Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reading Stack #21

I am not going to be able to finish my fourth book for the September is for Sequels challenge by the end of today. I am over halfway through with Unwanteds 2: Island of Silence, so I do plan on finishing it very soon. It will stay on my stack. I am going to add back For Darkness Shows the Stars for the Classics Challenge and I am about a third of the way through it. Blood by Wignall will also be on the stack for the Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge. However as soon as I get a copy of Mark of Athena, it will become top priority. I love Riordan's books and I tend to focus solely on them when a new one comes out. I will probably also do a Random Read again this month, so that will join the stack as well. I hope to have more time to read this month than I did last month, so maybe I can actually finish a few of my challenges.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge



This challenge is hosted by Marie at Ramblings of a Daydreamer. For this challenge you have to read at least three paranormal books. The books can cross over into other challenges as well.
For this challenge I am going to try to read:
1. Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
2. The Summoning by Kelly Armstrong
3. Blood by K.J. Wignall
Hopefully this will be spooky enough for me, but not enough to give me nightmares.

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

This is definitely spoilery if you have not finished the previous books in the series.

I kept putting off ready this book, which I bought on its actual release date. I couldn't figure out why, until I read and finished the book, then I remembered that Cassandra Clare's books tend to make me think for days about them and I don't get anything else done. This one is no exception to that.


Clary refuses to let the last words to Jace be, I'll be right back. Ever since Jace and Sebastian disappeared, Clary has felt horrible. After Clary is pardoned for bringing Jace back from the dead, she focuses solely on finding Jace. The Clave has other concerns and drops the search, but Clary, Isabelle, and Alec refuse to give up. They go to the Seelie Queen who promises to help them find Jace in exchange for two gold rings that allow for talking between minds. When Jace appears and wants Clary to go with him, she knows she must. To keep the others informed, she keeps one ring and gives Simon the other. She will stay with Jace and Sebastian and Simon, Izzy, and Alec with Magnus's help will search for a way to separate Jace and Sebastian. The two are bound by Lilith's ritual and one cannot be killed without the other being killed. Every day she is with Jace and Sebastian, Clary is in danger, and Simon and the others are also in danger due to the means they use to find a solution. Can Clary save Jace or is the tie that binds him to Sebastian too strong and will it lead to a sacrifice too great?

The fifth book in the series is just as good as the fourth! I love how Clare creates her characters and how she makes you care about them and at times breaks your heart. The characters stay with you and their choices have real consequences, which makes them more believable. In this book, I love how she focused on the theme of forgiveness, what can be forgiven and what can't. I also loved the secondary characters' romances-Izzy and Simon, Magnus and Alec, and Jordan and Maya. I think I enjoyed those more than even Clary and Jace. The only problem I have with the book is the use of GD, sometimes I feel like it doesn't make sense for Shadowhunters to use that term. I also just dislike the use of it in general, but that is my main problem with the whole series, so for the most part I enjoy them.
Favorite Character: Clare's take on religion in the series is interesting and for me Simon is the most interesting, because of his faith. I love that he has kept his faith despite everything. He is a vampire, but still shows his Jewish faith and has respect for it. He is extremely loyal and loving, and while naive about Izzy and her feelings, he truly seems to care for her. I will be very sad if he dies in the end, but I can see how it could happen. He would sacrifice himself for those he loves.

Favorite Quote: There were several, but this one is my favorite. "We're meant to protect each other, but not from everything. Not from the truth. That's what it means to love someone but let them be themselves." Clare has some beautiful quotes in both her series.

I loved her use of forgiveness in this book and I love the characters in this series. 4.5 cups of cocoa!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

This will be spoilerly for Nevermore if you have not read it.

Isobel will never give up on Varen, even though she knows it will be difficult to re-enter the Dreamworld. Her one hope lies with catching the Poe Toaster aka Reynolds as he brings roses and brandy to Poe's grave on January 19. She knows she must manipulate her parents to bring her to Baltimore and she pretends to be interested in college and the cheer squad there. While waiting for their decision, Isobel experiences dreams that involve Varen, which she hopes are real and dreams with Pinfeathers, the Noc, which she hopes are not. She sort of fills in Gwen on her plans, but Gwen is terrified when she learns they involve Lilith. Gwen helps Isobel figure out that Lilith is a demon with control of Varen, but Isobel refuses to be disuaded from her plan to save Varen. If she can convince her parents to take her to Baltimore, she thinks she stands a chance, but could it be too late to really save Varen?

Enshadowed picks up shortly after Nevermore with Isobel depressed and desperate to get back to save Varen. The book is extremely slow paced and the action only picks up in the last 20 or so pages, but wow what a last twenty pages!  I did enjoy delving into Isobel's relationships with her family. It is interesting to see her obsession with Varen and how that overpowers all of her other relationships. The cliffhanger ending has me eagerly awaiting the sequel.

Favorite Character: Gwen. I love Gwen's quirky attitude and her loyalty to Isobel, despite her fears.

Favorite Quote: "Sleep now a little while, Till within our dreams we wake, Unfolding our Forever, If only for Never's sake." I liked the eeriness of the song in the story.

It took me a long time to read this book, because the action is mainly in the end. Second books in the series are not usually as exciting, so I was not surprised. I do like the characters and only wish Varen was in the story more. However the third book is set up to be really great! 4 cups of cocoa.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Caught by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I decided with this review to change from bars of chocolate to cups of cocoa, because if I ever put graphics on here, bars of chocolate could look like something else. ;) I will try this new system for awhile and see if I like it.

JB warned them to have fun while they could and now that time is coming to an end. Jonah and Katherine are shocked when time stops in the middle of their school day. They run into Angela, who is able to take them in her car powered by an Elucidator to Chip's house. There Jonah and Katherine overhear part of a message from JB warning them about problems in time, before they are accidently sent to 1903. They learn that JB has sent a child back, despite promising them he wouldn't. The child happens to be the daughter of Albert Einstein. Complications ensue when Mileva Einstein gets control of the Elucidator and begins to learn the truth about time travel. It is up to Jonah and Katherine to save time, but they must decide what they are willing to sacrifice.

The fourth book was my least favorite and seemed really slow in pace, but Caught, the fifth book in the series made up for it. Caught read like the first two books in the series, with lots of suspense and a great historical tie. I loved learning about Mileva Einstein and her life and the debate about just how much she influenced Albert's work. I loved how the children handle the moral dilemmas and how much they grow with each book. The twist at the end was a major surprise and I can't wait until the next book.
Favorite Character: Jonah. Jonah really matures in this book and comes to realize how important people in the overall scheme of things. Haddix does an excellent job showing how his character grows and I can't wait to see who he really is.

Favorite Quote: "'You're saying our lives are like light waves/quanta?' JB asked. 'We have fate and free will all at once?' 'Exactly!' Jonah said."

I really enjoy this series and only wish that the books came out closer together. Haddix does a great job with historical detail and has convincing time travel ideas. 5 cups of cocoa!

Fall Into Reading 2012 Challenge


This looks like a fun, straightforward challenge, which may help me with finishing up my last few reads of the year. You just make a list of books to read between September 22 and December 21 and try to read them. The link for the challenge is here.

The books I would like to read before the year out include the following:
Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
Legend by Marie Lu
The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

I will stick with these four for now, because I still have a few more challenges to finish.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Progress Report

I am almost finished with Caught, Enshadowed, and City of Lost Souls for the September is for Sequels challenge. I hope to finish Caught today and the other two by the end of the week. I am only a third of the way through Unwanteds 2, so I don't know if I will finish it before the end of the month. For some reason it took me a very long time to get interested in my books this month, although I do like them. I will update soon with a review of Caught.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

This was my Random Read for September and it was very funny.

The story revolves around the Princes Charming, the nameless heroes or not so heroic princes in the stories of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Frederica, Cinderella's prince, is a pampered, protected prince who wants nothing more than to live his life with Ella, enjoying quiet picnics and doing nothing dangerous. Ella, however, is a free spirit and now that she is no longer under the control of her stepmother and stepsisters, she wants to travel the world having adventures. Ella, although she cares about Frederic, leaves to have an adventure, and Frederic follows to try to convince her to come back. Along the way he meets Gustav, Rapunzel's prince, who has had a fight with Rapunzel. Gustav agrees to help Frederic and the two travel on, learning that Ella has been captured by Zaubera, the witch from the Rapunzel story. Zaubera has kidnapped all the bards, the ones who basically made the princes into the generic Prince Charming. Her plan is to take over all the kingdoms by destroying the armies who come to save the bards. Ella manages to escape, but Gustav and Frederic still think they need to save her. They team up with Liam, who is on the run from the mean Briar Rose aka Sleeping Beauty, and Duncan, Snow White's prince. Along the way the four princes learn what it is like to be despised, adored, and ignored. Even though the four dislike the bards they join forces to try to save the day and make themselves into the League of Princes. Can they save the day or will they prove they are only worthy of the title Prince Charming?

This was a humorous look at the fairy tales and it was interesting to see the flaws of each of the princes and princesses. Healy has a ten year old villian who flicks spitballs at his enemy, a giant who knows his manners, and a Prince scared of everything. This is a great first book in the series and this will be a series I want to keep reading.

Favorite Character: I think Frederic and Ella were my favorites, although I am not for sure if they will stay together by the end of the series. Ella is brave and loving. Frederic knows his limitations and despite his flaws, he becomes brave.

Favorite Quote: "Some of you may not even realize that there's more than one Prince Charming. And that none of them are actually named Charming. No one is. Charming isn't a name; it's an adjective."

Reading a junior fiction book was a nice change of pace from all of the young adult books. The story was light and funny. 4.5 bars of chocolate for this one and I will definitely want to read the other books when they are released.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I have put this review off long enough.

Charlie has lost a friend to suicide and really seems to have no other friends. He decides to write letters to an anonymous person sharing what happens to him and his memories about events in his life. Charlie feels lost until he becomes friends with Patrick and Sam, two seniors, while he is just a freshman. Patrick and Sam introduce him to their friends and they spend the year partying, performing Rocky Horror Picture Show, and falling in and out of love. Charlie falls hard for Sam, who tells him to not fall in love with her, and ends up staying in love with her even past the end of the book. Patrick, Sam, and all their friends have major issues, like sexual abuse, being gay and having a partner who is not openly gay, being addicted to drugs, and having abusive relationships. Despite all the problems, the teens feel infinite in the way you do when you are young and have a life to look forward to living. In the end that is what Charlie's friends teach him, to live his life.

The book is like a mix of Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar, but something about it just did not appeal to me. Possibly it is the fact that it is written in letter form or that I spent most of the book trying to figure out what was really wrong with Charlie and did not get as involved in the actual story. It was not all bad, I think there are several parts with which teens will identify, like listening to a song that makes you feel alive and bickering families.

I did not really have a favorite character in the book. I thought his parents seemed pretty realistic, not bad parents, but not all there for Charlie either.

Favorite Quote: "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."

It took me awhile to decide on the rating, but I think 2.5 bars of chocolate is about right. I thought the book was ok, just not for me. I can see why some people love the book and others not so much. For me it was ok.

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

I picked up this book based on its cover, which I am including with a link to Goodreads. Hopefully this is ok to do, because I could not find anything about the legality of this.
Enchanted

However it took me just a page or two to get into the story. Sunday is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, so she knows she will have an interesting life and because of her name she is expected to have a happy life. Each of the sisters is gifted in some way, because of their fae blood. Sunday is cursed by the fact that anything she writes will come true, so she limits herself to writing down what has already happened, believing her life is not interesting. One day as she is writing in her journal, a frog comes along and speaks to her. She shares her story with him and eventually falls in love with him. After her fae brother Twix, sells their cow for a handful of beans, Grumble the frog gives her a gold ball to make up for the cow's loss. Sunday kisses Grumble and leaves, not realizing he turns into Rumbold, the prince her family hates and blames for her brother's death. Complications ensue as the two fall in love again as humans and as her family realizes they have an important destiny to play.

Favorite Character: I loved each of the sisters and their unique powers. Friday is kind and a wonderful seamstress, Monday is a princess trapped in her marriage, but still strong, Thursday is a pirate queen, Saturday is strong and fearless, Wednesday knows the future and hides herself because of her power, and Sunday is Sunday. She has powers, but still doubts herself. She loves her family and Rumbold and is willing to forsake her own happiness for other. However she does know she will have a happy ending, because of her curse, yet she seems to fear it.

Favorite Quote: "It can't be "true" love without the truth, Rumbold." "Child, no one is ever ready for anything. I would never doom you to that. What sort of adventureless life would that be?"

I enjoyed her twists on all of the fairy tales. Even though she includes almost every common fairy tale, it does not become confusing or over the top. I love twists on fairy tales and this is one of the best. The characters are wonderful and well-developed. I hope she does a sequel or sequels with the other sisters, because they were very interesting. Definitely a five bars of chocolate book!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Progress Post

So I was having trouble actually finishing a book, but I did finally finish one this month. I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower and now I am having trouble reviewing it. I have mixed feelings on it. Parts of it I thought were great, like the "we are infinite," scene, but for the most part I did not enjoy it. I don't know if it was because I was told this was the best book ever by several people and so I had extremely high expectations or what my problem was. I will review it soon, but I am going to think about it a little more before I decide a rating. I am starting to get into a few books now. Doing the challenges helps! I am halfway through my Random Read, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and it is pretty funny at times. I have started Enshadowed, Caught, and City of Lost Souls for the sequels challenge and I am enjoying those. I love the secondary romances in CoLS,  but not so much Jace and Clary right now, but I am not quite halfway through it. I have read a few pages in the Unwanteds sequel and it is interesting so far. I am also reading off stack with Enchanted by Alethea Kontis and I love the way she twists several fairy tales into one. Hopefully one of these will grab my full attention soon!

Friday, September 7, 2012

September is for Sequels Challenge

Lisa Loves Literature
I saw this on Jessi at Auntie Spinelli Reads blog and thought it looked like fun. It is hosted by Lisa at Lisa Loves Literature. The goal is to read at least 4 sequel book from the beginning of September to the end of September. For a complete list of rules see Lisa's blog here. I think I know the four I am going to try to tackle.
1. Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh (#2 in the Nevermore series)
2. Unwanteds: Island of Silence by Lisa McMann (#2 in the Unwanteds series)
3. Caught by Margaret Peterson Haddix (#5 in the Missing series)
4. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (#5 in the Mortal Instruments series)

There are so many more I would love to add, but I am not reading very quickly right now. So far nothing I have tried to read this month has been able to keep my attention for more than a couple of pages. Hopefully revisiting some of these series will help!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Princess Academy Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

I received this as an e-galley from Netgalley. I received no other compensation other than the free e-galley.

I love twists on fairy tales or stories that read like fairy tales and Shannon Hale's stories are some of my favorites. Princess Academy: Palace of Stone is as good if not better than the first one. This story takes place after Britta is chosen as princess and some of the other girls are on their way to Asland to visit her and take part in the wedding. Miri will also be going to the Queen's Castle to study to become a teacher for Mount Eskel and Peder will be going to learn more about stone cutting. Miri is still waiting for Peder to ask her to be his betrothed, but so far nothing. When the group arrives in Asland, things are not as great as they believed. Miri's beloved Mount Eskel faces horrible tributes that will take away all that she won from the traders and Steffan is very distant to poor Britta. The royal family does not seem as impressive to Miri and the girls. Also many in the lowlands are upset with their king, because of the high tributes and revolution is on many lips. Miri does enjoy Queen's Castle and meets Timon who introduces her to the salons, where revolution and new ideas are discussed. Events escalate and Miri must decide if she is Mountain or Lowland and if friendship or change is more important. Can she triumph and be both?

Shannon Hale brings back the charming cast of characters from the first book and you can't help cheering for Miri and the Mount Eskel girls.

Favorite Character: Miri is one of my favorite characters of all time. She is loyal, stubborn, opinionated, and forthright. She always speaks her mind for better or for worse. She is small in stature but huge in heart.

Favorite Quote: "We choose who we are... You are your own person...You can be who you will."

"Words were slippery and alive, words wrestled out of her grip and became something new. Words were dangerous."

 "We study, Miss Miri, we read and ponder and examine every side, so when it comes time to make a choice we have hop of a good one."

I loved this book! This is definitely one of my favorites for the year. Miri is a great and strong heroine as are most of the girls in this story. Definitely 5 bars of chocolate!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Random Read-September

Random Reads

I was able to finish Tiger Lily for my August read and have already recommended it to someone else to read! This is a meme hosted by Sarah at www.imlovingbooks.com. You can create a list or use your Goodreads To Be Read feature to choose a book. After deciding on your list, then go to random.org and type in the number of books on your list and see what you get for the month. My Random Read this month is The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, which was number 18 on my list. I love the idea of what happens next in fairytales and I also think it will be funny to see the Princes Charming give their sides of the story. We never really hear about the Princes Charming, so it will be good to see their personalities and to give them names rather than their exaggerated surnames. Let me know what you are reading and hope you enjoy!

Review Copy Cleanup Results

BBT

Well I was only able to finish Holding on to Zoe this month. However I am 3/4ths of the way through Princess Academy: Palace of Stone, which I hope to finish and review this long weekend. Thanks to Nyx Book Reviews and Books, Biscuits, and Tea for hosting this event.