Friday, April 29, 2016

Hauling it Up For April

I'm still not really sure if book haul posts have a place here anymore, but I haven't done one in a long time! I had one for March, but didn't post it because there were SO MANY BOOKS. It was a ridiculous amount and most were ones I was going to read soo  anyway. But I have a smaller number this month. :)

For each of these books, I'm also going to tell you why I got them! Also, I'm only including ones that I own and not ones that I borrowed from the library. (Those will be in tomorrow's weekly wrap up.)

Thank you to HarperCollins, Edelweiss, Scholastic, Hannah, and Andye for the review copies!

The Crown and the Arrow by Renée Ahdieh - I loved The Wrath and the Dawn and this was free, so hey, why not? It's a short story.

The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic -  I heard about this one on a booktube video, though I don't remember which one... It was free on Amazon!

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick - I debated on getting this when it was on sale for Kindle because the author is new to me. I have Silver Linings Playbook and thought it may be better to read that before getting anything else by Quick, but I am really curious about Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater - This is probably the most popular purchase of the month across the blogosphere and booktube. I'm both excited and nervous for this book! I was going to start it the day it released, but I've decided to reread the other books first. That'll take awhile.

Ruined by Amy Tintera - I grew curious about this one after hearing some great things about it, so I picked it up from Edelweiss! I read it for the #AuthorAThon and I ended up giving it 3 stars.

Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin - This is a recent addition to Edelweiss and I was fascinated by the description. It releases in the fall!

Saga, volume 2 and Saga, volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - This is my first real experience with comics (these are compilations) and I'm definitely enjoying it! I got the 4th instead of the 3rd because I'm trying to take my time with the series. I didn't want the 2nd volume to be lonely in the Amazon box, though...

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy - Ahh, I'm so excited for this! My mom offered to buy me a book last month (this was after she got me ADSOM) and I proceeded to take weeks to make a decision. After reading Holly's review, I finally told my mom what I wanted. :D

Run by Kody Keplinger - I made it onto a blog tour for this one and I'm ridiculously excited to read it. This is one of my most anticipated releases of the year!!

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G. Thompson - I LOVE THIS ONE. Apparently readers of Room would like it and after looking into that one, I can see why. It's a similar story, but the Amy is a 16 year old that recalls the six years she spent with her kidnapper. It's out in October! My review will show up on readingteen.net.

Have you read any of these books??

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Second Sitting Test

I've been thinking a lot about second sittings while reading lately, like how I may feel differently of a book if I read it in more than one sitting instead of one. I've also been thinking about how good or bad it is for my enjoyment of a book to read it in one sitting, two sittings, or much more than that.

Reading in One Sitting
I don't finish a book in one sitting a LOT, but if I do, I tend to really like it. I mean, I DID just spend several hours straight reading it. It takes a special kind of book to make me do that (of just something really quick). The reasons I read it so quickly may be an addicting story or a fast pace or a great romance--it could be a lot of things. There are times when I read a book too quickly, though. And I may not even realize that until I'm done reading! I just...can't pull myself away. :D

Moving On To a Second Sitting
I have a lot of things to say here!

1) I oftentimes notice more flaws during the second sitting.

I did this for Ruined by Amy Tintera. I blew through about 60 percent in one day/sitting and was really enjoying! Then I took a break to start Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and went back into the fantasy two days later. I saw one flaw after another! There was a lot that was lacking in the book that I'm not sure if I would've picked up on if I didn't take a break from it.

2) If I still love a book after the second sitting, then it's probably really good. Right?

That's where the second sitting test comes in! If I can still enjoy a book on two separate days and possibly in different moods, I take that as a good sign. It means I have a longer lasting connection with the characters, story, whatever. Plus, two sittings isn't that long of a time. To mean, that's two separate days or a sitting early in the day followed by one late at night. If I go into a second sitting liking a book much less, it's probably a good thing. Then I can see that's it's not as great as I initially thought and can write a more accurate review.

When it comes to books I read over a LOT of sittings, this especially holds true. I started The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson at the end of December and finished it in March. I usually grow disconnected from a book over that long of time, but it was easy to slip back into the story. The same went for the Elantris audiobook I listened to for almost two months. In a way, they withstood the test of time--the time I spent on them!

3) But...should there always be a second sitting?

Not at all! I'm not going to stop reading books in one sitting because of my observations, but I may spend some time imagining if I would like the book as much if I spent a longer amount of time on it. Also, some books are better read all at once. Some thrillers are probably better because you stay in the zone (ha, this is a funny way to put it), which could lead to a more exciting experience. Like many things, it just depends on the book.


Does the time it takes you to read a book affect what you think of it? Have there been books that you really liked in the first sitting, but liked much less after a break?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Random Ramblings of a Stir Crazy Bookworm

My brother says our black lab is going senile. He trots around in circles and barks at things that aren't there. Today, he just sat and stared at me as I was trying to get him to stand up, move, ANYTHING. There was a time when I tried luring him with a treat--this always works!--and he just sat there, completely uninterested. It could be something else, but it has reminded me that he's getting old and that he won't always be with us.

Anyway, this post is really about how I'm relating to my dog in this really...weird way. He recently paced around the table like something was bugging him and I DID THAT IN MY ROOM, TOO. I've been feeling stir crazy! I paced for a little bit, took a shower, then immediately started writing this post.

Right now, my life is very...isolated. I have a ridiculously unbusy life right now and it's getting to me. I only have one class (yes, I know it's weird, but I only have one left before I leave my current school) and it's on Mondays and Wednesdays. One of my best friends has class on different days and she's also an unemployed student without a driver's license living on a hill out in the country. (So, we don't see each other often.) My other best friend leaves the campus around the same time that I get out of class, so the average amount of time I get to see her each week may be five minutes. Probably less. And my group of friends have never been great with the texting/chatting online for hours thing, so it's been a few weeks since I've spent quality time with anyone besides my mom.

Along with this, my laptop isn't working. I know, I know. I feel like I've complained about it a LOT online these past few months, but I really hate my computer. I need to do something with it, but it's still going to take some time. I have access to my mom's computer, but it's in the living room and it's noisy and I've never been quite comfortable working on my blog stuff there. Anyway, I'm using my phone for most stuff and it's fraying on my nerves because formatting and editing reviews and blog hopping is just not the same. Switching between tabs gets annoying. And the screen is so small, even though it's a smart phone. It's still smaller than a laptop screen. My fingers cramp up when I'm typing too.

*sets down phone to stretch fingers**returns to post a minute later*

So, using my phone for most of the things I do on computer AND using it for normal phone things feels really restricting. It gives me this nagging feeling that I can't put my finger on. Or maybe that's my stir-crazy state talking. Either way, I'M ANNOYED WITH TECHNOLOGY.
And now...my weird Twitter haitus (that isn't actually a haitus because I'm still tweeting and responding to mentions, though I haven't spent more than a couple minutes in my feed for the past two weeks) adds more to the restricted/stir crazy feeling. I'm doing it because it's just not a positive thing for me at the moment, but I think I'm going through Twitter withdrawals. I've been really active there for two and a half years and cutting back a lot on my interactions there (and for more than just a weekend) isn't a super easy thing to do. You might've seen me tweeting or instagramming random stuff through my Hootsuite app lately and it's because I miss talking to people and really can't help not tweeting ANYTHING.

Speaking of, every time someone says something to me (through a response to a tweet or a comment on a blog post), I get more excited than usual. My brain goes EEEEEEEEEEEE, HUMAN INTERACTION! SOMEONE HEARD ME! So yeah, if you comment on this post or talk to me at all this week, consider yourself hugged. Because you're awesome. And thank you so much. :) This reminds me that I tweeted about how I thought a readathon based on reading books you've been recommended by your friends/fellow bookworms and have been meaning to get to would be awesome and I feel like I got a pretty good response to that. Two other bloggers have offered to help if I decide to make it a thing, which is AWESOME. They're lovely people. :) I'm really excited to know there's a couple bloggers willing to help! I have three things I need to take care of first: 1) fix my computer situation, 2) implement my major blog changes, and 3) become a little more active on Twitter again. But after that? I really, really want to make the readathon a thing.


I think I'm out of ramblings...I thought I had some more to say! I think my fingers just hurt and I want to give it a longer break from typing.

WAIT. I REMEMBER WHAT I WANTED TO SAY. It only kinda fits in. I think this stir crazy state is making me really aware of my own words and...I don't know. I feel like my posts are stiffly written. I hope it's just a recent thing (please oh please), but I'm trying to work on making my sentences and paragraphs and such less weird sounding.

It's possible that this post is really an exercise for me to just get my words down in a less stiff way. I didn't intend for it to be like that. This started out as a way to get words of my head and now it feels like it was meant to just change things up.

I hope this post made sense and didn't bore anyone reading it. I did warn you about the ramblings in the title.

So. How are you?? What have you been reading? What have you been blogging about?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Observations From Reading Multiple Books at Once

You may know that I'm almost always reading more than one book at a time. I don't even remember the last time when I read only one book without being in the middle of everything else. That was probably in 2015! I spent a good amount of time reading five or six at a time a couple months ago and lately I've been reading two or three at once. The experience of reading a lot at a time (and keeping up with it for quite awhile) has made me think a lot about my own reading habits and preferences. The most common question I see when I or another reader talks about reading multiple books is "How??" I really can't think of a clear cut answer, but maybe some things in this post will help explain it to anyone wondering (and to me).

One of the biggest things I've noticed is that I suck at staying focused. Sometimes I just want to change things up after I've spent awhile in one world with a set of characters. Starting a new book helps me do that! I've been in the mood to try new things all year, so that's making me even more antsy to go from book to book than usual. I like the early stages of a book where you are introduced to the characters and the world. You get a feel for how the story is and how the author writes. I really like exploring books like this and I like to do it often, which can make me wonder to a different book. Even if I'm already loving what I'm reading, I may still start something new so I can be introduced to a different story.

But...doesn't that get confusing?? Starting something new when I'm already reading another books--or three others? Er, sometimes. It depends on the books! If I'm reading multiple books from the same genre featuring similar aspects, then that could get confusing. If I'm reading an adult high fantasy novel, a cute YA contemporary, and a YA thriller, possible confusion isn't a problem.

Speaking of different genres, I also find reading multiple books at once helpful for changes in mood. My mood feels all over the place lately, so I'm not sticking with the same genre for very long. If I'm not in the mood for the contemporary I'm reading, then I can jump over to one of the other books I'm reading. Or start something new! This has a slight downside, though: sometimes reading so much at once makes it tougher to figure out what my mood is. If I'm read two or three books, then I'm fine. Reading much more than that? My mood changes even quicker and I have a hard time getting through anything.

Another thing that has both its positive and negative sides is my tendency to compare books. I can tell which book is working for me more when I'm reading them at the same time. That can be pretty helpful, especially when I go to write about what I didn't like (I tend to forget my minor dislikes when I really like a book). At the same time, though...this can make me like a book less than if I read it by itself. Actually, I can lose some of the connection I had because I take more breaks from the story, and that always makes me more aware of flaws.

Sometimes I lose so much of that connection that I push a book off for weeks and forget about it and have to officially put it "on pause" (similar to DNFing but where I plan to pick it back up soon). It's happened...with quite a few books this year. That's my least favorite part of reading a bunch of books at once! I started The Serpent King in March and I haven't touched it in weeks. It's a decent book, too! Ugh, that poor thing. I've been neglecting it for almost no reason. I like having multiple reads going on at the same time. There's just...some unfortunate side effects. Sadly.

(I WILL finish the books I've put on pause. It'll happen.)

That's all the thoughts that I have to share for now! If you also multiple books at a time, let me know if you can relate to any of this or how you reading habits differ from mine. :)

How My Week Went ~ AuthorAThon Recap

This is going up a couple days later than usual, but I wanted to include everything I read for the #AuthorAThon last week! I'm still having some issues with my laptop, so I'm typing this on my phone. Hopefully the formatting looks okay. :)

Reading Update
Death Note: Black Edition vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata (4 stars) - I was happy with this one! The characters look a little different from the anime. Something about the faces...it just took a little bit to get used to.

The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May (4 stars) - This book was AWESOME. Mostly. I had very little interest in the plot. But characters, action, world, humor, cliffhanger, and feels? YES.

Ruined by Amy Tintera (3 stars) - Grr. I'm a little upset with this one because I liked it SO MUCH. For about 60%. Then I started thinking of the specific things I liked and...there wasn't much. The pacing and premise were great, but there were so many things that lacked for me.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston (4.5 stars) - Ahh, this didn't disappoint! This is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. The heartbreaking part was the rape, but the heartwarming part came from the amazing support Hermione received and the choices she makes. My review will be posted on ReadingTeen.net

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (?? stars) - I'm really disappointed! It's definitely a sad book because school shootings are horrible and heartbreaking. As a novel, though, it didn't leave a huge impact. I didn't cry. AND I ALWAYS CRY. I believe that was because of the writing, but I'll leave that for my review.

Traffick by Ellen Hopkins (4 stars) - This was a pretty positive story! I really liked seeing these improve their lives.

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G. Johnston (5 stars) - Well. I'm not going to forget about this one anytime soon. I strongly recommend this one if you can handle dark, brutal YA. Amy and her cousin Dee were kidnapped by a really creepy guy and she (only Amy) returns six years later, but keeps a lot of what happened a secret. I'll save most of my thoughts for my review, but THIS BOOK. IT'S SO SAD. My review will be posted on ReadingTeen.net.

I also read 570 pages of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and it's pretty good! It doesn't feel as long as it is (it's 800+ pages long).

Readathon Progress
ARC April - 11 (the four purple bold titles added to this!)

AuthorAThon challenges and what I read for them:

1- Read a book by one of your favorite authors - Traffick

2- Read a new-to-you author - Exit, Pursued by a Bear and Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee (different than what I originally planned, but that's okay)

3- Give an author a second chance - Ruined

4- Read a debut author (2015 or 2016) 
- This is Where it Ends 

5- Read a book written by more than one author - Death Note

6- Read a book from an author who is from a different continent than you are 
- Death Note (or The Vanishing Throne, which I started before the readathon).

I MET ALL THE CHALLENGES. I NEVER DO THIS WELL WITH READATHONS. I feel accomplished. :D 
Music

I LOVE THIS SONG.
Discoveries
Er. I didn't do much discovering this week outside of watching a bunch of Top 5 Wednesday videos. Oh, I also discovered #RYBSAT (I think that stands for Read Your Bookshelf A Thon), which is taking place from May 1st through May 8th. I decided to go with a mystery TBR since most of my TBR books are backwards on my shelf right now (it's a thing I'm testing out).
General Life Blogging Stuff
I said I would have a post about stepping back from Twitter last week, but...I backed out of it. So I'll include a summary of it here! I'm stepping back because constantly worrying about my interactions and what others think of me when I'm on there and that's not good and that's gotten to be a really negative part of my life. I'm stepping back to give my mind a break and to (hopefully) figure out how to worry less. I've been more or less off Twitter for two weeks now and my mood has gotten better! I just wish I could get my computer to work so I can do a bunch of blogging...

I'm still tweeting occasionally! I'm using the Hootsuite app so I can notifications of mentions and messages. So I'm stepping back completely.
Plans For The Upcoming Week
I wish I could say I knew what I was posting this week, but I'm not sure! I have a couple discussion-type things that I may post.

That's it for this week!

How was your week? Read anything great?

Friday, April 15, 2016

How My Week Went ~ Elantris, Alessia Cara, and Virtual Trees

Time for another weekly update! I still don't have an official title, but this isn't so bad for now, right? The categories are the same as last week. Let me know if you think I should add another category or if you would like to see something else included in my weekly recaps! :)

Reading Update
This was a slower reading week! I finished two books and read 30-ish percent of The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May. 

Elantris by Brandon Sanders on (4 stars) - I started listening to the audiobook back in February and I'm FINALLY DONE WITH IT. I spent an entire day listening to the second half (alternating between 2x and 3x speeds because that's about 12 hours at 1x) because I was hooked and had to know what would happen next.

The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins (3 stars) - Cool ideas, not that exciting of an execution! I got bored with this one. My review is on Goodreads, but I'll post it here soon.
Readathon Progress
ARC April - 7

Not much progress this week, but I'm joining the #AuthorAThon this week and will hopefully read a bunch of ARCS!

Music
I've been mainly listening to Alessia Cara's music! I don't think there's any songs of hers that I don't like, which isn't common for me. For most artists, there's usually a few songs that I avoid listening to. "Scars to Your Beautiful" is my favorite at the moment because it's so beautiful. I get choked up while listening to that sometimes, especially when I pay close attention to the lyrics.
Discoveries
App: I watched a video about an app called Forest, which can be really helpful when you want to stay focused on reading or being productive. You plant virtual trees, but you have to stay in the app for an X amount of time in order for it to grow. If you leave the app, the tree will die. It's purpose is to stop you from using your phone when you're trying to stay focused on a task. I love it!

Books (not released): I discovered quite a few books releasing either late this year or in 2017! The one I'm most excited for is Clara Kensie's Aftermath because I really liked her Run to You series. Also, KATHERINE LOCKE HAS A YA RELEASING NEXT YEAR. It's called The Girl with the Red Balloon and it sounds amazing! Katherine is a fantastic writer.

Anime: I started Toradora! and I absolutely adore it! I knew of it before this week, but I didn't pay much attention to it. There's a hate-to-love romance that I shouldn't be surprised to love since I love that in books. I did discover a newer one called Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinji that's about comedic storytellers.

General Life Blogging Stuff
This week wasn't too bad! I made the decision to step back from Twitter for awhile (post about that coming soon) and I feel really good about it. You'll still see an occasional tweet from me and get replies to any mentions/DMs, but I'm not going to be very active on there. I always remember how much I love blogging when I'm not as immersed in social media, so I have a lot of blogging energy right now. :D I have a bunch of List Love ideas and have come up with plans for a new irregular feature, and I'm so excited to work on all of it!

Plans For The Upcoming Week
I'm hoping to do quite a bit of blogging this week! I want to post a couple reviews, a List Love, and some booktube recommendations. My post about my Twitter break and related stuff will be up this week as well. I've been having a lot of issues with my computer, so I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do. I did put this post together on my phone, but it's not a fun process.

Other than that, I don't have much going on this week. I have shopping plans with a friend! I also have an Ipsy package and a book arriving in the next few days. My TBR for this week is my Author-A-Thon TBR. :)

That's it for this week! Since this is just the first week back at weekly updates, this format could change in the next few weeks. If my computer cooperates next week, I would love to add more links to awesome posts and videos I came across.

How was your week? Read anything great?

Author-A-Thon Readathon TBR!

I'm really excited to participate in another readathon this month! I read some books for the Bookish Bingo Readathon and the #TBRTakedown, and the Spring Cleaning Readathon is happening this weekend. They've all been really helpful in helping me stay on track for ARC April and my other reading plans for this month, so this next readathon fits in perfectly!

The Author-A-Thon Readathon is hosted by Joanna and Sam (Thoughts on Tomes) and will run from 12am your time zone on 4/18 to 11:59pm your time zone on 4/24. It's focused around the authors, as the title suggests! You can approach this in quite a few different ways, like reading all of one author's books or following the challenges given. It seems like it'll mostly take place on Twitter, so be sure to check out the @AuthorAThon account. I'm including Sam's announcement video below if you want to learn more!

 
My TBR
I'm going to stick to most of the challenges. I'm also aiming to read mainly ARCs or books I got for review since they are my highest priority right now. 

1- Read a book by one of your favorite authors

So. I received an e-arc of Traffick. And it came out in November. (I have mentioned that I'm behind in review copies, haven't I?) Anyway, I have a hardcover of this one and will be reading that instead. Ellen Hopkins is an absolutely amazing author, so I'm sure I'll love this book. :)


2- Read a new-to-you author

I have quite a few options for this, so I'll let my mood choose which one I'll read. 


3- Give an author a second chance

I really liked Reboot, but felt meh about Rebel, so my most recent impression of Amy Tintera's writing isn't great. I recently heard some pretty good things about Ruined, though! I guess I'm giving the author a third chance?


4- Read a debut author (2015 or 2016)

Again, I have a lot of options! I won't get to them all, but I would love to read one of these during the readathon.


5- Read a book written by more than one author

Only one of my ARCs fits this category, but I really want to read a hardcover since it's way back on my backlist. So, I'm going with a manga instead! Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata are the authors are the authors of Death Note.


6- Read a book from an author who is from a different continent than you are

I have one ARC (The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May) that qualifies for this and I'm reading it this weekend, so I'm going to count Death Note for this one as well. I'm in the US and the authors are from Japan!

That's it for me! Are you planning to participate in this readathon? Have you read any of the books from my TBR?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

List Love ~ When Love For a Book Grows With Time

A couple weeks ago, I posted a list of books that I've fallen out of love with as the months and years have gone by. I still like them and still highly recommend each, of course, but I can't call them favorites. I just don't love them as much.

For this list, I'm going to go with the opposite: books I've fallen more in love with as time has gone on. These are the books that have snuck up on me. I really enjoyed them, but didn't feel like they were five star reads at the time I read them. They've lingered with me and become much more memorable than I was expecting. I tend to recommend these often or compare similar books to them.

There's a lot of books that I enjoy at the time I read them, but then they fade in the background. They sit among the many that I've read, and even though I will still recommend them, I won't think of them as often. They don't stand out in the crowd. The books I'm including in this list do stand out for me, though, and I'm really happy that I took a chance on each of them.

As with the previous list, I'm going with books I read in 2015 and 2014. I haven't reread any of them. Yet!
2015 Reads
Joss and Matt have become one of my favorite NA couples! I loved the fact that their story takes place over several years. I loved that they were such good friends and that their relationship grew stronger with time. I loved the fresh twist on the friends with benefits trope. WHEN JOSS MET MATT IS SO GOOD. When I think of favorite romances or NA recs, this is a book that I oftentimes think of quickly. I need to reread it...

Kasie West's book seem to be the lingering type since this is the first of two of her I'm adding to this list! The Fill-In Boyfriend is one that I randomly think of. I don't remember it that well, but there's a focus on social media that has stayed with me. If I feel like I'm slipping and comparing myself too much to other bookish people online, I think of this book! I love that. I read this about a year ago and it's still impacting me positively. 

99 Days gets a lot of mixed reactions and I can definitely see why. The main character isn't the easiest to get along with and that just made the book better for me. I really liked how the story was tackled in this one and I love that this book has stuck with me. I randomly think of this one and how much I liked it. I haven't read Katie Cotugno's other book, How to Love, but I have it!

2014 Reads
I debated on adding For Real because I don't LOVE it--I just appreciate it. I loved the refreshing focus on sisters and the familial bond. It overshadowed the romance aspect by quite a bit (I'm keeping that vague because of spoilery reasons) and I just haven't seen that in enough books. For Real was also really fun because of the Amazing Race type show the characters go on. It's memorable!

Oh, how I love On the Fence. I absolutely adored the romance and characters! This is one of my favorite friends-falling-for-each-other contemporaries. It was so . . . believable. I don't own a copy of this one, but I want to get one and store it with my other contemporaries and reread sections from it over and over again!

Panic is my favorite Lauren Oliver book even though I've given a higher rating to three out of the four other books that I've read by her (4.5 and 5 stars). I found this one to be very exciting and . . . not exactly memorable, but it definitely left a huge impression on me. The characters were put in a lot of outrageous situations in the game of Panic. I really, really like books with some sort of game that takes place throughout the book. They're fun! And creative! 

My next List Love post will be connected to this list, but not quite as much as its companion. But that's all I'll say until it goes live. ;)

What about you? What are some books you've fallen more in love with as time has gone by? Are you ever surprised by how much you've come to love a book that you didn't expect to become a favorite?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Street Team ~ The Island by S. Usher Evans


Sunday Street Team is organized by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28. SST is a cross between a blog tour and street team for a couple different titles each month. As the title suggests, the posts go up on Sundays!

Go here to learn more about SST.


S. Usher Evans is one of the featured authors for April! I'm excited to share my review for The Island today. :) I binge read the Razia series earlier this year and I'm glad that the Madion War trilogy is shaping up to be another great series!

*I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Prince Galian is third in line to the throne, but prefers his place as a resident at the Royal Kylaen Hospital. When his father urges him to join the military to help reclaim their colony, Galian is forced to put aside his oath to Do No Harm and fight a war he does not believe in.

Across the great Madion Sea, Captain Theo Kallistrate dreams of a day when she is no longer bound by conscription to fight for her country's independence. But when the Kylaens threaten, honor and duty call her to the front lines to fight off the oppressors.

When an air skirmish goes wrong, both Theo and Galian crash on a remote island hundreds of miles from either nation. Grievously injured, Theo must rely on Galian's medical expertise, and Galian must rely on Theo's survival skills, to live another day in a harsh and unforgiving terrain.

Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive? Or will the war that brought them to the island tear them apart?

*Releasing April 26th from Sun's Golden Ray Publishing*
My Thoughts
The Island is about a soldier and a prince from opposite sides of a war that end up stranded on the same island together and have to work together to survive. It had a large focus on the romance, but the conflict in this series' world had a good amount of development to it.

I really like the conflict--how the war was so much uglier than Galian expected and even uglier than Theo did too. It was a deep, ugly feud between a powerful country and a rebelling colony. There was deception on both sides, though it was MUCH more harmful on one side. While this book has a large focus on two enemies getting to know each other past their backgrounds and falling in love with one another as they are, there's a lot to the war. There's not much direct contact with it since the island is the main setting and there's only so much of a war you can show when you're only showcasing two stranded people. You get to know how Galian and Theo feel about the conflict and how the time on the island affects both of their attitudes.

I spent a quite a few moments glaring at Galian for being so idiotic. I couldn't not like him because he was funny and kind (outside of the war stuff), but he was clearly ignorant of how the war was affecting the Ravens. He was a prince, and definitely not a very knowledgeable or sensitive one. He saved Theo's life and looked after her legs--putting his doctor skills to good use--but then he shrugged off the anger and fury and hurt Theo felt because of what his country is doing. Thankfully, his time on the island (and with Theo) was an eye opening one, so I spent more time being happy with him than glaring at him for being stupid.

Theo was a very tough character. She fueled a lot of the hate in the beginning because she was way more affected by the war than the prince was. She didn't pull back her punches, though it was interesting to see her nicer side as she warmed up to the Galian.

The romance was a forbidden, hate to love kind. Things were instantly intense between the two, though it was an intense hatred in the beginning. There was so much so much bickering! It was funny at times because they could get immature, but most of what they fought about was really serious. As they got to know each other and learned why they had their respective stances on the war, the friendship and romance built and turned their relationship into a passionate one. I really liked their chemistry! 

Now, what lacked for me? I obviously really liked Theo and Galian and their romance, but I didn't LOVE them. I rooted for them, but I didn't ship them. I didn't connect to them enough to call them amazing characters. (I feel like I compared them to the Razia characters a bit too much...) The characters are my favorite part of books, so I was hoping to connecting a little more to the ones in this book.

Overall, The Island was a great start to the Madion War series! I'm really looking forward to the sequel. I feel like the war will have a bigger focus and things will get more intense. The romance should be interesting to follow as well. If you're looking for a quick read featuring a great hate to love romance and an interesting war, I suggest picking up this book!

About S. Usher Evans
S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a “real job” as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit.

Evans is the author of the Razia series and Empath, both published by Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing.

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Giveaway

Saturday, April 9, 2016

How My Week Went ~ So Much For the Creativity in Week One

I decided to get back to weekly updates, but I'm not doing so well on deciding on a title. It...might remain How My Week Went until I come up with something more creative.

Reading Update
Sooooo...I was in a good reading mood this week. I thought I was going to be in a book hangover after finishing AGOS, but instead it made me want to do nothing but dive into a bunch of other books back to back. (Titles in Purple bold count towards ARC April.)

A Gathering of Shadows (5 stars) - I won't be reviewing this one, but WHOA. THE FEELS. Also, Lila and Kell are my newest ship. I can't remember if I shipped them in ADSOM, but in this book? Yessss.

The Island (4 stars) - This has a lovely forbidden, hate to love romance set on an abandoned island! It has an ugly war happening in its world. Review coming 4/10.

Summer of Sloane (4 stars) - There was a lot of bitter feelings and drama (cheating was involved), but it managed to be a happy, uplifting story. Review coming this month.

Unrivaled (3.5 stars) - I wanted this one to be super scandalous, but it felt flat until the last quarter or so. The story was cool, though. Review coming this month.

Suffer Love (4 stars) - Soooooo sweet! I really liked the romance and the family aspect. Review coming this month.

Saga volume two (4 stars) - I'm having a great time with this series! I wanted to immediately dive into the next volume after finishing this one, but I don't have it yet. I'm hooked on the story. No review for this one!

Out of Frame (4 stars, possibly 3.5) - As always, Megan Erickson has created a great pairing. J. R. and Quinn are so good together! I didn't like it as much as Trust the Focus or Focus on Me, though. Review coming this month.

Readathon Progress
ARC April - 6
Bookish Bingo Readathon - 6 books
#TBRTakedown - 2

I feel pretty good about this! I don't usually do well with readathons, and I sure don't remember to update my progress often.

Music
Electric Love by BØRNS is my favorite song of this week! It came on as I was reading The Island and I realized that it fits the romance very well and now I'm stuck listening to it over and over. :D  Other than that, I've been listening to a lot of Christina Aguilera.

Discoveries
With all the time I spent in books this week, I don't have much to report here. BUT. I DISCOVERED A BOOK THAT I'M REALLY EXCITED FOR.

S. Usher Evans is releasing a collection of short stories for her Razia series!! I adore the characters and any more time I get to spend with them sounds great to me. I'm especially excited for the two epilogue stories that take place after the end of the series. 

General Life Stuff
I read books and did homework. Oh, how exciting this update is. :D I am spending time with a friend this weekend, though. A lot of anime will be watched and a lot of tea will be consumed. We settled on Chrono Crusade, but who knows? We may watch something else as well.

Plans For The Upcoming Week
I'll be posting a review/SST post tomorrow and possibly a TTT, but I don't have much else planned at the moment. A lot of my blogging time will be spent on stuff you won't see for at least a couple weeks (I think).


As for reading, I want to at least get to Exit, Pursued by a Bear and Silver Shadows. I'm sticking with ARCs for the rest of the week! I'm not sure what I'll end up reading, but I seem to be on a contemporary kick.


That's it for this week! Since this is just the first week back at weekly updates, this format could change in the next few weeks. I'm playing around with it.

How was your week? Read anything great?