Cheap Books

This week, my husband and I have been scouring Goodwills and Salvos for books. Why didn’t we think of this before? Why? We have absolutely no idea. Recently, we have gotten almost 20 books, including a box set of the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, which I have been looking for for a long time! I really don’t know why we have not been looking at thrift shops for books before. We are always on the lookout at yard sales, household sales and bazaars, but those things typically only take place in the summer. We now have two tall bookcases, a short bookcase, a CD tower, three shelves, and four stacks of books that we will someday need to pack up into boxes when we move. Does anyone have a forklift we can borrow?

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Review: The Magnolia League By Katie Crouch

Title: The Magnolia League

Author: Katie Crouch

Publisher: Poppy

Release Date: May 3rd, 2011

Date Read: April 16-18, 2013

By birth, sixteen-year-old Alexandria Lee is a rightful if unwilling member of the Magnolia League– a long-standing debutante society in Savannah, Georgia. Alex is the first in decades to question the Magnolia League’s intentions, yet even she becomes entangled in its seductive world. The members enjoy youth, beauty, and power…but at what cost? As Alex discovers a pact between the Magnolias and the Buzzards, a legendary hoodoo family, she unearths secrets–some deadly–hidden beneath the glossy Southern veneer.

First Impression: Sometimes it takes you a few pages to really get a first impression. I was so impressed by the first couple sentences that I took a picture to send to my friend that recommended the book to me. Here is that picture:

IMAG0918

I literally don’t like sweet tea for that exact reason. I used to work at McDonald’s, and they use a pound of sugar for every 4-5 gallons of tea. It’s gross (to me). And that is why I decided to finish this book no matter what.

I know that some of you might not agree with me (my husband loves sweet tea), but I don’t care. This book hooked me because of that sentence. And because it’s about Southern Magic. I capitalized that because it should be a genre. For real.

Things I Liked: Lately, I have been loving books about southern magic wielders. Witches, voodoo queens, all of it. I like everything from Sarah Addison Allen books to the Beautiful Creatures series. I can’t really explain it all that well, but the characters are sassier. And I like that. I also like when you see these southern towns from an outsider’s perspective, and that is another reason I liked this one. And the sass and bossiness that can only come from southern debutantes.

Things I Didn’t Like: Some of the secondary characters. Some of their actions didn’t make a lot of sense when I thought about the information previously given about that character. That kind of lack of cohesiveness makes me angry, because it seems like the author only paid attention to the main character. However, I will admit that since this is a series, I am sure to learn a little more about that character’s personality and motivations that may explain their previous actions.

Overall: I like it a lot, but I don’t know if I loved it. However, I will definitely read the rest of the series.

Rating:

fourstars

Review: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Title: Under The Never Sky

Author: Veronica Rossi

Publisher: Harper Books

Release Date: January 3, 2012

Date Read: April 18, 2013

IN A WORLD OF DANGER

AN UNLIKELY ALLIANCE

BREATHTAKING ADVENTURE

AND UNFORGETTABLE ROMANCE

First Impression: If you take a look at how long it took me to read this book, you will notice that the only impression I had time for was the first one. That’s how good I thought the book was. The book is 376 pages long, and I flew through every one of them in no time. I liked the dystopian setting right of the bat, I liked the characters and wanted to learn more about them, and I ended up being too interested to stop reading it.

Things I Liked: I really liked that the characters were independent. I know that a lot of the characters are independent in YA books, but mostly I find that they are in the extremes. Some characters are so independent that they hardly have any friends and we think they are weird until we really jump into the story. Others are so dependent on their friends and family that it often causes problems. I liked that these characters had bonds, but could see the big picture as well. The bonds are important, but so is the big picture. Their feelings are also realistic as well. That’s another thing that YA books do. I know that teenagers are often moody and shallow, but that doesn’t mean that every teenager everywhere is only concerned about what to wear and what their love interest is doing or thinking. These characters are often shallow and selfish. However, the other half are introverted to the point of social aversion- but they are the deepest thinkers ever. Possible? Sure. Realistic? No. These characters seem realistic in a world that is not real (in our reality, anyway.) It makes the whole book and all of it’s newness in terms of setting more real. That’s the ticket. If you want to write me a piece of dytopian literature, then you better take some steps to make sure that I can make some sort of connection to make it seem real for me.

Also, I just liked the story. I love the outsiders-insiders theme.

Things I Didn’t Like: It’s obvious I read this quite a while ago, so I don’t really remember anything bad. Also, I think when I read books so quickly, I might not have picked up on anything I don’t really like. Because, for me, it’s over in a flash. So, moral of the story, I liked it way more than I my have potentially not liked it.

Overall: Looooooved itttttt. (In my head that sounded like a flamboyantly gay man saying “fabulous.”) Great story, great characters, great read.

Rating: 

stars

Remember When?

A couple weeks (months?) ago, I put up a post about Kindle vs. Print.  I listed pros and cons and I actually got a lot of comments on it. I am a staunch supporter of print- but recently I have been thinking about another pro of Kindles: those books are cheap most of the time, and a lot of them are FREE! Obviously I knew this before, but now that I am not working full time, I can’t really afford to buy books as often as before. I decided (just now) that I am going to delve a little deeper into the digital world with my reading habits, and I need some help.

So, I am calling out to all of my followers: Do you have any recommendations for cheap or FREE books available in the Kindle store? I am bored with what I have to read now, and I need something a little exciting. Let me know your favorites, and maybe they will become my favorites, too!

Goodreads Reading Goals

Image by cellar_door_films via WANA Commons

So, I have been reading like a madwoman so far this year (I blame it on Tahereh Mafi), and I thought it was probably about time to update my Goodreads reading goal. When I set it back in January, it was at 50. As of now, I have read around 38 books this year and Goodreads told me I was 12 books ahead of schedule! So, I upped my goal to 75 books. But, how important are reading goals?

I know that when I think about reading goals, I automatically take a stroll down memory lane back to elementary school and I see 10 year old me reading books like it’s her job so that she can earn a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut through the BookIt program. I have always been a reader, but I know that my classmates and I were all a little more motivated to read when the thought of free pizza was thrown into the mix. Now that I’m an adult, I just get the satisfaction of knowing that I can read… a lot. But, are Goodreads goals changing the way some people read?

For some people, the goal fluctuates depending on how many books the person has read, and whether they are on track. Obviously, I was in exactly that boat, so I upped my goal to 75 books instead of 50. But, what about the people that lower their goal? Is it really a goal if the person keeps adjusting it to fit their reading pace? On the other hand, what about those people that pick books to read simply because they are short and will help them get to their goal more quickly?

Obviously, this is not a matter of national import or anything, I am just really curious about people and their reading habits, I suppose. But, it is interesting to think about a program that is meant to help you keep track of the books you read actually playing a part in the way you read books. I don’t think I am being as articulate as I could be, but I hope you guys get my point.

What kind of Goodreads goal-setter are you? What about those of you that don’t use Goodreads?

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium, #1)

Title: Delirium

Author: Lauren Oliver

Pages: 441

Publisher: Harper, 2011

Date Read: March 6-14, 2013

 

They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever.

And I’ve always believed them.

Until now.

Now everything has changed. Now I would rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

 

Characters: 

Lena- It seems that the pattern in these types of books is for the main character to blindly believe in the system, be proven wrong, and fight to change it. Sadly, this book doesn’t break that mold. However, in light of that, I still liked this book. I liked it better than Matched. Lena is fiesty in a way that Cassia (Matched) is not, and she knows how to play it cool. She has a rule breaker friend, and she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in…when the time is right. She’s smart.

Alex- Ahhhhh, the boyfriend. The boyfriends in these types of books are always the best because they’re so mysterious. You spend most of your time trying to figure this guy out, and in the mean time he sweeps you off your fight feet with his awesomeness. By “you” I mean the main character….right? Anyway, Alex is wonderful and loyal and exciting.

Hana- Hana is Lena’s best friend (she’s the rule breaker I mentioned earlier). And of course, Hana would be the reason that Lena meets Alex. It seems this book has a lot of loyal people in it, because Hana is just as loyal as Alex is to Lena. I guess she just knows how to pick them. At first I didn’t like Hana because she just seemed to purposely get Lena into trouble, but she really grows on you.

Conflict: Love is a disease and therefore should be treated like all other diseases and vaccinated. There you go! How would you cope in a world like that? This book reminded me a ton of Matched, but this one had a little better world building, and there was actually more of a conflict than the one you see on the surface.

Things I Liked: The names. You might think I am superficial when I say that, but so what? It’s true. When I read a book, I don’t like having to mentally battle with the names I am reading and second guessing whether or not I am actually pronouncing them right. For instance: I didn’t know how to properly pronounce Hermione until I saw the first Harry Potter movie. Books these days are all apocalyptic and have funky names that I have difficulty pronouncing, and this one has good names that are also reader-friendly.  I loved the loyalty of the supporting characters to Lena, and I love that she is stubborn and has a sort of steely resolve. And she’s smart, I love that. There is nothing worse than a dumb main character.

Things I Didn’t Like: Honestly, I don’t really remember. I think it took me a little while to read this one because I was busy and it started a little slow. But, once all of the characters are introduced and stuff actually starts happening, I found myself wanting to read it more often. I hated her family, but I was supposed to, so no surprise there. I guess what I disliked most about this book is that I was constantly comparing it to Matched because they are so similar.

Cover Art: Loved it! I love seeing a fresh face on the cover of a book instead of a cutesy model on the front with a barrel of eye makeup on.

Overall: I really liked the story-line, aside from its remarkable similarity to Matched. It’s a good read, and I would recommend it!

Rating: 4 stars

Reviews To Come!

Hi guys, I’m really sorry that I haven’t posted in forever, but I’m back on the grind! These are the books that I have left to review:

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Beautiful Darkness by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Chaos by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Matched by Ally Condie (Matched, #1)

Title: Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Pages: 366

Publisher: Speak

Date Read: February 27, 2013

 

Cassia has always trusted the society’s choices. And when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia is certain he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now she is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one dares follow…between perfection and passion.

Society Matched them, but love set them free. In the society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

 

Characters: 

Cassia- At first, I thought this girl was a robot. The blurb says that she has all of this faith in society, and she freaking does. She reminds me of the main character in Delirium- in the beginning at least. Thankfully, this girls starts to develop a little bit of a brain as the book goes on, but she gets pushed into it by her surroundings- and a little bit of subliminal messaging it seems!

Xander- ROBOT. I guess this is supposed to be the theme in the book, but this one took me a little while to get into because of how plain and ridiculously robotic all of the characters were. Xander is probably my least favorite character out of the bunch, but at least he is astute.

Ky- I thought Ky was interesting in an I’m-not-sure-what-to-think-about-this-guy-because-he’s-weird kind of way. But, that mysterious, selfless weirdness is very endearing and makes you want to know more and more.

Conflict: THE MAN. Well, society. This (if you haven’t noticed) is one of those society-rules-the-world books where everyone is a mindless drone but one person manages to snap out of it with the help of a person outside of the system. I love the premise, this one just took a little while to build up to it. I like the little acts of defiance in here, though. I mean, all of these books build up to big acts with little acts, but the particular ones in this book are nice. I’m a sucker for poetry, and that aspect helped keep me into the book until the good stuff happened.

Things I Liked: Like I just said, I loved the poetry aspect of this one. I also love love love loved Cassia’s grandpa! What a romantic old man. I also like the nature=freedom sort of them in this one.

Things I Didn’t Like: Although this book took awhile to get into, the only thing I really remember disliking is the slowness. Granted, it’s been a little while since I read it and I am a little hazy on the details. You guys should also know that this might happen with the next couple books because…it’s been awhile.

Cover Art: I like the cover art, and the only thing that really made me start questioning whether I actually liked it was that stupid commercial that  I saw for this series. Something about that commercial, I just really hated.

Overall: All in all, I liked the book when I finished it, and I ordered the second one! However, a friend of mine was reading the book and she was NOT into it. I hope that doesn’t jade me going in, but I have a feeling it already has.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: Wither (Chemical Garden, #1)

Title: Wither

Author: Lauren Destefano

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pages: 358

Date Read: February 22, 2013

 

In the not-too-distant future, genetic engineering has turned every newborn into a ticking time bomb: Males die at age twenty-five, and females die at age twenty. While scientists seek a miracle antidote, young girls are routinely kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When sixteen-year-old Rhine is taken, she enters a world of wealth and privilege that both entices and terrifies her. She has everything she ever wanted– except freedom.

Soon it becomes clear that not everyone at her new husband’s home is how they appear. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to escape… before her time runs out.

 

Characters: 

Rhine- As the little blurb on the back says, Rhine is sixteen. She also happens to be a twin, and heterochromatic. For those of you that don’t know what that is, it’s when someone has two different color eyes. Rhine and her brother are orphans trying to live their short lives in peace in NYC. I think Rhine is awesome. She is extremely determined and always inquisitive. For her situation, being inquisitive is both a blessing and a curse. She loves without meaning to, and forms attachments with almost everyone she comes in contact with- whether she likes it or not.

Linden- Linden is Rhine’s new husband. He is an architect meant for another world. I say this because he doesn’t fit into this new world. He draws up plans for houses with pies in the windows, and tire swings hanging from the tree in the front yard- he’s a sensitive dreamer. This is all well and good, but it means that he is practically blind to what is happening right in front of him, and too naive to try and puzzle it out. This all sucks fro Rhine.

Vaughn- This guy is creep-tastic. And also Linden’s dad. Throughout the novel, we don’t know exactly how bad he is, but we just know he is baaaaaaaaaaad.

Cecily- This tiny red-head is one of Rhine’s sister wives. She is annoying, and meddlesome, and rarely pleasant to be around. However, she brings out a side of Rhine that is sort of motherly, and I think it helps her grow. Cecily also changes quite a bit, and she is the only sister wife that really wants to be a sister wife.

Jenna- In the world of Wither, there are things called scarlet districts. These are basically just whole districts of whore houses. It sucks, but this is where Jenna is from. She is sort of steely for a while, but she is a lot more friendly and ten times more complicated than she seems on the outside. She knows more than she lets on, and she helps Rhine hold onto who she is while also growing.

Gabriel- He is a servant in the house where Rhine now lives. The relationship between Rhine and Gabriel is founded on hope. They are both attached to what the world used to be, and because they are the only two that really think this way, they are drawn to one another. However, him being a servant and her being a sister wife throws a kink into the grand scheme of things.

Conflict: Rhine needs to get back to her brother. Beyond that, the conflict really just revolves around an antidote. I can’t really give away too much without giving away the whole book, but the conflict is good enough to keep the book going strong. I mean, I read it in a day. That’s how good this book is.

Things I Liked: Ummm, all of it? The book is great. I passed it quite a few times before I decided to actually buy it, and even then it was because I friend recommended it. I am so glad she did. It really is awesome. I loved the characters and the concept (this was the first arranged marriage type novel I have read), and it was a very enjoyable read.

Things I Didn’t Like: Let’s be realistic here, whatever I put here would just be me reaching anyway. Why don’t you read it and tell me what you didn’t like!

Cover Art: I really like the cover art, it is mysterious and slightly creepy.

Overall: Love. I would definitely recommend this to anyone. It was a nice read and it was complex enough to keep my attention for a few hours straight. It also isn’t just a big love fest like a lot of YA books these days.

Rating: 5 stars.

Feeling The Love

I just wanted to thank you guys for showing my blog so much love these past few days. I guess people like to read your blog a little more when you actually post on it! I like interacting with my new blog friends, and making even more blog friends! I have learned that the book blogging community is a close-knit one, and it is my pleasure to be a part of it.

Also, I have finally found/created a theme that I really like and that seems to fit with the type of blog I have.

What do you guys think? Do you love this new theme as much as I do?

As I have also mentioned (I think), I am just about to dive in to Clockwork Princess. I was hoping to do that tonight, but I had to work until just a little bit ago and I am pretty sleepy as I type this. But, tomorrow is a new day- a day off even!- and it will be filled with books and Doctor Who. I kinda hope it rains just so I won’t feel guilty for staying in! 😉