Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: Into the Still Blue


Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.
I decided to do something different: a video review. I also decided to allow myself the opportunity to talk and discuss spoilers. Because of that, the video turned out to be pretty long, but hopefully you will enjoy listening to my thoughts on the final book in the Under the Never Sky trilogy:

Again: I will be discussing spoilers in this video. Watch at your risk.

For readers who read Under the Never and Through the Ever Night, just let me say that this was my favorite book of the trilogy. We discover things about the Still Blue, and sacrifices are made alone the way. The journey is filled with ups and downs, and spectacular character development. I've grown to love Aria, Perry, and Roar. I even grew to love Soren (believe it or not). If you haven't started this series, I suggest you do. It's a fantastic series that depicts love, overcoming prejudice, and moving on from past mistakes. It's about a journey, and the struggle to find the Still Blue. It's also a series without a love triangle. Have I mentioned that there's no love triangle? Even when she could have easily included one?

So I just want to say Thank You, Veronica Rossi, for writing these books and taking me on a wonderful journey.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WoW: Panic


Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

I adore Lauren Oliver's writing and her books. I'm not sure what to make of the blurb, but I will read any book by this woman. I've noticed that the goodreads reviews aren't overwhelmingly favorable, but I really hope this book will live up to expectations. I've already preordered it (have you?)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. Book bloggers present upcoming books they can’t wait to read and share their enthusiasm about new releases.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pitch Dark Day Tour: Brentwood, TN

I had the privilege of attending the pitch dark days tour! This tour featured four amazing authors: Veronica Rossi, Tahereh Mafi, Sophie Jordan, and Kiersten White. When the Bentwood, TN tour stop was announced, I SCREAMED. Because All these authors are so unbelievably amazing.

So, on the 20th, I arrived at the bookstore with my best friend, and met up with another one of her friends. The chairs hadn't been set up yet, but once they were, we snagged some pretty nice seats. What followed was an amazing Q&A panel. The weirdest question? What color are you toenails. I wanted SO BADLY to pick up a *book shimmy* tote, but I wasn't picked to ask a question. Which is disappointing, but I can live with it. Still, I had such a great time, and I laughed a lot. PLUS, Mafi gave a shout-out to Stars Hollow (from Gilmore Girls), which made me squee!

After that, we waited a ridiculous amount of time to get books signed (Mafi's line was particularly long). But, so long as we were inside the store, we were safe from the storm that was brewing outside. If you follow any of the authors on twitter, you know that it was quite a stormy night! We had a tornado warning, and we were all advised to stay inside the store. Which I didn't mind. If I'm going to get stuck in a store, a bookstore is a great place to be.

There was also a sweet bonus: Ransom Riggs was in the audience, as were Stephanie Perkins and Beth Revis. I got the final Across the Universe book signed (since when I met her, the last book hadn't been released). And Stephanie looked as adorable as ever (even if I don't have picture proof)! I can't believe Perkins and Revis drove all the way from Asheville, and then traveled BACK in the storm. You girls rock. I also got to gush to Victoria Schwab about how much I loved The Unbound (seriously, read it!)

All in all, it was such a fun night! Thank you to Harper Collins and Epic Reads for sending the Pitch Dark Tour to TN!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: The Winner's Curse


Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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.

When I first began reading The Winner's Curse, I was under the impression that it would be a sweeping and epic fantasy. I don't know where I got this impression, but this was not quite the book I was expecting to read.

Regardless of my expectations, though, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. No, this book isn't exactly fantasy. There is no magic (as far as we know of in the first book), but we do get introduced to world that's shaped by slavery and military conquests. The book alternates from the perspective of two characters: a general's daughter and a slave.

Kestrel, the general's daughter, has grown up all her life knowing she will have to choose between marriage and a military life. Neither option is appealing, because she has no interest in military and has no desire to marry a man she does not love. Her true passion is music, and so, she impulsively purchases the slave Arin when she told he can sing.

By purchasing Arin, though, Kestrel gets more than she bargained for. And she discovers things about her self, and about the world, that shape Kestrel into the strong and self assured women at the end of this book. It's the first book in a series, though, so her growth is not yet complete. I found Kestrel extremely relatable, in her struggle between duty and her own desires. She may not be the strongest fighter, but I believe Kestrel has a great deal of inner strength. And she does have a brain for military strategy, when she's willing to follow through.

Arin, on the other hand, is far more complex. He still remains a mystery to me, and I think that is a part of his charm. I can't say that I adored the romance, but I can appreciate that it wasn't instalove. It wasn't until the very end, that I managed to care about the two as a couple. But of course they cannot be together, their situations are vastly different and society would not allow it. This is what makes the romance interesting, I think.

Marie's writing was also very lyrical, but easy to comprehend. There was easy flow, and I have to admit I became more and more addicted as I continued to read. I don't think that I adored it, like most people, but I will not hesitate to recommend this book to fellow readers and I will most certainly be picking up the sequel (because that ending was killer)! This series has the potential to be huge and epic. I look forward to seeing what happens next.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WoW: Faking Normal

RELEASE: Feb 25, 2014 

Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

I adore contemporary novels, and I love novels that break my heart and mend it back together. I don't care if that sounds self-depricating. I just think being emotionally affected by a book is a beautiful thing.  I can tell that this book will hold a special space in my heart, and this isn't because Courtney is a local author (who is super sweet, btw).  So yeah, I'm super excited for this to release in a few days!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. Book bloggers present upcoming books they can’t wait to read and share their enthusiasm about new releases.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Discussion: Book Buying Bans

I've seen a lot of people struggling with their book buying habits. And in an attempt to "take control", they put themselves on a book buying ban. Typically, this means not buying a single book for a period of time. I've attempted doing a book buying ban, but it's never worked out. There's always a book that I want to buy, so I do, and then the book sits on my shelf collecting dust. How long can you go without buying a new book? I'm sure it depends on the new releases, but I have never last more than two months without picking up a book. And when I do break my book buying ban, it's with multiple books. Not just one or two. I've also seen this happen with many other book tubers and book bloggers.

So this year, I decided to make a change.

I want to preface by saying this: you do not have to feel bad about your book buying habits. There are far worse things to spend your money on (i.e. drugs). Books are my addiction, so to speak. And I cannot just stop buying books. There are too many series I want to complete, and too many new books I want to add to my shelf. But I have chosen to regain control, to save money, and I'm offering some suggestions to those who DO feel guilty about the number of unread books on the shelf. Here is my 2014 strategy.

- Clean out my shelves. I have packed up books I am no longer interested in reading, and am taking them to a local used bookstore for cash.
- Preorder more books online. The biggest reason for preordering online, is that books are much cheeper online.
- Avoid going to the bookstore on a regular basis. Only go for special occasions and signings. This is to avoid the temptation of picking up books I hadn't planned on purchasing.
- Create a list of preorders for each month, limiting the number of purchases/preorders to 5 or 6 books per month. Or choose to limit the number of preorders per year (rather than by month). *
Have you gone of a book buying ban?  How long did it last? Are you limiting your book buying? Have you tried any (or all) of the methods I've used above to limit your book buying habit? Do you think there should be such a thing as a book buying ban? Let me know below and let's talk!

**I have chosen to do both. I have limited the total number of preorders in 2014 to 30.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: Harry Potter Series

Last year, I made a goal for myself: to finally finish reading all 7 Harry Potter book. If you haven't been following my blog, then I should probably explain why it took so long to read all Harry Potter books. After Sirius' death in The Order of the Phoenix, my younger pre-teen self was devastated. I began reading other books, and was never fully motivated to read The Half-Blood Prince or The Deathly Hallows. It's the plain honest true, and I'm not proud of it. But, now, I am proud to say that I've read all 7 books. And I loved them all.

Before I offer my detailed thoughts, here is quick breakdown (with SPOILERS):


Favorite HP Book: The Goblet of Fire
Least Favorite HP Book: The Half-Blood Prince
Did you watch the movies before reading book 6 & 7: Yes.
Favorite Character: It's a tie between Hermione and Snape. Love both character so much.
Least Favorite Character: Dudley.
Most tragic death: Sirius' death still brought me to tears. But I also have to say that I cried when Dumbledore died, too.
Favorite HP ship: I stand by Ron and Hermione.
Favorite House: Hufflepuff (because need some love, Tonks is cool, and I think I'd be sorted into Hufflepuff)
Least Favorite House: Slytherin (this was a tough decision)


If you have not read the books, or watched the HP movies, everyone has at least heard of Harry Potter. It's the fantastical tale of a seemingly ordinary boy, who discovers he's a wizard, and is invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It's the series that made J.K. Rowling one of the highest paid authors in the world. And deservedly so. I began my HP reading journey a year or two after the books came out. And I devoured the books, until Sirius' death forced me to step away and recover. It has taken me YEARS to return to this series, but I am so glad I decided to read all seven books in 2013, rather than picking up book 6 and book 7.  It was a exciting ride, and this is a series I will be rereading in the years to come.

It's hard to adequately describe my love for this series. I love Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I love Snape, Dumbledore, and the other members of the Hogwarts staff (even Umbridge, who I love to hate). It's so easy to fall in love with the protagonist of a series, but writers tend to forget side characters. This is not the case with the Harry Potter books. Rowling has managed to create a vast array of characters, each unique in their own way. As Harry goes through each year at Hogwarts, new characters are introduced,  and their journey becomes more dark and dangerous. My favorite character is a tie between Hermione and Snape, but if I had to be honest, Snape's character development is more intriguing and his character more complex. With Harry Potter, Rowling has also created one of the most iconic villains in literature: Voldemort. Dark and power-hungry, he's able to overcome all obstacles in his way. Every obstacle except Harry Potter--the boy who lived.  

As much as I loved the characters and the writing, I find that Rowling's strength is in world building. I want to live in the Wizarding World. And I want to visit Hogwarts. I am in awe with all the tiny facets of the world that I'm still discovering via the Pottermore site. The world is so vast, filled with other schools and mythical creatures (hypogriffs, goblins, etc). And how can I forget about Quidditch--the wizard sport that can best be described as basketball on brooms, with a few extra rules. There's also the Ministry of Magic: aka the wizarding government. There are chocolate frogs, butter beer, and Bertie Botts Ever Flavor Beams! That's all I have to say.

Harry Potter's journey to defeating Voldemort is not without sacrifices, though, and it's not without death. Sirius' death was emotional for me, and I was cheering when Mrs. Weasley managed to kill that crazy Bellatrix. And while I hated that Sirius died, I am convinced that it was necessary. I feel the same about Dumbledore's death. It was frustrating, and sad, but necessary to complete Harry's journey. What really saddens me is the sacrifices made at the Battle of Hogwarts. No battle is without casualty, but my heart breaks when I think of Fred, Tonks, and Lupin dying. 

After reading this series, I stand by my opinion that my favorite book is The Goblet of Fire. I love the competition aspect of the story, but more than that, I think that it's a major turning point in the series. The series goes from a fun fantasy tale, to a tale that's more darker and complex. And I love that! If there is one aspect of the series that was subpar, it's the romance. Harry goes from crushing on Cho Chang, to falling for Ginny Weasly. I have not problem with pairing the two together, but I feel like there was a lack of chemistry. The only couple that had chemistry was Ron and Hermione. It's only a minor complaint, and one I can easily overlook. With a great plot, world, and a cast of fascinating characters, how can I not love this series?