Friday, February 28, 2014

Take Control of Your TBR Pile - Goals

Take Control of Your TBR Pile 2014

A couple weeks ago, I reorganized my bookshelves. I actually LOVE reorganizing my bookshelves, although they always need to be in some kind of order (90% of the time alphabetical). This time, I separated my read and unread books. It was terrible! I actually currently have more unread books than books I've finished. To be fair, I do tend to ruthlessly cull books I didn't love and also swap ARCs with fellow bloggers. Regardless, nobody needs as many unread books as I have!

Here's my TBR bookshelf in all it's shameful glory!

So when I saw Take Control of Your TBR Pile, hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, I knew I was in! I need this!

Ok, here's the rules:

  • Link-up! This is open to everyone. If you do not have a blog then link your Facebook or Goodreads account.
  • Make a Goals/updates/Results post (can be combined)
  • Beginning March 1st, 2014 and ending March 31, 2014 at midnight read books from your TBR pile ALL books must have been published before March 2014.
  • Post a review to Goodreads, your blog or Facebook then link it to the Rafflecopter for an entry. (review only needs to be a short one)
  • You can combine events, challenges etc.
  • No novellas for this one peeps
  • The rafflecopter will allow you to enter up to two books daily, so update as soon as you finish a book.
  • Earn an extra entry for adding Take Control Button to your blog, or facebook (with link-back)
  • Use hashtag #TakeControlTBR
  • Rafflecopter will close on April 2, 2014 at midnight and a winner will be chosen. Open internationally as long as Book Depository or Barnes and Noble ship to you. Prize: New 2013 release. I will do pre-orders as well. (may request eBook copy)

I still have a couple of ARCs I need to read in March, so I'm not setting my goal too high. I'm realistically know I can get through 2. So like a champ,  I'm going to double that and set my goal at 4. Who doesn't love a challenge!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature hosted by Jessi of Novel Heartbeat. Each week, we share a little about ourselves and our real lives so we can get to know the people behind the blogs!

This week's topic is guilty pleasures. I have a few:

1. Candy and sweets. This is a big one. I love candy! But I'm trying to cut back a bit now that I'm older because all that candy  has resulted in a bit more weight than I want to carry around. But now and then, there's nothing enjoying a wide variety of candies and sweets!

Copyright by Moyan Brenn

2. Tea. I love tea. I drink a lot. I'm totally part of the loose leaf tea craze. At any given time, I have multiple varieties of tea in my cupboard (and probably at least one more in my locker at work).


3. Buying books. My book shelves are overflowing. I honestly do not need any more books. I think I honest have more unread books than read ones (because I give lots away after reading them). So why do I keep buying books? I've gotten better on this front, but I really love the feeling of sliding a new book onto the shelf!

My bookshelf!
What are your guilty pleasures? I want to know!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: Emilie and the Sky World

Title: Emilie and the Hollow World
Author: Martha Wells
Series: Emilie #2
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Source: I received an ecopy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

A Girl’s Own Adventure in the spirit of Jules Verne

When Emilie and Daniel arrive in Silk Harbor, Professor Abindon, an old colleague of the Marlendes, warns them that she’s observed something strange and potentially deadly in the sky, a disruption in an upper air aether current. But as the Marlendes investigate further, they realize it’s a ship from another aetheric plane. It may be just a friendly explorer, or something far more sinister, but they will have to take an airship into the dangerous air currents to find out. 

Emilie joins the expedition and finds herself deep in personal entanglements, with an angry uncle, an interfering brother, and an estranged mother to worry about as well as a lost family of explorers, the strange landscapes of the upper air, and the deadly menace that inhabits the sky world.

Emilie and the Sky World was a fun follow-up to Emilie and the Hollow World. I love the fun-filled. action-adventure feel of this series.

Emilie is a plucky, likeable young heroine. Her family troubles rear up in this book, with the re-emergence of dreadful Uncle Yeric and the introduction of her younger brother Efrain. However, Emilie doesn't let family issues get her down and brings her courage and quick thinking to another aether adventure.

In this adventure, we go up instead of down and the crew heads to the sky to investigate a disturbance in the aether. While the world is fairly different, the adventure follows a similar slant to the last. There are bad guys to defeat and foreign creatures to befriend. I enjoy the message in this series that even though people may be different (it this case very different!), we can still all get along and be friends.

I'm not sure if this book is officially classified as Young Adult or Middle Grade (I think Emilie is around 14), but it definitely has a Middle Grade feel to it that I really enjoy. There's no romance present, which I find really refreshing! The adventure is always at the forefront of the story, which I really enjoy.

The only slight negative I have is that the action was occasionally a bit hard to follow. With strange aether physics and multiple flying ships, it can get a touch hard to follow, but this was by no means a big problem.

Overall, I have really enjoyed Emilie's adventures so far and am excited for the next book to come out.

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stacking The Shelves (5)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme by Tynga's Reviews to share the books you've recently acquired.

Over the past two weeks, I'm completely avoided Netgalley and requesting review books. I did get one surprise book for review, but I've been working at chipping away at my massive pile of review books rather than requesting anything new. 

For Review:

Rex Regis by L. E. Modesitt Jr. - Thanks to Tor for this surprise. I think this is book 8 in this series and I haven't had a chance to read the previous books, but hopefully soon!. 


Cress by Marissa Meyer - I finally got around to getting a finished copy. So good! Review.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: Tin Star

Title: Tin Star
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Series: Tin Star #1
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Source: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist's leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.

When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula's desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind. 

I absolutely loved the first 150 pages of this book. The world building was enjoyable and I really felt bad for the situation Tula finds herself in. I felt her hatred for Brother Blue deep down and I loved how she was able to carve out a life under less than ideal circumstances. Tula is definitely a survivor and loved watching her learn to adapt to dealing with aliens and life on a satellite.

The other aliens were enjoyable characters as well, especially Heckleck. For a scary bug-looking alien, I really did like him a lot in the end and his kindness towards Tula.

The last 80 pages went downhill. My main (but huge) complaint was that it felt like the author tried to cram some YA romance into the last 80 pages. It felt rushed and unnatural and weird and this book might have been a five star read if it wasn't for that! The whole thing with Reza was weird.

I know a lot of other reviews mention the lack of world building, but I actually didn't have any problems in this area. I felt like there were enough hints dropped as to how the universe got to it's current state and I didn't have any outstanding questions by the last page. And usually I'm a huge stickler for world building.

Overall, I really liked Tin Star, right up until an awkward romance was crammed into the last 80 pages. Honestly, the whole thing with Reza dropped this one from a 4.5 to a 3.5. I love this trend of YA space books!

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Life of a Blogger: Introvert or Extrovert

Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature hosted by Jessi of Novel Heartbeat. Each week, we share a little about ourselves and our real lives so we can get to know the people behind the blogs!

This week's topic is Introvert or Extrovert. This one was certainly easy for me. I am definitely an introvert. I need time to myself and spend a lot of time inside my own head. I'm definitely on the shy side, mostly because I don't want to say anything unless I'm comfortable that it's the right thing to say.

This doesn't mean I don't like people! I love spending time with my friends (real life and all of you online). But I like to have some time to myself and I'm not the best at small talk. Somehow, my last two jobs have involved talking on the phone a great deal. I actually dislike talking on the phone and occasionally completely plan the conversation before calling. I think I end up working in the jobs that I do because I like challenging myself and improving. And I honestly think I have improved myself and my social anxiety has really improved.

Wow, this Life of a Blogger felt way more serious than the last ones, which is kind of nice. What about you, dear readers? Are you an Introvert, an Extrovert or a bit of both?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: The Winner's Curse

Title: The Winner's Curse
Author: Maria Rutkoski 
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Source: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

If I were to use one word to describe this books, it's "serious". Good, but very serious. No giggles and very few smiles in this one!

The Winner's Curse is essentially a tale of forbidden love. However, it's much more than that. It touches of some big themes, such as slavery, class, living up to the expectations of parents and society and military strategy.

Kestrel is a smart and relatable heroine, who's views are a lot easier for readers to associate with compared to the rest of her military, conquering culture. Arin is a bit harder to relate to because he starts out quite sullen, but who wouldn't be in his position.

There isn't a ton of action in the first part of the book. There's a fair bit of world-building going on as we learn about the Valorian and Herrani cultures. THere's also a lot of subtle action: loaded conversations rather than loaded guns. Towards the end, there's a bit more action in the traditional sense.

I liked the ending and I can't wait to continue this trilogy!

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: Unaccompanied Minor

Title: Unaccompanied Minor
Author: Hollis Gillespie
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: January 1, 2014
Source: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Fourteen-year-old April May Manning spent her life on airplanes with her flight attendant parents. When her father dies in a crash, April's mom marries a pilot who turns out to be an abusive jerk, and gets Mom confined to a psychiatric hospital. So April takes off, literally, living on airplanes, using her mother's flight benefits, relying on the flight crews who know she's been shuttling between divorcing parents for a year. Then, there's a hijacking, but why is April's "dad" on board? April flees to the cargo hold with another unaccompanied minor she's met before, and they fight to thwart the hijackers, faking a fire, making weapons from things they find in luggage. At last, locked in the cockpit with a wounded police officer, the boy, and his service dog, April tries to remember everything her parents said to do in a crisis above the clouds. But she knows it won't be enough.

Unaccompanied Minor and I got off to a bit of a rocky start. At first the main character, April, really rubbed me the wrong way. She was super snarky and had no respect for authority (which, to be fair, authority doesn't always do the right thing).

However, as the book continued, I began to enjoy the story and April a lot more. I'm not sure if she got less snarky or I got more used to it or I just saw her other traits that made me like her a lot more.

One thing about this story is that it felt really unrealistic. April goes through more crap before her 16th birthday that anyone should in their whole life. I know people have hard lives, but it felt like such a huge level of crazy that it didn't really feel real to me. However, if I set all of my disbelief aside, Unaccompanied Minor is a very entertaining read. I mean, it's a pair of teens (and company) saving a hijacked plane with only a their wits, a flight attendant manual and an impressive knowledge of MacGyver.

The secondary characters are probably my favorite part of this book. Flo is just awesome and so funny. Officer Ned is such a great guy, despite his gruff persona. 

Give this one a try if you like snarky young protagonists who know how to take care of themselves or airplanes.

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (4)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme by Tynga's Reviews to share the books you've recently acquired.

Here's my new books for the last month or so. Only review books this month. I've been going good at saving money!

Backward Compatible: A Geek Love Story by Sarah Daltry and Pete Clark - Thanks to Netgalley
Secrets and Lies by Jacqueline Green - Thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski - Thanks to Macmillian! Also, is this not the prettiest packaging!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cover Reveal: Rain by Christie Cote

Today I've got a cover reveal for you guys. Debut Indie author Christie Cote's first book Rain is scheduled to be released May 6, 2014 and I'm happy to help get the word out!

There's also a book trailer! I love book trailers!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Life of a Blogger: If You Could Live Anywhere...

Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature hosted by Jessi of Novel Heartbeat. Each week, we share a little about ourselves and our real lives so we can get to know the people behind the blogs!

This week's topic is If You Could Live Anywhere.

My first answer is Hogsmeade! If I found out I was a witch (my Hogwarts letter just got majorly delayed), I'd move to Hogsmeade in a heartbeat, where I would raise Nifflers and Crups in my back garden!

If I'm going to keep things in the real world, I'm not sure! I enjoy everything about living in Canada except for the weather! It was -27 C (-17 F) this morning when I started my car. Brr! I'd have to do a bit more travelling before I'd make a final decision, but Scotland is pretty high on my list, as is my home Canada.

Scotland! Source

Canada! Source

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Review: Cress

Title: Cress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: Feb. 4, 2014
Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

I am so in love with this series that it's ridiculous. With that said, it's so hard for me to write an actual review and not just revert to fangirl flailing. But I will try.

Cress was amazing. I am so in love with the world that Marissa Meyer has created. It feels to intricate and real and, while I definitely don't want to live there, I can't wait to return there when Winter arrives next year.

Great characters make great books and I love the characters in this series. All of the characters from the earlier books feature prominently and we also meet Cress. I love Cress and spent half of the book wanting to give her a big hug. She's so naive, but sincere and lovable. And Thorne! I am definitely a Thorne girl, although I did yell at him at least once. The only character who I didn't enjoy as much was Wolf. I won't give anything away, but he kind of completely shuts down for some of the book and I just wanted to shake him (although then he'd probably bite me).

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a romance girl. But this book had one scene that struck me as so romantic that I couldn't do anything for a moment but grin and clap my hands.

Overall, I'm in love with Cress and the Lunar Chronicles. And while "Winter is Coming", it can't come fast enough.

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Don't Just Take My Word For It:

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