Friday, August 7, 2015

July Wrap-Up and August TBR

Sorry for the delayed wrap up!  It’s been a crazy month. 

What have I been up to?
In the beginning of the month, I was on vacation.  I had a great time, and got to read many amazing books.  So, during that time I didn’t post almost at all. 
July just felt crazy.  I didn’t post as much this month because there were a lot of weekends when I was away and some day trips. 
To be honest, I really slacked off in July.  I kind of hit a reading/blogging slump and it was TERRIBLE.   Reading slumps are bad enough, but I hit a patch where I wasn’t blogging much either.  Which I hated.  I’m back now, however. 
I am going to try to make sure that doesn’t happen again, especially as I start school at the end of the month.  Writing and scheduling posts ahead is crucial. 
And so I also kind of decided to cut back a little.  I’m pretty sure I’m dropping Waiting on Wednesday.  I may start doing it again eventually, but for now I’m stopping.  Also, I dropped the weekly wrap-ups.  I liked them, but it was kind of a lot to do every week.  From now on, I’m just going to be doing the monthly wrap ups. Since the school year is starting up soon, I think this will really help to simplify things.  I feel like these changes will help me to be able to focus my energy on more reviews, discussions, and tags.  Which are what I really love to do. 
*note* just to let you guys know, I’ve been linking the covers to Goodreads in my reviews, so that’s why there’s no button anymore.  

What books did I read?

I read 10 books this month.  It really isn’t too bad, since more than half of them were read within the first week of July and I was kind of slumping the rest of the month. 

Legend by Marie Lu // 4 stars  //  I really liked Legend!  It was different than I thought it would be, but definitely in a good way!

Prodigy by Marie Lu // 4 stars //  More awesomeness.  Also, I LOVE DAY. 

Champion by Marie Lu // 4 stars // Great conclusion!  THAT ENDING THOUGH.

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins // 4 stars // Cute and kick butt all at the same time.  Fantasy mixed with contemporary all in a southern setting makes for awesomeness.

Confess by Coleen Hoover // 4.5 stars // Another great book by Colleen Hoover.  Definitely recommend this!


Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson // 5 stars // GUYS.  I FINALLY READ BRANDON SANDERSON.  WHERE HAS THIS SERIES BEEN ALL MY LIFE.  If you couldn’t tell, I adored it.  Those 700 pages just flew by ;)  But seriously.  I’m in love.  If you like fantasy, read this book now please.  Review coming soon.

Alive by Scott Sigler // 3.5 stars //  Alive kept me guessing at every turn.  I will be continuing on because I NEED to know what’s going to happen next.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson // 4 stars // More graphic nolvels!  This one was super cute and action packed.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline // 5 stars // Another book that I’ve heard nothing but FANTASTIC things about.  Reading this book was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I fell in love with it and I can’t wait to read Armada.  I can’t emphasize enough how great this is…so just go read it please.  Review coming soon

I have reviews up for *almost* all of these books.  So, click on the links to go to the reviews to get more of my thoughts on all of these lovely books.  

What else did I post about?

What other posts did I write except for the above reviews?  Well…

I did Waiting on Wednesday #12 and #13(which will be my last for a while)

I reviewed Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, which I read at the end of June.  Heir of Fire was the best ever and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing a review. (also the longest, which is kind of fitting considering the size of the book)

I was nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award.  I always have the best time doing these and answering the questions, so thanks so much Anjie!  (I also nominated some people, so go check it out)

I discussed “Do books get "lost" in your TBR?”  This was super fun and I absolutely love doing discussions.  (although sometimes I’m bad at replying…I’m working on it guys, I promise.  Thanks so much for your wonderful comments! I appreciate it immensely.)

I did the “Find Me” book tag, in which I attempted to take pictures of books and actually make it look good.  How did that turn out?  See for yourself.  (Spoiler: not good.)

August TBR
Am I even still trying to do TBR’s?  Apparently, I am.  Though I’m not sure why I bother. 
But, first an update on my July TBR!  I had set aside 7 books that I wanted to read on vacation and I ended up reading 5.  That’s pretty good.  The only thing is that I changed my TBR pile like 5 times before I actually packed them.  So, the TBR in my June Wrap up isn’t really what I packed.  Oops.
Still, though, in terms of a TBR, I’d say that was a success.  
This month I NEED to read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.  I’ve had at least five people tell me just this week how much I need to read it.  And I agree.  IT WILL HAPPEN.  HOLD ME TO IT, GUYS. 
Ideally, I’d like to read Cress by Marissa Meyer, too.  But we’ll see.  I don’t want to be too over ambitious here.    

And that’s all for this wrap up!  Leave me a link to your wrap up, so I can check out what you were up to this month!  Here’s to a great month of reading in August! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Mini Reviews: Alive and Nimona

Alive by Scott Sigler  
Published: 2015

Genres: Thriller

I thought the premise of Alive was really interesting.  It begins with a girl waking up in what appears to be a coffin.  In a room full of other people in these “coffin” like things.  She has no idea who she is, where she is, or what she’s supposed to do.  It was kind of Maze Runner-esque in that respect. 
I liked following Em as her and her group tried to figure out what the heck was going on.  Just when you think you’ve got something figured out, hello plot twist!  It kept you as confused as the characters, which was good. 
I liked the main character, Em.  All of the kids in this book were dealing with so many emotions, and it was nice to see that.  When they went to “sleep” they were just kids.  Now, they’re teenagers.  I can’t imagine how difficult and confusing that must be.  So, with that being said, they sometimes did very silly childish things or said stuff that didn’t sound very mature or teenagerish. 
Em has no idea what is going on.  She’s dealing with a bunch of 17 years olds, who mentally are still around 10.  But that’s what I liked about this book.  You can see the characters – especially Em – maturing and starting to act more like an adult.  She becomes a better leader and is more confident. 
This book does have a creepy vibe, but nothing that downright scared me.  Alive was fast paced, engaging, and always kept me guessing.  I didn’t want to put it down, and I ended up reading it in one sitting.  The plot twist and the craziness of this book kept me guessing at every turn.  I liked the turn that this book took at the end.  I am most definitely going to be picking up the sequel to see what happens next. 


Nimona by Noelle Stevenson 
Published: 2015

Genre: Graphic Novel

Nimona was part of my quest to read more graphic novels.  And I’m so glad that I picked it up! 
I liked the art style of Nimona and thought it was super cute and fun.  I really liked the way it was done and the colors.  Graphic novels are just so pretty and I always have such a great time reading them. 
I LOVED the main characters, Nimona, and Ballister Blackheart.  Nimona is so spunky and fierce and I loved her.  She has such an awesome personality.  Ballister, despite being a “villain” really was such a nice guy.  Nicer than Nimona even, in that respect. 
I loved how Nimona comes to join Ballister and pretty much just declares that she’s joining him.  Most of the time, Nimona was coming up with crazy villainous schemes that were too much even for Ballister. As vicious as Nimona can be, she still just acts like a young girl.  Their personalities work so good together and I loved seeing their relationship.  As they grow closer, they begin to develop this father/daughter type bond and it’s adorable. 
I loved how we got to experience this story from the POV of the “villains”.   And the best part is that they don’t feel like villains at all.  You’re rooting for them every step of the way.  This was a great story with loveable characters and I definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of graphic novel.  Or for that matter, even if you aren’t – try it. 



Have you read either of these books?  Let me know your thoughts.  What was the creepiest book you last read?  How do you feel about books written from the villains POV?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Series review: Legend series by Marie Lu

Legend, Prodigy and Champion by Marie Lu

Published: 2011, 2013

Genre: Dystopian
I loved Day right from the first page.  I was drawn immediately into his story and I really enjoyed reading from his POV.  June, I didn’t really connect with.  At least not in the first book.  Day is just amazing and I love his personality.  He’s been through so much and I love that he’s the “most wanted” criminal.  But, really there’s so much more to Day.   I enjoyed following him and discovering his story.    
I loved the introduction of the Patriots and the element that they provided. It was hard to tell what side you were supposed to be on (which is something that I really like)  I feel like the brutality of the government was really shown in this book, especially with what happens to Day and his family.  
The world was interesting, even if at this point (and I hate saying this) but it felt like I’d read this book before.  I don’t think it’s fair when people compare dystopians.  Dystopians ALL have similar elements, but each one is their own unique story.  The same can be said for Legend.  It’s a unique dystopian series, yet sometimes while reading this it just felt like I’d read it before.  Things that would happen and elements reminded me specifically of things in another popular dystopian series.  Maybe that’s because I waited a little too long to read this series.  I’ve burned myself out on dystopians for the time being. 
Legend also wasn’t quite as fast paced as I’d expected.  For some reason, I had a bit of a hard time getting through it.  Maybe due to the extremely long chapters (which are a pet peeve of mine) It just wasn’t as action packed and I found the pacing to be slower than I expected.  (see, expectations ruining it for me again)
That being said, I did really enjoy Legend.  I loved getting to see how these two characters stories and lives crossed paths.  I loved how Day and June met and how Day really made June think about things.  They go through so many things in this book that are pivotal in their relationship.
Something that I appreciated about June is how kick butt she can be.  She can take down almost anyone in a fight, and she’s an independent, badass female protagonist.  Which I really liked about her.  She becomes increasingly self-sufficient and independent as the series goes on. 
I really loved the premise of this book and how it was executed.  There are many different things going on in Legend, and Marie Lu never made it easy for Day and June, which I appreciated.  Their relationship is so complicated and there were several twists and turns for these characters.   Legend was probably my favorite in this series, because Legend is where it all started for Day and June.

Prodigy was a satisfying sequel to a great first book.  Sometimes, sequels seem to lag, but there were plenty of new things in Prodigy to keep us occupied.  I liked getting a glimpse into the Colonies.  It was something that everyone had been speculating and wondering about since the first book.  So, it was great to finally see what’s going on with them.  (trying not to spoil here!)
By this point, Day has pretty much unwillingly become the face of this rebellion.  All the people look to him.  And he is so badass about the whole thing.  He takes it and runs with it.  Day definitely knows how to command a crowd and he embraces the rebellion.  Prodigy made me love Day even more. 
I really loved the premise of Prodigy.  I liked the storyline with Anden and once again, nothing was black and white.  I actually really like Anden, and I appreciate how Marie Lu once again makes us question what we thought was right. 
I like the idea of not having to follow in your families footsteps (especially with his father).  Just because your parents may be evil, doesn’t mean that you can’t be a different person.  That you can’t want something else for the Republic and have different goals and ideas.
I really liked the inclusion of Anden and that whole angle.  It just adds a whole other element to the story and this crazy world. 
Even though June could get frustrating at times, she made the right decision.  Prodigy had some really great action just like the first one and I really enjoyed seeing the progression of these characters. 

As usual, Champion changed the game. 
We get to see different places in this world that Marie Lu has created.  And, I never thought I’d say this.  BUT, I want to go to Alaska!  Seriously, though…what kind of messed up world is it when Alaska is the nice, stable, technologically advanced country?
In Champion, the Legend series reaches its’ climax.  Things are still crazy, there are twists and turns and suspense. 
Day was less…himself in this book, though.  (which, is understandable with the circumstances) But I missed the “old” Day.  I love him and his personality, but it wasn’t as prevalent in this book.  I felt so bad for Day, but proud of him, because despite what he’s going through, he always keeps fighting and giving it his all. 
Day’s brother, Eden really grows and changes a lot through these books.  He goes from being a kid, to being a young man who wants to help and make his own decisions.  Who understands what’s going on in the world and the state that they’re in. 
The Colonies also play a big role again (which isn’t necessarily good thing).  BUT I really liked the return of the Patriots.  I just love it when people come together to thwart evil. 
Let’s talk about Day and June’s relationship.  So far, I haven’t said much or given my opinions about it.  As you may have been able to tell, I like Day a whole lot more than I like June.  To me, it just seemed like Day was willing to commit 110% and June was all wishy washy.  Day deserves someone who loves him just as much as he loves them, and I don’t think June fit that.  She’s SO indecisive and it drove me crazy.  Because Day isn’t at all.  If he wants to do something, he springs into action.  If he likes you, he’s going to commit 110%.  June, on the other hand, has to think about something for two books before she can really put her heart into something. 
I understand that that’s part of her character.  And that they can’t both be the same.  BUT it still frustrated me.  I just felt like Day deserved someone better.  NOW, not to say that I didn’t ship them at all.  I did.  I really admire how they had to fight to be together and all that they went through really make their relationship difficult. 
In Champion, I shipped them more than I had in the previous books.  After all that they had been through, it just seemed cruel if they didn’t end up together.  Some people don’t realize how much they care about someone or something until it’s out of reach.  I think it took extreme measures for June to finally realize just how much Day meant to her. 

THAT ENDING THOUGH.  PURE EVIL.  JUST…NO.  That’s one of my least favorite endings ever.  Unfortunately, also one that authors and tv writers seem to enjoy.  

 Overall Rating:
Final Thoughts:
I had a great time reading this series.    I LOVED Day.  He’s just the best.  Even though June wasn’t my favorite, she was definitely a protagonist you could root for.  I my case, I feel like this series was a little too hyped up.  I really liked it, but I have been hearing fantastic things for years and I expected it to blow me away.  When it didn’t it was just a bit of a disappointment.  That being said, I still DID really like this series (especially the first book, Legend)
Day and June really were characters I could root for and cheer on.  It is a world and story that I could get invested in and feel passionate about.  So, I don’t think it was a matter of not living UP to my expectations, but just not being quite was I expected.  WHICH IS NOT A BAD THING AT ALL.  I like to be surprised. 
Writing the reviews for these books and having to go back and think about each one really helped me to appreciate them more.  Now that It’s been about a month since I read them, I think I appreciate (and like) them even more than when I first read them.
Even if it’s not one of my favorite series of all time, it’s still an amazing dystopian series and I loved it.  It’s not to be missed if you’re a dystopian lover.  I will definitely recommend the Legend series in the future because it’s fantastic.   

Did you read the legend series?  What did you think?  Let me know!  Do you ship Day and June?  Who was your favorite character? 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Fairytale Retellings I Want To Read

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish.
This week’s topic is… Ten Fairytale Retellings I've Read/Want To Read (or you could do fairytales I want to be retold or fairytales I love)
In case you didn’t already know, I LOVE fairytale retellings.  There were so many variations that I could have done of this Top Ten. 
But, I did my Top Ten fairytale retellings that I really want to read.   Because, I basically want to read ALL of the retellings. 

Which Retellings are on the top of my TBR?

1.     Cress (Rapunzel)
The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
I’ve needed to read this one for a while.  I hope to get around to it sometime this month.  I’ve heard that Cress is the best book in the series yet, and I can’t wait to read it. 

2.     Cruel Beauty (Beauty and the Beast)
By Rosamund Hodge
I’ve really wanted to read one of her books for the longest time.  They look wonderful and I think I’d really love them.  Why haven't I read this yet?  Hopefully soon!

3.     A Court of Thorns and Roses (Beauty and the beast)
By Sarah J. Maas
I adore SJM and her books are always wonderful.  I seriously cannot believe I haven’t read this yet.  Beauty and the Beast retellings are always fun plus SJM’s writing and FAE and her amazing (fictional) men.  Yes, please.  

4.      Entwined  (The Twelve Dancing Princesses)
By Heather Dixon
I’ve had this book for the longest time.  Still haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.  I will eventually (hopefully soon) read this one.  I’ve read other 12 Dancing Princess retellings in the past, and really enjoyed them. 

5.     A Long Long Sleep  (Sleeping Beauty)
By Anna Sheehan
What drew me to this one is the fact that it’s a sci-fi fairytale retelling.  I LOVE when Sci-Fi is mixed with fairytale retellings because it usually brings such amazing outcomes.   It’s just a great mix.

6.     A Kiss In Time (Sleeping Beauty)
By Alex Flinn
I‘ve had my eye on this one for a while.  It just looks super cute and funny and lighthearted.  

7.     Sisters Grimm Series
By Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson
This is actually a children’s book series that I’ve heard nothing but great things about.  It sort of seems like Percy Jackson-ish, but with fairytales.  Two sisters find out that they are the descendants of the brothers Grimm and it gets them involved in all kinds of adventures and mysteries.  It mixes fairytales and mystery and I can’t wait to read it! I’ll probably be getting around to this one really soon.  

8.     Princess of Glass (Cinderella)
By Jessica Day George
I’ve read some of her previous fairytale retellings (including the first book in this series) and really enjoyed them.  Hopefully, one day, I’ll get around to continuing on with this series.

(and because I just have to)

1.      Winter  (Snow White)
By Marissa Meyer 
I am so excited for Winter.  I LOVE the Lunar Chronicles and I can’t wait to get my hands on Winter!  (and I haven’t even read Cress yet)  Let’s be serious.  Who ISN’T excited for Winter??

10.     The Shadow Queen  (Snow White)
By C.J. Redwine 
I haven’t read anything by C.J Redwine yet, (which is regrettable) Hopefully that will change once The Shadow Queen comes out.  Because it looks AMAZING. 

There you have it!  And I didn’t even get into all of the other categories of retellings.  Really, the list could go on and on. 
I can’t wait to see everyone else’s lists (more retellings for my TBR!!)  Also, if you’ve read any of these, let me know what you thought.  Thanks for stopping by!