BOOK TAG: Sailor Moon Book Tag

I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse, thanks for the tag! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and I admit to having never seen an episode of Sailor Moon (sorry guys!)

MOON: A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU HUNGRY

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Just everything the Hempstock’s make… Please get in my mouth.


MERCURY: A BOOK THAT FEATURES SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray – I could have also put the first book for this one, but I feel like the second one was a tad more science-y.


VENUS: A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU WANT TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – This book makes me want to play ALL THE GAMES mentioned in the book. I especially like the idea of the movie line one…that one would be way fun.


MARS: A BOOK INSPIRED BY MYTHOLOGY OR FOLKLORE

Impossible by Nancy Werlin – This book is a really interesting take on the Scarborough Fair song. I read it way back when I was in junior high or high school and then again more recently–it’s not necessarily what you’d expect, but I liked it.


JUPITER: A BOOK THAT GAVE YOU STRONG FEELINGS

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – Seriously…very strong feelings.


SATURN: A POST APOCALYPTIC BOOK YOU LOVE

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever LOVED a Post-Apocalyptic book. But let me just get something off my chest. Post-Apocalyptic books and Dystopian books are NOT the same thing. There are times when a dystopian society has emerged after an apocalyptic event, but I would generally classify those as Dystopian books. Post-Apocalyptic to me will usually start in a pretty normal world, we’ll see the apocalyptic event, and then we’ll follow our main character through the aftermath. OR the book starts immediately after the apocalyptic event has occurred. Examples: Gone by Michael Grant or The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole. Not Examples: The Hunger Games, Divergent, or The Maze Runner. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.


PLUTO: A TIME TRAVEL BOOK

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken – Overall, I thought this book was pretty good and it’s one of the few time travel books that I’ve read. I’m excited to see where the next book takes us.


URANUS: A BOOK FEATURING ELEMENTAL MAGIC

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson – If this isn’t elemental magic, then I don’t know what is.


NEPTUNE: A BOOK FEATURING MUSIC

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen – Can I even get through any kind of list without mentioning my queen?

Honorable Mention: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – I can’t remember¬†if music is ever explicitly mentioned in the book, but it does feature Roger’s awesome playlists.


TUXEDO MASK: A BOOK WITH MASQUERADES OR HIDDEN IDENTITIES

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross – I’ll be honest, I don’t remember too much about this book, but I know there are masquerade balls and I think I liked it a fair amount.


RINI/CHIBI MOON: A FAVORITE MIDDLE GRADE BOOK

Wonder by R.J. Palacio – This book was definitely impactful for me–I feel like every kid should read it sometime in elementary school.


LUNA, ARTEMIS & DIANA: A BOOK FOR ANIMAL LOVERS

Whippoorwill by Joseph Monninger – If you love dogs then Hi, this book is for you. There are some parts that are harder to read RE: The dog, but the ending has all the doggy feels.

I tag anyone else who wants to do it! (Because #lazy).

A Liberal Dose of Disco and Teenage Angst | Resisting the Rebel by Lisa Brown Roberts [ARC]

Resisting the RebelMandy has had a crush on Gus since Kindergarten and she’s determined that this will finally be the year that they get together. Unfortunately, she sees him hooking up with her nemesis, Kay, at a party. Enter bad boy Caleb Torrs. Caleb has his own set of problems, namely a father who only sees Caleb as a failure and a stalker ex-girlfriend. As a way to solve both their problems, Caleb asks Mandy to be his fake girlfriend. Maybe this way Gus will finally notice her and Caleb can shake his crazy ex.

Let me first start by asking: Does this scenario ever happen in real life? I feel like all the time in YA books characters are like, “Yeah, let’s start pretending to date and that will solve all of our problems”. But then I’ve never seen this play out in real life? I mean, maybe it happened at my high school and I was completely oblivious to it, but this just ¬†seems like a made up scenario. But whatever. These books always end the same way, it’s just the getting there that differs and how soon the characters realize that they have real feelings for each other. Everything is so formulaic and I don’t really know why I keep picking these books up, but I do.

The characters in this book were interesting. I felt like the two main characters and a few of the secondary characters were pretty solidly developed. I liked that Mandy¬†had both ADHD and dysgraphia though I’m not one that can say whether or not she was portrayed in a realistic way. I also thought her fascination with everything disco was interesting, but I thought the author may have taken that a little too far. It bordered on unrealistic in my opinion. Then she had her family situation and I thought that created an interesting dynamic as well. I didn’t like that she had such a hard time trusting her¬†best friends, and honestly I found her kind of annoying, but she was fine as a character. Maybe I just found her annoying because she’s not really a character that I could relate to.

Like I said earlier, the plot was nothing surprising. We all knew how it was going to end–even the two best friends. I thought the author did a really good job with creating tension between Mandy and Caleb–probably the best that I’ve read from a book like this. However, that didn’t really make the plot more interesting. There still wasn’t any depth and I didn’t particularly feel like any of the characters grew from any of their experiences.

One thing that really bothered me throughout the book is the use of nicknames. They didn’t feel natural. Every time “Blue Ranger” or “Red Ranger” or “Demon” or “TDB” was said I cringed inwardly. It just felt so awkward and forced. I thought “Disco” was a pretty good nickname, but that was the only one. There were other interactions between characters as well that seemed flat, cardboardish, and obvious. Even though there was tension between Mandy and Caleb, a lot of their conversations had me cringing in embarrassment for them.

Overall, this book was really just okay for me. The characters weren’t particularly engaging and the story itself was not compelling. The main thing I liked was the tension that I mentioned earlier, but it would have been a lot better if the tension had been accompanied by strong characters and a deep plot.

Overall Rating: 2
Language: Moderate
Violence: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Things Books Make Me Want to Learn or Do

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 Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them

1) Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler – I really wanted to learn how to make my own custom cupcakes after this book. All of the cupcakes described at the beginning of the chapters just made my mouth water.

2) Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally – So this isn’t something that the book made me want to learn how to do, but it kind of got me in the mood to start running again. It also made running a marathon seem a lot more doable…I got over that idea quickly though.

3) Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas – This book made me want to work at a grocery store. Not seriously, but like…if I lost my job and had to get another one I’d consider working at a grocery store.

4) How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer – Similar to the last book, this book made me want to work at an amusement park.

5) The Start of Me & You by Emery Lord – This made me want to join a Quiz Bowl team. High School Musical also made me want to join Quiz Bowl, but this book really renewed that interest.

6) To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – Two things from this book: it made me want to be a better baker (storing frozen cookie dough so you can make cookies whenever sounds like a¬†great idea) and it also made me want to try more Korean food.

7) Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen – This book made me want to work at a kiosk in the mall. A lot of these books make me want to work other places apparently.

8) Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston – This book is about a really heavy topic, but despite that, it still made me want to try out Cheerleading. Hermione’s team is just really supportive overall and it seems like it would be really awesome to have that kind of support system.

9) The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik – I always thought sewing seemed like a really cool idea and also like something that I could potentially be really good at because I really like precision, but I just don’t think I have the patience for it.

10) The Comeback Season by Jennifer E Smith – I love baseball, but I wouldn’t say that I’m a superfan. This book really made me want to be a better baseball fan and care more about my home team (go Mariners!).

Already Sketchy Boarding School Game Turns Deadly | The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay [ARC]

The Assassin GameCate would do just about anything to be made a member of the Assassin’s Guild at her boarding school. Every year the Assassin’s Guild plays a game called Killer. Throughout the year, one killer will “kill” other members of the Guild. Whoever can guess who the killer is before getting killed themselves wins. The staff knows about the game, but since it’s usually pretty harmless they let it continue as long as it doesn’t get too out-of-hand or disruptive. This year’s game begins just like any other and Cate is very excited to finally be included. Soon, however, the game starts to take a sinister turn and the Guild will need to figure out if someone’s taking their role as killer a little too seriously or if somebody else has decided to join without an invitation.

This book was originally published in the UK under the title Killer Game. I think I like The Assassin Game as a title better, so I’m glad they changed it. This book is very atmospheric. The boarding school is on an island near Wales and there’s a lot of storming and rain and they’re cut off from the public most of the time because the causeway connecting them to the mainland floods making it impossible to drive over. The weather and the isolation factor really help this book to seem kind of creepy right from the start. In addition to that, some of these characters seem off right away too. Like, the reader’s just not sure who to trust. Even though Cate trusts certain characters I just found myself going, “I don’t know about this person…”. Overall, this book had the same feeling to me of the Blue is for Nightmares series by Laurie Faria Stolarz but without any kind of supernatural element. I read the Blue is for Nightmares series a long time ago, but I just remember the overall feeling of dread that was so prevalent throughout the books–I felt that same feeling with this one as well.

Cate as a main character was just okay. She seemed really kind of needy and weak-willed. The overall sense I got from her is that she wanted to fit in really bad and was kind of willing to do whatever she needed to in order to get that approval from her classmates. At the same time, I never got the sense that she was actually as unpopular as she kept claiming to be. This book might have been more interesting or compelling from another character’s point of view which maybe, as an author, isn’t what you’d want people to think. The secondary characters were okay. I liked that there was a pretty wide variety in personalities, but none of the other characters really had much depth. I kept getting the other girls in the Guild confused with each other. Also there was this character Roger? Maybe he was introduced at the beginning, but then somewhere near the 2/3 mark of the book he’s mentioned again and I just thought, “I don’t remember him. I’ll have to pay more attention to remember who he is” but then he’s literally never mentioned again.¬†Vaughan as a character really kind of creeped me out for a large portion of the book. He just seemed…off and too eager. I felt like something was wrong with him maybe. Towards the end of the book Cate kind of snaps too and gets super weird and hysterical almost–that was less enjoyable to read.

Overall, I thought this book was actually pretty good. It wasn’t everything that I hoped it would be, but I also thought it could have been a lot worse. I liked that it made me feel unsettled and I honestly didn’t see the ending coming though I do wish the ending had been a little different. I feel like the reader really didn’t have enough information to predict how the book would end. I wish the author had given more hints throughout. Anyway, if you’re looking for a nice soft horror book, this could be for you. It’s kind of thriller-esque with just a hint of horror (nothing that would keep me awake at night). Especially if you like reading Laurie Faria Stolarz I’d recommend this one.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: None
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Mild (a couple of secondary characters smoke)
Sexual Content: Moderate

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

BLOG TOUR: Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker [GIVEAWAY]

Smash and GrabSmash & Grab
by Amy Christine Parker
Release Date: July 19th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Fiction

Goodreads|Amazon|B&N|iTunes|Kobo

SYNOPSIS:
Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story.Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!

LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.

CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he‚Äôs just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful….

Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.

Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.

REVIEW: There were some things that I really liked about this book and then some things that I didn’t like as much. First, I liked that Lexi and Christian were from different walks of life. There was a little bit of stereotyping that happened, but it wasn’t a lot and I thought that was really refreshing. I also (overall) liked the friend groups that they had though I wish the secondary characters had been developed a little bit more. Our two main characters are definitely the stars and they tend to outshine their backup crew–I kept confusing who was who.

The setting was supposed to be LA, but I kept imagining everything going down in New York. I’m not sure if that’s really the book’s issue though…I think it might just be me. I’m also going to put it out there that this book is not going to seem very realistic–at least to me it didn’t. These teenagers are way more skilled than I think they should be, all things considered. Also, I’m not exactly that happy with the casual way the book treated breaking the law. Sure, the characters had some conflict, but the conflict didn’t really seem genuine to me and I’m not sure how I felt about the ending. Obviously I didn’t want anything bad to happen to our characters, but it left me feeling like they got off without any kind of consequences. Like it’s just that easy to break the law and then nothing will happen to you.

Overall, I thought this book was a pretty good heist book–if you’re into that kind of thing, I think you’ll enjoy the planning that goes on in this book. I liked switching perspectives between Lexi and Christian as well so that the reader can get both sides of the story.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Mild (a minor character is an alcoholic)
Sexual Content: Mild


giveaway (1)

Click on the picture above to be taken to the giveaway!


Amy ChristineABOUT THE AUTHOR:
AMY CHRISTINE PARKER writes full-time from
her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at amychristineparker.com and follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.

Website|Goodreads|Twitter|Facebook|Instagram|Pinterest


Fantastic Flying Book Club

Note: I received this book free from the author/blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Thieves Attempt to Overthrow an Evil Government | Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

V51e2b7v-pdyl-_sy344_bo1204203200_in is lucky to be part of a crew instead of in one of the whore houses–even if her crew mates are abusive at times. Her whole life is changed when Kelsier walks through the door. Kelsier is Mistborn and claims that Vin is too. The Mistborn have a special ability to burn metals which give them special powers. Vin immediately takes to these powers, which are called Allomancy, and Kelsier asks her to join his crew on a very special job–to overthrow the Lord Ruler along with his Obligators and Inquisitors. Vin doesn’t believe this can be done, but she’s eager to learn more about Allomancy and wants to see how Kelsier’s plan will play out.

This book has been on my radar for a while now, but it took a book club to get me to actually read it. The size itself is pretty daunting (the book is 600+ pages) and as I started reading the book I felt a distinct lack of enthusiasm. I liked the story fine, but I just felt like a fish out of water–I don’t really read much heavy fantasy, I try to stick to YA. I felt overwhelmed at first by this new world and the magic and keeping the metals straight and all of the different characters. That being said, 600 pages later I still have trouble remembering what each of the metals do, but I have the characters down and feel like I have a better understanding of the world and Allomancy in general. I do want to read the next two books…but it might be a little while. These books are LONG and take some commitment.

Getting into the plot itself, I thought the pacing could have been a little quicker, but it wasn’t bad. I appreciated that the entire “job” is supposed to be completed over the course of a year. A lot of times I feel like authors rush the timeline, but I thought Sanderson did a really great job of having a reasonable timeline while keeping the story moving. The world was interesting, but I admit to not really getting it. The world itself doesn’t play that big of a role in this book, but I feel like it’ll play a bigger role in the next two. Allomancy is a really interesting concept to me and I really liked the scenes where we see how it’s used from Vin or Kelsier’s eyes. However, I don’t really understand the “burning” of metals in one’s stomach–that just seems so weird to me. I also don’t get why it’s an “either you can burn one metal or you can burn them all” kind of thing. That part just seems a little forced to match what the author wants to do with the story. Lastly, I wasn’t very happy when Sanderson introduced a second type of magic into the story. Yeah, I understand why it was necessary for the overall plotline, but I still don’t like it. Let’s just have ONE type of magic in a world at a time, okay?

The characters themselves were interesting. I really liked the cast of secondary characters and I wish that we had gotten to know them a bit deeper–maybe in the next books. Kelsier’s motives were a little hard to understand at times, but in the end I really liked him. Vin, on the other hand, was harder for me to like. I just felt like she kept making these dumb, stubborn decisions. I understand that she’s been raised to expect betrayal and to not trust anyone, but still… I guess her actions may have been consistent with the character that Sanderson was trying to develop, but I had a hard time connecting with her as a reader.

Overall, I thought this book was really intriguing and I’m glad that I read it. Like I said earlier, I plan to get to the other two books…but maybe not right away.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Extreme
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

 

Russian Wonder-Kid Saves LA from an Asteroid | Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy [ARC]

23018259There is an asteroid hurtling towards Earth and 17-year-old Yuri has been brought from Moscow to work with NASA scientists in¬†LA¬†because he is an antimatter specialist. Sure, none of his work has actually been published yet, but he knows he’s right–the math is right. So it’s especially frustrating that his team will not listen to him when he says that using antimatter is the only way to save the planet. On top of that, it’s starting to look like Yuri will never be able to return home (the fact that he snuck a look at some classified documents might have something to do with that though). As Yuri gets used to America, he’ll have to decide whether or not it’s more important to be right or to follow the rules.

For whatever reason, this book was an extremely slow read for me. I just wasn’t really into the story or the characters all that much. I mean, I should care about a plot where an asteroid is coming to destroy Earth, right? But I just wasn’t. Even though there was this terrible, impending doom, the plot was so slow. Mostly the reader is left to consider Yuri’s inner angst. The book also made saving the world from an asteroid seem incredibly simplistic. All we see is Yuri working on it–never any of the other scientists–and all he does all day is math. I mean, perhaps that’s really how it would be, but it just seems so…underwhelming. Has anyone seen the show “You, Me, and the Apocalypse”? Because that’s how I imagine things actually shaking down (good show by the way, I’m disappointed it won’t be coming back for another season).

A slow plot I can deal with sometimes, but the characters in this book seem incredibly unrealistic to me. Not that there couldn’t be a whiz kid from Russia, but Dovie and her family are not real. No way. They’re just too much! They only celebrate made up holidays? What is this? The only one of them I felt like I could kind of connect with was Lennon–he seemed the most normal. The rest of them were just too crazy. I did not like Dovie. That’s basically all I have to say about that. I just don’t get her. Also, the people at her school? Crazy and over the top as well. I mean, maybe some high schools¬†are like that, but mine certainly wasn’t and I have a hard time believing that any high school located in a major city/suburb would be.

I felt that the ending of the book was also anti-climactic. I liked that it didn’t end right when the world was or was not saved from the asteroid, but the¬†way the aftermath was described didn’t excite me. Overall, I thought this book had a pretty good idea, but lacked in execution. Probably give this one a pass.

Overall Rating: 2
Language: Moderate
Violence: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: None
Sexual Content: Moderate

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