Thursday, March 31, 2016

Monthly Wrap-Up!

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Rating: Five stars
Review Link:
Brief Thoughts: This book is amazing. Plot-wise, character-wise, everything-wise!! Plus it crushed me emotionally. I would definitely reccomend to 15+ or 16+.

Siren's Fury by Mary Weber
Rating: Four stars
Review Link:
Brief Thoughts: Good sequel, action-packed, winning romance. GREAT ending. I loved it! Recommended to 13+

Siren's Song by Mary Weber
Rating: Four or three and a half stars
Review Link:
Brief Thoughts: I liked it overall, but the ending really didn't buy me.

Remnants: Season of Wonder by Lisa T. Bergren
Rating: Three stars
No review.
Brief Thoughts: Not amazing, but not awful either.

Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia
Rating: Four stars
Review Link:
Brief Thoughts: Loved the plot and romance, Had a few things I disagreed with.

Auto-Focus by Lauren Gibaldi
Rating: Three stars
Review Link:
Brief Thoughts: I had no strong emotions about this book. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it.

A Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink
Rating: Four stars.
No review
Brief Thoughts: This took a bit to get into, and was a good fluffy read.

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
Rating: Four stars.
No review
Brief Thoughts: I really liked this from the beginning. A good story about overcoming fear.

Spark by Holly Schindler
Rating: Five stars!!
Review Link:
Brief Thoughts: This is (I think) my first magical realism story and I adored it. It was whimsical and beautiful. Recommended to ages 13+.

Eleven Things I Promised by Catherine Clark
Rating: Five stars!
Review Link:
Brief Thoughts: This took 15% or so to get into but it was a wild ride that carried the most wonderful emotional journey :)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Rating: Four stars
No review.
Brief Thoughts: I found the characters to be very well-written, and I enjoyed the plot. My one complaint is the stark lack of worldbuilding.

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill
Rating: Four stars
Review link:
Brief Thoughts: This was creepy and suspenseful, with great characters and a twisting plot.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Monthly Recap! ( March 2016 )

Welcome to the recap of every post I've posted here in March, 2016. 


Monthly Things

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monthly Book Haul


Most of these I got for free on Amazon. I only bought A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold and The Mountain Midwife with actual money :P 
I don't think I'll get to any of these soon, except maybe The Mountain Midwife and A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold


I got most of these from HarperTeen. Suuuuuuper excited for them all! The last two I got through Litfuse Publicity Group. Excited for all the things!!

Sorry this wasn't super in depth. It's late and I'm trying to get it done.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Monthly Writing Update (summer plans!)

Helllloooo. Isn't that photo GORGEOUS? I love it. Therefor I use it now. Oh, and in case you're wondering what this is, it's called my train of thought. Hop on. So basically I wanted to post about my writing on here but still have this as a book blog. Then I went; WHOA WHAT IF I START A SERIES THING. So every month, near the end, I plan on posting a writing update for y'all. Also this makes me post more. All in all, it is a good thing. So on with the post!
Currently I haven't been able to write much. I'm doing One Year Adventure Novel for school and it saps all my pizzazz so I have no time to write. But I am writing for school. Right now I'm working on a contemporary sci-fi thing about a girl, a weird town, and mind-controlling gas. Also death. And scientists. I'm not a huge fan of the book, but it's keeping me from drying out as a writer, and it's school. Of course I am enjoying the writing experience. I always enjoy writing, in any form once I immerse myself. I've even started to enjoy writing reviews. I thought that would never happen. 

Okay, so I mentioned summer plans in the title. I knew people plan vacations, camp, and lifey things like that. I have no such plans. My plans include writing a whole book in the space of mid-May to August. What book? Well, it isn't the the last Chronicles of Alleure book. I lost the all but the first three when my computer crashed. No, I'm not finishing my contemporary, Chasing the Stars, which I REALLY need to do. I'm starting a totally new project. I am tentatively titling it This I Pledge, though that is subject to change once I actually start writing. It's a roman-inspired fantasy novel about a privileged young woman, a gladiator, and their forbidden friendship.
To go more in depth, it contains gladiators who have magical powers and also disabilities, also pretty togas. 
Also I have a friendship collage for Athena(or Aquila) and Titurius(shortened to Titus in the book).

Also a general story collage

And another

OMW. It is going to be so much fun. 
Catch y'all on the journey. :)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Monthly Life Update (news! life! school!)

Welcome to a monthly post where I pretend my life is exciting. Yay! (hint: it isn't all twirling in a pretty dress)
March was a pretty normal month. I got rid of most of our kittens(except one), and read a ton of books. However, I did take a vacation thingy a week ago, professionally. My sister and I were hired to babysit a few missionary kids while there was a missionary retreat for the parents. While I didn't get too much reading accomplished, I had a relaxing break from normal life and I do belief it benefited me reading-wise as well. 
I continually read such a large amount that occasionally I can hit a reading slump, Taking a few days off helps me avoid slumps that could last for a month or more (see: the Harry Potter reading slump)
I had a fun time there and loved all the kids (also there was bacon)
. I managed to get up at 6 AM every morning while we were there and that was great. I enjoyed pretending I was a morning person (honestly, I did it so I'd have an excuse to drink coffee)
When I got home I felt really great and was happy to get back to my cats and also the kids I babysit every Tuesday. 
Like normal, I also went to Youth Group twice(!!) this month. Hehe. In case you're worried I'm a heathen, let me explain. Our Youth Group happens every other week, and I've never missed it.
I also managed not to reorganize my bookshelf this month and cleaned my room! Overall, it was successful. Though I do plan to paint my TBR shelf in April... Or sooner! 
I know you're all waiting with baited breath for a bit about my cat, the king of the universe, Emperor Mellow. Don't let the "mellow" name fool you. He's a tyrant. But adorable. And he's watching you. Careful what you do--he has a hit list. But he's adorable.
Since by this point you're probably tired of me, I'll wrap it up. Y'all are the best. 
So until next time.
Keep calm and fear the cat.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fightBut that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice but to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

In this breakneck tale, New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight brilliantly chronicles a fateful journey that begins with a single decision—and ends up changing everything.

This book is the queen of twists. I never completely knew what was going on because every time I settled on a situation, it twisted and changed and shocked me utterly. This book isn't what you think at the beginning, and even at the end it still isn't what you think. This book epitomizes the phrase “Nothing is as it seems”. Don't trust anything.
I love the writing. AOSKKQKNDIJ so good. You never quite know what's going on and I LOVED that. I'm always guessing when I read books, figuring out the twists beforehand. I didn't do that with this book because I was meant to guess. I was meant to realize there might be something coming. I was meant to be blown away by what does come. I adored the complexity of the story, because it had the balance it needed. It wasn't the sort of complexity that confused you as you went. It was the type that drew you along and kept you reading and immersed with a small but intended dose of confusion.
I loved the character development in this as well. Each character is well-built, with a story to tell. My favorite by far was Quentin or Wylie. For reasons :P
THE NAMES in this story were amaaaazing. I totally geeked out over them. I mean, who sees the name WYLIE in books this days???
The suspense in this story is KILLER. I went in not knowing much, only having seen the EpicReads book trailer for this, and I basically died from the pace of this. SO AMAZING.
(also, the stuff about the babies? ao creepy.)

Intimacy – Innuendos, mentions of sleeping around and sex.
Cussing – This is literally the only place that this book let me down. It's the reason this book is four stars instead of five. The f-bomb is used A LOT. Plus sh** and d**n and probably more.

Violence – There is a fair amount, plus this book is super freaky. Not recommend to people who scare easily.  

Monday, March 14, 2016

Spark by Holly Schindler

The local Avery Theater was just a run-down building to Quin—until her mother told her the tragic love story of Nick and Emma that played out on the theater’s stage all those years ago. Quin is convinced it’s the perfect story to rewrite for her drama class, but when she goes searching for more information, she makes a startling discovery—the Avery is rapidly regaining its former splendor and setting the stage for her classmates Dylan and Cass to relive Nick and Emma’s romance. Quin can see the spark between them, but it’s up to her to make sure her friends—and the Avery—can both be saved this time around.

I expected this to be a cutesy contemporary romance. Needless to say, I didn't get what I was expecting. I got something more. This story carries the feel of a fairytale, and it isn't meant to be taken as a contemporary, nor is the magic meant to be completely explained. It merely tells a story of love and friendship and overcoming the past. 
I absolutely fell in love with the Avery and all of it's history. Verona felt real to me, and the magic was just irresistible. I loved how everyone came together and brought out a beautiful end production. 
The romance in this is unexpected and sweet. It isn't a romance for the main character, which I loved. Cass and Dylan seemed meant for each other.
I am just so in love with Holly Schindler's writing. It was crisp and bright and made everyone feel so real and right. The whole idea of this story could have been considered campy or cheesy but Holly Schindler executed it perfectly. 
The pure magic of this book is completely irresistible. I fell in love with each individual character and loved every aspect of the story. This was my first time reading something like this (I think it's officially considered magical realism??) and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

INTIMACY - Mild kissing
CUSSING - I don't remember any cuss words, but maybe there was one or two??
VIOLENCE - Barely any.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Auto-Focus by Lauren Gibaldi

It’s always been a loaded word for Maude. And when she is given a senior photography assignment—to create a portfolio that shows the meaning of family—she doesn’t quite know where to begin. But she knows one thing: without the story of her birth mother, who died when Maude was born, her project will be incomplete.

So Maude decides to visit her best friend, Treena, at college in Tallahassee, Florida, where Maude’s birth mother once lived. But when Maude arrives, she quickly discovers that Treena has changed. With a new boyfriend and a packed social calendar, Treena doesn’t seem to have time for Maude—or helping Maude in her search.

Enter Bennett, a cute guy who lives in Treena’s dorm. He understands Maude’s need to find her mother. And as Bennett helps Maude in her search, she starts to find that her mother’s past doesn’t have to define her own future.

Lauren Gibaldi has crafted a beautiful and timely coming-of-age story that poses the question: Is who we are determined at birth, or can we change as we grow?

Auto-Focus was a satisfying book to read. I say I loved it, nor did I hate it. I'm not a huge fan of Lauren Gibaldi's writing, which I should have realised last year when air read the Night We Said Yes. Without a certain character, I probably wouldn't have liked this book. So let's talk about him
Bennett is a film major, cute and nerdy. He's a Pixar nerd and I basically imagined him as my brother. It felt like being with Jake again, to read about Bennett. It also gave me hope that Jake might actually snag a cute girlfriend. I also really liked the photography aspect of this book. I have a passion for photos, and I loved reading about Maude's own passion for photography. 
Another great thing was the adoption side of this. It wasn't your usual "I hate my parents for adopting me" angsty read. I think Maude handled everything with maturity. It was also cool to see a story about a girl tracking down her birth family when her birth mother is dead. I don't think I've seen that before.
One thing I didn't like is how this book portrays college. I personally haven't been to college, but I think my siblings would mention if it was all parties and booze. I really didn't like that portrayal.
Overall, this is a three star, maybe 3.5 star read. 

INTIMACY - Mild kissing, a lot of innuendos.
DRINKING/DRUGS - There are several instances of drinking and drunkenness
CUSSING - Mild-ish? Like, twenty cuss words

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Even If the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia

All she needs is one night to be anyone she wants.

Julie is desperate for a change. So she heads to New Orleans with her youth group to rebuild houses and pretend her life isn’t a total mess. But between her super-clingy team leader and her way-too-chipper companions, Julie feels more trapped than ever.

In a moment of daring, she ditches her work clothes for DIY fairy wings and heads straight into the heart of Mid-Summer Mardi Gras, where she locks eyes with Miles, an utterly irresistible guy with a complicated story of his own. And for once, Julie isn’t looking back. She jumps at the chance to see the real New Orleans, and in one surreal night, they dance under the stars, share their most shameful secrets, and fall in love.

But their adventure takes an unexpected turn when an oncoming hurricane changes course. As the storm gains power and Julie is pulled back into chaos she finds pretending everything is fine is no longer an option.

This is such a cool book. It's told in first person, and tells two interlocking stories. One, the story of Julie's brother, the other the story of Julie and Miles. It was really fascinated to see a story told this way, to see Julie slowly unfold. 
The story is pretty slow, but not boring. The parts about Julie and Miles all take place over the course of one night. I liked seeing their relationship unfold. The romance aspect of this story is fairly fast-paced. I wasn't the biggest fan of that, but in the setting it made sense. 
I really loved Mia Garcia's writing style. It was very fresh and nice. 
So I've put off gushing aboit this for a little while. What really sold me on this book was the characters. Julie, Miles, Taj, Tavis, Emma, Adam... they all felt so real. 
Also this book takes places during a hurricane. That is super cool and it's something I haven't read about before. It was a fun experience.
So the last thirty percent of this book. 
So intense.
Also the romance is fantabulousoh shippable. And adorable. 
The code names. SO MUCH COOL. And also more adorableness!!! 
So if you want a quick afternoon read, this is the book for you. It's fun, witty, and a smidge intense.

INTIMACY - Two people sleep together. It's shown somewhat, but the scene ends before too much happens. Also some kissing.
DRINKING - There is some drunkenness.
CUSSING - A fair amount. Maybe twenty cuss words altogether?
VIOLENCE - Someone is almost strangled.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Eleven Things I Promised by Catherine Clark

Catherine Clark has crafted a poignant story about the distances one girl is willing to go in the name of friendship that is at once funny, heartbreaking, and utterly romantic.

Seventeen-year-old Frances wouldn’t describe herself as adventurous. Until now . . .

Frances has one week—while she’ll be away from home competing in a high school bike race—to do every single thing on the Fix-It List. Ten crazy, totally out-of-character ideas her best friend, Stella, came up with to make the bike ride unforgettable. However, as each item on the F-It List opens Frances up to new adventures, new friends, and possibly even a new romance, it becomes increasingly difficult for Frances to keep the one promise that she knows she absolutely must obey—her promise to not tell anyone the truth about the accident that left Stella broken and angry, and started Frances on her quest to complete the list.

When it comes to friendship, Frances must decide what distances she’s willing to go, and what risks she’s willing to take, for the person she cares about the most.

I went into this book not knowing much. I wasn't sure what it was about.When I realized it was about a bike thing, I was very wary.
I loved this book. It was very unique, and I found Frances' journey fascinating.
I loved the writing. It drew me in and held me there until the story was done. The character journey in this book is superb. I loved seeing Frances steadily grow as a character as she did this wonderful, wonderful thing for her friend. That was another thing I loved about this story. It wasn't focused on the romance, it was about a girl doing something completely amazing for her best friend. It was about the endurance of true friendship through hard times. This book portrayed the love of two best friends so absolutely amazingly. Frances and Stella stole my heart as they soldiered through this together. Because what is a girl without her best friend?
Then there's the list, a representation of who Stella is, of what Frances is willing to do for her. A list of eleven things that Stella wanted to do on this trip. A list that Frances is willing to complete for her friend, even though she would never willingly choose to do these things.
Overall, a strong book with good writing, great plot, and amazing characters. Five stars.

INTIMACY - Frances sleeps with someone. It is implied, not shown. Mild kissing
DRUGS - Frances drinks because it's on the list.
CUSSING - Maybe two or three uses of sh**?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele

When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day L.A. via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task…

Worlds collide in The Marked Girl, an exciting fantasy tale turned upside down.

I'm not sure how exactly I feel about this book. The reading experience was good, and the writing kept me going even when the storyline went cliché.
This is a portal fantasy. It's the first portal fantasy I have read in years. Generally, because what I read affects my writing, I try to avoid portal fantasy. Another big reason I stopped reading it is because there are SO MANY portal fantasy books out there, and now every one just feels cliché to me—like it's a forbidden genre to write. That said, I wasn't reading this book for the plot. I did really enjoy several of the twists, but I was here for something else.
The characters, of course. Those from Caelum(Kat, Cedric, Merek) I didn't like. They seemed a little forced. But those who were from Earth, from my world, I felt. I felt Liz's pain of thinking she burned her house down, her pain at constantly being tossed about to different homes. Liz, Joe, Shannon—they rang true for me.
Though the overall concept of portal fantasy is inherently cliché, the portal itself was a unique twist. It could only be opened with “scrolls”, but the scrolls aren't even what you think. It was cool.
I did not enjoy the romance aspect of this novel. It felt forced, and I also didn't care for the love interest, Cedric. Plus, I felt like it was in there to make Kat look like a heartless freak?
Anyway, overall, okay characters, meh plot, great writing. Three stars.

Intimacy – Mild kissing.
Cussing – Maybe two or three cuss words? I don't remember seeing any.

Violence – Low high.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Siren's Song by Mary Weber

Nym and Draewulf prepare to face off in a battle destined to destroy more lives than it saves.

With the loss of Tulla still fresh in mind, Rasha’s fate unknown, and Lord Myles taken over by the dark ability, Nym and the few Bron soldiers rush to warn Cashlin’s queen. Only to discover it may already be too late for the monarch and her eerie kingdom. As the Luminescents are sifting through Nym’s past memories and the queen is reading into her future, Nym is given a choice of how to defeat Draewulf, but the cost may be more than she can bear. And even then there are no guarantees.

With that reality burrowing into her bones—along with the guilt of the lives she will sacrifice—Nym returns to her homeland of Faelen to raise an army of peasants through promises of freedom. But when the few friends she has left, along with the world and citizens she loves, are staring down the face of a monster and his undead army, will Nym summon every element her blood is capable of controlling . . . or surrender to a different strength—one of sacrifice?
Because in the end, death may be more merciful for them all.

So this book.
It is just full of energy and action and romance. Like Siren's Fury, it picks up literally where the book before it ended. A bit of advice; if you're planning on reading this series, don't have too much time between books. They are all like one huge story.
First let's talk about the writing. Before reading this I reread Storm Siren and Siren's Fury and I was struck with how absolutely brilliantly Mary Weber writes. (the death scene in Storm Siren is, like, one of the most beautifully written death scenes I have EVER read) As a writer, I so appreciate this.
PLUS, there's an absolutely unique world too. UM, ARE YOU RUNNING TO THE BOOKSTORE YET? Let me add a few more incentives. The characters are gorgeous, there are man-eating/meat-eating horses inspire by the Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. UM HELLO? YAS.
But let's talk about Siren's Song. I'm honestly conflicted. I can love everything about a book, but it's the ending that really seals that adoration for me. This ending… didn't do that.
It fell into a trope.
I'm writing this, like five minutes after reading the ending, so bear with my disappointment. I'm not going to name the trope, but it is a trope mostly specific to Christian Fiction. It's a trope that made me rate a book three stars after loving all of it. This book—AGH! So disappointed about that ending. Personally, my dislike of this trope is purely personal. You might like this book.

So five solid stars to the first 90% of this book. For the last 10%… three stars.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March TBR

Because of the LARGE amount of books in this TBR, I'm not tacking on blurbs as well. I'm going to say the book's name, where I got it, why I'm reading it, and if I plan on reviewing it. :)

I bought this a year ago for my birthday. I'm not sure if I will get to it this month, because I thought The Crown was coming out this month, but it's actually releasing in May.

I received this as a review copy from Thomas Nelson Zondervan. I'm reading it because I have an obligation to (plus, it looks SUPER good) and I will review it.

I received this as a review copy from Thomas Nelson Zondervan. I'm reading it because I have an obligation to (um, it's Rachel Hauck as well). I will review it.

I received this as a review copy. I'm reading it because it's a review copy, and it's also g o r g e o u s .

I received this as a Christmas gift. I'm reading it because it looks FREAKING AWESOME. Yes, it's a cover buy #noshame

Got this from the library today! I started it and I am loving it! I will not review it.

Rereading this series in preparation for Siren's Song!! I might review this, but probably not. 

I got this as a review copy through Netgalley and, well, it released. So I must read it. SOON. I will review it as well.

Review copy through Netgalley.. I will review it. 

I received all of these from Edelweiss as review copies. I will review them.

This is the Go Teen Writer Community Book Club book of the month. Since I'm an admin, this is a priority. 

DISCLAIMER: These books are not in order of when I will read them. I will read them at my own leisure.

What are you guys planning on reading this month? Comment below!