Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top 10 Books to Get You Into the Halloween Spirit!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings #1) by Jackson Pearce
A Red Riding Hood retelling with werewolves and sisters and plenty of violence. This is one of my favorite books and it is just perfect to get into the Halloween spirit. 

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
There's ghosts and a murder and paper hearts. It's morbid and oh so perfect. 

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) by Susan Dennard
This is one of my favorite books of the year. I'm not a huge zombie fan, but I just love these books. It's the perfect combination of zombies, steampunk, sass, and romance.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
It's a classic, just think about how much this book has shaped our pop culture. And it was written by a teenage girl in Victorian England! How awesome is that! I'm reading it for the second time this year for a class.

The Summoning (Darkest Powers #1) by Kelley Armstrong
In general I prefer the Darkness Rising series, but I just love the creepiness of this book. You don't know how much trouble being a necromancer is until your woken up by a corpse crawling on top of you. It is just so CREEPY! 

Graveminder by Melissa Marr
This line from the summary (taken from Goodreads) is what got me to read this book "While growing up, Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual at every funeral: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words, "Sleep well, and stay where I put you.""

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1) by Megan Shepherd 
This is a retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells. Sarah actually read this book first. She was halfway through it when she said "This is really disturbing. You'll love it." She was totally right.

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White
It is a fun monster fighting book which has the perfect combination of monsters and humor. When I first read this it reminded me of Buffy. 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin
Okay, I just read this yesterday and it's really different from the rest of the books on this list, but I had to add it. There is nothing scarier than not being able to trust your own mind. I was reading the sequel last night before bed and it was giving me the creeps! So well done, I love it!

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
I don't recommend this specifically for Halloween, I'm recommending it for the day after because “It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.” This is one of my all time favorite books. It has horses and monsters and monster horses and is just utter perfection. I finally got Sarah to read it at the beginning of the year and she totally agreed.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (8) Book Sale Edition!!!!

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga Reviews to show the most recent books on our shelves!

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year: the week of the massive library book sale! Our library system has two major book sales a year which is where we buy the majority of our books.
Building full of books with boxes stacked underneath some tables plus a side room full of paperbacks.
 Some years are good, some aren't, and some are spectacularly AMAZING!!!! That was this year. Christina and I got some amazing books ranging from $0.50-$4 and I also got 4 DVD's for $1 each! Here's our goodies:

Sarah's Book Sale Treasures
Anastasia Forever by Joy Preble
Eon by Alison Goodman
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Fragments by Dan Wells
Tempest by Julie Cross
Vortex by Julie Cross
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Elegy by Amanda Hocking
The Grey Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
Variant by Robison Wells
The Emerald Flame by Frewin Jones
The Last Apprentice by Joesph Delaney

Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich
The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff

Top left to right:
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies
Jane Austen by Peter J. Leithart
Jane Austen on Love and Romance Edited by Constance Moore
Bottom left to right:
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (Modern Critical Interpretations) Edited by Harold Bloom

Christina's Book Sale Treasures 
 Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
The Rising by Kelley Armstrong
Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
A Million Suns by Beth Revis
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis  


Dune by Frank Herbert
Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Outpost by Ann Aguirre  
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein
Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman
The Shamer's Signet by Lene Kaaberbøl
Blue Fire by Janice Hardy 

The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien
A Rogue's Life by Wilkie Collins
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson
English Literature of the Victorian Period by John D. Cooke & Lionel Stevenson
The Complete Fairy Tales by George Macdonald
The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
Don't Bet on the Prince by Jack Zipes

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Persuasion by Jane Austen

Not Pictured:
Ivenhoe by Walter Scott
The Shamer's Daughter by Lene Kaaberbøl
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

Title: Fiendish
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Rating: 3.5 stars
Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.

Now she’s out and determined to uncover who put her in that cellar and why.

When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged. -Summary from Goodreads

            Fiendish is set in a small town in the Midwest where normal and “crooked” (people who have fiends in their family tree) live side by side. Naturally a lot of tension builds up between these two groups. Prejudice and dislike abound, but, for the most part, besides the Reckoning, people keep their pitchforks in their closets. The town itself is like an important side character. It has its own culture and personality, and its journey is vital to the story. The natural world is infused with magic creating an awesome setting. The magic itself isn’t explained, it just is, which makes it seem wild and natural. You get the sense that although people sometimes use it, there’s really no way to control it. It is its own being.

            I loved the beginning of the book, it is so creepy and beautiful at the same time (the beauty comes from Yovanoff's writing). Clementine has been stuck in the cellar of her house for 10 years when Fisher finds her and gets her out. One issue I have with the book is that even though she has been under a spell for all that time, it doesn’t seem like her mind is affected. It said that she was aware of the world during that time and she watched it somehow, but it is very vague. I thought she adjusted to the world a little too easily. The only thing that seemed to throw her off was the change in her cousin and aunt, other than that she seemed very self-assured for someone who has been out of the world for a decade. Overall, her character just felt underdeveloped.

            I thought that the romance was also kind of flat. There’s nothing I hated about it, but there wasn’t anything I liked about it either. I guess I just couldn’t understand what Clementine and Fisher saw in each other besides the fact that they’re both strange. 

            The best thing about this book is the beautiful writing style and the amazing setting. Yovanoff brings this world to life through her words, and the terrifying and ugly within it are also at the same time intriguing and beautiful. Even the normal things she describes seem magical. If you’re looking for a good stand-alone book for Halloween, Fiendish may be for you.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top 10 New Series I Want To Start

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

Sarah's Pick's
I read a lot of first books in series' and have read at least 14 so far this year so it was kind of hard to me to find fairly new series (within the last two years) that I haven't tried yet. So here's 5 series that I want to try:
1. Partials (The Partial Sequence series) by Dan Wells
This first came out in 2012 and I have been wanting to read it ever since but, like many other series', haven't gotten around to it yet.
2. Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor series) by Jennifer McGowan
Historical fiction, spies, conspiracies and romance. I need to read. 
3. In the After (In the After duology) by Demitria Lunetta
I started watching Falling Skies recently and have been looking for something semi similar. The summary sounded good so I really should get to it.... soon.... why do I always seem to put books off that I'm really interested in?
4.Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes series) by Sara Raasch
Because it sounds totally awesome!
5. Queen of Someday (Stolen Empire series) by Sherry D. Ficklin
I have wanted to read this book as soon as I read the summary a few months ago. To me it sounds sort of like a retelling of Catherine the Great (am I right?) which is really cool. I'm super excited to read it!

Christina's Pick's
1. Illusive (Illusive series) by Emily Lloyd-Jones
They say it's "The X-Men meets Ocean's Eleven". I never believe those comparisons, but I'm intrigued anyway.

2. Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes series) by Sara Raasch
I've been hearing a lot of great things about it.
3. Loki's Wolves (The Blackwell Pages) by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr
I'm a fan of both Armstrong and Marr's writing. Also, maybe I can pick up some Norse mythology while reading it. 
4. Gates of Thread and Stone (Gates of Thread and Stone series) by Lori M. Lee
Not only is the cover beautiful, the story contains time travel! 
5. Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle) by Heather Demetrios
I love the idea of the Jini and I'm really hoping that I love this.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Source: Library


A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love. -Summary from Goodreads

                First off, I have to say how pleasantly surprised I was with how much I loved this book. There have been a few reads this year that I almost passed up on because, based on the summary, I didn’t think they were my type. However, I am a sucker for hyped books so I end up reading them anyway (like this one) and half the time I end up loving them more than I ever could have imagined (like this one). The Kiss of Deception has is all: romance, mystery, action, suspense, friendship, magic, and it all blends together to create a dazzling gem of fiction.

            One of the most fascinating aspects of this book was how Pearson dealt with the narratives. There are five narratives given by only three characters. Lia has the main narrative of course but then we have the Prince and the Assassin and their alter egos. Confused yet? Good, than you are where you’re supposed to be. We read how Kaden and Rafe are falling for Lia but then we get inside the head of the prince and the assassin and we don’t know who is who! I certainly didn’t. I was going back and forth until the big revelation and I never figured it out.
            Lia is such an amazing character, I just love her to bits. Not only is she strong willed but she’s smart and works hard at any task she is given, even if she is terrible at it. She is on a journey to find a life of her own making but also to find out what love truly is. Lia had seen many things called love and she has seen the misery of false love and is not impressed. One thing I admire about this book is that “romance” wasn’t the only love addressed. We saw the love between siblings, friends, and second families. While it wasn’t the main part of the story is was an important part of Lia’s growth. You really felt for Lia through her triumphs and her struggles. She is not perfect by any means but I couldn’t help but cheer her on the whole time. This book is about her story and not just what guy she is going to end up with.

            Technically The Kiss of Deception does have a love triangle but it was done so well that it didn’t annoy me at all (if you’ve read my reviews you know that I hate love triangles). Though she cared strongly for both there was only one guy she really wanted and though she didn’t necessarily handle it the best she quickly understood where she was going wrong and tried to do better.

            The world grew steadily darker and more intense and the story progressed. The characters developed and changed and so much happened that it felt like I had been reading for days (and multiple books) though I finished it in one. It has been a while since I’d been that immersed into the world of a book, it was amazing. If I had one critique, and this is being pulled out a hat here, was that I was a little confused about the magic of a First Daughter. A first I thought it was a royalty thing but then it seemed to be a power that most First Daughters had. I’m still a little fuzzy on it. It didn’t however diminish my enjoyment of the book. Hopefully in the sequel I’ll get a better grasp of it.

            I am recommending this book to every reader out there, even if you don’t read fantasy, because it is that amazing! Right from the beginning this was a 5 star book and I am anxiously anticipating the sequel which comes out around July 2015…. It’s going to be a long, hard wait.