Disney Character Tag

Hello! I was tagged by Emma @SheReadsBooks

1. The Little Mermaid – A character that is out of their element, a “Fish out of water”.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I just read this book (and loved it) and Cinder is definitely out of her element when it comes to Kai.

2. Cinderella – A character that goes through a major transformation.

 The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Both Peeta and Katniss go through so much. How could it not change them?

3. Snow White – A book with an eclectic cast of characters

Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I mean, it’s all in the name, right? All of the kids are super peculiar.

4. Sleeping Beauty – A book that put you to sleep.

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather. We had to read this book in high school and I had such a hard time with it. I might appreciate it more now, but at the time I really did not enjoy it.

5. The Lion King – A character that had something traumatic happen to them in their childhood.

Harry Potter, I really don’t think I need to explain any more than that.

6. Beauty and the Beast – A beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful.

Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. I was intimidated because it was the most “classic” book I had read up to that point but I ended up really enjoying it!

7. Aladdin – A character that get’s their wish granted, for better or for worse.

Spelled by Betsy Schow. This one’s pretty literal, but I had a hard time coming up with another one.

8. Mulan – A character that pretends to be something or someone they are not.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. The main character goes through a lot of different personalities before the reader is introduced to her. The book is kind of all about her finding out who she really is.

9. Toy Story – A book with characters you wish would come to life.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I’ve said this a bunch of times, but these characters seriously seem so real already.

10. Disney Descendants – Your favourite villain or morally ambiguous character.

Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I’m forgetting his title…but he was so easy to hate and you loved to hate him, and he kept you guessing about his true motives the whole time.

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone [ARC]

Sam has OCD, heavier on the obsessive than the compulsive. She’s prone to dangerous thought spirals that leave her reeling and feeling out of control. She and her family have successfully hidden her disorder from her group of friends, the Crazy Eights. She’s been friends with these girls (now down to five) since Kindergarten and worries that having OCD would ruin her reputation as one of the popular girls. Then she meets Caroline. Caroline doesn’t care what other people think of her. She leads Sam to a new place called Poet’s Corner. It’s a hidden room below the school and what she finds there just might “change her life.”
every last word

I LOVE THIS COVER. It’s so simple, but when you read the book, it really makes sense. As the story begins, I had the feeling that this book was somewhat reminiscent of a Sarah Dessen book, but a little darker–meaner almost. I think that initial impression was pretty true. Our main character feels a little lost but then meets a new group of friends who help her to find herself…yeah that sounds familiar haha. I absolutely love the idea of Poet’s Corner. I’m not the best writer and I would be absolutely HOPELESS at poetry, but it seems like a place where I could just absorb the genius coming from everyone else. Also, those walls sound AMAZING. Reading about Poet’s Corner makes me wonder what hidden clubs existed at my own high school. Who knows?

I liked all of the characters, even the Crazy Eights. I thought everyone had some depth to them even if they were a pretty minor character. The fact that Poet’s Corner is a place where everyone could share really personal things made it so that Sam (and us as readers) got to know the participants really well, really fast. The only criticism I have on the character choices there is that I feel like there should have been a pair of siblings? I don’t know…with eight people it seems like there should have been a pair of siblings in there and I feel like that would have changed the dynamic of the group a bit and had some interesting performance possibilities. But really, that’s so minor and I’m 100% positive that I’m the only one who’s had that thought.

AJ was a little too good to be true in my opinion. He forgave Sam really fast for what she did to him in elementary school. Maybe my perception would be different if we’d gotten a chance to read Sam’s apology poem, but we don’t. So now I just feel like she tormented him when they were little and now he’s just like “Whatever” and then they’re together. Doesn’t really make sense to me. Another thing, the poem that Sam starts to read when she gets up onstage for the first time…I was POSITIVE that she was going to get back up onstage eventually and read it to the group and I was really excited to read it! But then she didn’t. So…I feel like that was a missed opportunity on the author’s part. Lastly, I liked Sam’s relationship with her family. It seemed really solid. I just wish we got to see more of them because they seemed really awesome.

Overall, I liked this book a lot. It felt real and raw and there were a lot of emotions involved. I feel like it gave me a different perspective on people who have OCD. I really liked Sam’s therapist and how she relates Sam’s condition with the man who could hear in color. Also, did not see that twist coming. WHOA.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Moderate. Some brief, strong language.
Violence: None
Sexual Content: Mild. One scene in particular, but not explicit.
Smoking/Drinking: Mild

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

DISCUSSION: Parental Advisory for books

This is a new segment that I hope to start up where I’ll have a topic that I’ve done a little research on, and then hopefully we can get a nice discussion going.

Today’s topic: Parental Advisory for books.

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Anyone who has read any of my reviews will notice that I include a short review on content at the end. Basically I list a level (ranging from none to explicit) for four categories: language, violence, sexual content, and smoking/drinking. I’ve made a personal decision to be a little more careful about what kind of content I read, and I supply this information because I think it could be helpful to others.

Something that I’ve wondered about is why don’t books have parental advisory labels or ratings already? Thinking about other forms of media, most come with ratings (ex. movies, music, video games). However, in researching this topic, I was surprised to find that these ratings are not actually mandatory (at least for music and movies, the article I read didn’t say anything about video games). Movie ratings were described as being “de facto mandatory”. Which means, legally it’s not mandatory, but practically it is. This is because many theater chains refuse to show movies that are not rated (which would significantly cut into profits). I do wonder if the popularity of RedBox will have any effect on this, but that’s a completely separate discussion. For music, it’s completely voluntary and there’s little regulation. “Explicit content” has no specific definition and it’s up to the artists and their labels to determine whether their album falls under that category and if it does, then they have to decide whether or not to label it.

The article that I looked at from E Online listed a couple of reasons why books are not and should not be rated. The first is that unlike someone choosing a movie or video game, someone choosing a book can talk to a librarian or someone working at a bookstore to determine whether or not the content is appropriate. Honestly, this seemed like a really weak argument to me. Word of mouth works really well for books, but not for movies or video games? Meh. Not seeing it. The second argument definitely held more weight. The article talked about the sheer volume of books that are published every year versus the number of movies. I see how this could be problematic. But how many people read through a book before it’s published by a major publisher? I’m genuinely asking this question because I don’t know. But if enough people are reading through it before publication, it seems like they could each submit a rating for it and then there could be some system for combining the ratings or something like that.

Okay, so maybe by now you’re convinced that we could hypothetically have a parental advisory or some sort of rating system for books. Here’s the question: Should we do it? If not, do you feel that other forms of media should be unrated as well? Why? If you do think we should have parental advisory, why? Do you think that rating books is practical or not?

Please, I’d like to hear from everyone but BE KIND. In the end, we’re just a bunch of people who love books but probably have different opinions–especially since this issue does not have a right or wrong answer.

Sources:
http://www.eonline.com/news/314975/should-50-shades-of-grey-come-with-a-parental-advisory-sticker
http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2010/10/29/130905176/you-ask-we-answer-parental-advisory—why-when-how

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker [ARC]

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, she finds no mercy. She’s forced to escape with Nicholas Perevil, one of the most powerful wizards in the kingdom. It’s only a matter of time before he and his friends find out that she’s a witch hunter and when they do, she’s sure that they’ll kill her. She can’t stay with Nicholas, but there’s also a bounty on her head if she tries to return home. As she bides her time to form a plan, Elizabeth finds she isn’t so sure that magic users are as evil as she’s been told they are.
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It’s been a little while since I’ve read this book so I’m trying to remember everything that I thought about it…I know a lot of people have really liked this book and there’s been a lot of hype surrounding it. First of all, I thought the main character was actually a convincingly strong female. She cries (don’t they all?) but it actually makes sense when she does. She doesn’t cry too much–she’s tough–but enough that the reader knows she’s human and actually does have normal emotions. Also, I really liked all of the secondary characters. They were well fleshed out and felt like individuals as opposed to the stereotypes that some authors rely on.

I didn’t really like the pacing of the plot though. It takes a while to find out why Nicholas saved her from the dungeon and then once we do find out, Elizabeth figures out the prophecy really fast. A little too fast for my taste. I kind of wanted it to be a little more scavenger hunty. I think the author could have drawn out the solving of the prophecy a little longer than she did and cut out or sped up some other plot points. Half of the time I just felt like I wasn’t sure what was going on. Nobody was telling Elizabeth anything and as a result, the reader was being kept in the dark as well. I think if the main character is going to be kept in the dark for a while, then the book should maybe be written in third person or from more than one perspective. Just so the reader knows what’s going on even if the main character doesn’t (an acceptable exception to this would be with mysteries/thrillers, which this was not.)

Overall, I thought the books was pretty good, but nothing too special. It didn’t make me want to review it right away like some books have. I wish that this wasn’t going to turn into a series. I didn’t like how this book so obviously set up the second book. Gee…wonder what the next book’s going to be about? You know? But overall, it was pretty good and I might end up reading the next one.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: None
Violence: Heavy
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR

top-ten-tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Books On My TBR For Summer 2015

Hmmm…this topic feels pretty similar to Exciting Late 2015 Releases and Great Beach Reads but I’ll go along with it. I guess this one is more a combination of the two. Daniela @books-to-get-lost-in has helped me firm my resolve to get through some of the books that have been sitting on my Kindle forever. This summer will be the summer of The Great Kindle TBR Read-a-Thon. Feel free to join in! Whether you want to tackle your Kindle TBR or your physical TBR, all are welcome! I pledge that the majority of the books I read for the rest of the summer will be from my Kindle or ARCs that I’ve received. So here’s a list of ten books that are on my Kindle that I plan to read this summer:

On the Fence by Kasie West
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
The 100 by Kass Morgan
The Paper Magician by Charlie N Holmberg
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Queen of Someday by Sherry D Ficklin
Jackaby by William Ritter
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Has anyone read any of these books? What did you think? And who’s willing to join me on my quest?

June Reading UPDATE

Just a little update for you guys.

ARCs
The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim – Read, will not be reviewing
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone – Currently Reading
The Cooridor by A.N. Willis
Tangled Webs by Less Bross
Ghosts of Shanghai by Julian Sedgwick
The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Library Books
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige – Currently Reading
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – Read, review coming
Still Alice by Lisa Genova – I don’t think I’ll be reading this one anymore (this month at least)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – Read, review coming
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – Read, review coming (likely will be a joint review of Lola and Isla)

One book from the TBR jar
Haven’t picked one yet…but I still plan to!

In addition to these, I’ve been listening to some audiobooks! Thank you to everyone who responded to my audiobook post! This was probably the most enjoyable long car ride I’ve ever been on. Not only did I have fun books to listen to, but the company was also enjoyable. These are the audiobooks I have downloaded right now (but I may not get to them all before they have to go back to the library…)

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Finished
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – Finished
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – Currently Listening
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I want to give a quick shout out to littleblackblog who suggested that I preview audiobooks on iTunes before I decide which ones to download. BEST IDEA EVER. So if you see this, littleblackblog, A BIG THANK YOU!

But what about you guys? How are your reading months going? (Or just your month in general? I’m totally open to talking about life).

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

This is the second book in The Reckoners series and so my review may contain spoilers if you have not read the first book.

Steelheart is gone, Newcago is free, and David is finally a Reckoner. He knows he should be enjoying life, but this would all be a lot better if Megan–otherwise known as Firefight–was there with him. Unfortunately, there are rumors that she’s killed another Reckoner in Babylon Restored (what used to be known as New York). David knows that this rumor cannot possibly be true (Megan is still good!) so he goes with Prof and Tia to Babilar to clear her name. When they arrive, they quickly learn that Regalia, the leader of Babilar, wants something with Prof. The only question is, does she want to kill him? Or have him kill her?Cover_of_Brandon_Sanderson's_book_-Firefight-

I just want to start by saying that I do not read this series for the characters. They’re a little two-dimensional for me and I can’t find myself relating to any of them. That being said, HOLY WORLD BUILDING. The reason that I’m keeping up with this series is because the world building is amazing. Sanderson has brilliantly constructed an alternate future (or is it supposed to be the present…?) This is a world ruled by cruel beings with superpowers. The people aren’t necessarily inherently evil, but using the superpower makes you evil. Literally, that’s what happens. Now that I think about it, this may be somewhat of a commentary on the effects of power…but I won’t get into that here.

While the characters are only vaguely described and given somewhat flat personalities, the world that Sanderson has built rises off the pages. I can see what New York looks like as Babilar and the entire world is so convincing that I wonder why I haven’t heard about these things on the news. I’ve also been trying to imagine what state Provo, Utah would be in after Calamity’s rise. Probably incinerated. I think the whole city would just be gone. If world building is something that you’re into, YOU HAVE TO READ THESE BOOKS.

Okay, but enough gushing. I think you guys get the point. I did have a few more issues even though I’m more than willing to overlook them. First, David seems a little more immature than he should be for his age. If I’m going to be reading from a guy’s point of view, I’d like them to take things a little more seriously than David does and, you know, act his age. Second, there’s a lot of action. A LOT of action and at times I was confused as to what was going on. Third, there might have been too many twists.  I’m a little on the fence about this one. You want to keep readers on their toes, but if you’re giving them whiplash…no bueno. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good plot twist (especially one that I don’t see coming) but plot twists in these types of books are usually negative in nature and make the book feel a little hopeless. I like to have hope when I read.

Overall, a good read but maybe not one that I’d reread. I’ll definitely be looking to pick up the third book, Calamity, when it comes out Spring 2016. I think the series is looking to wrap it up in this third books, but who knows?

Overall Rating: 3
Violence: Heavy
Language: None
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: None

Day and Night Book Tag

This is my first tag, so…exciting! I was tagged by Aira @Aira Reads.

D: Do you read more in the morning or at night?

Definitely night. I like to sleep in as late as possible, so my mornings usually consist of rushing through my morning routine and eating breakfast. Though, I do usually read while I eat.

A: Are there any books that changed the way you thought about things? 

I’m sure there have been, but none of them are coming to me right now.

Y: YA or not?

YA all the way. I’ve started to branch out, but I still read YA almost exclusively.

A: Are there any characters you honestly believe to be real?

Yes! All of the characters from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Cath, Wren, Levi…even Jandro! They have to be real people somewhere.

N: Nobody borrows my books or I don’t mind lending them out?

I think I’ve had one person in my life ask to borrow one of my books. I said yes, but I don’t know that I’d really be willing to lend anything out now. I’d lend to immediate family, but that’s about it.

D: Do you ever smell your books?

Sometimes? But it’s not something I like…do as a habit.

N: Not everyone likes books, is this a positive or a negative?

I’m not sure. On one hand, it’s good that everyone’s different, you know? On the other hand, BOOKS ARE AWESOME AND HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE READING???

I: I keep my books in the best condition or maybe not? Which are you?

I like to keep my books in good condition, but I’m also okay with buying used books (so it’s not like my books have to be pristine). I just try to keep my books in as good condition as when I bought them.

G: Gosh I have too many books! True or False?

FALSE. The only times I think I do have too many books is when I contemplate the next time my husband and I will have to move. But that won’t be for a while so I try not to think about it.

H: Have you ever spilled or stained your books before with something, and if so how?

No. I do read while I eat, but I’m usually a pretty clean eater and don’t usually get smudges on my boks.

T: Toned or untoned while reading? . . or in other words. . .Do you read and workout at the same time?

Reading while I’m working out is just about the only way you can get me to work out. I’ve recently started running (VERY recently) and I’ve enjoyed listening to audiobooks while I’m doing that.

Anyone who feels like they want to do this tag, go for it! I nominate you!

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Mare is a red. She has red blood and she’s slated to go directly into the army in a few weeks when she turns 18. The purpose of reds are to serve silvers. Those with silver blood have powers–abilities. This difference makes silvers gods and reds less than dirt. When Mare finds herself with abilities and blood just as red as ever, she’s thrust into the middle of the royal court pretending to be a silver. Engaged to the younger prince, Mare must decide whose side she’s on and what she’s willing to sacrifice to protect the ones she loves.

10212034Right off the bat I just felt like the story seemed familiar. It had elements from The Hunger Games, The Selection series, and Pawn all rolled into one neat package. It’s got to be hard these days to come up with new concepts for dystopian YA featuring a strong female lead, am I right?

My first thought–besides the “this feels familiar” one–was “what’s up with Mare’s trust issues?” Maybe I’m too trusting, but it really seemed like Maven and Cal had only been nice to her at the beginning. They hadn’t really given her a reason to distrust them, besides the color of their blood, and they even showed elements of disagreeing with how their father ran the country. It made me a little exasperated with the main character. Secondary characters weren’t really helping either. They all seemed rather one-dimensional and caricature-ish. Like…okay, yeah, I’ve seen about one million books with this character. Not interesting.

I think most of my issues with this book centered around Mare. It didn’t feel like she was  a very well thought-out character. First there were the trust issues I mentioned (you have to trust someone!) and then there was the fact that she wasn’t sure how she felt about the rebellion. She joins up (not a spoiler) but she keeps going back and forth about whether or not she did the right thing and if she likes what they’re doing. If she hadn’t been 100% sure about joining a rebellion, she shouldn’t have done it. Mare had to know that she would become the face of the rebellion with the position she’d been placed in at court. You have to have conviction and confidence in what you’re doing if you’re going to be in that position!

Another little issue I had is the brother love triangle. Love triangles aren’t my favorite, but I especially dislike them when there are two brothers who like the same girl (I’m looking at you Jenny Han!) I mean…I’m sure it actually happens sometimes in real life, but it just seems cruel. At least one of the brothers is not going to end up with the girl and they’re just supposed to be okay with that? It’s not like they’ll never see the girl again…I mean they’re going to be in-laws. So it just seems like a really painful (and unnecessary) situation.

In the end, this book was just okay for me. Partly this is because I’ve read so many other similar books, but another part is that it only feels about 80% thought-out. The abilities–super interesting. But the rest…not so much. There was a HUGE twist at the end that, I’ll admit, I did not see coming, but before that it was just kind of predictable. I realize this review makes it sound like I really did not like the book, but that’s not true. I liked Mare’s relationship with her family and like I said earlier, the powers were really interesting to me. It just wasn’t anything that blew my socks off. Not good enough that I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next book, but good enough that I’ll read the second book eventually.

Overall Rating: 3
Violence: Heavy
Language: None
Sexual Content: None
Smoking/Drinking: Mild. Some drinking.

Top Ten Tuesday: Exciting Late 2015 Releases

top-ten-tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

I had twelve of these on my Amazon Wishlist so I’ll just list all twelve! Top Twelve Tuesday! (Links are to Amazon)

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (6/23) – I haven’t read anything by Robin Benway before, but the description says that fans of Sarah Dessen will like it (and we all know I ADORE Sarah Dessen).

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler (6/23) – Just reading the description makes me feel like this book is going to be really beautiful.

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson (7/7) – I really liked the first book so I’m pretty excited to read this one. But ultimately, I will be disappointed if she drags this into more than three books.

Resonance by Erica O’Rourke (7/21) – The first book was okay, but I feel like I NEED to know what happens next and how things get resolved. I just know they’re going to find the grandma in this one.

Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine (8/4) – The first book was a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera…I’m not sure if this one is going to be another retelling or just an extension of the original story. Either way, this series is awesome because Asian characters.

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntly Fitzpatrick (8/18) – I’ve really enjoyed her other two books so I’m looking forward to reading another cute summer romance.

The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore (9/1) – I’m not really that into this series anymore, but for some reason I can’t stop reading it. I NEED TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS.

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E Smith (9/1) – Please, just give me more Jen E Smith. I need it. All the feels.

A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (10/6) – I don’t like being scared, but I am okay with feeling thrilled or slightly spooked. This book promises to do that. Solving crimes while living at an insane asylum? Should be interesting.

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray (11/3) – Excuse me…but didn’t the first book like JUST COME OUT? I looked it up and it actually came out last November, but it feels like it just came out. Once again, GORGEOUS cover.

NEED by Joelle Charbonneau (11/3) – I liked The Testing series pretty good and I’m always intrigued with books where technology (whether it’s social media or an online game or virtual reality) kind of goes evil.

Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger (11/3) – Okay, I’m probably 100% most excited for this release. I LOVE THIS SERIES and the world that Carriger has created. Love Steampunk.

Anyone else excited for these books?