Thursday, September 18, 2014

{Discussion in GIFs} Quality VS. Quantity

*Clears throat as crowd applauds wildly* 

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time that I compose the post that EVERY blogger, vlogger, or anyone who gives other people information inevitably posts. 

Quality VS. Quantity.

I swear, EVERYONE has posted about this and given their verdict. I'm just another discussion post in a sea of *ponders because she has no idea how many people have actually written this post* hundreds. In fact, this post should just be re-titled, "My Two Cents" because how many people are actually going to read about this common topic? 

There HAS to be a reason so many people post about this


It's because EVERYONE goes through the times when they have EVERYTHING in the universe raining down on them, making them figure out what's important

Let's face it.... I just started one of my most important grades and the hardest I have ever gone through. My mom recently passed away. My brain is going through a heck of a lot of extra processing. It was hard BEFORE to get everything done in the day. 

Now? 
There aint no way that gon' happen.
I have to admit.... I have felt a bit down and out at times when it comes to trying to balance school, homework, friends, blogging, reading, and (hopefully soon) vlogging. 

I swear.... this is how I feel at the start of every day
And THIS is how I feel at the end of every day
So I've come to terms with this simple fact.... I won't -no matter how much I try to be superwoman- get ALL of the things done. So instead, I have to accept how much I actually can get done with the hours of the day I have. Most of the time, this has meant that I have had to sacrifice blogging for other things like eating and doing homework. (By rule of thumb, these generally seem like things that have to be number one priorities) 

Yet now.... something magical happens when I do have time to sit down and compose a post filled with oodles of rambles and randomness. 


I have been so much happier, satisfied, and proud of the content I have been producing. I have been !!!excited!!!

Some may even say electrified
Passionate and Enthusiastic about what I'm writing. That Evangelical zeal for blogging that I had had in the beginning of it all has returned. 

I no longer feel obligated, like "UGH, I need to write a post for today."
I instead feel like, "WOW. I get the honor of composing my insane thoughts to share with people on the internet today!"

So there you have it.... my two cents on quality versus quantity in hilarious GIFS (If I do say so myself). What seemed like a curse -not being able to blog as frequently- turned into a blessing that brought me back to the reason I started in the first place. In no way is blogging my actual job (yet you don't know HOW much I wish it was), and I had been putting as much pressure on myself as if it were.  

I will see you soon (hopefully, though I make no promises) with another passion-filled post.


Disclaimer: I don't own, nor do I claim to own any image used in this post other than the signature.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Authors I NEED to Read More Books From: Top 10 Tuesday (12)



Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish that I do arbitrarily when I like the topic. This week's one sounded really fun because of how many books that are on my TBR (Over 1,000) and the large fraction of those that are written by these authors.


Cassandra Clare: I FINALLY read Clockwork Angel in the beginning of September and can't wait to read the rest of The Infernal Devices as well as start reading The Mortal Instruments. It seems like everyone and their second cousin is in love with Jace, Will, and Cassandra's amazing world.


Maya Van Wagenen: I read Maya's debut novel Popular, in August, and I think it may be one of the best debuts I have read this year. I normally am not the biggest fan of memoirs, but Maya just had such a strong, humorous voice and a gift for telling stories that kept her reader (me) captivated in the entire duration of the book.



Matthew Quick: I read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock over a year ago and the novel still resonates with me every time I need to recommend a gritty, inspirational contemporary to anybody. The writing style was unlike any I had ever seen before (half-page annotations), and the main character had a brutally honest teenage voice that couldn't help but speak the painful truth.


Megan Shepherd: The Madman's Daughter was my first ever gothic thriller, and I loved every moment of the creepiness and pure insanity of the premise. The pacing was incredibly fast and the ending left me wanting a heck of a lot more from this author.



E. Lockhart: As you may know, Lockhart's latest novel -We Were Liars- was one of the most buzzed-about summer books for the mysterious outrageousness and plot twist. I really want to see if her other books are just as lyrical, with other unreliable narrators.


Amy Zhang: This teenager's debut novel Falling Into Place just hit shelves last week and was my most anticipated contemporary read of 2014. The prose was beautiful, the narrator.... a puzzle, and the plot.... a multi-layered onion. I can't wait to see what Zhang does with her talent with her standalones which are to be published in 2015 and 2016.


Winter Page: This is ironically another high schooler who had her debut novel come out this year. Breaking Free was about a Lesbian Transgender person and the struggles she went through in high school as well as her romantic life. If this premise could have been imagined and executed by a 15 year old, then I am dying to see what Winter can do as she gets older.


Helene Dunbar: This author's debut novel These Gentle Wounds came out May 2014, and was one of the most memorable and unique books I have ever read. The story is told from the perspective of Gordie, a teenage boy who has a serious case of PTSD because of a terrifying event that happened when he was little. The story was inspirational and thought-provoking, and I most definitely want to read more from Helene.



Leila Sales: In 2013, EVERYONE had gone crazy for This Song Will Save Your Life, and when I read the book in January.... my reaction was no different. Elise was such a neat character that I would die to be BFFs with in real life. The premise and musical aspect was interesting, and I just want to read more of Leila's dry humor and enjoyable prose.


A.S. King: The BookTuber Ariel Bisset is always raving about King, and the amount of passion Ariel has for this author makes me want to read more books by her. I wasn't the biggest fan of Everybody See the Ants, but reading only one book is subjective in terms of your opinion of the author, and I really want to read more by her.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

{ARC Review} Anatomy of a Misfit: Andrea Portes

Rating: 5/10
Series: None
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic,
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Page Count: 330
Format: ARC
Source: HarperTeen via Once Upon a Time Bookstore

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: This emotional, hilarious, devastating, and ultimately triumphant YA debut, based on actual events, recounts one girl’s rejection of her high school’s hierarchy—and her discovery of her true self in the face of tragedy.

Fall’s buzzed-about, in-house favorite.

Outside, Anika Dragomir is all lip gloss and blond hair—the third most popular girl in school. Inside, she’s a freak: a mix of dark thoughts, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA (after all, her father is Romanian). But she keeps it under wraps to maintain her social position. One step out of line and Becky Vilhauer, first most popular girl in school, will make her life hell. So when former loner Logan McDonough shows up one September hotter, smarter, and more mysterious than ever, Anika knows she can’t get involved. It would be insane to throw away her social safety for a nerd. So what if that nerd is now a black-leather-jacket-wearing dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life? Who cares if the right girl could help him with all that, maybe even save him from it? Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates? Who?

Anatomy of a Misfit is Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Anika’s hilariously deadpan delivery will appeal to readers for its honesty and depth. The so-sad-it’s-funny high school setting will pull readers in, but when the story’s dark foreboding gradually takes over, the devastating penultimate tragedy hits like a punch to the gut. Readers will ride the highs and lows alongside funny, flawed Anika — from laughter to tears, and everything in between.



Disclaimer: I received this book from HarperTeen via Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose, California in exchange for an honest review.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?
Fans of The Truth About Alice (Jennifer Matthieu), 
Fans of the Protagonists from Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver), Falling Into Place (Amy Zhang), Tease Amanda Maciel, Catalyst (Laurie Halse Anderson), Winger (Andrew Smith).

Would I Buy It?
10%
The only way I would buy Anatomy of a Misfit is if it was on a BIG TIME sale, and I felt that the hardcover version was a must-have addition to my bookshelf (aka. an insanely cool texture with the green being matte and the text, floor, and chairs being shiny). 

Background & Backstory
When Maureen (the owner of Once Upon a Time) so generously allowed me to pick out some ARCs I wanted to read, I IMMEDIATELY gravitated towards Anatomy of a Misfit because of all the release-week buzz going on during Tea Time from Epic Reads (HarperTeen's promotional website). There had been so much praise being handed out about the unique, fresh voice in YA literature, quirky protagonist, and insane plot. 

So by the time I saw it on the OUAT's ARC shelf, my mind had pitched the book to itself as, "Andrew Smith meets Before I Fall," which, of course, sounds amazing.

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?
No! It CAN'T end like that. I won't let it! *crosses arms and pouts*

Neutral Element ~ I normally don't like to put restraints on books, whatever they may be. Yet in the case of Anatomy of a Misfit, I feel that it is fair to warn you about how time-sensitive it is. In my honest opinion, you HAVE to be in the mood for a high-school story featuring a popular girl. This is in the same way you feel the urge to pick up a Stephanie Perkins book after a dark, serious, pulse-pounding psychological thriller. Or how you pick up a fantasy book so you can escape our world when going through a rough patch. I was not in the mood AofM, which greatly impacted my reading enjoyment and rating.

Con ~ The Main Character/Perspective 3/10: I had a serious case of, "Should this story be told in the POV of this character?" while reading Anatomy of a Misfit. My best example of this is how Veronica Roth had had a block while writing Divergent because she started off writing from Four's point of view before she settled into Tris. I believe that this story could have been told by multiple characters -similar to Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang- or by an unreliable narrator, such as Cady from We Were Liars. The reason I had these feelings were because Annika seemed too much like a fill-in-the-blank popular girl in YA fiction with the majority of the story told in high school. You may be thinking, "What the heck Sofia! Name three books with that 'type' of character." To answer you, I will reply, "Just look at how many books I have referred to you." 

Annika is deep. 
Annika's life is far from perfect. 
Annika is a troubled soul. 

This is where I will bring up the fact that I didn't understand what people were referring to when they said, "hilariously deadpan delivery will appeal to readers for its honesty and depth." My connection with Annika was so weak, that it was kind of pathetic. I never got a feel for who she was and what she stood for. There was so much tell-and-don't-show going on, as well as a lot of unbelievable aspects of her character. The 3rd most popular girl has never been kissed or gone out on a date. How the heck, in Young Adult Fiction, does that work?


Pro ~ Logan 9/10: Ahhh Logan. The tall, dark, smoking hot nerd, and loner. I never could figure him out, but for once, that aspect of mystery didn't annoy me as a reader. I embraced how little was known about him and the mask that he constantly wore for protection.  He seemed so much like Kurt from The Truth About Alice, and he understood and accepted Annika for who she was. To be honest, she treated him like crap, and that made me root for him all the more. To tell you his fate would be to tell spoil the ending, but I will say that you will love him all the more because of it.  

***This next category could be considered spoilers, but aren't because of what is hinted at in the synopsis is merely confirmed. If you don't want know, continue reading after this category is over***

Con ~ A MC Who Doesn't Have Their Act Together 4/10: I'm sorry I'm making a big fuss over Annika again, but I had to mention this in a separate Con by itself. There is a.... love triangle in this novel, AND there is cheating involved. I have a love-hate relationship with love triangles, and in this particular book's case, it was a hate relationship. I personally felt it was a plot device used by the author to create more conflict.

To be frank, this really peeves me off because of the difference between putting an element into your story because it's needed for flow and consistency versus putting it in because you want certain characters to have friction and clash. 

Cheating is also a subject that a lot of people (myself included) are morally against, especially when a character can't accept the amazing person they have opposed to someone they start getting involved in purely for personal gain and/or status. 

Stealing. Why the frick did Annika have to start steeling from where she worked? As always, the main character justified their actions in order to make them appear not totally unreasonable (yes, I know that's a double negative). Yet why?!? This again comes around to the subject of personal preference, but Annika WAS NOT a martyr who was a symbol of purity for the common good. She lied, cheated, and stole for no reason but her own selfish beliefs.    

Pro ~ Ending/Unpredictability 8/10: I have to hand it to Portes. NOTHING about Anatomy of a Misfit was predictable. Even though AoaM was far from a suspense novel, I had no idea what was going to happen next. There were several random events that came out of the blue, adding more depth to the story. And while I do not want to spoil it for you, I just gotta tell you (I'm sacrificing my grammar, I have to tell you so much) that the ending is heartwrenching. My favorite character has something tragic happen to them and the level of feels were a bit ridiculous at 11:30 at night.


How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?
50%
I normally would not even consider a book I didn't think very highly of, but as I have continued to blog and write reviews, my mind has learned to compartmentalize the pros and cons in a novel. With that said, I think re-reading Anatomy of a Misfit, having known what will happen, will give me a whole new perspective as well as appreciation for it.

How Likely Is It That I Will Read Another Book Written By This Author?
75%
While I am not dying to get my hands on another Andrea Portes book, I am sincerely interested with what she chooses to write about next and maybe hearing from a different sort of character. Anatomy of a Misfit had the potential in the Sofia rankings to be a strong debut, just in a "wrong time-wrong place" scenario for my bookish mood.

Conclusion: Unique Voice. Dry Humor. Smoking Hot Guys. Cliff-Hangers. If you like all of those,  as well as a certain type of narrator, this is the book for you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

{Book Review} On the Fence: Kasie West

Rating: 6.75/10
Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic, Romance, Young Adult, Fiction,
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Page Count: 294
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.



Who Would I Recommend This Book To?
Would I Buy It?
30%
Because the re-readability isn't very high, neither is the possibility of me purchasing it. While On the Fence was a cute book, I don't think it will go down in history for its storyline. The cover and spine aren't the most appealing, to be displayed on my bookshelf either. 

Background & Backstory


Again, there isn't an elaborate back story to go with this book.... I am SO losing my touch. I did however read The Distance Between Us also by Kasie West which is what made me pick up On the Fence. 

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?

Sequel is needed!

Pro ~ Cameos!!!: On the Fence could be considered a distantly related cousin to The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. In case you are wondering, I have read and guest reviewed TDBU on Divergent Gryffindor's blog, so you can click on this link to learn my thoughts about OtF's relative. It's set in the same town, well actually, the same strip of stores. Even though the book is centered around new characters, we do get cameos from Caymen and (her best friend) Skye which I was so happy about. They were extremely short, but then again, that's what a cameo is.

Con ~ Oblivious Main Character: One of my largest problems and other people's as well was how innocent and oblivious Charlie was when she was thrust into the world of femininity. It was similar to the children's book The Music of the Dolphins by Karen Hesse. The protagonist had been raised by dolphins and had never been into what we consider civilization before. She was fascinated with every unknown element that she came across with a child-like innocence that was completely understandable in the book. On the other hand, Kasie West -at least in my opinion- did not execute Charlie's discoveries with enough believability. I know she's grown up in a family with all boys.... but she's seriously NEVER had to dress up for ANYTHING before?

Pro ~ Incredibly Fast Pace: This is a YA Contemporary novel, which is Sofia-World means I either flew through it or it took me a week to read. In this case, it was the former. I started On the Fence on the walk down the hill from where my dad parked the car. I finished it around 8 at night. If you ask me, 12 hours is record time for being in school with lots of homework. Kasie West's writing  just rolled off your tongue, like chamomile tea infused with honey.... or maybe eyes, since I was reading silently. I was reading around two pages per minute, and loving every moment of it.

"Why do we pretend during the day that this doesn't happen?"

"Because this is like a dream. It doesn't have to be real. It almost feels like we're floating just outside of consciousness and we can say whatever we want, and in the morning, like with dreams, it just slowly melts away."

Con ~ Cliche Plot: Charlie gets introduced to the world of femininity by the summer job her father forces her to take in order to pay off speeding tickets. She is like a lost baby animal and is clueless most of the time. Yet, it is also a time of self-discovery and a personal journey that will prove to herself that she can like makeup and nice clothes, while still being the sporty, athletic girl that she is. She DOES NOT have to compromise one for the other. During this time, she starts "dating" a guy named Evan, but she comprises her integrity and values by changing who she appeared to be when she was around him. Of course, there is also Braden, her long-time friend and neighbor.... and he doesn't stay just that. You can fill in the rest of the information for yourself, it's the plot of a lot of Rom-Coms and movies about adolescent girls coming to terms with who they are and growing up.

Pro ~ Why that wasn't so bad: I had some issues with the plot.... okay looking through my notes, I have A LOT of issues with the plot. The flow of the story was very Disney Chanel-ey, the plot predictable, and done before. Yet what I had to do when reading On the Fence was separate myself from the storyline so I could focus purely on the feelings it gave me. I had to do this because of my harsh judgement of contemporary romance novels that don't have some paranormal, fantastical, or futuristic element to them. With OtF, I had to set aside my requirements and criteria for normal books and accept it for what it was.

Con ~ Forgettable Characters: The characters were a hassle at times too. Charlie was strong and tough, both physically and emotionally, but when she was so easily steered into the wrong direction (changing herself for a guy), I thought she was pretty pathetic. While I did have a sense of who she, Braden, and Gage were.... a lot of the second tier characters got jumbled up in my mind. Charlie is introduced to a lot of girls who she makes friends with, and they help her discover that girls talk about things OTHER than boys and makeup. Yet, for the life of me, I could not tell you the difference between them.


How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?
20%
I'm pretty certain that I will not be re-reading On the Fence any time soon. It was funny and enjoyable, but there wasn't a gripping story that's making me want to come back for seconds. I can see OtF as the type of comfort-read I would turn to when I needed something happy, but that is the only scenario I can think of,

How Likely Is It That I Will Read Other Contemporary Novels By Kasie West?
80%
I have loved both of Kasie's contemporary novels in the way you can only love contemporary novels. You don't read them for the evangelic zeal of inspiration, or for the non-stop action and adventure. You read them because of the warm, fuzzy bunnies that appear only during young love. On that note, I will most definitely be reading The Fill in Boyfriend when it comes out Summer of 2015.

Conclusion:

What Were Your Thoughts On....?

-The cameos from The Distance Between Us
-The relationship between Charlie and Braden. Are they your new OTP?
-The cliche plot
-Charlie's deer-in-the-headlights reaction to femininity 
-The godawful cover and font
-The meaning behind "On the Fence"


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Discussion in GIFs ~ My Trouble With TBRs and the Painful Truth

I have been wanting to write this discussion post for a heck of a long time, for this one reason.

People must think I am one hell of a LiAr


I know what you're probably thinking.... "Sofia doesn't really like the Legend Trilogy and the Throne of Glass Series! What has this world come to?" No, it's nothing about lying when it comes to my opinions about books, I am 100% honest about those.

But let's get real here. You would think I am a liar when it comes to TBRs. 

Let's see.... How many read-a-thons have I participated in where I actually read even a fraction of the books I had intended to read?

I'm going to go with a grand total of 0 books. 
It's not that I don't want to read those books, I have EVERY intention to read, review, and love all of those books on my read-a-thon TBR. I am the kind of person that loves lists, as well as making goals and striving to achieve them to the best of my ability. So you would think TBRs were perfect. 

Yet.... I'm Sofia. The other day I tried to analyze how many different ways I receive books, both physical and electronic. 

Review Requests     ~     Netgalley     ~     Books I Own     ~     
Physical Library Books     ~     Books Borrowed from Friends     ~     Phyiscal ARCs I Receive from my local Indie Bookstore     ~     
Electronic Library Books     ~     Impulse Buys     ~     Books Bought for Signings     ~     Kindle Daily Deals     ~     Blog Tours

Needless to say.... a lot. A good person would divide up the books they read by source so all review and pleasure books are equal. Yet that doesn't seem to be the case most of the time. I can't tell you how many times there have been impromptu visits to the library of bookstore that rattle my TBR, and reconfigure all of my careful plans. 


At the beginning of the month, a faithful little book blogger would resist the urge to read all of those books they want to read, and just plow through the two or three review books so that they could have commitment-free reading for the rest of the month. Instead, I am the kind of person that waits until two days before my blog tour date and/or review deadline before I start READING the book. 

Also, have you ever had a stack of ARCs (whether they're physical or electronic) that are being published during different points in the year, and you feel the urge to read the ARC being published THREE MONTHS from now instead of the ARC that was published FOUR WEEKS ago?


This happens to me on a daily weekly basis, whether in the context of ARCs, Blog Tours, or Library Books. Until around a week ago when I finally admitted the painful truth.

I'm a Mood Reader.

There, I said it. I'm putting it out there. I'm a mood reader. It has taken me almost a years worth of blogging to figure out that I read books in accordance to how I feel. While constructing my lengthy (of course) TBR, I realized that I was ordering the books by what genre/what mood they would put me in. I knew to stick fluffy contemporaries between high fantasies and "depressing" contemporaries. And I've been SO much happier because of it.

So there you have it, why I don't stick to TBRs (even if I am the type of person that normally would), and my HUGE self-discovery that wouldn't have occurred without blogging.



Thursday, September 4, 2014

{Book Review} Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2): Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 8.9/10
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Romance, Magic, Action, Adventure,
Publisher: Bloomsburry USA Childrens
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Page Count: 418
Format: Hardback
Source: Library

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: "A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend."

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie...and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.



Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Fans of..... strong, female protagonists
action, adventure, and SERIOUS butt-kicking
an aggravating love triangle

Would I Buy It?

95%
Absolutely, positively with a maraschino cherry on top! I'm going to the Sarah J. Maas book signing later this month, and of course, I HAVE to have the full collection of her released books for the signing. 

Background & Backstory

It turns out.... not EVERY book I read has an elaborate backstory about how I obtained it. Literally, the only remotely interesting fact is that I would advice reading a book or two between the time that you read any of Sarah J. Maas' books, because even though I am in love with her.... I'm not certain on her marathonability (new word!). I purposefully didn't pick up Crown of Midnight RIGHT after The Assassin's Blade, because each book is such a rich, thick, adventure, that it might be overwhelming to the everyday reader to jump IMMEDIATELY into the next book.

How Long Did It Take Me To Read This Book?

August 27 - 30
If I had had it my way, I would have read, reviewed, and felt for Crown of Midnight in one day. Unfortunately, life doesn't comply to my whims. It was a rather large book (plus I kinda sorta read another book in between that was for a deadline I should have fulfilled weeks ago), and school has been the biggest thorn in my side possible.

Yet.... we have to remember what is important.
I finished CoM just in time for the release of Heir of Fire.
I think I deserve to be commemorated for that.

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?

Give me Heir of Fire. Now! *stomps feet like 2 y/o*

*This is a kind of "My Overall Thoughts" that I wrote AFTER I finished composing this review, but what I tend to say a lot is that certain elements "weren't the best I had ever seen." Yet, I say it so much that it makes it sound like CoM was a bad book, when in actuality.... I'm praising it's solid reliability and faithfulness to the reader. Some books have a breakneck pace.... but under-developed characters. Other books have a rich, defined world.... but slow plot. Crown of Midnight, on the other hand, has a solid 4 stars on every one of the categories that impact my personal enjoyment of the book*

Characters 8/10:

One of the largest and most prominent changes in CoM from ToG, and even TAB, is that I FINALLY like Celaena. I think part of my brain had never actually believed in character development, but Crown of Midnight proved my sorry arse incorrect. Celaena was forced to wake up by the events in CoM, and realize the world is more than expensive clothes. I actually agreed with the decisions she made, and she didn't aggravate me (all the time) with her arrogance.

Romance 7.75/10:

Ah. The lovely category where I may express all my ship-related feels. In Throne of Glass, I was pretty indifferent to Chaol versus Dorian. It felt waaay too much like the triangle in Defy (Sarah B. Larson) with Rylan, Alexa, and Damian (even the name is similar!) because of the dynamics and positions each character held. 

However, Crown of Midnight somewhat secured my feels.
I am 70% Team Chaol, 30% Team Dorian. 

[hover your cursor over the blacked-out sections for spoilers (Thanks Nath for this tip)] The gist of it is that there's a certain event that happens around two thirds through the book, and I personally think of it as just a plot device used so Celaena can go running into the arms of the other guy. In that aspect, it's annoying, and feels like it will flip flop between Chaol and Dorian the ENTIRE series until one of them dies or she stops being bipolar.

It took sooo long for Chaol and Celaena to kiss, and you could feel the tension rising every scene they were together. Yet, the moment they admitted their feelings? They're suddenly sleeping with each other every day? How does that make any sense? Anyway, they were all good for a while. Then Celaena HAD to go an say that stuff about how she would never forgive him and how he wasn't different. WHY?!? Of course, this gave Dorian and Celaena to bond, and I have a feeling Heir of Fire will be a book about the two of them. 

Pacing 8/10:

So the pacing of this book is quite a puzzle to me.

I gotta admit, it wasn't the most action-packed read, at times, there were whole chapters that bored me. 

Now here's the thing.... 

I was nevertheless enthralled, the ENTIRE time.

Maas has the ability to write with such fluidity and grace that makes her readers want to devour each book at inhuman rates. Her style was never choppy and instead, was consistent throughout my reading experience.

Ending 7/10:

This happened with Throne of Glass as well, but because these novels are SO large, it feels as if the exciting, pulse-pounding events happen.... and then there's a chapter or so of useful, insightful information that sets you up for the next book, but is a killjoy for your enjoyment of the pace.

A similar thing happened with Crown of Midnight. I am eternally grateful for Maas that she left us with a cliffhanger, while still wrapping up and concluding the book nicely. Characters had been dropping minor hints about Celaena's true identity, and when Chaol says it.... my heart literally broke and I wanted to scream out loud. If that isn't a good ending, I don't know what is.

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?

80%
If I didn't have  i in my possession.... I would be half-tempted to just re-read Crown of Midnight again so I can devour more of Sarah J. Maas' amazingness. While I will not be doing that at the moment, I know that I will have to re-read and marathon the whole series around the time that the last book is released. 

2017, get here FASTER! 

Do you know how old I will be by the time the 6th book is released?

How Likely Is It That I Will Read The Sequel To This Book?


99.9%
There is always that slight chance that I won't read a book. You know, if the apocalypse happens, and I'm more worried about books than reading. But besides the apocalypse, there is NOTHING preventing  me from reading Heir of Fire. Especially because of everything I had to go through to obtain my copy (I'm saving the backstory for the review).

Conclusion: A solid, strong, sequel that was even better than the first novel. Maas' worldbuilding, characters, and prose is beautiful, rich, and satisfying.

What Were Your Thoughts On....?

-The pacing and overal flow of CoM
-The ending and revelation of CoM. Did you see the plot twist coming from a mile away?
-Who do you ship Celaena with?
-What do you think the title, Crown of Midnight, means?
-Do you have any dying questions for Sarah J. Maas? If so, please leave them in the comments, because I might be able to have them answered when I go to the signing.


Friday, August 29, 2014

{Book Talk} The Truth About Alice: Jennifer Matthieu


Rating: 9/10
Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic, Fiction, Young Adult, Romance,
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Page Count: 199
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It's true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.

***If you haven't read a review on Loving the Language of Literacy before, be aware that a "Book Review" means all of my NON spoilery thoughts, while a "Book Talk" means a full-out discussion of the book, spoilers and all***



Who Would I Recommend This Book To?


Fans of Falling Into Place (Amy Zhang), Tease (Amanda Maciel), Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver). Hard-core realistic fiction.

Would I Buy It?


This question goes hand in hand with re-readability. It definitely wouldn't be my first purchase with an allotted book budget, but if I was buying books for the sake of adorning my bookshelves with beautiful novels I love.... then 100%.

Background &  Backstory


I have been wanting to read The Truth About Alice probably since the beginning of March when it first showed up on Netgalley. I wasn't approved *tear slides down cheek* but after reading a ton of reviews, it quickly became one of my most anticipated reads of 2014 and let me tell you, it DID NOT disappoint.

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?

Why are you so short? Why? After I've gotten so attached.

So there are FOUR different points of views and intertwining stories that all tell the main character's -Alice's- story. Now I have never read a book like this (unless you count Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang which is an entirely different story), and don't think I ever will again. These four characters -Josh, Elaine, Kelsie, and Kurt- all know Alice somehow. Even if one of them wasn't her former best friend (Kelsie) or had been in love with her since the first time they had met (Kurt), they all knew at least a little bit about her.... the truth. 


Kurt: I loved this guy. He was the quirky nerd that wasn't liked by that many people, and his piece to the puzzle was, at least in my opinion, the most heartbreaking because of the relationship that had evolved between him and Alice by the time the story ended. It just seemed so perfect to add him to the story as someone who idolized Alice and became her one true friend in the midst of the hurricane/disaster that had became her life. Their friendship never turned into a romance. I thought this was a wise decision because of all the rumors about Alice being a slut and then the two of them never do anything that would prove that statement correct. The prospect of them being together, at the very end, just warmed my heart and filled me with ambrosia and nectar goodness.

Kelsie: Why is this b*tch allowed to be in the story? Per human society, it doesn't hurt as much when an enemy does something versus a former friend who you believed would always have your back. Kelsie hurts Alice in such a hypocritical way, and what she did -writing on the "slut stall" that Alice had had an abortion- was so despicable and utterly atrocious.  

Elaine: I get that Elaine's mother had body issues and then proceeded to drag her daughter through the cracks. I get that we needed a front-seat antagonist. I get that Elaine is popular. She was the least likable of the quartet, probably because she was the "popular girl." This angle worked for her in the story, as do most, but I couldn't relate to her, and she was so shallow I wanted to pull my hair out.

Josh: Why the frick would you tell Brandon's mom that it was Alice's fault Brandon died? I mean, what was going through your freaking head? So much of Alice's pain and struggle in this story could have been avoided if Josh could have put his big girl panties on and dealt with the truth/consequences of what he did. He was the classic football jock, but the trope worked for him. I got so many hints throughout the story that Josh was gay and had had a crush on Brandon, and by the looks of reviews.... I'm not the only one.

Even though the plot twist was predictable.... I didn't predict it (as always), but I do think that if you haven't been spoiled or if you aren't very smart when it comes to plot arc (you and me both) that you will enjoy the story so much more. Similar to Falling Into Place, scattered bits and pieces of plot was revealed as the story went on, and the reality of the matter was quite astonishing. 


How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?

30%
What I loved about The Truth About Alice was the masterful way everything fell into place, so we could learn the Truth About Alice. After knowing the ending, I'm not sure I would want to re-read it cover to cover. So the re-readability isn't very high because in that aspect..... it's like a mystery novel.

How Likely Is It That I Will Read Other Books Written By The Author?


The Truth About Alice was Jennifer Matthieu's debut novel, but it definitely has a place in my mental "list of debut authors I really need to read more books by" and we already have a title for her next book -DEVOTED- which is being released in 2015. I don't know anything about the book or its premise, but I am so looking forward to more of Jennifer's wonderful writing.

How Likely Is It That This Book Could Become Required Reading?


65%
(New Review Category! *does happy dance*) I think The Truth About Alice would have a decent chance at becoming required reading. If you have read the novel, you will have seen the power of rumors, gossip, and slut shaming. I think this is an extremely important lesson for adolescents (such as myself), and The Truth About Alice is short, yet concise enough to get the message across without becoming bored with the story.

Conclusion:

What Were Your Thoughts On.....
-The fact that it was actually Kelsie who had the abortion, but then turned it around to accuse Alice?
-How far everything went
-Do you think it was right that Kurt held in the information that could clear Alice's name?
-Do you think Elaine had the right to try to make amends with Alice?
-Do you think Josh was gay?
-If there was an epilogue, do you think Kurt and Alice would become a couple?


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Flurry of Ponderings' Blogger Quiz

Let's be honest, I wasn't sure what I wanted to post today, so you're getting my answers to a handy little  quiz A Flurry of Ponderings has created (we'll just forget the fact that the link-up closed a long time ago). Personally, I love these kinds of tags and/or quizzes because they let you know a little more about myself as well as maybe expose you to new books you haven't heard of previously so without further ado.... The Blogger Quiz.



What are your top three book pet peeves?

Particular me is now wondering whether she meant my pet peeves about the book itself (condition) or the book's content (insta-love). 

My top three pet peeves about the physical book: 

Would it kill you to make the cover that much longer?

1. When it's really large, and has that strip of color on the actual first page of the book, which makes the paperback cover a centimeter shorter than it should be. 
Book One!
2. The order of the books aren't labeled. I mean, how hard would it be for the book jacket designer to put SOMEWHERE what number the book is. Instead, I have to rely on the praise on the back for what I'm guessing, is the previous book. 

This could be book one or 79 for all the information this jacket gives me.
3. When my paperback library books have stupid stickers covering the synopsis. I mean, you're librarians, you want to encourage the reading of the book, not make the reader clueless as to whether or not they want to read it. Us 21st century teenagers are too lazy to drag out our phones to view the full synopsis.


I might want to know what kind of person Celaena is


My top three pet peeves about the book's content: 

1. A Slow Beginning. I know a lot of books have good, quality content with vivid description that makes them a bit slow paced. But would it kill an author to introduce the story in an action-packed, epic way? For example, a lot of high fantasy books need a lot of world-building, therefore slowing down the book's pace, but an author could easily insert an awesome scene where the main character fights against some terrifying force that looms over them for the entire series.

2. Common Dystopian Tropes. I know in the past few years, dystopia has EXPLODED and I love that. What I do not love is feeling like I read a book thats content was copied and pasted. It seems like if you add something special to the book "everyone has a clone in the world that they need to kill" then make the protagonist want to rebel against the government, then BOOM. Bestselling dystopia. [I haven't read Dualed by Elsie Chapman yet, but the book was on the top of my head, but don't let me deter you from the book just because I used its premise as an example]

3. Common Love Triangles. I say common because there are some love triangles that I LOVE and am sincerely torn between which character the protagonist should choose. Yet, nowadays, so many of these love triangles are the same.... the longtime-best-friend-turned-boyfriend and the new-dark-and-mysterious-guy-thrust-into-the-story-to-create-conflict

What book would you love to see come out as a movie?

I have not had much luck with movie adaptations, in terms of liking the adaptation. I think We Were Liars by E. Lockhart would be an interesting adaptation. If you don't know, there's a huge plot twist in the end, and I would love to see how a director could convey the series of events without making the plot twist evident.

What are three bookish secrets?

1. At times, I will start four books at different times, then gradually read pieces of all of them until a week later when I FINALLY finish them all.... usually within a period of one or two days. I don't know why I can't read a book from cover to cover then pick up the next one like a normal person.

2. I am horrible at reading TBR books that I own. Library books are no problem, I go through them like nobody's business. Yet, once I own the book, I pretty much forget about it, or give it up in exchange for other books because library books have a deadline and I feel compelled to make them my priority.

3. I procrastinate when it comes to blog tour books. Even if it was a tour I was DYING to participate in, I am known to be up late the night before my tour date trying to finish the darn book. You would think the deadline would make me read it immediately (like with library books) but it kind of deters me. My brain obviously doesn't like sticking with one opinion or pattern.


When was the last time you cried during a book?

I don't cry because of books. I'm emotionless.

How many books are on your nightstand or on the floor by your bed?

19. There are 19 books on my nightstand and other surface where I keep my TBR books because I ran out of room. on my nightstand. Yeah.... I have issues. 



Do you read with music on or in silence? What music do you listen to?

95% of the time I read with music. Most of the time I just put on Pandora or a Spotify playlist and just listen to that. I find it comforting because I'm the kind of person that doesn't like silence much, and at times it's really ironic when the music matches the events in my book. 

Name three books you would recommend to everyone.

Contemporary



Fantasy



Dystopian


What is your most anticipated book of 2014 that has yet to be released?



EVERYONE who has ever visited Loving the Language of Literacy before knows the answer to this is The Young Elites by Marie Lu.
Describe your reading style in 5 or less words:

Young Adult
Dystopian
Contemporary
Romance
Thought-Provoking

What are four of your favorite book character names?

1. June: Legend Trilogy 
2. Waren: Shatter Me Trilogy
3. Jaron: Ascendance Trilogy
4. Celaena: Throne of Glass
5. Elise Dembowski: This Song Will Save Your Life 


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