Thursday, April 28, 2016

New Releases: May 2016

April 3

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass
The Crown (The Selection, #5)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan
The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1)

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
The Unexpected Everything

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Ruined (Ruined #1) by Amy Tintera
Ruined (Ruined, #1)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

15th Affair (Women's Murder Club #15) by James Patterson
15th Affair (Women's Murder Club #15)

Genre: Mystery

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
If I Was Your Girl

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
The Square Root of Summer

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray
Bloodline: New Republic

Genre: Science Fiction

My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth by Wendy E. Simmons
My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth

Genre: Memoir

Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea by Kenneth Bae
Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea

Genre: Memoir

The Summer Dragon (The Evertide #1) by Todd Lockwood

The Summer Dragon (The Evertide, #1)

Genre: Fantasy

The Map of Bones (The Fire Sermon #2) by Francesca Haig
The Map of Bones (The Fire Sermon, #2)

Genre: Fantasy

May 10

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
Highly Illogical Behavior

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

League of Dragons (Temeraire #9) by Naomi Novik
League of Dragons (Temeraire, #9)

Genre: Fantasy

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
Children of Earth and Sky

Genre: Fantasy

The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay
The Mirror Thief

Genre: Mystery

Heartless by Leah Rhyne

Genre: Young Adult Horror

May 17

The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game #1) by Evelyn Skye
The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game, #1)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Problem with Forever

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica
Don't You Cry

Genre: Mystery

The Fireman by Joe Hill
The Fireman

Genre: Horror

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
Girls on Fire

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand
Some Kind of Happiness

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Shrill: Women are Funny, It's Okay to be Fat, and Feminists Don't Have to Be Nice by Lindy West
Shrill: Women Are Funny, It's Okay to Be Fat, and Feminists Don't Have to Be Nice

Genre: Non Fiction - Feminism

May 24

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey
The Last Star (The 5th Wave, #3)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
Outrun the Moon

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction

The City of Mirrors (The Passage #3) by Justin Cronin
The City of Mirrors (The Passage, #3)

Genre: Horror

True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray by James Renner
True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray

Genre: True Crime

A Blade of Black Steel (The Crimson Empire #2) by Alex Marshall
A Blade of Black Steel (The Crimson Empire, #2)

Genre: Fantasy

May 31

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction

Genre: Non Fiction

The Malice (The Vagrant #2) by Peter Newman
The Malice (The Vagrant, #2)

Genre: Fantasy

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
Every Exquisite Thing

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

The World According to Star Wars by Cass Sunstein
The World According to Star Wars

Genre: Non Fiction

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
The Geek Feminist Revolution

Genre: Nonfiction

Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler
Read Me Like a Book

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Suicide Reviews: Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1) 

Summary: Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. Alchemists protect vampire secrets - and human lives.

When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she is being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roomate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one. 

The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside - and within - the school grounds. Now that they're in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.

Date Published: August 23, 2011
Published By: Razorbill
Number of Pages: 421
Rating: 4/5

I wasn't sure what to expect with this spin-off series. I always did like Sydney as a character in the Vampire Academy series. She's the complete opposite of Rose Hathaway. Where Rose is impulsive and headstrong, Sydney is reserved and deferential. But that doesn't mean she's boring. I love how she relies on her intellect and logic to solve problems. She doesn't need to kick butt to be badass. 

I loved seeing the expanded world of the Alchemists. Mead once again created a fascinating belief system and social structure, just like she did for the vampire world of Moroi, Strigoi, and dhampirs. It's compelling to see how Sydney's rigid worldview clashes with her compassion and empathy for her vampire friends. 

Adrian Ivashkov is a great character and I'm glad to see he's the main love interest for Sydney in this series. It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops over time. Towards the end of the book, Adrian just started to see Sydney in a new light. Sydney definitely feels something too even if she doesn't know what it is yet. I don't really sense of a lot of chemistry between them but I think Mead is purposefully making their relationship a slow-burning one for a couple of reasons: one, to contrast their relationship with Rose and Dimitri's hot-and-heavy one and two, because it just makes sense for the story. It would be completely out of character for Sydney to go crazy with lust for Adrian and throw away her Alchemist beliefs in the very first book. 

It was great to see so many familiar characters from Vampire Academy, as well as be introduced to some new ones. I highly recommend Bloodlines to paranormal fans, particularly if they enjoyed Vampire Academy. 

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Mothers/Maternal Figures in Books

Top 5 Wednesday 

Mother's Day is just around the corner so for this week's Top 5 Wednesday we celebrate the mothers/maternal figures we love in literature. Forgive me for getting sentimental here, but as much as I love the fictional mothers listed below, none of them will ever compare to my real-life mom. She's definitely my favorite mother of all time. (Hi mom!) 

5) Mrs. Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars

I don't think the first name of Hazel's mother is ever revealed in TFIOS but she is definitely one of my favorite fictional mothers of all time because her relationship with Hazel reminds me so much of the one I have with my mom. John Green did an excellent job of portraying the unique and special bond that mothers and daughters have.

4) The Vagrant from The Vagrant
The Vagrant (The Vagrant, #1)

The Vagrant is one of my favorite male characters in epic fantasy because, while he displays the traditional machismo of male heroes, he is also incredibly nurturing of the infant girl he cares for. Seeing a bad-ass male character with a soft side is encouraging, showing people that men don't have to choose between being masculine and being maternal. I would really love to see more male heroes like the Vagrant. 

3) Alana from the Saga 
Saga, Volume 1

Alana is kind of the flip side of the Vagrant - a gentle, nurturing mother one minute, a badass space rebel the next. Motherhood has never looked so cool. 

2) Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter series
Image result for molly weasley

Molly Weasley is the ultimate matriarch - she's tough on her kids when she needs to be but always makes sure they're taken care of. She even becomes a maternal figure to our orphaned hero, Harry. And who can forget how badass she was in book 7? (NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!) 

1) Rubeus Hagrid from the Harry Potter series
Image result for rubeus hagrid

Hagrid didn't have any children of his own but he was always a wonderful maternal figure to Harry and his friends. Not only did he nurture the Golden Trio, but he also was a gentle caretaker to so many different beasts that other people would have run far away from. To me, this makes Hagrid the ultimate maternal figure - recognizing that every living creature just wants to be loved and care for. 

Tell me some of your favorite mothers/maternal figures in the comments below!

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey. The Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads group can be found here

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I'm Intimidated By

Top 5 Wednesday 

As a lifelong reader, I love to read books that challenge me in different ways. Whether it's reading a 10-part book series or decoding a Shakespeare play, I'll gladly tackle any literary challenge that's thrown at me. However. There are some books that I have yet to read, not because I don't want to, but because they make me a wee bit apprehensive - usually due to their sheer size  (and tiny, tiny font.) Here are the Top 5 books that intimidate me the most.

5) The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
The Tale of Genji

The Tale of Genji is widely considered to be the first novel ever produced which is why I'm so curious to read it. But it's been sitting on my bookshelf, unread, for the past few years because it is 1,200 pages long and weighs a ton. And did I mention the font is minuscule?

4) The Arabian Nights by Anonymous
The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 1

The Arabian Nights is usually collected in a single volume of selected stories. But being the overachieving reader that I am, of course I had to get the complete Arabian Nights set, consisting of three volumes. And each volume is nearly 1,000 pages long. Someday, I tell myself. Someday. (Maybe sooner than I thought. It's currently in my TBR pile!)

3) The Rise and the Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

When I saw this book on, I knew I had to get it. It was a great price and I do love me some World War II history. Little did I know that the book is a whopping 1,600 PAGES! Who knew there was so much to cover about Nazi Germany!

2) Ulysses by James Joyce

To be honest, I'm not even sure what Ulysses is about. All I know is that it takes place in Ireland and is said to be one of the most difficult books to get through.

1) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace

I'm willing to bet that this book shows up on a lot of Top 5 Wednesday lists this week. This book hits the intimidating trifecta - it's over 1,000 pages, it was published over 150 years ago, and it's written by a Russian author. (I find Russian literature intimidating, for some reason.) One day, I'll sit down and power through it - but for now, it's just collecting dust on my shelf.


3 Books I WAS Intimidated By (Until I Read Them)

3) American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho

Before I read American Psycho, I had heard some...things. But how bad could it really be, I thought to myself. So, so, bad. This book is grotesque, nausea-inducing, insanity. Some of the descriptions actually made me gag. I can't say I enjoyed this book but I can say now that I've read it. I survived.

2) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Crime and Punishment (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Remember what I was saying before about Russian authors? Well, Dostoyevsky is really the first Russian author I've ever read and it wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be. Admittedly, Crime and Punishment is supposed to be his most accessible novel and this particular translation is incredibly easy to read. The hardest thing was figuring out how to pronounce the Russian names.

1) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Les Misérables

Time to put on my bragging pants - I read Les Miserables in high school. Not for a class, but on my own. For fun. (I was a bit like Hermione.) It's definitely the longest book I've ever read, and probably the most difficult. (So much French!) But I found it fascinating and once I was finished, I was so proud of myself. It took me about three weeks, in case you're wondering.

Have you read any of the books on this list? What books are you intimidated by? Let me know in the comments below!

Top 5 Wednesday is an original bookish meme created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey. The Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads group can be found here.