Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bout of Books 15 TBR

Bout of Books
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, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd 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 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Hello everyone! Welcome to my Bout of Book 15.0 TBR! I'm super excited for this readathon like I am every single time it comes around. I will be filming my TBR and hopefully putting it up on the channel closer to the readathon date, but I decided to just post it here first. 

I've been DYING to read this book for so long and I recently got some awesome Barnes and Noble giftcards and I'm really tempted to buy the box set. My mom said I could, but I had to read the first book to make sure I liked it so I'm super stoked for this one!

I'm currently reading my first Patrick Ness book - The Monster Calls and it's so good so I decided to pick this one up from my library.

Aesta from Aesta's Book Blog has raved about this book for so long and I've been meaning to pick it up. Just my luck when I see it on the shelves of my library so I picked it up. 

I've owned this book now for almost a year and have debated starting it for a while. This was an impulse buy because the cover is so pretty (and I wanted free shipping). 

I bought this book and it should be here around the time of the readathon. I'm going to tack this onto my TBR because I do want to pick this up so hopefully I'll get to at least start this during the readathon.

So that's my list! Let me know if you're participating in Bout of Books and what books you plan on reading during the readathon!

Foreverly Obsessed,

Monday, December 28, 2015

Review: Armada

ISBN: 0804137250
Pages: 349
Source: Blogging for Books
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
 Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.
And then he sees the flying saucer.
Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders. 
No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.
It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?
At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon. 
 Hello everyone! So today I have my long awaited review for Armada by Ernest Cline. I received this book back in August for review and it's taken me forever to finish it. So without taking too long to intro this post, let's get into the review~

I will be completely honest and say that Armada was a struggle to read. The hype surround the book and the anticipation that it was going to blow my mind like Ready Player One did gave it big shoes to fill. Unfortunately, it didn't meet my expectations. The storyline was just so game focused with little logical explanation that I found myself confused a lot of the times. The characters, regardless of age, seemed to understand these obscure references from the 80s and 90s, but these references weren't explained for those of us who didn't get them.

The plot, I heard, is similar to Ender's Game which I haven't read, but apparently it follows a similar path of the government recruiting gamers of all ages to fight against the enemy. The backstory of Armada had a lot of gaming backstory and told in these large sections which made it confusing for non-gamers to really grasp what was going on. Personally, I felt like Armada lacked the punch that Ready Player One had. While both books deal with gaming and have gaming references, Armada didn't have the same explanation.

Zach as a character...I can't really describe him. I didn't love him and had a hard time connecting with his situation. He wasn't terrible by any means, but I feel like gamers would understand his plight better and his life in the story seemed like every teen gamer's dream: save the world and get the girl. 

Armada was just difficult for me to get through. I started reading it in August and read chunks for the next five months. It's only due to winter break and my guilt that I haven't put up a review for this book yet, that finally allowed me to finish the last hundred pages. The story was mildly entertaining, but it didn't live up to the expectations I had after reading Ready Player One. The story is much more targeted towards a gaming audience which is unfortunate for me, but it means a lot of other people out there will enjoy it. 

*Huge thanks to Blogging for Books for providing a copy to review. All thoughts are 100% my own*
3 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Review: Ash and Bramble

ISBN: 0062337947
Pages: 464
Source: Library
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
 A prince.
A ball.
A glass slipper left behind at the stroke of midnight.
The tale is told and retold, twisted and tweaked, snipped and stretched, as it leads to happily ever after.
But it is not the true Story.
A dark fortress.
A past forgotten.
A life of servitude.
No one has ever broken free of the Godmother’s terrible stone prison until a girl named Pin attempts a breathless, daring escape. But she discovers that what seems to be freedom is a prison of another kind, one that entangles her in a story that leads to a prince, a kiss, and a clock striking midnight. To unravel herself from this new life, Pin must choose between a prince and another—the one who helped her before and who would give his life for her. Torn, the only thing for her to do is trade in the glass slipper for a sword and find her own destiny.

Hello everyone! So it's December 26 and I've failed terribly for 12 Days of Christmas. I didn't feel the urge to blog this past week with the anticipation for break and the massive amount of work teachers were trying to finish. So I failed...but we always have next year right? Anyway, with that being said, let's get into my review~

This story caught my attention because of it's super dark premise. I remember reading the prologue of this story and freaking out because it sounded so cool and disturbing. The general premise of the school is so intricate and complex that it's hard to follow sometimes but that doesn't stop it from weaving a fantastic story that grabbed my attention. The setting of the Godmother's castle reminded me of the Winter queen's from Rebekah L. Purdy's Winter People trilogy (which I adore). It's spooky and run by a strict domineering female antagonist. The setting is super dark and creepy that sends shivers up your spine and I have to confess I absolutely loved it.

Pin and Shoe are such interesting characters that have a lot of depth and dimension to their personalities. It was so cool to see Pin's fire at the beginning of the novel where she is trying to discover who she was before she woke up in the castle and then compare that to the puppet she becomes for a short period of the story. The sheer power of the Godmother and her ability to take away memories and meld people to fit the desires of Story. Essentially, she momentarily becomes a slave for Story and the struggle she goes through to regain her identity was just really well crafted. Then we have Shoe who went through one of the biggest character growths ever. He started off as someone who feared the Godmother's power to someone who is willing to fight for who he believes in. 

I can't say that I felt really connected to the characters which is usually a big thing for me to like a book but this novel just had that amazing overall feel to the story that drives the plot. Some aspects of the story seemed to drag on for a bit but I didn't find myself minding as it contributed to the buildup of the anticipation that the climax brought.

On a bit of a tangent, the cover is...I don't even know how to put it. There are so many people ranting about the cover and I kind of have to agree. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but this one makes me sad. It's not a terrible one by any means but that body looks very
unproportional to the point of it being uncomfortable. However, the inside of this book is gorgeous with its headers and chapter headings. It definitely makes up for the cover.

Overall, I enjoyed the creepy and dark premise of the story and how everything turned out. Definitely recommend you guys to check this out!
 4 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

Saturday, December 19, 2015

12 Days of Christmas (Day 5): Riv Adventures - Recital Comeback

Hello everyone! Welcome back to another post! So today is going to be a quick one because it's currently 11:18 pm as I'm writing this and I'm so exhausted. So I played at my first recital for the first time in eight years and I just wanted to rant a bit about it. 

So performing is something that terrifies me to no end. 

I have trouble dealing with the pressure and an audience of people who are staring at you. I've technically performed in front of a lot of people multiple times in church, charity concerts, choir concerts, etc. but they're just different. In a bunch of them I have other people onstage at the same time which I think takes away some of the pressure, but recitals...

To relive my experience, I was internally freaking out. I was the last one to play since the order was arranged by age and most of the kids were younger than 10. When my name was called, I almost tripped and had to keep chanting to myself: Don't fall.

The actual playing wasn't as terrifying as I had thought. Instead of constantly thinking ahead to what my next notes were, I focused more on the overall dynamics and musicality of the piece. I started freaking out because I couldn't remember the next notes when I was sitting in the audience but onstage everything was blank and I just played.  

So I was actually shaking for an entire hour after the recital but the experience was kinda gratifying. Memorizing 8 pages of music and spending hours on the piece paid off and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I just have to do get more practice and then audition season will be here before I know it.
 Let me know if you guys have played at recitals and what your thoughts are! Any tips on those of us who are terrible at performing? 

Foreverly Obsessed,

Day 5 of

Friday, December 18, 2015

12 Days of Christmas (Day 4): Penny for Your Thoughts - Productivity

Hello everyone! Welcome to Day 4 of 12 (10) Days of Christmas! Before I get started, I have a general PSA. So last year I included reviews as part of my daily posting, but this year I decided to do things differently and focus more on posting "extra" things. I tend to forget to do blogging memes and they're always so fun so I thought I'd dedicate the daily blogging schedule to that. Also, school is crazy because everyone is trying to test before break so it's easier for me to get a post up. With that being said, I'm hoping to put up reviews as a bonus post and continue my regular 1-2 reviews per week schedule. Alright, with that aside, let's get into the topic:

This is what everyone strives for but we always seem to fall short. So I'm got the idea to write a small post on this after I came across a blog called tipsywriter which has a bunch of amazing posts that are short and sweet but really make you think. She did a post where she discussed a time when she told her Twitter followers to answer the prompt:

I feel most productive _____________

That question made me stop and really think because I can't think of a perfect situation where I'd be 100% productive. I tend to get distracted by the internet whether it's watching YouTube videos, scrolling through Tumblr, looking at books on Goodreads, or just staring at my fish swim around in tank. 

It also brings to mind the infamous senioritis - the dreaded disease high school seniors get when they don't want to do anything because they're already in college. Most of my friends are already "suffering" from it and the common idea is:

I haven't exactly been "infected" yet but I can feel the symptoms slowly creeping up on me. Anyway, getting back to the original topic: productivity.

I feel more productive when I have a history test coming up. I honestly feel like I get so distracted if nothing is at stake and to be honest, history tests stress me out the most. The subject is fun but the memorization and everything drives me to madness with worry. It's kind of sad that that is the only thing that comes to mind...I need to some getting distracted...

Anyway, let me know your ending to this sentence! Anyone else a senior? 

Foreverly Obsessed,

Day 4 of

Thursday, December 17, 2015

12 Days of Christmas (Day 3): Thursday Tracks - Think of You

Thursday Tracks: The Funeral

Hello everyone! So today I have a new Thursday Tracks to share with you guys! So Danielle Bradbery has been releasing snippets of her album for the couple of weeks and it's killing me. My solution...go on YouTube and search for new music to listen to and I stumbled across this gem. I've never listened to any of Chris Young's songs, but it features Cassadee Pope, another one of my favorites, so I decided to check it out.

Also, may I mention that Cassadee released a little video saying that they were shooting the music video and I'm so excited!

I can't exactly think of a book that matches this song perfectly...I tried picking something that wasn't contemporary but they didn't seem to fit so I settled on:
While this story didn't exactly end with a break-up (mild spoiler), Lex Martin knows what to write to make my heart twist in a hundred different directions which I guess relates to the persona in the song. It's a stretch... 

Foreverly Obsessed,

Day 3 of 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

12 Days of Christmas (Day 2): Waiting on Wednesday - The Raven King

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Expected Publication: April 26, 2016
Pages: 400

That cover is absolutely gorgeous! Literally words cannot describe how incredibly excited I am for the release of this book! I'm waiting until the release day gets closer before I read Blue Lily, Lily Blue and I can't wait! Just staring at the book makes me want to jump around in excitement. EmojiEmojiEmoji

Foreverly Obsessed,

Day 2 of

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12 Days of Christmas (Day 1): 10 Days of Christmas

Hello everyone! Christmas is ALMOST here and to keep up with the traditions of last year, I'm going to be doing my 12 Days of Christmas chain where I post every single day until Christmas. Now I'm a bit late, so technically it's 10 Days of Christmas this year. I haven't actually come up with a list of what I wanted to do since I last year I did a bunch of tags so we'll have to see what pops into mind. I might be doing a giveaway like last year, but I haven't decided which books yet, but it'll probably be in ebook format just because my parents aren't likely to let me send something.

So this post is kind of a sad beginning to the chain, but I'm typing this in class right now and the period is almost over. On a brighter note, today is my last winter concert in the high school which is exciting but bittersweet. As a senior, it's almost hard to believe that next year I won't be on the risers singing with everyone, but hopefully I'll be on winter break so I can sing Peace of Earth which is open to all alumni. 

Okay, I have seven minutes left in the period so I'm going to wrap things up and try to make a list for the upcoming posts so they'll be more interesting than this one! Happy Day 1!!

Foreverly Obsessed,

Monday, December 14, 2015

Review: The Weight of Feathers

ISBN: 1250058651
Pages: 320
Source: E-book/Own
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for more than a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find. 
Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught since birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees. 
Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.
 Hello everyone! Welcome to my review for The Weight of Feathers which I read last month. I first heard of this book through a book newsletter and I couldn't wait for it to come out. Needless to say, this book completely blew me away so let's just get into the review~

This book was so unique and beautiful it's impossible to not be swept away into the story. If I had to compare it to a book, I'd say the writing style is similar to that of The Night Circus. It has the same magical element to the writing  but the story lines are completely different. The Weight of Feathers is a slow book, the writing, the plot, the development, everything has this slow and gradual build. Normally, I would have lost interest, but there was just the way the author crafted her words was so intriguing that I had to keep reading. Looking back, it's actually pretty surprising because the writing style is pretty simple, but the choice of words and the way they were put together gives it that extra lure.

I loved the magical element of the story where the Palomas have scale tattoos on their backs reminiscent of their mer-background and the Corbeaus grow feathers. I wish there could have been more history into how these families got these "quirks" and how they grew their performing business from it. Personally, I can't say that I felt any specific connection with the main characters but I enjoyed their story and interactions with each other. While I love the water, I have to say that life with the Corbeaus seem a bit less intimidating and more fun. The Palomas seem to run under a strict regime-like fashion that focuses a lot on beating the Corbeaus and less on the beauty of their performance.

The entire book radiates charm and wit which makes it enjoyable to read while being a very upfront story. There are secrets in the book but they are hidden so well that I didn't pick up the hints until they were revealed at the end. The ending was definitely swoon-worthy and had me grinning like an idiot. In short, this book blew my expectations and I would love to live in this world.
4 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,