Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Authors I Own A Lot of Books From

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors that I Own 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme created by and featured at The Broke and Bookish blog

1. Tamora Pierce

I own a grand total of 29 books by Tamora Pierce. Chances are if she's written it- I own it! I have all her Tortall books as well as her Circle books and the various standalones and anthologies that she has written or is part of. The infographic below is just a few of her books I own.





2. Lucy Maude Montgomery

Again I own an impressive 19 books by LM Montgomery who is best known for her Anne of Green Gables series. I own several of her other series and standalones as well. Several of them I bought from the used bookstore so they all have matching covers and a very nice price!

3. J.K Rowling

Obviously I have all the Harry Potter books, plus the Harry Potter textbooks, Casual Vacancy and both her books written under her Robert Galbraith pseudonym. All together these add up to 12 books. I didn't count multiples either because my family owns several copies of each book.


4. Cassandra Clare

I have 11 Cassandra Clare books- the entire Mortal Instrument series, The Infernal Devices and the Shadowhunter Codex. I'm thinking however that this may be the max number of Clare's books that I will own.


5. Rick Riordan

Unfortunately I do not have all of Riordan's  books but I do own 9 of them! I still need to catch up on the Kane Chronicles and the Son of Neptune books. I need to get on buying them because I love them!


6. Scott Westerfeld

With his Leviathan series being my favourite I own 7 Scott Westerfeld books. 


From here the numbers decline sharply and they aren't nearly as impressive but I own 3+ books by John Green, Garth Nix, Jodi Meadows, Rae Carson, Louisa May Alcott, JRR Tolkien and others but I am too lazy to go walk around the house to my room to check! 

I should also point out that these are just books that I own- my family owns books that I have read by authors (such as Elizabeth Peters and Anne McCaffrey) where we have A LOT of them. But those aren't MY books!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Lunar Chronicles

The Lunar Chronicles


So the Lunar Chronicles is a series by Marissa Meyer. Currently the First three books are out: Cinder, Scarlet and Cress. Two more books, Winter and Fairest are to join the series in the years to come.
Meyer has taken the old classic fairy tales and spun them into a new rich world. 

I saw Cinder several times in a book store and never picked it up until friends of mine mentioned how much they loved it (they may have even given me my copy? I can't exactly remember). 

But I recently bought Cress to read and so I needed to brush up on the storyline and characters in order to get the full experience. My mom is also a huge fan of the books and is super mad at me for getting her interested in them before the entire series is out (she likes to binge read them all at once!) Since I read all three recently I thought that I would make one master post with mini reviews of each book, so that they will all be in one place. But just a warning- there may be spoilers in the reviews! So only scroll down if you have read the book I am writing about.



Synopsis

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Thoughts

First off I am insanely jealous of Cinder because she is so tech savvy. Sometimes its amazing that I have managed to turn my computer on at all! Cinder is pretty unique in that it is set in an Asian country (the Eastern Commonwealth) which in my reading experience is a rare thing.

I loved the complexity and development of the characters, Cinder is so relatable and I can understand where she is coming from- even though I am not a cyborg living in a plague ridden world. It breaks my heart every time I read this book when I see the horrible treatment of Cinder, by the other people and even by her own family. With the exception of Peony and her 'faulty' android Iko, Cinder has no one. And her step mother is all sorts of creepy, mean, evilness. She is bad enough but then Cinder also has to deal with Levana who is that sort of evil characters (like Umbridge) who just gives you the heeby jeebies. She is one of those villains who just makes you want to scream WHY?! because they are evil simply because they can be. Just thinking about her makes me shiver.

The plot is so intricate and I absolutely loved finding out how things connect later on and just bouncing in my chair yelling when I figured out how A relates to B. That is probably one of my favourite things to do and this book (and series) made me do it!

Another aspect that I loved of Cinder and her world is the mix of science/technology and magic. Even the magic can be explained through some science. There is not nearly enough science in YA books and so Cinder made me cheer with its science. But it's not dry science- it's the sort of science where you think- oh I see how that might work (Especially coming from me- even though I'm not a bio kind of girl). It reminds me of that Thor quote "Your ancestors called it magic, you call it science". How the Lunars manipulate bioelectric energy would be considered magic in our world but to Cinder and the people of her Earth it is science but still has a mystical edge to it.

So basically this book is incredible and I was super sad when it ended and I had to wait for Scarlet. It will definitely be on my list of books to re-read!

Scarlet



Synopsis


Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling instalment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner

My Thoughts  

I mentioned in my Cinder thoughts that I loved when the story unfolded and you discovered how people, places etc. where connected. And Scarlet upped the level even more than Cinder. YIPPEE since I love this! It's obvious in Scarlet that Meyer had a plan when she wrote these books because there are too many connections for her to have just randomly decided to do it. I look forward to finding out what else is a part of the tangly interconnected spider web.

I don't want to say too much about Scarlet (the book) because I feel like I might accidentally give off major Cinder or Scarlet spoilers. Let's just say that a new host of very attractive (and somewhat scary) characters are introduced (*cough* Thorne and Wolf *cough*). The stakes are higher than ever (Levana is pretty much the evil queen/wishes to be overlord of the entire universe) and the story draws you in even deeper. The characters are developed more, the story is fast paced but mysterious and engaging. Really just loved this book too.

I haven't read too many books with multiple POV so it was interesting to see how Meyer pulled it off in both Scarlet and Cress. At times did feel like I wanted to know what had become of a certain character/group RIGHT NOW but part of the magic of storytelling is having to wait to discover what happens- that moment of silence after a dramatic event where every reader is silently screaming WHAT?!?!. That is the best moment.

Cress



Synopsis


In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company.

My Thoughts


Cress brought the introduction of even more characters. Including sweet, naive little Cress. The poor girl has been stuck in a satellite that orbits earth for most of her life, with nothing but some net screens (like a computer) for company. I used to think that I wanted to have super long hair but after reading Cress I've decided against it. She rolls over her hair with a chair, trips on it, gets it stuck or stepped on... (in case you were wondering Cress is based on Rapunzel, Cinder on Cinderella and Scarlet on Little Red Riding Hood)

Cress picks up where Scarlet left off which was essentially a very crazy chaotic situation. There were even more POV written in (see previous complaint about this) but overall I thought it was handled well. It brings together even more of the loose ends throughout the story but at the same time leaves the reader with even more questions. Cress was definitely the book that made me want to throw it across the room most because my poor babies have to go through so much. Why can't they just be allowed to live happily ever after?!?
There were some major twists and events that occurred in Cress 

*possible Spoilers*

Thorne anyone?!? THORNE!!! And Winter??? (she's nuts but just ahhhh). But it was also a bit frustrating to see the characters because they don't really have the best brains in their heads. Seriously, I'm not much older than some of them, and I'm not really trained in espionage or taking down evil dictators but even I knew that there plan was a little bit stupid. (It was. And it's a good thing someone told them).

I agree with my mom about these books- they would definitely be the kind of story that you would want to read all at once, in a row because I do not want to have to wait to find out what happens to all the characters and whether or not the Earth is in control of an evil dictator! But I have to wait
So if I had to sum it all up in one sentence I would say- Fantastic, incredible, amazing! GO BUY THEM NOW!

(Also I have linked each title to the book's Goodreads page so you can check it out there)


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass



By: Sarah J Maas
Published: May 7th 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: Bought
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world


My Thoughts


I was super hesitant to read Throne of Glass because I had been told by several people that it was a fantastic book. Recently the books that I have read that are surrounded by a lot of hype, haven't lived up to it for me. So I was a bit scared to try this one!

But I bought it and had it on my pile to read and one of my friends from university read it and recommended it to me. At that point in time we had discovered that we both loved the exact same books so I decided to trust her judgement- and I am glad that I did!

Sarah J Maas writes a complete and intricate story in Throne of Glass.  Ever since I read my first Tamora Pierce book I have loved to read stories about women who are fighters or go against their societies ideas of what women should do. That was one of the things that initially drew me to Celaena and her characters as a master assassin (and the youngest in the country!).  But at the same time Celaena wasn't always a super stoic,  'strong' character. She had her moments of weakness and her moments where she was just the young girl that she is (dressing up for the ball, staring in her mirror). There were moments where I wanted to give Celaena a smack on the head because she was so full of herself- even though she couldn't go on a morning run without throwing up her breakfast. Obviously she had been the best fighter out there but she spent a year at a death prison. Come on girl- you have to realize that you're not in the same shape you used to be!

I also understand all the fangirling about Chaol (although his name reminds me of one of the names for Hell in the Bible...). What is it about captain of the guards that is so attractive? Hector from Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns series is also a super sweet, nice, kind, strong altogether lovable dude like Chaol. Maybe they are related. Maybe that's part of their job description!

At the same time the plot was so complex and full- I just loved it! If Maas had written a story with just one of the major plot drivers (assassins competition or the other thing) Throne of Glass would have been a good book. Instead she masterfully combined and wove together both aspects of the plot.  Even though I was reluctant to pick this book up I was even more reluctant to put it down once I started reading it!

So I would recommend this book (and series!) to Tamora Pierce fans, readers of high fantasy and people looking for some awesome girl representation!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

TTT- Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Top Ten Tuesday- Top Ten Characters I'd Want With Me on a Deserted Island


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke & The Bookish. Each week they host a different top ten topic.

1. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

 Because we all know that Harry and Ron wouldn't have survived if it wasn't for her. Plus she would probably have some hand things in that magical bag of hers!


2. Sam (Incarnate)

Because he would probably have as many instruments as he could stuff (carefully) into his carryon so we could have some evening entertainment. Plus he's super cute!


3.  Jo March (Little Women)

Because she wouldn't mind walking through the jungle to find a good camp spot. Plus she probably knows all sorts of games and interesting camping skills that we could use


4. Kel (Protector of the Small)

Because she could fight off all the wild animals and protect us. Plus she definitely knows how to set up camp, build a fire etc. She would be in charge of our exercise program


5. Daine (Wild Mage)

Because Daine could help us find animals and learn if there were any dangerous ones on the island. And she would have a darking or two with her and then we could all have one for easy communication


6. Katniss (Hunger Games)

Because she would be able to hunt whatever animals were on the island and teach all of us non-hunters how to build traps so that we wouldn't starve to death


7. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Because he would be the voice of reason in the group if anyone decided to go all Lord of the Flies. With him we would be a shining example of humanity building a community on an island


8. Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings)

Because Sam really knows how to cook potatoes and he'd be in charge of turning the game/roots that Katniss helps us gather- into real food. Plus he is the sweetest little guy who would do anything that he could to help us thrive and survive.


9. Hedwig (Harry Potter)

Because she could help us scout the island plus if we decided we wanted off of the island she could send a message to someone to come and get us!


10. Lena (Raisin in the Sun)


Because she would be our mother figure- comforting us if we were afraid but at the same time not taking any gaff. Her and Atticus would be the Mother and Father of our community!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly

Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly



By: Stephen Graham Jones, Paul Tremblay 
Published: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors
Source: Netgalley 
My Rating: 3 out of 5


SYNOPSIS
Things Mary doesn't want to fall into: the river, high school, her mother's life.

Things Mary does kind of want to fall into: love, the sky.

This is the story of a girl who sees a boy float away one fine day. This is the story of the girl
who reaches up for that boy with her hand and with her heart. This is the story of a girl who
takes on the army to save a town, who goes toe-to-toe with a mad scientist, who has to fight a plague to save her family. This is the story of a girl who would give anything to get to babysit her baby brother one more time. If she could just find him.


It's all up in the air for now, though, and falling fast. . . .


MY THOUGHTS

Within the first few paragraphs of this book I found myself agreeing and nodding along with Mary. So I was pretty hopeful that it would be a good book. And it was interesting... but also kind of weird and disjointed at times

The biggest problem I had with this book is the treatment of Mary's mental illness - specifically anxiety. There were frequent mentions of how she didn't want to go on 'zombie pills' so she would deal with it herself. I understand that the authors may have been trying to create a character or set up how the reader views her. But this is not the message that we need to be sending young people. We need to be telling them that it is okay to get help, that there is NOTHING wrong with taking medication for mental illnesses. There should be no shame in it. And this bpok doesn't really send that message.

Now aside from that it wasn't a bad book. It was a bit juvenile at times for my liking but it was bad in that sense. I found Floating Boy to be a bit simple and juvenile but that probably isn't too much of a stretch given his background history.
I couldn't wait to find out what was happening to Floating Boy (yes that is his name) and to figure out how Mary and her friends would get themselves out of the situation. (Especially against those crazy Claremonts!)

This is another book that isn't particularly long (this comes from a fantasy reader where books can be 700 pages!). It is a surprising and unique story that I would recommend to younger YA readers or those who like a more childish* protagonist. This book is for people who enjoy sci-fi and semi-apocalyptic stories of small towns in chaos. 
*it should be noted that I do not see childish as a negative term. It simply refers to one who is child-like in manner or actions.

So mark down October 21st on your calendars and check out Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly at your local bookstore!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Fall For You

Fall for You



By: Cecilia Gray
Published: February 10th, 2012
Publisher: Gray Life, LLC
Source: Kobo Store
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Synopsis

It's obvious that Dante thinks he's way too good for Lizzie. And Lizzie knows Dante is a snob with a gift for pushing her buttons. But things are changing fast this year at the Academy. And when Lizzie's quest to stop those changes blows up in her face, taking her oldest friendship with it, she has nowhere else to turn but to Dante, with his killer blue eyes, his crazy-sexy smile, and his secrets... Secrets Lizzie can't seem to leave alone, no matter how hard she tries...


My Thoughts

I am a sucker for boarding school books, the classics and re-tellings. So you can probably imagine my joy at discovering an entire series with these three elements!

I had actually originally requested on of the books on Netgalley and got approved. In the lovely email from the publisher they informed me that it was a series and where I could find the others (Thanks for that!)
I really enjoyed this book. One of the things I love about re-tellings is trying to guess which character corresponds to the classical character. Some of them stumped me at first (I don't remember a Dante in Pride and Prejudice?!?) But I think I figured out most of them by the end.

I loved headstrong Lizzie and her sweet friend Ellie- plus how she came to have a change of heart about some of the characters that she was set on hating. It was very interesting to see the dynamics of such a classic shifted into a modern day private school. I also was a fan of how well thought out the specific details were (ie why the school is called The Jane Austen Academy)- it was super neat to see!

One thing I would change about this book is the cover. I loved it so much but on  a store the cover wouldn't have drawn me to it so I probably would never pick it up. And there is so much potential for the cover- I have a billion ideas!