Saturday, August 31, 2013

Looking Back on August

Overall, this month was a bit of a slow reading one (but a very good blogging one). After reading close to 25 books in July, I was a bit burned out on reading and reviewing. For the entire month of August, I was on and off Readers' Block. I found myself spend quite a few full days without reading a single page. It was also a disappointing month of ARR books (I read four) because they made up my lowest ratings of the entire month. On the bright side, I read some seriously awesome books that made up for the not-so-good ones!

WHAT I READ 
I also read Timepiece by Myra McEntire

FAVORITES

Contemporary: 
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Paranormal: 
The Collector by Victoria Scott

Dystopia: 
Angelfall by Susan Ee

Fantasy:
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Historical:
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

R2R: 
I Breathe You by Lori L. Clark

Cover: 
Fire County by David Estes

Heroine: 
Alina from Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm

Hero:
Dante from The Collector :-)

BOOK STATS:
Ratings:
-5 stars: 2
-4.5 stars: 3 
-4 stars: 3
-3.5 stars: 2
-3 stars: 1
2.5 stars: 1
2 stars: 1

Average rating:  3.85 stars 
. . . my average is the same as in July. Weird. 

REVIEWS POSTED
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
**The Collector by Victoria Scott (my favorite review of the month)
Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (in the same post)
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Just Remember to Breathe by Charles Sheehan-Miles
The White Lilac by Christina J. Adams
Angelfall by Susan Ee
Fire Country by David Estes
Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout (reread)
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (reread)

GREAT GUEST POSTS
Ruby @ Feed Me Books Now - Review of Kite Spirit by Sita Brahmachari 
Lucy @ Big whale, Small whale - How to balance review books with personal TBR ones

OTHER FUN STUFF THAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH
  • I reached a lot of blogging number milestones, including a new record in daily pageviews, two milestones in Twitter followers, and my 100th blog post.
  • I joined Bloggers Commenting Back (hosted by Alice @ Readers in Wonderland)! This means I have dedicated myself to comment back to each comment on my blog and go visit that person's blog and comment one of his or hers posts or pages. I discovered this by a post Leigh made on Little Book Star. Thank you, Leigh, for spreading the word!
  • I added a blog roll to my sidebar! Some of my favorite blogs are listed there (I still want to add a few).
  • I participated in two read-a-thons, but I didn't get very into either one. :(
  • New features I've officially launched:
  • I hosted my very first giveaway where I provided the prize! The winner, Holly U, chose Of Beast and Beauty.
  • I saw City of Bones and am planning on writing a reaction post for it. 
  • I joined the @FeedMyReads family on Twitter as @FeedMyReadsCon. It's the contemporary genre branch of the community.
  • I was interviewed by Lucy @ Big whale, Small whale
  • I went camping with three of my closest three friends on Monday-Wednesday, and surprisingly, we talked a lot about YA books. I told them a lot about ones I recommend reading: The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent, City of Bones, The Immortal Rules, Shatter Me, Angelfall, Shadow and Bone, The 5th Wave. My bookworm friend also told me all about Starters by Lissa Price. I believe all of us found something new to try out. :)
    • Oh, and guess what? I was looking up books turning into movies (yes, I did have internet access on my phone) and came across If I Stay by Gayle Forman. When I mentioned it, my friend that rarely reads told me she's read the series! Apparently, she loves those books. Now I'm feeling more left out than I did before. I haven't read any of that author's books.
  • I'm sure there's a lot more, but that's all I'll mention in this post. 
Keep your eyes open for my Fall Announcements post that will be up soon. It will include important information about what will be happening on this blog in the next few months!

How did August go for you?
If you have your own wrap-up post, please leave me a link! I would love to visit your blog and leave a comment. :)

Your Requests, My Responses ~ Fall Releases I'm Looking Forward To

This is my new way of coming up with post topics. Instead of doing it myself, I am getting help from you. I'll be writing about whatever you want to hear for me. Got an idea? Please fill out this form and I'll start working on the post. 

Missed the first one of these posts? Go here to read it.

Here's what was submitted:
"I think it would be awesome if you discussed books you're looking forward to that will be released this fall."
- Klaudia from The Observant Girl

This is an easy topic, so I decided to make do this one before the other topic submitted (which will be next). I have chosen eight books (why eight? I asked Twitter to choose a number) that I'm eagerly waiting for. I chose ones from late September through late November. 

 September 17th - The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Okay, I admit it. I'm mostly interested in this book because for the cover. Who wouldn't? Look at it! Doesn't it look gorgeous? I'm incredibly curious about what the inside is like. Will I love or will I be disappointed? Will I be sucked into it from cover to cover or will I struggle to pick it up? I really want to read this.

September 24th - Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Another book that drew me by the gorgeous cover. Lately, I've noticed my growing interest in the dystopia genre. I used to think I didn't mind it very much, but I'm starting to think it's one of my favorites! Out of all of the upcoming dystopias, though, I would have to say I'm waiting for Not a Drop to Drink the most. I certainly have been waiting a long time for it. 

October 1st - Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Another book by one of my all time favorite contemporary authors? Yes! I fell in love with the entire Perfect Chemistry series as well as the Leaving Paradise one. They swept me away and I often times pick them up again and reread my favorite parts. I don't think this book will top those, but I do think I'll still love it.

October 1st - Endless Knight by Kresley Cole
Have you read my review of Poison Princess? If you haven't, you should go do so. That book gave me all sorts of feelings and I was able to both rant and rave about different parts of it. If you read that review, you'll get a good idea of why I am eagerly waiting for its sequel.

October 22nd - Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I don't need to explain. Just look what series it's from and you'll know. 
This book releases only three days after my birthday, so it'll be included in some way with my special October plans for this blog. It may be included in a giveaway of some sort, but I haven't decided yet. 

November 2nd - Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
Hmm, I think Katie McGarry is becoming a new favorite author of mine. I just adore this series. They're the perfect contemporary romances and I can't wait to get my hands on this book and find a day where I can read this from cover to cover without having to take many breaks.

November 2nd - Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout
This is such an exciting series. I know many people don't like the first book, but seriously, each book gets more and more exciting than the last and I'm sure this one will be fantastic!

November 19th - The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
This is the book I'm waiting for. This is one of my top favorite series and I'm so excited for this one! Just looking at the cover makes me all happy inside. :)

What are other readers waiting for?
I asked through Twitter and found a few people to tell me what one or two books they're looking forward to the most.


"I can't wait for House of Hades. Rick Riodan started this epic journey with Percy Jackson, and I'm on pins and needles waiting for the next installment. I also can't wait for Allegiant. Based on what I read in Divergent and Insurgent, this trilogy may make it to my top trilogies list. Can't wait to see what Roth has in store! :)"

- Erin Alberts from @ErinAlbertBooks
Author of the The Prophecy, which releases in November (another fall release I'm looking forward to!)

"With so many books coming out this fall it's hard to choose just one or two! I am definitely looking forward to Curtsies & Conspiracies by Carriger. I loved the first in the series, Etiquette & Espionage so I can't wait to fall back into this world again. Of course I am also looking forward to Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I think EVERYONE has been waiting for this!"
- Briana from @bebecald
Blogs at Listful Booking

"Two books I am looking forward to this coming fall are FROZEN by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston and NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis.

I know many readers are looking forward to FROZEN because Melissa de la Cruz is very well-known, but I'm excited because of the synopsis. I love the overall concept of the novel and I recall Michael Johnston stating in an interview that some points refer back to a novel called THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA, which I read recently and loved (especially for a non-fiction novel). Also, I love the cover . . . it's STUNNING.

NOT A DROP TO DRINK is another novel I am excited for this fall because the concept is very intriguing. The genre is dystopian, one that I personally enjoy, and the idea that fresh water is scarce has me thinking what it would be like to struggle to find water and makes me what to see how Mindy McGinnis executes it.

Of course there are many, many more novels I look forward to this fall but these two are definitely at the top of my list because of the concept and my curiosity of reading how these authors execute them."
- Klaudia from @observantgirl_
This is the same blogger who submitted the topic of the post

Thank you for reading! Remember that if you have an idea you would like to see me create a post about, just fill out the form! Also, keep an eye out for the next topic in this feature (hint: it's specifically about blogging).

There are so many great books coming out in the fall! Which ones are you most looking forward to?

Stacking the Shelves (3) ~ Only Virtual Additions


This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we share what books we have recently added to our physical or virtual shelves.

I have five new addtions to my virtual bookshelf that I would like to share with you. They're all different in how I received them, which I find to be pretty cool.

First of all, a pre-order arrived!
 It's the long awaited next book in the Lux series and I'm excited to read it. I won't actually get to it for a few months, but I'll definitely write a review and post it when I do.

Won on Literary Excursions from a Girl Trapped in Reality . . .

Isn't that cover so pretty? I've heard a few good things about it. Like with Origin, though, I won't be able to read this one for awhile (there's a bunch of books from my last STS I need to read first).
Thank you to Carissa for the giveaway!

Bought 

I saw that it was in sale and just had to get it. I've heard many good things about this one, and I just want to give it a try sometime.

My very first review copy for a blog tour

I saw the tour sign ups for this book on Itching For Books and thought it looked like an interesting read. It's an NA book, and it seems to be a real heavy one. My review (unless I think it's a terrible book) for this will be up on September 16th, so I'll be reading this book real soon.
Thank you Shane for putting together the blog tour for this book!

Last, but not least, a book from Edelweiss (my second approved, and my first from HarperTeen)

I was checking my Edelweiss requests one day and realized it was set to show requests I've sent in the last month. I then switched it to show all of my request, and surprise! I had another book that had been approved a couple days earlier. It was completely unexpected, but it made me happy because this one looks good. I hope to read this one sometime this year, then post my review closer to it's release date (February 2014).
Thank you Harper Collins!

Those are my books from this week! How about you?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Lineup ~ Unleash the Fangs!

This week's Lineup was surprisingly easy to put together. I postponed my previous plan until next week because I'm thinking of doing something special for September (like a theme) that it would fit in with. So I decided to do this one instead! This one is a bit different. It is made up of series instead of individual books by different authors. I also didn't include every single book I read that goes with this theme—only ten of the series (actually, one is an anthology) that I have physical copies of.

Books With Vampires in Them
********************************************************
Vampire Academy/Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
(Vampire Academy and Bloodlines)
Until the Bloodlines series is completed, I won't be able to choose a favorite, so they take the same spot. Putting these series at the top of the Lineup was the easiest thing to do. They're some of my favorite books! Rose is one of my favorite heroines; Adrian is my favorite hero. I love the vampire world, the action, the romance, and everything else. I don't like any of the other series nearly as much as this one.

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
(Blood of Eden)
I read this book in July and I really liked it. It's one of my favorite vampire worlds because it has a dystopia side to it and I haven't read many of those. Alison was a great, strong heroine that went through so much but managed to deal with it nicely.


Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
(Blue Bloods)
At this point, I have realized that I haven't been reading vampire books lately. I'm pretty sure it's been at least a year since I've read any of the rest of this Lineup, including this series. This one used to be a favorite. I loved how the modern world tied in with the historical one. I loved how it was both a vampire book and an angel one at the same time. My favorite character—the one that I always rooted for getting the upper hand—was Schuyler. Sometime after the fourth or fifth book, I lost my enthusiasm. It was getting a bit too drawn out and I wasn't sure where the series was going anymore. I think the farthest I've read is Lost in Time, but only halfway through that.

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich-Smith
(Tantalize)
I don't think a lot of people enjoyed reading this one, but I loved it! It was a fun read, and I really liked the mix of vampires, weres, and angels throughout the series. I'm not a big fan of the second book because it didn't have the characters I liked the best, but everything else was great. One of the things that drew me into the series the most was the restaurant in the first book and how the author tied that in with vampires. 

Marked by P.C Cast and Kristin Cast
(House of Night)
This was one of my favorite series until it got way too long—way longer than it needed to be. I really liked reading the first few books, but then a huge pile of things just kept being stuffed into it and I was getting tired of it. I don't have a good attention span when it comes to reading really long series. There's so many shorter ones out there that are so much better.

Intertwined by Gena Showalter
(Intertwined)
This was a good book. It didn't wow me, but I did enjoy the mix of the several different paranormal creatures. I also liked the concept of the souls living inside the main character and how that part was executed. 

Thirst by Christopher Pike
(Thirst)
I'm a little unsure about this series. It's a pretty good one, but I have gotten stuck in so many rough and slow patches that it isn't one of my favorites. There are some awesome elements to the story line, and a lot of parts are thrilling, but overall, it was a slow series for me and I haven't read much more past the first volume (which has three books in it).

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
(Peeps)
If you don't know already, Scott Westerfeld is one of my favorite authors. I loved the Uglies series, the Leviathan trilogy, and the Midnighters trilogy. Peeps, though, is my least favorite. I still liked it, but it didn't wow me like his other books. It still had great ideas and concepts, but I've read better vampire books. 

Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber
(Vampire Kisses)
I don't remember much from the three books I read in this series. I know that I did like the books, but they didn't feel like must-reads. 

The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire (anthology)
This book could probably be placed higher than Vampire Kisses and Peeps because there are some pretty good stories in it that makes the entire book worth it. The problem is . . . I can't remember anything. I look at this book and can only remember one or two vague details, and that's it. I'm not a fan of short stories, so because of that and my vague memory, this book has to be at the very end of the Lineup.
********************************************************
I know a lot of you are probably not fans of vampire books, but are there any from my Lineup that you really liked? Are there any really good vampire books you would suggest I check out? 

Book Blitz + Giveaway ~ Aberrant by Ruth Silver



Aberrant (Aberrant)
by Ruth Silver
Release Date: 04/17/13


Summary from Goodreads:
In the future Dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government's match in marriage and "The Day of the Chosen", a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn't existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she's arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her existence. Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from "The Day of the Chosen." The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.

With Joshua's help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.


Buy it from:

Read an excerpt from Aberrant 
           Joshua came into my room, ignoring all rules as he helped push the dresser further from the wall, knocking it to the floor allowing me more than enough room to grab the journal and go. I tossed it inside the pack and Joshua put the map inside before we stepped out of my bedroom. I glanced down the hall, not sure what I expected to see. To the right the dormitory had been hit, and a roar of smoke and fire filled the confined space. Jacqueline was gone. Hand-in-hand we ran in the opposite direction toward the staircase.
           My eyes burned. Coughing, I refused to let go of his hand as we stepped outside. Drones weren’t the only things attacking Haven. Tanks rolled into town. A few soldiers jumped off, taking over the perimeter, guns drawn. I paused, gripping Joshua's hand as we were shrouded in smoke. Just a few feet away, a soldier lifted his weapon and unleashed fury on a group of innocent people. I covered my mouth with my hand to keep from crying out when a child no older than three hit the cement. His eyes remained open as blood seeped from his head. He didn't move. Didn't blink. It took only a moment to realize he’d died instantly. All I could do was stand there in shock.
           "We have to move," I heard Joshua's voice, but it didn't register. The smoke swirled around us and gunfire erupted in every direction. He grabbed my arm. "Olivia, I need you to focus." I nodded once, trying my best to clear the cobwebs from my mind. I couldn't, though. I wanted to run out to the child and protect him, but it was too late. I was too late. They were here because of me, innocent blood on my hands. I felt the heat radiating from the dormitory and my eyes flashed back. "I need you here with me, Olive." "I am," I insisted, knowing if I didn't focus we'd both be dead. I spotted more soldiers – their standard issue uniform and the Cabal crest on their jacket sleeve told me all I needed to know. The government had come looking for us. "Which way?" I couldn't see the exit. With the smoke enveloping us and the fear coursing through my veins, I f
orgot the direction we'd come from.


About the Author
Ruth Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time. She has written under three unique pseudo names and penned well over a hundred stories.

She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor's in Communication. While in college she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, "Deuces are Wild", which she self-published in 2004. Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories.

Her love of writing, led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading YA novels and sharing her favorite books with other readers. She runs her own book blog and also enjoys photography and traveling.

Her favorite YA genre is a mix of Dystopian & Fantasy which is evident in the upcoming release of her latest book, Aberrant. Slated for release April 2013 by Lazy Day Publishing, it is the first in a trilogy.

~~~~~~Author Links~~~~~~

~~~~~~~GIVEAWAY~~~~~~~
1 signed paperback of Aberrant (US only)
3 scrabble tile necklace charms & signed bookmark (INT)
3 bottlecap keychains & signed bookmark (INT)


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Book Blitz Organized by:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Blast + Giveaway ~ DiSemblance by Shanae Branham

I don't participate in many book blasts, but since I thought this book looked interesting, I decided to sign up for it. Read the synopsis for DiSemblance, learn about the author, enter the giveaway, and tell me what you think in the comments! 

DiSemblance  DiSemblance by Shanae Branham

Synopsis:
Jason Tanner’s life has always been different from the ordinary citizen’s. It started when he was an infant and his parents were only teenagers. A computer science prodigy, Lloyd attended MIT but left a pariah in the eyes of the school’s dean—but a computer physics genius in the eyes of his primary investor. Then his theories and ideas created a holographic machine and their world shrunk as contact with the outside world became less and less frequent. A computer prodigy now himself, Jason is about to learn that the world never waits for you if you have the ability to change it: it will come for you. Detective Bruce Durante has been handed the case of the Comfort Killer, a serial killer so named because he appears to abduct terminally ill patients before returning their corpses to their families in refrigerated coffins. When he picks up the trail, it leads straight to the home of Lloyd Tanner. Jason has been living life through the world of Lloyd’s invention and wishing he could carry on a relationship with Boston, the beautiful girl next door. When his father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, he is brought back to reality in a hurry. He is forced to destroy all of the planted evidence—and finds he is being targeted as the killer’s new fall guy. But the secrets of his father’s invention run deep and Jason, his brother Isaac, Boston, the Comfort Killer, and Detective Durante hurtle towards one another on a deadly collision course that leaves everyone’s life hanging in the balance.

About the Author:
Shanae
Author Shanae Branham
I am a professional writer with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in grammar. I have also attended several years of classes and workshops in screenplay writing at the Los Angeles Screenplay writer’s Expo. I love suspense thrillers and am a master at plot and character development. I enjoy stories with happy endings. I promise all my readers that when they put one of my books down or walk away from one of my movies, they will be enthused with excitement and joy. This does not mean there will not be some sad parts, because you have to feel the bitter in order to understand the sweet. In fact, I have struggled with Dyslexia my whole life, so you can imagine how overjoyed I was when DiSemblance won a Silver metal in the fantasy/science fiction category at the eLit awards in 2012.  
 
There will be a tour in September. Check out the tour schedule here.
disemblance tour

Enter the Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/13/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway BookBlast Giveaway

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reread and Review ~ My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Genre: YA contemporary
Series and number: standalone
Number of pages: 400
Edition: Kindle ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

My review:

Rating: 5 stars
Date read: July, 2013
Source: Bought

We all have those books that we just click with. They make us feel all happy inside because they just spoke to you and said "you love me because I'm awesome." This, for me, was one of those books, and let me tell you, there's nothing better than a book I just click with.

The first time I read this, I was blown away by the sweet—and slightly sad—story. I cried. I laughed. I admired the amazing characters. For the second . . . I did the same thing. Well, I believe I cried less because I made myself control the tears (this book makes me emotional, as do a lot of them). This time reading, I noticed even more great things—probably because I didn't write reviews last year.

First of all, what I call the "abouts": the themes/elements.

It was about family. Sure, there was a huge focus on the relationship between Jase and Sam, but that wasn't the point. This book featured two families (and a bit of a third one). The two were quite the opposite from each other. One was a large, loyal, and financially insecure bunch and the other was a small, distanced, and rich group. I loved this because one was able to learn from the other and therefore become a stronger family (like in Wife Swap, but without the swapping).

However, there was another part of this story: it was all about morals. What is the right thing to do in the situation give. Sam ad her mother had their morals tested. Other characters like Tim, Jase, and Nan were shown to all have a different set of standards—some of the were solid (Jase) and others were sketchy (Clay). Tim stood out to me in this area because his growth was so remarkable and he knew what was right and was wrong, even though he intentionally chose wrong many times.
Those two focuses—family and morals—made this book amazing. I loved the Garrett family and all of their quirks. I loved the big steps and developments that were made. I loved how Sam and Jase's relationship meshed with each element.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book and I hope you'll pick it up and love it as well.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Your Requests, My Responses ~ Physical Books V.S E-Books


This is something new I would like to try out, but it requires your input. 

When it comes to discussion topics, I blank. I can hardly ever come up with anything interesting to write about. One day, this idea just popped into my head. What if I got my readers to submit the topics they would like to hear my thoughts on and I would write about whatever they came up with? It solves the problem of coming up with an idea, and it includes you guys. I like to include other people as much as I can, whether it's for a school group project or just this blog, so this is the perfect solution. 

Enough of that. Let's move onto the first topic.

"Physical Books V.S E-Books" 
Submitted by Erika, a blogger at The Red Bookmark
Thank you for submitting the first topic, Erika!

I could spend forever telling you the pros and cons of both physical books and ebooks, but I'm not going to do that. I think most of you already know why it's useful to have an ereader and why physical books are great to have, so I'll just talk a little about each and then spotlight a couple of my favorite things about both options.

Some Thoughts on Physical Books

A book is just that: a book with real pages connected to a spine that is connected to a front and back cover. You can open it, close it, carry it, smell it, pet it, throw it (please don't), cut it (again, please don't), and so much more. Physical books are what fills the libraries and the book stores. They're what make up our own overflowing bookshelves. 

All the benefits of reading on an ereader cannot overcome the love of physical books that has built up for so long. At least, it won't for awhile.

Why Physical Books Are So Important
Accompanied by Visual Aids

Part 1 - Text Marking
I didn't want you to see what my somewhat correct
prediction was, so I covered that up. To spoilery.
I read The Book Thief for class. We had to text mark and take notes in our books or on separate sheets of paper. Having the actual book, instead of a digital one, made this task so much easier. I could write notes, highlight words, draw pictures. I could use a bunch of different colored pens--pink for creative language, blue for German words or phrases, orange for vocab, and green or black for general notes. Also, one of my favorite parts, I could write at an angle to fit my words in the margins. I can't do that on my Kindle. I know some people find note-taking on an ereader really convenient, but I prefer to write hand write my thoughts.

Part 2 - Art
I don't know about everybody else, but it's so much easier to admire the artwork on book covers when you can hold the real thing instead just seeing it on a screen. Plus, I have a Kindle Touch. All of the covers are in black and white. They're no where near as gorgeous as the ones that you can to your bookshelf.
I love it when I can find books like this.
Also, have you ever come across books with illustrations in them? Don't they look so much better on paper? 

Keith Thompson illustrated the Leviathan series. The drawings add so much to the series. A lot of the work is placed alongside the text of the book. Others take up entire pages.
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
There are books where the inside covers are illustrated, like this one. (Check the inside of Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm too. It's the same artist.)
Inside the front cover of Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
Some books have little drawings at the beginning of their chapters.
One of the chapter illustrations in Magyk by Angie Sage
Other books, like Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson include cool things like menus and playlists along with the story. I originally read the book for free on Pulse It, but I decided to buy a copy later because I wanted a physical book with all the cool things inside it.

Now, The Other Half
Some Thoughts on Ebooks

Ebooks, ereaders, online books--they haven't been around for very long. And yet, they have became hugely popular. A lot more people read ebooks than they did a few years ago (at least, it feels like it). There's tons of free ones available on Amazon. There's a lot of deals or inexpensive reads. You can read them on phones, computers, and ereaders. You can upload hundreds of them on a lightweight device. You can buy ebooks at a click of a button . . . I can go on and on. We are in a digital age, and with that comes digital alternatives to things like physical books. New technology is constantly being developed to make our lives easier and more efficient. Ebooks will continue to become more popular and more widely used. 

Will they become more loved or preferred over physical books? Maybe one day, but that day isn't today. 

Why Ebooks Are the Best Option For Me at the Moment
Accompanied by No Visuals

Part 1 - Future
When I first decided I wanted an ereader, my thoughts were of the future. More specifically, college. I have a ton of books on my bookshelf, but I know I won't be able to take them with me when I leave for school. A few, yes, but not a whole lot. With my Amazon account, I can build up my digital library so that when I do go college next year, I can bring with me a couple hundred books that will only take up as much space as my Kindle does. So . . . ebooks are incredibly helpful to me right now. 

Part 2 - Money
Most of the time, I buy at the lowest price I can find. I grew up learning how to manage my money wisely, so I always look at the best deals and compare them to others before I make a purchase. Ebooks are very cheap (most of the time), so most of the books I've bought recently have been for my Kindle. In doing that, I've been able to save whatever money I didn't spend on a physical copy and set it aside for more books or something else. 

Well, now you know what my favorite things about both options are. I love both ebooks and physical books. However, you may be wondering . . .

What do I like best?


Ultimately, I would have to side with Liesel. 
If you don't know who that is, go read The Book Thief.

Other Thoughts on the Subject
Remember when I said I liked to include people? Well, here's something else I plan to do with this post. For every topic, I'll request statements from other people through Twitter and/or Goodreads about what they think of the topic given. For the first time doing this, I gathered five statements from bloggers on Twitter. (Later, I'll just have three for each topic.)
*Please excuse any little grammar issues. Most of these were sent through Twitter DMing.

"I really like reading on my Kindle, sure it's portable and you have privacy, but the best thing is the ability to hold it or prop it up w/o having to struggle to prevent a page from turning or keep the book from falling. However, I like shelving books I read, smelling them (yes.. this is a reason haha), the ability to easily skim earlier chapters for clarity w/o having to search or guess a page location. All in all, I like both. Sometimes I choose eBooks if it's much cheaper, the book is old and out of circulation; or extremely bulky and a nuisance to tote around (i.e Stephen King Novels). If I love the story, I'll usually just purchase a physical copy. After all, it helps support the author."
- @The Book Feed
Blogs at The Book Feed

"There are only two reasons I like e-books: they are easily accessible and they don't break. (Seriously I've dropped my kindle down the stairs and its in one price. But then there is the fact that nothing can replace an actual copy. For some reason they just feel right when you hold them. They also smell awesome! I think that I definitely will always read the majority of my books on my kindle purely for money reasons. I like to get as much as possible for my money and paying 1.99 instead of the cost of a hard copy is way better."
- Fly to the Sky from @Read_LiveGreen

"Personally, I prefer physical books as I like the feel and smell of them, as well as the covers, and the fact that you can read them whenever you want to without charge. However, ebooks are easier to travel with, and can be read easily in the dark. Though I personally prefer physical, I do use ebooks and can see the appeal. I like to use both!"
- Charli from @Charli_TAW
Blogs at To Another World

"I am - and always will be - a lover of physical books. For a start, I don't even known an e-reader, and there's just something about holding a real book in your hands that is so much nicer than holding something like a Kindle! The smell of a new book, the feel of the pages, being able to see how far along you are in the book...I just love them. Sure, physical books take up more space and even I agree that e-readers are more practical, but I'm firmly a fan of physical books! :)"
- Amber from @MileLongBookS

"I will ALWAYS love a physical book over an e-book. I just love the feel of holding the book while reading. The smell of a new book. BUT my favorite thing of all are the COVERS. I'm a cover fanatic. I will buy books simply for the cover, I don't even have to read the premise. YES I've done it before. Luckily I haven't ran into a problem that the book was terrible or anything. LOL But while I love my physical books, e-books are tremendously convenient! I love that I can put my iPad mini in my purse and all my books are right there with me. I also love the highlight feature. I'm a big quote person so this is so handy while reading and taking notes for things I want to remember when I do a review. I'm REALLY bad about buying an e-book then falling in love with it so I HAVE to have the physical book. But when push comes to shove I would definitely chose a physical book over an e-book.....every time. :)"
- Crystal from @CrystalBookLand

Thank you for reading! If you would like to submit a topic for me to create discussion post for, please submit it here.
You can submit anything from top ten lists to an interview type question to just a X vs. Y like this one was. I'll try to create a post for each submission, but it may take awhile to do so. 

What do you prefer?
Physical books or ebooks?

Review ~ Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Genre: YA paranormal/dystopia-ish
Series and number: The Arcana Chronicles #1
Number of pages: 384
Edition: ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

Evangeline “Evie” Greene, 16, leads a charmed life until her horrifying hallucinations predict a disaster that decimates her Louisiana hometown. She joins classmate Jack - with his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, bad attitude - and 22 other teens, as an ancient prophesy re-enacts the ultimate battle between good and evil. But who is on which side?

My review:

Rating: 4.5 stars
Date read: July 25-27, 2013
Source: Read for free on PulseIt

That. Was. Awesome. 

The beginning and the ending—especially the ending—were just slices of fantastic and creepy awesomeness. Want a book with a great ending? Want a book where a totally messed up situation completely turns around and becomes more wicked? Read this book.

Poison Princess started out in Arthur's POV. Arthur was a sick, twisted, and cruel man that lured girls into his welcoming place to tell their journey. . . only to trap them in his dungeon for experiments. So, when Evie came in and began telling her tale with the warning that it might've never been real in the first place. . . I just knew that she would deliver the karma that Arthur deserved. For the entire book, I waited and anticipated that moment that would prove Evie had a wicked and twisted side to her.

However, her journey to Arthur had to be recounted. That's what the entire book was: it was Evie telling her story before and after the Flash. It was her telling about all the death, destruction, and evilness she had witnessed in the new apocalyptic world. It was her series of experiences where she remained weak and helpless, and unsure of herself, her powers, and even her own humanity. All of it built up to the moment when she was just fed up and she . . . lost it. Like I said, it was awesome, and I really liked how the author went wrote the book.

The other great part of the book was its content—the Arcana, the Red Witch, the plants, the visions, the apocalypse itself. It was fresh. Original. It was like an ancient game between tarot cards was being played. It was a blend of fantasy with an apocalyptic setting, as well as the past (Evie's story), the present (with Arthur), future (the visions), and a little bit of history (dreams of the Red Witch). It all made the book very interesting and exciting.

I did, however, have problem with one thing, and that one thing is two syllables long: Jackson. I wanted to like him—I’m very open-minded and accepting of most main characters—but this guy was a jerk. He constantly fought with Evie, and questioned why she wouldn’t trust him with her secrets. He put her down and called her weak all the time instead of actively helping her become stronger. He was constantly implying that she was judging his every move because she was the pampered girl and he was the trash. I do understand that early on she did misjudge him, but after awhile, she didn’t really do anything that warranted those constant implications. 

The main thing that bothered me was how upset he got when Evie wouldn't “put-out” for him, and I . . . can’t bring myself to like a character that gets as upset as he did over a girl not have sex with him.

"'Did you save me just so I'd sleep with you?'
'The idea might've crossed my mind! Hell, Evie, you're probably the last girl on earth for me. Would it kill you to put out?'"

Again, I’m open-minded when it comes to characters. I think about why the characters were built and developed the way they were instead of judging their actions. In this case, though, Jackson was an exception. 

Despite the leading guy, this was a wonderful book. Many parts creeped me out and many made me say “oh, that’s awesome” (sometimes it was both). The beginning developments of the Arcana battles made me curious—most of the why’s and how’s weren’t brought into the story of the first book—and now I’m even more eager to get my hands on the sequel when it releases.

Overall, Poison Princess very well deserved the four and a half stars I’m giving it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

It's a Stacking the Shelves Post!


This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we share what books we have recently added to our physical or virtual shelves.

This is my second ever Stacking the Shelves. The first one was posted in June, and I've been meaning to create another post for this, but I just kept forgetting about it. Well, I didn't forget this time! 

Here are the books I have added to my real and virtual bookshelves in August (the entire month so far, including a few days at the end of July; I didn't get all of these books in a week).


My Amazon order
(two for bought new from bookstores through Amazon)

Fear by Michael Grant
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Won in giveaways

Ink by Amanda Sun (ARC)
Unremembered by Jessica Brody (ARC)
Steel Lily by Megan Curd

Won in challenges on the YA Buddy Readers' Corner group on Goodreads

Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins
Mind Games by Kiersten White
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

ARCycling

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Free

Heavenly Hell by Aria Williams

Everything else shown was bought for my Kindle


It's going to take me a very long time to get through all of these, but I've read three of them! Those are in the top row of the ebooks picture.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? If you've written a review for any of them, I would love to check it out! 

Reread and Review ~ Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout



Genre: YA paranormal
Series and number: Covenant #1
Number of pages: 304
Edition: Kindle ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi—pure-bloods—have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals—well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:

Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem—staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

My review:

Rating: 4 stars
Date read: July 28 to 30, 2013
Source: borrowed for first read, bought for second read

I have to admit something: this book wasn't as good the second time as the first. Why? I've realized Half-Blood pales in comparison to it's sequels. Those are the spectacular ones—the books filled with action, romance, and Apollyon awesomness.

What about this book, though? It was still good—great characters and concept—but it felt like just an into book, the book that sets the stage for everything else that follows it. Most of the development of the whole "Apollyon" concept is in Pure and onward. Most of the things that I love about the Covenant series make a presence after this book, too.

Nevertheless, I still enjoyed those moments between Aiden and Alex the friendship between her and Conner, and the subtle hints to things that happened later in the series. I still loved great ending. Overall, yes, it was was still a great book—I just can't help compare it to it's successors and notice it wasn't as well done as they were.

If you've read this and felt slightly disappointed for whatever reason (like the whole Vampire Academy similarity thing), I strongly recommend you continue onward to Pure. It only gets better from here on out.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"'How come you smile when you knock me down?'
He offered his hand. "It's the little things that make me happy.'"

"'Okay. I'm ready to move onto something else, like practicing with knives or defense against the dark arts. Cool things.'
'Did you just quote Harry Potter?
I grinned. 'Maybe I did.'"

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review ~ Fire Country by David Estes

Genre: YA dystopia
Series and number: Country Saga #1
Number of pages: 398
Edition: ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.

Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.

Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.

As the desert sands run out on her life's hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.

My review:

Rating: 3 stars
Date read: August 19 to 20, 2013
Source: I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review

This was a nice book. I liked the concept surrounding the fire country and the others surrounding it. It was able to maintain a level of uniqueness that made reading it worthwhile. I really liked the romance (I was so happy that I predicted correctly in that area), and Siena. She was a strong and determined heroine, and she is a big part of why I enjoyed reading this.

However, there were a few things that I felt were lacking. Descriptions were a bit vague sometimes, so I failed to picture the scenes well in my head. Sometimes, I felt like the story was a bit underdeveloped and could have used more depth. Also, the slang and speech of the world felt a little odd to me—like it didn't mesh well enough into the story.

Other than those things, Fire Country was a good book that many readers would enjoy as much or more than I did. It had a great heroine and concept, as well as a really nice romance that didn't take over the book. Overall, it didn't wow me, but I still liked it enough to think it deserved a three star rating.

Review ~ A Taylor-Made Life by Kary Rader

Genre: YA contemporary romance
Series and number: N/A
Number of pages: 216
Edition: ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

They lived the life they were given; they loved the life they made.

Cheerleader Taylor Smith doesn’t want to die a virgin. Unfortunately, if the terminally-ill leukemia patient doesn't find a lover or a stem-cell match within months, her fear will become reality. When her cancer mentor is revealed to be a hottie entrepreneur from California, it seems fate might finally be on her side.

Tech-geek Gavin Taylor has everything he ever wanted, except someone to grieve for him when he's gone. With his melanoma cancer beyond the help of his riches, he agrees to participate in a cancer patient mentoring program where he's matched with a dying teen from Texas. Despite his immediate attraction, the Silicon Valley whiz intends only to provide friendship and happy memories to the beautiful, young woman who is determined to win his love.

When it's discovered that his frozen sperm and her harvested eggs could lead to a cure, Taylor's mother offers to be a surrogate. And Gavin must decide if he can risk the heart he has never given and a child he'll never know to a girl he just met.

My review:

Rating: 2.5 stars
Date read: August 13 to 15, 2013
Source: I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review

I went into this book fully expecting to cry my eyes out. This book features two cancer patients that fall in love . . . obviously, something bad was going to happen. It was a given that I would cry--after all, I'm the Queen of Crying While Reading Books. Also, so many people gave this book high ratings and said in their reviews that it made them cry a lot.

. . . I did not cry one single tear while reading A Taylor-Made Life.

Why, though? There was something about this book that I didn't like. It felt a bit off. There was an insta-love that didn't seem as . . . genuine as it should have been (I'm really tolerant of insta-loves, by the way, so it was weird that this one didn't feel right). It felt too rushed—and a bit too cheesy—for my taste, as did most most of the book. So many things happened in the short page span that it had, and it was a bit too much for me. (I'm generally disappointed with novels under 250 pages long, so it's not surprising when a short book isn't fulfilling.)

Overall, I did like the book, and did enjoy reading despite the things I disliked . . . but I was disappointed. I had high hopes for this one because so many others just loved this book to pieces, but compared to all of the fantastic tearjerkers I have read, a few of them even featuring cancer, this one didn't stand out as one of them.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Throwback Thursday (1) ~ The Book That Started It All

Throwback Thursday is hosted by Crystal at Crystal in Bookland. It's a weekly post where you showcase books from the past that are near and dear to your heart and tell a little about why you liked it. 

This is my first Throwback Thursday post. Hopefully, I'll like this post enough to participate every Thursday. Most of my throwbacks will be books I read in middle school because I don't have very many I really loved before that point. 

Let's start with the book that started it all, shall we? 

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman 

Goodreads description:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called "Gobblers"—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here's the story:

It was my twelfth birthday. I was in sixth grade. My mom bought me a book with an awesome cover--which she has always told me she bought because she liked the polar bear. It was the big book! There were over 400 pages, and I hadn't read a book with that many pages before. I must have read it quickly, though, because I returned it to Walmart. 

That sounds odd, doesn't it? I had returned the book I'm featuring today. Why the heck would I do that? 

I wanted that thing------------------------------>>

My mom and I were shopping in Walmart, and I came across this thing--this massive book that . . . had all three books of the trilogy in it. I had to have it, so struck a deal with my mom, and traded the now small looking book one with the 900+ page one that had a super awesome cover and the next two books I needed to read in the series included in it. 

Okay, story time is over. Why is this book near and dear to my heart?
I consider The Golden Compass to be the book that truly opened my eyes to the amazing world of books. It's the one that converted me into a serious bookworm. I loved everything about it—Lyra, the daemons, the world, the adventure, the polar bear—and wanted to explore more books. And that is what I did, as you can tell because almost six years down the line, I am here talking about this book on a blog dedicated to books and my love of them. 

Before I end this, I also want to mention that the author and I share a birthday, which makes the book even more special.

That's it for my first Throwback Thursday! Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

If you have your own post, please leave a link in the comments. Thank you. :)