Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Shall Conquer You, September

Oh September. Why must you have SO MANY BOOK RELEASES? If you have a lot of fall ARCs and/or BEA, you might feel a little overwhelmed (unless you've read more of them). If there's a lot of books you're excited to buy that month, you may feel similarly overwhelmed.

I have to admit that I haven't really touched my fall ARCs yet. I remember being in this position last year and I know I underestimated the time it took to get through all the books (I never did finish all of them). July has been kinda like a reviewing break for me, but I have been making preparations to conquer September. 



Planning . . . Lots of It

I'll probably abandon 70% of my plans, but making them does keep me focused. Plus, it usually involves a spreadsheet or a calendar and I have fun working with those.

I've gotten more into Google Calendar and have added potential dates of reviews. Here's what August looks like (well, at the time of writing this--it's probably different by the time you see this).


Yellow = reviews of books I haven't read yet (it can also be potential posts)
Blue = posts that are supposed to go up that date (or just ones I want to go up then)
Green = scheduled post
Orange = book releases

Along with that, I made a reading schedule! Now, I know I'm not going to stick closely to this because my mood won't allow me to stick to it. But looking at it is motivating. It reminds me that there are a lot of books I want to get to!


ARC August

This is a challenge that a bunch of other bloggers are taking part in as well. I'm hoping that this will keep me motivated. Other participants and some blogging friends will most likely root me on (or I hope), which can help a lot!

The Idea of Improving My ARC Habit Stats

I recently posted a bunch of stuff about my ARC habits: numbers, late titles per month, graphs, review times, pie charts, etc. From those posts, it's obvious that I have a lot of improving to do and I'm determined to do that. It's a big goal of mine to do better with reviewing this fall than I did last year.

Allowing for Flexibility

Allowing myself to change things around or reviewing a little later than I intend to should help make sure my personal battle against September isn't that stressful. I'm intending to have fun with this! Sure, I can't avoid all the stress, but I can make the little bit I know I'll have easier to handle.


Your turn! Tell me if you have plans to conquer September (and maybe October, too). Do you like to make plans, even if you know they'll change? Is September an overwhelming month for book releases?

AMOI Review ~ Ignite the Shadows by Ingrid Seymour

I'm reviewing this book for A Month of Indies, hosted by Sanovia @ CreatyveBooksGo here to learn more about her event!

Series: Ignite the Shadows #1
Genre: YA science fiction
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Goodreads Description: 
Sixteen-year-old Marci Guerrero is one of the best teen hackers in Seattle. However, she’d give up all her talents to know she isn’t crazy.

Marci feels possessed by what she perceives as shadowy spectres that take control of her body and make her do crazy things. While spying on the clandestine group known as IgNiTe, she’s confronted by the leader, James McCray. His presence stirs the spectres inside her brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her and shows her the awful truth.

Half of the world’s population is infected by sentient parasites. They bind themselves to the human brain and replace the pathways for all thoughts and actions. The creatures then morph their hosts into grotesque monsters with extraordinary strengths. Winged, clawed, fanged half-humans become living nightmares. Now Marci wishes she was crazy, because the truth is worse.

She’s infected. 
Source: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ignite the Shadows was good enough to make me curious about a sequel, but I didn't get into it quite enough to call it a memorable read. I still like it, though. The romance, concept, and heroine especially were things that made the book worth reading.

There was some romance, but it was mostly in the build up/sorting out feelings state. The couple started out as best friends and had to navigate newer feelings for each other. They had decent chemistry, which I appreciated.

The parasites were like aliens invading and taking over human bodies. The concept of the shadows was creepy, and I liked that. On the other hand, I wasn't always on the same page as the conflict. Sometimes things didn't feel as important or exciting as they supposed to be. I did really like the action-packed scenes, though.

Marci was a cool heroine! She was really into computers, code, and hacking. This girl had a great tough attitude, too. She got in people's faces often (for both good and bad reasons), though she did have a softer side that she kept hiding. So, sometimes she was direct and sometimes she skirted topics (depending on the character). I liked this because it made her feel more real. 

Luke wasn't that great of a character, though he has a lot of potential. I would've liked to see more dimension in him. His role in the book felt too obvious and he was just . . . meh. The other characters were better, but everyone could've used a little more dimension (even Marci). If they had more of it, then I may have become more invested in the story. Characters are what make me get really into a book, and if they fall short for me, the entire book tends to fall short.

Overall, Ignite the Shadows was average. It was good, but not great. I liked many pieces, but I wasn't as into the cast of characters or the conflict as I wanted to be. I might read the sequel! It's not high priority, though.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (58) ~ I Need to Read This Beauty!

"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?

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
September 15th, 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books


Goodreads description:
For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.
Why am I waiting on it?

THE COVER. The romance sounds like the forbidden kind. It's magical realism (which can be really interesting. And the books sounds so BEAUTIFUL.

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review ~ Focus on Me by Megan Erickson

Series: In Focus #2
Genre: NA contemporary
Publication Date: July 21st, 2015
Publisher: InterMix
Goodreads Description: 
Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.

Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option… 
Source: I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Focus on Me moved quickly, but had a lot to it. The romance was great, though I didn't like the characters as much as those in Trust the Focus. But still, I liked Colin's protective instincts. I liked the journey Riley went on. He struggled so MUCH and it broke my heart. The two guys had really nice chemistry and they complemented each other very well.

At one point, it seemed like there were too many sex scenes/mentions of them for me. I usually get annoyed with this because the scenes start to feel like filler or fluff. However, I was only irritated for a little bit because I discovered that number of the scenes were really important to the story and the state of characters' relationship. They weren't the healthiest couple throughout the entire book. There was more NEED than want. There was also codependency. Part of the book was all about Riley and Colin's struggle with that as well as their growth as a couple and as individuals. 

Along with that, this book was about a couple other things. It was about failures and successes and the gray area surrounding them. It was about depression and how love isn't a cure for it. You can't save a depressed loved one--that's completely up to them. Love and support definitely helps, but it's not going to "fix" the person. 

Now, for the not so great things. Things got a bit repetitive in the last 10-15 percent. It made the book longer than it actually was. There were a couple moments where I felt like it was the perfect ending, but then . . . the book just kept going. The real conclusion fell flat for me because I already felt like I was done reading the story. This happened with the other two books (Trust the Focus and Make it Count) I've read by this author too.

Overall, Focus on Me was a pretty great, quick read! Even though I preferred Justin and Landry from the first book, I did like the sequel better. The road was more emotional and difficult in this one, and I loved that.


2015 challenges this book counts towards:
105 Challenge
Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Dive into Diversity

Top Ten Tuesday (33) ~ Calling All Booknerds

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 Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds (love reading, are writers, work at a bookstore, etc.)

I always give a little cheer when I discover that a character in the book I'm reading loves books. It's something I can obviously relate to!

Nine Book Nerds I've Met Inside Books

Madeleine from Everything, Everything

The book opens with talking about books and reading!

Liesel from The Book Thief

She loves books so much she's called the book thief. She's the ultimate book lover character to me.

Verity from Rebel Mechanics

I was pretty happy when I found out she was a reader. At the beginning of the book, she was reading something on a train.

Katy from the Lux series

Katy is a book blogger! She gets excited over bookmail, posts Waiting on Wednesdays, films vlogs, and does more things bloggers can relate to.

Celaena from the Throne of Glass series

One of the many reasons Celaena is one of my favorite heroines is her love for books. 

Hermione from the Harry Potter series

Of course! I couldn't forget about her.☺


Juliette from the Shatter Me series

I vaguely remember her liking to read. This quote helps: "I spent my life folded between the pages of books."

Paige from The Start of Me and You

I have to admit that I got this one from Twitter. The book is great. I just . . . can't remember it very well.

Matilda from, well, Matilda

I actually found this on a TTT that was posted early and I cannot believe I had forgotten about her! Move over Liesel. Matilda is the ultimate book nerd. She's pretty awesome!

A Book Nerd Characters I Want to Meet
Because this topic is pretty tough, I decided to cut my list a little short and include one character from a book I haven't read yet. I would like to meet Cath from Fangirl!

Have you met these characters? Do you like characters that are fellow book nerds?

Shoutout to the Ones I Didn't Review (2)

Ever read a book, but don't feel like writing a formal review for it? Do you still want to spotlight it on your blog? Well, this is a round up of books I've read this year that I want to finally share some quick thoughts on. This is inspired by features by Holly @ The Fox's Hideaway and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight where they share books they aren't reviewing (generally not review copies).


Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross
YA contemporary
Read in May
4 stars

Hmm...I really liked reading it! I just don't have much to say about it, especially since it's been a couple months since I read it. The romance was great! I also really liked the family aspect the book focused on.








NA contemporary/suspense
Read in May
4 stars

I really liked the suspense and the situation in this book. It was interesting to see how the story unfolded. I liked the romance, though it did feel a little flat. It was set in Oregon, which is where I live! I definitely got the Oregon vibe from the settings and the characters. I enjoyed this book enough to continue on to the next book soon afterward!





All Played Out by Cora Carmack
NA contemporary
Read in May
5 stars

I LOVE NELL AND TORRES. THEY'RE SO MUCH FUN TO READ ABOUT!

I ADORED this book. It was my favorite book of the series. I loved the changes both of the characters went through.

Also, I have a thing for books involving lists with things a character wants to do/accomplish. And the list in this book is a lot of fun.



NA contemporary/suspense
Read in May
4 stars

I liked this one more than Burying Water! The romance and suspense was a bit better. I also really liked the undercover cop aspect. There were struggles related to it that I really liked reading about. This book also felt a touch flat, but I think that's how K.A. Tucker's writing feels to me. I've read four of her books now and all of them had varying levels of flatness in the way they felt.
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
YA fantasy
Read in May
4 stars

I really enjoyed this one! The mystery over the identities of the assassin and the prince was a nice twist. I was able to guess correctly, but there was some second guessing involved. I loved a lot of events in the second half of the book because they showed how determined and strong the heroine is. She's definitely a force to be reckoned with!






Adult fantasy
Read in June
5 stars

LOVED IT. ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. *sighs happily*

*sighs unhappily because the sequel doesn't release for a long time and I need more of the characters*










Have you read any of these books?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

SBPT ~ Giselle's Favorite Book Cover Elements!

I'm excited to be a part of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour! Thank you to The Book Bratz for hosting this. It's a lot of fun. To learn more about this event, check out this post
What's going on here?
For the Sundays of July and August, I'll be featuring guest posts from bloggers from a group I was assigned to! Guest posts by me will also be posted on their blogs. Come back every Sunday to discover a new blogger or learn more about one you already know.☺

Today I'm featuring Giselle from Book Nerd! I've been familiar with her blog and YouTube channel for awhile and she's always been one of those bloggers I've looked up to. So, I'm pretty happy that I get the opportunity to feature her here!

My favourite elements of book covers have to be a beautiful illustration, gorgeous typography or photos. Sometimes I'm even drawn to the colour and I end up just picking it up because it's my favourite one. I think I fall in love with most typographic covers only because I find them so intricate and well designed. I'm fascinated as to how the illustrator started it and the process they go through for each one. Even random chapter headings with the swirls and graphical  elements, I love it. One of my favourite illustrators has to be Jessica Hirsche. She designed the Barnes and Noble Leatherbound editions and I absolutely love them all.


I think the most important aspect of a cover is how beautifully designed it is inside and out. Though I tend to judge a book by its cover, I'm trying hard not to. There are beautiful stories in some of the ugliest covers and the story is what really matters after all.

Giselle San Miguel
Those books are so beautiful!!! I hope you liked Giselle's post! Here's my full SBPT schedule, if you want to check it out.

Ana @ Ana Loves...
Jaclyn @ Living in a World of Book Quotes
Kaitlin @ Next Page Please!
Giselle @ Book Nerd Canada
Preethi @ Time Turning Reads
Stephanie @ Ohana Reads
Jessica @ Crossroad Reviews
Amber & Jessica @ The Book Bratz 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (76) ~ Yay for Small Hauls!

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.)
PRINT
Bought: Naked

For Review: What You Left Behind (Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and Nori!)

Posts
Sunday Street Team ~ Review of Rebel Mechanics
SBPT ~ 5 Underrated Books That Kaitlin Recommends
A Month of Indies ~ Sanguine Mountain by Jennifer Foxcroft
Top Ten Tuesday (32) ~ Celebrating Diversity
Waiting on Wednesday (57) ~ Sex, Virginity, and Love
Burn, Rewrite, or Reread Tag!
Game On Cover Reveal!


Reading
I finished Focus on MeAn Ember in the AshesSplintered, and To All the Boys I've Loved Before (all great). I have 40% left in The Night We Said Yes and less than 100 pages to go in The Lost Hero and The Scorpio Races.


Twitter Giveaway
I LOVED EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING. And now I'm going to pass it on to someone else.
Life
So much reading!! I spent most of this week reading and playing with my new phone. I did some blogging, mainly with adding/revising things on the sidebar, menu, and pages.

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

Game On Cover Reveal!

I'm so excited to help reveal the cover of Game On, the second book in the Lewis Creek series! Play On was an absolutely wonderful contemporary and I'm expecting the second book to be great too. This one is focusing on a different couple, so it's a companion.

If you want to read my review of Play On to see what made it so worth reading, you can do so here.

Now, without further adieu, here's the cover!

Doesn't it look so sweet? I love the colors (especially the bright blue) and the texture of it. The heart is really cute, too.☺

Title: Game On (Lewis Creek #2)
Author: Michelle Smith
Release Date: January 2016
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Eric Perry is Lewis Creek's resident bad boy. When he’s named the new starting pitcher in a town that thinks baseball is everything and he is nothing but trouble, Eric knows he has to clean up his act. Lay low, his coach tells him—at least long enough to actually pitch a game. But when a fight with his teammate lands him in jail yet again, his season may be over before it starts…until his next door neighbor, Bri, comes to the rescue. Making a deal with Eric's coach, she offers him one final chance at redemption: community service.

Bri Johnson hadn’t talked to Eric in months. Her boyfriend Matt, Eric’s teammate and the school’s golden boy, didn’t like her to be around Eric. Matt didn’t like a lot of things Bri did or said or wore, which is why she ends it with him the same night he and Eric get into a fight—a fight over her. That night is the reason Bri offers to take Eric with her to the community center each week, so he can keep his spot on the team. But spending time with Eric only makes her life worse, as scandalous rumors start flying and Matt refuses to let her move on.

While Eric and Bri work closely together at the center, old stories of stargazing, first kisses, and a time when they were friends start to re-connect them. As they open up their secrets and their hearts to each other, they start to see that they are more than what other people think they are—and even more than what they think about themselves.
There are no links for this book yet, but if you want to check out the ones for Play On, check them out below!


Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.

Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.

Author Social Media Links:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Burn, Rewrite, or Reread Tag!

Thank you to Wendy @ Book Scents for tagging me! I'm kinda nervous about this one because I may have to make some really tough decisions, but I'm hoping random.org is nice to me.


Rules!

The rules: there are three rounds, wherein I use a random number picker applied to my “read” shelf on Goodreads for three books, and then decide what I’ll do to those three: burn, rewrite, or reread!

To narrow books down, I decided to pick books I've read AND own. 

Burn: Definitely Beastly. Hey, it's already one I'm planning to purge from my collection. This book isn't horrible, but it's not great. It's just meh

Rewrite: Prom Nights From Hell is a collection of short stories, and I usually wish short stories were longer. I would rewrite this one to make the stories longer and more impressive.

Reread: The Uglies series is one of my favorites, so I would definitely reread it! I actually have been meaning to reread the books and review them. I want to know if I would like the world as much as I did the other times I've read it.

Burn: The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. It's definitely an...interesting book and I did like reading it, but the books I would rewrite and reread are obvious. Sacrifices must be made!

Rewrite: So, I watched the Blood and Chocolate movie before reading the book. I really liked the movie! When I read the book, I noticed quite a few differences and was fine with it, but when I reached the ending...I was not okay with it. The ending was different!! I was so upset with the book because of that, so I would definitely rewrite this one to make it more similar to the movie version.

Reread: Like with Uglies, this is one of my favorites that I've been meaning to reread! I LOVE Ellen Hopkins' books. They're raw and ugly, but beautifully written. Plus, this book is getting a sequel (Traffick) and I do want to reread the book before I read the second book.


Burn: Sorry, Unleashed. I really liked this one and have reread it a couple times, but I'm willing to part with it. It's been a long time since I last read it anyway.

Rewrite: Pretty Little Liars kicks off a super long series that I wish was shorter. I would rewrite this one because I might be able to change it enough that so that the mystery wouldn't need 16 books. I would also change the Ezra and Aria relationship because they are annoying (especially on the show). And . . . maybe make the book a little longer. There are a lot of possibilities with rewriting this one!

Reread: I would reread 1984 because I went through it really slow when I first read it. I read it during class reading time and didn't get into it at home often, so I kinda disconnected from the book after awhile. It would be nice to give this one another try!

Last Thoughts
I find it funny that random.org chose books that I read before I started blogging. And with the exception of 1984 and maybe Tricks, I believe I read all of these in middle school (5+ years ago). These are definitely older books!

I Tag . . .