Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I loved When I Was In School

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is a back-to-school freebie. So I decided to do this one on ten books that I loved when I was in school. Some of these will likely include books I read during University, because high school feels like it was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. 

I've definitely talked in other TTT's about how much I love this series from Holly Black. I actually bought new copies of this novel so that she could sign them for me when I got to meet her last year. I have a lot of love for this book.

I'm sure a lot of people have this one on their list, and I'm sure I talked about this before, but I didn't read the Harry Potter series until I was as Sophomore at University. No, I'm not kidding. My mom was a weird religious person that wouldn't let me read it when this book came out. I am not joking. So I finally got around to reading it when I was older, and I definitely enjoyed it. 

I actually reread this book recently, and it was just nonsense, which is exactly how I remembered it! This book was so much fun as a middle schooler, but I think as an adult I got a few more references that may have missed me back in the day. 

I got really into the Star Wars Expanded Universe when I was in middle school, and Zahn's trilogy is what started it all. I loved how he could capture these characters, and he just made me want to be Mara Jade. She was a BAMF! I really want there to be some sort of reference to her in the new Star Wars movies, even if it's just like she died. I just want them to acknowledge her existence and what she meant to the EU community. 

Whenever some one says they don't like Sarah Dessen, I tell them to at least read this book. This one was the first I read by her, and it's dark subject matter is something that I think as a teenage girl you need to read. 

This wasn't the first Maureen Johnson book I read, but this was one that I really enjoyed. There is even an sequel! I loved this fun adventure story, and it's probably why I continue to read Johnson's books. 

This book is definitely really dated now, but when I was a kid I loved this premise. If you read the summary, if might sound like a certain movie by a certain Philly-based director. This book is definitely better. 

Wow huge shocker here for anyone that has ever visited my blog before. Of course there is a Meg Cabot book on this list, especially this one. This series is what really started my interest in reading again, so it really means a lot to me.

I loved this first book in the Sword of Truth series. I just wanted to see Richard and Kahlan get together already! This series towards the end frustrated me, but I still love that very first book.

I couldn't resist I had to put another Meg Cabot book on this list. Of Cabot's standalone books, this one has to be my favorite. If you like Arthurian myth, I highly recommend this one.

Which books are on your list this week?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: Perilous Journey of the not-so-innocuous girl

The Perilous Journey of the not-so-innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham
Publisher: Month9books
Release Date: March 15, 2015
Format: Kindle version
My Rating: ★ 1/2 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: Money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except, she suspects her heart may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family's steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. Only the trip proves to be more harrowing than she anticipated. Love, adventure and restitution await her, if she can survive the voyage.

I hate to admit it, but I didn't totally love this novel. I think I have my bar set high for steampunk because of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series. It wasn't so much the world building or the setting that didn't win me over, I really thought Statham did that well, I just couldn't stand the protagonist Marguerite. I can forgive a book for a lot of things if I end up relating to the character or just really liking them, but when I read a book and can't stand the character I have trouble getting over that.

I found Marguerite to be a really bratty and entitled. My first thought was, "Oh my god, I'm old and now I can't relate to YA characters anymore! :( ahhh!!" But once I finished this novel, I realized the character was a bit too immature. Marguerite was a little too dramatic, "poor little rich girl" for me that I think I just couldn't sympathize with her plight that much. I mean it sucked that her dad just wanted to sell her off to a rich husband, but I found her comments about the other girls on the Aership being "common" to be really judgmental. I did feel bad that no of them liked her and were super mean to her, but at the same time I couldn't really blame them. 

I did really like the Victorian-era setting that was complete with the typical steampunk elements. I loved the bots and Marguerite's female-bot Outil. Honestly, I felt like she had more of a rounded personality than her owner. The Aerships and the mechanisms of those were really interesting, but you don't really get a feel for that until mid-way through the book. Once we did get to that point, that was where I think Marguerite started to shine, and she did win me over a bit. There is a huge battle on the Aership, and Marguerite is the one that gets everyone to safety. So at the end of this novel, I felt like she had redeemed herself a bit. 

This series definitely has potential, I just want the character to not be so bratty and entitled to everything. That was my biggest pet peeve about the novel. If you are interested in steampunk, I would suggest you try it for the world building alone. 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Review: Titanborn

Titanborn by Rhett C. Bruno*
Publisher: Hydra
Release Date: June 21st, 2016
Format: Kindle version, 246 pages
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N 

In this gritty and innovative science-fiction thriller in the vein of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, turmoil on one of Saturn’s moons rattles Earth’s most powerful citizens—and draws one planet-hopping rogue into a fight he never saw coming.

Malcolm Graves lives by two rules: finish the job, and get paid. After thirty years as a collector, chasing bounties and extinguishing rebellions throughout the solar system, Malcolm does what he’s told, takes what he’s earned, and leaves the questions to someone else—especially when it comes to the affairs of offworlders.

But his latest mission doesn’t afford him that luxury. After a high-profile bombing on Earth, the men who sign Malcolm’s paychecks are clamoring for answers. Before he can object, the corporation teams him up with a strange new partner who’s more interested in statistics than instinct and ships them both off to Titan, the disputed moon where humans have been living for centuries. Their assignment is to hunt down a group of extremists: Titanborn dissidents who will go to any length to free their home from the tyranny of Earth.

Heading into hostile territory, Malcolm will have to use everything he’s learned to stay alive. But he soon realizes that the situation on the ground is much more complex than he anticipated . . . and much more personal.
It took me a little while to get into this book, and I think that maybe it was because of the voice. I had a little trouble seeing things through Mal's eyes, and I think maybe the story would have been better had it been written in third person. Once I got past the initial world building and started to understand what type of character Mal was, I was able to get into this story.

Mal actually reminded me of Geralt of Rivia a little. I think mostly because they both don't really have feelings and they just care about getting a job done so they can get a nice payout. It wasn't until I found out that he had a daughter and had a lot of guilt about what happened to her that I started to sympathize with him. I felt like there was a lot of exposition about his daughter and I couldn't figure out why we cared about her so much. This does come up later in the novel, so definitely stick with the book to figure why you should care so much about this phantom girl.

The plot of the novel is that Mal is forced to work with a partner for the corporation he works for, and there's a lot of hesitation on his part because Zhaff is a little strange. I ended up really liking the dynamic these two developed, and I think the character development for both of them was really great. You get to learn a little more about Zhaff and why he is almost Vulcan-like in his belief of logic only method. I really liked how they two worked together on this mission, and I wanted to see them work more cases together.  I think their two wildly different methods complimented each other and they were a good team.

One thing that I really appreciated in this book was how realistic the sci-fi elements were. In a lot of sci-fi I feel like we don't get a real feel for the actual science of how you can travel to different planets. Other books will describe a hop, skip and a jump to different planets, but this book explained that the trip to Titanborn will take months, and they have to be in a chamber pod for the duration of the trip. I thought this was really interesting and made the setting more believable to me.

I would definitely recommend this for sci-fi fans. I felt like this book had a very "Mass Effect" feel to it, so if you like those video games I think this book is for you.

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Review: Sword of Destiny

Sword of Destiny By Andrzej Sapkowski
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: May 19th 2015 (originally 1992)
Format: Kindle version
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.
In this collection of short stories, following the adventures of the hit collection THE LAST WISH, join Geralt as he battles monsters, demons and prejudices alike.

I'm probably not going to stop talking about how much I love the Witcher so get used to it! 

Sword of Destiny is the second short story collection based in Geralt of Rivia's Witcher world. I have really been enjoying these little side stories because they are almost like the side quests from the game series. I also find that there are a lot references in the games that you might only pick up on if you read any of the books. CD Projeckt Red did a really good job of being loyal to the book series, and it makes me love the video game so much more.

The short stories in this collection get more into the twisted relationship between Geralt and Yennefer. I'm not sure I have made an opinion about Yennefer yet, but I don't completely buy these two together. I just need a little more out of them. The one thing that I find so interesting about Geralt is that he is supposed to be this cold, calculating killer with no emotions, so Yennefer treats him that way. I think we are supposed to realize that maybe the mutations didn't completely work on Geralt. He may speak in monotone and not show emotions, but Yennefer hurts his feeling a lot. I think in this collection she realizes her mistake, so I'm definitely interested in how this relationship plays out in the novels.

One thing I love about the games is Geralt's relationship with Ciri. In this collection we get a better glimpse of how the two became bound to each other. I love their relationship. Geralt is definitely the father that Ciri deserves not the one that she gets. This collection pretty much sets up how their destines will entwine, so I'm pretty excited to read more about these two.

I don't think I would have sought out these books had I not played the video games first, but I am really glad I did. The main plot line is really loyal to the source material, so it made me really enjoy reading these. If you play the games I highly recommend reading the books. 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pokemon Go Book Tag

It's been a long time since I've actually done a book tag, but seeing how I'm so behind in actually reading books I thought this was a great idea. I saw that Val from The Innocent Smiley did this tag (because of course she did) and I couldn't resist! This meme was created by Aentee @ Read at Midnight, so definitely go check out how this all started.

So of course I started playing Pokemon Go because I am in the generation that Pokemon began and it still holds a lot of meaning for me. I haven't really ventured outside of my apartment for Pokemon yet (and now I've run out of poke balls) but it's made me want to go find my gameboy color and replay Pokemon Blue. I loved that game!

I don't know if there is really a book from my childhood that started it all. I read a ton of the Mary-Kate & Ashley mysteries, but I don't think that was what really started me with my love for reading. However when I started reading The Princess Diaries I was in about 5th or 6th grade, and that's when I really started to get into reading. That's when I really started to get into Meg Cabot, and I still haven't read all her books!

Hm this one is really tough for me, because I think I answered it in the above. But honestly Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss. I know that's a really cheesy answer, but I will always love that one because it was the very first book I ever read. I remember being very excited that I could finally read a book by myself, so it holds a lot of meaning for me.

Have to agree with Val on Throne of Glass. I liked the first book, but something happened in the second one that really pissed me off. I tried the third one and it was okay, but everyone kept raving about it so much! I just didn't care anymore.

Hmm, I think it's hard to read current sci-fi books and not see a lot of tropes. I think I am going to go with Ready Player One. That book does have some tropes, but I think it was kind of the point, and it was an enjoyable ride the whole time.

I actually have to say a book series I haven't been able to finish because of the sheer size, and that is the Outlander Series. I have been reading the second book for an entire year but I keep on picking up other books instead of focusing on it.

Definitely the Miss Peregrine series. Some of those photos are creepy AF if you read at night. I love those books, but can only read them during the day.

I have to say Suze Simon and Jesse de Silva from the Mediator series. As soon as that jerk Paul Slater came into the picture, I was like, "Oh no you don't, these two are meant to be together!!"

I'm going to go with A Thousand Pieces of You. I put off reading that book for a long time, but once I read it I just couldn't put it down.

I don't think I actually have an answer for this, considering that I suck at keeping up with series. I'm just going to go with The Princess Diaries. I want to see more of Mia in her adult life.

Lost Stars by Claudia Grey. I have been kind of "meh" about a lot of the new Star Wars Expanded Universe books, but this one really made me excited for what is to come. It's also why I finally read A Thousand Pieces of You.

The Darkest Minds. I know this has been out for awhile, but I still haven't gotten to it. I have a friend that has been begging me to read it. I trust her opinion on books a lot so I know I'll like it. 
Hmm, I don't pine for Collector's editions that much. I know, I'm probably the only book blogger that doesn't. I guess maybe just The World of Ice and Fire. A friend of mine has it and it's so pretty!

I still want to read The Crown's Game. I was pretty excited when it came out...and I haven't got to reading it yet. I suck, but definitely still interested in it.
This is an easy one for anyone who has ever visited my blog...Meg Cabot

Since I suck at keeping up with my reading I don't really have one for this one. Last year it was Remembrance by Meg Cabot. I wasn't even expecting another Mediator book, and it felt like it took forever!

Whew! This was quite a long book tag, but it was certainly fun. I never actually tag people in these, but I'm tagging anyone that is interesting in doing this or likes Pokemon.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Audiobook Review: Unbroken

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Publisher: Random House Audio
Release Date: November 16th 2010
Format: Audiobook narrated by Edward Herrmann
My Rating: ★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.

Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he'd been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man's journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.
I will admit it, the only reason that I picked this book up is because I wanted to see the movie, and I am one of those people that needs to read the book first. Going into this, I did not realize that this was non-fiction. I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but I found that the way the author told Zamperini's story made me kind of forget this was a real person. I mean he had such a large personality, I kind of forgot that this was a true story.

This book is hard to read, especially when you remember that all of these horrors actually happened. Once Louis is in the prisoner of war camp that is when the book was a little hard for me to swallow. POWs face a lot of horrors during war, and World War II has to have been the hardest.

At times I do think there was a little too much exposition in this narrative. I understand that it was important to explain to us Louie's olympic status, but I feel like there was way too much introduction in the beginning of this book. I also think I would have preferred this book to end when he returned home from war. I understand that the author wanted to show the aftermath of what happened to soldiers after they returned from war, but I felt like the end kept dragging on. It also was a little too depressing for me, so I just wanted to book to be over.

I don't think I would have enjoyed this book as much had I just read it. There is something about Edward Herrmann's historical narration that has always drawn me. He used to do a lot of narration for the history channel when I was a kid, and I usually found his voice made me interested in the subject. So if you are not sure about reading this fictional book, I would highly suggest trying the audio.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

May/June Wrap-Up

So...I've been bad about keeping up with my blog again, and I just realized I never posted my wrap up from May, so this month I'm wrapping up May & June Together. You want to know who's fault is it? THIS GUY!

Seriously The Witcher has taken over my life. I went to the shore last weekend, so I was hoping I could get a lot of reading done but I didn't get as much done as I thought. Although, I think my main problem is that I procrastinate writing the actual reviews. 

I might even consider going on a hiatus for a little while, because things at work just got crazy again. Back in January I was dealing with a lot of stuff on my plate because two of my coworkers were out on maternity leave and they hired a terrible temp that they ended up letting go and I had to train the new temp. I was working crazy hours and there was a lot of pressure on me. Well...that coworker has decided to leave the company so she can stay home with her son. So all of her stuff got dumped on me again. It's really frustrating, so I'm working longer hours to try to get everything done, so when I come home all I want to do is kill things on xbox. 

Books I Read



So, like I said I have been spending way too much time playing the Witcher! In my April Wrap Up post I was talking about how I got into the second game, and I finished it in like 2 months, I was obsessed. So now my boyfriend and I have been fighting over who gets the xbox one so I can play The Witcher 3. The game is so much bigger, and the graphics are amazing. I just find the story so interesting. There is also this mini-game where you can play cards with NPCs and there are quests involved with it. My boyfriend was like,  "Yeah I never really got into that." but I am obsessed with Gwent. Actually the developer noticed how much people liked it that they are going to release a standalone game just based on the card game. I'm pretty excited for it.

One of our friends kept on raving about Preacher, so we decided to finally watch it. I thought the boyfriend just had no interest in it so I never brought it up. So far we are really enjoying it, there is just a lot of questions about certain things. Hoping all these things get answered.

I finally got the boyfriend to go back to Haven. This show wrapped last year, and I never got around to finishing it. So right now I'm re-watching the fourth season with him so we can finish it up. I really love this show, and I think because it was on Syfy it really flew under the radar. I think it's really underrated, and I highly recommend it. 

What have you been reading or consuming lately?

Happy Reads Everyone!