August 30, 2015

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road
Erin Bowman
YA | Western | Historical | Adventure
Expected publication: September 1st 2015
HMH Books for Young Readers
eARC from Publisher (Thank you HMH!)
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.
Vengeance Road is set in Arizona during the late 1800s. I never envisioned myself picking up a western novel because cowboys and the south and just all that stuff don't interest me. But Vengeance Road was amazing. I never thought I would love a western novel as much as I loved this one! 

After a gang that goes by the name The Rose Riders hangs Kate's father, Kate goes after them in an attempt to seek revenge. She disguises herself as a boy and calls herself Nate. As she goes after them she meets up with two boys, Will and Jesse, who help her out. 

Kate is a true badass. As in, the kind of badass who shoots men without a second thought and is hell bent on getting revenge for her fathers death. You do not want to cross this girl. Her resolve throughout the entire novel never falters and I was rooting for her the whole time. Her line of thought is also spot on. She knows if people think she's a boy she'll have a better chance at surviving, but she's also fed up with the fact that people will try to prevent her from doing stuff just because she's a girl. Yay for main characters who recognize & disagree with societies standards! (Even though the novel is set in Arizona in the 1800s, it's still relevant to today.)
Me cheering for Kate
I really enjoyed the southern grit worked into this novel. Plus, Bowman did a really great job with incorporating the language and culture of 1870 Arizona. It didn't feel like I was reading a book, I felt more like I was watching a movie. I could practically envision this entire book. Everything felt so authentic and western! Also, yay for the small amount of romance that fit in so well into the story. I was obviously a big fan of Kate and Jesse, and I can't help myself. They were sosososo cute. Trust me. You just have to read this book to discover why. 
Bowman did a great job with the pacing of this novel too The action was spaced out evenly and I never felt too bored waiting for the next explosive scene. Also, she totally nailed it with that shocking ending.
Literally me reading the ending
This book is awesome and I definitely recommend you pick it up. Not only will you get a great story, you get a beautiful cover, kickass characters, and everything wrapped up in one book! (Thats right — it's a standalone!) September 1st! I mean look at that beautiful, intricate cover design, you KNOW you want this on your shelf.

(Image Courtesy of Hughton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company)

August 28, 2015

The Secret Life of a Book Blogger (Do I wear pants when posting?!)

 I was tagged for this by the lovely Vane over at Books with Chemistry! You can read her post here and check out her blog here

1. How long have you been a blogger?

2. At what point do you think you’ll stop blogging?

3. What is the best thing about blogging?

4. What is the worst thing? What do you do to make to okay?

5. How long does it take you to create/find pictures to use?

6. Who is your book crush?

7. What author would you like to have to have on your blog?

8. What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

9. How long does it take you to prepare?

10. How do you feel about the book blogger community?

11. What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?

Where We Talk About Books

Book Blogging, Bookstagramming, Booktubing, Book-tumblr-ing? Blogger, Wordpress, Instagram, Youtube, and Tumblr are among the platforms used to talk about books. Each platform has pros and cons, and the people on each can be very different. Today I’m going to discuss each of these networks and my opinions on them! 

Blogging Platforms (Wordpress, Blogger)
Wordpress and Blogger are the obvious go-to platforms for people who are interested in taking their love for books to the next level- and for those who desire to become involved with publishers and authors. (Not saying you can't get involved with pubs/authors on other platforms, but "real" blogs are the way to go) A blog will give you the most customization possible. You don’t exactly have this control with Instagram, Youtube and Tumblr. Your content may be unique but there's a standardized page look. Although with Tumblr you are allowed significantly more customization of your own page, it’s not nearly the same thing as with Blogger or Wordpress. One of the best parts of book blogging is that people don't judge you by the amount of followers you have. Everyone has been genuinely nice and welcoming. I feel like in the book blogging community we don't look at bigger bloggers as celebrities, unlike the book community on YouTube or even Instagram sometimes. I really enjoy the sense of equality and community and friendship in the book blogging community.

I can't classify Tumblr as a book blogging platform in the same way Blogger and Wordpress are. First, theres no commenting system implemented in Tumblr. Next, I haven't seen many strictly review blogs on Tumblr, it's mostly just book pictures. Tumblr is about resharing others content. With the click of a button someone else's posts and pictures are on your blog, some bloggers can do absolutely no work and gain a huge following all because they put other peoples content on their blogs. That just doesn't seem right to me. There's no originality in that. Tumblr can also be a very negative and critical place. (I actually deleted my Tumblr because no matter what I kept coming across negativity and hate and it was too much.) On Tumblr, opinions are not respected. If you happen to have an unpopular opinion brace yourself for the masses that will come to your inbox with hate. Blehhh. The anonymous messaging feature makes it all too easy to send and receive hate. I would like to link to a very well written post that I strongly agree with by Jen over at Book Avid. She talks about why Tumblr bloggers shouldn't get ARCS, and how Tumblr is practically nothing more than resharing. Of course, there are exceptions to this. There are blogs on Tumblr who put out tons of their own content and work hours on making their blogs perfect, but those are few and far between in the book community on Tumblr (From my experience in the Tumblr book community) . For people looking for ARCs, and for those who want a proper blogging service, Tumblr is not the way to go.

Oh…Instagram….I tried out the book community on Instagram and I did not like it. I might be slightly biased here due to a very bad experience I had where older woman attacked me as when I was 13 (but I’m not going to get into that now). Anyways, many Instagrammers have been able to receive ARCs with only about 2,000 followers. Followings on Instagram are different from other types of followings. Sometimes, with about 2,000 Instagram followers you have around 200-300 active ones. On my Divergent page I have 34,000 followers yet only 2,000 active followers. (Like, what even!?) Instagram is not exactly the place for reviewing because it’s more of a photo sharing service, and it can be hard to fit a full review into a caption. When I tried reviewing on Instagram I had to find ways to shorten my reviews. Plus, you can barley fit in pub info, release date, and a synopsis all into the slim 2,000 characters they let you have for a caption. Also, Instagrammers are very focused on followers, it’s all about the followers’ followers, and I really do not like that. Bigger accounts usually don't talk to smaller accounts, because they see themselves as superior. I may not be the biggest fan of bookstagram, but you will find some amazing photographers and hard workers on there! Word Revel actually has a great post about the many problems with bookstagram; you can check it out here.

Booktube is a great way to help get word of books out to people who watch Youtube. What I mean is I don't go to youtube for book recs or to hear about new books. If I was to Google "Best YA books in 2015" and a youtube video and a blog post came up I would click the website post. The other thing with Booktube is that (I feel like) popular booktubers are sort of viewed as "celebrities" . Plus, you don't exactly see the big Booktubers going around leaving comments or watching smaller booktubers videos. Again,  like with Instagram, people tend to be very focused on the subscribers. There is a power imbalance. With blogging, everyone tends to be kind and accepting and I haven't seen smaller bloggers discriminated against or judged for the amount of followers they have. I don't mean to tear down booktube in any way though. I think Booktubers are amazing at what they do & it obviously takes tons of work and dedication!

No matter where you choose to talk about books, everyone deserves to be treated with respect. No one should be made to feel like less than due to followers, or content. We all have to start out somewhere and encouraging other people in the book community will build up their confidence and contribute to making the bookish community a better place!

August 25, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught YA Fantasy 101

Top Ten Books (and series) That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught YA Fantasy 101

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
2. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
5. The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
7. The Assassins Blade by Sarah J. Maas
8. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
9. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
10. The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

These are some of my favorite Fantasy books so they would obviously be on my syllabus if I was a YA Fantasy teacher. 

I'd love to read your Top Ten Tuesday! Link me to it in the comments below! 

August 21, 2015

Required Reading and Why It Hurts My Soul

By required reading I mean school required reading. Reading that is required by school tends to really upset me, and I get very worked up thinking about it. 

I have read one book, one book (okay update - two books), in my 10 years of education that I  enjoyed. The only reason I even enjoyed the book was because the ending was really powerful, the book itself was very weird at times. So, to recap, out of all the books I've been forced to read I enjoyed one. (two! Sorry, the summer reading I just did was very interesting!) 

Maybe if kids across the country weren't being forced to read books there would be more kids who enjoyed reading. I cannot tell you how many kids I've spoken to who say they "hate reading" yet have never read anything outside of the schools required reading. Maybe thats why they hate it. This is what required reading is doing to kids, its making them hate reading. Reading could be something they might love, but they will never know. Many kids in my grade may never know what its like to pick up a book and read for pleasure. The sole reason for this is because our education system is failing us. Our education system that is making kids hate reading instead of encouraging it. This saddens and angers me, especially because I see this every day during the school year. People getting turned off by literature thanks to the schools mandatory reading. 

So I ask again, why do I have to read a boring book to be taught a lesson that I could easily learn from an interesting, captivating, novel. Why am I subjected to analyzing boring literature, when I could be taught more and be enjoying myself more with current literature.

The education system is failing me, and its failing my classmates. It truly saddens me to see people turned away from reading because of an education filled with people forcing books on them  that did nothing but convince them they hated reading. 

EDIT: After re-reading this post a couple times and reading the comments (which I wholeheartedly agree with), I realize I think I would have enjoyed so many of these books if they had not been forced on me. There are rich aspects of culture, and writing styles that can no longer be found in todays books and if they weren't forced on me I think I would have enjoyed them so much more. Even though I find the books I have to read for school very "bleh" I would like to say I am able to appreciate the literature and the impact they have had on our culture. When I was writing this post I was thinking about how angry I was that required reading has turned so many of my friends off to reading, and I was also being completely ignorant when I wasn't acknowledging the importance of required reading. 

August 19, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare
786 pages
Expected publication: March 8th 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.

The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.

We have a while until this comes out, but I'm extremely excited for it. Whats your Waiting On Wednesday this week? 

August 18, 2015

Book Haul! (1)

eARCS from NetGalley & Edelweiss! (Thank you to these amazing publishers!)


I can't wait to read all of these. I know Wrath and Kiss of Deception came out a while ago, but I just purchased both of them. Everyone (especially Abi Ketner) has been telling me to read Kiss of Deception, and I have heard nothing but amazing things about Wrath. I was also so excited that I was approved for Vengeance Road because I'm in the VR Posse. I will also totally be buying Vengeance Road when it comes out because that cover is going to be sooo beautiful in hardcover. 

August 17, 2015

Blogger and Wordpress Blog Designers and Templates

When I was redesigning my blog I found it hard to find templates and designers. So, I decided to compile this list of designers I found while searching to help others!

The dollar signs represent prices:
$ = 30 and under
$$ = 30 to 60
$$$ = above 60
 Starred (*) are my favorite designers

For Wordpress and Blogger 
Envye $$ *

For Blogger
Parajunkee $ (their website is very annoying to navigate)
Nymphont (free) 
My Blogger Themes (free- they have some good ones if you look hard enough)

For Wordpress
Nose Graze $$ *

August 16, 2015

Bookish Food (3) The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games features lots of fancy capitol food. So thats what I'll be focusing on today! 

Meeting Authors!

I've always wanted to do signing recaps, but I was either too swamped with schoolwork or too lazy (oops...) so I decided to compile some pictures and add little captions about each signing.
Click the read more to see everything!

August 14, 2015

Friday Favorites (1)

I'm know this feature is already a thing, so I'm just going to do my own thing here and once or twice a month do a Friday Favorites where I talk about stuff I like. (I think the title "Friday Favorites" is pretty self explanatory) This week I'll be talking about some of my favorite authors!
(In no particular order) 

1. Sarah J. Maas
Sarah J. Maas writes the best high fantasy I've ever read, it's easy enough to understand yet still drags you into the world. Her books are filled with murder, make outs, cliffhangers, and plot twists you never saw coming (even though that is the point of a plot twist - hers are especially twisty). I have found some of my favorite characters ever in SJM books (*cough* RHYSAND). Sarah's books always leave me with a really bad book hangover and tend to put me in a reading slump too. It's like, after you finish a Sarah book you want another Sarah book, but there usually isn't another Sarah book coming out for like a year or something, so you have to wait in agony for a little bit.

2. Alexandra Bracken
Alexandra Bracken is so amazing at writing these intense, action packed stories that have a flawless balance between romance, suspense, and character development.

3. J.K. Rowling
I mean, if you've read the Harry Potter series you know where I'm coming from. J.K.'s Harry Potter series is magical. I haven't read her books as Robert Galbraith, but the perfection that is the 7 Harry Potter books is enough to solidify her as one of my favorite authors.

4. Maggie Stiefvater 
Maggie’s writing takes me to another world. It's so beautiful and theres so much amazing symbolism. Complete with so many perfect characters and some of my favorite (romantic and non-romantic) relationships. Also, Ronan and Adam never leave my head, I'll just be in the car and next thing I know I'm thinking about Ronan and Adam and I'll say to myself "Is this weird?" and then I'll answer myself with "Probably."

5. Michelle Hodkin
Michelle Hodkin!!! She is literally the sweetest person. I love her and her books so so much. I related very strongly with the Mara Dyer trilogy, and Noah Shaw will always be one of my number one book boyfriends.

These authors are all pros at balance to me. They have a perfect amount of every part that makes a book worth reading (for me), romance, world building, unique, captivating plots, iconic characters, and overall fabulous writing.

Let me know who your favorite authors are! 

August 12, 2015

Bookish Food (1) To All The Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You

So, I was really hungry last night and I started thinking about books and food. So I thought: I like books, I like food, why not combine them and then this happened. I looked around the blogosphere to see if I could find anything like this (I didn't want to copy anyone and not credit them) but I didn't. So I'm gonna do it! This may be the most pointless feature ever, because its literally going to be nothing more then pictures of food mentioned in books. But as I said I like food pictures, I like books, so I'm going to post these food pictures (that will link back to their owners websites/recipes when you click them). 

I'll be starting this feature with some food from Jenny Han books! 
TATBILB and PSISLY both are very food and dessert heavy, and they both made me extremelyyy hungry.  

August 11, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I've Read The Most Books From

These are the Top 9 Authors I've Read The Most Books From! (I was going to have 9 or 12 so I went with nine and left out authors I'd read 4 books from) 

August 10, 2015

Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Fixer
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
384 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Young Adult | Mystery | Thriller
Goodreads | Amazon
5/5 Stars
This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.
This book, HOLY SHIT (Excuse my language). I thought I had somewhat figured it out while I was reading, but I was totally wrong. It was so shocking and kept me guessing until the last page. I am a sucker for books set on the political scene, and I love suspense and mystery, therefore, I was sold on this book from the second I read the synopsis.

I really like Tess (our main character) because she is truly a strong independent girl who isn't focused on a boy (not that being focused on a boy is a bad thing), but she's been through a lot and has her sights set on her relationship with her sister, and her friends. Tess is also very intelligent and totally badass. She hates bullies, and stands up for the kids who seem to need it most. I really admired her character. Plus our secondary characters are amazing too! Asher, who loves explosions and is also very funny. Henry, who seems rude at first, but as we get to know him we learn there's so much more to his story, and Vivvie, the extremely energetic and bubbly friend. They were all very well written side characters.

Another thing that was awesome about this book was that there was absolutely no romance. None whatsoever, yet the book was still so badass and intriguing. I actually think this is the first book I've read without a romantic relationship. It definitely proves a book can be captivating without a love interest or romance. There was never a point in The Fixer where I found myself wanting a romance either, because the plot is so gripping and engaging.

I believe this is supposed to be a duology (based on Goodreads) and I can't wait to see what's in store for the second book! Jennifer Lynn Barnes is so good at throwing curve ball after curve ball and The Fixer has so many twists you'll never see coming.

August 5, 2015


I intended to make this post a long time ago but I never did. Back in April I went to Harry Potter world for the 3rd time, but I was finally able to appreciate it. I read all the books and watched all the movies that March for the first time, and I had such an amazing time! 

All my pictures are under the cut!

August 4, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Fairytale Retellings I've Read/Want To Read

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is Ten Fairytale Retellings I've Read/Want To Read 

Fairytale Retellings I've Read
1. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
3. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

Fairytale Retellings I Want To Read
5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
6. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
7. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
8. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
9.  Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
10. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I'd love to read your Top 10 Tuesday so link it below! 

August 3, 2015

Mini Duology Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han 
355 pages
Published April 15th 2014
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.

They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
337 pages
Published May 26th 2015
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
416 pages
Published May 5th 2015
Bloomsbury Children's
A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

I finally read ACOTAR! I didn't get it when it came out because my TBR was huge, but then I couldn't wait anymore, and I am so so glad I picked this up. Lets discuss why.
First, the premise. It's basically a really hot retelling of Beauty and the Beast, so I was like, sign me up. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and this take on it was amazing. So, basically, our main girl Feyre kills a wolf and according to an old treaty, she has to pay with her life, so she goes to live in Faerie territory with a superhot fae named Tamlin.

Now, the characters. Feyre, Tamlin, Lucien and Rhysand. Sarah J. Maas is just so talented at creating these perfect, beautiful, complex, unique characters. Feyre was my least favorite of our main characters (I seem to be having a thing where I don't like the main character much.) She was a bit annoying because she couldn't follow a single command, although I'll admit it wouldn't be as much fun to read if Feyre just listened to everything Tamlin and Lucien told her to do. Tamlin was so great though, he was sweet and hot, but I adored Rhysand. Rhysand is my favorite character in this trilogy so far. Probably because I have a weakness for arrogant, beautiful boy characters even if they are a little evil. Rhys was just perfection and I want to claim him for myself. He’s so complex, and beautiful, and perfect. Right now, Rhysand is who I want Feyre to end up with, but if she doesn't I wont be too upset because I will gladly claim him for myself. I'm going to stop talking about Rhys now (because I could just keep going and going) and move onto Lucien. I loved his friendship with Tamlin, and he was so witty. Plus, every character had such a heartbreaking, wholly individual backstory.

There is biting. There is passionate kissing. There is touching. There are lots of sexy-hot-steamy times. There are amazing characters, there is a beautiful setting, and there is suspense and action. So, I URGE you to GO AND READ THIS BOOK, PLEASE.

Before I leave I would just like to share this single text post from tumblr user titusconstantinos (even though I adore Rhysand I found this very amusing):

"rhysand more like whysand as in why are you like this stop breaking the otp "

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Let me know your thoughts on ACOTAR if you've read it!

August 1, 2015

Weekly Recap #1

I really wanted to do Weekly Recaps so I'm starting now! 

I got sick with the flu this week. So I've been lounging in bed and working on this blog. I also finished up the Summer trilogy! I had to miss dance this week, because of the whole flu thing, so I was pretty upset over that. Moreover, I can't believe its August!! One more month until I go back to school. :(