Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Reading Wrap Up

Wow, I can't believe that tomorrow is going to be the first day of June! This month has flown by, for sure.

This month I read 8 books, and all links lead to Goodreads
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare: I don't remember that much about the book because I finished it early in the month, and my Goodreads review was rather vague. I do think it was a solid addition to the series, however, with plenty of surprising twists and turns.

4/5 stars

Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien: I LOVED THIS BOOK. It started out a bit slower than the other two, so I had put it down for around a month, but I decided to pick it back up again this month. And it was totally worth it. The strength of all the characters is inspiring. This book gave me a major book hangover, too. I can't believe I've finished this trilogy.

 5/5 stars

I, Micheal Bennett by James Patterson and Micheal Ledwidge: I started this one during Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon but I never ended up finishing it. Now I did! It was very fast-paced with a cast of relateable and realistic characters. However, some of the parts felt a little bit like "Sound of Music" (spoilers: the ending for example). I'd recommend to anyone who'd like a crime fiction read that's fast paced.

3.25/5 stars

The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski: I marathonned these two books, and did a joint spoiler free review for them, so if you want to do my more in-depth thoughts, make sure to check that out! At a glance, though, I thought they were well-written books with amazing world-building and characters. The romance didn't feel rushed at all, or forced, so that's always a plus as well.

I gave both of these books 4/5 stars

Day 21 by Kass Morgan: This is the sequel to "The 100" (and I think it's a trilogy) and I was SO MAD when I couldn't find the third book, "Homecoming" at my bookstore when I went yesterday. After that ending? Yeah, I needed to continue RIGHT AWAY but nobody has it! Not my school's library, not the bookstore, not my public library...
As for my thoughts on this one, I thought it was so much better than "The 100" but for some reason that's an unpopular opinion? I don't know, I just ended up liking it a lot. Another bookish hangover, as well! I had trouble reading anything for days afterward, and couldn't think about or focus on any other book.

5/5 stars

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare: This is #3 in the Mortal Instruments series and the sequel to City of Ashes, which I read earlier in the month. There were a couple things in this book that I found to be:
a) slow, or
b) disappointing
but overall I thought it was a solid addition to the series and a solid conclusion to what was originally a trilogy.

4.5/5 stars

In Real Life  by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang: This is a graphic novel, and wow I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did! I picked it up in the bookstore just to read the first few pages, but I was hooked. I read it all in one sitting in the book store itself. It was a super short read, though. I loved the art style of this graphic novel, it was really beautiful, too. And it was relateable for me.

4/5 stars

Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Reads [#02]

Hullo, all! It's Friday again, which means the second Friday Reads that I have done on this blog. This week I completed a few books, that I do have opinions on, but overall I'd say it was a really good reading week! I finished The Winner's Crime, by Marie Rutkoski; Day 21 by Kass Morgan; and City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (this one I just finished yesterday).

That means I completed all of my checked out library books, and was ready for another haul. I ended up only checking out one book, since finals are coming up really fast, and I know I'll need to study more than read these next few weeks.

But, since I can't cut myself completely off of books, I did check out Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. This is the second book in a predicted six books series (only three books + a prequel are out so far). I'm currently 142 pages in, whatever that tells you.

And... I'm really liking it! I have to admit I didn't expect to, since Throne of Glass (the first book) was something of a miss for me. I didn't like Celaena, I didn't like where the story was going, I didn't really like the book in general. But, with Crown of Midnight, I didn't like Celaena-- I love her!

I love Celaena, I love where the story is going, and so far, I love this book! I've heard a spoiler or two though, and I know I'm probably in for some heartbreak... but I'm going to try to brace myself for it ahead of time. Heh. That's cheating, I know.

As for non-bookish happenings this weekend, I'm currently supposed to be decorating a cake with my grandma. But, introvertism is causing me to take a little down time after school before launching myself into any more social activites.

*Two Hours Later*
...And I just got back from the cake-decorating affair. I made my own birthday cake, and we decorated it with icing flowers. You can tell which flowers were mine by the lopsidedness of them. (Hint: Mine is in the bottom left corner...) I had fun though and I definitely learned a lot! I fared much better than expected, too.

...Birthday cake, you say? That's right! My  birthday is tomorrow, and I get to go up to a huge bookstore (it takes up an entire block and then some), so expect a Birthday Book Haul in the near future! I have my eyes on buying Heir of Fire, personally...

After that, I'm not so sure what I'll be doing. Most likely, it will include homework and studying for finals. Fun times, I know. And on my birthday, I might be going to watch a play that my best friend is acting in. Other than that, it should be a pretty laid-back weekend.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #8: Summer Beach Reads

Hullo again, all! I'm here just in time for another Top Ten Tuesday, which as always is hosted by the lovely ladies at Broke and Bookish blog. Today's topic is... Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer or Ten Books I Think Make Great Beach Reads.

Without further ado...


  1. First to make this list is Magnolia by Kristi Cook. I've never read this one before, but it sounds
    like it's a contemporary about a girl and a boy whose families have been neighbours for decades. Now, they want the two main characters to fall in love but the girl and boy have different plans. This was one I accidentally stumbled upon, but it actually sounds really good.
  2.  Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson is second to make my list. This is another one that I have yet to read, though I've heard amazing things about this one. It's another YA contemporary novel, but I personally think those are the best kind of books for the beach. (Well, except for dragons. Dragons win everything.)
  3. Second Chance Summer is also by Morgan Matson, and is another one that I haven't yet read (but badly want to). This one sounds like a deeper, more serious book, and it sounds like it's going to hit home with me. Another one where I've heard nothing but
    good things.

    4. I'm changing it up a bit with Defy by Sara B. Larson. This is the first book in a YA fantasy trilogy that I have not yet read, but it sounds amazing. It sounds like a girl who dresses up as a boy to fight in a war, so I'm crossing my fingers it'll be good. Plus, it's in the Swords and Sorcery sub-genre and that is my favourite. It hasn't been getting the best reviews on Goodreads, but I'm hopeful. I'M HOPEFUL.

    5. Magic of Thieves  by C. Greenwood is another Indie YA Fantasy, that is also the first book in a (longer... six-book!) series. Now, I haven't read it and don't know much about it, but I do know that it takes place in an original world where magic is banned. Gasp. And the main character, a girl named Ilan, happens to possess the gift of magic. It's free on Amazon for an eBook copy, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to check it out. Plus, the cover looks just plain awesome. I mean, look at it. Is that a flaming bow that she has there?
    Pretty Cover of Magic of
6. Now I'll move on to the books that I have actually read! The first couple are rather... mixed in opinions, but they'll be in my beach bag of books anyway. And the first is The Selection by Kiera Cass. I know, I know! I have no idea why I like this book so much, but I do. And it's fluffy enough to be the perfect summer read. Definitely a guilty pleasure read.

7. The next and last of my mostly-disliked-by-readers books is The 100 by Kass Morgan. Everyone is probably just about ready to come at me with Ilan's flaming arrows just about now, but before you think I have a bad taste in books, let me explain. This one doesn't require much thought at all, and it's just a good time. Did I love the romance in this book? No, but I'm reading the sequel currently and I think the romance has improved. For me, it's the same situation as with the Selection. Easy and fun to read, and perfect for a day on the beach.

8. I'm taking a sharp turn left here and including one of my most favorite classics in my beach bag: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. This one, obviously, takes place under the sea, and when I think of the beach, I think of this book. I can't help it! First of all, it's a great book that I definitely am due to re-read, and second of all, perfect to re-read near the ocean itself! 

9. In a return to Fantasy (let's be real, I can't stay away for long), I have Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. This one is cool because it's the first in a six-book YA series of high fantasy action, romance, and intrigue. It follows a teenage assassin (as featured on the cover), who was imprisoned in salt mines to work, but has a shot at freedom by entering a competition for the king. If she wins, she gets to be the King's personal assassin. I thought it was really good, and would love to read it to the sound of waves on the shore.

10. And now, combining both classics and fantasy, the last book in my beach bag will be The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. This is my favorite book of all time and I desperately need to read it after seeing the final movie last January. It just is such a heart-warming adventure, and the riddles scene with Gollum is definitely one of my favorite scenes in all of Middle-Earth.

That concludes my first Top Ten Tuesday in a very long while. Are any of these books in your beach bag? If not, which books are you including? Hope you liked this post, and I'll see you next time!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

REVIEW || The Winner's Curse & The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

So, I haven't posted a review in awhile and since I just finished marathonning these two beauties (no, really. The covers are beautiful. And also, DECKLED PAGES.) I figured I would like to do a review on them! They are the first two books in The Winner's Trilogy, and the last book (entitled "The Winner's Kiss.) has not been released yet, but will be sometime next year.

This review is spoiler-free.


So, the world. The world of the Winner's curse (I have no idea what it's called since it never really says) is very impressive! I thought it was really well thought out, and I enjoyed the show-rather-than-tell nature of revealing little details one at a time.

For example, the game of Bite and Sting. I'm pretty sure this game is fictional, created for these novels, but it still sounds so interesting! We don't really know how to play it as readers since the only mentions are that it has tiles with two different categories: Bite and Sting. Bite tiles feature animals such as mice, while Sting tiles are mostly bugs (and I think it specifically mentions scorpions). Cool, right?

There was some other stuff too, that I found awesome, but I've forgotten most of it now. This is why I should start taking notes while reading. Short term memory.

One thing I didn't really understand too well is how long ago the war between the Herrani and the Valorians took place. It's obvious that it took place during Arin, the male main protagonist's lifetime (and therefore, probably Kestrel's lifetime too), but unless I missed something, it never gives the exact years?
 The characters felt very real and engaging, and both of the main character's were strong in more ways than one. At several points in both of these books, I was gasping at plot twists involving the character's, or their stories were pulling at my heart strings. (Especially at the ending of the second book, The Winner's Crime... I don't want to give anything away, but it was one of those moments where I almost had to close the book because of the intensity of everything. Also, @ Kestrel and Arin in the Winner's Crime... Communication is key, people!) 

Even the secondary characters and villians were characters that I felt concerned about or connected to. Well, maybe not the villains, but let me tell you: the villains were all characters that I love to hate! Again, won't reveal anything but my blood was definitely boiling with rage.

The plot is very fast-paced but easy to follow, and it does have some slow moments sprinkled in there as well. It remains pretty steady throughout though, and very intense. Wow, is it intense! And the intensity does not pause in the second book... it only grows!

In The Winner's Crime, I did find a few of Arin's chapters a bit too slow and sometimes they were a bit too angsty for my taste, but that was plenty understandable! And I loved all of Kestrel's chapters. She's such an interesting and driven character that I love to read about. I like seeing the two perspectives of everything, from when Kestrel first buys Arin (yes, it's a book about slavery. It reminds me a bit of the American civil war.) (And no, that wasn't a spoiler it says so in the inside jacket of the first book) to the end of the second book in this trilogy!

Another thing I enjoyed was the fact that the author didn't really shy away from killing off a few characters. I haven't shed any tears yet, but the possibility is real for the third book... I am expecting great things. Even though I don't like the third book's cover as much as the first two covers.

I can't wait to see where the third book will go, but at the same time I'm scared for what will happen to Arin and Kestrel! And Kestrel and her father's relationship... I want to see what happens with them too, since things... well, I won't spoil the books.

I gave both books 4/5 stars on Goodreads, giving the series so far a 4/5 rating as a whole. They go by super fast and are super engaging! I'd definitely recommend this to fans of Fantasy-Romance who enjoy storylines that include war, action, and political intrigue.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Reads [#01]

Hello, all! Lately on Youtube, I've seen lots of Booktubers (youtubers who vlog about books) including a feature on their channels entitled Friday Reads. I have no idea who started this trend, but I rather liked it so I am including it as a hopefully weekly feature on my blog! The concept is simple enough: it's just a chance to talk about your current reads, and anticipated reads for the weekend, etc.

Without further ado...

At this moment, I am in the middle of two books. Both are sequels in a series, that I have checked out from the library. The first is The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski. I'm near the end of it now, after starting it last Saturday, and boy, are things getting tense!  If you've read it, then you probably know what I'm talking about. I'd love to go more in depth but I don't want to spoil anyone who hasn't read it yet!  

I'm really enjoying this one so far. The world-building is spectacular and the characters feel so real!  Also, pretty cover.

I'm thinking I'll be doing a review on this blog of both the first book, The Winner's Curse, and this book once I've finished it (which will probably be on Saturday or Sunday). I really should do more reviews on this blog, but I do review every book I read on my Goodreads account!

The other book I am currently reading is City of Glass by Cassandra Clare, the third book in The Mortal Instruments series.

I'm around 200 pages through, I think. (And it's thicker than I thought! It's almost 550 pages long!) It's good, but I think City of Bones is still my favorite in the series. So far, anyway.

My enjoyment may have been lessened by the fact that I know a ton of spoilers for this book, and the rest of the series. It's a fast read though, I'll give it that. This is another series I might do a review on once I've finished this book.

Plus, I've been seeing TV show news about this series everywhere-- on Tumblr, Youtube, blogs... I'm so excited to see Shadowhunters when it premieres on ABC Family in January! I've loved the casting choices and my three favorite castings would have to be Isabelle, Magnus, and Valentine. I think they got those three spot-on, and now I'm just hoping they can act! I have faith in them.

I'm planning on finishing at least one of these books over the three-day weekend, so once I do, what will I be moving on to next?

Day 21 by Kass Morgan. I know, I know, the first book in the 100 series was awful. But I'm all for second chances and I'm the kind of person who is unable to give up on series, even when it is bad for me. Who knows, it might get better? And the end of the last book did end on a cliffhanger...

Some of my other plans, other than reading, and LOTS of studying + homework (finals are coming up in just a couple short weeks and I am NERVOUS. So much to catch up on, and so much to study for. Yeekes.)  I'm going Frisbee golfing with my family, hiking with my family + some friends (and maybe delicious pizza afterwards? we'll see.), and catching up on some sleep.

I hope everyone has a great memorial day weekend!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

April 2015 Reading Wrap-Up

Hello, all! My name is Emma and today I have another reading wrap up to share with you.

Last month, I read 7 books. All links lead to Goodreads.

Inside the Shadow City (Kiki Strike #1) by Kirsten Miller:  This book had me very conflicted for some strange reason. I mean, it was okay. I liked it. But I didn't really like Kiki Strike, and I felt like the main character wasn't super relatable. It's middle grade, but I still feel like I should have felt some connection. The exposition (first chapter or so) was also very confusing to me. I felt like the book would have benefitted from starting in a different place. However, I loved loved LOVED the diversity in this book! The book had three girls of color (Hispanic, Asian, and African-American) and I really appreciated seeing that in middle grade literature. The side characters were really fleshed out, and I adored Oona, Luz, and DeeDee. I could relate to all three of them and Betty, the other member of the crew. I loved the plot and once I got into it, the writing style was nice.

3.75/5 stars on Goodreads

Atlantia by Ally Condie: This book wasn't about mermaids? I have been deceived? But can I just say THAT COVER. It's gorgeous! Part of the reason (okay, so maybe one of the main reasons) I picked up this book was because of that cover alone. Ally Condie always gets the best covers. I was really looking forward to this one, and it didn't let me down. I liked this much better than Condie's Matched trilogy. This book is a standalone though, so I won't be getting anymore of this world. I felt like the world was super fleshed out and it felt so... alive? I could understand the world perfectly. However, again, I lacked connection to the characters and had a bit of a hard time connecting to Rio, the protagonist. I loved True Beck though!

4/5 stars on Goodreads

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger: Hm. I saw someone haul this on a Booktube video once, and it interested me. (Plus, again, I like that cover.) This book was historical sort-of urban fantasy, and it was enjoyable enough. It was an adult novel, and I felt like most of it focused on the romance and physical relationship of the two characters, but the plot was good enough as well. I may or may not continue on with this series, though.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: Ah. One of the most controversial books of the YA genre. Now, I know what you all are thinking. Most people I encounter hate this book with a fiery passion. That's why I'm really afraid to say that I actually liked this book. I'm not going to get into the content part of it, because I'm afraid of the hate I would get, but I thought the writing style was very fast paced and easy to read and gripping. I read it in about 24 hours.

4.5/5 stars on Goodreads

The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5) by Rick Riordan: SOB. I can't believe this series has come to a conclusion. I was upset that there was no Percy POV, but I did like hearing from Reyna and Nico. I did not like that ending though. I am purposely being vague to avoid spoilers, but HERE is my Goodreads review if you would like my more in-depth feelings and thoughts on this ending and series as a whole.

5/5 stars on Goodreads

Crisis by Robin Cook: I know this is a really random read for me. Adult crime fiction? What? But let me explain. My dad got this at a cheap booksale for like, $3.00? I think? And he gave it to me to read. AND I LOVED IT. Which really, really surprised me. I loved the characters, and how real it all seemed. I don't know much about medical stuff, because, well, I'm not a doctor, but I did like that medical lingo they used. Also the plot twist at the very end! What what what! I thought I had it all figured out and then Robin Cook throws me for a loop! I would recommend reading this book, if only for that ending.

5/5 stars on Goodreads

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare: I think I'm the last person to read this series. That's right, before last weekend I had never read a Cassie Clare book before, despite all the raving reviews on Booktube, on Tumblr, on the Blogsphere. I read this one for the Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon and I. Loved. It. It was so great and I can't believe I hadn't read it before! The world is really intriguing to me, and while I had really high expectations, this book lived up to a lot of them. I also got to read this whilst snuggling my dog during what ended up being my favorite part. The part where they get breakfast in that restaurant. That was just a real nice and well-written scene with lots of fun banter. Lots of fun times.

4.8/5 stars on Goodreads