Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Least Favorite Book in Your Favorite Series

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Gingerreadslainey. Check out the Goodreads group here.

Trying to think of the least favorites of anything tends to make me a little sad, so I'm hoping not to think too hard about why these are my least favorites. There might not be a big reason, just maybe the writing wasn't as good or the plot upset me or something like that.

5. Knit Two by Kate Jacob

4. Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

3. Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones

2. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Recent 5 Star & 1 Star Reads

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme that is brought to us by The Broke & the Bookish. Check out the topic list here.

Top 10 Tuesday this week is kind of fun in that I get to share some of my recent really good reads with you and some recent ones that, well, kind of stunk.

5 Star Recent Reads (Oldest to Most Recent)

5. xXxholic #1 by CLAMP

4. xXxholic #2 by CLAMP

3. xXxholic #3 by CLAMP

2. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

1. Dear Baobab by Cheryl Foggo & Qin Leng

1 Star Recent Reads (Oldest to Most Recent)

5. Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill

4. Surviving Haley by Brenda Baker

3. Hollow Beauty by Khristina Chess

2. Sophie by Jennie Sargam

1. The Fate: Book 1: Tournament Wysteria by John Ko

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Surviving Haley by Brenda Baker

Lauren Werthman struggles with guilt and depression. Even moving to another state and into a new home doesn't help her overcome the life-altering aftermath of losing her sister. Memories of the tragic accident reverberate through her life as her family tries to cope, but Lauren's life spirals out of control. Her mother criticizes her choices every day, her father continues to work later and later, and people at her new school seem to know the family secret. Lauren binge-eats, has nightmares, and doubts the existence of a God Who didn't intervene to prevent the senseless tragedy. As Lauren's family and friends work through the pain and guilt, will they find that even though the void will always remain, the power of forgiveness brings peace and hope and a bright future, or will Lauren forever be lost to the pain and guilt?

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Rating: 1 Star

Warning: SPOILERS ahead

The premise of this book sounded good. Tragic, yes, but it was a compelling plot. It was a quick read, easily finished in a day.

However, this was an instance where, though it started out well enough, it spiraled and became something like a jumbled mess.

It is hard writing this review because there are so many things that I consider wrong with this story and I'm not sure where to start.

This book was incredibly sort, about 200 pages. I think that was a hindrance in and of itself. If the author had taken the time to flesh out some of the other problems that I'll mention in a moment, then I think this story would have been a lot more successful.

The first thing that comes to mind is that the entire plot of the story seems to happen within a week, maybe two if you're lucky. There's no concrete mention that I can find except when Lauren, the MC, talks about events and alludes to yesterday or the first/second day of school.

The fact that all of this happens so quickly is not believable in the least. Lauren herself changes entirely too much. She goes from not liking Jonas, the "love interest", and being uncomfortable with him praying in public to being totally in love with him the next day. That is not believable, that's not how that works. She defends him practically the next day to someone who mentions his "God thing". It's like a switch flipped regarding her personality.

It takes insta-love to a whole new level. The love triangle that develops is another trope that gets tied into the story for no other reason, it seems, than it's a somewhat popular aspect of YA fiction. Lauren, for all the teasing that she suffers and hates, is really mean to Eli, a kid who may be unconventional, but is never anything but nice to her. It's almost hard to call it a love triangle, but that's where it felt like it was heading.

There were plot points in the book that felt like they were introduced for no reason. They happened in the later half of the book and I was worried that there wouldn't be enough time to address them properly. I was right, but it was so much worse than I thought it would be. The issues were not addressed AT ALL. Tiffany, the mean girl of the book, is revealed to have bulimia, but after Lauren calling for the nurse and Tiffany's mother showing up, do  you ever hear about her or her problem again? NO! When Eli, another part of the "love triangle", sees Lauren kissing Jonas and runs off to the art room to cut himself and "deal" with the situation, do you ever hear about him getting help other than the promise Lauren extracts for him to go see the school counselor? NO!

You cannot introduce topics like that, dealing with mental health issues of such severity, and then write them off. It's disrespectful to the people that suffer from those problems and it's disrespectful to the reader, asking them to believe that things are just so great because the main character talks to the troubled kids. You're expected to believe that the mean girl and her cronies are all of a sudden going to be nice because Lauren tattled on her to the nurse (as Tiffany herself puts it). 

The last 50% of the book was the worst, when I felt like the author was changing the personalities of the characters on a dime so that she could wrap the story up. It made no sense and had me screaming at my Kindle. 

Lauren's mother, the one who's helped make her daughter feel terrible because of her issues with food, is an alcoholic using her drug of choice to cope with the death of her younger daughter. You find out, all of a sudden, near the end that she feels partly responsible for the little girl's drowning death because she left the gate to the pool unlocked. Even after this, she states that she doesn't want to take to a therapist, even though she's so happy that Lauren found someone she can talk to (who, by the way, is the school therapist that she forced Lauren to see). 

However, a chapter later, she's apparently checked herself into rehab. A week goes by from that point, Lauren and her dad go to visit, and guess what honey? Mom's doing so great we're going on a cruise in a month or so! Isn't everything rosy and grand now? And since Mom's reveal of forgetting to lock the gate, Lauren feels so much better, practically 100% because she has someone else to share the blame and it isn't all her fault anymore?


All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sunday Street Team: Review - Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.
Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.
When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves into the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

It's lovely to be hosting this week's Sunday Street Team event as it is my week to tell you all about Beyond the Red, a novel about space and alien queens and how secrets have a way of coming to the surface when you least expect them. Thank you for Nori, creator of the Sunday Street Team, for allowing me to present to you my review.

First, a bit about the author.

Ava Jae is a writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her blog, TwitterFacebook, tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram, or her YouTube channel.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

If you're a fan of The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, then I think you'll like this book. It has a similar plot going in that there's one character who becomes a slave/servant to the other character. Beyond the Red has a different setting, though, and alien politics that turn the story into something different.

I had a good time with the plot. It was simple, sure, but it kept me engaged. I did find myself comparing it to other YA books at the time, but as in the case of when I read Red Queen and had the same feelings, I thought that there was enough in this book to make it unique while having similar elements to other enjoyable YA books.

I like the development of the two races in the book. The aliens brought a new culture to the book that unfolded and introduced us to their customs, which were not always palatable but gave them a sense of realism. As the humans were mostly the same in terms of looks and morals, it was easy to slip into the story and see things from their point of view.

One of the things that brought the book down a bit for me was that when I was finished, I was left feeling like it wasn't over. There were a lot of things that I wanted to know more about, questions that needed answers, etc. I think the author mentioned that there might be a sequel in the future, depending upon sales, so I  hope that goes well for her since I would really like to hear more about Eros and Kora.


Now there's a chance for you to win a finished copy of Beyond the Red. I highly recommend filling out the Rafflecopter below and, even if you don't win, picking up a copy of this book at your local bookstore.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: Black Five by J. Lynn Bailey

No one ever accused Penelope Jackson of being normal, nor did they suspect the dark secret she kept. A dangerous web of deceit and secrecy unravels when news of a stranger’s death puts Penn on a collision course with the very person she’s been hiding from her whole life. Her fragile world is shaken to its core with the sudden arrival of Vacavious and she soon discovers the bizarre and magical world surrounding her seemingly ordinary life.
No one is who they claim to be, including those closest to Penn. A mysterious security detail emerges from the shadows scrambling to protect her as powerful forces await the fall of her protective veil on her eighteenth birthday. 
Penn prepares to fight against unseen evils before it’s too late. The world of Nighmerianotte and its population depends on her survival, for she is the Sanguine.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 Stars

Every once in awhile I try to go into a story without reading too much about it. I saw the summary for this on NetGalley and thought it sounded interesting, so I went ahead and requested it without looking on Goodreads or any other sites. It isn't that these sites would have swayed my decision to read Black Five one way or the other, but I would have been prepared for this overwhelming sense of meh.

While I was reading the book, I kept waiting for something to happen that would blow me away, something that would set this story apart from any other YA book. A lot of YA books have similar plot or share tropes that make them sound really, really alike, but the good ones usually have something to make them special.  Black Five didn't deliver on this.

The writing was fine; it was enough that I would consider reading another work by the author. As far as wanting to continue with the series, though, I doubt that any forthcoming books would rate high on my waiting-for list.

Penelope felt like a stereotypical heroine from a YA novel in that she discovers this hidden magic about herself after living a difficult life. Her mannerisms felt stiff, awkward. I'm not sure I believed in her as a character at any given point.

Like I said, the plot was decent, the writing allowable, but I don't think I'll be clamoring for any more Penelope adventures, though I wouldn't say no if the book crossed by my desk.

Music Recommendation

The dark theme and the beat reminded me a lot of what I thought Penelope might be going through, growing up as she did.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Harry Potter Thursday: Ship that you wish had sailed but didn't?

Harry Potter Thursday is a weekly meme created by Uncorked Thoughts.

It's fun to speculate about whether a couple will or won't end up together during the course of a series. However, when that series is over and you're left with whatever the author decided, you may feel a bit let down if your OTP didn't make it.

In Harry Potter there are a ton of couples and more than one that I didn't care for in the end. There is one couple in particular that I was hoping would get their fair shot and maybe even end up together, but after one brief glimmer of hope in Goblet of  Fire, there was nothing.

I am talking about my favorite non-canon couple, the one I wished and hoped would end up together, Hermione Granger and Viktor Krum.

From the beginning of the series, it was pretty clear that Hermione was going to end up with either Ron or Harry, neither of which deserved in my opinion. However, in Goblet of Fire, there was a brief glimmer of hope as we were introduced to a newcomer that might have a shot at Hermione's heart.

Now, the firs thing to realize is that there is a big difference between Viktor in the book and Viktor in the movie. In the book, he's much more intelligent than the movie makes him out to be. He does pretty well in the Triwizard Tournament, he's an excellent Quidditch player (briefly mentioned in the movie), and he's a good student. He has values that others from Durmstrang might not/probably don't share. Example: at Durmstrang, the students have to learn how to use the Dark Arts and while he does that, he never uses it in real life.

He and Hermione could've been such an interesting couple. While they're not 100% the same, which would've ended badly, they at least shared some interests, such as their schooling and magical rights. I never really saw what her and Ron had that would've made their romance believable beyond a brief fling.


All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You DNF

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Gingerreadslainey. Check out the Goodreads group here.

I hate that this topic has to exist. It stinks that there are books that I can't finish. Unfortunately, it does happen, though thankfully not very often.

This week I only have four books to put on the list.  I started keeping track of my DNF books on Goodreads last year and these are the only ones thus far. I'm counting them down from the most recent to the oldest one.

4. You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

I made it further in this one than I thought it would and probably further than any other DNF book on this list (30%, by the way).

The premise was really promising and it might have even been a good book to read when dealing with grief, but it really didn't pan out that way.

One of the things I liked was that the different points of view were presented in different ways. For example, Mik's chapters were written like a graphic novel. One of the other boys' chapters were represented by dark/cool/edgy illustrations. 

Besides those two good p.o.v.s., though, were other one that just dragged the story down and made it grind to a halt. Maybe if the book had stayed with one p.o.v. like Jaycee and how she was coping with her brother's death it would've worked out better, but for me it didn't.

3. Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill

I wanted to like this book. Occasionally a light, fluffy read can be good, even cathartic. This was not a book that met that criteria.

The main character was a foolish, selfish girl that made a mistake and refused to learn from it, no matter what others in her life said or tried to do to prevent it.

I tried to give Clementine (the MC) a chance, but after she was nearly involved in a scandal and then, after "recovering" from it, repeating those same actions with no clue as to how it was a bad idea or similar to the previous situation, I couldn't stand to read about her for one more minute. I DNF'd this book at 36%.

2. Movie Game by Micahel Ebner

This one I stopped reading a bit before my usual 25% because I couldn't stand a few factors.

The plot was muddled, the writing bored me to tears, and there was no sense of connection with Joe, the main character. He acted like a petulent child and while he might have had some reasons to be that way, his reaction to those instances turned him from a sympathetic character to someone I wanted to slap for being such a jerk.

1. Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

I really wanted to like this book because around the time that I started it, I was getting into historical fiction and this book was highly lauded by quite a few people on Twitter. I tried to make it work, but there were too many things bothering me. 

I started out listening to it as an audio book, but as I was listening to it, I thought that the writing style was coming across very stilted and that it involved more telling than showing. I switched to a physical copy to see if that would improve the experience, but it didn't.

The multiple points of view weren't a help either. The problem with it in this instance was that there was one narrator in particular that I wanted to skip over whenever I came to his chapters (Jacob). When a book makes me want to skip huge parts of it, I end up dreading reading it.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Don't Talk About Enough

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme that is brought to us by The Broke & the Bookish. Check out the topic list here.

The biggest pitfall of blogging is that often you find yourself talking about the same books week after week. They're great books, why wouldn't you want to talk about them, especially when you know others like them too? The problem being is that the same books tend to be featured and we forget some of our other favorite titles.

Maybe they're from a genre you don't normally review or something like that. This week's TTT features books that I have loved in the past that, for one reason or another, don't get the attention they deserve. I hope you'll take a look at them and maybe even read them for yourself so that you can enjoy them too.

10. Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's deepest wish is that everyone understand that knitting is at least as fun as baseball and way cooler than the evil looped path of crochet. Every project, from a misshapen hat to the most magnificent sweater, holds a story.Yarn Harlot tells all those stories with humor, insight, and sympathy for the obsessed.

Over 50 million people in America knit. The average knitter spends between $500 and $1,700 a year on yarn, patterns, needles, and books. No longer just a fad or a hobby, knitting has advanced to a lifestyle.

Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter moves beyond instructions and patterns into the purest elements of knitting: obsession, frustration, reflection, and fun. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's humorous and poignant essays find humor in knitting an enormous afghan that requires a whopping 30 balls of wool, having a husband with size 13 feet who loves to wear hand-knit socks, and earns her "yarn harlot" title with her love of any new yarn--she'll quickly drop an old project for the fresh saucy look of a new interesting yarn.

Since the upsurge in knitting began in the early '90s, the number of women under 45 who knit has doubled. Knitting is no longer a hobby for just grandmothers--women and men of all ages are embracing this art. Describing its allure is best left to Stephanie who explains: "It is a well-known fact that knitting is a sparkling form of entertainment, as spiritual as yoga, as relaxing as a massage, and as funny as Erma Bombeck trapped in a PTA meeting."

9. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house and smells like cookies. She was even married to a pirate once. Most of all, she knows everything about children. She can cure them of any ailment. Patsy hates baths. Hubert never puts anything away. Allen eats v-e-r-y slowly. Mrs Piggle-Wiggle has a treatment for all of them.

The incomparable Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle loves children good or bad and never scolds but has positive cures for Answer-Backers, Never-Want-to-Go-to-Bedders, and other boys and girls with strange habits.

8. In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jenny Wang

Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. 

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer--a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake. 

From acclaimed teen author (Little BrotherFor the Win) and Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow and Koko Be Good creator Jen Wang,In Real Life is a perceptive and high-stakes look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture clash.

7. The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society by Beth Pattillo 

On the third Friday of each month, Eugenie, Ruth, Esther, Merry, and Camille meet at the Sweetgum Christian Church to enjoy the two things that connect them: a love of knitting and a passion for books. Their camaraderie remains unthreatened until Eugenie, the town librarian, introduces an angry teenager into their midst. Eugenie also gives them a new reading list: the classic novels of girlhood that young Hannah has never read.Little Women. Pollyanna. Heidi. Books that remind the women of the hopes and dreams they have lost along the way. 

With each click of their needles, the ladies of the Knit Lit Society unravel their secrets: A shadow from Eugenie’s past haunts the controlled order of her life. Merry’s perfect little family is growing again–but will she continue to feel her identity slip away? Camille dreams of leaving town but is bound by ties of love. And the sisters, Ruth and Esther, must confront a lie they have lived with for over thirty years.

As Hannah is reluctantly stitched into their lives, the women discover the possibility that even in sleepy Sweetgum, Tennessee, they can still be the heroines of their own stories.

6. The Tale of Despereaux by Katie DiCamillo

A brave mouse, a covetous rat, a wishful serving girl, and a princess named Pea come together in Kate DiCamillo's Newbery Medal–winning tale.

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.

5. Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol

A Civil War sword...A watermelon stabbing...

Missing roller skates...

Atrapeze artist's inheritance...

And an eyewitness who's legally blind!

Theses are just some of the ten brain-twisting mysteries that Encyclopedia Brown must solve by using his famous computer-like brain. Try to crack the cases along with him--the answer to all the mysteries are found in the back!

4. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

Like the Skin Horse, Margery Williams understood how toys--and people--become real through the wisdom and experience of love. This reissue of a favorite classic, with the original story and illustrations as they first appeared in 1922, will work its magic for all who read it.

 3. Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don't get noticed by the mean kids.

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

On her first day at her new school, Penelope--Peppi--Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she's already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the "nerder girlfriend." How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can't help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he's a member of her own club's archrivals--the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!

2. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world's most successful music Kickstarter.

Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn't alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING.

Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.

1. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curits Klause

Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?

Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He’s fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.

Vivian’s divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really—human or beast? Which tastes sweeter—blood or chocolate?

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Review: Grumpy Cat, Vol. 1 by Ben McCool

Dynamite proudly presents the comic book misadventures of Grumpy Cat, featuring "The World's Grumpiest Cat" and her brother, Pokey! With her ever-present pout and sassy disposition, Grumpy Cat has won the hearts of people everywhere. Now, her unbearable cuteness and infectious sourpuss are featured in an all-new, all-sensational collection of comic stories, sure to make fans of all ages laugh! If you love the memes, the videos, and that irresistible scowl, then get ready for the wildly fun antics of Grumpy Cat and Pokey!

Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love Grumpy Cat. I think her pictures are cute, funny, etc. I have not yet seen her movie, but I am a fan of hers. When I saw that she had a comic being released, I thought I'd give it a chance and see what was what.

The "storylines" are a bit childish. There are some segments that are kind of funny and the art is nice, very smooth, but not art art, if you know what I mean.

Each chapter is a different story for Grumpy Cat, so in that sense it was easy to pick up and put down with ease. A few of the chapters were slow and the humor felt stilted. It may have been that some of them would have suited a younger audience better and I'm not amused by all the same things anymore.

One of the problems I had was that the character of Grumpy felt really cruel at times. I understand that her face and her "grumpy attitude" are part of the brand of GC, but she's was a really horrible character at times. She tortured Pokey (her brother) and the dog (not sure of the name) and enjoyed them getting into trouble. I wasn't a fan of this kind of characterization and, because of who we're made to believe Grumpy is, there isn't any reason for her to move beyond this and learn something about how she's treating other.

This volume reminded me of a slice-of-life manga, so if you've found yourself liking that sort of comic in the past, this book might interest you.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: The Trick to Landing by Jenny Kaczorowski

When you wipe out in life, who helps you get back up again?
After a gnarly fall in competition, a DUI, and moving in with her mom dashed her hopes for a spot in this year's X Games, 16-year-old skateboarder Summer O'Neill is left with one last shot at redemption. But her fresh start is even harder than getting back on the half pipe: hours of community service, a party girl reputation she can't shake, and life with a mother she hardly knows leave Summer scrambling to keep her world stable.
The very last thing Summer is looking for is a boyfriend, at least until she meets Sebastian Vega. Steady, unassuming, and self-assured, he's everything she's not. Before long, she's sneaking out for midnight sandcastle building excursions and trading in her art class for private photography lessons with Bastian.
But Summer's past won't stay behind her and Bastian has problems of his own – including a bleeding disorder that seeps into every aspect his life. While he pushes against the limitations of his hemophilia, she is bound by the rules of her probation. When the ramifications of her past crimes collide with his frustration, it may be more than their budding relationship can bear. 
With the next X Games qualifier rapidly approaching, Summer has to own up to her mistakes if she wants to soar again. If she can't, she'll lose more than her second chance. She'll lose her future-in skating, and with Bastian.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

Rating: 2 Stars

I thought, from reading the description, that this would be a very interesting books. The characters sounded unique, fun, and like they'd have a good story.

I found both of the main characters, Summer and Bastian, to be one dimensional. They each had one, maybe two, things that defined them and that was it. In Summer's case, it was her X-Game aspirations; for Bastian, his hemophilia and photography. Even the photography, something he loved and started to share with her, fell by the wayside. We heard more about Summer's past, or at least her guilt over it, than any real development of their character.

The narrative was alright, but there was a lot of repetition and I found myself skimming over bits. Some incidents seemed to be thrown in for dramatic flair that felt false and did not end up working out.

I wouldn't highly recommend this, maybe not even at all, but it has some potential with the writing if only it was a bit shorter (cut out the scenes that read the same again and again!) and the characters were fleshed out.

Music Recommendation

This song popped into my head when I was puzzling over what to pair with this book. The beat, the action in the music video, all of it represents, to me, what I should have felt while reading this book.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Harry Potter Thursday: Who would be your best friend at Hogwarts?

Harry Potter Thursday is a weekly meme created by Uncorked Thoughts.

I was a rather quiet kid in school. I still am an introvert. It is not easy for me to make friends. When I was thinking about this week's topic, I had to consider the different characters carefully, particularly their personalities.

Harry Potter: I might be interested in him, I might wonder what craziness he's up to on a given day, but I don't think I'd be good friends with him. He's a popular kid and I found that kind of attention kind of baffling.

Hermione Granger: there's a good chance I'd become friends with her, or at least good acquaintances, but best friends? I kind of doubt it. While I am/was a bookish person, in high school the "smart kids" (i.e. the ones that were top of the class) were not especially kind to me or to people that they thought were less intelligent than they were. That experience might affect my potential friendship with Hermione.

There are two people that I actually think I could get along with because: 1) they're kind of weird and offbeat (like me!), and 2) they show the kind of personality that seems the gentlest towards others through the books we see them in.

Luna Lovegood

Luna seems like an outskirts kind of character to me. She can be friends with anyone, but I bet she's got only a few really, truly close companions. I think we'd hit it off, especially since we'd both be in the same house, like a lot of the same things, and find the extraordinary fascinating, even when others don't believe in its existence.

Neville Longbottom

He seems like the dorky, quiet, geeky kind of guy that I knew and hung around with in high school. He's slightly less "weird" than Luna, I think, but he's very close to her male counterpart. I don't get a judge-y feel from him at all and I think he'd be easy enough to get to know. He's more approachable, easier to talk to, which is really important because I can get easily intimated in talking to people I don't really know yet.

I bet between the three of us we could have our own little Silver Trio. :D

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week you can showcase a pre-publication book you're looking forward to (waiting on) and share the link on Jill's blog.

For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.

After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself—even though she’s falling in love with him. 

Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else's property. But nothing is as daunting—or as wonderful—as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.

I've never read anything by Richelle Mead, even though I've always meant to start her Vampire Academy series. I recently got the chance to check out a sampler of The Glittering Court, so that will be my first taste of her work.

The sample started out a bit mediocre, so I'm hoping that it'll turn out better later on. I'm curious if this book will turn out as advertised: The Selection meets Reign. I liked The Selection and I do enjoy books that take place at court, so maybe that'll work out. Adelaide is interesting so far, but I think she'll be much more likable once she's out of her grandmother's house, so to speak, and interacting with the ladies of the court (each of which have their own secrets, I'm sure).

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Fictional Items You Want (from Harry Potter)

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Gingerreadslainey. Check out the Goodreads group here.

Oh wow, hitting me right in the heart this week is the topic for Top 5 Wednesday. There are so many things  to chose from!

I'm going to narrow it down a bit to help with the enormous amount of choices by picking the fictional things I want from the Harry Potter novels.

5. A flying car

It'd be scaring as anything and I'd probably have to deal with my fear of heights at some point, but how cool would it be to fly a car?!

4. Pensieve

I have a terrible memory. It comes and it goes, but mostly short term is the only thing I can sort of depend on. A pensieve would be the perfect thing for someone like me.

3. Hermione's bag

I would seriously have all of my books in here. It's able to hold everything you'd ever need, plus it's practically weightless! I'd never have to chose between what book to bring again!

2. A wand

It's the first thing a wizard needs when they begin school and is the basis for most of their magic. Who wouldn't want a wand?

As an aside, according to Pottermore my wand is Elm with Unicorn hair, 10 3/4 inches, with hard flexibility.

1. Time Turner

Sure it's dangerous, but by the gods do I want a time turner. Time travel is the epitome of magical "technology" and it isn't mentioned nearly enough in the series.

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Top 10 Tuesday: Ten Books On My Spring TBR

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme that is brought to us by The Broke & the Bookish. Check out the topic list here.

It's hard to believe Spring is only a week away. The weather has been crazy in my area. I'm hoping spring will have a few more ordinary days, or at the very least no more snow/ice/etc!

There are a lot of new books coming out soon, especially in May. This week I'm sharing the Top 10 books I have on my TBR for the spring time.

10. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (April 26th)

I'm trying to catch up with this series before The Raven King comes out. My husband has read the series and says it's really good. From what I've read so far I agree.

Another series that I sorely need to catch up on. I've started The Infernal Devices series and I'd like to get through that and The Mortal Instruments before tackling a new series of Shadowhunter novels. Lady Midnight sounds like it's going to be another epic story in this world and I don't want to be so behind everyone else when they're reading it.

I like books that take place in the early 20th century. I like books about circuses, especially one that have a magical or mystical element to them. Both of these traits look like they'll be found in this story. Luckily I have an ARC of  this book so I won't have to wait too long to read it.

I got to read a sample of this on NetGalley a little while ago and it sounded so mysterious, so tricksy, that I got very excited for the actual publication date.

I just really want to finish this. There's a lot to it, so it's been taking me a bit longer, but I will soldier on and finish it before summer (hopefully).

I forget where I heard about this book exactly, but it's got a really cool sound to it. Luckily I was able to get a NG ARC, so I'll be reviewing this sometime this spring.

Apparently I'm missing out on a lot with this series so this year is definitely going to be the year that I read more V.E. Schwab, starting with the Shades of Magic series.

I love a good story with a lot of elemental powers in it and this series has been very kind to me in that regard. Not to mention it has a library apprentice as the main character. This will be the second to last book in the series, so I'm looking forward to it while at the same time getting a little sad because it'll all be over soon.

I've been looking forward to this for ages. If I remember correctly, the release date has been pushed back a lot. Here's hoping that this is going to be the final one so we can get back together with Myfanwy!

I know this book has been out for over a year, but I have sadly not been able to get to it yet. I don't want to let it get too much later because of spoilers and because I also have A Gathering of Shadows on my TBR so of course I have to read the first book...well, first!

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