Review: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

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The Infinite Sea (#2 of 3) by Rick Yancey

Published: 2014
Genre: Apocalyptic
My Rating: 2.5 stars

“How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.”

So. RY lost me a bit with this one. I mean, it’s clearly second-book-itis (I have serious issues with almost all second books in series, it’s a thing. One day I’ll have a full-on ranty post about it. Today is not that day), but RY, come on man! What happened here!?!

This book was primarily from Ringer’s POV. And Ringer did nothing –absolutely nothing for me — as a character. I wanted her POV over asap, and then I find out her POV is like 70% of the thing. I was not happy I tell you, not happy. If you liked Ringer in the first book, then you’ll probably enjoy getting this basically entire book of hers, but I, however, was not a fan. I wanted Cassie, Evan, Ben, Sam, basically anyone that wasn’t Ringer.

There also wasn’t much of a plot to this book… Depending on whose POV we were currently in, it was basically I must find him/her… With nothing really else going on. No other guidelines, no other plan, not even a known location or surety of survival. I was very frustrated. Also, one more symbolic reference to a “sea” or an overwhelming number of “rats” was going to have me throwing my Kindle, I swear.

I will keep going with the series, because I can’t not keep going with the series. But my feelings have severely shifted from excitement to dread. I don’t know what RY is going to do with this now, and I don’t have high hopes. I’m actually leaning towards the cover my eyes and peek through my fingers mode and hope it isn’t as terrible as it seems…

2.5 out of 5 stars.

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Infinity Dreams Award Tag

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Huge thanks to Beth at Betwixt the Pages for tagging me (sorry it’s so late!), this was so much fun to do! I’m not just doing this because it’s rule #1 and I’m a rule-follower, but you should totally follow her blog!

The Rules

1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you
2. Tell us 11 facts about yourself
3. Answer the questions that were set for you to answer
4.  Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them

The Facts

  1. I’m a 24 year old avid reader (hah, bet you didn’t know that one!).
  2. I beat my goal for reviewing books this year, which was one per week.
  3. I did not beat my Goodreads goal for reading books (I epically overestimated myself).
  4. I’ll be lowballing 2016’s goal, don’t you worry.
  5. I didn’t read any books published in 2010 this year (SO weird right?! This was unintentional, promise).
  6. I have two different sets of the Harry Potter series (and they’re beautiful and I love them).
  7. I love audiobooks because I can multitask while “reading”; it’s freaking wonderful.
  8. Elizabeth & Darcy, Anne & Gilbert, Lily & James, Anne & Wentworth, Amy & Rory (my OTPs, in case you couldn’t tell).
  9. I’ve never broken a bone.
  10. My only “surgery” was to have my wisdom teeth removed.
  11. It’s almost been a year since I’ve started this book blog!

Betwixt the Pages’ Questions

  1. If you could live in ONE book’s world for a week, which book would you pick?
    • Harry Potter HARRY POTTER hands down, can I go now?! When can I go? It would be freaking easy to see everything; I could apparate from place to place, person to person. Ugh, please!
  2. Would you live the BOOK’s adventures, or strike out on your own to make some?
    • Oh gosh, I don’t think I could handle Harry Potter’s life story… He had it pretty rough. So I’ll say, strike out on my own, especially if it’s only for a week.
  3. Which characters (bookish or not) would you hang out with?
    • All of them haha
  4. If you could spend one day as any animal/creature (real or made up), which would you pick and what would you do?
    • Dragon, probably. I think it would be really cool to be a dragon for a day. I’d probably fly around, check out some dragon-y things.
  5. New or secondhand books…and why?
    • Either, I’m not picky! There’s a really great secondhand bookstore near me that I frequent, so probably would lean towards that one. But that’s convenience not preference.
  6. What is your favorite dessert?  Least Favorite?
    • Anything with chocolate. And I’m not a fan of cheesecakes or pies.
  7. Favorite protagonist? (bookish or not)
    • That I identify with: Lizzy Bennet
  8. Favorite antagonist? (bookish or not)
    • Rumplestiltskin (from Once Upon a Time)
  9. What fandom do you feel as if you’re in all by yourself?
    • Anne of Green Gables! 
  10. Would you rather…only see holograms for the rest of your life, OR only ever hear in colors?
    • Hear in colors, I think?

The Nominees

Macy @ Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Books

Shea @ Bookish Wanderlust

Anne @ Inked Brownies

Steph @ bookishswint

The Mud and Stars Book Blog

Find Me at the Library

Dee @ thebookishkhaleesi

The Questions

  • If you could have any two characters from different books meet, which two characters would they be?
  • How would they meet? (Yes, this is a meet cute)
  • If you could meet any 5 characters from any books/worlds/whatever, who would they be?
  • How many books do you physically own? (Excluding digital copies)
  • Do you write on your books? If so, what’s the last thing you wrote?
  • What is your favorite sea creature, mythical or otherwise?
  • How do you organize your book shelves?
  • Have you ever read a book more than 10 times?
  • What kind of candy would your favorite book be?
  • What’s the last book you fell asleep reading?
  • Have you ever read everything an author has ever written?

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

16101128The 5th Wave (#1 of 3) by Rick Yancey

Published: 2013
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
My Rating: 4 stars

“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.”

My first review of the new year! (It’s not from 2010, and based on how this book went, the second one won’t be either because I’m going to need to read book #2 ASAP… Don’t worry, 2010 you’ll get your due, eventually!).

So, I’m not really sure why I’ve been putting off reading this book. Because it’s right up my alley, 100%. I had absolutely no valid reason for not reading it, but apparently it took me seeing the movie preview (which was FANTASTIC) before the last Hunger Games movie to convince me pick it up. And guys, I WASN’T DISAPPOINTED. I mean it’s been so long since I wasn’t disappointed, that I’m really surprised right now. I’m not sure if my positive impressions of this book are based on the fact that I’m so surprised or if I genuinely liked it. Jk. I genuinely liked it. Don’t worry.

The main character, Cassie, is fierce. I don’t have another word to describe her. A post description for her might be “a little crazy”, but it’s a crazy driven by fear. She doesn’t know who to trust and all she wants is her brother Sam back. Can’t say I blame you Cass. I’ll tell you what I didn’t trust. I didn’t trust a single character in this book except for Cassie. She was the only one I trusted. The rest of them — nuh uh, I wouldn’t touch ’em with a 10 foot pole. That isn’t to say I didn’t love the other characters (I mean — Sammy? Come on, that’s tugging my Supernatural heartstrings), but I didn’t trust the bugger. Nope. I actually loved all the main characters/narrators, but I didn’t know who was what or anything. It kept me SO on edge!

I’m a little miffed with the ending, though. I feel like during the last 10% to 15%, RY just started wrapping things up quickly and was like, I’ll handle this later. And maybe this plot will get picked up later or maybe not, ha ha ha. You don’t know! Infinite sea reference here and here, oh and another here. Story line drop and boom, weird dramatic ending with no closure. I needed some closure, dangit!

(I have obviously already downloaded The Infinite Sea).

So, there are definitely some comparisons to Stephenie Meyer’s The Host… If you liked The Host but found it lacking, then this series will probably be for you. The aliens function pretty identically on a fundamental level, but I would argue that this novel is so much more apocalyptic while The Host stays firmly in fantasy romance.

4 out of 5 stars.

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My Year in Books (2015)

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Well, I think it’s safe to say that little novella skewed my results a bit, but it’s also safe to say that Winter is a freaking long book! 824 pages! I don’t think I realized that as I was reading it (yes, I did it — I thought it would never end)! I’ve done pretty well this year, if I do say so myself (pats myself on the back, does a little jig of celebration).

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Fun facts, I read a book that literally everyone else read (The Girl on the Train, no review sorry folks) and also one that basically no one else read (Thirteen Guests, I did review this one). The really ironic part is that they’re both thrillers/mysteries. So that’s pretty great.

Thus ends the Goodreads portion. I went a little further, because I like finding out stuff, and I like graphs. 🙂

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I mostly read eBooks. This isn’t necessarily a preferences for eBooks but more of a readily accessible thing. My library has an excellent eBooks collection, not to mention how freaking easy it is to “check out” an eBook without getting out of my bed. Sign me up. Check me out? (That was bad, sorry).

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This is probably the purdiest pie graph I’ve seen. I mean except for that 2015, it’s almost perfectly 11% all the way around. I’m kind of in awe! I apparently didn’t read a single book published in 2010 or 2007 though, which is really interesting… (THIS IS WHY I LOVE GRAPHS)

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Where do I get my books, you ask? Clearly I’m mostly a-borrowin’ or a-buyin’. There is the small case of an ARC, as you can see, but mostly I’m hitting the library and my local used bookstore to feed my addiction.

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Can you tell what my favorite genres are from this graph? Clearly I don’t have any preferences. Nope, no way. I see a VERY distributed graph here. (I’m lying).

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See? So much fun! I know the bottom one is the most interesting, and apparently I read WAY more books I enjoyed than books I didn’t. I mean look at that graph! The 5s and 4s heavily outweigh anything else, and I still enjoyed most of the 3s even. So I’m calling that a good solid year!

(featured image source: Goodreads)

 

Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

16278318Armada by Ernest Cline

Published: 2015
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 3 Stars

“Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.”

(I cut a lot out of Goodreads’ summary, you know how I feel when there’s too much summary. If you want the rest, feel free to click the cover. It’ll take you to Goodreads.)

I don’t know where to start! (Literally, I’ve typed 5 sentences and erased them. It could be the exhaustion creeping in; it’s late right now in case you were wondering, but it could be the book. You never know). I liked this book; I did. But I wanted to love it. I wanted to feel the same sense of obsession that I did (do, let’s be honest) that I felt about Ready Player One, and unfortunately, I just don’t. Maybe if I had read this one first, it might have stood a chance. But I didn’t, and it doesn’t hold a candle to the RPO experience. Moving on now.

Zack, as a character, has some issues. Specifically, anger issues. I don’t really feel like these are ever addressed or really appropriately handled in the novel. I mean, yes, there was a pretty dramatic turn of events, and his personal issues were pretty minor compared to what was happening. But if EC is going to make them that important at the beginning, then these issues either need to play a significant role or they need to be resolved. Neither of these things happened. Zack definitely had some character growth, don’t get me wrong; and I also enjoyed his character, but I just felt it to be a little lacking in this area.

The plot was also a little, I’m not sure how to phrase this, hollow? I’ll go with hollow. Ready Player One had such a dense and rich backstory that EC could immediately pull from and I could really sense the lack of that in this novel. Zack, from the get go, had no idea what was going on, and frequently lamented this fact. You were figuring things out as he was figuring things out, and it made it less rich, for lack of a better word. (Waxing poetic done now, kthx)

I do really enjoy all the pop culture references in EC’s writing style. I always take a moment and give myself a little pat on the back when I understand one in the wild. Yep. True Story.

Overall, I was looking for an opportunity to relive Ready Player One, and that’s where I made my mistake. If I had just tried to experience Armada on its own or even read it first, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. As it was, I tried to make comparisons, and it, of course, came up short (no one can compare, sorry Charlie). Nonetheless, I did still enjoy Armada (woo, point to EC!) despite all this. So if you pick it up, make sure you erase RPO from your mind and give this one the benefit of the doubt.

3 out of 5 stars.

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Top 12 Books of 2015

I know this is very cliche, but I honestly cannot believe that 2016 is right around the corner. I’m also coming up on my anniversary of this blog, and I haven’t decided how to celebrate that (any ideas?). But either way, a retrospective post was definitely in order! There have been so many good books this year, published and ones I’ve read in general, and as I was doing this one I almost decided to do two posts. But alas, one post it is — so it’s a combination of books published this year and books that I just read this year. But either way, if they made this list, I loved it. Some of them I’ve reviewed (if so, I linked to the review); some of them I didn’t review… you get it, right? Onward!

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (fave)

Published: 2011
Genre: Science Fiction/Virtual Reality
Rating: 5 stars

“In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.”

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (also fave)

Published: 2011
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.


Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.”

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Published: 2014
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
Rating: 4 stars

“Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.”

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Career of Evil (#3 of ?) by Robert Galbraith

Published: 2015
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 5 stars

Cormoran Strike is back, with his assistant Robin Ellacott, in a mystery based around soldiers returning from war.


When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.”

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An Ember in the Ashes (#1 of ?) Sabaa Tahir

Published: 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars

“Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.”

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Published: 2011
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your email, and also, I love you . . . “


Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now: reading other people’s email.

22557272 The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Published: 2015
Genre: Thriller
Rating: 5 stars

“Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?”

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Spinning Starlight by RC Lewis

Published: 2015
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling
Rating: 4 stars

Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen hates the spotlight. But as the only daughter in the most powerful tech family in the galaxy, it’s hard to escape it. So when a group of men show up at her house uninvited, she assumes it’s just the usual media-grubs. That is, until shots are fired. Liddi escapes, only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy more complex than she ever could have imagined. Her older brothers have been caught as well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. And when their captor implants a device in Liddi’s vocal cords to monitor her speech, their lives are in her hands: One word and her brothers are dead.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses (#1 of ?) by Sarah J Maas

Published: 2015
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling
Rating: 4 stars

“A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beastwith faerie lore.


When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.”

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Red Queen (#1 of ?) by Victoria Aveyard

Published: 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars

“This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.


The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.”

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Winter (#4 of 4) by Marissa Meyer

Published: 2015
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling
Rating: 5 stars

“Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.”

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Odd Thomas (#1 of 7) by Dean Koontz

Published: 2006
Genre: Horror/Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars

“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.”

But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn.”

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Liebster Award (12/22)

I was tagged by bookishwanderlust to do the Leibster Award last week (rules and other stuff below all my answers), and I’m just now getting around to it. Thank you so much for tagging me! These were really fun to answer 🙂

1. How many books are you planning to read in 2016?

I totally overestimated in 2015, so I’m planning to lowball 2016 (shhh). I haven’t actually decided yet. Maybe around 100?

2. Favorite book you’ve read this 2015.

Oh, so many. But probably the top of the list is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I just loved it SO much. If you haven’t read it yet, READ IT NOW.

3. Books you’re ashamed you haven’t read?

Probably a lot of the classics. Actually, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. (See, told you it’d be a classic).

4. Book that made you cry?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You know when.

5. What book got you into reading?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading. As soon as I learned to read, I loved it. I’ve always enjoyed it, but the first series I remember totally fangirling over whas Nancy Drew. Totally wanted to be her.

6. What is your all time favorite book?

Can’t pick just one, are you kidding?! How about Jane Austen, JK Rowling and Tolkein. And we can call it a day.

7. What are your hobbies?

If I say reading, is this a cop out? (I keep answering your questions with questions, and that’s probably a cop out). I also enjoy movies/Netflix/TV, hanging out with friends, food/snacks, photography, ceramics, and exploring (flea markets, the outdoors and other places TBD).

8. Book that you hate but everybody loves.

Never was a big fan of The Mortal Instruments series, but I loved The Infernal Devices. So I was a big fan of the world, I guess. I don’t know if it was Clary that annoyed me? I’m going to give the new Shadowhunters TV show a shot, so we’ll see how that goes…

9. Who is your ultimate fictional book boyfriend?

Gilbert Blythe. (Husband: Mr. Darcy)

10. Fictional character that you could totally relate to.

Lizzy Bennet (sorry, not really tho)

11. Favorite bromance?

I never know what to do with this question. Is it about the friendship? I’m going to answer based on my favorite friendship: Harry & Ron, or maybe James & Sirius if I knew more about their friendship.

Liebster Award Rules

  • Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.
  • Answer 11 questions that the blog gives you.
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs you think are deserving of the award that have less than 200 followers.
  • Let the blogs know you have nominated them.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer

11 (very) Random Facts 

  • I love to read (duh, I figure 11 facts are going to be difficult)
  • My favorite color is green (don’t judge me)
  • My current favorite food is macaroni and cheese
  • I like to interject random movie quotes into conversations
  • I live in Tennessee, USA
  • I majored in Fine Art in college
  • I’m currently binge watching season 10 of Supernatural (I’m in love with Dean, it’s fine)
  • Fall is my favorite season
  • I love sweat tea
  • Harry Potter is probably my favorite series of all time, probably
  • I have brown eyes

Nominations

Your Daughter’s Bookshelf

Inked Brownies

Devouring Fictions

Londiniumgirlbooks

Mad Tea Party Books

Questions for Nominees

  • What is your favorite type of book to read?
  • Where is your favorite place to read?
  • Do you have a favorite snack or drink for when you read?
  • Do you listen to music or anything while reading?
  • What is your favorite book quote?
  • Who is your favorite author?
  • If you could have any signed book, which would it be?
  • If you could meet any three authors, living or dead, which ones would they be?
  • If you could meet any three characters, living or dead, which ones would they be?
  • Who is your favorite OTP?
  • What book/series do you wish was a movie/TV show?
  • Which Hogwarts House are you in?

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Review: Trapped by Michael Northrop

8428140Trapped by Michael Northrop

“The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive. . . .

Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn’t seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision. . . .”

A quick, suspenseful read that’s fitting for this season! But if it’s actually snowing right now, you might not want to read this one right then. It’s not actually scary, but if you tend to think the sky is falling when it isn’t (like moi) then this book will probably exacerbate that feeling…

Scotty and six other students end up trapped in their high school during a raging nor’easter, that ends up being the worst blizzard ever beheld. And no one knows they’re there…

Scotty is a very interesting narrator. Two parts fifteen year old boy, one part quirky, one part sooth sayer, and one part the world is actually ending. It gives an odd flavor to this book, that’s for sure. He’s fixated on very fifteen year old boy things like zits, girls and best friends. I found this very at odds with the quirkiness. MN also gave Scotty some reflective, but foretelling for the reader, asides about the storm that just overall made the book feel very odd for me. Definitely a quirky read, especially for something slotted as a thriller.

I was disappointed by the lack of characterization in this book. With such a limited cast of characters, there was such an opportunity for them to be developed. The only one we really get to see “change” is Les, and I’m not sure that counts.

The ending will disappoint a lot of people and definitely be described as lacking closure. There are lots of unanswered questions that MN doesn’t even begin to address. I kind of like it this way because it really fits the rest of his book. If he’d tied it up with neat little bows, I would’ve expected way more from the rest of the book. As it is, I didn’t expect much from the end, because I didn’t get much from the rest of it.

I will say that I loved the aesthetics of this book. That alone and separate from the content of the book gets a 5 out of 5, because it was fantastic and I loved it.

2 out of 5 stars.

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5 Wintery Wonderland Novels

I absolutely love this time of the year, and especially reading during this time of the year. A good thunderstorm makes me want to curl up and read a book, sure. But a freaking snowstorm? Grab the blankets, crank up the fire (we have a gas fire, don’t judge me), give me my TBR pile, and a mug of hot chocolate and don’t disturb me until the snow melts. No, I don’t want to build a snowman (I’m lying, I also want to build a snowman, I can do both!!).

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The Chronicles of Narnia –  The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

“When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy took their first steps into the world behind the magic wardrobe, little do they realise what adventures are about to unfold. And as the story of Narnia begins to unfold, so to does a classic tale that has enchanted readers of all ages for over half a century.”

Any of the Narnia books would qualify for me because they’re all so tightly related to one another, but this one specifically is so associated with Winter/Christmas for me that I always want to read it this time of year. I wish I could say I was consistent enough for it to be a tradition to actually read it every year, but I’m not and it isn’t. But if you are, I would highly recommend adding this one to your lineup if it isn’t already in it!

6068551Shiver (#1 of 3) by Maggie Stiefvater

“For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.”

Because Winter the season is so pivotal to this series, all three books would fit this theme, but again as with the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Shiver is particularly wintery for me. Something about it (possibly the cover) holds an especially winter read spot on my calendar. I love this series. MS’s writing style is so unique and even though this might sound like a cliche and you might be feeling burnt out on paranormal creatures (can’t really blame you but) give this series one last shot in these winter months!

15994514A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

“With A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens created a modern fairy tale and shaped our ideas of Christmas. The tale of the solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of the season by a series of ghostly visitors and given a second chance, was conjured up by Dickens during one of his London night walks, who “wept and laughed” as he composed it. Taken to readers’ hearts for its humour, compassion and message of redemption, it remains its best-loved book.”

A classic on my list! Confession time: I haven’t actually read this one, (yet, but it’s normal of me to include a TBR!! right??). I really, really want to read this one, I love all of the adaptations of it. I have it downloaded on my kindle app, but I just haven’t gotten to it yet. I have a feeling about this winter season. This is the season, guys. I can feel it.

161887East by Edith Pattou

Rose has always been different. Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose’s birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home… but she can’t suppress Rose’s true nature forever.

So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it – in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family – she readily agrees.

Rose travels on the bear’s broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart– and finds her purpose– and realizes her journey has only just begun.”

You know I had to have a fairy tale retelling in here and this one is about as wintery as they come. I also really, really like this one. It’s also really rare. Anyway, I definitely really enjoy reading this one when it’s cold outside, and if you’re in the mood for a (discrete) fairy tale retelling, pick this one up!

42672The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

“Smaug certainly looked fast asleep, when Bilbo peeped once more from the entrance. He was just about to step out on to the floor when he caught a sudden thin ray of red from under the drooping lid of Smaug’s left eye. He was only pretending to be asleep! He was watching the tunnel entrance…

Whisked away from his comfortable, unambitious life in his hobbit-hole in Bag End by Gandalf the wizard and a company of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon…”

I love this book so much. I’m not really sure why I consider it a winter read, maybe the first time I read it was in the winter and now it’s an association thing. I did find it on several winter lists so it’s not just me! If you haven’t read this one and are daunted by the LOTR, I would definitely recommend reading this one. It’s easier to get into than LOTR, but it’s definitely a good segue into Tolkien’s style (which is fantastic, btw). Also, love Martin Freeman. The end.

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All Ears: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

20170404.jpgStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Read by: Kirsten Potter

“An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

I completely lucked out choosing this one as audiobook, but I truly think this is the format to enjoy this novel! The narrator has an almost secret source of knowledge quality to her (I’m saying her because the audiobook was read by a woman, so I was listening to a her) and she was whispering that extra knowledge into my ear(buds). I really enjoyed it as an audiobook. I feel like if I had been reading it, the narrator would have felt cold and detached, with stark knowledge just written out on the page, rather than just imparting insider information to the reader.

I really liked this book. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first, and also because it was audiobook, it took me longer to read/listen to. Which means I had a longer chance to enjoy it. I was immersed in the novel’s world for a much longer time, and it forced me to think about what it would be like to continue living in the real world if civilization collapsed around us.

I was disconcerted, at first, by the jumping back and forth between decades, from the before and the after. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but by part three when the author started tying things together, I loved it. I thought it was brilliant and I couldn’t wait to see what else she would do with it. I kept hoping for more, actually. She left some out, and I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see more connections! But I can’t have everything I suppose.

I loved the characters. All of them, even the ones I didn’t like, I wanted to hear more of. I wanted to know where they came from, what their lives were like before, and how they ended up here. Kirsten was strong and passionate, and if I was on the other side of the apocalypse I’d want to be like her. Jeevan after was so much more himself than Jeevan before that I was happy for him! Clark was probably my favorite character, throughout the whole thing, before and after. The Prophet, Miranda, Arthur, Augustus, Syed, all the others were just so interesting to me too.

I definitely think this one is worth your time, but I highly recommend going for it as an audiobook. You really get drawn into the world, and the narration is just beautiful.

4 out of 5 stars.

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