Sunday, December 28, 2014

December 2014 Wrap Up

I am just going to put it out there because I know this is what you're going to be thinking after reading this post: I had a bad reading month in the number of books. Okay. Now that that is out of the way, I am going to say that I am more than satisfied with the books that I read. It was great to finally finish some books after so long (if you have been keeping up with this blog, you KNOW what I am talking about), and some other books that I read were pretty solid. Lets just get into what I read.


Inferno by Dante
I had to read this book for school, and I'm just going to say that it was not very good. For a comedy, it was not very funny. It really did deserve two stars because the plot was bad, but the world of hell that you went through was really interesting.
2/5 Stars


Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan
This book was wonderful. It was beautifully made, and really extensive in the quantity and backstory about each of the covers. I was more than impressed.
4/5 Stars


A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
Yes. This is real. This book will never be on a TBR list ever again. I have finally finished this book after seven months. I am so happy with myself for this. I didn't like ti as much as the first book, but it was still very good in the grand scheme of books. I am very excited to read on with the series, and I cant wait to read the next book.
4/5 Stars


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
As you may have noticed, this is the first book since I started this blog that I haven't reviewed. I didn't think a review was appropriate for this book since EVERYONE has already read it. Beyond that, I was very bored with this book, and thought it was one of the weaker books in the series. It was really lacking in the plot, and although there was some action, the majority of this book was dull (Don't hate me)
4/5 Stars


Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
This was a fun book, but since it was a contemporary, it was very character oriented. I personally didn't like the characters that much, but I still had a good enough time reading this book.
2/5 Stars

Solid month.

XOXO,
Belle

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Review of Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Standalone
260 Pages
Age Range: 13+
Grade Level: 8th Grade
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

While wandering around his favorite bookstore, Dash stumbles upon a red notebook. He was confused because it was on his favorite author's shelf. He opened it, and thus begins his wild adventure with Lily, a girl who puts them on the wildly daring adventure through New York City.







The Short:
I keep going back and forth with this book. I am not sure whether I liked it or not, and I'm not sure if I liked Lily's character or not. It was a well written book, don't get me wrong, but it just wasn't that good. I really wish it was THAT good, but it just wasn't where I was hoping this book would be at. I did have fun reading it, and I was always rooting for Dash and Lily's relationship, but I guess I was never that motivated to read the book. I think I read it more so out of boredom that actual interest in the book.

The Good:

  • I loved the dare aspect of this book. It was really fun to see them out their complete trust into each other even though they didn't know anything about each other. The dares were never dangerous, but for all they knew, the other person was a serial killer. I don't really get why they trusted each other, but I am glad that they did. 
  • The side characters were great. I liked them a lot more than the two main characters. I don't know exactly why, but I did. They were made to support Dash and Lily, but to me they turned out better than the main characters. I guess, they were made in a way that even though they didn't have much of a purpose other than helping Dash and Lily get together, they seemed more real.
  • The romance was good enough. I was always hoping that they would get together because thats what you were supposed to hope for. It was not a very unique romance, but it was cute.
  • I'm pretty sure it was just me, but there were points in the story where I got a Catcher in the Rye vibe. I don't know if that was intentional, but they did mention Salinger a few times in the novel. Let me break this down for you: 1. teenagers wandering around New York around Christmas time. 2. teenagers trying to figure themselves out. 3. meeting random people from their past for no particular reason. And I think that was it. Yes, it was very vague, but it happened, and I was slapped in the face by Salinger-esque writing.
The Bad:
  • The main characters were just kind of blah. I didn't love them, I didn't hate them. They were just average. I did like Dash a lot more than Lily because he was a person who had read hardships. Lily was mainly just whiny, and that annoyed me. She was also a child, and I don't think that her mental stage of development reflected a 16 year old girl.
  • The authors tried way too hard for the main characters to be relatable. It is YA, so they should be relatable, but the authors went to an extent that no matter who you are, you will find an aspect that you will connect with. It is probably just me that was annoyed by this, but it really angered me that they had to try that hard.
The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

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The Content:
The Language: Lots of cursing. They frequently use the f-word, and I'm pretty sure the s-word
The Violence: Minimal at the most
The Sex: Very minimal. 
The Drugs: One instance of underaged drinking. Alcohol references.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review of Saga: Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Saga: Volume 2
by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
144 Pages
Age Range: 14+
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Publisher: Image Comics




Installments 7-12 of the Saga comic book series









I liked this book. It was really fun to read, and it was a very good continuation of the series. I don't think it was as good as the first book, but it was overall a very good read. I read it in a very short amount of time (20-30 minutes, I think), and it was a very good thing to read when I was not really feeling like doing anything.

The characters in this were utterly fantastic, as they were in the first volume. I had a very good time seeing who the characters are, and it was very easy to understand who everyone was since the artist made all of the characters look very diverse. I really loved seeing a ton of new characters, and seeing the set up that this book gave for the many future installments.

This, however, was not what I was hoping for. I wanted an epic sequel filled to the brim with action and intrigue, but the story in this seemed very lacking. From the epicness that was the first book, I don't know exactly what i was hoping for, but this was not it. I wanted there to be a lot more story, and for things to actually happen, but it just didn't. That is not to say that I didn't like this book, because I really did, but it was just not what I was hoping for.

The Rating:



XOXO,
Belle

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Review of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

A Clash of Kings
by George R.R. Martin
Book two in A Song of Ice and Fire
778 Pages
Age Range: 15+ (Mature Audiences Only)
Grade Level: 10th Grade




Winter has come.









The Short:
I don't even know what to say about this book. I have been reading it for seven months now, and I have finally finished it. I am pretty sure that about half way through the book, I lost all interest in reading it, so I put it down, and it took me until this month to actually want to read it again. I think that these books are very hard to read in large quantities because the words don't flow, and it it kind of choppy. I don't know if that makes sense, but it is just not a book that you would marathon. Additionally, this book was very slow compared to the first book, and that was another reason why it took me SOOO long to finish.

The Good:

  • I love the story of this series. It is really unique and overall very interesting to read, but I had already seen the TV show, so nothing was really surprising even though there were some fantastic scenes and details that was left out of the show. The story was very good, and it was fun to get a different perspective on the events and to get a lot more information than what was given in the TV series.
  • The characters all turned into scumbags. Okay. Not all of them, but a good amount of them really changed, and it was fantastic to see how the characters grew and developed from the previous book.
  • I have gotten to the point in the series where I am just starting to hate good characters, which is very good because it says that Martin really knows what he is doing, and can make characters that are so diverse that some people can love them and others can detest them. (I hate Khaleesi so much).
  • The way that these are written are great. When you read, the things that the characters say apply to other important characters, so you end up with so much information and so many sides of everything, and you have no idea who to root for (Stannis is my Mannis). 
  • Stannis. lots of Stannis.
The Bad:
  • I already said and explained this, so I am not going to go into much detail, but these books are hard to read large quantities of.
  • I lost interest about halfway through the book. It is not because it is bad, but instead because I felt like the story would take a huge amount of time to pick up, and I would rather read fast books. I have heard from many sources that the next book is the best in the released series, and that it is really fast, so I am excited to pick that one up sometime in the new year.
The Rating:

The Last Words:
I really wanted to give this book five stars, but it just didn't deserve it. If it was a five star worthy book, I wouldn't have lost interest in it, and I would have been captivated throughout the whole thing. I don't think that I can honestly give this book five stars, and keep saying that my reviews are completely honest, so in an attempt to keep you guys believing my reviews, I am giving this book four stars.

XOXO,
Belle

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The Content:
The Language: This book uses every bad word ever (except the n-word). 
The Sex: Lots and lots of sex. Described sex. Rape. Incest. Just everything.
The Violence: Lots of detailed accounts of violence. Murder. Lots of murder.
The Drugs: Lots of wine. Everyone drinks wine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas BookTube-A-Thon 2014 TBR

BOOKTUBE-A-THON!  This month is already going to just be an overall party. We have the Cramathon AND this read-a-thon. The dates overlap, but whatever. I will try to cheat as much as possible in order to make the books overlap. Wait. I wasn't supposed to tell you that......

Information:
December 19th through the 21st
Starts midnight your time on the 19th
Twitter: @BookTubeAThon

Challenges:

  1. Read a book with red and green on the cover.
  2. Read a book you wanted to read this year.
  3. Read a book that has been gifted to you.
  4. Read 3 books in total.
That sounds easy enough. Here are the books I want to read:

Challenge 1: Dash and Lily's Books of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Challenge 2: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Challenge 3: Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler
Challenge 4: As long as I read those three books, I will have won this challenge.

I am aware that I am cheating with the Harry Potter book since I have already started it, but thats not important. I am really excited to read all the books that I have set out to read, and i have been saving all three of them for the winter/Christmas season.

What are YOU reading for this readathon? 

XOXO,
Belle

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Review of Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan

Jane Austen Cover to Cover
by Margaret C. Sullivan
Standalone
224 Pages
Publisher: Quirk Books

This is not a story, but instead a collection of book covers from the past 200 years of all the Jane Austen Books.






The Short:
This book is beautiful. You can really see the amount of work that the editor put into compiling all of the book covers. I am completely awestruck by the amount of time and effort that this book took to complete. I have no idea how she found all of the covers, and even the backstory a lot of the covers. I am so impressed with this book, and it really made me want to pick up a Jane Austen book.


The Good:

  • A good portion of these covers are wonderful. I just want all of them. They are sorted in a way that logically makes sense, and they just did a fantastic job making this book.
  • I really like how they included the lesser known Jane Austen books rather than just the really popular ones. I didn't even know that she ever made some kid's books, but thanks to this book, I do know. 
  • This book is so much more than a lot of book covers in a book. They have backstory with a good amount of the books. There are quotes, and then some tips on collecting  the books. It is magnificent.
  • The actual size of this book just works really well to present the content. It is not too big, nor too small, it is just perfect.
The Bad: 
  • It didn't have all of the books in the collections. It would show one or two, but there would be more, but you wouldn't see them in the book. I know it is not logical, but I really wish that there would have been more.
I feel like with this book, you should have at least read one Jane Austen book, so you appreciate it more. I [embarrassingly] have never read a Jane Austen book [even though I own most of them]. if you were to buy this book as a present, make sure the person has read and enjoyed a Jane Austen book, it would just make the overall reading experience better. 

The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

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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. 

Review of The Inferno by Dante Alighieri


The Inferno 
by Dante Alighieri
Book 1 in The Divine Comedy
270 Pages



This is the story of Dante's journey through hell. He writes about all 9 circles of hell, the punishments of each circle, and who from his time period would go to each circle of hell.











The Short:
I'm just going to be frank and say that I didn't like reading this book. It was kind of hard to read, and it was just not that interesting overall. Yes, it was pretty cool to see what Dante though hell would be and it was funny whenever he specifically named a person because I could just see the people from his time period being scandalized by this book. This is just not a great book overall, and I just don't think it was one that I would have enjoyed.

The Good:

  • It was very intricate, and you could tell the amount of thought that Dante put in creating each level of hell, and picking out the people that would have gone in each level.
  • Dante overall was just an idiot, and I was entertained by that. One canto he would be crying and fainting because he was so sorry for someone in hell, then a few canton later he would be kicking someone in the head and ripping his hair out. His character progression was just not how I expected it to go, but I liked it. 
The Bad:
  • It was marginally funny. I was disappointed with the amount of humor for a book that is called a comedy. I think in the whole book I may have laughed twice, but maybe it's because all the people Dante mentioned are completely irrelevant now, so them being in part of hell meant nothing to me. 
  • It was very hard to read. There were so many words and it was written in a way that no one talks anymore, so it was pretty annoying to have to read.
  • The cantos were disconnected from each other. They would just happen and it would have nothing to do with the cantos before or after it.
The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

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The Content:
The Language: Some cursing. Not that often, but it does happen.
The Violence: This whole book is violence and different methods of torture
The Sex: Mentions it, but nothing really.
The Drugs: Nope.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Reads: December 5, 2014

I don't think I am going to be getting too much reading done this weekend because I have a one of my best friend's birthday parties on Saturday, and that will lead me into at least halfway through Sunday. Having said that, I plan on reading a bit tonight and until very late on Sunday night/ very early Monday morning.

For School:
The Inferno by Dante

I have to read cantos 3 through 5 this weekend, and answer a few questions about it, and that should take around third minutes to an hour depending on how much I get distracted while trying to read it. I have read the first two cantos, and it is okay, not the best book I have ever read (that may very well be due to the language and not being able to fully grasp what he is saying all the time).

To Make Some Progress On:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

I think I am about 200 pages into this one, and I am enjoying it enough. It seems to be very melancholy compared to the joyous mood of the other four books. I don't know how the rest of the book is going to turn out, but I bet it will be a really fun read. :) Also, you should be proud of me that I have decided to continue on with Harry Potter after about a year away from it. I want to make it to about page 500, but I doubt that is actually going to happen, but you never now.

School has been winding down since exams start in two weeks, and I am ridiculously excited for exam week. I know that most people hate having exams, but I really like the three days of exams since it is no homework, and I get half days. Also, I don't study, so I can just spend my time reading or making my friends feel bad that they're in school, and I'm not. Anyway, I am hoping to get a lot of reading done since I will have no pressure to do school work soon. My Friday Reads posts should be better starting about next week, so look forward to that.

What are YOU reading this weekend? Tell me in the comments. :)

XOXO,
Belle