature and learn about what was happening to him and going on in general.  It's a lot for him to take in, but I think he does a good job of it.  Some parts of the pacing were rushed, but it felt fine in the context of the story.  There are some twists, too, that caught me off guard, and some that had me face palming when Angel didn't figure them out as quickly as I did.  It was the third part, though, that really rubbed me the wrong way.  Everything set up in the first two sections seem useless after several years of time jump.  The characters seem to go off character and all that maturing and growing that happened?  Where it went I don't know. Suddenly the pace was ridiculous and as a reader I felt like I had to play catchup because I had no idea what was motivating anyone anymore.  And that ending?  It didn't make any sense to me and has pushed me far from trying another volume any time in the future.

I don't mean to speak bad of it, because I was thoroughly enjoying the first two parts!  Never before has a fight between a Rooster and a Tiger been so interesting!  But the shift that happens in part three is ridiculous and almost seems like someone completely different wrote it.  I was glancing through reviews on Goodreads, to see if I was the only one who felt this way, and wasn't surprised when the vast majority of reviewers were also upset by the change.

If it sounds interesting, I recommend picking this up from your library.  Hopefully others will enjoy it much more than I did.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: A Conjuring of Light

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

The battle between four magical Londons comes to a head in this stunning finale to the New York Times bestselling Shades of Magic trilogy by rising star V. E. Schwab
Londons fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.
 Why I'm Excited
I haven't read A Gathering of Shadows yet, but I will be soon.  I loved book one and I've heard book two is even better.  Plus, this cover is the best out of the three!  I'm absolutely smitten with it.

A Conjuring of Light releases February 21st, 2017

Monday, June 13, 2016

Book Review: The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game #1)

Author: Evelyn Skye
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 3 Stars
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, so it's more than a little disappointing that I didn't like this book more.

The Crown's Game follows multiple narrators, including Vika and Nikolai, the only two enchanters in all of Russia, Pasha, the crown prince, Yuliana, his sister, Galina and Sergei, Vika and Nikolai's mentors, and Aizhana, a mysterious figure who seems to have risen from the dead.  There is a competition between Vika and Nikolai- they must prove themselves and become the official enchanter of Russia.  The catch, whoever fails dies.

While I don't dislike the idea of multiple narrators, it didn't always work here.  It took away from each character's presence by shifting between them so frequently.  Closer to the end this wasn't as much of a problem, since all the stories intersected, but it made it harder for me to connect with the characters.  My favorites were Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha.  Particularly, I liked how Vika and Nikolai conformed to the opposite gender stereotypes (does that make sense?) similarly to how Emma and Julian do in Lady Midnight.

As for the setting, which has been getting the most praise, I must agree it the most vivid part of the book.  Imperial Russia has a particular taste and Evelyn Skye managed to capture it in this novel.  As vivid as it was, I do wish she had spent even more time describing and exploring it.

My biggest problem with the book lies in the magic system.  There don't seem to be any rules for how it works.  There's clearly a limit, since the book does eventually touch on the idea of using too much magic, but I wish it had been set up early on and that there were more defined rules to it.  It felt sloppy for a long time, and when a cost was finally included, I just didn't buy it as much.

The ending was one of my favorite parts.  I thought it was well done and a surprising twist to the whole thing.  It certainly doesn't end like many other books I've read.  I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this duet (I think there are only two, but I could be wrong) even though I only gave it three stars.  It is a debut and it really wasn't that bad, so don't let my star-count sway you completely.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Wrap Up (The One Where I Do Another Comment Challenge)

This was a much better week than last week!  There were some rough spots at the beginning but I think everything is leveling out again, so I'm super thankful for that.  And I've got a bunch of good reading done.  This weekend I've got a family party later this afternoon and then a lunch/dinner planned for tomorrow night with cousins from the other side of my family and I'm looking forward to it.  Barnes and Noble is also doing their Teen Fest for the first time this weekend!  I went yesterday to the Barnes and Noble near me and plan to go to a different one tomorrow after lunch/dinner.  Have you stopped by your local B&N to celebrate?

Finished this Week
I read the Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and also finished up my reread of the first Game of Thrones book.  Short reviews for both will be coming soon.

Currently Reading
My main tackles this week are Last Call at the Night Shade Lounge and, after that, a reread of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Last Week

This Week
Monday-- Review of the Crown's Game
Wednesday-- Waiting on Wednesday
Thursday-- Review of Klaw Vol. 1
Friday-- Mini Review of Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea

Once again, I'm doing the summer comment challenge hosted by Alicia at a Kernal of Nonsense and Lonna at FLYLēF.  This month it was a bunch of fun and I was paired with the wonderful Olivia from Heir of Glitter and I'm so glad we got paired!  If you want more information or want to participate (which I highly recommend) check out this link.

Did you participate in the challenge during June?  Are you planning to participate next month?  Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Wintersong

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.
All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.
But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.
Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.
Why I'm Excited
The description, mostly!  I've seen a bit of positive buzz and excitement for this one, lately, and that has infected me. Finger's crossed it's as good as it sounds like it will be!

Winter song releases February 17th, 2017 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Two Truths and a Lie Reveal

If you haven't checked out my interviews with either Gwen Cole or Mary Taranta, you really should, because their books, while they don't come out until next year, sound like they're going to be amazing!

Both lovely authors played two truths and a lie and I'm finally revealing the answers.

Gwen Cole

1. I broke my arm falling off a horse when I was a kid.
2. I still have one of those old flip phones.
3. I never went to high school.

The Lie: Number two!
Congrats to Lauren Stoolfire for guessing correctly.

Mary Taranta

1. I have nine siblings.
2. SHIMMER AND BURN was my seventh novel.
3. I live in Florida, but I don't know how to swim.

The Lie: Number three!
Again, congrats to Lauren for getting this correct!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Wrap Up (The One Where So Much Has Happened I Don't Know Where to Start)

I'm finally on summer break!  And for the first few hours it was such a relief!  I finally get time to read and just do whatever I want.  I even had the chance to go to Six Flags (for free, I might add, since my friend has a season pass and it was bring a friend day) and that was a blast.  But, it wasn't long before I realized that my depression, which I've had more or less under control for the last month or so, has come back in full force and kept me up half of the night last night.  For a while today I thought I might take a break from blogging for a bit to help get it back under control, but one thing with depression is that it keeps you away from things that normally make you really happy, and then without those activities things get worse.  So I'm not going to take a break from blogging.  I might not be around as much, but I'm hoping this will help push me through it.

So, I have some other bad news.  And it might tie into why my depression has returned the way it has.  My dog, who's eleven years old, was diagnosed with diabetes.  We have to give him two shots a day.  Personally, I'm really happy we finally figured out why he's been out of sorts and that we have a way to help him.  I love him very much, but at the end of the day, he's just a dog (not a human- don't hate me if this sounds really cold) and we've been able to tell for a while now that he probably doesn't have much time left.  I've made my peace with the idea, and it helps that I haven't been home.  My parents, though, are a wreck.  They pretty much consider our dog another member of the family (my dad has even slipped up and called him son, LOL) and they're taking it really hard.  And so are their wallets.  He has to get blood work done every ten days and the insulin needs to be refilled every month (maybe every three weeks depending on the dosage).  We've already been pretty strained lately, so this (and the reason for this) has led to a lot of tension.  It's that tension more than anything else that's starting to eat away at me.  So, yeah, pretty sad news there.

In brighter news- I finally listened to Hamilton.  And it was amazing!  I just keep listening to the whole soundtrack on repeat and can't get enough of it!  It's even gone so far as to influence me to start learning more about American history, something I was really interested in when learning about it in school but now I want to pursue it independently.  Will I be reading the Hamilton biography?  You bet!  But first, I've actually ordered a George Washington biography that I plan on getting to.  I may even review it because why not?

Finished This Week
I didn't realize I had finished so many until now, but I read The Crown's Game, Klaw Vol. 1, Even if the Sky Falls, and Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea

Currently Reading
I'm reading the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and when I'm done with that I will be reading the Washington biography I mentioned earlier.

Last Week
Sunday-- Coffee Book Tag

Next Week
Wednesday-- WoW
Saturday-- Wrap Up
*for the record, I did not realize how few things I had planned for this week, so don't be surprised if another sort of post pops up on a random day

What did you read this week?  And how was your week?  Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Book Review: Even If The Sky Falls

Thank you Brittany from Space Between the Spines for hosting this awesome review train! She's pretty awesome herself, so I recommend you go check her blog out (and all the other blogs participating in this train because they are awesome too)!

Author: Mia Garcia
Edition: Kindle eBook
Rating: 3 Stars
I don't normally read contemporary books, but I thought I'd give this one a try for a few reasons. The number one reason being that I was invited to this review train (Choo choo!) and the number two reason being the description of the book.

It follows Julia and Miles through one day as they fall in love in the streets of New Orleans.

I was sold by the idea of a whirlwind adventure with quite a bit of heartfelt romance set in a city full of rich culture.  Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed.

While the New Orleans of the book did have a rich and vibrant culture, pretty much coming off of the page, I didn't think there was enough time taken to really give the city the proper enjoyment it deserved.  It's certainly a whirlwind book, and everything happens very, very quickly.  The parts of the city that are described particularly well are the streets and the lives of many who live there.

The characters were the biggest problem and this comes back to the pacing.  By the end I was invested in both Miles and Julia, but it did take some time.  Because things were moving so fast, and since I like to take my time soaking in characters and not have them forced upon me quickly and in a way that makes them feel shallow (even though, as the story progresses, you learn they are not shallow in the least), it was hard to enjoy for a little bit.  The side characters did all feel only one step away from stock characters, but that, again, may have just been me dealing with the pacing.

My favorite parts of the novel were the ending (and how everything wraps up), the way that Julia's backstory was chipped away at (and the details therein), and the diversity.  I can't say much of the former two, because of spoilers, but they were both executed well and the reveals in Julia's history had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.  As for diversity, this is an A+ book.  Julia's family is from Puerto Rico and Miles' is African American.  I have a bad habit of whitewashing characters in my head when I'm in the thick of a book (it has to do with the community I grew up in, but I'm getting better at actually "seeing" characters) but here I had no trouble.  They come off the page as vividly as the setting in this regard, and I really, really enjoyed it.

This is certainly a light read, maybe even good for the beach if you're visiting this year, though I will caution it's not all the back makes it seem.  The fast pace detracts from the romance, but in the end it isn't a bad book at all.

The Next Review
Czai @ The Blacksheep Project -- Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

The Previous Reviews
May 30th -- Genni @ Ready, Set, Read - The Unexpected Everything
May 31st -- Lauren @ Always Me - Future Shock
June 1st -- Laura @ Blue Eye Books - The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Upcoming Readers
June 4th -- Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense - The Distance Between Us
June 5th -- Ashley [Insert Title Here] - Rebel of the Sands
June 6th -- Sinead @ Less Reality, More Books - The Square Root of Summer
June 7th -- Ashley @ What's She Reading? - Open Road Summer
June 8th -- Brittany @ Space Between the Spines -- Summer Days and Summer Nights + a giveaway!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Summer (Mostly Bookish) Goals

Is it finally summer? The answer is YES! I actually wrote this post a few days ago, but as of today (the first) I'm done with school until September! And, besides (hopefully *fingers crossed*) getting a job, I have a pretty much free summer.  And a free summer equals a summer full of reading.  I thought I'd talk about what some of my reading goals for this summer are.  And, for those curious, I included some of my other personal goals.

The Book Related Goals
- Finish writing my current WIP, dubbed, at the moment, "The Queen's Ransom"
- Reread the Harry Potter series because, can you believe it, I haven't reread these books in years!
- Read the Poison Study series; I've been saving this one for this summer and already have all the published books on my kindle waiting for an epic marathon
- Read The Chronicles of Narnia; I've never read these, either, but I feel like it's time; a friend of mine recommended that I listen to the audiobooks, so that might be the way I go
- Buy a Camera; this may not seem book related, but I actually want one so that I can take some really nice pictures for Instagram and the blog (and maybe Youtube videos someday...?)
- Focus more on Instagram; this goes along with the previous goal; basically I just want to devote more time to what I put out on Instagram because these last few months I've been very poor on there
- More original content on Tumblr is pretty self-explanatory; if you have any ideas for what you might like to see on my Tumblr please let me know!
- Catch up on ARCS because I am so far behind and I feel awful about it

The Non-Book Related Goals
- Cut Hair is just a reminder that I need a haircut so that I can take a proper profile picture instead of my dog (LOL but he'll probably be in the picture, too)
- Get a job preferably at a book store
- Working Out is part of my plan to lose some weight and I also want to Eat Healthier because I feel sluggish all the time lately
- Learn a language and it will probably be either Russian or American Sign Language (for two very different reasons)
- Start going to Church again because I unfortunately fell away from the habit while at school and I really miss attending Mass
- Catch Up on TV because I haven't watched anything in ages!
- Locate a comic book store and frequent it; I have one at school that I adore, but I don't actually know where my local one at home is
- Go outside more even if it is just to read
- Keep in contact with all of my friends is one of the easier goals on this list, but sometimes I need to remind myself to do this
- Read more news in order to help myself be more knowledgeable about the world
- See family; by which I mean make it a priority to see extended family even if I'm not in the mood because they are important people
- RELAX it's summer; I need to remind myself of this