Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Happy Jolabokaflod!

Meet your favorite new holiday tradition!

Related image

Last year, I wrote a post about Jolabokaflod, Iceland's "Christmas Book Flood." Sorry for the repetition, but I just had to share about this AWESOME tradition again this year! I wish everyone did this in the US.

Image result for Jolabokaflod

According to a decades-old Icelandic tradition, books are the standard Christmas gift. NPR reports:
"The culture of giving books as present is very deeply rooted in how families perceive Christmas as a holiday," says Kristjan B. Jonasson, president of the Iceland Publishers Association. "Normally, we give the presents on the night of the 24th and people spend the night reading. In many ways, it's the backbone of the publishing sector here in Iceland."

In the months before Christmas, publishers compete for the attention of Icelanders in a season known as Jolabokaflod, the "Christmas Book Flood." According to NPR, "The Flood begins with the release of Bokatidindi, a catalog of new publications from the Iceland Publishers Association distributed free to ever Icelandic home."

The tradition is especially fitting for Iceland, as it's famous for being a highly literary culture. As the BBC pointed out in 2013, "This island nation of just over 300,000 people has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world." Las month, the New York Times reported that "At least 90% of Icelanders age 16 or older read at least one book a year just for pleasure." In comparison, only 72% of American adults read a single book last year.

Check out this article by an Icelandic author to see what Jolabokaflod means to her.

You can also get these awesome Jolabokaflod pajama sets from Out of Print! I think they are sold out for the holidays though, because I can't find them any more. :( Maybe next year...

Happy holidays everyone!

Image result for happy Jolabokaflod

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Unblinking (The Shuttered Lands Trilogy, #1) by Kira Carter

Unblinking (The Shuttered Lands Trilogy, #1)
Everyone is watching.
Minka Stanis just wants to be left alone - impossible since the Eyes record and broadcast every momeny of her day. Then, a humiliating incident in the high school cafeteria makes her the laughingstock of her tower city, and life behind the glass walls becomes unbearable. When the intriging new boy at school tells her about a place away from the gaze of the cameras, Minka plots her escape from the towers. But the Shuttered Lands are across the desert, and going there will mean leaving everything she's ever known behind. 
Fresh out of tower training, Zedd Fincher is settling into his dream job. When he gets assigned to edit Minka Stanis' Stream footage, he spins her every misstep into a string of hit clips. As Minka's fame grows, so do Zedd's feelings for her. But a crisis at home brings the darker side of his work into focus. And Zedd soon learns editing other people's lives has consequences. 
As Minka is thrust unwillingly into the spotlight and Zedd's life begins to unravel, only one thing is certain:
The Eyes are always watching. 


It took me a while to get into this book. That could have something to do with the fact that I was re-reading the Throne of Glass series at the same time. I NEVER read more than one book at a time, but I made an exception. I have several books to read and review before the end of the year, but I have been on hold for a copy of Tower of Dawn from the library, since it came out a couple of months ago. Since I was starting to get close to the front of the line, I decided to start re-reading the ToG series as a refresher, after I had already started reading this book. 

I got through all of book one and started book two, then I got an email saying that the hold was up and I could download a copy. So, I clicked the link and went to the library's website on my phone. I selected Kindle format and clicked download, or so I thought. Then, a notification popped up that said "Your hold has been cancelled." I seriously almost cried. The download button is directly on top of the cancel button, and I don't know if my phone glitched or I just clicked the wrong button on accident, but I cancelled the hold. I immediately went back and placed a new hold. When the book was first released a couple of months ago, I started out as #25 of of 25 in the hold line. Now, I am #31 out of 31... I was so upset, because I have been waiting SO LONG to read this book and was psyching myself up by re-reading the series. I figured I would go ahead and finish re-reading the first 5 books then just by Tower of Dawn so that I don't have to wait so long. 

Then, I thought about it... I could but Tower of Dawn and go ahead and read it quickly, before getting back to the books I have scheduled to read and review. But the next book in the ToG series isn't scheduled to be released until next September. That would leave me Maas-less for almost a whole year... So, I decided to just wait a few months to get a copy from the library. I have lots of good books to read in the mean-time. Then, I won't have to wait as long to read book #7 after finishing Tower of Dawn.

Once I decided to wait and finished book #5, Empire of Storms, it was much easier to get into this book, and I really want to see what happens next.

I have mixed feelings about Minka in this book. I hate how gullible she is and how easy it is to convince her to leave everything she has ever known and do something that is unheard of and considered impossible. However, when you consider where she lives and her upbringing, the way she acts is more understandable.

The author did a good job at world building, and the story's concept was interesting and not much of stretch from what could happen in the near future. Basically, the Eyes are everywhere. Every minute of everyone's day is recorded to their Stream. The only placed with no Eyes are in restrooms, and each person has a "Reserved Room." However, spending too much time in your reserved room is suspicious. 

Everyone in the Towers has a job. It is the editors' job to sift through everyone's daily streams and edit clips for different channels, which are similar to what we all watch on YouTube today, like "fail" clips, giggling babies, and embarrassing moments caught on camera. And just like today, having clips that get lots of views can make you famous, and lots of people in the Towers want to be Stream Stars. Like I said, not a stretch from what could happen in the near future. 

The only difference in the book is everyone lives in a a circle of towers, and they never leave. Outside is a sweltering desert with dangerous sandstorms, and they have their food-like cubes brought in from the Fertile Lands. 

Although this book took a while to get into, I did get really into it by the end, and I think the author did a great job at setting up for an action-packed sequel. I can't wait to see what happens next!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)
Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series. 
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so, she must play a deadly game of deceit - and one slip may spell doom, not only for Feyre, but for her world, as well. 
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords - and hunt for allies in unexpected places. 
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.


In case you haven't read the first two books in the series, I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum.

The second I finished A Court of Mist and Fury, I immediately started reading this book. I am so glad that I checked out both book at the same time. 

I can't believe I waited so long after reading ACOTAR to read the next two books in the series! They were AMAZING! They made me laugh. They made me cry (like a baby). They made me fear for the characters' lives at some points, and feel a whole wide range of emotions in between these. 

While the majority of the first two books take place in the Spring and the Night Courts, this book allows us to travel more around Prythian and get a glimpse into life at the other course, and we learn about the High Lord his book absolutely blurred the lines between friends and enemies at some points. I loved it!

I ♥ ♥ ♥ Rhys! I've never really identified with people that get crushes on fictional characters from books, but Rhys definitely gave me all the feels!

Reading this book made it official, Sarah J. Maas is definitely my new favorite author! This book exceeded my expectations, as always. After reading ACOMAF and this book, I'm not sure if I think this series or the Throne of Glass series is better.

I am thrilled that GoodReads shows three more ACOTAR books and one novella. However, the novella will not be released until May 2018, and all book #4 says is expected publication: 2019.

I still have book #6 in the Throne of Glass series, Tower of Dawnto read before then, but I don't know what I'm going to do with out any Sarah J. Maas to hold me over until then... I'm already considering re-reading this series...



Monday, October 23, 2017

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court - but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms - and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future - and the future of a world cleaved in two.
With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas' masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights. 


In case you have not read A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR), I will try to keep them to a minimum though. 

I knew this before I even started this book, but this one really reinforced the fact that I ABSOLUTELY ♥ ♥ ♥ Sarah J. Maas!!! This and the Throne of Glass (ToG) series are two of my favorites! I'm actually waiting in the hold line for a library copy of Tower of Dawn, book #6 in the ToG series. I've been waiting SOOO long for it to be released! 

I remember reading ACOTAR and loving it. I actually thought that I read this book right after finishing ACOTAR, but I guess I wasn't able to get a copy at that time or something, and the book was just so jam-packed that I thought I read the first two books in the series, instead of just the first. 

As always, Sarah J. Maas created an AMAZING, magical world with amazing, magical and complex characters. 

I ♥ Feyre! Maas does an awesome job of conveying the conflicting feelings she's experiencing, without sounding repetitive or making the character sound whiny, which happens way too often in YA books. 

I love the way women are portrayed in this book! I love how the treatment of different genders and different classes are explored in these books. 


I want to say so much about it. I want to gush about everything that I loved about it, but I don't want to give away those spoilers, and I NEED to read the next book in the series RIGHT NOW!

OMG! If I didn't have a copy of the third book on hand right now, I would be throwing a tantrum! 

Seriously, I have so much more I want to say, but to avoid gushing and giving away spoilers, I'm just going to read A Court of Rings and Ruin (book #3). 



Friday, October 20, 2017

The Rise of the Dawnstar Blog Tour and Giveaway!


The Rise of the Dawnstar
Farah Oomerbhoy
(The Avalonia Chronicles #2)
Publication date: April 24th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Aurora Firedrake returns in the spellbinding sequel to The Last of the Firedrakes.
The seven kingdoms of Avalonia are crumbling and evil is spreading across the land like a plague. Queen Morgana is close to finding a way to open The Book of Abraxas and it’s only a matter of time until she uses the power trapped inside its pages to enslave the entire world.
With Avalonia growing more dangerous by the day, Aurora must travel through war-torn lands and deep into the heart of the fae kingdom of Elfi. Her goal is to find a legendary weapon infused with the last of the realm’s ancient magic—the only weapon in the world powerful enough to stop the queen.
Aurora might have survived her first battle against Morgana, but the true fight to save her kingdom and restore her throne has only just begun…

Author Bio:
Farah Oomerbhoy is the international bestselling author of The Avalonia Chronicles. Her first book, The Last of the Firedrakes, was originally published on Wattpad where it gained nearly two million reads and a Watty Award. Since publication, her debut has gone on to win a silver medal in IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Awards and the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, along with winning a finalist placement in the USA Best Book Awards. Farah loves the fantastical and magical and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest. With a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Mumbai, Farah spends her creative time crafting magical worlds for young adults. She lives with her family in Mumbai, India.


I read The Last of the Firedrakes two years ago and remembered really liking it, so when I got the opportunity to read an ARC of the sequel, I was super excited! I had to go back and read a little about the first book and my review of it to refresh myself on what happened.

Let me first say that my immediate reaction after finishing the last page of this book was one of anger and frustration! I can't believe the author ended it like that! I checked GoodReads immediately after finishing the book, and the third book in the series is not even listed with an unknown title/cover/release date yet. :(

After I calmed down a little bit (kind of), here were my reactions to the rest of the book:

The first book was good, but I liked this one better!

The author did an excellent job of world building and character development in the first book. In this book, she expands on that and gives us a glimpse into a totally different part of that world. We learned about some of the fae in the first book, but we get to enter their part of the world in this one and learn way more about the fae that are not living among the mages, hiding in fear.

Also, the love interest in the first book was alright, but this book added a whole other layer and made it more interesting.

I noted in my review of The Last of the Firedrakes that there was some repetitive language used throughout the book. While I did think the main character was a little repetitive in this book, I didn't catch the same repetitive language from the first book.

I also have to say that I found it a little annoying how low Aurora's self-esteem was at times and how many times she kept reminding herself that she needed to be less trusting of others. Most of the time, she didn't do anything different to try to protect herself, so it was just annoying and made her seem naive. Besides extending the ending, that is probably the only other thing I would have about this book.

I was excited to read this book because I really liked the first one, now I'm dying to read the next one!

If you haven't read the first book, I encourage you to read it so that you're caught up in time to read this one before the third book in the series is released. I guarantee after you read this book, you will be counting the days until you can find out what happens next!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 



Monday, October 2, 2017

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1)
"I would say it's a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness."
Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history - that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper's great-great-great-great-great- something grandgather made - and then broke - a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, four-thousand-year-old Alastor isn't exactly the forgiving type. 
The fiend has reawakened with one purpose - to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and bandish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts to trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his future without a side of eternal servitude, thanks. 
Little does Prosper know, the malefactor's control over his body grows stronger with each passing night, and there's a lot Alastor isn't telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong willed) human host.
From #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Bracken comes a tale of betrayal and revenge, of old hurts passed down from generation to generation. Can you ever fully right a wrong, ever truly escape your history? Or will Prosper and Alastor be doomed to repeat it?


This book was AWESOME! I loved it!

I love the author's sense of humor in this book! This book had me literally LOL-ing! I don't want to give away spoilers, but I thought one of the funniest scenes in the book involves Halloween decorations and a traffic cone... ☺

This quote also had me cracking up!
"To say that it's disturbing to no longer be in control of your limbs is like saying it's only a little weird to see someone dressed as a dinosaur, eating frozen hotdogs on a bench made of pigeons."
I kept hearing about this book and knew that I had to read it. However, I (mistakenly) thought that I was getting into a story that would start and end this story. From reading The Darkest Minds series, I should have known that Alexandra Bracken wouldn't want to wrap such an amazing story up in just one book. While I am glad that there is more to the story, I am super sad that I have to wait who knows how long to see what happens next!

The Darkest Minds series was AH-MAY-ZING, BTW! I've also been wanting to read Passenger since it was released. I've heard it's great, too! So, I had pretty high expectations when I started reading this book, and Alexandra Bracken definitely exceeded them!

This was an awesome book and a nice change from the books I've been reading lately, which have been mainly dystopian or YA Fantasy. This was definitely one of the best Middle Grade books I've ever read! It was surprisingly dark for a Middle Grade book, but definitely in a good way. ☺

The only issue I had was the ending, but my only problem with it is that I have to wait to see what happens next! Other than that, I don't have anything at all negative to say about this book!

I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun read that's unique and funny, with lots of plot twists! This is definitely a good book to read with Halloween coming up, especially if you don't like horror stories.

Other books by Alexandra Bracken:

The Darkest Minds Series


Passenger Series


Friday, September 29, 2017

Gauntlet Fall (The Gauntlet Book 1) by Maddy Edwards

Gauntlet Fall (The Gauntlet Book 1)

Gauntlet Fall
by Maddy Edwards
(The Gauntlet #1)
Publication Date: June 12th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult


Samantha Berry lives in a world devastated by war. A fragile peace has allowed hopes for rebuilding to blossom, but they rest on the shoulders of those who run the Gauntlet, the lethal trail to the stronghold of the man whose strange creatures started the war many years ago. The stronghold lies deep in Torrent's Valley, protected by deadly weapons that defeat every attempt to penetrate it, and it holds information crucial to the survival of Samantha's world.
Samantha wants to go to Harknell School, where Gauntlet Runners are trained. The only trouble is, she's the wrong gender. Determined not to let a little thing like that stand in her way, she disguises herself, calls herself "Sam," and risks everything to learn the skills she needs. 
Fraught with unimagined dangers, Harknell shows Sam a whole new world and forces her to keep a cool head as she fights to maintain her place and become a Runner. Along the way, she'll make lifelong friends, watch loyalties crumble, and learn what it is to love. 
In this scorching world that no one saw coming... until it arrived. 


I like that at the beginning they don't specify the gender of the main character. I thought the main character was a boy at the beginning. I didn't like that almost immediately after her gender was revealed, it is emphasized how much weaker females are than males. However, the author proves that point incorrect throughout the rest of the book. 

Sam(antha) is stuck in Salt Landing with her cousin's family who treat her like crap. Her mother left her with her cousin when she went to look for her brother, after he left for Harknell Hall to try to run the Gauntlet. Six years later, Sam goes herself, to try to train to run the Gauntlet and find her brother, even though only males are allowed at Harknell Hall. 

I was impressed by this book! It sucked me in immediately, and I would have finished it in one night, if I didn't have to make myself go to bed at a (somewhat) decent hour so that I could go to work early the next day. Adulting sucks!

I will say that I figured out one of the twists at the end, but all of the other twists and turns thorughout the book, and especially the ending, I could have NEVER guessed any of that was going to happen! 

The author did an excellent job at world building and character development. Her character development was also very well timed, leaving some characters' mysteries a secret until the most powerful moment to reveal them. 

I absolutely ♥ed Sam! She was fearless and was hardly ever afraid of being found out as a girl, except in obvious situations. I think it would have taken away from the story if she was constantly worrying about it. 

This book was awesome! I'm just super upset that I don't have the next book in the series to keep reading! I can't wait to see what happens next!

I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Crippled Hope (Jagged Scars #4) by Jo Schneider

Crippled Hope (Jagged Scars, #4)
Reeling from the fall of Shelter, and mourning the loss of too many friends, Wendy and the battered survivors must leave their broken home in search of another. As Jeff tries to keep the council together, Wendy rallies the remaining fighters in their defense, but more deaths and a clash of wills divide the people. Some insist they fight, others wish to run while a growing number desire to surrender to the Primate, falsely believing he will show them mercy. 
Up until now, Wendy has been able to slash her way out of anything, but her knives prove useless as hunger, disease and discord threaten to rip not only the group apart, but also the growing relationship between her and Jeff. 

First of all, for those who have not read the first three books in the Jagged Scars series, check out my reviews of Fractured Memories (#1)Severed Ties (#2), and Shattered Dreams (#3).

**WARNING: Contains spoilers from first three books!!!**

The series is the story of Wendy, who is a ferocious fighter. She is a super smart and super dangerous. She lost her home to Skinnies (zombie-like people-ish things) and was saved and brought to Shelter, where she struggled to fit in and start learning to trust others. She ended up making friends at Shelter, but then it is threatened by the same person who ruined her home and killed her family: The Primate, who was working with Pelton, who taught her everything she knows about fighting, then betrayed her. At the end of Shattered Dreams, only a small fraction of the number of people that lived in Shelter survived blowing it up to save them all from the Primate and prevent him from taking over and gaining access to their advanced technology.

Crippled Hope picks up right where Shattered Dreams left off. The survivors from Shelter are moving through the tunnels they used to escape and get away from the Primate and his Skinnies.

These books definitely move fast! Just about everything that can go wrong does, and there are so many twists and turns thrown in. The series does that from the beginning. It is action-packed, but not rushed. The author gives you plenty of character and plot development in between the action.

All I could say after finishing this book was OMG!!! I'm so mad that I can't read the next book yet! I was thinking that the book was going to end at a certain point and was cool with that stopping point, then the author threw a major curveball. Then the book just stopped. OMG!

So far, I've loved absolutely everything about this series, but the ending to this book is frustrating if you don't have the next book to keep reading.

The author has done an amazing job with this series, though. Each book left me needing to read the next one and find out what happens next. However, there was usually a nice stopping point at the end, setting things up for the next book in the series, without making me too upset that I didn't have the next book yet. That was not the case with this one.

Each book has made me ♥ Wendy more and more! She stays true to her bad ass self throughout all the books, but she continues to grow and develop as a person throughout each one. And of course, I still ♥ Jeff and Kev! They were great in this book, as always!

If you haven't read the first three books, I encourage you to check them out immediately. If you have read the first three, this book will not disappoint! It's amazing, but the ending might frustrate you, since the next book in the series has not been released yet.

GoodReads says that the 5th book in the series, Broken World, will not be released until at least this December. I don't know if I can wait that long to see what happens next!

I received a copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review.