Sunday, 30 November 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (20)

On the Blog

Wednesday: Lanna was so-so about her last read


Book Haul

So, remember last week how I wasn't up for adding everything else? Well...let's show you.

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman
Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
Darkmouth: The Legends Begin by Shane Hegarty
Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher
Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider
Illusionarium by Heather Dixon 
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly 
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli
No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (birthday present from mom)
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (birthday present from mom)
Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean (purchased Kindle copy with gift card)
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre (egalley via Netgalley)

Basically everything not marked? Is from Edelweiss. Particularly from Harper. Apparently I'm really excited about their spring/summer books?

Books Read

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare 
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio 

Three AMAZING reads...unfortunately you can only read Romancing the Duke right now, but you should because it's amazing!
Upcoming Reads

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

I'm reading this one now and fairly confident I'll finish this week. But since I'm now in my last three weeks of the semester and I have 5 papers, 3 finals, and 2 oral exams between me and freedom...I'm not gonna push it.

Odds and Ends 

I had a really lovely, peaceful holiday. The snow was an irritation, but it worked in my favor by pushing me to leave for my parents' early, and therefore get some real relaxation in before the hell that will be the next few weeks. Hopefully all those celebrating had a lovely Thanksgiving too!


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Shiver the Whole Night Through by Darragh McManus

Shiver the Whole Night Through
by Darragh McManus

Summary: After months of bullying and romantic heartbreak, seventeen-year-old Aidan Flood feels just about ready to end it all. But when he wakes up one morning to find that local beauty and town sweetheart Sláine McAuley actually has, he discovers a new sense of purpose, and becomes determined to find out what happened to her. The town is happy to put it down to suicide, but then one night Aidan gets a message, scratched in ice on his bedroom window: 'I didn't kill myself.' Who is contacting him? And if Sláine didn't end her own life... who did?
 Before I start my review, it's only fair that I explain something first: I started reading this when some personal things were happening and I tried to push through the book even when worse things were happening (my grandad died last Saturday)... I just wanted to explain that, because if I'm in the wrong mood for a certain book, it will impact my overall opinion of it.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, onto the book itself...

I wanted to love this book, I really thought I would because the summary sounded awesome, but I didn't like it much. There were parts I liked, parts I hated, and a whole lot that just bored me--all of that averaged out to the book being kind of...meh, in my opinion.

The biggest issue for me was the characters. I just - I didn't care about any of them and it's impossible for me to feel invested in the story or compelled to finish it if I don't give a damn what happens to the characters.

The main character was annoying at worst and dull at best, and the love interest could have been interesting but seeing her through the filter of his eyes just snuffed out any chance of that. I don't know if that disconnect from the characters was caused by the book itself or if it's just down to what I explained at the beginning of this review, but it made the book a struggle to get through.

The was really bland, it didn't seem like the characters loved each other at all, there was no spark. They seemed like, I dunno, siblings she was his older sister or something...and a lot of the time it just seemed creepy (and I don't think it was in a way that was intended, it was obvious the parts that were meant to be creepy), there wasn't really anything romantic about the two of them together at all.

The writing was good, I'll give it that (the last three pages were especially lovely), I'd be interesting in reading other books by the author based on the writing alone.

And the plot was original, but the originality didn't make me like it...I can't explain all of the things I disliked about it without giving spoilers, all I can say really was that I was bored through about 80% of the book and that other 20% wasn't good enough to make me forgive that (which was possible--there's a book on my favourites shelf right now that nearly bored me to tears but wowed me with an amazing twist and perfect ending).

I hate how negative this review is...the book wasn't awful, it just wasn't the right book for me, especially not this month (I pushed to finish it because it was a review book that I felt obligated to get through which probably wasn't my best idea).

I'll rate it 3 stars out of 5, it would be lower but I think I would've liked it more had I read it any other time. I do recommend checking it out though, if it sounds interesting to you because you'll probably have more luck with it than I did.


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (19)


Book Haul

I skipped last week since I had a really slow book haul week, wasn't reading much, and had little to say. Then this week happened.

Week 1:
The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre (egalley via Netgalley)
Love, Lucy by April Lindner (ARC via NOVL program)

Week 2:
Tracked by Jenny Martin (egalley via publicist)
Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan (egalley via publisher from Netgalley)
The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard (Kindle freebie)
3: AM Kisses by Addison Moore (Kindle freebie)
One Dream Only by Elodie Nowodazkij (Kindle freebie)
Starstruck by Lauren Syvertsen (Kindle freebie)
Omega City by Diana Peterfreund (ARC from publisher)
The Cage by Megan Shepherd (ARC from publisher)
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge (ARC from publisher)
Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman (ARC from publisher)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (finished copy from publisher)

(Note: There's been...a lot more since then, but it's late and I'm sleepy, so I'll just throw them on to next week's.)

I'm SO STOKED for a lot of these, guys. So. Stoked.

Books Read 

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas 
Skandal by Lindsay Smith
Upcoming Reads

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

I'm already almost done with Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (SO!!! GOOD!!!) and I'm a good way through None of the Above as well. And since it's a holiday weekend...a girl can hope, right?

Odds and Ends 

My birthday was yesterday and it was really lovely. I got up early to see Mockingjay with my mom, then we went to lunch at my favorite Mexican food place, rested for a few hours, then I went to dinner with two of my best friends. When we came back, I opened presents and we collected cupcakes and candy and began a movie night (Despicable Me 2 and Austenland) while looking through yearbooks before eventually starting a Mario Kart tournament. It's not super special, but it's the kind of birthday I like. And today, I get cake. I also could NOT be more excited to have a shortened week. I'm going to be working on a few things in December I'm thrilled about, but I could definitely use some more rest and quiet time first.


So, it's been a while. I haven't been reading as much as I'd want to this month, partially because of NaNoWriMo and partially because of family stuff. I was planning on doing a read-a-thon today and tomorrow, but my grandad died today so I don't think I'll be able to focus on that--I'm pretty much just writing this post as a distraction from thinking and feeling. I'll shut up now.

Book haul

These are all the books I've gotten since...whenever I last did one of these posts. 

For review:

Shiver the Whole Night Through by Darragh McManus (started this already, it's good so far).
Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson (netgalley)
Captive by A.J. Grainger (netgalley)

Bought (I had a gift card):

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
The Pirates Wish & The Assassins Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
The King of Attolia and A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

I think that's all. What've you guys been reading? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned?


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (18)

On the Blog

Monday: THE WALLED CITY was kind of a let down


Book Haul

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Part-Time Princess by Pamela Dumond
Inherit Midnight by Kae Meyers

These were all egalleys from Edelweiss or Netgalley. They all seem really interesting in VERY different ways and I'm excited for them. Also, kinda happy to have such a slow week.

Books Read

Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins

GUYS IT'S SO GOOD. I'm so glad I was FINALLY able to finish this since I've been working on it for weeks.

I had hoped to read more since it was a slower-week school wise but...I'll explain.

Upcoming Reads

Skandal by Lindsay Smith
A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

I'm reading both of these now and I'm LOVING Skandal. Not quite as enthused by A Wicked Thing, but it's a fast moving read.

Odds and Ends 

So, I've been dealing with a recurring health issue periodically for a year and a half now. This week it finally knocked me on my ass. I could barely move for two days and basically laid in bed and watched Gilmore Girls for hours. I finally went to a doctor and was able to start functioning again on Thursday but I'm still FAR from 100%. It's been kinda terrible. But today I'm staying home and doing laundry and working on NaNoWriMo and school and work stuff, then I can try to figure out how to get to my campus Monday morning. I was finally about to catch up on things last week too. =/ Hopefully before the holidays everything will get worked out!


Monday, 3 November 2014

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

The Walled City
Ryan Graudin
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
[November 4, 2014]
ARC from BEA

730. That's how many days I've been trapped.
18. That's how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible....

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister....

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She's about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window.....

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.

I was intrigued by this book when BEA started, but not enough to be super concerned about getting it. It was kind of a "meh" book for me. Then I went to the YA Buzz Panel, and this book was talked up in a way that had me super excited. I braved the mob scene that attacked the ARC tables to get a copy. My excitement grew as time passed and more friends read it and loved it. I was SO READY for this book.

And I was kinda disappointed.

One of the most interesting aspects to me was the world itself. It sounds so fascinating and surreal but it also WAS real. It's amazing to think about. And the way the book started out really hooked me in...and then, eventually, it becomes clear that this is technically a contemporary. Obviously, I love my contemporary books, but it made it less exciting and thrilling to know that a perfectly normal, safe world was so close. And the characters could turn to that world. I would've much rather preferred it be a dystopian or sci-fi or just an alternate reality where there wasn't that safety net.

The characters themselves were all interesting and likable. They had different back stories, even Jin and her sister had these different scars from growing up. But there was something lacking in them, for me. I can't put a finger on what it was, but I wanted more from them. More darkness? More moral tension? Richer back stories? Maybe all three. I found myself more interested in some of the more questionable side characters, wondering what their stories were.

The plot was kind of predictable. There were definitely surprising elements thrown in to make it more interesting, but the overall arc was something kinda clear from the beginning pages. I was hoping to see it take a twist, be something I couldn't predict, but it never came. I guess it goes with me wanting the story to have been darker, rather than wrapped up relatively simply. I appreciated those elements that would be thrown in, but I wanted to be more surprised by the ending.

The writing was gripping though. Ryan Graudin knows how to tell a damn good story. I was always excited for my subway rides when I could read more. She manipulated the time and the perspectives to best keep me hanging on every page, especially near the end, which I flew through. And I did love the set up for how the story was told.

And there were other elements I liked. There was this consideration of freedom and human trafficking, as well as a really great portrayal of a variety of female characters - again, something I wish I could've seen more of. Very complex, interesting relationships and political arrangements. Some themes that were fascinating.

While there were some great elements to THE WALLED CITY, I was mostly bored. It all felt kind of simplified. I don't think there was an intent to talk down to a younger audience, but I do wonder how this book would've been different if it were marketed as adult. I wanted something darker and more complex and tense, less predictable. And I think knowing more clearly that it was contemporary from the beginning would've made it more interesting to me, since that kind of annoyed me. 

This was all very much a ME thing though. I expected and wanted different things from this book than what it provided. Other people going in without those wants and hopes have enjoyed it way more. But for me, this was kinda forgettable, though I do look forward to checking out Ryan Graudin's other books.


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (17)

On the Blog
Tuesday: Lanna read GONE GIRL so she could see the movie


Book Haul


Angel of Vengeance by Ana Siljnak (hardcover purchased at Strand)
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff (finished copy from Ksenia)
Skandal by Lindsay Smith (ARC from publisher)
The Boy Next Door by Katie Von Ark (ARC from publisher)
Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen (ARC from publisher)
Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark (ARC from publisher)
Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier (egalley via Netgalley)
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios (egalley via Netgalley)
The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick (egalley via Netgalley)
An Unlikely Warrior by Georg Rauch (egalley via Netgalley)
99 Days by Katie Cotugno (egalley via Edelweiss) 
Invincible by Amy Reed (egalley via Edelweiss)

Forgotten from Previous Weeks:
Grace's Guide by Grace Helbig (given finished copy at launch event at YouTube space)
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord (ARC from publisher)

Angel of Vengeance is this story about a woman involved in VERY early stages of the Russian Revolution who assassinated a major figure and her story. I sat down in Strand while browsing, found it was a hardcover in good condition for $6, and began reading. 

If you follow other bloggers, you've probably noticed an influx in Macmillan titles as the Winter mailing goes out. WELL, I'd been having issues with my apartment's buzzer, so even when we were home (which is rare during "normal" hours anyway), we wouldn't know someone was trying to deliver something. I figured I'd save Ksenia the trouble and just pick them up from her since I'm near her office pretty regularly and we meet sometimes...then we reached this spell of me not getting down there/poor timing. BUT FINALLY this week I was able to see her and chat and pick up books, which also meant I could go through and see what I wanted from Netgalley (I offered that I'm happy to read from Netgalley, especially as I'm autoapproved). So, SUDDEN DOWNPOUR OF BOOKS.

I WOULD like to note that Unlikely Warrior is a book I first heard about in a meeting when I interned at Macmillan over the spring and it sounds absolutely amazing. It's a memoir about a half-Jewish Austrian man who gets drafted into Hitler's army. MY INNER HISTORY GEEK IS FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS BOOK GUYS.

Then I got home on Halloween and found Harper has begun uploading it's spring/summer books and I'm ALL ABOUT THAT.

Books Read

The Duke's Guide to Correct Behavior by Megan Frampton 
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Last Sunday, I was a WEE bit stressed out, so I was meant to be prepping for my midterms the next day, and sat down and Megan Frampton's book cover to cover with one small interruption. I completely adored it and will happily be reading her other books.

The Walled City I picked up because it tied in to the NaNoWriMo idea I had, so it was part research, part it comes out next week.
Upcoming Reads

I...don't know? There probably won't be much reading this week so....

Odds and Ends 

As mentioned, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year! My internship ends in two weeks, so barring a sudden MASSIVE increase in freelance work (which, reminder, I am a freelance editor at True Blue Editorial if you need!), I'm going to have a LOT of free time and there's only so much studying I can do. So, maybe I'll actually win this year? WE SHALL SEE.



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