marie lu

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten TuesdayAugust 18: Top Ten Of Your Auto-buy Authors

I actually very rarely go out and buy books right when they come out, mostly because they are expensive and I am still a poor college student. I utilize the library as often as possible and usually just buy books that I love. However, in an ideal world these would be my auto-buy authors in no particular order:

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Rick Riordan

Patricia Briggs

Cinda Williams Chima

Kimberly McCreight

Gillian Flynn

Sarah J. Maas

Marie Lu

Sara Raasch

Marissa Meyer

Gail Carriger

Anne Bishop

Bonus: C.S. Lewis, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jane Austen, if they were still alive and writing.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten TuesdayI know I missed last week’s so instead you get two this week, here is the first:

January 27: Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club — like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.)

This is such an interesting topic and I often wish I could join a book club so I would have people to share my joy and tears over a book with. So here are the ones I would like to read with others, as always in no particular order.

snow like ashesWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart – This book left me with such mixed feelings that I need to discuss them with someone. I enjoyed the layout and the story but the twisted ending left me heartbroken and I have no one to understand that.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I know, I know, this is is on EVERY list that I’ve done lately but it is just that good. I love the world that Raasch creates and I would love to share that with as many people as possible.

Legend/The Young Elites by Marie Lu – I put both of these books because I feel they are so vastly different that they would provide a great conversational topic for the variety of writing styles that Lu possesses. Plus they are both pretty badass stories.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick/Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – Obviously we would start with Austen and then read the more modern version, perhaps also watching some of Rorick’s YouTube videos. One of my favorite classics paired with a great new interpretation. Love, love, love. horns

Horns by Joe Hill – Dark and intense but definitely worth the read. And anyone who attended Catholic school or knows about Catholicism will definitely appreciate a lot of the symbolism and text. It’s a murder wrapped in myth and shoved into a scary reality. Amazing.

The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop – I did manage to convince my bestie to start these and they were recommended to me by my cousin and have since become an all-time favorite. The world, the people, the story, all of it is blended into a seamlessly beautiful set of books that I always tell people to read.

Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima – Chima is an amazing author, colorful dialogue and witty characters. She builds a realm and makes you live in it. She blends character perspective into a narrative that is as fantastical as it is fantastic. Definitely one that people would enjoy talking about.

The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Sarcasm, demons, and high school, what could be better? Truthfully, this series should come after the Dark Hunter series but this version of blood of olympusNick Gautier is too irresistible for me to not talk about.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – An all time favorite collection from beginning to end, loads of people have read it, but few have actually done so as an adult and are willing to discuss it. I’d like to change that. Reliving a childhood classic can be beneficial in more than one way!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians/Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan – And of course, Riordan’s writing is pure gold, comedic and otherwise. The blend of myth and reality, the different interpretations of both, the characters and their relationships, friendly and otherwise, all of it would make great conversation. Especially the growth over the two series.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten TuesdayI have one more final to finish before I’m officially done for the semester but I couldn’t resist taking a few minutes to publish this week’s Top Ten Tuesday considering how awesome it is! I’m a bit of a series addict so I will list those after the titles if it isn’t the first book.

December 16: Top Ten Books I Read In 2014 (Overall, By A Particular Genre, 2014 Releases). This will be a hard one but I’m going to try….might end up with more than ten books. I can live with that if you can 😉 After all, my goal is to read 100 books this year and I’ve already read 97, there are a lot to choose from! So in no particular order:

1) The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick – I stumbled across a series of YouTube videos that led me to this fantastic book. It’s basically a modern day Bennet family, except with only three daughters. The videos portray typical Bennet family life, which is quickly interrupted by crazy Mrs. Bennet and the arrival of yes, Mr. Bingley.

snow ashes2) Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I cannot stress this book anymore than I already have. It is amazing. You need to read it. It has action and adventure, heartbreak and loss, secrets and lies, all wrapped up into another world that will make you want to move there immediately…you know if there wasn’t a war happening.

3) Horns by Joe Hill – Yes, it was a book before it was a movie with Daniel Radcliffe. And while it might seem a bit slow at the beginning, the story and the monologues are incredible. Once Iggy embraces his fate, you cannot look away. Hard to put down and will have you smirking right along with him.

4) The Eye of Minds and The Rule of Thoughts (The Mortality Doctrine series) by James Dashner – Even if you’d read The Maze Runner and are totally sick of it, let Dashner take you to a whole new, brave, world. In the future, there are so many places to visit and you never even have to leave your own home. Virtual reality is the hot commodity, that is until that very way of life is threatened.

5) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Another futuristic book that pulled me in and kept me entertained was this amazing feat of fiction. It is thrilling and terrifying as you’re sure that any moment death will come. There is a puzzle and a prize and Wade thinks he is the one who can finally obtain it. And maybe, just maybe, with the help of his friends, he can.

6) Good to Great by Jim Collins – This was a book I was required to read for school but that doesn’t make it any less valuable or interesting. It’s about business, and creating a successful organization, but it can be applicable in dozens of other situations as well. How to build a successful team and maintain a well-functioning way of life. Absolutely fantastic. I read it twice. cinder

7) Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress (The Lunar Chronicles series) by Marissa Meyer – Because who doesn’t want to read about what the future of our planet might be…and not just from the United States perspective. So many books focus on this part of this world but this series has a global initiative, combined with plague and cyborgs, that will make turning pages seem like nothing. It is heart-pounding and emotional, filled with trauma and love and fear. Fairy tales with a twist is how The Lunar Chronicles is advertized but it’s really so much more than that.

8) Ripper by Stefan Petrucha – Old world history comes to life by interweaving it with a personal story that is often so intense that I had to look away. Petrucha imagines the what-ifs and brings them to life on the page with a heart-stopping twist. Jack the Ripper is lose and a kid might be the only one who can find out where he is.

9) Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris – If you need a laugh or a pick-me-up, then anything by Sedaris will do. He is witty and poignant with a style that paints hysterical and cringe-worthy images in your mind. This is a collection of short holiday time stories that had me in stitches every time I picked it up.

10) The Young Elites by Marie Lu – Dark and dangerous, this series takes Lu’s writing to an entirely new level. It explores what it means to be bad in a whole new way. Is evil made or is it born? It’s a question I often ask and one that is becoming more and more popular. If you read Legend and appreciated the character of Day, then come meet Adelina and see how she makes you feel, makes blood of olympusyou think, makes you wonder.

11) The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus series) by Rick Riordan – I know I just did a review of this book but it definitely merits being mentioned again. Riordan is one of my favorite authors, hands down. His stories are art that I could (and have) devour for hours on end. This is the final installment in a series that has so many complex characters and complicated friendships, all while fighting the end of the world, that it was hard to put down. Even to study.

12) Etiquette & Espionage and Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School series) by Gail Carriger – What can I say about a character I have come to love this much? Sophronia is witty and clever and an obvious trouble-making due to her overabundance of curiosity. Which actually all come in handy when she is shipped off to a finishing school that makes young girls into ladies…ones that can be spies and assassins. All while maintain proper dress and decorum.

13) Doomed by Tracy Deebs – A modern day Pandora, literally, opens a gift that unleashes hell on earth. Or at least on all the computer systems of earth, leaving everything in chaos and life as she knows it in ruins. It’s hard to predict what will happen next as the young heroine attempts to undo her mistake, all while in the company of two delicious sounding young men.

14) Illusion (The Chronicles of Nick series) by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Nick Gautier is a smartass who doesn’t have a cluecrown of midnight when he should keep his mouth shut. Often causing him to get into more trouble than is strictly necessary. And in this fifth book, Nick has become mired in a whole new set of consequences that no one else acknowledges. How can you change what is happening if no one else can see it coming? Absolutely brilliant.

15) Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass series) by Sarah J. Maas – I enjoyed the first book in this series and the third as well but I think this one, the second, was the most powerful. Every page created new intensity and the hits jut kept on coming. The reveals never stopped and so much information is conveyed, it is well worth the read, even if the worst is yet to come.

Book Review: The Young Elites

It’s here, as promised!!

Featured Image -- 1097And I’m not just talking about the book itself but also my review of it. What an adventure this book took me on! After reading Lu’s other works I was not anticipating this complete 360 flip that she pulled. True, the story is still about good and evil, right and wrong, and of course, hidden agendas and twists. But it’s told from a different perspective that really makes you reevaluate how you view “darkness” or “evil”.

Adelina is a normal-ish girl. She lives at home with her dad and sister (in another realm) and she was unfortunate enough to be sick as a child which caused her to not only lose an eye and become a societal outcast but also unwanted in her own family. Her father is desperate to get rid of her and her sister is naively ignoring everything. Finally, Adelina can’t take it anymore and escapes.

She is found by a young man who is known as “Reaper” but there is definitely more to him than meets the eye, and the attraction is undeniable. She is saved but it might not be all that she had hoped it would. All her life, Adelina has struggled against people trying to control and manipulate her. And is the Reaper really any different? The Young Elites might have taken her in but do they really trust her? Can she really trust them?

So many questions! And only 300 pages in which to answer them! Adelina’s story is gripping, especially because it starts when she is about to die. The entire thing is one unbelievable scenario after another that paint a picture of deep pain and trouble. There are flashbacks and heart-pounding present moments. The action is enough to keep you turning the pages and make you stay up an extra an hour before bed. As I said in one of my status updates, I had to force myself to put the book down so I didn’t finish it in one day. Mostly because I also had school work that was going undone.

The cast of characters here isn’t overwhelming but some are particularly memorable and not just because of how I imagine they look. There are minor characters who play a role in Adelina’s life but only a handful of main characters that have continuous interaction that is written about.  And speaking of which, there is a character death in here that I’m not sure I will EVER recover from. It was almost as bad as Hedwig dying in HP7.

I wasn’t expecting such a dark story. Adelina isn’t exactly a good person or a bad one. She is definitely troubled and not at all perfect, which she deeply acknowledges. But embracing her flaws is one of her strongest attributes. She knows that she is beautiful but also knows that people are repulsed by her. She is very straightforward and blunt, which is admirable. Although she doesn’t always tell the truth when she should which really kept pissing me off.

Overall, this is a complex book that may not appeal to everyone, including people who loved Lu’s other works. But it has flair and style and if you appreciated Day from Legend then give this one a try. If you were more of a June fan, then maybe not. Either way, Lu writes this story in her unique fashion and it’s not another dystopian (if you’re sick of those), so add it to your TBR and enjoy the ride.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

My personal rating: 94

  • Writing style – 10
  • Plot – 9
  • Dialogue – 9
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 9
  • Love story – 9
  • Invokes emotion – 9
  • Synopsis accuracy – 10
  • Consistent level of interest – 9
  • Stays on topic – 10
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10

Book Review…sort of

I have not yet managed to finish a book in the last week but I have two that I am very excited about and would love to share with you.

I am currently about 5/6 of the way done with Outlander and about 2/3 done with The Young Elite, but this week, I have been trying to play catch up (and get ahead) on school work for NaNoWriMo which begins on Saturday. And as a result, I’ve fallen a bit behind on my reading, even at night before bed I’m only able to manage a chapter or two before I start nodding off.

And in the interest of saving myself time, I’m going to put in the Goodreads blurbs for each books but I promise my own summaries when I get around to reviewing them (hopefully this weekend/next week).

Outlander – “The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.”

What a rush this book is! I am so intrigued by the isles north of Europe that I can find endless fascination in every story that is told about them. Characters lost in time, even more so. Not to mention a kickass love story that knocks through several loops before tossing you back down to land on your head, no longer sure what the right choice is. Other than being rather long, the book is very enjoyable. Gabaldon is a creative and colorful writer and especially with her real Scotsmen language. So far, two big thumbs up!

The Young Elites – “I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.”

Wow, after Legend I didn’t think Marie Lu could get any better, but because that is possible, I think this series might be an even better one. It’s all about the darkness inside, the one that threatens to consume you and spill out onto the world. Most people can keep that in check but what happens when you can’t or at least no longer have to? There is less focus on the light (even the story is still about what is right/wrong) and it’s message is that much more powerful because of it. Adelina isn’t my favorite girl and she might lack temerity in compared to June (from the Legend series) but her twisted life is a story worth following and remembering.

books

There’s my quick update for you all! I promise full reviews will follow just as soon as I can sit down to finish the books 🙂

What I’m Reading

currently reading 10.11.14

The Grand Escape has been on my re-read list for awhile. I remembered this book while going through some of my childhood things and have wanted to read it again ever since. I ordered it from Amazon and it’s now sitting next to my bed all pretty and new and waiting to be cracked open.

Styxx has also been on my list for awhile now and I promised myself I would read this side of the Acheron debacle before the end of the year but I’ve been so distracted by all the shiny, new books coming out that I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Hopefully that changes soon!

The Whispering Skull is the second book in a series that I have been itching to get my hands on since I read the first. And it’s perfect for this time of year. Young people who hunt ghosts for a living? Yes, please!

The Iron Trial and The Young Elites are both new publishing by old favorites (well, not that old). The Iron Trial is co-written by fan-loved Cassandra Clare and so far, it’s pretty interesting, the 20 pages I’ve read at least. And The Young Elites is, of course, the new release from Marie Lu, author of the Legend series that I loved so much. She is fantastic and I hope this one lives up to expectation.

The final book up to bat is Outlander. After seeing it everywhere, and now it’s on TV, I needed to read it. It was calling to me. It’s a love story lost in time zones and I couldn’t resist it, even if the paperback is about twice the size of every other book I’m currently tackling. I’ve heard great things and so far, it’s reeling me in.

So that’s what I’m reading. What are you reading?

Legend by Marie Lu

Absolutely! This entire series is phenomenal!

Legend (Legend, #1)Date Published: January 1, 2011

Dates Read: 9/21/14 to 9/26/14

Rating: 5 stars!!

Synopsis: 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…

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Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesdayfall arch

Fall: The Season of Back-to-School, new books, leaves, pumpkin spice, apple pie, costumes, candy, turkey, and cooling temperatures. So then the big question becomes what are the Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list?

1) The Rule of Thoughts by James Dashner – Recently published and I received it from the library although I have yet to start reading it. That’s my goal for this week!

2) Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon – This has been sitting on my bookshelf since I purchased it at Barnes & Noble. I’ve wanted to read it a million times but I haven’t gotten around to it.

3) Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – This is a new publication coming out next month that I recently discovered via Twitter. Magic, kingdoms, and mayhem, can’t wait!

4) Lord of the Flies by William Golding – I borrowed the Stephen King edition from my dad and I expect he’ll want it back at some point, so in honor of banned books and new school years, here I go.

5) The Young Elites by Marie Lu – Another book arriving next month and one that I have been waiting for since I finished Lu’s last series. Here’s the hoping it’s as good as Legend.

6) Talon by Julie Tagawa – Dragons, shape-shifting, and secret societies? Ummm, yes please! It doesn’t come out until the end of October but I’m already foaming at the mouth to read it.

7) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – So many people have recommended this to me or are talking about the Starz series that now I just have to read the book and hope it is as good as it sounds.

8) The Whispering Skull by Jonathon Stroud – Lockwood sucked me into his world and now I fear I cannot escape. Recently published, the second installment is sure to give me chills and thrills once again.

9) Blood Magick by Nora Roberts – It’s been months, months! I say since I have finished the second book in this trilogy and I need to know how it ends. Roberts tells amazing fantasy tales if you take the time to read them.

10) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – The second movie is arriving in theatres this fall so it’s only fitting that I actually fulfill my promise to read the book before it does.

snow ashes whispering skull blood magick hobbit