Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #94

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR

I used to live in the north, but now here I am in North Carolina, eagerly anticipating sweater weather. But it will never come. Which is fine by me, I suppose, because I really do like warmer weather. Plus I know winter is coming and I don't want that yet.

Even though it doesn't feel like fall yet, I will pretend that it is. Here's my list of books that maybe I will read and get to these next couple of months!

I recently went to see David Arnold at Flyleaf Books, and I got my copy of Kids of Appetite signed! Every one of his books that I have are signed by him now, which is great because I consider him one of my favorite authors. So I will definitely be getting to Kids of Appetite at some point.

Holly has raved about The Female of the Species a ton, which means I will definitely be getting to it at some point. I feel like I've already mentioned this, but oh well.

Shannon absolutely loved Disruption, and I'm sure that I will too. I really am just putting all my faith in my buddies, because I do tend to do that.

I bought the box set, which includes Crooked Kingdom. And that comes tomorrow!

Ah Gemina. I'm still debating as to whether I should buy a finished copy or not. I should if I have the money for it! Or maybe wait until it's on sale somewhere haha.

I am very excited for Replica because it is such an interesting concept, to flip between chapters. How am I supposed to keep track of my reading via Goodreads though? How does that work haha.

Surprise! I actually really liked Magonia! Which is why I will definitely be picking up the sequel, Aerie

And there's also Holding Up The Universe too, because honestly I think I would read anything by Jennifer Niven. I remember her coming to Rochester for the Rochester Teen Book Festival, and back then she wasn't super well known. That was a fun experience.

Iron Cast! I have no idea why I'm drawn to it. Again, Holly loved it and wants me to read it ASAP.

And I just had to pick up Timekeeper, how can you resist the plot line for this? Seriously check out that blurb!

Are you ready for fall? Apple picking? Pumpkin picking? Sweater weather? Presidential elections? (no)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Review: The Vicar of Nibbleswick (Happy 100th Birthday Roald Dahl)

The Vicar Of Nibbleswicke by Roald Dahl
Publisher: Puffin Books
Release Date: May 1st, 1994
Source: Blog Tour
Date Read: 9/18/16
48 pages

The Reverend Lee is suffering from a rare and acutely embarrassing situation: Back-to-Front Dyslexia. It affects only his speech, and he doesn't realize he's doing it, but the parishioners of Nibbleswicke are shocked and confused by his seemingly outrageous comments.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Flashback to second grade, where my teacher read to us most of Roald Dahl's books. It was there that I learned about James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, The BFG, and more. When my teacher mentioned that that was all the books we would read by him, I distinctly remember telling her that NO those weren't all the books and there were MORE. And then I went on a frenzy looking for more of his books. It was an obsession.

The Vicar of Nibbleswicke was one of those books we never got to. Though it is a picture book and not as well known as the others, it encompasses the same quality. In The Vicar of Nibbleswicke, the main character is dyslexic, but has learned to control it. Until the day he becomes the Vicar, it all unravels! Next thing you know, he's saying "dog" instead of "God". Hilarity ensues.

(Even though I am not a speech pathologist, it seems more than a coincidence that I am reviewing this seeing as my area of interest is language production and speech planning).

I quite enjoyed The Vicar of Nibbleswicke! If you have children, or are looking for a fun, short read, then this may be the book for you! You can win it in the giveaway at the end of this post!

Roald Dahl (1916–1990) was one of the world’s most imaginative, successful and beloved storytellers. He was born in Wales of Norwegian parents and spent much of his childhood in England. After establishing himself as a writer for adults with short story collections such as Kiss Kiss and Tales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl began writing children's stories in 1960 while living with his family in both the U.S. and in England. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.

Roald Dahl’s first children’s story, The Gremlins, was a story about little creatures that were responsible for the various mechanical failures on airplanes. The Gremlins came to the attention of both First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who loved to read the story to her grandchildren, and Walt Disney, with whom Roald Dahl had discussions about the production of a movie.

Roald Dahl was inspired by American culture and by many of the most quintessential American landmarks to write some of his most memorable passages, such as the thrilling final scenes in James and the Giant Peach - when the peach lands on the Empire State Building! Upon the publication of James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl began work on the story that would later be published as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and, by a conservative estimate, have sold more than 200 million copies.

Roald Dahl also enjoyed great success for the screenplays he wrote for both the James Bond film You Only Live Twice in 1967 and for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, released one year later, which went on to become a beloved family film. Roald Dahl’s popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.

Two charities have been founded in Roald Dahl’s memory: the first charity, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, created in 1991, focuses on making life better for seriously ill children through the funding of specialist nurses, innovative medical training, hospitals, and individual families across the UK.

The second charity, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – a unique cultural, literary and education hub – opened in June 2005 in Great Missenden where Roald Dahl lived and wrote many of his best-loved works. 10% of income from Roald Dahl books and adaptations are donated to the two Roald Dahl charities.

On September 13, 2006, the first national Roald Dahl Day was celebrated, on what would have been the author’s 90th birthday. The event proved such a success that Roald Dahl Day is now marked annually all over the world. September 13, 2016 is Roald Dahl 100, marking 100 years since the birth of the world’s number one storyteller. There will be celebrations for Roald Dahl 100 throughout 2016, delivering a year packed with gloriumptious treats and surprises for everyone.


Don't forget about the giveaway below!
1 winner can pick 5 books from the Roald Dahl collection! US Only.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: Our Chemical Hearts

Our Chemical Hearts by Kyrstal Sutherland
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Source: Book Expo America
Date Read: 9/5/16 to 9/9/16
320 pages

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change.

Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland's brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.

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

In all honesty, I didn’t think I would like this one as much as I did. Sure, I love Rainbow Rowell and would read anything she’s written. But I take those little X meets Y taglines with a grain of salt. Usually they’re not very accurate, and used as a strategy for marketing.

But boy did this book prove me wrong.

Our Chemical Hearts starts off with Henry knowing he’ll never get a girlfriend (Ok Henry, nothing new here), until his English teacher pairs him off with his new co-editor, Grace (you know where this is going). How will the school newspaper function when Henry can’t even get Grace to talk to him, let alone write articles? *Cue the insertion of manic pixie dream girl*

But wait! That’s not how it goes! As much as it seems like it, Our Chemical Hearts thankfully does not go down that path. Grace used to be popular, social, well-dressed, until tragedy struck her, forcing her to transfer. Henry is obsessed, how could this have happened to her? He’s stuck on her image from before, the Grace from a past he doesn’t know of.

You know what happens instead? He gets reprimanded for it. Which is exactly what I wanted from this book and what I didn’t expect to happen. Sure, both of them share their moments, they bond, but ultimately, this is only a first love. As it should be.

Overall, I was very pleased with how this book turned out. It really wasn’t what I expected at all, plus it had a number of great references, like Bioshock Infinite. Contemporaries should seriously have more references in general, there’s no reason not to (I mean is there?). And this book delves into some serious topics, yet the humor complemented it nicely, making the story more realistic and believable. Although I do believe that fans of John Green would love this, it’s the opposite of a John Green novel. It is everything you expect it not to be.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Review: The Forgetting

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 13th, 2016
Source: Book Expo America
Date Read: 9/11/16 to 9/15/16
416 pages

What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

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

There’s something about The Forgetting that draws you in, and you’re just not sure what. There was a point in the novel that really picked up, and finally, finally I got into it. And couldn’t get out until the end.

Nadia lives in a world where everyone forgets every 12 years. No one knows why, no one knows how. But as long as you have your book of all your memories and experiences, you were fine. You wouldn’t be considered Lost. But once that book is gone, and your memories are gone with it, how are you supposed to know who you are? Well you don’t.

Trapped within the walls of Canaan, Nadia constantly escapes over the wall. Until Gray, the glassblower’s son catches her in the act. The problem? Well he wants to go over with her. Of course, she agrees. The more they spend time together, the more they learn about themselves, about Nadia, about Gray, and about the origins of Canaan. And how it’s really not all what it seems (surprise!).

This wasn’t what I expected. At first, I didn’t trust The Forgetting to get memory right. Being a cognitive scientist (officially now, I suppose), I wasn’t expecting the “forgetting” part to be very accurate. And true, it’s not at all. But the only reason I learned to let it go was the way the plot went. This didn’t end up being a pure dystopian, as The Hunger Games was. Neither was it exactly like how the vaults operated in Fallout 4 (Not that you know about those, but basically in Fallout 4, it’s post-apocalyptic. These vaults held people from before the nuclear explosion, but they were also unknowingly monitored by scientists. The Forgetting was giving me those sorts of vibes).

Because of that, my attention was held by The Forgetting. I couldn’t put this down until I finished. Yet saying that, there wasn’t anything remarkably amazing about it, hence only the 4 stars. It was just fast-paced, surprising in a way I didn’t expect, and interesting. I didn’t necessarily root for any of the characters, or care much about Nadia and Gray’s relationship. They were rather “forgettable”, excuse my pun I just had to do it. But still, this concept was executed pretty well, plus it’s a standalone! And you don’t see those everyday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #93

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Favorite Songs At The Moment

I have never embedded a Spotify playlist on my blog. Ever. Should I change that today?

Yes, yes I should. I know you can't seem to play these lists without opening up the entire app, but I do use Spotify all the time, and I do pay for it (at a discount which makes it really worth it).

Anyways, maybe you should discover some new songs from my favorites! Or look at the song titles and see if you recognize any!

See any you recognize?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Review: Metaltown

Metaltown by Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Source: Book Expo America
Date Read: 8/9/16 to 8/12/16
384 pages
Rating: 1/2

Metaltown, where factories rule, food is scarce, and hope is in short supply.

The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does.

Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right.

In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of disease and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules.

An enthralling story of friendship and rebellion, Metaltown will have you believing in the power of hope.

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

I am going to be honest, Metaltown was never one of my most anticipated reads. Sure, it sounded interesting, but I mainly read it because Shannon accidentally slept through the signing, and I got it signed for her. And I ended up reading it because "why not".

The world is split between the rich and the poor. The ones that can afford it can live in the nice suburbs, while the ones that couldn't lived in places like Metaltown, where labor is strictly focused on manufacturing for the war. Kids and teenagers mainly worked in Small Parts, an assembly line for building bombs.

Have you ever watched or read Les Misérables? It's similar to that except the kids are rebelling because they have no union. And they want to create one. Turns out, it's a complicated process, and a bunch of people don't want it to happen. Especially the ones on top funding this war in the first place.

Ty and Colin struggle with working at Small Parts. It's a lot of work for so little pay. It's not until Ty's accident that Colin tries to round up the workers to protest for a union. Even though this seems like a very clear cut plot, I never got bored with it. There was a perfect balance between the prose and the dialogue, and it kept me reading until the end.

However, the characters. Are you guys ready for this?

First off, I liked the characters. Though I feel like I did get off the wrong foot with Ty, especially after she had a horrible accident that destroyed most of her face (cue discussion post about attractive characters). This made me a little uncomfortable, for which I blame all those commercials, ads, and news stories that burned the image in my mind. (Spoiler: For all of you who are wondering, her face got burned by acid.) But you know what? I changed my mind by the end of the novel! She turned out to be an amazing character, but nOPE all of that doesn't even matter in the end (and I'm pretty salty about it).

Because you know why? Lena. The prettier, richer girl who Colin is actually attracted to. Which fine, whatever, sure. But man some of Lena's actions were so reckless and not thought out at all. She wanted to help out with the little revolution, but most of the time she ended up making things worse. And you know who would fix them? Ty. And you know what happens? Spoiler (highlight to read): SHE DIES. She dies, all so that Colin and Lena can get together without there being a love triangle. And you know what else? Lena gets the stupid inheritance money that was supposedly Ty's. Because Ty is the sole survivor of her family, but she didn't know until the end of the novel. And she doesn't even get to use it. What am I supposed to make out of this? Huh!?

Honestly I was just annoyed and bothered by Lena.

Before this gets super long, I do want to mention more of what I liked and didn't. (I just had to get all of that out above).

What I Like:
  • Love that Colin had two moms, Cherish and Ida. That was a nice surprise. 
  • It was well written! A perfect balance of dialogue and character interaction paired with prose. Never got bored with the writing. Just, you know, the relationships.
What I Didn't Like: 
  • There is some worldbuilding. Enough to get by, more than some other novels I've read. It was a little hard to imagine the setting. On one hand I thought everywhere was like Metaltown, where everyone was poor and had to work in a factory. But then there was also Bakerstown, which is basically a rich suburb. Or at least one with the middle class.
  • Mainly the whole setting sprouted from world hunger and famine. Scientists tried to make synthetic corn, which poisoned many people creating the corn flu. From then on all foods were tested, usually by inmates.
  • There is war between the North and East Federation, and the Advocates. Not sure if that is all the federations or what exactly the Advocates are, but I know they're there.
  • I guess overall the worldbuilding is nice when you focus on one area, like Metaltown. It seems like the reader is just as much in the dark as the characters.

Whoops this ended up being long, but you get the idea. Metaltown is an interesting read, but I got way too annoyed by some of the characters (mainly one) to fully enjoy what was happening.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #92

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten All Time Fantasy Favorites

Ha. Top Ten? What? No way will I be able to do this.

I don't think I've read enough books to do a subgenre, and I've already done a list of my favorite WWII books (which is basically all of them), so I think I will not be creative and stick with fantasy.

Oh! I guess this will be pure, fantasy. Not paranormal or supernatural, just fantasy.

Let's start off with my childhood favorite, Inkheart, which I read over and over again in elementary school. If you're interested in what happens when stories are read to life, I think you'll love to this book.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone is what got me reading again in college. And I discovered it through Goodreads! Woo! But seriously, such a good fantasy series.

I got The Night Circus for christmas years ago, and it was everything I wanted and more. Though I might have to reread it because I don't exactly remember what happened, oops.

I just reread Sabriel so I can confirm that yes it is still my favorite and yes it is still amazing.

I spent a whole month reading The Way of Kings, as it is 1000 pages. I loved the readalong that I was a part of, and our Twitter chats, and the fact that we probably spoiled everyone, but no one cared back in the day that we were having our discussions out in the open. (Either that or it wasn't that known of a book hahah)

Anyone who has read A Darker Shade of Magic will know that it is one of the best. Really. I've already preordered the last book, although I don't even know if I want to know how it ends.

Again, another Sanderson read. Mistborn blew my socks off.

Surprisingly, the hype didn't get to me for Truthwitch, though I did read it way before it got super duper hyped up. Which ended up being a good thing, because I liked it a lot!

The only graphic novel on this list! If you haven't read Nimona, what exactly are you waiting for? It's about villains! Shapeshifters! Love! Romance! All that jazz!

Lastly, there is Nevernight. With all the hype since and before its release, I'm sure you need no further convincing to read it.

Are any of these your favorites? Do you like (epic, really) fantasy?