Monday, June 30, 2014

Discussion: When do you write reviews?

Since I lost the review I was going to post today, and don't feel like rewriting, I decided to talk about reviews instead. I've seen so many people say they are behind in their reviewing, and I'm wondering how many of you experience this?

The thing that shocks me about that statement is this: I write reviews as soon as I finish the book. Very rarely do I remember enough details if I wait more than a day afterwards, so I don't try waiting it out. I would have to reread books if I did that!

I guess some have better memories than me. That's probably all there is to it. I don't even allow myself to read another book until I've reviewed my last one.

When do you write reviews? Do you wait awhile, or scribble your thoughts down right away?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Review: One, Two, Three by Elodie Nowodazkij

21863930My Rating: 3 stars

Date Read: June 24, 2014

Source: Review copy from Netgalley

Publication Date: June 26, 2014

Publisher: Patchwork Press

Genres: Young adult, contemporary, romance

Summary (taken from Goodreads): When seventeen-year-old Natalya’s dreams of being a ballerina are killed in a car accident along with her father, she must choose: shut down—like her mother—or open up to love.

Last year,seventeen-year-old Natalya Pushkaya was attending the School of Performing Arts in New York City. Last year, she was well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina. Last year, her father was still alive.

But a car crash changed all that—and Natalya can’t stop blaming herself. Now, she goes to a regular high school in New Jersey; lives with her onetime prima ballerina, now alcoholic mother; and has no hope of a dance career.

At her new school, however, sexy soccer player Antonio sees a brighter future for Natalya, or at least a more pleasant present. Keeping him an arabesque away proves to be a challenge for Natalya and his patient charms eventually draw her out of her shell.

When upsetting secrets come to light and Tonio’s own problems draw her in, Natalya shuts down again, this time turning to alcohol herself.

Can Natalya learn to trust Antonio before she loses him—and destroys herself?

Review: This one starts off slow, but it doesn't take long to be invested in the characters. It also really shines at the end. The story was full of heart and hope, even while dealing with difficult situations. It really focused on being yourself - not only parts of it, but everything you are. Natalya really learned this through the book, as she realized how much revolving her entire life around ballet hurt her.

I really felt for the characters while reading. Natalya was wonderful and her growth was nice to see. I was so proud of her by the end of the book, because she faced so much and handled it pretty well, given the circumstances.

The side characters were great as well. Becca is a great friend, very forgiving and always there for Natalya - although I can say parts of that felt a little unrealistic. Some flaws would have made her more interesting as a character, but I still enjoyed her. I loved her and James, and I also loved Tonio and Natalya's relationship.

That said, I feel this book is right in the middle. It has its flaws. I feel like this wasn't great, but average.

WWW Wednesday

What are you currently reading?


Nothing at the moment. I might pick up Sway again, or begin something different.

What did you recently finish reading?


This one was an enjoyable read, though not perfect. I gave it 3 stars and will be posting my review soon.

What do you think you'll read next?


After Sway (whenever I finish it), I'll probably pick this one up and start reading. This is a book for the finishit-a-thon, so we'll see if it's time to begin that yet. If not I'll pick something different to go in between.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

Here is a link to the Top Ten Tuesday information from the Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme is Top ten book cover trends I like or dislike. I will be breaking this into five likes and five dislikes.

1. Mostly-text covers
2. Swirl designs or doodles
3. Illustrations
4. Light colors (or any nice color scheme!)
5. Matching series covers

1. Awkwardly placed text
2. Poorly edited photo
3. Disorganized or cluttered
4. Poor quality photo
5. Lacks a nice color scheme or font

Friday, June 20, 2014

Finish It - A -Thon: TBR

The FinishIt-a-thon is a read-a-thon that goes from June 30 to July 6. The goal is to finish books that you've put down and just never picked back up again. If you want more information on that, here is the link to the video.

Awhile ago I was in the middle of so many books at once, it became a habit to put them down and move on to others. Right now my on-hold list is 5 books, 4 of which are part of a series. Since I don't want to mix up the series and get confused, my TBR doesn't have all of them. However, I might continue or finish a couple of these series as well during the week.


Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

This is the only stand alone on my list. I read about 50 pages before putting it down, so it shouldn't be too hard to pick up and finish quickly.

The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

I'm about 40 pages into this one. It's technically part of a series, however it does have one sequel which I also plan to read during the read-a-thon.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by J.K. Rowling

If I have time after the other three books on my list, I am going to pick this one up. I've read over 200 pages of this already, but it is a big book - so if I do get around to it, I don't plan to finish.

This is actually my first read-a-thon, so we'll see how it goes! Hopefully I can stick to my TBR and get a ton of reading done through the week!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly by P.T. Jones

18427293My Rating: 2.5 stars

Date Read: June 19, 2014

Source: Review copy from Netgalley

Publication Date: October 21, 2014

Publisher: ChiTeen

Genres: Young adult, science fiction

Summary (taken from Goodreads): Things Mary doesn’t want to fall into: the river, high school, her mother’s life.

Things Mary does kind of want to fall into: love, the sky.

This is the story of a girl who sees a boy float away one fine day. This is the story of the girl who reaches up for that boy with her hand and with her heart. This is the story of a girl who takes on the army to save a town, who goes toe-to-toe with a mad scientist, who has to fight a plague to save her family. This is the story of a girl who would give anything to get to babysit her baby brother one more time. If she could just find him.

It’s all up in the air for now, though, and falling fast. . . .

Fun, breathlessly exciting, and full of heart, Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly is an unforgettable ride.

Review: This one wasn't for me. I kept going because I wanted to see how it would end, and because it's a review copy.

The characters were alright. I did like Mary and the "Floating Boy," but this was so plot-driven that it didn't show too much about the characters. Mary did a bit of developing through the story, but I didn't really believe it - things changed too fast for her to suddenly be okay at the end.

Also, the characters felt way younger to me than fifteen. While reading I kept thinking they were in middle school, both due to their actions and the writing style. It seemed written towards a younger narrator and a younger audience as well.

The plot did save this book, though. Some parts just weren't believable to me, but otherwise I really liked the main concept. I believe a younger reader would enjoy this much more than myself, as well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Book Review: Blue Notes by Carrie Lofty

18144162My Rating: 4 stars

Date Read: June 18, 2014

Source: Purchased ebook

Publication Date: May 6, 2014

Publisher: Gallery Books

Genres: New adult, romance, contemporary

Summary (taken from Goodreads): For fans of Jamie McGuire and S.C. Stephens, a sizzling new adult novel featuring the tumultuous relationship between a young piano prodigy and a reluctant billionaire playboy—set against the vibrant backdrop of a New Orleans college campus.

After being bounced from foster family to foster family, Keeley, a talented pianist, is ready to start over as a junior at Tulane. But when she plays a small concert that attracts the attention of Jude, a brooding playboy and heir to an enormous fortune in the wake of his parents’ tragic death, suddenly Keeley’s life is thrown off balance once again.

Jude is the first person to confront her about the pain behind her music, and she struggles with whether or not to let him into her life, or to keep protecting herself from the hurt that relationships have caused her in the past. But Keeley’s about to learn that the melancholy young billionaire who appears to have everything he wants can open her eyes to exactly what she needs…

Review: This book was so easy to read. It was really nice and exactly what I had been looking for. The fast pace is enough to keep things interesting and I was hooked from the first couple pages.

Keeley was such a great character. Some bits, especially at the beginning, felt dramatic and she was definitely self-pitying due to her past. The thing I really enjoyed though, was her development at the end. She was so strong and I was amazed at the things she would face to do what she felt was right.

The romance was great as well, if fairly predictable at points. It was a bit more graphic than I expected, and gave more detail on their love life than I thought it would - then again, I went into this without knowing much. Until I read the first few chapters, I thought it was a YA book.

I enjoyed the friendships in this book. They could have been developed more, but it was refreshing to see them grow so easily. Keeley met two girls at the beginning of the story, and by the end she was calling them her best friends - and that didn't feel forced.

Overall I think this was a nice, lighter read. Although it deals with some heavy subjects, especially involving the characters' pasts, it is fast-paced and very easy to read through.

WWW Wednesday

What are you currently reading?


I downloaded this as a 'read now' title from Netgalley. I almost didn't finish it, but now I'm picking it up again. We'll see how it goes.

What did you recently finish reading?


I really enjoyed this one! My review is coming very soon - which means tonight, so long as my power doesn't go out before I can type it. It's storming outside.

What do you think you'll read next?


This is free on now. I'm in the middle of it, but stopped to read Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly. This is only up until the 20th, so hopefully I'll finish in time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's theme is Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR List.


These first four are some that I've been looking forward to for awhile and really need to get around to reading! Panic is pretty new, but I expected to read it right after the release, so I'm counting it in this category as well.

4732517 13069935

These are a couple of authors whose works I haven't read, but really want to! These books seem like a good place to start.

13 18081809

These two are new releases, both coming out in early July, that I plan to read soon as I can get them!

6964455 15726915

Lastly, here are a couple pretty new additions to my TBR that I am really excited about!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Using Stars in Reviews

It seems that everyone uses the star review system differently. I've seen people who give 5 stars rarely, only to their favorites, and then there are others who rarely give less than a full, 5-star rating.

When I'm rating, I rarely give books 1 or 2 stars. If I really dislike it, it's usually a 2. I save 1-star ratings for the most terrible books, the ones I just can't stand - and I've never given a book 1 star for that reason. If I hate it so much, I don't finish reading.

Although 3 stars tends to be my lowest rating, it doesn't usually mean I've found the book to be bad. These are books I finish and think, "It was okay." 4 stars means I enjoyed it and 5 stars means I loved the book (but doesn't mean it's without flaws).

It's interesting to me that people use the ratings in completely different ways. I love rating with stars, especially on sites like Goodreads, if only for my own sake - I get to quickly see what I thought of the book. But I wonder if sometimes people pay more attention to these stars than the written reviews. For example, I've spoken to people who only read books above a certain average rating, and I wonder if that number actually says anything about the book.

How do you guys feel about star ratings? How much should they be depended on when deciding to read a book? What's your system for the ratings you give?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

10429045My Rating: 4 stars

Date Read: June 13, 2014

Source: Purchased ebook

Publication Date: November 15, 2011

Publisher: Harper

Genres: Young adult, dystopian, romance

Summary (taken from Goodreads):

I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I'm more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Review: I adored this book. The writing style is different from anything I've read before and I loved it - I also loved that I was never bored throughout the book. It is paced very well.

I was rooting for Juliette the whole way through. I've read quite a few reviews where the reader has found her annoying, but I didn't see it at all. She was very strong after what she had been through and I thought she was a great character. It was so difficult to figure out who she could trust, which created a nice amount of suspense.

There are others who really grew on me as well. Adam took awhile, because I doubted his character a lot in the beginning, but I really loved him by the end. I grew attached to James right away, as well as some other side characters towards the end of the book.

One thing that did bother me was the ending - it felt slightly rushed. After everything Juliette had been through, I would have thought she'd take longer to make that final decision.

Either way, I definitely enjoyed this and am looking forward to the sequel!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book Review: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

17797364My Rating: 5 stars

Date Read: June 8, 2014

Source: Purchased ebook

Publication Date: January 28, 2014

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genres: Young adult, contemporary, poetry

Summary (taken from Goodreads): When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

Review: This book amazed me. The writing is gorgeous and the plot is deep and tackles some very difficult subjects. The characters felt real, especially Emily and Paul - which had to have been hard to accomplish, since he was dead from the beginning of the story.

The parental figures frustrated me so much throughout the story, especially towards the end. It was the one thing to bother me about the book, however they weren't around except in Emily's memories, so it was tolerable.

I adored the way Emily Beam's life was compared to Emily Dickinson's, and the format this was written in. Between chapters were poems written by Beam, and it really added to the story.

Although I loved this book, I did read a review prior to reading that said it wouldn't be for everyone. I believe this is true. If you enjoy poetry and are a somewhat patient reader (as I do feel the writing was a bit thick and slow to read through), I do recommend giving this one a try. It is deep and emotional, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Friday, June 6, 2014

"Age Group" Genres

I know this is a subject that can be (and has been) debated a lot, but it's never been something I thought a ton about. Now that I have this blog and am writing reviews, my big question about "age group" genres (young adult, middle grade, etc.) is what falls into each category?

When I was writing my review for Every Soul a Star, I thought about the genre a lot. The three main characters are young teenagers, all thirteen if I remember correctly, so I had to wonder: middle grade or young adult? Are the characters representing children or teens, and is that the only deciding factor?

If you haven't read the review (or just didn't pay attention to the 'genres' section), and you were wondering, I did finally decide to include it as both children's and young adult. Because to me, these characters are children and so would fit into a children's/middle grade genre. When I see a book categorized as middle grade, I automatically think of characters in middle school.

I'm not sure if this is correct. I'm not sure there even is a correct answer, which is why I labeled it as both.

For those of you who write reviews, what do you do about these "age group" genres? How do you determine which to place a book into?

And for anyone at all: What do you think? How old should the characters in the young adult genre be, or is it not about age at all? Is it all about their situations? The plot?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WWW Wednesday

What are you currently reading?


(There won't be a review of this one, or for any other series I've already read some books for. I'll begin series reviews once I start some new ones!)

What did you recently finish reading?


What do you think you'll read next?


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Review: Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

30My Rating: 4.5 stars

Date Read: May 30, 2014

Source: Purchased Ebook

Publication Date: October 1, 2008

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genres: Children's fiction, contemporary

Summary (taken from Goodreads): And as streams of light fan out behind the darkened sun like the wings of a butterfly, I realize that I never saw real beauty until now.

At Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun. It's also were three lives are about to be changed forever:

Ally likes the simple things in life--labyrinths, star-gazing, and comet-hunting. Her home, the Moon Shadow campground, is a part of who she is, and she refuses to imagine it any other way.

Popular and gorgeous (everybody says so), Bree is a future homecoming queen for sure. Bree wears her beauty like a suit of armor. But what is she trying to hide?

Overweight and awkward, Jack is used to spending a lot of time alone. But when opportunity knocks, he finds himself in situations he never would have imagined and making friends in the most unexpected situations.

Told from three distinct voices and perspectives, Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story about strangers coming together, unlikely friendships, and finding one's place in the universe.

Review: This story caught me from the start. The writing style was great; what I liked best about the book was that it could be both funny and serious. The first few chapters were the most humorous, and it seemed to grow more serious as the characters began to develop.

I enjoyed the variety of characters, and how none of them were set up to be worse than another. I think this is important especially in children's fiction, and it was done very well. Bree was most popular at school and cared about her clothes more than anything else, while Ally could care less what she looked like. Despite their differences, and the differences between them and Jack - although he was a lot like Ally - the reader could care for and sympathize with them all equally. They also formed such a great friendship, which makes it difficult to think they had to separate again at the end.