Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rated, Not Reviewed (3)

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 3.5 stars

Not stellar, but a step up from the first book, in my opinion.

View all my reviews Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)Fairest by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My goodness. This was excellent. So much insight into Levana's life and motivations.

View all my reviews Water Walker (The Outlaw Chronicles, #2)Water Walker by Ted Dekker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story of the kidnapping of orphan Alice Ringwald was just as intriguing, insightful, and weird(you gotta admit) as any of Dekker's work.

View all my reviews The Scorpio RacesThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a new favorite of mine. I know many people couldn't get into it, but I loved the concept of the races! And the writing!

The Christmas Box (The Christmas Box Trilogy #1)The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was okay. The writing wasn't stellar, and the story wasn't captivating, but it was sweet.

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas DID NOT FINISH
My status updates on Goodreads went something like this....

*bangs head against table*
*throws book against wall*

Okay. What Stiefvater book should I read next?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Maximum Ride: My Feelings Then and Now

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, #1)
Why is the actual title so tiny??

This isn't officially a review, but here's a short description of the book, as seen on Goodreads.
Six unforgettable kids — with no families, no homes — are running for their lives. Max Ride and her best friends have the ability to fly. And that's just the beginning of their amazing powers. But they don't know where they come from, who's hunting them, why they are different from all other humans... and if they're meant to save mankind — or destroy it.

If you've read my post about audiobooks, you'll know that I've recently been trying to get into them. You all gave me some great recommendations(Unfortunately, my library doesn't have the HP series on audio). But I ended up settling on listening to The Angel Experiment by James Patterson.
Why? This series was my FAVORITE when I was in Middle School. I thought it would be great to listen to an old favorite, that maybe my attention wouldn't waver from the story like I thought it would. I'll be honest with you. It didn't.
Because I couldn't criticize the story without listening to it.
I didn't finish this book the second time around. And I've come to the realization that my Middle School self had different tastes and opinions than my current self.
What's that? You want to me to provide some examples? Well, if you insist...
Here are my opinions on....
Middle School self: OMGersh, so exciting!
Current, sarcastic self: While hearing everyone talk to each other about the same things for 10 chapters is exhilarating, some action might be good right now.
Mostly, it's just...

Middle School self: I want to be JUST. LIKE. HER.
Elder, enlightened self: Eh, she's kinda cool, I guess. Funny, too. But she talks a lot. And likes to tell us how bad their situation is and how much the flock needs her, and how they have to save Angel. I wanted to bonk her on the head and say, "Too much thinking. Not enough doing."
Middle School self: Ooh, he's so mysterious and cool! I just don't know what the flock would do without him! He's so Fangalicious!(I kid. I never used that word.)
Bitterer, more cynical self: All he does is brood. Why is he so broody? Is something wrong with his tongue?

(source) Hey, Mister Grumpy Gills.
Middle School self: This is so brilliant and funny and easy to read!
Wiser self: What is this repetitive trash? It's the same thing, dragging on and on...
Middle School self: *gasps* I LOVE ALL OF THESE PEOPLE!
Older, more mature self: This is so unnecessary. Why must I listen to Fang and Nudge have a meaningless(one-sided) conversation when I could be in Max's head while she's supposedly saving the day?
Middle School self:
Current self: SWIM. AWAY.
*Hangs head* I know. I'm being snarky.
I got through maybe the first quarter of the book and decided that I wouldn't spoil my feelings towards the rest of the series. While the part that I reread was agonizing, I want the flock to stay awesome in my memory.
Now, if you'll excuse, I'm going to go find a dark corner to weep in. I'm sorry if I've bruised any feelings.

Have you ever revisited a childhood favorite and been disappointed?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Liebster Award

I have been nominated by Heather, Alexa, and Katie for the Liebster Award! Thanks, you guys!
The Rules:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Give your readers 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions from the blog who nominated you.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award.
  5. Come up with 11 questions for your nominees!
The Facts:
  1. I think beans are evil. Bad, bad beans.
  2. I'm a high school graduate (whoop!)
  3. I'm planning on majoring in English with a career goal to become an editor.
  4. I have no major aspirations to become a published author. *shrugs*
  5. Kristoff from Frozen is my Disney double.
  6. I never paint my nails, because nail polish, ew....
  7. I see numbers 1-9 with genders and personalities. (It's not synesthesia. It's an overactive imagination. Really.)
  8. 7 is my favorite number because he's such a gentlemen.
  9. I prefer a simple chocolate chip cookie over most desserts.
  10. I'm really hankering for a cookie right now.
  11. I'm going to go get a cookie.
I'm back! *Licks fingers*

Now, as I was nominated by 3 bloggers, I'll be answering 33 questions. Here we go.

Heather's questions:

  1. What blog post are you most proud of? The ones I haven't written yet? No, okay, maybe Writer Struggles: When Your Story's Not as Good as You Thought it Was.
  2. Do you find knees super disgusting? (side note: KNEES ARE SO DISGUSTING HOLY CRAP WHY) I'm rather fond of my knees, but they do stick out oddly, SO YES.
  3. What are you currently listening to, or what did you most recently listen to? Most recently, I think was Marc Broussard? Or Phillip Phillips?
  4. Do you like warm hugs? NO TOUCHY. Okay, fine. From a select group of people, yes.
  5. What is your favorite movie? One? Haha, that's good. The Sound of Music, Pirates of the Caribbean, Into the Woods, The Princess Bride, The Kid...
    Source If you haven't seen this, PLEASE go watch it now!
  6. What is your favorite snack to make? Grilled chocolate sandwiches are quite delightful and easy to make. As are cookies.
  7. If you were going to sum up your blog in three words, what would they be? So very awesome. Duh.
  8. Have you ever seen a production on stage? I've seen Children's/Teen's productions of The Music Man and Rapunzel. That's it, unfortunately.
  9. What’s the best thing that happened to you this week? I got a job! Just for 3 weeks, but yay!!!
  10. What’s your favorite book tag? *mumbles incoherently*
  11. If you could say one thing to anyone, what would you say to whom? I would tell this one girl I made fun of(kind of) in fourth grade that I am so sorry.
Alexa's questions:

  1. What is your favorite ice cream? Moose tracks! Or Peanut Butter Cup.
  2. What do you do to relax? Read :)
  3. How many siblings do you have? 2, but I don't usually claim them.....(kidding! kidding....)
  4. Have you ever had your own room? I have my own room, but I didn't always.
  5. Dogs or cats? (psst, the answer is dogs) I....use to love dogs, but now... I mean, come on! They drool and stuff! And they're always in the way! And they shed. And they really like me. *shudders* Honestly, I never want pets, but I think I'd have to go with cats over dogs.
  6. Can you think of a single best day of your life? The day I got baptized at bible camp in the middle of the night!
  7. Do you have an all-time favorite quote/motto? This quote fromo Francis Chan is a real eye opener. “It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace.”  
  8. Do you have a favorite album? I...no. No, not really. I can't give a favorite, but I've most recently been listening to Phillip Phillips' and Sara Bareilles' albums.
  9. Do you hate, hate, HATE talking on the phone too? I use to DESPISE talking on the phone. I've gotten more comfortable, but I still hate picking up someone else's phone when it rings.
  10.  What do you think is the prettiest animal in the universe (note: I did not say your favorite. I said the prettiest). I don't know about pretty, but wolves are beautiful creatures.

  11. And to continue the indecision, what are your four favorite books? (blame Bailey, she started it!) *whines* Baileyyy. Alexaa!! Fine. I am going to twist my answer to include books/series, because seriously?? Okay. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The Mark of the Lion trilogy by Francine Rivers. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Aaaand, I'm second guessing myself. Moving on, then. (**I had to edit this post just to include Jane Eyre. You see what a terrible question this is??) Now. Moving on.
Katie's questions:
- Why do you write? Because I enjoy it and there's no way I'll ever be able to stop the story ideas.
- If any fictional character could be your best friend, who would it be? This is going to sound cliché, but Harry Potter! Harry is my favorite YA protagonist. He's brave, he's humble, and he's a great friend, but he's not perfect(which would be an annoying trait in a best friend).
- What's one really weird dream you've had? I was chased through a jungle by men with raspberry faces wearing green jumpsuits. There's more, but I think that's enough weird.
- If you found a portal that could transport you to any fictional world of your choice, where would you go? Maybe the alternate reality in Ted Dekker's Circle series? Or maybe Bayern from Shannon Hales's Books of Bayern.
- Paperback or Kindle? Why? Paperback. I just like the feel of a book. But I do love my nook.
- What's one post you've written that you're most proud of? I answered this question above, but here's a random post: The Night Circus
- What's an interesting quirk that you have? I don't know if you would call this a quirk, but I can twist both my arms all the way around....
- Can you share a picture of your bookshelf? (More commonly known as: a #shelfie.) 

This is a recent upgrade :D

- What are three things on your bucketlist? Or do you even have a bucketlist? My bucket list is pretty lame. Like, 'eat ice cream for breakfast!' Actually...I'm not sure...what else to put...
- How old were you when you started writing? I started at 13 and gave up shortly after. I think I started again at 15?
- Share the last sentence of your WIP with us! Hmm, it's pretty lame. "I gave him a tight smile as he pulled me up." My first sentence is better, in my opinion. "Ms. Pempsky's wig had gone missing." :)

I nominate Jessica @ Bookish Serendipity, Keturah @ Keturah's Corner, H.M. Wilson @ Plottinger Twist, Rcubed @ Random Rants by Rcubed, and anyone else who wants to do this!

My questions:

- What's one place you've always wanted to go to, but have never been?
- Your favorite genre to read?
- What is your BIGGEST pet peeve?
- Your favorite TV show?
- What is the grossest thing you've ever eaten?
- If you could choose one author to sit down and have a chat/interview with, who would it be?
- Tell us your favorite joke.
- What is your favorite word and why?
- Who is your favorite protagonist? In any novel, any movie, etc.
- If you had to be trapped on a deserted island with one person, who would that person be?
- If your name were an acronym, what would it stand for?

Feel free to answer one of my questions in the comments!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mailbox Monday 6-22-15

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at To Be Continued and is now hosted at its own blog.
Happy Monday, everyone! It is a very happy Monday for me, as I have welcomed over 20 books to my bookshelf these past few weeks. Here they are.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: One dollar. Ooonne dolllaaarr.

The Pawn by Steven James: I've already read this, yes, but I couldn't resist. Onnneee dolllaaaarrr.
Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall: Guess how much this one cost. Guess.
The Cranford Chronicles by Elizabeth Gaskell: Again. Super duper cheap.
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See: If you're wondering where I got all these books: multiple thrift stores.
No Wind of Blame by Georgette Heyer: I didn't come away with much clothes, but...books! (6 books for 7 dollars. Sevvveeeeenn dolllaaarrrrsss!)
The King by Steven James: Stole it from my dad. (He finished it!)
Mitford Years #1-4 by Jan Karon: A gift from my aunt.
Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund: A review copy. Thanks, Bethany House!
When Shovels Break by Michael Shank: Christian nonfiction and sequel to Muscle and a Shovel.
Praying Dangerously by Gary Holloway: Another Christian Nonfiction.
Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke: A graduation gift.
I also received a BUNCH of Christian Fiction from my grandma. :)
West Texas Sunrise #2-4 by Paul Bagdon
Drums of Change by Janette Oke
Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond
The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble
Refuge by Lisa Tawn Bergren
What's new in your mailbox?

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genres: Adult; Historical Fiction; Fantasy
Pages: 387
The Night Circus

I really couldn't do the book justice with a description of my own, so....

Goodreads Description:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called "Le Cirque des Reves," and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
My review:
 Okay. Wow.
This was...so unlike anything I've ever read. I'm enthralled by this book. Let me tell you why.

At first, seemingly, there is no plot.... Our story jumps back and forth in time and to different characters. To where the circus is up and running and back before it existed. And even after that. Once the book is finished you may not realize it, but you just read through years of the circus's history. It's kind of hard to keep up with, but I'm telling you it's worth it. (Just a tip: Take note of the date when each chapter takes place).
With several characters and times to work with, Morgenstern expertly weaves together a complex, magical story with an entirely unique concept. And yes, there is a plot. (And it doesn't largely have to do with romance, even though the description makes it seem that way. :P Though the romance is still important.)
I know it took many people awhile to get into, but I was captured from the start. Curiosity spurred me on, even if the plot was slow-moving. And the writing.
The Night Circus was so cleverly written, even lyrical at times. It's written in Third Person Present Tense with small snippets of Second Person narrative at the beginning of each part, and I was blown away by the author's ability to write so expertly in both tenses. It's true. Erin Morgenstern is a master wordsmith.
This book is magic. A Top Favorite of 2015.
Content: I don't remember exactly, but there might have been some mild language; one kind of intimate scene, can easily be skipped over; Recommended for everyone 15+.

Look at me, reviewing Adult Fiction! And yesterday I talked about not reading enough variety.
So tell me. What's one of the most recent books you've read that completely swept you off your feet? 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Genre Exploring and a Massive To-Read List

Hi, all! I haven't been quite so active these past few weeks, so I apologize for that. Today I come to you with a dilemma.

You see...my to-read list...is gargantuan. It's all Goodreads' fault, really. You fellow users know what I'm talking about. Recommendations for every genre. Friends posting reviews, making you want every book. Listopia. Group reads and buddy reads that sound too good to pass up.

Not to mention the bloggers! Spotlighting every new release. Reviewing every book under the sun! When does it end?

And then there's my insatiable desire, no, my need to know all of these things. For what purpose? I don't know. I guess if I can't read all of the books(Sadness!) I can at least have knowledge of them.

Okay, so it is silly. But this is me not caring.

Actually, this is Anna Kendrick. But, hey, you get my gist.
At least I know what I'm looking for when I go to the library. Haha. Those shelf-browsers are so cute.
So, that's my dilemma. And there's really no solution to it, unless I drop everything else in my life to read 24/7.

So....moving on to my other problem. I've become....discontent with my to-read list. Not with the size of it, but with its variety. As in, there's hardly any. At least, there was hardly any before I decided to try and rectify that.

When I was 12 or so I stepped into the Young Adult section of the library. To be honest, It kind of scared me. Still does sometimes. But I started reading YA, loved it, and continue to read the genre today.

At 13 I was introduced to the world of Christian Fiction. Well, Christian Adult Fiction. I had read some Christian Teen Fiction(Christy Miller, anyone?) but it was time for a change. I started with Lori Wick, moving on to Ted Dekker and Karen Kingsbury, then trying Colleen Coble.... I ate these books up!

I think I was 15 when I started getting into the classics. Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens... It was a stretch from my usual fare but I found that I really enjoyed those too.

Every now and then, very rarely, I would pick up a book that didn't fit into any of these categories. I was reading variety, but I was still reading way more Christian and YA fiction than anything else. Fast-forward a year and I decide I want to do something crazy. That is, start a book blog!


Anywho. I did! It was so exciting! I planned out a few posts, set everything up(I had no idea what I was doing) and then...I lied to you.

I'm sorry, okay! It was just that...in my about page...I kind of said that I would review a variety of genres. I believe that I included YA, Middle Grade(FAIL), Adult(I was thinking secular when I wrote this...FAIL), Contemporary, Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi,(FAIL) Fantasy, Mystery(Meh).....and others among these.....FAIL.

You probably don't even care. I realize that if you already read the reviews I post, then you probably read one of those particularly genres a lot(I think most of my readers fall into the YA category).

But I care. I care deeply.

Thing is, I really love all of these genres. And I thought it would be really cool if I got to review all of them on my shiny new blog.

That, my dear readers, is my new goal. Er....new old goal. Whatever. It's a goal and I'm going to reach it. I. Am. Genre Exploring.

I've also added a poll to the blog where I ask you what genres you'd like to see reviewed. I can't promise you anything, but I'd like to get your feedback. And if you have any other suggestions, leave them in the comments! Maybe recommend a book in that particular genre.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

My rating: 5 of 5 stars(4.5 stars)
Genres: Christian Fiction; Historical; Romance
Pages: 375

Hearts Made Whole (Beacons of Hope, #2)

"You're qualified to get married, bear children, and manage your household," is what Caroline Taylor is told after being wrested from her job as lighthouse keeper. She enjoys her job; it keeps her and her younger siblings fed and sheltered. But with a new keeper being appointed, their future is uncertain.

Ryan Chambers, a seemingly broken man and a Civil War veteran, has come to Windmill Point seeking a fresh start. He's secured the position as the new lighthouse keeper, but an unyielding woman and his own incompetence keep getting in the way. Both are drawn to the other, but can they look past their differences and help each other heal?

This was my first novel by Jody Hedlund and I really think she's one of the more talented Christian Fiction authors out there. Hearts Made Whole captured my attention from the start and didn't let me go until the very end.

Caroline's situation easily garnered my sympathy. After tragic circumstances, she must take the role as provider for her family. But in 1865 Michigan it just isn't proper that a woman hold the position as lighthouse keeper. The value of family is a strong theme in this book, which I appreciated, and was glad to see Caroline fight for hers.

Ryan was an interesting character for sure. He comes to Windmill Point a wounded man, physically and spiritually. Though slightly predictable, I eagerly read Caroline's and Ryan's stories, and it was so fun to see how they intertwined. There were mix-ups and misunderstandings, but I love how everything was settled in the end. I admit, I really didn't expect that twist at the end. It made me wince, I was so surprised, but Ms. Hedlund expertly wove it in.

Overall, Hearts Made Whole is a sweet romance, with a heartwarming message of hope and grace for the sinner that turns to God.

“We can't do anything on our own to be righteous. But when we turn to Him, He'll fill us with His goodness.”  

Content: Kissing; embracing; all the emotions. Nothing overly detailed, but recommend for girls 15+.

**I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Many thanks to Bethany House.

View all my reviews / Amazon link / Author Site

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Books I'd Love to See as Movies or TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

 This week's topic is "Ten Books I'd Love to See as Movies or TV Shows." I'll be honest. I didn't even count this time.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

The Naming by Alison Croggon

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

The Patrick Bowers Files by Steven James(would make a great tv series, if not several movies!)

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer(I know I'm not alone on this)

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson(see how it affected me?)

Safe Lands trilogy by Jill Williamson

The Circle series by Ted Dekker(please oh please oh please oh please)

The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke(they made Inkheart into a movie and just stopped there...)

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl(Back me up here, fellow Imps!!)

The Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn(what I've wanted since I was ELEVEN. These books are just near and dear to my heart.)

River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine(It's already a movie. And I admit that I liked it. But it needs an ACCURATE representation.)

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery(It needs to be remade so that every book has its own movie. Am I right?)

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen(again, already a movie, but it needs a BETTER one.)

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin

These are my choices. What are yours? Feel free to leave a link to your own Top Ten Tuesday!