Friday, March 31, 2017

Guest Post: Book boyfriends & why they're the BEST

Hello, Cornerfolds readers!! I am so excited for the opportunity to guest post here and hopefully meet some new people! I blog at Sugar Dusted Pages, where I yell excitedly about books and beautiful book covers. I may have an addiction.

Anyway, this post is about book boyfriends and why they are the BEST. I like romance, but I’ll admit it annoys me sometimes, especially in YA. Because 1) I hate love triangles 2) it’s often extremely contrived and POINTLESS 3) I hate love triangles and 4) I get jealous?!?

BUT I am convinced that one of the few things that matches the wonderfulness of a good book is a swoonworthy book boyfriend.

Not only are they described in the most gorgeous way, you can imagine them being as absolutely swoony as you like. And of course, there are the staples: the chiseled jaw and straight nose, the crooked smile (a personal favorite), the wavy dark hair…

So clearly I’ll take a beautiful book boyfriend over a completely average real boyfriend any day, because who needs a real person when you could have a wonderful fictional boyfriend?!?

Either no one has flaws, or they have plenty of flaws but they’re really cool flaws. The perfect guy is legitimately perfect and has never done anything wrong. The bad boy who’s not very nice actually just had a tragic childhood. But in real life, no one is perfect and when they’re not perfect, well, they’re imperfect in awkward ways, like not having that straight jawline.

I mean, you literally open a book, think “I find this fictional guy attractive” and BAM you’re good to go. And then they’re YOURS and belong to YOU. (Besides the 78675653 other girls who also love them, but I digress.) And then they never go away (unless they die.) Whereas with real boyfriends you have to 1) like the right person at the right time 2) wait and see if they somehow magically like you back and 3) hope for the best.

Real guys are great!! They can be awesome friends and are wonderfully supportive and so much more. But let’s face it; boys are different from girls and sometimes you have to admit they can be 1) smelly 2) not inclined to respond to words with anything other than wut 3) oblivious 4) smelly 5) clueless.

But book boyfriends, on the other hand ALWAYS KNOW THE PERFECT THING TO SAY and are way more sensitive than real boys are. They also always smell good; in fact, the other day I read a book that had a guy who had been traveling around for a long period of time and he STILL smelled good. Can I go live in that world?? I will bring chocolate.


As you shall see below, my favorite book boyfriend is the…morally ambiguous… Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows.

Now you have to understand: this guy is messed up. He kills people(!!!), is obsessed with getting revenge for his beloved older brother, can’t touch anyone, beats people up, kidnaps people…

I’m starting to become worried…??

But he’s also a tragically heartbreaking little guy who JUST HAD A HARD LIFE and I want to give him a hug. (He’d probably bite my head off but WHO CARES.) And he has that hair… And he’s really actually super sensitive under that tragically heartbreaking mask.

But if I were to like a guy like this in the real world?? My obsession with beautiful book covers would probably be the least of my problems.

Now, you might possibly be curious as to who MY book boyfriends are. So here are the top six (as of now.)

For reasons previously stated.

He’s slightly evil and dark and mysterious. Also, he has magical talents involving POISON.

Ignifex from Cruel Beauty
Well. He’s 1) an evil character who turns out to be sweet and wonderful and not actually evil whist still being dark and mysterious 2) magical 3) he has red eyes and 4) he is the ruler of evil shadowy demons, which is pretty exciting.

Okay, this is actually the first boyfriend who doesn’t raise uncomfortable questions. He 1) has never killed anyone 2) is actually genuinely sweet and 3) broke my heart and it’s clear I’m twisted.

He’s hilarious. And he’s a horse so he has respectable qualities. Also he’s never killed anyone and almost all of the other people on this list have…?

Another guy who’s never killed anyone!! I’m on a roll!! I actually love Felix because he was the first real book boyfriend I ever had. And he has the most amazing complexion. So he’s close to my heart *sobs*


So tell me!!! Do you agree with any of these points? Do you have any to add??
And of course, who is your favorite book boyfriend?

Lenna is a book lover who reads practically every spare second of the day. (This does not include the time she spends staring lovingly at the beautiful book covers on her shelf) She also likes to write fairy tales that she imagines will someday be published. She is obsessed with fantasy, and her favorite characters to read and write about are villains and anyone who is morally ambiguous. Sometimes this causes her to worry… She is also a firm believer that books are infinitely better when read while eating chocolate or anything sweet.

You can find her online at her blog, Twitter, or Goodreads!
Thursday, March 30, 2017

Audiobook Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Narrator: Sarah Drew
Publication Date: February 3, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Add to Goodreads

Reviews for book 2 & book 3

In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn't about to make the same mistake.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the "Wilds" who lives under the government's radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

Love is a disease. When they turn 18, everyone receives a cure and they are freed from the sickness and distraction caused by love. Lena's mother could not be cured, and as her procedure approaches, Lena begins to wonder if she will suffer the same fate. Then she meets Alex, a Cured boy who shows her a different side to everything she's ever be taught. Lena realizes she may have caught the sickness that is love, and she soon risks everything to avoid the cure.

I've always been intrigued by the idea of Delirium, and I have put off reading it for years because I've heard a lot of mixed reviews. I'm really glad I finally decided to pick it up. I found the concept of love being considered a disease completely fascinating. One of the things that I love about Lauren Oliver is that she really seems to commit when she writes science fiction elements into her stories. Delirium is so much more than a story about a disease called love. The society revolves around a religion in which science and faith are intermingled. The little snippets at the beginning of each chapter explaining more about the faith were my favorite parts of the book. I would honestly read an entire book just about this society's faith because I found it so fascinating.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the characters. Lena, Alex, and Hana seemed to act like typical teenagers. Lena was sometimes a little dramatic about love, but considering what she's been told about the sickness her whole life, I'll let that slide. Despite how much I liked the characters, I wasn't entirely convinced by the romance. Alex and Lena fell for each other way too quickly, and while I'm sure they care for each other, I am not convinced that what they felt was love. I am intrigued by their story, but I don't really care if their relationship survives.

So, with that being said, will I like this series as it continues? I'm not sure. If the romance becomes more of a focal point (which I think it will), I'm not sure I will enjoy the remaining books as much as the first one. I would honestly love to learn more about the world that Lauren Oliver has created and how our society came to be the way it is in Delirium. I will definitely be finishing the series, because I am so entranced by the world, but I ultimately don't care very much about our two star-crossed lovers.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Very ARC-ish Read-a-thon Sign-up Post

Here it is, folks! Yet another attempt at a read-a-thon! Sure, maybe I've failed every other one I've attempted, but this one is spread out over an entire month! And it's all about reading ARCs, which I really need to do anyway. I'm specifically going to be trying to get through March and April ARCs, and maybe some from May if I have time.


Who: Hosted by Bookshelves & Paperbacks
What: A low-key challenge to read as many ARCs as possible
When: April 1st through April 31st
Where: Twitter #AVAReadathon
Why: To clear all the ARCs from your shelves and maybe win some prizes


If you know me, then you know I never actually stick to TBR lists, but these are the ones I'm trying to get through in April!

You too can clear your shelves in April! Sign up HERE
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #141: ten authors I'd love to meet

Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Authors I'm Dying To Meet

This topic was surprisingly easy to decide on! When I saw it, I definitely though I'd have to shrink it down to my top five, but I ended up finding ten fairly quickly. The truth is, I'm not a people person at all in real life. But these are ten authors I'd love to meet if I could! Some because I'm obsessed with their books, some because they seem like absolutely hilarious people to be around, and some because they're a combination of both!

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

ARC Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2)
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 320
Add to Goodreads

Reviews for book 1 & book 3

//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review// 
When an alien vessel materializes in London, does it mean peace or war? Waking Gods is the gripping sequel to the ground-breaking thriller Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. What's going on? Turn on the television. What channel? Any channel. An unknown vessel, not of this world, materializes in London. A colossal figure towering over the city, it makes no move. Is this a peaceful first contact or the prelude to an invasion? Every child has nightmares. But the only thing scarier than little Eva Reyes' dreams - apocalyptic visions of death and destruction - is the habit they have of coming true... Scientist Dr Rose Franklin has no memory of the last few years. The strangers she works with say she died, and was brought back to life. The question is not just how ... but why? Kara Resnik and Vincent Couture fell in love during war, and have found peace since. They are the thin line of defense against what is coming. But they do not know they have been living a lie. And a man who claims to have the answers has his own agenda. There are things he cannot say - and others he won't. All pieces of an epic puzzle. One we have been trying to solve since the dawn of time...

Last year a friend introduced me to Sleeping Giants and sparked an obsession. This year I heard there was an opportunity to read Waking Gods early and tripped all over myself trying to get a copy! Although I wasn't sure Sylvain Neuvel could deliver a second book as incredible as the first, I am excited to report that Waking Gods did not disappoint!

Sleeping Giants was a well-wrapped package. While there was a mind-blowing revelation near the end, there was no giant cliffhanger, so it wasn't surprising that Waking Gods opened with a time jump. I'll readily admit I was nervous about this at first. I tend to despise time jumps just because I feel so disconnected from characters ten years after I last saw them. I'm not sure if it's the unique format of this series or if Neuvel is a magician, but he totally pulled it off and managed to suck me back in immediately.

Kara and Vincent have been living their version of happily ever after since the conclusion of Sleeping Giants and it's exactly what you'd expect from these characters. Kara is happily childfree, Vincent does what he can to make her happy, and both continue to travel around the world showcasing their robot. But when a new threat comes to Earth, they jump right back into the action, ready to do whatever it takes to ensure the survival of the human race. The mysterious man at the center of everything is also back and I was thrilled that there was much more to him this time! Even a bit of backstory. Although the format of this series could make it difficult to connect with these people, there is no shortage of character development.

Thankfully, Waking Gods isn't short on conspiracy or action either. While the first book revolved around the worlds' shock of finding an alien robot, book two is about the panic that follows when several more of them show up - this time in tact, in major cities, and with alien pilots. No one knows what they're capable of and good people of Planet Earth are intent on testing their boundaries (as they do), inciting chaos at every turn. Sleeping Giants was exciting in its own right although there were lags, but Waking Gods is fast and sometimes feels like an action movie. I was never bored with this book!

The format of the Themis Files was something I really wasn't sure about when I finished the first book. While it worked well in audio, I said in my review that I didn't know if I would've been as intrigued if I'd read it in book form. As it turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong! The interview and log format of Waking Gods ended up being incredibly immersive and made me feel like I was in the middle of the action right alongside the characters.

I also loved that, while science was a big part of this book, it wasn't over my head to the point where I couldn't understand what was happening. There are also philosophical issues brought up in Waking Gods that you may not expect. Certain characters have to contend with some huge, life altering questions, but I always felt able to identify instead of being overwhelmed. Neuvel has written this in a way that it's understandable without being dumbed down or spoon fed to the reader.

Waking Gods is an incredibly intense sequel that did not let me go until the last page (and not really then). So often sequels suffer from second book syndrome but that definitely didn't happen here. I laughed, I cried, and I was absolutely on the edge of my seat! If you haven't started this series yet, you really need to give it a try! I cannot wait to get my hands on book three!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Weekly Recap: 3/19 - 3/25

Happy weekend, everyone! I am happy to report that this week has finally been just a little bit less hectic, although we've still had our fair share of people in and out of the house to fix/deliver things. No one told me how insane moving into a new house was! But if this week was any indication I expect things to be back to normal fairly soon. In addition to house stuff, I finally finished a book, my husband and I saw the new Beauty and the Beast and LOVED it, and we went to Disney Springs to browse around and eat crepes. In the coming week I'm hoping to read ahead with Jane, Unlimited and get some blog posts queued up! 

Hi everyone! Happy weekend! I'm super glad it's the weekend. Things are still a little rough at work, so I'm pretty exhausted by the time the weekend gets here. Last weekend I bought books for the first time since the beginning of the year (I think). Thanks to gift cards and used bookstores, I ended up spending about $1 per book. The coffee I got at the end of the day was almost the same price as all my books! It was really fun, since I haven't purchased any new books for myself in a long time. Hopefully I enjoy some of these new books, because I have been stuck in a serious reading rut lately. I have been hating everything I read. I need to find some five star books! Let me know what amazing books you've read recently, and have a great week!

Monday ARC review of Blood Rose Rebellion
The topic was my shortest books I've read for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday guest book review of Empress of a Thousand Skies
 Thursday guest discussion on the importance of character names
Friday ARC review of The Gauntlet

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

ARC Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

Title: The Gauntlet
Author: Karuna Riazi
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Pages: 384

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A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.

When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how.

Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game…or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine?

Farah and her brother Ahmed love to play games. Any and all games. The only problem is that Farah always has to let Ahmed win. So when she gets an opportunity to play a new, mysterious game, The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand, with her friends (and without Ahmed), Farah jumps at the chance without thinking. Her hasty decision causes some problems, however, and soon Farah and her friends find themselves trapped inside the game. They have to beat the game if they ever want to be free again. And they have to save Ahmed, who got himself trapped as well. Oh, and there's one more little one has ever beaten the Gauntlet.

When I first picked up The Gauntlet, I was really excited. The comparison to the story of Jumanji caught my eye and I was excited for the Middle Eastern representation in a Middle Grade story. But ultimately, I was really disappointed in The Gauntlet. The story had a lot of potential, but it fell very flat. I should include a disclaimer, however - I read the ARC and it was about 300 pages long, but on Goodreads the book is listed as 384 pages. It is very possible that a lot has changed and developed between the ARC and the finished copy, but I have to write this review based on what I read.

The characters were....ok. They weren't awful, but they weren't spectacular either. I didn't end up feeling any kind of connection to them at all. Ahmed was really annoying. Yes, he had ADHD, so I understand that the author was trying to represent that properly. But his entire family let him win every game they played with him to keep him happy. And every time someone received a gift, they gave one to Ahmed too, so he didn't get jealous and throw a tantrum. The result of all these things was that Ahmed became a seriously obnoxious brat. I almost decided not to finish the book very early on because he was SO ANNOYING. There were also some inconsistencies with some character traits that I think prevented me from really connecting with the characters. For example, Farah's friend Alex is terrified of heights. Yet, when he is granted a wish, he wishes to fly. Things like this left me confused and kept me from gaining an understanding for the characters.

The plot itself was fun and had a lot of potential, but it fell pretty flat. Especially in a Middle Grade work with Middle Eastern influences, I was expecting the author to use the opportunity to teach kids about other cultures. There were a lot of things that were glossed over, so I was left wondering what they were talking about. Even as an adult, I would have loved to get lost in the Middle Eastern culture, but barely anything was explained or expanded upon. I can foresee a lot of kids getting confused while reading this. Again, perhaps there was more description included in the final copy, but I can't say that for certain.

Ultimately, I ended up being extremely disappointed in The Gauntlet. There were many times that I almost put it down and decided not to finish it. I almost wish I had done that because the book never got better and left me wishing I had spent that time reading something I would enjoy more. I am so sad that I didn’t like this book, because it had such great potential and represents an important step forward in Middle Grade literature. Unfortunately, I wish it had been handled better. I am rarely ever disappointed by Middle Grade books, but The Gauntlet had too many problems for me to ignore.