Monday, December 28, 2015

Shatter Me

Title: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)
Author: Tahereh Mafi 
Genre: YA Dystopian
Pages: 338
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Purchase this book here

Juliette's touch is poisoned with death. Every human she touches dies within minutes.  Why? Nobody knows for sure, but the one thing that everyone knows is that Juliette is powerful.  The Reestablishment seeks to use her curse power to take over the world. Juliette seeks to hide her power from the world. After being imprisoned for the past year because of her curse power, Juliette is wary of anyone who sees good in an ability so evil.  

I liked this book more than I thought I would, even if it's not the best book ever.  The action is exciting, and the overall idea is very unique. 

Maybe you picked this up from my synopsis, but the book is filled with crossed out words.  I really liked this aspect of the novel, because it helped you better understand Juliette, the main character.  However, I can see why this would bother some people, as it does break the flow of the writing a bit.  If this is something that would ruin the reading experience for you, I would steer clear of this novel.  

My biggest problem with the book was probably the love interest.  Adam is a rather bland character.  He doesn't really have a personality, and he lacks flaws. What little personality he does have is conflicting.  

My other problem with this book was how much romance there was.  I'm fine with some here and there, but it felt like every other scene was a romance scene. 

However, I did enjoy this book.  It had a very interesting plot.  Juliette literally has the touch of death, and it was interesting to read from the point of view of a person who is pretty much isolated from society in a mental and physical way.  

I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a unique dystopian action novel, and doesn't mind a lot of romance.  I'm rating it three and a half stars merely because it wasn't terrible, it wasn't spectacular, but I did enjoy it.  

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Top 15 of 2015!

Since this year is coming to a close, I figured I'd recap this crazy ride in 15 books I loved this 2015. These are in chronological order, not in order of preference. 

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I'm sure that if you've read these books, you know what I mean when I say that they are simply amazing.  Cinder, along with the rest of its series, takes Fairy Tale Retellings to a whole other level. I got Winter for Christmas, and I cannot wait to read it! 

2. In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken 

The Darkest Minds is one of my favorite series ever. I read the concluding novel, and loved it just as much as all the other books, although the first is probably my favorite of them all.  Who's excited for Passenger? 

3. The Heir by Kiera Cass

I had this book preordered for so many months it's not even okay.  I'm fairly certain I was the first person to read it at my school, since I read it pretty much the day it came out.  I remember when I lent it out to one of my best friends, we actually had to put a different dust jacket on it so people would stop asking to read it. (It's a signed addition, to there was no way I would be lending it out to anyone other than my closest friends.) 

4. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

This book is so funny! If you haven't read it yet, and you have read The Mortal Instruments, you seriously need to read The Bane Chronicles. 

5. The Program by Suzanne Young

I still haven't read the next book... I really should get to that.  But aside from that, I really enjoyed this book in a twisted sort of way, given how sad it is.  

6. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige 

I know that some people have a problem with this book's relation to Full Fathom Five, but I loved this book enough to not care.  And, while I was disappointed by the second book, The Wicked Will Rise, I have high hopes for book three, Yellow Brick War. I believe Danielle Paige is coming to BookCon, too! 

7. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

This is one of those series that just gets better with each new book, and now I'm on the edge of my seat for the final book. 

8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

This book, along with Crown of Midnight, have both captivated me to the fullest, and I can't wait to continue with the series. 

9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee  

My mom practically bribed me to read this book with Fangirl, but I'm so happy I did read it.  It was very powerful, very influential, and very moving.  I really hope I never have to read it in school and have it ruined for me. (Which is highly unlikely, but I can still hope.) 

10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I don't think, if you, like me, are a Harry Potter Fangirl, that you would be unable to read this book and not relate to it on an extreme level.  

11. The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore

This is the second to last book in the I am Number Four series, and it left off at such a cruel cliff hanger!  I can't wait for the final book.

This book is pretty much indescribable.  I'm not the biggest contemporary reader- I am starting to read more of the genre, but a couple months ago, I strayed away from contemporary.  I'm telling you this, because What We Saw is now one of my favorite books, despite being contemporary.  It's just such a powerful book, and I've already forced recommended it to plenty of people. 

I mean, it's Rick Riordan and Annabeth, so how can I say no?

14. Still Life by Jacqueline West

This is the concluding novel to a Middle Grade book series that has stuck with me since 4th grade, and I am not ashamed to say I cried when it ended. 

15.  Looking For Alaska by John Green

I love most realistic fiction books that have deeper, hidden meanings.  Anyone who's read Looking For Alaska knows this book is a perfect one when it comes to uncovering the secrets of life.  

And those were my top 15 of 2015!  I hope you enjoyed glancing at the best books of my year.  What were some of your favorites this year? 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Bookish Gift Ideas

     Who says gift shopping is only for the holiday season?  With Christmas fast approaching, I'm sure most of you have finished up your holiday shopping.  But the end of Christmas signals a whole new season.  Whether your spending some spare holiday cash, buying for a January birthday, or just really enjoy looking at cool things, here's a list of some of the most unique bookish gift ideas I could come up with.  Also: shoutout to all you, who like me, endure the Christmas/Birthday chaos- happy early birthday! 

Staring the list off is Adagio Tea- bringing all you tea lovers some delicious fandom blends.  They have flavors for all your favorite fandoms- Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Doctor Who, and plenty of fairy tales.  

Plenty of Etsy Shops make bookish related light switch plates!  I myself have a Lumos/Nox plate.  


Redbubble is one of my all time favorite online stores for phone cases.  Not only can you find a case for most smartphone models, but they sell the case in 2-3 different styles.  A 'snap on' for those people who never drop the phone, a 'skin' for those of you who like a slimmer feel, and than a 'tough' case for the bulk of us with butterfingers.  

IceyDesigns, an Esty Shop, makes bookish pencils for the writing enthusiast.  You can find not only these generic book lover pencils, but also many fandom specific ones.  

Lastly, this online store sells tons of movie posters! Find your favorite book to movie adaption and keep it's film poster as a memento.  

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this list of bookish gifts!  Are you gifting (or requesting) bookishly this year? 

Happy Holidays, New Years, and (un)Birthdays! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Five Seven Five

Note: I received this book for review in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Five Seven Five (The Boy With Words #1)
Author: C.E. Wilson
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Pages: 200
Rating: 4 Stars
Purchase this book here 

White Frost has never been into the Unknown, but she hopes that one day, this will change. The only thing she knows of the world outside is what her cousin brings back to her.  Little scraps of paper with small collections of words.  Her cousin Shade is a Chosen One.  He is one of the few that are able to leave the zones and enter the Unknown world.   But after a tragic event tips White's world upside down, she begins to gain a new perspective about life, and the world she knew.  

This was an extremely unique novel- something unlike anything I'd ever read- and I definitely suggest you give it a shot! 

The beginning of this book has a very mysterious premise.  You don't exactly know what's going on- but you know some thing's off. White doesn't know anything about blue skies, green grass, rain, clouds, or colors.  For me, this is what caught my attention. A world where the main character knows nothing of beauty and light?  How could I resist? 

Our main character, White, as you slowly learn, is not like many of the other people in her society.  She wants more.  She wants to see what is out there beyond the zones of her colony.  Her only problem is that she is too young to apply for the position of "Chosen One"- like her cousin. 

Throughout the book, you get to watch White discover the beauty of a world beyond her imagination.  You get to drink in every tiny detail through her eyes, and it's gorgeously done.  The descriptions create such a vivid, complete picture.  It's beautiful.  

The characters are another nicely done aspect of the story.  Each one is unique, complex, and a little difficult to fully understand. Oh, and their names!  They're simply the best. For example- Penny Lincoln (like how President Lincoln is on the United States penny), and there are two siblings by the names Salt and Pepper. I know some people were a little weirded out by the names, but I liked them, because it really helps you differentiate between White's world, and the world we know.  
My one complaint would be that there are a couple editing/grammatical errors, but they are certainly easy to look past given the superiority of the plot.  

I can't tell you all that much about this story without giving away some major plot twists- so it is difficult for me to explain exactly why I think you should check this book out, but overall, if you want something new and different, I'd recommend this one.  Five Seven Five is a one of a kind novel, and it's sure to leave you with a positive, lasting impression. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Crown of Midnight

Warning: This review contains spoilers for Throne of Glass, the first book in the Throne of Glass series
Title: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 418
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Purchase this book here

In this second installment in the Throne of Glass series, Celaena Sardothien begins her work as the King's Champion.  She's earning loads of money, she's finally got her love life untangled, and she's very content.  Of course something has to go wrong.

When Celaena discovers there is more to the labyrinth  beneath her rooms, an even more shocking discovery is made, and Celaena begins to realize that not everyone is as they seem.

Oh my gosh this book was good!  If you read the first one, and you haven't gotten around to picking up the next book, you NEED to.  Like, now.  It's even better than the first book, if you ask me.  With the first book's plot, you sort of expect a lot of murders, twists, and cliff hangers.  With Crown of Midnight, you don't ever really know what's going to happen next.  The plot is so much more intricate and layered- it's phenomenal! 

One thing I couldn't get over is how emotionally gripping this book was.  I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but I definitely wasn't prepared for a book that would leave me crying out loud, jumping up from my chair in disbelief, and tossing my book angrily to the side.  I was up until midnight last night, just physically incapable of putting it down.  

But why was it so good? Well, first there's the plot twists.  The book would draw you into this false sense of security and then- BOOM- plot twist!  That plot twist would lead you racing down another path when all of a sudden- ARGH- cliff hanger! And then, you're there, wobbling at the edge of this cliff, so desperate and excited that you slip and go crashing down, down, down until you've landed in a swiftly flowing river, and you're being carried down it, trying to stay afloat, and it's all you can do from being dragged beneath the crashing rapids.   You're being thrown around, side from side, your thrashing just making everything worse, and everythingishappeningsofastandyoudon'tunderstandwhat'sgoingonand then suddenly, the river slows down, and you stop thrashing.  You feel your tense, sore muscles loosen, your breathing slows to long, even inhales and exhales, your heart rate decreases to a steady drumming- you relax.  You are floating merrily down the river when, just out of nowhere, a waterfall appears and you tumble over it's edge.  You never do hit the bottom.  

That's it.  That's the plot.  It's just one crazy ride that never really leaves you feeling safe.  And even though it's wild and unpredictable, each plot twists hits you hard.  

So there's one reason why the book's so good.  Another great thing about this novel would be the characters.  No body's boring, everyone has a purpose, and there are no Mary Sues or Gary Stus.  For example, there's our main character Celaena.  She's the definition of power, strength, and skill.  But despite being so refined, she has a beautiful, soft side- a more feminine side filled with the love of books, pets, and chocolate cake.  I think that everyone can relate to her on some degree.  Chaol is another great character.  He's loyal, hardworking, and naive.  He's a character impossible to dislike.  And then there's our villain- the king.  Personally, I think he's an awesome villain.  He's someone you love to hate.  But not everything is out there about him.  You don't quite know how far he's willing to go to gain total power.  You remain in the dark with this villain, leaving an element of shock and surprise in the hands of the author.  The characters are just amazing. 

So if you haven't gone ahead and continued this series, I really suggest you do so.  If you have read this book, what did you think?  Were you as captivated by this novel as I was? 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday 12/8/15

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Five New-To-Me Authors I read for the first time in 2015

1. Rainbow Rowell

Yeah, yeah, I know- it's crazy, isn't it?  But I only began reading Rainbow Rowell's books this year, starting off with Fangirl.  I don't know why it's taken me this long, but I'm glad I eventually jumped on the wagon, as I've thoroughly enjoyed all the books I've read by her. 

2. Marissa Meyer

If I remember correctly, I started Cinder at the beginning of this year, and it's one of my favorite series!  I can't wait to get my hands on Winter.  

3. Maggie Steifvater 

From what I've heard, her Shiver trilogy is not the best- but I've loved her Raven Cycle books, and they are also one of my favorite series. 

4. Aaron Hartzler 

I read my first ever Aaron Hartzler book, What We Saw, this fall, and it is one of my all-time favorite books- ever.  I cannot wait to try out some of his other books.  

5. Pittacus Lore

Now, I'm not actually sure if I first started the I am Number Four Series this year, or the end of last year, so I'm just going to list it here because I really love these books and the author! 

Thanks for reading this weeks Top Ten Tuesday!  Let me know your thoughts, and leave me your links below. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Eleanor and Park

Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pages: 328 
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Purchase this book here

     Eleanor lives a hard life.  Her family is in pieces, she owns practically nothing, and she's a social outcast to top it off.  
     Park has everything one could every want.  A loving family, a warm house, and a mutual, friendly feeling towards everyone in school.  
     It's hard to imagine that two people so virtually different would ever find their paths crossing, but for Eleanor and Park, that's exactly what happens.  In this fast-paced novel, you follow the ever complicated story of two teenagers, drowning in desperate romance.  

I really liked this novel.  I had some trouble really getting into it, but as the novel hit it's climax, I found myself unable to put it down!  It's a really simple, refreshing romance, with it's own twist. 

My favorite part of this book was definitely the relationships. First, there is the obvious: Eleanor and Park.  The way their romance evolves, starting slowly and then speeding up, was beautifully done.  Eleanor loves the simplest things.  The hand holding, the talking.  It was rather refreshing coming from a genre that is usually the opposite. 

The next relationship is Eleanor and Mindy.  I found it to be quite enjoyable.  The two start off very cold and distant, Mindy taking Eleanor's disregard for fashion and beauty as a personal offence, but as the story progresses, Mindy finds herself able to relate to Eleanor, and she becomes the daughter Mindy never had.  It was just so heartwarming!

Finally, we have Park and his father.  My gosh they were hilarious. Despite their differences, Park's dad seemed to really understand when something truly mattered to Park, and he always came through in the end. 

As I mentioned above, I had trouble really getting myself into this book.  I couldn't relate to Eleanor. At all.  And I didn't really like her.  I thought she was too confusing as a main character, I didn't understand her.  But as the story unfolded, I found myself buried under the layers this book had created, and I had to get myself out.  I raced through the end of this book, and my emotions were out of whack by the end.  

I definitely recommend this book to you, especially if you were like me, and have been putting this book off for a while.  I know you'll enjoy it. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday 12/1/15

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's theme is actually "most anticipated debut novels of 2016", but because I don't think I'd be able to come up with ten, I'll be simplifying it to "most anticipated novels of 2016". 

So, here are my Top Ten Most Anticipated Novels of 2016 in order from least to greatest anticipation:

10. Stars Above by Merissa Meyer

Stars Above is going to be a collection of short stories from the Lunar Chronicles! More content? I think yes.  

9. I See Reality by Various Authors

With twelve short stories about life, I thought this book looked rather interesting. 

8. Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige

This is the third book in the Dorothy Must Die series, and I'm pretty excited to see how it ends. (Is it the last book... I don't know if there's supposed to be another one or not.)

7. The Last Star by Rick Yancey

This is the final book in the 5th wave trilogy, and I'm certain I'm not the only one who's highly excited about seeing how this alien apocalypse closes.  

6. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

This is the 2nd book in the Red Queen series, and I'm really excited to see what happens next!

5. United As One by Pittacus Lore

Ahem, anyway, yes, final installment in the I Am Number Four series, and I seriously can't handle the cliffhanger we got at the end of the last book.

4. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken   

If you didn't already know, yes.  Alexandra Bracken is releasing a new book on January 5th, and yes, I am most definitely reading it.  And just look at that stunning cover! 

I mean, I'm not one to judge books by their cover (cough) but just look at it! 

3. The Crown by Kierra Cass

I know some people weren't too fond of the extension of the Selection Series, but I personally adore the Selection world, and I'm super excited to get this book.

2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater 

The final book in the Raven Cycle is coming out spring of next year, and I seriously cannot wait.  Also, this book has a beautiful cover- it takes my breath away.  

1. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare 

And my number one, most highly anticipated novel of 2016 is Lady Midnight.  I mean- is there a TMI fan out there who isn't excited for Lady Midnight?  More content on those next generation Shadowhunters = take my money. 

Thanks for reading this week's TTT- comment your thoughts and feel free to link your post! 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Saint Anything

Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen 
Genre: Contemporary YA 
Pages: 417
Rating: 4/5
Purchase this book here

Sydney Stanford grew up in the shadow of her older brother, Peyton.  Everything she did was followed by Peyton doing something better.  So, you’d think that when Peyton got thrown in jail for running over a young boy while driving drunk, Sydney would finally get some recognition for her good, positive personality.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  Instead, she’s thrown further under the dark, overcast cloud Peyton has created, and Sydney slowly begins to believe herself invisible. 

I really enjoyed this book.  The beginning was a little slow, but once you got through the background information part, it began to pick up, and I was hooked! The characters were the best- Sydney was super relatable, and her friends were just plain adorable.  You wanted to hate the antagonists, love the good guys, and you felt all of Sydney’s anger and frustration just as vividly as if it were all happening to you. 

This book basically follows Sydney Stanford’s life as she deals with the aftermath of her brothers huge mistakes, which include (but are not limited to) driving under influence (and hitting a boy which resulted in his paralyze), drug abuse, burglary, and breaking and entering.  Feeling judged as she follows her brother's path through school, she makes the decision to switch schools- gaining a clean slate.  You watch her struggle with her parents inability to trust her, despite the fact that Sydney had never done anything wrong, all because of her brother’s history.  You watch life unravel as she tries to get her parents to understand how she feels; about her brother, her life, and how she’s being treated by her family.  And most importantly, you look in as Sydney finds her confidence, her meaning, and herself. 

This book really toyed with your emotions.  I truly felt Sydney’s anger and frustration at her parents, and every time she had to stay home alone with her brother’s creepy friend, I felt my heart speed up in nervousness.  

And then there were the scenes were she was surrounded by her new found friends.  Whenever they’d all be truly, truly happy, I found myself in a good mood as well. 

My one problem was that Sydney tended to make stupid decisions. Underage drinking, lying when it wasn’t necessary, and being unable to stand up for herself are a few.  There were times were I really wished I could just pop into the book and talk some sense into her.  She wouldn’t have even gotten into half of these bad situations if she had done the smart thing and just said “no.” 

Despite it’s flaws, this book is just so easy to relate to and I loved it. I think everyone’s found themselves in a point in their life where they just feel misunderstood.  Like nobody in the world sees things the way they do.  And because of that, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.   

Monday, November 23, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday 11/24/15

Top Ten Fictional Families I Want to Celebrate Thanksgiving With

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish

The following fictional families are the ones I'd want to celebrate Thanksgiving with the most, and are not in any specific order. 

Note: Some of these families would not actually be celebrating Thanksgiving, given their location/time era, but I'm still including them. 

1. The Weasley Family (Harry Potter)

I just think that the Weasleys would be so fun to celebrate Thanksgiving with.  Not only would the food be absolutely to die for, but I would really enjoy getting to immerse myself in the magic of the wizarding world.  

2. The Schreave Family (The Selection Series)

One word for you- FOOD. I just remember America describing the food at the palace when she first showed up, and now I would love to try their lavish meals.  

3. The Camp Half-Blood Family (Percy Jackson)

I would really enjoy getting to go to Camp Half-Blood and be able to ask all my questions and experience the Camp Half-Blood magic for myself. Of course, when I say family, I do literally mean family, since they are all related. 

4. The Lightwood Family (The Mortal Instruments)

When I say family, I think I'd include Clary, Simon, Magnus, etc. etc. in this, just because I'd want to be able to talk to all of them.  It would be so cool to meet Shadowhunters and see the runes- you know?  Of course, I'd be pretty intimidated at the same time. 

5. The Sargent Family (The Raven Cycle)

Okay, how could I say no to a family of psychics?  Blue's quirk, awkward, all-knowing family would make for the single most interesting Thanksgiving dinner! 

6. The Dunwoody Family (The Books of Elsewhere)

Mrs. and Mr. Dunwoody would be so hilarious to listen to!  I've always found The Dunwoody family to be one of my favorite fictional families, and not only would I love to be able to listen to the Dunwoody parents talk mathematician talk, but just being able to visit the Dunwoody's house, and talk to Olive would be so fun! Plus, I might get a peek at one (or all) of the cats. 

7. The Campbell Family (The Underland Chronicles)

Getting to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with Gregor's adorable family would be so great.  Just being able to spend time with a family that's so tight would be really heartwarming.  (Plus I could bombard Gregor with questions about the Underland.) 

8. The Lovegood Family (Harry Potter)

Sure, it might be a small group, but it would certainly be an eventful one! I'd love to see what traditions they have, and try their unique food. 

9. The Meminger Family (The Book Thief)

Liesel's quirky family would be really great to spend Thanksgiving with. I would just love to be able to talk with them all. 

10. The Potter Family (Harry Potter)

I would really enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving with the early Potters. And Sirius. And Remus.  I love how much they all love each other, and I think Thanksgiving would be a very happy, joyful holiday.

So those were my Top Ten Families!  Let me know what you think, and feel free to link your Top Ten Tuesday 11/24 below. 

Disclaimer: No artwork is mine.  All pictures are linked to their original sources.