Saturday, August 16, 2014

I Moved

Hey everyone, I moved my blog from this url.  If you want to keep following me click the link here
There will be no more posts on this site.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Unforgotten: Heart-pounding Sequel

Review*:
Title: Unforgotten
Series: Unremembered #2
Author: Jessica Brody
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: February 25th, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA; Sci-Fy; Romance

*The Following blurb and Review will contain spoilers for Unremembered


Blurb:
After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

My Thoughts and Reflections:
After initialing reading Unremembered I requested this from my local library.  Unremembered had left my craving more from the story, in a good way (not a cliff hanger sort of way).
We open the story in what should be a state of serenity and a dream come true; Zen and Serephina have made it to 1609, and they can finally be together.  Obviously things end up not going as planned, but I was surprised by the problems Sera and Zen were having even before Diotech and Zen's illness become present.  Sera struggles to hide her abilities when doing farm work, and also had troubles adjusting to Medieval times.
We see very little of Sera and Zen's romantic relationship in Unforgotten.  In the beginning there are implications of Zen wanting to "teach" Sear something that they haven't done before.  However, the majority of the book Sera is on a mission to save Zen, so there really isn't much time for "learning".
The plot of this book brought in new aspects that I wasn't expecting; Sera is sent on a literal  journey to uncover a secret in her mind that Diotech desperately needs.  A secret that Sera desperately needs too.  
There were other surprises along the way, but I felt like they challenged Sera's character in a nice way.   Sera comes across as an immature character at a first glance because she is so unaware of some any things.  Yet, if you pay close attention, you can watch her retain everything that happens around her.  She responds to each challenge and interaction along the way in a new, mature way.  
More secrets are uncovered in Unforgotten, but we never get all the answers.  A third book is on the horizon, to continue (or perhaps end?) the saga of Seraphina: The Lab Created "Perfect Girl"

Conclusion:
I really appreciated the direction Brody took the story in.  No clich├ęs, no disappointments.  Looking forward to an exciting third book.

Dust Jacket Ramblings:
I don't love this cover, but I don't think that it's bad for the book.  A kiss is a major plot point, and think that this cover sort of embodies that, but I think that there are possibly alternative ways to capture the story.


P.S. Sorry that my review was kind of short, I was trying to avoid spoilers!




Friday, August 8, 2014

Throne of Glass: My Cheeky Assassin Friend

Review:
Title: Throne of Glass
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Author: Sarah J. Mass
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: August 7th, 2012
Literary Awards: Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2015)
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA; Fantasy; Action; Romance



Blurb:
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. 
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. 
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

My Thoughts and Reflections:
I can't remember where I heard of this book, probably a list somewhere of great YA Fantasy books, but needless to say I  requested it from the library and read it over my vacation.
I feel like I should address the misleading blurb above.  In my opinion, Celaena's relationship with the crown prince is much more prominent than her relationship with Captain Westfall.  Despite the implications of a love triangle, (which really is a love square because of the presence of Lady Kaitlin), I never really got that vibe from these characters relationships.  Mostly because Celaena was never debating between the two of them, she never was pining over either of them at all.  She sort of just went along with her relationships in her own manner, hiding her emotions from her suitors and the reader.
Celaena was an interesting protagonist, and I mean that in the best way.  Her tendency to hide her thoughts and feelings added a layer of mystery to the story, because it was harder to grasp her perspective in certain situations, so the reader was forced to look at all angle to get an idea of what was going on.
Captain Westfall was my favorite character overall.  He was such a respectable man, and his inner struggle throughout the story is quite visible and fun as a reader to observe.  The Crown Prince, on the other hand, felt bland in comparison.  There was nothing significant about his personality, (of course he differed like all princes do from what their fathers say), except from his ability to hold out from Celaena for so long.  
The plot had a good, steady pace but the climax felt underrated as if there could have been more to it.  There were times when I thought certain things were going to happen, but the didn't.  However, those things would have fit better with the story.  Despite how bizarre the ending felt (and it was a tad bit rushed) I feel like it did stay true to Celaena's character.  I praise Mass' writing because it had a way of keeping my glued to the story, and when I was forced to pause the previous scene would linger in my mind for some time.  Mass also peppered in small instances where she implied that there was more story to come, which was great.  It was a perfect way to set up a series, because the reader knew that we didn't quite have all of the information.  To be honest, we don't really know Celaena that well at all.

Conclusion:
I absolutely adored this book.  Anyone who is a fan of Fantasy, Actiony books, and lots of feigned romance will love this.  I can't wait to read more; Sarah J. Mass has passed with flying colors.

Dust Jacket Ramblings:
This is the redesigned cover (I'm not even going to talk about the original).  I think that this cover captures the book in such a good manner and this is a perfect example of a time to use an illustration over a model.





Saturday, August 2, 2014

Monthly Recap: July 2014



Well, this is my second monthly recap ever, so I'll still be working out more kinks.  July was more of a relaxing month for me.  I went on vacation, had a ton of fun! 

Books/T.V./Movies/Music
  • I read 18 books in July, just two short of my goal.
  • I spent A LOT of time at the library
  • I became reacquainted and renewed my obsession for the Morning Glories comic books
  • I saw HTTYD2 and Dawn of The Planet of the Apes, both of which were absolutely amazing!!!
  • Favorite Book This Month:
  • T.V. wise, I have officially watched all of the seasons of Law & Order: SVU on Netflix (not all in one month though!!)
  • 8Tracks is seriously my life.  Lots of Arctic Monkeys and Portugal the Man this month
Blogging and Other Media:

My Blog Posts:


Other Posts I Enjoyed:

It's Way Past My Bedtime's Cover of Royals (This is sort of old, but I still like to listen to it)

July's Goals:

Ummm… this is going to be embarrassing:

  • Participate in Camp NaNoWrMo, my own way (I always feel pressured by NaNoWriMo and always give up halfway through because I struggle sticking with a longer story.  My goal for this Camp is to write around 1500 words daily, whether it be in poetry, short story, or the revisions of some of my past work). Yeah, this didn't happen at all.  I instead opted to try and respond to at least a prompt or two a day.
  • Finish my summer reading for school.  Ugh, I'm so close.  
  • 20 total books in July  Two books off
  • Starting knitting my friend and myself Weasly Sweaters No, BUT I did buy the yarn and needles and set up my lesson for this week, so this counts.
  • Everyone has been raving about Blogilates, so I figure, why not?Nope, not for me
  • I'm taking my first Bikram Yoga class on Wednesday, I hope to try to do more!  I missed that class and never got around to going to a different one, so no.
  • I also am making a commitment to go on runs with my dad every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Noooooo.
Wow, clearly that was just disappointing.  

Goals for August:
  • Make friends at my new school (Don't be so shy)
  • Start seriously planning my switch from Blogger to Wordpress
  • 20 total books in August
  • Make progress on my Weasly Sweaters
  • Make an Instagram for the blog and post book pictures
  • Make some $$$$
  • Write to a couple prompts a day
  • Start singing and playing piano again
  • Draw!!! (A Captain America doodle is still lurking in my mind)
  • Comment More on Other Blogs (Again, don't be so shy)
  • Post Some More Discussions

Hopefully I don't fail as much at these!  Where's the laughing-so-hard-you're-crying emoji when I need it?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Falling into Place


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where bloggers can showcase books that we are eagerly waiting for.


Blurb:
On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. 
Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? 

Why I'm Waiting:
Honestly, this is an amazing blurb.  I'm completely on the edge of my seat.  Also, I think that the cover is fantastic.




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Characters I'd Want With Me On a Deserted Island


Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten is "Top Ten Characters I'd Want With Me On a Deserted Island"

Link
1. Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter)
I don't think that Draco would actually be all that helpful on a deserted island.  He would argue with every decision that we made, but he would be the first to point out a mistake that could cost us our lives.

Link
2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
 I think that everyone knows why I want Hermione, and it's not for her know-it-all personality.  Hermione is an exceptional witch, and her memorization of numerous spells would be handy on a deserted island.

Link
3. Sherlock Holmes (BBC)
Sherlock is the most calculating character that I know, and I would immediately put him in charge.  Then eventually we'd have an election of some sort, but Sherlock would always be an advisor!

Link
4. Lihn Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)
Cinder's cleverness and mechanic background would prove useful as my team of characters would have to build a contraption to get us off that island (unless it turned out to be fun, then maybe we'd all stay and Cinder would invent us the internet or something).

Link
5. Carswell Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles)
Thorne would probably have no actual usefulness, but his antics would be amusing and he'd be some wonderful eye candy.

Link
6.  The Doctor (BBC)
The Doctor has visited hundreds of planets and societies, and he certainly would give the best advice as to how to form our little utopia.

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7. Merlin (BBC)
Merlin's magic would be useful, and he is already trained as a servant.  I only want the best to serve me as Queen. (Lol, no.  Me as a queen would end up with the whole kingdom burned)

No fan art :(
8.  Bindy Mackenzie (The Ashbury/Brookfield Series)
I have a dream that Bindy would someday marry Sherlock (once she was much older!) so I thought that I should bring her along.  She's the only female character I've ever come across that I think could actually take Sherlock.


Link
9. Spider Man
I honestly just want his hotness along with us, but I suppose his webs could build some pretty cool tree houses.

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10. Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter)


Luna would literally be my best friend, so she just needs to be there for moral support.


Wow, umm, I watch a lot of BBC and apparently want every Harry Potter character to come with me! :)




Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Hype, Blurbs, and Skewed Reading

I've always been a firm believer in the power of recommendations.  A lot of my friends aren't particular book nerds and frequently enjoy a recommendation of something that I think would appeal to them.  Since becoming a member of the book blog and book reviewing communities, my view on reviews has changed a little.  Recommendations these days are pressured by hype; I've even heard myself say "I haven't read it, but I've heard it's good."  Funny, because I don't always LOVE hyped books the same way other do.  (For more on hyped books, read Grace's post here).  
Now as a reviewer, I've found that I don't like to read reviews as much before reading books, or after reading them and before reviewing them.  Other peoples reviews can influence my outlook on the book.  The last thing I want to do is be swayed by someone else's ideas.  I do like to read other peoples reviews after reviewing the same book, because it's always interesting and enlightening to be informed about what they took from the book, because it so often differs from my take away.  Reading other bloggers reviews reinforces my thoughts on what different bloggers think.  I must talk about this a lot on this blog, but it's obvious that bloggers most likely look for different things in books; we're all different people.  But those things skew reviews and ratings.  I may love a good mystery and inticrite descriptions, while other bloggers may hate that but love cheesy relationships and high school settings. Everyone has different preferences, and that's okay. 
I hate recommendations like "Oh my gosh this book is so good, you have to read it!"  Who has to read it?  What sort of demographic is it geared for?  What's the genre?  Pace?  Romance level?  There are so many different aspects of a book that "this is so good" just doesn't cover.  
I mentioned above that I like to recommend different books to my friends.  I always make a point to recommend things that  I think they would like based on what they've like in the past.
John Green is a perfect example of this.  I might really enjoy his writing style and ability to evoke emotions (I'm pointing to you Looking For Alaska), but one of my good friends hates romance and contemporary.  She likes vampires and horror, so I recommended her things like that. 
The book community often becomes obsessed with a certain series or author, and thinks that everyone must love them.  Yes, I adore Harry Potter and if we don't love it at the same capacity we probably can't be good friends, but not everyone likes fantasy, and that's cool.  A lot of people love The Hunger Games Trilogy, but I only like the first book.  
Sometimes I feel like the nerd community, particularly the book nerd community are hypocrites.  We pride ourselves by not enjoyed mainstream activities as much and by being nerds, but within our own community we don't always support authors and books that aren't popular or featured in the New York Times.  Some of my favorite books, The Probability of Miracles, Ultraviolet, Dark Mirror, The Girl With the Borrowed Wings, aren't as well known, and I've never met or read reviews from anyone else who has even read them, much less liked them as much as I did.  Booknerd community, we need to fix that!  There are so many gems that are hidden by the glare of hyped books.
My last note in this post is sort of a personal opinion.  I don't always like to read blurbs of books.  Actually, I prefer to not read the blurbs.  I adore going into a book blindly.  I feel like I'm more intune to the details (since the weren't already provided for me) and read more carefully, and overall enjoy the book more.  But Remy, how do you choose what books to read if you don't read blurbs?  Now don't get your panties in a twist, I do sometimes read reviews.  But I also have trusted authors, recommendations from friends or reviewers who have similar tastes as myself, series' that I haven't finished, and genre's that I tend to like.  This is just a personal thing, and I certainly think that blurbs are a positive thing.  I know that a lot of people enjoy using them to figure out what books they should read.

Wow, that was a fun post.  Sort of random, but I was feeling inspired.  Haha.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Don't Even Think About It: JK you HAVE to read this!

Review:
Title: Don't Even Think About It
Series: Don't Even Think About It #1
Author: Sarah Mylnowski
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA; Contemporary; Fantasy; Romance 


Blurb:
This is the story of how we became freaks. It's how a group of I's became a we.
When Class 10B got their flu shots, they expected some side effects. Maybe a sore arm. Maybe a headache. They definitely didn't expect to get telepathy. But suddenly they could hear what everyone was thinking. Their friends. Their teachers. Their parents. Now they all know that Tess has a crush on her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper. Some of them will thrive. Some of them will break. None of them will ever be the same.

My Thoughts and Reflection:
I'd never read any of Sarah Mylnowski's work before picking up Don't Even Think About It.  I read Amber's (from The Mile Long Bookshelf) very convincing review and knew I had to give it a try.  I requested it from the library and grabbed it yesterday along with a large stack of numerous other reading materials.
I was on my laptop earlier watching Netflix, but was getting annoyed with T.V.  I turned to my stack and was drawn towards Don't Even Think About It.  Why, I'm not sure.  But here I am a couple hours later having finished the book in one sitting.
I was completely annoyed with the version of the cover my copy has (above, left) but I'll get into that later.  My copy had a larger font size than I'm used to but I quickly got over that as well.
I was drawn into the story and the characters; it was like they were pulling my along.  I already knew the premise, but it got me excited to see everything play out in the beginning and how everything ended up.  The plot was curiously entertaining and while at some parts, in retrospect, were slightly predictable (obvious foreshadowing), I didn't pick up on it was I went along.
The fact that the book is told not from one point of view, but by everyone's, was awesome.  (The POV was everyone at once, together in a group).  Throughout the story there was this great group commentary on the conversations and situations that the characters had gotten themselves into.  (The group narrating narrates in past tense).
All of the characters were intense and amusing.  Their situations were relatable, quirky, and fun to read about.  I had uncontrollable laughter throughout this book, much to the annoyance of my brother.  The thing that I like most about the characters is the way that Sarah Mylnowski wrote their situation.  There was a large number of students who have the telepathy.  In the story, there are characters that are focused on more than others, and that was perfect.  It's often painful as a reader when authors incorporate way to many characters, and it detracts from the story.  The reader is aware of many additional characters, and test, they are all casually mentioned, but I never felt overwhelmed but the amount of characters.
After finishing this book, I was shocked by how much I had enjoyed it.  I laughed a lot, I was excited for the characters and the way that they story progressed.  I don't know why I was shocked, though.  Perhaps it's that I don't really favorite a lot of contemporary reads.  (Although is this even contemporary?  Fantasy in present day?  I don't know…)

Conclusion:
This is one of the funniest, most entertaining books that I've read in a long time.  Readers who like contemporary with a little twist with enjoy this, along with readers who are sick of one person narration or female centered stories.  And ummm, how am I going to wait until 2015 for the sequel?  I haven't craved more from characters or a writer in a long time.  FAVORITED!

Dust Jacket Ramblings:
As I mentioned earlier, I am not a fan of the hardcover cover (above left).  I think that the use of models forces the readers to imagine the characters in a certain way, and with this book it is very unclear which girls on featured here.  With that said, while I do prefer the paperback cover (above, right), I don't think that either of them does the book justice.  The paperback cover is simpler and I love the silhouette  design, but it's color and the fact that the silhouette is of a girl is clearly meant to appeal more to girls (not to say that guys can't like pink, but no one can deny gender stereotypes in cover design).  Anyway, the single girl doesn't represent the large group of characters featured in this book, and in no way encourages male attention.  This is a book that really represents both genders, and it angers me that a blatant gender stereotype was used in the making of this cover.  This book will lose many readers because of the way that the book is designed.  As much as people like to say "Don't Judge a Book by It's Cover", everyone, especially cover designers, know that's not true.  Sorry for ranting, I'll probably write a discussion about this.





Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Let's Get Lost


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where bloggers can showcase books that we are eagerly waiting for.


Blurb:
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost. 
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most. 
There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love. 
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

Why I'm Waiting:

I read Emily from Forever Literary's review and was immediately convinced that this is a book that I want to read.  I'm always a sucker for road-trip books, and isn't the cover beautiful?







Sunday, July 13, 2014

Unremembered: A Gripping Sci-Fy Drama

Review:
Title: Unremembered
Series: Unremembered #1
Author: Jessica Brody
Publisher: Farrar Struas Giroux
Publication Date: March 5th, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA; Sci-Fy; Romance; Mystery 


Blurb:
When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.
Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.
Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.
Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

My Thoughts and Reflection:

I picked this book up at my old library a couple of days ago.  I had just renewed my library card and hand't seen their new addition space yet.  Needless to say, the library is even more beautiful than it was before.  So of course, in my excitement, I had to grab some books.  I had a little more time to browse than I sometimes do, and when I saw this title I knew I had to check it out.  
Unremembered has sort of been on my radar since it was released, but I'd never gotten around to buying a copy or borrowing it from any library.
The night I cracked it open I had just finished one of my books for school and was feeling slightly burned out.  I planned on only reading a few pages to determine if it was worth my time, but the next thing I knew I was half way through the book!
Unremembered was utterly addicting.  I was fascinated by the story world, sucked in by the mystery and the funny characters.  Jessica Brody spent a lot of time making even the details stand out; that's why I remember the distinct personality of the nurse that Seraphina has at the very beginning of the book.
It's hard a first to really get Seraphina as a protagonist, because she doesn't even know herself.  However, as she goes about the book and has some self discovery, the reader picks up along the way too.  I liked Seraphina as a character, because despite her nativity and lack of social grace she never was completely stupid or ignorant in any situation.  She was always observing, and that made her feel much more realistic.
The plot of this book focuses mostly on dissevering who Seraphina is, and eventually we come to realize that it's not what we thought at all.  I was impressed by the science aspect and how surprised I was as the book was concluding.  I also liked how even though this book was sort of centered around romance, it wasn't at the same time.  It was very balanced.
The ending was a cliffhanger of sorts, but not at all unsatisfying.  I immediately requested the sequel from the library though!

Conclusion:
This riveting piece of science fiction will appeal to mystery lovers and romantics alike; keeping everyone on the edge of their seats as you travel on a journey with Seraphina and Jessica Brody.

Dust Jacket Ramblings:

I like the symbolism in the cover of this book; the blurry face of the girl representing the loss of her memories (including who she was).  I like that the title script incorporated some of the science aspects of the book.  This cover was far from incredible, but it was very fitting to the story.




Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Blogging Confessions



Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten is "Top Ten Blogging Confessions"

1.  I'm Shy

I'm shy in pretty much all aspects of blogging.  I'm always afraid to contact other bloggers, to request ARCs, or to join conversations.  It's something that I've been trying to work on, but I chicken out all the time.  I've gotten better at commenting on other blogs though.  I really should branch out and contact some of my favorite bloggers, at least to just tell them how much I like their blogs.  My social awkwardness is even worse online, and I don't know how that's even possible.  

2. I'm Twitter Illiterate

I have a Twitter, and I've used Twitter, but I just haven't gotten the hang of using it the way that a lot of book bloggers do.  Some of that is due to my overwhelming shyness, but some of it is just because I'm not sure about the best way to take advantage of the site would be.  

3.  I Don't Schedule Reviews

Although I have in the past, I'm certainly not as caught up as I'd like to be about scheduling reviews.  Scheduled reviews helps keep my stress level down during the school year, so I probably should work on that this summer.  Haha

4.  I Don't Have Any Publicist Connections

As much as I wish that I did, I don't know any one at any Publishing Houses, so I'm not one of the bloggers getting ARCs mailed to me on a regular basis.  My shyness certainly contributes to this, so I'll be working more on reaching out to people.

5.  I Read Other Blogs Daily, But Don't Always Post Daily

Somehow I always make time to stop by my favorite hangouts, but I don't always put in the daily time to have a Daily Post.  Sometimes I feel like if I did post everyday my posts wouldn't be as thoughtful or as long, so I'm not sure if it really matters.

6.  I Don't Like Star Rating Systems

As you might have noticed, I have gotten ridden of my rating system on my blog.  I felt like the star system (or in my case "pencil") was limited my reviews.  While I do enjoy Cee's (The Novel Hermit) ABC rating system and PolandBananasBooks' Percentage Rating, I feel like for my own personal blog no rating system is better.  I like reading whole reviews because different people like different things in books, and that can skew star rating systems dramatically.  (For example, while I was largely not a fan of Panic by Lauren Oliver, and would have rate it a 1-2 star, others in the blogesphere loved it and their ratings were 4-5 stars).

7. I Want to Switch to Wordpress But Am Terrified of Making the Switch

I think that the title of this one pretty much sums it up.  I would love to make the switch, since I have heard wonderful things about it.  However, I'm afraid of losing followers and learning a whole new system, that I may end up not liking, and then what would I do?  I really should work that.

8.  It's Really Hard to Keep Up With Memes

Weekly memes, like this "Top Ten Tuesday" or "Waiting on Wednesday" are hard for me to keep up with.  I'm not always available on those days, and even though the list is revealed pretty far in advance I never get around to pre-writing the posts.
My own original memes are hard to keep up with too, because my ideas for them are sporadic.  That's another thing that I suppose I'll try to work on.

9. My TBR and The Amount of Unread Books I Own is Scary 

Goodreads is a wonderful resource, but then allowed me to add anything that even look remotely appealing to my TBR list.  I ended up making a "real" TBR least to separate the books that I really want to read. 
I also have a problem with buying books.  And my ratio of books I own that I have read to books that I haven't read is concerning.  These last few months I made a vow to only read books that I owned, and that worked until I moved and got excited about my new library cards.  

10. I Never Have My "Currently Reading" on the Blog Updated

I mean, sometimes I do, but I'm the sort of reader who is reading seven books at once.  Often times books aren't going to be finished for months, and I don't review every book that I read.  I'm debating with myself over whether the "currently reading" is misleading for reviews that will never be written, but I'll probably keep it around.

Wow, I just spilled my blogging guts all over this post.  I hope you enjoy all of my embarrassing blogging confessions and if you have any advice on how to get over some of my blogger fears let me know!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mini Reviews: July 2014

Mini Reviews:

These are a few books that I've read lately and thought I share a little taste of my opinion.  If you'd like to discuss my full review of any of these titles, shoot my an email. (Info in my "About Me" page).


The Mysterious Benedict Society
Trenton Lee Stuart
I loved re-reading this adorable Middle Grade!  All the characters are so interesting, I want to continue with the story! :D


Tangled
Carolyn Mackler
While this book was interesting, I didn't really like the format that it was told in.  All of the characters were well developed and unique, but I felt like their stories weren't properly finished.


The Shadow of Blackbirds
Cat Winters
This book was absolutely amazing; a new favorite!  I haven't read much historical fiction lately, but this certainly got me in the mood.  Everything was spooky and I just ate up this book!


The Language Inside
Holly Thompson
This was a heartfelt novel of pain in told in verse.  Definitely for the kindhearted.


If You Find me
Emily Murdoch
This was a serious contemporary, but very much worthwhile.  I was surprised by how much I was sucked in, and by what an eye opener it was.  


Maybe One Day
Melissa Kantor
This was a kind and beautiful best friend story that is sure to tug at the ol' heartstrings.  Very realistic with the emotions of a best friend, I really enjoyed this contemporary.


Far From You
Tess Sharpe
This book was full of interesting stories, a troubling mystery, and a balanced set of characters.  I really like how this book played out, including the climatic ending!











Monday, June 30, 2014

Monthly Recap: June 2014



I've toyed around with creating a monthly recap feature for the blog, but was finally inspired today by Cee's Recap to make a feature of my own.  I will probably be messing around with the logo, the layout, and exactly what I share in this feature, but I suppose that you'll enjoy coming on this little adventure with me, and see where it takes us.  Haha
Overall, June has been a busy month:
  • Graduation happened.
  • Summer
  • I MOVED
I think that those really summarize what June was in a nutshell for me.  Now I'll get down to the details for me.

Books/T.V./Movies/Music
  • I read 12 books in June
  • I didn't buy any new books, but I did borrow a large stack from a friend.
  • Favorite book of the month:
  • T.V. wise I've been exclusively watching Vampire Diaries and I don't know why I like it so much.  I think now I'm just too invested in the characters to stop.  I'm only season three so no spoilers please! :)
  • Movies, umm well, here is my post about TFIOS and it includes a movie review sort of.  I also saw 22 Jump Street with my brother.  It was funny, but nothing special.  Haha
  • Music, huh, okay I finally bought music after months of using Pandora and Youtube.  I'm pretty proud of myself.  I also discovered 8Tracks, this awesome site where people create playlists and you can listen to them.  You sort of set filters on what you're in the mood for and the site will recommend a playlist.  I like it a lot better than Soundcloud, which I know my brother is huge fan of.
Blogging and Other Media:

My Blog Posts:

Other Posts I Enjoyed:


Normally I would be much more on top of other news in the blogesphere and YA genre in general, but my move sort of has me in a tailspin. All I can tell you is that there has been a TON of hype for We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

July Goals:
I didn't really have any real goals for June besides read a lot and make sure to not slack on blog posts admits my crazy life.  Here are my more concrete goals for July:

  • Participate in Camp NaNoWrMo, my own way (I always feel pressured by NaNoWriMo and always give up halfway through because I struggle sticking with a longer story.  My goal for this Camp is to write around 1500 words daily, whether it be in poetry, short story, or the revisions of some of my past work).
  • Finish my summer reading for school.
  • 20 total books in July
  • Starting knitting my friend and myself Weasly Sweaters 
  • Everyone has been raving about Blogilates, so I figure, why not?
  • I'm taking my first Bikram Yoga class on Wednesday, I hope to try to do more!
  • I also am making a commitment to go on runs with my dad every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Well, there goes my first monthly Recap.  I hope that it's a feature that sticks! :D











Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Summer of Skinny Dipping: A Flopping Fish in a Sea of Summer Contemporary

Review:
Title: The Summer of Skinny Dipping
Author: Amanda Howells
Series: Summer #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 1st, 2010
Format: Paperback
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance


Blurb:

There Are Some Summers You'll Always Remember
Sometimes I wake up shivering in the early hours of the morning, drowning in dreams of being out there in the ocean that summer, of looking up at the moon and feeling as invisible and free as a fish. But I'm jumping ahead, and to tell the story right I have to go back to the beginning. To a place called Indigo Beach. To a boy with pale skin that glowed against the dark waves. To the start of something neither of us could have predicted, and which would mark us forever, making everything that came after and before seem like it belonged to another life.
My name is Mia Gordon: I was sixteen years old, and I remember everything


My Thoughts and Reflection:

I picked this book up at the library randomly because I had just gotten my new library card and felt super excited to put it to use!  Anyway, the library was relatively small and I was short on time so I grabbed the first thing that appeared to be relatively entertaining.  I had never heard of The Summer of Skinny Dipping but I was all, "Hey, it's summer.  It's probably a fluffy read, why not?"
In the very beginning of the book, we meet Mia, our down-to-earth, naive, brown haired protagonist who is pretty much one of the most MarySueish characters I've actually read in a real book.  Quickly the reader is engulfed by the multitude of family troubles that she is plagued with on their drive to stay with their perfect cousins in the Hamptons.  So, middle class girl, staying with rich family members, already feeling like stories that I've read before.
The majority of the book focuses on Mia's selfish cousins Corrine and Beth and their Gen (who all have these crazy ragers and get drunk).  Mia struggling with how much Corrine had changed since they last talked and that pretty much is 2/3 of the book.
Then we meet Simon, the boy next door who's family has money but not enough to impress with millionaires and billionaires strutting up and down the beaches.  Of course, he's the son who is an artist and want's to backpack around Europe instead of going to Buissness school.
Overall, Simon was an okay character.  He was poorly fleshed out, and where he was it was compiled mostly of stereotypes so he didn't feel like a real person at all.
Of course, the last third of the book basically consists of literally everything that Mia thought to be true falling apart, as was quite foreseeable as the book had gone on.  The last couple chapters felt unnecessary and the ending was typical and not at all a surprise.
Howells was not a particularly graced author.  She was not talented in her sentence structure nor her overall story arc.  There were no metaphors or similes or anything to show off a lick of talent in this women.

Conclusion: 

If you are looking for the most bland summer read ever, I say go for it.  If not, try some nice old-fashioned fluff from Sara Dessen.*

Dust Jacket Ramblings:

There was nothing special about this cover.  Of course it used my number one cover pet peeve (a model), and the model wasn't even accurate for the book.  (It is mentioned numerous times that Mia's swimsuit is a two piece navy, not this flawy peach thing).  The beach seen made since considering that this book takes place in the Hamptons, and the typography is alright.

*Now, this book was just okay.  However, I did read the blurb for the sequel, The Summer of Sneaking Out, and it was much more promising.  I'm not sure how it connects to Skinny Dipping, but who knows?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Why I'm Ridding My Blog of a Rating System


I can't quite remember why I started using a rating system on my blog, but at some point it happened.  I figured, sure it's a great idea!  I can use little pencils to represent stars and then I can show quickly how much that I liked a book.
Sure it worked nicely for a while, until I ran into my first problem.  What if I liked a book with five stars, but it wasn't my favorite?  So then I added a sixth star to my system to represent my favorites.
Then my most recent problem arose; I sort of like three stars.  I don't know why, but a lot of my reviews tend to be three stars, and I don't think that's fair, because they aren't all equal. Some of them are more than 3 stars, but not quite 4, and some are not 2 stars, but not really a 3 either.  
I'm just sick of the numbers and half stars and the labels in general.  I think that if you really want to know if you're going to like a book read the blurb and several spoiler free reviews.  Reviews give you a better sense of the book, because different reviewers like different things in books and that skews their star ratings.

SO, I'm no longer going to rate books with stars, or pencils for that matter.  If you want to know what I think, read the review.  If you're lazy, read my conclusion, which usually sums up my thoughts.  All my reviews* are spoiler free so I think that read the whole review is better, but that's just me.

I hope that you all understand where I'm coming from.  What do you think about rating systems?  

*All posts after April Guaranteed Spoiler Free Unless Otherwise Stated