Monday, August 29, 2016

Fall Over My TBR Tag!

Liz @ Let's Book About It created this really cool tag in excitement over the end of summer and I was one of the people she tagged! I really like this because I'm SO READY to say goodbye to the summer weather and say hello to my favorite season. Thanks for tagging me, Liz. ☺☺

1. Crisp fall leaves fall to the ground. The red, yellow and orange looks oh so pretty. What book on your TBR shelf is just as pretty? 

The picture doesn't give justice to the beauty of this A Tale of Two Cities/Great Expectations bind up!

2. Fall scents are so warm and inviting. Old books smell just as welcoming. What’s the oldest book on your shelf? (or had the longest) 

I think my copy of Middlemarch was printed in 1968, so I'm just going to go with that.

3. Fall means cooler temps, thank goodness! What book on your shelf would be the perfect “curl up with a blanket” book?

Ooh, When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare! Though I'm reading it before fall begins. :D The Castles Ever After books feel like great, feel-good romantic comedy movies. They're funny! Plus, romances are my go-to "curl up with a blanket" books.

4. Fall also brings Halloween. Do you have a spooky or creepy book on your shelf? 
Well, I have some creepy Grimm's fairy tales to read. I'll be reading stories here and there in September and possibly October. Then there's The Evolution of Mara Dyer! It might make a good October read since some spooky things probably happen in it. 

5. Thanksgiving is for family, whether it’s blood or friendship. What book makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? 

Would it be odd to pick the Addicted/Calloway Sisters series by Krista and Becca Ritchie?? I mean, it's definitely not a light-hearted series, but I know there's going to be so much character growth and strengthening of family/friendship bonds throughout the series and that makes me happy. There's going to be pain and heartbreak and drama, but that's only going to make the happiest moments shine brighter. Plus, I'm pretty sure I'll love the rest of the series since I loved Addicted to You and Ricochet. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy to have almost guaranteed 4 and 5 star books at the top of my TBR!

6. Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkins and Apples are my fall favorites. What book are you just dying to read?
Let's add in hot chocolate and tea!! I've been drinking solely ice-cold drinks these past couple months and I miss my hot drinks. :( Punk 57 and Clanless are two October releases that I currently have on pre-order and I kinda want to skip September so I can read them sooner! Clanless is the sequel to Nameless, which is an awesome book! *drops link to review to encourage you to read it*

7. There is one downside to fall, shorter days (oh and that pesky heating bill). What’s one book sitting on your shelf that you aren’t too eager to pick up? 

*eyes Allegiant and remembers all the bad things people have said about* Yep. I intend to read it, but I have to really push myself to pick it up.

8. Fall means you can turn off the AC and open those windows wide. Do you have a book on your shelf that is like a breath of fresh air?

Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead! I'm not picking it necessarily because it's a refreshing book in general, but because wrapping myself in a familiar world and catch up with characters I love reminds me how nice it is to move from summer to fall.

9. Fall always seems to go by too fast. Name the book you can get through the fastest and the one that will take you forever. 

Haha, Saga volume 5 will definitely be the quickest read for me. The Hero of Ages is both a chunky book and one that I will have to read slowly and carefully. Though maybe I'll read it in a shorter amount of time than I expect?

10. Lastly, we all cheat! LOL! If you’re going to cheat (buy books) during the months of Fall, what books would you deem worthy?

These are the ones I'm eyeing the most at the moment! I know I'll want Saga volume 6 soon after reading the 5th volume. Nevernight needs no explanation because it's SO POPULAR. (I'm showing the UK edition because I'm more likely to get that.) The Girl Who Drank the Moon looks like a lot of fun and oh my, that cover is gorgeous. I want to finish the Addicted/Calloway series this year, so I need to buy the last two.

I'm tagging some of my blogging friends because I want to know what's on their TBRs. :)

Holly @ The Fox's Hideaway (You said you were open to being tagged a bunch of times, so HA)
Eli @ The Silver Words
Val @ The Innocent Smiley

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Possible Reads For #IndieReadathon2016 + #Slowathon

There are two readathons happening soon that I'm really excited about! The first is the #IndieReadathon2016, which is hosted by Sarah @ Words With Sarah, Lacey @ Booklovers for Life, and Angie @ Angie and Jessica’s Dreamy Reads. It's centered on reading independently published books, which I've been wanting to do more of. I have plenty to read, so I just need to push myself into action. This is taking place from August 28th through September 12th. For more info about the readathon and sign ups, go here.

The second one is the #Slowathon, which is hosted by Marlin from MarlinElena. It's all about quality over quantity. There are prompts, but they're more like ideas for things to try in order to enrich the reading experience. I looovvee this idea and I definitely want to participate in it at least for a little bit. I'll be reading anyway, so why not? This one takes place from September 12th through 18th. You can watch the announcement video here.

#IndieReadathon2016 TBR Options

These are three I'm almost definitely reading! I just read Ricochet and was already planning to continue with the series quickly. I know I could focus primarily on reading the rest of the series, buuuut that's way more binge reading than I'm up to right now. :D Beginnings is a prequel novella that will end my Razia journey. *cries* There's rereading, but it's not the same!

If I wasn't excited for the readathon, I sure am now! Looking through my ebooks reminded me how many amazing looking indie books I've been sitting on. I don't see myself getting to many of these during the readathon because of my giant library book stack and long ARC list, but this will bump up lots of books up my TBR so I may get to them sooner outside of the readathon.

All that said, WHAT SHOULD I READ? And do you have any indie recs? I'm always open for them! 

#Slowathon Prompts
Eight prompts are given! Numbers 1, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are in blue because those are the ones I'm most interested in. Buddy reading sounds good too, but I'm not entirely sure if I would be able to do that since, well, I don't have any buddy reads planned. These can be modified to your liking or you can even create your own prompts.

1) Read a book and mark it up! (Tabs, notes, underlining, etc.)
2) Create something inspired by the book you're reading! (Examples: write a poem, a song, do a sketch, a dance routine, a painting...)
3) Do a buddy read (with booktube or real life freinds) and discuss the book!
4) Read a book out loud (to someone or just to yourself.)
5) Read a book that intimidates you!
6) Reread a book and compare your reading experiences.
7) Read a book and review it on your platform of choice during the readathon week.
8) Read a book, then read secondary literature on it. Or a retelling/variation of the first book.

As for possible reads . . . I have a lot of options. I'm sure my mood will be different by the time the readathon begins, so I'm not going to set up much of a TBR.

Specifically for Number Eight
I'm not going to read all of Grimm's Fairy Tales, but I would like to read some of the original stories (or as close to them as I can get) and compare them to Philip Pullman's updated versions. It sounds like it'll be fun! I'll probably start doing that before the Slowathon even begins because the Philip Pullman book is from the library and I know I'll be spending a lot of time comparing the stories.

Possible Rereads
I've been wanting to reread a bunch of romances I read back in 2011 (and from 2013 since that's when I read The Edge of Never). It was a reallly good reading year, so who knows? Maybe I'll end up rereading more than one for the readathon. . . . I'm hoping to review whatever I reread, but I can't promise anything.

So. Many. Books. September will be a good month. ☺ Are you participating in either of these readathons? Are you participating in any different readathons?

Happy Reading! ~ Kaitlin ☺

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Mix of Recs! | Monthly Recommendations

Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group created by booktubers Kayla from Kayla Rayne and Trina from Between Chapters! There's a new theme every month where members can share recommendations for on their channels, blogs, etc. It's a very laid back feature where you can share your recs anytime during the month and can include any number of books you want!

This sounds like a lot of fun, so I'm going to try to do a post for it every month. :) August is the one year anniversary of the group, so the theme is actually to recommend one book for each of the past topics. 

An underrated book
I need more people to read this book!! I love the series. I was actually surprised I liked Double Life as much as I did because it's a pretty short sci-fi book with barely any romance (though there's more later in the series). I also binge read all four books in the series, even though binge reading doesn't usually go well with me. I could not. Get. Enough. Lyssa grows SO MUCH throughout the series. I loved watching her grow!

A book set in school
I'm going with A Great and Terrible Beauty because the school has a pretty significant role in the book. Or, I remember it having one. It's set at a ladies' boarding school in the Victorian age. I remember loving this setting!

A creepy book
I'm so sad that I had a small pile to look through for this one. D: I really like creepy books, but I don't read them often. Possess is one of the best YA horrors I've read! The main character is an exorcist. 

A trilogy
The Leviathan is one of my absolute favorites. It's set in an alternate world during WWI and features machinery (Clankers - Central Powers) vs. genetically manufactured creatures (Darwinists - Allies). I loved how creative that was. It features artwork by Keith Thompson, who did the Grisha trilogy maps. It features a girl dressed as a boy/airman and a prince who's on the run. This series is soooo much fun.

A book you think others should read ASAP/before the end of the year
I just posted my review of Girl in Pieces and mentioned how it's my highest recommendations for YA contemporary. It's an absolute must read! It's beautiful, yet gritty. It's one of my favorites of 2016 so far and one of the most well-written books I read this year. It releases at the end of the month!

A fantasy book
Who else is a sucker for those stories where the heroine disguises herself as a boy? This is another one I love! Also, DRAGONS. This and its sequel, Eona, are among my absolute favorite fantasies!

A book with little to no romance
The Fixer has potential romance, but the sequel doesn't have much more... I can't promise anything about the third book since it's not out yet. Anyway, this book is mainly focused on the family bond and the thriller/political elements and it goes well with lots of its readers. It's an exciting book!

A standalone
I haven't mentioned this in awhile! This is a very SAD standalone. I cried throughout the majority of this book. It's about a girl whose life is completely changed when a tornado tears her town apart. So, if you're up for a very emotional story, definitely pick this up.

Your favorite survival story
This is Not a Test is a survival story in more ways than one. It's set during a zombie apocalypse, though there's not a huge focus on that. While the group of characters are trying to survive, the main character struggles with wanting to live. It's more of a survival story in the emotional sense. 

Your favorite book friendship
This isn't necessarily one of my favorite friendships ever, but it's one I loved recently. Also, hahaha, this is another one where heroines dress up as guys. Samantha and Annamae become incredible friends with an unbreakable bond. And as far as I remember, there really wasn't any large conflict between them that causes unnecessary fighting between the two, which is so refreshing.  

A book set outside of the US, or that features travel/vacation
Let's go with a Sherlock-related book set in Australia. (The sequel is mostly set in London, so there's some traveling.) Mycroft and Watts are ridiculously shippable!! I mean, the mystery is awesome too, but I mainly love the romance. I adore it. I should probably have picked a book I remember mostly for the setting, but whatever. I haven't recommended this book in awhile.

A book with your favorite empowering female character
Maguire is one of my most recent favorite empowering female characters! I personally connected to her very well and finished her story feeling inspired by her. She made a lot of big steps and I admired her for them. So, yes. I felt empowered while reading her story!

This was fun! Do you have any recommendations for these categories? Have you also posted a Monthly Recommendations this month? Feel free to leave me a link. ☺

September's topic is Science Fiction! I'll probably post my recs in the first half of the month.

See What Happens When I Don't DNF? | Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Whoa, it's a review for a fall release! And it's August! I rarely ever post reviews this early, but considering my low rating for this and I wasn't asked to post a review in a certain time frame, I'm going to go ahead and share my thoughts on this. 

*I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

*Released November 22nd 2016 from Balzer + Bray*

I'm going to try to keep this quick because the main reason I had so much trouble with this one is my almost complete lack of connection to the story and characters, and connection varies quite a bit from reader to reader.

This book started out just okay. I was having trouble connecting to the characters, but I was still intrigued by what was going on. Plus, Nils (a close friend of Mare's) was introduced and I was really liking the pop of personality that he brought to the pages. That remained to be one of the only things I liked about the book, though! Early on, I also liked the magic and the idea of the romance.

But then things went downhill and my dislikes snowballed until I simply. Did. Not. Care. About what was happening.

I never quite connected to the characters because they continued to feel flat and boring (except for Nils). The plot was...*waves hands around as I try to figure out what to say* Whatever was there, I wasn't interested in. The world confused me. I'm not sure if it's because the details weren't memorable, but there didn't seem to be enough groundwork in the world building in order to make me understand WHY things were happening the way they were happening. I didn't care much for the politics for this reason. The writing was nothing special.

Now, the romance. I thought I was going to really like it because I started off liking the idea of Mare and Denna together. They felt like a good match. By the time the romance picked up and feelings were acknowledged, though, I felt so disconnected to the story that I didn't feel anything about their relationship. I didn't see the chemistry that was supposed to be there. After I realized that, I lost even MORE interest in the book. Then I just forced myself to read the rest because...I don't even know why. I should've DNFed it, but I didn't listen to myself.

Obviously, this book didn't work for me! When I don't connect to the characters AND have little interest in the plot, I usually find it really hard to find other parts I like. I probably wouldn't have such a negative review if I cared more about what was happening in the book, but that simply didn't happen.

Oh. This review wasn't as quick as I intended. Whoops.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Discussion Prompt
*edits review after it's posted* Oh, silly me...I forgot to add my prompt.

I know that sometimes toughing a book out is worth if things get better, though it's difficult to tell whether you'll like it more later. DNFing is a bit of a gamble in that way. That brings me to my question... 

Do you ever have so many problems with a book early on that it feels like a lost cause? Like even if things get a little better, it doesn't make any difference because your dislikes snowballed to the point of no return?

*insert gif of rolling snowball of negative feelings and reactions*

Happy Reading! ~ Kaitlin 😃