Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Short Break

As you may have noticed, I've been kind of quiet on the internet for the past two weeks or so. Not only have I started a new job (yay!) but I've also recently felt overwhelmed — with reading, blogging and personal things. I love being able to all of you and share how I feel about the books I read, but I don't want my current state to affect the work I produce.

I'll be taking a short break until the beginning of May, so looking forward to more posts then! :)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

New on the Shelves, Vol. 3

After getting a 20% off coupon from Barnes & Noble in the mail two weeks ago, I had to use it on The Hogwarts Library (Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, The Tales of Beedle the Bard) by J.K. Rowling. I love how all the covers match and since I haven't read these yet, I figure it'll be motivation to finish my Harry Potter series re-read.

February was a big month for new releases!

Like I mentioned in last week's Top Ten Tuesday, I sent a library request for Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer after Hannah so highly recommended it in her lovely review. I'm craving some women's fiction after reading The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel (I wrote a mini review in last week's Forget Me Not!)

I haven't read anything by V.E./Victoria Schwab yet but A Darker Shade of Magic seems like a great place to start. Parallel universes, magic and London? COUNT ME IN.

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios would have escaped my "to read" list, but EVERYONE has been so vocal about how great it is and I just had to see for myself. I'll be picking this up after my current read (Paper Towns by John Green) so you'll be hearing about my feels soon enough :p

I've been quite excited for A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas so of course I read it as soon as I got home. It's a reimagining of Sleeping Beauty after she wakes up from true love's kiss, and y'all know how I feel about twists on fairytales ... (I love 'em!)

What was the last book you purchased for yourself? Which book do you think I should read after I finish I'll Meet You There? (I'm 95% sure it'll be A Darker Shade of Magic!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top 10 Books From My Childhood/Teen Years I Would Love to Revisit

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. A new topic is discussed every week, so join us if you love writing lists and sharing your thoughts on everything related to books!

As I mentioned in Breaking Up with My Books, I've loved reading since I was a child. I loved visiting the library and borrowing books at random, so I rarely re-read anything. If I owned all the books I read as a child, these are the ten I would pick up right now:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
I started re-reading the Harry Potter series last year, so I'm looking forward to continue with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. When I first read through the series, I took a big break before reading this fifth book — I hope it doesn't end up happening again ...

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
I am such a scaredy-cat, but I remember this to be one of my favorite books to read. (I was reminded of this while reading Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, which also contains really creepy stories.)

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
As I mentioned in my Top 10 Childhood Favorites, this book holds a very special place in my heart ever since my fifth grade teacher read it to us as a class. I have a feeling that I'd still love it if I read it today.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
This is long due for a re-read. I've only read this once and can barely remember anything about it :(

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
I have absolutely no idea how I came across this book, but I know I discovered it by myself after browsing the shelves at my library.

Summer in the City by Elizabeth Chandler
If you were to ask me my favorite book in high school, this would be it!

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
This is just one of those fun and WEIRD books you want to read over and over again.

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
The boxset that Beezus and Ramona came in was one of the very first boxsets my mom bought me through Scholastic book orders. I am almost certain that I begged for it after reading Dear Mr. Henshaw in class, so shout out to all the elementary school teachers who still read in class!

The Cam Jansen Mysteries by David A. Adler
I was browsing through the "Readers Also Enjoyed" section on Goodreads for a couple of the books I mentioned earlier and I came across this gem! I can't believe I forgot about this series!

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
I don't appreciate poetry as much as I did when I was younger, so I'd love to spark that interest again.

Researching these books makes me wish I had a list of all the library books I've ever borrowed as a child/teen. I'd love to know which books from your childhood/teen years you're hoping to re-visit!

Monday, March 23, 2015

4 Reasons to Read The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Book 1 in The Winner's Trilogy

Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (Macmillan)
Format: Hardcover // 355 pages

Other books by Rutkoski: The Cabinet of Wonders, The Shadow Society

Filed under: female heroines, forbidden love
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general's daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin's eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him — with unexpected consequences. It's not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner's Curse is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
When The Winner's Curse came out last year, there was a lot of hype surrounding it. I wasn't interested in reading it because it involves slave culture, but I decided to give it a try due to the numerous praised reviews. If you can't decide whether or not to give The Winner's Curse a chance, here are four reasons that may convince you to!

1. It isn't complicated to follow.
Complex worlds and made-up languages tend to draw me away from fantasy books, but The Winner's Curse kept my interest. In fact, the only element of fantasy (that we know of so far) is the fictional world they live in. Their culture is a bit reminiscent of the Roman's — a love for the arts (music, in this case) and architecture are two that stuck out to me. Because the two are so similar, it's easy to imagine.

2. It's worth the slow setup.
It takes a while for things to get interesting but once it kicks in, you will not want to put this book down. When I started The Winner's Curse, I wanted lots of action. Now looking back, I find that the uneventful beginning was necessary for me to familiarize myself with the characters and the world. Without the backstory and time to learn about who Kestrel and Arin are, I would have ended up with different emotions.

3. Kestrel is an awesome heroine.
We get a lot of stories where the guy is on an adventure to rescue the girl-in-waiting, but Kestrel is far from the girl who is waiting for someone to save her. She is independent and headstrong, but makes decisions for the good of her people. She may not be physically strong, but she's dang strategic and smart. It is SO NICE not having to say "you idiot!!!" :p

4. It's not your usual romance story.
There's something about a forbidden, slow-burning romance that makes it all the more better to read, but this one is a little twisted. Both Kestrel and Arin are in unfortunate situations and I've been sitting here, thinking about a way to explain it without being spoilery BUT I CAN'T. Just know that it's a type of romance you've probably never read before.

As someone who doesn't read much fantasy but is trying to ease into it — I loved it. Read this if you like the "government control" aspect of dystopian worlds and are trying to get into fantasy OR if you want to read in the perspective of someone like Clarke from The 100, the television series on CW.

Have you had the chance to read The Winner's Curse yet? Did the hype affect your experience? If you haven't read it yet, are you planning to?
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