March Book Haul | 2016

I’ve accumulated a stack of books in the past couple months that I should share. I won’t include the ebooks I bought because let’s just say there have been quite a few ebook deals that I just couldn’t pass over, especially since I had a b&n gift card to use from Christmas. I like using b&n gift cards on ebook deals because I can get more books out of it. But here are the books I bought.

  • Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer – A companion to the mother-daughter duo’s first YA novel. I’m more of a fan of Jodi Picoult’s Adult Literary fiction novels, but the illustrations in the first novel were gorgeous and I’m hoping the illustrations in this companion doesn’t disappoint. I like pretty books. Also, should note that I didn’t buy this book… it was a gift from my #otspsecretsister for this round.
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells – Bought the Signet Classic edition half off at Chamberlains Book Mine. I actually haven’t read this one, and I love H. G. Wells, but that’ll be changing.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe – One of my favorite poets and I couldn’t pass up this Signet Classic edition I bought at Chamberlains Book Mine.
  • Fools Assassin by Robin Hobb (Book 1 in The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy) – I’ve heard so much good things about this trilogy that I can’t wait to dive in.
  • Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris – This was a bargain find at Books-a-Million (I love their bargain section, especially of adult fiction and memoirs, because there are so many bargain priced books, even hardcovers). I already started this one and am loving it.
  • Common Threads by S. F. Herrin – A self-published paperback for a Georgia author that my mom bought for me when she went on a train trip with some of her friends recently. I’m usually hesitant to dive into self-published novels because I haven’t had the best of luck at finding well written self-pubs.
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling) – The sequel that follows The Cuckoo’s Calling. I’m hoping I enjoy this one more than I did the first, though I did like The Cuckoo’s Calling. It just wasn’t what I was expecting… I’m picky when it comes to detective/mystery novels. I am a bit peeved because I bought the paperback new at Chamberlains Book Mine the day before I saw the hardcover was on sale for $7 in Books-a-Million, but it is what it is, I suppose. *shrugs off disappointment*
  • Night Film by Marisha Pessl – Found this gem in the bargain bin at b&n (and it was the hardcover!). I bought this for my sister last year and I’ve been on the look out for when it would land in the bargain section for myself because I love novels written in different formats and this one is written using different forms of mixed media. I just like uniquely written novels.

That’s eight books I’ve bought in the last couple months… I’m embarrassed, yet shameless. I love books and I love adding to my ever-expanding collection. That’s not going to change anytime soon. Though I think I may just focus on reading some of these books before I buy anymore. I say this, but just watch me buy more books. I can’t pass up a good bargain book sale. It’s just impossible. Just like it’s impossible to stay out of a bookstore for longer than a week.

Book Review – In Real Life by Jessica Love

Quick summary: This is about two high school seniors that have been communicating online for the past four years finally meet at a concert in Las Vegas. Secrets and insecurities come out.

Assessment: I didn’t particularly enjoy the story line. I thought it was written in a fast pace, but it read slower than the plot unfolded in. It just seemed very juvenile, more so than young adult nowadays. The characters needed to grow up; they acted more like middle schoolers than high schoolers. I also wasn’t on board with them diving into a real relationship because I felt nothing for them. I just wanted it to end so I would be finished reading it. The characters just weren’t well-rounded enough for me. They didn’t leap from the page.

Overall: I rated this 2.5 stars because I just wasn’t into, but that doesn’t mean other readers won’t enjoy it. I’m just not a fan of YA contemporary. When I read literary fiction, it’s usually adult because I like being able to think about the plot and characters as I read the story. This just didn’t make me think at all. It was all laid out in front of me and I felt let down that I didn’t want to know what was going to happen because I was always a step ahead, predicting what was going to happen. Very predictable, but again a lot of readers like predictability in YA contemporary; it can be very mind-numbing, and there are lots of readers that love that. No shame in that. Everyone has their favorite fictional genre that they read like crack literature. Mine’s psychological thrillers.

Top 5 Wednesday | Book Recommendations that I Loved

Today’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another Top 5 Wednesday, which was created by gingerreadslainey. Anyone is welcomed to join the goodreads group. Here are the top five books that I’ve been recommended and enjoyed reading:

  1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I was interested, though the first time I tried reading it I didn’t get pulled in at all. But then one of my friends from university recommended it to me and told me to keep reading, to give it a chance, and I did. And boy am I glad that I kept reading. I really enjoyed this novel and it’s worth the reading experience.
  2. Bird Box by Josh Malerman – My sister recommended this to me and when I looked it up on my nook, the ebook was only 1.99$ at the time so I bought it. I ended up reading it in a few sittings. It was just such a unique and different reading experience. Not only did the characters wear blindfolds when leaving the house, but you, as the reader, felt like you were wearing a blindfold. The characters experiences were made even more real because no one knew what was out there. I wrote a review of it after reading it that you can check out here.
  3. Crank by Ellen Hopkins – One of my friends love all of Ellen Hopkins novels and I hadn’t ever read a novel written in verse. She highly recommended I start with Crank and I’m glad I read it. Ellen Hopkins is such a brilliant author and poet. I’ve read a couple of Ellen Hopkins’s other novels, too. Definitely one of my favorites.
  4. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – My sister read this novel first and really enjoyed it. I ended up checking out shortly after she returned it (there was a copy in our high school’s library). She told me that it was a great novel and that I should read it. I ended up loving it (and it was the first novel by Jodi Picoult that I read). Since then, Jodi Picoult has become a favorite author of mine as I’ve read a lot of her novels and own about half of her published novels in either paperback or hardcover.
  5. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen – I can’t remember who recommended this one to me, but I do remember someone telling me about it. I think a few different people recommended it to me. This is definitely my favorite and I’m planning on reading the new novel that Sara Gruen published, though I haven’t been able to get to it yet. I will some day, though.

And those are just the top five books I’ve been recommended that made it onto my favorites shelf on goodreads. Are any of these novels you were recommended that you ended up loving, too? Also, feel free to recommend any novels that you think I might like because I loved these five novels. I open the metaphorical gate for book recommendations, even though I have plenty to read that I already own and just haven’t read yet. I like have many books that I haven’t read, though. Means I have a selection to choose from based on my mood. I’m very much a mood reader as far as pleasure reading goes.

The 5th Wave | Movie Review

I haven’t read the book and had no intention of reading it. Now I still don’t plan on reading it since it just hadn’t sparked enough interest to land on my ever-growing TBR. I didn’t particularly enjoy the film, either. It was too perfect, too Hollywood.

The main character, Cassie, had perfect hair and make-up despite spending the majority of the film running through the woods. The romance between the characters seemed too forced and not at all natural. There just wasn’t any on-screen chemistry. It also didn’t hold that the aliens apparently could manipulate the kids and the not the adults; it just wasn’t elaborated on. I suppose you could surmise that it’s because kids’ minds are generally more malleable since their brains aren’t fully developed. But that’s the logical answer that you can come up with on your own. Maybe there was another reason that wasn’t explained.

It also didn’t help that Cassie didn’t really know what she would find when she got to the base where her brother had been taken (which for all she knew he had been taken there to keep safe from the “others”). But when she got there she suddenly knew that she should fight and kill the woman that was processing her into the system at the base. The “others” had taken over the army base (they can take humans {adults} as hosts, but not children). It was just too sudden a revelation that wasn’t explained for her to act out so violently, especially since it wasn’t explained how she could have discovered what was truly being done on base until she was there.

I’d rate this film a B-, though, because it wasn’t bad, just not believable. Obviously it’s science fiction, but you want the world and plot to be in-depth enough that you find yourself getting lost in the story. I didn’t feel any of that watch this film. I felt that it was your stereotypical dystopian made for Hollywood type of film.

 

Top 5 Wednesday | Books You Were Spoiled For

It’s Wednesday and you know what that means! It’s time for a Top 5 Wednesday! This week you’re supposed to discuss five books you were spoiled for. Top 5 Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey. Anyone is welcomed to join the Top 5 Wednesday group on goodreads. Now, without further ado, I give you the top five books I was spoiled for:

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling – This is the only book I remember being spoiled. I generally pay no attention to spoilers and avoid anything that could spoil a book for me. But I was spoiled by a clip that the local news station showed of someone shouting out that a certain character died. I didn’t want to believe it, but when I reached that point in the novel I was overcome with emotion despite being spoiled. It was just so unfair on Harry, yet it was inevitable. The main character/savior always has to suffer before they triumph over evil.

And that’s honestly the only book I’ve been spoiled for. If I know I’m going to read a book, then I’ll avoid anything that circulates back to that novel. I grew up with the Harry Potter series. I went to the midnight releases for OotP, HBP, and DH. But I honestly don’t pay attention to spoilers, and I don’t go looking for them. That’s my secret.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab | Book Review

I really enjoyed this novel. It had a comic book theme built into the plot. I felt like I was watching a comic book film unfold behind my eyes. I can see this being adapted into a film.

Yet it’s entirely original in plot and characters. The two main characters, Eli and Victor, start out as college roommates/friends who share the same interests as med students. Eli was obsessed with his thesis and shared it with Victor, who became intrigued, too. The thesis was the probability of developing some type of super power from a near-death experience. They each attempt a near-death incident that is staged to see whether they will develop some type of power.

Victor’s first attempt doesn’t work. He uses a drug overdose, but after they realize that the amount of adrenaline that the body gives off has something to do with the body’s survival instinct to kick in. After Eli’s successful attempt (he freezes himself in the bathtub; Victor pours ice cubes over him, causing Eli to go into hypothermic shock and Victor waits a few minutes after Eli had died before shooting adrenaline from epipens into Eli to jumpstart his heart), Victor tries again with Eli’s girlfriend as an accomplice. He ends up succeeding, but Eli’s girlfriend dies in the process of helping Victor by controlling the voltage that she shoots into Victor.

Eli believes his power is a gift from God, therefore he still has his soul (healing and immortality), whereas everyone else that experienced death before coming back, like Victor, are missing their souls. He believes that their powers have taken the place where their souls used to be. Eli feels he has to play God and eliminate all these people whose powers aren’t pure like his. But despite the religious aspect, it isn’t preachy in the slightest.

The story’s timeline stretches out ten years and switches perspectives/times every other chapter, so you have to pay attention while reading. But it’s worth the extra focus. I’m looking forward to the sequel. I honestly would have been fine with the sort of cliffhanger that we’re left with at the end because it did still have closure, but I’m glad we get at least one more novel with these characters. The only catch is that there doesn’t seem to be a publication date yet, and the novel is so far untitled. But I think it’ll be out by next year at the latest, hopefully.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

 

Top 5 Wednesday | Fandoms

It’s been a couple months since I blogged because November was even more emotionally stressing, but then it got better when I was moved back to the classroom I worked in the precious school year. But then I started working at a daycare in the two-year-old classroom in the afternoons after I left the school until 6:30pm. But I’m going to get back into blogging because I’ve missed it and had been doing so good for such a solid period of time. Anyway, I just can’t pass over last Wednesday’s T5W topic on fandoms, what with being a nerd myself because fandoms helped me find some great friends that I still communicate with to this day. Top 5 Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and you can become a T5W blogger by joining the goodreads group.

So without further ado, I give you my top five fandoms.

  1. Harry Potter – I basically discovered fandoms the summer that the final HP book was released (2007) and it was perfect. I didn’t want the series to end and so it was fitting that I found Harry Potter fanfiction (which was my first foray into fanfic) and found some great online friends on a HP forums board. I also went to a few LeakyCons (both times that it was in Orlando [2011 & 2014] and in Portland [2013]). I have made lasting friendships from LeakyCon that I won’t ever let go of. The HP fandom is more like a family of nerds than anything else. Basically, it’s the nicest fandom you will ever come across.
  2. Book Blogging community – Book lovers are just a great bunch of people and I’ve made so many friends within the book blogging community that I trust to give honest reviews.
  3. Doctor Who – Whovians are just an awesome bunch, and a lot of them are HP nerds, too. Basically it’s a win.
  4. BBC Sherlock – Basically the same to be said as the DW fandom.
  5. Goodreads – Which should just be coupled with book blogging community, but I’ll count it separate because I’m a part of some reading groups on goodreads and have met some great bloggers through those groups.

And that’s a wrap on that. I’m planning on drafting a reading wrap-up to cover the books I read in the last couple months within the next few days, so look for that.