Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award Tag

I was tagged for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf, Shae @ Shae Has Left The Room and Nicole @ Nicole's Novel Reads. That means I have 30 questions to answer! I actually don't know who started this meme, but all the credit of the idea to her.


  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their website.
  • Post the award's logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions you have been asked.
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers and ask them 10 other questions. 

Questions from Sunny:

1. What YA book to movie adaption is your favorite?
Does Harry Potter count, even though it's technically MG? Because I'll always love those. All of them. I don't discriminate, even against the first two. I haven't see a lot of the adaptations this year though I really want to. I am a fan of The Hunger Games movies and Divergent was good too.

2. Do you listen to music while you read and if so, who's your go-to artist?
No. I like zero distractions when I'm reading. If there's anything going on around me, I will completely tune it out. I want to be fully in my head and in the story. This makes it difficult for me to read when other people/things are demanding my attention. 

3. What's the best book you read this year?
No way can I pick one here: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, Every Word by Ellie Marney, Lady Thief by AC Gaughen and Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensely are all up there. 

4. What's your favorite and least favorite genre to read?
This is so hard, because I'll read anything if the story sounds good! I don't like text books? I guess I don't usually go for horror, or anything too gory. Though I might if the love story was worth it. Recently I've been reading more fantasy than contemporary and loving historical fantasy in particular.

5. What did you rate the last book you read and why? (DNFs count)
Four stars to Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay. I thought I wouldn't like it, but ended up enjoying it so much! Mostly because the characters surprised me. They both made me angry, but their growth was incredible, and the swoon was nice too. :) It's not really a fairytale retelling though. 

6. Do you like reading outside or inside better?
I LOVE to read on the beach, but I rarely get to do that anymore, since I have little kids that I need to watch at all times. In the winter, I definitely want to be somewhere cozy inside. But I'm not picky. If I get a concentrated time to read, I'm happy!

7. Who's your favorite OTP? (one true pairing/fictional couple)
Remember when I said I can't pick just one? Some of my favorites are Froi and Quintana from The Lumatere Chronicles (actually all of Marchetta's couples. Jonah and Taylor are another type of Froi and Quintana). I will forever love Anne and Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables. Oh also, Sydney and Adrian from the Bloodlines series. And Mycroft and Watts from Every Breath! Now, I'm worried I'm forgetting someone important. See. I'm terrible at this. 

8. Gifs or no gifs in reviews?
No gifs. First, I have no idea how to use them. Second, honestly, I think the flashing is distracting. I typically ignore them when reading a review. I also don't like vlog reviews. I'd rather read the information than watch it. But I do love many bloggers who do gifs, and I'm always impressed with their ability to find comparison images.

9. Do you read more ebooks or physical copies?
Mixed. Some books I want to read in ebook and some in physical, but I get arcs and finished books all different ways.

10. What's one book you wish everyone would read?
I'm not sure I can think of one. It's definitely worth it to step out of your favorite genre and read a variety of things, but I recognize that not everyone is going to love every book. I'm not sure I could recommend one thing across the board. What I prefer is to make targeted suggestions. Though my Sunday School brain wants to shout the Bible! 

Questions from Shae:

1. What’s your favorite age category and genre?
I've been loving historical fantasy recently, but I don't think I have a forever favorite genre. I'm not sure about age either. I have been skewing towards YA recently, but I do love books about adults and younger children too. This is too hard. Sorry for the wishy washy answer!
2. If you could erase your memory and read one book again for the first time, which book would it be?
Such a good question! I'm going with Twilight. I LOVED that entire series when I first read it, but it has lost its shine and I think Bella is so annoying now. I'd like to go back and relive the magic again for the first time. Also, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
3.  If you could physically force everyone on Earth to read one book, what would it be?
See question 10 above. I admire people who believe so much in one book they will push it on anyone. Though I see reading as so subjective that this is hard for me to do personally. But I will blast my love for certain books to others I think will love them too! 
4. What was your nonfiction reading obsession as a kid?
I don't know if this counts, but I used to love the American Girl doll books, and was fascinated by the real history section at the end of each story. My favorite was Samantha who lived in the early 1900s. Basically, I've always loved history. 
5. If you could live (not visit, LIVE) in any other country except for the one you live in now, which country would it be and why?
Italy. I lived there in college for a semester and fell in love with the place and the culture. I love the idea of living somewhere that is so rich in history. You can be walking through the narrow streets of Rome and all of a sudden encounter something that was built over 2000 years ago. It was also then that I fell in love with town style living. Living in a place where you can walk anywhere, but also very quickly get out to the countryside. I lived in this town called Orvieto, where you could walk to the wall from anywhere and see the surrounding grape orchards, or go out into them if you wanted. Living in New England is like that in many ways, though less wine production and no renaissance art that isn't in a museum. I'm actually very happy where I live, except for the dead of winter.

Orvieto - original image source

6. If you could meet one LIVING author, who would you choose?
Melina Marchetta
7. If you could meet one DEAD author, who would you choose?
Jane Austen
8. If you could make one (ONE!) book boyfriend real, who would it be?
You see, I already have a man. So I'm not sure I'd want this book boyfriend to exist without his lady. I'm going to go with an out there guy though. I'd say Stephen Dene from Maureen Johnson's Shades of London series. In real life, I like those nice ones. But what I mostly want is for what happened to him at the end of the last book to not have happened. 
9. Name one weird and/or random thing that can be found in your room.
I don't think I have anything too crazy in there. Lots of books, of course. We do have a photo of my husband's grandfather and Ted Williams hanging on the wall. It's in a frame that includes a bunch of flies Williams tied. (They used to fly fish together in Canada.)
10. Describe an instance in which you were a reading/blogging black sheep.
Such a great question! I did not like ever popular Distance Between Us or Seraphina, both made me feel like a YA reading failure. 

Questions from Nicole:

1. What book would you recommend to your fellow book lovers? If the book is part of a series, you can include the series.
As I mentioned above, this has a lot to do with who you are. Right now I'm loving Anne Bishop's Others series, though. And I don't think you can go wrong with Melina Marchetta or Maggie Stiefvater. 

2. Who is your favorite author?
Some favorite authors: Melina Marchetta, Maggie Stiefvater, Jane Austen, Harper Lee, Megan Whalen Turner, Jandy Nelson.

3. Who is your most read author? Also, how many books have you read by the author?
According to Goodreads my most read authors are Julie Kagawa and Jennifer L. Armentrout. This sort of surprised me, though it probably shouldn't since both are very prolific. Sophie Kinsella comes in third. 12 + 12 + 11. The funny thing about JLA is there's a lot of her books I haven't read! 

4. Name 3 fictional places you would like to visit. 
Number 1 would be Thisby from The Scorpio Races. Of course I'd love to be a wizard and go to Hogwarts. I'd also love to visit Gen's world, though not during any scary war activity. 

5. What quote from a book will you never forget and why? 
I'm bad with quotes. We could even make that a bookish confession. I love reading on my kindle b/c I can highlight quotes, but I rarely remember them. There's nothing I can think of off the top of my head, though I know I was moved by many. 

6. What book can you read over and over again and never get tired of?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  That remains my favorite book. And wonder of wonders! It doesn't have any romance in it. 

7. What book made you cry?
I have a whole list HERE. But I don't think I've ever cried as much as I did reading The Kite Runner

8. List three book confessions.  
1) Sometimes I seek out spoilers or will read the last page in a book for my own sanity. I used to think this was a terrible thing. But knowing makes it easier to prepare myself, or avoid something all together. I've been burned too much by not being prepared.

2) I'm the ultimate mood reader. I have a very hard time forcing myself to read something I'm not feeling, or I've already decided I won't like based on trusted reviewers. This includes books for review. 

3) Besides love triangles, I actively avoid books with ghost/human relationships and bucket list plots.

9. When and why did you start blogging?  
I started blogging at the end of July 2012. I had done an Outlander read-along with a bunch of bloggers that summer, and the very generous Asheley @ Into the Hall of Books let me post my answers on her page. I loved being part of the readers community and that led me to starting my own blog. 

10. What are some of your favorite hobbies besides reading and blogging?
I don't have a lot of time for hobbies other than reading, which has always been my favorite. I have a busy family that takes up a lot of my time (which I love), and friends I get together with. I honestly, don't even have time for TV, because I've pretty much had to pick between that or reading/blogging. In the summer, I love being outside, biking or exploring places nearby. 

My nominees: 

Rachel/Jasprit @ The Reader's Den
Jenny @ Supernatural Snark
Mary @ The Book Swarm
Asheley @ Into the Hall of Books
Keertana @ Ivy Book bindings
Nick @ Nick's Book Blog
Carina @ Carina's Book Blog
Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination
Andi @ Andi's ABCS
(I realize all of you are busy this time of year, and I love you whether or not you make your own post xo)

I'm too lazy to think of more questions. You can just answer any 10 of the ones I answered above! Thank you Sunny, Shae and Nicole for your thoughtful bookish questions. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sharing is Caring GIVEAWAY

Tis the season, and you know how it goes. The holidays start (earlier and earlier these days), and it is all about giving. Well, today it is time for me to give you to get! With the help of 19 other bloggers we bring to you, Book Nerds Unite, a Sharing is Caring giveaway.

It’s pretty easy to enter. Just click on the Rafflecopter link/widget and start following some great bloggers.  We are offering a first place prize of $150.00 Amazon or Barnes and Nobles gift card and a second place prize of $50.00 Amazon or Barnes and Nobles gift card. Whether or not you win the prize, you get to add some fabulous new blogs to your blog feeds. Good luck!

*Giveaway is US only. It runs from 11/24/14 to 12/11/14. Winners are selected at random. Please don’t mark a blog as followed if you haven’t in fact followed. All entries will be checked.
**Graphic by Rachel from Hello, Chelly

If the form doesn't show up, click, HERE

Friday, November 21, 2014

Early Review: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Princess of Thorns
by Stacey Jay
Read: November 16 - 19, 2014
Published: December 9, 2014 by Delacorte Press
Source: Netgalley (THANK YOU, Random House!)
Tags: YA fantasy, fairytales, ogres 

Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository  

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it's too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

My note: Please ignore the Game of Thrones reference in the title. I automatically disregard other literary comparisons, because I think they're confusing and not useful. 

Guess what, guys? I really liked this book a lot! Based on my feelings about the characters (well one) in the beginning of the story, and some early reviews I saw, I didn't expect to like Princess of Thorns as much as I did. A happy surprise, indeed! Also, don't believe everything you see. 

Princess Aurora is on a mission to rescue her brother Jor from the ogre queen who has captured him. It is not good that he's  been taken, since Aurora and her brother have been hiding for years from the evil Queen Ekeeta. She needs Aurora and Jor to fulfill a dark prophecy that will not benefit anyone but the ogres. This recent development is even more frustrating, because Aurora is the rightful heir to the throne. But instead of ruling, she and her brother have been hiding with the fairies for the past 10 years. Unfortunately, things go wrong almost immediately for Aurora once she sets out, as she's captured and drugged by slavers. 

This is the point where Prince Niklaas comes into the story He's on his own mission to find Aurora and convince her to marry him. He needs her to help defeat a curse that will all but destroy him when he turns 18. Aurora is dressed as a boy in armor when Niklaas encounters her, making him think she's really her brother Jor. Aurora has her reasons for not telling Niklaas the truth (partially due to her fairy gifts, or curses depending on how you look at them), and together they form an uneasy alliance. Their goal is to hire an army to help free the real Jor. Although Niklaas' version of their mission is slightly different, because he's not been clued into the fact the boy he's traveling with is really a girl.

Here's the thing. I despised Niklaas when I first met him. His views on women and constant boasting about his past conquests were off-putting to say the least. If I'd met him in real life, I wouldn't have gone anywhere near him. Thankfully, Aurora is equally turned off by his behavior. But this made his character growth so excellent to witness first hand. I was truly amazed by how my feelings changed about him from the first to the last pages. Plus it was so much fun watching Aurora challenge every one of his beliefs about girls, even when  Niklaas thought she was a boy and he didn't know it was happening. 

However, it's not only Niklaas who has some growing to do. Aurora also learns some tough lessons through this story. There was even a moment when I stated in my Goodreads updates, "Girl, I would punch you in the face if I could." I was so mad at her!! But all those strong emotions mean that I cared about this book and these characters. Truly, the strength of this book for me was in the characters and relationship between Aurora and Niklaas: how it developed and changed as they faced dangerous situations and had to learn to trust each other. Their constant banter was fun to read, but I really enjoyed the way they each grew up throughout the story. I also appreciated the way this book explores stereotypes and gender roles. I was challenged on both sides of that question, and in the end, really appreciated the moments that made me angry, because they also made me think.

On the other hand, I did think that the overall mythology was confusing, and I never fully grasped the ogre's mission. There were a lot of different magical elements put together in this story - in addition to ogres: a swan prince, fairy blessings, witches, even a brief Rapunzel reference. It was an interesting mashup of fantasy elements from various fairytales, though most of them were just side details (including the Sleeping Beaty connection). The basic plot of the story was also fairly simple. It is a quest of sorts, but it's straight forward if you break it down, and I wasn't surprised where it takes the characters in the end.

But even though I wasn't surprised where the characters end up, I wasn't expecting who they would be at the end, or how the specific events would play out. For that, Princess of Thorns has a strong and surprising ending that solidifies it along with Of Beast and Beauty as another great read from Stacey Jay. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone!    

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I can't wait to read these sequels!

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish

Top Ten* sequels I can't wait to read: 

*Because I just can't pick 10 this week, I'm going to list SEQUELS I'm anticipating in 5 categories* 

1) With covers:

A) Siren's Fury by Mary Weber - Storm Siren ended in a terrible cliffhanger. I must know what happens next! 

B) Golden Son by Pierce Brown - After the end of Red Rising, I'm eager to find out what crazy things Darrow does in the sequel.

C) Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine - I'm excited for more of Wen and Melik's story. No love triangles please! (Thoughts on Of Metal and Wishes)

D) The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead - I'm desperate for the conclusion of Adrian and Sydney's story. I LOVE them so. (Thoughts on Silver Shadows)

E) Every Move by Ellie Marney - Another of my MOST MOST anticipated. Every Breath & Every Move were surprising Aussie favorites this year. 

F) Lion Heart by A.C. GaughenLady Thief was one of my favorite sequels this year, but it ended on another terrible cliffy. Will Scarlet and Rob be okay? I must know!

G) The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson - This is probably the one I'm most nervous about. I reeeaallllyyyyy hope this doesn't have a love triangle. I might have to strike it from my list if so. (Thoughts on The Kiss of Deception)

H) Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman - I loved Prisoner of Night and Fog, but it was a tough time period to read about. I'm so worried for Gretchen and Daniel! 

(Images of the previous book in the series)

2) No covers: 

A) Burn by Paula Weston - I love The Rephaim series, and I'm incredibly excited/nervous for how everything will come together in the end. Gaby + Rafa = LOVE

B) Winter by Marissa Meyer - After Cress, so much is at stake for these characters. Scarlet and Wolf are my #1 concern, though!!

C) Trail of Tears by Josephine Angelini - I enjoyed Trial By Fire so much this year, and I really want to love the sequel just as much. PLEASE!

(Images of the previous book in the series)

3) No cover or title:

A) Raven Cycle #4 by Maggie Stiefvater - OBVIOUSLY. Oh, but GANSEY!! (Thoughts on Blue Lily, Lily Blue)

B) The Archived #3 by Victoria Schwab - I NEED MORE WES AND MAC!!! This book doesn't even have a publication year, but the author has promised it's coming. MORE PEOPLE PLEASE READ The Archived and The Unbound. PLEASE! 

C) The Elemental Trilogy# 3 by Sherry Thomas - The Perilous Sea is a fantastic example of a series that increases tension in book two, without adding a love triangle. WHAT??? It's possible, people! I must have the end of Titus and Iolanthe's story. 

4) I've read and cannot wait to own in hardback:

A) The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoksi - The sequel to The Winner's Curse destroyed me. But it was gorgeous too. I cannot wait to own my own copy. 

B) Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop - I am obsessed with this series. I cannot get enough of it. (This one is Adult - see thoughts on Murder of Crows)

5) I NEEED but may never exist:

A) Rites of Passage 2, Joy N. Hensley - Rites of Passage is one of my favorite books of the year, and I want a sequel so badly. But if there isn't one, I've invented my own end for the characters that makes me feel very happy. 

EEK! I went way overboard here. SORRY, guys! (But not really)
What sequels are you anticipating this week?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Early Review: Boys Don't Knit (in public) by T.S. Eaton

Boys Don't Knit
by T.S. Eaton
Read: October 19 - 21, 2014
Published: March 24, 2015 by Feiwel & Friends 
Source: Arc from Macmillan (THANK YOU!) 
Tags: Contemporary, YA, British humor, knitting boys

Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N 

Knitting is a man’s game.

After an incident regarding a crossing guard and a bottle of Martini & Rossi (and his bonehead friends), 17-year-old worrier Ben Fletcher must develop his sense of social alignment, take up a hobby, and do some community service to avoid any further probation.

He takes a knitting class (it was that or his father’s mechanic class) under the impression that it's taught by the hot teacher all the boys like. Turns out, it’s not. Perfect.

Regardless, he sticks with it and comes to find that he’s a natural knitter, maybe even great. It even helps ease his anxiety and worrying. The only challenge now is to keep it hidden from his friends, his crush, and his soccer-obsessed father. What a tangled web Ben has weaved . . . or knitted.

Boys Don't Knit was a complete delight! I loved being inside Ben's head. Ben doesn't always understand his messy family - or feel like he fits. He's not sure how he feels about his friends (they keep getting him into trouble), and he doesn't know how to talk to girls he likes. When Ben gets put on probation for a situation that involved poor judgement, liquor stealing, and hitting a crossing guard with a bicycle, all largely the fault of his idiotic friends, Ben ends up taking a knitting class. Of course, Ben doesn't want anyone to know about it even though he's a natural, and that leads to much hilarity and inner turmoil. 

Ben's a little awkward, quite clueless at times (though he can also be very perceptive), and he doesn't feel like he fits with his friends or at home. Ben doesn't like sports or cars or the other manly things his dad prefers, or his friends wild schemes, which always end in disaster. Ben likes organizing things and school and no drama. But it is through the seemingly unmanly activity of knitting that Ben realizes he might not be the loser he always thought he was. He has friends and support and maybe a girl who likes him too. Plus he finds he's also pretty good at helping others. 

Ben's inner voice was completely endearing, and I enjoyed seeing him gain confidence and begin to see his own worth. The story is told by Ben in a very conversational style, organized by date, instead of chapter (sort of like a diary. But don't worry: it's not epistolary, and the storytelling method works very well, adding to the overall experience). Reading Boy's Don't Knit was like cuddling up in a warm sweater while watching a British comedy. They perfect mix of hilarious and heartfelt. 

This book doesn't come out in the US until next March, but I found it to be incredibly entertaining. Definitely add it to your list!

Love Triangle Factor: None/Mild. Romance is not the focus of this book, and Ben is pretty clueless about the whole thing, so so there's some resulting drama, but it's always going in the same direction. 
Cliffhanger Scale: Low - This book has a sequel An English Boy in New York

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