Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #137 From the Archives: Favorite Covers

Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Favorite Covers

Sadly... sadly, Top Ten Tuesday is on a short hiatus until March. But I can totally sympathize with needing a break! In the meantime, I've decided to take some from the Top Ten archives that I never got a chance to participate in. This week it's my ten favorite covers! 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Crane by Stacey Rourke
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
The Selection by Kiera Cass

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Stranded by Bracken MacLeod
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
Monday, February 27, 2017

DNF ARC Review: 100 Hours by Rachel Vincent

Title: 100 Hours
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 368
Add to Goodreads

A decadent spring break getaway on an exotic beach becomes a terrifying survival story when six Miami teens are kidnapped and ransomed.

Maddie is beyond done with her cousin Genesis’s entitled and shallow entourage. Genesis is so over Miami’s predictable social scene with its velvet ropes, petty power plays, and backstabbing boyfriends.

While Maddie craves family time for spring break, Genesis seeks novelty—like a last-minute getaway to an untouched beach in Colombia. And when Genesis wants something, it happens.

But paradise has its price. Dragged from their tents under the cover of dark, Genesis, Maddie, and their friends are kidnapped and held for ransom deep inside the jungle—with no diva left behind. It all feels so random to everyone except Genesis. She knows they were targeted for a reason. And that reason is her.

Now, as the hours count down, only one thing’s for certain: If the Miami hostages can’t set aside their personal problems, no one will make it out alive. 

Survival stories are one of my absolute favorite genres, accounting for the majority the books that I read that aren't fantasy or sci-fi. I hardly ever delve into the realm of contemporary fiction, but I couldn't pass up 100 Hours when I saw it this year at ALAMW. Despite the low rating on Goodreads, a survival story of teenagers kidnapped in a foreign country sounded right up my alley and I decided to give it a try!

Maddie and Genesis are the main characters of this story. Genesis is a rich kid from Miami whose father owns a large shipping company, making her an extremely wealthy teenager. Her cousin Maddie has been dragged into this impromptu trip along with her brother, and she really doesn't fit in with the rest of the friends Genesis has brought along.

While Maddie was slightly more tolerable than Genesis, neither was a sympathetic character. From the beginning of the book, all of the teens including Genesis and Maddie are extremely unlikeable. Genesis is a materialistic rich girl who knows karate, Maddie is poor and wants to save the planet, and their merry band of tagalongs are all obnoxious and one dimensional. Many of the main characters are annoyingly indestructible throughout the book. One literally jumps off a cliff into a rushing river and manages to miss all the rocks and not drown in the current. Much suspension of disbelief is required.

I started 100 Hours fully expecting to stay on the edge of my seat, and I did - for awhile. Once everyone stopped making out with every stranger they came across and the kidnapping finally happened, the plot of 100 Hours did keep my heart racing for a few chapters. Then it just kind of went nowhere. There were chapters of trudging through the forest, talking, eating, and listening. Once I found out what the reasoning was behind the kidnapping I began to lose interest. Eventually I realized I didn't really care what happened to any of the characters and that was when I decided to give up and move on to something else.

The one thing I can say for 100 Hours is that the setting was really well done. Yes, it's just a rainforest, but Rachel Vincent did a fantastic job of creating a mood of unease early on. I just wish the vibe could've held on for the rest of the book!

I really wanted to love 100 Hours! I wanted an incredible survival stories of teenagers making it out despite the odds, but the story quickly became tedious and unrealistic, not to mention the characters didn't make me care what happened to them. It's possible that I may have really enjoyed this one had I stuck it out, but I just didn't have it in me.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Weekly Recap: 2/19 - 2/25

Tracy's Happenings Off the Blog

What. A. Week. You may have noticed that things have been a bit quieter around the blog lately and that's honestly just because there has been A LOT going on! Currently my husband and I are preparing to move to our new home in a couple weeks and as you are reading this I'm on a cruise with my entire family for my parents' 30th anniversary. What I'm trying to say is... it may continue to be quiet here for a couple more weeks. Thank you so much for sticking with me through this! I promise I'll be back to normal soon!

New Books

This Week I Read

No new books finished!

MC's Happenings Off the Blog

Hi everyone! This week's update has to be pretty quick for me. Remember how I said I hurt myself last weekend? Well, it turns out I have a concussion. So I'm not supposed to be using my phone or my computer or reading at all. It's really boring. I'm on the mend, though, so I will be back to normal soon! I haven't received any books this week or finished reading anything, so there's not much to update you on. I hope you are all doing well and reading something awesome! I'm jealous!

New Books

Nothing this week!

This Week I Read

No new books finished!

In Case You Missed It

The topic was books I loved less than expected for Top Ten Tuesday
On Thursday I did the Disney Princess Book Tag
Friday audiobook review of Legend

Upcoming Reviews

We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Friday, February 24, 2017

Audiobook Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Title: Legend (Legend #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Narrator: Mariel Stern
Publication Date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors.

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles.

Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect.
Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. 

June is a prodigy, trained by the Republic to become one of the military's elite. She lives and breathes the Republic and is steadfastly loyal to her government. Day was born in the slums and has spent his life trying to provide for his family. He has become a rebel activist and is one of the Republic's most wanted criminals. When June's brother is murdered and Day is the prime suspect, the two cross paths and everything they believe in is turned upside down.

I found Legend to be very enjoyable, but it didn't blow me away. I found the plot to be a bit boring at first, so it took me a while to get interested in the book. The pace did eventually pick up, though, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down. By the end, I was completely hooked. I also thought the world that Marie Lu created was really interesting, but I wish she had provided more history about how it came to be. The story takes place in our future, and the Eastern and Western United States are at war. We don't get to learn how the United States ended up that way, though, and I think that would have been an interesting story.

I really enjoyed the characters of Day and June, as well as the supporting cast of characters. It took me a while to get invested, but I eventually grew to really care for them and their story. Something that I particularly appreciated was the way the romance was handled. June and Day definitely became enamored with one another, but I didn't feel like there was any instalove at all. The romance was developed well and was relatively believable. And there wasn't a love triangle! Yay! I am not a huge fan of romance, so the way this one was handled made it much more enjoyable for me.

My biggest gripe about Legend was how easy the plot was at times. The characters would encounter clues and then immediately figure them out without any trouble. Everything was a bit too convenient and predictable. The book wasn't incredibly long, so I feel like there was room for a little extra development within the plot. Even a paragraph here and there with the characters trying to interpret the clues could have made a big difference. While I enjoyed the story, every time the characters figured out a clue immediately, I had to roll my eyes a bit.

I am definitely invested in the Legend series now. I want to know what happens to the characters and how the story ends. There were a few things about the book that left me wanting more, but overall, the story is what is keeping me hooked. I think with a little more development, Legend could have been a book that I really loved. I still enjoyed it a lot, but it wasn't enough to make it to my list of favorites. I can't wait to see what happens to Day and June in Prodigy and Champion, though.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Disney Princess Book Tag

You may have noticed (or maybe you haven't) that I've been a little scarce around the blog in the last week or so. I'll admit I've been in a bit of a slump and a lot of it has to do with the insanity that has been my life lately. Today I've found a tag (originally created by Soudha) to make things a little more exciting and hopefully it'll be back to your regular programming soon!

Your favorite classic

To be honest, I haven't read Wuthering Heights in over ten years, but when I did read it I LOVED it! I was obsessed with the relationship between Heathcliff and Cathy. My Wuthering Heights collection one of my most prized possessions with editions dating back to the early 1900s. I'm forever wishing someone would write an incredible YA retelling!

A book that kept you reading well past your bedtime

It isn't often that a book actually keeps me up late reading. I've always been really good about calling it quits when I need to go to sleep! Heartless kept me up late on more than one night though. It was just soooo good! I couldn't put it down! This is one of the top retellings I've ever read. The world and characters were magical and heartbreaking and I can't wait to read it again!

Your favorite classic romance

This one was hard since I'd usually pick Wuthering Heights! I don't actually read a ton of classics and most of my favorites aren't romantic. This time I chose a classic that I love to read retellings of! The story of Hades and Persephone makes the most incredible romance books and The Star-Touched Queen is one of the best I've read!

 A book about making sacrifices and fighting for your dreams

The Winner's series definitely had its ups and downs, but there's no denying it fits this category perfectly! Both Kestrel and Arin have to make sacrifices non-stop in order to fight for their dream of a better country and more freedom for all the people in it.

A book with a smart and independent female character

So many books lately have incredible, smart MCs that this one was actually hard to narrow down! I ended up choosing Falling Kingdoms because I really love Cleo so far after the first two books in the series. She doesn't always make the best decisions, but she's certainly independent and intelligent and I'm excited to see what she does in the rest of the series!

A book with a character who challenged the social conventions of his or her world

I always loved Jasmine for being a strong and independent princess who refused to be forced into an arranged marriage. Similarly, Lada refused to fit into societal norms in And I Darken. Instead of fitting into her place at court, Lada insisted on training with the soldiers and attempting to take on the world with her own army. She's incredible! 

A book whose ending was a roller-coaster of emotions

Oh... Ruin and Rising. I am still not over that ending! Even though certain things were set in stone even before it ended, I was still holding out hope until the very last page that things wouldn't end the way they were ending! I still adore the series and it's at the top of my favorites list, but that ending pretty much killed me. 

A book with a kick-ass female character

The Young Elites is a book I waited WAY too long to read! Adelina is such an unusual character and she's a total badass. She is focused on her own goals and is led by her ambition. She is a powerful and feared woman and I'm so excited to see what happens with her story in book three! 

A book featuring a hardworking, self-made character

A Court of Thorns and Roses is one of my favorite series and Feyre is nothing if not a hardworking, self-made character. Before she went to the Spring Court, she left school and taught herself to hunt in order to feed her family. Later she worked to free an entire country, and in book two she surprised me even more!  

A book that features an artist

Splintered is a series that features a few interesting artists. Alyssa, the main character, is an artist who sometimes uses bugs in her canvases. Later in the series Jeb, one of the love interests in the story, develops a very unique artistic ability. And of course Wonderland itself is basically a work of art. This entire series is gorgeous!

A book that features a mother-daughter relationship

Nobody said it had to be a normal mother-daughter relationship! Penryn and her mom have one of the strangest relationships I've ever seen in a book... but it certainly kept things interesting! And despite her mom's sometimes-unusual actions, Penryn always tried to look out for her best interest. This is one relationship I really did enjoy reading about. 

A book that features a great relationship between siblings

Wintersong is amazing for so many reasons, not least of which is the relationship between Liesl and her brother! Both of the siblings are musically gifted - Liesl is a composer while her brother is incredible at playing what she's written. Throughout the book their bond is obvious, even when it's not the main plot point. I can't wait to see more of these two in the next book! 

Who is your favorite Disney Princess?
Which of these would you have chosen differently? 
Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #136: books I loved less than expected

Today's Topic: 
Ten Books I Loved Less
Than I Thought I Would

I am usually a pretty good judge of what I'll like or not, but every now and then I'm surprised by how wrong I am! These are ten books I totally expected to love and ended up really not liking at all.

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
The Cage by Megan Shepherd
Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Reawakened by Colleen Houck
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weekly Recap: 2/12 - 2/18

Tracy's Happenings Off the Blog

This has been a fairly uneventful week. I got a little packing done for our upcoming move and started a new show on Netflix - Shameless! I don't know if any of you have watched this but it's gold. I've already blown through season one this week and I am loving it! I also read Now I Rise, which I LOVED so much!! I am already dying for book three. Obviously, the review will be posted quite awhile from now since the book comes out in June, but know it's incredible!

New Books

This Week I Read

MC's Happenings Off the Blog

Hi everyone! It's been a pretty normal week for me...nothing out of the ordinary. I have been even more clumsy than usual this week, though, so I'm a bit sore. I tripped earlier in the week and then I hit my head really hard. I think I will just be listening to audiobooks for a few days to let myself rest. I can't believe what a klutz i am. Luckily, I have Monday off, so I get a nice long weekend. I'm visiting some friends this weekend, but hopefully it will be pretty low-key, so I can relax and rejuvenate. Have a good weekend!

New Books

This Week I Read

In Case You Missed It

Monday book review of The Star-Touched Queen
The topic was love triangles I liked for Top Ten Tuesday
Thursday audiobook review of The 100
On Saturday I discussed why reading is basically cardio

Upcoming Reviews

We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!