Saturday, March 17, 2018

Stacking The Shelves [#91]/Sunday Post [#23]

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality as a way to share all the books we got during the week!

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. Its a weekly post to showcase what books you got, recap the week, and talk about what will be coming up this week on the blog!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

So remember how I went to the Tucson Festival of Books last weekend? Well I impulse bought Pacifica & Labyrinth Lost while I was there to get signed as well. Lol. I couldn't help it. I had to take the opportunity to get them signed when I had the chance! 

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for this! 

So I did indeed go to the book festival last weekend! Go check out my recap post linked right above to see the pictures I took with authors and the books me, James & Ana got signed! It was a lot of fun! I'll give you guys a small teaser of it though. Here's a picture of me with Kristen Simmons!

Guys! I got a new phone! My wonderful fiance paid off what was left on my old one so I could stop being miserable with it. Lol. So backstory. My old phone gave me battery drainage issues, wifi issues & button issues 4 months after I got it. Lets just say even after buying a new battery, I was still charging my phone 3-4 times a day. It was frustrating constantly being attached to the charger. So James paid off what was left on my payment plan so I could upgrade early. I have a phone that stays charged again!!!!!!! :D 

Other good news! Remember a few weeks ago how I said I was working on eating healthier and exercising? Well its paying off! I've lost 7 pounds so far!! And I've dropped a size in pants! I'm feeling really good seeing a bit of results. Its small but its progress!! :D :D 

Ok everyone. What types of posts would you like to see on the blog? I'm interested in creating and posting some new content, but I definitely wanna know what my readers wanna see. Let me know in the comments!

I'd love for more people to join the Dystopia Reading Challenge! There's still lots of time. And you don't even have to read a ton for it either! :)

There's also still a few weeks left to sign up for the Red Queen Read-Along! It'll start in April! Anyone can join! I think it's a great opportunity for any of us who haven't read Red Queen or want to reread it in a low stress way. I know I'm looking forward to not being stressed about finishing it asap. 
  • A review of something by Laini Taylor. I'm torn between Strange The Dreamer or finishing the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series. But something by Laini Taylor will go up soon!
  • Review of Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
  • Review of American Panda by Gloria Chao

Friday, March 16, 2018

2018 Dystopia Reading Challenge: 1st Quarter Update

Happy March! It's here already guys! The first quarter update for the 2018 Dystopia Reading Challenge! I hope we're all having some success with our reading goals!! If the challenge is new to you and you wanna sign up, please check out the Sign-Up Post! Your more than welcome to talk about any dystopian books you've read this year even if your just joining up! :) Feel free to link-up your update post or let me know in the comments how your doing! :)

I was hoping to have read more than this, but my reading got off to a slow start this year. It's actually just now started picking up so I'm hoping I'll have much more progress by the 2nd quarter update. 

Discussion Question:
Which type of dystopian world do you think you'd have the most success surviving in? (Ex. Zombie Apocalypse, Post-Apocalyptic (War, Natural Disaster), Space, Statist (Strict Government), etc.)

My Answer: 
I think for me I'd have to say Post-Apocalyptic. While I'd really like to say Zombie Apocalypse with all the zombie books and shows to prepare me, I just don't think I'd survive. I'm positive somehow I'd end up surrounded and screwed. Lol. Post-Apocalyptic though I feel like I'd fare better. I think I'd do well trying to survive after a huge event. I feel like I'd do well picking good people to try and rebuild with. I also feel like I'd do better at avoiding those who may threaten me. And there's always the chance a human can be reasoned with. A zombie cannot be reasoned with. Plus I'd rather have the knowledge if I'm gonna go out, I'll go out without turning into something that could hurt others later on. 


Review: This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers

This Is Not A Test (This Is Not A Test #1)
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: June 19, 2012
Pages: 322
Format: Paperback/Own

It's the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won't stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn't sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she's failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she's forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group's fate is determined less and less by what's happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

Review: I didn't completely expect this book to be the way it was. But I actually really enjoyed it despite it being different than I thought. I was completely expecting it to be more zombies involved in the story than there actually was. The story focused more on the 6 teens and their emotions and lives as they try to survive hiding in their school more than fighting the undead. It was interesting seeing certain characters let go of their pasts and grow while others held onto things and lost it. 

You really see each person either grow or lose it throughout the book. Starting obviously with our main character Sloane. She starts and goes through a good half the book wanting to die and not caring about surviving in the least. All that matters to her is dying because her sister left her with her abusive father and she just feels like she can't survive without her. But after she slowly starts to bond with Rhys, and even Grace and Cary a little bit, she slowly starts thinking about living a little bit more and actually wanting to survive. Sloane really has to work for this though. She had already gave up when this started, so finding reasons to live and keep surviving were a lot harder for her. She eventually finds those reasons after talking with Cary about her sister. And bonding with Rhys and opening up to him about her father and her sister. She slowly starts to realize she's not completely alone and has some small reasons to live. Eventually when the group finds out there's an emergency shelter in a town about 100 miles away. She decides on taking the risk to help them get to it. 

Another character that really grew in the story was Harrison. He was a weak little freshman when the group found him and took him with them. He stayed scared and weak for most of the book. He cried a lot, hid behind stronger people and pretty much became their lackeys. He was just a blubbering mess. But finally at the end of the book he realized he wanted to do something with his life. Something to show he was better than that. He ended up throwing himself in front of infected so that the rest of the group could get away. He decided if he was going to do something, it was going to be helping the others survive. 

However, one of the group, Trace, pretty much loses it. He blames Cary for getting his parents killed when they were on their way to the school to hide out. And he uses this to be awful to everyone but his sister throughout the entire story. He gets such an attitude and starts acting like he's so much bigger and better than everyone else. The loss of people he loved really just turns him into a psychopath. If I'm honest, I don't feel too bad about how he goes out in the end. 

I thought the infected were unique. They seemed to hang around when they couldn't find food. Instead of just wandering off after a while they just waited. Waited for food to come to them. And they just hung around after chasing people as well. Instead of going away they just stayed. It definitely seemed different than undead we've seen in other books and even on TV *cough* The Walking Dead *cough*. 

There were a few things I didn't like however. There was a few spots the story seemed slow. Just explaining things or flashbacks. They weren't super long though so compared to other books, these slow parts were much more manageable to read and get past. The other thing was repetition. It seemed like we were always talking about Lily leaving Sloane. Always talking about how Trace blames Cary for his parents death. I felt like these two particular points were a bit excessively brought up. 

Book Blogger Hop: March 16th-22nd

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer's permission, Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the meme on February 15, 2013.

Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop's purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

Who is your favorite children's books author and why? (submitted by Kitty @ Vicarious Bookworm)

For younger kids, Joanna Cole. She wrote a bunch of The Magic School Bus books. My daughter loves them and I love the books too. For older kids. Ann M. Martin. I'm sure most people recognize that name. The Babysitters Club. I loved those books when I was a kid! I was always checking them out from the library at school to read them. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Review: SINdicate by J.T. Nicholas

SINdicate (The New Lyons Sequence #2)
Author: J.T. Nicholas
Publisher: Rebel Base Books
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Pages: 304
Format: Galley/NetGalley

The Post-Modern Prometheus

Synths were manufactured to look human and perform physical labor, but they were still only machines. That’s what the people who used—and abused—them believed, until the truth was revealed: Synths are independent, sentient beings. Now, the governments of the world must either recognize their human nature and grant them their rightful freedom, or brace for a revolution.

Former New Lyons Detective Jason Campbell has committed himself to the Synths’ cause, willing to fight every army the human race marches against them. But they have an even greater enemy in Walton Biogenics, the syndicate behind the creation and distribution of the “artificial” humans. The company will stop at nothing to protect their secrets—and the near-mythological figure known to Synths as “The First,” whose very existence threatens the balance of power across the world . . .

Review: I definitely enjoyed how this story picked up the pace compared to SINthetic! There was a lot more action and continuation to the story compared to the stop and explain everything of the first book. It was very pleasant and I really liked seeing the story move further along in this! And the best part of it, is that this book takes place only over the span of a about a month. From New Years at the end of SINthetic when Campbell sides with the synthetics, through almost the 1st of February when they gave the world the deadline for giving synths full rights. We got a lot of action and information going on with the resistance in a short period of time. It was great! 

Things started out with trying to find out who left a dead body on the resistances door step to a full on break in of Walton Biogenics to find some well hidden information with hard scientific proof that could change everyone's view of synthetics whether they want to or not. You can't fight science (despite some people thinking their opinions are better than hard facts). A man named Dr. Kaphiri, who is considered the father of synthetics as he created the first one (mentioned above as "The First"), hid information away from Walton that could later be used just for the resistances very purpose. He also never wanted synths to be treated as they are, the idea of making them just a product was solely Walton Biogenics idea. After finding out Dr. Kaphiri's story regarding synths and how Walton came to get a hold of that information to make them, you really feel bad. Huge corporations are just awful most of the time. 

I was very pleasantly surprised to see Ms. Morita, the medical examiners assistant from the last book pretty much join Campbell and the synths. It's never said if she does, but from the fact she stays after helping them and starts to really feel for their plight, it's pretty much implied. It was definitely nice seeing someone genuinely change their mind regarding the synths and see they are much more than what the world thinks they are. I also was surprised by the epilogue when the seeds of doubt were placed into Dr. Larkin's mind about the synths from what Campbell had told her when he was there getting Dr. Kaphiri's information. 

The only things that bugged me in this book were the ending and one particular drawn out chapter. The one chapter where Campbell is trying to get out of Walton and ends up fighting a bunch of security and police felt really long. So long I glossed over parts. It was way to over detailed and drawn out. I don't mind hearing a bit about how the fight scene went down, but it was definitely too long of a scene. And the ending. While I understand why it had to end like that, I really don't like it. But I'm hoping in book three we'll find out it was for the good of the synths and not for nothing. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tucson Festival of Books Recap

So as many of you read, I went to the Tucson Festival of Books this past weekend. It was quite a lot of fun. I got to meet a number of authors and get a bunch of books signed. There was also some awesome entertainment as well. Can I just mention how awesome most authors are!? Every one I asked to take pictures with were super excited about it and loved that their fans came to see them! We have so many amazing, friendly authors in our community guys! :)

So the first signing I went to I saw Holly Black, Zoraida Cordova & Jessica Spotswood. 

Holly Black!
I got to take a picture with her and get her to sign my copy of The Cruel Prince! I also love her blue hair! 

Zoraida Cordova!
Also took a picture with her! And she signed the copy of Labyrinth Lost that I impulse bought for the signing! Lol. When she was signing my book she also noticed I had The Cruel Prince with me and talked with me about how much she loved reading it. I love when authors totally talk about other authors books! It's so cool seeing them fan girl over each other! 

Jessica Spotswood!
So I didn't get any books signed by her. I didn't see any copies of Born Wicked in the bookstore when I went through or else I would have grabbed that 100% for her to sign. But she was so cool in letting me take a picture with her anyways! And I even got bookmarks from her! Authors love giving away swag! :D Also really like the pink in her hair! So cool!

Kristen Simmons!
So this was my big FAN GIRL moment! I definitely think this is my favorite picture with an author from the whole festival! KRISTEN SIMMONS!!!! Guys, I LOVE the Article 5 series. If you were to ask what some of my favorite dystopian books are, that series would be there! She was so incredibly happy to see fans come to the festival! She was also very excited to talk Article 5 with me! We talked favorite character, favorite guy (Chase overwhelmingly!), and even how some guy at a different event told her how much he hated Chase. I don't know how you could hate Chase, but everyone has an opinion right?!?! LOL. And she was super excited to take a picture with me! Definitely my favorite author interaction of the day! 

Ok guys. So I actually only brought the Article 5 series with me to the festival. I also impulse bought Pacifica. But I figured this was my chance to get it signed! So why not!!! I'm so glad I did. I also got a cool Pacifica themed bookmark. And if you'll notice, the mentioned conversation about Chase being the favorite guy inspired the inscription in Three! I'm seriously so excited to have all these signed!!! :D 

OK OK. So enough about the books I got signed. I wasn't the only one who went. LOL. James also came with me. So little fact. He went not planning on meeting any authors or getting any books signed. But he did. He was actually walking to meet up with me after the Holly/Jessica/Zoraida signing when he spotted a booth with an interesting looking sci-fi/dystopian book (yes, we both like sci-fi/dystopians, though he likes more adult ones, than YA ones). So once we found each other he insisted we go back and check it out. So we did and he ended up buying a copy and getting it signed. Guys! My super anti-social fiance was social! I'm so proud of him! :D So here's what he got. 

It's an alternate world sci-fi/dystopian. I know it's kinda small, but the inscription says Enjoy The Journey! I might even actually give this book a read at some point too. It sounds interesting. But guys, this is James like first real signed book! Yay!!! :D I'm so excited he has a signed book. And the author is even from Tucson. That's so cool!

Of course my little one went with me as well! And she even got her own first signed book. Me and James were actually walking around when we ran into this author promoting her book and handing out spider balloons to go with her book! So we stopped and got them. I went and got the book signed for Ana while James got the balloon to go with it. :D

It's a cute little book! And it's made out specially to Ana! I'm so happy she has a special signed book as well! 

Now for some cute pictures. So another little fact about James. He isn't super keen on taking many pictures. The one on the side of the blog. I had to convince him to take that at a hockey game as a sweet memory of us going. Same thing with this picture. Lol. I'm honestly happy if I can just get one picture with him and he's smiling. :)

So he ended up not looking at the camera when it finally took the picture but he has such a nice smile in it I love it anyways!
This guy right here makes me so happy! I'm so glad he came with me and we both got books signed! And at the time we took this picture, we were also super proud parents! Our little Ana is just like daddy and not super social, but she was across from us in the tent for tots listening to storytime and singing and dancing! Proud parents smiling right here! 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Topic: Books That Surprised Me 

So I'm gonna do both good and bad. 5 good, 5 bad.

5 That Surprised Me In A Good Way

1. Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I genuinely wasn't expecting to love this like I do. I thought at the time it was being over hyped and like one of those books I'd pick up and be let down by thanks solely to the hype. Boy was I wrong. I finally picked it up based on recommendations from my close blogging buddies and gave it a chance. I genuinely fell in love with this story!! 

2. Article 5 (Article 5, #1) by Kristen Simmons - So I was very iffy on reading this one because I had seen mixed reviews when it came out. Some people loved it and some people hated it. I love dystopians and didn't wanna hate it with my love for the genre. So I ended up getting it from the library in case it did go south. Fortunately it didn't. I ended up really loving this book and the entire series. So much so that I now own the entire series and got to meet Kristen Simmons this past week and get them signed!!! :D

3. Unknown (Unknown #1) by Wendy Higgins - I know it came out in 2016 and a lot of people loved it but I shied away from it for a few reasons. First being it was New Adult and I hadn't really ventured into NA yet. Second being I didn't wanna be disappointed. When I found it on sale at the end of last year I decided to give it a try. And it was such a good decision! Go read this series if you haven't. 

4. Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand - I genuinely was not interested in this book for a while. The idea of the book didn't pull me in, the cover didn't pull me in. Eventually after having seen it around on blogs a bunch I picked it up when I saw it at the library. I was genuinely surprised by it. I was really not expecting to like it. I am however disappointed about who Clara ended up with in the end though. 

5. Nightshade (Nightshade #1) by Andrea Cremer - I was a little worried about this book at first. After everything with Twilight, I'm iffy with Vampire and Werewolf books. But I gave it a chance after seeing so many people getting excited about the second one. I was glad I did. This is one of the best werewolf books I've read. That surprised me in a very good way.

5 That Surprised Me In A Bad Way

1. Uses For Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt - This was just bad. The overall premise for this book sounded good. But it wasn't. The character just constantly made bad decisions, never seemed to learn from any of it and just seemed to use her past as an excuse for her behavior. Also, for a YA book, it was 90% sex. I have no issues with sex. But there was WAY too much in this book. It also felt incredibly rushed. I was surprised at how much I disliked this book. 

2. Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1) by EL James - I really feel like this one is completely self explanatory. Its another that some love and some hate. I was surprised at some of the stuff in this book that people seem to think is ok. Things that would not fly in normal everyday relationships. And I'm not even talking about the sex/BDSM. There are just things that seemed abusive and bad in this book. That's why its on the bad list. 

3. The Shade of the Moon (Last Survivors #4) by Susan Beth Pfeffer - So I loved the first 3 books, Life As We Knew It, The Dead & The Gone, & This World We Live In. They were awesome books. They are some of my favorite books. I was excited seeing there was a fourth book. I was very sad and disappointed upon reading it. It felt like this book wasn't even in the world the previous 3 built up. Not to mention instead of using Miranda or Alex, the main characters in the other books, they used Miranda's little brother Jon and he was by far, the worst choice for the main character/point of view. This series should have stayed ended with This World We Live In. 

4. Shadowland (The Immortals #3) by Alyson Noel - I loved Evermore & Blue Moon. I thought they were good. Then Shadowland and the subsequent books after came and the story flopped. I went from being hooked in the first two to being bored all the time in the next ones. I was surprised at how it went downhill all of a sudden. :(

5. Awakened (House of Night #8) by P.C. & Kristin Cast - This book was what did in the series for me. I really started going downhill starting with Tempted, but after pushing on through it, Burned and then Awakened. I just couldn't anymore. I LOVED this series before. So I was surprised and how drastically it went downhill and how much I came to dislike anything after book 5. I even tried to read the book after this and couldn't. I really wanted to love and read the entire HoN series but I can't. I'm surprised at that, I really am. But I can't finish this series. I'm surprised I gave up after reading this book. I'm surprised I got so bored with this series. I'm surprised that I pushed through the disappointment in this book for me. :(