April 30, 2014

A Tale of Two Castles

This is a book I read during Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

Oh my gosh, Levine still has it. Thank goodness. .

The last book I read by her was Ever which was…eh, but not as amazing as I have come to expect from Gail Carson Levine. .

This book was awesome. It is for very young readers, elementary or early middle school aged, but still I enjoyed it. .

Elodie was an awesome female lead. She is young and naive, so we get to see her learning and changing throughout the book. The mystery element of the book was a little weak, but considering which target group this story was meant for, I can totally understand why. .

4.5 stars for this awesome book.

Tombstone Tea

This is a book I read during Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

When I bought the book I knew it was going to be terrible, but I bought it anyway because it was buy one get one free at a bookstore.

But I loved this book! It wasn’t so much the characters that I loved, they were only “eh”, but the atmosphere of this book was just so wonderful. It was the perfect little piece of melancholy goth to add to my read-a-thon day.

It’s not your typical- girl can talk to ghosts- story, and I loved it. The main character was a bit too weak for my preference, but other than that, I thought the story was great. Chilling.

Plus there are awesome pictures inside.

4.5 stars to a great ghost story!!

April 28, 2014


This is a book I read during Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

I really enjoyed this book. It is very juvenile, good for elementary and middle school readers, but I still enjoyed it. Fer was a likeable heroine, brave and yet she grows throughout the book, becoming more herself. It was a good coming of age story. Plus there was magic! Magic makes everything better.

Is it just me or does the cover look like a modern version of Anna?  (from Frozen)

On another note…I was severely saddened because so many elements of this book echo that of a book I currently am writing. I HATE when that happens. It looks like I copied Sarah Prineas’s work…and truly I did not.
On the other hand, obviously I liked reading it because it was the kind of stuff I liked to read/write!
Four stars for this short and sweet fantasy novel!


This is a book I read during Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

I feel like I always do this. I kinda liked this book…and I kinda didn’t.

The story had a fantastic idea. Really awesome. But there were some things that just…I wasn’t cool with.

1. The relationship between Falpian and Ryder: They meet each other, they fight, they become grudging companions, and then suddenly they are bffs because they are inside each other’s brains. I would have liked to see more development here. I didn’t really ever feel attached to any of the characters. It wasn’t because Coakley’s writing was bad, I just think it was rushed. This book needed like…400 more pages.

2. The villain: WHHHAAAT? There are three distinct villains, none of which are really that hard to defeat/foil. You start out thinking the Baens are going to be the enemy, and I like how the two boys of different races bridged that gap, but then there was a vacuum of zero enemies and I feel like Coakley just threw some random people in as enemies so the story would make sense. It didn’t.

It was a fast read, and an interesting concept, but because of the two critiques I can only give this book 3.5 stars.

Words of Radiance

This is a book I read during Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

Anyone who knows me knows how much I ADORE Brandon Sanderson. I attempt to explain how much I love his writing and words fall utterly short. He is a genius, an evil, evil, amazing, GOD of writing.

Moving on.

This book. I cried three times during this book- out of happiness. I laughed aloud like a lunatic in a public place (Dear people in Starbucks- I assure you I am sound of mind!). I think my heart was running a marathon for the last 500 pages.

Olan Rogers will help me illustrate how much I loved this book-

Thank you Olan. BTW- if you have never watched his Ghost in the Stalls video. Do it. Your sides will hurt from the laughing. Click here to watch!

Also- let me say right now, my new favorite book OF ALL TIME is Words of Radiance. Also, let me go on record to say that Sanderson should have a group of bodyguards who protect his person and a group of scientists to make sure his vitals are all okay. Because we have 8 more of these GIANT books (thank goodness!) that have to come out. And I don’t think I could take not knowing what happens.

Anyway- onwards. What do I love so much about Sanderson? Well. Apart from him being a literary genius, I LOVE the way he writes in hints. As I read I gather little clues along the way, but they are not overt, and they are not predictable. He handles characters amazingly. You CARE about the characters. They are flawed, but they are wonderful, and you love them despite their flaws. And development. Character development, relationship development, world development. It’s all so wonderful.

If you have not read this book and the book before it STOP NOW. I am going into geek-out-spoiler-mode.

My friend and fellow Sanderson geek, Katie, called this. I however, did not. My heart stopped. Katie said she knew it had to happen eventually because Shallan needed to grow into her own, and this had to happen without Jasnah. She was so right. It should have been obvious because Words of Radiance is Shallan’s book. Anyway- I was heartbroken because I LOVED Jasnah.

As I said, this was Shallan’s book. We finally got to find out what happened in her past. She killed her mom, which I had kind of guessed, but what I didn’t realize is that she killed her mom with Pattern. This just sets my head spinning…

We also get to see Shallan really blossom in this book. She learns how to work with Pattern, she becomes strong in so many different ways. Shallan is bad ass in this book. And I think she is my favorite character.

Kaladin, oh Kaladin. You sir, are a grumpy pants. Seriously the whining and moping and anger issues that happened in this book were ridiculous. BUT. Then he meets Shallan. And slowly things change.

Shadolin. I like Adolin and Shallan together, I really do. They are cute, and he is learning so much from her. However, I am totally shipping Shadalin.

They had some awesome scenes where they learn to appreciate each other. I think my favorite chapter in this book was Boots, which happens to be when Shallan and Kaladin first meet. Shallan pretends to be a Horneater when she rides up to the city and she demands that Kaladin gives her his books as recompense for insulting her. Best. Chapter. Ever. Written. I was laughing so hard my everything hurt.

Shallan ends up showing Kaladin how broken she is and as a result Kaladin sees that his moping and anger isn’t justified. He too can be like Shallan. And he begins to change. The moment was beautiful.

Wit was confusing to me in the first book. I could tell he was important, really, really important, but I didn’t really understand who he was, or what his purpose was. Holy cannoli! This book gave such huge hints. And Wit is awesome, he really is.

Kaladin becoming a radiant was one of those happy moments where I cried I was so happy. Kaladin finds himself and finds his honor in protecting the king even though he wants him dead. And at his weakest he becomes most strong and bonds with Syl. It was beautiful, and perfect.

Szeth dies!!! I was so excited. And then…Szeth was brought back to life. And I wanted to smack something.

Kaladin tells Dalinar about Amaram, but the problem is the two are bffs. I was so frustrated at Kaladin for not understanding that you can’t just accuse someone like Amaram without proof. Your word against his is not going to work. But finally the truth is revealed.

Adolin kills Sadeas and I cheered for happiness. FINALLY. And no one brought his sorry ass back to life, thank goodness.

And Jasnah returns to this world just after all the excitement has ended. But hey, at least she is alive!!

So obviously I loved this book. There was no a single bit I can say was not good. If I could give this ten stars, I would. However I can only go to 5, so 5 it is.


This is a book I read during Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

This book was good. A very interesting idea; slightly dark fantasy. But, I do not think that the book was well edited- plot arc wise. The beginning of the novel was going in one direction, and then all of a sudden it branched off into a different direction entirely. While I enjoyed the book, this really irritated me.

The focus of the book is what suffered most. We would be focused on one thing, and then be pulled in a different direction by a new development…and never return to the first focus.

For example, we are set up to care about this character named Gregor, and a few times Annie returns to trying to find him again, but then at the end she completely forgets about him.

There was also a prophesy that nothing ever came out of…and the story just ENDS. I am going to give the writer the benefit of the doubt that there is supposed to be a second book to deal with this prophesy.

Another irritation I had was the fact that in this world people have forgotten what wolves are called so they rename them kinderstalk. It is so unrealistic I could laugh up a lung.

Darkwood was a quick, easy read, but the problems with the writing made me dock it a few stars bringing the total to 2.5.

The Birthday Ball

This is a book I read during Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

Let me preface this post by first saying that there are elementary books, and there are elementary books. Bookworm…what the heck does that even mean?

Well, I shall explain. There are books that belong in the same section meant for kids of elementary grade school- in my favorite local library it is called Juvenile Fiction. However, there are two kinds of books on these shelves. There are books like Joseph Delaney’s Spook series which are targeted toward that age group but still have developed characters, fantastic plots, and all ages can enjoy them without feeling like they are reading children lit.

Then there are books like The Birthday Ball. Simple plot, caricatures instead of characters, and no real development of any kind.

I am not saying one is necessarily better than the other, but I definitely have a preference as the second is not as versatile, IMHO.

The Birthday Ball was a good book. It was sweet, enjoyable, predictable, but satisfying. At 186 pages it was a quick read.

However, I also found it a bit too young for my individual reading. I am going to recommend this book to anyone who reads aloud to their children. My mom read aloud to me and my brothers for MANY years. I loved it up until about…12 when I started getting annoyed that I would have to wait a whole day to find out what happened next. Then I just started stealing the books and reading them on my own time. (Sorry Mom!) But I want to continue this tradition with my future children, and I think this book is perfect for such nightly reading. The simplified, stereotyped characters were very silly, and likely would be a joy to read aloud.

There was a plethora of body humor from the joined twins in the story that I could have lived without as I am not, and never have been a 10 year old boy.

Overall this story, while not great for readers of my age, is cute, and I would suggest it for any budding reader. For a person of that age, I give the story 4.5 stars.

As an adult I would give it 3 stars. It was too simplistic and there wasn’t enough relationship or character development for me to really appreciate it.

April 27, 2014

24 Hour Read-a-thon (Hour 24)

Oh my goodness, I have made it!!  That was a whirlwind of a day!  Exhilarating and peaceful, that makes zero sense, but it was.  I have SO many book reviews to write, but those shall have to wait til further notice.  I need sleep.

Final count!

Books read: 7
The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry
Darkwood by M. E. Breen
Words of Radience by Brandon Sanderson (started on page 625, finished on 1080, so I count this as half a book)
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Winterling by Sarah Prineas 
Tombstone Tea by Joanne Dahme 
A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine
Steelheart (ended on page 210, not quite half finished so also a half a book)

Best book of the day:
No contest there.  Words of Radiance!  I cried twice out of happiness, lost count of the times I laughed aloud in public, and I think my heart was galloping for the entirety of the last 400 pages.  

Total pages read:
2,319 (OOPS.  Must have double counted pages along the way- before the final count)

24 Hour Read-a-thon (Hours 19-23)

I am almost done.  I can feel the great oblivion of sleep calling to me.  It shall be the best, most loved prize.

Hey, speaking of prize, I won one of the challenges!!!  EXCITING!! :)

Update Time:
Books read so far: 
The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry
Darkwood by M. E. Breen
Words of Radience by Brandon Sanderson (started on page 625)
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Winterling by Sarah Prineas 
Tombstone Tea by Joanne Dahme 
A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

Currently reading:
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
How long have I been reading?:
We are at the 23 hour mark.  I have only been reading for 20 hours.  Ha.  Only.

How many pages have I gone through?:

How am I feeling?:
Sad that I will not finish this marathon with an ending of a book, I have almost 300 pages left of Steelheart, but I will be happy to sleep.

None.  I am lamenting the fact that I brushed my teeth :/  My tummy is wishing for nom-noms.  

40 minute CHARGE!

April 26, 2014

24 Hour Read-a-thon (Hours 16-18)

Oh my gosh, the hours just hit me.  Was forced to rapidly chug coffee.  My mother urged me to sleep because that is "rational".  I told her there was nothing rational about an avid reader giving up on a READ-A-THON!  I remained strong as I clutched my coffee.  

Books read so far: 
The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry
Darkwood by M. E. Breen
Words of Radience by Brandon Sanderson (started on page 625)
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Winterling by Sarah Prineas 
Tombstone Tea by Joanne Dahme
Currently reading:
A Tale of Two Cities by Gail Carson Levine

How long have I been reading?:
I think 18??
How many pages have I gone through?:
How am I feeling?:
My stack of books is getting smaller, but there are still three that I ABSOLUTELY wanted to read today (after the one I am currently reading).  Must. Read. Faster.
Coffee.  Coffee is life.  Coffee is awakeness.  Coffee is -In the words of the adorable Lift from Words of Radiance- "Awesomeness".

24 Hour Read-a-thon (Hour 15)

Reading update!

And a challenge photo- this challenge was to spell out your name in books:

K- The Keys to the Kingdom Mister Monday by Garth Nix
E- Ella Enchanted by Carson Levine
L- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
S- Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
I- Inheritence by Christopher Paolini
E- Enchanting the Lady by Katheryne Kennedy

A second challenge: That Reminds Me of a Book
I just finished read Winterling, and in the book there is a scene where the main character heals a fox/fae who is turning into a full fox.  They call it "wildling".  So my picture is of that moment, where the main character is looking down on her herbs and the fox/fae.

Books read so far: 
The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry
Darkwood by M. E. Breen
Words of Radience by Brandon Sanderson (started on page 625)
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Winterling by Sarah Prineas

Currently reading:
Tombstone Tea by Joanne Dahme
How long have I been reading?:
I'm having a hard time figuring out how many hours I am at now...um 15?

How many pages have I gone through?:

How am I feeling?:
I am getting a bit panicked- I feel like I have not read all that much!!  And the time is rapidly coming to a close.  I was going to read Girl with the Steel Corset next, but since I am feeling panicky I am going for the short books first.  Once I am relaxed a bit I probably will make some more coffee- because yum!

I got tofu pad thai for dinner.  It was yummy and I forced myself to have two glasses of gross, gross water.  I only got through one of them...the second is staring at me telllling me I should drink it.  I am stubornly refusing it.  I will open my last butterbeer instead :D

24 Hour Read-a-thon (Hours 13-14)

Reading update!

Books read so far: 
The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry
Darkwood by M. E. Breen
Words of Radience by Brandon Sanderson (started on page 625)
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

Currently reading:
Winterling by Sarah Prineas

How long have I been reading?:
11 hours now!! 

How many pages have I gone through?:

How am I feeling?:
I have a headache :/ I took some pills and am drinking water even though I detest it.  And dinner is on the way, so I am looking forward to some delish.

I ate a few more madelines, had a coffee from Starbucks, another butterbeer, and a few BBQ chips.

24 Hour Read-a-thon (Hour 12)

Half way done!! 

Mid-Event Survey
1. What are you reading right now?
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
2. How many books have you read so far?
Three :D
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Uh...idk?  I was looking forward to finishing Words of Radiance, and I JUST finished that :)
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
Yes I did.  Took the whole weekend off work.
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
A bit, I dealt with them quickly and then shoved my nose back into a book.
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
How AMAZING I feel.  This has been a fantastic day. 
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I'm a bit confused on how all these challenges are working, but other than that, no.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
Um...I would make sure I have the night before off from work so I could actually get sleep and not start four hours late :/
9. Are you getting tired yet?
NOPE!  But this may be because the book I just finished reading was absolutely freaking fantastic!!
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
Read amazing books?   :)  Because it isn't the coffee that is making me so elated, it's the books.

Onto more reading!! <3

24 Hour Read-a-thon (Hours 8-11)

Just an update on the reading!

Books read so far: 
The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry
Darkwood by M. E. Breen
(continuing with) Words of Radience by Brandon Sanderson
                        This book will probably take me SEVERAL more hours.  I am on page 875 of 1080, so I have a while to go :D
How long have I been reading?:
6 hours now!!
How many pages have I gone through?:
How am I feeling?:
A bit tired, my neck muscles are hurting from laying on my bed.  Time to change position.
However I am LOVING Words of Radience <3  Anyone who reads this blog/knows me knows how much I ADORE Brandon Sanderson's writing.  I have put reading this book off for far too long.  It's great to have an excuse to finally finish.
I ate some eggplant Parmesan and a butter beer.  My friend Kiley is coming to pick me up soon and we will be heading to a coffee shop to read together.  She will be driving so I can continue to read without interruption :)

12 hours of reading left!

24 Hour Read-a-thon (hours 1-7)

Good morning and happy 24 Hour Read-a-thon day!!

For those of you who have never heard of this wonderful event, head on over to 24hourreadathon.com to learn more.  It's kind of awesome, and I have been looking forward to it for the last 8 months.

I unfortunately, due to work, did not get to get until 1:00 am last night, so when my alarm went off at 4 to start reading I didn't wake up.  Instead I woke at 8:00 this morning, ready to read.  Sadly, I have lost 4 hours.

Here are the books I am planning on getting through today!!  I probably will not make it through all, but fingers crossed!

Books read so far: 
The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry
Darkwood by M. E. Breen
(continuing with) Words of Radience by Brandon Sanderson

How long have I been reading?:
3 hours! 

How many pages have I gone through?:

How am I feeling?:
Pretty excited.  I have some great books I am excited to get through :D

I have had one cup of coffee, two madelines (YUM!), and a glass of OJ

Onward with the reading!  If you have a few moments of your day head over to the 24 hour read-a-thon site to take a glance at the 500ish readers' blogs.  They need all the cheer leading they can get!

April 25, 2014


It seems the curse of these trilogies to present a compelling plot with driving characters and maddening questions, and then completely fail to deliver with books two and three.

The characters I loved:

Tris. Tris became whiny and was crying every other page. I got quite fed up with her. She was so fragile, and when she finally found the strength to be strong and do/say something Tobias was there telling her she was suicidal and not believing her. This caused her to spiral back into whiny, crying mode.

Plot: :

Nothing happened in this book. At least not until the end. They would travel somewhere new, encounter more ass hole people trying to control them and the world, almost die, and then move on to the next place. It got old.

The big reveal of WHAT’S OUT THERE! :

*eye roll* I was expecting something big. Like…zombies…or cannibalistic crazy people. But no. Just humans who have gone wrong? What? This is the BIG secret that everyone has sought to keep hidden? It’s rather obvious isn’t it? Human population went crazy so now we are safe in our enclosed world. And how many people died to keep this secret/trying to bring it to light? A ridiculous amount. Oh- and that comment from Marcus about the secret changing people. The secret was so close to what they thought originally happened the two could have been estranged twins. World war vs humans destroying each other.

I am, however, excited for some actual interaction with the outside world.

This book only deserves 2.5 stars because while it was exciting, and I still am driven to find out what will happen in the next book, the characters irritated me, the plot irritated me, and the answers we were given were not satisfactory.

On another note! I will be participating in the 24 hour read-a-thon for 2014! I will be reading April 26th from 5am -4am, Mountain Time. I live in AZ, but the site only had LA time, which we are pretty close to if not congruent with most of the year.

I will be posting my updates here, but actual reviews will have to wait until another day. I won’t have time to write them, code them, and post them. I’d lose too much valuable reading time!! :D

I am hoping to get at least 8 books done. Wish me luck!! <3

They always need cheerleaders and angels to help out, so if you don’t want to be a reader, go to the site to see how any of the nearly 500 readers are doing!

April 18, 2014


Warning- if you tend to insert yourself into characters while reading...stay away from hammers, knives, and gyms. This book will make you feel ten times more bad ass while doing simple tasks. Like making dinner, or putting up picture frames.

Waving around a hammer does not make you bad ass or Dauntless.

And anyone who hears you proclaiming your Dauntless status while inserting nails into wood…will likely laugh at you.

Learn from my mistakes people...

The more I analyze this book, the more faults I find. But it was impossible to put this book down, and I cannot wait to read the next one. I devoured it. Like Anna and Elsa eating chocolate. And hot damn, was it delicious.

So why did I love this book? Because it was hard to put down. It wasn’t the best written book I’d read, and it certainly wasn’t flawlessly plotted, but it was engrossing. If you can manage to not analyze while reading…READ IT. Heck, even if you can’t turn off your brain while reading, read it.

P.S. Spoilers are coming!

What was wrong with the book?

The idea of Divergents:

Why are more people not Divergent? I don’t know a single human who is only brave, selfless, truthful, intelligent, or works for peace. Because that is what being human is, being a myriad of all sorts of qualities, being Divergent. We just jumped into the future; this book isn’t about a different race, so the idea that everyone can fit into a faction doesn't make any logical sense.

When does Tris become so bad ass?:

She is all nervous at the beginning and really not good at fighting- a total underdog…and then BAM all of a sudden she becomes good enough to beat people when she is really, really angry. I’m sorry…where did this miraculous transformation happen?? *flips through the pages* Oh that’s right…it didn’t.

Tris’ ability to think…or lack of ability:

Her mother tells her to stay in the middle, to be unnoticeable. Repeatedly Four tries to tell her the same thing. Does she listen? Does she even TRY to do what they say? No. This fact irritated me so much. If you are smart, if you are brave, then you would stay in the simulation longer, protecting yourself from scrutiny, rather than stupidly rushing through the simulations ten times faster than anyone else and giving your extra special nature away.

Lacking relationship development:

The amount of feels when she kills Will. Zero. Why? Because there is no friendship development in this book. Nothing meaningful anyway. There was only Tris and Four relationship building. This drove me nuts. It was like Twilight all over again! What is the purpose in creating friends for your character if you only use them as pawns to push the story forward? I call that lazy writing. And it robbed me of the desired, heart-punching emotion when she is forced to kill Will. Then again...why couldn't she just knock him out and take his gun? I digress...

This is the big one:

There were three instances where the “OMFG we already discovered this Tris!” smacked me in the face and made me threaten to tear out pages. However, I only remember the specifics of one of these moments:

When Tris’ mom comes to visit they talk in a closet, and Tris comes to this realization:

My mother was Dauntless.

When Tris’ mom comes to save her (hundreds of pages later...) she again comes to the same conclusion:

She pushes me against the wall and takes off her gray jacket. She wears a sleeveless shirt. When she lifts her arm, I see the corner of a tattoo under her armpit. No wonder she never changed clothes in front of me. “Mom,” I say, my voice strained. “You were Dauntless.”

“Yes,” she says, smiling. She makes her jacket into a sling for my arm, tying the sleeves around my neck. “And it has served me well today. Your father and Caleb and some others are hiding in a basement at the intersection of North and Fairfield. We have to go get them.” I stare at her. I sat next to her at the kitchen table, twice a day, for sixteen years, and never once did I consider the possibility that she could have been anything but Abnegation-born. How well did I actually know my mother?

Let us not even breach the impossibilities of Tris’ mom saving her. She was Dauntless before transferring- which means she never passed any tests. Which means everyone in the compound, who should be holding Tris prisoner, would be five times more able and bad ass than Tris’ mom. And yet she manages to free Tris…all alone. Anyway not the point.

The point of this is Tris already knew her mother was Dauntless. This whole realization of she doesn’t know who her mother is, ect should have happened when she first realizes it on page 188. Instead it is treated like the first time she is discovering this fact. We have had hundreds of pages to process this. Did your head get hit too many times Tris; are you forgetting things?

So obviously this book had problems. Lots of problems. But I loved it. I give it 4.5 stars, simply because I cannot give it five with all this whining.

Have YOU read Divergent? I’d love to hear what you think! Let me know in the comments what you thought of the book, or what you thought of my opinion :D