Saturday, July 23, 2016

An Innocent Life #14: More Pokemon & Readathon Books


Hello there!

Having experienced now 2 weeks of Pokemon Go, the Make Me Read It Readathon, and my vacation from vacation, you could say I have a lot of to talk about. Too bad! I have nothing for you.

A photo posted by Valerie (@innocent.smiley) on

This year, I read three of my Make Me Read It Books! That ended up being The Winner's Crime, Carry On, and The Knife Of Never Letting Go.

Although I didn't mind reading The Winner's Crime, I felt that it was a little boring, setting up stuff for the finale. Though from the ending, I can sure tell that The Winner's Kiss will be epic. On the other hand, I ended up having so many problems with Carry On. I ended up getting an eARC of it from Netgalley (it was Read Now), and the formatting just wasn't that great. But you'll hear more about that in my review.

But oh man, The Knife Of Never Letting Go was freaking fantastic. Sure, I felt dead by the end, but it was totally worth it. Like wow I was just not expecting how amazing it was (ok that's a lie, I definitely expected it, but this just exceeded those expectations).

Again, thank you to everyone that participated!! I hope you all had fun (even with the release of Pokemon Go HAHA)

After chilling in Boston for two weeks, I'm back in Florida again. Mainly getting ready for the big move that will happen in August. I'll have to decide exactly what books to bring with me, and what to leave at my parents. It's going to be hard.

So it's been about 2 weeks since Pokemon Go came out. I'm currently level 17, Team Mystic, and have caught 411 Pokemon. And of course, still nowhere near catching them all because all I see are Pidgeys and Rattatas. Gah.

Hope everyone's July is going well!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pokemon Go Book Tag: Gotta Read'em All!



Aentee you amazing, awesome person. Thank you so much for creating this tag, because I love it. And all of your graphics are on point, hence why I will be using them all for this tag.

It's no surprise that I am obsessed about Pokemon. I have played pretty much all of the games (until the Nintendo 3DS ones because I don't have that console), and have been following the development of Pokemon Go since forever. Kind of why when I saw it mentioned on Twitter, I was ecstatic. So, since everyone and their mom knows about this game now, I would like to present the Pokemon Go Tag, created by the lovely Aentee @ Read At Midnight

Good question! Do I ever remember? Let's see. When it came to being a young reader, I was introduced to books through the Magic Tree House Series. And then I couldn't stop there. Throughout elementary school, I also fell in love with Inkheart, a book I read multiple times. Then as a young teenager, Meg Cabot brought me back into the world of reading.

I can't believe how many books I read while in elementary school. I vividly remember having a book under my desk while the teacher was teaching (It's not like I understood what was going on anyways, so meh). 
Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I most definitely have to go with The Book Thief here. And then following that the entire Mediator series by Meg Cabot.

Also, has anyone caught a pikachu yet? BECAUSE I HAVE NOT and I AM MAD.
How about the entire Throne of Glass series? Ahahah. To be fair I do have all the books so far, so I'm sure to get to it someday. But I really have lost interest, especially since everyone keeps talking about it on Twitter. And I'm here like "I have no idea what's going on". I also pretend that I haven't been spoiled for anything, but let's be honest I pretty sure I have been.

I hate zubat. I already evolved one into a golbat so what is even the point? And they are so very hard to catch.
I'm seriously starting to forget what the definition of trope is with how many times I hear it nowadays. Er, let me think. I guess I'll copy Aentee here and also say Red Rising. I tend to hate books that use tropes or themes that I have seen before.


Ha. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. Sure, I read Way of Kings which was 1000 pages, but can I take another 1000 page book? Can I? Maybe I should break it down for myself? I don't know, I need something to motivate me into reading it.

I have seen Snorlaxes (Snorlax?) around at Pokemon gyms, but where can I get my own? Look at its squishy face. I want.

Most recently, The Knife of Never Letting Go, because holy shit.

Normally I wouldn't have an answer to this question, but I have been staying up later and later these past couple of days, just because it is summer. So thank you summer. Also I am pretty close to getting a Gengar. Only 50 more candies to go! *cries*
I do not know if I will ever have another bookish OTP besides them, but hands down Rudy and Liesel from The Book Thief. Yes I know they are children, do I care? NO. Because they DEsERVE EACH oThER! ANd yes I am still in denial thank you very much for asking, no I do not care about what is or is not possible. LEAVE ME BEEE.

I think I am somewhat close to getting a Nidoking, and maybe even a Nidoqueen. I'll have to check. They are surprisingly more common than I thought out here in the real world.
Nevernight! Yes I just finished this, and yes I will be shouting and raving about it all month long because wow. Just wow. You really have to read it and experience it for yourself.
I don't see many spin-offs for series I love, so this is a hard one for me. I guess you could say the companion novels for Code Name Verity. I just very recently found out that Elizabeth Wein is publishing a prequel to it, and I am so very very excited. It's gonna be called The Pearl Thief.

Guess who has all Eveelutions? Me. Thanks to the hack, I was finally able to get a Jolteon! 
I love what Magikarp represents in this tag ahaha. I'm probably going to have to go with The Raven Boys. Mainly because I didn't think I would like anything by Maggie Stiefvater, regardless of the fact that I hadn't read any of her books before then. I just didn't think her Shiver series was for me, which translated to me thinking all her other books wouldn't be for me either. Big mistake.

How is anyone supposed to get 400 Magikarp candies? How?


None! Just kidding. Er, I guess Red Queen? I have the book, which is why I want to read it in the first place. But after seeing so many reactions about the second book, I am a little scared about starting the series. Ah well.
Collector's edition? AH YES. It may not technically be a collector's edition, but I do very much want the 10th anniversary edition of The Book Thief. Someone should gift it to me.

I recently bought the Australian editions of The Abhorsen Trilogy, and I am very much in love.
Wow I guess I have to choose one out of the million that are coming out huh? I will have to go with Wait For Me by Caroline Leech, because WWII!
Stacey Lee. She is the sweetest, and also my mom likes her. (Or more accurately, my mom likes that she's Chinese. No shame mom)



I HATE WHEN THE SERVERS GO DOWN. You would think by now that they would have fixed this issue? But nope they have not. Then again I am really not surprised because what was I expecting.

Let's see. How about Strange The Dreamer? Apparently the release date is being pushed back for it and I am not a happy camper.


There you have it. I'm tagging anyone who wants to do this, or plays Pokemon Go for that matter!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #87

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Books Set Outside The US

Oh boy oh boy. But wait, I actually read a ton of fantasy. Does that technically count as well? I mean I will just see what I have on my shelf.


Can you guess which book goes to which country? They're pinpointed!


Also,


Have you read any of these yet? Better yet, travel to any of the countries?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Devil And The Bluebird

Devil And The Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Source: ALA Midwinter
Date Read: 7/2/16 to 7/5/16
336 pages
Rating: 


Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town crossroads, it’s her runaway sister’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals Blue’s voice—inherited from her musically gifted mother—in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass.

Armed with her mother’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself to finding family in unexpected places.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Devil and the Bluebird is full of magical realism, so much that I wasn't actually sure if it was all make believe, or if it actually happened. Making a deal with the devil, getting your voice stolen, seeing the devil in different people, riding in ghost buses. It all sounds so unbelievable, so much that even the main character didn't believe it herself.


Blue Riley meets a devil at a crossroads, one in an image of a beautiful woman, to discover the whereabouts of her runaway sister. In exchange for her voice, Blue's hiking boots receive the ability to lead her to the right direction. However, with the devil changing all the rules as the journey goes along, Blue can't afford to risk being around anyone she becomes close with. Also, she has 6 months to find her sister, or she loses her voice forever. Basically everything is a huge gamble, and Blue loses hope many times but still keeps trudging on.

Honestly, I did not mind reading this. At times, I felt like it was a lot for me to take in. For one, this isn't a fast read at all, the print is pretty tiny, and it is pretty slow paced. But on the other hand, I really loved the musical element surrounding our characters. Blue Riley herself was pretty determined herself, regardless of the entire situation being bleak and hopeless. I don't know what I would do with myself if I only had $60 in my name, stuck in a city I don't recognize.

Speaking of cities, Rochester was mentioned! Yeah go Rochester!


If I were to sum it up, Devil and the Bluebird reads more like a cross country trip, revolving around music. As the story progresses, we discover and meet a bunch of new characters, one that end up becoming family to Blue. This includes one of her companions, Steve, who is transgender.

As beautiful as the writing was, this didn't end up being something for me. Just from reading the synopsis, I was under the impression that there would be some romantic relationship between the devil and Blue, which wasn't the case here. Also, the ending itself made the whole deal kind of pointless. Sure, Blue met so many new people along the way, but she went through so much trouble for nothing. Lastly, I think everything went over my head by the end, especially when it came to who the devil actually was. Even now I'm still not sure what to make of this story, and I'm wondering if it's because I'm not a very musical, grassroots-type person. Whatever that even means.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

An Innocent Life #13: Start Of The Make Me Read It Readathon!


Mostly this post is just to tell you that THE READATHON HAS OFFICIALLY STARTED. It began on July 9th (from 12am, wherever you lived) to July 16th. Half of my books are on my Kindle, but I hope to get to the ones below this week.

A photo posted by Valerie (@innocent.smiley) on

This week, I will be reading the top five books on my poll. Well, more like I will try to. Here are the ones I will be reading, from top to bottom!

THE WINNER'S CRIME
CARRY ON
THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO
THE NIGHTINGALE
CONFESS

Don't forget, you can use the hashtag #MakeMeRead for your progress, or to see how everyone else is doing. I'm actually reading a couple of the same books as some other readers, so it will be fun to discuss!

Again, really happy to see everyone excited for this!

I'm currently back in Boston visiting my friends for vacation (my vacation away from vacation). I don't know why I am always so busy, but I have Pokemon Go to blame for that. If you don't know what Pokemon Go is, it's an app where you can catch Pokemon in the real world! It's been on my radar since 1994, so obviously I am very excited about it.

A photo posted by Valerie (@vlangloisx3) on

Because it's in the real world, I've been walking around a lot outside (surprise). And just hanging out with my friends in general doesn't leave me much time to...well do anything else really. I'll catch up later, one day.

Note: I named some of these Pokemon. No there is no Pokemon named "Krusty Krab"

Anyone else play Pokemon Go?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Double Reviews: Once Was A Time & Zenith

Once Was A Time by Leila Sales
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Source: ALA Midwinter
Date Read: 7/1/16
272 pages
Rating: 1/2


In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty's fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Even though Once Was A Time is middle grade, the combination of time travel and WWII really drew me in. Those are two of my favorite genres (or topics I suppose), and here they were in a book. I couldn't have asked for anything more, though I do have to admit, I probably would have loved this so much more if I was younger. But nevertheless, it was still a wonderful, solid read. And it made me tear up in the end because of course it's related to WWII. Why would it not.

I hadn't read anything else by Leila Sales before this, so I didn't have any expectations. Once Was A Time first introduces us to Charlotte, living in London during WWII. Her father is working on research in time travel, and Charlotte and her best friend Kitty are huge fans of him. Until they're both kidnapped as leverage to get her father to spill the secrets of time travel. But instead, Charlotte finds a portal, jumps through, and leaves both her father and Kitty behind. She ends up in 2013, where everyone she knows may be dead.

There were a lot of things I really liked, other than it being about both WWII and time travel. For one, it was realistic how Charlotte acted in her new surroundings, or I guess it was realistic to me haha. She had to hide out in a library before the librarian turned her over to child services. Plus she had to get used to all the new technology, while trying to hide the fact that she didn't know what they were at all. Though the story overall was enjoyable, I felt that the pacing was very uneven. Charlotte starts off younger than 10 years old (I think?) at the beginning of the book, but then we fast forward to when she's older in no time. Plus, I felt that something was missing from the novel. Maybe it's because I'm not the target audience, but there just wasn't anything that made this book pop out.

Other than that though, it was a great read. I did finish it in a day! (Though you will see this means nothing, as we move on to the next review.)

---

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings
Part 1
Publisher: Mirabel Inc.
Release Date: June 21st, 2016
Source: Kindle
Date Read: 6/30/16
63 pages
Rating: 

There is darkness sweeping across the stars.

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness: a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her fearsome glass starship the Maurader, she’s just Andi, their captain and protector.

When a routine mission goes awry, the all-girl crew’s resilience is tested as they find themselves in a most unfamiliar place: at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter connected to Andi’s past and a harrowing betrayal.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The final pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship—or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles towards the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only thing certain is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Er. Okay, so I am a huge Mass Effect fan, and I read this hoping that it would be somewhat similar to my favorite video game. I mean, I wasn't even asking for much. Really I only wanted aliens. Or non-human looking aliens.

I'm just glad that I didn't have to spend too long on this.

This was only 62 pages, and I don't think I will be continuing, so this review will be short. My first disappointment was that the aliens were never really described. All I got was where they were from, and a bunch of other names I don't remember. Lira is described as having pigmented blue skin and a hairless body. Gilly and Andi I assume are human, or human looking? And Breck is a giantess, so a giant human looking alien? And I pretty much have to assume everyone else also looks human, which is sad because where is the creativity?

My second disappointment, was how this is basically Throne of Glass. IN SPACE. (Or as Shannon would say it Throne of Space Plexiglass). You have our main character, Andi, running from the government for being a space pirate (her nickname being the Bloody Baroness). Then, her and her crew are captured for being pirates, but then are offered a job to find the governor's missing son. And of course, Andi's ex-boyfriend is the one who captured them, and will also be joining them on the job. Let's not forget that Andi is beautiful and gorgeous, so I'm sure this guy still loves her.

So there's that. I'm giving 1 star for it being in space, and another star for the fact that 1 page equaled 1 percent of the book on my kindle.

Note (Because I first posted on GR and who knows what can happen there): I picked up this book because I saw it through Twitter and someone pitched it as similar to Mass Effect. I bought it because it was really cheap, without knowing that it was part of a serial. I have never watched any of Sasha's videos, and I didn't know who she was until I read this.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #86

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Books Underrated Books (With Under 2000 Ratings)

I actually really liked this twist! Because on one hand, there are a couple of books that everyone should definitely read! But then on the other, I had a really hard time find books that actually had under 2000 ratings. Which I guess is a good thing right? Luckily I was able to choose exactly 10 for this TTT.

This list is limited to only books that have already been released.

For anyone that hasn't read The Abyss Surrounds Us, why haven't you? Not only does it feature an f/f romance, but it also has SEA MONSTERS and PIRATES and all that jazz.

Hey look it's Smelly Houses! (Yes I abbreviated, no I am not ashamed). This book brings together four characters all struggling with their own problems. You might think that four POVs is too much, but in this book it works.

Are you ready for the next three books? Because they're all WWII. Yay! And that is Girl In The Blue Coat, Front Lines, and Black Dove White Raven. Other than being set during WWII, all three feature strong, amazing women as main characters. So bam.

I'm not sure why Girl Against The Universe has less than 1000 ratings? I know it's only been a month, but I saw it a lot on Twitter. I'm sure it'll get more over time, because it is one of my favorites.

Beastkeeper is interesting because it's MG, but at the same time I'm not sure it should be Middle Grade. When I read it last year, it was slightly more darker than I expected. But it was still really good, and I don't even read that much MG. Plus it's such a unique take on the Beauty and the Beast story. 

The Adventures of Cinnamon Girl may not be my first Aussie YA, but it is definitely the first I've read that takes place in Australia. So technically it is. And it features baking and comics and maybe the end of the world? Maybe.

If I had a penny for every time I recommended The Machine of Death, I would probably have 10 cents. This Is How You Die is the sequel, though it's not really a sequel, because the only continuation here is the theme. In other words, each short story revolves around this machine that tells you how you die, but not when or where. Basically both anthologies are fantastic and everyone should read them because I said so.

Lastly, there's A Criminal Magic. It features magic, drinking, and the 1920's. I found it to be a fun, fast-paced read, and is currently $2 on Amazon Kindle right now! 


Have you read any of these yet?