Friday, February 28, 2014

TBR March Books

Tomorrow is March 1st, which hopefully means a month of nicer weather and plants and grass and all things green. Someone please stop this polar vortex #2, I'm literally crying here in Rochester, NY.

Instead of working on my paper about whether brain games help improve general intelligence, I have decided to show you my picks of books for this month! I probably won't read them all, but I like to be optimistic.

Books I'll Most Likely Read!

At first I wasn't going to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5, because I'm tackling #2 now, and it's over 500 pages. But Night of Cake & Puppets is just an ebook with 89 pages. Totally doable. Attachments is from the library, and I just want to read Graceling.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor

Here are my ARCs for this month!

I randomly got pre-approved to read The Here and Now, and I'm not sure why? But the cover looks amazing, and so does the Goodreads summary. I'm trying to avoid other reviews, since I ALWAYS end up being slightly biased, and I want to focus on my own thoughts and opinions. 
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Secrecy by Rupert Thomson

U of R Book Club!

Hahaha my pick won this month! Even though there are only around seven students in book club. I probably won't start this until later in the month since I'm a procrastinator, but everything works out in the end.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I might add a few books here and there, like the Lunar Chronicles which I didn't get to last month. Also, I'm definitely going to update my blog layout sometime this month. So if anyone knows anything about CSS and how to merge the background and header together, please let me know! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #2

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

REWIND: Top Ten Childhood Favorites

Hey readers! I'm super excited that this week's top ten is a freebie! I had trouble with some of the other topics because I just haven't read as many books recently, other than when I attended elementary and middle school AND WOW that leads directly to what I actually want my top ten to be...childhood favorites!

This will showcase chapter books, picture books, anything I read in my younger days! I used to buy a lot of books from those book orders that we got from school, so I ended up getting a lot of books. So without further ado, here's the abridged list:

1. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Oh man, I became obsessed with this book in fourth grade, I think. And then after reading it once, I kept on rereading it over and over again. As a child, I loved fantasy and magic because it didn't remind me of reality. This is my all time favorite childhood book!

2. Amelia's Notebook by Marissa Moss
I absolutely loved these journals! They were just so colorful and interesting, that I modeled my own journals and diaries after Amelia's. If I saw this book in a bookstore now, I would still read it and be entertained by it. 

3. Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne
I made my parents buy me this entire series (well until the latest book at the time) because my kindergarden teachers read it to us. 

4. Flush by Carl Hiaasin
I don't know why, but Hiaasin's books Hoot and Flush were such hits back then, and I remember both of the stories even now. I remember reading it more than once, even though it had nothing to do with magic or fantasy. It must have had a big impact on me, somehow.

Hahahaha this was one of my favorite stories that the teachers would read aloud to us, just because it was a hilarious retelling of different fairytales. This book would also ALWAYS be checked out of the library. I think I'm just going to buy it next time I go to the bookstore.

I absolutely loved this book! I even read the next two sequels of Molly Moon. Just the idea that a small girl can learn to hypnotize and change her life and the world was really cool to read. Unfortunately I got tired after the third book because by then she learned how to stop time and time travel.  

7. Frindle By Andrew Clements
I read every single one of Clements' books in elementary school and I feel no shame! Each of them were pretty witty, like Frindle, where a student makes up a new name for a pen.

8. Into the Blue by Ben M. Baglio
Me and my best friend both bought this same book in second grade, and it came with a dolphin bracelet! I love love LOVE dolphins, and I did back then too.

9. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM I don't remember what the rhyme is but I don't care because I know I liked it!

10. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
OMG IT'S THE RAINBOW FISH if you didn't read this during your childhood then I don't know what to say to you. I loved those sparkly scales.

How about you? Do you have any childhood favorites? Are they the same as mine?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Movie Review: The Book Thief

I'm not sure where to start, except to say that this is one incredible adaptation. I remember having really high hopes for this movie, and then finding out that it wasn't even playing everywhere in the U.S. until a couple of weeks later (probably due to the fact that the movie did well).

Overall, I really liked The Book Thief movie. When I first saw it, I kept on checking the time so that I could figure out what scenes weren't in the movie. Personally, I absolutely loved the movie. It hit all the important points, and the story wasn't sabotaged (like for example, Avatar the Last Airbender).

The casting was also spot on.
So was the setting of the book.

I JUST WANT TO WATCH IT AGAIN, even though I will be shedding tears and blowing my nose. I forgot to bring tissues with me to the movie, I cannot make this mistake when watching The Fault in Our Stars.

Anyways, here's a list of what I thought about The Book Thief movie:

  • They portrayed Death in the movie!
  • The music suited the movie, until the last scene, which seem a little too jolly for me to be in the background of the ending scene.
  • They kept the part where Rosa pretends to scold Liesel, just so she can tell her that Max is awake and alive
  • The character of Max! 
  • Geoffrey Rush fits Hans perfectly as well. 
  • Why, oh why, did they leave out the part about Max writing Liesel the book about the word shaker? 
  • Most parts were cut out, but it is a 500 page book, so I can't blame them. Like, for example, the apple stealing, and when Liesel leaves bread for the Jews.
  • Rudy is adorable. 
  • The scene where Liesel, Max, and Hans and Rosa had a snowball fight in the basement.
  • I cried a lot at the end, even though I knew what was already going to happen.

Here's the trailer:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Blogger Hop #3 + Updates!

Book Blogger Hop
Hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

This annoys me, what about you? When I click on a blogger's name and it goes to their profile and I see more than one blog listed, how do you know which one to visit? I usually don't visit.

Well, this really depends on what we're looking at. For example, if someone were to follow me through Bloglovin', then it's easy to see whether they have any blogs or not. When you go through GFC, you have to look through their links. That's where you will usually find their book blog. If there are no links, then it's basically impossible to check out their blog, because maybe they don't even have one.

Now that I think about it, I feel like I don't have my links set up. I should probably go check this out now. . . yeah I didn't set mine up, oops

Actually my link only appears when I follow through blogger, and since I've been following through Google, it just doesn't appear, even though I added the link to my profile. I don't know how to work this website.

Some Updates :)

I have borrowed some books from my school library, surprisingly! So for once I'm going to be reading actual, physical books that aren't on my kindle! It's exciting haha.

I'm definitely starting Days of Blood & Starlight today. I am trying to catch up before the next book in the series comes out! And then I picked up Attachments because it's by Rainbow Rowell. My school book club just voted on books, and I recommended Eleanor & Park. Hopefully that wins! 

Look I even took a picture, with Pikachu on top!

Also, I've been trying to read Of Triton, which is the next book in the Syrena Legacy Series. And you know what? I can't get through it! I just completely lost interest in it, just because everything happened way too fast. I expected a lot more backlash and conflict between Emma's mom and the Syrena, but that never happened. Also the focus shifted away from Emma, which is kind of upsetting. Also Anna Banks tried introducing a completely new conflict, which I am just not interested in at all.

And due to that, I am dropping the book. 
I know, it's surprising, but I just can't get through it :/

Tonight, I'm going to be seeing the Book Thief movie again! I am pumped, although it starts at 12am, so I might be a little sleepy. Whatever, it's college. So, be expecting a movie review on that soon!

And with that, I'm out! Thanks for reading!  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: And the Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Housseini
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
Release Date: May 21, 2013

An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.

Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.

In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.

Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.
Taken from Goodreads

Start: 2/12/2014  |  End: 2/19/2014  |  Pages: 404  |  Rating: 4 Stars 

My Thoughts:

Wow. I have never read anything by Khaled Housseini, not even Kite Runner surprisingly, and I am not sure why. Why have I never picked up any of his books before?

If I recall correctly from book club, Kite Runner is supposed to focus on fathers and sons. A Thousand Splendid Suns is supposed to focus on mothers and daughters. And this book here focuses on siblings, which it does to some extent. It also features a multiple number of characters all related to each other somehow. 

I absolutely loved reading this book. Every chapter has a specific story to it, so it's kind of like a collection of short stories. Throughout the chapter, I always looked for a link that connected the characters to characters from another chapter. For example, there's a chapter on Abdullah and his sister Pari, then a chapter on Nila, Pari's stepmother. Later there's one on Nabi, who is the caretaker of Nila and her husband, and so on. Sometimes, the links were so subtle, that I caught myself thinking "Now where did this guy come from?"

I also want to mention what first dragged me in was the separation of Abdullah and his sister. The prologue hinted at this fact, and also foreshadowed the theme of all these short stories. What exactly makes a good person? Are you a bad person for doing that one thing? I know if I knew someone that sold their child, I would immediately think that person was horrible. But what happens if it's the best for that child?

Why did this novel have to be so good?! Like sure it didn't make me cry as much as in The Fault of Our Stars, but tears were shed.

SPOILER! Highlight at own risk :)
For everyone that's already read the book: I CANNOT believe that Pari and Abdullah finally reunited at the end of the book, but he ended up having Alzheimer's! And now he will never actually know that he reunited with her. I am super mad about this. I really wanted a happy ending, but I kind of understand why it couldn't have been one.
Here are some quotes that destroyed me:

“I learned that the world didn't see the inside of you, that it didn't care a whit about the hopes and dreams, and sorrows, that lay masked by skin and bone. It was as simple, as absurd, and as cruel as that.” 

“Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.” 

“All good things in life are fragile and easily lost”

“You say you felt a presence, but I only sensed an absence. A vague pain without a source. I was like a patient who cannot tell the doctor where it hurts, only that it does.”

Everyone needs to read this.
If you do, you will understand what I mean by everything being connected.

4 stars. Go read it. Now. 

Seriously, this is an amazing novel that is popular for a reason. It explains life realistically, and also how everyone is connected. It doesn't focus on the Taliban, or history in general. Just on people and their lives.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Reading Bingo Challenge 2014

Guys, do you understand how AWESOME this reading challenge is? It's a bingo card! Who wouldn't want to do this. I can't believe I stumbled upon this I am so lucky!

So basically I can go about this in a number of ways, either just fill in 5 in a row, like in normal bingo, or maybe only fill in the four corners. Or just fill in the entire board. I've never finished a challenge before, so maybe I can actually do this one! 

Bingo from Retreat by Random House
Actually, I might just read whatever I want, and if the book matches with any space on the board, then I'll fill it in. And since this started at the beginning of January, let me see if I have any books that fit these requirements.

A BOOK PUBLISHED THIS YEAR: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes


A BOOK WRITTEN BY SOMEONE UNDER THIRTY: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman (although I'm not 100% sure because it's hard to find the birthdates of authors)

A BOOK BASED ON A TRUE STORY: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

A BOOK WITH A BLUE COVER: The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

Oh wow I already have 5 spaces filled in and it's only February, although this actually doesn't form anything. I have to mark these somehow.

I'm very close to finishing And the Mountains Echoed! But I don't know if I will finished of Triton just because I'm not interested in it anymore. Last week was such a mess for me because I had two exams and a lot of homework assignments and internships to work on. But this week I only have one exam! Woo college life.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes 
Publisher: SparkPress
Release Date: February 14th, 2014
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 2/4/14 to 2/11/14
205 pages
Rating: 1/2

Not every fairytale has a happy ending.
This is the story of a princess who became a villain.

A Father’s Betrayal. A Kingdom with a Black Secret. A Princess Slowly Unraveling.

As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.

When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinahs furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.

Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Taken from Goodreads

I requested my first book through Netgalley, and I got it! And I am proud to say that I am so, so glad I got chosen to read this as my first ARC book, because it is simply a fantastic and amazing read, and I can't say that enough. 

Queen of Hearts is set in the world of Alice in Wonderland, but with a few twists. A strict and evil King rules over Wonderland, and he only cares about power and imagery rather than his daughter, Dinah, the future Queen. Instead of caring for her in a loving fashion, he ruthlessly casts her aside, by either ignoring her or yelling at her over nothing. He even takes on another beautiful daughter and makes her the duchess, Vittiore.

Dinah, on the other hand, struggles to find her place in the palace. She looks forward to her coronation day, where she rules alongside her father, and the day she hopes her father will finally take pride in her. And she also dreams about the day when Wardley, her childhood friend and crush, becomes her husband. But as that day slowly comes by, she realizes that there are things in Wonderland that she has no idea about.

Colleen Oakes does an amazing job creating and putting together a setting for our heroine in the Queen of Hearts. In every chapter, I learn more about Dinah and her jealousy towards her sister, her relationship with Wardley, or just about Wonderland itself. And also that Dinah's brother, Charles, is the Mad Hatter? Genius. I'm in love with all of these well developed characters, even though I still have no idea what role Vittiore will play in the series. She definitely has some huge secret that she's hiding from everyone. And I love Dinah! I really hope she succeeds at everything because I know where her feelings are coming from and plus she has really good intentions for everyone. I am curious to see how Oakes will tie all of this with the original story of Wonderland, or maybe she won't at all. 

I recommend this book to everyone, especially readers who love fairy tales, because Queen of Hearts definitely puts a new perspective on the Wonderland story. The only flaws are that this book was only 205 pages, and that I have to wait for the next book in the series.

With that said, the expected release date for Queen of Hearts is this Friday, February 14th!

"Colleen Oakes is the author of the Elly in Bloom Series and the upcoming YA fantasy Queen of Hearts Saga, both published via Sparkpress. She lives in North Denver with her husband and son. When not writing, Colleen enjoys swimming, traveling, and immersing herself in nerdy pop culture. She is currently at work on the last Elly novel and another YA fantasy series called Wendy Darling.

You can visit her webpage at: or at her very lengthy and sometimes embarrassingly personal blog, The Ranunculus Adventures."

More information from Goodreads

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Review: Sabriel

Sabriel by Garth Nix
Abhorsen #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: September 30th, 1996
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn't always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 1/24/2014  |  End: 1/30/2014  |  Pages: 491  |  Rating: 5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

I am so glad that someone recommended this book to me, because it was a fantastic read. I am a HUGE sucker for the fantasy and adventure genre, as long as it's not downright confusing. I admit that during the prologue, I had a hard time following what was happening, but other than that, I knew what was going on.

The story starts off, after the prologue, with Sabriel at her boarding school in Ancelstierre. After finding out that her father, the famous necromance Abhorsen, is stuck in death, she goes out to rescue him. Along the way, she discovers the secrets of the Old Kingdom, a deathly yet trustworthy (?) companion cat named Mogget, and also a Charter Mage imprisoned by magic, which Sabriel frees him of. Together, the three of them travel across the land in order to search for her father, and of course in the end going against what "killed" him in the first place. No story is ever so simple.

The characters was what really made this journey. If Garth Nix hadn't developed such wonderful characters, especially Sabriel, then this story would have just been another one of those books with a start and an end. Sabriel is a character with equally as many flaws as strengths, in other words, she's not an all powerful know-it-all. Her father has kept her away from the Old Kingdom, but still taught her the ways of a necromancer. Although she's not as good as her father, she at least tries her best and isn't reckless about it. She makes her own decisions about who to save, and who to leave behind. 

On the other hand, Mogget the cat has an alter ego, when without his collar. When I mean alter ego, I mean a completely different personality and form, with the power to kill. I wish I could've known more about the origins of Mogget, and how he came to be captured, but I will assume that it will be in the next book. 

Then there's Touchstone, the young Charter mage who manages to be amnesic only at the times Sabriel needs information. Being the only male in the group, I knew there would be some romance between him and Sabriel, but Nix did such a good job with NOT over doing it, so good that I actually wanted something to happen! This is because right now, there are more important events for Sabriel and Touchstone to worry about besides a relationship. Although I am looking forward to how it will play out in the next book in the series.

Basically, the plot itself is amazing, the characters have superb character development, the world itself is very unique, and also, the romance was not overbearing.

This is what I like to see in a fantasy, young adult novel!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Book Blogger Hop #2

Book Blogger Hop
Hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

When you receive new books in the mail, do the older ones get moved to the bottom of your list or do go strictly "by the book" and keep your list with older books first and then the new ones?

Usually what happens is that I end up reading the new books first, because they're so nice and shiny and new. I'm not really good at keeping track of what I want to read when, because I get so distracted by other books. This happens with the books on my kindle as well. I have over 80 books on there, but I always want to read something that's not on there.

TBR February Books

Which basically means that I have a new list of books to read for the month. Since I read only five books last month, right now I have six books on the list, but that could change. It's also almost the time for midterms, so we'll see how everything plays out. 

The Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks

I just finished the book Of Poseidon, and my review for it is here. Although it was not the best read, I've always been fascinated by mermaids and mythology, so I'm probably going to continue with the series. I might not read all of these three books, but we will see.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

I have already read the Daughter of Smoke & Bone a year ago, and still remember most of the details. Also the actual third book in the series should be coming out soon, so I'm hoping I read all of them at once. I won't read the first one again, because I don't have time at the moment. 

Abhorsen by Garth Nix

I'm really excited for this series, because I'm reading the first one, Sabriel, right now, and it's a great fantasy adventure series, kind of like the Alanna series, Song of the Lioness, but better. Though to be honest, I'm not a fan of the artwork on the first book, which is really weird because I also hate the cover of the first book in the Alanna series. 

And here's my book club book for the month! By the author who wrote Kite Runner, I'm looking forward to reading And the Mountains Echoed (although I never read the Kite Runner).

And there's also Hollow City, the second book of the series Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, the one YA series I have actually kept up with (I don't care that there's only two books out now).

I also really want to read Cinder, the first book of the Lunar Chronicles, because I've heard so many good things about it. A futuristic, modern fairy tale setting? What more could there be? 

And that's it from me. What books are you looking forward to reading to this month? 

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