The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a good Christmas and are ready for another cracking year. I hope 2016 lives up to its expectations.
Okay folks, it has been far too long since I did a review. So instead I’m doing mini reviews to keep it short and sweet. I have 7 books to tell you about, and so I guess I better start!
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
This book. What can I say that hasn’t already been said in other reviews? I mean, this blew my mind. I went into this completely blind, other than knowing it was a sci-fi ‘space opera’ as many called it. I didn’t know the premise and I was glad. I think if I’d known, I might have been scared off. Illuminae is full of wonder, tragedy, hope, fear, creepy artificial intelligent ready to destroy everyone onboard a spaceship. Yes. That’s basically it. You won’t want to read anything else after because nothing can come close to satisfying your needs like this can. I just…mindblown. I can’t wait for book 2!
The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus #1) by Rick Riordan
I have read all of the Percy Jackson books, and I’d heard this spin off series was actually better…and I couldn’t agree more. I think I prefer this, to be honest. Maybe it was the change in writing style, or the different characters, but I just became more sucked into what was going on and everything stood out clearer. I didn’t get bored and I rooted for each character like they were my own friends. My love for Greek Mythology just got stronger!
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Well, took my long enough, eh? I never in a month of Sundays thought I’d actually read this. I’ve tried many times but something about the story just put me off. But I was intrigued and determined, so I gave it another shot and absolutely loved it. If I forget that she’s not completely human. There was plenty of mystery and longing romance and just the right amount of sci-fi to keep anyone happy. I can now see what all the fuss is about. I have Scarlet ready and waiting. Yuss!!!
Firecracker by David Iserson
I picked this up one day while in Waterstones, and I’ll admit it was mostly the cover that got me interested. It’s one of those modern day contemporary stories that didn’t get tons of brilliant reviews but surprised me once I’d read it. I thoroughly enjoyed its quirks and how sarcastic and cynical the main lead, Astrid, is. She kind of reminded me of…well, me. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but if you appreciate snarky comebacks and teenage angst and generally spoilt brats being taught a lesson…then you’re ready for this.
All Wrapped Up (Geek Girl 1.5) by Holly Smale
A cute Christmassy read that fully exceeded my needs. I love the Geek Girl series and this was just so sweet and (really) short. Don’t let the number of pages fool you. Haha. I was like “wait? that’s it?” but then there’s a Q&A and also a short story that the author wrote for World Book Day. If you’re already a fan of Geek Girl then you’ll love this. If you haven’t read the other books, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy this as a side seasonal treat. 🙂
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I got the audiobook from audible. I occasionally like listening to memoirs, because I’m not really one to buy them as in the past I just don’t get around to reading them. I went into this not really knowing much about Amy, and I came out a fully fledged fan. She is funny, smart, hard working, and her memoir shows as much. Her story of how she got to where she is today is truly awe-inspiring. She also gives advice and tidbits on what not to do in certain circumstances. The audio includes bits from special guest speakers like Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, Seth Meyers and a bunch of others. Even if you haven’t been a fan of hers to begin with, trust me, this will change your mind.
and finally, my most recent read:
Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick Riordan
Just as good, if not better than the first book. I did find, however, there were bits that I found a tad slow, (heavy description, etc) so I had help from the audiobook I bought with my credit, and that pushed me along. I finished this with 3 hours to spare of 2015. Cutting it close, I know. I needed to reach my Goodreads challenge goal. Well, I sort of did. If you count changing the goal at the last minute. 😛
Over all I can’t really find anything specifically wrong. I’m already reading book 3, so that must tell you what I think. I feel like I’m in the Demi-god world and I don’t want to leave.
Thanks for reading. 🙂 Have you read any of these? What did you think?
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight–she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graces as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.
She never expects to become Po’s friend.
She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace–or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away..
Beware of spoilers!
It took me some time to fully get into this story. The first couple of chapters, to me, were full of info–dumping. I was confused, lost, on who was who and what King belonged to what land, etc etc. So it was a nice surprise, once that had passed, to get stuck in and enjoy it.
Katsa is a very strong character, but at times I thought overly so. She needed to stop being so self-reliant sometimes because it was very annoying. So what if she had help from someone? Or had someone to protect her? Stop being so stubborn!
In any case, she grew on me, and I found I could tolerate her more. I loved Po, too, and how he seemed to be her equal in most things. He balanced out her annoyances and I thought their relationship was inevitable, sweet, and slow burning, which made it even more interesting. Given that she was always “me woman. me need no man” in her behaviour, I found it funny when she ended up changing her perspective on things.
When she cut her hair, however, I nearly had to throw the book away. It completely tore me away from the character, the story, and had little to do with her action and more because of my dislike for boy hair cuts on girls, and ruined the image of her in my head. So basically, I had to reimagine her, though I chose at times to ignore it. I just had her with a pixie cut and not…what she had. *shudder*
Another slight annoyance I had with the book is how many times they’d say “Well,” at the beginning of a sentence/dialogue. Oh my god! I was ready to throttle someone. I know it was the author’s choice to have that as a story trait, but holy crap, I was getting infuriated. haha. But yeah, eventually I noticed it not happening so much and I calmed down.
I loved the world building, the scenery, the camping! If I could camp even a quarter as well as Katsa can, then I’d be well on my way to being awesome. She could do everything! I mean, it was unreal. Catching fish with her barehands, scaling snowed over mountains with a person on her back in freezing temperatures?! Okay so there were moments where I suspected of plot holes, as bits were not plausible, but I guess that’s the fun of story telling. It’s not reality and can be twisted.
I’m disappointed that the companion to this isn’t about Katsa. I’ve never been much of a fan of companion novels for this reason: it’s rarely from a POV I like.
I rated this four stars because it deserved it, despite the irritations I had. I really didn’t like Leck *shudders* and his Grace was awful. I could really imagine how terrifying it would be. The Graces for others were interesting, and I like how it’s just personal traits in real life, but exaggerated. Except for the being able to hear thoughts. That’s one I’d like to have. So yeah, if you haven’t already read Graceling, I recommend it. 🙂
Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?
In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Since ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ Lara Jean has fallen for Peter Kavinsky and is happy. Though she doesn’t really understand how Peter feels.
I loved how simple this story was, even when there was things going on, it didn’t feel too complicated or hard to understand. Some stories can make me feel dizzy with concentration.
Lara and Peter’s relationships is so sweet, but with Gen (Peter’s ex) always on the scene, I couldn’t blame Lara for being paranoid/upset/worried about whether Peter was still into Gen. What with him always seeming to talk to Gen and Lara would see them hugging, you wonder what is going on!
There’s nothing like a good old contemporary teen romance to make you glad you’re not having to deal with that yourself. Ha Ha. But all in all, I really enjoyed this story. It seemed quite bittersweet, especially when one of Lara’s old crushes comes back to town after replying to her letter. Remember the letters’ her sister sent out without Lara’s permission? Yeah. Kitty annoyed me more than the first book, mostly because she kept on being judging and trying to keep Lara with Peter together even when things were his fault, but she did come around for me in the end. For a ten year old, she’s really quite wise.
One thing that disappointed me was the lack of Josh. I mean, for a next door neighbour, he was awfully non existent. I know that was because he and Margot had split, but you know…I like Josh.
But John Ambrose McClaren.
What a hottie. *swoon* And that’s where the drama really gets started.
I wish there was a third book because I’d love to know more, what happens next in Lara Jean’s world. I just…it’s so easy to get lost in it, and imagine being there. I found myself not wanting the book to end, and I love (and hate) when that happens.
This summer seems to me to be another contemporary filled season. Bring it on!
Here I am again, bringing you a new video. I won’t be doing these all the time, thank god. I can’t bear to keep editing myself ALL THE TIME. Yikes! Anyway, sorry it’s not the greatest quality. It seemed better when I was editing. Sigh. 🙂
Hey! So again, I’m trying the booktubing thing. I have another one to edit as well. Sigh. Enjoy! 🙂
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
I can’t believe how many books I’ve had to start and quit early before I got to one I really really liked. I’ve been in a reading slump for quite some time and only when I finally bought The Darkest Minds did I think, yes, I’ve found the ONE!
I loved everything about this book, though in some aspects it reminded me a bit of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. But that could be just because of the whole ‘super powers’ thing and that Ruby doesn’t want to touch anyone for fear something bad will happen. It’s really quite unique in its own way, and scary in parts. Especially the chapter on Ruby’s parents and how what happened..happened. I won’t spoil, because it’s all part of the journey, but it’s really something.
Ruby and Liam made the perfect couple in my opinion and DAMN, why you have to go and write THAT ending, Alex? *sobs* I can’t wait to read Never Fade, as I need to find out what happens next.
The only person I really couldn’t stand was Clancy, but I think that was probably the point. He was manipulative, temperamental and sleezy in all sense of the word. At first, I thought yeah maybe I could dig this kid, but then after about a page I was like NO! There were times when I wondered if Ruby and her group (Zu, Chubs and Liam) were stupid, with the situations they ended up in.
Chubs is probably my favourite character. And that’s saying something because it took a long time for him to soften to Ruby, but I liked the fact he stuck by his guns (metaphorically speaking) and knew what he wanted out of life. He knew, when they ended up at East River, that things weren’t all that they seemed, and yet no one listened because…well…why would they? Everyone else was having a grand old time. It made me appreciate just how much outsiders listen and observe more than those that instantly fit in. I’ve always been an outsider myself, and I tend to grasp what is happening to others before they do, and it helps when someone suddenly realises and I’m like HAHA NAILED IT! Just kidding. I’m not that shallow. 😛
Anyway, this book had everything I wanted. Action, romance, a bit of amusement, drama, tales of woe…just everything. POWERS! I love books about super powers.
I saw Alexandra Bracken at SDCC, though from a distance, and I wish I had bothered to get the book then to have it signed because man, it’s definitely up there with my favourites.
Just a quick update first: I’m going to be away for 3weeks so may not be able to post anything during that time.
Also, as in true pre-trip fashion, I’ve lost something. My new glasses. Good thing I still wear my old ones now and then, other wise I’d be stuck. I mean, my new ones were lowered in prescription, and they’re better for me, but the lens never cleaned properly. So…anyway.
On to the reviews, yes?
Being marooned on an island somewhere off the coast of Madagascar with five celebrities sounds romantic and glamorous, right?
You couldn’t find people with fewer survival skills if you tried. Seriously. Cisco may have centerfold abs, but he can’t even spell SOS. At least super-sexy Jonah seems to have a clue (too bad about the purity ring). If I’m stuck here much longer, these self-involved head cases might drive me crazy-assuming they don’t insult each other to death first. It’s like a group therapy edition of Survivor.
At this point, I’m pretty convinced that all celebrities should be caged in Hollywood and confined to the pages of US magazine. And, btw, if you’re there, God, it’s me, Francesca, and I really want to go home.
So, I was looking for some funky contemps that weren’t too expencive, and lo-and-behold I found this for under £2 on Amazon! Bargain if I do say so myself.
The story starts off fair cute, Francesca’s humour is just so…fresh. Though she does act older in some aspects than 16. At first I thought she was 18 or so. But, no. She’s very into celebrities, she reads gossip mags like they’re literally growing on trees, and constantly worries about what others think of her. She has a good relationship with her dad who lives with a new girl (younger than her mum) and everything’s great, until he announces he’s having another child. Well, Fran is angry, and in a rush, enters a competition from a Seventeen magazine where she’s to write a non fiction story about loss. Except she doesn’t, she says her dad is dead. Which…isn’t true.
So she wins the competition and is jetted off to a secluded island off the coast of Madagascar. Except… the pilot is hollywood legend Joe (surname has been forgotten, but it’s made up so no worries) and he’s not exactly famous for flying, if you catch my drift. They crash somewhere NOT where they’re supposed to be, and it reminded me of Lost but without all the supernatural stuff and a lot more complaining.
I can’t say I disliked this book, but I did find it wasn’t as funny after a while and it just got a bit irritating. There seemed to be a lot of oneupmanship with each of the characters, but given that there were like…6 celebrities (more like B list celebs) and one normal and one Perez Hilton like guy, that was to be expected. The amount of swearing, however, was a little unneeded. I don’t mind it but when it’s just thrown out there for no reason other than, clearly, to shock, it’s just a bit weird.
This was a quick read and I didn’t struggle to get in to it, which was a relief. If you like the sound of it, I’d definitely recommend a read.
I rate this 3 and a half stars.
‘Just listen,’ Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.’ I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen.
‘Stay,’ he says.
Everybody has to make choices.
Some might break you.
For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they’re all about a future full of music and love, a future that’s brimming with hope.
But life can change in an instant.
A cold February morning . . . a snowy road . . . and suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone. Except one.
As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.
Haunting, heartrending and ultimately life-affirming, If I Stay will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you’ve lost – and all that might be.
I saw the movie of If I Stay first. I’ll admit that, and so we can get that out of the way. *sighs*
I loved the film and cried, and just…it was so beautiful. So when I came across the book in the library, I had to read it. Granted, I was months/years overdue, but who cares?
And basically, I fell for this book just as I did for the movie, and then some. Because obviously there were bits that weren’t put in the film, but were just as lovely to read.
Mia is a strong willed character who is then thrown in the deep end with a challenge that I don’t think I could complete. A car crash is one thing, but then to lose everyone in your family? That is just crippling. So I didn’t blame her if she didn’t want to wake up from her coma. As I’d seen the movie first ,I knew what the characters were like and I knew roughly what to expect, but the words on page still struck me hard. I need to read the sequel.
I thought the romance was sweet and gentle, but still held meaning, and Adam was everything you’d want in a guy.
I’m a little stuck for words, to be honest. I loved the book so much, I don’t know how to do it justice. So I’ll leave you with my rating, which should explain everything.
So I’m testing out a little thing. I sometimes can’t always be bothered to write a review (yes yes we all know I’m lazy!) and depending on my mood, and depending on how well the videos are received, I’ll do video reviews.
So…it’s all up to you. If no one wants to see my mug on screen (which I can’t blame you for, really) then I’ll not do anymore.
Also, I’m REALLY new at this, so I’m still learning what to say and stuff. As you’ll be able to tell, I’m not anywhere near as articulate on video as I am in writing. LOL.
by Jody Gehrman
Release Date: 04/14/15
Summary from Goodreads:
Dakota McCloud has just been accepted into a prestigious art school. Soon she’ll leave behind the artists’ colony where she grew up―hippie dad, tofu since birth, yurt―and join her boyfriend and best friend on the East Coast. It was the plan…until Dakota finds out her boyfriend and best friend hooked up behind her back.
Hurt and viciously betrayed, Dakota pours out her heart on a piece of paper, places it in a bottle, and hurls it into the ocean. But it doesn’t quite go where she expects…
Jack Sauvage finds the bottle washed up on the shore and responds to Dakota’s letter. Except what if his straight-laced life doesn’t jive with the free-spirited girl he’s only seen from afar? As Jack creates a persona he believes she’ll love, they slowly fall for each other with each new letter. Now Jack is trying to find a way to make this delicate, on-paper romance happen in real life…without revealing his deception.
You have no idea how happy your letter made me. I got it at a time when all the magic in the universe seemed to have drained away, leaving only darkness in its wake. For starters, it’s just the most dazzling coincidence, you being from Barcelona! I’m obsessed with that city! I swear I have an image file on my laptop with like four million
Barcelona photos in it! Not to sound all Northern Californian or anything, but seriously, what a twist of fate! I’m using too many exclamation points. Sorry about that.
I’m embarrassed to admit I had to look up more than one of the words on your list. Sprezzatura for one. Thanks for teaching me such a great new concept. Leave it to the Italians to come up with a word for “making difficult things look easy.” Its closest match in English is probably “insouciance,” which would be on my top seven list for sure.
Speaking of sprezzatura, I’m impressed with how fluent you are in English! Not just your overall ease with the language, but your apparently effortless comfort with American pop culture. Debby Boone and Justin Bieber? Not bad. Did you grow up in Spain, or have you been here a long time? You said you’re traveling. I’m thinking of traveling myself, so I’d love to know more details about your trip. What are your impressions of this country? Where have you been, and where are you going?
A little about me: I live in a place called Luna Cove. It’s an artist colony. My dad’s a musician. We also have a writer named Fran who lives in a tree house, a Japanese guy named Tomo who’s a tattoo artist, and a couple named Neville and Jane who are potters. Neville and Jane have a bunch of kids who are just…kids. We all live in our own little spaces. I live in a yurt, which is a round house created by Mongolians and revised by white people who like camping. If a circus tent and a Native American round house had a fling, the yurt would be their love child. Here, it’s probably easier to draw a picture.
Anyway, I think I’m starting to ramble, so I guess I’ll sign off. Please write me back! Tell me the three things you love best about Barcelona, what sort of weather you’d like to be if you could be any weather, and the most memorable thing that’s happened to you on this trip.
Oh! And I almost forgot to answer your question. If I could be anything in nature for ten minutes I’d want to try life as a passionflower. They’re so whimsical and outlandish, I just know they have a lot going on inside.
Also, here’s my email in case you ever need to tell me something in a hurry. I don’t know if you have internet access, but I figured I’d include it just in case. Please don’t stop writing letters, though. Who even does this anymore? It’s a lost art, so retro, like wearing pillbox hats or winding a Victrola.
I hold the letter closer to my face to study the adorable picture of what must be a yurt. It’s no bigger than a postage stamp, but impossibly detailed. There’s a tiny skylight at the center of the sloping roof. She’s right; it does look a little like a circus tent.
“Well?” Attila’s impatient voice startles me.
“Well, what?” I can’t hide my smile.
“What does she say?”
I fold the letter carefully and put it back into the envelope. “Oh, you know, this and that.” He is so not going to read my precious letter! I hope he knows that.
“‘This and that’?” His face twists into a look of such scorn I can’t help but laugh. My chuckle cuts off abruptly when I hear a chair scrape against the floor in the next room.
“Jack?” Mom calls.
Attila silently rushes to the stereo. Showing an agility I never knew he possessed, he stops the recording and cues me all at the same time, then he conceals himself behind the sofa with lightning speed. I manage to continue “Nocturne in D Flat Major” seamlessly. When Mom opens the conservatory door, nothing is amiss.
I glance over my shoulder at her, still playing. “What is it, Mom?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. It sounded like there was someone in here with you.”
“Nope. Just me.” I dive into the second strophe, furrowing my brow with concentration.
“My mistake,” she murmurs before closing the door.
After a moment, Attila pops up from behind the couch and scurries over to the table. He finds a notepad and scribbles something in big, sloppy letters, then holds it up to me. I have to suppress another laugh when I see what he’s written.
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Jody Gehrman is a native of Northern California, where she can be found writing, teaching, reading, or obsessing over her three cats most days. She is also the author of ten novels and numerous award-winning plays. Her Young Adult novels include The Truth About Jack, Audrey’s Guide to Black Magic, Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft, Babe in Boyland, Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, and Triple Shot Bettys in Love. Babe in Boyland was optioned by the Disney Channel and won the International Reading Association’s Teen Choice Award. Her adult novels are Bombshell, Notes from the Backseat, Tart, and Summer in the Land of Skin. Her plays have been produced in Ashland, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A. She and her partner David Wolf won the New Generation Playwrights Award for their one-act, Jake Savage, Jungle P.I. She is a professor of English and Communication Studies at Mendocino College.
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