Sunday, July 31, 2016

Let's Freak Out Together | 2016 Mid Year Book Freakout Tag

Hello! I've been really into watching booktube these past few months and one thing I've definitely seen a lot of is tags (seriously, there are so many--more than in the blogosphere, I think). Obviously that means I want to join in on the fun! Because why not?

The Mid Year Book Freakout Tag was created by Ely @ Ely Jayne and Chami @ ReadLikeWildfire and it's just like the title says. It's about our reading progress for the year so far and what else we want to read before the the year ends! Thank you to Michelle @ MichEllisLife for tagging me on Twitter. She posted a video for this tag. :)

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2016. 
There's a nice amount of books that could go along with one as a tie, but it doesn't feel QUITE accurate to do that. I absolutely LOVED Firsts. I haven't written an official review because my notes were a bit...long. Everything I had to say about Mercedes was my average review length and then of course I had MORE to say and I just . . . haven't figured out how to make it into something anyone would have the patience to read. (ONE DAY, THOUGH.) It's definitely not a book for everyone, but it sure was bold. I'm becoming more and more a fan of bold books because they bring up a lot of questions and can inspire a great conversation. As time has gone on, my appreciation for this story has increased. It's just made me love it more.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2016.
This is the obvious choice for me! The story and world and the characters--especially the characters--have only gotten better. It's a strong sequel for sure. This series is a bandwagon you should definitely be on!! 

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.
The Long Game and The King Slayer are two of my most anticipated releases of the year. I really liked the first books in their respective series, but didn't LOVE them, so I find it funny that I've been way more excited to read these sequels than the ones to books I rated 5 stars last year. If I Was Your Girl has been catching my eye a lot these past couple months and every time I hear about it, I just become more excited for it!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
This is surprisingly very easy to pick! There aren't many summer and fall releases that I absolutely NEED TO READ. I love The Remnant Chronicles and I'm excited to see how The Beauty of Darkness wraps up the series. I miss the characters!

5. Biggest disappointment.
Hi, my name is Kaitlin and I love hardhitting contemporaries and I get way too emotional over them. I get very involved in the topics and themes addressed and I love to let myself sink into the characters' shoes (as much as possible) and feel the emotions they're feeling. 

I wasn't able to do that with This is Where It Ends and I hate that. It's not the worst book I've read this year, but it's one I was SURE I would love. I didn't like how this one was written.

6. Biggest surprise.
This is a dark erotica that book-recommending-superstar Holly put on my radar. The description made me uncomfortable and I was sure I was going to hate the book, but I . . . didn't. I actually consider it one of my favorite books of the year based on how much it made me think and how memorable it became. I hate parts of this book and love others. I have to admit that I really like it when that happens because then it forces me to think more deeply about why I liked certain parts but not others.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Another easy answer! It's obvious that I'm a fan of S. Usher Evan's books. I binge read her Razia series despite not liking to binge read series. I get tired of staying in the same bookish world for book after book, but even after reading the four Razia books, I wanted more. Besides Brian K. Vaughn (because graphic novels), I believe she's the author I've read the most from so far this year. I've read seven so far and anticipate reading three more by January.

8. Newest fictional crush.
XANDER. What I forgot to mention in my review was that he's someone I would probably be at least slighly attracted to if he was a real person. Or, at least, he and I could become fast friends. I absolutely loved him!

9. Newest favourite character.
Meg from Written in Red is ridiculously loveable. She's kind and hardworking and endearing. I loved watching so many of the characters (who hate humans, by the way) practically melt around her and bend over backwards to keep her safe and happy. 

10. Book that made you cry.

If you don't want even the slightest hint about what happens in Ruin and Rising, I advise you to skip this answer.
I haven't been so devastated by a series ending in YEARS. I remember reacting similarly to Ignite Me, but that was preemptive crying. I actually broke down during the happiest part of that book, but MOVING ON. I read the majority of Ruin and Rising in a day, but then suddenly stopped reading it in the middle of the climax so I could recover.

11. Book that made you happy.
Oh, what a nice question to follow that last one! Say Yes to the Marquess was my first regency romance and I was so pleased with it. It gave me the same feeling I get from watching a really good romantic comedy. It made me laugh and smile. :)

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)

I'm going with Map of Fates because it's so PINK and pretty and *all the heart eyes*

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
O_O Everything? I have so many books I want to read as soon as I can. It's only slightly overwhelming because I have to figure out what to read sooner and which ones to push back for awhile longer.

14. Favourite Book Community Member (Blogger, Booktuber and Bookstagrammer)

I'm actually going to narrow this down to one blogger and one booktuber based on how much I've talked to these ladies away from public Twitter. I don't actually interact with many bookish friends outside of my Twitter feed. And hey, I already mentioned both of these ladies! 

Holly @ The Fox's Hideaway - This is the blogger I can DM random (or not so random) reading updates to without really worrying that I'm bugging her. She actually looks forward to it, I think. Outside of the DMs, I also visit and comment on her blog the most and I feel really comfortable being all capsy and random there (sometimes even more comfortable than when I'm writing my own blog posts). She gives the best book recommendations and writes reviews that make me NEED to read the book she's writing about. 

Michelle @ MichEllisLife - I've only known Michelle for a few months and we've already become friends. We chatted a bit on YouTube before we even first interacted on Twitter, which it pretty awesome because I almost always connect with readers on Twitter first. I simply love talking to her and watching her videos and getting to know her. It's really easy to have a conversation with her and I'm excited to get to know her more!

Bonus fact: My friendship with Holly is one of the longest lasting ones I've had in the book community and my friendship with Michelle is one of the newest. I just thought that was cool. :)

And that's it! What's the best book you've read this year so far? Have you done this tag or a post similar to it? If so, I would love to check it out!

I tag:

Kaitlin @ Next Page Please!

Happy Reading! ~ Kaitlin 😃

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Who is Ready for ARC August?

Thank you to Octavia and Shelly @ Read.Sleep.Repeat. for hosting ARC August! This is one of my favorite reading challenges because it always helps. And . . . well, I need that right now. For more information and sign ups, you can go to the announcement post.

My goal is pretty simple: get those backlist ARCs read. I've slacked off on reading them this year because I haven't been more interested in non-YA books and library copies and random books I own, and now I have this big list of old ARCs that I need to address. I definitely won't get to it all in August, but I can make a good sized dent, right?

Below are some of my options! More are on this list, which also includes some fall releases that I may also pick from. I'd prefer to read mostly old ARCs, but a few of the fall ones may sneak in.

If you've loved any of these books, why should I be excited about reading them! That may motivate me to finally get to them. At the moment, I'm not sure what I want to read because, like I said, I've been interested in other books this year.

Are you also participating in ARC August? What are your goals?

Happy Reading! ~ Kaitlin ☺

Friday, July 29, 2016

Return to Blogging + New Title!

Apparently I've only been on an official break since June 27th and that feels so weird to me. It feels like I haven't really blogged in forever, but it also doesn't feel like it hasn't been a long time. Anyway, I'm finally implementing the blog changes that I've hinted at for . . . ever? I came up with the title on March 16th and tried to keep it a surprise for as long as possible. But some complications arose and pushed back changes and I'm simply not that patient! I've tweeted about this change quite a bit because of that. :D


What's Up With This Title?

I wanted a title that would help me embrace my weird and random side, and since I usually don't wear matching socks, "mismatched" felt like the perfect word. Plus, it allows me to play with mismatching elements in my posts and design (which is good because I like to play around with those things)! That's a much shorter explanation than I thought I would finally post. :D I started searching for a new title because I felt desperate for a change--and again, something to help me embrace my weird and random side. I wanted something that represented how I feel in my life right now (which is not completely fitting in anywhere) as well and I'm pretty happy with the title I came up with!

I may have also been requested to use "Mismatched" in my new blog title. :)

But Kaitlin, WHERE'S THE PURPLE?!?!???

I'm deliberately leaving purple off my design for now. *gasps from the audience* Purple is usually what my blog is known for and it's been purple for three years. I'm the one with a purple blog. I say "my blog is probably know for the color purple" and responses are "that makes sense" (I'm not quoting any specific conversation--why are the quote marks there?--shhhhh...just pretend they make sense). And when I ask what people associate my blog with, the answer is usually "purple." While I usually laugh along with those sentiments, when I mull over those words later, I find that I'm not very happy with that. The color tells you nothing about my personality or my posts or blogging style or life or anything. It's...a color. It's not me. So, I'm switching up my color scheme in the hope that it'll help people remember my blog more for its content than a color I love.

Speaking of the design, I'm excited that I found a background from The Cutest Blog on the Block that I'm happy with! It has some mismatching parts to it and adds a nice pop of color to this blog. Thank you to those that run that site for providing free resources. :)

Any Other Changes in Store for the Blog?

Not really. I'm switching my weekly updates to a simple Hey, What's Up? feature and I may start posting for Top 5 Wednesday and Monthly Recommendations. I altered some of my pages and installed a new commenting system. (I had some troubles with it, so a bunch of comments might be missing at the moment. I'm working on importing them!) I may do something extra with reviews, but I'm not sure yet. So...yeah, not much is really changing outside of the name and appearance.

I will say that this design isn't set in stone. I'll be doing little alterations here and there if I'm bothered by anything and I definitely want to get a nice header. There's the chance that I'll get a different design sometime in the next year, but I'm not 100 percent sure if it'll happen or not.

That's all I have to say for the moment! I'm pretty excited to be back to blogging! A break was just what I needed and I'm excited to start posting again. Plus, I have a new laptop and am enjoying drafting posts on a computer again. :)

Happy Reading! ~ Kaitlin ☺

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Romance and Politics | The Chasm by S. Usher Evans

I know, I know. I'm on a blogging haitus. I'm taking a quick break from my break to post my review of The Chasm since it releases today! *throws confetti everywhere and celebrates*

*I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
They survived The Island, but can they cross The Chasm?

Four months after Prince Galian was discovered alive on a remote island, he's adjusting slowly to life at the hospital under the Kylaen media's glare. His promises to Theo remain unfulfilled as fear of his father keeps him from taking concrete action. And the more he learns about the machinations in Kylae, the less sure he is that it's possible to make a difference.

Across the great Madion Sea, Major Theo Kallistrate struggles to navigate the tricky political waters of Rave's presidential staff. To make positive change for her people, she must remain relevant and interesting to the Raven media and to the president. When he asks her to deliver a speech on her supposed two-month imprisonment at Mael, she's not sure she can stomach the lies.

The Chasm is S. Usher Evans' breathtaking, fast-paced follow-up to The Island, which readers say is "not to be missed.

Note: you can save a little by buying directly from Sush's website!

*Released July 12th 2016 from Sun's Golden Ray Publishing*

It took me a while to get into The Chasm (partially because I was in a reading slump), but once things started Happening--vague, I know--I got more into the story.

(Er...the next part is a little spoilery if you haven't read book one. Skip the next paragraph if you want to avoid that.)

I continued to enjoy the romance, though I was a little sad that there was so little of it. I got used to seeing constantly interact in book one, so seeing Theo and Galian separated made me eager for any scenes where one would even see the other in the news. The moments they DID see each other we're absolutely wonderful! I could barely pull myself away from the book then. They were that loveable! I loved that the distance between them didn't deteriorate their love for each other. Even though I didn't like seeing them separated, I have to grudgingly admit that it was good for the series. They had to take actions against the war and Mael individually in order to make an effective impact and to grow as characters. 

(Okay, coast is clear of spoilery bits of book one.)

Galian...oh, Galian. He was still the reckless prince who wears his heart on his sleeve that many fans of the series adores. He didn't make the most calculated of decisions, but he worked harder to make a difference. I didn't like his voice quite as much as Theo's, but I really liked his heart and passion. Now that I'm thinking about it, his personality made me more interested in events from his perspective. When it came to Theo, I really liked her voice and character growth. Her Raven loyalties were tested as she learned more and more about the leadership in her country, but she wasn't the type of person to turn her back on her home.

I really liked getting to know the supporting characters, as they didn't show up as much as in The Island. Kaden was one of my favorites, especially because his interactions with Galian added a nice bit of humor to the book. He had this gruff attitude that was so obviously different from Galian's. Rhys surprised me. I don't remember my impression of him from book one, but I was happy to see his continuous support for his brother, despite repeatedly telling him not to do stupid stuff. But really, Galian needed those warnings...even if he didn't listen to them. The queen was an awesome character as well! She had this regal, powerful air (well duh, Kaitlin, she's a queen) to her. It was interesting to see just how deep her hand was in politics.

And oh, politics. It's time to talk about why my real rating is 3.5 stars. I tend to get bored with politics in books and this wasn't as exception. This book definitely had more of it than the first, which is expected considering the fact that more characters and settings were shown. I did slowly get more into the politics when twists and danger were thrown into the mix, though! The high stakes--INTENSE SCENES, BY THE WAY--just made things more exciting. Actually, I'm not sure if I did get more into the politics or if I forgot that I wasn't thrilled with them because other things distracted me. It was probably the latter...when there wasn't an immediate threat in a more politically focused part, I wasn't as eager to keep reading.

Overall, The Chasm was a nice sequel! Even though I had trouble getting into the political side of the story, I enjoyed revisiting the world and cast of characters. If you like a series with a good-sized dose of romance and politics in the midst of a nicely developed, ugly war, you should be considering this one!

Rating: 4 stars

*cleans up all the confetti thrown in celebration and returns to haitus*