Happy Book Birthday To… (#25)

Happy Book Birthday To...

“Happy Book Birthday To…” is a feature I created in April 2015 to showcase books that have just been released. The purpose of the posts is to celebrate book releases and share my excitement for them. These posts won’t be made on a regular schedule (like once a week, once a month, etc). Instead, they will be made whenever a lot of books on my TBR are being released on one day and/or when a highly anticipated book from my TBR is released. To find the links to my previous Book Birthday posts, go here.


Caraval

caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber

Series: Caraval #1

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 416

Synopsis: Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Goodreads Barnes & Noble Amazon


Wires and Nerve, Volume 1

wires-and-nerve-volume-1

Author: Marissa Meyer (illustrations by Douglas Holgate)

Series: Wires and Nerve #1

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novels, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 208

Synopsis: In her first graphic novel, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marissa Meyer follows Iko, the beloved android from the Lunar Chronicles, on a dangerous and romantic new adventure — with a little help from Cinder and the Lunar team.

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

Goodreads Barnes & Noble Amazon


Are either of these books on your TBR? Which one are you most excited to read? Let me know in the comments!

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Try a Chapter Tag

try-a-chapter-tag

Hi guys! Today I’m here with a tag – which is something I haven’t done in awhile! I was trying to look for my next read (before I started to get into a reading slump) and I had no idea what I wanted to read. I know that there are several books on my shelves I really want to read but I’m not sure which specific book I want to go with. That’s why I decided to do this tag! This tag was created by BookParadise on Youtube and I’m excited to give it a go!

The Rules:

  • Choose at least 5 books that you have been meaning to read
  • Read the first chapter of each book (prologue included)
  • Decide if you want to continue with the book or if you’re going to set it aside for now

Book #1: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

My Thoughts:

Out of the 6 books I read for this tag, this one had the shortest first chapter (only 7 pages). My first impression of this book was that it had very beautiful, descriptive writing. However, this writing style took a bit longer for me to read and process. Not that this is a bad thing, it was just something I noticed! In addition, I thought it was interesting how the main character’s curse was due to her horoscope. I thought that this was very unique and it left me wanting to know more about this world! Lastly, I thought the way the first chapter ended was very mysterious – the main character couldn’t see her own shadow!

Verdict: Definitely a contender

Book #2: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away.

My Thoughts:

This was a very faced-paced first chapter! It had a lot of action straight off the bat and also some backstory as well. The main character, Katsa, was rescuing a prisoner from another king’s dungeon and knocking out guards left and right! She is one of the few people who are Graced, which means they have some sort of ability. Katsa has the ability to kill very easily, but she doesn’t necessarily like this ability. In this first chapter we learn that she first killed a man when she was only 8 years old and that her uncle, the king, decided to keep her around instead of executing her because he knew that one day he could use her abilities to further his own cause. I really enjoyed this first chapter! I felt like we learned a lot in these 13 pages, but not too much!

Verdict: Definitely a contender

Book #3: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The Girl from Everywhere

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day. Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters. She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love. Or she could disappear.

My Thoughts:

This was a pretty interesting first chapter, but also a bit confusing as well. This book is about time travel and it seems like in order for them to travel, they must obtain a map of the place they want to go to. This is an interesting concept but the way it was executed in the first chapter kind of confused me – I’m still not exactly sure how it works. However, I’m sure the concept would become clearer to me if I continued on with the story. I did enjoy that before the first chapter there was a map of the place the characters were currently in. Also, I saw before chapter 2 that there was a different map so I’m hoping this is a recurring theme! I absolutely love maps in books! However, while this was interesting, the first chapter alone wasn’t interesting enough for me to continue on with right now. I hope to pick it up sometime in the future though!

Verdict: Setting aside for now

Book #4: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

ink-and-bone

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

My Thoughts:

This book had the longest beginning of all 6 books – and probably even longer than any book I’ve ever read. The prologue alone was 20 pages! The first chapter itself was 27 pages. I was 10 pages into the book when I realized this and as it wasn’t holding my interest at all, I knew I couldn’t read all 47 pages. I don’t know when I’ll be continuing on with this book. It definitely has an interesting premise but not something I currently want to read.

Verdict: Setting aside for now

Book #5: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

the-bone-season

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

My Thoughts:

I decided on page 8 out of the 19 page first chapter that this was not the book I wanted to read right now. There was way too much going on (unfamiliar words, concepts, etc) that I couldn’t wrap my mind around it all. While I’m not in the mood for this book right now, hopefully sometime in the future I will be!

Verdict: Setting aside for now

Book #6: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

iron-cast

In 1919, Ada Navarra—the intrepid daughter of immigrants—and Corinne Wells—a spunky, devil-may-care heiress—make an unlikely pair. But at the Cast Iron nightclub in Boston, anything and everything is possible. At night, on stage together, the two best friends, whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art, weave magic under the employ of Johnny Dervish, the club’s owner and a notorious gangster. By day, Ada and Corinne use these same skills to con the city’s elite in an attempt to keep the club afloat.

When a “job” goes awry and Ada is imprisoned, she realizes they’re on the precipice of danger. Only Corinne—her partner in crime—can break her out of Haversham Asylum. But once Ada is out, they face betrayal at every turn.

My Thoughts:

This first chapter was very interesting! It starts off in the year 1919 in an asylum for criminals with “afflicted” blood. Our first main character, Corinne, is supposedly starting her first shift as a nurse at the asylum where one of her patients is our second main character, Ada. Shortly after, we learn that Corinne and Ada are best friends and Corinne has come to the asylum to break Ada out. I really enjoyed this chapter! When I read the synopsis, it seemed like this asylum bit would happen later in the novel and not in the first chapter. It left me wondering how and why Ada ended up in the asylum, why people with “afflicted” blood are treated so poorly, and what abilities Ada and others like her have. I really, really want to know more!

Verdict: Definitely a contender


And the book I decided to continue on with is…

iron-cast

I’m really excited to read more of Iron Cast!! If you’ve read this book, let me know in the comments what you thought of it. No spoilers please!!


Instead of tagging specific people, I tag anyone who is struggling to pick their next read. Hopefully this tag is as helpful to you as it was for me! If you end up doing the tag, please leave a link to your post in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday | 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which you give ten answers to the topic for the week. To find a list of upcoming topics, go here. This week’s topic is “Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To (But TOTALLY plan to).” I haven’t done a TTT post in a really long time (since February 23, 2016 to be exact) so I thought it was about time I joined in again! The following list is in no particular order.


1. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The Girl from Everywhere

2. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands

3. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen

4. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown's Game

5. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song

6. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

The Beauty of Darkness

7. Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson

Like a River Glorious

8. A Million Worlds with You by Claudia Gray

a-million-worlds-with-you

9. Timekeeper by Tara Sim

timekeeper

10. Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes

crystal-storm


Are there any 2016 releases you didn’t get the chance to read yet but really want to? Let me know in the comments and/or link me to your Top Ten Tuesday post for the week!

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Review: The Rose & the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

the-rose-the-dagger

The Rose and the Dagger

Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #2

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication Date: April 26, 2016

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 416

Synopsis: In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

my-thoughts-2

Wow, what an amazing conclusion to a fantastic duology! What drew me in in The Wrath & the Dawn was the beautiful writing, the interesting world, and the spectacular characters. These things continued (and were expanded upon) in The Rose & the Dagger.

I enjoyed so many aspects of this book but to start off, I have to note that it was very interesting to see more of the characters that were in The Wrath & the Dawn but had played a smaller role in that book. In particular, I loved getting to know Shahrzad’s younger sister, Irsa. At first, Irsa was a very timid, very quiet girl. Her whole life had just been uprooted and she doesn’t really know her place in things quite yet. Throughout this book, however, she really grows as a character. She comes into her own with the help of an unexpected special someone in her life. I also enjoyed seeing even more of Despina, Jalal, and Vikram – even if they didn’t take up a lot of the focus of the book.

Another thing I really enjoyed about The Rose & the Dagger was that Khalid and Shahrzad’s love continued to grow and flourish. Even though they faced many obstacles and hardships, their love for one another never wavered. I really admired that!

The only complaint I have about this book was that at times, things were a bit slow and dragged a little. It didn’t take away too much from my overall enjoyment, but it did stop me from giving the book a full 5 star rating.

Bottom Line: This book held many twists and turns, sacrifices and heartache, & selflessness and courage. It was an emotional rollercoaster at times and it made me scared to see how it would end. Overall, I loved it so much. I would highly, highly recommend this duology to anybody and everybody!

4-5-stars

4.5 out of 5 stars

January TBR

january-tbr-2017

Hi guys and welcome to my first TBR post of the year! As you may or may not know, I don’t post too many of these kinds of post on my blog because I’m not that great at sticking to TBR lists. However, I thought that maybe having some sort of plan for each month will help me complete all the reading challenges I’ve joined this year. While I’d love to be able to read more than these 7 books this month, I’ve only picked out these to start with. Hopefully I’ll be able to read them all plus a couple more! The list is in no particular order and each book title links to that book’s Goodreads page.


1-2. The Wrath & the Dawn and The Rose & the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn duology

I know I said this list is no particular order but these two actually are. At the time of publishing this post, I have already finished The Wrath & the Dawn and I’m currently reading The Rose & the Dagger. I still wanted to include them in this list because they were in my mental TBR in the beginning of the month and I just didn’t get around to publishing this post before now. The Wrath & the Dawn was actually a reread for me because I wanted to read the sequel but hardly remembered anything from the first book. I loved rereading The Wrath & the Dawn and it was even better than I remembered! (More thoughts at the end of the month in my January wrap up post.)

3-4. Frozen Tides & Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes

frozen-tides-crystal-storm

This month I really want to reread Frozen Tides before diving into the next book in the series, Crystal Storm. I first read Frozen Tides this time last year and my memory is a bit fuzzy so I want to be reminded of the events of Frozen Tides before continuing on with the series. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next!!

5-6. The Heart of Betrayal & The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

the-heart-of-betrayal-the-beauty-of-darkness

I’m continuing on the theme of rereading a book to continue on with a series with these two books! I’ve been wanting to read The Beauty of Darkness since it came out but I just haven’t gotten around to rereading The Heart of Betrayal yet. I first read The Heart of Betrayal in August of 2015 so I definitely need a refresher! I’m hoping I’ll finally be able to finish the Remnant Chronicles trilogy this month!

7. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown's Game

Another book I plan on reading in January is The Crown’s Game! It’s the group read for TGTRAT’s January theme of Russia. (TGTRAT = The Great Twitter Readathon, a Twitter-based readathon hosted by @sierraiswriting. For more information, check out the TGTRAT Twitter account.) I’m really excited to read this book since it’s been on my TBR for quite some time now!


What are some books that you want to read this month? Are we planning to read any of the same books? Let me know in the comments!

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Happy Book Birthday To… (#24)

Happy Book Birthday To...

“Happy Book Birthday To…” is a feature I created in April 2015 to showcase books that have just been released. The purpose of the posts is to celebrate book releases and share my excitement for them. These posts won’t be made on a regular schedule (like once a week, once a month, etc). Instead, they will be made whenever a lot of books on my TBR are being released on one day and/or when a highly anticipated book from my TBR is released. To find the links to my previous Book Birthday posts, go here.


The Cursed Queen

the-cursed-queen

Author: Sarah Fine

Series: The Impostor Queen #2

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 432

Synopsis: Ansa has always been a fighter.

As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day the Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.

Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she tries to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.

With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

Goodreads Barnes & Noble Amazon


Happy Book Birthday to Sarah Fine and her newest novel! Is this book on your TBR? Let me know in the comments below!

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2017 Reading Challenges

2017-reading-challenges

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!! I can’t believe it’s 2017 already! To kick off the new year, I wanted to share with you guys all the reading challenges I’m going to be participating in! This year I’m trying to complete 5 different reading challenges – 4 of which I participated in last year and 1 new one. I’m going to be keeping track of my progress on this page on my blog and also either include updates in my monthly wrap ups or make a separate post at the end of each month. Let’s get started!


1. Goodreads Reading Challenge

goodreads-header

My Goal: Read 75 books

My first reading challenge of the year is, of course, the Goodreads Reading Challenge. As you may already know, each year Goodreads encourages its users to set a reading goal for the year. In previous years, I’ve set goals of 75 books, 100 books, and 70 books. As you can see above, this year I’m challenging myself to read 75 books. Since I didn’t hit my goal of 70 books last year, I didn’t want to make my 2017 goal too high. I hope I’ll be able to complete the challenge this year!

2. Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge

beat-the-backlist-header

My Goal: Read 25 backlist books

Beat the Backlist is the new reading challenge I’m participating in and I’m so excited for it! The aim of the challenge is to read books that were published before 2017 – also known as backlist books. For this challenge, you can set your own goal. As you saw above, my goal is to read 25 backlist books. Hopefully I will succeed at this reading challenge and shrink my physical TBR a bit as well! This reading challenge also has lots of other fun things including a Hogwarts House competition, scavenger hunts, Twitter chats, etc. Check out the linked post below to find out more!

For more information or to sign up, click here.

3. Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge

flights-of-fantasy-header

My Goal: Read 25 fantasy books

As you can probably tell from the title, this reading challenge is all about reading fantasy books! This is also another reading challenge where you can set your own goal. I participated in Flights of Fantasy last year and set myself a very high goal of 40 books. Unfortunately, I didn’t even come close to meeting the goal – I only read 27 fantasy books in 2016. This year, I really want to hit my goal so I decided to set a goal of only 25 books.

For more information or to sign up, click here.

4. Library Love Challenge

library-love-header

My Goal: Read 12 library books

This is another reading challenge I participated in last year (it was called I Love Libraries Reading Challenge then). As you can probably tell from the title, this reading challenge is all about reading books from the library. I love going to my local libraries (there are a few in my area). The one in particular always has a great selection and usually even has tons of new releases! When I’m not sure if I’m going to like a particular book or if I don’t have the extra money at the time to buy the book, I check it out from the library instead! Last year, I unfortunately didn’t complete the challenge. My goal was to read 36 library books and I only ended up reading 19. This year I’m shooting for the lowest level of 12 books and I really hope I’ll be able to complete it!

For more information or to sign up, click here.

5. Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

alphabet-soup-header2

My Goal: Read a book for each letter of the alphabet

The goal of this challenge is to read a book for each letter of the alphabet. To make things a bit easier, you can ignore the words “The” or “A” if they’re the first word in the title and go with the letter of the second word. For example, last year I counted The Book of Ivy as my “B” book, not my “T” book. Also, for the more challenging letters (Q, X, and Z), you can use a title that has those letters as a starting letter of ANY word in the title, not just the first word. For example, last year I counted The Impostor Queen as my “Q” book. I came SO close to completing this challenge in 2016 – I completed books for 21 out of the 26 letters of the alphabet. This year, I really hope to complete all 26!

For more information or to sign up, click here.


Are you participating in any reading challenges this year? If so, are we participating in any of the same ones? Let me know in the comments!

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