Thursday, January 29, 2015

January 2015 Library Haul!

Okay, so I went to the library and got out a couple more books. Sometimes I feel bad for going to the library, instead of buying the books, because I know how hard the authors and everyone else involved must have worked on them, and it doesn't feel quite fair that I'm reading them for free.

But the truth is, I don't often reread books, and I don't have a lot of space for them (not to mention owning shelves on shelves of books is something that would definitely stress me out).

As I mentioned before, I also like to get books out of the library to try an author I've never read before and see if I like his or her style.

So I justify borrowing library books because that's what they're there for anyway, and if I really, really like a book and plan on reading it again, I can purchase it on kindle. So if you struggle with thoughts and guilt like that as well, I encourage you to be at ease about it. It's better you read a book from the library, decide you love it, and then go buy it rather than buy it, hate it, and end up tossing the book and wasting your money.

Okay, enough of that stuff, here's what I got out this haul!

 Paper Towns by John Green

Again, I'm trying out books by authors I've never read. I heard about this book through Amazon's Omnivoracious newsletter (I believe in was in a top list of something).

The title intrigued me (although I originally miswrote it down as "Paper Towels"). I really get what they say about coming up with an awesome title, because a lot of times, that's what grabs me in.

But besides the curious title and the interesting cover, I got a first hand recommendation. When I was checking it out of the library, the clerk said it was her favorite book ever. And considering she works in a library, I suppose she's read quite a few books to be able to judge (unless she got sick of books from staring at them all day, which sounds impossible to me).

 If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I really can't remember why I wanted to read this book now. I think I heard about it through Omnivoracious, but honestly I'm not sure. It was on my list of books to read, so I decided to get it out this month.

Looking at the cover, it sounds and appears to be very intriguing. After reading the back cover, though, it sounds like a rather depressing book.

I'm not sure if I would've gotten it out if I'd read more of what it was about online first. But since I have checked it out, I'll give it a go and see if it's something that interests me. I usually like books with a happy ending, and honestly this book doesn't sound like it will have one. I'll read the first few chapters though, and see what I think.

Mistwood by Leah Cypress

This was another book I heard was very good (and again, I think it was through Omnivoracious, but it was another one that had been on my list for a while, so I can't remember for sure where I heard about it).

I've heard Leah Cypress is a good author, but I've never read any of her work before. If any of you have, were there any of her books that you really loved?

The cover really intrigues me. I think it's very pretty and mysterious at the same time. And the title is interesting too. When I read the back cover, it immediately sounded like the type of book I love. I'll probably read this very soon.

Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire

So I didn't realize until I got this out that it was written by the author of Wicked. I've never read Wicked, but I've heard enough of the story to know it sounds really neat (I put that book on my list for this year, along with some other books by Maguire). I really like the cover of this book too. It looks very whimsical and fun.

It's set in Russia, and that intrigues me because I haven't read many stories that take place in Russia before.  From reading the blurb inside the front cover, it sounds like it might be similar to Howl's Moving Castle  by Diana Wynne Jones, which I really enjoyed.

That's all I got out for this month. If you read my 2015 book list, though, you know there's many more book hauls to come (and honestly, they're probably all be library hauls, as I'm checking out a bunch of authors I've never read before). I hoped you enjoyed it!

Have you read any of these books? How did you like them? What other books would you recommend I read? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book List for 2015!

All right, so it's a new year, and it's time to read a whole bunch of books! I've been massing a list, and here it is if you're interested:

1.  Paper Towns by John Green
2. Mistwood by Leah Cypress
3. Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire
4.  If I Stay by Gayle Forman
5. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White (I know it's an oldie, but I don't think I've ever read it)

6. House of Wonder by Sarah Healy
7. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
8. Asylum by Madeleine Roux (I'm branching out and trying another horror book)
9. Phantastes by George Macdonald (one of my favorite authors, he wrote The Princess and the Goblins)
10. The Fablehaven Series by Brandon Mull

11. Extravagant Grace: God's Glory Displayed in Our Weaknesses by Barbara Duguid
12. Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins
13. 10% Happier by Dan Harris
14. Make Your Own Rules Diet by Tara Stiles
15. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

16. 30 Days to a Clutter-free Life by Ruth Soukup
17. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
18. The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
19. The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli
20. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

21. Aurora Abroad by Karen Kiefer (I've already read this and loved it, I want to read it again this year)
22. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
23. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
24. Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire
25. Missing Sisters by Gregory Maguire

As you can see, there's a big variety here. Some are children's books, some are non-fiction, and some are YA. I like a lot of different types of books (honestly, there aren't many genres I don't like), but I often stick with YA fantasy, so I decided to branch out this year and make sure I get some other types of books in as well.

I'm going to read as many as I can of these. Granted, I doubt these will be the only books I read for 2015 (and I may find that I don't like some of them and don't finish them). But for now I'll be working off this list, and see how it goes. A lot of these I'll probably do reviews on, so I'll let you know what I think of at least some of them. Thanks for reading!

What books are on your list to read this year? Any suggestions for me to add to mine? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Review: The Spiritglass Charade

This book is the sequel to The Clockwork Scarab (check out my review of it HERE), so if you haven't read that book, you might want to check it out first, unless you don't care about spoilers.

As this is a sequel, it kind of necessitates spoilers for the first book.

The Spiritglass Charade starts up where the other book left off pretty much. The villain who was killing the girls, known as the Ankh, is supposed to be dead, but even after more than a month has passed, Mina isn't so sure of that. Before she can ponder that thought too much, though, she and Evaline are summoned before Princess Alix, who not only wants to thank them for their service before in foiling the plans of the Ankh, but also has a new request of them.

It seems a dear friend of the Princess, Willa Ashton, convinced her missing brother is still alive, has starting seeing mediums in order to contact her dead mother and discover her brother's whereabouts. Worried that it's a ploy to either strip Willa of her fortune, or drive her insane, Princess Alix asks the girls to investigate.

As they prepare to visit Willa and attend one of the seances, Mina is confident that she can point out exactly what tricks the charlatan is using. After attending, though, Evaline is not so sure that there isn't something more than tricks going on, especially when she learns that the vampires have returned.

And of course, they still have Dylan Eckhert to help find his way back to his time period, not to mention Pix and Inspector Grayling to contend with...

This was an amazing read, and an excellent sequel to the first book. I really enjoyed the character development. With the vampires and spiritualism, the book did take a creepier turn than The Clockwork Scarab.

Again, my biggest problem with the book was the amount of swearing in it (not a ton, but as I've mentioned before, I'm not a fan). There was also a creepy incident with the object called a spiritglass which I'm not sure was necessary.

I do recommend it, though, if you like historical steampunk type books (and of course, if you loved The Clockwork Scarab, you don't need me to tell you to go check it out).

I got it out of the library, but if you already know you want to own the book, you can find The Spiritglass Charade* on Amazon in print, audiobook, or Kindle format.

 *This is an associate link, meaning if you purchase through it I get a referral fee but it costs the same as if you had just gone and ordered it through Amazon.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review: Hollow City

After reading the first book in this series, I knew I had to get the second one out. (If you want to read my review on Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, just click HERE. Don't worry; I'll be here when you get back).

Like his first book, Ransom Riggs uses vintage photographs to help him tell the story (a feature I consider rather freaky and pretty awesome at the same time). Hollow City is a continuation of the story from the first book.

I got it out from a digital library on my kindle (thus the kind of shiny photo of the cover, I discovered how hard it is to take a good picture of a book cover when you're reading it from your kindle).

Because it is a continuation of Miss Peregrine, I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up spilling some spoilers for the first book. So if you haven't read it yet and care about such things, I recommend reading Miss Peregrine first and then coming back to the review...

Okay, are they gone yet? Let's get into the book.

So if you remember at the end of Miss Peregrine, Jacob and the rest of the gang were on their way to the mainland, in search of another ymbryne to help Miss Peregrine get out of her bird form.  Hollow City describes their search for other loops and the other ymbrynes, their continued battles with the wights and hollowgasts, all while trying not to draw too much attention to themselves. And throughout all this, Jacob is still trying to figure out how to use his skill in seeing the hollows and learning how to fight them...

I really liked this book as well, and thought it was a rather good sequel to Miss Peregrine. I didn't like it quite as much as the first book (maybe because I already knew what the format was, and the newness of the vintage photos as part of the story wore off a little for me?). It was a little shorter, or felt a little shorter, so of course I wanted a longer book. I thought it was very well done, though, and again I was rather surprised when it was over (what? no way I read it all already...).

One thing I did really like was that there was less swearing in this book (I think it was maybe five words, maybe). Some of you probably don't care about things like that, but for those who don't like swearing, I figured you might like to know.

I didn't see the ending coming at all, which was another feature in its favor. I don't know about you, but I hate it when I can predict the ending two chapters into the book. Hollow City, though, was awesome enough to provide a realistic ending (when I looked back at the clues, it all made sense) while keeping the twist/shock factor alive.

It was a great book, and I'm eagerly awaiting the third one.

And I just realized these books are considered horror. Maybe I'm getting into that genre after all.

If you prefer just to get your own copy, instead of borrowing from the library, you can get Hollow City* on Amazon in print, audiobook, or Kindle format.

 *This is an associate link, meaning if you purchase through it I get a referral fee but it costs the same as if you had just gone and ordered it through Amazon.