31 December 2011

New Year, New Resolutions and Reading Challenges

Since it's the start of another new year, it's time for the new resolutions, goals, and of course the hosted and personal reading challenges.  I didn't give myself any reading challenges last year since I was still working my graduate degree, so I've decided to do it big this year because I didn't last year (and because I only work part time so I have a lot of reading time on my hands).  2012 is going to be a great year for books and I'm super excited and grateful to be a part of the book blogging community.  So without further ado, here is what 2012 is going to look like:

Hosted reading challenges:

1.  The Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi @ the Story Siren:  Even though it's only required to read 12 debut novels, I'm hoping to read a lot more.

2.  Off the Shelf reading challenged hosted by Bookish Adour:  I'm all about this challenge.  I buy more books than I could possible read and I know a lot of other book bloggers do as well.  It's a problem.  So the only books that are supposed to be included in this challenge are those books that you have bought in 2011 or before.  I'm going to set my sights high and set my level to "On a Roll" and hope that I can read 50 of the books that I bought this past year that are just sitting on my self.

Personal reading challenges:

1.  Read more ebooks: I have a nook and I don't use it as much as I should.
2.  Don't overwhelm myself with the amount of books that I accept for review.  Enough said.
3.  Read 100 books this year in total!
4.  Keep up with my blog and all my reviews.  Enough said there too!

Personal goals:

1.  Stick to the "Change Write Now" project.
2.  Work out more and strive for a healthier lifestyle.
3.  Do a half-marathon and a mud run.
4.  Save more money.
5.  Buy less books (ya right, haha).
6.  Go to more author signings.
7.  Make more real life friends.

I wish all the best of luck to those with New Year's resolutions and with their reading challenges.  Be excited for all the books next year and Happy New Year!!

12 December 2011

Review- Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: Purchased

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My thoughts: 

For some reason I was so opposed to reading this book. I saw it all over the blogosphere, people just raving about it after they read their advanced coping. I kept thinking to myself that I’m not going to read it or buy it and I’m just not going to do it! I always thought that the cover was gorgeous and the title was cool but I didn’t like the sound of the synopsis. It sounded like every other YA book out there right now. And then the worst happened!! I got it for my birthday. SO now the book is sitting there on my shelf, staring at me, just daring me to pick it up and start it. Of course I wouldn’t be writing this review if I didn’t give in.

I absolutely loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I love everything about it and I honestly can’t say one bad thing. It’s exactly what everyone says it is: beautiful, exotic, enticing, and completely surprising. It’s very well written, mature and Taylor’s characters are well-rounded and realized. I’ve honestly never read another book like it!

Karou is an amazing main character. A blue-haired force of nature who collects languages. How completely awesome! I wish I could collect languages without the hassle of actually having to learn them. A traveler who has seen more of the world than she cares to admit, she lives in Europe as an art student. Raised by a few chimeras, she grew up believing she was abandoned by her human parents and found by this half-man, half-beast creature. She grew up traveling through portals which have taken her all around the world so she could collect bones for Brimstone.

Akiva is by far my favorite character and I have a serious literary crush on him. He haphazardly runs into Karou while she is on one of her bone gathering missions and she takes him by surprise so completely that he just has to find out who she is. His pursuit of her leads to her discovery of who she is and where she came from. Everything that I love about Akiva is learned after this one huge moment in the book! But I can’t say anything about his amazing qualities without giving away spoilers and I don’t give away spoilers!

I love the while concept that Brimstone does his business dealings in the currency of wishes. These wishes are put into physical form depending on the size of the wish. Karou wears a necklace of tiny beads, which in reality is a tiny wish such as her hair growing blue or exacting her revenge on a few of her classmates. I also love the whole setting of the book. It’s at a European art school and I would have loved to see her best friend’s marionette art project. I really hope there is more Akiva in the next book! I’m so excited for it!!

I also had the opportunity of meeting Laini Taylor.  She is so awesome and so very creative! If I didn't work for Disney, I would have a hard time deciding of dying my hair blue or pink.  All of us at Mysterious Galaxy had a great time!

09 December 2011

Review- Warm Bodies

Title: Warm Bodies
Author: Isaac Marion
Publisher: Atria
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: Purchased

R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

My thoughts: 

At first Warm Bodes really confused me. What I thought I knew from the synopsis was wrong and from its classification in the horror genre, I thought it was going to be scary. It's definitely a very gory book! The whole concept is that zombies cannot remember their lives from before they’re infected. Even though they don’t have any memories left, they live together in family like communities. They take care of the elderly and the children and the men go out hunting for fresh meat and bring it back. The story centers around R who has discovered he can see and experience memories of his victims if he eats their brain which is how he falls in love with one of his victims’ girlfriends.

I know a zombie love story sounds really weird but this story was done so well. It could have very easily been really bad. R keeps his victim’s brain, kidnaps his girlfriend and as he experiences more and more of his victim’s life, he get a burning need to become human again. But is love enough to bring back someone who is completely lost to the infection? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
The most fascinating aspect of this book was the zombie community. They are ruled by these zombie like elders called bones because they’re literally so old they are practically only bones. The foundation of this community is not really addressed but it would be fascinating to know more about it. There was also something mysterious going on with the Bone elders that I would love to know more about.

Of course, like most good books, it’s being made into a movie! The cast has already been chosen and it’s set to come out in the summer of next year! I think it’ll make an interesting movie!

03 December 2011

Books I Didn't Finish

Over the past few months, there have been some books that I didn't finish.  As a blogger and book reviewer, I wish I loved and finished every book I read, but that's just not the case.  There are always going to be those books that I lose interest in, that I just can't connect with and ultimately, that I don't finish.  Here are a few of those books.

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittridge

I felt like I gave this book a good chance.  I read almost half the book.  It literally took me days to just get half way.  I liked the characters and the premise and felt like the story as a whole had potential.  But I just couldn't get into the writer's writing style.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

I listened to this book on audio and I think I would have enjoyed it more if I read it.  The reader is not that good.  I really liked the concept of the story; Earth has died and people have been moving to the New Earth.  The story itself is a little much science-fiction for me.  The characters kept talking about things like "zero gravity and the nebulous", and they would say things like "this and this is happening now think back to out physics lessons so you know what that means".  The characters would catch on but I wouldn't because I don't know anything about physics since I took chemistry in high school! I eventually lost track of what was going on.

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

This book had so much potential! It sounded so good.  But it wasn't and it failed.  First of all in was written in journal format because the main character is mute.  Second of all it was just boring.  I would have like there to be more action, adventure or mystery.  

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard

I heard only great things about this book so when I finally picked it up to read it, I was super excited.  I might not have given it a chance but sometimes I just can't get into contemporary.  And there was something about this book that couldn't keep my attention. 

The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna

The synopsis of this book sounded so good and I was so excited to read another horror story.  But the main character just annoyed me.  From the first few chapters, she sounds like a southern airhead who literally says that she owe all the good things that have happened to her to her good looks.  She is full of herself and I just couldn't read one more chapter with that airhead. 

01 December 2011

November Wrap-Up

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