Wednesday, October 30, 2013

BOOK HAUL [October 2013]


1. Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth
2. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
3. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
4. Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
5. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
6. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
7. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
8. Velveteen by Daniel Marks
9. Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay
10. The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan
11. Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken


12. The Transfer (Divergent #0.1) by Veronica Roth

My physical TBR shelf keeps growing and growing! Did you guys buy any good books this month? What was your favorite purchase?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

TAG: This or That?

The This or That TAG was created by Youtube's AurasBookBox and consists of fourteen book-related questions that beg to be answered.

Happy Tuesday!

1. Audiobook or book in hand? I will always, always, always prefer the physical copy of a book to an audio or eBook.

2. Soft cover or hardback? Hardbacks are sturdier and definitely prettier, in my opinion, though I am not too picky (it usually just depends on whether one costs more—I am a poor college student, after all—and whether or not it matches the other books in the series that I currently own). If I had to pick, however, I would probably choose a hardback over a flimsy, soft cover version.

3. Fiction or nonfiction? Fiction, usually, though I have been known to pick up and enjoy a nonfiction or two.

4. Fantasy world or real-life issues? Both. I enjoy fluffy, contemporary nonsense as much as the next girl, but I am also prone to falling head-over-heels in love with fantastical stories about witches and wizards and pillowcase-wearing elves.

5. Harry Potter or Twilight? Harry Potter. No competition.

6. Kindle, iPad or other? Unfortunately, I cannot afford an iPad (again; poor college student = no money for frivolous amenities). I did receive a Kindle for my birthday last year, however, and am kind of in love.

7. Borrow or buy? Buy. There is just something about owning a book, calling it yours, that is so much more appealing than borrowing from a library or friend. Though I am not beyond doing either of those things.

8. Bookstore or online? I love the feeling of walking into a bookstore, pursuing the shelves, and walking out with a book (or two or ten) in hand but, honestly, I am not able to venture to our nearest bookstore too often. So, online book shopping is what I usually turn to. Plus, the books online are, most oftentimes, cheaper.

9. Stand-alone or series/trilogy? Both. Sometimes I crave the development and complexity of a series or trilogy, and sometimes I just want a no-nonsense stand-alone that I can read and enjoy without making any sort of commitment.

10. Monster read or short-and-sweet? Depends on the book. If I am in a mood for a light, fluffy contemporary, I like for the books to be short and to-the-point. I prefer my action-y books to be long and full of adventure.

11. Starry-eyed romance or full of action? I have already stated this a million times, and will again for the benefit of this TAG; I am absolutely, under no circumstances, a fan of Insta!Love. That said, I do enjoy the occasional romance, so long as the story/characters possess development and depth. I also enjoy suspenseful, action-packed stories as well, preferably with a little romance mixed in. So, I guess my answer is: both, as long as I find what I am reading tolerable and enjoyable.

12. Curl up in your Snuggie or bathe in the sun? I find it a tad difficult to concentrate on reading when I am out in the sun, as my preferred sunbathing method is lying down, closing my eyes, and listening to some music. When I take a book out—which is not often—I cannot seem to focus and continually find myself rereading paragraphs or pages that I have already read a million times. Apparently my brain cannot soak up words and sun at the same time (multi-tasker I am not). However, I adore burying myself beneath a pile of blankets and reading the day or night away.

13. Hot chocolate or Latte? Neither. I am not usually a fan of chocolate, and have never had a Latte. Perhaps a can of Doctor Pepper and some popcorn?

14. Read the review or decide for yourself? When I am buying a book—or even adding it to my Goodread's TBR shelf—I always look at the ratings and snippets of what people are saying about the book in their reviews. I try never to see something that will spoil the plot for me, but I have a hard time dishing out money for something that I might not like. After I have decided to buy the book, and have read it, I usually write down my thoughts on the read and decide for myself what I thought (with maybe a little input from other GR members).

What do you prefer?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they update their blog with a list of ten things that have to do with a predetermined topic.

This week's topic is: What are ten character names you love or consider unusual?

I went ahead and chose my favorite names; some of which are also unique. BONUS!

1. Tessa from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.
2. Elliott from Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin.
3. Percy from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.
4. Auden from Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.
5. Liam from The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken.
6. Ellie from Avalon High by Meg Cabot.
7. Celia from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
8. Beatrice from Divergent by Veronica Roth.
9. Noah from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.
10. Will (William) from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.

I think, of all of the names listed above, the one I am most obsessed with and am seriously considering as a name for my future daughter is Auden. What about you; what are you favorite literary names?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September 2013 Wrap-up [spoiler free!]

September was a month filled with average reads and beautiful covers. As well as one very spectacular novel.


1. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett. Deciding to start off September with some paranormal romance, I picked up The Nightmare Affair after seeing it sitting on a shelf during one of my (many) excursions to Barnes & Noble. It was cover-love at first sight! The worst kind of Insta! Love, amiright? The book was actually not too bad, however, and I found myself eating up the magical-girl-inherits-creepy-power premise. Also, there was some Arthurian legend talk, which I am never not in the mood for, so, bonus! I would have definitely liked to learn more about Dusty's world and experience a bit more of her school and the places around it, but I definitely plan on reading the second book, The Nightmare Dilemma (which is out next year). Hopefully the ending will not be as easy to figure out.


2. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne. This book was probably my least favorite of the month, simply because there was so much potential with a follow-through that left much to be desired. The book was not bad or anything, don't get me wrong, but I was hoping for a little bit more. This, THIS was what I wanted The Kill Order (written by James Dashner) to cover; the apocalypse as it was happening. However, Emmy Laybourne's writing was not able to fully convey the horror and devastation that is sure to come along with the end of the world. Instead we get some rather unlikable (sorrynotsorry) characters and a male lead who is so awkward, he actually makes me embarrassed for him. And not in a good way (IS there a good way to be embarrassed for someone? I have no idea). The story did have some good qualities, but I was so consumed by thoughts of how if THIS plot were paired with DASHNER'S writing, it would have been an absolute hit, so I was not able to enjoy it to the full extent. I do plan on continuing the series, as I am quite curious to see where the story goes, but I am not expecting much.


3. Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. Oh, goodness, that cover... *drools* Apart from the complete lack of world-building, the characters in this story were very likable (a certain blonde in particular ;), and I really enjoyed how realistic and believable it was. Araby was relatable and I enjoyed watching her go from someone that will stand on a roof and contemplate death to a young woman who wants to live and is willing to fight for herself and the people she loves. Elliott was delicious, and even Will managed to remain a favorite of mine (until the end, that is). I look forward to reading the next book in this duo, Dance of the Red Death. Definitely expect a full review of these books when I am finished.


4. Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman. The lone contemporary in my stack of post-apocalyptic, paranormal romance. This particular book has been on my TBR list for quite some time, so you can imagine the excitement I experienced at finally purchasing the novel and receiving it in the mail. I really enjoyed the whole anonymous blogger angle, but the follow-through was, well, not very good. I will admit that Weyland was kind of adorable, but Erin's whole "wanting to be Chinese" obsession was a tad strange and weighed down the story. Overall, I liked the book, but probably not enough to pick it up again anytime soon.


5. 100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner. This cute little gem is full of one hundred different kinds of ghosts; from an expecting mother, a llama, and a... nudist? Just read it. You'll laugh, I promise.


6. The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick Ness. THIS BOOK. THE FEELS. I JUST. ASKFLASKSDLF.

This was definitely my favorite read of the month, even though it took me the longest to get through. I have become so emotionally attached to these characters, Todd in particular, that I am dreading having to finish the series and be without anymore of this amazing world and its inhabitants. I have Monsters of Men at the ready (maybe I will read it before October comes to an end?), and I am sure that an entire series review will be posted once I have completed the trilogy and all of the novellas that come between.


7. Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block. In a word, this book was... confusing. I had absolutely no idea what was going on 90% of the time, the plot/mish-mash of genres did not help the situation, and I definitely did not enjoy this as much as I was hoping. Especially considering how in love I was with the cover...


8. The Wide, Wide Sea (Chaos Walking #2.5) by Patrick Ness. I read this novella shortly after completing book two and, I have to say, it was pretty interesting. I was so used to seeing things from Todd's point-of-view—hearing the way he speaks and thinks—so reading from the POV of someone else was pretty weird but quite eye-opening. I especially liked how we were able to see some human/Spackle interaction and get some information on what each side thought of the other before the war ravaged New World. Again, I will probably be doing an in-depth review once I have completed the entire series.

. . . . 

September Stats:

Read 7 books (and one novella)
Read 2,250 pages

Upcoming Releases:

House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan -- October 8, 2013
Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken -- October 15, 2013
When Did You See Her Last? (All the Wrong Questions #2) by Lemony Snicket -- October 15, 2013
Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth -- October 22, 2013

So many good books coming out this month! Which ones are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Turn-Offs

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they update their blog with a list of ten things that have to do with a predetermined topic.

This week's topic is: What are your top ten book turn-offs?

1. Insta! Love. I am all for cute, squee-worthy interactions between characters, but I absolutely cannot stand Insta! Love. I like to see relationships develop, rather than watching the characters (or, most oftentimes, the female lead) jump into something so quickly, only to have her heart broken when she is snubbed. Also, back-and-forth tends to occur; meaning that we experience a lot of "I love him, I hate him" and annoying fight and make-out make-up scenes throughout the rest of the story.

2. Editing mistakes and cheesy, clichéd or overused words/phrases. I am particularly sensitive to editing mistakes—perhaps because I am an English major?—so, of course, one of my biggest pet peeves is finding grammar and simple editing mistakes in a published work. Granted, once you read something enough times it becomes difficult to pick certain things out of a group of words—I do this all the time as well—but for some reason, I become really annoyed. Also, overused and clichéd words/phrases are the bane of my existence.

3. When the author/main character lays everything out for you. There is nothing more annoying than being spoken down to. Even worse, when you have to experience 300+ pages of condescension. I HATE that. I liked to be challenged; to figure things out for myself rather than being told what is happening or that something is important and will be relevant later on.

4. Predictability. I am someone who likes suspense, as you probably gathered from my previous turn-off, so I loathe being able to predict the ending of a story before it happens. Sometimes it works, but I will always enjoy the feeling you get after an insane, surprise ending.

5. A weak or whiny hero/heroine who undergoes zero character development. A story without character development is a pretty big no-no to begin with, but when that character is a whiny or weak pain-in-the-ass, it makes the story completely unbearable. They get on my nerves so easily and, oftentimes, I find characters like this completely unrelatable. You would not put up with a friend that continually whines about their love life and the fact that nothing seems to go their way—especially when they make absolutely no attempt to change or correct the problem(s)—would you? A character in a story is no different.

6. Poor execution. You know that feeling you get, when you stumble upon a book that seems perfect; with its amazing cover and interesting summary? But then you take it home and it is all downhill from there. I hate the disappointment you experience after realizing that the actual story is not quite as awesome as you had originally thought.

7. When characters make stupid choices. Meaning, they posses a complete lack of common sense. YOU WERE TOLD NOT TO TRUST HIM. WHY ARE YOU TRUSTING HIM?! /throwsbookacrosstheroom

8. Awful flow/transitions and poor world-building. Sometimes it is hard to follow a story when the flow is off, because transitions are what take us from the beginning of the story to the resolution. It also does not help when there is a lack of proper world-building, because then I have absolutely no idea what is going on and when/where.

9. Unrealistic or over-the-top actions. This one speaks for itself, I think. I enjoy reading about characters that I can relate to, so when their actions are unrealistic, such as making a decision that does not pertain to the problem at hand or having a crazy reaction to something that has happened/is going to happen, it becomes difficult to lose myself within their story; which is one of the best parts of reading.

10. Lack of a theme. I like stories to have depth, so when I find a book that does not posses a strong theme, I am immediately turned off. (I especially dislike the books about teenagers having random sex in an attempt to find "the one," only to realize that they are falling in love with their best friend and/or sex partner; as that seems to happen quite often in Young Adult contemporaries novels, and I am so over it.)

What are your bookish turn-offs? Anything on my list that you can relate to? Let me know!