29 December 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books of 2016 (Jan-June)



It's Tuesday!!! You know that means another day of Top 10 Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week's theme is the top 10 anticipated reads of the first half of 2016. To make it a little easier I thought I would break it down by month. I won't be going into specific detail for each book; however, I will leave a link to the Goodreads description as well as a link to Amazon. And yes I did cheat and add 12! haha


January

Jan 5th | Goodreads | Amazon
Jan 5th | Goodreads | Amazon














February




Calamity (Brandon Sanderson) Feb 16 | Goodreads | Amazon
Ruler of Beasts (Danielle Paige) Feb 16 | Goodreads | Amazon
The Wicked + The Divine (Commercial Suicide) Feb 18 | Goodreads | Amazon

March

Mar 1 | Goodreads | Amazon
Mar 15 | Goodreads | Amazon

















April 

April 12 | Goodreads | Amazon


May


May 3 | Goodreads | Amazon
May 3 | Goodreads | Amazon














June

June 14 | Goodreads | Amazon
June 28th | Goodreads | Amazon


28 December 2015

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
Publication: 2013

# of Pages: 452

Source: Book-A-Million, Purchased Copy

Favorite Quotes:

  • "I don't think her being a cyborg is relevant." 
  • "I think I realized I would rather die because I betrayed them, than live because I betrayed you." 
  • "It would easy to abuse a person when they never recognized it as abuse." 
Goodreads Summary/Blurb

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out prison--even though is she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. 

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out that there are nay things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner. 

My Review/Thoughts

With the continuation of her fabulous fairy-tale re-telling, Marissa Meyer brilliantly introduces us to several new characters that are representatives of Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. She once again is able to capture the beautiful essence of a futuristic fairy-tale. 

What was most interesting about this was Meyer's ability to continue the fast pace plot line that was in the initial book. Unlike the first book, Cinder, Scarlet was able to provide the reader with a greater amount of plot development and action. We are actually permitted to see battle and combat among the characters and the designated villains. We actually get to see how big of an influence Cinder's background has on all the characters. In fact, she does not even really understand the power of influence she has being designated the missing Princess Selene. And with that lack of understanding Cinder is made more human. She didn't ask for that heritage or lineage, yet now it is a reality she must face and cope with. In addition to the plot development, Meyer was able to effectively weave the stories of Cinder and Scarlet into a captivating fairy-tale. I truly adored the fact that Meyer created two female heroines. It is not often that you see a female heroine in a lot of literature let alone two. And with the creation of these two heroines, Meyer paves the way for future female heroines. Once again I was given insight to the beautiful creativity of Meyer's writing and her ability to put a futuristic spin on classic fairy-tales. 

One criticism I do have of this novel is the relationship between Wolf and Scarlet. I'm not a huge fan of "insta-love" and I must admit that is the perfect description for the romantic situation aligned with these two characters. Meyer should have taken a little more time to develop their relationship and allowed them the opportunity to get to know each other especially with Wolf's background as a Lunar. No relationship in real life develops that quickly and although this is a fictional tale I do not think it gives younger reading audiences the best impression. 

Nevertheless, I found this novel just as captivating as the first with all its creativity and beauty. Once again the boundaries of fairy-tale re-telling's are being pushed to the limit. I cannot wait to step into the rest of her novels. 

Rating: 4.5/5





27 December 2015

2016 Reading Goals/Challenges

With January 1st around the corner I decided to go ahead and establish my 2016 Reading Goals and Challenges. Some of these will be hosted by other bloggers while some will be more self imposed. Keep reading to find out what expectations and goals I will set for myself as we come very close to the new year.

Challenge #1: Pop Sugar Challenge


I did not really know much about the Pop Sugar Challenge until I heard about it from a fellow booktuber. It is my hope that by the end of next year I will have accomplished all the challenges set forth on the list above! 

Challenge #2: Finishing the Series

The next challenge I will be partaking in is the finishing the series challenge hosted by Bea's Book Nook. The purpose of this challenge is to finish series in the year of 2016. If you want to find out more information about what qualifies as a series be sure to check out the linked page above. I'm going for the level of experienced in which I will commit to reading 3 to 6 series. Here are the series I am looking forward to completing:

  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan
  • The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan 
  • Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
  • The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo 
  • Dorothy Must Die Trilogy by Danielle Paige 

Challenge #3: Around the World Reading
This challenge is something that I wanted to complete on my own. I thought about my reading this year and I realized that it was not by any means diverse. So I decided to take on the challenge of reading books from authors all around the world essentially a book from every country in the world. Unfortunately I do not anticipate completing this challenge in a year; however, it is one that I wanted to start in 2016. To keep track of my progress I will be using Google Maps where I will pin point each country and describe the book that I have read and provide a review. Check out the map below: 








Challenge 4: Personal Reading/Blogging/Video Challenges

Here are a list of personal challenges that I want to complete in the year of 2016:

  • 75 Books on Goodreads
  • Booktube Recommends Project: I got 12 booktubers to recommend some of their favorite books to me. A book to read each month. I'll talk about this a little bit more in an additional post. 
  • Read 12 Classics
  • Post 2-3 Booktube Videos a week. 
  • Write 2-3 Blog Posts a Week 
  • Review at least 40% of the books I read.

Okay guys those are my goals! Have you set any goals for this upcoming year? Let me know in the comment box below. 

25 December 2015

The Friday #56, #5 Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice. Join in every Friday and share an excerpt from the book you've been reading. Here are the rules:

  • Grab a book, any book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader 
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) that grab you
  • Post it
**Be sure to post the link to your Friday 56 in the comments below. 

Happy Reading & Merry Christmas

So this week I decided to take an excerpt from Morgan Rhode's Frozen Tides which was just released this month. The Falling Kingdom's series has to be one of my favorite series of the year. I know the books were published before 2015, but it took me a while to get to them and boy am I glad I did. I cannot wait to see what Morgan Rhodes has in store in the rest of this series and the spin off series. 

"There was no one in this world who could stop them from reaching their goal. A god and a sorceress--they were the perfect match." 

I cannot wait to get more immersed in this world and figure out how Morgan Rhodes is going to continue to tie all these characters together. 

Synopsis

Plans are laid and the players are determined..but nothing can prepare these unlikely warriors for what the elemental gods have in store. 

Cleo: Reeling after a chaotic night of love, death, the golden princess must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a queen. 

Magnus: Is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he has what it takes to rule his people.

Jonas: The defeated rebel leader reunites with PRINCESS CLEO, only to become a pawn in the dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred. 

Lucia: Heartbroken and blind with fury, the betrayed sorceress allies with the awoken fire god, who also seeks revenge. 

In Mytica's darkest hour, four crystal orbs will determine who will die...and who will live in glory forever. 

24 December 2015

Alex + Ada, Volumes 1-3 by Johnathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn

So usually I do reviews of one book; however, today I wanted to focus on doing a series review. I'll give a synopsis of each graphic novel and then my thoughts on the book as a whole. I hope you enjoy. Please keep in mind that my review of volumes 2 & 3 may contain spoilers as they are the later volumes of the series.


Alex + Ada, Vol. #1: 


Publication: 2014

Pages: 128

Summary: The last thing Alex wanted in the world was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers that she is more than just a robot.

My Thoughts/Review:

First I must say that I absolutely loved the art work of this graphic novel collection. It was so rich in color and the drawings were spectacular. The story line was different from anything that I have ever read especially since it fit into the genre of science-fiction. I have seen plenty of movies geared towards AI (Artificial Intelligence); however, this was my first experience with reading text that was geared towards the same information. What I liked about this first novel is that it explained how the characters communicated, what role technology had in society, and how humans were coping with the use of artificial intelligence in the future. The world building gave the reader great insight to what this future community/society looked like. Personally, I found Alex to be an intriguing character, so realistic in the sense that he did not want to utilize artificial intelligence or be associated with artificial intelligence. He wanted to go through his monotonous daily routines without being responsible for looking after such an expensive piece of technology. But his perspective changes when he realizes he might see this new piece of technology as more human than android. In this sudden change of heart, we see Alex become more compassionate and caring. Overall, this volume is a great starting point to how the rest of the series builds.

Rating: 5/5 

Alex + Ada, Vol #2 (**may contain spoilers): 




Publication: 2015

Pages: 128

Summary: Tensions rise between humans and robots in this sci-fi/drama set in the near future. Alex took a huge risk to unlock Ada and it seems to have paid off--Ada can now think for herself and explore life as a sentient android. As Alex and Ada spend more time together, they become closer. But as restrictions tighten on androids, Ada feels unsure about her place in Alex's life and the world.

My Thoughts/Review:

What is most interesting about this second installment of Alex + Ada is the fact that with the unlocking of Ada in Volume 1 she is ultimately allowed to develop into her own person. It is such a beautiful characterization of an individual that was originally just perceived as an android. She gets to learn what she likes and what she dislikes and by doing this the authors make the reader feel as though they are truly part of the experience. I also appreciated the change of tone with this volume. The level of intensity and danger increases as Alex has accessed a level of technology that has been deemed illegal and inappropriate. We see him not only battle the government, but also friends and family. This entire installment assisted me in viewing Ada as a human and not a simple piece of technology and in the same way the reader is given the opportunity to see Alex love and appreciate Ada for who she is and not a store bought hunk of metal.

Rating: 4.5/5

Alex + Ada, Vol. #3 (**may contain spoilers)



Publication: August 2015

Pages: 136

Summary: The last thing Alex wanted in the world was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers that she is more than just a robot. lex took a huge risk to unlock Ada and it seems to have paid off--Ada can now think for herself and explore life as a sentient android. As Alex and Ada spend more time together, they become closer. But as restrictions tighten on androids, Ada feels unsure about her place in Alex's life and the world. In this final arc, Alex and Ada struggle against the growing hatred for sentient robots and their human allies. Can they survive what's around the corner?

My Thoughts/Review:  As a conclusion to the entire series, I felt as though this installment was a tad bit rushed. It was almost as if the authors built up this tension between androids and humans to simply lead to an almost anti-climatic resolution. The plot changed and followed in a direction I did not expect nor did I see coming. I wanted the characters to me more involved with the changing perspective on the relationship between androids and humans. Although it was beautifully constructed, I did not feel as close of a relationship to the characters as I did in the first two volumes. The initial fate of Alex and Ada in this volume almost seemed like an easy way out. Nevertheless, it was a solid conclusion to the entire series and I deeply miss the characters that I got to know over the span of these three volumes.

Rating: 4/5

22 December 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree



Hey everybody! It's Tuesday so you know that means another TTT which is hosted by the lovely ladies over The Broke and The Bookish. This week's theme was especially easy considering that Christmas is right around the corner. I hope you guys enjoy my list!



                                         

                                                       







What books do you want Santa to bring you this Christmas??

18 December 2015

The Friday #56, #4 Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice. Join in every Friday and share an excerpt from the book you've been reading. Here are the rules:

  • Grab a book, any book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader 
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) that grab you
  • Post it
**Be sure to post the link to your Friday 56 in the comments below. 

Happy Reading 

So this week I decided to choose an excerpt from Scarlet which is the second book of the Lunar Chronicles. Yes, I am extremely late in jumping on the bandwagon associated with this series; however, I usually have a tendency to start a series once all the hype of the novel has calmed down. Keep reading to see the quote I have chosen for this week's Friday 56. 

"Twice she stopped to listen, thinking she heard footsteps somewhere below. Would there be a alarm when their escape was discovered?" 

I cannot wait to finish this book. I liked Cinder, but I'm really liking the addition of Scarlet to this book. She adds a certain level of fierceness that I cannot get over.

Synopsis:

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She is trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information about her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but s inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

17 December 2015

6 Series I Want to Start in 2016

So I've actually been thinking about doing this post for a while and it really surprised me on how many series I own but have not actually started reading. Read below for all the series I want to start and maybe (yes I said maybe haha) finish.

The first series I'm most interested in finishing is the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. I've read his books about Roman and Greek mythology and I'm really interested in started his series focused on Egyptian mythology. I noticed that this is not as well known as the other series, but I really want to give it a try before I start his series on Norse mythology.





The next series I'm interested in starting is the Vampire Academy series. Yes, I do know I'm the last person on Earth to read this series, but I just haven't had the time to read it this year. Hopefully with the upcoming year I can truly dedicate the time and effort needed to complete this series.




Yesssss, another Richelle Mead series, the Georgina Kincaid series. I have heard absolutely nothing but great things about this series. It focuses solely on a succubus and I don't think I've ever read anything about a succubus before. I'm having a heard time deciding whether I want to read this series or the Vampire Academy series first.




Okay so I don't really count this as a series. It's more of I just want to immerse myself in her world. Robin Hobb has exploded lately on Booktube and I'm really interested in check out her works. I've read quite a bit of YA Fantasy, but know I'm really interested in checking out some adult fantasy. 




So the Kate Daniels series by Illona Andrews will be the perfect beginning to my journey of experimenting with urban fantasy. I've never read anything associated with urban fantasy and I've heard nothing, but great things about this series so I can't wait to try it out!


Yay for another urban fantasy. Once again I have nothing, but great things about the Mercy Thompson series so I'm really looking forward to reading it. I mean who doesn't love werewolves. I know I've never read a book centered around werewolves and shape-shifters; however, just thinking about this series gets me excited.

Okay so I know everyoneeee has read this series and Brandon Sanderson is currently writing the second trilogy to this series; however, I'm really looking forward to reading these books. Of course everything Brandon Sanderson writes is golden.






13 December 2015

The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Publication: 2015

# of Pages: 388

Source: Purchased Copy, Books-A-Million

Favorite Quotes:

  • "My soul sees its equal in you." 
  • "Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky." 
  • "You honestly expect me to breathe in a world without air?" 
  • "You have a beautiful laugh. Like the promise of tomorrow." 
  • "I love you, a thousand times over. And I will never apologize for it." 

Goodreads Summary/Blurb:

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Korasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzads' dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determine not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all. 

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets? 

My Review/Thoughts:

This book...I wish I could even begin to find the right words to describe it. First, if you are a fan of re-tellings and books that re-imagine classic stories then this is definitely the book to check out. The most beautiful aspect of this book was strength of the main character Shahrzad. To take on the task of killing a king after he has murdered every single woman that has harked his doorstep is truly enchanting. I'm clearly a big fan of strong female characters. It was not only her courage, but her determination to avenge a wrong that had been committed against her best friend that set the tone of the novel. It is also understandable that Ahdieh gave Shazi a softer side, a side that ended up falling for the very man that killed her best friend. The combination of her soft and more intense personas made Shazi more human and easier to relate to. Shazi illustrates that all is not what it seems on the outside. Sometimes one has to dig a little deeper to get the whole picture. 

One of the most interesting aspects of this novel was the inclusion of magical elements. Magical elements that seemed to control both the fate of the Khalid and Shazi. However, I did hope for a stronger development of these magical elements; maybe an explanation of where they come from. I'm assuming that this information will be further developed in the future novels. It was almost as if certain characters were able to harness these special powers; however, readers were not privileged in knowing and understanding their purpose or origins. 

Lastly one major concept that brings the novel together is it's reflection of the classic tale One Thousand and One Nights. Ahdieh does a beautiful job of incorporating the traditional Middle Eastern culture into the novel. It exposes readers to concepts and terms they typically would not be familiar with. The reader has a broader cultural experience which is not always guaranteed in young adult fiction. Along with the development of the characters and the various magical element, this part of the novel gives the overall story a beautiful and enriching experience rewarding to all readers. 

Rating: 4/5 Stars


11 December 2015

The Friday #56, #3 Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice. Join in every Friday and share an excerpt from the book you've been reading. Here are the rules:


  • Grab a book, any book. 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader 
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) that grab you. 
  • Post it. 
** Be sure to post the link to your Friday 56 in the comments below. 

Happy Reading 

So I decided to do my Friday #56 a little differently and post a picture instead of a sentence because I'm reading a graphic novel. I thought this would give readers a better insight to what I'm seeing as I read the 4th volume of Fables. 

pg. 56 in Fables Vol 4

This is the 4th volume of the Fables collection of comics. I started reading the comic series this summer and I haven't been able to stop reading it since then. I was lucky enough to find several of the volumes on sale at a second hand bookstore. I hope to finish this collection by the end of this weekend! :) 

Synopsis

For centuries the Fables have watched the gateways between our mundane world and their lost magical homelands, ever on guard for signs of invasion. Now, after decades of quiet, it seems that someone has finally escaped the Adversary's oppression and made it to sanctuary. But appearances, as always, can be deceiving, and there's plenty about this refugee's story that smells wrong too the right noses. In fact, things are even worse than they suspect--plans are already under way for the complete destruction of Fabletown, and every one of its citizens is about to get a refresher course in the unforgiving lessons of war. 

08 December 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: New To Me Authors (2015)

It's time for another Top 10 Tuesday host by The Broke and The Bookish. Today's theme is to discuss our top 10 new to us authors in 2015!

1. So I know this book was published a long time ago; however, this was my first time reading Diana Gabaldon and boy do I love her writing. I cannot wait to finish the rest of the Outlander series next year!

2. Oh my...this woman is a brilliant author. One of the best writers I encountered this year. I cannot wait to read more of her work this upcoming year.









3. I might  be the last person to actually start the Throne of Glass series; however, I'm glad I actually checked out Sarah J. Maas's writing this year. I hope to catch up with the series very soon.




4. Adam Silvera is one of the most brilliant authors I have encountered this year and I absolutely love that we share the same last name. : )






5. Morgan Rhodes and the Falling Kingdoms is probably my greatest discovery of the 2015 year of reading. I not only found her book Falling Kingdoms, but I read all three books that are currently published as well as the first book in the spin off series.

6. John Layman and Rob Guillory...I don't even have anything to say except brilliant. I absolutely love the Chew graphic novel seires.




7. Another great graphic novel series I checked out for the first time this year. I absolutely loved this graphic novel and I cannot wait to read the third bind up when it comes out. 





8. A fairy-tale re-telling of Cinderella set in the future. I cannot wait to finish the rest of the series next year. Marissa Meyer definitely has a knack for writing. 



9. Ned Vizzini--I heard his name so much whenever bloggers talked about books with the issue of mental illness. I'm definitely glad that I jumped on the bandwagon. 




10. Last but definitely not least. I'm so excited that I discovered the brilliance of Bill Willingham and his series Fables. I know that the final issue came out this year and I'm extremely excited to be reading this comic series as it is the re-telling of famous fairy-tale characters. 

What were some of your favorite new to you authors this year? Let me know in the comment section below.