Monthly archives: April, 2015

Site Update: 2 Year Anniversary!

 

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I can’t believe it’s been two years since I started this blog! At times, it feels a lot longer than that but other times it just seems like yesterday!

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for reading my blog, nominating me for various awards, reblogging my posts and so much more! It’s been a lot of fun and it’s been great connecting to fellow book-lovers! I can’t wait to see what is in store in the year(s) to come!

Some Fun Facts about my blog:

With a “new year” in my blogging “career” just about to start, I decided it was time to revamp some other stuff on my site!

New Home & Blog Feed Page!

This is really important! When you go to my domain, instead of my blog feed you will see that what used to be my sticky post is now a page explaining the concept of my blog. Recently updated series will no longer be listed as a sticky post but as an image widget on my sidebar. I now have a separate blog post feed page on my top toolbar (aptly named “Blog”).

When you click on my Blog Feed Page you will see a new sticky that has some links to help you better find the series, standalone or guide that you want. Below that will be my most recent posts. Of course my directories are still on my top toolbar and the search is still on the sidebar, but this seems more logical for navigation.

Some Other new thingS:

-The new blog design/colour theme-

One thing I really wanted to do was change the colour scheme of my blog. I was tired of the orange and pink and I found the text was hard to read at times (so I don’t know how all you folks could manage!). So, while I was procrastinating from studying near the end of the March, I started to work on redesigning my site.

I immediately fell in love with the purple colour scheme of the Babylog theme but discovered that I couldn’t hide all the baby things so I continued my search and I found the Sela theme. I’m so happy that I did because I like it so much better than the Babylog theme and love the customization I can play around with.

-the revamped Review format-

But that isn’t the only thing I have changed! I have also tweaked my review format! You’ll see the official new format in the next few days/months (or you can check out my review of The Book Thief for an idea) but I’ll give a brief overview of what I have changed (besides adding new colourful headers).

  • Source & Format — I’ve included where I get my books and what format I read. Because the number of pages differs in an eBook versus a physical book, I realized that when I say something lasted “50 pages” it might have been a different number in the other format (ie it really wasn’t 50 pages but 30 etc).
  • My Conclusion — I thought my conclusion was a little vague so I’ve included some more specific breakdowns to help you decide if the series/book is worth your time
    • An actual conclusion! — I realized I never gave one definitive response to the review so I created some fun images that I think summarize everything neatly into one statement. (You can see all 10 images here on my new guide!)
    • Overall — this is where my previously titled “conclusion” will be. It’s just my final thoughts of my review; usually explaining why I picked the statement I picked for that review
    • Read if you like/Avoid if you (dislike) — here I will give specific themes that I think help you determine if you should read or not read a book/series
  • I also moved the synopsis up to the top of the page for Series Reviews–it makes more sense that you read what the book/series is about before you read my review; especially since covers/titles vary by countries!
  • I’ve decided to break down my reviews into various subheadings. That way you can get the details on what you want to know instead of searching through my review 😉 *This you’ll see in June and with the occasional post in May*

**I won’t be going back to alter my all previously posted reviews with this new format. There are just too many of them! However, if a series is to be updated (ex. Fresh Friday, I read a new book in the series, or it is now a series, etc) I will probably tweak them a bit to reflect this new format.

-Blog button-

Also, I created a button if you like to collect these sort of things. I’m planning on having a blog roll feed with everyone else’s buttons but I haven’t got around to creating its permanent home yet 🙂

SERIESous Book Reviews
<div align="center"><a href="http://seriesousbookreviews.com/" title="SERIESous Book Reviews"><img src="http://seriesousbookreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/avatarfinal.png" alt="SERIESous Book Reviews" style="border:none;" width="200" height="200"/></a></div>

 

 

-*new* my guide to reading more!-

In honour of my 2 year anniversary, I’m really excited to launch my new guide on How to Read MORE books. I read a ton of books (as my Goodreads account shows) and I’m always asked how I do, so I decided to post some tips on what I do to fit more reading time in! I hope you like it!

So I hope you like all my big and little changes!

Working on my blog is my number 1 goal for this summer and I can’t wait to take it to the next level! I’m into blogging more than I ever was and I’m so excited to share all my reviews with everyone (and boy do I have a lot to share over the next month!).

Thank you again!

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Characters Who Are Reluctantly in Love Triangles [5]

Top Ten Tuesdays: Is a weekly meme feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers post their Top 10 List for an assigned topic! I will not be participating every week, but I will occasionally take a shot at it! You can always find these lists (past, present and original) on my Riffle Page!


This Week’s Topic:

Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who…

are reluctantly in love triangles <3

This week, it was a “your choice” and I decided to pick characters who are reluctantly in love triangles.

I detest love triangles but even I have a soft spot for those characters who somehow find themselves in a love triangle situation without meaning to be. I’m talking about the ones who are forced into an arranged marriage or are the best friend who was always there but gets passed over for the newest guy in school– you know, the ones who aren’t really a choice for the lead but are introduced to add some pressure on the true intended? I am always a sucker for these plot device characters and often I want them to be the ones who end up with the heroine. Sigh…

Here are the characters I think find themselves reluctantly in a love triangle

aka the times I picked the wrong person to “win” the love triangle

(in no particular order):

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#10 – Theron (w/ Meira & Mather) from Snow Like Ashes Series

Theron is actually the motivation behind picking this week’s topic! It was hard not to like him because he seems like a really nice guy who is simply pushed into a marriage alliance by his father. He instantly won me over with his passion for protecting his people and I think he would make a fantastic match for Meira! Time will tell who she picks but I honestly think she has a win-win situation on her hands with Theron and Mather!

#9 – Prince Verex (w/ Kestrel & Arin) from The Winner’s Trilogy

Again, another arranged marriage situation for political gain! Verex immediately stole my heart with his kind nature and if I didn’t like Arin so much, I would be hoping Kestrel picks this prince!

(Read my review of The Winner’s Trilogy)

#8 – Theo (w/ Marguerite & Paul) and Paul (w/ Marguerite & Imperial Russia Paul) from The Firebird Trilogy

Confused? That’s what happens when you read a book about alternate dimensions!

Theo gets are spot because I really do think he has feelings for Marguerite, he just knows he doesn’t have a shot thanks to the spy hijacking his present-day body.

Now poor Paul has the opposite problem: the girl he loves is in love with his alternate self! I can understand the appeal of Imperial Russia Paul but I feel bad that real-Paul is stuck in a situation because he was trying to save Marguerite and thereby forces her to meet his alternate self.

(Read my series review of The Firebird Trilogy)

#7 – Liam (w/ Olivia & Zoey) from No One Needs to Know

It’s not everyday that your girlfriend falls in love with your twin sister…

(Read my review of No One Needs to Know)

#6 – Tess (w/ Dylan & Hannah) from Canton Series

The only girl on my list I can remember reading in a long time that didn’t have to choose between two boys, rather she was the choice between the hero and another girl. This story was simply a case of bad timing for everyone involved!

(Read my series review of The Canton Series)

#5 – Stella (w/ Daniel & Her Mom) from Everything Between Us

I still don’t know how Stella was able to reconcile the fact that the boy she falls in love with used to sleep with her mother–yikes! But to be fair, it wasn’t like it was some deep connection between the two of them and I ended up really liking Daniel by the time I finished the book.

(Read my review of Everything Between Us)

#4 – Death (w/ Evie & Jackson) from The Arcana Chronicles

This one is a little tricky because of the whole reincarnation bit and probably doesn’t really, truly belong on this list but I’m so Team Death it isn’t even funny. While this love triangle pisses me off to no end when I read the series, I can’t help but feel bad for Death because he has waited so long for Evie to return. Ok, so maybe that waiting wasn’t totally romantic and was totally evil but, he’s had over a hundred years to feel the burn of Evie’s last betrayal so sue me that I sympathize with him a little bit!

#3 – Ren (w/ Calla & Shay) from Nightshade Trilogy

I was Team Ren from the start so it was not fun watching his complete downward spiral as the series progressed. I swear, every bad thing that could happen to a character in a book series happened to this guy! I thought he was a much better match for Calla and the only reason he didn’t get her in the end was because they were cast as an arranged relationship from the time they were kids and she couldn’t deal with it–sigh. I would have picked you Ren <3

(Read my series review of The Nightshade Trilogy)

#2 – Xander (w/ Cassia & Ky) the Matched Trilogy

In my opinion, Ky was duller than a rock. I just did not get the appeal of his character whatsoever. Again, I think for poor Xander it was simply the fact that he got Matched to Cassia that killed any chance he had with her. If he had simply revealed his trump card earlier, he might have got her in the end. Not that she was any prize, so maybe it was a good thing!

(Read my series review of The Matched Trilogy)

#1 – Keenan (w/ Aislinn & Seth + Donia) from The Wicked Lovely Series

Nothing is more heartbreaking than finding the queen your kingdom needs in someone who doesn’t want you or having the girl you truly love act as your enemy–and poor Keenan gets shafted with both. Doesn’t get much worse than that but I applaud both Aislinn and Keenan for trying so hard when it was inevitable that it wouldn’t work.

(Read my series review of The Wicked Lovely Series)

#If I only got One Choice – Adrian (w/ Rose & Dimitri) from The Vampire Academy Series

I loved Adrian from the minute we met him and while I was totally Team Dimitri, I honestly would have been happy with either of these guys winning Rose’s heart. I’m glad in the end that Adrian didn’t, because him and Sydney are amazing together, but when it came to the VA series, Adrian was a solid choice for Rose in my books.

(Read my series review of The Vampire Academy Series)

 

Was there any love interest that YOU loved but the lead didn’t end up picking?

Movie Mondays: The Book Thief

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering + my Everything YA April Mini-Challenge Pick:

Book: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2006) | Movie: The Book Thief (2013)

Which did I read/see first? The BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

AuthorMarkus Zusak
Genre: Young Adult, Historic, War, WWII
Point of View: First & Third Person, Single (It is told by a narrator)

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What I was expecting/Why I picked it up:

The Book Thief has been on my TBR for a very long time thanks to numerous friends recommending it to me. But it moved up on my list after the movie was released and I saw it listed on Netflix. Then I needed a book-to-movie-adaptation for my April Everything YA Challenge plus a WWII book for my Bookish Bingo: Ready for Spring 2015 Card and this book fit the match perfectly!

I’ll be honest: I really didn’t know what to expect from this book other than it was going to make me sad. The only YA WWII book I’ve read is Violins of Autumn where the lead becomes a spy, so this was a completely different side of the war I hadn’t read about before so I was looking forward to it.

What I liked:

I really liked how this book was written. I love how it was set up almost like a play where you get little spinets for each part and then get each scene. It kept things interesting and despite its long length, it moved at is surprisingly faster pace–at least for the first half.

I also loved Death’s narration and takes on things! He was surprisingly humorous in some cases–albeit darker humour–but I laughed a few times reading this which surprised me.

What I didn’t like:

I won’t lie: sometimes I had a hard time understanding what was happening because of the narration style. Sometimes I found it to be very vague and because I was only reading parts at a time, I found it hard to keep track of characters and what was actually happening. It also jumps around a bit with foreshadowing and scenes from the past.

I also thought this book was too long. I like more actions to my novels–and I feel awful saying this because it takes place during a war which is not a happy setting–it was a little too monotonous for me. While I appreciate how it captures the daily life of families in Germany during WWII, I felt like to took the plot a long time to move forward. It became a little tedious to read. It could have been half the length it was and I still would have been satisfied with the book–probably even more so! It reminded me a lot of To Kill a Mockingbird in that sense–but instead of the second half being about Tom Robinson’s trial, The Book Thief is like the first half of the book where you read about Scout’s everyday life as a kid.

overall

I can appreciate that this book is extremely well done and does a fantastic job capturing what it was like for German youth during WWII–it just isn’t my particular cup of tea so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. It’s slower in it’s pace and was far to long for me to fully enjoy.

Rating: 4/5
similarreads

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley

Were My Expectations Met?

I was really looking forward to this movie when I was only a few pages into the book. I think I knew as soon as I started reading that I was going to enjoy the movie a lot more than I did the book.

I enjoyed the major plotlines of the book but I could have done without the repetitiveness of everyday life and some events. So I knew/expected the movie to focus on the big stuff and not so much on the small stuff which is what I wanted.

And it really did! I was much more emotional watching the movie than when I was reading book. I think it was because I could actually see the events unfolding before my eyes. Reading about the events of WWII is one thing but actually witnessing the horrors is another; even if it is just a reenactment. I also think some scenes were so bittersweet because I knew what was going to happen to some of these characters.

How Close is it to the Book?

I would say it is very close to the book. The major events of the story are almost identical in the movie. There are a few little changes and some minor scenes have been added, but they stay true to the idea/theme of the book so I really didn’t mind.

Did I Like the Cast?

Am I the only one who sees Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbarossa in everything that he does now? Even without the eyeliner and the large hat, he is still the Captain to me. However, I thought he did a great job as Papa.

The rest of the cast was exceptional! While they subdued the role of Death, Roger Allam had the perfect tone when he was speaking. Sophie Nélisse did a great job as Liesel and Nico Liersch as Rudy was simply adorable.

thewinneris winmovie

While both are exceptional pieces of works in their own rights, I much preferred the condensed version of the movie. I thought it captured the essence of the book but was a lot easier to follow and more captivating.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Book Thief (from Goodreads):
HERE IS A SMALL FACT – YOU ARE GOING TO DIE

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION – THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH

It’s a small story, about:

a girl

an accordionist

some fanatical Germans

a Jewish fist fighter

and quite a lot of thievery.

ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW – DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES

Trailer:

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Series Review: The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

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Synopsis for The Conspiracy of Us (from Goodreads):

A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance–perfect for fans of Ally Carter

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with.

breakdown

Series: The Conspiracy of Us Trilogy
Author: Maggie Hall
# of Books: 3 (The Conspiracy of Us, Maps of Fate, The Ends of the World)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Adventure, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2015 -July 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook (#1); Audiobook (#2 & #3)

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**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked The Conspiracy of Us Up:

What drew me to this book was the cover, but what made me want to read it was the hook that it was “perfect for fans of Ally Carter”. It’s no secret that I fall prey to these every-time; especially when they are for Ally Carter. Let me explain why: Ally Carter is one of my favourite authors because I love her strong heroines and the suspense of her novels. While Gallagher Girls started off more light-hearted and fun, it definitely became more intricate in the plot later on; whereas Heist Society always seemed more tense and serious to me right from the start. Most of the time when books say they are perfect for Ally Carter fans they are referring more to the style of Heist Society–which I liked but didn’t really love–and how it is intricate right form the get-go. Which is fine because I’m still looking for that perfect heist novel, but I can’t wait until I find a book with the same flare as the Gallagher Girls Series.

The Concept:

Regardless, The Conspiracy of Us is its own novel. The premise reminded me a bit of the slightly darker novel The Book of Blood and Shadow–a book I thought had a great premise but a poor execution.

For the most part The Conspiracy of Us had a good execution. However, it was difficult for me to get past the idea that Avery literally jumps on a plane to travel across the world with two boys she barely knows without any hesitation. I understand that this event had to happen to get the story in motion; and to a certain degree I could see why she would jump at the first chance she gets to any information about her unknown family past. But, I just wanted to see a few lines about her concerns or why it could potentially be a bad idea. It just frustrated me because, for the most part, I felt like she was a rational character with everything else that happens in the book.

The Plot:

The book is pretty slow until you get about half-way through. That’s when the clues start to come into play and the pace of the book picks up exponentially. Which is why I am giving the book a 3.5 instead of a solid 4 because that first half of the book really didn’t do much story-wise and felt a little unnecessary.

While some of the events are cliche to a mystery novel, I thought the whole prophecy/mystery bit was a lot of fun. There were a lot of little unexpected twists that accompanied it and that made me excited to continue reading. It actually reminded me a lot of a Young Adult version of Juliet by Anne Fortier in terms of its execution (though the plots are completely different!).

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m looking forward to the sequel but I am not dying to pick it up.

updates

–May 9, 2018– Book #2: Map of Fates

Yikes! This book was a complete miss for me. I probably should have DNF’d it but the whole prophecy thing has got me invested (even though I knew the solution very early on). I felt like this book spend far too much time on the mundane. The constant back and forth for Avery’s love life was exhausting and not enjoyable in the slightest. I will say that there were some good twists along the way but they don’t get a ton of screen time in the long run so this made for a duller read.

At first I thought it was the fact that I was listening to the audio version and the narrator is one of my least favourite to listen to. However, I actually thought she did a great job so I can’t really complain about that aspect.

–May 23, 2018– Book #3: The Ends of the World

My reading experience here was much more positive than the previous. I thought this book started with a “bang” and had great momentum…up until the halfway point when we seem to reiterate the same romance themes again and again. By this point, I had warmed up to the romance a little more but I did find the scenes to be tiresome as they distracted from the thrilling plot line.

There were some good twists along the way and I did like how everything wrapped up so it’s a solid finale when all is said and done.

Series Rating: 3/5

The Conspiracy of Us 3.5/5 | Map of Fates 2/5 | The Ends of the World 3/5

overall

A unique premise to be sure but this series just gets too caught up in its other factors, dampening the reading experience.

Read if You Like: more romance focused, love triangles, conspiracy theories
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more suspense

similarreads

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Meme-ful Moment: Does Being a Blogger Make You Read Differently?

memefulmoments
Meme-ful Moments: At the end of the month I’ll post a book-related meme that I think brings up an interesting discussion about books. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


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(Meme from: Google)

I suppose this meme doesn’t really work for the topic I am about to discuss but it was as good as it was going to get 😛

So the question I have been asking myself recently is: does the fact that I write a book review blog influence my enjoyment of reading? I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years–which is really only a few months short of when I got my GoodReads account and actually started to officially rate the books I read. So it was hard for me to decide whether or not having a review blog has changed how I read because I hadn’t really been rating books for all that long before I started to blog.

Then I decided to ask myself some questions…

Does having a blog influence what books I read next?

To a certain degree it does. Because I have review “themes” dedicated to new series and standalones, I try to make sure I read one or two of each every month. And of course, because I review whole series I read tons of series now. So in that sense–reading challenges aside–my blogging does influence the books I select.

I also make a conscious decision to read some “bigger name” novels as well as “indie” reads. I pick “big-name” reads because they–honestly–draw more traffic to my blog. I don’t see a point to hide that fact since reviewing a book that everyone is talking about is universally known to get more readers; especially search engine traffic. However, I love reading indie reads! All these authors have to start somewhere–especially in today’s often over-saturated market–and there are so many talented independent publishers out there who don’t get the attention they deserve because no one is talking about their book! Social media is such a unique tool that brings something that was once obscure into the realm of attention and it’s one of the coolest things about blogging! Case and point some of the fan-fiction series that are now New York Times Bestsellers–word of blog really works!

Am I more critical about the books I do end up reading?

Sometimes. I find if I am loving a book I don’t really worry about what my review is going to contain. I actually find it harder to write about a book I’ve given 5 stars to because I get so caught up in the experience and I have a hard time expressing why I loved the book as much as I did. (Part of this problem is my philosophy not to write about spoilers so it really limits how much you can praise a book for its parts when you can’t reveal those parts).

On the other side of the coin, if I am not loving a book so much, I actually start formulating my review in my head as I read! And I worry that by doing this I don’t really give the book a fair chance to improve itself.

Case and point: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (it is actually the inspiration for this Musing because the idea came to me as I was reading it).  I had a hard time getting into this book because the heroine annoyed me. And once I established that I disliked her, I also started to list all the other things I didn’t like about the novel, composing my review as I was reading. I had to force myself to stop, clear my head and refocus on the words of the book and not the words of my review. I found that once I did that, I started to enjoy the book and find parts I actually did like. (My review for that series will be published next month!)

Am I constantly comparing books I read to each other?

I did this naturally, before I even blogged so I really don’t think blogging is a factor. Perhaps I get a little more critical about how similar books can be but I think I always compare things in my everyday life so I really don’t see a change.

I also have a habit of blending two things together. For example, to me Richard Armitage is the love child of Hugh Jackman and Michael Fassbender (look at pictures, you’ll see what I mean). So I find that in reviews I often explain a book by combining other series together–I just think it’s a clearer way of getting my point across (unless people haven’t read those series than its a mute point). I actually decided to make this hybrid blending habit of mine a seasonal feature so you can see that next month as well!

Do I constantly comparing my thoughts/reviews to other bloggers/reviewers?

Call me weird and/or a hypocrite, but I don’t actually read reviews for books that I already have an interest in reading. That is very hypocritical of me I know! The main reason why is actually spoilers (especially on GoodReads, some people have no filter!) but at the same time, I don’t like having preconceived notions about what to expect before I read the book. You know when someone points out something that wasn’t obvious to you before but now it is all you can see? I don’t want that when I read a book: I want to go in with my own expectations, especially if I’ve been looking forward to this particular book forever! 

I mostly add books to my TBR list because I have read the synopsis and find it interesting and think I will like it. Since I read close to 200 books a year, I think I have a good handle on what I like and what I don’t like. However, if I read the synopsis and I’m not sure if I want to read the book or I like the synopsis but notice the ratings for it are low, that’s when I will read other people’s reviews. If they are mostly positive or say something that appeals to me, I add the book but give it an “unsure expectations” tag so that I know I was hesitant to pick up book and I can go into the book with an open mind. So the long and short of it is, I turn to reviews when I’m not sure if I will like a book or not.

I do read reviews about books/series that I have already read to see what other people think. Everyone has their own opinions and what I might have loved another might hate. I just love reading the different perspectives that are out there.

***

So what about you? Do you think becoming a blogger has influenced how you read? Do you think you are more or less critical? Do you take into consideration your blog when you pick your next book to read? Are you constantly comparing things or other blog reviews together?

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Top Ten Tuesdays: ALL TIME Favourite Authors [4]

toptentues

Top Ten Tuesdays: Is a weekly meme feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers post their Top 10 List for an assigned topic! I will not be participating every week, but I will occasionally take a shot at it! You can always find these lists (past, present and original) on my Riffle Page!


This Week’s Topic:

Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors

I wasn’t planning on writing any more Top Ten Posts for April but these next two weeks were too good to pass up!

I think the title gives it all so without further ado:

Here are my picks for my ALL TIME Favourite Authors:

(in no particular order):

  1. Tessa Dare – my favourite Regency read author for her humour and sexual tension
  2. Monica Murphy – love her characters
  3. Lesley Livingston – a great Canadian author who seamlessly blends mythology and Shakespeare into her works
  4. Richelle Mead – her stories always have a great blend of action and romance
  5. Cassandra Clare – her worldbuilding skills are second to none
  6. Cora Carmack – her romance reads have a great blend of romance and humour
  7. Meg Cabot – I think I read all her books as a Teen, even her adult romances!
  8. Abbi Glines – if I want a juicy, drama-filled New Adult read she is my #1
  9. Jennifer L. Armentrout – while I find her works to sometimes be formulaic, I enjoy that her stories have unique spins (ex. gargoyles, aliens, etc)
  10. Colleen Hoover – the newest addition on this list but she writes flawless New Adult stories

You can check out more of my favourite authors on my Top Picks Page of my blog 🙂

Do we share any favourite authors?

Movie Mondays: Insurgent

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (2012) | Movie: The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015)

Which did I read/see first? The BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

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The Book:

Series: Divergent Trilogy (#2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Action, Romance
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

Trying to follow-up from the awesomeness that is Divergent is a huge task and one I felt Insurgent didn’t meet. You know, I hardly remember anything about this book except how it ends because that ending shocked me completely and made me excited to read Allegiant.

It’s weird because things definitely happened throughout Insurgent. We are never in the same place for very long and there are various twists along the way that set-up great things in the future. So maybe that is where this book fails: building up for future events and not paying enough attention to its own plot. It’s the curse of the middle book in a trilogy and it’s a shame that Insurgent had to fall prey to it.

As I said in my series review of the trilogy, Insurgent lacks a lot of action; especially when compared to Divergent. So I think in that respect that was why I found it to be a little slower.

Conclusion:

Looking back at my GoodReads ranking of Insurgent, I see that I gave it a 5. And I definitely know why I did: because it set things up perfectly for the last book with that ending. So the ending is definitely a 5/5 but I’d give the book a 4/5. (Also, I read this like 3 years ago so I guess it’s normal to forget what happened)

Rating: 4/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy #1); Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky Trilogy #1); Matched by Ally Condie (Matched Trilogy #1) and Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy #1)

The Movie:

Were my Expectations Met?

So I was expecting this movie to be a lot faster paced than I remembered the book to be and it definitely was! I found Insurgent never really had a dull moment and it kept my full attention. Seeing all the simulation aspects come to life was really cool and I thought it was well done. There were some cheesy moments and two weird camera shots but all in all, I thought it captured the essence of the series well.

How Close is it to the Book?

After my quick Wikipedia look at the what happened in the book, I realized they changed a lot. Some things were minor (like Tori’s brother) and I think that change was for the best. Like I said, I felt like the book had too much going on and the movie simplified it to some extent.

However, they changed the ending and that really pissed me off. OK, to be fair, it’s just one little detail but it was truly the best part of the ending to me when I read the book. So I left the movie pretty upset that they changed it.

I also like that the relationship between Tris and Four isn’t so wishy-washy. They really present a united front more-so in the movie than they do in the book–which was great because they are one of my favourite literary couples to read/watch.

Did I Like the Cast?

HELL YES! Man, the casting in this movie is fantastic! I know some people don’t like Shailene Woodley but I thought she did a great job as Tris, just like she did in the first movie. I really don’t need to say how great Theo James is as Four–and I’m not talking about his looks…much. No, in all seriousness, he is exactly how I wanted Four to be in all aspects of the character.

Like most people, I developed a huge crush on Ansel Elgort after he starred in The Fault in Our Stars. But even he couldn’t save me from hating Caleb–so job well done Ansel 😉 And Miles Teller–where have you been all my life! If you had asked me if I would have liked Peter EVER, I would have flat out said “no”. But Miles really presented a Peter that was charming and fun and he was one of the best parts of the movie to me.

What Am I Expecting Next?

While I think splitting up Allegiant into two movies is a very, very stupid idea (it was by-far the dullest of all the books) and only see it as a money grab: I am slightly excited to see where they take it. A lot of the plot changes they made really leave the world beyond the wall a huge mystery and I’m honestly not sure what direction they are going to take it.

I fear that it is going to be another Mocking Jay Part 1 scenario where we get a whole lot of talking and not so much doing. *sigh*

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the MOVIE? You know, I really don’t know what to pick! In some ways, I like the faster pace of the movie a lot more than the book but to be fair to the book, it’s been sooooo long since I read it. For now, I’m going to say the movie and if I ever reread the series, I’ll reevaluate this 😉

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Insurgent (from Goodreads):

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so

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Series Review: Beau Rivage by Sarah Cross

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Series: Beau Rivage
Author: Sarah Cross
# of Books: 2 (Kill Me Softly, Tear Me Apart)

There are two novellas: After the Ball and Twin Roses

Book Order: Connected but follow chronological events
Complete?: So far–but more books could be published
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retellings, Romance, Drama, Fantasy, Dark
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple

Thoughts:

I read Kill Me Softly a long time ago (before a sequel was ever announced) and I really don’t remember all that much about it. I know I didn’t love it but I enjoyed the world Sarah Cross created and was open to the idea of read its sequels.

I think it should be a big disclaimer that these fairy-tale retellings are true to the original tales: meaning they are gory and not always that happy as they primarily focus on the curses. Don’t go into these books thinking you are reading some light-hearted, Disney-esque fairy tale retellings (like any of Alex Finn’s novels) because you will be sorely disappointed! The best way to describe it is like a darker Into the Woods (the movie/play) as a book featuring teenaged characters.

So I went into Tear You Apart not really remembering anything about Kill Me Softly.You really definitely don’t have to read Kill Me Softly to enjoy Tear You Apart but it does help you to be more familiar with the world of Beau Rivage. but I found that Tear me Apart brought me up to speed quickly enough…it just wasn’t enough to keep my attention for long.

I actually read Tear You Apart in two installments. The first time I read it I was away on vacation and I found that the book couldn’t keep my attention. To be fair, I was reading it when I was tired and had found a spare moment to pick it up. However, I really did feel like the story moved too slowly for me to actually enjoy it. I loved the premise and I really didn’t mind all the angst but it just took too long to get somewhere. So I stopped reading it when I was about a third of the way through and decided to try it again later when I could give it a fair shot.

When I picked it up the second time, I found it much easier to read and I think that was the case because the plot actually starts to move somewhere. Instead of focusing on one girl’s curse we get multiple curses at play and that just made things much more interesting to me. It gets a little darker as well and I really had no idea how it was all going to end.

While there are no immediate plans for more novels in this series I would be open to reading them if they ever do get published. The biggest reason I rate this series on the lower end of the spectrum is because I haven’t found any characters that I truly like. I love the world and I love the incorporation of multiple fairy tales but I just have a hard time finding characters I want to root for. And perhaps that is part of the charm or goal for this series–who knows?–but I just haven’t made that strong enough connection to bump up my rating.

I do want to read the novellas since I think I might like those characters more and they sound interesting. My library has yet to get them so I have no immediate plans to read them. But if given the chance, I would read them.

Conclusion:

For those who like darker stories, especially fairy tales, this is a great series for you!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No.

Similar Reads: Devoured by Amanda Marrone

Synopsis for Kill Me Softly (from Goodreads):
Mirabelle’s past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents’ tragic deaths to her guardians’ half-truths about why she can’t return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who’s a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren’t pretty things, and they don’t always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she’ll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

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Tags: The Ultimate Book Tag

The Ultimate Book Tag

I was tagged by Summer @ xingsings a little while ago so thanks Summer! I’ve really enjoyed following your blog this year and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you and your blog!

So, let the madness begin!

1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Sometimes I do, but most of the time I don’t. I used to have an hour bus ride to and from my high school so that was when I did most of my reading. Now that I walk to school, I find I can get motion sickness if I’m in a car but only on occasion. (I think sometimes its a weird combo of wearing glasses and using my eReader :S)

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

My first instinct is to say Shakespeare but I think he just really popularized a lot of themes and created a lot of words. I find his works (both plays and poems) are so much fun to analyze because you can interpret them so many different ways. Whether or not that was his intention or it’s just a matter of people reading too much into things, I’m not sure. But he is one of my favourite writers.

Chaucer is my second answer. I’ve only read parts of Canterbury Tales but I’ve never read anything like that before. I loved his satire style and I wish I studied him more in my classes.

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.

It’s a dirty secret of mine that I have never finished a Harry Potter book in my life. I tried with 3 different books but never managed to finish it. I can appreciate the world J.K. Rowling has created, it just doesn’t appeal to me. (I rarely enjoy witch/wizard books). So Twilight wins by default because:

  1. I actually finished the whole series
  2. I prefer paranormal series to solely magic based ones
  3. I read a lot of AMAZING vampire series because of the popularity of Twilight

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books)?

I assume this means a backpack for school? If so, I just have a paper clipboard, my keys, phone, wallet and pens.

If it means by book bag for the library, it’s just a random cloth bag that I grab with my library card when I go 🙂

5. Do you smell your books?

No, only because 95% of the books I read are eCopies. But when I do get physical copies from the library, I often smell the funky foods people have spilled all over them *bleh* so gross!

6. Books with or without little illustrations.

I mostly read books without illustrations (just a map maybe at the start). I do read the occasional manga though.

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

Twilight obviously. Fifty Shades of Grey was another. I’m more of a “did I enjoy the story” type of reader than I am a writing/grammar critic so I’m sure there have been a few more.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!

Not particularly though I did love reading Hurry Up Franklin because I thought the berries looked scrumptious!

9. What is the tinniest book on your shelf?

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephan Leacock.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

As embarrassing as this is, I think it’s Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer 😛 As I said before, I mostly use eBooks now. My Kobo tells me my “biggest file” is The Line Between by Tamsyn Bester.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

In a dream world I would be an author but I don’t think I have a great talent for it. I try to write in my spare time and I’ve decided to make it a goal this summer to finish one story that I’ve had brewing in my mind for a while but we will see what happens!

12. When did you get into reading?

2006 when I finished The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants in a weekend. Before that, I would only read when we had silent reading in school and never for pleasure.

13. What is your favourite classic book?

I haven’t finished a lot of classics so I guess Pride and Prejudice. Doesn’t 1984 count? Because I really enjoyed that one as well.

14. In school what was your best subject Language Arts/English?

Yes but I also had high marks in the sciences and math, thus my post-secondary degree in Science. But true story: I totally did better in my university English classes than I did in my Science courses 😛

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?

I’d keep it and put it on my bookshelf. Maybe lend it out to someone I know might want to read it.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?

If this was three years ago, I would have said Divergent haha. Now I would say the Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu (that series needs more fan-fare in my opinion)

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while blogging?

I blog instead of studying for classes. As I write this I should be studying for my microbiology final exam…

Another one is adding books to my TBR or compulsively putting books on hold at the library. (It’s an embarrassing amount currently and one that requires an excel document)

18. What is your favorite word?

I don’t really have a particular word I like the most. I find I say “really” a lot in my reviews. I can tell you some words I hate: “moist” and when people use “scent” as a verb *cringe*

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?

I would say nerd–I like a lot of things people consider “nerdy”. I thought dweeb was the same as dork though…

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?

I always enjoy faerie stories whereas vampire stories are hit or miss. I just love the cunning strength of faeires with all their mind games. I also find that there are more creative spins on faerie stories.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?

Angels have a more interesting back story to me.

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?

I detest werewolf stories (too much alpha male stuff going on) so I’d go with spirits though I don’t read very many books with them.

23. Zombies or Vampires? Why?

This is tough because vampires are really just brain-powered zombies when you think about it. Both are undead but zombies seem to lack control while vampires can think and blend in with society. (Though the movie Warm Bodies would be the exception). I think I would pick vampires just because they make for better predators.

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

Love triangles are the worst–they are the only thing that makes a book an immediate pass for me (three people on the cover? You can bet money that I will NOT be picking it up). I really enjoy the tension in forbidden love stories.

25. And finally: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

Ok, this one is tough because I read a lot of both. I like New Adult romances because I enjoy the drama but I don’t like regular old adult harlequin novels because they are cheesy. I like action-pack novels but the romantic tension needs to have a significant presence for me. So I guess action-packed?


Thanks again Summer! This was a lot of fun!

I just picked a few blogs to tag but please don’t feel obligated to do this tag (especially if you were tagged before!)! Also, anyone can do this tag so feel free to tag yourself 😉 Just leave me a link back so I can see your response!

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Series Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Fav New Adult 2015; Must Read Author
Series: Hopeless
Author: Colleen Hoover
# of Books: 2 (Hopeless, Losing Hope)

There is a FREE standalone novella after book 2 called, Finding Cinderella

Book Order: Alternate POV Sequel; The novella is Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

When I first got into New Adult novels, Hopeless graced every recommended read list I encountered. So I purchased it for my Kobo but didn’t end up reading it until much, much later. And truth be told I probably wouldn’t have picked up for a little while longer if I hadn’t read–and loved–Hoover’s other YA novel, Slammed. Once I read Slammed and saw what Hoover was capable of, I made sure I had the entire Hopeless series in my grasp before I moved them to the top of my to-read pile.

I loved Sky from the moment we met her. I just loved her attitude about things and I loved her interactions with Holder. Their chemistry together was awesome throughout the entire book. One thing I love about these YA/New Adult crossover books is that the leads don’t usually jump right into bed together. You actually get to see them form a relationship that is more than physical chemistry and that is what we had here.

But the best part about this series is the many layers to this story. I really wasn’t sure what the underlying plot was going to be based on the synopsis of Hopeless but once I started reading I thought I had it all figured out based on the little tidbits we get here and there. Well, I was completely wrong! Eventually all these clues add up to be the BIG secret reveal and once it was revealed, all my expectations for the plot were out the door. These big twists are something I commend Colleen Hoover for because I never see them coming in her works and I love how she blows away my preconceived notions so easily. Rarely am I surprised when I read a novel, so when I do get surprised it quickly elevates the book from a 4 star review to a 5. And Hopeless is definitely a book worthy of 5 stars and endless praise. This book is a must read for New Adult fans!

Losing Hope is the alternate POV sequel to Hopeless. This time we get Holder’s take on things and it really does add to the story you get in Hopeless because if fills in some of the blanks about Holder’s actions (not that they weren’t complete in the original story, they are just further elaborated on). It starts a little before Hopeless and ends a little after as well. Like its predecessor, its simply well done. Not only to we get to see some added events but all the events that you want to see from Holder’s POV are included. I know that sometimes it is tempting to read alternate POV sequels congruently with the first book but I highly discourage it because it has major spoilers and will absolutely ruin Hopeless for you!

Finding Cinderella is a novella (FREE on most major eBook sites) about two characters we meet separately in Hopeless and Losing Hope. You could definitely read this book before you read Hopeless because these characters don’t have major roles and Hoover did a great job of not revealing anything about Holder & Sky’s story in the novella. It was super cute, the perfect length and had an unexpected twist (well, it was an expected twist but what the twist actually was was unpredictable). And because it’s FREE you can’t really go wrong with reading it!

Conclusion:

From the two books straight to the novella, this series blew me away. Definitely a favourite series for me and has officially moved Colleen Hoover into must-read author series. For those who like books with lots of layers and don’t mind more mature subject matter, this is an EXCELLENT series for you to grab.

Rating: 5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: HELL YES!!!

Similar Reads: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #1) and Wait for You by J. Lynn (Wait for You Series #1)

Synopsis for Hopeless (from Goodreads):
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

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