Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Books of 2015!

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic is my favorite books (so far) of 2015. 

I had no idea just how many amazing books I have read this year until I had to compile this list. If it is this hard now, I have no idea how hard it will be at the end of the year. 

1. The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer - Yes, I am aware that I am cheating because this is three books in one. #Sorrynotsorry

2. Black Iris by Leah Raeder

3. All The Rage by Courtney Summers

4. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

5. Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill

6. I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

7. You (You #1) by Caroline Kepnes

8. Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen

9. If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers by Hannah Brencher

10. Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

What are a few of your favorite books (so far) from 2015?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Post and June Wrap-Up

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  It is now time to recap the month of June! 

First of all, don't forget to enter my June New Release Giveaway Hop! Giveaway ends in two days!!

Yes, another month has come and gone. It feels crazy that we are less than six months away from Christmas. Insane! June was a great month. I went home to the States for a couple of weeks to visit family and I had a great time. Lots of quality family time and lots of great American food.

This month promises to be a good one as well. On Wednesday. my husband and I leave for Scotland! We will be flying into Edinburgh and staying there for a couple of days. Then we will rent a car and drive around some of the Scottish Highlands to enjoy some beautiful scenery. I am super excited about that.

I did read a lot of great books this month. I read a total of seventeen books this month.

Reviews Posted This Month:

Mini-Reviews for Miss Peregrine's Home, True Colors and Between Shades of Gray
Unteachable by Leah Raeder
Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Alive (The Generations Trilogy #1) by Scott Sigler
The Fixer (The Fixer #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen
About A Girl (Metamorphoses #3) by Sarah McCarry

Favorite Book Read This Month:

I don't even have to think about this one. Hands down, the best read this month (and one of the best I have read this year) is Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen.

Other Posts This Month:

More Happy Than Not Blog Tour
Discussion - If you have nothing nice to say . . . 

Top Ten Lists:

Top Ten Books I Want To See Turned Into Movies/TV Shows
Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases of 2015
Top Ten Books for Summer TBR
Top Ten Favorite Top Ten Topics
Top Ten Favorite Books of 2015 (so far)

How was your month? What was your favorite book read?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: About A Girl (Metamorphoses #3) by Sarah McCarry

This is a book review for About A Girl (Metamorphoses #3) by Sarah McCarry. I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is July 14, 2015.

Eighteen-year-old Tally is absolutely sure of everything: her genius, the love of her adoptive family, the loyalty of her best friend, Shane, and her future career as a Nobel prize-winning astronomer. There's no room in her tidy world for heartbreak or uncertainty--or the charismatic, troubled mother who abandoned her soon after she was born. But when a sudden discovery upends her fiercely ordered world, Tally sets out on an unexpected quest to seek out the reclusive musician who may hold the key to her past--and instead finds Maddy, an enigmatic and beautiful girl who will unlock the door to her future. The deeper she falls in love with Maddy, the more Tally begins to realize that the universe is bigger--and more complicated--than she ever imagined. Can Tally face the truth about her family--and find her way home in time to save herself from its consequences?

I really wanted to love this book. There is so much diversity here. Tally is raised by her aunt, along with her aunt's gay best friend and his partner. Tally is also best friends with a transgendered teen, with whom she has a crush. The first 15% of the book was promising. Tally has a crush on her best friend Shane and their relationship takes a bit of a romantic turn one night. Tally and Shane ignore what happened and even ignore each other. Feeling more than a bit hurt, Tally decides to go on a "quest" to find her supposed father (Jack Black), someone she knows absolutely nothing about.

This is where the author lost me. First of all, Tally had no way of knowing whether this was her father or not, but she decides to go find him based on an old picture. Actually, there was a reveal about Jack towards the end that I totally saw coming. Since Tally is all about the logical and rational, it is surprising that she didn't. So she flies out to the Pacific Northwest to meet this man and ask whether he is her father. She meets Maddy, the third person to a kind of love triangle. I know I was supposed to think Maddy was this wild, beautiful girl but I just thought she was boring. Jack and Tally have one meeting where she asks him questions and he evades, he offers to let her stay with him  . . .  and then nothing happens. There was an hour of reading this book where the author did nothing but describe things Tally and Maddy ate and their love scenes. Tally went days not even speaking to Jack, the man she came to see. So what was even the point? And she barely called her family, even though she had left with just a note. The ending was just weird. The category for this book is Young Adult Contemporary. Umm, no. The ending was definitely fantasy and it made no sense. This is the third one in the series, but people have said you can read it as a stand-alone. I am not sure if that's true because it feels like the ending would have made more sense if I had read the series. The first book in the series actually tells the story of Tally's aunt and mother. I still have no interest in reading anything about her family. 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen

This is a book review for Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen. 

Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her world–and everything she thought she knew about her family–is shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her father’s sexual orientation isn’t all he's kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family's fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dad–while there is still time.

"A month:
the time it takes 
a season to change,
less than half the summer,
the time it takes a baby
to learn day from night.

It's taken less time than that
for my life to

I am going to try my best to write a coherent review that isn't a bunch of fangirl gibberish. But I can't make any promises. I have been waiting for this book all year. This book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2015 and I am so happy that it did not disappoint. This book was amazingly flawless. I really cannot think of a single bad thing about it. 

When I first heard about this book, I didn't realize it was written in verse. I am not typically a fan of books written in verse. Sometimes the writing style can make me feel a bit disconnected with the main character. But that was not a problem with this book. I could feel Mira's pain so clearly. The poetry was exquisitely beautiful. I loved Mira's obsession with astronomy and the metaphors Mira weaved throughout the poetry. I loved the realistic portrayal of her relationship with her parents. Mira's mom was always kind of absent and actually left the family for a period of a year to go to Italy. Because of that, Mira is holding onto a lot of resentment towards her. She has always been much closer to her father until she catches him with his lover, James. Suddenly her whole world is thrown into chaos and she doesn't know how to handle the fact that she feels everything is a lie. She starts pushing her friends away, skipping school, and rebelling against her parents. 

When Mira realizes her father is sick, she struggles to come to terms with everything going on. Her confusion and sadness were so heartbreaking. This story took place at a time when people were still terrified of AIDS and thought they could get it just by drinking out of the same glass. I swear I spent the second 50% of this book crying my eyes out. 
The author's acknowledgements at the end made me tear up even more. This book was loosely based on the fact that the author's own father died of AIDS. I haven't felt this much emotion from a book in a long time. I was speechless when I finished it and I know this book will stay with me for a long time. 

Also . . . can we talk about how beautiful that cover is? It is seriously one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. 

Okay, there was ONE negative about this book. I am a really fast reader. Like really, really fast. I actually had to force myself to slow down a couple of times so I could savor the words. This is NOT a book you want to speed read. 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy! Buy! Buy!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Top Ten Topics!

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic is my favorite top ten topics! Now I know that the Top Ten List has been going on for five years. But my blog is still just a baby . . . it isn't even a year old yet! So some of these topics may be a little recent, especially since I have a very short long-term memory.

1. Top Ten New Authors Read in 2014 - I think this is one of my favorites just because it was my first ever Top Ten Tuesday.
2. This one was a freebie post. I did one on the Top Ten Movies I Have Seen Without Reading the Book

3. Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I Haven't Read - Some of these are ones I have actually read since then!

4. Top Ten Problems of a Reading Junkie - I loved coming up with this list!

5. Top Ten Books From My Childhood - This one made me feel a bit nostalgic.

6. Top Ten Favorite Quotes
7. Top Ten Characters I am Obsessed With

8. This one was a freebie. It was a post on Top Ten Books with Strong Female Characters. Girl power!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Musing Monday - If You Have Nothing Nice To Say . . .

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn at A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! This is when we speak about bookish rants or issues, among other things.

For this week's topic, I am asking my readers what you do when you literally have nothing nice to say about a book, especially an ARC.

When I get approved for an ARC, it is expected that I write a review on my blog. That is the deal for being approved for a free book. I have zero problems writing negative reviews. I have done it many times on this blog. I even wrote a blog post about the fact that I feel negative reviews can actually be necessary. But when I write a negative review. I try my best to find something positive to say. 99% of the time, I succeed. I know how much work an author put into their book and I genuinely feel bad if I post a scathing review where I have nothing nice to say.

Several weeks ago, I ran into this problem with a book. I am not going to say the title because it just doesn't matter. But I hated every single thing about this book. I am not exaggerating: I hated EVERYTHING. The plot was not what I thought it would be, I hated every character, there was insta-love and stupid decisions and the ending was ridiculous and added a plot point out of NOWHERE. Thinking about that book still makes me mad. The book was on my Kindle. I actually hated this book so much that I wanted to get a physical copy of it just so I could destroy it. I was mad that it even existed. Ha. Okay, okay. I think you guys get the idea, right? I am sure you guys are wondering why I didn't just DNF it. Yeah, me too. 

When I thought about writing the review on my blog, I hesitated. I just didn't want to seem like a mean spirited person for writing such an awful review. And I just didn't feel comfortable writing a review about an author's work that was filled with such hate. If it had been a regular book that I owned, I probably would have just skipped writing about it at all with no qualms about it. But what to do when the book in question is an ARC?
I decided that I could not in good conscience write a review that was so mean. When I sent in my feedback through NetGalley, I did tell them why I didn't like the book (don't worry, I said it in semi-better terms than I did in the above paragraph). But I also told them that since I didn't like a single thing about the book, I did not feel comfortable posting the review on my blog. I hope I made the right decision.

What do you think? Have you ever read a book that you couldn't find anything positive to say about at all?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

This is a book review for The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. I received the ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is June 23, 2015. 

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened. After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

This book started out wonderfully. I loved the concept of this book. The descriptions of the city of Paris and the countryside of France were stunning. Jean Perdu is able to look into a person's soul and prescribe the exact book they need. If they need to cry or need to laugh or need to move on after a divorce . . . whatever the need is, he has a book for it. The only problem is that he uses books as a way to hide from his own problems. Twenty one years before, he had loved a woman very deeply, only to be devastated when she left him. When she left, she left a letter but he never read it. Instead, he shoved it in a desk drawer and tried to forget about it. He spent twenty one years grieving for this woman and remaining alone and isolated. 

The first 25% of this book was beautiful. When Jean reads the letter, it is so tragic and sad. I won't give away any spoilers, but the reason why the woman left makes Jean feel incredible amounts of guilt, and shame. Then he decides to embark on a voyage to find his true love and other characters go with him on his journey. The middle part just starts dragging and it becomes very predictable. There is a bit of a twist at the end though. There is also a lot of intsta-love, but I think it can be forgiven since all the characters are French. The French are very romantic and passionate. 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow! There are great parts to this book and I love the setting of France. But the middle part just made my eyes glaze over.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Memes

Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn at A Daily Rhythm, where we show off books we recently added to our TBR list or books we recently purchased, borrowed, etc.

This week I received several ARC's from NetGalley that I am very excited about.

1. A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery 

2. The Fall by James Preller 

3. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood - Ask me how excited I am about getting Margarat Atwood's newest book! SO EXCITED! This actually a prequel to a series I haven't read yet (Positron) and it sounds amazing. Nobody does dystopian fiction quite like Margaret Atwood.

Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice. Here are the rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 (or at 56% with an ereader)
*Find any sentence (or a few, no spoilers).
*Post It.

This is from a book that I just finished, Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen. I do believe it is one of my favorite books I have read this year. It was written in verse, which I normally don't care for. But it was just so incredibly beautiful. I'll be posting a full review next week.

"Even as the world goes dark around me,
I'll keep my shine,

I will not eclipse."

"A month:
the time it takes 
a season to change,
less than half the summer,
the time it takes a baby
to learn day from night.

It's taken less time than that
for my life to

Have you received any new books this week?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Fixer (The Fixer #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This is a book review for The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is July 7, 2015.

When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.'s #1 "fixer," known for making politicians' scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister's footsteps and becomes D.C.'s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens. Secrets pile up as each sister lives a double life. . . . until their worlds come crashing together and Tess finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy with one of her classmates and a client of Ivy's. Suddenly, there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than Tess is willing to pay.

I'll admit it: I totally requested this book because of the Scandal comparisons. I freaking love that show so much. Here is what I did like about the book: the mystery was a very compelling one. There were twists and turns and I kept reading just to find out what happened and who the bad guy was. As it turned out, everyone was a bad guy. 

Here is what I didn't like about the book: just about everything else. That is not to say that I hated the book exactly, just that I didn't like it very much. Does that even make sense? I was trying really, really hard with this book but it was so incredibly unrealistic. Yeah, I know. It's a work of fiction. But come on . . . these were teenagers who were trying to solve a government conspiracy that went all the way to the White House. I mean, really? And even though Tess's sister Ivy has way more experience with it and even though she understands people's lives are in danger, she still goes out on her own and refuses to seek her sister's help.

That brings me to another issue I had: the relationship between Tess and Ivy. Tess is upset because Ivy promised to take her to live with her after their parents died. Instead, Ivy left Tess with her grandfather and basically removed herself from Tess's life. Ivy only called for birthdays and holidays. I really, really never got why Ivy did this. When Ivy finally revealed her reasons, it was anticlimactic. Ivy's reasoning does explain why she never took Tess to live with her (well maybe), but it doesn't explain why Ivy stopped talking to Tess at all. I still don't agree with Ivy. I still don't understand why it was better to leave Tess with her grandfather, who was elderly. The whole reason Tess came to live with Ivy was because Tess's grandfather had Alzheimer's. And then there was a twist that I should have seen coming, but didn't, and it was super soap opera like. I had a really hard time rooting for the relationship between Tess and Ivy, mainly because Ivy was so cold and distant. Ivy spent lots of money making sure Tess was comfortable, but then she would disappear because she was working all the time. When Tess was around and concerned for her friends because of the mystery, Ivy acted as if she didn't even care. 

The ending was a bit of a surprise and of course they set it up for the sequel. There was not a huge cliffhanger at the end, but there was enough of one to make for new stories in future books. Honestly though, I don't have any interest in reading any of them.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Alive (The Generations Trilogy #1) by Scott Sigler

This is a book review for Alive (TheGenerations Trilogy #1) by Scott Sigler. I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date is July 14, 2015.

A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief—she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people . . . and no answers. She knows only one thing about herself—her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin—yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they’re to have any chance, she must get them to trust one another.

I was not prepared to love this book. For some reason, I thought it would be a copycat of Maze Runner. Maybe it was because of a teenager having no memory of who she is? But there was enough in the premise to stand out. I was wary of requesting it from NetGalley, but my curiosity won out. Man, I am so glad it did. This book was os incredibly fast paced and filled with action and was seriously unputdownable (yes, that is a word, don't question me on that). 

The beginnings of this book reminded me a bit of Lord of the Flies. There were all these kids who woke up thinking they were celebrating their twelfth birthday. They have the minds of twelve year olds, but have the bodies of people much older. When they realize there are no Grownups around, they must decide who is the leader and who gets to make the decisions. Em (called that because of the letter M on her coffin) steps up, as do a few other survivors. In the end, Em is the one who takes control, mainly because of how methodical she is. I am not sure if that is the best word to describe her, but she is so calm even when others are afraid or even when she is unsure about the decisions she is making. She thinks through her decisions and sticks by them. I am sure the decision and fighting about who gets to be a leader can seem repetitive, but these are kids. I can kind of imagine kids with no adults around fighting about who gets to be in charge. I am wary to reveal too much about the plot of this book because there are several reveals that are quite shocking. Just let me say that my heart was pounding during the entire book. 

One thing that I did not care for was Em's obsession with O'Malley when she first saw him. She sees so much carnage around her, but then she sees him in his coffin and immediately starts thinking about how beautiful she is. Then there is kind of a love triangle later in the book when she starts feeling attracted to Bishop, someone she hated at first. She did think at one point that her attitude changed depending on which guy she was talking to. Yeah, no kidding. There wasn't any real romance though with any of them and I think that is a good thing. There was just talk about how attractive everyone is. That is something else I could have done without . . . endless talk about how beautiful everyone was.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Yes, please buy this book! If you love science fiction, dystopian type thrillers you will love this one. It is truly unique.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Books I Will Read This Summer

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic is the top ten books on my TBR list for this Summer! Of course we all know that a TBR is a fickle thing. I may or may not actually get to these books this Summer.

1. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

2. Little Peach by Peggy Kern
3. Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz
4. An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
5. Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen

6. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

7. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
8. Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke

9. A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
10. Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

What books are on your Summer TBR? Are there any books on this list that you have read? Where should I start?