Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday: Rereading Books



I created Thoughtful Thursday, because bookish thoughts kept popping up in my mind while reading, and I wanted to explore these questions and get your opinions too!

Each week, I will post a new bookish thought that I will discuss. Everyone is welcome to join. You can do this in two different ways. (1) You can discuss your thoughts in the comment section of the Thoughtful Thursday post. OR (2) You can post your thoughts on your site. If you do option two, please link back to the Thoughtful Thursday post, use the Thoughtful Thursday graphic, and add your name/post to the Linky widget. If the Linky is closed, feel free to add to add the link in the comment section.



This Week's Topic/Question



Do you reread books? Is it a priority or a tradition for you?




My Answer:

Abso-friggin'-lutely, I do!!! What's better than discovering an wonderful book/series, you say? Obsessively rereading or re-listening to the audiobook for the rest of your life! In all seriousness, if a book is great it's worth revisiting. I can't think of a good reason not to. Of the two options, I'd say it's more of a tradition for me.

Audiobooks have only flamed the fires of my rereading madness. I have re-listened to below audiobooks at least three times. Yes, this includes all the books the series.

  • Ready Player One by Ernie Cline (narrated by Wil Wheaton)
  • The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong (narrated by Cassandra Morris)
  • The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher (narrated by James Marsters)
  • Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh (narrated by Angela Dawe)
I've listened to Ready Player One the most because it's a single book, and Wil Wheaton's performance it absolutely perfect! Also, I've been pretty obsessive about my love for The Darkest Powers series audiobooks. I'd say I listen to the full series every four-six months. I can't help it. But with that one, I actually read the hardbacks the first go-round.

The funny thing is... The Dresden Files currently has me spellbound. I haven't made any progress all month because i'm currently revisiting the beloved series and I can't think about anything else....






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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday: The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases. Click the link to participate.

My Pick This Week: 



Book Title: The Iron Trial
Author: Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
Book Series: Magisterium, Book #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Magic
Release Date: September 2014

The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)



Twelve-year-old Callum Hunt has grown up knowing three rules by heart.

Never trust a magician. Never pass a test a magician gives you. And never let a magician take you to the Magisterium.

Call is about to break all the rules. And when he does, his life will change in ways he can’t possibly imagine.



Simple description with epic potential. This book sounds like it's could be pretty damn awesome. Especially since it's going back to magic. I'm kind of sick of vampires and shifters... bring on the witches, mages, magicians, wizards, etc, etc.

I wanted to learn a little bit more and found this nugget of info from Cassandra Clare's website: "The Iron Trial is the first book in an epic fantasy series that I’m cowriting with Holly Black. The Iron Trial, will be released in September 2014 by Scholastic Books. Four books will follow, one for year of Call’s life from twelve to seventeen, as he comes of age in a world where child apprentices train to be warriors and dark magicians seek to defeat even death. There’s not much else I can say about the books yet, as I’m sworn to secrecy, but I’ve always wanted to write with Holly, and I can definitely say the collaboration has produced characters I love and a story I hope you’ll find as funny, dark, adventurous and unexpected as I do."

So excited!





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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cover Characteristic – Rocks/Boulders



Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite cover’s with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL here or over at Sugar & Snark.

My Picks This Week:





5. Lullaby (Watersong #2) by Amanda Hocking
4. Ruins (Partials Sequence #3) by Dan Wells
3. The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
2. Fates (Fates #1) by Lanie Bross


My Favorite Pick:


Book Title: What Kills Me
AuthorsWynne Channing
Genres: YA, Paranormal
Release DateJune 6, 2012

What Kills Me

The fight for survival begins.

An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.

So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.

How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?




This cover is so dramatic, I love it. I like how the light is in the foreground on the waves and her skin and how it contrasts with her stark black dress and hair. I love how her head is thrown back, hair tossed in the wind, and how the water is crashing against her. I love how there's so much action there is in the foreground but the background is calm in muted green, gray and blue storm clouds.





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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday: Reviewing Guilty Pleasures



I created Thoughtful Thursday, because bookish thoughts kept popping up in my mind while reading, and I wanted to explore these questions and get your opinions too!

Each week, I will post a new bookish thought that I will discuss. Everyone is welcome to join. You can do this in two different ways. (1) You can discuss your thoughts in the comment section of the Thoughtful Thursday post. OR (2) You can post your thoughts on your site. If you do option two, please link back to the Thoughtful Thursday post, use the Thoughtful Thursday graphic, and add your name/post to the Linky widget. If the Linky is closed, feel free to add to add the link in the comment section.



This Week's Topic/Question



Do you have guilty pleasure books that you don't review? Do you feel pressured to rate your guilty pleasure books a certain way?




My Answer:

YES!!! The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. I absolutely hated these books when I read them. I remember wanting to drop kick Breaking Dawn into a trash bin after I finished it. I just remember thinking -- what the hell did I just read? Sparkly vampires, vampire skin that gets ripped away like chunks of marble, the vampire version of suicide-by-cop, etc, etc. I had many SMH moments and only read the full series out of morbid curiosity. I disliked them so much, that I never put pen to paper and did a review. I had nothing nice to say, after all, so I choose to say nothing at all.

But then, I watched the movies. At first, there was a lot more snickering and eye rolling. When the films series was completed, however, I purchased all the movies. Strange. Then, I started watching the movies repeatedly and downloaded the entire series' soundtrack ... stranger. Now, I can't stop re-watching my favorite scenes, or listening to my favorite songs because let's face it, the full series' soundtrack was stellar.

I'm not saying the movies made me fan of the story; I've still got my issues. But the movies are definitely one of my guiltiest pleasures. Especially because I've complained about hating the series to so many people (and when I get home, I hit rewind on the films...).

While I'll never reread the books (hence no real reviews), I'll probably continue revisiting the movies. Other than that, I can't think of any other guilty pleasure books that I've read. I used to wonder if I should rate Erotica books when I first started reading the genre not wanting people to know I read it, but I'm over that. 





Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Hillbilly Rockstar by Lorelei James



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases. Click the link to participate.

My Pick This Week: 



Book TitleHillbilly Rockstar
Author: Lorelei James
GenresContemporary RomanceEroticaWestern
Release DateAugust 5, 2014
Hillbilly Rockstar (Blacktop Cowboys #6)



Country music star Devin McClain understands there’s a downside to life in the public eye, but the laidback Wyoming cowboy has never imagined he’d attract crazed fans who would do anything to garner his attention. When veiled threats become real, he agrees to hire a discreet security detail. But Devin is shocked when that bodyguard is a hard-bodied woman. He’s even more stunned to be attracted to the steely-eyed stunner.

Former soldier Liberty Masterson’s return to civilian life has been wrought with challenges until she lands a job with a prestigious security firm. But when she agrees to provide personal protection during a cross-country tour, she doesn’t realize she has signed up to masquerade as the playboy star’s girlfriend. Though she’s more comfortable in combat boots than high heels, she has no choice but to appear to be the sexy groupie Devin prefers.

Living in close quarters causes the chemistry between them to ignite, and Devin realizes he wants to turn their charade of a romance into reality. Although Liberty surrenders to his every whim behind closed doors, she fears the sexy country star doesn’t see the real her; and Devin can’t help but worry when the tour ends that there might not be enough between them to build something that won’t fade away...



This has been a much beloved series, so I'm always going to want to read the next. I've been curious about this superstar cowboy since he's popped up a time or two in previous books.






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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cover Characteristic – Fruit


Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite cover’s with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL here or over at Sugar & Snark.

My Picks This Week:



5. Strawberries Stilettos and Steam by Imani True & Dreama Skye
4. Splat! by Eric Walters
3. Eve & Adam (Eve & Adam #1) by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate
2. Glass Frost (First Frost #2) by Liz DeJesus


My Favorite Pick:


Book TitleFamished
AuthorsLauren Hammond
Genres: YA, Dystopian
Release DateJuly 26, 2011

 Famished

There is no United States. There is no world. An asteroid has destroyed what the human race knew as earth and The Great Famine has wiped out most of the surviving human population. For the few remaining survivors, food is scarce--precious--a luxury. A luxury that most humans can’t find.

Seventeen-year-old Georgina Carver is fortunate. She’s survived the destruction. She eats three times a day while the rest of humanity is plagued by The Great Famine. And she’s safe, hidden away in an underground colony with her family and several other families of survivors.

All of that changes the day she’s randomly selected to be a gatherer. Georgina must leave her safe yet simple world and venture out into a world unknown. A vast, dangerous, destroyed world that could literally eat her alive.

After Georgina is severely injured, her life begins to fall apart. She can’t remember how she got home or what happened to her while she was on the new earth. The boy she is crushing on avoids her and she keeps having visions that involve an unknown person with violet eyes.

As Georgina begins to unravel the truth, it doesn’t take her long to figure out that maybe her safe yet simple life isn’t that safe at all.



This is when a cover is done right. How brilliant is that chewed, rotting apple core amid a charred earth and a stormy, dark sky. Desperate. Dystopian. Sinister. This cover has me\ intrigued before I even check out what the story about. There are some books I'd buy on appearance alone -- this is definitely one of them!





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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday: Rating Books Out of Your Age Demographic



I created Thoughtful Thursday, because bookish thoughts kept popping up in my mind while reading, and I wanted to explore these questions and get your opinions too!

Each week, I will post a new bookish thought that I will discuss. Everyone is welcome to join. You can do this in two different ways. (1) You can discuss your thoughts in the comment section of the Thoughtful Thursday post. OR (2) You can post your thoughts on your site. If you do option two, please link back to the Thoughtful Thursday post, use the Thoughtful Thursday graphic, and add your name/post to the Linky widget. If the Linky is closed, feel free to add to add the link in the comment section.



This Week's Topic/Question



How do you rate books that are out of your age demographic (e.g., an adult rating YA or MG or a YA rating adult or MG)?




My Answer:

I love books, always have. I've never really considered age ranges. I've always read YA books, and my interest hasn't slowed as I got older. I'm now 31 and my love for YA is the same as it ever was. I read adult books growing up on occasion; actually, it was wasn't until my late 20s that I got into more adult genres (Contemporary Romance, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, Erotica, etc).

My "gateway to adult books" author was Richelle Mead. I was a moderate fan of her Vampire Academy series, and decided to check out her Urban Fantasy Georgina Kincaid/Succubus series. I instantaneously fell in love with the book and the genre!  I remember thinking, wow, I must have more of this Urban Fantasy thing!

I hit the ground running after that. Actually, I have only recently discovered lot of my all-time favorite authors, specifically Jim Butcher and Nalini Singh. This was actually perfect, because I got into their The Dresden Files and Psy/Changeling series respectively when both series were already past their halfway marks. I got to read both series in their entirety back-to-back, which was awesome to say the least!

Moving on (since I haven't actually answered the question), I don't consider the age demographic when I read a story. I base my rating on whether or not I enjoyed the book, plain and simple. No other factors affects my rating. I haven't always like a book or two from a series or author that I love, and I'm not afraid to say so.

Also, I don't let my personal experiences/age affect how I experience the story. I don't put myself into the character's shoes until I'm writing a review and only then. I suppose since I didn't start reading many adult books until after I'd been an adult for a while, it wasn't hard for me make the transition. I'd already encountered a lot of the themes and situations from adult books in my own life. Same goes for YA now; high school is over (thank god). While it's been over 10 years since I experienced that, it doesn't feel like it was that far away for me to not remember somewhat how being a teen felt.






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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Hexed (The Witch Hunter #1) by Michelle Krys



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases. Click the link to participate.

My Pick This Week: 



Book Title: Hexed
Author: Michelle Krys
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Witches, Magic
Release DateJune 10, 2014 

Hexed (The Witch Hunter #1)



If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.



WITCHES!!! Yes, please. I've been really annoyed that I haven't been able to find a good series about witches. This one sounds pretty interesting - occult shop, freaky bible, a witch hunter. I am in!






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Monday, February 10, 2014

Fight for the Future Tour @ Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach



Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting not one, or two, or three but four fantastic authors — Marie Lu, author of the Legend series; Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman, authors of These Broken Stars; and Margaret Stohl, author of Icons and the Beautiful Creatures novels.

Let me first start off by saying how amazing the event was due to the chemistry of these ladies. It was evident that they were all friends and fans of each others’ work. It was great to hear them do one-lined pitches of each others’ books - even those that have yet to be published!

Some really interesting questions came up in the Q&A portion. I’ll share what I can remember:



Marie Lu:

When you write, where do you start from? What influences you:
Marie said a big influence for her is writing about child prodigies; that she loves young people who do extraordinary things. She shared this hilarious story about a 14 year old boy who would collect plutonium in the desert with his dad and then built a fully-functional nuclear reactor in his basement to impress girls.

She also said she likes writing about girls who are not nice — and don't care they are not — but become a nicer version of themselves in the end.

Which of your characters do you most identify with, or are closest to?
Marie answered Kaede mostly because she’s a wish fulfillment character. Marie wanted to be a fighter pilot as a kid, but her mother reminded her that it would be highly unlikely because she has horrible vision. She’s pretty much agreeing saying she’s legally blind.


Margaret Stohl:

When you write, where do you start from? What influences you:
Margaret said that she’s an emotions-based writer, and for her, it’s all about the feelings. She said she spends a lot of time in her characters' POV and delves deep into the core of them. She said that a lot of time, the entire idea of story stems from what she's feeling. With Beautiful Creatures, for her, it started with Ethan Wate’s dreams about a girl he couldn’t save and how that affected him. Furthermore, with Icons, she said she wrote that from a very dark place while saying in a horrible hotel in France. The way she told it was funnier that I can try to think up, so I won’t go into detail. She said locked herself in her hotel “cell” and wrote, exploring feelings and emotions that are so strong that they end up destroy the physical world. WOW — having not read Icons yet, that’s a easy sell for me.

Why do you like writing YA? How do you write from that perspective now that your no longer that age?
Margaret said she actually started writing Beautiful Creatures as a dare, because her teenage daughter didn’t think she could.

Meagan agreed with this perspective, saying she bets a lot of writers finish their books out of revenge , to prove people wrong. She explained that there’s so many people saying you can’t do it because of all the obstacles you’re going to encounter, to which you you say to hell with that and do!

Margaret went on to explain that television and fandom also help bridge the gap. That everyone, on a global scale, has seen that episode of Doctor Who or Sherlock, which I think was absolutely true!

Do you ever encounter differences when co-writing?
Yes. As stated before, Margaret comes from a emotions-based state of mind. She said that, Kami Garcia writes from more of an action-driven state of mind, thinking “go, go, go!". When they collaborate, Margaret feels she writes best. She’s influenced by Kami’s writing style and perspective, and the story gets the best of both worlds. “As readers, you get her chocolate mixed with my peanut butter.”

Which of your characters do you most identify with, or are closest to?
Dol, because of who he is.




Meagan Spooner & Amy Kaufman:

When you write, where do you start from? What influences you:
So far, Meagan & Amy said they both enjoy writing about people from different worlds and exploring their differences. Specifically, Meagan shared a quote that illustrates that thought: "The things that divide us are the things that unite us.”

Why do you like writing YA? How do you write from that perspective now that your no longer that age?
Meagan said what draws her to YA is how much change and growth teenagers go through. She also said that when your a teen, everything that happens to you feels like the most important thing in the world, and that that’s a fun perspective to write from and explore. Amie joked that internally she’s about 17 and she’s just waiting for someone to revoke her “adult status.”

Do they ever encounter differences when co-writing?
Yes, of course. They’re close friends who met online and at one point lived together, so they feel like they have a sisterly bond. There’s no bloody brawls when they encounter difficulties and that it mostly works itself out. Their formula: If Meagan wants A and Amie wants B, the answer is C (otherwise known as the "secret plot line that has yet to be written", LOL). Meagan said that also there writing styles differ - Amie is a plotter (with outlines and such) and Meagan is a pants-er (writing “by the seat of her pants).

Which of your characters do you most identify with, or are closest to?
Meagan and Amie said that it’s hard to answer because in their story they kill all but two characters. But because of their personalities and upbringings, Meagan writes the female leads and Amie writes the male leads (Amie grew up around boys and was on a sailing/rowing team two which composed of 16 boys and her). Meagan said, “I’m such a girl. If I got lost in the woods, I’d be in trouble but Amie would be fine. I’d probably sit on a rock, cry and die in 15 minutes.” To, which is a sinister voice, Amie answered, “and then I’d eat her!"


There was a lot more discussed, but that’s what stuck out at me the most. I would recommend to anyone to meet these wonderful women! Interesting perspectives, awesome witting advice and fantastic personalities all around!

What made the even more enjoyable was all the swag. Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman gave everyone in attendance bookmarks, postcards and an amazing poster of the gorgeous cover. Three lucky ladies also went home with one-of-a-kind necklaces, a character’s dog tags to be specific. Margaret Stohl also gave a very lucky reader an ARC of Idols, the next book in her Icons series. She said there are only 5 in existence .. lucky lady!

Thank you, Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach, for another fantastic event!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Cover Characteristic – Storms


Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite cover’s with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL here or over at Sugar & Snark.

My Picks This Week:





5. The Savage Blue (The Vicious Deep #2) by Zoraida C√≥rdova
4. Tangled Tides (The Sea Monster Memoirs #1)  by Karen Amanda Hooper
3. The Secret of the Emerald Sea by Heather Matthews
2. Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole


My Favorite Pick:


Book TitleUndeadly
AuthorMichele Vail
Genres: YA, Paranormal
Release DateJuly 10, 2005

Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries #1)

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she's shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.

Life at Nekyia has its plusses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another...except, there's something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain — Molly's got an undeadly knack for finding trouble...



I love this cover so much. The subtle storm in the background, but also how the strands of her hair are caught in the wind. I like her expression. I like the tattoo-like markings on her skin. All together it's simply gorgeous.





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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Book Review: Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth


Book Series: Divergent, Book #2
Author: Veronica Roth
Genres: YA, Dystopian, 
Format: Audiobook (Audible)
NarratorEmma Galvin
Length11 hrs and 22 mins
Insurgent (Divergent #2)


My Ranking:


I have done bad things. I can’t take them back, and they are part of who I am.

Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.

Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever… because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.




Wow - what a fantastic story! I really like the nonstop action that Roth is able to achieve without loosing focus on her plot.

It was really interesting too get a look at some of the other factions. Amity definitely wasn't what I thought it would be nor was Candor. Every faction was shaped by the people inside it than the principle it was supposed to stand for; especially he leaders.

I especially appreciate the realness of the relationships between Tris and Tobias. If they agreed with each other on everything, then I think it would go against their nature. It's nice to experience such a grounded relationship. There foundation is there love for each other, but their emotions, thoughts, actions and the world's influence chips away at it. Very real and mature!

Also - the ending was MONUMENTALLY satisfactory! Did not drop the ball or feel like just a seaway to the next book. I really like the journey that Tris has gone through. She's still a great heroine - love this series! I can't wait for more!



Emma Galvin is a phenomenal voice actress and my absolute favorite. She's brings her characters to life effortlessly, and can capture even the tiniest emotion with her vocal inflection. I have have almost finished every audiobook she's ever read. Yes, she's that good. And if you don't agree, don't even bother saying so. You can't convince me otherwise!







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