Friday, July 31, 2015

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

I received this as an egalley from Balzar + Bray on Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This is also one of my COYER reads, my July TBR read, Netgalley and Edelweiss read and a Fairytale Challenge read. This will fulfill COYER Scavenger Hunt # 47, read one of the Most Anticipated 2015 book list on Goodreads.
Crimson Bound
Balzar + Bray

For as long as she can remember, Rachelle's goal is to destroy the Devourer. She trained with her Aunt Leonie as a wood wife in the hopes to hold back Eternal Darkness. When she is marked by the forestborn, Rachelle kills her aunt, the one person she has loved with all her heart. For this, she can never forgive herself and this killing makes her a bloodbound, a human who will one day turn into a forestborn. The only comfort she finds is defending humans from the forestborn, those controlled by the Wild Forest and whose only joy is to kill humans. Rachelle is able to defend humans and not be hunt, because she is one of the king's bloodbound, along with Erec D'Anjou who both torments and loves her. She is drawn to Erec's darkside, but soon she finds a different sort of bond with Armand, one of the king's illegitimate children. Armand has faced down the Devourer and forestborn and barely escaped with his life. He did lose his two hands in the battle. Rachelle needs Armand to help her find Joyeuse, one of the two swords that was used to bind the Devourer hundreds of years before. A pair of twins fought the Devourer once, although at the cost of one of their lives. Rachelle feels compelled to try to defeat it again, but she must also fight the forest and the Devourer that want her for their own. Rachelle at all costs must not lose her heart, but to whom does it rightfully belong and can she keep it and face the Devourer. A twist on Little Red Riding Hood and a lesser known fairytale the Girl with No Hands, Hodge has crafted a dark and dangerous world with a damaged yet determined heroine.  She explores the different types of love and how they can both build us up and destroy us.

I love Hodge's writing and her descriptive style. Her stories are very twisted and a bit strange at times. The way she uses religion is both uncomfortable, but recognizable. You can see the influence of 17th century France and the Catholic religion, but at the same time they are unrecognizable. I don't feel that it was mocking of religion though, but it did combine aspects of Jesus and Mary with some of her pagan gods in the story. I debated back and forth with myself about how I felt about this, being a strong Catholic, but in the end I think it is okay. I won't spoil anything, but I was glad that the religious characters were not made to be the evil villains and that there is kind of an embrace of religion in the end.

Her books are both beautiful and strange, which is probably why I like them. They are also really deep and thought provoking and they always surprise me. I did like the romantic triangle in the book and that all the characters were equally flawed. I also like that you can read this and Cruel Beauty on their own, but yet the tie together in her writing style. 4 cups of cocoa for me, but it is a book that I would have a hard time finding someone I would tell to read it. It would have to be someone who likes the strange or is in the mood for a really twisted fairytale.

Favorite Quote: "This is the human way, she thought. On the edge of destruction, at the end of all things, we still dance. And hope."

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

High Summer Read-a-thon Wrapup

This is hosted by Michelle @ True Book Addict, Castle Macabre and The Christmas Spirit blogs.

I did not finish Crimson Bound, but I did get to 46% on my Kindle, so not too bad. That combined with the 100 pages of The Boleyn Inheritance was not too shabby. I did bad on the socializing part, but there is always next time.

Thanks again to Michelle for hosting!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

High Summer Read-a-thon Mid-week Check-in

This is hosted by Michelle @ True Book Addict, Castle Macabre and The Christmas Spirit blogs.

So far I have finished the Boleyn Inheritance, which I only had 100 pages to go in it when I started the read-a-thon and I am 10% into Crimson Bound on the Kindle. I really need to check in with other people's posts, but I have been getting home so late from work that I don't do much before I go to bed. I am happy with my reading progress though!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Aphrodite the Beauty and Artemis the Brave by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

So I have really gotten into the Goddess Girls series, thanks to all my 4th through 6th grade group that loves discussing them. The books are age appropriate retellings of the myths and all the books take place at Mount Olympus Academy or MOA as they refer to it in the books. These were both Booking it Through the Summer reads.
Aphrodite the Beauty (Goddess Girls, #3)
Artemis the Brave (Goddess Girls, #4)
This is a two books in one review, since the books are kind of short and I have not been doing so well on reviews lately. Aphrodite the Beauty focuses on the love goddess and her abilities to charm the godboys. Aphrodite decides to play matchmaker and glams up Athena and then is jealous of the attention Athena gets. Aphrodite also decided to help a mortal Hippomenes who is in love with Atlanta, the fastest woman and who will die if he cannot beat her in a race.
Artemis the Brave focuses on Artemis, a great huntress who briefly falls for the mortal Orion, who thinks a bit highly of himself. When Artemis and her friends get stuck in a tricky situation, Artemis must realize that being brave means sometimes being scared, but going on in spite of fear.

I like this series because each book does have a moral to the story and the girls support their friends no matter what. These are not the exact original myths, but I really like how they allude to the original stories. Both books were 4 cups of cocoa reads!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July TBR List: And the Winner is...

This is hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading.
And the winner is...
Crimson Bound
Balzer + Bray

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge! I had eight votes this month, which is double last month's. This one won handily with 5 votes. I am excited to read it, since I liked Cruel Beauty so much. I know a few of you have read this one and recommended it, so I think I will enjoy it. Thanks to everyone who voted and thanks again to Michelle for hosting!

High Summer Read-a-thon Signup

This is hosted by Michelle @ True Book Addict, Castle Macabre and The Christmas Spirit blogs and you can signup at this link. I love to participate in Michelle's readathons and they are easy no stress readathons. This one will take place from July 20 to July 26. I am not for sure what all will be on my list, but I know Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge will be one of my reads and I will probably still be reading the Boleyn Inheritance by Phillipa Gregory. I will decided on a list soon! Thanks again to Michelle for hosting!

My reading list:
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
finish Boleyn Inheritance by Phillipa Gregory and Obsession by Karen Robards

If I finish these three then
Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Oblivion by Kelly Creagh

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

I read this for the Red, White, Blue Read-a-thon and it fulfills number 43 a book that takes place during the summer on the COYER Scavenger Hunt.
An Abundance of Katherines
Dutton Books

Colin has been dumped by his nineteenth Katherine and is miserable and his best friend Hassan knows the cure, a road trip. The two set out for a summer of no plans and freedom and travel from Chicago to the small town of Gutshot Tennessee. There they visit the grave of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and are intrigued by Lindsey Lee Wells, who doesn't totally fit their prejudiced idea of an ignorant country redneck. The two decided to stay in Gutshot, when Lindsey's mom offers them a job conducting interviews of the town's residents. With their pompous ideas of superiority, the two do their job and Hassan slowly comes to learn that he is lazy and not in a good way and Colin learns he is self-centered. Colin learns this through the Theorem, his chance at becoming more than a child prodigy. Feeling that all relationships can be graphed and predicted, Colin works constantly on his theory, his chance at genius. While Colin works, other people live their lives and through Lindsey and Hassan's help, Colin just might learn to live himself.

I love John Green's writing and generally I really like his books, but this is my least favorite. I had a hard time getting past the way the two main male characters degraded Kentucky, the South, and anyone who chooses to live in the country. That is my number one pet peeve. As someone born and raised in Kentucky and in the country it is painful to see constant reminders of how it is acceptable to degrade Kentuckians and to see all country people lumped together as ignorant rednecks. Colin never really learns to respect anyone in this book. He sort of learns that he can't be the genius he has always wanted to be and that he has to stop fearing rejection to truly live, but he never really learns how to not be self-absorbed. Hassan does a bit better and even embraces country life for a bit and learns that he has to do something with his life. Lindsey is the only saving grace of the entire book and she is close to the top on the best female characters Green has ever written. I think I even like her better than Hazel and she is my favorite so far.

Reading this one last showed me how far Green has come in creating more likeable characters. He also does a much better job with a road trip in Paper Towns, but I can see the evolution of the road trip from this story into that one. I can see some basis for Hazel's character from Lindsey and I can see how a pretentious character can go too far and where you can go from liking Miles aka "Pudge" to really disliking Colin. I did really like the way he used math in this novel and how Green does not feel the same way as Colin about country people. I was able to meet John at the McConnell Conference and he is a great guy. To me this book was just a warmup to Paper Towns and Lindsey was just a warmup to Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars. There were some great quotes in this one, particularly "Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they'll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back."  With Lindsey and that quote, the book is saved to a 3 cups of cocoa read, but without them it would have only been a 2. That really pains me, but all his other books have been 4s and 5s, so I definitely recommend him as an author.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep

This is the last book in the Mythos Academy series and this review will have spoilers for the other books in the series. This will count for Booking Through Summer Reading challenge. This is my first finished read for a COYER and will be Scavenger Hunt number 5, for a book that has a weapon on the cover. The T in Frost is actually a sword, probably Vic. I will also be using this for the Mythology challenge and Prequel and Sequel Challenge and the Series Ender Reading Challenge. So basically this one was a win all the way around!
Killer Frost (Mythos Academy, #6)
Kensington Books

Gwen Frost has faced the Reapers on multiple occasions and has survived. She has defended Mythos Academy alongside her friends, killed Reapers, and watched classmates die. She knows she will be the one who has to kill Loki, but how can she possibly kill a god?! She has the silver bracelet with holly leaves and mistletoe, but no clue on how to use it. She has her psychometry, touch magic, but is unsure how it will help her. When her grandmother is kidnapped, Gwen will do anything to save her, including betraying her friends and classmates and possibly strengthen Loki in the process. Can Gwen truly save the day or will she and her friends perish at the hand of the evil Reapers and Loki?

I love the world Jennifer Estep has created and Mythos Academy itself and am sorry to see the end of series. I loved Gwen's strength and her and Logan's sweet and often tested relationship. There were also some great secondary characters, including Gwen's Valkyrie friend Daphne and Gwen's grandmother. Estep even did an excellent job with the non-human characters, like Gwen's sword Vic and the Eir gryphons. Vic was as much a friend to Gwen as her human friends and I also enjoyed how Estep portrayed mythological creatures on both sides of the battles. This series included several strong female characters and lots of snarky word play. These were some of my favorite quick and easy reads, so I will be looking to fill this gap. Another strong point, I read the full series in less than a year, which is very rare for me! It was the perfect ending to the series. 5 cups of cocoa!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Red, White, Blue Read-a-thon Signup

Hosted by Fantasy is More Fun, Because Reading is Better Than Real Life, & Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh My!

This is a read-a-thon within COYER and you must read books that fit in with the COYER requirements and have the colors red, white, or blue on the cover or the words red, white, or blue in the title.

I have a few books that would fit this read-a-thon and will choose from the following list:
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Champion by Marie Lu

Hopefully I can start and finish at least one of these books.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

My July To Be Read List


This is hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading. Since I am participating in the COYER Summer Scavenger Hunt, I decided to pick titles on my Kindle that I really need to read. Two of these I received from Edelweiss and I think I purchased the third as a Kindle Daily Deal quite a while back. Thanks to Michelle for hosting!

First Choice:
Crimson Bound
Balzer + Bray

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge. I loved Cruel Beauty by this author and she does some interesting twists with fairy tales. I think this one is a twist on Red Riding Hood.

Second Choice:
Oblivion (Nevermore, #3)
Oblivion by Kelly Creagh. Kelly worked at Louisville Free Public Library until her writing career took off. I loved the first two in the series, with their gothic type horror and romance based on Edgar Allan Poe. This finishes the series and I am anxious to see what will happen to Isobel and Varen.

Third Choice:
Geekomancy (Ree Reyes, #1)
Pocket Star

Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood. I really don't know much about this one. I chose it at random from my Kindle, but I think it deals with comic books and an alternate world. Sounds interesting.

Help me choose by choosing your favorite and remember you don't have to be participating in this meme to vote.