August 30, 2013

Let's Talk: Inspirational Characters

Let's Talk is a weekly feature hosted by I Swim For Oceans. It's a discussion post with questions or prompts that have to do with books and reading (what else?). :)

Who are some of your favourite inspirational characters and why?

I realize this is quite an odd pairing of books--not only their genres contrast, but also the messages. Still, I think these are the right choices.

Kendra from Perfect Escape - This girl just keeps chugging on through life. It's hard having an older brother with OCD, but it's even harder to force him out of his comfort zone to go on a spontaneous road-trip that wasn't even approved by their parents. I didn't exactly love this book, but I couldn't help admiring Kendra for her perseverance.

Cassie from The 5th Wave - Cassie's life is terrible, to put it bluntly. But for whatever reason, she continues. Despite the (possible) end of the human race, despite all the lies that clutter her life, despite the evil that has infected the world and her family, despite the fact that she's alone. Cassie has something that many people don't--strength.

Hudson from Bittersweet - Hudson is the type of girl who's going to set a goal and meet it. She's going to achieve her dreams because she knows exactly what she wants. This is definitely something that's not always easy, and I admire her ability to do it with a lot less effort than it would take me.

What about you? Any characters that inspire you?

August 28, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday 8.28.13

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

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
October 1, 2013

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil. 
Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

I really enjoyed the Chemical Garden trilogy, so I have high hopes for this book. And just look at that cover!

August 27, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday 8.27.13

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

This week's topic is top ten secondary characters! I'm really excited for this one. There are so many to choose from.

1. Link from Beautiful Creatures - In a book series that seems to focus on serious, life-threatening events, Link lightens up the mood. He's funny, dorky, and adorable. His humor borders on stupid, but it's cute. And in the last book, he becomes a much stronger character and really fulfilled his potential as a character.

2. Luna Lovegood the Harry Potter - She's quirky, smart, and has the best intentions of any other character in the Harry Potter Series. Harry wouldn't have done all of the things he did without her, even though she is a really minor character.

3. Tess from the Legend Trilogy - Even though she can be annoying at times, Tess is the perfect depiction of a girl who had a terrible childhood but overcame it and grew into a loving teenager. She's a good medic and an excellent friend.

4. Nico from the Heroes of Olympus - Nico may seem dark and evil, but that mainly just comes from the fact that his godly parent is Hades. He doesn't show much emotion openly, but does feel protective towards Hazel (and mourns for Bianca). I'd love to learn even more about him throughout the rest of the series. He's in both Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus series. 

5. Chuck from The Maze Runner Trilogy - Chuck is depicted as a weak character, but we find out later in the first book that he has hidden strengths. I cried when he died and missed him for the next two book after that. 

6. Marlee from The Selection Trilogy - I think Marlee is probably the sweetest character I've ever read about, but she can make herself distant and cold if she wishes. She was one of the favorites for princess, but she fell in love with one of the guards, Carter, and was caught. It broke my heart to see her getting caned (15 times! I was crying.) and having her status lowered to an Eight, but I was glad to see her happy with Carter. She has extraordinary character development for a secondary character.

7. Raven from the Delirium Trilogy - Raven comes across as cold and mean, but if you ever catch her on an off day, she's quite emotional and kind. Her attachment to Tack and Blue is heartwarming. She feels strongly about what she believes in.

8. Ella from the Maximum Ride - Ella is extremely kind. She's Max's half-sister, and is around 12 or 13. You'll never find a sweeter character, except for maybe Marlee. :)

9. Jenna from the Chemical Garden Trilogy - She is the oldest of Linden's new wives, and dislikes living in the mansion with Linden just as much as Rhine does. Jenna can be described as wise and caring, but also a keeper of many secrets.

10. Christina from Divergent - She's a strong and loyal friend who is closed-off emotionally--but there's a lot under the surface that we don't see until she really befriends Tris. She isn't the strongest Dauntless but has redeeming qualities that make up for it.

What about you? Any secondary characters you love?

August 25, 2013

Prodigy by Marie Lu

Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publish Date: January 29, 2013
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Action, Adventure, Romance
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector. 
It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.  
But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong? 
In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

I'm very conflicted about this book.

It took me a long time to finish it because I couldn't get into it. It picked up at about 200 pages in. Over the course of those first 200 pages, I flirted with the idea of putting it down and picking up one of the more interesting-looking books I'd gotten from the library. Nothing was happening--the entire thing consisted of planning to murder the Elector. Planning, planning, planning. Fights between June and Day, Tess and Day, tension between June and Tess. More planning. I don't think I've ever been more frustrated.

Let's talk about the love interest in this book, because it was also extremely frustrating. We begin with June and Day together, but we find out about one hundred pages in that Tess has a serious crush on Day. I can handle that no problem. But when Day imagines himself with Tess and thinks they're a good match, I was ready to throw the book across the room. It's clear that the relationship between Tess and Day is a brother-sister relationship--anything different would just be weird and out of place.

Then the idea is brought up of Anden and June. I have to say, I wouldn't be completely opposed to this. Normally I would have a serious problem with a similar pairing. (For example: Juliette and Warner in the Shatter Me trilogy.) But then again, it wasn't really something I expected, and I don't think it worked all that well for the story. June gets captured so that we will be able to kill Anden, and instead she develops feelings for him. And while I don't ship them, I definitely like Anden as a character.

Another reason why June frustrated me: she doesn't even try to give Day any other kind of warning about the assassination other than the signal they both agreed on. He has no idea what stop means. And yet the botching of the assassination turned out completely fine. Something about that doesn't add up--the plan to back out on the assassination should have failed.

At the same time, the second half of the book was enjoyable. It had the same fast, action-packed quality that I loved so much in Legend, and the entire story really picked up. This half is the part of the book I really enjoyed, which makes me conflicted about the fact that I really disliked the first half.

I would still pick up Prodigy--it's definitely worth it, especially because Champion is coming out in November and Legend was excellent, too. Just know that you have to sit through the boring stuff to get to the good stuff.

August 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #4

Stacking the Shelves is a feature hosted by Tygna'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 books from the bookstore this week, and made a trip to the library, too.


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer


The Diviners by Libba Bray
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

I've heard a lot about Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, so I definitely have high expectations of it. As for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I've seen the movie countless times. It's one of my favorites, so I'm really hoping the book is just as good as the movie, if not better.

I confess I got both library books partly (okay, mostly) because they both have gorgeous covers, but I had heard of both of them beforehand, so we'll see how they turn out.

August 23, 2013

Let's Talk: Series Endings

Let's Talk is a weekly feature hosted by I Swim For Oceans. It's a discussion post with questions or prompts that have to do with books and reading (what else?). :)

What do you consider to be the best (and worst) series endings?

The ending for Sever by Lauren DeStefano has to be one of the best endings to a series (or rather, a trilogy) I've ever read. In fact, when I finished the book, I reread the last few paragraphs a couple times. And then a couple times more. But even the entirety of the ending was good, not just the last few paragraphs. Everything was tied up and there was just enough information to give us room to imagine our own endings.

Okay, so this is technically a two-book series, but it still counts. I loved If I Stay by Gayle Forman--it was a quick read, but still touching, and the cliffhanger ending actually had some closure to it. I would've been very happy without a sequel. But, alas, there was a sequel, so of course I had to read it. And compared to the first book, it was terrible. The ending, too. So do yourself a favor and just read the first one.

Any sequels or final books you didn't enjoy? Leave comments! :)

August 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday 8.21.13

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

 Champion by Marie Lu
November 5, 2013

He is a Legend.She is a Prodigy.Who will be Champion?  
June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

I'm currently reading Prodigy and really enjoying it, so this should be a great read! So many books are coming out this fall it's hard to keep track, but this is one I'm definitely looking forward to.

August 20, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday 8.20.13

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

Today's theme is Things That Make My Life As A Blogger Easier. So here's the list!

1. Goodreads - Goodreads would definitely have to be #1. From all the information I need on a book to looking up new books I've only just heard of, this is the first place I go.

2. The library - There's no question about it that it would be a lot harder for me to get my hands on books if there was no library. Especially considering there's no way I have enough money for all the books I want to buy, either. 

3. My laptop - I think this is sort of a given. :)

4. Bloglovin' - It's great for following other book blogs and staying updated with them! Keeping up with my followers is another advantage, too. Some people prefer Bloglovin' to GFC, so it's good to have both options here, too.

5. Other bloggers - Communicating with other book bloggers is always so fun, and there are a ton of great ideas floating around. I love meeting people (sometimes from across the world) who love reading just as much as I do.

6. Memes/Features - It would be boring for me to just post reviews, so it's really great to have other ideas and things to blog about!

7. Pixlr Express - I use this photo editor all the time to create collages of book covers or designing my own headers, blog buttons, etc. It's so easy to use and extremely helpful.

8. My Readers/Followers - Even though there aren't many right now, knowing that someone will be reading my posts helps motivate me to keep blogging.

So it seems I've come a little short this week, but there's still quite a few! School started for me yesterday so things are sort of crazy. Hopefully I'll finish Prodigy soon (which I'm loving so far) and have a review up.

August 19, 2013

Beat the Heat Readathon Wrap-Up

This was the first readathon I've done on Spun With Words, and I had a lot of fun! I didn't read the three books I wanted to read on my to-read shelf, but I did read a lot of other good books. Here's my progress over three weeks:

Week #1
Pages Read: 1,096
Books Read: 4 - The Book of Broken Hearts, The 5th Wave, The Future of Us, Stargirl

Week #2
Pages Read: 1,168
Books Read: 3 - Stung, How My Summer Went Up in Flames, The Lost Hero

Week #3 
Pages Read: 1,407
Books Read: 3 - The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, and Legend

Overall Progress
Pages Read: 3,671
Books Completed: 10 - The Book of Broken Hearts, The 5th Wave, The Future of Us, Stargirl, Stung, How My Summer Went Up in Flames, The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, and Legend.

Did you participate in the readathon? How did it go? Did you meet your goals?

August 18, 2013

Legend by Marie Lu

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publish Date: November 29, 2011
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult, Romance, Action
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem. 
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

It's been a while since I've read a book that I can honestly say had only one small problem--and one barely noticeable at that. There were so many things I loved about this book that I can barely keep them all straight. So let's start at the beginning.

It's impossible for this book not to grab you right from the start. Even the first sentence--"My mother thinks I'm dead."--is perfect. How could you not want to read it?

The plot went extremely quickly, but it worked very well. It was around 300 pages, which is even a little short for most novels in the dystopian genre, but it definitely made sense considering the storyline.

The characters were in-depth and realistic, and we got just enough information on them to leave us wishing for more. June and Day's relationship developed gradually--in fact, they don't even meet until halfway through the book--which was nice, because I've read books where a girl and a guy meet in the beginning, and bam! They're in love. It's completely unrealistic and bothers me a lot, so it was refreshing to read a book where they don't even meet until the novel is halfway over.

It's difficult to make two POVs work, but Marie Lu did a good job with this. Sometimes it just becomes confusing, or one character's point of view isn't even relevant and the whole story is messed up. But the author did a good job with this, and the book wouldn't have been half as good if it was only June or Day's point of view.

As I said before, I only have one problem with this book: the plot twists weren't really plot twists. I saw them coming--every one of them. *spoiler alert* When we find out that Thomas killed Metias, that Day had a perfect score on his Trial, the fact that the government is behind the Plague. All of it. It may just be that I've read so many books that it's easy for me to tell what's coming, but for some reason I have a feeling this wasn't the case.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and am going to get started on the sequel, Prodigy, as soon as possible.

August 16, 2013

Let's Talk: Books I Wish Had Sequels

Let's Talk is a weekly feature hosted by I Swim For Oceans. It's a discussion post with questions or prompts that have to do with books and reading (what else?). :)

Which books do you wish didn't have sequels (or vice-versa)?

Because there was a Top Ten Tuesday about books I wish had sequels, I'm going to do a few books I wish didn't have sequels, not vise-versa.

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I read The Hunger Games a year ago and really loved it, but I was extremely satisfied with the ending, and didn't feel that there was anything else to write about. I haven't read Catching Fire or Mockingjay (though I probably will eventually) because of this.

2. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman - I did end up reading the sequel to this book, Where She Went, but I didn't really enjoy it all that much. And I was happy with the ending of If I Stay, even though it was somewhat of a cliffhanger. 

3. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer - I read this a long time ago but I remember liking it a lot, and I know there are a few sequels, but I never got around to reading them. I'm not sure if they're really worth my time.

4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - This is the same deal I have with Life As We Knew It. I liked it, but I'm not sure if reading the sequels is worth it or not. 

What about you? Any books you think would have worked better as stand-alones?

August 15, 2013

Beat the Heat Readathon Update

I haven't done a readathon update, so I figured it'd be a good idea. My goal was to read three books I had on my to-read shelf if possible--Elemental by Antony John, Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy, and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.

Needless to say, I haven't read any of those.

But another part of my goal was to read anywhere from five to seven books, and I have accomplished that. The goal is a little low for me but I set it when I thought the readathon was going to last until August 11th, but then it was extended until the 18th! 

The books I've read so far include:

1. The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
2. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
3. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
4. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

5. Stung by Bethany Wiggins
6. How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
7. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
8. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
9. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

That comes out to a total of 3,329 pages, so even though I didn't read those three I wanted to, I'm still pretty happy with my progress so far!

August 14, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday 8.14.13

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

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
September 3, 2013
"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain. 
Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.  
Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.  
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

I've seen a lot of book bloggers who have ARCs of this, and it looks really good, so I'm definitely going to check it out once it's released!

August 13, 2013

The Son of Neptune / The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Because I read these back-to-back and they're from the same series/involve the same characters, I'm going to do a combined review. *The review contains spoilers.*

Title: The Son of Neptune / The Mark of Athena
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Publish Date: October 4, 2011 / October 2, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure, Mythology, Romance
Rating: 5/5 Stars

The Son of Neptune Beginning at the "other" camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven. (To read the rest of the blurb, click here.)
The Mark of Athena Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare. (To read the rest of the blurb, click here.)

I cannot put in words my love for these books. They're fast and action-packed, with a bit of romance thrown in. Rick Riordan's writing is not fancy or gorgeous, but it's good, and it does its job. Because this is an odd sort of combined review, I'm going to do this by character.

Percy - We know Percy from the infamous Percy Jackson series. (Which lives up to its expectations, I assure you. It's just as much a part of my childhood as Harry Potter) He's a loyal, strong, and smart demigod with a knack for accomplishing impossible quests. As a son of Poseidon, he has control of the sea, and water gives him strength. Life hasn't exactly been good for him, but he has Annabeth, Grover, and now the rest of the seven half-bloods.

Annabeth - Annabeth is also one of the famous characters from the Percy Jackson series. A daughter of Athena, she's extremely smart and a good warrior, too. Because she became an orphan at the age of seven, she is extremely independent and knows what she wants to get out of her life. Her strength is outstanding.

Jason - Jason is a son of Jupiter and a demigod from the Roman camp. He first appears in The Lost Hero, and is a leader similar to Percy. He's a little less loyal to his friends, and sometimes we find him a bit confused about whose side he's on--the Romans or the Greeks. Jason befriends Piper and Leo at the Wilderness School where they become good friends (or supposedly so, because the Wilderness School was a trick of the Mist).

Piper - Piper, a daughter of Aphrodite, has a famous father and a sweet temperament. She and Jason are dating--and supposedly were at the Wilderness School, though that was also a trick of the Mist. She's beautiful, and over the course of The Son of Neptune and The Mark of Athena, finds courage she doesn't know she has.

Leo - Leo is a funny, light-hearted, son of Hephaestus. But inside he feels lonely--he's the outsider of the seven, the one who no one pays attention to. He uses his skills in mechanics to built the Argo II, a ship that sails them to Rome in The Mark of Athena. There Leo learns about his own strengths and weaknesses, and we get to see more of him as a character. I have to say, I missed Leo while reading The Son of Neptune. He definitely brings a lot to the story.

Hazel - Hazel is a daughter of Pluto, and has a curse that is seemingly irreversible. Her brother, Nico di Angelo, rescued her from the Underworld, so technically she lived in the 1940s. Nevertheless, she fits in well with the rest of the demigods and knows her place. Frank is her boyfriend, and they meet at the Roman camp where they are both newbies. She's a good addition to the seven and does have a temper--but along with that comes a girl who is extremely caring, in spite of her father.

Frank - Frank, a son of Mars, is actually very sweet. A small, half-burnt stick determines has control of his life--when it burns, he burns. It is literally his lifeline, and this makes him vulnerable. Once he becomes close with Hazel, he entrusts the stick to her for safekeeping. Frank is a good friend to have--especially in battle, because his family history also gives him the power to shapeshift.

Overall, I adore these books, and I'm anxiously awaiting the fourth book in the series, House of Hades. And Rick Riordan is coming to my town in October, so I'll get to meet him! Eek! *insert fangirly, high-pitched squealing here*

Top Ten Tuesday 8.13.13

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

This week's theme is Top Ten Books with X Setting. So I chose the future!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (review here)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Have you read any of these, or other books set in the future? Leave comments! :)

August 11, 2013

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Title: The Lost Hero
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Publish Date: October 12, 2010
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Jason has a problem. He doesn't remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly? 
Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare. Piper doesn't understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn't recognize her. When a freak storm hits, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out. 
Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god.

Just a warning: this review is probably going to contain a lot of spoilers.

I first read this book about two years ago, and because of that I sort of knew the outcome. Surprisingly enough (well, not that surprising, considering it is Rick Riordan we're talking about), this didn't affect my reading experience whatsoever. The plot still kept me on my toes, I was still heartbroken when Festus died, and even though I knew it all along, it was exciting to find out that Percy was at the Roman camp.

The characters in this book are phenomenal. Jason still manages to be his own person even though he doesn't remember anything about his life. He is strong and fast and slightly confused, but he works as a main character. (Though I have to say, I love Leo the most.)

Piper is hiding behind her secrets, and comes out of her shell throughout the book. She isn't very confident, but grows in trust of her mom and her friends, which I think helps her in a way. The one thing I didn't like about Piper was that she spends all this time with her secret pent up, and then when she finally tells Jason and Leo they resolve to fix it and that's that. It's as if Riordan was making a big deal out of nothing. It sort of irked me.

Leo is funny, but lonely, and I felt so sympathetic towards him. In terms of development and how deep they go, I'd probably say Leo is the most complex. He has a lot of things going on inside his head that he never shares, and I think that adds to it--clearly there's more to him than he lets on. 

The writing isn't the greatest, but I don't think that's really the point. It is humorous, and not nearly bad enough for me to put down the book. I think part of the reason it's so casual is because it's directed towards middle grade readers, and that probably affected the way he had to write the book.

The plot was paced very evenly and moved pretty swiftly, despite the size of the book (and considering the fact that the quest doesn't begin until we're halfway through). Rick Riordan manages to draw out the fastest scenes without making us bored. I loved the idea of a Roman camp, and it will definitely add a new element to the next book.

Overall this is definitely one that should be on your TBR list, whether you're nine or sixteen.

August 10, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #3

Stacking the Shelves is a feature hosted by Tygna'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 took two trips to the library this week so I have quite a lot of books. Not that that's a problem. :)


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
Eve by Anna Carey
Stung by Bethany Wiggins (review here)
How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (review here)
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (review to come)
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan


The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

I'm currently reading The Son of Neptune and I'm really excited to read The Mark of Athena--and for the release of House of Hades! I have quite a lot of books here, and I'm not sure if I'll be reading all of them, but I'm excited to get started!

August 9, 2013

Let's Talk: Anticipated Fall and Winter Books

Let's Talk is a weekly feature hosted by I Swim For Oceans. It's a discussion post with questions or prompts that have to do with books and reading (what else?). :)

What fall and winter books are you looking forward to?

1. Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone - I recently met the author, and bought the first book, Time Between Us. It was an enjoyable read so I'm anticipating the sequel!

2. Allegiant by Veronica Roth - I cannot tell you how long I've been waiting for this. The Divergent trilogy is one of my favorite young adult dystopian series ever, and I'm so excited for this to come out.

3. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - I read the first two books in this trilogy this summer and loved them, so I was really happy when I realized I wouldn't have to wait too long for the third to come out.

4. House of Hades by Rick Riordan - I read the first two Heroes of Olympus books, The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune, more than a year before Mark of Athena came out, and loved them. But when MoA did come out I forgot everything that happened in the first two books and was too lazy to reread them. I've finally, gotten around to it though, and am currently rereading The Lost Hero, so I'm really excited for this one to come out!

So what about you? Any books you're eagerly waiting for this fall or winter?

August 8, 2013

How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Title: How My Summer Went Up in Flames
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: May 7, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a roadtrip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance! 
Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn't intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious. 
To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

I picked this up at the library this past week because I'd heard about it recently. I have to say, it did pretty much live up to my expectations. I say pretty much because there are a few issues I have with it, but we'll get to that.

The first thing I noticed when I began reading was the character's voice. Rosie is a funny, extremely outgoing girl--I could tell from the moment I read the first page, sort of in the same way you can tell from the moment you meet a new person whether or not you're going to be friends with them. Needless to say, I liked Rosie. She was a strong character with a good voice who realized her flaws and set out to fix them. I felt satisfied with the way she progressed as a character and grew by the end of the novel.

The premise of the book was, in my opinion, hilarious. Setting your ex-boyfriend's car on fire? A restraining order? But it totally worked. The plot was evenly paced and I was never bored, and Rosie's dealings with Joey were so funny. I found myself cracking up more than once.

Matty and his friends were excellent additions to the story. I liked what they brought to it, and how you could tell they grew to like Rosie as the road trip continued. Logan was a good character, too--he was fun and loving and the opposite of Joey, which was good for Rosie at the time.

Despite all of this, I felt that there were some holes in the plot that needed to be tied up. I didn't understand Avery and Logan's relationship. We never really find out exactly how they know each other, or anything about their friendship. I felt as if it were a missing puzzle piece that the author forgot to put in.

In the end, when Logan comes to help at Habitats for Humanity, I wanted to know how long he was going to be there. Where does Rosie go to college? I do like where the book ended, but those types of things could have been cleared up before we were cut off.

Overall I really enjoyed this debut novel (that didn't read like one), and I'd definitely recommend it!

August 7, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday 8.7.13

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

Panic by Lauren Oliver
March 4, 2014
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. 
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought. 
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. 
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

A lot of people don't really like the idea of this book for two reasons: a) it sounds like The Hunger Games, and b) it's supposedly a stand-alone.

This might just be me, but I think people need to stop comparing everything to The Hunger Games. Many books have similar ideas, but nobody compares them because they haven't really been discovered. Another thing is, I think a stand-alone young adult dystopian novel (wow, that was a mouthful) would be refreshing compared to all of the series there are.

 I think this idea sounds original enough, and I love all of Lauren Oliver's other books, so I'm excited!

August 6, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday 8.6.13

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

This week's topic is Books I Wish Could Have Had Sequels, and I'm going to have to modify it. I realized, without much surprise, that most of the books I've read and loved are part of a series, and if not I was satisfied with the ending. So now it's Top Six Books. :)

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I want to read this book over and over and over and just live in the world that Morgenstern created. I was so sad when this book was over--it was a story I wasn't ready to leave behind.

2. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
I adored this book, so when it was over I was desperate for more.

3. Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini
I didn't really like this book all that much (I admit I was drawn to it at first because of the cover), but I remember thinking it would be better if we had a sequel, or at least some more closure to the story.

4. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
This was one of the first Sarah Dessen books I ever read, and I adored it, so I was upset when it was over.

5. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Words cannot convey how much I love this book--and how much I never wanted it to end.

6. Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
Because the story has three different plot lines that tie together, we only get snippets of each character. I wouldn't mind reading more books involving the characters I only got a glimpse of through the story.

What about you? Any stories you wanted more closure from--or just more of the characters?

August 5, 2013

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Title: Stung
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publish Date: April 2, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Romance
Rating: 2/5 Stars

There is no cure for being stung. 
Fiona doesn't remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn't remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right. 
Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark. 
Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall.

I really wanted to love this book. But in all honesty, it made me wish I didn't have a rule that forced me to finish each and every book I ever started.

Before you continue on with this review, gaze at the beauty that is this book cover. Read the intriguing blurb. Anxiously await opening to the first page and reading this eye-catching book in all of its glory.

And then be disappointed.

There are so many ideas out there in the book world--in the world of young adult literature, alone--that sometimes I wonder how there could possibly be any new ones. When I picked this up, it struck me as new. Original. Unlike the rest of the books I had read that epically failed. Much to my dismay, this became one of those books.

It took me one hundred pages to even understand what was going on. Some books open in the action and the backstory is cleared up as the story continues. This book didn't ever clear up, even when there were flashbacks with that exact intention. I felt like Fiona was flailing around just like one of the beasts she was supposed to be the opposite of, clueless and not knowing what she was doing or where she was intending to go.

When she reached the camp and met Bowen, she didn't know who he was. Now, I understand that in her head she was supposedly missing five years of her life, but she knew Bowen before that. How could she not recognize him? How could he not recognize her, or at the very least realize that she's a girl?

Once he eventually did realize that she was a girl, however, and Fiona realized that Bowen was Dredyn--her past neighbor--they were in love. Surprise! Just like that. Of course, for me, it didn't feel "just like that." It felt like "what's-happening-I-don't-get-this-oh-look-fifty-pages-later-now-I-understand-they're-in-love."

There was no depth to any of the characters. I still don't know who Fiona is. I can't picture her in my mind. In fact, I can't picture any of the characters in my mind.

Each time I begun to understand some of the characters, or get a grasp on their being, something happened and the dawning of realization that had crept into my mind flew out the window. Example: Oh, I think I'm sort of starting to understand where Arris-Arrin is coming from and who she is. Three minutes later: Never mind, she's a he! 

In the beginning of the book (actually, more like the first two chapters) I really liked the writing style. But it gradually grew faster and faster to the point where I couldn't keep up, was constantly confused, and frequently had the urge to fling it across the room.

But, alas, I did not, and now it is sitting on the bottom of my stack of library books, never to be read or seen or heard from again. To say the least, I will not be picking up the sequel.