Friday, October 31, 2014

Bookish Discussion: NaNoWriMo


What Is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month the premise of which is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. This works out to roughly 1,667 words a day which is no small feat!


Last year I participated in NaNo Warm Up where I wrote a 25,000 word start to a novel. There were days when I struggled to get to 800 words a day and other days when I'd write 3,000 but eventually it all evened out and I met my goal!

If you are doing NaNoWriMo and would like to add me as a writing buddy feel free to do so my username is: Kitchuel.

Whatcha Writing About? 
Write the book you want to see on the shelf. I've seen this advice from many different authors and have taken it to heart. I've extensively outlined and will be writing a YA novel based loosely the Nazi persecution of the Gypsies during World War II (think Code Name Verity and Prisoner of Night and Fog).

I wrote an academic paper on the subject during undergrad and since then it's always interested me. Hopefully I can tackle this tough subject matter and do it justice.

Why Are You Telling Us About This?

I'm letting all of you know that I'm participating so that you can hopefully join me! Also, I want to keep myself accountable. If I know people have a vague idea I'm participating I am far more likely to keep up with day-to-day word counts and actually finish.

Tomorrow is November. If you want to join me go to www.nanowrimo.com and sign up!   

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Killer Instinct
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
Last year The Naturals caught my interest. I loved the Criminal Minds vibe but didn’t care for the cliché love triangle between Cassie, Dean, and Michael and with this sequel not much has changed. I still liked the Criminal Minds esque storyline and didn’t care for the love interests.

Killer Instinct begins a few months after The Naturals and because of everything that happened the group of FBI teams is relegated to unsolved cold cases rather than active files. They are understandably bored and so when a case falls in to their laps they band together to solve it.

I liked that in this book we got to know each of the characters a little better. The story though really focused on Dean and his relationship with his father and what growing up was like for him. I enjoyed learning about Dean’s past but it also felt like it took a while for the story to get going.

It took me a while to get back in to the swing of the characters and the dynamics between them. The love triangle which I vaguely remembered from The Naturals as existing became downright annoying in this novel. I just didn’t feel like Cassie truly cared about either boy and I would have rather had no romance then a bad romance.

Overall, Killer Instinct was a middle of the road sequel. I enjoyed the first book but it wasn’t as memorable as The Naturals and I really struggled not to roll my eyes with the love triangle.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Black Dog by Caitlin Kittredge

Black Dog
Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:

Do you enjoy the TV show Supernatural? If the answer to that question is yes (and I can’t fathom a world where the answer is no) then do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy of Black Dog by Caitlin Kittredge. While it doesn’t feature the Winchester boys it does have Hell Hounds, Evil Angels, Demons, Necromancers, and Zombies. It was a veritable Supernatural smorgasbord!

Ava is a Hell Hound tethered to her reaper…Gary. I know the name Gary doesn’t strike fear in to anyone’s heart but Ava’s fear of him is real. When a chance comes to ally herself with Russian mobster Leonid Karpov and kill her reaper she jumps on it. But killing her reaper is only the first of many problems facing Ava and Leonid. The first of which is to find Clint Hicks the man Gary was never able to collect.

Ava at times made herself hard to like. She was either a complete badass or a crying mess. Luckily, the crying mess was far less frequent then the complete badass so overall I liked her. I felt her actions made sense given her past and the un-tethered feeling she was experiencing after severing her connection to her reaper.

Leonid or Leo as I preferred to call him (because Leonid doesn’t sound cute at all) was an intriguing addition to the story. I liked how this human pushed Ava to leave her reaper and to go on a hunt for Clint. I think the two of them balanced each other well.

I also really enjoyed the world building in this novel. Kittredge set up the plot brilliantly for the rest of the series. There is a lot of material in this world and I can foresee any number of outcomes for Ava and Leo.

Overall, Black Dog was the book I wanted to read the instant I started reading it. Much like an episode of Supernatural I was hooked until the credits started rolling and then I immediately wanted more. I will definitely be reading the next book in this new Urban Fantasy series.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 122


The Last Week
Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Top 10 New Series I Want To Read
Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Halloween Reads 4 Book Giveaway!
New On The Shelf
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Thanks Todd!)
Save Me by Jenny Elliott (Thanks Macmillian!)
Netgalley
The Body Electric by Beth Revis
This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner

While you're here make sure to enter the Halloween Reads Giveaway!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Reads Giveaway!


Unmarked
Author: Kami Garcia
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication Date: September 30, 2014

Synopsis:
The heart-pounding sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Unbreakable, by New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures co-author Kami Garcia.
He is here... and he could be anyone.
Kennedy Waters lives in a world where vengeance spirits kill, ghosts keep secrets, and a demon walks among us–a demon she accidentally set free.

Now Kennedy and the other Legion members–Alara, Priest, Lukas, and Jared–have to hunt him down. As they learn more about the history of the Legion and the Illuminati, Kennedy realizes that the greatest mystery of all does not belong to any secret order, but to her own family. With the clock ticking and the life of someone she loves hanging in the balance, Kennedy has to ask the question she fears most: what is it about her past that has left her Unmarked?


Blood Of My Blood
Author: Barry Lyga
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication Date: September 9, 2014

Synopsis:
Jazz Dent has been shot and left to die in New York City. His girlfriend Connie is in the clutches of Jazz's serial killer father, Billy. And his best friend Howie is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz's own home in tiny Lobo's Nod. Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors their lives have become and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy. But then Jazz crosses a line he's never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: "Like father, like son?" Who is the true monster?
The chase is on, and beyond Billy there lurks something much, much worse. Prepare to meet...the Crow King

The Young World
Author: Chris Weitz
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication Date: July 29, 2014

Synopsis:
After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.
The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.

Salt & Storm
Author: Kendall Kulper
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Goodreads

Synopsis:
You don't know what you must give up to become a witch.
Avery Roe wants only to claim her birthright as the witch of Prince Island and to make the charms that have kept the island's sailors safe at sea for generations, but instead she is held prisoner by her mother in a magic-free life of proper manners and respectability.
Avery thinks escape is just a matter of time, but when she has a harrowing nightmare, she can see what it means: She will be killed. She will be murdered. And she's never been wrong before.
Desperate to change her future, Avery finds a surprising ally in Tane—a tattooed harpoon boy with magic of his own, who moves her in ways she never expected. But as time runs out to unlock her magic and save herself, Avery discovers that becoming a witch requires unimaginable sacrifice.
Avery walks the knife's edge between choice and destiny in Kendall Kulper's sweeping debut: the story of one girl's fight to survive the rising storm of first love and family secrets.

Giveaway
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
Snow Like Ashes was a hot mess. The synopsis promised a heartbroken girl, a fierce warrior, and a hero in the making. I read the entire book and didn’t read about any of these things. Instead what greeted me was an impulsive main character that was a sub-par fighter who might be able to win back a kingdom.

My first inkling that something was wrong in Snow Like Ashes was the world building. The quick run down is that there are eight kingdoms, four of them are the four seasons (winter, spring, summer, and autumn) and then there are four other kingdoms, the rhythms. My take away was that the rhythms are cool but not as cool as the seasons. The world building was all over the place and I never got a good sense of place. All of the scenes and character interactions felt free standing rather than having a good sense of place.

My second inkling that something was terribly wrong was Meira. The main character had a death wish. She was a poorly trained fighter who was constantly ignoring orders and putting herself, and those around her, in danger. I’m not a fan of fight sequences and there were a lot of them. In more than one of these fights Meira ended up passing out or being knocked out by her opponent. I’m not a trained fighter or anything but if I kept getting knocked out by my opponent I would eventually expect to be stabbed, or at the bare minimum I would probably start re-evaluating my career choices. But not Meira!

I think my last straw with Snow Like Ashes came when Meira who desperately wants to be taken seriously as a fighter suddenly has a love triangle form around her. A love-triangle which consisted of her, a king, and a prince! I’m not a fan of love triangles generally but I can put up with one. The problem with this triangle was that it had no love. I couldn’t get a sense of Meira’s feelings for either boy and thusly didn’t care about them.

Overall, Snow Like Ashes confused me. From the shoddy world building, to the loveless love triangle I was lost. I’ve looked around and a lot of other readers seemed to enjoy this story, which makes me wonder if I read the same book as everyone else. But hey, if you like high fantasy and fight sequences this might just be the book for you even if it wasn’t my thing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top 10 New Series I Want To Start


I usually don't have a problem starting series, it's finishing them that's the issue. But these 10 series, for one reason or another I haven't gotten to yet. Let me know in the comments if you've enjoyed any of these reads!

1 Secrets of the Eternal Rose by Fiona Paul

2 Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

3 Everneath by Brodi Ashton

4 Penryn & The End of Days by Susan Ee

5 The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

6 Mind Games by Kiersten White

7 The Archived by Victoria Schwab

8 All Souls Triology by Deborah Harkness

9 Black City by Elizabeth Richards

10 Reboot by Amy Tintera

Monday, October 20, 2014

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
I find it so hard to review Maggie Stiefvater’s novels. Her writing style hits something in my soul and I find myself wanting to discuss small passages rather than big picture plot points which is not the point of a review at all. Suffice to say Blue Lily, Lily Blue did not disappoint on the writing front.

I was saddened though by the utter absence of Kavinsky. At the end of The Dream Thieves he was presumed dead and while I didn’t expect him to be suddenly resurrected I did expect characters to react to his death. Instead it was mentioned only in passing and because Ronan wasn’t a focal point of this story we didn’t even get to see his reaction!

Despite the lack of Kavinsky (who was by far my favorite character in The Dream Thieves) I was easily sucked back in to daily life in Henrietta and the search for the dead welsh King Glendower. The Raven Boys (and Blue) are drawing ever closer to finding him and in this installment the search really ramps up.

One of my favorite additions to Blue Lily, Lily Blue was Greenmantle and his wife Piper. They are one of the stranger couples I’ve read about and because of their dysfunctional relationship I never knew exactly what to expect from either of them. I enjoyed the chapters written from their perspectives.

Overall, a lot of things happened in Blue Lily, Lily Blue but I kind of expected more things to happen. There were some genuinely good parts but I have a feeling that all of the really great parts will be in the series finale which I can not wait for

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 121

The Last Week
Damsel Distressed Blog Tour {Excerpt & Giveaway}
Waiting on Wednesday: Duplicity by NK Traver
Review: The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters
Netgalley & Edelweiss
The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
Dream A Little Dream by Kerstin Gier

All The Brights Places by Jennifer Niven
Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters

The Cure For Dreaming
Author: Cat Winters
Publisher: Amulet
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
In the Shadow of Blackbirds was one of my favorite reads of 2013 so I went in to The Cure for Dreaming with a lot of expectations. I expected a story similar to Blackbirds but The Cure for Dreaming was truly it’s own story with a different sort of heroine and a completely different set of problems.

Olivia Mead’s life changes when she is pulled on stage by the young hypnotist Henri Reverie. After that night her father gets the idea that he can “cure” Olivia’s wayward thoughts and suffragist leanings by hypnotizing them out of her. Luckily the young Henri is sympathetic toward Olivia and instead allows her to see people’s true natures, but unable to speak her true thoughts aloud Olivia tries to make him cure her all the while discovering herself and fighting for the rights of women.

I liked Olivia she was determined, feisty, and a go-getter at a time when women were relegated to the background. I admired that she fought for what she believed in even when it meant pitting herself against her father, the only family she has.

While I liked Olivia I loved the young hypnotist Henri Reverie. He was a fun character, and I enjoyed learning how he became a hypnotist and what his hopes and dreams were. I loved the little moments between Henri and Olivia and wished there had been more of them.

My favorite thing about The Cure for Dreaming was the setting in Portland, Oregon. I lived in Portland during undergrad and still visit often. It’s one of my favorite cities and it was so fun to read about the familiar streets and how they differed during the 1900’s. What was really cool was that in this novel Olivia lived only a few blocks from one of the downtown apartments I lived in!

Overall, The Cure for Dreaming was a very different book from In the Shadow of Blackbirds but I still enjoyed it. The characters were dynamic and the setting sparkled. I can’t wait for whatever Winters has in store for readers next!