Monday, June 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: My TTT lists

Hello fellow bookworms!

I am doing this as my weekly link-up with the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish who host this little get together.

This week the topic is which TTT topics have been your favorite? Since I have not been blogging long enough to really be able to answer this question I thought that I would just simply look through the list of topics and pick one that I want to answer. I ended up choosing my top ten children's books. I have divided the list into picture books and chapter books due to the fact that I can then accurately tell you what my true favorites are!

Picture Books:

1) Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brown

2) Anything by Dr. Seuss

3) Old Turtle by Douglas Wood

4) Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

5) The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister  

6) Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

7) The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

8) The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

9) Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

10) Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

Chapter Books:

1) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

2) Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

3) The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

4) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Peterson

5) Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

6) The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

7) Holes by Lois Sachar

8) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

9) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle

10) Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

11) The View From Saturday by E.L. Konisburg

Which children's books are your favorite? What are you favorite list ideas thus far? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Book Revew: When the Emperor was Divine

When the Emperor Was Divine
Title: When the Emperor was Divine
Author: Julie Otsuka
Publication: October 14, 2003
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Paperback or Hardback: Paperback
Acquired: Bought used from Second and Charles
Pages: 144
Rating: 5 stars


On a sunny day in Berkeley, California, in 1942, a woman sees a sign in a post office window, returns to her home, and matter-of-factly begins to pack her family's possessions. Like thousands of other Japanese Americans they have been reclassified, virtually overnight, as enemy aliens and are about to be uprooted from their home and sent to a dusty internment camp in the Utah desert.

In this lean and devastatingly evocative first novel, Julie Otsuka tells their story from five flawlessly realized points of view and conveys the exact emotional texture of their experience: the thin-walled barracks and barbed-wire fences, the omnipresent fear and loneliness, the unheralded feats of heroism. When the Emperor Was Divine is a work of enormous power that makes a shameful episode of our history as immediate as today's headlines.


When the Emperor was Divine is the companion novel to The Buddha in the Attic which was written first and is her debut novel. I decided to be informed on the back story before I read her first book and I stand by this decision.

I have not read any books in the fiction genre that deal with the existence of the internment camps for Japanese Americans so this novel immediately peaked my interest. I was not sure what to expect but I was  certainly not disappointed. The most gripping thing about this novel is that the main characters do not have names and all the other minor characters have an identity and are acknowledged by the main characters. This goes along with the theme of the story in which the people who were put in these camps by the U.S. government were stripped of their identity. In order to "prove" that they were not spies they were forced to strip down their heritage and denounce all ties to their family back in Japan.

I loved all of the characters and we get to see a little bit from the point of view of the mother, the sister, the brother, and the father. The father was already in a camp at the beginning of the story so we don't really hear from his point of view for a while except through the letters that he sends to his family. The rest of the family is packing up their house in anticipation of being sent to a different internment camp in the middle of the desert. The two children in the beginning are able to keep up their morale and handle things with that sense of childlike wonder and innocence. They understand that they have to go away from home but they do not understand the full significance of what is going on in the world and in the United States. Overall the book does a great job depicting the fear and hopelessness that the people in these camps felt while they were there. I liked that the story continued on after their release and showed the struggles that the main characters faced when they returned home. People were still not very accepting of them because of their heritage which only added to their sadness and loss of identity. The author also focuses on the family unit which is an element that I love to be included in books. I won't say a whole lot on that subject because I do not want to spoil the book for you.

Overall I absolutely adored this book and I read all of it in one sitting so I know that it was good. I highly recommend this book and I hope to read more by this author and more books on this subject.

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: My Summer TBR

I am doing this as my weekly link-up with the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish who host this little get together.

This week the topic is what books do I have on my summer TBR list? I have so many books that I want to get to sooner rather than later that I decided to categorize them by unfinished series, series I have yet to start and some standalones that have been begging for my attention. Here it goes!

Series that I would like to finish:

1) Uglies series by Scott Westerfield

I have read Uglies and Pretties and I need to read Specials and Extras

2) Ruby Red trilogy by Kristen Gier

I have read Ruby Red and I need to read Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green

3) The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

I have read Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm and I need to read Ruin and Rising

4) The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson

I have read Girl of Fire and Thorns and I need to read Crown of Embers and Bitter Kingdom

5) Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I have read Throne of Glass and I need to read Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire

6) The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

I have read City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, and City of Lost Souls and I need to read City of Heavenly Fire

7) The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken

I have read The Darkest Minds and I need to read Never Fade and In the Afterlight

8) The Selection series by Kierra Cass

I have read The Selection and The Elite and I need to read The One and The Heir

9) The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I have read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I need to read The Evolution of Mara Dyer and the Retribution of Mara Dyer

10) Stephanie Perkins companion novels (not technically a series but I just lacked one more having ten)

I have Anna and the French Kiss and I need to read Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After

Series that I would like to start:

1) Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

I own all the books.

2) Legend trilogy by Marie Lu

I own Legend and Prodigy and I need to get Champion

3) Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa

I own The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen and I need to get The Iron Knight

4) The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

I own The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear

5) A Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin

I own A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows and I need to get A Dance with Dragons

6) Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I only own Shatter Me

7) Gemma Doyle by Libba Bray

I own all the books

8) Maus I and II by Art Spiegleman

I don't own either of these graphic novels

9) Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black

I own all the books

10) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I own Outlander and Voyager and I need to get Dragonfly in Amber, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, and Written in my Own Heart's Blood

Standalones that I would like to read:

1) The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

2) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

3) The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

4) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

5) The Help by Katherine Stockett

6) Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

7) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

8) To The Lighthouse by Virginia Wolf

9) Anything by Amy Tan or Anne Tyler

10) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 

I would mainly like to focus on the series that I need to finish so that I don't have a bunch of unfinished storylines taunting me. These are by no means all of my unread books and I more than likely will not get to all of them by the end of summer. Though it never hurts to have goals!

What books are you itching to get your hands on?

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Book Review: The Humans

The HumansTitle: The Humans
Author: Matt Haig
Publication: July 3, 2013
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Paperback or Hardback: Hardback
Acquired: Bought used from Second & Charles
Pages: 285
Rating: 5 stars


Body-snatching has never been so heartwarming . . .

The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable novel about alien abduction, mathematics, and that most interesting subject of all: ourselves. Combine Douglas Adams’s irreverent take on life, the universe, and everything with a genuinely moving love story, and you have some idea of the humor, originality, and poignancy of Matt Haig’s latest novel.

Our hero, Professor Andrew Martin, is dead before the book even begins. As it turns out, though, he wasn’t a very nice man--as the alien imposter who now occupies his body discovers. Sent to Earth to destroy evidence that Andrew had solved a major mathematical problem, the alien soon finds himself learning more about the professor, his family, and “the humans” than he ever expected. When he begins to fall for his own wife and son--who have no idea he’s not the real Andrew--the alien must choose between completing his mission and returning home or finding a new home right here on Earth.


Overall I thought this book was very well done and it definitely had more than a few heart-warming moments. I was recommended this book by one of my friends who warned me that it was a tear-jerker and to be prepared... I did not really see it this way. Yes, there were some touching moments and the character development was top notch, but it did not bring me to tears.

The only problem that I really had with this book was the writing style. It was done in a play on stream of consciousness that I felt did not really work with this book. There are some books where it works and when done right can be very powerful. That was not the case here in my opinion. However, having an engaging storyline and characters that gripped you saved this book from being a flop.

 The story pulls you in from the very beginning and continues on a fairly steady pace. I was happy to see that at no point during the story did the plot-line reach a plateau and the author sink into pages of absolute nothing. That is the kiss of death for a book. The character development that are main protagonist undergoes is extraordinary. He really seems to capture what it means to be human, flaws and all. He also learns what it means to love and be loved. I feel that it this aspect of him learning how to be human and what all that entails that gave the book the heart-warming moments. You see the alien become a better human than the man that he was impersonating and you also get to see the effects that this transformation has on his family members.

Without this type of character development the story would have flat and one-dimensional. This was a necessity for this book.  I rated The Humans five stars because I did enjoy the plot-line and I loved the characters, even if I did have a hard time with the writing style. This was a great read and I do highly recommend this book.

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 8, 2015

On buying pre-loved books

Let me be very clear in that I am going to try and persuade you to go the route of pre-loved. Normally, I just offer my opinion on a subject without persuading one way or another but today I will persuade. By the end of this post hopefully you will google used bookshops in your area and have a "me" day with some books that will find a new loving home.

Here are some reasons why you should buy used:

1) They are cheaper. Let's just be honest in the end it all comes to money and it is also a fact that used books are cheaper. Therefore when you have a set amount of money that you can spend on books you can get more bang for your buck.

2) The thrill of the hunt. A new bestseller comes out, you want the book, you go to the bookstore, you buy the book. Easy and satisfying. However, what you did not get to experience is the thrill of trying to find that book in the midst of a sea of books just waiting for you to read.

3) You get to discover new authors. You are standing there at a thrift store and you see a book with an interesting cover so you pick it up and read the synopses. Sounds pretty good and then you see that it is only $1, so you scrounge up some change and voila you have just discovered a book that you might have overlooked at a bookstore that only sells new books. Sometimes the book is not that great, cause you know people get rid of books they don't want and then there are other times when you fall in love with the book. Hopefully, you will fall in love more times than you will be disappointed by your purchase.

4) Used bookstores are generally locally owned so you are supporting someone's livelihood. This is something that I am working on myself because I tend to frequently haunt Second & Charles which is a national chain store that sells used and new books. I do want to support independent booksellers and I have found quite a few near me. I also want to try my hand at garage sale books because if I can get them for a quarter then all will be right with the world. I wonder if they will serve me tea and cakes like the people over in the UK do? I am seriously jealous that you all get food and books!

5) You are giving books a new lease on life. I am always astounded at the books that people just give away, I mean how could you possibly just give that book away? That is the best book ever! I don't care that I already have a copy at home I am going to take you home with me as well because I will love you better than someone else ever could hope to achieve. This is seriously I conversation that I have with the book and then I have to tell myself to put the book down! You don't need more than one copy unless I am replacing an old worn out copy with a nicer edition. In that case please do buy the book.

6) You are saving trees. Instead of publishers having to print new copies of a book for you to go and buy you just buy an already printed edition. I should probably point out that no trees were harmed in the making of this post. :)

Those are just some of many reasons why it is a lot more practical to buy used books. If you are picky about your books please remember that not all used books are in horrible condition and smell funny. I often find hardbacks that are practically in mint condition. So please next time you just want to go browse for some books try to make it a used bookstore. Your wallet and the planet will thank you!

Happy Reading!

Tep Ten New Releases for 2015

I am doing this as my weekly link-up with the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish who host this little get together.

This week the topic is the top ten new releases that I am most looking forward to in 2015.
Oh good grief there are so many. My bookcases are already groaning in protest of being stuffed even more.

1) Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee: July 14
Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird, #2)Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.

Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.

Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.

2) Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas: September 1
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

3) Sweet Madness by Trisha Leaver: September 18
Sweet MadnessSeventeen-year-old Bridget Sullivan is alone in Fall River, a city that sees Irish immigrants as nothing more than a drunken drain on society. To make matters worse, she's taken employment with the city’s most peculiar and gossip-laden family—the Bordens. But Bridget can’t afford to be picky—the pay surpasses any other job Bridget could ever secure and she desperately needs the money to buy her little sister, Cara, passage to the states. It doesn’t hurt that the job location is also close to her beau, Liam. As she enters the disturbing inner workings of the Borden household, Bridget clings to these advantages.

However, what seemed like a straightforward situation soon turns into one that is untenable. Of course Bridget has heard the gossip around town about the Bordens, but what she encounters is far more unsettling. The erratic, paranoid behavior of Mr. Borden, the fearful silence of his wife, and worse still…the nightly whisperings Bridget hears that seem to come from the walls themselves.

The unexpected bright spot of the position is that Lizzie Borden is so friendly. At first, Bridget is surprised at how Lizzie seems to look out for her, how she takes a strong interest in Bridget’s life. Over time, a friendship grows between them. But when Mr. Borden’s behavior goes from paranoid to cruel, and the eerie occurrences in the house seem to be building momentum, Bridget makes the tough decision that she must leave the house—even if it means leaving behind Lizzie, her closest friend, alone with the madness. Something she swore she would not do.

But when Bridget makes a horrifying discovery in the home, all that she thought she knew about the Bordens is called into question…including if Lizzie is dangerous. And the choice she must make about Lizzie’s character could mean Bridget’s life or death.

SWEET MADNESS is a retelling of the infamous Borden murders from the point of view of Lizzie’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan.

4) Walk on Earth a Stanger by Rae Carson: September 22
Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1)The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

5) Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld: September 29
ZeroesEthan, aka "Scam," has a way with words. When he opens his mouth, whatever he wants you to hear comes out. But Ethan isn't just a smooth talker. He has a unique ability to say things he doesn't consciously even know. Sometimes the voice helps, but sometimes it hurts - like now, when the voice has lied and has landed Ethan in a massive mess. So now Ethan needs help. And he needs to go to the last people who would ever want to help him - his former group of friends, the self-named "zeros" who also all possess similarly double-edged abilities, and who are all angry at Ethan for their own respective reasons. Brought back together by Scam's latest mischief, they find themselves entangled in an epic, whirlwind adventure packed with as much interpersonal drama as mind-bending action.

6) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: September 29
Six of Crows (The Dregs, #1)Game of Thrones meets Ocean's Eleven in this brand-new book in the world of the Grisha by New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

7) Carry on by Rainbow Rowell: October 6
Carry OnRainbow Rowell continues to break boundaries with Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl.

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

8) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Illustrated Edition: October 6
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, #1)They are planning on releasing one of these each year so you know that on October 6 I will be getting one of these babies. Pre-order on Amazon here I come! Time to relive some childhood memories but this time complete with pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9) These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly: October 27
These Shallow GravesSet in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.

10) Winter by Marissa Meyer: November 10
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

What books can you not wait for in 2015?

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Book Review: The Secret History

The Secret HistoryTitle: The Secret History
Author: Donna Tartt
Published: April 13, 2015
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Hardback or Paperback: Paperback
Acquired: Bought new from Books a Million
Pages: 559
Rating: 5 stars


Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last - inexorably - into evil.


I found out about this book from Choncey Boddington who has a YouTube channel when she just raved about how much she loved this book. Since we have similar taste in books her opinion was one that I trusted and I knew that I needed to check this book out. I would just like to say that the synopsis on the back is amazing, how could you not want to read this book?

The story starts out confessing the crime that the group of students committed and then jumps back in time to give the events that lead up to the fateful night. By the time that the actual crime happens the reader is fully engrossed in the character's state of mind and can feel the waves of emotion coming off the page. The author did an amazing job with her characterization, even some of the more minor characters just have such addicting personalities that the reader can't help but feel for all of them. While at first the amount of drinking and drugs seems a bit excessive and over exaggerated when I got to thinking about it I could bring to mind a few friends from college who were big partiers. By the end of the book I felt like the characters had always been apart of my life and I could feel my own emotions intertwining with theirs.

In addition to the amazing characterization is a glimpse into the multiple codes of moral conduct that are called into question and the different ways that people deal with grief. The book touches on a variety of topics including murder, incest, addiction, and abuse which are handled differently by each character. Some of them slip into a deeper depression and turn to other evils to help alleviate their pain while other characters are disturbingly awakened by the evil that they commit. While this is disturbing and slightly unnerving it is still believable. That is what makes this book so haunting is that the characters are so well done that they could be people in your everyday life. It calls into question just how well you actually know someone and what lengths they might go to in order to protect themselves and their own interests.

I highly recommend this book and I want to pick up more by this author.

Happy Reading!