Friday, January 30, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (53) ~ Great Week of Mail

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 like to use the meme to also give a recap of the week's posts.
(Click on the covers to go to Goodreads.)


Amazon Ebooks

Digital Review Copies
Thank you to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for Get Dirty!

In the Mail

I requested The Orphan Queen and got four other ARCs with it! Thank you to Harper for these.☺

Thank you to Angie and Ashlea @ Disquietus Reads!

For review from the NOVL newsletter: Scarlett Undercover
Eeek! Thank you, NOVL.☺

Thank you to Emily Alfano for trading with me!

The gorilla didn't come in the mail, but it is new. I love it!
Blog
Nineteen Random Songs From My Queue
Romance TBR Jar (5) ~ Vote for Another February Read
Review ~ Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott
Top Ten Tuesday (21) ~ Ten Books I'd Love to Read If I Had a Book Club
Waiting on Wednesday (45) ~ A Medical Thriller
Review ~ The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall



Reading
I finished These Broken Stars (4.5 stars), Polaris (3 stars), and I'll Meet You There. I also DNFed How We Fall, Bleed Like Me, and Tear You Apart (I didn't have a lot of patience for repetition or uninteresting stories this week). I'm currently reading A Cold Legacy and planning to read The Winner's Crime and The Orphan Queen soon.

Giveaway Reminders

Life

I've been in this really sad, weird mood for over a week now. Thankfully, due to wonderful bookmail and #OTSPSecretSister chatting, I wouldn't call my week terrible. It was more like a bad week with bursts of awesomeness that distracted me from my mood.

That's it for me this week! How about you? How has your week been?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review ~ The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Genre: YA mystery thriller
Pages: 336
Publication date: January 13th, 2015
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Goodreads Description: 
A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance--perfect for fans of Ally Carter

Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family--but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with. 
Source: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Conspiracy of Us was fun thrill ride with intriguing mystery, amazing romance, and great settings. I may have flailed a bit while reading . . . just a little. It was that good!


The romance was my favorite part. This author knows how to write reallyromantic scenes. Jack and Avery were a shipable couple. So. Darn. Shipable! There was tons of chemistry between them. Jack was a guy that requires all caps. JACK. His words were wonderful. 

As for the love triangle . . . I guess it's there. I do see the potential for it, but I loved Jack so much that I didn't see Avery having much of a connection with another guy. Stellan was great, though (and I'll probably still like it if something happens between him and Avery). I like guys that have tough exteriors, but reveal a soft side as you get to know them. He was like that. I'm eager to get to know him more.

The circle and the conspiracy and everything related did get confusing at times, but it was really interesting. It made the book mysterious and exciting. I'm curious about what's inside the tomb. The story does require quite a bit of suspension of belief, but a lot of mysteries and thrillers like The Conspiracy of Us require that, don't they? 

I was pleased to see some character growth! Avery overcame some of her fears. She started letting people in and grew close to Jack. She was a pretty good heroine.

I really liked Luc. He fits that great friend role and I hope to see more of him! I didn't get enough of him in this book.

The ending . . . ha! Hahahah. I loved it. That's all I'll say.

Overall, The Conspiracy of Us was so good!! I'm happy to say that it met my high expectations. It was romantic and intriguing and so darn exciting! The wait for the sequel isn't going to be a pleasant one.

























2015 challenges this book counts towards:
105 Challenge
2015 Debut Author Challenge

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (45) ~ A Medical Thriller

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

What am I waiting on?

Charisma by Jeanne Ryan
March 3rd, 2015 from Dial

Goodreads description:
A chance at the ultimate makeover means deadly consequences in this Sarah Dessen-meets-Robin Cook thriller

Aislyn suffers from crippling shyness—that is, until she’s offered a dose of Charisma, an underground gene therapy drug guaranteed to make her shine. The effects are instant. She’s charming, vivacious, and popular. But strangely, so are some other kids she knows. The media goes into a frenzy when the disease turns contagious, and then deadly, and the doctor who gave it to them disappears. Aislyn must find a way to stop it, before it's too late.

Part medical thriller, part social justice commentary, Charisma will have readers on the edge of their seats.
Why am I waiting on it?

Hello, intriguing cover and description!

That's my WoW this week! What's yours?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (21) ~ Ten Books I'd Love to Read If I Had A Book Club

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and a weekly meme where we simply make a top ten list for the week's topic.

Ten Books I'd Love to Read If I Had A Book Club
I've never been in an actual book club, but it sounds interesting! The books I'm choosing for this list are a mix of YA and adult and have (hopefully) good themes worth discussing. I'm aiming for variety because if I was in a book club, I would want to read a lot of different things and not stick to a specific genre or type of book.

Books I Haven't Read
Both Memoirs of a Geisha and The Other Boleyn Girl are historical fiction books that were turned into movies (which I've seen). I've been interested in them for a long time!

I've read quite a few books that are set in worlds similar to The Handmaid's Tale, but I haven't actually read the classic yet. I'm adding Catch-22 simply because I've been intrigued by it for the last year.

First of all, it's titled Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Second, it's a diverse read!

I was aiming for a non-contemporary YA with a male POV that I haven't read yet (and seemed to good for this list), but that was proving to be very difficult. I chose this one instead because a) there are a couple male main characters and b) it's set in a Catholic high school. It seemed to be a good book for this list.

Books I've Read Before
There are a lot of discussion worthy topics in this one!. Insecurity, Wesley and Bianca's relationship, family issues, and more. :)

I've read this one too. This book would definitely get a reaction out of book club members!

I just love this book. It's worth reading with a book club.

We could compare this retelling of Alice in Wonderland to the original story! It's an interesting read. (I kinda want to reread it now. Hmm. . . .)

What do you think of the list? Have you read any of these? What's on your own TTT?

Review ~ Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

Genre: YA science fiction
Pages: 320
Publication Date: February 24th, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Goodreads Description: 
What would you do to save someone you love?

In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't quit--she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you'd relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left--and only one can win. 

Source: I received an ARC from Andye @ Reading Teen in exchange for an honest review.

Salt & Stone is definitely a book you should be excited about! It was a solid sequel. The race continued to be intense and exciting and the Pandoras continued to be awesome. My favorite part was the character growth and twists.


Tella became a leader in this book. She started making her own decisions more and taking control of the situations she and others were in. She became a much stronger person and stopped relying on the other characters so much (Guy, specifically). I loved how much she grew! I loved her big heart. She loved people and Pandoras, and the race never changed. It affected other Contenders negatively, but not her.

I loved Guy's growth, too. He acted like such a tough guy and struggled so much with opening up and sharing his feelings. It took awhile, but he did start revealing his softer, more sensitive side. I loved that side of him! He showed what a sweetie he really was.

I love the Pandoras! They're loyal and protective. They exhibited their strength so much throughout the book. I'm so glad the characters have them for support.

There were many great moments in this book. Some happier scenes made me smile and some other parts made me laugh out loud. There were some adorable, tender moments as well. There were also plenty of exciting scenes. Victoria Scott throws some mean twists into the race. I never saw them coming! They made the book an intense read.

Overall, I was very happy with Salt & Stone! It was a great continuation of an exciting series. If you enjoyed reading Fire & Flood, you should definitely be looking forward to reading its sequel! 


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Romance TBR Jar 5) ~ Vote for Another February Read!

I love books with romance in them, but it seems that I haven't come across that many amazing ones lately. So, I decided to make a TBR Jar just for those books that may have great romance in them and to read at least one book from it each month. I wanted to make the choice more fun, so I'm going to let you vote for what I should read! (Plus, I'm hoping this gives me more motivation to actually get to the book instead of just reading e-arc after e-arc like I usually do.)
The winner of the first January poll is . . . 


These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner!
I actually read this over the weekend . . . so good! I couldn't wait. :D My review of sorts will be up soon (hopefully). 

I'm having a second poll because, well, why not? Next month is February and I need a book to read on Valentine's Day!

Here are the choices for this month's poll:

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can't. Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he's not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own... 
I LOVED Storm!  
Something Real by Heather Demetrios
Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show's cancellation, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it's about to fall apart . . . because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™'s mom and the show's producers won't let her quit and soon the life that she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.
If this one wins, that means I should be reading three Heather Demetrios' books within a month! (I'm starting I'll Meet You There and will hopefully read Exquisite Captive soon.)

Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover
In the follow-up to Colleen Hoover’s #1 New York Times bestseller Hopeless, the charming and irresistible Dean Holder tells the passionate story that has melted thousands of hearts.

In Hopeless, Sky left no secret unearthed, no feeling unshared, and no memory forgotten, but Holder’s past remained a mystery.

Still haunted by the little girl he let walk away, Holder has spent his entire life searching for her in an attempt to finally rid himself of the crushing guilt he has felt for years. But he could not have anticipated that the moment they reconnect, even greater remorse would overwhelm him…

Sometimes in life, if we wish to move forward, we must first dig deep into our past and make amends. In Losing Hope, bestselling author Colleen Hoover reveals what was going on inside Holder’s head during all those hopeless moments—and whether he can gain the peace he desperately needs. 
Dean Holder <3 He's one of my favorite contemporary book boyfriends!

All of You by Christina Lee
Avery has just met her hot upstairs neighbor. He's irresistible. Tattooed. And a virgin.

Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she's perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother's bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, all Avery can handle is a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes.

When she meets smoking hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won't accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straight-laced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing.

Bennett sees something special in Avery and he wants more from her. Way more. As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him, too.

So she needs to make a choice—let Bennett go or finally let him in
This was actually on a past poll, but since it didn't win, its slip went back into the jar. 

Time to vote! This one will be open for the rest of the month.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Nineteen Random Songs From My Queue

I mainly use Rhapsody to listen to music, so I decided to use it to pick out random songs! I went through the songs that I had already downloaded and added 100 that I consider favorites to my queue. Next (while on shuffle), I wrote down the first 19 songs that played and made this post out of them.☺

(Each song is linked to a YouTube video. Since there's so many, I decided to keep the videos themselves off the post.)


1. "Mickey" - Toni Basil
I frequently laugh while listening to this. It's just fun to listen too!
Oh Mickey, what a pity, you don't understand
You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand
Oh Mickey, you're so pretty, can't you understand
It's guys like you, Mickey
Oh what you do Mickey, do Mickey
Don't break my heart, Mickey
2. "One"(Studio Version) -  Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is amazing. I love the majority of his songs (which I can't say for a lot of artists or bands).☺
All my senses come to life
While I'm stumbling home as drunk as I
Have ever been and I'll never leave again
'Cause you are the only one
And all my friends have gone to find
Another place to let their hearts collide
Just promise me, you'll always be a friend
'Cause you are the only one
3. "Listen" - Beyonce
This is one of my favorite songs by her. It's a powerful one!
Listen, I am alone at a crossroads
I'm not at home in my own home
And I've tried and tried to say what's on my mind
You should have known (oh)

Oh, now I'm done believing you
You don't know what I'm feeling
I'm more than what you made of me
I followed the voice you gave to me
But now I've gotta find my own.
4. "Can't Hold Us (feat. Ray Dalton)" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
I love both this version and the version Pentatonix did.
Can we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we’ll fight 'til it’s over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us
Like the ceiling can’t hold us
Can we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we’ll fight 'til it’s over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us
Like the ceiling can’t hold us
5. "Breezeblocks" - Alt-J
I recently discovered this one on Pandora and I've listened to it SO. MANY. TIMES. I can't get enough of this song! 
Muscle to muscle and toe to toe
The fear has gripped me but here I go
My heart sinks as I jump up
Your hand grips hand as my eyes shut
6. "Lions Roar" - The Hush Sound
I love the lyrics and circus feel of this one.
The lions roar and young men soar
The flames all scorch the circus floor
Puppets on string all dance and sing and flap their wings
Trumpets play sick lullabies
Katie Herzig's music has such a sweet sound to it. I love listening to her songs. I love their lyrics too.
I'm gonna race you to the fence, to the fence
I'm gonna race you to the fence
I'm gonna chase you 'round the block, 'round the block
I'm gonna chase you 'round the block

Come on, jump out the door
You can't hold it back no more
I'll show you how the birds learned how to fly
I don't know of any Katie Herzig song that I don't like. 
We used to paint puddles in the sky
Jump around on trampolines and never go inside
We'd wake up in the morning and decide
What we would do for the rest of our lives
But the rest of our lives came quickly

9. "Gravity" - Sara Bareilles
I love the Sara Bareilles' lyrics!
Set me free,
Leave me be.
I don't wanna fall another moment into your gravity
Here I am and I stand so tall, just the way I'm supposed to be.
But you're on to me and all over me.
I absolutely ADORE this song. It makes me happy.☺
You’re over my head
I’m out of my mind
Thinking I was born in the wrong time
One of a kind, living in a world gone plastic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you,
Baby you’re so classic
11. "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" - Lorde
I love what Lorde did with this song! It's slower and more . . . dramatic than the original. It's on the Catching Fire soundtrack and it seems to fit the movie well.
There's a room where the light won't find you
Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down
When they do I'll be right behind you
12. "Break the Rules" - Charlie XCX
I can listen to this one over and over without getting tired of it!
I don't wanna go to school
I just wanna break the rules
Boys and girls across the world
Putting on our dancing shoes
Going to the discotheque
Getting high and getting wrecked
I don't wanna go to school
I just wanna break the rules
13. "Coming Home (Part II)" - Skylar Grey
Beautiful!
I'm coming home
I'm coming home
tell the world I'm coming home
let the rain wash away
all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits
and they've forgiven my mistakes
I'm coming home
I'm coming home
tell the world I'm coming...
14. "Get Ready" - The Temptations
This is one of the songs by The Temptations that I like listening to the most. This has been a favorite for awhile!
I never met a girl who makes me feel the way that you do
(You're alright)
Whenever I'm asked who makes my dreams real, I say that you do
(You're outta sight)

So, fee-fi-fo-fum
Look out baby, 'cause here I come
15. "***Flawless" - Beyonce
This is my most recent favorite by her!
Momma taught me good home training
My Daddy taught me how to love my haters
My sister taught me I should speak my mind
My man made me feel so God damn fine
16. "Grace Kelly" - Mika
This song instantly makes me happy because it's so upbeat and catchy. Mika's music makes me want to dance.
I could be brown
I could be blue
I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful
I could be purple
I could be anything you like
Gotta be green
Gotta be mean
Gotta be everything more
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you walk out the door!
17. "Dollhouse" - Melanie Martinez
I just LOVE the lyrics and the video and just everything about this song. I can listen to this over and over and over. 
Places, places, get in your places
Throw on your dress and put on your doll faces.
Everyone thinks that we're perfect
Please don't let them look through the curtains.

Picture, picture, smile for the picture
Pose with your brother, won't you be a good sister?
Everyone thinks that we're perfect
Please don't let them look through the curtains.

18. "In the Summertime" - Mungo Jerry
I just have fun listening to this song. :D
We're no threat, people
We're not dirty, we're not mean
We love everybody but we do as we please
When the weather's fine
We go fishin' or go swimmin' in the sea
We're always happy
Life's for livin' yeah, that's our philosophy
19. "Prologue: Into the Woods" - Into the Woods movie cast
After I watched the movie in theaters, I came home and listened to the prologue over and over again. I had a hard time turning this song off!
Into the woods, it's time to go,
It may be all in vain, I know.
Into the woods-but even so,
I have to take the journey.
And, of course, a Supernatural gif to make this post seem less naked. :D
(Also, this is my 600th blog post! *dances around like Charlie*)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (52) ~ The Courtney Summers Edition

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 like to use the meme to also give a recap of the week's posts.
(Click on the covers to go to Goodreads.)


Amazon Ebooks

Digital Review Copies
Thank you to St. Martin's Griffin, Egmont, and Netgalley for these e-arcs! 

In the Mail
I got an ARC, but didn't take a photo. Thank you to Erin for trading with me.☺

Blog
Top Ten Tuesday (20) ~ Series I Have Yet to Finish
Waiting on Wednesday (44) ~ Falling For the Vampire Bodyguard
Marie Landry’s Top 10 Diverse YA & NA Books (& Giveaway)

Reading
I finished The Conspiracy of Us (4.5 stars), Breaking Saint Jude (4 stars), Legend (4 stars), and Kiss Kill Vanish (4 or 3.5 stars). It was a really good week of reading! I'm still reading Polaris (I'm not loving it like I loved Avalon). I just started These Broken Stars (101 pages in and it's so good!) and will probably start A Cold Legacy next. 

Giveaway Reminders
[Ends January 30th] Kindle copy of Awoken by Sarah Noffke (INT)


Life

I cut my hair! I cut about 13-14 inches off and now my hair is a little below my shoulders. Besides the books I got this week and the ones I read, that was the most exciting part of my week. :D Nothing much happened. 

That's it for me this week! How about you? How has your week been?