October 2014 Wrap-Up

I don’t know what to say here…. XD
(P.S. All the photos are clickable.)

Reviews Posted:

Born of Deception Teri Brown Dear Killer Katherine Ewell

Born of Deception (Born of Illusion #2) by Teri Brown
Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Other Things Worth Noting:
Moonlight: talking about reading habits and blog changes


Books Read:

Born of Deception (Born of Illusion #2) by Teri Brown
Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
Goblins Attack (The Spiderwick Chronicles #2 part 1 of 3) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi***
Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

***I literally just copied and pasted this because it’s just a random book that was laying around while I was bored. I don’t know things. Haha.


Personal Things:

I was going to come on here and write a bunch on this post, but I don’t want to anymore because my fingers hurt. Today was my first day at my new job. I work flow, so we open boxes and put things on shelves for the whole shift. Anyway, my fingers are basically separating at the tips. Like, the skin is coming apart from the nail and it hurts. Hahaha. :( More fun from work: within five or ten minutes I fell. I know. I know. Anyway, I sprained my foot but I just kept working because, like, I’m not gonna whine. Luckily no one saw it. XD

What else happened this month? I have no idea. I can’t even think. I haven’t done a wrap-up since March (WOAH), so maybe I’m out of practice. Hahaha. Remind me to share some music next time. I’m too lazy this time. XD

Stacking the Shelves (39)

Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga’s Reviews) is a weekly meme in which bloggers share the books they buy, borrow, and receive.

sts39

Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp
Vampire Kisses: The Beginning by Ellen Schreiber
The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle by L.J. Smith
The Quiet Girl by Peter Hoeg
Eona by Alison Goodman
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater

So… The four books on the top of the stack are some of the books my sister was getting rid of and I snatched up. I’m actually not sure if I’m going to keep a couple of them, but yay. I was just trying to get rid of books, but oh well.

In that vein: I bought the bottommost books as a reward for getting rid of almost forty books from my collection. I know it seems kinda ridiculous to reward myself with books, but I figure two books that I’ll actually read is way better than forty I would most likely never touch. I bought these ones used and I’m pretty pleased. I’m interested in the story behind The Scorpio Races, though. That book is all bent to hell and, like, how did that happen??? I don’t even know. I don’t mean the pages either. I mean the whole book… covers and all. I was like what? But I don’t mind. The book is good to read still.

Moonlight

Helloooo everyone! How are you?

So I have no idea what I’m going to write in this post. I just felt the need to talk to you guys because, like, why not? I like you. I like chatting with you.

In case you haven’t noticed, 2014 has been a really bad reading year for me. Like, so bad. Honestly, this slump started in October of 2013 or something like that. It’s insane. But anyway, I feel like it gets better when I stop saying to myself, “You should be reading,” It’s such a simple change, but it helps a lot. And the same goes for blogging. I stopped making myself feel like I should be blogging and it has made me want to do it more. I don’t know if you guys realize how much of a relief this is to me. For a while I thought I was going to end up closing shop. But, nah.

Something I’ve noticed though: I’m being way tougher on books now. Like, when did this happen? And is it always going to be this way? I guess when you’re reading a smaller amount of books you expect them to be better. I don’t know. Has anyone else experienced a change in their reading tastes/habits like this?

Anyway, I said in an earlier post that I wanted to change my blog design in an effort to “revamp” my blog and make it feel like it’s mine again. Right? If you’re looking at this you’re probably already looking at the new design. I take no credit for it because I did nothing to it. *claps* I wasn’t trying to choose something cool or cute or anything. I just craved change…. So hopefully you don’t hate it. XD

So yeah. Bye bye to the other design!! I know how I am. I’ll eventually miss the old one, so I may return to it sometime in the future, but until then…

Truly Minimal Design Suits Design

Please embrace the change!

I hope you guys are having a good day. Let me know what’s up with you! ♡♡

P.S. That title has nothing to with the post. It’s just the name of the song I’m listening to. Snaps for Onew.

Review: Dear Killer – Katherine Ewell

Dear Killer Katherine Ewell

Title: Dear Killer
Author: Katherine Ewell
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Source/Format: Library / Hardcover, 359 pages
Opening Sentence: “Rule one. Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.”
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon

Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.

Well, my dears, I have to admit I’m rather torn over this book. Dear Killer is a novel I was excited for from the moment I heard about it. I was watching Tea Time when they showed it and immediately went to Goodreads like OMGOMGOMG.

The thing is, I’m not sure if I particularly liked this novel. On the one hand I thought the story was unlike anything else I’ve read and that made it special. Before this one, I hadn’t crossed any YA books that had a straight up serial killer as the main character. Let alone a female serial killer. It seems almost a taboo topic in YA. That was the main thing that drew me in, and if I’m being real? That idea is still my favorite part about it.

Now onto the other hand… There was something off about the way the story was presented. For a lot of the time I was entertained, but in the back of my mind there was still the thought that it could have been done differently. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong, but around halfway through the book I started to get bored. When I had about 100 pages left to read I started questioning if I should even finish it. I did finish the book and it was good, but I still feel lukewarm about it. The story started to feel redundant after a while and the main character stupid. I’m trying not to hold this against the book though, because it’s sort of seems like it was done on purpose.

Anyway, it seems as though my own expectations about the novel are what ultimately made me like it less than I could have. It’s like this novel had a lot of hype–in my mind, at least–that basically ruined the reading experience for me. I had a very hard time reading the story and not thinking that I had expected it would be better or different or [ENTER ADJECTIVE HERE].

That being said, Dear Killer wasn’t a bad story or a bad book in general. I know a lot of people would really enjoy it, but if you pick it up I advise you not to go in with too many expectations. Those expectations will ruin it for you. Try to keep a clean-ish slate and an open mind.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Stacking the Shelves (38)

Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga’s Reviews) is a weekly meme in which bloggers share the books they buy, borrow, and receive.

Books Mentioned:
Sway by Kat Spears
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Rooms by Lauren Oliver
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Much Loved by Mark Nixon
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Review: Born of Deception – Teri Brown

This is a review for the second book in the Born of Illusion series. So if you haven’t read the first, you might be spoiled. I suggest reading the first book and then coming back. 👍

Born of Deception Teri Brown

Title: Born of Deception
Author: Teri Brown
Series: Born of Illusion #2
Publisher: Balzer & Brown
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Source/Format: Library / Hardcover, 326 pages
Opening Sentence: “A circle of children surround me, their bright faces turned upward, as if eagerly awaiting the cascading lights of a fireworks show.”
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon

Budding illusionist Anna Van Housen is on top of the world: after scoring a spot on a prestigious European vaudeville tour, she has moved to London to chase her dream and to join an underground society for people like her with psychic abilities. Along with her handsome beau, Cole Archer, Anna is prepared to take the city by storm.

But when Anna arrives in London, she finds the group in turmoil. Sensitives are disappearing and, without a suspect, the group’s members are turning on one another. Could the kidnapper be someone within the society itself—or has the nefarious Dr. Boyle followed them to London?

As Cole and Anna begin to unravel the case and secrets about the society are revealed, they find themselves at odds, their plans for romance in London having vanished. Her life in danger and her relationship fizzling, can Anna find a way to track down the killer before he makes her his next victim—or will she have to pay the ultimate price for her powers?

Set in Jazz-Age London, this alluring sequel to Born of Illusion comes alive with sparkling romance, deadly intrigue, and daring magic.

I adored Born of Illusion when I first read it. It was given a five star rating and I basically had nothing bad to say about it. I went into Born of Deception expecting to love this installment just as much as the first, or maybe even more. Unfortunately, I loved it less.

I somewhat feel like Born of Deception was a completely different story. I know the main characters were the same and some of the plot carried over, but honestly, what happened to the core of the story? The Sensitives were still there, the romance between Anna and Cole was still there, the magic was still there… but the continuity with Born of Illusion felt off. This story felt way less geared toward the Sensitives and more toward romance. EVERYTHING had something to do with Anna’s love life and it felt unnecessary.

I wanted to know more about Anna’s powers and all the other people’s powers. I wanted to see Anna doing magic and becoming even more independent and awesome. I wanted to see some real growth in the plot, but the whole thing was suffocated by a dumb twist in Anna’s love life. It honestly seemed like she thought about that more than the danger she was obviously in. Agh, so frustrating! The whole thing just failed to wow me.

I enjoyed reading the novel, don’t get me wrong. The aim of the story was absolutely frustrating, but I loved reading Brown’s writing. It draws you in and really makes you feel like you’re there. I just wish it had been paired with a good and balanced story.

But yeah, what happened to Anna?! She was so strong and independent in the first novel, but in this one she sometimes felt like a completely different person. I had an insanely rough time connecting with her or her life. And her romance was just, like, womp womp to me. I give no shits about Cole. Sorry. Also, was Anna always that superficial? I swear every chapter had her talking about someone’s beauty. WE GET IT!

Anna’s mother, on the other hand, won a little bit from me. I’m pretty sure I disliked her in the first book, but this one showed a different side to her that I could definitely get on board with. I would have liked to see more of her. Which brings me to her “father”. Where was Harry Houdini in this book?? I was really hoping to see more development in that plotline, but it was basically nonexistent. There were maybe one or two nods toward Houdini, but otherwise he had no part in the story. Sigh. He was kiiinda important to Anna in the first novel. How was he completely cut out in this one?

Moving on: is there going to be another novel in the series or is this the last one? The way this ended sorta makes it seem like there could be another one, but it also is wrapped enough that it could be the end. Not a very good end, mind you, considering how easily things were resolved—a topic I won’t bother touching on because this review would grow too much—but yeah. If there’s more: the end was fine. If this is the last book: the end could have been done with WAY MORE care. Someone let me know!

And breeeeathe!

This turned out to be a way more negative review than I had originally planned, but I feel so disappointed in the story. I adored Born of Illusion. I thought Born of Deception was going to win my heart as well, and when it didn’t I felt like I lost something. All in all, I could have written a kinder review. I liked the book enough to do that, but then the review wouldn’t have been completely honest. I definitely don’t regret reading Born of Deception because it was, after all, enjoyable, but I know it had more potential than this. That’s the biggest disappointment.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars


Reviews from the rest of the series:
Born of Illusion (#1)

Review: Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle – Bob Pflugfelder & Steve Hockensmith

Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle

Title: Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle
Author: Bob Pflugfelder & Steve Hockensmith
Series: Nick and Tesla #3
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher / Hardcover, 256 pages
Opening Sentence: “‘It’s her,’ Nick said. ‘She’s the spy.’”
Author Website (Science Bob and Hockensmith) | Goodreads | Amazon

In this third installment of the series, 11-year-old whiz-kids Nick and Tesla discover that someone in the quiet town of Half Moon Bay has placed their beloved Uncle Newt under electronic surveillance—but who is spying on him, and why? To expose the secret agent, Nick and Tesla build all kinds of outrageous contraptions. Throughout the book, the narrative is interrupted by blueprints and instructions so that budding young inventors can follow along. Science and electronics have never been so much fun!

I want to get this out at the very beginning: I think the more I read Middle Grade the less I feel like most MG is for me. Maybe I’m getting too old in mindset, but I don’t know. This feeling, unfortunately, spreads to Nick and Tesla. That being said, I don’t think this review is going to be very long… because I don’t feel like I have very much to say.

For much of the novel I was entertained, but the bare minimum amount. If I’m being completely honest? The only reason I kept reading was because this book was given to me for review. Otherwise I don’t think I would have been compelled to keep going. I actually tried starting it once before and didn’t pick it up again for months because I wasn’t captured by the story.

This is why I think it’s Middle Grade + me, not so much Nick and Tesla + me. The simplicity of the story killed it for me. The dumb jokes would make children laugh, I’m sure, but they were filler to me. I craved a more in depth and complex story and I wasn’t getting it… So I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked. Maybe I’m becoming a bitter adult? I just was having so much trouble getting into the story from the POV of the target demographic (as opposed to the adult I am).

So yeah. I wanted to love this book, I really did. But I think maybe this series and I are reaching our end. Sigh. I’m going to read the next book (because I have that one for review as well), but if I’m still feeling the same way then I’ll walk away content with the feeling that I gave the series a fair shake.

All of that being said, if you’re a hardcore Middle Grade fan then I recommend this series. I’ve spoken to several people who loooove it. And, of course, the science projects included in every book are super cool and most definitely a selling point.

Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars


Reviews from the rest of the series:
High Voltage Danger Lab (#1)
Robot Army Rampage (#2)