Power is the Crown that Eats the Head

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Title/Author: Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Publication Date/Publisher: January 13, 2015/Del Rey
Series: Yes, Red Rising 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: 5 stars
From Goodreads:
With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within. A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.
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Do you ever just get mad at a book or series for being SO GOOD? Literally, me:

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Golden Son has so much going on that every time any time I took a break from reading, even for just a few hours, I would almost not know what was happening. Everything is a twist, a calculated step, or the hinge of a master plan – but when everything is important like that, it almost makes nothing important. But the flip side of this is that “non-stop thrill ride” thing people always throw around, but they really mean Golden Son.

There are so many times when I wonder why I love these books (I did a re-read of Red Rising before Golden Son and it was much needed and appreciated): I only really like two living characters (RIP PAX AU TELEMANUS), neither of which is Darrow; I so often think “ugh, boys” while reading; many, many small passages or phrases just DO NOT work for me to the point of eye rolling – but the story is good. It’s exciting. I laugh, I cry, I worry about the characters – which reminds me: WHAT HAPPENED TO SOPHOCLES?!

I am so pumped from that ending! What a build-up! What a cliff-hanger! I’m forming an Official Golden Son Support Group that eats ice cream and tacos and curls up in comforters for the next year or so while we await the thrilling conclusion!
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The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones – 3 for 3! I’d say Golden Son is less Hunger Games than Red Rising was though. Maybe it should have been called RED GAMES, or GAME OF RED – something with “game” to really fit in.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

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This week, The Broke and the Bookish is asking for the Top Ten Books I Read in 2014. It would be impossible to narrow it down to just 10 from the almost 250 books I’ve read at the time of this writing (250 is my goal for the year), so I’m going to share my absolute favorite from each month.

 

JANUARY: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

FEBRUARY: Cress by Marissa Meyer (sorry, other books I read in February, this really wasn’t fair to you)

MARCH: Ask the Passengers by AS King – there were no real standouts in March

APRIL: How do I choose between The Falconer and Open Road Summer? Trick question, because I do not.

MAY: DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS I MEAN COME ON

JUNE: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

JULY: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

AUGUST: The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater

SEPTEMBER: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson OR The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

OCTOBER: BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE BYE

NOVEMBER: Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer orrr 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

DECEMBER: Golden Son by Pierce Brown (at the time of this writing I am about to finish All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and it would be an honorable mention for this month unless something wacky happens in the last 25% of the book, in which case never mind).

ARC Review: Love and Other Theories

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Title/Author: Love and Other Theories by Alexis Bass
Publication Date/Publisher: December 31, 2014/Harper Teen
Series: No
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelwiess. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Rating: 1 stars
From Goodreads:
If you want more, you have to give less.

That’s the secret to dating in high school. By giving as little as they expect to get in return, seventeen-year-old Aubrey Housing and her three best friends have made it to the second semester of their senior year heartbreak-free. And it’s all thanks to a few simple rules: don’t commit, don’t be needy, and don’t give away your heart.

So when smoking-hot Nathan Diggs transfers to Lincoln High, it shouldn’t be a big deal. At least that’s what Aubrey tells herself. But Nathan’s new-boy charm, his kindness, and his disarming honesty throw Aubrey off her game and put her in danger of breaking the most important rule of all: Don’t fall in love.

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For me, 1 star is basically a hate read. I guess I run the risk of this publisher giving out my personal information if this author feels like finding me for slandering her book or whatever, but it is what it is. The second I realized what was really going on in Love and Other Theories, I was angry. I can’t believe anyone would think marketing this towards younger girls is in any way a good idea.
Don’t be fooled by the synopsis – this is not a cute high school romance story. This is a group of girls who got together and decided they weren’t going to be in committed relationships, especially with high school boys. That’s fine. But it somehow turns into a book about slut-shaming the girl who used to be in their group until she decided to get a boyfriend…because one of the main girls was into that boy at the time.
This group of girls considers themselves to be the “evolved” ones…but Chiffon is trashy and a slut for having boyfriends. I was definitely expecting a more enlightened and realistic view of teen sex and relationships, but this is NOT that. And really? Could she have been given a worse name?
Throughout the whole book, the girls keep referring to their “theories”…
Theory is splendid but until put into practice, it is valueless. – James Cash Penney
“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.” – Yogi Berra
These girls are not just formulating theories, they’re actually putting them into practice. So, shouldn’t super-smart Aubrey whose defining characteristic is that she’s GOING TO BARRON (though it’s hard to know how smarty-pants she really is since that’s not a real place)…shouldn’t she know the difference? Shouldn’t she maybe step in and tell her friends what “theory” really means?
Love and Other Theories wants to be about changing, like, the rules of feminism: Don’t get with your friends’ exes. Love and Other Theories says: There’s not a sufficient number of dateable boys in this podunk town, so we’re all free to get with any or all of them, no strings and no hurt feelings. But OF COURSE there will be hurt feelings because PEOPLE HAVE FEELINGS even if you think they’re a slut for having a committed relationship.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New to Me Authors I Read in 2014

toptentuespbhThis week, The Broke and the Bookish is asking for the Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2014. This is something I would like to track on my 2015-Read spreadsheet, along with information such as debut, pages, and rating with a separate sheet tracking DNFs instead of just removing them from the ARC TBR or OWN TBR lists. Goodreads tracks that information, but since I use the spreadsheet because it’s easier to look at and I can easily track re-reads, I think I need to include more information going forward.

 

  1. Taylor Jenkins Reid: After I Do and Forever, Interrupted were both very important books to me this year
  2. Lydia Netzer: How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky and Shine, Shine, Shine were both 4 stars for me, but I can’t get these quirky stories out of my head
  3. Tess Sharpe: I gave Far From You 4 stars, but after spending the rest of the year thinking about it, I love it more and more. And I love her pups, in a totally non-creepy way.
  4. Sara Benincasa: Great was great, but I love her even more for her feminist rants and Beyoncé-love.
  5. Emery Lord: I loved loved loved Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You and she’s so cute and hilarious and has an equally cute and hilarious (I assume) one-eyed pup.
  6. Brandon Sanderson: I don’t know about his dog situation, but I finally read one of his books this year….even though I’ve bought several over the years.
  7. Katja Millay: While I’m still kicking myself for not reading The Sea of Tranquility sooner, I think about it almost every day.
  8. Ellie Marney: While this is my most recently read author on the list, I am so wrapped in the Every series and contemplating moving to a country where book 2 is available for purchase.
  9. Rae Carson: The first series I read in 2014 was Girl of Fire and Thorns and WOW what a way to start off the year!
  10.  Lastly, a tie (but not a tie for last place!): Elizabeth May and Marie Rutkoski: The Falconer and The Winner’s Curse were two of the best fantasy novels I read all year and I would remiss not to mention these two.

 

 

 

ARC Review: The Art of Asking

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Title/Author: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
Publication Date/Publisher: November 11, 2014/Grand Central Publishing
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:
Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world’s most successful music Kickstarter.

Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn’t alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING.

Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.

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I am an Amanda Palmer fan. That feels like a confession.
I’ve listened to her music for the last 10 years, since my mom heard Girl Anachronism on the radio on one of San Diego’s alternative channels. She asked me to download it for her and a few months later we had both Dresden Dolls cds and we went to a Dresden Dolls show at one of the horrible all-ages venues. It was the first time I was seeing a large group of her fans all together, and I felt like I didn’t fit in.

I’ve followed her since then, though. I’ve bought the t-shirts, watched the webinars (I’ve just reminded myself that I won an auction for something and never received it), LOFNOTC’ed, Kickstarted, the works.

You know the game where you pick your family? Well my rockstar mom choice and my author dad choice really did get married, so they can totally adopt me as their 28 year old daughter whenever they’re ready.

But the book. I saw it on netgalley and requested it, even though I hadn’t been planning on reading it before seeing it. I rolled my eyes about it a little bit – “Amandaaaa just because you married an author doesn’t mean you have to be an author tooooo”, I whined in my head.

It’s not just about asking for help. It’s a look at Amanda Palmer’s life – all the personal bits. As someone who has followed her life for a decade on an email list, a blog, twitter, I am familiar enough with it that I can track the chronological order by song or tour – but there is a lot of jumping around – sometimes by years, back and forth – from paragraph to paragraph, which may be jarring.

I loved hearing new stories, or continuations or stories. Whatever your feelings about her are, Amanda Palmer has had a very interesting life, so different than my own. Also, the prominent guest star Neil Gaiman drew me in HAVE I MENTIONED HE’S MY FAVORITE?!

Anyway. Fans of Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, and any combination of the two will probably really enjoy this one.

Paperback Recap: November 2014

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This was the most boring month of the year for me so this will probably be a pretty short post. My favorite holiday was a bust, but at least I got a long weekend?

 

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Favorite Books in November: I did audio re-reads of Code Name Verity and Ready Player One and loved them both. If you need an audiobook I can’t recommend either of these enough. Other than that, Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer was my favorite.

Favorite Movie/TV in November: Still plugging away through Gilmore Girls – I’m almost done with the series already! Logan Huntzberger wears too many turtlenecks.

Favorite Musical Discovery in November: We’ve all seen Beyonce’s new 7/11 video right? Ugh, it’s so good and her sleepovers are the best. Also Misterwives cover of Vance Joy’s Riptide is amaaaaaazing.

Favorite PR of November: Injury PR! I was out of the gym for half the month because I had a rib out…and a knee out…and just a lot of pain in general. I’ve had to reassess my goals for the year, but with some hard work I shouldn’t end up too far behind where I want to be.

Top Blog Thing in November: I took a week off of posting in November while I was feeling sorry for myself for being injured and because the new World of Warcraft expansion was out…I liked that week off and almost thought about quitting blogging but snapped out of it.

Top Blog Search Term in November: “i dont love boys” Good on ya, sister.

 

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I’m so excited for #TBTBSanta! I did it last year, too and it was so much fun and I went a little overboard this year! I wasn’t able to participate in the On The Same Page sister thing because I wasn’t sure what my job situation would be for the rest of the year, so I channeled all my gift giving abilities into one gift for Secret Santa! I’m ready to ship it out and I can’t wait!!!

ARC Review: For Real

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Title/Author: For Real by Alison Cherry
Publication Date/Publisher: December 9, 2014/Delacorte Press
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: 2 stars
From Goodreads:
No parents. No limits. No clue what they’re in for.

Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister’s shadow. While Miranda’s life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality TV.

When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just before her college graduation, it’s Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They’ll outshine Miranda’s fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.

But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may or may not be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life… or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what’s for real?

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“Terrifically skimmable” – Paperback Heart

Seriously, so much eye rolling. I’m super over the “totally inexperienced for her age and going through her first crush” “heroine” that I’ve been reading over and over lately. If I hadn’t already read to 61% by the time I thought about DNFing, I would have given up.

Reality TV is a hit or miss new setting in YA and I’ve mostly enjoyed it, but you’ve got to have some misses to define the hits, I guess. I couldn’t related to the characters we spend the most time with, Claire especially. She’s 18, but I would believe she was 13 and her only defining characteristic is that she loves TV.

The thing is, I was originally drawn to the book because of the reality TV gimmick – if I was going to go on one of those shows, I would want it to be The Amazing Race (or like, one of the sit around and drink wine Real Housewives ones). So I stopped reading the description when I got to that part probably. If I knew it was an around the world elimidate, I probably would have passed. I read it in one day, so it’s not like I committed or wasted much time.
The cover is also appealing, when you don’t look at it too hard. They’re both wearing love shirts and there is at least one pair of heart sunglasses. Neither of those girls is a Claire, and they don’t appear to be sisters, looks-wise. The girls never go anywhere together in a car like that and they definitely wouldn’t be doing it in those outfits. Where are the giant backpacks and how do they look so clean? There is never a mention of showering in For Real.

ARC Review: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless

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Title/Author: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas
Publication Date/Publisher: December 9, 2014/Harper Teen
Series: No
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: 2 stars
From Goodreads:
Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.

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1. Reads VERY YOUNG – I would guess the characters are 13-14 not 16-18.
2. Very The Breakfast Club-y. Teens are detained (detention) and they are The Brain, The Jock, The Princess, The Weirdo, etc.
3. Predictable – saw it coming from a mile away.
4. Diabetes was an interesting touch, but I thought it went a little overboard. I mean, my cat is diabetic, so I know what I’m talking about.
5. That was a joke, but my cat really is diabetic.
6. This is now a list about cats instead of a book I didn’t really like.
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But seriously – at least Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless was a quick read.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten 2015 Releases

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This week, The Broke and the Bookish is asking for the Top Ten Books I’m excited for in 2015. Ummm I have a feeling I won’t be able to contain this to a top ten…

 

  1. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  2. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
  3. FAIREST by Marissa Meyer
  4. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
  5. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  6. I Was Here by Gayle Forman
  7. WINTER by Marissa Meyer
  8. Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin
  9. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  10. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
  11. THE RAVEN CYCLE #4 by Maggie Stiefvater
  12. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  13. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
  14. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  15. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
  16. Salt and Stone by Victoria Scott
  17. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
  18. The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May
  19. Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
  20. The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente
  21. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  22. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
  23. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
  24. Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales
  25. Armada by Ernest Cline

 

I had to stop looking at 2015 releases once I got to 33 books and then edited the list down even more from there – and it was super hard! Basically, if these were the only books I read in 2015 I would call it a success because they are all extremely important sequels or standalones/starts of new series from authors I love or debuts that sound amazing or just plain ol’ GIVE IT TO ME NOW books.

TBR Tag

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These questions were posed by Jessie over at Ageless Pages Reviews and I never got tagged so I just decided to do it on my own after her co-blogger, Danielle, answered the questions.

THE RULES:
1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their website.
2. Post the award’s logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions you have been asked.
4. Nominate ten other bloggers and ask them ten other questions.

1. What is your ultimate ship, your #1 “this is my OTP!”-level ship? Gansey and Glendower. Really, I don’t ship.

2. If you could change the ending to any one book, what would it be and why? Where the Red Fern Grows, for obvious reasons.

3. Is there a book that everyone hates and you love? I gave No One Else Can Have You 5 stars when I read it, though the difference now from then is probably much larger. Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick and The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen are my next two biggest differences between a book I thought was 5 stars and the average Goodreads rating.

4. Which book does the blogosphere go crazy for and you just don’t understand? I don’t know that anyone went crazy for it, but Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens. That anyone is continuing to talk about this book boggles my mind.

5. What is the worst book you have ever read? THE WORST. Why? Worst quality?
I’ve read a lot of bad books. Anything that might qualify for “THE WORST” I DNFed and wouldn’t count towards this, so probably a three way tie between Blaze by Laurie Boyle Crompton, Vivian Divine is Dead by Lauren Sabel and Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid. Oh, and Sway by Kat Spears. I forgot how much I hated that.

6. Your top three recommendations for someone who “doesn’t read YA.” The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.

7. What if there was only one book-to-movie production in 2015. You get to decide which book — so which one do you pick? SLOPPY FIRSTS

8. Would you rather have a new Harry Potter series about Harry in his later years or a a Marauders-era book series? The Marauders. I would loooove more Harry Potter, but wasn’t the rest of his life supposed to be normal and boring compared to those 7 years?

9. How do you pick your next read?
I have a master TBR list, but since I got rid of my reading schedule, I try to read books near their release dates, but let myself read anything I want. I read an April 2015 book a few weeks ago! (99 Days by Katie Cotugno and I loved it!)

10. What book have you owned the longest that is still unread on your shelf? Either Wild Ducks Flying Backwards by Tom Robbins or 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I don’t remember which I bought first and they both have the same day as added to Goodreads – probably the day I joined in September 2008!