Sunday, November 27, 2016

Book Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutoski

Title: The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutoski
Series/Standalone: The Winner's Trilogy Book #1
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 384
Publisher: Square Fish
Year Published: 2014
First Line: "She shouldn't have been tempted."

"Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.
They were never meant to be together. As a general's daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back.. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can't help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people... but to be loyal to their countries, they must betray each other.
Set in a  new world, The Winner's Curse is a story rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumours, dirty secrets and games where everything is at stake and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart."

My Rating: 5/5

I read the description on this book, which is something I never do. But I must say I was surprisingly impressed. I kind of expected this to be another romance based in fantasy and while it had many romance moments, I thought that it was so much more than that. It really helped me think about the invasions in the past of many North American countries. It was heartbreaking story to read and I can't wait to see what happens throughout the rest of this series. The author did an awesome job of introducing not one, but two different cultures. I think that the characters were lovable and interesting enough to keep me intrigued. I'm trying so hard not to spoil anything in this section, but if you're interested in one, please look below.

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

So I thought this was going to be a very cheesy romance. Something I wouldn't be interested in at all. But I freaking loved it! It was perfect for my mood and just picked me right up and I can't wait to read the next book ugh. The characters in this story, like damn. Not only that but the author's ability to highlight the differences in the two different cultures and to describe the invasion so well without information dumping. I loved it so much and I'm kind of fangirling over it all ready. I don't really know what to do. I mean I have the next book, but what will I do while I wait for the third one to ship. Ugh. My heart is breaking. But I'm so happy it wasn't instalove.

Arin: I think that he's a really interesting love interest. To see someone who is a slave, and so strong throughout the struggles of his life was amazing. As mentioned on Thoughts on Tomes, seeing that the conquered nation was the more sophisticated ones was interesting to me. To have to see people live in his neighbours' house and his own house. I did think that his wit and how he fell in love with Kestrel and her wit rather than just using her as a pawn. 

Kestrel: She is an interesting main character to read from. Often in a rebellion situation the main character becomes a warrior, and while she is one, she uses strategy. I found that to be  unique and interesting. Her thought process and her ability to out think even her father's military ideas was amazing. That being said, to marry a man to save someone she obviously cares about is a strong move and the author does an excellent job of proving that she is a strong, badass woman. I look forward to seeing her future scheming.

Ronan: I was disappointed at how he asked Kestrel to marry him. I thought of him as a flirtatious friend, but now I wonder, does he suspect that Kestrel and Arin were lovers far before they were? Does he think that's the reason she said no? What's going to happen?!?

Jess: I didn't think that she had a lot of sustenance as a side character, but she shows a good example of what the mainstream society is looking towards. She was a good friend throughout and I wonder what will happen to her since the peace agreement (can we call it that?)

Irex: There is always a jerk, but some just take the cake. I won't lie, I was happy he died how he did. He deserved it. He was a sick little jerk and deserved whatever he had coming to him.

General Trajan: What will he think of his daughter's choices while he was gone? Will he be glad to be a member of the empirical family, or will he come to his senses? I thought at first that he seemed cruel, but I see he was the tough love character, which warmed my heart.

Cheat: This I did not see coming. I wasn't ready for it. I thought he simply hated her, but to see him attack her sexually was horrifying, it made me wonder how long he was thinking of attacking her.

Moments to Remember:
Final Line: "'You don't, Kestrel, even though the god of lies loves you.'"

Thanks for reading,

Book Review: The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket


Title: The Reptile Room
Author: Lemony Snicket
Series/Standalone: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book #2)
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 192
Publisher: Scholastics, Inc.
Year Published: 1999
First Line: "The stretch of road that leads out of the city, past Hazy Harbor and into the town of Tedia, is perhaps the most unpleasant in the world."

"Dear Reader,
If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I'm afraid that you have picked up the wrong book altogether. The story may seem cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle, but don't be fooled. If you know anything at all about the unlucky Baudelaire children, you already know that even pleasant events lead down the same road to misery.
In fact within the pages you now hold in your hands, the three siblings endure a care accident, a terrible odor, a deadly serpent, a long knife, a large brass reading lamp, and the reappearance of a person they'd hoped never to see again.
I am bound to record these tragic events, but you are free to put this book back on the shelf and seek something lighter.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket."

My Rating: 5/5

It's amazing how reading something as an adult is so different than when you were in middle school. I find that this book was far easier to get into and full of interesting narration that Lemony Snicket has mastered. I loved this instalment in the series, it was just enough to give younger readers hope and for me, it painted Count Olaf as an even crazier villain. I think that he is truly the perfect villain willing to stop at nothing and someone who has never been caught. I am excited to read the rest of the series to prep for the Netflix series. I think that this story reminded me why I loved these books when I was younger.
As a side note, I plan to read all the books before doing another spoiler as many of these books are smaller reads.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Book Review: How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

Title: How It Went Down
Author: Kekla Magoon
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. 
Year Published: 2014
First line: "The known facts surrounding the shooting death of sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson are few."

"The boy in the hoodie has been shot.
The known fact are few.
Everyone tells a different story.
But what is the truth?

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.
In the aftermath of Tariq's death, everyone has something to say but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the trust.
Tariq's friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down."

My Rating: 4/5

While I did not give this book a 5/5 rating, I definitely think it's a book everyone should read. It's a story we might see on the news every day or month, but it's not something that is a reality for many of us. To see someone from our community shot down and with such controversy about what happened and why it happened is astonishing to me. I think that Kekla Magoon did a wonderful job of showing how it affects many people who were a part of Tariq's life and some who just lived around him. All and all this book is about so much more than who was right and who was wrong. It's about what we believe in and hopes that someday, with work, things will change. I don't know how realistic this book is and as a white middle-class woman living in a rural area. But it did paint a picture for me about how many people live their lives and how it's not always easy to say, "Get away from violence" or "Gang violence is horrible" "Why can't we all just get along?" when you're living through it. Kekla Magoon paints a vivid picture of grief, lonesomeness and wonders that surround life for many people in the 21st century and I feel blessed to have read this novel.

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

This book paints quite a picture for us who have been privileged to live in a different form of society than Tariq Johnson. I think that this book is important for everyone to read no matter age, sex, race or religion. It's important to think about community and change. The reasons behind actions and to see things different than wrong and right. But rather as everyone having their own reason for what they are doing. This story paints the picture of what happens in a community after a sixteen-year-old male is shot without stories that match up. I first suspected this book to be a lot more about racial issues. Which it is. But it's so much more. It's about how it affects the man at the corner to store to the leader of a gang to the mother of the victim. It changes perspectives so perfectly that it truly was heartbreaking to read through.

Tina: For someone who thinks in such a unique way, she handles the death different than I suspected. I think that she understood so many things that other's didn't, but her battle between what is good and bad really drew me in. Her thoughts on what was happening around her might have been the most heartbreaking, but also reminders of what we loose when someone dies to violence. That being a feeling of innocence.

Tyrell: His character was so different from any other I'd read. His pact to stay out of a gang and go to college was incredible. Watching him struggle with what to do for his future was crazy and I understand a lot more about the pressures now. I hope that he is able to keep strong.

Brick: On the total opposite end I think about Brick and how his world was changed, but he kept a front to lead the mean he charges himself with. I don't believe that gangs will help society but I can see what he offers. Protection, relationships, someone to be there for you no matter what. But at what cost?

Noodle: He isn't a character I cheer for but I saw that in his messed up way he loved Jennica, he just didn't know how to show it or give her the hope she needed. 

Kimberly: To be there for someone's death even after they were less than kind to a person, show's true characters. I thought it was interesting to see her bring up the fact that after people die they are treated as though they are angels, but I think it's important to look at the big picture. It's not just about Tariq, no matter if he did or didn't have a gun, or if he was a "good" or "bad" guy.

Jennica: To dream for more is all we can really hope to do after a situation like this rocks our foundation, and makes us open our eyes.

Will: The strong feeling of, "It could have been me" or "I'm from there" really shows how others surrounding a death might feel no matter the reason, but especially with such a tragic ending.

Reverend Alabaster : Only in it for the vote? Or to help? I suppose it's up to you to decide.

Moments to Remember:
Final Line: "'You just be you.'"

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Book Review: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee


Title: The Thousandth Floor
Author: Katharine McGee
Series/Standalone: The Thousandth Floor Series (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 448
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year Published: 2016

"New York City as you've never seen it before.
A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future where anything is possible- if you want it enough.
Welcome to Manhattan, 2118
A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something... and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole's flawless exterior belies a secret addiction- to a drug she never should have tried, and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson's beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers's job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world- and a romance- she never imagined... but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he's hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all- yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have."

My Rating: 4.5/5

So this is another book I was reading and kept putting down to pick up other books or to do other work around the house. So It took me a while to see what everyone has been talking about. But holy shit! I'll have you know that the Gossip Girl book series were my dirty pleasure when I was in high school. I thought they were scandalous and perfect. I'm not saying that they aren't good books, I'm just saying they aren't exactly literary gold. So when I started to read this book I noticed that the drama between the characters was similar, but the futuristic timeline helped to change so many things so it didn't seem too juvenile to me. I thought that the reimagined New York was incredible to read about and I sincerely hope to read more from Katharine McGee (please continue this series, I'm already dying for more). 

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

This book is so addictive. I would definitely describe it as gossip girl meets sci-fi meets mystery. I thought that this book would be hard to get back into after a put it down for a while, but instead, I was far more gathered into the story and entertained by what was happening to our characters. I thought that the multiple POVs were amazing and perfect. Along with such a different version of New York. It just made me want to pick Katherine McGee's mind for a minute and found out what she did to be so damn imaginative. I thought the idea of all this future equipment kept the story from being too overly dramatic. The change of pace between the floor also helped the story reach new levels of suspense, especially during the ending.

Avery: So at first her feelings for Atlas are a little fucked up but then over time you kinda get to see how that might have happened. They weren't super young when they were brought into the same household, they didn't even really have the sibling bonding of one of them being a baby so that's whatever. I think that she still should have told the cops. I mean she has a lot to lose but not as much as Watt or Rylin... that's just my belief.

Atlas: Those mind games, though. I want you, but I can't want you so I'll go date this girl and then be like haha it's your best friend. Damn it Atlas, Eris could still be alive you silly goose. I do kinda love him, though.

Leda: She is straight up psychotic. She doesn't know when to stop and maybe it's the stress but shoot, I think it's time to come clean when you freaking killed someone. I wonder how long it will take before she either ODs or gets sent back to rehab.

Eris: She had a rough go of it for sure. To have your life ripped apart in one minute without any warning is crazy. I think that she grew as a character and when (I say when cause there has got to be more right?) the next book comes out she will be deeply missed. I worry about her mother the most. Hopefully, Marial will be able to get to the bottom of the case, though.

Watt: He's a little too up front with what he knows in person. That's pretty damn stupid. I hope that he doesn't go to jail, but it might be too little to last for him overall. 

Rylin: Her and Cord were meant to be and I can't believe it got so messed up with his brother, if she had had any chance to explain things might have worked out.

Cord: Will he go after her????

Moments to Remember: 
Final Line: "But anyone who looked would have noticed the candelabra casting shadows on her dramatic cheekbones, illuminating the tears that streamed down her face."

Book Review: Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

Title: Inkspell
Author: Cornelia Funke
Series/Novel: Inkworld (Book #2)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventures
Pages: 635
Publisher: The Chicken House
Year Published: 2005
First Line: "Twilight was gathering and Orpheus still wasn't here."

"The captivating sequel to INKHEART, the critically acclaimed international bestseller by Cornelia Funke, an author who is emerging as a truly modern classic write for children.
Although a year has passed, not a day goes by without Meggie thinking of INKHEART, the book whose characters became real. But for Dustfinger, the fire-eater brought into being from words, the need to return to the tale has become desperate. When he finds a crooked storyteller with the ability to read him back, Dustfinger leaves behind his young apprentice, Farid and plunges into the medieval world of his past. Distraught, Farid goes in search of Meggie, and before long, both are caught inside the book, too. But the story is threatening to evolve ways neither of them could ever have imagined."

My Rating: 3.5/5

So I started to listen to this book on audio a while ago and it took me until now to buckle down and finish it. I really enjoyed the audiobook overall, I just found that after listening to it for 5 hours, I started to just ignore the sound when I was listening to it in my car so I kept having to repeat sections to make sure I was getting the whole story. In the end, I also took out a physical copy from my local library to finish off the 300 pages I had left. So I finished it very late last night and while I enjoyed the book as a whole, I wasn't nearly as blown away as I was with Inkheart. I think that the characters in this book began to grow in a way that was unexpected to me and that the setting had a huge impact on this. I did enjoy the change of setting and getting to see a book within a book. The ending really grabbed my attention with the unexpected twist, but even that seemed to fall a little flat overall. I would say that this book would be perfect for someone in the beginning of high school or middle school as it is middle grade, but it's a huge book to get through.
Now the question some might be asking.... Do I plan to finish the series? I certainly do. I am still as in love with the characters as ever, and if you ask me I think that's what makes this story truly remarkable as a whole. 
I hope to get to the third book after winter holidays, because of it's huge size, I want to take a breather from the Inkworld for a month or so.

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

This book took me forever to finish. And before someone assumes that means it wasn't good, you're not entirely correct. This book was a good book. I enjoyed it. I wouldn't say that it was as interesting for me as the first book was or that it got the same rating in the review above, but it was still a good book overall.  It's tremendous, though.  I kept getting deterred because of it's size overall, and I found that once I looked and how little progress I made, I wasn't as interested. That being said, the audiobook I used for the first half was very well narrated and the use of different voice actors was perfect for me. I also enjoyed the change of setting. Getting to see Dustfinger at home where he was his most confident made me feel such gratitude to the author. Less so in the end of the book. I presume that this also leads to the huge character development we witness throughout the second instalment. 

Dustfinger: One of the best characters I've ever read. He is troubled but still manages to find joy in his use of fire. He finds part of his family upon his arrival back into his world, but unfortunately, so much time has passed there that things have changed with those he remembers. I found his growing relationship with Farid to be a staple in the story and with the ending we see that Dustfinger very much thought that Farid was family to him. I do hope that they find a way to bring him back, but I'm doubtful overall. 

Farid: This boy's love is so strong to his master and to know that Dustfinger let himself go in order for Farid to live is a horrible idea. I do wish that Farid hadn't had the bright idea to call Orpheus into the story because that will only lead to trouble, I'm sure of it. But at the very least Farid is able to live his life, although he will now be a slave to Orpheus. 

Basta: Is he really dead? I don't know if I believe it. He was one of the best villains I've read and I enjoyed his interesting quirks. For our main characters, I'm glad to see him go, but as a reader, he truly struck fear in me. 

Mortola: Her son treated her like garbage, and yet she still aims to have revenge. The idea is confusing to me.

Mo: Or should I call him the Bluejay. If Fenoglio hadn't chosen to base him off a real person, we might have avoided so much trouble, but it would appear that Mo is slowly becoming the Bluejay every time we read about him. Protecting his family with a sword was something I would have never guessed that Mo would do. I wonder what he did to the Adderhead's book as well. 

Meggie: At the beginning of the book I found her to be rather annoying. She wanted what she wanted with no regard for others around her. Especially her parents. It was a childish decision, but now she has seen so much death and hate in those around her she is starting to grow. I notice that her interest in Farid is growing, but that might end abruptly with Dustfinger's death.

Resa: Oh to have a voice back after so much time without it must just be a blessing. A shame that it seemed to come at such a cost.

Roxanne: She seems like she was made for Dustfinger, it's a shame that she wasn't able to stay with him longer. I was not impressed when she blamed Farid for his death, but I can see how that would be the case, after all, a loved one she barely had the time to be reacquainted with returned only to be ripped from her world again.

The Adderhead: What a nasty and vicious man.

Fenoglio: He is stupid and full of crazy notions. I'm glad he saw that massacre with Cosimo. He needed to realise that he was no more God to this story than he was of his own. I was not impressed with him throughout this book and I hope that he turns over a new leaf in the next one.

Orpheus: This is going to cause more trouble than I think we all realise. 

Moments To Remember:
Final Line: "'This story will have a happy ending. I swear!'"

Thanks for reading,

Friday, November 11, 2016

Coffee Book Tag

So it's the time of year where I can have all the warm drinks without people questioning me so it's time for....
The Coffee Book Tag!

I'm not sure who created this tag but are you ready for me to answer strange questions?
Let's do this!

Black: A series that's tough to get into but has hardcore fans.

Image result for the inheritance cycle books
For this book, I will have to go with TheInheritancee Cycle by Christopher Paolini. I always hear either people didn't finish this series or they loved it. I fell into the first category.

Peppermint Mocha: A book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year.
Image result for the grinch who stole christmas public domain

Around Christmas I often see many people reading How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. I work in a childcare centre so this is a pretty popular winter book around the daycare.

Hot Chocolate: A favourite children's book

Am I the only one who loved The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak. If you have not read this children's book you need to. Now! It's hilarious.

Double Shot of Espresso: A book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish

I recently, sort of, read A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas and I couldn't put it down. Anytime I could I had that lovely book in my hands and now I need the next one. Anytime!

Starbucks: A book you see absolutely everywhere
I watch a lot of booktube and while I'm not a huge contemporary fan everyone is talking about The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola  Yoon. While I have no plan to read this book at this time I could be persuaded. 

The Hipster Coffee Shop: A book by an indie author (a shout out)
I think that the Florence Waverly series deserves a shout out. Ciye Cho offered me the chance to read this series and so far I have loved it. Although it has had it's ups and downs I look forward to reading more by this author.

Oops! I Accidently Got Decaf: A book that you were expecting more from
With Malice by Eileen Cook. I just didn't think it would have such an unsatisfying ending, it was extremely frustrating.

The Perfect Blend: A book or series that was both bitter and sweet, but ultimately satisfying.

I think that Between by Jessica Warman was a perfect mix of thriller and supernatural for me as an earlier reading. I really enjoyed the book overall and still recommend it to friends.

Chai Tea: A book or series that makes you dream of far off places

When I read The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh this summer I was dreaming of the world. it was so well described and interesting that it was hard not to picture it throughout the day.

Earl Grey: Name your favourite classic

I really enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee when I read it in high school and I think it proves an interesting point about society as a whole during the time it was written. I hope to read more classics at some point although my tbr is pretty intimidating at the moment.

Green Tea: A book or series that is quietly beautiful
Image result for first three books in the selection
The first 3 books of the Selection series as it deal with so much more than girls in pretty dresses. Thank you, Kiera Cass for such an amazing series overall.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Book Review: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket


Title: The Bad Beginning
Author: Lemony Snicket
Series/Stand Alone: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book #1)
Genre: Fiction, Middle Grade, Fantasy
Pages: 162
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers
Year Published: 1999
First Line: "If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book."

"Dear Reader,
I'm  sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the  Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune. 
In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.
It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket."

My Rating: 4.5/5

Let me start this off by saying this is a reread because I finally saw the Netflix trailer for the new show and had to reread the series before it comes out. I forgot how incredible Lemony Snicket's writing style is. I really enjoyed the story although it is not my favorite in the series and I found that it was too short to really earn the 5/5 although I love the series as a whole. I can't wait to continue this reread although my tbr is slowly taking over my room. I look forward to learning more about the siblings and remember where this series goes.

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

So as I mentioned above, this is a reread for me and I thought that it would help with the slump I've started to slip into. I really enjoyed slipping back into Lemony Snicket's writing. I think that his writing is so interesting as he slips part of his own life into every book he writes. I can't wait for the longer books. 

Violet: I think that she is my favourite of the siblings. I thought that she was both resourceful and relatable as an older sibling. I think that the way she thinks about things is amazing.

Klaus: I forgot how much I love Klaus's reading and how he absorbs information so easily.

Sunny: Even she is so incredibly smart.

Mr. Poe: Always so dumb.. Somethings I forgot about... this was not one of those things.

Count Olaf: No one is quite as evil as this man. To threaten a girl who is 14 years old wouldn't it just be smarter to wait and be kind and then steal the money. It's only 4 years. Come one.

Justice Strauss: I think that she would have been an excellent guardian but unfortunately she is not related... damn it.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, November 5, 2016

November TBR

Hey guys, so, unfortunately, I did not have a great reading month last month and I know that this month is gonna be crazy so sorry that these TBRs are more than a little repetitive. 
I'm currently reading:

This month I hope to read:


This is a bit ambitious.... but here we go.

Thanks for reading,