Thursday, September 17, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (5)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews and by Uncorked Thoughts blogs. This is a weekly meme that celebrates and contemplates all things Harry Potter-related. Each week there is a question or prompt. Today's question is:
Which one of the 6 trials the trio faced in Philosopher's Stone would have been your downfall? (Quirell's Troll, Flitwick's flying keys, Sprout's plants, Snape's potion riddle, McGonagall's chess match or Dumbledore's Mirror/Stone trick)
This is an awesome question for this week! I would honestly fail all of these trials. However, I think my worst trials would be the troll, and the plants. I don't remember much about  the keys, but I have terrible balance so I would never be able to fly up to get that one either!
However, I think I would do worst at Sprout's plants. I panic very easily, and I would be just like Ron, freaking out and flailing my arms whilst trying to get out! Even if I had read up on the plants, or overheard something about them in the Hufflepuff common room, I would still find it hard to take the advice as I am extremely claustrophobic!
Which one would be your downfall?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Reads [#07]

Happy Friday, everybody! It's my first Friday back in school, and already I have a lot of homework to complete. And, I'm going to a walk thing tomorrow with my family, which should take most of the morning, so I'm not sure how much reading I'll actually be getting done this weekend, but I am going to try to sneak in a few pages here and there.

First, I'm going to try and finish up Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. It's the fourth book in the Inheritance Cycle and the supposed final book (I'm not sure, but I think he has said he will write a fifth book in this world?). I read the first book when I was still in Elementary School but although I re-read the first couple a few times, I've never read this one. And... I have mixed thoughts on it. I'll probably have a series review, or at least an individual review for this one up on my blog when I finish it, because I have a lot of feelings about this one. Some are good, some are bad. CONFLICT.

I'll also be reading more of Court of Fives by Kate Elliott. This is the first book in a Young Adult Fantasy series (or trilogy, I'm not sure). It was in the new release section of the library, and I recognized it from Goodreads browsing, so I picked it up. I'm about 200 pages in, and it's okay so far. I'm sure I will get into it more in the future, if  I have time to just read and nothing else. It reminds me a lot of a mix between The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson and Atlantia by Allie Condie. The writing style is really familiar as well.

And, if I have time, I will read a bit more of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I've been reading this off and on for a couple months, but that's no surprise since I don't read many classics, and I can be a pretty slow reader. I'm just over two-thirds of the way through, I believe and I'm finding it really enjoyable! Jane is such a great character. However, I'm a bit wary since I have it as an eBook I got for free and I'm not sure if it's abridged or not?? Yikes? I hope it's not.

And, I will be reading my history textbook as well of course. Fun times.

What are you reading or doing this weekend? Anything exciting? Have a fabulous weekend and stay safe!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Top Ten Series That I Need To Finish

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme featuring lists. As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies at Broke and Bookish blog.
This week's topic is the top ten book series that you need to finish (or it looks like you can also add series you need to catch up on?).
Here's my list!
  1. The Inheritance Cycle by Chistopher Paolini - I feel like I'm cheating by including this one since a) I am reading the last book, Inheritance right now and I'm ~130 pages away from finishing it and b) the author has stated there will be a fifth book in this world. But, I'm going to add this one anyway since I started reading this series when I was very young but never finished it. Plus, dragons.
  2. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare - I've read the first three books in this urban fantasy series, but have yet to read the last three. This series is pretty popular so I'm definitely going to be diving back in, I just don't know when.
  3. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - I absolutely loved the first three books in this series, despite my so-so attitude when it comes to vampires in books. The fourth book wasn't my favorite but Mead's writing is so addicting that I definitely will be reading the last two books!
  4. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo - I read the first two books in the trilogy last year, and I just never got around to Ruin and Rising. This is another popular series, and since I am highly anticipating Six of Crows, I know I need to finish this one!
  5. The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu - Confession: I've only read the first book and I wasn't the biggest fan. But maybe if I re-read this and get onto the second book, Prodigy, I will discover a love for it? This isn't at the top of my list, but it still is there.
  6. WondLa by Tony Diterlizzi - This is a middle grade science fiction trilogy that I own a complete set of, and the illustrations and story are so much fun. I've read the first two, and the third one will hopefully be just as fun.
  7. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull - This is another middle grade book series, but this time fantasy. I've read the first two or three books and they are so much fun! I really got into this world when I read them so I need to read the last couple of books.
  8. Howl's Moving Castle Series by Diana Wynne Jones - Howl's Moving Castle is still one of my all-time favorite books. I have the second book in this companion trilogy sitting on my shelves right now, so I don't know why I haven't read it! I think I'm scared I won't like it as much as the first book.
  9. Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman - I've only read the first book, but so many people like this young adult dystopian series that I feel a need to complete it. One day.
  10. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - This is the one book series on my list where not all the books are out yet. I've read the first two books in this series: Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, but have yet to read the prequel novellas or the other two books that are out. But there has been so much hype for this lately that makes me want to carry on!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Fandom Mash-Up (#3): *X-Files Theme Music Plays*

Fandom Mash-Up is a weekly meme hosted by Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews. Each week, a new situation is given, and you get to choose five characters from any fandom (bookish or not!) to help you out.
This week, the situation is...
There's been a murder *gasp* and the police are calling it an accident but you know they're wrong. Who do you call up to investigate with you?
  1. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from X-Files

    Yup, totally bringing both of them. I can't just have one or the other with me. They're a team!

    I would need the X-Files investigators with me, because come on... if the police are calling it an accident... there's a 50/50 chance I'll need someone from the X-Files Division with me. If I'm with them, there's a good chance I won't get killed as well, which is always a plus.

  2. Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson from Elementary

    What do you mean I have four people already? I have two groups of two, and it's definitely not the same thing. In my defense, I want both of these people as well, and they too work best as a team.

    You just can't solve a mystery without some adaptation of the classic Sherlock Holmes helping you out, I think. So, this is the take on Sherlock and Watson that I will be enlisting to investigate with me!

  3. Emma Swan from Once Upon A Time

    Emma Swan is a cop, and she regularly has to deal with... unusual crimes, let's put it that way. I think it would help to have her on the team, since she's also a fighter and knows how to defend herself!

    She also has some experience in the field, so she would be able to figure it out, whether it's your every day solution, or something more... magical.

  4. Nick Burkhardt from Grimm

    Also a cop. It seems like most of the people I choose for today's scenario are cops. But, just like Emma, he deals with things that aren't so ordinary.

    I want to make sure there's a good variety here with the types of unordinary that the cops deal with, and Nick's is different from anyone else's. Another benefit is that he's smart, and strategic.

    And, he can always call on his friends Rosalee and Monroe if we needed backup. They'd be able to do something about it, for sure...

  5. Nancy Drew from Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene

    I used to read Nancy Drew books all the time. I own nearly every book in the series (because my step-mom collected them all when she was a kid... thanks, Mom!) and I've read nearly all of them. So I know well enough by now that Nancy would make an important addition to the team.

    For one thing, she's very observant. She would catch clues that nobody else would, and that's very important in a good detective! Even better, she'd know how to put those clues together to solve the puzzle. I'd be very glad to have her on my side!

    Special shout-out to Scooby Doo and friends, whom sadly couldn't be depended on in this expedition. If one of the detectives above can't make it, you guys can be my back-up. I hope everyone has an awesome three-day weekend!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes

Summary (via Goodreads): "In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed... and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It's the eve of war.... Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword....


My Spoiler-Free Review (also on Goodreads):

First off, I have to say: it's been two weeks since I read this book and I still can't get it out of my mind. There were so many aspects of this book that made it hard for me to stop thinking about it! Twists and turns, surprises around every corner. Several of them I did not see coming. And let me tell you this: in the land of Mytica, no one, not even your favorite characters, are safe...

In Falling Kingdoms, we follow several different character perspectives. I thought this would get confusing, since I don't read too many books with multiple perspectives, but I had no problem at all distinguishing the separate character voices and plots.

The characters we follow are:

Cleiona Bellos: The feisty youngest princess of the land of Auranos. I really enjoyed reading from her point of view, and I have to say she was one of my favorite characters! I liked how if she wanted something done, she would get it done, and wouldn't let anyone stop her or get in her way. Although she could be selfish and reckless at times, I have a feeling she will really get a lot of character development in future books.

Jonas Agallon: The rebel from the land of Paelsia. Oh, Jonas. I should have loved you, but I just felt no connection. His chapters were probably my least favorite, but his determination and dedication were extremely admirable. Hopefully in the future I will grow to love him!

Magnus Damora: The crown prince and heir to the land of Limeros. So many people love him. I liked him, but there was a certain (slightly spoiler-y so I won't include it here) aspect that I just found to be slightly creepy. I did like his character though and I think I might have liked his chapters the best. It's hard to say whether I liked his or Cleo's better.

Lucia Damora: The princess of the land of Limeros and younger sister to Magnus. Lucia was an interesting character. She was the only one of the core four who didn't have any desire to fight. She was young and innocent and I very much liked her. But just because she didn't want to fight didn't mean she didn't lose her temper and blast people out of her way when angry. I have a feeling she too will change vastly in the next books.

There were a couple other point of view's that we got glimpses of, but we never really got into their heads like we did with the "core four".

As for the plot of this book? I loved it. It was exactly what I love in a good fantasy novel. Although I've never read or watched anything Game of Thrones, I've heard Falling Kingdoms compared to it many times, and I think, based off what I do know, that it's a worthy comparison. There's multiple point of views, there's romance, there's war, there's brewing tensions, and there's definitely plenty of bloodshed.

The bloodshed was part of what made this book stand out from the other dozens of YA Fantasy that I've read this year. Sometimes, to me, it feels like characters in books are invincible. In this book, that's not the case.

I've begun rambling, I can feel it, so I'll make a few last, quick, points about this book. The worldbuilding was done so well that it felt like I could be transported to Mytica if I just closed my eyes. This is a world that's falling apart, that's for sure (hence the title of the series), and I honestly have no idea in what direction the series will go. No matter what happens, it'll be a surprise to me, I'm sure!

 Despite it's decent size (412 pages), Falling Kingdoms was a book I devoured in just two days. It was full of action, and each new revelation had me turning the pages eagerly. I was so sad when I came to the end of this book. Luckily for me, it's going to be a six-book series, so I will have plenty of chance to return to this world in the future!

Short and Sweet Thoughts: Probably one of my favorite books of the year, Falling Kingdoms was the first in a YA Fantasy series, full of fleshed-out, interesting characters, and surprises that kept me turning the pages deep into the night.

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (4)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a weekly meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a new topic every week, and you respond to the question accordingly! This week, the question is:
 Place you wish we'd explored in the series but didn't?
Image is not mine!
As a Hufflepuff, I have to say the Hufflepuff common room. While it does make me feel rather special to belong to the one house that Harry did not explore the common room of, I do wish we had gotten to see it in the series! Maybe seeing more of the Hufflepuffs would eliminate the typical "potato house" comments (though probably not).
I just love the common room as it is explained on Pottermore, and it sounds exactly like a Hobbit Hole. Everything seems very cozy and friendly and welcoming, which is exactly what the Hufflepuff house is all about!
Since not everybody uses Pottermore, I would like everyone who had read the series to know what the Hufflepuff common room is like, and that would have been achieved if it had been added to the series! Of course, I can't think of any reason Harry would have gone to the common room, but theoretically, it would have been fun to explore.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August Wrap-Up

Hi, everybody! It's time to wrap up the reading from August. August was a pretty chill month for me, I didn't really go anywhere or... do anything... so I got  a lot of reading done! (By my standards, anyway.) Despite some slumpiness halfway through, I did finish 9 books this month!
(All the links lead to my review on Goodreads, so if you want more in depth thoughts, check those out!)
Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen - I wanted to like this one since it was a gift for my recovery, but I had such problems with the antagonists. They were basically racist, sexist, and infuriating. They weren't even people I loved to hate. I just flat out hated them because of the qualities listed above. I thought the writing was fine and I liked the style! I just didn't enjoy the plot of this particular novel of his, and couldn't connect with the characters, not just the villains.  ★★☆☆☆
Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery - I loved Anne of Green Gables by the same author, so my expectations were high for this one. (Plus I bought it with the gorgeous yellow Sourcebook Fire cover! And it did not disappoint. Gah, my love for this book! I loved all the characters. All of them. (Well, almost all.) Even Aunt Elizabeth. As an aspiring young author myself, I could connect with Emily and found a kindred spirit in her. I also just really enjoyed the writing style of this book. And something that happened at the end really took me by surprise and almost made me cry. ★★★★★
Spirit Animals: Wild Born by Brandon Mull - This was a middle grade, and also a book that I bought this month! (I don't buy books often, so I'm always happy when I do.) I just really like the concept of familiars in general (such as the Daemons from The Golden Compass). So I liked that aspect! I really flew through this quick, and I think that younger audiences would really enjoy this one. I certainly did, and I'm not really the target audience. It was a bit young in writing but had lots of diversity with characters and an interesting and engaging plot! ★★★★☆
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling - I was very much in a Harry Potter mood this month, so I re-read this one! (Why this one? It's one of the only Harry Potter books we own. We really need to buy a whole set.) It's one of my favorites of the series and I very much enjoyed it this time around as well. Quidditch! Luna! Hogwarts! ★★★★★
Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer - I also have a review of this one on my blog, but it's pretty similar to what I said in my Goodreads review. This one was entertaining and a fast read with an interesting idea behind it. It's not often you see time travel in contemporaries, after all. However there was quite a lot of insta-love! I didn't really know what to rate this one since I did enjoy it but had problems with it in certain places. I did end up settling on ★★★☆☆
The Novice by Taran Matharu - So many people dislike this one, and so I went in with the lowest of the low expectations. However I actually quite liked it? Was it an epic masterpiece, no. But it did have Pok√©mon elements and I'm always a sucker for that. Plus it had a great friendship dynamic and was easy to read. I thought it was a very fun and light read and I actually really liked it! ★★★★☆
Homecoming by Kass Morgan - Speaking of disliked by the general population, I read the third book in the 100 trilogy this month! I'm one of the few people in this world who actually find the books quite fun reads? I didn't like the first one, but the second I loved. And this was pretty good too. I thought it wrapped everything up nicely and I can't wait to watch the TV Show! ★★★★☆
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes - My favorite book of the month, people. Hands down. Maybe even of the year so far. This one was so good and I can't believe I waited for so long to read it! I loved how complex everything was underneath the surface, but I never got confused. I have a feeling that the books will just keep getting better and better. All the twists and turns and shocks from this book have stuck with me and it's been more than a week since I finished it. I just can't get it out of my mind! I'll be writing up a blog review of this soon, I hope! ★★★★★
The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove - Another middle-grade book, and this one was so beautiful. The design crew of this book should be hired for every book, ever. There were ruffled pages. And the cover of the hardback has this awesome thing where there's a  silhouette on the book itself, and you can see it through the jacket... hard to explain, but so pretty. Plus this book was all about maps, which was awesome. It had one of the most unique worlds I've ever read, and everything I want in a Fantasy Novel. Pirates! Epic Train Escapades worthy of Mission Impossible! Spunky Heroines! Creepy Villains! Maps! It was a great time. ★★★★☆
That's it! That's all the books I read in August and I'm a bit prouder of it than I should be. I had a good reading month as far as quality goes too, so that could be why. I hope you all had a good reading month and have a great reading month this September!
Until next time, happy reading!