Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekly Updates!

Hello everyone!

I know I haven't updated as much as I've wanted to or reading as much, but the truth is, I'm stressed with exams, quizzes, and assignments that I really don't want to do. This afternoon I'm going to be cracking down on studying, and actually working on my essay.

Speaking of said essay for my cognition class, my topic is: "Consider how a specific cognitive process is depicted in popular media and entertainment (for example, movies, books, and news articles), comparing at least 2 different examples.  Present a cohesive argument and critical evaluation of the scientific validity and appropriateness of these depictions." On that note, does anyone know any popular books or movies that portray some kind of mental illness (amnesia, OCD, schizophrenia, etc.) that is represented wrongly? It would be a great help! If not, I better start looking.

Also, by the way, my TBR list is getting larger and larger by the day.

But I recently discovered that Amazon actually sells some popular paperback books from $5-6!

And I'm definitely going to buy Cinder, and then another book. OH NOES what book should I buy? I'm planning to buy 3 paperbacks, but I don't know which ones! Which books are worthy enough to be added to my physical book collection?

Little Life Updates

  • My friends and I are planning to rent a house in Rochester, but since we're trying to lease in August, we have to wait until May before we start calling realty offices. Everyone wants renters to lease NOW.
  • On Friday, boyfriend and I went to Skyzone! The only place where there are trampolines everywhere! We dominated in dodgeball. 
  • I've been playing Mass Effect 3. I've also been depressed about all the character deaths. I can't believe they would do this to me.
  • IT SNOWED and now there's 6 inches on the ground. 
I will definitely try to read more and post more reviews. I have absolutely no clue what I'll be reading in April, besides my book club book and Cinder. So that will be fun. Instead of doing my french homework like I'm supposed to be doing, me and my friend are planning a road trip for the summer. 

I am a true procrastinator haha. Thanks for reading about my life!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book Blogger Hop #4

Hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

What are some of your favorite blogs?

I have a huge list of all my favorite blogs, so I'll name a few here. Side note, I don't do that many memes because I either don't have the ability to (like buying new books weekly), or I just don't know of many. If you can think of any other cool memes besides this one, stacking the shelves, waiting on wednesday, and top ten tuesday, please let me know!

There's definitely more, but I can't think of all of them right now :P

Don't forget to link your blogger hop below!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: Oracle of Philadelphia

Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan
Earthbound Angels #1
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Released: March 20th, 2013

Carrie works at a diner in South Philadelphia, dispensing advice to humans and angels wise enough to seek her counsel. But there are some problems that even the best advice can’t solve.

Her latest supplicant, Sebastian, is unique among those who have sought her aid. He sold his soul to a demon in exchange for his sister’s life, but his heart remains pure.

Carrie has lived for millennia with the knowledge that her immortality is due to the suffering of others, and she cannot bear to see another good man damned when it is within her power to prevent it.

In order to renegotiate his contract, Carrie must travel into the depths of hell and parley with the demons that control its pathways. As the cost of her journey rises, Carrie must determine how much she is willing to sacrifice to save one good soul.

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 3/17/2014 | End: 3/24/2014 | Pages: 222 | Rating: 3.5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher.

I had a couple of first impressions from looking at the cover and reading the summary of Oracle of Philadelphia. One: that the cover looks absolutely amazing, so dark and mysterious. Two: There's definitely going to be romance between Carrie and Sebastian. Three: This is going to be one heck of an adventure, traveling through the depths of hell.

My impressions, or my assumptions in this case, didn't do anything for me. There were some things I loved about the story and I wouldn't have had it any other way. On the other hand, some things could have been better.

When I first started reading, I immediately was hooked. I remember thinking in the beginning, "wow, I could definitely rate this 4-5 stars." I don't know about you guys, but I am a sucker for funny, historical retellings. The fact that our main character is over six thousand years old proves to be an amazing tool to use for storytelling. Corrigan uses this to her advantage, flashing back to her life in Egypt, Greece, and Ancient Mesopotamia. Even though she doesn't provide as much detail as I would've liked, who has the time to research all that stuff anyways? And then in come all the angels and "fallen angels" interacting with each other, and POOF, it's gold.

Some parts were actually, pretty hilarious, and fit straight in the context of the bible. Since I used to go to Sunday School when I was younger, it was very relatable

"Gabriel's eyes looked as though they might pop out of his head. "What did you do, Bedlam?"

Bedlam shrugged. "I added a few angels flying in the sky. And they sang happy things. Gloria in excelsis Deo and such. Totally in keeping with the theme."

Yes, so basically, Carrie, or Khet, or whatever her real name is, is friends with Gabriel, an angel, and Bedlam, a demon. Each angel specializes in something, like mercy, glory, etc. Michael became the main angel to God after Lucifer rebelled against Him.

I'm not sure how I feel about Carrie. Since she's lived for more than 6000 years, she constantly changes her name, so the name Carrie is associated with her working at the diner in Philadelphia, which is the present time. I actually went into the book not knowing that it was YA fantasy. So you know what I did? I envisioned her to be around 30 years old. I don't know why I did, but I did.

And then halfway through the book she mentions her real age is 16.
Wait a minute, Goodreads labels this as adult fantasy/paranormal. I'm confused.

Well whatever! This is besides the point, because the halfway point is where my interest started to drift off. Because first off, I did not understand the intentions of Carrie going into hell, risking her life, to try to rescue Sebastian, someone she met for about 20 minutes. She literally just assumed, "oh, he's waaaaay to nice and good to be in hell. I gotta save him! I have to do something this time!"

No, but what really annoyed me the most, was the ending of Carrie's journey through hell. Again, I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who also got this in exchange for a review, but I'm warning you now!

Here I am, reading, excited what's going to happen between Azarael, the one who made the deal with Sebastian for his soul in the first place, and Carrie, and nothing happens. There's no intense scene, or fight scene, between the people protecting Carrie, and the demon herself. Everything is magically solved in the end. The whole journey to hell, and the build-up resulting from that, was a complete waste. Like okay. If that's how it's gonna be. Maybe this is one of those books where the journey is emphasized rather than the outcome.

Other than that, I really enjoyed reading through the flashbacks, and the journey through hell. I wish more of my questions were answered, like why did Lucifer "treasure" Carrie so much, or how Carrie got the power of reading minds and emotions. I'm not sure who I would recommend this to, though. I still enjoyed reading it though.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #5

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List

Even though this blog's only a couple months old, I have come a long way from when I first started. I remember my first time discovering a book blog. In my naivety, I assumed that only a couple book blogs existed. But this wasn't the case at all. Instead, I found an amazing book blogging community. I have met so many readers/bloggers throughout these last months, and it has been awesome.

On that note, I have here a bucket list of my top ten reading and blogger goals. I'm always striving to improve my writing, reading speed, commenting, blog appearance, and anything else involving books. 

1. Win a giveaway - I have yet to win one, but I am determined!

2. Read 45 to 50 books this year, or next year.

3. Meet an author that has written a book that I like - I have never met an author before (one that I've known), and it would be awesome if I did

4. Continue to improve my blog banner - This is something I will definitely be working on throughout the summer

5. Find the money to buy a new layout for my blog - Guys, this will happen in about 10 years because I'm a broke college student with student loans

6. Buy a signed copy of a book I love

7. Host a summer clean out giveaway - I have a lot of books at home on my bookshelf that I simply will never read anymore. They're taking up space for the books I do care about. I've never had a giveaway before, and since I don't receive physical ARCs, I was thinking I could just giveaway books from home. I know they probably won't be the most popular, but it'll be fun.

8. Receive a physical ARC - This might never happen, plus I'm too scared to contact a publisher, but I can dream! One day, 10 years from now, I'll know how to receive them, and I'll look back at this post and laugh.

9. Attend the Rochester Teen Book Festival - If I don't within the next two years of attending University of Rochester, I never forgive myself. Also, if there's anything similar to this around Boston/New England, please let me know! 

10. Buy a bookcase for my rented house next year and fill it up with books - Being away from home, I'm unable to gaze at my physical books on my bookshelf. That's why I'm so pumped to rent a house with my friends next year, and I'm going to have a new room in a new house in which I can decorate it any way I want. 

Don't forget to comment and link your TTT below ;)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: The Here and Now

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Expected Release Date: April 8, 2014

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 3/16/2014 | End: 3/16/2014 | Pages: 288 | Rating: 3 Stars 

My Thoughts:

I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley. And here is my honest opinion:

The Here and Now by the author who wrote the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a novel featuring the effects and consequences of time travel, along with a dystopian community, and of course, the illegal romance between two "time-crossed" lovers. 

I went into this book accidentally forgetting how time travel is the most complicated and confusing concept to read and write about. 

It started out great, well maybe just typical. You're introduced to a community of time travelers, somehow living a normal life in New York without the contact of hospitals, "native time" scientists, etc. etc. There are a bunch of rules put in place to keep anything "bad" from happening. No one's allowed to mate with anyone out of the community. 

Now this seems just a little unrealistic. There's no way a whole community can live so long without any contact from the government. Also, it's constantly mentioned throughout the novel that the leaders of the community "can't deal with the real world and they don't know how the real world works". Well they would've HAD to know, so that they can disentangle themselves from society. Wouldn't it be a little suspicious if about 100 people just appeared out of nowhere. What about the background checks, official documents, etc. etc.?? Did they just forge everything? 

Also, Prenna? Yeah she's pretty bland. Sometimes I don't understand what's going on in her head. For example, when Prenna decides to take off with Ethan to find the source of the plague, she ends up going back to her home to tell her mother and "take a shower". Really. REALLY? 

Don't you know they're waiting to take you away? I think you deserved it.

And not only that, but it takes Prenna the whole book to realize how the community leaders don't care. They just want to live in their happy world.

About half way, the plot starts to thicken, and we get more of a picture of how everything happens. I am not sure how this happened, but I still somewhat enjoyed the story development even though there were multiple plot holes. But still. Plot holes.

I guess it's because the story finally picked up. Some of my questions were answered, others weren't at all. I really think this is why I'm practically failing one of my classes now, because I demand answers and explanations where there are none. Like in this book. I could still follow along with what was going on, but I kept on thinking to myself "is this how it would have happened?" 

I don't want to spoil anything, especially for those that received this book as well, but to me, most of the ending was unsatisfying. No closure at all. Sure there's a new alternate future, but Prenna and Ethan's relationship? Nope. It's like it never happened. 

Truthfully, I do not see The Here and Now creating hype in the blogging world. There's simply nothing new being introduced in this book. However, if you disregard the characterization and the world building, it is still a decent and quick read. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: February 26, 2013

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 3/14/2014 | End: 3/16/2014 | Pages: 328 | Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I'm definitely going through Rowell's books fast. I only have one more left to read, and that's Landline, which I'm super excited to read. I love how Rowell's books each focus on completely different time periods. Eleanor & Park took place in 1986, if I'm not mistaken, while Attachments took place at the start of the new millenium. Then Fangirl is the present time, I think, and Landline....I'm not sure about that one. It's not out yet, but its summary points to time travel.

The novel begins with Eleanor and Park's meeting on the bus. Eleanor, who recently moved back in with her mother, stepdad, and siblings, is the new girl at school. She struggles to find a seat on the school bus, since everyone has their own "assigned" seat already, and ends up sitting with Park, much to his dismay. Due to her wacky clothing style, and that she's new, she is picked on the most. On the bus, her and Park don't talk at all.

The story follows the pair as they struggle to overcome their feelings of awkwardness, and it basically takes up one third of the book. For example, Park ends up bringing comics on the bus to read, and he notices Eleanor reading along with him over his shoulder. Being nice, he turns the page slowly, making sure she finishes reading before he moves on. Eleanor, although appreciates the fact he waits for her, doesn't want Park to pity her either. But neither of them speak to each other when this happens.  

What I really liked Eleanor & Park, was how incredibly normal and real it felt. Whenever I go to read books, I try to escape reality, not read about it. That's why I stick to reading fantasy or science fiction, rather than romance and literature. Eleanor & Park wasn't like that. It was like Rowell time traveled back to the late 1980's, picked out a couple, and told us their story. Some exceptions with this is Park's eyeliner, and how it resulted in no bullying. I was not born in this time period, so I can't say for sure what would have happened or not, but I think Rowell just added to in to add to the story. I can say that she did a really good job with connecting the past to the present. Even though I've never heard songs by The Smith, I definitely heard of them. Also I know about the X-Men, Watchmen, and the other comics they were discussing. So I wasn't out of the loop at all.

But with all love stories, they have to end somehow. I won't spoil the ending, but all I can say is that I was extremely upset with how it ended. Why? Because it ended like it would in real life, without closure or a true happy ending. I have to agree though that that's what makes this book so special, but still, I'm upset.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone a fan of Rainbow Rowell's over novels, or a fan of YA in general. As always, Rowell's writing and dialogue is amazing, and you should definitely put this and Fangirl on your TBR list :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #4

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR Pile

Ahhh, I have no idea about the books I'm going to read in the spring. I know about a couple, but everything else is just up in the air. But nevertheless, I will try. I do have a couple on the list.

I also have to get the reviews up for Eleanor & Park and The Here and Now. So look forward to that either sometime today or tomorrow!

1. Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Ahhhh I'm super excited for this to come out on April 8th! I'm dying to know what happens at the end of this series. If no one has heard of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, go read it now! You won't regret it!

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This has been featured in multiple posts of mine because I haven't gotten to it yet! I will definitely read this in the spring. If not, then the summer. Maybe it'll be my next book.

3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I've heard so many good things about this book, and someone also recommended it to me. This is definitely at the top of my TBR list.

4. Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
I really need to read Shadow and Bone. The cover looks absolutely gorgeous, but I just don't have time to read it! I'm not even sure I'll be able to fit it in for the spring!

5. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
The next book after Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I don't have a reason to read this, since I didn't find the previous book that impressive, but I still want to read it because it's recently been released.

6. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente
I really thought this hadn't been published yet, but I THOUGHT WRONG. It was actually published two years ago, and this means I can read it! I'm super excited to continue September's adventure. I don't care if it's a children's book I'm reading it. 

7. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I've been wanting to read this, or something by Patrick Ness for a long time now. I just don't have any idea when I'll get to it.

8. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
This book has been blowing up the blogger feed too, and I also want to read it. I'm not going in with very high expectations though.

9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Can you believe I have not read or watched the movie? I heard the ending was sad, but that will not stop me! It should be a quick read so I should have the time for it.

10. Divergent by Veronica Roth
I have never read Divergent, and seeing that the movie is coming out very soon, I should probably get on it. Maybe read it the day before because of my procrastination problems.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Liebster Award!

I've actually received two nominations, from both Emily at Follow the Yellow Book Road and also from Sofia at Take a Walk on the Write Side. Thank you so much! I feel so special! I'll be answering both sets of questions instead of just one :)

The Liebster Award's purpose is to get recognition to blogs with less than 200 followers. There are some rules:

1) Thank and link back the person who nominated you
2) List eleven facts about yourself
3) Answer the eleven questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
4) Nominate 9 bloggers, who have less than 200 followers (you can't nominate the blog that nominated you)
5) Ask them eleven questions
6) Let them know of their nomination!

11 Facts About Myself

1) I'm half canadian and half chinese. 

2) Right now I'm trying to find a house to live in for my junior year with two of my friends. It's very frustrating and nerve wracking but I think it will work out in the end. 

3) I have no siblings sadly. The closest I have to a sibling is my childhood friend's little sister.

4) I'm not a very good cook

5) I've been to five continents, Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Africa. I have no idea when I'll go to Australia, but I'm not looking forward to it because of all the scary animals (have you seen some of those monsters?!). And I have no idea how to get to Antarctica. I would just take one step on it and be done.
6) I went to Mercersburg Academy for high school. Now I go to University of Rochester. I'm about to be a junior :)

7) Sadly I've also never owned any pets, and I'm allergic to cats. 

8) I spend most of the time on the computer, either formatting blog posts or on Tumblr. Actually now that I think about it, I spend a lot of my time studying now... 

9) I like pandas and dolphins 

10) I used to be a competitive swimmer, but the sport wore me out, mentally and physically. It's very draining

11) I've played the piano for more than 10 years, but I've stopped taking lessons, and I only play during the summer. 

Emily's Questions

1) If you could meet one book character who would it be and why? Ughhh, this is hard because I haven't decided on a favorite character yet. Maybe Liesel from the Book Thief? Or Harry Potter haha.   

2) How did you pick your blog's name? Story Time! During my freshman year of boarding school, I purposefully bit my prefect for some reason (she was on my back or something), and from then on out, I was known as the "Demon Child". In order to mask my mischievousness and evilness, I came up with the name "Innocent Smiley", which I used for basically everything. That's why this blog is called Innocent Smiley's Reviews, because I'm secretly tricking you guys into thinking I'm innocent.   

3) What is your favorite social media website? Tumblr! :D

4) What is the first book that you remember reading? I'm having a really hard time with this, because I'm not sure? For a chapter book, it's definitely the first Magic Tree House book. For a picture book.....uhhhh....I have no clue.

5) Who is your favorite villain? VOLDEMORT. I haven't encountered many good villains in books 

6) What language(s) do you speak? Mandarin (but I suck), French, and English 

7) What language(s) do you wish you could speak? Japanese!

8) How long have you been blogging for? From December until now

9) How do you decide what to read next? If I recently finished a book, I will choose a book that I recently added to my kindle library. Or a physical book that I recently bought.

10) If you could only recommend one book to people for the rest of your life, which book would it be? The Machine of Death by Ryan North; it's an anthology.

11) If you were an animal, what would you be? A dolphin, because they are awesome! And also my favorite animal :)

Sofia's Questions

1) What's better: ebook or physical copy? Physical copy! They're so shiny looking.

2) What book made you fall in love with reading? The stories of each book. Every time I read, I get pulled into the story and away from reality.  

3) What's your favorite book couple? Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters
4) Do you have any authors whose books you'll read no matter what the premise is? Yes, Rainbow Rowell and Cornelia Funke
5) What's your favorite genre? Fantasy! And also Science fiction :)

6) On what basis do you choose which books to read (do you just read the blurb or do you also read the first chapter? Do you read reviews of it before buying, etc.)? I read the blurb, and then I look at the rating. I've been better at not reading reviews, so that I'm not biased. Also I choose books based on the hype that's surrounding it (which is bad but oh well)

7) What's your favorite season and what do you like about it? I love the spring because I don't get skin problems and it's not humid, but it's still warm. 

8) Do you have any bookish guilty pleasures (books you know are bad but can't help but love, clich├ęd tropes that you still like, etc.)? No I don't think I do.

9) If you could travel back in time to any historical period, which would it be? To the Egyptian era, whenever that is. I wouldn't want to live there, but definitely want to see what society was like. I'm not sure, I would also just stay in the present, or go to the future.

10) If you could have any superpower, which would you choose? To be able to travel through portals and go to any dimension.

11) Is there a book that you keep meaning to read but that you never get around to? Cinder by Marissa Meyer. It will be read...soon.

My Questions

1) Who is your all-time favorite character?
2) If you could change what happened in any part of one book, which book and what part would it be and why?
3) If you starred in a novel or a book series, what would be your ideal plot/scenario? 
4) What's the most unique book cover you've ever seen? Or do you have a favorite book cover?
5) Pick two of the strongest/most skilled characters you've encountered in your readings. Which one would win in a fight? (For example, Harry Potter vs. Katniss Everdeen)
6) Favorite pairing? 
7) If you could have any character come live with you for a month, who would you choose and why?
8) How do you decide which book to read next? 
9) Do you have any books that you've been embarrassed about reading? 
10) Which two authors would you pair up to write a book? What do you think the book would be about?
11) There is a frog, dead in the middle of an island. If he swims north, the distance to the mainland is 2 metres. If he swims south, the distance to the mainland is 3 metres. If he swims east or west, the distance is 4 metres. Which way does he swim?

My Nominations

Angel @ SpareReads
Monique @ Mo Books
Ashly @ Book 'n' Go

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #1

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I probably won't do this meme as often, because I don't often get books weekly, but I've always loved the idea of the Stacking the Shelves. That's why I only have three here. Maybe I'll borrow more books from the library. And enter more giveaways.

For Review

Oracle of Philadelphia - Elizabeth Corrigan
I know I'm not the only one to get this review request, but I'm kind of excited to read this, because it will be my first "adult" fantasy series. If anyone has any other amazing fantasy reads, please recommend me some, because I don't have enough :)


A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness
Cinder - Marissa Meyer
Everyone keeps on telling me to read Cinder, SO YES HERE IT IS. I GOT IT. You don't have to keep reminding me haha. I have no idea when I'll read it, but at least I have it in the library! Also I now have a book by Patrick Ness, this one specifically because I've been eyeing it for awhile. Well, I've been eyeing all of his books really.

Yep, so that's my little book haul

Review: Graceling

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Graceling Realm #1
Publisher: Harcourt
Release Date: October 1, 2008

In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing.

Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa’s life. Yet she remains defiant: when the King of Lienid’s father is kidnapped she investigates, and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own?

The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue around this kidnapping offers her a way out – but little does she realise, when she takes it, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king...

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 3/7/2014 | End: 3/13/2014 | Pages: 471 | Rating: 3.5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I have seen this Graceling being reviewed over a dozen times now, and I decided to give it a try. And you know what? I don't regret reading it, even though I probably have the same complaint as everyone else who has read this.

Graceling starts off with Katsa, the king's niece, graced with the power of killing. She is skilled with any weapon, and is no match for the guards. Everyone knows how deadly she is, and the king uses this to his advantage to scare off his enemies. Obviously, Katsa hates this. She doesn't want to be used, and she longs to actually do something good for her and the people. As a result, the council is formed by her, the king's son, and some of her friends, unknowing to the king. 

Throughout her mission in rescuing the King of Lienid's father, she stumbles upon Po, one of the Lienid princes who is also looking for his grandfather. He is graced with fighting, and almost matches Katsa's ability. The two then decide to investigate further into the kidnapping, which means Katsa needs to leave her friends and the kingdom behind.

The start of the book was amazing. I loved the idea of being naturally, super-skilled in something, whether it's cooking or climbing trees or even swimming. Even the most useless skill can be a grace. Even I want to be graced! I don't even care if it's the most useless skill in the world, like drawing bunnies or baking bread. Ooh I would really like to be graced in making bread that would be so awesome (there's an anime specifically about baking bread in Japan, and it's absolutely hilarious, sorry this is me rambling).

About halfway through the book, it comes to a point where Katsa realizes she loves Po, and this apparently is a bad thing? Or that she realizes she actually does love someone. And this is a big problem because.....

.....well I'm not sure, I think maybe it's because she told herself so many times that she wouldn't marry, but now she found the perfect man, so she's upset and frustrated. But then, within a page or so, she comes to terms with her love, and she finally admits it. But honestly, what just happened?

Where did this come from? What. What just happened?

After that confusing point of the book, everything actually goes back to normal. The romance isn't that great, but I've never been a stickler about it. And plus, I really like Bitterblue, which is why I will most likely read Bitterblue sometime in the future. She definitely added more plot to this story, which is a smart move for Cashore. Because if the author focused more on the romance at this point, I honestly would have put the book down and left.

Overall, I'm enamored with the detail that went in to the kingdoms and the society itself. I loved Katsa and Po as characters, but their love story definitely needed more working on. This story would be flawless if it wasn't for that. I would definitely recommend this to readers that love adventure, and don't mind that the romance was kind of lacking.

So yes, kinda good read for me :)

Saturday, March 8, 2014


It's done!

Well, maybe.

If no one has noticed, I've recently decided to change my header and background. And now everything's purple. That wasn't supposed to happen initially but I can deal.

Anyways, I spent a good two hours yesterday drawing the girl laying back on the tree with a book. And then I spend two more hours trying to actually put it on my blog, nicely. Then I randomly added a purple border, and then added a purple background. Aligning images is hard on Blogger. Pain in the butt.

Today, I cleaned up the purple section of the header, and then added CHARACTERS! Poorly drawn ones! Yay. Here's a list of the books/movies being shown:

Harry Potter - Harry Potter Series
Katniss Everdeen - the Hunger Games 
Peter Pan - Disney Movie 
Rapunzel - Tangled
Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters - Fault in Our Stars
Eleanor and Park - Eleanor & Park (edited)
Liesel Meminger - The Book Thief (edited)
Olaf - Frozen (edited)

I really need to add more, but I'm not entirely sure on which characters I should add. I haven't read that many books that have notable characters that many people would know yeah. And plus they should be easy to draw (and recognizable). Like just look at my Katniss, I TRIED. And then I just gave Hazel and Augustus random clothing. Rapunzel was the easiest to draw.

I wanted to add Elsa and Anna or just Olaf from Frozen, but that means I'll be drifting away from books entirely, so I'm not sure. But I probably will leave it like this for a while.

Notes: I used a Wacom Graphire tablet with the very nice Fire Alpaca art program (compatible with mac). Then I used PicMonkey to add the title because I can't write nice letters. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Review: Attachments

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Release Date: April 14th, 2011
"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 3/5/2014 | End: 3/5/2014 | Pages: 336 | Rating: 3.5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I picked up Attachments because it's by Rainbow Rowell, and I had read Fangirl previously and fell in love with it. Basically I came into this book with high expectations, when I really shouldn't have. After recently finishing up the second book in the series of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, a highly intense book full of action, Attachments went down a completely different path. 

Don't get me wrong, I love Rowell's writing, especially Beth and Jennifer's email messages. But I have to admit that this book started off a little slow. Lincoln, the IT guy at the The Courier, has the job of going through everyone's emails and internet searches for inappropriate behavior. Every time a flag word pops up, it gets sent to Webfence, a filter for the internet. Then he has to read or see what the person has been up to, whether it's gossip or porn, and send them a warning. Everyone is afraid of Lincoln, because of his job, and even he's getting tired of being paid to do nothing. Until, he finds himself being entertained by the email conversations of two column writers, Jennifer and Beth.

Jennifer and Beth talk about everything, literally, especially about their husbands and their love lives. If it wasn't for Rowell's incredible ability to put together words and sentences, I would have scrapped this book already. 70 pages in, and I'm still waiting for something to actually happen. I think this is my punishment for just rambling on my review of Days of Blood & Starlight. Oh well. 

I finished Attachments in one day, because I became so frustrated with Lincoln and Beth never meeting. And that's why I have mixed feelings about this book, because it was well-written and had good characters, but the frustration was just, overbearing. The story really dragged out. I wish I got to see more of the dating aspect of the relationship too, because Rowell just ended the story when they finally found each other. I know the theme was "falling in love with the idea of a person", but I don't think it worked for me.

Overall, don't read this book if you want action in your stories. Attachments also is somewhat similar to Meg Cabot's The Boy Next Door, but not nearly as good. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #3

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Popular Authors I've Never Read

This is going to be a tough one because I have read at least one book from a lot of popular authors, but not all of their books. I've only read one book by Rainbow Rowell, and two by John Green, so those are out. And then I'm not sure what it means to be popular, especially since I'm new to the blogging world. 

But I'll give this a try though. I'm going to focus on authors that either have series I've heard about and just never picked up, and authors I constantly see on my blog feed.

1. Marissa Meyer - The Lunar Chronicles
I will pick this up sooner or later I just don't know when.

2. Cassandra Clare - The Internal Devices and The Mortal Instruments
I have no idea why I never read City of Bones as a child, I've seen the cover everywhere. And now Clare has another series that I want to read. 

3. Gillian FlynnGone Girl
This book kind of scared me for some reason, but I'll get around to it. It just seems creepy

4. Deborah Harkness - All Souls Trilogy
I literally took this out from my library over the summer, planned to read it, but didn't. It sat on my desk for the three weeks that I had it out.

5. Stephen King11/22/63
The most intimidating book I have ever seen. It's still on my bookshelf.

6. Tahereh Mafi - Shatter Me Series
Heard about this series too. I should probably start it as well.

7. Patrick Ness - A Monster Calls, The Knife of Never Letting Go, and More Than This
I want to read one of his books so bad! They all look so cool, yet scary. Look at that creepy monster on that cover!

8. George Orwell - 1984
I never read Orwell for my high school English classes and I don't know why.

9. Leigh Bardugo - The Grisha Series
Also need to pick this up as well.

10. Rick Riordon - The Lightning Thief and The Lost Hero
AND SURPRISE I NEVER READ THESE. But don't worry, I will take time over the summer to read them all, since they're short.

I know I said that I would have a hard time coming up with a list of ten, but this took me about 5 minutes to come up with. 

I should actually get on with my reading. 

Are there any authors that you haven't read yet? TELL ME!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: Days of Blood & Starlight

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: November 6th, 2012

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 2/21/2014 | End: 3/1/2014 | Pages: 513 | Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts:

WHY did I wait SO LONG to pick up the second book of the series?
Did I not have access to the book? * bzz * Wrong, the library had it. Also Amazon had it.
Did I not have the time? * bzz * Nope. Plenty of time to read other books.
Was I just not interested? * bzz * I loved the first book and I wanted more.

Was I lazy?
. . .
. . .
* DING DING DING * We have a winner! Yes. I was a lazy bum, and a poop. BUT NO WORRIES NOW, because I have finally finished this 500 page beast of a book. And I just want to say that it was incredible! Amazing! Fantastique! Superb! 

I. Want. MORE!

For anyone that's never heard of this series, I am here to ENLIGHTEN YOU. When I first stumbled upon the first book on Goodreads, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, I was blown away by everything. The characters, Karou, Akiva, Brimstone, Zuzanna, and Mik, and the world of Eretz as well. In this second book of the series, we are introduced more to the world of Eretz and the war between the seraphims and the chimaera. 

There's not much to say without spoiling the first book. I did try to explain the plot to my boyfriend by saying that "the 'demons' and the 'angels' are at war with each other, but then this girl, who thought she was a human, finds out she's a 'demon'. She also has the ability to resurrect dead 'demons' by creating new bodies to move their souls into, because she was trained by her caretaker, who was a 'demon', but she just didn't know it. But then she falls in love with this 'angel', when she wasn't supposed to, and then everyone dies."

See? It's hard to explain it without all the fancy terms. 

But other than my "amazing" book summarization skills, Days of Blood & Starlight pulls you straight back into the story. I read the first book a year ago, but after a few chapters I was hooked. 

However, I do have to admit that Karou did get a little to angst-y for me. To me, she felt like a completely different character from Madrigal, her past self, and even the Karou in the first book. I really hope she straightens herself out in the last book, because if not, then there's going to be a lot of drama. And a love triangle. Yay.

I also loved how Taylor made you experience every emotion Akiva had to go through. When he was in the dark about things, you were also in the dark. I remember being so confused when something happened that wasn't supposed to happen, but at the time Akiva was also just as confused, and angry. I literally was in his shoes. And I also acted in the same way. 

I am super excited for April. 
I want to read the third book now. NOW.

5 stars. 5 stars for everyone. 

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