Friday, May 29, 2015

The Friday 56 (27)

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

22875089"Mostly, I was just confused about where the fish had come from."--The Tapper Twins Go To War (With Each Other) by Geoff Rodkey

What are you reading? Or, what's on your page 56 this week?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: Rise by Amanda Sun

RiseTitle: Rise 
Author: Amanda Sun
Source/Format: freebie, iBooks ebook edition
More Details: YA, Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Harlequin Teen, May 1, 2015

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads...

A long, long time ago, before the world was as we know it, Izanami and Izanagi came into being. Two of the first of the ancient gods of Japan, they crafted the world from ink and their own imaginations. Izanagi wants, more than anything, to be with Izanami—but one moment of pride could tear them apart forever. Yuki and Tanaka have been friends for as long as they can remember, but lately deeper feelings have been bubbling beneath the surface. How do they navigate the transition from friendship to true love without destroying the powerful bond between them? Set a millennia apart, can these two couples, living parallel love stories, find their happily-ever-afters?
I really enjoyed Rise by Amanda Sun. It was a really quick read—it's a short story—and perfect to get me motivated again. Rise follows a few of the series well known characters—Yuki and Tanaka—intertwined with the story of Izanami and Izanagi. The writing was fantastic, and though I haven’t kept up with this series lately, I’m looking forward to getting back into it. I really can’t say much, and I don’t want to unintentionally spoil some of the details for those who haven’t read it. So all I can say is that I enjoyed reading from both perspectives in the different time periods, and I recommend Rise to those who are familiar with this series.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Release Day: The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings

Today is the release day for The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings, the second book in the Murder Complex series!

 About the book (Synopsis from Goodreads...)

With short, fast-paced, alternating point-of-view chapters, The Death Code starts several weeks after The Murder Complex ended. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close—that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fearlessly fight to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old. The Death Code introduces a memorable cast of secondary characters and delivers a vivid and scary thrill ride read...

Lindsay Cummings is the 23-year-old author of THE MURDER COMPLEX duology and BALANCE KEEPERS trilogy at HarperCollins. She lives in Celina, TX, with her Grumpy Husband Josh, a German Shepherd, a German Shephusky, a real Wolf Cub, a draft horse named Dan the Man, a hedgehog named Hedwig, a cat named Crookshanks, and 5 silly, egg-laying chickens. She's still trying to convice her husband to let her get a teacup pig and name it Pigwidgeon. She is convinced her Hogwarts letter was just lost in the mail...

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Musing Mondays (30)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB(Jenn) at A Daily Rhythm, that asks you to muse about something book related each week.

My Musings for the Week...

Have you ever started a series or trilogy but then never ended up finishing it? I know I have over the years for a variety of reasons. Below is a short list of the most common reasons as to why I haven’t finished a series...
  • Lost Interest/ Bored 
  • Series took a turn for the worse halfway through 
  • First book failed to impress me 
  • Really liked the initial series but the spinoff novels aren't really doing much for me 
  • I just don’t have the last book(s), yet… 
  • Uncertain if the end will live up to the glory and wonderfulness of the previous books 
  • Finally, sometimes they just need to end, and I don't have the enthusiasm to continue...
I don’t know, maybe later I’ll do a list of series I haven’t finished, but those are the most common reasons why.

So, what are your most common reasons for not finishing a series/trilogy?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Release Date Reveal & Giveaway: Titans by Victoria Scott

Today I'm excited to take part in sharing the release date and synopsis for Victoria Scott's upcoming YA novel, Titans. Stick around till the end of the post for a giveaway where you can enter for a chance to win signed books. And without further ado, Titans will be released on...

February 23, 2016!

And here's the synopsis...

Astrid Sullivan's family can't catch a break. Her grandfather played cards and her dad bet on the Titans--half-horse, half-car that race around impossible tracks. They've lost their home, their savings, and each other. So when Astrid makes some new friends who give her the chance to participate in this year's Titan races, she wonders if it's worth risking everything. She never thought she'd even touch a Titan, and this one is first gen when the models racing now are Titan 3.0s. There's no way for her to win...but with her family slipping away and her dad without work, Astrid can't help but feel like the only person she can bet on is herself.

Titans delivers Victoria Scott's signature blend of incredible action and impossible odds, and will leave readers' hearts racing...

Don't forget to visit the author online...

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And now for the giveaway. Below you can enter to win a signed copy of Fire & Flood and Salt & Stone from Victoria Scott! The giveaway is US ONLY.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: Cookie Love by Mindy Segal with Kate Leahy

Title: Cookie Love: 60 Recipes and Techniques for Turning the Ordinary into the Extraordinary
Author: Mindy Segal with Kate Leahy
Source/Format: Blogging for Books, Hardcover Review Copy
More Details: Cooking, Food
Publisher/Publication Date: Ten Speed Press, April 7, 2015

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Mindy Segal is an up-and-coming chef and baker who's serious about cookies and bars. In her first cookbook, Segal turns classic recipes into more elevated, fun interpretations of everyone's favorite sweet treat. From Brown Butter with Hickory Smoked Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies and Crème de Violet Snickerdoodles, to Citrus, Brown Butter, and Graham Cracker Shortbread with Framboise Preserves and Hibiscus Sugar Rugelach, Segal's recipes are inspired and far from expected. This modern twist on a traditional favorite is the perfect addition to every baker's bookshelf...
I can’t really say that the synopsis was what got me interested in this book, because it didn’t. I really wanted to get this book based solely on the fact that I like to bake, and Cookie Love seemed to be the perfect fit for me.

This book has too many cookie ideas, but don’t get me wrong that’s actually a good thing! The recipes span across a wide variety, everything from basic cookies to snickerdoodles, a handful of short bread variations, and even Milanos. They are a little more complicated than the average cookie recipe, but would probably be great if you’re looking to try something new or for a get together to impress guests. The back section of the book covers some basics—cooking techniques and clarification on leaveners and supplies. There’s even a small section on making your own butter.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten my initial thoughts out I’m going to move on. Out of this book, I selected one of the recipes to try before I sat down to write this review. It’s called “Ode to the Chunky Bar.” Let me just tell you that the cookies were delicious and the texture was really good. The taste of the actual cookie wasn’t too sweet but with the raisins and extra chocolate added in it hardly mattered. Below you can see pictures of how mine came out:

Overall I like this book and will be keeping it on my shelf. And I recommend it to people who are looking to expand their horizons when it comes to baking cookies.

This copy of the book was provided by Blogging for Books for this review, thank you!
KATE LEAHY is a freelance writer and the co-author of A16 Food + Wine (with Shelley Lindgren and Nate Appleman) and The Preservation Kitchen (with Paul Virant).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review: Space Exploration for Dummies by Cynthia Phillips & Shana Priwer

Space Exploration for DummiesTitle: Space Exploration for Dummies 
Author: Cynthia Phillips & Shana Priwer
Source/Format: Purchased, Paperback
More Details: Nonfiction, Science
Publisher/Publication Date: For Dummies, June 1, 2009

Goodreads     Amazon     Book Outlet

Summary From Goodreads...

Do you long to explore the universe? This plain-English, fully illustrated guide explains the great discoveries and advancements in space exploration throughout history, from early astronomers to the International Space Station. You'll learn about the first satellites, rockets, and people in space; explore space programs around the world; and ponder the controversial question: Why continue to explore space? Take a quick tour of astronomy -- get to know the solar system and our place in the galaxy, take a crash course in rocket science, and live a day in the life of an astronaut...
When I started reading Space Exploration for Dummies, I knew I was in for a long ride. And boy, let me tell you, it took me a few weeks to read this book from start to finish. It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy it—I really did—it was just a lot of information to take in…and it wasn’t going to be all at once either.

My main reason for picking up this book is because I wanted to know a little more about space exploration—the race to the moon, the first space stations, and early technology that eventually led to peoplw getting into space. Some of the information covered things I already knew, but there was plenty that turned out to be new to me. I learned a lot about the various space programs, the shuttles, and facts about the space race that I honestly hadn’t heard of before. There was no shortage of interesting facts, such as what it takes to get a rocket off the ground and into space, as well as the success and failures of the many ventures that were made all in the name of space exploration. Space Exploration for Dummies was definitely an interesting read that basically renewed my enthusiasm for learning more about space.

Interesting Quotes... 

“In 2005, Cassini flew past Enceladus and spotted startling signs of activity for such a small moon: Huge geysers of material were observed being ejected from Enceladus’s surface.” (p.253).

“Some material ejected from the geysers falls back onto the surface of Enceladus, and the rest of it goes into orbit.” (p.253).

“Enceladus orbits Saturn embedded in a tenuous ring called the E ring, and scientists now believe that geyser material that escapes Enceladus is actually the source of this ring.” (p.253).

“The plan was to send part of the spacecraft on a collision course with the comet and use the impact to eject material from the inside of the comet into outer space, where it could be studied.” (p.243).

Monday, May 18, 2015

Musing Mondays (29)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB(Jenn) at A Daily Rhythm, that asks you to muse about something book related each week.

My Musings for the Week...

Today for Musing Mondays I want to talk about books that sort fall into an almost average place, as far as like and dislike is concerned. Over the past week this subject has been on my mind since it is related to two of my recent reads. Basically, I really struggled to decide on how much and how little I liked the books. Both had elements that I liked and some that I really didn’t. My feelings were in the middle.

I was dealing with not one but two books that fell into a sort of gray area.

I realized that my problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted to say at first. Ultimately I did decide on how I was going to finish writing the reviews, but it took me some time to just think about it. I’m usually good at knowing what to write and how to word my reviews, but not this time—well, at least not immediately.

And before I call it quits for this post, I thought I would answer the random weekly.

Random Weekly Question (I haven't done one of these in a while): What types of “special” books do you own? For example, do you have any really old books? Any collections based on your interests (eg. architecture, etc)?

I can’t really say that I have any special books, or a collection concerning a specific subject. I tend to read what I want when I feel like it. Though, the only book on my shelf that is really a “collectible” would be my copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Other Stories by Lewis Carroll—I really liked the Barnes & Noble edition. Other than that, I have a mixture of books, some about space, others about figures in science, and a whole lot of fiction.

Have you ever struggled with finding the right words to sum up your feelings about a book?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Weekend Tidbits {#3}: That Time There Was A Humming Bird

When I originally thought of doing some kind of occasional weekend post, I already knew that it wasn’t going to be a weekly thing. It’s going to be, as I said above, occasional. All this post is about is the things I’m currently doing or maybe even look forward to. And at the very end I’ll name a place that I wish was a book setting and my choice of tea for the day. (Links for Weekend Tidbits can be found on the Features Page.)
I actually didn’t post a review last week, but I do have a couple that I want to finish writing this weekend. However, I did start the week out with a post about DNFing books which you can view HERE. I do have a book about cookies to read and review so I’m looking forward to trying out some of the recipes. Also, the giveaway to win a copy of The Wrath and The Dawn is still going. If you want to enter CLICK HERE

In other news, there is a humming bird nesting right outside the window of my house. I knew there was a nest there and I’ve seen the bird, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally got a picture of it actually in the nest. And it happened to be raining too. The left photo is farther out, but the bird is just below the middle of the picture. And the right one is a closer photo of the bird & the nest.
Today’s location is Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland. Check out the Places I Wish Were Book Settings Pinterest board HERE to see today's place.
Today's choice is something that I haven't had in a while, and that is ginger. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Friday 56 (26)

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

I finished this book a while ago, and I hope to get the review up soon.

Space Exploration for Dummies"The mission specialist is responsible for ensuring the success of the specific mission to which he's assigned. Mission specialists can lead spacewalks, run experiments in space, operate all of the equipment for a mission, and otherwise assist with the functioning of a mission."--Space Exploration for Dummies by Cynthia Phillips & Shana Priwer

What's on your page 56 this week?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: The Wrath & The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

I am so excited that The Wrath & The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh releases today and that I get to share the news, along with a special introduction from Renée herself! If you haven’t yet heard about this book, be sure to check out all the details below. And don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of the post for a giveaway, which includes a chance to win signed copies of the book and some beautiful book inspired scarves, courtesy of Renée, Penguin Teen, and Rockstar Book Tours. 

A letter from Renée Ahdieh

There are not enough words to express how thrilled I am to share The Wrath and The Dawn with you! From the moment I typed the first word, I felt connected to Shahrzad and her world in a way that carried me through the long process of publication to where we are today. 

Everything about this process has been a dream come true, and hope you love my book half as much as I enjoyed writing it. In celebration of release day, I'll be giving away a signed, first edition hardcover of the book, as well as a gorgeous scarf . . . or two!

Always remember to make it a story worthy of you!


About The Book

Author: Renée Ahdieh
Pub. Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 388
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all. 

About Renée

Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.
She’s also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as an active member of theScience Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

And now for the giveaway. 3 winners will receive a hardcover of The Wrath and The Dawn and a beautiful book inspired scarf (IMAGES BELOW)! US Only. Ends on May 22nd at Midnight EST!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Musing Mondays (28)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB(Jenn) at A Daily Rhythm, that asks you to muse about something book related each week.

My Musings for the Week...

And I’m back to blogging! I hope everyone had a lovely day yesterday. So, moving right along, this week my musings have to do with DNFing books. It’s a topic I haven’t really spoken much on before, so I thought I would do a post about it.

Usually, if I feel the need to DNF a book it’s because I’m not personally enjoying my reading experience. I give the books the first 100 pages, sometimes even a little more, to impress me enough to want to keep reading. But on some occasions I just give up and move on. It could be for a number of reasons—sometimes its the story itself despite the writing, which could be some of the best I've ever come across, it just depends.

I have no problem DNFing a book or sharing my reasons for doing so. Think of it this way. Why would I want to spend hours finishing something that I’m not enjoying? I have a bunch of books sitting on my shelf that are practically calling my name—I figure that it would be better to spend time reading what I enjoy rather than the other way around. I used to be the kind of reader that tried to finish every book I ever started, but by doing that—even trudging through books I didn’t like, from start to finish—I ended up in too many reading slumps.

The bottom line is that DNFing when necessary works for me, especially when I don’t have the enthusiasm to continue on with the book in question.

So, what are your thoughts on DNFing? Do you feel the need to finish every book you start?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Quick Update...

I'm writing this post just to let you guys know that this week is going to be really slow here at Our Thoughts Precisely. I'm not sure if I'm going to be posting anything for the next few days, but I will be back next week. I will still make the occasional post on twitter, tumblr, & pinterest during this week. Thanks for stopping by!

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