Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ten Books Racquel Plans To Read This Summer

Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This Week's Topic:
 Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer
Racquel's picks: Since Goodreads doesn't count rereads, I'm behind on my challenge. I'm going to aim to read 50 books this summer starting with these:

01. On the Fence by Kasie West: I've recently read The Distance Between Us, my first West (FINALLY) and I loved it so I need to get to her other books!

02. Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle: I read and LOVED Love, In English last year and summer is the perfect time to read this companion sequel! 

03. Rebound by Noelle August: Boomerang is one my favorite books from last year and I've put off the companion sequel for some reason.

04. Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas: I met Liz at RT15 so I think it's finally time to read her books!

05. Going Rogue by Robin Benway: I just read Also Known As and it was delightful in the typical Robin Benway way so I can't wait to read the sequel.

06. Ripped by Edie Harris: the first book, Blamed, is the perfect mix of romance and suspense so I need to read the companion sequel for more swoony times.

07. Capricious by Gabrielle Prendergast: Audacious is an amazing verse novel and I've been stupid by not buying the sequel immediately.

08. Angelfall by Susan Ee: I want to get the series I've been meaning to read forever and since this one just ended, it's the perfect time to binge read.

09. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty: WHAT AM I WAITING FOR?! I know.

10. Making Pretty by Corey ann Haydu: I just love Haydu's writing and her characters so I suck for not already reading this.
So, any of these also on your lists? Which ones should be a priority?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

(Bout of Books 13) Sharon's Goals & Updates

Nothing draws me out of a book-reading funk like Bout of Books! I am so excited to be participating this time around. I've been reading a bit the past couple days (A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass, and it's AWESOME), but I am totally going to amp it up and try to catch up to my goal, which I'm currently super behind on. I would tell you not to blame Once Upon a Time fanfiction, but, well, I'd be lying.

I'm not setting any specific book goals this time around, besides the fact that I will obviously be continuing A Court of Thorns and Roses. I will also attempt to finish the new Eloisa James, which is currently sitting abandoned on my dresser at about 75 pages in. Other than that, I'll just see what I'm in the mood for! I've heard good things about The Queen's Thief series, so I'm thinking of starting that. Time will tell!

As the OUAT finale is airing tonight (has already aired, actually, but I still have a bit until I can watch it), I will probably have terrible reading productivity for Day One, but I hope to make up for it the rest of the week! And I know it's going to be fun whether I get 200 pages read or actually make my goal of 1,000. I can't wait to see what all of you have planned for this week, too!

My Goals for Bout of Books 13
   • Read 1,000 pages
   • Discover some awesome new blogs and friends
   • Participate in at least one of the Twitter chats (I had to work during both of them. Sad day.)
   • Participate in four or more challenges

Monday, 5/11
Books Read Today:
Total Books Read:
Total Pages Read: Nada. Not even a page. Called it.

Tuesday, 5/12
Books Read Today:
  In-Progress: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass (57 pages)
Total Books Read: ~.25
Total Pages Read: 57

Wednesday, 5/13
Books Read Today:
  Completed: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass (300 pages)
  In-Progress: Anticipation by Sarah Mayberry (130 pages)
Total Books Read: ~1.5
Total Pages Read: 487

Thursday, 5/14
Books Read Today:
  Completed: Anticipation by Sarah Mayberry (148 pages)
  In-Progress: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (36 pages)
Total Books Read: ~2.05
Total Pages Read: 671

Friday, 5/15
Books Read Today:
  In-Progress: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (293 pages)
Total Books Read: ~2.75
Total Pages Read: 964

Saturday, 5/16
Books Read Today:
  Completed: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (104 pages)
Challenge: Your Favorite #BOB13 Read, hosted at Once Upon a Chapter

My favorite book of #boutofbooks so far, for today's challenge.

A photo posted by Sharon (@starsaloft) on

Total Books Read: 3
Total Pages Read: 1068

Sunday, 5/17
Books Read Today:
  In-Progress: On the Fence by Kasie West (55 pages)
Total Books Read: ~3.25
Total Pages Read: 1123 (Made it! Whew!)

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

|12 in 12| Graceling by Kristin Cashore

12 in 12 is me committing to read 12 books in 12 months. These 12 books will be old books that I've had on my TBR since the dawn of time and have been pushed aside for all the SHINY. 
So I know it's May and I'm just now sharing my February pick for 12 in 12 and while I am behind on sharing reviews, I'm not behind on reading the 12 in 12 books so that's all that matters (just roll with it!).
12 in 12 February Pick

Title: Graceling
Published January 8th, 2008
Genre: YA fantasy
Rating: A
Goodreads summary:
Elisabeth Page is the daughter of Ben Page, yes, that's right, THE world famous novelist. And yes, she's also the sister of Rascal Page, world famous novelist in his own right. So what does Elisabeth do? Much to her family's disappointment, Elisabeth is a pastry chef. And a pretty damn good one, at Beverly, the hottest restaurant in LA. The last relationship Elisabeth had was with Will, a man she grew up with and whose family ran in the same social circles as her family. But Will's constant jaunts around the world have left her lonely and brokenhearted in L.A.

That is until Daniel Sullivan bids on one of Elisabeth's pastry tutorials at a charity auction. Daniel is everything her family is not: a basketball coach, a non-intellectual, his family doesn't summer on Martha's Vineyard, and the only metaphors he uses are about passing the ball and being a team player. But somehow they fit. Between her family, Will, and the new cooking show that Elisabeth is recruited to star in, Elisabeth's life is suddenly incredibly new and different--the question is, can she embrace being happy or has her family conditioned her to think she's just not good enough?Liza Palmer expertly depicts a woman trying to come to terms with professional success, personal success, and finally dealing with a family that might love her from the bottom of their heart but doesn't necessarily have her best interest always at heart.
Graceling is hand down, one of oldest (if not the oldest) book on my TBR. It's one of the first books that I came across when I started reading. We had multiple copies of it in my 8th grade reading college and I always picked up to read it but I always put it aside. Now I'm a sophomore in class and I FINALLY READ IT!! Alejandra, one of the first bloggers I diligently followed, raved about Graceling in every blog post she wrote and all her Youtube videos and she was RIGHT. Graceling seriously skipped the favorites shelf and went straight to the forever favorite shelf!

Why did I love it so much? Easy peasy. I appreciated how feminist it was. I did a whole review on the feminist aspect of it and specifically Katsa on my other blog, Feminist Talk Books, because it made me THAT HAPPY. But in this review I'll focus on every aspect of the book too.

I loved the fantasy and the world introduced. Graclings are people graced with a skill and instead of the gracelings being superior, they're actually disliked and the property of the king of the land. I liked this twist on being skilled and that it was something that the graced characters really struggled with. It made for beautiful characterization.

Katsa is graced with the skill of fighting and she's toughest and stronger than an army of a kingdom. I loved reading about Katsa's and how her strength meant that her uncle (a king) used her as a killing machine.  Her nickname is The Lady Killer and there is so much complexity and depth with Katsa resenting her job but appreciating her strength. On one hand, she knows about the evil in the world and wants her skill to protect herself and others but she's a slave to her uncle and he turned her into a monster.
“She knew her nature. She would recognize it if she came face-to-face with it. It would be a blue-eyed green-eyed monster, wolflike and snarling. A vicious beast that struck out at friends in uncontrollable anger, a killer that offered itself as a vessel of the king's fury. But then it was a strange monster, for beneath its exterior it was frightened and sickened by its own violence. It chastised itself for its savagery. And sometimes it had no heart for violence and rebelled against it utterly. 
So Katsa is really not in a good place in her life or in the best mindset about the world and I found her journey to be amazing! What I loved even more is that Po, the love interest, completely respected Katsa and her strength. He never once resented her for being stronger or held it against it. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. Po was such a nice guy, he was definitely complex, but he fit Katsa, who struggles with being used by her uncle, SO WELL. Respect, it is a beautiful thing.
“But you're better than I am, Katsa. And it doesn't humiliate me. It humbles me. But it doesn't humiliate me.” --When Po learns the extent of Katsa's grace. This quote is everything to me.
Plus, Katsa and Po are pretty damn swoony. Their chemistry is off the charts and I had to take frequent pauses so I can calm my grinning, feelsss self. The combination of Po who wore his heart on his sleeve and Katsa who was so closed off was a beautiful dynamic and it was handled with so much respect. Round of applause for Kristin Cashore. The book has a lot of heavy themes and Po and the romance balanced everything out so you have the heavy, tough stuff that Katsa has to work through and the swoon!

Another thing that deserves a round of applause is the fact that Cashore didn't "cure" Katsa from her beliefs when she found love. Katsa spent her life as nothing more than a weapon, harming others, for her uncle who's a king. She doesn't want to ever be tied to anyone and while she loves Po, she doesn't want marriage and is content with being a relationship without the formalities. THANK YOU. Thank you for giving Katsa agency and not belittling her experiences and respecting her views are valid. Katsa also had sexual agency and really, if this book wasn't already perfect, this would have broken the perfection spectrum.

So yeah, I loved this book with everything in me. It did take me a few chapters to get into because the writing is simplistic and distinct but I got used to it soon enough. Whether you're a fantasy fans or hate the genre, I still recommend Graceling because it's an important book.

Rating: [A+++] Every positive review was absolutely RIGHT. A new all time favorite. 
In these dungeons the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind.

It hurt her eyes, almost, Ror City; and it didn't surprise her that Po should come from a place that shone.

Mercy was more frightening than murder.