Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Rose Under Fire

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Stein
Companion Book to Code Name Verity
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Source: Library
Date Read: 6/20/14 to 6/26/14
368 Pages

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that's in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Congratulations Elizabeth Wein, for writing another fabulously heart-wrenching story about friendship that literally tore me apart. I don't know why I keep reading your depressing books. Why do I enjoy such sad writing?

Rose Under Fire is the companion novel, and I guess the sequel to Code Name Verity. Instead of Verity, we have Rose Justice, and American pilot from Pennsylvania staying in Europe to help with the war. Like Maddie (who we get to see again!), Rose is part of the ATA, or Air Transport Auxiliary. She basically taxis people from different places. After begging her uncle to set up a route to France, she finally gets her chance after Paris is liberated. But instead of coming back safe and sound, she ends up captured by the Germans, and sent to Ravensbruck, the notorious concentration camp for women.

I found Rose to be very relatable, because Rose is an American. She knows there's a war going on, but it never affected her and her family. During her time at the camp, she comes to realize that some of these people have a hard time remembering what it was like before. Yet even though she's somewhat out of the loop, she was still able to find a family within the group called the "Rabbits", a group of women that were experimented on for "research".

Not only does Rose Under Fire realistically portray the lives of the women living in Ravensbruck, the concentration camp in Germany for women, it also shows how important relationships can be in times of desperation. I absolutely loved all the "side characters" (I don't view them as side characters though). There's Rozayczka, or Roza, the Polish prisoner that later goes on to be Rose's best friend. Then Irina, a fighter pilot for the Soviets. Lisette, the camp mother of the family. And then lastly Karolina, the girl who always wanted to be a filmmaker. And then even though there were more side characters, I still remember each and every one of them.

When I told anyone at the Camp who I was, I'd say, "I'm Rose Justice. I'm a pilot."
When Roza first told me who she was, she'd said, "I'm Polish Political Prisoner 7705. I'm a Rabbit."

Rose Under Fire, for me, was easier to read than Code Name Verity. CNV had a bunch of plane terminology that I wasn't familiar with in the beginning. However, in Rose Under Fire, the details were more spread out and also weaved in with the dialogue. The amount of detail and research put into this book is incredible. I loved how the author managed to fit it all, while keeping me engaged and not bored.

And also, ROSE'S POEMS! They are scattered throughout the novel and I loved them!

On another note, Rose Under Fire actually didn't make me cry (but still, so many feels). It is depressing though, like you could tell with Rose's journal entries that she completely transformed from before the concentration camp to after she got back. That aspect really hit hard for me. Her writing used to be spunky and happy, like a normal teenage girl, like my writing, and then it become more sullen and realistic.

This book definitely deserves 5 stars, maybe even more than that. Every time I wasn't reading this, I caught myself thinking about what was going to happen next to Rose and her new family. And how was she going to escape? This book is an eye opener to what really happened in the concentration camps during WWII, especially since the author wrote most of the story based on eyewitness accounts. I definitely recommend this to anyone interested in WWII everyone.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #16

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Ten Book Cover Trends I Like and Dislike

Yay for covers! You know, I don't think I've paid more attention to covers until now, because of blogging! But trends? Hmm I'm not sure if I've noticed any trends. WAIT, nevermind I see where this top ten topic is getting at! Okay, I will try my best with this topic :D

 my likes
Those covers that have the main character, or at least what's supposed to be the main character, in the center of the cover.

And also the ones with just the fancy title in a fancy font against some sort of background, making those covers look elegant or minimalistic. Look at that font for Siege and Storm, there's even a little dragon on top! And TALON! So simple yet it looks so badass.

The special symbol! Along with the title obviously. The font definitely has to fit for me to like the cover though.

A scene or character from the book illustrated with a ton of colors. These covers are my favorites, because usually the art for them is amazing. :D  

my dislikes
Ones where only half of the face is showing of the main character. I don't know what it is with me and faces, but I just don't like them! Though I do like the eye decorations for Days of Blood & Starlight. BUT STILL. 

Covers showing those lovey-dovey couples. Well I don't have anything against those,  I just tend to avoid those books like the plague for some reason. I should probably read more contemporary though.

How about your thoughts on cover trends? Link up your TTTs below! I'm curious to see what other trends there are out there.

How Do You Pick Your ARCs

I seem to be in a writing mood lately, well kind of. But, there is something that's been bothering me for awhile, and it involves ARCs! Otherwise known as Advanced Reader/Review Copies, and more specifically the ones you request from NetGalley or Edelweiss.

So here's the thing. I've been on a ton of book blogs. I've seen the STS's and Book hauls. And all those e-ARC's on the list! I recently read a post about organizing ARC reviews and accidentally requesting too many of them (Rinn @ Rinn Reads). The blogger had more than 70 ARCs that needed to be read and reviewed (as seen on the spreadsheet). 

Okay. So I understand how one can procrastinate on reading and leave it all to the last minute (lol), so that's not my question. But just all those books! 

How do you decide which books from NetGalley or Edelweiss or anywhere is worth your time and effort to review? Is is based on how much you like the cover? Or do you just request anything that's been recently added? A specific genre? 

I'm very picky with requesting books, and I get more and more discouraged every time I don't enjoy the e-ARC. And with that being said, I only have one e-ARC that needs to be reviewed! Just one! Do you see my problem here??? I want more! I want to know all your secrets! Because I know there are good e-ARCs out there, I'm just not looking in the right places I guess.

Any good tips or tricks? How do you decide what ARCs to request? Let me know below!  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #4

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 will also be linking up with The Sunday Post, which is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, just because I want to try this meme out! This features a recap of my week, and also interesting posts around the blogosphere.

From the Library:

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein - So YES this is the companion novel for Code Name Verity. I just started reading the first couple pages, and Maddie makes an appearance!

Tides by Betsy Cornwell - Reviewed this one already! This is definitely the best mermaid/selkie story I have read so far, but that's not saying much since I've only read a total of three. I'm still looking for the ultimate mermaid story, however.

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards - Picked this one up at the library because I'm a huge sucker for YA Sci-fi. I've only read one review from Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings, but I'm still willing to give it a shot! 

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman - Being half-Chinese, I'm expecting a lot out of this novel. And DRAGONS. I really like dragons.

Thank you so much Edelweiss and Harlequin! You have no idea how much I really want to read Lies We Tell Ourselves!

Weekly Recap:

Tuesday: I put together my list of top ten reads for the summer! I couldn't put all 234530 books on my TBR list on it, so I had to make some very tough decisions.

Wednesday: I reviewed The Raven Boys, which I have deemed as one of the best books with character development! Literally. You will fall in love with all the the boys, and Blue!

Thursday: I get my wisdom teeth out, and write a post about it. I'M STILL IN A LOT OF PAIN. And my cheeks got bigger. I've been eating pureed food for the last three days.

Friday: I reviewed Tides, which left me wanting for more! Luckily the author is writing another book based on one of the characters! :D

News from the Bloggysphere!

I loved the post from Ashley @ Lovely Literature, that features her favorite video game soundtracks from her Stay-in Bed Sampler! Obviously I'm a fan.

Amir @ The Not-So-Literary Heiresses forgets about the blog's 1-year blogoversary.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: Tides

Tides by Betsy Cornwell
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: June 4th 2013
Source: Library
Date Read: 6/18/14 to 6/20/14
304 Pages
Rating: ✰1/2

When high-school senior Noah Gallagher and his adopted teenage sister, Lo, go to live with their grandmother in her island cottage for the summer, they don’t expect much in the way of adventure.

Noah has landed a marine biology internship, and Lo wants to draw and paint, perhaps even to vanquish her struggles with bulimia. But then things take a dramatic turn for them both when Noah mistakenly tries to save a mysterious girl from drowning. This dreamlike, suspenseful story—deftly told from multiple points of view—dives deeply into selkie folklore while examining the fluid nature of love and family.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

MERMAIDS, SELKIES, FOLKLORE! This was supposed to be everything I wanted in a story. I have been on the search for such books, but it seems like I have yet to stumble across an amazing one. Although Tides met my expectations, I felt that something was missing in the storyline. However, it's still a pretty good read! I'm sure this is one of the first books I've read that discusses both bulimia and bisexuality.

The story of Tides revolves around the idea of selkies and their seal skins. By taking their seal skin off, they reveal their human self, which allows them to walk on land and also talk to each other. However, if their skin is taken away, say by a fisherman, then they are forever bound to him until they get their seal skin back.

And then there's Noah and Lo, a pair of siblings taking the summer off to stay with their divorced grandmother, Gemm, who is living with another woman named Maeb. We later find out that, yes, they are together (yay) but there's something off about Maeb. And also the new girl Mara, who Noah meets on his way to his internship. What could possibly be so mysterious about them? HM. I WONDER.

Actually, both Mara and Maeb revealed the fact that they were selkies very early on in the book, which is semi-surprising because most mermaid stories I've come across, the MCs keep this secret for a very long time. Instead, most of the plot of this book focused on the struggles in Maeb's pod. You see, LITTLE SELKIE YOUNGLINGS are being KIDNAPPED. GASP. How could someone do such a thing!?

When it comes to characters, I would have to say Lo develops the most throughout the story. Coming in, we see Lo struggling with the image of her body. More specifically, she hates herself and is bulimic. Fortunately, both her grandmother and Noah try in every way to help her, but you can see how Noah is getting a little tired. BUT SHE GROWS GUYS. Throughout the novel, we see her become more and more confident in herself. Also, another thing, Lo is adopted from China!. Unfortunately, she's put down because of it.

"Their dad probably would have made a crack about Lo insulated against the cold. She had been such a skinny baby, he'd say. Was New Hampshire really so much colder than China that she had to get fat just to keep warm?"

"Forgive me, Miss Gallagher. Mixed race-adoption was not so...common in my day"


Unfortunately, I didn't have as strong as a connection with Noah and Mara compared to Lo. I did like them as characters, but they aren't ones that will stick to me for a long time. With that said, I still liked them both. The romance was kind of insta-love, but the whole story didn't center on kissing or making out or constant thoughts about each other (well maybe just a little). But no, this was about SAVING BABIES.

My main gripe with Tides, is that the world of selkies could have been developed better, maybe just a little. I wanted to know more about their pod, how they came to be, more legends and folktales. This was more of a family story dealing with relationships, rather than a mythological one. AND I WANTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT RONAN, the older selkie brother. Come on, why aren't there any male selkie/merman love stories out there? It shouldn't always be the girl who's the mermaid (Of Poseidon was an exception to this, but I wasn't that much of a fan of the book itself) The plot itself didn't even start until more than halfway in the novel. And plus it was obvious who the culprit was. THE KIDNAPPER. D:

Regardless, I enjoyed reading Tides. It kind of reminded me of Ingo, especially the feel of the writing. I'm still looking for more mermaid/selkie/whatever stories, so feel free to recommend me some. I'M STILL LOOKING FOR THE ONE!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wisdom Teeth Are Gone!

Hi guys. My wisdom teeth were pulled out this morning D:

The day before, I was terrified of going to get my wisdom teeth pulled. When I went in for consultation, the dentist explained how my top two wisdom teeth were easy to take out, while my bottom ones had double impactions. Basically, in order to remove those molars, they had to drill through the gum and shave off part of my jaw bone. Ha. HAHA.

So when June 19th finally came, I tensed up. I brought my music to play throughout the procedure, and was going to ask to take medication, otherwise known as Oral Premedication, to help me relax beforehand along with local anesthesia.

However, in the end, I realized that the doctor had already decided on how I was going to be sedated. IV anesthesia along with local anesthesia, which meant I was going to be completely knocked out. But still, I hate needles. The worst part was sticking that needle in my vein. And then after all the preparation, he stuck in the anesthesia saying "soon you'll feel the effects..."

And then I passed out.

What felt like 5 minutes later, I woke up. I asked the assistant if "all my teeth were gone", in which she said yes. And then I had to sit for awhile because I just couldn't get up. 

I also asked whether I could eat ice cream. Kind of like this "Can I eeeeeeeeeat iiiice creeeammmmmmm?"

And also, I passed a basket of chapstick on my way out, and I was like "Ooooo is this chapstickkkk? Can I have one?" and the nurse was like "Yesssss you can have one."
(But I don't remember where I put the chapstick....hmmmmm)

Here's my beautiful chipmunk face.


Back in the car, I started randomly texting and calling my friends. Example:

"They put mW under"
"Um ok"
"U just got ihr"

I still don't know what I was trying to say exactly.

My dad picked up all my medications for me, there are five in total. One is just a prescribed "mouthwash", the other is an antibiotic to prevent infections. Then I have Ibuprofen, along with this other pain reliever for extreme cases of pain. And then there's this other one that I have no idea what it does. I'm so informed.

So yeah. That's it. I'm really hungry now, but all I can have is soft foods like soup and yogurt. Boo.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle #1
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Release Date: July 30th, 2013 (First published in 2012)
Date Read: 6/17/14 to 6/18/14
407 Pages

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

As an impulse buy from online, The Raven Boys completely blew me away. To be honest, I knew I was taking some chances with reading this book. First off, I've never read anything from the supernatural or mystery genre. And second, I avoided other books by Maggie Stiefvater such as The Shiver Trilogy, solely because the blurbs didn't appeal to me.

Well. Fortunately, every doubt I had on whether this would be a good book were thrown out the window.

The Raven Boys starts with Blue, our main main protagonist. I instantly took a liking to her. Not only is she eccentric, and short, but she is surrounded by psychics! I've always been enamoured with the lives of psychics, and Stiefvater (wow her name is so hard to type) does an amazing job in showing me this. The author made it extremely believable (though I'm not saying I don't believe in psychic powers), but what I mean, is that it's not overdone at all.

Basically, the plot of the story revolves around the idea of ley lines and Glendower, the ancient Welsh King that lines on said ley line. Anyone who finds him is granted a favor. So obviously, what better way is there to spend your time? There is none, well according to Ganesy. Also, I'm surprised at how willingly Adam and Ronan go along with this. Without Ganesy, the whole circle pretty much falls apart. Or does it? Dun dun.

Also surprised at how Stiefvater manages to not make this all about the romance. Or the budding love triangle. It's really all about a group of friends, searching for a goal, and solving each other's problems

Even though the book switches POV every chapter, I still got a full story of what was going on. I could see what was happening with Adam and Ganesy, and what they thought about the whole situation. And speaking of characters, SO MUCH CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT! I loved it! I don't think I've ever cherished any other character more than these. Which is probably why when (spoilers, highlight to read) Noah's rotting body was found on the ley line, I was incredibly confused because I didn't want him to die. But then I realized that nah, he's actually a ghost, and OMG IT'S CZERNY. And then he started to disappear and I was like NO. THAT CANNOT HAPPEN. But then he came back, and everything was okay. End of spoiler. :P

If I were to pick, my favorite character would definitely, I started this sentence thinking I could finish it but I can't.

So. Why is this only 4 stars instead of 5? I mean, I really liked it a lot. It was intense, mysterious, and also extremely engaging. Plus Stiefvater writes crazy good. Her sentences pull you right into the story.

Well. It was mostly the ending. And all my questions about it.
MAJOR SPOILERS (highlight to read)
So when Adam gets into the ritual circle, he sacrifices his free will? But he doesn't seem changed when he comes out? WHY? Like I know his personality somewhat changes a little, but I didn't really think so at all. And where did those white beasts come from? And then after all this happens, everything kind of just goes back to normal. Is this resolved in the sequel? DO I GET MY QUESTIONS ANSWERED?

Probably. But I want to know now. boo. 
End of spoilers, again.

So yes. BUT I ENJOYED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Seriously. I do recommend this to anyone who loves a little supernatural mystery (ok maybe not a mystery but close enough). But yeah. All I can say, is that it's really good. Really good.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #15

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish as usual :D
Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List :D

Really? You want me to condense my huge list for the summer? Is that even possible? Well I guess I can try. I'm not as fast as a reader as others, but here are the books I'm most looking forward to reading in the next couple of months!

must read sequels

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson - Because I just finished the Way of Kings, and was completely blown away by all the reveals. Now I just want to see what happens next to Kaladin, Dalinar, and Shallan! (I actually desperately want a video game or an anime based on The Stormlight Archives!)

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo - I really need to know what happens with Alina and Mal. AND THE DARKLING! I am desperately praying that nothing bad happens to the pair. But of course everything always goes wrong because authors.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - I know. I haven't finished the Lunar Chronicles yet. I'M SORRY. I'm trying to savor this series like I savor my cinnamon buns! I plan on rereading the whole series anyways once Winter comes out.

everything else I have to read

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - I have heard so many good things about this series and yet I still haven't picked it up yet. But I assure you, my next Amazon checkout cart will have this in there!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - So yes it is on my bookshelf. Have I gotten to it? NOPE. Why not? Because I'm a sad poop. I've heard it's not as good as its sequels, but I still want to try it out.

Eon by Alison Goodman - Heard about this one through the many blogs I stalk, and look at that gorgeous cover. And also, fun fact, here's the chinese symbol up close: 
traditional or simplified 
pinyin: lóng 
meaning: dragon (no surprise there hahahaa) 

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson - Along with hearing good things about this series, I plan to read everything by him. Also, a bookseller at B&N pointed out the new covers to me, but I'm not a fan.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein - The companion story to Code Name Verity, which made me burst into tears. I just love stories about WWII and friendship and shedding tears of agony and sorrow and pain.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - This has been on my radar for quite some time now. I'm pretty sure it's $6 on Amazon, so that will definitely be bought soon.

That's all on my TBR list for the summer, if I get to it. How about you? Link up below!

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