Saturday, January 31, 2015

What the heck is a book buying ban?!

This week's Feature & Follow Friday topic was one that brought out a fun little tidbit about my past: until recently I didn't really buy books. At least not regularly. I might have bought a book if it was something I was absolutely DYING to have, but mostly I got ebooks or I got my books from the library or a used book sale. I pretty much never bought new books! Like, ever. So imagine my surprise when, as a brand new book blogger, I kept seeing people mentioning "book buying bans." I'm thinking to myself, why would anyone ever do that?

Now I understand.

Over the past few months I have discovered many things. I have discovered discount books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble coupons, and most importantly I discovered Book Outlet. Then this happened:


This doesn't include this week. I get it now. But even if I get it now, I can't understand these "book buying bans" you speak of. Why would you do this?! Okay, maybe I kind of get it because my shelves are quickly running out of space and I can see how this might become a problem... 

In a very short amount of time, my YA shelf has gone from this: 

To this (Harry Potter moved to the other shelves):

Not that I'm complaining... But my husband might have a thing or two to say next time we move! What I'm trying to say is I get it now. I understand where your coming from. 

But I still don't understand "book buying ban." 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Feature & Follow 34: Hard print vs ebooks

Happy Friday, fellow book lovers! Feature & Follow is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The goal of Feature & Follow is to meet new bloggers, make friends, and gain readers.

This Week's Question: 

Hard print (real thing) or Kindle/Nook,
which is your favorite?

Okay, so for years I read only on my Nook, then my Kindle when I made the switch. For the longest time I just didn't realize that people actually bought actual, tangible books! I'm not sure what my brain has been doing for all these years... The only hard print books I ever bought were at library book sales. So I'd go in and leave with a ton of random books I'd never heard of. The only books I purchased were ebooks because they're so much cheaper! But then... Then all of you guys happened. Book Outlet happened. And I can never go book. There's nothing quite like a hard cover book on the shelf!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #34: Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Happy Wednesday, fellow book lovers! This week's "can't wait to read" is:

by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
A new YA horror novel from the mind of acclaimed writer and filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro.

This new 320-page horror novel written by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus is about monsters that move in unseen places and the resurgence of a 45-year-old mystery that threatens the seemingly sleepy city of San Bernardino, CA.

This is the first book I have ever posted without a cover before. I'm a judge by the cover kind of girl... But this one sounds so good! I love a good horror novel and I've read a few good YA horrors. And if Guillermo del Toro is involved, how can I say no?

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #30: Top Ten Book Club Reads

Today's Topic: 
 Ten Books I'd Love to Read
If I Had A Book Club

Since we're talking about book clubs today I thought I would take this in a different direction. I normally read a lot of YA and when I'm not reading YA I'm reading horror or historical fiction. I don't read a lot of fantasy (with the exception of the series I've been "currently reading" for almost two years) or sci-fi. The main reason for this: it's complicated. You might think it's silly, but a lot of times I start reading a fantasy series and it becomes really tedious and requires way more thinking than I feel like doing. Because here's the deal - I'm a full time student and I have to think. A lot. When I read, I want to escape and have fun. All that being said, these are the top ten fantasy and sci-fi books I'd want to read if I had a book club to help me sift through them.


A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Avalon Series by Mariod Zimmer Bradley
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Contact by Carl Sagan
The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King


Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert
The History of Middle Earth by J.R.R. Tolkien
Space Odyssey Series by Arthur C. Clark
Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind
Wool Series by Hugh Howey

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish -  a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers. Each week they post a new Top Ten list and everyone is welcome to join. Click here to get involved!
Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Pages: 342
Add to Goodreads

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

If we're being completely honest with each other, my buying Cruel Beauty was kind of a happy accident. See, I had gotten a promotional gift card to Barnes and Noble and had gone in to buy a different book. Unfortunately, there were only two copies of that one and both were in pretty poor condition. So I looked around and spotted this one, which had been on my to-read list for close to a year. I'm not sure why I hadn't picked it up sooner. Perhaps it had something to do with my Beauty and the Beast obsession and not wanting to hate it. After I bought this book, I stared at it on the shelf for about a week before I finally decided to open to chapter one. I am so glad I did!

Rosamund Hodge has created a world in Cruel Beauty that was 100% not what I was expecting. The story is dark and creepy and the characters are not the kind that you would want to love. I knew from the very first page that this book would be different. Arcadia was such a mystery but I felt like I could picture it completely in my head! I've never even heard of hermeticism, but Hodge did a fantastic job of explaining it and keeping it interesting. This is definitely one of those books that makes me sit back and think every time I close it and wonder where in the world the author could have come up with such an amazingly unique story. The combination of mythology and fairy tale, while complex, worked so well and, as a classics buff, I was totally intrigued. Rosamund Hodge really knows her myths, unlike some other authors who have tried similar techniques.

The romance between Nyx and Ignifex, The Gentle Lord, was kind of strange. Then again, so was everything else. I couldn't put my finger on the moment when Nyx started to love Ignifex and I'm not entirely sure that it was love in the beginning. Like I said, these aren't characters that make you want to love them initially. Nyx was a bitch, but in a way that was totally sympathetic. Ignifex was mysterious, sometimes a little frightening, and charming for reasons I really can't identify, but I love him! Shade was equally mysterious and exciting. The love triangle in the book also worked for me, and they can definitely be pretty hit or miss.

I loved the subtle nods to Beauty and the Beast - the mirror Nyx used to see her sister, the witch's (Kindly One's) curse, the rose(s), the Gentle Lord's cat-like eyes (okay, maybe that's just me wanting to see him as the Beast). I also really loved that it was nothing like what I was expecting!

As each piece of the mystery was revealed, I felt confused at first. Once I let it sink in though, I didn't have any issues understanding what was happening. I really appreciate that everything wasn't overly spelled out or dumbed down. There was a terrifying moment near the end when I thought it was over and was ready to throw the book across the room, but then Rosamund Hodge graciously softened the blow.

Cruel Beauty was a totally amazing book. Now that it's over, I'm not sure if I should be happy that it was wrapped up at the end or sad that it isn't a trilogy. I know that I definitely want to read more from this author and soon! I highly recommend this book to... anyone! Everyone should read this book!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bad boys in YA literature

Disclaimer: the following opinions may not be very popular.

This week for Top Ten Tuesday, we were able to pick our own topic. I (along with several others) chose to post my top five book boyfriends: Morpheus, Ignifex, Zarek, Four, and Vincent. All of these guys have something in common - they all have serious attitudes. Sometimes they're standoffish, sarcastic, and arrogant. But none of them are completely controlling or abusive.

Since the first time I ever picked up a YA book (which, interestingly enough, was not when I was a YA) I've seen the trend of bad boys as the main romantic interest. There are cases when this works really well (like those I've already listed), but there are some times when I think the author takes it too far.

The target audience of young adult literature (teenagers) is so suggestible that it's it's kind of concerning to see how many of them fall head over heels for characters who, in real life, would be labeled "control freak" or even "abusive," but are hailed as heroes for some reason as long as they remain tucked safely inside the pages of a book. There's a very fine line between okay and too much when it comes to protectiveness as a character trait in a man and I'm not sure why that line is so blurred in books.

While my opinions on some of these has made me unpopular with fellow readers, I think they deserve some discussion. Why do we crave books about people who we would be repelled by in real life (at least normal, healthy individuals should be repelled)? Let me share with you a couple popular examples of this with review excerpts.

Nothing about Travis is okay. Going around beating the hell out of everyone who looks at a girl you aren't even dating yet is NOT normal. And attempting to control the people she hangs out with, the clothes she wears, the places she goes... None of this is normal.

The relationship between the two main characters is completely dysfunctional and bipolar. Seriously, who loses her virginity to someone just so he'll leave her alone? If some guy got my name tattooed on his wrist immediately after we got back together, I'd be out the door.

This is the Katy/Daemon relationship summed up in a few sentences: Daemon is a jerk, threatens her constantly, and yet won't leave her alone at school for some reason, constantly poking her with a pen (wink wink nudge nudge) and flirting with her, much to the amazement of her super slutty classmates...Sometimes she's super pissed by his assholery and others she's super turned on because apparently his bright green eyes make the panties drop. At some point, he admits that he likes her (kinda) and wants to be with her because she's attractive.

Girls! This is not normal behavior! If a guy is a jerk to you, move on! 

Go ahead, be mad, but I just don't get it. Some other examples are Edward from Twilight (come on, he watches her sleep and stalks her) and Jace from what I read of The Mortal Instruments. Now, I'll admit that Twilight is one that I'm on the fence about. Maybe it's because I read it when it first came out and I was much younger then. It has always been a guilty pleasure.

Maybe I just disagree with the masses because I'm married and I've dealt with these men. I dated controlling jerks before I met my husband, who happens to be one of the good guys.

Can we please get back to the wholesome, sarcastic (but ultimately sweet) leading men?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday #33: There's more to reviewing than a blog

Happy Friday, fellow book lovers! Feature & Follow is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The goal of Feature & Follow is to meet new bloggers, make friends, and gain readers.

This Week's Question: 

Do you post your reviews anywhere besides your blog?
Where else do you post reviews?

Yes!! When I first started blogging, I was posting on Goodreads and Amazon anytime I reviewed a book. With a little trial and error, I now only post on Goodreads. I'll still post to Amazon if an author requests it, but generally I steer clear. I don't have a real, solid reason why. I guess the different rating system throws me off... I just prefer Goodreads!

Cover reveal & giveaway: Bound by Spells by Stormy Smith

Title: Bound by Spells (Bound #2)
Author: Stormy Smith
Publication Date: March 19, 2015
Publisher: Perfect Storm Publishing
Add to Goodreads 
Aidan Montgomery hadn’t been prepared for Amelia Bradbury to walk in and then out of his life. He also hadn’t expected to find the powerful magic hidden deep within him for the last nineteen years, but he’s embracing it — finding more control and more answers every day. Now, with the help of Amelia’s best friend, Bethany, Aidan is on a quest to understand his destiny and find Amelia.

Amelia decided to stand by her duty, which meant walking away from her first chance at love. Trapped in Cresthaven at the Queen’s mercy, she spends her days with Micah — an ally she still holds at arm’s length — struggling to manage her heartbreak while keeping her mind focused on the task at hand. As she continues to unlock the secrets of the Keeper power, Queen Julia’s true motives reveal themselves, forcing Amelia to decide, yet again, how much she’s willing to sacrifice.

Will Aidan get to Amelia before it's too late, or will the very power that sustains them keep them apart?

Guys! I am SO excited for Bound by Spells!! I fell head over heels in love with Bound by Duty (click here for review & info) last year. This is definitely one that you should give a try if you haven't already!

About the Author

Stormy Smith is the author of the Amazon best-seller, Bound by Duty. She calls Iowa’s capital home now, but was raised in a tiny town in the Southeast corner of the state. She grew to love books honestly, having a mom that read voraciously and instilled that same love in her. She knew quickly that stories of fantasy were her favorite, and even as an adult gravitates toward paranormal stories in any form.

Writing a book had never been an aspiration, but suddenly the story was there and couldn’t be stopped. When she isn’t working on, or thinking about, her books, Stormy’s favorite places include bar patios, live music shows, her yoga mat or anywhere she can relax with her husband or girlfriends.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #33: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

Happy Wednesday, fellow book lovers! This week's "can't wait to read" is:

A Cold Legacy
by Megan Shepherd
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.

The truth is, I haven't even read the second book in this series. BUT I really liked the first one so how can I not be looking forward to book three?! Her Dark Curiosity is sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. I just love retellings and the way she retold the classic, The Island of Dr. Moreau, was almost perfect! I can't wait to finish this series!

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #29: Book boyfriends

Today's Topic: 
 Top Ten Five Book Boyfriends

When I saw that this week was a freebie the wheels immediately started turning and I settled on book boyfriends (shocking, I know). Over the years I've read a lot of books with a lot of different men who are supposed to be the epitome of hot manliness. But let's face it, everyone has their own preference. Instead of top ten though, I'm doing top five - because I'm picky. I can't wait to see what everyone else came up with today!


Morpheus, Splintered Series by A.G. Howard
Ignifex, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Zarek, Dance With the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Four, Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
Vincent, Revenants Series by Amy Plum

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish -  a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers. Each week they post a new Top Ten list and everyone is welcome to join. Click here to get involved!
Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Tour Review & Giveaway: Withering Hope by Layla Hagen

Title: Withering Hope
Author: Layla Hagen
Publication Date: January 19, 2015
Publisher: Self published
Pages: N/A (ebook)
Add to Goodreads

Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.

But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.

As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.

Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.

Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.


As you might already be aware if you stop by regularly, I'm not a super huge fan of contemporary fiction. That being said, once I read the blurb for Withering Hope I was sure I had to read it! I'm a sucker for survival stories and the New Adult genre is growing on me...

Withering Hope begins with Aimee on her way to her fiancé and her wedding. She's known her pilot, Tristan, for years and has always been friendly with him. But that friendship is pushed to a whole new level very quickly as the pace ramps up only a few pages in and the two are stranded in the rainforest together.

This book doesn't waste any time getting straight to the punch - the rainforest is a dangerous place and there isn't much hope for rescue. Layla Hagen has painted a fascinating and terrifying picture within the pages of Withering Hope, never sugar coating the horror or beauty of the rainforest. Reading about the physical trials of Tristan and Aimee in their dangerous surroundings was heart-stopping enough, but then there was a whole added layer of emotional difficulties as Aimee attempted to reconcile the feelings she had for Tristan, the man keeping her alive, with the fact that she was supposed to get married before their plane took what comes to feel like a permanent detour.

The two main characters in Withering Hope are likable and sympathetic. As a married woman, I could totally sympathize with Aimee's dilemma when it came to Tristan. I almost immediately began to root for them as a couple - after all, who could blame her after everything they've gone through? As a war veteran, I was also able to sympathize with the PTSD Tristan endured and his unwillingness to let Aimee in. I loved the romance between them and, unlike in some New Adult books, it was believable and natural instead of forced. Definitely no instalove here!

Withering Hope made me feel in ways that most books do not. I celebrated when they had any small victory over their situation and I cried with them too (something that literally has never happened). Layla Hagen did a fantastic job creating characters and a world that drew me in and wouldn't let go for days after I finished the last page. Maybe I won't be so quick to dismiss contemporary NA in the future.

About the Author
My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author. I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later. I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world. And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Weekly Recap: 1/11 - 1/17

My Super Exciting Life 

The second week of school wasn't as painful as the first, although I'm already exhausted! The assignments are rolling in and I keep reminding myself that there are only fourteen weeks left. Because once those fourteen weeks are over, that's it! I can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief knowing my school days are FINALLY behind me.

Other than school my life has become even more boring than normal (probably because of school, actually). I made a couple of Target trips (it's basically my second home) and ended up with some super cool flannel PJs... Yesterday my sole purpose of shopping was for my dad's 52nd birthday! Today my brother and I are going to meet at there house for dinner and cake and tomorrow we're going to see The Hobbit in IMAX!

I hope everyone is enjoying their three day weekend and catching up on some reading!

New Books Finds

This week I got a super exciting email from Book Outlet for $5 off any order!! On top of that, I found another $5 off code in a book from my Boxing Day order! I ended up buying four that I'm pretty excited about: hardback copies of The Line and The Raft, and paperbacks of Until I Die and If I Should Die! I also got Uzumaki volumes 2 & 3 to add to the Manga Reading Challenge! I ended up making an unexpected stop at Barnes and Noble yesterday too and had a coupon I was excited to use on These Broken Stars! I also found a signed copy of Son of No One for 50% off. Gotta love a good book deal!



In Case You Missed It

Monday book review of Ensnared
I shared the 2014 books I still need to read for Top Ten Tuesday
I featured Sweet for Waiting on Wednesday
On Thursday I participated in the Hydro book blitz
I shared my bookish doubles for Feature & Follow Friday
Saturday book review of The Amityville Horror

This Week I Read


Upcoming Review

Starting this week I'll be linking up to Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Post