January 31, 2014

Random Friday: Opening Lines

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following:
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my post.
  • Blog about this week's topic.
  • Add the link to your Random Friday at the bottom of this post.
A book's opening line is very important.  It can either make or break a reader's decision to continue with the book.  It has to be enticing and memorable.

1. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."~Pride and Prejudice (Y'all knew I was going to include this one, I'm sure.)

2. "All children, except one, grow up."~Peter Pan

3. "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."~David Copperfield

4. "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."~Voyage of the Dawn Treader 

5. "I suppose a lot of teenage girls feel invisible sometimes, like they just disappear."~I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

6. "The end of the world started when a pegasus landed on the hood of my car."~The Last Olympian

7. "Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death."~The Fault in Our Stars

January 30, 2014

Review: Uninvited

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
Grade: B+
Release date: January 28, 2014
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

**Warning: the following review does contain a few spoilers**

The Good and The Bad: This book raised some amazing questions.  It made me really contemplate what causes all of the rampant shootings of late.  Could it possibly be genetics?  Should the government work harder to reform mental illness treatment and containment?  Is gun control really doing any good?  That first question is the most pertinent to this book.  It's an undetermined time in the future (although Brad Pitt, the Beatles, and reruns of Glee are referenced), and the government has determined a gene called Homicidal Tendency Syndrome is the cause of serial killers, school shootings, and psychopaths.  It's an interesting concept that works well.  Davy (short for Davina) was an intriguing character (the theme of this review is 'interesting').  She's basically a music prodigy who was a bit Mary-Sueish at times, but I did like her.  Mitchell, Gil, and Sabine were my favorite secondary characters.  Is it bad that I actually found myself hoping Gil and Davy would end up together, not Sean and Davy?  I loved the concept of Mount Haven in the second half of the novel.  I wish more time had been spent there and details about Davy's training hadn't been skimmed over.  It was also very interesting, in a good way, how Davy's friends and school turned against her so quickly.  She's a star student, mildly popular, and a nice girl.  It reminded me a lot of the internment camps during World War II and how people started avoiding their German and Japanese neighbors and friends out of fear.  The ending of the book was a bit predictable (the escape and all), but I have high hopes for the sequel (it's a duology!).  Finally, there are a couple continuity errors with how Davy's hair is shown (the cover) and described.  Hopefully that's corrected in the final edition.

The Ugly: A bit of swearing, some semi-intense romance, particularly during the first half of the book, and violence.  Violence was definitely the worst, but it wasn't too graphic.  There was also underage drinking at a party.

The Verdict: Definitely a must-read.  Like I said, it raises amazing, tough questions and really makes you think.  Plus, bonus points for an awesome cover.

January 29, 2014

In Which I'm Sometimes a Leery Reader

Because I started book blogging, I've been introduced to at least 250 new (or new-to-me) books.  I've tried so many new genres and authors.  But I'm still a leery reader.

You're probably wondering what I mean by that.  I'm often late to the game when it comes to popular series and books.  I just read The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy and Throne of Glass.  I didn't read The Fault in Our Stars, The Lunar Chronicles, or Divergent until last summer.  I get tons of great recommendations from friends and other book bloggers.  They're often books that sound really good.

But I usually worry that the books won't live up to the hype, that I won't enjoy them after all.  And that's what keeps me from reading a lot of books right away.  When friends recommend books that they love, it really scares me.  They'll usually follow up, especially if they see I bought the book or checked it out of the library.  And I'm scared to disappoint them.  What if I thought it was just okay?  What if I didn't like it at all?  What do I tell them?

I still read the books, obviously.  Some are absolutely fabulous (i.e., Grave Mercy, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Scarlet, Pivot Point, Divergent...).  Some are definitely good and worth rereading (think Splintered, Throne of Glass, All Our Yesterdays, Six Months Later...).  And then there are the books I didn't like.  Maybe I just couldn't get into the story.  Maybe the main character or premise ended up bothering me.  Thankfully, I haven't had too many friends asking about those.  But when they do, I'm inwardly like...

So how do you handle recommendations from friends, whose opinions you value?  What do you do if you don't like a book that a friend loved?

January 28, 2014

Review: Maybe One Day

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
Grade: C
Release date: February 18, 2014
This book was an ARC provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn't sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia's crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

The Good: I never know what to think, going into cancer books (I say that like I read so many).  On the one hand, I want to think, "It's gotta have a happy ending!  No one's going to die!"  But then I also think, "It's a cancer book.  It has to be realistic.  Someone's going to die." (I'm especially that cynical after reading The Fault in Our Stars.) So, with that said, I was never sure if Olivia would die.  There were several good moments where there was so much hope.  I did like how it ended.  It felt right.  I liked Olivia and Zoe's friendship and how they were ballet dancers.  I've seen an influx of YA books about ballet lately, but this wasn't a ballet book.  There was only a subplot about dancing.  While I didn't initially like Calvin and Zoe's relationship, I enjoyed what it turned into.  He seemed like a nice fit for her, and I was glad that he was concerned about her, too, in the midst of everyone wondering how Olivia was doing.  Zoe's soccer team friends were great characters, but...

The Bad: I kept forgetting about them and who they were!  With the soccer team and then the cheerleaders, I kept mixing up secondary characters.  I didn't enjoy the prologue.  I always read prologues because I figure they're pertinent to the book.  But this one didn't feel like it was.  It befuddled me how Zoe had no clue what leukemia is, yet recognized words like cardiology and oncology.  I knew vaguely what leukemia was long before I knew what oncology was.  And I can't forget that Olivia's leukemia was diagnosed WAY too fast.  Also, Maybe One Day was a bit slow in places.  Obviously, there wasn't going to be any big action scene, but there were moments when the events just plodded along.  I wasn't a fan of Olivia's mom, Mrs. Greco, at all, and how she came across.  I didn't like how Zoe seemed to look down so much on Christianity.  The cheerleaders I mentioned before were not enjoyable characters; they were too stereotypical and much, much, much too peppy for my tastes (and I have very bubbly friends - looking at you, Hannah).  I also felt no emotional connection to Olivia or Zoe.  With all the sad stuff that happened, I didn't tear up once, and I usually tear up if it's sad (I cried during Allegiant and The Fault in Our Stars).  If the book is a cancer book, I need to be emotionally connected to the protagonist and feel his/her pain and sadness.

The Ugly: A lot more foul language than I was expecting.  The f-bomb and the s-word were said a lot, along with milder stuff.  Romance sometimes got a bit passionate, but nothing too inappropriate.  There was also underage drinking at a party.

The Verdict: Unfortunately, a lot of the bad outweighed the good for me.  It's definitely worth checking out, though.

January 27, 2014

"Girly" Books for Manly Guys

Last Friday, a guy who I'd consider my mortal enemy sort of a friend (who I'll leave unnamed) said that most of the books I read are "girly" after he checked out my blog for the first time (the same guy also seemed to think classics are better than newer YA stuff and he "rips" the dust jackets off of hardbacks - two more reasons why he is my mortal enemy, but they're both topics for another time).  Also last Friday, I said a guy friend might like a book I was reading, but then another guy said his man card would have to be revoked if he read it.

Hermione disapproves.

Lady Mary is having none of that.

Why in the world is it acceptable and encouraged for girls to read books geared towards guys (something I'm totally okay with, mind you), but guys are teased if they read books geared towards girls?

So this post is for all the guys I know and any others that stumble upon this post. I'm including books I think you should read (and links to their Goodreads pages, so you can read the synopses) and I'm telling you that it's okay to read "girly" books.  Your man card won't be revoked.  And I, for one, appreciate guys that read "girly" books.  I'm sure there are other bookworms that feel the same way.

Top 5 Books and Series

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
The main character, Celaena, is an awesome assassin who still appreciates the feminine things in life.


Heist Society series by Ally Carter

The title pretty much sums up this series, but one of the best parts is that it's light on romance.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Serial killers, the FBI, and awesome abilities.

Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale
Okay, hear me out.  The first book is a fairytale retelling, yes, but what I love about these books is that the female protagonists are feminine and strong (emotionally and sometimes physically).

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
Okay, yes, this one is kind of a romance, but it also heavily features baseball - and the Chicago Cubs. (There's one guy in particular I have in mind here.)

And now the rest of the books.  These are definitely all worth checking out.  Some come recommended from friends, so I can't vouch for them, but I'm sure they're awesome.  Also, I own several of these books, so if they sound interesting to you (and you know me in person), feel free to ask if you can borrow them.

Pivot Point by Kasie West (awesome powers)
Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter (spy school!)
Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson (fantasy set in a South American-type world)
His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers (female assassins)
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (futuristic fairytale retellings with lots of sci-fi)
Uninvited by Sophie Jordan (an interesting look at mass shootings)
Golden by Jessi Kirby (It has a bit of a mystery!)
Just One Day duology by Gayle Forman (The second book is narrated by the guy lead.)
Princess Academy series by Shannon Hale (Not nearly as girly as it sounds.)
Relic by Heather Terrell (It's an interesting spin on dystopian, and there's pretty much zero romance.)
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen (Retelling of Robin Hood with a female Will Scarlet.)
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (DJing and lots of music from the '80s)
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (fantasy revolving around a rebellion)
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (intense time traveling)
The Testing trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau (awesome dystopian)
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (female pilot during World War II; I've also heard that Elizabeth's other WWII book, Code Name Verity, is just as good and it's technically the first book in this "series.")
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White (Egyptian mythology mixed with contemporary)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (title is pretty self-explanatory, but it's one of the better New Adult titles out there)
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Beauty and the Beast mixed with Greek mythology)
Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore (Don't know much about this one, but it came highly recommended, and the protagonist is an expert at killing.)
The Lynburn Legacy trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan (Once again, I haven't read this, but I've heard good things!)
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Torn Away by Jennifer Brown
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Death Sworn by Leah Cypress
Shadow & Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

So that's 25 books/series. (There are also a lot of 2014 releases that I didn't include.  Just saying.) And I can't say much else than read them.

January 24, 2014

Random Friday: Wintery Book Covers

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following:
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my post.
  • Blog about this week's topic.
  • Add the link to your Random Friday at the bottom of this post.
So wintery book covers.  It's going to be fun to see what y'all can find.  Some of my favorites are...

Six Months Later

So what do y'all think of these covers?  Do any of them appear on your wintery book cover list?

January 23, 2014

Thoughts on The *Book Shimmy* Awards

So yesterday was the much-anticipated *Book Shimmy* Awards, hosted by the Epic Reads team at HarperTeen.  If you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, go here: *Book Shimmy* Awards, where you can watch the stream and check out all the winners.  It was the first ever book awards solely for YA fiction.  One week on Tea Time, we helped choose categories.  Then we got to nominate books and authors and characters for the various categories and then everyone got to vote for the finalists and the winners.

I was a bit disappointed with the finalists (especially for the Best of Shelf and Pagemaster awards because they were the same five books/authors) in many categories so I didn't vote for too many of the final categories.

And after the show yesterday, I was a bit disappointed in the winners.  I haven't heard or read of many of the books, and while I loved Allegiant and liked The Elite, I don't think they deserved to win as many categories as they did.  So, I decided to say who I think should've won from the final options and who I think should've won, even if they weren't nominated. (Note: all books nominated had to be released in 2013.)

Best of Shelf (Best Book Overall)
This is one of the categories that I didn't vote in, so I can't really say.

But my choice otherwise is...Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.

The Pagemaster (Best Author)
I do think Veronica Roth deserved Best Author.

But who would I have chosen if she hadn't been an option?  Definitely Ally Carter.  She published a free e-novella, had two full-length books release (Perfect Scoundrels and United We Spy), and sold her next series (Embassy Row!).  That makes her a Pagemaster in my book.

Leading Lady (Best Female Character)
Cammie Morgan was robbed (although Elisa is definitely awesome enough that she could've won, and I would've been happy).

It's a toss-up between Cammie and Allyson (Just One Day).  I'd say Scarlet from A.C. Gaughen's Scarlet, too, but that released in 2012.

Leading Laddie (Best Male Character)
Hector should've won, without a doubt.  I hadn't even read Girl of Fire and Thorns yet, and I voted for him, mostly because I knew several people who raved over him.

Other than that...totally Carswell Thorne from Marissa Meyer's Scarlet (can't wait for Cress!) or Finn from All Our Yesterdays.

Secondary Character Most in Need of His/Her Own Book
Probably Kenji from Unravel Me.

Beast from Dark Triumph.

Most Kick-Butt Hero/Heroine
*category name is revised because I keep this blog PG*
Y'alls know I adore Tris, but Celaena from Crown of Midnight (I've only read Throne of Glass thus far, but whatever) deserved it way more.

Still Celaena.  I'd say Ismae from Grave Mercy, but that's not a 2013 book.

Best Friendship
I'm okay with America and Marlee (from The Elite) winning, because I think their friendship is sweet, but...

I ship Cammie and Bex (United We Spy), Cinder and Iko (Scarlet), and Anna and Emma (Time After Time).  All as friends, of course.

Couple of the Year
Why Levi and Cath from Fangirl didn't win is beyond me.

Other than them, Hector and Elisa (The Bitter Kingdom) or Trevor and Addie (Pivot Point).

Scariest Fathomable Future (Best Dystopian)
I hadn't even read any of the nominated books, so...

I'd vote for Pawn by Aimee Carter.

Is This Real Life? (Best Fantasy)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer won.  I'm excited, because I love-love-love Scarlet, but it's not fantasy!  It's sci-fi!  So, of the nominated books, I'm leaning towards The Bitter Kingdom because I've read it, but I think Crown of Midnight is worthy of the award, too.

World Series Champion (Best Series to Finish in 2013)
Out of the finalists, Girl of Fire and Thorns should've won.

But other than that, it definitely should've been the Gallagher Girls series.

The Cheese Stands Alone (Best Standalone)
I was happy Fangirl won, and I also would've been happy with The Distance Between Us.

Buuuutttttt, Going Vintage totally takes the cake.

New Kid on the Block (Debut Author)
I was super happy that A.G. Howard and Splintered won!  I really have no complaints here.

If You Don't Give Me This Book Right Now, I Will Cut Someone (Most-Anticipated Book of 2014)
Cress was robbed.  Seriously.

And all I can think is Cressssss, so I guess y'all know what I wanted to win.

Most Emotionally Crippling Ending
Well, Allegiant's ending was pretty crippling, so it deserved the award. Pivot Point's ending was a bit crippling, too.

Other than those, too, I think All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill and Parallel by Lauren Miller were emotionally-crippling.

The Feels Award
Out of the finalists, I have to say Just One Day.

But Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone really took the cake for me.

The Hangover Award
Well, since I read Just One Day and had to return it to the library immediately (I couldn't renew it, and I was sort of left in a daze.

However, Pivot Point and United We Spy gave me bigger book hangovers.

Best Book Fandom
Harry Potter won, and since I'm not a part of that fandom...of the nominees, I think The Hunger Games fandom might be the best.

Lunartics (The Lunar Chronicles) and Gallagher Girls are better fandoms, though.

Best YA-Adapted Movie of TV Show
I'm really happy that Catching Fire won, so there's nothing I would've preferred. 

January 22, 2014

Mini Reviews


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Grade: B
Summary: Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Review: I've heard so much about Shatter Me in the book blogging community.  I was very reluctant to try it.  But I finally did.  I read it in 1 hour, which is an unusually short time, even for me (I speed read, but don't skim).  So that means I liked it, right?  For the most part, I did.  Juliette is an interesting character.  She has this unique ability that scares her to death.  She doesn't want to hurt anyone, she feels so alone, and yet she has a temper.  I liked how twisted Warner was, and I also wanted to punch him in the face.  James was adorable, and Kenji was hysterical.  The ending was awesome.  I loved how the "super powers" concept was just touched on, and I was left wanting more about them.  I didn't always like the format and the style of writing, though.  It felt awkward in places, and I got confused at times with Juliette's manner of thinking.  As for inappropriate content, there was a fair bit of language (but no f-bombs), the romance got heavy at moments, and the violence wasn't too graphic.  But this was a good read, considering how much trouble I had putting it down.


Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Grade: B
Summary: Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

Review: It took me a little longer to read Unravel Me than it took to read Shatter Me.  But I still devoured it.  I loved, loved, loved everything about Omega Point.  All the new characters we were introduced to were awesome (the twins, Sonya and Sara; Brendon; Winston; all the other "Energies").  Also, Tahereh Mafi drove me crazy with this book.  I really wanted to hate Warner.  I was totally shipping Adam and Juliette throughout Shatter Me (although these days, I always worry that the character that seems so trustworthy is always so evil) and through most of Unravel Me.  And then Warner just came along and seemed so vulnerable (and yet, pretty much insane) and so...adorable.  And then there's that quote... (pg. 394, y'all). *throws a table* Thank you for messing with my ship, Tahereh.  Usually, I always have one ship that I stick with for an entire book series, even it's lost all hope.  But now I think I'm jumping ship. 
Okay, moving on.  Kenji got a lot better in this book, although he still has a mouth that needs to be washed out with soap.  Juliette is awesome.  She didn't immediately grow strong.  She reminded me of Katniss in Mockingjay a bit, and that's a compliment.  I was satisfied with how she treated herself and others (apart from the love triangle).  But how was I unsatisfied?  The angst, people, the angst.  I think I'm sort of an angsty person myself, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it in my books.  I felt like, time after time, Juliette was frozen in her tracks by Adam or Warner.  Adam was so mopey and emo that I wanted to shake him and say, "Get a grip, man!"  As for objectionable content, same amount of language (seriously, Kenji, you swear like a sailor!), romance got a bit heavier (chapter 62, people), and violence got a little more graphic, but not too terrible (not like that one scene in A.C. Gaughen's Scarlet that I'm still trying to erase from my memory).

Seriously, if you haven't read Shatter Me and Unravel Me yet, reeeeaaaaddddd them.  That is all.

January 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Reading Wishlist

I'm actually going to go off of all the ideas I wrote down from RBWL for this one and talk about my ten favorites!

1. Lost Boys and Lost Girls
It would be fun to see what they'd be like without Pan...and add in Lost Girls, too.

2. More Asian characters
I talked about this about a month ago.  There needs to be more Asian characters who aren't stereotypically smart and school-loving.

3. Fairies with a dark twist.
And I don't mean dark twist like Tiger Lily.  That's more bleak than dark.  No, I mean dark fairies who think of themselves as good.  Can't you just picture their wings?  They'd be butterfly wings in shades of black, purple, navy blue, etc.

4. Southern epics
You know, along the lines of Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird.  They don't necessarily have to be historical, because a modern Southern epic could be fun.

5. Different retellings
I love Pride and Prejudice.  I enjoy many retellings of it.  But it's overdone.  I want to see Anne of Green Gables retellings or origin stories, perhaps from Gilbert's POV.  I want retellings of Austen's other novels.  I want retellings of Shakespearean plays other than Romeo and Juliet.

6. In between contemporary and dystopian.
Have you ever noticed how, in dystopian or futuristic books, the government or system has been like it is for awhile?  I'd like to see something right after whatever causes the world to change and go dystopian and see how the government is set up and created.

7. Biblical times
Something set in Biblical times would be awesome.  It would be even better if someone like Esther or King David made a cameo.

8. Animals
I'd love to see more books about animals, along the lines of Misty of Chincoteague, Old Yeller, and Where the Red Fern Grows.  The animal's death at the end is optional.

9. Non-absentee parents
You know what I think would be hilarious?  Non-absentee parents in fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian who love their kids and demand an explanation when their kids act strangely are start disappearing randomly.  The resulting conversation could be hysterical as the kid tries to make up a fabulous lie or tells the truth.

10. More what-ifs.
I loved Margot.  I think it would be fun if authors played with more historical what-ifs, like... "What if the British had won the American Revolution?" "What if JFK hadn't been assassinated?" "What if we hadn't acquired the Louisiana Purchase?"  And maybe things more exciting than that.  But that's what I thought of, off the top of my head. ;)

January 19, 2014

Rewind & Review #4

Rewind and review

This has really been an eventful week.  There's been a fun hassle getting my textbook for my psychology class, my mom has been in the hospital this weekend, and then all the book news below. :)

Books I Received

52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody (on loan from the lovely Stacey Kade.  Thanks, Stacey!)

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (via Edelweiss)

18599820 18332925
Tease by Amanda Maciel
Exile by Kevin Emerson
(Thank you to Read Between the Lynes!)

Books From the Library

16045038 12084278 17934520
18052934 13721341 17311294
Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane
City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
Going Rogue by Robin Benway
No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
Pretenders by Lisi Harrison

Books I Read
Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
Thunder Rising by Erin Hunter
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Amplified by Tara Kelly (DNF)
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando (a reread)

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

January 17, 2014

Random Friday: Simple Beauty

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following:
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my post.
  • Blog about this week's topic.
  • Add the link to your Random Friday at the bottom of this post.
This week is all about things that are beautiful, but not in an elaborate way.  To me, simple beauty is often nature or just things for life that we take for granted.

Cover Photos | via Facebook
I love how you can tell there's a book but the flowers are the main focus.  Anyone else think the flowers form a lopsided heart?

I also love things like this staircase.

Download Winter Time wallpapers to your cell phone - beauty snow time - 19291227 | Zedge
I'm kind of pocket watch-obsessed these days.

photography | Tumblr
A sparkler!

I've been using a lot of the following pictures for writing inspiration lately.

Ireland. :)

An up-close of a snowflake. Makes me think of Frozen.
A magnified snowflake.

Virginia. That's it. I'm ready to move back there.
My home state (Virginia).

Makes me think of "La Luna."

Firefly Forest in England.
Firefly Forest in England.  Looks like something out of a fairytale.

An old mill in the Black Forest.
An old mill in the Black Forest.

The Aurora Borealis and a volcano eruption meet in Iceland.
The Aurora Borealis and a volcano eruption meet in Iceland.

And finally...
A forest in Ireland.
A forest in Ireland. :)

Okay, now I want to see what is simple and beautiful for y'all!  I think this could spark a wide variety of posts since we all have such different opinions.

January 16, 2014

Review: Manor of Secrets


Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore
Grade: C
Release date: January 28, 2014
This book was an ARC provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance. 

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.

The Good: I ended up, for the most part, liking the characters.  Charlotte was intelligent and kind.  Janie was hardworking and resourceful.  I liked Andrew Broadhurst and Harry.  I loved the scene where Charlotte was teaching Janie to dress hair and how Charlotte took Janie under her wing.  I would've liked to see more of Charlotte's brothers; they were mentioned on multiple occasions but only appeared in the flesh a couple times.

The Bad: Since I read Cinders & Sapphires first (and it was released first), I couldn't help but compare the two books and Manor of Secrets seemed too similar to C&S.  There's a big secret revealed towards the end that felt a little too similar to the secret in C&S.  The whole upstairs-downstairs in English aristocracy is already feeling overdone because of all the books springing off the popularity of Downton Abbey.  This one didn't wow me.  Also, the name of the estate bothered me.  "The Manor"?  Just "The Manor"?  I believe the house needed to have an actual name, like Downton Abbey does.  I also felt like some of the societal expectations were exaggerated and too many of the characters were catty and gossiped.  A great majority of the servants were jerks.  I also felt like Charlotte's and Janie's interests were bland and not very interesting.

The Ugly: No foul language.  There's some not-so-great implications with that big secret.

The Verdict: It's not a fabulous read at all.  At best, it's just okay.  Cinders & Sapphires is a much better choice if you're looking for something set in the same era as Downton Abbey.

January 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Debuts

2014 debuts!  That's an exciting topic.  Let's see if I can collect 10 authors...


1. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (4/1/14)
I suppose technically "Dorothy" isn't Danielle's debut since a prequel ebook novella was released in late 2013, but since this is the official book, I count it as her debut.


2. Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones (6/15/14)
Superheros and super powers seem to be the main themes I see popping up in YA these days.  I think it might be the next big theme.  Illusive sounds pretty awesome.


3. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman (4/22/14)
Another WWII book!  Only this one is about the "niece" of Adolf Hitler.  This could be very interesting for sure.


4. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (1/28/14)
I've talked about this one before, but I think it could be really good.  It's a different spin on a fairytale retelling.


5. When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens (2/4/14)
I'm a history geek (thanks to my parents), so anything that puts a spin on something historical is always going to be fun.  I love it when contemporary meets historical.  Rebecca's idea is awesome.


6. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy (3/18/14)
There have been a lot of cancer books lately.  This one seems like an awesome twist on the usual formula, and I hope it's going to be great.


7. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (4/1/14)
The premise is genius.  I've read the first 5 chapters, and April can't come soon enough.  And guess who has an ARC of this one?  I hope to devour and love it soon!


8. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (4/15/14)
I love the whole best friend angle (I was talking about that a few weeks ago in a discussion post), so I'm glad Emery Lord is making that the main focus.


9. Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton (6/3/14)
Another book set during WWII. :) This one doesn't sound as serious as Rose Under Fire and The Book Thief, and it's a fun twist on the Cinderella story.

10. My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten (6/3/14)
This is a super unique premise, and I think it's going to be a fun read.

Honorable Mention: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang (9/9/14)
I'm still as excited as ever for Amy's debut, and I'm going to continue to mention it throughout the year.  Y'all have been warned.