Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles #1. Feiwel and Friends (Jan. 2012) Library
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.

The Lunar Chronicles are that one series that absolutely everyone is enchanted with that I haven't read, until now. I absolutely love fairy tales and their retellings so it's a wonder why it took me so long to read Cinder. Linh Cinder lives in New Beijing as a mechanic. She's made to fix, trade, and sell parts to pay for her stepmother and stepsisters life. New Beijing is set in a dystopian future where peace treaties with the Lunar people and a disease are the main struggle for the empire. Cinder's life changes when Prince Kai decides to make a visit to the best mechanic around, our Cinder. There's an android he needs to be fixed. By bringing the android to Cinder, Kai leads her to a uncertain future filled with fear, tragedy, kindness, hope, and finding out who she really is. Cinder's world and plot left me wanting more after I read the last page. Cinder herself left me wanting for her a happily ever after.

Cinder is great. She's this tomboyish girl who likes fixing things even if she's forced to do so. You get the sense that she's Cinderella not only by her name but by her situation. I couldn't help but feel empathetic toward her situation with her stepmother and always feeling different because she is a cyborg. I never understood why there was such a problem with cyborgs though. I realize people don't like things that are different but seriously, if someone came from being in war and they had to get a new arm, you are going to be disgusted by them? Not Peony, Cinder's stepsister who genuinely likes her. She ends up getting sick and Cinder finds out she's the only hope to save her.

Prince Kai is dealing with his father's imminent death and Queen Levena trying to become his empress. I liked that Kai wasn't having the Queen's attitude, for lack of a better word. He can be sarcastic, sweet, and charming. I like that he wasn't one dimensional but I feel like I still need to get to know more about him to see him with Cinder.

Queen Levana has a power like most of the Lunar people, to control minds. She can persuade people to do what she wants and what she wants is Earth. She also has a thing about mirrors...

Cinder was very much a set up for everybody in the series coming together to defeat this queen. It wasn't a boring beginning by all means. It was very interesting finding about how this world works and the characters that live within it. There were a couple of predictable things that happened but it didn't ruin anything for me. I just hope nothing is as transparent in later books. All in all, I'm happy with how everything is starting. I hope to see Cinder in the next book too somehow. I'm beyond excited about the next book in the series because Little Red Riding Hood is my favorite fairy tale.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Darcy & Rachel #1. St. Martin's Press (April 2005) Library
Something Borrowed tells the story of Rachel, a young attorney living and working in Manhattan. 

Rachel has always been the consummate good girl—until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend, Darcy, throws her a party. That night, after too many drinks, Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy's fiancĂ©. Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for the one guy she should run from. As the September wedding date nears, Rachel knows she has to make a choice. In doing so, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren't always neat, and sometimes you have to risk all to win true happiness. 

Something Borrowed is a phenomenal debut novel that will have you laughing, crying, and calling your best friend.

I saw Emily Giffin on a panel at the Miami International Book Fair. She was quick-witted, funny, and had some great storytelling chops. I didn't plan to read Something Borrowed. I wanted to start reading books with my mom in a mother daughter book club and as I asked, "Pick any book you want to read and we'll read it together" right after leaving the book fair she chose this one to read. 

It's rare for me to read chick-lit but not because I don't enjoy it. No, Something Borrowed is a book that had me gasping, laughing, and shaking my head right along with my mom. It was the perfect book to read with her because who else am I closer to her than her?

Rachel was very up and down with me. At first, I was on her side because when you look at who her best friend is - Darcy, the Queen of me - you kind of rather her win. Other times she just got me too much with her lack of self-confidence. I know it's part of her personality but sheesh girl... stop comparing yourself for one second to Darcy. And then all she could think of was Dex, her friend's fiance she slept with. I know that's what the book is about but that with her lack of self confidence bothered me some. She was really back and forth with me. I came to like her, to shaking my head at her, to liking her again. 

Darcy is someone I never did like. We are in Rachel's point of view so we see all the lies and dramatic things she said to put down Rachel throughout her life. Darcy could also be very loyal too but she was such a pain in the behind that I couldn't at one point like her. One thing me and my mom kept on bringing up was how Rachel should have stopped being Darcy's friend a long time ago which is very telling of how much we both disliked that woman.

Dex was up and down for me too. I could never tell if he really loved Rachel or Darcy or if he was stringing them both along. His sincerity was always questionable to me until the very end. 

Something Borrowed is a journey. One with laughter, awe, and intrigue. It was really fun to read at points and such a gossipy type book that is perfect to read with someone else. I really want to know what happens next with Rachel. I don't really care about Darcy but the next book will be her point of view. I don't know if I can handle it or not. We'll see if I cave in the future.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Standalone. Delacorte Books (Sept. 2015) Own
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I needed to calm down before I wrote this review but I can already feel my blood boiling. Let's get right to it shall we? I do not like what happens towards the end. I even cursed out loud when things were said. The thing is that I knew from the beginning that it was a possibility and I kept thinking it but when it hit I got so angry. It's hard to recover from that revelation.

It's not like the whole story made me angry or anything. There were good parts like Maddy and Olly and Carla. 

Maddy has SCID's which basically means if she goes outside she will get really sick and die. She lives in a bubble with her mom. Carla, her nurse, comes along to check to see if she's breathing. 

Olly moves in next door with his family. He's funny, sweet, likes to climb things, and just wants to get to know Maddy. And oh boy is he trouble.

But there's more to the characters than that. Maddy is a reader who loves her mom and Carla. She's quick witted and curious about the world. She's a precious little bean just like our Olly. Olly has this sweet way of making Maddy smile. He's a charmer and is just all around wonderful. He has problems at home which Maddy notes as she stalks/writes down notes on their family's schedule. I don't blame her for doing that, though. She lives in a bubble. 

Carla, Maddy's nurse, is this sweet Hispanic woman who sincerely cares for Maddy. I absolutely loved that woman and her kind heart. 

Most of the story is Maddy getting to know Olly through e-mail and real life. She's starts to wonder about the world around her and that leads to her pushing the boundaries.

I liked the characters and the story as a whole but again that ending really just through me off. It just knocked everything that I read down two notches. I mean go into this knowing you will be shocked or distraught. Just throwing that out there. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Bout of Book #18: Wrap Up



Monday, January 2nd, 2017
Read: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017
Read: The Year of the Garden by Andrea Cheng
Read: The Ugly Teapot: Book One: Hannah by Fred Holmes
Read: Archie, Vol. 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017
Read: Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Thursday, January 5th, 2017
Read: All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

Friday, January 6th, 2017
Currently Reading: Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier

Saturday. January 7th, 2017
Currently Reading: Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier

Sunday, January 8th, 2017
Read: Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier

Total Books Read: 7

*I was one down from what I wanted to read but really that was quite impressive for me and I was not feeling well for the days I didn't read anything.

Have you read any of the same books?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Books On Her Mind Weekly Wrap Up #6


This past week was me just reading and getting ready to teach very soon. The seminars I had to be a part of gave me some ease. The assignments don't seem that bad... I just need to make it a priority which is why I've been reading so much. I'm going to finalize most of my posts for January so I don't have to think about it. My next seminar is Wednesday and I meet me CT then too. I get to meet the kids on Thursday. I'm extremely anxious to get on with it already. I just don't want to get red as a tomato or start stuttering when I first meet them... I don't do public speaking. I know I'm becoming a teacher but it's different when I'm used to people. It's also going to be very different to teach a whole entire class.

I'm linking this to The Sunday Post hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Books Read

I'm only posting the books I read on January 1st because the other books will be announced tomorrow since it's the Bout of Books Wrap Up.




Last Week on the Blog



Challenge Updates

  • Beat the Backlist: 4/54 books read (1 reviewed) Total Points: 105
  • Foodies Read 2017: 1/4 books read (0 reviewed)
  • 2017 Steampunk Reading Challenge: 1/6 books read (0 reviewed)
  • Operation Deepen Faith: Genesis Chapters 10 - 12 
    • Need to catch up with my reading. So far I've been wondering how they remembered all these ancestors names and why Abram was the chosen one.
  • Audiobook Challenge 2017: 0/5 books read
  • 2017 Graphic Novel and Manga Challenge: 1/52 books read (0 reviewed)


#FitReaders

  • Workout: Core/Back/Glutes/Hamstrings
  • Jog/Walk (1 min. jog/3 min. walk) 1.1 miles

Ugh! I got busy and sore and sick. My week could have been better. I'm no longer sick or sore so I better kick it up a notch this week.

Mother Daughter Book Club


Me and my mom finished our first book together! I ended up getting shocked at the end. I don't know if I want to read the sequel. It's my turn to pick the next book so I have to get on that soon.


Reading Next




What did you read this past week?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Shadowlands by Kate Brian

Shadowlands #1. Hyperion (Jan. 2013) Library
Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection program. Entering the program alongside her, is her father and sister Darcy. The trio starts a new life and a new beginning leaving their friends and family behind without a goodbye. 

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. Just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?

I thought I had it all figured out. Even before I read Shadowlands I felt like I got the sense of what was going to happen. I knew that there was supposed to be some supernatural elements that might take me on a different journey but I wasn't quite prepared with how I would feel after reading this thrilling adventure of suspense (like the whole town is about to take you away into their cult) and mystery (everyone keeps disappearing...). My heart was racing for a long time after I finished that dramatic theme music worthy ending. You know the one - (duh, duh, duh, DUH) I was just sitting wondering what is going to happen next and what is it that makes Rory special. Is it the flashbacks? Is it because she's so much more aware? There is so much to ponder.

Everything starts off in the place I wish all of these suspenseful stalker/serial killer books would - at the time of the attempted murder. I've ALWAYS wished that the above type of books would start off at that time so I can get a continuous story, not just a before and after. So that was an immediate point to Shadowlands. 

The killer thinks that Rory is plain. She's into science and math. She wants to be a doctor after her mother tragically succumbed to cancer years earlier. She's also a third place cross country runner but I guess third place isn't note-worthy enough for our killer. The only unique thing about her that he sees is her hair and you know he does something creepy with it... He thinks he's got her but she has other plans. 

After escaping, the FBI has send Rory and her family to live in a secure location while our killer continues to track her. Juniper Landing is a vacation town where people come and go. It doesn't feel like the locals want Rory to go though. No, as soon as she gets on the ferry to Juniper Landing Rory gets this weird (very accurate) vibe from the locals who all just stare at her. These people are obsessed with this girl. Not Darcy, who is the stereotypical girl who needs attention and Rory's sister. Darcy, was part of the book that felt... well stereotypical. She might have some depth to her somewhere... but right now no one pays attention to her which I find hilarious and makes me do the same. 

Of course, Rory, our main character, is the special one. She has these weird flashbacks and seems to notice things that no one else does. I didn't mind that. I thought seeing everything going on through her eyes made me paranoid too. What could possibly be happening? My mind was always going, trying to create theories. That was the best part of the book. I thought originally that the mention of all these boys especially Joaquin who was this very cocky guy that only saw Rory but Darcy was infatuated with, was going to make this story less appealing. And at first it did. The mention of the main love interests high cheekbones bothered me so much. I've never gotten why high cheekbones were something in YA boys that needed to showcased. How are high cheekbones hot anyways? Whatever. Well back to my point, Joaquin seemed one dimensional but I kind of see something in the future with him. I doubt anything happens because the Golden Boy is usually what author's tend to pick for their special girls. Tristan also became interesting. He constantly stares at Rory like everyone does but the reason isn't as creepy as you might think. It's very intentional. They are all watching her for a reason. All those with a leather bracelet around their wrist.

The mystery alone is worth giving Shadowlands a try. It gets more and more curious as the story goes on. The only thing that might be a problem is the "romance" part of it, but it wasn't that big of a deal for me because I was more focused on what was happening with the town. Shadowlands was much more than I could have hoped for. I'm pumped to read Hereafter.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys

Standalone. Delacorte Press (Nov. 8, 2016) NetGalley
You are cordially invited to participate in a game of thrills and dares. Tell no one, and come alone. If you dare.

Hope is sick of everyone treating her like she’s breakable. Sure, she has cystic fibrosis (basically really bad lungs), but she’s tired of being babied by her mom and her overprotective best friend, Ethan, not to mention worrying about paying for her expensive medication and how she’s going to afford college. And she’s bored with life in her run-down New Orleans suburb.

When an invitation arrives from a mysterious group that calls itself the Society, Hope jumps at the chance for some excitement. This could be her ticket out. All she has to do is complete a few dares and she might win some real money.

But the Society isn’t all it seems . . . and soon Hope finds that playing the game isn’t a choice—it’s a requirement.

Cystic Fibrosis has been getting a lot of attention in recent years. I'd never heard about it until Bates Motel or Foreverland, one of the two. I like being aware of diseases like this because if books, movies, shows, and people bring it out to the forefront more people will care. Hope has this illness that basically gives her a shorter life span. Her mother is super protective of her so basically she's been shut in her home since the last time she's gotten real sick. Then, suddenly, comes this e-mail that dares her to come to this spot. She's going to be playing a game. What she doesn't know yet is the lengths to which the Society will go to make sure she and other girls, all different, stay playing the game. No cheating, no leaving, until the game is finished or the Society will make sure you are punished.

From this cover and from the way the characters were written this felt very much like a middle grade book to me but it's geared toward YA. I felt like I was going to feel it was MG before I read the story so that didn't throw me off too much. The mystery is what ended up throwing me off. I hadn't anticipated how much I would need to know who was behind everything and why. The growing suspense had me flying through Dead Girls Society. Thankfully, the reveal and reasoning was satisfying.

It took me a while to get to know everyone's names but they became memorable when things started hitting the fan. All of the girls, save Hope, had been blackmailed to play the game. It seems like the Society has been keeping tabs on these girls. Hope really was the only one who wanted to figure out who the person/people were behind everything because nothing felt right. I like how the girl everyone think is weak, including herself, ends up being the most daring of them all.

Hope likes a boy. A boy who just happens to be her best friend. I didn't really care for this part of the story so I mainly ignored it. I did like the other love interest more. As a whole though, the mystery blew this part of the story away.

The mystery and suspense kept me guessing in Dead Girls Society. I think that the story could have been written more like it was a YA book to bump everything higher in my opinion. I enjoyed how everything was resolved and Hope's deducing skills. That cliffhanger at the end was killer!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Bout of Books 18: TBR



Hosted @ Bout of Books

I could think of no other way to start the year off right than to participate in Bout of Books. This is really the week I need to read a whole lot of books because I start student teaching next week so I'll have to read slower from that point on. 

Goal: Read 8 + books

Possible Reads:


What are you planning to read next?


Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Goals + December Wrap-Up


It's 2017 and I'm up for a crazy year ahead of me. I have student teaching coming up next week that gives me anxiety just thinking about it. I also have to start looking for places to send my resume - I have to create a resume! This is the start of everything. I feel like a new chapter is coming upon me and I need to get ready for it. Stay positive and work hard. But working hard doesn't mean I have to completely abandon everything. My goals for this year demonstrate that:

My Career Goals

  • Get organized (I can be a little disorganized when I get overwhelmed so I need to plan for those times and be organized throughout my time student teaching and teaching. There is no room for error.)
  • Treat student teaching like it's my job. (I'm not only there to learn and practice but to be a teacher. I need to take every moment like this is my full time job. Breathe. Live. Teach.)
  • Apply at various teaching jobs and get a full time job! 
  • Be positive. (I get nervous quite easily when I'm in a new situation but all I need to do is stay positive and plan and I'll be fine.)
  • Take it one day at a time. (This will be an experience that will go on for most of the rest of your life. You are new at teaching so don't sweat the small stuff. You will learn. Life is long and crazy. You got this.)

My Personal Goals

  • Exercise regularly. 
  • Run your second 5k.
  • Spend more time out of the house.
  • Learn more recipes.

My Bookish Goals

  • Read as much as you can. (I'll be working but I can always take one hour/half an hour a day to read something)
  • Read the bible. (I need to get back to being more spiritual.) 

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Books Read




January Planned Reads


I'm planning on reading a lot this first week of January so I can read the remaining books slowly throughout the rest of the month.

What are your goals/planned reads?