DNF: The Perilous Sea

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Title/Author: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
Publication Date/Publisher: September 16, 2014/Balzer + Bray
Series: Yes, The Elemental Trilogy #2
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Rating: DNF
From Goodreads:
After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother’s prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

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I normally save my DNFs for a round-up, but my recent DNFs haven’t been noteworthy. I feel like I read enough of The Perilous Sea to share my thoughts about it.

I requested The Perilous Sea without first reading The Burning Sky. I do this more than I would like to admit and it almost never works out for me. The Burning Sky was only okaaaay for me, though I found I was only making myself finish it because it was a book I purchased (kindle daily deal some months ago).

The Perilous Sea continues right along with everything that I had a problem with in The Burning Sky: shoddy world building, overly ambitious, and I just didn’t care about what happens to the characters. At least in The Perilous Sea, Titus is not everything that’s wrong with schools these days. In The Burning Sky he was so entranced by Iolanthe’s legs that he couldn’t think (girls can’t wear shorts because it distracts boys), he does some creepy things in the Crucible (actually, this probably continues in The Perilous Sea), and I was actively rooting AGAINST the two of them to get together.

In The Perilous Sea, we’re suddenly in his-n-hers AND past-n-present perspectives. The past and present back and forth did not work for me AT ALL, and I think it might be the lack of memories + magic that has still never been explained.

I read to 37%. I probably could have kept going, but the level of boredom verged on “suffering through it” – and that’s how I know it’s time to give up.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I NEED to Read More of

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This week, The Broke and the Bookish is asking us for the Top Ten authors we’ve read one book from and NEED to read more. This list houses my shame.

  1. Melina Marchetta: What if I just read Jellicoe Road 50 more times? THEN WHAT?! I hear awesome things about her fantasy series (and own most of it) but I need to read one fantasy series at a time – preferably in a binge, so you can see where this is going.
  2. Cath Crowley: Graffiti Moon is my favorite and I’m just afraid.
  3. Sarah J Maas: I bought the whole Throne of Glass series (including the novellas book) – and I’ve still only read Throne of Glass. Once I get all my other fantasy series wrapped up, I’m binging the heck out of this series.
  4. Brandon Sanderson: Or B-Sands, as I’ve come to call him. I own at least two more of his books, but I’ve still only read Mistborn.
  5. John Corey Whaley: I loooooved Noggin, and I’ve heard wonderful things about Whaley’s debut.
  6. Jenny Han: I didn’t love To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before, but I am interested in reading more of Jenny Han’s work.
  7. Tiffanie DeBartolo: One: I need to read How to Kill a Rockstar. Two: I need Tiffanie DeBartolo to write many more books.

And “authors who need to have more than one book out because I’m dying for more”: Tess Sharpe, Julie Murphy, Pierce Brown, and Katja Millay.goo

ARC Review: Sway

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Title/Author: Sway by Kat Spears

Publication Date/Publisher: September 16, 2014/St. Martin’s Griffin
Series: No
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Rating: 1 stars
From Goodreads:
High school senior Jesse Alderman, or Sway as he’s known, could sell hell to a bishop.  He also specializes in getting things people want—term papers, a date with the prom queen, fake IDs.  It’s all business with Jesse.  He has few close friends and he never lets emotions get in the way.

But when Ken, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things.  While following Bridget and learning the intimate details of her life, he falls helplessly in love for the very first time. He also finds himself in an accidental friendship with Bridget’s younger brother who’s belligerent and self-pitying after spending a lifetime dealing with cerebral palsy.  Suddenly Jesse is visiting old folks at nursing home in order to run into Bridget, and offering his time to help the less fortunate, all the while developing a bond with this young man who idolizes him.  The tinman really does have a heart after all.

A Cyrano De Bergerac story with a modern twist, Sway is told from Jesse’s point of view with unapologetic truth and biting humor, his observations about the world around him untempered by empathy or compassion–until Bridget’s presence in his life forces him to confront his quiet devastation over a life changing event a year earlier and maybe, just maybe, feel SOMEthing, again.

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Is this a joke book? Like…was what I just read for real?
There is not even one redeeming quality in Sway. The portrayal of women: awful. The portrayal of dis- and differently-abled people: awful. The characters: awful. And unrealistic.
If I didn’t already know, I would be extremely surprised to learn that Sway was written by a woman. The girls in this book are portrayed as gold-diggers, drug addicts, sex fiends, or any combination of the three. Unless they’re too fat to be desirable by anyone. Or unless they’re Bridget Smalley – the hottest, smartest, sainty-est girl who will only show her true colors to Jesse. Too bad he doesn’t realize he likes her until he’s set her up with another guy…after that guy paid him $200 to do so.
Bridget’s brother, Pete, has Cerebral Palsy and volunteers her time (sainty-ness) at the center that helped Pete when he was younger. Jesse also starts showing up there to get to know Bridget so he can sell her. The number of times Jesse uses the R word is excessive. Once would have been too many times, yet there it is, again and again – sometimes to Pete’s face. This does not stop Pete from idolizing Jesse and becoming his best friend. Other minor characters with disabilities are referred to by their disabilities, even after we know their names (see: Cynthia a.k.a. Flipper Girl).
Ah, Jesse. Musical genius, regular school genius (he pays a college student to do his school work so he can have more free time to sell drugs and teenage girls), sad loner boy (see: ~mysterious), top dog of the high school. Even the principal comes to him for favors. This particular moments happens early in the book, and I should have known to DNF then (or maybe when Jesse made rape jokes to his female best friend?).
Pardon me if my California is showing, but is ANY of this actually happening in the world? Obviously, the racism and ableism and all the other -isms contained in Sway exist because I see it even if it’s not all directed towards me, but in what universe is the principal coming to a 17 year old to take care of school problems?
And the ending. With 5% left, I had my fingers crossed that it would not end the way I was expecting and OF COURSE it does and I would rather flush my kindle down the toilet than ever have to think about this book again.
Oh, I guess the ONE redeeming thing is that Kat Spears had the (2) black characters call each other “my Negro” instead of the actual N-word, and that is the only good thing I can think of about this book.

Paperback Recap: Two Year Anniversary

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How can two years feel like forever and no time at all?

Today is my two year wedding anniversary! The time has absolutely flown by, but it also seems like I’ve never not been married. Our story so far is pretty short, but I’m going to share it anyway.

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We met on September 12, 2010 and married on September 12, 2012. I wanted to hold out for 10/11/12, but apparently remembering two dates was out of the question for someone. I was proposed to via text message, and we were engaged for 7 weeks. The picture above is from my birthday about 7 months after we started dating and two months into living together. Marshall had just accidentally shaved my head. I married him anyway.

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This is from our first dating anniversary. We had the bright idea to go camping, though I’m not what anyone would call “outdoors-y”. We spent way too much on all the gear and only lasted one night because Big Sur in September is freezing. We got married on our second dating anniversary, and for our (second) first anniversary, we went to the little Dutch town of Solvang – about halfway between Santa Maria and Santa Barbara. We forgot to take pictures.

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We met at a stoplight. We were both blasting MMMBOP and looked over at each other. It was basically love at first sight. We pulled into a parking lot, went for coffee, and the rest is history.

Okay, none of that is true. We met on an online dating site, but Marshall thinks that’s too embarrassing. I made up a new, even more embarrassing story to use instead.

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I don’t have advice or answers or anything. Everyone is different and everyone’s relationships are going to be different. We basically eloped and it was completely unromantic and we only have like, 7 wedding photos and one time I wore my wedding dress to work because I really needed to do laundry. I have yet to wear my shoes again, but they the third most expensive part of the wedding.

Okay, I lied again. I totally do have some advice. IF you will not regret it and especially IF you don’t have friends/family close to you – physically or emotionally – I completely recommend eloping. It was just us, our dog, my mother-in-law, her dog, and the Justice of the Peace at the Justice of the Peace’s house. His parent’s wedding photo is the focal point of our 7 wedding photos and it’s totally creepy, but it was right for us. My only regret is that we didn’t take more photos, and eventually I would like to get a photographer and take some nice pictures – especially without the stress/nerves of it being my wedding day.

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Anyway, if two years feels so long and so short, I can’t even imagine what 10-25-50 years is like. I’m not a person who gushes about relationship things, so this is not the outpouring of love I had hoped to write (especially since we’ve had like three fights since I started writing this and it keeps turning into NEVER GET MARRIED).

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In conclusion, I am not actually a giant and happy two years, babycat!

ARC Review: I’ll Give You the Sun

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Title/Author: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Publication Date/Publisher: September 16, 2014/Dial
Series: No
Source and Format: I received an ARC of this book through a blog tour with Gals on the Same Page
Rating: 5 stars
From Goodreads:
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
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So. This was a book.
I read The Sky is Everywhere last year and I still think about it. I read I’ll Give You the Sun this morning and wish there was more. Jandy Nelson’s use of words is so beautiful and I never wanted to stop reading. I knew this was something special when a character said “even when I’m eating pizza I want to be eating be pizza”.
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I spent many years in marketing, so let me throw some buzz words at you: twins, ghosts, magic, PERFECTION. I say that about a lot of things. I’ve said that about a lot of food. I’ll Give You the Sun is PERFECTION. Jandy Nelson is an auto-buy/do anything to get my hands on/would suffer through pregnancy to give up my first born kind of author. Say HI to Laini Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater while you’re on that list. (This has nothing to do with the fact that Blue Lily, Lily Blue just went up on Netgalley.) (Absolutely nothing.)
All of the characters in I’ll Give You the Sun are so much more connected than they realize. It was amazing the way everything came together and of course gorgeously done. The lies! The deception! The art! The nude model with the James Dean lean!
Technically, I would say I’ll Give You the Sun is only like 8 chapters long. At over 380 pages, those are some looooong chapters. They’re broken up nicely with lots of stopping places (as if you could put this book down), and the chapters go back and forth between Noah at age 13 (to 14) and Jude at age 16. It takes some time for the stories to come together (unintentional Beatles reference), but they weave together seamlessly and these characters are so perfect.
We see Jude struggling with his sexuality and wanting to kiss his best friend. We see Jude coming into her sexuality and the hope and regret and changing the meaning of “that girl”. And the art! The art is like a character itself. I’m completely, hopelessly, dreadfully unartistic. I WANT to create, I have like…the desire to make a thing – but it’s awful. Just give me some dull crayons and safety scissors so I don’t hurt anyone in the process.

ARC Review: People I Want to Punch in the Throat

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Title/Author: People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann
Publication Date/Publisher: September 9, 2014/Ballantine Books
Series: No
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Rating: 4 stars
From Goodreads:
A debut collection of witty, biting essays laced with sprinkles from Jen Mann, the writer behind the popular blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat.
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As a person who hates pretty much everyone else for some not very good reasons, I can really identify with Jen Mann and People I Want to Punch in the Throat. I have checked out the blog of the same name, and I didn’t really like it as much. Obviously, the good stuff had to be saved for the book, but I feel like the blog posts are a step down.
PIWTPITT is not really about all the people Jen Mann wants to punch, but is a collection of the stupidity she encounters as she becomes a new wife and mother. I already know that I don’t want kids because I don’t like kids, but now I also don’t want them because I would flip out on other mothers/women/people trying to tell me how to raise my child. I don’t even take suggestions for how to fix my elderly dog’s skin problem lightly or questions about her cone, so I can’t even imagine how I would react to a constant stream of “suggestions” about a thing that (possibly) came out of me.
With musings on looking badass in a minivan, proper couture for child pick-up line, and dealing with a spouse who would rather make his own mother a sandwich than look for your ring pillow, Jen Mann is practically life coach material for me.

ARC Review: Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3)

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Title/Author: Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga
Publication Date/Publisher: September 9, 2014/Little, Brown
Series: Yes, Jasper Dent #3
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Rating: 4 stars
From Goodreads:
Jazz Dent has been shot and left to die in New York City. His girlfriend Connie is in the clutches of Jazz’s serial killer father, Billy. And his best friend Howie is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz’s own home in tiny Lobo’s Nod. Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors their lives have become and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy. But then Jazz crosses a line he’s never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: “Like father, like son?” Who is the true monster?
The chase is on, and beyond Billy there lurks something much, much worse. Prepare to meet…the Crow King.
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I don’t even know where to begin. Seriously. I read Game and Blood of My Blood back to back and they ran together. Which is fine, because they are basically one book split in two, but it’s hard to remember where one ended and the other began, so beware: possible spoilers for the other books in this series (and maybe some little ones for Blood of My Blood but since I never really talk about plot points you’re probably safe).
First of all: WHAT
Second of all: Blood of My Blood feels about 750 pages longer than it is. At over 450 pages, it’s not really a short book – and I don’t know if it’s because I read both books back to back like I mentioned above – but I just didn’t want to keep reading. When I don’t feel like I’m making any progress in a book, despite hours or reading, I want to DNF. I struggled with this one – especially for how much I liked it.
It just seemed like so many unnecessary things happened, and once things start winding down and there are only two possible outcomes for the story I found I didn’t care which way it would go. Once I GOT to the explanation I liked it and thought everything was explained well and made sense!
Third of all: Blood of My Blood isn’t as humorous as the other books. I understand it’s a heavier book, and I always thought the Howie-humor in the other books seemed misplaced, but I did miss it.
All in all, I thought this was a great way to wrap up a story that takes so much suspension of disbelief. It was fun, it was gross, I even teared up a little. I’m more than a little worried about the things happening in Barry Lyga’s head, to tell the truth.
This was my first experience only listening to one book in the series. I got I Hunt Killers on audio from the library (after being approved for the entire series on Netgalley because I didn’t think I would have time to read them all) (I did not), so I had the narrator’s voice in my head for the other books. I’m currently doing my The Raven Cycle re-read via audio, and I don’t super love the narrator, so I hope this doesn’t happen with Blue Lily, Lily Blue (every post until I read this book will be derailed with The Raven Cycle/Boys, The Dream Thieves, or Blue Lily, Lily Blue).

Paperback Recap: August 2014

august2014August was a pretty busy month…for everything except reading it seems like. This is the fewest books I’ve read and posts I’ve made since I started blogging and I feel okay with it, actually.

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Favorite Book in August: The Wolves of Mercy Falls series was the best thing I read in August.

I decided not to review Isla and the Happily Ever After because I didn’t really have anything good to say. I liiiiiked it, but (in a nutshell) it did not feel like it was worth the wait. What pushed me over the edge was reading an interview with Stephanie Perkins on Hello Giggles, I think, where she said (basically) that Isla wasn’t given any interests because Josh’s interest was so big/important to the story. And that made me like Isla and the Happily Ever After even less, so no one wants to hear from me.

Favorite Movie/TV in August: We saw Guardians of the Galaxy and I loved it! I finally got caught up on Supernatural (do I even want to continue watching next season?), and I’ve been watching Teen Wolf and Doctor Who – the new episodes as well as my accidental re-watch. I just made it through the Martha season. While I feel like I’ve never disliked her as much as everyone else, I definitely like her less each time I watch the series.

Favorite Musical Discovery of August: She’s definitely not a new discovery as I’ve been a fan for the last 14 years, but I love Jenny Lewis and her new album, The Voyager. I remember seeing her at this tiny, tiny club in San Diego and there were seriously less than 25 people there and she was about 10 feet away from all of us and it was amazing.

Favorite PR of August: Back Squat 220# (used 195# for my max this cycle, but 205# was my previous lifetime PR)! My goal for this cycle was 225#, but it took me two attempts and a belt to get #220, and I’m happy with this…for now. I want 300#, but it’s going to take a lot of work.//Team Series started! Team tacocat is back and shouldn’t have let me pick the team name. We’ve done two events so far and I PR’ed my 3RM Front Squat at 170#! This is my previous 1RM from the last time I tested it…a year ago.

Top Blog Thing in August: I signed up for Bout of Books and then spent the whole week doing nothing but reading Mistborn so…oops? A while ago I did the Open Road Summer promotion and my ARC of The Start of Me and You arrived a week ago! I was in the middle of my Jasper Dent series binge when it arrived, but it’s the book I’m reading right after that (thankfully I ditched my reading schedule!).

Favorite Search Term in August: I wonder if less posts are the cause of less interesting search terms? August was a dud.

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Tahoe! I spent the first weekend of August in Tahoe with my gym friends for a 21st and 22nd birthday celebration. I got to swim and get sunburnt and hangout with people I normally only see like 3 hours a week and had the best time. I jumped off a (small) rock cliff thing into the water, so I can cross that off my 30 Before 30!

Computer! While I was away that weekend, my husband built me a PC! I used his 500 year old laptop for gaming and my MacBook likes to just turn off sometimes, so I spent the month learning how to stop being a Mac, though I’m keeping my laptop the bedroom so I can watch Netflix on it.

Waiting on Wednesday: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

New+WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 

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Book Title/Author: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date/Publisher: October 21, 2014/Scholastic Press

From Goodreads:


There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Fancy book-plate edition is pre-ordered. I’m currently in the middle of listening to the first to books on audio (I have mixed feelings about Will Patton: voices are good, whistling noises are irksome). I’ve read Maggie Stiefvater’s Re-Captains posts for The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves – I super recommend reading them both, if you haven’t already. I recommend reading them again if you have read them. I AM READY FOR BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Character Who Would Sit at my Lunch Table

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This week, The Broke and the Bookish is asking us the top ten character that would be sitting our lunch tables.

I have a hard time remembering things about characters. I remember how books made me feel, and the general thing the book is about, but what a character looks like or dresses like or parts of their personality maybe don’t always stay with me the best.

Because I’m looking for such a specific thing this week, it was hard for me to mentally go through every book I’ve ever read to try to remember if one of these kinds of girls was anywhere in it.

So, there is a definite pattern to the characters who would be sitting at my lunch. I’ve basically started a girl army – we’d be at the table closest to the exit to sneak out. We’d be the girls who would probably show up to school hungover – if we showed up at all. A tangle of hair, a smear of eyeliner, a clomp of boots.

Reagan O’Neill – Open Road Summer
Isabel Culpepper – Wolves of Mercy Falls
Karou and Zuzana – Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Nastya Kashnikov – The Sea of Tranquility
Ronan Lynch – The Raven Cycle (because: spoilers)
Blue Sargent – also The Raven Cycle (I got clompy boot confirmation in my The Raven Boys re-read) (and now that we have 2 of them, maybe Gansey will stop by from time to time)