Sunday, November 30, 2014

CramAThon TBR

I have made the decision to participate in the CramAThon. It is not really necessary for me to participate since I'm basically done with my Goodreads challenge, but it will be fun, so I don't really care.

What is the CramAThon, you are probably asking yourself. Well, I am here to tell you.
It is a read-a-thin hosted by Whitney at Whitty Novels on the Youtube. She announced it on her youtube channel, so I will link the video. The purpose is for people who are behind on their reading challenge to have motivation to read a lot of books in a short amount of time. It should be interesting.

All the other information:
Twitter: @CramAThon
Dates: Saturday, December 20 at midnight to 11:59 PM on Wednesday, December 24
Hashtag: #CramAThon

The Challenges:

  1. Read a children's book
  2. Read a hardback
  3. Read 2 books in 24 hours
  4. Read a comic book/graphic novel
  5. Read a poetry collection or a novel in verse
  6. Read a novella
  7. Read 5 books in total
And thats it! Those should be pretty easy to win, so I want to try it. 

Challenge 1: Harry Potter.  I am going to be reading these throughout the month, and I don't know which one I will be on, so I'm just going to say Harry Potter in general.
Challenge 2: Harry Potter. It counts.
Challenge 3: Saga Volumes 2-3. It counts.
Challenge 4: Saga Volume 2.  I am hopefully going to buy this, so I can read this during the read-a-thon.
Challenge 5: I am probably going to end up reading Purgatorio if I do this challenge.
Challenge 6: Sparks Rise by Alexandra Bracken. I've been meaning to read this one, and this is the perfect excuse to do it. 
Challenge 7: Add 'em up.

XOXO,
Belle

December 2014 TBR

At long last, it is December. The month of Hanukkah, Christmas, and Atheists pretending to be religious in order to get presents. I fall into the last category, but that is besides the point. December is also the month of cramming in a lot of books to finish your reading goal. I myself elected to read 100 books this year, and currently I have read 98. I only cheated a little bit on my challenge, but you will hear more about that in my year-in-review posts.
Well, since I only need to read two books this month, I am going to try and cram in as many as possible in order to make up for my cheating. So I am [again] going to be overly ambitious and hopefully have another really good reading month. I have set a few goals for this month, so in January I can start fresh.

To Finish an Important Series: 

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

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

I have been reading this series for about a year now, and I think it is high time for me to finish it. I am going to try very hard to read all of them, but at the very least, I will read book 5.

Finish All Review Books:

Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan

I was so excited to receive this book even though I have never read any Jane Austen, but due to my love of book covers, I think I will have a lot of fun reading and looking through this.

Read the Book I Have Been Saving for Winter:

Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler

I got this book last year for the holidays, and I resolved to read it during the Winter because it just seemed like a wintery read. So I will hopefully be reading this either this month or in January.

Fucking Finish the Book:

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Excuse my language, but I think it was necessary. I have been reading this book since early June, and I am not even halfway done. I don't even know who I am anymore. I need to resolve to spend an entire day and read this like crazy. I need my mom to take away my phone and computer and iPod for a day in order for me to read this without any distractions. Except, sometimes as a distraction I will sleep or just lay on my floor looking at my bookshelf. I am not proud of it, but it happens. I need to be locked in my room and only be able to read this book. I will read a lot over Winter break hopefully, but I really need to finish this by the time the year is up. I think the is the most important book in this TBR since quite frankly I am embarrassed to not to have finished it by now.

I think that is about it. I plan to read 4 huge books because I am not a real person, just an android. Okay, I don't know where I was going with that. But I just need to read two of these books, to finish my goal. I HAVE THIS GOAL IN THE BAG! 
I may be participating in the Cramathon just because read-a-thins are really fun, but I'll figure that out when it gets closer. 

XOXO,
Belle

November 2014 Wrap Up

I think I need an applause. I am so happy with the amount of books that I read this month. Okay. Are you ready for this? 13 books. I read THIRTEEN books. I haven't read that much in about six months. I don't even know how that happened, but it did, and I am in no way complaining. I am honestly blown away by the amount of books that I read this month since I had to read 7 in order to be on track with my reading challenge, but then I decided to read 6 extra books, and now I am basically done with my reading challenge. Anyway, here are the books that I read in the month of November.



I have been waiting to read this book for about a year, and for that entire year I have been scared that it wouldn't live up to the insanely high expectations that I had set in my head. Fortunately, it was exactly what I wanted and more. I love Alexandra Bracken's writing and storytelling, so naturally I loved this book.
5/5 Stars


I received this graphic novel for review from one of my favorite publishers, Nobrow Press, and I had tons of fun with it. It was vulgar, and hilarious in the best way possible. I had such a good time reading this one, and I would highly recommend it if you are okay with nudity and lots of cursing.
4/5 Stars


I got this book a few months back, but heard a lot of mixed things about it, so I was not really planning on reading it, but in a Post-ITA hangover, I reached out to the Twitters and a lovely follower recommended that I read this one, so I did. It was pretty okay. The romance was solid, but it was just kind of corny. 
3/5 Stars


This is one of the best books I have ever read. It was one I read for school, and that usually means its going to be awful, but the way that we had to read it and the story itself just made me love it. I really felt for Holden, and I think I am Holden, so I loved it.
5/5 Stars


I was really planning on living this book because it just sounded like a quality contemporary, but it was so boring. I made it all the way through, but I really was having a bad time reading it. It was not a book for me. I guess I never really believed or cared about the characters, so it just didn't work out. 
2/5 Stars


I was so fascinated by this book when the author contacted me to review this book, and I am so glad that I did end up reviewing it because it was very unique. It dealt with the concept of lucid dreaming, and I am very interested with the concept of it. It was kind of a disappointment because this book was not everything I wanted it to be, but I still had a lot of fun reading it.
4/5 Stars


I have been so excited to read this book since I finished the first one in the duology even though Breathe was not that good. This book was a large improvement form the first book, and I am glad I took the time to read it. 
3/5 Stars

This is a book. It is very funny. I really like Vonnegut's writing, and he was so crudely humorous that I had a very good time reading it. I would really suggest that you read this book if you haven't already, but you should know that not much happens in the plot. The whole book is a build up to a huge event, and it is absolutely ridiculous. The characters were fantastic and insane. The fake religion was very satirically accurate. It was just overall a well done story.
4/5 Stars


All I wanted was an angst-ridden story. This is not an angst ridden story. It had action and a wonderfully made romance that really made me believe it. The setting was magnificent. This was not what I was in the mood for, but I am so glad that I read it.
4/5 Stars


Another school book. Really, Ms. Fantastic-Lit-Teacher, TWO books in one month. Whatever. This was not as good as the The Catcher in the Rye, and quite frankly, I didn't like it that much. I feel like every literature teacher ever makes this seem like a really good and insightful book, but I just didn't get it. I don't know if it was the characters or the plot, but this was just not my book.
3/5 Stars

I don't know what to say about this book. It was just disappointing. I love The 5th Wave. It was one of the best books I read last year, but there was some sort of disconnect between the two books, and this one was stagnant and boring. I will be contenting on with the series, but this just didn't live up to the awesomeness that was The 5th Wave.
3/5 Stars


Science fiction is fun. Science fiction is cool, but this book was just like any science function book ever. I don't think there was anything really special about the world, and the romance was so corny. It was an overall okay book, but I don't think it was the right introduction to Beth Revis' writing.
3/5 Stars

This was an ominously written book that really took my breath away visually. Most of the reason that I liked this book so much was the visually pleasing pictures that were displayed throughout the book. Also, the story was pretty well done, but it was not nearly as long as I would have hoped.
4/5 Stars

Raise your hand if you are as impressed as I am with the amount of books I read. *Raises hand*
Okay, I am hoping for another great reading month next month. 
How was your reading? You should comment with what you read this month, and we can connect over our shared love of books.

XOXO,
Belle

Review of The Resurrectionist by E.B. Hudspeth

The Resurrectionist 
by E.B. Hudspeth
Standalone
208 Pages
Age Range: 16+
Grade Level: 10th Grade
Publisher: Quirk Books

This is two books in one. The first is a biography of the fictional scientist, Spencer Black. It contains his journal entries, letters, and pictures of his early work. The second books is a book written by Dr. Spencer Black. It contains the anatomy alone with his commentary about mythological creatures.







The Short:
The thing about this book that struck me the most was the art. Throughout the book there was art made by Dr. Black. It was all beautiful at the least, and horrifying at the most. The overall vibe is this book was very eerie, and it brought a sense of dread to its reader. The amount of work that was put into making this book was insurmountable. I cant even imagine how long the author spent on this book. The biographical half of the book was very eel done, and it was very interesting to read. Usually, biographies are very boring, but the story of Dr. Black's life was fascinating. The second part of the book, The Codex Extinct Animalia, was beautiful.  The commentary on the creatures was interesting and was very well made. Overall, this book was very nicely crafted, and one that I would be very willing to recommend.

The Good:

  • Like I already stated, the art in this book was perfect and enhanced the feel of the book. Without the pictures, the book would be pointless since half of the book is dedicated to drawings. All the art was very stylized and fit in with the time period that the book was set in.
  • The way that you got to know the scientist was marvelous. You really got to see how he thought and what he believed (no matter how bogus his beliefs were). It was evident how everything in his life took an extreme toll on his mental and emotional health which led up his final letter.
  • The way that the author integrated the journal entries and letters into the biography was very good. It didn't seem jumpy or forced, and the biography seemed like something that you would actually see in a bookstore.
  • The ending was exactly what the book needed. It wouldn't have seemed at all real if it didn't end like it did since Dr. Black was slowly losing his mind and becoming a very stereotypical mad scientist. It was the ominous and unsettling ending that you would have expected from reading the biography. 
The Bad:
  • I didn't think there was enough commentary in the second part of the book. It was mostly pictures, and although I really did enjoy it, it could have used more word. I am saying that because it just felt lacking due to the ratio of word pages to picture pages.
  • This was not a big deal at all, and it did not at all contribute to my rating, but in the way that the species were named there was a mistake. They put the species as the genus and the species descriptor. The binomial nomenclature uses the Genus and the species descriptor to name a species. The author shouldn't have put both under species. 
The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

_______________________________________________________________________________
The Content:
The Language: I don't think this book said one curse word.
The Violence: This was a very violence book. It talked a lot about dangerous surgery, and inhumane treatment of many animals.
The Sex: None
The Drugs: Talk of opium addiction. 

_______________________________________________________________________________
I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly it would be more difficult to make a dishonest review than a truthful one. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Review of The Body Electric by Beth Revis

The Body Electric
by Beth Revis
Standalone
482 Pages
Age Range: 13+
Grade Level: 8th Grade
Publisher: Scripturient Books

Ella lives in a perfect world. Her government is the most stable and largest union in the world, and she is special. She can go inside other people's dreams. When the ruler of the world comes to her for help, she has to obey. It is a matter of national security, and Ella has to take down the terrorist organization. That is until she meets a boy who claims that they were in love, but he is also the head to the organization. Who does she have to trust? Herself? The boy? Her government?




The Short:
When I say this, I am not saying that I didn't enjoy reading this book, but it just seemed generic to me. I liked the store, but the world as a whole seemed like it was pulled from a stock-story. There was not really any part of it that was special, and I had a real problem with that. Having said that, I had fun reading this book, but it was nothing more than average. If you are looking for a mind-blowing science fiction story with a great world, you should look elsewhere. But if you want a pretty decent YA science fiction novel with a solid romance, you should pick this up.

The Good:

  • The romance was wonderful. I really liked how it played out, and all the rediscovery in it. Beth Revis did a very good job making the romance not seem forced, and in the memory loss stories that I have read, the romance was sort of twisted, but the author did a very good job with it. 
  • I could really respect what the author was trying to get at with the whole what-does-it-mean-to-be-human thing. She did a very good job developing that part of the story, and it didn't really get me to question anything, but it made a lot of sense what she was getting at.
  • The author also hinted on the idea of free will, and if it actually exists. The way that she went about doing that was very indirect which was exactly what the story needed because if she straight up told you her opinion on it, it would come off as insincere or as if she was stuffing it down your throat.
  • The story was very fun. It was not very good, and a good amount of it was completely pointless, but I had fun reading it.
  • Very good violence. I really like it when an author can describe action in a way that you understand what is going on, and Beth Revis really did a marvelous job of it. 
The Bad:
  • This book didn't actually get interesting until the last quarter of it. It was slowly ambling along until you reached a certain point that was closer to the end of the book than the middle, and it hit you in the face with action.
  • I didn't care about the characters even a little bit. I'm going to be honest and say that they weren't that well developed, and they didn't seem to have much of a character arc.
  • The world was very dull and typical. There wasn't really a thing about this world that made it special. There were androids, cyborgs, and half-human half-robot people. That sound like every science fiction book ever, and I just wanted to have something of interest in the world, but that just didn't deliver. 
The Rating:


XOXO,
Belle

_________________________________________________________________________________
The Content:
The Language: Pretty bad language.
The Sex: Not that much. A good amount of kissing. Mention of someone being gay (Not at all a big deal, and honestly who in this day and age cares about that). Mentions sex. 
The Violence: Lots of violence. 90% of this book is violence.
The Drugs: Nope

_________________________________________________________________________________
I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly it would be more difficult to make a dishonest review than a truthful one. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review of The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea
by Rick Yancey
Book 2 in The 5th Wave Trilogy
300 Pages
Age Range: 14+
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile


This is the second book, and like always, I will be giving no real description. But if you have read and enjoyed the first book, you need to read this one.








The Short:
I was very disappointed with this. I loved The 5th Wave. When I say I love it, I gave it 5 stars, but this book just didn't live up. It was boring, and there was too much backstory and not enough actual story. It was like the author was trying to fit as much fluff as possible into his book. I was really surprised that it was all fluff since the book is about 150 pages shorter then the first book. I don't know what went wrong, but there was a huge disconnect between book one and this book. I am definitely going to be finishing the series because I only have one book left, and the second is most of the time the weakest book, and that was definitely the case with this book. I am really saddened my this book because of how much love I have for The 5th Wave, but whatever. I am still eagerly awaiting the last book.

The Good:

  • I love the characters. Same as in the first book, but you really got to know more of them. They are all very well developed, and I'm glad that I got the backstory of them, and it really made them seem like they had a life before the aliens came down. 
  • It was not a completely linear book. One of my favorite movie directors is very good at making nonlinear movies, and they are great. I really liked how Rick Yancey did that, but made the whole thing intertwined.
The Bad:
  • I was getting to the point where I wanted to slap Rick Yancey. He used the exact same imagery every other page, and it really angered me. It wasn't like he used a lot of ocean imagery, oh no. It was him using the same ocean imagery over and over and over and over. It was good the first time then he kept using it, and I got annoyed.
  • All of the perspectives talked the same. They all had the same thought process and had the same cadence when thinking, and it just kind of irked me. I wanted each person to have a distinguishable way of thinking, and that was just not given. 
  • This book was split into two books. The first was about 200 pages, and it all took place in the same location. Absolutely nothing actually happened. It was just complaining and incessant fighting. Then the next 50 pages were a different persecutive, but nothing happened. Then the last 50 pages were very good. 
  • Like I just mentioned, nothing happened in the plot department. I was so unhappy because I just wanted to know what happened next, but the next real event was 50 pages away, and I was getting wearily reading it. 
  • WAY TOO MUCH BACKSTORY!! About 40% of the book was taken up by the backstory and previous happenings of the characters.
  • Sometimes his descriptions were not very good. He would describe something important, but then he wouldn't fully say what happened, so you are forced to make inferences. I just want to know for sure if I am right; I am pretty sure that I made the correct guess, but I don't actually know for sure. 
The Rating:



XOXO,
Belle

______________________________________________________________________________
The Content:
The Language: Not for you if you are sensitive to strong language.
The Violence: Do not read if sensitive to vividly described violence
The Sex: Possible sex. A good amount of kissing. Nothing vividly described.
The Drugs: Alcoholism. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review of Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Classic Standalone
107 Pages
Age Range: 14+
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Publisher: Penguin

This is the story of two men who are traveling around looking for work. One is the small, smart George while the other is big, dumb Lennie. They rely on each other, but they can never always be there.









The Short:
I feel like I should have liked this book more than I did. i don't know what it was about this book, but I don't think it was for me. I can definitely see why people love this book, but I just cant relate. I didn't hate the book, but there were too many things that I didn't like about it.

The Good:

  • I liked the foreshadowing, and there was a lot of foreshadowing. Someone spoiled me about the ending to this book, so I could see all the hits that Steinbeck dropped leading up to that event. I love when authors know the ending before the book is over, so you can see all the build up. 
  • The descriptions of everything were wonderful. Steinbeck was fantastic at imagery. You could really see where they were, and it did not take much to be able to picture the setting.
  • Even though this book was 100 pages, you could rurally see the friendship. Everything that George did was to benefit Lennie, and all Lennie cared about was pleasing George. It was really adorable.
The Bad:
  • I know that this was a really short book, so it was hard to develop everything, but I didn't really care about the characters. It may just be me because I am a heartless monster, but I just never got to the point where I liked the characters enough to want to know what happened to them. I liked George enough, but he was just kind of underdeveloped.
  • Most of the side characters were terrible. I'm saying that they were bad people. They are more heartless than I am, and i guess it was somewhat characteristic of the time period, but still.
The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

___________________________________________________________________________
The Content:
The Language: This was a very vulgar book. They used the n-word a lot, and also many derogatory names for women.
The Sex: Mentions infidelity. Mentions a brothel.
The Violence: Talks of lynching. Mercy killing is a pretty common practice. Many animals die in this book.
The Drugs: Mentions alcohol a few times, but they are adults who can legally drink.
Other Triggers: Lots of racism and sexism. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review of The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski


The Winner's Curse
by Marie Rutkoski
Book 1 in The Winner's Trilogy
355 Pages
Age Range: 13+
Grade Level: 7th Grade
Pubkisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

The daughter of one of the most powerful generals in a vast empire buys a slave. That is a normal practice in her country, but the friendship that she forms with said slave is one that is unprecedented. As rumors start to spread, her life is changed forever, but does it change for better or for worse?








The Short:
Going into this book, I was hoping for an angst-ridden book with a very cliche romance. That is not what I got. This has a marginally angsty protagonist and romance, but not to the extent that I was expecting. Also, this book was filled tot he brim with action, which I very much appreciated and was surprised by.

The Good:

  • I usually don't like it when books have angsty romances, but when I was choosing what book to read next, I decided that angst was exactly what I wanted. Having said that, I think I liked the book better because it wasn't angsty. 
  • I have to commend the author for being able to take a very cliche and overused topic, and making it original, and well done. The story is a very rich person falling for a very poor person (in this case a slave), while it could have been done very poorly, Marie Rutkoski did a very good job changing it into something original. 
  • The setting, and descriptions really reminded me of the Ancient Roman Empire. The Latin word for house is "villa," and instead of saying mansion or home, the houses were called "villas." Also, it was very Roman of the author to incorporate slaves and a polytheistic religion. Personally, I am very interested in Ancient Rome, so I was fascinated when I could pull a parallel from this book and Ancient Rome.
  • The action was very well done. I love action in books, movies, and TV shows, so I really enjoyed that aspect. Also, I was not anticipating there being any action, so it was a very happy surprise.
The Bad:
  • The characterization was not the greatest. I never really felt for any of the characters, so when something bad happened I just didn't really care.
  • Because there was little characterization, I never really understood the decisions of the characters. I can usually guess to a certain extent what the character is going to do next, but I really just had no idea. I guess it somewhat kept me on my toes, but I want to be able to understand the thought process of the characters. 
The Rating:

The Closing Thoughts:
I had a lot of fun with this book. I will most certainly pick up the second book when it comes out, so I will eagerly await it. 


XOXO,
Belle


______________________________________________________________________________
The Content:
The Language: Very mild.
The Sex: Small amounts of kissing. One rape scene, not at all graphic. Infidelity. 
The Violence: Lots of violence. The society is built on death. Some mass murder. 
The Drugs: Casually drinking wine.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Break Reads.

I am on break. I have a week off of school, so naturally I am going to be reading for most of it, or at least as much as I'm not in Disney World or Universal. Anyway, books.

Finishing for School:
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
We have to read this over the break. I am 2 chapters in, and have to read the last three. Its an okay book so far, but nothing too special.

Finishing for Fun: 
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
I'm about halfway through this book, and its exactly what I wanted to read. I was looking for a somewhat angsty book, and thats exactly what I have got. Except there is some surprise action in there, but I'm not complaining about that.

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
Shocker! I pretend that I am actually going to be able to finish this book. If I am lucky I will read three chapters, but I would be shocked if that actually happened, but I am at least pretending that I am going to be reading this. 

Random Books I Want to Read:
In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis
I want to read this book, but I don't know if I actually will because I cried in the first book, and I'm not too keen on crying this week. 

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
I am definitely starting this book. I am super excited for it, and I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!!

E-Books I Need to Review:
The Body Electric by Beth Revis
I haven't read anything by Beth Revis yet, and this seems like a good place to start. Also, I got it on NetGalley, so I need to read it ASAP. Also, this will be really convenient when I am waiting in line for rides, so I will probably finish this one. 

Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle
This is another NetGalley book I need to read, but I don't have it on my phone, only my computer, so I don't know how convenient that will be to read, but I will at least try sometime soon.

I think that is all I'm planning on reading over these nine days off, but I have a little bit of homework to do (WHAT!?!? BREAK HOMEWORK SHOULD BE A FELONY), but I will finish at least two. 

XOXO,
Belle

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review of Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Cat's Cradle
by Kurt Vonnegut
Standalone
191 Pages
Age Range: 14+
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Publisher: Dell Publishing Group

I don't know how to summarize this, so this is the synopsis on the back of the book:
An apocalyptic tale of this planet's ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist; a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer; and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny.







The Short:

I really liked this book. I'm not trying to say that it was the most plot-heavy book, or one with the best characters, but it was very funny. Vonnegut was an author who could make a dead man laugh. His humor was the reason that I liked this book.

The Good:


  • The commentary that the narrator made was fantastic. He was very deadpan in his humor, and I loved it. He was so matter-of-fact about his comments, and it got to the point where you couldn't help but laugh at the ridiculous things he would say.
  • You really could tell where Vonnegut was just making fun of everything and everyone. He spared no groups or feelings when constructing this book, and I really appreciated that.
  • This book was short. I would have absolutely hated it if it was stretched out at all because of the lack of plot, but since it was only about 200 pages, the minimal story was tolerable. 
  • The aspect of the religion was fantastic. It was obvious that Vonnegut was satirizing the idea that religion is believed no matter what; even if it was told that it was just a bunch of lies. 
The Bad:
  • Nothing happened in this book until the last 30-ish pages. I really liked it for the reasons stated above, but the plot had zero effect on me.
  • The characters were all very funny, but very flat. They didn't change or grow at all, but instead stayed exactly the same as they were throughout the story. Vonnegut could have been hinting that no matter what people don't change, but still. 
The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

___________________________________________________________________________
The Content:
The Language: This is an adult book, so lots of foul language.
The Drugs: Some alcohol. I don't really know how much drugs.
The Sex: Talk of sex. Lots of talk of sex. Nothing too descriptive.
The Violence: This was a pretty violent book. Like if you're at all squeamish, find another book.