Friday, January 30, 2015

The Friday 56 (19)

     The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE

The Unbound (The Archived, #2)"Requirement ruins even the best of books."--The Unbound by Victoria Schwab 


I know its two weeks in a row that I picked a quote from a page that's not 56, but I liked this one so much that I had to share it.  What's on your page 56 this week?

Cover Reveal: Maybe Me by Amber Hart

We're so excited to reveal the cover for Maybe Me by Amber Hart! Maybe Me releases this fall from Kensington Teen! But before that, I'm going to break out one of the arrows that I haven't used in a long time!




About Maybe Me... 

A sliver of a second is all it takes. 

Maria Reyes knows what it means to come from nothing. Escaping Cuba, the States have given Maria new dreams. Like graduating high school. Going to college. Making something of herself. Forgetting a past that always seems to creep up on her family. But mostly, staying out of trouble. Which is why falling for Hale is out of the question.

An unguarded moment, a simple mistake.

Hale Watson is a flash of a second away from being locked up for good. With a rap sheet longer than the list of homes he comes from, Hale has one more shot at making things right. Graduate senior year. Don’t mess up. Don’t get caught. That’s the plan. Until he meets Maria.

And everything changes.

Add Maybe Me to Goodreads here! You can also preorder it below (more retailers coming soon)!


Maybe Me is the third book in the Before & After series, but it can be read as a standalone! You can find out more about Before You and After Us here!

About Amber Hart...

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She's the author of Before You, After Us, Until You Find Md, and sequel to Until You Find Me (untitled as of yet). Represented by Beth Miller of Writers House.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

The Unbound (The Archived, #2)Title:The Unbound
Author: Victoria Schwab
Source/Format: Purchased, Hardcover
Age Range: YA
Publisher/Publication Date: Hyperion, January 28, 2014

Goodreads     Barnes & Noble     Amazon    Book Depository

I don’t know if I have the words to sum up how much I loved The Unbound—I really don’t think I do. This book was amazing, and I didn't think it was possible to like it more than the first book—but I did. It’s been some time since I read The Archived by Victoria Schwab, so when I was in the bookstore and saw the hardback of The Unbound I decided to get it. I have no regrets.

All of my favorite characters from The Archived were back and dealing with the fallout from the last book. Mackenzie Bishop was more broken than not—her reactions were realistic given what she went through. I liked the fact that she wasn’t just ok about everything. I loved Mackenzie and her family I really got their relationship with one another. Their reactions to certain situations in the book were completely understandable, and I liked the way the tension was portrayed as they did their best to protect their daughter. Their concern, gosh, it was awesome. I love it when the family is more involved with the main characters, so in that aspect it was completely well-done. And Wesley Ayers…what can I even say about him? He was nice, and he truly did care for Mackenzie. The portrayal of their relationship was nice and refreshing amongst everything else that went on in the story. There were a few new characters that attend Hyde School like Mackenzie does. They were nice additions to The Archived world.

The writing, despite being first person, was descriptive with enough detail that I could easily get into the story.The plot might have seemed a little slow at first, but there were little hints as to what was going on. I didn’t have a problem with the pacing, and ended up enjoying The Unbound from start to finish. In fact, I read it in one sitting.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Musing Mondays (18)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, that asks you to muse about something book related each week. **There are a new list of prompts for Musing Mondays**

My Musings for the week...

Today I'm going to be answering the random weekly question: Give a list of 4 books you read last year that you’d recommend to others — and why.

Double Vision: The Alias Men
Double Vision: Alias Men by F.T. Bradley. Really, the entire middle grade trilogy was fantastic and I would recommend it to just about anyone!
Mistborn: The Final Empire
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Oh gosh, there’s a lot of things I really liked about this book, the writing style, the world building, and the characters combined with the interesting magic system. I think a lot of people would like this one, which is why I recommend it.

Courting Magic (Kat, Incorrigible, #3.5)The Archived (The Archived, #1)Courting Magic by Stephanie Burgis. Ok, I know this one isn’t a full length novel, but I recommend it as well as the books that go along with it—it was another really good middle grade series that I enjoyed.

The Archived by Victoria Schwab. I really liked this book. It has an interesting premise, plenty of mystery surrounding the Archive, and plenty of interesting characters.

There are a lot of other books that I recommend, but listing them all would make this post too long. Happy reading!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Friday 56 (18)

  The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE

Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know about Narrative Techniques"A natural inclination when it comes to conveying exposition is to tell. After all, the most efficient way we humans have of conveying complex ideas is with language."--Video Game Storytelling by Evan Skolnick



What's on your page 56 this week?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Discussion: Short Stories

I recently read Until Midnight by Melissa Landers, which got me thinking about short stories—you know the stories that are set between, before, or after the novels and are generally a cheaper way for readers to get introduced to a writer’s work.

Given the chance to read a short story before you read the novel, would you?

Some short stories—especially the ones that are set after a novel—can contain spoilers. That’s a given. But I don’t particularly mind them as long as they’re not too big of a spoiler. As you can see from my review of Until Midnight by Melissa Landers I read it before the novel, which I don’t even have. Yet, there was one good thing about doing so, it gave me a chance to get introduced to the writer’s style and the story to see if I would even be interested in picking up Alienated. Since the short story got my interest, I’m now curious to see where it all began. Sure, there were a few things that could have been spoilers, but I don’t particularly feel like I know the entire story leading up to Until Midnight.

So, I guess my answer would be yes. I would buy/read the short story before I bought a novel by an author I’m unfamiliar with. That method might not be for everyone, but I find that it generally works for me.

Question: What are your thoughts on short stories?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: Video Game Storytelling by Evan Skolnick


Author: Evan Skolnick
Source/Format: Blogging for Books, Review Copy
Age Range: anyone
Publisher/Publication Date: Watson-Guptill, December 2, 2014

Goodreads     Amazon   Barnes & Noble     

Summary from Goodreads...

With increasingly sophisticated video games being consumed by an enthusiastic and expanding audience, the pressure is on game developers like never before to deliver exciting stories and engaging characters. WithVideo Game Storytelling, game writer and producer Evan Skolnick provides a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow guide to storytelling basics and how they can be applied at every stage of the development process—by all members of the team. Full Summary Here

So for my first nonfiction read of 2015 I got Video Game Storytelling by Evan Skolnick and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. This book was all about the art of putting together a good video game story, narrative, and how all of the parts should go along with one another for a better, coherent game experience for players.

“Conflict powers your story. Conflict is the burning energy that propels it forward. And if your tale runs out of fuel before it reaches its destination, you’ve got a problem” (p.7).

The very beginning of Video Game Storytelling dishes out some important advice on story conflicts and the importance of them before jumping right into the three-Act Structure. Across the various chapters, the information delves more into it as the different areas of game storytelling, breaking it down into sections. These individual sections expertly presented explanations and used well-known movies and video games as examples.

“The Monomyth is composed of two main elements: archetypes and story structure” (p.28).

This book also covered typical characters in games and their respective arcs. I found those chapters particularly interesting. Skolnick broke down the basic structure of video game storytelling into various parts that highlighted the importance of each and how they could be applied to video games. There’s a lot of information that’s covered, but presented straight-forwardly with plenty of examples of how it was all used previously. Overall, I enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone who wants to read it.

I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review, thank you! 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Review: Doctor Who: Silhouette by Justin Richards

 Title: Doctor Who: Silhouette 
Author: Justin Richards
Publisher/Publication Date: Broadway Books, September 9, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction; Action & Adventure
Format/Source: Paperback, Blogging for Books (Review Copy)

Summary

"Vastra and Strax and Jenny? Oh no, we don't need to bother them. Trust me."

Marlowe Hapworth is found dead in his locked study, killed by an unknown assailant. This is a case for the Great Detective, Madame Vastra.

Rick Bellamy, bare-knuckle boxer, has the life drawn out of him by a figure dressed as an undertaker. This angers Strax the Sontaran.

The Carnival of Curiosities, a collection of bizarre and fascinating sideshows and performers. This is where Jenny Flint looks for answers.

How are these things connected? And what does Orestes Milton, rich industrialist, have to do with it all? This is where the Doctor and Clara come in. The Doctor and his friends find themselves thrust into a world where nothing and no one are what they seem. Can they unravel the truth before the most dangerous weapon ever developed is unleashed on London?

I hate to admit that prior to Silhouette I’d never read a Doctor Who book or watched the series. I had heard great things about the series and was curious to find out what all the excitement was about. Now that I’ve read it, I think that I’m a die-hard Doctor Who fan in training.

Silhouette takes place in London during the Victorian era. It’s the adventures of the 12th Doctor Who. During this installment of Doctor Who, he travels through time to investigate a mysterious spike in energy in Victorian London. He soon found himself caught up in the investigation of Marlowe Hapworth’s mysterious death.

Although the story started out slow, the pace soon picked up with a shocking turn of events around every corner. I loved the interesting take on emotions and paper. And the conclusion—well, it was just epic.

I am looking forward to reading additional books featuring the 12th Doctor Who and would definitely recommend Silhouette to readers who love suspenseful science fiction stories.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author

JUSTIN RICHARDS has written for stage and screen as well as writing novels and graphic novels. He has also co-written several action thrillers for older children with the acknowledged master of the genre Jack Higgins. Justin acts as Creative Consultant to BBC Books' range of Doctor Who titles, as well as writing quite a few himself. Married with two children (both boys), Justin lives and works in Warwick, within sight of one of Britain's best-preserved castles.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Alice Book Tag


I thought I would do something different today and making a book tag seemed like fun. So here is my Alice Book Tag inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 

“Down the Rabbit-Hole” What are the first books you've read by three of your favorite authors?

I first read the Rithmatist when I won a hardcover copy, and since then I’m a total Brandon Sanderson fan. Jennifer Estep is my second pick, and I started with Touch of Frost.  And for my last pick, I'm going to go with F.T. Bradley's Double Vision.

“Pool of Tears” What book did you think you would love, but ended up not liking?

I’m sorry, I really am, but I thought I would like Towering by Alex Flinn. It was a retelling—I thought I would like it—but nope, nope, nope. Now that I think about it there was a review for it, but it never got posted.

“A Mad Tea-Party” What is one of your favorite series that has more than three books?

I’m going to go with the Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep—plus I have all of the print books.

“The Queen’s Croquet Ground” What's your favorite book that has a prince or princess somewhere in the story?

For this one I’m going to say the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

And finally “It’s a Cheshire-Cat” What favorite book has a thief as a main or secondary character?

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson—I don’t think this one needs much of an explanation.  If you want to know what I mean, just read the book.

I'm not going to tag anyone since this was just for fun. Feel free to use my questions if you would like to make your own post, but all I ask is that you link back to the original (and/or let me know because I'd love to see your answers). Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Musing Mondays (17)

     Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, that asks you to muse about something book related each week.

My Musings for the week...

Random weekly question: Has any author ever had a huge influence on your reading? Who, and why?

I don't think any one author had a huge influence on my reading. However, recently I have to say that Brandon Sanderson got me interested in fantasy again. His writing style has a way of drawing me into the story.

On another note...
 
So, I started to think about all of the books I’m waiting for this year, and I realized there weren't that many. I thought there were more at first…but I guess not. There are a few older books I want to read, but for the most part my list of new releases is relatively small—like REALLY small.

  • Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep
  • Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott
  • Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

That’s it, I’m not kidding. There might be some other fictional books that catch my interest later this year, but for now those are the only ones I’m really waiting for. Of course I'll be searching for more nonfiction books to read.

Question: What books are you waiting for in 2015? Are there any books that you recommend? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Friday 56 (17)

     The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE

Until Midnight (Alienated, #1.5)"At the time, the hostile reaction had perplexed Aelyx, but now he understood with crystal clarity why he'd upset the boy."--Until Midnight by Melissa Landers


This quote isn't exactly on page 56 but I wanted to share it anyway. What's on your page 56 this week?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Review: Until Midnight by Melissa Landers

Until Midnight (Alienated, #1.5)Title: Until Midnight
Author: Melissa Landers
Souce/Format: freebie, iTunes ebook editon
Age Range: YA
Publisher/ Publication Date: Disney Hyperion, December 23, 2014

Goodreads     Amazon    Barnes & Noble     
     When I saw that Until Midnight by Melissa Landers was free, I got it as a way to get introduced to the writers’ style to see if I would be interested in reading the actual novel that went along with it. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the short story. It was easy to get into—even though I didn’t read Alienated—it was short and sweet. I liked Cara and Aelyx in this short story and I’m curious to see how their relationship got started. The writing paired nicely with the story, and had a good flow to it. Until Midnight was a great way to start the year, and I might consider picking up another book by Melissa Landers. Actual rating 3.5

Monday, January 5, 2015

Musing Mondays (16)

 
     Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, that asks you to muse about something book related each week.

My Musings for the week...

     This is the first Musing Mondays post of 2015, hooray! As you can see above I changed the old banner during my vacation so that it matched with the header of Our Thoughts Precisely—and it was missing a dash of blue. So, for this Musing Monday’s I'm going to briefly discuss the Goodreads Reading Challenge. So what is it? Basically, you can set a goal on Goodreads pertaining to the amount of books you want to read in a year, as a sort of challenge for yourself.

     Will I participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge? 

     No, I won’t be participating in the Reading Challenge this year. I’ve never done so, and I don’t think I ever will.

     Why not?

     I think the simple reason is that I read a random number of books each year—and setting a goal won’t help with that. When I read, it solely depends on what I feel like doing at the time.  For me, I almost feel like I would get through books considerably slower if I set a goal with a specific number, because my enthusiasm wouldn't be there.  As you can see with my 2015: Blogger Resolutions post, all of my goals for the year are pretty open ended.  There's no specific amount for any of them.  They are relatively flexible goals.

     Any final thoughts on the Goodreads Reading Challenge?

     I think the challenge is good for some people and not for others. For me, well, I’m on the not-so-much side.

     Question: What are your thoughts on the Goodreads Reading Challenge? Does setting a goal help you read more or less?

*Check back next Monday for my list of Most Anticipated 2015 New Releases. (Hint: It's going to be short.)

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015: Blogger Resolutions

     Well, hello 2015! Its hard to believe 2014 is already over, but it is. Anyway, I'm going to get to the main point of this post--my 2015 blogger resolutions. I have a few for this year and thought that I would share them here on the blog.
  1. Continue to have fun with the blog (I think this is the most important one)
  2. Read more classics
  3. Find more reasons to use the 2015 banner (pictured above). I have no clue what I'm going to do yet, but I will find a way...somehow.
  4. Read more nonfiction--I really enjoyed the art books I read last year, which ultimately made me want to read more nonfiction.  
     I really don't have many resolutions besides those four, but I hope to have another great year of blogging!
     
     
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