Sunday, February 17, 2019

Weekly Recap: 2/10 - 2/16


HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone! This has been a surprisingly good week! I did have quite a bit going on, but I also got a lot accomplished and also met a new puppy friend named Yankee. I'm happy to report that my little guy is still doing really well. It's so nice to be able to say that week after week after such a long time of what seemed like never ending problems. I read some books that were way out of my comfort zone this week. Letters to the Lost was for a book club and Forbidden because everyone keeps recommending it! I'll be sharing my thoughts soon! My Valentine's Day was really low key with some champagne, chocolate, and a rented movie. I'm hoping to finally see Glass in theaters today! Have any of you seen it yet?


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

    


THIS WEEK I READ

 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

On Monday I posted a Book Trading guide
The topic was bookish couples for Top Ten Tuesday
On Thursday there was a book boyfriend face off
Saturday book review of Pandemonium


UPCOMING REVIEWS

 


I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, February 16, 2019

Audiobook Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Pandemonium (Delirium #2)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 375
Add to Goodreads

Review for book 1

The old life is dead. But the old Lena is dead too. I buried her. I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and flame. In this electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller Delirium, Lauren Oliver sets Lena on a dangerous course that hurtles through the unregulated Wilds and into the heart of a growing resistance movement. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

I am always, always wary of reading second books. More often than not, they're a real drag and are just filler to get from book one to book three. Thankfully, that did not seem to be the case with Pandemonium, although I am now really concerned about reading the last one since several of you have warned me about it...

Pandemonium is told in a series of flashbacks mixed with present events, which can sometimes be a little confusing. The flashbacks are of Lena's life in the wild with the people who find her after her escape. Alex is gone and these people are her new family, eventually making her a member of the Resistance. I really enjoyed the flashback portion of the book. Getting to see glimpses of the world before the Cure was fascinating and I really wish there was even more information on what happened and how much time has passed.

In the present Lena is living in New York infiltrating a group, the DFA, that is so loyal to the cure that they're willing to sacrifice one of their own. Another group of Invalids is also introduced in this book. Not surprisingly, not everyone living in the wilds or infiltrating the cities is in it for the same reasons. The Scavengers are a much more violent group that Lena and the others in the Resistance want nothing to do with.

I loved Lena in this book, possibly more than in Delirium. She's a strong character who still has major flaws and occasionally makes really dumb decisions. Basically, she's a somewhat believable teenage girl. I loved her relationship with the Invalids she found herself living with, Raven and Tack, and her growth since the beginning of the series.

Something that seems to have divided people over this book is the fact that Lena has a new romantic interest, Julian. I can definitely understand why some people may have an issue with this, can Lena be faulted for moving on from a (very short-term) boyfriend six months after his assumed death? I will say that I didn't love Julian like I loved Alex, but he was fine. I definitely foresee a love triangle in book three.

The ending of Pandemonium was a bit over the top, even for a YA dystopian romance book. I could have done without the melodrama and I would definitely be upset with the cliffhanger if I didn't have immediate access to book three. As it stands, I do, and I'll definitely be continuing the series soon! I really hope the warnings were unwarranted.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Book Boyfriend Face Off

Happy Valentine's Day, nerds! It is Wednesday night, I've had a glass of Cabernet, and I want to do something fun for all of us hopeless bookish romantics. Today we're going to have some bookish boyfriend faceoffs and I know things might get ugly, but let's TRY to keep it civil! The results will be shared here or on Twitter, but PLEASE make sure to tell me how you really feel in the comments! Here are the contenders:


THE DARKLING VS MAL
I have STRONG FEELINGS about this faceoff, but I'll keep them to myself. Vote. Let your voice be heard. (Vote Darkling.)


WILL VS JEM

Couldn't find the source for this one.
I'm going to be honest with you guys, I have never read this series and I really don't intend to. BUT I know that everyone else on the planet has a very strong opinion about these two, so let it be known!


EDWARD VS JACOB


You didn't think there was any way these two didn't make it into this post, did you? I don't feel strongly either way about this face off, but I know lots of other people do!


STEFAN VS DAMON


Ooooh more vampires! And I do have a strong opinion on this one too, but this time I'll SERIOUSLY keep it to myself! All I'll say is that you should definitely vote for the brother whose name rhymes with Cayman. (Did I mention I had a glass of wine, because I just spelled rhymes, wrimes.)


PEETA VS GALE


Another classic that absolutely had to have a spot in this post! To be totally honest, I've always been more #teamkatniss on this one since I couldn't care less about either of the guys, but let me know your feelings!


TAMLIN VS RHYSAND
I don't have anything to say about this.


BILL VS ERIC


Is this a love triangle in the books? I never made it past about the fourth one. Maybe I should give them another go. Anyway, this list needed more vampires, so I give you the hot one and the old one!


HARRY VS RON


OH MAN I foresee some heated debate over this one! Who should Hermione have ended up with? Ron or Harry? And you can't pick Victor or Draco. Sorry, them's the rules.


ADAM VS WARNER

The fandom really let me down with art for this one.
I hate them both, but you should definitely let me know which one you love the most!


THE PHANTOM VS RAOUL


Ohhh man, do I have a type. Can you tell what it is? Vote!



MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
I can't wait to see who wins each face off! I'll share the results next week in a separate blog post and/or on Twitter!

Create your own user feedback survey

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #226: Bookish couples


Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Favorite Couples

Hi everyone! It's Valentine's Day week, so what better time to talk about my favorite couples from my favorite books! I ship some of these more than others, but they're all super swoony, loveable couples (okay a couple may or may not be mildly problematic). I can't wait to see how many we have in common!



Rhysand & Feyre | A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Elias & Laia | An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Oliver & Elio | Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
Varen & Isobel | Oblivion by Kelly Creagh
Darkling & Alina | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo



Achilles & Patroclus | The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Amar & Maya | The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Tarver & Lilac | These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Morpheus & Alyssa | Unhinged by A.G Howard
Arin & Kestrel | The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Book Trading, A Guide


Nearly three years ago I wrote my first post about the book trading hashtag on Twitter, also known as #booksfortrade. I've continued to used the tag very regularly in the time since then and have had largely great experiences with it! My previous post was mostly regarding entitlement on the tag, but here I'll try to dive into some other issues I've seen over the years. (Please note, these are just my opinions based on a few years of experience. I'm not saying these tips will apply to everyone and I'm always open to other opinions!)


TRADE TAG LINGO

  • #booksfortrade - A hashtag that people use to trade books for other books. ARCs are often traded on the tag. All ARCs are books, but not all books are ARCs. Sometimes books are also posted here for sale. Swag is traded on this tag. Books are also occasionally given away for the cost of shipping. It's a bit of a catchall.
  • #arcsfortrade - A hashtag used to trade ARCs only. 
  • #swagfortrade - A hashtag specifically for trading various swag including bookmarks, samplers, pins, and tons of other items. 
  • #booksfortradeUK - Most people on this tag are located within the UK and are looking to trade with other people in the UK. Sometimes people from other countries post on this tag when they're looking for foreign editions and are willing to trade internationally. ARCs also get traded here.
  • #booksforsale - This hashtag is for selling books, although books are also sometimes sold on the trade tags (minus #arcsfortrade since selling ARCs is frowned upon).
  • #bookishwish - A hashtag created for giving books away and granting wishes. If you're looking for a book but have no money and nothing to trade, post your wish here and it MAY be granted.
  • Unicorn - The word "unicorn" refers to an extremely difficult to find ARC that someone is looking for to complete a collection. This could be an ARC, a rare, out of print finished copy, a special edition, etc. 
  • WL - Wishlist
  • FC - Finished Copy
  • HC - Hardcover
  • ARC - Advance Reader Copy

Alright, now that we've got the basics out of the way, let's jump into some of the issues. 


SCAMMERS

This is the most obvious ISSUE with the trade tag and it has become a particularly nasty issue in the last couple weeks. Of course, there's no way to be 100% sure you aren't getting scammed, but in all my years of trading it has only happened once. Here are my tips for making sure you don't end up getting scammed: 
  • Ask for references! Seriously, this is SO important with new traders. I know that it can feel awkward to ask someone for a trading reference. I've been there. I know how it can make you feel a little icky and like you think the other person is being dishonest, but you have to watch out for yourself. There's no harm in asking someone for the names of who they've traded with and, if they're honest traders, they shouldn't have a problem with it. 
  • If they're brand new to trading and you aren't, you can always ask them to ship first. Once you have tracking or a book in hand, send yours out. If they have an issue with this and you feel uncomfortable, just skip the trade. 
  • Always pay via PayPal! If you are buying a book or paying shipping for an ARC, never pay any way other than PayPal. Everyone these days has a PayPal account and, if they truly don't, it only takes a couple minutes to set one up. Paying through PayPal gives you a way to get your money back if they do turn out to be scammers. 
  • Ask for more photos if you feel uncomfortable. A recent scam on Twitter involved stealing photos from someone's Instagram and passing them off as their own. If you feel weird about it, reverse image search and/or ask for more pictures, maybe even one including their username. 
  • Check the bad traders list! It seems like this resource doesn't get nearly enough attention and it's such a good place to start. If you have a bad experience, comment about it here.  

ENTITLEMENT & STINGINESS

In the time since I wrote my last post, I've continued to trade A LOT and I actually managed to get a couple of the unicorns I mentioned wanting in that post. In that time trading I saw these books for trade multiple times and usually attempted to snag them, to no avail. I just did not have anything the trader wanted. And that was perfectly okay. It took awhile, but I did get them eventually. Here are some trading tips related to getting what you want: 
  • You might have to search for YEARS to attain your unicorns. Eventually you may be able to find a trade that gets you what you want. Or maybe not. 
  • Just because you see your unicorn or any other book you want does not mean you're entitled to it. If you don't have something the other person wants, you will probably have to move on and keep searching. 
  • Someone posting a book for trade does not equal them giving it away or offering to trade it for anything. People who post usually have wishlists and most of them want something off their wishlist in exchange for their book(s). 
  • Please don't get mad at people for wanting to be happy with their end of the trade. If they say they're being picky with a book it is probably because they don't REALLY want to part with it, but are willing to in order to get their own unicorns. 
  • Realize that other people can ask for whatever outlandish things they want in a trade. As much as it sucks, they can wait for the best offer. Whether you agree with it or not, it's their property and it's their choice at the end of the day. 
  • On the other hand, if you're looking for something and know you're going to be picky, SAY SO! It's your right to be picky, but it's so much easier for everyone if you're very clear about your expectations. 
  • If you know you'll only trade for 2 or 3 books from your wishlist or a super rare exclusive edition, or plan to wait for the best offer, just say that instead of surprising people with it in DMs. 
  • Lastly, know what you're trading. You can post an ARC from three years ago that has 4 reviews on Goodreads and list only unicorns on your wishlist, but you probably won't get them. 

PACKAGING & SHIPPING

I'm honestly surprised I even need to mention this, but here we are. Most traders are very conscious of the way they package books and swag, but there are always those who don't get it quite right. Here are some tips for making sure your trades make it in tact: 
  • Do NOT ship your books in manila envelopes. These offer absolutely zero protection. 
  • Bubble mailers are fine, but choose one that is the right size for the book. If there's tons of room for the book to move around, chances are it will end up getting damaged. If the envelope is way too big, just fold it over before taping. 
  • For extra protection, bubble wrap your books before they go inside the envelope. 
  • Boxes are even better than bubble mailers, but it's still important to make sure they fit well inside the box. If not, use extra packaging material to make sure they will stay secure. Otherwise, they may get damaged. 
  • Never ship bookmarks in plain envelopes. If you must put them in an envelope, at least secure them between pieces of cardboard so they don't get bent or ripped. 
  • Unless someone tells you otherwise, they'll probably ship using Media Mail, which means your book is probably going to take a week to get to you. If you need it faster, offer to pay for priority shipping. 

TRADING ETIQUETTE 

Last but not least, let's talk about some basic decency when it comes to trading. Just like you can't help what others want in exchange for their books, you can't help how they act. Thankfully, you can help how you act towards other traders. 
  • Once you agree to a trade, decide on a shipping timeline. If you say you'll ship on a specific day, do it! If something comes up, be transparent. 
  • DON'T be one of those people who comes up with excuse after excuse and takes a month and a half to ship. 
  • Similarly, if you agree to a trade, follow through with it! It's so unbelievably rude to agree to a trade and then ghost your fellow trader. If you absolutely can't stick to the deal you've made, just say so. Again, transparency is key (not so transparent you're a ghost, please). 
  • Once you've sent your half of the trade, send tracking info as soon as possible. It's just the polite thing to do. 

These tips are not the be all and end all of #booksfortrade, but they feel like a good place to start, based on my experience. It's always unfortunate when a trade goes badly, especially when it's a first trade, but please know that the trade tag has been a great experience for a lot of us! The community has been overwhelmingly supportive and often try to help each other find what they're searching for. 



Have you used the trade tag? 
What would you add to my list? 
Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Weekly Recap: 2/3 - 2/9


HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone! This week has thankfully been less hectic than the last few. I've had a bit of time to read a couple books and start some new ones. On Friday evening I met up with a friend at a book event north of Orlando. It was mainly a middle grade author event, but Brigid Kemmerer and Megan Shepherd were both there, so it was totally worth the drive! I've been working on making my home library more homey and this week I got a beautiful PURPLE rug and I love it! Now I just need some purple curtains to break up the white shelves and gray walls. Speaking of shelves, I now have three editions of King of Scars on them - the B&N exclusive, the Waterstones signed edition, and the Illumicrate exclusive, which is really nice without the cover! If you've read it, please go check out my review and comment! I need people to talk about it with!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK



THIS WEEK I READ

 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The topic was books I'm on the fence about for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday book review of Delirium
On Friday I went back down the TBR hole
Saturday book review of King of Scars


UPCOMING REVIEWS



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, February 9, 2019

Book Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Title: King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Publisher: Imprint
Pages: 528
Add to Goodreads


Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal. 

I have been so hyped for this book ever since I first caught wind of it. Nikolai was not my favorite character in the Grisha Trilogy, but I did love him and I was very excited to see how his story played out! In case you didn't already know, I am OBSESSED with the original trilogy, but didn't much care for Six of Crows. It felt too different, but King of Scars is a nice blend of the two and it was amazing to be back in Ravka! I'm going to try really hard to keep this coherent, but no promises.

First, it's important to point out that, although this is marketed as Nikolai's book, the title is literally Nikolai, and the synopsis is 100% Nikolai, this is not really his book. There is so much more going on here, most obviously that about half the chapters are from Nina's perspective. As I said, I didn't love the Six of Crows duology, but I didn't dislike Nina here. Although I would have been just fine with it if her chapters were left out completely, I do think it was a nice way to bring together the two series.

So, let's get to Nikolai. He is the prince/privateer we all remember, but a little more grown up. To me, Nikolai was obviously a bit more mature than he was in the trilogy and I loved seeing this side of him. Of course, he still has the snark and remains full of himself. His journey in this book revolves around purging the darkness put in him by the Darkling and it is a long and fascinating one. I loved his struggle with the demon inside him and the complexity it brought to his character. I also loved his banter with Zoya, who I found myself loving even more than I already did! I definitely ship the two of them.

Speaking of shipping, there was not much romance in this book and that surprised me. While not every book needs romance, a Grisha book without anyone to swoon over didn't feel quite right. As I said, I loved Nikolai and Zoya together, so hopefully we get some of that in book two! It also seems possible that there will be a new Nina romance, but I won't say anything else to avoid spoilers.

My biggest question about King of Scars was whether or not the Darkling would be back. While it seemed a little impossible, we all know what that word means in the Grishaverse. Here's what I'll say about that: This book does a really good job of solidifying that the Darkling was a BIG BAD. I'll come right out and say he will always be my problematic fave. But there was a LOT of focus on how terrible he was in this book and I assume it may have something to do with how many readers loved him despite his being kind of awful. I still love him.

As you can see, the story is quite complex. There are multiple points of view and two to three main storylines happening at any one time. I enjoyed the entire book, but there were most definitely points where it dragged, especially the chapters with Nikolai and his crew. His story should be the most interesting, but there was quite a bit of walking and talking and sitting. At 528 pages, this is a big book and I did love it, but it could probably have been whittled down a little.

The only other thing I'll say is THAT ENDING blew me away and took this book from four stars to five in a page! I am going to be throwing one long fit between now and when book two is finally published because I cannot wait to see what happens next. I'll admit, this book was a little different than I expected, but Leigh Bardugo knows how to write a great story and I can't wait to read the next chapter!


Friday, February 8, 2019

Down the TBR Hole #11


Hi everyone! Welcome to another round of Down the TBR Hole, in which I try to make up for all the amazing 2019 releases that have somehow found their way onto my list...

The Down the TBR Hole meme was started by Lost In a Story and it is the most perfect tool for cleaning off shelves that I've come across. Here's how it works:
  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

THE BOOKS


ZODIAC BY ROMINA RUSSELL

This ended up on my list when it was being published and there was quite a bit of hype. I'm not totally sure what I was thinking since sci-fi isn't really my favorite genre, but it does sound interesting. Apparently this series is actually four books long and that's just too many for me to commit to in a genre that isn't a favorite. VERDICT: PASS



WICKED BY JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT

Wicked caught my eye with its beautiful cover and interesting synopsis. I added it before I'd read a book by this author and honestly my experience with that book has kept me from reading this one. I do love that it's new adult fantasy, though! There isn't nearly enough of that. I think I'm going to have to get over my dislike for the one other book I read and give this a try! VERDICT: KEEP



THE FROZEN DEAD BY BERNARD MINIER

Do you ever add books to your TBR without really knowing what they're about totally based on what you THINK they should be about? You know, because the cover just LOOKS like it should be that way. Well. Here we are. I added The Frozen Dead basically because the cover and title reminded me of the horror movie Frozen, which is about people being stuck on a ski lift. This is not that. VERDICT: PASS



THE WALLED CITY BY RYAN GRAUDIN

It seems like this book gets talked about way, way less than Ryan Graudin's other books, but it's really the one that sounds most interesting to me. I'm really not sure how this one keeps flying under my radar, but I'm always looking for a good dystopian book, so this is going to have to stay! VERDICT: KEEP



A VISION OF FIRE BY GILLIAN ANDERSON & JEFF ROVIN

I'll just be honest: I added this because Gillian Anderson wrote it. It did also sound really interesting at the time. Sadly, the ratings aren't great and it doesn't seem like the rest of the series fared much better. VERDICT: PASS



I'm proud of myself this week! Hurray for actually getting rid of three more books on my list! I should also probably pay closer attention to what I'm adding andy why...

What ridiculous reasons have you used for adding a book to your TBR list?
Let me know in the comments! 
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium (Delirium #1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publication Date: February 3, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 441
Add to Goodreads


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?

Delirium has been on my radar for years, but I never quite felt like it was something I HAD to read. Recently I've been on a bit of a dystopian kick and have not been able to find nearly enough good options. When I came across this book at my library, I decided to finally give it a try and now I'm kicking myself for taking so long!

Lena lives in Portland, a city behind walls where love is a disease and everyone is cured as close to their 18th birthday as possible. Lena has spent her life segregated from uncured males and eagerly counts the days until she can be cured. The people of this world are constantly monitored and going against the status quo is strictly forbidden and something Lena would never dream of doing. At least, until she meets Alex.

I adored Lena so much! She spent her life being indoctrinated into a certain line of thought and fought hard against ideas that went against her beliefs, which is so much more believable than characters who flip flop with no hesitation. I loved her fear and that she had to be dragged kicking and screaming towards the truth. It made it feel so real! But I loved how strong she remained while her world was turned upside down and I loved her relationship with Alex. He was a perfectly swoon-worthy dystopian love interest and I really enjoyed getting to know him and his backstory.

Honestly, all of the characters in this book were incredibly well-written. The "cured" adults were creepy and devoid of all emotion and I loved watching Lena come to that realization. The relationship between Lena and Hana was another favorite. I'm really hoping to learn more about Hana in a future book, but I have no idea if that's the direction the series will go!

Like the adults, the world of Delirium was really disturbing and well fleshed out. I wish that there was a bit more info on how the world decided that love was a disease and why, but Lauren Oliver actually did a pretty good job of explaining the development of the cure. I was also super intrigued by the Wilds and how the people in the cities pretended they didn't even exist. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.

Delirium was my first Lauren Oliver book, but it definitely won't be my last. I've already started Pandemonium and I'm planning to check out the rest of her backlog. If you're a fan of dystopian YA and haven't read this yet, I highly recommend getting yourself a copy. Just make sure you have book two on hand because that ending is brutal!


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #225: On the fence


Today's Topic: 
Ten Upcoming Releases
I’m On the Fence About

Hi everyone! This week I'm talking about books that I'm not quite sold on yet. All ten of these have had some pretty major hype and they do all sound pretty interesting! I'm just not totally sure if I want to take the time to read them yet. Have you read any of them? Change my mind!



The Antidote by Shelley Sackier
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith
Crown of Feathers by Niki Pau Preto



The Fever King by Victoria Lee
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy
Romanov by Nadine Brandes
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.