December 31, 2013

End of the Year Book Survey

Hey everyone! It's finally time for me to write my end-of-the-year post. This is hosted by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner. It's going to be a bit long, so bear with me. I won't be upset if you just skim it. (I probably would too.)

Best in Books 2013

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? 
I'm definitely going to have to break this down by genre.

Contemporary YA: Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, Second Chance Summer, The Fault in Our Stars, My Life Next Door, This Lullaby, Paper Towns, The Sky is Everywhere

Dystopian YA: Shatter Me, Unravel Me, Wither Trilogy, The Selection, Legend Trilogy (minus Champion since I haven't read it yet), Perfect Ruin, The 5th Wave

Paranormal/Romance YA: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer

Fantasy: The Infernal Devices Trilogy, The Mortal Instruments Series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Definitely.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 
Allegiant by Veronica Roth. That ending. Ugh. But I understand why she did it and I love her for it. Even if it made me sob.

 4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. I guess I have to pick one, though, don't I? Clockwork Princess.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
Ooh. This is hard. Um, probably The Mortal Instruments? Then again, I really liked The Infernal Devices. And if you count trilogies as series then I could go on forever, so I think I'll leave it at that.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
Rainbow Rowell, hands down.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
This is an interesting question. I guess I would have to say To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It was assigned for school and a classic. Classics just aren't my thing, but I ended up really enjoying this one.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Allegiant wins this one again. It literally took me a day or two to read.

 9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Or Fangirl. How about both?

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 
I like this question! Probably Isabel from Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin. I don't know what it is about her, but she's been roaming around in my head since I finished the book last week.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
Unravel Me. Nothing beats Tahereh Mafi and her poetic writing. Except maybe Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Ooh, now I can't choose! Either one of those.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
That's a no-brainer. Eleanor & Park.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 
Allegiant again. :)

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
"When adults say, "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail." -Looking for Alaska by John Green

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Shortest: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.
Longest: I'm pretty sure this one goes to House of Hades by Rick Riordan.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
Now that I'm thinking of House of Hades I can't stop thinking about the scene involving Leo and Calypso. Enough said.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Levi and Cath from Fangirl. I don't think any more explanation is needed.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Allegiant. Again. How many times is this book going to come up? But I regret nothing.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, thanks to a friend for recommending it to me. You know who you are. :)

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
YA Contemporary, surprisingly. I mean, it's not too surprising, considering my love for contemporary, but I also thought I read a lot of dystopian.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Will Herondale. The end.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?
The Madman's Daughter by Meagan Shepherd.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
The entire two Daughter of Smoke and Bone books. The imagery is fantastic, not to mention the writing itself.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
The most fun? Hmm. I do have a tendency to like sad books, so this is actually a bit difficult. I'd have to say How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
Ooh, lots of books. Needless to say, I'm a crier. The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Second Chance Summer, Allegiant, House of Hades...

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano. Ugh, it was so good.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
Anna and the French Kiss as well as Lola and the Boy Next Door. I've heard so many things and I'm so excited to read and review them!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare and Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi.

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Actually, I don't know. But now that I've been asked I'll be looking them up. :)

 4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?
The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I want this book so bad!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
Just to continue blogging, and also write more discussion posts now that I'm getting into that. I'd also like to make some more blogging friends. I feel like everyone has a best blogging friend, but even on the internet I'm shy, so...

In conclusion, I read so many good books this year and discovered so many good authors! I can't wait for an awesome 2014. Happy New Year!

December 30, 2013

The Torturer's Daughter (Internal Defense #1) by Zoe Cannon

Title: The Torturer's Daughter (Internal Defense #1)
Author: Zoe Cannon
Publisher: Createspace
Publish Date: December 11, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca Dalcourt assumes it's the usual drama. Wrong. Heather's parents have been arrested as dissidents - and Becca's mother, the dystopian regime's most infamous torturer, has already executed them for their crimes against the state. 
To stop Heather from getting herself killed trying to prove her parents' innocence, Becca hunts for proof of their guilt. She doesn't expect to find evidence that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the dissidents... and about her mother. 
When she risks her life to save a dissident, she learns her mother isn't the only one with secrets - and the plot she uncovers will threaten the lives of the people she loves most. For Becca, it's no longer just a choice between risking execution and ignoring the regime's crimes; she has to decide whose life to save and whose to sacrifice. 
It's easy to be a hero when you can save the world, but what about when all you can do is choose how you live in it? THE TORTURER'S DAUGHTER is a story about ordinary life amidst the realities of living under an oppressive regime... and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what's right in a world gone wrong.

It's hard for me to articulate my thoughts about this book. They're very mixed. Part of me thinks I liked it more than I actually did but another part of me thinks it was worse than I think it was. So it's difficult for me to really say.

One thing I do know is that I was really confused for the entire first half of the novel. The author doesn't give us any background whatsoever on this new world we've been thrown into, so it's almost like stumbling around in the dark. You have to dig around and find out for yourself what it's like using a few clues. This bothered me a lot, and I found myself distracted by trying to figure out the world when I should have just focused on what I was reading.

Secondly, I felt like the characters were a bit impersonal. I didn't know much about any of them, because we were so focused on the plot and the fact that Becca was a dissident there wasn't room for anything else. I wish the author had stopped stressing that fact that Becca was a dissident. The revelation seemed to take up half the book. I got to the point where I just wanted to move on.

The writing wasn't anything amazing, but it definitely wasn't bad. I'd put it somewhere around mediocre, maybe average.

One thing I really did like about this book was the conflict. There was a lot of it, which is good, because I've recently read quite a few books where there is little to no conflict at all. Even when one thing seemed to be solved, another thing popped up. I think this was one element that really added to the story.

Another thing I enjoyed was the cliffhanger at the end. This book wasn't all that suspenseful, so when I read the cliffhanger I was pleasantly surprised. (Not that I love cliffhangers or anything, but it just created a suspense that hadn't been there during the rest of the novel.)

Overall, this book isn't the greatest YA dystopian novel I've read, and I definitely had some issues with it. But there were also things I liked about it. So if you're favorite genre is young adult dystopian you're probably going to enjoy reading this, even if it's not your favorite book in the world.

December 29, 2013

Sunday Spiel: Cover Redesigns

Hey guys! Happy holidays. Today I'm going to talk about something that is a bit of a bookish pet peeve for me.

Before I get into this, I'd just like to say these are my opinions. I am in no way saying that you should have these opinions or that mine are correct. This is simply a post open to discussion, and you're free to share your opinions as well. :) I love hearing them!

As you can tell by the title, today I'm going to be talking about cover redesigns. I have seriously mixed feelings about this. There are cover redesigns that I love, and cover redesigns that I hate. I'm going to give you guys some examples in a minute, but for now I'd just like to talk about them.

Part of me wishes they could just get the cover right the first time, but I know that's not always possible. Still, there has to be a way to tell if it's going to appeal to readers. I will say, I totally judge a book by its cover. I can't help it. Even if a book is terrible, I'll probably buy it if it has a good cover just so I can drool over it. Then again, if a cover really is terrible, by all means change it! 

Here are some cover redesigns that I either like or dislike...

I loved the first cover. It was so different and unique. Needless to say, I just got this book for Christmas and I'm happy I received the original.

I love the new cover! It's so much better. There's something about the first cover that I just don't like.

Definitely the first cover.

*cringes* I adored the first cover! It's so cool. But the new one is too...modern. It sort of looks like they're trying too hard.

What about you? Any thoughts on cover redesigns? Are there any recent ones you really like?

P.S. I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who is reading and following so far. I didn't think Spun With Words would get all that many followers, so whether you're following on GFC, Bloglovin', RSS, or Twitter thank you so, so much. I wouldn't have the motivation to continue blogging if it weren't for you guys!

December 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #18: Christmas Book Haul

Stacking the Shelves is a feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's about sharing the books you got this week--virtual or physical--from the bookstore, the library, borrowed from friends, etc.

Hey everyone! I have a ridiculous amount of books to show you today because of my Christmas book haul (whether gifted by someone else or from me to me). :) 



Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Diviners by Libba Bray
The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
Tandem by Anna Jarzab
Teardrop by Lauren Kate
Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin
Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

I am beyond excited about all of these books and can't wait to read, review, and share them with you! 

December 27, 2013

The Torturer's Daughter by Zoe Cannon Blog Tour

Title: The Torturer's Daughter
Author: Zoe Cannon
Publish Date: December 11, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction

When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca Dalcourt assumes it's the usual drama. Wrong. Heather's parents have been arrested as dissidents - and Becca's mother, the dystopian regime's most infamous torturer, has already executed them for their crimes against the state. 
To stop Heather from getting herself killed trying to prove her parents' innocence, Becca hunts for proof of their guilt. She doesn't expect to find evidence that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the dissidents... and about her mother. 
When she risks her life to save a dissident, she learns her mother isn't the only one with secrets - and the plot she uncovers will threaten the lives of the people she loves most. For Becca, it's no longer just a choice between risking execution and ignoring the regime's crimes; she has to decide whose life to save and whose to sacrifice. 
It's easy to be a hero when you can save the world, but what about when all you can do is choose how you live in it? THE TORTURER'S DAUGHTER is a story about ordinary life amidst the realities of living under an oppressive regime... and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what's right in a world gone wrong.

Buy Links:

The book will also be available for 99 cents just for today!

Becca’s steps slowed as she approached Processing 117. The floodlights of the parking lot shone down on her, exposing her. Past the lot, the darkness threatened to close in. There was no other source of light nearby except for the dim glow of the streetlamps, nothing but trees for at least a mile in every direction.

The concrete structure loomed taller than its five stories—maybe because of the invisible presence of the underground levels, or maybe because in a moment Becca was going to have to walk inside.

Heather can’t have been arrested. If she were a prisoner, they wouldn’t have let her call.

But when Becca remembered the panic in Heather’s voice, the thought wasn’t all that reassuring anymore.
Becca took the last few steps across the not-quite-empty parking lot. The windows of the upper floors glowed in a patchwork of lights, showing who was working another late night and who was at home sleeping… or down on the underground levels. Becca knew that in one of those dark offices, a phone had been ringing off the hook for the past half-hour, its owner oblivious to Becca’s pleas for her to answer, to find Heather for her, to fix this.

Becca reached the double doors of the entrance—and froze. Her heart thudded against her ribcage.
Heather is in there, she reminded herself. Heather needs me.

She pulled the doors open and stepped inside.

The doors slammed shut behind her, the noise echoing off the stark white walls. Security cameras stared down at her from the ceiling. The guards, one to either side of the metal detector, pinned her to the floor with their eyes, but said nothing.

Opposite the metal detector from Becca, the room was bare except for a huge metal desk with corners that looked sharp enough to cut. Behind the desk, a dark-haired woman with a headset clipped to her ear stopped mid-yawn and jerked up to face her.

Becca held her breath and stepped through the metal detector. Its light flashed green, and one of the guards waved her forward. She let her breath out and stepped up to the desk.

She eyed the woman’s crisp gray suit, and the desk that gleamed like it had never seen a speck of dust in its life. Then she looked down at her own clothes, the jeans and wrinkled t-shirt she had grabbed from her dresser after hanging up with Heather. She crossed her arms around her stomach.

The receptionist’s bleary surprise had vanished, replaced by a stone mask. “Can I help you?”

“I’m looking for…” Becca bit back the name on her lips. No. If she were in her office, she would have answered the phone. Anyway, Becca could imagine her reaction at finding out about this midnight walk to 117. Becca was on her own.

“…Heather Thomas,” she finished. “She called me half an hour ago and told me she was here.”

The receptionist’s expression didn’t tell Becca anything.

“She’s here… somewhere… she called me…” Becca’s voice trailed off. I’m not doing anything wrong, she told herself. I’m not a dissident. Heather’s not a dissident.

Which led Becca back to the question that had been circling through her mind since she had gotten Heather’s call. What was Heather doing here?

The receptionist turned away and tapped something out on her keyboard. It only took her a few seconds to find what she was looking for. She typed in something else and touched her earpiece. “We have a detainee in temporary holding,” she said to someone Becca couldn’t see. “Last name Thomas. Her file says she’s waiting for a relative to collect her. Right, that’s the one. Someone forgot to collect her phone, and she called a friend.” A pause. “No, that won’t be necessary. Just confiscate the phone.”

She turned back to Becca. “Heather Thomas is waiting for her guardian to arrive. Are you Lydia Thomas?” She gave Becca a skeptical once-over.

Becca considered saying yes, but even if the receptionist weren’t going to ask for proof, there was no way she could pass as Heather’s… aunt, she remembered after a moment. Aunt Lydia, the one who always looked at Becca and Heather like being in high school was catching.

The receptionist took her silence as an answer. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Becca wanted nothing more than to do just that. But she couldn’t leave and let this place swallow Heather. “If she’s waiting for her aunt to get here, I can wait with her until she shows up.”

“I’m sorry,” said the receptionist, already turning back to her computer. “The policy is clear. The detainee will remain in temporary holding—alone—until her guardian arrives.”

Becca was losing ground. And somewhere in this building, Heather was waiting for her. “I’m not trying to take her home or anything. I only want to…” To make sure she wasn’t locked away underground. To make sure they hadn’t gotten her mixed up with somebody else, some dissident slated for execution. “…to let her know I’m here. I promised her I’d—”

“Your refusal to leave the building when instructed will be recorded.” The receptionist placed her hands on her keyboard. “May I have your name?”

“At least tell me what happened. Why is she here? Is she all right?”

“Your name, please,” the receptionist repeated.

If she stayed much longer, the receptionist would order the guards to drag her out—or worse, in. She could end up in one of those underground cells… She shivered. They couldn’t do that to her just for asking about Heather, right?

“Your name,” the receptionist repeated again, with a glance toward the guards.

Becca slumped. “Rebecca Dalcourt.”

The receptionist blinked.

“Well,” she said, her voice suddenly warmer, “I suppose we can make an exception.”

About the Author:
Zoe Cannon writes about the things that fascinate her: outsiders, societies no sane person would want to live in, questions with no easy answers, and the inner workings of the mind. If she couldn't be a writer, she would probably be a psychologist, a penniless philosopher, or a hermit in a cave somewhere. While she'll read anything that isn't nailed down, she considers herself a YA reader and writer at heart. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and a giant teddy bear of a dog, and spends entirely too much time on the internet.

December 26, 2013

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publish Date: July 2, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop. 
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company. 
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.
This book has a few things going for it. It's witty, light, and puts you in a good mood. But other than that, there's not much you can say for it.

First of all, it's completely unrealistic. It was upsetting, because the idea was definitely unique as far as little details go. But those little details were too unrealistic to be praised. First of all, Caymen and her mother live above a doll shop they own. There's no way a doll shop would keep them in business, or give them enough money to support themselves. This issue is somewhat addressed when there's a mention of bills needing to be paid, but nothing ever comes of that. They've apparently had the doll shop for years, and it has supported them up until then? Other than the fact that it was a tad unrealistic, I liked the idea. It added a bit of flare to the story.

Second issue: the plot. It was the regular cliche, girl meets rich guy/guy meets rich girl and they fall in love. I don't even mind this cliche all that much, but I think it works for movies much better. And the way it was presented in this novel was just not appealing. Other than the fact that Caymen was quite sarcastic and great at comebacks, which made for some entertaining conversation, there was nothing interesting. It was just bland.

The plot twist near the end was surprising, but even that seemed improbably. If Caymen's mom was in such a bad state financially, wouldn't she go get help from her parents? Even if they were in a disagreement about some things?

Speaking of family, the whole idea of Caymen wanting to know her father and learn more about him was brought up fairly often, but each time it fell flat. It was a lost plot point going nowhere, but I would have liked to see something about it brought up.

After going over the book's events in my head, I've realized that there were many plot points that either consisted of conflict that was solved shortly afterwards or nothing at all. Caymen and Xander were originally brought together by the fact that neither of them wanted to take over the family business once they were old enough, and that brought along the idea of finding their perfect careers through each other and figuring things out together. But towards the middle of the novel this sort of drops off into nothing and the plot isn't threaded throughout the entire story.

The writing wasn't anything exceptional, either. Kasie West does seem to have a thing for dialogue, but the descriptions were weak. The one thing this book seemed to be lacking was substance. A lot of substance.

Overall, if fluffy contemporary is your thing, go for it. You'll probably love this book. But otherwise, leave this one on the shelf.

December 25, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday 12.25.13

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine. It features upcoming books that we're eagerly waiting for!

Hello everyone! Merry Christmas! I have an awesome Christmas book haul that I can't wait to show you on Saturday, but for now I'm just going to go ahead with Waiting on Wednesday. :)

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
September 16, 2014
The hugely anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.” 
For Cassie Sullivan and the rest of Earth’s remaining human survivors, the situation was already desperate when the 5th Wave hit. It’s about to get worse. 
No one yet knows the depths to which Earth’s conquerors—the Others—will sink in order to rid the Earth of the human infestation, nor have they guessed the heights to which the human spirit can reach. Characters introduced in Book One will come to the fore—and others will face the ultimate test. 
Readers will watch in awe as the Others give their answer to Cassie’s defiance.

I wish I could have gotten this for Christmas today! But instead I'll have to wait another year. I hope everyone is having a good holiday!

December 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday 12.24.13

Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! I can't believe Christmas is tomorrow. December flew by. 

Today's topic is books we want Santa to bring us! My entire Christmas wish list consisted of books, so this won't be difficult. :)

There are more books than this, but I decided to leave it at ten. Sorry for the short post...I'm really busy with Christmas stuff. But Happy Holidays!

December 23, 2013

Dangerous Dream by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Mini-Review)

Title: Dangerous Dream (Dangerous Creatures #0.5)
Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: December 17, 2013
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy, Novella, Romance
Rating: 3/5 Stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series continues in this brand-new digital-exclusive story. 
Catch up with Ethan, Lena, and Link as they finally graduate from high school and get ready to leave the small Southern town of Gatlin. But when Dark Caster Ridley makes an appearance, the sometime bad girl can't resist picking a fight with her sometime boyfriend, Link. Angry and rebellious as ever, Ridley ends up alone in New York City and becomes entangled in the dangerous underground Caster club scene, where the stakes are high and losers pay the ultimate price. 
Where's a Linkubus when you need him?

Though I did enjoy reading this, I think I was expecting more from it than what I got. That being said, there were definitely some highlights I really loved, such as:
  • Hearing Ridley's thoughts. We know a lot about what Ridley thinks and feels just from the other characters' opinions of her, but we never actually get inside her head. Dangerous Dream gave us that chance, and it did not disappoint.
  • Seeing events from other perspectives. We already know a bit of what's happened in the beginning of the novella because it happened in one of the actual books. But we get to see it more in-depth and from other perspectives, which is nice.
While I enjoyed these few aspects, there were a handful of things I couldn't look past.
  • Ethan's POV in the beginning. It was pretty useless. The novella was about Link and Ridley, but we got this strange, completely unnecessary narration with Ethan in the beginning.
  • The entire beginning. Now that I think about it, the entire beginning was basically pointless. I'd rather just jump into the actual story than hear an introduction that belongs in a different book.
  • The length. It was so short! I know it's supposed to be a novella, but this felt short even for that.
Overall, Dangerous Dream was worth the read, but I'm a bit more hesitant about the upcoming Dangerous Creatures series than I was previously.

December 22, 2013

Sunday Spiel: Buying vs. Borrowing

Happy Sunday everyone! Today I'm going to be talking about something that seems to be an issue for me lately. I'm interested in hearing everyone else's thoughts. So here we go!

Before I get into this, I'd just like to say these are my opinions. I am in no way saying that you should have these opinions or that mine are correct. This is simply a post open to discussion, and you're free to share your opinions as well. :) I love hearing them!

Recently I've been battling with myself on whether or not I should buy books or get them from the library. Buying, at least for me, is the first choice. I love going to the bookstore and picking out a new book. I love flipping through the pages and starting the book before I buy it. I love taking it home and reading it and putting it on my bookshelf. I love being able to reread it any time I want. I love the way all my books look on the bookshelf.

Borrowing books always feels like a letdown, especially if I really enjoyed what I read. I want to keep it, you know? I want the freedom to be able to reread it. But instead I have to return it to the library so someone else can pick it up. I'll admit it - I'm pretty selfish about my books. I'd rather keep them than give them to others to read. (Though sometimes if I really loved the book I also love spreading the word so other people can love it too.)

Anyway, it really shouldn't be a question, right? I love buying books way more than I love borrowing them. So what's the problem?

Money. Money is the problem. I don't have enough money to buy every book I read. This is partly the reason why the only thing I put on my Christmas and birthday lists are books. It's the reason that books are the only things I ask for as gifts. But if there's a book I really want to read and can't afford at the time, sometimes I still don't get it at the library.

Why? I have absolutely no idea. There's something about the library I just really don't like (except for the fact that it's a place full of books). If I'm desperate, it's a no-brainer. But if I'm not, usually I'll wait until I have the money to buy it. Which could be never. 

Why do I do this to myself? I don't know. I'm completely frustrating.

Just think of all the money I'd have if I didn't buy every single book I ever wanted to read! I'd probably be rich. But instead I insist on paying for them so they can sit on my shelf, sometimes to never be read again. 

Another reason I like buying books is so I can mark them up. Not literally, because it feels like a sin if I actually write in a book (that's an entirely different conversation). But I may write little notes and put them in there on a sticky note. I suppose I could do that with a library book as well, but I wouldn't be able to leave the notes there to reference later. 

All in all, if I had an endless supply of money I would be completely fine. But I don't, so I'm not. *sighs* I'll probably continue to make myself broke by buying books instead of borrowing them.

What are your thoughts? Do you buy books or borrow them?

December 21, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #17

Stacking the Shelves is a feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's about sharing the books you got this week--virtual or physical--from the bookstore, the library, borrowed from friends, etc.

I bought two novellas this week as a part of the Beautiful Creatures series and the Shatter Me trilogy! I have since read both. 

Bought (Novellas)

Dangerous Dream (Dangerous Creatures #0.5) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

If you're interested in hearing my thoughts on Fracture Me, the review can be found here

I should have a review of Dangerous Dream up by Monday! It wasn't the greatest novella I've read, but it also wasn't terrible. One thing I'd really like to complain about, thought, is the covers of these books. While they're gorgeous and the font is just perfect, they have nothing to do with anything. What does that staircase have to do with what went on in the novella? Nothing at all. There was no staircase.

Sorry for the mini-rant. That's all for this week. What did you guys get? Anything exciting?

December 20, 2013

Dangerous Creatures Cover Reveal + TFIOS Movie News

It's Friday and I have a few new, exciting things that have popped up this week in the book world, so I just thought I'd share them with you! Exams are over, which means I can finally stop studying and get back into reading.

First off, we have Dangerous Creatures, a new series set in the same world with the same characters as Beautiful Creatures, but with a different story line. This series is going to follow Link and Ridley, which is something I can't wait for! The current release date is May 20th of next year.

Dangerous Dream, a short novella that came out this week, sort of gives us a glimpse into that world. I've already read it (I'm planning to have a review up by Monday) and liked it, even though I did have some issues with it. Anyway, the cover of Dangerous Creatures was revealed the same day that Dangerous Dream came out. Here it is...

I love it! It still features the same font as the Beautiful Creatures series but this time it has more of a strong element on the cover instead of just some trees or a staircase. It's Ridley's lollipop, of course. :) Thoughts?

The second exciting bookish thing that happened this week was the reveal of the first TFIOS movie poster. For those of you who don't know, TFIOS stands for The Fault in Our Stars and it's a bestselling YA novel by John Green. You can check it out here. I'd highly recommend reading it. As you can see, it's also being adapted into a movie!

I literally cannot get over how perfect this is! I'm a bit disappointed about Shailene Woodley's role as Tris in the Divergent movie, especially because they aren't changing her appearance at all so she will resemble Tris and the way she looked in the book. But it seems like TFIOS is going to be different in that way, and I really like Ansel Elgort for the role as well. I was skeptical about it at first, but I think he's actually going to do a great job. 

That's all for today! Do you guys have any thoughts about the Dangerous Creatures cover or the TFIOS movie poster? Leave comments below! :)

December 19, 2013

Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi (Mini-Review)

Title: Fracture Me (Shatter Me #2.5)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: December 17, 2013
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult, Fantasy, Novella
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

In this electrifying sixty-page companion novella to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, discover the fate of the Omega Point rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon after the final moments of Unravel Me, Fracture Me is told from Adam's perspective. 
As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam's focus couldn't be further from the upcoming battle. He's reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend's life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James's safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It's time for war. 
On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam's newly discovered half brother, won't be that easy. The Reestablishment can't tolerate a rebellion, and they'll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about. 
Fracture Me sets the stage for Ignite Me, the explosive finale in Tahereh Mafi's epic dystopian series. It's a novella not to be missed by fans who crave action-packed stories with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu.

It's been a couple months since I've read Unravel Me, and nearly a year since I've read Shatter Me. Still, it was pretty easy to pick up on what was going on. I also read a recap of the first two books on Recaptains, a book blog that purposefully spoils books and gives you a short summary of what went on. It's nice for people like me who don't necessarily want to reread books before they read a sequel or a short novella like this.

I have to say, I've always been Team Adam. After this novella, I still am, if not more so. Here are a few highlights I loved:
  • The array of characters. There are so many characters in these books, but somehow it's not overwhelming. And even though most of them are supporting characters, they each have a few character traits that are admirable and stay the same throughout, making them easy to tell apart and quite individualistic.
  • Dialogue. There was a lot of dialogue in Fracture Me, which is both a good and bad thing. It was mostly a good thing, though, because it kept us entertained and it was both witty and smooth, making the story and characters seem quite real.
  • Poetic writing style. I can never get over how perfect Tahereh Mafi's writing style is. It's poetic and beautiful, and so unique. 
My only issue with the novella:
  • Not enough description. Mafi spent so much time on the dialogue that I was aching for descriptions. It needed more of a balance. I'm thinking she spent so much time on dialogue mainly because there was so much information she wanted to present in a short period of time, but I still would have liked to see more description.

Overall, I loved this short novella and can't wait for the release of Ignite Me next year!

December 18, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday 12.18.13

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine. It features upcoming books that we're eagerly waiting for!

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
March 4, 2014
In the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Cassandra Clare comes this brilliant, unputdownable, star-crossed romance about the curse of winning. 
Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music.Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 
Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

I've heard so many good things about this book from other bloggers who have received ARCs and it looks so awesome! And just look at that cover. I love how she's holding the "R," something I hadn't noticed until a few minutes ago. :)

If you're interested, the first five chapters have been released for free and you can read them on your Kindle! Just click here for the link.

December 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday 12.17.13

Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Hey everyone! Sorry I didn't get a review up yesterday. Things have been a little off because of exams. I'm so glad they're almost over. I should have a review up on Thursday, probably of the Fracture Me novella by Tahereh Mafi told from Adam's POV that came out today (as well as Dangerous Dream by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl).

Anyway, today's topic for Top Ten Tuesday is new to us authors we've discovered this year! There are so many good ones, I think this list may end up a bit long. I can barely believe this year is almost over. I'm going to list these in order of how I discovered them. :)

John Green - How did I not know about him before? When TFIOS made me sob my eyes out I knew I was going to have read everything he'd ever written.

Tahereh Mafi - Her writing is so poetic, and the Shatter Me trilogy is just so perfect. Fracture Me, which I mentioned above, is part of this series. The final book, Ignite Me, comes out next year. 

Cassandra Clare - The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices are such good books I don't know what to say. Cassandra Clare has a way of combining characters and plot to create magic.

Sarah Dessen - I'd heard of her before, but I hadn't ever read anything she's written. Now I understand all the hype. When I'm in the mood for a good contemporary book that will put me in a good mood, I pick up one of her books.

Jennifer Brown - I'd never heard of Jennifer Brown, but her contemporary novels deal with real issues, and because of that they can be a bit dismal. But her books are so well-written, and far from the fluffy contemporary you'd usually find in YA.

Sarah Ockler - So many contemporary authors! Sarah Ockler is quite similar to Sarah Dessen, but her books always seem to have some other little quirk to them. Her writing style is different as well.

Huntley Fitzpatrick - Again, contemporary. :) I read My Life Next Door this past summer and adored it. It was such a cute book, but not too fluffy either.

Michelle Hodkin - The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was so creepy and addicting, I couldn't stop reading it. I was upset when the publish date was pushed back, but as long as I get the final book eventually I'm happy!

Laini Taylor - Fantasy is usually not my favorite genre, especially the kind of fantasy Laini Taylor writes. But her characters and world building are so intricate that you can't help but fall in love with her books. The writing is astounding, as well.

Kiera Cass - I adored The Selection, and while The Elite (review here) wasn't quite as good as I had hoped I still enjoyed reading it.

Marie Lu - Even though I have yet to read Champion, I've loved the Legend trilogy so far. If you haven't picked it up yet, I would definitely recommend it!

Morgan Matson - Possibly one of the best contemporary authors I've read, other than Sarah Dessen and John Green. Second Chance Summer (review here) made me cry so hard, and it was such a heartbreaking and moving book.

Rainbow Rowell - I've just recently read both Fangirl and Eleanor & Park (if you'd like to read my reviews, they're here and here), and I can barely take in the reality of her books and how well-written they are. If I could write like her, all of my life goals would be accomplished. :)

So that was a little over ten, even though I tried my best to remove some authors from the list. Oh, well. Happy Tuesday everyone!