Thursday, 25 July 2013

Book Reviews: Clockwork Prince, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Dead to the World

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)

Goodreads Summary: In magical Victorian London, orphan Tessa found safety with the Shadowhunters, until traitors betray her to the Magister. He wants to marry her, but so do self-destructive Will and fiercely devoted Jem. Mage Magnus Bane returns to help them. Secrets to her parentage lie with the mist-shrouded Yorkshire Institute's aged manager Alyosius Starkweather.

Why I Read This Book: Another series I have gotten into, and was on 2 of my challenge lists: 2013 Paranormal Challenge, and the 2013 Sequel Challenge.

Review: I like the Infernal Devices more than The Mortal Instruments series, and this book didn't disappoint. I can't wait to see how it all ends with the Clockwork Princess, but I have been putting it off a bit so it won't be over too quickly.


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine, #1)
Goodreads Summary: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. 

As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here - one of whom was his own grandfather - were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason.

And somehow - impossible though it seems - they may still be alive.
Why I Read This Book: This was on my A-Z Book Challenge List.

Review: I really enjoyed this book a lot. It was the perfect amount of creepy mixed with intriguing and fantasy that it sucked me in. The plot was very interesting, with several twists and turns, and a bit of romance too. I brought this in to work and was reading on my lunch break, and everyone said it looked too creepy for them, because of the pictures. But really it wasn't overly, just enough to make it good.


Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4)Goodreads Summary: In Sookie Stackhouse—a Southern cocktail waitress with a supernatural gift—Harris has a created a heroine like few others, and a series that puts the bite back in vampire fiction. Now the hit series launches into hardcover for Sookie's biggest twist-filled adventure yet.

When cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn't a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It's Eric the vampire—but now he's a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life.
Why I Read This Book: This book is again, one in a series I am reading. I joined a very specific Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge, and committed to reading 4 of this series, so this was my first for this year, but the 3rd in the series.

Review: This was a good middle-of-the-series book. So far the season of True Blood that matches up to this book has been my favorite, and I read the book after I watched that. It is pretty closely matched up, and I like this book a lot. It's probably my favorite of the books so far as well.


Monday, 22 July 2013

Book Reviews: City of Ashes, P.S. I love You, The Iron Daughter

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)

Goodreads Summary: Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.
Why I Read This Book: Another series book that I am working through. I think I may have had this on a challenge list this year as well.

Review: I love the shadowhunter world, and this book was no exception. Clary and Jace are getting a bit weird, but whatever. I thought this was a good sequel book. Definitely moved the plot along nicely. Can't wait to get to the next one.


P.S. I Love You
Goodreads Summary: A novel about holding on, letting go, and learning to love again.
Now in paperback, the endearing novel that captured readers' hearts and introduced a fresh new voice in women's fiction Cecelia Ahern.
Holly couldn't live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other's sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.
The kind of enchanting novel with cross-generational appeal that comes along once in a great while, PS, I Love You is a captivating love letter to the world!
Why I Read This Book: This book was on my Monthly Key Word Challenge list for February.

Review: I liked this book, but didn't love it. It was good. It tells the sad story of a widow trying to overcome her grief. I can't fully appreciate Holly's story, as thankfully I have never had to go through that. Even though it was sad, it was written in a generally light-hearted way so that it was still enjoyable to read and not miserable.


The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey, #2)
Goodreads Summary: Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.
Why I Read This Book: This was my March book for the Paranormal Reading Challenge.

Review: This was a pretty good sequel to the first book that I really liked. It had enough in it to keep it interesting and surprising. I was happy with it. Some things happened that I definitely wasn't expecting, and also some good news in it as well, which I don't want to spoil for anyone so I won't say.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Long Over Due Book Reviews

In an effort to do so review catching up, I thought I would do a few posts with some multiple reviews. Also, some of the books I don't have much memory of, so this way my reviews don't have to be much more than a line or two. I'm going to do 3 books per post.

Marked (House of Night, #1)Goodreads Summary: The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed.  In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire -- that is, if she makes it through the Change.  Not all of those who are chosen do.  It's tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling.  She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx.  But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers.  When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

Why I Read This Book: I put this book on my challenge list for the 2013 Paranormal Reading Challenge because it had been on my TBR list for so long.

Review: I have still only read the first book of this series, but I think it may be one of my favorite vampire books so far. I like teen vamp books, but this one had all the good stuff without being really lame at times too. I read this book about 6 months ago, and honestly can't remember much except that I really enjoyed it. It was a bit confusing at first, but I look forward to getting to the rest of the series.


A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)
Goodreads Summary: Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead...victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. 

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers. 

A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. 

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors. 

Audacious, inventive, brilliantly imagined, A Clash of Kings is a novel of dazzling beauty and boundless enchantment—a tale of pure excitement you will never forget.
Why I Read This Book: I started this series last year because Game of Thrones was on my 2012 TBR Challenge list, and I loved it. I knew that I would have to continue this series. I am actually reading Book 3 right now.

Review: This book is full of complex charaters and plots, and sub plots, and sub sub plots, and there is a whole lot going on! It can be a bit confusing at times when non-main characters come out so infrequently, but it is a fantastic series. I loved this book and love this series. I recommend it all the time. The TV show as certainly helped in its popularity, however I haven't started watching (yet).


Water for Elephants
Goodreads Summary: Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out—orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive "ship of fools." It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act—in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival. 

Surprising, poignant, and funny, Water for Elephants is that rare novel with a story so engrossing, one is reluctant to put it down; with characters so engaging, they continue to live long after the last page has been turned; with a world built of wonder, a world so real, one starts to breathe its air.
Why I Read This Book: This book was on my 2012 TBR Challenge Reading list, but I had put it off so much that it actually ended up on my 2013 TBR Reading Challenge list as well! Someone from work heard I wanted to read it, and brought me in their copy to borrow, and that was how it got moved up the list.

Review: I really loved this book. I remember when the movie came out and I wanted to see it, but knew I should read the book first. I'm so glad I waited, I read the book and watched the movie a few days after. And the book was SO SO SO much better. I actually did a post about this book comparing it to the movie awhile back (you can see that post here). I loved the story of Jacob it was incredibly engaging and this was a great book.


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - July 2, 2013

I wrote a post for this two weeks ago, but then dropped the ball on hopping around, or even returning my comments. Then it felt silly to do it over a week later when I was back on here. So, my apologies for that! Things are somewhat more settled in my life (for this week anyway) so maybe I can do TTT right this time!

Top Ten Books That Intimidate Me

for me, this is definitely the classics. I feel intimated that I will get lost in the language, or that the book is waaaaay too long, so they sit on my to-read list forever and ever. The last classic I tried to read is the only book in my DNF pile, and it is because I read before bed, and I always fall asleep reading. With classics, when I wake back up I always think "what the hell was going on??" and have to re read like 10 pages to get back into it, and I will never finish a book this way!! This doesn't happen with regular books, so... I read those. Anyway, if I had to pick a top ten, it would be:

1) Watership Down - Richard Adams
Watership Down
I'm not sure what I find so intimidating about this book. I haven't even looked inside to see the kind of language it is written in, and it's not even that long, coming in at under 500 pages. But, I never even think to pick it up when it's time to chose a new book.

2) Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackery
Vanity Fair
This one might have to do with size. When I first got my ereader I remember thinking I would finally really all the huge books I had been avoiding because size/weight wouldn't matter. That was obviously false. This remains unread.

3) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
I have seen the movie for this already. And that was confusing as hell. I can only imagine what an acid trip this book must be, and I'm pretty sure I won't understand anything.

4) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)
I don't know why I feel intimidated by this one, but I do. Again, I fear that I won't understand it.

5) Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote
Breakfast at Tiffany's
This, I have put off because I heard that the book Holly and Audrey's Holly are a little different, and I'm not sure I want to spoil the Holly I have loved for so long. Maybe someday...

6) Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
Infinite Jest
This book is a behemoth. Ain't nobody got time for that.

7) The Hobbit / The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
Once, many years ago, I actually started the Hobbit. And I was confused as hell. Since then, I have seen all the LOTR movies, and read (and loved) other many character confusing books (like the fire & ice series). I think I am ready for a second go at these books, and I own them all, it's just, when?

8) Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged
Another book that it just. so. big! It's hard to commit to such a long book. That last 1000+ page book I read was Under The Dome, and it took me forever to read!

9) Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Love in the Time of Cholera
Some people love it, and other hate it, so I just put it off. Oh well, again, maybe someday!

The 9 I have taken directly from my TBR list, and number 10 is one that never made it, because I'm pretty sure I will never actually read it, but:

10) War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace
My god, this is a looong book!

Monday, 1 July 2013

June Wrap Up - Half Done!!

Oh wow, I cannot believe that the year is half done already! I have accomplished a lot so far this year, but not much of it has been bookish!
- wrote the CMA Entrance Exam
- completed another course toward my MBA, and started another last week
- got back into going to the gym
- started running and training for a 10 mile road race
- went to Chicago
- booked and planned 2 vacations (Vegas & Disney)
- working towards my 30 before 30 list!
busy busy!

But, I have been reading a little bit too, so just like with my quarterly wrap up I think its best to take a look at my original challenge lists and see how I'm doing!

Challenge #1:  2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

1) Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
2) The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin
3) Matched - Ally Condie
4) Life of Pi - Yann Martel finished January 23/13
5) Remember Me? - Sophie Kinsella
6) Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen finished February 24/13
7) The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
8) Something Borrowed - Emily Giffin
9) Gone - Michael Grant
10) The Maze Runner - James Dashner finished June 18/13
11) Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor finished April 21/13
12) Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella
13) Forever - Judy Blume
14) Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
15) Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
16) The Nanny Diaries - Emma McLaughlin
17) The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society - Annie Barrows  finished May 30/13
18) One For the Money - Janet Evanovich finished April 22/13
19) On the Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta
20) Learning to Fly - Victoria Beckham
Ok, so this one isn't going so hot 6/20 books. Which is extra disgraceful because half of these books were ones I never got to from the 2012 TBR Reading Challenge List! I have 15 books on my Summer Reading List, and 5 of those are on this list, which is pretty good. I hate to say it, but I'm guessing some of these will end up on my 2014 list...

Challenge #2: A-Z Book Challenge

A: The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E. Pearson finished June 25, 2013
B: Blue Bloods - Melissa de la Cruz (double points!..Scattergories, anyone??)
C: City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare finished February 26/13
D: The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
E: Eragon - Christopher Paolini
F: Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
G: Girls in White Dresses - Jennifer Close
H: Hourglass - Myra McEntire
I: I am Number Four - Pittacus Lore finished May 23/13
J: Juliet, Naked - Nick Hornby
K: The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
L: The Luxe - Anna Godberson
M: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs 
Finished April 5, 2013
N: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith
O: Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
P: The Princess Bride - William Goldman
Q: Quidditch Through the Ages - J. K. Rowling
R: Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven #2) - Brandon Mull finished June 4, 2013
S: Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi Finished May 6, 2013
T: Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
U: Under The Never Sky - Veronica Rossi finished June 25, 2013
V: The Virgin Sucides - Jeffrey Eugenides
W: Wanderlove - Kristen Hubbard
X: Elixir - Hilary Duff
Y: Yearbook - Ally Condie
Z: Zombie Queen of Newbury High - Amanda Ashby

This list is also going terribly. 26 books here and I have read 7. Ouch. From my summer list I have 3, and that still won't get me to half. I'm not sure if I am going to do this challenge next year, but hopefully I can get most read from this year. Many of these books I'm just not that excited to read, and they only ended up here because they started with the right letter.

Challenge #3 - 2013 Paranormal Reading Challenge

January - Vampires - Marked by P.C. Cast Finished February 4, 2013 (just a few days late)
February - Angels/Nephilim - Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare Finished April 1, 2013
March - Fey - The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa Finished March 27, 2013
April - Demons - Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor finished April 21/13
May - Aliens - I am Number Four by Pitticus Lore finished May 23/13
June - Zombies - Feed by Mira Grant
July - Witches and Wizards - Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
August - Mermaids - Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman
September - Dragons - Eragon Christpoher Paolini
October - Ghosts - Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendra Blake
November - Werewolves/Shape-shifters - Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater Changed to 'Stolen (Women of the Otherworld #2) by Kelley Armstrong' because Shiver was my January Book for a different challenge!
December - Time Travel - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Finally, one that I am mostly on track with! I haven't quite finished Feed, but I have started it and I am almost done. This challenge is going well.

Challenge #4 - 2013 Sequel Challenge

1) City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare finished February 26/13
2) Clockwork Prince - Cassandra Clare Finished April 1, 2013
3) Shadow Kiss - Richelle Mead Finished May 3, 2013
4) A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin finished February 17, 2013
5) Glory In Death - J.D. Robb finished April 26, 2013
6) The Last Little Blue Envelope - Maureen Johnson
7) Shadow Souls - L.J. Smith
8) Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers - Louise Rennieson
9) Rise of the Evening Star - Brandon Mulfinished June 4, 2013
10) Isla and the Happily Ever After - Stephanie Perkins

This one is also going well, 6/10 at halfway through the year. One of these is on my summer list, which keeps me on track. This challenge list next year is going to be my longest, as I'm determined to get through some series' next year!

Challenge #5 - 2013 Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge

Book 4: Dead to The World Finished April 13, 2013
Book 5: Dead as a Doornail Finished May 11, 2013
Book 6: Definitely Dead

Again, this one is on track! I like vampire books in the fall, and I only planned to read 4 of these, so I will be able to finish pretty quickly in September or October!

Challenge #6 - Monthly Key Word Challenge

January: Shiver - Maggie Steifvater finished January 28, 2013
February: PS I Love You - Cecelia Ahern finished March 12, 2013 (wee bit late...)
March: Be Careful What You Wish For - Alexandra Potter finished April 24, 2013
April: Shadow Kiss - Richelle Mead Finished May 3, 2013
May: Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi Finished May 6, 2013
June: Under The Never Sky - Veronica Rossi Finished June 27, 2013
July: Shadow Souls - L.J Smith
August: A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
September: Blue Bloods - Melissa de la Cruz
October: Glory In Death - J.D. Robb finished April 26, 2013 ... crap I didn't realize this was October's book. I will have to read Immortal in Death instead
November: Forever - Judy Blume
December: The Princess Bride - William Goldman

And the last planned one is also on track. Apparently it is just long lists I have trouble with!! This should be no problem to finish by the end of the year.

The very last challenge is another one that isn't going so well... I copied this over on June 18, so it's not completely accurate at June 30, but I was 9 books behind then, and even though I have added two more read, now I'm 10 behind... 75 was a bit optimistic. I read 59 last year, maybe I shouldn't have tried for such a jump. Especially since I have been reading some really long books, like the Fire & Ice books.
2013 Reading Challenge
You have read 25 books toward your goal of 75 books.
At your current pace, you're 9 books (13%) behind schedule.